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Old 12-20-2019, 03:00 PM   #1
Cole98
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Monopoly: The Uncontested NHL

Since this is an alternate history I must define the premise of this experiment, the point of divergence and the general parameters of the playthrough. That said, welcome to Monopoly.

Point of Divergence
Monopoly branches off from our timeline in 1970, Buffalo and Vancouver join the league that year as in real life but the season plays out differently. However, the biggest change will come in 1972

1970-71 Briefing
First off the league adopts a better alignment with the addition of Buffalo and Vancouver.


The Rangers barely beat the Bruins for the Regular Season title


The Boston Bruins defeat the Red Wings in the 1971 Stanley Cup Finals. Phil Esposito wins the Conn Smythe Trophy along with the Heart, Rocket, and Art Ross Trophies. (Not sure why the game gave Philly a higher seed than the Habs)


1971-72 Briefing

During the regular season, the East finishes almost in the same order as it had the prior season. The West saw the North Stars and Kings miss the playoffs, while the Seals and Blues snuck in. Regardless the West is still dominated by the two Original Six franchises.


The 1972 Stanley Cup Playoffs were a predictable affair, the team with the best record won every series, with Brad Park leading the Rangers to their 4th Stanley Cup. Bobby Hull took home the Art Ross and Rocket trophies while Esposito won his second consecutive Hart.
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Old 12-20-2019, 06:17 PM   #2
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Kill It Before It Grows: The 1972 Expansion

In the Summer of 1972, there were rumours of an upstart professional league that aimed to challenge the NHL's position as the premier league in North America. The World Hockey Association (WHA) would have placed teams in new markets as well as NHL markets. The untapped markets that drew interest were locales such as Atlanta, Calgary, Cleveland, Edmonton, Hartford, Houston, Ottawa, Quebec City, and Winnipeg. While Los Angeles, New York, Minnesota, and Philadelphia were eyed as potential markets where the WHA could confront the NHL.

For the Expansion Draft, existing teams could only protect fifteen skaters and two goalies.

What the WHA did not count on was the aggressive expansion of the NHL in 1972-73. While not every market that the WHA eyed received a team, those markets who received teams were vital for the NHL to stamp out the upstart league. In particular, the NHL cemented control over Canada by adding four new teams - three of which were on the prairies. Atlanta and Long Island also received teams.



This brought the size of the league to 20 teams. The NHL restructured the league into two conferences with a pair of 5 team divisions each.
Under the new playoff format, the top 3 teams in each division qualified for the postseason. The 2nd and 3rd seeds of each division were to play a best-of-five series in the first round, or Division Semifinal, with division winners earning a bye. The other three rounds would be best-of-seven series. Division winners played the victors of the previous round, and the winners of these series faced the victor other Division Final in the Conference Finals. The Conference Champions would face off for the Stanley Cup.
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Old 12-22-2019, 09:39 PM   #3
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1972-73: Ambiguous Rules

1972-73 Briefing
During the first half of the regular season, things unfolded relatively as expected. Only one 1972 Expansion Team was in playoff position on January 1st, the Calgary Cowboys. Thanks to a first-line that included Bill Barber and Gordie Howe. The Chicago Black Hawks dominated the first half of the season, with Bobby Hull leading the way. Montreal was in a good position themselves, sitting with a nine-point lead atop the Saint Lawrence Division.


At the end of the season, no expansion team qualified for the post-season. Calgary fell apart in the stretch, winning only eight games in the months of January, February, and March thus finishing fourth in the Pacific Division. The Quebec Nordiques missed the playoffs by just 4 points. Chicago continued their frantic pace and finished with 128 points and a grandiose goal differential. Montreal claimed the East with 105 points. The Pacific Division stood out as particularly weak, goal differentials were unimpressive and not one team reached more than 35 wins. The Atlantic was a curious case - on one hand, the Rangers had the third-best record in the league, but the Penguins reached the playoffs despite an abysmal 28-41-9 season.


Due to an ambiguity in the rules regarding seeding the playoffs were run without regard for division - it was simply the top 3 teams of each division seeded according to their record when compared to the league. This mistake was rectified the following season but it led to an interesting postseason with the Rangers claiming the cup.


AWARDS
Hart Trophy - Jean Ratelle (NYR) - 78 GP 37 G 41 A 78 P
Conn Smythe Trophy - Syl Apps (NYR) - 17 GP 10 G 12 A 22 P
Calder Trophy - Bill Barber (CGY) - 78 GP 31 G 36 A 67 P
Rocket Richard Trophy - Phil Esposito (BOS) - 72 GP 60 G 64 A 124 P
Art Ross Trophy - Bobby Hull (CHI) - 78 GP 59 G 78 A 137 P
Norris Trophy - Doug Jarrett (CHI) - 68 GP 53 +/- 35 P
Vezina Trophy - Tony Esposito (CHI) - 53 GP 44-5-4 .933 SV% 1.61 GAA

Controlled Team Focus
The Calgary Cowboys began to play in one of the smallest NHL arenas at the time. The Stampede Corral regularly sold-out games, in part due to low capacity but the allure of Gordie Howe helped. Prior to the season Cowboys General Manager and Head Coach James Martin acquired Gordie Howe from Detroit in exchange for Claude Larose. Larose was picked in the 13th round of the 1972 Expansion Draft. The Cowboys have a promising future with Bill Barber.

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