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Top 100 Players - Stan Fischler, 1988

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Old
09-05-2008, 07:18 AM
  #26
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I'd throw that book directly in the garbage,I mean really is it not just plain worthless tripe. A waste of a penny never mind $5.

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09-05-2008, 07:48 AM
  #27
Psycho Papa Joe
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Georges Vezina at #18 and Clint Benedict not even on the list is another joke. They played in the same era, and Benedict was clearly the better goalie. Benedict was probably the best goalie ever until Hainsworth (not on the list) and Gardiner (all the way down in #67) showed up, and it's still debatable.

Damn, Vezina sure gets alot of milleage out of having a name on a Trophy. The reason he has his name on the trophy, has more to do with dieing young, rather than being a brilliant goalie.

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09-05-2008, 07:53 AM
  #28
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Originally Posted by dcinroc View Post
What's strikes me immediately is the rapid elevation of Potvin, Trottier, Bossy and Dionne, plus the inclusion of Bob Gainey. Not cincidentally, all of those players were at or near the ends of their careers in 1988.

But, I really wonder what changed to drop guys Fred Taylor, Joe Malone, Newsy Lalonde and Sprague Cleghorn from the list entirely.
He dropped those guys completely, and he dropped Larry Robinson from the 60s to 100. Was Robinson really that bad from 1984-88?

Stan Fischler is the guy who a few years ago said that he wouldn't put Ray Bourque in his top 100, because he was disgusted by the way Bourque "abandoned" his team to basically bandwagon onto the Avalanche to get his Cup.

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09-05-2008, 08:00 AM
  #29
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He dropped those guys completely, and he dropped Larry Robinson from the 60s to 100. Was Robinson really that bad from 1984-88?
Larry had one of his best non-Norris seasons in 1986 (Coffey and Howe had career years that season). He was also terrific in 87 and 88. I really don't understand the logic behind dropping him 40 spots. Larry is a top 10 d-man of all-time on most lists I've seen. Plain and simple, Stan makes no sense.

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09-05-2008, 09:40 AM
  #30
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I'm not a Hainsworth fan at all... but for him to miss this list entirely, is inexcusable! Also, Benedict is missing.

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09-05-2008, 10:41 AM
  #31
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Stan Fischler is an interesting figure to say the least.

He is at the same time a great encyclopedia of Hockey history and a source of great controversy with his radical opinions.

I'm probably more open to his unique listing than most others because I put less emphasis on Awards and Honors than many people and go more with a subjective feeling of what I've watched.

One of the oddest things to me was the way the Edmonton Oilers were ranked. Up to that point, I feel that Peter Statsny, Dale Hawerchuk, and Denis Savard were all better Players with better Careers than Messier, not to mention Jari Kurri, who outscored his teammate in Regular Season and Playoff Play and was better Defensively. I suppose Messier was just a Player who stood out more in Games with his Physical Play than Kurri. Kevin Lowe is one of the more underrated Defensemen, but ranking him top 100 in a list quite heavy on older Players seems odd.

The thing that intrigues and confuses me the most however, is Stan Fischler's love-hate relationship with Ray Bourque. In 1988, Bourque is ranked on the lower end of the List. As someone pointed out, after Bourque had retired, Fischler commented that Bourque would not be in his top 100.

Yet, in between that, during the 1989-1990 Season, Fischler wrote a column arguing that Bourque was better than Orr. This is an article that is written about that column (I don't have access to the original column myself):

Quote:
IS RAYMOND BOURQUE BETTER?

"Bobby Orr was the greatest defenseman - not to mention the greatest player - ever to play the game. Ray Bourque is the best defenseman in the NHL now and has been for the last five years. But to say Bourque is better than Orr is complete stupidity.

But then, again what do you expect out of someone who thinks the New York Rangers are going to win the Stanley Cup?."

That's an excerpt from a letter written by Timothy O'Reilly of Nepean, Ont. in response to Stan Fischler's Hockey News column headlined: "Here's Why Bourque is better than Orr."

HARD TO FATHOM

The column appeared in the Dec. 22nd edition. I must admit at first read, I too couldn't quite fathom some of the logic (sacrilege?) that Fischler was expounding.

However, after watching No. 77 raise his level of play the last month and a half and watching the Bruins shoot to the top of the NHL standings, perhaps Mr. Fischler's column deserves a second look.

Bourque leads all league defensemen in scoring (13 goals , 47 assists). He is sixth overall in the league in assists and third in plus/ minus (plus 26). It is a given that he will win his third Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman.

Some folks are even talking about Bourque as a legitimate candidate for the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP. Of course no defenseman has won the Hart Trophy since 1972 when Orr led the Bruins to their most recent Stanley Cup.

Which brings us to the No. 4. vs. No. 77 debate and Mr. Fischler, hockey's so-called "Insider."

Fischler in his column debunks four myths about Orr.

Myth I: The Superman Theory: "There's a wonderful bromide that applies to Orr" wrote Fischler - "The older a man gets the faster he ran as a boy.'

Fischler notes that Orr arrived in the NHL for the 1966-67 season. "He meant so much to the Bruins they finished last (17-43-10)," says Fischler. "According to the Orr Fairy Tales, Bobby turned the team around the next season when they did make the playoffs.

"Nonsense. The Bruins were rejuvenated because GM Milt Schmidt made one of the greatest trades in history. He acquired gems Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge, and Fred Stanfield for Gilles Marotte, Jack Norris and Pit Martin. Also other significant Bruins were on the rise, namely Ted Green, Derek Sanderson, John McKenzie and Ed Westfall."

Myth II: Orr revolutionized defense playing. Notes Fischler, "If you listen to some improper Bostonians, you'd get the impression Orr was the first defenseman to carry the puck end-to-end. Applesauce. Eddie Shore did it for the Bruins in the '20s and '30s and Red Kelly did it expertly for the Red Wings in the later 1940s and 50s. And, unlike Orr, he could play defense. What Orr conveyed to a legion of kids, subconsciously or otherwise, was that defensive work in your own end should be sacrificed for offense and let the goalie be damned."

Myth III: Orr's point totals reveal his greatness. "What a laugh," writes Fischler. "Bobby's sophomore season - his first as Norris Trophy - coincided with the NHL's expansion from six to 12 teams. From that point and for a decade thereafter, the quality of hockey was at an all-time low."

Myth IV: Orr was unstoppable. "In 1971, an inferior Montreal team muzzled Orr and went on to win the Stanley Cup. In 1973, Phil Esposito was injured in the opening round against a weaker Ranger team," writes Fischler. "New York wiped out Boston four games to one ."

Fischler contends, "Ray Bourque can do everything Bobby Orr ever did and then some. And let us not forget Bourque has been playing against much better competition in a much more even league than Orr did in his injury-shortened career."

Why is Bourque better? Fischler offers a half dozen reasons:

- He can rush in the same manner that Orr carried the puck.

- He can play better in his defensive zone than Orr.

- He is tougher than Orr at all points on the rink.

- His total leadership qualities surpass Orr's.

- He is withstanding the test of time. Orr lasted only 12 seasons. Bourque is in his 11th season and is still getting better.

- He has maintained his level of excellence despite an inferior support cast, compared with Orr's Hall-of-Famers.

B's president and GM Harry Sinden has seen Bourque first hand and also had the pleasure of coaching Orr .

"Let's put it this way," said Sinden . "If the score is 2-1 us and there's a minute left in the game, I'd want Raymond on the ice, if the score was 2-1 for them with a minute to go, I'd want Bobby. But Ray has become the ultimate leader."

"Ray certainly deserves to be considered for the Hart Trophy," said B's vice-president Tom Johnson Thursday night.

He didn't offer to compare the two but said, "Ray's having a super season offensively and defensively. He far surpasses (Chris) Chelios and (Paul) Coffey or anybody else in the league."
From the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (January 28, 1990)

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09-05-2008, 10:52 AM
  #32
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Originally Posted by poise View Post
Stan Fischler is an interesting figure to say the least.

