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January 16, 2017

Rocket Richard

The Stare.

The stare was Rocket Richard's trademark. When he came at a goalie with his eyes lit up, the opposition was terrified. Glenn Hall once was quoted sharing his memories of Rocket Richard - "What I remember most about the Rocket were his eyes. When he came flying toward you with the puck on his stick, his eyes were all lit up, flashing and gleaming like a pinball machine. It was terrifying."

One of the games greatest goal scorers, he recorded a then-NHL record with 544 regular season goals. That record stood until 1963 when it was surpassed by Gordie Howe. He was also the first to score 50 goals in one season, and the only player to have reached that figure in a 50 game season.

Rocket Richard did everything by instinct and brute strength. He would run, not glide, down the ice and cut fearlessly to the slot. Some describe him as the greatest opportunist the game has ever known. He was probably the greatest goal scorer from the blue line in.

Richard's fierce temper and dedication were also hallmarks of his. He got into frequent scraps with players and officials. His suspension by NHL president Clarence Campbell in 1955 for attacking a Boston player with his stick and punching a linesman precipitated the now famous riot in the Montreal Forum.

Winning at all costs best sums up Richard's approach to hockey.

In a playoff game, the Bruins Leo Labine knocked Richard unconscious and doctors said he was done for the series. Richard refused to be hospitalized and returned to the game as the teams battled. Rocket Richard scored the game winning goal.

But the legend of Rocket Richard almost never came into fruition. Early in his career he missed a lot of time with various ailments such as a broken wrist and badly sprained ankle. Too injury prone they said. The Canadiens supposedly came close to trading the young firecracker, reportedly to the New York Rangers. Thankfully they didn't!

In addition Maurice initially started on the left wing, where he struggled in comparison to what he would do on the right wing. Once he changed sides, he began achieving great success. However his early accomplishments came during the second World War.

"He was a wartime hockey player," onetime Canadiens general manager Frank Selke once told a reporter. "When the boys come back, they said, they'll look after Maurice. Nobody looked after Maurice. He looked after himself. When the boys come back, they said, they'll catch up with him. The only thing that caught up with Maurice is time."

Even in these tough early days, you could tell Maurice was special. The local media had dubbed him The Comet. Later teammate Ray Getliffe, in an intra-squad match during a practice, was wowed by Richard and compared him to a rocket. The name stuck.

Things really turned around in 1943-44. Perhaps it was the switch to the right wing, or perhaps a superstitious switch in number. Richard asked coach Dick Irvin Sr. if he could change his number from 15 to nine to mark the occasion of the birth of his first daughter - 9lb Huguette. Richard scored 32 goals -- the fourth-highest total in Canadiens history at that time -- in his first full season. Combined with rookie Bill Durnan in goal, the Canadiens re-emerged as a top team. Richard added 12 more goals in the playoffs and the Canadiens took their first Stanley Cup since 1931. In one game in the final series against Toronto, Richard scored all Montreal's goals in a 5-1 victory

50 Goals in 50 Games

1944-45 was the Rocket's greatest season. Richard raced through the 50 game schedule at an incredible goal-per-game pace, becoming the first player to score the magical 50 goal total. He is the only player to do it in a 50 game schedule.

Rocket's amazing drive for 50 goals in 50 games is considered to be perhaps the greatest achievement in the history of hockey. Critics argue that the League at that point was watered down by the World War, but it remains among the greatest achievements in professional sports.

The eyes of the world were focused in on Rocket as he chased down what once seemed unthinkable. In game number 48 he scored goal number 49. In the 49th game Montreal easily defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, yet somehow Rocket was blanked. That left him only one last chance to make 50 in 50. The final game of the season was in Boston at the dreaded Boston Garden. Montreal won 4-2 and Rocket managed to hit the twine behind Bruin goalie Harvey Bennett for his 50th goal that season! That amazing feat would not be equaled until 1980 when Mike Bossy would score 50 goals in the first 50 games of an 80 game schedule.

Richard and the Canadiens didn't sip from the Stanley Cup that season, but they did the following year. Richard "slumped" down to 27 goals but erupted for a league high 7 playoff goals in 9 games as the Habs won their second Cup under Richard's firepower.

Despite twice leading the NHL in goal scoring in the regular season and some fine playoff performances, the Habs failed to win another Cup until 1952-53. By this time the Habs were just establishing themselves as the most dominant team in NHL history, and were just a couple years way from a 5 year reign as Cup champions.

