NHL Saturday has hit a key benchmark in North American professional hockey history: the last time the Montréal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup—and the last time a Canadian team won the NHL title. That’s significant for many historical reasons, as well as cultural and social ones. Ponder it for a moment …
Alright, on with the best show on (sort of) ice!
1993 Hart: Mario Lemieux (original, confirmed)
Pittsburgh Penguins legend Mario Lemieux topped the forwards, and the league as a whole, in Point Shares (16.83), as he won the vote for the Hart. The next-closest forwards were Buffalo Sabres right wing Alexander Mogilny (13.43) and Winnipeg Jets rookie right wing Teemu Selänne (13.43). That’s a big gap, for sure. Incidentally, Sabres veteran center Pat LaFontaine (13.21) was right behind them.
Mogilny and LaFontaine cancel each other out, of course, and Pittsburgh won the Patrick Division with a league-high 119 points. What about the Jets? They finished fourth in the Smythe Division, but Winnipeg still had a 27-point playoff cushion. The Jets were fine without Selänne. Should we dig deeper?
No need, as we will confirm Lemieux’s award right now, his fourth by our estimation (1988, 1989, 1992): He posted 160 points (69G, 91A) and a plus-55 rating to lead the NHL in both categories. His 24.1-percent shot rate was the second-best mark of his career as well.
1993 Norris: Chris Chelios (original), Larry Murphy (revised)
With 11.1 PS, Chicago Blackhawks veteran Chris Chelios won the Norris vote, but the best defenseman in the league was Penguins stud Larry Murphy (12.38). With Chicago winning the Norris Division with 106 points, neither guy was super “valuable” to his respective team, as both cruised into the postseason. So, we give the hardware to Murphy for his superior season.
Chelios notched a 6.27 defensive PS mark, and Murphy was right behind at 6.19 dPS. On the offensive side, though, Murphy posted 85 points (22G, 63A), 73 PIMs, and a plus-45 rating. What may have hurt Chelios was his career-high 282 PIMs, keeping him from adding more offensively to his game. This is Murphy’s second Norris nod from us, after he won it in 1987, too.
1993 Vezina: Ed Belfour (original), Curtis Joseph (revised)
Four goaltenders finished in the league’s Top 10 for Point Shares: St. Louis Blues star Curtis Joseph (16.17), Blackhawks phenom Ed Belfour (13.04), Jets grinder Bob Essensa (12.54), and Pittsburgh stalwart Tom Barrasso (12.41). We know how three of these teams did, but what about St. Louis? The Blues finished fourth in the Norris with just a 3-point postseason cushion.
That seals this award for CuJo, despite the fact Belfour won the Vezina vote. Without him, St. Louis is golfing in April instead of getting a shot at Lord Stanley’s Cup. To make it more concrete, Joseph led the league in save percentage (.911), while also seeing the most shots in the NHL, as well. That’s insane, how bad the Blues were at preventing shots on goal. This is CuJo’s second Vezina in a row from us, too.
1993 Calder: Teemu Selänne (original, confirmed)
Toronto Maple Leafs rookie goalie Felix Potvin topped the NHL in GAA (2.50), as he put up 9.3 PS, and Boston Bruins rookie center Joe Juneau registered 102 points (32G, 70A) as he posted 8.5 PS himself. Often, those totals would be good enough to win the Calder, but Selänne was dynamite for Winnipeg, scoring 76 goals to top the league. Overall, the Jets sniper totaled 132 points.
But the standings … The Maple Leafs finished well ahead of the Blues in the Norris, so they probably make the playoffs without The Cat. Meanwhile, the Bruins posted 109 points to win the Adams Division handily. Therefore, Selänne gets to keep his Calder trophy. He was that much better than the others.
1993 Conn Smythe: Patrick Roy (original, confirmed)
This is probably the easiest Conn Smythe to confirm … ever. Why? Because Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy was unbelievably stellar in the postseason, posting a 16-4 record with a 2.13 GAA and a .929 S% as his team waltzed to the Cup title. But those numbers only tell half the story: Montréal was an incredible 10-0 in overtime playoff games, including 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Los Angeles Kings.
Let that sink in: This is the most stunning postseason performance in league history, if you ask us. How do you win that many OT games without a loss? Your goalie is on fire, that’s how—historically so. Kings center Wayne Gretzky notched 40 points in 25 games for Los Angeles, including 7 points in 5 Finals games against Roy and Montréal, and it didn’t matter. The Canadiens still won the Cup.
The Great One would have won another Conn Smythe if the Kings had been able to solve Roy at all, but it didn’t happen, and Roy’s legendary performance stands the test of time as the most dominant postseason run to the Stanley Cup ever, period. Again, we hate the guy, personally, but when he was good, he was damn good.