One Amazing Artifact We Would Love to Own from Each NHL Team's History
If you've ever visited the Hockey Hall of Fame, you've seen many of the great artifacts they have from the game's history. Everything from classic jerseys, sticks, skates and goalie masks are kept there and many are on display for fans to see.
But what if each NHL team could only show one item, one artifact that would represent their team's history? This article chooses one item for each present NHL team that best represents their history.
Some teams are particularly difficult to choose an item for. Original Six teams, for example, have long and rich histories and therefore many choices. Newer expansion teams may not have many good choices just yet, especially if they don't have a winning tradition.
Feel free to chime in on any team if you feel there is a better choice out there but do say why your choice belongs in our virtual museum.
Anaheim Ducks: Teemu Selanne "Mighty Ducks" Jersey
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Teemu Selanne remains the most popular and best player in the history of the Ducks.
I chose a "Mighty Ducks" jersey because it represents the team's origin: being owned by Disney and named after the movie of the same name.
The original "Mighty Ducks" logo was also one of the most popular and bestselling jerseys of the 1990s.
Boston Bruins: Jersey Worn by Bobby Orr as He Flew Through the Air
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Bobby Orr remains the greatest player in the history of the Boston Bruins and is arguably the best defenseman and player in the history of the game.
His most iconic moment was the game-winning, Stanley Cup-clinching goal scored in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues, where he flew through the air after scoring. The photo is one of the most iconic and well-known in hockey history.
The jersey Orr wore on this play represents the Bruins best player in his finest moment and a championship moment at that.
Buffalo Sabres: Gilbert Perreault Skates
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Gilbert Perreault was the first ever draft choice in Sabres history and remains the franchise's all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points.
Perreault centered the famed "French Connection Line" between Rene Robert and Richard Martin and helped Buffalo reach the Stanley Cup Final in 1975, the franchise's fifth season in the NHL.
Perreault was one of the fastest skaters in the game in the 1970s, so his skates would be the perfect artifact to represent the Sabres.
Calgary Flames: Lanny McDonald's Cup Winning Jersey
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Lanny McDonald spent eight seasons in Calgary and was one of the most popular players in the history of the Flames franchise.
In 1989, McDonald won the only Stanley Cup of his Hall of Fame career in his final NHL game as the Flames defeated the Canadiens. It remains the only championship in club history.
While our first choice may have been McDonald's signature mustache, we'll "settle" for the jersey he wore when he lifted the Stanley Cup in 1989.
Carolina Hurricanes: Cam Ward's Pads, Stanley Cup Winning Season
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The Carolina Hurricanes franchise won its first Stanley Cup title in 2006 when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers in seven games.
Goalie Cam Ward won the Conn Smythe Trophy that season and his goalie pads from that historic series would be the perfect item to represent the greatest moment in Hurricanes history.
Chicago Blackhawks: Puck from Bobby Hull's 51st Goal
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Hall of Famer Bobby Hull is the most prolific goal scorer in Blackhawks history and arguably the team's most well-known player.
On March 12, 1966, Hull became the first NHL player to score more than 50 goals in a season when he scored goal number 51 against the New York Rangers at Chicago Stadium.
I would choose the puck from that historic goal to represent the Blackhawks and their storied history.
Colorado Avalanche: Patrick Roy's Mask
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The Colorado Avalanche won their first Stanley Cup in 1996, their first season in Denver after moving from Quebec City.
The Avs acquired goalie Patrick Roy from Montreal midway through that inaugural season and he was the final piece of the puzzle for a talented but inexperienced team.
Roy later backstopped the Avalanche to another Stanley Cup win in 2001, the fourth championship of his Hall of Fame career.
Roy's mask would be the perfect artifact to represent the Avalanche's finest NHL moments.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Rick Nash's Stick
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The Columbus Blue Jackets have only been in the NHL since 2000 and have only qualified for the playoffs one time. They were swept in four straight games by Detroit.
So, we'll go with the Blue Jackets' best player, Rick Nash, and take the stick he used to score his final goal of the 2003-04 season, the year he won the Maurice Richard Trophy.
Dallas Stars: Brett Hull's Skate
The Dallas Stars won their first and only Stanley Cup in 1999 on Brett Hull's controversial double overtime goal in Game 6 against the Buffalo Sabres.
The big question: was Hull's skate in the crease before the puck arrived and should the goal have been disallowed as a result?
So, we'll take the skates "The Golden Brett" was wearing when he scored the most important goal in Stars history.
Detroit Red Wings: Gordie Howe Jersey
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The Red Wings have had so many talented players on their roster over the years, but Gordie Howe remains the greatest of them all and arguably, the best player in NHL history.
Howe played 25 seasons in a Red Wings jersey and won four Stanley Cups with Detroit.
In modern hockey, a "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" is when a player scores a goal, gets an assist and has a fight in the same game.
Amazingly, Howe himself only accomplished that feat twice in his NHL career, both occurring during the 1953-54 season.
