10. All-Canadian boys
Anaheim GM Brian Burke assembled a tough, no-nonsense crew of Canadian-style players overflowing with character and toughness. It gives hope to Flames fans that Darryl Sutter has the right idea in developing a team in the same fashion — solid drafts, impeccible development, similar backgrounds, etc — that could pay dividends in the future.
9. Greasy Perry
The kid is earning a reputation of getting under an opponent’s skin, but Corey Perry has also earned the reputation of a winner. Perry captained his London Knights to a Memorial Cup title in 2005, he was a key element in winning the World Juniors that same season, and now has a Stanley Cup ring. A pain-in-the-ass he might be, but he’s one of the few players who could tattoo the word “champ” to his forehead and get away with it.
8. Go Jets Go!
Randy Carlyle is a bastard, and now can be considered one of the best coaches in the National Hockey league.
7. Giving slackers hope
When Ryan Getzlaf played for the Calgary Hitmen, a bodyslam by Bret Hart himself wouldn’t wake the kid up. Now, one WJC and Stanley Cup later, the Regina native is beginning to be known as a Big Game Player. The scary part is, the best is yet to come.
6. Will Doug Maclean get a ring too?
How about Francois Beauchemin? Here’s a young defenseman — almost an afterthought when the Ducks got rid of Sergei Fedorov to Maclean’s Columus Blue Jackets — who plays beside two perennial Norris Trophy candidates, and looking like he’s been doing it for years. If it was anyone other than Brian Burke, this would have been the steal of the year. Alas, it’s just one of many great moves the Ducks have made since Burke moved to OC.
5. I don’t have a #5.
4. Go Jets Go! the sequel
Fourteen seasons into his career, Teemu Selanne has finally earned a one-way ticket to the Hall of Fame. There is no reason he couldn’t play several seasons more, but to have started and finished a career in his fashion, there might not be a better way to go.
And it couldn’t happen to a better guy.
3. Brothers Niedermayer
Who couldn’t find satisfaction in seeing Scott Niedermayer hand the Stanley Cup to his brother. Rob was the primary reason the two played together these past two years, and stories of their strong relationship during that time offer a touching piece of humanity to an increasingly distant sports league.
2. Conn Smythe Job
Arguments for the Smythe could be made for Ryan Getzlaf, Andy McDonald and even Chris Pronger, but the most support for the MVP was probably in favour of goaltender J-S Giguere. However, the biggest issue I have against Giggy is that he has already been a recipient and to get another one puts him in the same category as Bobby Orr, Bernie Parent, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy. Clearly, while Giguere is a terrific number one ‘tender in the league, he is no superstar HoFer, and to place him in that strata would be an insult to the name.
Meanwhile, while he was not the most dominant player on the ice, Niedermayer is a solid representative of his team, a steady leader and classy performer who has earned his place among the hockey pantheon. His selection echoes back to that of his former teammate, Scott Stevens, who was chosen because he was the leader of a great, balaced hockey team.
1. The Pronger Family
Given the acrimony in Edmonton after the 2006 final over why Chris Pronger left, it was sweet justice to see him enjoy a beautiful family vignette on national television. I don’t like Pronger, I hate the Oilers.