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Jim Robson Divisional Finals: New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh

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Old
04-27-2012, 01:36 PM
  #26
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Offensively, Laprade and Nevin seem like the best players and I don't think a lot separates their production.
You don't? Keep in mind they are 3rd liners who aren't on the PP so it is their ES play that is the most relevant. Nevin was 9th, 11th, 11th, 16th in ESP in a much deeper era. Laprade's point finishes are 12th, 17th, 19th, 20th, and since that can't be compartmentalized for better analysis the safest assumption is that his ES finishes look like that too. I know that in Laprade's time, the percentages associated with sub-15th place finishes are just brutal a lot of the time due to the shallower era, so the difference is probably greater than the finishes indicate.

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04-27-2012, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
You don't? Keep in mind they are 3rd liners who aren't on the PP so it is their ES play that is the most relevant. Nevin was 9th, 11th, 11th, 16th in ESP in a much deeper era. Laprade's point finishes are 12th, 17th, 19th, 20th, and since that can't be compartmentalized for better analysis the safest assumption is that his ES finishes look like that too. I know that in Laprade's time, the percentages associated with sub-15th place finishes are just brutal a lot of the time due to the shallower era, so the difference is probably greater than the finishes indicate.
After joining the NHL at the age of 26 because of World War 2, Laprade finished 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 1st in team scoring and was voted team MVP twice in a 6 team league. The only player who consistently finished above him in team scoring was fellow center Buddy O'Connor, who obviously centered a different line at even strength and was probably the go-to player on the PP. I think you'd have to be crazy to think that Laprade wasn't better offensively than some linemates of superstars who played on other teams at the time.

Where did Nevin finish in team scoring, even at even strength? How close was he to ever being MVP of his (much stronger) team?


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04-27-2012, 02:01 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
After joining the NHL at the age of 26 because of World War 2, Laprade finished 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 1st in team scoring and was voted team MVP twice in a 6 team league. The only player who consistently finished above him in scoring was fellow center Buddy O'Connor, who obviously centered a different line at even strength and was probably the go-to player on the PP. I think you'd have to be crazy to think that Laprade wasn't better offensively than some linemates of superstars who played on other teams at the time.

Where did Nevin finish in team scoring, even at even strength? How close was he to ever being MVP of his team, a more competitive one but in a larger less concentrated league?
Half of Nevin's best seasons were in the pre-expansion era. He didn't show much decline until the mid-70s, then exploded for a phenomenal season in 1975, one of the best ever by someone at age 35. 1975 would definitely qualify as a season where he was his team's MVP, and LA was a great team too.

(by the way, the comment about a larger, less compressed league sounds like you think "within team" placements are less important than league wide... I agree. that's what I started with!)

Anyway, his best ESP finishes on his team:

1st (1966 NYR)
1st (1975 LAK)
2nd (1967 NYR)
3rd (1961 TOR)
4th (1968 NYR)
4th (1969 NYR)
5th (1962 TOR)
5th (1971 NYR)
5th (1974 LAK)

What years was Laprade NYR's MVP? I'm just curious how terrible they were those seasons so I can judge how impressive that is. (Of course, getting into MVP talk is more about overall impact and I only joined this discussion regarding offensive production.)

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04-27-2012, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Half of Nevin's best seasons were in the pre-expansion era. He didn't show much decline until the mid-70s, then exploded for a phenomenal season in 1975, one of the best ever by someone at age 35. 1975 would definitely qualify as a season where he was his team's MVP, and LA was a great team too.

(by the way, the comment about a larger, less compressed league sounds like you think "within team" placements are less important than league wide... I agree. that's what I started with!)

Anyway, his best ESP finishes on his team:

1st (1966 NYR)
1st (1975 LAK)
2nd (1967 NYR)
3rd (1961 TOR)
4th (1968 NYR)
4th (1969 NYR)
5th (1962 TOR)
5th (1971 NYR)
5th (1974 LAK)

What years was Laprade NYR's MVP? I'm just curious how terrible they were those seasons so I can judge how impressive that is. (Of course, getting into MVP talk is more about overall impact and I only joined this discussion regarding offensive production.)
Laprade was co-MVP in 1949 and MVP of the Rangers in 1950. This is displayed prominently in his profile.

