2013 NHL Preview

Ok, we’ve all gotten the lock-out bitterness out of our systems right? ok, well if you’re still angry, please read elsewhere because WhitSport is moving forward! I’m proud to present a quick look at what to expect for the 48 game season that the NHL will conduct in the coming months.

The last time the NHL salvaged a strike-shortened season (1995) there were also 48 games played, with the Devils taking home the Stanley Cup in the end. Many teams think their teams can get hot and make a run at the playoffs this year, despite disappointing results in 2012. Back in ’95 this was not the case, as only 3 teams who made the playoffs in ’94 failed to do so after the lockout. This does not bode well for teams like the Maple Leafs, Oilers, and Islanders who are looking to end long playoff droughts. Last year saw tons of drama with more upsets than ever before in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The LA Kings took home Lord Stanley’s trophy, and in the process, became the first 8th seed to win the Cup.

With the amount of craziness that continues to go on display once the Playoffs roll around, it becomes nearly impossible to predict who will be vying for the Cup in June. Nevertheless, let’s have a go!

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. Penguins– with Crosby healthy, and Malkin already warmed up after playing in Russia, the Pens, who finished just 1 point behind the Rangers for the top spot in the East last year, look to avenge their early post-season departure with a deep run this season
2. Bruins– the B’s are a fairly young team and showed some consistency last year after winning their division for the 2nd straight season. Plus, with Tim Thomas on sabbatical, it’s Tuuka time!!
3. Capitals– with new coach Adam Oates around, the culture should improve in Washington. Ovechkin seems to be returning to normal, and may be given a longer leash than he had under Dale Hunter.
4. Rangers– John Tortorella certainly won’t let his foot off the pedal now. The Rangers have the personnel to make a great run, only questions surround whether Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik, and company can all live up to their billing.
5. Devils– it’d be hard to put the reigning Conference Champs any lower, with Brodeur back and rested, this young team could prove why last spring was no fluke. Watch out for emerging young stars like Henrique and Larsson.
6. Sabres– Nice additions in the offseason. If Ryan Miller steps back up to the level we know he can play, Buffalo has a shot to make some waves.
7. Flyers– with the goaltending situation at a crossroads, there could be bumps along the road. A solid scoring department may barely save them
8. Lightning– I’m expecting a big year from Stamkos. If the defense can improve, even just slightly, they’ll be in the mix.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
9. Panthers– they’re just one of those teams who played well last year, but a shortened season could prove fatal, only saving grace is their division
10. Jets– I like what they’re doing here. Their young consortium of talent is progressing nicely, but might be a goaltender away from the playoffs
11. Senators– I just don’t see enough here to warrant another playoff run, especially since the odds of Eric Karlsson putting up similar #’s to last year are slim
12. Canadiens– slight improvement over last year, but seriously need some scorers to contend for the playoffs again.
13. Islanders– this high? really? I think Tavares has his break out season, but a hefty schedule against the rest of the Atlantic keep the Isles humbled.
14. Hurricanes– the decline has been quick, and shows no signs of turning around this year. Contracts like Jordan Staal and Alex Semin have bad news written all over them.
15. Maple Leafs– goaltending is too flaky, and scoring is too thin behind Kessel. Bottom of the barrel here.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Blues– Ken Hitchcock was St. Louis’ savior a year ago, and they aren’t about to turn back now. Expect the Blues to continue stifling defensive play throughout the year.
2. Canucks– Roberto Luongo is as good as gone, but Schneider is more than capable, and all of the offensive weapons are back. They should contend for the President’s Trophy again
3. Coyotes– this team continues to impress despite a major lack of star power. I like Mike Smith to have another great year in net.
4. Blackhawks– I think the Blackhawks, now healthy, should put together a nice season. Patrick Kane is poised for a bounce-back campaign.
5. Ducks– yep this is my sleeper pick. Bruce Boudreau had this squad playing back up to their potential last year, but ran out time to snag a playoff berth. Look for bounce back years for Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf
6. Red Wings– losing Nik Lidstrom might take more of a toll than some people think. I like their young talent a lot, but it’d be crazy to put them too much higher.
7. Predators– With Rinne back, they’re pretty much a lock for a playoff spot. Some worries about loss of Suter, but signing Hal Gill and re-signing others will help.
8. Stars- could repeat last year and get off to a red-hot start, but this time, a shortened schedule means they make the cut in April.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
9. Kings- what?! how could I leave the defending champs out of the playoffs? First off, they sneaked in as an 8-seed, and secondly, they’ve still got some major questions on offense
10. Sharks– we saw the decline begin last year, they have some good young players, but not enough depth.
11. Wild– two huge signings, but you need 4 full lines to make a decent NHL team. They could make things interesting if net-minder Niklas Backstrom stays healthy.
12. Avalanche– lots of good young talent, but really just too young for a playoff sprint (their Captain is only 20 years old!).
13. Oilers– just too much talent to finish any lower. Looking forward to seeing Yakupov and his new friends in action, even if the wins aren’t plentiful.
14. Flames– last year they did their normal routine and limped out of contention as the months dragged on. With an aging squad I don’t see much improvement on the horizon
15. Blue Jackets– just nothing here to think they’ll finish above bottom. With Nash gone they can begin to rebuild

