Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is one of the three major junior ice hockey leagues which constitute the Canadian Hockey League. The league is for players aged 16–21. There are 20 teams in the OHL; the league was founded in 1980, when its predecessor league, the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League formally split away from the Ontario Hockey Association, joining the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League and its direct affiliation with Hockey Canada. The OHL traces its history of Junior A hockey back to 1933 with the partition of Junior A and B. In 1970, the OHA Junior A League was one of five Junior A leagues operating in Ontario; the OHA was promoted to Tier I Junior A for the 1970–71 season and took up the name Ontario Major Junior Hockey League. Since 1980 the league has grown into a high-profile marketable product, with many games broadcast on television and radio. Leagues for ice hockey in Ontario were first organized in 1890 by the newly created Ontario Hockey Association. In 1892 the OHA recognized junior hockey - referring to skill rather than age.
In 1896 the OHA moved to the modern age-limited junior hockey concept, distinct from senior and intermediate divisions. Since the evolution to the Ontario Hockey League has developed through four distinct eras of junior-aged non-professional hockey in Ontario. In 1933, the junior division was divided into two levels, Junior A and Junior B. In 1970 the Junior A level was divided into two levels, Tier I and Tier II. In 1974 the Tier I/Major Junior A group separated from the OHA and became the independent'Ontario Major Junior Hockey League'. In 1980, the OMJHL became the'Ontario Hockey League.' From 1974 until 1978, Clarence "Tubby" Schmalz was the league's commissioner. For one season, former IHL commissioner Bill Beagan served as commissioner of the OMJHL. Beginning with the 1979-80 season, David Branch has been the Commissioner of the OHL. Branch was appointed on August 11, 1979, assumed the commissioner's role on September 17, 1979. Cornwall Royals 1981-1992 - moved to Newmarket Newmarket Royals 1992-1994 - moved to Sarnia Niagara Falls Flyers 1980-1982 - moved to North Bay as Centennials North Bay Centennials 1982-2002 - moved to Saginaw Brantford Alexanders 1980-1984 - moved to Hamilton as Steelhawks Hamilton Steelhawks 1984-1988 - moved to Niagara Falls as Thunder Niagara Falls Thunder 1988-1996 - moved to Erie Guelph Platers 1980-1989 - moved to Owen Sound as Platers and as Attack 2000 Toronto Marlboros 1980-1989 - moved to Hamilton as Dukes Dukes of Hamilton 1989-1991 - moved to Guelph as Storm Detroit Junior Red Wings 1992-1995 - renamed as Whalers and moved to Plymouth in 1997 and to Flint in 2015 as Firebirds Brampton Battalion 1998-2013 - moved to North Bay as Battalion Mississauga IceDogs 1998-2007 - moved to Niagara as IceDogs Toronto St. Michael's Majors 1996-2007 - moved to Mississauga as St Michael's Majors and 2012 as Steelheads Belleville Bulls 1981-2015 - moved to Hamilton as Bulldogs The 20 OHL clubs play a 68-game unbalanced schedule, which starts in the third full week of September, running until the third week of March.
Ninety percent of OHL games are scheduled between Thursday and Sunday to minimize the number of school days missed for its players. 20% of players on active rosters in the National Hockey League have come from the OHL, about 54% of NHL players are alumni of the Canadian Hockey League. The J. Ross Robertson Cup is awarded annually to the winner of the Championship Series; the Cup is named for John Ross Robertson, president of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1901 to 1905. The OHL playoffs consist of the top 16 teams in 8 from each conference; the teams play a best-of-seven game series, the winner of each series advances to the next round. The final two teams compete for the J. Ross Robertson Cup; the OHL champion competes with the winners of the Western Hockey League, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the host of the tournament to play for the Memorial Cup, awarded to the junior hockey champions of Canada. The host team of the tournament is alternated between the three leagues every season.