The Infamous Richard Riot

Perhaps the Canadiens could have won a Cup in 1954-55 that would have been the first of 6 in a row, but they suffered a daunting blow when the NHL unthinkably suspended their most dynamic superstar for the rest of the regular season and playoffs. Years later, the infamous 'Richard Riots' are stuff of legend in hockey history.

A common tactic that teams used to keep him off the score sheet was to simply sucker him into a fight. Richard was not one to back down to anyone, and sometimes he let his anger get the best of him. He was suspended numerous times by NHL President Clarence Campbell for violent slashing penalties and abusive behavior towards referees.

His most memorable suspension, and one of the most traumatic incidents in NHL history occurred in Montreal in 1955. The "Richard Riot" came about after an incident on March 13, in a game between Richard's Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. Boston defenseman Hal Laycoe cut Richard over the eye with a high stick and drew a delayed penalty. Once the play was stopped, Richard showed the referee that he was cut and promptly went after Laycoe, hitting him with his stick. Richard was pulled off of the Bruins defenseman twice, but he broke free, picked up another stick off the ice and started attacking Laycoe again. Linesman Cliff Thompson finally was able to pin Richard down on the ice. When they let Richard back on his feet, he was still mad as hell and wanted a piece of anyone he could find. Unfortunately, Thompson was the closest one around. Richard struck him twice before anyone could intervene.

President Clarence Campbell had given Richard many suspensions and fines in the past for actions such as this, but this time it seemed as if he said enough was enough. Campbell suspended the Rocket for the remainder of the regular season and all of the playoffs.

Fans in Montreal were shocked by Campbell's decision. The suspension was thought of as an extreme blow to the team's chances of taking the Stanley Cup away from the Detroit Red Wings. Canadiens supporters threatened both the league offices and Campbell himself. However, Campbell was a stubborn man who was not intimidated easily. Despite pleas by both the mayor and police not to attend, Campbell showed up at his usual seat for the next Montreal home game. He was bombarded with rotten fruit and vegetables throughout the early portion of the game, and by the time Detroit took a 4-1 lead, the crowd had enough. A group of fans started to make their way towards Campbell's section. The police had to step in and try to keep the peace. All of a sudden, someone threw tear gas right next to the president's seat and all hell broke loose. The fire marshal announced that the game must be stopped for fear of a disastrous fire, and Campbell announced that the game was to be forfeited to the Red Wings. A mob of angry fans took off down St. Catherine Street, throwing stones, breaking store windows and looting shops. Over 60 people were arrested during the melee, and Richard had to plead for calm on Montreal radio stations in order for people to settle down.

This was one of the most severe penalties ever handed out in the NHL, and it was especially painful for Richard. At the time he was leading the league in points and was a shoo-in to win the Art Ross Trophy. The Art Ross was the one trophy that Richard desperately wanted in his career, but, because of his suspension, he lost probably his best chance to win it. Finally, on the last day of the regular season, Richard's teammate Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion moved ahead of him in the scoring race, taking the Art Ross from the Rocket by a single point. The fans actually booed Geoffrion for surpassing the Rocket.

The next year, the Canadiens began their record string of five consecutive Stanley Cups, but the torch was already being passed from Richard to the next great Canadiens star -- Jean Beliveau.

Richard was injured for most of his last three seasons. The injuries slowed the Rocket so that he was no longer able to accelerate on skates as he once did.
Perhaps sensing that the Habs dynastic reign would be coming to an end, Richard made the tough decision to retire following the 1960 Cup victory. By this point he wasn't the warrior he once was, but was still number one in the hearts of the fans.

Richard ended his career of 18 years playing 978 games, scoring 544 goals, assisting on 421 more for 965 points. He also accumulated 1285 penalty minutes and 8 Stanley Cup rings. He had a then-record 82 playoff goals in 133 games, plus 126 points and another 188 PIM. The 14 time all star also won one Hart Trophy.

He was only a hockey player often preached Richard. However he was for more than that as the Riot attests. He was an absolute hero to French Canadiens in particular. Some suggest it is more than just coincidence that tension between French and English in Quebec coincided with Richard's presence. Not that he ever did anything to promote or deny any Quebecois movement - he was very careful not to get involved - but he remained the hero. And many Quebecois would employ a similar fierce pride and win at all costs attitude in their political endeavors/

"He carried the flag for an entire population -- and that's pretty heavy," the Gazette's Red Fisher said. "He felt he had to live up to that responsibility and he did it the way he knew how -- by scoring goals and responding to every challenge on the ice."

