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Who is the 5th best NHL player of all time?

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Old
02-25-2013, 03:44 PM
  #201
Epsilon
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
If you remove Gretzky and Lemieux from existence, I would argue Yzerman wins 1988
Way too much conjecture there to argue he beats out Fuhr.

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and 1989,
Agreed.

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is a finalist in 1990
Based on what exactly? He finished 7th in voting and Lemieux didn't place. Gretzky wasn't even a finalist. Messier, Bourque, and Hull (none of whom benefited from Wayne or Mario) all finished way ahead of Yzerman in voting. This is classic Yzerman fanboy mythology.

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and 1991,
The year he didn't even get a 3rd place vote for the Hart? Come on now. And again, Lemieux didn't even place in the voting - how would his and Gretzky's absences allow Yzerman to jump Hull, Belfour, and Bourque? Let alone all the other players that got votes while he didn't.

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and possibly wins 1993 as well.
Based on two 3rd place votes in a year Gretzky barely even played? Does he magically jump all of Gilmour, Lafontaine, Oates, Selanne, Turgeon, and Chelios? You are being ridiculous here and offering nothing of substance to support these wild assertions.

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02-25-2013, 04:26 PM
  #202
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Originally Posted by tony d View Post
Jean Beliveau followed closely by Doug Harvey, Stan Mikita and Ray Bourque.
Mikita over Hull?

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02-25-2013, 09:22 PM
  #203
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Originally Posted by Fred Taylor View Post
Mikita over Hull?
http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com...obby-hull.html

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02-25-2013, 09:51 PM
  #204
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Originally Posted by Epsilon View Post
Way too much conjecture there to argue he beats out Fuhr.
Fuhr was a finalist for two reasons; Gretzky's injury and the fact that he won so many games. His W total is also why he got the Vezina. Without Gretzky, Fuhr is neither a Hart finalist nor a Vezina winner.

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Based on what exactly? He finished 7th in voting and Lemieux didn't place. Gretzky wasn't even a finalist. Messier, Bourque, and Hull (none of whom benefited from Wayne or Mario) all finished way ahead of Yzerman in voting. This is classic Yzerman fanboy mythology.
Yzerman was only two points behind Messier for the Alternate Reality Art Ross, and would have been the reigning Hart trophy winner.

Think about the way people perceive Crosby. If Crosby had not been injured, and had completed full seasons but his PPG dropped to levels around 100-105 points, would he be the "consensus" best player the way he is now?

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The year he didn't even get a 3rd place vote for the Hart? Come on now. And again, Lemieux didn't even place in the voting - how would his and Gretzky's absences allow Yzerman to jump Hull, Belfour, and Bourque? Let alone all the other players that got votes while he didn't.
Lemieux scored 45 points in 26 games. I don't know the exact number, but I know he played time with Recchi; I have to believe that Recchi could lose six points (and John Cullen three points) from Lemieux's absence. That bumps Yzerman up to fourth in coring, behind only Hull, Oates, and Sakic. Yzerman had three more goals than Sakic, who had one more point.

It depends largely on how the Gretzky voters would vote in that situation. One also wonders if Oates steals votes from Hull at that point, if they are the top two instead of 2 and 3. IMHO Oates was more deserving and the better player.

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Based on two 3rd place votes in a year Gretzky barely even played? Does he magically jump all of Gilmour, Lafontaine, Oates, Selanne, Turgeon, and Chelios? You are being ridiculous here and offering nothing of substance to support these wild assertions.
In 1992-93, I think if Lemieux were gone the other great offensive forwards (Yzerman, LaFontaine, Oates, Selanne, Turgeon) all get in on the action, and I'm not certain Gilmour would have received the same number of Hart votes as he did. I think it becomes a feeding frenzy, and as Yzerman is near the top he would have a good chance at coming out on top; better than what he had with Lemieux healthy.

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02-25-2013, 10:41 PM
  #205
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Originally Posted by Imlach a cup View Post
I'll throw my chips for Hasek as number 5

If not him Maurice Richard or Eddie Shore
This.

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02-25-2013, 11:31 PM
  #206
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Fuhr was a finalist for two reasons; Gretzky's injury and the fact that he won so many games. His W total is also why he got the Vezina. Without Gretzky, Fuhr is neither a Hart finalist nor a Vezina winner.



Yzerman was only two points behind Messier for the Alternate Reality Art Ross, and would have been the reigning Hart trophy winner.

