January 12, 2009

NHL Eastern Conference, Southeast Division: Map and Team Profiles.

Filed under: Hockey-NHL, pre-realignm't — admin @ 11:06 am


The National Hockey League’s Southeast Division is made up entirely of expansion teams,  although one team,  the Carolina Hurricanes,  has its origins in the World Hockey Association.

The Washington Capitals were one of two teams formed by the NHL,  for the 1974-1975 season (the other expansion team that season was the Kansas City Scouts,  who are now the New Jersey Devils).  The creation of the WHA in 1972,  and the NHL’s subsequent expansion (4 teams in 3 years),  meant the pro hockey talent pool had been thinned out considerably by 1974,  and the expansion Capitals set the record for the worst-ever season by an NHL team,  with a .131 winning percentage (8-67-5).  Since those poor first few seasons,  the Capitals have stabilzed as a relatively competitive franchise,  but the Capitals have no Stanley Cup Titles.  Washington did make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998,  but were swept by the defending champions,  the Detroit Red Wings. 

The Hartford Whalers joined the NHL as one of the four former WHA teams,  in the 1979-1980 season.  17 years later,  the hockey club was unable to secure new facilities,  and moved south,  in 1997,  to become the Carolina Hurricanes.  After several seasons of mediocre play and horrible attendance,  the Hurricanes built up a respectable fan base and became competitve.  They made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002,  losing to the Detroit Red Wings 1 game to 4.  Four seasons later, in 2006, the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup Title,  defeating the Edmonton Oilers in 7 games. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning were formed for the 1992-1993 season.  The hockey club went through a nightmare first decade,  and were deep in debt by the turn of the century.  In 2000-20001,  they became the first NHL team ever to post 5 straight 50-loss seasons.  New ownership and management resulted in a stunning tunaround for the Lightning,  though,  and the team,  led by a host of young talent,  stunned the hockey world by winning the Stanley Cup Title in 2004. 

A year after Tampa Bay joined the NHL,  the league added another team in the state:  the Florida Panthers,  who were formed for the 1993-1994 season (along with he Mighty Ducks of Anaheim).   The Panthers have no Stanley Cup Titles,  but made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996,  in just their third season,  losing to the Colorado Avalanche in a 4 game sweep.

The Atlanta Thrashers were formed for the 1999-2000 season,  marking a return of NHL hockey to Atlanta, Georgia after a 17-year absence.  The Atlanta Flames had existed for 8 seasons,  before seeing the light,  and moving to Western Canada to become the Calgary Flames.  Hopefully history wiill repeat itself,  and this hockey club will finally realize that ice hockey basically has no place in the Deep South,  the land of NASCAR,  and will move up north to a more deserving locale,  like,  say,  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,  or Kitchener, Ontario.  A place where kids actually play ice hockey.

It seems this wish,  for Canada getting another NHL franchise,  may come true,  thanks to the sorry state of the economy…{see this, from On Frozen Blog : How About a Depression-Led Realignment ?  from January 11, 2009. }. [Note: the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 2011 to become the Winnipeg Jets (II).]

Thanks to the contributors to the pages on NHL team on Wikipedia  {Click here}. 

Thanks to Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page  {Click here}.   Thanks to shop {Click here}.   Thanks to NHL  {Click here}.

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