Friday, August 14, 2009

Teeder Kennedy is dead

Maple Leaf fans should be sad today with the news that Ted Kennedy has passed away at the age of 83. Like most Leaf fans I never saw Kennedy play hockey but you can’t ignore his accomplishments no matter what era he played in.

For those fans who think the all-time best Leaf player was Dave Keon, Darryl Sittler, Wendel Clark or Doug Gilmour. I’ve got news for you, as great as those players were; they never had the success that Kennedy had. None were even close to be being considered the best player in the game. Kennedy was a Leaf centre for 12 seasons with five Stanley Cup wins, team captain from 1948 to '57, and the last Leaf to win the Hart Trophy in 1955 as the NHL's most valuable player.

Just looking at his MVP year, he beat out Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Rocket Richard. He wasn’t in the top 10 scorers or picked to the All-Star team but he was still recognized as the best player in the league. He wasn’t the fastest skater. He wasn’t the hardest hitter and rarely fought. But he played hard every second he was on the ice. He never held back anything. Those types of players are rare in any era.

Teeder along with Syl Apps were probably the greatest captains the Maple Leafs have ever had.