It was nice to see Mike Gartner's name in the news. Last evening he became the 4th Washington Capital to have his jersey (#11) retired ( Labre #7, Langway #5, Hunter #32) to receive the honor. Gartner ranks second on the Capitals all-time points list behind Peter Bondra and is 6th on the NHL all-time goal scoring list (708). He also has the distinction of being the only player in the history of the league to score 30 or more goals in 17 different seasons. Gartner was noted for his expeditious skating ability and still holds the record for best time in the fastest skater competition at the NHL's yearly All-Star skills competition. What's interesting about this feat is that Gartner was 36 when he did it and that says something considering he was going against world class athletes more then ten years younger then him. The one feat that eluded Gartner was hoisting the Stanley Cup, in fact, Gartner never even had the opportunity to play in a Cup final. The closest he got was in 1994 when he played in the Western Conference finals with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Cup or not Gartner is certainly one the all-time great right wings in the history of the sport. He was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2001.
Fight of the Night
The fight of the night featured in today's edition went down between two exceptions of the heavyweight circuit.
Darcy Hordichuk and Chris Neil.
Both guys are near identical in size (6'1 each) and weight (Hordi weighs 215, Neil is at 210) which makes this scrap interesting considering these two are constantly battling true heavyweights much bigger then themselves. The old adage "If only he was four inches taller....." is a favorite when these two are involved in a fracas. Don't tell these guys that though, they both fight and patrol the rink as if they did carry around that extra size.
I like Neil's game a lot. He is a solid checking forward who brings instant energy and intensity with each shift. Neil is always willing to defend a teammate and shed some some blood for the cause. Anybody who is asked to do the dirty and gladly obliges is my kind of player.
Neil pastes Avery
Neil vs Simon
Neil vs Hordichuk