It was a weaker era than Nevin's, but Laprade was more prominent within that weaker era.

The statistical comparison also forgets that Laprade lost several prime seasons to World War 2. He joined the NHL in 1945-46 as a 26 year old already in his statistical prime, but was clearly NHL-calibre as early as 1943, when he did a memorable job against Milt Schmidt and the Krauts in the Allan Cup playoffs

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04-27-2012, 02:18 PM
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If you want to limit the amount of punishment Orr gets, by limiting the time he spends possessing the puck, I'm not sure it's a bad thing for NJ.

It's not like Gus Mortson was known for his amazing out pass or anything, he's just not a "blocker" type like Hitchman. Henri and Orr are going to have to stay back to give him easier outlets.
The goal is to make you guys get a piece of him in the open ice as opposed to in his corner with his back turned and Stuart or Lindsay bearing down on him. I agree Mortson's not some amazing PMD, but he was an underrated rusher with decent puck skills. I'm not going to ask him to do too much, just try to get after the puck and hit whichever one of his more talented teammates is open. I don't Henri will have trouble taking care of his own end while the puck's there, actually he's sort of relied on defensively for that line. And at worst this frees Orr up to take a pass in open ice or simply trail the play. I think Mortson's skillset could pay dividends as the series progresses as well, he's much more fearsome to go into the corners with than Orr.

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I don't know how you can look at those numbers and claim that Tremblay, whose only top 20 finish in points was 17th, while often being centered by Jean Beliveau, is even in the same league offensively as Laprade, who has 4 top 20 finishes in points playing with relative nobodies.

Also keep in mind that Mush March played on an incredibly defensive-minded Blackhawks team that was usually awful, but had its best years coached by the trapping coach Tommy Gorman. Marsh was generally always among the leaders of his team in scoring (often 2nd or 3rd).

Offensively, Laprade and Nevin seem like the best players and I don't think a lot separates their production. The reason NJ's third line will produce more is chemistry - Neither Gilles Tremblay nor Blair Russell has any playmaking to speak of. If Nevin has to act as a playmaker, it certainly decreases his production, as he was more of a goal scorer than playmaker himself.

Laprade is a good playmaker for a third liner. I get that neither Marcotte nor Marsh is an amazing goal scorer, but they are much better at it than Tremblay or Russell is at passing
You're right, Laprade and Nevin do clearly stand out above Tremblay. I don't know anything about Russel's playmaking, is there anything other than the lack of recorded assists that's making you suggest he has no playmaking? I'm honestly asking, I don't know if you ran across anything or saw reconstructed numbers researching Bowie.

I don't agree with the assessment your line will produce more because of chemistry. I buy my line's playmaking warts, but I don't see that offsetting the lack of finishing ability your wings brings. I get March will be playing a little more opened up, but he seems more valuable forechecking than finishing the plays. I think he and Marcotte create their own chemistry issues, and while this line will be great at ragging the puck and cycling it I just don't see them producing more than mine. Like I said, I don't think they're going to be counted on for much, but I think purely from a comparison of lines mine is slightly better in this regard.

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04-27-2012, 02:19 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Laprade was co-MVP in 1949 and MVP of the Rangers in 1950.
so he was a co-MVP of a brutal team in a weak era, then MVP of a 4th place team that got to the finals.

The second one is something.

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04-27-2012, 02:32 PM
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so he was a co-MVP of a brutal team in a weak era, then MVP of a 4th place team that got to the finals.

The second one is something.
There is an argument for the MVP of a terrible team in a 6 team league over the MVP of an average team in a 20+ team league, but anyway this is getting pretty hypothtical now

I'll get to BBS's question about Russell's lack of playmaking later

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04-27-2012, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
There is an argument for the MVP of a terrible team in a 6 team league over the MVP of an average team in a 20+ team league,
what about MVP of a 4th overall team in an 18-team league?

