There was a time, not very long ago, when Anders Lee - whose 20 goals this season rank third in the NHL - could have chosen to pursue a career in the NFL. The star quarterback at Edina High School in Minnesota, Lee was voted Gatorade Player of the Year in the state and was a finalist for Minnesota's coveted "Mr. Football" award in 2008.
That same year, he and his family visited Notre Dame, which was recruiting Lee to join their hockey program. Over breakfast, Fighting Irish head coach Jeff Jackson threw out a question that gave Lee a lot to think about: To have a long career in one of the major leagues, are your odds more in your favor to become a starting NFL quarterback, or to be one of an NHL team's 12 forwards?
In a decision that changed the young man's life, and the course of the New York Islanders, Lee chose hockey. Still, it was far from easy. He was not picked until the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Draft. While others may have seen him as a long shot because of concerns over his skating, the Notre Dame coaching staff and the Islanders' scouts did not...