Last night on the NBC Sports Network, the NHL released the top 100 players of all time and the debate, which has raged long before this was released, will continue on. Hosted by actor Jon Hamm, the ceremony honored players by decade, and categorized them by goalies, defensemen, and forwards.
The first thirty-three were released on New Years Day during the Centennial Classic in Toronto. The players named in the first thirty-three were active between 1917-1966. The rest, named last night, have played from 1967 to the present day.
There were a number of story lines:
- Jonas Siegel of the Canadian Press wrote that Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Wayne Gretzky agree that Gordie Howe is the greatest hockey player of all time. Gretzky added that while Sidney Crosby is the greatest in the game today, Connor McDavid is making the case to “chase him” as the next in line.
- Speaking of Crosby’s generation, the selection of the more recent players to the top 100 caused quite the debate around the hockey world. The arguments boil down into a couple ways: either include more current players by subtracting players from other decades or be more selective in the current generation. The six on the current list were Jaromir Jagr, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Crosby, and Alex Ovechkin.
- The Score’s Sean O’Leary thinks that Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, and Joe Thornton should have “cracked” the list. O’Leary believes that Malkin is a lock for the top 100, while Iginla, though never winning a Cup, was a dominant force in the league, scoring 617 goals in his long (and still active) career.
- Curtis Pashelka also wonders why Joe Thornton isn’t included on the list. His stats alone seem to qualify him for the top 100, but the lack of a Stanley Cup makes Pashelka think that it kept Thornton out of the illustrious club.
- Finally, Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski includes his list of snubs which name the aforementioned Iginla, Malkin, and Thornton. But Wyshysnki also lists Zdeno Chara, Ed Belfour, Dale Hawerchuk, and Pierre Pilote as players deserving of inclusion.