HOF for 1980s Defensive Defensemen
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10-24-2012, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Vancouver, BC
Originally Posted by
dana murzyn was awful. the defensive beasts on those '89 flames were mccrimmon and macoun. on the '94 canucks, you're looking at diduck and post-injury babych. murzyn has glamorous +/- stats because he was a guy that played easy minutes on high powered teams. and to look at his career you'd think he was the defensive rock that you paired with an offensive guy, but he was actually carried defensively by ramage and lumme.
Murzyn was a fine player and possibly the most unfairly maligned guy I've ever seen. He didn't spend the better part of 5 seasons on the top pairing of a contending NHL team by accident.
He had one major weakness - getting burned wide on the rush. About every 10 games or so, a speedy opposition forward would blow past him. And when it happened, it looked terrible. And the fanbase would lay a collective egg about it.
Those few high-profile gaffes ended up completely overshadowing what a stellar defensive defender he was otherwise. One of the best I've ever seen at clearing shooting lanes for his goalie in front of the net - big, strong as an ox, and absolutely vicious with the lumber. Owned opposition forwards in battles in the corners. Excellent hockey sense and very positionally sound.
But he's definitely a '1990s' player in any case.
The 1980s list of guys who were #1 or strong #2 guys based mainly on their defensive play is pretty short and obvious, and most have already been mentioned:
And of course Bourque/Potvin/Howe who were elite at both ends of the rink.
Other guys like Macoun, Muni, Ludwig, Quenneville were a step down and more excellent 2nd pairing guys. Bill Hajt might have fit the top group in at the turn of the decade but spent most of the '80s as a #3-4 guy.
When listing 'one year wonders', it's almost exclusively Scott Bjugstad-esque forwards, but if there's a defensive defender equivalent it might be Tim Bothwell, who had a monster first-pairing defensive season in 1984-85 for St. Louis but was never more than a #4-type guy otherwise.
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