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Teams with strange seasons

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Old
04-01-2013, 06:04 PM
  #1
darkhorse686
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Teams with strange seasons

This has got to be the one of the weirdest seasons in the history of the league. I remember the Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs in '97-98 and it was a pretty big deal because, to that point, they hadn't missed out since the late 60's. I was astonished to discover the 'Hawks' failure was basically down to the first 7 games of the season and the last 7 games. In the first 7, they were 0-7 and last 7, they went 0-6-1. In between, they were a highly respectable 30-26-12. It's like the 'Hawks were a playoff-quality side that just hit a bad patch of form at the worst possible moment.

Has any other team had bizarre campaign like this one? Maybe it was a great team that at one point had a horrible and inexplicable losing streak or an awful team that at one point, pulled off an crazy unbeaten run.

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04-01-2013, 06:45 PM
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Look no further than the 1972-73 WHA Alberta Oilers. Finished 38-37-3, just out of the playoffs after a 1-game tie-breaker loss to Minnesota.

However, they put together some wild winning and losing streaks to arrive at that .500 record. In late November/early December they went 1-10-1 to fall to 5 games under .500. They plugged along until late January when they went on an 8-2-0 streak to climb one game over .500.

They did an abrupt about-face by losing the next eight games to bring them into March. They did another switcheroo by winning 7 of the next 8 to get back to .500, and they stumbled along the last week of the season at that pace.

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04-01-2013, 06:56 PM
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The 94-95 Blackhawks were very streaky in the second half of the lockout shortened season. They began the year 14-6-1, then went on a four game winless streak (0-3-1). After that, they won five in a row, then followed that up with a 13 game winless streak (0-10-3). Then they snapped out of that funk with another five game winning streak to close out the year.

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04-01-2013, 09:43 PM
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Big Phil
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New York Rangers in 1992-'93. Led the NHL in points in 1992. Missed the playoffs in 1993 and had 79 points. Led the NHL in points in 1994 and won the Cup. They added some veteran leadership in 1994 but basically had the same core of players the previous year.

Never understood this, Boston in 1996 finishes 6th overall in points. Boston in 1997 finishes dead last with 61 points. Missing the postseason for the first time since 1967 I believe. I never understood what happened to them. They still had Bourque and Oates. I know Oates was traded late in the year but they had a decent team - on paper - I thought.

I also always wondered this: Chicago in 2001-'02, 96 points. Where did THAT come from?

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04-02-2013, 02:20 AM
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billybudd
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The Devils missing the playoffs in 96 was pretty strange. If memory serves, they didn't lose anyone important, and the next season they were a powerhouse.


Looking it up, they lost Claude Lemieux, but that's not enough to explain a missed birth.

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04-02-2013, 02:28 AM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Never understood this, Boston in 1996 finishes 6th overall in points. Boston in 1997 finishes dead last with 61 points. Missing the postseason for the first time since 1967 I believe. I never understood what happened to them. They still had Bourque and Oates. I know Oates was traded late in the year but they had a decent team - on paper - I thought.
Yeah, I thought that was pretty weird at the time as well. Like, they looked bad that year, but there was no clear reason why they were dead last. People forget that Stumpel constituted a pretty good #2 playmaking center at the time.

Actually, looking at the roster, it seems I didn't play close enough attention back then. The goaltending seems to have sunk them all by itself. The next year they had Byron Dafoe, who was a Calder runner-up I think.

Edit: nope. Just a young player who had a great year.

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04-02-2013, 02:37 AM
  #7
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The 2006-2007 season was a weird one for the Colorado Avalanche.

In danger of missing the post-season for the first time in franchise history, the club went on a 14-1-2 run at the end of the season. If they beat the Nashville Predators in Game 81, all they needed was a win against 8th Seeded Calgary in Game 82 to clinch a playoff spot. While they did beat Calgary, the club lost to Nashville and missed the playoffs by a point (95 pts).

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04-02-2013, 06:36 AM
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yave1964
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The Blue Jackets lead by rookie Goalie Steve Mason and coach Ken Hitchcock jumped in to the playoffs in 07-08 before falling to eventual champs Detroit. Nobody predicted this season from the perennial doormats, Hitch had the boys playing responsible defense and Mason looked like the second coming of Tony Esposito. Of course by the next season they were doormats again and the universe was returned to its proper place.....

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04-02-2013, 07:43 AM
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Psycho Papa Joe
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The Habs the last 3 seasons:

2011-12 6th in the East
2012-13 Last in the East
2013-14 2nd in the East

Probably really a bubble team, but does show the value of winning a majotity of those one goal games.

