Potvin, if you broke down individual skills, comes out ahead, but not as much in actual play. Potvin could do it all really well and would dominate his part of the ice. Robinson maybe came in just a bit under him. He had a penchant for passing up the middle to a streaking Lafleur or Cournoyer, passes that would drive Bowman nuts. Larry had the advantage of playing beside one of the all time greats,while Potvin played beside excellent players but no one who is close to Savard. That doesn't diminish Robinson, but it is a factor. Robinson's easily one of my all time favorites, I think is one of the finest people to play the game, but I'd have to take Potvin. I hate to though. When comparing players like this,you tend to forget about Serge Savard. I don't know if we listed him in the what if thread,but without his injuries,he'd be just a notch below Orr. In the 68 or 69 playoffs [I forget which] he was doing things that you just didn't see from anyone else,other than Orr. There was no limit to what he could have done. He became a great all around d men and the underrated member of the big 3 out of necessity when his mobility diminished.
When comparing players like this,you tend to forget about Serge Savard. I don't know if we listed him in the what if thread,but without his injuries,he'd be just a notch below Orr. In the 68 or 69 playoffs [I forget which] he was doing things that you just didn't see from anyone else,other than Orr. There was no limit to what he could have done. He became a great all around d men and the underrated member of the big 3 out of necessity when his mobility diminished.
I can almost remember the broken leg he suffered running into the old goal posts. There was a time when there was no give to them. I don't think it was long after his injury that the collapsible pegs came out. It was one of those injuries that looked awful on the replay.
As to the original question, I believe they are very comparable players so I'd flip a coin. I would take Robinson if forced to choose, partly because I saw alot more of him. But I always respected Potvin and his importance to the Islanders dynasty.
Potvin was the far more explosive player offensively. Probably the better skater.
Robinson was no more physical, but more intimidating (because of his size). I remember when Montreal turned him lose on the wing, and he terrorized dmen.
There were both stellar defensive dmen.
Which was better? Hard to say. But, I will say that I none of the "greats" of the recent generation (Lidstrom, Pronger, or even Borque) were the equal of Potvin and Larry R.
After posting,I was thinking that Bourque was similar to Potvin in that defensively, esp. down low, he depended on lower body strength to just pin,or neutralize guys. If either of those 2 got leverage, you weren't going anywhere. Larry would take guys off the rush and pin them ,or drive them to the boards, much higher in the zone. You don't see D men taking guys to the outside like that anymore. Of those 3, Potvin had by far the 'mean streak', that you like to see. My only criticism of Bourque is that I thought that in his 1st 3 or 4 seasons, he would get beat a lot 1 on 1. His defensive game took time to devekop. That's pretty weak criticism though because it did develop and you know what kind of player he became. Early on though,I thought he got credit before it was due. I'd rate them Potvin,Bourque,Larry, as 1A,1B,1C, though I'd still wear my Hab glasses and draft Robinson 10 times out of 10.