Tuesday, August 25, 2009

That's Quite Illogical, Captain

Two baffling Captain controversies have unfolded within the last two weeks. And by baffling I mean so stupid, that I'm confused as to why we are talking about it. Oh, that's right its the offseason, and Patrick Kane's already been charged with stupidity.

The first instance of doin' stupid is San Jose's stripping of Patrick Marleau's captaincy.

I have to believe that this was Doug Wilson's doing, and not Todd McLellan, but is this the "big shake-up" that Wilson had planned all summer? Does he really believe that Marleau as Captain is the reason why the Sharks can't get over the hump?

That's insanely idiotic, and what could be worse is the thought that they could actually return the 'C' to him. You look at that team, and there are certainly a handful of guys who would be worthy of that responsibility. Some of the names already floated have included Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, Rob Blake, and even Joe Pavelski, but in my mind they all have flaws that make them a less valid option than Marleau.

Joe Thornton is too fragile a man-child to be given that kind of responsibility and pressure. The big man seems to crack easily under it. As great a hockey player as the guy is, there's just something about him that makes him too delicate for that kind of assignment. Have him Captain teams that don't mean anything like All-Star games, or Old Timers games, that's more his speed.

Rob Blake is another viable choice for Captain, but his nomination would be more of a charitable donation more than anything else. Blake is going into his 20th season in the league, he's won a Norris, he's got a ring, if the Sharks don't get it done this year, is there any reason to believe he'll be back for another? So you give him the 'C', not to say he's not worthy of it, and the Sharks somehow win the Chalice, he's captained a team to the Cup. Nice note to retire on, and then you're in the same situation you were before the start of this season. They don't win, and we're back to the blame game.

Dan Boyle is probably the next best option after Marleau, he's got experience, he's got a ring, and he leads by example. But again, it seems like he's too quiet and too laid back to get a fire going under this team's ass. Now that's not to say that Marleau doesn't have the same type of demeanor, but Pat's history with the team stretches far longer, he's been with the team since he was drafted in '97, ironically behind Joe Thornton. Boyle's only been on the team since last summer, handing it over to him makes the slap in the face to Marleau that much harder.

Joe Pavelski? First of all, he's a mouth breather. Second, I don't think he means as much to this team, or to Wilson, or McLellan as everyone thinks he does. One crappy year, and his head is on the trading block considering Wilson's volatility. Last, I don't think he's the direction you want this team to go. Yeah he's a working man's center, and he's been with the club since he was drafted, but if you're going to go with an outside the box candidate like this, go with a Ryan Clowe. Go with a guy who can carry the load, and the pressure that goes along with a perennial Stanley Cup contender who falls flat in the playoffs.

Come to think of it, maybe he doesn't want it.

As for the other issue that's only news when hockey fans are bored as hell, the Captaincy for Team Canada at the 2010 games. The fact that we're even considering Sidney Crosby when you've got great veterans like Jarome Iginla and Scott Niedermayer is just mind-blowing. Yeah he won the Cup and all this year, (with the help of a guy named Geno), but lets let him ease into the captaincy of an international event that only happens once every four years. Its should be a no-brainer excluding him from the decision, the hard part will be trying to figure out which of the two aforementioned hockey heroes should get it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Heat is On

Dany Heatley has ended his silent standoff with the hockey media, and attempted to cut the tension with a machete.

He basically just made it bleed instead.

