Another 10 years, another flood of hockey memories. These are our top moments from the past decade.

By Scott Burnside

Players video

Here's a look at the past decade's top players (in no particular order):

  • Alexander Ovechkin

    True, Ovechkin has been around for only four seasons, but his highlight-reel résumé is already overflowing with dramatic images, as he has established himself as the game's most dynamic player. In his short career, Ovechkin has managed to earn a rookie of the year award, one scoring title and back-to-back Hart Trophies as the game's most valuable player. In 2008, he became the first player to capture the Art Ross Trophy, the Lester B. Pearson Award, the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy and MVP honors in the same year. He has amassed 221 goals in four seasons, more than any other NHL player.

  • Sidney Crosby

    Like Ovechkin, Crosby's presence in the league has been short, but his résumé is already the stuff of legend. After winning a scoring title in just his second season, he rebounded from a serious high-ankle sprain in 2007-08 to lead the youthful Pens to the Cup finals and finished tied for the playoff scoring lead with 27 points. Third in the NHL in scoring last season, Crosby was a force throughout the playoffs for the Stanley Cup-champion Penguins, leading all scorers with 15 postseason goals, including two game winners.

  • Nicklas Lidstrom

    Six times in the past decade, Lidstrom was named the NHL's best defenseman and twice was runner-up for the Norris Trophy. He won a Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002 and helped the Detroit Red Wings win Cups in 2002 and 2008 as well as go to the Stanley Cup finals this past spring. A sure-fire Hall of Famer, Lidstrom will spark debate of whether he may well be the greatest defenseman of all time.

  • Martin Brodeur

    After being overlooked earlier in his career, Brodeur took home four Vezina Trophies between 2003 and 2008 and was a finalist the other year during that span. He also earned his second and third Stanley Cup rings during the past decade (2000 and 2003) and mixed in an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada in 2002.

  • Chris Pronger

    The second overall draft pick in 1993, Pronger won the Hart Trophy in 2000 to become the first defenseman since Bobby Orr in 1972 to earn MVP honors. Pronger, also named the Norris Trophy winner in 2000, then led the Edmonton Oilers to a surprise Stanley Cup finals appearance in 2006 before hoisting the Cup for the first time with Anaheim in 2007. He won a gold medal with Team Canada in 2002 and will be a lock to make the 2010 squad.

  • Jaromir Jagr

    Between 1999 and 2009, the dynamic Czech winger won three scoring titles, earned the Hart Trophy and was runner-up for the Hart twice. After being considered by some critics to be something of a coach killer as he bounced from Pittsburgh to Washington to New York, Jagr emerged as a true leader with the Rangers after the lockout before signing on with the Kontinental Hockey League after the 2008 playoffs. Gone, but not forgotten.

  • Jarome Iginla

    The good-natured leader of the Calgary Flames was a surprise member of Canada's gold-medal-winning team in 2002, the same year he won an NHL scoring title and was runner-up for the Hart Trophy. He finished second in MVP voting again in 2004 after the Flames lost to Tampa Bay in seven games in the Stanley Cup finals.

  • Scott Niedermayer

    The classy Anaheim Ducks defender won Cups with New Jersey (2000, 2003) and Anaheim (2007) during the past decade along with a boatload of individual honors that included his first Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman in 2004 and playoff MVP honors in 2007. Niedermayer, a gold medalist in 2002 with Canada, was also a Norris runner-up twice.

  • Peter Forsberg

    Although Forsberg's lack of durability always will cloud the discussion of his greatness, he was part of the Avs' Stanley Cup finals run in 2001 as he posted 14 points in 11 games before a ruptured spleen ended his playoff season. The next season, Forsberg missed the entire regular season but returned with a heroic performance in the playoffs, recording 27 points in 20 games as the Avs fell in the Western Conference finals. In 2003, he won an Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer and MVP honors.

  • Joe Sakic

    The legendary Colorado captain finished in the top 10 in NHL scoring four times between 2000-01 and 2005-06 and won the Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award in 2001. His steadying presence personified the Avalanche organization that, for many years, was a constant Cup contender. Sakic also was captain of the Canadian Olympic team in 2006 and a member of Canada's gold-medal effort in 2002.


By Pierre LeBrun

No. 1 Picks video

NHL drafts are as much luck as science, even with the first pick. We take a look at the past decade's first overall selections:

  • 2000 Draft  N.Y. Islanders select goalie Rick DiPietro

    Injuries certainly have muddied the picture with what we could have seen from DiPietro. He was pretty good from 2003-04 through 2007-08 before hip and knee problems felled him. Still, it's hard to look back now and not think the Isles should have instead kept Roberto Luongo and taken Dany Heatley first overall. Heatley went second overall to Atlanta in 2000, while Marian Gaborik went next to Minnesota.

  • 2001 Draft  Atlanta Thrashers select winger Ilya Kovalchuk

    This very much remains the right decision today. Jason Spezza went second overall, Mikko Koivu sixth, Mike Komisarek seventh and Ales Hemsky 13th, but Kovalchuk is head and shoulders the best player from this draft class.

  • 2002 Draft  Columbus Blue Jackets select winger Rick Nash

    The Jackets moved up to get Nash, flipping their third overall pick with Florida, while the Panthers got the option to flip first-round picks with Columbus the next year. Not a bad deal for then-Panthers GM Rick Dudley, because he still got the player he wanted in the 2002 draft, Jay Bouwmeester. But as it turns out, the Panthers were naturally set to pick higher than Columbus the next year, so the flip never happened. As talented as Bouwmeester has proved to be, most people would agree Nash is the class of that draft by a hair over Bouwmeester. They're both great players.

