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The Top NHL Olympians

from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,

With a small handful of exceptions, throughout almost all the 20th century, players had the opportunity to lace up in either the NHL or the Olympics, but not both. But that equation changed in 1998, and now that we’ve had 16 years of the top NHL stars participating in the Olympics, plenty of guys have had the chance to shine on both stages.

But who’s done it best? That seems like the sort of thing that calls for a subjective and arbitrary ranking that will end with people yelling at me.

So let’s give it a try, using this question: Weighting NHL and Olympic performance equally, which 10 players have been the best of both worlds?

6. Chris Pronger, Canada

NHL: 1,167 games; 698 points; five-time All-Star; one Hart; one Norris

Olympics: Four appearances; 25 games; 9 points

As a defenseman, Pronger doesn’t match the scoring totals of some of the other skaters on the list. But he doesn’t need to, because he was one of the most dominant players of his era.

He played 19 years in the NHL and was still going strong at 37 years old when a head injury ended his career. He won both the Norris and the Hart in 2000, becoming the only defenseman to be named MVP in the more than 40 years since Bobby Orr last won the award. He bounced around a bit later in his career, always marking his arrival by dragging his new teams to the Stanley Cup final.

Pronger is the only player to play for Team Canada in all four Olympics of the NHL era, including the 2002 and 2010 gold-medal teams. His 25 games played is the most in Canadian history.

read on for the other 9...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Hank1974's avatar

Chris Pronger???
He’s joking right??
Pronger looked like drift wood when he was on international ice. Absolutely horrendous.

Every year he played, I wondered if there were Junior B dmen who could have done a better job.

He was slow of foot, and without being given a free pass to body slam, slash or punch anyone within reach, he was basically a breathing pylon out there for teams to victimize.

Posted by Hank1974 on 02/05/14 at 03:35 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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