Mike Leonetti Hockey Now!

ISBN 13: 9781552978238

Hockey Now!

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9781552978238: Hockey Now!

Fully updated with 20 new players.

Hockey Now! has the lowdown on the highest-flying stars of the National Hockey League such as Todd Bertuzzi, Jose Theodore, Saku Koivu, Olli Jokinen, and Michael Peca. Leonetti has updated profiles of hockey's favorite stars including Patrick Roy, Brett Hull, Teemu Selanne, Alexei Yashin, and Jaromir Jagr.

With more than 70 player profiles, Hockey Now! is a must-read reference about:

  • The Masked Marvels
    The very best modern goaltenders
  • The Rear Guard
    Stay-at-home defensive specialists
  • The Blue Line Attack
    Leaders of the rush past the blue line
  • The Power Forwards
    Big, powerful, fast, and talented
  • The Playmakers
    The quarterbacks of hockey
  • The Snipers
    Fast and elusive scorers with deadly accurate shots
  • The Hitmen
    Dominators of the enforcer team
  • The Young Guns
    The up-and-coming superstars

Fast-paced, up-to-date and strikingly illustrated, Hockey Now! is an exciting look at the personalities playing the world's fastest game.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Mike Leonetti writes extensively about hockey and is the author of Shooting For Glory, The Paul Henderson Story, Hockey's Golden Era, and the three-volume series, The Game We Knew.

Dan Hamilton extensively photographs the NHL for The Hockey News and his photographs have appeared in Sports Illustrated and ESPN Magazine.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

Professional sports have changed so much over the last decade; there are few happy endings anymore. Hockey is no different, as players constantly get shuffled, traded and moved from city to city because of contract problems. Player loyalty or allegiance to any one team seems to be a thing of the past.

But on occasion a particular athlete can rise above it all and still earn a following that seems bigger than the uniform he is currently wearing. Such is the case with Raymond Bourque. In the 2001 National Hockey League playoffs, everything came together for the superstar defenseman, and Bourque was able to end his career with a Stanley Cup victory -- a rarity in the modern era of the game.

Bourque began his NHL career with Boston in 1979. He remained with the Bruins, setting club records for most games played, most assists and most points, until March 2000, when he requested a trade to a contending team. A deal to the Colorado Avalanche gave his career new life and Bourque a chance at a championship. It took until the 2001 playoffs to achieve, but the perennial all-star and Norris Trophy winner finally got his name on the most elusive prize of all -- the Stanley Cup.

Bourque's play in the post-season was an inspiration to all his teammates, especially in hard times, such as losing Peter Forsberg to injury and then being down 3-2 in games to the New Jersey Devils in the Finals. He battled physically like he never had before in his career.

In salute to their teammate, the Avalanche, through their captain Joe Sakic, let Bourque be the first player to raise the Cup over his head when it was presented to the team after the seventh and deciding game of the Finals. The smile of satisfaction on Bourque's face seemed to say it all-he had waited 22 years for this moment. The crowd's reaction that night was one of rapture: everybody loved Raymond! What a great way to end a Hall of Fame career.

If Bourque's triumph was the great story of the playoffs, the highlight of the 2000-01 regular season was the return of the great Mario Lemieux to the NHL. Having Lemieux come back to the game after three-and-a-half years on the sidelines (and now as part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins) gave the NHL a much-needed boost during a sometimes dreary 82-game schedule. While there were some good races for playoff spots and some great individual performances, nothing created a stir like Lemieux did with his immense talents on a nightly basis after his return to the NHL on December 27, 2000. In spite of his long layoff, Lemieux was still every bit as great as he had been the day he retired (and don't forget he was now a member of the Hall of Fame!).

If the NHL regular season lacks suspense, it may be because most teams spend the campaign just getting ready for the post-season. The contenders -- and they are not in large numbers -- try to position themselves to add the right player(s) at just the right moment (usually near the trade deadline, but not always). Teams with the financial resources (Colorado, Detroit, Dallas, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Toronto) look to add the key ingredients that will take them all the way to the Stanley Cup. But there are too many teams (Edmonton and Phoenix, to name two) that are always trading their better players for prospects, and too few model organizations like the New Jersey Devils. Such is the state of the NHL in the new millennium -- the haves and the have-nots.

The summer of 2001 has provided a reminder that money talks. Big name free agents have bolted from their old teams for more money, and players who could not be signed were dealt away. It always seems to be the same teams that are spending (see above), and now Washington (acquiring Jaromir Jagr) and Boston (signing free agent Martin Lapointe to a lucrative deal) have joined the group of money spenders. The teams that lost free agents or had to deal players because of their large contracts will put on a brave face and say they had no choice but to take on new prospects and hope for the best. But what happens when these young players become stars themselves? Won't they have to be traded? Or will professional hockey -- the league and the players-solve this problem? The day of tremendous upheaval is not here yet but it may not be far off.

For all the problems hockey has off the ice, it is still a great game on the ice. The 2000-01 season saw a brand of hockey that was improving, albeit very slowly. Players known for scoring goals were starting to put up some good statistics and the number of 30- and 40-goal scorers was on the increase. Fresh faces like Patrik Elias and Alexei Kovalev joined the top 10 in scoring, while old favorites like Jagr and Sakic still held their place in the game as elite stars. But there is no doubt that defense still wins; goaltending, with the likes of Patrick Roy (now the all-time games-won leader among goalies), Martin Brodeur, Dominik Hasek, Curtis Joseph and newcomer Roman Cechmanek, still dominates the game on many nights.

In this second edition of Hockey Now! we have added many new faces to our list of 70 top NHL players and have deleted some others. We kept many of the past stars (like Mark Messier and Joe Nieuwendyk) in the book but their time may be drawing to a close. We have updated all the stories on each player who appeared in the first edition and expect five great players -- Eric Lindros, Michael Peca, John LeClair, Adam Deadmarsh and Theo Fleury -- who were dropped for now because of injury or inactivity to return for our next edition. We have made every effort to include as many of the off-season changes as possible but NHL rosters are rarely set prior to October 1 anymore and we have to get this book ready well before that date!

As in our first edition of Hockey Now! we have divided the players into the following categories:

Masked Marvels the top goalies in the NHL; Rearguards defensemen on the ice in all key situations; Blueline Attack defenders who can lead the offense; Power Forwards players who are willing to use their size and strength to get the puck; Playmakers those players with the softest hands in hockey; Snipers the top goal scores in the league; Hitmen players who can change the course of a gem with a devastating hit; and Young Guns players new to the NHL with star potential.

Had we enough space, we would have liked to add a list of players who deserve more than an honorable mention and who may make the next edition of the book: Arturs Irbe, Roberto Loungo, Mike Dunham, Tommy Salo, Sean Burke, Derek Morris, Eric Brewer, Dan McGillis, Janne Niinimaa, Oleg Tverdovsky, Bryan McCabe, Jerome Iginla, Petr Sykora, Fred Modin, John Madden, Jere Lehtinen, Todd Bertuzzi, Jeff Friesen, Anson Carter, Sergei Samsonov, Bobby Holik, Steve Sullivan, Chris Drury, Brad Isbister, Alex Mogilny, Patrick Marleau, Scott Young and Adam Oates. New young guns are sure to include top 2001 draft choices Ilya Kovalchuk and Jason Spezza.

Much like a winning team, we have tried to find the right blend of youth and experience in selecting players to profile. While you may not agree with all our choices, we certainly hope we have given you an exciting look, both in terms of text and photos, at the world's fastest game. The author and photographer would like to thank all the readers who made the first edition a great success, and we sincerely hope you enjoy the second edition of Hockey Now!.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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