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From the opening game of this past season in London between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks to Conn Smythe Trophy winner Henrik Zetterberg carrying the Stanley Cup, Reflections 2008 captures the spirit of a very exciting season that saw Sidney Crosby, Ty Conklin and their Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Buffalo Sabres at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the first Winter Classic.
Reflections 2008, The NHL Hockey Year In Photographs, is a joint production of the NHL and the NHL Player's Association, together with Getty Images, NHL Images and Greystone Books, for the benefit of Hockey Fights Cancer. To date, more than $10 million has been raised and donated by Hockey Fights Cancer and a portion of the proceeds from this book will also be donated.
More than 150 photographs chronicle the 2008-09 season, including images of the sport's greatest stars, Hart Memorial, Lester B. Pearson, Art Ross and Rocket Richard Trophies winner Alexander Ovechkin, six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom, Calder Memorial Trophy winner Patrick Kane, Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur, William M. Jennings Trophy winner Chris Osgood and five-time leading scorer Jaromir Jagr.
There are dozens of photos of great goals, great saves and great checks. And, then there are some not-so-great, but memorable checks, like Sean Avery tripping Martin Brodeur in his crease. The writing, by NHL.com's Rocky Bonanno, is excellent.
There's a shot of Mike Modano beating Evgeni Nabokov for his 511th NHL goal, setting the record for Americans in the NHL. New York Islanders, past, present and future, line up to have their picture taken with Al Arbour on the night he coached his 1,500th NHL game. Zdeno Chara and Jagr line up for the ceremonial faceoff as Willie O'Ree drops the puck in honor of the 50th anniversary of becoming the first black player in the NHL.
The ceremonies for retiring the uniform numbers of Brian Leetch, Bob Gainey and Larry Robinson are here as is the photo of Hockey Hall of Fame inductees Scott Stevens, Ron Francis, Al MacInnis, Jim Gregory and Mark Messier.
You'll undoubtedly pick one of these pictures as your favorite, perhaps one of several Ovechkin goal-celebration shots or Crosby after scoring the shootout winner in the Winter Classic. The one you don't want to miss is the old, grizzled warriors Lidstrom and Chris Chelios sitting on the bench and watching a tense moment in the Stanley Cup Final.
Brent Sutter lets the ref know what's what, as only a Sutter can, nearly launching himself over his Devils players.
NHL All-Star Game MVP Eric Staal seems to hang suspended on one photo while in another, his brother Mark, the New York Rangers defenseman, crushes his brother, Jordan, the Pittsburgh Penguins forward. Georges Laraque puts fear into Sami Kapanen as they race toward the boards. Evgeni Malkin is caught in a moment of silent prayer.
The final photo in Reflections 2008 is apt. It shows a 2008 Stanley Cup Final-logoed bucket with champagne chilling on ice.
Reflections 2008 is more of an art book than a single-season history book. The pictures nearly fill each 8 3/4 x 11 1/2 inch page and there is no text on those pages. The captions for the 151 pictures are contained in four pages at the back of the book.
There are plenty of ways to find Reflections 2008, here on NHL.com, at many team stores in their arenas, and through the Reebok NHL Store on Sixth Avenue in New York City. Copies autographed by team captains will be auctioned on NHL.com this month.