In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in honor of the man who, as legend has it, drove the snakes out of the country.
In Montreal, "St. Patrick" had a whole different meaning -- rather than casting out snakes, Patrick Roy
's specialty was keeping pucks out of the Canadiens' net. Roy is the starting goaltender on NHL.com's "All-Patrick Team," a group made up of the League's best players with the given name or surname of Patrick.
Roy is one of the two modern-day Hockey Hall of Famers with the first name Patrick -- the other is longtime Islander and Sabre Pat LaFontaine
, the big gun on our all-Patrick club.
On the surname side, the Patricks -- Lester, Frank, Muzz, Lynn, Glenn and Craig -- are one of hockey's first families. Two other Patricks, James and Steve, aren't related to the others but made their own mark on the NHL.
With a tip 'o the cap from all of us at NHL.com, here's our All-Patrick team:
Special birthday for Ryan
Anaheim's Bobby Ryan
doesn't mind sharing his birthday with St. Patrick.
"It’s cool," Ryan told NHL.com's Curtis Zupke when asked about being born on St. Patrick's Day. "I think everybody kind of forgets about you a little bit and goes and drinks beer all day, but it’s always cool to share your birthday with something like that -- a monumental holiday."
Ryan is one of five current NHL players whose birthday falls on March 17 -- Andrew Ference
(Boston), Mikael Backlund
(Calgary), Derek Joslin
(Carolina) and Ryan White
(Montreal) are the others. Another 18 players who've spent time in the NHL also were born on March 17 -- Patrick Lebeau
, who played briefly for four teams in the 1990s, holds the distinction of being the only "Patrick" actually born on St. Patrick's Day.
Ryan said he became well-acquainted with one of his fellow "St. Patrick's" during his climb up the hockey ladder.
"I played against (defenseman) Ryan Parent
(now with the AHL Chicago Wolves), who is also born on St. Patrick’s Day, three years in a row in juniors on our birthday," Ryan said. "Honestly, in juniors we wished each other ‘Happy Birthday’ like two or three years in a row -- and kept playing."
Parent and Ryan actually were born on the same day -- March 17, 1987 -- and were drafted in the first round together in 2005; Ryan went to Anaheim with the No. 2 choice, while Parent was taken 18th by Nashville. Joslin, a fifth-round choice in 2005, was also born on St. Patrick's Day in 1987.
One of Ryan's career highlights came on March 17, 2010, when he celebrated with a pair of goals in Anaheim's 4-2 win against Chicago, a victory that keyed the Ducks' run to a playoff berth. But for the second year in a row, Ryan can actually celebrate his birthday on March 17 -- the Ducks have the night off, something he said didn't happen a lot when he was growing up.
"As far back as I can remember, it was a hockey weekend," he said. "It was one of things where we surrounded it with getting ready to go to a game the next day. If I do have the day off, I definitely have a green beer -- so I’ll have one on Saturday."
Patrick Roy (Montreal/Colorado , 1984-2003)
The "St. Patrick" nickname came after Roy led the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup as a rookie in 1986. He won another Cup in Montreal in '93 and two more after being traded to Colorado during the 1995-96 season. When he retired in 2003, Roy held the record for victories in the regular season (since passed by Martin Brodeur
) and the playoffs (a mark he still holds).
Backup: Patrick Lalime
Patrick Joseph "Paddy" Moran
Pat Stapleton (Boston/Chicago, 1961-73)
At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, Stapleton was a puck-mover, not a banger -- and in the late 1960s and early '70s, there weren't many defensemen who moved the puck better than "Whitey." Stapleton played in four All-Star Games and was a Second-Team All-Star three times. He was a big reason for the rise of the Chicago Blackhawks
in the late '60s, and played on teams that went to the Stanley Cup Final in 1971 and '73.
