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1996–97 Hartford Whalers season

The 1996–97 Hartford Whalers season was the 25th season of the franchise and the 18th and final season in Hartford. The Whalers would move to Greensboro, North Carolina, the next season to become the Carolina Hurricanes.

1996–97 Hartford Whalers
Division 5th Northeast
1996–97 record 32–39–11
Home record 23–15–3
Road record 9–24–8
Goals for 226
Goals against 256
Team information
General Manager Jim Rutherford
Coach Paul Maurice
Captain Brendan Shanahan (Oct)
Kevin Dineen (Oct–Apr)
Team leaders
Goals Geoff Sanderson (36)
Assists Andrew Cassels (44)
Points Geoff Sanderson (67)
Penalties in minutes Stu Grimson (218)
Plus/minus Sami Kapanen (+6)
Wins Sean Burke (22)
Goals against average Sean Burke (2.69)

Key dates prior to the start of the season:

Contents

Regular seasonEdit

On April 13, 1997, the Whalers played their last game in Hartford, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2–1. Fittingly, team captain Kevin Dineen scored the final goal in Whaler history.

The final words from Sports channel New England with Play by play voice John Fourslund at the end of the game were was follows

"It's Over Folks, it's been a great ride, The Whalers will go out, Winners".

Final standingsEdit

Northeast Division
No. CR GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 2 Buffalo Sabres 82 40 30 12 237 208 92
2 6 Pittsburgh Penguins 82 38 36 8 285 280 84
3 7 Ottawa Senators 82 31 36 15 226 234 77
4 8 Montreal Canadiens 82 31 36 15 249 276 77
5 10 Hartford Whalers 82 32 39 11 226 256 75
6 13 Boston Bruins 82 26 47 9 234 300 61
Eastern Conference[1]
R Div GP W L T GF GA Pts
1 New Jersey Devils ATL 82 45 23 14 231 182 104
2 Buffalo Sabres NE 82 40 30 12 237 208 92
3 Philadelphia Flyers ATL 82 45 24 13 274 217 103
4 Florida Panthers ATL 82 35 28 19 221 201 89
5 New York Rangers ATL 82 38 34 10 258 231 86
6 Pittsburgh Penguins NE 82 38 36 8 285 280 84
7 Ottawa Senators NE 82 31 36 15 226 234 77
8 Montreal Canadiens NE 82 31 36 15 249 276 77
9 Washington Capitals ATL 82 33 40 9 214 231 75
10 Hartford Whalers NE 82 32 39 11 226 256 75
11 Tampa Bay Lightning ATL 82 32 40 10 217 247 74
12 New York Islanders ATL 82 29 41 12 240 250 70
13 Boston Bruins NE 82 26 47 9 234 300 61

Divisions: ATL – Atlantic, NE – Northeast

bold – Qualified for playoffs


Schedule and resultsEdit

No. R Date Score Opponent Record
1 W October 5, 1996 1–0 Phoenix Coyotes (1996–97) 1–0–0
2 W October 8, 1996 7–3 Pittsburgh Penguins (1996–97) 2–0–0
3 L October 12, 1996 0–6 @ Florida Panthers (1996–97) 2–1–0
4 W October 17, 1996 3–1 @ New York Islanders (1996–97) 3–1–0
5 W October 19, 1996 6–2 New Jersey Devils (1996–97) 4–1–0
6 W October 24, 1996 4–1 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1996–97) 5–1–0
7 L October 26, 1996 3–6 @ Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 5–2–0
8 T October 30, 1996 2–2 OT New York Islanders (1996–97) 5–2–1
9 T October 31, 1996 4–4 OT @ Boston Bruins (1996–97) 5–2–2
10 L November 2, 1996 2–3 Los Angeles Kings (1996–97) 5–3–2
11 L November 4, 1996 1–5 @ Detroit Red Wings (1996–97) 5–4–2
12 W November 6, 1996 5–1 Boston Bruins (1996–97) 6–4–2
13 L November 8, 1996 1–4 Detroit Red Wings (1996–97) 6–5–2
14 W November 9, 1996 4–3 OT Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 7–5–2
15 W November 12, 1996 4–3 @ San Jose Sharks (1996–97) 8–5–2
16 W November 14, 1996 2–1 @ Phoenix Coyotes (1996–97) 9–5–2
17 T November 16, 1996 4–4 OT @ Colorado Avalanche (1996–97) 9–5–3
18 W November 20, 1996 3–1 Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 10–5–3
19 L November 22, 1996 1–7 Pittsburgh Penguins (1996–97) 10–6–3
20 T November 23, 1996 3–3 OT @ Ottawa Senators (1996–97) 10–6–4
21 L November 27, 1996 2–6 Vancouver Canucks (1996–97) 10–7–4
22 T November 29, 1996 1–1 OT @ Florida Panthers (1996–97) 10–7–5
23 W November 30, 1996 6–3 @ Tampa Bay Lightning (1996–97) 11–7–5
24 T December 3, 1996 4–4 OT @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1996–97) 11–7–6
25 W December 5, 1996 4–2 @ Boston Bruins (1996–97) 12–7–6
26 W December 7, 1996 6–4 Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 13–7–6
27 W December 11, 1996 5–2 Florida Panthers (1996–97) 14–7–6
28 L December 12, 1996 2–3 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1996–97) 14–8–6
29 L December 14, 1996 0–4 Philadelphia Flyers (1996–97) 14–9–6
30 L December 16, 1996 2–5 @ New York Rangers (1996–97) 14–10–6
31 W December 17, 1996 5–3 St. Louis Blues (1996–97) 15–10–6
32 L December 20, 1996 1–4 Dallas Stars (1996–97) 15–11–6
33 W December 21, 1996 6–5 OT Tampa Bay Lightning (1996–97) 16–11–6
34 L December 26, 1996 1–5 @ Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 16–12–6
35 W December 28, 1996 3–2 Ottawa Senators (1996–97) 17–12–6
36 L December 29, 1996 3–4 @ Chicago Blackhawks (1996–97) 17–13–6
37 L January 1, 1997 2–3 OT @ Washington Capitals (1996–97) 17–14–6
38 L January 2, 1997 4–5 OT Boston Bruins (1996–97) 17–15–6
39 T January 4, 1997 1–1 OT Washington Capitals (1996–97) 17–15–7
40 L January 6, 1997 4–5 @ Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 17–16–7
41 L January 9, 1997 2–3 @ Calgary Flames (1996–97) 17–17–7
42 L January 10, 1997 3–5 @ Vancouver Canucks (1996–97) 17–18–7
43 L January 12, 1997 1–2 OT @ Edmonton Oilers (1996–97) 17–19–7
44 L January 15, 1997 0–3 Pittsburgh Penguins (1996–97) 17–20–7
45 W January 20, 1997 3–1 Toronto Maple Leafs (1996–97) 18–20–7
46 W January 22, 1997 2–1 OT Florida Panthers (1996–97) 19–20–7
47 L January 24, 1997 2–5 New York Islanders (1996–97) 19–21–7
48 W January 25, 1997 5–1 @ Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 20–21–7
49 L January 30, 1997 3–5 @ Los Angeles Kings (1996–97) 20–22–7
50 L January 31, 1997 3–6 @ Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1996–97) 20–23–7
51 L February 5, 1997 2–5 @ New York Rangers (1996–97) 20–24–7
52 W February 6, 1997 5–3 @ Boston Bruins (1996–97) 21–24–7
53 L February 8, 1997 2–3 OT @ Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 21–25–7
54 L February 12, 1997 2–3 New Jersey Devils (1996–97) 21–26–7
55 L February 13, 1997 0–4 @ New Jersey Devils (1996–97) 21–27–7
56 W February 15, 1997 2–1 Ottawa Senators (1996–97) 22–27–7
57 L February 16, 1997 2–4 @ Ottawa Senators (1996–97) 22–28–7
58 T February 19, 1997 2–2 OT @ Philadelphia Flyers (1996–97) 22–28–8
59 W February 21, 1997 7–2 New York Rangers (1996–97) 23–28–8
60 W February 22, 1997 2–0 Washington Capitals (1996–97) 24–28–8
61 T February 26, 1997 2–2 OT Chicago Blackhawks (1996–97) 24–28–9
62 L February 28, 1997 2–3 San Jose Sharks (1996–97) 24–29–9
63 L March 2, 1997 2–5 Philadelphia Flyers (1996–97) 24–30–9
64 W March 5, 1997 2–0 Calgary Flames (1996–97) 25–30–9
65 W March 7, 1997 2–0 Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 26–30–9
66 T March 8, 1997 1–1 OT @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1996–97) 26–30–10
67 W March 12, 1997 6–3 Boston Bruins (1996–97) 27–30–10
68 L March 13, 1997 0–6 @ New Jersey Devils (1996–97) 27–31–10
69 L March 15, 1997 2–4 Edmonton Oilers (1996–97) 27–32–10
70 L March 16, 1997 3–5 @ Washington Capitals (1996–97) 27–33–10
71 L March 20, 1997 1–4 @ St. Louis Blues (1996–97) 27–34–10
72 L March 21, 1997 0–2 @ Dallas Stars (1996–97) 27–35–10
73 L March 25, 1997 0–4 Colorado Avalanche (1996–97) 27–36–10
74 W March 27, 1997 5–2 @ Tampa Bay Lightning (1996–97) 28–36–10
75 W March 29, 1997 2–1 New York Rangers (1996–97) 29–36–10
76 L April 2, 1997 1–4 Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 29–37–10
77 T April 3, 1997 5–5 OT @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1996–97) 29–37–11
78 W April 5, 1997 4–1 @ Montreal Canadiens (1996–97) 30–37–11
79 W April 7, 1997 4–2 Buffalo Sabres (1996–97) 31–37–11
80 L April 9, 1997 4–5 @ Ottawa Senators (1996–97) 31–38–11
81 L April 11, 1997 4–6 @ New York Islanders (1996–97) 31–39–11
82 W April 13, 1997 2–1 Tampa Bay Lightning (1996–97) 32–39–11

[2]

PlayoffsEdit

Player statisticsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Scoring
Player Pos GP G A Pts PIM +/- PPG SHG GWG
Geoff Sanderson LW 82 36 31 67 29 -9 12 1 4
Andrew Cassels C 81 22 44 66 46 -16 8 0 2
Keith Primeau C 75 26 25 51 161 -3 6 3 2
Kevin Dineen RW 78 19 29 48 141 -6 8 0 5
Nelson Emerson RW 66 9 29 38 34 -21 2 1 2
Steven Rice RW 78 21 14 35 59 -11 5 0 2
Glen Wesley D 68 6 26 32 40 0 3 1 0
Jeff O'Neill RW 72 14 16 30 40 -24 2 1 2
Sami Kapanen RW 45 13 12 25 2 6 3 0 2
Robert Kron LW 68 10 12 22 10 -18 2 0 4
Paul Ranheim LW 67 10 11 21 18 -13 0 3 1
Curtis Leschyshyn D 64 4 13 17 30 -19 1 1 1
Steve Chiasson D 18 3 11 14 7 -10 3 0 0
Adam Burt D 71 2 11 13 79 -13 0 0 0
Kent Manderville C 44 6 5 11 18 3 0 0 1
Gerald Diduck D 56 1 10 11 40 -9 0 0 1
Paul Coffey D 20 3 5 8 18 0 1 0 1
Kevin Haller D 35 2 6 8 48 -11 0 0 0
Glen Featherstone D 41 2 5 7 87 0 0 0 0
Andrei Nikolishin C 12 2 5 7 2 -2 0 0 0
Alexander Godynyuk D 55 1 6 7 41 -10 0 0 1
Derek King LW 12 3 3 6 2 0 1 0 0
Mark Janssens C 54 2 4 6 90 -10 0 0 0
Marek Malik D 47 1 5 6 50 5 0 0 1
Stu Grimson LW 75 2 2 4 218 -7 0 0 0
Kevin Brown RW 11 0 4 4 6 -6 0 0 0
Hnat Domenichelli LW 13 2 1 3 7 -4 1 0 0
Kelly Chase RW 28 1 2 3 122 2 0 0 0
Chris Murray RW 8 1 1 2 10 1 0 0 0
Sean Burke G 51 0 2 2 14 0 0 0 0
Jeff Daniels LW 10 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 0
Nolan Pratt D 9 0 2 2 6 0 0 0 0
Brian Glynn D 1 1 0 1 2 2 0 0 0
Brendan Shanahan LW 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
Steve Martins C 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Jason Muzzatti G 31 0 1 1 18 0 0 0 0
Jeff Brown D 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jean-Sebastien Giguere G 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jason McBain D 6 0 0 0 0 -4 0 0 0
Goaltending
Player MIN GP W L T GA GAA SO SA SV SV%
Sean Burke 2985 51 22 22 6 134 2.69 4 1560 1426 .914
Jason Muzzatti 1591 31 9 13 5 91 3.43 0 815 724 .888
Jean-Sebastien Giguere 394 8 1 4 0 24 3.65 0 201 177 .881
Team: 4970 82 32 39 11 249 3.01 4 2576 2327 .903

[3]

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/- = Plus-minus PIM = Penalty minutes; PPG = Power-play goals; SHG = Short-handed goals; GWG = Game-winning goals;
      MIN = Minutes played; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; GA = Goals against; GAA = Goals-against average; SO = Shutouts; SA=Shots Against; SV=Shots saved; SV% = Save Percentage;

Awards and recordsEdit

RecordsEdit

MilestonesEdit

TransactionsEdit

The Whalers were involved in the following transactions during the 1996–97 season.

TradesEdit

Free agents acquired/lostEdit

Player Former team
Player New team

Draft picksEdit

Hartford's picks at the 1996 NHL Entry Draft held at the Kiel Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Round # Player Position Nationality College/Junior/Club Team (League)
2 34 Trevor Wasyluk Left Wing   Canada Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
3 61 Andrei Petrunin Right Wing   Russia CSKA Moscow (Russia)
4 88 Craig MacDonald Center   Canada Harvard University (ECAC)
4 104 Steve Wasylko Center   Canada Detroit Whalers (OHL)
5 116 Mark McMahon Defense   Canada Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
6 143 Aaron Baker Goaltender   Canada Tri-City Americans (WHL)
7 171 Greg Kuznik Defense   Canada Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
8 197 Kevin Marsh Left Wing   Canada Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
9 223 Craig Adams Right Wing   Canada Harvard University (ECAC)
9 231 Askhat Rakhmatullin Left Wing   Russia Salavat Yulayev Ufa (Russia)

Farm teamsEdit

American Hockey LeagueEdit

ECHLEdit

RosterEdit

1996-97 Hartford Whalers
Goaltenders

Defensemen

Wingers

Centers

Departure from HartfordEdit

In 1994, Compuware founder Peter Karmanos purchased the Whalers. Karmanos pledged to keep the Whalers in Hartford for four years. Frustrated with lackluster attendance and corporate support, he announced in 1996 that if the Whalers were unable to sell at least 11,000 season tickets for the 1996–97 season, he would likely move the team. Furthermore, ownership only made season tickets available in full-season (41-game) packages, eliminating the popular five- and ten-game "mini plans," in a strategy largely designed to spur purchases from wealthier corporations and individuals. Sales were underwhelming at the beginning of the campaign, and at the end of the 1995–96 season it was still unknown whether the Whalers would stay in Connecticut or move. However, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign, and the creative efforts of many fans (who pooled together resources to purchase some of the full-season packages collectively) the Whalers announced that they would stay in Connecticut for the 1996–97 season.

In early 1996, negotiations between the Whalers and Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland to build a new $147.5 million arena seemed to be going well. However, negotiations fell apart when Rowland and the State refused Karmanos' demand to reimburse the Whalers for up to $45 million in losses during the three years the new arena was to be built. As a result, the team announced on March 26, 1997, that they would leave Hartford, one of the few times that a team announced it would leave its current city without having already selected a new city. Many suspected that Governor John G. Rowland did not want to keep the Whalers, as he harbored hopes of instead landing an NFL franchise. Ideally, Rowland wanted to use the state's resources to build a new stadium to lure the New England Patriots to Connecticut and did not have serious intentions of building an NHL arena for the Whalers.[4][5][6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1996-1997 Conference Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". NHL.
  2. ^ "1996–97 Hartford Whalers Games". Hockey-reference.com. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
  3. ^ "1996-97 Hartford Whalers Statistics - Hockey-Reference.com". hockey-reference.com. Retrieved 2009-06-02.
  4. ^ How's It Goin', Pete? Part 4
  5. ^ "The Recorder". Archived from the original on 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
  6. ^ The Patriots Nix Hartford, Stay in Foxboro - Background Archived 2007-10-13 at the Wayback Machine.