In terms of pre-season Cup picks, I have never even been close to correct, but I’ll made some silly picks anyway…

Rangers fans hope to light em up with King Henry this summer

Stanley Cup: Rangers over Blues
Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP): Henrik Lundqvist
Hart (Reg Season MVP): Claude Giroux
Art Ross (Most Points): Claude Giroux
Rocket Richard (Most Goals): Steven Stamkos
Vezina (Best Goalie): Mike Smith
Norris (Best Defenseman): Kris Letang
Calder (Best Rookie): Nail Yakupov
Jack Adams (Best Coach): Adam Oates

Any comments, disagreements, praise, questions, quips, queries, and quandaries are all welcomed here. Looking forward to the puck finally dropping!

NHL: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

Before the NBA playoffs get cranking, and ESPN drools all over guys like Lebron on Kobe, let’s give the guys on ice some love… The NHL’s Stanley Cup is highly regarded as one of the toughest trophies to take home. The amount of physical and mental toughness these athletes need in order to win 16 games between April and June cannot be found elsewhere in sports. Despite the lack of this product on mainstream media, the Stanley Cup Playoffs kick off tonight in Washington, Detroit, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, and Vancouver. While this post-season starts without big names such as Crosby, Malkin, Kopitar, Pronger, and Zetterberg on the ice, some of these fine players may make an appearance (more on that later).

Here’s a quick breakdown of each series, followed by Whitsport’s Official Picks

EASTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Capitals vs #8 Rangers
The Rangers nearly ousted the Caps just two seasons ago, and they look like the team that could do it again, but they’re not. Marian Gaborik has sputtered offensively this year, and their engine (Ryan Callahan) is lost for the season due to injury. The Caps may still be winning games by narrow margins, but they’re winning, which is all that matters in April.
Whit’s Pick: Caps in 5
X-Factor: Alex Ovechkin – must score if Caps are to believe in themselves

Vanek and company look to continue melting the ice in the playoffs

#2 Flyers vs #7 Sabres

The Flyers made a valiant effort last Spring going through a wild ride all the way to the Cup Finals. But this team, now plus a rookie netminder (Bobrovsky), and minus a stout defenseman (Pronger) smells like an upset victim. The Sabres are the NHL’s hottest team right now, even without Olympic hero Ryan Miller.
Whit’s Pick: Sabres in 7
X-Factor: Thomas Vanek – hottest scorer enetering playoffs

#3 Bruins vs #6 Canadiens
This is the juciest matchup in the opening round this year (and every year for that matter). Habs vs B’s is always a classic, and despite the Chara hit a few weeks back, was always going to be highly contested, and full of angst. I like hot goal-tenders in the playoffs, and can see a battle in this one. Thomas vs Price is a showdown for the ages. Which offense will be able to break through?
Whit’s Pick: Canadiens in 7
X-Factor: Mike Cammalleri – heated up this time last year

Flowers is notorious for getting hot around this time of the year

#4 Penguins vs #5 Lightning
The Pens will likely be without Sidney Crosby, so let’s assume he stops stealing headlines, and never plays a game in this series. Stamkos will make his playoff debut, and will progress with the help of St. Louis and Lecavalier right? Perhaps not… The two clubs split their 4 games during the regular season, so expect another long, yet tight series.
Whit’s Pick: Penguins in 6
X-Factor: Marc Andre Fleury – been in this spot several times already

WESTERN CONFERENCE

#1 Canucks vs #8 Blackhawks
In the first of several repeat-matchups, NHL-best Vancouver will attempt to get a huge monkey off their back. Chicago has beaten them in 2 straight playoff series, and Canucks fans feel that this is their year. I can’t disagree, the Blackhawks have an unproven goalie, and a shell of the team that won the Cup a year ago.
Whit’s Pick: Canucks in 6
X-Factor: Ryan Kesler – might not be a twin, but is a threat to Chicago

The Fin has already hoisted one Cup...

