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Messier Vs Yzerman

View Poll Results: Better Career
Mark Messier 68 66.02%
Steve Yzerman 35 33.98%
Voters: 103. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
12-15-2012, 11:30 PM
  #76
pdd
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An interesting idea I just had.

Messier had two Harts. Yzerman had none. Yzerman's zero is largely considered to be the product of Gretzky and Lemieux.

Let's use HR adjusted stats to place Yzerman's "equivalent season" in Messier's Hart year.

Messier in 1990 scored 108 adjusted points, a career high. Yzerman's career high was 128. Wayne Gretzky, the league points leader, had 120 adjusted points.

So it's likely Yzerman would have ended up with the 1990 Hart were their top offensive seasons both in that year. Let's move on to 1992. Messier posted 95 adjusted points, tied with 1996 for his second-best. Yzerman's second best performance was 111 adjusted points. Moving to third, Yzerman ends up with 106 AP. The league leader for both seasons was Lemieux, with 116 AP in 1992 and 156 AP in 1996.

So we've established that if Yzerman's peak seasons came the same years Messier's did, Yzerman likely would have had a much greater chance at the Hart (and possibly taken both away).

Now let's perform the reverse. Messier's 108 AP goes to 1989, where Lemieux leads with 165 AP. His two years of 95 AP go to 1990 and 1993, with Gretzky's 120 in 1990 and Lemieux's 116 in 1993. Furthermore, he would be well behind Yzerman in all three seasons, being closest in hypothetical 1993 when he was only 11 AP back.

So the conclusion from this?

Messier did not win his Harts due to dominance. He won his Harts to to a convergence of the perfect storm:

Gretzky's prime ended.
Mario Lemieux suffered repeated injuries.
Steve Yzerman was forced into a "timeshare" program with two other #1 centers (Jimmy Carson and Sergei Fedorov) despite displaying that he was well above their level.

Beyond those three, who was the other competition? A young Joe Sakic, Jeremy Roenick, Adam Oates, and a constantly injured Pat LaFontaine. Nobody that's going to kick a peak Messier off of the AS team more than once.

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12-16-2012, 01:26 AM
  #77
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Toob - thank you for two objective and very well researched posts.

You've presented some good evidence showing that Yzerman was solid defensively early in his career. I tried to present some evidence for that as well (from Trottier and Yzerman himself) - one of the benefits of this forum is sharing the research. I also appreciate the fact that you had the integrity to mention some contradictory evidence too. Maybe the tone of my previous post was too harsh, I don't think that Yzerman was a bad defensive player in his prime, I think he was average while Messier was very good (but not elite). Based on what's been presented, I'm comfortable saying that Yzerman was a solid two-way/defensive player early in his career, but I still think he's behind Messier.

Yzerman not being present on the "best defensive forward" and "best penalty killing forward" polls is not proof that he was bad defensively, but it shows that he wasn't considered elite at that time.

I'll admit I miscalculated in my previous post. During the years I looked at (1988-1994), Yzerman outscored Messier by 17% per game (not 15%) and, since he was healthier, by 20% in total. I still think that this is largely mitigated by Messier's intangibles (defensive play, physical play and leadership) but I agree that Yzerman narrowly had the better prime.

The article suggesting that Gretzky, Lemieux and Yzerman comprised the holy trinity of centres was from December 1989 - since it was fairly early in the season, the author likely ascribed a lot of value to the results of the previous season, where Yzerman clearly was in the top three. Also, I think there's an important distinction between best player and the player with the best season. For example, in 2010, Henrik Sedin had a slightly better season than Crosby (and even that's arguable), and won the Hart, but I still think that most hockey fans would agree that Crosby was the better player.

I think there's a double standard in the sense that part of Yzerman's drop in production is explained by the Wings becoming a deeper, better team, particularly at centre. That's valid, but many people are quick to dismiss the first several year of Messier's career when he was in the same situation - playing with weaker linemates and getting less icetime than he otherwise would have received on virtually any other team. This isn't directed at you Toob, but some people want bump Yzerman's statistics up (because playing on a strong, deep team limited his icetime) while simultaneously bumping Messier's statistics down (because playing on a strong, deep team gave him the ability to leach off other players). As I've shown previously, Messier scored more with Gretzky and there are plenty of quotes showing that Messier was known as an excellent player in his own right; I think that many people are too quick to dismiss Messier's early years.

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12-16-2012, 02:05 AM
  #78
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Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
Yes.



http://www.nytimes.com/1987/04/28/sp...ep-series.html




With all due respect, toob, this is a famous play in hockey history. It's bad enough I have to argue that a concussion had an impact on a player's performance in the five games that followed - I shouldn't have to prove to you that it happened.
It may be a famous play but aside from a lot of books on Red Wings history and following the Wings on TV/radio and in the news throughout until about 5 years ago, i am just not as well-versed on hockey and hockey history in general as most of you guys are. I do have Gretzky's autobiography and i dont recall him mentioning a concussion on this incident and given how concussions were diagnosed (or rather not diagnosed) up until recently you can see where i might have been coming from.

However my post was assuming that Gretzky was injured/concussed. Gretzky's injury has nothing to do with the eyewitness play giving most of the credit to Yzerman for his job on Gretzky, or Yzerman's role in the team D of the 87 Wings. And as soon as Gretzky started playing the Flyers he started scoring again. He scored 2 points in each of the first 3 games of the finals, and 3 points in game 4. So if you are going to make the suggestion that it was mainly the concussion that limited Gretzky against Detroit

1) ignoring the accounts that stated the main reason was the Red Wings team D in general and the Yzerman matchup specifically
2) being forced to explain his sudden shift in performance as soon as he plays Philly as mainly due to getting over the concussion in the 4 day rest period (less really) before the finals

All of this aside from the statistical evidence provided that showed that Trottier wasnt scoring very much in the playoffs and was in fact scoring more vs Edmonton than vs the rest. If we are still going to believe the eyewitness accounts that Messier shut down Trottier despite him scoring more against Edmonton than he did in the rest of the playoffs, why are we not going to believe the eyewitness accounts that Yzerman shut down Gretzky when Gretzky's scoring actually did dip horribly in the Detroit series and then rebounded nicely in the Philly series?

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12-16-2012, 03:21 AM
  #79
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Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post
Toob - thank you for two objective and very well researched posts.

You've presented some good evidence showing that Yzerman was solid defensively early in his career. I tried to present some evidence for that as well (from Trottier and Yzerman himself) - one of the benefits of this forum is sharing the research. I also appreciate the fact that you had the integrity to mention some contradictory evidence too. Maybe the tone of my previous post was too harsh, I don't think that Yzerman was a bad defensive player in his prime, I think he was average while Messier was very good (but not elite). Based on what's been presented, I'm comfortable saying that Yzerman was a solid two-way/defensive player early in his career, but I still think he's behind Messier.

Yzerman not being present on the "best defensive forward" and "best penalty killing forward" polls is not proof that he was bad defensively, but it shows that he wasn't considered elite at that time.

I'll admit I miscalculated in my previous post. During the years I looked at (1988-1994), Yzerman outscored Messier by 17% per game (not 15%) and, since he was healthier, by 20% in total. I still think that this is largely mitigated by Messier's intangibles (defensive play, physical play and leadership) but I agree that Yzerman narrowly had the better prime.

The article suggesting that Gretzky, Lemieux and Yzerman comprised the holy trinity of centres was from December 1989 - since it was fairly early in the season, the author likely ascribed a lot of value to the results of the previous season, where Yzerman clearly was in the top three. Also, I think there's an important distinction between best player and the player with the best season. For example, in 2010, Henrik Sedin had a slightly better season than Crosby (and even that's arguable), and won the Hart, but I still think that most hockey fans would agree that Crosby was the better player.

I think there's a double standard in the sense that part of Yzerman's drop in production is explained by the Wings becoming a deeper, better team, particularly at centre. That's valid, but many people are quick to dismiss the first several year of Messier's career when he was in the same situation - playing with weaker linemates and getting less icetime than he otherwise would have received on virtually any other team. This isn't directed at you Toob, but some people want bump Yzerman's statistics up (because playing on a strong, deep team limited his icetime) while simultaneously bumping Messier's statistics down (because playing on a strong, deep team gave him the ability to leach off other players). As I've shown previously, Messier scored more with Gretzky and there are plenty of quotes showing that Messier was known as an excellent player in his own right; I think that many people are too quick to dismiss Messier's early years.
For Messier/Yzerman D i agree that Yzerman was most likely not elite defensively until 95. However i personally dont see how a conclusion can be made that Messier was clearly better than Yzerman in that regard pre 95 based on the evidence presented in this thread.

Selke votes: Yzerman had very few, Messier had slightly more but also very few spread across a larger time period. In the whole scheme of how many Selke votes there were both can be said to have almost nonexistent support for the Selke. Messier did have more raw votes but the number is so small that i doubt it is statistically significant to suggest any actual advantage.

Players/coaches polls: For the years you mentioned Yzerman had none in defensive characters but Messier only had 1 in two categories for 1 of the years, and 1 in one category in another poll. The amount of votes is less in this poll than the Selke but it still isnt highly suggestive of a clear advantage at all. Also i would speculate that if we had 88 or 89 poll data being Yzerman's best years in terms of media attention, he would at least get more support in some of these categories.

Anecdotes: Both Messier and Yzerman have nice things said about them defensively though as i noted the praise for Messier seems to be based a lot on his physical game where for Yzerman it is explicitly. But i honestly dont see how to judge quantitatively on degree of defensive superiority between these statements.

Playoff shutdown heroics: Messier has his job on Trottier in 84 but Yzerman has his job on Gretzky in 87. In this case i think a case can be made for Yzerman's superiority given the players in question (Gretzky vs Trottier), their scoring level in the playoffs (Trottier scored at a better pace against Edmonton, Gretzky much worse against Detroit) but we can also leave it at the statements themselves.

HOWEVER, i think it is fair to say Messier was more "complete". This is because of his physical play which i actually value a lot because it makes sense that a physical player can wear out D and intimidate the opposition and get them off their game. I dont think Messier's game would work against someone like Yzerman who was willing to take the body and wouldnt get fazed. He would just get chippy with the stickwork when the ref wasnt looking. But i do think Messier's game affects players in general. And while Yzerman was strong for his size and initiated contact he was like a Crosby. Scrappy but no Messier.


Fair enough on the article being based on the past that is probably correct (though it brings up a cross point that Yzerman was not just considered to be the 3rd best in a different stratosphere by some but right up their in the same tier with Gretzky and Lemieux). However, the point about that season's Hart voting not aligning with the best player stands. As you saw in the all star game clips, not only Yzerman, but also Gretzky and Lemieux had been replaced as Hart favorites for 90 by not only Messier but Bourque/Lafontaine. Lemieux wasnt even injured at that point and was on his insane point streak.

I agree that there can be a double standard against Messier in this thread. While i think if Messier played at LW on Gretzky's line that would cause him to benefit, playing behind a center who would get more offensive time than you would likely hurt your numbers. I dont think it is coincidence that no Oiler really got Hart consideration when Gretzky was there except Fuhr when Gretzky was hurt for a quarter of 88, although they had other players who could be said to be top 5/10 players in the world.

Was Messier's situation as bad as Yzerman in 91/92 and the first half of 93? I would lean towards no because it seems Messier had better wingers anyway. Either way i dont think it is coincidence that Yzerman's numbers drop when Bryan Murray comes in in 91 and plays a more team based style with Fedorov and Carson as centers. Yzerman through the first 50 games of 93 is scoring at the same pace as he did throughout 91/92. Then Carson is traded, and Coffey comes on as the first legit offensive defenseman. Yzerman's numbers explode at that moment (over 2 ppg for the rest of the year).

oh and thx for the kind words


Last edited by toob: 12-16-2012 at 03:27 AM.
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Old
12-16-2012, 12:49 PM
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toob View Post
For Messier/Yzerman D i agree that Yzerman was most likely not elite defensively until 95. However i personally dont see how a conclusion can be made that Messier was clearly better than Yzerman in that regard pre 95 based on the evidence presented in this thread.

Selke votes: Yzerman had very few, Messier had slightly more but also very few spread across a larger time period. In the whole scheme of how many Selke votes there were both can be said to have almost nonexistent support for the Selke. Messier did have more raw votes but the number is so small that i doubt it is statistically significant to suggest any actual advantage.

Players/coaches polls: For the years you mentioned Yzerman had none in defensive characters but Messier only had 1 in two categories for 1 of the years, and 1 in one category in another poll. The amount of votes is less in this poll than the Selke but it still isnt highly suggestive of a clear advantage at all. Also i would speculate that if we had 88 or 89 poll data being Yzerman's best years in terms of media attention, he would at least get more support in some of these categories.

