National Hockey League

The modernized NHL shield logo debuted in 2005, replacing the orange and black shield, which had been used since the league's inception. The silver color is a homage to the Stanley Cup, the trophy awarded to the NHL champion.

The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional sports organization composed of hockey teams in the United States and Canada, where it is also known by its French name, Ligue Nationale de Hockey (LNH). It is generally regarded as the premier professional ice hockey league in the world. The NHL is one of the major professional sports leagues of North America.

History

The beginnings to The Original Six

The National Hockey League was founded in 1917 in Montreal after a series of disputes within the (Canadian) National Hockey Association (NHA) between the Toronto Blueshirts' owner Edward J. Livingstone and the owners of the other teams. The owners met in Montreal's Windsor Hotel to consider the league's future on February 11, 1917. Livingstone, unable to attend the meeting because of illness, was shocked to learn that owners had chosen to effectively eject him and the Blueshirts from the NHA. Arguments and discussions ensued which eventually led to the formation of the National Hockey League at on November 26, 1917, with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs and newly-renamed Toronto Arenas as founding members.

The classic NHL shield logo, used until the end of the 2004 lockout.

The NHL endured a rocky inaugural season in 1917-18, starting with the temporary shuttering of the Bulldogs. On January 2, 1918, the Westmount Arena in Montreal, home to the Wanderers and Canadiens, was destroyed in a fire. The Wanderers, already a shadow of its former self, folded in the wake of the fire, ending one of the most storied franchises in the early years of Canadian professional hockey. With the Bulldogs and Wanderers out, the NHL operated with just three teams for the remainder of its opening year, and through the second season.

Though the league struggled to stay in business during its first decade, NHL teams were quite successful on the ice, winning the Stanley Cup seven out of its first nine years. (The 1918-19 competition was cancelled because of the Spanish Flu epidemic that had hit Seattle). By 1926, having increased player salaries to a level that couldn't be matched by other Canadian leagues, the NHL was alone in Stanley Cup competition. The league had also expanded into the United States, with the Boston Bruins in 1924, the New York Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1925 and the New York Rangers, Detroit Cougars (later to become the Red Wings), and Chicago Blackhawks in 1926. Canadian additions included the Montreal Maroons and Hamilton Tigers. By the end of the 1930-31 season, the NHL featured a total of 10 teams. However, the Great Depression took a toll on the league; teams such as the Pirates, Americans and Ottawa Senators folded. With these developments and the onset of World War II, the NHL was reduced to six teams during its 25th anniversary year of (1942) – six teams still known today, if somewhat inaccurately, as the Original Six: The Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Bruins, Rangers, and Blackhawks.

Expansion: 1967 and beyond

The rise of the Western Hockey League, which many pundits thought planned to transform into a major league and challenge for the Stanley Cup, spurred the NHL in 1967 to undertake its first expansion since the 1920s. Six new teams were added to the NHL roster, and placed in their own newly-created division. They were the Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars, Los Angeles Kings, Oakland Seals, and Pittsburgh Penguins. Three years later, the NHL added the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres as franchises.

In 1972, the World Hockey Association (WHA) was formed. Though it never challenged for the Stanley Cup, its status as a viable NHL rival was unquestionable. In response to that, the NHL decided to rush its own expansion plans by adding the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames that year, along with the Kansas City Scouts and Washington Capitals two years later. The dilution of the talent pool, however, caused the overall quality of play to suffer. The two leagues fought for the services of hockey players and fans until the WHA folded in 1979. Four of the remaining six WHA teams merged with the NHL: The Hartford Whalers, Québec Nordiques, Edmonton Oilers, and Winnipeg Jets. As of 2005, the Oilers are the last remaining original WHA franchise still playing in the city where they began in the NHL.

In the early 90's the NHL expanded further with five new franchises. The San Jose Sharks debuted in 1991, a season later the Ottawa Senators would join the NHL along with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 1993, the NHL added an additional two teams, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and the Florida Panthers. Approaching the new millennium, the NHL added another four teams; the Nashville Predators (1998), the Atlanta Thrashers (1999), the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets (both added in 2000) bringing the total to 30 teams.

Labour Issues

There have been three work stoppages in NHL history, all happening between 1992 and 2005.

The first was a strike by the National Hockey League Players Association in April 1992 which lasted for 10 days, but the strike was settled quickly and all affected games were rescheduled.

A lockout at the start of the 1994-95 forced the league to reduce the schedule from 84 games to just 48, with the teams playing only intra-conference games during the reduced season. The resulting collective bargaining agreement was set for renegotiation in 1998 and extended to September 15, 2004.

