The 60 Best Nicknames in NHL History

Brad Kurtzberg@@sealshockeyContributor IJune 19, 2012

The 60 Best Nicknames in NHL History

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    Nicknames have always been a big part of hockey. As long as there have been teammates, there have been nicknames. Some are simple, some more obscure, but all are a way to make players seem more familiar and make us feel closer to them.

    This list looks at the best nicknames in hockey history. Keep in mind, the list is not of the best players, but a list of the best nicknames. Some of the best nicknames belonged to players who are very obscure.

    I am looking for original nicknames. Just calling Phil Esposito "Espo" is not going to cut it here, and neither is calling a guy with red hair "Red" or someone with Native American heritage "Chief."

    Also, it seems there were more original nicknames in the past rather than in recent years. That was partially due old fashioned newspaper men looking to write colorful stories about players, so the old-timers have an advantage when it comes to original monikers.

    So here, in no particular order are the top 60 nicknames in NHL history (well, 61, as we lead off with "The Great One," Wayne Gretzky on this page).

    Please feel free to add to the list. I'm sure there are plenty of players with great nicknames that I did not have room for, so please add them in the comments section.

    I hope you enjoy reading this list as much as I did putting it together.

Bob "Battleship" Kelly

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    Not to be confused with the Flyers player of the same name, Bob "Battleship" Kelly was a large forward for the Blues, Penguins and Blackhawks in the mid-'70s.

    Battleship could drop the gloves with the best of them, going over 100 penalty minutes for four straight seasons. That and his 6'2" size earned him his nickname. 

    Kelly could also score enough to play in the NHL, topping 25 goals in back-to-back seasons for the Penguins.

Steve Buzinski "The Puck Goes Inski"

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    Steve Buzinski's NHL career lasted for just nine games and that should come as no surprise, since he was not a very good goalie. His career goals against average was 5.89 and the only reason he found himself in the NHL was that Rangers starting goalie "Sugar" Jim Henry was called away to serve in World War II.

    How bad was Buzinski? His nickname is original but it's also perhaps the worst possible nickname a goalie could have: Steve Buzinski "The Puck Goes Inski."

    Buzinski is no legend, but his unique nickname made him a part of NHL lore.

Andre "Moose" Dupont

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    Andre "Moose" Dupont was a big, physical defenseman with the Flyers during their back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in 1974 and 1975.

    Like most of his brother bullies, Dupont wasn't afraid to mix it up. He stood 6'1", 200-pounds and his size and style of play earned him his nickname. Ten times during his career he went over the 100 penalty minute mark in a season.

    Dupont ended his career with the Quebec Nordiques.

Bernie "Boom-Boom" Geoffrion

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    Bernie "Boom-Boom" Geoffrion had a fierce shot and a wicked temper, but the sheer force of his will helped mold him into a great hockey player for the Canadiens in the 1950s and '60s.

    Geoffrion became the second player in NHL history to reach the 50 goal mark in a season, tying Maurice Richard's record in 1960-61. He was also one of the first players in the NHL to use a slap shot on a regular basis.

    "Boom-Boom" finished his playing career with the Rangers and later coached the Rangers, Atlanta Flames and Canadiens before leaving the game for good.

    Geoffrion is part of a family that should be considered hockey royalty. He married the daughter of Howie Morenz and his son and grandson also went on to play in the NHL.

Nikolai Khabibulin "The Bulin Wall"

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    Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin had an original nickname, "The Bulin Wall." He earned it by being tough to score on during his NHL heyday with the Lightning, Coyotes and Blackhawks.

    Khabibulin has spent the past three seasons in Edmonton and at age 39, remains a competent NHL goalie despite a lack of defensive support.

Rick "Nifty" Middleton

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    To this day it remains one of the worst trades in NHL history: In 1976, The New York Rangers sent young Rick Middleton to the Boston Bruins in exchange for an over-the-hill Ken Hodge. Within two years, Hodge was done with hockey while Middleton scored 404 more goals and played another dozen seasons.

    Middleton earned his nickname for the way he handled the puck. He was a consistently dangerous weapon for the Bruins from the mid-'70s and throughout the '80s. His best season came in 1981-82 when he scored 51 goals.

