blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: June 2018

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Today In NHL History - Lindros Trade (QUE-PHI)

On June 30th in 1992, Quebec Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut and GM Pierre Page traded 1991 draft day holdout Eric Lindros to Philadelphia.



Amidst confusion among two competing bids, arbitrator Larry Bertuzzi selected Flyers GM Russ Farwell's proposal over New York Rangers GM Neil Smith's package of Doug Weight, Tony Amonte, Alexei Kovalev, John Vanbiesbrouck, three first round draft picks, and $12 million.

The trade ultimately saw Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Chris Simon, two first-round picks (Jocelyn Thibault, Nolan Baumgartner), and $15 million going to Quebec in exchange for the inaugural Next One. The deal remains one of the most significant and lopsided trades in NHL history.

The club would later exchange Hextall for Adam Deadmarsh and package Thibault for Patrick Roy and Mike Keane, claiming two Stanley Cups as the Colorado Avalanche. The Flyers remain winless since 1975.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Today In NHL History - Luongo Trade (NYI-FLA)

On June 24th in 2000, New York Islanders GM Mike Milbury traded Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen to the Florida Panthers for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha. The 2000 NHL Entry Draft day play saw the Isles select goalie Rick DiPietro 1st overall ahead of future all-stars Dany Heatley (2nd), Marian Gaborik (3rd) and Henrik Lundqvist (205th), to name a few.

In response to the move Milbury surmised, "In the end, we thought the quality that DiPietro will bring is just a notch above Luongo. If we're wrong, we may have made an unbelievable mistake. It'll be bonehead city. It's my job. If we're not a better team immediately, off with my head. I've been here five years, and I'm tired of losing."

Safe to say the Isles would have been better off with future Vezina/Hart/Pearson finalist Luongo, Calder winner and two-time 50 goal scorer Heatley, and Finnish national teamer Jokinen than the trio of DiPietro, Parrish, and Kvasha. Alas, the Milbury legacy lives on and on.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo's Playoff Poop.
* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo's Stick Gets Stuck.
* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo Trade (FLA-VAN).
* See also Roberto Luongo Interview - 2011 NHL Awards.
* See also Roberto Luongo Interview - 2009 NHL Awards.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Today In NHL History - Luongo Trade (FLA-VAN)

On June 23rd in 2006, Florida Panthers GM Mike Keenan traded Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek, and a 6th round pick (Sergei Shirokov) in the next day's 2006 NHL Entry Draft to the host city's Vancouver Canucks for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen, and Alex Auld.

Both Bertuzzi (7 games) and Auld (27 games) enjoyed limited play during their one season down south while Allen (284 games) was a fixture for Florida before being traded to Carolina for forward Sergei Samsonov (20 games), skating in his final NHL season.

On September 2, 2009, Luongo signed a 12 year contract extension with Vancouver through 2022 where he's won Olympic Gold (2010), presided over two Presidents' Trophy wins (2011, 2012), been named to three NHL All-Star Games (2007, 2008, 2009), received four NHL Award nominations (Vezina 2007 & 2011, Pearson 2007, Hart 2007), captured a Jennings Trophy (2011) with Cory Schneider, set several Canucks franchise records, and authored a popular Twitter feed @strombone1.

Despite these successes, Luongo has been widely criticized for spectacular playoff losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, blamed for the Canucks failure to capture the Stanley Cup in 2011, and remains to this day a favorite whipping boy for hockey pundits everywhere.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo's Playoff Poop.
* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo's Stick Gets Stuck.
* See also Today In NHL History - Luongo Trade (NYI-FLA).
* See also Roberto Luongo Interview - 2011 NHL Awards.
* See also Roberto Luongo Interview - 2009 NHL Awards.

Friday, June 22, 2018

NHL League Size And Regular Season Length

With this week's release of the regular season schedule for the NHL's 102th season of operation (101st season of actual play), it's a good time to consider this season's offering in the historical context of the number of participating teams and regular season games played since the league's inception 102 years ago.

