December 5, 2013
LCS Top 100: 70-61
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
70. Darryl Sittler: A pure goal-scorer, Sittler recorded 10 consecutive 30-goal seasons, including five 40-goal efforts, from 1974-1983. Sittlerís first of two 100-point seasons came in 1976, with a record 10-point game against the Bruins helping him reach the milestone. Sittlerís six goals and four assists still stand as the single-game mark, and he followed it up in the postseason with a record-tying five-goal game against the Flyers. But that was hardly Sittlerís most impressive playoff performance.
In 1977, Sittler exploded for five goals and 21 points in just nine playoff contests. Despite averaging 2.33 points per game, Sittler still couldnít get the Leafs past the Flyers in the quarterfinals. Arguments with the cantankerous Harold Ballard eventually brought Sittlerís time in Toronto to an end, but he remains one of the most popular players in franchise history.
69. Busher Jackson: The left winger on Torontoís immortal Kid Line, Jacksonís speed provided the perfect compliment to the slick Joe Primeau and the punishing Charlie Conacher. Jackson, known for his lethal backhander, notched five 20-goal seasons in the era of 48-game schedules. In 1931-32, a 21-year-old Jackson led the league in scoring with 28 goals and 53 points, adding another five goals in seven playoff games to help lead the Leafs to the Stanley Cup.
68. Borje Salming: Before Salming, Swedish players were considered too soft for the NHL. After Salming, well, not so much. Every European NHLer should be sending King Salming 10 percent. Have some respect, you deadbeats.
Salming made an effortless transition to North America, blending breathtaking offensive skills with a surprising physical game. He finished checks, dropped the gloves, and blocked more shots than the Temperance Movement. Salming notched seven seasons with at least 12 goals, five seasons with at least 50 assists, four consecutive seasons with at least 70 points, and four seasons with at least a plus-30.
67: Michel Goulet: A lethal weapon in Quebecís fearsome offensive arsenal, Goulet rattled off four consecutive 50-goal seasons from 1983 to 1986, added three more 40-goal seasons, and topped 100 points four times. But unlike a lot of goal-scorers, Goulet never neglected his defensive responsibilities. He also puts on an unforgettable live show.
66. Brad Park: If not for Bobby Orr, Park would be recognized as the best offensive defenseman of the 1970s. A smooth, steady rearguard for the Rangers and Bruins, Park registered three 20-goal seasons and three 70-point campaigns, including a career-high 25 goals and 82 points in 1973-74. Until knee injuries slowed him later in his career, Park had an explosive first step and even dished out his share of punishment, collecting more than 100 penalty minutes six times.
65. Pat LaFontaine: One of my personal favorites, LaFontaine did everything at top speed and was a scoring threat each time he took the ice. He owned seven 40-goal seasons, two 50-goal efforts, and a pair of 100-point campaigns, including a spectacular 148-point showing in 1992-93 when he sparked an uncanny chemistry with Alexander Mogilny. A serious knee injury the next season derailed Laffyís dominance, robbing hockey fans of a potential encore. Persistent concussions would end LaFontaineís career far too soon, but he remains one of the most exciting players to ever lace up skates.
Ooh-la-la-la LaFontaine, indeed.
64. Bill Cowley: Stuck playing second fiddle to Milt Schmidt and the Kraut Line, Cowley often gets overlooked in discussions of the NHLís greatest players. But when Schmidt left to serve in World War II, Cowley, already an established star, elevated his game and carried the Bruins with an absurd 82 goals and 208 points in 133 games. For perspective, those per-game averages equate to 51 goals and 128 points over 82 games. When Schmidt returned from the war, Cowley adjusted his game again, but injuries marred the final two years of his career.
Regarded as one of the best passers in NHL history, Cowley retired in 1947 at the age of 34 with 548 points, the most in NHL history at the time. He led the league in assists on three occasions and won two Hart Trophies (1941, 1943) and two Stanley Cups (1939, 1941). And his nickname was "Cowboy." So thatís pretty cool. I mean, it beats "Stinky" or "Nubby."
63. Brian Leetch: Ask Ranger fans who their favorite player is in franchise history, and most will say Brian Leetch. Yeah, I donít get it either. It must have something to do with that Conn Smythe he stole from Messier.
Not sure you can tell, but I was never a big Leetch fan. But thereís no denying his offensive skills. He was a shifty skater, an incredible passer, and owned a bullet wrist shot. Leetch didnít really have the big bomb from the point. He tended to get most of his goals off the rush or from joining the play late. Leetch is one of only five defensemen to ever record 100 points in a season, going for 22 goals and 102 points in 1991-92.
62. Chris Chelios: Since I quit writing LCS on a regular basis, Iíve undertaken a quest for spiritual enlightenment. Iím really into meditation and elevating my consciousness. I try to recognize the divine in all things. But, címon. Chelios is a (sunshining) (sunshine). (Sunshine) that (sunshine)-smoking (sunshine) in the ear. (Sunshine) you, Chelios. (Sunshine) you. (Sunshine) you. (Sunshine) you, you stupid rotten miserable (sunshine). I hate you.
61. Dickie Moore: Everyone knows Richard and Beliveau and LaFleur. But what about good olí Dickie Moore? No, heís not the guy who makes the beef stew. From 1957 to 1961, Moore was the best player on the Montreal Canadiens. And thatís saying something.
During that four-year span, Moore put up 134 goals and 313 points in 259 games, good for an impressive 1.21 points-per-game average and two Art Ross Trophies. His best year came in 1958-59 when he racked up a career-high 41 goals and 96 points in a 70-game schedule, establishing a new NHL record for points in a season.
Moore fought through a seemingly endless string of injuries, including a broken wrist in 1957-58. He played the final three months of the season in a cast and still won the scoring title with 84 points. Mooreís aggressive, up-tempo style and rugged work in the corners simply taxed his body beyond its limits.
[100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1]