2004 Regular Season Review

The 2004 NHL Season brought to us many Shocks, reactions, and disappointments and now let us relive them all. Standings:

Eastern Conf.

Team PTS

1. Tampa Bay 106

2. Boston 104

3. Philadelphia 101

4. Toronto 103

5. Ottawa 102

6. New Jersey 100

7. Montreal 93

8. NY Islanders 91

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9. Buffalo 85

10. Atlanta 78

11. Carolina 76

12. Florida 75

13. NY Rangers 69

14. Washington 59

15. Pittsburgh 58

Western Conf.

Team PTS

1. Detroit 109

2. San Jose 104

3. Vancouver 101

4. Colorado 100

5. Dallas 97

6. Calgary 94

7. St. Louis 91

8. Nashville 91

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9. Edmonton 89

10. Minnesota 83

11. Los Angeles 81

12. Anaheim 76

13. Phoenix 68

14. Columbus 62

15. Chicago 59

In the East we had Tampa, Jersey, and Montréal who all shocked us. New Jersey who was suppose to be a cup contender this past year failed to win their conference and by doing so finished in a disappointing 6th place. Tampa Bay just came out of no where and shocked not only the East but the entire NHL, by finishing 1st in the conference and 2nd in the entire NHL just 3 points away from Detroit. And of course how can we forget my Montreal Canadians who weren’t even suppose to make the playoffs but in the long run ended up finishing in 7th place much better than a 10th place finish a year ago.

Players who shocked us in the East were : Ryder, Ribeiro, St.Louis , and of course Brad Richards. Ribeiro came out of nowhere to end up leading his team in points an impressive improvement from years past. Ryder too shocked many people by finishing second in his team in scoring ,a Newfoundlander who had a tough time just making it in the NHL was very impressive and thanks to his season performance he is now a candidate for the Calder. St.Louis who also had a tough time making it to the NHL silenced his critics and lead the league in points with 94,vewry impressive for a guy only 5’9.Brad Richards the P.E.I native also had a very impressive season with 79 points which was good enough for 3rd best on his team.

As for disappointments I’ll just name names: Bondra, Czercawski, Gagne, Zhamnov, and practically the entire Rangers squad or former team since they traded the entire team almost!

In the Western Conference the teams hat surprised us were : San Jose, CALGARY , and Nashville. San Jose after failing to make it to the playoffs the previous season won their division, had 104 points and finished second in their conference only 5 points off the presidents trophy Red Wings. Calgary surprised many of us or should I say all of us by making it to the playoffs for the first time in a long while, they would later on shock many teams in the playoffs, just goes to prove that teamwork and alot of hard work pays off! And the Nashville Predators made it to the playoffs for the first time in their history and almost upsetted the Wings in the playoffs , it was a very successful for an organization whom are in the right path!

In the West Steve Sullivan, Shane Doan,Scott Walker , Rick Nash , and Brendan Morrison were all pleasant surprises, and all except Doan helped tehir TEam reach the playoffs. Sullivan and Walker were very impressive during the season finshing 1-2 in their team in scoring. Shane Doan too led his team in scoring with an impressive 68 points. In only his second year in the NHL Rick Nash was tied first in goals with 41 and was part of a 3 way tie for the Richard trophy. And what can we say about Morrison became a dominant player on one of the most dominant lines in the NHL. One more player that I almost forgot to mention Pavel Datsyuk had a very impressive regular season with 68 points, used his skills to his advantage and gave us one of the most memorable goals ever(on Turco).

Disappointments: Again I’ll just name names: Kariya, Selanne, Giguerre, Gaborik, and Mike Modano.

As for goalies I’m not doing them by conference, here are the big goalie surprises this year in the NHL: aEBISHER, Kiprusoff, Belfour, Raycroft and Tomas Vokoun and all impressed us this year. Aebisher silenced his critics in the regular season wit a 2.09 GAA and a .924 SPCT .Kiprusoff almost single handily brought his team into the playoffs, one of the smartest moves in Flames history was bringing KIpper over. Belfour once again had a very impressive season for a man who was suppose to be “old” and out of shape he impressed me(a habs fan),his bad back kept him out of some games but Belfour always bounced right back! Raycroft had a great deal of success in the regular season ,stole the starting job from the cat, and practically single handily won the division for Boston! Raycorft is also a Clader candidate. And how can we forget Vokoun, wasn’t given much respect at the beginning of the season, as was his team. But Vokoun was always there when Nahville needed him.

And last but not least “THE ROOKIES”. Jason King , M.A Fleury, Trent Hunter, Ryan Malone, and Patrice Bergeron all had their moments this year but it was a hab and a bruin who led the way. Michael Ryder turned out to be a scoring machine finishing tops in rookie scoring and second on his team behind Mike Ribeiro while Andrew Raycroft turned out to be one of this year’s top NHL goalies. Both players had excellent regular season’s giving them each a candidate spot for the Calder Trophy! Unfortunately both player’s success didn’t continue into the playoffs.Ryder concluded the playoffs with just 3points 1goal and 2 assists in 11 playoff games, while Raycroft sported a disappointing 2.14GAA and a .924SPCT which was good but not good enough to get his team past Ryder’s Montreal Canadiens.

I must say we had a great 2004 season and a great playoffs . Congratulations to the Flames on their cup run and of course to the Stanley Cup Champs Tampa Bay Lighting(Congrats Dave on your first cup)Happy Off-season everybody(it might be a long one)

habguy