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04-22-2013, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I thought Brian Leetch aged quite poorly - he lost a lot of his speed and his defensive ability took a major hit around 1997. MacInnis is a good one. There's an argument that he was better than ever as a all-round player after the age of 35.
If he had been surrounded by competent players his decline would not have seemed nearly as bad. He was asked to do far too much with nothing worthwhile around him. If he had played on the Wings or Aves after 97 for example instead of being on the Rangers he might have won a 3rd Norris. The offensive production he put up 2000-01 with only 2 other players that could even be considered "good" Nedved and Fluery who entered rehab with a quarter of the season remaining killed him. He still put up 79 points in 82 games. Just imagine what he might have done. The only other defenseman on that team worth even half a damn was a young and raw Kim Johnsson. I also believe that playing on some of those miserable Rangers teams killed his spirit which precipitated his decline. Physically he was a freak of nature that would have been able to play at a high level until he was 40. I remember watching a Ranger documentary where it was mentioned that they did tests on him that revealed that even by the standards of world class athletes, his body recovered exponentially faster than it should have been able to. For him a 30 second rest was as effective as a 90 second rest for someone else.

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