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Messier vs. Esposito

View Poll Results: Esposito vs. Messier
Messier 62 51.24%
Esposito 59 48.76%
Voters: 121. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
12-02-2012, 09:54 PM
  #176
pdd
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Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Not true, it was leaving Edmonton that caused Gretzky's production to drop some, and then the CC injury caused his production to really drop (I'm sure aging had an effect as well).

Gretzky in Last Year With Coffey in EDM (86-87)
Reg Season: 2.32ppg
Playoffs: 1.62ppg
Gretzky in First Year Without Coffey in EDM (87-88)
Reg Season: 2.33ppg
Playoffs: 2.26ppg
Gretzky was also much more reliant on the PP for big numbers without Coffey. Once he lost Coffey, he never came anywhere near that kind of ES production.

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12-03-2012, 12:21 AM
  #177
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I watched his whole career and I still can't figure out how he got all those assists. He was a shooter not a playmaker. Probably from banking shots off Bucyk's butt on the powerplay and Hodge driving home a lot of rebounds.

I do remember that Espo had a reputation of approaching the scorekeeper to make sure that he got credit for assists.
He led the NHL in assists three times. Did it in 1973. Not exactly Hodge's best year and Orr missed 15 games. If he banked 40 off them off Bucyk's butt on the powerplay where did the other 35 come from? I mean honestly, are we going up another notch to shortchange the guy?

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
But seriously is Phil even in the top 50playmakers of all time?
Top 50? My goodness, he's at least there.

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I'm not saying that Phil was on the same tier as Simmer or Leach as players but rather talking about the relationship all 3 had to the stars they played with.

In all 3 cases there is a clear driver of the bus and a passenger who benefited, of course none of them took the advantage as great as Phil did but it also was in different times and circumstances for all 3 players.

Also you call Phil a rare talent, which may or may not be true but one of the most important measurements I take in a player is consistency and the length of that consistency (along with a host of other factors).

Phil's dramatic and late career arc, and the direct correlation to playing with Orr in his high peak, compared to the rest of his career is a huge red flag to his "greatness factor."

I'm not sure where he is going to place on my all time center list when we do that project but Bowman has him as his 17th best center (on albeit it a really weird list overall IMO) and while I don't agree with all of the guys ahead of him as a lock that range is where Phil fits for me as of right now.

The Moose is definitely ahead of Phil for me.
Well, Phil was a rare talent in the fact that he used his size, reach and hands to dominate. He had remarkably soft hands for a big man. Not to mention quick hands and a nice snap shot and quick release. The puck was off his stick as fast as Mike Bossy. So it is a rare talent because we've never really seen someone do this since. Todd Bertuzzi for a couple of years at a level below Esposito and that's about it. Brett Hull might be the best at this type of thing but he was less visible on the ice than Phil and less involved.

We can really nickel and dime a lot of things when it comes to a perfect storm. Beliveau himself walked into a great team with a ton of HHOFers entering their prime years. Lafleur is another one and if we want to really be harsh we can lump Orr into this pile. He walks into a Bruins team a year before a steal of a trade and plays with several HHOFers and falls into a somewhat weak age for defensemen (late 1960s to early 1970s). Now, why don't we give Orr the shaft on this the way we do Esposito. Simple. Because Orr's greatness is pretty universal over different eras. He's still winning those Norrises against a prime Bourque. Same with Esposito. It is evident to those that watched him that he was so far ahead of the 2nd best forward that it really didn't matter that there was a time when the elite forwards dropped a bit.

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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Again, you are compartmentalizing this into single seasons for some reason, and when you do that it makes it look like nickel and diming, but over the long haul it does look very clear that he produced less without Orr - which shouldn't surprise you at all! When you fight this idea so hard, it removes any semblance of impartiality.
For starters, this is a mere projection of how he does in a full season in his prime without Orr. We have enough sample sizes in certain seasons to see that he really could carry a team on his own. Averaging (what is it 106 points?) a season from 1967-'1976 in games without Orr is still the best player in the world because it includes 1968 which was a year where the Art Ross winner gets 87 points and 1976 when he was starting to be over the hill. Anyway, I can't convince you that it's not something that hurts him, you see it how you want and it is what it is. Esposito immediately was asked to have a bigger role in 1967-'68 and he thrived with a half season Orr. Plenty of players have been given that exact same treatment. You can find many all-time greats that took a few years before breaking out. Without Orr he's a 120 point man in his prime at least. Hard to argue that otherwise. The guy isn't losing anymore than 30 points without Orr in 1971.

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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
He deserves credit, but for players who played most/all of their career in the NHL, it's their NHL performance that really determines their value and ranking. That doesn't mean international play, and play in foreign/rival leagues (whether Europe or WHA) should be completely ignored, but it's like the icing on the cake. It rounds off the rough edges and may solidify the player's career into a prettier picture, but it's not the foundation for a career evaluation unless necessary. It definitely helps his case, just as it helps balance Selanne's more mediocre playoff production.

I admit it is getting a bit absurd when Espo is compared to players like Leach or Simmer (esp. there actual careers, not "what could have been"). Even if I gave him almost no credit for international play, discount his production substantially due to his team and era, etc. (basically never give him the benefit of the doubt), I think the lower bound would be somewhere around the level of players like Dionne, Stastny, Brett Hull, Selanne, etc. His solid playoff and international production helps put him above those players, while his durability & longevity gives him some ammunition against other players who may have been better.

There's just so much uncertainty as to his rightful place in the rankings, and people differ in their opinions and methods of evaluation. If Scotty Bowman ranks him as the 40th best Canadian hockey player, behind Gainey, Perreault, and Lemaire... then there's seems to be a rather wide range possible.
See, it is an example of how Esposito could do when he was "the man". 1972 is just something to bring up whenever he gets shortchanged. The greatest tournament ever played and he dominates it. It was 8 games sure, but it is just one of many examples of the glimpse of player he was on his own.

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12-05-2012, 04:16 PM
  #178
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He led the NHL in assists three times. Did it in 1973. Not exactly Hodge's best year and Orr missed 15 games. If he banked 40 off them off Bucyk's butt on the powerplay where did the other 35 come from? I mean honestly, are we going up another notch to shortchange the guy?


Well, we all have access to the numbers and no question that he put up high assist numbers. My only point was that I really don't remember him as being much of a playmaker. More of a shooter as I recall. Were did most of his assists come from--rebounds, deflections? Just curious thats all.

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12-05-2012, 10:19 PM
  #179
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I have him at #7.
Really would love to see your top 20 playmakers of all time.

I can easily see 10 ahead of him on the all time assists totals and another 20-30 off the top of my head.

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12-05-2012, 10:55 PM
  #180
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I would go with Mark Messier without hesitation.I feel that with Messier as your go-to-guy you have a better shot at winning the stanley cup.
Messier is so much bigger legend. Shame on you Esposito guys!

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12-05-2012, 11:11 PM
  #181
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Originally Posted by Ted Brautigan View Post
Messier is so much bigger legend. Shame on you Esposito guys!
Messier is not even a top ten center all-time, Esposito is top five.

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12-05-2012, 11:51 PM
  #182
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Boys there both legends but the issue is who is a little better?

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12-05-2012, 11:55 PM
  #183
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Messier is not even a top ten center all-time, Esposito is top five.
Sure.

Mark Messier: 1887 points, 1.07 ppg (1.25 playoffs), 6 Stanley Cups

Phil Esposito: 1590 points, 1.24 ppg (1.05 playoffs), 2 Stanley Cups

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12-06-2012, 12:09 AM
  #184
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The people who say that Lafleur played with great forwards please know what your talking about.So Shutt Lemaire are superstars?There was a arguement that you can say neither should be in the hall.Lafleur was so far superior to his teamates its a joke.As a winger he led his team is assists 8 times.Lemaire was never a 1st or 2nd allstar Shutt though a good player would not have been in hall if not for guy.The roadrunner was in his last legs when lafleur was dominating .What you need to ask youselves about esposito was did his teamates help him more than messier?Now I favor Messier by a feather but the question about Messier is since he's considered a great leader why did he miss playoff in last 6 yrs?

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12-06-2012, 12:40 AM
  #185
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Originally Posted by Ted Brautigan View Post
Sure.

Mark Messier: 1887 points, 1.07 ppg (1.25 playoffs), 6 Stanley Cups

Phil Esposito: 1590 points, 1.24 ppg (1.05 playoffs), 2 Stanley Cups
Hmm. Well, Cup counting makes Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby twice as good as Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.

So we know that "How many Cups?" isn't a valid test of individual skill.

So we turn to your other metric, career points.

Messier is second all-time behind Wayne Gretzky. He's followed by (in order): Gordie Howe, Ron Francis, Marcel Dionne, Steve Yzerman, Lemieux, Jagr, Joe Sakic, and Esposito to round out the top ten.

Is it your contention that Mario Lemieux is only the 6th-best center ever?

You also include points-per-game, but that clearly favors Esposito by a wide margin in the regular season. As for the postseason, Esposito was playing his career in what was effectively two leagues as far a player ability; the Eastern Division was the O6 teams, and the Western Division was entirely expansion teams. Esposito obviously played in the East for Chicago, Boston, and New York. Messier's Oilers feasted on weak teams like the Jets, Canucks, and Kings.

So we're looking at a random selection of factoids about these two, and it's supposed to prove Messier is the unquestionably better player? It hardly does that, especially when Messier was the fourth-best Oiler.

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12-06-2012, 05:07 PM
  #186
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The people who say that Lafleur played with great forwards please know what your talking about.So Shutt Lemaire are superstars?There was a arguement that you can say neither should be in the hall.Lafleur was so far superior to his teamates its a joke.As a winger he led his team is assists 8 times.Lemaire was never a 1st or 2nd allstar Shutt though a good player would not have been in hall if not for guy.The roadrunner was in his last legs when lafleur was dominating .What you need to ask youselves about esposito was did his teamates help him more than messier?Now I favor Messier by a feather but the question about Messier is since he's considered a great leader why did he miss playoff in last 6 yrs?
Actually, the last 7 years of his career he missed the postseason. Yeah, it bothers a lot of us that this happened to him. Those Vancouver/late NYR years were just terrible and did nothing to help his resume. Thankfully he had a heck of a previous 18 years before in the NHL to make up for it. I think it hurts his whole leadership reputation in missing the playoffs those last few years. It would be hard to imagine Beliveau falling into a trap like that.

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Well, we all have access to the numbers and no question that he put up high assist numbers. My only point was that I really don't remember him as being much of a playmaker. More of a shooter as I recall. Were did most of his assists come from--rebounds, deflections? Just curious thats all.
Well, you saw Esposito enough. He would have gotten some assists from crashing the net no doubt, but he also had great hockey sense and could find guys on the ice. No doubt his reputation is a better goal scorer though, but leading the NHL in assists in an Orr-led league is still something special.

I would say as a goal scoring threat he got more room to make plays though. That helped for sure, but I still wouldn't call him anything less than a good playmaker.

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12-07-2012, 08:15 PM
  #187
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Well, you saw Esposito enough. He would have gotten some assists from crashing the net no doubt, but he also had great hockey sense and could find guys on the ice. No doubt his reputation is a better goal scorer though, but leading the NHL in assists in an Orr-led league is still something special.

I would say as a goal scoring threat he got more room to make plays though. That helped for sure, but I still wouldn't call him anything less than a good playmaker.
Well, I did see him a lot which is why all those assists perplex me. I don't remember him as being much of a playmaker but he sure did hang in the slot & shoot a lot so a a lot of those assists must have come off his shot. The Bruins did have a couple of guys that created havoc in front of the net-notably Bucyk & Hodge. I certainly wouldn't consider Espo as any more than an average playmaker.

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12-07-2012, 08:32 PM
  #188
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It would be hard to imagine Beliveau falling into a trap like that.
With all due respect to Jean Beliveau, he wasn't looking at a $30 million contract for the 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th years of his professional career with a player option of a $2 million buyout and a backdoor $6 million opportunity for a potential increase in franchise value from a non-playoff team the way Mark Messier was.

I'd love to fall into a trap like that, myself.

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12-08-2012, 08:46 AM
  #189
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Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
Well, I did see him a lot which is why all those assists perplex me. I don't remember him as being much of a playmaker but he sure did hang in the slot & shoot a lot so a a lot of those assists must have come off his shot. The Bruins did have a couple of guys that created havoc in front of the net-notably Bucyk & Hodge. I certainly wouldn't consider Espo as any more than an average playmaker.
I guess there is the answer.

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12-08-2012, 09:35 AM
  #190
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Well, I did see him a lot which is why all those assists perplex me. I don't remember him as being much of a playmaker but he sure did hang in the slot & shoot a lot so a a lot of those assists must have come off his shot. The Bruins did have a couple of guys that created havoc in front of the net-notably Bucyk & Hodge. I certainly wouldn't consider Espo as any more than an average playmaker.
No, he wasn't Adam Oates, but someone asked if he is among the top 50 playmakers of all-time, and he can't be off that list in my opinion. Esposito was subtle, much like his goal scoring. Again, he was substance rather than style in all facets of his game. This is what always seems to knock him down a peg in all-time rankings.

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12-09-2012, 02:37 AM
  #191
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Really would love to see your top 20 playmakers of all time.

I can easily see 10 ahead of him on the all time assists totals and another 20-30 off the top of my head.
That is because you value style over substance. To me, substance is what matters. Prettiness is irrelevant, production matters.

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12-09-2012, 02:58 AM
  #192
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That is because you value style over substance. To me, substance is what matters. Prettiness is irrelevant, production matters.
It's not a questioning of valuing style over substance although it is objective but you are clearly counting assists without context IMO.

A play maker sets up other players to get goals, Phil was a shooter plain and simple. He wasn't a horrible play maker but it wasn't much higher than average on his skill set of a scout was doing an evaluation on him IMO.

He makes your top 10 (you have him at 7) either post it or just shoot from the shadows I guess.

Wayne, Mario, Orr, Hank Sedin, Oates, Hawerchuck, Clarke, Crosby, Mikita, Janney, Dats, Thorton, Gilmour, Forsberg, Sakic...man Espo might be hard pressed to make top 50 play makers since 67.

Maybe you have goal scoring confused with play making as you can make an argument with Phil as 7th since 67, although the Orr factor might take him down into the teens for some.

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12-09-2012, 03:10 AM
  #193
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It's not a questioning of valuing style over substance although it is objective but you are clearly counting assists without context IMO.

A play maker sets up other players to get goals, Phil was a shooter plain and simple. He wasn't a horrible play maker but it wasn't much higher than average on his skill set of a scout was doing an evaluation on him IMO.

He makes your top 10 (you have him at 7) either post it or just shoot from the shadows I guess.

Wayne, Mario, Orr, Hank Sedin, Oates, Hawerchuck, Clarke, Crosby, Mikita, Janney, Dats, Thorton, Gilmour, Forsberg, Sakic...man Espo might be hard pressed to make top 50 play makers since 67.

Maybe you have goal scoring confused with play making as you can make an argument with Phil as 7th since 67, although the Orr factor might take him down into the teens for some.
Janney? That is clear evidence you value style over substance. Actual production always trumps prettiness. I use precise context. Style is worthless, production is everything. When a pretty goal or assist counts 2 on the scoreboard, then style will matter, until then it is just something to fill up the highlight shows. Substance wins games, style does not. Substance builds great careers, style does not - just ask Linus Omark.

1 Wayne Gretzky
2 Gordie Howe
3 Adam Oates
4 Frank Boucher
5 Mario Lemieux
6 Andy Bathgate
7 Phil Esposito
8 Stan Mikita
9 Bobby Orr
10 Bill Cowley
11 Jean Beliveau
12 Jaromir Jagr
13 Elmer Lach
14 Ted Lindsay
15 Joe Thornton
16 Paul Coffey
17 Marcel Dionne
18 Guy Lafleur
19 Bryan Trottier
20 Bobby Clarke


Last edited by Ogopogo*: 12-09-2012 at 03:25 AM.
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12-09-2012, 03:59 AM
  #194
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Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
Janney? That is clear evidence you value style over substance. Actual production always trumps prettiness. I use precise context. Style is worthless, production is everything. When a pretty goal or assist counts 2 on the scoreboard, then style will matter, until then it is just something to fill up the highlight shows. Substance wins games, style does not. Substance builds great careers, style does not - just ask Linus Omark.

1 Wayne Gretzky
2 Gordie Howe
3 Adam Oates
4 Frank Boucher
5 Mario Lemieux
6 Andy Bathgate
7 Phil Esposito
8 Stan Mikita
9 Bobby Orr
10 Bill Cowley
11 Jean Beliveau
12 Jaromir Jagr
13 Elmer Lach
14 Ted Lindsay
15 Joe Thornton
16 Paul Coffey
17 Marcel Dionne
18 Guy Lafleur
19 Bryan Trottier
20 Bobby Clarke
If production is everything, I don't know how you could have Esposito more than 13 spots higher than Al MacInnis - even in the category of "play-making". Both were certainly shoot first, dish second guys.

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12-09-2012, 04:11 AM
  #195
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If production is everything, I don't know how you could have Esposito more than 13 spots higher than Al MacInnis - even in the category of "play-making". Both were certainly shoot first, dish second guys.
Esposito led the NHL in assists multiple times. MacInnis was never close.

It's not about style.

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12-09-2012, 08:48 AM
  #196
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Esposito led the NHL in assists multiple times. MacInnis was never close.

It's not about style.
Actually, MacInnis' best finish is 3rd overall behind only Gretzky and Oates, who are your #1 and #3 overall. Coffey, who makes your list at 16, never led the NHL in assists either; his highest finish(es) at 2nd (twice with the Gretzky Oilers, and once in the '94/95 half season with Detroit).

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12-09-2012, 11:32 AM
  #197
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Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
Janney? That is clear evidence you value style over substance. Actual production always trumps prettiness. I use precise context. Style is worthless, production is everything. When a pretty goal or assist counts 2 on the scoreboard, then style will matter, until then it is just something to fill up the highlight shows. Substance wins games, style does not. Substance builds great careers, style does not - just ask Linus Omark.

1 Wayne Gretzky
2 Gordie Howe
3 Adam Oates
4 Frank Boucher
5 Mario Lemieux
6 Andy Bathgate
7 Phil Esposito
8 Stan Mikita
9 Bobby Orr
10 Bill Cowley
11 Jean Beliveau
12 Jaromir Jagr
13 Elmer Lach
14 Ted Lindsay
15 Joe Thornton
16 Paul Coffey
17 Marcel Dionne
18 Guy Lafleur
19 Bryan Trottier
20 Bobby Clarke
So if Phil shoots at the net, something he led the league in 4 years in a row, then someone else scores we are going to call him a play maker?

Also outside of Boston (and the Orr affect) he hit top 10 1 other time in 67 finishing 6th.

After his trade to the NYR he dropped from 66 (5th) in assists to 48 (25th).

really your definition of play maker is very odd and doesn't fit at all with the common notion of what the play making skill is.

And you have Orr behind Phil?

Wow is all I can say there.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...der_by=assists

Even when we use your criteria about production Orr has 40 more assists from 68-75 (the years they played together) in 53 less games played.

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12-09-2012, 01:55 PM
  #198
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Actually, MacInnis' best finish is 3rd overall behind only Gretzky and Oates, who are your #1 and #3 overall. Coffey, who makes your list at 16, never led the NHL in assists either; his highest finish(es) at 2nd (twice with the Gretzky Oilers, and once in the '94/95 half season with Detroit).
I'm not going to get into the details of my methodology but, MacInnis finished 3rd one time and never came close to the lead at an other time. Coffey finished among the leaders several times, that beats MacInnis' one time.

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12-09-2012, 02:01 PM
  #199
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So if Phil shoots at the net, something he led the league in 4 years in a row, then someone else scores we are going to call him a play maker?
Also outside of Boston (and the Orr affect) he hit top 10 1 other time in 67 finishing 6th.

After his trade to the NYR he dropped from 66 (5th) in assists to 48 (25th).

really your definition of play maker is very odd and doesn't fit at all with the common notion of what the play making skill is.

And you have Orr behind Phil?

Wow is all I can say there.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...der_by=assists

Even when we use your criteria about production Orr has 40 more assists from 68-75 (the years they played together) in 53 less games played.
So, Phil didn't actually accomplish anything because he played for the Bruins in his prime? That is really your argument? Garbage. What did Orr accomplish after he left Boston?

You continue to argue style over substance. Forget about style for a while - it is irrelevant. If Phil shoots and gets assists because of the rebounds - he is creating offense. Who cares if it is the prettiest thing you ever saw, it still counts as one goal on the board. When a guy leads the league in assists, it makes no difference how they looked, they all counted.

Forget about style, it is a moot point.

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12-09-2012, 02:03 PM
  #200
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Orr is behind Phil because he didn't play a full career. Unlike many, I don't give him credit for games not played and assists not earned. If he could have stayed healthy, he could have finished higher.

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