Here are the top 100 NHL players of all time

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LOS ANGELES — The list is in.

And, as most expected, it’s wildly impressive.

The NHL unveiled the full list of its 100 greatest players on Friday night, in a star-studded gala event at the Microsoft Theatre.

Having earlier announced the first 33 ‘legends’ of the top 100 list — which included the likes of Gordie Howe and Maurice ‘the Rocket’ Richard — tonight, the league filled out the remaining 67 spots with a red carpet event, introducing players decade by decade.

And here’s how it went.

1970s: Bobby Orr, Brad Park, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, Ken Dryden, Tony Esposito, Bernie Parent, Bobby Clarke, Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito, Jacques Lemaire, Stan Mikita, Gilbert Perreault, Jean Ratelle, Darryl Sittler, Yvan Cournoyer, Bob Gainey, Bobby Hull, Guy Lafleur.

1980s: Jari Kurri, Mike Gartner, Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Peter Stastny, Denis Savard, Mark Messier, Pat LaFontaine, Wayne Gretzky, Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Al MacInnis, Denis Potvin, Borje Salming, Grant Fuhr, Billy Smith.

1990s: Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Leetch, Chris Chelios, 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.

2000s: Teemu Selanne, Chris Pronger, Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Martin Brodeur.

Active players: Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Jaromir Jagr.

Emceed by Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame, the NHL100 gala culminated with the six active players taking to the stage — capped off by the introduction of Jagr, who recently moved into second all-time in NHL scoring.

Following the final six, Hamm gathered all of the NHL greats on stage for one final moment together. It was a big, demonstrative ending to what was arguably the league’s biggest, most demonstrative celebration to date.

A fitting conclusion. It’s Hollywood, after all.

NHL on NBCSN: Penguins face Maple Leafs, eye Metro title race with Capitals

Penguins vs. Maple Leafs, battle with Capitals for Metro
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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Tuesday’s matchup between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

You don’t need to strain to hype up a game between the Penguins and Maple Leafs in 2020.

If anything, you may need to fight the urge to drool at the sheer wattage of star power on the ice. Beyond Sidney Crosby vs. Auston Matthews, you also have Evgeni Malkin, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and other ultra-talented players to watch.

Delightfully – for viewers, at least – the two teams both face serious stakes. Big picture, the Penguins’ biggest fight is with the Capitals for the Metro crown, while the Maple Leafs look almost certainly to battle the Panthers for a playoff spot.

PHT will break down both races on Tuesday. This post focuses on the Metro battle between Pittsburgh and Washington.

(Don’t be surprised if you see Capitals fans openly rooting for Toronto on Tuesday, in other words.)

[COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6 P.M. ET ON NBCSN]

Do schedules give either Penguins or Capitals an edge in Metro race?

Penguins Capitals Metro race Feb 18

As you can see, the Capitals lead the Metro by one point, but the Penguins hold two games in hand. Leafing through projections gives you another glimpse of how fascinating that race could be. The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn gives the Penguins a 64-percent chance to finish first (sub required), while Money Puck puts the Capitals at … 64.6 percent.

Rummaging through the numbers, here are a few observations:

  • If you place weight in home/away records, then you’d think Washington needs home-ice far less than Pittsburgh does. The Capitals are 21-8-1 on the road (vs. 16-9-4 at home). The Penguins, meanwhile are 21-5-4 at home and 15-10-2 on the road.
  • Pittsburgh has more games remaining, but the Capitals actually have one more home game remaining (12) than Pittsburgh does (11). The Penguins play 14 of their final 25 games on the road.
  • Capitals’ challenging stretch: Washington plays five of six on the road from Feb. 27 – March 9.
  • Two noteworthy Penguins runs: Penguins face a four-game road trip Feb. 23-29. They also play four of five on road from March 10-18.

[Catch Alex Ovechkin’s next chance at 700 goals on NBCSN on Thursday]

Three more head-to-head matchups between Pens and Caps

The Penguins and Capitals faced off once so far this season, with Pittsburgh winning in Washington 4-3 on Feb. 2.

That lack of early-season games sets the stage for potentially high-stakes matches, as they face off three more times this season.

Feb. 23 in Washington: Both the Capitals (in New Jersey) and Penguins (home vs. Sabres) will be closing up back-to-back sets. That game is currently scheduled to air on NBC this weekend. Interesting that it comes the day before the 2020 NHL Trade deadline, huh?