  • 2003 Draft  Pittsburgh Penguins select goalie Marc-Andre Fleury

    Until this past June, you probably could find a lot of people willing to argue that Pittsburgh took the wrong guy. But a Stanley Cup shuts up a lot of people, especially given Fleury's clutch performance. But this was an amazingly deep draft in which a few players could have made the case to go first overall. Other first-round picks that year included Eric Staal (second), Thomas Vanek (fifth), Ryan Suter (seventh), Dion Phaneuf (ninth), Jeff Carter (11th), Dustin Brown (13th), Brent Seabrook (14th), Zach Parise (17th), Ryan Getzlaf (19th), Brent Burns (20th), Ryan Kesler (23rd), Mike Richards (24th) and Corey Perry (28th). Staal, Getzlaf and Parise are legitimate arguments to Fleury's being taken first overall. Interestingly, Fleury, Staal and Getzlaf all have won Cups early in their careers.

  • 2004 Draft  Washington Capitals select winger Alex Ovechkin

    OK, one would think this is nondebatable … except the No. 2 overall pick was Evgeni Malkin. At the time, Malkin received less fanfare than Ovechkin; the thought was he would be a very good player but likely not a superstar like Ovechkin. That certainly has changed. They're both superstars. If you polled today's 30 GMs, Ovechkin probably would win out. Of note, the Caps also nabbed Mike Green 29th overall in the same round. Nice work, George McPhee!

  • 2005 Draft  Pittsburgh Penguins select center Sidney Crosby

    Ah, no kidding. We won't soon forget the words of then-Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke that day in Ottawa after he selected Bobby Ryan with the second overall pick. "We couldn't believe he was still available," Burke told the media with a straight face. (Ryan hadn't heard that anecdote until we told him about it this past February.)

  • 2006 Draft  St. Louis Blues select defenseman Erik Johnson

    Well, this one is too early to tell, especially with Johnson missing all of last season with the knee injury he suffered in a freak golf-cart accident. You talk to anyone around the league, and he'll tell you he still thinks Johnson is very much the stud, Shea Weber-like defenseman waiting to happen. But there's a good argument at this point as to who should have gone first overall in 2006 given that Jordan Staal went second, Jonathan Toews third, Nicklas Backstrom fourth and Phil Kessel fifth. Hmm, we'll need to revisit this one in two or three years.

  • 2007 Draft  Chicago Blackhawks select forward Patrick Kane

    At this point, this one is uncontested. James van Riemsdyk went second overall, and he may tell us more this season. Kyle Turris went third overall and began this season in the AHL. Thomas Hickey and Karl Alzner were next, and they've yet to make full-time NHL impressions. Kane, of course, has been an offensive machine since jumping right out of the gates at 18 years old.

  • 2008 Draft  Tampa Bay Lightning select center Steven Stamkos

    Well, this one could end up being interesting. Obviously, it's way too early to reach any conclusions. But blueliner Drew Doughty, taken second overall, certainly had the bigger impact in his rookie NHL season. Defenseman Zach Bogosian, the third pick, also was impressive last season, as was Luke Schenn, the fifth pick. Stamkos struggled in the first half last season but has been dynamite since. We doubt very much Tampa Bay will regret the pick, but the Stamkos/Doughty debate could be a good one for years to come.

  • 2009 Draft  New York Islanders select forward John Tavares

    Well, let's let this one simmer for a few years before we say anything, but he's had a solid start for the Islanders in his rookie season. The debate heading into this draft centered on Tavares, defenseman Victor Hedman and center Matt Duchene. They went 1-2-3, respectively. Again, time will tell.


By Pierre LeBrun

The Detroit Red Wings aren't the NHL's modern-day dynasty by luck. They draft better than any other club. Here's a look at the past decade's late-pick gems (third round or lower to qualify):

  • 2000 Draft  Henrik Lundqvist

    Hello! Nothing like stealing a perennial Vezina Trophy candidate in the seventh round (205th overall). Did we tell you netminder Brent Krahn went ninth overall in the first round to Calgary? Wowsers. Honorable mention: Los Angeles Kings for taking defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky 118th overall in the fourth round.

  • 2001 Draft  Marek Svatos

    The best late pick of this year has to be Colorado with winger Marek Svatos, 227th overall, the last pick of the seventh round. He's not a big star, but he scored 89 goals in four NHL seasons before the 2009-10 campaign. Honorable mentions: Brooks Laich, 193rd overall, Ottawa; Marek Zidlicky, 176th overall, N.Y. Rangers; Ryane Clowe, 175th overall, San Jose; Kevin Bieksa, 151st overall, Vancouver; Patrick Sharp, 95th overall, Philadelphia; Tomas Plekanec, 71st overall, Montreal.

  • 2002 Draft  Jonathan Ericsson

    The last player taken in this draft, 291st overall at the end of the ninth round, was … Jonathan Ericsson. The Wings at their best. The Swedish blueliner will be a stud for years to come after getting a nice taste of the big time this past spring. Honorable mentions: Dennis Wideman, 241st overall, Buffalo; Maxime Talbot, 234th overall, Pittsburgh; Tom Gilbert, 129th overall, Colorado.

  • 2003 Draft  Tobias Enstrom

    Thrashers GM Don Waddell and his scouting staff get kudos for finding Tobias Enstrom at 239th overall. It's not every day you find a puckmoving, top-four defenseman in the ninth round. Honorable mentions: Jaroslav Halak, 271st overall, Montreal; Dustin Byfuglien, 245th overall, Chicago; Joe Pavelski, 205th overall, San Jose; Kyle Quincey, 132nd overall, Detroit.

  • 2004 Draft  Pekka Rinne

    He's done it for only one season, but if Pekka Rinne is indeed the real deal in goal for Nashville, the Predators absolutely stole him with the last pick of the eighth round in 2004 (258th overall). It's also tough to beat the guy who went 97th overall to the Red Wings, Johan Franzen. Honorable mentions: Mark Streit, 262nd overall, Montreal; Chris Campoli, 227th overall, N.Y. Islanders; Matt Hunwick, 224th overall, Boston; Roman Polak, 180th overall, St. Louis; Mikhail Grabovski, 150th overall, Montreal; Kris Versteeg, 134th overall, Boston; Ryan Callahan, 127th overall, N.Y. Rangers; Alexander Edler, 91st overall, Vancouver.