Phoning it in is an understatement, (I believe it was a conference call from his vacation home in Kelowna, BC). He should have had answers he had been working on since his trade demand became public, instead they sounded more like something he worked on just before he went to bed the night before, attempting to convince himself that they were good answers as he was jotting them down.
Taken from TSN's article about the interview, Dany had classy, well-crafted sentences like this to baffle us with...
"When I signed in Ottawa two years ago, I felt it was to be an integral part of the team, over the last two years and more recently over the past year, I feel my role was diminished. This past season, it diminished a lot more.
I'm sorry Dany, are you not the star of the team? Are you not the lynchpin of the whole offensive system? Who is? Chris Neil?
But he won't shy away from his responsibility, oh no, his sphincter won't shrink in the face of that ridiculous 6year, $45million contract...
"I have a contract, and if I'm still a Senator at training camp time, I'll be ready to go. I'm a hockey player, and I'm going to play to the best of my ability wherever I am.
Honest. But as Sir Sean Connery stated in (yet another movie ruined by Nick Cage) 'The Rock,' "Your best? Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen."
Only to follow it up with this gem...
"But at the same time, I think we know that there are other teams out there that are interested, and hopefully something can get done.
Dany, I think everyone would love to have you on their team (including Atlanta, and obviously Edmonton) but with that cap hit, no one is going to eat that except for bottom feeder teams. And you've already clearly stated that you only want to go where a winner is imminent. But now your character and your heart are called into question by asking for a trade, and that's going to back a lot of GM's off.
The Heat was then hit with the 'why not Edmonton?' question.
He wanted options, he'd rather choose than be won by default.
Logical? No. Purely bullshit.
Dany did say that he did not make his trade request public, and he's a gloomy Gus about the way it went down...
"I regret the way it has been this summer, and it hasn't been fair, especially to Edmonton and Ottawa. But that's the way it went.
Don't you worry about Dany-boy, he'll pull through it.
"It's unfortunate that it became public, because that is not what I wanted.
No what you wanted was to whine in private, demand a trade to a winner, like San Jose, or Detroit, (you'll even slum it up), get swapped out for like 9 guys and some cash, and then tell the media that you didn't see the trade coming as you pull on your new jersey at training camp, far, far away from Ottawa. That's really what you wanted.
But I think Dany's most honest (that's not saying much from this interview) answer was about his silence over the summer since the story broke and the Oil Country courting process began...
"I didn't speak until now because there's a process that has to take place, and in all fairness to Ottawa and the other teams involved, I didn't feel it was necessary or purposeful to come out publicly and create more of a circus than it already was.
Not much you could do about it by then. And then we as frenzied idiots in need of instant gratification salivated over every activity or inactivity that occured, and speculated like junkies meddling.
Word is that Stevie Yzerman called Dany up and told him to clear the air before he gets to Team Canada Orientation Camp next week. Something tells me 'the Y' will not be happy with his heartfelt performance.
If Heater just came out and spoke with some honesty in this conference call I think he'd earn back a little of the respect he lost when this hit the wire.
If he had said he thought that Ottawa was going nowhere, and their best opportunity at the hardware was behind them. If he thought Edmonton was in the same boat, with their big shot in 2006, and that they had a long way to climb back to that height.
If he admitted that he's not a fan of Cory Clouston's system, or the fact that he thinks Bryan Murray is not doing anything to change the team's fate for the better.
If he admitted that he doesn't want to do they heavy lifting to get to the Cup, just help an already talented group get there, we still would have thought less of him, but at the very least respected him for his honesty.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Slow Summer or Is It?

'Are you wearing out that shaggy, over-the-eyes Ovechkin haircut?
Are you so bored you are trying to use a backhand to get it out of the bunker?
Are you so anxious that you are chirping at other parents at your daughter's ballet class?

'Well if so, we've got you covered here on XM at NHL Home Ice, replaying historic games and programming all summer long!'

What a great idea, lets replay the Winter Classic, and other classic (?) games like the Pittsburgh/Philly 1st round playoff series. That's great, except for the fact that IT'S THE FUCKING RADIO!!!

Replaying games like the Winter Classics or awesome playoff games are one thing on NHL Network, but on the radio? Come on. That's not going to translate well, and translation to the audience is something the NHL should be all too familiar with.

I must say I've been pretty unhappy with the content on NHL Home Ice during the offseason, whether its Shalley and some other jackass talking about how the air temperature in the Joe Louis is balmier than that of the Saddledome, or some other shit I couldn't care less about.

Having said that, I have no idea what would be good filler for the summer. I mean if it weren't for Patty-wagon Kane doin' stupid back in B-lo, or Heater's trade demand on a no-trade clause contract, we'd have nothing to talk about besides J.R.'s career after hockey, the underground railroad to the KHL and the legends that have quietly taken that train, or St. Patrick taking the brunt of the Sharks playoff flops.

Come to think of it, this has been a pretty good offseason. Its not wall-to-wall entertainment but we've gotten a chuckle out of it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Commercial Cash Cow

In a world overrun with product placement and constant commercial bombardment, we, as hockey fans were subject to advertisements placed only on the boards and around the arena. Then it was the four logos in the neutral zone. Then some mutt came up with the idea of selling the naming rights of those arenas to big corporate sponsors. So instead of classy Boston Garden, we're left with an alphabet soup compass lesson in TD Banknorth Garden. Or my personal favorite, in downtown Tampa we used to have the Ice Palace, but now we have St. Petersburg Times Forum. (Which will fold first? The paper or the team?) Hard to stomach, but I can live with it. But now they're threatening the one thing we hold dear. The team uniform.

