1996–97 NHL season

The 1996–97 NHL season was the 80th regular season of the National Hockey League. The Stanley Cup winners were the Detroit Red Wings, who swept the Philadelphia Flyers in four games and won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 42 years.

The regular season saw a decline in scoring and rise in the number of shutouts to an all-time record of 127.[1] This trend continued into the playoffs, during which an all-time record of 18 shutouts were recorded.[2] Only two players, Mario Lemieux and Teemu Selanne, reached the 100-point plateau during the regular season[3] (compared with 12 who reached the plateau in 1995–96[4]). Many factors, including fewer power plays, more calls of the skate-in-the-crease rule, fewer shots on goal and more injuries to star players than the season before, contributed to the reduction in scoring and skyrocketing in shutouts. Paradoxically, teams averaged more even-strength goals scored (174)[5] than in 1995–96 (172).[6]

This was the first time in 30 years—and in the entire expansion era—that the Boston Bruins had a losing record and missed the playoffs, ending a still-unsurpassed North American professional sports streak of 29-straight seasons in the playoffs.

1996–97 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 4, 1996 – June 7, 1997
Number of games82
Number of teams26
Draft
Top draft pickChris Phillips
Picked byOttawa Senators
Regular season
Presidents' TrophyColorado Avalanche
Season MVPDominik Hasek (Sabres)
Top scorerMario Lemieux (Penguins)
Playoffs
Eastern championsPhiladelphia Flyers
  Eastern runners-upNew York Rangers
Western championsDetroit Red Wings
  Western runners-upColorado Avalanche
Playoffs MVPMike Vernon (Red Wings)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsDetroit Red Wings
  Runners-upPhiladelphia Flyers

League business

This was the first season for the Phoenix Coyotes, who had relocated from Winnipeg and had previously been known as the Winnipeg Jets. They would remain in the Central Division.

On March 25, 1997, the Hartford Whalers announced that they would move from Connecticut following the 1996–97 season. Starting in the 1997–98 NHL season, they would be known as the Carolina Hurricanes.

The 1996–97 season marked the retirement of Craig MacTavish, the last active NHL player who played without a protective helmet. MacTavish had been grandfathered under the old rule requiring them to be worn because he had signed a pro contract before the rule was established on June 1, 1979. The first player to ever wear a helmet was George Owen in the 1928–29 season.

Regular season

The Boston Bruins recorded the League's worst record, missing the playoffs for the first time in 30 seasons and ending the longest consecutive playoff streak ever recorded in the history of North American professional sports.

On November 16, 1996, the eight-sided scoreboard at the Marine Midland Arena in Buffalo crashed to the ice during a maintenance check. The accident occurred only 90 minutes after the visiting Boston Bruins players had conducted their morning practice. No-one was injured, but the game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Bruins was postponed.[7]

Final standings

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
No. CR GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 1 New Jersey Devils 82 45 23 14 231 182 104
2 3 Philadelphia Flyers 82 45 24 13 274 217 103
3 4 Florida Panthers 82 35 28 19 221 201 89
4 5 New York Rangers 82 38 34 10 258 231 86
5 9 Washington Capitals 82 33 40 9 214 231 75
6 11 Tampa Bay Lightning 82 32 40 10 217 247 74
7 12 New York Islanders 82 29 41 12 240 250 70
Northeast Division
No. CR GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 2 Buffalo Sabres 82 40 30 12 237 208 92
2 6 Pittsburgh Penguins 82 38 36 8 285 280 84
3 7 Ottawa Senators 82 31 36 15 226 234 77
4 8 Montreal Canadiens 82 31 36 15 249 276 77
5 10 Hartford Whalers 82 32 39 11 226 256 75
6 13 Boston Bruins 82 26 47 9 234 300 61
Eastern Conference[8]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 New Jersey Devils ATL 82 45 23 14 231 182 104
2 Buffalo Sabres NE 82 40 30 12 237 208 92
3 Philadelphia Flyers ATL 82 45 24 13 274 217 103
4 Florida Panthers ATL 82 35 28 19 221 201 89
5 New York Rangers ATL 82 38 34 10 258 231 86
6 Pittsburgh Penguins NE 82 38 36 8 285 280 84
7 Ottawa Senators NE 82 31 36 15 226 234 77
8 Montreal Canadiens NE 82 31 36 15 249 276 77
9 Washington Capitals ATL 82 33 40 9 214 231 75
10 Hartford Whalers NE 82 32 39 11 226 256 75
11 Tampa Bay Lightning ATL 82 32 40 10 217 247 74
12 New York Islanders ATL 82 29 41 12 240 250 70
13 Boston Bruins NE 82 26 47 9 234 300 61

