Oh how the times have changed. There is no arguing the fact that all three of California’s National Hockey League teams are ahead of all seven Canadian teams in the standings. Or that California has hosted two Stanley Cup parades (2007 and ’12) since the last time a Canadian team (Montreal in ’93) hosted one.

And you could make a strong argument today, that not a single one of Canada’s seven teams would beat the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks or L.A. Kings in a seven-game series. This, however, is a more disturbing talking point: What if it is always going to be this way? Like, from now on.

There was a time when players like Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton would have tested the free agent market for one, last big contract. But they did not, signing three-year deals in San Jose Friday for two reasons: The Sharks are a Cup contender, and living in San Jose wine country qualifies as somewhere north of awesome.


Read more: Kings, Ducks, Sharks offer a lot for NHLers - Sportsnet.ca