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The Best and Worst Stanley Cup Match-ups



Every hockey fan wants their NHL team to make the Stanley Cup Finals every year. We all know that is not possible. So do you watch when your team is not in the Stanley Cup Finals? Or, are you the hardcore NHL fan that will watch no matter what?

Every year the NHL hopes for parity, and new teams in the finals. It creates a broader level of excitement. But, we all know that fans, and the league hope for certain match-ups. Great television ratings in the United States depend on certain match-ups. So, who are the best match-ups, and the worst match-ups?

Western Conference – Best

1- Chicago Blackhawks

2- Los Angeles Kings

3- Vancouver Canucks

Western Conference – Worst

1- Phoenix Coyotes

2- Nashville Predators

3- Winnipeg Jets

The obvious teams are Chicago, and Los Angeles, but Vancouver was a hard choice for the best. I think St. Louis, and San Jose are also good markets. The Canadian factor, the popularity, and the hype nationwide that having Vancouver in the finals, played a huge roll in why I think they would be the third choice. The worst was fairly easy. The market in Phoenix has been struggling for years, and unfortunately I do not see that changing. Nashville has been a solid team, but a small market and team changes will drop them down the list. Winnipeg was my tough choice. They are wildly popular in their market, and Canada would be crazy if they got in, but I just could not get past the fact that I don’t think any fans on the east coast probably watched one of their games this year. Strong market, but not strong as far as fan outreach goes.

Eastern Conference – Best

1- Toronto Maple Leafs

2- New York Rangers

3- Boston Bruins

Eastern Conference – Worst

1- Florida Panthers

2- Carolina Hurricanes

3- Columbus Blue Jackets

Toronto is a lock. They are the most popular team in Canada, and up against a great US market would draw a lot of attention. New York Rangers was an easy decision because they are one of the most popular US teams, and are also the largest American market. The Boston Bruins was a tough decision. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia would give them a run, but I do think the Bruins would have a stronger fan outreach. It goes without saying how popular they are in the New England area. As for the (worst) teams Florida is a lock. They are not popular in Florida, so I know that they are not popular anywhere else. Sorry Florida fans, its the truth. Carolina is also a team kind of lost in a small, quiet hockey market. The Columbus Blue Jackets was a situation much like the Winnipeg Jets. They have an amazingly strong base in Columbus, and it is a great place to go to an NHL game, they just suffer in outreach fans.

This is fun to talk about, but also difficult and very subjective. It is truly hard to say what match-ups spark hockey fans, and get them excited to watch the Stanley Cup Finals. I do know that every fan wants their team involved in the Finals, but if they are not I think they have other teams that they would like to watch, and others they would not want to watch.

Anyways for the diehards it is a pleasure every year watching two great teams battle it out in a seven game series, in hopes of raising Lord Stanley’s Cup.


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