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In Praise of Alexei Ponikarovsky

Published by on April 27, 2009
Article Source: Bleacher Report - NHL

I have to admit that I used to bash Alexei Ponikarovsky. "Doesn't use his size!" "Misses too many chances!" "Never able to elevate his game!" If there was anyone the Leafs should trade, if you asked me, it was him.

Until this year.

Let's face it: Ponikarovsky will never be a star scoring machine. He's basically a 20-plus goal scorer and has proven that the last four years, along with a consistent 12 percent shooting accuracy. He did come through with career numbers, driven by a big increase in assists (up to 38 from his next highest of 24 in 06-07).

But what was most impressive to me was how he emerged after the departure of Nik Antropov. Instead of wilting and fading, as many suspected he would, he ro...

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