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08-03-2009, 10:24 PM
  #21
God Bless Canada
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Bentley reunion
Country: Canada
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I think I nearly threw up in my mouth when I saw Jagr rated ahead of Messier. No way that should ever happen.

It would help Lidstrom's stock if he was as dominant defensively as he is, while playing a more physical brand of game. But as it is, he's still been the best defensive defenceman in the league for several years. (For my money, ever since Scott Stevens retired). I won't be voting for him this round, but it is incredible when a guy can be, at once, one of the truly elite offensive and defensive defencemen in the game.

Jagr is polarizing. No question about it. He wasn't a big-time impact player for the Pens in 1991. But you could see the skill he had back then. He was "Mario Jr." after 1992. I'd say that Lemieux, Barrasso and Francis meant more to that Cup run in 1992, and you could make a point for Tocchet from the perspective that it was the acquisition of Tocchet and Kjell Samuelsson that turned the Pens season around.

Jagr's problem is that his work ethic and his attitude weren't always there. He was sulking, and struggling, in 2000-01 when Lemieux came out of retirement. Mario's return helped for a while. Then Jagr sulked again. His numbers weren't bad in Washington, but his effort and his attitude were a problem.

I'll probably be more active this round, because I see a player worth campaigning for: the great Ted Lindsay, and, to a lesser extent, the great Red Kelly. Did Lindsay benefit from playing with Howe? Absolutely. Anybody would. But Howe benefitted from playing with Lindsay, too.

Lindsay was sixth in the league in goals in 46-47, when Howe was a rookie. And he led the league in goals in 47-48, when Howe was a 19-year-old sophomore.

I don't think you can merely say "Gordie Howe" when looking at Lindsay's statistical downturn following the trade to Chicago. For one thing, he was in his 30s when he was dealt. He'd played a ton of hockey already at that point in his career. And he wasn't happy to be dealt to Chicago. The Hawks were a mess. They hadn't had a winning season since 45-46. They'd made the playoffs once since then. A guy like Lindsay, who hated to lose, it wasn't a positive to be going to the worst organization in the league for the past decade. For what it's worth, the Hawks did have some young talent, and as they improved, Lindsay felt a little more comfortable. He was ninth in assists at age 33 in 58-59.

Here's the bottom line for me when it comes to Ted Lindsay. Only player to lead the league in goals, assists, points and PIMs. Top three in goals four times. Top three in assists five times. Top three in points five times. And he did all that playing the way he did, leading the way he did. As I've said before, he might be the most competitive guy to ever play the game. Absolutely hated to lose. There are several guys who have at least as many top threes in goals, assists and points as Lindsay. But none of them accumulated them while playing the game the way Lindsay did it.

If he was "partly a product of the Detroit dynasty," then that might explain the top 10 finishes. But all the top threes? No. He wasn't partly a product of the Detroit dynasty. (Plus, of course, Howe, Kelly, Sawchuk and the other fantastic players they had). Detroit's dynasty was a product of Ted Lindsay. He wasn't their best player. But he was their leader.

There has only been one Ted Lindsay in the history of the game. I don't think we'll ever see another one. And anyone who plays the game at the NHL level will be happy that there won't be another Terrible Ted.

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