#1 The Greatest Goal of All-Time
I know some will think I'm being Hyperbolic here, but let's look at the facts of his 2001 Game 7 Stanley Cup Finals goal
- Icing goal of Game 7 in the Stanley Cup finals
- Against the defending champs
- Makes two future hall-of-famers look ridiculously pedestrian
- Secured a cup for one of the most beloved players of all time
- His trademark rocket Wrist shot
This shot left Martin Brodeur befuddled
#2 Making everyone cry
Everyone calls Sakic the classiest player in the game, and maybe of all time. Well this game cemented that reputation in every one's mind. After winning his second (and last) Stanley Cup, Joe Sakic nearly skips out on the customary picture with Gary Betteman, and does skip out on the traditional Captain's raising of the cup, to let Ray Borque hoist the cup first. There wasn't a dry eye in the hockey world.
#3 Sakic lifts the cup at city Hall in 1996
#4 Joe makes Canada Golden
Everyone remembers that 2001 was the year Sakic delivered Borque his first major championship, but 1996 was the year Sakic delivered Denver it's first major championship of any kind. Denver was on par with Cleveland and Buffalo in terms of sports losers until the Super Joe delivered the Mile High city it's first cup. This is the image of an entire city being liberated from its loser labelPhoto from The Denver Post
As much as it stung American hockey fans, Joe Sakic carried Canada to a gold medal at the 2002 Olympics. He was as dominant in that tournament as any hockey player I've ever seen, had 4 points (2 goals, 2 primary assists) and was tourney MVP (or whatever they call it in the Olympics). Oh it was Canada's first Gold in 50 years. Need a big goal, call ol Captain Icewater veins.
#5 Sakic abuses Scott Stevens in the '01 Cup Finals.
Joe Sakic was so ridiculously good int he 2001 cup finals that he made Scott Stevens, a future hall of fame, look like he belonged in juniors. He out hit Stevens (knocking him to his ass, uses Stevens to screen Brodeur, as mentioned above, and at one point had Stevens so juked out that he was literally crawling around trying to stop Sakic from scoring (it didn't work). It was a dominating performance for one of the best all time. (see tribute video at the bottom for some highlights)
#6 Gilmour still tasting those Apples
Mmmmmm Apples. Arrrrrggggghhhhhhh. /drool.
#7 Sakic wins the 1996 Conn Smythe
Ho hum. 18 goals, 16 assists and multiple OT winners. The second most dominant tournament run I have ever seen (second to his 2002 Olympic Tournament).
#8 Joe Sakic one ups Trevor Lindens hat trick
The Avs and Canucks were tied 2-2 in the first round of the 1996 Stanley Cup playoffs. Trevor Linden came out and had three goals in a row, yet the Avs, behind 2 goals by Captain Joe Sakic had managed to send the game to Overtime. Captain Icewater then decided he had had enough of this tomfoolery and decided to win the pivotal game with his third goal of the game. This is the beginning of a theme
#9 Joe Sakic evens up with the Blackhawks
The most famous playoff series for the Avs in 1996 was the infamous series against the Red Wings which started the Blood Feud. But their toughest series that season was against the Jeremy Roenick-led Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks had a 2-1 lead and were threatening to put the Avs in an incredible 3-1 hole. Joe Sakic would have none of it. He decided that after 2 OT he had enough of this crap and tied the series with his second playoff OT winner of the playoffs at 4:33 in the third OT. This is generally considered the turning point of the series, and also the catalyst to the Avs '96 cup run.
#10 Joe Sakic notches #500 & 600
@ 54 second mark
#11 Sakic wins the Hart, Pearson, and Lady Bing
2000 - 2001 was a very good year for Joe Sakic as he notched 120 points, ggood enough for league MVP.
#12 100 points at 38
Joe Sakic's excellence was not only in his ability, but his durability. At age 38 he had 100 points, which is just amazing.
#13 Hat trick for the Nordiques against the Rangers in 1995 SC playoffs
I'll be honest, my memories of Sakic in the Fleur-de-Lis are vague at best, but a hat trick in the playoffs is always impressive.
#14 Another OT winner sends 2001 Avs to Stanley Cup Finals
Joe Sakic scored on the powerplay just 24 seconds into OT to send the Avalanche past the Quenneville coached Blues, sending the Avs into the Stanley Cup finals.
#15 Forsberg-Sakic Keeps Sharks from clinching
The Sharks won the series, but the no-look Forsberg pass to Sakic is a thing of beauty. Sakic, of course, buried it. And if there was any doubt... it was in OT.
#16 The Wicked Wrister
Whenever anyone talks about Joe Sakic, the first thing always mentioned is his class. The next is his wicked wrist shot. It's demonstrated multiple times above, but it has victimized hundreds of goaltenders over 20 seasons.
#17 - Sakic scores another OT playoff winner, sets record
The Avs were underdogs to the Wild in this 2008 playoff series against the division champion Wild. Joe Sakic got the Avs off on the right foot with his NHL record 8th career Playoff OT goal. The Avs would go on to upset the Wild in 6 games.
(about the 1:05 mark)
#18 Joe Sakic levels a guy in a random game in an awful season
Last season, before the snowblower incident, in some random game I watched the rest of the Avs meekly attempt to clear a puck as it sat there in front of Peter Budaj (or Raycroft) and Avs swung their purses at it. Finally a Flame (I think) got to the puck in time to try and get a shot off. Joe Sakic came from no where, leveled him and went the other way. It wasn't the greatest play in the world, and it certainly didn't propel the Avs to greater things, but that play reminded me why Sakic was the complete package. Even on his own top-19 list his defensive prowess is completely overshadowed by his offensive abilities. But that play, which caused me to yell "That's what I'm fucking talking about" will always stick in my mind as an example of his tireless efforts on both ends of the ice.
#19 Joe Sakic - Captain
Why #19 and not higher. I'm not sure, maybe because #19 and "C" seem to go hand-in-hand. He was named Captain of the Nordiques in 1992 and until tonight is the only captain the Avalanche have ever had.
Photo from the Sports Junkies
And one more video for the road...