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The Presidents’ Trophy Curse does not exist.

Stashed in: Sharks!

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Jonathan Willis points out:

The Presidents’ Trophy winner is obviously the most successful team, being:

  • eliminated in the first round the fewest number of times
  • eliminated in the second round the fewest number of times
  • the Stanley Cup champion more frequently than any other seed
  • in the Finals three times as often as the second seed

In fact, looking at the data, if we were to concoct a curse the one we ought to look at is the Regular Season Runner-Up Curse – the second seed has been eliminated in the first round six times, more than any of the other top-five slots, and has only played in the Stanley Cup Finals twice in the last 16 seasons.

Given that the Presidents’ Trophy slot is obviously the most favourable position, why do we create factually vacuous phantoms like the ‘Presidents’ Trophy Curse?’  Mostly, it’s because of the way memory works: we expect the best regular season team to advance, and when they fall in the first or second round we remember it as a major upset in a way that don’t when it was the second or third seed – because after all, they weren’t the best team during the season.  Then, when we look back at Presidents’ Trophy winners, we focus in on the losses – because winning is expected, only the losses stand out.

Good thing for the Chicago Blackhawks, who just won the 2013 Presidents Trophy:

Btw I love this pair of Shark goals 30 seconds apart:

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