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History

Wings-Avs rivalry set stage for Yzerman's 500th

Friday, 10.19.2012 / 9:00 AM / History

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

On Oct. 19, 1957, Maurice Richard became the first player in NHL history to score 500 goals. The Rocket set the standard for excellence in finishing. Since breaking the 500-goal barrier, 41 other NHL greats have followed in his footsteps. To commemorate Richard's seminal achievement from 55 years ago, NHL.com talked with several legends who followed him about being part of one of the sport's most exclusive clubs.

In Detroit, he is known simply as "The Captain."

Steve Yzerman wore the "C" for the Red Wings for 19 seasons, more than 1,300 games, helping bring the Stanley Cup to Hockeytown three times and carving out a legendary career for himself in the process.

Yzerman ranks sixth all-time in career points (1,755), seventh in assists (1,063) and eighth in goals (692). As a consummate playmaker, that final statistic may come as a bit of a surprise. One of the best distributors in NHL history was also one of the League's best finishers, despite never thinking himself much of a scorer.

"I was able to score, but I never considered myself a goal-scorer," Yzerman told NHL.com. "The natural scorers are the guys who, it's on their stick, it's off their stick and in the net. [Mike] Bossy, Brett Hull, Maurice Richard, they all had wicked shots. I was more of a playmaker."

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The NHL's best players from R to Z

Monday, 09.03.2012 / 9:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

As is the case with uniform numbers, not all letters of the alphabet are equally gifted with hockey talent. A few are overflowing, others have only a smattering -- and one, the letter X, has none at all.

With a little inspiration from the three most important letters in hockey -- N-H-L -- here's a look at the best players, then and now, broken down by the first letter of their last names, from R to Z:

R

Best ever: Maurice Richard

No player in NHL history had a greater hunger for the net than The Rocket, who was the first man in League history to score 50 goals in a season -- he had 50 in 50 games in 1944-45 -- and retired in 1960 with the most goals in a career (544). More than 50 years after his retirement, Richard is still a hockey icon.

Runners-up: Patrick Roy, Henri Richard and Luc Robitaille

Roy retired with the records for wins and shutouts, and though Martin Brodeur has passed him on both lists, Roy still leads 4-3 in Stanley Cups. Richard, known as the "Pocket Rocket," actually finished his career with more points than big brother Maurice -- and more Stanley Cups than any player (eight). Robitaille, a ninth-round draft choice, finished his Hall of Fame career with 668 goals, the most ever by a left wing.

Best current player: Pekka Rinne

The Nashville Predators took an eighth-round flyer on a skinny goaltender from Finland in 2004 and were rewarded with an All-Star. Rinne is coming off his best season -- 43-18-8 with five shutouts and a 2.39 goals-against average. He enters this season with a record of 138-72-26, a career GAA of 2.35 and a save percentage of .921.

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The NHL's best players from J to Q

Sunday, 09.02.2012 / 9:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

As is the case with uniform numbers, not all letters of the alphabet are equally gifted with hockey talent. A few are overflowing, others have only a smattering -- and one, the letter X, has none at all.

With a little inspiration from the three most important letters in hockey -- N-H-L -- here's a look at the best players, then and now, broken down by the first letter of their last names, from J to Q.

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The NHL's best players from A to I

Saturday, 09.01.2012 / 6:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Dave Andreychuk captained the Tampa Bay Lightning to their only Stanley Cup in 2004. (Photo: Getty Images)

As is the case with uniform numbers, not all letters of the alphabet are equally gifted with hockey talent. A few are overflowing, others have only a smattering -- and one, the letter X, has none at all.

With a little inspiration from the three most important letters in hockey -- N-H-L -- here's a look at the best players, then and now, broken down by the first letter of their last names, starting with A to I:

A

Best ever: Dave Andreychuk

Great hands and great size helped Andreychuk score 640 goals in 23 seasons. He was one of the most lethal players ever on the power play and made life miserable for goaltenders. Andreychuk capped his career by captaining the Tampa Bay Lightning to their only Stanley Cup in 2004.

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Gretzky dealt 24 years ago: His 24 unbreakable marks

Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 9:00 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Wayne Gretzky
CENTER - NHL
GOALS: 894 | ASST: 1,963
PTS: 2,857 | SOG: 5,089 | +/-: 518

The National Hockey League has never been the same since Aug. 9, 1988.

