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12-06-2010, 03:16 PM
Hawkey Town 18
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
True, but I think the difference is overstated due to the weird careers of Niedermayer and Pronger. Lidstrom wasn't competing with Scott Niedermayer's career, he was competing with his seasons. And Niedermayer from 03-04 to 06-07 was just as dominant as any defenseman Bourque faced. Nieds wasn't nearly as good until he hit the age of 30, but that doesn't mean his 3 dominant seasons (3 Norrises in a row in an all-Canadian league...) were any less dominant. Likewise, Pronger in 2000 had a regular season good as any of Bourque's competition, he just couldn't repeat it.
You make a good point about Niedermayer and Pronger giving Lidstrom strong competition some years, but there are still some signs that Bourque's competition was a clear level up.

One is depth. There were just more Norris-caliber defensemen competing against Bourque. Even if you want to say Niedermayer from 04-07 was just as dominant as the runner-ups/winners against Bourque, what about the guys finishng 3rd, 4th, and 5th? The Norris isn't just a two horse race. Bourque had more guys to lose votes to, and a greater chance of one of these guys having a "great" season.

The second is how well some of these guys were doing in their older years. I don't care what anyone says, 40 year old Chris Chelios and 39 year old Al MacInnis finishing runner-up for the Norris were not as good as the 10-15 years younger versions of themselves Bourque was beating.

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