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04-27-2012, 03:53 PM
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Part of the issue with Blair Russell's playmaking is the same as Bowie's - there is reason to believe that nobody was a great playmaker back then, as the majority of goals were scored on individual rushes in the days of "parallel hockey." Cyclone Taylor appears to be the first player to make setting up his teammates a priority.

That said, SIHR did reconstruct assists based off newspaper reports and they tend to indicate that Alf Smith was way ahead of everyone else in assists, but it's unknown how much of that was good passing and how much was giving the puck to Frank McGee or Marty Walsh and letting them do the rest. Stats someone else compiled should that Russel Bowie led "the pack" as #2 among reconstructed assists, but he was definitely known as a goal scorer. (I just re-did the stats myself and they make it look much closer)

Russell Bowie and Blair Russel were long term teammates, so I really don't see how there would be a newspaper bias in favor of one or the other. These are the reconstructed assists for them when they were teammates. *We only have reconstructed assists for 1903, 1904, 1906, 1907 and 1908, so these are the seasons I'm using.

Russell Bowie: 22 assists in 44 games (0.5 APG)
Blair Russel: 18 assists in 36 games (0.5 APG)

Actually, they are exactly even on a per game basis, with Bowie maintaining it over more games. I don't know how others calculated their stats before that showed Bowie ahead, maybe they included seasons where assists weren't reconstructed for any player.

I highly suspect this still makes Rusell Bowie the better playmaker:
•Bowie didn't have the best goal scorer of the era (himself) to pass to
•Bowie had more longevity, both in terms of games played when assists were reconstructed, but also more productive seasons when they were not recorded.

They are definitely closer than I thought based off the stats I've seen presented elsewhere. Still, playmaking isn't what either man is remembered for. Bowie is anecdotally known for his goal scoring dominance and obsession with being an amateur and Blair Russel was anecdotally known for his defense and one big goal scoring season.

Oh just for fun, a comparison of their goal scoring when they played together (1900-1908):

Russell Bowie: 227 goals in 73 games ( 3.11 GPG)
Blair Russell: 106 goals in 69 games (1.54 GPG)

Bowie more than doubled his teammate's goal production (I'm sure that isn't surprising, just wanted to point it out).

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04-27-2012, 03:57 PM
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what about MVP of a 4th overall team in an 18-team league?
Was Nevin actually MVP of his team? I skimmed the long profile BBS has linked of him (made by you; I see why you're so attached to Nevin )

His best year seems to be 1965-66 when there were still 6 teams


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04-27-2012, 04:16 PM
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I checked, and in Bob Nevin's best season (8th in points in 1966, 1st in team scoring), he was centered by either a young Jean Ratelle or Phil Goyette, both stronger players than anyone Laprade had on his wings

In 1950, the highest scoring wings on the Rangers were Tony Leswick, Ed Slowinski, Dunc Fisher, and Alex Kaleta.

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04-27-2012, 04:25 PM
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Was Nevin actually MVP of his team?
In 1975? Yes, definitely. He even got 5 Hart votes.

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04-27-2012, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I checked, and in Bob Nevin's best season (8th in points in 1966, 1st in team scoring), he was centered by either a young Jean Ratelle or Phil Goyette, both stronger players than anyone Laprade had on his wings

In 1950, the highest scoring wings on the Rangers were Tony Leswick, Ed Slowinski, Dunc Fisher, and Alex Kaleta.
It was Goyette.

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04-27-2012, 04:29 PM
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Keep in mind as well, that we are talking about a center versus a winger. A center gets more points, typically, some by default because they touch the puck more, some because the better players tend to be put at center. In 1966, Nevin outscored his center Goyette by 10 points at even strength. This whole time we've been comparing center points to winger points with little regard for the fact that they are slightly different currencies.

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04-27-2012, 04:32 PM
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In 1975? Yes, definitely. He even got 5 Hart votes.
I see Nevin as tied for 9th in Hart voting in 1975 and tied for 11th in 1966, and Laprade tied for 6th in Hart voting in 1950.