#2 Sharks vs #7 Kings
The Sharks finally proved they can make a deepish playoff run, and with LA floundering, their first step to a Cup run looks easier than others in the West. Look for the Sharks to continue their winning ways, and even take a sniff at a sweep in So-Cal. San Jose’s got a goalie with a ring on his finger, which makes them a dangerous team right now.
Whit’s Pick: Sharks in 5
X-Factor: Antti Niemi – last years unknown, but this years… unknown?

Datsyuk has Conne Smythe winning potential

#3 Red Wings vs #6 Coyotes

The ‘Yotes played Detroit to the wire last year, and were solid behind netminder Bryzgalov. Without Zetterberg for at least Game 1, Phoenix will try and gain an early series lead in Mo-Town. Look for experience and depth to carry the Red Wings through though. It’s not often that this team gets bounced early from the playoffs.
Whit’s Pick: Wings in 6
X-Factor: Pavel Datsyuk – quiet killer in the post-season

#4 Ducks vs #5 Predators
At the beginning of the week, I had started touting Nashville as the Round 1 upset special. It seems I wasn’t alone. Despite the Ducks awesome #1 line of Getzlaf, Perry, and Ryan, they’ll have to contend with a Predators team who actually has a nice balance of youth and veterans who have been-there-done-that. Anaheim has a big question mark in net, which could tilt the series either way.
Whit’s Pick: Preds in 7
X-Factor: Pekka Rinne – will burst onto the scene as this years breakout performer

So who’s marching to the Cup? Whitsport thinks the Canucks and Sharks are both good bets to head to the Finals in the West, while the Capitals and Penguins could meet for a Winter Classic rematch.

Here’s my real upset special: Sharks over the Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals. Thornton, Heatley, and Boyle ride their hot/experienced goalie to glory. Lock it in folks! (p.s. I wanted to pick the Canucks, but everyone else is, so let’s mix things up a bit)

On a side note: Die-hard hockey fans know where to find the product, but casual viewers can turn to the VS channel to catch most games, with NBC nabbing one game on both Saturdays and Sundays. Check here for a simple to understand viewing guide from Yahoo! Sports

2011 NHL Predictions

Well it’s that time of the year again. Pucks are dropping across the continent, and even across the Atlantic on another. Additionally, the Penguins, who nearly left Pittsburgh just 6 years ago, unveil their new arena this evening (unfortunately it no longer looks like an igloo).

As temperatures cool, the feeling of fall is certainly here, and that can mean only one thing… HOCKEY IS BACK! Here’s a quick look at WhitSport’s predictions for the 2010-2011 NHL Season. Another great campaign can be assured, including an All Star Weekend, Live from Carolina!

Possible All-Star Squads:
EAST: (Fwds) Ovechkin, Crosby, Backstrom, Stamkos, Cammalleri, Gaborik, Okposo, M Richards, Kessel, Parise, E Staal, Weiss  (Def) Chara, M Green, Gonchar, Markov, Pronger, Enstrom  (Goalie) Brodeur, Ward, Miller

WEST: (Fwds) Heatley, H Sedin, Kane, Perry, Nash, Kopitar, Datsyuk, Iginla, Stasny, Hemsky, Latendresse, Doan  (Def) Lidstrom, Boyle, Weber, Robidas, Doughty, Keith (Goalie) Halak, Luongo, Howard

The playoffs can be hard to predict, and there’s always a few changes to the teams in and out from one year to the next. So I’ve included a few surprises, as well as some “well duh” picks…

Predicted Playoff Seeds:

EAST WEST
1. Capitals

2. Penguins
3. Bruins
4. Devils
5. Lightning
6. Flyers
7. Rangers
8. Hurricanes

1. Red Wings

2. Sharks
3. Canucks
4. Coyotes
5. Blackhawks
6. Blues
7. Stars
8. Wild

Conference Finals:

Capitals over Bruins

– – –

Canucks over Red Wings

2011 Stanley Cup: Capitals over Canucks

While the end of the season awards always bring debate, one of the nice things is that looking back, not many people see some of the winners coming at all. Well this is a year of redemption I believe. Look for Ovechkin to just run away with trophies, including the one that matters the most… His teammate Mike Green will finally get his due, and play enough defense to take home his coveted crown. As for the rest of the hardware, well check it out…

End of Season Award Wrap-up

Conne Smyth: Niklas Backstrom (WAS)

Hart Trophy: Alex Ovechkin (WAS)

Vezina: Martin Brodeur (NJD)

Calder: Jeff Skinner (CAR)

Art Ross: Alex Ovechkin (WAS)

Norris: Mike Green (WAS)

Jack Adams: Guy Boucher (TB)

Jennings: Theordore & Backstrom (MIN)

 

In Soviet Russia, ice-rink made of vodka

 

Thanks for reading and be sure to visit the 2010-11 NHL Preview Page for an in depth view into each division and a look at what your team might expect in the coming season. Enjoy puck heads!

10 Players Who Aren’t on Your Radar… and Should Be

In an effort to keep the buzz up, with hockey’s first face-off just days away, WhitSport presents the guys you’ll want to keep in your scope. Some may have breakout years, others may flame out… While not all of these players are rookies or completely unknown, WhitSport would like you to keep an eye on these players, as they step into big years for their respective teams.

Pavelski... lost without the power of the blonde beard

Joe Pavelski – C – Sharks… this youngster came alive during the post-season last year, and will likely carry over into this season. Playing on a line with Setoguchi and Clowe will certainly help.

John Carlson – D – Capitals… played just 29 games last year, but looked solid in the playoffs, and will pair well with veteran Tom Poti, allowing him to wander up on offense at times. Another Mike Green perhaps?

Bobby Ryan – C – Ducks… the big forward from NJ has already amassed 131 points in 168 NHL games, and is part of one of the league’s most potent first lines alongside Getzlaf and Perry.

Evander Kane – LW – Thrashers… someone’s gotta take over for Kovalchuk, why not another teenage sensation? He found his goalscoring touch just before the Olympic break last year

Just what Philly needs, another goalie controversy

Sergei Bobrovsky – G – Flyers… or “Bob” as they call him in Philly, looks poised to take over in net, when yet another rash of injuries occurs in the City of Brotherly Love.

Johnny Boychuk – D – Bruins… Big Z isn’t the only Bruin with a wicked slapper and massive checking ability. Boom Boom broke out in the
AHL two seasons ago, and is on the verge of becoming a household name in the pros

Greene will be heavily relied upon in a new-look NJ defense

Andy Greene – D – Devils… with the loss of Paul Martin, Greene becomes the Devil’s most important defender in the uber-defensive Lamoriello system. He was also 5th on the team in points, and first in blocked shots a year ago.

Chris Stewart – RW – Avalanche… nearly fell out of playoff contention late last season, but the big winger catapulted to 64 points last year, and looks to showcase a more complete/consistent body of work this year.

Steve Downie – RW – Lightning… lives dangerously, and will likely grab most headlines for goon-like acts, but the Bolts’ winger also tallied 22 goals last year and looks to do the same in a potent offense this season.

Brian Elliott – G – Senators… when given the chance, Elliott has stepped in a played very well. So why would a guy who’s won 45 games as a backup goalie continually get to ride the pine for the Sens? You’ll need to ask Cory Clouston.

Any you think we missed? please share…

NHL: 2010 Off-Season Hockey Report

Ahh the summer heat may melt the ice across the continent, but while these guys are out on the golf course, their agents are hard at work trying to find them a new home and boatload of cash. Sure the NHL doesn’t have the same blockbuster free agents as the NBA, but interesting for sure, especially when the trades are thrown in there. It should be fun to see how things play out. Enjoy!

