Winnipeggers rejoiced when the Jets returned home in the spring and the former Atlanta Thrashers are having a nice season in their cozy new digs, but overall this has not been a good year for Canadian hockey fans.
It's possible that only two of the seven Canadian teams in the NHL -- Ottawa in the East and Vancouver in the West - will make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second straight season.
Winnipeg and Calgary still have a shot, but they are on the outside looking in with time starting to run out, and Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton could all finish among the five worst teams in the league.
The Canadiens and Leafs actually could end up last and second-to-last in the Eastern Conference. How bad would that be?
The relative success Winnipeg has enjoyed shows what can happen when fans actually care, but the Jets are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, four points out of the playoff spot.
It's not too late for the Jets (76 points), but they have to jump over two teams -- Washington (80) and Buffalo (78). Their season may be on the line when they visit Washington on Friday.
We had projected the Flames to grab one of the final playoff spots in the wild Western Conference race where six teams are separated by a mere three points. But the Flames are suddenly heading in reverse, having lost three straight games to drop into a tie for 10th with Phoenix with 82 points.
Still, Calgary is only two points out of a playoff spot and a two- or three-game winning streak likely would put the Flames back in the top eight.
But they badly need a win on Thursday at Minnesota, which has dropped out of playoff contention, before beginning a home-and-home series against Pacific Division-leading Dallas.
So why the struggles for the Canadian clubs?
It could just be cyclical or one could argue that Edmonton and Calgary are small-market teams, but that argument kind of rings hollow because other small-market teams have had success in the playoffs (Tampa Bay, for example, reached the Eastern Conference finals last season).
Besides, Toronto and Montreal are two of the wealthiest teams in the league and hardly small-market franchises.
There may be other factors why the Flames and Oilers struggle out west, but the lack of success for the Leafs (whose playoff drought will reach seven years - every season since the end of the lockout) and Habs is due to chronic mismanagement.
If Florida wins the Southeast Division or secures the No. 8 seed in the East, the Leafs will have the dubious distinction of being the ONLY team in the NHL not to make the playoffs since the lockout in 2004-05.
We wish all the Canadian teams could make the postseason because there is something special about watching a Stanley Cup playoff game from a Canadian city, and it starts with the singing of O Canada, which is an event onto itself.
Assuming the Senators get in, at least we'll be able to hear Lyndon Slewidge, the Ontario provincial police officer, sing O Canada. His bilingual performance of the Canadian national anthem might be the best in the entire league, although Mark Donnelly also is good in Vancouver.