Showing posts with label nhl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nhl. Show all posts

Friday, May 22, 2015

NHL Hockey Trivia: Player Nicknames

howie morenz o-pee-chee hockey card
The names our parents gave us never seem to be good enough! Quite often we’re handed a new moniker that better describes us physically, emotionally or mentally. Professional sports used to be the breeding grounds of great nicknames but not so much anymore.

Test and expand your knowledge of National Hockey League players and their unique nicknames with the following four hockey trivia questions.

Q. What Toronto Maple Leafs legend was dubbed “The Big Bomber”?

A. Charlie Conacher was also called “Little Train”. The Big Bomber played in the NHL from 1929-30 to 1940-41 with Toronto, the Detroit Red Wings and New York Americans. He later coached the Chicago Black Hawks for three years from 1947-48 to 1949-50. The Hawks did not make the playoffs during Charlie’s tenure. Conacher was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

Brother Lionel was “The Big Train”. Lionel played in the NHL from 1925-26 to 1936-37 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Americans, Montreal Maroons and Chicago Blackhawks. Other brother Roy simply went by “Roy”. He played in the NHL from 1938-39 to 1951-52 with the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. All three Conacher brothers have a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Charlie's son, Brian Conacher, also played in the National Hockey League.

Q. What agitator who played the bulk of his NHL career in the 1970’s and 1980’s was coined “The Rat”?

A. Ken Linseman had a great talent for getting under the skin of his opponents but also had a great talent for playing the game. The Rat played in the NHL from 1978-79 to 1991-92 with the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs. Linseman ended his NHL career with a respectable 807 points in 860 regular season games and averaged over a point per game in his 113 playoff games.

Linseman was a 60 goal scorer in junior with the Kingston Canadians. He topped out in the NHL with 33 goals as a member of the Edmonton Oilers in 1982-83. In 1981-82, Ken had a career high 92 points with the Flyers. He was a seventh overall pick by the Flyers at the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft and won his only Stanley Cup with the Oilers in 1983-84.

Q. What NHL legend was nicknamed “The Stratford Streak”, despite being from nearby Mitchell, Ontario?

A. Howie Morenz was perhaps one of the greatest hockey players ever to grace the NHL. Morenz played in the NHL from 1923-24 to 1936-37 with the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Black Hawks and New York Rangers. He won the Hart Memorial Trophy as NHL MVP three times, all as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. With the Habs, Howie was part of three Stanley Cup championship teams. Morenz died in 1937 as a result of complications from a broken leg that occurred while playing for the Canadiens. He was just 34 years old. Howie was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945.

Yes, Morenz was born in Mitchell, Ontario. The sign as you're entering the small town proudly displays this fact. Indeed, it should. Yes, Howie played his minor hockey in nearby Stratford, Ontario where he earned the nickname.

Q. This question is in reverse because everyone knows Gump Worsley by his nickname and not his real first name. What was the real first name of Mr. Worsley?

A. Lorne Worsley played between the pipes in the NHL from 1952-53 to 1973-74 with the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota North Stars. Worsley won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1952-53 as the NHL’s top rookie. He won the Vezina Trophy twice with the Montreal Canadiens. Gump was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980 and passed away in 2007.

Worsley is one of a special group of athletes that have had their real names dropped by fellow players and fans, replaced by a nickname. Irvine and Garnet are two Bailey's that are both much better known as "Ace". Frank McGraw Junior is known throughout the sporting world as "Tug". McGraw is one of the great relief pitchers in MLB history.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

NHL Hockey Trivia: The Stanley Cup

stanley cup hockey card
The Stanley Cup is the holy grail of hockey. Lord Stanley’s Mug is handed to the National Hockey League’s playoff champion each season. Test your knowledge and broaden your hockey horizons with the following four bits of trivia.

Q. What was the first non-‘Original Six’ NHL team to win the Stanley in the post expansion era?

A. The Philadelphia Flyers, known as the ‘Broad Street Bullies’ won the Stanley Cup with a victory over the Boston Bruins in the 1974 Stanley Cup. The Flyers would repeat the accomplishment the following season with a victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Those were the only two times the Flyers have ever won the Cup, although Philadelphia reached the finals in 1975-76 against the Montreal Canadiens, 1979-80 against the New York Islanders, 1984-85 and 1986-87 against the Edmonton Oilers, 1996-97 against the Detroit Red Wings and 2009-10 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Flyers entered the NHL for the 1967-68 season. Previous to their first Stanley Cup championship in 1973-74, Philadelphia had won just one playoff series. In 1972-73, the Flyers knocked off the Minnesota North Stars in the quarter-finals before falling to the Montreal Canadiens in the semi-finals.

Q. Unfortunately, there are defunct franchises throughout the history of the NHL. What was the last now-defunct team to win the Stanley Cup?

A. The Montreal Maroons were the darlings of the English population in Montreal. The Maroons won the Stanley Cup in 1935. In that 1934-35 NHL season, Montreal was just fourth in the nine team league during the regular season. In the finals, they swept the Toronto Maple Leafs in three games. Toronto had finished first overall.

The Maroons entered the National Hockey League for the 1924-25 season. The following year, they captured their first of two Stanley Cup championships. Montreal would also lose in the finals in 1927-28 to the New York Rangers. It was New York's first ever championship in only their second year in the league. The Maroons played their final NHL season in 1937-38.

Q. How many Stanley Cups did the Montreal Canadiens win during the 1970’s?

A. The Habs won a total of six Stanley Cups in the 1970’s. They dominated the Cup from four years from 1976 to 1979. They also won in 1971 and 1973. Montreal has won 24 championships, to date. Since the 1970's, however, the Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup just twice, in 1985-86 over the Calgary Flames and in 1992-93 over the Los Angeles Kings.

Q. What team has gone the longest without winning the Stanley Cup?

A. Until the 2009-10 season ended, the answer to this question was the Chicago Blackhawks, not having won the Stanley Cup since 1961. Chicago's win left the Toronto Maple Leafs as the team that has gone the longest without a Stanley Cup victory. The Leafs last won in 1967, a year before the league expanded to twelve teams. The St. Louis Blues remain the only 1967 expansion team to have never won a Stanley Cup but entered the league a year after Toronto won their last Cup.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Only 2 To Win Both The Hart Trophy And George Leader Cup

The Hart Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the Most Valuable Player in the National Hockey League since the 1923-24 season. The George Leader Cup was awarded to the MVP of the Western Hockey League from 1948-49 to 1972-73. Of course, Wayne Gretzky has won the Hart Trophy more times than any other player. The George Leader Cup was dominated by Guyle Fielder who won the award five times. Just two players in the history of professional hockey have won both awards.

