Got home from New Jersey and getting ready to pack for the World Series (cheap plug: Follow all things Rangers-Giants this week on the Inside Pitch blog). So I sat down to read a book I got in the mail and I have to say this: Run, don't walk, to your nearest book store or online agent and get The Hockey Book, the latest creation of Sports Illustrated.
There are incredible articles and glimpses into the SI Vault from writers like Michael Farber, E.M. Swift, George Plimpton and even William Faulkner. But this coffee-table suitable tome is all about the photos. Amazing stuff. Both modern day and incredible glimpses back to the Original Six era.
The front cover (above-click for bigger image) includes a pantheon of the game's all-time greats. One of them is Dominik Hasek, resplendent in his black goathead jersey of the 90s (bottom right corner). On Pages 2-3 is a spectacular black-and-white, circa 1998, of a steely-eyed Hasek, tight on his eyes and facemask. Portrait of concentration.
The two-page spread is a key element of the book. There's one of the 2009 KHL All-Star Game outside in Red Square, another of the Team Canada bench bolting on the ice after Sidney Crosby's Olympic winner in Vancouver (great shots of the fans with their arms in the air and Lindy Ruff on the bench hugging a trainer), and there's Patrick Kane, mouthguard askew, heading down ice to celebrate his Stanely Cup-winning goal.
Found plenty of Sabres references too:
--A net cam view of Sabres prospect Luke Adam getting turned away by a Russian goalie during last year's Canada-Russia junior Super Series.
--Crosby battling Jason Pominville and Henrik Tallinder in the snow at the 2008 Winter Classic in the Ralph.
--Crosby beating backup Jocelyn Thibault during a Penguins-Sabres game in 2007 at the Igloo.
--A full-page overhead of a Sabres-Flyers line brawl during the 1978 playoffs (Terry Martin, Gary MacAdam and Bill Stewart are the Sabres you can identify)
There's several "Wish You Were There" graphic boxes recounting great moments of the decades. Here's one mentioned I was there for: An 8-6 Penguins win over the Devils on New Year's Eve, 1988, at the Igloo. The significance was that Mario Lemieux became the first -- and still only -- player to score a goal five ways in the same game. He tallied even-strength, short-handed, power play, penalty shot and empty net. Wild. I still have the VHS tape of that one.
Incredible day. Incredible book. Here's more on the book from AOL Fanhouse.