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11-17-2012, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by hohosaregood View Post
I wonder if a defensive defenseman like Rod Langway will make it in ever again.
Langway could be argued as a player who didn't deserve to make it. He won two Norrises he didn't deserve, beating out notably superior defensemen in Mark Howe (1983) and Ray Bourque (1984), both of whom were very good defensively in their own right as well as FAR better offensively. Langway's defense was great, but not THAT great. IMHO, Howe, Bourque, Coffey, and Potvin all were better both years. Coffey scored 96 and 126 points to lead defensemen, respectively - Langway wasn't 70 points worth of defense better than Coffey in 1983, and certainly not 100 points better in 1984. In making the assumption Bob Gainey was the best defensive forward ever, that would then make the argument that Gainey, not Lafleur, was the best Montreal forward in the late 70s. Which is an insane argument. Langway's win over Howe (Howe still trounced him in All-Star voting) is one of the major reasons Howe's entry was delayed for so long.

That said, the Hall is for the absolute elite. Can you realistically say there are any purely defensive defensemen in the league who have been elite defensemen? Derian Hatcher received a Norris nomination, but IMHO wasn't even the best defenseman on his team. And he certainly didn't maintain that level of play. Chara is about the closest thing we've seen, and he developed from a pylon to a defensive guy, and then into a two way monster. Konstantinov might have been the guy, but his career was obviously cut short by his accident. And he had notably better offensive skills than Langway; in addition to having a higher PPG in a lower scoring era, Konstantinov missed out on a lot of points because the Wings' puck possession style under Bowman was about quality, rather than quantity. This led to Konstantinov being the "third assist" on many plays; an important pass without a credited point.

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