SIDNEY CROSBY, Penguins
This is an article from the Oct. 8, 2007 issue
For all hisattributes, it's how he sees a play developing that makes the centertranscendent. Says winger Colby Armstrong, "He tells me I was open. I tellhim I wasn't. I look at the film, and he's right."
CHRIS DRURY, Rangers
No butterflies inthis stomach. Drury's ethereal calm when the game is on the line helps explainwhy the eight-year veteran has so many clutch goals--including 15game-winners--in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
SHELDON SOURAY, Oilers
No contest. Hisshot hit 100 mph in the All-Star skills competition, and no one's slapper ismore lethal in games than Souray's. His 19 power-play goals last season set arecord for defensemen.
DEREK BOOGAARD, Wild
They don't callhim the Boogey Man for nothing. His single-blow KOs are legend, and there arefew players left who will even fight him. The reach of the 6' 7"270-pounder is as scary as his power.
ALEX OVECHKIN, Capitals
The thick-thighed,6' 2", 220-pound winger has astonishing balance: Once last season he cut aturn so tightly while carrying the puck that the rivets fastening the blade tohis boot popped loose.
NICKLAS LIDSTROM, Red Wings
The five-timeNorris Trophy winner and Detroit captain is like a chess grandmaster: He alwaysmakes the right move and never leaves himself out of position. Teammates callhim "the perfect human."
SAKU KOIVU, Canadiens
He fought offlymphoma in 2002 and came back from a 2006 left-eye injury that cost him someperipheral vision. One measure of this captain's heart: his career-high 75points last season.
JOE SAKIC, Avalanche
Quick, hard andaccurate. He'll unleash that wrister while streaking down the wing or even whenhe's hovering at the point. Sakic rarely takes a slap shot, and his 610 careergoals say he rarely needs to.
JOE THORNTON, Sharks
He can feather apass at any distance and can settle a puck arriving at any speed. "Softhands--for a big man" is how he's often praised, but Thornton's mitts aremore supple than any little guy's.
MARIAN GABORIK, Wild
Groin injurieshave slowed the winger since he was the fastest skater in the '03 All-Starskills competition. But when he's healthy, no one goes from zero to blur--withthe puck--like Gaborik does.