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02-03-2011, 08:13 PM
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RW Jari Kurri

Hockey Hall of Fame Member
#50 THN's 100 Greatest Players of All Time
8x NHL All Star Game Participant
1x Lady Byng Trophy Winner
2x 1st-Team NHL All Star
3x 2nd-Team NHL All Star
5x Stanley Cup Champion
4x Top 10 Goals (1, 2, 3, 5)
6x Top 17 Assists (9, 9, 10, 16, 16, 17)
8x Top 19 Points (2, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 13, 19)
7x Top 10 Goals in Playoffs (1, 1, 1, 1, 7, 8, 9)
7x Top 10 Assists in Playoffs (3, 4, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10)
6x Top 10 Points in Playoffs (2, 3, 3, 4, 6, 7)
2x 1st in NHL GWG
5x Top 10 SHG (3, 4, 5, 6, 10)
6th All-Time SHG
2x 1st in NHL GPG
1,398 points in 1,251 career NHL games
233 points in 200 career playoff games
6x Top 11 Selke Voting (2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11)
6x Top 3 Selke Voting Among RW (1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3)
14th Hart Trophy Voting 84-85
3x Top 5 Lady Byng Voting (2, 3, 4)
2x WC All Star Team
2nd in Playoff Points, 1st in goals, 3rd in assists during peak (80-90)
3rd in Points, 2nd in goals during peak (80-90)

Playing the majority of his career both with Wayne Gretzky and in Gretzky's shadow as his so called, "Right-hand Man," Jari Pekka Kurri was considered by many to be perhaps the best defensive forward in the NHL. His two-way abilities were the perfect complement for his hard, accurate shooting and scoring proficiency.

By age 17, Kurri had realized part of his dream by playing with Jokerit's senior club. He spent three seasons in the Elite League, steadily progressing from two to 16 to 23 goals. During that time he also realized another dream by playing for the Finnish Junior National Team in 1978, 1979, and 1980. Kurri scored what proved to be the biggest goal of his early career at the 1978 European Junior Championship against the Soviet Union, in double overtime, to capture Finland's first gold medal. For his efforts, Kurri was named the Best Forward at the tournament. Later he tied for the tournament scoring lead at the 1980 World Junior tournament, capturing Finland's first WJC medal, a silver. His efforts earned him a berth on Finland's 1980 Olympic Team and led the Edmonton Oilers to select him 69th overall in that summer's Entry Draft.

xxx started the season on the number-one line with Wayne Gretzky, but things were not working and by Christmas it was Jari's turn to play with Wayne. Instantly the magic was created and one of the most lethal combinations in NHL history was born.

Over the next eight seasons, the duo wowed NHL crowds everywhere they went, not only breaking records...but obliterating them. Similar to his years in Finland, Kurri's play steadily improved. He recorded a 100-point season in 1982-83 and reached the 50-goal mark the following year, the first Finnish-born player to reach both marks. The Oilers also captured the Stanley Cup in 1984, beginning a run of four championships in five years. During that time, Kurri recorded career highs of 71 goals and 135 points in 1984-85 (a single season record for goals by a right-winger), capturing the Lady Byng Trophy and finishing second to Gretzky in the scoring race. During the playoffs he recorded 19 goals on the way to the Stanley Cup, tying the playoff goal scoring record set by Reggie Leach in 1976. From 1984 to 1988, the "Master of the One-Timer" recorded four consecutive 50-goal seasons and led the playoffs in goals each time the Oilers won the Cup. Despite capturing only one major award throughout this period, Kurri was honoured with two First Team and two Second Team All-Star berths. As Barry Fraser, the Oilers' Personnel Director, once put it, "We've got some outstanding people, eh? All-Stars, right? But Kurri is by far our most complete player."

Following Gretzky's trade to Los Angeles in 1988, there were those who believed Jari Kurri's success would come to an abrupt end. But over the next two years, like a man on a mission, he recorded 195 points in 154 games, leading the Oilers to their fifth Stanley Cup in 1990 and earning another berth on the Second All-Star Team. Kurri also became just the 25th NHL player to reach the 1,000th point milestone.

Because of the Oilers' domination throughout the 1980's, Kurri managed to play in only four World Championships throughout his career--1982, 1989, 1991, and 1994. Finland won a silver medal in 1994 and Kurri was named the All-Star right-winger in both the 1991 and 1994 tournaments. He also played in the 1981, 1987, and 1991 Canada Cups and 1996 World Cup, and during his final year of competitive hockey he captured the bronze medal at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games. Kurri played a total of 65 tournament games for the senior national team, recording 26 goals and 52 points against top-level world competition.

After a season in Italy and an NHL trade to Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Kings managed to pry Kurri away from the Flyers and he was back in North America, re-united with his longtime pal, Wayne Gretzky. By the 1992-93 season, they had re-kindled the old magic, leading the Kings to their first Stanley Cup finals appearance. Kurri also became the first European-trained player and 18th NHLer to record 500 career goals, although he accomplished the feat with Gretzky in the press box with an injury, a fact he truly regretted. He spent five seasons with the Kings, the latter time of which were injury-riddled. In 1996, he was traded to the New York Rangers where he played only 25 games before signing that summer with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He played a full season and was a mentor for many of the young European stars the Ducks had acquired, notably xxx.

Kurri contemplated retirement following the 1996-97 season, but with an offer from the Colorado Avalanche and a chance to reach the 600 career goal mark and win another Stanley Cup, he couldn't resist. Late in the season, he did, in fact, score his 600th goal, becoming just the eighth NHL player in history to do so. However, the Avalanche was upset in the first round of the playoffs.

