NHL Hockey: An Official Fans' Guide 2002-03

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9781552976623: NHL Hockey: An Official Fans' Guide 2002-03
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NHL Hockey contains everything a hockey fan needs to know for the season ahead. Here are in-depth and insightful previews of every NHL team and their star players -- this is what people will be talking about in the coming months. Here also are all the stats on all the 30 teams plus topical features written by the best hockey writers.

Along with a detailed update about the team's current status, including recent trades and star players, team reports also feature full color photographs, the current roster with stats, plus team records. They even include the designs of the team's home and away shirts. Key players are featured in double-page spreads that focus on the athlete's trading history, scoring stats and career development, including a detailed, insightful essay.

Comprehensive, up to date and illustrated with 120 full color photographs from the NHL library, NHL Hockey is the essential companion to a hockey fan's favorite time of year.

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About the Author:

John McDermott has been editor of several national sports magazines over the past 10 years. In 1995, he helped launch NHL Power Play, the official magazine of NHL players and teams. After editing NHL Power Play for ten years, he now serves as a contributing editor. He lives in Keego Harbor, Michigan.

John MacKinnon has been reporting on sports -- particularly hockey -- for 16 years, including eight years as the Canadian Press reporter covering the Canadiens. He is a longtime resident of Montreal.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

The transformation of the National Hockey League from a parochial league into an organization with a global vision began with the 1972 Summit Series between Canadian stars and the great national team of the Soviet Union -- the Big Red Machine.

After years of seeing their understaffed team whipped by the Soviets at the Olympics and World Championships, Canadians were finally given the chance to see their best players, their professionals, the stars of the NHL, supposedly deliver an overdue lesson to the big, bad Russians. It didn't work out quite that way.

The Canadians won, but it took some desperate, last-minute play and a goal by Paul Henderson with 34 seconds remaining in the final game to give Canada a 6-5 victory in the game and a slender series triumph -- four games won, three lost, one game tied. The Canadian-invented sport -- and the NHL -- would never be the same.

NHL teams soon began to copy the superior Russian training methods, to blend their intricate, purposeful drills into often unimaginative North American practices, to pay more attention to the game's technical aspects.

The Russians, and other European teams, grafted the North Americans never-say-die competitiveness and physical courage onto their highly skilled brand of hockey.

As the NHL expanded, first from six to 12 teams, then to 14, then 18, then 21 after absorbing teams from the World Hockey Association, and now to 30 this season, teams have had to cast their nets wider and wider in search of major-league talent.

The NHL, dominated for its first half-century by Canadian stars like Frank McGee, Howie Morenz, Aurel Jollat, George Hainsworth, Maurice (Rocket) Richard, Gordie Howe, Glenn Hall, Bobby Hull, Bobby Orr and Frank Mahovlich, was adjusting to an influx of European talent.

NHL fans grew to admire players like Borje Salming, Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson, Peter Anton and Marian Stastny and, in the 1990s, Sergel Fedorov, Pavel Bure, Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne.

Now the NHL has entered the 21st Century and it boasts five times as many teams as it had just three and a half decades ago. There are 17 US states represented, as well as the District of Columbia and four Canadian provinces.

The cliché that the NHL appeals merely to regional interests in the US simply does not apply any longer.

In the fall of 1996, the inaugural World Cup of Hockey was held, a joint venture involving the NHL and the NHL Players'Association. Team USA beat Canada in a best-of-three final series, stunning the favored Canadians in the process.

The 1998 Olympic hockey finals was a triumph for the sport and enabled millions worldwide to watch some of the NHL's greatest stars in action. They reveled in the exploits of Wayne Gretzky, Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy of Canada; Finland's Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu; Pavel Bure and Alexei Yashin of Russia; Brian Leetch, Keith Tkachuk of Team USA and, of course, the incomparable Dominik Hasek and Robert Reichel of the Czech Republic. The finals also showed that the once dominant North America stranglehold had weakened to such an extent that neither the USA or Canada took a medal home with them. The Czech Republic's stunning victory against Russia in the Final was proof that hockey was truly a global game.

In 2002, the NHL's finest again displayed their skills during the Olympics in Salt Lake City, where Canada pipped Team USA to gold.

The NHL has come a long way indeed since Henderson's legendary goal on a cold September night in Moscow in 1972. The ongoing progress should be great fun.

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John MacKinnon; John McDermott
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