Messier vs. Esposito
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11-24-2012, 10:59 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Originally Posted by
high scoring players were selke finalists before '94. gilmour won in '93, with 127p. gilmour also got votes in late '80s and early '90s, as did other 2 way players like larmer or francis. troy murray coincidentally scored 99p, just outside the top 10 in scoring, when he won his selke in '86.
'83: clarke, kurri, gould, lysiak
'84: jarvis, trottier, kurri, middleton
'85: ramsay, jarvis, tonelli, kurri ----- (tonelli scored 100p in '85)
you seem to be focusing on 3 or 4 seasons ('93-'96), when the selke winner scored at least 1.34p per game. in late '90s and prior to the lockout, selke almost always was awarded to a primarily defensive player.
selke voting has only been awarded to 2 way players since the lockout. i think several were wrongly awarded, but teams are now regularly using 1st or 2nd lines to check 1st lines. all selke winners since the lockout are used to check scoring lines.
i think it would be unlikely that messier would win a selke. i agree with rabbins that messier was not a great defensive player and that his defensive play is overrated.
I don't want to get into an argument about Selkes and further derail this thread (which has already derailed into a, 'Esposito without Orr' discussion
) but what I'm saying is this: voting for the Selke isn't the best way to gauge a player's defensive abilities, which was the criteria that was initially used to suggest that Messier's defensive play was overrated. I mean, Pavel Datsyuk is tied for second-place with the most ever. Great player, Datsyuk, but does anyone really think he's the second-best defensive forward ever?
I haven't looked into any stats to back me up, but I watched Messier play and I consider him elite defensively. True, the Oilers did tend to ignore the defensive zone during the regular season so he was never consistent but I'd argue that was more about team structure than inability.
The proof, IMO, is there in pressure situations. Like I said before; Keenan had his choice of the best defensive players in the NHL to put out against the KLM line and he went with Messier.
And I just rewatched portions of game four of the 1990 series against the Blackhawks, and the announcers are wondering why Muckler isn't matching Messier up against Savard as he was earlier in the series (and that 1990 Oiler team wasn't the offensive powerhouse it used to be, so the fact that they utilized one of their top scoring forwards in a defensive role tells you something about that player's defensive abilities).
Messier was also used by Sather in the 1984 SCF to forecheck against Potvin and disrupt his breakout plays. Same thing in the 1990 SCF against Bourque. Yes, forechecking the hell out of the opposition's top D isn't necessarily the same as shadowing a top scorer, but Bob Gainey gets a ton of credit for doing exactly that in Montreal. And other than Gainey going up against Orr regularily, can anyone else claim a resume more impressive in that regard than besting both Potvin and Bourque in the Stanley Cup finals?
As two-way centermen go, I consider Bobby Clarke to be in a word of his own. But after that, I put Messier in the second-tier, comparable with Trottier, Mikita.
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