Best Defensive Forward Ever
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11-03-2012, 02:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Regina, SK
Originally Posted by
Gainey was bigger, faster and more physical. This advantage, admitted by you, covers the big net advantage that Bob Gainey had on Craig Ramsay. Goes a long way to explaining why Craig Ramsay retired at 33. Three attributes required by the short shift game.
All those games Ramsay started to miss late in his career as a result of being too small, slow and soft, really seem to back up your point here. Clearly by 1985 he was just losing it.
I "admit" Gainey's edge in three important attributes because they are less important than the actual results. Attributes such as size, speed and physicality are the tools that led to them earning their individual results. But the results are what matter in the end. If Ramsay managed to achieve results as good or better, then it is worth exploring why. His size, speed and physicality didn't do it for him, so what did? Something had to.
Similarly (yet an obviously extreme example), Al Iafrate was bigger, faster, more physical, and had a bigger shot than Ray Bourque, but that didn't add up to being a better player. We don't rate Iafrate higher for having better "attributes", we rate Bourque higher for having better results. And the only reason I ever brought up Gainey's superior attributes was to explain why he was more of a visible player.
If you look at Selke voting after 1981 - Gainey's last win and 1991when Dirk Graham won, you will notice tha outside of Ramsay in 1985 the winners were all centers, reflecting how the game had changed. Gretzky, Lemieux and the high scoring centers of the eighties plus the arrival of the short shift game changed the defensive emphasis to the center position. Ramsay in 1985 was an anomaly reflecting the early success of Tom Barrasso - Vezina and Jennings in successive seasons.Ramsay retired in 1985 so he did not have high Selke placement throughout the 1980s as you claim.
An analysis that looks simply at who won the Selke and nothing else (such as who were the runners up, etc) proves absolutely nothing.
To suggest Ramsay was a product of Barrasso is a joke. Ramsay's goals against figures only went down very slightly along with his icetime, after Barrasso arrived.
Did you really think I needed you to remind me when Ramsay retired? You should be intelligent enough to know what "throughout the 1980s" was meant to mean.
Your appreciation of the small rink factor is rather interesting. Starting with the post Red Line era that opened offence in the NHL, small rinks have always featured offence - late 40's Hawks, Hull/Mikita/ Pilote Hawks, Orr thru Bourque Bruins, French Connection thru Lafontaine/ Mogilny Sabres. Do not know which conventional wisdom you are referring to as the facts simply contradict your claim.
The "small rink" effect has been used numerous times to prop up Gilbert Perreault's rather unimpressive offensive resume (unimpressive as far as being a top-100 player goes, that is). The argument has always been "other star players scored about 20% more at home than on the road, but Perreault scored the same at home as on the road; therefore, the smaller rink clearly hurt his ability to be offensively creative at home". The numbers I presented earlier in this thread suggested that Buffalo was 19% better defensively at home, opposed to most teams being in the 13% range over a period of five selected seasons. And just the other day you commented about how Boston Garden was not conducive to the development of a young, mobile (offensive) defenseman. ergo, the smaller rink favours defense. Name dropping some star offensive players who've played in small rinks doesn't make a big impact on that.
And, of course, it's always been argued that maybe Ramsay's defensive stats are better than Gainey's because of the smaller rink - which favoured defense. I tried to address that in the same post above. I have no earthly idea why you're now attempting to claim that a smaller rink favoured offense.
The issue is a player being able to play defense on the various rink dimensions.The problem with Craig Ramsay is that he was not as good defensively on the larger rinks as he was on the small Buffalo rink. This was illustrated by Rick Middleton of the Bruins who could play offence on the small rink - Boston and dominated the Sabres and Ramsay whereas in multiple confrontations with Bob Gainey and the Canadiens Middleton was played to a statistical standstill by Gainey. Bruins won one series against Montreal with Rick Middleton - 1988 after Cam Neely joined the team and Middleton was the second RW.
Conversely Bob Gainey could play defence on rinks of all dimensions including International dimensions - WHC. The contrast between his success against Rick Middleton vs Craig Ramsay is the most telling point. Furthermare after losing only one series to the Bruins in eight, the Canadiens after Gainey retired lost three series in a row to the Bruins since they no longer had a shutdown LW to play against the Bourque/ Neely combination on the RHS of the rink.
I don't know why you expect one to two dozen games against Rick Middleton to define the careers of two players, when they had a combined 2400+ other games to look at.
Your appreciation of the short shift game should go beyond simple age counting. Gainey at age 35 was effective in series up to seven consecutive games, against power forwards like Cam Neely, Rick Tocchet. Craig Ramsay retired in 1985 after the Sabres lost to the Nordiques in another playoff defensive meltdown - 22GA in 5 games.
