1974–75 NHL season: Wikis

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1974–75 NHL season was the 58th season of the National Hockey League. Eighteen teams each played 80 games. With the addition of two new teams, the Washington Capitals and Kansas City Scouts, the NHL bumped up the number of games from 78 to 80 and split the previously two-division league into four divisions and two conferences.

Because the new conferences and divisions had little to do with North American geography, geographical references were also removed until 1993. The East Division became the Prince of Wales Conference and consisted of the Adams Division and Norris Division and the West Division became the Clarence Campbell Conference and consisted of the Patrick Division and Smythe Division. The Patrick and Norris Divisions would switch conferences following the 1980–81 season. This further expansion was considered by many ill-conceived, and with the World Hockey Association (WHA) continuing to drain talent away, the Capitals had the worst season ever recorded in the history of major professional hockey, and the third worst in the postwar era the following season, while the Scouts the following season would have the fifth worst record of the postwar era.

In early 1975, newspapers reported that the California Golden Seals and Pittsburgh Penguins were to be relocated to Denver and Seattle respectively, in an arrangement that would have seen the two teams sold to groups in those cities that had already been awarded "conditional" franchises for the 1976-77 season. After staunchly rejecting previous franchise relocation attempts, league president Clarence Campbell saw this as a method by which the NHL might extricate itself from two problem markets, while honoring the expansion commitments it had made.

Contents

Regular season

For the first time ever in the National Hockey League, there was a three-way tie for first place overall. The respective divisional leaders of the Norris, Patrick, and Adams all had 113 points. The Vancouver Canucks, which had been playing in the original East Division since they debuted in the league, were moved over to the Campbell Conference and led the way in the Smythe Division with a meager 86 points. Bobby Orr won the scoring title for the second time, the only defenseman in the history of the NHL to accomplish this feat.

The surprise team of the year were the Los Angeles Kings. When the new divisional lineup was announced, many hockey experts felt the Montreal Canadiens were in the weakest division and joked they would clinch 1st place by Christmas.[citation needed] But the Kings, with their disciplined defensive style, and excellent goaltending tandem of Rogie Vachon and Gary Edwards, battled Montreal all year for 1st place. The Kings opened their season by beating the defending champion Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia and tying the Canadiens in Montreal. The Kings lost only twice in their first 26 games, and on Christmas, Montreal had only a 2 point lead in the standings. When L.A. won in Montreal in mid January, they were back in 1st place. The teams continued to battle, with the Canadiens finally clinching 1st place with 3 games to play.

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Final standings

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold

Prince of Wales Conference

Adams Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Buffalo Sabres 80 49 16 15 113 354 240 1229
Boston Bruins 80 40 26 14 94 345 245 1153
Toronto Maple Leafs 80 31 33 16 78 280 309 1079
California Golden Seals 80 19 48 13 51 212 316 1101
Norris Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Montreal Canadiens 80 47 14 19 113 374 225 1155
Los Angeles Kings 80 42 17 21 105 269 185 1185
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 37 28 15 89 326 289 1119
Detroit Red Wings 80 23 45 12 58 259 335 1078
Washington Capitals 80 8 67 5 21 181 446 1085

Clarence Campbell Conference

Patrick Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Philadelphia Flyers 80 51 18 11 113 293 181 1969
New York Rangers 80 37 29 14 88 319 276 1053
New York Islanders 80 33 25 22 88 264 221 1118
Atlanta Flames 80 34 31 15 83 243 233 915
Smythe Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Vancouver Canucks 80 38 32 10 86 271 254 965
St. Louis Blues 80 35 31 14 84 269 267 1275
Chicago Black Hawks 80 37 35 8 82 268 241 1112
Minnesota North Stars 80 23 50 7 53 221 341 1106
Kansas City Scouts 80 15 54 11 41 184 328 744

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Bobby Orr Boston Bruins 80 46 89 135 101
Phil Esposito Boston Bruins 79 61 66 127 62
Marcel Dionne Detroit Red Wings 80 47 74 121 14
Guy Lafleur Montreal Canadiens 70 53 66 119 37
Pete Mahovlich Montreal Canadiens 80 35 82 117 64
Bobby Clarke Philadelphia Flyers 80 27 89 116 125
Rene Robert Buffalo Sabres 74 40 60 100 75
Rod Gilbert New York Rangers 76 36 61 97 22
Gilbert Perreault Buffalo Sabres 68 39 57 96 36
Rick Martin Buffalo Sabres 68 52 43 95 72