Richard always remained number one with the fans, and likely always will be. In 1995, some 35 years after he last played and in front of a sold-out stadium of fans - many of whom too young to have ever seen Richard play - gave Richard the longest standing ovation in hockey history. It was a sad day as the Canadiens were closing the Cathedral of Hockey - The Montreal Forum. In typical Habs class, they brought out all the old legends in a torch passing ceremony - to symbolize the passing of greatness from the old building to the new one. A tearful Richard stole the show.

A couple of years later Richard came down with an inoperable form of cancer of the abdomen.

The scare moved the Canadiens outgoing president Ronald Corey, who grew up idolizing the Rocket, to push for the creation of the Maurice Richard Trophy for the league's top goal-scorer. The trophy was granted, forever immortalizing Richard.

On May 27th, 2000, Rocket Richard lost his battle with cancer. The celebration of his life that shortly followed was unmatched in Canada, and in very few places around the world. A state funeral was held for a hockey player. Tens of thousands of people - one estimate had over 50000 a day - lined up to pay their respects to Richard at center ice of the Montreal Molson Center - the new Forum. The actual funeral was broadcast nationwide and throughout the world. It was eerily similar to the passing of Princess Diana just a short time earlier.

He was just a hockey player, but no one hockey player meant so much to so many people on such a personal level.

January 11, 2017

Top 1000 Players In Hockey History

Yes, you read that right. While the NHL is preparing to celebrate their Top 100 Players, GreatestHockeyLegends.com is preparing to celebrate the Top 1000.

Of course, the GreatestHockeyLegends.com 100 Greatest Hockey Players of All Time is the most popular feature in the website's long history.

Now I'm adding the Top 100 Hockey Players by decade, too

Here are some quick links to the decades completed so far:

January 04, 2017

Milt Schmidt

Time eroded the legacy of Milt Schmidt, Mr. Boston Bruin. He last played in 1955, in a long forgotten era that was vastly different than hockey today. With little video evidence of his greatness to preserve his stature, modern fans who do know of Schmidt have to do some heavy research and understanding of the players and the era.

Thanks to the memories of the decreasing old time fans, writers and most importantly on ice peers, Schmidt is still recognized as one of the greatest players in NHL history. In 2000, The Hockey News assembled 50 hockey experts to definitively rank the top players of all time. Milt Schmidt came in at number 27, ahead of the likes of Paul Coffey, Henri Richard, Bryan Trottier, Patrick Roy and Boom Boom Geoffrion.

In fact, only two players of Schmidt's approximate era ranked ahead of him. Eddie Shore and Howie Morenz. Contemporaries such as Syl Apps, Charlie Conacher, Dit Clapper, Bill Cook and Max Bentley finished below Schmidt. Scmidt's legendary rivals, namely Elmer Lach, Sid Abel and Ted Kennedy, all Hall of Famers, didn't even make the list.

Schmidt was considered to be the ultimate two-way player of his day, a Trottier or Steve Yzerman of the 1940s. He was small but determined. He was a strong skater and clever puck distributor but also a great finish. As beautiful as he was to watch on the offense, the Bruins long time captain took equal pride in the defensive zone, and was not afraid to get his nose dirty. While he usually played cleanly, one reporter described his play as "angry."

Yet the 1940 NHL scoring champion and 1951 NHL most valuable player might not have ever come to Boston if it hadn't been for a couple of friends in Kitchener, Ontario.

The Bruins had previously signed wingers Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer. The duo immediately began campaigning for the club to sign the center they played junior hockey with. The B's weren't as interested in Milt but signed him too, and assigned Schmidt to Providence of the AHL. Schmidt joined the Bruins for the second half of the 1936-37 season, and he quickly established himself as the leader of the Bruins.

Schmidt was reunited with the high scoring Dumart and the smooth skating Bauer. Known in the less politically correct era as the Kraut Line (changed temporarily to the Kitchener Kids during World War II), the trio was as complete and balanced a line as the NHL had ever seen. In fact they were so dominant the trio finished 1-2-3 in the NHL scoring race one year.

