Argument for Oates
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05-16-2005, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Originally Posted by
My point is not specifically related to Foote, but to defensive defencemen in general. It has been 20 years since the Norris Trophy was awarded to a player known primarily for defense. Foote is great at what he does, every coach and fan who watches the games know it. Is he better all-around than Pronger, Chelios, Bourque... etc? Objective observation says no and rightfully so. They bring that additional dimension to the game which is their offense. (Personally if I was holding a lead I'd put Foote out before Pronger and Chelios) And yes I know that Pronger, Bourque and Chelios all play good defense, the question is, if that was all they did would the HHOF even notice?
The HHOF is clearly biased against defensive players and has been since its inception. How many pure defensive forewards are in the Hall? One. Bob Gainey. How many pure defensive defencemen? Langway and Gadsby. 3 players in 25 years is pathetic by any measure. Even if that number is 10 it's still pretty sad given that at any one time 30% of the players on the ice are there to play defence. And I would suggest that in the last 10 years the number is a lot higher than that.
I would suggest that it requires more talent to be an offensive force than a defensive force. Pretty much anyone can learn to play defense and hit, clutch, grab and interfere. It is pretty simple to do. To score goals and assists it requires much more talent and creativity. To be HOF worthy as a defensive player you have to be GREAT at it. 500 NHL players today can play decent defensively. You have to stand out and be phenomenal - like Scott Stevens. Grinders are a dime a dozen, scorers are a rare commodity.
I have nothing against defensive players but, I think the voters look at it as they do not contribute to a team as much as a great offensive player. When you think about it, a player that is totally defensive and does not put up big numbers on offense, is really lacking a very important component of the game. A strictly defensive player is missing half his game.
Good offensive players, many times, play good defense as well. So, they are more complete players many times than guys who are strictly defensive or grinders.
That is why I believe a strictly defensive player must be GREAT defensively to be considered. They are missing half their game.
Those are my thoughts.
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