  • 2005 Draft  Sergei Kostitsyn and Matt D'Agostini

    Montreal Canadiens scouting chief Trevor Timmins gets props for finding a pair of serviceable players very late in this draft in Sergei Kostitsyn (200th overall) and Matt D'Agostini (190th overall). The Wings, led by the scouting brain trust of Jim Nill and Joe McDonnell, were at it again with the section of Darren Helm at 132nd overall. Honorable mentions: Keith Yandle, 105th overall, Phoenix; Jonathan Quick, 72nd overall, Los Angeles; Kris Letang, 62nd overall, Pittsburgh.

  • 2006 Draft  Steve Mason

    We highly doubt the Columbus Blue Jackets knew they were drafting the 2008-09 Calder Trophy winner when they selected Steve Mason at 69th overall. The talented netminder obviously should have been higher than a third-round pick but actually barely played major junior in his draft year, which hid him from most scouts. What a steal. Honorable mentions: Sergei Shirokov, 163rd overall, Vancouver; Viktor Stalberg, 161st overall, Toronto.

  • 2007 Draft  Yannick Weber

    We're still waiting for a lot of these prospects to develop at this point, so it's early in the game to find so-called gems in the late rounds. But Montreal may have found one in Yannick Weber when it selected him 73rd overall, a Swiss blueliner with offensive talent who put up 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists) in the AHL last season.

  • 2008 Draft  Time will tell

    The Los Angeles Kings believe they got a good one in defenseman Andrew Campbell, taken 74th overall. At 6-foot-4 and 206 pounds, he should develop into a physical blueliner whom the Kings project to play in their top four, perhaps as a partner to Drew Doughty. Campbell began this season in the AHL.

  • 2009 Draft  Time will tell

    Obviously, it's much too early to know, but given the solid drafting history of the Nashville Predators, it's worth mentioning a pair of third-round picks they made this past June. Forwards Taylor Beck and Michael Latta were taken 70th and 72nd, respectively, and are teammates on the Ontario Hockey League's Guelph Storm.


By E.J. Hradek

Upsets video

Over the past decade, we witnessed more than our share of shocking upsets. In most cases, stellar goaltending was the most important factor in these results. Other times, poor puck-stopping led to the unexpected. And in a few situations, there just might have been divine intervention. With that in mind, here's a look at our top 10 upsets:

  • 2002 Winter Olympics  Belarus stuns Sweden, 4-3

    After being outscored 22-6 in three preliminary-round games, Belarus shockingly eliminated a very strong Swedish team. Little-known goalie Andrei Mezin backstopped the upset. He said afterward: "Sometimes even a gun with no bullets fires." (That's my all-time favorite postgame quote!) Swedish goalie Tommy Salo surrendered a bizarre goal that caromed off his helmet before falling behind him and into the net. Belarus later lost to Canada and Russia en route to a surprisingly good fourth-place finish. The Swedes made up for the embarrassing loss by taking gold at the 2006 Games.

  • 2003 playoffs  No. 8 Mighty Ducks sweep Red Wings

    Behind an amazing goaltending performance by Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Mighty Ducks posted a four-game sweep of the defending-champion Wings in the first round of the playoffs. The Mighty Ducks advanced to the Cup finals before falling to the Devils in Game 7. Interestingly, Anaheim coach Mike Babcock would eventually come to Detroit to take the Wings job.

  • 2000 playoffs  No. 8 Sharks eliminate top-seeded Blues

    The Blues carried the Presidents' Trophy as the league's top regular-season team into the playoffs. That didn't matter much to Darryl Sutter's Sharks, who won this showdown in a decisive Game 7. Journeyman goalie Steve Shields backstopped San Jose's series win, but the Sharks came back to earth in the next round when they were sent packing by the Stars in five games.

  • 2006 playoffs  No. 8 Oilers knock out top-seeded Wings

    During the regular season, the Wings compiled a league-best 124 points. They finished 29 points ahead of the Oilers in the standings. Still, Edmonton sent Detroit to the golf course with a six-game series victory. Goalie Dwayne Roloson was the key player for the Oilers, who advanced all the way to the Cup finals. This series marked the last games for Wings icon Steve Yzerman.

  • 2001 playoffs  No. 7 Kings top second-seeded Wings

    Buoyed by a late third-period Game 4 comeback -- scoring three goals in the final six minutes of regulation time -- the Kings eliminated the Wings in six games. L.A. goalie Felix Potvin turned in a brilliant performance in the series. The Kings' playoff run ended in the next round; the eventual champion Avalanche stopped the Kings in a surprisingly close seven-game series.

  • 2006 Olympics  Switzerland shuts out Canada 2-0

    The defending gold-medal champs couldn't solve Swiss stopper Martin Gerber, who turned back all 49 shots en route to the stunning shutout win. Ex-Montreal Canadiens forward Paul DiPietro scored both goals for Switzerland.

  • 2002 playoffs  No. 8 Habs oust Bruins

    Inspired by the return of captain Saku Koivu (who had missed most of the season as he battled cancer), the Habs handed their longtime rivals more postseason disappointment. Montreal goalie Jose Theodore, who won the Hart and Vezina Trophies during that season, proved too much for Boston. The Canadiens' Cup dream ended in the next round, when they were eliminated by the Hurricanes.

  • 2004 playoffs  No. 7 Habs KO second-seeded Bruins

    The Canadiens overcame 2-0 and 3-1 series deficits en route to a stunning seven-game victory. Habs goalie Jose Theodore again came up big in the key games, allowing just three goals in the final three games. In the next round, the Canadiens were swept by the eventual Cup champions Lightning.

  • 2009 playoffs  No. 8 Ducks oust Sharks

    In just the second all-California playoff series, inexperienced Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller proved a difference-maker. The Swiss stopper led one of the strongest No. 8 seeds in league history to a six-game series win over the Sharks. While Hiller continued his solid play, the Ducks couldn't overcome the Wings in the next round.

  • 2006 playoffs  No. 7 Avs bash Stars

    Dallas fell victim to self-inflicted wounds in this first-round series. Stars goalie Marty Turco allowed far too many soft goals in the surprisingly short five-game series. Joe Sakic and Andrew Brunette each netted three goals to lead the Avs, who were swept out of the playoffs by the Ducks in the second round.