Walter ‘Babe’ Pratt

babe pratt toronto maple leafs
Babe Pratt played pro hockey from 1935-36 to 1951-52, in the NHL to 1946-47. In the NHL, he appeared with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Pratt also played in the CAHL, AHL and PCHL. Over his NHL career, he played 517 regular season games, scoring 83 goals and assisting on 209 for 292 points. In 63 Stanley Cup playoff games, he scored 12 goals and assisted on 17 for 29 points.

In 1939-40, Babe helped the New York Rangers to a Stanley Cup championship with a four games to two victory over the Maple Leafs. In 1944-45, he won his second and last Stanley Cup, this time with Toronto. The Maple Leafs took the full seven games to defeat the Detroit Red Wings. In 1966, Pratt was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In 1943-44, Pratt was awarded the Hart Trophy in his first full year with the Maple Leafs. Playing the full 50 game schedule, Babe scored 17 goals and assisted on 40 for 57 points. It was his NHL career high for assists and points. The assist total tied him for seventh in the league. Toronto finished third with an even 50 points in 50 games. The Maple Leafs met their cruel demise in the opening round of the playoffs as the Montreal Canadiens easily won the series 4-1. The Habs outscored Toronto 23-6, including a game five 11-0 trouncing.

Pratt was awarded the George Leader Cup in two consecutive seasons, 1948-49 and 1949-50, the first two years the trophy was handed out. Both years, he was a member of the New Westminster Royals of the PCHL. After 1951-52, the PCHL would become the WHL.

In 1948-49, he scored 18 and assisted on 48 for 66 points in 63 regular season games. He tied for fifth in the league for assists. The Royals placed first in the five team North Division and first overall in the ten team league with 83 points in 70 games. New Westminster reached the finals before losing to the San Diego Skyhawks, four games to two.

The following season, Pratt played just 59 of the team’s 71 games, scoring eight goals and adding 29 assists for 37 points. Babe also acted as the team’s head coach. The Royals placed first overall in the PCHL, which had shrunk to just six teams. In a closely fought final series, New Westminster captured the championship with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Monarchs. Each team scored 26 goals in the series. Two games were decided in overtime, including game seven.

Andy Bathgate

andy bathgate new york rangers
Bathgate won his Hart Trophy in 1958-59 as a member of the New York Rangers. He played the full 70 games, scoring 40 goals and totalling 88 points. He placed third in the NHL for goals, five behind the leader, Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens. He also placed third in points, eight behind leader Dickie Moore of the Canadiens. The Rangers finished fifth out of six and did not qualify for the post season.

In 1969-70, he was awarded the George Leader Cup as a member of the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL. Bathgate finished the regular season playing the full 72 game schedule. He scored 40 and added 68 assists for 108 points. Andy was fourth in goals and second in points, 19 behind Art Jones of the Portland Buckaroos. For Jones, a minor hockey legend, it was his fourth of six scoring titles in the WHL. The Canucks finished first in the seven team league with 102 points in 72 games. Vancouver won the championship with a four games to one victory over the Portland Buckaroos.

Andy Bathgate played in the NHL from 1952-53 to 1967-68 and returned for a year in 1970-71. Andy appeared with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. His only Stanley Cup victory came in 1963-64 as the Maple Leafs downed the Red Wings in seven games. In 1961-62, Bathgate tied Bobby Hull for the NHL lead with 84 points. However, Hull was awarded the Art Ross Trophy with more goals. Andy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

San Jose Sharks Individual Scoring Records

joe thornton san jose sharks
The San Jose Sharks entered the National Hockey League as an expansion team for the 1991-92 season. After two dismal seasons to start, the Sharks have become one of the most consistent regular season achievers in the NHL. However, the Stanley Cup finals have still been elusive for the California hockey club.

Along the way, the team has hosted some world class players with two going to the Hockey Hall of Fame and more to come. The individual single season offensive records of the team are pretty impressive for a team that didn’t compete during the high-scoring 1980’s.

Jonathan Cheechoo – Most Goals

In 2005-06, Cheechoo scored 56 goals for San Jose. It not only set a team record, it led the NHL, earning Jonathan the Rocket Richard Trophy. Playing all 82 regular season games for the Sharks that year, Cheechoo also assisted on 37 goals for a total of 93 points, good for tenth spot in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

After just his first of three years in the Ontario Hockey League with the Belleville Bulls, Cheechoo was selected in the second round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by San Jose, 29th overall. In his final season with Belleville, Jonathan placed fourth in the league with 45 goals.

It took until the 2002-03 NHL season before Cheechoo saw his first action with the Sharks. He placed with the club until 2008-09, scoring 165 goals and assisting on 126 for 291 points over 440 regular season games. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, he played 58 more games, adding 35 points. Jonathan spent the 2014-15 season in the KHL with Dynamo Minsk.

Joe Thornton – Most Assists

In 2006-07, his first full season with the Sharks, Thornton led the league with 92 assists, eight more than Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored 22 goals, as well, for 114 points over 82 games. The season before, he assisted on 96 but 24 were with the Boston Bruins before being traded midseason to the Sharks.

Destined for the Hockey Hall of Fame, Thornton started his NHL career in Boston. After two stellar seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, he was the first overall pick by the Bruins at the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.

Joe Thornton – Most Points

Joe’s 114 points in 2006-07 stand as a team record. He was second in the race for the Art Ross Trophy that year, six points behind Sidney Crosby. The previous year, his 125 points led the league, earning him the Art Ross. However, 33 points were with the Bruins and just 92 were with the Sharks. He also earned the Hart Trophy that year as the league’s MVP.

Thornton had one other 100+ point season. In 2002-03 with Boston, he totalled 101. In his second year of junior with the Greyhounds, Joe placed second in the race for the Eddie Powers Trophy with 122 points, eight less than leader Marc Savard of the Oshawa Generals. He also placed second with 81 assists, six behind Savard.

Pat Falloon – Most Points Rookie

Falloon came into the National Hockey League expected to be a superstar. After his first season with San Jose in 1991-92, it looked like he might live up to the billing. His 59 points on 25 goals and 34 assists over 79 games in the franchise’s inaugural season remain the most by a rookie.

Unfortunately, that was the best offensive season put in during his NHL career. Pat played 575 regular season games in the league between 1991-92 and 1999-00, scoring 143 goals and assisting on 179 for 322 points. In the playoffs, he playing in 66 more games, adding just 18 points.

