Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Moose

Today a legend has retired. After 25 years in the NHL, Mark Messier has finally hung his skates up. Known as the greatest leader in professional sports, Messier's ability to lift teams up and carry them to victory is legendary (he has 6 Stanley Cups, the only player to captain 2 different teams in winning a Cup, as well as 3 Canada Cup Championships). The stats speak for themselves: Second all time career points, third in assists, second in games played, second in playoff appearances, seventh in goals, second all time playoff goals, assists and points, 2 Hart trophies (most valuable player of the league), 2 Comm Smythe trophies, 4 first team all star selections... the list goes on. I can still remember staying up late, watching the good old Oilers raking up the points against helpless opponents; or those great playoff series against the Islanders and Flames. Wow, that was hockey!

He's known as "The Moose" because of his all round ability in every facet of the game, and he played it with an edge. His style of play and single minded determination to win endeared him to fans. There's an old joke that exemplefies this:

The three greatest hockey players of all time; Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretsky and Mark Messier one day stand before God at his throne. God asks Lemieux "Mario, what do the people think of you?". Mario answers "The people of Pittsburg love me, I brought the passion of hockey to a city who previously only knew football."

God then turns to Gretsky and asks the same "Wayne, what do the people think of you?". Wayne replies "The people of Edmonton love me, hockey fans throughout North America called me 'the Great One'".

Finally God turns to Messier, "Mark what did the people think of you?". Mark replies: "The people of Edmonton and New York adore me, I brought championships to their city, and quite frankly they think you're sitting in MY seat". :-)

So long Mess, thanks for the memories... we'll miss you.


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