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 goalie Patrick Roy and center Mario Lemieux are unveiled in the 15th installment.
Patrick Roy, who popularized the butterfly style of goaltending during his 20 seasons in the NHL, is one of the most decorated goalies in the history of the League, winning the Vezina Trophy three times and the Stanley Cup twice each with the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche. He is also the only player in League history to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs three times.
When Roy retired after the 2002-03 season, he held NHL records for most regular-season wins (551), games played by a goalie (1,029), playoff wins (151), playoff games played (247) and playoff shutouts (23).
In his NHL100 profile on Roy, author Wayne Coffey not only wrote about the goalie's brilliant play, but his quirky personality and showmanship in goal:
"Roy famously winked at Tomas Sandstrom after making a sparkling save against him in the heat of a playoff game against the Los Angeles Kings. He once tangled with a teammate, Mathieu Schneider, between periods, and had an infamous mid-ice fight with a fellow goaltender, Mike Vernon, in the midst of a free-for-all in the heyday of the bitter Colorado Avalanche-Detroit Red Wings rivalry.
"Sometimes after snaring a shot, Roy would hold his glove hand aloft, a freeze-frame moment that didn't endear him much to his opponents.
"All of this made Roy compelling theater between the pipes, and made a whole generation of kids in French-speaking Canada want to play goalie and be like Patrick, among them Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Jose Theodore and Roberto Luongo."
Artist Tony Harris said when it came to painting Roy, there was no question he had to capture him demonstrating his famous technique.
"If Glenn Hall invented the butterfly technique and Tony Esposito improved upon it, you might say that Patrick Roy perfected it," Harris said. "When it was time to paint his portrait, I wanted to capture the perfect image of him in full butterfly mode."
Mario Lemieux was the ultimate scoring machine, getting 1,723 points (690 goals, 1,033 assists) in 915 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, battling injuries and serious illness. He missed large chunks of some seasons, and even full seasons. He was retired for more than three seasons.
Lemieux won the Stanley Cup twice with the Penguins (1991, 1992), the Conn Smythe Trophy twice, the Art Ross Trophy six times as the NHL's top scorer, and the Hart Trophy three times as League MVP. He had 10 100-point seasons.
He also helped change the fortunes of the Penguins, writes Stu Hackel in his NHL100 profile on Lemieux.
"The Penguins had the first pick in the 1984 NHL Draft and never considered drafting anyone else. They were in disarray, having won 16 games the prior year. Their average attendance of less than 7,000 a game led to a fountain of red ink, fan alienation and talk of relocation.
"Lemieux changed it all, beginning with his first shift in the NHL, on Oct. 11, 1984. He scored his first goal on his first shot after forcing All-Star defenseman Ray Bourque of the Boston Bruins into a turnover in the Penguins zone. Lemieux grabbed the puck and -- as he'd so often do -- pulled away for a solo dash that put the Penguins on the scoreboard. A 100-point season earned him the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, but his team was a wreck. Playoff heroics remained a few seasons away.
"Some nights, it appeared Lemieux could score at will, when every shot and pass ended up in the net. His 85 goals, 114 assists and 199 points in 1988-89 - all [NHL] career highs -- were at that point the most by anyone not named [Wayne] Gretzky. On New Year's Eve that season, he 'scored for the cycle' -- he had five goals, each a different variety: at full strength, on the power play, shorthanded, on a penalty shot and into an empty net -- against the New Jersey Devils. To the best of anyone's knowledge, it's the only time this has been done."
Harris said capturing Lemieux's impact in one painting was not easy.
"Looking for an image of Mario Lemieux to paint was more challenging than I thought it would be. He was skilled in so many different aspects of the game during his illustrious career, it was difficult figuring out which stage of his career to highlight," Harris said. "In the end I choose this one, somewhere between the beginning of his formidable rookie year and the middle when he was a 100-plus point machine."