You’re not going to get Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Pope Francis, Richard Dawkins, and Ted Cruz to agree on much, but one thing that science and religion have come to a solid conclusion on is that the NHL playoffs are the best thing in the world.

Laboratory testing and prayer have concluded that the Stanley Cup playoffs are even better when your team does well, or even wins the fabled former chamberpot attached to a cylinder and drunkenly presented by Canada’s Governor General in 1893 on the promise that Canada could mostly have it for 100 years and then they were fucked forever.

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However, maybe your team didn’t win. But probably, as it goes, they lost to the team that did win, maybe? That gives you a solid excuse - hey, my preferred set of hockey humans from Red Deer and Ornskoldvisk didn’t champion themselves up this season, but at least they were beaten by the best. Many Vancouver fans, such as one am I, took solace that for most years, the team that knocked my team out of the playoffs went on to win the Stanley Cup. It happened in 2010, 2011, and 2012, so I could legitimately delusionally think that my team could have been second best.

However, not everyone can console themselves by proxy in this way. Each year since 1980 when the playoffs expanded to an ungodly 16 teams (insane given there were only 11 teams in the league that season), just as there is one team that wins it all, there is another team that not only didn’t lose to the winner, they didn’t even come close.

The Yelnats Puc champion, as I have just stupidly invented.

The Yelnats Puc champion is the team that lost to the team that lost to the team that lost to the Stanley Cup winner. They are as far removed from winning the Cup as a playoff team can get.

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This year, now that the actual Final has been set, we are down to two contenders for the Yelnats Puc:

- If Chicago beats Tampa, that means that since Tampa knocked off the Rangers in the third round, who in turn beat the Capitals in the second round, who defeated the Islanders in the first round, the Islanders will be your winners.

- If Tampa beats Chicago, since the Hawks beat the Ducks, who eliminated Calgary in Round Two, after they advanced past some random team from Vancouver in the first round who will claim the Yelnats Puc. Fuck yes.

Here are your historical Yelnats Puc winners:

2014 - Detroit Red Wings
2013 - Montreal Canadiens
2012 - Boston Bruins
2011 - Phoenix Coyotes
2010 - Ottawa Senators
2009 - St. Louis Blues
2008 - Boston Bruins
2007 - Atlanta Thrashers
2006 - Dallas Stars
2005 - Gary Bettman
2004 - Dallas Stars
2003 - St. Louis Blues
2002 - Philadelphia Flyers
2001 - Philadelphia Flyers
2000 - Los Angeles Kings
1999 - New Jersey Devils
1998 - Pittsburgh Penguins
1997 - Montreal Canadiens
1996 - Montreal Canadiens
1995 - St. Louis Blues
1994 - Detroit Red Wings
1993 - Chicago Blackhawks
1992 - Winnipeg Jets
1991 - Vancouver Canucks
1990 - New York Islanders
1989 - New York Rangers
1988 - Philadelphia Flyers
1987 - Hartford Whalers
1986 - Chicago Blackhawks
1985 - Boston Bruins
1984 - Buffalo Sabres
1983 - Montreal Canadiens
1982 - Winnipeg Jets
1981 - Quebec Nordiques
1980 - Hartford Whalers

***

Go Tampa. It’s all I have left.