NHL 100

A look back at some of the iconic lines in NHL his­tory

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY GRE­GORY STRONG THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Some­times when three play­ers click on the same line, the unit be­comes big­ger than the sum of its parts.

In the lat­est edi­tion of NHL 100, a weekly series from The Cana­dian Press, we look back at some of the iconic lines in NHL his­tory.

TRIPLE CROWN LINE

It didn’t take long for Los An­ge­les Kings for­wards Mar­cel Dionne, Char­lie Sim­mer and Dave Tay­lor to find chem­istry.

The “Triple Crown Line” had at least one point in 56 straight games af­ter their de­but to­gether in 1979. They played over six sea­sons as a unit un­til Sim­mer was traded to the Bos­ton Bru­ins.

One of their best sea­sons came in 1980-81 when they com­bined for 328 points. It was the first time in NHL his­tory that each player on one line had 100 points or more in the same cam­paign.

They were in­tro­duced as “Hockey’s Great­est Scor­ing Line” at the 1981 NHL all-star game in Los An­ge­les.

PRO­DUC­TION LINE

Sid Abel, Gordie Howe and Ted Lind­say cer­tainly lived up to their moniker with the Detroit Red Wings.

“The Pro­duc­tion Line” fin­ished 1-2-3 in the league scor­ing race in 1949-50. Lind­say led the way with 78 points, nine more than Abel and 10 more than Howe.

The Red Wings went on to beat the New York Rangers in a seven-game Stan­ley Cup fi­nal in 1950, de­spite los­ing Howe to in­jury in the open­ing game of the semi­fi­nals.

Howe re­turned next sea­son and led the NHL in goals (43) and points (86).

The Red Wings were un­able to de­fend their ti­tle but they did hoist the Cup again in three of the next four years.

PUNCH LINE Goal­tenders would fret when they saw the im­pos­ing line of Elmer Lach, Mau­rice (Rocket) Richard and Toe Blake fly­ing down the ice for the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens.

“The Punch Line” of­fered a pun­ish­ing com­bi­na­tion of speed, scor­ing punch and some phys­i­cal play that con­sis­tently kept the op­po­si­tion on their heels.

Head coach Dick Irvin put the three for­wards to­gether at prac­tice dur­ing the 1943-44 sea­son and they helped lead the Habs to a Stan­ley Cup.

Lach won a scor­ing ti­tle the next year with 80 points and the line com­bined for 220 points as a unit that sea­son, a record that stood for over two decades.

LE­GION OF DOOM

Eric Lin­dros, Mikael Ren­berg and John LeClair made up one of the most in­tim­i­dat­ing lines in hockey when they played to­gether for the Philadel­phia Fly­ers in the mid-1990s.

All three were six foot two or taller and all three weighed over 230 pounds.

That phys­i­cal pres­ence helped them pile up the points as they threw their weight around on the forecheck and banged in re­bounds af­ter stak­ing out the front of the net.

The line­mates also showed a deft scor­ing touch. Lin­dros won the Hart Tro­phy as league MVP in 1995 while LeClair posted two straight 97-point sea­sons.

In­juries helped lead to the line’s breakup af­ter an im­pres­sive 2 1/2-sea­son run.

FRENCH CON­NEC­TION The mem­bers of this fa­mous line — Gil Per­reault, Rene Robert and Rick Martin — were a force with the Buf­falo Sabres in the 1970s.

They de­liv­ered a strong run of pro­duc­tion to­gether, record­ing 1,681 points over 1,536 games from 1972-79.

Their re­tired num­ber ban­ners — Robert’s No. 14, Per­reault’s No. 11 and Martin’s No. 7 — hang to­gether in a row at the KeyBank Cen­ter.

Stat­ues of the three play­ers are also dis­played out­side the arena.

CP PHOTO

QJac­ques Richard, (23) of the Que­bec Nordiques, is sur­rounded by the Los An­ge­les Kings’ Char­lie Sim­mer (11), Mar­cel Dionne (16) and Dave Tay­lor (18) as they scram­ble for pos­ses­sion of the puck dur­ing first-pe­riod ac­tion at the Fo­rum in Los An­ge­les, Calif. in March 1983. Some­times when three play­ers click on the same line, like Dionne, Sim­mer and Tay­lor, the unit be­comes big­ger than the sum of its parts.

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