As Lightning attempts to become the first team in 40 years to win the Stanley Cup three times in a row, Dennis Botvin will be keeping a close eye on his performances. It’s hard to capture the scale of the moment better than the former defender of the mighty islanders of the 1980s, who remains the last to hit the feat.
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New York just celebrated two back-to-back wins when, in the spring of 1982, 40 years ago, they knocked out the Pittsburgh Road, New York Rangers, Nordics and Vancouver Canucks in quick succession to lift the Grand Cup for the third year in a row.
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It has not exercised such dominance since then. The islanders even handed themselves a fourth consecutive crown, as well as seeing their fifth chance slip away at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers in 1984.
After all these years, Botvin is watching Tampa Bay and bringing back his memories.
“When you already have two trophies in a row under your belt and find yourself in the playoffs again, there is an unshakable feeling of confidence after so much success. When you win the same, there comes a time when you don’t even imagine for a moment that you might end up losing.” register The man was 68 years old when he joined Florida.
The islanders at that time, despite the exact lineup of star players, were not outrageously dominant in the regular season. Before their four tournaments in a row, they had not yet accumulated 100 points.
Regardless, the team was at its best in the playoffs during those glory years, recalls the Hull (now Gatineau) compatriot.
“To go through such long springs, I have always said that it takes courage, but above all discipline. When I speak of discipline, it means to me that each individual must be aware of his role and his limits.
“It was pointless for me to tell myself that I should launch an attack. We had [Mike] bossy and [Bryan] “Trotter for this, but since everyone played their part, there was probably no team stronger than us in defence,” Botvin said.
Whoever says three finals in a row also says a lot of hockey in the legs, which inevitably gets heavy. This is why Botvin insists that it is important for everyone to position their team around the best players on the team.
“Our general manager Bill Toure has often said you have to build a team for the season and a team for the playoffs. It’s different hockey, different setups, and a lot of different players have to make an impact.”
Dynasty or modernity?
In the showdown that begins tonight, some are pushing for Lightning to assert their dynasty, while others expect the Colorado Avalanche in turn to lay the foundations of a new empire.
Having experienced the transfer of powers between two dynasties, Botvin knows it is difficult to choose between the confidence of champions and the appetite of aspirants.
“Avalanche wants to prove that they are the best team. Tampa has yet to receive such strong opposition. I still remember that in the final, in 1984, we had just won 19 straight series and had the same confidence. The Otters were only ready for a change of guard.”
“Anyway, it wouldn’t be a problem for me if Tampa won for the third year in a row, as we did back then. I appreciate the good hockey that this team gives us,” Botvin said.
Champions season after season
Over time, very few organizations can claim to win the Stanley Cup at least three consecutive seasons. Here, in the history of the National Hockey League, are the only clubs to achieve this great coup.
- New York Islands (4X Champions from 1980 to 1983)
- Canadian Montreal (4X Champions from 1976 to 1979)
- toronto maple leaf (3X Champions from 1962 to 1964)
- Canadian Montreal (5X Champions from 1956 to 1960)
- toronto maple leaf (3X Champions from 1947 to 1949)
* The Edmonton Oilers were the last finalists for three consecutive years, from 1983 to 1985, but lost on their first attempt.
Feats that make you forget the wear
A third Stanley Cup Final in three years is sure to make its mark, but winning is undoubtedly the best recipe against suffering.
“All the pain goes away in the summer when you respond to congratulatory messages, rather than questions about why you didn’t win,” Kevin Lowe wisely noted one of the Oilers’ past laurels.
The Defender of Lachute, in the Laurentians, was at the heart of the Edmonton dynasty, which succeeded The New York Islanders in the 1980s.
The Oilers may not have won three consecutive Cups, but they remain the last organization to feature in three consecutive Finals. After losing the final against the Islanders in 1983, they recovered well by winning the championship in 1984 and 1985.
“In this kind of situation, you have to hold on to every ounce of motivation. When the media or another team member wonders how great you are, you insist on proving the opposite. It’s very special what lightning goes through,” Lowe said.
The Oilers also had a chance of a hat-trick in 1986, but the Calgary Flames overtook them in the semifinals.
“I remember some people were talking about the trilogy back in 1986, when we were finally wiped out by the flames, but it wasn’t a big story because the islanders had just hit that feat. Today for Lightning, with all the years that have gone by, it must have been huge. .
“It was easy to believe that in the current era of hockey, it would be virtually impossible to win multiple cups in a row due to the salary cap and Tampa proves otherwise,” salutes the person who was inducted into Hall of Fame in 2020.
Berry and Maroon
No fewer than 13 Lightning players also participated with the team in the 2020 and 2021 Finals.
This does not include Corey Perry, also in the final series for the third in a row, who was previously with the Canadians and the Dallas Stars.
And we must not forget Patrick Marron, who will live his fourth consecutive final, having lifted the trophy with the St. Louis Blues (2019) and Tampa Bay.
beat the pain
In this context, fatigue and accumulated injuries must be taken into account.
However, Lowe says, “When you go through such a situation, the physical and mental exhaustion is masked by the experience you’re going through.”
“The wear on the body gets tough, but by devoting yourself completely for a short time during qualifying, you have the opportunity to rewrite history.
“It’s so rewarding. You hurt all over, but as a player, we all dream about these moments. First there are 16 teams, then eight, then four. You start realizing in the semi-finals that everyone is watching you while the others are on vacation. Not bad. cool The former defender concludes without commenting on the outcome of the final match.
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