Maple Leafs, Browns, Cubs, Canucks On List Of Sport’s Longest Active Title Droughts 

PHOTO: The Sharks and Bulldogs celebrate during their preliminary final victories. (AAP/Getty)

By Jon Healy

September 26, 2016

This year’s AFL and NRL grand finals could play host to two drought-breaking victories.

The Western Bulldogs and Cronulla Sharkswill contest the last match of the year in their respective codes on the weekend with the chance to end decades of heartache for their fans.

The Bulldogs, or Footscray Football Club, have not only gone decades without winning a flag, but have only reached one other season decider since taking out the title in 1954.

In that 1961 fixture, Footscray jumped out to an early lead, but kicked just 2.4 (16) in the second half while Hawthorn booted 67 points to hammer them by 43.

They had one shot, one opportunity, one moment, to seize everything they ever wanted … and they let it slip.

Cronulla, meanwhile, has been in the top flight rugby league competition since 1967 and never won it all, missing out in the 1973, 1978 (via a replay) and 1997 (Super League) grand finals.

So, can one or both of these teams shake the monkey off their backs and get off this list of some of sport’s most title-hungry teams?

Chicago Cubs — No World Series win since 1908

Cubs fans look on during the 2008 MLB playoffs

Long-suffering fans … The Cubs faithful look on during another loss during the 2008 playoffs.(Getty Images: Jamie Squire)

Baseball might do superstition better than any other sport, and the Curse of the Billy Goat is one of its best.

The last time the Cubs reached the World Series, in 1945, Billy Sianis tried to get into game four to watch his team go around against Detroit at Wrigley Field.

Unfortunately, Sianis had with him a goat — he was the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern — and security refused to let the animal in because you cannot bring random animals to sporting events, especially those that have a reputation for eating everything in sight.

The story goes, Sianis appealed Cubs owner PK Wrigley, who also denied the goat entry, prompting Sianis to exclaim: “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more.” And win they have not.

But, with the Cubs currently boasting the most wins in the MLB, and the Sharks and Bulldogs heading to deciders, 2016 could be the year for a hard rain to fall on some sporting droughts.

Toronto Maple Leafs — No Stanley Cup win since 1967

Toronto Maple Leafs dejected against Buffalo

PHOTO: Toronto has not returned to the finals since its last title. (Getty Images: Bruce Bennett)

Think about Toronto as the NHL’s South Sydney Rabbitohs.

This hockey-mad city saw its Maple Leafs lift the Stanley Cup 13 times, but not once since 1967.

Once again, they have not even stumbled into the finals once in the interim.

Although, maybe that is for the best considering when the Vancouver Canucks, who have never won the title, lost their third finals in 2011 the city was almost burned to the ground.

Cleveland Browns — No title since 1964

Robert Griffin III's injury troubles sum up the luck of the Browns in the NFL

PHOTO: Robert Griffin III’s injury troubles sum up the luck of the Browns in the NFL (Getty Images: Jason Miller)

Mercifully, LeBron James and the Cavaliers quenched the city of Cleveland’s thirst for a trophy by winning the 2016 NBA title, but football (and any other sporting) success still alludes ‘The Land’.

The Browns won an NFL title in 1964 but have not won or even reached the last game of the season in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).

With a miserable name like the Browns, voted by fans as an homage to former heavyweight boxing champion and Cleveland native Joe ‘The Brown Bomber’ Louis, making fun of this sorry lot is almost too easy.

Unfortunately, while some other teams on this list seem to have some upside and hope in the not too distant future, the Browns appear destined to be terrible for a while yet, having recently signed injury-prone quarter-back Robert Griffin III, who instantly got injured.

Liverpool — No League title since 1990

Gerrard skulks off after woeful Liverpool farewell

PHOTO: The Reds have won other trophies in the interim, but are still looking for another Premier League title.(Getty Images: Dave Thompson)

Some context is required to justify Liverpool’s spot on this list.

The streak is nowhere near as long as the others, but the Premier League is so top heavy that there really is no excuse for one of England’s most storied clubs to miss out for as long as the Reds have.

Of the 26 titles available since Liverpool’s last league win, which was its 11th in 18 seasons, 21 have gone to the other members of the ‘Big Four’ – Manchester United (13), Chelsea (4) and Arsenal (4).

Sure, Liverpool has been usurped by Manchester City in the awesome foursome but that only happened relatively recently and as the drought extends it is becoming increasingly difficult for Reds fans to keep saying their team is a major player in the league.

