Stewart McSweyn is the Chris Judd of Australian athletics, if not better… much better.
So you’re an NRL fan interested in watching the NHL this year, but have no idea what team you should support.
You’re lost, unsure of how each team plays and how they relate to you. Not to fear.
Here’s your official cut out and keep guide of the team you should support this coming NHL season, depending on which NRL team you follow.
Eastern Conference: Philadelphia Flyers
Western Conference: Anaheim Ducks
Philly and Anaheim were once storied franchises who dominated the game with their revolutionary style of play.
But, just like Brisbane, bad management decisions have left them in a deep hole (trade Bryzgalov already).
The Flyers also lack direction and an inspirational leader to take them forward in the future
Supporter rating: 4/10
East: Washington Capitals
West: Los Angeles Kings
Both teams, like Canberra, are very powerful up front, yet somehow still massively underrated (Skinner!). Both teams have young future stalwarts, along with questionable backup goalies.
Both teams are always a sneaky chance of making a deep finals run. Oh, and did I mention the capital factor?
Supporter rating: 7/10
East: Tampa Bay Lightning
West: Dallas Stars
Both teams have offensive firepower, with only one key player (Stamkos and Seguin), while being fairly solid everywhere else. However, they’re prone to go mysteriously missing come finals time.
If their goalies come up big, their team can come up big.
But seriously, Lindback sucks. Backstrom less so. They aren’t good enough.
Supporter rating: 6/10, or 10/10 if you like to see players taking off their shirts regularly.
East: New Jersey Devils
Only one team in the NRL brings the drama like Cronulla. And only one team brings as much drama in the NHL as the Devils.
Supporter rating: 3/10
Gold Coast Titans
East: Ottawa Senators
West: San Jose Sharks
All of them just do their business quietly. Minus one idiot (and you can guess who), a mix of old and young players.
They’re also the types of teams that, if they’re on the TV, you won’t change the channel, but you won’t pay attention as such either.
Supporter rating: 6.5/10
Manly Sea Eagles
East: Pittsburgh Penguins
West: Vancouver Canucks
It’s Manly. You either love them to death or you wish they never existed. Like Steve Matai, these teams have their hated players (Sidney Crosby and the Sedin brothers) whom, although extremely talented, every team wants to beat them to a pulp.
Support at your own risk.
Supporter rating: 1/10
East: Boston Bruins
West: Chicago Blackhawks
Winners are grinners. These teams play hard-nosed, brutal hockey. At their best, they are devastatingly unbeatable.
Like Melbourne, they have unbelievable star players and history makers, and will always be there come finals time.
Supporter rating: 8.5/10
East: Detroit Red Wings
West: Phoenix Coyotes
Newcastle is a team that no one talks about being a contender at the start of the year, but a few flukey performances puts them close to winning it all.
Full of old players (Detroit) or ownership problems (Quebec City anyone?), they still manage to get it done despite all the problems, or pensions that still need to be paid.
Supporter rating: 8/10, if you can put up with talks of Phoenix being moved every other day.
North Queensland Cowboys
East: Toronto Maple Leafs
West: St. Louis Blues
Why? *Starts playing Heartbreak Hotel*
Supporter rating: Hardcore only please.
East: Florida Panthers
West: Colorado Avalanche
Parramatta’s hopelessness is still far greater than the ineptness of these teams. And trust me, these teams are pretty damn terrible.
Supporter rating: Nonexistent. Seriously. Shield your eyes.
East: Buffalo Sabers
West: Calgary Flames
Always there or thereabouts, but never there. Both teams still lack two good spine players before they can be considered a chance of making the finals. Exactly like the Panthers. Kind of.
Supporter rating: 4/10
East: Montreal Canadiens
West: Minnesota Wild
All of them have crazy passionate fans. If you ever meet a fan, make sure you haven’t got a meeting to get to within the hour.
Plus, they’re half decent teams that play exciting hockey. So I suppose there’s always that.
Supporter rating: Too much dedication, otherwise 9/10
St Geroge Illawarra
East: Columbus Blue Jackets
West: Winnipeg Jets
All storied franchises. All went off the map for a long time. All trying to rebuild themselves. (Side note: Over/under 60 points for Gaborik this year? I lean towards the under, but I prepare to be surprised.)
Supporter rating: A pretty cool 8/10, especially Winnipeg.
East: New York Rangers
West: Nashville Predators
DE-FENCE! DE-FENCE! DE-FENCE!
Supporter rating: 7.5/10, 10/10 for chanting that.
East: Carolina Hurricanes
Everyone just kinda forgets about them, except their diehard fans who think they should be winning every year. The team’s perfectly suited to you, bro.
Supporter rating: 6/10
East: New York Islanders
West: Edmonton Oilers
The Tigers rely on Robbie Farah. The Islanders rely on Tavares. Edmonton relies on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. One player trying to carry a whole team. It’s tough, but the cavalry are coming.
All of them have amazing, young, talented players who won’t be given a chance and will rot away due to inept coaching.
Supporter rating: Look, I like these teams. I really do. But it’s hard to love them. 3/10.
So that’s it, all 30 teams. Now you know who you should support.
Or you can listen to your own heart, and you know, make your own decision.
But what fun is that, right? Right?