2003–04 NHL season


The 2003–04 NHL season was the 87th regular season of the National Hockey League. The Stanley Cup champions were the Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the best of seven series four games to three against the Calgary Flames.

2003–04 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 8, 2003 June 7, 2004
Number of games82
Number of teams30
Draft
Top draft pickMarc-Andre Fleury
Picked byPittsburgh Penguins
Regular season
Presidents' TrophyDetroit Red Wings
Season MVPMartin St. Louis (Lightning)
Top scorerMartin St. Louis (Lightning)
Playoffs
Playoffs MVPBrad Richards (Lightning)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsTampa Bay Lightning
  Runners-upCalgary Flames
Seasons

For the fourth time in eight years, the all-time record for total shutouts in a season was shattered, as 192 shutouts were recorded.[1] The 2003–04 regular season was also the first one (excluding the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season) since 1967–68 in which there was neither a 50-goal scorer, nor a 100-point scorer.[1][2] This was the final season that ABC and ESPN televised NHL games until 2021-22. It was also the final NHL season before the 2004–05 NHL lockout with games resuming in the fall of 2005 as part of the 2005–06 season, and the final season in which games could end in ties.

League business


The schedule of 82 games was revamped. The 30 teams played 82 games in a revamped format that increased divisional games from five to six per team (24 total), conference games from three to four (40 total), and decreased inter-conference games to at least one per team, with three extra games (18 in total).

The alternating of jerseys was changed. For the first season since the 1969–70 season, teams would now wear their colored jerseys at home and white jerseys away.

The Phoenix Coyotes moved to a new arena in Glendale, Arizona, after playing their first seven seasons at America West Arena.

Regular season


The 2003–04 season was one overhung by concern over the expiry of the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement. It led to the cancellation of the League's games for the entirety of the next season. During the entire season, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) head Bob Goodenow waged a war of words with no agreement being signed.

On September 26, just before the season was to begin, young Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley crashed his Ferrari in suburban Atlanta. The passenger, Thrashers teammate Dan Snyder, was killed. Heatley himself was badly injured and eventually charged with vehicular homicide.

Entering the season, the two Stanley Cup favorites were the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference, who had won the Presidents' Trophy and come within a win of the Stanley Cup Finals the year before, and the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference, who, despite losing legendary goaltender Patrick Roy to retirement, added both Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya to an already star-studded lineup. Neither of these teams, however, were as successful as expected, with Ottawa finishing fifth in their conference and Colorado finishing fourth, losing the Northwest Division title for the first time in a decade when the franchise was still known as the Quebec Nordiques.

The greatest disappointments were the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who, despite making it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals the year prior and adding both Sergei Fedorov and Vaclav Prospal, failed to make the playoffs. The Los Angeles Kings failed to make the playoffs in large part due to a season-ending 11-game losing streak. In the East, the star-studded New York Rangers again failed to make the playoffs. The Washington Capitals, who were regarded as a contender, also stumbled early in the season and never recovered. The end of the season saw two of the most extensive housecleanings in League history, as the Rangers and Capitals traded away many of their stars and entered "rebuilding mode." The Capitals traded away Jaromir Jagr, Peter Bondra, Sergei Gonchar, Robert Lang and Anson Carter, while the Rangers moved Petr Nedved, Brian Leetch, Anson Carter and Alexei Kovalev to other NHL teams.

The most surprising teams were the Tampa Bay Lightning in the East and the San Jose Sharks in the West. The Lightning, who had a remarkable season with only 20 man-games lost to injury, finished atop the Eastern Conference, while the Sharks, who were firmly in rebuilding mode after a disastrous 28–37–9–8 campaign the last season, came second in the West and won the Pacific Division.

Two other teams that did better than expected were carried by surprising young goaltenders. The Calgary Flames ended a seven-year playoff drought backed by the solid play of Miikka Kiprusoff, and the Boston Bruins won the Northeast Division by a whisker over the Toronto Maple Leafs with the help of eventual Calder Memorial Trophy-winning goaltender Andrew Raycroft.

