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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

7 Game Series 84 Oilers or 02 Wings (All Players in Prime)

View Poll Results: Who Wins?
Oilers in 4 20 8.40%
Wings in 4 10 4.20%
Oilers in 5 43 18.07%
Wings in 5 31 13.03%
Oilers in 6 35 14.71%
Wings in 6 58 24.37%
Oilers in 7 9 3.78%
Wings in 7 32 13.45%
Voters: 238. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
09-23-2012, 02:23 PM
  #551
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toob
Can i ask you something though? What do you think of Messier's defensive game in his prime, specifically as compared to Sakic 01?
I think prime Sakic was better than prime Messier at technical defense - positioning, back checking, and stick work. But Messier had a unique (for the modern era at least) ability to just physically dominate his opposing center, which of course has a lot of defensive value.

I think late career Yzerman was better defensively than both, by the way.

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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
These guys are not going to say anything negative about an ex-teammate or whatever when the context of the conversation is usually to pump up how great of a player he was.
Agreed. Of course coaches and teammates are going to pump the tires of their superstar in the media. The only "neutral" source there is Bryan Trottier, and I do take that seriously.

I also don't see Scottie Bowman listed. Bowman was a critic of Yzerman's all-round game when he first came to Detroit (although to be fair to Yzerman, Bowman wasn't exactly one to refrain from publicly criticizing his players).

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Originally Posted by toob
If making a change in style is reflective of bad D before did Fedorov suck defensively when he had to make the same changes (with more trouble too as he was getting in Bowman's doghouse)?
Fedorov was developed as a center in the Soviet system - he was always strong defensively, and got Selke votes right from the beginning. I think the "doghouse" thing was later in his career when he tended to float in regular season games

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09-23-2012, 02:37 PM
  #552
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Thanks for your view on Messier vis a vis Sakic. You are consistent with your opinion and so i respect that. How much better do you think Messier was than Yzerman in the late 80s/early 90s when both were prime (assuming you saw enough).

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Agreed. Of course coaches and teammates are going to pump the tires of their superstar in the media. The only "neutral" source there is Bryan Trottier, and I do take that seriously.

I also don't see Scottie Bowman listed. Bowman was a critic of Yzerman's all-round game when he first came to Detroit (although to be fair to Yzerman, Bowman wasn't exactly one to refrain from publicly criticizing his players).
Well they may not be neutral sources but they are really the only ones who can judge Yzerman's D because they watched him so closely and so much from an actual coaching/GM/player perspective.

And the fact that instead of buying into the narrative of the major transformation they push back tells us at least a little bit. Because a guy like Jimmy D doesnt and accepts the narrative.

Scotty hasnt said anything negative about Yzerman's D before him though (if he has please source because i have looked in a lot of places). He has said that he asked Yzerman to buy into a defensive system and that his numbers would go down and he would have to be the first to sell it. But Fedorov was also asked to buy into that system. Fedorov was great defensively before Bowman so just being asked to change your style doesnt imply sucky D before.

Scotty has also criticized the team D before he came (and during his 1st year) thus the change..

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Fedorov was developed as a center in the Soviet system - he was always strong defensively, and got Selke votes right from the beginning. I think the "doghouse" thing was later in his career when he tended to float in regular season games
Agreed with everything here. And yet he still was asked to play within the system and change his style to a more defensive one. Does this imply he was bad before? Not at all.

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09-23-2012, 08:26 PM
  #553
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I'm not sure people realize how much the game has evolved over the years. The players even in 2002 were much better and took their jobs much more serious than in 1984. Today, Chara gets attention just for drinking a Coke on the bench in the 1980s, Guy Lafleur could come back to the bench, have a few drags of a cigarette and nobody would bat an eyelash.

That's not to say the Oilers in their prime weren't in a league of their own, but the quality of defense and goaltending were so low in the 80s that Detroit's game and goaltending would make some 80s defensive strategy and goaltending (take the Canucks for example) like Peewee hockey.

They are two extraordinary, once in a lifetime teams but those Red Wings in their prime would beat the Oilers. It would be close for me, 6 or 7 games but it would happen. Fuhr was known for getting better as the games wore on, but Detroit's puck possession skills, well-conditioned athletes would overwhelm him. Chances would be traded, and there really was no better goaltender in his prime that could keep his teams in games like Hasek could. Not to mention how much bigger the players are today. Mark Messier was considered a big player in his day at 6 foot 1. The Red Wings' combination puck possession and size would make it difficult for the Oilers bottom-pairing defenseman to get the puck from the Red Wings 3rd and 4th lines. The Wings depth works for them here.

