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10-17-2003, 06:24 PM
  #20
Guy!
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Ottawa
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Sheesh, I think I just answered this question NHL-wide on the NHL boards.

The problem here is in the question. How do you define best? I'm not going into depth with what I stated before, so I'll just tell you that, in this case, by 'best' player, I'm taking the one who elevates the games of those players around him. We can talk all day about talent and skill-sets, and goalies vs. defensemen vs. forwards, but in my opinion, the 'best' is the one that makes everyone else better.

It's not Theo. When he plays poorly, the team plays even worse. It isn't Markov - if his game varies, you don't really notice it unless he's specifically on the ice. Zednik has a negligable impact on games when he's not involved.

Sax elevates those around him. Not to the extent that a Mario Lemieux does, but he does it. He plays the game at the highest level each shift and demands the same from his teammates. How many of you noticed, late last year, Sax coming to the bench at the end of a shift and absolutely tearing a strip off Breezer when the latter had made a series of bonehead plays. Did anyone catch the look of those watching? Let me tell you, they went on to play a much better game.

When you see your leader, captain and (let's be honest here) most talented skater working desperately hard night after night even in the worst conditions, don't you think it rubs off? Don't you think everyone else plays better?

Do you think Zed would have had 30 goals had Koivu not been on his line most of the year last year? How about the fact that the coaches put players on Koivu's line to get them out of slumps?

Just my opinion.

A concerned fan.

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