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  • 02/13/2012, 03:39PM ET

FFTI II: Who are, in order, the three greatest athletes of all time from Saskatchewan?

Mondo Jay (17-4-1) vs YODA (89-8-13)
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Saskatchewan's provincial motto is Multis E Gentibus Vires, which is Latin for "From many peoples strength"

When examining the greatest athletes from Saskatchewan it is no surprise that the sport that seems to produce the most greatness and "strength" is....(drum roll please) Hockey

Shocking eh?

With a population of around only a million, SK produced a surprising number of notably great athletes. Narrowing down the lengthy list, here is my top three:

-Gordie Howe

-Eddie Shore

-Bryan Trottier


Born in Floral SK, the amazing Gordie Howe ("Mr Hockey") earned the scoring and MVP title 6 times and won 4 Stanley Cups during a career that spanned 5 decades.

A prolific goal scorer, the right winger was also ambidextrous. Howe used a curveless blade to shoot with either hand. He played 26 NHL seasons and 6 WHA seasons for a combined total of 32 seasons of major league hockey.

Gordie Howe laced up for over 400 major league games, a record that seems destined to stand. He played in 23 All-Star games, finished as a top 5 scorer in the NHL for 20 consecutive seasons.

Howe was tough too. He could score 40 goals and beat the crap out of anyone.


The "Land of the Living Skies" is indeed a hockey factory. Saskatchewan has produced 484 NHL players, including 16 Hall of Famers.
2 of them (Howe, Shore) make The Hockey News' Top 10 players of all time. Only Gretzky (with 9) has more MVPs than Howe or Shore giving them a lock on the top 2 spots.

1. Gordie Howe: You may have looked at Howe's WHA totals (419 GP) when you quoted the 400 figure. Howe played an astounding 1767 NHL games (though it's worth noting that Messier and Francis got 98% and 96% of the way there respectively)

2. Eddie Shore: It's rare for a defenseman to win an MVP. Shore did it an incredible 4 times.

But my Saskatchewan hockey triumvirate fills all roles: Forward, Dman, and Goalie.

3. Glenn Hall: Hall spent the majority of his career playing for the Blackhawks in an era dominated by the dynastic Habs and Leafs.
He was named a First Team All Star 7 times (and a 2nd Teamer 4 times). And he achieved it while competing with all time greats, Jacques Plante and Terry Sawchuk.
What's most mindblowing about Hall is that he played a ridiculous 502 consecutive games.

Good luck, Mondo.


*Fun Saskatchewan fact: Leslie Nielson, the actor of "Naked Gun" and "Airplane!" (don't call him Shirley) fame was born in Regina and raised in Tulita

It appears YODA and I agree on Howe and Eddie Shore. Every time I watch the classic movie "Slap Shot", I am reminded about "old time hockey" as Newman shouts the praises of Eddie Shore.

This TD will be about Bryan Trottier VS Glenn Hall.


Nicknamed "Trots" (yikes) the 2nd round draft pick Bryan Trottier hit the ground (ice) running as he set the (then) NHL rookie record of 95 points and won the Calder Trophy as the league's Rookie of the year in 1975-76

Born in Val Marie SK, Trottier, considered one of the best "two-way" centers in hockey history, led the New York Islanders to 4 staight Stanley Cup championships from '80 to '83. BT was the scoring champ and MVP in 1979, and he won two more cups with Pittsburgh in '91 and '92

Yes, 6 Stanley Cups!

BT's best offensive season was 1978-79 when he had 134 points which earned him the Art Ross Trophy as well as the Hart Trophy as league MVP. In winning the Art Ross, BT became the 1st player from a post-Original Six expansion team to win the award.


I'll use 3 broad areas to compare our picks: Statistics, Awards, Legacy.


CAREER STATS

Trots ranks 66th in Adj Goals, 42nd in Adj Pts, and 10th in +/-.
Hall ranks in Adjusted GAA (13th), Wins (8th), and shutouts (4th).
In Career Point Shares (the only composite stat that can compare a forward to a goalie), Trots ranks 80th and Hall ranks 12th.
Advantage: Hall


AWARDS, HONORS

Both players won the Calder (ROY).
While Trots picked up a Hart and Art Ross in 1979, Hall won the Vezina (goaltending) trophy 3 tiimes.
Trots was named a First Team All Star twice. Hall was named to the First Team 7 times.

Both players also won a Conn Smythe (playoff MVP). But there's a key difference: Trots won his as part of the stacked Isles dynasty (Bossy, Potvin, Gilles, Smith, etc). Hall won his as part of the losing team (a feat accomplished only 5 times in history) and as part of a 1st yr expansion team (Blues).


LEGACY

Trots combined offensive talent with a defensive mindset.
Hall is famous for his unfathomable 8 season Iron Man streak and for pioneering the butterfly style (emulated by Esposito, Tretiak, and Roy).


I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.


It is true that Trots was part of a great Isles team. He was also referred to as the "glue" on those teams, centering his fellow stars Clark Gillies and Mike Bossy on a line known as "The Trio Grande", which, roughly translated means: "Ice Scrotums". A strong metaphor for sure.

As we all know, without glue things fall apart. I really don't think this is the right week to stop sniffing glue...



During the early '80s when Gretzky set numerous scoring marks, Isles' broadcaster Stan Fischler and coach Al Arbour nonetheless insisted that Trots was the best player over Gretzky. Wow...better than the "Great One"! That is pretty damn good.

Trottier was described as "a forward possessing an all-around game including ruggedness", and there have been comparisons to Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman.

Speaking of Yzerman, (Golden God) I trust his opinion over all others when it comes to life and hockey.

Stevie considered Trots to be his favorite player. Both players wore uniform #19 throughout their careers. Conversely, Hall is not Yzerman's favorite player.

Trots: 595 goals

Hall: Did the butterfly or something

Thanks YODA!


Forgive me if I don't consider the opinion of the Islanders' coach or broadcaster to be unbiassed.
While Yzerman named Trottier as a key influence, Hall influenced entire generations of great goalies and coaches. Goalies are glue.

I outlined numerous reasons in Arg 2 that lend validity to the Hockey News' all time rankings:
Trots: 31st overall (17th Forward, 11th Centre)
Hall: 16th overall (3rd Goalie)

When looking at the big picture - strengths, skills, contribution to their team, contribution to the game - Hall is the clear winner.

In Arg 2, you brought up "old time hockey".
While Trots did bring an element of scrappiness, Glenn Hall was unquestionably one of the toughest guys ever.
Hall showed unearthly consistency and endurance playing through injuries to his back and knees.
And we can't forget that Hall played the majority of his career without a helmet or a mask.
He took so many pucks to the head that he ended up with over 300 stitches to the face by career end.
But he wouldn't sit out. He was fearless.

Glenn Hall absolutely must be included in the Saskatchewan Top 3.
He will be forever worthy of his nickname, "Mr. Goalie".

February 13, 2012  03:57 PM ET

Beer and doughnuts eh?

February 13, 2012  04:06 PM ET

I didn't even know how to spell Saskatchewan until now!

Comment #3 has been removed
February 13, 2012  04:34 PM ET

Glenn Hall over Trottier. Sorry, you whiffed on that one...

February 13, 2012  04:35 PM ET

Definitely Whitney Houston.

February 13, 2012  04:38 PM ET

Dang that Ethan. The original topic said Rhode Island.

February 13, 2012  04:55 PM ET

eeeeeeew saskatchewan

February 13, 2012  05:24 PM ET
QUOTE(#7):

eeeeeeew saskatchewan

We have to highlight the mentally challenged among us.

February 13, 2012  05:30 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Dang that Ethan. The original topic said Rhode Island.

Ha!

Comment #10 has been removed
February 13, 2012  05:40 PM ET

Good old Saskatoon, baby.

By the way, I can't even name an athlete from Saskatoon outside of hockey off the top of my head.

February 13, 2012  05:41 PM ET

Patrick Swayze... Rob Lowe... Keanu Reeves...
Youngbloods

February 13, 2012  05:45 PM ET

Saskatchewan?
aren't those the noth american equalivent to the yeti and the fancy **** name for a bigfoot?

Comment #14 has been removed
February 13, 2012  05:57 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

Saskatchewan?aren't those the noth american equalivent to the yeti and the fancy **** name for a bigfoot?

Sasquatch...Schechuan...what's the fifference?

February 13, 2012  06:15 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Sasquatch.

MnaBearPig.

February 13, 2012  07:22 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Mr. Hockey played way more than 400 games....

Exactly. Isn't that what I said....

February 13, 2012  07:28 PM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Glenn Hall over Trottier. Sorry, you whiffed on that one...

I already took "Mr Hockey", so I figured it would be unfair to take "Mr Goalie" too...

February 13, 2012  07:30 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Mr. Hockey played way more than 400 games....

Damn, what a typo. I meant to say over 1700.

I'll blame the weed.

 
February 13, 2012  07:41 PM ET
QUOTE(#19):

I'll blame the weed.

*meaning, I hadn't smoked any while I was writing that argument...

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