Anecdotes: Both Messier and Yzerman have nice things said about them defensively though as i noted the praise for Messier seems to be based a lot on his physical game where for Yzerman it is explicitly. But i honestly dont see how to judge quantitatively on degree of defensive superiority between these statements.

Playoff shutdown heroics: Messier has his job on Trottier in 84 but Yzerman has his job on Gretzky in 87. In this case i think a case can be made for Yzerman's superiority given the players in question (Gretzky vs Trottier), their scoring level in the playoffs (Trottier scored at a better pace against Edmonton, Gretzky much worse against Detroit) but we can also leave it at the statements themselves.

HOWEVER, i think it is fair to say Messier was more "complete". This is because of his physical play which i actually value a lot because it makes sense that a physical player can wear out D and intimidate the opposition and get them off their game. I dont think Messier's game would work against someone like Yzerman who was willing to take the body and wouldnt get fazed. He would just get chippy with the stickwork when the ref wasnt looking. But i do think Messier's game affects players in general. And while Yzerman was strong for his size and initiated contact he was like a Crosby. Scrappy but no Messier.


Fair enough on the article being based on the past that is probably correct (though it brings up a cross point that Yzerman was not just considered to be the 3rd best in a different stratosphere by some but right up their in the same tier with Gretzky and Lemieux). However, the point about that season's Hart voting not aligning with the best player stands. As you saw in the all star game clips, not only Yzerman, but also Gretzky and Lemieux had been replaced as Hart favorites for 90 by not only Messier but Bourque/Lafontaine. Lemieux wasnt even injured at that point and was on his insane point streak.

I agree that there can be a double standard against Messier in this thread. While i think if Messier played at LW on Gretzky's line that would cause him to benefit, playing behind a center who would get more offensive time than you would likely hurt your numbers. I dont think it is coincidence that no Oiler really got Hart consideration when Gretzky was there except Fuhr when Gretzky was hurt for a quarter of 88, although they had other players who could be said to be top 5/10 players in the world.

Was Messier's situation as bad as Yzerman in 91/92 and the first half of 93? I would lean towards no because it seems Messier had better wingers anyway. Either way i dont think it is coincidence that Yzerman's numbers drop when Bryan Murray comes in in 91 and plays a more team based style with Fedorov and Carson as centers. Yzerman through the first 50 games of 93 is scoring at the same pace as he did throughout 91/92. Then Carson is traded, and Coffey comes on as the first legit offensive defenseman. Yzerman's numbers explode at that moment (over 2 ppg for the rest of the year).

oh and thx for the kind words

do we have first half and second half scoring totals for the '93 wings? i'm curious about yzerman's scoring relative to fedorov pre- and post-coffey trade. it also makes sense, as you suggest, that yzerman took on a larger scoring load after carson was gone because the team went from having three PPG centers to just two. but i'd like to see if fedorov's stats also go up after the trade.

as for the testimonials about messier's and yzerman's defensive play in the 80s and early 90s, maybe it makes sense that descriptions of messier's two-way game heavily focus on physicality because that was what allowed him to be the defensive player that he was. i mean, there is a pretty good argument that between howe and lindros, messier was the most dominant physical forward the league had seen. so why wouldn't you mention his physicality when talking about his two-way ability?


i saw neither yzerman vs. gretzky in '87 nor messier vs. trottier in '84. but it's hard not to take into consideration the fact that messier won his series 4-1, while yzerman lost his by the same score. obviously, the '84 oilers were a far better team than the '87 wings, and i think we can probably all agree that the '87 oilers were a tougher opponent than the '84 isles, but some things to think about:

- the '84 finals was where gretzky famously failed to score until the last game, and i think the joke gretzky himself made was that in the first four games of the series, he was taking a rest and letting semenko do the scoring for him (i think semenko had one goal to gretzky's zero). so while messier had "help" obviously, he didn't necessarily have the greatest forward of all time playing at a GOAT level helping him. it was messier who shut down trottier, while also leading the charge offensively.

- whatever we choose to believe about yzerman's shut down job against gretzky in '87 (whether gretzky had a concussion, making this task easier, or whether he was just plain shut down), the wings lost-- and lost decisively (though games 3 and 4 were close games). those '87 oilers obviously got it done even without gretzky being gretzky. the '84 isles didn't without trottier being trottier. what that tells me is that messier's shutdown job, which was thorough except for trottier's 3 point explosion in game 2, the only game that the oilers lost, didn't just shut down the other team's number one center. it cut out the heart of the team. i think that's something unacknowledged that messier often did: go at the the player(s) that give the entire rest of their team courage and the ability to play big. don't just neutralize that guy, but flatten him... repeatedly. messier did that with trottier and potvin. imagine what trottier and potvin meant to that team: they were like superhumans that couldn't be defeated, and then you see messier laying those guys on their cans, or completely dominating them at both ends of the ice. what does that do to a team's morale? think of scott stevens, sending the captains of the flyers, hurricanes, and ducks to the ER. i can only imagine the guys on those teams' benches thinking man, we are not going to beat the devils; the horse pulling their cart just ate our horse for breakfast.

- related to the note above, i think most of us can also agree that the '84 isles were not the same team as, say, the '82 isles. goring and bourne were done. but they also had new blood: brent sutter takes on goring's role, pat flatley is the new bourne. and a rookie pat lafontaine did pretty well too. that team wasn't so over that neutralizing trottier should have made them uncompetitive, even with a team as high powered as the oilers. but it did.

- and re: yzerman in '87, seems significant to me that the following year, with almost the same team except yzerman is out of the lineup, they make it exactly as far in the playoffs. so at least in terms of yzerman not having any help, those guys got it done without him. and either way, they couldn't take more than a game from the oilers (i think yzerman played in the last few games of that series, but i assume he was far from 100%). which isn't to say that yzerman wasn't valuable or a difference maker, just that one wonders how much credit needs to go to jacques demers, who won the jack adams in '87 and '88.

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12-16-2012, 01:12 PM
  #81
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I think a pretty telling sign Messier wins this comparison is that Yzerman's supporters are having to rely a LOT more on mental gymnastics, "What If?" scenarios (that are seemingly getting more and more far-fetched), and retconning.