March 7 in Pittsburgh: Neither team faces games on March 6, so they should both be as fresh as you can this deep in a season.

March 22 in Pittsburgh: Once again, neither team would be closing off back-to-back sets. This could be a big one on NBC.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

‘Whatever it Takes’ documentary details Connor McDavid’s road to recovery

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The threat of missing the 2019-20 season was real for Connor McDavid. A knee injury suffered in April began what would end up being a summer filled with grueling rehab for the Oilers captain.

The entire process, from the April 6 injury to his return on October 2, was captured in “Connor McDavid: Whatever It Takes,” a Wasserman produced documentary that will air at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN Tuesday night.

Moments after his left leg crashed into the goal post, McDavid was captured saying, “I think it’s broken.” He ended up suffering a completely torn PCL, tears to both his medial and lateral menisci, a completely torn popliteus muscle, and tibial plateau fracture.

“I felt my leg slam into the metal post and thought it was in two pieces,” McDavid says in the documentary. “I was terrified to stand up…wondering if my career may be over.”

McDavid then faced the biggest decision of his career: Undergo surgery, which would mean missing the entire upcoming season, or go the rehab route and see how the knee responded. 

Rehab was the chosen path, but there were still points during the summer where surgery remained a potential option. McDavid and his team — Wasserman agent Jeff Jackson, Dr. Mark Lindsay, and former NHLer Gary Roberts, who trains numerous players — settled on taking the summer to rehab. If progress was nowhere to be found by training camp, then the choice would be surgery. But by mid-August, however, there was signs of progress as the knee began to heal.

The grind McDavid put into rehab was paying off, and the process was being captured on film. As progress was made, an initial thought for the footage was something short form, possibly for social media, was brought up. Once he returned to the ice for opening night and was back to his old form, that’s when they wanted to tell his comeback entire story. 

“In no way was this supposed to be a Connor McDavid hero piece,” Jackson told NBC Sports this week. “It was more showing that taking the approach that we ultimately did with him, to go non-surgically, was an option for players going forward, depending on the circumstance, obviously, and depending on the injury. Taking that approach is pretty inspiring for other athletes, whether they’re pro or even amateur athletes because missing the whole season is a huge deal when your career is very finite anyway.”

As the documentary shows, the rehab was incredibly difficult, especially with his goal of being ready for opening night. But there were plenty of tough days mentally for McDavid — days where self-doubt and frustration crept in.

“Those guys who are elite, they can have a couple of rough days but there’s never a question that they’re going to pull the chute or quit,” Jackson said. “They just soldier through it. They put that bad day behind them and move on. That’s kind of what Connor’s summer was like.”

McDavid, his camp, and the Oilers were very quiet about his status over the summer, leaving plenty of unanswered questions. But when he showed off his vintage self by scoring against the Canucks on opening night — and added a little bit extra to his celebration — there was no doubt he was back.

Through 55 games McDavid, who is currently recovering from a quad injury, has 30 goals and 81 points. Any fears that the injury would change the way he plays have been put to rest.

“They pay me $100 million dollars to play my game,” says McDavid. “Part of my game is beating guys wide and going to the net. I’ll have to give my money back if I stop doing that.”

Connor McDavid: Whatever It Takes will air Tuesday night at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

MORE: PHT’s 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

PHT Morning Skate: Reviewing NHL trades; Boudreau wants another coaching gig

Boudreau wants another coaching gig; reviewing trades NHL deadline headlines
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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Bruce Boudreau admits he was blindsided by his firing, and uttered the inevitable expletives. Boudreau doesn’t believe he’s too old to keep coaching, and wants another gig. (The Athletic, sub required)

• By trading Jason Zucker and firing Boudreau when Boudreau didn’t see it coming, Wild GM Bill Guerin put his team on notice. Who might be next? (Pioneer-Press)

• Doctors haven’t cleared Nolan Patrick for contact, but he’s skating again with teammates. Patrick explains how much of a difference it makes not to be alone anymore during this process. (NBC Sports Philly)

• Canadiens coach Claude Julien received a $10K fine for his comments to officials. (Global News)

• The league added some context to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s red-hot, record-breaking 11-game winning streak. Spoiler: they haven’t trailed very often. That and more in their morning skate. (NHL)

[PHT is tracking and reviewing trades through the deadline here]

• I must confess that when I read the headline “Part of the Sedinery,” I was wondering if there might be a Sedin twins wine. Reading about their outstanding charitable efforts was even more delicious than a smooth Valpolicella. (Vancouver Province)

