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No Ordinary Joe: Sakic Passes Esposito, Hull

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
There’s little debate that Avalanche captain Joe Sakic has already punched his ticket to Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame whenever he decides to hang up the skates. During the past 19 years, Sakic has established himself as the face of the franchise and along the way has rewritten the club’s and NHL’s record books.

A brief looks at Sakic’s credentials solidifies his place among the NHL’s all-time elite.

The franchise’s leader in goals? Check.

Assists? Check.

Points? Check.

Active NHL leader in assists and points? Check and Check.

A pair of Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy, Hart Trophy, Olympic Gold Medal; there’s not much Sakic hasn’t accomplished during his storied career.

But on Sunday against San Jose, during Colorado’s third game of the 2007-08 campaign, Sakic further padded his Hall of Fame résumé.

With one flick of the wrist, the center gave his team a 1-0 lead and moved up on both the NHL’s all-time points and goals lists.

Coming into the game, Sakic stood one point behind Phil Esposito for eighth place on the league’s all-time points list with 1589 and was tied with Bobby Hull for 14th place on the career goals list with 610.

At the 15:18 mark of the first period during Sunday’s game, Sakic corralled a pass from Paul Stastny and put a wrist shot into the back of the net, tying him with Esposito while also claiming the No. 14 spot on the NHL’s goals list for himself.

Less than three minutes later, Sakic again made a piece of history when he threaded a pass to Milan Hejduk, who deposited the puck between Evgeni Nabokov’s pads. The assist gave him 1591 career points, allowing him to overtake Esposito.

“Obviously I’ve been around a long time so it’s an honor,” Sakic said about passing Esposito and Hull. “For me to have played this long and get to those guys, they meant a lot to the game.”

While records and accolades are all well and good, the Avalanche captain will be the first to tell you which statistic meant the most from Sunday’s game: Colorado 6, San Jose 2.

NHL’s All-Time Points Leaders
1. Wayne Gretzky         2857
2. Mark Messier           1887
3. Gordie Howe           1850
4. Ron Francis             1798
5. Marcel Dionne         1771
6. Steve Yzerman        1755
7. Mario Lemieux         1723
8. Joe Sakic *               1591
9. Phil Esposito           1590

NHL’s All-Time Goals Leaders
1. Wayne Gretzky                894
2. Gordie Howe                   801
3. Brett Hull                          741
4. Marcel Dionne                 731
5. Phil Esposito                   717
6. Mike Gartner                    708
7. Mark Messier                   694
8. Steve Yzerman                692
9. Mario Lemieux                690
10. Luc Robitaille                668
11. Dave Andreychuk          640
12. Brendan Shanahan*    627
13. Jaromir Jagr*                 621
14. Joe Sakic *                    611
15. Bobby Hull                      610

*Active Players
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