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Originally Posted by eva unit zero
Coffey's Norris finishes:
1982: 3rd
1983: 5th
1984: 2nd
1985: 1st
1986: 1st
1987: 5th
1988: 7th
1989: 2nd
1990: 4th
1991: 5th
1992: none
1993: 9th
1994: 7th (tied with Lidstrom, Ozolinsh, Murphy)
1995: 1st
1996: 5th

Norris votes are NOT the be end all for determining a players prime.
Injuries and/or trades can and has kept Dmen out of the Norris voting during their primes.
When a Dman is getting 100+ points (something that has only been done by 5 players ever) in 89/90, 90+ in 90/91 and 87 in 92/93...
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So what you're saying is that MacInnis only did well in later finishes because of poor competition

Yes!
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Yep, revisionist guide. It's revisionist history that had Doug Wilson finishing third in Norris voting in 1990 while Stevens, Leetch, and Murphy received a combined zero votes and Chelios received only one second place vote. Murphy was third in 1987 before going four straight years with no votes before popping up in 199192 and hitting 5th place. In that same span: Stevens missed out in 1990. Leetch got a couple noshows in 87 and 88, scrap votes in 89 and 90, and then made a 4th place in 1991. Housley missed 87, 88, 89, and 91. Chelios missed in 1987, MacInnis missed in 1988. This is while such elite defensemen as Wilson, Gary Suter, Craig Ludwig, Mario Marois, Rick Green, Ulf Samuelsson, Craig Hartsburg, Kevin Hatcher, Brad McCrimmon, James Patrick, Kevin Lowe, Paul Cavallini, Al Iafrate, Jamie Macoun, and J.J. Daigneault were getting votes, sometimes at pretty serious levels. Even Larry Robinson, Rod Langway, and Denis Potvin getting votes in those years is in that range; nobody could seriously consider them to be elite defensemen at that point.
You look back at the names and think of their best days, without forgetting the lean years any of those defensemen went through in their primes. You are saying "I remember all of these guys as stars, how could the current/recent crop have been as good in any given year when they're all so inconsistent?"
How many of those guys would you consider to be top ten or top five defensemen at any point between 8687 to 9192, based on your knowledge and recollection? How would you compare THAT group of 18 defensemen to the group after the top seven Lidstrom had to deal with from, say, 20012006?
Let's see. Here's your top eight, for reference:
Prime Lidstrom
Prime Niedermayer
Prime Pronger
Prime Chara
Prime Blake
Prime Gonchar
Prime Zubov
Prime Schneider
Prime D.Hatcher
Prime Zubov
Prime Aucoin
Prime Jovanovski
Prime Rafalski
Prime Desjardins
Prime Numminen
Prime Foote
Prime Kaberle
Prime Redden
Prime Ohlund
Prime McCabe
Prime Boyle
Postprime Bourque
Postprime Stevens
Postprime Chelios
Postprime Leetch
Postprime MacInnis
Looking at that list, Lidstrom's competition doesn't look so weak does it?

Yes, it does!
His competition was wildly inconsistent or over 35 years old or just plain no where near as good as the pack of Dmen listed for the late 80's/early 90's.
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Maybe that had an effect on Lidstrom too, as his scoring dropped at 38. And then he won the Norris at 40.
Longevity point for Lidstrom.

More like a point for just how weak and extremely average the field was.
Lidstrom's 10/11 season doesn't even get close to a top 5 finish in any year of the 90's.
And it wasn't even as good as Bourque's 40 year old final season.