The most recent OHL team to win the Memorial Cup was the Windsor Spitfires in 2017. The Memorial Cup has been captured 17 times by OHL/OHA teams since the tournament went to a three-league format in 1972: The Cup was won 16 times by OHA teams in the period between 1945 and 1971: The OHL's predecessor, the OHA, had a midget and juvenile draft dating back to the 50s, until voted out in 1962. In 1966 it was resumed. Starting in the 70s the draft went through several changes; the draft was for 17-year-old midgets not associated with teams through their sponsored youth programs. In 1971 the league first allowed "underage" midgets to be picked in the first three rounds. In 1972 disagreements about the Toronto team's rights to its "Marlie" players and claims to American player Mark Howe led to a revised system. In 1973 each team was permitted to protect 8 midget area players. In 1975 the league phased out the area protections, the 1976 OHA midget draft was the first in which all midget players were eligible.
In 1999 the league changed the draft to a bantam age. It is a selection of players who are residents of the province of Ontario, the states of Michigan and New York, other designated U. S. states east of the Mississippi Missouri. Prior to 2001
2004–05 NHL lockout
The 2004–05 NHL lockout was a lockout that resulted in the cancellation of what would have been the 88th season of play of the National Hockey League. It was the first time the Stanley Cup was not awarded since 1919, the first time a major professional sports league in North America canceled a complete season because of a labor dispute, the second time after the 1994–1995 MLB strike that the postseason of a major professional sports league in North America was canceled; the lockout lasted 10 months and 6 days starting September 16, 2004, the day after the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players Association that resolved the 1994–95 lockout expired. The lockout of the 2004–2005 season resulted in 1,230 unplayed games; the negotiating teams reached an agreement on July 13, 2005, the lockout ended 9 days on July 22, after both the NHL owners and players ratified the CBA. The NHL, led by Commissioner Gary Bettman, attempted to convince players to accept a salary structure linking player salaries to league revenues, guaranteeing the clubs what the league called cost certainty.
According to an NHL-commissioned report prepared by former U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt, prior to 2004–05, NHL clubs spent about 76 percent of their gross revenues on players' salaries – a figure far higher than those in other North American sports – and collectively lost US$273 million during the 2002–03 season. On July 20, 2004, the league presented the NHLPA with six concepts to achieve cost certainty; these concepts are believed to have ranged from a hard, or inflexible, salary cap similar to the one used in the National Football League, to a soft salary cap with some capped exceptions like the one used in the National Basketball Association, to a centralized salary negotiation system similar to that used in the Arena Football League and Major League Soccer. According to Bettman, a luxury tax similar to the one used in Major League Baseball would not have satisfied the league's cost certainty objectives. Most sports commentators saw Bettman's plan as reasonable, but some critics pointed out that a hard salary cap without any revenue sharing was an attempt to gain the support of the big market teams, such as Toronto, Detroit, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia, teams that did not support Bettman during the 1994–95 lockout.
The NHLPA, under executive director Bob Goodenow, disputed the league's financial claims. According to the union, "cost certainty" is little more than a euphemism for a salary cap, which it had vowed never to accept; the union rejected each of the six concepts presented by the NHL, claiming they all contained some form of salary cap. The NHLPA preferred to retain the existing "marketplace" system where players individually negotiate contracts with teams, teams have complete control of how much they want to spend on players. Goodenow's mistrust of the league was supported by a November 2004 Forbes report that estimated the NHL's losses were less than half the amounts claimed by the league. Several players criticized the contracts. One example was the 2002 Bobby Holik contract in which the New York Rangers signed him to five years for $45 million. After two years, his contract was bought out by the Rangers: "In the new world we live in, Bobby was just paid too much," according to Glen Sather, the Rangers' president.
Although the NHL's numbers were disputed, there was no question that several franchises were losing money, as several had declared bankruptcy. Other franchises had held "fire sales" of franchise players, such as the Washington Capitals; some small-market teams, such as the Pittsburgh Penguins and the remaining small-market Canadian teams, were hoping for a lockout, since those teams would make more money by losing a season, with the Edmonton Oilers publicly announcing that they would fold outright if there wasn't a lockout. The league did not have large TV revenues in the US, so the NHL was reliant on attendance revenues more than other leagues. After the lockout of the 2004–2005 season, NHL teams made on average only 3 million dollars from television revenues. In addition in May of the 2004–2005 lockout, ESPN formally denied the option to show NHL games on the network due to low ratings in previous seasons. Many NHL teams had low attendance totals in preceding seasons. Prior to the lockout, in late 2003 the union proposed a system that included revenue sharing, a luxury tax, a one-time five percent rollback in player salaries, reforms to the league's entry level system.