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12-16-2012, 01:30 PM
  #82
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
the '84 isles didn't without trottier being trottier. what that tells me is that messier's shutdown job, which was thorough except for trottier's 3 point explosion in game 2, the only game that the oilers lost, didn't just shut down the other team's number one center. it cut out the heart of the team. i think that's something unacknowledged that messier often did: go at the the player(s) that give the entire rest of their team courage and the ability to play big. don't just neutralize that guy, but flatten him... repeatedly. messier did that with trottier and potvin. imagine what trottier and potvin meant to that team: they were like superhumans that couldn't be defeated, and then you see messier laying those guys on their cans, or completely dominating them at both ends of the ice. what does that do to a team's morale? think of scott stevens, sending the captains of the flyers, hurricanes, and ducks to the ER. i can only imagine the guys on those teams' benches thinking man, we are not going to beat the devils; the horse pulling their cart just ate our horse for breakfast.
and this is only half-related, but it goes to show how and why messier was so successful in the playoffs, beyond his offensive skill, beastly forechecking, and ability to physically dominate guys on both ends of the ice.

in '94 finals, as the rangers were on the verge of losing their second straight game and having the series go back to MSG for game seven, messier cheap shots trevor linden, who was the canucks' heart and soul. totally out of the bounds of normal competition. but does trevor linden have a stanley cup ring?

even though linden was a beast in game seven, pat quinn lost that series right there when he wouldn't let sergio momesso leave the bench to settle the score. not saying big serge could have taken messier (but maybe), or that it would have changed the outcome of game seven. but i still believe that as much heart as the canucks showed in the second half of game seven, the rangers pulled out to an early lead on the back of what seeing linden helpless like that at the end of game six did to the team psychologically and emotionally.

if quinn had just let the end of that game become a spitshow, he also had tim hunter and shawn antoski on the bench. the rangers had some tough guys too (kypreos dressed, kocur didn't) but that big tough canucks team could have held their own, and should have been given the opportunity to stand up for themselves. and even if they took their licks, momentum for game seven-wise, better to go down swinging than laying on the ice.

but all that said, this is one example what messier's physicality can mean in a playoff series. i don't condone it; in fact, i hate it. but it's like gordie howe's elbows... he can back it up with his fists, he's totally feared, so if the refs do nothing, what are you going to do about it? that's one hell of an intangible.

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12-16-2012, 02:03 PM
  #83
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I think a pretty telling sign Messier wins this comparison is that Yzerman's supporters are having to rely a LOT more on mental gymnastics, "What If?" scenarios (that are seemingly getting more and more far-fetched), and retconning.
Part of that is the fact that the Hart is now basically voted on as "Who's the best player?" whereas before Lemieux left in 1994 we were seeing more of what it's "supposed" to be based on the description. Ray Bourque, Mark Howe, and Rod Langway in the Hart voting are perfect examples. None of them get near it with "today's definition"

Just like how with "yesterday's definition", Nicklas Lidstrom would probably have a Hart trophy.

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12-16-2012, 02:13 PM
  #84
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
do we have first half and second half scoring totals for the '93 wings? i'm curious about yzerman's scoring relative to fedorov pre- and post-coffey trade. it also makes sense, as you suggest, that yzerman took on a larger scoring load after carson was gone because the team went from having three PPG centers to just two. but i'd like to see if fedorov's stats also go up after the trade.
Coffey came in right before the all star break so i just used hockey reference's splits because it is close enough.

Coffey LA: 50 8 49 57
Coffey DET: 30 4 26 30

Coffey saw a slight decline coming to Detroit but very minor. At this point of his career he wasnt Coffey in his prime but still a pretty large improvement over any other Red Wings D for a long time.

Carson DET: 55 25 27 52
Carson LA: 31 12 9 21

Yzerman pre: 55 38 38 76
Yzerman post: 29 20 41 61

Fedorov pre: 46 24 29 53
Fedorov post: 27 10 24 34

As expected Carson had a fairly big role in Detroit despite being the 3rd line center. Yzerman saw the biggest change in taking over Carson's role after he left. Fedorov did not see much of a change.

Quote:
as for the testimonials about messier's and yzerman's defensive play in the 80s and early 90s, maybe it makes sense that descriptions of messier's two-way game heavily focus on physicality because that was what allowed him to be the defensive player that he was. i mean, there is a pretty good argument that between howe and lindros, messier was the most dominant physical forward the league had seen. so why wouldn't you mention his physicality when talking about his two-way ability?
Physicality isnt the same thing as playing defensively. A guy like Lindros was OK defensively but he was legitimately called the most complete player in his prime. I agree that physical play is a feather in Messier's cap, and unlike some who would seek to marginalize it, i think it is fairly big. But let's not conflate it with D.

Yzerman in his prime was best defined by his flashy play. Messier in his prime was best defined by his tough physical play. I would suggest that the differing reputations would lead to Yzerman being not noticed for the other parts of his game unlike Messier (just like Yzerman himself would later say). Despite this people did notice, specifically those who watched him most closely, his coaches and teammates.

Quote:
i saw neither yzerman vs. gretzky in '87 nor messier vs. trottier in '84. but it's hard not to take into consideration the fact that messier won his series 4-1, while yzerman lost his by the same score. obviously, the '84 oilers were a far better team than the '87 wings, and i think we can probably all agree that the '87 oilers were a tougher opponent than the '84 isles, but some things to think about:

- the '84 finals was where gretzky famously failed to score until the last game, and i think the joke gretzky himself made was that in the first four games of the series, he was taking a rest and letting semenko do the scoring for him (i think semenko had one goal to gretzky's zero). so while messier had "help" obviously, he didn't necessarily have the greatest forward of all time playing at a GOAT level helping him. it was messier who shut down trottier, while also leading the charge offensively.

- whatever we choose to believe about yzerman's shut down job against gretzky in '87 (whether gretzky had a concussion, making this task easier, or whether he was just plain shut down), the wings lost-- and lost decisively (though games 3 and 4 were close games). those '87 oilers obviously got it done even without gretzky being gretzky. the '84 isles didn't without trottier being trottier. what that tells me is that messier's shutdown job, which was thorough except for trottier's 3 point explosion in game 2, the only game that the oilers lost, didn't just shut down the other team's number one center. it cut out the heart of the team. i think that's something unacknowledged that messier often did: go at the the player(s) that give the entire rest of their team courage and the ability to play big. don't just neutralize that guy, but flatten him... repeatedly. messier did that with trottier and potvin. imagine what trottier and potvin meant to that team: they were like superhumans that couldn't be defeated, and then you see messier laying those guys on their cans, or completely dominating them at both ends of the ice. what does that do to a team's morale? think of scott stevens, sending the captains of the flyers, hurricanes, and ducks to the ER. i can only imagine the guys on those teams' benches thinking man, we are not going to beat the devils; the horse pulling their cart just ate our horse for breakfast.

