We’re now a few weeks removed from Mariano Rivera’s final game at Yankee Stadium, which means most sports fans who watched it have had enough time to stop crying while awkwardly insisting that they’re not crying.
As a hockey fan, I watched Rivera’s exit while thinking How can I take that wonderful baseball moment and translate it into a hockey post? And that’s how I came up with the idea of listing 10 legendary NHL players who, like Rivera, played their entire career with one team.
And then I thought How can I take this idea for a feel-good walk through the pages of hockey history and turn it into an excuse for people to yell at each other? And that’s when I decided that instead of just listing 10 guys, I’d also rank them.
10. Denis Potvin, New York Islanders (1973-1988)
Potvin won three Norris Trophies and four Stanley Cups during a 15-year career in which he established himself as one of the most respected
Hold on, I need to pause for a minute while all the Ranger fans chant “Potvin Sucks” for a while.
OK, you know what, there are only so many hours in the day so let’s just agree that Potvin was one of the most-respected players in the league as long as you weren’t in Madison Square Garden. He captained the Islanders’ early '80s dynasty that captured four straight championships and won 19 consecutive postseason series, a record that likely stands as completely unbreakable in the salary-cap era. He averaged just less than a point per game over his career, and retired as the league’s all-time leading scorer among defensemen.
As for you still-chanting Rangers fans, here’s a fun fact: Potvin claimed that Mike Keenan asked him to make a comeback and join the 1993-94 Rangers team that eventually won the Stanley Cup. Potvin, who by then was 41 years old and had been out of hockey for six years, considered the offer but eventually declined.