Known for his one-of-a-kind slap shot, Al MacInnis is one of the all-time greats. No one has probably ever had a better shot than MacInnis, and he terrorized opponents for 23 seasons in the National Hockey League.
MacInnis was a first-round selection of the Calgary Flames in 1981, and what a pick that turned out to be. During his 23 years in the league, he became a 12-time All-Star. He was also named a Conn Smythe Trophy winner and a Norris Trophy winner, and to no one’s surprise, he was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history in 2017.
When he retired, he was third all-time among defensemen in goals, assists, and points, and he was an obvious selection for the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.
MacInnis had an amazing slapper, but he wasn’t the biggest guy on the ice. But during his years in the league, especially when playing with the Calgary Flames, he proved he could play the physical game. He had so many battles with the Edmonton Oilers in the infamous Battle of Alberta matchups in the 80s.
MacInnis had Hall of Fame teammates such as Lanny McDonald, Doug Gilmour, Joe Mullen, and Joe Nieuwendyk, but when the Oilers were on the other side of the ice, he had to play against the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, and Mark Messier.
The matchups between the two teams were legendary. And it’s no wonder Al MacInnis, when asked who his toughest-ever opponent in the NHL was, selected one of the guys in Edmonton. In Steve Milton’s book ”The toughest I ever faced,” MacInnis said Mark Messier was the toughest.
Messier is second all-time in playoff points and third for regular-season games played. He recorded 1,887 points in 1,756 games but was also known for his physical game. He was nicknamed ”The Moose” for how strong and aggressive he was on the ice, and you can’t really argue with MacInnis over his choice…