This is SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NHL. Each week, SB Nation sends out questions to the most plugged-in Blues fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
After a shut down, a bubble and a full playoff schedule, a new Stanley Cup champion has been named. The Tampa Bay Lightning finished off the Dallas Stars to earn the Cup.
According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, a slight majority of NHL fans thought the Lightning would get the job done. This speaks to the quality of play of the Bolts all throughout the playoffs, but it also might be a bit of surprise at the fact that they were playing the Dallas Stars in the Final. The Stars entered round-robin play as fourth overall, and surprised everyone with their run to the Final. If the Final would’ve been, say, the Lightning vs. the Vegas Golden Knights or the Colorado Avalanche, the series prediction may have been closer.
Fortunately for the Lightning, fans aren’t holding the odd end of the season against the team. Fewer than a quarter of fans said this season should have an asterisk next to it because of the stoppage and bubble. As Dan Buffa pointed out here on St. Louis Game Time, it was a challenging slog in the bubble. A majority of NHL fans seem to agree with him.
But with that being said, fans don’t want to see any of the 2020 difficulties stretch into next season. Nearly two-thirds of fans want the NHL to figure out a way to hold a full 82-game season.
The start of next season, though, is currently up in the air thanks to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and the fact that the league probably won’t have regular-season bubble hockey.
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