Source: Cronulla, Western Bulldogs looking to get off list of sport’s longest active title droughts – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Maple Leafs Dump Canucks 4-2

CANUCKS BANTER     By Andrew Chernoff    November 15, 2015Canucks

Out Played, Out Coached, Out Scored

 Goaltender James Reimer made 43 saves to win his third straight game, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs (5-8-4) to a 4-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks (7-6-5) at Air Canada Centre.

The game was the Canucks third straight loss at the Air Canada Centre, and the first Saturday game victory for the Maple Leafs this season. They were (0-3-2) entering the game.

The game was the sixth consecutive game the Canucks have trailed in at least some point during the game.

James van Riemsdyk, PA Parenteau, Shawn Matthias and Joffrey Lupul scored for Toronto (5-8-4), which has won three in a row.

Jannik Hansen and Alexandre Burrows scored for the Canucks (7-6-5), who are 1-3-1 with two games remaining on a seven-game road trip. Miller made 36 saves

Captain Henrik Sedin was not happy with the Canucks’ overall performance.

“We made way too many mistakes,” Sedin said. “We were sloppy. We didn’t get anything going. We’re still making way too many mistakes, and we’ve got to stop talking about that we’re a young team. We have to simplify things. Five-on-five we have to get away from those turnovers and easy goals for the opponent.”

Willie Desjardins and the Canucks underestimated the Toronto Maple Leafs. They came into the game with their struggles on special teams unsolved, and unprepared to adjust to a “Babcock” coached hockey team, that clearly out played the Canucks 5-on-5, and on special teams.

The Canucks have no sense of urgency it seems, as they continue to have important points slip away.

While other teams in the Pacific Division continue to climb up the standings, the Canucks are continuing their descent further down in the division without any resistance, as they continually show their inability to solve issues that continue to befell them game in and game out.

Vancouver Canucks are allowing 2.56 goals per game and are killing 79.2 percent of their power play chances (42 of 53) overall. On the road, it is 76.7 percent (23 of 30).

The Canucks finished tonight’s game having surrendered a power play goal in six straight games. They have not given up power play goals in six consecutive games since the start of the 2009.10 season when they allowed PPGs in their first six games from October 1 to 16.

Coincidentally, the 2009.10 season was the last time the Canucks’ penalty kill did not finish in the top-10 of the NHL. For the past five seasons, Vancouver’s penalty kill has been ranked among the ten best in the league including last season when it finished second overall at 85.7 percent behind only Minnesota (86.percent).      Canucks.com

The Vancouver Canucks are averaging 2.83 goals per game and are scoring on 15.8 percent of their power plays. Vancouver has outscored the opposition in those 5 games, 11-8 at even strength, but have been outscored 9-2 on special teams.

To the point, the power play and penalty kill have looked in need of a defibrillator.

CANUCKS JOTTINGS

  • Vancouver has lost 6 of their last 9 games.
  • Canucks penalty killing in their last 3-games is 6-11, allowing 5-power play goals.
  • Canucks power play is 2-4 in their last two games, after ending their 0-18 slump in Ottawa.
  • Jannik Hansen leads the Canucks in +/- with a +10 while Radim Vrbata is the team worst with a -9.
  • Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Jannik Hansen and rookie Jared McCann lead Vancouver with 5 goals each.
  • Rookies Jared McCann and Ben Hutton each have 29 shots on goal.
  • Daniel Sedin leads Vancouver with 11 assists, followed by Henrik Sedin and Ben Hutton with 8 assists each.
  • Ryan Miller has allowed 40 goals on 452 shots faced and Jacob Markstrom has given up 3 goals on 45 shots.
  • Miller has given up 14 goals in his last 4 games.
  • The Canucks are 1-6 in their last 7 games playing on 1 days rest and 1-5 in their last 6 overall.
  • The Canucks leave Toronto 5-3 in the last 8 meetings and 12-3 in the last 15 meetings overall.
  • Canucks are 6-5-1 in Toronto in this 21rst century going into the game tonight, and 27-32-11 overall in Toronto.
  • Vancouver is 2-for-22 with the man advantage over its last 7 games and has allowed 8 power-play goals in the past 6 games
  • Ten of Vancouver’s 11-losses have come by one goal – five in overtime and one in a shootout; tonight’s game was the first loss this season by 2-goals.

 CANUCKS UPDATED STATS

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Statistics courtesy of the NHL, and the Vancouver Canucks, with thanks.

Vancouver Takes On Toronto Tonight

CANUCKS BANTER     By Andrew Chernoff    November 14, 2015

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Season series:

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks each won on home ice last season. Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 44 saves in a 5-2 win at Air Canada Centre on Dec. 6. Canucks forward Derek Dorsett had the game-winning goal and two assists in a 4-1 win at Rogers Arena on March 14.

