Round 2, Vote 1 (HFNYR Top NYR Defensemen)
Before we begin, just a recap on how Round 2 will operate:
Round 2 Vote 1
Round 2 Vote 2
These might be tweaked to allow longer or shorter debating periods depending on how the process moves along.
Additionally, there are a couple guidelines we'd ask that everyone agree to abide by:
Eliglible Voters (7):
bernmeister, Chief, Crease, Greg02, mike14, Ratelleitlikeitis, Richter Scale
All posters are encouraged to participate in the debates and discussions, but only those listed above will be eligible for the final votes. Eligible voters submitted a ranked list of 20 defensemen before the deadline specified in the preliminary discussion thread.
On that note, I hope everyone is ready to wrack their brains and debate with fellow Rangers fans and hockey minds. Have fun!
Vote 1 discussion will begin now and will run through Sunday 6/23. Any extension to this time frame will be announced prior to the deadline. Votes must be submitted no later than Midnight on Sunday 6/23. THESE DEADLINES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE SO PLEASE READ THROUGH THE ENTIRE THREAD.
Please PM votes to me, beginning on Thursday 6/20. I will be sending out confirmations when I receive ballots from the voters. Any voter who does not get a confirmation within 24 hours of submitting a ballot should assume I never received it and should either resubmit it or contact me to arrange a different method to submit the ballots.
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL VOTE FOR YOUR TOP 10 OUT OF THE POOL OF ELIGIBLE PLAYERS.
Vote 1 will be for places 1 through 5 on the Top 10 list.
Here are the candidates, listed alphabetically:
No real surprises among this list. I suppose we should address the elephant in the room first: Leetch or Park?
My first reaction was that this is a much stronger list than the centers, with 8 of the 10 being Hall of Famers, but in terms of HHOF, the centers list actually did surprisingly well.
I already incited Park vs Leetch in the preliminary round (whoops!), but I'll reiterate my feelings: Leetch should get first place by about the same ratio that Frank Boucher did. Park has a very legitimate place in the conversation for first, but on most lists (that is, by most ways of weighing contributions), Leetch's Norrises, Smythe, and most importantly his longevity will win out. If you value Park's Norris runner-ups to Orr very highly, weigh playoff performances less, and focus more on peak, then you should choose Brad Park. But 16 years is a lot longer than 7, Park had little top end competition outside of Bobby Orr, and he never led us to a cup.
Some strict orderings that I'm getting from a quick impression:
Coulter > Pratt
Johnson > Seibert, Heller
Howell vs Gadsby should be interesting. How much was Howell's Norris season an anomaly?
Here are our nominees that got listed on the HOH board's top 60 dmen list. Remember that this is based on career contributions, not just Rangers.
Top 60 Defensemen of All-Time
1970 NORRIS: (289)
1. Bobby Orr, Bos 180
2. Brad Park, NYR 58
3. Carl Brewer, Det 22
4. Jacques Laperriere, Mtl 18
5. Jim Neilson, NYR 11
1971 NORRIS: (343)
1. Bobby Orr, Bos 208
2. Brad Park, NYR 57
3. J.C. Tremblay, Mtl 35
4. Pat Stapleton, Chi 23
T5. Bob Baun, Tor 10
T5. Keith Magnuson, Chi 10
1972 NORRIS: (370)
1. Bobby Orr, Bos 204
2. Brad Park, NYR 117
3. Bill White, Chi 25
4. Pat Stapleton, Chi 16
5. J.C. Tremblay, Mtl 8
1974 NORRIS: (399)
1. Bobby Orr, Bos 236
2. Brad Park, NYR 98
3. Bill White, Chi 44
4. Barry Ashbee, Phi 11
5. Borje Salming, Tor 10
In Leetch's Norris years, he beat out the likes of Bourque, Chelios, Lidstrom, Konstantinov and Stevens. Just some food for thought.
And then you have to consider what Leetch and Park brought in the playoffs. This is a table of the top 10 defensemen in NHL history in terms of playoff ppg (minimum 50 gp). If you compare their playoff production to their regular season production, Leetch elevated his game in the playoffs like no other defenseman in NHL history.
