Ranking hockey’s greatest photos: Wayne Gretzky’s 802nd over Bobby Orr’s leap?

Puck Daddy

You're looking at hockey's finest photograph, according to Sports Illustrated.

It depicts the legendary moment in which Wayne Gretzky buried his NHL record 802nd career goal on March 23, 1994, versus the Vancouver Canucks.

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The image ranks an impressive ninth on Sports Illustrated's list of the 100 greatest sports photos of all time, released Tuesday. It's a great list, full of incredible pictures, and as with every list, it's going to spur discussion and disagreement.

I would like to declare this blog the venue for one such disagreement. Man alive, how is this the greatest hockey photo of all time?

Gretzky's 802nd is one of five hockey photos to make the cut, alongside a maskless Jacques Plante at 60, Gretzky taking his final twirl as a New York Ranger at 74, the Miracle on Ice at 78, and the greatest hockey photo of all-time behind all of them at 80:

I mean, seriously.

Look, as a Vancouver fan, I'm happy to see the Canucks make an appearance in what is alleged to be the greatest hockey picture ever snapped (even if they're all standing around like a bunch of dolts and Geoff Courtnall is headed for the locker room early).

But let's get serious: Gretzky's goal may be one of hockey's finest moments, but Bobby Orr sailing through mid-air is hockey's finest photo.

In fact, when it comes to Orr's goal, it's the the photo itself that makes the goal so famous. Sure, it was a Stanley Cup winner, in overtime no less, but when people remember the moment, they picture the picture. Not so in Gretzky's case. Heck, if you hadn't already seen the photo above, I bet you'd have a hard time seeing it in your head if I brought up the goal in conversation.

Meanwhile, if I even say the words "Bobby Orr", you see him in flight. That's the mark of an iconic image.

This is supposed to be a list honouring the finest photos in sports. When it comes to hockey, Gretzky may be The Great One, but his photo is not.

Am I wrong on this? Think Sports Illustrated got it right? Or is there another image you'd suggest as hockey's best -- one that was snubbed from the list entirely? Crosby's Golden Goal? "Go For it, Jews"?

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