April 1, 2015
LCS Top 100: 100-91
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
100. Larry Murphy: Stationary Larry never gets the respect he deserves. Sure, he was slower than a tax refund and about as physical as Richard Simmons on Quaaludes, but that’s okay. Because Larry had smarts. He had the brains. He’s from Hollywood.
Well, actually, he’s from Scarborough, but his NHL career started in Hollywood, where he scored 52 goals in three seasons before moving on to Washington, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and Detroit. Murph finished with 1,216 points, five 20-goal seasons, and four Stanley Cup rings. No one kept it in at the point better than Murphy, and his ability to flip pucks high in the atmosphere cooled off many a hot kitchen. He also inspired a wicked cool “Woop” chant.
99. Mike Gartner: I was never a big Gartner fan, but there’s no denying the numbers: seventeen 30-goal seasons, nine 40-goal campaigns, and a 50-goal, 102-point masterpiece in 1984-85. One of the fastest skaters of his or any era, Gartner was a true terror off the wing, and that was just his mustache.
98. Denis Savard: Few players have been as electrifying as Savard, who used to dance and spin like a monkey on a high wire. Savard topped 100 points five times during the 1980s, ringing up 131 goals and 337 points during a three-year span from 1985 to 1988. Yeah, he was small and wasn’t much for defense, but Savard’s creativity more than made up for it. I got your spin-o-rama right here.
97. Norm Ullman: Often a forgotten man behind the likes of Sid Abel and Alex Delvecchio, Ullman makes the LCS Top 100 on the strength of 20 consistently excellent seasons with the Wings and Leafs. Ullman’s goal-scoring touch separated him from the aformentioned Detroit legends, as he bagged five 30-goal seasons and led the league with 42 goals in 1964-65.
96. Sprague Cleghorn: What would a Top 100 be without Sprague Cleghorn? A brutal, nasty defender, Cleghorn punished opposing forwards and common decency with equal aplomb during his 10 seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Toronto St. Patricks, Montreal Canadiens, and Boston Bruins. Despite being know for barbarism, Cleghorn scored 16 goals in 21 games in 1919-20 and 17 goals in 24 games in 1921-22. Think of him as a Jazz Age Scott Stevens, except with a cooler name and a shorter fuse. Fear Sprague Cleghorn.
95. Andy Bathgate: While an outspoken critic of on-ice violence, Bathgate actually changed the face of hockey with one moment of anger. Or, to be more precise, he changed Jacques Plante’s face.
Upset that Plante had roughed him up earlier in the game, Bathgate ripped a puck into Plante’s mug, smashing the Montreal goaltender’s nose and ushering in the goalie mask era.
A graceful skater and stickhandler, Bathgate was a matinee idol in New York and recorded a career-high 40 goals in 1958-59 en route to claiming the Hart Trophy. He twice led the league in assists (1961-62, 1963-64) and tied Bobby Hull for the league lead with 84 points in 1961-62. After getting traded to Toronto midway through the 1963-64 season, Bathgate helped the Leafs to the Stanley Cup, potting five goals in 14 postseason games.
94. Bob Gainey: The best defensive forward in hockey history, Gainey won four Selke Trophies and five Stanley Cups. He never scored more than 23 goals or 47 points, but Gainey’s the guy you’d want on the ice when protecting a lead late. He also had a knack for scoring big goals, as proven by his Conn Smythe Trophy.
93. Rod Gilbert: The GAG Line’s triggerman, Gilbert was a pure sniper, firing slap shots with lethal accuracy off the right wing. He notched five 30-goal seasons, including a career-high 43 in 1971-72 to help lead the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals. Gilbert was also an underrated playmaker, recording four seasons with at least 50 assists.
92. Bernie Parent: From 1973 to 1975, Parent could have been the best goaltender in NHL history. Over that two-year span, Parent went 91-27-22 in the regular season, posted goals-against averages of 1.89 and 2.03, compiled 24 shutouts, and won two Stanley Cups. Not too shabby. Without Parent backing them up, the Broad Street Bullies would have had their names engraved on police blotters and little else.
91. Toe Blake: In 1938-39, Blake led the league in scoring with 47 points and won the Hart Trophy for his efforts. But he's best remembered, as a player at least, for skating the left wing on Montreal’s Punch Line with Elmer Lach and Rocket Richard. The trio first joined forces in 1942-43, carrying the Habs to two Stanley Cups and lifting Blake’s game to new heights. From 1942 to 1947, Blake scored an impressive 128 goals and 285 points in just 248 games.
[100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1]