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PRINCIPE: NHL'S 100 Club

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers

The Century Club is one you want to be in. It's a special place to be when it comes to age. You have to celebrate the idea of hitting 100 years of living. In the Italian culture when someone has a birthday there's the customary kisses on the cheek and then you say 'Cent' Anni'." It means you hope that person lives until he's a hundred.

It's not nearly as monumental as surviving an entire century but the number also means something in sports. 100 games, goals, assists, home runs, runs batted in, TD passes or catches. Pick your sport and category. Tuesday night in Dallas, two Oilers hit one hundred on one play.

At 5:59 of the 3rd period versus Dallas, Taylor Hall scored his eighth goal of the season and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recorded his ninth assist. Not milestones on their own but in the grand scheme of their careers, it was goal 100 for Hall and assist 100 for RNH. There was no celebration. It wasn't the right time or place in the game. A simple, short gathering by the net along with the other player in on the marker Jordan Eberle. The trio then went searching for number 101 for both Hall and Nugent-Hopkins. A number to be found at a later date. Eberle himself a 100 club member when he scored his century goal November 13 versus Ottawa.

As we take both players' climbs to 100, I'll break them down individually. Taylor became the third player, along with Tyler Seguin and Jeff Skinner, to hit 100 goals from the 2010 draft class. Taylor has rattled off seasons of 22,27,16 and 27 goals along with the eight from this season. His 100th goal coming in game 262 of his career. In Ryan's case, his season assist totals have been 34, 20, 37 and the ninth of this season. His 100th assist happening in career game 202. He becomes the first member of his 2011 draft class to hit 100 helpers.

These moments came very early in their careers and could have happened even sooner. RNH, who averages a shade under half an assist every game, has missed 32 games. Add those 16 assists and he would have reached 100 late last season. Hall averages .381 goals per game. He's missed 54 games in his career. That would be 21 more goals for Taylor. Again, the Century Club membership would have been his last season.

After the game against the Stars, I had a chance to interview Hall and brought up the 100 goal plateau. His answer was he didn't realize it and he would have preferred a win over a personal milestone. The same could be said for RNH who was more interested in a close loss than how many times he's helped others score. Their reactions tell you what kind of people they are. Their goal and assist totals tell you what kind of players they are. Congratulations to Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on joining the NHL's 100 Club.

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