This new edition is the biggest ever and features more profiles of the sport's best players.
Hockey fans everywhere are always hungry for more information on the Game. Hockey's Greatest Stars profiles hockey's greatest players: the legendary all-stars and the promising young lions. Fans of all ages will enjoy the book's lively and incisive commentary combined with memorable quotes and insider tales of trades and off-ice antics.
The book now profiles 100 players -- a combination of the greatest NHL players of all time plus the top players on the ice today. Each profile is illustrated with action-packed photographs.
The legends include:
The young lions include:
Bigger than ever before, this update of hockey's best continues the tradition of being a collected favorite of hockey fans.
Chris McDonell is a writer and graphic artist and is the author of Shooting From the Lip, The Game I'll Never Forget and For the Love of Hockey.
"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."
And so it follows that stars beget stars: from Richard to Howe to Bobby Orr to Wayne Gretzky to Mario Lemieux to Alex Ovechkin to Sidney Crosby -- the list is ever growing, and on it are the finest players to ever play the game.
Hockey's Greatest Stars profiles the best of these players: the "legends" (the greatest players of all time) and the "young lions" (players who are prowling the NHL arenas -- all were born in 1984 or later). There were many worthy candidates, and it was an arduous task to establish the final selections. When it came down to it, looking at statistics and accumulated awards was instructive, but it was not enough.
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 commented, even the renowned Howie Morenz would have had a difficult time in the NHL of the 1950s.
Another important ingredient in the makeup of a great hockey player is his contribution to team success. "Steve Yzerman is the best example," said winger Brendan Shanahan about Yzerman's ability to transform himself from a prolific scorer to a shut-down centerman. "He's a guy whose image has gone back and forth so many times in the [Detroit] 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 many 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. And goaltender Vladislav Tretiak didn't even compete in the NHL.
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. 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-goalscorer Mike Gartner is included, 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 as he did -- winger Pavel Bure springs immediately to mind. Likewise, it was hard to exclude players such as left winger Luc Robitaille, the 171st overall in pick in the 1984 draft. Robitaille proved NHL scouts wrong for having left him waiting so long, as he won the Calder Trophy in 1987 and went on to score 668 career goals, the most by any left winger in NHL history.
The results of these 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.
As Gretzky observed at the 1999 All-Star Game, "One of the greatest parts of our game is the history. . . . There are some guys who don't get as much recognition as they deserve for getting hockey to the level it is today." From Morenz to Richard to Howe to Gretzky to the young lions of today, these vignettes, although arranged by position rather than in chronological order, collectively serve as a snapshot of all that is hockey -- past, present and future.