‘Five All-Time Favorite Hockey Players’ by Metal Blade Founder Brian Slagel
Brian Slagel is beloved in heavy metal circles for his work with Metal Blade, the record label he founded in 1982. Throughout its history, the label has released influential albums by everyone from Slayer and Fates Warning to Cannibal Corpse and As I Lay Dying. Still a force to be reckoned with, Metal Blade also boats younger acts like Between the Buried and Me, Job for a Cowboy and Whitechapel.
The Southern California-based label has also branched out into the comedy realm, releasing ‘That Metal Show‘ hosts Don Jamieson (seen above on the left) and Jim Florentine‘s albums ‘Live and Hilarious’ and ‘Cringe ‘n’ Purge,’ respectively, in 2011.
When he’s not busy running Metal Blade, Slagel, 51, spends time devouring everything and anything hockey-related. A big L.A. Kings supporter, Slagel co-hosts Metal Misconduct, a monthly podcast airing the first Saturday of each month at Hardradio.com. Each month’s show airs at 10:00PM EST and features the metal kingpin and NHL.com’s Shawn Roarke interviewing musicians and athletes, along with music selected by Slagel himself.
Since Slagel is such a massive fan of the sport, Noisecreep asked him if he would be interested in writing a feature on his five all-time favorite hockey players. Luckily for us, he said yes! Check out his list below and make sure you follow @brianslagel on Twitter for Slagel’s onslaught of hockey and metal-related tweets!
5. Martin Brodeur
(Playing career 1991-present)
“I had to put a goaltender in here and that is so tough to do. Tretiak, Roy, Plante so many great goalies hard to pick the best. I put Marty in there because he has been so good for so long. Even this year I thought he was over and now he is again playing at a high level. I think the goalies I mentioned before might have had better singular seasons, but in the long run I give it to Brodeur. I think Tretiak was probably the most talented goalie of all time and Marty may be the smartest. If you’re a fan of goaltending, Martin is just incredible to watch!”
4. Gordie Howe
(Playing career 1946–1971, 1973–1980, 1997)
“He had it all, skill, intensity, toughness, leadership. A great player who came to play every night and loved the game so much he played into his 50’s! Invented the “Gordie Howe Hattrick” a goal, assist and fight in the same game. Players who played against him, said he was the toughest and hardest to play. As great as Mark Messier was, Howe was doing it before him and incredibly even better.”
3. Bobby Orr
(Playing career from 1966-1978)
“I never got to see him play live, but he probably revolutionized the game more than any other player. Before him defenseman were just that, there for defense. Orr made the postion about both d and offense and paved the way for the modern game. Like Gretzky and Lemieux he was dominate at all times on the ice. Also one of the best skaters in the history of the NHL.”
2. Wayne Gretzky
(Playing career from 1978-1999)
“I’m sure he is number 1 on both lists and really should be 1a probably. I was lucky enough as I mentioned above to see every single game he played at home with the LA Kings live. So much has been said about him and all is true. Just an incredible talent who made everyone on the ice a better player. The year Bernie Nicholls scored 70 goals, he and Gretzky on a penalty kill was like the Kings had the power play. Also one of the nicest guys ever. I was lucky enough to meet him a few times and he could not have been nicer. He is the Great One!”
1. Mario Lemieux
(Playing career 1984–1997, 2000–2006)
“Even Wayne Gretzky said that if Lemieux were healthy during his career he would have broken all of his records. To me, Mario was the most dominant player I have ever seen. Now I had season tickets for the LA Kings for all of Gretzky’s career and as great as he was, Mario was just more dominant. Big, fast, strong and such skill you cannot believe. Night after night he brought it even while battling cancer and severe back problems. During one Cup run his back was so bad he could not even lace his own skates, yet he still was by far the best player on the ice. Don’t believe me, just YouTube him sit back and enjoy the greatest player ever.”