CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 12. . . .November 22, 2013
Arranged alphabetically by the players’ surnames, from Sidney Crosby to Jonathan Toews, We Are the Goal Scorers features 28 current NHL hockey players that author Christopher Jordan has somehow determined are the best “scorers” in the league. Unfortunately, the criteria Jordan used to identify his top scorers are not shared with readers, and so readers do not know, for example, what role a player’s tenure in the NHL contributed to his being one of Jordan’s choices. As well, the book’s full title is somewhat contradictory since the terms “Goal Scorers” and “Top Point Leaders” are not synonymous as the latter includes both goals and assists. (As an aside, an on-line examination of the top 28 point-getters for the 2011-2012 NHL regular season, the league’s last full season, revealed that only four of the 28 players had goal totals that were higher than their assists totals.)
Each player is dealt with in a pair of facing pages, with one page that resembles an oversize hockey trading card being given over to a full-colour game action photo. The second page is divided into two parts, with the top third providing basic facts about the player (see excerpt above). A reproduction of the player’s team logo also accompanies this information. What is missing from this section is any statistical data regarding scoring which would support the player’s being included in the book. The bottom two-thirds of the page consists of two paragraphs, with the first providing highlights from the player’s playing history prior to, and including, his time in the NHL. The final paragraph is used to describe what type of player each man is, and it is here that readers will encounter descriptive terms like “talented playmaker”, “two-way player”, “strong team leader”, “great set-up man”, “scrappy forward” and “sees the ice well”. Any words in these two text paragraphs that are bolded are then defined in a concluding five-page “Glossary of Hockey Terms”.
The book’s contents are quite current, and bottom notes point out that both Jerome Iginla and Tyler Seguin were traded to new teams in July, 2013. Since game action photos of this player pair in their new team colours were not yet available, they are shown wearing their NHL All-Star Game jerseys. Not surprisingly, all but one of 28 top scorers are forwards, either centers or wingers. The lone exception is the Ottawa Senators’ defenseman, Erik Karlsson. Equally unsurprising is the fact that 24 of these 28 top scorers were first round draft picks, and another two were selected in the second round. The Detroit Red Wings didn’t select Pavel Datsyuk until the sixth round of the 1998 draft, making him the 171st player selected that year. Martin St. Louis, who was never drafted, likely because of his small size (5' 8" in height, 176 pounds), was signed as a free agent by the Calgary Flames in 1998. In age, the book’s players range from the veteran Teemu Selanne, who was born in 1970, to the relative newcomer Tyler Seguin, who was born in 1992.
Unlike We Are the Goal Scorers whose 28 players represented only 20 of the NHL’s 30 teams, We Are the Goalies presents one goaltender from each of the league’s teams. Like We Are the Goal Scorers, the contents of We Are the Goalies are also structured alphabetically, but this time the organizer is the team’s name, and so the book begins with the Anaheim Ducks’ goaltender, Jonas Hiller, and concludes with the Winnipeg Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec. Again, two pages are used for each player, with one being used for an action shot. Unfortunately, the goalies’ protective masks hide their faces, and the author or book designer needed to add a head and shoulders photo so that readers would know what the goalies looked like unmasked.
The contents of the second page for each goalie parallel those for the goal scorers, with some appropriate modifications in the opening “facts” portion. Since they are all goalies, the “Position” information is deleted, and because they don’t shoot the puck, but often catch it to make saves, the “Shoots” is replaced by “Catches”. The contents of the bottom two-thirds of this page parallel what was found in We Are the Goal Scorers; however, the second paragraph tends to be somewhat repetitive among the goalies as there appear to be a limited number of ways of describing goalie styles. Bolded words are defined in a closing six-page “Glossary of Hockey Terms”, with the terms being largely unique to this playing position.
Time has already overtaken some of the contents of We Are the Goalies: the Calgary Flames’ Mikka Kiprusoff retired in September while Jose Theodore, formerly with the Florida Panthers, and Ilya Bryzgalov, formerly the Philadelphia Flyers’ goalie, were not resigned and are, as of this writing, both free agents.
Both books begin with a two-page “Introduction” that speaks in general terms about what it takes to become an NHL player. Even though the two books have a different focus in terms of player position, the two introductions are essentially word-for-word identical in content. Perhaps the author or editor decided that most young people don’t read “Introductions”, but an opportunity was lost to point out the different skill sets and preparation needed by forwards and goalies. As pointed out earlier in the review, 24 of the 28 forwards were first round draft picks while only nine of 30 goalies were chosen in the first round of an NHL draft. Obviously, the routes to the NHL differ for the two positions.
Undoubtedly, a “We Are the Defenders” title is in the works. If it is, hopefully it will not just include the NHL’s top defensemen but will also incorporate some forwards who have won the Frank J. Selke Trophy for excelling in the defensive aspects of the game of hockey. In the meantime, young hockey fans, including reluctant readers, can enjoy the contents of We Are the Goal Scorers and We Are the Goalies
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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