Larry Bertuzzi rules in favour of the Quebec Nordiques trading of Eric Lindros to the New York Rangers and not the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers, led by Mike Ricci and Peter Forsberg and backed by the goaltending of free agent signee Curtis Joseph win the Stanley cup in 1996, 1997, and 1998.
Instead of turning the puck over to Yzerman, Gretzky leads the rush and the Blues beat the Wings in game 7 of the 96 playoffs. Fueled by thier victory over the Red Wings the Blues go on to beat the Avelanche and Panthers to win thier first cup.
Ulf Samuelsson is TKO'd by a Chris Nilan roundhouse early in game 3 of the conference final in 1991. With Ulf gone, Neely escapes Ulf's cheapshots that would come later in that game and continues his torrid goalscoring pace as the Bruins-- who were actually already up 2 games to none in the series--win 2 of the next three to go to the final. Then the Bruins beat a fiesty but tired North Stars team in 7 games for the 1991 cup. Neely, then 25 years old, goes on to score several hundred more goals over the next decade, securing his place in the HHOF. The Bruins would come close again a few times in the 90's but both Bourque and Neely would retire as Bruins in the early 2000's.
The St. Louis Blues do not trade Geoff Courtnall, Sergio Momesso, Cliff Ronning and Robert Dirk for Garth Butcher and Dan Quinn; Thus advancing past the Minnsota North Stars and facing the Oilers in the Western Conference Finals.
Howard Baldwin buying the Penguins. We went from the second highest payroll in the league to bankruptcy court faster than you could say lawsuit.
“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. If we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” - Stanley Kubrick
USSR beats USA in 1980, America loses the will to compete, re-elects Jimmy Carter, and is eventually taken over by Mexico.
...ut seriously, I agree with the Neely/Ulf one, and here's another
The Bruins' bench stays focused and only 5 men are on the ice in the later stages of Game 7 of the 1979 Wales Conference Final, Don Marcotte scores an Empty Net Goal to seal it, the Bruins go on to win the Cup and end the Montreal dynasty. The Habs then get so frustrated over losing and having Dryden retire that they actually convince the Soviet Union to let Tretiak go. He does well(but never wins a cup), and the Canadiens decide not to draft some goalie named Roy a few years later, who slips to the Bruins, who go on to win more Stanley Cups with a healthy Cam Neely!
The NHL/WHA merger goes through on the first attempt with 5 teams joining the NHL (Houston). Gretzky doesn't sign as an underage player and is taken with the first pick in the 1980 entry draft by the Atlanta Flames, who go on to win 6 Cups in the decade.