New York Hockey: ESPN New York Hall of Fame

ESPN New York Hall of Fame: Islanders

August, 9, 2011
8/09/11
4:35
PM ET

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In honor of ESPN New York's inaugural Hall of Fame ballot, here are my top five Islanders:

1. Mike Bossy: He was Gretzky before Gretzky. An amazing goal scorer. He had 573 goals in just 752 games. Only his bad back stopped him at age 30.


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2. Billy Smith: Not only could he win big games, he was a tough guy on the ice, too. He was a fiery goalie that opponents' fans loved to hate. But we loved No. 31 in New York.

3. Bryan Trottier: Just a machine when it came to scoring, with 853 assists and 500 goals as an Islander. The Isles were always a scoring threat with Trottier on the ice.

4. Denis Potvin: A dual threat on the ice. The captain wasn’t just a defensive stopper, he also amassed 742 assists and 310 goals.

5. Clark Gillies: The left winger was still able to get his with Bossy and Trottier on the same line. Had more than 300 goals and 300 assists in his career.

ESPN New York Hall of Fame: Devils

August, 9, 2011
8/09/11
4:21
PM ET

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In honor of ESPN New York's inaugural Hall of Fame ballot, here are my top five Devils:

1. Martin Brodeur: He's the best goaltender of all time not named Patrick Roy -- and some people say he's even better than Roy. The NHL's all-time regular-season leader in wins (625), shutouts (116) and games played by a goalie (1,132), Brodeur has guided the Devils to three Stanley Cup championships in his 18-year career, all with New Jersey. Just imagine if the Flames had picked Brodeur over Trevor Kidd in the 1990 NHL draft.


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Why isn't Martin Brodeur a finalist for the ESPN New York Hall of Fame? Because he hasn't retired.


2. Scott Stevens: Slava Kozlov, Eric Lindros, Paul Kariya, Shane Willis and Ron Francis are all in agreement here: Stevens could flat-out hit -- and he became even more ferocious in the postseason. Stevens captained the Devils to three Stanley Cups and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2000. A Hall of Famer, Stevens was the first Devil to have his number retired. The consummate leader.

3. Scott Niedermayer: We know, we know. He left on bad terms -- and you're indifferent as to whether or not his number will hang in the Prudential Center rafters. And yet, he's arguably the most gifted skater -- and without question the most talented offensive defenseman -- to play for the Devils. Niedermayer won three Stanley Cups in 13 seasons with New Jersey.

4. Patrik Elias: Fourteen years from now, we'll probably be talking about Ilya Kovalchuk as the most prolific forward in Devils history. But for the time being, the honor belongs to Elias. New Jersey's all-time leading scorer (816 points), Elias was involved in arguably the most indelible play in franchise history, sending a cross-ice pass through the slot that Jason Arnott buried for the Stanley Cup-clinching overtime game-winner in 2000. Elias, who also won the Cup in 2003, has played all 14 of his seasons in New Jersey.

5. Ken Daneyko: We couldn't round out the top-five list without including the man who was dubbed "Mr. Devil." Dano embodied everything the Devils stood for in nearly 20 years with the team: He was a stay-at-home defenseman known for his grit, determination and missing teeth. New Jersey's all-time leader in games played (1,283), Daneyko had his number retired in 2006. Also was a member of all three Stanley Cup teams.

ESPN New York Hall of Fame: Rangers

August, 9, 2011
8/09/11
3:44
PM ET

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In honor of ESPN New York's inaugural Hall of Fame ballot, here are my top five Rangers:

1. Mark Messier: Few in New York sports are as revered as Mark Messier, who spearheaded the push to the team's first Stanley Cup in 54 years. After guaranteeing victory in Game 6 of the conference finals, Messier followed through on his word, netting a hat trick in a comeback win over the Devils. He then scored the team's final goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. He had two stints with the team, 1991-97 and 2000-04. His number was retired in 2006 and he was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame a year later.


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2. Brian Leetch: The best defenseman in Rangers history was a major presence on the team in every game he played from 1988 to 2004. Leetch twice won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP for the 1994 Stanley Cup champs. Messier has been quoted as saying Leetch is the greatest Ranger of all time. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.

3. Rod Gilbert: For 19 seasons in the 1960s and '70s, the Rangers counted on Gilbert as one of their top offensive threats. He was the right wing on the team's well-known GAG line (goal-a-game) and set team records for goals (406) and points (1,021) that stand today. Gilbert, who played in eight All-Star Games, was the first player in Rangers history to have his number retired. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1982.

4. Mike Richter: Richter won 301 games in a 14-year career spent entirely with the Rangers. His greatest accomplishment was as the team's No. 1 goalie in 1994, when New York won the Stanley Cup. A three-time NHL All-Star who was twice voted team MVP, Richter's number was retired in 2004.

5. Ed Giacomin: Giacomin won 266 regular-season games and 29 playoff games as the Rangers' top goalie from 1966-75, helping the team to a Stanley Cup finals appearance in 1972. Giacomin appeared in six All-Star Games as a Ranger, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987 and had his number retired by the team in 1989.

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