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08-04-2009, 08:30 AM
Pear Juice
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
There are videos and there are statistics.

Consider the portrayal of Niklas Lidstrom as this great superior defenseman in a statistical light, given that he has played for a team that was constantly elite, always made the playoffs, had more than his share of HOF teammates and above average coaching - Scotty Bowman and Mike Babcock.

Note his career +/- is +409 with a career best +43.

Looking at others:
Bobby Orr:
Career +597, only season UNDER +43 when injured.Fewer games

Denis Potvin

Career +460, fewer games including a start with a team one year removed from expansion, three season better than +43.

Larry Robinson

Career +720, including a +120 season with seven better than +43.

Mark Howe
Not in the HHOF but a career +400 with at least three +43 seasons.

Simple numerical meritocracy. Lidstrom's numbers do not carry the day, in fact they suffer quite a bit. Once you get beyond the smoke and mirrors of Lidstrom's career the substance is not as impressive as it should be.
Got to admit that I didn't expect you to bring that up, extremely selective statistics. If anything should be considered smoke and mirrors arguing it is using raw +/- statistics to compare individual players of different teams and different eras. It should be used to notice differences between players on the same team, not as a tool to rank all-time defenders. It is way too much dependant teammates and what game situations players are used in.

Also, if you absolutely want to use it as an individual statistic, Consider also the fact that the +/- levels during the 70s/80s were double those that we see today. Given the high amount of scoring, a big win was bigger in the 70s/80s that during Lidströms prime, the 2000s. From 1970-71 to 1986-87 none of the league leaders had below +/- 60 (average 82.3). From 1987 and onward the league leader has never had above +/- 60 (average 45.8). Hence, Lidströms numbers are actually significantly better than Potvins when put into context. Still this proves nor disproves nothing. It is a team statistic.

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