- related to the note above, i think most of us can also agree that the '84 isles were not the same team as, say, the '82 isles. goring and bourne were done. but they also had new blood: brent sutter takes on goring's role, pat flatley is the new bourne. and a rookie pat lafontaine did pretty well too. that team wasn't so over that neutralizing trottier should have made them uncompetitive, even with a team as high powered as the oilers. but it did.

- and re: yzerman in '87, seems significant to me that the following year, with almost the same team except yzerman is out of the lineup, they make it exactly as far in the playoffs. so at least in terms of yzerman not having any help, those guys got it done without him. and either way, they couldn't take more than a game from the oilers (i think yzerman played in the last few games of that series, but i assume he was far from 100%). which isn't to say that yzerman wasn't valuable or a difference maker, just that one wonders how much credit needs to go to jacques demers, who won the jack adams in '87 and '88.
Game 2 was also close. The Oilers scored with less than 90 seconds left and then added an EN goal so it seems like a convincing 4-1 victory. Only game 5 wasnt close.

As ive shown earlier, Messier also did not have the guy he was shutting down scoring at levels he was scoring at in earlier years. Trottier was at .625 ppg before the finals. He actually scored more (.8 ppg) in the finals. If Messier roughed him up, fine, but that isnt the same thing as shutting him down.

Also whatever the effect of the concussion was, im not saying Yzerman played a key role in shutting down Gretzky in 87 by looking at Gretzky's stats and then speculating. Im basing this off eyewitness accounts that clearly state that the team D of Detroit frustrated the Oilers and kept most of the series close, and that Yzerman specifically was matched up against Gretzky and credited with keeping him away from the net. Oh, Yzerman also contributed offensively.

So if Messier is going to get credit for shutting Trottier down in 84 (despite the stats) based on anecdotes, well why should we disregard the anecdotes that Yzerman got credit for shutting Gretzky down in 87 (supported by stats)?

Demers does seem to deserve a ton of credit, he was the one who made Yzerman captain after a talk with him despite others misgivings, and Yzerman noted that the captaincy made him take his play more seriously and it's no surprise that his best years followed after. And he seems to have got the credit with all the recognition. However, in 88 that team under Demers made an incredibly strong run after Yzerman's injury, and then next year key players in that run (Probert/Klima) were having off ice troubles, and Demers was losing the team. Yzerman still carried them that year as well.

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12-16-2012, 02:56 PM
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do we have first half and second half scoring totals for the '93 wings? i'm curious about yzerman's scoring relative to fedorov pre- and post-coffey trade. it also makes sense, as you suggest, that yzerman took on a larger scoring load after carson was gone because the team went from having three PPG centers to just two. but i'd like to see if fedorov's stats also go up after the trade.
Fedorov posted 24-27-51 in 45 games before the trade (pace for 45-50-95 on 84 GP) and 10-26-36 in 28 games (pace for 30-78-108) after the trade. His final line was 34-53-87 in 73, pace for 39-61-100 in 84GP.

Yzerman put up 21-43-64 in 31 games after the trade (pace for 57-117-174 in 84, which would win the Ross and assist title) compared to 37-36-73 in 53 (59-57-117 in 84) before the trade.

For completeness, Jimmy Carson posted 26-25-51 in 52 games (pace for 42-40-82 in 84) with Detroit, and 12-10-22 in 34 (pace for 30-25-55 in 84) with LA. So clearly Carson was the big beneficiary of the "timeshare" system - he finished with 38-37-73 in 86 (NHL record for GP!).

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i saw neither yzerman vs. gretzky in '87 nor messier vs. trottier in '84. but it's hard not to take into consideration the fact that messier won his series 4-1, while yzerman lost his by the same score. obviously, the '84 oilers were a far better team than the '87 wings, and i think we can probably all agree that the '87 oilers were a tougher opponent than the '84 isles, but some things to think about:
It's hard not to take into consideration that '84 Trottier outscored '87 Gretzky in the relevant series, and that '84 Trottier scored MORE againt Edmonton than other opponents while '87 Gretzky scored considerably less against Detroit.

Quote:
- the '84 finals was where gretzky famously failed to score until the last game, and i think the joke gretzky himself made was that in the first four games of the series, he was taking a rest and letting semenko do the scoring for him (i think semenko had one goal to gretzky's zero). so while messier had "help" obviously, he didn't necessarily have the greatest forward of all time playing at a GOAT level helping him. it was messier who shut down trottier, while also leading the charge offensively.
Again, compare Trottier's finals numbers to the rest of his playoff. Messier didn't shut down Trottier any more than anyone else did. So unless you are suggesting Yzerman's 1987 performance against Gretzky was "otherwordly defense", don't perpetuate the idea that Trottier suddenly ran into a brick wall and stopped scoring. He already wasn't scoring.

Quote:
- whatever we choose to believe about yzerman's shut down job against gretzky in '87 (whether gretzky had a concussion, making this task easier, or whether he was just plain shut down), the wings lost-- and lost decisively (though games 3 and 4 were close games). those '87 oilers obviously got it done even without gretzky being gretzky.
Look at the rosters of those two teams. Now zero out Wayne Gretzky's stat line, but leave him on the roster. Compare the rosters now. The Oilers still are massively better. Kurri, Messier, Tikkanen, Kent Nilsson (they got him at the deadline), Coffey, Huddy, Lowe, Fuhr? The Wings had... Yzerman. Oh, and Gallant, Probert, Klima, a yet-to-breakout Oates, Brent Ashton, Darren Veitch... and Hanlon and Stefan in net. Neither of whom would unseat Moog let alone Fuhr.

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the '84 isles didn't without trottier being trottier. what that tells me is that messier's shutdown job, which was thorough except for trottier's 3 point explosion in game 2, the only game that the oilers lost, didn't just shut down the other team's number one center. it cut out the heart of the team. i think that's something unacknowledged that messier often did: go at the the player(s) that give the entire rest of their team courage and the ability to play big. don't just neutralize that guy, but flatten him... repeatedly. messier did that with trottier and potvin. imagine what trottier and potvin meant to that team: they were like superhumans that couldn't be defeated, and then you see messier laying those guys on their cans, or completely dominating them at both ends of the ice. what does that do to a team's morale? think of scott stevens, sending the captains of the flyers, hurricanes, and ducks to the ER. i can only imagine the guys on those teams' benches thinking man, we are not going to beat the devils; the horse pulling their cart just ate our horse for breakfast.
Throughout the late 1990s, Yzerman was usually given a shadow job on the opposing team's best scoring forward (what we think of now as "the Zetterberg role") and he did it very effectively. Case in point: Eric Lindros. Yes, Lidstrom was out there for Lindros, but I don't think Yzerman get enough credit. Yzerman was the only Wing good enough on faceoffs to beat Lindros consistently and thus keep the puck on Detroit's sticks more than Philly's right off the bat. Despite size, he shadowed him and gave him trouble all series long. Lidstrom was a problem in general for Lindros, but even without Lidstrom I think Lindros would still have been seriously limited compared to his normal effectiveness.

