The National Hockey League is a professional UsefulNotes/IceHockey league in North America. Founded in 1917, it is currently composed of 31 teams: 24 in UsefulNotes/TheUnitedStates and seven in UsefulNotes/{{Canada}}, with the [[UsefulNotes/LasVegas Vegas]] Golden Knights as the league's newest team. UsefulNotes/TheStanleyCup represents the league's championship, and is the oldest challenge trophy in North America; traditionally, each member of the championship team gets possession of Lord Stanley's Bowl for a day, and it has had [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditions_and_anecdotes_associated_with_the_Stanley_Cup#Misadventures some odd misadventures]] in its time.

It is a member of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_professional_sports_leagues_in_the_United_States_and_Canada “Big Four” American and Canadian sports leagues]] along with the UsefulNotes/NationalFootballLeague, [[UsefulNotes/MLBTeams Major League Baseball]], and the [[UsefulNotes/NationalBasketballAssociation National Basketball Association]]. However, especially in the DeepSouth, the NHL is often the butt of MyFriendsAndZoidberg jokes in regards to this group ([[DontExplainTheJoke In which they are referred to as]] ''"[[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball The]] [[UsefulNotes/{{Basketball}} Big]] [[UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}} Three]] Sports … and [[ButtMonkey Hockey]]."''), due to among other things, the sport’s difficulty in appealing to the "Sun Belt" region considering that there is little to no snow in those areas and hockey is obviously most popular in places where it snows in the winter. That being said, the league makes up for it by being extremely successful in the northern states and especially in Canada.[[note]]To illustrate the point, the American Creator/{{NBC}} TV network acquired the exclusive national broadcast rights to NHL games in the US for $2 billion, but the Canadian media company Rogers Communications paid ''$4.9 billion'' for the exclusive Canadian TV rights. When you consider that Canada has about 10% of the population of the USA, then the immense popularity of the league in Canada is obvious.[[/note]]

Each year since 2008, the league has hosted the ''Winter Classic'' on New Year's Day[[note]]It was changed to January 2 in 2012 so as not to conflict with the NFL as New Year's fell on Sunday that year.[[/note]] which features two major rival teams in an outdoor game, usually at either an NFL or MLB stadium. The 2014 game (rescheduled from 2013 which was cancelled due to the league lockout) was held at the UsefulNotes/UniversityOfMichigan. Beginning in 2010 (for the 2011 Classic), Creator/{{HBO}} began running ''[[Series/NHL247 NHL 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic]]'' which followed the two teams involved throughout the month of December leading up to the event.

In "the beginning",[[note]]The roots of the league go back to 1917 with four teams (among them the Canadiens and Maple Leafs) and grew to as many as ten before TheGreatDepression and UsefulNotes/WorldWarII forced the league to downsize.[[/note]] there were the "Original Six", the six teams that formed the NHL from the folding of the New York Americans in 1942 until the league's expansion in 1967.

!!"[[IReadItForTheArticles I watch it for the fights!]]"
As noted on the main UsefulNotes/IceHockey page, The NHL is notable for being one of the only sports leagues where fighting (referred to in the rule book as "fisticuffs") is considered part of the game and players are not automatically suspended for it. Among NHL players, [[LetsFightLikeGentlemen fighting is mostly an honorable affair]], and breaking "The Code" is a serious no-no, usually resulting in [[TheBigGuy one of the other team's enforcers]] marking you for the rest of the evening and most games after, as well as painting a target on your back for the rest of the league.

To be succinct, fight with your fists, no sucker punches, and only fight if you are already on the ice when it starts. Breaking any of these rules gets you ejected for a game misconduct. In addition, if you participate in a fight, you receive an automatic five-minute major penalty (you sit out for five minutes but are replaced in the lineup. But get three of them and you're ejected), and if you started it, you get an additional two minutes for instigation (get two of those and you're ejected as well). Most times, to circumvent the instigation rule, players will try to drop their gloves at the same time, though if they're just that pissed, they won't care.

When a fight is going on, play stops completely. The refs only intervene when either nothing is happening, a player is getting utterly shit-stomped, or both players fall to the ice. If someone else tries to come in and double-team, the refs will put a stop to it immediately. Almost always, the fight will cause the crowd to get into it, even if the home team is down by several goals, and is an effective way at livening up an otherwise-dull affair.

Generally speaking, mano a mano fights aren't as common as one would think. While often sheer animosity can lead to two players [[ThrowingDownTheGauntlet dropping their gloves,]] most fights are usually done strategically, either as retaliation for a big or unnecessarily-brutal hit or by enforcers to give the crowd something to cheer for and get the players mentally reinvigorated on adrenaline. Considering that players often toe the line with what they can do without getting penalized (including slashes, water bottle squirts, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and Your Mom! jokes]]), it takes something special to elicit this reaction from the players, but if taken too far, it results in a line brawl.

Line brawls are very rare, and almost always stem from rivalries or anger. Almost always, all five skaters on each side throw down, and sometimes [[BigFun even the two goalies]] [[UpToEleven will go at it]]. All players participating get five-minute majors, only the one who sparked the conflict gets the instigator penalty, and everyone has to skate on over to the penalty box to wait out the five minutes rather than just running off five minutes from the clock.

!!The Teams

'''Current League Format''': The league is currently divided into two conferences (Eastern and Western), each with two divisions (Atlantic and Metropolitan for the East; Central and Pacific Divisions for the West). The conferences used to be named the Prince of Wales Conference and the Clarence Campbell Conference (respectively), and the divisions used to be called the Adams, Patrick, Norris, and Smythe before 1993. At the start of the 1993–94 season, Commissioner Gary Bettman realigned and renamed the conferences and divisions (Eastern and Western Conference; Atlantic, Northeast and Southeast division for East, Pacific, Northwest and Central for West). Another realignment, which took place prior to the start of the 2013–14 season, became necessary after the Atlanta Thrashers, who were in the Southeast Division, moved to Winnipeg, screwing up the alignment of the Eastern Conference.
* The league is returning somewhat to the pre-1993 [[http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/2234799/nhl-realignment-bigger.png four-division format]] in a bid to balance out the schedules resulting from the Jets' move from Atlanta to Winnipeg (along with problems such as time zones,[[note]]Most Eastern Conference teams are located in the Eastern Time Zone, but Detroit, which is also in that zone, while in the West frequently played in California, three hours away.[[/note]] [[http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324468104578246012261259922.html travel distances]] and having Nashville and Columbus in the West) -- which has not gone down well with most fans. [[WhatAnIdiot Moving Detroit away from the Blackhawks and into the equivalent of the Eastern Conference has something to do with it.]] [[ArtisticLicenseGeography Putting Florida teams along with the Northeastern USA and Canada helps too.]]
** For further perspective on how idiotic this plan is, they split the Northeast/Florida division in order to "preserve traditional rivalries" like the Penguins and Flyers, Rangers and Devils, etc. while splitting up one of the most storied rivalries in hockey. The Hawks/Wings rivalry is considered on par with the classic rivalries of the Habs/Bruins and Habs/Leafs.
*** It should be noted, though, that the plan came ''from the Red Wings themselves''! Apparently, they were kinda tired playing over a quarter of their games three time zones away, with the associated later start times screwing up local television broadcasts. Especially during the playoffs.
*** Additionally, the conferences are deliberately imbalanced because they wanted to allow for two more expansion teams. When it takes more than one hand to count the teams who consistently lack financial stability and are prime for relocation, one of which went bankrupt and had been under league ownership for four years while the league found new owners, they have no business even thinking about expansion anytime soon. Some even suggest killing a franchise or two instead. They're expanding anyway, with UsefulNotes/LasVegas getting its first major league team in 2017, with a potential 32nd team in UsefulNotes/{{Seattle}} as soon as the 2020-21 NHL season.


[[folder:Eastern Conference]]
* ''Atlantic Division''
** ''UsefulNotes/{{Boston}} Bruins'': First NHL team south of the border. Famous former players include Bobby Orr, Cam Neely and Ray Bourque. The team throughout its history is known for having very physical, fight heavy games, special mention going to the previously mentioned Neely, and Forward [[BloodKnight Shawn Thornton]] for the most penalty minutes of the last two seasons due to fighting. [[LargeAndInCharge Current captain]] and defenseman [[TheBigGuy Zdeno Chára]] is the tallest guy ever to play in the league, standing six feet, nine inches (2.06 meters). Their 39-year Cup drought ended when they won in 2011. Have won more titles than any other American team but Detroit. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDpKx4w_NIc They REALLY don't like Montreal.]]
** ''Buffalo Sabres'': Don't bring up Brett Hull's goal in 1999 to them. [[BerserkButton Please.]] Their original uniform design remains the most popular overall, given the backlash against their [[FanNickname Goat's Head]] [[TheNineties red and black era]], and the [[FanNickname Buffaslug]]. The team of the “French Connection” (a reference to [[Film/TheFrenchConnection the contemporary movie of the same name]]), a forward line from the 1970s consisting of three French-Canadians (center Gilbert Perreault, with Rick Martin to his left and Rene Robert on his right). Also the team that had The Dominator -- goalie Dominik Hašek -- for his most dominant years. Besides him and fellow goalkeeper Ryan Miller, they've mostly lacked star power over the past few years, to the point where they've started to play so badly Advanced stats sites leave them off of charts as they've sort of become statistical outliers.
** ''UsefulNotes/{{Detroit}} Red Wings'': The team of Steve Yzerman. Consistently good for almost all of the last 30 years—the 2016–17 season was the first since 1990 in which they missed the playoffs—therefore [[TheScrappy hated outside Detroit]]. The general dislike is newer than a lot of people think, since the post-expansion revival came after almost twenty years of being somewhat of a league ButtMonkey and a strenuous rebuilding process. Before then, there just weren't as many teams to pass the Cup around to, but they were the most dominant of the American-based teams. Were notorious for being one of the most expensive teams in the NHL before the salary cap came to be, to the point where many people who hated them claimed they were only successful because they bought a championship caliber team rather than building up young and inexperienced players (much like the [[UsefulNotes/MLBTeams New York Yankees]]). However, the Red Wings remained competitive in the salary cap era, going on to win the Stanley Cup in 2008, proving that there is more to their success than simply throwing a lot of cash around. Fans have a habit of chucking [[EverythingsSquishierWithCephalopods octopodes]] onto the ice during the playoffs (in the Original Six days a playoff team needed to beat two teams in best-of-seven, thus eight wins, to win the Cup). The feelings between them and Chicago are mutual, but Detroit fans tend to have [[SarcasmMode more creative chants]]. The Wings opened the league's newest arena, Little Caesars Arena, for the 2017–18 season.[[note]]While that same season was the first for the Vegas Golden Knights, their home ice, T-Mobile Arena, opened nearly a year earlier.[[/note]]
** ''Florida Panthers'': Started fast for an expansion team: they came very close to making the playoffs in their first season and made it to the Finals in their third. After that, there hasn't been much for them; their berth in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs is their first in over a decade. Not to mention that 2012 was their first year in winning a divisional championship. Their most notable contribution came during their Cinderella Finals run in 1996, when fans would litter the arena with plastic rats, causing extensive delays in games (due to one of their players killing a rat with his stick in the locker room … yeah, fans are weird). And 1996 was the only time the Panthers advanced in the playoffs, crashing in Round 1 in the sparse five appearances in twenty years that followed. Named after [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_panther an endangered cougar]]. Their arena also has a multiple personality disorder, having gone through five different names in fifteen years.[[note]]They're not the only ones — the Bruins, Flyers, Lightning, and Sabres have had similar issues with ''their'' current arenas.[[/note]]
** ''UsefulNotes/{{Montreal}} Canadiens'': AKA the Habs.[[note]]For “Les Habitants”, an old term for French-origin inhabitants of Quebec.[[/note]] Older than the NHL; their history begins in the NHL's predecessor league, the National Hockey Association. Has won 24 championships, a feat surpassed only by the [[UsefulNotes/MLBTeams New York Yankees]]. Also the last Canadian team to win the Cup (1993). Goaltender Jacques Plante made the goalie mask regular gear after stopping an Andy Bathgate slapshot with his nose in 1959. Pretty much the team of French Canada with the departure of the Quebec Nordiques to Colorado in 1995. Their long, storied history includes some legendary Franco-Canadian players: Maurice ‘Le Rocket’ Richard, Jean Béliveau, Guy Lafleur and Patrick Roy. [[TheRival They hate Toronto with a passion]], they surely don't like Boston, and they really don't like [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jimZ1tSdPY0 Zdeno Chára]].
** ''Ottawa Senators'': Not related to [[TheOtherDarrin the old Ottawa Senators]] (1883–34) who won the Cup 11 times. Their first two seasons were absolute disasters (their 1992–93 season saw them win only 10 games of 84), but they slowly grew into perennial playoff contenders for most of the last decade.[[note]]But they could never get past [[ArchEnemy the Leafs]] whenever they met (four times in the last five years before the season-cancelling lockout), and their only Finals appearance ended in defeat to the Ducks.[[/note]] Despite being in the capital of the most hockey-crazed country, a slightly remote arena sometimes makes fans weary of attending games - not it stops Montreal and Toronto (the latter from the same province as Ottawa) from filling up the place, [[http://montrealgazette.com/sports/hockey/nhl/montreal-canadiens/christopher-curtis-senators-plan-to-restrict-ticket-sales-only-helps-scalpers something the ownership eventually got tired of]]. Once got into a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZT2PIyE5Vg massive brawl]] with the Buffalo Sabres with 100 penalty minutes and goalies going at each other. Also, former star player Dany Heatley is disliked [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ipzg5bo7l4 by fans.]]
** ''Tampa Bay Lightning'': Southernmost team to win the Cup (2004), albeit somewhat contentiously (the "phantom goal" that would have cost Tampa the Cup is arguably the most controversial call other than Brett Hull's "foot in the crease" in 1999). They were the first attempt to market hockey in a former Confederate state since the Atlanta Flames (who moved to Calgary), and help start a wave of expansion teams and team relocations during TheNineties when they showed a steady fanbase. They set single-game attendance records for a few years due to playing in a then-vacated domed baseball stadium (now Tropicana Field and home to the Rays), which was larger than any hockey arena but also made it hard to keep the ice solid. Has been in ownership turmoil ever since, though they've had stretches of good play in the past decade, including a second Stanley Cup final in 2015. Set a new standard for stadium RuleOfCool in 2011 when renovations to the St. Pete Times Forum (now Amalie Arena) included the installation of Tesla coils in the rafters that [[ShockAndAwe shoot real lightning]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEm_9IIRitc during the pregame intro and after goals]]. Oh, and despite those aforementioned ''Florida'' Panthers (who play in a suburb of UsefulNotes/{{Miami}}), the Bolts predate them by one year.
** ''UsefulNotes/{{Toronto}} Maple Leafs'': Known for bad declension,[[note]]Technically, it's correct because the team isn't named after the things that grow on trees but the Canadian Maple Leaf Regiment that fought in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.[[/note]] being hated by the rest of Canada ([[ArchEnemy especially among Montreal fans]]), being [[TheEmpire the most valuable franchise in the league]], [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut and not having won the Cup since 1967]] (tied with the Blues, which began play in the 1967–68 season and have never won the Cup, for the league's longest current drought after the Blackhawks' win in 2010), or before 2013, a drought of seven seasons not even ''qualifying'' for the playoffs, Their rivalry with the Canadiens is the oldest in the league. They hate their provincial rivals, the Ottawa Senators, a lot and have kicked them out of the playoffs on multiple occasions. The Toronto Maple Leafs are far and away ''the'' most profitable and popular team in the sport, with season tickets to the Air Canada Centre (their home rink) unavailable for a minimum of ''ten years'', and home games rarely ''not'' sold out. Their immense profitability and popularity has ensured that, despite their losing streak (going on fifty years), they are not in any danger of closing shop any time soon. With big names like Brendan Shanahan, Mike Babcock and Lou Lamoriello joining the front office staff over recent years, leading to a heavy influx of young talent on the ice that culminated in the 2016 1st overall selection of Auston Matthews, there's finally some hope in "Leafs Nation" that the club is turning the corner, although there's still "pain ahead".

