Tuesday, 18 December 2007

TBC: The Top 60 Since 1967

Teebz's Book Club is proud to present another hockey book today. I have finished reading The Hockey News Top 60 Since 1967 by Ken Campbell and Adam Proteau, and it is one that will be for great debate for all who read it. Anytime someone is ranked as "the best" or "#1" there will be debate that follows regarding the rankings. It's happened before, and it will happen again. However, Ken Campbell and Adam Proteau polled a number of people involved in various aspects of the game of hockey, and they devised their list based on the opinions of these men. Is it correct? No. Is it worthy of talking about? Of course. Will it make Teebz's cut? Let's find out.

First, a little about the authors. "Ken Campbell was born in Sudbury, Ontario, and after a mediocre youth hockey career, found his calling as a sports writer. Over the past two decades, Campbell has covered all levels of the game from minor hockey to the Stanley Cup Final. Adam Proteau was born and raised in Toronto. After a lengthy suspension for fighting ended his house league hockey career, he attended Ryerson University to pursue a passion for sports journalism. In 2007, the THN.com columnist was honored by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association with its top column award."

In writing this book, Campbell and Proteau selected a jury of hockey-experienced men. Their careers range from general manager to coach to broadcaster to columnist, but all are experienced. Here is the list of those who made up the jury:

• Harry Neale - Hockey Night in Canada analyst and former NHL coach & GM.
• Jim Rutherford - GM of the 2006 Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes and NHL player in the 1970s.
• Jacques Demers - media personality and former NHL coach.
• Brian Burke - GM of the Anaheim Ducks.
• Cliff Fletcher - longtime hockey executive and former GM of the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs.
• Al Strachan - Hockey Hall-of-Fame award-winning hockey writer
• Kevin-Paul Dupont - Hockey Hall-of-Fame award-winning hockey writer with the Boston Globe.
• Mike Brophy - senior writer with The Hockey News.
• Ken Campbell - senior writer with The Hockey News.
• Adam Proteau - online columnist with thehockeynews.com.
• Jason Kay - editor of The Hockey News.

Now that you know who was responsible for the rankings, the material in the book is vast. It literally is a storehouse of statistics and stories about, what is arguably, the best players to have ever played the game.

Now, I won't go into the rankings. I'll let you read the book for that. However, I also have a copy of The Hockey News' Top 50 NHL Players of All-Time, written in 1997 to coincide with The Hockey News' 50th anniversary. The lists are comparable, but there are some changes that this new panel made compared to the 1997 list.

The introduction written by Brett Hull is intriguing. He talks about his father, Bobby Hull, and his time as a Blackhawk when he would see players such as Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Bobby Orr. He talks about how his father and others of that era played the game at "breakneck speed", but did it "as gentlemen who had an unabated respect for one another". In saying that, I believe Mr. Hull has identified the trait that made all of the players on the list household names - they played the game with passion, but did it with great skill instead of thuggery. It is that skill that allowed them to amass the huge amount of points they did, and put them into the hearts of all hockey fans regardless of allegiance.

I found some of the names on the new list to be a little surprising. Who should be ranked higher - Sidney Crosby or Rob Blake? Is Sergei Fedorov good enough to make the list? Do Alex Ovechkin or Roberto Luongo make the list, despite their short careers thus far? In coming up with this list, the jury will certainly stir the emotions of every hockey fan with their choices, and, in turn, the players left off the list. That, in my opinion, is something that will always make the NHL great. No matter who you cheer for, you can come up with a reason why Player A should be included instead of Player B.

The Hockey News' Top 60 Since 1967 is an excellent source of information about some of the greatest players to ever have played in the NHL. It comes highly recommended to any hockey fan, and will certainly be a source of discussion amongst all NHL fans. The Hockey News' Top 60 Since 1967 receives the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval, and will remain a source of information about the greatest NHL players for this writer for years to come.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

CKim said...

I must add this book to my collection.

I heart your Seal of Approval.

I spy with my own eye a grammar error. =) Well, more like you missed a letter on the keyboard.