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Top ten players all time, going only on prime

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Old
04-08-2010, 01:55 PM
  #226
tarheelhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyD View Post
Does the 3-year period have to be 3 consecutive years?
I would think so, unless there is some kind of special circumstance like injury or military leave. Considering we're talking about the cream of the crop, a "down" season is hard to overlook.

Quote:
When factoring in playoffs do they have to be the same 3 years as the players' best regular seasons (ie: can you count 91-93 as best regulars seasons and 94-96 as playoffs or do they have to be the same)?
Similarly, if the 94-96 regular seasons were mediocre then I don't consider that player to be in his prime anymore. Maybe he was still a savvy veteran who scored clutch goals, but that's different from being athletically prime.

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04-08-2010, 02:05 PM
  #227
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Anyway, perhaps we can simply agree that it's in the range of more than 2 and less than 7 years? Definitely not a lifetime achievement, and we shouldn't be looking at anything outside the clear-cut prime when a player was at 100% dominance.



I think it's difficult too, but I'm willing to hear the argument if it can be made cogently. I'm specifically thinking of Kharmalov and Tretiak.
Ok, sounds like a good rule. More than 2, less than 7.

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04-08-2010, 02:15 PM
  #228
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Originally Posted by shazariahl View Post
Ok, sounds like a good rule. More than 2, less than 7.
What do we do if one guy has 3 seasons of prime that are a little bit better than another guy's 4 or 5 seasons of prime? Who is considered better?

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04-08-2010, 02:18 PM
  #229
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Ok cool, so we currently have undisputed:

Gretzky
Lemieux
Orr
Howe

And IMO the case has been made conclusively for:

Hasek
Sawchuk
Shore

Unless someone really wants to take up the banner against them, we can consider it a consensus top-7 so far.

In the mix for the final 3 spots: Lafleur, Harvey, Jagr, Esposito, Hull (both of them?), Clarke, Kharlamov, Potvin

Note that we already have 2 goalies and 2 defense, so at least 2 of the remaining spots should go to Fs in order to maintain a reasonable balance between positions.

So next we look at the remaining guys on that list, narrow down to their 3-6 best consecutive seasons, compare them head-to-head, and perhaps we can find consensus on them one at a time, right? Anyone want to research and present a strong case for each of them?

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04-08-2010, 02:19 PM
  #230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyD View Post
What do we do if one guy has 3 seasons of prime that are a little bit better than another guy's 4 or 5 seasons of prime? Who is considered better?
I'd give it to the guy with 3 seasons. If he was better, he was better.

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04-08-2010, 02:25 PM
  #231
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I'd give it to the guy with 3 seasons. If he was better, he was better.
Perhaps allow the guy that had 4 or 5 prime seasons to pick out the best of those 3 when doing a comparison instead of making them have to be consecutive. At least he gets a little advantage then.

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04-08-2010, 02:39 PM
  #232
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Originally Posted by JohnnyD View Post
Perhaps allow the guy that had 4 or 5 prime seasons to pick out the best of those 3 when doing a comparison instead of making them have to be consecutive. At least he gets a little advantage then.
I'm cool with that, as long as the "off" seasons weren't dramatically lower. For example, with Gretzky:

81-82 212p
82-83 196p
83-84 205p
84-85 208p
85-86 215p

I'm not holding that 196 against him because, for cryin' out loud, he scored 196 points! As far as I'm concerned that's a solid 5 seasons of peak. Compared to another guy going 210-210-210 and then dropping off to a lower level, I'd take Gretzky.

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04-08-2010, 02:42 PM
  #233
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From 74-80 (6 seasons):

Regular season scoring:
1. Guy Lafleur 766
2. Marcel Dionne 683
3. Gilbert Perreault 584
4. Darryl Sittler 571
5. Bobby Clark 556

Closest teammate is Steve Shutt in 9th with 501. But he was Lafleur's linemate and had his stats inflated by Guy. No other teammate had more than 400 points during this time.

Playoff scoring
1. Guy Lafleur 110
2. Bobby Clarke 79
3. Denis Potvin 77
4. Steve Shutt 77 (Lafleur's linemate)
5. Jacques Lemaire 74 (Lafleur's linemate)

Top Montreal player who didn't play with Lafleur was Larry Robinson in 11th with 62. Top Montreal forward who wasn't on Lafleur's line was Yvon Lambert with 46 points.

If you include playoffs in the definition of "prime," Guy Lafleur has to be on the list.

