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Lord Stanley's mug. . . and Saskatchewan Add to ...

Other duties rear their head today, folks, and given there are no scrimmages at camp today (the Habs are down to 50 players, who will be split into two squads for the five-exhibition-games-in-five-nights extravaganza that closes the week) we won't trekking out to Brossard.

There will be a few hastily written, ill-considered camp-related observations later in the day, but in the meantime I've come up with something to tide y'all over.

So here's my junk-science theory du jour: not all teams with a guy from Saskatchewan win the Cup, but all Cup winners have at least one guy who grew up, played, or became a man in Saskatchewan.

I got to thinking about this after speaking to Travis Moen, who has a Cup ring with Anaheim and was born in Swift Current in southwestern Saskatchewan.

He's the first Hab to hail from the Land of Living Skies since the unlamented Garth Murray, who played in one game in 2007-08 and 43 the previous year.

Réjean Tremblay, the La Presse columnist whose stature is best described as monumental in these parts, has written that no Habs team with fewer than nine French-speaking players has won the Stanley Cup.

Maybe so, and we'll have to trust him on that one, but the last two championship squads have also had at least one Flatlander (full disclosure: I lived in Regina for two years, and given that I set foot on a curling rink and put Clamato in my Pilsner, I feel I can speak with authority about the province and its hockey culture.)

So I took a quick gander at the record books - whaddya expect? Actual research? - and here's what I found going back 10 years:

With the reigning Cup champs, you've got Chris Kunitz, the pride of Regina.

On the 2007-08 Red wings, my theory kind of falls down, but coach Mike Babcock was raised in Saskatoon, and Brad Stuart has the word 'Saskatchewan' in his birthplace (he's from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., near Edmonton). Good enough, says I.

2006-07 Ducks: Ryan Getzlaf, Regina; Moen, Stewart Valley; Kunitz, Regina

2005-06 Hurricanes: Cam Ward, born and partly raised in Saskatoon, Mike Commodore, who squeaks in under the Stuart rule, he's from Fort Saskatchewan as well.

2003-04 Lightning: Cory Sarich, Saskatoon

2002-03 Devils: Jeff Friesen, Meadow Lake, Corey Schwab, North Battleford, Jim McKenzie, Gull Lake.

2001-02 Red Wings: Jesse Wallin, Saskatoon, Brent Gilchrist, Moose Jaw

2000-01 Avalanche: Joe Sakic is from B.C., but played for the Swift Current Broncos

1999-00 Devils: Lyle Odelein, Quill Lake, Denis Pederson, Prince Albert

1998-99 Stars: Mike Modano was born in Michigan, but played in Prince Albert

QED, as the math geeks say. Now the question is: will the deficit in Francos be overcome by the addition of some country-music listenin, cattle ranchin Saskatchewan content? (Carey Price said of Moen that at least now there will be another person in the room who knows who George Strait is). It says here that the answer is almost certainly no, but it seems churlish to crush all hope so early in the year....

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