Sunday, March 1, 2009

All-Decade Team picks: Kent from Five Hole Fanatics

Center -

Lots of great potential picks at this position. Sakic. Thornton. Datsyuk. Fedorov.

But I think I have to go with Peter Forsberg:

Dude could do everything in his prime - from pass to score to knock opponents on their ass. Despite being almost constantly injured, Forsberg managed to win two Stanley Cups as well as the Hart, Art Ross and Calder trophies during his career. Not to mention a couple of Olympic gold medals.

Forsberg's career PPG pace of 1.25 speaks for itself. It's also a number that would no doubt be higher if he hadn't played his last couple of seasons on one foot. He's also one of those rare players with a more than a PPG pace in the play-offs (1.08) meaning Peter brought the pain even when the going got tough.

RW - Jarome Iginla

Yeah, Im a Flames fan.

LW - Alexander Ovechkin

The human highlight reel. While he's just 23 years old, how do you argue against Alexander the Great? The guy is already setting records and he hasn't even reached his peak yet. His combination of skill and passion makes him seem like an unstoppable force of nature on the ice. He almost singlehandedly resurrected hockey in Washington and has an infectious, fun-loving attitude to boot. Were I not a Flames fan, I'd be rooting for Washington. And that has almost everything to do with Ovechkin.

Defense - Niklas Lidstrom

Easily the greatest blueliner of our age. Six Norris trophies, four Stanley cups, first European to captain a team to an NHL championship. I think there's a Conn Smythe in there too. His cumulative career plus minus rating is +378 and he's 28 points away from breaching the 1000 point plateau. Part of me suspects he's some kind of freaky, futuristic cyborg sent back from the future to teach our coarse, savage civilization what playing hockey is really all about.

Defense - Zdeno Chara

Yeah, I'm going a bit off the map with this pick. There's lots of other great potential choices here (Pronger, Niedermayer, Ed Jovonovs...just kidding) but it's hard to get around Zdeno.'s hard to get around him. He's the biggest player the NHL has ever seen and he's also one of the best defensemen in recent memory. Chara has the hardest slapshot in the league, has scored 10+ goals in five straight seasons and routinely plays against the best the opposition has to offer. He is also regularly amongst the top five in terms of ice time in the league, despite having what I would call a "high potential for injury" given his large, lanky frame.

Oh yeah, having Chara also means you don't have to employ a goon because - guess what? Chara will effing rag-doll players that get on his bad side:

Smart. Durable. Cannon shot. Physically imposing. Does it get much better?

Goaltender - Dominik Hasek

Forget the weird accent, the eccentricities and the unorthodox fish-flopping style: Hasek was perhaps the best goalie of the modern era. There's all sort of reasons why this is true, but I think I'll leave it to the Contrarian Goaltender to make my arguments for me:

From 1993-94 until 2001-02, Dominik Hasek faced 1,060 more shots than Martin Brodeur, and gave up 135 fewer goals.

I had to check those numbers again because I thought I had made a mistake at first. It is sometimes easy to shrug off save percentages, since there doesn't look like that much of a difference between Hasek's .926 and Brodeur's .911, but the difference shows itself in the totals. To try to quantify the gap between Hasek and Brodeur, I looked for a goalie that faced about 1,000 fewer shots than Brodeur and gave up 130 more goals in the same time period. There wasn't one, because no goalie that bad would get enough playing time to qualify. The two closest were Arturs Irbe (1870 fewer shots, 62 fewer goals against) and Jocelyn Thibault (1948 fewer shots, 77 fewer goals). Brodeur was much closer to guys like Irbe or Thibault than he was to Hasek in the 1990s. The Dominator was just on a completely different level.

Coach - Jacques Lemaire

I know, I know - everyone hates Lemaire for employing the trap and sucking the life out of hockey.

It's hard to argue against the guy as a top notch coach, however. He consistently gets better than average results out of teams that often have no business winning games at all. His clubs are always disciplined and always have double plus good special teams, no matter the personnel. He's also won the Stanley Cup a combined 11 times as a player/GM/coach. Eleven. Times. Plus there's those two jack Adams awards...

Loudmouth - Jeremy Roenick.

Not only can JR talk, but he can (or could) play hockey. He's also relatively entertaining in his "loudmouth-ness" in contrast to douchebags like Sean Avery.


jamestobrien said...

I think the Leap Year is sort of effin' with the posts because this should read "Sunday." Whatever.

Make sure to follow Kent at Five Hole Fanatics:

Chris Kontos said...

Yes! Another vote for Forsberg! Foppa shall be vindicated!

jamestobrien said...

Heh, he sure is making a late surge isn't he?