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04-27-2012, 04:35 PM
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Keep in mind as well, that we are talking about a center versus a winger. A center gets more points, typically, some by default because they touch the puck more, some because the better players tend to be put at center. In 1966, Nevin outscored his center Goyette by 10 points at even strength. This whole time we've been comparing center points to winger points with little regard for the fact that they are slightly different currencies.
If Pittsburgh is relying on Nevin to be the primary puck handler and playmaker of the line, it's the same currency.

Edit: I probably shouldn't have argued against the "points are harder to come by for wingers" theory considering the makeup of my team, heh


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04-27-2012, 05:33 PM
  #42
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Part of the issue with Blair Russell's playmaking is the same as Bowie's - there is reason to believe that nobody was a great playmaker back then, as the majority of goals were scored on individual rushes in the days of "parallel hockey." Cyclone Taylor appears to be the first player to make setting up his teammates a priority.

That said, SIHR did reconstruct assists based off newspaper reports and they tend to indicate that Alf Smith was way ahead of everyone else in assists, but it's unknown how much of that was good passing and how much was giving the puck to Frank McGee or Marty Walsh and letting them do the rest. Stats someone else compiled should that Russel Bowie led "the pack" as #2 among reconstructed assists, but he was definitely known as a goal scorer. (I just re-did the stats myself and they make it look much closer)

Russell Bowie and Blair Russel were long term teammates, so I really don't see how there would be a newspaper bias in favor of one or the other. These are the reconstructed assists for them when they were teammates. *We only have reconstructed assists for 1903, 1904, 1906, 1907 and 1908, so these are the seasons I'm using.

Russell Bowie: 22 assists in 44 games (0.5 APG)
Blair Russel: 18 assists in 36 games (0.5 APG)

Actually, they are exactly even on a per game basis, with Bowie maintaining it over more games. I don't know how others calculated their stats before that showed Bowie ahead, maybe they included seasons where assists weren't reconstructed for any player.

I highly suspect this still makes Rusell Bowie the better playmaker:
•Bowie didn't have the best goal scorer of the era (himself) to pass to
•Bowie had more longevity, both in terms of games played when assists were reconstructed, but also more productive seasons when they were not recorded.

They are definitely closer than I thought based off the stats I've seen presented elsewhere. Still, playmaking isn't what either man is remembered for. Bowie is anecdotally known for his goal scoring dominance and obsession with being an amateur and Blair Russel was anecdotally known for his defense and one big goal scoring season.

Oh just for fun, a comparison of their goal scoring when they played together (1900-1908):

Russell Bowie: 227 goals in 73 games ( 3.11 GPG)
Blair Russell: 106 goals in 69 games (1.54 GPG)

Bowie more than doubled his teammate's goal production (I'm sure that isn't surprising, just wanted to point it out).
I think Russel had three pretty good scoring seasons. 3rd(1904), 2nd(1905), 3rd(1907). He only played 4 games in 1906. I think you're underselling Russel's offensive reputation even though he was no Bowie.


I struggled to find much of anything about Russel, but I do have one archived article from 1908 of the Vics playing the Wanderers. It mentions "combination" plays and the Vics teamwork so it seems like they did more than just rush themselves. It mentions how Art Ross and Frank Patrick struggled to cross center ice during the first half because both forward groups were checking so tightly.

Russel also refused to turn pro:
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoH
When the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association became outright professional in 1909, Russel refused all offers to play for the Montreal Wanderers and retired, his amateur status intact.
Here's some of the info in that article
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - Jan 14, 1908
Vics were cutting out a heart-breaking pace and on the finer points of the game, clever stickhandling, nice combintion and speedy skating were showing an all around superiority to Wanderers. Blair Russel gave Vics the first fruits of their brilliant work by scoring in a combination run, in which the disc passed from Kennedy in the centre to Gimour on the right wing. Gilmour flung the disc clean across to the other wing and Blair Russel coming in with a great burst of speed picked up the pass and beat out Hern.

