August 31, 2010
We want to take a moment to thank all of those who worked on the project for turning it into must-read hockey coverage in August, which ain't easy. Special thanks to BD Gallof of Hockey Independent for his work on the mountain graphics; and a stick-tap to Leahy for conceiving and managing the project.
As with other summer series, we're going to extend this one into September and perhaps into the season with some special edition Mount Puckmores on the weekends: from defunct teams to other more specific foursomes. It'll be fun. Well, until we get to the Cleveland Barons.
But first, a quick look back at some of the odder choices during the last four weeks of Mount Puckmore. "To each his own," of course. But in five specific cases, we're ready with a hammer and a chisel to reconfigure their mountains and correct some egregious oversights; or, in one infamous case, to right a wrong.
If there ever was a Puckmore that needed an executive it was the Blue Jackets'. The argument could be made that the suit of honor be given to John H. McConnell, who owned the team and was instrumental in the construction of the arena that secured a franchise for Columbus. But for a franchise with such little in the way of significant achievements, Ken Hitchcock needed to be on that mountain. (Which, obviously, would have left very little room for three other heads.)
Hitch coached the Jackets for parts of four seasons, giving the team a discernable identity for the first time and leading them to their first and only playoff berth in 2008-09. You could also argue he was instrumental in helping goalie Steve Mason(notes) win the Calder, the only voted-on award the franchise has ever captured.
Eric Engels had Mission: Impossible in trying to narrow down the Canadiens' legends to four faces. He went with The Rocket, Jean Beliveau, Patrick Roy (to represent the modern era) and Henri Richard, who probably didn't need inclusion.
Some argued for Jacques Plante. Others argued for Ken Dryden. We would have gone on offense: LaFleur, who won five Cups with the Habs and scored over 500 of his career goals in that sweater. Perfect choice to rep the dynastic teams of the 1970s. And, of course, a man who inspired porno music in the decade, too.
Sam Fels from Second City Hockey got crushed for his Puckmore, for having a 2-to-0 Wirtz to Mikita ratio, mostly.
Our beef was that he used up two spaces for representatives of the recent revival of the franchise: Jonathan Toews(notes) and Rocky Wirtz. We're fine with Toews up there, but Rocky should have been re-chiseled as a representative from the 15 or so years leading up to the rebirth of the franchise and their first Cup since 1961.
And that representative was Jeremy Roenick.
Sure, Denis Savard would have worked, despite his coaching prowess. Yes, Chris Chelios(notes) would have been a good fit, too. But Roenick was the Blackhawks for many fans during his time in Chicago, and he had 103 points in the year they made it back to the Stanley Cup Finals (1991-92) for the first time since 1973.
He wasn't Chicago's superstar exclusively, becoming an icon in Philly as well. But he defined that era for the Blackhawks.
Al Arbour, Bill Torrey, Mike Bossy and Denis Potvin ... a slam-dunk if the Islanders didn't play a game after 1988. Ah, but they did; and no single individual had more of an impact on the franchise than Mad Mike.
Five Minutes for Fighting has the complete rundown of Milbury's team-demolishing (and, conversely, opponent strengthening) reign; from Alexei Yashin(notes) to dealing away "Roberto Luongo, Tim Connolly(notes), Kenny Jonsson, Olli Jokinen(notes), Zdeno Chara(notes), Eric Brewer(notes), plus whoever they drafted with the number 1 pick in 2000 (either Heatley or Gaborik, the consensus top picks)."
There weren't a lot of "protest picks" on the Puckmores. Here's a place where, we think, one was necessary. But BD Gallof of Hockey Independent was so nice to do all the art for the project, we weren't going to give him too much guff.
1. Anyone But Jagr (Puckmore)
Yeah, that happened.
Jim from Blueshirt Banter put Jaromir Jagr(notes) on the New York Rangers' Mount Puckmore and sparked a massive wave of disbelief and ridicule. We understand what he was trying to do there, insofar as define an era. But maybe it would have been better defined by Glen Sather himself or Henrik Lundqvist(notes) or even Wade Redden(notes) as a protest vote.
Or better left undefined, with Rod Gilbert up on Puckmore instead.
If anything, we're grateful to Jim, and to all of our Puckmore contributors, for all of their hard work and thoughtfulness. But especially to Jim for creating the "What, no Jagr?" meme we're sure will carry into the season.
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UPDATE: Oh, the sweet irony of having an oversight in oversight blog. But our old pal Spector is correct: The lack of Lanny McDonald on the Calgary Flames Mount Puckmore could have edged out either Hitch or Guy on this list.