This is the same kind of job Yzerman had on Gretzky in 1987 and would have had in 1988 had he been playing from the start of the series. He was always good at it, despite the retroactive "He was TERRIBLE and now he's AMAZING!" hindsight comments made after he retired.

Quote:
- and re: yzerman in '87, seems significant to me that the following year, with almost the same team except yzerman is out of the lineup, they make it exactly as far in the playoffs.
Bob Probert scored almost 30 goals in 87-88 (granted, he played much of the year with Yzerman, but he did score 21 points in 16 playoff games). Also, the Wings added John Chabot, who put up a respectable season. With a young Adam Oates filling in for Yzerman, and Chabot able to provide another center who wasn't an AHLer, the Wings suddenly could survive an injury to their star player and not see their season end in a last-place finish. Were Yzerman healthy that year, it's likely he is a finalist or even wins the Hart, and the Wings have a much better shot at beating the Oilers with one of the league's three best players.

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so at least in terms of yzerman not having any help, those guys got it done without him. and either way, they couldn't take more than a game from the oilers (i think yzerman played in the last few games of that series, but i assume he was far from 100%). which isn't to say that yzerman wasn't valuable or a difference maker, just that one wonders how much credit needs to go to jacques demers, who won the jack adams in '87 and '88.
Demers won the Adams because a roster full of nothing players actually did something - that being not suck so hard that the floor boards came up. Think of guys like Barry Trotz when you think of Demers. He did more with less, hence the award. When he actually had a team full of good, very good, and great players (Montreal), what happened? Yep.


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12-16-2012, 03:23 PM
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There's a habit on this forum to undervalue players who had a better first half of their career than second half - Messier, Leetch, Coffey, Kariya, Roenick, Chelios to an extent- and to overvalue players who were the opposite - Niedermayer, Brind'amour, Lidstrom to an extent.

It's quite understandable...the most recent memories of a player tend to be the strongest. But it's definitely something to keep in mind in this situation. Messier definitely gets hurt a bit unfairly by the last seven years of his career (in so far as people forget just how unbelievable the first 17 years of his career really were). Yzerman doesn't quite fall into either category, but for sure his legend took off after Scotty Bowman showed up in Detroit (and after his scoring went down).

I honestly think Messier takes this pretty easily...but that is no slight to a fellow top-15 center of all time.

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12-16-2012, 03:31 PM
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There's a habit on this forum to undervalue players who had a better first half of their career than second half - Messier, Leetch, Coffey, Kariya, Roenick, Chelios to an extent- and to overvalue players who were the opposite - Niedermayer, Brind'amour, Lidstrom to an extent.

It's quite understandable...the most recent memories of a player tend to be the strongest. But it's definitely something to keep in mind in this situation. Messier definitely gets hurt a bit unfairly by the last seven years of his career (in so far as people forget just how unbelievable the first 17 years of his career really were). Yzerman doesn't quite fall into either category, but for sure his legend took off after Scotty Bowman showed up in Detroit (and after his scoring went down).

I honestly think Messier takes this pretty easily...but that is no slight to a fellow top-15 center of all time.
i think, further to that point, there seems to be a trend in awards voting where a guy who peaked in the second half of the season gets more consideration than guys who were consistent all year, or who peaked in the first half. see: theodore vs. iginla, forsberg vs. naslund, thornton vs. jagr (not that i don't agree with at least two of those three decisions).

but what does is say about yzerman in '93 when he had the scorching hot end of the season, post-coffey trade, where he comes kind of close to catching up with lafontaine and oates, and still those two plus gilmour (who also had an extremely hot second half, after the andreychuk trade) all finish well ahead of yzerman in hart voting?


toob and evaunitzero, i'll respond to your other points later, when i have the time. for now, thanks for the stats clarifications.

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12-16-2012, 05:23 PM
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Yzerman has the edge in peak/prime offense. Messier has the edge in "tangible intangibles":

1. ES GF/GA ratios- Messier had the ridiculous comparison of Gretzky for many years, but managed these On/Off ratios from '90 to '96: 1.17, 1.39, 1.30, 0.95, 1.33, 1.49, 1.51. That's five seasons of 1.30+ out of six. Yzerman had five seasons of 1.30+ in his career, but didn't have nearly so difficult an off-ice comparison, and his seasons were mostly scattered ('88 & '89, '97, '00, and '03). Their best 7 year stretches of adjusted plus-minus: Yzerman '87-'93 +80... Messier '90-'96 +110. Conclusion: Small edge to Messier.

2. Team record while injured- Messier has one of the best differentials of team record with vs. without him. This isn't the most fluid data to compare, but he's up there with the likes of Jagr and Lemieux during their primes (Gretzky did not miss enough games during his prime to reach any conclusion). We have data for at least two seasons during Yzerman's prime, in which he missed a substantial amount of games (but not for '86 AFAIK): In '88 he missed 16 games (.563 with, .656 without) and in '94 he missed 26 games (.569 with, .654 without). Sure, Yzerman may have been playing through injuries at times during those seasons, but his team didn't just maintain their level in his absence, they significantly increased it (expected .567, actual .655). That's a stark contrast with Messier: '88-'97, 76 games missed, expected .414, actual .573. Conclusion: Large advantage for Messier.

3. Playoff performance- Comparing each player's regular season PPG to their playoff PPG, and weighting it by playoff games, we can more fairly compare their playoff performance to that which might be expected. I used adjusted stats for both to make the comparison even fairer. Yzerman performed at 96% of expected, which is still strong for a superstar, but Messier exceeded expectations at 107%. There's a lot of context to consider, such as Yzerman having a more elite offensive level and playing for weaker teams during his prime. However, it's still a small edge for Messier.

I wouldn't say any one of these factors is conclusive, given varying contexts which are sometimes difficult to untangle. If it was basically even, or Messier had a small advantage in 2/3 categories, then that wouldn't tell us much. However, he has the advantage in all three categories and, along with his comparable career totals and advantage in hardware (even discounting the Gretzky/Lemieux factor), I think it's enough to swing the pendulum in his favor.

