OK t's been a while- name your hockey idols

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Kirk- NEHJ, Jan 30, 2006.

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  1. Kirk- NEHJ

    Kirk- NEHJ Registered User

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    This thread is an excuse for me to wax poetic about several heroes of mine from the 70's and 80's. Please post yours and why...

    Al Secord- I was six when Al Secord joined the B's for his first full season in 1978-79, and who knows what could have been if a healthy Secord could have teamed up with a young Cam Neely in Boston? Secord was by all rights a power forward, just like Neely, and if not for his injury woes, could have gotten every bit as much as the accolades. He was skilled, tough and loved by his fans, despised by those fans of the teams who opposed him.

    He got off to a very slow start in 1980-81 and Harry Sinden was an a-hole to him in the papers. In December, he was shipped to Chi-town for Mike O'Connell where he went on to score 54 goals two years later. O'Connell went on to have success in Boston, but I could never really get into him because my favorite player had been dealt for him. I did what I could to follow the 'Hawks while Secord was there, and dreamed that the B's would pick him back up. Never happened, but Big Al was and still is my all-time favorite player.

    Mike Liut-I saw Mike Liut's first-ever NHL appearance in Boston, when he came into the game in relief of Ed Stanikowski, down 6-0. Amazingly, he slammed the door, and the Blues were able to score six unanswered goals to salvage a tie. Liut was sensational, and I became an instant fan, even though he played for the other team. I always loved that classic hockey mask he wore in St. Louis...but Al MacInnis ultimately did that in with one of his blistering shots that shattered it, gave Liut a concussion and forced him to go with the helmet-cage combo.

    I was pretty happy when Liut was traded to Hartford, because I could follow him so much easier than when he had been in the Norris. He had some very good years with the Whalers, and nearly pulled off the upset of the Canadiens in 1986. Liut never really got the credit he deserved IMO- he had a season for the ages in 1980-81, but with Wayne Gretzky as dominant as he was, Liut's season wasn't enough to win the Hart. He came close though. And, because the Vezina was awarded back then based on goals surrendered, he got hosed on that deal as well. Liut was the clear Vezina winner by today's standards.

    At the '03 draft in Nashville, I was coming out of the NHL HQ hotel when Liut drove up in a white Lincoln Navigator. I went up and introduced myself- feeling like a giddy fanboy, but wanting to tell him how much I had looked up to him as a young boy. He was very pleasant, and gave me his card (he's a player agent). I later called him up for a story I was doing on the '86 Whalers and we spoke for about 1.5 hours...great guy.

    Andy Moog- For some reason, I was drawn to Moog early in his career with the Oilers. Maybe it was because he pulled off the upset of the heavily-favored Canadiens in 1981, and maybe it was because he was a smaller guy, but combative and successful. In any case- I cheered for him when he was in net the night the Oilers clinched their first of five Stanley Cups, and always hoped that the Bruins could get him somehow.

    In March of 1988, when I was a sophomore in HS, that dream became a reality. Moog came to Boston, and I was thrilled, even though it took a lot to get him. He went on to become second only to Gerry Cheevers for most playoff wins in Bruins franchise history and helped set a strong standard for postseason performances from 1988-92. Ironically, what was arguably Boston's best team of all the ones Moog had played on in 1992-93, got swept by the Buffalo Sabres and Moog's old goaltending partner in Grant Fuhr. It was Moog's worst performance, and that loss stung because the B's were a lot more talented than the Sabres. In the end, Moog was shipped to Dallas, and never could shake the label of not being able to win the ultimate prize as a starter.

    Still, he was an idol of mine and is synonymous with the great memories I have of the Bruins in my formative years- practically all through HS and most of college. I'll always remember his tremendous performances against the Whalers and Habs in 1990, the Habs in 1991 and the Habs again in 1992. He was a Montreal killer and he is the *only* Bruins goalie in team history to beat Montreal more than once. In fact, for all Cheevers' accomplishments, the one thing he *never* did was beat Montreal in the playoffs.

    Brad Park-I was too young to understand the hoopla and anger surrounding the deal that sent Phil Esposito to the Big Apple and brought Brad Park to the Hub. What I *do* remember was Park being such an outstanding defenseman for the Bruins. He made it all look so easy and effortless, and was a terrific mentor for a young Ray Bourque in the early '80's.

    Park's swansong in Boston was his memorable Game 7 OT goal against the Sabres in 1983, a playoff series that will go down in history as one of the greatest. He went onto a poor Detroit Red Wings team from there and retired the following year. I can't imagine how tough it was for him to go from the Rangers to his hated rival, but even though it no doubt bothered him, he acted ever the professional.