* ''Metropolitan Division''
** ''Carolina Hurricanes'': Formerly the Hartford Whalers, and formerly of the WHA; moved in 1997 because they were getting squeezed financially by the Original Six Bruins and Rangers (and they were playing in a tiny arena that was literally part of a shopping mall complex). First couple of years in North Carolina didn't go so well either on or off the ice (half-empty arenas are a persistent problem for NHL teams in the South, especially if the team is less than awesome). A Cup run in 2002 and a Cup victory in 2006 turned things around for a while, though (Raleigh hosted a successful All-Star Game in 2011, which speaks to the fanbase support the team has cultivated), and they had usually been in contention with Washington for the Southeast Division titles. Unfortunately, a lack of sustained success, having not qualified for the playoffs since their 2009 conference final run, has seen them sink back to the bottom of the league in attendance numbers.
** ''Columbus Blue Jackets'': The second NHL team in Ohio (the UsefulNotes/{{Cleveland}} Barons[[note]]Also the name of a longstanding minor-level American Hockey League (AHL) franchise from 1937 to 1973, then from 2001 to 2006.[[/note]] played from 1976 to 1978). Has a cannon in their home arena that fires after every Jackets goal and victory, honoring the state of Ohio's contributions to [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar the Union]] (hence the name) - fans [[MostWonderfulSound love it]], while players and commentators from other teams typically [[MostAnnoyingSound do not]]. In a way, it's ironically symbolic of the team's reputation as a GlassCannon: they tend to have issues with multiple players racking up injuries, but when they can manage a healthy roster, they can be anywhere from decent to downright amazing.[[note]]For a perfect example of this, contrast their injury-riddled 2015-2016 season, which saw them finish near the bottom of the standings, and their largely healthy 2016-2017 season, in which they achieved the second longest winning streak in NHL history at 16 games, just one short of the record set by Pittsburgh.[[/note]] Made the playoffs for the first time in 2009 (the last current team to do so) and got their first playoff win in 2014 (having been swept in the aforementioned 2009 series by the Red Wings), but haven't yet made it out of the first round.
** ''UsefulNotes/NewJersey Devils'': Formerly the UsefulNotes/KansasCity Scouts AND the Colorado Rockies. During most of their early history, they were the league's undisputed ButtMonkey.[[note]]None other than The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky, called them a “Mickey Mouse organization” in 1983 after he scored his first of two eight-point games against them.[[/note]] Then, in 1988, they [[TookALevelInBadass took a level in badass]] and began a 24-year streak where they won three championships and only missed the playoffs three times; however, after losing the Cup in 2012, they have missed the playoffs two years running. The team of Martin Brodeur, who is always in the discussion of best goalie ever and currently holds [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Brodeur#Records numerous career records]]. Traditionally won with defense and came up with the neutral-zone trap[[note]]Larry Robinson, who coached the Devils to a second Stanley Cup win, stated that when he played with the Montreal Canadians in the 70s (alongside former Devils coach Jacques Lemaire, who led the Devils to their first Stanley Cup win), the team utilized a similar trap-like style game that led Montreal to a Cup dynasty.[[/note]] that led to low-scoring games all across the league in the years before the lockout. Does not like [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRt1hLdTjDY the Rangers]],[[note]]The chant in the link happens at every home game, without exception, no matter who they're playing against or what point it is in the season.[[/note]] even the front office: They've made trades with every team … except the Rangers. Though historically they have had trouble selling tickets (except for games against the Rangers and Flyers), this has recently changed due to the coming of age of their fans that grew up watching them win three Cups as children. Recognized in hockey circles as a heavily strict and heavily disciplined franchise, with a team-first mentality. Oh, and they're named after a cryptid called TheJerseyDevil that supposedly haunts the Pine Barrens region. Hockey fans in New Jersey are typically torn between being loyal to either the Devils, Rangers or the Flyers (older fans in North Jersey tend to root for the Rangers while South Jersey, closer to Philly than Newark, roots for the Flyers).
** ''UsefulNotes/{{New York|City}} Rangers'': AKA the Blueshirts. Name comes from the fact that [[EgocentricTeamNaming the first owner was a guy named]] [[IncrediblyLamePun Tex]].[[note]]George Lewis "Tex" Rickard; in other words, “Tex's Rangers".[[/note]] Most recent year of glory was 1994, when the Curse of 1940 [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wzq2AhbXSeY was broken]] (the longest Cup drought in history at 53 seasons). The Rangers have a fierce rivalry with the Devils, which made Messier's Game 6 hat trick and Matteau's double OT goal in Game 7 of the 1994 Conference Finals that much sweeter. Has a recent history of overpaying for players, though management seems to be trying to change that. The team no longer plays [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaYm0wQtztU “Let's Go Band”]] at home games because every time it's played, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epUWCHxrdSQmany diehards will chant “Potvin sucks!”]][[note]]This chant long outlived the career of Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin of the rival Islanders, to whom it was directed, though it became relevant again when the unrelated goalie Felix Potvin had a brief stint with the Isles.[[/note]]
** ''New York Islanders'': New York's ''[[HufflepuffHouse other]]'' team. Known as the ‘Fishsticks’ due to their unpopular 1990s jersey where they changed the logo for the 1995–96 season and it was too similar to the fisherman on boxes of Gorton's fishsticks, they have usually been bullied out of the media by the big-time Rangers, and have their radio coverage on the CollegeRadio station of Hofstra University (but with professional broadcasters) due to lack of listener interest or room on the dial because of the Rangers, Knicks, Nets and Devils all staking their claim on the big New York sports stations. Did have a string of four straight championships in the early 1980s. Since then, history and a hatred for the Rangers are really [[VestigialEmpire all they have going for them]]. Spent more than two decades without winning a playoff series (1993, when they upset Pittsburgh in the division finals, to 2016, when they faced the equally unlucky Panthers in the first round). Has a reputation for [[IncompetenceInc managerial ineptitude]]: trading away future stars, overpaying on contracts, etc. (outstanding ones being injury-prone goaltender Rick [=DiPietro=] to a 15-year contract, which got bought out halfway through;[[note]]He wasn't even with the Islanders, but their minor league team Bridgeport Sound Tigers.[[/note]] and Alexei Yashin, whose buying out in 2007 would be spread out until 2015 … when he retired in Russia in 2012!), not to mention their 1997 franchise sale to a con artist who convinced the NHL he had the money to afford an NHL franchise, only to be found out that he couldn't. Nassau Coliseum, their home from their creation through the 2014–15 season, [[WretchedHive was by far the crappiest arena in the league]], and was the second oldest in the league, after Madison Square Garden, the Rangers' home (which is frequently renovated so as to stay modern); they attempted to build a new arena for years, only to be stopped by Nassau County's massive webs of red tape. They ended up moving to the Barclays Center in {{Brooklyn|Rage}} in 2015, which became the smallest arena in the league and is infamous for not being hockey-friendly.[[note]]Barclays was optimized for basketball given it built by the NBA's Brooklyn Nets; thus, the jumbotron is not aligned with center ice and plenty of seats have obstructed views. Ironically, the Nets had originally planned Barclays to be able to accommodate an NHL team properly, but the Islanders chose to continue to focus their efforts on Nassau County instead, and by the time the Isles finally gave up, Barclays had been completed in its current configuration.[[/note]] Depending on your definition of "Long Island", their nickname may or may not be an ArtifactTitle.[[note]]Brooklyn is physically ''on'' Long Island, as is Queens, but to a NYC resident, "Long Island" means Nassau and Suffolk Counties.[[/note]]
*** To be fair about the [=DiPietro=] contract, it seems to have become more of a harbinger of contracts to come: more double-digit-year contracts for more high-profile players have since been made by teams around the league, and the league voided a 17-year contract between Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils because it evaded the salary cap too blatantly (they later settled on a 15-year one that the league was fine with).
*** As for their arena, they've now announced plans to return to Nassau County at a new arena to be built next to the Belmont Park [[UsefulNotes/HorseRacing horse track]] in Elmont, a community on the border with Queens. The Isles' new digs are tentatively set to open in 2020.
** ''UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}} Flyers'': One of the teams created in the 1967 Expansion, and the first of the expansion-era teams to win the Stanley Cup. Historically known as the Broad Street Bullies of the '70s, where they pretty much [[GoodOldFisticuffs punched their way to the Cup]].[[note]]Although Bernie Parent's skimpy less-than-two-goals-against average probably had a little to do with it. Many Philadelphia cars at the time sported bumper stickers declaring “Only God saves more than Bernie Parent”.[[/note]] Has chronically lacked a permanent goaltender in recent years. On the subject of goaltenders: the first ever goalie to score a goal was Flyers' Ron Hextall. The only NHL team to defeat the Soviet Red Army team during their "Super Series '76" string of exhibition games, Ed van Impe's [[OneHitKo check on Valeri Kharlamov]] left the latter face-down on the ice ''for over a minute''.[[note]]The Red Army team [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere withdrew from the ice in protest of no penalty being called]], but were browbeaten back on when they said [[MoneyDearBoy they wouldn't get paid for the entire excursion of they left]].[[/note]] Their arena has been named after four different banks that ate each other up one after the other. They have particularly notable rivalries with the Rangers, the Devils, and Penguins, the [[ArchEnemy latter of which they hate the most]] and divides within the state of Pennsylvania.
** ''UsefulNotes/{{Pittsburgh}} Penguins'': Current UsefulNotes/StanleyCup Champions. Another of the teams created in the 1967 Expansion. The team of Sidney "Sid the Kid" Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but really, it's "Super Mario" Lemieux's team. He's saved them from bankruptcy at least twice; first as the hot number-one pick in 1984 that revitalized the team and won two Cups in 1991 and 1992, and then again by buying the team outright, and then coming out of retirement to put butts back in the seats and thereby becoming the first ever player/owner in the NHL. Although they faced potential relocation a few years ago, first to Hamilton, Ontario and then to Kansas City, a new arena deal was struck in 2007, and the new building opened in 2010. Under Crosby and Malkin's leadership, got to two straight finals in 2008 and 2009, winning the latter, and following a long stretch with postseason shortcomings and/or injuries to several of their core players (most infamously the concussion that sidelined Crosby for all but a handful games in 2011), won the Penguins' fourth and fifth Cups back-to-back in 2016 and 2017.
** ''UsefulNotes/{{Washington|DC}} Capitals'': The team of Alexander Ovechkin. Their first season saw them with the worst winning percentage in modern NHL history ('74/'75 record: 8-''67''-5). For several years they usually had much more regular-season success, but EveryYearTheyFizzleOut in the first or second round of the playoffs (typically at the hands of the Islaners, Rangers, or Penguins); they then lost even their regular season success, as while Ovechkin remains potent offensively, his support all but crumbled, and without any real defense to back him up, they dropped in the standings until finally missing the playoffs in 2014, but bounced back to finish with the league best record in 2016. Their first and so far only Stanley Cup Final appearance was in 1998, in which they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.