"Cowboy" Bill Flett

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    "Cowboy" Bill Flett earned his nickname because he was originally a rancher from Alberta. His NHL career got fully underway in Los Angeles where colorful owner Jack Kent Cooke demanded that players all get nicknames and that Flett wear a cowboy hat when the team first arrived in town.

    Flett later was traded to the Flyers and scored 43 goals while playing on a line with Bobby Clarke. He was part of the Flyers first Stanley Cup team in 1974 and was the first NHL player to wear a beard.

    He finished his career with the Edmonton Oilers of the WHA.

Dave "The Hammer" Schultz

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    Dave Schultz earned his nickname the same way he earned his living in the NHL: with his fists. Schultz was the number one enforcer on the "Broad Street Bullies" teams that brawled their way to two straight Stanley Cups in 1974-75.

    Schultz still holds the NHL record for most penalty minutes in a season with 472 set back in 1974-75.

Morris "Apple Juice" Mott

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    Morris Mott had a brief NHL career with the California Golden Seals in the mid-'70s. He was never a big goal scorer, but for some reason, Mott always played well when he came to New York to face either the Rangers or the Islanders.

    Between his unique name and everyman's stature, Mott became a cult hero of sorts. He had a fan club in New York which toasted his success by drinking Mott's apple juice.

Yvan "The Roadrunner" Cournoyer

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    Yvan Cournoyer used his speed to earn the nickname "The Roadrunner." He started his career as a power play specialist but eventually earned a regular shift and ended his career as captain of some powerful Canadiens teams that won 10 Stanley Cups during his career.

    Cournoyer also played in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviets.

    His speed and shot forced opposing players to respect him. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.

Gary "Suitcase" Smith

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    Gary "Suitcase" Smith earned his nickname by playing for so many teams over the course of his hockey career. What most people don't realize is that Smith earned that moniker before he even reached the NHL.

    Smith started his NHL career with the Maple Leafs and later played for the Seals, Blackhawks, Canucks, North Stars and Capitals before finishing his playing career in the WHA with the Jets and Indianapolis Racers.

    Smith used to stick-handle the puck up ice. It was because of his antics that the NHL passed a rule saying goalies could not cross the red line with the puck.

Derek Boogaard "The Boogey Man"

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    Not too many people wanted to mess with Derek Boogaard while he was in the NHL. His size and strength made him one of the game's more respected enforcers and helped earn him the nickname "The Boogey Man."

    Tragically, Boogaard's life and career were cut short in 2011 when he died of an accidental overdose of medication and alcohol while he was recovering from the effects of a concussion.

    Boogaard was a fan favorite in Minnesota and totaled 589 penalty minutes in just 277 career NHL games.

Camille "The Eel" Henry

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    Camille Henry weighed all of 152 pounds but it didn't stop him from becoming a very good NHL player. His nickname was "The Eel" because he was a slippery player despite his lack of size.

    Henry won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year in 1953-54 and won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1957-58.

    After breaking in with the Rangers, he later played for the Blackhawks and Blues before ending his career in 1969-70.

    Henry coached one year for the New York Raiders in the WHA before health issues forced him out of hockey.

Al Arbour "Radar"

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    Al Arbour was a defenseman for the St. Louis Blues before he became the legendary coach of the Islanders dynasty that won four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-1983.

    Arbour was one of the first NHL players to take the ice wearing glasses. He earned the nickname "Radar" for his resemblance to the character Radar O'Reilly" from the movie and television show M*A*S*H.

Curtis "Cujo" Joseph

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    Curtis Joseph was one of the best goalies of his era, playing in the NHL from  1989 to 2009. He was tough to figure out, as his goaltending style was very unorthodox, but somehow, he usually managed to keep the puck out of the net.

    Despite having more than 100 career playoff victories and playing in numerous All-Star Games, Joseph never won a Stanley Cup. Yet he remained a fan favorite wherever he played, especially in St. Louis and Toronto.

    He got his nickname from the big dog in the horror novel by Stephen King, which matched the first two letters of his first and last name. He had the teeth of a vicious dog on his mask for most of his NHL career.

