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Centennial Portraits

Clancy, Pronger portraits unveiled

Color paintings of 100 Greatest NHL Players will be revealed on NHL.com every Monday in 2017

NHL.com @NHL

As part of the NHL Centennial Celebration, renowned Canadian artist Tony Harris will paint original portraits of each of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian as chosen by a Blue Ribbon panel. NHL.com will reveal two portraits each Monday in 2017.

This week, the portraits of defensemen King Clancy and Chris Pronger are unveiled in the 25th installment.

Clancy won two Stanley Cup titles with the Ottawa Senators (1923, 1927) and one with the Toronto Maple Leafs (1932) and played in the Cup Final six times. After the NHL began selecting First and Second All-Star teams in 1930-31, he made one each of the first four seasons. He also might have been the NHL's Rookie of the Year had that award existed in 1922.

When he retired in November 1936, Clancy was the highest-scoring defenseman in NHL history with 283 points (136 goals, 147 assists) in 592 games and was first among defensemen in goals. He hit double digits in goals, uncommon for a defenseman, in six seasons, and in three seasons he finished among the League's top 20 scorers, also rare at his position.

In his NHL100 profile of Clancy, author Stu Hackel wrote about how popular of a player Clancy was.

Video: Star defenseman King Clancy did everything in hockey

"Many of the colorful yarns involving Francis Michael "King" Clancy, whose Hall of Fame career extended to refereeing, coaching and serving as an assistant general manager, ambassador and raconteur, come in different versions, perhaps seasoned with a touch of blarney, including those stories he told himself.

"Some things, however, are indisputable: The King, a defenseman for the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs, was one of hockey's most beloved figures, spry with a high-pitched voice and a face that looked, as Toronto journalist Trent Frayne once wrote, 'like a Dublin back alley.'

"Clancy believed that 'hockey was a joyous kind of game.' And that's how he played it -- for fun. His professional playing career lasted 15 full seasons during some of the game's wildest years and began when half the League still played on natural ice. He was part of the NHL's first dynasty -- the Senators of Eddie Gerard, Frank Nighbor, Cy Denneny, Punch Broadbent, Clint Benedict and Georges "Buck" Boucher, all Hall of Famers -- and played with Toronto in the early years of the hockey palace on Carlton Street, Maple Leaf Gardens.

"Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe credited Clancy's box office appeal with making the Gardens possible. In an era that included huge gate attractions Eddie Shore and Howie Morenz, the effervescent Clancy was probably their equal, or at least close to it, in selling tickets."

Harris said he got a little itchy painting Clancy's portrait.

"Painting this portrait of King Clancy was fun from start to finish," Harris said. "I love replicating the old felt Leafs logo and the wool sweaters but I can't help thinking how incredibly uncomfortable itchy they must have been."

Pronger, who won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, and played in the Stanley Cup Final three times during his 18-season career, was a physical presence at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds who could quarterback a power play, make a quick pass out of the zone and seemingly skate all night.

Pronger won an Olympic gold medal with Canada at Salt Lake City in 2002 and Vancouver in 2010, and holds the Canadian record for most Olympic games played (25). He also won gold with Canada at the 1993 World Junior Championship and 1997 World Championship, the latter putting Pronger in the Triple Gold Club -- the exclusive group of players who have won the Stanley Cup, Olympic gold and a World Championship.

He played for the Hartford Whalers, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers. He won the Hart Trophy with the Blues in 1999-2000, the first defenseman to be League MVP since Bobby Orr in 1971-72.

Author Bob Duff, in his NHL100 profile of Pronger, writes how much of a factor the defenseman was when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup.

Video: Chris Pronger was Hart Trophy-winning defenseman

"During Anaheim's run to the Cup in 2007, the Ducks defeated the Red Wings in a tightly fought Western Conference Final, with the defense pair of Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, each a Norris Trophy winner and future Hall of Famer, leading the way.

" 'For us, '07 was a great year and a great run for us, and that was obviously the year that Pronger won the Stanley Cup,' [Detroit Red Wings center Kris] Draper said. 'We felt in that series -- it did go six games -- but it was as even a series as it could be, and he was impactful in that series and went on to win the Stanley Cup.'

"Current Calgary Flames president Brian Burke, who was Anaheim's general manager then, said of the Ducks in 2006-07, 'I think the biggest difference was we added a defenseman. His name was Pronger.'"

Harris said he tried to capture Pronger's ability to see the play in front of him.

"I have followed Pronger's career since his days as a Peterborough Pete and felt that his approach to the game was similar to a quarterbacks," Harris said. "He saw the complete ice surface and was so effective both on offense and defense. I think that is what drew me to this image as he surveys the play."

 

King Clancy

 

 

Chris Pronger

 

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