Brian Leetch or Al MacInnis?
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11-11-2012, 01:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Originally Posted by
leetch had two norris trophies, not three. macinnis only has one, but finished second three times, and third two other times. leetch's only other top three finish was a third place in '96. when you add up the top seasons, it's hard for all the times macinnis came close to not tip the scales over leetch's second norris.
third best rushing defenseman of all time? i don't have a list in my head, but that seems wrong to me. i think you'd rank leetch higher than, say, park or bourque. but shore, kelly, harvey? and i think there's an argument for pilote as well. i will say, though, that of players i've seen with my own two eyes, leetch is second behind only coffey.
as for the pronger effect, i don't know about that. i mean, he played 29 minutes a game at age 35 (35 minutes in the playoffs), and between 26-27 for the four years after that (and invariably more when pronger was hurt; and that number jumped to 29-31 in the playoffs). i don't have the TOI numbers pre-'99, but it seems like macinnis was likely a near-30 minutes defenseman in his st. louis years. in any event, i don't think he took fewer or easier minutes because of pronger anymore than niedermayer did in anaheim.
My mistake on the Norris. . .every time I post without checking my facts it bites me in the ass.
Personally, as a pure
defenseman, I put Leetch ahead of Shore, Kelly, Harvey, Pilote. If Orr did indeed revolutionize the position then, by definition, those guys weren't true rushing defensemen despite their impressive skills and accomplishments. Note that I'm not saying that Leetch is better than those guys; just that as a pure, puck-on-his-stick, winding-up-to-go-end-to-end blueliner, I consider him the best behind Orr and Coffey.
You have a good point with Niedermayer, but I still think if you're going to give credit to MacInnis for longevity over Leetch, you have to consider that he had a fellow HOF'er to rely on during his twilight years while Leetch was being asked to carry one of the league's worst bluelines (and, in fairness, Leetch completely flopped in that task).
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