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12-16-2012, 05:46 PM
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i think, further to that point, there seems to be a trend in awards voting where a guy who peaked in the second half of the season gets more consideration than guys who were consistent all year, or who peaked in the first half. see: theodore vs. iginla, forsberg vs. naslund, thornton vs. jagr (not that i don't agree with at least two of those three decisions).

but what does is say about yzerman in '93 when he had the scorching hot end of the season, post-coffey trade, where he comes kind of close to catching up with lafontaine and oates, and still those two plus gilmour (who also had an extremely hot second half, after the andreychuk trade) all finish well ahead of yzerman in hart voting?


toob and evaunitzero, i'll respond to your other points later, when i have the time. for now, thanks for the stats clarifications.
I'm not sure I agree with this. I think there's a lot of other cases where a quick start may skew the numbers through much of the season to look good, they get early discussion, and that carries through the season, provided they don't completely fall off the map. In the end I think the final numbers end up being more indicative of voting than any hot streaks throughout the year.

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12-16-2012, 06:38 PM
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I'm not sure I agree with this. I think there's a lot of other cases where a quick start may skew the numbers through much of the season to look good, they get early discussion, and that carries through the season, provided they don't completely fall off the map. In the end I think the final numbers end up being more indicative of voting than any hot streaks throughout the year.
Or, alternatively, a slow start could get it in peoples' minds that a player "isn't up there".

See Steve Mason or Nicklas Lidstrom in 2009.

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12-16-2012, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i think, further to that point, there seems to be a trend in awards voting where a guy who peaked in the second half of the season gets more consideration than guys who were consistent all year, or who peaked in the first half. see: theodore vs. iginla, forsberg vs. naslund, thornton vs. jagr (not that i don't agree with at least two of those three decisions).

but what does is say about yzerman in '93 when he had the scorching hot end of the season, post-coffey trade, where he comes kind of close to catching up with lafontaine and oates, and still those two plus gilmour (who also had an extremely hot second half, after the andreychuk trade) all finish well ahead of yzerman in hart voting?
Maybe Carson needed to leave and Coffey needed to come over earlier? I dont think there's too much to be read into it except that maybe he didnt have the story of the other players and those guys and Lemieux had insane years themselves along with a lot of players in 93. It wasnt really Yzerman's best year though.

Honestly maybe it was just because at that point Yzerman was underrated? This article hints towards that (some quotes below).

"Steve Yzerman may be the best hockey player hardly anyone has heard of ...he's not even the most popular player on his own team."

"When hockey fans gather, they talk of the superstars - Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros. Somehow Yzerman's name doesn't come up."

"I think the fans, even here in Detroit, tend to take Stevie for granted," Red Wings Coach Bryan Murray says. "I think people have seen him skate and go quietly about his own business for so long that sometimes they forget he's even there."

"Steve leads the same way Gretzky leads," Coffey says. Neither guy says a whole lot. They don't talk just to be making noise. Nobody would doubt that Wayne Gretzky is a leader. It just kind of amazes me that Steve is taken so much for granted here in Detroit. This guy is a wonderful hockey player."

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12-16-2012, 10:06 PM
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Or, alternatively, a slow start could get it in peoples' minds that a player "isn't up there".

See Steve Mason or Nicklas Lidstrom in 2009.
How many times have we heard that Dominik Hasek's 1998 was the best goaltending season of all-time? Boy, did that one start off horribly.

And please stop bringing up Nicklas Lidstrom.

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12-16-2012, 10:52 PM
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"Steve leads the same way Gretzky leads," Coffey says. Neither guy says a whole lot. They don't talk just to be making noise.
I wonder if Coffey and Messier didn't get along in the room?

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Nobody would doubt that Wayne Gretzky is a leader. It just kind of amazes me that Steve is taken so much for granted here in Detroit. This guy is a wonderful hockey player."
It should be noted that Coffey had just come from LA and Gretzky, after previously playing in Pittsburgh with Lemieux, and before that Edmonton and Gretzky. He had a bit of experience with elite centers.

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12-16-2012, 11:22 PM
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Great thread, although one small point:

There's really zero chance that Messier gets the Hart in 1996 if Lemieux didn't play that year, IMO.

Jagr or Sakic likely would've won the scoring title and would have been the front-runners. Or maybe Lindros. I dunno, it was a little weird that Messier was #2 in Hart voting that year as it was.

Oftentimes the runner-up to the Hart is a weird pick, but that doesn't mean they would've definitely won if the first-place guy had never existed. Would Rod Langway really have snagged the Hart in 1982 if Gretzky hadn't existed? No, it probably would have gone to Mike Bossy posting the second-highest point total of all time. Same goes for Mike Liut in 1981. Etc.

Not taking away anything from Messier--I think I'd probably vote for him in this poll--but that 1996 season seems a tad overrated.

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12-16-2012, 11:26 PM
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So if Messier is going to get credit for shutting Trottier down in 84 (despite the stats) based on anecdotes
I think you're getting hung up on 1984 (particularly since all of Trottier's offense was from one game...), when he was credited with stopping Trottier in 1983 as well. Whereas with or without Yzerman in the lineup, Gretzky was putting a real hurt on the Red Wings in 1988.

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I wonder if Coffey and Messier didn't get along in the room?
That seems like an odd jump to a conclusion. Coffey credits Messier for demythicizing the Islanders' superiority in the 1984 Finals after bowling over Denis Potvin.

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12-16-2012, 11:31 PM
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Physicality isnt the same thing as playing defensively. A guy like Lindros was OK defensively but he was legitimately called the most complete player in his prime. I agree that physical play is a feather in Messier's cap, and unlike some who would seek to marginalize it, i think it is fairly big. But let's not conflate it with D.
of course. but my point was that messier's game was so defined by his physicality that, like scott stevens, it becomes almost impossible to talk about his defensive play without focusing on the physicality. all i'm saying is that it seems like jumping to conclusions to assume that writers discussing messier's defensive play were confusing physicality with defensive ability, as you suggest.


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So if Messier is going to get credit for shutting Trottier down in 84 (despite the stats) based on anecdotes, well why should we disregard the anecdotes that Yzerman got credit for shutting Gretzky down in 87 (supported by stats)?

