AH Timeline: The NHL-WHA merger: A different story

Interesting year after the realignment.

I know its minor but there's still the mistakes for the Prince of Wales Conference and the Smythe Division. Both were names after important history for the league.

Looking ahead, are we still going to see the massive expansion we saw in the 90s OTL? There's a lot more teams ITTL due to more of the WHA being absorbed and whilst there are many expansion locations, some of the team owners might object due to territorial rights.
 
Looking ahead, are we still going to see the massive expansion we saw in the 90s OTL? There's a lot more teams ITTL due to more of the WHA being absorbed and whilst there are many expansion locations, some of the team owners might object due to territorial rights.

The only city i see getting expansion is San jose and Ottawa as OTL, but milwaukee gets in instead of tampa Bay. The rest would be relocations. Still, we'll see in time.
 
1986 NHL Playoffs New
Entering their first round series against the very average Philadelphia Flyers, the Washington Capitals were a very confident group. With 25 points separating the two teams, the Caps were the overwhelming favorite. Needless to say, hockey fans everywhere were stunned when the Flyers won game one at the Capital Centre 6-1. Brushing it off as a fluke, Washington recovered with a 4-2 win in game two, before the Flyers won games 3 & 4 in overtime to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. After their best regular season in franchise history, the Capitals season was now on the brink. “We haven’t really faced adversity like this all year, well here it is now and we have to find a way to respond” said captain Mark Messier. The Capitals did respond in game five with a big 3-2 win, before forcing game seven with a 5-2 victory. Game seven was a tight one, with the two teams tied through two periods. With less than one minute left, Jari Kurri suddenly tipped an Alan Haworth point shot into the net to give the Capitals the lead. Philadelphia pressed hard but could not solve Vladislav Tretiak. Messier scored the empty-netter as Washington pulled off the comeback and advanced to the second round. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Stingers series with the New York Islanders proved to be one of the most surprising series played in a long time. The home team won every game except game 7 as the underdog Stingers advanced. In the Adams Division, Ray Bourque and the Whalers defeated Boston in five games, while Pat LaFontaine put his team on his back, leading the Detroit Red Wings in a stunning six-game upset over Quebec.

In the Campbell Conference, there were several upsets. Los Angeles was favored to beat the young Edmonton Oilers, but lost the series in six games and the Colorado Rockies stunned the Houston Aeros in a hard-fought six game series. Seattle would not be upset however, as they swept the upstart Calgary Wranglers in four straight.

The series between the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets was considered to be one of the most lopsided matchups in the playoffs with a 20 point difference between the two teams. St. Louis predictably took a 2-0 series lead, but Winnipeg’s checking line did an excellent job shutting down the Gretzky/Gartner Duo in games three and four to tie the series 2-2. Gretzky and Gartner both got back on the board in game 5, scoring twice each in a 4-2 win. The wheels completely fell off for the Blues in game six, however. Bernie Federko scored to give St Louis a 1-0 lead, but the Jets once again did a brilliant job shutting down the St. Louis forwards. Roland Melanson allowed two very soft goals early in the second period and then Winnipeg exploded for five more unanswered goals to stun the Blues 7-1. Melanson struggled again early in game seven and was pulled in favour of backup Rick Heinz after allowing two goals in the first sixteen seconds. Mike Gartner and Alain Lemieux tied the game but Winnipeg responded with another three goals. Gretzky, who had been tightly checked and constantly harassed by the Jet checkers, finally snapped. While being mugged by Jean Hamel in front of the net, Gretzky turned and swung at Hamel and knocked him out. Wayne was ejected and Winnipeg hung on for the win to complete one of the biggest upsets in NHL history. After the series, Blues head coach Jaques Demers didn’t mince words about Winnpeg’s play. “It’s unacceptable that this league can allow the best player in the game to be treated like that.”

Round two saw another one of biggest upsets in league history when Detroit shocked the heavily favored Hartford Whalers in a four game sweep that saw the first three games go into overtime. Pat LaFontaine played a huge role in the upset, scoring three goals including the winner in game one, while Red Wings goalie Mike Liut was a brick-wall in the net. Seattle took down Edmonton also in a sweep with the dynamic duo of Coffey and Langway continuing to lead the way, while Washington managed to win a very gritty series with Cincinnati in five games.

