JON: WHEN THE NHL WRAPPED UP ITS FIRST 50 YEARS IN 1967, IT WAS FAR AND AWAY THE SMALLEST AND MOST PROVINCIAL OF NORTH AMERICA’S FOUR PROFESSIONAL LEAGUES. WITH JUST SIX TEAMS, IT COULD HAVE EVEN BEEN CLASSIFIED AS QUAINT, BUT IN THE LEAGUE’S 51 ST YEAR, A SEISMIC SHIFT WOULD RESHAPE THE LANDSCAPE.>>THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PRESIDENT, ALONG WITH THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE, REALIZED, IN ORDER TO INCREASE THEIR REVENUES TO WHERE IT SHOULD BE, THEY NEEDED TO DOUBLE THE SIZE OF THE LEAGUE.>>THIS YEAR, FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE LEAGUE WILL BE COMPOSED OF 12 TEAMS.>>SO IN 1967-19 68 SEASON, THEY INTRODUCED SIX NEW TEAMS, PHILADELPHIA AND PITTSBURGH, ST. LOUIS, MINNESOTA, OAKLAND, AND LOS ANGELES. RATHER THAN IT BEING A LEAGUE THAT ONLY WENT AS FAR WEST AS CHICAGO, ALL OF A SUDDEN, IT’S EXTENDING INTO THE WONDERFUL CALIFORNIA MARKET.>>WE HAVE THE ORANGE OF PHILADELPHIA, HOCKEY IN ORANGE. GREEN IN MINNESOTA. BABY BLUE IN PITTSBURGH, THE COLOR YOU NORMALLY SEE ON RELIGIOUS STATUARY AND BABY BLANKETS. AND ALL THIS WAS COMING TO THE SPORT. IT WAS MAKING IT MORE COLORFUL. BUT IT WAS INEVITABLE, BECAUSE IF HOCKEY DID NOT GROW, IT WOULD HAVE SHRIVELED AND DIED. JON: TWICE THE TEAMS MEANT DOUBLE THE PLAYERS, GIVING MANY CAREER MINOR LEAGUERS A CHANCE TO FINALLY PLAY IN THE NHL. IT ALSO EXTENDED THE CAREERS OF SEVERAL NOTABLE VETERANS, LIKE 36-YEAR-OLD GOALTENDER GLENN HALL, WHO BECAME THE BACKBONE OF THE ST. LOUIS BLUES, A WISE DECISION, GIVEN THE NEW LEAGUE STRUCTURE.>>THE EAST DIVISION WAS THE ORIGINAL SIX TEAMS. THE WEST DIVISION WAS THE SIX NEW EXPANSION TEAMS.>>WE KNOW THAT THE EXPANSION TEAMS CANNOT COMPETE FOR A PERIOD OF YEARS, COMPARED TO THE OLD, ESTABLISHED FRANCHISES, SO THEY GET THEIR OWN DIVISION, WHERE THEY CAN MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. JON: THE FIRST TWO EXPANSION-ERA CUP FINALS SAW THE CANADIENS SWEEP THE ST. LOUIS BLUES. ALTHOUGH, THANKS TO HALL, THE FIRST WAS CLOSER THAN EXPECTED, WITH EACH GAME DECIDED BY ONE GOAL. BUT THE HABS’ VICTORY IN 1969 WOULD MARK THE END OF AN EIGHT-Y EAR RUN OF EITHER TORONTO OR MONTREAL WINNING THE CUP. THE NEW DECADE WOULD BRING A NEW CHAMPION, WITH A BRIGHT NEW STAR, WHO, FROM THE AGE OF 14, HAD SEEMED DESTINED TO BECOME THE NEW FACE OF THE LEAGUE.>>IN THE 1960’S, THE BRUINS FELL ON HARD TIMES AND DROPPED TO THE BOTTOM OF THE LEAGUE. THE FANS WERE GETTING A LITTLE RESTLESS. THE WORD WAS OUT NOW THAT WE HAD THIS PHENOM, AND WHEN HE GOT HERE, MAGICAL THINGS STARTED TO HAPPEN TO HOCKEY IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS.>>ORR BREAKS FOR THE NET. SCORES!>>ORR, SHOT, SCORE!>>SCORE, BOBBY ORR!>>ORR, A BACKHANDER!