1996 Red Wings vs. Avalanche

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by IggyFan12, Sep 1, 2011.

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  1. IggyFan12

    IggyFan12 Registered User

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    This was the REAL Stanley Cup final that year as any team who won would of swept the Panthers in 4 straight. And a series against the Pens would of been a dream final maybe top 3 of all time. What is most known about this series is Claude Lemiuxe's hit on Kris Draper in game 6 of the series, which sparked the greatest rivalry in the late 90's until the early 00's.

    Where does these team rank in terms of history? Had the Wings won the Stanely Cup that year many people would consider them the greatest team of all time but they lost to the Avs in 6 behind Patrick Roy, and a brilliant Joe Sakic, and young Peter Forsberg. If Wings win this series then Yzerman would have 4 Rings and Lidstrom would have 5 and Sakic and Forsberg would have 1.

    How big of an upset was this? Were people shocked beyound belief or did people feel this was another Wings team which failed to produce playoff time? How did the Avs end up winning? Roy gave up 16 goals in 6 games so he was good but not great, or is this a case where the numbers dont tell the whole story?

    Stats:

    Sakic finished with 4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points in 6 games and points in all 6 games.
    Forsberg finished with 2 goals and 2 assists
    Yzerman finished with only 3 assists
    Federov finished with 1 goal and 8 helpers.

    I didnt watch alot of that series but Sakic looks to be Captain Clutch again was that the case?
     
  2. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    It was definitely something of an upset, but not nearly as surprising as 1994 or 1995. "Another Wings team which failed to produce playoff time" was a pretty common thought.

    It was generally assumed that the Avs won because they "wanted it more," "played harder," etc. The Avs were loaded with grit in Claude Lemieux, Peter Forsberg, Adam Deadmarsh, and Adam Foote that the Wings really didn't match.

    Sakic outperforming anyone on Detroit obviously helped.
    [/QUOTE]

    Yeah, basically this. The Avs were able to slow down Detroit's stars, but nobody could touch Sakic.

    It should also be noted that this would become the height of the "Yzerman is a choker" talk.
     
  3. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    Pretty much that. At the time, the Wings were in a very similar situation to the Canucks of today. Huge Cup-drought monkey on their back, massive traditional fanbase behind them, loaded with stars who didn't really have anything on their resume' beyond regular-season numbers.

    The Avs caught lightning in a bottle somewhat that year, with a bunch of clutch playoff guys coming together in the same place at the same time. They just kept coming and coming at the Wings, and it turned into one of those series where you could feel the momentum shifting like a tide.

    My biggest lasting memory of that series was the clash between Scotty Bowman and Mark Crawford.
     
  4. JT Dutch*

    JT Dutch* Guest

    ... I can't speak for everyone else, but at the time I felt it was a bit of a mild upset, sure. The Wings had beaten the Avs three out of four during the regular season, and one game I particularly remember was a game in Detroit about a couple weeks before the playoffs started, where the Wings beat Colorado 7-0. And I remember the prevailing thought was "well, so much for this season in the West, the Avs are the second-best team in the conference and they absolutely got worked by Detroit."

    Once the playoffs started, though - the Wings were showing themselves to be pretty vulnerable. They needed six games to beat Winnipeg, whom many thought they would sweep. They nearly lost in the second round to the Gretzky- and Hull-led Blues; in fact, St. Louis had a 3-2 lead in that series before the Wings won the last two (culminating on that one-in-a-million OT goal in game 7) to move on.

    When Mike Keane scored in OT to win game one at Detroit, and Roy followed that up by shutting out the Wings in game two - all of a sudden, the Wings were fighting another uphill battle. Detroit couldn't recover from it, and the teams traded wins the rest of the way. Roy didn't have a lights-out series, but he played quite well in each of the Avs' wins. Osgood was exposed as the weak link; he was downright leaky in this series, and the Wings couldn't score enough to bail him out.
     
  5. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Another factor was Ciccarelli killing Detroit with bad penalties in that series. The Avs had a few big goals on power plays with Dino in the box.
     
  6. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I never thought it was all that much of a "shock" that the Wings lost. Colorado had two players well over 100 points (Sakic and Forsberg). They had arguably the best goalie of all-time and they had a very good supporting cast in C. Lemieux, Kamensky, Deadmarsh, Foote, Ozolinch. This was certainly the peak of Detroit's label of being chokers for sure.

