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NHL: Phil Kessel and the 10 Most Underwhelming Personalities in the NHL

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2011

NHL: Phil Kessel and the 10 Most Underwhelming Personalities in the NHL

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The NHL is a better place when the player’s personalities come to the surface in times of high emotion.

    Whether winning or losing, when emotion shows through, the fans will care more.

    It’s the players who seem indifferent that the fans seem to not associate well with. When the team should be mad at its performance, the star player should be mad as well.

    A player who keeps a steady perspective on the game and doesn’t get emotional at either the highs or the lows may seem to not care to an avid fan.

    While these players are obviously some of the best in the NHL, their personalities leave a lot to be desired.

10. Nicklas Backstrom

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Washington Capitals have lacked offensive power this season and a big part of that is the lack of production from Nicklas Backstrom.

    While it seems Backstrom realizes the severity of what’s going on, he isn’t that presence in the locker room that can stir the pot.

    If he was vocal and knew what buttons to push, the Capitals wouldn’t have gone out and gotten veteran Jason Arnott, and they wouldn’t be struggling as much.

9. Joe Thornton

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    “Jumbo” Joe Thornton is one of the best forwards in the NHL and has been a big key to the continued success in San Jose.

    The problem I have found with Thornton is his lack of emotion during big situations. The Sharks have faltered in the playoffs and they never cut to Thornton breaking sticks or flipping out.

    He is a laid back player and he doesn’t make waves, but the team would be better off if he was more vocal on and off the ice.

8. Scott Gomez

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Scott Gomez is a good interview and a solid person to talk to after games. In that sense he has a good personality.

    It’s when he gets on the ice. He seems lazy at times and he doesn’t lead with his words or his actions in the midst of a game.

    People will say that he does but the team wins in spite of Gomez, not because of him. Gomez makes the sixth most money annually in the NHL and does not perform anywhere near where he should be for the Canadiens.

7. Ryan Malone

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    With all of the success of the Tamp Bay Lightning this season, the rush to get on the bandwagon has been fierce.

    The truth is that the Lightning won’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs because of their lack of commitment to the defensive game by the forwards.

    One of the key culprits is the overpaid, underwhelming Ryan Malone. He plays aggressively, but often leaves players wide open and doesn’t acknowledge his faults.

    His lack of responsibility and flawed play make with a thorn in the team's side instead of a long-term solution.

6. Chris Drury

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Chris Drury has been a royal bust for the New York Rangers and while he has been with the team, the success hasn’t been there.

    The man is making over $7 million annually and doesn’t earn a 10th of that.

    He is a shadow in the locker room when it comes to adversity and his on-the-ice play shows that his effort isn’t there.

    I don’t know what caused it, but he hasn’t cared since Buffalo.

5. Shawn Horcoff

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Making $5.5 million per year against the cap should show that you are a great player.

    When a player wears the “C” on his chest, it should show that he is a great leader.

    For me and a lot of people around the league, Horcoff has been nonexistent in both categories.

    Horcoff doesn’t lead by example with his play on the ice and from all accounts, he isn’t the most vocal leader in the locker room. With such a young team, they need all the leadership they can get.

4. Jay Bouwmeester

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    I believe that the Calgary Flames slapped an “A” on his chest because they paid him a ton of money and expected leadership qualities on and off the ice.

    Add that to the mistakes that Calgary has made recently.

    Bouwmeester has been solid this season defensively, but he has added little to no offense and hasn’t been vocal at all.

    As much as it is Jarome Iginla’s team, Bouwmeester was expected to be a force in the locker room and a leader on the ice and just hasn’t met those expectations.

3. Evgeni Malkin

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Evgeni Malkin is a tortured soul in Pittsburgh. He is trying to develop a reputation and a persona but he is learning from Sidney Crosby.

    Malkin never had a chance.

    When the game or calls aren’t going his way, Malkin mails it in. He doesn’t seem to give 100 percent until it’ll benefit him.

    He is a great offensive player but his attitude and personality are nonexistent. Boring even.

2. Ilya Kovalchuk

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Oh, Ilya Kovalchuk. The pains you must give poor Jacques Lemaire and his defensive first schemes.

    The lackadaisical way Kovalchuk plays the game has to drive the organization crazy but he makes $100 million, so what can you do?

    While the Devils are red hot right now, the lack of effort by Kovalchuk in anything but scoring can be infuriating.

    All Kovalchuk worries about are his stats and his salary and that’s a shame.

1. Phil Kessel

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    I don’t think it's Phil Kessel’s fault, but he is definitely viewed as one of the most boring people off the ice.

    On the ice, he can play hard at times, but at other times it looks like he is taking the game or shift off. I know it’s hard to go 100 percent every shift but fans expect more out of their players.

    From the trade to Toronto to being picked last in the fantasy draft at the All-Star game, Kessel has become the lovable curmudgeon that people love to pick on.

    Kessel’s personality is laid back, so him ignoring it all and taking it in stride comes off as arrogance and indifference to some fans.

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