Gretzky & Lemieux: impact on stats & awards
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12-15-2012, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by
Good post, thanks. One other facet of a 99/66-less universe that'd be worth looking at is the effect on the Cup. If you take the extreme position (especially in Gretzky's case) that the Oilers and Pens would have no wins other then the Gretzky-less Edmonton one in 1990, and assume the team they beat in the finals would have won, the Flyers get a couple of 80's Cups, the Islanders extend their streak to 5, and Boston, Chicago, and Minnesota (Dallas) all get one.
Howe- and Orr-less scenarios would be interesting, too - with no Howe, Maurice Richard would have been the first team all-star RW 13 years in a row.
1984: Islanders would've won the cup easily, giving them five in a row. Who would they face in the finals, the Flames or North Stars? I think the Flames defeat Minnesota, but the Islanders are too much for Calgary to handle for the Cup.
1985: Flyers win the cup over Edmonton. Even without Gretzky, the Oilers would be strong enough to make it to the Cup Finals, coming up short though.
1986: Habs still win the cup, although it could be argued that the Flames grueling seven game series win over Edmonton took a toll on the team. They barely defeated the Blues in the third round and lost the cup in five games to Montreal. Without the Oilers being that good, they would've had an easier time winning, could've taken care of the Blues easier in the third round, and have more energy against Montreal. I still think the Canadiens win the cup, as Roy was outstanding during the playoffs.
1987: Flyers would've defeated Edmonton again.
1988: Boston VS Edmonton. I think the Oilers still defeat Calgary in the division finals without Gretzky, and win the Stanley Cup over the Bruins, giving the Oilers their first (and only) Stanley Cup in team history.
1989: Calgary wins their first (prehaps second if they can win in 1986) Cup in team history.
1990: Hard to see the Oilers winning, as I think Winnipeg wins the first round matchup between the teams. I'd say the finals would be Boston VS Winnipeg, but then again, the Flames probably wouldn't lose to the Gretzky-less Kings. Hard to say, but I think Boston wins the Cup against either the Flames or Jets.
1991: Again, very hard to know who wins, most likely Boston, but would the Flames have lost to Edmonton in the first round? Remember, the Oilers would not have been defending champs who always seemed to have the Flames number. Either way, Boston wins their second straight Stanley Cup, against either the Flames or North Stars.
1992: I think Chicago defeats Boston in the finals in seven games, a perfect way to end the NHL's 75th season with two original six teams in the finals.
It's impossible to say what would have happened if either Gretzky or Lemieux didn't exist, but it does appear the Flames, Bruins and Flyers would have won more than the one Stanley Cup combined between those three teams between 1984 and 1992. The Flames look like they had a chance to become a dynasty level team with multiple wins if Gretzky didn't exist throughout the 80's, while the Bruins could have been a dynasty level team in the early 90's. Same could be said for the Flyers, especially in 1986 if Lindbergh isn't in his car accident.
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