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The value of a Hart Trophy...

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Old
11-13-2012, 11:46 AM
  #51
DisgruntledGoat
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
My biggest complaint was always that Thotnton played more than a 1/4 of the season with the Bruins and he certainly wasn't playing like an MVP. His lack of "focus" was what got him traded. If there was no one close to him I could see him getting the Hart. But there was one guy (Jagr) that was just as good.
So on that basis, you'd give it to Jagr? The guy who just took his entire tenure in Washington off?

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11-13-2012, 11:48 AM
  #52
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Not to mention that he did the same for the Sharks. Jagr was scoring at rates good enough to help his team win and was seldom stat padding. His mistake was not to try and embarrass teams more often when they were up 4-1, he should have gone for those extra easy assists or goals. He didn't though. Thornton on the other hand was stat padding.

I have no doubt in my mind that had Jagr scored 2 more goals (thus tying Thornton but winning on goal count) he would have won the Hart as well not to mention would have tied Cheechoo for the Richard.

It wasn't the first time either that Jagr was robbed from a Hart trophy. It was the 3rd time in his career where he lost to the popular "Canadian" player. Once to Lindros, once to Pronger and finally to Thornton.
Do you have anything to back any of this up? No? Okay.

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11-13-2012, 01:26 PM
  #53
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Jagr had a great year and most likely lost another 10-15 assists easily due to Nylander and Straka not finishing Jagr's great passes.

I remember countless occasions where Jagr sprung Straka and Nylander on breakways only for them to hit goal posts or get robbed by the goalie.
Nylander/Straka's shooting % was below Cheechoo's (obviously) but as good or better than any other Sharks forward. Both were well above NHL average and knocking on the door of top-50 in the league. Given that Prucha finished 2nd in shooting percentage and NYR as a team finished .005 percentage points behind SJ in shooting, "Jagr's linemates/teammates couldn't finish" is a serious stretch. If you give Jagr an additional 10-15 assists, how many more do you give Thornton for all the times that scrubs and turbo-busts like Nils Ekman, Steve Bernier, or Alyn McCauley missed the net?

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11-13-2012, 06:33 PM
  #54
Dennis Bonvie
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Originally Posted by DisgruntledGoat View Post
So on that basis, you'd give it to Jagr? The guy who just took his entire tenure in Washington off?
Did I miss something?

Jagr played for Washington in 2006?

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11-13-2012, 06:38 PM
  #55
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I agree with you, but there's also no need to completely rewrite history. I mean, the Rangers had no semblance of offense without Jagr. Straka was not only on Jagr's line, he was basically hanging around at the end only because of that fact, before returning to Czech to play out his career. Nylander barely played about one NHL season on a 5 year(?) contract with the Caps, which he got based on his increased production playing on Jagr's line. Prucha had his career season as a rookie. I'm doubt it would have cost any team to obtain Straka, Nylander, Malik and Rozsival in 2005. A couple over 30 forwards who had injury problems, and weren't all-stars at their peaks, entering a new, faster NHL? A couple of decent d-men?

It was unusual season in a lot of respects, especially as it pertains to the Ross/Hart race between Jagr and Thornton. It's not that Thornton didn't have a great year too, but people actually suggest San Jose was a worse team than the Rangers. Those Rangers couldn't make the playoffs for several years with players like Gretzky, Messier, Leetch, Richter, Lindros, Bure, Fleury, etc. They were almost a complete rebuild in '06. How often do complete rebuilds make the playoffs in a 30 team league?

I don't put too much value in a single season of awards. The competition changes from year to year and esp. era to era. There is bias and uninformed voting, judging by some of the results. It's maintaining an established high level over multiple seasons that's most impressive. I'd take a player who finished top 3-5 a few times and was top 10 a few more times (whether awards/AS or scoring) over a player who won an award and had maybe another top 5 or 10 finish in his career. All that really tells me is that for one season he may have been the best, due to a few good bounces, a fortunate and relative lack of competition, or potentially biased voting.
I'll say this, neither team - San Jose or NYR - does anything without their best player. Neither team is in the postseason. I don't think people look at that enough. For whatever reason it is either one side or another but it's not true. Cheechoo/SJ are nothing without Thornton and NYR are more or less a lottery team without Jagr. You can't bring up one without the other in my opinion.

