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Thursday February 25, 2010 6:34 pm

The history of the NHL: The Modern Era

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Patrick RoyThe Modern Era of the NHL, beginning in 1992, has been nothing short of hectic. Gretzky became the all-time leading scorer, passing Gordie Howe, and NHL players competed at the Olympics for the first time ever in 1998, and the league ballooned yet again, increasing to 30 teams, with the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets joining for the 2000-01 season. Since then, the league has enjoyed one of its longest periods without relocation since the Original Six era.

The NHL also saw some negatives. The 1994-95 season was interrupted due to a 104-day lockout. The owners’ first full-fledged attempt at establishing a salary cap failed as the decision to get some sort of season in prevailed and teams began shuffling around. Winnipeg moved to Phoenix, and Quebec went to Colorado, and brought with them famed goaltender Patrick Roy and the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. Hartford moved the following year to Carolina, who went on to their own Stanley Cup victory in 2006.

The 2004-05 lockout was far more intense than the previous one. Many fans blamed players for being too greedy, claiming that without a salary cap, things were heading the MLB route as some cities hid behind bad money deals by throwing more money at the problems. The players eventually agreed to a cap and the following year, Pittsburgh won the draft lottery and snatched Sidney Crosby, a move that took them to the Stanley Cup in 2008 and 2009, and are now defending NHL champions.

Hockey is in one of its best states in years, despite reported financial troubles in some markets. The game couldn’t be stronger in Canada, and it’s hard to find a team without a superstar among the ranks. The Winter Classics have already become the event to watch on New Year’s Day. Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin have taken hockey rivalries to a new level, and it seems every time they get together, the score sheet explodes. Hockey is doing fine, and it will for years to come.



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