Pat was the second overall pick at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by San Jose, behind just Eric Lindros who was selected by the Quebec Nordiques. Therefore, he’s an important part of San Jose Sharks Trivia, being the first player ever drafted by the club. Along with the Sharks, Falloon also played for the Philadelphia Flyers, Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sandis Ozolins – Most Points Defenseman

Ozolins totalled 64 points on 26 goals and 38 assists over 81 games in 1993-94. It was his first full season in the National Hockey League and he remained with the club until a trade seven games into the 1995-96 season sent him to the Colorado Avalanche. Sandis returned to the Sharks for 39 games in 2007-08.

Over his NHL career, Ozolins played 875 regular season games, scoring 167 and assisting on 397 for 564 points. Sandis played another 137 playoff games, adding 90 points. He has been in the Russia based KHL since 2009-10. Ozolins has played for Latvia at the Winter Olympics on three occasions, 2002, 2006 and 2014.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

1 NHL Rule Change To Bring Back Offence

crazy gary bettman
Gary Bettman rolled into town in February of 1993 as the first ever Commissioner of the National Hockey League. Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins was the Art Ross Trophy winner in that 1992-93 season with 160 points. Since, the Art Ross Trophy winner has, with the exception of a few blips, scored less and less.

This year, Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars won the award with just 87 points. That is the lowest total since Stan Mikita of the Chicago Blackhawks equalled that mark back in 1967-68.

Each and every year, the NHL's brain trust meets, frantically coming up with goofy ideas meant to increase offence. Almost every year, there are tweaks to the rules that do nothing to increase offence and, quite frankly, make a mockery of the game.

Well, one simple rule change has the potential to bring back some goal scoring. It wouldn't actually be a new rule. It would simply be reverting back to the way things were before the 1956-57 NHL season. I propose the league makes this change but with a twist.

As someone who has played hockey for the past 40 or so years and a who is Canadian, I do not like Gary Bettman. He may have rescued the NHL from financial disaster but he has done little for the actual game. The NHL that exists today is for idiots with short attention spans who are entertained by anything but what is actually going on on the ice.

However, the tweak I'm proposing might meet Bettman's approval because it is bastardized from basketball, Little Gary's first love.

The Two Minute Major

Well, it was never called the 'two minute major' in the olden days, just a minor penalty. Before the 1956-57 season, when a player was put in the box for a minor infraction, he remained for the full two minutes, regardless of how many goals his opponents scored.

The rule was changed to its present form because of the ridiculous success of the 1955-56 MontrealCanadiens. The numbers were crazy with the Habs accounting for more than a quarter of the entire league's power play goals. At the request of the other five teams, the rule was changed to allow the penalized player to leave the box before the two minutes were up if his team was scored upon.

I say, it's time to go back to a full two minute penalty. But, as mentioned, with a twist.

Fouling Out

I propose that the two minute major doesn't come into effect right from the start of the game. Stealing sort of from basketball, once a player has been called on his third minor of the game, then the rule goes into effect. Also, once a team is called for its fifth minor of the game, the hard two minutes apply. These numbers are arbitrary but you get the picture.

It has been suggested before, I believe by Stan Fischler, that the two minute major return but for certain types of calls like high sticking. That's not a bad idea, either.

One other twist ties in the two minute major and the penalty shot rule. I have issues with the penalty shot rule. Currently, which team is really at an advantage when a penalty shot is called? It's a one shot chance to beat a goalie who is wearing today's oversized equipment. Would not there be almost a better chance of scoring over two minutes with a man advantage? The numbers are actually not that far apart.

Of course, this goes back to Bettman trying to sell the game to people who don't play the game and don't know a thing about the game. 'The most exciting play in sport', it has been dubbed. Bullshit. In a time when half the games end in a shootout anyway, the penalty shot is nothing but a free timeout for both clubs.

Here's what I think. They NHL should allow a team to either accept or decline the penalty shot. If they decline, they get the two minute major, regardless of whether the offending player or team has 'fouled out'.

And Another Thing...

Want to make the game more exciting? Want to make teams play for the win in regulation time? Two things.

  1. Do a shootout at the start of every game.
  2. Make each game a proper three point game.
Fans love shootouts, no matter how impure they are. Run a shootout before each and every game to determine who will win in the case of a tie after the overtime. This means one team will have a reason to be in the lead from the get-go. There will be no dogging and playing for the point. If the game is decided in regulation or overtime, then the shootout means nothing but the entertainment it provided.

Item number two would probably eliminate the need for item number one. Most leagues in Europe play with a proper three points per game system. The IIHF World Championships are based on this. Before the days of overtime and shootouts during the regular season, each and every game was worth the same, two points. If a team won, they got both points. If there was a tie, each team got a point. Each and every game was valued exactly the same.

Then came overtime and shootouts. Now, some games are worth two points and some games are worth three. This is wrong. It just doesn't make any logical sense. Each game should be three points. Three points go to the winner and none to the loser if the game is decided in regulation. The split is two points / one point if the game is decided in extra time.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Top Valued 1958-59 Topps NHL Hockey Cards

In the middle ages of hockey cards between 1951-52 and the NHL expansion days of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the 1958-59 Topps series stands out as one of the most desirable to vintage hockey cards collectors. The full set of 66 cards is valued as high as $4500 by Beckett Hockey. The majority of that value is provided by the Bobby Hull rookie card.

The top five cards in the 1958-59 series are all valued at $150 or more. Two of the five are rookie cards, Bobby Hull and Eddie Shack. Two are goalies and the other is a hockey legend whose combined career hockey card value is worth a small fortune.

It should be noted that the values given are 'book value' and are used as reference only. Sale prices of vintage hockey cards, as in any form of art, can change drastically, influenced by demand, condition, timing, the seller's and buyer's knowledge, etc.

Glenn Hall – Chicago Blackhawks

glenn hall chicago blackhawks

The number 13 card of goaltender Glenn Hall is fifth with a value of $150. Although he began his career in 1952-53 with the Detroit Red Wings, in 1958-59, Hall was well into a ten year stint with the Chicago Black Hawks that would make him a Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender.

