clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Tuesdays With Hildy: Do Teams Need A Superstar?

New, comments

With the conclusion of the Ilya Kovalchuk drama finally upon us (praise be to God), the fanbases of the teams who missed out on him are having one of two reactions - laughter at the absurd rumored terms of the contract, or wailing and gnashing of teeth at the lack of a superstar forward for their club. "No!" their fans cry. "Now we'll never win that Cup!" One the other side of the coin, some Devils fans are already planning the parade route. Obviously, both sides are an overreaction to just one player, and we all know that one guy doesn't make a team. Usually, one guy just hogs the attention away from everyone else on the team, even those who deserve the applause in their own right. There's relief from some Kings fans that the farm wasn't sold for a player at the expense of a breakthrough youth movement. Patience, they believe is a virtue, and the Kings are on the verge of breaking through. Taking a cue from the more level-headed Kings fans, I ask you - does a team HAVE to have a superstar to win?

Here's a list of the last 10 teams to win the Stanley Cup:

Here's a list of the top 25 paid players in the NHL. How many correlations do you see? How many have been on teams that have won the Cup? On that list there are nine players (unless I'm dumb and missed one, which is a possibility) who have won the Cup, several doing so the same year (Crosby & Malkin; Hossa, Keith, and Campbell). Five of the nine players are on two teams, and one player (Zetterberg) was on two Cup winning teams. Wikipedia has a cool addition to their chart of Cup winners - they list who scored the game tying goal. Let's see... superstars... we have two former Blues (of course), Hull and Shanny. Zetterberg... and this past season Kane. Who scored the big goal for the Penguins? Talbot. Who landed that huge one for the Ducks? Travis Moen. That's not to say that the big boys didn't contribute, because they did, but if you look at the full list there aren't a ton of big names that jump out - this proves that hockey is a team sport, not won by one player alone.

You can take a superstar and surround him with middling talent (Kovalchuk in Atlanta, Nash in Columbus, Iginla in Calgary) and you are not going to win. You're not. You can take a fairly good team lacking in big names, coach them well, and have great team chemistry, and you have a good shot at the big prize. Every one of those Cup winning teams that I listed might've had a superstar, but that's not why they won. Look at the list of coaches.

There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth in LaLa land tonight, but Kings fans should know not to overvalue a great player. Gretzky only took the Kings to the SCF once. Yes, he won in Edmonton four times, but those whole teams were amazing.

But this is just my opinion - do you guys think a superstar is necessary for a team? Or, do you think it's necessary from an off-the-ice standpoint? You gotta market someone.