Showing posts with label national hockey league. Show all posts
Showing posts with label national hockey league. Show all posts

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 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.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Hockey Trivia: NHL Franchise Relocations Of The 1970's, 1980's and 1990's

california seals o-pee-chee checklist hockey card
The 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s brought expansion to the National Hockey League. With the rapid growth, poor economy and lack of proper planning, there was quite a bit of movement among franchises in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Test and broaden your hockey knowledge with the following four trivia questions.

Q. The franchise that is now known as the New Jersey Devils came into the NHL in 1974-75 as what team?

A. The Kansas City Scouts are the origin of the New Jersey Devils. The Scouts lasted just two seasons in Kansas City before a short stint in Denver as the Colorado Rockies before moving east to become the Devils.

Over the two years, 1974-75 and 1975-76, the Scouts won a total of 27 of 160 regular season games. In the first year, they were second last in the NHL, ahead of only their expansion partners, the Washington Capitals. In 1975-76, Kansas City once again finished ahead of only the Capitals.

Simon Nolet served as team captain until midway through the second season when he was replaced by Guy Charron. The Scouts drafted Wilf Paiement second overall at the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft. NHL legend Sid Abel had a brief three game stint as the team’s head coach.

Q. In 1976-77, what franchise moved to Cleveland and became the Barons?

A. The California Seals were a product of the first expansion boom in 1967-68. They left California to become the Barons and then merged with the Minnesota North Stars after just two seasons. In both those years, the Barons placed fourth in the Adams Division and did not qualify for the post season.

Despite having an arena that would seat 18,500 in Richfield Coliseum, the Barons averaged around 6,000 fans per game over the two years. At the time, Richfield Coliseum had the largest seating capacity of any National Hockey League venue.

Q. The Calgary Flames were born into the NHL as what team?

A. The Atlanta Flames joined the league in 1972-73 along with the New York Islanders. The deep south wasn’t ready for hockey and the Flames made the move to Calgary for the 1980-81 season. The Flames were a decent team, on the upper end of mediocrity.

Over their eight years in Atlanta, the team reached the post season in six, including their last five. However, they were never able to win a series in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

While in Atlanta, the Flames drafted some good talent in Tom Lysiak, Brad Marsh and Paul Reinhart. The four captains in Atlanta Flames history include Keith McCreary, Pat Quinn, Tom Lysiak and Jean Pronovost.

Q. The franchise currently known as the Dallas Stars originally was located in what northern U.S. city?

A. The Stars franchise was born in the 1967-68 NHL expansion as the Minnesota North Stars. The team uprooted and headed to the Lone Star State for the 1993-94 season. The move was not made due to a poor on-ice product. The North Stars reached the Stanley Cup finals twice in their time in Minnesota. In 1980-81, the team fell to the mighty New York Islanders 4-1 in the finals. In 1990-91, they reached the finals again but fell in six games to Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins.


Monday, August 11, 2014

NHL Hockey Trivia: Chicago Blackhawks Retired Numbers

chicago blackhawks nhl logo
The Chicago Blackhawks have been a fixture in the National Hockey League since the 1926-27 season. Many great hockey players have worn the red, black and white of the Blackhawks. Only a select group of these hockey legends have had their numbers taken out of circulation by the team and raised to the rafters for eternity.

Test and expand your hockey trivia knowledge of the Chicago Blackhawks retired numbers with these four hockey trivia questions.

Q. Two goaltenders have had their numbers retired by the Chicago Blackhawks. What goalie is the number 35 retired for?

A. Tony Esposito played for Chicago from 1969-70 until 1983-84. With exception of 13 games played with the Montreal Canadiens in 1968-69, Esposito played his whole career in Chicago. Tony finished his career with 76 shutouts and a 2.92 goals against average in 886 regular season games. Esposito was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, four years after his brother Phil Esposito.

The other number retired by Chicago for a goaltender is number 1 in honour of Glenn Hall. Glenn played for Chicago from 1957-58 to 1966-67. He came to the Blackhawks from the Detroit Red Wing and ended his career with the St. Louis Blues. The three time Vezina Trophy winner was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.

Both Tony Esposito and Glenn Hall had their numbers retired by the Blackhawks on the same day, November 20, 1988.

Q. What number is retired by the Chicago Blackhawks for two different players?

A. The number 3 is retired in honour of two defensemen, Pierre Pilote and Keith Magnuson. Both were long time blue liners in Chicago. Pilote was a three time winner of the Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

Pilote played for Chicago from 1955-56 to 1967-68, spending one last year in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1968-69. Magnuson played his entire NHL career with Chicago from 1969-70 to 1979-80. Both Pilote and Magnuson had their number retired by the Blackhawks on the same night, November 12, 2008. For Magnuson, it was posthumously, having died in 2003.

Q. The number 21 is retired by the Chicago Blackhawks in honour of what long-time great?

A. Stan Mikita holds the all-time Blackhawks career records for points and assists. He is the only NHL player to win the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy and the Lady Byng Trophy in the same year. He accomplished this in two consecutive seasons during the 1960’s.

Mikita played his entire NHL career with Chicago from 1958-59 to 1979-80. His number was retired on October 19, 1980 and he entered the Hockey Hall of Fame three years later in 1983.

Q. The Blackhawks retired number 9 for what Hockey Hall of Fame player?

A. Easy question. Bobby Hull wore number 9 for the Blackhawks from 1957 to 1972 before becoming the face of the fledgling World Hockey Association. In 1983, Bobby entered the HHOF along with long time line mate Stan Mikita. On December 18, 1983, his number was retired by Chicago.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

4 1986 NHL 1st Rounders To Play 1,000 Games Or More

brian leetch new york rangers topps rookie card
Just four players drafted in the first round of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft went on to play 1000 or more regular season games in the National Hockey League. In fact, just three others in the entire draft were able to accomplish the feat. The first overall pick was Joe Murphy, going to the Detroit Red Wings out of Michigan State University. Murphy played 779 regular season games over his career.

Vincent Damphousse – Toronto Maple Leafs

Vincent Damphousse was the sixth overall pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Damphousse was selected from the Laval Titan of the QMJHL. Vinny went on to play nearly 1,400 regular season games in the NHL between 1986-87 to 2003-04 with the Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks. He totalled 1,205 points on 432 goals and 773 assists.

Brian Leetch – New York Rangers

Brian Leetch was selected ninth by the New York Rangers out of the United States High School system. Between 1987-88 and 2005-06, Leetch played in 1,205 games, contributing 1,028 points on 247 goals and 781 assists. The bulk of Brian’s career was spent with the Rangers but his final two saw him dress with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Leetch was the Calder Trophy recipient in 1988-89 as the NHL’s top rookie. Over his career, Brian won the Norris Trophy twice and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1993-94.

Scott Young – Hartford Whalers

Scott Young went eleventh overall to the Hartford Whalers after playing with Boston University. Young played nearly 1,200 games between 1987-88 and 2005-06 with the Whalers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars. He scored 342 goals and assisted on 414 for 756 career points.

Leetch and Young were teammates on the 1988 United States Olympic team that competed in Calgary. The team finished seventh in a winter Olympic games that saw the Soviet Union capture gold, Finland get the silver and Sweden take the Bronze.

Tom Fitzgerald – New York Islanders

Tom Fitzgerald was the 17th pick, taken out of the United States high school program by the New York Islanders. Fitzgerald played three games less than 1,100 between 1988-89 and 2005-06 with the Islanders, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Fitzgerald played with Leetch over his final two seasons with the Maple Leafs and Bruins.

The other three players in the overall draft to reach the 1,000 game plateau include Adam Graves (2nd round, 22nd overall – Detroit Red Wings), Teppo Numminen (2nd round, 29th overall – Winnipeg Jets) and Lyle Odelein (7th round, 141st overall – Montreal Canadiens). 1986 was a draft that saw only two players from the Ontario Hockey League get selected in the first round. In contrast, eleven from the OHL went in the 2012 first round. Six of the draftees were from either the U.S. High School or College system.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Top NHL Teams In Each Decade

detroit red wings nhl logo
It is an on-going argument which NHL teams are the best of all-time. It is hard to compare the 1930 Boston Bruins with the 1977 Montreal Canadiens when the rules, conditions, equipment, training and number of teams have changed drastically through the years.

 We go Vulcan with this article, showing the best NHL team from each decade since the 1920’s based entirely on single season winning percentage. The number of games played in a season has gone from 24 to 82 in just a short 80 years and winning percentage is the only true measure of a team’s success during the regular season. Just to be clear, this is based on the top single season performance by a team during the decade and not the collective winning percentage over the ten years.

