2011–12 NHL season[edit | edit source]

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2011–12 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Number of games 82
Number of teams 30
Regular season
Stanley Cup
NHL seasons


The 2011–12 NHL season is the 95th season of operation (94th season of play) of theNational Hockey League (NHL). It is the fifth consecutive season to start with games inEurope. The season began on October 6, 2011 with the final regular season game on April 7, 2012. The 59th All-Star Game will be held at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, the home arena of the Ottawa Senators, on January 29, 2012.

During the off-season, the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba to become the Winnipeg Jets. It was the first NHL team relocation since the 1997–98 NHL seasonwhen the Hartford Whalers relocated to become the Carolina Hurricanes. The league did not change its divisional structure to accommodate the move, and the Jets take the place of the Thrashers in the Southeast Division. However the board of governors approved a realignment for the 2012-13 season which would result in four conferences with the first two rounds of the playoffs being divisional.

Contents[edit | edit source]

 [hide] *1 League business

Three 'enforcer'-type players died during the off-season: Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak, leading to speculation about the effect of fighting on the mental health of players. Several former NHL players died in the September 7, 2011 plane crash involving the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team in Russia. Among the notables who perished in the plane crash included longtime NHL player and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, former NHL players Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev, NHL All-Star Pavol Demitra, and NHL veterans Karel Rachunek,Ruslan Salei, Karlis Skrastins and Josef Vasicek.

==[edit]League business==

[edit]Franchise relocation[edit | edit source]

Atlanta Spirit, LLC, which previously owned the Atlanta Thrashers, sold the team to True North Sports and Entertainment. True North has announced that the team will be relocated to True North-owned MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba[1] and renamed the Winnipeg Jets, after aprevious NHL team in the market. Winnipeg took Atlanta's place in the Southeast Division for 2011-12.[2]

[edit]Realignment announcement[edit | edit source]

[1]DevilsIslandersRangersFlyersPenguinsBruinsSabresCanadiensSenatorsMaple LeafsJetsHurricanesPanthersLightningCapitalsBlackhawksBlue JacketsRed WingsPredatorsBluesFlamesAvalancheOilersWildCanucksDucksStarsKingsCoyotesSharks

On December 5, 2011, the NHL Board of Governors announced that it would divide the league into four conferences (instead of the previous six "divisions") starting in the 2012–13 season. Under the new realignment, each team would play each team in the other three conferences exactly twice per year, once at home and once on the road. All the remaining games would be within the conference.

The playoff system would also change drastically, with the top four teams in each conference qualifying for the playoffs, each with its own individual seeding (1 vs 4, 2 vs 3). The winner of each intraconference tournament would then meet in the semi-finals, ultimately playing for the Stanley Cup.

The new conferences starting in the 2012-13 season are aligned as follows:

  • New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes
  • Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets
  • Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche

The realignment was partially a reaction to teams on the West Coast complaining about traveling several time zones during the regular season. [3]

[edit]Salary cap[edit | edit source]

On June 23, 2011, the NHL announced that the salary cap would be increased by $4.9 million. As a result, the new salary cap ceiling is set at $64.3 million while the salary cap floor is $48.3 million.[4]

[edit]Uniform changes[edit | edit source]

Several teams announced plans to change their uniforms in the 2011–12 season.[5]

The Edmonton Oilers unveiled a new away uniform parallel to their 'retro' home uniform used from 1979 to 1996 (blue) & 1979 to 1997 (white). They retained the navy blue, copper and red uniforms as the alternates.

The Nashville Predators unveiled new home and away uniforms on June 22, complete with the updated saber-toothed cat logo. Their use of gold as the home colors marked the first time since 1998 that an NHL team wore gold in their home uniforms.

The Florida Panthers made minor changes to their home uniform, using red as the primary and relegating navy blue as a trim color.

The Los Angeles Kings returned to the silver and black motif they used from 1988 to 1998, by designating their alternate home black and silver uniform as a regular uniform and unveiling a new white away uniform with black and silver trim. The purple and black uniform were retained as an alternate uniform.

The Ottawa Senators unveiled a new alternate home uniform based on the original Senators barber pole design. The uniform does not use the Roman centurion logo, instead using an outlined 'O' on stripes. The Senators' uniform will also have an All-Star Game patch.