[[folder:Western Conference]]
* ''Central Division''
** ''UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}} Blackhawks'': Only Original Six team left in the West. A team with both history (Tony Esposito, Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull) and rising stars (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews). Known for the longest time of having an incredibly stingy owner who would place the bottom line over winning the Stanley Cup. Interestingly, as soon as said owner died ([[ZeroPercentApprovalRating to boos from the fans]] when asked for a moment of silence), his son took over and changed things. One of those things was finally allowing home games to be broadcast on Chicago TV. That has pushed CSN Chicago and WGN to their highest ratings ever. Even NBC and Versus have enjoyed some of the highest ratings they've had for playoff games. Everyone was very happy and the team suddenly played very well, ending a 49-year Cup drought in 2010 and following it up with another two Cup wins in 2013 and 2015. The Blackhawks are known for having a very rowdy fanbase, being loud enough to hear WAY outside the Chicago Stadium/United Center, and being raucous enough to earn the United Center the nickname "The Madhouse on Madison". [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h96TxGedzLY They really hate Detroit]] and for that matter they really dislike Vancouver [[http://i.imgur.com/BELys4t.jpg also]]. Neither do they care for [[https://twitter.com/CommandSign/status/456923825368621056 St. Louis]]. And they also have a negative reaction to both Dallas and Minnesota [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYadXjdO_vc because of the North Stars in the '80s]]. That being said, many a Blackhawk fan does have a favorable opinion of the Colorado Avalanche because of what is seen as a shared hatred of Detroit.
** ''Colorado Avalanche'': Formerly the Quebec Nordiques, which joined the NHL in the 1979 WHA merger. This is the league's second venture in UsefulNotes/{{Denver}} (the Rockies became the New Jersey Devils in 1982). Had a strong rivalry with the Red Wings in the '90s when both were good. The Avs won two Stanley Cups, in 1996 (in their first season in the new city!) and 2001. The team of Joe Sakic. When the Avs won their second Cup, it was Ray Bourque's final NHL game. As the Nordiques, they were best known for playing in the shadow of the Habs, their heated rivalry with Buffalo, and for drafting Eric Lindros, whose subsequent trade to Philadelphia (without having played a game for Quebec) became the building blocks for the Avs' first Stanley Cup run. After some time being bottom feeders, they saw a resurgence in 2013–14, lead by two key players of the SC runs, Sakic himself as GM, and goalie Patrick Roy as coach. After Roy was fired, 2016-17 marked an absolute RockBottom, winning only 22 games and after the lottery picking only fourth in the draft.
** ''[[UsefulNotes/DFWMetroplex Dallas]] Stars'': Formerly the Minnesota North Stars. One of the teams created in the 1967 Expansion. Faced several ownership issues in Minnesota, including a merger with another failed team in 1978 (the Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals/Cleveland Barons), and a threat to move the team to San Jose before the merger was dissolved with the formation of the Sharks. Despite leaving a hockey-rich market in 1993, the Stars have surprisingly thrived in Dallas, winning the Cup in 1999 (although the nature of the Cup-winning goal remains a [[BerserkButton point of contention, especially in Buffalo]]). They recently have begun an up-and-down resurgence starting in 2013, with several off-season trades, including stars Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alexander Radulov, as well as former Lightning-GK Ben Bishop.
** ''[[UsefulNotes/TwinCities Minnesota]] Wild'': Awarded as a 2000 expansion team largely as an apology for allowing the North Stars to be hijacked to Dallas. Helps that the Wild ownership has been far more committed to the local market than any of the Stars' owners ever were, having retired #1 as a tribute to the hockey fans of Minnesota at the first Wild game. Until 2009 they didn't have a permanent captain (the position was rotated among the players). Once held one of the more unusual streaks in the game—they won all of their home openers until finally dropping one in 2013. Also, they have the {{pun}}niest chant in the league thanks to their [[PunnyName team's name]].
** ''UsefulNotes/{{Nashville}} Predators'': A consistently decent team since about 2004, which has problems both with other people knowing they exist and staying solvent: the fanbase is pretty decent, but corporate sponsors are lacking for them, not to mention attempts in 2007 to move the team to be the "Hamilton Predators" that fell through and then to Kansas City. Part of this situation might be the defensive-minded approach that its coach Barry Trotz (the only coach the team had since it started playing in 1998, until 2014) has implemented -- [[BoringButPractical it's effective in winning games but doesn't make for exciting play that can draw fans in]], but that changed with the addition of Mike Fisher (after being traded from the Senators, where he was a fan favorite), husband of country superstar Music/CarrieUnderwood and team captain until his [[TenMinuteRetirement short-lived]] retirement in the 2017 offseason, as well as making it past the first round of the playoffs twice. Have had a few dominating defencemen with Ryan Suter (currently in Minnesota), Shea Weber (captain for six years, even warranting a massive contract of $110M for 14 years) and P.K. Subban (traded from Montreal for Weber), with the last one leading the team to their first Stanley Cup final in 2017.
** ''UsefulNotes/StLouis Blues'': One of the teams created in the 1967 expansion. The oldest franchise still without a championship, although they made the Finals in their first three seasons (due largely to divisional alignments of the time guaranteeing one of the 1967 expansion teams facing an Original Six team in the Finals). They were once owned by Ralston Purina (who penny-pinched the hell out of the team), and nearly moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan before a new owner was found that would keep the team in St. Louis.[[note]]The preceding year was so bad for them, though, that the arena got padlocked and they didn't even participate in the draft.[[/note]] Brett Hull had his best years as a Blue.
** ''Winnipeg Jets'': Formerly the UsefulNotes/{{Atlanta}} Thrashers. On May 31, 2011, the team was sold and moved to Winnipeg[[note]]The ''second'' time a team moved from Atlanta, the first being the Flames in 1980.[[/note]] for the next season, resurrecting the previous team's name due to overwhelming fan support for it (this has also led to a ''massive'' ContinuitySnarl, as the history of the original Winnipeg Jets is now entrenched in the backstory of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes,[[note]]Meanwhile, the NFL's Cleveland Browns, the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, MLS' San Jose Earthquakes, and NLL's Philadelphia Wings all either retained (Browns, Earthquakes, and Wings) or eventually reclaimed (Hornets) the history of their original franchises after their relocations to Baltimore, New Orleans, Houston, and Connecticut, respectively.[[/note]] a [[BerserkButton severely contentious issue among Jets purists]]). The Jets play in the smallest ''standalone'' market among the Big Four sports leagues and are one of two teams based in a metropolitan area with less than one million residents.[[note]]While the Green Bay metropolitan area is roughly half the size of Winnipeg's, the Packers are also part of the larger UsefulNotes/{{Milwaukee}} media market.[[/note]] Season tickets for Winnipeg's 2011–12 season sold out in ''17 minutes''. The team then remained two years geographically miscast in the now-defunct Southeast Division[[note]]OK, Winnipeg ''is'' in the southeastern part of Manitoba.[[/note]] before the league and the players' union accepted a new realignment. Prior to the 2017-18 season, the franchise only made the playoffs twice, getting swept both times, once as in their lone appearance as the Thrashers in 2007 against the Rangers and again in their first appearance as the Jets in 2015 against the Ducks. The Jets ''finally'' won their first playoff game against the Wild on April 11, 2018, and the Jets subsequently won the series 4-1.
* ''Pacific Division''
** ''Anaheim Ducks'': Formerly the "Mighty Ducks of Anaheim", this team was founded by Creator/{{Disney}} [[{{Defictionalization}} following the success]] of ''Film/TheMightyDucks'' movies (and subsequently the real team's mascot, Wildwing Flashblade, became the protagonist of ''WesternAnimation/TheMightyDucks'' cartoon featuring him and other duck aliens fighting evil whilst being NHL players).[[note]]In a strange twist, their first Stanley Cup appearance in 2003, while under Disney ownership, was against the New Jersey Devils who was once called a "Mickey Mouse organization" by Wayne Gretzky in the early 80s due to their ineptitude at that time.[[/note]] Thankfully, they dropped the "Mighty" from their name in 2006, then won the Stanley Cup the very next year, the first Californian team to do so. They had a streak of [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut constantly losing]] [[http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25569450/ducks-lose-fourth-straight-game-7-at-home-waste-remarkable-turnaround home game sevens]][[note]]They were able to defeat the Edmonton Oilers in 7 games at home in the 2017 Western Conference Semifinal, but many fans ([[BerserkButton especially of Edmonton]]) found the series win to be incredibly dubious due to accusations of missed calls and general poor officiating.[[/note]] for a time, but were able to buck that trend in a Conference Final appearance, only to get swept in the First Round of the next season. They have a fierce geographic [[TheRival rivalry]] with the Los Angeles Kings known to fans as the Freeway Face-Off, and the both of them have equally-fierce rivalries against their northern neighbors, the San Jose Sharks. Due to a very physical style of play that often sees them toe the line on what they can get away with, as well as having "goon players"[[note]]players who aren't afraid to give borderline-legal hits or pester the other team even after whistles[[/note]] like Chris Pronger, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry, and Nick Ritchie over the years, Anaheim have lately had the reputation of being "the bullies of the league."
** ''Arizona Coyotes'': Formerly the original Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes. After years of being threatened of relocation (helped by a former owner filing the team for bankruptcy in 2009, followed by four years of the Coyotes operated by the NHL itself -- [[WellIntentionedExtremist hell-bent on keeping them in Arizona]], even if Hamilton, UsefulNotes/{{Seattle}}, Quebec City, UsefulNotes/KansasCity, and even Saskatoon were offering to get the team) finally got a new owner in 2013. Surprised everybody in 2009–10 as [[EnsembleDarkhorse one of the best teams in the league]], finishing second in their division with 50 wins. They'd then do it again two years later by winning their first ''ever'' divisional championship … for '''both sides of the franchise'''!
** ''Calgary Flames'': Once home to one of the best mustaches in the league, belonging to Hall of Famer Lanny [=McDonald=]. Major [[TheRival rival]] to the Edmonton Oilers, as part of the Battle of Alberta, and also have another big one in the Vancouver Canucks. The rivalry with the former was most heated in the 1980s, when both teams had stockpiled incredible amounts of talent, the Oilers taking most of the series versus the Flames. (Although in 1986, the Oilers did the Flames a favor by scoring on themselves in Game Seven.) Also broke Canada's heart when they couldn't seal the deal back in 2004 -- although there was a potential Cup-winning goal scored by the Flames late in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals that is still a sore point for Flames fans today. The franchise started as the Atlanta Flames from 1972 to 1980, before moving northwest to join Edmonton in the NHL. Lately, they have been unable to amount to much, failing to qualify for seven of the last nine playoffs, and in both of their appearances, getting shown the door by the Anaheim Ducks, against whom they had [[https://www.foxsports.com/nhl/story/calgary-flames-the-decade-long-curse-of-the-honda-center-110616 a spectacularly-long losing streak away from home]] up until 2017.
** ''Edmonton Oilers'': The last surviving team from [[TheRival the World Hockey Association]] that remains in its original city, and the only one of the four that joined the NHL (Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets, Hartford Whalers) that never actually won a WHA title. The team most people think of when they talk about UsefulNotes/WayneGretzky. Once had an epic rivalry with the Los Angeles Kings during the '80s, but it was more one-sided in favor of the former; the Oilers won the Cup five times in seven years (1984, '85, '87, '88, and '90; a fluke own-goal cost them the chance to play for the 1986 trophy, and Gretzky was traded in the 1988 off-season). Simply put, they were an offensive juggernaut in the '80s, shattering records. The '90s, though, were a different story: changing economics forced management to dismantle the team (by the start of the 1992 season, most of the players from the dynasty years were gone), though they did make the playoffs somewhat consistently in the late 1990s. They last made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006, only to be defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes in the seventh game. Since then, they've had a string of last or next-to-last-place finishes in their division (including finishing dead last in the league twice in a row), and subsequently a lot of high draft picks -- most notably, four first-overall in a period of six years between 2010 and 2015. And yet the accumulation of young talent didn't translate into a winning season until 2016–17 (which made the rest of the league [[TheScrappy kind of hate the Oilers …]] but not their fans, [[TheWoobie whom they agree deserve a break someday]]), but the following season saw them miss the playoffs by a considerable margin, leaving that bright future in doubt due to high contracts for Leon Draisaitl, Connor [=McDavid=], and Andrej Sekera taking away a lot of cap space. Currently playing in one of the league's newest arenas, namely Rogers Place (opened for 2016–17).
** ''UsefulNotes/LosAngeles Kings'': One of the teams created in the 1967 expansion. The team traded for Wayne Gretzky in 1988, a move which probably saved the Kings but almost caused the Canadian government to interfere (SeriousBusiness doesn't begin to describe hockey in Canada). Was the NHL's first team in a warm-weather city. Has a rather large and loyal fanbase. Stanley Cup champs of 2012 and 2014, both runs seeing some impressive victories over heavily-favored opposition (including a Second Round reverse sweep of the San Jose Sharks). Their regular season prowess leaves a lot to be desired, as in their fifty-one years of existence, they have only managed a single division title, but when playing as underdogs, the Kings often play far better than they do as favorites.
** ''San Jose Sharks'': The first team of the 1990s expansion, born out of a failed attempt to relocate the North Stars to the Bay Area, and one of the more successful examples from a business perspective. They currently have a reputation of doing well in the regular season but [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut not so well come playoff time]]; in 2010 and 2011 they made it to the Western Conference Finals, but lost in four games to Chicago and five to Vancouver, respectively. In 2014, they had a 3-0 lead over the Los Angeles Kings in the Second Round, only for the Kings to come back and win. In 2016, however, they ''finally'' won the Western Conference Finals after beating the St. Louis Blues in six games, but still lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Penguins in six games. As such, sports media and many fans seem to feel the "choker" label no longer applies (the teams that beat them in the 2016 Finals and eliminated them in 2010, 2011, and 2014 were all extremely potent[[note]]Aside from the 2011 Canucks who were the best team all season long until losing the seventh game of the Finals, the other four all got the Cup.[[/note]]), but popular opinion being what it is, they will likely be "chokers" until they win a Cup.
** ''UsefulNotes/{{Vancouver}} Canucks'': Unusually for a hockey team, until recently their goalie (Roberto Luongo) was captain.[[note]]Although this is considered unofficial by League rules, which have prohibited goalies from wearing the "C" on their sweater for over 60 years. He wore it on his mask instead.[[/note]] Has reached the Stanley Cup Final [[EveryYearTheyFizzleOut three times and lost]], twice to teams from New York (Islanders in '82, Rangers in '94) and to the Boston Bruins in 2011. The 1978–85 "Flying-V" sweater is widely considered to be [[DorkAge one of the ugliest uniforms in League history]], though some would argue that they've never really had good luck with uniforms. Home to the Sedins before their retirement, twin brothers with such uncanny chemistry that "Henrik to Daniel … Goal!" was one of the most common sounds in the league. Some people consider them [[CreepyTwins to be rather creepy]]. Their [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_Vancouver_Stanley_Cup_riot last]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Stanley_Cup_riot two]] Cup losses sparked riots in Downtown Vancouver. They really don't like Calgary[[labelnote:Note 1: Geography]]The two cities are just over 400 kilometres apart, and are not only the largest in BC and Alberta respectively, but also the two largest in western Canada altogether. But the Rocky Mountains aren't just a geographical barrier, but a social, economic and political one as well. Vancouver is Lotusland: a nature-loving, cosmopolitan, NDP/Liberal-voting city with a laid-back, hippie vibe, surrounded by the [[UsefulNotes/TheOtherRainforest ancient rainforests]], the towering Coast Mountains, and rugged inlets; Calgary is Cowtown: a rougher-hewn, oil-and-gas, CPC-voting city with a cowboy past, with the rolling foothills in the shadow of the Rockies to the west and vast prairie to the east.[[/labelnote]] [[labelnote:Note 2: History of the rivalry]]The bad blood peaked from the mid 80s to the mid 90s with playoff showdowns. Both teams started falling apart in subsequent seasons, but the rivalry was rekindled for a second, much briefer period starting in the 2003–04 season. The rivalry became dormant again after Calgary became a consistent disappointment starting in 2007 or so, and the Canucks moved on to Chicago as a main rival. The two teams met in the first round of the 2015 playoffs, igniting the rivalry for a third time, but whether it will last remains to be seen, especially if Michael Ferland is traded.[[/labelnote]], don't like Chicago[[note]]The tradition of waving towels, that started in hockey with Canuck fans, had its origins from [[http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=633306 when the two teams met in the 1982 playoffs]]; but the story really starts when Chicago's former owner "Dollar Bill" Wirtz died in 2007, and his son Rocky inherited the club, ending his father's sabotage and turning the team into a powerhouse. His touch was immediate: the Canucks met the Big Bad Blackhawks, and their physical agitators like Dave Bolland and Dustin Byfuglien, in the playoffs three years in a row. After being eliminated by Chicago in 2009 and 2010 with [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3cV688Fi-g fairly lopsided defeats]], they narrowly thwarted an almighty upset, a 3–0 to 4–3 reverse-sweep, in 2011. As if it couldn't have gotten any more white-knuckle, Jonathan Toews forced overtime with two minutes left in Game 7. But, Alex Burrows managed to [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuShAiGdvDc slay the dragon]], and the city breathed a collective sigh of relief. These playoff matchups featured a prickly relationship between head coaches Alain Vigneault and Joel Quenneville (who was said to "out-coach" AV) and even allegations of biased officiating, although the Canucks' problems with the refs stretch back all the way to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St%C3%A9phane_Auger "Auger-gate"]]. After Game 6 in 2011, then-general manager Mike Gillis publicly criticized the series' officiating, which is a huge no-no in the league. He was slapped with an undisclosed fine for his trouble.[[/note]] (but not as much as in recent years[[note]]Most of Chicago's physical players that gave Vancouver such a hard time have left the club, and the two teams haven't met in the playoffs since.[[/note]]), and they absolutely '''[[http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/eulogy-remembering-2011-12-boston-bruins-135112495.html despise]]''' Boston.[[note]]Besides losing to the Bigger, Badder Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals, the bad blood persists because the physical players that Canucks met in 2011 are still there, including Chára, Marchand, and local boy (and WHL Vancouver Giants alumnus) Milan Lucic. Poor Lucic seems to be a magnet for hate in his own hometown. When the two teams met next, there was a [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2-hamwBLYw bench clearing brawl]], and six weeks later [[http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/lucic-s-burnaby-church-sprayed-with-canuks-graffiti-1.1230363 his family's church]] was [[SoreLoser vandalized]]. In a December 2013 game, the Canucks won at Rogers Arena 6–2, and later that night Lucic had a drink thrown on him and was then punched three times. Afterwards, he said he was fed up with his hometown and could no longer defend it.[[/note]] Until recently, they had an unfortunate reputation for flopping and playing dirty, which only waned after three very disappointing seasons (they went '''1–8''' in the 2012 and 2013 playoffs, and missed the playoffs in 2014 entirely), and the addition of Trevor Linden, Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins to the organization. And the hate for the Canucks in Alberta will always endure.
** ''[[UsefulNotes/LasVegas Vegas]] Golden Knights'': As part of the 2013 conference realignment, the two conferences were set with an imbalanced number of teams on order to allow for future expansion. The league officially began accepting bids in 2015 with proposals from Las Vegas and Quebec City, and Vegas was awarded a franchise in 2016 that began play at the new T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip in the 2017–18 season.[[note]]Quebec's bid was rejected largely due to requiring an existing east team to move to the west and the weak Canadian dollar.[[/note]] An initial season ticket drive prior to the official bid earned commitments from over 14,000 people. The Golden Knights are the first Big Four sports team in the city's history, it being the largest metro area in the country without one[[note]]Vegas will become the new home of the NFL's Oakland Raiders once a new stadium is built there, likely in 2020[[/note]]. Billionaire owner Bill Foley appears dead set on avoiding most of the issues that have plagued Sun Belt teams in the past[[note]]especially the perpetually unstable Coyotes who are poised to be their main rival[[/note]] and so far has been taking the right steps in doing so, including hiring longtime Capitals general manager George [=McPhee=]. Before the team was announced, Foley publicly stated that it would either be Desert Knights, Golden Knights, or Silver Knights, and not any name related to gambling, per league requirements. His original preference was ''Black Knights'', as a nod to his days at [[MilitaryAcademy West Point]], but he wasn't able to claim that name.[[note]]The team's ownership group calls itself Black Knight Sports & Entertainment. Sharing a conference with the Blackhawks didn't help him get the name.[[/note]] On November 22, 2016, Foley officially revealed the name and logos of the new team as the Golden Knights, and in June of 2017, their expansion draft was held, making Vegas the new home of 3-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-André Fleury, former Nashville centerpiece James Neal, and former St. Louis Blue David Perron. They are now rewriting what success for an expansion team in their [[https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/vegas-has-the-best-expansion-team-in-the-history-of-pro-sports-and-its-not-close/ inaugural season means]]. Defied the odds and became the first expansion team across all four major sports to finish with a winning season in their first year, won the division title and a playoff spot, battled with Boston, Tampa, and Nashville for the President's Trophy, swept the Los Angeles Kings in the First Round, and are considered the favorites to advance to the Stanley Cup Final out of the West. Again, all of this ''in their first year of existence.''

