National Hockey League
Detroit Red Wings
5 Oct 2005 – 19 Jun 2006
Number of teams
Number of games
October 5, 2005 – June 19, 2006
Joe Thornton (Boston, San Jose)
Vincent Lecavalier, Mats Sundin, Michael Ryder, Michael Cammalleri
2006–07 NHL season, 2003–04 NHL season, 2004–05 NHL season, 1993–94 NHL season, 1992–93 NHL season
The 2005–06 NHL season was the 89th season of operation (88th season of play) of the National Hockey League (NHL). This was the season after the 2004–05 season which had all of its scheduled games canceled due to a labor dispute with the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) over the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the League and its players. The 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs began on April 21, 2006, and concluded on June 19, with the Carolina Hurricanes defeating the Edmonton Oilers to win their first Stanley Cup.
On July 13, 2005, the NHL, and NHLPA jointly announced that they had tentatively agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement which would allow the resumption of hockey for the 2005–06 season. The agreement was voted on July 21 by NHLPA members, and approved by a nearly 7 to 1 margin. The following day, the NHL's Board of Governors (owners) voted unanimously to approve the new agreement.
A new logo for the NHL was also unveiled, with "NHL" printed in upward-reading letters to project a vibrant, optimistic image, and having silver as the dominant color to pay homage to the Stanley Cup. Also, new Eastern and Western Conference logos were unveiled before the Olympic break, with red as the dominant East color, and blue as the dominant West hue.
American television also had a new look. OLN took over broadcasting rights after ESPN decided not to renew their rights on cable television. The network, owned by Comcast, had Monday and Tuesday night games during the regular season under an exclusivity clause prohibiting local telecasts those nights in the two participating teams' markets. NBC returned as the NHL's over-the-air partner after ABC parted ways following the 2003–04 season. Comcast high-speed cable internet customers could watch at least seven games a week over the Internet as part of the new TV deal.
After experimenting with many rule changes in 2004–05 in the American Hockey League (AHL), many of the rule changes from the previous year were adopted, with changes:
The rule experimentation was based on the previous season of play in the AHL, and was based on creating a more exciting game and will create more scoring opportunities, and therefore more goals.
Furthermore, a new Competition Committee was formed to discuss future rule changes, and players were invited to participate in the discussion.
In terms of total goals scored during an NHL regular season, the 2005–06 regular season turned out to be the highest-scoring in NHL history, with 7,443 goals scored in 1,230 games. However, the highest-scoring season in terms of goals per game still belonged to the 1992–93 regular season, in which 7,311 goals were scored in only 1,008 games, for an average of 7.25 per game (the average in 2005–06 was 6.05 per game). The record for most shorthanded goals scored in a season, set in 1992–93 and matched in 1993–94 at 312, was broken as 318 shorthanded goals were scored. A total of 117 shutouts were recorded, down from an all-time high of 192 in 2003–04. The higher offensive numbers were largely attributable, among other things, to greater frequency of power plays. In 2003–04, teams had an average of 348 power plays over 82 games. In 2005–06, the average number of power plays per team over 82 games was 480.
The NHL season began on October 5, and for the first time in the League's history, all of the league's 30 teams played a game on opening night. In the first period of each game, all teams wore a jersey (sweater) with a special patch as the league and players association auctioned off those jerseys for the benefit of the Red Cross in both the United States and Canada earmarking the proceeds for Hurricane Katrina victims (the Islanders' ECHL affiliate in Biloxi, Mississippi suspended operations for the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons because of this disaster; furthermore, the NHL had a Stanley Cup tour of ECHL cities to raise additional funds for relief efforts. On opening night of this season, Jean-Pierre Dumont of the Buffalo Sabres scored the first goal of the regular season, and Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley, of the Ottawa Senators became the first players to score the winning goals for a shootout in NHL history, both scoring against Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour. Their sticks were subsequently sent to the nearby Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The All-Star Game, which would have been in Phoenix, did not take place (the city will host the event in a future year as a replacement); the league instead took a break in February so that many of its players could participate in the XX Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. The new schedule features more intra-division games in order to promote division rivalries. Consequently, there are whole divisions in the opposite conference that teams never played during the season.
This season saw the much-hyped debuts of (and immediate rivalry between) Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. It was only the second time that two rookies had over 100 points in a season (Teemu Selanne and Joe Juneau performed the feat in 1992–93). Ovechkin finished with 106 points, which is third best all-time among NHL rookies. Crosby surpassed teammate Mario Lemieux's 100-point rookie season, finishing with 102 points, currently fifth best all-time.
On November 30, 2005, Joe Thornton was traded from the Boston Bruins to the San Jose Sharks in a four-player deal which sent forwards Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau and defenseman Brad Stuart to Boston. Thornton went on to win the scoring title and to date has consistently been a top ten League scorer. The Bruins would not make the playoffs until 2008.
On November 26, the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals played the second-longest NHL shootout to date. Rangers defenseman Marek Malik scored the winning goal in the 15th round, pulling the puck between his own legs to defeat Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig, giving the Rangers the victory by the final score of 3–2.
Three early-season games had to be rescheduled due to various events. Hurricane Wilma had forced the NHL to reschedule two Florida Panthers home games, in which their game against Ottawa Senators scheduled on October 22 was rescheduled to December 5; the game against the Washington Capitals scheduled for October 29 was moved to December 1. The Nashville Predators–Detroit Red Wings game on November 22 was called off with 7:30 left in the first period after Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer suffered a seizure and had to be resuscitated. It was rescheduled to January 23, 2006, with the game starting 1–0 for Nashville as Greg Johnson's goal from the original date was allowed to stand. The game that was originally scheduled for January 23 at Nashville between the two teams was moved to March 30, 2006.
On January 12, the New York Rangers retired the number 11 of long-time captain Mark Messier to the rafters of Madison Square Garden. The Rangers would beat Messier's former team, the Edmonton Oilers, 5–4 in overtime.
On January 16 in Phoenix, Washington Capitals rookie winger Alexander Ovechkin added himself to the league's historical highlight reel by scoring a goal from his back while rolling and sliding past the goal. Ovechkin was checked to the ice by Coyotes defenseman Paul Mara on a breakaway between the Coyotes' faceoff circles, but rolled to his back, reached over his head with his stick and hooked the puck in behind goaltender Brian Boucher.
On January 19, Los Angeles Kings veteran left winger Luc Robitaille scored his 550th, 551st and 552nd goals as a member of the Kings, eclipsing Marcel Dionne's franchise record of 550 goals. The 40-year-old Robitaille retired at season's end.
The season was rocked with scandal in early February when it came to light that Phoenix Coyotes Assistant Coach Rick Tocchet was found to be involved in a $1.6 million illegal sports gambling ring with Mafia ties. Apparently, no betting on NHL games was being done, but bets were being placed on college and professional football and college and professional basketball. Although Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky denied any knowledge or involvement in the ring, initial reports stated that wiretapped phone conversations he had proved that he not only knew about the ring, but was trying to find ways to conceal his wife's involvement in it. He was later cleared of these accusations, but long-term implications to his reputation are still unknown. For more information, see Operation Slapshot.
On April 15, in the Nashville Predators' 81st game of the season, Nashville goaltender Chris Mason was credited with a goal when the Phoenix Coyotes' Geoff Sanderson put the puck in his own net. Mason was awarded credit for the goal, as he was the last Predator to have touched the puck. It was the ninth regular season goal scored by a goaltender in NHL history. The last goal of the regular season was scored by Kyle Calder of the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime in a 3–2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, which ended the 2005–06 regular season at 10:50 EDT on April 18, 2006.
The Tampa Bay Lightning narrowly avoided becoming the first team since the New Jersey Devils in the 1995–96 season to miss the post-season after winning the Stanley Cup the previous season.
This season also marked the first time since the 1978–79 season that the St. Louis Blues did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs, ending the third-longest NHL post-season appearance streak at 25 seasons. Only the Chicago Blackhawks (28 seasons) and the Boston Bruins (29 seasons) had longer streaks.
The Detroit Red Wings won the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
For ranking 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.
Divisions: AT – Atlantic, NE – Northeast, SE – Southeast
Z- Clinched Conference; Y- Clinched Division; X- Clinched Playoff spot
Divisions: CE – Central, PA – Pacific, NW – Northwest
P- Clinched Presidents Trophy; Y- Clinched Division; X- Clinched Playoff spot
If two or more clubs are tied in points during the regular season, the standing of the clubs is determined in the following order: 
- The fewer number of games played (i.e., superior points percentage).
- The greater number of games won.
- The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs.
- The greater differential between goals for and against.
In the first round, all of the Eastern series went to the higher-seeded team. In the Western Conference, however, the opposite was the case, and every series went to the lower seed. In the semi-finals, the first-seeded Ottawa Senators were upset by the Buffalo Sabres, while in the Western Conference, the eighth-seeded Edmonton Oilers defeated the fifth-seeded San Jose Sharks. The East's second seed, the Carolina Hurricanes, advanced to the Conference Final and defeated Buffalo in a seven-game series. The sixth-seeded Mighty Ducks of Anaheim defeated the Colorado Avalanche to advance to the Western Conference Final. Edmonton continued its Cinderella story by defeating Anaheim in five games, while Carolina advanced to the final with a seven-game series win over Buffalo.
Stanley Cup Final
The 2006 Stanley Cup Final was contested between the Eastern Conference champion Carolina Hurricanes and the Western Conference champion Edmonton Oilers. It was Carolina's second appearance in the Final, the other being in 2002, a loss to the Detroit Red Wings. It was Edmonton's seventh appearance in the Final and their first since their fifth Cup win in 1990. Carolina defeated Edmonton in seven games to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup, becoming the tenth post-1967 expansion team and third former World Hockey Association (WHA) franchise to win the Cup.
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/- = Plus/Minus; PIM = Penalty Minutes
Minimum 1,000 minutes played.
Note: 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
The following are players of note who played their first NHL game in 2005-06:
The following is a list of players of note who played their last NHL game in 2005–06, listed with their team: