XXI century in the NHL – this is the legendary cup series “Detroit”, and tore the era of the lockout, and “Era of the dead washer”, and the flowering of new stars. It’s very difficult to select ten best ice hockey players who shown brighter than others during these 18 years, but we tried.
10 best ice hockey players
10. Duncan Keith, “Chicago”
In the 21st century: Three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013, 2015), twice the best defender of the season (2010, 2014), the most valuable player of the playoffs (2015).
I remember very well the moment when the greatness of Duncan Kita blinded me forever – I’m sorry for this sugary formulation, but we’re kind of putting best ice hockey players into the story, so it’s okay. It seems that it was Sunday, it seems, it was the highlights of the match “Chicago” against “Dallas” of the regular season of the season-2013/14 – however, and I’m not sure about that. Then Kit rebuffed from the opponent with his gates and sharply, with one movement fluttered out from behind them, and the second shot the puck into the hook of his attacker almost to the horizon line, that is, to the area of another’s blue. By force, it was a good shot on goal, inaccuracy – something from the repertoire of Igor Larionov. Such transfer on the black market of hockey statistics is worth not less than another hat-trick.
With the moments of greatness in Duncan, in general, there are no problems, although his name does not come up first when talking about the superstars of hockey. Without bothering, you can remember two – a joke about the dentist in 2010 and the final stages of the Stanley Cup-2015, which Keith spent in superhero mode. By the way, Kit is a rare hockey player and in general an athlete, who without special stretches, almost directly associated with a superhero from Hollywood cinema.
Usually, all these analogies are conducted with a smile and so, frivolously. The case with Keith is not that. He is the natural Clint Barton, the Falcon eye, which in “Avengers” was performed by Jeremy Renner. Even in armor, but an ordinary person, the whole superpower of which is of quite a natural origin – this is an unprecedented dexterity, keen eyesight, murderously accurate hands and character, of course.
And only in one they diverge more than – the Falcon eye will never have three Stanley Cups.
9. Marian Gossa, “Chicago”
In the 21st century: Three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013, 2015).
The entire career of Mariana Gossa – a solid “but if?”. And if the “Pittsburgh” got out in the finals-2008? Gossa then went to the top three scorers and could well qualify for a prize to the best player in the playoffs. How would you have risen in our rating? And if a year later he chose not the “Chicago”, which is tightly merged with the soul, body and 62 million contract?
Three consecutive years to play in the Stanley Cup finals with different teams – now it’s more like a miracle (even considering that they chose the “Chicago” with the agent, only after calculating with what probability the club will score more than 100 points and go into the playoffs ). If Gossa lost all three finals, the miracle would turn into a tragicomedy, into a farce, but in the end, Gossa wrote his history of overcoming.
Five times to come to the match of the stars (the first and last hit – with a difference of 11 years) – great. Win three Stanley Cups when you’re over 30, – great. Become the face of the era, not getting out of the playoffs for years, is priceless.
8. Jaromir Jagr, “Florida”
In the XXI century: The best scorer of the season (2001), the best player of the season according to the version of the players (2006).
Jagr was one of the best hockey players in the world in the late 90’s – in those years of cheating, he four years in a row was the best scorer of the league and won historical gold in Nagano. The XXI century before leaving for Omsk was, to put it mildly, rotten – only one truly starry season in New York. Before him – a very strange exchange in the “Washington” for three nouneymov, who together did not play even a hundred and fifty games in the NHL, a few gray seasons in the capital, an exchange in New York with a gradual regress and increasingly more critical criticism.
Jaromir Jagr a legend made the failed departure to his homeland in the late 90’s. Jagr was already a celestial at the time of his decision to go to raise Russian hockey in Novi Uraven, but it was the return to the NHL that made him actually a living god.
You can calculate how many potential points for the book of records lost Jagr for the three seasons of absence in the NHL, but the fact is that without Omsk business trip a great career would have ended much earlier, and Jaromir himself spoke about this. Now he is 44, and he brings up the young “panther”, becomes the MVP of the homeworld championship and ironically perceives blackmail from modelers that are suitable for him in his daughter – see, the people, the old pepper is still in business!
Appreciate every moment when you see Jagr in the game – someday you can tell your sons about it. Or maybe they will have time to see it – they are not going to finish it yet.
7. Joe Thornton, “San Jose”
In the XXI century: The most valuable player of the season (2006), the best scorer of the season (2006).
When 34-year-old Thornton was not in the Canadian bid for the Sochi Olympics, Jeremy Renik, with whom Jumbo crossed into San Jose, sighed: “So there’s something wrong with playing hockey.” It is clear where this reaction comes from: Renik is a symbol of hockey of the nineties, and Thornton is still more like a player of that era. In everything, of course, except for the beard.
He is very big and strong – in the nineties, it was necessary to be so as not to suffer from hooks; Now, when there are no hooks, only through the hull Thornton creates a zone of comfort on the ice. He’s evil: among the most popular videos on the request of Joe Thornton on Youtube appears a long list of fights and power tricks; his washers, it seems, did not occur to anyone to collect. He is open and funny: for him, it’s not a matter of getting the manager of the club to jog, or joking about a member if there is an opportunity. He is clever – the dispatcher of his level found a place in Canada’s superstar team at the 2016 World Cup.
Such characters have no place in the ice hockey of the future – they are being replaced by the right boys like Tavs, Crosby and McDavid. But while we are still at the beginning of the century, here and Thornton are few.
6. Martin Broder, “New Jersey”
In the 21st century: Stanley Cup (2003), four times the best goalkeeper of the season (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008).
In this, probably, there is some injustice, but even the greatest goalkeepers usually do not figure among the most-most in general. Neither in history – there are all the attackers and Bobby Orr. Not in any age or decade. Even in a certain season, the goalkeeper on the very top – a rarity. For example, in NHL the prize to the most valuable player was got to only seven goalkeepers. And Broder, who certainly will enter at least in the top 5 best goalkeepers of all time, among them there.
What can I say, even I myself put it in fourth place in our vote for the best ice hockey players. One of the top five goalkeepers in history. A man who for twenty years personified the whole team and owns the majority of goalkeeper records. But this, probably, because an important part of his career was still in the twentieth century. And also because the goalkeeper – he’s a bit of a judge, he also cancels goals. Nobody likes that, does it? But “canceled goals” in our century, he is exactly one of the best ice hockey players.
5. Marten Saint-Louis, “Tampa Bay”
In the 21st century: Stanley Cup (2004), the most valuable player of the season (2004), the player’s most valuable player of the season (2004), twice the best scorer of the season (2004, 2013).
In the hockey plan, St. Louis became the same age as he was in the NHL just at the threshold of the millennium, and on the leading roles he moved out a couple of years later. And he had an excellent career in all respects, and if you remember that he got into the league at the age of 24 and “from the back door” (because he did not rise), it was absolutely unmatched.
As a result, the mighty baby Marty finished almost 40 years, crossed the grandmaster mark of 1000 points (in the 21st century it is only bypassed by three), took two titles of the best scorer (the second – at 37, the record!), “Hart Trophy”. And most importantly – the first Stanley Cup in the history of “Tampa”, really believed in him the team, with which he went through many ups and downs.
Perhaps his stories did not have enough happy ending in the form of the second championship with a young team, in which he was an example for everyone, starting with Stephen Stamkos. But even the painful and seemingly insulting and wrong parting with “lightning” could not cross out his cult status for the club. Most recently, “Tampa” for the first time held a ceremony of putting numbers out of circulation – and this was the 26th issue of Martin Saint-Louis.
4. Nicklas Lidstrom, “Detroit”
In the 21st century: Two Stanley Cups (2002, 2008), the most valuable player in the playoffs (2002), seven times the best defender of the season (2001 – 2003, 2006 – 2008, 2011).
Unhappy defenders! They always lose to spectator attention not only to the attacker but even the goalkeepers. Around them, the great champion teams are rarely built. But Lidstrom was an exception to the rules.
He was not simply nicknamed “Mr. Perfection” – he was not the first and not the last attacking defender who knew how to play with the puck on the hook. But from the conditional Phil Housley, it was distinguished by an amazing game on the defensive. Even 37, 38-year-old Lidstrom opened the highlights with some kind of lightest movement, he tore outputs 1 to 0 and 2 to 1, and it seems so simple that you want to immediately call some NHL general manager and offer your services.
Often Swedish players are accused of not having a cup character and are more concerned about a chubby contract and a bristling haircut. Lidström stood out here. The most famous moment of the playoffs with his participation belongs to 2002 when one of the most high profile teams “with Robitiles in the fourth link” flew in a series with Vancouver 0-2, and in the third match were dull 1: 1. Lidstrom threw from the center of the site – and scored. This was a turning point not only of the series but of the whole cup, which the Detroit eventually won.
