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March 28, 2012

Greatest Leaders In Hockey History

Sportsnet Magazine has a special Collector's Issue out called The Captains: Ranking The Greatest Leaders in Hockey History.

It is a beautifully produced magazine, featuring a great layout, amazing photography and terrific writing. Contributors include Mike Brophy, Ryan Dixon, Dan Robson and, with special features, Dave Bidini and Stephen Brunt. Editor in chief Steve Maich enlisted a panel of experts to rank the top 30 leaders (not necessarily captains) in hockey history. The panel included Frank Orr, Jeff Marek, Scott Morrison, Jimmy Devellano, Gare Joyce and Ernie Fitzsimmons.

Here's a few thoughts on the rankings:
  • No qualms with the top choice. Jean Beliveau is the epitome of what every hockey leader should be - classy, elegant, and, most importantly, a winner.
  • Mark Messier at #2? Clearly they did not take into consideration his days in Vancouver. These lists are always so subjective, but no way Messier should rank higher Steve Yzerman (ranked 5th), Phil Esposito (6th) or Ted Lindsay (18th).
  • Wayne Gretzky ranks 4th. He is front and center on the cover, oddly without a "C" on his Edmonton jersey.
  • Sidney Crosby is also on the cover, and cracks the list at #24. Maybe one day, but not yet. Clearly included to help boost sales to today's fans. 
  • Nice to see them go off the board, including Soviet captain Boris Mikhailov and Swedish legend Sven Tumba, as well as women's leaders Cassie Campbell and Cammi Granato. But the magazine's biggest oversight is Viacheslav Fetisov.
All in all, an excellent issue of the new Sportsnet Magazine. I learned a lot of fascinating new tidbits, enjoyed the writing and photography, and can not keep it out of my hands.


Bishopville Red said...

I've never been a big fan of the Messier mystique. For most of his cups, he was not the captain of the team.

One cup in 10 years with the high spending Rangers (missing the playoffs half of those years) and the shoddy treatment of Trevor Linden all add up to something much different than #2 in my eyes.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree. Messier was one of the best in the game from the early 1980s until the Rangers Cup win in '94, but his record after that is terrible. He was already over the hill in the '97 play offs with the Rangers, and the subsequent Vancouver years were a disaster. Funny how Mike Keenan's career also went downhill simultaneously. They won two Canada Cups and a Stanley Cup together, but by '97 the magic was no longer there.

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