hawkfan89

Professional Hockey League; A Fictional History: 1998-99 Regular Season

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7 hours ago, Veras said:

As much as I would typically side with the players, I'm with Byrd on this one. Free agency without a salary cap is a terrible idea that makes it much harder for smaller markets to compete. I'd like to see a much less restrictive free agency system in place (incidentally, how was Detroit able to make an offer to McAllen at the age of 21? I thought players had to be 30 to be eligible), but a salary cap is the price they pay for that. 

 

I felt the same way during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. I felt it made sense to have a cap after seeing teams like the Red Wings load up on future hall of famers every summer. Then the teams found ways to circumvent the cap they had fought for which eventually led to the 2012 lockout, during which I fully sided with the players. As far as the PHL is concerned, salaries have skyrocketed during the 90s and now you have teams like the Shamrocks who can pretty much afford to contend every year because they can have just about any free agent they want and teams like Calgary and Quebec who are struggling just to keep their teams. I think this is definitely the right time for the league to adopt a cap before spending gets out of control. In return, the players will likely win the right to become UFA's at age 25. As for McAllen, he was a Restricted Free Agent because his three-year rookie deal had expired but he was still under 30 and had not played ten years, therefore, the Wolves automatically had the right to try to match the offer. Had Seattle failed to match the offer, they would've been entitled to compensation, likely a draft pick.

 

6 hours ago, Red Comet said:

Let's see....The Loonie would've been trading really low against the dollar right now. Free Agency comes in and you can say goodbye to the Northern Lights, the Wranglers, the Pioneers and de Nationale.  

 

Heck, maybe even the Bighorns move and all you have left are the Racers and Les Royale. Also, Kansas City and New Orleans could be driven away to bigger markets too. There needs to be a cap for the long-term health of the league. 

 

The Wranglers losing Krayev was a prime example of why a cap is needed. The Wranglers are not in any great danger of leaving Calgary any time soon, but now they may not even be a playoff team. Chicago, Toronto, New York, Minnesota, and LA seem to have somewhat of a monopoly over the rest of the league right now, the other smaller markets simply can't afford to compete with them. A cap will mean these teams will need to make adjustments immediately, making for a lot more parity, especially early on. 

 

5 hours ago, Balu the Bare said:

I have trouble agreeing with limiting how much a player can make if there isn't also a limit on how much the owner or owners can make. I get that smaller markets would suffer and nobody wants to see a city lose their team, but a cap doesn't prevent a team from moving should the owner decide that the team would be better off in a larger market so I don't fully buy into a salary cap as a way to protect smaller market teams. 

 

This is true, a team could still move despite a cap. Also, it won't necessarily limit what the top players can make, just what the teams can spend. Only the proven superstars will make really large amounts of money, rather than wealthy teams giving obscene amounts to players who probably aren't worth that much simply to fill a need. For example, Toronto gave Stuart Burns, age 35 at the time and well past his prime, $7 Million per year simply because they needed another veteran forward. Under a cap system, Burns would likely never get 7 Million because nobody would want to waste cap space on someone who will retire within three years. The Ducharmes and Crowleys, however, would still get the money they're worth because they are the faces of their respective franchises.

 

5 hours ago, Cardsblues02 said:

We need a salary cap! So many small city teams would be driven away! I could see Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Quebec, Cleveland and Kansas City moving without a salary cap. Nobody wants to see just the Racers, les Royale and the Bighorns as the only Canadian teams. 

 

Smaller markets could not compete. Constant winning by New York and LA would be no fun.  No one wants to see the Northern Lights in Phoenix! Protect the competition.

 

Ideally, the league structure may even allow Ottawa, Halifax, and maybe even Hamilton back in some day, provided they get arenas of course. I love that Winnipeg got the Jets back, and I can't wait to see the Nordiques back in the NHL (it will happen someday) so you can bet at least one of those cities will be back in the PHL by 2017. A salary cap may be the first step.

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Now, here's a question about the other side of the spectrum: if a salary cap is not introduced, what teams might be in danger of moving, and to where?

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8 hours ago, hawkfan89 said:

This is true, a team could still move despite a cap. Also, it won't necessarily limit what the top players can make, just what the teams can spend. Only the proven superstars will make really large amounts of money, rather than wealthy teams giving obscene amounts to players who probably aren't worth that much simply to fill a need. For example, Toronto gave Stuart Burns, age 35 at the time and well past his prime, $7 Million per year simply because they needed another veteran forward. Under a cap system, Burns would likely never get 7 Million because nobody would want to waste cap space on someone who will retire within three years. The Ducharmes and Crowleys, however, would still get the money they're worth because they are the faces of their respective franchises.