The Bruins of 1938-39 won the second Stanley Cup in franchise history. It wasn't just the Kraut Line that was responsible for that. Eddie Shore, Dit Clapper, brilliant rookie goalie Frank Brimsek, and veteran scorers like Bill Cowley, Flash Hollett and Roy Conacher made for one of the greatest teams of all time.

Two years later it was Schmidt who led the Bruins to another Cup. After a relative off-season (13-25--38pts in the regular season), Schmidt led the Bruins to their second Cup in three years by collecting five goals and six assists for 11 points in as many playoff games. In this era prior to a MVP award for Stanley Cup playoff competition, it is unanimously agreed Schmidt was the key cog. The Bruins lost NHL scoring leader Bill Cowley to a knee injury in the very first game of the playoffs. Schmidt came through with a hard-checking style that earned him mention as a game star in four of the games against Toronto, then was great in the finals with points in all four games. He led all playoff scorers by 3 points.

That Bruins team might very well have become known as the greatest team ever, however World War II wiped out Boston's chances at establishing a true dynasty. Schmidt and his linemates enlisted, left for the Royal Canadian Air Force near the end of the 1941-42 season, and weren't seen again in Boston until the fall of 1946.

Schmidt was 28 years old by the time he returned. Many other NHL players had difficulty starting their careers again, but Schmidt actually seemed a better player after missing more than three seasons. In his first year back, Schmidt scored more goals (27) and points (62) than he ever would in a career that would cover 16 NHL seasons.

Schmidt was elected Boston's captain after he and the Bruins suffered through a miserable 1949-50 season, in which the club missed the playoffs and Schmidt scored a somewhat average 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) in 68 games. With the 'C' on his sweater, Schmidt rebounded strongly for 22 goals, a career-high 39 assists and 61 points in 1950-51. He was awarded the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player, and earned the last of his three first-team All-Star berths.

Schmidt had a strong, second-team All-Star season in '51-52 (21-29--50), and his career-high five playoff goals in 10 post-season games a year later helped Boston to a surprise berth in the Stanley Cup final despite a sub-.500 regular season.

Schmidt didn't complete his final season on the ice. General Manager Lynn Patrick, Schmidt's coach starting in 1950-51, asked Schmidt to move behind the bench in 1954-55, and Schmidt became Boston's coach on Christmas Day, 1954. He'd hold the post through 1960-61, getting Boston to the Cup finals in 1957 and '58, then returned to the bench for four more seasons after a two-year hiatus.

Schmidt succeeded Hap Emms as GM in 1967-68. The B's, already on the rise with the addition of Bobby Orr, took off like a rocket after Schmidt's first big trade brought Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to Boston from Chicago.

Schmidt, who had been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961, oversaw Stanley Cups in 1970 and '72 before retiring as GM. He returned to work as the expansion Washington Capitals' first GM in 1974-75, but left that post a year later, only return to the Boston.

Schmidt returned to the Bruins, if only in a ceremonial role, until his death on January 4th, 2107.

January 02, 2017

Top 100 Hockey Players of the 1910s and 1920s

Cy Denneny - Ottawa scoring sensation led all NHLers in scoring in this time period, and it was not even close. 333 points to 251 for the second place scorer.

Reg Noble - Those 251 points belong to Noble. The big man would have scored move but he played a lot of defense in the second half of the decade.

Babe Dye - Seriously deserves more consideration as best Toronto based NHL player ever.

Frank Nighbor  - A complete player in an era when forwards didn't often pay much attention to backchecking.

Joe Malone - NHL's first superstar with 44 goals in 20 games in inaugural season

Cyclone Taylor - Hockey's first superstar was hired gun before NHL era

Howie Morenz - Morenz only played last six seasons of decade, but captured national psyche unlike any other hockey player except Cyclone Taylor of even earlier fame.

Georges Vezina - Hockey's first great goaltender

Buck Boucher - Doesn't get as much recognition as some of this era but was sixth highest NHL scorer of his era

Aurel Joliat - Teamed with Morenz for hockey artistry

Newsy Lalonde  - Early great had 125 goals in 99 career NHL games before leaving NHL to play in Saskatchewan. Also led all players in scoring in 1910s.

Corb Denneny - Hockey has always been a family sport

Punch Broadbent - Fiery winger once scored goals in sixteen consecutive games

Harry Cameron - The top scoring defenseman of the era. 88 goals in 128 games.

Hap Holmes - Western goaltending star

Sprague Cleghorn  - Hockey villain

Clint Benedict - Praying Bennie

Billy Burch - New York born star was one of 12 NHLers to score over 100 goals in this era.

Jack Adams - Before he was a great coach, he was a great player

Odie Cleghorn - Played in his brother's shadow, but very good player, too

Billy Boucher - See Cleghorn, Odie.

Nels Stewart  - More of a 1930s star, but debuted with 4 seasons in this decade and scored 99 goals.

Ken Randall - Aggressive and controversial

King Clancy - Ottawa's impish defenseman was a game changer

Bert Corbeau - Big physical defenseman scored big goals too

Frank Patrick and Lester Patrick - Hockey's most influential builders were great players, too

Frank Frederickson - Noted for Olympic dominance and PCHA play as much as swan song days in NHL.

Jack Darragh - Ottawa's home grown Stanley Cup hero

Eddie Gerard - Some eye witnesses of this era said that defenseman Gerard was better than Eddie Shore

Sailor Herberts - Also known as Herbert.

Didier Pitre - "Cannonball" was one of the early Quebecois stars

Mickey MacKay - Perhaps the most exciting western player before joining NHL

Goldie Prodgers - Vagabond hockey star played complete game

Carson Cooper - Distinct goal scorer dubbed "Shovel Shot."

Cully Wilson - Another of hockey's early bad boys

George Hainsworth - Shutout King

Shorty Green - Instrumental figure in hockey history

Red Green - Shorty's brother, but not that Red Green.

Billy Coutu - As mean as they come

Lionel Hitchman - Steady defender was as much of a presence in Boston as Eddie Shore

Sylvio Mantha - Another early great defender

Mickey Roach - consistent but forgotten player

Bert McCaffrey - A very versatile player

Louis Berlinguette - The original utility forward

Frank Finnigan - The Slumbering Romeo

Hib Milks - Spent most of his NHL career with long ago extinct Pittsburgh and Philadelphia teams.

Leo Reise, Sr. - His son would play in the NHL, too

Butch Arbour - He was a butcher by trade.

Harry Mummery - "Mum" was the heaviest player of his era, reportedly as high as 265lbs.

Dave Ritchie - He scored the first goal in NHL history.

Alf Skinner - Excellent two way forward blessed with speed

Merlyn Phillips - Quick Scorer

Dunc Munro  - Montreal Maroons captain was reportedly the highest paid player of the 1920s

Harry Watson - 1924 Olympic star never played in NHL

Perk Galbraith - Defensive forward extraordinaire

Lorne Chabot - Stanley Cup winner in 1928

Tiny Thompson - Stanley Cup winner in debut season of 1929

Taffy Abel - Big defenseman was excellent shot blocker, heavy hitter

John Ross Roach - The Port Perry Woodpecker

Jake Forbes - Jumping Jakie

Slim Halderson - Slim was actually very big for his era at 6'3" and 200lbs

Jack Walker - Another early defensive forward great.

Battleship Leduc  - another for the all nickname team.

Red Dutton  - Future NHL president was a thundering defenseman too

Dick Irvin - Future NHL coaching great was a Hall of Fame player, too

Duke Keats - Another Western star

George Hay - Western star was Hockey Hall of Famer despite barely playing in NHL

Harry Oliver - Long time New York American from Manitoba

Jack MacDonald - Pre-NHL star

Harry Hyland - Hockey Hall of Famer

Rusty Crawford - Early day two-way star

Bert Lindsay - Ted's dad was a goalie

Alec Connell - Fireman

John Ross Roach  - Played more games than any NHL goalie in the 1920s

Shrimp Worters - Small Wonder

Holes Lockhart - Played admirably, but you gotta wonder about a goalie with that nickname.

Hal Winkler - Western star stopped pucks in NHL too

Pit Lepine - One of the early great Montreal Canadiens players.

Johnny Shepard - Western scorer found home in NHL

Gerry Lowrey - Famous Lowrey family of Ottawa

John McKinnon - Goal scoring defenseman

Herb Drury - Olympic star

Edmond Bouchard - Veteran forward didn't score much but played often.