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04-08-2010, 02:48 PM
  #234
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Here's a quick snapshot of one of the remaining players being considered...

Bobby Hull:
His 3 best seasons are hard to choose... His best 4 are probably 61'-62', 64'-65', 65'-66', and 66'-67'. Included in those are 2 Hart trophies, 2 Art Ross, 4 1st Team All Stars, the highest goal scoring margin of victory ever (68.8%), and 2 more that are in the top 10 of all-time (51.5% and 48.6%).

His goals and points finishes those years are:
Goals: 1, 1, 1, 2
Points: 1, 1, 2, 4

Playoffs: One Cup and 2 more trips to the finals (not including 71') led the playoffs in goals 3x and points 1x

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04-08-2010, 02:51 PM
  #235
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1930's Argument

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Euros didn't start coming over in numbers until the mid 90s. Don't you think it's "a bit" tougher to win consecutive Cups now than it was in the 50s?

Anyway, Jari Kurri was a Steve Smith (Canadian!) own goal away from having a shot at being a key part of 5 straight Cups, and did, in fact, win 5 in 7 years.
1930's argument was that it was very hard to win two in a row.Dynasty teams were viewed as those that actually won two until the 1947-49 Leafs won 3 or 4 out of 5. Post WWII era showed this to be very doable, a trend that continued into the eighties.

The alternative position is that Stanley Cups or games for that matter are rarely won, usually they are lost. Focusing on the individual as opposed to the team result usually produces a losing effort. Example into expansion none of the teams that had a 50 goal scorer - Canadiens 1945 or 1961, Hawks 1962,1966,1967 won the Stanley Cup, plus the Red Wings in 1953, when Howe was stopped at 49 on the last day were upset in the semis, likewise the Leafs in 1961 when Mahovlich reached 48. Point being that teams get away from a team game and focus on the individual's effort.

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04-08-2010, 02:52 PM
  #236
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
From 74-80 (6 seasons):
That's an extremely convincing set of numbers, and I would perhaps even narrow it down to...

From 75-79 (4 seasons)

4 consecutive Stanley Cups
1 Canada Cup
2 consecutive Harts
3 consecutive Pearsons (matched only by Gretzky)
3 consecutive Art Rosses
1 Conn Smythe

Can anyone else on the "maybe" list match that kind of streak?

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04-08-2010, 02:54 PM
  #237
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
1930's argument was that it was very hard to win two in a row.Dynasty teams were viewed as those that actually won two until the 1947-49 Leafs won 3 or 4 out of 5. Post WWII era showed this to be very doable, a trend that continued into the eighties.

The alternative position is that Stanley Cups or games for that matter are rarely won, usually they are lost. Focusing on the individual as opposed to the team result usually produces a losing effort. Example into expansion none of the teams that had a 50 goal scorer - Canadiens 1945 or 1961, Hawks 1962,1966,1967 won the Stanley Cup, plus the Red Wings in 1953, when Howe was stopped at 49 on the last day were upset in the semis, likewise the Leafs in 1961 when Mahovlich reached 48. Point being that teams get away from a team game and focus on the individual's effort.
It sure was easier to play a "team game" when only 3 teams (Montreal, Toronto, and Detroit) had real farm systems. Owning the rights to your players for life after they entered your farm system was surely also an aid to this "team game."

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04-08-2010, 03:06 PM
  #238
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
1930's argument was that it was very hard to win two in a row.Dynasty teams were viewed as those that actually won two until the 1947-49 Leafs won 3 or 4 out of 5. Post WWII era showed this to be very doable, a trend that continued into the eighties.

The alternative position is that Stanley Cups or games for that matter are rarely won, usually they are lost. Focusing on the individual as opposed to the team result usually produces a losing effort. Example into expansion none of the teams that had a 50 goal scorer - Canadiens 1945 or 1961, Hawks 1962,1966,1967 won the Stanley Cup, plus the Red Wings in 1953, when Howe was stopped at 49 on the last day were upset in the semis, likewise the Leafs in 1961 when Mahovlich reached 48. Point being that teams get away from a team game and focus on the individual's effort.
I'm a bit confused here...

You said:

"Prime Lafleur, Montreal won four consecutive Stanley Cups. Prime Jagr, Pittsburgh won zero Stanley Cups.

Prime Bossy and Trottier, Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cups. Prime - did any Euro/Russian, ever contribute to his team winning four consecutive Stanley Cups?

Prime Jean Beliveau,Doug Harvey,Jacques Plante, Canadiens won five consecutive Stanley Cups.Prime - did any Euro/Russian, ever contribute to his team winning five consecutive Stanley Cups?"


Then a few people (including myself) point out that no team or person of any nationality has won 4 or 5 consecutive Cups since Euros started coming over in numbers.

How does your 1930's argument rebut what we were saying about your original comment?

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04-08-2010, 03:35 PM
  #239
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Nice Try..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomf View Post
Maybe the competition has increased dramatically?

There are few ways to increase competition of top of my head.

Dilute talent aka more teams:
In Lafleur and Bossy era 16/21 teams made PO. Now it's 16/30 teams. It means that you had 23.8% chance to fail in Lafleur era and 46.6% nowadays. That's twice more.

Decrease significance of individual aka bigger team roster:
In 1975-76 260 skaters have played 60+ games. In 2008-09 it was 460. That's 260/21= 12.4 skaters per team compared to 460/30 = 15.3. So on average every skater now has roughly 20% less time to make difference.

Increase of talent
There are two factors: population and popularity
In 1975-76 almost all players in NHL were from Canada. That's roughly 25 mil. pool of talent to compete with.
In 2008-09 there are also players from USA, Sweden, Finland and former Czechoslovakia and USSR. Even if we assume that hockey in USA and Europe is nowhere near as popular as in Canada its still additional 40+ (USA 250 + RUS 140 + SWE 9 + FIN 5 + CZE 10 + SVK 5 * 10% due not being that popular sport) mil. to the pool of talent.

and last one

Increase in trainig regime, tactics, an so on
This one is very arguable. It's based on assumption that there are physical limits of what human body is capable of or at very least there are diminishing returns. This means that if someone had great affinity to be fit he had great advantage over his peers when training was sparse. Nowadays he would still have some advantage but probably smaller. The same increase in training would result in smaller gain simply because he was closer to the limit at the start. Therefore his advantage would be diminished.

The same holds in some ways for other skills too. For example you gain advantage (say more time to shoot or wait for right moment to pass) using your speed but it's less than in past. It can have no significance (if it was enough time), it can force you into hasty shot or pass. As I said its significance is very arguable.

P.S. Don't take it as dissing quality levels of the past (or Lafleur or Bossy ), that was not my intention.
Nice try but you have listed reasons for failing.

Great player joining a non-playoff team - Hull, Orr, Gretzky,Crosby, sampling spanning over fifty years of the NHL helped turn the team around and win a Stanley Cup within five seasons. True in the 6,12,21,30 team NHL.So going from last to the Stanley Cup is just as doable today as it was at anytime in the last 50+ seasons. Whether you had to beat 5 / 11 / 20 or 29 teams to do so, it was done within five years.

Repeating as champions or sustaining excellence is another matter. During the last twenty years only two organizations have had any type of long term planning - New Jersey and Detroit. The rest are hit and miss. Without a solid foundation the slightest bump in the road will change the direction of the team.

You overlook the most important element. Players playing together as a team. Cannot be measured in terms of a prime rather in terms of winning.

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04-08-2010, 03:40 PM
  #240
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Repeating as champions or sustaining excellence is another matter. During the last twenty years only two organizations have had any type of long term planning - New Jersey and Detroit. The rest are hit and miss. Without a solid foundation the slightest bump in the road will change the direction of the team.
Given the entirely different circumstances surrounding the modern NHL, I think what Detroit and NJ did in the dead puck era is just as impressive as any actual dynstay that existed in the past.

Oh, and some Euros may have been in key roles on those teams.


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04-08-2010, 03:48 PM
  #241
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Step by Step

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyD View Post
I'm a bit confused here...

You said:

"Prime Lafleur, Montreal won four consecutive Stanley Cups. Prime Jagr, Pittsburgh won zero Stanley Cups.

Prime Bossy and Trottier, Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cups. Prime - did any Euro/Russian, ever contribute to his team winning four consecutive Stanley Cups?

Prime Jean Beliveau,Doug Harvey,Jacques Plante, Canadiens won five consecutive Stanley Cups.Prime - did any Euro/Russian, ever contribute to his team winning five consecutive Stanley Cups?"


Then a few people (including myself) point out that no team or person of any nationality has won 4 or 5 consecutive Cups since Euros started coming over in numbers.

How does your 1930's argument rebut what we were saying about your original comment?
The 1990's to date argument rests on the fallacy that since it has not been done(3-5 consecutive Stanley Cups) in the last twenty years, then it cannot ever be done again.

