All-time best lines

The Triple Crown Line made some sweet music on the ice. The magic, however, didn’t translate to the studio.

Not content to merely embarrass opposing goalies, Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor put their dignity aside in 1979 and had a little fun while recording the single Please Forgive My Misconduct Last Night. The track was released under the name ‘Marcel Dionne and the Puck-Tones’ and the proceeds – which surely paled in comparison to the trio’s point totals – went to diabetes research.

The other side of the 45 featured Phil Esposito and a number of other Rangers performing a little number called Hockey Sock Rock. It’s fair to say Dionne and Espo, Nos. 4 and 5 on the NHL’s all-time scoring list, were better at their day jobs.

Longevity and equal share of the workload were two heavily weighted factors in establishing the NHL’s best lines of all-time. So while Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri were a dominant duo, it’s difficult to lump the entire line with the best ever considering tough guy Dave Semenko was usually riding shotgun. (Uh, no offense, Mr, Semenko, sir.)

Before he was making records with the Rangers, Esposito and his Bruins linemates tore up the NHL during the 1970-71 season. The big center led the league with 76 goals and 152 points and was flanked by the NHL’s No. 4 point-getter, Ken Hodge, and the No. 7 scorer, Wayne Cashman.

Some lines were more fluid than others. While Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt usually played together on Montreal’s dynasty teams of the late ‘70s, both Jacques Lemaire and Pete Mahovlich skated with the pair at different times. Like Shutt and Lafleur, Mahovlich was a natural winger, prompting the quick-witted Shutt to rename that troika The Donut Line because it had no center.

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The G-A-G Line’s name was a little malleable, too, depending on how things were going. Vic Hadfield, Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert earned their original nickname with the Rangers because they were good for a “Goal A Game.” But when production picked up, they’d sometimes be referred to as the T-A-G Line – “Two Goals A Game.”

Mike Bossy, Brian Trottier and Clark Gillies ignited a lot of red lights for the Islanders during nearly a decade together, which prompted their line’s LILCO moniker (Long Island Lighting Company).

10. The Legion of Doom –
Mikael Renberg, Eric Lindros, John Leclair (Philadelphia Flyers)

9. The Dynasty Line –
Guy Lafleur, Jacques Lemaire, Steve Shutt or Pete Mahovlich (Montreal Canadiens)

8. The Kid Line – Harvey ‘Busher’ Jackson, Joe Primeau, Charlie Conacher (Toronto Maple Leafs)

7. The Espo Line – Wayne Cashman, Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge (Boston Bruins)

6. The G-A-G Line – Vic Hadfield, Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert (New York Rangers)

5. The French Connection – Rene Robert, Gilbert Perreault, Richard Martin (Buffalo Sabres)

4. The LILCO Line – Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies (New York Islanders)

3. The Punch Line – Maurice Richard, Elmer Lach, Hector ‘Toe’ Blake (Montreal Canadiens)

2. The Production Line – Gordie Howe, Sid Abel, Ted Lindsay (Detroit Red Wings)

1. The Triple Crown Line –
Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer, Dave Taylor  (Los Angeles Kings)

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