Frank Brimsek "Mister Zero"

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    Frank Brimsek burst onto the NHL scene like no goalie before or since. In 1938to '39, the young American goalie took over for Tiny Thompson in goal for the Bruins and recorded shutouts in six of his first eight NHL games. Thus he earned the nickname "Mister Zero."

    Brimsek won Stanley Cups in 1939 and 1941, and also won both the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goalie in 1939.

    Brimsek was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.

Link Gaetz "The Missing Link"

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    Link Gaetz earned his nickname a long time before he ever took the ice or dropped the gloves. His mother called him "The Missing Link" shortly after he was born and the nickname stuck.

    It fit him on the ice as Gaetz was a tough customer. He played in only 66 career NHL games and scored just six goals, but also totaled 412 penalty minutes.

Terry O'Reilly "Taz"

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    Terry O'Reilly remains one of the most popular Bruins players of all time. He earned his nickname, "Taz," short for the Tasmanian Devil, for his all out hustle and non-stop effort on the ice.

    O'Reilly checked anyone that wore an opposing sweater, dropped the gloves when called on and consistently scored 20-plus goals for the Bruins.

    O'Reilly's won over the blue collar hockey fans of Boston and "Taz" still gets a huge ovation any time he returns to a Bruins game.

"Lucky" Luc Robitaille

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    Luc Robitaille came up to the Kings as a relatively unheralded player: he was the 171st overall pick in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. Scouts said he didn't have a hard shot and couldn't skate well enough to be effective in the NHL. By the time he retired, he was the highest scoring left winger in league history.

    Robitaille spent some time with the Rangers, Penguins and Red Wings, but will forever be known as a Los Angeles King.

    Robitaille wasn't just lucky, he was good. He finished his career with eight seasons of 40 or more goals, including one 60-goal season and two others with 50-plus tallies.

Keith Tkachuk "Walt"

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    You have to be a hockey fan to figure out how Keith Tkachuk got the nickname "Walt."

    Walt Tkaczuk was a big forward for the New York Rangers in the 70s. Hard to knock off his feet, Tkaczuk was a solid second line center who was one of the best penalty killers of his day. Tkaczuk's career ended in 1981 due to an eye injury.

    Keith Tkachuk's name is pronounced the same as Walt's (what are the odds) but spelled differently. So, when Keith came up to the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets in 1991, he was known as "Walt."

    Keith went on to have a great NHL career, totaling 538 goals and 1,065 points in 1,201 NHL games.

Bill Chadwick "The Big Whistle"

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    OK, Chadwick wasn't a player, but he is a Hall of Fame referee and had a second career as a broadcaster with the New York Rangers.

    The nickname "The Big Whistle" was given to Chadwick by broadcast partner Marv Albert when the two did Rangers radio in the early 1970s.

    As a referee, Chadwick was credited with inventing hand signals and was the first American-born referee to work in the NHL.

Gary "Bones" Bromley

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    Gary "Bones" Bromley played goal for the Sabres and Canucks from 1973 to 1981. He also had stops in the WHA with the Calgary Cowboys and Winnipeg Jets.

    Today, Bromley is remembered most for his mask, which is considered one of the best of all time. The mask looked like a skull and reflected Bromley's nickname: "Bones."

    As scary as the mask was, Bromley was just an average goaltender, but the mask and the nickname were both memorable.

Eddie "The Jet" Joyal

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    Eddie "The Jet" Joyal earned his moniker with the expansion Los Angeles Kings in 1967. Owner Jack Kent Cooke wanted nicknames for all his players to help the fans get to know them better and Joyal was the fastest skater on the team.

    When the team first landed in Los Angeles, Cooke had a cowboy hat for Bill Flett and a beret for Real "Frenchy" Lemieux, but fortunately for Joyal, the jet packs he wanted his speedy winger to wear were not available.

    Joyal played more than four seasons in Los Angeles before being traded to the Flyers and later signing with Edmonton of the WHA.