Goaltending was also the story of the Presidents' Trophy-winning Detroit Red Wings as the return from retirement of legend Dominik Hasek bumped Curtis Joseph to the minor leagues. At the same time, long-time back up Manny Legace recorded better numbers than both veterans and won the starting job in the playoffs.

Of note is the fact that the Nashville Predators made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, though they were dispatched by a star-studded Detroit Red Wings team in the first round.

The regular season ended controversially, when in March 2004, the Vancouver Canucks' Todd Bertuzzi infamously attacked and severely injured the Colorado Avalanche's Steve Moore, forcing the latter to eventually retire.

Final standings

Detroit Red Wings won the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

For rankings in conference, division leaders are automatically ranked 1–3. These three, plus the next five teams in the conference standings, earn playoff berths at the end of the season.

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA PTS
13Philadelphia Flyers824021156229186101
26New Jersey Devils824325122213164100
38New York Islanders82382911423721091
413New York Rangers8227407820625069
515Pittsburgh Penguins8223478419030358

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Northeast Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
12Boston Bruins824119157209188104
24Toronto Maple Leafs824524103242204103
35Ottawa Senators824323106262189102
47Montreal Canadiens8241307420819293
59Buffalo Sabres8237347422022185

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Southeast Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA PTS
11Tampa Bay Lightning82462286245192106
210Atlanta Thrashers8233378421424378
311Carolina Hurricanes82283414617220976
412Florida Panthers82283515418822175
514Washington Capitals82234610318625359

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Eastern Conference[4]
R Div GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
1 Z- Tampa Bay LightningSE82462286245192106
2 Y- Boston BruinsNE824119157209188104
3 Y- Philadelphia FlyersAT824021156209188101
4 X- Toronto Maple LeafsNE824524103242204103
5 X- Ottawa SenatorsNE824323106262189102
6 X- New Jersey DevilsAT824325122213164100
7 X- Montreal CanadiensNE8241307420819293
8 X- New York IslandersAT82382911423721091
8.5
9 Buffalo SabresNE8237347422022185
10 Atlanta ThrashersSE8233378421424378
11 Carolina HurricanesSE82283414617220976
12 Florida PanthersSE82283515418822175
13 New York RangersAT8227407820625069
14 Washington CapitalsSE82234610318625359
15 Pittsburgh PenguinsAT8223478419030358

Divisions: AT – Atlantic, NE – Northeast, SE – Southeast

Z – Clinched Conference; Y – Clinched Division; X – Clinched Playoff spot

Western Conference
Central Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
11Detroit Red Wings824821112255189109
27St. Louis Blues82393011219119891
38Nashville Predators82382911421621791
414Columbus Blue Jackets8225458417723862
515Chicago Blackhawks82204311818825959

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Northwest Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA PTS
13Vancouver Canucks824324105235194101
24Colorado Avalanche824022137235198100
36Calgary Flames8242307320017694
49Edmonton Oilers82362912522120889
510Minnesota Wild82302920318818383

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Pacific Division[3]
No. CR GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
12San Jose Sharks824321126219183104
25Dallas Stars82412613219417597
311Los Angeles Kings82282916920521781
412Mighty Ducks of Anaheim82293510818421376
513Phoenix Coyotes82223618618824568

Note: CR = Conference rank; GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; OTL = Overtime loss; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points
         Bolded teams qualified for the playoffs.

Western Conference[4]
R Div GP W L T OTL GF GA Pts
1 P- Detroit Red WingsCE824821112255189109
2 Y- San Jose SharksPA824321126255183104
3 Y- Vancouver CanucksNW824324105235194101
4 X- Colorado AvalancheNW824022137236198100
5 X- Dallas StarsPA82412613219417597
6 X- Calgary FlamesNW8242307320017694
7 X- St. Louis BluesCE82393011219119891
8 X- Nashville PredatorsCE82382911421621791
8.5
9 Edmonton OilersNW82362912522120889
10 Minnesota WildNW82302920318818383
11 Los Angeles KingsPA82282916920521781
12 Mighty Ducks of AnaheimPA82293510818421376
13 Phoenix CoyotesPA82223618618824568
14 Columbus Blue JacketsCE8225458417723862
15 Chicago BlackhawksCE82204311818825959

Divisions: CE – Central, PA – Pacific, NW – Northwest

P – Clinched Presidents Trophy; Y – Clinched Division; X – Clinched Playoff spot

Playoffs


Lord Stanley's Cup

Note: All dates in 2004.