The league rejected this proposal immediately because it maintained the status quo in favor of the players. Shortly before the lockout commenced in 2004, the NHLPA offered another proposal to the league, believed to be similar to their earlier proposal; the league again rejected the union offer, claiming the union's new proposal was worse than the offer they rejected in 2003. At this point, negotiations stopped until early December, when the NHLPA made a anticipated proposal based on a luxury tax that increased the proposed one-time rollback in players' salaries from 5 to 24 percent; the NHL rejected the offer and countered with a proposal that the union rejected. In late January 2005, near what the hockey media believed to be the point of no return for the 2004–05 season, discussions were held by the negotiators from both sides, excluding Bettman and Goodenow; the NHL was represented by Executive Vice President Bill Daly, outside counsel Bob Batterman, NHL Board of Governors Chairman Harley Hotchkiss, who co-owns the Calgary Flames.
The NHLPA was represented by President Trevor Linden, Senior Director Ted Saskin, associate counsel Ian Pulver. After four meetings, the sides remained dea
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league in North America comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada; the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season. The National Hockey League was organized on November 26, 1917, at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal after the suspension of operations of its predecessor organization, the National Hockey Association, founded in 1909 in Renfrew, Ontario; the NHL took the NHA's place as one of the leagues that contested for the Stanley Cup in an annual interleague competition before a series of league mergers and folds left the NHL as the only league left competing for the Stanley Cup in 1926. At its inception, the NHL had four teams—all in Canada, thus the adjective "National" in the league's name.
The league expanded to the United States in 1924, when the Boston Bruins joined, has since consisted of American and Canadian teams. From 1942 to 1967, the league had only six teams, collectively nicknamed the "Original Six"; the NHL added six new teams to double its size at the 1967 NHL expansion. The league increased to 18 teams by 1974 and 21 teams in 1979. Between 1991 and 2000, the NHL further expanded to 30 teams, it added its 31st team in 2017 and has approved the addition of a 32nd team in 2021. The league's headquarters have been in New York City since 1989 when the head office moved there from Montreal. After a labour-management dispute that led to the cancellation of the entire 2004–05 season, the league resumed play in 2005–06 under a new collective agreement that included a salary cap. In 2009, the NHL enjoyed record highs in terms of sponsorships and television audiences; the International Ice Hockey Federation considers the Stanley Cup to be one of the "most important championships available to the sport".
The NHL draws many skilled players from all over the world and has players from 20 countries. Canadians have constituted the majority of the players in the league, with an increasing percentage of American and European players in recent seasons; the current NHL Champions are the Washington Capitals, who defeated the Vegas Golden Knights four games to one in the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals. The National Hockey League was established in 1917 as the successor to the National Hockey Association. Founded in 1909, the NHA began play one year with seven teams in Ontario and Quebec, was one of the first major leagues in professional ice hockey, but by the NHA's eighth season, a series of disputes with Toronto Blueshirts owner Eddie Livingstone led team owners of the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs to hold a meeting to discuss the league's future. Realizing the NHA constitution left them unable to force Livingstone out, the four teams voted instead to suspend the NHA, on November 26, 1917, formed the National Hockey League.
Frank Calder was chosen as its first president, serving until his death in 1943. The Bulldogs were unable to play, the remaining owners created a new team in Toronto, the Arenas, to compete with the Canadiens and Senators; the first games were played on December 19, 1917. The Montreal Arena burned down in January 1918, causing the Wanderers to cease operations, the NHL continued on as a three-team league until the Bulldogs returned in 1919; the NHL replaced the NHA as one of the leagues that competed for the Stanley Cup, an interleague competition back then. Toronto won the first NHL title, defeated the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association for the 1918 Stanley Cup; the Canadiens won the league title in 1919. Montreal in 1924 won their first Stanley Cup as a member of the NHL; the Hamilton Tigers, won the regular season title in 1924–25 but refused to play in the championship series unless they were given a C$200 bonus. The league refused and declared the Canadiens the league champion after they defeated the Toronto St. Patricks in the semi-final.
Montreal was defeated by the Victoria Cougars of the Western Canada Hockey League for the 1925 Stanley Cup. It was the last time a non-NHL team won the trophy, as the Stanley Cup became the de facto NHL championship in 1926 after the WCHL ceased operation; the National Hockey League embarked on rapid expansion in the 1920s, adding the Montreal Maroons and Boston Bruins in 1924. The Bruins were the first American team in the league; the New York Americans began play in 1925 after purchasing the assets of the Hamilton Tigers, were joined by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The New York Rangers were added in 1926; the Chicago Black Hawks and Detroit Cougars were added after the league purchased the assets of the defunct WCHL. A group purchased the Toronto St. Patricks in 1927 and renamed them the Maple Leafs; the first NHL All-Star Game was held in 1934 to benefit Ace Bailey, whose career ended on a vicious hit by Eddie Shore. The second was held in 1937 in support of Howie Morenz's family when he died of a coronary embolism after breaking his leg during a game.
The Great Depression and the onset of World War II took a toll on the league. The Pirates became the Philadelphia Quakers in 1930 folded one year later; the Senators became the St. Louis Eagles in 1934 lasting only one
NHL Entry Draft
The NHL Entry Draft is an annual meeting in which every franchise of the National Hockey League systematically select the rights to available ice hockey players who meet draft eligibility requirements. The NHL Entry Draft is held once every year within two to three months after the conclusion of the previous season. During the draft, teams take turns selecting amateur players from junior or collegiate leagues and professional players from European leagues; the first draft was held in 1963, has been held every year since. The NHL Entry Draft was known as the NHL Amateur Draft until 1979; the entry draft has only been a public event since 1980, a televised event since 1984. Up to 1994, the order was determined by the standings at the end of the regular season. In 1995, the NHL Draft Lottery was introduced where only teams who had missed the playoffs could participate; the one lottery winner would move up the draft order a maximum of four places, meaning only the top five-placed teams could pick first in the draft, no team in the non-playoff group could move down more than one place.
The chances of winning the lottery were weighted towards the teams at the bottom of the regular season standings. Beginning in 2013, the limit of moving up a maximum of four places in the draft order was eliminated, so the lottery winner would automatically receive the first overall pick, any teams above it in the draft order would still move down one spot; the first NHL Entry Draft was held on June 5, 1963 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Quebec. Any amateur player under the age of 20 was eligible to be drafted. In 1979, the rules were changed allowing players who had played professionally to be drafted; this rule change was made to facilitate the absorption of players from the defunct World Hockey Association. The name of the draft was changed from "NHL Amateur Draft" to "NHL Entry Draft". Beginning in 1980, any player, between the ages of 18 and 20 is eligible to be drafted. In addition, any non-North American player over the age of 20 can be selected. From 1987 through 1991, 18 and 19-year-old players could only be drafted in the first three rounds unless they met another criterion of experience which required them to have played in major junior, U.
S. college and high school, or European hockey. In 1980, the Entry Draft became a public event, was held at the Montreal Forum. Prior to that year the Entry Draft was conducted in Montreal hotels or league offices and was closed to the general public; the first draft outside of Montreal was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, in 1985. Live television coverage of the draft began in 1984 when the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation covered the event in both English and French for Canadian audiences; the 1987 Entry Draft, held at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, was the first NHL Draft to be held in the United States. SportsChannel America began covering the event in the United States in 1989. Prior to the development of the Draft, NHL teams sponsored junior teams, signed prospects in their teens to the junior teams. Players were signed to one of three forms: the "A" form; the "C" form could only be signed by the player at age eighteen or by the player's parents in exchange for some signing bonus.
The first drafts were held to assign players who had not signed with an NHL organization before the sponsorship of junior teams was discontinued after 1968. The selection order in the NHL Entry Draft is determined by a combination of lottery, regular season standing, playoff results. While teams are permitted to trade draft picks both during the draft and prior to it, in all cases, the selection order of the draft picks is based on the original holder of the pick, not a team which may have acquired the pick via a trade or other means; the order of picks discussed in this section always references the original team. The basic order of the NHL Entry Draft is determined based on the standings of the teams in the previous season; as with the other major sports leagues, the basic draft order is intended to favour the teams with the weakest performance who need the most improvement in their roster to compete with the other teams. Subject to the results of the NHL Draft Lottery, the teams pick in the same order each round, with each team getting one pick per round.