Divisions: ATL – Atlantic, NE – Northeast

bold – Qualified for playoffs

Western Conference
Central Division
No. CR GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 2 Dallas Stars 82 48 26 8 252 198 104
2 3 Detroit Red Wings 82 38 26 18 253 197 94
3 5 Phoenix Coyotes 82 38 37 7 240 243 83
4 6 St. Louis Blues 82 36 35 11 236 239 83
5 8 Chicago Blackhawks 82 34 35 13 223 210 81
6 11 Toronto Maple Leafs 82 30 44 8 230 273 68
Pacific Division
No. CR GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 1 Colorado Avalanche 82 49 24 9 277 205 107
2 4 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 82 36 33 13 243 231 85
3 7 Edmonton Oilers 82 36 37 9 252 247 81
4 9 Vancouver Canucks 82 35 40 7 257 273 77
5 10 Calgary Flames 82 32 41 9 214 239 73
6 12 Los Angeles Kings 82 28 43 11 214 268 67
7 13 San Jose Sharks 82 27 47 8 211 278 62
Western Conference[9]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 p – Colorado Avalanche PAC 82 49 24 9 277 205 107
2 Dallas Stars CEN 82 48 26 8 252 198 104
3 Detroit Red Wings CEN 82 38 26 18 253 197 94
4 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim PAC 82 36 33 13 245 233 85
5 Phoenix Coyotes CEN 82 38 37 7 240 243 83
6 St. Louis Blues CEN 82 36 35 11 236 239 83
7 Edmonton Oilers PAC 82 36 37 9 252 247 81
8 Chicago Blackhawks CEN 82 34 35 13 223 210 81
9 Vancouver Canucks PAC 82 35 40 7 257 273 77
10 Calgary Flames PAC 82 32 41 9 214 239 73
11 Toronto Maple Leafs CEN 82 30 44 8 230 273 68
12 Los Angeles Kings PAC 82 28 43 11 214 268 67
13 San Jose Sharks PAC 82 27 47 8 211 278 62

Divisions: CEN – Central, PAC – Pacific

bold – Qualified for playoffs; p – Won Presidents' Trophy


Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF= Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points

Playoffs

Stanley Cup Final

The Red Wings swept the Flyers in four games to win for the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 1955. Mike Vernon of Detroit was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Detroit vs. Philadelphia
Date Away Home
May 31 Detroit 4 2 Philadelphia
June 3 Detroit 4 2 Philadelphia
June 5 Philadelphia 1 6 Detroit
June 7 Philadelphia 1 2 Detroit

Detroit wins series 4–0 and Stanley Cup

Playoff bracket

  Conference Quarterfinals Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Final
                                     
1 New Jersey 4     2 Buffalo 1  
8 Montreal 1     3 Philadelphia 4  
2 Buffalo 4 Eastern Conference
7 Ottawa 3  
    3 Philadelphia 4  
  5 NY Rangers 1  
3 Philadelphia 4  
6 Pittsburgh 1  
4 Florida 1   1 New Jersey 1
5 NY Rangers 4     5 NY Rangers 4  
  E3 Philadelphia 0
(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)
  W3 Detroit 4
1 Colorado 4     3 Detroit 4
8 Chicago 2     4 Anaheim 0  
2 Dallas 3
7 Edmonton 4  
  1 Colorado 2
  3 Detroit 4  
3 Detroit 4  
6 St. Louis 2   Western Conference
4 Anaheim 4   1 Colorado 4
5 Phoenix 3     7 Edmonton 1  
  • During the first three rounds home ice is determined by seeding number, not position on the bracket. In the Finals the team with the better regular season record has home ice.

Awards

The NHL Awards presentation took place on June 19, 1997.

Presidents' Trophy: Colorado Avalanche
Prince of Wales Trophy: Philadelphia Flyers
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Trophy: Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Tony Granato, San Jose Sharks
Calder Memorial Trophy: Bryan Berard, New York Islanders
Conn Smythe Trophy: Mike Vernon, Detroit Red Wings
Frank J. Selke Trophy: Michael Peca, Buffalo Sabres
Hart Memorial Trophy: Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres
Jack Adams Award: Ted Nolan, Buffalo Sabres
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Brian Leetch, New York Rangers
King Clancy Memorial Trophy: Trevor Linden, Vancouver Canucks
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Paul Kariya, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
Lester B. Pearson Award: Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres
NHL Plus/Minus Award: John LeClair, Philadelphia Flyers
Vezina Trophy: Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres
William M. Jennings Trophy: Martin Brodeur/Mike Dunham, New Jersey Devils
Lester Patrick Trophy: Bill Cleary, Pat LaFontaine, Seymour H. Knox III