1919-20 Ottawa Senators

The 1919-20 Ottawa Senators played in a young NHL with only 3 other teams and with only a 24 game schedule. The team won 19 of the 24 games and had no ties for a winning percentage of .792. The Senators won the Stanley Cup that season which is, from what we will find out, somewhat of a rarity among teams who excel to extreme levels of success during the regular season.

Ottawa was led offensively by Frank Nighbor and in net by Clint Benedict. Nighbor, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1947, played for Ottawa from 1915-16 to 1929-30. Benedict is also enshrined in the HHOF but entered in 1965. He played with the Senators from 1912-13 to 1923-24 before finishing his career with the Montreal Maroons.

1929-30 Boston Bruins

The 1929-30 Boston Bruins had the highest single season winning percentage of all-time. In the 44 games schedule, the Bruins had 38 wins and 1 tie to go along with their 5 losses for a winning percentage of .875. This was the era before the ‘Original 6’ and the NHL consisted of two divisions of 5 teams. The Bruins were easily the top team in the American Division. However, the Montreal Canadiens from the Canadian Division would be the eventual winners of the Stanley Cup that season.

Art Ross coached the Bruins, and was Boston’s first ever head coach. He would lead the team to a Stanley Cup championship at the end of the decade in 1938-39. In 1929-30, Cooney Weiland of the Bruins led the NHL in goals and points. Other greats playing with Boston that year were Dit Clapper, Eddie Shore and goaltender Tiny Thompson.

1943-44 Montreal Canadiens

The 1943-44 Montreal Canadiens would achieve a winning percentage of .830 with 38 wins, 5 losses and 7 ties over a 50 game season. The league consisted of 6 teams and the Canadiens were crowned Stanley Cup Champions. The Dick Irvin coached team had a healthy 25 point lead over the second place Detroit Red Wings.

Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard was just in his first full season in the NHL after appearing in just 16 games with the Canadiens the year before. His 32 goals led the Canadiens and tied him for 6th in the league with Bill Mosienko of the Chicago Blackhawks and Syd Howe of the Red Wings. Playing all 50 games in net for the Habs was Bill Durnan.

1950-51 Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings had a winning percentage of .721 in 1950-51 on 44 wins, 13 losses and 13 ties over 70 games. The league still consisted of the original 6 teams. Despite Detroit’s success, the Toronto Maple Leafs would steal the Stanley Cup away. The Red Wings fell to the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round, four games to two. Montreal finished the regular season in third place, 36 points behind the Red Wings. It was a close battle with the Habs outscoring Detroit over the series by just one goal and two of the six games going into overtime.

Detroit’s Gordie Howe led the NHL in both goals and assists. He won the Art Ross Trophy with a commanding 20 point lead over Rocket Richard. Only one man stood between the pipes for Detroit during the 1950-51 NHL season, Terry Sawchuk.

1961-62 Montreal Canadiens

The 1961-62 Montreal Canadiens had a winning percentage of .700 on 42 wins, 14 losses and 14 ties over 70 games. The league was in its final decade of just 6 teams with expansion arriving in 1967-68. Once again, the Toronto Maple Leafs snatched the Stanley Cup away from the regular season league leader.

The Toe Blake coached Canadiens were led offensively by Ralph Backstrom and Claude Provost. Jacques Plante played every single game in goal for the team. Montreal was knocked out in the first round by the third place Chicago Blackhawks.

1976-77 Montreal Canadiens

The team that is considered by many to be the best of all-time put in a winning percentage of .825 in 1976-77. The Montreal Canadiens lost just 8 games while winning 60 and tying 12 over 80 games in the 18 team league. The Canadiens would breeze to a Stanley Cup win that season, losing just two playoff games. Montreal dropped two to the New York Islanders in the semi-finals while sweeping the St. Louis Blues in the opening round and the Boston Bruins in the finals.

Offensively, Steve Shutt led the league with 60 goals while Guy Lafleur led the NHL with 80 assists and 136 points. Of course, the Scotty Bowman coached Habs were led in goal by Ken Dryden with Michel Larocque doing an admirable job as backup.

1983-84 Edmonton Oilers

Wayne Gretzky and his Edmonton Oilers controlled the 1983-84 season with a winning percentage of .744 on 57 wins, 18 losses and 5 ties over 80 games. Not only would the Oilers top the 21-team league over the regular season but would take the Stanley Cup, as well. The Oilers took out the defending champion New York Islanders in five games in the finals. New York had won the Stanley Cup for the past four seasons. Edmonton’s toughest challenge came in the quarter-finals when the Calgary Flames took them to the seven game limit.

Gretzky led the league with 87 goals, 118 assists and 205 points. He was a whopping 79 points ahead of second place Paul Coffey, also of the Oilers. Gretzky, Coffey, Jari Kurri and Mark Messier all topped the 100 point plateau. Andy Moog and Grant Fuhr shared the goaltending duties with what would have been lacklustre numbers on any other team.

1995-96 Detroit Red Wings

In 1995-96, the Detroit Red Wings set the record for most wins in a single season with 62, a record that stands today. The Wings posted a winning percentage of .799 over the 82 game schedule, losing 13 and tying 7. The league had expanded to 26 teams at this point. Despite the record number of wins, Detroit would fall to the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup semi-finals. Colorado then swept the Florida Panthers to win the championship.

The Scotty Bowman coached Red Wings were led offensively by Sergei Fedorov and Steve Yzerman. Sharing the goaltending duties were Chris Osgood and Mike Vernon.

2005-06 Detroit Red Wings

Ten years after their record performance, the Detroit Red Wings posted the best record of the decade with a .756 winning percentage in 2005-06. The feat was accomplished on a record of 58 wins, 16 losses and 8 ties. At this point, the league was up to 30 teams and remains at that number today. Once again, the Wings would not take home the Stanley Cup as the Carolina Hurricanes would win their first. In fact, Detroit was upset in the opening round by the Edmonton Oilers in six games.

It was Mike Babcock’s first year as head coach of the Red Wings and just two years later, he would have his first Stanley Cup championship. 2005-06 marked the start of the Pavel Datsyuk era and the end of the incredible career of Steve Yzerman. Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg led the team offensively while Manny Legace played the bulk of games in net.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

NHL Hockey Trivia: St. Louis Blues Individual Single Season Records

st. louis blues national hockey league
The St. Louis Blues were one of six teams to enter the National Hockey League in 1967-68 as part of the first wave of modern expansion. The individual records of the Blues were certainly not all set in a couple of magical seasons, as is with the case with many NHL teams. The current team records range in the date they were set from the second year of the franchise to just three years ago.

Test and expand your hockey trivia knowledge of the St. Louis Blues individual records with these four St. Louis Blues trivia questions.

Q. What player holds the St. Louis Blues record for most assists in a single season?

A. Adam Oates had 90 assists in the 1990-91 season, mostly setting up line mate Brett Hull. This was not the best season for Oates when it came to assists. The setup man had 97 helpers with the Boston Bruins in 1992-93. Oates finished his career in sixth on the NHL all-time list for assists with 1,079.

Q. What goalie broke a long standing team record for most shutouts in a season in 2011-12?

A. In 2011-12, Brian Elliott broke a long standing franchise record with nine shutouts. The mark topped a performance by a Hockey Hall of Fame goalie in just the team’s second year in the National Hockey League. Glenn Hall, the team’s main goalie for their first two seasons in the NHL, held opponents goal-less eight times in the 1968-69 season. The effort earned him his third Vezina Trophy.

What’s really impressive about Elliott’s record is that he was not the number one goalie for St. Louis in 2011-12. Brian played in 38 games while Jaroslav Halak appeared in 46. The two combined for 15 shutouts on the season. In 1968-69, Hall appeared in 41 games while Jacques Plante played in 37. The duo combined for 13 shutouts. It should be noted that the schedule in 1968-69 was six games shorter than it was in 2011-12.

Q. Who holds the St. Louis Blues record the most penalty minutes in a single season?

A. In 1975-76 Bob Gassoff sat out 306 minutes. Gassoff was killed shortly after the end of the following season in a freak motorcycle accident. His number 3 was retired by the team the following season and is one of only six St. Louis Blues retired numbers. 1975-76 was the third of just four seasons Bob played in the NHL before his untimely demise.

Q. What St. Louis Blues goaltender holds the team record for the highest save percentage in a single regular season (minimum 25 games played)?

A. Brian Elliott broke another record in 2011-12. Elliott recorded an amazing .940 save percentage to go along with his nine shutouts and team record 1.56 goals against average. The previous record had been set just a few years before by Chris Mason. Elliott simply shattered Mason’s mark of .916. However, Chris saw plenty more action, appearing in 57 games for the Blues in 2008-09.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

12 of 30 National Hockey League Teams Still Looking For 1st Stanley Cup

stanley cup trophy national hockey league (nhl)
Of the thirty teams in the National Hockey League, there are still twelve that have yet to hoist the Stanley Cup. There is just one team from the NHL size doubling expansion in 1967-68 that have yet to win a Stanley Cup. Since the Toronto Maple Leafs last won the Cup in 1966-67, Toronto and the St. Louis Blues are tied for the most years without a Stanley Cup victory.

Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild entered the NHL for the 2000-01 season. The Blue Jackets have made the playoffs just once since their inception and they didn’t make it past the first round. The Wild have had mildly better success with a Western Conference finals loss in 2002-03.

The Atlanta Thrashers began play in the NHL one year before Columbus and Minnesota. Atlanta’s one trip to the playoffs was a first round sweep in 2006-07 at the hands of the New York Rangers. Since moving to Winnipeg for the 2011-12 season, the Jets have not reached the post season.

The Nashville Predators have been in the NHL one more year than Atlanta. Nashville has had some success qualifying for the post season. The team has made the playoffs seven times over their short lifetime and have reached the Western Conference semi-finals twice.

The Florida Panthers have made the playoffs just once since 1999-00, losing in the 2011-12 opening round to the New Jersey Devils in seven games. The team came into the league in 1993-94 and had very rapid success, making it to the Stanley Cup finals in just their third year in the league. The Panthers lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the finals at the height of the ‘neutral zone trap’ era.

The latest incarnation of the Ottawa Senators entered the league in 1992-93. Despite being one of the top regular season teams for a number of years, the Senators made it to the Western Conference finals in just 2002-03 (losing to New Jersey Devils) and the Stanley Cup finals in just 2006-07 (losing to the Anaheim Ducks). A team called the Ottawa Senators won four Stanley Cups in the 1920’s before moving to St. Louis then disappearing from the league back in 1930’s.

The San Jose Sharks entered the NHL a year before the Senators. As with the Senators, the Sharks have fielded a top-notch team that has done great during the regular season but has had trouble in the playoffs. The team has made it to the Western Conference finals twice before being knocked out, 2003-04 against the Calgary Flames and 2009-10 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Phoenix Coyotes moved to the desert from Winnipeg for the 1996-97 season. The Coyotes didn’t win a single playoff series until 2011-12 when they managed to reach the Western Conference finals before losing to the Los Angeles Kings. The team was originally dubbed the Jets in Winnipeg from the 1979-80 NHL season forward and had no better luck at that location. As a member of the World Hockey Association, however, the Jets won the Avco Cup three times as the league’s playoff champions.

The Washington Capitals have been favoured to compete strongly for the Stanley Cup over the past decade but have provided their fans with perennial post season disappointment. The Capitals entered the league in 1974-75. They have lost in the Conference finals just once, losing to the Boston Bruins in 1988-89, and the Stanley Cup finals just once, losing to the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.

The Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks both entered the NHL for the 1970-71 season. Buffalo has lost in the Stanley Cup finals twice while the Canucks have played the role of bridesmaid on three occasions. The Sabres lost out to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1974-75 and the Dallas Stars in 1998-99. The Canucks lost to the mighty New York Islanders in 1981-82, the New York Rangers in 1993-94 and the Boston Bruins in 2010-11.

The only team from the expansion of 1967-68 that is still in search of its first Stanley Cup victory is the St. Louis Blues. The Blues went to the Cup finals in their first three years of existence and haven’t been back since. The Kings made one unsuccessful trip to the finals, a loss to the Montreal Canadiens in 1992-93, before winning the championship in 2011-12 with a victory over the New Jersey Devils in the finals. Los Angeles did it again in 2013-14.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hockey Trivia: Long Lost NHL Teams

philadelphia quakers national hockey league
Back in the early days of the NHL, before the league was reduced to the ‘Original Six’, an interesting mix of franchises came and went. Test and expand your hockey knowledge with these four trivia questions on the nicknames of teams that were part of the early days of the NHL but are now long gone.

Q. Where was home for NHL franchise nicknamed the Tigers?

A. Long before Jim Ballsillie’s attempts to bring an NHL franchise to Hamilton, Ontario, there existed a team in the Canadian steel city named the Tigers. The team played from 1920 to 1925. The Tigers were created from the demise of the Quebec Bulldogs. The Tigers were NHL regular season champions in the 1924-25 season, their last in Hamilton.