Terry Sawchuk – Detroit Red Wings

terry sawchuk detroit red wings

Next up the ladder is the number 2 card of Terry Sawchuk. Sawchuk, Hall and Jacques Plante were constantly in the running for the Vezina trophy during this era. Sawchuk began his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings in 1949-50 and had returned to Detroit from a two-year stint with the Boston Bruins by the time this series came out. Like Hall (and Plante, for that matter), Terry was an automatic for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Eddie Shack – New York Rangers

eddie shack new york rangers

The third most valuable card in the 1958-59 Topps set is that of the only player in the top five to not be a member of the Hall of Fame. The number 30 rookie card of Eddie Shack is valued at up to $250. Shack began his NHL career with the New York Rangers in that 1958-59 season and played with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins before retiring during the 1974-75 season. He may not officially be in the Hall, but he should be.

Gordie Howe – Detroit Red Wings

gordie howe detroit red wings

If Gordie Howe’s picture is on the cardboard, it’s worth money. From his rookie card in 1951-52 (bringing the re-birth of hockey card collecting) with the Detroit Red Wings to his final card in 1979-80 as a member of the Hartford Whalers, Howe’s cards are always valuable. His 1958-59 Topps number 8 is valued at up to $500.

Bobby Hull – Chicago Blackhawks

bobby hull chicago blackhawks

After the re-birth of hockey cards in 1951-52, there are three hockey cards that are valued above all others. All valued at $3000, those three cards are the rookie cards of Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and the 1958-59 Topps number 66 of Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks. It was just the start of an amazing career that stayed in Chicago until 1972-73, jumped tracks to the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA and ended up with Gordie Howe and the Hartford Whalers in 1979-80.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks NHL Stanley Cup Playoff History

steve yzerman detroit red wings
In 2012-13, the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks meet for the sixth time in the post season. Detroit holds the edge, winning three of the previous five showdowns. The Red Wings have been in the National Hockey League since the 1926-27 season and have won the Stanley Cup championship on eleven occasions. Anaheim entered the NHL as an expansion team for the 1993-94 season. The Ducks have won Stanley Cup.

1996-97 – Western Conference Semi-Finals

The Ducks (at the time the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim) reached the post season for the first time in their young NHL history. During the regular season, Anaheim finished second in the Pacific Division with 85 points while the Red Wings placed second in the Central with 92 points.

In the Western Conference Quarter-Finals, Detroit took out the St. Louis Blues in six games while Anaheim went the distance before beating the Phoenix Coyotes in seven games. This, of course, set up the first showdown between the Red Wings and Ducks.

Detroit swept Anaheim in four games. The Red Wings then went on to beat the Colorado Avalanche four games to two in the Conference Finals before sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers to capture the Stanley Cup.

1998-99 – Western Conference Quarter-Finals

Another Detroit and Anaheim matchup resulting in another sweep. The teams met in the opening round after the Red Wings finished first in the Central with 93 points and the Ducks finished third in the Pacific with 83. After taking out the Ducks, Detroit moved on to the Conference Semi-Finals, where they lost to Colorado in six games.

2002-03 – Western Conference Quarter-Finals

Yet another sweep. However this time the Red Wings were on the losing end. Detroit finished atop the Central Division with a healthy 110 points. Anaheim placed second in the Pacific with 95.

Anaheim then followed up by upsetting the Dallas Stars in the Western semi-final. Dallas was first overall in the Conference during the regular season. In the conference final, the Ducks swept the Minnesota Wild to earn their first ever appearance at the Stanley Cup finals. Anaheim met up with the New Jersey Devils and took the series to the seventh game before bowing out.

2006-07 – Western Conference Finals

Detroit and Anaheim were the first and second seeds in the Western Conference. Both plowed their way through to the conference finals. Detroit beat the Calgary Flames then the San Jose Sharks, both in six games, to advance. Anaheim played two less games than Detroit while beating both the Minnesota Wild

Anaheim took their second playoff series in a row off the Red Wings, winning four games to two. The Ducks again advanced to the Stanley Cup finals. This time, they were victorious, beating the Ottawa Senators four games to one to capture their first and only Stanley Cup championship.

2008-09 – Western Conference Semi-Finals

Detroit was the second seed going into the playoffs, recording 112 points during the regular season. Anaheim squeaked into the eighth and final position with 91 points. In the first round, the Ducks upset the first seed San Jose Sharks while the Red Wings easily dispatched the Columbus Blue Jackets in a four game sweep. For the Blue Jackets, it was their only playoff series to date, since joining the league for the 2000-01 season.

The matchup in the conference semi-finals between Anaheim and Detroit went the distance with the Red Wings coming out on top four games to three. Detroit moved on to beat the Chicago Blackhawks in five in the conference finals before falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in the finals.

2012-13 – Western Conference Quarter-Finals

Bruce Boudreau had a chance to capture something that’s avoided him since his pro hockey career started in 1975-76 with the Johnstown Jets of the North American Hockey League – a championship. Boudreau had the talent in front of him to win with the Washington Capitals but the team came up short. Bruce was brought in to coach the Ducks in 2012-13 and the team was nothing but stellar during the regular season.

Anaheim captured the second position in the west. For the Red Wings, it went right down to the final game of the season to determine if they were in or out. Detroit placed seventh in the west, just one point ahead of ninth place Columbus.

Once again, Boudreau's team couldn't compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Red Wings won the set in seven games. This was a tightly fought battle, to say the least. Teams alternated wins, starting with Anaheim and ending with Detroit. Four games needed overtime to decide a winner. In the final game, Valtteri Filppula scored what turned out to be the winning goal in the second period. Anaheim responded with a goal late in the third to bring the score to 3-2 but the Red Wings prevailed.

Detroit moved on, only to fall to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the conference semi-finals. That series went seven games, as well.

With Detroit moving to the Eastern Conference, a rematch between the Ducks and Red Wings may be a long time coming. Teams from opposing conferences can only meet in the Stanley Cup finals.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NHL Hockey Trivia: Edmonton Oilers Retired Numbers

paul coffey edmonton oilers hockey card
The Edmonton Oilers began as the Alberta Oilers in the World Hockey Association. The Oilers played in the WHA from 1972-73 until 1978-79. Edmonton was one of four WHA teams to merge into the NHL for the 1979-80 season as the WHA came to an end.

In all, the Oilers have retired seven numbers. Test and expand your knowledge of Edmonton Oilers retired jersey numbers with these trivia questions.

Q. Number 3 is retired by the Edmonton Oilers for which original Oiler?

A. Al Hamilton was with the Oilers for each of their seasons in the WHA and served as the team’s first captain. Hamilton played in the NHL from 1965-66 to 1971-72 with the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres then played one more season in 1979-80 with the Oilers before retiring.

Although a native of the hockey rich Flin Flon, Manitoba, Hamilton played much of his junior career with the Edmonton Oil Kings. He competed in three consecutive Memorial Cup finals, winning with the Oil Kings in 1965-66, his final year of junior.

Al served as team captain of the Oilers from their inception in 1972-73 until 1975-76. He also played three games for Team Canada in the WHA version of the Summit Series in 1974.

Hamilton is the only one of the seven to have their numbers retired by Edmonton to not have a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He is also the only one of the seven to not have won a Stanley Cup with the Oilers.

Q. The Oilers retired number 7 in honour of what player?

A. Paul Coffey played with Edmonton from 1980-81 to 1986-87. Coffey’s NHL career lasted until 2000-01 and he played for Edmonton, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins. Paul was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.

Q. Which Oiler is the number 17 retired in honour of?

A. Jari Kurri played for the Oilers from 1980-81 to 1989-90. His NHL career concluded after the 1997-98 season after also playing for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and the Colorado Avalanche. Kurri had seasons of 71 and 68 goals with the Oilers and his final regular season NHL total was 601. Jari was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.

Kurri came to the NHL already a seasoned pro. He played three years with Jokerit in Finland's SM-Liiga before joining the Oilers in 1980-81. Before the European invasion, Kurri was a lowly fourth round pick by Edmonton at he 1980 NHL Entry Draft, 69th overall. He is now the general manager of Jokerit with the team now playing in the KHL.

On the international stage, Jari has played at two Olympic Games for Finland. His first was in 1980, before he reached the NHL. His last was in 1998, during his final year in the NHL. Because Kurri always found himself on successful teams in North America, he was only able to play at the IIHF World Championships on four occasions.

Q. What goaltender has his number 31 retired by the Edmonton Oilers?

A. Grant Fuhr played between the pipes in an Oilers uniform from 1981-82 to 1990-91. He played until the end of the 1999-00 season with Edmonton, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames. Fuhr has his name on the Stanley Cup five times and entered the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.

A true goalie from the 1980's and 1990's, Fuhr got into the HHOF with a career NHL goals against average of 3.38 and a save percentage of .887. Those numbers would get a goalie dropped to the ECHL in today's game.

Like Al Hamilton, Grant reached the Memorial Cup as a junior. With the Victoria Cougars in 1980-81, Fuhr helped the team to the tournament but it was the Cornwall Royals of the QMJHL beating out the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL in the final game.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Islanders V Penguins NHL Playoff History

new york islanders logo
The Pittsburgh Penguins entered the National Hockey League as an expansion franchise in 1967-68. The New York Islanders were an expansion franchise, starting play in 1972-73. The two teams met for just the fourth time in a post season series in the opening round of the 2012-13 Stanley Cup playoffs. The first time they met was in 1974-75, New York’s third year in the NHL. The last time was in 1992-93 when the Islanders spoiled Pittsburgh’s 3-peat attempt. It’s hard to believe but the Penguins had never won a series against the Islanders until 2012-13.


The two evenly matched teams met in the Quarter-Finals with the Islanders taking the series in seven games. The final game of the series was a 1-0 shutout by New York. New York beat the cross-town New York Rangers and the Penguins beat the St. Louis Blues to set up the showdown. During the regular season, the Islanders placed third in the Patrick Division with 88 points while the Penguins finished third in the Norris with 89 points.

The Islanders were coached by Al Arbour and led offensively by Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin. During the regular season, Billy Smith played the bulk of the games between the pipes with Glenn Resch as the backup. In the playoffs, the roles reversed with Resch taking on most of the goaltending load.

Pittsburgh was coached by Marc Boileau and was led by a pack of equally qualified stars in Ron Schock, Syl Apps, Jean Pronovost, VicHadfield and Pierre Larouche. Gary Inness saw the bulk of the team’s action in goal.


Despite the matchup being a total mismatch, the Penguins held their own in the Patrick Division Semi-Final series with the Islanders. Pittsburgh fell three games to two. During the regular season, the Islanders finished first in the Patrick and first overall in the NHL with 118 points. Pittsburgh placed fourth in the Patrick with 75 points.

Once again, New York was coached by Al Arbour and led by Mike Bossy and Brian Trottier. Billy Smith was still the man in net for New York. The Islanders were at their greatest and advanced to win their third of four straight Stanley Cup championships with a sweep of the Vancouver Canucks in the finals.

Pittsburgh was coached by long-time NHL goaltender, Ed Johnston. Leading the way offensively were Rick Kehoe and defenseman Randy Carlyle. Playing most of Pittsburgh’s games in net was Michel Dion.


mario lemieux pittsburgh penguins
This was the last time the Islanders won a playoff series. New York beat the Penguins four games to three in the Patrick Division finals. New York wrecked what should have the Penguins third consecutive Stanley Cup championship. Pittsburgh finished first overall in the NHL with 119 points. The Islanders placed fourth in the Patrick with 87 points.

In the opening round, Pittsburgh beat the New Jersey Devils and the Islanders took out the Washington Capitals to set up the series. New York met the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals and lost. The Habs went on to win the Stanley Cup with a win over the Los Angeles Kings.

In his second last year as head coach in the NHL, Al Arbour was again behind the bench of the Islanders. The team was led by Pierre Turgeon and Steve Thomas with Glenn Healy seeing the majority of action in net. The Penguins were coached by the great Scotty Bowman. Mario Lemieux, Kevin Stevens, Rick Tocchet and Ron Francis all had 100 points or more during the regular season.


For the Islanders, it was their first visit to the Stanley Cup playoffs since losing to the Buffalo Sabres in the 2006-07 opening round. 2012-13 did not bring around their first series win since beating the Penguins back in 1992-93.

After game four, the series was tied at two games each. However, it could have been a 3-1 Islanders lead if the Pens had not snuck out a game three victory in overtime. Pittsburgh then won the final two games to take the series in six. However, the Islanders fought until the end with game six also going into extra time.

In that final game, the Penguins never led. Evgeny Malkin tied the score at three fairly late in the third to force overtime. It was Malkin and Tyler Kennedy setting up Brooks Orpik in the first overtime period for the win.

Pittsburgh then beat the Ottawa Senators in five in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. It was the Boston Bruins that ended the team's run, sweeping the Penguins in the Conference finals. Over their 15 playoff games, the team was led offensively by Malkin, Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

4 Philadelphia Flyers Jack Adams Award Winners

fred shero head coach philadelphia flyers
The Jack Adams Award has existed in the National Hockey League since the 1973-74 season. The award is handed out each season to the best head coach in the league. Two teams, to date, have had their coaches win the Jack Adams Award on four occasions. One of those teams is the Detroit Red Wings and the other is the Philadelphia Flyers.

