General NHL posts
When you look at #4 in our countdown of The Hockey News’ Top 50 players from the 1998-99 yearbook, so many negative associations come into play: moodiness off the ice, lack of heart, one of the worst mullets of all time. Looking back, though, it’s easy to forget just how damn good this guy was before his career took a wrong turn in Washington. Presenting #4 in our countdown: Jaromir Jagr.
We’re halfway through the big countdown of The Hockey News 1998-99 Top 50 players, along with a comparison to their 2008-09 counterparts. Here’s the list so far:
At #5, we’ve got one of the most prolific players of the 1990s and one of the best players in Russian hockey history: Sergei Fedorov.
If you flipped open the 1998-99 The Hockey News yearbook today, you might do a double-take when looking at the #6 player. That can’t be right, you might think, because that’s the same exact player as in 2008-09. How is that possible?
Here’s something to consider. At age 38, Wayne Gretzky was at the brink of retirement. Bobby Orr wasn’t skating anymore. Ray Bourque was still great but not considered the top defenseman in the league. Yet, up in Detroit, something just doesn’t follow that pattern of skill deteriorating with age.
One of the funny things about doing a countdown like this is that you forget how dominant a player was in a particular era—and just how much injuries can change the trajectory of a career. 1998-99’s #7 top player is none other than big #88, Eric Lindros.
During the total system meltdown of the US financial system, you may have noticed an increase in commercials talking about the value of gold. Well, about 20 years ago, a few hockey players and a Hollywood hanger-on had the foresight to invest in this market. They just didn’t get anything out of it.
Tom Arnold—yes, that Tom Arnold—was on the Howard Stern show today and among many other stories (including how he found a passed-out Britney Spears on his apartment building’s stairs during her shaved-head days) was a discussion of his investment in a gold mine with a few friends. Friends who happened to be NHL Hall of Famers.
This ain’t a metaphor for a hot new company or anything like that, it was a literal gold mine. A gold mine, as in a big hole in the ground where people hope to unearth precious metals. He said the logic was that they would purchase the land then unearth $100 million worth of gold. Sounds like a solid plan, right?
Fellows, you better stick with making guarantees on pivotal Game 7s or setting up plays from behind the net.
#9 in our countdown of 1998’s THN Top 50 players brings a familiar face: Chris “Stompin’” Pronger.
In the ten days before opening night (I’m not counting the Premier games in Europe, though I suppose those are technically opening night), I’ll be flashing back to a more innocent time thanks to my old stack of The Hockey News yearbooks. THN’s top 50 is always a matter of great debate, but it’s fun to see how things have changed. Ten years, after all, is a long time, and the ravages of time have knocked most of these players out of THN’s top 10. A few, however, continue to perform at a freak-of-nature peak level.
Today’s guy doesn’t, though. Ten years ago, the 1998-99 yearbook pegged Keith Tkachuk at #10.
Updated 9/28/08 with info on Sharks jerseys
Yesterday, I asked readers to leave comments about where they got letter/number customizations for their replica jerseys. The driving force behind this is the fact that many of us have gotten burned by buying customized replicas from NHL.com, as those jerseys have iron-on letters and numbers.
Fear not, fellow hockey fan. There are alternatives out there, though it might take a little patience. Here’s a compilation of what we found out yesterday:
If I could have my own goalie mask design, that’d mean that 1) I played goal instead of forward and 2) I had enough money to actually pay someone to design my mask. This may be old news to some, but Martin Gerber’s new Darth Vader mask delights my inner Star Wars fanboy to no end.
I’m guessing that Gerber’s mask has more to do with the Darth Gerber nickname (due to his black helmet from last season) than an unabashed love for all things in the Lucas universe. That being said, here are some other ways he could use the Force to make his gear waaaaaaaay cooler—and it might even make his game better.