by Francisco Rodriguez − Team 24
This past Sunday night, we witnessed the end of the NHL 2015-16 regular season. While the focus now shifts to the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning this Wednesday April 12th , the regular season left much to be discussed. So the moment you have all been waiting for, here are the top 3 takeaways:
Dominance of the Washington Capitals and the Dallas Stars
By far, the biggest winners of the 2015-16 season were the Stars and the Capitals. Both teams not only won their respective division but also emerged as the dominant forces in the Western and Eastern Conferences respectively. Sporting the season’s best record, the Capitals ended the season with an astonishing 120 points, 11 points more than the Stars, and will lay claim to the Presidents’ Trophy. Not far behind, the Dallas Stars rebounded from a disappointing finish to last season, they failed to make the playoffs, by winning the Western Conference. With a significant combination of talent between young players and veterans, the Stars are easily one of the favorites to reach the Stanley Cup final and eventually win it all.
Dark-horses of the Stanley Cup
Before the end of 2015, the Anaheim Ducks and the Pittsburgh Penguins were facing an uphill battle to qualify for the playoffs. Both teams were towards the bottom of their conference and their seasons seemed to be pretty much over. Fastforward a few months later and the story is completely different as both were able to rebound in the second half of the season and finish strong within their conference. The Ducks claimed the top spot of the Pacific Division while the Penguins cemented their place in this year’s playoffs by finishing in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division. As the playoffs are set to begin, both temas look to continue their momentum and hve emerged as the dark-horses for the Stanley Cup.
Canada’s Season to Forget
The 2015-16 is surely a season many Canadian fans will want to forget. That is because for the first time since the 1969-70 season, there will be no Canadian representatives in this year’s Stanley Cup. For a nation that bleeds hockey, such situation can only be described as a disgrace. While it is true that there were teams that were rebuilding themselves, like the Oilers and Maple leafs, it is simply inexcusable for Canadian hockey as a whole. Not only that but also you have to add the fact that for the first time in NHL history, Canadian-born players to not make up the majority of the players of the league. This might be due in part to the increase of talent in other places around the world such as the U.S, Sweden, and Russia. Overall, the 2015-16 NHL season has not been kind to Canada.
The 2015-16 season was definitely one to remember. Aside from being highly entertaining, it left a lot of impressions that will surely make the Stanley Cup playoffs something special. Hopefully next year’s season can be even more spectacular.