Leading goaltenders

Playoffs

All dates in 1975

With the new conference and division structure, the 1975 playoffs used a new format. The playoffs were expanded from 8 to 12 teams with the top 3 teams in each division qualifying for the playoffs. The first place teams in each division earned a first round bye, while the second and third place teams were seeded 1–8 based on their regular season record and played a best 2 out of 3 "mini-series." The four division winners then joined the 4 mini series winners in the quarter finals, and they were again re-seeded 1–8 based on regular season record. This re-seeding would take place again in the semi finals, and continues to this day in the current playoff format (although it was not used between 1982 and 1993). Proponents of this re-seeding state that it makes the regular season more important by rewarding teams with better records with potentially easier matchups. In addition, it avoids the potential issue of two lower seeded teams (who may have pulled early round upsets) playing each other in the next round while two higher seeded teams are playing each other (as is possible in a "bracketed" playoff format like in the NBA). The biggest beneficiary of this format was the Vancouver Canucks, who were ninth in the regular season but received a first-round bye for winning the relatively weak Smythe Division. The ones who suffered from this were the Los Angeles Kings, who had the 4th best overall record but had to play in the risky mini series where they were upset by the Toronto Maple Leafs 2 games to 1.

During the 1975 Stanley Cup playoffs, the New York Islanders, playing in their first playoffs since their inception in the 1972–73 NHL season, nearly managed an incredible series of upsets to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. After upsetting the New York Rangers two games to one in the preliminary round, the Islanders found themselves behind the Pittsburgh Penguins three games to none in the best-of-seven series in the quarterfinal round. The Islanders rallied to win the next four games and take the series 4–3. The only other NHL team to accomplish the feat of rallying from a 3–0 game deficit to win, was the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1942 Stanley Cup Finals. In the semifinal round of the playoffs, the Islanders nearly did it again. Rallying from another three games to none deficit, they won the next three games to force a seventh game against the defending Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers took the decisive seventh game at home to win the series and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Finals

The Philadelphia Flyers beat the Buffalo Sabres four games to two for their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

Playoff bracket

  Preliminary Round Quarter-finals Semi-finals Stanley Cup Final
                                     
        
  1  Philadelphia Flyers 4  
    12  Toronto Maple Leafs 0  
4  Los Angeles Kings 1
12  Toronto Maple Leafs 2  
  1  Philadelphia Flyers 4  
  8  New York Islanders 3  
6  Pittsburgh Penguins 2  
10  St. Louis Blues 0  
  6  Pittsburgh Penguins 3
    8  New York Islanders 4  
7  New York Rangers 1
8  New York Islanders 2  
  1  Philadelphia Flyers 4
  2  Buffalo Sabres 2
        
        
  2  Buffalo Sabres 4
    11  Chicago Black Hawks 1  
5  Boston Bruins 1
11  Chicago Black Hawks 2  
  2  Buffalo Sabres 4
  3  Montreal Canadiens 2  
        
        
  3  Montreal Canadiens 4
    9  Vancouver Canucks 1  
      

NHL awards

Prince of Wales Trophy: Buffalo Sabres
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl: Philadelphia Flyers
Art Ross Trophy: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Don Luce, Buffalo Sabres
Calder Memorial Trophy: Eric Vail, Atlanta Flames
Conn Smythe Trophy: Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers
Hart Memorial Trophy: Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers
Jack Adams Award: Bob Pulford, Los Angeles Kings
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Marcel Dionne, Detroit Red Wings
Lester B. Pearson Award: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
NHL Plus/Minus Award: Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins
Vezina Trophy: Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers
Lester Patrick Trophy: Donald M. Clark, William L. Chadwick, Thomas N. Ivan

All-Star teams

First Team   Position   Second Team
Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers G Rogie Vachon, Los Angeles Kings
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins D Guy Lapointe, Montreal Canadiens
Denis Potvin, New York Islanders D Borje Salming, Toronto Maple Leafs
Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers C Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens RW Rene Robert, Buffalo Sabres
Rick Martin, Buffalo Sabres LW Steve Vickers, New York Rangers

Debuts

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1974–75 (listed with their first team):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1974–75 (listed with their last team):

NOTE: Ullman would finish his major professional career in the World Hockey Association.

See also

References


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