It’s only natural names such as Crosby, Zetterberg, Malkin and Lidstrom are getting most of the attention as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings gear up for an epic Stanley Cup final.
When those names aren’t getting mentioned we hear about Hossa and Datsyuk, Malone and Franzen, Fleury and Osgood.
But it’s these higher profile players who are the first to tell us about the unsung heroes who have helped the Pens and Wings reach the pinnacle of professional hockey success.
Here are some of them:
10. Darren Helm. Seamless transition to Detroit’s forward unit after playing just seven regular season games.
9. Georges Laraque. Averaging just six minutes of ice time with Pens, but making them count.
8. Tomas Holmstrom. It’s impossible to overestimate his playoff contribution to the Wings.
7. Rob Scuderi. His plus-8 for Pittsburgh ranks fifth among all playoff participants.
6. Brad Stuart. Efficiently filling top-four role on Wings D without any offensive billing.
5. Jarkko Ruutu. Grit and energy bursts provide inspiration for Pittsburgh’s top forward lines.
4. Niklas Kronwall. Quietly outshining the other Nicklas on Detroit’s blueline.
3. Brooks Orpik. Active playoff leader with 62 hits and 33 blocked shots for Penguins.
2. Kris Draper. Winning an amazing 63.4 percent of playoff faceoffs.
1. Hal Gill. From Toronto whipping boy to top four minutes on Penguins D.
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