Hockey's Greatest Stars: Legends and Young Lions

Overview

Hockey enthusiast Chris McDonell celebrates the current and past superstars of one of the world's fastest-growing and most popular sports. McDonell's tribute is divided into the four hockey positions: centers, wingers, defensemen and goaltenders. For each position, he chooses the 15 greatest NHL players of all time plus the five best current players, from Jean Beliveau to Eric Lindros, Bobby Hull to Pavel Bure, Tim Horton to Niklas Lidstrom and Jacques Plante to Felix Potvin. Fans will enjoy McDonell's lively ...
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Overview

Hockey enthusiast Chris McDonell celebrates the current and past superstars of one of the world's fastest-growing and most popular sports. McDonell's tribute is divided into the four hockey positions: centers, wingers, defensemen and goaltenders. For each position, he chooses the 15 greatest NHL players of all time plus the five best current players, from Jean Beliveau to Eric Lindros, Bobby Hull to Pavel Bure, Tim Horton to Niklas Lidstrom and Jacques Plante to Felix Potvin. Fans will enjoy McDonell's lively commentary infused with insider tales of trades and ice-side antics. Each player's profile is illustrated with action-packed photographs from the Hockey Hall of Fame.Chris McDonnell is a publisher and graphic designer.
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Editorial Reviews

Booklist - Frances Reiher
(Praise for the first edition) It is interesting to peruse this book as it takes a backward and forward look at the sport. It is split into four sections for the positions played. The first category looks at 15 centers who have distinguished themselves in that field, each highlighted on a double-page spread of photos, biographical sketches, career analyses, and statistics. McDonell includes stars such as Steve Yzerman, Phil Esposito, Mario Lemieux, and Wayne Gretzky as well as young centers with enormous potential such as Peter Forsberg, Mike Modano, and Mats Sundin. The book goes on to feature wingers, defensemen, and goaltenders. An introduction explains the criteria for such selections. Each grouping includes a description of the specific demands of the position. An end section gives the statistics on the players. The full-color and archival black-and-white photos convey the excitement and speed of the sport.
Detroit News
(Praise for the first edition) For hockey fans it provides fabulous memories and action photos of the century's hockey giants.
The London Free Press
(Praise for the first edition) It's beautifully done and the player profiles are solid and interesting.
Frances Reiher
The full-color and archival black-and-white photos convey the excitement and speed of the sport.
School Library Journal, May 2000
Library Journal
One of the better hockey books published in the last few years, this is divided into well-organized sections describing the great players at each of the great game's positions and a postscript with five young players who could join the greats. As with any "greatest" book, it will be the starting point for arguments about who was left out and who should have been omitted. Players are listed alphabetically, with no attempt to rank them within each position. The life and career of each player is summarized in several pages, and the color and black-and-white archival photographs are excellent. There are also career statistics for each player. This book should appeal to hockey fans of all ages, especially teenagers. Recommended for school and public libraries.--William O. Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
YA-It is interesting to peruse this book as it takes a backward and forward look at the sport. It is split into four sections for the positions played. The first category looks at 15 centers who have distinguished themselves in that field, each highlighted on a double-page spread of photos, biographical sketches, career analyses, and statistics. McDonell includes stars such as Steve Yzerman, Phil Esposito, Mario Lemieux, and Wayne Gretzky as well as young centers with enormous potential such as Peter Forsberg, Mike Modano, and Mats Sundin. The book goes on to feature wingers, defensemen, and goaltenders. An introduction explains the criteria for such selections. Each grouping includes a description of the specific demands of the position. An end section gives the statistics on the players. The full-color and archival black-and-white photos convey the excitement and speed of the sport.-Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
London Free Press
It's beautifully done and the player profiles are solid and interesting.
Associated Press - Ron Berthel
Hockey's history and its future are celebrated by honoring the game's greatest players of the past and its current young (under-30) stars, accompanied by 185 photos.
Detroit News - Barbara Hoover
Here's how to knock off your entire holiday gift list right now. Get Hockey's Greatest Stars, by Chris McDonell (Firefly Books, $35). For hockey fans it provides fabulous memories and action photos of the century's hockey giants, including 16 former and current Detroit Red Wings, from old-timers Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay to current stars Yzerman, Osgood, Lidstrom and Chelios.
London Free Press
It's beautifully done and the player profiles are solid and interesting.
Booklist
(Praise for the first edition) The full-color and archival black-and-white photos convey the excitement and speed of the sport
— Frances Reiher
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770852884
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 11/4/2014
  • Edition description: Fourth Edition, Revised and Enlarged
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 224

Meet the Author

Chris McDonell
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Table of Contents