Think about the way people perceive Crosby. If Crosby had not been injured, and had completed full seasons but his PPG dropped to levels around 100-105 points, would he be the "consensus" best player the way he is now?



Lemieux scored 45 points in 26 games. I don't know the exact number, but I know he played time with Recchi; I have to believe that Recchi could lose six points (and John Cullen three points) from Lemieux's absence. That bumps Yzerman up to fourth in coring, behind only Hull, Oates, and Sakic. Yzerman had three more goals than Sakic, who had one more point.

It depends largely on how the Gretzky voters would vote in that situation. One also wonders if Oates steals votes from Hull at that point, if they are the top two instead of 2 and 3. IMHO Oates was more deserving and the better player.



In 1992-93, I think if Lemieux were gone the other great offensive forwards (Yzerman, LaFontaine, Oates, Selanne, Turgeon) all get in on the action, and I'm not certain Gilmour would have received the same number of Hart votes as he did. I think it becomes a feeding frenzy, and as Yzerman is near the top he would have a good chance at coming out on top; better than what he had with Lemieux healthy.
What am I even reading....


So you're basically saying that:
-Fuhr is trash without Gretzky, hall of fame goalie is not even close to touching a vezina without Gretzky....

-Messier who wins an art ross, is known as the #1 of the Oilers (since y'know, no shadow of Gretzky to hide behind since Gretzky doesn't exist), and the one to lead the Oilers to the cup would lose to Yzerman based on reputation points? By that standard Crosby should have beaten Henrik Sedin for the hart a little while ago, but he didn't. We're also assuming that Bourque didn't have a career year (and this is Raymond Bourque, top 5 defenseman all time).

-We assume that the absence of Lemieux and the dropping in standings of Recchi magically propels Yzerman above three completely unrelated players, including an 86 goal Brett Hull.... . Also you're saying that Yzerman wins an undeserved Hart on the basis that Hull and Oates split votes (but... they would be splitting 1st and 2nd place votes, and the third place (lets assume Sakic doesn't exist for now) votes would go to Yzerman....).

-In 93, we're giving the Hart to yzerman on blind luck and reputation again...


So basically what you're saying is that if Yzerman gets a crapton of lucky breaks and "reputation wins" then he wins 5 total hart trophies. Also we're saying that competing voters will somehow degrade hart voting for each player in a duo (Hull and Oates), even though such things as 1st and 2nd place votes exist....

Where is the Hart reputation win coming from anyways? Crosby has only one Hart, and he has lost to the likes of Henrik Sedin.... even though everybody fawns over him as the best player. Gretzky and Mario both dominated in terms of points every year they won the Hart.

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02-26-2013, 12:38 AM
  #207
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Originally Posted by Wrath View Post
What am I even reading....


So you're basically saying that:
-Fuhr is trash without Gretzky, hall of fame goalie is not even close to touching a vezina without Gretzky....
Fuhr doesn't win the 1988 Vezina without 40 wins. He's 13th in save percentage among goalies who played 40+ games. He tied for the league lead in shutouts (the other big "award winner") with Glen Hanlon and Clint Malarchuk, both of whom had better sv%. Actually, GP is probably more accurate than wins; gathering wins is simply a byproduct of having played many games. Fuhr never played more than 48 until 87-88, then he plays 75 (Moog is gone) and suddenly he's a Vezina winner? No.

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-Messier who wins an art ross, is known as the #1 of the Oilers (since y'know, no shadow of Gretzky to hide behind since Gretzky doesn't exist), and the one to lead the Oilers to the cup would lose to Yzerman based on reputation points?
You must think little of Gretzky if you think the Oilers are still winning those cups without him. And the 90 Cup happened due to Mess, but also due to key contributions from Joe Murphy, Petr Klima, and Adam Graves. That was the return for Jimmy Carson at the beginning of the season. And Carson, of course, was Gretzky's ransom. No Cups in Edmonton without Gretzky. Philly would have been the 80s dynasty if there was one.

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By that standard Crosby should have beaten Henrik Sedin for the hart a little while ago, but he didn't. We're also assuming that Bourque didn't have a career year (and this is Raymond Bourque, top 5 defenseman all time).
Did you miss the part where I said "finalist"?

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-We assume that the absence of Lemieux and the dropping in standings of Recchi magically propels Yzerman above three completely unrelated players, including an 86 goal Brett Hull.... . Also you're saying that Yzerman wins an undeserved Hart on the basis that Hull and Oates split votes (but... they would be splitting 1st and 2nd place votes, and the third place (lets assume Sakic doesn't exist for now) votes would go to Yzerman....).
Again, "finalist".

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-In 93, we're giving the Hart to yzerman on blind luck and reputation again...
No, I figured that of the top three non-Lemieux offensive forwards he had the best all-around game and the weakest linemates. Against Gilmour, it's basically a matter of do you want a little more offense or a little more defense?

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So basically what you're saying is that if Yzerman gets a crapton of lucky breaks and "reputation wins" then he wins 5 total hart trophies. Also we're saying that competing voters will somehow degrade hart voting for each player in a duo (Hull and Oates), even though such things as 1st and 2nd place votes exist...
I said two wins, possibly three.

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Where is the Hart reputation win coming from anyways? Crosby has only one Hart, and he has lost to the likes of Henrik Sedin.... even though everybody fawns over him as the best player. Gretzky and Mario both dominated in terms of points every year they won the Hart.
If an award choice comes down to two players and is very close, voters will often "pick the winner" if they don't have a strong preference. It's also true that voters tend to tire of voting for the same person/people for the same awards every year. This may explain why Gretzky won the Art Ross in 1993-94 and received zero Hart votes. Reputation plays a factor.

Crosby, despite the love he gets on HF, has never established himself as the undisputed best player. And he certainly hadn't done that by 2010, when he lost the Hart to Sedin. He tied Ovechkin in points and scored one more goal, but played nine more games. All of this Crosby loving is based on half-seasons at paces he hasn't even come CLOSE to sustaining in a full year.

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02-26-2013, 05:06 PM
  #208
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I thought the answer was Bobby Hull?

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02-26-2013, 06:32 PM
  #209
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I go with Maurice Richard at fifth. There wasnt a player before or since that demonstrated the same pure determination from centre to the net, crashing through everything & everyone, leaving a path of destruction in his wake. Raw and right in your face when he needed to be with a delightfully nasty touch of psycho thrown in for good measure. Somethin pretty "special" about a guy who clocks a Ref. Single handedly moves a piano up a flight of stairs in the afternoon, goes out and scores a Hat Trick that night. Im likin The Rocket. My kinda guy. Incendiary.

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02-26-2013, 06:51 PM
  #210
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I go with Maurice Richard at fifth. There wasnt a player before or since that demonstrated the same pure determination from centre to the net, crashing through everything & everyone, leaving a path of destruction in his wake. Raw and right in your face when he needed to be with a delightfully nasty touch of psycho thrown in for good measure. Somethin pretty "special" about a guy who clocks a Ref. Single handedly moves a piano up a flight of stairs in the afternoon, goes out and scores a Hat Trick that night. Im likin The Rocket. My kinda guy. Incendiary.
That's all well and good, but what he actually accomplished on the ice shouldn't get him in the top-5 discussion. He's actually outside my top-10.


Howe-Gretzky-Orr
Lemieux
Bourque-Harvey-Hull-Beliveau
Hasek-Roy-Shore-Mikita-Lidstrom


After that, you're looking at Richard-Morenz-Jagr-Kelly

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02-26-2013, 06:59 PM
  #211
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I saw an article the other day about the top five players and someone had Tretiak. I was thinking in terms of just the NHL though. Sorry, another one of these threads but a friend of mine were having a childish fight about it . Top four in no order are the obvious ones, Gretz, Mario, Orr, Howe. That fifth slot to me seems TBD.
Easy answer for me is Hasek. Most dominating goalie ever.

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02-26-2013, 07:05 PM
  #212
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That's all well and good, but what he actually accomplished on the ice shouldn't get him in the top-5 discussion. He's actually outside my top-10.

Howe-Gretzky-Orr
Lemieux
Bourque-Harvey-Hull-Beliveau
Hasek-Roy-Shore-Mikita-Lidstrom

After that, you're looking at Richard-Morenz-Jagr-Kelly
So Howe-Gretzky-Orr are tied for 1st? Or is your Top 5 All Time;

Howe
Gretzky
Orr
M. Lemieux
Ray Bourque?