Jerry "King Kong" Korab

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    It's easy to see how Jerry Korab got his nickname: the big defenseman stood 6'3", weighed 218 pounds and seemed to just tower over many of his smaller, weaker opponents.  Plus, the alliteration of "King Kong Korab" was just too good to resist.

    Korab reached the Stanley Cup final three times in his first five years in the league (1971, 1973 and 1975) but lost all three times.

    He was a steady defensive force for the Blackhawks, Sabres and Kings during his NHL career.

Frank "Seldom" Beaton

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    Frank Beaton's NHL career lasted only 25 games (although he played 153 more in the WHA), but the enforcer managed to get one of the more clever nicknames in hockey history.

    Originally, Beaton was known as Frank "Never" Beaton, but after losing a few fights, the nickname was changed to "Seldom."

    How tough was Beaton? He was once arrested for assault over an off-ice incident in the Birmingham Bulls locker room after a WHA game.

Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour

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    Ed Belfour had a consistently great career that spanned from 1988 to 2007, and he won 484 games in the NHL.

    "Eddie the Eagle" finally won a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999. He had a combative personality both on and off the ice which helped make him an excellent goalie, but also got him into trouble.

    No matter where he played, Belfour had an eagle on his mask to reflect his famous nickname.

    Belfour was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2011.

Ivan "Ching" Johnson

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    Hockey Hall of Famer Ivan "Ching" Johnson played for the Rangers and New York Americans in 1920s and '30s.

    Johnson didn't even start playing competitive ice hockey until he was in his 20s but managed to not only play in the NHL, but was named to four post-season All-Star Teams and won a pair of Stanley Cups.

    Johnson's nickname has to be one of the most un-PC in NHL history and would never be allowed today. Fans thought Johnson's face looked Asian and they yelled "Ching, Ching, Chinaman" to support the big defenseman when he would throw a hard body check. The nickname was eventually shortened to "Ching" and he was forever known as "Ching" Johnson.

Glenn "Chico" Resch

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    Glenn "Chico" Resch earned his nickname when playing with the New York Islanders in the mid-'70s. He was called "Chico" because of his resemblance to actor Freddie Prinze who starred in the sit-com "Chico and the Man."

    Resch was the Isles goalie in 1974-75 when they overcame a 3-0 playoff deficit in a Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and came back to win the series 4-3. Resch earned a shutout in a 1-0 win in Game 7 at the Igloo in Pittsburgh. The Isles then fell behind 3-0 to the defending Stanley Cup champion Flyers in the next round, won three straight to tie the series before falling in the seventh and deciding game.

    Resch was also one of the first goalies to paint his mask, putting a map of Long Island and an "NY" on his face.

    Today, "Chico" is the color commentator on New Jersey Devils television broadcasts.

Gary "Cobra" Simmons

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    Gary Simmons earned the nickname "Cobra" while still in the minor leagues. A local sportswriter in Phoenix said Simmons had fast moves in the net like a snake, and he was suddenly dubbed "Cobra."

    There were a few problems with the nickname and the famous mask with Simmons later wore. First, it turns out the Cobra is one of the slowest moving snakes, so the nickname didn't fit. Also, the mask features the only cobra snake with a rattle on it.

    That being said, the mask was a great one and Simmons was one of the most original characters to play in the NHL.

    Simmons didn't reach the NHL until he was 30, then registered a shutout in his first NHL start. He played for the California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons and Los Angeles Kings. Simmons wore the cobra mask for all three teams and never changed the colors.

Edouard "Newsy" Lalonde

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    Edouard Lalonde was a huge star for the Montreal Canadiens back in the 1910s and 1920s. He later also played for the Saskatoon Sheiks of the Western League. He is considered by many to be the original "Flying Frenchman."

    Lalonde earned his nickname because he actually worked in a newspaper plant before playing hockey.

    In addition to his hockey skills, Lalonde was also considered one of the best Canadian lacrosse players of the early 20th century.

    He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1950.

Guy Lafleur "The Flower"

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    "Flower" seems like an unlikely nickname in a tough game like hockey,but it just seemed to fit Guy Lafleur.

