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 defenseman Ray Bourque and forward Dickie Moore are unveiled in the 40th installment.
Ray Bourque really went out on top.
Not only did Bourque retire after helping the Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup in 2001 (and receiving the honor of taking the first victory lap with the trophy he worked 22 years to win), he left as the NHL's all-time leader among defensemen in goals (410) and points (1,579). Sixteen years later, he still holds those records.
It's amazing to think now, but Bourque was the fourth defenseman taken in the 1979 NHL Draft. The Boston Bruins took him No. 8, he made the team as an 18-year-old and finished with 65 points (17 goals, 48 assists), then an NHL record for rookie defensemen. Bourque won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie and was named a First-Team All-Star.
Bourque won the Norris Trophy for the first of five times in 1986-87, when he finished with an NHL career-high 95 points (23 goals, 72 assists). That was the same season he gave up his No. 7, pulling it off during the ceremony honoring longtime Bruins forward Phil Esposito to reveal No. 77, which he wore for the rest of his career.
He won the Norris Trophy four more times and played in the Stanley Cup Final with the Bruins in 1988 and 1990, losing to the Edmonton Oilers each time. But as the 1990s progressed and the Bruins began to struggle, time appeared to be running out on his quest to win the Cup. He requested a trade and was sent to the Avalanche on March 6, 2000. Fifteen months later, he was a Stanley Cup champion.
In his NHL100 profile of Bourque, author George Johnson wrote about why one of the legendary players in Bruins history asked to go elsewhere:
"'Why now?'" he said after the trade. "'Well, two reasons. One: I asked to be traded because I want to win a Cup. It's the one thing I haven't accomplished in my career. And two: At this point in time, I needed a change.
"'I want to find out what's left to Ray Bourque.'"
"It turned out there was plenty left. Bourque finished with 14 points in 14 regular-season games for the Avalanche, nine in 13 playoff games to help Colorado reach the Western Conference Final, though the Avalanche lost to the Dallas Stars in seven games.
Bourque impressed the Avalanche with his dedication as much as his play.
Video: Ray Bourque capped career with dramatic Cup in 2001
"'He never took a day off,'" [coach Bob] Hartley said. "'I remember once hiding his skates in my desk so he wouldn't go out for an optional practice. Oh, he was mad. 'Where are my skates?' he was asking the trainer, me, anybody who'd listen.
"'But I've got a 40-year-old defenseman who plays 30 minutes a night, and I want him rested.'"
For artist Tony Harris, capturing the greatness of Bourque was a challenge.
"When I started Ray Bourque's portrait I phoned a friend who played against and coached No. 77," Harris said. "I asked him for some insight into Bourque as a player. My friend said 'Quite simply the best all-around defenseman ever. Period.' Needless to say, that added a little pressure to my painting."
Dickie Moore played on six Stanley Cup winners with the Montreal Canadiens, including five in a row from 1956-60. He won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer twice and set a League record that lasted for seven years when he had 96 points (41 goals, 55 assists) in 1958-59.
He did all that despite a laundry list of injuries that began when he broke his leg when he was hit by a car while growing up in the north end of Montreal and continued throughout his hockey career; he won the scoring title in 1957-58 despite playing with a broken wrist. Moore also became an NHL All-Star despite the fact that he wasn't the greatest skater in the League and wasn't known for his puck-handling skills.
But when it came to being a competitor, Moore had few peers. He earned the nickname Digging Dickie for his ability to work the corners. Maurice Richard called him the greatest left wing he ever played with.
In his NHL100 profile of Moore, NHL.com columnist Dave Stubbs wrote about the qualities that made Moore special:
"'He can't skate much and I don't know whether he can handle the puck,' coach Dick Irvin said in 1951 of Moore, then a rookie on the Canadiens. 'But I do know he's a competitor.'
"That didn't begin to describe Moore. He won his first League scoring title in 1957-58 (84 points and an NHL-high 36 goals) despite playing the final three months of the season with a broken wrist encased in a cast that ran from his knuckles to his elbow.
"Moore's loyalty to his team was stronger than it ever was to himself. With a splintered wrist he was still able to play, but he would do so only with the approval of his linemates and coach Toe Blake, fearing that he was hampering the Art Ross chase of his center, Henri Richard. Ultimately, Moore edged Henri Richard by four points to win the scoring title, not missing a game.
"Moore's League-leading 96 points in 1958-59 represented an NHL record that stood for seven years. Twice Moore was the NHL's top scorer in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Video: Dickie Moore was high-scoring wing, fierce competitor
"His stubborn streak was a mile wide, and that was one of his greatest assets as a player. Moving toward the NHL, with Canadiens general manager Frank Selke having declared him the best junior player in Canada, Moore almost unthinkably held out on signing with Montreal until the Canadiens tacked a $2,000 signing bonus onto the $7,500 NHL-minimum salary he was offered.
"In the spring of 1963, angered by the idea that the Canadiens were working to trade him, Moore quit the game to devote himself to a construction equipment rental business he had founded in Montreal two years earlier. And he promptly had his kneecap pounded into gravel in a losing battle with a grinding wheel."
Harris said capturing Moore on canvas was a lot of fun.
"The Dickie Moore portrait was a blast to paint," he said. "It has many of my favorite elements: Original six uniform, dramatic lighting and the old eight-pound brown leather gloves."