Bobby Hull

Hockey legends like Brady leaving Patriots Orr Howe Hull Brodeur
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With Brady leaving Patriots, remember these hockey legends in places you forgot

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As mind-blowing as it is to type this, it’s true: Tom Brady said goodbye to the Patriots on Tuesday. It’s something that’s difficult to process, even if you’re not a Patriots or even a football fan. Yet, as Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra chronicles for baseball, legends donning strange uniforms late in their careers is no new phenomenon, and certainly not limited to the land of pigskins. So what about hockey and the NHL, then?

Hockey fans have been treated to quite a few one-team legends, including Mario Lemieux saving the Penguins more than once.

Even so, there are plenty of legends who ended spent time in jerseys that just felt wrong. Let’s ponder the hockey answers to Brady leaving the Patriots, Johnny Unitas on the Chargers, Michael Jordan with the Wizards, and Babe Ruth on the Boston Braves.

Orr down hockey Brady comparison
(Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque leave Boston with very different results

At least with Brady, Boston-area fans couldn’t reasonably ask for more. Meanwhile, Bobby Orr’s career concluded with questions of “What could have been?”

Knee injuries ravaged his later career, and after 10 seasons, Orr left the Bruins for the Blackhawks. Between two seasons, Orr could only appear in 26 games for Chicago.

In something of a sequel, the Bruins traded Ray Bourque during his 21st season with the team, setting the stage for Bourque to eventually win a Stanley cup inspiring enough to essentially demand a parade in Boston.

Brodeur Blues Brady leaving Patriots hockey comparison
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Brodeur finishes with the Blues

If Orr on the Blackhawks isn’t the Brady comparison you think of for hockey, then it’s probably Brodeur appearing in seven games for the Blues after winning three Stanley Cups, four Vezinas, and setting the all-time wins record over 1,259 games with the Devils.

(That contrast still makes me chuckle, to be honest.)

As awkward as Brodeur’s brief Blues stint was, it lacked the angst of how Orr’s career ended. That might make it closer to a 1:1 hockey comparison for Brady, although the QB could easily prove that his tank isn’t empty.

Much of this list shows examples of players trying to prove that they could still play, with most sputtering out after running on fumes.

(Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hull of a change, and Howe

Bobby Hull already experienced quite a journey going from the Blackhawks to the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets (scoring 303 goals in the WHA alone). Hull’s final hockey and NHL season was especially odd, though, starting with 18 NHL games for the Jets before being traded to the Hartford Whalers, playing nine games for The Whale. Gordie Howe ended up being a Whalers teammate of Hull, which is … yeah, pretty mind-blowing. Bobby Hull also attempted a comeback with the Rangers.

(Howe’s legendary career featured quite the second [and maybe third?] acts after his Red Wings days, including playing with his sons, and somehow managing 15 goals and 41 points with the Hartford Whalers at age 51.)

Bobby’s son Brett Hull experienced a journeyman career of his own. Brett convinced the Coyotes to unretire Bobby’s number 9, but that story ended with a whimper (five games) as Brett realized he couldn’t adjust to the post-lockout style of play in 2005-06.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Random Red Wings

If you’re playing trivia and “This player finished his career/briefly played for this team …” comes up, blurting out Detroit Red Wings isn’t the worst bet.

Lightning round, sometimes involving Lightning

  • Mats Sundin stunned Maple Leafs fans by joining the Canucks. There was some Alfredsson-like logic of linking Sundin with fellow Swedes Henrik and Daniel Sedin, yet the experiment lasted just 41 games.
  • Brian Leetch playing for the Maple Leafs was a little strange, but Leetch in a Bruins sweater will never look right.
  • Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens legend, as a Quebec Nordique? Yes, that happened. Jacques Plante bounced around quite about post-Habs, too, including eight games with the (gasp) Bruins.
  • Like Plante, Grant Fuhr pinballed around the NHL quite a bit after parting ways with the Oilers, but joining the Flames? Wow. Fuhr didn’t just play for the Calgary Flames, either, as he suited up twice for the Saint John Flames.
  • File Ed Belfour and Igor Larionov under “people you might not have known played for the Panthers.”
  • Olaf Kolzig was persistent in Washington as Godzilla could be in Tokyo, playing 711 of his 719 games for the Capitals. The eight other games came with the Lightning. (Vincent Lecavalier playing for the Kings was strange, but softened by his years with the Flyers.)

