i find this really fascinating, and a provocative argument that having a cohesive team is more important than a transcendent superstar. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/010509a so basically the nuts and bolts of ewing theory is that the team has a superstar or franchise player who isn't in the upper echelon of elite players. they build the team around him and, in basketball, run the majority of plays for him. they are an above-average team, but can never get over the top because the superstar always gets outplayed by the opposing team's superstars. this especially makes sense in basketball, where if you have two star players at the same position going against each other, most of the time they defend each other and it really is in a sense a one-on-one matchup. see: patrick ewing against hakeem olajuwon or wilt chamberlain against bill russell or dominique wilkins against larry bird. so ewing is the test case. most famously, this knicks went to the finals in a year he was injured. they banded together, got other guys more involved in the offense, and played really well as a team, doing as well without him as they had in the previous five years with him. supposedly ewing's college team, georgetown, used to also play better when he was out of the lineup than when he was in. i have no idea if this is accurate, but they did win a national title with him for what it's worth. so who are hockey's "ewing theory" players? simmons coyly mentions ray bourque, which i can't make heads or tails of. he also mentions lindros in '00, which seems more plausible to me. i think the crux of the theory is that with an unquestioned alpha dog, guys sometimes do less looking to and deferring to their star for the heavy lifting. that works when you star is jordan, not so much when it's ewing. but with him out, the other guys play better as a team and take more accountability for and control of the team. you see this sometimes with non-playoff teams making an unexpected run for the 8th seed after trading their impending UFA star at the deadline, or going on a win streak after their best player packs it in for the year after they are mathematically eliminated. but the better and more interesting case, of course, is always in the playoffs. so i'm thinking, mats sundin? in '02, he gets hurt and alyn mccauley and gary roberts lead the team into the third round. pierre turgeon in '93? a little out there, but markus naslund's absence from the swedish olympic team in '06 (also note his absence in '94 after playing on the '93 WC team that won the silver)? other names in NHL history who might qualify?