    B's fans were gyped- Park and Bobby Orr spent only a dozen or so games together in Boston before Bobby headed to Chicago, but one can only wonder how incredible it would have been to see two of the game's all-time greats on defense playing together and (sadly in the case of Orr) at the top of their health.

    Secord, Liut, Moog and Park- only one HHOFer in the bunch, but hockey heroes all to me. How about yours?
     
  2. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    Only my first two idols didn't ever disappoint. I guess the older you get, the harder it is to maintain the fire.

    Dryden... simply the most awe-inspiring goaltending until Hasek, seemed unbeatable

    Gretzky... I never knew what he was gonna do, was a hero to many of my friends

    Coffey... my favourite player for his skating and puck movement, most respected by me when he intercepted a Soviet pass on a two-on-one play, culminating in a swing the other way and Paul's shot on net a minute later that ended up tipped in. (I lost all respect for Coffey in the nineties when I saw him play live in Detroit, the idol was broken.)

    Linden... the great Vancouver hope didn't disappoint up to and including his two goals in game 7 of the stanley cup finals after a half dozen great young years (saddened by his career slide afterwards).

    Peca... had a good rookie season in Vancouver and then was suddenly traded to Buffalo, making me like the Sabres. I stopped worshipping the idol after his injury on Long Island (has lost his distinctive excellence).
     
  3. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    For me, it was the "big 5"

    Gretzky, Kurri, Coffey, Messier and Anderson - in that order.

    I am an Oilers fan and I absolutely loved the style of play that the 80s Oilers used. Every game I saw was a treat and, rarely was I disappointed.

    As Pocklington sold them off one by one, it was devastating. But, for 5 or 6 years in the 80s, this was the "big 5" in my world.
     
  4. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest


    VanIslander, I need to ask you a question.

    How did Linden's "Carnival" comment during the 1994 lockout affect your opinion of him? I would like to know the view of a hard core Linden fan.
     
  5. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    It didn't matter to ANY Canucks fan I know of after the lockout ended.

    Linden was Mr. Teflon in Vancouver, that beloved.

    EASILY defended. His role as a representative of the players union was to negotiate the best possible deal for the players. The owners fed the media a lame argument about how escalating salaries raises ticket prices which make games unaffordable for families. The media then re-hashed it in Linden's face and he said: "Let them go to the carnival, then. That's what we did when I was a kid". Seriously. Let those fans willing and able to pay to go to the games do so. Everyone else can watch games on television like most of us do and spend their limited money for family trips on the carnival (PNE).

    The media tried to make Linden's comments out to be anti-fan, but it was pro-family and pro-players. He was pressured with an argument which was trying to guilt trip him into accepting less on his players' behalf so that poor families could afford to go to NHL hockey games.

    Not a single Canucks fan in B.C. who I talked to in '94 and '95 held Linden's comments against him. Not one.

    Though a couple of disgruntled non-Canucks fans outside of the province read the media spin and decided Linden was turning his back on the fans of hockey, or something equally silly.
     
  6. Marcus-74

    Marcus-74 Registered User

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    My biggest hockey idols are still those European players who I saw (on TV) as a kid in the late ´70s and early ´80s. Since we didn´t get to see much (if any) NHL action nor the best Canadian players in Finland, it was kinda natural to be "attracted" to the best Europe had to offer: Russians and Czechs, that is.

    Boris Mikhailov

    They showed his last game with the Soviet National team on TV and it stayed on my memory and he´s been a fave ever since. Of course as an avid fan of Russian hockey I had seen him before, but watching him being carried around the rink to a huge ovation made me realise how much he meant to the team and to Soviet hockey. Never the most skilled nor the most popular player, he was one of the best European goalscorers ever (even without having any kind of slapshot!) and a huge inspiration for many players to come. So the Canadians hated him?! Big deal!

    Valeri Kharlamov

    What´s left unsaid about him? Not much. Even though Kharlamov wasn´t the best nor the most important player on the team anymore in the late seventies, he was still the most popular (along with Tretiak), as far as I can remember. Exciting player with exotic looks (partly due to his Spanish mother, no doubt) and lots of unique tricks. His untimely death was a real bummer, of course, and it probably made him even more of a legend than he would be if alive today. But he was SPECIAL in every sense of the word.

