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94-95 Season.

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01-14-2013, 09:24 PM
  #26
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blamebettman View Post
The Devils were an eyelash away from the finals in 1994. It had nothing to do with the refs putting their whistles away...they were a good hockey team. Lou pulled off a couple of solid moves at the deadline to put NJ over the top. Shawn Chambers + Neal Broten
Not only were they an OT away from the Cup finals (where they would have been favorites), the Devils were the 2nd best team in the league in the 1993-94 regular season. They started the 1994-95 season in a slump. The main reason is because Scott Stevens was still sulking because the Devils matched the offer sheet the St. Louis Blue signed him to in the 1994 offseason. Remember that in 1990, St. Louis had made Scott Stevens one of the highest paid players in the league and named him their captain. He was planning on settling down in St. Louis and had a house built there. Then, in 1991 he was awarded to the Devils by an arbitrator as compensation for signing Brendan Shanahan as a RFA. In 1994, Stevens signed an offersheet to return to St. Louis (there was tampering involved), and NJ matched.

Stevens (who was by far the best player on the 1993-94 Devils) started 1994-95 in a major slump. It got to the point where Claude Lemieux called him out for being selfish and a poor captain. Jacques Lemaire told him to stop trying to create offense and focus only on defense. Eventually, Stevens got himself together and the "real Devils" showed themselves towards the end of the regular season. IMO, the only reason the 1994-95 Devils were a 5th seed is because it was a 48 game season and one extended slump to start the season left them with less time than usual to recover.

You touched on the secondary reason they weren't as good in the regular season - they had a gaping hole at #1 C until the trade deadline. After 1993-94, the Devils let their top center, Bernie Nicholls leave via free agency. They went into 1994-95 with Corey Millen as their #1 center and rookies Brian Rolston, Sergei Brylin, and Jim Dowd fighting it out for #2. (Their checking line and energy line centers, old Bob Carpenter and young Bobby Holik were set). At the trade deadline, they traded Millen for vet Neil Broten, and while Broten wasn't a star, he was at least an adequate option at #1 C. Rolston eventually settled in at wing, and Brylin and Dowd split second line duties throught to the end of the playoffs.

Getting Shawn Chambers at the deadline helped too, of course, as he played out of his mind in the playoffs, often as Scott Stevens' partner.

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01-15-2013, 04:05 PM
  #27
Big Phil
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The "trap" was the big story in 1995, but not until the postseason. In the regular season much of the talk was about Lindros' coming out party. He really put a show on that year and I remember distinctly saying to myself that he was the best player in the NHL and was going to be the best bar none once Mario retired. Mario took the year off but it was common knowledge that when he returned he would - and did - become the best player in the world again. Gretzky was aging so it was only a matter of time before this was Lindros' league - or so we thought.

I know Hasek had just won his 2nd Vezina but I'll be honest I wasn't sure what to make of him at that point. It was a shortened season so you had to take that into effect. I don't know, Hasek had a couple of first round exits and he didn't really look great in 1995 against the Flyers so I guess I had my reservations on him. 1996-'97 was a time when I knew he was on his way to being an all-time great though.

Montreal not making the playoffs, yeah that was a huge storyline I thought. This just never happened to Montreal. There was a lot more pride in that organization back then.

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01-16-2013, 01:44 AM
  #28
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Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
It was also the first time in 25 years that Montreal had missed the playoffs. At the time that was just something that never happened.
At that point, it was only the 8th or 9th time or so that the Habs missed the playoffs in their history. Since then, they've missed it another 6 times if I'm counting correctly.

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01-16-2013, 02:42 AM
  #29
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In LA, the Kings ha completely self-destructed from that exciting and deep team that made it to the finals in 93.

In the West the power had shifted from Chicago, Vancouver and LA to Colorado and Detroit.

Edmonton had Ryan Smyth and Chicago had Eric Daze to rebuild around.

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01-16-2013, 03:39 AM
  #30
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rorschach View Post
In LA, the Kings ha completely self-destructed from that exciting and deep team that made it to the finals in 93.

