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 centers Jacques Lemaire and Gilbert Perreault are unveiled in the 18th installment.
A two-way center, Jacques Lemaire won eight Stanley Cup championships with the Montreal Canadiens from 1968-79, scoring 20 or more goals in each of those 12 seasons. He is one of six players in NHL history to score two Stanley Cup-winning goals (1977, 1979) and skated as a heavy-shooting, key center on some of hockey's greatest teams.
Lemaire scored 835 points (366 goals, 469 assists) in 853 games. After scoring 42 points (22 goals, 20 assists) as a rookie in 1967-68, he had 60 or more points in eight of his next 11 seasons. He scored a career-high 44 goals in 1972-73 and finished with 95. He had 92 points in 1974-75 and 97 in 1977-78, his second-to-last NHL season.
After his playing career ended, Lemaire would find success as a NHL coach, leading the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup in 1994-95.
In his NHL100 profile of Lemaire, NHL.com Columnist Dave Stubbs wrote that his own insecurity was the driving force behind Lemaire's success:
"Try to imagine, then, what Jacques Lemaire could have done with a little confidence.
"No matter his prodigious skill, no matter his impressive offensive talent -- he was almost a point-a-game man, scoring 835 points in 853 games -- Lemaire often conveyed a fear that he was one bad game, maybe just a few bad shifts, from the end of his days in Montreal. He was hypersensitive, reacting sometimes bitterly to criticism or slights, real or imagined. But when the industrious forward put his mind to it, which was every time he laced his skates, he was a threat to score whenever he touched the puck."
Artist Tony Harris said painting Lemaire gave him another opportunity to work with the Canadiens colors.
"When I took on this project I knew that I would be painting many Montreal Canadiens," Harris said. "I have also discovered that mixing many variations of red, white and blue paint has been very enlightening. Lemaire is my fifth Canadien painting so far and the pallet is different every time."
Gilbert Perreault, a gifted skater, centered the Buffalo Sabres' famed 'French Connection' line of Richard Martin and Rene Robert. In 17 seasons, all in Buffalo, he had 1,326 points (512 goals, 814 assists) in 1,191 NHL games.
He had 10 seasons of 30-plus goals (three times scoring 40 or more), two 100-plus point seasons and led or tied for the Sabres lead in scoring 12 times. In an eight-season span beginning in 1972-73, he finished among the League's top five in assists three times and scoring three times.
Perreault won the Calder Trophy in 1970-71, leading the Sabres in scoring with 38 goals and 72 points in 78 games, and in the 1974-75 season, helped the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in six games.
Author Stu Hackel, in his NHL100 profile on Perreault, wrote how he immediately helped put the Sabres on the NHL map.
"As the most talented amateur available in 1970, Perreault faced only one question: Which new NHL franchise -- Buffalo or the Vancouver Canucks -- would win his rights? NHL president Clarence Campbell spun a giant roulette wheel and the Sabres won the No. 1 pick.
"Although the expansion Sabres won two of their first 14 games, they stabilized as the season progressed and the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium was filled for each game. Before the season ended, season tickets nearly doubled. Why? As Stan Fischler wrote, 'More than anything, it was the rise of Gilbert Perreault. After the fans had taken a good look at Perreault's act, they knew the Sabres were here to stay'."
Harris said his the chance to paint Pereault and the Sabres uniform was exciting.
"When I started Gilbert Perreault's painting I thought about how simple and clean the original uniform was of the Buffalo Sabres and how many changes they made over the years before returning to this initial design," Harris said.
"I love the logo, a buffalo with two sabres crossed underneath. Brilliant! Perreault is such an important part of the team's history and painting his portrait brought back many fond memories of his great career."