Thats an interesting ranking, Bourque at 5th displacing Beliveau, Hull et al. I have of course seen many a list that like yours doesnt include Maurice Richard in even their Top 10's. Im OK with that actually. Fact is a lot of its subjective to some extent as each player brings his own unique talents pretty much from 1-25 or even 50. A Top 5 or 10, well, gets pretty hard to rate one over the other. I never saw The Rocket play, in full flight, but The Legend, the accomplishments, reading the contemporaneous media reports, books, watching old film, absolutely a piece of work who greatly impressed me. I grew up in the 60's watching Hull, Beliveau etc, and as great as they were, I dont think as seminal, as important, as explosive as Maurice Richard.

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02-26-2013, 08:06 PM
  #213
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I could easily see an argument for Bourque in 5th. I wouldn't make it personally, but he's as reasonable a name as many that have been suggested.

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02-26-2013, 08:11 PM
  #214
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Roy or Brodeur

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02-26-2013, 08:21 PM
  #215
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I have Bobby Hull at 5th, but having Bourque as 5th isn't an absurd notion to me at all. Harvey is usually in the tier of consideration for 5th all time, and Bourque is pretty much right up there with Harvey fighting for 2nd all time for defensemen.


I have Bobby at 5th simply because he was so damn talented. Beliveau was more complete, better leader, etc. But to me Hulls talent was simply that good. People would buy tickets to watch Bobby, they'd be waiting after games for his autograph, etc.

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02-26-2013, 08:23 PM
  #216
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I could easily see an argument for Bourque in 5th. I wouldn't make it personally, but he's as reasonable a name as many that have been suggested.
Bourque is 100% reasonable as a 5th-place selection. He, like most of the other name being brought up, was one of the best players at his position for basically his entire career, and in his prime he completely dominated the position.

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02-26-2013, 09:37 PM
  #217
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I could easily see an argument for Bourque in 5th...
Yes absolutely, and a strong case indeed. Hell of a player.

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02-27-2013, 12:13 AM
  #218
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I'm starting to think I've been undervaluing Jagr, and over valuing Richard. I used to have him quite a bit above Jagr, and that's getting harder and harder to rationalize when I really look at the numbers. Not saying Jagr should be 5th, I'm having a hard time seeing any arguments to have Richard above him.

My choice for 5th is Harvey, Bourque, or maybe Hasek, though if its NHL only I'd probably have Hasek around 7th or 8th. His international career is a big part of his resume, IMO.

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02-27-2013, 12:19 AM
  #219
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I'm starting to think I've been undervaluing Jagr, and over valuing Richard. I used to have him quite a bit above Jagr, and that's getting harder and harder to rationalize when I really look at the numbers. Not saying Jagr should be 5th, I'm having a hard time seeing any arguments to have Richard above him.

My choice for 5th is Harvey, Bourque, or maybe Hasek, though if its NHL only I'd probably have Hasek around 7th or 8th. His international career is a big part of his resume, IMO.
The arguments are greater longevity and consistency as an elite player in the regular season, and much better playoff record.

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02-27-2013, 12:40 AM
  #220
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The arguments are greater longevity and consistency as an elite player in the regular season, and much better playoff record.
If you don't count Richard's advantage of having played during the weakened WWII NHL and you start with the 1945-46 season, then Richard and Jagr both have a 12-year span from the first all-star selection until the last one; assuming Jagr is not selected again as he is still active.

If you include the three war-weakened years, Richard's span grows to 14 years. Given that he never led in points and only once even led in points per game, it's hard to argue that his minor edge in longevity as an elite player trumps Jagr's bucketful of scoring titles. The argument, of course, will start with "Richard was a mean SOB, and a power forward". But Jagr was much bigger and stronger, and ultimately would be the guy with the puck if the two fought for it.

Montreal legends of Richard should not trump actual fact involving Richard.

Jagr>Richard.

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02-27-2013, 12:58 AM
  #221
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If you don't count Richard's advantage of having played during the weakened WWII NHL and you start with the 1945-46 season, then Richard and Jagr both have a 12-year span from the first all-star selection until the last one; assuming Jagr is not selected again as he is still active.
Okay, maybe not longevity, but definitely consistency.

1943-44 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1944-45 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1945-46 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1946-47 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1947-48 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1948-49 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1949-50 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1950-51 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1951-52 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1952-53 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1953-54 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1954-55 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1955-56 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1956-57 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)

Other than Richard's rookie year, the only guy to ever beat him out for a 1st Team was Gordie Howe, and as you can see, Richard beat out Gordie Howe a few times.

