by PuckStopsHere on 02/28/09 at 03:33 AM ET
There has been an interesting series of posts in the Cycle Like The Sedins blog about an all-decade hockey team. Although I question the timing - why would one chose the decade of 1999-2008 as a meaningful time frame. It seems like a rather random start and end point.
During this decade there were nine NHL seasons (as the 2004/05 one was lost due to lockout). Thus when numbers are compared to other ten year periods, this one should be about 10% behind. As one who enjoys the process of trying to put our modern day events into perspective and figure out how they will be seen by people in the future, this is the kind of question that interests me.
The all-decade teams chosen have one centre, two wingers, two defencemen, one goalie and one coach (as well as two more meaningless positions best fighter and loudmouth).
Here are my picks:
Centre - Joe Sakic The battle here is between Joe Sakic and Joe Thornton. Sakic wins as a three time First Team All Star (against Thornton’s one). Both had an MVP year. Sakic had Stanley Cup success, which is something still lacking on the Joe Thornton resume.
Winger - Jaromir Jagr Jagr is the obvious choice winger. He is far ahead of competition. He was a three and a half time first all star (if I understand the time period correctly only half of the 98/99 season falls within it) and a 2.5 time Art Ross Trophy winner. Jagr dominated the past decade by a large margin over any other winger. The trick is to find the man in second place - first place is obvious.
Winger - Jarome Iginla In this time period, Iginla has two First All Star selections and one more Second Team selection. He was twice runner up for the Hart Trophy (but never won it) and twice won the Richard Trophy (as top goal scorer in the league - though one year he shared it in a three way tie). Iginla had a pretty good decade, yet I run into an interesting question looking at him.
Jarome Iginla is NOT a player I think should make the Hockey Hall of Fame if his career ended today. Is that a contradiction? After some thought, the answer is no. There is no reason that every player who would make an all-decade team for some random interval should make the Hall of Fame - although it is something that one might expect. Iginla is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career - but he isn’t there yet. His career tracks well with this decade as his best season before it began was a 50 point rookie year and he has outscored that year every year of this decade. It will take more that a strong nine year period (this decade) to get Iginla Hall of Fame worthy career numbers and it still remains questionable if he is having a career prime good enough to get him there. I think one would be hard-pressed to make a strong argument that Iginla was ever the best player in the game at any point and most recently one might rank him closer to tenth place in a top players list. I would project that Iginla will likely make the Hall someday, but he hasn’t done it yet on present achievement.
Defenceman - Nicklas Lidstrom Eight of the nine NHL seasons in this decade (he missed 2003/04) Lidstrom made the First Team All Star. Six of the seasons he won the Norris Trophy. This is the most obvious pick on the team.
Defenceman - Chris Pronger Pronger barely wins this final defence spot over teammate Scott Niedermayer. It is his 1999/2000 season where he won the Hart Trophy from defence (only the third man ever to do that - along with Bobby Orr and Eddie Shore) that puts him over the top. That season is his only Norris Trophy or First All Star Appearance. Pronger should have won the 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy, but the voters went a different direction and he has three Second Team All Star selections which show he was a top defenceman in this period. Niedermayer, by comparison, has three First All Star Team picks (and no seconds in this time frame) to go with one Norris Trophy and one Conn Smythe. This choice is the most competitive. Both players are nearly equal.
Goalie - Martin Brodeur Brodeur dominates the last part of this era with four Vezina Trophies and was the probable number two man at the beginning of the decade when Dominik Hasek was still the dominant goalie. Brodeur has three First All Star Team selections and two more seconds in this time frame.
Coach - Jacques Lemaire Lemaire spent most of this decade coaching the Minnesota Wild. He was not an NHL coach at the very beginning when there was no team in Minnesota. This team has been built into a strong playoff contending defensive squad despite a lack of star power. Only Marian Gaborik could be considered a star in Minnesota Wild history and he has been often injured. No team is more dependant upon coaching than Minnesota is on Lemaire. For his efforts, Lemaire won the 2003 Adams Trophy and deserved several more.
Although I am still uncertain why this decade (1999-2008) would be chosen as a meaningful decade to put together a team, it is an interesting question. Thus, I have made my selections.
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