Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Honoring the NHL 94 Survivors

(Warning: Really, really, really, really long post)

14 years have passed since EA Sports released what is arguably the greatest hockey video game in history, NHL 94. The pixelated "graphics." The organ music. That damn thing had it all. And it had us all addicted to it.

Today I decided it was time to make us all feel really old. There are still players in the league who were privileged enough to be a part of this hockey video game classic, but their numbers are dwindling. They're not exactly WW2 vets, but they are becoming increasingly rare nonetheless. Even the teams are vastly different. Three teams are now in different places and four were yet to be brought into existence (ah, the joys of a 26 team league).

So who are the last survivors? Who has managed to forge an additional 14 years onto their NHL career following the monumental success of pixelated hockey? The following is a list of 43 players who are still active in the NHL and a couple that are playing in Europe.

To qualify for this list, players needed to have played at least one game this past season in the NHL or another major league and did not announced their retirement (that means you, Glen Wesley). Mad props must go out to the folks at NHL94.com, whom I borrowed the above graphic from and used their rosters to make this list. It's a bustling community of NHL 94 action, so be sure to check it out.

Anaheim Mighty Ducks

(Once upon a time they were Mighty.)

Sean Hill

Long believed to be a robot, Sean Hill is the only remaining member of the NHL 94 Anaheim Mighty Ducks. His robotic qualities did not necessarily equate to video game brilliance. EA graced him with the honor of a 44 for his overall attribute. And yes, that is out of 100. Long lost teammates such as: Lonnie Loach, Guy Hebert, Dennis Vial and Troy Long, who started on the wing in the game with a whopping rank of 49.

Boston Bruins

No known survivors.

Teammates included, but were not limited to: Adam Oates, Andy Moog and Boston's Favorite Son, Cam Neely.

Buffalo Sabres

No known survivors.

With the retirement of Dominik Hasek last month, the last remaining member of the NHL 94 Sabres hung up his real life skates. Teammates included: Alexander "the Great" Mogilny, Pat LaFontaine (pre-concussion Pat), Grant Fuhr and Rob Ray.

Calgary Flames

Gary Roberts

What can I possibly hope to say about Gary Roberts that you do not already know? The man needs no introduction. He continues to fight on, despite being the only remaining member of the NHL 94 Calgary Flames. WWVGGRD? = What Would Video Game Gary Roberts Do? He would destroy your SEGA Genesis with his slapshot. Teammates included: Theo "Crackhead" Fleury, Mike Vernon, the Immortal Al MacInnis and Robert Reichel.

Chicago Blackhawks

Chris Chelios

Eddie "the Eagle" Belfour

Jeremy Roenick

These three were all video game legends. The '94 Hawks may have been the most legit video game hockey team of the century. They even played in the old Chicago Stadium, which is absolutely ballin. Roenick up front, Chelly and Eddie in the back. What more do you need? Chelios, as I'm sure you're aware, is striving to play forever. Belfour is playing in Sweden for Leksands IF because he believes he's still 1994 Eddie and can dominate the NHL. The NHL begs to differ. JR, well, you know what his deal is. He also needs no introduction. Teammates included: Brian Noonan (Noonan!), Bryan Marchment, Jocelyn Lemieux and Joe Murphy.

Dallas Stars

Mike Modano

Is all that is man.

Derian Hatcher

Is doing whatever it is he does for Philadelphia.

Richard Matvichuk

Currently playing in the New Jersey Devils' farm system.

Teammates included: Russ Courtnall, Mark Tinordi, Ulf Dahlen and the one and only, Enrico Ciccone.

Detroit Red Wings

Sergei Fedorov

Remember Sergei in 1994? He was freaking cool. Now, he's still cool. Just a bit older. He's also a free agent. Maybe you can sign him to your beer league team.

Mike Sillinger

Currently lost somewhere on Long Island.

Dallas Drake

His career is currently on a respirator with the Red Wings. They don't have the heart to pull the plug. His name is still the most country name you could possibly have, unless you decide to name your kid "Texarkana."

Teammates included: Bob Probert, Tim Chevelade, Paul Ysebaert and Steve Yzerman.

Edmonton Oilers

Doug Weight

Signed with the Islanders last week, will hopefully help bring the kids along. The Islanders will likely not have him pose like this anytime soon.

Martin Gelinas

Currently a free agent. Spent last season with Nashville.

Luke Richardson

Is also a free agent, may do birthday parties. Spent last year in Ottawa for 76 games and is still living in relative NHL anonymity.

Teammates Included: Zdeno Ciger, Kevin Todd, Bill Ranford, Ron Tugnutt.

Florida Panthers

No known survivors.

Scott Mellanby managed to play for both the Oilers and Panthers in this game. Now that is some serious commitment to the game of hockey. The Panthers only had nine forwards on the roster in the game, Mellanby was likely double shifted. Team included: John Vanbiesbrouck (never thought he would actually retire), some other guys.

Hartford Whalers

Mikael Nylander

Probably the most productive NHL 94 hockey player remaining (so far). Had 37 points in 40 games last year in Washington and is averaging just about a point per game since the lockout.

Robert Petrovicky

Currently playing in Sweden with Eddie Belfour.

Teammates included: Pat Verbeek, Zarley Zalapski, Sean Burke, Doug Houda.

Los Angeles Kings

Rob Blake

Teams up with JR as he signed a one-year deal with the Sharks last week.

Alexei Zhitnik

Released by the Thrashers last month. That's about as low as you can get. His career might be kaput.

Darryl Sydor

Just finished up a trip to the Finals with the Penguins. TSN lists his current status as "off season."

Teammates included: The Great One, Kelly Hrudey, Jari Kurri and Cammi Granato's brother.

Montreal Canadiens

Patrice Brisebois

Is back in Montreal where he is shown much love.

Mathieu Schneider

Played the last two seasons in Anaheim and is currently searching for a job.

Teammates included: Rob Ramage, Patrick Roy, Guy Carbonneau, Denis Savard.

New Jersey Devils

Scott Niedermayer

Won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks and brother Rob last year. Kept no one up at night except himself by taking half the season to contemplate retirement.

Bobby Holik

How he is still getting paid to play NHL hockey is beyond me.

Bill Guerin

The third Islander in our countdown for those of you keeping score. If this was 1994, the Islanders would have a solid trio on their top line.

Teammates included: Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens, Your Mom.

New York Islanders

Darius Kasparitis

Best known for having a last name that sounds like a disease and having no regard for human life while on the ice. Played last season back home in Russia. Was a part of one of my worst childhood memories when the Islanders traded him away for Bryan Smolinski. BRYAN FREAKING SMOLINSKI!!!

New York Rangers

Alexei Kovalev

Sergei Zubov

Remember this team? This team was freaking stacked. No wonder they won the cup. Kovalev, Zubov, Leetch and some other schmucks.

Ottawa Senators

No known survivors.

This was one crappy expansion team in the video game and real life. Their highest rated player? Norm MacIver who was a 61. Daniel Berthiaume was a solid 43 in net. Team included: Sylvain Turgeon, Brad Shaw and a bunch of scrubs.

Philadelphia Flyers

Mark Recchi

Released two days after his bobblehead night in Pittsburgh last December. Played out the season in Atlanta.

This team had Tommy Soderstrom. Remember that guy?

Pittsburgh Penguins

Jaromir Jagr

I don't think I need to remind you about his summer saga. His NHL 94 hair can only be described as Mulletlicious. Teammates Included: Remnants of the Championship teams.

Quebec Nordiques

Joe Sakic

Moved with the team to Colorado and spent his whole career there.

Mats Sundin

Acts like a slut when it comes to picking a team for next year. He's flirting with all interested parties and putting out all over the place.

Owen Nolan

Signed with the Minnesota Wild a few days ago. A solid contributor in Calgary the last few years.

Chris Simon

Recently moved into Suspension City. Owns a 4BR condo on the west side and was unanimously elected mayor by the townsfolk.

Adam Foote

See: Joe Sakic (plus a few years in Columbus).

By the way, how do you break up the trio of Nolan, Sakic and Sundin? That is an epic trio, looking back on it.

San Jose Sharks

Sandis Ozolinsh

Played 38 games in San Jose last year, currently looking for work. Teammates included: Pat Faloon (now that's a blast from the past), Arturs Irbe, more expansion scrubs.

St. Louis Blues

Brendan Shanahan

Still going strong. Put up 23-23-46 in 73 games on Broadway last year.

Curtis Joseph

Came out of hiding to sign a one-year deal with the Maple Leafs last week. Is way, way, way past his prime. Wore a really cool mask in St. Louis.