Canucks team scope:

  • Center Brandon Sutter, who missed Vancouver’s 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday with an undisclosed injury, wasn’t at practice Friday and remains day-to-day according to coach Willie Desjardins.
  • Injured forward Brandon Prust (ankle) and defenseman Luca Sbisa (lower body) are expected to join the Canucks before this seven-game road trip concludes.
  • Vancouver is 1-2-1 so far, and after Saturday has stops remaining at Montreal on Monday and Winnipeg on Wednesday.
  • Defenseman Alex Biega was assigned to Utica of the American Hockey League.
  • Forward Sven Baertschi and defenseman Alexander Edler each have two goals in their past three games.

Maple Leafs team scope:

  • If goalie James Reimer gets the nod, it will be his seventh straight start.
  • Toronto starts a back-to-back, traveling to face the New York Rangers on Sunday, so it’s possible Bernier could also see his first action since Oct. 31 this weekend.
  • Bernier is recovered from a lower-body injury sustained against the Pittsburgh Penguins and served as Reimer’s backup Thursday in a 2-1 shootout win at the Nashville Predators.
  • The Maple Leafs are 3-1-2 in November and will be seeking their first three-game win streak since a six-game run from Dec. 6-16, 2014. “We said a long time ago, if we keep doing things the right way, bounces are going to go our way,” forward Nazem Kadri told The Toronto Sun after the win in Nashville.

CANUCKS JOTTINGS

  • The Vancouver Canucks look for a victory after losing 5 of their last 8 games.
  • The Vancouver Canucks are averaging 2.9 goals per game and are scoring on 14.8 percent of their power plays.
  • Daniel Sedin leads Vancouver with five goals, Henrik Sedin has eight assists and Jared McCann has 25 shots on goal.
  • Vancouver Canucks are allowing 2.5 goals per game and are killing 79.6 percent of their power play chances.
  • Ryan Miller has allowed 36 goals on 412 shots faced and Jacob Markstrom has given up three goals on 45 shots.
  • Miller has given up 10 goals in his last three games.
  • The Canucks are 1-5 in their last 6 games playing on 1 days rest and 1-4 in their last 5 overall.
  • The Canucks are 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Toronto and 12-2 in the last 14 meetings overall.
  • Vancouver is 1-for-19 with the man advantage over its last six games and has allowed seven power-play goals in the past five contests
  • All 10 of Vancouver’s losses have come by one goal – five in overtime and one in a shootout

The Canucks are in 3rd place, tied with Arizona with 19-points, in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference, 3-points behind the Los Angeles Kings, who sit atop the division with 20 points. San Jose is in fourth place with 16-points. Anaheim, Calgary and Edmonton follow with 14, 13, 12-points respectively.

Los Angeles, Arizona, San Jose all have 2-games in-hand on the Flames. Canucks, Ducks, Oilers all have 1-game in-hand on the Flames.

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Vancouver is among the top seven team in the Western Conference tied with Arizona with the 6th-best record. Dallas Stars lead the conference with 26-points.

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Vancouver is among the top 14-teams in the NHL tied for the 7th-best with 19-points, with Arizona, Ottawa and New Jersey. Montreal leads the NHL with 28-points, just two points ahead of the Rangers and Stars; and 5-points ahead of the Blues and Capitals.

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Toronto occupies last place with 12-points in the Atlantic Division of the Easter Conference, 6-points behind Tampa Bay for the final playoff position in the conference. Montreal is in top sport with 28-points, 9-points ahead of Ottawa with 19. Tampa Bay is next with 18-points. Detroit is in 4rth, and Buffalo in 5th, with 17 and 16-points respectively. Boston and Florida are tied for sixth and seventh with 15-points each.

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Daniel Sedin leads the Canucks in scoring with 15-points including a team leading 10-assists. Henrik Sedin closely follows with 13-points; Jannik Hansen with 10-points including a team best +10 in plus/minus. Alex Burrows, Brandon Sutter and rookie Ben Hutton are all tied with 8-points apiece.

Top snipers on Vancouver are the Sedin brothers and rookie Jared McCann, all with 5-goals.

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Morgan Rielly leads the Maple Leafs in scoring with 11-points, followed by Dion Phaneuf with 9-points. Both Rielly and Phaneuf lead the team in assists with 8-assists. Joffrey Lupul, James Van Riemsdyk have 8-points; Leo Komarov and Tyler Bozak have 7-points each.

Top snipers for Toronto are Lupul, Van Riemsdyk and Komarov with 5-goals each.

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CANUCKS AT A GLANCE

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Statistics courtesy of the NHL, Vancouver Canucks and SportingCharts, with thanks.