    Vladimir Martinec

    Actually, back then he was an enemy and probably the biggest individual threat to my precious Soviets, but that childhood "hate" has later turned to admiration. "The Fox" was a suberb stickhandler, had a good accurate shot and was a master at fooling goalies (including Tretiak) on breakaways. He and Ivan Hlinka always put a fear on this little fan of Soviet hockey!

    HM´s: Sergei Kapustin, Mike Bossy, Helmut Balderis... no real Finnish hockey idols I´m ashamed to say :dunno:

    Other idols: Frédéric Chopin, Leonard Bernstein, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Anton Chekhov... Hockey isn´t everything ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2006
  7. mcphee

    mcphee Registered User

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    My favorite players have always been the ones who on face value, you wonder what got them there. Terry Harper,John Ferguson, Mario Tremblay,Yvon Lambert,Mike McPhee,Mike Keane all hold a place oin my hockey heart. Jean Beliveau, to me is awe inspiring. The way he played, and the way he's carried himself set him apart. I hear long time media guys get tongue tied when they interview him. They threw away the mold after Le Gros Bill.
     
  8. Flash Walken

    Flash Walken Registered User

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    Joel Otto was my god when I was a little boy watching flames games.

    Ed Whalen, Dick Irvin, Don Cherry and countless others (along with my dad) would drill into my head how important puck possesssion and faces offs were, and once I understood how hard it was to be good at faceoffs, the effort required in practice and the off-season, and how it's still basically a hardknocks skill that vets seem to aquire... I thought Otto was amazing.

    Plus, he was huge, especially for back then (a 6'4 centre in 1990 was HUGE! It still is!), and I always equated that with awesomeness, kind of like Vince McMahon.
     
  9. brianscot

    brianscot Registered User

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    I was 8 and started watching the CBS game of the week. I had no idea what hockey was all about yet, but always noticed the players who looked like they were doing things on the ice that others werent doing:


    Robert Gordon Orr --- He was mystical to me. I had no idea what being Bobby Orr meant, but nobody on the ice skated circles around other players and yet always looked down towards the ice after scoring, like he was almost embarrassed. Nobody ever looked like Orr, nobody ever will.

    Yvan Cournoyer --- He was a head shorter than all the other players on the ice and yet possessed so much obvious power in his huge skating stride. After watching a Montreal game, I immediately had to go out and almost do splits on ice trying to copy him.

    Gerry Cheevers --- What kid could resist that stitches mask? I also loved the way he seemed more aggressive than other goalies and how only he and Eddie Giacomin would skate out almost to the blue line to pick up an errant puck.
     
  10. c-carp

    c-carp Registered User

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    I will stick to players I have seen live.

    Brian Sutter-My original favorite player on the Blues he could play the game any way you wanted too and he had as big of a heart as anyone I have seen play.

    Wendel Clark-Another guy that could play the game any way you wanted to play it and a heart and soul guy.

    Brett Hull-for a 3 year span of his career he was good for almost a goal a night and he helped introduce hockey to a new group of fans in STL.

    Bob Probert-As a huge fight fan how could I not list the toughest SOB I ever saw play and he also could play the game and scored 29 goals in his best year.

    Al MacInnis-When the Blues got him I knew about the rocket slapshot but as I watched him over the years here I quickly realised that he was the Best D-man that the Blues ever had. Also one of the classiest players I have met.

    Rick Zombo-Not an Idol but I took my Nephew to a Blues Charity softball game in the early 90's and the kid was having trouble getting to the fence to get autographs from the guys and Zombo took the hat he had to get signed and took it around to all the players and brought it back to him. The kid hasnt forgot that and neither will I. Another class guy.
     
  11. shorre

    shorre Registered User

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    my favs all time are as follow:bourque, orr, middleton , neely, yzerman, o'reilly, park, cashman and stan jonathon.all great players who work hard and did the best what what abilities they had.
     
  12. MESSIER and only MESSIER.
     
  13. NJrocket24

    NJrocket24 Registered User

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    Lemieux when i was younger-just dominant

    Love the way Forsberg plays, tried to play junior hockey styled after him. Played all out, like a viking on attack. I just loved that he was so skilled and played that way.
    Bure- My main hockey talent was speed, and i loved how fast he was and played at full speed and scored all the time. Pure energy
    Bondra- Awesome shooter, I loved his shot and scoring goals.
     
  14. Heat McManus

    Heat McManus Registered User

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    Bure - who didn't want to score goals like he did?

    Scott Stevens - led the Devils to 3 cups. Hit like a freight train.

    Brian Leetch - Being a Devils fan, I knew how much I admired him because of how much I absolutely despised him.