The crowd had scarcely settled back in their seats after the prolonged outburst of applause which greeted Russel's clever score, when Bowie dashing in on the nets, banged in a rebound from Hern thirty seconds after the face off. Vics began to show signs of tiring about this period of the match, but they hung on game'y and maintaining a fair lead in the play scored their third and the last goal of the half in nine minutes, Bowie again doing the trick.

In the second half, ten minutes after the start, it was quite evident that Vics were fading under the fast pace and the close checking.
The teams were too evenly matched and there was too much at stake for spectacular team work. The checking was hard and persistent, and the men covered up so closely that neither forward line could break clear from the other. What team work there was in the game Vics showed and at times it was clever in the extreme...While Vics lasted they were the better in almost every respect. Certainly the more aggressive in working around the opposing team's goal. The early pace was too fast for them and when they began to weaken Wanderers were traveling almost as well as at the start. It was a wearing down process pure and simple.

Victorias had a great pair of wings in Blair Russel and Billy Gilmour...Russel, on the side, fought it out with Blachford, and although both did good work, Russel carried off the honors on the hour's play. Time and again he tore down the side from behind his line and caught a pass just at the right moment and swung the disc with lightning shots in on the Wanderer defence. Both he and Gilmour were checking back tirelessly until the last ten minutes of play.

Bowie Clever As Ever
In centre ice, too, Victorias were stronger than Wanderers until the team collapsed in the last fifteen minutes. Bowie and E. Russell were the scorers of their respective teams. Bowie scored three times...Bowie covered by (Pud) Glass like a home player on a lacrosse team, and cross-checked and buffeted about every time he came near the Wanderer goals. Once he was provoked to retaliation, with the result that both he and Glass were banished for a five-minute rest.

Nothing could keep Bowie away from the nets, and his eyes and wrist are apparently as quick as ever. He was tired under the close attention he was receiving, however, but even then, when he looked all in, he would break away with a fine show of reserve strength. After the score had been tied at three all he was following Patrick up the ice. Patrick passed to Hale, but the disc was knocked out of Hale's way, and Bowie, coming through like a flash, picked it out, and, swinging around to the front of the Wanderers nets, placed his team in the lead for the last time.


In the first two minutes of play Blair Russel netted one for the Vics, but an offside was called and the goal did not count...Blair Russel and Bowie made two combined dashes in on Hern, but Hern saved each time...Blair Russel and Gilmour were tearing down on the wings and Bowie and Hale were worrying Ross and Hern...Patrick started a rush from the Vic quarter, carried the disc in on Hern and passed to Bowie. Bowie's first shot was stopped, but his second found the twine...Russel and Gilmour starred with dashes in from the side and hot shots at Hern...Smail slashed Blair Russel across the arms as the latter was coming in for what looked like a sure score.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...r+russel&hl=en

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04-27-2012, 05:58 PM
  #43
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If Russell Bowie is a Denis Savard-caliber player (and I'm not sure he belongs that "low" but that's the comparison most recently made by Sturm) and Savard was a guy who scored at a 110 point pace in his 9-year prime in the 80s, then relatively speaking you have to think Blair Russell is a guy who would have scored at about a 55 point pace in the 80s while playing on a line with a 110 point guy. Maybe comparisons can't be so easily and simply made due to the different natures of the game (one line versus a whole team) but if Bowie = Savard, then Russell is more like Troy Murray offensively.

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04-27-2012, 06:10 PM
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I think Russel had three pretty good scoring seasons. 3rd(1904), 2nd(1905), 3rd(1907). He only played 4 games in 1906. I think you're underselling Russel's offensive reputation even though he was no Bowie.


I struggled to find much of anything about Russel, but I do have one archived article from 1908 of the Vics playing the Wanderers. It mentions "combination" plays and the Vics teamwork so it seems like they did more than just rush themselves. It mentions how Art Ross and Frank Patrick struggled to cross center ice during the first half because both forward groups were checking so tightly.

