The Malik Effect
There are all kinds of fun theories that abound in the sporting world--the Curse of the Bambino, the Ewing Theory, and so on.
I introduce to you, dear readers, a new (and equally unscientific) sports theory:
The Malik Effect--named for this man:
New York Rangers defenseman Marek Malik.
The theory behind The Malik Effect holds that any team that beats a team with Marek Malik on it in the playoffs will suffer later on. I won't bore you with a big metaphysical discussion of people who can affect the overall luck of others and the quasi-religious clownery that drives the theory--I'll just let the facts speak for themselves. ;)
Known examples of The Malik Effect in action:
1999: Boston Bruins defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Bruins go on to get pwned by the Buffalo Sabres on their march to that year's Cup Finals.
2001: New Jersey Devils defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Devils go on to choke a 3-2 lead over the Colorado Avalanche in that year's Stanley Cup Finals and get pwned in Game 7.
2003, 2004, 2006: Detroit Red Wings find themselves unable to advance past the second round of the playoffs since beating the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals.
2003: Minnesota Wild defeat the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Semifinals. Wild go on to get swept in the Western Conference Finals by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
2004: Calgary Flames defeat the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Flames go on to the Cup Finals, only to lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games.
2005: Hame Zlin beats HC Vitkovice Steel in the Czech Extraliga playoffs. After a heated seven-game series, Zlin goes on to get swept in the Finals by Pardubice.
2006: New Jersey Devils beat the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Devils go on to get the crap beaten out of them by the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The only two known avoidances of the Malik Effect have come in international competition: Canada in 2004's World Cup, and Sweden in this year's Olympic games. So of course it's not completely watertight.
But it's my theory and I'm sticking to it. ;)