    The nickname was simply the translation of Lafleur's name from French to English, but no matter what language you spoke, Guy Lafleur was an elite goal scorer who won five Stanley Cups with Montreal in the '70s, including four straight from 1976-79.

    After a brief retirement, Lafleur returned to play for the Rangers and Quebec Nordiques before finally hanging up his skates for good.

    The site of "The Flower" skating down the right wing with the puck on his stick and his blond hair flowing excited fans and scared goaltenders around the NHL.

Dave "Tiger" Williams

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    Dave "Tiger" Williams was one of the most popular players on both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks during his NHL career.

    Williams earned his nickname with his fierceness on the ice. He was tough, totaling 3,966 penalty minutes in his career, but he also could play hockey. In fact, in 1980-81, Williams scored 35 goals and had 343 penalty minutes in the same season.

    His goal celebration, in which he road his stick like a witch on a broom stick, was also a big hit with fans.

Roger Neilson "Captain Video"

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    Roger Neilson was one of the most popular and influential NHL coaches. He won wherever he went although he never won a Stanley Cup as a head coach.

    Neilson pioneered the use of videotape to scout opponents and earned the nickname "Captain Video" after the popular 1950s TV show.

    He was also a man of faith, principle and conviction who inspired his players to give their best effort for him.

Lorne "Gump" Worsley

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    "Gump" Worsley was one of the last goalies in the NHL to play without a mask and one of the great quipsters in hockey history. He was also a fine goalie.

    Worsley earned his nickname because of his alleged resemblance to comic book character Andy Gump.

    Among his more famous quotes, he once said,"My face is my mask," when asked whey he didn't wear one.  He gave a great response to a reporter who asked him which team gave him the most trouble. "The Rangers," Worsley answered with a straight face, naming his own team.

    Worsley won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie and a pair of Vezina Trophies and was a part of four Stanley Cup winners with the Canadiens. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1980.

Maurice "The Rocket" Richard

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    Maurice "The Rocket" Richard was the first NHL player to score 50 goals in a season and unquestionably the best goal scorer of his era.

    He earned his nickname for the speed he showed on the ice. In fact, many people said they had never seen a faster player from the opposing blue line in.

    Richard scored 544 career goals and was the NHL's all-time leader at the time of his retirement in 1960. He won eight Stanley Cups with the Habs and the passion he showed while playing was something those who saw him play would never forget.

    The mandatory three-year waiting period for admission to the Hockey Hall of Fame was waived for Richard and he was inducted in 1961. Today, the NHL's leading goal scorer is awarded the Rocket Richard Trophy in his honor.

Henri "The Pocket Rocket" Richard

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    Henri Richard was the younger brother of Maurice "The Rocket" Richard. Fifteen years separated the brothers in age and Henri was a few inches shorter than his brother, so he became known as "The Pocket Rocket."

    While he was not the equal of his brother as a goal scorer, "The Pocket Rocket" was a star in his own right. He finished his career with 1,046 points in a career that started in 1955 and ended in 1975.

    Richard won an incredible 11 Stanley Cups during his NHL career with the Habs. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.

Pavel Bure "The Russian Rocket"

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    Pavel Bure was one of the fastest players in the 1990s, and one of the league's best goal scorers. His speed and birthplace earned him the nickname "The Russian Rocket."

    Bure had back-to-back 60 goal seasons in 1992-93 and 1993-94 and helped lead the Canucks to the Stanley Cup final against the Rangers in 1994 where his club fell one goal short in the seventh and deciding game.

    In his career, Bure had five seasons of 50 or more goals before injuries slowed him down and forced him to retire. He played his last NHL game at the age of 32.

    Bure won a pair of Rocket Richard Trophies as the NHL's leading goal scorer. "The Russian Rocket" finished his career with 437 goals in 702 NHL games.

Don "Murder" Murdoch

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    Don Murdoch remains one of the great "what-ifs" in New York Rangers history. The talented rookie burst onto the NHL scene with a 32 goal rookie season that ended after just 59 games due to injury. During his rookie year, he had an impressive five goal game against the Minnesota North Stars.

    Murdoch's teammates gave him the nickname "Murder" in part because of his last name and because he was tough on opposing goalies.