Until the 1947-49 Leafs won three Stanley Cups in a row, it was rare that a team would repeat as Stanley Cup champions and conventional thought was two in a row was a great achievement.
Then teams started winning 3, 4, and 5 in a row through the 1980's with a great degree of regularity. Suddenly winning two in a row did not define a dynasty.

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04-08-2010, 03:50 PM
  #242
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
The 1990's to date argument rests on the fallacy that since it has not been done(3-5 consecutive Stanley Cups) in the last twenty years, then it cannot ever be done again.

Until the 1947-49 Leafs won three Stanley Cups in a row, it was rare that a team would repeat as Stanley Cup champions and conventional thought was two in a row was a great achievement.
Then teams started winning 3, 4, and 5 in a row through the 1980's with a great degree of regularity. Suddenly winning two in a row did not define a dynasty.
When did the playoffs go to 2 series of best of 7?

When did teams start developing their farm systems?

The 30s didn't have a dynasty, but the 1920s did - before the Great Depression and World War 2 made it more difficult to hold a team together.

We have now gone a full 20 years since Edmonton's last victory.


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04-08-2010, 03:58 PM
  #243
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyD View Post
Here's a quick snapshot of one of the remaining players being considered...

Bobby Hull:
His 3 best seasons are hard to choose... His best 4 are probably 61'-62', 64'-65', 65'-66', and 66'-67'. Included in those are 2 Hart trophies, 2 Art Ross, 4 1st Team All Stars, the highest goal scoring margin of victory ever (68.8%), and 2 more that are in the top 10 of all-time (51.5% and 48.6%).

His goals and points finishes those years are:
Goals: 1, 1, 1, 2
Points: 1, 1, 2, 4

Playoffs: One Cup and 2 more trips to the finals (not including 71') led the playoffs in goals 3x and points 1x
Don't forget that some of Bobby Hull's wins were by margins not seen again until Gretzky.

I would give the last 3 spots to Guy Lafleur, Doug Harvey, and Bobby Hull in that order.

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04-08-2010, 04:19 PM
  #244
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
The 1990's to date argument rests on the fallacy that since it has not been done(3-5 consecutive Stanley Cups) in the last twenty years, then it cannot ever be done again.
Until the 1947-49 Leafs won three Stanley Cups in a row, it was rare that a team would repeat as Stanley Cup champions and conventional thought was two in a row was a great achievement.
Then teams started winning 3, 4, and 5 in a row through the 1980's with a great degree of regularity. Suddenly winning two in a row did not define a dynasty.
I don't think any of us were saying that no one will ever be able to do it again (I know I wasn't at least). The point I was trying to make was that you were discrediting European players for not being able to win 4 or 5 Cups in a row incorrectly. The reason being, that since Europeans have been in the league in numbers, no player has been able to do it. You are discrediting them for not being able to accompish something that no player has been able to do. It's not like there are teams with no Europeans tearing up the league and winning 4 or 5 straight Cups.

I agree with you that just because a 4 or 5 straight Cup dynasty hasn't happened in the last 20 years doesn't mean it won't ever happen again.

I also agree with you that a great prime has to include some playoff success (not as much 4 or 5 straight Cups though).

Now can you agree that your comments to discredit Europeans for not being able to win 4 or 5 straight Cups were unfair?

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04-08-2010, 04:23 PM
  #245
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Don't forget that some of Bobby Hull's wins were by margins not seen again until Gretzky.
That is correct, here are the top 15 goal scoring margins of victory:

1. Bobby Hull: 68.8% 65'-66'
2. Brett Hull: 68.6% 90'-91'
3. Maurice Richard: 56.3% 44'-45'
4. Wayne Gretzky: 55.4% 83'-84'
5. Gordie Howe: 53.1% 52'-53'
6. Gordie Howe: 51.6% 51'-52'
7. Bobby Hull: 51.5% 61'-62'
8. Maurice Richard: 50.0% 46'-47'
9. Phil Esposito: 49.0% 70'-71'
10. Bobby Hull: 48.6% 66'-67'
11. Charlie Conacher: 44.0% 34'-35'
12. Wayne Gretzky: 43.8% 81'-82'
13. Gordie Howe: 33.3% 56'-57'
14. Phil Esposito: 32.0% 71'-72'
15. Pavel Bure: 31.8% 99'-00'

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04-08-2010, 06:14 PM
  #246
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I would say Lidstrom entered his "prime" in the '97 playoffs. He was excellent before then but winning the cup as a #1 dman and shutting down the Legion of Doom in the finals is what really showed how special he was and was going to be. So...yeah, Lidstrom was in the league for 5-6 years before he did anything worthy of being mentioned in this thread but then he had 11-12 years of "prime" hockey if you consider 2008 to be his last truly dominant season and playoff, as most do. Overall during that span he was the best defenseman in hockey and to me is the ultimate shutdown defenseman.

