Steve Gallivan, Buffalo, N.Y.
I read with great anticipation the recent issue of The Hockey News focusing on the most critical players on the ice: Defensemen.
Most of the picks were spot on, but when I got to my hometown team (Buffalo), I couldn’t disagree more with your choice for the No. 2 all-time Sabres blueliner. Mike Ramsey and Jim Schoenfeld were great choices, but Phil Housley?
If you’re looking at offensive stats, your pick makes sense, but he was a forward who masqueraded as a defenseman. In my opinion, he lacked the toughness a truly great defenseman possesses; over the years, I saw him cough up more pucks than I can count rather than take the hit to make the play.
Who should have been No. 2 instead? Tim Horton, a Hall of Famer who solidified, inspired, and taught a Sabres defense that got the team to the final the year after Horton died.
Horton was as gifted a skater and puckhandler as Housley, but much better defensively. He is also the only defenseman to have his number retired by the Buffalo Sabres.