 

If you limit what teams can spend, you limit what a player can make. If Burns can get $7 million dollars to play, why shouldn't he? I'm all for parity and competition and level playing fields and all of that, but again, I have a hard time being in favor of a player salary cap if there's not also a salary cap for much money an owner can make off of the team. Limit everyone or limit no one. 

 

...That position is the more idealistic side of me, though. I do understand that a cap will likely come and will ultimately benefit the league and without a cap teams are likely to overspend on top talent and go under because of it. I understand the need for a cap. I understand the benefits of a cap. I get it, but I don't have to like it. 

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19 hours ago, Cardsblues02 said:

We need a salary cap! So many small city teams would be driven away! I could see Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Quebec, Cleveland and Kansas City moving without a salary cap. Nobody wants to see just the Racers, les Royale and the Bighorns as the only Canadian teams. 

 

Smaller markets could not compete. Constant winning by New York and LA would be no fun.  No one wants to see the Northern Lights in Phoenix! Protect the competition.

Phoenix Northern Lights - now that is a contender for the strangest name in anything :lol::lol::lol::lol:!

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58 minutes ago, Goran The Man said:

Phoenix Northern Lights - now that is a contender for the strangest name in anything :lol::lol::lol::lol:!

 

True, or they'd end up as the Vegas Neon Lights judging by the latest NHL team's name.

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17 hours ago, Red Comet said:

 

True, or they'd end up as the Vegas Neon Lights judging by the latest NHL team's name.

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha - couldn't get any more Vegas than that!

 

In seriousness though I don't want to see anyone move at all - it would be unfair on Edmonton (and anyone) to lose their team and community connections are the best way to devote connections to teams - it can reach tribalism levels (like generations of the same family support the same team based in that city). In any universe, like our timeline or the PHL timeline, say for example generations of Nova Scotians supported the Claymores (even though the Claymores only lasted 36 years) it's a big loss for communities and I could see teams, especially the smaller market teams being ways to connect families together.

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15 hours ago, hawkfan89 said:

 

I felt the same way during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. I felt it made sense to have a cap after seeing teams like the Red Wings load up on future hall of famers every summer. Then the teams found ways to circumvent the cap they had fought for which eventually led to the 2012 lockout, during which I fully sided with the players. As far as the PHL is concerned, salaries have skyrocketed during the 90s and now you have teams like the Shamrocks who can pretty much afford to contend every year because they can have just about any free agent they want and teams like Calgary and Quebec who are struggling just to keep their teams. I think this is definitely the right time for the league to adopt a cap before spending gets out of control. In return, the players will likely win the right to become UFA's at age 25. As for McAllen, he was a Restricted Free Agent because his three-year rookie deal had expired but he was still under 30 and had not played ten years, therefore, the Wolves automatically had the right to try to match the offer. Had Seattle failed to match the offer, they would've been entitled to compensation, likely a draft pick.

 

 

The Wranglers losing Krayev was a prime example of why a cap is needed. The Wranglers are not in any great danger of leaving Calgary any time soon, but now they may not even be a playoff team. Chicago, Toronto, New York, Minnesota, and LA seem to have somewhat of a monopoly over the rest of the league right now, the other smaller markets simply can't afford to compete with them. A cap will mean these teams will need to make adjustments immediately, making for a lot more parity, especially early on. 

 

 

This is true, a team could still move despite a cap. Also, it won't necessarily limit what the top players can make, just what the teams can spend. Only the proven superstars will make really large amounts of money, rather than wealthy teams giving obscene amounts to players who probably aren't worth that much simply to fill a need. For example, Toronto gave Stuart Burns, age 35 at the time and well past his prime, $7 Million per year simply because they needed another veteran forward. Under a cap system, Burns would likely never get 7 Million because nobody would want to waste cap space on someone who will retire within three years. The Ducharmes and Crowleys, however, would still get the money they're worth because they are the faces of their respective franchises.

 

 

Ideally, the league structure may even allow Ottawa, Halifax, and maybe even Hamilton back in some day, provided they get arenas of course. I love that Winnipeg got the Jets back, and I can't wait to see the Nordiques back in the NHL (it will happen someday) so you can bet at least one of those cities will be back in the PHL by 2017. A salary cap may be the first step.