>>THE FIRST TIME I SAW BOBBY ORR, I SAT THERE LIKE THIS.>>SCORE, BOBBY ORR!>>THROUGH 2 1/2 HOURS, BECAUSE I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT.>>WHAT A PLAY BY BOBBY ORR!>>TALK ABOUT A GUY WHO HAD ELECTRIFIED A RINK. WHEN HE GATHERED THE PUCK IN HIS OWN END, DID HIS THING LIKE NOBODY ELSE EVER DID IT.>>BEHIND THE NET.>>TEAMMATES SOMETIMES WERE GIVING IT ONE OF THESE WHEN BOBBY DID HIS THING, AND MAYBE EVEN A FEW OPPONENTS. HE LEFT OPPONENTS IN HIS EXHAUST FUMES.>>YOU LIKE TO SEE SOMEBODY WHO IS THAT GOOD OF A PLAYER DO WHAT THEY DO AND GO, PRETTY COOL.>>INTERCEPTED BY ORR. SCORES!>>CHOPPY OR REVOLUTIONIZE — BOBBY ORR REVOLUTIONIZED THE GAME. HE CHANGED THE GAME FOREVER.>>I’M NOT TRYING TO BE MODEST. I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT CHANGING THE GAME. I WAS PLAYING A GAME I LOVED. I WAS REALIZING A DREAM. THE ONLY THING THEY SAID TO ME IS, BE CAREFUL. WHEN YOU GO ON THE ICE, TRY TO PICK YOUR SPOTS. BUT IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG FOR THE PLAYERS TO UNDERSTAND HOW I PLAYED.>>ORR, SHOOTS AND SCORES AS HE WAS FILLED IN THE CORNER.>>I DIDN’T THINK ABOUT SCORING X NUMBER OF GOALS. MY GOAL WAS TO BE ON A STANLEY CUP TEAM. JON: FOR BOBBY AND THE BRUINS, THAT WOULD HAPPEN IN 1970, ENDING BOSTON’S 29-YEAR STANLEY CUP DROUGHT,CAPPED BY ORR HIMSELF, A MOMENT NOW FROZEN IN TIME.>>BOBBY ORR, BEHIND THE CENTER. ORR! BOBBY ORR!>>BOBBY ORR WAS PETER PAN. ON MAY 10, 1970, WHEN HE SCORES THE CUP WINNING GOAL ON MOTHER’S DAY IN THE STEAMING NEW BOSTON GARDEN, HE FLEW. HE FLEW THROUGH THE AIR. PETER PAN FLIES THROUGH THE AIR. IT WAS ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS THAT CAPTURED HOCKEY.>>EACH TIME I SEE GLENN HALL, GLENN SAYS, IS THAT THE ONLY GOAL YOU EVER SCORED? JON: IN THE EARLY 1970’S, AS ORR WAS REVOLUTIONIZING AND RESHAPING THE ROLE OF AN NHL DEFENSEMAN, HIS BRUINS WERE BUSY SCORING — SETTING SCORING RECORDS, MANY BY PHIL ESPOSITO, WHO LED THE NHL IN GOALS, SCORING AN UNHEARD-OF 76 IN THE 1970-1971 SEASON. A YEAR LATER, ESPO HAD 66 AND THE BRUINS, ANOTHER STANLEY CUP, THEIR SECOND AND LAST OF THE BOBBY ORR ERA. JON: BY 1973, THE NHL HAD GROWN TO 16 TEAMS. FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS, THE LEAGUE, NOW ADMITTEDLY A BIT ROUGHER AND TOUGHER, WOULD COME TO BE DEFINED BY JUST ONE. AND THEIR SELF-DESCRIBED INTIMIDATING STYLE OF PLAY. ALTHOUGH THE PHILADELPHIA FLYERS WERE NOT ALWAYS THE BROAD STREET BULLIES.>>THERE WERE THE BIG BAD BRUIN’S, ST. LOUIS, THEY WERE BEATING THE CRACK OUT OF US — THE CRAP OUT OF US PHYSICALLY. WE JUST GOT BIGGER, STRONGER, TOUGHER, AND WE STARTED RETURNING THE FAVORS, STARTED BEATING UP OTHER TEAMS. I LOVED IT. IT GAVE OUR TEAM A PERSONALITY. IN A PHYSICAL SPORT, IF YOU ARE THE MOST PHYSICAL, THAT’S A BIG ADVANTAGE.