Farewell to Joe Sakic, the Last of a Kind
Joseph Steven Sakic.
Some call him Joseph, some Burnaby Joe, some call him one of the best hockey players of his time and beyond.
Joe Sakic was born July 7, 1969. At the very least, he is a professional hockey player. It would only be modest to say that Sakic was one of the best players of his age and beyond.
The best of all time wouldn't be too far of a stretch, either. He won two Stanley Cups and has been voted into more NHL All-Star games than you have fingers or toes, for some of you maybe both.
That's 13 times, in case you were wondering.
His record list does not stop there. He has more than 1,600 points, and holds multiple franchise records, including most all-time goals, assists, and obviously points. But as the late great Billie Mays would say, "But wait, there's more!"
He also holds an extensive list of records, which are listed below.
- First place—Regular season points among active players (1,629)
- First place—Regular season assists among active players (1,006)
- First place—All-Star Game assists (16)
- First place—Most overtime goals (8)
- First place—Playoff points among active players (188)
- First place—Playoff goals among active players (84)
And what's the best part?
No, it is not the street that he is named after.
Not only his league-setting records; that's only what he is first in. He has top records within the top 35 in the regular season and records atop the seven best in the playoffs as well.
Every goalie in the NHL knew that when you played against Sakic, you played arguably one of, if not the best, wrist shots in the entire game. Six times he had at least 100 points and twice he had over 50 goals.
Want some comparison? Only three players surpassed 100 points this past year, two of them belonged to the Stanley Cup champions. The other was Alex Ovechkin.
Probably a record that will be identified with Sakic forever will be this: He was the eighth-best player to touch the ice statistically, and probably in every other field as well.
Out of every hockey player ever, he is the eighth all-time points leader. After the 2000-2001, his fellow players and hockey writers named him the Most Valuable Player in the NHL.
Sakic's amazing career was not limited to the NHL. He also enjoyed success by leading Team Canada to its first gold medal in 50 years, and was voted as the tournament's Most Valuable Player as well.
Sakic has shown up to represent his country in six other international competitions.
Sakic's NHL career started and ended with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche. Sakic was a relatively lukewarm first-round draft pick, ending up almost smack in the middle at 15th way back in 1987. Sakic did not start playing until 1988.
His rookie season was a smash. He broke out and was an early favorite for the Calder Cup as best rookie. However, an ankle injury and a small slump saw his production halt at 62 points over 70 games—not enough to capture the award.
His second season was one of his best, as he finished with more than 100 points, which was ninth in the league. This wasn't overlooked, as the next season, his third, he was named co-captain of the team.
He was a captain for all the home games and, once again, not only hit the 100-point plateau, but surpassed his previous record and a nice 109-point season.
Sakic was enjoying his production, but his team struggled greatly, finishing last in his division for a few seasons.
In the 1994-1995 lockout, Sakic was only a few points behind the great Jaromir Jagr for the scoring title, but ended up falling just short. A small loss, but a greater success for Sakic and his Nordiques, which he led to their first division title in a very long time.
This is when the current Sakic-era actually began; with the team being sold and moved to Colorado. Sakic led the Avalanche to their first Stanley Cup Championship with an amazing 120 points in the regular season and 34 points in the post season (in 22 games). He won the Conn Smyth Trophy, which indicated he was the MVP of the Playoffs.
At this point, Sakic was enjoying great success, division titles and a President's Trophy. Even injury did not bar Sakic from enjoying productive seasons.
Sakic would go on to win a second Stanley Cup Championship in 2001. His most notable reaction was the passing of the Cup to Ray Bourque almost immediately, a player who had a drought longer then the Saharan desert; waiting 22 seasons to finally touch the Silver Cup.
Although Sakic enjoyed many other milestones beyond this moment, this was the high point in his stellar career.
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