I would add one of Howe's jerseys from either of those two games to our collection to best represent the Red Wings.
Edmonton Oilers: Wayne Gretzky's Stick 50 in 39
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Wayne Gretzky is the greatest player in Oilers history and arguably in the history of the game.
"The Great One" holds so many NHL records it's tough to know where to start, but his most incredible record is scoring 50 goals in just 39 games.
On December 30, 1981, Gretzky scored five goals in a game against the Flyers to obliterate the previous record held by Maurice Richard and Mike Bossy.
The stick that Gretzky used in that game would be added to our virtual museum to represent the Oilers.
Florida Panthers: Rats
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The Florida Panthers reached the Stanley Cup Final in 1996, just their third season in the NHL.
Th team's symbol that year was the rat. It became the unofficial mascot of the Panthers after Scott Mellanby killed a rodent by one-timing it against the wall in the Panthers dressing room during the club's home opener.
By the end of the season, when word got out, fans would litter the ice with plastic rats each time the Panthers scored a goal.
One of those plastic rats would be the perfect item to best remember the Panthers run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final.
Los Angeles Kings: Jonathan Quick's Conn Smythe Trophy
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The Kings entered the NHL in 1967 but didn't win their first Stanley Cup until 2012.
Jonathan Quick was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner for his outstanding goaltending throughout the playoffs that year as the Kings became the first eighth seed to win a championship.
That Conn Smythe Trophy would be the perfect item to add to our collection to represent the Kings.
If we could sneak in a second, it would be a copy of that iconic hockey 45 from 1979, "Hockey Sock Rock" backed with "Please Forgive My Misconduct Last Night."
Minnesota Wild: Puck from Andrew Brunette's 2003 GWG Game 7 vs. Colorado
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The Wild made their only run to the Western Conference Final in 2003.
Their most exciting and dramatic playoff moment during that long playoff run came in Game 7 of their opening round playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche. Minnesota trailed in the series 3-1 and won the final three games of the series to advance to the next round.
Game 7 was won in overtime on a goal by Andrew Brunette. The game-winning puck would be the artifact chosen to represent the Wild.
Montreal Canadiens: Rocket Richard's Bloody Jersey
The Montreal Canadiens are the most successful franchise in NHL history and a large museum could be filled with Habs artifacts alone.
But Maurice "Rocket" Richard is the ultimate symbol of the Canadiens success and his most iconic moment is shown in this photograph which was taken just after the conclusion of the 1952 Stanley Cup semifinal between the Canadiens and Bruins. Richard suffered a concussion and a cut over his eye but still beat goalie "Sugar" Jim Henry with the winning goal late in the third period on a beautiful drive to the net.
Richard's bloody jersey from this game would be the perfect artifact to represent the power, elegance and success of the Montreal Canadiens.
Nashville Predators: Game Winning Goal Puck 2011 Playoffs vs. Anaheim
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The Predators finally won their first playoff series in 2011, defeating the Anaheim Ducks in the opening round.
Nick Spaling scored twice and netted the game winner in a 4-2 win over the Ducks in Game 6 at Nashville. The game-winning goal puck would be the perfect item to represent the hard-working Predators.
New Jersey Devils: Martin Brodeur's Goalie Stick
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Martin Brodeur has been a constant for the Devils since becoming their full-time goalie in 1993-94.
Brodeur has spent his entire NHL career with New Jersey and has led the club to three Stanley Cup titles.
Along the way, Brodeur became the NHL's all-time leader in wins and shutouts.
Brodeur's goalie stick, which he used to both stop and distribute pucks, would be the perfect artifact to include from the New Jersey Devils.
New York Islanders: Puck from 1980 Game-Winning Goal by Bob Nystrom
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The New York Islanders won four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-83 and won an incredible 19 consecutive playoff series along the way.
The most iconic moment in franchise history remains Bob Nystrom's overtime goal that beat Flyers goalie Pete Peeters and won the Isles' first Stanley Cup back in 1980.
Nystrom was a fan favorite for his hard-working style and endless hustle. The game-winning puck from that first Cup win would be the ideal item to include for the Islanders.
New York Rangers: Mark Messier Jersey from "The Guarantee"
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The New York Rangers had gone 54 years without winning a Stanley Cup in 1994. They won the President's Trophy that year with the league's best record, but they were trailing the Devils 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Final with Game 6 coming up in New Jersey.
Before the game, Rangers captain Mark Messier guaranteed that the Rangers would win and then backed it up with a three-goal, one-assist effort in a 4-2 comeback win for the Rangers. The Rangers won the series in seven games and then went on to win the Stanley Cup against the Canucks.
Messier's jersey from the guarantee game would be the ideal choice for the Rangers, while a tape of Howie Rose's famous call of Stephane Matteau's double-overtime game winner in Game 7 of the same series would be a close second.
