Whale Of A Player
Two big pieces of hockey news this evening:
Oiler stalwart Ryan Smyth has reached a two year agreement with Edmonton. Oiler fans will be ecstatic. Me? I tremble at the thought of having to hear any more of his interviews. Those who have not been forced to listen to his cliched, stuttering interviews for the past-my God is it eleven years?-should count themselves fortunate. I like Smytty, don't get me wrong. I just don't understand how a guy who gets 60 points a year is worth that kind of money.
In much more important news, Hurricane captain and fourth highest scorer of all-time Ron Francis has announced his retirement from the game of hockey. Francis retires as the most underrated hockey player of all time, a man who ranks only behind Messier and Howe in games played, Gretzky in assists, and Gretzky, Messier and Howe in points. Hallow company, indeed.
Winner of two Stanley Cups, Francis spent his career behind Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh and in the hockey wastelands that are Hartford and Carolina. Francis is my second favorite player of all-time, and the loss of him following upon the retirement of my favorite player (Mark Messier) has me reeling. It was bad enough when the Whale traded him and knee crusher Ulf Samuelsson to the Pens for John Cullen and Zarley Zalapski. Then the team moved to Carolina. And now this. I sure will miss Ronnie Franchise.
This reminds me of a question I have had floating around in my head for a few days: now that Mark Messier has retired, which active NHLer wears the most Stanley Cup rings? My immediate guess would be Chris Chelios, Steve Yzerman, and a fleet of Red Wings, but I will have to do some digging to find the answer.
***Anyone else want to take a guess? Right now Abboud and I are stuck on players with three rings, like Steve Yzerman, Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermyer and Kirk Maltby.***
***Thanks to this page, Abboud and I were able to come up with a pretty extensive list of players with three rings. That appears to be the limit. It pales in comparison to Messier's six, but it's better than the bling Dale Hawerchuk is wearing.
Scott Niedermyer- 3
We may be missing others. Feel free to let me know.