It was Lidstrom’s departure that marked the end of that great “Detroit”, which, by inertia, continued to go into the playoffs. The management of the team is still chasing his ghost, but it is obvious that the second such will not happen
3. EvgeniMalkin, “Pittsburgh”
In the 21st century: Two Stanley Cups (2009, 2016), the most valuable player of the season (2012), the most valuable player of the season according to players (2012), the most valuable player of the playoffs (2009), the best scorer of the season (2009, 2012) .
It’s easy not to notice a person when you do not even look at him, but admire the other. Yes, yes, NHL, I’m talking about you. Transatlantic ratings can ignore as much as possible not the media itself and often closed to journalists Malkin, but it’s foolish to deny that he is one of the best in the 21st century. Simply, he was in the shadow of a guy who admires all of America.
When Crosby was suffering from concussions of the brain, and for his health, the whole league was watching, Malkin took the Pittsburgh into his own hands – and gained more than 100 points for the regular. When the “Penguins” first took the Stanley Cup, Malkin, not Crosby, was there as a ringleader – and it was exactly the coolest cup performance in this century! This, perhaps, does not mean that the Russian “penguin” is better than the Canadian, but hints that, in principle, and not worse.
In the NHL, they love stories from the series “I Made It Yourself”: a simple kid worked hard, and here he is – the Honored Stanley Cup. And with all the natural talent of Malkin, this is quite about him – and the labor was enough, and the entourage of the 90’s in the not well-arranged region. So he really has a lot of character – he could argue with many of his partners. But it will not. It is more interesting for him to just play.
2. Alexander Ovechkin, “Washington”
In the XXI century: Three times the most valuable player of the season (2008, 2009, 2013), three times the most valuable player of the season according to the players’ version (2008-2010), the best scorer of the season (2008), six times the best sniper of the season (2008, 2009, 2013 – 2016 ).
Yes, in our vote only I put Ovechkin in the 2nd place among top 10 best ice hockey players in the world. Calmly, I did not die out of my mind, now I will explain. It is believed that the main thing in hockey, as in any other sport, is winning. But I do not agree. This is how to assert that the main thing in sex is to conceive a child. No, the main thing is the process itself. Of course, many people cope better with “conception”. But all these mantras about the two-way game, the percentages on face-offs and the authority in the locker room for me as a spectator is a complete bullshit. It’s all good, but either not seen, or boring. And hockey is fun, it’s a process.
And if we talk about the process, then in the 21st century I did not see the hockey player steeper than Ovechkin. Very quickly, very tough and very beautiful – that’s what hockey is. And Ovechkin in this sense is an ideal hockey player. He is fast, tough and scores (and this is the most beautiful). We can assume that he lacks game intelligence, but this is also untrue. Simply if, for example, Datsyuk had the physical capabilities of Ovechkin, he would hardly be called a Wizard. Everyone plays with their strengths. Ovechkin, they are like that. And you can now joke about the office in the left circle of the face-off, but at the very peak of his career (and he is at the majority of superstars in the region of 25 years old), he nazabival darkness of beautiful goals. And for a long time will be included in all ratings of the best in history.
1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
In the 21st century: Two Stanley Cups (2009, 2016), twice the most valuable player of the season (2007, 2014), the three times most valuable player of the season according to the players version (2007, 2013, 2014), the most valuable playoff player (2016), the best sniper of the season (2010).
Crosby got to the top in the list of top 10 best ice hockey players, not only because of his talent and diligence, not only because of better average performance among active players or placer awards. A few in the shadows often remain the fighting qualities of the captain of the “Pittsburgh”. But without them, it would be nowhere, because no player in modern NHL was not as much pressure as on Sid. And his career is in a sense an eternal story of overcoming, a bit reminiscent of the fate of his great predecessor, Mario Lemieux.
Lost the “Calder Trophy” Ovechkin? It does not matter, the next season I knocked out 120 points and got a full set of “adult” prizes. Few goals for a superstar? Ok, the restructuring of the game, 51 goals – and “Maurice Richard Trophy.” Do not go to the Olympics? So, there will be a goal in the most important match. And the return after the chain of injuries, when in the first full season Crosby again became the best scorer? The most recent example is the way out of the crisis last season, which many hastened to announce the beginning of the sunset. The answer to this turned out so powerful that the 2016th calendar year was for Sid almost the best in his career.
Bill Clinton once described his political tactics as follows: “Let the enemy hit first and answer as hard as possible.” About the same, everything turns out and Sidney Crosby.