The best hockey line nicknames
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The best hockey line nicknames

Hockey history is full of great nicknames, and they are not just limited to individual players. Sometimes an entire line gets a lovable moniker that defines its presence on the ice. Here we take a look back at some of the best hockey line nicknames in hockey history, from the Legion of Doom to the French Connection and everything in between.

 
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The Legion Of Doom (Philadelphia Flyers)

The Legion Of Doom (Philadelphia Flyers)
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When discussing hockey lines the list has to begin and end with Philadelphia's Legion Of Doom. The trio of Eric Lindros, John LeClair, and Mikael Renberg dominated for the Flyers throughout the mid-1990s and helped carry the team to a Stanley Cup Final in 1997, their last year together. All three players were massive human beings (each player was over 6-foot-2, 230 pounds) and wildly productive offensively. Injuries (Lindros) and the trade of Renberg ultimately led to the downfall of the trio, but when it was at its peak there was not another line in the league that could match it. 

 
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The French Connection (Buffalo Sabres)

The French Connection (Buffalo Sabres)
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For nearly a decade the trio of Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, and Rene Robert dazzled Buffalo hockey fans with their skill and production. Named for the fact they were all French-Canadian, all three players remain among the all-time leading scorers in franchise history and were a major factor in some of the best years the team has ever seen. Buffalo made the playoffs in all but one of their eight seasons together and reached the 1975 Stanley Cup Final where they would lose to the Montreal Canadiens. Perreault is in the Hockey Hall of Fame while Martin and Robert were All-Stars during their playing days.  

 
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The Century Line (Pittsburgh Penguins)

The Century Line (Pittsburgh Penguins)
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Before the Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby eras, the Pittsburgh Penguins were known more for losing than anything else. But they did have their moments, and during the 1973-74 season, the line of Jean Pronovost, Lowell MacDonald, and Syl Apps Jr. was dubbed The Century Line for combining to score more than 100 goals during the season. They played together (with much success) for the better part of three seasons. 

 
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The Production Line (Detroit Red Wings)

The Production Line (Detroit Red Wings)
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Detroit's "Production Line" remains one of the best lines in the history of the league. It consisted of Hall of Famers Gordie Howe, Sid Abel, and Ted Lindsay, a trio that dominated the league's scoring race during its time together. The combination of their offensive production, as well as Detroit's role in car manufacturing (production, assembly lines, etc.), made the name a natural fit. During the 1949-50 season, all three players finished 1-2-3 in the league scoring race, something new teammates have ever done since. Some have been close, but none have ever replicated it. That line powered the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup during that season. 

 
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The Grind Line (Detroit Red Wings)

The Grind Line (Detroit Red Wings)
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This line did not put up huge numbers or possess game-changing skill, but Detroit's trio of Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby, and Joe Kocur (later replaced by Darren McCarty) did have one of the cooler nicknames in hockey history. This was Detroit's "checking" line that was used to try and wear teams down physically during the mid-late 1990s. It is one of the biggest reasons the idea of a "checking line" became a thing in the NHL as everyone tried to replicate it in the years that followed. The problem was few teams were able to find players that could play the role effectively while also not having the supporting cast around them offensively to make it all worth it. So it usually ended up being a detriment to teams. 

 
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The HBK Line (Pittsburgh Penguins)

The HBK Line (Pittsburgh Penguins)
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Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel were the surprising stars of the Penguins' 2016 Stanley Cup run and were given the HBK name due to the first letter of their last names. That also conjured up memories of professional wrestler Shawn Michaels, known as The Heartbreak Kid. Michaels loved the name, met the players, and even filmed a pump-up video for the Penguins on their Stanley Cup run. 

 
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The Dynasty Line (Montreal Canadiens)

The Dynasty Line (Montreal Canadiens)
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Guy Lafleur Steve Shutt and Pete Mahovlich (later replaced by Jacques Lemaire) were a cornerstone trio for the Montreal Canadiens throughout the 1970s and it is not hard to understand where the nickname came from: They were the foundation of the great Montreal Canadiens dynasty of the 1970s when the team pretty much owned the Stanley Cup. This line was also known as the "Donut line" thanks to Shutt's comment that it had "no firm center" as Mahovlich and Lemaire both played there.

 
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The Russian Five (Detroit Red Wings)

The Russian Five (Detroit Red Wings)
Icon Sports Media

One of the best, impactful, and important player groupings of the modern era. Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman used the quintet of Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov, Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov, and Vladimir Konstantinov together as a five-man group that put on a nightly clinic against the rest of the NHL. Every shift they took was a masterclass in skill and puck possession that overwhelmed every opponent. They were the foundation of the Red Wings' 1997 Stanley Cup. 

 
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The Triple Crown Line (Los Angeles Kings)

The Triple Crown Line (Los Angeles Kings)
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Before Wayne Gretzky arrived in Los Angeles and turned the Kings into a must-see event, the franchise had little in the way of excitement. They were a new franchise, struggled on the ice, and just did not have a lot going for them. That was until coach Bob Berry put Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer, and Dave Taylor together on a line that was so successful that it still holds a special place in the memory of Kings fans all these years later. Because the team had little depth around the trio the Kings never found much success, but the line at least helped elevate a new and struggling franchise to a level it had not yet seen and gave fans tons of excitement. 

 
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The Grumpy Old Men Line (Dallas Stars)

The Grumpy Old Men Line (Dallas Stars)
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The Dallas Stars were one of the oldest most veteran teams in the league in the early 2000s and the trio of Kirk Muller, John MacLean and Mike Keane was leading the charge. Between them, they had played more than 100 years of NHL experience and five Stanley Cups to their resumes. 

 
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The Egg Line (New Jersey Devils)

The Egg Line (New Jersey Devils)
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The trio of Patrik Elias, Scott Gomez, and Brian Gionta may not have been the best line in Devils history (The A-Line probably takes that title) but it is not far off in the discussion. It does win the title of best name, though. They were a key part of the Devils' 2003 Stanley Cup title and are all among the best players in franchise history. 

 
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The ZZ Pops line (New Jersey Devils)

The ZZ Pops line (New Jersey Devils)
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A play on classic rock band ZZ Top, the Devils trio of Travis Zajac, Zach Parise, and Jamie Langenbrunner was given this name due to the Z's (Zajac, Zach) and the fact that Langenbrunner was a grizzled veteran. They never won a Stanley Cup together, but it was a great line that helped drive the Devils' offense over the course of several seasons. 

 
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The Punch Line (Montreal Canadiens)

The Punch Line (Montreal Canadiens)
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The Montreal media began calling the line of Maurice Richard, Elmer Lach, and Toe Blake "The punch line" for its explosive power offensively. And it fit. The line Richard, Lach, and Blake dominated for four years together in Montreal and helped end what had been a 12-year Stanley Cup drought. All three are Hall of Famers and helped the Canadiens win a pair of championships during their time together. 

 
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The Mattress Line (Vancouver Canucks)

The Mattress Line (Vancouver Canucks)
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Henrik and Daniel Sedin were part of several great lines during the time in Vancouver, but it was their line alongside Jason King that produced the best nickname. The Mattress line. Because they were two twins. And a King. They did not spend a lot of time together, but they did not need to in order to be blessed with a classic nickname. 

 
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The Coneheads (1980 US Olympic Hockey Team)

The Coneheads (1980 US Olympic Hockey Team)
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We go outside the NHL for this and turn to the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team and the Miracle On Ice. Mark Pavelich, John Harrington, and Buzz Schneider was one of coach Herb Brooks' go-to lines throughout the tournament. They were named after the Saturday Night Live skit. 

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