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06-20-2013, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Crease View Post
Well, let's ignore Cups for the moment. In fact, let's ignore the playoffs altogether.

My argument will rely on the assumption that postseason all-star team voting is a good indicator of overall regular season performance of the defensemen relative to their peers. If you don't like this asumption, you're not going to like the argument.

POSTSEASON ALL-STAR VOTING (outright rank amongst defensemen)
Johnson: 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 6
Park: 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 14

Now let's consider competition, since Johnson and Park were not competing against the same crop of defensemen for these finishes.

How much better was Park (the Ranger) than all other defensemen in his era (excluding Orr, the outlier)? Park finished alone in second place in postseason all-star voting behind Orr 3 times. In 1969-70, he has 2.3x more votes than third place Carl Brewer. In 1971-72 he has 2x as many votes as third place Bill White. The other time Park finished alone in second place in all-star voting was 1973-74. He edged out Bill white 196-145. So there were really two seasons in which Park (the Ranger) dominated an Orr-less field. For context, he was competing against the likes of JC Tremblay, Guy LaPointe, Jacques Laperriere, Serge Savard, Bill White, Pat Stapleton.

And if we're removing Orr from the equation, why not remove Eddie Shore? If Shore was a career Ranger, he would indisputably be at the top of our list. You can make an argument that only a handful of defensemen were better than Shore (Orr, Bourque, Harvey, and maybe Lidstrom). He's absolutely ahead of Leetch, Park, Johnson, et al.

How much better was Johnson than all other defensemen in his era (excluding Shore)? Johnson finished alone in second place in postseason all-star voting behind Shore 3 times. In 1927-28, he edged out King Clancy 12-9. In 1931-32 he had 3.7x as many votes as third place King Clancy. In 1932-33 he had 1.7x as many votes as third place King Clancy. For context, he was competing against the likes of King Clancy, Dit Clapper, Lionel Conacher, Babe Siebert, Earl Seibert, Ebbie Goodfellow, Art Coulter.

This is not an attempt to show you how much better Johnson was than Park in the regular season. This is an attempt to show you how close they were.

Then when you factor in playoff performance/success and longevity, it tilts clearly in Johnson's favor.

I hadn't heard a lick about him before this project either. And before the Centers project I never heard of Coville or Watson. Could name-drop Boucher and the Cooks but couldn't really tell you much about them. Mike mentioned this earlier in the thread and it came up in the Centers project as well: the Rangers do a terrible job of honoring their history, especially the pre-WWII era. Johnson went into the HHOF on the merit of his play as a Ranger. The fact that his name is not mentioned much (if at all?) at MSG, on the team website, or on MSG Network says more about the organization than it does about Johnson. Hell, Graves had his number retired before Howell and Bathgate.
Underline agree, except that comparison is overall of the era to counterparts, not a head on comparison.

Bold: Ergo, I disagree in that I conclude:
Johnson was at least = of Park in toughness, technique, possibly superior, can't tell for sure.
Johnson was probably at least slightly less than Park in skating, as athletes have gotten bigger, stronger, faster
Johnson was clearly less than Park in shooting and scoring.
It was a different game then, but the skills do go to Park on that count.

Ergo, very close. Edge to Park, IMO.

side note:
there are computer simulations of classic fighters of different eras: like Marciano v. Ali.

Park + Johnson would be allies, not adversaries, but ASSUMING the data could be properly and accurately entered --- a HUGE if ---- it would be interesting to see how Park and Johnson, each given the same defense partner (maybe Coffey, Bourque, Chelios, Langway, pick one) how each would fare against identical NHL competition (such as all time all star lineup across the decades including like Lindsay + Howe and Mikita and Lemieux + Bure).

That might provide an accurate barometer.
But I still gotta guess Park better in any scenario helping his team generate a goal!

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