Stars Under Fire : Ovechkin and Eight Other Stars with a Lot to Prove

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Stars Under Fire : Ovechkin and Eight Other Stars with a Lot to Prove
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Ovechkin and the Capitals were shocked in the first round last year. This year a similar fate would be unacceptable.

Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Eric Staal, Henrik Zetterberg. These are star players, leaders in their respective teams who have excelled in the post-season recently, fighting off and feeding off of tremendous pressure and emerging victors, holding up the Stanley Cup at the end of a glorious battle.

But every year, while only one team can win, 29 others are disappointed. And among those teams are some star players who excel in the regular season but have thus far been unable to lead their teams to playoff glory, some of whom have come under intense criticism for just that.

All of these players have that rare star quality. They lead their teams, they make the highlight reels, they're up there in the top of the stats year after year, they win the individual awards.

But so far, they have come up short when it counts, or have run into a rut in their careers.

They are all coming into this season with a lot to prove. They need to prove they can be real leaders for their teams, that they are capable of winning, that they want to win so badly they can no longer be denied.

Come playoff time, we will see which one, if any of them can get over that hump. Only one team can win the Stanley Cup, so a lot of these players will wind up disappointed and under fire yet again.

They will all surely be leaders and stars in the regular season. Can they be that in the playoffs when it gets rough and they face the best of the best every night?

These are the nine star players with the most to prove in 2010-2011.

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