One of the less-remarked upon aspects of the waning days of this oh-so-brief Regular Season is that, possibly as soon as later tonight, all of the Original 6 teams could well end up in the Playoffs.

“Pshaw” you say, “Surely that is a frequent occurrence? These Six Teams are from the strongest Hockey Markets, have Storied Histories and a slew of names on the Cup and in the HOF”

You couldn’t be more wrong. And stop talking like Noel Coward. Without looking it up, how often have the entire O6 gotten into the Playoffs together since the ’67 expansion?  If you said “Three Times”, have a cigar, you Big Cheater.  And the last time this happened? ’95-’96.  Twelve Seasons ago (not including the Lost Season)

There are myriad reasons for this being the case. One of which is that several of these teams have gone though years and years of being Terrible. Another is that some of the Expansion teams hit the ground running and either tried to Enchant (’80s Oilers), Maim (’70s Flyers) or Ruin Hockey (’90s Devils) . Various Conference systems have militated against it too.  All that could change tonight with a Detroit win against the Kings. The following is by no means an attempt to Jinx them in any way, shape or form. Honest.

The World was a very different place in 1996, and so was the Hockey World.  In an attempt to help you to understand the yawning void between 1996 (the year I recorded my first record with my band yet still, somehow, failed to get any Action with the Ladies) and now, (where I write “Comedy” about Hockey and still, inexplicably.. oh.. FML..) I’m going to do some comparisons and contrasts about those years. Hang onto your Hypercolor shirts and Jesus Jones records.. we’re heading back to the ’90s.




1996: The Colorado Avalanche, in their first season since relocating, sweep the Florida Panthers to win the Stanley Cup

2013:  The Colorado Avalanche are gearing up for a battle against the Panthers at the very end of the Post-Season for another trophy that starts with “S”.. Shame that the Oilers are going to win the Draft Lottery. Again.


1996: Jarome Iginla makes his debut for Calgary in the Playoffs, scoring a point per game (2) while the Flames were being swept out of the 1st Round. Like the Team-Player and all-round Good Guy he is, figured it had to get better from then on.

2013: How can he still smile so much? Seriously? The terrible, terrible things that man has seen.. usually on his Line. Forget HOF, let’s go straight to Hockey Sainthood.


1996: David Bowie pulls off an incredible Promotional Stunt for his upcoming (terrible) Single by having an “Online Chat On The Internets” that features him and two people pretending to be him who say stupid things.

 2013: Twitter


1996: Jaromir Jagr sets the (still-standing) record for most points by a European Player (149), most Goals & Assists by a Right Winger (62 & 87) and Greatest Mullet Seen Outside Of A Scorpions Show In Leipzig



not pictured: Billy Ray Cyrus trashing a motel room out of jealous rage


2013: When Jagr attempts to break the ice with Crosby before a Bruins/Penguins ECF by saying “You know, I hope I don’t have ‘Assist 87′ tonight like I did in ’96”, Sid just says, “Sorry man, I was, like, nine years old” and turns back to his PlayPhoneBoxThing.


1996: MLS played its first ever season, to mass-indifference from the larger Soccer World. Columbus Crew were one of the teams in that inaugural year, which goes to show that the geniuses who gave us the “Beej” are still active in Ohio.

2013: MLS is now a Global Phenomenon and one of the most competitive leag… sorry, can’t keep a straight face. Sorry, MLS Fan pals, but after years of hearing about “World Championships” of sports that are only really played in America, having the MLS as a sort of retirement fund for past-it European and South American soccer players is too much fun to pass up.


1996: Los Del Rio’s Billboard #1  Song “Macarena” sparked off an unfortunate and (mercifully) short-lived dance-craze where people gyrated like assholes while normal folk tried not to look out of embarrassment for them.




1996: Super Mario 64 launched the Nintendo 64 games console, and was an instant hit due to its stunning 3D view, amazing playability and colourful character.  Sales in the US were hurt slightly by mass returns-to-the-store in Pittsburgh when Pens fans realised that it wasn’t the new NHL game.

2013: “The massive advances in Video-Game Technology has meant that rendering a fully-populated space, with a huge number of committed participants and total interaction with the game is a relatively easy thing to do these days, as opposed to 1996″, thought a member of the Phoenix Coyotes’ Front Office staff, while weeping.


1996: The movie Trainspotting was released, famously requiring Subtitles in US theatres, as the average person couldn’t make out a single word that the people on screen were saying in their unintelligible dialect, despite it being socially-inflammatory rhetoric of the highest order.

2013: Any interview with a Canadian player, ever. Aside from the the “Social Rhetoric” part, of course. (and you can sit right back down, Mr Keith)


1996:  People wear terribly stupid things







So, do we get to see a 1996 flashback tonight? I kind of hope so. I had a lot more hair back then. And also: “Red Wings First Round”. Bring It.