2007–08 NHL season
The 2007–08 NHL season was the 91st season of operation (90th season of play) of the National Hockey League (NHL). It began on September 29, 2007, and the regular season ended April 6, 2008. The Stanley Cup playoffs ended on June 4, with the Detroit Red Wings taking the championship. The 56th NHL All-Star Game was held in Atlanta, Georgia, as the Atlanta Thrashers hosted the event at Philips Arena on January 27, 2008. The hosting by Atlanta was rescheduled from 2005, when a lockout cancelled the entire 2004–05 season.
|2007–08 NHL season|
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||September 29, 2007 – June 4, 2008|
|Number of games||82|
|Number of teams||30|
|Top draft pick||Patrick Kane|
|Picked by||Chicago Blackhawks|
|Presidents' Trophy||Detroit Red Wings|
|Season MVP||Alexander Ovechkin (Capitals)|
|Top scorer||Alexander Ovechkin (Capitals)|
|Eastern champions||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Eastern runners-up||Philadelphia Flyers|
|Western champions||Detroit Red Wings|
|Western runners-up||Dallas Stars|
|Playoffs MVP||Henrik Zetterberg (Red Wings)|
|Champions||Detroit Red Wings|
National Hockey League announced that the regular season salary cap would be going up for the third consecutive season. The 2007–08 salary cap is being increased by US$6.3 million per team to bring the salary cap up to US$50.3 million. The salary floor is at US$34.3 million, which is 71.5% higher than the salary floor during the 2005–06 season. The season featured the debut of Reebok's new Rbk Edge hockey jerseys. This was the first league-wide uniform innovation in the history of any major North American professional sports league. Seven teams (Boston, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Washington, Ottawa, San Jose and Columbus) unveiled new designs prior to the season's beginning.
On March 1, 2007, the NHL announced the regular season would open on September 29, 2007, with the first of back-to-back games in London at The O2. They were the first NHL regular season games ever played in Europe. Both games featured the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings (who are owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, the same company that owns The O2).
The official average attendance per game was 17,625 per game. However, if the two games played at the O2 Arena are counted, the number is 17,309 per game.
On September 17, 2007, the NHL announced the first outdoor game in over four years would be played between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the National Football League's Buffalo Bills, on January 1, 2008. The event—known as the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic—was the first time an NHL regular-season game had been played outdoors in the United States, and it set an NHL attendance record of 71,217 people. The only previous outdoor NHL game was the 2003 Heritage Classic played between the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers at Commonwealth Stadium on November 22, 2003.
During board of governors meetings held on September 18, 2007, in Chicago, cities including Las Vegas, Kansas City, Houston, Milwaukee, Quebec City, Seattle and Winnipeg were discussed as possible expansion destinations. The NHL also discussed the current "unbalanced" schedule and voted on a new schedule format at a board meeting in November, so that all teams will play each other at least once and reduce intradivisional play in the 2008–09 season, in essence returning to the scheduling structure that existed in 2003–04, and would have existed in 2004–05. The sale of the Lightning and Predators teams were not completed for board approval.
A number of minor rule changes were introduced for the start of the 2007–08 season. Penalty shots can now be awarded when a player with the puck is hauled down from the centre line on in rather than from the opposition's blue-line as had been the case. Also, the interference rule was altered to allow for a major penalty and a game misconduct when an injury results. Another change affected faceoff placement: All faceoffs must be conducted at one of the nine dots painted on the rink.
The New Jersey Devils began playing in their new arena, the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. However, since the arena was not ready by the beginning of the season, they began their season with a nine-game road trip.
Inter-conference division play had the Northeast visit the Pacific, the Pacific visit the Atlantic, the Atlantic visit the Northwest, the Northwest visit the Southeast, the Southeast visit the Central and the Central visit the Northeast.
Richard Zednik of the Florida Panthers was severely injured after having his external carotid artery in his neck accidentally cut by the skate of teammate Olli Jokinen in a game against the Buffalo Sabres on February 10. Zednik fully recovered from the injury, but missed the remainder of the season.
