September 30, 2016

Hockey History For Kids

I found a neat website called CanadianHistoryForKids.com. It's an interesting way to introduce many topics of Canadian history to our youth.

Naturally, I searched for hockey and found ample results:




Be sure to check out CanadianHistoryForKids.com. It seems to be a production of an organization called Signature Productions. Ultimately the website content is designed to introduce to further learning opportunities by purchasing their series of published books.

Canada Wins 2016 World Cup of Hockey

It wasn't pretty. And despite the last minute heroics, it likely won't go down in history as one of the all time great moments in hockey history. But juggernaut Team Canada was able to keep their win streak alive and win the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

The heavily favored Canadians were frustrated all night with the impressive-though-boring suffocating defensive efforts of Team Europe. The Europeans held a 1-0 lead late into the game. Patrice Bergeron finally got Canada on the board with less than three minutes to play. Then Brad Marchand scored a shorthanded goal to win it with just 43 seconds left in the game.

 
 


In this era of international parity, Canada's absolute dominance since 2010 has to give the Crosby/Toews/Babcock era serious consideration as the greatest international team of all time.

From the NHL's Morning Skate press release:

* Team Canada captured its sixth victory in the World Cup of Hockey/Canada Cup, adding to its championships in 1976, 1984, 1987, 1991 and 2004. It also finished the tournament with a perfect 6-0-0 record; the only other time Team Canada won all of its games at such an event was the most recent iteration, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey (also 6-0-0).
 
* Marchand recorded his tournament-leading fifth goal of the World Cup of Hockey 2016, while Bergeron – Marchand’s NHL teammate with the Boston Bruins – added his fourth, second among all players. Their fellow Bruins teammate Zdeno Chara provided the lone goal for Team Europe.
 
* The line of Sidney Crosby (3-7—10), Marchand (5-3—8) and Bergeron (4-3—7) combined for 12-13—25 in the tournament and finished the World Cup of Hockey 2016 ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3, respectively, in overall scoring.
 
TEAM CANADA EXTENDS WINNING STREAK IN BEST-ON-BEST PLAY
Team Canada extended its winning streak to 16 games since losing to Team USA in its final preliminary contest of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver (also includes 2014 Olympic Winter Games and World Cup of Hockey 2016).
 

 
 
* Team Canada has outscored its opponents 62-20 during that span (24-8 in World Cup of Hockey 2016), averaging 3.88 goals per game versus 1.25 against.
 
* Team Canada also has outshot its opponents 638-420 during that period (249-183 in World Cup of Hockey 2016), an average of 39.9 per game versus 26.3 against.
 
* Seven players have played in all three tournaments for Team Canada during this undefeated stretch: Patrice BergeronSidney CrosbyDrew DoughtyRyan Getzlaf,Corey PerryJonathan Toews and Shea Weber.
 
CROSBY EARNS MVP, AGAIN CAPTAINS TEAM CANADA TO VICTORY . . .
Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby (0-1—1) was named tournament MVP after leading the World Cup of Hockey 2016 with seven assists, 10 points and a +8 rating in six games.
 

 
 
* Crosby improved to a perfect 25-0-0 in his last 25 outings with Team Canada dating to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, leading four groups to championships in that span (also as captain at 2014 Olympic Winter Games and 2015 World Championship). He has totaled 10-16—26, as well as three game-winning goals (and a gold-medal goal), in those 25 appearances:
 
Sidney Crosby, Last 25 GP for Team Canada
2010 Olympic Winter Games (Final 4 GP): 2-0—2
2014 Olympic Winter Games (6 GP): 1-2—3
2015 World Championship (9 GP): 4-7—11
World Cup of Hockey 2016 (6 GP): 3-7—10
 
* The World Cup of Hockey 2016 coronation continues a 17-month stretch for Crosby that also has seen him win the 2015 World Championship and 2015-16 Stanley Cup (with the Pittsburgh Penguins). He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP during Pittsburgh’s run to the Stanley Cup in June.


Also of interest:

Canada's Corey Perry joins Canada's Scott Niedermayer as the only players in hockey history to have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, World Championship, World Junior Championship, Memorial Cup and Canada/World Cup title.

September 29, 2016

Shoebox Memories: Eric Lindros And The 1991 Canada Cup

Back in 1991 I definitely bought into all the hype about a kid named Eric Lindros. He was supposed to be the next great thing. He was supposed to be a monstrous Gretzky or Lemieux. He was supposed to be better than Mark Messier. Maybe he was the second coming of Gordie Howe?

Injuries prevented Lindros from fulfilling that destiny. And controversies prevented many people from ever liking him. He was easy to not like.

Yet he was always a favorite of mine.

My first real exposure to Eric Lindros came in the 1991 Canada Cup. Though he was just 18 and still in junior hockey, the giant phenom came in and played an important role in the Canadian victory. Lindros scored 3 goals and 5 points in 8 games, but more importantly physically intimidated the opposition as a teenager.

Many remember this man-child crunching Ulf Samuelsson - one of the NHL's toughest and dirtiest defensemen - sending him home early.

But it was a different hit that I vividly remember. And Lindros was the receiver on this hit.

Team USA's Joel Otto - another monster who earned a NHL living by slaying Messier in the Battle of Alberta - lined Lindros up behind the Canadian net. Lindros did not see him coming until the final second, yet he braced for impact just in time. Lindros' progress was stopped, but he swatted Otto away. The giant Otto crashed backward to the ice.

It was quite the debut for the most hyped hockey prospect not named Bobby Orr or Wayne Gretzky to that point in history.