'''Two Roads to the Top'''
Unlike Major League Baseball, which runs its own farm teams, and basketball and football, which rely almost entirely on NCAA college ball to develop the rising generation of players, the NHL splits recruiting between two parallel systems: the NCAA and the Canadian Hockey League (also called the Major Juniors). Both of these, in turn, increasingly recruit from both sides of the border and both offer unique advantages to players -- the CHL offers an earlier start (age 16 or occasionally earlier if a player is considered exceptional) and faster track while the NCAA offers a degree from a (sometimes quite prestigious) U.S. university as a fallback and more stability (CHL players can be traded at a moment's notice just like NHL players, while of course at an NCAA school, you stay in one place until you graduate, drop out, voluntarily transfer, or get kicked out for misconduct).[[note]]We should note here for people planning to watch NCAA hockey that because hockey is so regional, its Division I conferences are quite different from those in other sports; many smaller schools from cold places are Division I in hockey. What's more, the conferences were even ''more'' different until a few years ago.[[/note]] Another option is the United States Hockey League (USHL), also a junior league.

While both draw from the same pool of youth hockey players, once a player has committed to one or the other there's no switching -- the NCAA considers (ex-)CHL players professionals ineligible for their "amateur" sport while a player with a year in an NCAA program under his belt would be, at 19, too old to start out in the CHL (although both retain existing players up to age 22–23). The USHL, on the other hand, is strictly amateur, which allows players to go to the NCAA.

The NHL also recognizes two minor leagues for player development: the American Hockey League and the ECHL (an ArtifactTitle, it was known before 2003 as the East Coast Hockey League, but now has teams throughout North America), roughly equivalent to AAA and AA in baseball, respectively.

!!Names to know
* Forwards:
** '''UsefulNotes/WayneGretzky''': [[TheChosenOne The Great One]]. Near universally considered the best hockey player of all time, he holds over 60 league records, including the career highs for most goals, assists, and points in both the regular season and playoffs, and led Edmonton to four Stanley Cup championships. He was traded to Los Angeles in 1988, and played briefly with St. Louis and the Rangers in the late '90s. He retired in 1999, and coached the Coyotes for four seasons ([[ThePeterPrinciple but they were perennial losers under him]]). Also one of the ''nicest'' players to set skate to ice, staunchly avoiding fights and always playing a clean game, as evidenced with him winning the NHL's Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for good sportsmanship and complementary playing skill five times. His #99 was retired league-wide in 2000.
*** His records are so dominating that, in the seventeen years since he's retired, his career points (a point being a goal or an assist) is still completely untouched, nearly ''1000'' points higher than second place. Besides scoring more goals than anyone in league history (894), even if you only count his assists (1,963), the amount still tops any other player's career point total.
*** Gretzky finished his career with 2,857 regular-season points. The next one in the scoring lists is Jaromír Jágr with 1,921 career points; while he remained active in the league until being released in January 2018, he was less than a month shy of his 46th birthday at his release and was in his 24th NHL season.
** Gordie Howe: The man who held most of the league's records before Gretzky came along and smashed them. Also known as "Mr. Hockey". The unofficial stat of a ‘Gordie Howe Hat Trick’ is named after him, indicating that a player has scored a goal, an assist, and a fighting major in one game, even though [[BeamMeUpScotty Howe himself rarely accomplished this feat]]. He played most of his NHL career for the Detroit Red Wings and is probably most beloved there (he also ended up retiring there). Howe came out of retirement to play alongside his sons in [[TheRival the World Hockey Association]] before retiring again with the Whalers in 1980. He then came out of retirement ''again'' to play a shift with a minor league team in the 1990s for the sole purpose of becoming the only man ever to play professional hockey in six consecutive decades. Gretzky's hero growing up -- the two would play on a line together at the 1980 All-Star Game, with Gretzky as the youngest player and Howe as the oldest. He's possibly considered the TropeMaker of a power forward in ice hockey because back then, there weren't many guys of that particular caliber until Howe came.
** Maurice "the Rocket" Richard: One of the greatest players in his generation and best goalscorers of any. First player to ever score fifty goals in fifty games. Just ''four'' other men have followed.[[note]]Gretzky three times (with one being a ''50 in 40'' season), Brett Hull twice, and Mike Bossy and Mario Lemieux once each.[[/note]] The trophy given to the league's top regular-season goal scorer is named after him.
** Bobby Hull & Brett Hull: Father and son who, while they never played during the same years, were both feared for their booming shot. Bobby stunned the hockey world in 1972 for jumping to [[TheRival the World Hockey Association]] and the first million-dollar contract in hockey history. Between them, they've scored over 1300 NHL goals. ‘The Golden Jet’ and ‘The Golden Brett’, respectively.
** Stan Mikita: Along with Bobby Hull, is considered one of the greatest Blackhawks of all time, having developed a distinct RedOniBlueOni playing style with Hull that proved highly effective[[note]]Modern Hawk stars Jonathan Toews (blue) and Patrick Kane (red) mirror it to a degree.[[/note]] and led to the team's 1961 Cup. The two were honored in 2011 with life-size bronze statues outside the United Center right by [[UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan that one guy who tends to be associated with great Chicago athletes.]] Mikita is the actual career leader in ‘Gordie Howe hat tricks’ (see above).
** Guy Lafleur: A dynamic offensive star for the Canadiens during the Seventies. Known for his hair flying behind him as he zoomed down the wing. Known as ‘The Flower’ as such (and because it is also a direct French translation of his surname), or ‘The Blond Devil’.
** Mario Lemieux: Perhaps the only player who could rival Wayne Gretzky (Gretzky said Mario was actually better than he was) in skill, and points (1.88 points per game to Gretzky's 1.92), if his career wasn't plagued by injuries: chronic back problems (to the point he could hardly tie up his own skates), lots of hip issues and ''freakin' cancer'', before finally retiring due to a heart issue. He retired once previously for three years, and took a full year off. Currently part of the ownership group of the Penguins and its [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Hockey_League AHL]] farm team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Lemieux bought the Pengiuns in 1999 in order to keep his beloved team in Pittsburgh, and un-retired in 2000 to both draw crowds back to games and so his young children could see him play. This made him the very first player-owner in NHL history, and one of the very few ever in North American professional sports. Retired for the last time in 2007 due to heart problems. Wore #66.
** Jaromír Jágr: Lemieux's longtime [[TheLancer lancer]] during the Pens' glory years in the '90s and once owner of [[https://www.google.com.br/search?q=jaromir+jagr+mullet&tbm=isch one of the most legendary]] [[EightiesHair mullets]] in sports history. Served as captain for Pittsburgh for a time after Mario's first retirement before the team's financial troubles led to him being let go. After a few seasons with the Capitals and Rangers the seemingly washed-up star returned to Europe to play in the KHL where he improved, eventually to the point of leading the [[UsefulNotes/TheCzechRepublic Czech]] national team to gold at the World Cup. Wears #68 in honour of his grandfather who died in the Czech uprising of 1968. At age 39 he set his sights on a return to the NHL leading to the infamous 2011 "Jágr Watch" in the days leading up to the summer free-agency period. All signs pointed toward him returning to Pittsburgh but the deal fell through at the last minute and he eventually signed with the Pens' ArchEnemy, the Flyers. As expected, backlash ensued. He was traded to the Bruins near the end of the 2012–13 season and wasn't re-signed at the end of the season. He then signed with the Devils as a free agent, being traded to the Panthers halfway through the 2014-15 season. Can still bring it from time to time — on January 3, 2015, Jágr became the oldest player in NHL history to score a hat trick, about six weeks shy of his 43rd birthday. Many note Jágr would be closer to Gretzky's numbers had he not spent some seasons in Russia.
*** And it seemed for a while that Jágr still had what it took to play at the very top level: in the opening five games of 2015–16 season, he scored four goals and three assists for the Panthers. By the end of the season, he led the team in points, finishing with 66, and the Panthers won their division. And then in 2016–17, he passed Mark Messier for second place on the all-time scoring list. All this at 44 years old. And he had absolutely no plans to retire—in fact, [[WordOfGod he's said]] he can see himself playing until he's 50 (which would be in February 2022).
*** However, injuries finally caught up with him in the 2017–18 season, and the Calgary Flames released him during that season. After clearing waivers, he returned to his homeland to play for HC Kladno, a second-division team he owns, where he'll now try to get them promoted to the Czech top flight.
** Marcel Dionne: Sixth all-time in points and third only behind Gretzky and Lemieux in 100-point seasons. One of the most talented players never to win the Cup. Ironically, his less talented brother, Gilbert, pulled it off -- with Montreal, against Marcel's longtime Los Angeles Kings -- in 1993.[[note]]The Kings tried to compensate Dionne by sending him a championship ring after winning it all in 2012.[[/note]][[note]]Not only did Marcel not get to raise the Cup, he never even played in a conference final! The only other player among the NHL's top 60 career goal scorers without a conference final appearance is Alexander Ovechkin (through the 2016–17 season).[[/note]]
** Mark Messier: The [[LastOfHisKind last WHA-era player to retire after the merger]]. ‘The Moose’. Won the Stanley Cup five times with his hometown team in Edmonton, but is better known for winning it with the Rangers in 1994 -- he's the only player ever to captain two different teams to the Cup. He is often considered to be one of the greatest leaders to play hockey, sometimes nicknamed 'The Messiah' in New York for his legendary playoff performance with the Rangers in 1994. When he retired, he was second to Gretzky in all-time points scored, though by a ''wide'' margin (1,887 points to Gretzky's 2,857; he's since been passed by Jágr). In 2004, Messier retired when he was on his second stint with the Rangers -- in-between he had [[DorkAge a short and failed stint in Vancouver]] [[FanonDiscontinuity which most try to forget]], and made Messier hated in BC to this very day.
** Sidney Crosby: ‘Sid the Kid’. Entered the NHL as a child hockey prodigy originally from Nova Scotia. One of the best players playing today, and the one most likely to be recognized by non-hockey fans. Scored the game winning goal for Canada in the 2010 Olympic gold-medal game. Also one of the [[AmericansHateTingle most hated players outside of Pittsburgh, particularly in Washington, Philadelphia, and Detroit]]. Much of the {{Hatedom}} comes from his being pushed by the league and media as [[TheChosenOne The Next One]], and his immaturity (whether actual or perceived) in his early years, and his continued [[WolverinePublicity push by the media]] to this day. When it comes to international hockey, pretty much all of the US hates him because of the aforementioned gold medal-winning goal, which came against the United States. Was sidelined with a concussion in consecutive games in early 2011 (the former of which being the outdoor Winter Classic) and was out until November when he returned for a couple weeks but was out once again until March. (Unintentionally) the face of a string of high-profile concussions currently plaguing teams and players throughout the league.
** Connor [=McDavid=]: 'Connor [=McJesus=] / TheChosenOne'. Centerpiece for the Edmonton Oilers starting in the Late '10s, a prodigy on par with Sid the Kid himself, though unlike Crosby, he was designated The Next One by The Great One himself. At the beginning of the 2016/17 Season, Connor was named the youngest captain of an NHL team in history, at 19 years 256 days. He is also the fourth-fastest person ever to reach 100 points in the NHL (behind Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Alex Ovechkin), and the third-youngest player to win the Art Ross trophy, with only Gretzky and Crosby being any younger, and also won the Hart Memorial and Ted Lindsay trophies in 2017 to complete the trifecta. Currently holds the highest contract in the NHL at his age, and serves as the cover athlete for NHL '18. He has also gone on record saying his favorite players happened to be Crosby and Tyler Bozak, as he was a fan of the Penguins and Maple Leafs, and his play style of "pass-first" reflects that.
** Mike Modano: Probably the best player in Stars history, so much so that even though he signed with Detroit, when he returned to Dallas they still cheered for him. He is still beloved in Minnesota as well, having helped lead the North Stars to the 1991 Finals; his last game for the Stars was against the Wild in St. Paul, and he received a standing ovation at the end of the game when he came back out in a North Stars throwback. Currently holds the scoring record among American-born players and is widely considered to be the best American player of all time.
** Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams: The NHL's all-time leader in penalty minutes with a staggering 3966 in 962 games. A feared fighter who was also fairly productive offensively with several 20-goal seasons (and one with 35) compiling a very respectable 513 career points total. A colorful character in the Seventies and Eighties, (in)famous for his ride-your-stick-like-it's-a-broom goal celebration.
** Teemu Selänne: ‘The Finnish Flash’. Spent most of his NHL career with the Anaheim Ducks (two separate stints totaling 14 seasons and change out of 22 in all), finally retiring in 2014 just before turning 44. He's one of the most prolific goal-scorers in league history and holds the record for most goals (76) and points (132) in his rookie season.[[note]]Gretzky would have held the latter record with 137 points in his first NHL season, but as he had played a season in the WHA before that, he was not considered a rookie when he joined the NHL.[[/note]] A mainstay on the Finnish national team until his retirement, he played in four Olympics and is considered a national hero.
** Pavel Bure: ‘The Russian Rocket’ -- one of the premier goal-scorers of the Nineties. A dynamic talent, his career was ended prematurely by injuries. The last player to post back-to-back sixty-goal seasons.
** Alexander Ovechkin: Captain of Washington, and one of the most electrifying players in the league today. Fans either love his energy, or hate his showboating. While being one of the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e55muGzKK5o most eligible bachelors]] in professional sports, he was noted for preferring [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wndsFyb2to the simple family life]], and is an admitted MommasBoy. Of course his mother is an [[CoolOldLady two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner]] from the Soviet women's basketball team, and is also his agent. He is also apparently [=BFFs=] with [[Series/JerseyShore DJ Pauly D]], and now engaged to Russian tennis player Maria Kirilenko.
** Daniel and Henrik Sedin: Identical twins who have played together for their entire lives, except for during the 2011 All-Star Game, when they were [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks drafted by opposite teams]]. Considered to be two of the best players currently playing, in the past two years they have both each individually won the award for the league's highest scorer (along with various league MVP awards, Henrik with the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2009–10 and Daniel with the Ted Lindsay Award in 2010–11). They have announced they will retire at the end of the 2017–18 season.
** Joe Thornton: Erstwhile captain of the San Jose Sharks, called ‘Jumbo Joe’ for his large size. Considered one of the best passers in the League (he has regularly earned more assists than all or most other players post-lockout), has recently drawn some comparisons to Steve Yzerman (see below) for committing to the defensive side of the game at the cost of reduced offense. Also known as a very nice guy during interviews and off the ice, but recently has started to react to the media with snarl and a little condescension due to their continued insistence on trotting out the “choker” label whenever the Sharks start to do poorly.
** Steve Yzerman: The longest-serving captain in NHL history, wearing the '''C''' for Detroit for twenty years (19 seasons due to the 2004–05 lockout). Once an offensive superstar that approached Gretzky and Lemieux's scoring skills, Yzerman reinvented himself as a two-way player to help lead the Wings to three Stanley Cup titles. As GM for Team Canada, he put together the 2010 Gold-winning squad, and is the latest GM for the Tampa Bay Lightning (the position in Detroit not opening up any time soon -- ironically, the 2015 and 2016 playoffs saw Tampa eliminate the Wings in Round 1).
** Paul Henderson: A very good player in the NHL and later WHA in TheSixties and TheSeventies but famous for scoring the most dramatic and important goal in Canadian hockey history -- the series-winning goal in the final game of the epic 1972 Summit Series versus the Soviets.
** Sean Avery: The most hated player in the league. He was traded from the Red Wings to the Kings as a result of his behavior. He was then traded from the Kings to the Rangers in 2006, and the New York fans fell in love with his attitude that culminated in introducing an ingenious but outlandish [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec_2oKWe2Gw tactic]] against the rival Devils in the 2008 playoffs. He signed with Dallas after that year to make more money, but was suspended and ordered to enter anger management by the league after making a crack about Dion Phaneuf getting his [[Creator/ElishaCuthbert sloppy seconds]] before a game. He was waived and rejoined the Rangers later that year, and retired with them three years later because head coach John Tortorella notoriously disliked him, regularly demoting him without reason. Notably, he has [[HiddenDepths different sides]] -- he is very fashion-conscious (once interning with ''Vogue'' magazine one summer) and [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold appeared in an]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGGH3M9NKBI ad publicly supporting gay marriage]], leaving many detractors in the decidedly weird position of siding with him.
** Jonathan Toews: Captain of the Blackhawks and the youngest member of the Triple Gold Club.[[note]]The group of players and coaches who have won the sport's three most prominent championships—the Stanley Cup, Winter Olympics, and IIHF World Championships. Entering the 2016–17 season, twenty-six players and one coach had won all three titles.[[/note]] Known as [[FanNickname Captain Serious]] for his [[TheStoic somewhat cold demeanor]] that occasionally borders on StopHavingFunGuys. Has a notable [[HeterosexualLifePartners bromance]] with Patrick Kane.
** Patrick Kane: The [[RedOniBlueOni red to Toews' blue]]. Scored one of the more [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEuUXLFbV9A awkward]] Cup-clinching goals in recent years in overtime of Game 6 of the 2010 Finals against the Flyers. It took several seconds for anyone else to realize the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zH9gI-NRFxs puck was in the net]]. Has earned the nickname "Showtime" because of his ability to score skill-demanding, flashy goals. A somewhat polarizing figure because of perceived arrogance, temperament, [[HardDrinkingPartyGirl heavy victory drinking]], and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking unwillingness to pay twenty cents]]. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013 and the Art Ross Trophy in 2015–16, in the latter case being the only 100-point scorer in the league that season and becoming the first-ever American-born scoring champion.
** Joe Sakic: One of the longest-serving and most revered player and captain in the National Hockey League when he played for the Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche. Is known best for [[TheAce his amazing all-around play, amazing maturity]], possessing one of, if not, the best wrist shots in the league, and for what is known as probably one of the classiest acts in sports history, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-adnOYdqJg defying tradition by handing the Stanley Cup over to Ray Bourque (who had waited 22 years to win the Cup) instead of lifting it himself]].
** Bob Probert: Considered one of the greatest enforcers ever to play the game. But he was far from a one-dimensional fighter, averaging around 15 goals a year in his early seasons and once putting up 29 to go with 62 points and 398 penalty minutes. A member of the fairly exclusive 3000-penalty-minute career club in the NHL, with 3300 in 935 games. Paired up with Joey Kocur in Detroit, they were known as the [[BashBrothers Bruise Brothers]] until Kocur went to the Rangers; as opponents, they would sometimes laugh through a fight. Probert was also known for his hard living; he missed most of the 1989-90 season and all of the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season due to drug and alcohol-related suspensions, which strained his relationship with the Red Wings organization and led him to joining the rival Blackhawks as a free agent. Nevertheless, he remained popular in Detroit, and he would reconcile with the Wings in the years before his untimely death in 2010.
** Jarome Iginla (Full name -- [[AwesomeMcCoolname Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla]]): [[ButNotTooForeign Half-Canadian, half-Nigerian]] ex-captain of the Calgary Flames, now playing for the Colorado Avalanche. [[LightningBruiser One of the most recognizable power forwards currently playing]] and recognized as [[OfficerAndAGentleman being one of the kindest individuals around despite having a bruising and physically punishing play style]]. Also, the Golden Goal Sidney Crosby scored to win gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics? Iginla made the pass. Has two Olympic golds, but is still gunning for his first Stanley Cup.
** [[{{Troll}} Dave Bolland]]: Former center for the Blackhawks (before being traded to Toronto in 2013) and definite [[EnsembleDarkhorse fan favorite]] due to being a central figure in the Hawks' rivalry with Vancouver. One of the few players in the league known for being exceptionally good at shutting down the Sedins and their CreepyTwins play style. Was injured with a concussion in a game against the Lightning in March 2011 and didn't return until game four of the first round of the playoffs. He did so in dramatic fashion, preventing a sweep and changing the momentum of the series to force game seven eventually. This, combined with certain personality [[CloudCuckoolander quirks]], such as never smiling after a goal only to [[https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-oLWZknQ1EOg/TgmqOj16RhI/AAAAAAAAArI/F1WWHQ-sApI/s576/bolly.jpg laugh hysterically all the way to the penalty box]] has earned him great MemeticBadass status of the CrazyAwesome variety. [[WildMassGuessing Suspected]] [[http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lsrt0yBKI01qd6oq7o1_500.jpg of being]] a JustForFun/TimeLord.
*** It's Bolly, ''[[ThisIsForEmphasisBitch bitch]]''.
** Steven Stamkos: Centre for the Tampa Bay Lightning, known for his speed and scoring ability. His career started off with an unremarkable rookie year (which he blamed on improper off-ice training), but [[GrowingTheBeard quickly improved]], winning the Rocket Richard trophy the following year. Took a puck to the nose in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, [[TheDeterminator only to reappear]] minutes later with a face cage, impressing pretty much everybody.
** Martin St. Louis: One of the shortest guys ever to be considered a bona fide NHL star. Was undrafted when he entered the league but through hard work in the minors got himself some playing time with the Calgary Flames. When his contract got bought out in 2001, he signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. By 2003, he was one of the team's key offensive weapons. During the team's Stanley Cup run he became the team's top goal-scorer, and was one of the ''league''[='=]s top scorers until his retirement, even after going to the Rangers at the age of 39. He won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for "gentlemanly play" three times, but the fans still loved him.
** Paul ‘[=BizNasty=]’ Bissonette: Former enforcer for the Coyotes, now color commentator with the Coyotes' radio broadcast team, who is more notable for his Website/{{Twitter}} account than his playing. Aside from frequently [[DefyingTheCensors bringing the league PR team to tears]], he revels in SelfDeprecation about being a perennial fourth-liner and/or “healthy scratch” and has built up a solid fanbase in doing so. May be the reason the league has now instituted a social media blackout for players on gamedays. You can (and should) follow him right [[http://www.twitter.com/biznasty2point0 here]].
** Dan ‘[=CarBomb=]’ Carcillo: [=BizNasty=]'s former partner in crime who, having bounced around several teams became a very polarizing figure among said teams' fanbases, most recently in Philadelphia. For the 2011–12 season, he signed with Chicago, whose fans, after some initial skepticism,[[note]]There was still some bad blood from the 2010 Cup Finals.[[/note]] very quickly [[BreakoutCharacter welcomed him with open arms]]. His original Twitter account was deleted after an infamous tweet about a girl who just wanted her Daddy to be proud that may have been the reason for [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap his favorable reception by Hawks fans]]. His new (slightly more SFW) account is right [[http://www.twitter.com/carbombboom13 here]].
** Evgeni ‘Geno’ Malkin: Russian player for the Pittsburgh Penguins, known for being considered one of the top three best players in the league in recent years. Was MVP of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals. Had trouble getting in the league from Russia and getting accustomed to the English language. He has been cold lately due to injuries, but this year looks good for him.
** Patrick Sharp: A former Blackhawks star from Thunder Bay, ON. Before being traded to Dallas after the 2014–15 season, tended to serve as TheKirk to Toews and Kane's respective [[TheSpock Spock]] and [[TheMcCoy McCoy]] (even though Toews is actually TheCaptain). Was named MVP of the 2011 All-Star Game while being the only one (of the four) Hawks therein drafted to Team Staal, which lost anyway. That same year, had consecutive overtime winning goals in games the days immediately before and after the birth of his first child -- who is already being [[ToyShip shipped]] with Eric Staal (also of Thunder Bay)'s son, born two days later.
** Daniel Alfredsson: The greatest player in Ottawa Senators history, played over 1000 games earning over 1000 points with them, serving as Ottawa's captain for 14 years (afterwards there was an attempt to win a Stanley Cup in Detroit that fell short). Was the first European captain to lead his team to the Stanley Cup Finals.[[note]]Detroit's Nicklas Lidström, also Swedish, would be the first European-born-and-raised player to win the Cup as a captain one year later.[[/note]] Was a part of the CASH[[note]]'''C'''aptain '''A'''lfredsson, '''S'''pezza, '''H'''eatley.[[/note]] line until [[FaceHeelTurn Dany Heatley demanded a trade out]]. Ottawa fans love their captain and often chant [[FanNickname Alfie]] during games which can lead to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEkXKI74jk0 this]]. He has also inspired a following called the [[http://churchofalfie.com Church Of Alfie]]. Oppositely, he is hated in Toronto for mocking then captain Mats Sundin after Sundin was suspended for throwing his broken stick into the crowd and also for [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHbj53fZx2Y this hit on Darcy Tucker]].
** Dany Heatley: Once a rising star with the now-defunct Thrashers and later the Ottawa Senators, he was responsible for the death of his teammate and friend Dan Snyder as a passenger due to complications from a car accident where Heatley, as the driver, was speeding. Charged and pled guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide, but not sentenced to jail due to Snyder's parents pleading for leniency. Enjoyed later professional success after transferring to the Senators, but his back-to-back fifty-goal seasons seem a distant memory these days. Demanded to be traded from Ottawa, earning enmity from their fans. Landed in San Jose. Currently with the Anaheim Ducks after a short stint with the Minnesota Wild.
** Dale Hunter: Known to be one of the most feared enforcers in the NHL, Hunter could add points on the board and notches to opponents' bodies every chance he got. He had some pretty impressive runs with the Quebec Nordiques and the Washington Capitals, becoming just part of a handful of goons that scored more than 1000 points and 3000 [[GoodOldFisticuffs penalty minutes]] in his career. He stepped in as coach of the Capitals after Bruce Boudreau was fired due to inconsistency problems and managed to get them to the playoffs in the 2011–12 season, advancing to the second round and taking the New York Rangers to the limit before eventually being ousted in seven games. He left the job and returned to being head coach of the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), alongside his brother, Mark, serving as the Knights' current GM. Rather infamous for crosschecking Pierre Turgeon into the boards after conceding a goal in the 1993 playoffs against the New York Islanders, earning a then-record 21-game suspension. Although the Islanders went on to shock the Pittsburgh Penguins without the aid of their best skater, not winning a playoff series since then hasn't healed any Hunter-inflicted wounds.
** Bryan Trottier: Arguably the most complete forward of the '80s. Trottier won an Art Ross, six Stanley Cups and one as an assistant coach, was a rather tough SOB, and a dominant penalty killer. At a time, in the early '80s, many experts labelled Trottier as the best player in the league, even ahead of Gretzky. This was before Gretzky put up 92 goals and 163 assists in separate seasons, however.
** Mike Bossy: Known as one of the game's great goal scorers, Bossy scored at least 50 goals in every year of his career until his last. Unfortunately he left the game after just ten years due to a debilitating back injury. Became OvershadowedByAwesome due to his four-year dynasty with the Islanders immediately preceding Gretzky's golden years (in fact, the fifth consecutive Islanders final was against the Oilers, who proceeded to start their dynasty).
** Matt Cooke: Winger for the Penguins. Was once (and in some places, particularly Boston, [[NeverLiveItDown still is]]) one of the most hated players in the league infamous for his reckless play and flying elbow that led to several players, most infamously the Bruins' Marc Savard,[[note]]The hit he took from Cooke, however, was one of several from different players in a very short time span.[[/note]] receiving serious sometimes career-ending injuries. Following a long suspension that had him miss the last several months of the 2010–11 season, as well as some soul-searching brought on by his wife falling ill and the concussion that sidelined his teammate Sidney Crosby, he vowed to change his game and spent the entire offseason relearning his play style. He finished the following season with no more than the average player's total penalty minutes, none of which was a major, and his offensive production improved dramatically.[[note]]Of course, being on a line with Crosby following his eventual return could only have helped.[[/note]] While many will likely never forgive him for his past actions, he is now frequently cited as proof that other infamously dangerous players can change although so far few have followed his lead.
** Luc Robitaille: Currently the highest-scoring left-winger in NHL history, and the leading scorer in Los Angeles Kings history, playing for them in three different stints. The first stint was most notable for playing on a line with Wayne Gretzky. His season in Pittsburgh was most notable for an [[TheCameo appearance]] in the Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme movie ''Film/SuddenDeath''; his best season outside of Los Angeles came in 2001–02, when he won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings. Still connected to his original team, though, he retired a King, and joined their front office, helping to put together the 2012 and 2014 Cup winners.
** Doug Gilmour: A defensive forward who played for ''seven'' different NHL teams, and as captain of three of them (the Flames, the Maple Leafs, and the Blackhawks). Though he was only 5’11” tall and was a relative lightweight[[note]]At a time when players were beginning to constantly weigh in over 200 pounds, Gilmour was never listed over 180 and often was actually under 170[[/note]], he had an intensive style of physical play that earned him his "Killer Doug Gilmour" nickname (though his looks, which were often compared to Charles Manson, also helped). Won the Stanley Cup once with the Flames in their only victory in 1989 and the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward in 1993 when he played in Toronto. Gilmour is currently the GM of the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario.
** Eddie Shack: A left-sider who played on six different NHL teams, beginning with the New York Rangers in 1959 and culminating with the Pittsburgh Penguins when he retired in 1975. Known more for his [[SinisterSchnoz long nose]] than for his actual hockey scoring talent, owing to receiving [[IHaveManyNames many]] {{Fan Nickname}}s such as ‘The Nose,’ ‘Pugnacious Pinocchio’ and ‘The Entertainer’. He was nevertheless a fan favourite in his role with the Toronto Maple Leafs when he joined in 1961. In his prime in 1966, before the Leafs won their last Stanley Cup, he was immortalized in a novelty song called “Clear the Track, Here Comes Shack” by a group calling itself “Douglas Rankine with the Secrets”, which became a huge hit in Canada, being #1 on the Canadian pop charts for three months. Appeared in TV commercials across Canada where he {{lampshade|Hanging}}d his long nose by joking, “I have a nose for value.”
** Mats Sundin: The first European-born player to be chosen first overall in the NHL Entry Draft. He was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989, and subsequently traded to the Maple Leafs in 1994. After a 94-point season in 1995–96, he was named the captain of the Leafs, serving that position until he was traded to the Canucks in 2009. During that tenure, he would end up becoming the all-time leader in scoring for the Leafs, and be a key centerpiece of the team's offensive efforts.
** Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry: A duo that, along with Dustin Penner, led the "Kid Line" that pushed the Ducks to the Stanley Cup. Both are the same age, form a one-two punch that even lead to a goal in the 2010 Olympics final, and got some commends: Getzlaf is the current captain, and Perry won both the Hart and the Rocket Richard Trophies in 2011. While Getzlaf appears to be getting better with age, and has shifted his play-style to be more pass-heavy, Perry looked to be slowing down as of late, but a shift back to the same line as Getzlaf produced dividends in the 2017 playoffs and when he filled in for Patrick Eaves in the 2018 season, it led to a bit of a resurgence, though it took Getzlaf coming back from injury to get him back to his old self.
*** Perry is also known for being something of a {{Troll}}. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HS86l4qpZVI Known for provoking and generally annoying the opponents]], [[AmericansHateTingle he's one of the players that don't exactly get much love outside of Anaheim fans]].
** Anže Kopitar: The first and currently only player from Slovenia playing in the NHL, he's a major figure in the Los Angeles Kings, and contributed a large share to both their Stanley Cup titles. He might not be a goal scoring leader, but his puck control and passing accuracy and creativity are nothing to sneer at, and at the same time he's one of the best defensive forwards in the league. The Great One himself counts him among the three best hockey players in the world.
** Charlie Conacher: Possibly the [[UrExample earliest example]] of a power forward in ice hockey, Conacher played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Detroit Red Wings, and the New York Americans. Nicknamed "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast The Big Bomber]]" for his size and physical play. He was part of a dynamic trio with the Leafs known as "The Kid Line"[[note]]Joe Primeau, Harvey "Busher" Jackson, and Conacher; assembled by Leafs manager Conn Smythe.[[/note]] long before the Ducks coined the term, in which the line carried their team to a Stanley Cup win in the 1931–32 season. Unfortunately, Conacher's career was shortened by injuries, due in part to his rough style of play, and he retired after the 1941 season.
** Cam Neely: One of the most feared players in the NHL of his time, he [[TropeCodifier codified]] the term 'power forward' in ice hockey thanks to his imposing stature, hard yet accurate shot, quick release of the puck, and a willingness to use his physical style of play in the deeper aspects of the game, thus earning him the nickname "Bam-Bam Cam". Was drafted ninth overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1983 draft and played three seasons with them until he got traded to the Boston Bruins, where he enjoyed his best years with the club. Unfortunately, like many power forwards that came before and after him, his career was plagued by injuries which hampered his ability as a front-line skater; he suffered two notable incidents which would later shorten his career. One was during Game 3 of the 1991 Prince of Wales Conference Finals when Ulf Samuelsson of the Pittsburgh Penguins delivered an illegal body-check on him, injuring his knee in the process and later developed a painful condition known as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myositis_ossificans Myositis ossificans]]; this condition would remain with him for the rest of his career. Another happened during a regular season game in 1994 when the tip of his right pinky finger [[{{Fingore}} got cut off through his glove]], requiring ''ten to fifteen stitches to repair''. [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMoments He would later return to the game in the second period and notch an assist]]. Now currently serving as president of the Bruins. HeAlsoDid a brief stint in acting, playing trucker Sea Bass in ''Film/DumbAndDumber'' and making a cameo in the same role in its sequel ''Film/DumbAndDumberTo''.
** Pavel Datsyuk: One of the best ever at puck-handling. There's a reason he's always one of the first three players to go in a shootout. Has played for the Red Wings his entire career, winning the Cup in 2002 (after his rookie season) and 2008. Has suffered from some injuries lately but when he's on he's the best in the league. In 2016 he returned to Russia to play in the KHL, and captained SKA St. Petersburg to the Gagarin Cup.
* Defensemen:
** Bobby Orr: Unquestionably the greatest defenseman to play hockey and about the only player giving Gretzky competition for "best ever", yet had his career cut short due to a plague of knee injuries. Won the Cup twice with the Bruins. Scored "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZR2MGFDTYE The Goal]]" to win the Stanley Cup in 1970, one of the most iconic moments in NHL history.
** Eddie Shore: The most dominant defenseman of his era -- the late 1920s through 1940 -- would have won a pile of Norris Trophies had the award existed when he played, and like Orr, he played the bulk and best portion of his career in Boston. Won the Hart Trophy four times as league MVP. Known for being extremely ill-tempered and violent as well as skilled. Later became the owner of the AHL's Springfield Indians for three decades, leading them to a period of glory in the early 1960s where they won three consecutive regular season titles and three consecutive Calder Cups (the AHL's equivalent of the Stanley Cup) from 1960 to 1962, to the point where it was speculated that the Indians "could have played in the NHL" without even finishing last.
** Ray Bourque: A defenseman considered second only to Orr. Holds the record for most consecutive All-Star games (19 in a row), most points scored by a defenseman and the unofficial record for most shots on goal (over 6000). When he retired, he was second only to Gretzky on assists. Played for [[{{Determinator}} 22 years]] (20½ of those with Boston, the remaining 1½ with Colorado) before finally getting to raise the Cup after his final game. No one had played longer before finally being able to hoist the Cup.
*** When he finally won the Cup, the Avalanche captain at the time, Joe Sakic, broke tradition. Tradition states the winning team's captain gets the first lap around the rink with the cup. Sakic took the cup, had his picture taken as part of the official presentation, turned to Bourque, and handed it over. Bourque had trouble skating around the rink through all the ManlyTears. Patrick Roy went on record saying, "A name was missing from that [Cup], and today it is back to normal."
** Paul Coffey: The premier offensive defender in his day, breaking many of Bobby Orr's records. Known for his tremendous skating ability, but also for sometimes hanging around the offensive end for too long (particularly later in his career).
** Al [=MacInnis=]: Best known for his [[OhCrap incredibly powerful shot]], often leaving trophy-sized bruises on players courageous enough to attempt to try and block it, despite being a great defenceman in all regards. Split his career between the Flames and Blues. Won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1989 when the Flames won their only Cup.
** Scott Stevens: The captain of the New Jersey Devils during their Stanley Cup years in the late '90s and early '00s. When he played, forwards were often afraid to cross his blue line, for he was [[LightningBruiser one of the hardest hitters ever to lace the skates]]. Known for [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U7jUbKQYdwseveral classic, thunderous hits]].
** Mike Green: An offensive defenseman who is comparable to a young Paul Coffey.
** Nicklas Lidström: A veteran defenseman who is known for his outstanding play with the Detroit Red Wings, [[StoneWall quietly shutting down opposing offenses without much body contact]]. If there's a player that can challenge Orr for best defenseman ever he's it, although Orr's offensive numbers are far superior. He retired after the 2011–12 season, leaving an lasting legacy behind him.
** Chris Pronger: Contrasting Nicklas Lidström, he is the epitome of physical domination in the defensive zone. [[TheBigGuy Very big.]] Plays on the edge, nearly drawing infractions, [[KarmaHoudini but only nearly]], drawing the ire of fans and players everywhere, except for his own. He is the most recent blueliner to win the Hart Trophy, which he did with St. Louis in 2000. Following a concussion in 2012, stopped playing despite still being on the Flyers' payroll in the subsequent years (the injury relief was preferred to voiding the contract). Drew the unending ire of Edmonton fans when, after helping the Oilers reach the Finals in 2006, he spurned them for Anaheim and helped the Ducks to win the Cup. Would also help the Flyers get to the 2010 Finals, getting infamous for taking away the pucks from games Philadelphia lost ([[http://espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=110421/missingpuck not the series-winning, though]]).
** Zdeno Chára: Slovakian-born captain of the Bruins. At 6’9” (well over seven feet with skates) is the tallest person ever to play in the NHL,[[note]]Consequently, he hoisted the Cup higher than it had ever been before in 2011.[[/note]] and holds the league record for [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25hHfV68o-U hardest slap shot]]. Involved in a somewhat [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement controversial]] hit against [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jimZ1tSdPY0 Max Pacioretty of the Habs]]. Habs fans thought it was dirty and he should have been suspended. Bruins fans attest the injury was because of the glass between the benches that isn't present at other stadiums. Due to the teams' [[ArchEnemy known relationship]] and the SeriousBusiness nature of hockey in Canada, the Montreal police got involved and Air Canada threatened to pull their sponsorship of the league. He's fluent in [[GeniusBruiser seven different languages and wants to learn an eighth.]]
** Larry Murphy: He earned credentials as one of the best two-way defenders in the 1980s and 1990s, being one of the key players that helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win two consecutive Stanley Cups after strong stints with the Los Angeles Kings, Washington Capitals and Minnesota North Stars. The Detroit Red Wings would add him to their winning ways, earning him two more titles. In his time with the Penguins, he created the Murphy Dump, as coined by broadcaster Mike Lange: Murphy would clear out the puck from his zone so that it traveled just enough not to cause an icing call.
** Denis Potvin: One of the greatest defensemen the game has ever seen. The #1 overall pick in 1974 for the New York Islanders propelled the team to the playoffs in just their third year of existence. He's the reason Rangers fans continued to chant "Potvin Sucks!" long after he'd retired[[note]]It began as Potvin broke the ankle of Rangers' forward Ulf Nilsson in the 1979 semifinals; without him, the Rangers lost the Finals to the Habs.[[/note]] (though the chant was briefly relevant again when unrelated goalie Felix Potvin joined the Islanders, and struggled).
** Niklas Kronwall: Swedish defenseman for the Detroit Red Wings. Not especially large or heavy but pretty much a one-man wrecking crew. His signature backwards charges on the boards coined the phrase “[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk3qIjz5EDM to get Kronwalled]]”.
** Shea Weber: Canadian blueliner and captain of the Nashville Predators. Known as one of the best active defenseman in the league, has been a finalist for the Norris Trophy twice and been in the top ten four consecutive times. Famous for his [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRdKNO_JubY Howitzer of a slapshot.]][[note]]In case you didn't notice, that shot went ''through'' the netting.[[/note]] Currently holds the largest contract in the NHL (14 years, $110M).
** Scott Niedermayer: Former New Jersey Devil and Anaheim Duck Norris Trophy defenseman, who is the only hockey player in history to win all of the following championships: The Stanley Cup (three with New Jersey, one with Anaheim), Olympic Gold Medal (Team Canada 2002 and 2010), International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship (2004), the World Cup of Hockey (2004), and the World Junior Title (Team Canada 1991). [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYGS-ooHq8w One of his best moments was in the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals.]] His younger brother Rob was a forward, and played in three Cup Finals (1996 for Florida, 2003 for Anaheim ''against'' Scott, and 2007 for Anaheim with Scott, winning it all).
** Dion Phaneuf: Former star player for the Calgary Flames, serves now as the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Feared around the league for his thundering, open-ice hits. Much like Kronwall, when forced to make a decision he tends to ignore the puck in favor of bulldozing his opponents, leading to a large collection of highlight reel hits. Often gets ridiculed in the media for being a [[BoringbutPractical completely bland and uninteresting person off the ice.]]
** Slava Fetisov: One of the best defensemen of the 1980s while he played in the Soviet Union. Although he was mostly past his prime once he was allowed to come play for the NHL, he did win two Stanley Cups in Detroit in 1997 and 1998, and his fight against the Soviet government paved the way for other Russian stars to come to North America as well.

