In this edition of “Thoughts of the Day”, we’ll be addressing the NHL. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are hockey’s biggest stage, they also happen to be a very peculiar time. Some star players wilt away when it matters most, some stars rise to the occasion, and some unsung heroes become legends in the hunt for the holy grail.
Compiling a list of 23 players to make up the all-time playoff team is not an easy task, which means it can raise some interesting debates. There are no rules as far as era, any player who has excelled in the playoffs at his position is fair game. Without further adieu, here are the 23 players that make up the roster:
- Starting goalie: Patrick Roy. When it comes to goaltenders, Patrick Roy set himself apart from the competition in the postseason. He won 151 playoff games with a 91.8% save percentage and 6,561 total saves. Most importantly, his numbers translated to four Stanley Cups and three Conn Smythe Awards (playoff MVP). Roy is the greatest goalie of all time in my opinion and he backed it up when it was time to win championships. He’s the starting goalie without a doubt.
- Backup goalie: Martin Brodeur. The debate has gone on since Brodeur was on the tail end of his prime: Who is the best goaltender of all time, him or Roy? When it comes to the playoffs, Marty is a close second to “St. Patrick.” The Devils legend has won 113 postseason games in his career, with a 91.9% save percentage. He’s won three Cups, with his best campaign being in 2003 when he set a record with seven shutouts in a single playoffs. He would honestly share time with Patty on this team, because he was a wall when it mattered most against the Mighty Ducks.
- 10 Defensemen: Bobby Orr, Paul Coffey, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Chris Pronger, Al MacInnis, Larry Robinson, Ray Bourque, Denis Potvin, Scott Stevens. All ten of these defensemen have hard-earned Stanley Cups after excellent play on both sides of the ice. Orr is one of the top five greatest players of all time, and the fact that both Lidstrom and Chelios are on the list is a credit to the Detroit Red Wings and their fantastic teams in the early 2000’s. Scott Stevens’ hit on Paul Kariya in the 2003 Finals is one of the most memorable moments in recent playoff history, as was Ray Bourque finally winning his first Cup.
- 11 Forwards: Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Brian Trottier, Brett Hull, Jarri Kurri, Gordie Howe, Glenn Anderson, Joe Sakic. They’re some of the greatest players in the history of the game for a reason: they all showed up in May and June. As always, no list would be complete without the Great One or Super Mario.
- Head coach: Scotty Bowman. Bowman has a record nine Stanley Cup championships as a head coach. That’s a mark that will probably never be broken, which definitely gives him enough credibility to coach this team. Scotty was a fierce coach who had the competitiveness to beat any opponent. Not that he would need it with a team like this, but I could trust him not to mess anything up.
Agree? Disagree? Drop a comment or tweet me @chuckiemaggio