Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rosie's Rebounds: 12/23/09

Greetings from the home front and Happy Holidays to all! During the next couple weeks, I will go out of my usual Rebounds of the week and provide you with my list of highlights from the 2000’s, as we vastly approach the 2010's. Today we'll look at the best teams and storylines of the decade.

Top Teams (In no particular order)

2001 Colorado Avalanche:

From top to bottom, this team was one of the deepest teams of the decade. Captain Joe Sakic won his second Stanley Cup, as well as his first Hart Trophy, while Patrick Roy won his fourth Championship – his second with the Avs – and Raymond Boroque won his first and only Stanley Cup.

Video highlights from Game 7 of the 2001 Stanley Cup Final vs. New Jersey:

2002 Detroit Red Wings:

While the Avs had a lot of depth, the 2001-02 Red Wings should not be ignored as well. This deep team included Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Federov, Brendan Shanahan, Stevie Y, Chris Chelios and Igor Larionov from previous seasons.

You need more names? Well just look at teams off-season acquisitions, which include free agent acquisitions Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, and Dominik Hasek coming via trade with the Buffalo Sabres.

This also saw the year that hockey fans got their first glimpse of rookie Pavel Datsyuk, who has registered 30–plus goals in three seasons in his NHL career.

Video of the Red Wings Cup win in Game 5 vs. Carolina:

2003 New Jersey Devils:

Martin Brodeur led the Devils to their third Stanley Cup in team history – two years after being losing to the Avs in the Stanley Cup finals and three years after their victory against the Stars in 2000. Captain Scott Stevens would play only one more season, while Scott Niedermeyer left for Anaheim – whom the Devils defeated in 2003.

Video Highlights of the Devils' cup victory over Anaheim in Game 7:

Storylines of the Decade

Of course there were numerous storylines in the NHL this decade, including Jim Balsillie's attempt to buy three NHL franchises and move them to Hamilton, Ontario, along with trades, free agent signings, etc. Unfortunately, I could not fit these into this week's column. Anyway here are a few newsworthy events this decade worth noting.

From Edmonton to Buffalo:

No, I am not talking about a trade between the Oilers and Sabres; I am talking about the first two outdoor NHL games this decade.

In 2003, the Oilers and Montreal Canadiens met in the Heritage in Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium in front of 57,167 fans. The Habs went on to win the game 4-3 thanks in part to Richard Zednik’s two goals. Current Bruin forwards Michael Ryder and Steve Begin also played in that game, both of which will take part in this year’s Winter Classic at Fenway Park.

Video of Heritage Classic

Five years later, Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo saw the Sabres take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the first Winter Classic, and the rest is history (as of now anyway). The Penguins won the game 2-1 in front of 71,217 in attendance.

Only time will tell when the next Winter Classic will take place. This is pure speculation, but anyone think Alexander Ovechkin will be in involved somehow?

The Lockout

The great 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, referred to the attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 as “a day that will live in infamy.” For hockey fans, that day of infamy came during the 2004-05 season when the entire season was cancelled due to negotiations between the NHLPA and team owners for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

It wasn't until July of 2005 when the Players and the owners got a new CBA done. All 30 teams were back in action with the "New NHL" for the 2005-06 season, and the game on the ice has improved immensely with a more open style of hockey that emphasizes more offense.

While the game on the ice has improved, there are still some issues that need to be resolved after (or even before) the 2010-11 season when the current CBA expires. Hopefully all the events of the 2004-05 lockout will be avoided.

The Rise of A.O. and Sid the Kid

Quite frankly, this could be hockey’s best rivalry right now: Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby.

These two first met in the 2005-06 season during their rookie years, and while Ovechkin has two consecutive Hart Trophies – compared to only one for Crosby – Sid the Kid has already won a Stanley Cup.

If the seven game series from last year’s Eastern Conference semifinal is any indicator for the Pens-Caps rivalry, then we are sure in for some exciting hockey during the postseason. Perhaps Sid the Kid and A.O. will meet a round later this year (again pure speculation).

Next week, we’ll take a look at the best players and games of the decade.

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