Friday, 20 July 2012

Leafs Join Alumni Game

These two guys were pretty popular Leafs during their time. Mats Sundin and Tie Domi were the heart of the Maple Leafs for a long time, and they'll get to lace up the skates once more for the Leafs as they have indicated that they would take part in the Winter Classic Alumni Game this year against the alumni of the Detroit Red Wings. While neither player is old enough to join the true Maple Leaf legends in the first alumni game, they should be out there with more recent Leafs players who have retired from the game, especially after it was announced earlier this month that a second alumni game would take place between the legends of the two Original Six teams.

Along with the newly-named Sundin and Domi, it sounds as though the Leafs will have a collection of NHL greats taking the ice in the blue-and-white. Wendel Clark, Darryl Sittler, Doug Gilmour, Rick Vaive, Darcy Tucker, Felix Potvin, Mike Palmateer, Kevin Maguire, Dave Andreychuk, Curtis Joseph, Johnny Bower, Ron Ellis and Jim McKenny have already expressed interest in playing in one of the two games, and there are still a pile of players that the Leafs could ask to play. Off the top of my head, players that should be asked include Ed Olczyk, Dave Ellett, Mark Osborne, Gary Leeman, Al Iafrate, Dave Keon, and Bob Pulford to name a few of the Leaf greats.

On the Red Wings' side of the coin, they have some of their legends already penciled in. They include Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Mickey Redmond, John Ogrodnick, Luc Robitaille, Dino Ciccarelli, Mark Howe, Chris Osgood, Mike Vernon, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty, Joe Kocur and Alex Delvecchio. Other players they should ask include Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Slava Fetisov, Slava Kozlov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan, Johnny Bucyk, Marcel Dionne, Gerard Gallant, Ray Sheppard, Rogie Vachon, Greg Stefan, and Brian Rafalski.

Personally, there were a ton of great players from Manitoba on both teams, and I could make a phenomenal game if everyone were still alive and in their primes.

Goaltenders: Walter "Turk" Broda, Ed Belfour.
Defencemen: Ian White, Bill Juzda, Wally Stanowski, Jim Thomson, Frank Mathers, Joe Crozier.
Forwards: Pete Stemkowski, Eric Nesterenko, Bill Derlago, Walter "Babe" Pratt, Andy Bathgate, Alex Steen, Andrew Blair, Wally Boyer, Bill Ezinicki, Ken Baumgartner, Dave Semenko, Colton Orr.

Goaltenders: Terry Sawchuk, Glen Hanlon
Defencemen: Mike Korney, Derek Meech, Gerry Hart, Jack Stewart, Ted Harris, Larry Brown.
Forwards: Billy Taylor, Sheldon Kennedy, Dennis Hextall, Darren Helm, Ralph "Scotty" Bowman, Modere "Mud" Bruneteau, Ed Bruneteau, Pete Kelly, Al Johnson, Ab McDonald, Perry Miller, Nick Mickoski.

Surprisingly, there were some very good goaltenders left off the list. Both Bill Ranford and Ken Wregget played for the Red Wings, and Wregget also played for the Maple Leafs. Joe Daley suited up for the Red Wings as well, and he didn't make the cut. Clearly, Manitoba produces some quality goaltenders!

Hopefully, we'll see more legends sign up. Players like Bill Barilko and Steve Chiasson should also be remembered for their contributions to their respective teams during their lives as both players forged excellent careers despite their lives being cut short. Rest in peace, gentlemen.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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