My favourite player of all time is Gretzky, but the post-1987 Lemieux ranks right up there. Mario has said himself that that stellar Canada Cup is where he really learned what it takes to win. Lemieux always had magic hands, but after that, he was magic with steel and presence. In my opinion, that was when he truly became Le Magnifique.
There are many moments to choose from to exemplify Mario's greatness, and I suspect mine might not make everyone's list. It was the play during the gold-medal game in Salt Lake City where he let Chris Pronger's pass go right through his legs to Paul Kariya for a Canadian goal. Who else would have even thought to try that?
I find it absolutely amazing that I remember him for a goal he created - and let there be no doubt he made it happen - where he doesn't even show up on the scoresheet. In fact, I remember it precisely because it doesn't show up on the scoresheet.
Not only was Lemieux a brilliant talent on the ice, he was a soft-spoken example of hockey class off it. What a great ambassador for the game, and what a great example for those wanting to follow in his footsteps.
Best of luck, Mario. And thanks for the many memories.