NHL 100: Remembering The Night When (Most of) The Best Came Together

The NHL announced their top 100 players of all-time Friday night, in a ceremonial gathering of the best to ever play the game. It was also the perfect lightning bolt for controversy, as there were sure to be names left off, and put int, that some felt that should and shouldn’t be.

It did not disappoint. In many ways.

Enter, Memory Lane

I watched as much hockey as I possibly could as a kid growing up. Unfortunately in a time before NHL Center Ice that meant a lot of what I was watching wasn’t the Pittsburgh Penguins. Something else grew out of that, though, at least it’s the way I looked at it.

I became a fan of more than just the Penguins. So I have just as many memories of watching Jaromir Jagr dominant in a Pens jersey as I do of Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, Mike Modano, Brett Hull, and so much more.

What do they all have in common? They were just announced among the top 100 players in NHL history. To see the players that helped shaped and molded me as a hockey fan get honored in the way they did, was fun to see.

Best Case Format

I did not want to see a traditional countdown of the best players of all-time. Thought it would take away from it if they placed a value on a player. Sure, deep down, you know if one player is better than another, but don’t put a numerical value on it.

As the ceremony got closer, I became more intrigued on who they would have ranked where, out of plain curiosity.

Turns out I got the best case when it came to the format of the show, as opposed to ranking them 100-1, they went decades based. Starting in the 70s, the show went decade by decade in showcasing the best from that era, never putting them in any particular order.

Some might have been let down that they did it this way, I wasn’t one of them.

Jon Toews, Really?

I guess I can get the excitement over a player who captained three teams to the Stanley Cup, especially if he is Canadian. To have Toews among the best ever to play the game solely based that though is misguided and forced another name with more on his resume to miss the list.

Of course, this is all perception, and part of the great thing about sports is the ability to debate from different points of view when it comes to stuff like this.

I just find it hard to believe this is going to be an easy sell to anyone outside of Chicago and apparently the people who decided this list.

An even bigger shot to take is the fact that having Toews on this list is leaving someone like Jarome Iginla off the list. Iginla had 12 straight non-shortened seasons in which he scored 30 goals in a season. Is he still that player? No, definitely not but that still doesn’t change the fact that what he has accomplished over his career he should have been recognized.

617 goals, 1,285 points in 1,520 games played.

Not to mention this.

Not like this.

You want Stanley Cups. Joe Mullen has three of them AND 500 goals. Heck, Jim Paek has two when he was with the Penguins. That’s one less than Toews. Toss him up in the conversation.

Toews wasn’t the only questionable name to reach the top 100, but potential snubs and players who should have been left off is for another day and another article. No need (or intention) to single out Toews.

In The End.

The bound to happen controversy aside, Friday night was a perfect kick off to All-Star weekend. It was a perfect way to celebrate both the past and present of the league that is in its 100th year of existence.

In a league that prides itself on tradition (how can it not when your trophy is passed on year-to-year), this was a perfect gathering to celebrate the best to have ever played.

Now can someone tell me who Sergei Ovechkin plays for, and how much he costs on Draft Kings?


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