And this proves that Ramsay couldn't handle the short shift game, how?
Originally Posted by
Gainey was shuffled around the lineup in a way that Ramsay wasn't
has this been substantiated before or is it hearsay?
I would agree that Gainey probably received a lot of hype from playing in Montreal for a dynasty, and Ramsay was a bit underrated in comparison.
This much is obvious.
Originally Posted by
... now now 70's, lets not go overboard here.
Me, Myself & I
along with a fairly sizeable sampling of posters here were in fact alive, conscious & breathing throughout the 50's, 60's & 70's, saw Ramsay, Mikita, Pully, H.Richard etc in action.
If your truly a connoisseur & student of the game, you'll pay a considerable amount of attention to defensive forwards, that line of Luce/Gare/Ramsay one of the best in the league from 75-80, dangerous as all Hell what with Gare being a sniper of serious quality & talent. They were a "unit"; Gainey a "force" in and of himself, a far more intelligent player & commanding presence than Ramsay ever was, who I wouldnt even rank top 15 or 20.
As for the offer of a "sticky"; I didnt watch NHL hockey prior to about 1961-62, so Im not about to voice strong opinions and "absolutes" about anyone who played previously, but I will listen keenly to & respect the opinions of my elders who were around & did witness their exploits, a courtesy you Sir might wish to extend to myself and others posting here on the History of Hockey Board. Makes for a more inclusive & enjoyable experience for one & all.
Oh, I know you all had working eyes; the problem is that Gainey was far more visible and much easier to notice making an impact defensively. That doesn't automatically mean he was better though. I doubt back then, that anyone was perusing GF/GA totals and said "holy ****, Ramsay never gets scored on, I need to pay better attention to this guy". Regardless, he did extremely well in voting.
You want to be taken seriously, but saying "not top 15 or 20" about a guy who was obviously top-3 for his era makes that rather difficult.
Originally Posted by
Well of course Iain, and I do accord the Puckmetricians all due respect, however, when living eyewitnesses accounts to the exploits of any given player are discounted and or derided as being solely objective & unreliable, to then belittle someones accounts, dismiss them as such, telling them "
you got that from a wiki search
" or whatever, how is that helpful, courteous or positive to what should be enjoyable discourse? I personally am in no way offended, water off a Ducks, but still, there are many who would be, are.... anyhoo, carry on. No biggie.
Yes... "or whatever".
The words were actually "facts that anyone could cite after a quick glance through page 1 of a google search".... I was just telling it like it is. If your experience as a fan makes you so valuable to the discourse here, surely you can do better than just telling us where he played junior, who his linemates were (positions incorrect) and that he had an ironman streak - and then spout hyperbole with no factual data attached.
...unhuh. Did you actually see this guy play? Yes, he was good, product of the Peterborough Petes. Played in Buffalo on the same line with his buddy Don Luce & the terrific Danny Gare at Centre. Noted "Iron Man". But in the "same conversation as Bob Gainey"? Not even in the same room. Entirely different dynamic in Buffalo, Coaching system. Here more than ever the reliance solely upon statistics like relying on a compass in the Bermuda Triangle. Ya I know he won a Selke etc but still, not on par with Gainey. No way no how.
Regardless, Killy, the post missed the point entirely. The assertion was made that wingers could not be as good defensively as centers, and my point was to simply give two examples. One of a player who many consider the best, and one of a player for whom the statistical case over Gainey can be made with eyes closed. Both wingers, and the two best defensive forwards of their era, no matter the order (and the fact that a very strong statistical case exists means it's very much arguable)
Originally Posted by
... in a one-off event, like a car accident or whatever, then sure. But with an NHL player who someones watched over 5, 10, 15 years, eyewitness accounts, provided of course the observer is objective, hockey educated, intelligent, Id say the chances of that individuals memory being faulty are slim to none in apprising the players talents and limitations.
There's lots of reasons that this may not be true. For one thing, memories are faulty, no matter who we are talking about. Second, memories are selective. A more physically visible player who played on a more successful team that was televised much more often, is going to be more prominent in someone's memory. Third, single or rare memories can be turned into common occurrences without us realizing it. Seeing Gainey play with a Lafleur for a few games in 1977 can quickly become an anecdote 35 years later of "Gainey was a guy you could shuffle through the lineup; you just couldn't do that with Gainey". Last, regardless of what one thinks of Gainey versus Ramsay, and regardless of the quality of their memory, that still doesn't mean they have any legitimate credentials in comparing the dominance of one player in one era, to another from a different era. When you start talking about guys like Gilles Tremblay, who, based on the volume and degree of praise sent his way, may not have even been in the top-10 in his own era, as better than a guy clearly top-3 in his, then some era bias is almost certainly at play.
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