    Now was this the "real" Stanley Cup final? Well, in hindsight it was. But in reality the Penguins stretched the series to 7 against the Panthers and it was not only a shock but one of the worst blows to the fans in NHL history when Florida moved on. So during the Colorado/Detroit series I don't think they thought this was the "real" Cup final since Pittsburgh was expected to win that series and whoever they'd have met in the final they'd have given a run for their money
     
  7. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    well, by then roy may have had a strong claim to top ten all-time status (he was 10th all-time in regular season wins, had the two conn smythes, three vezinas), but i don't think he was in the plante/sawchuk/hall class yet. the '96 cup did a lot to vault him into that conversation.
     
  8. JT Dutch*

    JT Dutch* Guest

    ... LOL, a bit melodramatic here, are we? I thought the Florida fans took that blow rather well, myself - as all I saw them do was throw toy rats on the ice and have a great time.
     
  9. MadLuke

    MadLuke Registered User

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    I think he was already there, after the 93 cups. (In montreals and quebec in general that is ;))
     
  10. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    Perhaps he means the league missed out on what could have been an epic series between star-studded teams only a year removed from the lockout. Lemieux-Francis-Jagr vs Roy-Forsberg-Sakic would have been a career defining series for a lot of players involved. Instead, we got a relative dud with basically one memorable OT game.

    BP's memory might also have blended Pittsburgh's near-miss in this series with their similar failure to meet Gretzky's Kings in '93 due to a similar 7-game upset.
     
  11. connellc

    connellc Registered User

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WlRmxwqqZ0

    Game # 1 of the series. The entire thing is uploaded, just look for the games under "suggestions" by the guy who uploaded it.

    Honestly, Osgood seemed pretty inconsistent. In game 1 he makes a miraculous save minutes earlier in OT only to let in a cheese goal by Keane. It wasn't all his fault.

    On an unrelated note, Keith Primeau may have had the worst playoffs EVER by an established player. He had a single goal and was in the box for the Keane goal for a stupid retaliation slash in OT. His lone goal was in an empty net too. He never stepped it up at all and was always playoff dud for the Wings. They really could have used some of his offense in the series for sure.
     
  12. toob

    toob Registered User

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    This series was over basically as soon as it started because Yzerman got hurt in game 1 (in fact the injury may have its origin in the OT goal celebration) and missed game 2 and then played hurt the rest of the series. Yzerman was the only reason the Red Wings had made it that far anyway so it isnt surprising that they were done without him.

    As a whole the Wings underachieved massively the entire playoffs and all you have to do is look at the previous series to see it. Had they been playing like they were in the regular season sure it would have been an upset but like someone said it shouldnt have been that hard to beat the Jets and Blues in the first place.
     
  13. ExplosiveLEAFman

    ExplosiveLEAFman Registered User

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    I was a fairly new, casual hockey fan when this series took place and considered it a huge upset but in retrospect, I don't consider it much of an upset at all.

    Both teams had similiar talent with colorado having a far superior goalie and as mentioned, Detroit was probably done after the St. Louis series, regardless of opposition.

    Also, I don't think Detroit rolls over Florida. That version of Osgood would have given up some soft goals, allowing Fla to take at least a few games and I doubt the penguins would have given much competiton to the AVS.
     
  14. overg

    overg Registered User

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    I know "choke" is one of those "ultimate insult" type labels that gets thrown around, but I thought the Wings were choking that entire playoff year.

    During the regular season, the Russian 5 and the left-wing-lock simply steamrolled the competition. But starting with game 1 of the playoffs, the Wings played just a bit tentative and nervous. And for that team, playing back on their heels was just a recipe for disaster. They still had enough talent to get by the Jets and Blues, but they were clearly a step behind the confident Avs the entire conference finals.

    If the Wings had continued their regular season play into the playoffs, the Conference finals would have been a pretty big upset. But it really wasn't after seeing how they struggled the first two rounds.
     
  15. RabbinsDuck

    RabbinsDuck Registered User

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    Yeah, I was feeling pretty pessimistic pretty early into the first round that year. It just wasn't happening, and it's not all Osgood's fault, but he had a knack for letting in some painful daggers at the worst times that year, especially against Colorado.
     
  16. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    We were robbed of a classic Cup final, or at least a wildly entertaining one. This was a terrible time for another "trap happy" talentless team to clutch and grab their way through another clearly more talented and entertaining team. 1996 was pretty much a year where the NHL was on the fence. In 1995 the Devils won the Cup and the idea that a team could trap the way they did and be successful started to flourish. Mind you, Jersey had a more championship caliber team than the 1996 Panthers, but either way if the Panthers fail in 1996 and we witness an incredible final with Pittsburgh and Colorado - two teams who played a very wide open style - then perhaps the NHL landscape changes a bit and we don't settled into the dead puck era that we saw until 2004. Perhaps if both teams in the final are offensive machines then we see a copycat version of that throughout the NHL. Don't believe me? Check out the stats for fighting majors for 2006-'07 and then in 2007-'08. They went up by a large margin and this was large in part to Anaheim winning the Cup in 2007 with a lethal combination of tough guys and talent not seen in the NHL since the Broad Street Bullies perhaps.

    No, I keep 1993 and 1996 seperate that way. Both were two huge upsets. But in 1993 I don't know if I would say the fans were "robbed" so much as in 1996. 1993 still provided us with a classic semi final (LA/TOR) and while Montreal vs. Pittsburgh would have been nice as well as a potential Mario vs. Wayne in the final, I still think the 1993 final was entertaining and had some stories to it. If anything we missed out on the Pens being a dynasty since they never got that third Cup win, but we still witnessed two memorable runs from them.

    Not so with 1996. The Avs were in the final. One win - at home - by Pittsburgh and you can bet no one is changing the channel once the final starts. It was either going to be a hit or miss final with one game to be played. The wrong team won, and that left us with a terrible final that had one good game. If the Pens are in there we would still probably be talking about it to this day regardless of the outcome. The Pens make that a very entertaining series, and maybe the likes of Roy swings the series in favour of the Avs, but imagine Lemieux and Jagr without the neutral zone trap.............
     
  17. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    Pretty much. Even after the Game 1 loss they really didn't seem to take things seriously. Had Lemeiux not wrecked Draper I'm not sure Detroit would have had the motivation next time around.
     
  18. Bordeleau Of Blood

    Bordeleau Of Blood Archangel

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    If you're referring to Crawford losing it and leaning over between the benches to scream at Bowman, that was in the '97 Western Conference Finals. The only real drama between Bowman and Crawford in '96 was Crawford making a crack about the plate in Bowman's head messing up the Avs radio signals.

    Adrian Dater actually has a transcript of most of what was said in that infamous exchange in his book Blood Feud. I'd type it up here, but, well, let's just say the language is colorful enough to get me infracted to the point that my grandkids would be banned from this site. ;)
     
  19. HF007

    HF007 nWo

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    Sakic went beast mode that series
     
  20. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    i hear what you're saying, but in my opinion al arbour or dave volek or beezer or doug maclean or the DPE didn't rob us of anything. mario/gretzky, mario/roy, mario/sakic and roy, we were robbed of that by barrasso, mario, jagr, etc., and maybe rich pilon.
     
  21. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Barrasso did not play well in Game 7 in 1996 (or 1993) but should Florida even have been there in the first place? Should a team whose best forward was (gulp) Scott Mellanby or Stu Barnes and who had Dave Lowry among their best even be in the running against a team like the Pens? Florida played a boring game, it was painful to watch. The Pens played the way they always played. They scored 362 goals that year and the team who scored the 2nd most was Colorado with 326. You can't tell me that this wouldn't be an entertaining series.

    But this was 1996, and a team with no talent could clutch and grab their way to success. All they had to do was wait..........wait..........wait........dump it in........dump it in...........clutch............grab............zzzzzz.........forecheck once a period. This was possible in the NHL in the dead puck era. It wasn't a victory for anyone when Florida moved on.
     
  22. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    don't get me wrong, i got no satisfaction from watching the avs sweep the panthers, especially after the great red wings series in the conference finals.

    and definitely, i'd have loved to see the '93 pens take on patrick roy in the best stretch of his career, and definitely gretzky vs. lemieux would have been amazing to watch. (though i was actually pulling for a habs/leafs finals.)

    but in both '93 and '96, the pens had a huge mismatch on paper and let their series go to seven games. being that the habs easily handled the '93 isles, and the avs swept the panthers, would those pens teams have had a chance? or do the what-ifs we are left with actually help the legacies of mario and those mario/jagr teams, as opposed to if they'd gotten steamrolled by roy both years? post '92, something seemed to have been missing from those pens teams-- whether it was urgency, killer instinct, etc.
     
