The '90s was a great decade — especially in the world of professional hockey. As we mentioned in our blog post, “The Legacy Era of Hockey,” this decade was filled with superstars that found new and creative ways to fill the net. Marking one of the most prolific eras in hockey history, the jerseys and numbers of some of history’s greatest players are still worn by players and fans of all ages.
Running Up the Score
The 1990s was a time devoted to goal scorers and exciting, fast-paced play. With the top-ten scoring leaders from the decade all recording over 800 points, it was a great time to be a hockey fan. As Gretzky was knocked off his pedestal from earlier in his career, he ended up fourth on the list during this period behind Jagr, Sakic and Oakes.
The usual suspects such as Jagr, Lemieux and Gretzky absolutely dominated the scoring during the decade. But there was also a string of other players that had a great impact on the NHL through this time period as well. Names like Sakic, Modano, Roenick and Chelios will forever be etched in the memories of hockey fans during this era. Pair that with the European invasion that brought the likes of Mogilny, Fedorov, Jagr, Bure and Forsberg, and it was a great time to try and keep track of stats and scoring leaders.
Riding the power and prowess that was the dynamic duo of Lemieux and Jagr, the Penguins were dominant in Stanley Cup wins through the early '90s stacking back-to-back Cups through the '90-'91 and '91-'92 seasons. Detroit was the only other team during this decade to experience similar success. The Red Wings followed the Penguins’ model and stacked their wins back-to-back in '96-'97 and '97-'98.
Other winners during this period included the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars.
The decade was kicked off by the league's first strike which resulted in the postponement of 30 games during the 1991-1992 season. In trying to follow the Penguin’s early success in the '90s, the league also nearly had back-to-back lockouts, with another following in the '94-'95 season.
This decade was also a great time for innovation (depending on who you ask), as Fox introduced their infamous FoxTrax puck tracking system. In the event that you weren’t alive during the 90s or you lived under a rock, the FoxTrax technology placed an annoying blue glow around the puck while in play. This glow would extend to a tail as it was shot or passed around the ice. The augmented reality gimmick infuriated at-home fans for three years before Fox lost their TV rights to ABC in 1999.
The NHL teams also introduced alternate jerseys for the first time during the '90s, first set to be used for commemorative games. Unlike the FoxTrax, the implementation of alternate jerseys is something that survived the '90s and is still in place today.
Ultimately, the 1990s will go down in hockey history as a period in which fast-paced play and innovation took place. While '90s music and fashion trends are returning to the spotlight today, it is our hope that we see similar, exciting advancements in hockey as we saw during that period of time.