Today in Hockey History: June 16

There was only one game played on June 16, and it brought the Stanley Cup back to Motown for the second straight year. This date in National Hockey League also saw a very memorable draft and more honors for two of the most decorated defensemen to ever play in the league.

Back-to-Back Sweeps for Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings won their second straight championship on June 16, 1998, by beating the Washington Capitals 4-1 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. It marked the second straight four-game sweep of the Final by the Red Wings, who beat the Philadelphia Flyers in four games the previous season. They became the first team since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992 to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. They remained the only team to do so until the Penguins repeated as champions in 2016 and 2017.

Doug Brown led the way with power-play goals in the first and third periods. Martin Lapointe scored the game-winning goal in the second period while defenseman Larry Murphy added a power-play goal of his own.

Captain Steve Yzerman accepted the Stanley Cup at center ice and immediately gave it to Vladimir Konstantinov. The former Red Wings defenseman was in a wheelchair due to injuries suffered in a limousine crash less than a week after the team’s Stanley Cup victory in 1997.

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Yzerman also won the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player of the playoffs. He had six goals and 24 points in 22 postseason games.

Head coach Scotty Bowman won his eighth Stanley Cup, tying him with former Montreal Canadiens head coach Toe Blake for the most all-time. He would break Blake’s record when he led the Red Wings to another championship in 2001-02, his final NHL season.

A Draft to Remember

The 21 teams of the NHL gathered in Vancouver for the Entry Draft on June 16, 1990. This draft produced quite a few big-name players. Before the draft, a pair of trades took place. The Calgary Flames traded Joe Mullen to the Penguins for a second-round pick. Mullen went on to win two Stanley Cups while the Flames drafted Nicolas Perreault, who never played in the NHL.

Also, the Buffalo Sabres traded Phil Housley, Scott Arniel, and Jeff Parker to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Dale Hawerchuk. The teams also swapped their first-round draft picks. The Sabres used their draft pick, 14th overall, to select Brad May. Meanwhile, the Jets drafted Keith Tkachuk with the 19th pick.

Keith Tkachuk, Winnipeg Jets
Tkachuk was one of many All-Stars drafted on this date in 1990. (Credit: Al Bello/ALLSPORT)

The Quebec Nordiques used the number one overall pick to select Owen Nolan. Petr Nedved went second to the Vancouver Canucks, Keith Primeau third to the Red Wings, and the Flyers took Mike Ricci with the fourth pick. The top five were rounded out with Jaromir Jagr going to the Penguins. The New Jersey Devils hit the jackpot when they selected goaltender Martin Brodeur with the 20th overall pick.

Other well-known players that were part of this draft class include Darryl Sydor (7th, Los Angeles Kings), Derian Hatcher (8th, Minnesota North Stars), Bryan Smolinski (21st, Boston Bruins), Felix Potvin (31st, Toronto Maple Leafs), Doug Weight (34th, New York Rangers), Geoff Sanderson (36th, Hartford Whalers), Mikael Renberg (40th, Flyers), Vyacheslav Kozlov (45th, Red Wings), Alex Zhamnov (77th, Jets), Sergei Zubov (85th, Rangers), Craig Conroy (123rd, Canadiens), Robert Lang (133rd, Kings) and Peter Bondra (156th, Capitals).

Honors for Bobby & Ray

On June 16, 1975, Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr was named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team for the eighth straight year. This was Orr’s last full season as knee injuries limited him to just 36 games over the next three seasons, the last two which were spent with the Blackhawks.

Bobby Orr
Being a First Team All-Star was the norm for Orr. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Another Bruins Hall of Famer is named the First All-Star Team, 19 years later, on June 16, 1994. Ray Bourque set an NHL record by getting this honor for the 11th time in his career. He and Scott Stevens were the defensive pairing on the First All-Star Team, while Brian Leetch and Al MacInnis were on the Second Team. That is quite the foursome!

Odds & Ends

The Atlanta Flames traded Bill Heindl to the New York Rangers on June 16, 1972, in exchange for Bill Hogaboam. Heindl only played four games for the Rangers, and Hogaboam never played in the NHL. However, Heindl will always go down as the first player ever traded by the Flames organization.

Bobby Kromm was named the new head coach of the Red Wings on June 16, 1977, replacing Larry Wilson. Kromm led the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1970 in his first season and won the Jack Adams Award for being voted the best head coach in the league. However, he was fired with just nine games remaining in the 1979-80 season.

The Blackhawks named Orval Tessier their new head coach on June 16th, 1982, their 26th in franchise history. He won the Jack Adams Award and led the Blackhawks to the Campbell Conference Final in his first season, but they were swept by the Edmonton Oilers. After losing the first two games by a combined score of 16-6, Tessier told reporters that his players needed “heart transplants.”

His Blackhawks lost in the first round of the playoffs the following season, and he was fired 53 games into the 1984-85 season despite being in second place of the Norris Division.

On June 16, 1989, the St. Louis Blues signed free-agent goaltender Curtis Joseph, following one season of collegiate hockey at the University of Wisconsin. He made his debut the following season and went on to win 137 games for the Blues in six seasons. His 19-year career saw him spend time with the Oilers, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes and Flames after being traded out of St. Louis. Joseph is sixth all-time in games played (943) and seventh in wins (454). Not bad for an undrafted free agent.

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The NHL also announced its award winners for the 1988-89 season on this date. Wayne Gretzky won the Hart Trophy for being the league’s most valuable player in his first season with the Kings. Mario Lemieux took home the Art Ross Trophy for being the league’s top scorer. Brian Leetch won the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year), Chris Chelios won the Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Patrick Roy took home the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender), and Pat Burns of the Canadiens won the Jack Adams Award.

Gerard Gallant was named the New York Rangers’ head coach on this date in 2021 as he succeeded David Quinn who was fired on May 12, 2021. He ended up leading them to an Eastern Conference Final berth in 2021-22, where they ultimately lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the third straight year.

Happy Birthday to You

A very impressive group of 25 former NHL players and coaches were born on June 16. The most notable birthday boys include Derek Sanderson (76), Steve Larmer (61), Danius Zubrus (44), Kevin Bieksa (41), Rick Nash (38), and the late Roger Nielson.

*Originally constructed by Greg Boysen and updated by Matthew Zator

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