Unlike the obscure entries elsewhere on this site, Rod Langway's heroics are known to even casual Caps fans.
He was a two-time Norris Trophy winner as best defenseman, longtime captain, a 2002 Hall of Fame inductee, and the Capitals averaged a robust 92 standings points during his 10 full seasons.
Yet none of these represent Langway's greatest achievement. After the 1981-82 season, financial woes caused owner Abe Pollin to consider moving or folding the team.
That triggered a "Save The Caps" ticket-selling campaign.
Then, newly-hired G.M. David Poile engineered a blockbuster offseason trade with Montreal for Langway,
Brian Engbloom, Doug Jarvis, and Craig Laughlin.
Dividends were immediate. In 1982-83, wins went up by 13. Not coincidentally, goals-against went down 55. In 1983-84, wins increased by another 9, while goals-against decreased a staggering 57. Langway's leadership and skill had provided the rising tide that lifted all his teammates.
"He recognizes what he does best," coach Bryan Murray told Sports Illustrated . "He doesn't gamble. He plays very safe.
"He'll go back and make the pass to the same winger time after time if the guy's open, and he's so strong that even when he's being leaned on he can get the puck to his man. He never gets in trouble in his own end."
Even in the '80's, Langway considered himself a throwback. "My style is physical and simple," he wrote in a washingtonpost.com chat. "I focused on clearing the puck and quick transitions from defense and offense.
"I consider myself a proud hockey player. I honor the game and the people who played before me. I like the physical hooking and holding. You made people work to score."
Rod had a similar no-nonsense reaction to stardom. "It was simply my time," he told legendsofhockey.net.
"If I had stayed in Montreal, I would have been the same player, but I wouldn't have received the accolades. Larry (Robinson) was there, and was put on the ice during certain situations that I was getting in Washington.
"Being the captain and being recognized as a key player with the Capitals, along with the way I played, helped me win the Norris Trophy."
As wins increased, so did sales. Attendance peaked in 1989-90 at 17,251 per game - just a few hundred under capacity. And hockey in D.C. was safe.
Laughlin later told sportsfanmagazine.com, "Rod Langway just about single-handedly saved the Washington Capitals. He put hockey on the map here."
Hockey observers around the NHL agree. In his book, "Who's Who of Hockey", Stan Fischler calls Langway no less than a "Majestic franchise-saver."