I have studied the game tapes and crunched the numbers.
I have looked at ESG+, ESS-, TOI, shift charts, specialty teams, built databases and read tea leaves and I have come to a startling conclusion.
I know why the Senators lost the Stanley Cup.
As a Leaf fan, it’s a secret I’m not sure that I should share with our supposed rivals from the town that fun forgot.
It could be the key that brings the Cup back to Canada.
But, in the spirit of sportsmanship and in deference to so many of my poor, sad friends who sold out their previous teams to cheer for the Sens, I am prepared to share that secret with you now.
That’s right, as anyone can tell you facial follicles separate the men from the boys.
Still don’t believe me?
Look at last year’s miracle run by the Oilers. You don’t really think that team should have been in the finals do you? But Google any images from last year’s playoffs and you’ll get a sea of beards among the blue, copper and white.
Biggest disappearing act in the playoffs by an impending free agent? Daniel Briere. Why? Because he can’t grow a beard – Briere grows facial hair like he’s the daughter of the bearded lady at the circus.
Calder cup winners? The Bulldogs – here’s the wire photo:
Now, look at this year’s Stanley Cup match-up.
And the losers:
It couldn’t be more obvious.
Who had the best beard on the Ducks?
Who won the Conn Smythe?
Who was suspended twice?
Who was clean shaven?
I’m starting to see a trend here.
Hands down, the most consistent Senators in the finals - the guy that coach Murray said he wished he had a dozen of?
Which Sen had the best playoff beard?
Coincidence? I think not.
Even Teemu Selanne’s father (or father in-law) grew a beard:
Consider this: Heatley and Spezza didn’t grow beards for the finals. A search party is still looking for them.
Want to know something really spooky?
J.S. Giguere didn’t let in a single really bad goal. Challenged for the Conn Smythe trophy and gets his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. Everything seemed to go his way.
He had a beard.
The goalie at the other end of the ice? Well, he ran into some pretty bad karma in game six – scoring on his own net to kill any momentum Alfredsson’s short-handed goal might have brought. In fact, many would argue that Emery had his worst run of games in the Stanely Cup final. Why? What was the cause of his poor play?
The man is named Razor.
Think about that for a moment.
The Sens goalie is the anti-beard.
Alfredsson, an early favorite for the Conn Smythe, shows up in the finals clean shaven and it’s like some type of madness hits him. He ends up shooting the puck right at who? That’s right, the Duck with the biggest beard.
As the Sens and their fans spend the summer trying to figure out what went wrong and how they can bounce back next year, it’s pretty clear to me that they don’t need to re-build, they don’t need to change this line-up to threaten for the cup.
This team needs to embrace the beard.
The Sens need to throw away their lady philishaves, get rid of those pink venus razors, home waxing kits and their disposable Gillette Daisy Plus - whatever they’re training staff put out in the clubhouse - and they need to get on the beard bandwagon.
Next year, a few months after the Leafs have failed to qualify for the playoffs (about the same time that MLSE offers JFJ a lifetime contract) each and every Senator should look like they could house a family of rare birds in their facial hair - then, and only then, will they sip from the Cup.