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04-02-2013, 12:04 PM
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The 1977-78 Colorado Rockies' 19-40-21 record earned them second place out of 5 teams in the weak Smythe Division. This earned them the right to play the 105-pt. Flyers in the preliminary round, best of 3. Philly won in 2 games, the first in overtime, but a bad puck bounce or two could have made for a big upset. Never liked that best-of-3 format and glad it didn't last.

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04-02-2013, 05:43 PM
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darkhorse686
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Here's one I discovered: the 75-76 Kansas City Scouts (12 wins all year) managed a 4-game unbeaten run at one point

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04-02-2013, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
New York Rangers in 1992-'93. Led the NHL in points in 1992. Missed the playoffs in 1993 and had 79 points. Led the NHL in points in 1994 and won the Cup. They added some veteran leadership in 1994 but basically had the same core of players the previous year.
Yeah very strange. In addition they barely scrapped into the '95 playoffs I think

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04-03-2013, 01:35 AM
  #13
JSmith81x
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Montreal Canadiens

1967-68 - win Cup
1968-69 - win Cup
1969-70 - miss playoffs
1970-71 - win Cup (Dryden's debut)

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04-04-2013, 06:33 AM
  #14
Bougieman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkhorse686 View Post
Here's one I discovered: the 75-76 Kansas City Scouts (12 wins all year) managed a 4-game unbeaten run at one point
haha that's hilarious. I can just picture the fanbase at the end of that 4th consecutive win thinking to themselves "Man, this team has finally turned it around!"

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04-07-2013, 05:40 AM
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MechaMarleau
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In terms of an odd season out of the trend (rather than a single season with funky streaks in them), the 2002-03 Sharks stand out.

2001-02 the Sharks win their first division title with 99 points. Two years later in 2003-04, they win another title with 104 and make the conference finals.

The year in the middle? 73 points, last in the division. They were 38 points behind the Stars in the division lead. It's the only time they've missed the playoffs since 1996-97, and they missed it by a mile.

I was only 12 during that season and can't remember what went wrong, but the actual reshaping of the roster wasn't until just before the lockout.

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04-07-2013, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkhorse686 View Post
Here's one I discovered: the 75-76 Kansas City Scouts (12 wins all year) managed a 4-game unbeaten run at one point
Well it was only a one win/three ties run, but that sequence was part of a much more monumental achievement that is overlooked by hockey historians - that win was their only win in the second half of the season! Their only win in all of 1976! Their only win in their last 44 games!!!

That's right, KC went 1-35-8 over their last 44 games! It kicked off on Dec. 30 of 1975 with a 14-game losing streak, then came the 4-game unbeaten streak.

The previous year, the Scouts were 1-15-3 in their final 19 games.

AND...their first year in Colorado as the Rockies (76-77).... they went 1-15-4 in their final 20 games!!!

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04-07-2013, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Bougieman View Post
haha that's hilarious. I can just picture the fanbase at the end of that 4th consecutive win thinking to themselves "Man, this team has finally turned it around!"
It was a 1-0-3 streak, see post above.

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04-07-2013, 09:30 AM
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Along the same lines as the Scouts...

the wartime Rangers were dreadful, but none so bad as the 1943-44 edition.

6-39-5, 26 points behind the 5th place Bruins.

310 goals allowed... in 50 games!!!

Started the season 0-14-1, then won 4 of 5 in late December.

They won 2 straight in January, filling their quota of wins for the year. So on three occasions they won two in a row.

They finished the year 0-17-4 in their last 21.

SEVEN times they allowed double figures in goals, at least once each to the other 5 times in the league.

The most horrific was a 15-0 loss at Detroit. A week later they were back there and lost 12-2!!

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04-07-2013, 12:22 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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2001-02 Oilers started the season 14-5-4. If you combine that with the 10-2-2 run to finish the season, you'd expect this team to be in contention for 1st place overall.

But in fact the Oilers finished 9th in the West this year thanks to winning just 3 of 18 games during a brutal mid season slide.