Ottawa Senators: Daniel Alfredsson's GWG Puck 2007 Eastern Conference Final
The modern Ottawa Senators franchise reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time when Daniel Alfredsson scored an overtime goal to eliminate the Buffalo Sabres in five games.
The city of Ottawa had not had a team in the Stanley Cup Final in 80 years before Alfredsson's goal.
The game-winning goal puck would be the Senators artifact in our virtual museum.
Philadelphia Flyers: Bobby Clarke's Jersey
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No player is more closely associated with the Flyers franchise than Bobby Clarke.
Clarke made his NHL debut in 1969-70. By 1972-73, Clarke was named captain of the Flyers and he led them to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975.
After retiring in 1984, Clarke later served as the GM of the franchise. The Flyers retired his number 16 jersey in 1984.
A Bobby Clarke home jersey would be the ideal item to represent the Flyers.
Phoenix Coyotes: Teemu Selanne's Stick, Rookie Goal Record
The Coyotes/Jets franchise has not had a lot of success since joining the NHL in 1979.
Their most famous moment came when Teemu Selanne set a new rookie record by scoring 76 goals in 1992-93.
After breaking the record, Selanne pretended his stick was a gun during the celebration.
That stick would be the perfect item to include from the Coyotes/Jets franchise.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Mario Lemieux Jersey, Cancer Return
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Mario Lemieux remains the best and most important player ever to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"Super Mario" saved the Pens from bankruptcy twice, once as a player when he helped turn a hapless team into Stanley Cup contenders and again when he took over as owner of the team in 1999.
While Lemieux had many great moments as a player, the most moving and triumphant came on his return to the lineup the day he finished his final radiation treatment for cancer. He made his return at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and probably became the only Pens player to receive a standing ovation from Philadelphia fans.
Lemieux's jersey from that game would be the ideal item to represent the Pittsburgh Penguins.
San Jose Sharks: Jamie Baker Jersey, 1994 Playoffs Game 7 vs. Detroit
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While the Sharks' recent history is littered with playoff disappointments, their best playoff moment came in 1994 when they upset the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings in the opening round of the playoffs.
Detroit finished the season 18 games ahead of the San Jose in the standings that year, but Jamie Baker scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 to lead the Sharks franchise to their first playoff series win.
Baker's jersey from that game would be the perfect item to include from the Sharks. That style of jersey was a bestseller for years after the Sharks entered the league in 1991.
St. Louis Blues: Bernie Federko Jersey
While the St. Louis Blues have had many great players, none represent the franchise more than Bernie Federko.
Federko spent 13 seasons playing for the Blues and remains the only player to score more than 1,000 points in a St. Louis uniform.
Today, Federko works as an analyst on Blues TV broadcasts. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.
Federko's number 24 jersey would be the artifact chosen to represent the Blues.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Ruslan Fedotenko Cup-Winning Goal Puck
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The Tampa Bay Lightning won their only Stanley Cup title in 2004.
Gritty forward Ruslan Fedotenko scored the game-winning goal for the Bolts, scoring twice in a 2-1 win in the deciding game.
The puck that Fedotenko put in the net behind Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff to give Tampa Bay their championship win would be our choice for the Lightning.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Bob Baun Stretcher
One of the most famous goals in NHL history came in Game 6 of the 1964 Stanley Cup Final.
Leafs defenseman Bob Baun suffered a broken bone in his leg and was removed from the game on a stretcher in the third period but was able to return to the ice and score the game-winning goal in overtime. The Leafs went on to win Game 7 and their third straight Stanley Cup.
While there are a lot of iconic moments in the long history of the Maple Leafs, the stretcher that was used to carry Baun off the ice (shown above) would be a unique artifact to represent Toronto's franchise history.
Vancouver Canucks: Trevor Linden Jersey
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The Vancouver Canucks have reached the Stanley Cup Final three times since entering the NHL in 1970, but each time they have fallen short of winning a championship.
Trevor Linden best represents the Canucks franchise. He played 16 seasons with the franchise and served as captain for six years. His style of play made him a fan favorite and he helped lead the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994 when they fell one goal short of winning.
A Trevor Linden jersey would be the best artifact to represent the Canucks.
Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin Stick
While other players have played in Washington longer, nobody has been more dynamic and explosive than Alex Ovechkin.
"The Great Eight" has been the face of the franchise, for better or for worse, since joining the Capitals in 2005.
Ovechkin has already won two Rocket Richard Trophies and was named league MVP twice.
Ovie's stick would be the ideal item to add to our collection from the Washington Capitals.
Winnipeg Jets: Ticket Stub, First Home Game in Winnipeg, October 9, 2011
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The NHL made its triumphant return to Winnipeg on October 9, 2011.
The city lost the NHL when the original Jets moved to Phoenix to become the Coyotes in 1996.
The home crowds in Winnipeg have been among the loudest and most enthusiastic in the league.
A ticket stub from the Jets home opener in 2011-12, their first home game since moving to Winnipeg from Atlanta, would be the ideal item to include for the new Jets franchise.