The 1981–82 NHL season was the 65th season of the National Hockey League. The William M. Jennings Trophy made its debut this year as the trophy for the goaltenders from the team with the fewest goals against, thus replacing the Vezina Trophy in that qualifying criteria. The Vezina Trophy would thereafter be awarded to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position. The New York Islanders won their third straight Stanley Cup by sweeping the Vancouver Canucks in four games.

1981–82 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 6, 1981 – May 16, 1982
Number of games80
Number of teams21
TV partner(s)CBC, SRC (Canada)
USA, ESPN (United States)
Top draft pickDale Hawerchuk
Picked byWinnipeg Jets
Regular season
Season championsNew York Islanders
Season MVPWayne Gretzky (Oilers)
Top scorerWayne Gretzky (Oilers)
Playoffs MVPMike Bossy (Islanders)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsNew York Islanders
  Runners-upVancouver Canucks
NHL seasons

League business edit

Prior to the start of the season, the divisions of the league were re-aligned to reduce travel costs to better reflect their geographic locations, but the traditional names of the divisions and conferences were retained. The Patrick Division, which had heretofore been in the Clarence Campbell Conference, switched to the Prince of Wales Conference, while the Norris Division went the other way, going from the Wales Conference to the Campbell Conference. This divisional alignment existed until the 1993–94 season, at which point both the divisions and the conferences of the league were renamed to reflect geography.

The schedule and playoff format were also altered. Previously, each team played every other team four times, and the 16-team playoff format had the four divisional champions joined by 12 wild-cards; for all intents and purposes, the divisions were meaningless. Also, under the old format, teams were paired in the first round based on record (i.e., 1st vs. 16th, 2nd vs. 15th, etc.), and then re-paired in each succeeding round based on record (i.e., highest seeded first round winner vs. lowest seeded first round winner, second highest first round winner vs. second lowest first round winner, etc.)

The new format called for each team in the three five-team divisions to play their four divisional opponents eight times each (32 games) and the remaining 16 league teams three times each (48 games). In addition, each team in the six-team division was to play their five divisional opponents seven times each (35 games) and the remaining 15 league teams three times each (45 games). As to the playoffs, the top four teams in each division qualified — no more wild-cards — with 1st place playing 4th place, and 2nd place playing 3rd place, in the divisional semifinals; the two winners meeting in the divisional finals; followed by the respective conference finals and the Stanley Cup finals. With the exception of the first round changing from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven in 1987, this schedule and playoff arrangement continued until 1993.

Beginning with this season, the Prince of Wales Trophy and the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl were awarded to the Wales Conference (Eastern Conference since 1993) playoffs champion and the Campbell Conference (Western Conference since 1993) playoffs champion, respectively.

Teams edit

1981-82 National Hockey League
Prince of Wales Conference
Division Team City Arena Capacity
Adams Boston Bruins Boston, Massachusetts Boston Garden 14,673
Buffalo Sabres Buffalo, New York Buffalo Memorial Auditorium 16,433
Hartford Whalers Hartford, Connecticut Hartford Civic Center 14,510
Montreal Canadiens Montreal, Quebec Montreal Forum 18,076
Quebec Nordiques Quebec City, Quebec Colisée de Québec 15,250
Patrick New York Islanders Uniondale, New York Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum 15,008
New York Rangers New York, New York Madison Square Garden 17,500
Philadelphia Flyers Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Spectrum 17,147
Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Civic Arena 16,033
Washington Capitals Landover, Maryland Capital Centre 18,130
Campbell Conference
Norris Chicago Black Hawks Chicago, Illinois Chicago Stadium 16,666
Detroit Red Wings Detroit, Michigan Joe Louis Arena 19,275
Minnesota North Stars Bloomington, Minnesota Metropolitan Sports Center 15,000
St. Louis Blues St. Louis, Missouri Checkerdome 17,968
Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto, Ontario Maple Leaf Gardens 16,182
Winnipeg Jets Winnipeg, Manitoba Winnipeg Arena 15,565
Calgary Flames Calgary, Alberta Stampede Corral 7,475
Colorado Rockies Denver, Colorado McNichols Sports Arena 15,900
Edmonton Oilers Edmonton, Alberta Northlands Coliseum 17,498
Los Angeles Kings Inglewood, California The Forum 16,005
Vancouver Canucks Vancouver, British Columbia Pacific Coliseum 16,413

Regular season edit

The New York Islanders led the league with 118 points, seven more than second place Edmonton Oilers. The Islanders also set a league record by winning 15 consecutive games from January 21 to February 20. This was later eclipsed by the Pittsburgh Penguins' 17-game winning streak[1] from March 9 to April 10, 1993. However, the Islanders 15-game winning streak was accomplished before the advent of overtime in the NHL regular season. Two of the Penguins' wins during their streak, the second and 15th, required overtime. These games would have ended in ties under the rules in place during the 1981–82 season, ending the streak.

The Edmonton Oilers' young superstar Wayne Gretzky broke several records, including the record of 50 goals in 50 games, set by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy, by scoring 50 goals in only 39 games. Gretzky also broke Phil Esposito's record of 76 goals in a season with 92, his own assists record of 109 which was set the prior season with 120, and his own point total of 164 which was also set the prior season with 212. He was the first, and thus far only, player to ever score 200 points in a season. The Oilers set a record for most goals in a season with 417, in which Gretzky scored or assisted on over half.

The New York Islanders' Mike Bossy set a regular season scoring record for right-wingers with 147 points in an 80-game season, and finished as runner-up to Gretzky for the Art Ross Trophy.

This was the final season of the Colorado Rockies before moving to New Jersey to become the Devils. The NHL would return to the Denver area in 1995, when the Quebec Nordiques relocate to become the Colorado Avalanche.

The Winnipeg Jets completed one of the biggest single-season turnarounds in league history as the Jets went from nine wins and 32 points in 1980–81 to 33 wins and 80 points.

The Philadelphia Flyers become the first team to wear long pants. The idea was to create a more streamlined uniform with lighter padding, thus making the players faster.[2] The downside was that the players slid into the boards faster after being bodychecked.[2]

Final standings edit

Note: GP = Games played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalties in minutes
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold

Prince of Wales Conference edit

Adams Division
Montreal Canadiens 80 46 17 17 360 223 1463 109
Boston Bruins 80 43 27 10 323 285 1266 96
Buffalo Sabres 80 39 26 15 307 273 1425 93
Quebec Nordiques 80 33 31 16 356 345 1757 82
Hartford Whalers 80 21 41 18 264 351 1493 60


Patrick Division
New York Islanders 80 54 16 10 385 250 118
New York Rangers 80 39 27 14 316 306 92
Philadelphia Flyers 80 38 31 11 325 313 87
Pittsburgh Penguins 80 31 36 13 310 337 75
Washington Capitals 80 26 41 13 319 338 65


Clarence Campbell Conference edit

Norris Division
Minnesota North Stars 80 37 23 20 346 288 94
Winnipeg Jets 80 33 33 14 319 332 80
St. Louis Blues 80 32 40 8 315 349 72
Chicago Black Hawks 80 30 38 12 332 363 72
Toronto Maple Leafs 80 20 44 16 298 380 56
Detroit Red Wings 80 21 47 12 270 351 54


Smythe Division
Edmonton Oilers 80 48 17 15 417 295 111
Vancouver Canucks 80 30 33 17 290 286 77
Calgary Flames 80 29 34 17 334 345 75
Los Angeles Kings 80 24 41 15 314 369 63
Colorado Rockies 80 18 49 13 241 362 49


Playoffs edit

Playoff bracket edit

Division semifinals Division finals Conference finals Stanley Cup Finals
A1 Montreal 2
A4 Quebec 3
A4 Quebec 4
A2 Boston 3
A2 Boston 3
A3 Buffalo 1
A4 Quebec 0
Prince of Wales Conference
P1 NY Islanders 4
P1 NY Islanders 3
P4 Pittsburgh 2
P1 NY Islanders 4
P2 NY Rangers 2
P2 NY Rangers 3
P3 Philadelphia 1
P1 NY Islanders 4
S2 Vancouver 0
N1 Minnesota 1
N4 Chicago 3
N4 Chicago 4
N3 St. Louis 2
N2 Winnipeg 1
N3 St. Louis 3
N4 Chicago 1
Clarence Campbell Conference
S2 Vancouver 4
S1 Edmonton 2
S4 Los Angeles 3
S4 Los Angeles 1
S2 Vancouver 4
S2 Vancouver 3
S3 Calgary 0

The 1982 playoffs used a new format. Four teams from each division would qualify for the playoffs, and played a best-of-five semifinal round followed by a best-of-seven series to determine the division playoff champions. The Adams and Patrick winners would meet in the Wales Conference Final, while the Norris and Smythe winners played in the Campbell Conference Final. The two Conference Champions played for the Stanley Cup. With the exception of extending the first round to a best-of-seven in 1987, this format remained in place through the 1993 playoffs.

The first round of the 1982 playoffs saw three first-place teams (Edmonton, Minnesota, and Montreal) upset by fourth-place teams, a round which featured what is still the greatest comeback in NHL history: The Kings' 6–5 win over Edmonton in game three. After trailing 5–0 after two periods, the Kings scored five third period goals—three in the last 5:22, the final goal coming with only five seconds left in regulation. Los Angeles then scored on a face-off early in overtime, thus completing the "Miracle on Manchester".

The eventual champion New York Islanders nearly lost in the first round as well, dropping games three and four of their first round playoff series with Pittsburgh after crushing the Penguins in the first two games. In game five, the Islanders scored twice in the last five minutes to force overtime and then won the series on John Tonelli's goal 6:19 into the extra session. This served as a wake-up call for New York, who lost only two more games the rest of the way as they rolled to their third straight Stanley Cup. Their Final opponents, the Vancouver Canucks, finished the regular season with only 77 points, defeating three teams beneath them in the standings (Calgary 75, Los Angeles 63, and Chicago 72) in the much weaker Campbell Conference.

Stanley Cup Finals edit

May 8 Vancouver Canucks 5–6 OT New York Islanders Nassau Coliseum
May 11 Vancouver Canucks 4–6 New York Islanders Nassau Coliseum
May 13 New York Islanders 3–0 Vancouver Canucks Pacific Coliseum
May 16 New York Islanders 3–1 Vancouver Canucks Pacific Coliseum
New York won series 4–0

Awards edit

From this season forward, the Prince of Wales and Clarence S. Campbell trophies were given to the playoff champions of the respective conferences.

1982 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Wales Conference playoff champion)
New York Islanders
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:
(Campbell Conference playoff champion)
Vancouver Canucks
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer, regular season)
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:
(Perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication)
Glenn Resch, Colorado Rockies
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Dale Hawerchuk, Winnipeg Jets
Conn Smythe Trophy:
(Most valuable player, playoffs)
Mike Bossy, New York Islanders
Frank J. Selke Trophy:
(Best defensive forward)
Steve Kasper, Boston Bruins
Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player, regular season)
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
Jack Adams Award:
(Best coach)
Tom Watt, Winnipeg Jets
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Doug Wilson, Chicago Black Hawks
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Rick Middleton, Boston Bruins
Lester B. Pearson Award:
(Outstanding player, regular season)
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
NHL Plus/Minus Award:
(Player with best plus/minus record)
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers
William M. Jennings Trophy:
(Goaltender(s) of team(s) with best goaltending record)
Rick Wamsley, Denis Herron, Montreal Canadiens
Vezina Trophy:
(Best goaltender)
Billy Smith, New York Islanders
Lester Patrick Trophy:
(Service to hockey in the U.S.)
Emile Francis

All-Star teams edit

First Team   Position   Second Team
Billy Smith, New York Islanders G Grant Fuhr, Edmonton Oilers
Doug Wilson, Chicago Black Hawks D Paul Coffey, Edmonton Oilers
Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins D Brian Engblom, Montreal Canadiens
Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers C Bryan Trottier, New York Islanders
Mike Bossy, New York Islanders RW Rick Middleton, Boston Bruins
Mark Messier, Edmonton Oilers LW John Tonelli, New York Islanders

Player statistics edit

Scoring leaders edit

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

Player Team GP G A Pts
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 80 92 120 212
Mike Bossy New York Islanders 80 64 83 147
Peter Stastny Quebec Nordiques 80 46 93 139
Dennis Maruk Washington Capitals 80 60 76 136
Bryan Trottier New York Islanders 80 50 79 129
Denis Savard Chicago Black Hawks 80 32 87 119
Marcel Dionne Los Angeles Kings 78 50 67 117
Bobby Smith Minnesota North Stars 80 43 71 114
Dino Ciccarelli Minnesota North Stars 76 55 51 106
Dave Taylor Los Angeles Kings 78 39 67 106

Source: NHL.[4]

Leading goaltenders edit

Player Team GP MIN GA SO GAA SV%
Denis Herron Montreal 27 1547 68 3 2.64 .912
Rick Wamsley Montreal 38 2206 101 2 2.75 .893
Billy Smith New York Islanders 46 2685 133 0 2.97 .900
Roland Melanson New York Islanders 36 2115 114 0 3.23 .896
Grant Fuhr Edmonton 48 2847 157 0 3.31 .899
Richard Brodeur Vancouver 52 3010 168 2 3.35 .891
Marco Baron Boston 44 2515 144 1 3.44 .865
Gilles Meloche Minnesota 51 3026 175 1 3.47 .894
Don Edwards Buffalo 62 3500 205 0 3.51 .882
Eddie Mio New York Rangers 25 1500 89 0 3.56 .885


Coaches edit

Patrick Division edit

Adams Division edit

Norris Division edit

Smythe Division edit

Milestones edit

Debuts edit

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1981–82 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games edit

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1981–82 (listed with their last team):

Broadcasting edit

Hockey Night in Canada on CBC Television televised Saturday night regular season games and Stanley Cup playoff games.

This was the last season that U.S. national broadcasts were split between the two cable networks ESPN and USA, with each carrying slates of regular season and playoff games. In order to prevent overexposure, the NHL decided to grant only one network exclusive rights. In April 1982, USA outbid ESPN for the deal.[6][7]

See also edit

References edit

  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, New York: Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, Illinois: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
  • "1981-82 NHL Playoff Results".
  1. ^ List of NHL records (team)
  2. ^ a b Weekes, Don (2003). The Best and Worst of Hockey's Firsts: The Unofficial Guide. Canada: Greystone Books. pp. 240. ISBN 9781550548600.
  3. ^ a b c d Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 152. ISBN 9781894801225.
  4. ^ Dinger 2011, p. 152.
  5. ^ "1981-82 NHL Leaders -". Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  6. ^ Craig, Jack (May 8, 1982). "Now they're playing Cable Wars". The Boston Globe.
  7. ^ Taaffe, William (January 24, 1983). "Getting Down To Business". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on April 27, 2015.

External links edit