Q. When the Hamilton Tigers left the NHL, Pirates took their spot. Where did the Pirates play out of?

A. Just like Major League Baseball, the Pirates were a hockey franchise in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pirates played from 1925-26 until 1929-30. Thirty-seven years later, NHL hockey returned to Pittsburgh in the form of the Penguins.

The Pirates played out of the cozy Duquesne Gardens in Pittsburgh. The arena officially sat just 5,000 for hockey, although unofficially it could fit 8,000 spectators. The building was constructed as a Trolley Barn in 1890 and converted to an ice rink in 1895. Duquesne Gardens was closed and demolished in 1956.

In Pittsburgh’s first year in the NHL, the team finished third in the seven team league, behind the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Maroons. The team played in the post season twice but never won a series.

Q. The Pittsburgh Pirates became the Quakers and played out of what city for just the 1930-31 season?

A. The Philadelphia Quakers were a disaster in the NHL. In their one season, the team registered just four wins and four ties over the 44 game schedule. In the American Division, the Quakers finished fifth out of five teams, 27 points behind the fourth place Detroit Falcons and 50 points behind the first place Boston Bruins. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Syd Howe played his second year in the NHL with Philadelphia.

Q. Another one season team was named the Eagles. Where did this franchise call home during the 1934-35 season?

A. The St. Louis Eagles were the reincarnation of the Ottawa Senators. The team finished last in the five team league during the 1934-35 season with just eleven wins in 48 games. The Eagles played out of the massive St. Louis Arena, a new venue at the time, having opening in 1929. At the time, the capacity of the arena for hockey was 14,200. That seating limit ballooned to as  high as 18,008 when it was home to the St. Louis Blues before being closed in 1994. The building was demolished in 1999.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

1958-59 NHL Team Leaders

1958-59 topps ed litzenberger chicago blackhawks
The Montreal Canadiens continued to steamroll the rest of the National Hockey League in 1958-59. The Habs took first place by 18 points and went on to win their fourth of five consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

Dickie Moore – Montreal Canadiens

Dickie Moore led Montreal with 96 points. He also led the league, earning his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy. The 96 points eclipsed Gordie Howe’s NHL record by one point for most in a single season. Teammate Jean Beliveau was right behind with 91 points on an offensive powerhouse that scored over 50 more goals than any other team in the league. The Canadiens took out Chicago in the opening round and the surprising Maple Leafs in the final to capture the Stanley Cup.

Andy Bathgate – New York Rangers

Andy Bathgate of the New York Rangers had a career season, leading the team and finishing third in the NHL with 88 points. The Rangers finished the regular season in fifth place and out of post season contention. However, Bathgate was awarded the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP. Andy figured in on nearly 44% of all New York’s goals in 1958-59.

Gordie Howe – Detroit Red Wings

Gordie Howe, as usual, led the Detroit Red Wings. His 78 points placed him fourth in the race for the Art Ross. However, the Red Wings were uncharacteristically disappointing, placing sixth and last in the league, six points behind the Rangers. Howe had a point on nearly 47% of all Detroit’s goals. Despite Hockey Hall of Fame goalie Terry Sawchuk playing in 67 of Detroit’s 70 games, the team had the most goals against in the league.

Ed Litzenberger – Chicago Black Hawks

Ed Litzenberger led the Chicago Blackhawks with 77 points and finished fifth in the NHL. For Litzenberger it was the end of an era. He had been the team’s offensive leader since winning the Calder Trophy in 1954-55. He played five more years in the NHL after 1958-59 but he never again achieved even half the point total of that season. Bobby Hull emerged as a superstar in 1959-60 and Ed became obsolete. The Black Hawks were on the move, after missing the post season the year before, the team finished third during the regular season. They were just two years away from a Stanley Cup championship.

Don McKenney – Boston Bruins

Don McKenney was at the peak of his NHL career, leading the Boston Bruins with 62 points and tying for eighth in the NHL. Boston finished second overall but fell in the opening round to the fourth place Maple Leafs in a series that went the full seven games. For Boston, they would not return to the post season until 1967-68.

Dick Duff – Toronto Maple Leafs

Dick Duff led the Toronto Maple Leafs with 53 points. The previous season, Toronto finished dead last in the league with just 53 points. The team had a 12 point improvement in 1958-59 and placed fourth. They then went on to upset the Bruins in the opening round before falling to Montreal in five in the final. The defining difference in Toronto was Johnny Bower, playing in his first season with the Maple Leafs and taking over the starting role from Ed Chadwick.