#bringbackwindsor

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everyones talking about Ottawa, Quebec, even Windsor getting teams back by 2017. And I'm here just like "it's only been 2 seasons, has everyone forgotten about the 'Mores?" 

 

Ideally Halifax and the NS area is most likely too small to host a pro team (except maybe CFL) but they'd at least have a 'new' and 'unopposed' fan base which is one of the bigger deciders in real world expansion. Cause why put a team in Ottawa which is right in between Toronto and Montreal, when you can out a team in its own state/province/region with its own fan base. So maybe there's a slight chance... if not, we protest :evil:

 

Realistically doubtful, I see Ottawa getting a team back, still not sure about Quebec, the Nationale do have Championship history compared to the Nordiques, but even in 2017 they don't have a team back yet and there hasn't been talk about it in awhile (though it may resorface with the Seattle arena talks) 

 

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1997-98 Regular Season

 

As 1997 drew to a close, there was a growing concern among hockey fans and players that the 1997-98 PHL season might not happen at all. Games had been cancelled through October and November and by the time Christmas arrived, the season had yet to start. Negotiations had broken down early in December and no further talks were planned, forcing Darryl Byrd to cancel all games in December. With Byrd and PHPA president Brian Hunt unable to find common ground, others began to step in to try to hash out a deal. Deputy Commissioner John Cairns and Union Vice President Dave Mack began talks of their own, but the situation only became more heated. “It seems like they want to lose the season” said an irate Mack. “I don’t know what kind of point they want to make by cancelling games but it’s getting silly.” Byrd responded to Mack’s words “He’s making six million to play a game, I don’t think he’s qualified to talk about what’s silly.”

 

As 1997 turned into 1998, there was still no deal. Games for the month of January were now cancelled and a deadline was finally set. If there was no agreement reached by January 20, the unthinkable would happen and the season would be cancelled. When January 19 arrived with no deal, Darryl Byrd announced a press conference to be held the following day at noon eastern time. It appeared that the 1997-98 season was dead. On the morning of the 20th, a statement came from the league that the press conference had been cancelled and that Byrd and Hunt were back in talks. Finally, at 3:00 AM, January 21, an exhausted and unshaven Byrd announced that a deal had been reached and the season was saved. Later in the day, the details of the deal were released. A salary cap of $45 Million per team would be implemented immediately, then be reduced to $40 Million in time for the 1998-99 season. In addition, entry-level deals were standardized at $700,00. In return for the cap, players could now become unrestricted free agents at age 25, while increases were made to their pensions and health insurance. One issue that was talked about at length was mandatory visors. In the wake of Sergei Krayev’s horrific injury the previous season, the league pushed hard to make visors a requirement. The PHPA ultimately rejected the idea, however, and the issue was put aside. The league also announced that it would expand to 30 teams by the 2001-02 season, and that there would be a league-wide division realignment in time for 1998-99 as well as a few rule changes that would be announced in the off-season.

 

Ultimately, the lockout cost the league 588 games, over half of its schedule. It also brought about the end of a few star players’ careers, who decided to hang up the skates rather than wait out the lockout.

 

Doug MacIntyre, F, LI, 1980-1997

The pride of Summerside, PEI, MacIntyre was a leader for the Concordes from the moment he first stepped on the ice in 1980. Playing alongside Stuart Burns throughout the 1980s and into the 90s, MacIntyre helped lead Long Island to the Lewis Cup Finals three times, including a win in 1990. Among the team’s all-time scoring leaders, only Burns ranks above MacIntyre.

 

Jari Pukki, D, STL, CAL, BOS, 1978-1997

After serving as more of a role player in the Spirits’ dynasty, Pukki was traded to California in 1986, where he truly emerged as one of the league’s top offensive defensemen. Four years later, he was dealt to the Boston Bulldogs in exchange for Ricky Meyer in what would go down as one of the most lopsided deals in PHL history. While Meyer struggled to stay in the Nuggets’ lineup, Pukki put the Bulldogs over the top, playing a big role in their championship run in 1993.During the lockout, Pukki signed with a team in his hometown of Tampere, Finland, where he will finish his career.

 

Joe Tyler, F, VAN, TOR, 1979-1997

Playing alongside Brett Townsend for 16 seasons in Vancouver, Joe Tyler proved to be one of the few bright spots on a struggling franchise. Tyler retires as the teams’ second leading scorer all time. In 1996, he signed with his hometown team, the Toronto Racers, where he played one year.

