Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

The NHL 100: Hockey's greatest players honored in centennial

LOS ANGELES — Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr were among the easiest choices for the NHL 100, the group of enduring superstars chosen and honored by the league Friday night as the best players in hockey history.

Yet if the Great One, Super Mario and No. 4 had to pick an NHL 1, they would all choose Mr. Hockey, the late Gordie Howe.

Wondrous athletes and incredible achievements were in abundance in Los Angeles, the site of Sunday's All-Star Game and the celebration of the league's centennial. Dozens of the NHL 100 members were honored in the gala ceremony, from 1970s stars Guy Lafleur and Yvan Cournoyer to current Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews.

Many of the greats spared a thought for Howe, who died in June. He featured prominently in the memorial highlight reel shown to the audience at the Microsoft Theatre.

"Gordie is, in my mind, the best that ever played the game," Orr said while flanked by Gretzky and Lemieux. "I'm not sure if we'll ever see another one. I sometimes sit and look at his numbers, as I sit sometimes and look at the numbers that these two guys put up. I think, 'How in the world did they do it?' "

The NHL 100 was selected by a 58-person panel of league executives, former players and media members. The league revealed 33 selectees largely from the league's first half-century on New Year's Day, and the rest were named Friday, with most of the greats in attendance for a ceremony hosted by actor Jon Hamm.

Bobby Hull and Brett Hull both made the 100, as did numerous members of the Canadiens' various dynasties.

Lightning founder Phil Esposito made it, as did general manager Steve Yzerman. No current or former Lightning player was named.

Five players either retired of playing overseas were recognized for their careers in the 2000s: Martin Brodeur, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger and Teemu Selanne.

Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby joined the Blackhawks' championship-winning trio among the active players among the 100. Jaromir Jagr, the Panthers forward who turns 45 next month, was the final player named, getting a standing ovation in the theater when he took the stage.

The league deliberately decided not to rank the NHL 100, preferring to allow fans to have their own debates. Gretzky realizes the essential futility of comparing players from different eras of any sport, yet he appeared to enjoy the hypothetical exercise as much as any hockey fan.

"The game has changed," Gretzky said. "Obviously it's more defensive now. It's tougher to score. Although they get more power plays now. Used to get one 5-on-3 every 10 weeks. Now we get three a game. That's pretty nice."

One other change has caught Gretzky's eye recently, and he thought of it while sitting next to Lemieux and Orr.

"And 3-on-3 in overtime, I like that, too," Gretzky said with a wry grin. "The three of us would have been pretty good in 3-on-3."

The NHL 100

Sid Abel

Syl Apps

Andy Bathgate

Jean Beliveau

Max Bentley

Toe Blake

Johnny Bower

Turk Broda

Johnny Bucyk

King Clancy

Charlie Conacher

Alex Delvecchio

Bill Durnan

Bernie Geoffrion

Glenn Hall

Doug Harvey

Tim Horton

Gordie Howe

Red Kelly

Ted Kennedy

Dave Keon

Elmer Lach

Ted Lindsay

Frank Mahovlich

Dickie Moore

Howie Morenz

Jacques Plante

Henri Richard

Maurice Richard

Terry Sawchuk

Milt Schmidt

Eddie Shore

Georges Vezina

Bobby Orr

Brad Park

Larry Robinson

Serge Savard

Ken Dryden

Tony Esposito

Bernie Parent

Yvan Cournoyer

Bob Gainey

Bobby Hull

Guy Lafleur

Bobby Clarke

Marcel Dionne

Phil Esposito

Jacques Lemaire

Stan Mikita

Gilbert Perreault

Jean Ratelle

Darryl Sittler

Mike Bossy

Mike Gartner

Jari Kurri

Wayne Gretzky

Pat LaFontaine

Mark Messier

Denis Savard

Peter Stastny

Bryan Trottier

Ray Bourque

Paul Coffey

Al MacInnis

Denis Potvin

Borje Salming

Grant Fuhr

Billy Smith

Chris Chelios

Brian Leetch

Scott Niedermayer

Scott Stevens

Dominik Hasek

Patrick Roy

Pavel Bure

Brett Hull

Luc Robitaille

Brendan Shanahan

Sergei Fedorov

Peter Forsberg

Ron Francis

Mario Lemieux

Eric Lindros

Mike Modano

Joe Nieuwendyk

Adam Oates

Joe Sakic

Mats Sundin

Steve Yzerman

Martin Brodeur

Pavel Datsyuk

Nicklas Lidstrom

Chris Pronger

Teemu Selanne

Sidney Crosby

Patrick Kane

Duncan Keith

Alex Ovechkin

Jonathan Toews

Jaromir Jagr

Comments
Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Lightning said all the right things about needing to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching during its recent funk. Veterans said they had to lead the way. Coach Jon Cooper believed this eight-game trip would "show us wha...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Mikhail Sergachev gets thrown into the fire for Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev gets thrown into the fire for Lightning

ST. PAUL, Minn. — For the first 20-plus games this season, Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness knew "the look" was coming.The other team’s top line would jump over the boards and Tampa Bay rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev would peek over at Bow...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Missing the Olympics a missed opportunity (and misstep) for NHL?

Missing the Olympics a missed opportunity (and misstep) for NHL?

One week from today, Tampa will be the center of the hockey world.The All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. Players will smile for the cameras. They'll put on a fantastic show. Maybe they'll catch a bead or two from a Gasparilla parade.But you ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

The rest of the Lightning players had already left the ice Friday afternoon, heading into the dressing room for a quick change before the team's charter flight to Minnesota.But goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, 23, stayed on late, facing about 15 minutes mo...
Published: 01/20/18
Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

TAMPA — Vegas has left the building.Wasn't the Lightning just arranging place settings for next weekend's NHL All-Star Game party?With that in mind, I headed to the home dressing room at Amalie Arena late Thursday after the Lightning was manhan...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18
Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

SUNRISE — Aaron Ekblad scored 40 seconds into overtime to lift the Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Golden Knights on Friday, spoiling Vegas coach Gerard Gallant’s return to Florida. By gaining a point, Vegas moved within one point of the Lightning...
Published: 01/19/18
Time for Lightning leaders to snap team out of funk

Time for Lightning leaders to snap team out of funk

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Steven Stamkos sat at his stall in a near-empty Lightning dressing room Thursday and did what captains often do:He shouldered some blame for the Lightning's listless 4-1 loss to Vegas."As a leader, I've got to be a lot better,...
Published: 01/19/18
Why I hate the NHL All-Star Game

Why I hate the NHL All-Star Game

TAMPA — The NHL All-Star Game is coming to town next weekend, reaffirming our community's ability to step into the breach when needed. We don't stop until we get the Winter Olympics. So, don't be surprised if those next Rays stadium plans ...
Published: 01/19/18
Steven Stamkos: ‘I have to be a lot better’

Steven Stamkos: ‘I have to be a lot better’

There was plenty of blame to go around after the Lightning's 4-1 loss to the Golden Knights Thursday night.This loss wasn't on one person, no question.But captain Steven Stamkos showed some leadership by shouldering some responsibility for the team's...
Published: 01/19/18
Lightning falls to Golden Knights

Lightning falls to Golden Knights

TAMPA — The door to the Lightning dressing room remained closed a little longer than usual Thursday night, and that wasn’t surprising. After the kind of performance displayed in its 4-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, this had team...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18