September 19, 2014

1993-94 - Drought Ended

The Three Stars:

Rangers End 54-Year Stanley Cup Drought - The endless chants of "1940" (rival New York Islanders fans loved to remind the Rangers of how long ago their last Stanley Cup title was) come to an end as the New York Rangers defeat the Vancouver Canucks in a thrilling seven game Stanley Cup final. Mike Richter was brilliant in goal while Brian Leetch took home the Conn Smythe Trophy. Mark Messier became immortal in New York sports history with his victory guarantee in the epic conference final vs. New Jersey. Stephane Matteau scored the famous winning goal in that series.

802 - Wayne Gretzky tops Gordie Howe as the NHL's all time leading goal scorer. on March 23rd, 1994 he notches career goal 802. Gretzky, who already established himself as the all time leader in assists and points as well, wins his 10th and last Art Ross trophy with 130 points. But the Los Angeles Kings miss the playoffs - the first time in Gretzky's career he does not get to play for the Stanley Cup.

Swedish Stamp of Approval - In what proves to be the last Winter Olympics hockey tournament prior to full NHL participation, Peter Forsberg becomes an eternal Swedish hockey hero with his spectacular shootout goal to give his county its first Olympic gold medal ever. Forsberg's incredible one-handed backhand goal on Canada's Corey Hirsch is commemorated on a Swedish stamp, though Hirsch refuses permission to have his image on it.

Season Highlights -
  • The NHL opens the season with two new teams - the Florida Panthers and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (owned by Disney and named after the Disney movies "The Mighty Ducks"). The Minnesota North Stars move to Texas and become the Dallas Stars.
  • The Ottawa Senators draft Alexander Daigle first overall.
  • The NHL's on-ice officials strike on November 14th, 1993 and are indefinitely replaced with referees and linesmen from other leagues. The strike ends on November 30th.
  • Disgraced agent/NHLPA boss Alan Eagleson is indicted by a US Federal Grand Jury on 32 criminal counts including fraud, racketeering and obstruction of justice.
  • Detroit coach Scotty Bowman earns his 1000th win. However Arturs Irbe and the San Jose Sharks upset the Red Wings in the playoffs.
  • Peter Bondra scores 4 goals in 4:12 of play against Tampa goalie Daren Puppa. Bondra scored 5 goals in total that night.
  • Pavel Bure leads the league in goals with his second straight 60 goal season.
  • Sergei Fedorov is arguably the league's best player, finishing 2nd in scoring with 120 points including 56 goals. He wins both the Hart and the Selke trophies.
  • Mario Lemieux only plays in 22 games this season. Ailing from his badly damaged back he still scores 17 goals and 37 points.
  • Tough times appear to hit the Buffalo Sabres as Pat Lafontaine and Grant Fuhr suffer serious injuries. However newcomer Dominik Hasek earns the nickname "Dominator" as he becomes the first goalie in 20 years with a GAA under. 2.00. He wins the Vezina trophy. 
  • Shortly after winning the Stanley Cup, Rangers coach Mike Keenan breaks his contract and signs with the St. Louis Blues. Tampering charges are laid and Keenan suspended. The Rangers are compensated by taking St. Louis' Petr Nedved in exchange for Doug Lidster and Esa Tikkanen.

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