Fred Shero

Fred Shero was the first ever recipient of the Jack Adams Award in 1973-74. His Flyers finished the regular season with 50 wins and 112 points in 78 games and were placed first in the West Division. The point total was a 27 point improvement over the previous season. After sweeping the Atlanta Flames in the first round and ousting the New York Rangers in seven games in the semi-finals, Philadelphia won the Stanley Cup in six games over the Boston Bruins.

The 1973-74 Flyers were led by Bobby Clarke, Rick MacLeish, Bill Barber and Bernie Parent. They would win the Stanley Cup the following year as well, their last Cup victory to this date. Shero coached the team from 1971-72 to 1977-78. He followed that up with three years as bench boss of the New York Rangers. His teams were runners-up twice, Philadelphia once and New York once.

Pat Quinn

Pat Quinn, in just his second year as head coach, won the Jack Adams Award in 1979-80. The Flyers totaled 116 points during the regular season, good for first overall in the NHL. After ploughing through the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Minnesota North Stars in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Flyers lost to the New York Islanders in the finals.

Reg Leach led the 1979-80 Flyers with 50 goals while Ken Linseman led the team in points. Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber were still key factors on the team.

Pat Quinn coached in the NHL from 1978-79 to 2009-10 with the Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers. Quinn never won a Stanley Cup but did find his way to the finals again in 1993-94 with the Vancouver Canucks. Pat won the Jack Adams again in 1991-92, with Vancouver.

Mike Keenan

Mike Keenan won the Jack Adams Award in his first year as head coach, 1984-85. ‘Iron Mike’ coached the Flyers to first overall in the NHL with 113 points. Once again, Philadelphia made it to the finals after beating the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Quebec Nordiques. Unfortunately, Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers proved too strong and beat the Flyers in five to take the Stanley Cup.

Tim Kerr led the Flyers that season with 54 goals. Also leading the team were Brian Propp, Dave Poulin, Mark Howe, Rick Tocchet and Pelle Lindbergh.

Keenan coached in the NHL from 1984-85 to 2008-09 with the Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames. Two of Mike’s teams in Philadelphia were runners-up for the Stanley Cup. He also coached the Chicago Blackhawks to an unsuccessful run at the finals. Behind the bench of the 1993-94 New York Rangers, Keenan got his only Stanley Cup.

Bill Barber

Bill Barber was head coach of the Flyers for just a season and a half. He took over from Craig Ramsay part way through the 2000-01 season and Philadelphia had a 31-13 record under the former player, earning him the Jack Adams. The team finished with 100 points and a second place Atlantic Division seeding. The Flyers lost in the first round to the Buffalo Sabres in six games. Mark Recchi, Keith Primeau and Simon Gagne starred.

Barber coached the following season and hasn’t coached since. Bill played for the team from 1972-73 to 1983-84. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

4 St. Louis Blues Jack Adams Award Winners

red berenson st. louis blues 1977-78 o-pee-chee hockey card
The St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League have yet to take home their first Stanley Cup. The team joined the league in the expansion boom of 1967-68. The team has produced some great regular season teams and three coaches that won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year.

Red Berenson 1980-81

Red Berenson was no stranger to St. Louis when he became head coach of the team in 1979-80. The Blues were one of four teams that Berenson played for during his nearly 1,000 game NHL career, which also saw him play for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings. Red coached the Blues for just three years and won the Jack Adams Award in 1980-81. He has been the head coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines since the 1984-85 season.

That season, the Blues finished with 107 points, 27 more than the previous year. The team finished first in the Smythe Division and powered past the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs before falling to the New York Rangers. The team was led by Bernie Federko, Wayne Babych, Brian Sutter and Mike Liut.

Brian Sutter 1990-91

Brian Sutter moved behind the bench when his playing career ended and became the next St. Louis coach to win the Jack Adams Award in 1990-91. With the help of Brett Hull, Adam Oates and Scott Stevens, the Blues finished with 105 points, a 22 points improvement over the previous year, good for second place in the Norris Division and second overall. St. Louis beat the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs but lost to the Minnesota North Stars in the second.

Sutter played his entire career in a Blues jersey, from 1976-77 to 1987-88. He coached in the National Hockey League from 1988-89 to 2003-04. After St. Louis, he coached the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks.

Joel Quenneville 1999-00

Joel Quenneville is the last St. Louis Blues head coach to win the Jack Adams Award. Quenneville won the award in 1999-00 as the Blues posted 114 points to finish first overall in the NHL. It was a 27 point improvement on the previous year. The Stanley Cup playoffs were unkind with St. Louis losing in the first round to the San Jose Sharks. Playing starring roles on the 1999-00 Blues were Pavol Demitra, Chris Pronger and Al MacInnis.

Joel played over 800 games in the NHL from 1978-79 to 1990-91 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies, New Jersey Devils, Hartford Whalers and Washington Capitals. He has been a head coach in the National Hockey League since 1996-97. He began with the Blues and after a stint with the Colorado Avalanche, settled in with the Chicago Blackhawks. He was behind the bench for Chicago’s Stanley Cup victories in 2009-10 and 2012-13.

Ken Hitchcock 2011-12

Hitchcock took over as head coach of the Blues during the 2011-12 season, replacing Davis Payne 13 games into the campaign. It was his first head coaching job since getting let go by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2009-10. Ken led St. Louis to a first place tie in the Eastern Conference with the New York Rangers and just to points behind the Vancouver Canucks for first overall in the National Hockey League. The Blues were swept in the second round by eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings.
Never a player, Hitchcock got his start in coaching with the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL. The Blazers never had a losing season during Ken's six years behind the bench. He started out in the NHL in 1990-91 as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers, under head coach Paul Holmgren. Since 1995-96, Hitchcock has been a head coach in the NHL with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and the Blues. He won a Stanley Cup championship with the Stars in 1998-99.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

1st Stanley Cup Playoff Action For The 1967 NHL Expansion Teams

lowell macdonald los angeles kings 1968-69 o-pee-chee nhl hockey card
For the 1967-68 hockey season, the National Hockey League added six expansion teams to double the number of teams in the league. Although the six new franchises were dismal, their odds of reaching the post-season were quite good. The NHL, in all their wisdom, created two divisions, the East and West. In the East, they placed all the existing ‘Original 6’ teams. In the West were all the expansion clubs. No matter their record, the top four in each division qualified for the playoffs.

