Hockey Classic Seasons Preview: Hockey Heroes and 1991-92

108 Hockey Heroes, 1991-92 NHL Headed for SOM Rinks
By Glenn Guzzo
            Two more classic card/computer roster sets for Strat-O-Matic Hockey come our way this summer, highlighted by the first Hockey Heroes set. Strat-O-Matic also is updating the 1991-92 season in modern format.
            The 108 players in the Hockey Heroes set will stand alone as six teams of 11 forwards, five defensemen and two goalies each, or as a strong, modern supplement to the 234-player All Time Greats set released in 2005. Like the All-Time Greats, the Hockey Heroes are based on career stats, normalized for the era in which they played. The Hockey Heroes set will be available as a complete card set and as a season roster for the Windows game.
            All 31 males elected as players to the Hall of Fame from 2005-15 (and not already included in the All Time Greats) are in this set, which is full of significance:
            — Whereas the All Time Greats included only four non-North Americans (Jarri Kurri, Borje Salming, Viacheslav Fetisov and Vladislav Tretiak), Hockey Heroes has 18. The eight Russians include LW Valeri Kharlamov, who, like Tretiak, did not play in the NHL.
            — Just as Patrick Roy, Scott Stevens and Steve Yzerman were in the All Time Greats while still active, the Hockey Heroes set includes active players Zdeno Chara, Jarome Iginla and Jaromir Jagr.
            — While almost all of the Hockey Heroes are those who played in the 1980s and more recently, some Original Six stars are here, including HOF inductee Dick Duff as well as Doug Barkley, Roger Crozier, Ron Ellis, Paul Henderson, Dennis Hull, Claude Provost and Pat Stapleton. Set the Way-Back Machine, Sherman, for defenseman Flash Hollett, whose NHL career spanned 1934-1946.
            — All 500-goal scorers are in either the ATG or Heroes sets. Most of the 400-goal scorers are, too.
            — When added to ATG players, some Heroes complete famous lines. For instance, Vic Hadfield can join ATGs Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert on the Goal-A-Game (GAG) line. Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor can join ATG Marcel Dionne on the Triple Crown line. Rick Martin and Rene Robert can join ATG Gilbert Perrault on the French Connection.
1991-92 NHL
            The New York Rangers had MVP Mark Messier, Norris Trophy winner Brian Leetch and the most points (105), but the Stanley Cup went to the highest-scoring team, the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second straight season.
            Loaded with scoring champ Mario Lemieux (44-87-131), Kevin Stevens (54-69-123), Joe Mullen (42-45-87), Marc Recchi (33-37-70), Jaromir Jagr (32-37-69), Ron Francis (21-33-54), Larry Murphy (21-56-77), Paul Coffey (10-54-64) and goalie Tom Barrasso, the Penguins somehow finished only third in the Rangers’ Patrick Division, but went 16-5 in the playoffs, sweeping Boston in the conference finals and Chicago for the Cup.
            Montreal’s Patrick Roy won the Vezina Trophy and Vancouver’s Pavel Bure won the Calder. LA’s Wayne Gretzky led with 90 assists to finish third in scoring with 121 points. St. Louis’ Brett Hull led with 70 goals and was fourth in scoring.
            Chicago rode Jeremy Roenick’s 53 goals and Ed Belfour’s 2.70 GAA (second-best to Roy’s 2.36) to the finals after finishing second to Detroit in the Norris Division.
            As usual, Strat-O-Matic will card six top teams and include all teams on the Windows roster. The carded teams:
            — Pittsburgh and Chicago
            — The Patrick Division-winning Rangers, with five 30-goal scorers: Mike Gartner (40), Messier and Tony Amonte (35), Sergei Nemchinov and Darren Turcotte (30). John Vanbiesbrouck and Mike Richter formed a formidable 1-2 combo in goal.
            — Norris Division winner Detroit, a 98-point team with five 30-goal scorers: Steve Yzerman (45), Ray Sheppard (36), Paul Ysebaert (35), Jimmy Carson (34) and Sergei Federov (32). Twenty-one-year-old defenseman Niklas Lidstrom made his NHL debut with 11 goals and 49 assists. Goalie Tim Cheveldae tied for the NHL lead with 38 wins.
            — Adams Division winner Montreal, a 93-point team with Roy, Kirk Muller (36-41-77) and Denis Savard (28-42-70).
            — Smythe Division winner Vancouver, a 92-point team with Bure (34 goals), Trevor Linden (the team’s top scorer at 31-44-75), Greg Adams (30 goals) and 38-win goalie Kirk McLean.
            In the Windows: 98-point Washington with Dino Ciccarelli, Dale Hunter and Peter Bondra … Hull, Gretzky, 53-goal man Gary Roberts of Calgary, 107-point man Luc Robitaille of LA and seven other 40-goal men … Four of the eight goalies with at least a .900 save percentage and five of the eight skaters with at least 300 penalty minutes.