* Goaltenders:
** Jacques Plante: ‘[[AwesomeMcCoolname Jake the Snake]]’. Innovated the modern goalie mask, and was the first to wear it regularly. Also innovated the concept of skating behind the net to stop the puck. Won the Vezina Trophy seven times (note that the criterion then was different than the one used now). His habit of [[RealMenWearPink knitting to relax]] helped establish goaltender as the likely position of any CloudCuckooLander that laced up their skates. Moved to Switzerland after his retirement and died there.
** Gerry Cheevers, a good goalie in his own right (two time cup champion, hall of famer), began the tradition of decorating goalie masks when he would put a cartoon stitch mark on his mask where he got hit. Today, goalie masks are much more ornate, but the tradition started with him.
** Terry Sawchuk: Considered the (or at least among) best goalies of the Original Six era. Had his best years with Detroit in the 1950s and '60s, but also spent time with the Bruins, Leafs, Kings and Rangers before dying in a freak fall at age 40. He held a record that many thought could never be broken, 103 shutouts, until it was done in 2009 by …
** Martin Brodeur: Considered by some to be the best goalie of all time. In addition to the most shutouts, he holds the records for most wins, most shutouts in a seasons, saves in a career, and many more. He won the Cup three times with the Devils and two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada. Broke Patrick Roy's record for most wins and was still going strong with '''''691''''' compiled before his retirement in 2015.
** Miikka Kiprusoff: Was not a starting goalie until after he was traded from the San Jose Sharks to the Calgary Flames in the summer of 2003. In the starting spot he then set a modern-day NHL record for lowest goals-against average before backstopping the Flames all the way to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals, in an unlikely and charismatic playoff run by a scrappy underdog team. Has continued to be an outstanding goalie in the years since, frequently stealing wins with his acrobatic goaltending.
** Roberto Luongo: Formerly with the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, and Vancouver Canucks (now in his second stint with the Panthers), and was the first goaltender in decades to be a team captain, a title he relinquished after the 2009–10 season. While his technique borders on unorthodox, his frequent, and often incredibly athletic, saves leave viewers (and shooters) scratching their heads. After Martin Brodeur's embarrassing loss to Team USA in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Luongo took over as Team Canada's goalie, and helped salvage the tournament in his hometown, culminating in a gold medal. That was sort of a big deal. Since then, he's come under fire for his complete collapse in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals and been the subject of a seemingly unending soap opera regarding a potential trade from the Canucks, that wound up returning him to his previous team, Florida Panthers. Has a hilarious [[SelfDeprecation self-deprecating]][[http://www.twitter.com/strombone1 Twitter account]].
** Ryan Miller: Goalie for the Ducks (formerly Canucks) and Team USA. Has made an art of stealing, or at least keeping 'em in games his teams might have no business being in. Comes from a hockey family out of Lansing, UsefulNotes/{{Michigan}}: his brother Drew plays for Detroit, cousins Kevin, Kelly, and Kip (all brothers) are retired [=NHLers=], and all five starred for Michigan State.
** Antti Niemi: Goalie for the Penguins (formerly Stars). Notable for having helped the Blackhawks to the trophy in 2010; and for being in the rare position of winning a Cup, being released by the winning team, and signing with the team he helped beat to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Also notable for being something of a {{Memetic|Badass}} [[YouShallNotPass Badass]], for his rather acrobatic butterfly goaltending — at one point during the 2011 playoffs he wound up playing while standing on his head, literally during several shots.
** Tim Thomas: Panthers goalie, former goalie for the Bruins who helped them win the Cup in 2011. Fifth goaltender and only second American player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP. Known for making lots of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8XfuoWLCpI ridiculously hard saves]] and a ''very'' unorthodox playing style. Didn't actually become a starting goalie in the NHL until he was well into his thirties, having played in Europe and minor leagues over the years. Also known for his controversial opinions on the federal government and refusing to meet UsefulNotes/BarackObama.[[note]]When the Boston Bruins were invited to the White House following their Stanley Cup-win in 2011 (as is traditional for U.S.-based Stanley Cup-winning teams), Thomas opted not to go, citing his opposition to "big government".[[/note]]
** Patrick Roy: Revolutionized the goaltending position in the '80s with a new butterfly style to stop low shots. Is considered one of the best goalies when the game is on the line, and has an uncanny knack to dominate playoff overtime. Among Montreal fans, he shares a reputation with Ken Dryden (see below) as a brilliant young goaltender who left the team when he was at the top of his game.[[note]]Roy, after the Canadiens fell behind 9–1 at home against Detroit on December 2, 1995 (the final score was [[CurbStompBattle 11–1]] for the Wings), angrily declared that that would be the last game he would ever play in Montreal, and he got his wish, spending the rest of his career with the Colorado Avalanche.[[/note]] One of the fiercest competitors ever to play. In 2013, he was hired as Colorado's new coach, and led them back to both the playoffs and a division title.
** Ken Dryden: As with Patrick Roy, Dryden was a former Hab who was a skilled goalie and left the team too soon when he was in his prime. He left the Canadiens (and the NHL) after only seven seasons over a contract dispute, and used the time to study law at [=McGill=] University in Montreal. Since retiring from hockey, in addition to being a lawyer, Dryden became an author and businessman, and was elected to Parliament in 2004 in a Toronto riding as a [[UsefulNotes/CanadianPolitics Liberal Party]] candidate. He served as a member for seven years until he lost to a Conservative candidate, Mark Adair, in the 2011 election.
** Dominik Hašek: ‘The Dominator’. The goalie most known for his stint with Buffalo in the '90s. Often stuck on Buffalo teams that were no better than OK but still managed to challenge Roy and Brodeur as the best goalie in the NHL year after year. If you ever hear, "How in the world did he do that?" during a broadcast, chances are they're talking about Hašek making a save — if Jacques Plante is the Beethoven of goalies, Hašek is the Miles Davis. Went on to win two Stanley Cups with Detroit. Won the Vezina Trophy for best goalie six times, a record for its current criteria. He's also the only goalie to win the Hart Trophy as league MVP twice. Not to mention that he also pretty much willed the Czech Republic to Olympic gold in 1998.
** Glenn Hall: Nicknamed ‘Mr. Goalie’ during his career for his skill at his position. Habitually vomited before most games, but still managed to play 502 consecutive games once, a record for a goalie that will almost certainly never be broken (even the best goalies now will sit about ten or fifteen games a season). He's the one who actually invented the butterfly style of goaltending before Patrick Roy made it famous.
** Ron Hextall: Best known for his years in Philadelphia, Hextall changed the way goalies played by his willingness to come out of the net (''way'' out of the net) and aggressively pass the puck forward instead of stopping it or guiding it to the side for a teammate to pick up. He was the first goaltender in NHL history to [[CrazyEnoughToWork score a goal deliberately]] (instead of getting credit for the goal by being the last player to touch the puck before the opposing team screwed up and scored on their own net). Also well known for using his stick as an axe on opposing players' legs and even fighting. Currently General Manager of the Flyers.
** Marc-André Fleury: Former goalie for the Penguins, now of the Vegas Golden Knights. Known for being very flexible and able to make amazing saves, particularly the save on Alex Ovechkin during Game 7 of the 2009 Eastern Semifinals which was a major turning point in the game that led to the Pens absolutely dominating the Caps. He also had a memorable save in the final seconds of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, literally jumping to the side of the net à la a Secret Service man taking the bullet for the President. Despite that, [[http://www.battleofcali.com/2013/6/5/4398954/marc-andre-fleury-sucks-day-in-the-life-off-season-pittsburgh-penguins he had some really bad moments in the 2013 playoffs.]]
** Henrik Lundqvist: [[FanNickname King Henrik]], goalie for the Rangers. Hails from Sweden and led the national team to Olympic Gold at the 2006 Torino Games. Well known amongst fans [[InUniverse and throughout the league]] for being not only be really [[TheAce really good]], but being really, ''really'' [[http://images.google.com/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&source=hp&biw=1600&bih=799&q=henrik+lundqvist&gbv=2&oq=henrik+lundqvist&aq=f&aqi=g10&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=746l4299l0l4883l16l12l0l6l6l0l172l741l1.5l6l0 attractive]], to the point that few fans [[EvenTheGuysWantHim and even other players]] haven't fallen into moments of StupidSexyFlanders upon seeing him without a mask, including a [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses Swedish Princess]] if rumors are true.
** Ilya Bryzgalov: Russian-born goaltender for the Flyers who previously won the Cup with Anaheim in 2007. Became the BreakoutCharacter in the 2011–12 edition of ''[[Series/NHL247 24/7]]'' which showed the entire hockey world his [[CloudCuckoolander happy-go-lucky, philosophic self]], at least until his play started hitting a slump at which point the world also saw a much more [[BewareTheNiceOnes jaded and cynical]] side that led to league-wide [[TheWoobie woobie]] status. It's not hard to draw comparisons between him and a [[Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia certain Russian well known on this very wiki]].
** Tom Barrasso: American-born goaltender who, despite his good start with the Buffalo Sabres, is [[MyRealDaddy much better known for his stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins]]. Stepped up into the big leagues ''[[JumpedAtTheCall at the age of 18]]'', a feat that has hardly been equaled ever since, and proved to be one of the best marquee goalies of his time thanks to his impressive agility and stick-handling skills and became the first American goalie to amass 300 wins. [[TheMentor He's currently mentoring Cam Ward]] as the Carolina Hurricanes' goaltending coach.
** Grant Fuhr: Drafted eighth overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 1981, Fuhr would become one of the best goalies in the 1980s [[BashBrothers while playing alongside Andy Moog and later Bill Ranford]]. In the later stages of his career, he fought against injuries and substance abuse problems, but he still managed to obtain 403 victories in his career. He holds the current NHL record for 76 consecutive starts and 79 appearances in 1995–96 with the St. Louis Blues.
** Jean-Sébastien Giguère: The last remaining Hartford Whaler in the league before his retirement, his early career wasn't all that notable, with a few appearances for Hartford and the Calgary Flames. [[TookALevelInBadass But then he was traded to Anaheim and became a steel wall.]] Thanks to his efforts, the Mighty Ducks were able to advance to the Finals, defeating the heavily-favored Detroit Red Wings and featuring a '''63-save''' performance against the toronto Maple Leafs (a record for a playoff debut), which earned Giguere a Conn Smythe trophy despite Anaheim's defeat to the New Jersey Devils. Continued his winning ways and eventually did win a Cup with Anaheim in 2007. He stayed with the Ducks for a few years, then was traded to the Maple Leafs for one, before finally ending up in Colorado, eventually retiring with the Avalanche in 2014.
** John Gibson: Gibson's career started with him being made backup to Frederik Andersen of the Anaheim Ducks, before an injury to Andersen allowed him to step in and claim the Number One spot. Then Gibson got injured and Andersen came back in, and then Ilya Bryzgalov was signed, to add to the fun of figuring out who the Ducks' goaltending staff would be. Of the three, Gibson emerged as the Ducks Number One goaltender after the 2015 season, which saw a run by the Ducks to the Western Conference Final, helped along by Andersen and Gibson, though Andersen was traded to Toronto for Jonathan Bernier, leaving Gibson as the starter. Gibson has since become one of many top-notch goalies in the league, making an All-Star appearance in 2016 and being one of the driving forces behind Anaheim's 2017 run to the Western Conference Final, before an injury sidelined him before the Nashville Predators series.
** Andy Moog: Rising up as a goaltender with the Oilers, Moog showed a lot of moxie while splitting time with Grant Fuhr, even managing to win one of the Stanley Cup titles for Edmonton in the 1984 playoffs. He would then be traded to the Boston Bruins for Bill Ranford and cemented his reputation as one of the best of his position. Considered to be [[TheRival The Habs Killer]] due to being able to beat the Montreal Canadiens most of the times they met in the playoffs.[[note]]Ironically, he signed with Montreal for the 1997–98 season, and that spring he helped them advance to the conference semifinals, their first playoff round won since their 1993 Stanley Cup.[[/note]] He's considered to have the scariest goalie mask in history (though it's since been given a run by the Bruins' current starting goalie, [[http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/1101/nhl-goalie-masks-by-team-2010-11/content.5.html Tuukka Rask]]).
** Ed Belfour: Known as Eddie The Eagle [[AnimalMotifs thanks to his emblematic mask that always sported an eagle in every team he's played with]], Belfour is considered one of the best goalies of all time. Drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks, Belfour would come up with one of the best seasons for a rookie in 1990–91 by obtaining 43 victories, 2.47 GAA and four shutouts and took them to the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals, only to be swept by the Mario Lemieux-led Penguins. Tensions between him and backup goalie Jeff Hackett led him to be dealt to the San Jose Sharks and later he landed to the Dallas Stars, where he helped them win the Stanley Cup in 1999 against the Buffalo Sabres. He was also known as Crazy Eddie [[AlcoholInducedIdiocy due to his drunken antics]][[note]]In perhaps the most famous such instance, the year after he won the Cup, he was picked up from a Dallas nightclub by a police officer and offered him $100,000 to let him off. When the cop refused, Belfour offered progressively larger bribes, culminating in ''one billion dollars'' … and then threw up all over himself.[[/note]] and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
** Jonathan Quick: Goalie for Los Angeles whose last name is as {{meaningful|Name}} as it is {{punny|Name}}; he became the third American to win the Conn Smythe Trophy when the Kings won the Cup in 2012. A very talented goalie whose only problem is that [[OvershadowedByAwesome media-wise, he's overshadowed by other goaltenders such as Lundqvist, Fleury, Kiprusoff, Miller, and others]]. Being on the West Coast doesn't help, but the 2011–12 season as well as his performance in the playoffs helped highlight his skill. Many people believe he's a huge reason why Los Angeles made the playoffs. Provided several SugarWiki/FunnyMoments during the media blitz following the Kings' Cup victory both from putting away enough booze to rival the league's most infamous HardDrinkingPartyGirl Patrick Kane, and for the {{Precision F Strike}}s he threw out during interviews that went completely uncensored on national television … ''twice''.
** Pekka Rinne: Finnish goalie of the Nashville Predators and one of the best in the business. Very tall (6'5" -- 1.96m) and with tremendous reach but still very quick on his feet and agile despite his size. Has been a Vezina Trophy finalist twice. His outstanding play -- coupled with some ''excellent'' blueliners -- has allowed the offensively challenged Predators to become a regular guest in the playoffs during the last few years, and was even one of ''the'' driving forces behind their 2017 Stanley Cup Finals run. One of the very late draft picks (round 8, pick #258 in 2004) to make it into a bona fide All-Star. Has since become a MemeticBadass around the league thanks to being "[[WebVideo/UrinatingTree too good]] [[MemeticMutation right now]]."
** Tuukka Rask: Another Finnish elite goaltender and current starting netminder of the Boston Bruins. After being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs he got traded to the Bruins for Andrew Raycroft (which proved to be a bad deal for the Leafs) early and has served mostly as a backup to two-time Vezina winner Tim Thomas for most of his career. The lockout-shortened 2012–13 season saw him emerge as the full-time starter -- aided by Thomas taking a sabbatical -- and by all accounts he did an amazing job. Rask backstopped the Bruins to within two wins of a Stanley Cup win and got a massive contract soon after. Very competitive and prone to hilarious temper tantrums when things aren't going his way.
** Corey Crawford: AKA Crow, the current Blackhawks goalie. After many years as a backup, became the starting goalie in 2011, and despite a disappointing season in 2012, ended up being crucial in their 2013 Stanley Cup run (and like Quick, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jnDVrsyDXs ended up swearing on national TV]]!)). The following years, Crow had a few below-average nights, but has often got incredible playoff performances -- including the 2015 title run, leading to ''[[https://vine.co/v/eiMznUpOr7W another]]'' PrecisionFStrike.
** Ben Bishop: Goalie for the Dallas Stars. Tallest player ever to play the position in the NHL (6'7" -- 2.01m), which consequently has earned him the nickname "Big Ben". Bishop spent most of his career since 2008 in either the minor leagues or as backup goalie for the St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators before being dealt to Tampa Bay at the 2013 trade deadline. The 2013–14 season saw him emerge as the full-time starter for the first time in his career, and it went well. He led the Lightning to their first postseason appearance in four years and earned himself a Vezina Trophy nod. Ended up in an unfortunate case of OvershadowedByAwesome (or, in Bishop's case, ''more'' awesome) towards the end of his career with the Lightning courtesy of up-and-coming goaltender Aleksandr Vasilevsky, ultimately resulting in his departure to Los Angeles in 2017.
** Sergei Bobrovsky: Current goaltender for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Started as the Flyers' backup goalie before being traded to Columbus prior to the 2013 half-season, after which he promptly TookALevelInBadass; he has since been integral to the Jackets becoming serious contenders after years of being the league ButtMonkey. Has a notable [[HeterosexualLifePartners bromance]] with teammate Nick Foligno, and fans look forward to their [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrR9eUCAgws celebratory hugs]] after each victory. Has the interesting FanNickname "#1 Cop on the Force" courtesy of sports presenter Jay Onrait, who thought Bobrovsky's name sounded like a cop from a 70's cop film. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksb7UlwCIKQ As one can see here]]
** Carey Price: Current number-one goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens. Drafted in 2005, he took the reins of the Montreal net as a rookie in 2008 after Cristobal Huet was traded away. Early on he faced criticism from many in the passionate Montreal fandom, especially during and after the 2009–10 season when Jaroslav Halak gave an amazing performance to lead the Canadiens on a [[UnderdogsNeverLose Cinderella run]] to the Eastern Conference finals, after which Price was given the starter role again, with Halak traded to St. Louis. Since then, however, he has silenced the majority of his critics, with several fantastic seasons, capped off with backstopping Canada to a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and, in 2014–15, guiding an otherwise rather mediocre Habs team to the second-best record in the NHL while putting up ridiculously good numbers (93.3% of shots saved, 1.96 GAA) and 44 wins, a record number on a team with over 100 years of history.