Russell Oatman - Detroit Rebel

Dinny Dinsmore - Played For A Dollar

Percy Traub - Long time prairies star

Toots Holway - Imposing Defender

Len Grosvenor - Ottawa hometown boy

NHL Finally Leading Way In Online Hockey History

One of the best things the NHL's centennial season is the league is finally embracing it's amazing history with proper digital due. The new NHL Centennial website promises to be the leader in online hockey history by the time they are done, and that is greatly overdue.

They have hired some amazing people like Dave Stubbs, Stu Hackel, Wayne Coffey, Bob Verdi and John Kreiser, to name a few. The resources they are throwing at this project, and the content they are churning, out is impressive.

The video and audio presentations are top rate. The website architecture is cutting edge and fun. The money spent on photos must be enormous.

The key to any website success is always the content. Without great content, such an undertaking is hollow. The NHL has so far done a good job in providing excellent prose worthy of the moments and people that have made hockey's history so rich and deep and precious.

I know they will be focusing providing quality biographies of every single player in NHL history, which is something I have been trying to do for years now here at my little pipe-dream operation. I suspect the project is already underway and hopefully when it is unveiled it will be presented with the same commitment and quality that they have started out with so far.

Every player deserves his story to be told and preserved online. The top 100 is the easy task. Even the top 1000. It's the next 7000 or so that get hard.

Good on the NHL for taking this lead. Hopefully the project fulfills it's promise, for it will truly be a vault for all hockey fans to treasure.

December 31, 2016

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavour and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not necessarily the greatest player. 

The list actually came together fairly quickly, because I constantly cross-referenced other lists. I first ranked players by position, and by era, and by nationality. When I created my master list of the top 100 players of all time, I held myself accountable by staying true to those previously made lists. Some tweaking was necessary, of course, but before I adjusted the top 100 list, I had to make sure I stayed true to my original lists.

Without further ado, I present the GreatestHockeyLegends.com Top 100 Greatest Hockey Players of All Time:

1. Wayne Gretzky (C)  - "The Great One" wanted to be the best every day. He was not the most physically gifted, but with unmatchable passion and intelligence he did more with less. More than anyone else, by leaps and bounds.

2. Bobby Orr (D) - The perfect hockey player. I would concede he had the greatest career if he lasted longer. Unfortunately that if always enters that conversation, making it impossible for me to grant him top billing.

3. Gordie Howe (RW) - Hockey is a man's game. "Mr. Hockey" is the man. Both Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky will tell you Gordie was the greatest player ever.

4. Mario Lemieux (C) -  Super Mario was the most gifted player ever, even more talented than Bobby Orr. The same if enters the conversations regarding Lemieux.

5. Rocket Richard (RW) - More than a hockey player: Rocket's incomparable legacy transcended the game to reach religious levels in Quebec and beyond. Simply amazing.

6. Jean Beliveau (C) - Head of the Class: Hockey's original gentle giant set the standard of class and excellence in Montreal that lasts to this day.

7. Bobby Hull (LW) - The Golden Jet reached amazing heights. He one of the rare true superstars in a sporting world that overuses that term far too liberally.

8. Guy Lafleur (RW) - Every goal was an event for The Flower

9. Eddie Shore (D) - Old Time Hockey! Eddie Shore was the main event in the hockey world in the early days of the NHL's existence. He dominated and entertained like few others all from the blue line. Only Orr joins Shore as defensemen who were the best player in the world.

10. Patrick Roy (G) - St. Patrick saved the day. I figure each block of 10 in my ranking of 100 should have at least one goaltender. Patrick Roy is universally considered to be the greatest goalie of all time.

Doug Harvey (D) - Firewagon Hockey
Stan Mikita (C) - Overshadowed by Hull, Mikita may have been better
Howie Morenz (C) - The NHL's first superstar
Dominik Hasek (G) - Unorthodox Dominator reached highest peak
Ray Bourque (D) - Out of the shadows of Orr
Mark Messier (C) - Edmonton's native son became Manhattan's messiah
Sidney Crosby (C) - Player of Destiny
Jaromir Jagr (RW) - Based on talent alone, Jagr is a top ten player
Phil Esposito (C) - The Most Underrated Superstar?
Mike Bossy (RW) - The best pure goal scorer of all time?