 

                                        1998unis2.thumb.png.90995b05ad96b89927e27e5bc7e2498c.png

Hoyle.thumb.png.97462a5e2195bf0ae8df690a7cdb0776.png

After a ten-day training camp, the 1998 season finally got underway on February 3, 1998. The schedule would be 38 games with each team playing teams from their division four times and teams from the other division in their conference twice. There would be no intra-conference play. There were some surprises throughout the season, with the success of the teams largely hinging on how prepared they were for the unusual season. Edmonton, a team at the start of a major rebuild, stumbled out of the gate and ultimately won only eight games to finish last in the league and miss the playoffs for the first time since 1987. Defending Western Conference champions Kansas City also struggled, dropping to eighth place and barely making the playoffs by just one point after an injury-riddled season. While Chicago predictably took first place in the league, the team that finally emerged as a true contender in the West was the California Nuggets. Amid turmoil surrounding the future of the franchise and their arena, the Nuggets managed to win the Pacific Division for the first time since 1983, just barely edging out Los Angeles when they beat them on the final day of the regular season. Defenseman and team captain Kevin Hoyle played an enormous role in the team’s success. The 29-year-old played over 30 minutes a game throughout the year and became the first defenseman in franchise history to lead the team in scoring.

 

Two Western Conference teams returned to the playoffs in 1998. The St. Louis Spirits returned to the post-season for the first time since 1993, while the Seattle Grey Wolves made it for the first time since 1991 thanks to breakout years from Randy McAllen and Scott Sherwood. The Milwaukee Choppers also came close to ending their post-season drought as Peter Lundholm won rookie-of-the year honors, while Brent Zahorsky scored 48 points. The Chops ultimately fell short, just two points behind eighth place.

 

In the Eastern Conference, the defending Lewis Cup champion New York Civics came out strong, going undefeated through the month of February. By season’s end, the Civics had only lost seven games to take first place in the Eastern Conference. Aaron Duplacy enjoyed his best season yet, nearly winning the league scoring title with 59 points. To win the conference, New York had to fend off their division rivals Washington in a tight race as the Generals also enjoyed a strong season in which they only lost 11 games. Toronto once again took the Northeast Division after having to part with a few depth players to get under the new salary cap, while Montreal had to settle for fourth place despite a league-leading 61 points from Vincent Ducharme. Rookie Zdeno Kadlec also proved to be a pleasant surprise for the Royale. After being selected 21st in the draft, Kadlec scored 36 points and was nominated for rookie of the year. Cleveland continued to move up the standings, finishing fifth, while Boston, hit hard by the departure of key players over the off-season, dropped all the way to 13th, missing the playoffs for the first time since 1981.

 

One of the more exciting storylines of the 1997-98 season featured a race between two original PHL teams who had both been absent from the playoffs in recent years. The Philadelphia Redshirts and Detroit Mustangs faced off against each other on April 29 in the second-last game of the year for both teams, with Detroit sitting two points ahead of the Redshirts. The Redshirts, who had been boosted by a big sophomore year from Jared Baxter, managed to win a dramatic game with just 20 seconds left in regulation. Entering the final day of the regular season on May 1, both teams had identical records while the season series was tied 1-1. Detroit held a very slight advantage with a goal differential of 21 compared to Philly’s 19. the Redshirts now needed to not only beat Pittsburgh, if Detroit beat Cleveland, they would need to beat the Stingers by at least four goals to get into the playoffs. Detroit had all the remaining tie-breakers to their advantage. Things did not get off to a good start for Philly as the Stingers jumped ahead early on a goal from Scott Lindsay. Midway through the second period, the Redshirts finally got on the board. Early in the third period, Baxter scored to give Philly the lead. Seven minutes later, Owen Betts made it 3-1. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the Mustangs were wrapping up a 2-1 victory, meaning Philadelphia needed two more goals. They would get one from Brendan Carnes with six minutes to go in the game, before the team received word that Detroit had scored an empty-netter against the Cosmos to take that game 3-1. Now Philadelphia needed two more once again. Jonathan Stafford’s goal made it 4-1 with less than three minutes left in the game, leading to one of the most unusual occurrences ever in a PHL game. With a minute left, the Redshirts pulled goaltender Nathan Bowman for the extra attacker despite leading the game 4-1. Philly pushed hard and were finally rewarded with only 13 seconds on the clock when Stafford jambed a loose puck under Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Wilkin’s pad. The Redshirts cleared the bench and mobbed Stafford. Philadelphia was back in the playoffs. An unusual regular season ended in perhaps the most unusual way possible.

