Lets Get Those Hockey Juices Flowing

It’s August and the summer heat is still roasting our flesh to a nice medium rare. However, here in Canada August also signifies the start of the hockey itch. I try to avoid it as long as I can, but it grabs a hold of me like an extremely toight pair of skinny jeans. I’m not going to get into who’s going to win this or that or who is going to lead the league in scoring…that’s for September. To get your hockey juices flowing how about a quick debate?

If you could choose any current player in the NHL to build your team around who would it be and why? It has to be a current player at their current age and skill (sorry can’t use 1995 Jaromir Jagr). For my pick I’m going to go a little bit off the board and choose Pavel Datsyuk. What? Not Crosby, not Ovechkin, not Sergei Shirokov? Here are my reasons…

1) He has been the best two way forward in hockey for the past 5-6 years. Exemplified by winning the Selke trophy for 3 straight years from 2007 to 2010. He’s not just defensively responsible, he’s an absolute offensive beast. He has more offensive skill and finish then others in this two way category like Ryan Kesler and Mike Richards. Having your top scorer also be your best defensive forward is a lethal and rare combination.

2) To truly be looked upon as an elite player you have to be clutch and Mr. Datsyuk is definitely clutch. Goalies must pee themselves a bit when they are protecting a one goal lead in the final minute and he is on the ice. I’ve watched him many times take the game on his stick and dangle around my Canucks and ruin my night (and occasionally my wallet) with a tying or winning top shelf wrister or filthy backhand.

3) He is a proven winner and knows what it takes to win the big game. He’s won 2 cups with the Red Wings and shows up every year in the playoffs. In the last 5 playoff years his stats are stellar: 79 games played, 29 goals, 47 assists, 76 points, +33.

So in conclusion, if you chose Datysuk as your 1st overall selection for your imaginary team you would be getting a top tier point producer, a shut down defender, a solid face-off man and a proven playoff tested stanley cup winner. Sounds like a pretty tough combo to beat. If that’s not enough maybe this will sway you…