The Washington Capitals improved from 14th place in the previous season and last in the Eastern Conference during the first third of the 2007–08 season to finish as the third seed in the 2007–08 playoffs and winners of the Southeast Division. The turnaround was attributed mainly to the hiring of then-American Hockey League coach Bruce Boudreau, whose efforts won him the Jack Adams Award for the 2007–08 season.
The San Jose Sharks went the entire month of March without a regulation loss and were the media's favorite to win the Cup going into the playoffs.
Fewer goals were scored in the regular season than in the 2006–07 season, with an average of 5.44 goals scored per game (6,691 goals over 1,230 games). Goaltenders combined for 161 shutouts.
GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, OTL = Overtime/Shootout Losses, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points.
|1||z – Montreal Canadiens||NE||82||47||25||10||262||222||104|
|2||y – Pittsburgh Penguins||AT||82||47||27||8||247||216||102|
|3||y – Washington Capitals||SE||82||43||31||8||242||231||94|
|4||New Jersey Devils||AT||82||46||29||7||206||197||99|
|5||New York Rangers||AT||82||42||27||13||213||199||97|
|12||Toronto Maple Leafs||NE||82||36||35||11||231||260||83|
|13||New York Islanders||AT||82||35||38||9||194||243||79|
|15||Tampa Bay Lightning||SE||82||31||42||9||223||267||71|
Divisions: AT – Atlantic, NE – Northeast, SE – Southeast
bold – qualified for playoffs, y – division winner, z – placed first in conference (and division)
|1||p – Detroit Red Wings||CE||82||54||21||7||257||184||115|
|2||y – San Jose Sharks||PA||82||49||23||10||222||193||108|
|3||y – Minnesota Wild||NW||82||44||28||10||223||218||98|
|13||Columbus Blue Jackets||CE||82||34||36||12||193||218||80|
|14||St. Louis Blues||CE||82||33||36||13||205||237||79|
|15||Los Angeles Kings||PA||82||32||43||7||231||266||71|
Divisions: PA – Pacific, CE – Central, NW – Northwest
bold – qualified for playoffs, y – division winner, p – Presidents' Trophy winner
Where two or more clubs are tied in points at the end of the regular season, the standing of the clubs is determined in the following order:
- The greater number of games won.
- The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs.
- The greater differential between goals for and against.
In each round, the highest remaining seed in each conference is matched against the lowest remaining seed. The higher-seeded team is awarded home ice advantage. In the Stanley Cup Finals, home ice is determined based on regular season points; thus, the Detroit Red Wings had home ice advantage. Each best-of-seven series follows a 2–2–1–1–1 format: the higher-seeded team will play at home for have games 1 and 2 (plus 5 and 7 if necessary), and the lower-seeded team will be at home for the other games.
|Conference Quarterfinals||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||Stanley Cup Finals|
|5||NY Rangers||4||5||NY Rangers||1|
|(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)|
- During the first three rounds home ice is determined by seeding number, not position on the bracket. In the Finals the team with the better regular season record has home ice.
NHL All Star Team
First All-Star Team
- Forwards: Alexander Ovechkin • Evgeni Malkin • Jarome Iginla
- Defencemen: Nicklas Lidstrom • Dion Phaneuf
- Goaltender: Evgeni Nabokov
Second All-Star Team
GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/– = Plus/Minus; PIM = Penalty Minutes
|Alexander Ovechkin||Washington Capitals||82||65||47||112||+28||40|
|Evgeni Malkin||Pittsburgh Penguins||82||47||59||106||+16||78|
|Jarome Iginla||Calgary Flames||82||50||48||98||+27||83|
|Pavel Datsyuk||Detroit Red Wings||82||31||66||97||+41||20|
|Joe Thornton||San Jose Sharks||82||29||67||96||+18||59|
|Henrik Zetterberg||Detroit Red Wings||75||43||49||92||+30||34|
|Vincent Lecavalier||Tampa Bay Lightning||81||40||52||92||-17||89|
