Messier vs. Esposito
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11-24-2012, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Originally Posted by
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.
You're right there. Keenan had many players he could have used against the KLM line and he chooses the Anderson-Messier-Gartner line. Yeah Selke finishes are definitely not the be all and end all of things. It helps but the eye test is just as good. Messier passes that with flying colours.
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