Introduction

The Centers

Top 15 Centers
- Syl Apps
- Jean Beliveau
- Bobby Clarke
- Marcel Dionne
- Phil Esposito
- Wayne Gretzky
- Mario Lemieux
- Mark Messier
- Stan Mikita
- Howie Morenz
- Henri Richard
- Milt Schmidt
- Nels Stewart
- Bryan Trottier
- Steve Yzerman

5 Young Centers
- Peter Forsberg
- Eric Lindros
- Mike Modano
- Mats Sundin
- Alexei Yashin

The Wingers

Top 15 Wingers
- Mike Bossy
- Johnny Bucyk
- Charlie Conacher
- Mike Gartner
- Bernie Geoffrion
- Gordie Howe
- Bobby Hull
- Brett Hull
- Jaromir Jagr
- Jari Kurri
- Guy Lafleur
- Ted Lindsay
- Frank Mahovlich
- Dickie Moore
- Maurice Richard

5 Young Wingers
- Pavel Bure
- Paul Kariya
- Zigmund Palffy
- Teemu Selanne
- Keith Tkachuk

The Defensemen

Top 15 Defensemen
- Raymond Bourque
- Chris Chelios
- King Clancy
- Dit Clapper
- Paul Coffey
- Doug Harvey
- Tim Horton
- Red Kelly
- Bobby Orr
- Brad Park
- Pierre Pilote
- Denis Potvin
- Larry Robinson
- Serge Savard
- Eddie Shore

5 Young Defensemen
- Bryan Berard
- Nicklas Lidstrom
- Scott Niedermayer
- Sandis Ozolinsh
- Chris Pronger

The Goaltenders

Top 15 Goaltenders
- Johnny Bower
- Frank Brimsek
- Turk Broda
- Ken Dryden
- Bill Durnan
- Grant Fuhr
- Glenn Hall
- Dominik Hasek
- Bernie Parent
- Jacques Plante
- Patrick Roy
- Terry Sawchuk
- Billy Smith
- Vladislav Tretiak
- Gump Worsley

5 Young Goaltenders
- Martin Brodeur
- Byron Dafoe
- Nikolai Khabibulin
- Chris Osgood
- Felix Potvin

Statistics
Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Index

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Preface

Introduction

"I respected 'Rocket' Richard," Gordie Howe once said, "but I didn't like him. He was the man who led the way for the rest of us. He was my pacemaker — first for career points, then for career goals. Like I tell all of the kids, if you really want to learn the game of hockey, pick somebody you admire and emulate him. I picked 'The Rocket,' and he showed me a lot."

Howe, in turn, inspired another legend. "Growing up, my player role model was always Gordie," Wayne Gretzky has said, and 'The Great One' himself fired the dreams of countless future National Hockey League stars.

In the same way, every hockey fan has a favorite player or two. This has always been true, but never more so than today. Fan loyalty to a team is harder to maintain in this day of labor disagreements, franchise moves and free agency. Longtime devotees and new converts may find their personal heroes in the following pages, but popularity was not a factor for inclusion. Hockey's Greatest Stars comprises two groupings: the "legends," the greatest players of all time; and the "young lions," players who currently prowl NHL arenas. "Young" is a relative term, but for the purposes of this book, it means those born in 1979 or later. At the time of publication, the young players had not yet reached their twenty-sixth birthdays.

Compiling these two lists has been an arduous task. I consulted with various hockey sages, who were promised anonymity, and closely studied other lists, but nothing resembling a consensus ever resulted. The enjoyable debate lost some of its pleasure when it came time to limit the many worthy candidates to the prescribed numbers: 60 of the best ever and the top 20 young players. By organizing these lists according to position, however, certain names simply fell into place. At center,
Gretzky; on wing, Howe; on defense, Bobby Orr; and in goal, Terry Sawchuk: their achievements made them automatic and unarguable choices. Corresponding young stars such as Vincent Lecavalier, Ilya Kovaichuk, Barret Jackman and Roberto Luongo were equally easy to include. Not every choice was so obvious, though.

The number-one criterion for inclusion in Hockey's Greatest Stars was a player's personal accomplishment. Looking at statistics and accumulated awards was instructive, but it was not enough.

Once asked what he liked best about Mario Lemieux, Howe quipped, "His paycheck." But more than player salaries have changed over the years. Statistics from different eras cannot be compared in a completely straightforward manner. A second assist was rarely given on goals during Charlie Conacher's career in the 1930s; Georges Vezina, who died in 1926 and for whom the NHL's best goaltender award is named, never played a game in which the rules permitted a netminder to hold or smother the puck. It is an oft-repeated maxim that the best players would star in any era; yet as Nels Stewart allowed, even the renowned Howie Morenz would have had a difficult time in the NHL of the 1950s. I considered the question of how a player would fare in hockey as we now know it.