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04-07-2013, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
New York Rangers in 1992-'93. Led the NHL in points in 1992. Missed the playoffs in 1993 and had 79 points. Led the NHL in points in 1994 and won the Cup. They added some veteran leadership in 1994 but basically had the same core of players the previous year.
Brian Leetch missed over half the season in '93. Rangers were 20-13-3 with him, 14-26-8 without him. There's the answer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by billybudd
The Devils missing the playoffs in 96 was pretty strange. If memory serves, they didn't lose anyone important,
Their record wasn't much different from the previous season, but the East was much more stacked than the West in '96. Their exact same record that finished 9th in the East would've got them the #4 seed in the West.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe
The Habs the last 3 seasons:

6th in the East
Last in the East
2nd in the East

Probably really a bubble team, but does show the value of winning a majotity of those one goal games.
They were a better team last year than their record indicated. One-goal games tend to even out in wins or and losses over time. If a team has a really bad record in them one year, they usually rebound the next. Same situation with St. Louis the year before; will likely happen with Tampa next year.

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04-07-2013, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayzinSmith View Post
Montreal Canadiens

1967-68 - win Cup
1968-69 - win Cup
1969-70 - miss playoffs
1970-71 - win Cup (Dryden's debut)
Even more bizarre was the finish of the regular season. With around 4 games left each anyone of 5 teams could win the East, and all 5 would end up with more points than any team in the Expansion West, but only 4 playoff spots were available in the East (Original 6) Division. In their last game, in the afternoon, Rangers won to tie Montreal for 4th and last playoff spot but lead on Goals Scored (first goals related tie break) and actually pulled their goalie in an effort to increase that lead. Montreal had one game left to play vs Chicago later that night, who by then needed a win to finish first.

Montreal just needed a tie, or score five goals if they lost. They lost 10-2 with 5 of the goals scored against them empty net, as they started pulling their goalie every offensive zone face-off halfway through the third period after getting behind.

Rules were changed the next year to make the first goals related tie break goal differential to avoid any future fiasco. Can you imagine Chicago winning 50-5 and thereby Montreal making the playoffs? Could have happened.

Chicago was moved to the West the next year as well.

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04-10-2013, 05:19 PM
  #22
Big Phil
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Quote:
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Brian Leetch missed over half the season in '93. Rangers were 20-13-3 with him, 14-26-8 without him. There's the answer.
Hmmm. I guess so. Leetch was an all-time great defenseman who could make an impact no doubt, but this team still had Messier, Amonte, Gartner, Graves and both Beezer and Richter in net. Should have been a playoff team either way, you'd think.


A little off topic, but not really, out of all the original 6 teams, only Chicago believe it or not has a career below .500. And even then, they are only 40 games below. Hard to believe.

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04-12-2013, 10:31 AM
  #23
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Quote:
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I also always wondered this: Chicago in 2001-'02, 96 points. Where did THAT come from?
It was an illusion. That team was absolute hot garbage. Got very lucky in a lot of close games. Got the **** beat out of them very often. Many of the losses were just complete drubbings. It just happened that Thibault and Passmore would come up big in the games the Hawks had a chance to win. Also, other teams started their backups against the Hawks A LOT.

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04-12-2013, 10:57 AM
  #24
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Originally Posted by billybudd View Post
The Devils missing the playoffs in 96 was pretty strange. If memory serves, they didn't lose anyone important, and the next season they were a powerhouse.


Looking it up, they lost Claude Lemieux, but that's not enough to explain a missed birth.
They had trouble scoring goals and Brodeur ended up being overworked

more than anything they were unlucky though. That team still finished 4 games OVER .500 in the pre OT/Shootout loss point era

They had 86 points, which would've made them the 4 seed out west

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04-12-2013, 11:11 AM
  #25
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The Blue Jackets lead by rookie Goalie Steve Mason and coach Ken Hitchcock jumped in to the playoffs in 07-08 before falling to eventual champs Detroit. Nobody predicted this season from the perennial doormats, Hitch had the boys playing responsible defense and Mason looked like the second coming of Tony Esposito. Of course by the next season they were doormats again and the universe was returned to its proper place.....
That is a falsehood.

The Jackets were carried by a huge season from Rick Nash. Mason had one outstanding month and then after that he was below average.

For those who don't buy this? Think about the talk Rick Nash is getting this year. He has 17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points in 36 games. Over 78 games (what he played in 2009) that projects to 37-39-76; he scored 40-39-79 in 78 in 2008-09. His career average per 78 games is 34-30-64. He has scored 40+ goals twice, and 70+ points once. He was 18th in points and fifth in goals in 2008-09.

By comparison, Mason was 9th in wins, 4th in GAA, but 19th in sv% (among those with 500+ shots faced). He was also first in shutouts, which is what got people raving about him; the shutouts. That's also what got Jim Carey his Vezina; shutouts. Apparently having a decent season with some really high peaks tossed in is better than having a really good, consistent season. I'd rather have a goalie with a .920 sv% and 0 shutouts than a goalie with a .925 and 10 shutouts.

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