Tampa Bay Lightning Try to win the Stanley Cups. How difficult is it?

Winning the championship is the highest achievement of a professional sports team. Repetition next year is a rarity. But deals are made and players retire. Injuries occur and disorders also occur. The post-season game is exhausting and it is constantly expanding. Winning a title for the third time in a row is one of the hardest achievements in team sports and seems to be getting tougher.

Tampa Bay Lightning climbed the ice on Wednesday night to win the third Stanley Cup. It has been 20 years since any of the teams won three consecutive championships in major North American professional sports.

When a team, like Lightning, manages to win two championships in a row, how difficult is it historically to win a third?

Is repeated: 17 Since 1927, including Lightning.

Threepeats: Five, with two titles stretching to four in a row and one, Montreal Canadian in 1956-60, to five in a row. The two-time league champions have a 31 percent chance of success next season.

It turns out that 31 percent is pretty close to the baseline for most leagues, with one exception.

ᲣNew: 1981-82 Islanders, a streak that reached four the following season. “At the beginning of the year, people thought the Islanders would win it,” said Roger Nilsson, coach of the Vancouver Cannuks, a Cup finalist who lost in 1982. In the playoffs, people thought they would win. “A real team needs to overcome such pressure.”

“When you grow up in Canada, you always dream of having your name on the Stanley Cup,” said Lightning coach John Cooper. And to come there for the first time, that dream came true. Going there for the second time next year was like a dream, as if we could not go back. It is unbelievable to go for the third time. “

The Islanders have been one of the best teams in the NHL since the mid-1970s, but the Stanley Cup has consistently avoided them. The most frustrating years of the decade came in 1978 and 1979, when they finished with the most points during their regular season conference but failed to reach the final.

So in 1980, when the Islanders won the Stanley Cup in six games over the Philadelphia Flyers, the gorilla-sized burden was lifted from the players’ backs.

“There was a lot of pressure on the boys and it was a huge charm,” said Butch Goering, of the Island Residents Center in 1980-85. . ”

After the first title, Goring said, the win was “relatively easy” for the Islanders, and statistics confirm that. The Islanders set a post-season record that still stands in North American professional sports, winning 19 consecutive playoffs from 1980 to 1984.

“In the second cup we never broke a sweat,” Goring said. “Yes, we had to play, we just did not throw sticks on the ice, but we were able to play at our level because we understood. We knew exactly what we had to do and the pressure was somewhat reduced, so we knew what we had to do.

As for the third championship, Goring said it was the same feeling: “For the first three years we felt that if we played our best, we could not lose.”

Is repeated: 13 since 1947.

Threepeats: Five, the 1966 Celtics performed eight unidentified eight in a row. The success rate is 38 percent. The term “threepeat” was copyrighted in 1988 by Pat Riley, who is currently the president of the Miami Heat team. Riley, the then-coach of the Lakers, won two titles in a row, but eventually his team failed to earn the honorarium with the third title in 1989.

ᲣNew: The 2002 Lakers, who also stand as the last team to win three places in the North American Premier League.

“First of all, this is news and it feels good,” Kobe Bryant said after moving to No. 3 Nets in New Jersey. “The first will always be the best. Second, the adversity we went through throughout the year made it special. We have proved that we belong. It somehow makes us stronger as one of the great teams. ”

Steve Kerr, who was on the Chicago Bulls team that won three titles in a row in 1996, 1997 and 1998 and was close to coaching the Golden State Warriors in 2019, said that achieving this success is extremely difficult.

“I’m just thinking about the accumulation of emotions and the physical wear and tear that you’re going through over time. I think you go from the first year where it’s something new and fresh, and for the third year, you hunt down all the other teams and everyone forms their own team to try to defeat you. You had short non-seasons for several years in a row. It just hurts, of course. So I think three wins in a row is a pretty incredible achievement in any sport. ”

Is repeated: 14 since 1903.

Threepeats: Four, including four and five in a row, of course, the Yankees. The success rate is 29 percent.

ᲣNew: 2000 yanks. “We know the glory,” said the late Mariano Rivera. “That’s why we are so good.”

Not everyone bought this explanation. “If all clubs were allowed to spend $ 100 million on salaries, you would not have the same team to win every year,” said Jim Bowden, then general manager of Cincinnati Reds. “But let’s not take away what the Yankees have achieved. “They deserve credit where credit is needed.”

Bowden would have been surprised to learn that despite these costs, the Yankees could not win until 2009 and have not won since.

Repeats: 17 since 1920.

Threepeats: Only three – a long time ago – and none four or more. Success rate: The most stingy in sports at 18 percent. And one of those three is pointless: the Canton Bulldogs won titles in 1922 and 1923, then merged and moved to Cleveland and won again, though many do not consider it the same franchise. Do not count this and you will come down to 12 percent.

ᲣNew: 1967 Green Bay Packers, forcing the current NFL game to wait the longest for three pitchers. (The other undisputed trio was the 1931 Packers.)

Only the last two of the Packers’ three titles in the 1960s were in the new Super Cup, so no team has won this big game three times in a row. The Miami Dolphins have appeared in three Super Bowls in a row, while the Bills have lost four in a row in the 1990s.

The starting Dolphins lost the Super Bowl VI to the Dallas Cowboys, 24-3. The devastating defeat motivated the Dolphins the following year when they finished the sport’s only perfect season, going 17-0 and defeating Washington in Super Bowl VII. With almost the same roster, the Dolphins repeated themselves as champions in the 1973 season.

“You get injured players, you can get a trade-off or two, but in those good years, we didn’t have much to change,” said Dick Anderson, one of the leaders in the team’s strong safety and defense.

The Dolphins were still a strong team in the 1974 season. There was no free agency at the time, so the team’s key players still had contracts. But the coaches were free to go, and Bill Arnsparger, the Dolphins ‘defense coordinator, became the Giants’ head coach. Arnsparger was the architect of the Dolphins’ top-rated No Name Defense, and Anderson said that as talented players, it was harder without their soft but heady leader.

“I do not remember ever being questioned by the defense he called,” Anderson said. “He was a great coach and people do not understand when you look at other coaches, they also got other jobs,” including attack coordinators Howard Schnelenberger and Monte Clark.

He has a much shorter history, but neither team has won three in MLS since its inception in 1996, although there have been three repetitions. The Houston Comets have won their first four WNBA titles, but there was only one other team – the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002 – to repeat it again after the league started in 1997. Adding two young leagues we get 20. Percentage of success rate.

No matter the sport, it’s hard to win a third title in a row.

Ken Belson, Scott CachiolaChris Rim and Shauna Richter Contributed to the report.

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