SAVED FROM SHAQTIN’ By Arthur George-Special to BASN JaVale McGee is reclaiming...
More Of The NHL’s Best
These young Black talents are knocking the door down of the NHL. The number of Black hockey players more then doubled in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.
Here are the rest of the Black All-Stars of 2010.
Wayne Simmonds, L.A. Kings
This right winger was drafted in the second round (61st overall) by the Kings in 2007. He’s one of the brightest Black players of the league. He has the skills to grind out the puck in the corner, has the upper body strength to stand in the slot without being pushed around, and has the speed for many break away goals. Watch the way he handles his stick on the ice. He has prevented many scoring chances by opposing players helping his defensemen all year long. This is a skill that Simmonds should teach to other NHL stars. During L.A.’s playoff run in January and February, he had a seven-game point surge. He finished the year with 14 goals and 24 assists.
Joel Ward, Nashville Predators
Originally invited to the Minnesota Wild spring training camp in 2006, many were impressed by Ward’s strong work ethic. Minnesota signed him immediately. Ward has a special talent being from the Roller Derby scene. No, he wasn’t a spectator, but a player in the rink. Ward states roller skating kept him in shape for hockey. An undrafted free agent, Ward has 30 goals and 40 assists in 161 career games. He’s currently on Nashville’s hot line which includes Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont. He also added two goals and two assists in the playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders
The seventh overall pick in the 2007 Entry Draft, Okposo left the University of Minnesota early to join to New York. He scored 19 goals and 33 assists this past season giving hope to orange and blue fans for a bright future on the island. He is the workhorse of this team playing 80 of 82 games this year. Kyle wears the team’s alternate captain jersey which bears many responsibilities. Okposo has improved with each passing year. He has become a legittimate scoring threat. Just ask the Rangers, Flyers, and Devils.
Frances Bouillon, Nashville Predators
Another undrafted free agent who made his debut in 1999. Bouillon keeps bouncing from Montreal to Nashville, then Nashville to Montreal and back again. Most of his years have been spent north of the boarder. He has 24 goals and is one of the most prolific assist men (89 career assists) in the game. Opponents have to watch him because he can charge the net drawing defenders to him then passing off to a teammate for a Nashville score Chris Stewart, Colorado Avalanche
The 18th overall pick in the 2006 Entry Draft, Stewart stands 6-feet-2 and 228 pounds. He put fear in the hearts of many San Jose fans with his three goals in the first two playoff games against the Sharks. However, they got wise and clamped down. He was held scoreless for the rest of the series. In Game four, Steward peppered the net with six shots, but he was stoned by goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Stewart finished the season with 28 goals and 44 assists.
Robbie Earl, Minnesota Wild
Drafted in 2004, Earl went to the Toronto Maple Leafs (187th overall) in the sixth round. He’s the invisible man that gets the job done. If this man received more ice time, he would score. This past year, he scored six goals in 32 games. Few know Earl because he currently plays in the Midwest and is not a media magnet.