    But the fame and fortune of an NHL career gave Murdoch temptations he found difficult to resist. He quickly gained a reputation as a heavy drinker and was later arrested for trying to cross the US-Canadian border with cocaine. The NHL suspended him for 40 games as a result.

    Murdoch's career went off course and he never matched the 32-goal rookie season he had in 1976-77. He was out of the NHL by the age of 26.

    Murder's talent was undeniable. If he would have worked hard and kept himself clean, no one knows what kind of NHL career he might have had.

John "Pie" McKenzie

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    Johnny McKenzie's original name was "Pie Face" but eventually, it was simply shortened to "Pie."

    McKenzie had his best years with the Bruins and was in important part of Boston's 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup championship teams. "Pie" jumped to the upstart WHA in 1972, signing with the Philadelphia Blazers. He remained in the WHA until retiring after its final season in 1979.

    McKenzie finished his career with 474 points in 691 NHL games and added another 413 points in 477 WHA contests

Howie Morenz "The Stratford Streak"

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    Howie Morenz was one of the great hockey players in the early NHL, dominating the league in the 1920s and 30s.

    He was nicknamed "The Stratford Streak" for the speed he exhibited on ice for the Canadiens, Rangers and Blackhawks and won three Hart Trophies as the league's MVP in 1928, 1931 and 1932.

    Morenz suffered a broken leg in a game in 1937 and was told he would never play hockey again. He died of complications from the injury, although many claimed he died of a broken heart.

    The "Stratford Streak" was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945, making him one of nine original inductees. He was also the first Canadiens player to have his jersey retired.

"Leapin'" Lou Fontinato

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    "Leapin' Lou" Fontinato was a tough defenseman for the Rangers and Canadiens back in the 1950s and early 1960s.

    Fontinato set a record for penalty minutes in a season with 202 in his second year in the league, 1955-56.

    He earned his nickname for one of two reasons depending on who you ask: He often leaped off his skates when delivering a hard hit (which today would earn him a guaranteed suspension), or he leaped in the air when arguing with referees over the penalties that were called against him.

    Fontinato was involved in one of the more memorable bouts in NHL history when he took on Detroit's Gordie Howe. In the end, Howe shattered Fontinato's nose with one very hard blow.

    Fontinato's career ended in 1963 when he missed a check on New York's Vic Hadfield and slammed head-first into the boards. He was paralyzed for a month and never played in the NHL again.

Bobby Hull "The Golden Jet"

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    Bobby Hull's blond locks and the speed he exhibited skating down the left wing earned the Blackhawks superstar the nickname "The Golden Jet."

    Hull became the first NHL player to score more than 50 goals in a season and was the best goal scorer of his era in the 1960s. His slap shot struck fear in the heart of opposing goalies.

    In 1972, Hull became the first major NHL star to jump to the WHA, signing with the Winnipeg Jets for $1 million.

    "The Golden Jet" was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.

Brett Hull "The Golden Brett"

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    Like his father, Brett Hull had blond hair and one of the best shots of his era. It wasn't just the power of Brett Hull's shot that made him so effective, it was his quick release and his ability to find open creases in opposing defenses that made him so dangerous. With the Blues, he teamed with Adam Oates to make one of the league's best duos: Hull and Oates.

    Brett was dubbed "The Golden Brett," in part because of his father's nickname.

    Hull finished his NHL career with 741 goals, placing him third all-time. He also scored the controversial Stanley Cup winning goal for the Dallas Stars in 1999.

Georges Vezina "The Chicoutimi Cucumber"

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    While almost nobody remembers Canadiens standout goalie Georges Vezina, he remains one of the standout players of the early days of pro hockey and one of the all-times great goalies in the history of the sport.

    Vezina last played for the Canadiens in 1925-26 and died of tuberculosis in March, 1926.

    He was one of the nine initial inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1944 and the trophy annually awarded to the league's best goaltender now bears his name.

    In addition, Vezina had one of the most original nicknames in hockey history: "The Chicoutimi Cucumber." The name came from the small town in Quebec where he lived and the fact that writers said he was "cool as a cucumber."