In the Norris Division final, Winnipeg continued their strong play against the Colorado Rockies. After splitting the first four games 2-2, the Jets dropped game five in Denver 4-1. Down 3-2 heading home for game six, the Jets managed to get a big 3-1 win thanks to goals from Morris Lukowich, Dave Donnelly, and Kent Nilsson. Game seven in Colorado remained tied 3-3 heading into overtime. Peter Aslin and Sean Burke both stood on their heads as one overtime turned into two, then three. Halfway through the third overtime, Kent Nilsson finally ended it with his fourth goal of the series to send Winnipeg to the Campbell Conference Finals.

In the Campbell Final, The Seattle Thunderbirds were quickly becoming the hottest team in the playoffs heading into the Conference Finals. In game one against Winnipeg, the T-Birds showed no signs of slowing down. Guy LaFluer and Paul Coffey each had two goals in addition to goals from Mark Napier, Tim Tookey, and Ken Linsemen in a 7-0 blowout. Game two was better for Winnipeg early on when Nilsson opened the scoring, but Seattle responded with three quick goals during the third period. The Jets hoped to turn things around at home in game three, but were unable to solve Patrick Roy, who earned a 2-0 shutout. Game four went into overtime, as Winnipeg turned in their best effort of the series with Morris Lukowich scoring twice earlier in the game. Overtime would be brief, however, as Napier beat goaltender Aslin to send Seattle to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals were a confident team entering the Wales Conference Finals. Mark Messier and Jari Kurri had proven to be one of the deadliest duos in the league, combining for 28 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs. There was little reason to doubt them after games one and two in Washington, where the Capitals won an overtime thriller in game one followed by a shutout victory in game two. Heading back home for game three, the Red Wings knew they needed to win to avoid an enormous uphill battle. Game three would go to overtime, where Pat LaFontaine scored the winner. Detroit tied the series in game four, as Red Wings winger Jim Peplinski drove Messier crazy all game. In game five, Peplinski shoved Jari Kurri to the ice while the referee wasn’t looking, prompting defenseman Larry Melnyk to punch him in the jaw. Melynk was ejected and Detroit took the series lead with a 4-2 win. Game six was delayed a day with Madonna playing a show at Joe Louis Arena. When game day finally arrived Washington was determined to ignore Peplinski, whose antics finally cost him and his team. Late in the game, Peplinski took a spearing penalty which led to a powerplay goal for Messier. Washington hung on to force game seven, but finally succumbed to the Red Wings in a tight game seven where Mike Krushelnyski scored in the final two minutes. For the first time since 1966, Detroit was headed to the Stanley Cup Finals to face Seattle.

Comments apricated! Who you got taking it home?
 
Detroit being out of turmoil earlier is a surprise especially since there’s no Steve Yzerman there this time. Also interesting to see the Jets clear the field for Seattle to have a somewhat easy time to get to the Stanley Cup Final.
 
1986 Stanley Cup Final New
1986 Stanley Cup Final: SEA vs DET

The 1986 Stanley Cup Finals would pit the Seattle Thunderbirds, looking for their first Stanley Cup in team history, against the Detroit Red Wings, seeking their first cup since 1955. Heavily favored to win it all, the T-Birds found themselves stunned in the first two games at home, losing both contests by 2 goals. Treating game 3 in Detroit like a must-win, Seattle kept things close throughout the game before finally pulling ahead to win the game in the third period on a goal from Mark Napier. Despite still being down 2-1 in the series, it appeared that Seattle was now in control. Game 4 would go to overtime, where the T-Birds dominated, forcing Red Wings goaltender Mike Liut to make 13 saves in OT alone. Late in the extra period Detroit winger Jim Peplinski blocked a Paul Coffey shot, putting center Pat LaFontaine on a breakaway. LaFontaine beat Patrick Roy for the winner, giving Detroit a commanding 3-1 series lead. The city of Seattle was in shock, while Detroit celebrated. It appeared that the Red Wings drought was finally over. In game 5, with the Stanley Cup in the building, Patrick Roy made 46 saves for the shutout as Seattle won 2-0. Game six would go into double overtime. Both teams had several big scoring chances but both goaltenders refused to yield. Finally, early in the second overtime, Guy LaFluer scored for Seattle to force game 7. The Red Wings, determined not to let their disappointment get the better of them in game 7, played their hearts out, keeping the game scoreless until almost the end of the second period despite a barrage of Seattle shots. LaFluer would finally find the back of the net, however, with just 1:36 to go in the second and Detroit found themselves desperately trying to tie it throughout the third. In the end, Patrick Roy, playing in the game of his life, proved to be too much for the Wings in game 7. The heartbroken Red Wings skated off the ice as Rod Langway accepted the Cup from John Ziegler

1986 Stanley Cup Champion: Seattle Thunderbirds

Comments apricated! Congrats to any T-Birds fans out there!
 
