October 6, 2010

Hockey Night In Canada: Best Of The Best

CBC's Scott Morrison is back with another book under the Hockey Night In Canada banner. This time they rank the greatest players of all time in Hockey Night in Canada's Best of the Best.

Buy The Book - Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 6000 players have laced up their skates in National Hockey League history. Hockey Night in Canada's Best of the Best celebrates the absolute best players at each position (plus coaches and managers).

The players are ranked 1 through 10, but they are split up into two eras - pre and post 1967. It seems like a nice dividing line. After all, not only is it incredibly hard to compare eras, but fewer and fewer of us can actually claim to have seen many of those older players play.

The players are ranked 1 through 10 thanks to HNIC's expert panel. HNIC regulars Dean Brown, Cassie Campbell, Bob Cole, Garry Galley, Kelly Hrudey, Jim Hughson, Dick Irvin, Pierre Lebrun, Mark Lee, Jeff Marek, Mike Milbury, Scott Oake, and Craig Simpson are joined by writers Andrew Podnieks and Tim Wharnsby on the selection panel.

That's a pretty good panel, although it would have been nice to draw on more HNIC alumni, like they did with Irvin. The first two names that immediately jump to my mind are Brian McFarlane and Howie Meeker. Jim Robson and Harry Neale also could have contributed nicely, particularly for older players.

Any time a book lists players in order of greatness, there is bound to be controversy. The HNIC book avoids a lot of this controversy by keeping players ranked by position. Therefore we do not get the panel's true view as to who was the best. Gretzky vs Orr? Brodeur vs Sawchuk? How do Crosby and Ovechkin measure up at this early stage of their careers?

Soviet and international star players were not considered, unfortunately.

The book is a beautiful compilation, wonderfully presented with colour photography (where available), fascinating facts and quick biographies. It is a nice book for the hard core fan or for the newer fan a like.

My only qualm with the book is they advertise that they will name the best of the best. I think they fall just short of doing just that.

Here's the specs:
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Key Porter Books (Oct 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554703166
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554703166
Here's more from the publisher, Key Porter Books:

A few years ago, Scott Morrison and a panel of experts from CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada started a debate about the best players to wear each number, from 00 to 99. The result was fascinating and informative—and often contentious!

Now, Morrison and the panel are back with a new debate sure to spark heated arguments in sports bars, dressing rooms, arenas, and even over kitchen tables: Who were the top 10 NHL players all-time at each position? Who were the top 10 coaches and general managers? Which were the greatest NHL teams ever?

And who was the best of the best?

In Hockey Night in Canada’s Best of the Best, Morrison offers an in-depth look at the best of the best, for both the pre- and post-expansion eras, in every category—players by position, coaches, general managers and teams. Morrison also treats his readers to interesting details about what made these men the best of the best, while Hockey Night in Canada‘s experts offer their own insights.

Featuring statistics, little-known facts, interesting anecdotes, and spectacular full-colour photography, this book is sure to be a favourite with hockey fans of all ages.

Buy The Book - Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com


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