Compare to Jagr:

1994-95 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1995-96 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1996-97 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1997-98 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1998-99 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1999-00 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
2000-01 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
2005-06 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)

Jagr had a really nice bounceback year in 2005-06, but Richard never had dead years like Jagr's time in Washington. Richard also never lost out a 1st team to a guy like Teemu Selanne as Jagr did, and yes, Richard certainly faced competition like that in Bernard Geoffrion and Andy Bathgate.

Quote:
If you include the three war-weakened years, Richard's span grows to 14 years. Given that he never led in points and only once even led in points per game, it's hard to argue that his minor edge in longevity as an elite player trumps Jagr's bucketful of scoring titles. The argument, of course, will start with "Richard was a mean SOB, and a power forward". But Jagr was much bigger and stronger, and ultimately would be the guy with the puck if the two fought for it.

Montreal legends of Richard should not trump actual fact involving Richard.

Jagr>Richard.
Meh, Jagr tied for the scoring lead in 1994-95 with fewer PPG than Lindros, and everyone knows he was gifted the 2000-01 title by Lemieux's return. I don't find those seasons any more impressive than some of Richard's second place points finishes while being a superior goal scorer (and he has 5 of them).

So it comes down to whether you prefer Jagr's 3 year regular season peak (1997-98 to 1999-2000), where he did hit a level Richard never did (at least in the regular season), or if you prefer Richard's greater consistency as an elite player and superior playoff record. I take Richard's record without a second thought.

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02-27-2013, 01:48 AM
  #222
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Okay, maybe not longevity, but definitely consistency.

1943-44 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1944-45 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1945-46 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1946-47 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1947-48 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1948-49 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1949-50 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1950-51 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1951-52 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1952-53 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1953-54 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1954-55 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1955-56 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1956-57 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)

Other than Richard's rookie year, the only guy to ever beat him out for a 1st Team was Gordie Howe, and as you can see, Richard beat out Gordie Howe a few times.
I've said before that more than a few of those all-star placements look pretty fishy.

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02-27-2013, 01:52 AM
  #223
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I've said before that more than a few of those all-star placements look pretty fishy.
I don't think any of them are particularly fishy. 1949 was a weak 1st Team, but that was just a poor year for RWs in general, and unless I'm missing someone, the leading RW was Johnny Peirson with 43 points, only 5 points ahead of Richard who was the 1st Teamer.

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02-27-2013, 02:38 AM
  #224
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Meh, Jagr tied for the scoring lead in 1994-95 with fewer PPG than Lindros, and everyone knows he was gifted the 2000-01 title by Lemieux's return. I don't find those seasons any more impressive than some of Richard's second place points finishes while being a superior goal scorer (and he has 5 of them).

So it comes down to whether you prefer Jagr's 3 year regular season peak (1997-98 to 1999-2000), where he did hit a level Richard never did (at least in the regular season), or if you prefer Richard's greater consistency as an elite player and superior playoff record. I take Richard's record without a second thought.
Richard seems to have had some off years too, it's just that with a much smaller talent pool and limited opportunity for other players, that can be obscured. With only 18 first line forwards, finishing in the middle of the pack among first liners still often meant a top ten finish. If Jagr was only going up against Canadians, he would have finished top 10 in points in '03 & '04 as well, which would mean he was at top 10 level from '94-'07, or 14 straight years.

Of course Richard was a legendary playoff performer, but he still had some duds as well (35 points in 57 PO games, during 6 consecutive POs at ages 27-32). Maybe he was injured during some of those, but then about the only time Jagr didn't have great numbers in the playoffs were when he was injured (e.g. '01 & '06 vs. the Devils) or outside his prime (e.g. '91) or both (2012).

It sounds like you are discounting a couple of Jagr's Rosses, but I don't think Jagr won 5 Rosses, because he was lucky:

- In '95, it's questionable whether Lindros would have stayed healthy enough in a full season to perhaps win the Ross, given that he played 46/48 games that year, but never played more than 73 games in a season from '93-'02.

- In '96, Lemieux won the Ross, but Jagr finished 2nd by 29 points and led the league in ES points by ~20 points. BTW, with 10 games left in the season, Lemieux held a 139-138 lead.

- In '97, injury was the main factor that prevented Jagr from giving Lemieux a race to the wire. Before Jagr was injured, Lemieux held a 91-87 lead with 25 games left.