By Scott Burnside

Is there any postseason in sports like the NHL's run to the Stanley Cup? Here are our top series from the past decade:

  • 2009 Stanley Cup finals  Detroit versus Pittsburgh

    The comeback kids from Pittsburgh won in dramatic fashion in a rematch of the 2008 Cup finals. After falling behind 2-0 and 3-2 in the series, the Penguins managed to win four of the last five games to win their first Cup since 1992. In both Games 6 and 7, the Penguins held off furious last-minute charges by the Wings to edge out one-goal victories.

  • 2009 Eastern Conference semis  Pittsburgh versus Washington

    The first playoff clash between young titans Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin produced a classic. Both stars recorded hat tricks in Game 2 and the Caps jumped out to a 2-0 series lead. But the Penguins, who lost star defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a controversial Ovechkin hit in Game 4, prevailed by winning a seventh game in emphatic fashion (6-2) in Washington. Crosby and Ovechkin combined for 27 points in the series.

  • 2000 Eastern Conference finals  Philly versus New Jersey

    Down 3-1 to Eric Lindros and the Flyers, the Devils battled back to win three straight games, outscoring Philadelphia 8-3 to advance to the Stanley Cup finals, where they defeated Dallas in six games.

  • 2001 Stanley Cup finals  Colorado versus New Jersey

    The Devils looked to have this series well in hand when they stole Game 5 in Denver with Patrick Roy having an uncharacteristically soft game. He redeemed himself in Game 6 in New Jersey and the Avs provided defenseman Ray Bourque with his long-awaited first Stanley Cup with a 3-1 victory in Game 7.

  • 2003 Eastern Conference finals  New Jersey versus Ottawa

    The Senators were vying for their first Stanley Cup finals berth after coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to force a seventh game in Ottawa. But Jeff Friesen broke the Sens' hearts with a goal with just over two minutes to play in the third period of Game 7 that gave the Devils a 3-2 victory. New Jersey would go on to defeat Anaheim in another seven-game tilt in the Cup finals.

  • 2004 Stanley Cup finals  Calgary versus Tampa Bay

    This was a classic clash of styles, as the rough-and-tumble Flames took on the speedy, skilled Lightning. It looked like the Flames would win their first Cup since 1989 when Martin Gelinas appeared to score in Game 6 in Calgary. But video replay could not confirm a goal as the puck was blocked by netminder Nikolai Khabibulin's pad against the goal post. The Bolts won Game 6 and then prevailed at home in a seventh game. The series marked a dramatic fight between respective stars Jarome Iginla and Vincent Lecavalier.

  • 2004 Eastern Conference finals  Tampa Bay versus Philly

    This was the series that featured Philadelphia GM Bob Clarke's renaming of Tampa coach John Tortorella as "The Great Tortellini." It was just a slice of the ongoing war of words between the two teams. The subplot was enriched by dramatic action on the ice. Philadelphia captain Keith Primeau turned in virtuoso performances in what would be his last games before concussion issues forced him into retirement. The Lightning would edge out a 2-1 victory in Game 7, setting the stage for their first Cup win against Calgary.

  • 2006 Stanley Cup finals  Carolina versus Edmonton

    The first post-lockout finals did not leave fans wanting. Edmonton starter Dwayne Roloson was injured in Game 1 and a gaffe by replacement Ty Conklin with 32 seconds left in regulation allowed Rod Brind'Amour to score and give Carolina the Game 1 win. Fernando Pisani's short-handed overtime goal in Game 5 helped Edmonton erase a 3-1 series deficit and force a Game 7, but the Hurricanes won that final game 3-1 for their first Cup championship.

  • 2002 Western Conference finals  Detroit versus Colorado

    This would mark the last of the great postseason meetings between these two bitter rivals and featured some of this generation's greatest players in the twilight of their careers. Hall of Famers Patrick Roy and Steve Yzerman, and Peter Forsberg, who remarkably ended up leading all playoff scorers even though the Avs were dispatched in seven games by the Red Wings. Although the series see-sawed back and forth, the Wings drove Roy from the net in Game 7 in a 7-0 win, as Dominik Hasek picked up his fifth postseason shutout of the spring.

  • 2004 Eastern Conference quarterfinals  Boston versus Montreal

    The Bruins entered the postseason as the second seed in the Eastern Conference and held series leads of 2-0 and 3-1 against the undermanned Canadiens. But Jose Theodore was sensational and the Canadiens shut down the Bruins in Boston 2-0 in Game 7. The series marked the beginning of the end for Bruins captain Joe Thornton, who didn't score in the series, although it was later revealed he was playing hurt. Nonetheless, at least one local columnist suggested Thornton should be stripped of the captaincy, and the big center was dealt to San Jose early in the season following the lockout.


By Pierre LeBrun

Trades video

In chronological order, here are 10 NHL trades that made you go "hmm" from the past decade:

  • March 1, 2000  Montreal trades Vladimir Malakhov to New Jersey for Sheldon Souray, Josh DeWolf and New Jersey's second-round pick in 2001 (later traded away)
    Devils GM Lou Lamoriello is among the league's best, but he gave away too much on this one for a rental player. Souray went on to become a star blueliner, one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL. Mind you, the Devils won the Cup in the spring of 2000. So who cares if you're Lou, right? Malakhov joined the New York Rangers in July 2000.
  • June 24, 2000 

    New York Islanders trade Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen to Florida for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha
    Ah, good ol' Oleg Kvasha. He's just begun his fourth season in Russia. Let's give Florida the nod in this deal, right? Luongo would become a franchise goalie, which people were already assuming back then, and Jokinen a No. 1 center (although you could argue where you rank him there in the league). Still, for Parrish and Kvasha?

  • Oct. 2, 2000 

    Toronto trades Alexander Karpovtsev and a fourth-round pick in 2001 (Vladimir Gusev) to Chicago for Bryan McCabe
    Great trade by then-Leafs GM Pat Quinn. McCabe still hadn't matured yet, on or off the ice, but Quinn took a chance on him. McCabe would go on to have major offensive seasons in Toronto.

  • March 5, 2001 

    Phoenix trades Stanislav Neckar and the rights to Nikolai Khabibulin to Tampa Bay for Paul Mara, Mike Johnson, Ruslan Zainullin and prospect Mathew Spiller
    Simply put, this deal won the Lightning the Cup three seasons later. Khabibulin was instrumental in Tampa Bay's 2004 Cup triumph. The Coyotes had been unable to sign Khabibulin, who held out for nearly two years.

  • June 23, 2001 

    Ottawa trades Alexei Yashin to the New York Islanders for the Isles' first-round pick in 2001 (Jason Spezza), Zdeno Chara and Bill Muckalt
    Man, this one hurt if you're a Long Island hockey fan. All the Isles gave up was a star No. 1 center who has since put up 418 points in 404 games (before this season) and a future Norris Trophy winner. Yashin put up 290 points in 346 games with the Isles before being bought out of a ridiculous contract and going back home to play in Russia.

  • Jan. 7, 2002 

    Florida trades Dan Boyle to Tampa for a fifth-round pick in 2003 (Martin Tuma)
    This was pre-lockout, so the jury was still out on small defensemen. But what a brutal mistake. Since leaving the Panthers, Boyle has put up 310 points (remember, he's a blueliner) in 471 games while playing top-four minutes and also winning a Cup. Tuma never appeared in an NHL game. He's currently playing in his native Czech Republic.

  • March 10, 2003 

    Buffalo trades Chris Gratton and a 2004 fourth-round draft pick (later traded to Edmonton) in exchange for Daniel Briere and a 2004 third-round draft pick (Andrej Sekera)
    A brain-rattling steal by Sabres GM Darcy Regier. Briere put up 230 points in 225 games with the Sabres. And Sekera is now part of their NHL lineup.

  • Nov. 15, 2005 

    Anaheim trades Sergei Fedorov and a 2006 fifth-round choice (Maxime Frechette) to Columbus for Tyler Wright and Francois Beauchemin
    One of the first cap-era blockbusters. Then-Ducks GM Brian Burke pulled off a coup here. First, he unloaded a huge contract in Fedorov to create cap space (remember, it was a $39 million cap in 2005-06), and then saw the amazing emergence of Beauchemin as a top-four blueliner. That was an important move for the Ducks' eventual Cup win in 2007.

  • June 23, 2006 

    Vancouver trades Todd Bertuzzi, Alex Auld and Bryan Allen to Florida for Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a 2006 sixth-round pick (Sergei Shirokov)
    The trade of the decade? Nice one by then-Canucks GM Dave Nonis. Franchise goalies don't grow on trees. Plus, Nonis could probably see the beginning of the end in Bertuzzi's game. Bertuzzi played one injury-riddled season in Florida before moving on. Brutal deal for the Panthers, one that set them back years. The kicker for the Canucks is that the sixth-round choice, Shirokov, appears to be a player. Amazing.

  • Sept. 30, 2006 

    Montreal trades Mike Ribeiro and a 2008 sixth-round choice (Matthew Tassone) to Dallas for Janne Niinimaa and a 2007 fifth-round choice (Andrew Conboy)
    We know there were "off-ice" reasons the Habs wanted Ribeiro out, but they basically gave away an 80-point player. That's not good business.


By E.J. Hradek

Teams video

There have been a lot of great teams from the past decade, which is short one season due to the lockout. The Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils were the only franchises to win more than one Stanley Cup over that span. In fact, those franchises each reached the Cup finals three times in the decade.

While there's no formula that can accurately rank the top clubs of the past 10 seasons, we decided to give it a try. And while the game has changed dramatically in the post-lockout NHL, we're pretty comfortable those strong pre-lockout teams would have found ways to win under any circumstances.

  • 2001 New Jersey Devils 

    One of three Devils teams to make the top 10, this group was a defending champion that went into the playoffs as the top seed in the Eastern Conference. During the season, Larry Robinson's team scored a league-best 295 goals. And you didn't think those New Jersey teams could score. The Devils nearly made it back-to-back titles. Up 3-2 in the Cup finals against the Avalanche, the Devils couldn't close the deal. They dropped Game 6 on home ice before losing the series on the road in Game 7.

  • 2006 Carolina Hurricanes 

    Coach Peter Laviolette preached an attacking game in the first season after the lockout. His team was ahead of the curve, winning a franchise-record 52 regular-season games. Young star Eric Staal emerged as a dangerous threat. Captain Rod Brind'Amour led by example. And, in the playoffs, kid stopper Cam Ward proved to be a big-game goalie. The Hurricanes stopped the Oilers, another surprise Cup finalist, in a Game 7 thriller and Ward earned Conn Smythe honors.

  • 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning 

    After being a laughingstock for the first several years of their existence, the Lightning finished the 2003-04 regular season as the top seed in the East with 46 wins and 106 points. The offense was led by centers Vinny Lecavalier and Brad Richards, as well as winger Martin St. Louis. On defense, Dan Boyle was the club's key puck-mover. Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was the man in the crease for coach John Tortorella. In the playoffs, they rolled through the Islanders and Canadiens before a conference finals showdown against a gritty Flyers team. The Bolts finally advanced, winning Game 7 on home ice. In the Cup finals, they met a red-hot Flames team and the series' momentum went back and forth. But Tampa Bay was able to stave off elimination with a road victory in Game 6 and came home to capture the Cup with a 2-1 win.

  • 2003 New Jersey Devils 

    The last Jersey team to feature defensemen Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Rafalski and Ken Daneyko, this group thrived in low-scoring games. The Devils surrendered just 166 goals, tying for the league's lowest total with the Flyers. On offense, the Devils had a committee approach, as coach Pat Burns had no 30-goal scorers on his bench and Patrik Elias led the team with just 57 points. After blowing a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals against the Senators, the Devils finally advanced with a tense road victory in Ottawa. In the Cup finals, Martin Brodeur recorded three shutouts, including a Game 7 whitewash, against the upstart Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

  • 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins 

    The regular season had its ups and downs for the defending Eastern Conference champion Penguins. In February, GM Ray Shero opted to fire coach Michel Therrien and replace him with little-known Dan Bylsma. At the same time, the club got injured defenseman Sergei Gonchar back in the lineup and traded for wingers Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz. Down the stretch, things came together nicely. The Pens again won the East, setting up a Cup finals rematch with the Red Wings. Pittsburgh dropped the first two games before rallying to win the series on the road in Game 7. Young centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin took turns leading the offensive charge. Throughout the spring, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made the key saves to backstop the franchise to its third title.

  • 2008 Detroit Red Wings 

    After some mid-decade postseason disappointments, the Wings regained the Cup with an impressive playoff run. Mike Babcock's team entered the playoffs as the team to beat after posting a league-best 54 wins and 115 points. That Detroit team scored 73 more goals than it allowed. That's pretty good. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg led the team on offense, while Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski spearheaded a strong blue line. In goal, underappreciated Chris Osgood took over for Dominik Hasek in the first round and never relinquished the crease. The Wings didn't need more than six games to dispose of any of their four opponents en route to the Cup.

  • 2007 Anaheim Ducks 

    There haven't been many teams in NHL history that could boast a pair of defenders like Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. The dynamic defensive duo made it difficult for foes to mount an effective forecheck. These Ducks were a nasty bunch, too. GM Brian Burke built a rowdy team that didn't mind dropping the gloves. During the regular season, the Ducks piled up 48 wins and 110 points. In the playoffs, they made quick work of the Wild and Canucks before meeting the top-seeded Wings in the conference finals. Veteran sniper Teemu Selanne turned that series, scoring an overtime winner in Detroit to give the Ducks a 3-2 series lead. They advanced to the championship round with a win in Game 6. In the Cup final, the Ducks proved too much for the Senators. Niedermayer, who shared this Cup with his brother/teammate Rob, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.

  • 2000 New Jersey Devils 

    At the beginning of the decade, this Devils team proved very tough to eliminate. In the Eastern Conference finals, the Flyers found that out the hard way. Philly enjoyed a 3-1 series lead over Jersey, but that didn't sit well with Devils vets like Claude Lemieux, Stevens and Daneyko. They inspired their teammates -- including rookies like Scott Gomez, Rafalski and John Madden -- and forced a Game 7 showdown in Philly that is best remembered for Stevens' massive hit on Flyers star Eric Lindros. Elias scored in the final minutes to break a tie and complete the comeback. In the Cup finals, the Devils outlasted the defending-champion Stars in a series that featured a couple of multiple-overtime contests. In Game 6, New Jersey center Jason Arnott clinched the Cup with a goal in the second overtime.

  • 2001 Colorado Avalanche 

    Legendary netminder Patrick Roy backstopped an ultra-talented team that included offensive studs like Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg, as well as defensive aces Ray Bourque, Rob Blake and Adam Foote. That's a lot of star power. The team also had talented secondary players, like Chris Drury, Alex Tanguay and Milan Hejduk. This group, which put up a league-best 118 points during the regular season, faced significant adversity in the playoffs. The Avs lost Forsberg for the final two rounds due to a ruptured spleen. Then, in the Cup finals against the defending-champion Devils, the Avs fell behind 3-2 in the series. Behind Roy, Colorado spoiled a potential Cup party in Jersey, blanking the Devils 4-0 in Game 6. Back home, the Avalanche grabbed an early lead en route to a 3-1 Cup-clinching win. Captain Sakic immediately handed the Cup to Bourque, who capped a brilliant career with his first championship.

  • 2002 Detroit Red Wings 

    When all is said and done, this Detroit team might have nine Hall of Famers among it, and I'm not including Datsyuk. If he were to someday make it, that would give them an even 10. Plus, coaching icon Scotty Bowman stood behind the bench. This would be his last team. During the regular season, these Wings posted a league-high 116 points -- 15 more than the next-closest rival. Like the 2001 Avs, the 2002 Wings did face playoff adversity. In the first round, the upstart Canucks took a 2-0 series lead, winning both games in Detroit. The Wings rallied, winning the next four to take the series. In the conference finals, Bowman's troops found themselves facing elimination on the road in Game 6 against the rival Avalanche. Again, they found a way. Behind goalie Dominik Hasek, the Wings won Game 6 2-0, before crushing the Avs 7-0 in the decisive match. In the Cup finals, after a series-opening OT loss, Detroit won the next four games to capture its third Cup in six seasons.


By Paul Lukas

Uniforms video

As the decade draws to a close, NHL jerseys are caught in an interesting state of flux, between traditionalist designs like the ones worn by the Original Six and more modern concepts driven by Reebok's Edge tailoring template. The list that follows highlights 10 of the decade's most notable designs: some good, some bad, but all very emblematic of the past 10 years.

  • Minnesota Wild, current road whites 

    The Wild came into existence in 2000 and have worn nothing but great uniforms ever since, from their now-mothballed green jerseys to their throwback-ish current home set and their gorgeous new alternates. But their definitive look remains the white jersey, which provides the perfect showcase for their excellent crest. A contemporary classic.

  • Columbus Blue Jackets, current road white 

    Reebok's Edge template, with its unnecessary apron-string piping, has ruined a lot of good jerseys in recent years. But the Blue Jackets -- and, for some reason, only the Blue Jackets -- have figured out how to turn the Edge pattern into a uniform that looks clean and modern at the same time. The home and road both look sharp, but the white version is crisper.

  • Boston Bruins, current alternates 

    If you're going to wear a throwback, why not throw it way back? And if you're going to wear a bear on your chest, why not have him look like he's on the prowl instead of mounted on a hunter's wall? Check and double-check.

  • Buffalo Sabres, current home and road set 

    Few logo designs have been as instantly and universally reviled as the one the Sabres currently wear. Is it a slug? A hairpiece? For better or worse (guess), it's one of the decade's most iconic looks.

