All-Time NHL Team: Right Wingers
It's that time again, folks! Today, I will be unveiling the right wingers on my All-Time NHL Team.
A bit more substance here, I left out a very deserving candidate: Jaromir Jagr. He deserves honorable mention for his 1,599 career points, numerous awards and god awful curly mullet.
Our first reserve has famous lineage of a starter on our team. Even more impressive? He scored more goals. That's right; I'm referring to The Golden Jet's son, the "Golden Brett" Brett Hull.
Brett started out as "Bobby's son" when he was made a sixth round draft choice by the Calgary Flames in 1984. After one season in Calgary (1987-88) he was dealt to the St. Louis Blues.
From there, Brett became the game's deadliest sniper, setting a right wing record for goals with 86 in the 1990-91 season. He would go on to score 521 goals for the Blues in his 11 seasons of service before signing on with the Dallas Stars in 1998-99. That year, he picked up that elusive Stanley Cup championship, albeit in controversial fashion.
Brett would have stops in Detroit and Phoenix before hanging up his skates for good with an incredible 741 goals, placing him third all-time behind Gordie Howe (801) and Wayne Gretzky (894).
So why Brett Hull? Not exactly the skater his father was, Brett made up for that by being a smart player and knowing how to find the open spot. A lethal one-timer and a slap shot that brought back images of the "Jet," Hull was as lethal a scorer as the NHL has ever seen.
Our next reserve was a key cog in the Long Island dynasty and could have left the game as the greatest sniper ever if not for injuries.
Mike Bossy entered the league as a bold rookie and claimed he would pot 50. He wouldn't disappoint, netting a then-rookie record 53 goals. He would be the second player ever to join the "50 in 50" club, recording 50 goals in his first 50 games, a mark that only Maurice Richard had achieved.
The Boss would continue his reign of terror, helping the Islanders to four straight Stanley Cups. He would eventually develop animosity for Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers because he felt that the Islanders Cup reign didn't get the attention of the '70s Canadiens dynasty or the Oilers of the late '80s.
Bossy would retire in 1988 due to chronic back problems, having posted nine consecutive 50 goal seasons, a mark which still stands (only Gretzky has nine 50 goal seasons) as well as being one of two players to score 60 goals in five seasons (again, Gretzky being the other).
So why is Bossy on the team? Simply put, he was the greatest goal scorer ever. No one did what he did as much or more consistently as he did. Nine straight 50 goal seasons may never, ever be seen again. It's frightening to think that he achieved 573 career goals in a 10-year career. Who knows how many goals he would have had if his career went the length of Gretzky's.
The battle for our top spot was a two horse race, our "loser" being the final reserve. So legendary he even has an award named after him, it's Montreal legend Maurice "Rocket" Richard.
Beginning in 1942, Richard began to make a name for himself with his fiery competitiveness and knack for scoring. He scored so often, in fact, that he was without a doubt the most prolific goal scorer of his era.
Richard set the "50 in 50" standard, doing so in 1944-45 and was also the first to achieve 500 career goals. Known as being one of the most clutch players ever, Richard left the game with a then-record six overtime game-winners (Joe Sakic has since passed him with eight).
He helped lead the Canadiens to an NHL record five consecutive Stanley Cups, retiring with eight overall after the final victory in 1960.
So beloved by the Montreal faithful, the fans rioted when Richard was suspended for the remainder of the season and playoffs in March of 1955 for deliberately trying to injure a Bruins player. After the event, the fans booed the Habs Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion when he passed Richard in total points that year.
So why the Rocket? The game's first great goal scorer, Richard set the standard. "50 in 50" is still a feat snipers would love to achieve and he was arguably the most competitive and fierce player in history.
Fun fact: Richard took a spill, slamming his head on the ice during a 1952 Stanley Cup semi-final game. He left the ice but later returned, scoring the game winner with blood streaming down his face.
Do you really need any more reason than that?
And now we come to our starter.
The staple of longevity. The Motor City icon. Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe.
Having a career that spanned six different decades, Howe was one of the all-time great power forwards, matching his physical play with superior offensive abilities to become of the game's top forwards.
Famous for a number of things, Gordie created "The Gordie Howe Hat trick": a goal, an assist and a fight in the same game. He won a plethora of awards, most notably six scoring titles and six Hart Trophies.
Gordie retired the all-time leading goal scorer with 801 and 1,850 points. He also holds the record for games played, as well as just about any relevant statistic for right wingers.
So why Gordie? The man was a legend. One of the toughest and most durable the game has ever seen, he had a rare combination of toughness and ability that may never been seen again. He was also the NHL's version of an Iron Man, playing in nearly 1,800 games (2,400+ counting his WHA days). And besides, when a moment or play in sports is named after you, which really says something.
With all due respect to the Rocket, there hasn't been a right winger quite like Mr.Hockey
Next up: Centers to bring us home.
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