Twenty-four years ago today, the NHL was rocked by the biggest trade in hockey history, if not sports history. The Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky, the centerpiece of a dynasty that had just won the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in five years and the greatest scorer hockey had ever seen, to the Los Angeles Kings for young players, draft picks -- and $15 million.

Gretzky had already shredded the NHL record book by setting new standards for goals and points in a season while helping the Oilers terrorize goaltenders like no team before them. The deal pumped life into the Kings, a franchise that had always struggled for attention in Los Angeles, and stunned Edmonton and the rest of Canada.

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From Vezina to Parent, No. 1 a mark of greatness

Saturday, 09.03.2011 / 1:14 PM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Last year, NHL.com offered its list of the greatest players in League history, according to uniform number -- 00-33, 34-66 and 67-99.

Now we're going to take a look at uniform numbers from a different angle: Which one has had the greatest collection of talent. It's a difficult choice, because players from different positions traditionally were assigned certain numbers.


Read the cases: No. 2 | No. 7 | No. 9

The case for No. 1:
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Defensive dynamos lead great No. 2-wearing group

Saturday, 09.03.2011 / 12:09 PM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Last year, NHL.com offered its list of the greatest players in League history, according to uniform number -- 00-33, 34-66 and 67-99.

Now we're going to take a look at uniform numbers from a different angle: Which one has had the greatest collection of talent. It's a difficult choice, because players from different positions traditionally were assigned certain numbers.


You can read the case for
No. 9 here and No. 7 here.

The case for No. 2:
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Morenz, Esposito among NHL legends who wore No. 7

Saturday, 09.03.2011 / 11:29 AM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Last year, NHL.com offered its list of the greatest players in League history, according to uniform number -- 00-33, 34-66 and 67-99.

Now we're going to take a look at uniform numbers from a different angle: Which one has had the greatest collection of talent. It's a difficult choice, because players from different positions traditionally were assigned certain numbers.


You can read the case for No. 9 here, and the cases for No. 2 and No. 1 are coming soon.

The case for No. 7

Seven has always been a special number (Lucky 7; seventh son, etc.) to a lot of people. That's been as true in hockey as anywhere else.
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Richard, Howe among No. 9-wearing NHL legends

Friday, 09.02.2011 / 4:08 PM / History

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Last year, NHL.com offered its list of the greatest players in League history, according to uniform number -- 00-33, 34-66 and 67-99.

Now we're going to take a look at uniform numbers from a different angle: Which one has had the greatest collection of talent. It's a difficult choice, because players from different positions traditionally were assigned certain numbers.


What's in a number?

In hockey, there are numbers that reflect your position. If you wear No. 1, 30, 31 or 35, you're probably a goaltender. Wear 2, 3 or 4 and you're likely a defenseman; 7, 9 and 10 are among those often given to top-level forwards.

For decades, uniform numbers basically ran 1 through 30, with goaltenders at the front and the back. Top defensemen tended to have the lower single-digit numbers, star forwards the higher ones like 7 and 9. Then No. 31 and No. 35 surfaced, mostly for goaltenders after teams started carrying more than two. The New York Rangers broke the mold in the late 1970s when they gave Phil Esposito No. 77 (No. 7, which he had worn in Boston, was owned by Rod Gilbert, himself a future Hall of Fame member).
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Beliveau, player for the ages, celebrates 80th birthday

Wednesday, 08.31.2011 / 4:54 PM / History

NHL.com

"When I am asked how I would like to be remembered, it is as a team player. My personal record was second to the team success. It was one of the reasons the players voted me captain. After I overcame the shock of being named captain I addressed my teammates. I told them I was at their disposal at any time, 'If you go through a bad time, a rough time, if you have personal problems, whatever, if you are thinking I can be helpful, ask me." -- Jean Beliveau

There never was and never will be another hockey player like Jean Beliveau, who turned 80 years old on Wednesday. The three-plus decades since his retirement have proven that.

Beliveau played on 10 Stanley-Cup winning teams with the Montreal Canadiens and captained five of them. He was the greatest captain of the most successful franchise in the sport's history. At the time of his retirement after the 1970-71 season, Beliveau was the Canadiens' all-time leading scorer and the NHL's all-time leading Stanley Cup Playoff scorer.

He was the winner of the first Conn Smythe Trophy in 1965 and concluded his career with a Stanley Cup in 1971 when he had 22 points in 20 playoff games at age 40. He was twice named the winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. He led the League in scoring in 1955-56 and was runner-up three times, including once to his linemate, Bernie Geoffrion. He led the NHL in goals twice and assists twice.
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Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie