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Best Defensive Forward Ever

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Old
11-02-2012, 07:47 AM
  #126
overpass
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After developing an adjusted plus-minus system, Craig Ramsay stood out as someone who performed very well by that metric. And in the years since then as I have looked at the data, Ramsay stands out as a real anomaly. Players who kill penalties, don't play on the power play, and play tough match ups at even strength are virtually always minus players relative to their teammates over the long run. It's just the nature of the role. The two exceptions? Craig Ramsay and Don Luce, who played together and outperformed the other forward lines on their team by quite a bit.

So I've put some thought into this topic over the years, as you can see from 70s digging up my old posts.

Possible explanations for Ramsay and Luce's anomalous performance:

1. The linemate effect. They played together for several years, and had Danny Gare as a regular linemate. It isn't common for checking lines to have three very good players over several years, and it's possible that three plus players are just that much more effective than one or two plus players with plugs. And Gare was a skilled player who could fill up the net, not a typical third wheel on a checking line.

This should be a major advantage for Ramsay over Gainey with regard to plus-minus. It doesn't explain why Ramsay's line outperformed their own teammates, the famous French Connection, at ES. Again, this is basically a unique situation since expansion where a checking line has a better +/- than a scoring line over several seasons. And all the advantages of continuity with three very good players on a line should apply equally to Martin-Perreault-Robert as to Ramsay-Luce-Gare.

Canadiens1958 made the suggestion in a Perreault thread some years ago that the small ice surface in Buffalo was responsible. I ran home/road scoring for four seasons in the late 70s and found that Ramsay/Luce/Gare scored 30-40% more ES points at home, and Martin/Perreault/Robert score about the same # of ES points at home as on the road. Most players scored 10-20% more ES points at home. The data supports this idea and I think it makes sense as well. MPR were a creative line that would benefit from more space, and RLG were a destructive counter attacking line that would benefit from less space. The data only addresses offensive results, but that's a major component of plus-minus, so I think the home rink issue is another cause of the plus-minus anomaly. ( I still think Martin-Perreault-Robert were overrated and Ramsay-Luce-Gare were underrated.)

I wouldn't go as far as 70s in using ESGA to directly estimate defensive play. After all, Craig Berube had very low ESGA - because he played low minutes with no matchup responsibility. One could say that Ramsay and Gainey played in similar roles but I think that assumes too much. Gainey was shuffled around the lineup in a way that Ramsay wasn't and it seems likely that Scotty Bowman was able to put him in tougher situations as a result.

I would agree that Gainey probably received a lot of hype from playing in Montreal for a dynasty, and Ramsay was a bit underrated in comparison. There's also good reason beyond the ES stats to see Ramsay as an excellent defensive player. Consistently high finishes in Selke voting, a key player (maybe the key player?) on the best penalty kill in the league, etc. But I can't say confidently that Ramsay was better defensively than Gainey. Too much uncertainty in the information I have.

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11-02-2012, 08:28 AM
  #127
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Third and Fourth Lines

Overpass, interesting points and perspectives as usual.

Consider the impact of a team's third and fourth line depth and talent.

1975 SC Finalists had a very solid third line McNab/Dudley/Lorentz with reasonable fourth line support:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/BUF/1975.html

but Dudley left for the WHA and a season later McNab was traded to Boston. The Sabres became a two line team with some interesting third liners who started getting moved up out of their niche once injuries struck Richard Martin and Danny Gare.Greater concentration of offensive production resulted.

Canadiens throughout Gainey's career had four lines with solid offence and defence from the forwards throughout. This allowed the coaches greater flexibility especially in adjusting defensive responsibilities for the forwards and spread offensive production.

The smaller rink issue. Following applies regardless of rink size.

The five skaters on a team form a pentagon which features various triangles. Key to defence and offence is maintaing proper separation at all times. Some skaters can do this regardless of the size of the rink, some cannot.

This was and still is a problem for Europeans coming into the NHL just as it was and is for NA players going over to play in Europe or other international venues. Likewise in the old NHL before the standardized, cookie cutter rinks.

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11-02-2012, 01:00 PM
  #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
I'll tell you what. You start a thread about how no one is allowed to comment on players that they didn't see play during their adult years, and I'll be sure to sticky that for you, mmmkay?
... now now 70's, lets not go overboard here. Me, Myself & I along with a fairly sizeable sampling of posters here were in fact alive, conscious & breathing throughout the 50's, 60's & 70's, saw Ramsay, Mikita, Pully, H.Richard etc in action.

If your truly a connoisseur & student of the game, you'll pay a considerable amount of attention to defensive forwards, that line of Luce/Gare/Ramsay one of the best in the league from 75-80, dangerous as all Hell what with Gare being a sniper of serious quality & talent. They were a "unit"; Gainey a "force" in and of himself, a far more intelligent player & commanding presence than Ramsay ever was, who I wouldnt even rank top 15 or 20.

As for the offer of a "sticky"; I didnt watch NHL hockey prior to about 1961-62, so Im not about to voice strong opinions and "absolutes" about anyone who played previously, but I will listen keenly to & respect the opinions of my elders who were around & did witness their exploits, a courtesy you Sir might wish to extend to myself and others posting here on the History of Hockey Board. Makes for a more inclusive & enjoyable experience for one & all.

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11-02-2012, 03:43 PM
  #129
Iain Fyffe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
As for the offer of a "sticky"; I didnt watch NHL hockey prior to about 1961-62, so Im not about to voice strong opinions and "absolutes" about anyone who played previously, but I will listen keenly to & respect the opinions of my elders who were around & did witness their exploits, a courtesy you Sir might wish to extend to myself and others posting here on the History of Hockey Board. Makes for a more inclusive & enjoyable experience for one & all.
And given that it's a history board, presumably respect should also be accorded to those people who have studied the history of the game, studied the players who (for instance) no living person saw play.

History is not just about what you personally remember, or what others tell you they remember.

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11-02-2012, 05:11 PM
  #130
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
And given that it's a history board, presumably respect should also be accorded to those people who have studied the history of the game, studied the players who (for instance) no living person saw play. History is not just about what you personally remember, or what others tell you they remember.
Well of course Iain, and I do accord the Puckmetricians all due respect, however, when living eyewitnesses accounts to the exploits of any given player are discounted and or derided as being solely objective & unreliable, to then belittle someones accounts, dismiss them as such, telling them "you got that from a wiki search" or whatever, how is that helpful, courteous or positive to what should be enjoyable discourse? I personally am in no way offended, water off a Ducks, but still, there are many who would be, are.... anyhoo, carry on. No biggie.

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11-02-2012, 05:50 PM
  #131
Iain Fyffe
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Well of course Iain, and I do accord the Puckmetricians all due respect, however, when living eyewitnesses accounts to the exploits of any given player are discounted and or derided as being solely objective & unreliable
Here's the biggest rub. Whenever an analytical argument is made, the unreliability of the metrics used is always used against it. And yet, when an eyewitness argument is made, the unreliability of human perception and memory is almost never acknowledged (likely because most people don't realize how unreliable they can be). That's one of the biggest problems I see in this type of discussion: "I know what I saw!" Not necessarily, in point of fact.

The flaws in both types of argument must be acknowledged. The idea that someone's memory of something in the past, or that their perception of the thing at the time, is flawless is simply false. Many memory researchers consider the concept of photographic (eidetic) memory to be a myth. What sort of chance does that give the common person?

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11-02-2012, 06:05 PM
  #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Here's the biggest rub. Whenever an analytical argument is made, the unreliability of the metrics used is always used against it. And yet, when an eyewitness argument is made, the unreliability of human perception and memory is almost never acknowledged (likely because most people don't realize how unreliable they can be). That's one of the biggest problems I see in this type of discussion: "I know what I saw!" Not necessarily, in point of fact.

The flaws in both types of argument must be acknowledged. The idea that someone's memory of something in the past, or that their perception of the thing at the time, is flawless is simply false. Many memory researchers consider the concept of photographic (eidetic) memory to be a myth. What sort of chance does that give the common person?
This is why I think contemporary opinion (accounts of a player's play relatively soon after it happened, usually via newspaper articles) is so important, compared to statements based on older memories.

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11-02-2012, 06:33 PM
  #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
The flaws in both types of argument must be acknowledged. The idea that someone's memory of something in the past, or that their perception of the thing at the time, is flawless is simply false. Many memory researchers consider the concept of photographic (eidetic) memory to be a myth. What sort of chance does that give the common person?
... in a one-off event, like a car accident or whatever, then sure. But with an NHL player who someones watched over 5, 10, 15 years, eyewitness accounts, provided of course the observer is objective, hockey educated, intelligent, Id say the chances of that individuals memory being faulty are slim to none in apprising the players talents and limitations.

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11-02-2012, 08:37 PM
  #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Here's the biggest rub. Whenever an analytical argument is made, the unreliability of the metrics used is always used against it. And yet, when an eyewitness argument is made, the unreliability of human perception and memory is almost never acknowledged (likely because most people don't realize how unreliable they can be). That's one of the biggest problems I see in this type of discussion: "I know what I saw!" Not necessarily, in point of fact.

The flaws in both types of argument must be acknowledged. The idea that someone's memory of something in the past, or that their perception of the thing at the time, is flawless is simply false. Many memory researchers consider the concept of photographic (eidetic) memory to be a myth. What sort of chance does that give the common person?
A single person's memory of a single event is just that, and can be very subjective and individual. But when many people see the same thing, or one person sees the same thing many times, you've got a better chance at getting meaningful information.

NHL hockey games are not random criminal acts of the type that eyewitness research is conducted on. They are watched by thousands of people live and thousands or even millions on television. And many of these people watch many hockey games and learn to observe the patterns of the game.

I'm stating the obvious here, but my point is that this research may not be very applicable to hockey fans watching games.

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11-02-2012, 09:04 PM
  #135
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Very True

Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
A single person's memory of a single event is just that, and can be very subjective and individual. But when many people see the same thing, or one person sees the same thing many times, you've got a better chance at getting meaningful information.

NHL hockey games are not random criminal acts of the type that eyewitness research is conducted on. They are watched by thousands of people live and thousands or even millions on television. And many of these people watch many hockey games and learn to observe the patterns of the game.

I'm stating the obvious here, but my point is that this research may not be very applicable to hockey fans watching games.
Random criminal acts. Unless they are trained law enforcement professionals very few people have the background and memory training to properly observe and remember a random criminal act.

Conversely for youngsters that start playing hockey as pre schoolers, hockey specific observations become part of the memory development process. Add years of hockey related experiences and the reliability factor increases to near certainty.

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Old
11-03-2012, 01:20 AM
  #136
seventieslord
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Gainey was bigger, faster and more physical. This advantage, admitted by you, covers the big net advantage that Bob Gainey had on Craig Ramsay. Goes a long way to explaining why Craig Ramsay retired at 33. Three attributes required by the short shift game.
All those games Ramsay started to miss late in his career as a result of being too small, slow and soft, really seem to back up your point here. Clearly by 1985 he was just losing it.

I "admit" Gainey's edge in three important attributes because they are less important than the actual results. Attributes such as size, speed and physicality are the tools that led to them earning their individual results. But the results are what matter in the end. If Ramsay managed to achieve results as good or better, then it is worth exploring why. His size, speed and physicality didn't do it for him, so what did? Something had to.

Similarly (yet an obviously extreme example), Al Iafrate was bigger, faster, more physical, and had a bigger shot than Ray Bourque, but that didn't add up to being a better player. We don't rate Iafrate higher for having better "attributes", we rate Bourque higher for having better results. And the only reason I ever brought up Gainey's superior attributes was to explain why he was more of a visible player.

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If you look at Selke voting after 1981 - Gainey's last win and 1991when Dirk Graham won, you will notice tha outside of Ramsay in 1985 the winners were all centers, reflecting how the game had changed. Gretzky, Lemieux and the high scoring centers of the eighties plus the arrival of the short shift game changed the defensive emphasis to the center position. Ramsay in 1985 was an anomaly reflecting the early success of Tom Barrasso - Vezina and Jennings in successive seasons.Ramsay retired in 1985 so he did not have high Selke placement throughout the 1980s as you claim.
An analysis that looks simply at who won the Selke and nothing else (such as who were the runners up, etc) proves absolutely nothing.

To suggest Ramsay was a product of Barrasso is a joke. Ramsay's goals against figures only went down very slightly along with his icetime, after Barrasso arrived.

Did you really think I needed you to remind me when Ramsay retired? You should be intelligent enough to know what "throughout the 1980s" was meant to mean.

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Your appreciation of the small rink factor is rather interesting. Starting with the post Red Line era that opened offence in the NHL, small rinks have always featured offence - late 40's Hawks, Hull/Mikita/ Pilote Hawks, Orr thru Bourque Bruins, French Connection thru Lafontaine/ Mogilny Sabres. Do not know which conventional wisdom you are referring to as the facts simply contradict your claim.
The "small rink" effect has been used numerous times to prop up Gilbert Perreault's rather unimpressive offensive resume (unimpressive as far as being a top-100 player goes, that is). The argument has always been "other star players scored about 20% more at home than on the road, but Perreault scored the same at home as on the road; therefore, the smaller rink clearly hurt his ability to be offensively creative at home". The numbers I presented earlier in this thread suggested that Buffalo was 19% better defensively at home, opposed to most teams being in the 13% range over a period of five selected seasons. And just the other day you commented about how Boston Garden was not conducive to the development of a young, mobile (offensive) defenseman. ergo, the smaller rink favours defense. Name dropping some star offensive players who've played in small rinks doesn't make a big impact on that.

And, of course, it's always been argued that maybe Ramsay's defensive stats are better than Gainey's because of the smaller rink - which favoured defense. I tried to address that in the same post above. I have no earthly idea why you're now attempting to claim that a smaller rink favoured offense.

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The issue is a player being able to play defense on the various rink dimensions.The problem with Craig Ramsay is that he was not as good defensively on the larger rinks as he was on the small Buffalo rink. This was illustrated by Rick Middleton of the Bruins who could play offence on the small rink - Boston and dominated the Sabres and Ramsay whereas in multiple confrontations with Bob Gainey and the Canadiens Middleton was played to a statistical standstill by Gainey. Bruins won one series against Montreal with Rick Middleton - 1988 after Cam Neely joined the team and Middleton was the second RW.

Conversely Bob Gainey could play defence on rinks of all dimensions including International dimensions - WHC. The contrast between his success against Rick Middleton vs Craig Ramsay is the most telling point. Furthermare after losing only one series to the Bruins in eight, the Canadiens after Gainey retired lost three series in a row to the Bruins since they no longer had a shutdown LW to play against the Bourque/ Neely combination on the RHS of the rink.
I don't know why you expect one to two dozen games against Rick Middleton to define the careers of two players, when they had a combined 2400+ other games to look at.

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Your appreciation of the short shift game should go beyond simple age counting. Gainey at age 35 was effective in series up to seven consecutive games, against power forwards like Cam Neely, Rick Tocchet. Craig Ramsay retired in 1985 after the Sabres lost to the Nordiques in another playoff defensive meltdown - 22GA in 5 games.
And this proves that Ramsay couldn't handle the short shift game, how?

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Originally Posted by overpass View Post
Gainey was shuffled around the lineup in a way that Ramsay wasn't
has this been substantiated before or is it hearsay?

Quote:
I would agree that Gainey probably received a lot of hype from playing in Montreal for a dynasty, and Ramsay was a bit underrated in comparison.
This much is obvious.

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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
... now now 70's, lets not go overboard here. Me, Myself & I along with a fairly sizeable sampling of posters here were in fact alive, conscious & breathing throughout the 50's, 60's & 70's, saw Ramsay, Mikita, Pully, H.Richard etc in action.

If your truly a connoisseur & student of the game, you'll pay a considerable amount of attention to defensive forwards, that line of Luce/Gare/Ramsay one of the best in the league from 75-80, dangerous as all Hell what with Gare being a sniper of serious quality & talent. They were a "unit"; Gainey a "force" in and of himself, a far more intelligent player & commanding presence than Ramsay ever was, who I wouldnt even rank top 15 or 20.

As for the offer of a "sticky"; I didnt watch NHL hockey prior to about 1961-62, so Im not about to voice strong opinions and "absolutes" about anyone who played previously, but I will listen keenly to & respect the opinions of my elders who were around & did witness their exploits, a courtesy you Sir might wish to extend to myself and others posting here on the History of Hockey Board. Makes for a more inclusive & enjoyable experience for one & all.
Oh, I know you all had working eyes; the problem is that Gainey was far more visible and much easier to notice making an impact defensively. That doesn't automatically mean he was better though. I doubt back then, that anyone was perusing GF/GA totals and said "holy ****, Ramsay never gets scored on, I need to pay better attention to this guy". Regardless, he did extremely well in voting.

You want to be taken seriously, but saying "not top 15 or 20" about a guy who was obviously top-3 for his era makes that rather difficult.

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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Well of course Iain, and I do accord the Puckmetricians all due respect, however, when living eyewitnesses accounts to the exploits of any given player are discounted and or derided as being solely objective & unreliable, to then belittle someones accounts, dismiss them as such, telling them "you got that from a wiki search" or whatever, how is that helpful, courteous or positive to what should be enjoyable discourse? I personally am in no way offended, water off a Ducks, but still, there are many who would be, are.... anyhoo, carry on. No biggie.
Yes... "or whatever".

The words were actually "facts that anyone could cite after a quick glance through page 1 of a google search".... I was just telling it like it is. If your experience as a fan makes you so valuable to the discourse here, surely you can do better than just telling us where he played junior, who his linemates were (positions incorrect) and that he had an ironman streak - and then spout hyperbole with no factual data attached.

...unhuh. Did you actually see this guy play? Yes, he was good, product of the Peterborough Petes. Played in Buffalo on the same line with his buddy Don Luce & the terrific Danny Gare at Centre. Noted "Iron Man". But in the "same conversation as Bob Gainey"? Not even in the same room. Entirely different dynamic in Buffalo, Coaching system. Here more than ever the reliance solely upon statistics like relying on a compass in the Bermuda Triangle. Ya I know he won a Selke etc but still, not on par with Gainey. No way no how.

Regardless, Killy, the post missed the point entirely. The assertion was made that wingers could not be as good defensively as centers, and my point was to simply give two examples. One of a player who many consider the best, and one of a player for whom the statistical case over Gainey can be made with eyes closed. Both wingers, and the two best defensive forwards of their era, no matter the order (and the fact that a very strong statistical case exists means it's very much arguable)

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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
... in a one-off event, like a car accident or whatever, then sure. But with an NHL player who someones watched over 5, 10, 15 years, eyewitness accounts, provided of course the observer is objective, hockey educated, intelligent, Id say the chances of that individuals memory being faulty are slim to none in apprising the players talents and limitations.
There's lots of reasons that this may not be true. For one thing, memories are faulty, no matter who we are talking about. Second, memories are selective. A more physically visible player who played on a more successful team that was televised much more often, is going to be more prominent in someone's memory. Third, single or rare memories can be turned into common occurrences without us realizing it. Seeing Gainey play with a Lafleur for a few games in 1977 can quickly become an anecdote 35 years later of "Gainey was a guy you could shuffle through the lineup; you just couldn't do that with Gainey". Last, regardless of what one thinks of Gainey versus Ramsay, and regardless of the quality of their memory, that still doesn't mean they have any legitimate credentials in comparing the dominance of one player in one era, to another from a different era. When you start talking about guys like Gilles Tremblay, who, based on the volume and degree of praise sent his way, may not have even been in the top-10 in his own era, as better than a guy clearly top-3 in his, then some era bias is almost certainly at play.

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11-03-2012, 09:00 AM
  #137
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
The "small rink" effect has been used numerous times to prop up Gilbert Perreault's rather unimpressive offensive resume (unimpressive as far as being a top-100 player goes, that is). The argument has always been "other star players scored about 20% more at home than on the road, but Perreault scored the same at home as on the road; therefore, the smaller rink clearly hurt his ability to be offensively creative at home". The numbers I presented earlier in this thread suggested that Buffalo was 19% better defensively at home, opposed to most teams being in the 13% range over a period of five selected seasons. And just the other day you commented about how Boston Garden was not conducive to the development of a young, mobile (offensive) defenseman. ergo, the smaller rink favours defense. Name dropping some star offensive players who've played in small rinks doesn't make a big impact on that.

And, of course, it's always been argued that maybe Ramsay's defensive stats are better than Gainey's because of the smaller rink - which favoured defense. I tried to address that in the same post above. I have no earthly idea why you're now attempting to claim that a smaller rink favoured offense.
Canadiens1958 can answer this too but I'm just going to say that it seems intuitive to me that a small rink would be easier to play on for an outstanding forechecking duo like Craig Ramsay and Don Luce. Less room for the opposition to transition, easier to force turnovers, more chances on the counterattack.

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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
has (Gainey being switched around the lineup) been substantiated before or is it hearsay?
I'm sure most people have heard about Scotty Bowman's famous propensity for shuffling his lines. But let's go to the numbers.

Forwards with whom Craig Ramsay collaborated on even strength points throughout his career. (Displaying those with two or more in a season.)

1971-72 13
Randy Wyrozub 3
Phil Goyette 3
Steve Atkinson 2
Gerry Meehan 2
1972-73 28
Don Luce 16
Larry Mickey 10
Steve Atkinson 3
Rene Robert 2
Jim Lorentz 2
1973-74 40
Don Luce 32
Rick Dudley 8
Steve Atkinson 8
Norm Gratton 3
Larry Mickey 2
Doug Rombough 2
1974-75 50
Danny Gare 35
Don Luce 31
Larry Carriere 2
1975-76 63
Don Luce 36
Danny Gare 32
Rene Robert 5
Fred Stanfield 4
1976-77 42
Don Luce 25
Rene Robert 8
Gary McAdam 7
Danny Gare 5
Gilbert Perreault 5
Jim Lorentz 2
1977-78 61
Danny Gare 32
Don Luce 31
Rene Robert 2
Gilbert Perreault 2
Andre Savard 2
1978-79 41
Don Luce 24
Ric Seiling 15
Danny Gare 10
1979-80 45
Don Luce 14
Gilbert Perreault 11
John Gould 9
Ric Seiling 6
Rick Dudley 5
Danny Gare 5
Rick Martin 3
Andre Savard 2
1980-81 51
Andre Savard 21
Ric Seiling 16
Rick Dudley 7
Don Luce 6
Gilbert Perreault 5
Danny Gare 4
Steve Patrick 4
Alan Haworth 2
Lindy Ruff 2
1981-82 46
Andre Savard 23
Ric Seiling 17
Lindy Ruff 6
Steve Patrick 4
Gilbert Perreault 4
Yvon Lambert 4
Brent Peterson 2
1982-83 25
Brent Peterson 12
Andre Savard 5
Mike Foligno 3
Ric Seiling 3
Mike Moller 2
Dale McCourt 2
Lindy Ruff 2
1983-84 22
Brent Peterson 12
Ric Seiling 7
Sean McKenna 5
Real Cloutier 2
Mike Moller 2
1984-85 28
Brent Peterson 15
Ric Seiling 7
Mal Davis 5
Sean McKenna 2

From 1972-73 to 1978-79, Luce and Ramsay were full-time linemates. Gare played three full seasons with them and parts of others, with Rene Robert, Larry Mickey, Rick Dudley, Ric Seiling, and others filling the RW spot the rest of the time.

In 1979-80 Scotty Bowman arrived in Buffalo and threw the lines into the famous Bowman blender. It appears that Luce was still Ramsay's most frequent linemate, but he had a hand in only 14 of Ramsay's 45 ESP, about half the typical ratio in earlier seasons. In the next two seasons Ramsay played primarily with Andre Savard and Ric Seiling, and then finished his career with three seasons on Brent Peterson's wing.

On to Bob Gainey.

1974 35
Jacques Lemaire 14
Guy Lafleur 10
Murray Wilson 6
Yvan Cournoyer 6
Henri Richard 5
Pete Mahovlich 2
1975 25
Doug Jarvis 10
Jimmy Roberts 8
Guy Lafleur 6
Jacques Lemaire 3
Pete Mahovlich 2
Doug Risebrough 2
1976 32
Doug Jarvis 14
Jimmy Roberts 8
Rejean Houle 4
Murray Wilson 2
Jacques Lemaire 2
1977 26
Doug Jarvis 14
Rick Chartraw 6
Rejean Houle 4
Doug Risebrough 3
Jacques Lemaire 2
Yvan Cournoyer 2
1978 36
Doug Jarvis 11
Guy Lafleur 7
Pat Hughes 6
Jacques Lemaire 5
Rejean Houle 5
Rick Chartraw 4
Steve Shutt 3
Pierre Mondou 2
Mario Tremblay 2
1979 22
Doug Jarvis 6
Mark Napier 5
Rick Chartraw 3
Rejean Houle 2
Mario Tremblay 2
1980 35
Doug Jarvis 16
Mark Napier 6
Chris Nilan 6
Rejean Houle 5
Pierre Mondou 2
1981 39
Mark Napier 19
Doug Jarvis 19
Mark Hunter 4
1982 26
Keith Acton 13
Mark Napier 8
Mark Hunter 4
Guy Lafleur 2
1983 37
Guy Carbonneau 18
Chris Nilan 8
Guy Lafleur 7
Pierre Mondou 6
Mats Naslund 2
Steve Shutt 2
Mario Tremblay 2
1984 26
Guy Carbonneau 17
Chris Nilan 11
Lucien DeBlois 2
1985 39
Guy Carbonneau 19
Chris Nilan 11
Brian Skrudland 3
Serge Boisvert 3
Mats Naslund 2
Bobby Smith 2
Kjell Dahlin 2
Stephane Richer 2
1986 15
Guy Carbonneau 9
Brian Skrudland 2
Sergio Momesso 2

From 1975-76 until 1981-82, Doug Jarvis was clearly Gainey's most common linemate. But the stats suggest that they didn't play together all the time like Ramsay and Luce did.

1976-1982: Jarvis has a hand in 90 of Gainey's 215 even strength points (42%)
1973-1979: Luce has a hand in 195 of Ramsay's 325 even strength points (60%)

It appears Gainey was shuffled around the most in the 1978-79 season, maybe his best and most famous season. It would be a mistake to attribute that usage to his entire career, but it still appears he was moved around the lineup more than Ramsay was in their respective primes.


Last edited by overpass: 11-03-2012 at 11:11 AM.
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11-03-2012, 10:39 AM
  #138
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Clarke didn't have Lidstrom either. The greatest defensive players are great regardless of who they play/played with, they're catalysts, they cause their linemates to appear better defensively not the opposite. And had the Selke been around in in Clarke's peak he'd probably have multiple Hart/Selke seasons. Fedorov's season, while amazing also came when Gretzky was past his prime and Lemieux missed most of the season. Gilmour had a simlar season the year before, he just also had Lemieux scoring at a Godly rate to contend with.
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Originally Posted by KingForsberg View Post
If you wanna use Hart trophies then Bobby Clarke won three in 4 years due to his excellent defensive play.
Can people really say with a straight face that Clarke was more valuable than Orr in his 2 Hart seasons, when Orr was healthy?

Clarke getting the Hart had alot to do with Reggie Leach riding shotgun and their offensive magic than just his defensive play as well.

Clarke was one of the top defensive players of his era and all time and a great play maker with a decent offensive peak but his Hart counting elevates him too highly on all time lists as we will see later in the top Centers project when his Harts will get paraded out.

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11-03-2012, 10:45 AM
  #139
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Forwards with whom Craig Ramsay collaborated on even strength points throughout his career. (Displaying those with two or more in a season.)

1971-72 13
Randy Wyrozub 3
Phil Goyette 3
Steve Atkinson 2
Doug Barrie 2
Gerry Meehan 2
1972-73 28
Don Luce 16
Larry Mickey 10
Steve Atkinson 3
Rene Robert 2
Jim Lorentz 2
1973-74 40
Don Luce 32
Rick Dudley 8
Steve Atkinson 8
Norm Gratton 3
Larry Mickey 2
Doug Rombough 2
1974-75 50
Danny Gare 35
Don Luce 31
Larry Carriere 2
1975-76 63
Don Luce 36
Danny Gare 32
Rene Robert 5
Fred Stanfield 4
1976-77 42
Don Luce 25
Rene Robert 8
Gary McAdam 7
Danny Gare 5
Gilbert Perreault 5
Jim Lorentz 2
1977-78 61
Danny Gare 32
Don Luce 31
Rene Robert 2
Gilbert Perreault 2
Andre Savard 2
1978-79 41
Don Luce 24
Ric Seiling 15
Danny Gare 10
1979-80 45
Don Luce 14
Gilbert Perreault 11
John Gould 9
Ric Seiling 6
Rick Dudley 5
Danny Gare 5
Rick Martin 3
Andre Savard 2
1980-81 51
Andre Savard 21
Ric Seiling 16
Rick Dudley 7
Don Luce 6
Gilbert Perreault 5
Danny Gare 4
Steve Patrick 4
Alan Haworth 2
Lindy Ruff 2
1981-82 46
Andre Savard 23
Ric Seiling 17
Lindy Ruff 6
Steve Patrick 4
Gilbert Perreault 4
Yvon Lambert 4
Brent Peterson 2
1982-83 25
Brent Peterson 12
Andre Savard 5
Mike Foligno 3
Ric Seiling 3
Mike Moller 2
Dale McCourt 2
Lindy Ruff 2
1983-84 22
Brent Peterson 12
Ric Seiling 7
Sean McKenna 5
Real Cloutier 2
Mike Moller 2
1984-85 28
Brent Peterson 15
Ric Seiling 7
Mal Davis 5
Dave Maloney 4
Sean McKenna 2

From 1972-73 to 1978-79, Luce and Ramsay were full-time linemates. Gare played three full seasons with them and parts of others, with Rene Robert, Larry Mickey, Rick Dudley, Ric Seiling, and others filling the RW spot the rest of the time.

In 1979-80 Scotty Bowman arrived in Buffalo and threw the lines into the famous Bowman blender. It appears that Luce was still Ramsay's most frequent linemate, but he had a hand in only 14 of Ramsay's 45 ESP, about half the typical ratio in earlier seasons. In the next two seasons Ramsay played primarily with Andre Savard and Ric Seiling, and then finished his career with three seasons on Brent Peterson's wing.

On to Bob Gainey.

1974 35
Jacques Lemaire 14
Guy Lafleur 10
Murray Wilson 6
Yvan Cournoyer 6
Henri Richard 5
Pete Mahovlich 2
1975 25
Doug Jarvis 10
Jimmy Roberts 8
Guy Lafleur 6
Jacques Lemaire 3
Pete Mahovlich 2
Doug Risebrough 2
1976 32
Doug Jarvis 14
Jimmy Roberts 8
Rejean Houle 4
Murray Wilson 2
Jacques Lemaire 2
1977 26
Doug Jarvis 14
Rick Chartraw 6
Rejean Houle 4
Doug Risebrough 3
Jacques Lemaire 2
Yvan Cournoyer 2
1978 36
Doug Jarvis 11
Guy Lafleur 7
Pat Hughes 6
Jacques Lemaire 5
Rejean Houle 5
Rick Chartraw 4
Steve Shutt 3
Pierre Mondou 2
Mario Tremblay 2
1979 22
Doug Jarvis 6
Mark Napier 5
Rick Chartraw 3
Rejean Houle 2
Mario Tremblay 2
1980 35
Doug Jarvis 16
Mark Napier 6
Chris Nilan 6
Rejean Houle 5
Pierre Mondou 2
1981 39
Mark Napier 19
Doug Jarvis 19
Mark Hunter 4
1982 26
Keith Acton 13
Mark Napier 8
Mark Hunter 4
Guy Lafleur 2
1983 37
Guy Carbonneau 18
Chris Nilan 8
Guy Lafleur 7
Pierre Mondou 6
Mats Naslund 2
Steve Shutt 2
Mario Tremblay 2
1984 26
Guy Carbonneau 17
Chris Nilan 11
Lucien DeBlois 2
1985 39
Guy Carbonneau 19
Chris Nilan 11
Brian Skrudland 3
Serge Boisvert 3
Mats Naslund 2
Bobby Smith 2
Kjell Dahlin 2
Stephane Richer 2
1986 15
Guy Carbonneau 9
Mike Lalor 3
Brian Skrudland 2
Sergio Momesso 2

From 1975-76 until 1981-82, Doug Jarvis was clearly Gainey's most common linemate. But the stats suggest that they didn't play together all the time like Ramsay and Luce did.

1976-1982: Jarvis has a hand in 90 of Gainey's 215 even strength points (42%)
1973-1979: Luce has a hand in 195 of Ramsay's 325 even strength points (60%)

It appears Gainey was shuffled around the most in the 1978-79 season, maybe his best and most famous season. It would be a mistake to attribute that usage to his entire career, but it still appears he was moved around the lineup more than Ramsay was in their respective primes.
overpass, not sure if it matters for what you're saying.. but, a few of those linemates you have listed above were actually defensemen.. ?

Barrie, Maloney, Lalor.. and then Ruff, Roberts and Chartraw played there as well (Chartraw moreso).


Last edited by tommygunn: 11-03-2012 at 11:00 AM.
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11-03-2012, 10:56 AM
  #140
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Can people really say with a straight face that Clarke was more valuable than Orr in his 2 Hart seasons, when Orr was healthy?

Clarke getting the Hart had alot to do with Reggie Leach riding shotgun and their offensive magic than just his defensive play as well.

Clarke was one of the top defensive players of his era and all time and a great play maker with a decent offensive peak but his Hart counting elevates him too highly on all time lists as we will see later in the top Centers project when his Harts will get paraded out.
I'm not old enough to have seen Clark/Orr at their peaks, so I can't say definitively. IMO, Orr looks to have been shafted a few times, but Clarke wasn't exactly Mr. Popularity so I doubt voters were too keen on handing him MVP's, he was just too good to overlook.

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11-03-2012, 11:05 AM
  #141
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Pretty hard to compare different era's. I would take Datsyuk and Bergeron's defensive play over anyone in previous generations.

Edit: I don't know what I was thinking at the time.


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11-03-2012, 11:09 AM
  #142
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overpass, not sure if it matters for what you're saying.. but, a few of those linemates you have listed above were actually defensemen.. ?

Barrie, Maloney, Lalor.. and then Ruff, Roberts and Chartraw played there as well (Chartraw moreso).
Thanks for pointing that out. I was removing defencemen on the fly by glancing at the names. I got the Robinsons and Schoenfelds but I guess I missed a few. I know what happened with Maloney - I got him mixed up with his brother Don.

I knew about Roberts and Chartraw but left them in because they played some wing.

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11-03-2012, 09:00 PM
  #143
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Craig Ramsay's 1985 Retirement

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All those games Ramsay started to miss late in his career as a result of being too small, slow and soft, really seem to back up your point here. Clearly by 1985 he was just losing it.

I "admit" Gainey's edge in three important attributes because they are less important than the actual results. Attributes such as size, speed and physicality are the tools that led to them earning their individual results. But the results are what matter in the end. If Ramsay managed to achieve results as good or better, then it is worth exploring why. His size, speed and physicality didn't do it for him, so what did? Something had to.
Similarly (yet an obviously extreme example), Al Iafrate was bigger, faster, more physical, and had a bigger shot than Ray Bourque, but that didn't add up to being a better player. We don't rate Iafrate higher for having better "attributes", we rate Bourque higher for having better results. And the only reason I ever brought up Gainey's superior attributes was to explain why he was more of a visible player.



An analysis that looks simply at who won the Selke and nothing else (such as who were the runners up, etc) proves absolutely nothing.

To suggest Ramsay was a product of Barrasso is a joke. Ramsay's goals against figures only went down very slightly along with his icetime, after Barrasso arrived.

Did you really think I needed you to remind me when Ramsay retired? You should be intelligent enough to know what "throughout the 1980s" was meant to mean.



The "small rink" effect has been used numerous times to prop up Gilbert Perreault's rather unimpressive offensive resume (unimpressive as far as being a top-100 player goes, that is). The argument has always been "other star players scored about 20% more at home than on the road, but Perreault scored the same at home as on the road; therefore, the smaller rink clearly hurt his ability to be offensively creative at home". The numbers I presented earlier in this thread suggested that Buffalo was 19% better defensively at home, opposed to most teams being in the 13% range over a period of five selected seasons. And just the other day you commented about how Boston Garden was not conducive to the development of a young, mobile (offensive) defenseman. ergo, the smaller rink favours defense. Name dropping some star offensive players who've played in small rinks doesn't make a big impact on that.

And, of course, it's always been argued that maybe Ramsay's defensive stats are better than Gainey's because of the smaller rink - which favoured defense. I tried to address that in the same post above. I have no earthly idea why you're now attempting to claim that a smaller rink favoured offense.



I don't know why you expect one to two dozen games against Rick Middleton to define the careers of two players, when they had a combined 2400+ other games to look at.


And this proves that Ramsay couldn't handle the short shift game,
Still comes down to the simple question why did Craig Ramsay retire in 1985 at the age of 33?:

Sabres lost to the Nordiques in the first round with an uncharacteristically weak defensive effort. The Nordiques playoff roster follows:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/QUE/1985.html

Nordiques RWs were J.F.Sauve, Mark Kumpel, Wilf Paiement, Anton Stastny. Not exactly the elite of NHL RWs from any era.

Sad reality was that Craig Ramsay could not cover any of them when they were short shifted:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...ramsacr01.html

Nor could he generate any offence as his stats for the 1985 playoffs indicate. So he road off into the sunset a Conn Smythe winner based on memories and a reasonable regular season in front of a young Tom Barrasso.

So its not only his feeble effort against Rick Middleton that has been well documented but he also could no longer check the Nordiques Fearsome Foursome RWs.

Yet you somehow continue to postulate that Craig Ramsay was the Best Defensive Forward Ever. Is there any evidence that you produce to support this claim that has been debunked by his poor playoff performances - see above. Where`s the beef? Show us the meat of your position. Numerous players have been introduced who could actually play defense against the likes of Gordie Howe or various other greats or completely neutralize a Rick Middleton.

Quick snappers.

Attributes alone if looking at size. View Bob Gainey`s hockey smarts against Al Iafrate`s. Likewise Ray Bourque's hockey smarts vs Al Iafrate`s. Then the results component of the comparable are easy to explain. Craig Ramsay had hockey smarts but lacked the other three qualities that eventually limited his career that peaked when in an ideal partnership with Don Luce and Danny Gare.

Small Rinks - will answer latter.

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11-03-2012, 09:23 PM
  #144
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Small Rinks

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Canadiens1958 can answer this too but I'm just going to say that it seems intuitive to me that a small rink would be easier to play on for an outstanding forechecking duo like Craig Ramsay and Don Luce. Less room for the opposition to transition, easier to force turnovers, more chances on the counterattack.
Anyone could check Bobby Orr in a phone booth. On a 200 x 85 foot NHL rink it was a bit tougher.

Simply every player is in closer proximity. It is easier to maintain proper defensive spacing, easier to get on the defensemen on the forecheck or contain the wingers.

The smaller neutral ice area forces the breaking wingers to slow down and it also erases defensive mistakes since passes had to be short and precise to avoid the two line offside.

Problem was adapting to a larger surface since players have to adjust their spacing, have to adjust forecheck speed and angles, re-evaluate risks and shift management in the long shift era. Could not rely on the neutral zone to reduce speed and erase mistakes with offside calls.

Young mobile defensemen had problems at both ends.Singullar examples. Vulnerable to the dump and chase because even the slowest forwards were effective forecheckers. Unable to fully exploit their offensive talents because the short neutral zone area limited their passing and rushing skills.

