The 12 Most Overexposed Players Currently in the NHL

Dan KelleyCorrespondent IINovember 28, 2012

The 12 Most Overexposed Players Currently in the NHL

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    As hockey fans, we love our players.

    We love our superstars. We love our enforcers, our role players, our power-play quarterbacks and our penalty killing specialists. Hell, most of us even love the backup goaltender. 

    We appreciate talent, skill, slick moves, sound bites and anything that makes it onto a highlight reel. We watch the game, we watch the postgame, we watch the morning recap on our favorite sports networks and then we get ready to watch the next pregame show. 

    And somewhere along the line...we might get a little sick of some of the players.

    Sure, they may be our favorites. But at some point, we can do without seeing them in commercials, listening to trade rumors centered around them, hearing their comments and reading their tweets. Some guys simply get too much exposure, even if they don't ask for it. 

    Here are 12 NHL players who get too much exposure, and the unique reasons why we wish the media would give it a rest.

12. Paul Bissonnette

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    Where is the worst exposure? Twitter.

    Why is he overexposed? Biz Nasty earned a name for himself by having a brash Twitter account. The occasional fourth-liner for the Phoenix Coyotes has long entertained fans with his crude remarks, but like Tom Green and the "Jackass" crew, people eventually bore themselves with shock value.

    I give all the credit in the world to Biz Nasty for maintaining his popularity, but if I see one more retweet of an unamusing Bissonnette-ism by a fellow hockey fan, I may blow my brains out.

11. Erik Karlsson

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    Where is the worst exposure? At the Norris Trophy voting.

    Why is he overexposed? Every so often, the media wishes to anoint an offensive-minded defenseman with the role of succeeding Bobby Orr. Right now, Erik Karlsson is the man for the job, having taken the reins from Mike Green. 

    Karlsson put up unbelievably impressive numbers in the offensive zone during the 2011-12 season, totaling a whopping 78 points that left him tied for 10th in the league, and first among defensemen. 

    The media loves solid numbers, and Karlsson's offensive numbers have made him a household name. However, a well-informed general manager would be hesitant to add Karlsson to his back line, as the Swede seems to treat his position as that of a fourth forward. The fact that Karlsson won the Norris Trophy is almost laughable, as his true defensive contributions left plenty to be desired. 

    We need to focus less on the d-men with the flashy offensive skills and show some appreciation to those blueliners who keep the puck out of the net.

10. Joe Thornton

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    Where is the worst exposure? Among people who still believe the Sharks can get past their playoff woes.

    Why is he overexposed? Thornton is one of the most talented setup men in the game, but after having played seven years with the Sharks and getting to the playoffs in each season, the fact that San Jose has yet to reach a Stanley Cup Final pins the failures squarely on Thornton's shoulders. 

    It's one thing when a good player cannot turn around a bad team; you cannot hold a captain responsible for the whole roster. But the Sharks have been stocked with the likes of Evgeni Nabokov, Dany Heatley, Rob Blake and Patrick Marleau. Thornton has long been a leader on the team and has worn the "C" since 2010, but he has failed to make the difference for his squad. 

    The more we talk about disappointing postseason showings, the more we wind up talking about Jumbo Joe. We all want him to get there someday, but maybe it would make things a little easier on him to keep quiet about his unlucky playoff runs. 

9. P.K. Subban

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    Where is the worst exposure? Among sensationalizing media members everywhere.

    Why is he overexposed? P.K. Subban burst onto the scene in the 2010 playoffs, totaling eight points in 14 games and behaving like an absolute wrecking ball despite having only two NHL games under his belt prior to the postseason. 

    Since then, Subban has become one of the league's most talked-about youngsters...for better or for worse. The defenseman's talent is undeniable, but his mouth, attitude and contract disputes have given him a bad reputation that seems to supersede his on-ice abilities. 

    If I need to spend my offseason hearing about the contracts a player is turning down (via The Hockey News), he needs to have more than two full seasons under his belt for me to be remotely interested. 

8. Claude Giroux

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    Where is the worst exposure? On the cover of a video game I refuse to own until the lockout ends.

    Why is he overexposed? Claude Giroux is an undeniably talented player, but he plays in a city so hungry for a Stanley Cup that they're ready to dub anyone with a breakout season as "The Next Bobby Clarke."

    Giroux's impassioned fan base helped him get the cover of NHL 13, considered one of the top fantasy role-playing games on XBOX as it depicts an actual NHL season in 2012-13. The Flyers' fans and their love of hockey have rocketed this still-emerging star to the national argument over "the league's best player."

    Sorry Flyers fans, but Giroux isn't quite there yet, Let's give him a year or two to really hit his stride before anointing him.

7. Roberto Luongo

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    Where is the worst exposure? Everywhere from trade talks to fans lamenting Vancouver's failure to win a Cup.

