Three Devils Among NHL’s 100 Greatest Players

Last night, the National Hockey League celebrated part of their centennial celebration at the NHL All-Star Weekend festivities by naming the 100 greatest players in league history. Among those names were three players very closely associated with the New Jersey Devils: Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer.

Brodeur is probably the player mostly associated with New Jersey on this list. He played from 1992 to 2014 with the Devils after having been drafted by the Devils in 1990. He finished his career in St. Louis with the Blues, where he currently serves as Assistant General Manager. In his time with the Devils, he backstopped the team to three Stanley Cups and five Stanley Cup Finals appearances. He is the NHL leader in wins (691) and shutouts (125). He won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie four times.

Stevens captained the Devils to their three Stanley Cup championships and was a punishing force on the blue line for 13 years with the Devils (he also played eight years with the Washington Capitals and one year with the St. Louis Blues). Although he never won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, he was named the 2000 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as most valuable player of the Stanley Cup playoffs. He is also ranked 13th all-time in the NHL with a career plus-393 plus/minus rating. He is currently an assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild.

Niedermayer, although drafted by the Devils in 1991 and playing the bulk of his 18-year career with the Devils (13 years with New Jersey), will probably be identified best with the Devils and another team. He played five years with the Anaheim Ducks, where he captained them to a Stanley Cup in 2007. But he was also a member of all three of the Devils Stanley Cup wins. A winner at every level – he won the Memorial Cup with the Kamloops Blazers and an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada to go along with those four Stanley Cups – he was also the winner of the Norris Trophy in 2004 with the Devils and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2007 with Anaheim. Known for his blazing speed and elegant skating ability, he will perhaps best be known amongst Devils fans for his end-to-end goal in game two of the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit. He currently serves as a coach on the Anaheim Ducks’ staff.

In addition to those three players best known as Devils, four other players who played with the organization were named to the list: Peter Stastny, Brendan Shanahan, Joe Nieuwendyk and Jaromir Jagr (who is still active with the Florida Panthers). Also on the list (as players) were former Stanley Cup-winning Devils coaches Jacques Lemaire and Larry Robinson.

Congratulations to these players and all of the other players who made the NHL’s 100 greatest list.

In other All-Star news, players have been assigned to the Skills Competition events and Devils representative Taylor Hall will be skating as the third shooter representing the Metropolitan Division in the Honda NHL Four Line Challenge. He will be taking two shots from the far blue line and will try to score in one of the four corners of the net or the five hole. He will be shooting with Vincent Trocheck (Florida Panthers – Atlantic Division), PK Subban (Nashville Predators – Central Divison) and Ryan Kesler (Anaheim Ducks – Pacific Division). Other Metro Division shooters in this event are Ryan McDonagh (first shooter, New York Rangers), Wayne Simmonds (second shooter, Philadelphia Flyers) and Seth Jones (fourth shooter, Columbus Blue Jackets).

NHL Announces Plans for Centennial Anniversary Celebrations

The National Hockey League turns 100 years old in 2017 and will be celebrating throughout those entire twelve months. The league announced their plans today which include Wayne Gretzky serving as “official ambassador” for the celebrations, an interactive truck exhibit tour to all NHL markets and “dozens of other local hockey communities,” the selection of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history and the commemorations of the founding of the league, the first games played and the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup.

The celebrations will kick off on January 1, 2017 with the NHL Centennial Classic (an outdoor game, of course) at Toronto’s BMO Field between the Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. It will continue through the NHL All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles (January 27-29), the NHL Winter Classic in St. Louis (January 2), the NHL Stadium Series in Pittsburgh (February 25), the NHL Awards in Las Vegas (June 2017) and the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago (June 23-24).

In addition to that, the NHL will participate in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2 and will celebrate the Stanley Cup’s 125th Anniversary in Ottawa on March 15-18, the 100th anniversary founding of the league on November 26 in Montreal and the 100th anniversary of the first games played on December 19 in Ottawa (Ottawa was the site of the first game in NHL history: a 7-4 Montreal Canadiens victory over the Ottawa Senators).

The truck tour will feature a “53-foot museum truck that includes an interactive interior with original video content, exclusive memorabilia, and fan activations.” There will also be “a second 53-foot trailer with giant video screen for viewing parties and stage for player and alumni appearances.” In addition it will feature “a pop-up synthetic rink for youth hockey games and clinics.” The tour launches at the Centennial Classic on January 1.

The Tournament of Roses Parade will feature a float commemorating the NHL’s 100th and the Los Angeles Kings’ 50th anniversaries. NBC will cover the parade as a lead-in to the Winter Classic outdoor game between the Blues and Chicago Blackhawks.

The NHL will also announce the 100 Greatest Players in NHL History at a gala in Los Angeles in January at the All-Star festivities. “A blue ribbon panel of distinguished members from across the hockey community – including former and current executives, media members, and NHL alumni” will vote for the 100 Greatest Players in NHL History. The first group of players will be announced at the Centennial Classic and they will include the 100 greatest players from the pre-expansion years (1917 to 1966). The press release says that “the remaining players will be unveiled at a special ceremony in Los Angeles during NHL All-Star weekend” which would lead me to believe that there are going to actually be 200 players on this list (100 pre-expansion and 100 post-expansion). We will see how that all shakes down.

The Stanley Cup celebrations will commemorate the 125th anniversary of Lord Stanley of Preston donating the Stanley Cup in 1893. These celebrations will take place in Ottawa in connection with Canada’s 150th celebrations (Canada will be celebrating 150 years of confederation in 2017).

There will also be two documentaries released during the celebrations. One will release in March during the Stanley Cup celebrations in Ottawa and will focus on the iconic trophy’s 125 years. Then, in November 2017, the NHL will release a documentary “covering the key moments and milestones in the League’s 100-year history.”

There will also be 100 Iconic NHL Moments unveiled throughout the Fall of 2017. These will include the greatest “goals, games, the odd and unusual, and seminal events in history.” In addition, the NHL will create a time capsule. Each day throughout the 2017 calendar year, the NHL will share milestones from the league’s 100 years “with fans across all platforms – online, broadcast, and social – with original stories and videos.”

There will be further information on some of these events and celebrations released at a later date.