The 2004 playoffs were considered to be wide open, with no clear favorite. All of the top teams had weaknesses. Tampa Bay and Boston were both young teams with no history of recent postseason success. Detroit, Ottawa, Colorado, and Philadelphia all had major questions in goal. New Jersey was marred by injuries to Scott Stevens and Brian Rafalski, while Vancouver was missing the suspended Todd Bertuzzi.

The first-round Eastern Conference matchups featured a number of historic rivalries. The Ottawa Senators met the Toronto Maple Leafs for the fourth time in five years in the always passion-filled Battle of Ontario. The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens met in a resumption of the most common of all NHL playoff series, and one which the Canadiens have thoroughly dominated, including an upset win two years prior. The Devils–Flyers rivalry added another playoff chapter with their series. The only non-rivalry was the Tampa Bay-New York Islanders series.

The West saw the resumption of the Vancouver-Calgary rivalry, which had been somewhat dormant as the Flames made the playoffs for the first time since 1996. Detroit played division rival Nashville (whom they had struggled against during the regular season) in Nashville's first ever franchise visit to the playoffs. San Jose met the St. Louis Blues, while the always difficult four-five matchup saw Colorado and Dallas meet.

The Calgary Flames, a sixth seed, defeated the Canucks in seven, the Red Wings in six and the Sharks in six games to become the first Canadian team to reach the Stanley Cup Finals in ten years, since the Canucks lost to the Rangers in 1994. They faced the Tampa Bay Lightning, who defeated the Islanders in five, swept the Canadiens and defeated the Flyers in seven games.

For the first time since 1994, neither the Avalanche, Devils, Red Wings or Stars played in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Stanley Cup Finals

The Lightning beat the Flames in the Stanley Cup Finals, four games to three. With the Flames having a 3–2 series lead and the series going back to Calgary for Game 6, with the Stanley Cup in the building and with the game tied 2–2 in the third, Martin Gelinas of the Flames (who scored the series-winning goals in the Flames' three previous series) appeared to have scored the go-ahead goal. Gelinas redirected a pass towards the Tampa net using his skate that was kicked out by Lightning goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. It appeared that before Khabibulin kicked the puck out, it had already crossed the goal line.[5] The play was not reviewed. To this day, many Flames fans argue that the puck was in.[citation needed] The game eventually went into double overtime, where Lightning winger and former Flame Martin St. Louis scored the overtime winner. The Lightning went on to win Game 7 by a score of 2–1 and captured their first championship in franchise history. Brad Richards, with 12 goals and 26 points in the playoffs, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Calgary vs. Tampa Bay
DateAwayHome 
May 25Calgary41Tampa Bay
May 27Calgary14Tampa Bay
May 29Tampa Bay03Calgary
May 31Tampa Bay10Calgary
June 3Calgary32Tampa BayOT
June 5Tampa Bay32Calgary2OT
June 7Calgary12Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay wins series 4–3 and Stanley Cup

Playoff bracket

  Conference Quarterfinals Conference Semifinals Conference Finals Stanley Cup Finals
                                     
1 Tampa Bay 4     1 Tampa Bay 4  
8 NY Islanders 1     7 Montreal 0  
2 Boston 3 Eastern Conference
7 Montreal 4  
    1 Tampa Bay 4  
  3 Philadelphia 3  
3 Philadelphia 4  
6 New Jersey 1  
4 Toronto 4   3 Philadelphia 4
5 Ottawa 3     4 Toronto 2  
  E1 Tampa Bay 4
(Pairings are re-seeded after the first round.)
  W6 Calgary 3
1 Detroit 4     1 Detroit 2
8 Nashville 2     6 Calgary 4  
2 San Jose 4
7 St. Louis 1  
  2 San Jose 2
  6 Calgary 4  
3 Vancouver 3  
6 Calgary 4   Western Conference
4 Colorado 4   2 San Jose 4
5 Dallas 1     4 Colorado 2  
  • During the first three rounds home ice is determined by seeding number, not position on the bracket. In the Finals the team with the better regular season record has home ice.

