Sunday, December 04, 2005

Where's the love?

Jes Golbez presented an interesting challenge to the hockey blogsphere last week. He posted his favorite and least favorite players on each NHL team, and a few others followed suit.

When looking at the lists, and specifically their answers for the Ottawa Senators, something interesting and somewhat puzzling stood out: where was Daniel Alfredsson?

Some of the responses were (favorite/least favorite):
- Jes Golbez: Andrej Meszaros/Dominik Hasek
- Tom L. of Sabre Rattling: Zdeno Chara/Dominik Hasek
- Navi of Belle River Nation: Peter Schaefer/Chris Neil
- Japers’ Rink: Jason Spezza/Dominik Hasek
- Ben Wright: Jason Spezza/Dominik Hasek
- Matt of the Battle Of Alberta: Alfie/Paul Martin

Of the six bloggers who participated, only one referenced captain Alfredsson? Why is this?

In theory, I’d think he’d be the most likeable Senator. Here’s a guy who has defied the odds to become an NHL superstar. Drafted in the 6th round, at age 21 no less, he wasn’t supposed to even make the NHL, let alone become one of the league’s best players and the captain of one of it’s best teams.

Alfredsson is having the best season of his pretty great NHL career, and many think he’d be the winner of the Hart Trophy for league MVP is the hardware was given out today. I’d be inclined to agree.

In addition to his scoring, it’s what Alfredsson does away from the puck that makes him so valuable. You won’t find a harder back checker than Alfredsson. He’s always the first guy back whenever a turnover occurs. He’s the best forward who plays the point on the powerplay in the NHL, and this season, has become a tremendous penalty killer on a team who’s PK is among the league’s best.

He’s also able to elevate the play of those around him, as evident in the fact that when he was placed on The Line, the games of both Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley went to the next level.

I realize Jason Spezza is the sexier choice. He’s younger, flashier, and as far as highlight reel players, more exciting. But some of you are really overlooking Daniel Alfredsson. He’s pretty great.

Anyway, my foray into Mr. Golbez’s challenge:
Atlanta: Marian Hossa/Greg de Vries
Anaheim: Scott Niedermayer/Sandis Ozolinsh
Boston: Patrice Bergeron/Travis Green
Buffalo: Daniel Briere/Andrew Peters
Calgary: Jarome Iginla/Bryan Marchment
Carolina: Rod Brind’Amour/Oleg Tverdovsky
Chicago: Mark Bell/Matthew Barnaby
Colorado: Ian Laperriere/Patrice Bergeron
Columbus: Sergei Fedorov/Jan Hrdina
Dallas: Brendan Morrow/Bill Guerin
Detroit: Brendan Shanahan/Kirk Maltby
Edmonton: Jason Smith/Igor Ulanov
Florida: Martin Gelinas/Jozef Stumpel
Los Angeles: Mattias Norstrom/Sean Avery
Minnesota: Wes Walz/Alexandre Daigle
Montreal: Jose Theodore/Radek Bonk
Nashville: Steve Sullivan/Danil Markov
New Jersey: John Madden/Vladimir Malakhov
NY Islanders: Jason Blake/Alexei Yashin
NY Rangers: Steve Rucchin/Darius Kasparitus
Ottawa: Daniel Alfredsson/Bryan Smolinski
Philadelphia: Eric Desjardins/Derian Hatcher
Phoenix: Mike Ricci/Petr Nedved
Pittsburgh: Mark Recchi/Zigmund Palffy
St. Louis: Doug Weight/Keith Tkachuk
San Jose: Alyn McCauley/Kyle McLaren
Tampa Bay: Brad Richards/Vaclav Prospal
Toronto: Tomas Kaberle/Darcy Tucker, Tie Domi, Bryan McCabe, Ed Belfour
Vancouver: Mattias Ohlund/Todd Bertuzzi
Washington: Alexander Ovechkin/Olaf Kolzig


At 9:38 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

The biggest knock against Alfredsson is that he has been the captain of a team which has for the most part failed miserably when it counted most - the playoffs. Rightly or wrongly, some of the blame has to be placed on his shoulders and I think this has a significant influence in how people view him.

This year will be a big year for Alfredsson as management has told him, this is your team. We've changed the coach, you've now got a true #1 center, a proven playoff goalie and we got rid of a guy because we didn't want anyone to be paid more than you. If the team fails in the playoffs this year a lot of fingers are going to be pointing at Alfredsson.

At 12:28 AM, Blogger Matt said...

But you knew I was smarter than the other bloggers, didn't you Chris...

Seriously, you make a good case for him. But he's been great for me in the past as a mid-round pool pick, and that's the primary, while soulless, reason for my love.

At 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Er, Patrice Bergeron plays for Boston, not Colorado.

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous steve d said...

How can you leave Lindros off your most hated leafs players? He definitely deserves a few rotten eggs thrown in his direction.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger Nick said...

Hating on Ollie the Goalie? What's that all about? He's been a consistently good and non-complaining goalie on a terrible team for years now, and that's fine by me.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

1) The Leafs I hate I hate because of what they've done to the Senators in the past. Though Lindros is certainly a dick, he's yet to be a factor in the BoO.

2) Kolzig burned the Senators back in 1998.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel Alfredsson may in fact be the greatest player in the history of the NHL/World/Universe.

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank god he cut his hair.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Tom L said...

I've always been a big fan (all puns intended, of course) of Chara... I just love the guy.

As for Alfie? I have to say he may be the best Captain in the league (his taking a paycut during the bankruptcy was very cool) and a helluva hockey player. He's certainly someone I'd love to see in an AGH sweater.

What I can't understand is all the love for Andrew Peters? Especially when the team has guys like Danny Briere and Marty Biron giving interviews. Those guys have so much charm it's sick.


At 12:34 PM, Anonymous pete said...

If you hate Tucker and love Alfie, then I'm guessing that time in the '01 playoff series when Alfie dummied Tucker into the boards from behind, breaking his shoulder, and then scored the game winning goal 10 seconds later, is like, your all-time, #1 favourite hockey moment.

Conversely, that was the moment when I went from neutral to hate-filled on Alfredsson.

For what its worth, I think I hate Chara more than I hate Alfredsson. And it seems like EVERYBODY hates Hasek, but that's probably just because he's single-handedly beaten everybody's team at least 25 times. That, and his cheap habit of pushing the net off the pegs.

If I had to pick a few Sens to play on my team, I'd take Heatley, Spezza, Fisher and Redden. And I always liked Todd White. I kind of liked Bonk, too, but that's just because I liked saying his name. Bonk, Bonk, Bonk.

May I ask: why hate McCabe? I seem to recall he's been thoroughly average in the BoO playoff series, and not too badly behaved, either.

Just wonderin'.

At 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Tricia said...

I must confess, I too have a very special place in my heart for Daniel Alfredsson. Why else would I be searching the internet on Christmas Eve for Daniel Alfredsson websites? Honestly, though, I don't think there is another individual, player or otherwise, that has contributed to the Sens as much as Alfie has. He has a way of winning fans (or in the case of Leafs fans, pissing them off) with his big smile and easy going nature, and I think his play this season speaks for itself. I've always tried to pretend the Redden is my favourite player on the Senators, but in all reality I think Alfredsson is the Senators to me. And according to, we're 97% compatible. All based on a birthday, imagine that. Wonder what his wife would say... Anyway best wishes and Happy Holidays. Sens for the Cup!


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