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03-13-2011, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Nalyd Psycho View Post
Seventieslord, I'd be curious to see how defencemen rank in your ranking of PCHA offensive dominance.
I had all the stats copied and pasted from SIHR into a nice little file, but then I deleted out the defensemen because I was doing a study on the forwards. I realized that was a silly error, but I kept the file for future use anyway. It came in handy for Friday's study.

This meanas it would be a lot more work to do a similar thing for the league's defensemen. I know it's not perfect, but check my old Frank Patrick bio, it has a cursory list of all prominent PCHA defensemen and their career GP and PPG. Some guys are starred out IIRC, but they would be easy to figure out.

Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Very pleased to get Balon here. I think he's an excellent first piece of a two-way 3rd line. I really wanted to comment when seventies picked Nevin that there was an undrafted Ranger winger from those teams who I considered a better two-way player than Bob (no offense to Nevin...I think it's close). Balon didn't do a lot of penalty killing for those Rangers teams, but he did well with a lot of tough assignments at even strength as part of a very effective checkingline (and in an era of great strength at right wing) and turned in some strong scoring finishes in the process, as well. This is what Toe Blake had to say about Balon after his first big season in Montreal (part of a heartbreaking article about Balon's long battle with MS):

Balon played on the Henri Richard line for a couple of very good seasons in Montreal before being selected by Minnesota in the 1967 expansion draft where he would star for a season before being traded back to New York, where he would enjoy his best years playing as the primary goalscorer next to Walt Tkaczuk on the Bulldog Line.
Hmmm... a better "two way" player, meaning not necessarily better offensively or defensively, but better overall? I am not so sure of that. Balon seems to have had a more prominent role in New York when they were together there, but that really seems to be the only advantage he has in a comparison between the two.

Offense: Nevin averaged more GPG, APG, and PPG, both overall and at even strength, than Balon did. He maintained these higher averages in a career that spanned 45% more NHL games than Balon's.

Balon's NY years were easily the high water mark of his career. He had 60 and 70-point seasons but never topped 47 points again. Bob Nevin topped that mark 7 times. He also did this for three franchises, with at least four different sets of linemates, over a span of 15 years. Nevin didn't seem to need any specific situation in which to thrive. Balon's results indicate that he might have.

Defense: Balon did play on the Bulldog line with Tkaczuk, which means that in New York specifically, he may have had some tougher assignments, but this doesn't necessarily mean that he was better or more highly regarded defensively. Just like teams seldom choose to "load up " a line with their three best forwards, they don't always do the same defensively. Nevin's reputation before and after New York show that it is quite possible he was a better defensive player just given a different set of responsibilities.

Nevin killed 45% of his team's penalties post-expansion; Balon just 12%, which is below average for a forward. SHP stats suggest it was the same before expansion: he had 8 SHP in 7 seasons, Balon had 3 SHP in six seasons (all in the same season). As you alluded to, penalty killing isn't the sole indicator of defensive ability, but it is a big one.

As for what was said of these two players at the time, here's what Zander Hollander's first two editions of "The Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey" from 1971 and 1972 have to say about their non-offensive abilities:

Balon: a tough checker who plays his position well and does not wander from his side of the ice... slightly bow-legged from riding horses which makes him tough to knock off balance...

Nevin: soft-spoken but efficient and one of the best checking forwards in the NHL... frequently used as a penalty killer because of his outstanding defensive work... although noted primarily for his defense, is only three points shy of a career total of 500... not appreciated as much by fans as he is by his teammates and other hockey players... NY coach calls him the best two-way player in the league... efficient two-way performer who plays the game at both ends of the ice... excellent penalty killer... has always been primarily a defensive-minded player... always assigned to the opposition's most dangerous scorer... an honest, two-way performer ...

one is a tough checker with good balance, the other, they can't stop praising him.

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