Demers does seem to deserve a ton of credit, he was the one who made Yzerman captain after a talk with him despite others misgivings, and Yzerman noted that the captaincy made him take his play more seriously and it's no surprise that his best years followed after. And he seems to have got the credit with all the recognition. However, in 88 that team under Demers made an incredibly strong run after Yzerman's injury, and then next year key players in that run (Probert/Klima) were having off ice troubles, and Demers was losing the team. Yzerman still carried them that year as well.
i don't think i suggested that yzerman did or did not shut down gretzky. all i was saying is that the same team did just as well the next year, which might suggest that it was as much demers' coaching as yzerman's stellar play. i don't doubt that yzerman was great. whether it was messier in '84 great... well if it was, that's conn smythe great.


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Fedorov posted 24-27-51 in 45 games before the trade (pace for 45-50-95 on 84 GP) and 10-26-36 in 28 games (pace for 30-78-108) after the trade. His final line was 34-53-87 in 73, pace for 39-61-100 in 84GP.

Yzerman put up 21-43-64 in 31 games after the trade (pace for 57-117-174 in 84, which would win the Ross and assist title) compared to 37-36-73 in 53 (59-57-117 in 84) before the trade.

For completeness, Jimmy Carson posted 26-25-51 in 52 games (pace for 42-40-82 in 84) with Detroit, and 12-10-22 in 34 (pace for 30-25-55 in 84) with LA. So clearly Carson was the big beneficiary of the "timeshare" system - he finished with 38-37-73 in 86 (NHL record for GP!).



It's hard not to take into consideration that '84 Trottier outscored '87 Gretzky in the relevant series, and that '84 Trottier scored MORE againt Edmonton than other opponents while '87 Gretzky scored considerably less against Detroit.



Again, compare Trottier's finals numbers to the rest of his playoff. Messier didn't shut down Trottier any more than anyone else did. So unless you are suggesting Yzerman's 1987 performance against Gretzky was "otherwordly defense", don't perpetuate the idea that Trottier suddenly ran into a brick wall and stopped scoring. He already wasn't scoring.
we would do well to notice that outside of one single game where the islanders won, trottier scores one point in four oilers wins. that's a LOT lower than his playoff average. which is to say, you need four games to win a playoff series. messier neutralized trottier four times out of five.


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Bob Probert scored almost 30 goals in 87-88 (granted, he played much of the year with Yzerman, but he did score 21 points in 16 playoff games). Also, the Wings added John Chabot, who put up a respectable season. With a young Adam Oates filling in for Yzerman, and Chabot able to provide another center who wasn't an AHLer, the Wings suddenly could survive an injury to their star player and not see their season end in a last-place finish. Were Yzerman healthy that year, it's likely he is a finalist or even wins the Hart, and the Wings have a much better shot at beating the Oilers with one of the league's three best players.
right. the point is, if the team can add john chabot to fill yzerman's role and not miss a beat... well you connect the dots. john chabot, for the record, played his entire relatively brief career in the 80s and never scored more than 60 points in any season.

oates, klima, probert, they were all there in '87 too.


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Originally Posted by toob View Post
Maybe Carson needed to leave and Coffey needed to come over earlier? I dont think there's too much to be read into it except that maybe he didnt have the story of the other players and those guys and Lemieux had insane years themselves along with a lot of players in 93. It wasnt really Yzerman's best year though.

Honestly maybe it was just because at that point Yzerman was underrated? This article hints towards that (some quotes below).

"Steve Yzerman may be the best hockey player hardly anyone has heard of ...he's not even the most popular player on his own team."

"When hockey fans gather, they talk of the superstars - Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros. Somehow Yzerman's name doesn't come up."

"I think the fans, even here in Detroit, tend to take Stevie for granted," Red Wings Coach Bryan Murray says. "I think people have seen him skate and go quietly about his own business for so long that sometimes they forget he's even there."

"Steve leads the same way Gretzky leads," Coffey says. Neither guy says a whole lot. They don't talk just to be making noise. Nobody would doubt that Wayne Gretzky is a leader. It just kind of amazes me that Steve is taken so much for granted here in Detroit. This guy is a wonderful hockey player."
i can buy that. i mean, not that yzerman in '93 was as great as lafontaine, gilmour, or oates, but i can buy that he was starting to become underrated after fedorov came onto the scene. classic what you have done for me lately syndrome.

"best hockey player hardly anyone has heard of" is a little much though, considering that his face was on the upper deck box alongside gretzky, messier, and hull.

but all of this is okay. we all acknowledge that yzerman was a phenomenal player. and i acknowledge that his '93 season was excellent. but the suggestion several pages back that he should have been the second team all-star center would have seemed ridiculous at the time, and seems ridiculous in retrospect. i mean, the guy had a scorching hot end to the season, played in an original six market that was newly reinvigorated, was the captain of a marquee first place team. seems like if he was really as good as those other three centers (and yeah, maybe in most years stevie's '93 season would be a second team all-star year in many other years, but '93 was a very very special season for four other centers), all the pieces were in place for him to take that second team all-star spot. it's not like he was playing on a last place team in hartford.


Last edited by vadim sharifijanov: 12-16-2012 at 11:45 PM. Reason: typos
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12-16-2012, 11:35 PM
  #97
quoipourquoi
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Originally Posted by Dissonance View Post
Not taking away anything from Messier--I think I'd probably vote for him in this poll--but that 1996 season seems a tad overrated.
Not if you watched the Rangers in 1995-96 as much as some of us. The team was 40-21-13 (.628) with him and 1-6-1 (.188) without him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated, Februrary 12th, 1996
That is Zen. This is now. Messier is leading, the Rangers are following, and everyone else is getting out of the way. Just nine months ago New York looked spent, bullied out of the second round of the playoffs by the younger, tougher Flyers. Messier appeared on the verge of passing the torch as the NHL's best leader to Philadelphia captain Eric Lindros last spring, but before the 22-year-old Lindros dares to claim it, he must recover from second-degree burns this season. In the three Flyers-Rangers matches so far in '95-96, Messier had nine points, Lindros two. Says Messier: "I've told guys our record now doesn't mean anything. It's how we deal with a crisis—and we'll have one at some point—that makes champions."
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...7728/index.htm

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12-16-2012, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
we all acknowledge that yzerman was a phenomenal player.
I'll second that. It's not a popular opinion around these parts, but I have him in my Top-20 of all-time.

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12-17-2012, 12:53 AM
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I take Sakic over Yzerman, let alone Messier.

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12-17-2012, 01:28 AM
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I take Sakic over Yzerman, let alone Messier.
See...now you're just being silly

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