He is at the same time a great encyclopedia of Hockey history and a source of great controversy with his radical opinions.

I'm probably more open to his unique listing than most others because I put less emphasis on Awards and Honors than many people and go more with a subjective feeling of what I've watched.

One of the oddest things to me was the way the Edmonton Oilers were ranked. Up to that point, I feel that Peter Statsny, Dale Hawerchuk, and Denis Savard were all better Players with better Careers than Messier, not to mention Jari Kurri, who outscored his teammate in Regular Season and Playoff Play and was better Defensively. I suppose Messier was just a Player who stood out more in Games with his Physical Play than Kurri. Kevin Lowe is one of the more underrated Defensemen, but ranking him top 100 in a list quite heavy on older Players seems odd.

The thing that intrigues and confuses me the most however, is Stan Fischler's love-hate relationship with Ray Bourque. In 1988, Bourque is ranked on the lower end of the List. As someone pointed out, after Bourque had retired, Fischler commented that Bourque would not be in his top 100.

Yet, in between that, during the 1989-1990 Season, Fischler wrote a column arguing that Bourque was better than Orr. This is an article that is written about that column (I don't have access to the original column myself):



From the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (January 28, 1990)
Well he is correct on one aspect, the quality of hockey was considerably lower.During bobby orr's era, you had a few great players and a bunch of bums. That era really didnt have many good or very good players.

Another thing about that era is that teams were so lopsided. The bruins, canadiens, blackhawks, rangers and flyers had all the good players, while the other 10 teams were left with bums.

I mean really just look at the depth of the nhl in the 1970-71 season. Outside of the 4 top teams, you really couldn't even name a player from the other 10 teasm that scored 80 points. While orr was on the team that had 7 guys score more than 70 points.


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09-05-2008, 11:18 AM
  #33
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See what I mean about Fischler's yellow journalism? He makes sensationalistic comments to get a rise out of people.

I wonder what inspired Fischler's obvious dislike of Orr? Maybe the Bruins beating the Rangers for the cup?

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09-05-2008, 11:30 AM
  #34
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All that list does is show that he has very little understanding of the game of hockey.

Orr at 13....? No excuse can be made.

Coffey at 25....? lol

And most laughable of all....? Bourque at 78.

Utterly incompetent.

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09-05-2008, 11:32 AM
  #35
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And most laughable of all....? Bourque at 78.

Utterly incompetent.
Well, can't harp on that one too much, as the list was made in 1988..

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09-05-2008, 11:38 AM
  #36
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Huh?

Oh yeah...all he had done was been a nine time all-star by then, won the Calder and won back to back Norris trophies.

Please.

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09-05-2008, 11:46 AM
  #37
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Originally Posted by ushvinder View Post
Well he is correct on one aspect, the quality of hockey was considerably lower.During bobby orr's era, you had a few great players and a bunch of bums. That era really didnt have many good or very good players.

Another thing about that era is that teams were so lopsided. The bruins, canadiens, blackhawks, rangers and flyers had all the good players, while the other 10 teams were left with bums.

I mean really just look at the depth of the nhl in the 1970-71 season. Outside of the 4 top teams, you really couldn't even name a player from the other 10 teasm that scored 80 points. While orr was on the team that had 7 guys score more than 70 points.
Why is the 70-71 season so important? Look at the year before and the year after and it isn't so lopsided. It's just an outlier year, statistically speaking.

In 70-71, only 6 players in the NHL scored more than 80 points and 4 were on Boston. The other 2 were Bobby Hull (96 points for Chicago) and Norm Ullman (85 pts for Toronto). The Stanely Cup champions that year (Montreal) had only 2 players with 70+ points. Indeed, only 16 players in the entire NHL cracked 70 points that year.

Orr, Esposito, Hodge and Bucyk all had the highest point totals of their careers that year. Doesn't really tell us much of anything, except that Boston was on fire that season.

