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Fives All Around

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

The end of the calendar year always brings with it the temptation to write best-of type lists and this year I’m offering no defense when facing that temptation. Here are a few top-five-in-2011 rankings, some with explanations and others just straight-ahead lists:

Five NHLers I’ve most enjoyed watching in the calendar year

Tim Thomas. Unpredictable to the point his style can’t be taught. In a sport filled with giant goalies with robotic form, Thomas is a thrill unto himself – and still the biggest driver of Boston’s success.

Jonathan Toews. With Sidney Crosby sidelined indefinitely, the Hawks captain is the most complete player in the game. His personality is much more Sphinx than Shaq, but his on-ice dominance is so thorough – he’s on pace for new career highs in goals and points – it’s hard to believe he’s just 23 and continuing to improve.

Nicklas Lidstrom. With his 42nd birthday looming in April, he’s still the defenseman most NHL people would want on the ice for them in the last minute of a game. And if he continues his current standard of play the rest of the year he’ll have my vote for the Norris Trophy, just as he got it last season.

continued

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I have trouble understanding how anyone could consider Crosby a “complete player” in any sense, much less “the most complete player in the game”.  Sure he is always an offenseive threat, but only when he has the puck shooting or passing.  Without the puck, he is not a threat.  Defensively he is absent in all three zones.  Opposing teams know that if you play him tight, he wil shy away from the rough stuff and won’t be seen for the rest of the night.  The only fear there is that he is likely to draw a penalty with all his diving.  Add to that the fact that he is physically fragile (think Pat Lafontaine) and how could he mentioned in the same sentence with the word “:complete”.  Toews is a much more complete player, and leader in a class of his own… Crosby isn’t even an after thought.

Posted by sean_o_sean on 12/28/11 at 03:20 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.

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