Years 
Games  Teams
Years
Games  Teams
1917-1918   
22
4
          1978-1979   
80
17
1918-1919
18
3
      1979-1991
80
21
1919-1924
24
4
1991-1992
80
22
1924-1925
30
6
1992-1993
84
24
1925-1926
36
7
1993-1994
84
26
1926-1931
44
10
1994-1995
48
26
1931-1932
48
8
1995-1998
82
26
1932-1935
48
9
1998-2000
82
28
1935-1938
48
8
2000-2004
82
30
1938-1942
48
7
2004-2005
0
30
1942-1946
50
6
2005-2012
82
30
1946-1949
60
6
2012-2013
48
30
1949-1967
70
6
2013-2017
82
30
1967-1968
74
12
2017-2018
82
31
1968-1970
76
12
2018-2019
82
31
1970-1972
78
14



1972-1974
78
16



1974-1978
80
18




Rising from 3 to 31 teams and 18 to 84 games since 1918, the NHL regular season now sits at 31 teams playing 82 times a piece for a total of 1,271 games.  Aside from three work stoppages - abbreviating, canceling and abbreviating the proceedings respectively (1994-1995, 2004-2005, 2012-2013) - and a fire finishing a team (Montreal Wanderers) part-way through the year (1917-1918), most NHL regular season schedules have been played as planned with few, if any, interruptions.

Amidst endless stories of financially troubled clubs, the league has done well to quell rumors of NHL relocation, embracing NHL expansion in Las Vegas with Quebec City and Seattle as frontrunners for the league's 32nd team to balance the conferences.  

On the heels of 2013's NHL realignment, expect regular season length to remain at 82 games for the foreseeable future in order to preserve their commitment to extended divisional play, every team visiting every rink each year, and the pursuit of the all-mighty dollar which directly influences player salaries.  In short, fans' preference for fewer regular season games appears unlikely to be realized anytime soon.

* See also Fewest And Most Games Needed to Win Stanley Cup.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Length By Days And Games.
* See also History of NHL Expansion.
* See also History of NHL Relocation.
* See also History of NHL Contraction.
* See also History of NHL Team Renaming.

History of NHL Expansion

Since the league's beginnings in 1917, the NHL has welcomed 37 teams. Of those, thirteen have relocated to a new city, eleven have changed their team name while remaining in the same city, and six have fallen on financial hard times and folded their operations

The chart below shows the history of NHL expansion by year, team name and the expansion fee levied on the buyer by the league.

YearExpansion TeamCost
1917       Montreal Canadians None
1917 Montreal Wanderers# None
1917 Ottawa Senators^# None
1917 Quebec Bulldogs^*# None
1917 Toronto Arenas* None
1924 Boston Bruins $15k
1924 Montreal Maroons# $15k (includes $11k to Canadiens)
1925 Pittsburgh Pirates^# $12k
1926 Chicago Black Hawks* $12k
1926 Detroit Cougars* $12k
1926 New York Rangers $12k
1967 California Seals*^# $2m
1967 Los Angeles Kings $2m
1967 Minnesota North Stars^ $2m
1967 Philadelphia Flyers $2m
1967 Pittsburgh Penguins $2m
1967 St. Louis Blues $2m
1970 Buffalo Sabres $6m
1970 Vancouver Canucks $6m
1972 Atlanta Flames^ $6m
1972 New York Islanders $11m (includes $5m to Rangers)
1974 Kansas City Scouts^ $6m
1974 Washington Capitals $6m
1979 Edmonton Oilers $7.5m (includes $1.5m to WHA)
1979 Hartford Whalers^ $7.5m (includes $1.5m to WHA)
1979 Quebec Nordiques^ $7.5m (includes $1.5m to WHA)
1979 Winnipeg Jets^ $7.5m (includes $1.5m to WHA)
1991 San Jose Sharks $45m
1992 Ottawa Senators $45m
1992 Tampa Bay Lightning $45m
1993 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim*   $50m (includes $25m to Kings)
1993 Florida Panthers $50m
1998 Nashville Predators $80m
1999 Atlanta Thrashers^ $80m
2000 Columbus Blue Jackets $80m
2000 Minnesota Wild $80m
2017 Las Vegas $500m

* Team was victim of NHL Renaming
^ Team was victim of NHL Relocation
# Team was victim of NHL Contraction

As indicated by the footnotes above, several teams have endured change in the form of renaming, relocation and contraction.  The ordering of the symbols indicates the chronology of these events.  The number of NHL teams and regular season games played by year may be found here.

The first five members of the NHL in 1917 gained admission without having to pay an expansion fee.  Since then, all teams have paid a fee to join the league.  Hovering between $12,000 and $15,000 in the 1920s, expansions fees jumped to $2 million in 1967 and tripled three years later in 1970 to $6 million where they remained (save surcharges to other teams and leagues) through the remainder of the decade.

