Indeed, it was 20 years ago today that the NHL announced the addition of two teams in Miami and Anaheim. The former would be owned by Wayne Huizenga, the chairman of Blockbuster Entertainment; the latter by Walt Disney Co.
“Our company has been involved with hockey through Goofy and cartoons,” Disney CEO Michael Eisner said at the press conference. “We made a movie called ‘The Mighty Ducks.’ It did $50 million box office. That was our market research.”
It should be noted that Gary Bettman was not the NHL’s commissioner at the time. (Bettman was responsible for expansion to Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota and Columbus; he also allowed the re-location of the Winnipeg Jets to Phoenix, the Minnesota North Stars to Dallas, the Quebec Nordiques to Colorado, the Hartford Whalers to Carolina, and the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg.)
Of the two 1992 expansion teams, Anaheim has had the most on-ice success. The Ducks lost in the 2003 Stanley Cup finals before winning in 2007.
The Panthers made a surprise run to the finals in 1996 but were swept by Colorado. Otherwise they’ve missed the playoffs in 14 of their 18 seasons.
Without further ado, here’s something that actually existed:
Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight
After three full days without NHL action, the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks will get underway tonight. You can watch the game via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
San Jose at Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. ET)
The television broadcast of Game 1 will be on NBC. To stream the contest using the Live Extra app, click here.
We wrote a lot about this series over the weekend. If you haven’t taken a look yet, here are the relevant links:
It seems there will be no NHL comeback attempt by Alex Semin. At least not in 2016-17.
Instead, Semin has inked a one-year extension with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, according to Sport-Express writer Igor Eronko.
At 32 years old, Semin still could have a lot of years left in him as a professional hockey player, but at this point it wouldn’t be surprising if he has played in his last NHL game. Early in his career his talent was clear and demonstrated by some great showings offensively, but he was plagued by inconsistency. In recent years though, he wasn’t so much inconsistent as he was underwhelming.
After being limited to six goals and 19 points in 57 games with Carolina in 2014-15, the one-time 40-goal scorer was bought out of his five-year, $35 million contract just two seasons into it. Montreal took a chance on him for 2015-16, but he only appeared in 15 games with the Canadiens before they put him on unconditional waivers on Dec. 9.
He’s fared better in the KHL though, with five goals and 14 points in 20 regular season games followed by another seven markers and 15 points in 23 playoff contests.
PHT Morning Skate: Predicting the 2016 Stanley Cup Final