All-Star teams

First Team   Position   Second Team
Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres G Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Brian Leetch, New York Rangers D Chris Chelios, Chicago Blackhawks
Sandis Ozolinsh, Colorado Avalanche D Scott Stevens, New Jersey Devils
Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Penguins C Wayne Gretzky, New York Rangers
Teemu Selanne, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim RW Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins
Paul Kariya, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim LW John LeClair, Philadelphia Flyers

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Regular season Playoffs
Player Team GP G A Pts
Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh 76 50 72 122
Teemu Selanne Anaheim 78 51 58 109
Paul Kariya Anaheim 69 44 55 99
John LeClair Philadelphia 82 50 47 97
Wayne Gretzky NY Rangers 82 25 72 97
Jaromir Jagr Pittsburgh 63 47 48 95
Mats Sundin Toronto 82 41 53 94
Zigmund Palffy NY Islanders 80 48 42 90
Ron Francis Pittsburgh 81 27 63 90
Brendan Shanahan Hartford/
Detroit
81 47 41 88

Source: NHL.[10]

Player Team GP G A Pts
Eric Lindros Phi 19 12 14 26
Joe Sakic Col 17 8 17 25
Claude Lemieux Col 17 13 10 23
Valeri Kamensky Col 17 8 14 22
Rod Brind'Amour Phi 19 13 8 21
John LeClair Phi 19 9 12 21
Wayne Gretzky NYR 15 10 10 20
Sergei Fedorov Det 20 8 12 20
Brendan Shanahan Det 20 9 8 17
Peter Forsberg Col 14 5 12 17
Sandis Ozolinsh Col 17 4 13 17

Note: GP = Games Played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points

Leading goaltenders

Regular season

Player Team GP MIN GA SO GAA
Martin Brodeur New Jersey 67 3838 120 10 1.88
Andy Moog Dallas 48 2738 98 3 2.15
Jeff Hackett Chicago 41 2473 89 2 2.16
Dominik Hasek Buffalo 67 4037 153 5 2.27
John Vanbiesbrouck Florida 57 3347 128 2 2.29
Chris Osgood Detroit 47 2769 106 6 2.30
Patrick Roy Colorado 62 3698 143 7 2.32
Mark Fitzpatrick Florida 30 1680 66 0 2.36
Mike Vernon Detroit 33 1952 79 0 2.43
Garth Snow Philadelphia 35 1884 79 2 2.52

[3]

Coaches

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

Milestones

Debuts

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1996–97 (listed with their first team, asterisk (*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1996–97 (listed with their last team):

Trading deadline

See also

References

  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, New York: Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, Illinois: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
Notes
  1. ^ "1996-97 NHL Goalie Statistics". Hockey-Reference.com.
  2. ^ https://www.hockey-reference.com/playoffs/NHL_1997_goalies.html
  3. ^ a b "1996-97 NHL Leaders". Hockey-Reference.com.
  4. ^ https://www.hockey-reference.com/leagues/NHL_1996_leaders.html
  5. ^ "1996-97 NHL Summary". Hockey-Reference.com.
  6. ^ "1995-96 NHL Summary". Hockey-Reference.com.
  7. ^ Weekes, Don (2003). The Best and Worst of Hockey's Firsts: The Unofficial Guide. Canada: Greystone Books. p. 240. ISBN 9781550548600.
  8. ^ "1996-1997 Conference Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". NHL.
  9. ^ "1996-1997 Conference Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". NHL.
  10. ^ Dinger 2011, p. 154.
  11. ^ NHL trade deadline: Deals since 1980 Archived 2009-02-16 at the Wayback Machine

External links

1996 NHL Entry Draft

The 1996 NHL Entry Draft was held at the Kiel Center in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 22, 1996.

1996–97 Boston Bruins season

The 1996–97 Boston Bruins season was the Boston Bruins' 73rd season of operation in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Bruins finished with the worst record in the NHL and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1967.

1996–97 Chicago Blackhawks season

The 1996–97 Chicago Blackhawks season was the 71st season of operation of the Chicago Blackhawks in the National Hockey League.

1996–97 Dallas Stars season

The 1996–97 Dallas Stars season was the fourth National Hockey League season in Dallas, Texas (and 30th as a franchise) as they attempted to bounce back from their dismal last place finish in the Central Division, which they would, finishing first, clinching the first Division title for Dallas. They would face off against the Edmonton Oilers in the Conference Quarterfinals, playing a tough series, losing 4-3.

1996–97 Los Angeles Kings season

The 1996–97 Los Angeles Kings season was the Kings' thirtieth season of operation in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Kings failed to make the playoffs.

