48 things you might not remember about the NHL

Posted Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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NHL players usually have a short off-season, with hardly enough time to get out of their skates before training camp starts again.

But last fall, negotiations over the NHL's collective bargaining agreement led to a four-month lockout that cost each team 34 regular-season games. Now we might need reminders about the league, which opens play Saturday with a new 10-year CBA.

In honor of the schedule that's been shortened to 48 games, we've put together 48 Things You Might Not Remember About the NHL, in no particular order.

Don't look for Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr on this list. We've heard the names of the commissioner and the players' union boss enough in the past few months to last until the NHL's next labor stoppage.

1 Steve Ott is no longer with the Stars: The longtime fan favorite and opponent agitator was traded to Buffalo in the off-season deal that brought center Derek Roy to Dallas.

2 The Los Angeles Kings hold the Stanley Cup: Dallas' Pacific Division rival entered the postseason as the eighth seed but claimed its first championship.

3 Ken Hitchcock coaches a defending division champ: The coach who led the Stars to their only championship led the St. Louis Blues to the top of the Central Division above Detroit and Chicago.

4 Nicklas Lidstrom is retired: The Detroit captain and seven-time Norris Trophy winner is absent from the Red Wings' blue line for the first time since his 1991 rookie season.

5 Martin Brodeur is still playing: The New Jersey goalie, who entered the NHL in 1991 at 19 years old, carried his team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012.

6 Sidney Crosby might be playing: The Pittsburgh Penguins star and face of the NHL was limited to 63 games (22 in 2011-12) in the past two seasons because of concussion-related injuries.

7 The Stars have new (old) stars: During the off-season, Dallas signed Jaromir Jagr (19 goals, 35 assists with Philadelphia), who will be 41 next month, and 40-year-old Ray Whitney (24, 53 with Phoenix).

8 National treasure: A Canadian team has not lifted the Stanley Cup since the Canadiens (who else?) in 1993. Four Canadian franchises have made five trips to the Finals since then, only to leave with nothing more than a handshake.

9 Free agent free-for-all: Nashville's Shea Weber and Ryan Suter and New Jersey's Zach Parise were the top prizes in the free-agent pool. Weber stayed with the Predators but Suter and Parise joined the Minnesota Wild.

10 The Winter Classic: The lockout cost the NHL the 2013 showcase outdoor game that would have featured Detroit and Toronto in the University of Michigan's stadium, which seats more than 111,000 for football.

11 The playoffs: The Stars haven't played in the postseason since 2008, when they reached the Western Conference finals. They lost to Detroit, 4-2.

12 Awards: Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin dominated off the ice too, winning the Hart Trophy (MVP), Art Ross Trophy (scoring title) and Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player).

13 Jarome Iginla: The former Stars farmhand is 35 and entering his 16th season, all in Calgary. The one-time 52-goal scorer is coming off a season in which he had 32 goals and 35 assists.

14 Glen Gulutzan: The Stars coach enters his second season behind the bench after leading Dallas to a 42-35-5 record.

15 The Carolina locker room has two Staals: The Penguins dealt center Jordan Staal to join his brother Eric with the Hurricanes, netting two players and a first-round draft pick in return.

16 Mike Smith played in the conference finals: The former Stars goalie took Phoenix to within three wins of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.

17 Brent Musburger doesn't handle hockey: There's no need to worry about tuning into a game on TV and hearing the broadcaster admiring young women in the stands.

18 Pittsburgh can score: The Penguins led the NHL in scoring, averaging 3.33 goals a game.

19 Tim Thomas won, then quit: The Boston Bruins goalie captured the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2011, then said in 2012 that he was taking a year off. The lockout gave him more than he wished for.

20 Vancouver still hasn't won the Cup: The Canucks led the NHL with 111 points last season and have gotten close, reaching the Finals in 2011.

21 The Stars have a new owner: Tom Gagliardi purchased the team in late 2011 and kept the front office intact, leaning on general manager Joe Nieuwendyk.