The Pittsburgh Penguins promoted their dark blue uniforms, worn during the 2011 NHL Winter Classic, as the home alternates, replacing the2008 NHL Winter Classic alternates.

The Tampa Bay Lightning unveiled new home and road uniforms, featuring the simplified lightning logo. Originally the uniforms were simply blue and white, but by popular demand, black was added as a trim color to the uniform numbers, and added the lightning bolt to the pants. The 'Bolts' alternate home uniform was retained.

The Toronto Maple Leafs unveiled a new alternate home uniform based on the Leafs uniforms worn during their run to the 1967 Stanley Cup title, including the 11-point maple leaf logo.

The Washington Capitals also promoted their 2011 NHL Winter Classic retro uniforms as their road alternates.

The new Winnipeg Jets unveiled uniforms consisting of navy with silver and light blue trim, containing a logo based on the roundel of the Royal Canadian Air Force; these were significantly different from, but in a similar color scheme to, the original Jets uniforms.

The New York Islanders unveiled a new black alternate uniform, featuring the team name above the player's number, a similar template theDallas Stars' uniforms currently use. Speaking of the Stars, they officially retired their alternate away jersey featuring the team crest, instead using their regular away jerseys with the city name and number in front for all 41 road games.

The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers wore special commemorative uniforms for the 2012 NHL Winter Classic. The Flyers unveiled theirs on November 21, and is in a classic sweater design in orange featuring black numbers and different striping patterns on the yoke. The Rangers unveiled theirs on November 28, and features a mix of designs used from previous jerseys. The shield logo in front is a variation of the logos used during the 1930s-1940s, while the shoulder, arm and tail striping was taken from the current jersey. The jersey is in vintage white.

In addition several teams will sport memorial patches throughout the season; unless specified, the patches will be seen on the team helmets:

Furthermore, a new league-wide rule required that player numbers be displayed on the front of their helmets, as well as on the back.

Even though the New Jersey Devils and the Phoenix Coyotes unveiled anniversary logos commemorating their 30th and 15th anniversaries of their respective relocations from Colorado and Winnipeg, they opted not to use them on their uniforms or helmets.

[edit]Rule changes[edit | edit source]


Prior to the 2011–12 NHL season the Board of Governors unanimously agreed to update and re-word rule 41 involving boarding penalties. The new wording requires the player delivering the check to avoid or minimize contact if the opponent is defenseless.[6]

Illegal hits to the head

The Board of Governors also approved an update to rule 48 involving illegal checks to the head. The new rule will penalize all hits where the head is the principal point of contact. The previous version of this rule only made checks from the blindside illegal. However, determination if the check is legal will depend on various factors including whether or not the player put himself in a vulnerable position or if the hit was unavoidable. A two-minute minor penalty, or a major penalty in the event the hit was deemed to be deliberate with intent to injure, may be assessed.[6]

[edit]Pre-season[edit | edit source]

[edit]European exhibition games[edit | edit source]

See also: List of international games played by NHL teams

The four teams going to Europe to open their regular seasons there as part of the NHL Premiere games also played exhibition games against European teams under the banner of NHL Premiere Challenge to close out their pre-seasons. The NHL teams had an overall record of 6–1–0 against the European teams, with the New York Rangers, playing four games in five days in four countries, having a record of 3–1–0.

Date City NHL team European team Score
September 29 Prague, Czech Republic New York Rangers HC Sparta Praha 2–0
September 30 Gothenburg, Sweden New York Rangers Frölunda HC 4–2
October 2 Bratislava, Slovakia New York Rangers HC Slovan Bratislava 4–1
October 3 Zug, Switzerland New York Rangers EV Zug 4–8
October 4 Helsinki, Finland Anaheim Ducks Helsinki Jokerit 4–3 OT
October 4 Hamburg, Germany Los Angeles Kings Hamburg Freezers 5–4
October 4 Mannheim, Germany Buffalo Sabres Adler Mannheim 8–3

[edit]Regular season[edit | edit source]

[edit]Premiere games[edit | edit source]

Main article: 2011 NHL Premiere

Four teams participated in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere in Europe. The Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangersmade their second trip to Europe while the Buffalo Sabres made its first trip. On October 7, Anaheim played Buffalo at Hartwall Areena inHelsinki, Finland and Los Angeles faced New York at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. All four teams played again on October 8 with Los Angeles against Buffalo at the O2 World Arena in Berlin, Germany and Anaheim against New York in Stockholm.[7]

[edit]Thanksgiving Showdown[edit | edit source]

As part of the league's updated television contract, the NHL debuted the Thanksgiving Showdown, a nationally broadcast game, on the day after American Thanksgiving in 2011. The game, which was sponsored by Discover, featured the Boston Bruins (who have traditionally hostedBlack Friday matinees since 1990) hosting the Detroit Red Wings, with Detroit winning the game in a shootout, 3–2.

[edit]2012 Winter Classic[edit | edit source]

The 2012 NHL Winter Classic was held at the Citizens Bank Park baseball stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Monday, January 2, 2012. This season, the Philadelphia Flyers hosted the New York Rangers. It was the first Winter Classic game for the Rangers and the second for the Flyers. The result of the game was a 3-2 Ranger victory. Philadelphia last played in the 2010 NHL Winter Classic against theBoston Bruins at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins won that game in overtime by a score of 2–1 on a goal scored byMarco Sturm.[8]

This was the first time that the Winter Classic was not played on New Year's Day, which fell on a Sunday in 2012. If the Winter Classic was held on New Years' Day, it would have conflicted with the final game of the National Football League season (in which the Philadelphia Eagleshosted the Washington Redskins at nearby Lincoln Financial Field), and the annual Mummers Parade in downtown Philadelphia. The Flyers–Rangers rivalry is one of the NHL's most frequently televised rivalries on major television networks, and one that was televised three times onNBC in 2011, including the inaugural Hockey Day in America.

No Heritage Classic is going to be played this season, but it may be played next season, according to reports.[9]

[edit]Standings[edit | edit source]

Each of the 30 teams will play an 82-game season of an unbalanced schedule. Teams play six games against division opponents; four games against other conference opponents; and one or two games against teams of the other conference. The first-place teams in each division place first, second and third in the conference standings. The top five finishers from the rest of the teams in each conference will also qualify for the playoffs, making a total of eight playoff teams in each conference.

*v *d
Eastern Conference[10]
1 New York Rangers * AT 38 25 9 4 24 113 81 54
2 Boston Bruins * NE 37 27 10 1 23 138 69 53
3 Florida Panthers * SE 40 20 12 8 18 105 110 48
4 Philadelphia Flyers AT 38 23 11 4 23 130 113 50
5 Ottawa Senators NE 41 21 15 5 17 127 136 47
6 Pittsburgh Penguins AT 38 21 13 4 18 121 100 46
7 Toronto Maple Leafs NE 40 20 16 5 15 129 128 45
8 Washington Capitals SE 38 21 15 2 20 114 110 44
9 New Jersey Devils AT 39 21 16 2 13 106 114 44
10 Winnipeg Jets SE 40 19 16 5 18 107 118 43
11 Buffalo Sabres NE 39 18 17 4 16 104 115 40
12 Tampa Bay Lightning SE 39 17 19 3 15 108 133 37
13 Montreal Canadiens NE 40 15 18 7 14 106 113 37
14 New York Islanders AT 37 14 17 6 11 88 116 34
15 Carolina Hurricanes SE 41 13 21 7 13 106 139 33
Divisions:AT - Atlantic, NE - Northeast, SE - Southeast ROW: Total of games won in regulation or overtime, not shootout.

* – Division leader After games on January 5, 2012.

*v *d
Western Conference[10]
1 Vancouver Canucks * NW 41 25 13 3 24 134 99 53
2 Chicago Blackhawks * CE 40 24 12 4 20 132 116 52
3 San Jose Sharks * PA 37 22 11 4 17 107 88 48
4 Detroit Red Wings CE 39 25 13 1 24 128 88 51
5 St. Louis Blues CE 40 22 12 5 22 103 89 51
6 Minnesota Wild NW 41 21 14 6 17 95 98 48
7 Los Angeles Kings PA 41 20 14 7 17 88 92 47
8 Nashville Predators CE 40 21 15 4 18 106 112 46
9 Dallas Stars PA 40 22 16 1 20 108 113 45
10 Colorado Avalanche NW 41 22 18 1 15 110 116 45
11 Phoenix Coyotes PA 41 19 18 4 17 103 108 42
12 Calgary Flames NW 41 18 19 5 17 100 123 41
13 Edmonton Oilers NW 38 16 20 3 15 107 111 35
14 Anaheim Ducks PA 38 10 22 6 9 88 127 26
15 Columbus Blue Jackets CE 39 10 24 5 7 94 130 25
Divisions:CE - Central, NW - Northwest, PA - Pacific ROW: Total of games won in regulation or overtime, not shootout.

* – Division leader After games on January 5, 2012

[edit]Player statistics[edit | edit source]

[edit]Scoring leaders[edit | edit source]

The following players lead the league in points at the conclusion of games played on January 5, 2012.[11]

GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/– = Plus-minus; PIM = Penalty minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts +/– PIM
Claude Giroux Philadelphia Flyers 34 18 30 48 +8 16
Henrik Sedin Vancouver Canucks 41 10 38 48 +16 36
Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs 40 23 23 46 +5 10
Daniel Sedin Vancouver Canucks 40 18 28 46 +17 28
Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning 39 28 17 45 +7 34
Joffrey Lupul Toronto Maple Leafs 40 18 27 45 +8 36
Jordan Eberle Edmonton Oilers 40 17 26 43 +1 6
Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins 31 15 28 43 +5 28
Marian Hossa Chicago Blackhawks 39 17 25 42 +21 12
Nicklas Backstrom Washington Capitals 38 13 29 42 –2 22

[edit]Leading goaltenders[edit | edit source]

The following goaltenders led the league in goals against average at the end of games played on January 5 while playing at least 720 minutes.[12]

GP = Games played; Min = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; OT = Overtime/shootout losses; GA = Goals against; SO = Shutouts; SV% = Save percentage; GAA = Goals against average

Player Team GP Min W L OT GA SO SV% GAA
Tuukka Rask Boston Bruins 14 806:35 9 4 1 20 3 .949 1.49
Brian Elliott St. Louis Blues 20 1163:10 14 5 0 33 4 .938 1.70
Tim Thomas Boston Bruins 25 1421:47 17 6 0 45 4 .940 1.90
Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers 28 1689:37 17 7 4 54 3 .937 1.92
Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings 34 2026:57 18 10 6 66 6 .933 1.95
Jean-Sebastien Giguere Colorado Avalanche 16 890:00 9 5 0 29 1 .927 1.96
Jimmy Howard Detroit Red Wings 34 2021:08 24 9 1 67 4 .927 1.99
Josh Harding Minnesota Wild 16 855:54 7 4 2 29 1 .935 2.03
Cory Schneider Vancouver Canucks 17 890:40 8 5 0 32 2 .931 2.15
Marc-Andre Fleury Pittsburgh Penguins 31 1833:24 19 9 2 69 2 .914 2.26

[edit]Milestones[edit | edit source]

[edit]First Games[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of notable players who played their first NHL game in 2011–12, listed with their first team:

[edit]Last games[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of players of note who played their last NHL game in 2011–12, listed with their team:

[edit]Major milestones reached[edit | edit source]

[edit]See also[edit | edit source]

[edit]References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ "True North buys Thrashers, set to move team to Winnipeg". TSN. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Gary Bettman expects realignment in '12". Associated Press. ESPN. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  3. ^ Governors adopt radical realignment plan NHL.com | retrieved December 5, 2011
  4. ^ "Salary cap set for 2011-12". NHL.com.
  5. ^ NHL Jersey Watch 2011, Icetherics.info, October 5, 2011.
  6. ^ a b http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=566579
  7. ^ "Premiere 2011 teams, locations revealed". NHL.com. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Reports: Flyers host Rangers, Jan. 2 NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia". NHL.com. 14 May 2011.
  9. ^ Lebrun, Pierre (2011-06-11). "Sources: Only 1 outdoor game next year". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
  10. ^ a b "2011–2012 Standings by Conference". National Hockey League.
  11. ^ "Player Stats: 2011–2012 Regular season: All Skaters – Total Points". National Hockey League.
  12. ^ "Player Stats: 2011–2012 Regular season: Goalie – Goals Against Average leaders". National Hockey League.

[edit]External links[edit | edit source]

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