Lidstrom obviously belongs on that list of yours. 6 Norris', 4 Cups as a #1 dman and a Conn Smythe in an 11 year span? That is one hell of a "prime" no matter who the competition is...

...and I am not going to touch what I think about comparing Lidstrom's competition to someone like Shore's competition because that's not allowed in this particular group of threads. All I am going to say is that nostalgia and remembering the good ole' days can cloud peoples minds sometimes. Hockey has come a long way...oops.
You're confusing "peak" with "prime". Lidstrom was not the only guy that shut down the "legion of doom". His team was stacked and was only the 4th or 5th most valuable player for the Red Wings.

His 97 playoffs wasn't anything great. It was good but not great. Again he only won his first Norris in 2001.

His Conn Smythe win was also not unanimous since Hasek was just as deserving as Lidstrom for the Conn Smythe.

Even during Lidstrom's best year he wasn't nominated for the Hart.

Compare that to defensemen like Bourque, Orr, Shore or Harvey that either were nominated or won Hart trophies.

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04-08-2010, 06:19 PM
  #247
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I still don't get the disrespect Jagr gets on here. He dominated an era where goalies and defensemen were suppose to be the most valuable to their teams and where scoring was at the lowest in over 30 years.

Jagr should be in the top 10 no matter what.

He averaged between 1994 and 2001 (over an 82 game schedule) 120 + Pts. That's a PPG hovering around 1.50 for a good 7 years.

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04-08-2010, 06:46 PM
  #248
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Factual

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Originally Posted by JohnnyD View Post
I don't think any of us were saying that no one will ever be able to do it again (I know I wasn't at least). The point I was trying to make was that you were discrediting European players for not being able to win 4 or 5 Cups in a row incorrectly. The reason being, that since Europeans have been in the league in numbers, no player has been able to do it. You are discrediting them for not being able to accompish something that no player has been able to do. It's not like there are teams with no Europeans tearing up the league and winning 4 or 5 straight Cups.

I agree with you that just because a 4 or 5 straight Cup dynasty hasn't happened in the last 20 years doesn't mean it won't ever happen again.

I also agree with you that a great prime has to include some playoff success (not as much 4 or 5 straight Cups though).

Now can you agree that your comments to discredit Europeans for not being able to win 4 or 5 straight Cups were unfair?
My comments were factual.

Jari Kurri contributed to four cups within five years during his prime
in the 1980's but no one talks about his prime.

If Anders Kallur was able to contribute to the four consecutive Islanders' Stanley Cups then it is not unreasonable to set the bar at that level for the 1990's and later generation of Euros.

Conversely players like Shore, Maurice Richard, Stan Mikita get criticized because elements of their game - temper hurt their teams chance of winning the Stanley Cup during their prime. Charlie Conacher's prime is weakened because the Leafs of his era lost more SC finals then they won. Guy Lafleur's legacy is tarnished because he did not mature his game like Beliveau and Henri Richard or Gainey and Robinson did to lead teams to Stanley Cups in their post prime careers.

No reason why Jagr or others should get a free pass because their prime did not produce SCs.

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04-08-2010, 06:51 PM
  #249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
My comments were factual.

Jari Kurri contributed to four cups within five years during his prime
in the 1980's but no one talks about his prime.

If Anders Kallur was able to contribute to the four consecutive Islanders' Stanley Cups then it is not unreasonable to set the bar at that level for the 1990's and later generation of Euros.

Conversely players like Shore, Maurice Richard, Stan Mikita get criticized because elements of their game - temper hurt their teams chance of winning the Stanley Cup during their prime. Charlie Conacher's prime is weakened because the Leafs of his era lost more SC finals then they won. Guy Lafleur's legacy is tarnished because he did not mature his game like Beliveau and Henri Richard or Gainey and Robinson did to lead teams to Stanley Cups in their post prime careers.

No reason why Jagr or others should get a free pass because their prime did not produce SCs.
How many Cups did Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Patrik Elias contribute to?

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04-08-2010, 07:08 PM
  #250
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
How many Cups did Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Patrik Elias contribute to?
In the case of Fedorov and Lidstrom not as many as they should have?

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