|Jason Spezza||Ottawa Senators||76||34||58||92||+26||66|
|Daniel Alfredsson||Ottawa Senators||70||40||49||89||+15||34|
|Ilya Kovalchuk||Atlanta Thrashers||79||52||35||87||-12||52|
GP = Games Played; TOI = Time On Ice (minutes); W = Wins; L = Losses; OT = Overtime/Shootout Losses; GA = Goals Against; SO = Shutouts; Sv% = Save Percentage; GAA = Goals Against Average
|Chris Osgood||Detroit Red Wings||43||2,409||27||9||4||84||4||.914||2.09|
|Dominik Hasek||Detroit Red Wings||41||2,350||27||10||3||84||5||.902||2.14|
|Jean-Sebastien Giguere||Anaheim Ducks||58||3,310||35||17||6||117||4||.922||2.12|
|Martin Brodeur||New Jersey Devils||77||4,635||44||27||6||168||4||.920||2.17|
|Evgeni Nabokov||San Jose Sharks||77||4,560||46||21||8||163||6||.910||2.14|
- Atlanta Thrashers: Don Waddell
- Boston Bruins: Claude Julien
- Buffalo Sabres: Lindy Ruff
- Carolina Hurricanes: Peter Laviolette
- Florida Panthers: Jacques Martin
- Montreal Canadiens: Guy Carbonneau
- New Jersey Devils: Brent Sutter
- New York Islanders: Ted Nolan
- New York Rangers: Tom Renney
- Ottawa Senators: John Paddock and Bryan Murray
- Philadelphia Flyers: John Stevens
- Pittsburgh Penguins: Michel Therrien
- Tampa Bay Lightning: John Tortorella
- Toronto Maple Leafs: Paul Maurice
- Washington Capitals: Bruce Boudreau
- Anaheim Ducks: Randy Carlyle
- Calgary Flames: Mike Keenan
- Chicago Blackhawks: Denis Savard
- Colorado Avalanche: Joel Quenneville
- Columbus Blue Jackets: Ken Hitchcock
- Dallas Stars: Dave Tippett
- Detroit Red Wings: Mike Babcock
- Edmonton Oilers: Craig MacTavish
- Los Angeles Kings: Marc Crawford
- Minnesota Wild: Jacques Lemaire
- Nashville Predators: Barry Trotz
- Phoenix Coyotes: Wayne Gretzky
- San Jose Sharks: Ron Wilson
- St. Louis Blues: Andy Murray
- Vancouver Canucks: Alain Vigneault
- On October 3, in his first game with Montreal, Roman Hamrlik played in his 1,000th NHL game.
- On October 7, Joe Sakic reached 1,591 points, moving him past Phil Esposito for eighth all-time in scoring.
- On October 8, Chris Chelios played in his 1,550th game, moving him past Alex Delvecchio for eighth place on the career list.
- On October 12, Jaromir Jagr scored his 1,533rd career point, passing Paul Coffey for 11th in all-time scoring.
- On October 22, Bryan Smolinski played in his 1,000th NHL game.
- On October 26, Alexei Kovalev played in his 1,000th NHL game, the third Montreal player to reach this milestone in October.
- On November 3, Al Arbour coached his 1,500th game with the New York Islanders and earned his 740th win with the team. Both are NHL records for coaching a single team. At 75 years old, he was the oldest man to coach in an NHL game.
- On November 10, Jeremy Roenick scored his 500th career NHL goal, becoming only the 40th player in the history of the league to do so, and only the third American.
- On November 17, Martin Brodeur recorded his 500th career win, becoming only the second goaltender in the history of the league to do so.
- On November 17, Glen Wesley played in his 1,400th NHL game, becoming the 10th defenseman to do so.
- On December 20, Marian Gaborik scored five goals for the Minnesota Wild in a 6–3 win against the New York Rangers. It is the first time a player has scored five goals in a game since Sergei Fedorov did so on December 26, 1996.
- On December 23, New York Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr recorded his 927th assist, passing Stan Mikita for 15th place on the all-time list.
- On January 17, Markus Naslund played in his 1000th NHL game.
- On February 9, San Jose Sharks coach Ron Wilson earned his 500th career win as an NHL head coach, becoming the 11th in league history to do so.
- On March 13, the Detroit Red Wings reached the 100-point mark for the eighth straight season, tying an NHL record set by the Montreal Canadiens from 1975–1982.
- On March 22, Joe Sakic recorded his 1,000th assist on a goal by teammate Tyler Arnason, becoming just the 11th player to reach this mark.