    Why is he overexposed? Roberto Luongo is one of those unfortunate cases of a goalie who has all the tools to be great, yet never manages to take the final step toward success. 

    He has become one of the most recognizable names in both the NHL and in trade rumors (Sporting News), but in the end, Luongo is the guy who hasn't quite been able to get it done (though, to his credit, he was pivotal in Team Canada's 2010 Olympic gold medal run).

    Now, his fall from grace has begun with the rise of backup netminder Cory Schneider. Luongo will likely find a team willing to sign him as a starter, but if he couldn't win the Cup with a franchise that won four straight Northwest Division titles and two straight Presidents' Trophies, his window of opportunity may have closed. 

6. Alexander Ovechkin

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    Where is the worst exposure? Wherever someone who knows nothing about hockey wants to talk about hockey.

    Why is he overexposed? Alexander Ovechkin burst onto the scene at the same time as Sidney Crosby, immediately after the 2004-05 lockout. The sport was ailing and it needed something to stimulate water-cooler talk. The Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry was born.

    Ovie put up huge numbers for years, but eventually, his ego became the one putting on the dazzling performance. For every circus goal Ovechkin has scored, we have an obnoxious celebration to remember.

    His production has dropped off in recent seasons, yet many American sports news outlets continue to put him on Crosby's level.

    Newsflash: Ovechkin is no Crosby. Right now, he's an overpaid winger with a lot of jersey sales to his name. 

5. And 4. Daniel and Henrik Sedin

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    Where is the worst exposure? Among media members who just can't get enough of the fact that they are twins!

    Why are they overexposed? Henrik and Daniel are, individually, among the most talented players in the league and, as a tandem, virtually unmatched. Henrik is the setup man, Daniel is the goal scorer, and both find themselves consistently near the top of the league in total points. 

    All the recognition they receive is well deserved, even though they've failed to get their franchise a Stanley Cup. 

    But the media just can't get enough of the "twins" thing. Back-to-back draft picks, matching contracts, even their jersey numbers scream "twins!" And how cool was it that they played against each other in the 2011 All-Star Game?

    After 12 years, haven't we finally gotten over how funny it is that they look alike and have great chemistry?

3. Sidney Crosby

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    Where is the worst exposure? The American sports media.

    Why is he overexposed? Crosby is the face of the NHL, and whether you like it or not, he deserves it. 

    However, as hockey attempts to grow, the league has been big on heavily marketing the Penguins' captain (along with Washington's Ovechkin) in the United States. The casual American hockey fan spent years choosing between Team Sid and Team Ovie, and now the NHL has shot itself in the foot. 

    Ovechkin's production and general ability to be tolerated are in decline, and Crosby missed much of the last two seasons dealing with health problems. Without its two biggest stars lighting up the rink, hockey suddenly lost an identity in America. Clearly, too many eggs were put in the Crosby and Ovechkin baskets.

    The NHL's heavy marketing push should include more of its other stars, so that Crosby is not under such an intense microscope. Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick, John Tavares and Steven Stamkos all come to mind. Until that strategy is expanded, Crosby is going to make the whole sport look bad every time the media gets a sound bite from him.

    That's too much responsibility for one player not named Wayne Gretzky. 

2. Tim Thomas

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    Where is the worst exposure? Anywhere he can find a soapbox.

    Why is he overexposed? Oh, Tim Thomas. 

    Thomas became one of the most likable players in hockey when he burst onto the scene as a Vezina winner at age 35, making for a great story about a guy who just didn't give up. 

    Now, he's become the guy who just won't give it up. 

    When the NHL began marketing Thomas in commercials, they likely thought they were getting a goalie with a few screws loose who could be just fun enough to really draw in a crowd. Instead, they got an athlete that is so passionate about his politics, he can't even put them aside for a team photo op at the White House (via The Washington Post). 

    The trouble with politics is that, even if you have the most well-structured argument, half the people disagree with you. Half the fans. Half your teammates. Half of the league. You don't make friends by wearing your politics on your sleeves, you only make trouble for your franchise. 

    Not surprisingly, you don't see too many Tim Thomas ads these days.

1. Patrick Kane

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    Where is the worst exposure? Video game covers, commercials, and tabloids.

    Why is he overexposed? How could the media not attach itself to an American-born player picked first overall who already has a Cup-winning goal under his belt?

    Patrick Kane looked destined for stardom after his upstart Chicago Blackhawks brought hockey back to the Windy City in a big way. However, his production has been in decline ever since that Cup victory, and he seems to spend more time finding the bottom of a bottle than the back of the net (via Deadspin).

    Patrick's failure to distance himself from some unpleasantness with a cabbie early in his career (via Yahoo! Sports) make him the sort of guy who is getting tons of exposure for the NHL, and very little of it is good. He needs a bounce-back year both on and off the ice, or else the NHL is really going to regret marketing this American boy as one of hockey's attention-grabbers.