I was speaking to a friend today who is a pretty big AHL fan, and he seemed pumped that Darren Haydar is heading back to the Chicago Wolves. I asked him what he would equate the change to, and his response was "Remember when Hulk Hogan joined the NWO". As I stared at him with some confusion, he proceeded to inform me that it was the biggest coup in wrestling history, and how he went from the biggest hero in wrestling to one of the biggest heels ever. He didn't seem impressed that I had little knowledge of such a historic event, but it got me thinking about hockey players who played in cities after being so iconic in a previous city. There are a pile of players that can be included here, but I want to run through the few that seem to jump to the front of my mind.
- We'll start with the most iconic player in Wayne Gretzky. We all know of his exploits in Edmonton and Los Angeles, so when he was traded to the St. Louis Blues, it left a lot of people puzzled. Including Wayne. He signed in the off-season with the New York Rangers after appearing in a mere 18 games with the Blues.
- Guy Lafleur was a star in his home province of Quebec, racking up Stanley Cup victories with the Montreal Canadiens before not playing for three years between 1985 and 1988. However, Lafleur in a New York Rangers jersey just doesn't seem right. Lafleur would spend a mere 67 games on Broadway before heading home to play for the Nordiques.
- Another player who appeared on Broadway had a long career in a different city where he is hailed as a hero. Marcel Dionne's tenure with the New York Rangers lasted all of 67 games in 1988-89 after spending his entire career in Detroit and Los Angeles. Of course, he is a legend in Los Angeles for his work there.
- This list will never be completely correct if it didn't include Bobby Orr. Orr had a phenomenal career with the Boston Bruins before knee injuries caught up to the legendary defenceman. Orr spent all of 26 games with the Chicago Blackhawks before retiring. Orr had previously played 631 games with the Bruins where he carved out a Hall-of-Fame career while redefining a position on the ice.
- Another Bobby who played with the Blackhawks will make this list. Of course, Bobby Hull was a much more vivid Blackhawk, and he will always be remembered for his time as a Winnipeg Jet when he jumped to the WHA for $1 million. But Bobby's career basically came to an end in Hartford with the Whalers where he played a mere nine games. Not quite going out on top, but Hull had himself a very impressive career.
- There's a player who won three Stanley Cups with three different teams that made two cameos on two different teams. Mike Keane spent time with Montreal, Colorado, and Dallas in winning his three Stanley Cups, but he also spent 70 games with the New York Rangers and 56 games with the St. Louis Blues! I have scoured the Interwebs for a Mike-Keane-St.-Louis-Blues image with no success. However, there is evidence of him in a Rangers uniform. Keane most recently retired after playing for his hometown Manitoba Moose where he is still spoken about with Winnipeg legends like Hull, Selanne, and Hawerchuk.
Is there anyone you think that should be added to this list? Leave names in the comments!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!