Another important ingredient in the makeup of a great hockey player is his contribution to team success. "Steve Yzerman is the best example," says winger Brendan Shanahan. "He's a guy whose image has gone back and forth so many times in the organization, and now he's considered one of the greatest captains to ever play. That's what winning does for all of us." Strong performance under playoff pressure lifted more than one player into Hockey's Greatest Stars, although the lack of a Stanley Cup ring was never a reason for exclusion.

"I have been able to maintain my scoring pace while guys like Guy Lafleur have tailed off," Marcel Dionne once remarked with a wistful smile. "I always get an extra two months of rest because we never make the playoffs." Among the legends in these pages are some who never hoisted the Cup — goaltender Vladislav Tretiak didn't even compete in the NHL — and the young stars who have played on Stanley Cup winners are the exception rather than the rule.

Consistency and durability were given more weight than meteoric exploits for the legends' roster, less so for the young lions. Thus, a player such as 700-goal scorer Mike Gartner is included, although he was never selected to an end-of-season All-Star Team, while 1972 Team Canada hero Paul Henderson did not make the cut. Several other players might have joined Gartner in this book had they put in more years as consistently — winger Pavel Bure springs immediately to mind. Likewise, it was hard to exclude players such as goaltender Tony Esposito, a frequent All-Star during his lengthy Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Blackhawks. Yet when everything was factored in, center Phil is the only Esposito on this honor roll.

Beyond choosing the players, I made no attempt to rank them. In the end, it came down to singular decisions — this star or that? — and the answers were never easy.

"There will always be young hockey champions," wrote journalist Andy O'Brien in 1971. "Those of tomorrow could very well force the National Hockey League to change its name to the Global Hockey League." Considering that, when he wrote, NHL players had yet to eat the humble pie that was the 1972 Summit Series, O'Brien's prediction is eerily accurate. Hockey has evolved during this generation, as a result of not only the world's best players being drawn into the NHL but also the tremendous expansion of the league. In winnowing down the lists for
Hockey's Greatest Stars, I have tried to avoid sentimentality yet do justice to the athletes of yesteryear.

"One of the greatest parts of our game is the history," observed Gretzky at the 1999 All-Star Game. "I mean the Stanley Cup itself, the 'Original Six' teams and the star players who created the NHL." He chatted with Maurice Richard, who unveiled the new Richard Trophy for the league's top goal scorer. "There are some guys who don't get as much recognition as they deserve for getting hockey to the level it is today," he continued. "I was telling Rocket at center ice that the NHL was lucky to have him in the game."

As William Shakespeare once wrote, though, "What's past is prologue." While Richard's appearances provide a tangible link with a bygone era, so too did the veteran and now retired Gretzky, as will, eventually, the young lions profiled here. These vignettes,
although arranged by position rather than in chronological order, collectively serve as a snapshot of glorious hockey history — past, present and future.

The results of my difficult decisions are now before you. After perusing the table of contents, try to put aside your own arguments for a while. The portraits offered here, in words and pictures, sketch talented, gritty and inspiring men who represent all that is wonderful and exciting about the fabulous sport of hockey. The game itself has its own charm, but the players bring it to life. Enjoy their stories and the recollection of their exploits. And watch the greatest stars still playing. Game by game, new chapters continue to be written.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

"I respected 'Rocket' Richard," Gordie Howe once said, "but I didn't like him. He was the man who led the way for the rest of us. He was my pacemaker -- first for career points, then for career goals. Like I tell all of the kids, if you really want to learn the game of hockey, pick somebody you admire and emulate him. I picked 'The Rocket,' and he showed me a lot."

Howe, in turn, inspired another legend. "Growing up, my player role model was always Gordie," Wayne Gretzky has said, and 'The Great One' himself fired the dreams of countless future National Hockey League stars.

In the same way, every hockey fan has a favorite player or two. This has always been true, but never more so than today. Fan loyalty to a team is harder to maintain in this day of labor disagreements, franchise moves and free agency. Longtime devotees and new converts may find their personal heroes in the following pages, but popularity was not a factor for inclusion. Hockey's Greatest Stars comprises two groupings: the "legends," the greatest players of all time; and the "young lions," players who currently prowl NHL arenas. "Young" is a relative term, but for the purposes of this book, it means those born in 1979 or later. At the time of publication, the young players had not yet reached their twenty-sixth birthdays.

