In praise of 'Wizard' Whitney, latest 1,000 point man | Hockey | CBC Sports

NHLIn praise of 'Wizard' Whitney, latest 1,000 point man

Posted: Sunday, April 1, 2012 | 11:35 AM

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Phoenix forward Ray Whitney set up John McCain for his 1,000th point on Saturday night. Hey, it's April 1. Radim Vrbata was the goal scorer on the milestone play. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press) Phoenix forward Ray Whitney set up John McCain for his 1,000th point on Saturday night. Hey, it's April 1. Radim Vrbata was the goal scorer on the milestone play. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

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Ray Whitney's reaction to his 1,000th point, as well as a look at his interesting career and players drafted before him in 1991.

Ray Whitney helped Phoenix win a crucial game in their drive for a playoff spot on Saturday night and also marked a big milestone.

Whitney set up a Radim Vrbata goal for his 1,000th career point in the 4-0 home win for the Coyotes.

Whitney, who turns 40 in May, has developed a chemistry with Vrbata to the extent he now has 75 points, just eight off his career best in one season.

The man they call "The Wizard" has been a late bloomer all right.

Point No. 1,000 is another accomplishment in a hockey career that has seen Whitney win a Memorial Cup (1991, with Spokane), and a Stanley Cup (2006, with Carolina).

"It's special ... it's only 79 people in the history of this game have done it," Whitney said after the game.

"I've been bought out twice, I've been on waivers on a couple times, there's been a couple times in [my] career that it didn't look like it was going to go on further," he added.

The humble Whitney mentioned Saturday opponent Teemu Selanne for context, pointing out that the soon-to-be 42-year-old Duck is "400 points" ahead of him. (404, to be exact)

(Click here for an HNIC Radio interview with Whitney)

Born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Whitney was a Western Hockey League legend as a teen with the Spokane Chiefs but has played just nine games for a Canadian NHL team in his lengthy career, the bulk spent in new and emerging NHL markets - part of the reason he's been one of the more unheralded players in the league.

He's also experienced hard luck at the world championships. He played on four Canadian teams at the worlds, none of which landed on the podium.

Whitney's NHL teams:

  • San Jose
  • Edmonton
  • Florida
  • Columbus
  • Detroit
  • Carolina
  • Phoenix

He was selected at the top of the second round of the 1991 draft, with San Jose taking long- since retired Pat Falloon in the first round.

Have a gander below at players taken from picks 7 through the end of the first round (sorry, guys), a particularly brutal opening stanza for Canadian NHL teams and Washington:

And oh yeah, it wasn't even the first year the five-foot-10 Whitney was draft eligible.

  • Vancouver - Alex Stojanov
  • Edmonton - Tyler Wright
  • Washington - Pat Peake
  • Montreal - Brent Bilodeau
  • Calgary - Nilas Sundblad
  • Washington - Trevor Halverson

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