Dominik Hasek "The Dominator"

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    Dominik Hasek was an unorthodox goalie who often made dramatic and acrobatic saves en route to becoming one of the NHL's best at the position.

    Hasek won plenty of awards including six Vezina Trophies and a pair of Hart Trophies as league MVP. In 2002, he became the first European-born goalie to win the Stanley Cup.

    His strong play and first name earned Hasek the nickname "The Dominator."

Eddie Shack "The Entertainer"

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    Eddie Shack was dubbed "The Entertainer" because he always left the fans thrilled and excited. Although Shack wasn't big, he never stopped hustling or throwing his body around and the crowd just loved to watch him play.

    How popular was "The Entertainer?" Despite never being a goon or a goal scorer, a song called "Clear the Track, Here Comes Shack" reached number one on the Canadian music charts.

    Shack played in three All-Star Games and won four Stanley Cups.

Gilles Gratton "Gratoony the Loony"

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    Gilles Gratton was not a great NHL goalie, but he did have one of the greatest masks in hockey history, a snarling big cat that kept opposing shooters on their toes.

    Gratton's nickname, however, is another matter altogether. Dubbed "Gratoony the Loony" by some of his teammates because they considered him flaky, even for a goalie.

    Among the stories that have circulated about Gratton is that he believed his soul was involved in the Spanish Inquisition or a conquistador in a past life and the pucks were villagers seeking revenge. Another game, Gratton refused to play because the stars were not properly aligned, as he believed in astrology.

    Despite his talent, Gratton only lasted two seasons in the NHL and three in the WHA.

Jean Beliveau "Le Gros Bill"

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    Jean Beliveau was a legend even before he signed with the Montreal Canadiens. He joined the Habs in 1953 and played with them until 1971.

    Beliveau was nicknamed "Le Gros Bill" after a popular Quebec folk song of the time. He retired as the Canadiens all-time leading scorer with 507 goals and 1,219 points in 1,125 games. Beliveau spent 10 years as captain of the Habs and won 10 Stanley Cups during his career.

    "Le Gros Bill" was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972, just one year after he hung up his skates. The traditional three-year waiting period was waived.

Gilles Marotte "Captain Crunch"

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    Journeyman defenseman Gilles Marotte earned the nickname "Captain Crunch" for his hard checking style while playing with the Los Angeles Kings in the early 1970s.

    Marotte also played for Boston, Chicago, the New York Rangers and the Blues before finishing his career in the WHA.

    In 808 career NHL games, Marotte scored 56 goals and totaled 321 points.

Michel "Bunny" Larocque

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    Michel "Bunny" Larocque was a good backup goalie but never established himself as a full-time NHL starter.

    He won four Vezina Trophies (which were then given to the team with the fewest goals allowed in a season) and won four Stanley Cups, but Hall of Famer Ken Dryden did nearly all of the heavy lifting in net for those Montreal teams.

    After leaving the Canadiens, Larocque played for the Maple Leafs and had brief stints with St. Louis and Philadelphia.

    He died of brain cancer at the age of 40 in 1992.

Gino Odjick "The Algonquin Enforcer"

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    Big Gino Odjick was one of the more popular Vancouver Canucks of the 1990s and spent much of his time there serving as Pavel Bure's body guard. He was a part of the 1994 Canucks team that reached the Stanley Cup final.

    Because of his native heritage and his willingness to drop the gloves, he was given the nickname, "The Algonquin Enforcer."

    Later in his career, he played for the Islanders, Canadiens and Flyers.

    Odjick finished with 137 points and 2,567 penalty minutes in 605 career NHL games.

Gerry Cheevers "Cheesie"

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    Gerry Cheevers won two Stanley Cups for the Boston Bruins in 1970 and 1972, and was one of the better NHL goalies in the '60s and '70s.

    Cheevers became famous for wearing a mask which he added stitches to in order to show what his face would have endured had he not been wearing facial protection. Each time he was struck in the mask, more stitches were added to the mask.

    After a three-and-a-half year stint with the Cleveland Crusaders of the WHA, Cheevers returned to the Bruins and helped them reach the Stanley Cup final in 1977 and 1978.

