Mario Lemieux finished his NHL career with 690 goals and 1,723 points in 915 games. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
I had the honor the other day of being recognized by our company for 20 years served at The Hockey News.
The celebration gave me reason to pause and count my many professional blessings. Great co-workers and employers; great perks; great job.
It also prompted me to reflect and count the many memorable moments that have occurred in the hockey world since I’ve been at my post. Below is a collection of my chart-toppers and jaw-droppers, stories burned into my memory for better or worse. Call it a personal 20:20 list:
20. Mike Legg amazes, March 24, 1996. It wasn’t just that the University of Michigan forward was performing an unheard of lacrosse-style move, it’s that he had the presence of mind to do it in a critical NCAA tournament game – and score – that makes it indelible.
19. John Slaney’s golden touch, Jan. 4, 1991. An unlikely hero delivers the World Junior Championship-winner against the mighty, mighty Soviets. Canada-centric, yes, but I am Canadian.
18. Curtis Joseph saves, Todd Marchant scores, April 29, 1997. A memorable stop-‘em-at-one-end, beat-‘em-at-the-other sequence. Cujo’s save was spectacular and that it gave the Oilers an overtime upset series win over Dallas fuelled the drama.
17. Manon Rhéaume plays with the boys, Sept. 23, 1992. OK, maybe her appearance for Tampa in a pre-season game was part publicity stunt, but it sure grabbed my attention.
16. Scott Stevens KOs Eric Lindros, May 26, 2000. I could have picked any number of Stevens’ hits, but I swear I can still feel the reverberations from this one.
15. Canada’s Olympic double gold in Salt Lake City, Feb. 21 and Feb. 24, 2002. Hey, I warned you I’m Canadian.
14. Alex Ovechkin’s finest goal, Jan. 16, 2006. Over-the-top insane.
13. A perfect 10 OT wins for Montreal, spring of 1993. A most magical playoff run that got more special with each victory.
12. The Heritage Classic, Nov. 23, 2003. It may have been minus-30 Celcius with the wind chill, but we got all warm and fuzzy watching what would be the ground-breaking outdoor game.
11. The national anthem at the All-Star Game, Jan. 19, 1991. With the Gulf War being waged in the Middle East, Chicago Stadium fans bonded in a display of extreme and riveting patriotism.
10. Peter Forsberg’s shootout spectacular, Feb. 27, 1994. He did what? Really? To help win gold? There have been many imitators since, but Forsberg was the mind-bending innovator. And Sweden put the play on a stamp.
9. Alan Eagleson goes down, Jan. 6, 1998. Woe is the NHLPA, then and now.
8. Knockout in Nagano, Feb. 20, 1998. Hasek bests Goliath. But not Gretzky, because he never got a chance to shoot.
7. Broadway Bliss, June 14, 1994. After 54 long years without a Stanley Cup, the Rangers go from epic failure to epic triumph.
6. The Dany Heatley/Dan Snyder crash, Sept. 29, 2003.
5. Graham James, sexual predator, Jan. 2, 1997. Horrifying.
4. Todd Bertuzzi’s vigilante justice, March 8, 2004. Periodically, a hockey player crosses the line and Bertuzzi’s revenge on Steve Moore represents the worst of our game.
3. Gretzky passes Howe, March 23, 1994. We knew goal No. 802 was coming eventually, but that didn’t diminish the accomplishment.
2. No goal, June 19, 1999. High drama. High controversy. High embarrassment. On the bright side, Brett Hull’s triple overtime Stanley Cup-winner over Buffalo helped drive a dagger through the heart of an ill-conceived rule.
1. Mario Lemieux’s return from cancer, March 3,1993. The news of his illness was shocking and sad, the spectacle of his triumphant return – to win the scoring title – was unbelievable and uplifting.
Jason Kay is the editor in chief of The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Fridays.
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