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10-31-2012, 03:07 AM
Czech Your Math
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
The next best player in the NHL during Orr's time was Esposito and it doesn't really matter that he was on the same team as Orr. Esposito won the Hart twice while Orr was a teammate (although I'll admit in 1969 Orr wasn't at that Christ-like level yet). Think about that for a second though. Orr lost in Hart voting to his own teammate in 1974. This tells me two things. Esposito was a lot better than people give him credit for or the gap between those two players wasn't as big as Gretzky and Bossy.

Obviously Orr is the better player than Esposito, but the voters at the time had different ideas. And this wasn't an unusual season for Esposito either. Nor was it an injury riddled season from Orr.

Look, you're downplaying Gretzky post 1989 (28 years old). He's a HHOFer if he only plays those 10 seasons. A lock cinch. He led the NHL for the entire decade of the 1990s in points, by a decent margin. There is no doubt he adds significantly to his resume because of this. 20 years as an elite player (most of them as THE elite player) is almost impossible to do. If Orr maintains his greatness like Gretzky then who knows, but he didn't.
I think Orr probably deserved the Hart in '74, as Espo's overall game had really gone downhill at that point. Still a tremendous season by Espo, esp. at that age. The '69 season is interesting, given that Espo basically doubled Orr's point total and had ~75% higher PPG that season. What changed after that which allowed Orr to score so many more points, without it changing Espo's production more substantially?

People do seem to give a lot of extra credit for lost production to players affected by injuries. I think in many, if not most cases, the player could have played a slightly less intense game, probably had a bit lower peak and bit longer career, but not sure how much more career value (if any) they would have added by doing so. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game, but it does a disservice to those players that properly paced themselves when possible to avoid excessive injury, to project much longer careers at the same level for players who played a more aggressive style which often resulted in injury.

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