Even on a different team, Patrick Roy torments the red wings. Congrats to seattle. Langway deserved a stanley cup.
To Detroit's credit, no one dreamed that they would make the Final. They just ran out of gas at the end. Pat LaFontaine played his but off the entire playoff year and it seems the Wings have a bright future. They just need some help on D. Langway should have won a Cup IRL, but those Caps teams he was on were not exactly stacked with talent.
 
Pro Sports as of 1985-86 New
Pro Sports as of 1985-86

National Football League (NFL)

AFC East: Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets
AFC Central: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Oilers, Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC West: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks
NFC East: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, St Louis Cardinals, Washington Redskins
NFC Central: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West: Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers

Major League Baseball (MLB)

AL East: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Spiders (previously Indians), Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays
AL West: California Angels, Chicago White Sox, Denver Athletics, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers
NL East: Chicago Cubs, Montreal Expos, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St Louis Cardinals
NL West: Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants

National Basketball Association (NBA)

Atlantic Division: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Bullets
Central Division: Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks
Midwest Division: Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Kansas City Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz
Pacific Division: Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Clippers, Seattle SuperSonics

National Hockey League (NHL)

Adams Division: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, Montreal Canadiens, Quebec Nordiques, Toronto Maple Leafs
Patrick Division: Atlanta Flames, Cincinnati Stingers, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals
Smythe Division: Calgary Wranglers, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, San Diego Penguins, Seattle Thunderbirds, Vancouver Canucks
Norris Division: Chicago Black Hawks, Colorado Rockies, Houston Aeros, Minnesota North Stars, St Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets

Canadian Football League (CFL)
East Division: Atlantic Schooners, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Concordes, Ottawa Rough Riders, Toronto Argonauts
West Division: BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

United States Football League (USFL)

East Division: Baltimore Stars, Birmingham Stallions, Hartford Generals, Jacksonville Bulls, Memphis Showboats, Ohio Glory, Orlando Renegades
West Division: Arizona Outlaws, Los Angeles Express, Oklahoma Gamblers, Portland Breakers, Sacramento Gold Miners, Salt Lake Snowcaps, San Antonio Gunslingers

To start, the Raiders never moved to L.A. in 1982. Around that time, the Oakland A's were flirting with a possible relocation to Denver before the city of Oakland stepped in and blocked the move. Without the Raiders moving, the city lets the A's move to Colorado. Second, the USFL never moves to the fall for 1986 and sorta becomes an NFL minor-league instead. With this, the teams that are in NFL markets (New Jersey Generals, Tampa Bay Bandits, Oakland Invaders, Denver Gold and Houston Gamblers) move to other cities. New Jersey to Hartford, Tampa to Cloumbus, OH, Oakland to Sacramento, Denver to Salt Lake and Houston to OKC. The reason the Los Angeles Express didn't relocate is because the Rams played in Anaheim at the time and the Express played in the LA Coliseum. With the Raiders never moving there, they have it to themselves. Hopefully you got all that. Oh, and the Indians were re-named to the Spiders in 1983.
 
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And Later in the 1980's, The Gamblers will relocate from Oklahoma City to maybe Las Vegas, Nevada and will now be the Las Vegas Gamblers and it will be successful into the 90's and beyond.
 
And Later in the 1980's, The Gamblers will relocate from Oklahoma City to maybe Las Vegas, Nevada and will now be the Las Vegas Gamblers and it will be successful into the 90's and beyond.
That could happen, but the Arizona Outlaws could beat them to Vegas if the NFL Cardinals still move there in 88.
Will there still be the movie Major League? That would be awesome!
Yes, Major League will still come out. I Will get more into Pop Culture once we get into the 1990s because that’s when I grew up.
 
