Let's face it, this is about the time of the calendar year when hockey news comes to a crawl and everyone refreshes the batteries until training camps open in September. There's still plenty of big names available on the free agent market which will fill the dead spaces in the hockey news coverage for the next few weeks, but now is the time where puckheads begin enjoying their summer. Even Bob McKenzie's on vacation!
To try and keep the hockey debates and discussion alive, Sports Illustrated compiled a "thrill list" for every sport not listing the best players, but those that are the "...all-time bests at quickening the pulse and evoking a visceral response from those fortunate enough to have witnessed their artistry."
Hall of Fame writer Michael Farber's list for hockey is sure to engage debate, most notably because of one "great" exception:
Farber's explanation for choosing Orr at No. 1:
"Hockey's iconic image is Orr flying through the air after being tripped following his 1970 Stanley Cup-winning goal. The photograph would suggest Orr was Superman. Well, he was. He was also Batman, Spiderman and every other superhero in the Marvel Comics stable. Orr would take the puck behind the Boston Bruins' net, wheel through his defensive zone and stickhandle his way 180 feet down the ice. He went coast-to-coast better than United Airlines. The all-time edge-of-your-seater wasn't the first rushing defenseman. He was merely the best."
My thrill list, after the jump.
These ten players have made my heart pump a little bit faster and made me jump out of my chair plenty of times throughout their careers:
10. Alexei Kovalev(notes)
9. Ilya Kovalchuk(notes)
8. Evgeni Malkin(notes)
7. Dominik Hasek
6. Paul Coffey
5. Sergei Fedorov(notes)
4. Pavel Bure
3. Alexander Ovechkin
2. Mario Lemieux
1. Jaromir Jagr(notes)
When you're a 20-year old kid who scores one of the best goals in Stanley Cup Finals history, you're something special. When the Art Ross Trophy is won by you and not some guy with the last "Lemieux" or "Gretzky" for the first time in 14 years, you're something special. Jagr was always a dangerous player on the ice. Defenses were wise to know his location at all times or else they would be retrieving the puck out of their net moments later. During his time with the New York Rangers, Jagr was one of the few players on an opposing team that would have me worried whenever the puck was on his stick. His fierce wrist shot was unstoppable. His ability to undress defensemen was amazing to watch. His mullet, remarkable.
With that, we'd like to engage you, our loyal Puck Daddy readership, by asking who would make your thrill list.
Remember, it's not the best players you've ever seen, it's those players that bring you to the edge of your seat whenever they handle the puck or control the goal crease.