- In '02, injury again cost him a shot at battling for the Ross.

- In '05, the lockout prevented him a prime chance, as Nylander & Straka had already been acquired by what would have been the start of the '05 season, and I can't think of any player with a better chance at the Ross than Jagr that season.

- In '06, it being an Olympic year may have factored into the race, and Thornton's two extra games available as a result of the trade certainly seem to have been.

So one could argue that Jagr was fortunate to win 5 Rosses, but it's hard to give him credit for any less than 4, and considering that he lost one to a prime Lemieux, one to questionable circumstances (2006) and chances at others due to lockout (2005) or injury (1997 & 2002), it seems to me that he deserved at least 5.

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02-27-2013, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
Richard seems to have had some off years too, it's just that with a much smaller talent pool and limited opportunity for other players, that can be obscured. With only 18 first line forwards, finishing in the middle of the pack among first liners still often meant a top ten finish. If Jagr was only going up against Canadians, he would have finished top 10 in points in '03 & '04 as well, which would mean he was at top 10 level from '94-'07, or 14 straight years.
Yes, I know the talent pool was smaller back then, but it was the golden era of right wings, and Richard dominated all of them but Howe. You don't take as dim a view of Jagr's seasons in Washington as I do (I see him as compiling worthless points and basically destroying team chemistry), so not surprised we differ in opinion here.

Quote:
Of course Richard was a legendary playoff performer, but he still had some duds as well (35 points in 57 PO games, during 6 consecutive POs at ages 27-32). Maybe he was injured during some of those, but then about the only time Jagr didn't have great numbers in the playoffs were when he was injured (e.g. '01 & '06 vs. the Devils) or outside his prime (e.g. '91) or both (2012).
35 points in 57 games isn't great, but wasn't exactly awful back then, and Richard did lead the playoffs in goals and points at the age of 29 in 1951. 1949 and 1950 are his only bad playoffs, it looks like, and I'm not sure if there was an injury involved or not. Those two years are such outliers compared to the rest of Richard's playoffs though. Regardless, Richard leads all O6 players in playoff goals per game by a wide margin, even if you ignore the war years.

Quote:
It sounds like you are discounting a couple of Jagr's Rosses, but I don't think Jagr won 5 Rosses, because he was lucky:

- In '95, it's questionable whether Lindros would have stayed healthy enough in a full season to perhaps win the Ross, given that he played 46/48 games that year, but never played more than 73 games in a season from '93-'02.

- In '96, Lemieux won the Ross, but Jagr finished 2nd by 29 points and led the league in ES points by ~20 points. BTW, with 10 games left in the season, Lemieux held a 139-138 lead.

- In '97, injury was the main factor that prevented Jagr from giving Lemieux a race to the wire. Before Jagr was injured, Lemieux held a 91-87 lead with 25 games left.

- In '02, injury again cost him a shot at battling for the Ross.

- In '05, the lockout prevented him a prime chance, as Nylander & Straka had already been acquired by what would have been the start of the '05 season, and I can't think of any player with a better chance at the Ross than Jagr that season.

- In '06, it being an Olympic year may have factored into the race, and Thornton's two extra games available as a result of the trade certainly seem to have been.

So one could argue that Jagr was fortunate to win 5 Rosses, but it's hard to give him credit for any less than 4, and considering that he lost one to a prime Lemieux, one to questionable circumstances (2006) and chances at others due to lockout (2005) or injury (1997 & 2002), it seems to me that he deserved at least 5.
I'm not discounting Jagr's Rosses, I just don't believe in counting Art Rosses to determine how good a player is. I also don't think a second place finish in one year is necessarily worse than a first place finish in another.

Let's look at Richard's 2nd place finishes:

1945: 2nd to linemate Lach during a war year. Not a strong 2nd
1947: lost the Art Ross by 1 point to Max Bentley, who played for a Chicago team that was known to be quite liberal about giving out assists in the late 40s.
1951: 2nd to peak Gordie Howe
1954: 2nd to peak Gordie Howe
1955: Was leading the Art Ross race before getting suspended for the last 3 games of the year. Geoffrion passed him on the last game of the season, finishing 1 point ahead of Richard.

Richard's stupidity in getting suspended aside, I just don't see how Jagr's 1995 or 2001 was any better than Richard's 1947, 1951, 1954, or 1955.

The case for Jagr over Richard rests entirely on what he did from 1997-98 to 1999-00.

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