As the days get shorter and the chill starts to be felt in the air, it is time for the NHL season to begin. As with the previous two charts, there is one team that has gone significantly longer without a title than any others. Here is a chart showing their title odds since winning their last title in 1961:
Due to expansion, adding teams from the World Hockey Association which folded in 1979, continuing conference and division changes and even a couple of teams folding, the odds changed 7 times in 16 seasons. Since 8 teams from each conference made the playoffs each year, working out odds from uneven number of teams in divisions was unnecessary.
Unlike the Lions who went 0-16 last year and the Cubs who for most people were a disappointment in 2009 in spite of my correct prediction in March of an 85 win non playoff season, the Blackhawks are many experts' popular pick to win the conference and cup title for 2009-2010. Four players from that team were on the cover of the ESPN magazine hockey preview issue. They have come a long way from being a city joke less than 2 years ago. My only concern about the team for this upcoming season is their goal tender who can struggle against good teams as long as they remember the same thing most NHL fans know. Shoot high against him.