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 forward Guy Lafleur, a five-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens, and goalie Bernie Parent, a two-time Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy winner with the Philadelphia Flyers, are being unveiled in the ninth installment.
In his 100 Greatest NHL Players profile on Lafleur, NHL.com Columnist Dave Stubbs wrote, "There was something magical and brilliantly uncalculated about Lafleur in his glorious prime. He was a flamboyant artist who many nights, on a thoroughly dominant team, was worth the price of admission alone. If Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman scrupulously crafted game plans, Lafleur played by his own rules, finding ice where none existed, weaving through the opposition with moves he invented as he went."
Harris said when it came to painting Lafleur, there were two elements he needed to focus on. .
"To me, Guy Lafleur was poetry in motion. I used to marvel at the skill of No. 10 as he tore down the right wing in the Forum," Harris said. "The two crucial factors I knew I needed to capture in his portrait were his speed and his signature hair."
Parent, who in back-to-back seasons in 1974 and '75 won the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe and the Vezina trophies, is described as a "puck-stopping superman in an orange sweater" by author Wayne Coffey in his 100 Greatest NHL Players profile on Parent.
"Even in his Philadelphia Flyers heyday, when his English was indecipherable but his goaltending was sublime, Bernie Parent did not cut an imposing figure if you saw him walking down, say, Broad Street," Coffey wrote. "He had salt-and-pepper hair and a thick dark brush of a mustache, and an unimposing 5-foot-10 physique. His mouth typically had a big cigar sticking out of it.
"Stick him inside the 24-square foot rectangle that is an NHL goal, though, and watch the transformation begin, from regular-looking Canadian import into a puck-stopping superman in an orange sweater. Never was the transformation more striking than in the 1973-74 season, when Parent started more games (73) and recorded more victories (47) than any goalie in NHL history at the time, putting up a League-leading 1.89 goals-against average."
Harris said painting Parent took him back to his real early days as an artist.
"My art career started in grade three drawing goalies, little did I know then where it would take me," Harris said. "This latest painting of Bernie Parent was done with pure joy and fond memories of my youth watching these great players on TV. Parent was a smart and athletic goalie and I love this pose, as it exemplifies his readiness and willingness to challenge any shooter and he did so brilliantly."