For all that's decent and holy, don't succumb to this money-hungry, greed-driven idea of turning the pristine jersey into a car bumper.

European sports teams have long ago given into the whore of sponsorship, by allowing uniforms to become this kind of ridiculousness.

Don Garber, Major League Soccer Commissioner, stated,
"In the soccer world, sponsorship on jersey fronts is part of the DNA of the sport. Nobody outside the U.S. looks at that as abnormal."

His league was the first to give in to that European model in 2007, with the Los Angeles Galaxy seizing the opportunity and cashing in on a $4-5million per year contract with Herbalife. The league established a sponsorship minimum for the front at $500k, with $200k of it going to the league, no online gambling or alcohol sponsorships are allowed. As of the beginning of the year, 11 of the 15 MLS teams have corporate logos displayed prominently on the front of their jerseys to match with the league-wide sponsorships on the backs which had always been in place.

Granted, soccer, or futbol, is not a traditional North American sport, hell we don't even use the right word for it. Its roots are in Europe, where, as Garber states, brand name sponsorship is part of the identity of each of the squads. And not being a traditional North American sport, the MLS has had difficulty in producing a profit. In the first 10 years of the league's existence, it was reported that it had lost a total of $350million. Makes sense then to cash in any way you can, right?

Which is why the WNBA has given permission to its teams to allow "front page" sponsorship, to cover its financial losses. Its been stated that its "father" or "brother" league the NBA, has spent up to $12million per year covering the losses of the WNBA. (What? You like layups? Off the glass for two!) Only two teams in the WNBA have secured sponsorship, whether that's due to lack of trying, or lack of interest is unknown.

Joe Maloof, part owner of both the NBA Sacramento Kings and the WNBA Monarchs states that,
"It's a new economic climate now. Any time you can generate revenue in the right way, you should be able to do it. You have to. If we can find the right partner, why not?"

Which makes me think that he can't find a "partner" willing enough to pony up for the real estate.
The NBA is in the process of working out the format for their jersey-filled corporate sponsorships, but when training camp starts, teams will have the green light to sell off their practice jerseys. Some NFL teams have done the same, taking "donations" from local businesses to place their patches on their practice jerseys, after the league opened up that possibility last offseason. The Tennessee Titans have been collecting checks from a local Nashville hospital since their move from Houston, and the New York Jets stand to make $2million per year with an area-based healthcare company for advertising that will never see any playing time, only practice dummies.

I'll be honest, I really don't care what's on the practice jersey. I don't get to enough training camps to really give a damn. But its just the start, it spreads from there as the dollars roll in, and "we" look at other areas to capitalize. Then it starts small, advertising patches on the shoulder of the game jersey, so as not to overwhelm us.

Because when we're building a project in Anchorage, the first thing we need to think is to go Union. This is like the U.S. government advertising the new $20 bill, as if we're going to start using pesos because we don't like the design.

So after one patch, we add another on the other shoulder. And then another, and another, until slowly, but surely, it becomes this...

where players can pop the collar for that extra level of cool.

With the exception of the NFL and maybe the NBA, the MLS and WNBA are cash strapped leagues in need of any resource available to earn an extra buck. We've all heard, and celebrated, the rumors that the NHL is overtaking the NBA in terms of popularity, so for argument's sake, let's say they're roughly at the same level. I find it extremely hard to believe that both the NHL and NBA are in such financial dire straits that they would need to resort to the desecration of the game jersey.

It makes professional sports look amateur.

- This rant all started from Wyshynski's 1 -2 part piece on advertising on uni's, which stemmed from USA Today's original piece. All actual facts and quotes are borrowed from those respectable sources.

Reconnect or Relocate?

“We think that the sooner that the world knows that the Coyotes are going to be in Glendale next season, the easier it will be for the club to move forward, interact with its fans, sell tickets, make arrangements for the television broadcasts and the like. As we’ve repeatedly told the court, it is impossible to move this franchise for next season.” - Gary Bettman

Move forward? Gary, you've taken about 30 steps back.

