hawkfan89

Professional Hockey League; A Fictional History: 2003-04 Regular Season

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12 hours ago, RightGuard said:

Part of me wants the Sound to move to Houston just so we don't have any alignment issues were they to move to Ottawa (and also so a certain someone will stop pestering us about having another team in Tejas).

:huh:Who could that be?

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On 12/17/2017 at 10:32 AM, Cardsblues02 said:

:huh:Who could that be?

In all seriousness, patience will win out. New Orleans' chances of even breaking .500 are pretty slim at this point. It's most likely they'll move to Houston within the next couple of seasons.

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On 12/16/2017 at 7:36 PM, Red Comet said:

Looks like the Twisters are reloading and I look forward to seeing them defend their title.

 

The Sound looks to be in desperation mode right now. If the Sound don’t make the playoffs after all these moves then they may move after the following season. If they do make the playoffs and bow out, then that timeframe gets moved up to after Katrina. 

 

If the Sound were to say, advance to the Eastern Conference Finals or even further, then all bets are off. Bendt better hope this gamble works.

 

The Twisters' core will still be intact with Drayton, Delaney, and Watson. Mack and Girard won't be missed as much as it would seem, they're just big names because they were great players in the 80s and 90s, but both players were definitely well past their prime. KC enters 2000-01 probably as the number one Lewis Cup favorites.

 

 

On 12/17/2017 at 10:59 AM, Cardinal said:

How many years is Long Island away from contending or with the new addition of 1st round talent can we go deep this year?

 

The Concordes are getting their, they should push for a playoff spot again this season. I would say they'll be a playoff team again for sure around 2002 or 2003. The team is considering  a complete overhaul of the front office. Cam Norton has been the head coach/GM since 1982 and he's now 66. I would say the team is probably 3-4 years away from being a legitimate Cup contender. In the meantime, you might be interested to know there is a uniform overhaul on the way as well, probably in '01-02.

 

On 12/19/2017 at 12:06 PM, RightGuard said:

In all seriousness, patience will win out. New Orleans' chances of even breaking .500 are pretty slim at this point. It's most likely they'll move to Houston within the next couple of seasons.

 

New Orleans will probably get at least another three seasons out of the Sound. Honestly, this is also a big part of Darryl Byrd's character development. Byrd was always meant to be a "villain" in the PHL storyline. He will probably fight to keep them there but as you said, patience will win out. Quite a few of the owners are actually starting to grow weary of Byrd and his days in charge of the league could be numbered very soon.

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I hope Boston can sneak a top draft pick in, I haven't seen a big name scorer head here yet since the Arrival of Bush the first time

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I’m so happy that you’re back! Anyway, this may sound like a premature question, but if Darryl Byrd gets the boot in a few years, then who would be some potential candidates for a new commissioner? And how do the Civics and Cosmos figure to do in 2000-01? Here’s hoping one of those two teams hoists the Lewis Cup when it’s all said and done!

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I’m trying to be patient. I’m becoming Houston’s version of @New York's Greatest/Long Island. Hope Byrd fixes what he has done wrong. Leave NOLA.

 

I hope with this overhaul of the Concords front office a re design is in the cards. I can’t say I am in love with their current scheme. The tealish blueish confused purple needs to go. The orange and light blue is classic. LI had such a nice look, I hope they return to that some day. 

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On 12/21/2017 at 4:34 PM, Darknes said:

I hope Boston can sneak a top draft pick in, I haven't seen a big name scorer head here yet since the Arrival of Bush the first time

 

Mikael Larsson can definitely be that player once he breaks out. Scott Rose too although he is more of a power forward than a pure goal scorer. Boston may need to change things up behind the bench too if they don't start to turn it around this year. The biggest thing will be patience, just waiting for the young guns to break out. Bush's return will definitely boost moral throughout the organization, which will help.

 

On 12/21/2017 at 6:12 PM, BengalSteve said:

I’m so happy that you’re back! Anyway, this may sound like a premature question, but if Darryl Byrd gets the boot in a few years, then who would be some potential candidates for a new commissioner? And how do the Civics and Cosmos figure to do in 2000-01? Here’s hoping one of those two teams hoists the Lewis Cup when it’s all said and done!

 

That's a good question, historically, presidents/commissioners have been hand-picked by their predecessors. Byrd served as Alan Garcia's right-hand man during Garcia's final years, Garcia served under Ed Norman before taking the reins and so on. In this case, I think Both Byrd and deputy commissioner Neil McCormick would likely both be shown the door while the owners decide on a replacement, likely through a selection committee. It's possible that McCormick could take over on an interim basis until a more permanent replacement is found.

