Monday, 12 January 2009

Hello, Mr. Anderson

Keanu Reeves' most famous character is undoubtedly Thomas Anderson, aka Neo, from The Matrix. Keanu Reeves played hockey in Toronto as a goaltender as he was growing up, tying this segue into something hockey-related. However, he isn't the Mr. Anderson that I want to take a look at as there's another Anderson who will be honoured for his work on Sunday. That Anderson is the former Edmonton Oiler known as Glenn Anderson. And much like Neo, Glenn Anderson defied the odds and became a cult hero for his sniper-like accuracy and last-minute heroics. While he didn't wear black or sport sunglasses while doing his work, Anderson routinely rose to the challenge and ended the dreams of many teams, particularly in the playoffs where he was lights-out when it came to scoring goals.

Sunday, January 18 will see Glenn Anderson's familiar #9 raised to the rafters at Rexall Place alongside some other well-known names: Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey, Fuhr, and Hamilton. Of course, the Phoenix Coyotes will be in town, so Anderson will be able to share the night with his former teammate and current friend, Wayne Gretzky.

Anderson's scoring legacy in the NHL is pretty impressive. Over 16 NHL seasons, Anderson tallied 1099 points in 1129 games with the Oilers, Maple Leafs, Rangers, and Blues. His 417 goals and 489 assists in Edmonton still rank him third and fourth, respectively, all-time in Oilers scoring. He's second all-time Oilers' hat tricks with 20, first all-time in Oilers' powerplay goals all-time with 126, and first all-time in Oilers' game-winning goals with 73. He's the fourth leading scorer all-time in the NHL for playoff scoring with 214 points in 225 NHL Playoff games. He's still fifth all-time in NHL Playoff goal-scoring with 93 goals!

And the ridiculous part? Anderson has been retired since the end of the 1995-96 season! However, Anderson topped the 50-goal mark twice: 1983-84 with 54 goals, and 1985-86 with 54 goals. He won six Stanley Cups - five with Edmonton, and one with the New York Rangers - and represented Canada at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics.

The cool part of the build-up to Sunday is that the Edmonton Oilers' website is highlighting the "9 Days of Anderson" where they pick a major highlight from Glenn Anderson's career. They also have included other information regarding the Oiler great, and they featured a cool trivia game based on Anderson today. If you want to test your Glenn Anderson knowledge, please click here.

I'm sure there will be a patch for Glenn Anderson that night, so check back for an update on that. Also, if you want to see any of the highlights that the Oilers have been streaming on their website, please click here. There are some beauty goals scored by Anderson, and it really goes to show how good of a player he was on an Edmonton roster loaded with stars.

I leave you with one of Anderson's more memorable goals, simply due to how big it was at the time. A good friend of mine is a Philadelphia Flyers fan, and watching this goal brought back "a lot of repressed anger", as he put it. Classic!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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