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11-26-2012, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
You mean he had to try and accomplish what Bourque had to do and DID in Boston for years and years?

Poor, poor Lidstrom, seeing how the other half live for a season or two
Bourque had Glen Wesley opposite him for many years. He was better in Boston than Stuart was at any point in his career. Bourque won four Norrises with Wesley, and none after. In 1986-87, with Reed Larson, he beat out an injury-shortened Mark Howe. It's possible that Howe wins the Norris on a full season; Howe had 58 points in 69 games, and was +57; that's 67 points and +66 on a full 80-game year, and he was already a VERY clear 2nd in Norris and AS voting, being named to the first team on 46/54 ballots and receiving 1 first-place Norris vote and 42/54 second place votes.

So none of this "Poor Ray Bourque, never playing with good partners." stuff. Lidstrom in his first 1 1/2 years had end-of-career McCrimmon, end-of-career Howe, and Steve Chiasson. Then Coffey was acquired, and played with Lidstrom until the end of 1995-96. Lidstrom didn't really have a regular everyday partner again until Murphy was acquired later on in 1996-97. That was the status quo until the end of 2000-01 when Murphy retired. Mathieu Dandenault got the job at that point; clearly a stellar partner and top-pairing defenseman. He had the job until the start of 2003-04, when Mathieu Schneider took his job. Schneider had the job for two more seasons before leaving and being replaced by Rafalski, who stayed with Lidstrom except for the one year Lids played with Stuart. White played with Lidstrom this past season.

So Rafalski was the only really significant defenseman that Lidstrom played with. Murphy and Schneider posted solid performances, but both were heavily buoyed by a prime Lidstrom.

And it wasn't as if Bourque was short of talented partners after Wesley left; he played significant time with Don Sweeney in the post-Wesley years; Sweeney was one of the league's top defensive defensemen. Later, Sweeney moved back to the second pair and Bourque had Kyle McLaren - when he was actually a good young all-around defenseman (before he retired at 30). If Bourque played with the "nothing" partners that are being suggested, his offensive production would have been significantly lower. Think "Nicklas Lidstrom playing with defensive liability Mathieu Schneider" lower (38 points in 81 games, second-worst in his career after 1992-93, when he played the defensive role for Howe and then Coffey). Bourque never had a partner close to as bad as Dandenault overall, while Lidstrom won two Norrises with Dandenault. Bourque didn't have a partner within miles of Schneider's defensive weakness either, and Lidstrom won two Norrises with him also.

Boston may have been weaker overall, but Bourque's partners certainly weren't weak.

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