1986 NHL Draft and offseason New
1986 NHL Draft - Notable Selections

1. Jimmy Carson (C) - Chicago Blackhawks

2. Vincent Damphousse (C) - San Diego Penguins

6. Brian Leetch (D) - Vancouver Canucks

7. Zarley Zalapski (D) - Atlanta Flames

11. Craig Janney (C) - Calgary Wranglers

21. Adam Graves (LW) - Hartford Whalers

26. Teppo Numminen (D) - Chicago Blackhawks

53. Jyrki Lumme (D) - New York Islanders

65. Tim Cheveldae (G) - Winnipeg Jets

Notable Trades

Boston trades D Michel Goulet to St Louis for 2 draft picks in 1987.
Unhappy in Beantown, Goulet demanded a trade as soon as the offseason began. He got his wish as he joins Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner as they chase a third Stanley Cup in 4 years.

Minnesota trades D Al MacInnes to Toronto
The All-Star, hard-shooting defensing leaves Minnesota for a rising team in Toronto, as he and Mario Lemieux for possibly one of the deadliest scoring duos in the league.

Other news
The league's US TV contract with CBS expires after this season. With the NHL beating out the NBA in terms of ratings (CBS also had the NBA from 1973-74 to 1989-90), the NBA is also in trouble as Turner will air NHL games, so without CBS, the NBA will not have a national TV contract. FOX has expressed interest in both NHL and NBA games on thier network, which was founded earlier this year.
 
The league's US TV contract with CBS expires after this season. With the NHL beating out the NBA in terms of ratings (CBS also had the NBA from 1973-74 to 1989-90), the NBA is also in trouble as Turner will air NHL games, so without CBS, the NBA will not have a national TV contract. FOX has expressed interest in both NHL and NBA games on thier network, which was founded earlier this year.
Would go with CBS airing NHL games with Fox airing NBA games. TBS can air select games along with ESPN.

Minnesota trades D Al MacInnes to Toronto
I sense this could lead to Toronto heading for the cup sooner then later. Minnesota probably shot themselves in the foot.

2. Vincent Damphousse (C) - San Diego Penguins
Not bad for San Diego. Maybe he can help the Pens improve, though they need to improve on other aspects.
 
I sense this could lead to Toronto heading for the cup sooner then later. Minnesota probably shot themselves in the foot.


Not bad for San Diego. Maybe he can help the Pens improve, though they need to improve on other aspects.
Yeah, that Toronto team looks good, with Mario Lemieux, Dominik Hasek and McInnes, this could be the team of the 90s ITTL.

The Penguins will get there, they have Joe Nieuwendyk, who will have a solid career. It'll take time, but San Diego will get there.
 
Wonder if Jagr's gonna join his heterosexual life partner lemieux at toronto ITTL...minnesota better hit home runs with the picks they received for MacInnis.
It will be interesting to find out where Jagr ends up. He could go to the Toronto or not. Only time will tell. The North Stars will probably move ITTL just like IRL. One source I found is that team nearly moved to the Bay Area before the Sharks franchise was awarded. Norm Green nearly moved the team to Anaheim as well. Or they could stay in MN.
 
One option would be that the owners of the minnesota timberwolves can offer the north stars to play in the target center, thus keeping the team in minnesota. Then, in 99, when the XCel energy center opens across town in st. Paul, the north stars move there.
 
One final note about the offseason is that John Ziegler was approached by a potential ownership group from Portland, Oregon about possible expansion. While Ziegler maintained that the league is not currently looking to expand, he did meet with the group and stated that he was “significantly impressed” with their proposal.
 
One final note about the offseason is that John Ziegler was approached by a potential ownership group from Portland, Oregon about possible expansion. While Ziegler maintained that the league is not currently looking to expand, he did meet with the group and stated that he was “significantly impressed” with their proposal.
Portland could be a relocaton spot in the mid-90s, as well. Portland didn't really have an NHL-Ready arena until 1995, so that's why i proposed that.

If portland gets a team, will it use the old rosebuds name of the 1920s?
 
Portland could be a relocaton spot in the mid-90s, as well. Portland didn't really have an NHL-Ready arena until 1995, so that's why i proposed that.

If portland gets a team, will it use the old rosebuds name of the 1920s?
The Memorial Coliseum could work as a temporary venue for a team, since it was home to the Junior league Winterhawks for a long time.
 
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