When people ask me who my favorite player is I generally can not answer. I really try to admire every player for what they offer, whether they are a superstar or a role player. But I have to admit, I have a special fondness for those players that are often under-rated and often unnoticed by fans and even media, but never by their teammates or coaches.
Players like Kevin Lowe. Lowe was an integral leader of the Edmonton Oilers 5 Stanley Cup dynasty, as well as a 6th championship in New York. But if it were not for his succesful return as Oilers general manager and his close relationship with Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier history would remember him as much as Craig Muni or Normand Lacombe.
Players like Lindy Ruff. Ruff is now regarded as one of the NHL's best coaches, but he was once an integral role player and three-year captain of the Sabres. He played both left wing and defense, but many of his best contributions came off the ice.
Players like Keith Crowder. My old buddy Patrick Houda steps in with this bio of one of his favorite players. Crowder was a poor man's Cam Neely, and really does deserve a better standing in history's mirror.
Players like Derrick Smith. Described as Rick Tocchet without the scoring touch, Smith was a Mike Keenan favorite. He was also a big reason why the Flyers twice faced off with the Edmonton Oilers for the Stanley Cup in the 1980s. Not many people know Smith was one of the final cuts for Team Canada at the 1987 Canada Cup tournament.
Players like Tony Tanti. Tanti was my favorite Canuck prior to Trevor Linden's arrival. He was a 40 goal scorer on a weak Canucks team, and could have been a 50 goal scorer on any other Smythe division team in the 1980s. He was a tip in specialist, as good as Joe Nieuwendyk or Ryan Smyth.