After the Stanley Cup Finals, the NHL fans go on hiatus until next season, however, the finals tend to attract new people to follow the sport, who after the decisive game are waiting for news.
For those who have followed for a long time and for those who are just getting to know “hockey”, one name is unanimous when it comes to a historical NHL player: Wayne Gretzky.
He is the greatest player in the history of the League and perhaps the greatest sportsman in American sports, Gretzky is a reference when it comes to hockey, in addition to being very popular because of the series “Everybody Hates Chris“.
However, the American national ice hockey league is filled with historic players who have revolutionized different positions in the sport, and some who could have been even bigger than Gretzky if the circumstances were the same.
Obviously, overcoming the 99 shirt seems a distant task at the moment, but many thought that there would be no more historical players until the arrival of names such as:
- Alex Ovechkin
- Sidney Crosby
- Connor McDavid
The truth is that every year, with the NHL Drafts (see more about it here) it becomes once again possible to see a new start raising. And one day, they may become historical players as well.
So today, we are going to bring more NHL historical players for you to meet. Just remembering that active players won’t be placed here, because they still have a lot to do in their careers.
So… Let’s go to the names:
Lemieux played 17 seasons in the NHL between 1984 and 2006, and is known for being the most inventive player in hockey history.
His ability to get rid of markers has transformed what was once called “old school hockey”, making players care more and more about how they act with the puck on the stick, and underscoring the importance of poke checks and speed , in addition to the physical game.
If not for the various health problems that Lemieux has had throughout his career, he might be able to overcome Gretzky. In total, he lost 515 NHL games due to injuries.
Despite all that, Lemieux has won two Stanley Cup titles, been three-time League MVP, two-time playoff MVP, six-time top-scoring player of the season, and seventh in league history.
If you think ice hockey is a violent sport these days, what do you think it was in the 60s? To be an NHL player at that time, you had to be crazy, as the protections were minimal and the game was pretty violent.
In the midst of all this, an unusual defender by the standards of the time emerges. Bobby Orr was a guy who was simply too skilled to play defensively, and with that skill, speed and goals scored, he is considered a pioneer in the “offensive defender” style of play.
Orr played 12 seasons in the NHL and in that time he became the only defender in history to lead the League in points, doing so twice. In addition, he was named the NHL’s best defender eight times in a row, and in the two Stanley Cups he won with the Bruins, he became the playoffs MVP.
For a player to be nicknamed after the sport, he has to be really good, doesn’t he? This is the case with Gordie Howe, called “Mr. Hockey,” who played an impressive 26 seasons in the NHL.
Howe was the first to really worry about the defensive side of the game being an attacker, imposing a style of play that would be followed a lot by other players.
He held the NHL record for goals until Gretzky passed it over 30 years later, which shows the great influence he had on the sport. In addition, he played until he was 52, which made him the only one to play in 5 different decades.
Showing well how complete it was, even in the physical game, when a player makes a goal, an assist and a fight in the match, it is said that he did a “Gordie Howe hat trick”. Amazingly, Howe was a great fighter too.
Before Patrick Roy, hockey goalkeepers played mostly standing up, even when making saves, but Roy was the goalie who popularized the “butterfly style” of defending, followed, until today, by modern goalkeepers, being unanimous.
Roy is also the only goalkeeper to win the MVP award in the playoffs, an award he achieved both playing for the Canadiens and Avalanche.
In addition to being the playoffs MVP three times, he was also chosen 11 times for the all-star game, five times the goalkeeper who suffered the fewest goals in the League, three times best goalkeeper, four times Stanley Cup champion and six times chosen for the NHL all-star teams.
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