Negotiations to replace the contract that expired in 2004 turned into one of the most contentious collective bargaining sessions in the history of professional sports. The league vowed to install what it dubbed "cost certainty" for its teams, but the National Hockey League Players Association countered that the move was little more than a euphemism for a salary cap, which the union initially said it would not accept. With no new agreement in hand when the existing contract expired on September 15, 2004, league commissioner Gary Bettman announced a lockout of the players union and cessation of operations by the NHL head office, causing the NHL to lose an entire season.

A new collective bargaining agreement was ratified in July 2005 with a term of six years with an option of extending the collective bargaining agreement for an additional year at the end of the term, allowing the NHL to resume as of the 2005-06 season.

Post Lockout

On October 5, 2005, the first post-lockout NHL season got under way with 15 games. Of those 15 games, 11 were in front of sell out crowds. The NHL, despite negative press generated during the lockout, has success attracting fans to the initial games of the season and extends fan bases into non-traditional markets in the US such as Nashville, Atlanta, and the Carolinas.

Current organization

The National Hockey League currently has 30 teams divided into two conferences, and 6 divisions, an organization that started in the year 2000. Over the years many different organizations have existed. For a list of previous teams see List of defunct NHL teams.

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

Season structure

Regular season

Each team in the NHL plays 82 regular season games, 41 games at home and 41 on the road. Teams play 32 games within their division (8 games against four other teams), 40 games against non-divisional, conference opponents (4 games against 10 other teams) and 10 interconference games, 1 game against each team in two of the three divisions in the opposite conference. The two divisions from the opposite conference which each team plays against will be rotated every year, much like interleague play in baseball.

Points are awarded for each game as follows:

  • Two points are awarded for a win
  • One point for losing in overtime or a shootout
  • Zero points for a loss in regulation time.

At the end of the regular season, the team that finishes with the most points in each division is crowned the division champion.

Stanley Cup playoffs

At the end of the regular season, the three division champions and the five other teams in each conference with the highest number of points, 8 teams in each conference, qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. The division winners are seeded one through three, and the next five teams with the best records in the conference are seeded four through eight.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs is an elimination tournament, where two teams battle to win a best-of-seven series in order to advance to the next round. The first round of the playoffs, or conference quarterfinals, consists of the first seed playing the eighth seed, the second playing the seventh, third playing the sixth, and the fourth playing the fifth. In the second round, or conference semifinals, the NHL re-seeds (unlike the NBA) the teams, with the top remaining conference seed playing against the lowest remaining seed, and the other two remaining conference teams pairing off. In the third round, the conference finals, the two remaining teams in each conference play each other, with the conference champions proceeding to the Stanley Cup Finals.

In each round the higher-ranked team is said to be the team with the home-ice advantage. Four of the seven games are played at this team's home venue - the first and second, and, where necessary, the fifth and seventh, with the other games played at the lower-ranked team's home venue.

During playoff games if the score is tied at the end of the third period an overtime period is played. If the score is tied at the end of an overtime period, additional overtime periods are played until a winner is determined. Overtimes are also full periods of twenty minutes (of five-on-five hockey), rather than the five minutes (of four-on-four hockey, followed by a shootout) in the regular season. The overtime is sudden death with the game ending when either team scores a goal.

Rules

While the National Hockey League follows the general rules of Ice hockey, it differs slightly from those used in international games organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation such as the Olympics.

Game timing

Each game is 60 minutes composed of three 20 minute periods. Between each period there is a 15 minute intermission. Between stoppages of play, teams have 25 seconds before substituting their players except for referee stoppages for TV commercials.

Each team may also take one 30 second time-out which may only be taken during a normal stoppage of play.

Hockey rink

The hockey rink is an ice rink which is rectangular with rounded corners and surrounded by a wall . The red line divides the ice in half lengthwise. The red line is used to judge icing violations. There are two blue lines that divide the rink roughly into thirds. They divide the ice into zones. Near each end of the rink, there is a thin red goal line spanning the width of the ice. It is used to judge goals and icing calls.

Scoring and winning

A goal is scored when the puck passes the goal line and enters the net. The team that has the most goals at the end of 60 minutes wins the game. If the game is tied at the end of regulation time, a 5 minute, 4-on-4 sudden death overtime period is played, where the first team that scores a goal wins the game. If the game is still tied at the end of overtime, the game enters a shootout. Three players for each team in turn perform a penalty shot. The team with the most goals during this shootout wins the game. If the game is still tied after the three shootout rounds, the shootout continues, but becomes sudden death.

Offside

In ice hockey, play is said to be offside if a player on the attacking team enters the attacking zone before the puck. When an offside violation occurs, the linesman blows play dead, and a faceoff is conducted in the neutral zone.

The NHL in 2006 removed the offside pass or two-line pass which was a pass from inside a team's defending zone that crosses the red line.

Icing

Icing occurs when a player shoots the puck across both the red line and the opposing team's goal line without the puck going into the net. When icing occurs, a linesman stops play. Play is resumed with a faceoff in the defending zone of the team that committed the infraction. A short handed team is not penalized for clearing the puck out of its zone during a powerplay. If the goalie on the side of the ice where the puck is being sent touches the puck, the icing is waved off.

Under the rules following the 2004-2005 lockout, if a team ices the puck under five-on-five conditions, they are not allowed to make a line change for the following faceoff.

Penalties

A penalty is a punishment for inappropriate behaviour. A referee makes all penalty calls. A linesman may call only obvious technical infractions such as too many men on the ice. In the NHL, the Linesman may call major intent-to-injure penalties that the referee may have missed.

During a penalty, the player who committed the infraction is sent to the penalty box. In most cases, the penalized team cannot replace that player and is thus shorthanded for the duration of the penalty. Normally, hockey teams have five skaters (excluding the goaltender), so if one penalty is called, play becomes five-on-four.

This is called a power play for the attackers and a penalty kill for the defenders. A team is far more likely to score on a power play than during normal play. If the penalized team is scored on during a minor penalty, the penalty immediately ends.

Trophies and awards

Stanley Cup on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame

The National Hockey League presents numerous trophies per year; some are given to teams, and other are given to players.

Trophies awarded to teams

  • Stanley Cup -- overall playoff champion.
  • Clarence S. Campbell Bowl -- Western conference playoff champion.
  • Prince of Wales Trophy -- Eastern conference playoff champion.
  • Presidents' Trophy (1986 - present) - best regular season by a team
  • The O'Brien Trophy was awarded in the NHL before it was retired following the 1949-50 NHL season.

Trophies awarded to individuals

  • Art Ross Memorial Trophy (1948 - present) -- regular season league scoring champion
  • Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (1968 - present) -- perseverance and sportsmanship
  • Calder Memorial Trophy (1933 - present) -- rookie of the year
  • Conn Smythe Trophy (1965 - present) -- most valuable player during the playoffs
  • Frank J. Selke Trophy (1978 - present) -- top defensive forward
  • Hart Memorial Trophy (1924 - present) -- most valuable player during the regular season
  • Jack Adams Award (1974 - present) -- coach of the year
  • James Norris Memorial Trophy (1954 - present)-- most outstanding defenceman
  • King Clancy Memorial Trophy (1988 - present) -- leadership and humanitarian contribution
  • Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1925 - present) -- player combining ability and sportsmanship
  • Lester B. Pearson Award (1971 - present) -- most outstanding player as selected by peers
  • Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy (1999 - present) -- to the goal-scoring leader during the regular season
  • NHL Plus/Minus Award (1968 - present) -- highest plus/minus statistic
  • Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award (2000 - present) -- best save percentage by a goalkeeper
  • Vezina Trophy (1927 - present) -- voted to be the most outstanding goaltender
  • William M. Jennings Trophy (1982 - present) -- goalkeeper(s) for the team with the fewest goals against them
  • The Lester Patrick Trophy has been presented by the National Hockey League since 1966 to honour a recipient's contribution to hockey in the United States.

Three years after retirement, players are eligible to be voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In the past, if a player was deemed significant enough, the pending period would be waived. However, only 10 individual have been honoured in this manner. In 1999 Wayne Gretzky became the last player to have the three years waived. After Gretzky's induction, the NHL declared that he would be the last one to have the waiting period omitted.

NHL: An International League

NHL is very proud of its players coming from all around the world. Since the 1990s, the league has tried to promote itself throughout Europe with ads, media, and magazines. The league also voluntarily stops its season so that its players can play in the Winter Olympics to have the players represent their own country. While the league has always had a strong Canadian majority, the percentage of Canadian players has gone down slowly in the past 20 years since the arrival of European players.


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While the league has always had a strong Canadian majority, the percentage of Canadian players has gone down slowly in the past 20 years since the arrival of European players. It is also the home of the Petrarca Padova rugby union team. The league also voluntarily stops its season so that its players can play in the Winter Olympics to have the players represent their own country. It is the home of Calcio Padova, a soccer team that plays in Italy's Serie C1 division. Since the 1990s, the league has tried to promote itself throughout Europe with ads, media, and magazines. Other races include very small numbers of Filipino, Croatians, Serbs, and Moroccans. NHL is very proud of its players coming from all around the world. The racial makeup of the city is 94.5% Italian, 1.3% Romanian, 0.5% Albanian, and 0.5% Moldovan.

After Gretzky's induction, the NHL declared that he would be the last one to have the waiting period omitted. Many of the labourers are those of eastern European origin, and North African origin. In 1999 Wayne Gretzky became the last player to have the three years waived. The commerce and jobs attract many immigrants into the city. However, only 10 individual have been honoured in this manner. The presence of the university attracted many distinguished artists, as Giotto, Fra Filippo Lippi and Donatello; and for native art there was the school of Francesco Squarcione (1394-1474), whence issued the great Mantegna (1431-1506). In the past, if a player was deemed significant enough, the pending period would be waived. The place of Padua in the history of art is nearly as important as its place in the history of learning.

Three years after retirement, players are eligible to be voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The university hosts the oldest anatomy theatre 1594 and the oldest botanical garden 1545 in the world. The National Hockey League presents numerous trophies per year; some are given to teams, and other are given to players. The list of professors and alumni is long and illustrious, containing, among others, the names of Bembo, Sperone Speroni, the anatomist Vesalius, Fallopius, Fabrizio d'Acquapendente, Galileo Galilei, Pietro Pomponazzi, Reginald, later Cardinal Pole, Scaliger, Tasso and Sobieski. If the penalized team is scored on during a minor penalty, the penalty immediately ends. Under the rule of Venice the university was governed by a board of three patricians, called the Riformatori dello Studio di Padova. A team is far more likely to score on a power play than during normal play. Padua has long been famous for its university, founded in 1222.

This is called a power play for the attackers and a penalty kill for the defenders. In 1866 the battle of Koniggratz gave Italy the opportunity to shake off the last of the Austrian yoke, when Padua and the rest of the Veneto became part of the united Kingdom of Italy. Normally, hockey teams have five skaters (excluding the goaltender), so if one penalty is called, play becomes five-on-four. In Padua, the year of revolutions of 1848 was a student revolt on February 8 that transformed the University and the Caffè Pedrocchi into real battlefields, in which students and ordinary Padovani fought side by side. In most cases, the penalized team cannot replace that player and is thus shorthanded for the duration of the penalty. The Austrians were unpopular with progressive circles in northern Italy. During a penalty, the player who committed the infraction is sent to the penalty box. Padoue (the French name) was made a duché grand-fief ...

In the NHL, the Linesman may call major intent-to-injure penalties that the referee may have missed. After the fall of the Venetian republic the history of Padua follows the history of Venice during the periods of French and Austrian supremacy. A linesman may call only obvious technical infractions such as too many men on the ice. Venice fortified Padua with new walls, built between 1513 and 1544, with a series of monumental gates. A referee makes all penalty calls. The treasury was managed by two chamberlains; and every five years the Paduans sent one of their nobles to reside as nuncio in Venice, and to watch the interests of his native town. A penalty is a punishment for inappropriate behaviour. Under these governors the great and small councils continued to discharge municipal business and to administer the Paduan law, contained in the statutes of 1276 and 1362.

Under the rules following the 2004-2005 lockout, if a team ices the puck under five-on-five conditions, they are not allowed to make a line change for the following faceoff. The city was governed by two Venetian nobles, a podestà for civil and a captain for military affairs; each of these was elected for sixteen months. If the goalie on the side of the ice where the puck is being sent touches the puck, the icing is waved off. Padua passed under Venetian rule in 1405, and so remained, with a brief interval during the wars of the League of Cambray, till the fall of the republic in 1797. A short handed team is not penalized for clearing the puck out of its zone during a powerplay. It is the oldest botanical garden in the world and still contains an important collection of rare plants. Play is resumed with a faceoff in the defending zone of the team that committed the infraction. The botanical garden was founded in 1545 as the garden of curative herbs attached to the University's faculty of medicine.

When icing occurs, a linesman stops play. In the "Room of the Forty" remains the chair of Galileo, who taught in Padua from 1592 to 1610; the Aula Magna, rich with coats of arms and decorations; The famous Anatomy Theatre, where Vesalius taught through dissections, is the oldest in the world (1594). Icing occurs when a player shoots the puck across both the red line and the opposing team's goal line without the puck going into the net. The center of the university is founded around a rebuilt mediaeval inn of the "Bo" (the Ox), the mid-16th century Old Courtyard by Andrea Moroni. The NHL in 2006 removed the offside pass or two-line pass which was a pass from inside a team's defending zone that crosses the red line. Padua prospered economically, and the university (the third in Italy) was founded in 1222, making it one of the oldest universities in continuous operation. When an offside violation occurs, the linesman blows play dead, and a faceoff is conducted in the neutral zone. It was a long period of restlessness, for the Carraresi were constantly at war; they were finally extinguished between the growing power of the Visconti and of Venice.

In ice hockey, play is said to be offside if a player on the attacking team enters the attacking zone before the puck. From that date till 1405, with the exception of two years (1388-1390) when Giangaleazzo Visconti held the town, nine members of the enlightened Carraresi family succeeded one another as lords of the city. If the game is still tied after the three shootout rounds, the shootout continues, but becomes sudden death. As a reward for freeing the city from the Scalas, Jacopo da Carrara was elected lord of Padua in 1318 (query 1338?). The team with the most goals during this shootout wins the game. But this advance brought them into dangerous proximity to Can Grande della Scala, lord of Verona, to whom they had to yield in 1311. Three players for each team in turn perform a penalty shot. When Ezzelino was unseated in June 1256 without civilian bloodshed, thanks to Pope Alexander IV, Padua enjoyed a period of rest and prosperity: the university flourished; the basilica of the saint was begun; the Paduans became masters of Vicenza.

If the game is still tied at the end of overtime, the game enters a shootout. The temporary success of the Lombard League helped to strengthen the towns; but their ineradicable civic jealousy soon reduced them to weakness again, so that in 1236 Frederick II found little difficulty in establishing his tyrannical vicar Ezzelino da Romano in Padua and the neighbouring cities, where he practised frightful cruelties on the inhabitants. If the game is tied at the end of regulation time, a 5 minute, 4-on-4 sudden death overtime period is played, where the first team that scores a goal wins the game. The citizens, in order to protect their liberties, were obliged to elect a podestà, and after a devastating fire in 1174 that required the virtual rebuilding of the city, their choice fell first on one of the Este family. The team that has the most goals at the end of 60 minutes wins the game. At the beginning of the 11th century the citizens established a constitution, composed of a general council or legislative assembly and a credenza or executive body, and during the next century they were engaged in wars with Venice and Vicenza for the right of water-way on the Bacchiglione and the Brenta— so that, on the one hand, the city grew in power and self-reliance, while, on the other, the great families of Camposampiero, Este and Da Romano began to emerge and to divide the Paduan district among them. A goal is scored when the puck passes the goal line and enters the net. Under the surface two important movements were taking place.

It is used to judge goals and icing calls. The general tendency of its policy throughout the war of investitures was Imperial and not Roman; and its bishops were, for the most part, Germans. Near each end of the rink, there is a thin red goal line spanning the width of the ice. During the period of episcopal supremacy over the cities of northern Italy, Padua does not appear to have been either very important or very active. They divide the ice into zones. At the Diet of Aix-la-Chapelle (828), the duchy and march of Friuli, in which Padua lay, was divided into four counties, one of which took its title from that city. There are two blue lines that divide the rink roughly into thirds. The city did not easily recover from this blow, and Padua was still weak when the Franks succeeded the Lombards as masters of north Italy.

The red line is used to judge icing violations. The simple people fled to the hills and returned to eke out a living among the ruins; the ruling class abandoned the city for Laguna, according to a chronicle. The red line divides the ice in half lengthwise. The Padua of Antiquity was annihilated: the remains of an amphitheater (the Arena) and some bridge foundations are all that remain of Roman Padua today. The hockey rink is an ice rink which is rectangular with rounded corners and surrounded by a wall . Under the Lombards the city of Padua rose in revolt (601) against Agilulf, the Lombard king, and after suffering a long and bloody siege was stormed and burned by him. Each team may also take one 30 second time-out which may only be taken during a normal stoppage of play. The history of Padua after Late Antiquity follows the course of events common to most cities of north-eastern Italy.

Between stoppages of play, teams have 25 seconds before substituting their players except for referee stoppages for TV commercials. The city was seized again by the Goths under Totila, but was restored to the Eastern Empire by Narses in 568. Between each period there is a 15 minute intermission. It then passed under the Gothic kings Odoacer and Theodoric the Great, but during the Gothic War it made submission to the Greeks in 540. Each game is 60 minutes composed of three 20 minute periods. Padua, in common with north-eastern Italy, suffered severely from the invasion of the Huns under Attila (452). While the National Hockey League follows the general rules of Ice hockey, it differs slightly from those used in international games organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation such as the Olympics. Abano nearby is the birthplace of the historian Livy, and Padua was the native place of Valerius Flaccus, Asconius Pedianus and Thrasea Paetus.

The overtime is sudden death with the game ending when either team scores a goal. Its men fought for the Romans at Cannae, and the city (a Roman municipium since 45 BC (query 43?)) became so powerful that it was reported able to raise two hundred thousand fighting men. Overtimes are also full periods of twenty minutes (of five-on-five hockey), rather than the five minutes (of four-on-four hockey, followed by a shootout) in the regular season. The historical Padua inhabited by (Adriatic) Veneti thrived thanks to its excellent breed of horses and the wool of its sheep. If the score is tied at the end of an overtime period, additional overtime periods are played until a winner is determined. Padua claims to be the oldest city in north Italy; the early medieval commune justified itself by a fabled founder in the Trojan Antenor, whose relics the commune recognized in a large stone sarcophagus exhumed in the year 1274. During playoff games if the score is tied at the end of the third period an overtime period is played. The trade of the district has grown to such an extent that Padua has become the central market for the whole of Veneto.

Four of the seven games are played at this team's home venue - the first and second, and, where necessary, the fifth and seventh, with the other games played at the lower-ranked team's home venue. Corn and saw mills, distilleries, chemical factories, breweries, candle-works, ink-works, foundries, agricultural machine and automobile works, have been established and are flourishing. In each round the higher-ranked team is said to be the team with the home-ice advantage. The industry of Padua has greatly developed in modern times. In the third round, the conference finals, the two remaining teams in each conference play each other, with the conference champions proceeding to the Stanley Cup Finals. . In the second round, or conference semifinals, the NHL re-seeds (unlike the NBA) the teams, with the top remaining conference seed playing against the lowest remaining seed, and the other two remaining conference teams pairing off. Padua is the setting for most of the action in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.

The first round of the playoffs, or conference quarterfinals, consists of the first seed playing the eighth seed, the second playing the seventh, third playing the sixth, and the fourth playing the fifth. The city is picturesque, with a dense network of arcaded streets opening into large communal piazze, and many bridges crossing the various branches of the Bacchiglione, which once surrounded the ancient walls like a moat. The Stanley Cup Playoffs is an elimination tournament, where two teams battle to win a best-of-seven series in order to advance to the next round. Its agricultural setting is the Pianura Padovana, the "Paduan plain," edged by the Euganaean Hills praised by Lucan and Martial, Petrarch and Ugo Foscolo. The division winners are seeded one through three, and the next five teams with the best records in the conference are seeded four through eight. The city is included, with Venice (Italian Venezia), in the Padua-Venice Metropolitan Area, population 1,600,000. At the end of the regular season, the three division champions and the five other teams in each conference with the highest number of points, 8 teams in each conference, qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. The capital of Padova province, it stands on the Bacchiglione River, 40km west of Venice and 29km southeast of Vicenza, with a population of 211,985 (2004).

At the end of the regular season, the team that finishes with the most points in each division is crowned the division champion. Patavium) is the economic and communications hub of the Veneto region in northern Italy. Points are awarded for each game as follows:. Padova IPA ['padova], Lat. The two divisions from the opposite conference which each team plays against will be rotated every year, much like interleague play in baseball. The city of Padua (It. Teams play 32 games within their division (8 games against four other teams), 40 games against non-divisional, conference opponents (4 games against 10 other teams) and 10 interconference games, 1 game against each team in two of the three divisions in the opposite conference. This article incorporates text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, a publication in the public domain..

Each team in the NHL plays 82 regular season games, 41 games at home and 41 on the road. Close by the Eremitani, in the site of an old Roman arena, is the small Scrovegni Chapel whose inner walls are entirely covered with paintings by Giotto. For a list of previous teams see List of defunct NHL teams. The old monastry of the church now houses the municipal art gallery. Over the years many different organizations have existed. The Church of the Eremitani is an Augustinian church of the 13th century, distinguished as containing the tombs of Jacopo (1324) and Ubertino (1345) da Carrara, lords of Padua, and for the chapel of SS James and Christopher, formerly illustrated by Mantegna's frescoes, largely destroyed by the Allies in World War II, because it was housing a German headquarter. The National Hockey League currently has 30 teams divided into two conferences, and 6 divisions, an organization that started in the year 2000. One of the best known symbols of Padua is the "Prato della Valle", a 90.000 sq meters elliptical square believed to be the biggest in Europe, after Red Square in Moscow.

