Curtis Joseph July 15 NHL History
1998: Free agent goaltender Curtis Joseph signs with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

July 15 NHL History

1994: Thirty-one days after coaching the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years, Mike Keenan quits his job, saying at a news conference in Toronto that he’s leaving with four years remaining on his contract because of a “breach of contractual obligations.” He declines to discuss the specifics of those obligations. Two days later, he’s named coach and general manager of the St. Louis Blues. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman settles the issue a few days later by approving a trade that sends center Petr Nedved to the Rangers for forward Esa Tikkanen and defenseman Doug Lidster, allowing Keenan to stay with the Blues.

1998: Free agent goaltender Curtis Joseph signs with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Joseph has 35 victories in his first season and 36 of a Maple Leafs record 45 wins in 1999-2000, when they reach the 100-point mark for the first time in their history. Joseph has 133 victories in four seasons with the Maple Leafs and helps them reach the Eastern Conference Final in 2002 before signing with the Red Wings. Joseph returns to Toronto in 2008-09 to finish his NHL career, going 5-9-1 with a 3.57 goals-against average and .869 save percentage at 41 years old.

2005: Mike Babcock begins a new era in Hockeytown when he’s introduced as coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

Babcock replaces Dave Lewis, whose regular-season success with the Red Wings doesn’t carry into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After winning the Central Division title in each of Lewis’ two seasons, Detroit is eliminated in the first round by Babcock’s Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003 and in the second round by the Calgary Flames in 2004.

Anaheim gets all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the New Jersey Devils after knocking off Detroit but fails to make the playoffs in 2004. After the lockout is settled in 2005, Babcock declines an offer to remain in Anaheim.

Babcock says at his introductory press conference that he’s eager to build on the Red Wings’ tradition of success.

“I believe in leadership,” he said. “I believe in being the best in the world at what I do.”

The Red Wings win the Presidents’ Trophy in two of Babcock’s first three seasons; in 2008, they win the Stanley Cup for the fourth time since 1997 by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. In all, Babcock wins 458 games in 10 seasons in Detroit and the Red Wings qualify for the playoffs in all 10.



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