By: Jimmy Leppert
Over the weekend, the American Ultimate Disc League launched its fourth season. The start of each season always has a lot of questions. On Wednesday, the National Hockey League will start another iteration of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The league has shifted to straight battle mode, as the remaining 16 teams compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup. In this post, I combine a preview for the entire league while vaguely talking hockey the entire time. Perfect.
As mentioned, the AUDL has already kicked off its fourth season over the weekend, the first of many games for many new franchises and players. Evan Lepler has joined their crew full-time, and kicks off a great weekly-column series, “The Tuesday Toss”, with his post going over what happened and what’s to come this season. If you’re interested in a more serious look at the AUDL season, you should stick to what Mr. Lepler says, not me.
Here are the NHL playoff match-ups, substituted with AUDL teams when needed, and thoughts on each series:
St. Louis BluesToronto Rush vs Minnesota WildWind Chill
The Blues are easily replaced by the Rush – both have do to with music. And in case you didn’t already know that Minnesota loves the outdoors, how similar the two team names of Wild and Wind Chill are should give it away. Plus, much like the Wild logo, when you squint at the Wind Chill logo, you can see a bear.
Rush take this match-up
PredatorsNightwatch vs. Chicago BlackhawksWildfire
So the Nightwatch is out there looking for these Predators, right? With both in the same city, I mean that’s just asking for bad news. Very glad that Windy City didn’t make an appearance this year.
Wildfire win, Nightwatch can’t stop/drop/roll
Anaheim DucksLos Angeles Aviators vs. Winnipeg JetsAtlanta Hustle
LA is close enough to Anaheim, plus Ducks were the original Aviators. Bonus points if the Aviators pull off a flying-v this season. The Winnipeg team was once in Atlanta, this is like them giving back to the city they stranded at the altar.
Hustlers out-hustle the Aviators
CanucksRiptide vs. Calgary FlamesSeattle Cascades
Can the Riptide adopt “Johnny Canuck” with their name somehow? Calgary has no AUDL team, but the NHL-rivalry here has been as intense in the past as the Vancouver-Seattle ultimate rivalry.Thus, the Cascades take over for the Flames.
Cascades are just frozen Riptides, they win
CanadiensRoyal vs. Ottawa SenatorsOutlaws
Another big-time rivalry featuring Canadian teams, just like the NHL! How great! I feel like there’s a subtle Quebec vs. rest-of-Canada battle going on with the names too, the Royal vs the Outlaws. Hmmm…
Royals win, peasants face starvation for third-straight winter
Tampa Bay LightningJacksonville Cannons vs. Detroit Red WingsRaleigh Flyers
The sound a lightning bolt makes can be described as a cannon, right? Perfect. Red Wings, who have made the playoffs every season for the past 24 – much like the guys in Raleigh keep qualifying for USAU Club Nationals. I guess that transfers to the Flyers.
Flyers use their stability to win
- New York
RangersEmpire vs. Pittsburgh PenguinsThunderbirds
Congratulations to the Empire, you have been given the superior New York-based hockey franchise. You’re welcome. Pittsburgh gets to really just change which type of bird they have on their chest – they kind of have a squished version of this logo.
Thunderbirds do have a lot of super-stars…
New York Islandersvs. Washington CapitalsDC Breeze
Why bother even replacing the Islanders, they’re just going to move on you, or get rid of the best logo EVER… And the Breeze may be fighting themselves and that roster turnover more than anything else this season.
Breeze win by default though
But wait! That’s not all of the AUDL franchises. Here are the rest, with the NHL franchise they replace:
Buffalo SabresRochester Dragons – Who is their Connor McDavid, or Jack Eichel? Arizona CoyotesPhiladelphia Phoenix – The Coyotes used to be from Phoenix, not Arizona – so this works. Florida PanthersIndianapolis Alleycats – They need a friend with a cat Toronto Maple LeafsDetroit Mechanix – An original team, with a lot of league history. But the results… Boston BruinsCincinatti Revolution – There were a lot of revolution-y things in Boston way back when. Columbus Blue JacketsMadison Radicals – I should’ve thought this out better. Blue Jackets could be Cannons too, I guess. New Jersey DevilsSan Francisco Flamethrowers – Here ya go. LA KingsSan Jose Spiders – The champions suffered this year in the NHL, but still remained a threat. Similar story here? (Probably not) San Jose SharksSan Diego Growlers – Jimmy Mickle could be mistaken for Brent Burns, maybe. Carolina HurricanesCharlotte Express – Much like the Hurricanes, the Express will have a lot of in-state problems.
In reality, I think the Spiders and Cascades will lead an extremely difficult Western division. The Rush will continue to dominate the East. Pittsburgh rallies to take the top spot from one of Madison or Chicago. And Raleigh and Atlanta battle for the South division title. I’m hoping profits can reach a point where more inter-division play is possible, because all of the divisions, except for the West, seem to be extremely top-heavy. The odds have to be pretty high that a team at this year’s US Open is going to be a strong resemblance to the AUDL champion. Which city without an elite-flight team gets the most wins this season?