* Coaches and other people
** Frederick Arthur Stanley: Lord Stanley of Preston (1841–1908), the sixth Governor-General of Canada (serving 1888–93). An [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever English aristocrat]] from [[BlueBlood a very old family]], he had a significant career in British politics before being appointed viceroy. Once in Canada, he quickly came to love the country and became particularly passionate about its favourite sport, ice hockey. Desiring to raise the standard of the Canadian hockey match, he purchased the original trophy that came to bear his name, the Stanley Cup, in 1892, to be awarded to the champion of Canadian hockey. However Stanley never actually saw the Cup awarded, as he returned home to England prior to its first awarding in 1893; after his older brother, the 15th Earl of Derby, had died childless, Lord Stanley became the 16th Earl and had to leave to take his seat in the Lords and manage the family estate. The Stanley Cup was originally a challenge cup among amateur teams, but became a professional championship in the 1910s, and the ''de facto'' championship trophy of the NHL after 1926.
** Peter Pocklington: owner of the Edmonton Oilers from 1978 to 1998, he brought Wayne Gretzky to the team; put his father's name on the 1983–84 Stanley Cup ([[BlatantLies an accident, he claims]]); traded Gretzky to Los Angeles for two players, three draft picks, and $15 million in 1988; and had to sell the team after falling into bankruptcy. He is not liked in Edmonton.
** Don Cherry: Former coach of the Boston Bruins during the '70s and early '80s who is now host of ''Series/HockeyNightInCanada''[='=]s ''Coach's Corner'' segment. Best known for his [[ImpossiblyTackyClothes flamboyant dress style]] and propensity to say controversial things which at times lands him in hot water. [[note]]Most notable was a five-minute-long debate with co-host Ron [=MacLean=] about the impending [[TheWarOnTerror War in Iraq]] in 2003. Note that the entire argument had nothing to do with hockey at all.[[/note]] ''Coach's Corner'' has also been subject to a seven-second delay in the past due to Cherry's controversial nature. Cherry himself played only one game for the NHL (a playoff game with the Bruins in 1955), but had played on three AHL teams, the Hershey Bears (the oldest pro hockey team currently in existence outside the NHL Original Six, and yes, it's owned by the chocolate company), the Rochester Americans (also known as the [[FanNickname Amerks]]), and the Springfield Indians. Earned the nickname ‘Hot Lips Don’ in a 1993 playoff game when he [[AccidentalKiss kissed]] Doug Gilmour, then of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Incidentally, they were both born in Kingston, Ontario.
** Gary Bettman: Current NHL Commissioner (in fact, its first Commissioner; previously there were Presidents). Spearheaded the league's push into nontraditional markets (new franchises in Nashville, Atlanta and Las Vegas, as well as movement of teams southward[[note]]Quebec to Colorado, Winnipeg to Phoenix, Hartford to Carolina; the Stars don't belong here because the decision to move to Dallas was made shortly before Bettman took over.[[/note]]). Has generated a lot of {{Hatedom}} from fans accusing him of being anti-Canadian, having blocked several attempts to move financially struggling franchises in Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Arizona; however, he allowed the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, satisfying his pie-in-the-sky dream of keeping the Coyotes (the ''original'' Winnipeg Jets) in Arizona and fulfilling Winnipeg's desire to return to the NHL, with the consequence of repeating history and alienating fans in Atlanta[[note]]While most Thrashers fans blame Atlanta Spirit, the team's ex-owners, for the Thrashers' demise, the NHL's front office is also heavily criticized. Many Atlanta hockey fans argue that the wrong team was moved to Winnipeg, since the league had nearly two years to resolve the Coyotes' ownership situation in Arizona, yet they allowed True North Sports and Entertainment to buy and relocate the Thrashers almost as soon as Atlanta Spirit had undisputed legal ownership of the team.[[/note]]. He is also accused of being generally detrimental to the sport with ''three'' labour stoppages, including the cancellation of the entire 2004–05 season, and the subsequent move of games from ESPN to the NBC Sports Network (formerly Outdoor Life and later Versus) due to the latter's much less extensive exposure. Amongst the fandom, particularly Canadians, Bettman is so reviled that some people believe he actually plays up his more hated traits just to get a rise out of the fans and keep people interested. It's gotten to the point where it is considered a league tradition to boo the commissioner at every public appearance he makes, from the entry draft all the way to presenting the Stanley Cup.
** Scotty Bowman: winningest coach in the league's history (1244 regular season wins, 223 playoff wins). Won nine Stanley Cups as a coach with three different teams (Canadiens, Penguins, and Red Wings), and coached the St. Louis Blues to three consecutive Cup appearances from 1968–70. Currently the Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Blackhawks. Was recently awarded the Order of Canada (basically, he's a Canadian knight).
** Al Arbour: hockey's ''third'' winningest coach (782 regular season wins, 123 playoff wins). Holds the record for most wins with one team (740). Best known as coach of the [[BadassCrew dynasty New York Islanders]], but he also won Stanley Cups as a player with the Red Wings, Blackhawks, and Maple Leafs, and was captain of Scotty Bowman's St. Louis Blues.
** The Sutter Family: Six brothers from Viking, Alberta that have played in the NHL for a combined total of over 5,000 games -- Darryl, Duane, Brian, Brent, and twins Ron and Rich. These six men have all said their older brother, Gary, was better at hockey than any of them… he just ''chose'' to stay at home and help operate the family farm. Several have gone on to coach in the league as well (with Darryl leading both of the Kings titles). The second generation of Sutters are breaking into the NHL as well, with Brandon and Brett having played at the top level, and several more possibly on the way in coming years.
** Lou Lamoriello: Was the MagnificentBastard Team President and General Manager of the New Jersey Devils, and in his very first year with them, the Devils TookALevelInBadass and were one win away from going to their first Stanley Cup Finals in the 1987–88 season. In the following 18 years, built a franchise with three titles, two other finals, only three missed playoffs before a rut starting in 2013, and plenty of smart drafting -- most notably Martin Brodeur, who [[MagikarpPower was passed by almost every team and went on to hold several league records]]. One of the drafters of the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement, that brought the NHL back from a cancelled season. Current GM of the Maple Leafs, hoping ''finally'' to kick-start that franchise's resurgence.
** Howie Meeker: A former player and TV commentator who became more famous as a children's educator in the sport with TV shows and books devoted to teaching the game. He also was a strong advocate for better-quality kids' safety equipment in the sport.
** Jack Edwards: Play-by-play announcer for the Bruins on NESN, known for his [[LargeHam enthusiastic]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4Ov16bkxQA commentary]]. A former Series/{{SportsCenter}} anchor, he also participated in Creator/{{ESPN}}'s NHL coverage in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
** Roger Neilson: Coach of the Maple Leafs, Sabres, Canucks, Kings, Rangers, Panthers (their first coach ever), Flyers, and Senators (for just two games). Sadly passed away from cancer in 2003. Infamous for his [[AintNoRule bending of the rules]], such as putting a defenseman in goal for a penalty shot, who could legally leave the goal and check the other guy, and having goalies block the net with their stick when they were pulled. While in Toronto, he was [[GeorgeJetsonJobSecurity fired and rehired by the team owner on a whim]] late in the 1978–79. While in Vancouver, he innovated the Towel Power tradition (fans waving towels) when he stuck a white towel on the end of a player's stick and waved it as a mock surrender flag as a symbol of his disgust with the officiating in the game during the 1982 playoffs.
** The Staal Brothers: Four brothers from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Three of them were signed with the Carolina Hurricanes at one point (Eric, Jordan, and Jared), and in 2016, the family business remained as Eric went to join Marc with the Rangers.
*** Eric, the oldest brother, was a part of the Carolina Hurricanes for a decade, helping their 2006 Stanley Cup win and becoming team captain. Traded to Marc's Rangers in 2016.
*** Marc, the second oldest and only defenceman of the four, has played his whole career for the New York Rangers. Got to the 2014 Final, but lost to the Kings.
*** Jordan was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins and won the Stanley Cup with them in 2009, becoming a fan favorite even compared to superstar teammates Crosby and Malkin, before being traded to Carolina in the 2012 offseason. Interestingly, he started playing in the NHL a year before his older brother Marc.
*** Jared is the youngest brother. He was originally drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes but was traded to Carolina in 2010. Has not yet become an NHL regular, so he has not yet been able to play in a game with Eric. Currently stuck in the minor leagues.
** Brendan Shanahan: Already well-known by hockey fans for his time as a player (1,354 points and three Stanley Cups won with Detroit), Shanahan became a rather polarizing figure in 2011 when he replaced Colin Campbell as the league's disciplinarian. As opposed to Campbell, who gained much criticism for punishing some incidents and letting many others slide, Shanahan's agenda seemed to be to hand out suspensions for absolutely everything (which, given that he earned 2,489 penalty minutes as a player, has opened up the HypocriticalHumor gate). Before long, half the fans were complaining that he was even worse than Campbell, and the other half argued that he was exactly what the game needed. Shanahan is also a firm {{defie|dTrope}}r of NewMediaAreEvil as he appeared in online videos explaining every suspension he handed out in detail, so fans weren't scratching their heads wondering about his application of the rules. Left his NHL post at the end of the 2013–14 season to become president (effectively overseeing all hockey operations) of the Maple Leafs.
** Mike 'Doc' Emrick: Widely regarded as the best play-by-play commentator in the sport, and, to some, in all of sports. Has a unique vocabulary, and knows just about everything there is to know about hockey. Was born and raised in Indiana, a state known for its basketball rather than its hockey, and is a noted fan of baseball's [[UsefulNotes/MLBTeams Pittsburgh Pirates]]. Nickname comes from the doctorate he earned at Bowling Green State University. Has thrice won the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Play-by-Play for his work at NBC Sports, in 2011 (for work in 2010), 2014 (for work in 2013), and 2015, the only person to win the award whose primary sport to cover is hockey (other winners, like Al Michaels, have covered hockey in the past, but not full-time like Emrick). Emrick also became the first hockey announcer to win the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association's National Sportscaster of the Year Award, doing so for his work in 2013. He repeated this feat the following year, and then again the year after that.
** Brian Burke, former GM of the Leafs who, along with his son Patrick, has become the most outspoken voice for LGBT equality in professional sports. His other son, Brendan, was openly gay, working as a manager for Miami University[[note]]the one in Ohio, not Florida; the latter is the University of Miami and doesn't have a hockey team[[/note]] and had made efforts to end homophobia in the sport before dying in a car crash in 2010. In his honor, Blackhawks defenseman and personal friend Brent Sopel carried UsefulNotes/TheStanleyCup in Chicago's pride parade that year. In 2012, the Burkes founded the ''[[http://www.youcanplayproject.org You Can Play]]'' campaign, which seeks to emphasize to young athletes that sexuality has no bearing on their ability to excel at the sport, and that [[CatchPhrase if you can play … you can play]]. So far support for the campaign has been overwhelming with dozens of big name players contributing videos.
** Harold 'Pal Hal' Ballard: The GM and owner of the Maple Leafs beginning in the 1971–72 season until his death in 1990. Was a [[TheScrooge penny-pincher]] who was stridently anti-union (which irked Leafs fan favorites Darryl Sittler and Hap Day), refused to hire ''any'' Europeans, and was notoriously rude, selfish, and insulting. He made misogynistic comments in an interview with beloved Creator/{{CBC}} host Barbara Frum on ''As It Happened'' and destroyed Foster Hewitt's broadcasting booth at Maple Leaf Gardens, where he coined phrases forever associated with the hockey vernacular such as "He shoots! He scores!" and "slapshot", when the Hockey Hall of Fame wanted to preserve it. He also got into a battle with new league president John Ziegler in 1978, when the league added a rule requiring player names on the backs of jerseys; when Ziegler threatened heavy fines for the Leafs' noncompliance, Ballard had [[TakeThat blue letters added to the blue jerseys]] for a couple of games, before being allowed to have the Leafs finish the season with no names on their backs, so long as they complied for the next season (they did).
** John A. Ziegler, Jr.: President of the league from 1977–92. In a spectacular backfire on Ballard's part, Ziegler, a Red Wings executive, was his pick to succeed Clarence Campbell. The perceived favorite for the job, Flyers owner Ed Snider, favored merger talks with [[TheRival the WHA]], and Ballard believed that he could get Ziegler to keep the WHA out. Ziegler almost immediately opened up merger negotiations, and went after Ballard to boot (see above). Ziegler also fought to keep the North Stars in Minnesota, opting to give the team owners an expansion franchise in San Jose instead of relocating the team (and thus beginning the modern expansion era). He was ousted following the 1992 players' strike, leading to the owners eliminating the position of president and creating the office of the commissioner.
** Bill and Rocky Wirtz: Father and son, former and current owner of the Blackhawks. The former was usually blamed for the team's 47-year Cup drought, being considered a cheapskate (hence the nickname "Dollar Bill"), engineering the 1994 lockout and doing unpopular acts such as blacking out local TV broadcasts. But once his son took over, Rocky soon revived the team, bringing a new fanbase and three Stanley Cups.
** Jeremy Jacobs: Owner of the Boston Bruins since 1975. While fans complimented his rebuild of the team in the late 2000s, including the first Cup in 39 years, he had previously earned hatred for the team's decay, and subsequently for [[http://espn.go.com/boston/nhl/story/_/id/8860512/boston-bruins-owner-takes-shots-nhlpa-lockout his participation on the 2012 lockout]].
** Joel Quenneville: Current head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks who passed Al Arbour to become the second-winningest coach in NHL history in 2016. He previously had stints with the Avalanche and Blues but has led the Hawks to three Stanley Cups in six years. His mustache is legendary among fans and lent credence to the theory that [[http://wiux.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Bears1.jpg you cannot win a championship in Chicago if you are clean-shaven.]][[note]]Clockwise, from the top left, that's Quenneville; Ozzie Guillén, who managed the Chicago White Sox to a World Series championship (their first in 88 years) in 2005; Mike Ditka, who coached the Chicago Bears to a near-undefeated season and a Super Bowl in the 1985–86 season; and Phil Jackson, who coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships in the 1990s.[[/note]][[note]]Though not pictured, Joe Maddon, who managed the Cubs to their first title in more than a century in 2016, also fits this theory. He had long been clean-shaven, but grew a mustache and goatee in time for the World Series run.[[/note]]
** Mike Babcock: Largely viewed as the best head coach in the league since Scotty Bowman's retirement, Babcock has lead teams to the Stanley Cup Finals 3 times, in 2003 with the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and then in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009 with Bowman's Detroit Red Wings, winning it all in 2008. He has also had international success, winning gold medals at all 3 major levels, World Juniors, World Championships and Olympics, the latter two of which, along with his Stanley Cup, makes him the only head coach in the famed Triple Gold Club. Left the Wings after the 2014-15 season willingly, an almost unheard of case where a major league coach left a team without being fired or retiring, to join his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. In 24 years as a head coach, including 8 years in the Western Hockey League and 2 years in the American Hockey League, his teams have missed the playoffs a total of 3 times [[note]]This is including the 2015-16 season, his first with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that had missed the playoffs for 8 of the prior 9 seasons before Babcock joined[[/note]].

