Happy Monday! Is everyone ready for the second half of superlatives? I've got to say, this has been so much fun. I really wish I could make it last another few weeks, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing. Alas. (Click here if you missed part one!)
Eric here was the true creative-type artist of the group. He'd have random streaks of brilliance, and then equally as random streaks of nothing. But when he was brilliant, his hockey was like a work of art. He'd often confuse his own teammates with his unpredictability on the ice, and he even had the head-in-the-clouds, quirky personality stereotypical of artists. So, really, the ice was his canvas!
Mac here has just about everything you'd find in a president: an insanely brilliant mind, the ability to be friends with athletes and academics alike, good looks, business smarts, interview skills and an ease in front of the camera, and the ambition and ceaseless drive to make things happen. The more I think about it, the more surprised I am that he hasn't held a public office yet. With this man in the Oval Office, we'd all be in very good hands!
Janny fits that to a T. As the backup goalie he didn't play very often, so his role became that of supporting his teammates. He sharpened skates and had words of encouragement for teammates who had a bad shift, pushed Jim Craig to the top of his game, and was all-around just there for everybody. And he always did it happily.
Rammer's resume. In high school he was a state tennis champion, an All-City football player, and the best hockey defenseman in the state. Then he attended the University of Minnesota, working his way from junior varsity to varsity starter in less than a season; was the first American ever taken in the first round of the NHL draft; was a starting defenseman on the gold medal-winning Olympic team, where he was known for his aggressive hitting and offensive style of play; and went on to a 17-year NHL career (including four all-star game appearances). The dude could play.
Wellsy had to hustle for his entire life, largely because being a smaller athlete ain't no walk in the park. From the time he was a kid he had to work to prove himself against the odds, even starting college on a partial scholarship before becoming one of the best scorers in the country. He had to bust his butt to make the Olympic roster, and then once on the roster he had to bust his butt to make the team. And then after the Olympics, he had to bust his butt to take his life back after a debilitating injury. His work ethic is tireless!
Silky's ability to better himself is truly inspirational. As a hockey player he wasn't the best skater, and Herb frequently told him so, but he worked on it relentlessly. He started the Olympics on the fourth line, but managed to play so impressively (even scoring the team's first goal of the Olympics!) that he played the whole medal round on the first line, with the fastest skaters. And when he started struggling with alcoholism, he attacked the problem and turned his life around. Nowadays he competes in triathlons and is in better shape than he was 15 years ago. Amazing.
Ken was known for his solid, dependable presence on the blue line, and goalies loved playing behind him because they could rely on him so completely. I mean, there's a reason he won an Olympic gold medal and four Stanley Cups in four years. There's also a reason why he spent his entire career, from his days as a player right up to Director of Pro Scouting, with a single NHL franchise: Ken Morrow is as reliable as they come.
Jim Craig is a pretty amazing human being. Not only has he befriended some of the Russian players (pictured is Vladimir Myshkin), but he's also incredibly aware of his role on the team and the responsibility he holds. Instead of hogging the attention, he takes so much care to appreciate his teammates and ensure that some of the unsung heroes get recognition. At the 35th anniversary reunion alone, he went out of his way to draw attention to the accomplishments of Steve Janaszak, Eric Strobel and Neal Broten in lieu of himself. Like I said, amazing.
Steve's game face. Is that not the face of someone you'd trust to lead you into battle? Steve was known for being brooding and intense, not saying much but always looking like something was brewing under the surface. He was able to basically score goals at will and simultaneously had the reputation of being a good fighter: so basically, he was the ultimate package. Herb often singled him out for abuse, just to round out the revolutionary stereotype. And he's a pilot. That's a good skill for a revolutionary to have, right? :P
And that concludes our superlative adventure!