 

          standings.thumb.png.ae156870dde50a845cd756e4dcb156ca.png

                               

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40 minutes ago, hawkfan89 said:

1997-98 Regular Season

 

As 1997 drew to a close, there was a growing concern among hockey fans and players that the 1997-98 PHL season might not happen at all. Games had been cancelled through October and November and by the time Christmas arrived, the season had yet to start. Negotiations had broken down early in December and no further talks were planned, forcing Darryl Byrd to cancel all games in December. With Byrd and PHPA president Brian Hunt unable to find common ground, others began to step in to try to hash out a deal. Deputy Commissioner John Cairns and Union Vice President Dave Mack began talks of their own, but the situation only became more heated. “It seems like they want to lose the season” said an irate Mack. “I don’t know what kind of point they want to make by cancelling games but it’s getting silly.” Byrd responded to Mack’s words “He’s making six million to play a game, I don’t think he’s qualified to talk about what’s silly.”

 

As 1997 turned into 1998, there was still no deal. Games for the month of January were now cancelled and a deadline was finally set. If there was no agreement reached by January 20, the unthinkable would happen and the season would be cancelled. When January 19 arrived with no deal, Darryl Byrd announced a press conference to be held the following day at noon eastern time. It appeared that the 1997-98 season was dead. On the morning of the 20th, a statement came from the league that the press conference had been cancelled and that Byrd and Hunt were back in talks. Finally, at 3:00 AM, January 21, an exhausted and unshaven Byrd announced that a deal had been reached and the season was saved. Later in the day, the details of the deal were released. A salary cap of $45 Million per team would be implemented immediately, then be reduced to $40 Million in time for the 1998-99 season. In addition, entry-level deals were standardized at $700,00. In return for the cap, players could now become unrestricted free agents at age 25, while increases were made to their pensions and health insurance. One issue that was talked about at length was mandatory visors. In the wake of Sergei Krayev’s horrific injury the previous season, the league pushed hard to make visors a requirement. The PHPA ultimately rejected the idea, however, and the issue was put aside. The league also announced that it would expand to 30 teams by the 2001-02 season, and that there would be a league-wide division realignment in time for 1998-99 as well as a few rule changes that would be announced in the off-season.

 

Ultimately, the lockout cost the league 588 games, over half of its schedule. It also brought about the end of a few star players’ careers, who decided to hang up the skates rather than wait out the lockout.

                        

Hoyle.thumb.png.97462a5e2195bf0ae8df690a7cdb0776.png

After a ten-day training camp, the 1998 season finally got underway on February 3, 1998. The schedule would be 38 games with each team playing teams from their division four times and teams from the other division in their conference twice. There would be no intra-conference play. There were some surprises throughout the season, with the success of the teams largely hinging on how prepared they were for the unusual season. Edmonton, a team at the start of a major rebuild, stumbled out of the gate and ultimately won only eight games to finish last in the league and miss the playoffs for the first time since 1987. Defending Western Conference champions Kansas City also struggled, dropping to eighth place and barely making the playoffs by just one point after an injury-riddled season. While Chicago predictably took first place in the league, the team that finally emerged as a true contender in the West was the California Nuggets. Amid turmoil surrounding the future of the franchise and their arena, the Nuggets managed to win the Pacific Division for the first time since 1983, just barely edging out Los Angeles when they beat them on the final day of the regular season. Defenseman and team captain Kevin Hoyle played an enormous role in the team’s success. The 29-year-old played over 30 minutes a game throughout the year and became the first defenseman in franchise history to lead the team in scoring.

 

Two Western Conference teams returned to the playoffs in 1998. The St. Louis Spirits returned to the post-season for the first time since 1993, while the Seattle Grey Wolves made it for the first time since 1991 thanks to breakout years from Randy McAllen and Scott Sherwood. The Milwaukee Choppers also came close to ending their post-season drought as Peter Lundholm won rookie-of-the year honors, while Brent Zahorsky scored 48 points. The Chops ultimately fell short, just two points behind eighth place.