Steve Yzerman (C) - Stevie Wonder did it all

Jacques Plante (G) - Plante changed the face of hockey
Nicklas Lidstrom (D) - Ageless Wonder
Denis Potvin (D) - Captain of the Isles dynasty
Ted Lindsay (LW) - Anything but terrible
Bryan Trottier (C) - The most complete player of his day
Joe Sakic (C) - No Ordinary Joe
Henri Richard (C) - Overshadowed, but little brother was more complete player
Valeri Kharlamov (LW) - Soviet star never had chance to play in NHL
Larry Robinson (D) - The prototypical NHL defenseman for any era

Paul Coffey (D) - Greatest skater rivalled Orr's heights
Terry Sawchuk (G) - Perfect Goalie, Imperfect World
Vladislav Tretiak (G) - A hero's legacy on both sides of the Atlantic
Red Kelly (D) - Superstar at two positions
Alexander Ovechkin (LW) - Alexander The Great
Marcel Dionne (C) - Scoring King
Bobby Clarke (C) - Great Villain, Great Hero
Viacheslav Fetisov (D) - Freedom Fighter
King Clancy (D) - Heart of the Maple Leafs
Jari Kurri (RW) - More Than A Wing Man

Peter Stastny (C) - Second Highest Scoring Player of 1980s
Boom Boom Geoffrion (RW) - Loud And Proud
Martin Brodeur (G) - Hockey's Winningest Goalie
Peter Forsberg (C) - Swede Sensation
Glenn Hall (G) - Mr. Goalie
Brett Hull (RW) - Hull of a shot
Frank Mahovlich (LW) - The Big M
Ron Francis (C) - Quiet Excellence
Milt Schmidt (C) - Mr. Boston Bruins
Dickie Moore (LW) - The Man Who Would Make The Fans Forget About The Rocket

Ken Dryden (G) - The Thinker
Syl Apps (C) - The Perfect Gentleman
Bill Durnan (G) - Ambidextrous Puck Stopper
Sergei Makarov (RW) - Rushin' Russia
Cyclone Taylor (D) - Hockey's First Legend
Brad Park (D) - In Bobby's Shadow
Bill Cook (RW) - Greatest Right Winger Before Howe, Richard
Ted Kennedy (C) - Heart of the Leafs Dynasty
Max Bentley (C) - Dipsy Doodle Dandy
Teemu Selanne (RW) - The Finnish Flash

Borje Salming (D) - Hockey's Most Important Player?
Chris Chelios (D) - Captain America
Newsy Lalonde (C) - Extra! Extra!
Chris Pronger (D) - Dastardly Good
Scott Stevens (D) - Captain Crunch
Pierre Pilote (D) - Last Of His Kind
Bill Cowley (C) - Early Day Gretzky
Gilbert Perreault (C) - Gil The Thrill
Dit Clapper (D) - Star Forward, Superstar Defenseman
Joe Malone (C) - NHL's First Scoring Star

Charlie Conacher (RW) - The Big Bomber
Elmer Lach (C) - Centre of Attention
Dave Keon (C) - Beloved Maple Leaf
Jonathan Toews - Captain Serious
Eric Lindros (C) - Reviled But Dominant
Luc Robitaille (LW) - Cool Hand Luc
Frank Boucher (C) - A Beautiful Mind
Johnny Bucyk (LW) - Boston's Chief
Andy Bathgate (RW) - Sharp Shooter
Turk Broda (G) - Playoff Hero

Tim Horton (D) - Blue Line Stud to Coffee Legend
Brian Leetch (D) - American Beauty
Serge Savard (D) - Minister of Defense
Sergei Fedorov (C) - Larger Than Life
Frank Nighbor (C) - Early Genius
Busher Jackson (LW) - Controversial Superstar
Bernie Parent (G) - Philly's Playoff MVP
Toe Blake (LW) - Great Player Turned Great Coach
Doug Bentley (LW) - No One Trick Pony
Charlie Gardiner (G) - The Smiling Scotsman

Pavel Bure (RW) - The Russian Rocket
Scott Niedermayer (D) - Hockey's Winningest Man
Pavel Datsyuk (C) - Dats Incredible!
Aurel Joliat (LW) - The Little Giant
Earl Siebert (D) - Rearguard Roughian 
Al MacInnis (D) - Big Shot
Bob Gainey (LW) - Admired By Russians
Sid Abel (C) - Enabling The Production Line
Johnny Bower (G) - The China Wall
Yvan Cournoyer (RW) - The Roadrunner

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