The Gretzky/Messier-Fedorov/Datsyuk match-up would be fun. All centres, all known for having a pretty good two-way game (in Fedorov and Datsyuk's case this is elite-level). Gretzky thought very highly of Fedorov and said the difference between him, Mario and Sergei was that Sergei was such a good hockey player, he could move to defense and still be impactful. I think Fedorov and Datsyuk's elite-level two-way ability would edge them over Gretz and Mess barely. I can't stress enough barely. Gretzky was of course, the greatest player of all-time in the sport, and Messier was a playoff performer and one of those "true Canadian hockey players" through and through but I like Fedorov and Datsyuk in their primes to take a slight edge over the two.

Red Wings in 6 or 7 for me. If it was straight '84 Oilers vs. '02 Wings I feel the Oilers would probably win.

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09-23-2012, 08:47 PM
  #554
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Fedorov was developed as a center in the Soviet system - he was always strong defensively, and got Selke votes right from the beginning. I think the "doghouse" thing was later in his career when he tended to float in regular season games
To add. Fedorov was never in Bowman's doghouse with regards to his defensive play. Scotty was more upset that Fedorov wasn't fully asserting himself offensively. Fedorov was truly unique in that sense, because when he half-assed it, he never shirked defensive responsibilities. He just didn't attack as much offensively as he could or should have.

Bowman would put him on defense to get him more minutes, more time with the puck, and to free up skating lanes so Fedorov would attack more. Not because Scotty thought he wasn't paying attention to the defensive end.

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09-24-2012, 12:22 AM
  #555
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Originally Posted by Reverend Mayhem View Post
I think Fedorov and Datsyuk's elite-level two-way ability would edge them over Gretz and Mess barely. I can't stress enough barely. Gretzky was of course, the greatest player of all-time in the sport, and Messier was a playoff performer and one of those "true Canadian hockey players" through and through but I like Fedorov and Datsyuk in their primes to take a slight edge over the two.
This makes zero sense. Gretzky is way above anybody on the 2002 Red Wings or the 1984 Oilers. Messier is also one of these two-way players to whom you seem to attribute magical abilities. There is no way a Fedorov-Datsyuk combo would be even close to Gretzky-Messier. The Red Wings win because of greater depth and goaltending, not because they have a superior top two centres.

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09-24-2012, 08:31 AM
  #556
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Which is why I would play both Feds and Dats against Gretzky and let two good Canadian boys deke it out in the second line matchup. Detroit can afford any combination of the three (or four, if you count Larionov... And if you don't, watch the CSKA - Oilers games again) centers to play against Oilers top two. I have full confidence that Scotty would find a way that works

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09-24-2012, 09:49 AM
  #557
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Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
Which is why I would play both Feds and Dats against Gretzky and let two good Canadian boys deke it out in the second line matchup. Detroit can afford any combination of the three (or four, if you count Larionov... And if you don't, watch the CSKA - Oilers games again) centers to play against Oilers top two. I have full confidence that Scotty would find a way that works
Fedorov vs Gretzky would be a great matchup. I think that Fedorov at his absolute best would have as much success against Gretzky as one could realistically hope for. No real defensive weaknesses for Gretzky to exploit.

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09-24-2012, 01:51 PM
  #558
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Originally Posted by toob View Post
Thanks for your view on Messier vis a vis Sakic. You are consistent with your opinion and so i respect that. How much better do you think Messier was than Yzerman in the late 80s/early 90s when both were prime (assuming you saw enough).
I really didn't see enough of them at the time. My "serious" hockey viewing probably began around 1994, and I remember Yzerman's rep at the time was mainly as an offensive dynamo, while Messier had a rep as a "complete" player. In retrospect, some of that was probably overrating physical play, but not all of it.

As for the purposes of this thread, I think it really depends on what you mean by "prime." I think you'd have a good argument that Yzerman and Fedorov each had a season better than any Messier season, but I think you'd be hard pressed to say either had an extended prime as good as Messier from 1989-90 to 1995-96.

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Agreed with everything here. And yet he still was asked to play within the system and change his style to a more defensive one. Does this imply he was bad before? Not at all.
I do think sometimes the media narrative becomes a little too strong. I have seen Scott Stevens referred to as a Dion Phaneuf type of hard hitting offensive defenseman before his own transformation, yet we later uncovered coaches polls showing him recieving a couple of votes for best defensive defenseman in the league as early as 1993.

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09-24-2012, 02:46 PM
  #559
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^ i was too young to have witnessed it firsthand, but wasn't messier's smythe in '84 (over gretzky's record-breaking playoffs) for matching up against and neutralizing bossy and especially trottier?

