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NHL on TSN Quiz: The Leafs' Most Valuable Skater

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TSN.ca Staff
4/6/2011 11:37:23 PM
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Each week, the NHL on TSN panel voices its opinions on the hot topics of the day in the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz.

As a follow-up, TSN.ca offers you the opportunity to chime in on all the big issues with our insiders. Read up on all the questions and answers from TSN's hockey experts, and put in your own two cents on our popular Your Call feature.

Question No. 1: Grading skaters only, who has been the Maple Leafs' Most Valuable Player this season?

Ray Ferraro: Taking Reimer out of the equation as you have, I think a defenceman is the next most important guy. But I say it always starts in the middle of the ice, so I'm going to go with Mikhail Grabovski. Grabovski's had a fantastic year for the Leafs. In the summer they were trying to move him, they looked to perhaps clear some cap space, but MacArthur and Kulemin have had career years and you can tie it all to the guy in the middle, that's Mikhail Grabovski.

Craig MacTavish: You can include Reimer in this too, I'm saying Clarke MacArthur after the year that he's had. When the Leafs have gone through their ups and downs, Clarke MacArthur has been the guy that has shared the best perspective about the team, and more importantly he's gone out on the ice and delivered. You worry a little bit that this year is a statistical outlier for him, but based on the way he's played, as consistently as he's played all year long, I think he's deserving of that.

Bob McKenzie: I will say Grabovski. I agree with Ray, I think he's been solid in the middle. I think he's been consistant, probably more consistant than MacArthur or some of the other guys, and all the offence they've created this year has gone through him.

Question No. 2: Which of the potential lower playoff seeds is to be feared the most in the playoffs?

MacTavish: I'm going to say Chicago. I'll be surprised if this isn't unanimous based on the fire power they have and their track record from last year. I won't be completely shocked if it's not unanimous but given Duncan Keith, Toews, Kane, Hossa, it goes on and on and on. And also the goaltender, Crawford, this year has played tremendously well. They're a threat and Vancouver should be scared.

Ferraro: Be prepared to be surprised, I'm going to go with Anaheim for the reason you like Chicago, because they can score. They have five guys with 65 points or more. That top line of Perry, Getzlaf, and Ryan is remarkable. Teemu Selanne has had a fabulous year for the Ducks and they've shown some resiliency as well. A couple of times they've been behind the eight-ball and they've found a way to score their way out of problems.

McKenzie: I'm not saying Chicago, I'll say the New York Rangers. I know they just lost Ryan Callahan and it goes against the grain to suggest that they could be a surprise team, but they don't call them the black and blue shirts for nothing. I think they're galvanized a little bit by all of this; I think they're feared.

Question No. 3: If you could have any rookie in the league for your playoff team this season who would it be?

McKenzie: I'll go with Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks. He played 25 regular season games last year; he played 15 games in the playoffs last year and scored four goals. He's playoff battle-tested, he has eight game-winning goals this year, he's a front-line player for one of the best teams in the NHL. I'd take Couture.

MacTavish: I'm saying Jeff Skinner. For my money, this guy is the most dangerous player. He has a history of doing it too. He delivers in big moments. He has 29 goals this year. This guy is a threat and I'd love to have him going into a playoff run.

Ferraro: I'm going to go with John Carlson from the Washington Capitals. He's won at previous levels. He won a world junior championship and scored the winning goal if we do remember. He's won a Calder Cup trophy. He's a top two defenceman in Washington along with another rookie in Karl Alzner. He shoots the puck, he can skate, he gets up the ice, he will not be shy in a playoff series.

Question No. 4: How high a priority should it be for Canadian players to represent their country at the World Championship in non-Olympic years?

MacTavish: I think it should be a high priority. You see last year when the Russians had such great turnout. Alex Medvedev has really galvanized the Russian Hockey Federation. I know it's tough and I know the scrutiny and demands on these NHL players has never been greater than it is today. It's very difficult for them but I think it should be a higher priority.

Ferraro: I say it's a middling priority only for the reason that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances for the player. I played three times in the world championship and I loved it. One time when I went there, I had some family circumstance that I had to take care of and it was a really difficult decision to go. I say it's a middling priority.

McKenzie: I'll say it's a high priority but there should be some guys that get exempt from that like Rich Nash. He's gone so many times in the past, he's been at the Olympics. You have to cut this guy a little slack after the year Columbus has had. But most of the guys, they have to go.

Mikhail Grabovski (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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