HAVE A hockey fan on your Christmas shopping list? Don’t know what to get them? The Hockey News has a pretty neat collector’s edition called The Best of Everything In Hockey on store shelves right now. It’s around 10 bucks and has something for every fan, regardless what team they cheer for.
One of the neat features they include is naming the best players of all time for each franchise. It’s an all time all star team if you will, naming first and second teams consisting of 3 forwards, 2 defencemen and a goalie each. It is the stuff of classic hockey debate that will occupy more than a few moments as you prepare Christmas dinner.
Take the Canucks for example. For an old-timer like me the choices are obvious, right? Trevor Linden! The heart and soul and conscience of the team. The leader who took the Canucks to an epic game 7 of the Stanley Cup final only to lose in a heart-breaker. And Kirk McLean, whose spectacular goaltending made the dreams of the Stanley Cup back in 1994 a reality. And Pavel Bure, the single most electrifying player in team history.
Much to my initial shock, none of those three players were named to the Canucks’ all time first team all stars! For fans of my generation, those three in particular were always (and in many ways always will be) the greatest Canucks of all time. It is a undeniable truth.
The Hockey News had the nerve to appoint Markus Naslund, the Sedins and Roberto Luongo on that first team (with Mattias Ohlund and Jyrki Lumme on defense). Linden, Bure and McLean were all named to the second team! How could this possibly be?!
Of course, when you think about it, this is obviously correct. Not only have the Sedins wonderfully assumed the role as the conscience of the franchise, but they are clearly the most decorated players in Canucks history. Two Art Ross trophies and NHL scoring champions, a Hart Trophy as league MVP and a Lindsay Award as best player in the league as voted by their peers. Trevor Linden may forever be the greatest Canuck in my heart, but no way he comes close to the Sedins in any objective debate. They are without doubt the greatest Canucks of all time (but I will let you decide which of those two is better).
And Markus Naslund, Captain Canuck for nearly a decade, is the franchise leader in all time goals and points. Roberto Luongo’s stellar numbers trump McLean’s by a long shot.
Still, it is a tough lesson for us oldtimers. Our heroes are being passed by the next generation’s heroes. Still, as much as I am wowed by the Sedins in particular, it is so true that the glory days of our youth will never be bettered, even though they have been and will continue to be time and time again.
For the record Stan Smyl, Harold Snepsts and Dennis Kearns round out the all time second team. Alain Vigneault was named as top coach. Henrik Sedin did get the nod over Daniel for the franchise’s all time greatest player.
My all underrated Canucks team: Forwards: Brendan Morrison, Thomas Gradin and Greg Adams; Defence: Doug Lidster and Willie Mitchell; Goalie: Richard Brodeur.
Kitimat’s Rod Pelley was traded by New Jersey to Anaheim on Monday. Pelley was playing in the minor leagues at the time of the trade, and is believed to be reporting to the Ducks farm team immediately. Hopefully he gets a shot to return to the NHL soon. In 211 career NHL games the 27 year old has 7 goals and 26 points.
Check out Joe Pelletier’s new ebook Pucks On The ‘Nethttp://www.pucksonthenet.com