Gillies was a mountain of a man -- big, physical, talented and scary tough. If you wanted to drop the gloves, you were in for it. I remember him playing with Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy on one of the most prolific line combinations of the late '70s and early '80s. The Trottier-Gillies-Bossy line was overpowering and dominant. Of the three, Gillies supplied most of the physical play. He was a great corner man. His skills enabled him to stay on a top line with Trottier and Bossy; he was able to finish when they set him up.
Federko was a bright, skilled and talented center man who was always extremely difficult to play against as a puck-possession player. He had a quiet demeanor on the ice, but he always hurt you on the scoreboard. As mainly a setup man, he could buy time for talented wingers. He was a great passer who would command attention. When his teammates were open, he was like a surgeon; he made crisp, clean passes and excellent plays. He could also score the big goal when needed.
Neilson is one of the NHL's most beloved coaches by players. He was given the nickname "Captain Video" in the '80s because he was one of the first coaches to use video to a great extent when no one else was. Neilson was on the cutting edge; he would break down power plays and penalty kills -- all the things that are second nature to NHL teams now. He is a wonderful man who commands respect for both his knowledge and his treatment of other people. That's as important as his hockey credentials.
-- Brian Engblom