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Stan Fischler's Player Ratings From 1987

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Old
01-05-2010, 02:58 AM
  #1
seventieslord
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Stan Fischler's Player Ratings From 1987

Among the books I recently came across was a book called "Breakaway 87-88: The Hockey Almanac: A revolutionary look at the world's most exciting sport".

It's going to the "sell" pile, but before it does, I had to share these player ratings in here as they caught my eye, and then raised my eyebrows.

























In case you question how he came to these conclusions, I included his definitions of all the attributes as well.

I don't even know where to begin. I mean, I don't mean to nitpick, but:

- These ratings would have you believe Reijo Ruotsalainen was the best defenseman in the NHL.
- Gretzky, a 10 in physical play?
- Denis Savard, a 10 in backchecking? He was the only forward in the NHL to earn this rating. Only Russ Courtnall, Glenn Anderson and Mark Messier earned a 9. Bob Gainey was a 6.
- 10 ratings for passing? Charlie Simmer, Michel Goulet, Rick Vaive, Mike Bossy, Pierre larouche, Tomas Sandstrom, Tim Kerr, Jari Kurri. Wayne Gretzky recived an 8.
- I think Paul Coffey's defensive abilities are generally underrated, but... a 10 in slot coverage? He and ruotsalainen are the only two defensemen to receive a 10. Kevin Lowe, defensive stalwart, earns a 5. harold Snepsts, who was only in the NHL for skills like this, earns a 4.
- Mike Ramsey, a 9 in speed? Paul Coffey, a 4? larry Robinson and Kevin Lowe are the only defensemen deemed as fast as Ramsey, and only Al Iafrate (?!?), Ron Greschner, Doug Crossman, and Rod Langway are as "slow" as Coffey.
- Brad Marsh scores an 8 in speed! ....and with that, I think I've said enough.

Enjoy the laughs, boys. Feel free to point out some inaccuracies as well.

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01-05-2010, 03:31 AM
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MadArcand
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Wow. I just skimmed over these, but in addition to the Coffey and Ruotsalainen stuff... Ramsey and Housley *must* be flipped, or Housley was secretly offensively inept defensive stalwart, while Ramsey was speedy offensive guy. Francis is apparently much worse passer than Kevin Dineen, Brad McCrimmon is horrible and Ken Daneyko has one of the best puck controls in the league.

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01-05-2010, 04:10 AM
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vadim sharifijanov
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al macinnis' point shot: 6/10

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01-05-2010, 04:29 AM
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Mike Bullard was a better passer than Gretzky. Fascinating.

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01-05-2010, 04:40 AM
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Hmm..now I know where the pathetic rankings in the EA's NHL series come from.

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01-05-2010, 04:43 AM
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Bougieman
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Reijo Ruotsalainen more talented than Ray Bourque?
PHIL Bourque, maybe.

Fischler must have been on some heavy meds when he put this thing together.

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01-05-2010, 04:43 AM
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reckoning
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I remember having that book at the time. Rating players in various categories is an interesting idea, but not with Fischler doing it.

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01-05-2010, 06:04 AM
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Noldo
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Gretzky's passing has to by typo, since in the definition of passing, Fischler states "Wayne Gretzky has no peer in this category, and will thus get highest mark".

Based on that single exception, we can assume that there are also other typos in the data sheet, so perhaps we should not question Fischler's decision making but his editing skills. Still, makes the values just a nice read with no real substance, since there is no possibility to identify any other typos.

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01-05-2010, 07:13 AM
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Mike Farkas
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It's a relief to know that Stan Fischler was always nuts and not just a senile old fool that has no grasp of what's going on in today's game...he still gets asked questions in the NY market about certain teams and always gives the most ridiculous answer possible...

He used to (maybe he still does?) pick a player to "watch out for" on the opposing team for the night so he can sound knowledgeable...but in actuality, he just dropped his pen on the roster sheet and whoever it landed on he said...well during one matinee between the Devils and Capitals about 2 or 3 years ago, this little exchange happened...