    He served as coach of the Bruins for nearly five full seasons shortly after he retired in 1980. Cheevers was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.

Ken "The Rat" Linseman

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    Ken Linseman was an agitator and a real pain in the neck to play against. That and his rodent-like appearance earned him the nickname "The Rat."

    Linseman's best all-around season came with the Flyers in 1981-82, when he scored 24 goals, totaled 92 points and added 275 penalty minutes.

    After leaving the Flyers, he later played for the Oilers, Bruins and Maple Leafs. He finished with 807 points in 860 games and won a Stanley Cup with Edmonton in 1984.

Mark Messier "Moose" or "The Messiah"

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    Mark Messier finished his NHL career as the NHL's second all-time leading scorer and won a total of six Stanley Cups.

    Early in his career, he was known as "Moose" for his size and physical style of play.

    When he moved on to the New York Rangers in 1991, he became known as "The Messiah" since he was acquired to end the franchise's 50-plus-year Stanley Cup drought. He delivered in 1994, leading the Rangers to their first title since 1940.

    Messier was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.

Clark Gillies "Jethro"

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    Clark Gillies was a big part of the Islanders dynasty that captured four straight Stanley Cups between 1980 and 1983.

    The tough, hard-hitting left winger could also drop the gloves but rarely did, as most opposing players were afraid to challenge him.

    Gillies played on the Isles top line along with fellow Hall of Famers Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy. He earned the nickname "Jethro" for his size and his beard and his resemblance to a character from TV's, The Beverly Hillbillies.

    Gillies topped the 30 goal mark six times. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.

Bryan "Bugsy" Watson

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    Bryan Watson earned the nickname "Bugsy" because he was so annoying to play against. Watson weighed only 170-pounds but finished his career as the NHL's all-time penalty minute leader with 2,112.

    Watson played for six NHL teams and one in the WHA before retiring and opening a restaurant in suburban Virginia.

Don "Grapes" Cherry

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    For a guy who played only one career NHL game, Don Cherry made quite a name for himself.

    He became a celebrity coaching the Boston Bruins in the late 1970s and then joined CBC as an analyst for "Hockey Night In Canada" where he skyrocketed to fame. His segment, "Coaches Corner," is seen during the first intermission and often garners higher ratings than the game itself.

    "Grapes" also made a series of "Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Hockey" videos that were annually best sellers in Canada for 20 years.

    His larger than life personality and entertaining style makes Cherry a vital part of hockey culture in Canada.

Gordie Howe "Mr. Hockey"

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    Gordie Howe is a hockey institution. He began his playing career in Detroit in 1946 and didn't retire as an active player until 1980 when he was 52-years-old.

    At the time of his retirement, Howe held nearly all meaningful scoring records in NHL history.

    Howe could score, played well at both ends of the ice and was in intimidating force when checking opponents. For his all-around game and lengthy Hall of Fame career, he earned the nickname, "Mister Hockey."

Teemu Selanne "The Finnish Flash"

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    Teemu Selanne became known as "The Finnish Flash" for his country of origin and his outstanding offensive skills.

    Since bursting onto the NHL scene with a rookie record 76 goals for Winnipeg in 1992-93, Selanne established himself as one of the elite goal scorers of the "Dead Puck Era."

    In 1,341 NHL games, Selanne has scored 663 goals and totaled 1,406 points. He has won three goal scoring titles and one Stanley Cup in his NHL career.

Mario Lemieux "Super Mario" or "Mario the Magnificent"

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    Mario Lemieux was one of the greatest players in NHL history. In fact, had his career not been cut short by injury, Lemieux may have challenged many of Wayne Gretzky's career scoring records.

    Lemieux has the distinction of having saved the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise twice. The team was bankrupt when he was drafted in 1984 and his strong play helped revive the Pens both on and off the ice. After his retirement, he saved the team again by taking over as owner. He led them to a pair of Stanley Cups as a player and one more as the owner.

    He remains the most dynamic player in Penguins history. The Pens unveiled a statue of Lemieux outside their new arena in 2012.