The 2019-20 NHL season is suspended, and the status of it ever finishing is up in the air. With the recommendations changing and ramping up by the day – if not the hour – it’s becoming a real possibility that the season does not resume.
It’s a disappointing realization for the Philadelphia Flyers, the fans, and the hockey world as a whole. The season was showing plenty of promise with the playoffs just a month away, but it was taken away from us.
If the season goes from being suspended to cancelled, here are a few ways that the NHL could consider awarding the Stanley Cup.
Mascot Royal Rumble
With all humans needing to remain quarantined due to the coronavirus, the teams cannot play each other. However, the World Health Organization has confirmed that animals can’t contract the virus, and I’ll make the assumption that the ruling extends to mascots. So, perhaps a physical competition between the NHL mascots could take place.
Tommy Hawk of the Chicago Blackhawks may put up a fight, but he’s got nothing on Gritty. Also, the Chicago Blackhawks are nowhere near playoff positioning, which should be taken into account for the tournament.
Gritty has become the most popular – and feared – mascot in the NHL, if not the entire sporting world. He has already allegedly had a physical run-in with a combatant, and has shown no mercy with his tweets and antics. There’s no doubt that Gritty would be the last mascot standing to win the Stanley Cup for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Thanks to Ryan Quigley for the inspiration.
Facing off for the Cup
One of the most basic plays in hockey is the faceoff. There are usually at least 50 faceoffs in a game, making it instrumental toward possessing the puck and winning games.
Just ask Steve Ott, who won the Stanley Cup last season as an assistant coach on the St. Louis Blues.
If we take Mr. Ott’s advice, and look at NHL.com, it shows that the Philadelphia Flyers are first in the league in faceoff percentage at 54.6%.
Furthermore, Sean Couturier leads the league in faceoff percentage at 59.6%, with Claude Giroux in fourth at 59.0%. Trade deadline addition Nate Thompson will help out as well with a solid 55% mark, placing him 19th in the league.
If the NHL simply looks at faceoff percentage, or holds a small tournament, the Flyers will assuredly come out on top.
May the odds be ever in your favor
MoneyPuck has become one of the best models in determining who will win the Stanley Cup. They were high on the Blues before anyone else last season, and they’ve found another up-and-coming team in the second half that is at the forefront of their projections.
So, it’d only be fair to award the Stanley Cup to the team with the highest odds per MoneyPuck, right?
Well, would you look at that. The Flyers hold the highest odds to win the Stanley Cup at 13.6%.
Let’s take a look at a few other percentages, just for fun.
The Flyers have a higher chance of making the Stanley Cup Final (23.1%) than the Pittsburgh Penguins do of winning two rounds (11.4%), and have a higher chance of winning two rounds (38.7%) than the Penguins do of winning one round (31.6%).
From February to the finish
With teams’ performances in flux throughout the season, it may be best to look at recent records to determine a winner. Teams that do better in the second half of the season typically fare well in the playoffs, and February is when things start to take shape around the league.
Here are the top four teams by point percentage since February 1st:
With two teams from each conference, they could do a short tournament. However, if no games can be played, they may have to go a tiebreaker. Luckily for the Flyers, they have more regulation wins (13) than the Bruins (11) since February 1st, and won the season series 2-0-1 anyway.
Chirping for a championship
Last, but certainly not least, the league could look at the best on-ice trash talkers.
Travis Konecny has shown to be a Grade-A chirper in both this season and last. He also now has Kevin Hayes by his side, as well as Scott Laughton.
After what Hayes, Konecny and Laughton did to Brendan Lemieux, there is no doubt that the Flyers would win this, ya nerds (and/or boneheads).
With the savage comments that we’ve seen in mic’d up segments – and caught by some on-ice microphones – the Flyers could chirp their way to the Stanley Cup.
Wow, would you look at that. The Flyers have a great chance of winning the Stanley Cup no matter what happens.
In all seriousness, if the NHL is unable to resume the regular season, hopefully they could at least have the Stanley Cup Playoffs in one way, shape, or form. In that case, the Flyers should still have a good chance of going back on another run. They were the hottest team in the league over the past few weeks (if not longer) and weren’t rusty after a two-week break for the All-Star game.
If the season does not resume, there are bigger things to worry about than sports and the Stanley Cup. But we can still try to have some fun while we’re waiting it out.
Wash your hands, stay inside, and go Flyers.