• Travis Yost argues that Mike Hoffman would be a perfect fit for the Oilers. Actually, Yost is making that argument again. Imagine Hoffman’s sniping with Connor McDavid‘s playmaking? Goalies everywhere grumbled. (TSN)

• Going longer-term on Edmonton, Tyler Yaremchuk discusses Ken Holland’s quest for cost certainty. Giving Zack Kassian an iffy contract certainly took away a lot of breathing room. (Oilers Nation)

• Raw Charge makes a spot-on analysis of the Blake Coleman trade from Tampa’s perspective. Coleman is indeed a great addition, but credit to New Jersey: the price was high. (Raw Charge)

• Lou Lamoriello is reviewing other options for trades after adding Andy Greene to the mix. They’ve lost some ground in playoff races, so that might be a wise strategy. (Islanders Insight)

Blake Wheeler feels “gutted” for injured Jets teammate Bryan Little. (Winnipeg Free-Press)

• The Blue Jackets have had to scratch for every win, point, and basically every goal this season. (The Score)

Logan Couture seems close to returning to practicing with the Sharks. Here’s some unsolicited advice: err on the side of safety during a lost season. (NHL/Sharks)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Devils selling with the NHL trade deadline approaching

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — With the NHL trade deadline a week away, the New Jersey Devils may as well have a giant “for sale” sign hanging outside the dressing room.

Interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald gave a clear indication the Devils are ready to unload when he shipped defenseman and captain Andy Greene and forward Blake Coleman in separate deals Sunday for prospects and draft picks.

With New Jersey looking at a potential second straight bottom-five finish, expect Fitzgerald to move more players.

“I’m guessing my phone will ring a little more now because of what I did,” Fitzgerald said Sunday evening. “But I’m not looking to get rid of players. I’m looking to really move the organization, continue moving forward. And there are players here that will do that and help us.”

Fitzgerald said there are several players he will not trade. Centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, the No. 1 overall selections in 2017 and ‘19, respectively, are untouchable, as is rookie goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, who has 19 of the team’s 22 wins. Centers Pavel Zacha and Travis Zajac, who has a no-trade clause he is not going to waive, also are staying.

The rest of the roster seems to be on the market. The most interesting players on that list are forwards Kyle Palmieri and Wayne Simmonds and defensemen Will Butcher and Sami Vatanen.

Palmieri is the best player. He has a team-high 22 goals and is a legit top line forward who is good on the power play. Simmonds has struggled in his first season in New Jersey with seven goals, but he remains a net-front presence.

Vatanen, 28, is in the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent after the season. He is currently on injured reserve with a foot injury so that would have to heal if he is to be moved.

The 25-year-old Butcher has slipped a little in each of the past two campaigns after having a 44-point season as a rookie.

Defense is the area the Devils need to improve. They have given up 204 goals, which is third worst in the league.

New Jersey has some young players who might be ready soon. Kevin Bahl, who was acquired in the December deal with Arizona for Taylor Hall, and former first-round pick Ty Smith have had very good seasons in junior hockey.

The deal that shipped Coleman to Tampa Bay on Sunday night gave the Devils a couple of assets. They picked up a first-round draft pick this year that belonged to Vancouver and prospect forward Nolan Foote.

Foote could be the find. The 6-foot-4 son of former NHL defenseman Adam Foote, has all the tools at 19 years old.

“I saw him in the summer at the world junior camp and was impressed with his size and hands around the net and definitely the shot,” Fitzgerald said. “So those type of players don’t grow on trees, so when that’s being offered to you, you have to think.”

If Vancouver makes the playoffs and Arizona does not get a top three pick in the draft lottery, their first-round picks will go to the Devils, giving them three in what is considered a good draft.

The problem is New Jersey has a long way to go. It has made the playoffs once since going to the Finals in 2012. Its coach, Alain Nasreddine, and general manager have interim tags.

Ownership has shown little patience this season. John Hynes was fired as coach in early December and Ray Shero was fired as general manager a month later.

“I don’t think we’re going to snap our fingers and next year we’re going to be contending for a Stanley Cup, or the year after,” Fitzgerald said.

New Jersey has three pillars for the future in Hischier, Hughes and Blackwood, and some young players with potential.

“If I can add things in the summer, I don’t see why this team can’t be competitive and scratch and claw to that point of playoffs (next season), but continue to grow it the right way,” Fitzgerald said.

MORE: PHT’s 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker