May 6, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez (27) and St. Louis Blues left wing Vladimir Sobotka (17) battle for the puck during game four of the 2012 Western Conference semifinals at the Staples Center. The Kings defeated the Blues 3-1 to win the series 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
It wasn't bad luck that held the Blues back from winning the Stanley Cup in their past, it was front office decision making.
I'm not a massive believer of luck in sports -- at least not in the long term. Game six of the World Series? Maybe. The Cardinals making it into the playoffs to begin with while the Braves imploded? Sure. But long term? Over years and years? No -- the Cardinals are the top franchise in World Series wins in the National League because of competency, drafting good players, being an attractive place for players to play, and by being well-run by competent front offices. That's the recipe for any team that wins and does so a lot.
The Blues, according to Bleacher Report writer Geoffrey Ratliff (in another chance for a slideshow -- who would have expected this?) are the 19th unluckiest franchise in sports, listed with teams like the Atlanta Braves (?), Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, and anyone who's ever been on the cover of a Madden NFL game. Ratliff mentions that the Blues are probably the best franchise to not win the Stanley Cup, and that's arguably true. He points out the 25 year playoff run, and then mentions the "inability for the Blues to capitalize on elite talent at the right time in their careers."
As someone who didn't enjoy watching Brett Hull and Brendan Shanahan win the Stanley Cup with Detroit, ouch. This statement is true. It's not luck, though -- it's basic mismanagement. Adam Oates leaving? Front office wouldn't pay him what he was worth. Brendan Shanahan leaving? Mike Keenan (in a trade that brought the Blues Chris Pronger -- who was later traded by the Lauries for Eric Brewer and some spare parts). Curtis Joseph leaving? Mike Keenan again. Brett Hull walking and the Blues not getting a damn thing back? Keenan. Wayne Gretzky not being able to retire where he wanted to? Gee... who could have helped that situation happen? Could it be... KEENAN?
This isn't luck. This is failure on the front office's part to do what needed to be done to build a contender. Thank God the current General Manager of the Year Doug Armstrong seems to not be hell-bent in terrorizing people and breaking down the team. They might stand a fighting chance. The only part of the Blues' problems that might count as bad luck would be Al MacInnis taking a puck to the face, thereby ending his career too early. Aside from that? There's no luck in running a sports team, only intelligence.
Most of the teams in this "unluckiest franchises" list are unlucky in who they've had hired as a general manager over the years, or who that GM has hired as a coach. That, of course, falls on the ownership's decisions. The only team in the list that might qualify as unlucky are the Chicago Cubs. Having a few curses on you can do that to a team.