I think at that time it made sense as well just like looking at it in hindsight. I mean, Thornton was very close to a 100 assist season. In any era, that's just insane. You are sure as heck valuable to your team when you set up 100 of their goals. I remember thinking that at the time.

Not like it matters, but in 2007 Thornton had 92 assists showing that it wasn't just a one trick pony thing in case anyone would ever want to use that excuse - in hindsight.

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My biggest complaint was always that Thotnton played more than a 1/4 of the season with the Bruins and he certainly wasn't playing like an MVP. His lack of "focus" was what got him traded. If there was no one close to him I could see him getting the Hart. But there was one guy (Jagr) that was just as good.
Well someone did mention he had 33 points in 23 games. Pro-rated over the full season and he has 118 points. This isn't to say he gets that on Boston, but who else was doing anything on those Bruins? Also, I'll say that the season was early, it was 1/4 of the way in. The new rules were still hard to adapt to and 23 games is hardly a volume of games to base your franchise player on. That being said, Mike O'Connell, the only GM in the history of the NHL to trade a Hart winner midseason, got fired at the end of the year for Boston and will never work as a GM again. That has to tell you something, no?

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11-13-2012, 06:41 PM
  #56
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[QUOTE=Litework;55723915]A team goes 1-9 + Joe is the captain= Joe is the reason for the Bruins being so bad. Am I right?

No I didnt watch Bruins games that year. I honestly dont have the time to watch every team's games to analyze their players. If you didnt watch the Bruins either why are you criticizing me for not watching them either?

__________________________________________________ ___

No, you are wrong. And a bad reader at that.

No one said Thornton was the reason the Bruins were bad. The point was that he wasn't playing close to MVP level while with the Bruins that year.

I watched them. It wasn't easy.

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11-13-2012, 07:05 PM
  #57
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all this passionate thornton vs. jagr discussion. i'll say that's one case where i'd be perfectly okay with either guy winning the hart.

contrast that to '02, when it's theodore over iginla all day every day. or '03 when i see no sane argument for naslund over forsberg. and yes, i side with henrik and, the next year, perry over daniel (though actually, i tend to think the hart should have gone to st. louis, maybe even thomas, in '11).


but lost in all this is poor jonathan cheechoo. sure, he wasn't ever going to score 50 goals, let alone win a rocket, without thornton. but if he'd been healthy, i think he'd have been a perennial 25-35 goal scorer, like james neal without malkin but maybe even better. all told, that's a pretty good player. certainly not "nothing without thornton."

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11-13-2012, 07:05 PM
  #58
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
No, you are wrong. And a bad reader at that.

No one said Thornton was the reason the Bruins were bad. The point was that he wasn't playing close to MVP level while with the Bruins that year.

I watched them. It wasn't easy.
He was by far their best player. What more could he have done?

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11-13-2012, 07:12 PM
  #59
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I'll say this, neither team - San Jose or NYR - does anything without their best player. Neither team is in the postseason. I don't think people look at that enough. For whatever reason it is either one side or another but it's not true. Cheechoo/SJ are nothing without Thornton and NYR are more or less a lottery team without Jagr. You can't bring up one without the other in my opinion.

I think at that time it made sense as well just like looking at it in hindsight. I mean, Thornton was very close to a 100 assist season. In any era, that's just insane. You are sure as heck valuable to your team when you set up 100 of their goals. I remember thinking that at the time.

Not like it matters, but in 2007 Thornton had 92 assists showing that it wasn't just a one trick pony thing in case anyone would ever want to use that excuse - in hindsight.



Well someone did mention he had 33 points in 23 games. Pro-rated over the full season and he has 118 points. This isn't to say he gets that on Boston, but who else was doing anything on those Bruins? Also, I'll say that the season was early, it was 1/4 of the way in. The new rules were still hard to adapt to and 23 games is hardly a volume of games to base your franchise player on. That being said, Mike O'Connell, the only GM in the history of the NHL to trade a Hart winner midseason, got fired at the end of the year for Boston and will never work as a GM again. That has to tell you something, no?
Like I mentioned before, 33 points placed Thornton out of the top 10 at that point in scoring. So many Power Plays early on that season made for a temporary scoring bonanza.

