Butch Goring had heard all the stories, about how hard it would be to repeat as a Stanley Cup champion with the New York Islanders, after winning for the first time in personal and team history in 1980. The hardest trophy to win in sports would be twice as hard the second time around, Goring was told. Somehow, the hunger to do it again would recede some, others warned. The Stanley Cup hangover was real, not to be trifled with, not to be mocked. Trying to do it all again would be a sobering experience, he was told.
“And the second Cup, honestly, was really easy,” Goring said. “We were just as tired emotionally and physically, but, really, we breezed.”
So, just like they all said, Goring found that second time around to be…wait, what? A breeze? Easy? So, the Colorado Avalanche can expect an easier time of it winning another Stanley Cup next spring/summer?
Um, probably not. For one thing, there are a lot more teams in the NHL than in Goring’s day with the Islanders (32 today, 21 then). The first round of the NHL playoffs then was a best-of-five series, with the No. 1-seeded team playing the No. 16-seeded team. In previous years, the first round was a best-of-three series, and some teams had first-round byes.