From another homer viewpoint, the Ottawa Senators were loaded that year but the dropoff from Hasek to Emery was enormous. With a healthy Hasek, I think they probably beat Buffalo. Emery was awful in that series.
That 2006 Ottawa team was the first I thought of, because Hasek was brilliant that year (as always) and they seemed like such a Cup favorite until he was injured. Was surprised to see Buffalo mentioned before them, although they were quite talented as well.
What was the difference between 2006 and 2007 when Ottawa and Buffalo met in playoffs? Games were really close, but the better regular season team lost each time 4 games to 1.
They were certainly the better team, as it was, but I dare say a healthy Datsyuk (Hart nominee that year) could have made a difference in the 2 1-goal games they lost over the 4 Finals games he missed. Lidstrom requiring surgery on his testicles just prior to the series didn't help either. Or the countless other players injured, or the fact the series started 2 days earlier than normal, or the fact of the unprecedented 4 games in 6 days, or some of the calls (6 men on the ice for 21 seconds for example).
Lol, but I'm not bitter at all
Yeah, I don't think many others remember that, but I sure do. I thought at the time that Bettman was favoring the Pens with the injuries to the Wings. It didn't seem to matter after Wings went up 2-0, but still may have been an important factor.
I guess I don't remember it as well as you, because I thought it started more than 2 days early... and closer to a week early.
No way in my mind that that series goes 7 games if Roloson wasn't run over in game 1. Oil in 6.
The Oilers probably would've been slight favorites with Roli in net but it's not like they would've cruised to an easy victory.
They weren't even leading the game when he was hurt in game 1, it was tied 4-4 late in the third, before Conklin came in and gave it away. In game 2 they scored 0 goals, followed by 2 goals in game 3 and 1 goal in game 4. Jussi Markkanen, who played all the games after the opener, finished the finals with a 2.17 GAA and a .905 svs%, including a shutout in game 6. He only allowed more than two goals twice, first in game 2 when they were shut out by Ward, and then in game 5, a 4-3 OT win. I would say their biggest problem was definitely offense and not goaltending. In game 7 they managed to score 1 goal.
Of course, it could've happened that the Oilers won game one in OT with Roli in net and never looked back, but that's far from certain. I'm just saying they didn't lose any games because of bad goaltending after game 1 and would've still had to solve the Conn Smythe winning goaltender at the other end of the rink.
Most recently - The 2009 Red Wings.
Despite losing over 72 man-games to injury in those playoffs they still took Pittsburgh (3 man-games lost) to 7 games and outscored them over the course of the series.
I have to think just one of Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Rafalski, Hossa, Cleary, Draper, or Ericsson could have made the difference if slightly more healthy. That wacky, rushed schedule certainly did not help matters either.
Ah well, injuries are part of the game and kudos to Pittsburgh for stepping it up in the end.
Yes. Not to say that Pittsburgh didn't deserve the Cup, as they fairly won four games in the series, but I am quite confident that if both teams played at full health Detroit takes it.
This injury thing is a two-side coin IMO. Injuries are part of the game, every team knows that, some are willing to take their chances, some aren't. Hence the depth trades you see at the deadline. If you put your team's fortune on the shoulders of just a couple of players, you have no one to blame but yourself in case that plan fails.
Also, we've seen some good teams find ways to overcome injury. The 01 Avalanche lost the leading playoff scorer after two rounds and still came out on top.
2009 Red Wings are a great example because they lost the cup by one goal and their opponent didn't have injury problems (iirc). I think that's one team where it's actually more likely than not that they'd win if they were healthy.
Heatley was injured all of last playoffs. I think it's very unlikely they win with a healthy Heatley though, seeing as: they were swept; they had another round to go after that; our problem was a lack of speed and depth, neither of which a healthy Heatley brings. But it's enough to raise a question mark.
The 1999 Buffalo Sabres were a team of destiny when a NONGOAL ended Game 6 OT of the Finals.
The refs were obviously injured in the head in blowing the call.
This call doesn't quite deserve its bad rap. It's remembered as ridiculous because Hull obviously had his skate in the crease, but his not having his skate in the crease wasn't the basis of the call.
