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12-05-2012, 02:20 PM
Rob Scuderi
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Assuming you're not including Worters and Hainsworth in that comment -- if you are, please demonstrate why and we will be just about done here -- then I agree, and I think that's a simple summary of the issue here.

He was a clear step down from the elites of his period (Vezina/Benedict) and a clear step up from the middle-of-the-road Easterners (Connell/Roach/etc) but the problem is figuring out just where the middle-ground of that time period should be valued. Personally I don't look at professional hockey goaltending around 1920 as a period that was extremely deep to the point that being a distant 3rd place is a top-20 all-time kind of achievement.
I had Lehman and Worters as my 1-2 with Hainsworth a bit behind so that's why I mentioned the three I did. The only thing Lehman has over Worters is the fact that he actually did something in the playoffs, but then again the Millionaires were a totally different level than the Pirates and Americans.

Thus far, no one has resolved the difference between Hainsworth's stats and lack of award consideration/praise as far as I'm concerned. The only piece I know in his favor is the fact that the Habs GAA was brutal in the year between Vezina and Hainsworth, but I dug that up last ATD and don't really know what to make of it without more. If you're privvy to why I should check this hypocrisy please let me know - I'm really hoping someone can go to bat for Hainsworth - but it just hasn't happened.

Connell is a borderline 30 guy for me, an Roach is that 40ish range that encompasses so many names. How does a placement around 60 for Lehman jive with a clear step up from those two?

Well, the conversation started with a simple All Star count, and those were earned in exclusive competition against his Western peers. So it made sense to talk about that first before extending the scope of the conversation.

One thing we could do is try and estimate what his AS count would look like in a consolidated NHL. I don't think it would be appreciably different than Worters'.
Fair enough there, but the part of my post you omitted explains perfectly why I struggle with a narrow-focus on just the goalies in the PCHA.

But we can't infer that he was a good goalie in an all-time sense, just because he competed against talented skaters. I mean, there is absolutely zero question that the skaters in the PCHA were better than the goalies. Say Lehman was the best goalie -- was he the Cyclone Taylor of goalies? Was Heck Fowler the Moose Johnson of goalies? No, not close. Earlier it was posited that the lack of turnover in the NHL during the early 1920s was evidence of a global talent drought, and we saw exactly the same phenomenon illustrated above in the stagnant western rosters. You'll recall that Lehman's having an NHL job in 1928 was cited as evidence of this talent drought. Yet we didn't discuss this same phenomenon when we talked about defensemen and I doubt it will come up against forwards. It's a goalie-exclusive issue, apparently.
Why do you keep talking about Fowler, Lindsay or Winkler when they're clearly nowhere near Lehman or Holmes? You haven't attempted to show they are either. Will Cyclone Taylor and Mickey MacKay have to answer to Don Smith and Dubby Kerr for the forwards project? I understand what you're trying to say here, but a lack of depth for competition doesn't take away from what the players at the top did accomplish and Lehman had Holmes pushing him for many (most?) of his awards in the PCHA.

Honestly I think Moose is the best way to understand Lehman and Holmes. They were playing in a league where their position wasn't particularly deep, but they were still good enough to be key players on Eastern powerhouses (see Moose Johnon and the Wanderers and Holmes and the Blueshirts). Obviously we don't have example for Lehman as he an OPHL boy but he won a Cup out West and regularly outperformed Holmes so I don't think it's too big of a leap.

So we have a bit of a challenge in determining just how to rank this time period, not at all unlike Fuhr's peer group in the early-mid 1980s which inexplicably lacked a dominant all-time personality at the top. We surely wouldn't consider the third-best goalie of that group (maybe Moog?) to be a top-20 goalie of all time. Now imagine if Moog was considered miles behind #3, as Lehman is to Vezina.
I feel this line of thinking only takes us so far. Plante, Hall, and Sawchuk didn't all peak at the same time, but we still gave 3/5 top spots to goalies playing in the same decade. I had Belfour first last round as the third of his generation, so I care about what resume stands out more to me, than maintaining a balancing act.

Yes, he was considered the best goalie in the world one time, which is a peak that Lehman never reached.
Is it though? I mean yeah in the grand scheme of things he was third behind Vezina and Benedict, but they never directly competed against each other outside of the playoffs so it's hard to pin him down the way you can with other eras.

Last edited by Rob Scuderi: 12-05-2012 at 02:42 PM.
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