Posts Tagged ‘Ray Whitney’

Some players, no matter how hard they try or how well they constantly perform, go through their careers as under-appreciated and overlooked athletes.  While the same superstars hog the spotlight year in and year out, their media attention is in stark contrast to others who silently finish their shifts on a positive note.

Take Kimmo Timonen for example, a defenseman for the Philadelphia Flyers who is lauded by teammates and opponents alike. It’s his 13th year in the National Hockey League and yet he is still somehow hidden from the microphones and televisions too routinely. Maybe it’s his 5-foot-10 frame that makes him hard to find in a crowded dressing room. Maybe the reporters want to interview those with last names that do not have to be double-checked for spelling. We can’t all have fancy, simple names like Mike Richards and Bobby Ryan.

Although he may not mind his underrated label, it is unjust for a hardy veteran to be so overshadowed by better-known players. Perhaps Zdeno Chara will have improved Timonen’s publicity after he was the first rearguard to be hand-picked by the Slovakian’s team in this year’s All-Star Fantasy Draft. But the Finn is merely one of many.

Then there is Ray Whitney. (more…)

Jason Pominville has a lot going for him nowadays. He’s playing a sport he loves for a living, knowing full well that he’s a key member of the Buffalo Sabres after six years of working his way up the ladder. As a rookie, he excitingly netted a shorthanded overtime winner in the second round of the postseason which elevated the team to the Conference Finals. Now, the 28-year-old can add the honor of the historic club’s captaincy, that has been bestowed upon him, to the list.

The waiving of Craig Rivet last year had to happen; he was an aged veteran who had lost a step and the game’s speed isn’t exactly accommodating these shortcomings. Experience is taking a backseat, as the influx of youth is pouring into the league rapidly and pushing some of the older players out of a job. Sure, Teemu Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom have it in them to defy this logic, but they are rare exceptions. For every Taylor Hall or Jeff Skinner, there is not a Ray Whitney or Mark Recchi to cancel them out.

In Rivet’s place, Lindy Ruff selected Pominville as his new leader for the upcoming season. You might ask why, especially with the arrival of the hard-nosed Robyn Regehr, a man who led by example in Calgary. Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy, two of the team’s other long-serving forwards, were considered as well. Along with Drew Stafford and Paul Gaustad, they accepted an alternate captain position, while Pominville was the correct choice that the coach opted for. (more…)