Patrick Division Rises

By Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: May 1, 2012

Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter

OAKLAND,CA.(BASN)—The old Patrick Division take the 2012 Eastern Conference Playoffs.


We now know one of these teams will be in the Stanley Cup Finals this year. The New Jersey Devils play Philadelphia while the New York Rangers take on the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Somebody has to win.


The brief history of this historical division tells us that it was named after Curtis Lester Patrick often called “The Silver Fox”, a defenseman for the New York Rangers.


He created the Pacific Coast Hockey Association and created the red line in the middle of the ice. Patrick was the oldest goaltender in NHL history at the age of 44 when his regular goalie went down with an eye injury. He would later coach and become the general manager of the New York Rangers before retiring in 1946, becoming the Vice President of Madison Square Garden.


The Patrick Division lasted 19 wonderful seasons.


Changes from the 1980-1981 seasons:

• The Patrick Division switches from the Clarence Campbell Conference to the Prince of Wales Conference

•The Calgary Flames move out of the conference and into to the Conn Smythe Division

• The Pittsburgh Penguins move in from the Norris Division to ease travel time. 1982-1993.


This was the last remnants of the Patrick Division:

•New Jersey Devils

•New York Islanders

•New York Rangers

•Philadelphia Flyers

•Pittsburgh Penguins

•Washington Capitals

That was the last change for NHL Patrick Division before dividing it into four different divisions with geographical names which have been the standard since 1993. In the early days the Mike Bossy New York Islanders and the Bobby Clarke Philadelphia Flyers ruled this conference, winning six Stanley Cups between them. In the later years of the Conference the Super Mario Lemieux’s Pittsburgh Penguins won the Cup the last two years of the division’s existence.


The Patrick Division was replaced by the Atlantic Division in 1993; in 2012 it seems like old times once again in this year’s Eastern Conference Playoffs with four old foes facing each other.


LAST WEEKEND: – The Battle of Pennsylvania is over and The Philadelphia Flyers took it to the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. The tone and tenor of the game was stated early with a big hit on Sid Crosby by Claude Giroux, crashing him into the side boards within seconds of the start of the game. The Rookies carried the Flyers to a 4-2 series win.


The Florida Panther goalie Jose Theodore pays New Jersey Devil All-Star Martin Brouder back with 3-0 gem as the Panthers beat the Devils to take 3-2 lead in hotly contested series. Panther fans reverted back to the late 80’s and early 90’s when fans threw out toy rats after each goal. It got so bad opponent goalie would hide inside the goal net .


Once again this year toy rats where being thrown all over the rink. This defensive battle would return to “The ROCK”, Prudential Center and game six in Newark, New Jersey.


Mr. Anderson, The Matrix Man weaved his magic and shut down the New York Rangers by stopping 41 shots. Giving the Ottawa Senators a 3-2 series lead. Jason Spezza was the scoring hero of this game scoring the only two goals of the game. The Senators win 2-0.


Monday-The New York Rangers made the Ottawa Senators go to a 7th and deciding game on Thursday night. As Brad Richards scores the winning goal for the Blueshirts in 3-2 victory tying the series at three games apiece. It was another goalie battle with Lundqvist outshining Anderson in the nets.


The series moved on to Madison Square Garden.


There was a strange call on the Senators 2nd goal in this game and it could have ended the series. There was a pileup around the New York Ranger net where an Ottawa player could be seen in a kicking the puck toward the net which is illegal, The Senators also pushed Lundqvist out of his goal crease which is also against the rules.


It was immediately reviewed by NHL officials at the Toronto league office and the call upheld. The Ranger defense held on to 2-1 victory to tie series at three games apiece.


Tuesday-The New Jersey Devils live to see another day as they defeat the Fla. Panthers 3-2 in overtime as Broduer did not have a great day in net. Panthers played passive the whole game and it cost them victory. Series tied at three. Florida fell into the New Jersey web of trap defense forcing a game seven Thursday night.


Wednesday- The Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime in a classic goalie battle.A few hours after Goal Brother Joel Ward winning goal bright intelligent Americans saw fit to insult the hockey player. Racial epithets, E-mails, and tweets’, laced the airwaves from Boston Bruin fans. If it were not for the Washington Capital owner making a public statement America and Americans would have never known.

The more things change the more they remain the same. Remember Boston Bruin Goalie Tim Thomas did not want to go to the White House because The President had defeated the man he voted for and the values he held so dear. Mr. Thomas infused sports and politics. Nobody in the sports world or on the internet objected, but as my friend Cowboy Reggie Howell from WCLM 1450 AM Richmond, Va. would state, I digress.


What is very disappointing is the Commissioner or the league offices are silent and once again did not make a statement on this issue.


It has happened before and Commissioner Bettman should make a commitment to the league and their fans to behave themselves.


Two years ago the Chicago Blackhawks won the cup on Philadelphia ice. Flyer fans saw fit to boo Dustin Byfuglien when his hands touched the cup. They did not do this with other Blackhawk players on the ice.


It happened in Boston when Montreal Canadien defensemen P.K. Subban received the puck in a hotly contested playoff game two years ago. Subban quieted the crowd when he scored the tying goal in the 3rd period.


This year, in a pre-season game the Philadelphia Flyers played in Canada, bananas, monkey chants, and racial slurs where thrown at newly acquired Wayne Simmonds when he skated in the rink. Simmonds is a Canadian citizen so where does this come from?


Currently there are 29 Black players in the National Hockey League.


The history of Black players started with the Boston Bruins and Hall of Fame right winger Willie O’Ree in 1960, followed by the first Black captain Dirk Graham of the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota North Stars. Many Black players wear number 33 in his honor. Current Captain of the Calgary Flames, Jarome Iginla, cited with playing the most games by a Black player. Iginla is the 2nd Black captain. Next is Hall of Fame goalie Grant Fuhr, the first Black goalie, and the first have his name on the Stanley Cup. The Washington Capitals own the honor of having two Black players on the ice at the same time, Mike Marson and Bill Riley. The New Jersey Devils placed three black players on the ice in the 90’s. This was surpassed by the Atlanta Thrashers/ new Winnipeg Jets with four players 2010-2012. Former goalie Kevin Weekes broadcast for the NHL Network the first Black commentator.


There are five Black players in this year’s playoffs, the most in NHL history. Next question, will the time come when it will not matter what color the player happens to be on the ice but how well he plays?


This has to be rectified by the league offices in the 2012-2013 season so Black players don’t have to worry.


Getting back to the story of the Patrick Division and the playoffs.

Thursday-The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils both win their game sevens in dramatic fashion and move on to conference Semis. New Jersey goalie Martin Broduer had an outstanding 1st overtime period, stopping all nine shots on net for Devils while rookie Adam Henrique scores two goals.


New York’s Sir Henrik Lundqvist assisted the Rangers to victory stopping 28 Ottawa shots. This was another tight checking game against the Ottawa Senators, the lone Canadian team left in the playoffs. The Matrix Man Craig Anderson did his job most of the night keeping the puck out of the net but the Sens could not score. The NHL is going to have to find a way to keep Canadian teams in the playoffs the first two rounds.


So the old Patrick Division rises up as the New Jersey Devils play the high scoring hard hitting Philadelphia Flyers while The New York Rangers take on the high flying Washington Capitals.


Playoffs Conference Semi Finals

Philadelphia vs. New Jersey – Hate to do this to my home state Devils, Flyers in seven.


New York vs. Washington.


Rangers in six, the question is have the Washington Capitals really learned how to play defense?


©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod