Pic from greatesthockeylegends.com

To a certain collection of young bucks, the 2004-2005 NHL lockout may seem like light years ago. Some may not even remember it. To most hockey fans, that lockout was like, yesterday. It feels like we just went through this whole CBA process.

Players that year had two options: do nothing, sit around and get fat and lose your edge, or go find another League to play in, if for no other reason than to try to stay remotely sharp.

I was going to University in Anchorage, Alaska, and had the distinct pleasure of having Scott Gomez come play for the local ECHL team (he’s from Anchorage, and had left his KHL team in the middle of the night due to some sketchy business, like being paid cash in a brown paper bag), and my god, was it hilarious.

Keep in mind, this was Scott Gomez in his prime – he skated like a water bug, controlled the play, and had ridiculous hands and vision.

The ice in Anchorage is Olympic-sized (200 x 100 of the best ice in the world), and with the noticeable difference between Gomez and his opponents being speed, he dominated the play in the most effortless, casual manner you can imagine. There’d be a foot race for the puck, and it was like only he got to hit the burst of speed button on his controller. I never saw him get hit.

At one point on a powerplay, he had the puck at the point and physically stood straight up, left one hand on his stick with the puck resting beside his blade, then directed traffic by pointing with his free hand. Two passes later, the puck was in the net.

It was like in rec league, how really dominant players (who aren’t assholes) try not to score, instead choosing to set up their teammates. He did that, and he could do it hungover, so needless to say he had a pretty good year.

That year Gomez led the league in points (86) by scoring a whopping 13 goals.

Rob Pizzo was reflecting on 04-05 and checked into the scoring titles of a few other leagues, and found some interesting results – apparently the lockout, while a major loss for a lot of fans, provided some serious star power in places they hadn’t been seen before.

1) ECHL: Scott Gomez wins scoring title and league MVP

2) AHL: Jason Spezza scores 117 points, wins scoring title and league MVP

3) SEL (Swedish Elite League): Henrik Zetterberg racks up 50 points, wins scoring title

4) SEL: Henrik Lundqvist wins league MVP and Best Goalie award

5) DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga, AKA German Hockey League): Mike York (wait, who?), 2nd in league scoring

6) DEL: Eric Cole, MVP of playoffs

Not bad. Not bad at all.

And while the lockout was a mere seven season back, the NHL has seen a remarkable turnover in its star players since. In fact, the majority of the NHLs top scorers weren’t even around to be a part of that debacle. Check ‘em out:

1) Evgeni Malkin -   Not in NHL Yet
2) Steven Stamkos –   Not in NHL Yet
3) Claude Girioux -   Not in NHL Yet
4) Jason Spezza –   AHL
5) Ilya Kovalchuk -   Russian League
6) Phil Kessel -   Not in NHL Yet
7) Henrik Sedin -   SEL
8) Tavares -   Not even in OHL yet (was in OPJHL)
9) James Neal -   Not in NHL Yet
10) Erik Karlsson -   Not in NHL Yet
11) Patrick Elias -   Czech league

Maybe that lockout was a long time ago. Hmm.

While it’s a pretty entertaining thought to scatter our league’s best players about the globe again and watch just how dominant they can be over already fantastic players, it’d be a lot more fun to pit them against one another on this continent.

Does anyone know of any other worldwide dominance by an NHLer during that 04-05 lockout?

Comments (30)

  1. I just recently played a drop-in game at the local ice rink in Augusta Ga. and Trevor Gillies was there to play too. It felt like the exact same story you told about Scott Gomez. It was funny, because as you know Gillies, is more known for his fists, than his speed and hands, but with it being just a drop in game, he dominated.

    Good times…

    • Spezza was a floating mother F-er in the AHL that year, he didn’t cross his own blueline when he’d be in Rochester… But it was a great year for AHL hockey. Being in Rochester we had a great team that year, a lot of vets like Chris Taylor. Young future sorta stars in pomminville, roy, vanek. Toughness in Gaustad, Thorburn, McMorrow, Janik. Of Course Miller in Net didn’t hurt. We were dominating the league until Rory Fitzpatrick came back, I still maintain he f-ed up with the teams chemistry when he joined with a month left in a season, which resulted in an early bounce from the playoffs.

  2. Randy Robitaille led the Swiss-A league in scoring despite having guys like Thornton, Nash, Briere, and Streit playing.

  3. Story of Lecavalier with AK Bars Kazan. Crazy times..

    http://www.sptimes.com/2005/03/27/Lightning/Rough_translation.shtml

  4. 1) Evgeni Malkin – Not in NHL Yet
    2) Steven Stamkos – Not in NHL Yet
    3) Claude Girioux – Not in NHL Yet
    4) Jason Spezza – AHL
    5) Ilya Kovalchuk – Russian League
    6) Phil Kessel – Not in NHL Yet
    7) Henrik Sedin – SEL
    8) Tavares – Not even in OHL yet (was in OPJHL)
    9) James Neal – Not in NHL Yet
    10) Erik Karlsson – Not in NHL Yet
    11) Patrick Elias – Czech league

    werent kovy, hank and elias around for a few years before this?

    the only plus side from the lockout was guys like eric staal, spezza and ovy got an extra year to develop their skills ( i would have included geno but im pretty sure he was staying in russia til 2006 regardless )

    • You’re right. I’m pretty sure that Kovy had already won a Rocket Richard trophy before the lockout. And I know that Elias was a member of the “A Line” in the Devils 2000 Cup team.

    • Yes they were, the list is just saying what they did DURING the lockout

  5. Interesting with Lundqvist. I remember post-lockout nobody really knew who he was, but he’s probably been the best goalie since.

    Made his NHL debut second game of the season for the Rangers, he stopped 24/27 shots in a 3-2 OT loss.

  6. you forgot Daniel Alfredsson. Set a record for SEL playoff goals, led Frolunda to a championship.

  7. Ummm … Wade Belak in England?

  8. … you know, if you care about PIMs

  9. “I never saw him get hit.”

    I did. I saw him have his pelvic bone broken by a goon on a hit. All you have to do is wait until he’s leaving the ice and isn’t looking!

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/story/2005/04/18/gomez-pelvis050418.html

    • For the record, on the smaller ice (on the road), Gomez wasn’t nearly as dominant in the ECHL. He clearly had skills that outclassed everyone else, but 13 goals and 86 points isn’t as dominant as would be expected at the time. The year before he had put up 14 goals and 70 points in the NHL…

      Top Scorers:
      —————–
      1) Scott Gomez 86 points
      2) Jamie Johnson 80 points
      3) Carl Mallette 80 points
      4) Chris Minard 78 points
      5) Joey Tenute 75 points

      • Interesting to see Carl Mallette there, he was the top scorer in France last year.

      • Did you actually watch him play an ECHL game?? It’s exactly how Justin described. Also, keep in mind that during that season he was a regular at F street station in downtown Anchorage, and lets just say he wasn’t drinking aquafina. I’m sure it wasn’t much different on the road.

        • Yeah, I saw him play in the ECHL. He definitely had skills and speed that outclassed everyone else. My point was that I was surprised he didn’t wind up blowing the league out of the water in scoring. He just barely led the league in points and didn’t have many goals at all.

  10. Steven Reinprecht won the Charles Ramsey Trophy as the French League (Ligue Magnus) top scorer with 47 points (20 goals and 27 assists)

  11. This is an awesome piece. After your Hartnell interview where you said he won a championship during the lockout, it made me curious how other players did. Would love a comprehensive breakdown of the biggest leagues that won championships and if any NHLers were on the teams.

  12. look at the world jr team that year for canada and how they were just dominating the opposition

  13. Does it count that Teemu Selanne played for Jokerit in the Finnish league during the 1994-95 lockout? I’ve heard a rumor that he was considering returning to Jokerit if there’s a lockout this season. Also Jaromir Jagr would be playing in the Czech League, but I’m not sure what he did during the lockout.

  14. nail yakupov was probably building lego somewhere… also cause we all know how much the “russian factor” scares teams from drafting russians, i wonder how many gm\s are paranoid about russians going over and not coming back.. im not sure if the khl was around in 2005 i think it was russian super league, but it would be interesting to know if anyone ( from any nationality for that matter ) went over and never came back

  15. its also pretty crazy that partik elias was 11th in scoring last year.. just sayin lol

  16. I had a buddy played for our corporate hockey team who was like that. Never played at a professional level but was pretty good in juniors and they moved away from hockey. We had a pretty good team so he took it easy and no-one really knew just how good his hands were. Then, the one time we went down, he just takes a lightning wrister. Everybody is just standing around shocked.

  17. I was in Sweden the fall after the lockout year and talked to some hockey fans there. They raved about how dominant Chara and Souray were in the SEL.

    They played for Farjestad who lost in the finals. Chara had 25 points in 33 games, plus another 8 points in 13 playoff games. Souray had 17 points in 39 games, plus 7 points in 15 playoff games.

  18. You should have seen Slovak 1st division leage durin lock out. Players like Hossa, Gaborik, Demitra (RIP) againt Sata, Visnovsky, Chara, Zednik, Palfy, etc…That was a year for us to see some real action at home :) But hopefully NHL will start on time this year…

  19. forgot to mention those LA boys tearing up the AHL with the Phantoms

  20. at least this there hasnt been a re-incarnated wha again, complete with a draft and everything

  21. Spezza was a floating mother F-er in the AHL that year, he didn’t cross his own blueline when he’d be in Rochester… But it was a great year for AHL hockey. Being in Rochester we had a great team that year, a lot of vets like Chris Taylor. Young future sorta stars in pomminville, roy, vanek. Toughness in Gaustad, Thorburn, McMorrow, Janik. Of Course Miller in Net didn’t hurt. We were dominating the league until Rory Fitzpatrick came back, I still maintain he f-ed up with the teams chemistry when he joined with a month left in a season, which resulted in an early bounce from the playoffs.

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