There's really nothing like the NHL Playoffs for separating the wheat from the chaff. The lambs from the lions. The men from the boys.
Sure, many players are able to put up decent—or perhaps better than decent—numbers during the regular season. But come playoff time, it becomes a whole different story. The hits become harder, the tempo becomes faster, players are willing to lay it all on the line, and every goal gains nearly monumental importance.
Some players are able to handle the added pressure. Hell, some players thrive on it: Gretzky, Messier, Roy, Orr, Sawchuck. No matter how well they played in the regular season, these players always seemed able to shift into yet another gear come playoff time. They became faster, stronger, more agile. They could take over a game, an entire series. They could carry their teams on their backs.
Other players seem to crumble under the pressure. Get something caught in their throats. Choke.
Joe Thornton, for instance: no matter how dominating Joe is during the regular season, year after year, come playoff time, he suddenly looks as though he might lose a one-on-one battle with my grandmother.
And then there are the guys who have the honor of being honored here today: the one-hit wonders.
These are the true Supermen of hockey: they are the mild-mannered Clark Kents of the hockey world who garner little attention, but who for one fortuitous, and sometimes iconic moment, bound onto the national scene with a performance of seemingly ungodly proportions. And who, despite momentarily leaping tall buildings in a single bound, eventually nuzzle themselves back under their rocks of mediocrity once the limelight has fizzled.
May Sean Bergenheim be one of these Supermen? With seven goals in his first 11 playoff games, nobody has lit the lamp more than Bergenheim in the 2011 playoffs. Indeed, Bergenheim is scoring four times as often as he has throughout his six year career, and has become a crucial part of the Lightning's playoff success to this point.
Does this make him a one-hit wonder? We'll need to watch the rest of his career unfold before we know for sure. However, for the men on the following pages, their superhero status is already well-established.