Tag: Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky

Fanspeak: Gretzky voted best player in Kings franchise history


This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

Los Angeles Kings

1. Wayne Gretzky – 1,321 Votes

2. Luc Robitaille – 767 Votes

3. Jonathan Quick – 238 Votes

4. Other – 161 Votes

Even though he sits just 16th all-time in games played for the Kings — heck, Sean O’Donnell played more — it’s hard to deny Gretzky’s place atop this list, or the impact he had on hockey in Los Angeles. No. 99 brought the Kings the type of Hollywood limelight normally reserved for the Lakers, and paced the team to its first-ever Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1993.

In short, he put hockey in the map in L.A.

Here’s what the No. 2 guy on this list, Robitaille, said about Gretzky’s impact (per The Hockey News):

Here in L.A., Wayne is The Guy. He made us a respectable franchise. People became believers because of him. You talk to Drew Doughty, he’ll tell you he wanted to play for the Kings because he’d seen and heard about Gretzky.

We have a history and obviously there was Marcel Dionne, but Gretzky and that trade changed the NHL.

(Oddly enough, Dionne failed to crack the top three on the list.)

Gretzky’s time with L.A. also produced a number of numbers and awards. He won his last Hart Trophy as league MVP in a Kings uniform (in 1989), and captured three Art Ross trophies as the regular season scoring champ.

All told, he finished his L.A. career with 918 points in 539 games — a 1.7 points-per-game average — and, during the ’93 Cup run, scored a staggering 40 points in 24 games.

So yeah, no real surprise No. 99 is the No. 1 King of all time.

Eric Lindros’ open-and-shut case for the Hockey Hall of Fame

Eric Lindros

Peter Forsberg’s election to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday may have helped take care of something that should’ve happened already – make Eric Lindros’ case to be enshrined in Toronto.

The two giants of the ice are forever linked because of the June 30, 1992 trade that sent Lindros’ rights from the Quebec Nordiques to the Philadelphia Flyers. The blockbuster seven-player deal saw Lindros go to the Flyers in exchange for Forsberg, Steve Duchesne, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, and Philly’s 1993 first-round pick that turned into Jocelyn Thibault.

Both Lindros and Forsberg went on to have superstar careers.

Forsberg had greater team success winning the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche while Lindros made one Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1997 with the Flyers getting swept by the Detroit Red Wings. Forsberg won two Olympic gold medals in 1994 and 2006 with Sweden while Lindros won one in 2002 with Canada.

For Hockey Hall of Fame arguments, team titles are an easy way to distract from the point of the Hall of Fame. Getting elected to the Hall is based on individual success and, let’s face it, there are plenty of players who will never come close to making the Hall who have won multiple Stanley Cups.

When it came to individual accolades, their honors are similar. Both Forsberg (2003) and Lindros (1995) won Hart Trophies. Forsberg also won the Calder (1995) and Art Ross (2003). Both went to multiple All-Star Games and were season-end league all-stars as well.

When you look at the raw statistics and personal achievements between Lindros and Forsberg, suddenly things look a lot closer:

Forsberg:  (14 seasons – 708 GP)  249 G  636 A  885 PTS  690 PIM 1.250 PPG (points per-game)

Lindros:    (13 seasons – 760 GP)  372 G  493 A  865 PTS  1,398 PIM  1.138 PPG

Forsberg’s points per game total is eighth best all-time trailing Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy, Sidney Crosby, Bobby Orr, Marcel Dionne, and Peter Stastny. He was a no-brainer Hall of Famer whether you loved him or hated him or wanted to hold his history of foot injuries against him.

source: Getty ImagesWhile Lindros’ PPG total pales in comparison, put that into perspective of how great Forsberg’s play was. Lindros’ PPG total is 19th best all-time. The next 11 players behind Lindros on that list are all in the Hall of Fame. Of those between Forsberg and Lindros, Kent Nilsson is the only one who isn’t currently playing that’s not in the Hall (Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Jaromir Jagr are still going strong).

Forsberg was rightly considered a no-brainer to make the Hall of Fame yet this was Lindros’ fifth turn on the ballot. Next year’s vote won’t be any easier for Lindros to crack through.

Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, and Alex Kovalev will be eligible for the first time and join a growing group of worthy candidates to be enshrined. Lidstrom will be a unanimous selection with Fedorov being arguably close to that as well.

That means Lindros will be fighting for recognition amongst other guys with gaudy numbers like Phil Housley, Alexander Mogilny, and Dave Andreychuk or those with brilliant international careers like Sergei Makarov.

There shouldn’t be a way for others, aside from Lidstrom, to make as strong of a claim to make the Hall of Fame next year as Lindros. Now with Forsberg earning his own spot in history, it’s time for the Hall of Fame committee to open the doors for “Big E.”

Video: Jaromir Jagr scores 700th career goal

Jaromir Jagr

Jaromir Jagr’s has another achievement to add to his future Hall of Fame career .

Jagr scored his 700th career goal to give the Devils a 2-0 lead in the first period against the New York Islanders. Jagr is the seventh player to reach the 700-goal plateau all-time and is now eight goals behind Mike Gartner for sixth all-time in goals scored.

It may not have been a highlight-reel type of goal for the 42-year-old winger from Kladno, but they all count the same when they beat the goalie. Check out Jagr’s milestone goal with the call from the Devils broadcast.

As for how the all-time goal scorers list looks, here’s the company Jagr is keeping.

  1. Wayne Gretzky – 894
  2. Gordie Howe – 801
  3. Brett Hull – 741
  4. Marcel Dionne – 731
  5. Phil Esposito – 717
  6. Mike Gartner – 708
  7. Jaromir Jagr – 700


Not a bad group to be associated with.

Gretzky supports NHL players in the Olympics

Wayne Gretzky

One of the hottest debates we’ll have for the next four years will be whether or not NHL players should return to the Olympics in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

One guy who supports keeping NHL players in the Olympics, however, is none other than Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky spoke with Rob Pizzo on Hockey Night in Canada radio Friday afternoon and was asked his thoughts about whether or not NHL players should go back to the Olympics. The Great One is all in favor of it.

“When we grew up as kids we dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup. That was a goal that if you made the NHL you couldn’t play in the Olympic Games,” Gretzky said.

“So if I had a vote, I would vote to go because I love the Olympic Games and I think there’s no bigger honor, there’s no bigger thrill than representing your country and being part of Team Canada. It’s something you can’t even describe how special of a feeling it is to know that you get to put that red and white jersey on.”

Gretzky was a member of Team Canada’s 2002 gold medal-winning team in Salt Lake City and was also part of the 1998 team in Nagano. While he’s one major figure putting his support behind keeping NHL players in the Olympics, logistics of sending everyone to Korea could throw a wrench in things.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman refused to address whether or not they’ll participate in the 2018 Games and it’s not likely to be decided right up until the Games themselves. One thing that will the possibility alive, however, would be the players speaking up and saying they want to do it.

PHT Morning Skate: Islanders documentary due in mid-October

Kevin Connolly, Bryan Berard

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Good news Islanders fans, your ESPN 30 for 30 documentary is due to premiere on October 22. The bad news? It’s about criminal former owner John Spano. It’s all right though, it’s directed by big Isles fan, Entourage star Kevin Connolly (pictured with Bryan Berard). (Islanders Point Blank)

Vancouver re-signed defenseman Yann Sauve to a new deal. Hooray depth! (Canucks)

Is Wayne Gretzky that much closer to joining MLSE? A former Maple Leafs beat guy thinks so. (Howard Berger via Twitter)

A surprising upside to Detroit signing Daniel Alfredsson? Him being a right-handed shot. (Detroit Free Press)

Heads up stat nerds: Check out these zone entry numbers from last season. Know who’s pretty good? Anze Kopitar. (Shutdown Line)