Awards


The NHL Awards presentation took place in Toronto.

Presidents' Trophy:Detroit Red Wings
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Eastern Conference playoff champion)
Tampa Bay Lightning
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(Western Conference playoff champion)
Calgary Flames
Art Ross Trophy:Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:Bryan Berard, Chicago Blackhawks
Calder Memorial Trophy:Andrew Raycroft, Boston Bruins
Conn Smythe Trophy:Brad Richards, Tampa Bay Lightning
Frank J. Selke Trophy:Kris Draper, Detroit Red Wings
Hart Memorial Trophy:Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Jack Adams Award:John Tortorella, Tampa Bay Lightning
James Norris Memorial Trophy:Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey Devils
King Clancy Memorial Trophy:Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:Brad Richards, Tampa Bay Lightning
Lester B. Pearson Award:Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
Lester Patrick Trophy:Mike Emrick, John Davidson, Ray Miron
Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy:Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames;
Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets;
Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers
NHL Plus/Minus Award:Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning;
Marek Malik, Vancouver Canucks
Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award:Dwayne Roloson, Minnesota Wild
Vezina Trophy:Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
William M. Jennings Trophy:Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

All-Star teams

First team  Position  Second team
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils G Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey Devils D Chris Pronger, St. Louis Blues
Zdeno Chara, Ottawa Senators D Bryan McCabe, Toronto Maple Leafs
Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche C Mats Sundin, Toronto Maple Leafs
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning RW Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Markus Naslund, Vancouver Canucks LW Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers

Player statistics


Scoring leaders

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

Player Team GP G A Pts
Martin St. LouisTampa Bay82385694
Ilya KovalchukAtlanta81414687
Joe SakicColorado81335487
Markus NaslundVancouver78354984
Marian HossaOttawa81364682
Patrik EliasNew Jersey82384381
Daniel AlfredssonOttawa77324880
Cory StillmanTampa Bay81255580
Robert LangWashington / Detroit69304979
Brad RichardsTampa Bay82265379

[6]

Leading goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Mins = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses: OT = Overtime losses; GA = Goals allowed; SO = Shutouts; GAA = Goals against average

Player Team GP Mins W L T GA SO SV GAA
Martin BrodeurNew Jersey75455438261115411.9172.03
Marty TurcoDallas7343593721131449.9131.98
Ed BelfourToronto5934443419612210.9182.13
Tomas VokounNashville7342213429101783.9092.53
Dan CloutierVancouver603539332161345.9142.27

Coaches


Eastern Conference

Western Conference

Milestones


Debuts

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 2003–04 (listed with their first team):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note who played their last NHL game in 2003-04, listed with their team:

