NHL Playoffs 2012: Top Ten Blue Collar Forwards From the Second Round

Posted on May 13 2012 - 4:46pm by Mike Burse

Who are the players who make hits, block shots, take the puck from the other team and minimize turnovers that help to carry their teams through the grind that is the Stanley Cup playoffs?

These players create opportunities for the superstars through their fearless play along the boards, in the corners and in front of the net. Without enough blue-collar players in a franchise’s lineup, it surely will not have the chance to lift the Stanley Cup.

This list is based on statistics from the 2012 NHL playoffs. We place value on hits, blocked shots and takeaways on this list.

Let’s take a look at the top ten NHL blue-collar forwards from the Conference Semi-Finals.

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#10 Maxime Talbot

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HITS

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GVA

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11 26 10 2 12
Talbot came   as advertised when the Flyers lured him from Pittsburgh to their hated cross   state rivals in Philadelphia. He was tremendous defensively and chipped in on   offense with timely goals. His style of play and experience winning a Stanley   Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009 will be key components of the Flyers franchise   moving forward.

 

#9 Mike Fisher

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HITS

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GVA

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10 33 8 3 4
Fisher is a   great blue collar, heart and soul type player. Nashville is definitely a   better team with him in the lineup. A disappointing end to the season does   not change his value to the team on the ice and his leadership off the ice.   If Shea Weber does leave the Predators look for Fisher to be their next   captain.

 

#8 David Backes

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HITS

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GVA

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9 27 8 3 6
The St.   Louis Blues captain tried his best to lead his team past Dustin Brown and the   Los Angeles Kings, but the Kings had their number right from the start. The   Kings answered the Blues defensive system at every turn. Backes like Dustin   Brown and Ryan Callahan is part of the next generation of great leaders and   will help the Blues have a better ending next season.

 

#7 Alex Ovechkin

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HITS

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GVA

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14 58 14 10 2
While his   giveaway totals are high it’s his physical play and new found propensity to   block shots that find him on this list. Head Coach Dale Hunter did an amazing   job of getting his star to buy in and become more of a team player. In   comparison in the 2011 playoff he had 40 hits and 3 blocked shots in 9 games.   In the 2010 playoffs he had 26 hits and 1 blocked shot in 7 games. Lastly in   the 2009 playoffs he had 54 hits and 5 blocked shots in 14 games. Hopefully   he will continue this type of play in the years to come.

 

#6 Martin Hanzal

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HITS

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8 31 8 4 3
The big   center ice man is becoming a much better known name on the Coyotes current   run to the Conference Finals. He does all the little things right and is a   very valuable member of the Coyotes in these playoffs.

 

#5 Brian Boyle

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HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

11 42 12 3 2
The big   center has emerged in these playoffs as a key performer for the Rangers. To   go along with his great all around play he also has 2 game winning goals   through the first two rounds. Boyle will need to continue his current level   of play if the Rangers are to have a shot at the Stanley Cup this year.

 

#4 Dustin Brown

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HITS

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9 39 5 6 8
Another   series and another great performance from Brown. He epitomizes what the Kings   are all about, hard work and dedication to his craft shine through in his   game. If the Kings win the Cup he or Jonathan Quick will be the Conn Smythe   Trophy winner.

 

#3 Matt Hendricks

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HITS

BKS

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14 61 12 2 5
Under Dale   Hunter he has become a very dependable player and has seen his ice time   increase exponentially. He has also become a solid face off man winning 56%   of his draws in this post season. He is like a Maxime Talbot, a solid player   that is required in order to make a run at a Stanley Cup. The fans love this   guy in Washington.

 

#2 Shane Doan

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HITS

BKS

GVA

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11 48 8 4 11
Doan is   doing everything he can to make the most of his first chance to get past the   first round of the playoffs. He is a great captain and has also contributed a   game winning goal in these playoffs. He will need to be at his best to take   on Dustin Brown and his Kings. This should be another classic battle between   two blue collar captains.

 

#1 Ryan Callahan

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HITS

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14 63 23 7 12
The   Capitals pushed his Rangers to the limit, but he would not let them push them   over the ledge. Callahan has continued his solid play from the first round.   While he has not contributed on the score sheet like Brad Richards with only   3 goals thus far. He has been a very essential part of the Rangers success.   For all the hits he gives, takes and shots he blocks he must be battered and   bruised. But you would never know it and do not expect him to slow down in   the third round. He simply has too much will and desire to do so.
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A Bleacher Report writer since September 2006, Mike Burse's work has been featured on NHL.com, Sportsnet.ca and TheSlapShot.com. He was also part of Bleacher Report's 2010 NHL Entry Draft coverage team. Follow Mike on Twitter @mikeburse

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