Oates admired for passing fancy

Updated: July 22, 2004, 1:10 PM ET
The Hockey News

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION
Who do you think was the best passer in the NHL last year?
Adam Oates 7 (23 percent)
Pavel Datsyuk 4 (13 percent)
Doug Weight 4 (13 percent)
Joe Thornton 3 (10 percent)
Other 12 (40 percent)

Anaheim -- Petr Sykora: Adam Oates
"No question."

Atlanta -- Frantisek Kaberle: Nicklas Lidstrom

Boston -- Jiri Slegr: Sergei Zubov
"I think Sergei Zubov is the best passer in the league. Passing isn't just the plays you make on goals, you know. You've got to get the puck out of your own end first."

Buffalo -- Adam Mair: Joe Thornton

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Calgary -- Chris Clark: Adam Oates
"Going against him, I think Oates is. Or was. He's not even looking at a guy. He'll move one way, then throw it the other way. Especially when you're penalty killing against him and he's on the half-wall, it's awful difficult to play against him."

Carolina -- Jesse Boulerice: Mark Recchi

Chicago -- Anonymous: Joe Sakic

Colorado -- Anonymous: Sergei Fedorov

Columbus -- Anonymous: Adam Oates

Dallas -- Anonymous: Doug Weight

Detroit -- Ray Whitney: Peter Forsberg

Edmonton -- Ryan Smyth: Doug Weight
"I know first hand from playing with him for several years."

Florida -- Anonymous: Mario Lemieux

Los Angeles -- Eric Belanger: Adam Oates
"Still the best."

Minnesota -- Pierre-Marc Bouchard: Joe Sakic

Montreal -- Saku Koivu: Adam Oates
"He has done it for so long. When he sees guys open, the puck's on their stick."

Nashville -- Sergei Zholtok: Alexander Mogilny
"I'm going to go with a little of a sleeper pick. He's a very natural goal scorer, but in the last couple years he's become an amazing, amazing passer."

New Jersey -- Brian Gionta: Pavel Datsyuk
"I like the way Datsyuk plays."

N.Y. Islanders -- Alexei Yashin: Doug Weight

N.Y. Rangers -- Anonymous: Mario Lemieux

Ottawa -- Anonymous: Joe Thornton

Philadelphia -- Patrick Sharp: Pavel Datsyuk
"He's always looking, keeping an eye out for someone like Brett Hull. Sees the ice so well."

Phoenix -- Mike Comrie: Doug Weight
"My pick would be Doug Weight. He can really handle the puck and put his teammates in scoring situations so quickly. He's amazing."

Pittsburgh -- Konstantin Koltsov: Pavel Datsyuk

San Jose -- Vincent Damphousse: Adam Oates

St. Louis -- Doug Weight: Peter Forsberg
"Because he can pass it hard, sauce it, he delivers it right at the right time and the right place that it makes the goal easy -- like the best pass you can't do anything with but score a goal."

Tampa Bay -- Anonymous: Mats Sundin

Toronto -- Anonymous: Joe Thornton

Vancouver -- Marc Bergevin: Pavel Datsyuk

Washington -- Jeff Halpern: Adam Oates
"I think he's turned more guys into goal scorers that maybe wouldn't have scored as many. Brett Hull has obviously scored a ton of goals, but seeing what he did with Oatsie in one year and seeing what Chris Simon did with him the one year. He always seems to be running the No. 1 power play in the league and he gets you passes where you have time and space. I've seen him turn more guy's seasons around."

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