The rulebook stated that you were allowed to stand in the crease and score if you had possession before it entered the crease, and though it looks like Hall doesn't because he's fighting for it with another player before he scores, their thought was that it last touched him before he regained possession (Hasek or the Buffalo defender never touched it) other than a rebound, which doesn't count as losing posession, so Hull "still had" the puck from earlier. It wasn't an issue of whether he had his skate in the crease. So it's not like the refs made an off the wall blunder. It was an ambiguous call, and I disagree with them on it, but I'm not really angry at the refs.
I feel your anger though because a) the rule was stupid and the creases were too ****ing big back then, b) even on those standards, I think it wasn't a goal, c) it was gray to say the least and they shouldnt have let the cup winning overtime goal be a gray call, d) Brett Hull's a jerk, and e) Hasek would have been the first player in NHL history to basically single-handidly win a cup and that would have been ****ing awesome and sealed his generational status. But the situation isn't as obvious as it's made out to be.
It's the rule book writers who were injured in the head, much more so than the refs. Possession is so inherently vague and creases were so big at the time that this made it impossible to call goalie interference definitively. So it was just a matter of time before an important goal like that is tainted by it. It would be a lot simpler if they just make the crease smaller and make all skate-in-crease goals no-goals by the book. If it was a no-goal and Buffalo goes on to win the series, Dallas fans would have a right to be angry just like Buffalo fans have a right to be now, because of the ambiguity.
Let's say you are the GM of the Carolina Hurricanes in the summer of 2006, and you just won the Cup. Do you enter the next season thinking you have the best team in the league, because, hey, after all, you have the Cup ring and talk is cheap and the playoffs prove who is best and success is all that matters? If you do, then I think that's a serious error in judgment.
Maybe that's what Carolina did, they didn't do too much to change their team and they figured Cam Ward was ready to be a starting goalie and the end result was that they missed the playoffs the year after they won it all.
Actually it's funny you mention that, as that's one of the things the Canes tried to do that offseason and just weren't able to, which resulted in the next 2 seasons being rather poor. Trying to keep the core together hurt the team, but not for the reasons you would suggest. More then not making changes it was more a matter of not being able to find the right replacements for who they lost.
Doug Weight left back to St Louis despite being offered more to stay in Carolina. Only a #3 centerman, but he was huge on the PP allowing Staal to play the point.
Matt Cullen, who played the point on one of the PP units, leaves for New York as a free agent.
Aaron Ward went to New York as a free agent. That killed their defense and their PK.
Frantisek Kaberle had shoulder surgery, limiting him to 27 games the next season and further weakening the Canes PP.
Martin Gerber didn't like the Canes 1 year offer so he went to Ottawa. They had wanted him to remain as starter for one more year to mentor Cam.
That's 5 key guys (2 key forwards, 2 top 4 dmen, starting goalie) that they weren't able to replace since they had effectively sold the farm to get that cup. That's not including Recchi either since he was acquired due to Cole's injury. Mind you most of those players the Canes traded away didn't pan out either, but not being able to replace those players from within badly damaged the team in the long run. If anything I'd argue that too many changes killed the team since there wasn't anything truly available in free agency or in the system to replace them. There has to be a balance between keeping the core intact and changing out role players. Carolina wasn't able to do that in the 2006 offseason.
The 79-80 Habs might have made a better defense of their Cup Championship if they didn't have something like 8 regulars, including Lafleur, out with injury. I don't think they would have won because of a lack of a money goalie and a real coach, but who knows.
2009 Red Wings. Lidstrom had a torn...package if you will, Hossa had a separated shoulder. Datsyuk had an injured foot and Bettman rushed the finals, causing Datsyuk to miss 4 games (I think). If the finals stayed on their normal schedule I think the Red Wings win that series.
All this woulda, coulda, shoulda talk. Let's just say a great team with the misfortune of having key injuries at the wrong time and they had a great shot at the Cup. If that's the case here are some examples:
1955 Canadiens - Without the Rocket this team took Detroit to 7 games. Let's not forget they still had great players but they were missing their best one. I'd like to see this series with the Rocket in it and see how that would have panned out
1976 Flyers - Missing MacLeish but the biggest blow was missing Parent. Had he been healthy I surely don't see a sweep by the Habs. Either way that Habs dynasty was going to break out anyway though