What If…

Myles Dichter

In the spirit of last year’s NHL playoff commercials, a series of what if questions to ponder with some answers.

What if JFJ hadn’t made the Raycroft deal?

Things would be looking up in Leafs Nation. They would have a solid goalie behind them, and judging by the way they played over the last couple months, they would most likely still be playing as I type this. Of course, they probably also wouldn’t have discovered Optimus Reim, but I think its safe to say that Tuukka Rask is significantly better than Raycroft.

What if the Jets never left Winnipeg in the first place?

We wouldn’t have to deal with all the will they or won’t they BS surrounding Phoenix. We wouldn’t have to listen to Gary Bettman try to cover up the fact that they are moving to Winnipeg as soon as they cross the t’s and dot the i’s on the deal. Also, the NHL would also probably be in better financial shape.

What if Stephen Strasburg didn’t need Tommy John surgery?

What a story this was last year, after just a few starts at the MLB level, pitching phenom Strasburg blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John. A few things might have occurred had Strasburg decided not to get hurt. For one, a few more ballparks would have had the luxury of having Strasburg grace his presence in their stadium, likely leading to a sold out game (Cleveland sold out for the guy!). Strasburg probably would have gone on to take rookie of the year honours, and maybe if his hype continued, he could have stolen a Cy Young from Doc. Also, the Nationals would have coverage not for overpaying Jayson Werth, but for having the best young pitcher in baseball don their uniform.

What if there was a salary cap in the MLB?

Suffice it to say, there would be way more parity in the league. The more interesting question, at least in my opinion, would be how a team like the Yankees would work their way under the cap, even if the cap was set at, say $110m. Currently, the Bombers have about $197m invested in their team. So the cap would require about $87m worth of salary cuts. If they were to impose a cap after this season, nothing much would change. I also don’t think that divas like Jeter and A-Roid would be too keen on taking paycuts. So what can the Yanks sacrifice to become cap-compliant? Just writing about the potential of this makes my mouth water.

What if there wasn’t even a luxury tax or revenue sharing?

This situation doesn’t make me quite as happy. I imagine that this would lead to contraction as teams like the Rays and Marlins get quashed by the bigger markets. I don’t see this ever happening, but if it did it would probably ruin Major League Baseball.

What if Lebron hadn’t signed in Miami?

First off, we still would have to endure “The Decision”. But lets roll through some scenarios.

“I’m taking my talents to Chi-City”- This is an interesting one. I think that the Bulls would be a 65-win team, even without Boozer, who may end up signing in Miami and teaming up with D-Wade, or maybe D-Wade goes to NYC to team up with A’mare. This makes the Knicks and Bulls the top teams in the East. Not sure where Bosh ends up here-possibly Miami still.

“I’m keeping my talents in Cleveland”- The city of Cleveland would still be rockin’, at least in the basketball sense of the term. I think Bosh still follows Lebron here, and we have a three-way race in the East with Chicago, Cleveland and New York, where Wade and A’mare once again end up. Miami and Cleveland basically swap positions in the standings here.

“I’m taking my talents to Manhattan”- Take the publicity that Melo has received and times it by 1000. Lebron would have been HUGE. Possible that Wade and Bosh join him here too. That city would be nuts come playoff time. I don’t think Rex Ryan would be too pleased.

What will happen if the NFL locks out its players next season?

Tons of money lost, for everyone. This is just a bad situation for everyone. The NFL is a 7 billion dollar business. This may even hurt the American economy.  Interesting tidbit about the schedule, the NFL gave itself a small cushion in negotiations by giving every week 3 opponent the same bye week. This is just about greed, and its not fair to us fantasy football players. What am I going to do on Sundays? Can you imagine if the NFL uses replacement players? That would be such a joke. Thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that happened. I don’t think anyone would give 2 shits about a quasi-NFL season.

What if Crosby hadn’t been concussed?

For one, we wouldn’t be seeing “concussion specials” on SportsNet. But I also think that suspensions would be down, as the NHL tries to prevent another star player from going down. What’s interesting here is that I don’t even see much of a change in the Penguins hockey team. A 4th place finish would probably still be in line for them, and as it stands right now, they’re probably going to the second round without Malkin and Sid. Where their absence (if it’s still there) will really hurt is going forward, when they may have to play Ovechkin and his suddenly dangerous Capitals. The Pens need Crosby in that one.

What if the Sedin twins morphed into one player?

Disclaimer: I came up with these questions before the last two games in the Chi/Van series, where Corey Crawford had more points than Daniel and Henrik. Combined. Apparently, if the Sedins were one they would be the greatest chokers in the history of professional sports. They would also take the cake for best regular season players of all-time, with Henrik’s passing ability and Daniel’s scoring touch. Then again, maybe they would falter without playing with the other. EA Sports: make this happen in NHL 12.

What if the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup?

Ask your grandparents.

In all whatever seriousness there is to this possibility, this city would be nuts. We love to make fun of Montreal for their riots, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened here. On the day of the parade, schools would be empty (public schools would let their kids off, CHAT kids would forge notes). On the night of the victory, the streets would be flooded with blue and white. Tears of joy, laughter of disbelief, drunk belligerence would be just a few of the individual reactions by Leafs fans. For the first time since ’67, the Leafs would be respectable.

If only this actually happened.

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