Lindros' career did not go according to plan, yet it concludes later this year as he is finally, and rightfully, included in the Hockey Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players in the history of hockey.


September 28, 2016

Canadian Museum of History


One of the coolest jobs I've had is as the Canadian Museum of History's hockey consultant. I have been with the Museum since June and have had a fantastic experience.

One of the key projects is the construction of a 2017 exhibit called Hockey In Canada - More Than Just A Game. The exhibit opens in early March 2017, coinciding with Canada's 150th anniversary and the National Hockey League's centennial,

To give you a better idea of what to expect, here is the museum's press release from earlier this year:

Gatineau, Quebec, May 5, 2016 — Hockey is a beloved Canadian pastime, a rite of passage for kids, the heartbeat of small towns, an economic engine in big cities and a source of patriotic pride that so permeates our culture, we might call it a national obsession. But how did this sport come to be Canada’s game? What does our love of hockey reveal about us as a people? These questions and more will be explored in Hockey in Canada – More Than Just a Game, an exhibition developed by the Canadian Museum of History that celebrates the sport’s evolution and its widespread appeal.

The puck drops on March 3, 2017 at the Museum of History — 150 years after Canadian Confederation and 100 years after the birth of the National Hockey League.

“With Hockey in Canada – More Than Just a Game, we want to step back and look at the big picture: hockey’s cross-cultural origins, its historical impact and its place in our daily lives and in the collective psyche of Canadians,” said Jean-Marc Blais, Director General of the Canadian Museum of History. “It’s not about which team has won the most Stanley Cups, or which elite players have scored the most goals or the richest contracts. It’s about why Canadians love to play and watch hockey. It’s about team spirit, the fans and the emotional appeal. It’s about hockey’s role in our society and even in international diplomacy. It’s about why hockey matters to Canadians.”

The exhibition will feature items from the Museum’s National Collection and other Canadian memory institutions. The overarching motifs of community, family and popular culture will be anchored by star objects, not so much to glorify hockey’s heroes as to show their enduring influence. Jacques Plante’s “pretzel” goalie mask will illustrate innovations in player safety, while Hayley Wickenheiser’s skates will represent the growth of women’s hockey and the commitments and challenges of hockey families. Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s jersey and his Hall of Fame and Stanley Cup rings represent the relevance to hockey of politics, identity and the power of media.

Other one-of-a-kind artifacts, such as singer Shania Twain’s hockey-inspired stage costumes, plus hockey cards, souvenirs and table hockey games show far-reaching cultural impacts beyond the rink. These objects, along with video clips of historic highlights, memorabilia and more, will add up to an exciting, interactive experience that evokes the smell of sweat, the flick of a wrist-shot and the roar of a Canadian crowd.

Hockey in Canada – More Than Just a Game will be presented at the Canadian Museum of History from March 3 to October 9, 2017.

Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History welcomes over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum’s principal role is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada’s history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians’ awareness of world history and culture. Work of the Canadian History Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada

Rethinking NHL's Top 100 Players of All Time



As part of Tuesday's announcement concerning 2017's Centennial celebrations, the National Hockey League surprised no one when they said they would be honouring the top 100 players in NHL history.

It should be noted that the NHL list will be not be a ranked list, but an alphabetical one. That, of course, takes a lot of the fun out of it!

Here at GreatestHockeyLegends.com, my most popular post of all time - by far - is my personal ranking of the top 100 hockey players of all time. The list was constructed in 2013, and does include international players - namely Soviets - who did not play in the NHL.

Now is the time to update that list. And I'm not afraid to rank it.

Keeping in mind that legacy weighs heavily in my evaluation, questions that I will have to ask myself, and am now asking for your input on, include:

- How have active players Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Jaromir Jagr and Pavel Datsyuk moved on the list, up or down?

- Jonathan Toews has to be on the list now. Where would he fit in at this stage of his career?

- What other active players should be strongly considered? I'm thinking Jarome Iginla, Joe Thornton, Marian Hossa, Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. How about Zdeno Chara and Duncan Keith on defense?

- Is Patrick Kane far enough into his career to consider top 100 placement? How about Steven Stamkos?

- Other skaters I will have consider include Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Zetterberg, Patrik Elias and Shea Weber.

- And of course there are goalies - Are any of Roberto Luongo, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Miller, Marc-Andre Fleury, Pekka Rinne, Jonathan Quick or Carey Price ready to pass Billy Smith or Johnny Bower, the last two goalies to crack my top 100 list?

Feel free to contact me as I am interested in hearing any input.

September 27, 2016

Gretzky Returns As NHL's Centennial Ambassador



For the first time since 2009 (think about that one for a second!) Wayne Gretzky is back in the National Hockey League in an official position.

On Tuesday the National Hockey League announced that Gretzky, the NHL's all time leading scorer and the most recognizable hockey player in the world, is returning to the NHL as the official ambassador of the league’s centennial celebration.

Gretzky has essentially always served as the league's and the sport's unofficial ambassador since 1979 when he broke into the league as a player. He last held an official position within the NHL in 2009 when he was coach and part owner of the Phoenix Coyotes.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I have long revered the history of our game and the players, coaches and executives who built the league before I was fortunate enough to enter it,” Gretzky said in a statement. “And it is no secret that I remain an avid fan who watches games every night and marvels at the young players who are leading the greatest sport in the world into the league’s next century.

“As I’ve said countless times, I owe just about everything I now have in my life to the game of hockey and the National Hockey League. And I am thrilled to spend the next year celebrating its past, present and future with hockey fans around the world.”

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