As hockey fans around the world gear up for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Sip Advisor thought it might be a good time to look at some of the sport’s greatest line combos. This list was narrowed down by taking into account the success of the line, as well as how awesome the name they were given was. Let’s get the puck rolling:
#5: West Coast Express – Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi
After a string of dismal years, Vancouver Canucks fans finally had something to cheer about again, when this line began filling the back of the net and piling up points. Once put together, each enjoyed the best years of their career, with Naslund and Bertuzzi even finishing second and third in league scoring during the 2002-03 season. Sadly, a long-awaited Stanley Cup never materialized, thanks in part to Bertuzzi’s indefinite suspension, after punching Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore in the back of the head. The West Coast Express is actually a commuter train line in the Sip Advisor’s home area, connecting people living in the suburbs of Vancouver to the downtown core.
#4: Capital Punishment Line – Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley
Playing in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, the Senators enjoyed their greatest success as a franchise on the backs of Alfredsson, Spezza, and Heatley. The trio took the Senators all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, but they were defeated by the Anaheim Ducks in five games. The three stars were also given the nickname ‘The Pizza Line’ thanks to the Pizza Pizza chain offering to give away free slices to ticket holders, anytime the Senators scored at least five goals. With the line racking up points that season, it happened often. Ironically, Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976… I guess this threesome never got the news!
#3: Legion of Doom – Eric Lindros, John Leclair, Mikael Renberg
For a time, Lindros was the most dominant player in the game, utilizing his size, strength, and natural talent. Flanking him on the wings were Leclair and Renberg, who each enjoyed great seasons playing with ‘The Big E’. The line combined for 305 goals and 361 assists over three season, highlighted by a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1997. The line’s name was created (or at least borrowed) by teammate Jim Montgomery, before being used and promoted by Flyers announcer Gene Hart. While they weren’t as successful as the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970’s, the Legion of Doom ushered in a new generation of Flyers dominance.
#2: Red Army – Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Viacheslav Fetisov
As if three forwards weren’t enough, imagine icing an entire five-man unit that could cohesively work together and dominate the opposition. All hailing from Russia and formerly starring for that country’s national team, the Red Army had been built by Red Wings coach, Scotty Bowman, who had always admired the USSR’s playing style. The gamble worked out well for Detroit, as the team won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and repeated the feat in 1998. Sadly, Konstantinov was not part of the second championship, as just days after the 1997 win, he was involved in a serious auto wreck, which ended his career. The only thing missing was a Russian goaltender to complete the on-ice sweep.
#1: Trio Grande – Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies
When New York Islanders coach Al Arbour combined these three young, highly-touted players in 1977, it’s what would eventually push them over the edge and produce a four-year Stanley Cup dynasty. The line combined for 668 goals and 1498 points, throughout the years, piling up trophies, team records, and other accolades, during that time. Both Trottier and Bossy would win the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP (1980 and 1982, respectively), proving the line was also quite productive in the crunch time that is the playoffs. All three members of the line have had their numbers retired by the Islanders and been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Super Saturday Shot Day: Penalty Shot
- 0.25 oz Blue Curacao
- 0.25 oz Gin
- 0.25 oz Tequila
- 0.25 oz Citron Vodka
- Pinch of Cinnamon
- Garnish with a Cinnamon Stick
Honourable mentions go to the French Connection (Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert), the Triple Crown Line (Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer, Marcel Dionne), and That 70’s Line (Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson). While not making up a complete line, one of the most prolific scoring duos in hockey history, Brett Hull and Adam Oates, were given the nickname Hull and Oates, a play on the musical act Hall and Oates… too bad neither of them rocked a great 80’s porn stache!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This shooter had a nice blue colour until I added the dash of Cinnamon and then it all turned into a fuzzy green hue… I think it still looks okay, though. I used a Cinnamon Stick for garnish to imitate a good ol’ fashioned wooden hockey stick. As for taste, this all came together like a Long Island Iced Tea, just miniaturized. And that’s a drink that goes down easy.