That said, four of the six expansion teams, despite none having a .500 record, saw their first playoff action in their first year of existence. Because of the odd division setup, one of these four teams would get a chance to play in the Stanley Cup finals.

Here’s a little history into each of the six 1967 expansion team’s first experience with the Stanley Cup post-season, in no particular order.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins were slow out of the gate and did not qualify for the playoffs until their third year in the NHL. In 1969-70, Pittsburgh placed second in the West Division with just 64 points in 76 games, 26 points behind the division leader, the St. Louis Blues. During the regular season, the team was led offensively by Dean Prentice with just 51 points in 75 games. The Penguins were coached by Red Kelly.

Pittsburgh came up against the Oakland Seals in the quarter-finals and swept the series in four games. Oakland had finished the regular season fourth with 58 points. The Seals were tied in points with the Philadelphia Flyers but were awarded the final playoff spot on more wins. Two games were decided by just one goal and the fourth game went into overtime. In the semi-finals, the Penguins fell to St. Louis in six games.

In the post-season, Pittsburgh was led by Michel Briere. The rookie had five goals and eight points in ten games and was said by many to be on his way to super-stardom. Unfortunately, in the off-season, Briere was involved in a car accident that placed him in a coma. He died a year later.

Los Angeles Kings

The Kings finished their inaugural NHL season with 72 points, placing second in the West, one point behind the Philadelphia Flyers. Another Red Kelly coached team, Los Angeles was led by Eddie Joyal during the regular season, contributing 57 points in 74 games.

Los Angeles came up against the Minnesota North Stars in the quarter-finals and the series went the full seven games. The Kings held a 3-2 lead in the series but Minnesota won game six in overtime then blew out the Kings in game seven, 9-4. L.A. was led offensively in the series by Lowell MacDonald and Doug Robinson who totalled seven points each.

The Kings would win their first playoff series the following year. In the 1968-69 Stanley Cup quarter-finals, Los Angeles beat their California Rivals, the Oakland Seals, in seven games to advance.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers were the first of the six 1967 expansion teams to capture the Stanley Cup, but that wouldn’t come until 1973-74. In 1967-68, Philadelphia qualified for the post-season, finishing first in the West with just 73 points in 74 games. The team was led by Lou Angotti with just 49 points in 70 games.

Philadelphia met the Blues in the quarter-finals with the series going the full seven games before St. Louis came out victorious. The Flyers were led offensively by Forbes Kennedy and Andre Lacroix with five points each. Philly would not win their first playoff series until 1972-73 when they beat the North Stars 4-2 in the quarter-finals.

St. Louis Blues

The Blues were the top expansion franchise right out of the gate, reaching the Stanley Cup finals in their first three years of existence. As mentioned earlier, the Blues beat the Flyers in their first playoff series, a quarter-final meeting that went the full seven games. St. Louis then took out Minnesota in seven games to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup finals. The Montreal Canadiens swept the Blues in four.

During the 1967-68 regular season, the Blues finished third in the West with 70 points, just three points out of first place. In regular season play, it was Red Berenson leading the way with 51 points in 55 games. In the playoffs, a Hockey Hall of Famer had his last kick at the can. Dickie Moore led the team with 14 points over 18 games.

Oakland Seals

The Oakland Seals played in the Stanley Cup playoffs just twice in an NHL existence that lasted from 1967-68 to just 1975-76. After that, the franchise moved to Ohio, where they became the Cleveland Barons for two years. Somewhere in the Dallas Stars bloodlines lie this ill-fated California team.

Their first series came in 1968-69 when they met the St. Louis Blues in the quarter-finals. The Seals extended the series to seven but couldn’t conquer the Blues. During the regular season, the Seals had their best year in their short history, finishing second in the West with 69 points. The team was led in the regular season by Ted Hampson with 75 points in 76 games. In the post season, it was Earl Ingarfield leading the way with ten points in seven games.

Oakland, later known as the California Golden Seals, would reach the post season on just one other occasion. In 1969-70, the Seals met the Pittsburgh Penguins in the quarter-finals. The Penguins made haste with a four game sweep.

Minnesota North Stars

The direct descendant of the modern day Dallas Stars, Minnesota clung to the fourth and final playoff spot in their first year with 69 points in 74 games. The North Stars were led during the regular season by Wayne Connelly with 56 points in 74 games.

Minnesota faced off against the Los Angeles Kings in the quarter-finals and took the full seven games to eliminate their foes. The North Stars then went another full seven games in the semi-finals before falling to the St. Louis Blues. In the post season, it was Bill Goldsworthy leading the way with 15 points in 14 games.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NHL Hockey Trivia: Pre Original 6 Era

philadelphia quakers nhl
When the ‘Original Six’ era of the National Hockey League is mentioned, it gives the false impression that the league began with six teams and that number wasn’t altered until the 1967-68 expansion season. This couldn’t be further from the truth as franchises came and franchises went in the early days of the NHL. At times, there were as many as ten teams in the league. Test and broaden your hockey knowledge with the following four trivia questions.

Q. The St. Louis Blues began play in the 1967-68 season but they are not the first NHL franchise to play in the city. What is the name of the original NHL team located in St. Louis?

A. For just one season, 1934-35, the St. Louis Eagles played in the NHL. The Eagles were an attempt to relocate the original Ottawa Senators franchise. The Eagles were coached by Buck Boucher and finished last overall in the nine team NHL with just 28 points over 48 regular season games.

St. Louis was led in scoring by Carl Voss, member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year in 1932-33. Syd Howe was also on the roster and ended up in the Hockey Hall of Fame after moving on to a stellar career with the Detroit Red Wings.

Q. When was the first season that the NHL was reduced to the ‘Original Six’?

A. 1942-43 was the first year the NHL was reduced to six teams. The league would remain with the same six members until the 1967-68 season when the league would double in size. In 1942-43, the Detroit Red Wings finished first overall with 61 points over 50 regular season games, just four points ahead of the Boston Bruins.

In the Stanley Cup playoffs, Detroit beat out the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games while the Bruins ousted the Montreal Canadiens in five. In the finals, it was no contest with the Red Wings sweeping the Bruins in four, outscoring their opponents 16-5 on the series.

Doug Bentley of the Chicago Blackhawks led the NHL with 73 points, one ahead of Bill Cowley of the Boston Bruins. Interestingly, Cowley started his career in 1934-35 with the St. Louis Eagles before spending the next eleven years with Boston.