  • The Winter Classic jerseys -- all of them 

    Have these been great or what? Whether it's classic Pens and classic Sabres or ancient Red Wings against ancient Blackhawks, the Winter Classic uniforms have been total eye candy.

  • Dallas Stars, 2003-06 alternates 

    No decade is complete without a few disastrous alternate jerseys. In the '90s, it was Wild Wing and Burger King; this decade, it's been Dallas' "Mooterus" design.

  • Phoenix Coyotes, 2000-03 alternates 

    Did someone mention disastrous alternate designs? Hockey and Cubism: two great tastes that don't taste so great together.

  • Officials' jerseys 

    After nearly a half-century of wearing standard zebra stripes, NHL officials have seen their attire undergo several changes this decade. First, in 2000, sleeve undersides were changed from striped to solid black (plus they experimented with putting an orange stripe down the referee's back during the All-Star Game, but fortunately they never tried that again). Then, in the 2007 All-Star Game, the referees' armbands were changed from orange to silver (that experiment was supposed to have been made permanent for the 2007-08 season, but league execs changed their minds). This season finds the officials wearing wider stripes and flashier orange stripes for the refs. Doesn't this all seem like the very definition of reinventing the wheel?

  • Montreal Canadiens, 2009 centennial throwbacks 

    A bit much? Yeah, maybe. OK, definitely. But once you've seen them, you'll never forget them, are we right?

  • A white jersey worn at home, any team, any time 

    Dear NHL: Please, please, please go back to having the home team dress in white, as was the case up until 2003. As it stands now, every game at Madison Square Garden is blue versus white, every game at the Prudential Center is red versus white, and so on. Restoring the white-at-home format provides more visual variety for fans (one night, it's white versus red; the next night, it's white versus green, etc.), plus white just feels better as a home color. Can do? Thanks.


By Scott Burnside

The NHL has gone through its set of rough patches over the past decade:

  • 2004-05 lockout 

    Even now, it seems ludicrous that pro athletes and the men who own their teams would allow an entire season, including playoffs, to go by the boards because they couldn't agree on how the millions of dollars generated by their sport should be divvied up. Yet, that's what the NHL and its players allowed to happen in the fall of 2004. Was there a silver lining? Yes. The game returned stronger and more appealing than ever before, thanks to a concerted effort to change how the game was called. But was it really worth becoming the first pro sports league to lose an entire season to a labor squabble? Uh, no.

  • Rules changes 

    Although it's hard to argue with the results now as we head into the fifth post-lockout season, the move to eradicate the rampant obstruction fouls that dominated the game in the years leading up to the lockout wasn't without its detractors. Many believed -- and still believe -- that the clamp-down on fouls, especially in the defensive zone around the net, have made the game less physical. There are always those who believe officials allow the standards to slip once the playoffs begin, as well. But it's hard to argue that the changes in the standards haven't produced a better game.

  • 'Operation Slapshot' 

    This one had the potential to permanently scar the NHL. At the outset, leaks from law enforcement suggested involvement from people including Wayne Gretzky's wife, Janet Jones, NHL players and managers. Rick Tocchet ended up pleading guilty to conspiracy and promoting gambling and was placed on probation. He was in essence banned from the game for about two years before commissioner Gary Bettman allowed him to return. Tocchet is now the coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Investigations by both law enforcement officials and the NHL concluded neither Tocchet nor any of those involved had solicited or made any bets on hockey.

  • Sale of the Phoenix Coyotes 

    It may not have been the biggest controversy of the past decade, but the ongoing issue of who will own the Phoenix Coyotes was undoubtedly the messiest. Jim Balsillie's latest tragicomedy (see below) proved to be an exercise in nonstop mudslinging on both sides of the issue and became one of the league's most embarrassing situations. Balsillie once again tried to slide into the NHL via a backdoor deal that would have had former Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes put the team in bankruptcy and Balsillie outbid others provided he could move the team to Ontario. After months of legal wrangling, a Phoenix judge tossed out Balsillie's offer and the BlackBerry magnate said he would not appeal. Now, the NHL must try to sell (and revive) the franchise. A victory for the league? Well, you know what they say about being careful what you wish for.

  • Sale of the Nashville Predators 

    Speaking of fiascos, this was another of the NHL's many ownership faux pas as Bettman moved swiftly to cut Balsillie out of a potential deal to buy the troubled Nashville Predators from former owner Craig Leipold. Instead, Leipold ended up selling the Preds -- at a significantly lower price than Balsillie's offer -- to a group of local investors and one major outside investor, William "Boots" Del Biaggio III. Del Biaggio ended up declaring bankruptcy and was recently sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud. One of the uglier elements of this case was the revelation that Del Biaggio had actually borrowed money from two NHL owners to buy the team.

  • Potential move of the Pittsburgh Penguins 

    This was Act I for Balsillie, as he looked, at the time, to be the white knight to solve the myriad of financial problems for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Owner Mario Lemieux was tired of battling local politicians over securing a new arena. He was being courted by Balsillie and AEG, the owners of the L.A. Kings, who wanted to move the Pens to Kansas City. But in the final reel, the NHL stepped in and first imposed a series of stipulations on the Balsillie deal that made it unworkable from his viewpoint. Then, the league brokered a deal with local and state officials that kept the Pens in Pittsburgh. In the end, the league's intervention was justified as the Pens have since enjoyed a Stanley Cup parade and are building a new arena in downtown Pittsburgh, one of the strongest hockey markets in the league.

  • Sean Avery suspension 

    Although the NHL has no shortage of on-ice chaos, it was Sean Avery's off-ice act that created a firestorm during the 2008-09 season. He gathered reporters in Calgary to make an off-color remark about his former girlfriend, actor Elisha Cuthbert, and her new boyfriend, Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames. Some were outraged when Avery received a six-game suspension and was forced to undergo anger management counseling through the NHL/NHLPA substance abuse and behavioral modification program. But the comments were merely the straw that broke Avery's back. Then with the Stars, Avery acted out in Nashville and Boston and had been on double-secret probation at the time. He was ultimately cast off by Dallas and ended up finishing the season with the New York Rangers, the only team that can apparently handle Avery.

  • Drug testing 

    The good news for the NHL is that through literally thousands of tests, both through its own testing policy and annual international testing at events like the World Championships and Olympics, only one active player has tested positive (defenseman Sean Hill). The bad news is that most agree the level of testing has a long way to go in order to prove the widely held belief that hockey is relatively clean. The league is pushing the union to come up with a plan that will allow the expansion of the testing window to include the playoffs and offseason and for tests that include a broader range of substances. The players say they want to prove they're clean, but have been slow to come up with a model to enhance the existing policy.

  • NHLPA fiascos 

    Hard to know where to start with the players' association, whose membership submarined former executive director Bob Goodenow in trying to end the lockout, turned their leadership over to Ted Saskin, who was forced to resign after it was discovered he was reading members' e-mails, and then recently fired Saskin's replacement, Paul Kelly, after a palace coup. The Kelly firing, conducted in the middle of the night at a meeting in Chicago, has opened the union up to further ridicule and left it divided on the very structure of its organization.

  • Dan Snyder car crash 

    On Sept. 29, 2003, Atlanta Thrashers star forward Dany Heatley lost control of his Ferrari while returning from a season-ticket holders event in downtown Atlanta and crashed into a brick gatepost. Teammate Dan Snyder was ejected on impact and suffered massive head injuries. He died a week later without regaining consciousness. Heatley suffered multiple injuries and missed most of the rest of that season. Although initially charged with vehicular homicide, Heatley ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide and other minor charges and was given three years' probation. The sentence was influenced in no small part by the unwavering support shown to Heatley by the Snyder family. Heatley later asked for a trade from Atlanta so he could start fresh and was dealt to Ottawa after the lockout.


By E.J. Hradek

The past decade has been full of amazing moments. We've seen the end of some sensational careers and the beginning of many others. The highlight reels are full of spectacular goals and mindboggling saves. And there have certainly been stunning victories and shocking defeats.

Where do you begin? No matter what moments we finally settled on, we think you'll remember every single one of them. Here are our 10 most memorable moments of the past 10 years:

  • Captain Koivu returns  April 9, 2002

    Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in September 2001, Canadiens captain Saku Koivu returned to the ice after a season-long battle with the disease. The emotional, sellout crowd welcomed its captain back with a wild eight-minute standing ovation. The inspired Canadiens won the game, beating the Senators 4-3.

  • Super Mario, Part Deux  Dec. 27, 2000

    Mario Lemieux shocked the hockey world by ending a three-year retirement, coming back to a rousing ovation at Mellon Arena. He scored a goal and dished out a pair of assists in a win over the Leafs. Lemieux netted 35 goals and totaled 76 points in just 43 games during the remainder of the 2000-01 season. He retired for good after the 2005-06 season.

  • O, Canada!  Feb. 24, 2002

    In an all-North American Olympic hockey showdown, Canada ended a 50-year gold-medal drought with a 5-2 victory over Team USA in Salt Lake City. Devils star Martin Brodeur backstopped Canada to the victory. The Americans, coached by "Miracle on Ice" icon Herb Brooks, hadn't lost an Olympic hockey game on home soil since 1932. Not long after the final buzzer, it was discovered that a Canadian loonie (a Canadian coin dollar) had been buried into the playing surface by the Edmonton-based ice crew for good luck.

  • Finally!  June 9, 2001

    Ray Bourque capped a brilliant 23-year career by hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time after the Avs' 3-1 Game 7 victory over the Devils. Colorado captain Joe Sakic immediately handed the trophy to the beloved veteran, who had spent 21 years in Boston before accepting a 2000 trade that allowed him to chase -- and eventually capture -- the elusive Cup in Denver.

  • The Lottery  July 22, 2005

    A season-killing lockout left the league scrambling for a way to determine the selection order for the 2005 draft. The solution: a weighted lottery. The prize: Sidney Crosby. It came down to Anaheim or Pittsburgh. You know the result. Ironically, both franchises have gone on to win a Stanley Cup.

  • The Kid Cup  June 12, 2009

    Less than four years after entering the NHL as one of the most prized prospects in NHL history, Sidney Crosby became the youngest captain to hoist the Stanley Cup. Crosby's Penguins overcame 2-0 and 3-2 series deficits en route to a seven-game series victory over Detroit. In the decisive game, Crosby suffered a knee injury in the second period that kept him on the bench for long stretches of the final stanza. Not surprisingly, the bad wheel didn't stop him from accepting the Cup from commissioner Gary Bettman.

  • Snow globe  Jan. 1, 2008

    On a snowy, cold day that was made to order, the Penguins posted a 2-1 shootout win over the Sabres in the league's first New Year's Day Winter Classic at a packed Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y. The game was well-received by fans and the national media. The idea was such a success, it has become an annual event.

  • Take me out to the hockey game  Jan. 1, 2009

    The league brought its second Winter Classic to legendary Wrigley Field in Chicago. Fans jammed the old-time baseball park for a battle between the hometown Blackhawks and the rival Red Wings. The defending champion Wings put a further chill into the Wrigley faithful with a 6-3 win over the Hawks.

  • Frigid conditions  Nov. 22, 2003

    In the NHL's first regular-season outdoor game, the Canadiens edged the Oilers 4-3 at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. A crowd of nearly 58,000 braved below-zero temperatures to watch a hockey doubleheader that included a legends game between former stars of the two franchises. Mark Messier, at the time an active player with the Rangers, received special permission to skate alongside longtime Oilers teammate Wayne Gretzky in the legends matchup.

  • Brotherly love  June 6. 2007

    Anaheim captain Scott Niedermayer handed the Stanley Cup to his brother, Rob, after the Ducks won their first championship. It was Scott's fourth title, but Rob's first. In 2003, the two brothers competed against one another in the Cup finals, as Scott's Devils defeated Rob's Ducks in that seven-game Cup finals series.