January 21, 2009

Best lines in hockey: Gordie, The Golden Jet, the Kraut Line, the Grind Line, Rocket and Toe. What was the best all time line in hockey? (SI-in photos)

posted by BoKnows to hockey at 03:35 PM - 19 comments

I was nearing panic through 22 of those lines when I finally came across the KLM line. There were some great threesomes in that gallery, but none had the lasting success of KLM. They didn't just destroy international competition for a decade, they changed the way the game is played entirely. They were cycling the puck on the perimeter of the offensive zone 15 years before anyone in the NHL.

Couple of good Devils lines on there. The crash line is definitely worthy of recognition, but in lieu of the EGG line should have been the EAS. Elias, Arnott, and Sykora were the top line on a team that scored the second most goals in the NHL and allowed the least in 99-00, and they also won the Cup.

I still don't really see where the Bruins top line fits into a list of the 23 greatest ever. At this point, they haven't even gotten through an entire season together.

posted by tahoemoj at 04:00 PM on January 21, 2009

Personal fav? French Connection.

posted by sfts2 at 05:18 PM on January 21, 2009

I agree with the French Connection. However, there were too many current lines. To me, "classic" should run back at least 10 or 20 years. As a Flyer fan, the LCB line (Reggie Leach, Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber) was a joy to watch.

posted by jjzucal at 09:37 PM on January 21, 2009

Did I miss something, or did they exclude Lemieux/Jagr/Francis and Gretzky/Kurri/whomever in favour of a Bobby Holik line and the awesome force of the Sedins & Jason King?

Clearly written by a billiards fan, or something.

posted by fabulon7 at 10:01 PM on January 21, 2009

As a Blues fan, the Brett Hull/Adam Oates/whomever line have also been excluded.

posted by BoKnows at 10:09 PM on January 21, 2009

but in lieu of the EGG line should have been the EAS. Elias, Arnott, and Sykora were the top line on a team that scored the second most goals in the NHL and allowed the least in 99-00, and they also won the Cup.

More commonly known as the A-Line, but I agree, still better than the Elias, Gomez, Gionta line.
Funny thing about those guys, prior to Mondays game in Nashville from Tom Gulitti:
From the odd category. Although Jason Arnott said he saw Patrik Elias for "a little bit" on Sunday in Nashville, Elias denied he saw or spoke to Arnott on Sunday. In fact, Elias said his last communication with Arnott was when he sent him an text message to congratulate him for playing in his 1000th game on Dec. 23.

posted by MrFrisby at 11:28 PM on January 21, 2009

did they exclude Lemieux/Jagr/Francis and Gretzky/Kurri/whomever

Now that you mention it, what the hell? Didn't Lemieux/Jagr/Francis finish 1-2-3 in scoring in 91 or 92 (or both)? They also won the cup in consecutive years, kinda hard to argue with that. I still like the inclusion of the Crash line (Holik's) but even as a Devils fan, there's no reason to include EGG among the greats. They were the best line on a pretty good low scoring team, but probably not among the best 20 lines of the last five years, let alone all time.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:28 PM on January 21, 2009

Hold on a minute, the Czechs-Mex Line? Really? Oh wait, the caption tells the story:

Certainly nowhere near as famous or successful as Edmonton's stellar `80s line of Wayne Gretzky, Esa Tikkanen and Jari Kurri, this short-lived line (2006-07) scored points with us for its clever moniker based on the trio's ethnic heritages.

OK, so it's not about talent as much as SI just likes the names. Well, as much as I despise the Flyers, even if they only made it into this list because of their nickname, I think the Legion of Doom deserves to be mentioned in a list of greatest lines.

posted by MrFrisby at 11:48 PM on January 21, 2009

Have to agree with fabulon on this one. If you are talking about great hockey lines and Lemieux/Jagr/Francis isnt mentioned, then you should not be allowed to write hockey articles anymore. That line took the pens to the cup twice. what about Kevin Stevens, Rick Toccet and Mark the "wreckin ball "Recchi. a number one line on any team unless you have Lemieux/Jagr/Francis in front of you.