Q. What team left the NHL after the 1941-42 season to reduce the league to six teams?

A. The Brooklyn Americans called it quits after being in the league since 1925. Until that season, they were known as the New York Americans. In the 17 seasons between 1925-26 and 1941-42, the Americans reached the Stanley Cup playoffs just five times and won a series just twice. Ironically, the Americans came into the National Hockey League a year before the New York Rangers.

Q. The Philadelphia Flyers are not the city’s first NHL team. What was the name of the original team located in the City of Brotherly Love?

A. The Philadelphia Quakers played just one season in the NHL, 1930-31. The franchise had been located in Pittsburgh since the 1925-26 season and known as the Pirates. The 1930-31 Quakers won just four of 44 regular season games and tied four for 12 points. They finished dead last in the ten team NHL, 12 points behind ninth place Ottawa.

Syd Howe played this for this one season wonder, as well. It was Howe’s second year in the league after playing 14 games for the Ottawa Senators in his rookie season.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Benefits Of Being Traded For Paul Coffey

paul coffey edmonton oilers o-pee-chee hockey card
Paul Coffey is one of just 20 players in National Hockey League history to play for nine or more teams during their career. It goes without saying that Coffey was part of a fair share of big trades, considering he was one of the best defensemen of all time.

Three players traded for Paul Coffey stand out above the rest. Each of these three saw instant success with the team that was trading Paul away. Ironically, each was a second round pick in their NHL Entry Draft. Despite his nine teams, Coffey never played with any of these three players during his National Hockey League career.

Craig Simpson

In November of 1987, Coffey was part of a multi-player trade between the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins with Paul leaving the Gretzky gang. Among the players going to Edmonton was Craig Simpson. Simpson played in the NHL from 1985-86 to 1994-95 with the Penguins, Oilers and Buffalo Sabres. Originally, he was the second overall pick of the Penguins at the 1985 NHL Entry Draft.

That season, the Oilers went on to meet Boston in the Stanley Cup finals where they swept the Bruins in four games. Pittsburgh did not qualify for the post season. Simpson won another Stanley Cup with Edmonton in 1989-90. Once again, it was the Boston Bruins that fell victim to the Oilers, this time in five games.

Jimmy Carson

Fast forward to January of 1993. After being reunited with Wayne Gretzky in Los Angeles for a short time, Coffey was traded by the Kings to the Detroit Red Wings. Headed in the other direction was Jimmy Carson. Carson played in the NHL from 1986-87 to 1995-96 with the Kings, Oilers, Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks and Hartford Whalers. He had been the second overall pick at the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, going to the Kings.

In the 1992-93 season, the Steve Yzerman led Red Wings made an early first round exit from the playoffs. Jimmy Carson and the Kings moved on to the Stanley Cup finals before falling to the Montreal Canadiens in seven games.

Brendan Shanahan

In October of 1996, the Red Wings sent Paul Coffey to the Hartford Whalers. Among the players coming in the other direction was Brendan Shanahan. Shanahan played in the National Hockey League from 1987-88 to 2008-09 with the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Whalers, Red Wings and New York Rangers. He was the second overall pick at the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, going to the Devils.

Detroit reached the Stanley Cup finals in 1996-97 and swept the Philadelphia Flyers to become champions. It was the first time the Red Wings had won the Stanley Cup since 1954-55. Hartford, however, did not qualify for post season action. But, Coffey wasn’t with the Whalers at the season’s end. Paul was traded again in December to those same Philadelphia Flyers and played in the finals against the team that he started the season with.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bob Hartley: 4 Leagues, 4 Championships

bob hartley
2014-15 is Bob Hartley's third season as head coach of the Calgary Flames in the National Hockey League. While behind the Calgary bench, the Flames have yet to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. However, if anyone is going to turn this NHL franchise around, it’s Hartley. Since 1992-93, in four different leagues, Bob has led four different teams to playoff championships.

1992-93 Laval Titan – QMJHL

In his second of two years coaching Laval, Hartley led the team to a second overall placing with 43 wins and 88 points over the 70 game regular season schedule. The Titan led the QMJHL with 367 goals scored.

In the playoffs, Laval lost just one game. In the opening round, they swept Verdun College-Francais. In the semi-finals, they swept the Drummondville Voltigeurs. In the finals against the Sherbrooke Faucons, Laval let one get away but won the series in five games to capture the President’s Cup.

The 1993 Memorial Cup tournament was held in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The Titan went 1-2 in the round robin. Laval beat the Swift Current Broncos 4-3 in the tie-breaker game before losing 3-1 to the Peterborough Petes in the semi-final matchup.

1996-97 Hershey Bears – AHL

In his first year coaching Hershey, Bob Hartley led the team to a second place finish in the Mid-Atlantic Division and second place overall in the American Hockey League. The Bears won 43 games and totalled 101 points over 80 games. Hershey had the least goals against in the AHL with 220.

In the opening round of the playoffs, the Bears ousted the Kentucky Thoroughblades, three games to one. The next two best of seven series both went the distance with Hershey beating the Philadelphia Phantoms 4-3 followed by a 4-3 victory over the Springfield Falcons to earn a place in the finals. The Bears met the Hamilton Bulldogs and dispatched their opponents in five games to capture the Calder Cup championship.

2000-01 Colorado Avalanche – NHL

In his third of five years as head coach of the Avalanche, it was now or never for Hartley to win a Stanley Cup championship. Colorado was led by Joe Sakic, Ray Bourque and Patrick Roy, all now in the Hockey Hall of Fame and, at the time, nearing the end of their playing careers. 

The Avalanche finished first overall in the NHL with 52 wins and 118 points in 82 games. Joe Sakic scored 54 goals and finished second to Pavel Bure’s 59 goals with the Florida Panthers. Sakic’s 118 points placed him second in the race for the Art Ross Trophy, behind Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins with 121 points.

In the opening round, Colorado swept the Vancouver Canucks in four games. In the Western Conference semi-finals, the Los Angeles Kings took Colorado to the seven game limit before allowing them to advance. In the Conference finals, the Avalanche eliminated the St. Louis Blues in five games. In the finals, Colorado met the New Jersey Devils and won their second Stanley Cup championship, winning four games to three.

2011-12 ZSC Lions – NLA

Bob coached in Switzerland for the 2011-12 season with the ZSC (Zurich) Lions of the elite National League A. The team finished the regular season in seventh place in the twelve team league with just eight playoff spots up for grabs. In a post season of upsets in Switzerland, the Lions defeated the fifth place SC Bern in the finals. It was Hartley’s only year coaching in Europe.