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03-18-2004, 10:13 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Ontario
Country: Canada
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If Koivu didn't blow his knee out

I have listened to people bash Koivu in the past and have heard the complaint that he isn't a #1 center. I have always beleived that theory to be a bunch of crap and Koivu is proving me correct.

If Koivu didn't blow his knee out in September there is good reason to beleive that Koivu would be #10 in league scoring and #3 among centers (behind only Sakic and Lang). Koivu currently has 54 points in 60 games but if you remove his 1st 5 games where he was clearly struggling with recovering from his knee injury he has put up 54 points in his last 55 games which would pro rate his current point total to between 72-73 points. This point total is even more impressive when you consider Koivu plays in a defensive system that to his own admission limits offensive numbers and this is also without the benefit of having wingers like Kariya, Hejduk, Tanguay, Selanne, Jagr and Bondra. Koivu has put up the majority of his #'s with a defensive winger (Bulis) and a rookie (Ryder). I am not trying to prove that Koivu is better than Sakic, Lang, Sundin and company but I think he is making a strong case to be mentioned in the same sentence as these players. Considering how much of a leader and complete player Saku is I don't think there should be any debate on his status as a #1 center.

The only debate that is worth while with Koivu is whether or not he can stay healthy because when he is healthy he is clearly an elite player. Hopefully Koivu can stay healthy for the playoffs because it will be exciting to watch him crank it up a notch as he does have the rare ability to find that extra gear in big games (kind of like what we saw Saturday night when he made Sundin look like a floater by comparison).

p.s. I should note that I think Forsberg is in a league of his own when it comes to NHL centermen.

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