My buddies and I often debate who our all-time hockey teams would be. To make it somewhat easier, we split it into Original Six, and After Expansion. Lots of super players to choose from, but choose only: 1 goalie, 2 defence, 1 for each forward position, and (optional) one coach. If you want, give a brief note of why you chose a certain player (especially if he’s not really well known or a real old-timer). No other rules, let the opinions fly!
Goal – Terry Sawchuck – incredible clutch player, with unbelievable pain tolerance. Main cog in the Red Wings machine of the early 1950, all-time NHL shutout leader.
Defence – Bobby Orr – prototypical offensive defenceman. Incredible talent in both ends of the ice, one of the top five players of all time.
Defence – Tim Horton – Classic stay at home defenceman. In his day, the strongest man in the league; easily the physical match of any player.
Left Wing – Bobby Hull – hardest shot (over 100 mph) in the league, he could skate a hole in the wind. Second player to have a 50 goal season.
Center – Howie Morenz – Known as the Stratford Streak, he was the NHL’s all-time leading scorer on his death in 1937. My grandfather saw him in his prime, and said he was the best playmaker and fastest skater of the interwar period.
Right Wing – Maurice “Rocket” Richard – Howe scored more points, but Richard was without question the greatest pure goal scorer ever. First to score 50 goals in 50 games, was on 8 Cup winners. He played with an intensity that has rarely been seen since.
Coach – Toe Blake – The most successful coach of the Original Six era.
Goal – Tony Esposito – consistently one of the top goalies of the 1970s and early 80s.
Defence – Ray Bourque – Strong at both ends of the ice, a key member of the Colorado Avelanche.
Defence – Chris Chelios – A consistently high level of play throughout his career. A bit of a mean streak means he can look after his teammates as well.
Left Wing – Paul Kariya – A budding superstar held back by a weak team in Anaheim. Has the potential to be an all-time great, probably the best left winger in the game today.
Center – Wayne Gretzky – Who else?
Right Wing – Guy Lafleur – A fast skating, goal scoring machine. 6-time 1st team all-star, 5 Stanley Cups.
Coach – Scotty Bowman – Winningest coach of all time.
I know some of my picks are controversial, but I don’t think there can be many questions about the abilities of the players chosen.