Chicago Blackhawks make top 100 list


swimfinfan via wikimedia

Kane, Keith and Toews joins the likes of NHL greats on the Top 100 list.

Meghan Couty, Writer

The NHL is celebrating its centennial season this year and hockey went to Hollywood for an epic all-star weekend.

Festivities started with the unveiling of the NHL 100 Greatest Players list. On Jan. 27, 67 of the league’s legends were honored in a televised ceremony, hosted by Jon Hamm. The first 33 had been previously revealed on Jan. 1 at the Centennial Classic in Toronto. Although the list had no official numbered rankings, Chicago was heavily represented. Not only did four Blackhawks make this year’s all-star team, but the Hawks also had 10 players make the list.

The list paid homage to greats like Mario Lemieux, “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe and “The Great One” himself, Wayne Gretzky.

Former Blackhawks that made the rank include Max Bentley, Chris Chelios, Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Denis Savard. All of these players having a hand in revolutionizing the game.

Although the list pays tribute to some of hockey’s greatest former players, it only offers up six active players – three of them Blackhawks. As one of the Original Six team, the Blackhawks have a strong history and a tradition of Stanley Cup-winning dream teams.

The Hawks have been a dominant force in the last decade, so it’s no wonder why team leaders like Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews have all received a spot on the list. Each of these guys are still roughly in the middle of their careers, but have proven why they deserve to be ranked.

With a nickname like “Showtime,” and some of the best stickhandling skills the league has ever seen, Patrick Kane is probably an obvious choice to many Chicagoans and NHL fans. Kane has made his way to the NHL leaderboard in points already this season.

Boasting a long list of accomplishments, one of Kane’s most distinguishing moments came in 2016 when he became the first American-born player to win the Art Ross trophy for having the most points at the end of the season. Kane has continued to be a prominent force for the Hawks since he was drafted in 2007, and it’s clear to see what landed him on this list.

Duncan Keith is one of the best defensemen to grace the United Center ice. His dynamic playing style and endurance helped him win the Conn Smythe trophy in 2015 after the Blackhawks’ third Stanley Cup victory in six seasons.

The Blackhawks alternate captain is a prominent presence on the ice – usually racking up an average of 25 minutes of playing time per game. Off the ice, Keith is the founder of the Keith Relief charity, and recently released “Keith Krunch” cereal back in December 2016.

Keith seemed totally humbled by the entire all-star experience.

“To be kind of lumped into a group of players with these guys, I don’t really have words for it,” Keith told Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, “It’s more than just us three [Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews], it’s all the guys who got named.”

Jonathan Toews had a rough start to his current season, arguably not performing like an all-star should. However, this season is not at all a reflection of his career as a whole. According to NHL writer Bob Verdi, “Toews is a statue waiting to happen.”

Toews boasts a history of winning.  After less than two seasons with the Hawks, Toews was named captain – the fastest time the League has ever seen. With that title he’s led the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup wins in six years. He also captained the 2010 Canadian Olympic team to a gold medal win, and again won a gold medal with the team in 2014.

“Jonathan brings it every night. It’s one thing to have ability, but another to compete,” said Scotty Bowman, Blackhawks senior advisor in an interview with Bob Verdi. “You are not going to outcompete Toews.”

However, as with any “Top 100” list, there were bound to be some snubs.

One name I was shocked to not see is that of active Blackhawks right-winger, Marian Hossa. Hossa has 20 seasons in the league and a rap sheet of accomplishments greater than his teammates that did make it.

Why Hossa was bypassed?

Joe Knowles, Contact Reporter for the Chicago Tribune, mentioned in a January 31, article that Hossa has appeared in the Stanley Cup final five times, winning it three times with the Hawks, and also has 517 career regular-season goals, and that number is growing. He said” when you compare Hossa to some of his other contemporaries who were chosen for the top 100, it’s hard to understand why he was overlooked.”

Maybe next time, Hossa.

The weekend culminated on Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the All-Star game. Decades of the NHL’s legends lined up across the rink from this year’s all-stars for the ultimate puck drop.

The best part? Chicago had Blackhawks on both sides of the puck.