Compiling these two lists has been an arduous task. I consulted with various hockey sages, who were promised anonymity, and closely studied other lists, but nothing resembling a consensus ever resulted. The enjoyable debate lost some of its pleasure when it came time to limit the many worthy candidates to the prescribed numbers: 60 of the best ever andthe top 20 young players. By organizing these lists according to position, however, certain names simply fell into place. At center, Gretzky; on wing, Howe; on defense, Bobby Orr; and in goal, Terry Sawchuk: their achievements made them automatic and unarguable choices. Corresponding young stars such as Vincent Lecavalier, Ilya Kovaichuk, Barret Jackman and Roberto Luongo were equally easy to include. Not every choice was so obvious, though.

The number-one criterion for inclusion in Hockey's Greatest Stars was a player's personal accomplishment. Looking at statistics and accumulated awards was instructive, but it was not enough.

Once asked what he liked best about Mario Lemieux, Howe quipped, "His paycheck." But more than player salaries have changed over the years. Statistics from different eras cannot be compared in a completely straightforward manner. A second assist was rarely given on goals during Charlie Conacher's career in the 1930s; Georges Vezina, who died in 1926 and for whom the NHL's best goaltender award is named, never played a game in which the rules permitted a netminder to hold or smother the puck. It is an oft-repeated maxim that the best players would star in any era; yet as Nels Stewart allowed, even the renowned Howie Morenz would have had a difficult time in the NHL of the 1950s. I considered the question of how a player would fare in hockey as we now know it.

Another important ingredient in the makeup of a great hockey player is his contribution to team success. "Steve Yzerman is the best example," says winger Brendan Shanahan. "He's a guy whose image has gone back and forth so many times in the organization, and now he's considered one of the greatest captains to ever play. That's what winning does for all of us." Strong performance under playoff pressure lifted more than one player into Hockey's Greatest Stars, although the lack of a Stanley Cup ring was never a reason for exclusion.

"I have been able to maintain my scoring pace while guys like Guy Lafleur have tailed off," Marcel Dionne once remarked with a wistful smile. "I always get an extra two months of rest because we never make the playoffs." Among the legends in these pages are some who never hoisted the Cup -- goaltender Vladislav Tretiak didn't even compete in the NHL -- and the young stars who have played on Stanley Cup winners are the exception rather than the rule.

Consistency and durability were given more weight than meteoric exploits for the legends' roster, less so for the young lions. Thus, a player such as 700-goal scorer Mike Gartner is included, although he was never selected to an end-of-season All-Star Team, while 1972 Team Canada hero Paul Henderson did not make the cut. Several other players might have joined Gartner in this book had they put in more years as consistently -- winger Pavel Bure springs immediately to mind. Likewise, it was hard to exclude players such as goaltender Tony Esposito, a frequent All-Star during his lengthy Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Blackhawks. Yet when everything was factored in, center Phil is the only Esposito on this honor roll.

Beyond choosing the players, I made no attempt to rank them. In the end, it came down to singular decisions -- this star or that? -- and the answers were never easy.

"There will always be young hockey champions," wrote journalist Andy O'Brien in 1971. "Those of tomorrow could very well force the National Hockey League to change its name to the Global Hockey League." Considering that, when he wrote, NHL players had yet to eat the humble pie that was the 1972 Summit Series, O'Brien's prediction is eerily accurate. Hockey has evolved during this generation, as a result of not only the world's best players being drawn into the NHL but also the tremendous expansion of the league. In winnowing down the lists for Hockey's Greatest Stars, I have tried to avoid sentimentality yet do justice to the athletes of yesteryear.

"One of the greatest parts of our game is the history," observed Gretzky at the 1999 All-Star Game. "I mean the Stanley Cup itself, the 'Original Six' teams and the star players who created the NHL." He chatted with Maurice Richard, who unveiled the new Richard Trophy for the league's top goal scorer. "There are some guys who don't get as much recognition as they deserve for getting hockey to the level it is today," he continued. "I was telling Rocket at center ice that the NHL was lucky to have him in the game."

As William Shakespeare once wrote, though, "What's past is prologue." While Richard's appearances provide a tangible link with a bygone era, so too did the veteran and now retired Gretzky, as will, eventually, the young lions profiled here. These vignettes, although arranged by position rather than in chronological order, collectively serve as a snapshot of glorious hockey history -- past, present and future.

The results of my difficult decisions are now before you. After perusing the table of contents, try to put aside your own arguments for a while. The portraits offered here, in words and pictures, sketch talented, gritty and inspiring men who represent all that is wonderful and exciting about the fabulous sport of hockey. The game itself has its own charm, but the players bring it to life. Enjoy their stories and the recollection of their exploits. And watch the greatest stars still playing. Game by game, new chapters continue to be written.

Read More Show Less

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