>>DAVE “THE HAMMER” SCHULTZ, 400-PLUS PENALTY MINUTES. BOB KELLY. MOOSE DUPONT. THESE WERE TOUGH BOYS. WHEN THE OPPOSING TEAMS CAME TO TOWN, THEY ALL OF A SUDDEN GOT THE PHILADELPHIA FLU. THEY DIDN’T WANT TO PLAY IN PHILADELPHIA TO BADLY — TOO BADLY, BECAUSE THEY KNEW IT WOULD BE WAR.>>THE OTHER OWNERS WERE HORRIFIED AT THE FLYERS. WAIT A MINUTE, WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR BEAUTIFUL GAME?>>WE GOT KIND OF TATTOOED WITH THE BROAD STREET BULLIES. IF YOU LOOKED AT THE TEAM, WE HAD FINESSE AND GOOD HOCKEY PLAYERS. YOU DON’T WIN THROUGH BULLYING. YOU WIN THROUGH TEAM PLAY AND THE SYSTEM WE PLAYED IN THAT FRED SHERO SETUP FOR US. YOU STILL HAVE TO SCORE GOALS. YOU STILL HAVE TO MAKE DEFENSIVE PLAYS. THE FLYERS HAD ALL OF THAT THROUGH THAT TIME. JON: IN 1974, AFTER JUST SEVEN YEARS IN THE LEAGUE, THE PHYSICAL FLYERS BECAME THE FIRST EXPANSION TEAM TO WIN THE STANLEY CUP.>>THE FLYERS WIN THE STANLEY CUP! JON: THEY OUTMUSCLED AND PERHAPS, MORE REWARDING WE, OUT SKATED THE BOSTON BRUINS IN SIX GAMES, LED BY THE SPECTACULAR PLAY OF GOALTENDER BERNIE PARENT.>>IN THE PLAYOFFS, YOU FEEL THE EXCITEMENT AND THE CROWD ELEVATES YOU TO A DIFFERENT LEVEL THAT MAKES YOU PERFORM AT THAT DIFFERENT LEVEL. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL THING. JON: THE NEXT YEAR, 1975, PARENT WAS AGAIN THE HERO, WITH THE FLYERS PREVAILING OVER THE BUFFALO SABRES. IT WAS THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE THAT THE STANLEY CUP FINAL WAS PLAYED WITHOUT AN ORIGINAL SIX TEAM. BUT TO THE EVERLASTING THANKS OF MUCH OF THE OLD GUARD, THAT WOULD SOON CHANGE.>>IN 1976, THE FLYERS WERE THE BY VARIANCE — WERE THE BARBARIANS AT THE GATE AND IT NEED THE CANADIENS — IT NEEDED THE CANADIENS TO REBALANCE THE GAME.>>WE FELT THAT WE HAD A LOT OF PRESSURE ON OUR SHOULDERS THROUGHOUT THE LEAGUE TO KIND OF CHANGE THE WAY THAT PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT THE GAME SHOULD BE PLAYED.>>THE CANADIENS WERE TOUGH, TOO. THEY WEREN’T ANGELS, BUT THE CANADIENS CAME DOWN MORE ON THE GOOD SIDE. LARRY ROBINSON HITTING GARY AND ACTUALLY DENTING THE BOARDS HE HIT HIM SO HARD, REALLY ANNOUNCED TO THE CANADIENS, WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE ANYTHING.>>YOU WANT A RODEO, WE WILL GIVE YOU A RODEO. YOU WANT A SKATING GAME, WE WILL GIVE YOU A SKATING GAME. THEY COULD PLAY THE PHILADELPHIA FLYERS STRAIGHT UP AND BEAT THEM AT THEIR GAME IF THEY HAD TO, BUT THEY COULD ALSO BEAT THEM ON THE SCOUT — SCOREBOARD. THAT WAS SUCH A TEAM. JON: THE CANADIENS NOT ONLY WON THAT CUP, BUT THREE MORE AS WELL, WITH WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE MOST IMPRESSIVE COLLECTION OF TALENT EVER ASSEMBLED ON THE ICE.