The basic order of the picks is determined as follows: The teams that did not qualify for the playoffs the previous season The teams that made the playoffs in the previous season but did not win either their division in the regular season or play in the Conference Finals The teams that won their divisions in the previous season but did not play in the Conference Finals The teams that lose in Conference Finals The team, the runner-up in the Stanley Cup Finals The team that won the Stanley Cup in the previous season The number of teams in the second and third group depends on whether the Conference finalists won their division. The teams in each group are ordered within that group based on their point totals in the preceding regular season. Tie-breakers are governed by the same rule
Craig Edward Ramsay is a Canadian professional ice hockey coach and former player. He played in the NHL from 1971 to 1985 before beginning an NHL coaching career, serving as the final head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, he is the Head Coach of the Slovakia men's national ice hockey team. Craig Ramsay began his hockey career with the Peterborough Petes in 1968. Ramsay spent four seasons in Peterborough, he caught the attention of many scouts and in 1971 he was drafted 19th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft. In 1971–72, Ramsay played a couple of games in the American Hockey League before being called up by the Sabres, he was paired up with his close friend Don Luce and together, the two formed a formidable offensive-defensive line that shut out many of the NHL's top lines. In 1974–75, the Sabres drafted young prospect Danny Gare and he was paired up with Ramsay and Luce; the Sabres that year made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before being defeated by the Philadelphia Flyers.
Ramsay had a total tally of 12 points during that run. With the addition of Danny Gare, Ramsay's line became not only a threat defensively but offensively. Ramsay was selected to play in the 1976 NHL All-Star Game, his linemate, Gare scored a total of 56 goals in 1979–80. Ramsay played for ten seasons for the Sabres. In 1984–85, Ramsay was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy for his defensive capabilities as a forward. Ramsay retired shortly afterwards ending a 14-year career with the Sabres which included 1,070 career NHL games, 252 goals and 420 assists for 672 points, he was inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in 1986 to honor his playing career with the club. Ramsay was the last player to play a full season without incurring any penalties, he did this in 1973 -- 74, playing 78 recording 46 points. Following Ramsay's retirement, he was named the assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres in 1986–87 and served as interim head coach late in the year posting a 4–15–2 record, he served as the team director of player personnel and assistant general manager with the Sabres.
In 1992 -- 93, Ramsay joined the Florida Panthers as assistant coach. He stayed there until 1995 before joining the Ottawa Senators as an assistant coach. In 1997–98, Ramsay joined the Philadelphia Flyers, he was named interim head coach in February 2000 for Roger Neilson, being treated for cancer. Ramsay guided the team to a 16 -- 8 -- 1 -- 0 mark, he led the team all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before being eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champions, New Jersey Devils. Neilson was dismissed by the Flyers for health reasons at the end of the 1999–2000 NHL season and Ramsay started the 2000–01 season as head coach before being fired after 28 games as the Flyers went 12–12–4–0 to start the season, he joined the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2001 as an assistant coach. There, Ramsay won his first Stanley Cup in 2004 as the Lightning beat the Calgary Flames in seven games. In 2006–07, he joined the Boston Bruins as another assistant coach; the Bruins made the playoffs every year and finished first in the Eastern Conference in 2008–09.
On June 24, 2010, he was named the head coach for the Atlanta Thrashers. He was dismissed by the team's new ownership group, True North Sports and Entertainment following the Thrasher's relocation to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ramsay was appointed an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers under head coach Kevin Dineen following his dismissal from Atlanta, he was fired by the Panthers along with Dineen and assistant coach Gord Murphy on November 8, 2013. Ramsay was hired by the Edmonton Oilers as assistant coach on June 10, 2014 replacing Kelly Buchberger, he was let go by the Oilers on June 2015, along with fellow assistant Keith Acton. He joined the Slovakia men's national ice hockey team in 2017. Played in 1976 NHL All-Star Game. Frank J. Selke Trophy winner in 1985. Stanley Cup champion in 2004. List of NHL players with 1000 games played Biographical information and career statistics from Hockey-Reference.com, or Legends of Hockey, or The Internet Hockey Database
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning are a professional ice hockey team based in Tampa, Florida. It is a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League; the Lightning have one Stanley Cup championship in their history, in 2003–04. The team is referred to as the Bolts, the nickname was used on the former third jerseys; the Lightning plays home games in Amalie Arena in Tampa. The owner of the Lightning is Jeffrey Vinik; the team is coached by Jon Cooper, who has led the team since 2013. In the late 1980s, the NHL announced. Two rival groups from the Tampa Bay Area decided to bid for a franchise: a St. Petersburg-based group fronted by future Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes owners Peter Karmanos and Jim Rutherford, a Tampa-based group fronted by two Hall of Famers—Phil Esposito and his brother Tony. One of the Esposito group's key backers, the Pritzker family, backed out a few months before the bid, to be replaced by a consortium of Japanese businesses headed by Kokusai Green, a golf course and resort operator.
