The Stanley Cup dream of ice hockey star Leon Draisaitl has also burst at the ninth attempt. Born in Cologne, he and his Edmonton Oilers lost the sixth game in the play-off quarterfinals of the professional league NHL against the Vegas Golden Knights 2:5. With the fourth defeat of the Oilers, the series is decided, Las Vegas meets in the semifinals against the winner of the duel between the Dallas Stars and the Seattle Kraken.

"It hurts. It's hard to find straight words," said Draisaitl, who couldn't add another to his 18 scoring points (13 goals) in the finals: "When you go into a season to win it and then you don't make it, it feels like a failure and like a lost year." Everyone must now "do everything" to avoid having to experience this feeling again. He was critical of his own performance: "I wasn't good today."

Two squad places still open

However, Draisaitl (27) could still become an issue for the German national team due to the play-off exit, which will play its third preliminary round match against the USA on Monday evening at the World Cup in Tampere, Finland (15.20 CET live on Sport 1 and MagentaSport).

In any case, DEB sporting director Christian Künast said on Sunday that he wanted to "inquire about what it looks like for him" in the event of Edmonton's play-off exit. A Leon Draisaitl "would also be worthwhile for a game," Kuenast continued. The crucial question now will be how great Draisaitl's motivation is after this disappointment.

The DEB sports director also did not rule out the participation of goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who is still fighting for a place in the Stanley Cup semi-finals with Seattle. The DEB has so far left two squad places open at the World Cup.

Draisaitl's hopes for the Stanley Cup seemed more justified this year than at any time since his arrival in the NHL in 2014. The exceptional German player had set a personal best of 128 points in the regular season, and the Oilers had their best main round since the glory days of club legend Wayne Gretzky. But the wait for the sixth title, the first since 1990, continues.

The Oilers are also the last team from Canada to be eliminated. The last time the motherland of ice hockey provided the Stanley Cup winner was in 1993 with the Montreal Canadiens.