I really hate the off-season, because it's really hard to write a blog at this time of year. In fact, it makes it almost impossible to write one right now. Please bear with me as I try to figure out what to write. You think I am joking? I have already deleted this column 3 times!
I thought I would write about someone who does not get written about, and talk about the unsung player who does everything the coach asks, and then some. He is the player who does not whine and simply plays his role without question. These are the players who love the fans, and who take time to meet and greet them after the game or the practice. These are the players who love the game. You can tell by the way they play. They are the ones you want to win.
So now that you know the description of the player I'm writing about, I thought I would mention a few players who fit it. Of course, this is completely biased, you might have other players who fit the mold on your list.
Milan is an awesome young player who gets the crowd into the game with his rambunctious play. He hits like a truck and explodes on the ice every time he skates. He exemplifies toughness and grit, but most importantly, he represents the average Joe. That makes him a fan favourite on any NHL team. He exemplifies what is good in hockey.
If there is a player in the NHL who has more class than John, I do not know who he is. He hits, he kills penalties, he takes a big draw when the team needs him to. He leads by his actions, if something needs to be done he does it. He thrives under pressure. If something needs to be said he says it. John is a hard working man, with rings to prove it. I strongly feel he was the missing link for the Hawks last season. He exemplifies what is good in hockey.
Paul is a no-nonsense center who knows his role and does it well. He puts in a hard working shift every time he's on the ice. When the Sabres need a spark, they often can call on Paul. Paul is the one to make a hit, or make a great pass, or make a great game-saving defensive play. He exemplifies what is good in hockey.
If there's a better fourth line foward in this game, I'd like to know who he is. Kris puts his heart into this game. He is probably one of the best penalty killers in the League, and he knows what it takes to get the puck out of his own zone. He is a clean player who nevertheless plays with a chip on his shoulder. Draper is a team player who sticks up for his teammates. He exemplifies what is really good in hockey.
James is the player that every player on the opposing team loves to hate. So do all of the other teams' fans. James gets under the opposing players' skins and throws them off of their game. He is very good at getting into peoples' heads and making them to take silly penalties. James may not get all the goals, but he is there to stop the goals, and does what it takes to get the puck out of the zone. He exemplifies what is good in hockey.
You may wonder why I wrote a blog on the unsung hero. Simply put, because nobody gives these players the credit they deserve. It's easy to get excited about the stars of the game, but if you ask them what they would be without the third and fourth liners, they would be the first to tell you that they would not be half the player without the grinders.
So next time you see the stars get all the glory, try to remember the unsung hero.
Until next time, take care.