Pierre Pilote took a long time to build his game in Chicago while Pat Stapleton had problems in Boston then re-surfaced in Chicago succesfully. Bobby Orr was successful but he was more mobile and interesting to watch on the large rinks in Toronto and Montreal then he was in Boston.

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11-04-2012, 08:16 AM
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Still comes down to the simple question why did Craig Ramsay retire in 1985 at the age of 33?
Of the 13 skaters H-R lists as 33 years old in 1984-85, only 5 played in 1985-86. 5 of the 7 skaters older than 33 also retired. Nothing special about someone retiring at 33.

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11-04-2012, 08:34 AM
  #146
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Still comes down to the simple question why did Craig Ramsay retire in 1985 at the age of 33?:

Sabres lost to the Nordiques in the first round with an uncharacteristically weak defensive effort. The Nordiques playoff roster follows:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/QUE/1985.html

Nordiques RWs were J.F.Sauve, Mark Kumpel, Wilf Paiement, Anton Stastny. Not exactly the elite of NHL RWs from any era.

Sad reality was that Craig Ramsay could not cover any of them when they were short shifted:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...ramsacr01.html

Nor could he generate any offence as his stats for the 1985 playoffs indicate. So he road off into the sunset a Conn Smythe winner based on memories and a reasonable regular season in front of a young Tom Barrasso.

So its not only his feeble effort against Rick Middleton that has been well documented but he also could no longer check the Nordiques Fearsome Foursome RWs.

Yet you somehow continue to postulate that Craig Ramsay was the Best Defensive Forward Ever. Is there any evidence that you produce to support this claim that has been debunked by his poor playoff performances - see above. Where`s the beef? Show us the meat of your position. Numerous players have been introduced who could actually play defense against the likes of Gordie Howe or various other greats or completely neutralize a Rick Middleton.

Quick snappers.

Attributes alone if looking at size. View Bob Gainey`s hockey smarts against Al Iafrate`s. Likewise Ray Bourque's hockey smarts vs Al Iafrate`s. Then the results component of the comparable are easy to explain. Craig Ramsay had hockey smarts but lacked the other three qualities that eventually limited his career that peaked when in an ideal partnership with Don Luce and Danny Gare.

Small Rinks - will answer latter.
In June of 1985 Scotty Bowman announced that Jim Schoenfeld would be the Sabres head coach for the 1985-86 season, and Craig Ramsay would be a playing assistant coach.

In September, Ramsay announced his retirement as a player and focused on coaching.

I don't know why Ramsay retired as a player but it's very possible that he wanted to take the opportunity to transition into a post-playing career at a time when the salary difference between playing and coaching wasn't what it is today.

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11-04-2012, 11:09 AM
  #147
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Bob Gainey retired at age 35, only two years older than Ramsay when he retired.

The New York Times on March 27, 1989 quoted Gainey on retirement.

Quote:
"Since we won the cup in '86, my motivation for playing has just been that I've been able to,'' Gainey said. ''You have to accept that if you want a long career, that once you mature and reach your peak, you're going to come out on the other side of that not having really the same impact you had in your prime years. There's a certain gamble that it won't work out; just look at what Marcel Dionne has been through this season.''

Last summer, Gainey was invited to be interviewed for the vacant general manager's job in Minnesota, but after the preliminaries, he removed himself from contention. He said he realized he was not ready to analyze the game through anything but the eyes of a player.

''While you're playing, the rest of your life after hockey is like a big bubble with nothing in it,'' Gainey said. ''What happened last summer made me look more realistically at retirement, but it also convinced me I'm still happier as a player. It's the games and the competition that keeps you coming back. Once you walk past the doors of this hallway, age doesn't mean much. It's only when you go outside in the real world that you have to act your age.''
Both Gainey and Ramsay were in demand for management roles as soon as they ended their playing careers. Ramsay made the transition at age 33 and Gainey did so at age 35. I don't know if the difference says anything about them as players.

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11-04-2012, 08:44 PM
  #148
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Just one?

The best I've seen:

Troy Murray (Gretzky)

Steve Kasper (")

Esa Tik (")

Dave Hunter (Lafleur)

Don Marcotte (everyone except Lafleur)

Bobby Clarke

Mike Peca (Sundin)

Claude Provost (Hull)

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11-05-2012, 02:24 AM
  #149
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This is why I think contemporary opinion (accounts of a player's play relatively soon after it happened, usually via newspaper articles) is so important, compared to statements based on older memories.
Unfortunately, 3 different people seeing the same hockey game will have 3 slightly different takes on the game as well.

First hand accounts are usefull but should also be taken into perspective as well.

It's kind of funny but some of the modern day experts can be vilified, even ridiculed here, guys from the Hockey News and Stan Fischler, but most everything from the way off past is taken as close to truth or absolute fact (since we don't have the eyeball test or other ways of discounting it like we do for players and games we have seen)

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11-05-2012, 05:40 AM
  #150
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Researcher Bias

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Unfortunately, 3 different people seeing the same hockey game will have 3 slightly different takes on the game as well.

First hand accounts are usefull but should also be taken into perspective as well.

It's kind of funny but some of the modern day experts can be vilified, even ridiculed here, guys from the Hockey News and Stan Fischler, but most everything from the way off past is taken as close to truth or absolute fact (since we don't have the eyeball test or other ways of discounting it like we do for players and games we have seen)
Modern researcher bias or the quick fix approach. Specifically there is an agenda - not necessarily a bad thing, and an objective.

Example, goalies, find stories about goalies X and Y. Google newspaper search will generate an adequate array, so a superficial quantity and conclusion ae presented.

But no one researches the writer or author of the stories to get a feel for their perspective of hockey during their era, over time. Were they traditionalists or forward thinkers, could they appreciate or explain the technical aspects or inner workings of the game, were they homers - most were or regionalists - good old northern Ontario players,etc.

Net result is that the reliability of witnessed accounts gets questioned instead of understanding how and why the interpretations of events were reached.

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