Games and Theory: What Would Happen To Lord Stanley: Part 2


This one is only a two part series, and I hadn’t realized that it was October 3rd when the first one went up.  Goes to show you how busy life has been for me lately.

The first part of this series I gave Lord Stanley’s Cup a return to its roots; and offering up a CHL Memorial Cup feel to a return to the Challenge Cup era, or pre-NHL Stanley Cup.

That setup would only work if the NHL locked out again, and, well, never returned.  What would happen though, if the NHL were to come back, although in a much different form?  Could hockey in North America exist under the same rules and pretexts as the English Premier League?

There is some talk of merging the NHL along with some European leagues for a championship tournament – but what NHL team is going to want to travel to Europe especially to play more hockey on the already long NHL season and post season.  Too many Stanley Cup Champions already start the next season off sluggish because of the short off season and grueling demands of toting around 38 pounds of pride all summer.  Adding an international tournament during the off season probably wouldn’t go over well.

In English Premier League Soccer – the ultimate goal is the Champions league, where the top teams from all over Europe compete for the top prize in soccer.  If you think it is hard to win the Stanley Cup now – in a league mired with mediocrity  – think of what would happen when the Stanley Cup would be reserved for the top three teams in the top leagues in North America.

If the NHL locks out again; there is a very good possibility that the league will not be able to recover.  What then, happens to the Stanley Cup?  My second proposal makes it a champion of champions trophy – similar to the Memorial Cup, but on the same level as the English Premier league.

For starters, with the NHL gone, the AHL because the top premier league in North America – and is no longer a developmental or feeder league – in the best interest of the sport the AHL should not take over in the way the NHL has control – but rather should have equal status with the CHL, the ECHL, and the Central Hockey League.  You could include lesser leagues – why not?  If it’s a champions of champions league – make every semi-pro or pro team eligible once again.

Letting every team play for the Stanley Cup – not my idea here.  So how do you earn a bid to play for the new Stanley Cup?  Well if it’s going to be a Champions Cup – you have to be a champion.  Now, it wouldn’t be any fun if you only had one team per league bid for the Cup; so I propose a maximum of four teams per league be entered into the new Stanley Cup tournament.

Invitations would go out to the following teams, league playoff champions, league regular season champions, and the league champion runner up.  If one of the finalist team is the regular season champion, the league would lose one team in the bid for the Stanley Cup.

The only exception to this would be that the reigning Stanley Cup champion is invited to the tournament regardless of regular season or playoff results.

In talking with Blake, one of our writers over at FA Daily – the English Premier League is a very predictable league; because year in and year out the same teams dominate the Premier league.  This would probably be true for the New Stanley Cup; but much like the first years of any championship trophy – one team may dominate until the other leagues or teams could come to the proper level.  And you know what – a little domination at first wouldn’t be so bad, because it would give hockey something it has not had in almost two decades, and that is a true championship team that could be once again called a dynasty.  Rivalries would kick up not only in your league, but in different leagues as well.
So now your thinking, I thought this was if the NHL was able to be re-introduced?  Well, yes, it is.  If the NHL locks out again, there will be concessions made by both players and owners alike – and an end to the lockout will result in a reduction in the number of teams in the league.  Teams that – have annually hung out at the bottom of the league, and can’t sustain a fan base for longer than one hot playoff wrong.

So the NHL will come back much smaller – and since the NHL is the de facto owner of the Stanley Cup – their playoffs would include the bids from the lower leagues in a round robin double elimination tournament, that in the end will leave one team standing as the top North American team in that year.

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Happy Daylight Savings Time for those who observe the pointless clock turnback – hope the extra hour of sleep does you well. Don’t forget to check the batteries in your smoke detectors.

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