PlayerTeamNotability
Valeri Bure[7]Dallas StarsOlympic silver and bronze medalist, 1-time NHL All-Star.
Shayne Corson[8]Dallas Stars3-time NHL All-Star, over 1100 games played.
Vincent Damphousse[9]San Jose Sharks1-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens, 4-time NHL All-Star, over 1300 games played.
Ron Francis[10]Toronto Maple Leafs2-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-time NHL All-Star, 3-time Lady Byng Trophy, Frank J. Selke Trophy winner, King Clancy Memorial Trophy winner, over 1700 games played.
Kenny Jonsson[11]New York Islanders2-time Olympic gold medalist, 1-time NHL All-Star.
Joe Juneau[12]Montreal CanadiensOlympic silver medalist.
Mike Keane[13]Vancouver Canucks3-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars, over 1100 games played.
Igor Larionov[14]New Jersey Devils3-time Stanley Cup champion with the Detroit Red Wings, 2-time Olympic gold and bronze medalist, oldest active player in NHL at time of retirement.
Curtis Leschyshyn[15]Ottawa Senators1-time Stanley Cup champion with the Colorado Avalanche, over 1000 games played.
Al MacInnis[16]St. Louis Blues1-time Stanley Cup champion with the Calgary Flames, Olympic gold medalist, 7-time NHL All-Star, Conn Smythe Trophy winner, James Norris Memorial Trophy winner, over 1400 games played.
Mark Messier[17]New York Rangers6-time Stanley Cup champion with the Edmonton Oilers and Rangers, 15-time NHL All-Star, Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Hart Memorial Trophy winner, Lester B. Pearson Award winner, over 1700 games played. Last active player to play in the World Hockey Association and the last active player to have played in the 1970s.
Adam Oates[18]Edmonton Oilers5-time NHL All-Star, over 1300 games played.
James Patrick[19]Buffalo SabresOver 1200 games played.
Felix Potvin[20]Boston Bruins2-time NHL All-Star.
Rob Ray[21]Ottawa SenatorsKing Clancy Memorial Trophy winner, NHL Foundation Player Award winner.
Scott Stevens[22]New Jersey Devils3-time Stanley Cup champion with the Devils, 13-time NHL All-Star, Conn Smythe Trophy winner, over 1600 games played.
Steve Thomas[23]Detroit Red WingsOver 1200 games played.
Roman Turek[24]Calgary Flames1-time Stanley Cup champion with the Dallas Stars, 2-time William M. Jennings Trophy winner, 1-time NHL All-Star.

See also


References


  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.CS1 maint: ref duplicates default (link)
Notes
  1. "2003-04 NHL Summary - Hockey-Reference.com". Hockey-Reference.com. Archived from the original on April 19, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  2. "1967-68 NHL Summary - Hockey-Reference.com". Hockey-Reference.com. Archived from the original on June 16, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  3. "2003-2004 Division Standings". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  4. "2003–2004 Standings by Conference". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  5. TheXen0 (September 2, 2009). "Martin Gelinas Phantom Goal, Did The Puck Go In?". Archived from the original on June 17, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018 via YouTube.
  6. Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2009). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book/2010. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 162.
  7. "Former Hab Valeri Bure now has his own wine label". montrealgazette.com. February 26, 2014. Archived from the original on October 14, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  8. nurun.com. "Shayne Corson speaks out about colitis". Napanee Guide. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  9. "Criminal charges dropped against former Hab Vincent Damphousse's ex-wife - CBC News". cbc.ca. Archived from the original on October 1, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  10. "Ron Francis to have number retired by Carolina". sootoday.com. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  11. "Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Kenny Jonsson retires". NHL.com. Archived from the original on September 16, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  12. "Where are they now? Joe Juneau - Historical Website of the Montreal Canadiens". ourhistory.canadiens.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  13. "Former Star Mike Keane Expected to Retire". defendingbigd.com. Archived from the original on October 1, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  14. MacIntyre, Iain. "Igor Larionov's take on NHL lockout? 'We can't afford to lose another season'". vancouversun.com. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  15. "Curtis Leschyshyn Retires". NHL.com. Archived from the original on May 19, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  16. "Hard-shooting defenseman Al MacInnis retires". ESPN.com. September 9, 2005. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  17. "No more Mess: NHL great retires after 25 seasons". ESPN.com. September 12, 2005. Archived from the original on April 29, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  18. "OATES RETIRES FROM NHL". highbeam.com. April 5, 2004. Archived from the original on December 9, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  19. "James Patrick retires from NHL - CBC Sports". cbc.ca. Archived from the original on October 1, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  20. "NHL lockout leaves the old guys behind". nationalpost.com. November 27, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  21. Press, The Canadian. "Retired Buffalo Sabres enforcer Rob Ray sues NHLPA, again - The Hockey News". thehockeynews.com. Archived from the original on May 19, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  22. "Stevens retires after 22 years". ESPN.com. September 6, 2005. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  23. "FROM THE ICE Steve Thomas reportedly talking to other teams". todaysslapshot.com. Archived from the original on October 9, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  24. "Wednesday roundup: Turek retires from Flames, NHL". ESPN.com. August 10, 2005. Archived from the original on May 9, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018.