*Used Rangers statistics only
I would just like to point out that Brad Park coming in second to ORR in Norris voting, does not mean Park would win the Norris if not for ORR.
We can't assume the voters who voted for Orr would, instead, vote for Park. That might seem more far-fetched when talking about the 1972 or 1974 Norris trophies but in 1971 only 22 votes separated Park from #3 and in 1970, 36 votes separated Park from #3.
Just for fun, here's my ranking of the top 10 by nickname.
Ching "The Holding Corporation" Johnson
Babe "The Honest Brakeman" Pratt
Harry "Harry The Horse" Howell
Ron "Honker" Greschner
Brian "Leetchie" Leetch
Bill "Gads" Gadsby
Earl "SI" Seibert
Erhardt "Ott" Heller
Johnson was notorious for holding, obstructing, and pinning players against the boards. Hence "the Holding Corporation". He also had a knack for avoiding being called for penalties. Served the Rangers well during two Stanley Cup runs.
Bold: true, but again, Orr was the Michael Jordan of his day. No one else remotely close. Park only remotely as to across the board. Orr's skating/speed dominates all other bottom lines...
When Leetch was the best D in the league, which was shorter window of supremacy that was Park [sans Orr], comparatively, his competition was closer.
For example Leetch was closer to Ray Bourque than Park was to Magnuson, or Tremblay, etc.
If we assume if Martians kidnapped Orr, and the voters respected their charge and voted for the best, most of them would have voted for Park.
Thinking aloud, sketching this, we are focusing on the first 5:
regardless of your ranking of the top 2, I believe we can agree on the actual top 2:
1 Brad Park
2 Brian Leetch
3 Ching Johnson
Is there a large divergence of opinion there?
I could use some input on the rest of the pecking order, perhaps:
4 Babe Pratt
5 Earl Seibert
6 Ott Heller
7 Harry Howell
8 Art Coulter
9 Bill Gadsby
10 Ron Greschner
What's the thought process for Pratt over Coulter? Seems like Coulter is more accomplished. Also, if you have Heller above Howell and Coulter and Gadsby, that would seem to indicate that you're valuing longevity, which goes against your choice to put Park over Leetch.
This is where I'm at right now:
Greg that's just about where I'm at right now and fortunately we have some time to test these placements. Remember what happened with Gretzky and Esposito's stock in the Centers project over the span of a couple of days.
The main point I was making w/my last post was to jump start the discussion. I nominated the first three in some order appear set.
After that, I am going by a recollection of what we posted in the prior related thread, which I have not had chance to review/revisit.
Coulter is more accomplished. I had a brain fart, and confused w/Colville, who was terrif, but I'm trying to adjust some of his career is as F.
Thanks for your input, I will review further in day or 2.
I think what you can't capture here is the part of the game the position is named for.
Park was far and away a better defender than Leetch, also more physical and he also fought.
It's a tossup but having seen both play I give Park a slight edge.
This is going to ruffle some feathers but here goes...Ching Johnson should be ahead of Brad Park.
* Retro Norris (1931-32)
Ching Johnson: Eddie Shore, King Clancy, Lionel Hitchman, Lionel Conacher, Dit Clapper, Earl Seibert, Art Coulter
Brad Park: Bobby Orr, Carl Brewer, JC Tremblay, Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe, Borje Salming
* In terms of All-Star voting, they are very similar. However I think Johnson was competing against an overall better crop of defensemen during his career
* Johnson's got almost twice the amount of years of Rangers service
* Johnson is one of very few players in Rangers history to have 2 Stanley Cups, and he was a big part of both
Nels Stewart (1925-1940, 2x Hart Winner):
Montreal Gazette: 4-6-1928 - Game 1 of the 1928 finals
* Johnson was part of the core on two of the four franchise championships.
* He was a hard-hitting, physical defensemen who was frequently in discussion for the best defense in his era
* Comparable style to the Devil's version of Scott Stevens, except rarely called for penalties
Johnson has him beat on longevity (as a Ranger). Has him beat in team success, and he didn't exactly ride his team's coattails. He was a driving force on those championship teams. Their All-Star voting records are almost identical. Park brought more offensively, but Johnson one of the best defensive-defensemen in NHL history and almost certainly the best in franchise history.
