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11-26-2012, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Yet Bourque still managed to be far and away the best defenseman during the 1990s, in a fully integrated league. In 1994, Fedorov and Hasek were 1-2 in Hart voting and 33-year-old Bourque won the Norris with Lidstrom, Zubov and Ozolinsh in his rearview. In 1996, age 35, he had the most 1st-place Norris votes and missed the award by 5 voting points -- behind him were Konstantinov, Lidstrom, Hamrlik, Numminen, Zubov, and Johanssen. I'm not sure why we're supposed to think he would have done worse in his younger prime.

The more I read these threads, the more it seems that it's not so much Lidstrom being overestimated as Bourque being grossly underestimated.
Far and away the best of the 90's? Holy exaggeration. He won 3 Norris' if you count 89-90 and trailed off after '96. There were lots of guys in the mix for that decade and the Norris' got passed around a lot. Lidstrom didn't win a Norris but what he did in the two cup runs and other playoff performances and seasons put him in the mix.

I'm not saying that Bourque wouldn't and didn't still do very well in a fully integrated league. My point is that he started the first half of his career in a weaker league that didn't have a full compliment of the worlds best and therefore his resume looks better than if he had to start in the early 90's. The very argument many use to place him over Lidstrom.

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