Hockey Central
Forward Lines
 
Where, Oh where have all the great lines gone? For the most part, not literally but figuratively, they've gone to the great ice patch in the sky.
 
Like the drop pass, the rover and leather helmets, hockey lines nowadays are more frequently remembered than they are experienced. There are exceptions, of course, but fundamental changes to the game itself - technology, coaching strategies and frequent player movement - have all con spired against three teammates staying together as a single line for a significant period of time.
 
Hockey lines - and their nicknames - have been with us for three quarters of a century or so. Often, the names have changed, or have been used interchangeably, by more than one or literally from A to Z, in an alphabet soup that is as diverse as the game of hockey itself.
 
Even in decline, hockey lines have proven to be a hardy sort. Over the decades, they have taken their monikers from every corner, be it age, size, ethnicity and often pure whimsy.
 
Herewith, hockey's greatest lines over the Years:
 
In most instances, linemates names are listed from left to right with left wing first, followed by center and right wing. Seasons listed for lines are approximate as line combinations were formed, named, broken up and re-formed as club needs dictated.
 
| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | K | L | M | N | O | P | R | S | T | U | W |
 
( A )
"A" Line
Bun Cook – Frank Boucher – Bill Cook
New York Rangers, 1926-36
So named for the Eighth Avenue subway line – the A Train – that was constructed along Eighth Avenue beneath the old Madison Square Garden.
ATOMIC Line
Church Russell – Cal Gardner – Rene Trudell
New York Rangers, 1940s
This trio was also known as the Rover Line and the Winnipeg Kid Line.
( B )
BACON Line
Sweeney Schriner – Gus Bodnar – Lorne Carr
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1940s
They brought home the bacon
BANANA Line
John Tonelli – Wayne Merrick – Bob Nystrom
New York Islanders, 1970s-1980s
They wore yellow jerseys in practice.
BASH, DASH & STASH
Pat Boutette – Mike Rogers – Blaine Stoughton
Hartford Whalers, 1979 to 1981
BEE Line
Alan Kuntz – Clint Smith – Grant Warwick
New York Rangers, 1941-42
BIG Line
Gordie Drillon – Syl Apps – Nick Metz
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1930s-1940s
Numerous other lines named the Big Line over the years.
BLACK ACES
Any team, any era. Particularly during the playoffs. Three, four or more players who do not regularly play in games, but practice together away from the regular team. Hockey's version of a taxi squad. Nickname dates to the Springfield Indians of legendary Eddie Shore in the 1940s.
BLANKET Line
Woody Dumart – Milt Schmidt – Joe Klukay
Boston Bruins, 1950s
They covered the opposition.
BOILERMAKER Line
Roy Conacher – DOug Bentley – Bill Mosienko
Chicago Black Hawks, 1948-1950
The Black Hawks trio of Bert Olmstead, Metro Prystai and Bep Guidolin was also known as the Boilermakers Line.
BRAT Line
Tiger Williams – Jack Valiquette – Pat Boutette
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1970s
They all played an abrasive style.
BREAD Line
Mac Calville – Neil Colville – Alex Sibicky
New York Rangers, 1930s-1940s
They were the team's bread and butter. The name was not related to the actual bread lines that formed during the Great Depression.
BULLDOG Line
Steve Vickers – Walt Tkaczuk – Bill Fairbairn
New York Rangers, 1970s
Tenacious checkers all. Dave Balon preceded Vickers at left wing in the late 1960s.
BUZZ-SAW Line
Bob Perry – Juha Widing – Mike Byers
Los Angeles Kings, 1970s
( C )
CENTURY Line
Lowell MacDonald – Syl Apps – Jean Pronovost
Pittsburgh Penguins, 1970s
A veteran threesome that was also known as the MAP Line and the Bicentennial Line; Doug Bentley – Edgar Laprade – Max Bentley of the New York Rangers, 1953-54, were also known as the Century Line.
CHAOS Line
Marc Crawford – Ron Delorme – Gary Lupul
Vancouver Canucks, 1980s
CLUB CHAOS
Rich Sutter – Steve Bozek – Stan Smyl
Vancoouver Canucks, 1980s
THE CLYDESDALE
Curt Fraser – Eddie Olczyk – Troy Murray
Chicago BlackHawks, 1980s
CRASH Line
Randy McKay – Bobby Holik – Mike Peluso
New Jersey Devils, 1990s
CRAZY EIGHTS
Brent Fedyk – Eric Lindros – Mark Recchi
Philadelphia Flyers, 1993 to 1995
Numbers 8, 18 and 88.
CRISIS Line
Brian Lawton – Dennis Maruk – Brian Bellows
Minnesota North Stars, 1980s
CURRY Line
Luc Robitaille – Tomas Sandstrom – Jari Kurri
Los Angeles Kings, 1990s
Hot like curry, also known as the International Line
CYCLONE Line
Bob Davidson – Art Jackson – Nick Metz
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1930s
( D )
DAD Line
Gordie Drillon – Syl Apps – Bob Davidson
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1930s-1940s
DESTRUCTION Line
Scott Daniels – Mark Janssens – Kelly Chase
Hartford Whalers, 1995-96
DIAPER Line
David Jenson – Eddie Olczyk – Pat LaFontaine
United States Olympic team, 1984
DICE Line
Richard Kromm – Carey Wilson – Colin Patterson
Calgary Flames, 1980s
DOGS OF WAR
Wayne Cashman – Phil Esposito – Ken Hodge
Boston Bruins, 1960s-1970s
DONUT Line
A name used in jest. Any team, any era. Two talented wingers with a no-name center. A line with a "hole" in the middle.
DYNAMITE Line
Cooney Weiland – Dutch Gainor – Dit Clapper
Boston Bruins, 1920s-1930s
( F )
FLOCKY HOCKEY
Brian Propp – Ron Flockhart – Ray Allison
Philadelphia Flyers, 1980s
FLOWER POWER
Steve Shutt – Peter Mahovlich – Guy Lafleur
Montreal Canadiens, 1970s
FLYING FORTS
Gaye Stewart – Gus Bodnar – Bud Poile
Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Black Hawks, 1940s
They all hailed from Fort William, Ontario.
FOSSIL Line
Peter McNab – Mel Bridgman – Rich Preston
New Jersey Devils, 1985-86
Age was creeping up on this trio.
FRENCH CONNECTION
Richard Martin – Gilbert Perreault – Rene Robert
Buffalo Sabres, 1970s
FTD Line
Sylvain Turgeon – Ron Francis –Kevin Dineen
Hartford Whalers, 1980s
They always delivered.
( G )
G Line
Clark Gillies – Butch Goring – Greg Gilbert
New York Islanders, 1980s
G-A-G Line
Vic Hadfield – Jean Ratelle – Rod Gilbert
New York Rangers, 1960s-1970s
The name stood for Goal-A-Game; later it was changed to the T-A-G Line for Two-A-Game. Ratelle, Gilbert and Steve Vickers were known as the G-A-G II Line.
GABBY Line
Ray Getliffe – Murph Chamberlain – Phil Watson
Montreal Canadiens, 1943-44
Dirk Irvin called them holler guys.
GEM Line
Mark Osborne – Eddie Olczyk – Gary Leeman
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1980s
Their first initials supplied the name.
GMC Line
Brett Callighen – Wayne Gretzky – Blair MacDonald
Edmonton Oilers, 1979-80.
Their last initials supplied the name.
GO GO Line
Larry Lund – Andre Hinse – Frank Hughes
Houston Aeros (WHA), 1970s.
GOL Line
Danny Grant – Danny O'Shea – Claude Larose
Minnesota North Stars, 1968 to 1970.
GREEN Line
Jack Adams – Elmer Lach – Tony Demers
Montreal Canadiens, 1940-41.
Named for their youth and inexperience, like the Kid Line.
GRIND Line
Basil McRae – Dave Gagner – Stew Gavin
Minnesota North Stars, 1987 to 1992
GRIND Line
Kirk Maltby – Kris Draper – Joe Kocur
Detroit Red Wings, 1997-98
( H )
HELICOPTER Line
A line with a great center and no-name wings. Used in jest, like the Donut Line.
HEM Line
Frank Mahovlich – Billy Harris – Gerry Ehman
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1950s-1960s
HOUND Line
Wendal Clark – Gary Leeman – Russ Courtnall
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1980s.
All three played midget hockey for the Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Saskatchewan.
HOT Line
Ron Murphy – Phil Esposito – Ken Hodge
Boston Bruins, 1960s.
Johnny Bucyk – Fred Stanfield – Johnny McKenzzie
Boston Bruins, 1970s.
Bobby Hull – Ulf Nilsson – Anders Hedberg
Winnipeg Jets (WHA), 1970s.
And many others on various teams.
HUM Line
Paul Henderson – Norm Ullman – Bruce MacGregor
Detroit Red Wings, 1960s
HUSKY Line
Harry Watson – Billy Taylor – Cal Gardner
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1940s-1950s.
( K )
KID Line
Harvey "Busher" Jackson – Joe Primeau – Charlie Conacher
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1930s.
Teamed up as inexperienced NHL youngsters, they became the most famous Toronto line of all time.
KID LINE 2
Ted Kennedy – Howie Meeker – Vic Lynn
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1940s.
Brit Selby – Pete Stemkowski – Ron Ellis
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1960s.
There have been many other kid lines in other teams.
KGB Line
Anders Kallur – Butch Goring – Bob Bourne
New York Islanders, 1980s.
KLM Line
Vladimir Krutov – Igor Larionov – Sergei Makarov
USSR, 1980s
KRAUT Line
Woody Dumart – Milt Schmidt – Bobby Bauer
Boston Bruins, 1930s-1940s.
The most famous line in Boston Bruins history. During World War Two, they were renamed The Kitchener Kids as all three hailed from the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario (an area heavily populated by people of German descent, which had contributed to the original Kraut Line moniker).
KISS Line
Ted Kennedy – Sid Smith – Tod Sloan
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1940s-1950s
( L )
L Line
Tony Leswick – Edgar Laprade – Pentti Lund
New York Rangers, 1940s.
LCB Line
Reggie Leach – Bob Clarke – Bill Barber
Philadelphia Flyers, 1970s-1980s.
Also known as the Godfather Line.
LEG Line
Paul Lawless – Dean Evason – Stewart Gavin
Hartford Whalers, 1985-86
THE LEGION OF DOOM
John LeClair – Eric Lindros– Mikael Renberg
Philadelphia Flyers, 1995-97
LIFE Line
Brian Propp – Pelle Eklund – Rick Tocchet
Philadelphia Flyers, 1980s.
Geoff Courtnall – Cliff Ronning – Trevor Linden
Vancouver Canucks, 1990s.
Jim Morrison – Jim Thomson – George Armstrong
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1950s.
Short-lived line as Morrison and Thomson were mainly defensemen.
LIGHTNING Line
Norm Dussault – Billy Reay – Leo Gravelle
Montreal Canadiens, 1940s
LINIMENT Line
Don Grosso – Sid Abel – Eddie Wares
Detroit Red Wings, 1940s
LONG ISLAND ELECTRIC COMPANY
Clark Gillies – Bryan Trottier – Billy Harris
New York Islanders, 1970s.
First great Islanders line, they lit up arenas around the NHL.
LUXURY Line
Bobby Hull – Christian Bordeleau – Norm Beaudin
Winnipeg Jets (WHA), 1970s
( M )
MAD Line
Nick Metz – Syl Apps – Gord Drillon
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1930s-1940s
MAFIA Line
Don Maloney – Phil Esposito – Don Murdoch
New York Rangers, 1970s-1980s.
The Godfather, Esposito, and two Dons.
MEATBALL Line
Bert Olmstead – Metro Prystai – Bep Guidolin
Chicago Black Hawks, 1940s
MIKE Line
Mike McPhee – Mike Modano – Mike Craig
Minnesota North Stars, 1992-93
MILLION DOLLAR Line
Bobby Hull – Bill Hay – Murray Balfour
Chicago Black Hawks, 1960s
MPH Line
Bobby Hull – Stan Mikita – Jim Pappin
Chicago Black Hawks, 1960s
MUSCLE Line
Ken Smith – Paul Ronty – Johnny Peirson
Boston Bruins, 1947 to 1950.
( N )
NICK 'EM, NOCK 'EM NEUF 'EM
Nick Fotiu – Don Nachbaur – Ray Neufeld
Hartford Whalers, 1980-81
( O )
OFF BROADWAY Line
Tom Williams – Gene Carr – Mike Murphy
New York Rangers, 1973-74.
OLD SMOOTHIES
Don Marshall – Phil Goyette – Bob Nevin
New York Rangers, 1964 to 1969.
OPTION Line
Kevin Stevens – John Cullen – Mark Recchi
Pittsburgh Penguins, 1988 to 1991.
OVER THE HILL Line
John Tonelli – Doug Risebrough – Lanny McDonald
Calgary Flames, 1986 to 1988.
Also known as the Not Ready For Retirement Line.
( P )
PAPOOSE Line
Pete Conacher – Murray Costello – Larry Wilson
Chicago Black Hawks, 1953-54.
PAPPY Line
Ted Lindsay – Tod Sloan – Ed Litzenberger
Chicago Black Hawks, 1957 to 1960.
PIPE Line
Peter Klima – Bernie Nicholls – Joe Murphy
Edmonton Oilers, 1991-92
PLUMBER Line
Greg Adams – Alan Haworth – Graig Laughlin
Washington Capitals, 1980s
PONY Line
Doug Bentley – Max Bentley – Bill Mosienko
Chiacgo Black Hawks, 1940s
PONY EXPRESS
Andre Boudrias – Richard Lemieux – Bobby Lalonde
Vancouver Canucks, 1972 to 1974
POWERHOSE Line
Lynn Patrick – Phil Watson – Bryan Hextall
New York Rangers, 1930s-1940s
PPS Line
Bob Pulford – Pete Stemkowski – Jim Pappin
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1960s
PRODUCTION Line
Ted Lindsay – Sid Abel – Gordie Howe
Detroit Red Wings, 1940s-1950s.
The most famous line in Detroit history and probably the most famous line in NHL history.
Names for their prolific offensive ability and the production of the assembly lines in the Motor City.
PRODUCTION Line 2
Frank Mahovlich – Alex Delvecchio – Gordie Howe
Detroit Red Wings, 1960s
PUNCH Line
Toe Blake – Elmer Lach – Maurice Richard
Montreal Canadiens, 1940s
( R )
RAT PATROL
Brian Propp – Ken Linesman – Paul Holmgren
Philadelphia Flyers, 1978 to 1982
RAZZLE DAZZLE Line
Pierre Morin – Buddy O'Conner – Jerry Heffernan
Montreal Canadiens, 1941-42
REPRODUCTION Line
Gaye Stewart – Metro Prystai – George Gee
Chicago Black Hawks, 1948-49
ROARING TWENTIES Line
Bob Kelly – Dennis Maruk – Jean Pronovost
Washington Capitals, 1980-81
They all had numbers in the 20s.
ROCKS
Johnny Wilson – Duke Edmunson – Gerry James
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1959 to 60.
Also known as the Clothes Line.
RPM Line
Terry Ruskowski – Rich Preston – Grant Mulvey
Chicago Black Hawks, 1979 to 1983
( S )
S Line
Babe Siebert – Nels Stewart – Hooley Smith
Montreal Maroons, 1929 to 1931.
Also known as the 3-S-Line.
SAW Line
Harry Watson – Tod Sloan – George Armstrong
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1947 to 1954
SCOOTER Line
Doug Mohns – Stan Mikita – Ken Wharram
Chicago Black Hawks, 1964 to 1969
SH-BOOM Line
Real Chevrifils – Fleming Mackell – Leo Labine
Boston Bruins, 1952 to 1959.
