Best Av (2004)

Joe Sakic

Like the team itself, the Colorado Avalanche's staunch captain, center Joe Sakic, has had his ups and downs this season. But as the playoffs approach and coach Tony Granato's much-battered troops try to get past the Steve Moore/Todd Bertuzzi trauma, put Peter Forsberg and Alex Tanguay back together again and prepare for battle with the NHL's top teams, it is their 34-year-old leader who has emerged as their most consistent, fiercest competitor. Thanks to an incredible scoring surge in mid-March, Sakic could win his first-ever league scoring title. To be sure, the Art Ross Trophy would look good next to Sakic's pair of Stanley Cup rings, his world and Olympic gold medals and his other NHL trophies -- the Hart, the Byng, the Patrick and the Conn Smythe. Sakic is the oldest player on the team, and he remains its heart and soul come crunch time.


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