    Koivu - plays with a lot of grit and intelligence, worked through injuries.
     
  15. ivrydov

    ivrydov Registered User

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    I go way back. There never was a more exciting player than Maurice Richard. Everything he did was done in dramatic fashion. He had six overtime playoff goals, still a record. He caused so much excitement among fans that when he was banned from the playoffs in 1955, it caused a city-wide riot in Montreal.

    One night tells you everything about him. In the seventh game of the semi-finals against the Bruins in 1952 he was knocked unconcious by a vicious check by Leo Labine in the second period. The radio announcers -- there was no television then -- said they thought he would be taken to the hospital and were worried about his life.

    Late in the third period with the score tied 1-1 and Sugar Jim Henry, the Bruin goaltender, turning in a sensational performance while playing with two puffed black eyes, Richard suddenly appeared on the gangway, his head bandaged, blood dripping down his face. With four minutes to go he took the puck in his own end, stickhandled through the entire Bruins team, and beat Henry. After the game, he didn't remember doing it.
     
  16. Kirk- NEHJ

    Kirk- NEHJ Registered User

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    Awesome story.

    The photo of Rocket and Sugar Jim shaking hands after the series is one of hockey's all-time classic images...
     
  17. pappyline

    pappyline Registered User

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    Its been a long love affair. Started back in 1952 when I was 5 years old. My older brother was a Red Wings/ gordie Howe fan. I liked the Blackhawks because of their uniforms. First favorite players were Gadsby & Mortson. Became a big Eddie Litzenberger fan in 56. He had a short peak but from 55=60 was one of the top players in the league. Was a fan right to the end thru his Detroit/Toronto years. Great shot and great playmaker.

    Next my favorite was Bobby Hull. Exiting to watch him wind up behind his own net , go end to end & wind up with that great shot. First to score over 50 when it was tough to score over 20. Ceased being a Hawk fan when he went over to the WHA. Continued to follow him in the WHA. Hull=Nilsonn & Hedberg were fantastic to watch.

    Latest favorite was Mario. Magic on ice. When he was healthy(and when he was not) he was fantastic to watch.
     
  18. 19nazzy

    19nazzy Registered User

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    St. Patrick. The best goalie to ever lace them up
     
  19. hfboardsuser

    hfboardsuser Registered User

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    Peter Stastny- Just a tremendous, tremendous player. Finesse, fire, and the man had so much heart that he, along with his brothers, risked their lives and freedom to play the game they loved. He's what every player should strive to be, and really what every patriot should be. He's a hero in Slovakia, and I wish more people on this side of the lake, especially younger fans, knew about him and what he accomplished. Ask a lot of people who scored the second-most points during the 80s, and you'll hear about 500 different names (Bossy? Trots? Kurri? Mess? Anderson?) before Stastny's if you hear it at all.

    I thought it was just the newer generation of fans, but I was at a collector marketplace/get-together last month and one of the dealers remarked that "I haven't been asked about him in at a show in about 15 years".

    That really got me, so now I've set about really ratcheting up my collecting of everything Stastny. I own and am continually buying everything Stastny- including the domain name!

    Milan Marcetta- One day in 2003, my mom mentioned that the brother-in-law of a coworker and friend of hers had played in the NHL, a man by the name of Milan Marcetta. Not recognizing the name, I turned to the World Wide Web for more information.

    The career of a minor leaguer is not what it used to be. Playing in the NHL, any matter of startup outfits like the EPHL or CPHL and moving from Denver to Sault St. Marie to Tulsa to Phoenix wasn't a rarity at the lower levels of hockey. Milan Marcetta did it for 17 years, and did it with heart wherever he went.

    Milan is mentioned in Phil Esposito's autobiography as a poker partner, on the Cup with the rest of the '67 Leafs, and in the record books as one of only two players to win it without playing a regular season game for their respective club.

    He was as pure a gentleman as there ever was. Over the course of 20 seasons in junior, minor-pro and pro leagues, Milan racked up only 377 PIM.

    His dedication, his skill (he was a scorer, sitting 50th all-time on the WHL's career goals list and scoring 60+ points 7 times, 80+ twice) and gentlemanly play are what make him so beloved to me.
     
  20. chooch*

    chooch* Guest

    making money off him
     
  21. hfboardsuser

    hfboardsuser Registered User

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    Not really. It's going to be a fan website. You know, telling the world about one of the greatest players ever. I don't plan on making any kind of money off of it, and I wouldn't sell the domain name to anyone but Mr. Stastny.
     