Certainly the teams were lopsided, it's called expansion. Yet, by 74 one of those expansion clubs was winning the Stanley Cup, and in 75 it was an all-expansion team final.

NHL expansion isn't what diluted talent in the 70s, it was the WHA combined with expansion, but that had its greatest effect from 75-79.

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09-05-2008, 11:54 AM
  #38
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Huh?

Oh yeah...all he had done was been a nine time all-star by then, won the Calder and won back to back Norris trophies.

Please.
It's Stan Fischler. There's no reason to get upset.

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09-05-2008, 11:56 AM
  #39
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lol.....good point

Although honestly I am not upset Just pointing out the incompetence.

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09-05-2008, 12:34 PM
  #40
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Originally Posted by ushvinder View Post
Well he is correct on one aspect, the quality of hockey was considerably lower.During bobby orr's era, you had a few great players and a bunch of bums. That era really didnt have many good or very good players.

Another thing about that era is that teams were so lopsided. The bruins, canadiens, blackhawks, rangers and flyers had all the good players, while the other 10 teams were left with bums.

I mean really just look at the depth of the nhl in the 1970-71 season. Outside of the 4 top teams, you really couldn't even name a player from the other 10 teasm that scored 80 points. While orr was on the team that had 7 guys score more than 70 points.
I agree that the Expansion years immediately following the Original Six included the "lowest quality" that the NHL had seen, at least going back to the early days of the Original Six (before that hockey saw varying degrees of quality as well).

Still, the late 70's to the mid 80's should be considered part of the Expansion era also. This is exactly when Denis Potvin played his best years and Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey played a significant part of their careers as well. This is where some issues about how consistently Stan Fischler ranks Players comes up.

Also don't forget how weak the league was in the Dead Puck Era. Teams went to Defensive systems because of the big dearth of quality Offensive Players. Goaltender's continued to improve from the late 80's which is often the reason given for the lower scoring, but I'd argue that the lack of Offensive stars was just as important a reason, as well as the impetus for teams to begin playing the Trap.

Beyond that, many of the other reasons Fischler gives for putting Bourque over Orr seem exaggerated or false to me. Bourque was better Defensively (later on; early on, Bourque was sometimes criticized for his Defensive Play and lack of consistency), but he certainly could not rush the puck as well as Orr. He had the speed and skating ability, yet Bourque also had a tendency, from what I've seen, to overplay and overhandle the puck, especially in those situations.

Orr was clearly better Offensively than Bourque, and even the harder situation that Bourque was in isn't enough to make it very close. Coffey was able for a limited time to arrive on Orr's level Offensively but comparing the two at their best, Orr would definitely be in control of the puck more than Coffey, who would defer to his teammates.

This coming from a person who probably wouldn't rate Orr as high as most, and considers Bourque to be Harvey's equal at least and deserving of the spot of the #2 Defenseman behind Orr.

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09-05-2008, 01:07 PM
  #41
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Why is the 70-71 season so important? Look at the year before and the year after and it isn't so lopsided. It's just an outlier year, statistically speaking.

In 70-71, only 6 players in the NHL scored more than 80 points and 4 were on Boston. The other 2 were Bobby Hull (96 points for Chicago) and Norm Ullman (85 pts for Toronto). The Stanely Cup champions that year (Montreal) had only 2 players with 70+ points. Indeed, only 16 players in the entire NHL cracked 70 points that year.

Orr, Esposito, Hodge and Bucyk all had the highest point totals of their careers that year. Doesn't really tell us much of anything, except that Boston was on fire that season.

Certainly the teams were lopsided, it's called expansion. Yet, by 74 one of those expansion clubs was winning the Stanley Cup, and in 75 it was an all-expansion team final.

NHL expansion isn't what diluted talent in the 70s, it was the WHA combined with expansion, but that had its greatest effect from 75-79.
I always felt that the latter half of the 70's was the most diluted and continued up to around the mid 80's. That's how it seemed to me from watching it anyway.

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09-05-2008, 01:54 PM
  #42
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I always felt that the latter half of the 70's was the most diluted and continued up to around the mid 80's. That's how it seemed to me from watching it anyway.
To my recollection, league-wide talent improved dramatically within just the first few years after the WHA folded.

1. Players returning to the NHL from the WHA. Few stars, but many became quality 2nd, 3rd and 4th liners.

2. Minimum draft age lowered from 20 to 18 leading to one of the deepest draft pools in NHL history in 1979.

3, Number of quality goalies entering the league finally started to catch up to the number of teams (though it wouldn't start to really show until 84 or 85).

4. American impact players began entering the league in significant numbers. The 1980 Olympics may have inspired more to play hockey, but the Miracle on Ice would never have happened if the US wasn't already producing quality players at that point.

5. European players also began having an impact, though more slowly than the American players.

New Jersey was about the only team that was pretty much hopeless throughout the decade.

From the 70s, only a handful of players remained among the elite outside of the Islanders big 4 (Potvin, Trottier, Bossy and Smith) within a few years.

I'll agree that it appeared that things changed in the mid-80s since it took a few years for the young guys to reach their prime, but the changes began with the folding of the WHA.

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09-05-2008, 06:28 PM
  #43
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Yeah Orr is to low on that list and Gretzky should be #1 on that list and not #2.

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09-05-2008, 07:33 PM
  #44
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Gretzky is right abotu where he belongs at #2. He hadnt broken Howe's point or goals record. Howe is deservingly #1 (or Orr). Gretzky had a few more remarkable seasons but this is when his all time ranking started to go higher as he produced more longevity in his career. Only then coupled with his dominant peak could he surpass Howe. #1 and #2 are fine, but after that......................well, let's just say that if you hear a noise it's me falling off my chair. I know it's Fischler, who is about as bright as a bucket of shrimp, but how in the world could Guy Lafleur be all the way down at #51? His career was over in 1988 (save for a couple years) there was nothing he did after that which would put him higher. So in Fischler's mind, if he were to make a list in 2008 Lafleur would probably be #70-80. Yikes!

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09-20-2008, 05:03 PM
  #45
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Stan is a bit of a clown .... the only two people who feel Denis Potvin was better than Bobby Orr were Stan and Denis himself .... Guy Lafleur is easily top 10 IMO

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09-20-2008, 05:36 PM
  #46
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Stan is a bit of a clown .... the only two people who feel Denis Potvin was better than Bobby Orr were Stan and Denis himself .... Guy Lafleur is easily top 10 IMO
I think it's a bit telling of how wrong he knows he is when every defenseman ranked ahead of Bobby Orr has half his bio dedicated to how Bobby Orr wasn't that great.

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09-21-2008, 05:17 PM
  #47
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Fischler's only purpose has always been to piss people off. And he's always been good at.

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09-21-2008, 08:44 PM
  #48
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Rod Langway ahead of Larry Robinson ?

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09-24-2008, 09:10 PM
  #49
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I was doing some research going through back issues of The Sporting News and happened to come across one of Fischler's columns from the Apr.24/76 issue. This concerned whether the Bruins would be able to re-sign Orr to a new contract. Here's what Stan said:

"Soundings in and around the Charles River indicate that proper Bostonians couldn't care less whether or not Orr wears the Big B jersey again. Who needs Bobby Big Bucks when you can win with Hodge, Cashman, Doak, Bucyk, Zanussi, etc."



Bashing players who made a lot of money was a staple of Fischler's columns. It's called jealousy.

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09-24-2008, 09:17 PM
  #50
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"Soundings in and around the Charles River indicate that proper Bostonians couldn't care less whether or not Orr wears the Big B jersey again. Who needs Bobby Big Bucks when you can win with Hodge, Cashman, Doak, Bucyk, Zanussi, etc."
Who were these Bostonians that couldn't care less whether or not Orr was retained? Not hockey fans obviously. If Orr went to the Rangers I'm sure Fischler would have lauded him as the greatest athlete in history. His petty and unprovoked vendetta's against certain teams and players knew no bounds it seems.

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