December 30, 2008

NHL Western Conference, Central Division: Map and Team Profiles.

Filed under: Hockey-NHL, pre-realignm't — admin @ 4:29 pm


The National Hockey League’s Central Division has two teams that date back to the 1926-1927 season…the Chicago Black Hawks and the Detroit Cougars  (Detroit adopted the Red Wings nickname in 1932;  Chicago changed the spelling of their nickname to one word in 1986).

The Detroit Red Wings have won 11 Stanley Cup Titles,  and won the 2008 Title,  making them cup-holders  {see this: Traditions and anecdotes,  from Wikipedia}.  The Red Wings have won 4 Titles in the last 12 seasons.   The Chicago Blackhawks are a far less successful franchise,  with just 3 Stanley Cup Titles.  Chicago has not won a Stanley Cup Title since 1961  (they did make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1992,  but were shut out by the Pittsburgh Penguins).  


The Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings will square off in an outdoor hockey game,  in what the NHL calls the Winter Classic,  on January the 1st,  at Wrigley Field,  home of the Chicago Cubs baseball club.  Here is the site associated with the game  {Click here ( Event home) }.  

{Click here, for the webcam showing preparations at Wrigley Field.  (Note:  there is a nice video feature called ‘Wrigley Rink Build’ on this page,  to the right of the center screen,  and three boxes down.) }

The previous two NHL-regular season outdoor games were held in gridiron football stadiums,  the original match at Commonwealth Stadium,  in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada,  on November 22, 2003.   The game was between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens,  with the Canadiens winning 4-3,  in front of 57,167 fans.  The temperature  was -18 Celsius (zero degrees Fahrenheit),  with a wind chill of minus 22 Fahrenheit.    Here is an account of the game from the ESPN archives  {Click here}.


5 years later,  the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at Rich Stadium,  in Orchard Park, NY,  home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.  The Penguins beat the Sabres 2-1,  with rising star Sidney Crosby scoring the winning goal in the overtime shootout.  71,217 attended the game (an NHL record,  surpassing the Edmonton-Montreal outdoor game 5 years earlier).  The temperature was 0.5 degrees Celsius (33 degrees Fahrenheit) with intervals of light snow falling throughout the game.   The teams wore vintage uniforms,  with the Penguins sporting powder blue uniforms for the first time since 1973,  and the Sabres in their original colors of white,  royal blue,  and yellow.   Here is an account of the game from  {Click here}.  Here is a 30-second home video posted on Youtube showing the crowd {Click here}.



The weather is a concern for the January 1st game in Chicago  {see this (Yahoo Sports, from Dec. 27) }.  


The remaining 3 teams in the NHL  Western Conference, Central Division are the St. Louis Blues (established for the 1967-1968 season),  the Nashville Predators (established for the 1998-1999 season),  and the Columbus Blue Jackets (established for the 2000-2001 season).   There are no Stanley Cup Titles between these three hockey clubs,  although the St. Louis Blues made it to the Stanley Cup Finals three straight seasons (their first three seasons),  from 1968 to 1970…The West Division was made up of all expansion teams from the 1967-1968 season,  and the imbalance in talent between the new hockey teams and the ‘Original Six’ teams in the East Division was shown by the fact that the St. Louis Blues were shut out zero games to 4 games in three straight Stanley Cup Finals.   Speaking of weak expansion teams,  the Columbus Blue Jackets have never made the playoffs in their eight seasons of existence.   The Nashville Predators are pretty competitive,  though,  and have made the playoffs the last 4 seasons (losing in the first round each time).


From the Jersey Database site’s blog, here is an article called ‘The complete jersey history of the Detroit Red Wings’ {click here}.

Thanks to the NHL shop at  {Click here}.   Thanks to NHL site {Click here}.   Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page  {Click here}.   Thanks to the contributors to the Wikipedia pages on the NHL {Click here}.

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