'63 Maple Leafs Voted NHL's 'All-Time Greatest' Single-Season Squad; Join Six Rookies, One Player per Team in Industry's First-Ever Fan-Voted Trading Card Set
Apr 28, 2006
CARLSBAD, Calif. (April 28, 2006) -- The 2005-06 NHL regular season ended last week, with the Toronto Maple Leafs beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the league's final game, 5-3.
The final of Upper Deck's All-Time Greatest Collection tournament, with fans voting on the league's best single-season squad ever? The same two teams, the same outcome, the same margin of victory. Just with different players from different eras.
Receiving 64 percent of the vote, the 1962-63 Leafs beat the 1991-92 Pens, completing Upper Deck's weekly 16-team season-long tourney pitting the NHL's all-time greatest teams.
Along with the '63 Leafs, six all-time rookies and one player per team will be included in the collection, the industry's first-ever fan-voted trading card set. It will feature 37 cards in all and hit retail stores this fall.
The rookies: Tony Esposito (Chicago Blackhawks), Mario Lemieux (Penguins), Guy Lafleur (Montreal Canadiens), Gilbert Perreault (Buffalo Sabres), Steve Yzerman (Detroit Red Wings) and Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers).
Each team's individual player* representative can be found listed below.
While only one player per team made the All-Time Greatest Collection -- with players really only battling other members from the same franchise -- it was a battle all season to see who would finish with the most overall votes.
The New York Rangers' Andy Bathgate led the vote for the contest's first three months, all the way up until the contest's final two weeks. Bathgate will still represent the Rangers in Upper Deck's collection, but was overtaken for all-time greatest player by both Boston's Bobby Orr (No. 1) and Montreal's Maurice Richard (No. 2).
Orr won the title by less than one-tenth of a percent of the overall all-time player vote. In total, 4.5 million votes were tallied across the contest's three categories.
Notable Storylines: After Only One Season, Ovechkin is Best-Ever Capital; Three Players with Two Cards
-- Rookie Alexander Ovechkin, who became only the sixth rookie in NHL history to score at least 100 points in a season, was voted the best Washington Capital ever, besting Mike Gartner;
-- Gretzky, Perreault and Yzerman were the only players to have two cards in the set: one rookie and one all-time greatest player for their individual team, and;
-- Fans of hall-of-famer Bobby Hull and son, former NHLer Brett, came en masse to vote:
Brett was St. Louis' all-time player representative while finishing in the top-six all time; Brett also nearly beat Mike Modano to become Dallas' all-time greatest player, and;
Bobby Hull, who was not listed on the ballot, got the most write-in votes of any player, with 2,225 for his tenure with Chicago.
Upper Deck 'All-Time Greatest' Omissions: Howe, Jagr, Messier, Crosby
Like any sports league all-star game or yearly Hall of Fame induction, the conversation wouldn't be complete without arguing over who got left out.
At the top of the list, the man considered to be the greatest hockey player ever: Gordie Howe.
Howe's 1953/54 Detroit squad was ousted in the second round of the all-time single-squad tournament, while the man dubbed "Mr. Hockey" lost out to teammate Ted Lindsay in the vote for all time greatest Red Wing.
The original jersey No. 9 also finished at No. 9 in the all-time rookies race, just outside the six included in the set.
Also snubbed: The New York Rangers Jaromir Jagr. While he finished an impressive No. 15 of 137 in the overall player vote, he couldn't top Lemieux, who came in at No. 9, as Pittsburgh's best-ever player.
One final notable: Sidney Crosby failing to finish in the top-six for all-time rookies. Along with Ovechkin, Crosby scored more than 100 points in the 2005-06 season, his rookie campaign.
All-Time Greatest Collection: Team Representatives
Bobby Orr Boston Bruins
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens
Andy Bathgate New York Rangers
Ted Lindsay Detroit Red Wings
Brett Hull St. Louis Blues
Stan Mikita Chicago Blackhawks
Bobby Clarke Philadelphia Flyers
Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins
Mike Modano Dallas Stars
Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals
Darryl Sittler Toronto Maple Leafs
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers
Ron Francis Carolina Hurricanes
Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators
Al MacInnis Calgary Flames
Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils
Teemu Selanne Anaheim Mighty Ducks
Pavel Bure Vancouver Canucks
Joe Sakic Colorado Avalanche
Gilbert Perreault Buffalo Sabres
Rick Nash Columbus Blue Jackets
Ilya Kovalchuk Atlanta Thrashers
John Vanbiesbrouck Florida Panthers
Bryan Trottier New York Islanders
Marcel Dionne Los Angeles Kings
Marian Gaborik Minnesota Wild
Shane Doan Phoenix Coyotes
Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay Lightning
Tomas Vokoun Nashville Predators
Evgeni Nabokov San Jose Sharks
* For the complete voting results, visit www.thealltimegreatest.com. Please note: the names mentioned above may or may not be included in the final checklist for inclusion in the All-Time Greatest Collection and are dependent upon the availability of the player.
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