CENTER:
1. Olli Jokinen CGY/NYR – possibly the most puzzling of all FA’s, rated a top centerman 3 years ago, now it seems like few teams want him, consecutive lackluster seasons can do that.
2. Vaclav Prospal NYR – see-saw career track says another big season is up for Vinny in 2010-11
3. Matt Cullen OTT – journeyman, and good two way player, but lacking offensive punch
4. Matthew Lombardi PHO – Will garner a lot of interest from teams, but isn’t really a huge name.
5. Mike Comrie EDM – inclusion on this list further proves the lack of available depth at this position

WING:
1. Ilya Kovalchuk ATL/NJ – will likely garner most $ and attention of all UFA’s
2. Alexander Frolov LA – young talent who has yet to peak. Possibly a top 5 UFA this year.
3. Paul Kariya – not what he used to be, but still a good leader, maybe good for 40 points
4. Arron Asham – PHI – Wont bring many points to the table, but his grit and physicality are unquestioned.
5. Colby Armstrong – Versatile winger would be a great 3rd line addition to most teams

DEFENSEMEN:
1. Sergei Gonchar PIT – experienced cup winner and power play general, not bad on defense either. Injuries may be a concern though
2. Paul Martin NJ – will likely command $6 mil/yr or more, really showed his value last year
3. Anton Volchenkov OTT – not much on offense, but consistent and solid defender overall, justb try and get a puck past him
4. Derek Morris BOS/PHO – big pick-up for the Yotes, but likely headed back East.
5. Jordan Leopold FLA/PIT – didn’t stand out in Pittsburgh, but the skill is there, his stock may have fallen a tad though
6. Marc Andre Bergeron MTL –  centerpiece of stingy Habs defense, will likely continue to do same elsewhere
7. Dan Hamhuis NAS/PIT –  the Pens traded for his rights, but more teams are looking to sign the blue-line threat
8. Pavel Kubina ATL – top offensive FA defenseman, this is becoming a trend, does anyone want him?
9.  Toni Lydman BUF – good player on both ends of ice, might get more than a few offers
10. Joe Corvo CAR/WAS – didn’t have the same spark in DC, but still a vet with some left in the tank

As you can tell, the NHL Free Agent class this summer is littered with sought after defensemen. Goaltenders aren’t exactly limited in quantity either… take your pick!

GOALIE:
1. Evgeni Nabakov SJ – finally got out of the first round, maybe he’ll move out of cursed San Jose?
2. Marty Turco DAL –  best days are likely behind him, but a change of scenery could lead to a resurgence
3. Jose Theodore WAS – better than fans in DC will tell you, his 30 wins this year were no anomaly
4. Patrick Lalime BUF –  serviceable back up, would be a solid pick up to play #2
5. Peter Budaj COL – if not for Anderson’s great start to the year Budaj would have featured his skills even more
6. Dan Ellis NAS – could start for a number of teams, he is a consistent net-minder with experience
7. Ray Emery PHI – will need to prove he is healthy if he wants another chance as a #1 starter
8. Chris Mason STL – May have to resort to playing as a #2, but solid nonetheless
9. Alex Auld DAL/NYR – another back-up for sure, probably suitable down here on the list.
10. Antero Nittymaki TB – probably could start for some teams, but his value will ensure him a job

One last list for ya, Restricted free agents who are screaming… “show me the money!!!” Where’s Cuba Gooding Jr when you need him?

RFA’s
Antti Niemi CHI
Chris Stewart COL
Bobby Ryan ANA
Andrew Ladd CHI
James Neal DAL
Blake Wheeler BOS
Darren Helm DET
Ondrej Pavelec ATL
Jeff Deslauriers EDM
Guillaume Latendresse MIN
Maxim Lapierre MTL
Carey Price MTL
Daniel Girardi NYR
Marc Staal NYR
Daniel Carcillo PHI
Devin Setoguchi SJ
Erik Johnson STL
Steve Downie TB
Eric Fehr WAS
Jeff Schultz WAS

Heating up the Ice

Hopefully the Flyers don’t melt the playing surface, because they’re on fire right now. Aside from their early series hiccup against the Bruins, the Bullies have been the best team in the NHL, outscoring their opponents 36-18. But, their 6-0 shellacking on Sunday night showed me more about their defensive effort though. Sure the Canadiens may have layed a big goose egg in Game 1 against the Penguins too, but Pronger, Timonen, Carle, and especially Michael Leighton sucked the life out of a Canadiens offense that was really hitting its stride. I’m not very good with predictions, but if you held a gun to my head, I’d say the Flyers have a real shot winning the Cup. Gill and Georges may have had success bottling up Malkin and Crosby in the last round, but this Philly team looks quicker than both the Caps and Pens. It may be up to the Montreal faithful to get the Habs back in this series.

