March 9, 2012

Six Bruins voted among NHL's top 50 players by peers

By Jesse Connolly

Opposing fans may loathe the Boston Bruins, but based on a recent story in The Hockey News, it appears the Black and Gold have earned plenty of respect from their peers. 

Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara both cracked the top 20 on The Hockey News' list of the 50 best players in the NHL. (Getty)

In compiling a list of the top 50 players in the National Hockey League, THN polled 150 players to vote for a non-teammate. Of the 50, six of them were members of the Bruins.

Zdeno Chara was the highest-ranked member of the B’s, coming in at tenth. The 6-foot-9 blueliner was the second-highest defenseman on the list, trailing only Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, who came in seventh.

“There aren’t many like him that are that big, with that good of a reach,” Sabres captain Jason Pominville told the magazine. “The only thing tougher than trying to get around him or away from him in the corner is blocking one of his shots. You know they’re going to hurt before they even hit you.”

Tim Thomas placed 14th, trailing only Henrik Lundqvist (13th) among goaltenders.

“It sucks playing against Tim Thomas,” Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson said. “He’s a great goalie, tough to beat. He plays his own style and it’s hard to figure out.”

Boston's Patrice Bergeron placed 35th, with fellow center David Krejci right behind him in 36th.

Perhaps the most surprising member of the B’s on this list was Tuukka Rask, who was ranked 37th but, more importantly, fourth among all NHL goalies.

“There’s no drop-off when Thomas gets a rest,” Senators winger Milan Michalek said. “He’s the reason why that’s the best goaltending pair in the league.”

Rounding out the Bruins’ widespread representation on the list was Milan Lucic, who came in 43rd

As one might expect, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby earned the No. 1 spot, while Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux, Tampa’s Steven Stamkos and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews rounded out the top five.