Sami Kapanen had 458 points in 831 career NHL games. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
One mention of Sam at The Hockey News and all of us think about lovable Sam McCaig, our well-dressed, easy-going senior editor.
Mention Sam in your household and what’s the first face to come to mind? Sam Malone from Cheers? Sam the butcher from The Brady Bunch? Sam Walton, the guy who created Walmart and Sam’s Club? Google puts the Seattle Art Museum first on its list. Who knew?
In the world of hockey, it has to be lovable Sami Kapanen, the well-dressed, easy-going right winger for the Philadelphia Flyers. Sami retired yesterday after 12 decent seasons in the NHL. Once a regular 25-goal, 60-point man, he later settled in as a productive third-line checker. He’s returning to Finland where he will play for KalPa Kuopio, a team he part owns.
Kapanen isn’t the most prominent Sam in the game, but he did make our top 10 list.
10. Sami Helenius. Finn played 155 games for five NHL teams.
9. Sergei Samsonov. If you’re really close to him, you can call him Sam.
8. Sam McMaster. Had forgettable three-year stint as Los Angeles GM.
7. Sam St-Laurent. Perhaps the best ever Sam to stop pucks professionally.
6. Sami Salo. Oft-injured blueliner has a howitzer from the point.
5. Sam LoPresti. Was a goaltender for Black Hawks in 1940s; father of Pete.
4. Sam Gagner. Had fabulous rookie season with Edmonton Oilers; son of Dave.
3. Sami Kapanen. A goal-scorer who transformed himself into a grinder.
2. Samuel Pahlsson. Two-way shutdown artist almost won a Conn Smythe in Anaheim.
1. Sam Pollock. Montreal Canadiens GM was the NHL’s best executive ever.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on thehockeyenews.com. If you enjoy this feature, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine for the exclusive countdown, Starting From 10, and other great features from the world of hockey.