Feel free to mention other fish-out-of-water memories in the comments. Also, if you had to guess, which hockey legend will Brady mirror the most?

(Hopefully we won’t ever get that “Halloween Olajuwon as a Raptor vs. Patrick Ewing with the Magic” feeling from Brady’s final act.)

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.

Video: Howe honored at the Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner

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Gordie Howe made what many expect to be his final public appearance Friday night at the Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner in Saskatoon.

Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull and Brett Hull were among the hockey greats in attendance to pay tribute to Mr. Hockey.

Part of the day’s festivities included an arena near Howe’s hometown renamed the Gordie Howe Kinsman Arena.

The 86-year-old has been in poor health since suffering a stroke in October. However, he has made significant improvement after undergoing stem-cell treatment in Mexico last month.

Fanspeak: Bobby Hull voted greatest Blackhawk in franchise history

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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.

Chicago Blackhawks

1. Bobby Hull — 1,074 votes

2. Stan Mikita — 528 votes

3. Patrick Kane — 320 votes

4. Jeremy Roenick — 225 votes

5. Other — 368 votes

He’s scored the most goals in Chicago Blackhawks history with 604 and he’s second to Stan Mikita in points and games played. Yes, Bobby Hull, “The Golden Jet”, was the icon in Chicago.

With the Blackhawks, he was the first NHL player to score 50 goals in 1960 and led them to the Stanley Cup in 1961. He also led the NHL in goals seven times before parting ways with Chicago rather acrimoniously to play for the Winnipeg Jets in the WHA. Check out what Hull told Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post in 2010 about how the older Bobby Hull would’ve advised the younger him.

“Um, I would have to say, ‘You’re backed in a corner, son. Go to it.’ That’s exactly what happened. [Chicago] backed me into a corner, they never offered me a contract while they were off floating around in their 110-foot ship in the Caribbean. They didn’t seem like my 15 years of blood, sweat and tears for them made any difference. They pissed me off, a few years before that, on a number of occasions.”

Despite the ugly parting, he’s a man forever etched into the memories of Blackhawks fans for what he did to electrify the city in the 60s and 70s.

Considering all the success the team has had in the past few years, you’d think Kane or Jonathan Toews would’ve earned a few more votes, but it looks like hardcore ‘Hawks fans did their part to recognize the all-time greats.

Video: Blackhawks reveal Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita statues

For newbie fans, the Chicago Blackhawks’ greatest duo might already be Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.* The truth is that those two players have a long way to go to eclipse the team’s legendary one-two punch of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.

Former owner Bill Wirtz rubbed the two former players the wrong way during his time as owner, but the team rebuilt their ties with the two aging faces of its franchise once Rocky Wirtz took over. The icons have been invited back for various events, but Saturday night featured a fitting moment: the team revealed statues for both of them in a classy ceremony.

Check out video of the announcement below.

* – Oddly, no one’s really making an argument for Eric Daze and Alexei Zhamnov.

PHT’s Morning Skate: Jaromir Jagr is a maniacal workout machine

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.

Kevin Weekes explains what makes Jaromir Jagr as good as he is at age 39. Hint: He’s more than just a rink rat. (NHL.com)

Kings forward Trevor Lewis is trying to figure out a nickname for new guy Mike Richards. With Brad Richardson in town, it’s a good thing they didn’t also get Brad Richards this summer. Everyone can’t be “Richie”… Can they? (Mayors Manor)

Like it or not, Bill Simmons is becoming a Kings season ticket holder this year because he won’t have the Clippers to obsess over. (Grantland)

Jo Innes at Backhand Shelf examines what goes into treating a Taylor Fedun-like broken femur. Trust her, she’s a pro. (Backhand Shelf)

Blackhawks will unveil statues for both Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita on Saturday (Chicago Tribune)

Some Buffalo Sabres are getting skating training from Dawn Braid. Yes, she’s a figure skater. Now where’s D.B. Sweeney? (Sabres)

Hal Gill will play in his 1,000th career game against the team he won a Stanley Cup with in Pittsburgh. The S.S. Gill sails again. (NHL)

Finally, here’s Winnipeg first round pick Mark Scheifele scoring his first NHL goal. In before going back to juniors?