Bret Hedican

Married Kristi Yamaguchi. Not sure if that's how you spell her name, but a solid acquistion nonetheless. I'm talking about marrying her, of course.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Roman Hamrlik

First ever draft pick in Lightning history. Didn't work out all that well. Still playing well, though. Teammates included: More expansion weak sauce.

Toronto Maple Leafs

No known survivors.

Speaking of weak sauce, how about the goaltending bust of one Felix "the Cat" Potvin? This was a pretty weak team, despite having a couple big names on the roster (see: Andreychuk, Gilmour, Clark, Ellett). Team included: Just named a whole bunch. You can look the rest up yourself.

Vancouver Canucks

Petr Nedved

Now playing in the Czech Republic. Scored nine goals in the post-lockout NHL.

Washington Captials

No known survivors.

Dale Hunter is a dick. Next.

Winnipeg Jets

Teemu Selanne

Absolutely sick in the post-lockout NHL. 96 points in 06-07 were the most he had put up in nearly a decade but that still doesn't hold a candle to his rookie season of 1992-93. He scored 76 goals and 132 points, both rookie records that still stand today. He is still the last player to net 70 in a single season. Being rated a 90 in this game seems way too low.

Keith Tkachuk


Teppo Numminen

Had heart surgery in September and was able to return for the Sabres final game of the season. What a trooper.


  1. Geez, that was a long ass post. If I were standing next to you, I'd shake your hand.

  2. Aw, I remember playing NHL 94 with my brother when I was like, 4.

    I think one time I played as the Sharks, he played as the Sabres, and I destroyed him 10-something to 2. He probably let me win, but still!

    That was a damn long post, though. Bravo.

  3. Schnieder's only been with the ducks one year, but yeah, entertaining read.

    Insert post size/penis size related joke.

  4. Never has the virtual and the real world been explored so thoroughly. I feel like this is the "13th Floor" of hockey posts.

  5. If the rumors are true, the Sharks will soon have 3 players from this list as well when they sign Mr. Yamaguchi. However I think most Sharks fans would actually question if Ozolinsh actually played this season or whether he just served as a teal traffic cone.

    All in all, a fantastic post despite the lenght.
    /begins the slow clap

  6. I used to love using the Blackhawks in NHL 94. Jeremy Roenick was dynamite in the game, and in real life too. The Hawks, Nordiques and Leafs were my teams in that game. Best game ever.

    Great post, and bite your tongue - Mats Sundin is no slut!

  7. somebody make Gretzky's head bleed!

  8. Loved the post. There was nothing better then invention of the one-timer in 94'. Much more fun to use then the 80% of the time open wraparound goal in 93'

  9. You forgot someone! Martin Straka was on the Penguins roster.

  10. Didn't Hedican retire at the same time as Wesley?

  11. As a die-hard Whale fan, you forgot to include Geoff Sanderson. He is still getting it done up in Edmonton!!

  12. This is the greatest post ever, an excellent tribute to the best hockey video game that ever will be. Nicely done, sir.

  13. Also played this year:
    from Sabres roster: Brad May
    from Flyers roster: Brind'Amour, Beranek, Yushkevich

  14. Unless he's announced his retirement... Geoff Sanderson should be listed under the Hartford Whalers as he played 41 games for the Oilers in 07-08.

  15. Brian Smolinski
    Martin Rucinsky
    Jim Dowd
    Martin Brodeur

  16. Great post, but how could you forget Nick Lidstrom????

  17. Peter Sidorkiewicz is the greatest Ottawa Senator of all-time.

  18. After destroying my younger brother by a score of 17-2 (I think he was five at the time) by playing as the Quebec Nordiques and choosing the Ottawa Senators for him, and subsequently getting scolded by my mother for making him cry, I picked the New York Islanders and allowed him to hand me my ass by a lopsided 27-3 margin...

    a) It was befitting as the Islanders are the best minor league team playing in the NHL today.
    b) I picked the Rangers for him, so, in a way, we both won.
    c) It was the first time I remember seeing the puck break the glass. I almost came, even at the ripe old age of 9.

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  20. I agree. Please update!! By my count. There's only half a dozen of these guys still playing in the NHL, another half dozen as NHL UFAs as of the date of my post & another 8 or 9 playing in various leagues in Europe still.

    This list of 43 has easily been sliced in half in 2 years!! sad!

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