Quality of NHL Hockey in 1994-95
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08-15-2012, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Toronto via Calgary!
Originally Posted by
To the OP, 1994-'95 was not a memorable season at all. Not just because of the shortened season, but also because of the players that season. Mario sat out all year. Gretzky showed the first signs of really slowing down. The aura of the Canadiens was starting to get wiped out as they missed the postseason. Roy had a bad year too. The NHL was almost in a transition period of time. The stars that would show up later in the decade weren't all hitting their peak yet. Lindros broke out as did Jagr but Kariya and Forsberg were rookies. Messier was older as well and less effective. It was also the first of the great old stadiums to go. Chicago was in the United Center by now replacing the classic Chicago Stadium. This was Boston's last year in the Garden as well.
Then the postseason was one of the worst in NHL history. The dreaded trap bored us all to death. Jersey winning the Cup in 1995 was a blow to the game of hockey as was the awful officiating in the Quebec/NYR series. Not really a memorable NHL year. A sweep in the final too.
Well the '95 playoffs were actually higher scoring than '94 and not too far off from '93. It was odd because it wasn't particularly exciting hockey despite that and despite the first round featuring four 7 game series and not a sweep to be seen (but four sweeps in 7 remaining series did follow). Just a lot of blowouts (Rangers beat Nords 8-3, Caps beat Pens 6-2 twice in a row before getting shellacked 7-1 themselves, Devils beat Bruins 5-0, Blues beat the Canucks 8-2 in game 6 of their series, Flames beat San Jose 9-2 and 5-0, Detroit demolishes San Jose in what I like to call the double straight sets series: 6-0, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2). Scoring dropped after the 1st round big time as it normally does though and we got to see Jersey trap its way to Cup glory but Detroit had allowed just as few goals and scored at a similar pace. The perception was that they did it by being fast, entertaining and effective.
Jersey don't forget scored 5 in the two home wins. Their 67 goals in 20 games would look brilliant if we saw it today. Hell the Kings romped 16-4 but only scored at a 2.5 goal per game pace. Is today's hockey much better? Not a ton IMO. Less sloppy but even more robotic). I've seen most of these on NHL Network Classic Series episodes and few of the series were that exciting. Even the highly offensive Flames-Sharks series lacked much excitement outside of games 1-2 and 7. Some of 1994's series were classics and arguably the only 1995 series that could come close to that would be the Leafs-Hawks which went to 7. Pens-Caps was another Washington 3-1 series collapse yet it wasn't a thrilling series, just one full of mediocre goaltending all around and Jagr making it look easy. Flames-Sharks was too wide open, sloppy and too many one-sided games to be considered classic. Irbe was brutal (doing his special delivery giveaway goals and then flipping out in game 5 with a helmet headbutt to Sheldon Kennedy that got him ejected and Kennedy busted up real nicely. Wade Flaherty got a chance as a result).
It was in fact the highest scoring 7 game series in NHL history plus the Flames somehow lost it despite outscoring San Jose 35-26 and setting a new NHL record with 6 shorthanded goals in one series (the Sharks hold the NHL post-season record for most shorties allowed in one playoff year with 11 and they did this in only 10 games somehow. That speaks to the sloppiness). Well it had to do with Trevor Kidd being awful but he wasn't alone since many goalies had to iron out the kinks and many were in what would normally be mid-season form for the playoffs and not clutch form. For example, Ron Hextall gave up a GWG slapper from just inside the blue line down the wing from Claude Lemieux and Garth Snow was not much of an improvement. Ed Belfour fell apart with many stinkers in the Western Final including an OT whiff in game 3 that buried the Haws for good.
Kirk McLean and Curtis Joseph didn't even look too hot plus Quebec was doomed with a Fiset-Thibault duo and we saw just why Jim Carey "Net Detective" would someday be labelled a fluke. Hasek had done commendable work but it wasn't enough since Philly bested Buffalo in every facet. Potvin did ok in a first round exit too. It was a crappy display outside of Brodeur and Vernon but even Vernon looked lost in games 3-4 of the Cup Final. But overall 1995 paled next to even 1992 when there were sweeps abound. At the end, it was a disappointment, featuring all the Canadian and most of the original six clubs gone by the 3rd round. Also it lacked the star power seen in 1994 (Messier, Leetch, Richter vs. Linden, Bure, McLean), 1993 (Gretzky, Robitaille, Blake vs. Roy, Muller, Damphousse) or especially 1992 (Lemieux, Jagr, Stevens, Barrasso, Francis, Tocchet vs. Roenick, Chelios, Larmer, Belfour). Looking back, 1995 was the lamest playoff year since 1977 (which was simply a Canadiens cakewalk without any upset stories along the way).
Last edited by Hab-a-maniac: 08-15-2012 at
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