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Yahoo! Sports ranks the league's top 25 centers

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wprager

wprager
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http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Looking-ahead-to-2011-12-Ranking-the-NHL-s-top-?urn=nhl-wp9636

I have an obvious bias for Spezza, and for sure would include him in a top-25 list, but even without such a bias, this list is all over the place. They include checkers, scorers, passers and I just don't see any rhyme or reason in some of the picks. John Tavares makes this list, really? I thought the guy can't skate according to pretty much everyone? Stamkos is ahead of Malkin? Bolland? Plekanec?

Maybe if they defined what "best" means it might make a little more sense. Sorry, but shutting down the Sedins is one thing, scoring one-timers on a powerplay is completely different -- how can you have Bolland and Stamkos in the same list?

Anyhow, I've made some of my opinions known, it's your turn.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

wprager

wprager
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For the record, here's the list:

25. John Tavares(notes), New York Islanders: No man is an Island, but this young goal-scorer is as close as it gets.

24. Dave Bolland(notes), Chicago Blackhawks: Just ask the Sedin twins about the effectiveness of this two-way 'Hawk.

23. Tomas Plekanec(notes), Montreal Canadiens: Known for his sweet playmaking and even sweeter turtleneck sweater.

22. Matt Duchene(notes), Colorado Avalanche: He might not be the next Joe Sakic(notes), but close enough.

21. David Backes(notes), St. Louis Blues: Known for his devastating hits, the big Blue is coming off a career season (31 goals, plus-32 rating).

20. Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins: A two-way force and he's only 22. He's really a No. 2 center, but on the Pens he's a checking demon who can score 25 goals.

19. Anze Kopitar(notes), Los Angeles Kings: Teams up with Mike Richards(notes) to give the Kings one of the league's best 1-2 punches down the middle.

18. Patrice Bergeron(notes), Boston Bruins: A key contributor to Boston's Cup win, he's overcome the concussion problems that once threatened to derail his career to develop into a complete player. Can play, and excel, in any situation.

17. Mikko Koivu(notes), Minnesota Wild: Big, powerful pivot will benefit from additions of wingers Dany Heatley(notes) and Devin Setoguchi(notes).

16. Jeff Carter(notes), Columbus Blue Jackets: Like Richards, he was shocked and unhappy to learn he'd been traded by the Flyers. But at least he lands on a line with Rick Nash(notes).

15. Nicklas Backstrom(notes), Washington Capitals: His numbers dipped significantly last season, but that's what happens when Alex Ovechkin(notes) scores a mere mortal 32 goals.

14. Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Detroit Red Wings: Underrated two-way player who delivers in crunch time.

13. Brad Richards(notes), New York Rangers: No pressure, Brad. It's just New York City and a $60 million contract.

12. Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings: The ex-Flyers captain shouldn't lack for motivation. Look for a big year on the West Coast.

11. Vincent Lecavalier(notes), Tampa Bay Lightning: Slowed by wrist injuries the past couple years, the Bolts captain is too talented to be a minus player who struggles to score 70 points.

10. Ryan Kesler(notes), Vancouver Canucks: Forty-one goals and one of the game's best defensive players, plus toughness and leadership. That's pretty much the complete package.

9. Joe Thornton(notes), San Jose Sharks: Don't expect another scoring title or MVP award, but that's an acceptable tradeoff for improved playoff performances. The window of opportunity to win a Cup is closing, but it hasn't shut yet.

8. Eric Staal(notes), Carolina Hurricanes: Great skater, great shooter, great size.

7. Ryan Getzlaf(notes), Anaheim Ducks: Prototypical No. 1 center is big, talented and tough. The perfect pivot for Corey Perry(notes) and Bobby Ryan(notes) on the league's No. 1 line.

6. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins: Combination of size and skill allows Pittsburgh's "other" franchise player to take over games. The prognosis on his February knee injury is encouraging.

5. Steven Stamkos(notes), Tampa Bay Lightning: When he's on, he joins Crosby, Ovechkin and Co. in the conversation as the game's best player. The kid just needs to be more consistent, more of a factor in every game, to reach the highest level.

4. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks: He's the playmaking twin, not the goal-scoring twin.

3. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks: Heart and soul of the 'Hawks is a big-stage star who leads by example.

2. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings: You know, he just might be the best all-around player in the game today.

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins: Yes, we're making the big assumption that the face of the NHL will be fully recovered from the concussion issues that caused him to miss the second half of last season. Why? Because the alternative is too awful to acknowledge.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

PTFlea

PTFlea
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Laughable that he's not in the top 25. There goes any credibility right out the window.

Or worse, they didn't bother watching Spezza play last year - which is bad news for a site that should know what they're talking about.

SensGirl11

SensGirl11
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Mod
Since when is Zetterberg a Center?

SensGirl11

SensGirl11
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Mod
Brutal is all i have to say

SensGirl11

SensGirl11
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Mod
Stick to baseball Vertigo

Ev

Ev
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Franchise Player
SensGirl11 wrote:Since when is Zetterberg a Center?

Since forever.

PTFlea

PTFlea
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Captain Hindsight wrote:
SensGirl11 wrote:Since when is Zetterberg a Center?

Since forever.

He plays wing with Datsyuk...a lot.

wprager

wprager
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Administrator
I like Staal (Jordan) and think he's a fine player, but do you really think his numbers would be where they are if he was playing against the other team's best defensive forwards and pairing? And, at least in Pittsburgh, his line is not getting as little time as a third line does on a more typical team. I'd like to see them finally convert Malkin to wing so we can finally see what Staal is like as a 2nd line center that they all seem to think he is.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

22_4_ever

22_4_ever
Sophomore
Sophomore
Captain Hindsight wrote:
SensGirl11 wrote:Since when is Zetterberg a Center?

Since forever.

Really?

Exactly where do you get that info from? Looking at dobberhockey's frozen pool for line combinations Zetterberg played less than 2% of his time on ice at Center. He's a LW that takes the majority of the draws when he's on the ice, but that doesn't make him a center.

Every site I go to has him listed as a LW, NHL.com, Yahoo sports, hell even Detroits web site has him listed as a LW.

Ev

Ev
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Franchise Player
This debate always comes up, and the Wings fans always end it by saying Datsyuk and Zetterberg are both centres.

Also, the Frozen Pool doesn't really work to determing position, as they just list the 3 players randomly, not lined up properly.

Ask any Wings fan and they will tell you Zetteberg is a centre.

PTFlea

PTFlea
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I'd say he's as much a C as Foligno is.

rooneypoo

rooneypoo
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All-Star
SpezDispenser wrote:I'd say he's as much a C as Foligno is.

Three years ago or so, Babcock made the conscious decision to split Datsyuk and Zetterberg up and have then each centre a line. A doesn't always work like that in practice -- i.e., on power plays, when they need a goal badly, etc. -- but that is how they like to deploy the two.

Ev

Ev
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Franchise Player
When Datsyuk and Zetterberg play together, Datsyukis usually the winger.

Ev

Ev
Franchise Player
Franchise Player
Quote from a Wings die-hard:

For the 265324665456346523423657865854735623452436374566th time: Henrik Zetterberg is a center. He played LW his first year in the league and after that he's pretty much always played center, just like he's always done outside of the NHL. One goddamn season. Seriously, how does he still get labeled as a LW? How hard is it to understand? Stupid stupid stupid...

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