In the West the power had shifted from Chicago, Vancouver and LA to Colorado and Detroit.

Edmonton had Ryan Smyth and Chicago had Eric Daze to rebuild around.
I think you're a season too early - Colorado wasn't Colorado until 1995-96, and Chicago was the 2nd best team in the West in 1994-95.

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01-16-2013, 05:21 AM
  #31
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Biggest story I remember?

Scoring dropping like a rock and Hasek in Buffalo turning the Sabres into 'Team Under' on the Pro-Line Over/Under bet.

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01-16-2013, 09:24 AM
  #32
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Originally Posted by JoeMalone View Post
Biggest story I remember?

Scoring dropping like a rock and Hasek in Buffalo turning the Sabres into 'Team Under' on the Pro-Line Over/Under bet.
Was it really that year the scoring dropped, or just the one where New Jersey and i'm sure other intangibles showed the new way for the future?

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01-16-2013, 11:07 AM
  #33
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I am from the West Coast so for me it was kind of a disappointment. The Canucks got by the first round but did not play well in the second round. This was also the time where Jeff Brown was wrecking the locker room at the expense of Kirk Mc Leans marriage.

I am happy for the Devils and for Lindros, but what happened to the Red Wings that final? They really got their butts handed to them.

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01-16-2013, 02:02 PM
  #34
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This was also the first season for the NHL on Fox, including their robots and (I believe) the Foxtrax glow puck.

In Pittsburgh, there was a good bit of hype over the Luc Robitaille acquisition (I for one thought he kinda lived up to it).

And rookie Paul Kariya made a lot of NHL 2Night hightlights.

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01-16-2013, 02:24 PM
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blamebettman View Post
The Devils were an eyelash away from the finals in 1994. It had nothing to do with the refs putting their whistles away...they were a good hockey team. Lou pulled off a couple of solid moves at the deadline to put NJ over the top. Shawn Chambers + Neal Broten
It certainly had something to do with it.

In blocks during 1993-94, New Jersey went:
15-5-1 in the first 21 games (31 points)
9-9-3 in the next 21 games (21 points)
10-6-5 in the next 21 games (25 points)
13-5-3 in the last 21 games (29 points)

Specifically, they were 15-5-4 in the last 24 games.

But the 1994-95 team didn't look quite the same as the 1993-94 one. 1993-94 was 2nd in the league in scoring offense and defense; 1994-95 was 13th in scoring and 5th in defense. Bernie Nicholls left between the seasons, Valeri Zelepukin missed nearly the entire year, Alexander Semak played like crap before being traded, Corey Millen did as well, and a lot of other players really struggled.

The biggest factor with really giving the Devils a jump was picking up Neal Broten. He went from 4 points in 17 games with Dallas to 28 points in 30 games with New Jersey, and played well in all zones. And that was in a trade that cost Millen, whose production had declined substantially as well.

Yes, New Jersey was good in both years. But, despite most of the same players, they looked quite a bit different in 1994-95 compared to 1993-94.

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01-18-2013, 02:11 PM
  #36
JoeMalone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
Was it really that year the scoring dropped, or just the one where New Jersey and i'm sure other intangibles showed the new way for the future?
It was short season with only conference play. Every game had playoff implications, and teams played conservatively. Scoring dropped accordingly.

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01-19-2013, 03:03 PM
  #37
Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeMalone View Post
Biggest story I remember?

Scoring dropping like a rock and Hasek in Buffalo turning the Sabres into 'Team Under' on the Pro-Line Over/Under bet.
I'm not sure it dropped all that badly:

1993-'94 - 6.5
1994-'95 - 6.0
1995-'96 - 6.3
1996-'97 - 5.8

You have to take into consideration that the season, much like this one, only featured teams playing in each other's conferences. That will lead to tighter defensive games and while I don't have the stats I believe scoring across conferences is higher to begin with. Plus it was a shortened season, a lot less room for error. The next season we saw scoring at a level we were used to with a lot of top end scoring among stars.

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