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09-24-2012, 03:57 PM
  #560
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I do think sometimes the media narrative becomes a little too strong. I have seen Scott Stevens referred to as a Dion Phaneuf type of hard hitting offensive defenseman before his own transformation, yet we later uncovered coaches polls showing him recieving a couple of votes for best defensive defenseman in the league as early as 1993.
'93 wasn't before his transformation though, it was pretty much during. That was already his 11th season in the NHL.
I watched Stevens right from his early days playing for the Kitchener Rangers in 81/82. He has always been one of my favourite players but he is one of the few players that the media got right in describing his style early and later on.
He was a bit of a maniac, took a lot of chances both offensively and to get the big hit before he arrived in St Louis.
Everyone likes to give all the credit to Lemaire and Robinson for his evolution and they were of course a big part of playing a lot more defensive first but where it really started was with Sutter in St Louis.
Sutter was the guy that settled him down, got him to play better positionally and stop running around so much on his side of center.

Either way, I find it kind of insulting to Stevens that he is described as a "Dion Phaneuf type".
If anything it should be Phaneuf described as playing like an early Scott Stevens lite
Lite as in Phaneuf is a lot less tougher, hits a hell of a lot less harder, is not even remotely close to as mean and wasn't as good of a passer, or maybe vision might be a better word, as Stevens was/had. About the only thing Dion has on a young Stevens is a better shot and even that's questionable when considering the sticks today. I seem to recall Stevens hitting in the low to mid 90's in the hardest shot super skills many moons and actual wooden sticks ago.

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09-24-2012, 04:01 PM
  #561
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
'93 wasn't before his transformation though, it was pretty much during. That was already his 11th season in the NHL.
I watched Stevens right from his early days playing for the Kitchener Rangers in 81/82. He has always been one of my favourite players but he is one of the few players that the media got right in describing his style early and later on.
He was a bit of a maniac, took a lot of chances both offensively and to get the big hit before he arrived in St Louis.
Everyone likes to give all the credit to Lemaire and Robinson for his evolution and they were of course a big part of playing a lot more defensive first but where it really started was with Sutter in St Louis.
Sutter was the guy that settled him down, got him to play better positionally and stop running around so much on his side of center.

Either way, I find it kind of insulting to Stevens that he is described as a "Dion Phaneuf type".
If anything it should be Phaneuf described as playing like an early Scott Stevens lite
Lite as in Phaneuf is a lot less tougher, hits a hell of a lot less harder, is not even remotely close to as mean and wasn't as good of a passer, or maybe vision might be a better word, as Stevens was/had. About the only thing Dion has on a young Stevens is a better shot and even that's questionable when considering the sticks today. I seem to recall Stevens hitting in the low to mid 90's in the hardest shot super skills many moons and actual wooden sticks ago.
Not to mention that Phaneuf can't seem to hit the broad side of a barn.

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09-24-2012, 04:02 PM
  #562
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
'93 wasn't before his transformation though, it was pretty much during. That was already his 11th season in the NHL.
I watched Stevens right from his early days playing for the Kitchener Rangers in 81/82. He has always been one of my favourite players but he is one of the few players that the media got right in describing his style early and later on.
He was a bit of a maniac, took a lot of chances both offensively and to get the big hit before he arrived in St Louis.
Everyone likes to give all the credit to Lemaire and Robinson for his evolution and they were of course a big part of playing a lot more defensive first but where it really started was with Sutter in St Louis.
Sutter was the guy that settled him down, got him to play better positionally and stop running around so much on his side of center.

Either way, I find it kind of insulting to Stevens that he is described as a "Dion Phaneuf type".
If anything it should be Phaneuf described as playing like an early Scott Stevens lite
Lite as in Phaneuf is a lot less tougher, hits a hell of a lot less harder, is not even remotely close as mean and wasn't have the passer Stevens was. About the only thing Dion has on a young Stevens is a better shot and even that's questionable when considering the sticks today. I seem to recall Stevens hitting in the low to mid 90's in the hardest shot super skills many moons ago.
would young stevens-as-rob blake-type be more fair? from my memories of stevens in the late 80s in washington, blake was the better outlet passer and was more lethal on the PP, but they both rushed well for a big guy, were mean, cleared the crease, went out of their way to make the big hit, and were overrated defensively due to physical style.

also, i remember the "who is this scott stevens and why is he making more than ray bourque?" hype when he signed the big RFA deal with st. louis. he already had a reputation as a "general on defense," and a shutdown guy. was he overrated because of his physicality and intimidation, or had he already started to hone his defensive game in his last washington years?

