This is an article from the Nov. 29, 1999 issue
Le Magnifique's per-game averages for goals (.823) and points
(2.01) are the highest of any player in NHL history.
"Silently, serenely, Mario Lemieux comes to kill you. He arrives
as if from nowhere, a towering apparition looming 6'7" above the
ice in his three-inch-high skates."
--JON SCHER SI, Nov. 16, 1992
Mr. Hockey, a six-time NHL MVP, is the game's alltime leader in
seasons (26) and games played (1,767); he played in his final
NHL All-Star Game at age 51.
"One precept Howe lives by is this: Set your goals high, but not
so high that you can't reach them. When you do, set new ones.
The trouble is, he has attained so many that he is running out
of goals to set."
--E.M. SWIFT SI, Jan. 21, 1980
He has more games played (971), wins (447) and shutouts (103)
than any other goaltender in NHL history.
"In a sport justly celebrated for the cobra-quick reflexes of
its players, Terry Sawchuk unquestionably is the fastest-moving
of all goalies.... He doesn't move so much as he explodes into a
kind of desperate epileptic action: down the glove, out the arm,
over the stick, up the glove--all in such rapid succession that
it is difficult to watch him."
--ANDREW CRICHTON SI, Jan. 29, 1957
The Great One holds 61 NHL records, including career marks in
points (2,857), goals (894) and assists (1,963); nine times he
was named league MVP.
"During the six seasons from 1981-82 through '86-87, Gretzky
averaged 203 points per year. What was he doing, bowling?"
--E.M. SWIFT SI, April 26, 1999
His ability to control the game from the backline forever
changed the role of defensemen; he was named the NHL's MVP three
consecutive seasons and the league's top defenseman eight
"When Bobby starts away on one of his rink-length rushes, the
Garden--and any other arena--has an electric feeling. 'When he
goes by my bench,' says [Toronto coach] Punch Imlach, 'I turn
away so I won't have to watch.'"
--MARK MULVOY SI, Feb. 3, 1969
The Rocket, the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games
(1944-45), led Montreal to eight Stanley Cups and retired in
1960 as the NHL's alltime leader in goals (544).
"When Richard scores in the Forum...it touches off a unique
celebration.... Newspapers, programs, galoshes, hats are thrown
onto the ice. Richard skates in abstracted, embarrassed, lonely
circles through the heavy snow of objects. The game has to be
stopped until the attendants clear the ice."
--GILBERT ROGIN SI, March 21, 1960