The 1994-95 NHL season was rocked by labor wars, off ice law suits and the unofficial start of offense starved so-called Dead Puck Era
The Three Stars:
No Hockey Until New Year - NHL owners lock out the players on September 30th because there is no collective bargaining agreement in place. Owners give commissioner Gary Bettman approval Dec. 12th to shutdown the entire season, hoping to scare players into accepting their "final" offer. Negotiations go on until the new year, when suddenly the NHPLA seems to switch gears and accept the owners proposal at the very last minute. After a 103 day labor dispute a 48 game season is scheduled to finally begin on January 20th.
Mario Sits - Lockout or not, Mario Lemieux had always intended on not playing the 1994-95 season. After missing all but 22 games in the 1993-94 season due to his bad back, he sits out the entire season hoping his back will get the chance to recover. In his absence teammate Jaromir Jagr wins his first Art Ross Trophy.
Former Players Win Pension Suit - Former NHL players, led by a group featuring Carl Brewer and Brad Park, win a Supreme Court of Canada lawsuit that contended the NHL skimmed money from the pension fund. The NHL reportedly owed $40 million to the alumni.
- In a mega-trade Calgary moves Al MacInnis to St. Louis in exchange for Phil Housley.
- Another: Philadelphia sends Mark Recchi to Montreal for John LeClair and Eric Desjardins. LeClair joins Eric Lindros and Mikael Renberg on the Legion of Doom line.
- Eric Lindros wins the Hart and Pearson trophies as the top player in the game. He also equals Jaromir Jagr in the point race but due to Jagr having more goals the Art Ross trophy barely escapes Lindros' grasp.
- Wayne Gretzky becomes the first man to reach 2500 career points.
- Rookies Paul Kariya in Anaheim and Peter Forsberg in Quebec impress. Forsberg wins the Calder Trophy.
- The defensive minded New Jersey Devils win the Stanley Cup, thanks to Martin Brodeur's tiny 1.67 GAA and Conn Smythe Trophy winning MVP Claude Lemieux's timely goals.