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09-01-2009, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by FissionFire View Post
if only....could have....might have.....this is the same logic people apply to players who have shortened careers or injury plagued seasons. Maybe Richard outproduces Beliveau. Maybe the extra minutes take away from his even strength effectiveness. Not every player continues to excel with an expanded role. Of course, as a first line center he'd also be facing the other teams top defensive players, something that he did far less of playing second fiddle to Beliveau. So better linemates + tougher defensive forwards/defenseman + more PP time = Probably not a significant improvement statistically. Or maybe a huge jump. Or a huge drop. There is evidence supporting all three possibilites throughout hockey history so it's impossible to predict what "could have" happened.
Henri Richard played on very strong teams throughout his career. As a result, he had to share the ice time with other very good players, including Jean Beliveau. He played a lesser role than he would have on other teams, and was terrific in that role, playing it better than any other player in the league could have.

There were costs and benefits to that situation for Richard. The cost was that his counting numbers were less than they could have been, because he didn't get as much power play time as comparable even-strength scorers. The benefit was that he won 11 Stanley Cups.

If you will only give credit for "what actually happened" and refuse to consider that Richard's stats were less than they could have been because he played on a good team, why don't you give credit for 11 Cups won? Those actually happened. Richard was a major contributor to those, as an excellent even-strength scorer and defensive centre. Yet you are so against "Cup counting" that you won't give him credit for either what he would have done on a weaker team or what he did do on a strong team. I'm no Cup counter either, but I think you have to give him credit for excelling in his role on great teams, and stop comparing his numbers straight up to players on weaker teams.

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