Russel also refused to turn pro:


Here's some of the info in that article

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...r+russel&hl=en
That's a great description of the style of play of the Victorias. I do think that calling Blair Russel "no Bowie" is an understatement, however.

The played on the same team from 1900-1908. Bowie had solid but non-peak seasons in 1899, 1909, and 1910; Blair Russell doesnt seem to have played any full seasons outside the time frame. From 1900-1908, Bowie outscored Russel 227 goals to 106 goals. In ATD terms, you are basically comparing a 45 goal scorer (Russell Bowie) to a 20 goal scorer (Blair Russel) - that's how big the gap is. If you think Russel is better than that, that makes Bowie proportionately that much better. There's a reason Bowie is a 2nd liner and Russel is a 3rd line checker.

As for assists, I don't know. They seem to have produced assists at a similar rate for the seasons we have data for, though Bowie did it over more games (he seems more durable than Russel, despite his size). But I think we do have to take into account the fact that Blair Russel got to pass to the runaway best goal scorer of the era (Bowie), while Bowie wasn't getting assists for passing to himself.

I think Bowie should be viewed as a slightly better playmaker than Russel (while dominating him as a goal scorer). I'm sure the GMs all have different views of how much passing from that era (of no forward passes anywhere on the ice) translates into modern playmaking; I'm not sure there is a right answer.

Edit: anyone with SIHR can check my figures; it's unfortunate that the stats don't seem to be anywhere else.


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04-27-2012, 07:51 PM
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2. Quality of play at the back end - defense and goaltending.

Bobby Orr is obviously the greatest ever, but Brad Park is no slouch as a #1. Past Orr, NJ has the better defensive corps 2-6, especially at even strength since Rob Blake is much more of a difference-maker on special teams. I also think Vezina is quite a bit better than Worsley in goal. I'll provide more details on why I think all this later.
When I said Rob Blake was much more of a difference maker on special teams than even strength, this is what I meant. R-on and R-off (the team's goals for/goals against ratios when the defenseman is on and off the ice) are the key even strength stats. All stats were presented by over in the "top 60 defensemen of all time" projects:

Quote:
Regular season adjusted stats for post-1967 defencemen


Career Stats
Player Start End GP EV% R-ON R-OFF $ESP $PPP PP% TmPP+ SH% TmSH+
Jacques Laperriere 1968 1973 435 47% 1.53 1.31 26 9 35% 1.22 73% 0.84
J.C. Tremblay 1968 1972 358 45% 1.37 1.33 32 22 69% 1.31 64% 0.85
Guy Lapointe 1969 1984 884 42% 1.41 1.66 31 28 64% 1.29 52% 0.76
Rod Langway 1979 1993 994 35% 1.29 1.20 20 3 10% 1.02 53% 0.83
Larry Murphy 1981 2001 1615 39% 1.20 1.02 34 25 65% 1.05 32% 0.92
Rob Blake 1990 2010 1270 37% 1.03 1.03 30 26 66% 1.04 50% 1.00
Scott Niedermayer 1992 2010 1263 39% 1.25 1.22 31 26 64% 1.04 40% 0.94
Zdeno Chara 1998 2011 928 40% 1.16 1.04 24 17 42% 1.05 52% 0.95
Doug Wilson 1982 1990 605 41% 1.15 0.93 35 32 78% 1.05 46% 1.06

Prime Stats
Player Start End GP EV% R-ON R-OFF $ESP $PPP PP% TmPP+ SH% TmSH+
Jacques Laperriere 1968 1973 393 47% 1.56 1.31 26 9 36% 1.23 75% 0.83
J.C. Tremblay 1968 1972 358 45% 1.37 1.33 32 22 69% 1.31 64% 0.85
Guy Lapointe 1973 1979 499 46% 1.67 1.88 40 34 75% 1.32 68% 0.74
Rod Langway 1981 1989 673 38% 1.35 1.21 22 4 14% 0.99 57% 0.85
Larry Murphy 1992 1995 292 45% 1.38 1.05 45 28 80% 1.11 45% 0.94
Rob Blake 1998 2002 362 43% 1.11 1.08 40 32 79% 0.99 54% 0.99
Scott Niedermayer 2004 2007 242 39% 1.27 1.22 37 33 79% 1.13 47% 0.90
Zdeno Chara 2003 2011 622 41% 1.38 1.13 30 25 60% 1.05 53% 0.89
Doug Wilson 1982 1986 373 41% 1.16 0.95 38 30 72% 1.10 48% 1.05

Stats Glossary
EV%: The percentage of the team’s even-strength goals the player was on the ice for, on a per-game basis.

