Ice hockey is a game steeped in long-standing traditions, whether it is NHL team vying for sports’ most recognizable and symbolic trophy, the Stanley Cup, or kids on pond ice all throwing their sticks in the middle and two captains picking sides by picking up player sticks.
One of hockey’s coolest traditions (and let’s make that figurative and literal) is naming three stars at the end of each game, or each night and week as we do here at NHL.com (look for the daily stars each morning and the week’s stars on Monday on our home page). Now, naming the NHL’s three stars of the moment—this season, right now, the best and brightest—that is difficult task. And living up to that stardom can provide its own difficulty or at least ways to handle the limelight.
Think about that. How did Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull reckon with stardom in their eras? How about the Great One in his stops at Edmonton, Los Angeles and New York? Bobby Orr? Mark Messier? Each of them went about it differently.
Some of the game’s brightest stars (such as that one guy who scored quite the goal this week) will be facing off in Sunday’s NBC Game of the Week (12:30 p.m ET) when Pittsburgh skates into the Capitals’ home ice down in D.C. So NBC intermission commentator Mike Milbury will focus his weekly “Mike’s Hat Trick” feature on just who are the game’s three top stars and how do each of those players handle stardom. Tune in to see if you agree with Milbury’s take or might substitute a favorite star or two of your own.