!!Historical footnotes
* In the three major North American sports leagues ([[OverusedRunningGag or the "Big Two Sports]] … [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and Hockey"]], if you prefer) that have a best-of-seven playoff series format (the others being the [[UsefulNotes/NationalBasketballAssociation NBA]] and [[UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}} Major League Baseball]]), a team has come back from being down three games to none to win the series only five times. Four of them have been in the NHL (the fifth being the 2004 Boston Red Sox over the New York Yankees):
** The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings in this manner to win the Stanley Cup, after Detroit head coach Jack Adams was suspended midway through the series.
** The New York Islanders defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1975 Quarterfinals, and fell just short of repeating the feat against the Philadelphia Flyers in the following round.[[note]]This gives the Islanders the dubious distinction of being the only team in any North American sport to rebound from a 3–0 deficit and not at least reach the final series.[[/note]]
** The 2010 Philadelphia Flyers did this to the Boston Bruins in the Conference Semifinals, and to top it off, even spotted the Bruins the first three goals of Game 7, only to win that game by a score of 4–3. They defeated the Montreal Canadiens in five games in the Conference finals shortly after, then lost the Stanley Cup Final in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks.
** The Los Angeles Kings did this in the 2014 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks. They hoisted the Cup over the New York Rangers three rounds later.