 

As far as the Civics and Cosmos are concerned, New York is reaching that "now or never" point. Aaron Duplacy is an unrestricted free agent after this season and may be looking to test the free agent market, while Gustav Janssen and Darian Higgins are both very close to retirement. Now since it is New York, they could probably attract a top-tier free agent or two to replenish the roster, either way, expect the 2001-02 Civics to look very different from this year's edition. As for Cleveland, they had a rough 1999-00 season but the roster is still fairly strong. They should have a very good shot at returning to the playoffs in '01.

 

On 12/21/2017 at 6:36 PM, Cardsblues02 said:

I’m trying to be patient. I’m becoming Houston’s version of @New York's Greatest/Long Island. Hope Byrd fixes what he has done wrong. Leave NOLA.

 

I hope with this overhaul of the Concords front office a re design is in the cards. I can’t say I am in love with their current scheme. The tealish blueish confused purple needs to go. The orange and light blue is classic. LI had such a nice look, I hope they return to that some day. 

21 hours ago, Cardinal said:

Nice a uni change for Long Island. Knowing us it will be unique for sure.

 

I can almost guarantee Houston will have a team by the end of this decade, it will just take some time. 

 

Long Island's new uniforms are actually somewhat conservative for them, the colors will be navy, orange, and silver. For the logo I'm trying to decide between the current third jersey logo or a recolored version of the main logo. the seagull will remain on the shoulders. Just like the current uniforms are very "90s", this uniform will be very "2000s". I actually like it a lot. Eventually the plan is for the team to return to it's original orange and blue roots, but that won't be for another 10-15 years.

 

 

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That logo they use on the third jersey as a primary would be really cool. I loved Long Islands old uniforms and logos. Very pleased they will be back some day.

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A return of the orange and blue would be great for Long Island. Maybe an all orange tracksuit 3rd like their original jersey.

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2000 World Hockey Challenge

 

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After over a decade of instability in Europe, the World Hockey Challenge saw all the nations from the previous tournament return fully intact for the first time since 1988. That 1988 tournament had also been the last time Team Canada had come away with the Challenge Cup thanks to heroics from a 20-year-old kid named Vincent Ducharme. Twelve years and three Lewis Cups later, Ducharme was now among the greatest players in PHL history and had been named the captain of the Canadian team in the summer of 1999. Unfortunately, knee problems had sidelined Ducharme and he had announced just prior to the tournament that he would be unable to play. Filling Ducharme’s massive skates as the Canadian captain would be 22-year-old budding star Jared Baxter of the Philadelphia Redshirts. Baxter would lead a young team all around whose key players would include 22-year-old Joe Murdock, 24-year-old Randy McAllen, and 19-year-old Brad McNair. Aaron Duplacy and Adam Lawless would be the only remaining players from that 1988 team.

 

Despite the loss of Ducharme, Canada seemed to roll over the competition during the round robin, going undefeated with their biggest victory a 14-1 thumping of Germany with both Murdock and Jeremy Sutton scoring hat-tricks. Their toughest game had been against Sweden, on the final day of round-robin play, when they were forced to come back twice from a two-goal deficit before Baxter won the game with only 19 seconds left. It would be Sweden’s only loss in a tournament where they had brought the strongest team they ever had, full of PHL talent led by LA’ Viktor Skogg, Miami’s Jonas Andersson and Quebec’s Anders Hendriksson.

 

In Group A, Both the Americans and the Russians entered the tournament with high expectations. Team USA boasted a strong mix of veterans and youth, led by defensemen Kevin Hoyle and Scott Drayton, and forwards Jason Crowley, Kyle Boone, and Scott Rose. Meanwhile, the Russians welcomed legend Vladimir Gaganov back from retirement in addition to a strong squad featuring PHL superstars such as Igor Kharitonov, Igor Zharkov, and Sergei Gulinov. In Russia’s opening game against Finland, the Chicago crowd gave Gaganov a standing ovation before the 40-year-old became the oldest player in tournament history to score a hat-trick in a 6-2 Russian win. The Russians and Americans were slated to meet on the last day of the round-robin in a rematch of the 1996 final, a game many felt would decide first place. After the Russians cruised through their first three games, the Americans shockingly had to settle for a tie against the Czech Republic. Team USA now needed a win in the final game to take top spot, while the Russians needed only a tie. The game would be close, with the teams deadlocked at 2-2 through two periods. Early in the third, a point shot from Randy Fernandez gave the Americans the lead, but it was followed seconds later by a Zharkov goal to tie the game. Needing a win, the Americans pulled goaltender Matt Darwin in the final seconds of the game. Team USA made a push for the winner, but Andrei Alexeev sealed the win for Russia with an empty net goal as the Russians took first place.

 

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It was expected that Canada’s reward for their first place finish would be a date with Finland in the Quaterfinals. The Fins entered their final game against Great Britain without a win, but confident going up against a British squad featuring only a handful of PHL players. Despite their lack of big names, however, the Brits were a confident team as well. “I think we’ll surprise some people here” said captain Bruce Evans, a PHL star with the Long Island Concordes. The British team certainly did surprise everyone, beginning with a tie against the Czechs. Facing a struggling Finnish team, the British held the Fins to a 2-1 lead through the third period, before pulling goaltender Brayden Thomas in an attempt to tie the game. With only six seconds left, winger Jesse Wallace beat goaltender Antti Paavola to tie the game. The time ran out and the British players piled off the bench and celebrated. The tie meant that Great Britain would advance to the medal round, while Finland would be going home. “Probably the biggest upset in hockey history without anyone actually winning or losing” said one analyst after the game.

 

The British team would continue their impressive tenacity in the quarterfinal against their Commonwealth rivals, Team Canada. The Canadians were largely expected to roll over the British, so naturally it was a shock when Britain scored the opening goal, while Brayden Thomas was spectacular in net. By the third period, the teams were tied 2-2. Both Thomas and Jake Borman continued to shut the door through the third period. Finally, with just four minutes left, Winnipeg Pioneers captain Dan Crow proved to be the hero, beating Thomas for the winner to send Canada to the semifinal against Sweden, who had defeated the Czechs 6-3.

 

In the Semifinals, the Russians and Americans faced off again in what was quickly becoming the biggest rivalry in international hockey. Team USA was coming off a 4-1 victory over Slovakia in the quarters, while the Russians had just routed Germany 7-2. The Americans came out hitting early on and the physical pressure seemed to work, as Scott Rose opened the scoring midway through the first period. The Americans held the lead well through the second period as elite defensemen Scott Drayton, Randy Fernandez, and Kevin Hoyle allowed minimal Russian pressure on Matt Darwin. Halfway through the third, Russia began to turn things around. Alexei Stepanov of the Cleveland Cosmos suddenly tied the game. Seconds later, Stepanov’s Cleveland teammate, Sergei Gulinov put Russia ahead 2-1. The Americans were suddenly on their heels, trying desperately to tie a game they had led for over 50 minutes. Despite some decent chances in the final minutes, they would fall short, as Ilya Severov of the Long Island Concordes clinched the victory for the Russians with an empty-net goal. Team Russia would have the opportunity to defend their title against Canada, who had beaten Sweden earlier that afternoon.

 

Throughout the history of the World Hockey Challenge, no other rivalry matched Canada vs Russia. While the Russia/USA rivalry had heated up considerably over the course of the 2000 tournament, the Russians still came to Chicago primarily prepared to face the Canadians, while the heartbreaking semifinal loss to the Russians in 1996 still weighed heavily across Canada.

 

On the day of the championship game, the maple leaf was a common sight as the Garfield Center was packed with fans who had made the trip from all over Canada. Up north, living rooms, bars, and even some movie theaters were packed with excited fans across the country. The game itself was a tight contest, remaining scoreless until the third period while nervous fans across both countries held their breath. Jake Borman and Alexei Rolonov were both spectacular in net as both teams had several scoring chances. It was the Russians who finally opened the scoring, with 1996 tournament MVP Igor Zharkov beating Borman with a hard wrist shot. With nine minutes left in the game, Canada needed a big goal. Joe Murdock nearly tied the game on a breakaway with three minutes left, but Rolonov stopped him. The clock wound down to just 57 seconds left when the Canadians finally pulled Borman in an attempt to tie it. After Rolonov turned away chance after chance, Milwaukee Choppers captain Brent Zahorsky banged in a rebound to tie the game with just 8 seconds left. The roar in Canada could be heard from Victoria to St. John’s. Team Canada was still alive. Overtime solved nothing so for the first time in WHC history, the title game would go to a shootout.