I hope BoKnows put this up as an example of poorly researched sports articles.

I guess your line needs a cool name to make the list.

posted by Debo270 at 09:57 AM on January 22, 2009

Kevin Stevens, Rick Toccet and Mark the "wreckin ball "Recchi.

OK, the EGG line was better than that one.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:51 AM on January 22, 2009

I cast my vote for the Lemieux/Jagr/Francis line as well. It HAS to be in discussion, even if it isn't considered the best.

posted by brainofdtrain at 12:33 PM on January 22, 2009

I agree with tahoemoj that the Savard-Kessel-Lucic line hasn't been together long enough to qualify as a "classic" line. When all 3 are on the ice (not frequently lately due to injury and illness), they are quite something to watch. One Bruins' line that could be added to the list is the old "Uke" line of the late 50's or early 60's (Since I'm old enough to remember them, I can't remember the exact time frame). John Bucyk, Bronco Horvath, and Vic Stasiuk, all of Ukranian heritage, set lots of club scoring records in their day. It's too bad the Bruins had nothing to go along with them, otherwise they might be a bit better known.

posted by Howard_T at 01:01 PM on January 22, 2009

I'm pretty sure that in 1991-92, Jagr-Francis-Lemieux was not a regular skating line, but maybe a power play unit. I believe during that period Francis largely centered the second unit. I think Francis did play some left wing with Lemieux and Jagr later on in his Penguins career (mid-90s), in part because Mario had an assortment of injuries and had slowed down and Francis was a much better two-way player.

Agreed with others that this SI list is really just a list of lines with fun names.

posted by holden at 01:39 PM on January 22, 2009

I hope BoKnows put this up as an example of poorly researched sports articles.

Over the last year+ of my membership of this site, I have posted many Top 10 lists, Best of's, etc... I don't think there has ever been a consensus regarding the author's subjects, I know that. What is fairly certain, is that we get a lot of discussion regarding who was left out or why a certain group/player was included in the list. I even made a comment above regarding my favorite hockey team and some players that I thought were excluded and could very well have been worthy of consideration. All that proves to me is that most of the members here are much more knowledgeable about their respective sport interests than some beat writer for the different media outlets. So, while I had no intention of posting this link to show what a "poorly researched sports article" this is, I did intend to prove that we, as a collective, can put together a much better list in a matter of hours.

posted by BoKnows at 04:12 PM on January 22, 2009

Always partial to the HEM Line (Hull/Esposito/Maki), and the Scooters (Wharram/Mikita/Mohns).

posted by gre at 04:33 PM on January 22, 2009

I was just joking Bo. sorry if feelings were hurt.

posted by Debo270 at 11:31 AM on January 23, 2009

Not at all, Debo. I was just explaining the usual nature of posting lists like these.

posted by BoKnows at 11:47 AM on January 23, 2009

Its hard for me vote for a line that has one superstar and two other competent players. That is sort of why I'd go for the French Connection over a couple of others. All three players were very good and they played very well as a unit, and were together for a few years.

posted by sfts2 at 11:42 PM on January 23, 2009

Fuck off, Sports Illustrated.

No Toronto Maple Leaf line? Yet two New Jersey Devils lines, two from the Islanders, Detroit, Chicago, and one from each of San Jose, and Tampa Bay? One Edmonton Oiler line, and Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, and Anderson are nowhere to be mentioned.


Go back to ignoring hockey, it's easier than embarrassing yourself like this.

And, since some seem to get upset when I don't give an example:
The Kid Line: Charlie Conacher, Harvey (Busher) Jackson, and Joe Primeau.
All 3 are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The line was formed when Conacher and Jackson were 18, and Primeau was 23. They helped lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a Stanley Cup, and 4 finals appearances over the following 6 years.

posted by tommybiden at 07:10 PM on January 24, 2009

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