After a twelve year span of a 21 team NHL, expansion began again in 1991 with fees 7.5 times higher than those paid by teams entering in the 1970s, ultimately ending up over 13.3 times by 2000. Current franchise valuations estimate the value of NHL teams ranging from $186 million (Florida Panthers) to $1.2 billion (New York Rangers).  

On June 22, 2016, the NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved a yet-to-be-named Las Vegas team as its 31st franchise. The club, coming at a cost of $500 million (6.25 times greater than the cost of it's next youngest siblings, Minnesota and Columbus from 2000) shall compete in the Pacific Division commencing in 2017. The NHL expansion draft to fill their roster is scheduled occurred on June 21, 2017.


Despite the escalating costs of purchasing a NHL team through expansion, the inflation calculator shows these teams to be more than holding their value in the terms of purchase price. This does not account for the annual operating losses for most NHL teams, which in the case of the Phoenix Coyotes resulted in losses of $54 million in 2009.

In 2013, the Glendale counsel voting 4-3 to keep the Coyotes for five more years, dashing the hopes of Seattle or Quebec City acquiring the club through relocation. Despite Quebec City being passed over today for an expansion franchise, allegedly owing to a lack of geographic balance and a weak Canadian dollarSeattle and Quebec City remain frontrunners to host the NHL's next franchise, if the league opts to expand to 32 teams.
* See also History of NHL Contraction.
* See also History of NHL Relocation.
* See also History of NHL Team Renaming.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Kozlov

On June 20th in 1995, New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens dealt a devastating blow to Detroit Red Wings forward Vyacheslav Kozlov in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, turning the tide of the game and series.

The 2nd period collision sparked the Devils, turning a 1-1 tie into a 4-2 win and eventually sweeping the series 4-0 to clinch their first Cup.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Lindros.
* See also Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Kariya.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Today In NHL History - Brett Hull's No Goal

On June 19th in 1999, Brett Hull scored 5 minutes and 9 seconds into the third overtime period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals giving the Dallas Stars a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres and their first (and only) Stanley Cup.

The goal remains the most controversial in NHL history due to a now defunct rule banning a player's skate from entering the crease before the puck as it appears Hull's did. NHL Director of Officiating Bryan Lewis, however, claimed no crease violation on the play noting "Hull had possession of the puck when his skate entered the crease."

ESPN counts the non-call as the 5th worst officiating moment in sports history. The NHL removed the rule the following month.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Today In NHL History - Konstantinov Limo Crash

On June 13th in 1997, heartbreak hit Hockeytown when a limousine carrying two members of the Russian Five and the Detroit Red Wings masseuse struck a tree six days after their first Cup win in 42 years.

The crash left Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Mnatsakanov in a coma with severe head injuries. Both eventually awoke, Konstantinov suffering extensive brain and bodily damage and Mnatsakanov paralyzed from the waist down. The Vladinator would never play hockey again. Slava Fetisov walked away unscathed.

Bearing badges embroidered "Believe" the Wings repeated as Stanley Cup champions, engraving Konstantinov's name despite his on-ice absence. Though not officially retired, no player has worn his number 16 since the injury. His locker remains intact.
Driver Richard Gnida was sentenced to nine months for operating the vehicle with a suspended license and testing positive for marijuana.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Maggie The Monkey Retires

On June 13th in 2009, the Bowmanville Zoo's primate prophet Maggie the Monkey, technically a Crab-eating Macaque, made her last Stanley Cup Playoff pick at the ripe age of 18, leaving the stage to the paid pundits she's owned in the past.

Selecting the underdog Anaheim Ducks to swim away with it all in 2003 (they ultimately lost to New Jersey in the Stanley Cup Final), Maggie tamed TSN's braintrust and was invited back for five more seasons.

Year: Record
2003: 8-7 (beating James Duthie; tying Gord Miller and Gina Reda)
2004: 7-8 (beating Bob McKenzie; tying Gord Miller and Dave Hodge)
2006: 9-6 (beating Bob McKenzie, Pierre McGuire and Bill Berg)
2007: 8-7
2008: 8-7
2009: 5-10 Peaking in 2006 when she out-picked the entire TSN panel, Maggie slowed with age ending with an even 45-45 record after six seasons. Never nailing the Stanley Cup winner in her previous five playoff predictions, Maggie correctly picked the Pittsburgh Penguins in her Final finale putting McKenzie, Duthie and Darren Pang to shame one last time.
That's today in NHL history.

Monday, June 11, 2018

NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Wins

Since the Stanley Cup was dedicated to NHL's top team in 1926, only seven franchises (Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins) have successfully defended their title and won the Stanley Cup in consecutive years.

The record for consecutive Stanley Cup wins by the same club is five (Montreal 1956-1957-1958-1969-1960) with two teams managing four straight wins (Montreal 1976-1977-1978-1979, New York Islanders 1980-1981-1982-1983), one team duplicating three year streaks (Toronto 1947-1948-1949 & 1962-1963-1964), and four squads posting one or more pairs (Detroit 1936-1937 & 1954-1955 & 1997-1998, Philadelphia 1974-1975, Edmonton 1984-1985 & 1987-1988, Pittsburgh 1991-1992 & 2016-2017).

The charts below describe these streaks by team, years, and vice versa.

Team                  Years
Montreal 1930-1931 (2), 1956-1957-1958-1959-1960 (5),

1965-1966 (2), 1968-1969 (2), 1976-1977-1978-1979 (4)
Detroit 1936-1937 (2), 1954-1955 (2), 1997-1998 (2)
Toronto 1947-1948-1949 (3), 1962-1963-1964 (3)
Philadelphia 1974-1975 (2)
New York** 1980-1981-1982-1983 (4)
Edmonton 1984-1985 (2), 1987-1988 (2)
Pittsburgh 1991-1992 (2), 2016-2017 (2)

Years                  Team
1930-1931 Montreal
1936-1937 Detroit
1947-1949 Toronto
1954-1955 Detroit
1956-1960 Montreal
1962-1964 Toronto
1965-1966 Montreal
1968-1969 Montreal
1974-1975 Philadelphia
1976-1979 Montreal 
1980-1983 New York**   
1984-1985 Edmonton     
1987-1988 Edmonton
1991-1992 Pittsburgh
1997-1998 Detroit
2016-2017 Pittsburgh

** New York Islanders

Prior to Pittsburgh turning the trick in 2017, Detroit was the last team to appear in consecutive Stanley Cup Finals (2008, 2009) when they rematched against Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for Detroit, they failed to defend their title. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, they spared themselves the shame of losing in consecutive Cup Finals.

The last team to win the Stanley Cup three times in a row was the New York Islanders, when they claimed it four times in the 1980s (1980-1983). Pittsburgh fell short of their three-peat aspirations this year losing to Washington in the second round, who went on to win their franchise first 
Stanley Cup. Next year, they'll seek to defend and repeat.

* See also NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Losses.
* See also NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Rematches.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Canucks Who Left Vancouver & Won Stanley Cup

The Vancouver Canucks have skated in three Stanley Cup Finals (1982, 1994, 2011) since their NHL debut in 1970. Despite twice taking their Cup Final opponent to Game 7 (1994, 2011), no Canuck has hoisted or had their name etched on the Stanley Cup during their tenure with the club.

A fortunate few, however, have clinched the Stanley Cup with another squad subsequent to their stay with the Canucks. The chart below lists each former Canuck that won the Stanley Cup by year and team.

Year         Former Canuck         Championship Team
2017         Nick Bonino   Pittsburgh Penguin 
2016         Nick Bonino*   Pittsburgh Penguin 
2014 Willie Mitchell   Los Angeles Kings
2012 Willie Mitchell Los Angeles Kings
2010 Brent Sopel Chicago Blackhawks
2009 Matt Cooke Pittsburgh Penguins
2007 Brad May Anaheim Ducks
2006 Bret Hedican Carolina Hurricanes
2004 Jassen Cullimore Tampa Bay Lightning
2002 Jiri Slegr Detroit Red Wings
2000 Alexander Mogilny*      New Jersey Devils
1999 Doug Lidster Dallas Stars
1998 Igor Larionov Detroit Red Wings
1997 Igor Larionov Detroit Red Wings
1994 Doug Lidster* New York Rangers
1993 J.J. Daigneault Montreal Canadiens
1987 Moe Lemay* Edmonton Oilers

*  Won Stanley Cup during 1st season with new team after Canucks.

At least thirteen former Canucks (Lemay, Daigneault, Lidster, Larionov, Mogilny, Slegr, Cullimore, Hedican, May, Cooke, Sopel, Mitchell, Bonino) have hoisted the holy hardware skating with other clubs after their west coast stint, though only four (Lemay, Lidster, Mogilny, Bonino) won the Stanley Cup in the same season they left Vancouver.

Moe Lemay arrived in Edmonton on March 10, 1987 (in exchange for Raimo Summanen) and was part of the Oilers third Stanley Cup win. Doug Lidster was dealt to the New York Rangers on June 25, 1993 (in exchange for John Vanbiesbrouck) and won the Stanley Cup the following season against his former team. Alexander Mogilny was sent to the New Jersey Devils on March 14, 2000 (in exchange for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson), where #89 captured the Stanley Cup 89 days later. Nick Bonino was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 28, 2015 (along with Adam Clendening and in exchange for Brandon Sutter), where he led the Pens in postseason assists en route to a Stanley Cup win.

Sadly, no former Canucks were part of the Washington Capitals Stanley Cup winning roster this year.
Here's hoping a current or former Canuck finds himself hoisting the Stanley Cup next spring.

Fewest & Most Games Needed to Win Stanley Cup

With the Washington Capitals completing a 24 game playoff culminating in being crowned 2018 Stanley Cup Champions, it's time to do some math and see how many games it typically takes winners to collect the requisite 16 wins en route to hoisting the Stanley Cup.  

The chart below shows the number of playoff games needed to win the Stanley Cup since 1987, by year, team and number of games.

Year: Team (Games)              Year: Team (Games) 
1987: Edmonton Oilers (21) 2002: Detroit Red Wings (23)
1988: Edmonton Oilers (18) 2003: New Jersey Devils (23)
1989: Calgary Flames (22) 2004: Tampa Bay Lightning (23)
1990: Edmonton Oilers (22) 2006: Carolina Hurricanes (25)
1991: Pittsburgh Penguins (24) 2007: Anaheim Ducks (21)
1992: Pittsburgh Penguins (21) 2008: Detroit Red Wings (22)
1993: Montreal Canadiens (20) 2009: Pittsburgh Penguins (24)
1994: New York Rangers (23) 2010: Chicago Blackhawks (22)
1995: New Jersey Devils (20) 2011: Boston Bruins (25)
1996: Colorado Avalanche (22) 2012: Los Angeles Kings (20)
1997: Detroit Red Wings (20) 2013: Chicago Blackhawks (23)
1998: Detroit Red Wings (22) 2014: Los Angeles Kings (26)
1999: Dallas Stars (23) 2015: Chicago Blackhawks (23)
2000: New Jersey Devils (23) 2016: Pittsburgh Penguins (24)
2001: Colorado Avalanche (23)         2017: Pittsburgh Penguins (25)
         2018: Washington Capitals (24)


Since the expansion of each playoff round to seven games in 1987, none have swept all four rounds to hoist the Cup in 16 games, nor have any skated in four Game 7s using all 28 possible games. The average number of games needed to win the Stanley Cup is 22, with the Edmonton Oilers (1988) playing the fewest games (18), and the Los Angeles Kings (2014) skating in the most (26).

Three other times a team skated 26 playoff games in a single postseason (Philadelphia Flyers 1987, Calgary Flames 2004, Tampa Bay Lightning 2015).  In each instance, these teams lost to their favored foe in the Stanley Cup Final (Edmonton Oilers 1987, Tampa Bay Lighting 2004, Chicago Blackhawks 2015).
Fans prefer fewer games. Owners don't mind the additional revenue that accompanies a longer series. But whatever is needed will suffice.

* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Length By Days And Games.
* See also NHL League Size And Regular Season Length.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Qualification Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Series Win Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Final Appearance Droughts.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Championship Droughts.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Conn Smythe Trophy - Stanley Cup Playoff MVP

Moments before each Stanley Cup crowning the Conn Smythe Trophy is bestowed upon the Hockey Writers' selection of the postseason's best. First presented to Jean Beliveau in 1965, the honor dedicated to the Leaf legend has been handed out 53 times to 46 different players.

Typically finding a Stanley Cup champion (47 times) who is Canadian (45 times), the trophy has only found six Stanley Cup Final losers (Roger Crozier, Glenn Hall, Reggie Leach, Ron Hextall, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Tim Thomas) and eight non-frostbacks (Brian Leetch, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Evgeni Malkin, Tim Thomas, Jonathan Quick, Patrick Kane, Alexander Ovechkin). That said, only 4 of the past 8 winners were Canadian (Justin Williams 2014, Duncan Keith 2015, Sidney Crosby 2016-2017) with the last recipient being Russian (Alexander Ovechkin 2018) and the three prior recipients being Americans (Tim Thomas 2011, Jonathan Quick 2012, Patrick Kane 2013).

Positionally the award has been dominated by centers (18) and goalies (16), followed by defensemen (10), right wingers (6) and left siders (3). Only Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy has taken the trophy three times with the well-heeled five-some of Bobby Orr, Bernie Parent, Wayne GretzkyMario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby each taking it twice. Bernie Parent (1974, 1975), Mario Lemieux (1991, 1992) and Sidney Crosby (2016, 2017) are the only to win it in consecutive seasons.

On June 7th of 2018, Ovechkin became the second Russian and first Capital to capture the honor. Tim Thomas is the eldest recipient of the award at age 37 (2011), while Patrick Roy remains the youngest at age 20 (1986).

2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines

The time-honored tradition of NHL playoff combatants shaking hands upon the conclusion of a series is among the greatest displays of sportsmanship in professional team sports today. Seconds after the horn sounds at the end of a series, players and coaches from both teams convene at center ice to celebrate each other's efforts.

The videos below capture the final moments of play in each series-ending game to date in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs along with the ensuing traditional team handshake line, sorted by round and series end date.

FIRST ROUND

The Golden Knights eliminated the Kings in Game 4 on April 17, 2018.

The Sharks eliminated the Ducks in Game 4 on April 18, 2018.

The Jets eliminated the Wild in Game 5 on April 20, 2018.

The Lightning eliminated the Devils in Game 5 on April 21, 2018.

The Penguins eliminated the Flyers in Game 6 on April 22, 2018.

The Predators eliminated the Avalanche in Game 6 on April 22, 2018.

The Capitals eliminated the Blue Jackets in Game 6 on April 23, 2018.

The Bruins eliminated the Leafs in Game 7 on April 25, 2018.

SECOND ROUND

The Lightning eliminated the Bruins in Game 5 on May 6, 2018.

The Golden Knights eliminated the Sharks in Game 6 on May 6, 2018.

The Capitals eliminated the Penguins in Game 6 on May 7, 2018.

The Jets eliminated the Predators in Game 7 on May 10, 2018.

THIRD ROUND

The Golden Knights eliminated the Jets in Game 5 on May 20, 2018.

The Capitals eliminated the Lightning in Game 7 on May 23, 2018.

STANLEY CUP FINAL

The Capitals eliminated the Golden Knights in Game 5 on June 7, 2018.

In an age of results reigning over respect, it's encouraging to see such sportsmanship in professional sport, albeit with notable exceptions (Milan Lucic 2014), abstention (Martin Brodeur 2008Derek Boogaard 2007, Chris Chelios 2007Darren McCarty 1997, Ed Belfour 1995Billy Smith, Gerry Cheevers) and disdain (Dino Ciccarelli 1996) in recent years.

* See also 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.
* See also 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Handshake Lines.

Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Kariya

On June 7th in 2003, defenseman Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils crushed Paul Kariya of the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals with an unpenalized late hit rendering the speedy winger motionless on the ice. Amazingly, Kariya returned to the game scoring a goal and finishing with three points and the first star in a 5-2 victory to force Game 7. Two nights later New Jersey won their third Stanley Cup marking the first Final since 1965 where the home team won every game.

The hit ranks #2 on SportsCentre's top 10 Stevens hits of all-time, bested only by his hit on Eric Lindros in Game 7 of the 2000 Conference Final. That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Kozlov.
* See also Today In NHL History - Stevens Hits Lindros.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Today In NHL History - Cam Neely

On June 6th in 1965, Cameron Michael Neely was born in Comox, BC. Blessed with the rare trifecta of size, talent and toughness, Bam-Bam Cam became the NHL's prototypical power forward.
Selected 9th overall in the 1983 Draft, Neely spent three seasons with the Canucks before Harry Neale sent him to Boston on his 21st birthday with the club's 1987 first round draft pick (Glen Wesley) in exchange for Barry Pederson, the worst trade in franchise history.

Neely would collect 395 goals (395G/299A/694Pts) in his 726 game 13 year career, including three 50+ goal seasons ('90, '91, '94), placing him 15th overall in goals per game. Despite his Masterton winning perseverance (1994), Neely never recovered from a pair of Ulf Samuelsson-induced injuries in the 1991 Wales Conference Finals, finally buckling at the age of 31. In 2005, Neely was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, a year after having his number 8 jersey raised to the Boston rafters. Today he serves as Vice President of the Bruins, a position held since 2007. Away from the rink Neely focuses on his Foundation, helping cancer patients battle the disease that took his parents, and appears in TV (Cheers, Rescue Me) and film (Dumb & Dumber, Me, Myself and Irene), most famously as the Farrelly brothers' recurring tough guy Sea Bass. That's today in NHL history.