  22. Burgs

    Burgs Registered User

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    Penguins fan here and following the NHL since the early 90s. Aside from Mario (self-explanatory) my two big faves were Ron Francis and Kevin Stevens.


    Ron Francis:

    I was always impressed with his modesty and quiet effectiveness. Simply the way he carried himself on and off the ice. The luxury suite he bought for sick/poor kids to watch the games (something he'd already done in Hartford iirc). How he handled the public and his teammates. Pure class. He never got much media attention behind those all-star forwards in Pittsburgh, certainly less than he deserved. But it never bothered him. Whatever play you needed, Ronnie was always there. Whether it was an important faceoff or a defensive play, a great pass or a must-go-in goal, he'd deliver quietly and reliably. I'll never forget how he scored "from the parking lot" on Mike Richter in the series where Mario was out after Graves broke his wrist.

    To the Whalers he was Ronnie Franchise, for this Pens fan (and not only this one I'm sure) he was Saint Ron. I wasn't convinced when Jagr succeeded him as captain. I hated it when he didn't even get an offer from the Pens as UFA and left Pittsburgh. But it was great to see him make the Cup Finals with Carolina near the end of his career. I hope he'll get his jersey retired in Pittsburgh some day.


    Kevin Stevens:


    "Artie" was in many ways the polar opposite of Ronnie, but I loved the energy and sense of fun and "let's get ready to rumble" mood he brought to the Pens. Playing on Mario's left wing, Stevens scored goals like crazy mixed with big checks and fights - what's not to like about a guy like that? His interviews were also a pretty unique experience - in the beginning I could hardly understand a word he said due to his thick Bostonian accent. Nevertheless Artie was the life of the locker room. I remember him guaranteeing a win against his hometown Bruins in the playoffs, and making good on his promise years before Messier did the same in NY.

    Then came that fateful playoff series in '93 against the Isles. I can still see how it happened, as if in slow motion. Artie crashed into Rich Pilon, his face smacking against Pilon's visor. He immediately lost consciousness and fell down forwards. Unable to use his arms to break the fall, Stevens smashed face-first into the ice and his facial skull is shattered into bits. I remember him later talking about it and how the doctor compared his skull to a crushed potato chip. Stevens returned the following season but would never be the same.

    His career unravelled pretty fast even though he was traded to Boston and his biggest problem was off the ice. He was not only a party animal but also binge drinker. Eventually he developed a substance abuse problem and hit rock bottom when, while on a road trip with the Rangers to St. Louis, police caught him in a hotel room with a hooker and a bag of crack cocaine. What a horrible development when you'd known the power forward of the early 90s... but at least he got his life back on track. The Pens signed him as a scout last summer and I hope he pays back the club for this favor.
     
  23. NordsFan

    NordsFan Registered User

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    My all time fav players were Dale Hunter, Michel Goulet, Peter Stastny & Mario Gosselin. Of course, all Nordiques, so I will toss in my favorite scrapper... Tony Twist!
    I got a chance to meet all of the above except for Goose Gosselin.

    If I had to pick one, I would say Michel Goulet as my all time favorite.
     
  24. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Trevor Linden. He may not be the greatest player ever to play the game, but that doesn't matter. I've been a Linden fan since he entered the league. His track record speaks for itself. For a player who never scored more than 80 points in a season, Linden was a point-per-game player in the post-season (you know, the most important season) until he was 34. It's quite an impressive feat, and a perfect example of a player who consistently elevated his play in the post-season. He is a terrific leader, who continues to command respect in the locker room. When he's not on the ice, he's a dedicated volunteer in the community who has made many contributions to many off-ice causes. He's a recipient of the King Clancy Trophy for humanitarian efforts, and a recipient of B.C.'s top volunteer medal. He was, to my knowledge, the first in the league to offer use of a luxury suite to underprivledged children.

    Yes, he made a flippant, unfortunate remark during the 1994-95 lockout, but I would guess 99 per cent of players have had one or two unfortunate moments in their career. And as anyone who has spent time around the players will tell you, the vast majority of players have made some kind of flippant remark on the ice or especially in the locker room at some point in their career.
     
  25. Ziggyjoe21

    Ziggyjoe21 Registered User

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    Forsberg. Arguably the best playmaker in the world. Great all around game. Too bad he's injures so much.

    Palffy, Bertuzzi, Straka, Kovalev used to be 2nd
    Palffy retired
    Straka and Kovy left the pens
    Bert's rep is too tainted now to be a fan of his. (not to sound like a bandwagoner or anything)
     
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