First off, the reason I am writing this blog is due to the feature I just watched on our Real Player Highlights that you see every day here on our site when you logon to the mainpage.
Secondly, I respect MSG analyst Stan Fischler so much, he is a legend and someone I truly respect in this industry. In the past I have had the opportunity to have Stan on a few different radio shows as a guest and it was an honor to have him on. But and I mean but on this one, I respectively disagree with his assessment of the Top 5 Captains in the NHL today. Here are Fischler’s top 5 captains in the NHL this year.
1 – Adam Foote – How Foote is at the top of this list is beyond me? He shouldn’t even be in the top 5. He is no longer a difference maker the way he was five years ago.
2 – Shane Doan – I agree, Doan should definitely be in the top 5, he means so much to the Coyotes, the heart and soul of his team.
3 – Rob Blake – He was just named captain before training camp and I don’t see Blake as being that much of a large impact on the Sharks. It is a team of stars from Boyle, Thornton, Heatley, Marleau….the list goes on and on.
4 – Craig Rivet – Another first year captain for his team and personally I don’t see Rivet as being a difference in terms of the Sabres being in first place in the Northeast Division. Take him away and the Sabres are still where they are.
5 – Jonathon Toews – Second year captain has had the luxury of being surrounded by some key veteran signings in John Madden and Marian Hossa this year. Toews still has alot of learning to do and is not worthy of top 5 material, talk to me in a few years about that kind of ranking.
**His 4 honourable mentions are Crosby, Ovechkin, Langenbrunner and Alfredsson. Three of them should be in his top 5!!**
Now here are my top 5 captains in the NHL today.
1 – Sidney Crosby – He continues to elevate his leadership level each year since taking over as captain of the Pens three years ago. Without Crosby the Pens aren’t nearly the same team without him when the opposition can focus on Malkin. Crosby makes those around him better every shift.
2 – Daniel Alfredsson – You can call me a homer on this one, but the stats speak for themselves. When Alfie is out of the line-up the Sens are a completely different team. He is the heart and soul of the Sens in every sense of the word. During his absence in December the Sens went on a five game losing streak, upon his return the team goes on a 11 game win streak. In Alfie’s first two games back from injury he had 4G, 2A in igniting Ottawa back to top third of the Eastern Conference. Ottawa is 6-18 when Alfie is out of the line-up. Without Alfie the Sens don’t even sniff the playoffs, he means that much to this team.
3 – Shane Doan – Doan has really elevated his play this year. He will drop the gloves a couple of times a year for his team, he is that type of captain. The respect he commands in the locker room and on the ice is second to none. If you take Doan away from this Coyotes team, HC Dave Tippett would be sitting with his team in 10th place of the West rather than 5th. He means that much, similar to Alfie……Doan is the heart and soul of the Coyotes.
4 – Niklas Lidstrom – The epitomy of what you want in your captain. He not only anchors the blueline, he takes complete charge of his team on a nightly basis. The first thing any team does when gameplaning against the Wings is how to get the best of Lidstrom and many teams fail at it. From his Stanley Cup rings to the amount of icetime he logs every night, if you take away Lidstrom from the Wings this year……Detroit is in big trouble. He has kept things very steady considering the major injuries the Wings have endure this year.
5 – Alexander Ovechkin – Ovechkin has really elevated his play since taking over the captaincy from Chris Clark after being traded to Columbus. Yes, AO has increased his production and leads in small ways that maybe he wouldn’t have done a year ago. I have never seen him get more involved physically and on a couple of nights has been ready to drop the gloves for his teammates. He has embraced the captaincy in a huge way and it is nice to see him play with an edge more than ever.
Honourable mention to Jamie Langenbrunner, Scott Neidermayer, Zdeno Chara and Dustin Brown.
Well, do you agree or disagree with my assessment of the top 5 captains in the NHL today? This topic makes for a great discussion, so lets have it!! Start the discussion……….
As always you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Written by Kevin Lee
Kevin has had an extensive career as a sports writer and radio show host for almost 10 years. Kevin has covered the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA College Football and Basketball. From covering the BCS Championship Game to the Final Four and the Stanley Cup Finals, he has done it all. He has been featured on numerous sports radio stations in Canada and the United States and often a weekly guest on numerous XM and Sirius Satellite radio shows. He has also had his work featured on FoxSports.com.