R-ON: The team’s GF/GA ratio while the player is on the ice at even strength.

R-OFF: The team’s GF/GA ratio while the player is off the ice at even strength.

$ESP/S: Even strength points per season, adjusted to a 200 ESG per team-season scoring level.

$PPP/S: Power play points per season, adjusted to a 70 PPG per team-season scoring level and a league-average number of power play opportunities.

PP%: The percentage of the team’s power play goals for which the player was on the ice.

TmPP+: The strength of the player’s team on the power play. 1.00 is average, higher is better.

SH%: The percentage of the team’s power play goals against for which the player was on the ice.

TmSH+: The strength of the player’s team on the penalty kill. 1.00 is average, lower is better.
Those are all defensemen considered around the same time as Blake, some clearly superior.

Blake is basically unique among his class of defensemen in that he statistically did not make a difference in his NHL team's goals for/goals against ratio at even strength.

This is how overpass described Blake for the project:

Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass
What does it all mean?

A note on the team-based stats - the lack of parity in the 1970s NHL made it easier to put up high numbers in these stats. EV% tended to be higher pre-1980, when teams went to 6 defencemen.

...
Rob Blake was a #1 defenceman for most of his long career. He was strong both offensively and defensively.

Blake's plus-minus numbers are unimpressive. There were mitigating circumstances, as he spent most of his career playing against the other team's top lines. But part of it was probably because his strengths lay in the offensive and defensive zones, not in transition.

On the power play, he was more of a shooter than a playmaker, scoring a lot of power play goals over his career. He was also a strong contributor on the penalty kill, putting his strength, physicality, and defensive skills to good use.
For comparison, here are defensemen who are ranked below Blake:

Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
Regular season adjusted stats for post-1967 defencemen


Stapleton, Konstantinov, and Zubov stats and commentary are a repeat. Housley and White's info is new.

Career Stats
Player Start year End year GP EV% R-ON R-OFF $ESP $PPP PP% TmPP+ SH% TmSH+
Pat Stapleton 1968 1973 420 51% 1.38 1.22 38 18 67% 1.03 44% 0.84
Bill White 1968 1976 604 49% 1.24 1.05 29 10 44% 0.94 65% 0.88
Phil Housley 1983 2003 1495 38% 1.06 0.97 35 33 84% 1.01 11% 0.95
Vladimir Konstantinov 1992 1997 446 35% 1.56 1.29 29 4 13% 1.21 41% 0.76
Sergei Zubov 1993 2009 1068 42% 1.25 1.13 33 34 82% 1.14 33% 0.86

Prime Stats
Player Start year End year GP EV% R-ON R-OFF $ESP $PPP PP% TmPP+ SH% TmSH+
Pat Stapleton 1969 1972 278 53% 1.51 1.33 41 22 79% 1.02 49% 0.80
Bill White 1970 1974 345 48% 1.48 1.29 30 9 39% 1.07 73% 0.78
Phil Housley 1987 1996 686 42% 1.07 0.95 41 35 87% 1.03 16% 0.98
Vladimir Konstantinov 1996 1997 158 36% 2.31 1.14 32 8 22% 1.23 43% 0.62
Sergei Zubov 1998 2007 705 41% 1.25 1.16 29 35 84% 1.14 41% 0.85

My take on it:

First, notice that Rob Blake is almost unique among this class of defensemen in that he doesn't appear to have made a difference for his NHL team's goals for/goals against ratio at even strength. Guy Lapointe has an insanely high "off ice" ratio to compete with due to Larry Robinson and Serge Savard, but Blake doesn't have that for most of his career.

