At long last, we will have hockey! The season will begin on January 14th, with a game against the Lightning, which will get us comfortably into midseason hockey without dealing with that pesky first half of the season. I’m sure it will be as electrifying as every Southeast Division game is!
But onto more important matters. This season will be only 48-games, which is slightly more than half the usual number played. There’s also talk of allowing an extra team (or 2) from each conference to make the playoffs, which would make the regular season just completely irrelevant. Everyone makes the playoffs, except Edmonton and Columbus, who get top five draft picks!
This leads to my main point: is it worth winning a 48-game season? It’s worth playing, obviously, for everyone making money off of it, and for the fans who at this point are desperate for high-quality hockey played at a reasonable hour, on television. But the Cup winner — at this point, I’d rather see the Red Wings, or the Bruins take it. Someone who has won it before, whom we don’t have a blood feud with.
Perhaps this is foolish, or selfish, or otherwise misguided, but I don’t want an asterisked Cup. It is the worst argument you can use — only to be invoked when you have no more rebuttals and have good as lost the debate — but every Penguins fan has “3 Stanley Cups!” as a last resort argument in their arsenal. I can only imagine what they would say if we won this Cup. It would probably be worse than if we had never won anything. “You can only win a Cup in a shortened season!”
And if we won the Cup after making it into the playoffs in an extended spot? The jeering would never end.
Not to mention the shortened season devalues the President’s Trophy, the actual indicator of what team was best that particular season. I realize no one respects it, presumably because it’s not historical and bowl-y enough (?), but last season the 8 seed won the Stanley Cup. How do we even take it seriously at all? But it’s the trophy that takes into account enough games to not be a fluke.
I want hockey back, but I don’t want to win a 48-game Cup.