Pat Ribble (Atlanta/Chicago/Toronto/Washington/Calgary, 1976-83)
James Patrick (NY Rangers/Hartford/Calgary/Buffalo, 1984-2004)
James and brother Steve weren't related to the famous Patrick clan -- though both wound up playing parts of their careers with the New York Rangers
, the team Lester built and sons Lynn and Muzz played for. In James' case, he went right from Team Canada after the 1984 Olympic Games into the Rangers' lineup -- and stayed there for a decade, until being dealt to Hartford during the 1993-94 season (thereby missing the Blueshirts' run to the Stanley Cup). He was dealt to Calgary later in the season and spent four-plus seasons with the Flames before moving to Buffalo and spending his last six seasons on the Sabres' blue line. He wound up with 1,280 games played (the most of any Patrick), 149 goals and 639 points. He's currently an assistant coach with Buffalo.
Backup: Muzz Patrick
(N.Y Rangers, 1938-46)
Honorary Patrick (for middle name):
Leonard Patrick "Red" Kelly
Pat LaFontaine (NY Islanders/Buffalo/NY Rangers, 1984-98)
LaFontaine was one of two Patricks (along with Patrick Flatley
) who joined the Islanders following the 1984 Olympics, and wasted no time showing why they took him with the No. 3 pick in the 1983 NHL Draft. He scored 13 goals in 15 games after joining the four-time defending Cup champs and went on to score 40 or more goals in four consecutive seasons, including 54 in 1989-90 to lead the Isles to an unexpected playoff berth. He was dealt to Buffalo in the fall of 1991 and teamed with Alexander Mogilny
to form one of the NHL's deadliest duos, putting up a career-high 148 points in '93-94. Injuries began to plague him after that, and he retired in 1998 after sustaining a concussion while playing for the Rangers. LaFontaine was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 after piling up 1,013 points in just 865 games.
Backup: Lynn Patrick
(N.Y. Rangers, 1934-46)
European division: Patrik Elias
(New Jersey, 1995-present)
Patrick Marleau (San Jose, 1998-present)
Left Wing - SJS
GOALS: 27 | ASST: 29 | PTS: 56
SOG: 213 | +/-: 6
Marleau is one of two first-rounders named Patrick taken by the Sharks, though he's fared considerably better than Pat Falloon
, the first player ever drafted by San Jose. The Sharks took Marleau with the No. 2 pick in the 1997 NHL Draft, put him in the lineup that fall and have seen him set franchise records for goals (384) and points (822). Marleau is getting better as he gets older; he set a career high with 38 goals in 2008-09, blew past that with 44 in '09-10 and added 37 last season. He should easily surpass 400 goals and could reach 1,000 points before he retires.
Backup: Patrick Flatley
Patrick Kane (Chicago, 2007-present)
Kane is the only "Patrick" to be taken No. 1 in the Entry Draft, in 2007 (though there was a "Patrik" -- Patrik Stefan
-- who went No. 1 in 1999), and he's already among the elite Patricks even though he's only in his fifth NHL season. Kane won the Calder Trophy as a rookie in 2008 (the only Patrick to be so honored), was the youngest member of Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics -- and the only American-born player named Patrick ever to win an Olympic medal. That's quite a list of accomplishments for a player who's still just 23 years old.
Backup: Patrick Sharp
Pat Quinn (Philadelphia/Vancouver/Los Angeles/Toronto/Edmonton, 1979-present)
Pat Burns (Montreal/Boston/Toronto/New Jersey, 1989-2004)
The two Pats (Quinn's real name in John Brian Patrick) had careers that crossed from the time Burns entered the NHL coaching ranks in 1989. Quinn has more regular-season wins (684-501) but never won a Stanley Cup (he did coach two teams to the Final). Burns, who left Toronto two years before Quinn arrived, had his coaching career cut short by cancer but did win a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2003.
Lester Patrick (NY Rangers, 1927-46)
Patrick also coached the Rangers to a pair of Cups, but that accomplishment is surpassed by his efforts in building the Rangers from scratch in 1926 into one of the NHL's best teams before World War II. The Patrick-built Rangers won the Cup in 1928, their second season, with "The Silver Fox" going from coach-GM to goaltender in Game 2 of the Final when Lorne Chabot
was injured and helping his team win in OT. The Rangers won again in 1933 and captured a third Cup in 1940 after Patrick stepped aside as coach but was still the GM. There is no area of the sport that Patrick didn't affect, and his impact on the game is still felt today.
Backup: Craig Patrick
(NY Rangers/Pittsburgh, 1981-2006)