Friday, May 14, 2010

What a long strange trip it's been, take 2

This may be one of, if not the wildest Stanley Cup seasons on record.
  • The league-wide 19th-ranked team (the Canadiens) not only knocked out the President's Trophy-winning top team (Capitals), but also took out last year's Stanley Cup winners (league-wide 8th-ranked Penguins) as well. 
  • The Eastern conference teams were - compared to the Western - so bad as a whole that the final three teams to qualify for the playoffs (Bruins, Flyers, Canadiens) were not decided until the very final games of the regular season - and these were teams with only 91, 88, and 88 points overall respectively. 
  • If the Flyers, Bruins and Canadiens had been directly ranked against both own conference and their Western counterparts to qualify for a playoff berth, they would not have even been in the playoffs. Yet currently they are the only survivors in the Eastern conference playoffs.
  • The Eastern conference playoff game will be between either the 6th (Bruins) or 7th (Flyers) ranked team, and the 8th-ranked (Canadiens) team.
  • Over in the Western conference, where 7 of the 8 final teams finished their season with 100+ points, the final conference series is down to the 1st (Sharks) and 2nd (Blackhawks) ranked teams.
  • Four of the five remaining goalies are European. Two of those remaining goalies are Finnish rookies.  
  • For whoever wins this year's Cup, it will be the 11th different team in as many years to win the Cup.
  • Also for whoever wins this year's Cup, it will be to either break a drought, or awarded to a team which has never won it. Last year won for each team:
                         Blackhawks - 1961 (49 years, longest drought in the NHL)
                         Bruins - 1970 (40 years)
                         Flyers - 1975 (35 years)
                         Sharks - never (est. 1991; 19 years)
                         Canadiens - 1993 (17 years)

  • The Cup "droughts" for 3 of the 5 remaining teams are all longer than the San Jose Sharks have been in existence. The Sharks were established in 1991.
  • Only one of the three Norris Trophy (presented to the top defenseman) finalists, only Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks remains in the playoffs. Drew Doughty of the Kings and Mike Green of the Capitals were eliminated in round 1.
  • All three finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award (presented to the "Most Outstanding Player" in the NHL as selected by the PHWA), have been eliminated in the first two rounds (Ovechkin, Crosby, H. Sedin).
  • Those same three eliminated players (Ovechkin, Crosby, H. Sedin) are also the finalists for the PHWA's Hart Trophy (awarded "to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team").
  • All three finalists for the Jack Adams Award (presented to "the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success" by the NHLBA) were eliminated in the first round (Joe Sacco - Avalanche; Dave Tippett - Coyotes; Barry Trotz - Predators).
  • Only one of the three finalists for the Masterson Memorial Trophy (awarded to "the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey") remains in the playoffs: Jed Ortmeyer of the Sharks. (The other two finalists are Kurtis Foster of the Lightning and Jose Theodore of the Capitals).
  • All three finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie) have now been eliminated from the playoffs (Myers, Duchene, Howard).
  • The three finalists for the premiere NHL General Manager of the Year Award all saw their teams eliminated in the first round (Maloney - Phoenix; McPhee - Washington; Poile - Nashville).
  • All three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (presented to "the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability") have been eliminated from the playoffs (Datsyuk, Richards, St. Louis).
  • All three finalists for the Selke Trophy (presented to "the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game") have been eliminated (Datsyuk, Kesler, J. Staal).
  • All three finalists for the Vezina (presented to "the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position") were eliminated in the first round (Brodeur, Bryzgalov, Miller).
  • Martin Brodeur, who won the Jennings Trophy for the least goals allowed in the season, was eliminated in the first round.
  • Henrik Sedin, who earned the Art Ross Trophy for earning 112 points in the regular season, was eliminated in the second round.

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