Saturday, March 17, 2012

A look inside the NHL's 50-goal club

We don't know where most of the NHL's awards will go when the hardware is handed out in June, but we can probably go ahead and engrave Steven Stamkos's name onto the Rocket Richard Trophy for the league's leading goal scorer. Stamkos recorded his 50th goal of the season earlier this week, reaching the magic number before any other player could even get to 40.

Stamkos may end up being the only player to score 50 this season, but he'll have plenty of company in the history books. Although the feat has become less common in the current era, 90 different NHL players have managed the reach the 50-goal milestone at least once in their careers.

Here's a look at some of the past and present stars who've managed to join the prestigious 50-goal club.

1993 - Brendan Shanahan scores his 50th goal of the season, then quietly admits to himself that he's not sure that was really the right number and resolves to start randomly scoring less or more without any explanation.

1991 - Brett Hull scores 86 goals and marks the start of a decade in which he's so unstoppable that he sometimes seems to be playing under a completely different set of rules, Sabres fans will later notice in hindsight.

1989 - A career-high 70-goal season from Bernie Nicholls results in the league reluctantly rescinding its controversial "Just to make it fair for everyone else, from now on Wayne Gretzky assists only count if he ricochets the shot off of Bernie Nicholls' head" rule.

1998 - Traded to the Flyers following several disappointing seasons in Montreal, John LeClair records three straight 50-goal seasons after finally being able to explain to an English-speaking equipment manager that he would actually prefer to use left-handed sticks.

1992 - Gary Roberts records his 50th of the season after the puck realizes that if it hides in the back of the net it won't have to listen to him drone on about organic trail mix and sunflower sprouts.

1945 - Maurice Richard becomes the first NHL player in history to reach the 50 goal mark, and then must have gone into some sort of terrible late-season slump because he somehow failed to win the Rocket Richard trophy.

1990 - The public address announcer at Maple Leaf Gardens starts to wonder why that silver-haired guy keeps showing up and laughing evilly while forcing him to announce random Leafs goal as being scored by Gary Leeman.

2009 - After capping off a dominating effort on his league-leading 50th goal by pretending that his stick is too hot to pick up, Alexander Ovechkin is warned to cut that stuff out by Washington Capital team leaders who will realize years later that they probably should have specified that they just meant the celebration part.

1975 - Boston Bruins legend Phil Esposito's fifth 50-goal season turns out to be the final one of his career, thanks to his annoying new coach who spends the entire game repeatedly asking all the players to remind him which province they were born in.

1994 - Pavel Bure scores his 50th goal in only the third game of the season, before your roommate tells you he's not playing NHL 94 with you anymore if you insist on using that cheap breakaway move every single time.

2006 - When asked at the conclusion of his 56-goal season whether he thinks he can manage another 50, Jonathan Cheechoo admits that it will be a challenge but that he honestly believes he has an outside chance before pausing and adding "You meant over the rest of my entire career, right?"

1995 - Upon realizing that Ray Sheppard had 50 goals in the previous season, everyone in hockey admits that this whole "offense" thing is out of control and it's time to come up with a plodding defensive system that can ruin the game for the next decade or so.


  1. Pavel Bure scores his 50th goal in only the third game of the season, before your roommate tells you he's not playing NHL 94 with you anymore if you insist on using that cheap breakaway move every single time.

    Best line of the post.

  2. The Leclair one was the best. Pure gold.

  3. No Crack on Mickey Redmond?????

    Oh Well.....

  4. It's too bad Robbie Brown only ever scored a high of 49 goals, or else he'd be on this list.

  5. Hakan Loob should be on it. Of course the 80's were a decade where everyone could score 50 goals including John Ogrodnick.

  6. I nearly did a spit take on every single one. Easily one of your best in a while!

  7. I'm suprise you didn't say anything about Heatley and his 2 50 goals season and just going down after that

  8. Man, DGB..... Cheechoo...... just, wow.

  9. Do the fans of other teams get this sick feeling and almost start to cry when you see the truth in DGB's words? I understand "you have to laugh or you would cry" so much better now.

  10. Surely if you're playing the EA Sports game in 1994, then it would be NHL95 you're using?

    And the 1975 one - ouch @ Donald S.

    Great stuff as always :-)

  11. LOL NHL 94 was easily my favourite. And btw the cheap move was the unstoppable wrap around move.