- On April 6, Keith Tkachuk scored his 500th career goal, becoming the fourth American-born player to do so.
- On April 9, Joe Sakic extended his record for playoff overtime goals to eight.
- On April 12, Chris Chelios played his 248th career playoff game, moving past Patrick Roy for most career playoff games played.
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 2007–08:
- Tobias Enstrom, Atlanta Thrashers
- Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
- Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks
- Erik Johnson, St. Louis Blues
- Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
- Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins
- Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
- Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
- Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
- Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks
- Marc Staal, New York Rangers
- Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
- Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
- Darren Helm, Detroit Red Wings
The following is a list of players of note who played their last NHL game in 2008–09, listed with their team:
|Kevyn Adams||Chicago Blackhawks||1-time Stanley Cup winner with the Carolina Hurricanes.|
|David Aebischer||Phoenix Coyotes||1-time Stanley Cup winner with the Colorado Avalanche.|
|Bryan Berard||New York Islanders||Calder Memorial Trophy winner; Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy winner.|
|Stu Barnes||Dallas Stars||Over 1100 games played.|
|Sergei Brylin||New Jersey Devils||3-time Stanley Cup champion with the Devils.|
|Keith Carney||Minnesota Wild||Over 1000 games played.|
|Joe DiPenta||Anaheim Ducks||1-time Stanley Cup champion with the Ducks.|
|Dallas Drake||Detroit Red Wings||1-time Stanley Cup winner with the Red Wings; over 1000 games played.|
|Martin Gelinas||Nashville Predators||1-time Stanley Cup champion with the Edmonton Oilers, 2-time Fred J. Hume Award winner, over 1200 games played.|
|John Grahame||Carolina Hurricanes||1-time Stanley Cup champion with the Tampa Bay Lightning.|
|Dominik Hasek||Detroit Red Wings||2-time Stanley Cup winner with the Red Wings; Olympic gold and bronze medalist; 6-time Vezina Trophy winner; 5-time NHL All-Star; 3-time William M. Jennings Trophy winner; 2-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner; 2-time Lester B. Pearson Award winner.|
|Derian Hatcher||Philadelphia Flyers||1-time Stanley Cup champion with the Dallas Stars; 1-time NHL All-Star; over 1000 games played.|
|Sean Hill||Minnesota Wild||1-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens.|
|Sami Kapanen||Philadelphia Flyers||2-time Olympic bronze medalist; 2-time NHL All-Star.|
|Martin Lapointe||Ottawa Senators||2-time Stanley Cup champion with the Detroit Red Wings.|
|Trevor Linden||Vancouver Canucks||King Clancy Memorial Trophy winner; NHL Foundation Player Award winner; 2-time NHL All-Star; over 1300 games played.|
|Jaroslav Modry||Philadelphia Flyers||1-time NHL All-Star.|
|Glen Murray||Boston Bruins||2-time NHL All-Star, over 1000 games played.|
|Sandis Ozolinsh||San Jose Sharks||1-time Stanley Cup winner with the Colorado Avalanche; 7-time NHL All-Star.|
|Scott Parker||Colorado Avalanche||2-time Stanley Cup champion with the New Jersey Devils and Avalanche.|
|Nolan Pratt||Buffalo Sabres||2-time Stanley Cup champion with the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning.|
|Martin Rucinsky||St. Louis Blues||Olympic gold and bronze medalist.|
|Geoff Sanderson||Edmonton Oilers||2-time NHL All-Star.|
|Chris Simon||Minnesota Wild||1-time Stanley Cup champion with the Colorado Avalanche.|
|Bryan Smolinski||Montreal Canadiens||Over 1000 games played.|
|Martin Straka||New York Rangers||Olympic gold and bronze medalist.|
|Josef Vasicek||New York Islanders||1-time Stanley Cup winner with the Hurricanes.|
|David Vyborny||Columbus Blue Jackets||Olympic bronze medalist.|
|Glen Wesley||Carolina Hurricanes||1-time Stanley Cup winner with the Hurricanes; 1-time NHL All-Star; over 1400 games played.|
|Alexei Zhitnik||Atlanta Thrashers||Olympic gold and silver medalist, 2-time NHL All-Star, over 1000 games played.|
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