Interact with fans and sell tickets? I've received about 30 emails each from the Kings and the Ducks begging me to purchase ticket packages or attend the Kings' Hockey Fest '09, a three-day interactive promotional extravaganza. There's only 50 days until opening faceoff, how much ground do you really think you can make up?

Make arrangements for television broadcasts? Like hire a new color analyst?

Granted, yesterday saw a small victory in keeping the Dogs in the Desert, with Reinsdorf's deal with the major creditor of the franchise, and their endorsement to the court of Jerry's bid, but there's still a lot of work to be done.

A lot of work, and not much time.

I think just about everyone can come to the realization that the Coyotes will not be re-built overnight, and certainly not within the upcoming season. Just like when we were locked in a stalemate before the 2004-05 season, there was a time where we had to come to grips with the fact that we would not see NHL hockey, (luckily) until next season. And that was well before the middle of February.

Best case scenario, Reinsdorf gets in there, gets his blessing from the NHL Board of Governors, and the Coyotes start the season on-time and properly organized.

Its still pretty much the same crappy team, with the same crappy, "Great" coach, with a lot of promise and not much in the way of results.

Are fans going to flock to this? Hell to the No. Fans want a winner, bottom line. Nobody wants to be a Detroit Lions fan, some people just have no choice. The Coyotes have 13year old roots in Phoenix, not the three-quarters of a century that the Lions have in Detroit.

Even if Jerry jumps in there, authorizes the front office to spend to the Cap, Maloney pulls in some marquee talent in some big trades, and we slide on the slim chance that the 'Yotes make the post.

What then?

Will we then be convinced that hockey can survive in Phoenix?

Even if that pretty picture doesn't happen until the following season, will that be enough to say that the League did the right thing by not relocating the team to a more viable hockey market?

That's not to say that Jim Balsillie should have the keys handed over to him in exchange for his $212.5million offer. Its become obvious that "Balls" could get the League into more trouble in the long run with his blatant disregard for League rules, and struggling fanbases. But if you had to think of cities in North America that would have some success with an NHL team, would Phoenix come to mind? No, we'd probably say Las Vegas before Phoenix. And before Sin City, we would rifle off Portland or Seattle, Winnipeg or Quebec, and of course Hamilton.

Jibble, back from his own personal relocation hiatus, wrote about his indecisiveness on Jimmy-boy as a member of the ol' boys club, and his final decision about him.

"Balsille is an enigma because he clearly has some assets and a passion for the game, and that's never a bad thing, but the way he has handled himself has been less than appealing. Balsille clearly cares about his fictional team, and he'll clearly put his finances and efforts into putting a good team on the ice every year. The NHL needs owners who care about winning and their on-ice product, and Balsille would certainly be one of them. [However,] Basille's attempt to destabalize a franchise and rip them from their city with no regard for the city, fans, or league he's trying to buy into, that has finally turned the tide for good on my opinion of Balsille."

Keeping Balsillie, and his meddling ways out of the League is going to be good for the long run. That's probably the smartest decision the League has made in this situation. But its become clear that the situation in Phoenix is going to get worse before it gets better, and its going to have to in order for Bettman to pull his head out of his ass, and realize that his grand scheme of southern expansion is not working in Arizona.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Top 10 Hockey Bro-mances

There are players we love to hate, (see Sean Avery, Chris Pronger, Steve Ott), players we hate to love, (Dany Heatley, Mats Sundin, Brendan Shananhan), and haters that just want to be loved, (Marty Havlat, Marian Gaborik, Olli Jokinen). But every once in a while, we'll hear about something that just makes us hard-ass hockey fans gush over. Whether its a winning personality with a smart-alecy attitude, or a big bag of knuckes and a chip on the shoulder, some guys just give us serious man-crushes.

Here are their stories...

10. Chris Drury
What is it about this plucky centerman that just says success? Is it his Stanley Cup ring with Colorado. Or his Olympic Silver Medal with the US in the 2002 Winter Games. Or maybe its collecting the Calder Trophy in his rookie season, and the Hobey Baker in '98, (only player in history to win both). Or maybe winning the National Championship with Boston University in '95 as a freshman. But we can go back even earlier. High school? State Championship with Fairfield College Prep. PeeWee? National Championship with his Bridgeport, CT team. And probably the most used anecdotal reference, winning the Little League World Series in 1989 beating Taiwan by pitching a complete game giving up 5 hits, and driving in two runs. While not a member of the Triple Gold Club, Drury's had success on just about every level on the ice, and isn't a bad guy off the ice as well. Then again, maybe it's just those bangs.

9. Roberto Luongo
Is it that winning smile, or those greasy, dago curls? One of the two, or maybe his keen goaltending skills that has allowed him to retain the status as one of the premier netminders in the league. He symbolizes the Vancouver Canuck franchise being the latest goaltender to be named Captain since the late 1940's. He holds various team goaltending records for both the Canucks and the Panthers including the most shutouts, the most shutouts in a season, and the most wins in a season. Despite holding the league record for facing the most shots in a playoff game, stopping 72 of 76 shots in a 5-4 quadruple overtime win over Dallas in 2007, (his 1st NHL playoff game), he has had limited playoff success never making it past the second round. In the last year of his 4year $27million deal, he'll look for another big payday to close out his career. Bob-o gets extra points for netting hot wife, Gina.

8. Henrik Zetterberg
Doesn't Hank just scream hunkiness? Despite looking like Jared Leto's stunt double, Big Z came out of Sweden on the down low selected in the seventh round, 210th overall, in the '99 Entry Draft. A member of the Triple Gold Club, Sasha grabbed a gold medal at the 2006 Winter Games and another gold at the World Championship before completing the trifecta with a Cup and a Conn Smythe in 2008. A 30-goal scorer for the last four seasons, Zata is recognized for his responsible two-way play nominated for the Selke as Best Defensive Forward in 2008, losing out to teammate Pavel Datysuk. Recently signed a 12year $72million deal and triple word score for uber-hot fiancee Emma Andersson, even though his band isn't doing as well.

7. Vinny Lecavalier
Isn't this photo enough to make you jealous? No doubt Vinny is pulling plenty of Floridian beauties, in between Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoots with gorgeous foreign models. Drafted first overall in the '98 Entry Draft, he was billed as "the Michael Jordan of Hockey" by the crappy marketing department in Tampa. Winning the Stanley Cup at age 24 in 2004, he went on later that year to win the Gold at the World Cup and take MVP honors. In the 2006-07 season he became the first Lightning player to record 50 goals in a season, finishing with 52 and earning the Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy as the league leading goal scorer. In the 2008 offseason he signed an 11year $85million contract extension, and since then has been shrouded in rumors of a potential trade to Montreal. No player has been more coveted by the Habs since they purchased the QSHL to acquire the rights to Jean Beliveau. Granted he's a local boy, but the way the francophones are clamour for this guy you'd think he was the second coming (see #4). Not a bad guy off the ice as well, donating $3million to a Children's Hospital in Florida and being awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in '08 for the work of his Foundation to benefit chronically ill youth. Not bad for a hump day hottie.

6. Evgeni Malkin
Tell me those legs aren't enough to make the ladies swoon? Even though Geno talks like Chewbacca, his lack of grasp of the English language has made him endearing to the media and the fans. Either that or his dominating presence in the game. Selected 2nd overall in the 2004 Entry Draft (behind #1, literally), he had to escape the Iron Curtain in the summer of 2006 in order to start his NHL career. And start he did, setting the modern record of a goal in the first of his six games in the League and going on to win Calder Rookie honors. He followed up that season with 100-plus point totals the next two, propelling the Penguins to the Cup finals, losing the first year in 2007, and winning the second, this year. In his best season to date, he collected the Conn Smythe with his SC ring, and the Art Ross Trophy finishing with 113 points. Bonus points for dating Oksana Kondakova, but loses out since she's also going to make his life hell.

5. Patrick Kane
Doesn't this kid look like he should be on the cover of Teen Beat or Bop magazine as the latest teenage heartthrob? Believe it or not, he'll actually turn 21 just after the season starts, but still has a lot to accomplish in his young career. Drafted 1st overall in the 2007 Entry Draft he didn't disappoint, winning the Calder with 72 points and playing in all 82 games. This past season, he was a 25 goal scorer and boosted the Hawks into the Western Conference Finals, their first postseason appearance since '02, with 9 goals and 5 assists in the playoffs. Gains points for having three hot sisters eventhough he got kicked by a Mule.

