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10-27-2013, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
Bure and Fedorov were never the face of the NHL... Forsberg almost became one, Jagr and Hasek arguably were... Sundin got more press than any Euro ever (the benefits of playing in T.O.).

Ovechkin is the first real, European face of the league imo, despite his rivalry with Sid the Kid.

The Habs, then Gretzky, then Lemieux overshadowed the first three decades of hockey I've watched. OV led a new generation.

I loved Bure as a lifelong Canucks fan myself. But he never made that step from franchise star to league's best. His shift to Miami didn't help, nor did his cherrypicking defensive-lackin' circling the neutral zone for breakaway passes style of play. He never warranted the 'C'. He was a me-first, super-talented highlight reel performer alright. But if you wanted to win the cup, you should give him a pass. Players like Nieuwendyk, Dale Hunter and Claude Lemieux, not to mention Sakic and Yzerman, defined the generation more than Bure.

Flashy breakaways were good for news clips but there's more to the game of hockey than two or three shifts a game. He is a marginal HHOFer when you consider the generation he is a part of. This takes nothing away from his ability to accelerate and puckhandle one on one. He would have thrived in the shootout era.
And even when Ovechkin was clearly a step up from Crosby (2007-08 to 2009-10), I don't think he ever really was "the face" of the NHL in a way Crosby is today. Tough to be the face of a North American league as a Russian.

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