The Hockey News: Top 50 Players — Complete Stupidy 2005-2006

Can I ever take Mike Brophy seriously again? As a writer, ‘expert’ or man. The Hockey News’ Top 50 Players of 2005-2006 had the most bizarre and insanely ludicrous rankings I have read in a long time.

Jarome Iginla as number one in the NHL is understandable, and to an extent, I agree. But the list after that is mostly misfortune after unjustified garbage.

Firstly, this is all my opinion, just like Brophy has his. Is it more potent or accurate? I’d like to think so, but no, because opinion is opinion. But Brophy’s opinion this time around has just baffled me.

1. Sidney Crosby made the list – the fact that Sidney Crosby is on the list at all killed me inside. This young man has yet to play one game in NHL competition, but not only is he on the list, he is ranked 26th! He is ranked better than: Bertuzzi, Havlat, Hejduk, Datsyuk, Redden, Palffy, Gaborik, Luongo, Heatley, and so many more. How does Mr. Brophy justify this ranking? If this was most-hyped players 2005-2006, I could understand, but it is not. If you’re going to go with a great young player you have people out there. Spezza, Ryder, Trent Hunter have all proven themselves in a way to at least produce some points. Or at least stepped foot in an NHL game.

2. What did Marcus Naslund do to move up 11 spots? He was fourth in points in the last year played in the league, seventh in goals and ninth in assists, not to mention being +24 and scoring 9 points in 7 playoff games. Naslund is still probably the best left-winger in the game and still had a great year on all levels, but somehow moved up from 3 to 14.

3. Goalies-a-Mess. Okay, I get it, everyone thinks Brodeur is the best goalie in the league (Now ranked 3rd, by the way). I don’t, but I’ll leave that aside. My question to Mike Brophy, how is Khabibulin ranked 17th and Kiprusoff ranked 27th but much better goalies in Roberto Luongo, Marty Turco and Tomas Vokoun ranked so much lower (37th, 38th and 39th respectively). Khabibulin has been a good goalie over the years, I know that, but one great season does not a goalie make. Add the same remark to Kiprusoff. People have this man locked up to be the best goalie for years to come, and I’d be happy for him and the Flames if it comes true. But I don’t count my chickens before they hatch. I just have to look back at Giguere or Carey and smarten up pretty quickly. Oh, and Luongo is the best goalie in the league today. Yes, even better than the superior Brodeur. Anyone else notice that Brodeur has won championships with all-star teams.

4. Elias is 18th. When did this happen? Elias is a good player, do not get me wrong. But who would you rather have on your top line? Elias or Sundin? Elias or Alfredson? Elias or Lemieux? Elias or Fedorov? I choose the latter in all cases. (Keep note that Bertuzzi, Havlat, Hejduk, Datsyuk, Palffy and Gaborik are all ranked behind him)

5. Rob Blake, in my opinion the 3rd best defenseman in hockey, behind Lidstrom and Pronger, is rated a mere 22th. Pa-lease. I like Zdeno Chara a lot, but he still has a lot to learn also. Rob Blake should at least be in the to 20.

6. Rick Nash. Easily one of my favourite young players finishes 15th this year. My question again is, why? He scored 41 goals, sure, but didn’t even garner 20 assists. How does playing horrible defensively and scoring garbage goals put you ahead of great players and playmakers like Hossa, Sundin or Alfredson. Nash should be a Top 50 player. But should keep up in the 30s for now.

7. Mats Sundin is misplaced. I’ve always considered Sundin a top 10 player. Any player who can rack up at least 70 points and 30 goals a year playing beside the likes of Lonny Bohonos, Jonas Hoglund, Mikael Renberg, Kris King, Fredrik Modin, Robert Reichel or any half-assed player the Leafs picked up deserves all the credit in the world. 20th in the league is a little too low for the big guy when I think that there are are at least seven players he should rank higher than. If Sundin had the linemates that most superstar players had, he would have been raking in points. But isn’t that the Leaf theory? Have one great player and surround him with human feces.

8. Scott Hannan made the list. I don’t mind this ranking but if you are going to add Hannan, where is Robyn Regehr? Who is actually a better player than Hannan. A minor complaint, but one nonetheless.

9. Nabokov! Hey, where is this former Calder Trophy winner? He was one of the final four goalies in the NHL last season and held his own against Kiprusoff. This guy is a great goalie and easily top 7 goalies today.

10. And finally, where is Jovocop or Mattias Ohlund? Mike Brophy must have forgotten them. But he couldn’t have forgotten about Cory Stillman who scored 80 points (more than Richards and Lecavalier)… oh wait, he did. But surely Robert Lang, who scored 79 in 69… nevermind. He didn’t even get #50. I understand that there isn’t room for everyone, but these guys should have had room made for them.

Overall, it’s probably just me who thinks this list is ridiculous because even in terms of talent alone, Brophy has got it all wrong.

Also, if you haven’t noticed, I am not a fan of one-year successes. I hate when people rate players like St. Louis, Lecavalier, Richards, Nash, Kiprusoff, as high as they do when they have only had one really good year or one really good playoff. But I did let most of the Lightning slip through because they did win the Cup last year played. Anywho, rant on…

Here is the official Top 50 List as written by Mike Brophy.

1. Jarome Iginla

2. Peter Forsberg

3. Martin Brodeur

4. Chris Pronger

5. Joe Sakic

6. Joe Thornton

7. Scott Neidermayer

8. Martin St-Louis

9. Nicklas Listrom

10. Ilya Kovalchuk

11. Brad Richards

12. Jaromir Jagr

13. Vinny Lavalier

14. Markus Naslund

15. Rick Nash

16. Marian Hossa

17. Nikolai Khabibulin

18. Patrik Elias

19. Zdeno Chara

20. Mats Sundin

21. Daniel Alfredsson

22. Rob Blake

23. Mario Lemieux

24. Sergei Fedorov

25. Mike Modano

26. Sidney Crosby (ugh)

27. Miika Kiprusoff

28. Todd Bertuzzi

29. Martin Havlat

30. Milan Hejduk

31. Pavel Datsyuk

32. Wade Redden

33. Ziggy Palffy

34. Marian Gaborik

35. Dany Heatley

36. Sergei Gonchar

37. Marty Turco

38. Roberto Luongo

39. Tomas Vokoun

40. Pavol Demitra

41. Keith Pimeau

42. Keith Tkachuk

43. Kris Draper

44. Scott Hannan

45. Glen Murray

46. Adam Foote

47. Ryan Smyth

48. Brendon Morrow

49. Alex Tanguay

50. Shane Doan

Notable misses: Bill Guerin, Jeremy Roenick, Patrick Malreau , Brian Leetch, Evgeni Nabokov, Ed Belfour, Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, Jason Spezza, Ed Jovanoski, Mattias Ohlund, Cory Stillman, Robert Lang etc. etc. etc.