  23. JT Dutch*

    JT Dutch* Guest

    ... Well, the Canadiens were running a trap in 1993, so it wasn't really a brand-new thing. People didn't really say much about it then, because Montreal and L.A. seemed to be relatively equal teams talent-wise; in fact, most figured the Canadiens to be the favorite to win that series. Neither team was expected to be in the finals in the first place. If I remember correctly, Pittsburgh and Detroit were predicted to meet for the Cup that year.

    When the Devils won it all in 1995, they were perceived to be the underdogs - so, as a result, more people started paying attention to the "trap" element of New Jersey's game as some sort of explanation for their victory. In reality, the "experts" simply overrated the Red Wings. The Devils were just the better team in 1995; they were battle-tested, they had been one OT goal away from going to the finals the year before, and a lot of people just conveniently forgot about all of that. The Devils didn't "trap" their way to a Cup at all ... they just played a stronger, more efficient game than Detroit did.

    I don't get the notion of a "talentless" Florida team getting "trap happy" to beat Pittsburgh in 1996. What really happened is that the Panthers had fantastic goaltending, nothing to lose, and they'd just completed a series victory over a team (Philadelphia) which was superior to the Penguins. It didn't help that Ron Francis was sitting in the press box with a broken foot instead of suiting up for the Pens.

    The tone was really set in game 1; Pittsburgh just played poor defense, which was just as much of a known quantity about that team as their vaunted offense. Florida's last two goals in that game were a result of simply working harder than their opponents. In game 3, Florida out-shot the Penguins 61 to 28 - I don't see how a team can "trap" its way to 61 shots in 60 minutes, but whatever. In game 6, with Florida facing elimination, they again severely out-shot Pittsburgh, 40-23, and tied the series. In game 7, Vanbiesbrouck simply stole the show and the game, while again the Panthers were able to score a couple goals as a result of defensive breakdowns and were just plain out-hustling the Pens.

    I think Pittsburgh just figured they could waltz in, and they paid more attention to who their opponents would be in the SCF instead of focusing on the opponents in front of them. They had a week off before playing Florida, which might have been another factor. The Penguins had zero strength and very little effectiveness down low defensively, and the Panthers kept taking the play there - disrupting Barrasso and Wregget, getting bodies in front, and shooting first while asking questions later. Pittsburgh had put up at least three goals in every game of the first two rounds of the playoffs, and when they couldn't do that to Vanbiesbrouck, the frustration was noticeable. There was one particular breakaway Lemieux had early on in game 1, where everyone in the building just knew he was going to put the puck in the net, and Vanbiesbrouck poke checked the puck off Mario's stick. Later on in that game, Lemieux was robbed on another great chance, and the frustration was evident on Mario's face. I don't know if Pittsburgh expected Florida to roll over for them, but when it became clear that wasn't happening, the Penguins didn't handle the situation well at all.
     
  24. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I can't say for sure, but wasn't there accusations of a "Country Club atmosphere" in Pittsburgh during that time? In other words, they thought talent alone would help them win?

    Montreal still played a decently entertaining game though, that was the thing. It was Roy's heroics more than anything that helped them win. Not that they played bad defensively but I wouldn't say that was their calling card either. Do you not remember New Jersey in 1995 or Florida in 1996? This was the era where the finals were like watching paint dry and we never saw a truly entertaining final until about 2001. I'm just saying that while the Panthers had a goalie who got hot at the right time (Beezer was never considered to be a playoff goalie up until then) it still didn't serve the fans as well to miss out on a Pens/Avs final. It was not a high water point in hockey. So I still believe the fans were the losers here.
     
  25. Epsilon

    Epsilon #basta

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    I think Big Phil is correct in that the Panthers' run to the 1996 final showed you could have success with "bad" (or at best mediocre) players if you played a tight trap and had a goaltender running hot. Whereas the 1995 Devils simply showed that you could crush other teams if you had a strong team, a great goaltender, and could play the trap on top of it. The Panthers' success moreso than the Devils I would say helped lead to the "dead puck era" because it encouraged middling teams to play that style in an effort to win ugly games - they showed you didn't need Scott Stevens, Martin Brodeur, Bobby Holik, and Claude Lemieux to do it.
     

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