Let’s not foget about the other hot teams, thats right plural, out West. The Blackhawks may have taken the early advantage against the Sharks on Sunday, but don’t count San Jose out yet. Sure Chicago’s offense is banging on all cylinders, but San Jose was the better team in several aspects of yesterdays Game 1 contest (shots on goal, faceoffs, takeaways) plus they didnt take a single penalty. Also remember that Chicago has lost 3 times at home in these playoffs already. If San Jose evens the series at the Shark-Tank tomorrow, the Blackhawks will have their work cut out for them heading back to Chicago. I wouldnt be surprised at all if this series goes seven games, especially after the tight nature of game 1. Don’t expect any scores like the one we saw in Philly last night. Guys like Campbell and Boyle have been there before and both defenses are being quite stingy at the moment.

PREDICTION:

Flyers in 5…. ‘Hawks in 7

Promotion/Relegation Possibility

Zack Greinke would get the chance to play for a team that people actually knew existed

As the curtain closes on the Premier League season I’d like to reflect a bit and take a look at the concept of relegation. As a blogger for all-things sports here in the USA, I contemplated what life in the American Sports would be like if relegation were in play. There are so many factors to how the system would work that I had a hard time keeping track of them all. Let’s break it down into Pros vs Cons.

PROS

#1. More to play for at the end of seasons. Right now, when a team in pro- basketball, hockey, or football is struggling, they might as well lose the remainder of their games to ensure a good draft pick in the off-season. The Pirates and Nationals fighting it out late in the season to survive in a top flight division, now sounds a bit more interesting.

#2. Plays in with Free Agency. Players are always looking to go to a place where they’ll compete at a high level, and garner higher wages. Promotion and relegation are major proponents of this system. Bigger name English players typically try and remain in the Premier League and will fight for a trade to a team remaining in the top division.

#3. Place for aging veterans to still play. Guys like Barry Bonds, Brett Favre, and Chris Chelios can go somewhere and play out their 40s and 50s while still being the big men on campus. Washed up ballplayers may be over the hill, but their experience is still valued and they can still compete at the lower levels.

#4. Support of revenue sharing. Being in an upper league would benefit teams that normally couldnt afford to pay players higher salaries. Promotion would void this completely, as “lesser teams” would now have an influx of money to help improve the club, and keep it competitive.

#5. Excitement is essentially doubled. Attendance would be boosted to watch teams in the majors and minors battle it out for promotion or relegation. Fans would be treated to bonus exhilaration after things at the top of the leagues were decided weeks earlier.

#6. More divisions = more teams.  With the addition of relegation comes more teams looking to get into the mix, local fans already follow their home-town teams; LA could finally have their football team, Kansas City could finally get their hockey team, and new basketball teams could spawn in places like New York, Philly, and Detroit. Many smaller English teams are even owned by the locals of the town.

CONS

#1. Lack of history for a large number of newly promoted teams. Imagine the Toledo Mudhens or Albuquerque Isotopes playing big league baseball? Tough to do isn’t it? Although these histories would be built over time, just as they were in Europe.

#2. Waffling fan bases… sure teams in England suffer a hit in attendance and merchandising when their teams take the drop, but the majority of the fan base will stick with their team, and follow their performance in the lower league. American fans won’t have that same patience.

#3. Economic hardships are magnified. Every once and a while, a fairly wealthy team like Newcastle gets relegated. Imagine the N.Y. Mets down in AAA, they’d likely be back up the next season. Most of the smaller teams wouldn’t have the same luxury. If the Predators or Coyotes of the NHL got sent down, that’d be all she wrote. Teams would file for bankruptcy; not good for the sport.

#4. Perennial powerhouses out of the spotlight. If a teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs (highest grossing team in the NHL) were to go down, all hell would break loose in Canada. Imagine one bad year for the Cowboys could equal an exit from the country’s biggest sports league.

#5. Loss of the farm-systems. With baseball teams now all in play for who’s going up or down, baseball and hockey teams would be forced to create new pools to which they can draw young players to replace under-performing or injured ones. Plus, sports with non-existent farm systems like Football and Basketball would need time to build up lower divisions.

With every pro exists a con. Is it the best system? Probably not, but it may just be better than the one we’ve got now! Whitsport has had it’s take, now what’s yours?

Promotion advocates look no further than Burnley last year to support their cases... exciting underdog stories would run rampant