>>THEY WERE AN ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR TEAM. LARRY ROBINSON, SEARCH SAVARD, GIULIA POINT — SERGE SAVARD, AND THE GREAT FORWARDS.>>YOU HAD A GREAT GOALTENDER IN KEN DRYDEN. YOU HAD SPEED FROM COURNOYER. THE BEST CHECKER IN THE GAME IN BOB GAINEY.>>WE HAD NINE MEMBERS OF THE HALL OF FAME ON THE SAME TEAM.>>IN 1976-1977, THE CANADIENS LOST EIGHT GAMES ALL YEAR.>>IT WAS THE BEST TEAM THAT HOCKEY HAS EVER SEEN.>>IN THAT ONE OR MARK OF THE SEASON, MONTREAL — JON: IN THAT ONE REMARKABLE SEASON, MONTREAL LOST JUST ONE HOME GAME AND ITS 132 TOTAL POINTS REMAIN THE MOST IN NHL HISTORY. THE CANADIENS’ OFFENSE WAS NEARLY UNSTOPPABLE. STEVE HAD 60 GOALS, AT THE TIME THE MOST EVER BY A LEFT-WING. WHILE THE DEFENSE, LED BY LARRY ROBINSON AND GOALTENDER KEN DRYDEN, WAS NEARLY IMPENETRABLE. FITTINGLY, THE HABS CAPPED THEIR SECOND CONSECUTIVE CUP WITH A FOUR-GAME SWEEP OF THE BRUINS, PERHAPS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE RESULT FOR THE DEMANDING MASTERMIND BEHIND THEIR BENCH.>>SCOTTIE BOWMAN WAS BRILLIANT. HE WAS COACHING ANALYTICALLY BEFORE ANYONE HAD HEARD OF THE TERM ANALYTICS AND NO ONE EVER RAN A BENCH WITH MORE ACUITY.>>HE WAS AHEAD OF JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY IN THE GAME, BUT, MORE THAN ANYTHING, HE HAD TO BE A MASTER PSYCHOLOGIST, BECAUSE HE HAD A GROUP OF THE MOST TALENTED PLAYERS ON THE PLANET, WHO, MOST NIGHTS, COULD BEAT ANY TEAM IN THE LEAGUE, SO HE HAD TO FIND A WAY TO KEEP THEM ON TASK, AND HE DID. SO, FOR THAT VERY REASON, THERE WOULD BE MUMBLING AND COMPLAINING ABOUT HIM, BUT THEY PLAYED FOR HIM.>>364 DAYS OF THE YEAR, WE COULDN’T STAND HIM, AND ON THE 365TH DAY, WE GOT OUR STANLEY CUP RINGS.>>ANYTHING LESS THAN THE STANLEY CUP WAS A BAD YEAR.>>DURING THE 1970’S RUN, AND HE DIDN’T MEAN THIS IN A FLIPPANT WAY, HE ISSUED A PRESS RELEASE SAYING THE PARADE WILL FOLLOW THE USUAL ROUTE. YOU KNEW WHAT DAY YOU WERE HAVE TO — GOING TO HAVE TO CUT CLASS TO WATCH THE FOR A GO BY. JON: WHEN THE PARADE DID GO BY, AS IT DID FOUR CONSECUTIVE YEARS IN THE LATE-19 70’S, THERE WAS ONE PLAYER EVERYONE WANTED TO SEE. THE VISUAL IMAGE OF THE FLYING FRENCHMEN, GUY LAFLEUR.>>HE WAS BORN TO BE A HOCKEY PLAYER. GUY PLAYED FROM THE SEAT OF HIS PANTS. HE WASN’T AN X’S AND O’S TYPE PLAYER.>>FOR A GAME AT 8:00, HE WOULD BE IN THE DRESSING ROOM FULLY DRESSED AT 3:00.>>NOBODY WANTS TO PRACTICE AGAINST HIM. HE WAS TOO GOOD, TOO FAST.>>HE WAS ALL RACE WAY TO GO — ALWAYS READY TO GO. SKATE, AND SKATE, AND SKATE. YOU COULD SEE HIM GOING BY THE BENCH AND HIS HAIR GOING BACK, THEN SHOOTING THE PUCK.>>HIS HAIR WAS LONG ENOUGH AND HE MOVED FAST ENOUGH THAT HIS HAIR WOULD STREAM OUT BEHIND HIM, WHEN HE WOULD START UP, IT WOULD FLIP UP, THEN IT WOULD STREAM OUT. IT WAS HOW PEOPLE COULD ALMOST CONNECT TO THE SPEED.