Saturday, 10 April 2010

State of...Longevity

It's a sad last couple of days to the NHL season. Not only because my Maple Leafs stunk up the joint, but also because two NHL greats, and two of the greatest American born players, are set to retire. Keith Tkachuk and Mike Modano are hanging up the skates after two decades of playing at the NHL level. Both will should undoubtedly be elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame, likely in their first attempt. Take a look at their stats below:

Mike Modano:
1458 Games
557 Goals
802 Assists
1359 Points

Keith Tkachuk:
1201 Games
538 Goals
527 Points
1065 Points
2219 PIMS

That's nearly 2,500 points!!! Together they played 40 seasons of NHL hockey. These are two of the greats to be sure. In those 40 seasons, guess how many 100 point seasons they had? Go ahead, take a guess? 5? Nope. 10? Nope. 20? Not a chance. Together these two hockey greats had a total of ZERO 100 point seasons. That is insane. How do these two players NOT hit the century mark at some point? I guess this just shows how difficult it is to maintain that kind of consistency for a full 82 game schedule.

My good friend Amish was on hand to watch the Mike Modano Love-fest. You can see the clip here. Kudos goes out to the Dallas Stars fans for recognizing what they have/had. It was great to see how emotional Modano got on the bench. Sometimes we take for granted how long these players have had this profession and what it means to hang up the skates. These guys have been playing hockey for around 35 years.

Mike Modano and I had a bit of an up and down relationship. I hated his prima-donna attitude earlier in his career. As he matured he started to gain back my respect and by the end of his career he had played his way onto my favourite players list (it's a LONG list). Like many young superstars he had a lot to learn; but he did it. It was great to watch as he mentored the younger players on those Stars teams.

I will always remember Keith Tkachuk as one of those players that I hated having my Leafs play against. He was a perfect mix of skill and brawn. He was one of the best Power Fowards in the game. He was able to get his team pumped with a goal or a big fit and/or fight. He was always one of those players that I wanted on my fantasy team because he could do it ALL!

Count me in as part of the standing ovation that each of these NHL greats received at their last games. It was a pleasure watching them play and they WILL be missed. Great players, great careers, and good luck with your retirements! My hat goes off to you both!


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