Happy 100th post to me and to all you faithful readers! Rather than wasting this special milestone on another weekly fact, I decided now was a good time to dedicate some research into putting together a hypothetical roster that epitomizes what I believe to be the venerable Coach Lavi’s idea of TEAM:
These twenty men all play/played with a high level of intensity; never wanting to back down from a challenge, always loyal, doing anything and everything it takes to win, and using their heads and a lot of hockey smarts. This can apply to players of many different roles – Power forwards, two-way players, stay-at-home defencemen… Regardless of the exact makeup, a full team that holds the same values as these guys would be VERY successful. Let’s break things down. This should be fun!
C: Claude Giroux
LW: Johnny Bucyk
RW: Cam Neely
This line has a very talented set-up man at centre to feed the puck to two super effective goal scorers on the wing. The line is also very physical: Though Bucyk was a gentlemanly player having won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in ’71 and only 4 PIMs in ’71-72 (along with low totals in other seasons), his hip check was feared throughout the NHL and he was just as gritty as anyone else on the Big Bad Bruins. “Bam-Bam” is the protype power forward (and arguably the best the league has ever seen), and “G” plays with a LOT of guts for a smaller guy, as indicated by his fights and hits at key moments (Sid the Kid knows a lot about that, eh?).
C: Eric Lindros
LW: Luc Robitaille
RW: Wayne Cashman
The corners will not be safe. I repeat, the corners will NOT be safe. Each of these guys are willing to play in the dirty areas of the rink and come up with the puck, especially Cashman. Lindros has plenty of speed for a big guy, and Robitaille has a great combo of skill and grit.
C: Peter Forsberg
LW: Bobby Hull
RW: Gordie Howe
Yeah, I know, what ended up as the checking line could/should have been first or second. But on pure physical presence, this line probably deserves that title the most. Forsberg was a very hard nosed north/south centre, and well, “the Golden Jet” and “Mr. Hockey” speak for themselves.
C: Bobby Clarke
LW: Bob Probert
RW: Terry O’Reilly
This is basically the “Let’s start a ruckus and get the team fired up” line. A great enforcer in Probert, as well as a great combatant in O’Reilly and possibly the best (and easily the most talented, though Hawerchuk might not be too far behind) agitator in hockey history centering make for some serious intimidation. All of these players, including “Probie,” can contribute their fair share of offense, as well, though obviously someone like Clarke more than Probert. All and all, great balance and would be urine-soiled jock strap inducing all over. Ambulances are standing by.
Now we get back at the blueline.
Also, Mark Howe, who nearly ended up being Bobby’s defensive pair mate.
All I have to say is balance is the key. The rest you can easily figure out on your own.
Two of the best shutdown defencemen of the ’90’s and early 2000’s to wheel out to protect the precious one goal lead in the third and well, knock guys over.
Ed Van Impe
Like the third and fourth forward lines, great to send out for physical presence. Both players were great emotional leaders, as well.
Lastly, between the pipes…
Perhaps the two most fiercely competitive goalies in hockey history. Both had mean streaks and did not have any tolerance for their territory being tresspassed on. Perfect for this set up.
Welp, that’s all I got. Happy summer, folks. October can’t come soon enough!