Best NHL line ever?
Here's how I would pick them...
1st line: Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux
2nd line: Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull
3rd line: Frank Maholvich, Guy Lafleur, Ted Lindsey
4th line: Bobby Clarke, Marcel Dionne, Steve Yzerman
I'm torn between putting Richard on the first line instead of Lemeiux. I've never seen Richard play, so Lemieux gets the top nod.
I like the combination of speed and finesse on the second line with Beliveau and Richard, though Richard could mix it up with anyone. Hull's shot was lethal.
Maholvich and Lindsey would be great physical complements to Lafleur.
I put Yzerman on that list ahead of guys like Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Peter Forsberg because I'm a homer. It's truly amazing the career Yzerman had. I don't think anyone had to adapt his skills through the years like him. When he came into the NHL, he was a pure goal-scorer. Under Scotty Bowman, he had to accept his new defensive style and became one of the game's best two-way players.
On a side note: I went home to Michigan for Thanksgiving and got tickets to the Red Wings-Canucks game. They announced before the first intermission that Gordie Howe was in attendance and would be signing copies of his book in the concourse.
The guys is nearly 80 and is treated like a rock star in Michigan. People stood four, five deep around his table snapping pictures on their cell phones and cameras. I've only seen him play on ESPN Classic broadcasts, but he's one of my favorite players all-time. The guy was still playing at 70 years old for crying out loud.
If you see a Red Wings jersey with No. 9 on the back about town, that's me. Though I must admit, I thought it was so cool when I saw Cameron in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," wear his around Chicago.