DKM Hockey Podcast

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Greatest Single-Season team you've never heard of....

There was span of about 15 years in the post expansion NHL era when only a handful of teams won the Stanley Cup.  Between 1976 and 1993, only 5 different teams won the Stanley Cup.

Montreal Canadiens (6)
Edmonton Oilers (5)
New York Islanders (4)
Pittsburgh Penguins (2)
Calgary Flames (1)

WTF, the Calgary Flames?  They've won a Stanely Cup?  And in a era when the Stanley Cup was otherwise dominated by four teams?  As you look at the Rosters of the late 70's Canadiens, the Dynasty Islanders, the Dynasty Oilers, and the back-to-back Penguins, you see a roster full of Hall of Famers.  So how did the Flames do it?  Well, their roster in 88-89 was just as impressive as those other teams.

Lanny McDonald - 500 career goals (HOF)
Theo Fleury - 455 career goals
Joe Nieuwendyk - 564 career goals (HOF)
Joe Mullen - 502 career goals (HOF)
Al MacInnis - 1274 career points as defencemen (HOF)
Gary Roberts - 438 career goals
Haaken Loob - John Buccigross loves him for some reason. He scored 50 goals in a season once.
Doug Gilmour - 450 career goals (HOF)
Jiri Hrdina - 45 career goals
Mike Vernon - Won two Stanely Cups as Goalie
Gary Suter - defencemen played in 1145 NHL games
Jamie McCoun - defencemen played in 1128 NHL games
Rob Ramage - defencemen played in 1044 NHL games

If you've just become a fan of hockey in the last 10 years, you won't know any of these names.  If you were a fan of hockey in the 90's, you know ALL of these names (except Hrdina and Loob).  This list of names could stand up to any team in the 300+ goals a season era of the NHL, and it did.

How did they win the Stanley Cup?  Was it a fluke, did they back into the Cup?  NO.  They won the Presidents Trophy for a second season in a rown in 88-89 going 54-17-9.  They scored the 2nd highest goals in the league and allowed the 2nd fewest goals against, 226.  Given the Era the Flames played in, only allowing 226 goals against in a season was inpressive.  Mike Vernon posted an unheard of 2.65 GAA that season.  The most games they lost in a single month was 4, and this was an 80 game schedule.  Did I mention they played in the same division as the Edmonton Oilers (cup winners the season before and after the Flames) and Gretzkly-led Los Angeles Kings that year?  Oh, and it was a playoff format when the first two rounds were against your divisional opponents.  A format that was just vetoed by the NHLPA.  I wonder why?

That's it weird looking stripper girl, spank those Oilers.

Anyways, I hope this gives you a little insight into a team that modern fans seldom hear about.  This team sported 5 Hall of Famers and many guys that won cups with other teams later in their careers.  Lanny McDonald rode of into the sunset after winning his only Stanley Cup with the 89 Flames.

Oh, and Jiri Hrdina?  I mention him for this reason.  He played in 5 NHL seasons as he joined the NHL as a 30 year old rookie.  In those 5 years, he won 3 Stanley Cups as an every day contributor.  Geez.  If it were always that easy. 

All your Stanley Cup are belong to me.


  1. Terry Crisp - underrated coach or product of circumstance (i.e., roster)..?

  2. I didn't mention Terry Crisp, or HOF GM Cliff Fletcher or HOF Owners Hotchkiss and Seaman. It's about the players that were on this roster. I probably should have mentioned the 2200+ PIMs they had as a team.

  3. Yes, like Funky 'Not Jan' Hrdina and his flat stick and visor - makes me wonder how many on that team actually wore a visor; couldn't be more than a handful.