Stan: ...the Devils need to fear Fehr (referring to Eric Fehr, but he pronounced it "fear") Doc and Chico, take it away...

Doc: "Fear" is "Fehr" and he is a healthy scratch today... [normal opening] thank you so much for joining us, yada yada...

I couldn't stop laughing, I wish they could have cut back to Fischler for just one second after Doc said that...maybe I just didn't know him in his prime, but he's easily the most foolish person I've heard consistently talk about hockey on television...

Sorry to interrupt, resume your thread

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Old
01-05-2010, 07:49 AM
  #10
overpass
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The ratings are obviously screwed up, but I'm certain it's a layout error. The category headings are in the opposite direction that they should be. Reverse the category headings so that defencemen start with speed on the left and finish with slot coverage on the right. Similarly, forwards start with speed on the left and finish with backchecking on the right.

The ratings make more sense that way. MacInnis gets a 10 for his point shot instead of a 6. Gretzky didn't get an 8 for passing, he got an 8 for shot release. Reijo Ruotsalainen the former Ranger is still the best blueliner, but at least his weaknesses are slot coverage, physical play, and finishing checks rather than puck control, shot release, and speed.

I have no idea how a book could get released with such a crippling layout error, but I don't think even Fischler could intend these ratings to read as they do.

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01-05-2010, 07:57 AM
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My favourite part is Kenta Nilsson with a perfect 10 for physical play! As stated before, this just has to be some kind of printing error.

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01-05-2010, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
The ratings are obviously screwed up, but I'm certain it's a layout error. The category headings are in the opposite direction that they should be. Reverse the category headings so that defencemen start with speed on the left and finish with slot coverage on the right. Similarly, forwards start with speed on the left and finish with backchecking on the right.

The ratings make more sense that way. MacInnis gets a 10 for his point shot instead of a 6. Gretzky didn't get an 8 for passing, he got an 8 for shot release. Reijo Ruotsalainen the former Ranger is still the best blueliner, but at least his weaknesses are slot coverage, physical play, and finishing checks rather than puck control, shot release, and speed.

I have no idea how a book could get released with such a crippling layout error, but I don't think even Fischler could intend these ratings to read as they do.
Nice catch... yeah, I thought that was crazy, even for Fischler.
Coffey's speed is now a 10 instead of a 4.

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01-05-2010, 09:24 AM
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The book may contain publishing errors but Fischler is still a dope.

I have his 1988 book; "Hockey's 100: A Personal Ranking of the Best Player's in Hockey History". He has Orr at number 13, (with Denis Potvin at number 12). And no it is not a mistake, lol, he tries to justify it (quite lamely), in the entry. Frank Boucher comes in at number 5, ahead of the likes of Beliveau (8) and Harvey (9). Bobby Hull shows up (eventually) at number 14.
Lafleur - 51
Clarke - 36
Ching Johnson comes in at 53....two spots ahead of Stan Mikita.

I rest my case, lol.

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Old
01-05-2010, 09:39 AM
  #14
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Aggregate rating for Gartner: 8.45
Aggregate rating for Gretzky: 8.09
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Old
01-05-2010, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
It's a relief to know that Stan Fischler was always nuts and not just a senile old fool that has no grasp of what's going on in today's game...he still gets asked questions in the NY market about certain teams and always gives the most ridiculous answer possible...

He used to (maybe he still does?) pick a player to "watch out for" on the opposing team for the night so he can sound knowledgeable...but in actuality, he just dropped his pen on the roster sheet and whoever it landed on he said...well during one matinee between the Devils and Capitals about 2 or 3 years ago, this little exchange happened...

Stan: ...the Devils need to fear Fehr (referring to Eric Fehr, but he pronounced it "fear") Doc and Chico, take it away...