 

As the home team, Russia elected to shoot last. Zahorsky and Brett Delaney both failed to score, as did Andrei Alexeev and Igor Kharitonov for the Russians. After Brad McNair hit the post, Igor Zharkov finally broke the deadlock, pressuring Jared Baxter to respond. Baxter deked Rolonov and put the puck top corner and the shootout was tied once again. Alexei Stepanov would shoot fourth for Russia. Stepanov went in fast and snapped the puck past Borman to restore Russia’s lead. Canada’s hope of survival fell on the stick of Joe Murdock, who attempted to deke Rolonov. Rolonov stuck out his left leg and got just enough of the puck that it deflected over the net. The Russian players poured over the bench and mobbed their goaltender, who took home MVP honours, while the devastated Canadians consoled eachother. The loss only capped off a decade full of heartbreak in which the country had lost two beloved PHL franchises, and now three straight World Hockey Challenges. Meanwhile, Russia had become the only team besides Canada to win multiple World Hockey Challenges and to win two back-to-back. Vladimir Gaganov confirmed that this was the extent of his comeback, he would not return to the PHL. But with young superstars like Igor Zharkov and Sergei Gulinov leading the way, Russia had now clearly taken over as the leading country in the hockey world.

 

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Is it safe to finally call Scott Drayton "Dr. Dray"? Anyone?

 

 

I'll see myself out. Twist it up, KC! Back 2 Back sounds awesome right now.

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2000-01 Regular Season

 

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Probably the most popular subject for hockey fans to discuss in the year 2000 was the fate of the New Orleans Sound. The struggling franchise was entering its sixth season in Louisiana and having a hard time finding its footing in the market. Rumours abounded that the franchise was headed to either Houston or Ottawa and it didn’t help that the team had failed to reach the post-season since it played in Halifax. As the 2000-01 season began, the team was putting all its hopes on 19-year-old Brad McNair, who had played a key role for Team Canada at the World Hockey Challenge. McNair responded in a big way, scoring thirty goals by Christmas, while veteran Mike Bidden also benefited from playing with McNair, reaching a career high in points.  The Sound looked like a playoff team until disaster struck on January 8, when McNair suffered a broken arm in a game against Carolina. McNair missed two months of action while the Sound went on a 9-game losing streak which ultimately cost them a playoff spot.

 

In October, 2000, three new arenas opened including one in a new city, as the Nuggets finally moved into their new home in Oakland, while Detroit and Quebec left their storied homes for brand new facilities. For the Nationale, the move coincided with the franchise’s 50th anniversary. The team brought back several legends from their past including Guy Benoit, Ben Williams, and Gilbert Giroux. It would be the only bright spot in a tough season in Quebec, as the Nationale finished last place in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Nationale’s provincial rivals, the Montreal Royale, were forced to play most of the season without their franchise player as Vincent Ducharme missed the season after undergoing knee surgery in the summer. Despite missing their best player, the Royale still managed to win the division thanks to a big effort from young star Zdeno Kadlec and veteran defenseman Jonathan Adams, who led the league in hits and plus/minus. For Adams, the successful year was a statement after the 32-year old was left off Canada’s WHC roster. “It definitely feels good to have a year like this, especially after the disappointment of missing the World tournament” said Adams.

 

The Eastern Conference belonged to the Philadelphia Redshirts in 2000-01. The Redshirts won the division for the first time since 1989 as Jared Baxter enjoyed a career year, winning the scoring title with 112 points while playing with Brendan Carnes, who had 80 points of his own in a career year. Elsewhere in the East, Miami returned to the playoffs after a big win over the Carolina Raiders in their final game of the regular season, which eliminated the Raiders from the playoffs. In Boston, the Bulldogs endured another rebuilding year, though the Boston fans were treated to a final season with their longtime captain Craig Bush. The 40-year-old Bush played in 48 games for the Bulldogs, including their final games of the season. In his last game in Philadelphia, Bush was given a standing ovation from the Philadelphia crowd, who were normally hostile to any Boston player, especially Bush. “It was a classy move on their part” said Bush. Two nights later, Bush played his final home game in Boston. The crowd gave him a standing ovation that lasted nearly an hour after the game as Bush waved to the crowd. “I am very grateful for the two decades in Boston” said Bush.

 

In the West, the defending champion Kansas City Twisters were eyeing a repeat. With 110 points, the Twisters were the top team in the league while Scott Drayton took home top defenseman honours, and Brett Delaney led the team with 102 points, fifth in the league. The Twisters trailed Minnesota by just one point heading into their final game against St. Louis. After the Lumberjacks lost to Chicago, the Twisters had an opportunity to seal top spot. The Spirits, long out of the playoff picture and playing spoiler, held a 2-0 lead over Kansas City heading into the third period. Goals from Delaney and Jeremy Kitchen tied the game to send it to overtime, where Taylor Coldwell beat goaltender Travis Pulford to win the game and clinch first place for the Twisters.

 

In Seattle, the Grey Wolves won the Pacific Division for the first time in eleven years. Though Randy McAllen struggled, Drake Klausen had a big year, while head coach Bruce Dickenson was named coach of the year. For the Grey Wolves, it was the reward for a dark decade for the franchise, as the team had only made the playoffs four times in the 1990s. “It feels great to have success like this again” said longtime captain Jason Radford, who had been with the team for 19 seasons. “For a few years I wondered if we’d be this good again during my career.” In Dallas, the Desperados enjoyed their best season ever, winning 40 games for the first time in franchise history. Young power forward AJ Vernon was the driving force for the Desperados, scoring 43 goals while putting fear in opposing defensemen with his size and speed. Dallas also made a trade in late November that would set off a historic few weeks for one player. Elliot “U-Haul” Andrews was already playing for his sixth PHL team when the Desperados dealt him to the Cleveland Cosmos on November 27. After Andrews played just nine games for the Cosmos, he was then dealt to the Vancouver Bighorns oXrn6tV.pngon December 17. Andrews not only now had the record for most teams played for in PHL history, he also set the mark for most teams played for in a single season. “It’s not exactly what you expect going into the year but I like Vancouver and hopefully I can stick around for a while” said Andrews.

Vancouver acquired Andrews in an attempt to return to the playoffs and by the end of the regular season, the Bighorns sat just two points out of the final spot in the West, which was held by Milwaukee Choppers. If Vancouver tied Milwaukee, they would get the final spot as they had swept the season series with the Choppers. On the last day of the season, Milwaukee faced Winnipeg, while Vancouver faced Oakland. The Bighorns trailed the Nuggets with only 29 seconds to go when Sergei Zolotov tied the game, sending it to overtime. Early in the overtime, Trevor Kerwick blasted a point shot past Bradley Pope to give the Bighorns the win and forcing Milwaukee to beat the Pioneers if they wanted to keep their playoff hopes alive. Milwaukee and Winnipeg also went into overtime where Dan Crow broke the Choppers’ hearts with a big goal near the end of the extra frame. The Bighorns celebrated in the locker room as they were headed back to the post-season to face the powerful Twisters in the first round.

 

The hockey world received some shocking news on March 20, 2001. It started with good news when Vincent Ducharme began skating again. He then stated that he would return in time for the playoffs, followed by the stunning announcement that he would retire after playoffs were over. Plagued by knee problems, Ducharme stated that he wanted to maintain his health for the sake of his family while he was still young. “This is a very difficult decision to make but I think it’s the right one” said Ducharme. “I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the career I’ve had and I look forward to giving it one last shot in the playoffs.”

 

               

 

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Woah, bombshell in Montreal!  How old is Ducharme?

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12 minutes ago, Veras said:

Woah, bombshell in Montreal!  How old is Ducharme?

 

He's 33 and has played 14 seasons (not including this one), which is a short career for a player of his caliber. Ducharme will probably go down as one of the biggest "what if" careers in PHL history.

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Montreal fans are probably saying what the Alaskan stereotype from the state stereotypes in under 2 minutes says, “I can see seasonal depression from here.”

 

But the storm is still surging! KC for back to back!

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5 minutes ago, hawkfan89 said:

 

He's 33 and has played 14 seasons (not including this one), which is a short career for a player of his caliber. Ducharme will probably go down as one of the biggest "what if" careers in PHL history.

 

Sounds like Eric Lindros except he actually won a championship.

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2 minutes ago, Red Comet said:

 

Sounds like Eric Lindros except he actually won a championship.

 

The players that come to mind for me are Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux, two players who definitely established themselves as all-time greats, but injuries and illness prevented them from reaching their full potential, leaving us to wonder if either one of them could've been the NHL's all-time greatest. Similar to Orr and Lemieux, Ducharme won (at least) three championships and is a guaranteed hall-of-famer, but who knows what else he could've done with 5-7 more years.

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