>>EVERYTHING I WAS ON THE ICE, I WAS THE HAPPIEST GUY IN THE WORLD, ESPECIALLY WEARING THE MONTREAL CANADIENS UNIFORM WAS A DREAM COME TRUE, AND I WAS VERY PROUD OF THAT. JON: LAFLEUR SCORED 560 NHL GOALS AND 58 MORE IN THE PLAYOFFS, EVENTUALLY LEADING THE HABS TO THEIR 22ND STANLEY CUP. WITH MONTREAL BECOMING THE FIRST OF THREE STRAIGHT DYNASTIES THAT WOULD GO ON TO REDEFINE THE GAME.>>HERE HE IS. THE PASS. THEY SCORE! JON: WHEN THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS WON THE 1980 STANLEY CUP, IT MARKED BOTH THE BEGINNING OF THE EXPANSION ERA’S SECOND DYNASTY AND THE CULMINATION OF A MASTER PLAN THAT CAME TOGETHER THROUGH THE DRAFT, PIECE BY HALL OF FAME PIECE. THE CORE OF THE ISLANDERS FEATURED DEFENSEMEN DENIS POTVIN, CENTER BRYAN TROTTIER, LEFT WING CLARK GILLIES, GOALTENDER BILLY SMITH, AND ONE OF THE GREATEST GOALSCORERS IN LEAGUE HISTORY, MIKE BOSSY.>>WHEN I SAT DOWN WITH HIM AND HIS AGENT, MICHAEL TURNED TO ME AND HE SAID, WHAT IS A 50-GOALSCORER WORTH TO YOU? I SAID, ARE YOU TELLING ME YOU ARE GOING TO SCORE 50? HE SAYS –>>SCORE!>>WE DRAFTED YOU TO SCORE GOALS.>>AT THE SAME TIME, I KNEW I WAS COMING ONTO A TEAM THAT HAD TONS OF PROMISE. SO, IN THAT WAY, I WAS VERY ENTHUSIASTIC.>>HE SCORES! MIKE BOSSY HAS HIS 70TH GOAL! BRIAN: — JON: BOSS HE DID BECOME A 50 GOALSCORER, NINE TIMES IN HIS FIRST 10 SEASONS. ALTHOUGH IT TOOK THE ISLES LONGER THAN THEY EXPECTED, THAT PROMISE DID EVENTUALLY TRANSLATE INTO CHAMPIONSHIPS. IN THE EARLY 1980’S, THE ISLANDERS LAID THE GAME ANY WAY THEIR OPPONENTS WANTED. THEY WERE AS TOUGH AS THEY WERE TALENTED, ANDIN — AND IN THEIR FOUR STANLEY CUP FINALS, THEY ONLY LOST A TOTAL OF THREE GAMES.>>THE NEW YORK ISLANDERS WIN FOUR STRAIGHT GAMES FOR THEIR FOURTH STRAIGHT STANLEY CUP.>>THERE ARE 16 GUYS ON THAT TEAM THAT WON FOUR STANLEY CUPS IN A ROW. THAT’S AMAZING.>>THERE’S NO WAY A TEAM LIKE THAT WILL EVER EXIST TODAY.>>I CAN TELL YOU ONE RECORD THAT WILL NEVER BE BROKEN, 19 STRAIGHT PLAYOFF SERIES WINS. FABULOUS, FABULOUS DYNASTY. [APPLAUSE] JON: A 20TH STRAIGHT SERIES WIN WOULD HAVE GIVEN THE ISLANDERS THEIR FIFTH STRAIGHT CUP. IT WAS, HOWEVER, NOT TO BE. THERE WAS A NEW DYNASTY ON THE HORIZON, LED BY THE MOST PROLIFIC SCORER THE GAME WOULD EVER SEE.>>WHEN BOBBY ORR CAME IN, HE WAS A CAN’T MISS. WHEN CONNOR MCDAVID CAME IN, HE WAS A CAN’T MISS. WHEN CROSBY CAME IN, HE WAS A CAN’T MISS. WHEN I CAME IN, IT WAS A, WELL, MAYBE, BECAUSE PEOPLE DIDN’T KNOW IF I WAS BIG ENOUGH OR STRONG ENOUGH TO PLAY IN THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE.>>EVERYBODY THOUGHT HE WOULD BE A BLOODSTAIN ON THE BOARDS. EVERYTHING LOOKED WRONG. HE WAS HUNCHED OVER TOO MUCH. HIS HELMET WAS FLIMSY, SO HE LOOKED VULNERABLE. JON: IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG FOR WAYNE GRETZKY TO DISPROVE THOSE DOUBTERS. IN HIS ROOKIE SEASON, AT THE AGE OF JUST 19, HE LED THE NHL IN SCORING AND THEN KEPT ON GOING, SMASHING RECORDS AND CHANGING THE GAME, A TRUE HOCKEY SAVANT.>>I ATTACKED AVENUES THAT OTHER GUYS HADN’T IN THE PAST. A, PLAYING BEHIND THE NET. IF A TEAM TRIED TO FLUSH YOU OUT, YOU CAME OUT THE OTHER WAY. IF THEY STOPPED AND STAYED THERE, THEN YOU WAITED AND LOOKED FOR THE OPEN MAN. I WAS DOING SOMETHING THAT THEY WEREN’T SURE HOW TO DEFEND, BECAUSE NOBODY HAD REALLY EVER DONE IT BEFORE. WITH THAT CAME MY WORK ETHIC, AND IT SORT OF ALL ADDED UP TO BEING WAYNE GRETZKY.>>HE HAD AN AMAZING DESIRE. HIS ANTICIPATION, HIS SPATIAL AWARENESS — THAT’S HIS MAGIC, HIS SPATIAL AWARENESS. THEY ALWAYS SAY FIVE STICKS ARE BETTER THAN ONE, AND WAYNE KNEW THAT.>>WAYNE PLATE AT CHESS AND HE WAS PLAYING 10, 20 MOVES AHEAD OF EVERYBODY. HIS ANTICIPATION AND HIS KNOWLEDGE OF EVERYBODY ELSE ON THE ICE AND THEIR SPACE AND THEIR TIMING AND WHERE THEY WERE AND HOW FAST THEY WERE MOVING CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS PURE GENIUS.>>MY DAD REALLY BELIEVED THAT YOU COULD TEACH THAT AT A YOUNG AGE, AND I USED TO WATCH HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA WITH A BIG PAD OF PAPER WITH THE BLUE LINE, REDLINE, NETS, I WOULD FOLLOW THE PUCK. I WOULD JUST FOLLOW THE PUCK ON THE PAPER WITH A PEN AND WATCH WHERE THE PUCK WAS THE WHOLE TIME. AND I WAS LIKE A SPONGE. I TOOK ALL THAT IN. JON: IN THE 1981-1982 SEASON, GRETZKY SCORED AN NHL RECORD 92 GOALS. BUT THE GREAT ONE WAS FAR FROM A ONE-MAN BAND. IN THE LATE-1980’S HIS EDMONTON OILERS WON FOUR STANLEY CUPS IN FIVE YEARS WITH ARGUABLY THE MOST SKILLED AND EXPLOSIVE TEAM TO EVER PLAY IN THE NHL.>>MARK MESSIER COULD DO EVERYTHING. HE WAS A CONSUMMATE HOCKEY PLAYER. HE COULD SCORE. HE COULD CHECK. WHEN HE NEEDED TO BE MEAN, HE WAS MEAN. IN MANY WAYS, IN THE LINEAGE OF A GUY LIKE GORDIE HOWE, MESSIER BECAME SO FEARED.>>A ONE-TIMER.>>THEY HAD A CLEARLY DEFINED STYLE. THEY USED TO TELL YOU, WE ARE GOING TO OUTSCORE YOU. YOU MIGHT GET FIVE. WE ARE GOING TO GET SEVEN.>>SCORE!>>24-YEAR-OLD PAUL COFFEY!>>LET THEM KNOW, LET THEM PLAY, LET THEM HAVE FUN. THAT WAS THE WHOLE PHILOSOPHY OF THAT TEAM. JON: WAYNE GRETZKY PLAYED 10 YEARS IN EDMONTON AND LED THE NHL IN SCORING IN EIGHT OF THOSE.>>HOFMEYR. JON: AND FOUR TIMES TOPPED 200 POINTS, THE ONLY NHL PLAYER TO EVER REACH THAT MARK. BUT FOLLOWING THE 1987-1988 SEASON, ALL OF THAT MAGIC IN EDMONTON WOULD COME TO A SHOCKING END.>>THE EDMONTON OILERS HAVE AGREED TO TRADE WAYNE GRETZKY TO LOS ANGELES.>>BASICALLY, IT WAS A DEATH IN OUR FAMILY. WE LOST THE KING OF THE GAME.