On paper, it looked. The Esposito group would win the expansion franchise, name the team the Lightning, after Tampa Bay's status as the "Lightning Capital of North America." After being awarded the franchise, Phil Esposito installed himself as president and general manager, while Tony became chief scout. Terry Crisp, who played for the Philadelphia Flyers when they won two Stanley Cups in the mid-1970s and coached the Calgary Flames to a Stanley Cup in 1989, was tapped as the first head coach. Phil Esposito hired former teammates from the Boston Bruins of the 1970s, including former linemate Wayne Cashman as an assistant coach and former Bruin trainer John "Frosty" Forristal as the team's trainer; the inaugural team photo has him flanked by Cashman and player Ken Hodge, Jr. son of his other Bruins' linemate. The Lightning turned heads in the pre-season when Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game, which made her the first woman to play in any of the major professional North American sports leagues.
She played for the Lightning against the St. Louis Blues, stopped seven of nine shots; the Lightning played their first regular season game on October 7, 1992 in Tampa's tiny 11,000-seat Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds. They shocked; the team shot to the top of the Campbell Conference's Norris Division within a month, behind Kontos' initial torrid scoring pace and a breakout season by forward Brian Bradley. However, it buckled under the strain of some of the longest road trips in the NHL—their nearest division rival, the Blues, were over 1,000 miles away—and finished in last place with a record of 23–54–7 for 53 points; this was, at one of the best-ever showings by an NHL expansion team. Bradley's 42 goals gave Tampa Bay fans optimism for the next season; the following season saw the Lightning shift to the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division, as well as move into the Florida Suncoast Dome in St. Petersburg, reconfigured for hockey and renamed the "ThunderDome." The team acquired goaltender Daren Puppa, left wing goal scorer Petr Klima, veteran forward Denis Savard.
While Puppa's play resulted in a significant improvement in goals allowed, Savard was long past his prime and Klima's scoring was offset by his defensive lapses. The Lightning finished last in the Atlantic Division in 1993–94 with a record of 30–43–11 for 71 points. Another disappointing season followed in the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season with a record of 17–28–3 for 37 points. In their fourth season, 1995–96, behind Bradley's team-leading 79 points, second-year forward Alexander Selivanov's 31 goals, Roman Hamrlik's All-Star year on defense, the Lightning qualified for the playoffs, posting a 38–33–12 record for 88 points and nosing out the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference by a single win. Due to his stellar play in net, Puppa was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Playing the Philadelphia Flyers, a team seen as a Stanley Cup contender, in the first round, the Lightning split the opening two games in Philadelphia before taking Game 3 in overtime before a ThunderDome crowd of 28,183.