Doc: "Fear" is "Fehr" and he is a healthy scratch today... [normal opening] thank you so much for joining us, yada yada...

I couldn't stop laughing, I wish they could have cut back to Fischler for just one second after Doc said that...maybe I just didn't know him in his prime, but he's easily the most foolish person I've heard consistently talk about hockey on television...

Sorry to interrupt, resume your thread
Yes, he always was utterly inept in Hockey matters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RabbinsDuck View Post
Nice catch... yeah, I thought that was crazy, even for Fischler.
Coffey's speed is now a 10 instead of a 4.
And his physical play is now a 6 instead of a 9. Looking at it the way overpass puts it makes it make much more sense.

His "Staying with check" would drop to 5, while his pass receiving jumps to 9 if you invert them.

Passing turns to a 9 instead of a 6, while his one on one on the inside turns to 6.

Definitely makes more sense this way, even though Fischler still does not really know what he is talking about in some cases.

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Old
01-05-2010, 10:23 AM
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Mike Farkas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lextune View Post
The book may contain publishing errors but Fischler is still a dope.

I have his 1988 book; "Hockey's 100: A Personal Ranking of the Best Player's in Hockey History". He has Orr at number 13, (with Denis Potvin at number 12). And no it is not a mistake, lol, he tries to justify it (quite lamely), in the entry. Frank Boucher comes in at number 5, ahead of the likes of Beliveau (8) and Harvey (9). Bobby Hull shows up (eventually) at number 14.
Lafleur - 51
Clarke - 36
Ching Johnson comes in at 53....two spots ahead of Stan Mikita.

I rest my case, lol.
Where was Gretzky? Because I remember he (Fischler) was on some local channel here and was told to create an All-Time Team and Gretzky didn't make it...then he was asked to create a Second Team All-Time Team and Gretzky didn't make that either...and then he said something along the lines of "maybe he would be on the fifth (or tenth, I forget which) team, but he was always surrounded by talent and had Dave Semenko" and the host chuckled but Stan just stared back at him with that "I just soiled myself" grin...then I changed the channel...

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Old
01-05-2010, 10:41 AM
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reckoning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
Where was Gretzky? Because I remember he (Fischler) was on some local channel here and was told to create an All-Time Team and Gretzky didn't make it...then he was asked to create a Second Team All-Time Team and Gretzky didn't make that either...and then he said something along the lines of "maybe he would be on the fifth (or tenth, I forget which) team, but he was always surrounded by talent and had Dave Semenko" and the host chuckled but Stan just stared back at him with that "I just soiled myself" grin...then I changed the channel...
If I remember correctly, the top five were:

1. Howe
2. Gretzky
3. Shore
4. Kelly
5. Boucher

But it doesn't surprise me if he's contradicting himself now. Likely got turned down by Gretzky for an interview and decided to get back at him that way.

The main constants of Fischler's opinions are that he hated any player that made a lot of money or wasn't media-friendly. He loved all American players (Hobey Baker made his top 100) as well as anybody who played for the Rangers when he was a kid (hence the high rating for Boucher).

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01-05-2010, 10:42 AM
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Also note that the (flipped flopped) ratings weren't actually done by Fischler, but by the two sisters Ciabattari. Fischler was only one of the ones consulted for the ratings.

Once you grant the layout error that was pointed out earlier, they actually look pretty good.

I guess you could say that Reijo Ruotsalainen may have been given a degree of generosity from Fischler for his ratings (after consultation) considering he played for the Rangers for all those years, but I wouldn't say his rankings are off by much at all, at least with the categories mentioned. They didn't try and rate players on things like hockey sense anyway.

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01-05-2010, 11:05 AM
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lextune
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
If I remember correctly, the top five were:

1. Howe
2. Gretzky
3. Shore
4. Kelly
5. Boucher
Correct.

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01-05-2010, 12:35 PM
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I give Fischler a 5 for content, 2 for his opinions, and 1 for editing.

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01-05-2010, 12:42 PM
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lextune
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I do like "receiving a pass" being discussed as the skill it is though. You don't hear about it as much as you should.
Most of the greats were obviously quite adept at it, but I truly think Mario was the greatest of all time. Everyone knows and loves the famous goal from the finals against the North Stars, but go back and watch the play from the beginning. The smoothness and fluidity with which he takes the (crappy) pass from Phil Bourque in his own end is amazing.

EDIT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHJs3VqUpuU <--@ 2'30"


Last edited by lextune: 01-05-2010 at 12:45 PM. Reason: Supplied a link ;)
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Old
01-05-2010, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post

- These ratings would have you believe Reijo Ruotsalainen was the best defenseman in the NHL.
- Gretzky, a 10 in physical play?
- Denis Savard, a 10 in backchecking? He was the only forward in the NHL to earn this rating. Only Russ Courtnall, Glenn Anderson and Mark Messier earned a 9. Bob Gainey was a 6.
- 10 ratings for passing? Charlie Simmer, Michel Goulet, Rick Vaive, Mike Bossy, Pierre larouche, Tomas Sandstrom, Tim Kerr, Jari Kurri. Wayne Gretzky recived an 8.
- I think Paul Coffey's defensive abilities are generally underrated, but... a 10 in slot coverage? He and ruotsalainen are the only two defensemen to receive a 10. Kevin Lowe, defensive stalwart, earns a 5. harold Snepsts, who was only in the NHL for skills like this, earns a 4.
- Mike Ramsey, a 9 in speed? Paul Coffey, a 4? larry Robinson and Kevin Lowe are the only defensemen deemed as fast as Ramsey, and only Al Iafrate (?!?), Ron Greschner, Doug Crossman, and Rod Langway are as "slow" as Coffey.
- Brad Marsh scores an 8 in speed! ....and with that, I think I've said enough.

Enjoy the laughs, boys. Feel free to point out some inaccuracies as well.
A layout error, hey? It crossed my mind. But every time I started to seriously consider it, I saw something that made sense... like Tim Kerr a 3 in speed.

So for my above points, this means:

- Gretzky's 10 for physical play was actually for Agility. So he's a 4 in backchecking and a 7 in speed... makes more sense now.
- Denis Savard is a 10 in speed, not backchecking. Messier, Anderson, Courtnall all 9s... that checks out.
- Slowest forwards in the league - Pat Flatley, Don maloney, Tim Kerr, Ron Sutter... makes mose sense now.
- So Coffey is a 10 in speed and a 4 in slot coverage. Lowe is a 5 in speed and a 9 in slot coverage, with only Robinson and Lowe as high as him. Iafrate, Greschner, Crossman, and Langway guard the crease as badly as him. Langway, really?? Snepsts has a 7 in slot coverage and a 3 in speed. Much better.
- "Charlie Simmer, Michel Goulet, Rick Vaive, Mike Bossy, Pierre larouche, Tomas Sandstrom, Tim Kerr, Jari Kurri. Wayne Gretzky recived an 8." - refers to shot release, not passing.
- Marsh is actually a 3 in speed and a 3 in quickness... thank goodness.

Suddenly these don't look so bad anymore. Nice catch, overpass.

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01-05-2010, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crosbyfan View Post
I give Fischler a 5 for content, 2 for his opinions, and 1 for editing.
Exactly. He's never so bad for factual stuff, but his opinions are off the wall so often. And this is absolutely brutal editing.

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01-05-2010, 12:45 PM
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I've had this book for years but never considered that the columns would be reversed. Nice catch!

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01-05-2010, 01:03 PM
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A few days ago, Stan ranked the top 5 defensemen currently playing in the NHL.

1. Nicklas Lidstrom
2. Scott Niedermayer
3. Zdeno Chara
4. Andy Greene
5. Dan Boyle

Dishonorable Mention (too many elbows): Chris Pronger

Carry on.

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