Jean Beliveau

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.

PHT’s top 14 of ’14: Quinn, Beliveau pass away

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In an eleven-day span, the hockey world mourned the loss of two iconic figures — legendary player, coach and executive Pat Quinn passed away on Nov. 23 at the age of 71 and, just over a week later, Montreal Canadiens icon Jean Beliveau died at the age of 83.

Beliveau spent parts of 20 seasons with the Canadiens winning 10 Stanley Cups. He added seven more Championship rings as a member of the club’s management team.

In total, Beliveau appeared in 1,125 games scoring 507 goals and 1,219 points while winning the Art Ross Trophy (1956), Conn Smythe (1965) and the Hart Trophy (1956 and 1964).

Beliveau retired following the 1970-71 season as the franchise leader in points, second in goals and the NHL’s all-time leading playoff scorer. He had his No. 4 raised to the rafters at the Montreal Forum on October 9, 1971.

Quinn broke into the NHL as a player during the 1968-69 season and appeared in 606 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Flames. One of his most memorable moments as a player came during the 1969 playoffs, when he ran over Bruins’ legend Bobby Orr.

Quinn was forced to retire in 1977 due to an ankle injury but wasted little time getting back into the game, joining the Philadelphia Flyers as an assistant coach that same year.

During his first full season as head coach of the Flyers, 1979-80, Quinn led the team to a Stanley Cup final appearance where they were defeated in six games by the New York Islanders. After a stop in L.A., Quinn took a coaching job with the Vancouver Canucks where he led the club to a Stanley Cup final appearance in 1994. Quinn’s coaching career also landed him behind the bench in Toronto and Edmonton.

Internationally, Quinn coached Team Canada to a gold medal victory at the 2002 Olympics and won the World Cup in 2004. He also coached Canada to gold medal victories at the U-18 World Championship in 2008 and the U-20 World Junior Championship in 2009.

Tributes for both men came pouring in shortly after they passed.

Several of the organizations Quinn was involved wore a ‘PQ’ decal on their helmets, and the Canucks paid tribute with an emotional pre-game ceremony on Nov. 25th.

Beliveau’s body lie in state at the Bell Centre in Montreal over the weekend of Dec. 6-7 prior to his funeral on Dec. 10. Before the Canadiens’ 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks Dec. 9, the team honored their longest serving captain with an emotional ceremony of their own.

Thornton passes Beliveau as Sharks top Wild

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Joe Thornton setup both San Jose goals Thursday night as the Sharks edged the Minnesota Wild 2-1.

With his pair of assists, Thornton passed the late Jean Beliveau on the NHL’s all-time points list.

Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski had the goals for the Sharks while Alex Stalock made 18 saves for the win.

Here’s Thornton’s historical point:

San Jose has now won six of seven.

Christian Folin had the lone Wild goal – his first career NHL marker.

Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves as the Wild lost for the second time in three games.

Video: Celebrating Jean Beliveau’s legacy

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Hockey legend Jean Beliveau passed away Tuesday night leaving behind a rich legacy that extends beyond the dynasty he helped build in Montreal.

PHT Morning Skate: Where Ilya Kovalchuk’s family helps him play better

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.

Ilya Kovalchuk brought his family to New Jersey this season and it’s helped him play a lot better. (Fire & Ice)

Dwight King is the Kings’ surprise superstar of the playoffs. (Chicago Tribune)

Slava Voynov is turning out to be pretty good for L.A. especially in this series. (L.A. Kings Insider)

The Coyotes are hoping a finally full roster can help them turn the tide in Game 4. (NHL.com)

Dave Tippett isn’t talking so much about embellishment a day later. (L.A. Kings Insider)

Five different Flyers are headed for surgery in the offseason: Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux, Kimmo Timonen, James van Riemsdyk, and Matt Carle. (Flyers)

Habs GM Marc Bergevin isn’t telling anyone where his mind is at regarding a new coach. (Montreal Gazette)

True North’s director of communications Scott Brown “felt like the Grinch” just a year ago when word leaked Winnipeg was getting a team back. (Winnipeg Sun)

Former Oilers defenseman Jason Strudwick says the next Oilers coach should be a hard-liner. (Edmonton Sun)

Predators forward Craig Smith hopes the “rookie wall” won’t hit him again next season. (Tennessean)

Good news everyone, Jean Beliveau is feeling a lot better lately. (Montreal Gazette)

The Red Wings are loving the play of prospect Calle Jarnkrok at Worlds. (Detroit Free Press)