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Leafs go 43 years w/o Cup. Who coulda known?

[I would include a photo, but a search for "Leafs Stanley Cup" in our photo database turns up no results...]

Garth Woolsey asks:

"What were the chances, back in 1967, that Toronto would go another 43 years Cup-less?"

Well, assuming the Leafs were an average team that entire time, about 1-in-8.  Roughly the same odds as the Blackhawks not winning one.  Similar to the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues not winning one.

But the Leafs weren't an average team, were they?  Toronto famously did not have a winning season in the 1980s, the only team to do so.  And despite winning the cup in 1967, they weren't exactly a good team at the time - they didn't finish higher than 4th in the 'Original Six' division in the seven years following expansion.  They sort of figured things out in 1974-75, but the odds of the average team not winning a cup since then are slightly higher than 1-in-5.  In other words, if there was league-wide parity, there are a lot of teams that shouldn't have won the cup - and Toronto finds itself in the same company as seven other teams from that season.

But we already know that there wasn't exactly parity in the NHL.  From 1967-68 to 1997-98, just three teams won 2/3 of the cups.  Building a team that has a chance to win the Cup is a non-trivial thing, and before the institution of the salary cap, it was very much a winner-take-all process.  The odds of Toronto not building a dynasty were much, much higher than the odds of them building one.  I suppose that fans of teams that weren't in the six-team league understand this.

Garth also asks:

"What are the chances it will be 44 and counting, Brian Burke at the calculator’s controls, less than a year from now?"

Well jeez, that's a dumb question.  The odds are at least 97% against the Leafs winning the cup, and given that they were one of the five-worst teams in the league this season, it's probably closer to 99%. 

It's really time for people in Toronto to let go of 1967.  There are no longer six teams in the league.  You have to win more than two playoff series to win the Cup.  Players no longer smoke, and they don't use golf to get in shape.  And - this is a very key point - the odds of any given team winning the Cup in a 10-year period are less than 1-in-3.  So even if you do everything right, you still probably won't win the Cup.  A 30-team league simply functions differently than the NHL did in the 60s.  Just like your car.  And medicine.  And the TV.  And the phone.  It would be best for everyone if Toronto's sportswriters stopped trying to draw lessons from that era.