Seriously, you're a Bruins fan. Did the Joe Thornton that was winning the Art Ross Trophy with San Jose that year look anything like the half-hearted Joe in Boston? I think being the only player ever to win a Hart Trophy in a year he was traded says more about Thornton than O'Connell.

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11-13-2012, 07:28 PM
  #60
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He was by far their best player. What more could he have done?
He could have played harder.

Olli Jokinen was Florida's best player that year.

That doesn't make him a Hart Trophy candidate.

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11-13-2012, 08:11 PM
  #61
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Well someone did mention he had 33 points in 23 games. Pro-rated over the full season and he has 118 points. This isn't to say he gets that on Boston, but who else was doing anything on those Bruins? Also, I'll say that the season was early, it was 1/4 of the way in. The new rules were still hard to adapt to and 23 games is hardly a volume of games to base your franchise player on. That being said, Mike O'Connell, the only GM in the history of the NHL to trade a Hart winner midseason, got fired at the end of the year for Boston and will never work as a GM again. That has to tell you something, no?
Actually, the most overlooked part of Thornton's '05-06 season is this:

He played 23/26 games in Boston, then played all 58 in San Jose. His teams combined for 84 games while he was playing for them, so he had two extra games available, but missed 3 games and so finished with 81 GP. His missing 3 games were not a result of the trade. No one ever mentions this fact when discussing the close race that year, and they almost never discuss the fact that it was an Olympic year when Thornton led Canada to an early exit while Jagr played through a head injury and two extra games (while Joe rested). These were both advantages Thornton had that season.

How can 33 points in 23 games be pro-rated to 118, when he already had missed 3 games at the time of the trade? It pro-rates to 113 if you assumed he would play every remaining game for Boston... and 104 if he maintained the same % of games played for Boston.


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11-13-2012, 10:01 PM
  #62
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He could have played harder.

Olli Jokinen was Florida's best player that year.

That doesn't make him a Hart Trophy candidate.
Am I incorrect in saying that with Boston management, even though the lockout made it a seemingly distant memory, Joe Thornton's 2004 playoff performance vs. Montreal was a factor as well. When they watched Joe play and went, "this is who we're building our franchise around?" after he lost that crucial draw to Madden and then when they peaked in the rearview mirror and saw that performance (though injured, as I recall) against Montreal and realized that some objects are closer than they appear, they decided to cut bait...

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11-14-2012, 05:10 PM
  #63
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Like I mentioned before, 33 points placed Thornton out of the top 10 at that point in scoring. So many Power Plays early on that season made for a temporary scoring bonanza.

Seriously, you're a Bruins fan. Did the Joe Thornton that was winning the Art Ross Trophy with San Jose that year look anything like the half-hearted Joe in Boston? I think being the only player ever to win a Hart Trophy in a year he was traded says more about Thornton than O'Connell.
No, not a Bruins fan in particular at all. What I am saying is that who trades their franchise player away after 23 games into the season? You don't think that was a little premature? I mean, Thornton had a 101 point season in 2003 at a time when he joined the NHL's elite. You'd have to think you're best player is going to come around eventually. That was just poor planning by O'Connell and impatience at its finest. Thornton made him look like a fool which is why the Bruins were so embarassed that they HAD to fire the guy after that stunt. Maybe the trade energized him, who knows, but this was already a player that proved he was capable of scoring 100+ points in a season.

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11-14-2012, 05:16 PM
  #64
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Actually, the most overlooked part of Thornton's '05-06 season is this:

He played 23/26 games in Boston, then played all 58 in San Jose. His teams combined for 84 games while he was playing for them, so he had two extra games available, but missed 3 games and so finished with 81 GP. His missing 3 games were not a result of the trade. No one ever mentions this fact when discussing the close race that year, and they almost never discuss the fact that it was an Olympic year when Thornton led Canada to an early exit while Jagr played through a head injury and two extra games (while Joe rested). These were both advantages Thornton had that season.

How can 33 points in 23 games be pro-rated to 118, when he already had missed 3 games at the time of the trade? It pro-rates to 113 if you assumed he would play every remaining game for Boston... and 104 if he maintained the same % of games played for Boston.
Well, I mean whatever, this is hardly here nor there if he beats Jagr for the Art Ross or not. They had two points that seperated them. If Thornton gets 120 points to Jagr's 123 would it have been a crime for him to win the Hart? No. These were the two best players in the game in 2006 by a noticeable margin, it was a coin flip. I don't know if the Olympics has any bearing on this, nor do I think it should. Iginla played well in the 2002 Olympics and Theodore was probably sitting on a beach. That being said Theodore is still the deserving Hart winner at that time with or without the extra rest.

The second paragraph I think you are over analyzing things a bit here. What he was on pace for in Boston certainly isn't guaranteed anything. Either way Thornton easily puts up 100 points on Boston, but I'm more interested in what he actually did do rather than what he "woulda, coulda, shoulda" done had he stayed in Boston, which still no one can come close to knowing.

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11-14-2012, 05:38 PM
  #65
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Well, I mean whatever, this is hardly here nor there if he beats Jagr for the Art Ross or not. They had two points that seperated them. If Thornton gets 120 points to Jagr's 123 would it have been a crime for him to win the Hart? No. These were the two best players in the game in 2006 by a noticeable margin, it was a coin flip. I don't know if the Olympics has any bearing on this, nor do I think it should.
I didn't mean they should get credit for their play in the Olympics. It's an NHL award and so should only be based on NHL play. I was pointing out that it was an "unusual" race in a number of aspects. One of those aspects was it being an Olympic year, which I think definitely took more out of Jagr than it did Thornton.

I think you hit on the very reason why I don't put too much value in one or two individual awards. Thornton wouldn't have really had a much lesser season if he had 3 less points, nor would Jagr have really had a much greater season if he had 3 more. If Thornton finished second in the Hart, I wouldn't rank him any lower.

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The second paragraph I think you are over analyzing things a bit here. What he was on pace for in Boston certainly isn't guaranteed anything. Either way Thornton easily puts up 100 points on Boston, but I'm more interested in what he actually did do rather than what he "woulda, coulda, shoulda" done had he stayed in Boston, which still no one can come close to knowing.
I just wanted to set the record straight. What's interesting is that you did not say one word about whether Thornton's extra two NHL games available to him was a distinct advantage. I've seen this debate before, and it's never acknowledged that was the case.

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11-14-2012, 05:54 PM
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I didn't mean they should get credit for their play in the Olympics. It's an NHL award and so should only be based on NHL play. I was pointing out that it was an "unusual" race in a number of aspects. One of those aspects was it being an Olympic year, which I think definitely took more out of Jagr than it did Thornton.

I think you hit on the very reason why I don't put too much value in one or two individual awards. Thornton wouldn't have really had a much lesser season if he had 3 less points, nor would Jagr have really had a much greater season if he had 3 more. If Thornton finished second in the Hart, I wouldn't rank him any lower.

I just wanted to set the record straight. What's interesting is that you did not say one word about whether Thornton's extra two NHL games available to him was a distinct advantage. I've seen this debate before, and it's never acknowledged that was the case.
I'll say this, he was racking up assists left, right and center and San Jose was getting higher and higher in the standings. This was noticed throughout the entire NHL so no, personally I don't think a couple points here or there make a difference, but I'm not doing the voting either. An Art Ross makes your season look sexier, but was it a deal breaker? I don't really think it needed to be in this case. I know this has been beaten to death but I don't think it can ever be underrated that he made Cheechoo a Richard winner. He led the NHL in goals when you saw lots of snipers right in the mix (Ovechkin, Jagr, Kovalchuk, Heatley). That's an accomplishment that will never grow old and I personally think a lot of weight went into the Hart voting because of this.

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11-14-2012, 05:57 PM
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Am I incorrect in saying that with Boston management, even though the lockout made it a seemingly distant memory, Joe Thornton's 2004 playoff performance vs. Montreal was a factor as well. When they watched Joe play and went, "this is who we're building our franchise around?" after he lost that crucial draw to Madden and then when they peaked in the rearview mirror and saw that performance (though injured, as I recall) against Montreal and realized that some objects are closer than they appear, they decided to cut bait...
You are correct, a lot was made of that playoff in Boston.

I'm not sure, but I think they signed him to a 5 year deal during the lockout. They probably thought, "we put our faith in him, and this is how he responds?"

I can honestly say I was hoping they would trade him at that point. But I was also expecting a much better return. What they got back was just ridiculous.

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11-14-2012, 06:15 PM
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You are correct, a lot was made of that playoff in Boston.

I'm not sure, but I think they signed him to a 5 year deal during the lockout. They probably thought, "we put our faith in him, and this is how he responds?"

I can honestly say I was hoping they would trade him at that point. But I was also expecting a much better return. What they got back was just ridiculous.
Never put him on the block. Traded him out of anger that night after he lost that faceoff. Other teams said they would have given the farm for him if they would have known he was available. Fortunately enough for you guys, Stanley Cup championships seem to work well as memory erasers for past indiscretions...

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11-14-2012, 06:16 PM
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No, not a Bruins fan in particular at all. What I am saying is that who trades their franchise player away after 23 games into the season? You don't think that was a little premature? I mean, Thornton had a 101 point season in 2003 at a time when he joined the NHL's elite. You'd have to think you're best player is going to come around eventually. That was just poor planning by O'Connell and impatience at its finest. Thornton made him look like a fool which is why the Bruins were so embarassed that they HAD to fire the guy after that stunt. Maybe the trade energized him, who knows, but this was already a player that proved he was capable of scoring 100+ points in a season.
Bruins. Traded Espo away 12 games into the season.

Maybe?

My point from the beginning here has been that for 1/4 of the season Thornton did not play like an MVP. I stand by that.

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11-14-2012, 06:20 PM
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Never put him on the block. Traded him out of anger that night after he lost that faceoff. Other teams said they would have given the farm for him if they would have known he was available. Fortunately enough for you guys, Stanley Cup championships seem to work well as memory erasers for past indiscretions...
You are absolutely correct.

As Big Phil said, it may be the single reason O'Connell will never be a GM again.

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11-14-2012, 07:29 PM
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I'll say this, he was racking up assists left, right and center and San Jose was getting higher and higher in the standings. This was noticed throughout the entire NHL so no, personally I don't think a couple points here or there make a difference, but I'm not doing the voting either. An Art Ross makes your season look sexier, but was it a deal breaker? I don't really think it needed to be in this case. I know this has been beaten to death but I don't think it can ever be underrated that he made Cheechoo a Richard winner. He led the NHL in goals when you saw lots of snipers right in the mix (Ovechkin, Jagr, Kovalchuk, Heatley). That's an accomplishment that will never grow old and I personally think a lot of weight went into the Hart voting because of this.
Thornton had a great season, no doubt. I'm not saying Jagr could/would have matched that total of assists, but remember he also was 2nd in goals by two... and he actually scored those goals. He still finished 3rd in assists, two behind 2nd, when their the leading goal scorers were Straka & Nylander approaching their mid-30s and rookie Prucha who never came close to that again. I think a player who led the NHL in assists 3 times could probably find a way to get some goals out of Cheechoo (and Marleau/Michalek/Erhoff/Carle on the PP). He led the league in assists in '99, with more adjusted assists that year than Thornton in '06, while finishing second in goals.

That's what made Jagr more valuable IMO, is that he could either set up the big goal or score it himself, and he led the Rangers from the start. That was a fragile team, that hadn't made the playoffs in several years, was full of new, players (basically unproven and/or marginal players plus a unit of Jagr & his buddies), and he led them straight to the playoffs from game one vs. Forsberg & the Flyers. I just can't see how that could be less than turning around a conference finalist after being traded with over 2/3 of the season to play. Are we forgetting that Jagr set the goals & points marks for an O6 franchise while playing with a broken finger and turning 34 during the season? His leading the Czechs to a best on best WC gold and an Olympic medal (no Hasek in either) before/during season shouldn't affect the vote, but it shouldn't exactly hurt it either.


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11-14-2012, 10:07 PM
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Thornton had a great season, no doubt. I'm not saying Jagr could/would have matched that total of assists, but remember he also was 2nd in goals by two... and he actually scored those goals. He still finished 3rd in assists, two behind 2nd, when their the leading goal scorers were Straka & Nylander approaching their mid-30s and rookie Prucha who never came close to that again. I think a player who led the NHL in assists 3 times could probably find a way to get some goals out of Cheechoo (and Marleau/Michalek/Erhoff/Carle on the PP). He led the league in assists in '99, with more adjusted assists that year than Thornton in '06, while finishing second to Bure in goals.

That's what made Jagr more valuable IMO, is that he could either set up the big goal or score it himself, and he led the Rangers from the start. That was a fragile team, that hadn't made the playoffs in several years, was full of new, players (basically unproven and/or marginal players plus a unit of Jagr & his buddies), and he led them straight to the playoffs from game one vs. Forsberg & the Flyers. I just can't see how that could be less than turning around a conference finalist after being traded with over 2/3 of the season to play. Are we forgetting that Jagr set the goals & points marks for an O6 franchise while playing with a broken finger and turning 34 during the season? His leading the Czechs to a best on best WC gold and an Olympic medal (no Hasek in either) before/during season shouldn't affect the vote, but it shouldn't exactly hurt it either.
That season in particular it was actually Selanne who lead the league in goals and yes Jagr finished 2nd with 44 goals to go along with 83 assists.

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11-14-2012, 11:30 PM
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When the season unfolded, it did seem more like a weak argument but only because Jagr made that Rangers team "that good". I think so many forget just how weak that Rangers team looked on paper. During training camp most projected the Rangers to battle for the lottery pick and asked Jagr how it felt for him to play on a rebuilding team and his response was "I don't think we will be a rebuilding team, I think I can challenge for the Art Ross and in doing so help my team make the playoffs". He made good on that promise 100%.

As for Jagr having already won the Hart before, that was a poor reason not to vote for him. It's sad that Jagr will most likely enter the Hall with just 1 Hart when he easily deserved 3 (1999-00 and 2005-06) with possibly 1994-95 being another deserving season and to a lesser extent 1997-98.
I'm not saying that I agree with it but some voters have vastly different criteria and standards for voting on the Hart over time.


It should be more transparent IMO.

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11-14-2012, 11:48 PM
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Like I mentioned before, 33 points placed Thornton out of the top 10 at that point in scoring. So many Power Plays early on that season made for a temporary scoring bonanza.
Seriously though that pace in Boston is good for 117 points over a whole season which is 11 more than the number 3 scorer that year.

There is too much "Thorton was the entire problem in Boston" going on in some minds here IMO.

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Seriously, you're a Bruins fan. Did the Joe Thornton that was winning the Art Ross Trophy with San Jose that year look anything like the half-hearted Joe in Boston? I think being the only player ever to win a Hart Trophy in a year he was traded says more about Thornton than O'Connell.
And how many players that ever finished in top 10 Hart voting got traded during the season?

I don't have to look it up to know that it is less than a dozen, probably quite a bit less, that trade says more about the management in Boston at the time than Joe.

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11-15-2012, 03:43 PM
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Bruins. Traded Espo away 12 games into the season.

Maybe?

My point from the beginning here has been that for 1/4 of the season Thornton did not play like an MVP. I stand by that.
To be fair, Esposito was 33 years old at that time and was starting a slow decline. I'd still say Orr would have been their "franchise" at that time. They didn't know that he'd practically be out all year and never play there again.

I also think that while the 2004 playoffs may have still stuck with Bruins management it is important to note that Thornton played that series with broken ribs did he not? It's one thing to trade a guy away because he mailed it in during the playoffs and another thing to trade him after he went pointless but was battling a critical injury that makes it hard to breathe.

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