Jari Kurri finished his career as the highest scoring European-born player in NHL history with totals of 601 goals, 797 assists, and 1,398 points. He also finished with 106 career PLAYOFF goals and 233 PLAYOFF points, third all-time behind only Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. While he wasn't the flashiest player, Kurri was consistent and this ability alone enabled him to become an icon for thousands of fans and young players, both in Finland and throughout North America.

But it takes an extraordinary athlete to be able to excel with Gretzky that way Jari Kurri has.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to play on the wing of a superstar like Wayne Gretzky. You have to be thinking on the same level as he is, or at least close to that level. Very few players can achieve this level of hockey sense and anticipation. Only a true superstar can. A true superstar like Jari Kurri.

Jari Kurri has teamed with Wayne Gretzky to form one of sports' most dynamic duos. Montana-Rice, Kareem-Magic and Canseco-Maguire have nothing on these guys.

For most of the 1980s, hockey fans in Edmonton enjoyed the Gretzky-Kurri magic on a nightly basis - the Great One's feathery passes complementing the flying Finn's finishing touch. In fact the duo teamed up for 429 goals while in Edmonton. Not bad for what coach Glen Sather described as "a hunch" as to why he teamed the two together in the first place.

With 601 career goals and 1398 career points, Kurri retired the highest scoring European in National Hockey League history. (he has since been surpassed by Jaromir Jagr.) On four occasions he scored at least 50 goals, and tallied at least 40 three other times. The five time all star also had six 100 point seasons.

In 1984-85 Kurri established a record for goals in a single season by a right winger with 71 (since surpassed by xxx, xxx and xxx) on way to a career-high 135 points. He added a NHL record-tying 19 goals (tying xxx in 1976) in 18 playoff games. He recorded four hat tricks in that playoffs, including one four goal game, to help Edmonton capture the second of five Stanley Cup titles during his playing days in the City of Champions.

Jari Kurri played his best hockey in the playoffs. He almost singlehandedly destroy the myth that European players are soft and disappear in the heat of NHL playoff competition. Jari has 5 Stanley Cup rings. He led all playoff performers in goal scoring in 4 different post seasons. The Oilers won the Cup each year Jari led the way in goals.

Overshadowed by superstar teammates Gretzky, Mark Messier, xxx and Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri was described by Edmonton chief scout Barry Fraser as "by far our most complete player." An excellent skater blessed with speed and agility, Kurri always knew how to dart into openings for Gretzky's deft passes. He rarely had the puck long if he was in scoring position. His release was quick but deadly accurate.

"Jari had a great shot and he had a great ability to find holes and to find openings out on the ice," said Mike Gartner. "Playing with a guy like Gretzky for a good part of his career where Wayne could get him the puck and there weren't too many guys who were ever better at finding those holes on the ice than Jari was."

Kurri was also a strong defensive presence which allowed Gretzky to concentrate on offense. He was never considered a physical player, but was unafraid of the corners and sacrificed his body to make a play.

When #99 departed for Hollywood, some people though that Kurri's production would plummet. That was definitely not the case. In the first Gretzky-less season in Edmonton Kurri was named the Oilers’ team MVP. In the 154 Oilers regular-season games Kurri played following Gretzky's departure, he registered 195 points, well more than a point-per-game average. His 25 playoff points were third highest on the team when the Oilers captured the Stanley Cup just two season's after Gretzky's goodbye.

Kurri remained in Los Angeles through 1996, though his ice time and role were reduced to that of a defensive specialist. Kurri would also spend time with the New York Rangers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and the Colorado Avalanche before retiring in 1998.

One of the game's classiest men was a shoo-in for the Hockey Hall of Fame when he first became eligible in 2001. In addition to his impressive regular season totals (601 goals, 1398 points) his 106 career playoff goals in 200 career playoff games rank third all time, behind fellow Oiler legends Gretzky (122) and Messier (109). Likewise his 233 career points are third best behind Gretzky (382) and Messier (295).

Kurri had a few unique attributes that made the most of their collective talents. Gretzky was the greatest passer in NHL history, but Kurri was one of the best ever at shooting off the pass without stopping the puck (the one-timer).

Even his excellent defensive skills could be an offensive plus, since the Oilers employed Kurri and Gretzky on the penalty kill, and they set new records for shorthanded goals.

Kurri's defensive skills were often overshadowed by his marvelous offensive numbers.

Future stars Paul Coffey and Jari Kurri...

One of the best defensive forwards of the era, the right-hand man was the perfect compliment to the Great One. Over an 8 year period, the two broke record upon record.

Jari Kurri, the fanciful Finnish sniper...

He would also turn out to be a winger who could actually make Gretzky even better. His name was Jari Kurri.

Jari Kurri was one of the primary offensive weapons of the great Edmonton Oilers teams of the 1980s.

A clutch performer, four times Kurri led all scorers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

One of the best hockey players ever to come out of Europe, Jari Kurri...

Give WAYNE GRETZKY an assist for helping the Los Angeles Kings reunite the lethal line combination of Gretzky and JARI KURRI

Kurri is making Oilers' fans forget 'Great One'

The heat was rising in Joe Louis Arena, but as far as Edmonton Oilers coach Glenn Sather was concerned, there was no sweat. Jari Kurri had the puck.

The Great One's artistry, Kurri's speed, his accuracy and his defensive skill

Kurri had learned to read him like a book. It seemed he always knew where to go. The puck would be waiting or about to arrive, a shipment from Wayne.

Last edited by BillyShoe1721: 02-04-2011 at 05:26 PM.
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