Author's Note (April 7, 2012):
2012 update is here, enjoy!
Ready for the NHL playoffs? Me too!
Did your team miss the playoffs? Me too!
Curious about how many of this years NHL playoff teams contain Canadians? Me too!
Here's the split for the 2012 playoffs of how many Canadians are on each of the teams who qualified to play deep into April:
18/29 - Boston (10 Ontario, 1 Toronto, 1 Brampton)
17/26 - Phoenix (5 Ontario)
16/26 - Florida (9 Ontario, 2 Toronto, 1 Hamilton, 1 Mississauga)
16/26 - St. Louis (9 Ontario, 3 Toronto)
16/26 - San Jose (7 Ontario, 1 Toronto, 1 Guelph)
16/28 - Vancouver (5 Ontario, 2 Mississauga, 1 Toronto)
15/25 - Los Angeles (8 Ontario)
15/27 - Chicago (8 Ontario, 1 Toronto, 1 Hamilton)
15/28 - Washington (4 Ontario, 1 Toronto)
14/26 - Pittsburgh (6 Ontario)
13/28 - Philadelphia (5 Ontario, 1 Mississauga)
12/26 - Ottawa (5 Ontario, 1 Toronto)
12/28 - Nashville (7 Ontario, 2 Hamilton, 1 Toronto)
10/25 - NY Rangers (6 Ontario, 1 Oakville)
09/25 - Detroit (3 Ontario)
07/25 - New Jersey (2 Ontario, 1 Toronto)
There you have it; can debate the top of the list as Phoenix has 65.4% Canadians on their active roster compared to Boston's 62.1%, but if you go on headcount obviously the Bruins win.
Of the two Canadian teams who are in the playoffs this season, it's obvious that the Canucks are the team to root for (especially since one of those teams are Ottawa).
And finally, if you needed any additional reasons to dislike the Wings or Devils, their Canadian count is extremely low.
The Stanley Cup has not been won by a team that plays in Canada since the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings in 1993. Alot has changed since then though: Maple Leaf Gardens and the Forum are no longer being used for hockey and I have aged 18 years. Now, the Vancouver Canucks appear to be on the brink of winning the Stanley Cup and bringing hockey's richest prize back to Canada (a task the Senators, Oilers, and even their own franchise has failed to achieve in this stretch). However, one problem for me arises... I'm not a Vancouver Canucks fan and I have been called anti-Canadian by choosing not to cheer for them. I cheered my heart out and nearly cried when Zach Parise scored for the States against Canada in the Gold Medal game, but I don't have any emotional attachment to the Canucks (especially when I no longer have the Sedin's in fantasy).
This debate has come up quite a bit recently, especially when I hopped on the up-and-coming Blackhawks bandwagon a few seasons ago before they just so happened to beat the Canucks (twice; once while en route to a Cup victory). I was raised a Leafs fan and I really enjoy watching the Blackhawks, so those are my teams that I care about. The others... I just like to be entertained, but please, don't force me to cheer for the Canucks just because they're "Canadian" (the Sens and Habs are ALSO "Canadian").
Curious as to how many Canadians play for each NHL team? So was I, and now I will tell you (thanks to NHL.com for the rosters, detailed list at the bottom of this entry):
Curious how many NHL players were born in Ontario?
So, when it comes to the NHL playoffs this season, of the two Canadian teams (Vancouver and Montreal) I would argue that the team to cheer for would be the Canucks, if you need to cheer for a team that plays its home games in Canada (especially since I grew up as a Leaf fan and we don't cheer for the stinky Habs).
Out of all of the NHL teams that represent Canadian cities, Edmonton has the most players at 18 (67% of their roster) with Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto close behind. From the perspective of how many Ontario-born players are in the league, Edmonton takes the cake at 7, with honourable mention going to the Canucks and Sens for having 6 apiece. An ironic note is that the Toronto Maple Leafs (Capital of Ontario) have the fewest Ontario-born players (Nazem Kadri, who barely made the team this past season). As far as Mississauga-born players in the NHL, the Calgary Flames and New York Islanders have 2 each. Neither the Atlanta Thrashers or Phoenix Coyotes have a player that was born in Manitoba.
Fun Fact: The 1976 Summer Olympics were held in Montreal and in 1977 the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. The 1988 Winter Olympics were held in Calgary and in 1989 the Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup. The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver and in 2011...
While roster sizes differ across the league, if one breaks down the percentages and looks at the remaining teams in the playoffs they will find that as far as Canadian content is concerned the following is true:
65% of the Boston Bruins were born in Canada
63% of the Tampa Bay Lightning were born in Canada
62% of the San Jose Sharks were born in Canada
53% of the Vancouver Canucks were born in Canada
So while I still don't cheer for Vancouver (various reasons), their Canadian headcount came in surprisingly high (Manny Malhotra is from Mississauga too) and... I guess it's okay to cheer for them because of that. However, rooting for the Bruins would sure upset some Habs fans too.
Here's the whole list of Canadian players per NHL team:
20 players on the Washington Capitals were born in Canada.
20 players on the Philadelphia Flyers were born in Canada.
18 players on the Edmonton Oilers were born in Canada.
18 players on the San Jose Sharks were born in Canada.
17 players on the Colorado Avalanche were born in Canada.
17 players on the Boston Bruins were born in Canada.
17 players on the Tampa Bay Lightning were born in Canada.
17 players on the Pittsburgh Penguins were born in Canada.
17 players on the Vancouver Canucks were born in Canada.
16 players on the New York Islanders were born in Canada.
15 players on the Minnesota Wild were born in Canada.
15 players on the Columbus Bluejackets were born in Canada.
15 players on the Chicago Blackhawks were born in Canada.
15 players on the Calgary Flames were born in Canada.
15 players on the Toronto Maple Leafs were born in Canada.
14 players on the Dallas Stars were born in Canada.
14 players on the Phoenix Coyotes were born in Canada.
13 players on the Nashville Predators were born in Canada.
13 players on the Montreal Canadiens were born in Canada.
11 players on the Los Angeles Kings were born in Canada.
11 players on the Buffalo Sabres were born in Canada.
11 players on the Anaheim Ducks were born in Canada.
10 players on the Carolina Hurricanes were born in Canada.
10 players on the St. Louis Blues were born in Canada.
10 players on the Ottawa Senators were born in Canada.
10 players on the Florida Panthers were born in Canada.
9 players on the New York Rangers were born in Canada.
9 players on the Atlanta Thrashers were born in Canada.
9 players on the New Jersey Devils were born in Canada.
8 players on the Detroit Red Wings were born in Canada.