This was the largest crowd for an NHL game, a record that stood until the 2003 Heritage Classic in Edmonton. An injury to Puppa in that game, would see the Lightning lose the next three games and the series; the Lightning moved into the Ice Palace for the 1996 -- 97 season. They had acquired goal-scorer Dino Ciccarelli from the Detroit Red Wings during the 1996 off-season, he did not disappoint, scoring 35 goals while Chris Gratton notched another 30 goals; the team appeared destined for another playoff appearance, but suffered a devastating rash of injuries. Puppa developed back trouble. Bradley lost time to a series of concussions that would limit him to a total of 49 games from 1996 until his retirement in December 1999. Center John Cullen developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma, missed the last 12 games of the 1996–97 season. Decimated by these ailments, the Light
Conn Smythe Trophy
The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded annually to the most valuable player during the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup playoffs. It is named after Conn Smythe, the longtime owner, general manager, head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs; the Conn Smythe Trophy has been awarded 52 times to 45 players since the 1964–65 NHL season. Each year, at the conclusion of the final game of the Stanley Cup Final, members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association vote to elect the player deserving of the trophy; the trophy is handed out prior to the presentation of the Stanley Cup by the NHL Commissioner and only the winner is announced, in contrast to most of the other NHL awards which name three finalists and are presented at a ceremony. Unlike the playoff MVP awards presented in the other major professional sports leagues of the United States and Canada, the Conn Smythe is based on a player's performance during the entire NHL postseason instead of just the championship game or series; the most recent winner is Alexander Ovechkin.
The Conn Smythe Trophy was introduced in 1964 by Maple Leaf Gardens Limited to honor Conn Smythe, the former owner, General Manager, coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder. The centerpiece of the trophy is a stylized silver replica of Maple Leaf Gardens, the arena built under Smythe's ownership of the Maple Leafs, their home from 1931 to 1999. Backing the arena replica is a large silver botanically-accurate maple leaf; the arena replica and leaf are set atop a square wooden foundation, the front of which bears a dedication plaque. Additional tiers below the foundation, sloping outward, contain maple leaf-shaped plates bearing the inscriptions of the winners' names; the base of the Conn Smythe Trophy has been expanded twice over the years to accommodate more winners. Although the 16 nameplates on the original base tier were filled up after 1980, a new tier was not added until the 1983–84 season. Following the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals, the 20 nameplates on the new tier were filled up, so the first nine winners' nameplates were moved up to the remaining three sides of the foundation tier, with the remaining nameplates shifted accordingly to keep the winners in chronological order.
Due to the cancellation of the 2004–05 season, the trophy wasn't filled up again until 2010, after which a new tier was added, making room for 24 more names. The first winner of the award was center Jean Béliveau of the Montreal Canadiens in 1965; the first player and only defenseman to win it twice was Bobby Orr, who scored the Cup-clinching goals for the Boston Bruins in 1970 and 1972. Goaltender Bernie Parent and centers Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby have won it twice each, with Parent and Crosby each winning theirs back to back. Goaltender Patrick Roy is the only player to win the trophy three times, the only player to win it as a member of two different teams. Ken Dryden, the 1971 Smythe winner, is the only NHL player to win this trophy before winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year: Montreal called him up to play only six regular season games, not enough to qualify as a rookie season. Dave Keon's eight playoff points in 1967 is the fewest by a non-goalie Conn Smythe winner, as he was a defensive forward and is the only Maple Leafs player to win the trophy donated by his club's parent company.
Though the award rewards a player who performed well over the entirety of the playoffs, it has never been given to a player whose team did not at least reach the Stanley Cup Finals. The trophy has been awarded to members of the team that lost the Finals five times, most Jean-Sebastien Giguere of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003, who backstopped his team's surprise run to the Finals, where they pushed the New Jersey Devils to seven games; the only skater to win the award in a losing cause is Philadelphia's Reggie Leach, who won it in 1976 as he had set a league record for most goals in the playoffs, which included a five-goal game in the semifinals and four goals in the Finals though the Canadiens swept his Flyers. With eight exceptions, the winners of the Conn Smythe Trophy have all been Canadian; the non-Canadian winners are Americans Brian Leetch, who won it in 1994, Tim Thomas in 2011, Jonathan Quick in 2012, Patrick Kane in 2013. Only three players have won the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy for Most Valuable Player during the regular season in the same year: Orr in 1970 and 1972, Guy Lafleur in 1977 and Gretzky in 1985.
These three players won the Art Ross Trophy as regular season leading scorer, while Orr won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as top defenceman to give him a record four individual original NHL awards in 1970. The trophy had been won sixteen times each by centers and goaltenders, nine times by defensemen, seven times by right wingers, just twice by left wingers. Canadiens players have won it nine times, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins players five times, Oilers and New York Islanders players four times each; the St. Louis Blues are the only team without a Stanley Cup victory to have a Conn Smythe Trophy winner, as Glenn Hall won in 1968. List of National Hockey L