If you have Ching above Park, then how do you compare him to Leetch?
That was a very convincing post, by the way. By my own voting records, Johnson should definitely be at two considering the weight I place on playoff success.
The lack of Norris trophies is kind of a bit frustrating. I know we have AST voting, but it's not the same.
Leetch has 17 years of service to Ching Johnson's 11.
Leetch has two 1ST AST, three 2ND AST, and one 3RD AST
Johnson has three 1ST AST, two 2ND AST, and one 3RD AST
Leetch has two Norrises
Johnson has one Norris (retroactive)
I consider them just about even in this category, but I think Leetch's era was more competitive than Johnson's (Bourque, Chelios, Lidstrom, Stevens, Coffey, Murphy, Pronger, Neidermeyer, MacInnis)
Leetch has the 2nd highest PPG amongst defensemen in playoff history (behind Orr, min 50gp). Not only that, but he elevated offensive output by >20% in the playoffs compared to the regular season. Saying Leetch found another gear in the playoffs in an understatement. He's got that Conn Smythe too. The HHOF promoted a Retroactive Conn Smythe project in which Boucher and Dillon were awarded the Conn Smythes for the two Cups during Johnson's era.
OK, that's right in line with how I was thinking of it (mainly placing Leetch above because of the longevity), but I was curious how you'd weigh the extra cup.
Yeah, I was referring to its lack of existence. When I said that AST is not the same, I really meant it in a more emotional sense- it doesn't have the same glamour. Obviously it's something that I can easily get over, but I think to a degree first reactions towards players like Ching Johnson and Earl Seibert are less than they should be as a result of it.
Sweet zombie jesus Crease, you've really thrown the cat among the pigeons now....
I over corrected for ye olde time Rangers during the centers project and so was leery of doing it again, however Johnston still made it to #4 on my original list. It didn't even really occur to me to compare him to Leetch/Park as that sort of seemed like a 2 horse race. Now, it's back to the drawing board to re-evaluate everything...
On a slightly off topic rant: I had NFI who 'Ching' Johnston was until I started doing research for this list, but having read about his career and achievements, I'd easily put him in a team of my favourite Rangers. Why does this organisation do such a piss-poor job of honouring the achievements of its former players? From memory this same complaint was brought up in the top 10 centers discussion, but it boggles my mind. Both these projects have taught me so much more about NYR history then anything that MSG and the Rangers webpage care to achieve.
One thing I'd love to see the Rangers adopt from Aussie Rules football is the recognition of past players in the locker room. Each players locker (replace with stall for hockey) has the name of every player who's worn that # jumper before them. You look at the locker room and you see 140 years of history and the exploits of those who have gone before.
The Rangers never won a playoff series with Howell on the team, and Howell never recorded more than a single point any year. People on the HOH Top 60 project seemed to think Howell was a poor playoff performer, but I haven't gotten any quotes with regards to his defensive acumen yet.
Some random facts about Art Coulter:
He captained the Rangers to a cup in 1940, one of only three players to do that (Messier and Bill Cook are the other two). He was the anchor for our innovative PK, which in 1939 outscored the opponents PP by something like 2 to 1. He was also a very generous tipper-- the Rangers appointed cab captains on road trips and reimbursed them. When Lester Patrick asked how much each cab captain was owed, he got responses from $6 to $8.75- except Coulter, who cost the team $12.75. He said since Patrick told him he was in the big leagues, he tipped like a big leaguer.
Legends of Hockey
Ching = or > most aspects of physical play, except on hip checks.
Feel that in 1 on 1, Park was better skater, scorer.
Skating is a big component.
It is the dominant reason why Leetch is close to Park
conclusion: total defense, Johnson probably better
total d with offense combo, Park
Saying it this way:
Park was a no slouch compared to Scott Stevens, and better at skating and offense to boot.
Park is our best all around D. IMO still #1, but chingmeister has moved up a lot.
That was, however, a totally awesome post.
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