A word (or words, I'm not sure) in common use in talking about sports is core. Or corps. I'm not sure what it's meant to be, and that's why I'm posting. I doubt anybody else really knows either, but what the hell.
It goes like this. When talking about Edmonton's roster, for instance, it's often said that "Lowe is building around the core players" and names are named: Smyth and Hemsky, usually. I've not ever seen corps used in that fashion.
Roughly and in this context, core means the key guys. "The central or most important part of something, in particular," says my dictionary widget. Corps means the thing as a whole. "A body of people engaged in a particular activity." Clearly, they have vastly different meanings.
But things get confused when somebody says something like "I think Lowe will try to pull a Buffalo and go with a solid defensive core." Certainly, one could consider guys like Smith and Staios to be solid, core guys. You can build a blueline around them. (You'd rather build around Pronger and Smith, but you takes what you can gets.) But that's obviously not what's intended. Buffalo had a strong blueline *corps* last year, with no real standouts: they didn't really have a *core*.
Except, I guess, one could make the argument that the corps was core: 6 men (or 10 or 50 or whatever it was by the time the Hurricanes knocked them out of the Eastern Conference Finals), none of whom were really the key, and that was their strength. But while I haven't looked, I suspect that ice time was not divided exactly evenly amongst the 6 guys who dressed each game. Some played more minutes (Lydman), while others played less (Jillson). Although looking at the TOI/G figures, their top 4 are all pretty close, although how Lydman and Tallinder can be +14 and Cambpell a -5 is kind of curious-making. They basically had two tiers: 20-24 minute a night guys, and 15-18 minutes a night guys. But I digress again.
I'm going to assume that the language choice - particularly on weblogs and web boards - is simple ignorance or something akin to a spoonerism (what do you call it when you think one word and type another?), but maybe I'm missing something too.
(Edit, nobody ever said corpse. But I suppose poor Cory Cross came close to impersonating one last season.)