Hockey is an incredible sport. While it has a relatively low number of viewers compared to basketball or football, it still maintains a unique place in the world of sports.
There have been many players who managed to create history. In this article, we will talk about 5 best hockey players of all time.
5. Alexander Ovechkin
“Alexander the Great” – as he is often referred to by fans. Ovechkin is one of the best NHL scorers. It is important to make a reservation: he does this not in any available way, but usually with the help of the best throw in the league on the move and a hand throw. Stamkos, Seguin, Neil, probably, can argue with Ovechkin in the speed of the puck coming off the stick, but no one can adapt and score a goal so quickly and easily in any situation, while the goalkeeper just realizes what’s happening.
Unfortunately, Ovechkin does not have enough variety in technical aspects (for example, it is almost impossible to find goals from the backhand in his performance, if this is not a 1 on 1 situation) and decisions made, which reduces his effectiveness in decisive matches against the best defenders and the best league teams. If he knows what he will do in the next second, then his rivals are in the know and are preparing for this.
But in the regular season – he is a monster. Of course, the main goal of any NHL player is the Stanley Cup, but the regular season is an important and significant part of the season. In the end, the players are formally paid for it. Ovechkin also managed to win the Stanley Cup in 2018, ending a long-awaited drought for the Capitals and further cemented his legacy.
4. Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby started hockey at the age of four. Already at the junior level, they spoke of him as a future star. In 2005, Pittsburgh chose the 18-year-old Crosby under the first draft pick. It was around him that the Penguins built a team that won the Stanley Cup three times. Crosby was twice recognized as the most valuable player in the playoffs – the second result in history.
Crosby is without a doubt a prominent figure in the country. His popularity even reached the gambling industry, which even though it was not developed in the past, still saw Crosby as a notable figure for their marketing. Not only they offered special betting options on the Pittsburgh’s captain, but also casino games online in Canada and in particular slots started to feature “Sid the Kid” as one of the icons. This fact clearly shows his influence on the whole country. He is considered to be a role model for many citizens.
In the 20th century, professional Canadian hockey players did not participate in world championships and the Olympic Games. Therefore, many NHL legends did not win titles in the Canadian national team. In contrast, Crosby twice became the Olympic champion and won the World Cup.
Crosby’s trump card is versatility. Sidney is useful not only in attack but also in his area. Crosby does a great deal of work while remaining effective on the other side of the court.
3. Mario Lemieux
Mario Lemieux has played less than 1000 matches in his career but this fact did not hinder him become one of the greatest. For points scored on average for a meeting, Lemieux takes the second place in the history of the NHL – 1.88. Only Wayne Gretzky has more (1.92).
Lemieux is famous not only for his achievements but also for playing hockey while receiving treatment for Hodgkin disease, a malignant disease that affects the lymphatic system.
Lemieux was diagnosed in 1993, but the player did not stop his career. In the 1993-1994 season, he took radiotherapy courses, but still spent 22 matches in the regular season, in which he scored 37 points. Lemieux coped with the disease, but in 1994 he stopped playing due to aggravated back pain. A year later, Lemieux returned to hockey, spent two seasons and again interrupted performances due to health problems. In 2000, Lemieux returned to sports for the third time, spent four more seasons and finally stopped performing due to heart disease.
2. Gordie Howe
Gordie Howe is the second sniper in NHL history after Wayne Gretzky. In the regular championships, Howe scored 801 goals. Howe and Gretzky are the only league players to score more than 800 goals.
Howe comes in first place in the NHL in the number of matches – 1767. But he could have ended his career in 1950. Then, after a collision, Howe received severe injuries to his back and head, after which he could die. As a treatment, Howe underwent trepanation of the skull, after which he developed a nervous tic. Despite the need for a long rehabilitation, Howe returned to the ice the next season and scored 86 points in 70 games.
After a back injury, Howe received almost no damage. For example, from 1961 to 1979, he missed just two matches. For the effectiveness and dedication of hockey, Canadian fans nicknamed Howe “Mr Hockey.”
1. Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky is the best hockey player in NHL history. The Canadian leads in almost all indicators related to the attack: points (2856), goals (894), assists (1962).
Gretzky is the only player in NHL history to score more than 200 points per season. The first time he did it was in 1982 (212 points). From 1984 to 1985, he scored more than 200 points for three consecutive years (205, 208 and 215 points, respectively). In total, Gretzky owns 61 league records.
Gretzky was not the most versatile hockey player. He did not like power encounters, lost in speed to many rivals and did not always work out on the defensive. But Gretzky had excellent technique and competently chose a position on the site. He played extremely efficiently, while not spending a lot of energy working without a puck. Gretzky’s productivity in the attack compensated for his shortcomings when playing on the defensive.
For his achievements, Gretzky received the nickname “The Great One”. His jersey number (99) was retired not only in the clubs in which he played but throughout the league.