Also known as the Crew Cuts.
SHIFT DISTURBERS
Rick Tocchet – Ron Sutter – Rich Sutter
Philadelphia Flyers, 1984 to 1986
SHINK-SHACK-SHOCK
Eddie Shack – Ron Schock – Ken Schinkel
Pittsburgh Penguins, 1971 to 1973
SIZZLE Line
Dickie Moore – Jean Beliveau – Bernie Geoffrion
Montreal Canadiens, 1951 to 1963.
Also known as the Dream Line.
S-O-S Line
Harry Watson – Red Sullivan – Eddie Litzenburger
Chicago Black Hawks, 1955 to 1956.
Strong on Scoring.
SPECIAL K Line
Paul Kariya – Chad Kilger – Todd Krygier
Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 1995-96.
SPEEDBALL Line
Aurel Joliat – Howie Morenz – Johnny Gagnon
Montreal Canadiens, 1930 to 1934
SPROUT Line
Bep Guidolin – Don Gallinger – John Schmidt
Boston Bruins, 1942-43.
So called due to their youth and the fact that they were playing with the Bruins when Schmidt, Dumart and Bauer of the Kraut Line were serving in the Canadian Air Force. Guidolin, Gallinger and Bill Shill were also known as the Sprout Line.
SST Line
Petri Skriko – Patrik Sundstrom – Tony Tanti
Vancouver Canucks, 1984 to 1987
SWAT Line
Tiger Williams – Patrik Sundstrom – Tony Tanti
Vancouver Canucks, 1980s
( T )
THREE ACES
Dick Duff – Tod Sloan – George Armstrong
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1955 to 1958
THREE FEATHERS
Joe Klukay – Max Bentley – Ray Timgren
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1948 to 1952
THREE GUN Line
Roy Conacher – Bill Cowley – Eddie Wiseman
Boston Bruins, 1940 to 1942
THREE-M Line
Bob Murdoch – Dennis Maruk – Al MacAdam
Cleveland Barons, 1976 to 1978
TRE KRONER Line
Bengt Lundholm – Thomas Steen – Willy Lindstrom
Winnipeg Jets, 1980s.
Named for the emblem on the Swedish flag. Also known as the Swedish Connection.
TRICKY TRIO
Vic Lynn – Ted Kennedy – Howie Meeker
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1946 to 1950
TRIO GRANDE
Clark Gillies – Bryan Trottier – Mike Bossy
New York Islanders, 1970s-1980s.
Also known as the Long Island Electrical Company.
TRIPLE CROWN Line
Charlie Simmer – Marcel Dionne – Dave Taylor
Los Angeles Kings, 1970s-1980s.
TYPHOON Line
Kenny Smith – Frank Mario – Bill Cupolo
Boston Bruins, 1944-45.
( U )
UKE Line
Johnny Bucyk – Bronco Horvath – Vic Stasuik
Boston Bruins, 1957 to 1961.
All three players were of Ukrainian descent.
UNITED NATIONS Line
Valery Kamensky – Peter Forsberg – Claude Lemieux
Colorado Avalanche, 1995 to 1997.
Also know as Barrage-A-Trois.
( W )
WILLY, BILLY & SILLY
Dave Semenko – Billy Carroll – Willy Lindstrom
Edmonton Oilers, 1984-85.
Jay Miller – Billy O'Dwyer – Willi Plett
Boston Bruins, 1987-88.
WING Line
Paul Henderson – Norm Ullman – Floyd Smith
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1968 to 1970.
So called because all three were acquired in the same trade from the Detroit Red Wings.
WOOLWORTH Line
Nick Metz – Art Jackson – Pep Kelly
Toronto Maple Leafs, 1934 to 1937.
Metz wore number 5, Kelly number 15 and Jackson number 30, popular prices of the day at Woolworths.
WRECKING Line
Floyd Curry – Ken Mosdell – Calum MacKay
Montreal Canadiens, 1949 to 1955