NHL All Star Game: Patrick Sharp and the Unsung Heroes
Some players are always in the spotlight.
You always hear about Crosby or Ovechkin or Toews but you don’t hear about the unsung hockey heroes.
The following players have quietly had solid seasons and are not getting the recognition that they deserve.
I feel it’s the least we can do for these true all-stars.
Milan Hejduk, F, Colorado Avalanche
The 34 year old veteran is quietly making his mark on the hockey world again by helping Colorado into the playoffs.
Hejduk has been a star in the past and did great when the Avalanche were winning in the 2000’s. Now that the talent around him is better again, his numbers are seeing a serious increase.
The right wing is averaging a point a game this year and besides a slight injury early in the season, looks great for his age.
Expect continued production from Hejduk and continued success for Colorado.
Shea Weber, D, Nashville Predators
Shea Weber is one of the least known captains in the entire league.
Weber is one of the best all-around defenders in the game right now. He is buried on a bad defensive team so his numbers have suffered because of his willingness and ability to commit to his defensive prowess.
The Predators are in a good position in the standings because of Weber’s ability to change a game with his talent in all aspects of the game.
Weber needs to get more credit than he currently receives.
Corey Crawford, G, Chicago Blackhawks
When Chicago let Antti Niemi go this offseason, there were questions about how the situation in net would be resolved.
The Blackhawks solution was the free agent signing of veteran goaltender Marty Turco.
As I saw this plan was going to fall through, I knew it would be interesting to see what happens in net for Chicago.
The answer, Corey Crawford.
Crawford has been solid in net and has taken the starting job from Turco.
He has 14 wins, a save percentage of .917, and a goals against average of 2.23 and is clearly the better goaltender this year.
Jeff Skinner, F, Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes are going to have to fight their way into the playoffs and Jeff Skinner will have to be a big part of that.
Skinner has played amazing in his rookie season and leads rookies in points with 32 and assists with 18.
Jeff Skinner has a lot of growing up to do but this year he has been a huge part of the Hurricanes offense and will be for years to come.
Jack Johnson, D, Los Angeles Kings
Playing on a team full of talent like Los Angeles, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.
Jack Johnson plays in the shadow of Drew Doughty and quietly has been better all year.
Johnson has 31 points this season, 21 of which have come on the powerplay.
If the Kings want to stay consistent and push towards the playoffs, they will need the continued success of Jack Johnson.
Brandon Dubinsky, F, New York Rangers
In any other division, the Rangers are a top team.
In the Atlantic Division, they are behind the Flyers and Penguins and are probably going to have to play their way in as a sixth seed or lower.
Dubinsky will be one of the keys to the Rangers success if they want to go deep into the playoffs.
So far this season, Brandon Dubinsky has been the best all-around player on the Rangers. He is good offensively and defensively and is willing to do whatever it takes to win.
Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings
The Kings are in a tough Western Conference and goaltending will be the key to an extended stay in the playoffs.
The reason the Kings are where they are at this point in the season is the stellar play of goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Quick is fourth in the league with 19 wins, has a save percentage of .921, and is third in the league with a goals against average of 2.15.
If he can keep up this pace, the Kings could be a real nightmare in the playoffs.
Dustin Byfuglien, D, Atlanta Thrashers
“Big Buff” is showing Chicago they made a big mistake letting him go.
Since Atlanta moved Byfuglien back to defense, he has really opened up his game and helped open up the ice for his teammates.
Byfuglien has been solid as a rock defensively and amazing offensively. He is definitely worthy of Norris Trophy consideration.
Buff has 41 points this season and has 18 powerplay points while adding 73 hits. He is the definition of “all-purpose defender”.
If a defender wins the Norris in Atlanta, does anyone care?
Ryan Kesler, F, Vancouver Canucks
Ryan Kesler has been simply outstanding for the Canucks.
Not only is Kesler gifted offensively but he is as talented defensively. That balance is the key to success in the NHL for Kesler and any player.
To go along with being eighth in the league with a +17, he has managed 23 goals, 40 points, eight powerplay goals, and five game winning goals.
With numbers and play like that, he needs way more exposure to the rest of the NHL and deserves to be an All-Star.
Patrick Sharp, F, Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Sharp has been one of the biggest surprises in recent memory. From last year until now, he has helped carry the Blackhawks.
Sharp is in third in the league with 25 goals and has managed 44 points though the first 43 games.
His dominance has been amazing this year and he has been the key to the team’s success.
Patrick Sharp is third in the league with ten powerplay goals, fifth in the league with two shorthanded goals, and first in the league with six game winning goals.
If that’s not dominance and game changing ability, then nothing is.
Patrick Sharp has been one of the best players in the league this year and his name is hardly whispered at All-Star time.
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