22 The NHL is on TV: The league gets occasional national visibility on NBC, and more coverage on the NBC Sports Network, which used to be Versus, which used to be the Outdoor Life Network.

23 The Edmonton Oilers: It might be a reach to say any fan in this area has forgotten the Oilers, who seemingly face the Stars in the playoffs every year. They've met eight times, including five consecutive seasons from 1997-2001.

24 Rick Nash helps make the Rangers formidable: The 30-goal scorer was traded from Columbus to New York, where he joins former Stars sniper Brad Richards.

25 The Texas Stars: Dallas' farm team, which plays in Cedar Park near Austin, sits in second place in the AHL South Division, thanks to a recent six-game winning streak.

26 The Olympics: The NHL hasn't announced whether its players will be available for the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

27 Roberto Luongo is on the trading block: OK, so you might remember this because of the frequency with which it happens. But the Canucks goalie could really get traded this time.

28 Mike Modano: The Dallas legend spent a season in Detroit and a season away from the game, but is helping the Stars off the ice.

29 One of hockey's exciting young stars plays in Tampa Bay: Steve Stamkos is only 22 years old and is coming off a 60-goal season, tops in the NHL.

30 Two divisions provided half of the playoff qualifiers: The Rangers, Penguins, Flyers and Devils (Atlantic) and Blues, Predators, Red Wings and Blackhawks (Central) all topped 100 points.

31 Trevor Daley is blossoming: I know, we've been hearing that for years about the Stars' talented defenseman. We finally get another chance to see if he's stepped up his game.

32 San Jose's roster is loaded: The Sharks have Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and added defenseman Brad Stuart as they aim to get back to the top of the Pacific Division.

33 The 2004-05 season: That's when the NHL became the first major sports league to lose a full season because of labor issues.

34 Chicago's offense: With a lineup that includes Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp, a sixth-place finish and first-round playoff exit were unacceptable.

35 Florida won its division: Five teams in the East had more points than the Panthers, who entered the playoffs as the No. 3 seed because of their Southeast Division title and lost to New Jersey in the first round.

36 Concussions: The league has instituted rule changes and warned referees to be more vigilant as it battles head injuries.

37 The Phoenix Coyotes: Dallas opens the season Saturday against the reigning Pacific champs, and the teams meet three times in 15 days.

38 The Eastern Conference: Because of the abbreviated schedule, teams will not play outside their conferences during the regular season. That means the Stars won't face any Eastern teams unless they reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

39 USA, USA: The American team captured the World Junior Hockey championship, defeating defending champion Sweden earlier this month in Russia.

40 The trade deadline: NHL teams usually make the trade deadline exciting, but with the date pushed back to April 3, activity could ramp up.

41 Dave Tippett is a winning coach: Another former Stars coach, Tippett, who was fired after failing to make the playoffs in 2008-09, led Phoenix to its first division title in his third season with the Coyotes.

42 Alex Ovechkin is dynamic : The Washington Capitals' dynamic forward is 27 and a regular on highlight reels. His 38 goals last season ranked him fifth in the league.

43 The Sedin twins: Vancouver's inseparable pair, Henrik led the league with 67 assists and Daniel notched 30 goals for the Canucks.

44 Kari Lehtonen is important : The Stars goalie had 32 victories, good for 12th place in the NHL. A big season from him will carry Dallas far.

45 The power play: Dallas was last in the 30-team league with a 13.5 percent success rate.

46 Jonathan Quick is a name you should know : The Kings goalie was first in the NHL with 10 shutouts and second with a 1.95 goals-against average in the regular season, then had three shutouts on the way to winning the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Award.

47 Hockey in late June: The regular-season schedule concludes April 27, meaning the Stanley Cup Finals are likely to run into the last week of June.

48 Ralph and Razor: Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh give the Stars one of the best and most entertaining announcing tandems in any sport.

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