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09-24-2012, 04:04 PM
  #563
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I was talking about Phaneuf during his few good years in Calgary when he was considered by many a top 10 defenseman in the world

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09-24-2012, 04:12 PM
  #564
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
would young stevens-as-rob blake-type be more fair? from my memories of stevens in his last years in washington, blake was the better outlet passer and was more lethal on the PP, but they both rushed well for a big guy, were mean, cleared the crease, went out of their way to make the big hit, and were overrated defensively due to physical style.
Blake wasn't even close to being as mean or as aggressive as Stevens was with the Caps.
I might agree with you that Blake gets a little overrated defensively from his physicality but not Stevens.
Blake was a good physical D-man but he was not intimidating like a Stevens or Potvin before him.
Blake didn't cause players to attack the opposite side of the ice or slow down a step or two when he was on the ice like Stevens and Potvin did.
You can't downplay or underrate that level of intimidation and what it does for your team defensively.

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09-24-2012, 04:20 PM
  #565
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
would young stevens-as-rob blake-type be more fair? from my memories of stevens in the late 80s in washington, blake was the better outlet passer and was more lethal on the PP, but they both rushed well for a big guy, were mean, cleared the crease, went out of their way to make the big hit, and were overrated defensively due to physical style.

also, i remember the "who is this scott stevens and why is he making more than ray bourque?" hype when he signed the big RFA deal with st. louis. he already had a reputation as a "general on defense," and a shutdown guy. was he overrated because of his physicality and intimidation, or had he already started to hone his defensive game in his last washington years?
Defenseman points in 1987-88

1. Gary Suter 91
2. Al MacInnis 83
3. Raymond Bourque 81
4. Scott Stevens 72
5. Paul Coffey 67

Bourque and Stevens were the 1st Team All Stars.

But then, Phaneuf somehow managed to be a 1st Teamer in 2007-08, so not sure what this tells us.

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09-24-2012, 04:21 PM
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Blake wasn't even close to being as mean or as aggressive as Stevens was with the Caps.
I might agree with you that Blake gets a little overrated defensively from his physicality but not Stevens.
Blake was a good physical D-man but he was not intimidating like a Stevens or Potvin before him.
Blake didn't cause players to attack the opposite side of the ice or slow down a step or two when he was on the ice like Stevens and Potvin did.
You can't downplay or underrate that level of intimidation and what it does for your team defensively.
I thought Blake was the second best open ice hitter of his era, after an older Scott Stevens

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09-24-2012, 04:34 PM
  #567
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i remember people definitely being intimidated by blake's hip checks in the old smythe division. guys were comparing him to robinson (who probably helped teach him how to do it). rhiessan is right; not to a scott stevens degree (where he could likely end your career), but i think you'd put prime blake up there with pronger and chara, to cite two of his contemporaries.

as for offense, at his best blake finished third in scoring among defensemen three years in a row. he finished top two in PPG among defensemen four times in five years, and then had two more top five finished immediately after.

stevens played in an era with far greater offensive defensemen, obviously. but other than his big '88 year (where coffey played only half the season), the guys stevens was usually finishing around (in the lower half of the top ten usually) were jeff brown, tom kurvers, craig hartsburg, doug lidster, and dave babych (as well as post-prime potvin, pre-prime chelios and macinnis).

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09-24-2012, 04:38 PM
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I thought Blake was the second best open ice hitter of his era, after an older Scott Stevens
To a degree I would agree.
Blake was more of a reactionary hitter, he didn't step up to deliver his hits very often. He let them come to him and then unloaded, mainly with some rather nasty hip checks.
Stevens was a lot more proactive if you will. He didn't just squeeze "lanes" closed, he actively prowled and stepped into those "lanes".

The best open ice hitters IMO are the ones that deliver while moving forward not backwards. That's the much more harder thing to accomplish.

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09-24-2012, 05:28 PM
  #569
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The best open ice hitters IMO are the ones that deliver while moving forward not backwards. That's the much more harder thing to accomplish.
... ya, you really dont see anywhere near the number of hip checks as back in the day, when virtually every defenceman and a lot of defensively minded forwards were absolutely expert at it; skating backwards followed by a quick tuck & BAM! Delivered properly, ass over teakettle.

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09-24-2012, 10:05 PM
  #570
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... ya, you really dont see anywhere near the number of hip checks as back in the day, when virtually every defenceman and a lot of defensively minded forwards were absolutely expert at it; skating backwards followed by a quick tuck & BAM! Delivered properly, ass over teakettle.
ahhh Visions of Luke Richardson ...

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