The NHL, despite negative press generated during the lockout, has success attracting fans to the initial games of the season and extends fan bases into non-traditional markets in the US such as Nashville, Atlanta, and the Carolinas. On the piazza in front of the church is Donatello's magnificent equestrian statue of "Gattamelata" (Erasmo da Narni), the Venetian general (1438-1441), which was cast in 1453, the first full-size equestrian bronze cast since antiquity; it was inspired by the Marcus Aurelius equestrian sculpture at the Capitoline Hill in Rome. Of those 15 games, 11 were in front of sell out crowds. The bones of the saint rest in a chapel richly ornamented with carved marbles, the work of various artists, among them of Sansovino and Falconetto; the basilica was begun about the year 1230 and completed in the following century; tradition says that the building was designed by Nicola Pisano; it is covered by seven cupolas, two of them pyramidal. On October 5, 2005, the first post-lockout NHL season got under way with 15 games. The most famous of the Paduan churches is the basilica dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, locally simply called "Il Santo". A new collective bargaining agreement was ratified in July 2005 with a term of six years with an option of extending the collective bargaining agreement for an additional year at the end of the term, allowing the NHL to resume as of the 2005-06 season. Falconetto was the architect of Alvise Cornaro's garden loggia, (Loggia Cornaro), the first fully Renaissance building in Padua [1].

With no new agreement in hand when the existing contract expired on September 15, 2004, league commissioner Gary Bettman announced a lockout of the players union and cessation of operations by the NHL head office, causing the NHL to lose an entire season. In the Piazza dei Signori is the beautiful loggia called the Gran Guardia, (1493 - 1526), and close by is the Palazzo del Capitanio, the residence of the Venetian governors, with its great door, the work of Giovanni Maria Falconetto, the Veronese architect-sculptor who introduced Renaissance architecture to Padua and who completed the door in 1532. The league vowed to install what it dubbed "cost certainty" for its teams, but the National Hockey League Players Association countered that the move was little more than a euphemism for a salary cap, which the union initially said it would not accept. The new space was refrescoed by Nicolo' Miretto and Stefano da Ferrara, working from 1425 to 1440. Negotiations to replace the contract that expired in 2004 turned into one of the most contentious collective bargaining sessions in the history of professional sports. The Palazzo was begun in 1172 and finished in 1219; in 1306 Fra Giovanni, an Augustinian friar, covered the whole with one roof; originally there were three roofs, spanning the three chambers into which the hall was at first divided; the internal partition walls remained till the fire of 1420, when the Venetian architects who undertook the restoration removed them, throwing all three spaces into one and forming the present great hall, the Salone. The resulting collective bargaining agreement was set for renegotiation in 1998 and extended to September 15, 2004. The Palazzo della Ragione, with its great hall on the upper floor, is reputed to have the largest roof unsupported by columns in Europe; the hall is nearly rectangular, its length 815 m, its breadth 27 m, and its height 24 m; the walls are covered with allegorical frescoes; the building stands upon arches, and the upper storey is surrounded by an open loggia, not unlike that which surrounds the basilica of Vicenza.

A lockout at the start of the 1994-95 forced the league to reduce the schedule from 84 games to just 48, with the teams playing only intra-conference games during the reduced season. The first was a strike by the National Hockey League Players Association in April 1992 which lasted for 10 days, but the strike was settled quickly and all affected games were rescheduled. There have been three work stoppages in NHL history, all happening between 1992 and 2005. Approaching the new millennium, the NHL added another four teams; the Nashville Predators (1998), the Atlanta Thrashers (1999), the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets (both added in 2000) bringing the total to 30 teams.

In 1993, the NHL added an additional two teams, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and the Florida Panthers. The San Jose Sharks debuted in 1991, a season later the Ottawa Senators would join the NHL along with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the early 90's the NHL expanded further with five new franchises. As of 2005, the Oilers are the last remaining original WHA franchise still playing in the city where they began in the NHL.

Four of the remaining six WHA teams merged with the NHL: The Hartford Whalers, Québec Nordiques, Edmonton Oilers, and Winnipeg Jets. The two leagues fought for the services of hockey players and fans until the WHA folded in 1979. The dilution of the talent pool, however, caused the overall quality of play to suffer. In response to that, the NHL decided to rush its own expansion plans by adding the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames that year, along with the Kansas City Scouts and Washington Capitals two years later.

Though it never challenged for the Stanley Cup, its status as a viable NHL rival was unquestionable. In 1972, the World Hockey Association (WHA) was formed. Three years later, the NHL added the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres as franchises. Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars, Los Angeles Kings, Oakland Seals, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

They were the Philadelphia Flyers, St. Six new teams were added to the NHL roster, and placed in their own newly-created division. The rise of the Western Hockey League, which many pundits thought planned to transform into a major league and challenge for the Stanley Cup, spurred the NHL in 1967 to undertake its first expansion since the 1920s. With these developments and the onset of World War II, the NHL was reduced to six teams during its 25th anniversary year of (1942) – six teams still known today, if somewhat inaccurately, as the Original Six: The Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Bruins, Rangers, and Blackhawks.

However, the Great Depression took a toll on the league; teams such as the Pirates, Americans and Ottawa Senators folded. By the end of the 1930-31 season, the NHL featured a total of 10 teams. Canadian additions included the Montreal Maroons and Hamilton Tigers. The league had also expanded into the United States, with the Boston Bruins in 1924, the New York Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1925 and the New York Rangers, Detroit Cougars (later to become the Red Wings), and Chicago Blackhawks in 1926.

By 1926, having increased player salaries to a level that couldn't be matched by other Canadian leagues, the NHL was alone in Stanley Cup competition. (The 1918-19 competition was cancelled because of the Spanish Flu epidemic that had hit Seattle). Though the league struggled to stay in business during its first decade, NHL teams were quite successful on the ice, winning the Stanley Cup seven out of its first nine years. With the Bulldogs and Wanderers out, the NHL operated with just three teams for the remainder of its opening year, and through the second season.

The Wanderers, already a shadow of its former self, folded in the wake of the fire, ending one of the most storied franchises in the early years of Canadian professional hockey. On January 2, 1918, the Westmount Arena in Montreal, home to the Wanderers and Canadiens, was destroyed in a fire. The NHL endured a rocky inaugural season in 1917-18, starting with the temporary shuttering of the Bulldogs. Arguments and discussions ensued which eventually led to the formation of the National Hockey League at on November 26, 1917, with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs and newly-renamed Toronto Arenas as founding members.

Livingstone, unable to attend the meeting because of illness, was shocked to learn that owners had chosen to effectively eject him and the Blueshirts from the NHA. The owners met in Montreal's Windsor Hotel to consider the league's future on February 11, 1917. Livingstone and the owners of the other teams. The National Hockey League was founded in 1917 in Montreal after a series of disputes within the (Canadian) National Hockey Association (NHA) between the Toronto Blueshirts' owner Edward J.

. The NHL is one of the major professional sports leagues of North America.

. It is generally regarded as the premier professional ice hockey league in the world. The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional sports organization composed of hockey teams in the United States and Canada, where it is also known by its French name, Ligue Nationale de Hockey (LNH).

The Lester Patrick Trophy has been presented by the National Hockey League since 1966 to honour a recipient's contribution to hockey in the United States. Jennings Trophy (1982 - present) -- goalkeeper(s) for the team with the fewest goals against them. William M. Vezina Trophy (1927 - present) -- voted to be the most outstanding goaltender.

Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award (2000 - present) -- best save percentage by a goalkeeper. NHL Plus/Minus Award (1968 - present) -- highest plus/minus statistic. Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy (1999 - present) -- to the goal-scoring leader during the regular season. Pearson Award (1971 - present) -- most outstanding player as selected by peers.

Lester B. Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1925 - present) -- player combining ability and sportsmanship. King Clancy Memorial Trophy (1988 - present) -- leadership and humanitarian contribution. James Norris Memorial Trophy (1954 - present)-- most outstanding defenceman.

Jack Adams Award (1974 - present) -- coach of the year. Hart Memorial Trophy (1924 - present) -- most valuable player during the regular season. Selke Trophy (1978 - present) -- top defensive forward. Frank J.

Conn Smythe Trophy (1965 - present) -- most valuable player during the playoffs. Calder Memorial Trophy (1933 - present) -- rookie of the year. Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (1968 - present) -- perseverance and sportsmanship. Art Ross Memorial Trophy (1948 - present) -- regular season league scoring champion.

The O'Brien Trophy was awarded in the NHL before it was retired following the 1949-50 NHL season. Presidents' Trophy (1986 - present) - best regular season by a team. Prince of Wales Trophy -- Eastern conference playoff champion. Campbell Bowl -- Western conference playoff champion.

Clarence S. Stanley Cup -- overall playoff champion. Zero points for a loss in regulation time. One point for losing in overtime or a shootout.

Two points are awarded for a win.

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