1996–97 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim season

The 1996–97 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim season was the fourth season in franchise history. The team qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

1996–97 Montreal Canadiens season

The 1996–97 Montreal Canadiens season was the club's 88th season. The Canadiens qualified for the playoffs despite a sub-.500 season. The Canadiens were eliminated in the Eastern Conference quarter-finals (the first round) by the New Jersey Devils 4 games to 1.

1996–97 New York Rangers season

The 1996–97 New York Rangers season was the Rangers' 71st season. The highlight of the season was that it was Wayne Gretzky's first season in New York.

The Rangers qualified for the playoffs as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, and advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers. This marked the last playoff appearance for the Rangers until the 2005–06 season.

1996–97 Ottawa Senators season

The 1996–97 Ottawa Senators season was the fifth season of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL). This season saw great improvement by the club, as the team finished out of last place in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the first time in team history, and went on to qualify for the 1997 Stanley Cup playoffs as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, the Senators lost in the first round (Conference quarter-finals) to the Buffalo Sabres.

1996–97 San Jose Sharks season

The 1996–97 San Jose Sharks season was the Sharks' sixth season of operation in the National Hockey League. The Sharks again failed to make the playoffs, finishing 13th in the Western Conference.

1996–97 Toronto Maple Leafs season

The 1996–97 Toronto Maple Leafs season was Toronto's 80th season in the National Hockey League (NHL).

The Maple Leafs entered the 1996–97 NHL season with the hopes of making the post-season for the fifth consecutive year. Mike Murphy was hired prior to the season as the head coach replacing interim coach Nick Beverley. The team played mediocre for most of the season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1992. This season, would be Cliff Fletcher's last as General Manager of the Maple Leafs. In one of his final moves, Fletcher (in February) traded Captain Doug Gilmour to the New Jersey Devils.

1996–97 Vancouver Canucks season

The 1996–97 Vancouver Canucks season was the team's 27th in the National Hockey League (NHL).

1996–97 Washington Capitals season

The 1996–97 Washington Capitals season was the team's 23rd season of play. The Capitals finished fifth in the division, and ninth in the conference, and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1982.

1997 National Hockey League All-Star Game

The 1997 National Hockey League All-Star Game took place on January 18, 1997, at San Jose Arena in San Jose, home of the San Jose Sharks. The final score was Eastern Conference 11, Western Conference 7. This game was originally scheduled for the 1994–95 season, but was cancelled due to the 1994–95 NHL lockout.

1997 Stanley Cup Finals

The 1997 Stanley Cup Finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 1996–97 season, and the culmination of the 1997 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was contested by the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers. Detroit was in the Final for the second time in three years (the other coming in 1995, when they lost to the New Jersey Devils) while the Flyers were making their first appearance since losing in 1987 to the Edmonton Oilers. Detroit won the series in four games to win the Stanley Cup for the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 1955; Philadelphia had not won since 1975. Detroit was the last team to win the Cup without having home ice advantage in the Finals and with fewer than 100 points earned during the regular season until 2009.

Colorado Avalanche–Detroit Red Wings brawl

The Avalanche–Red Wings brawl was a large-scale on-ice melee that occurred March 26, 1997, at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, between two National Hockey League (NHL) rivals: the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings. The brawl, which has been nicknamed Bloody Wednesday, Fight Night at the Joe and Brawl in Hockeytown, stemmed from a previous on-ice incident between the two teams during the 1996 Western Conference Finals.

Legion of Doom (ice hockey)

The Legion of Doom was a forward line for the Philadelphia Flyers who played together between 1995 and 1997 comprising centre Eric Lindros, left winger John LeClair and right winger Mikael Renberg. They were given this name not only for their offensive play, but also their ability to dominate games physically; each of the three were six foot two or taller and weighed over 230 pounds. The name was coined by journeyman centre Jim Montgomery and popularized by Flyers announcer Gene Hart.

Paul Theriault

Paul Theriault (born 1950) is a Canadian former ice hockey coach. He served as an assistant coach in the National Hockey League with the Buffalo Sabres during the 1996–97 NHL season.

Theriault is the longest-serving coach in the history of the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He also served as an OHL head coach for both the Erie Otters and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Theriault was awarded the 1986–87 Matt Leyden Trophy as the OHL Coach of the Year.

At the professional level, Theriault was an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres during the 1996–97 NHL season when Ted Nolan won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's Coach of the Year. He has also served as head coach for the Flint Spirits of the International Hockey League and the HC Asiago of the Italian Serie A.

Paxton Schafer

Paxton Schafer (born February 26, 1976) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey goaltender.

Schafer was drafted 47th overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft and played three games for them during the 1996-97 NHL season.

1996–97 NHL season
Northeast Division
Atlantic Division
Central Division
Pacific Division
See also
1910s
1920s
1930s
1940s
1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s
2010s

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