 

In the Eastern Conference, the defending Lewis Cup champion New York Civics came out strong, going undefeated through the month of February. By season’s end, the Civics had only lost seven games to take first place in the Eastern Conference. Aaron Duplacy enjoyed his best season yet, nearly winning the league scoring title with 59 points. To win the conference, New York had to fend off their division rivals Washington in a tight race as the Generals also enjoyed a strong season in which they only lost 11 games. Toronto once again took the Northeast Division after having to part with a few depth players to get under the new salary cap, while Montreal had to settle for fourth place despite a league-leading 61 points from Vincent Ducharme. Rookie Zdeno Kadlec also proved to be a pleasant surprise for the Royale. After being selected 21st in the draft, Kadlec scored 36 points and was nominated for rookie of the year. Cleveland continued to move up the standings, finishing fifth, while Boston, hit hard by the departure of key players over the off-season, dropped all the way to 13th, missing the playoffs for the first time since 1981.

 

One of the more exciting storylines of the 1997-98 season featured a race between two original PHL teams who had both been absent from the playoffs in recent years. The Philadelphia Redshirts and Detroit Mustangs faced off against each other on April 29 in the second-last game of the year for both teams, with Detroit sitting two points ahead of the Redshirts. The Redshirts, who had been boosted by a big sophomore year from Jared Baxter, managed to win a dramatic game with just 20 seconds left in regulation. Entering the final day of the regular season on May 1, both teams had identical records while the season series was tied 1-1. Detroit held a very slight advantage with a goal differential of 21 compared to Philly’s 19. the Redshirts now needed to not only beat Pittsburgh, if Detroit beat Cleveland, they would need to beat the Stingers by at least four goals to get into the playoffs. Detroit had all the remaining tie-breakers to their advantage. Things did not get off to a good start for Philly as the Stingers jumped ahead early on a goal from Scott Lindsay. Midway through the second period, the Redshirts finally got on the board. Early in the third period, Baxter scored to give Philly the lead. Seven minutes later, Owen Betts made it 3-1. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the Mustangs were wrapping up a 2-1 victory, meaning Philadelphia needed two more goals. They would get one from Brendan Carnes with six minutes to go in the game, before the team received word that Detroit had scored an empty-netter against the Cosmos to take that game 3-1. Now Philadelphia needed two more once again. Jonathan Stafford’s goal made it 4-1 with less than three minutes left in the game, leading to one of the most unusual occurrences ever in a PHL game. With a minute left, the Redshirts pulled goaltender Nathan Bowman for the extra attacker despite leading the game 4-1. Philly pushed hard and were finally rewarded with only 13 seconds on the clock when Stafford jambed a loose puck under Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Wilkin’s pad. The Redshirts cleared the bench and mobbed Stafford. Philadelphia was back in the playoffs. An unusual regular season ended in perhaps the most unusual way possible.

 

                               standings.thumb.png.82a4bef84935c0c8cbf50a0dc214983a.png

Whoa! Philly just inch through into the playoffs! It's going to be a thrilling playoff series!

 

P.S. I have chosen to support the LA Wizards in the PHL mainly due to their 1969-1995 logo - 4th is not bad even though losing the division on tiebreakers is hard to take.

And P.S. there is a division error next to the Quebec Nationale logo.

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Yay, the season was salvaged! And my Civics are on top of the Eastern Conference once again as well! Here's hoping for the repeat!

 

Also, not that I'm trying to increase your workload, but have you ever given Conference logos any thought? The 1998 Lewis Cup Playoffs are going to be another fun one either way.

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What impact will the lockout have on the league's popularity in the long run? Has hockey struggled to be as relevant as the other three major sports in this universe?

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Well, that was unexpected. I had completely written off the 1998 season thanks to Byrd's hardheadedness...but to be fair that looks like an alright deal.

Also, I'm convinced New Orleans will never get out of the cellar. The Curse of Nova Scotia is upon you, boys, and no voodoo doll is going to help you this time.

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Twisters really slid this year. Probably would've missed the playoffs if the season was 2 games longer. Welp, looking forward to seeing how this all plays out, but I'd be happy with a series that doesn't end in a sweep of the Twisters.

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2 hours ago, Red Comet said:

Twisters really slid this year. Probably would've missed the playoffs if the season was 2 games longer. Welp, looking forward to seeing how this all plays out, but I'd be happy with a series that doesn't end in a sweep of the Twisters.

I don't think you guys will be swept. I wouldn't be surprised at all if KC was back in the WCF. The short season and a slow start hurt them. If they play well they will be right there.

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