Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The 10 active NHL stars that nobody hates (except for everyone who does)

Heading into last night’s action, there had been 762 skaters and 74 goalies that had appeared in at least one NHL game this season. That’s well over 800 names, ranging from big stars to no-names, grizzled veterans to fresh-faced rookies, guys with personalities and lots who never say a word, and everything in between.

Can we find just ten that everyone likes?

Good luck. Hockey fans are notoriously difficult to please, which is a nice way of saying we’re all crusty jerks who are simmering with rage at all times, all carrying a long list of players we’re sworn to never forgive for some sin we don’t even remember. You like your own team, sometimes, but that’s about it. Maybe there’s one or two guys on other teams that you respect, or even like.

But ten? Forget it.

Well, I love a challenge. The last time I did this was back in 2019, and the results were mixed. I managed to come up with a few names that most of you seemed to agree on, including Henrik Lundqvist and Patrick Marleau. Both of those guys have rudely retired, so I can’t use them again. In fact, I’m going to go one further: This time around, I can’t use anyone who made the cut back in 2019. That means still-active names like Patrice Bergeron, Marc-Andre Fleury and Phil Kessel are off the table too. This is going to impossible.

That’s never stopped me before, so let’s do this. Ten active players, ten reasons why we should all like them, and ten exceptions that prove the rule.

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