4. Carey Price
Is this the new ad for Calvin Klein's fragrance for men, and women? No, its Jesus Price the chain-smoking, goaltending savior of the Montreal Canadiens, (since Patrick Roy left town). Another young kid, drafted 5th overall in the 2005 Draft class, but didn't make his professional debut until the 2007-08 season. Recognized as a top prospect at the Junior level in the Western Hockey League, in 2007 he was awarded the Del Wilson Trophy and the CHL Goaltender of the Year award. That same year he went 6-0, with 2 shutouts at the World Junior Chamionships in Sweden, winning Gold for Team Canada, and earning Top Goaltender and Tournament MVP honors. After signing his entry level deal with Montreal, he put in work with the Hamilton Bulldogs, backstopping them to the Calder Cup where he earned MVP honors taking home the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy. Like Mr. Kane, he is at the beginning of a bright career, breaking hearts and stopping pucks. Even if he does scare the crap out of you.

3. T. J. Oshie
Is it the yellow that brings out his eyes? Either way, this young gun from '05 Draft class has jumped onto the scene and into a lot of hockey fans hearts. He played three years with the Fighting Sioux of UND finishing with over 40points each season, and then skipped his Senior year to join St. Louis. Just finished up his first season with the Blues and he's already won "Goal of the Year" recognition for his slick moves on the Canucks defense, (including removing #9's jock). Of course the big victory for him this year was returning the Notes to postseason status, having to make their way through Central Division rival Columbus, and therefore through Rick Nash. Became so popular with the Blues fanbase that they actually began a campaign to write his name in for the St. Louis Mayoral election. But he's really pissed that he can't make Gretzky's head bleed like Roenick.

2. Milan Lucic
Do you really wanna mess with that? Had a slow, and disappointing start to his hockey career being passed over in the 2003 WHL Bantam Draft, but was then offered a tryout with the Burnaby Express Junior A team. Failing to make the cut, he was presented with the opportunity to play for the Delta Ice Hawks Junior B team which he used as a springboard to land a permanent roster spot on the Express. He eventually played his way onto the Vancouver Giants in the WHL, and in his first full season with the team contributed to the winning of the Ed Chynoweth Cup for WHL Champion in 2006. In that year's Entry Draft, he was selected in the second round, 50th overall by the Boston Bruins but returned to Vancouver for another season. That following season he put the Giants on his back, finishing first in team scoring with 68points, and leading them to a return trip to the WHL finals. Losing out on the repeat, Looch and the Giants charged back to win the Memorial Cup, and he was awarded the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy for tourney MVP. With only two years in the League under his belt, he has already drawn comparisons to Bruins great Cam Neely for his fiesty temperament and his nose for the net, epitomizing old-time, hard-nosed hockey.

1. Alex Ovechkin
What's not to love? Ovie is an international ambassador to the sport, and the kind of player that transcends boundaries into the mainstream world. Whether its his highlight reel goals, his larger than life personality, or just his candid answers to media questioning, everything he does seems to be entertaining. There's no question he's the best player in the entire league, and by far the most exciting to watch, with plenty of hardware to back it up. The Calder for his rookie season in 2006, and for the last two years winning the Lester B. Pearson as the most outstanding player of the regular season as voted by the NHLPA, the Hart Memorial as MVP, and the "Rocket" Richard as leading goal scorer. He also won the Art Ross in 2008 making him the first player in history to garner all four in the same season. Halfway through that season the Washington Capitals offered him a 13year extension for $124 million, the richest contract in league history. Recently named the ambassador to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in the southwestern Russian town of Sochi, he's already earned Golds at the World Junior Championship in 2003, and another in the World Championships in 2008. With plenty of goals scored, shots taken, and point streaks, the ultimate prize still eludes him only reaching the postseason twice in his four seasons, he hasn't led the Caps past the second round. But his determination and his passion for the game speak volumes and will no doubt lead to more success and thrills for hockey fans everywhere.

Honorable Mention
Mike Richards - He's the next Captain Canada, but he hangs out with pornstars.

Martin Brodeur - Its all about the defensive system. And tagging your wife's sister.

Tim Thomas - He kills bears dude. And he's on the Bruins. The irony is not lost.

Jarome Iginla - He fights, and he scores goals. Hunky.
George Parros - The mustache says it all.
Anybody I missed? Did I include someone who shouldn't have been on here? Did I get the order screwed up? Let me know, and I'll pretend to care.