NHL.com decided to make a ranking of the top 10 captains in NHL history. And guess who was ranked first? That’s right, the Messiah, Mark Messier. Here is the writeup they did justifying the ranking:
“Of all the great leaders in NHL history, only one has an award named for him. That would be Messier, whose Mark Messier Leadership Award is presented each year to recognize a player who’s a superior leader on his team on and off the ice.
That description fits Messier, who’s been recognized for his leadership skills after becoming the only player in NHL history to serve as captain for two Cup-winning franchises. He became captain in Edmonton after the Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky in 1988 and led them to the Stanley Cup in 1990, then wore the “C” (and scored the Cup-winning goal) when the New York Rangers ended their 54-year Stanley Cup drought in 1994. Both years were marked by signature performances in which he refused to let his team lose.
Messier’s career ledger includes six Stanley Cups, two Hart Trophies and a Conn Smythe Trophy, and he’s No. 2 on the NHL’s all-time scoring list. But it’s his leadership skills that have become his legacy and earned him the honor of being regarded as hockey’s greatest leader.”
Messier’s tenure with the Vancouver Canucks did not go over well at all so I’m sure Canucks fans are livid over his placement, but I doubt you’ll hear much disagreement from Oilers and Rangers fans. As the article states, he’s the only player in NHL history to captain two teams to a Stanley Cup. While this may be a bit unfair to Gretzky, the fact remains that Messier was able to win the cup without Gretzky while Gretzky could not accomplish that once he left Messier. And I don’t think I need to explain to you guys what Messier did for the city of New York and the Rangers organization.
Looking at the rest of the rankings, the biggest joke, even if unsurprising, is Crosby being put on the list at 7. He’s been the captain of the Penguins for 4 or 5 full seasons. He led them to a Stanley Cup, I get that. You know who else did? Mario Lemieux…twice. And he also happens to be the guy that mentored Crosby in the first place. How Crosby makes the list while Lemieux or Scott Stevens doesn’t is just inexcusable.
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