In fact, Blake's R-on is lower than any defenseman listed here other than Phil Housley. There are definitely mitigating circumstances like overpass said - Blake, unlike Zubov and Lidstrom-less Murphy, saw his opponent's top lines for most of his career (basically ever season of his prime except when he played in Colorado with Bourque the one year). But among guys matched against top lines at the NHL level, Blake's results were very average.

I think Blake's relatively mediocre decision making (he was criticized throughout his career for going out of position to make the big hit and taking bad penalties) hurt him at even strength. On special teams, however, his his physical attributes (his booming shot on the PP, his size and strength in front of the net on the PP when he focused on D) took over.

I think Blake has to be considered a relatively unimpressive #2 defenseman at even strength in the ATD.


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04-27-2012, 08:30 PM
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By the way, I'm not questioning Blake's status as a #2 overall. I think he's below average one at even strength, but unlike a lot of #2s would be fine on the first unit of either special team.

By the way, the view of Blake as better on special teams than even strength is one I've had for a long time, but the stats have only been presented recently.

I think that's probably why the older Canucks fans who used to run the ATD (and actually saw his career) were so hard on Blake (well, that and the fact that he's a recent player)


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04-27-2012, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Rob Blake
First, notice that Rob Blake is almost unique among this class of defensemen in that he doesn't appear to have made a difference for his NHL team's goals for/goals against ratio at even strength.
The first thing that I notice is how poor Rob Blake's teams are overall in his career compared to most of the people we are looking at here.

How much of that is because of him and how much of that is the team is up for debate as always.

I do know for sure that most of the reason Blake's plus minus numbers aren't impressive is that the Kings sucked defensively as a team most of the time, and he was there most of the time.

I think we all know by now how much I think we need to be careful trying to use 5 man and team stats as description of individual play.

I mean by the same notion we can say Scott Niedermayer wasn't helping his team at even strength and wasn't a good transition player.

Not that I am part of the Blake fan club or anything.. I think his Norris is a very weak one, for example.

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04-28-2012, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
If Russell Bowie is a Denis Savard-caliber player (and I'm not sure he belongs that "low" but that's the comparison most recently made by Sturm)
wut?

You're going to have to re-read what I posted. That was not my conclusion, at all.

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04-28-2012, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
The first thing that I notice is how poor Rob Blake's teams are overall in his career compared to most of the people we are looking at here.

How much of that is because of him and how much of that is the team is up for debate as always.

I do know for sure that most of the reason Blake's plus minus numbers aren't impressive is that the Kings sucked defensively as a team most of the time, and he was there most of the time.

I think we all know by now how much I think we need to be careful trying to use 5 man and team stats as description of individual play.

I mean by the same notion we can say Scott Niedermayer wasn't helping his team at even strength and wasn't a good transition player.

Not that I am part of the Blake fan club or anything.. I think his Norris is a very weak one, for example.
I think Blake was fine in transition offense, though probably not as good as he was in either zone, since his size and shot were his two biggest assets. I think his issue was transition defense, where his relatively poor decision making was his weakness.

As for Niedermayer, it's a little different. His R-on and R-off are both very high for the current NHL. It makes sense - his off-ice comparable went from Scott Stevens to Chris Pronger. While team definitely helped, I do think Niedermayer's high R-on is largely his own doing - he was an excellent even strength player with his skating, especially in his prime. Before I had access to these stats, I always said I'd take Nieds at even strength and Blake on both special teams when the two were compared based on "the eye test."

Blake's on-ice numbers are average, but other than a year and change of Bourque, his off ice comparables were not mega elite all-time greats (Adam Foote probably the best), so he really should have made more of a difference than he did at even strength.

I think he can be a #2 in the ATD, but he is definitely stronger on special teams than at even strength

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04-28-2012, 12:52 PM
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wut?

You're going to have to re-read what I posted. That was not my conclusion, at all.
I believe I used the word comparison, not conclusion.

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