>>I PROMISED MESS I WOULDN’T DO THIS.>>JUST COMPLETE DEVASTATION FOR MYSELF PERSONALLY. I KNOW FOR ALL MY OTHER TEAMMATES AND OF COURSE THE CITY OF EDMONTON.>>HOW DO YOU LET SOME OF THE LIKE THAT GO OUT OF YOUR LIFE THAT YOU HAVE SPENT SO MUCH TIME WITH? THAT WHOLE CITY WENT INTO MOURNING.>>WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE WHEN HE PUT THAT KINGS JERSEY ON? I’M SURE FOR MANY OILERS FANS, IT PUT A TEAR IN THERE — THEIR EYE. YOU MIGHT HAVE THOUGHT HOCKEY WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME.>>NUMBER 99, WAYNE GRETZKY! JON: IN TRUTH, WITH THE GREAT ONE IN IN L.A., HOCKEY NEVER WAS THE SAME.>>THE LASTING IMPRESSION THAT I WILL HAVE IS BEING AT HIS FIRST GAME IN LOS ANGELES AND SEEING ALL THE MOVIE STARS THERE AND SEEING PEOPLE WHO HAD NEVER BEEN TO HOCKEY GAMES THERE, APPLAUDING WAYNE. HOW HE TRANSITED THE GAME — TRANSCENDED THE GAME.>>I’M NOT SURE THERE WOULD BE ANY TEAMS IN THE SUN BELT WITHOUT WAYNE. I DON’T THINK THERE WOULD BE A DUCKS OR A PANTHERS OR LIGHTNING. THAT CAME — BECAME A HUGE FACTOR IN HOW THE NHL GREW.>>GRETZKY, AND HE SCORES! JON: WAYNE, HOWEVER, WAS THE SAME GREAT SCORER IN L.A., AND BY THE AGE OF 29, ON THE VERGE OF PASSING HIS IDOL GORDIE HOWE AS THE NHL’S ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER IN, OF ALL PLACES, EDMONTON.>>IT WAS ONLY FITTING THAT IT SHOULD HAPPEN IN EDMONTON, BECAUSE I HAD PLAYED SO MANY NIGHTS THERE AND PEOPLE HAD BEEN SO GOOD TO ME.>>HE’S DONE IT! WAYNE GRETZKY, THE GREAT ONE, HAS BECOME THE GREATEST OF THEM ALL!>>I REMEMBER SAYING TO MY DAD, IT JUST DOESN’T SEEM LIKE I SHOULD BE KNOCKING OFF GORDIE HOWE. BECAUSE I STARTED WATCHING HIM WHEN I WAS FIVE YEARS OLD ON TV, AND THERE WAS JUST SOMETHING ABOUT HIM THAT WAS SO MAGNETIC. 40 BECAME MY GUY — GORDIE BECAME MY GUY. I EVEN ASKED THE BARBER IF HE COULD GIVE ME A GORDIE HOWE HAIRCUT. THAT’S HOW MUCH I IDOLIZED HIM. I GOT SO LUCKY IN MY LIFE. I GOT TO MEET HIM WHEN I WAS 10. HE WAS THE MOST HUMBLE MAN I’VE EVER MET. OVER THE YEARS WHEN I WAS CHASING DOWN SOME OF HIS RECORDS, WE BECAME VERY GOOD FRIENDS AND THAT MADE IT VERY SPECIAL. JON: WHEN HE FINALLY FINISHED HIS CAREER WITH THE NEW YORK RANGERS, IN APPROPRIATELY 1999, WAYNE GRETZKY WAS THE HOLDER OF JUST ABOUT EVERY NHL SCORING RECORD IMAGINABLE, AND, IN MOST CASES, SO FAR AHEAD OF ANYONE ELSE IT’S LIKELY THEY WOULD STAND FOREVER, NO MATTER WHICH NEW GREAT STARS WOULD COME ALONG IN THE NEXT 25 YEARS AND EVEN BEYOND. [CAPTIONING PERFORMED BY THE NATIONAL CAPTIONING INSTITUTE, WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CAPTION CONTENT AND ACCURACY. VISIT NCICAP.ORG]

The NHL Story, Ep 3 : The Expansion Era

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