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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Yzerman vs Sakic

View Poll Results: Yzerman or Sakic
Stevie Y 105 45.45%
Sakic 126 54.55%
Voters: 231. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
02-26-2013, 09:23 AM
  #226
pdd
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Originally Posted by unknown33 View Post
So what you are doing to get those finishes is: Giving credit to Yzerman for games he missed, but NOT applying this to every other player in the league (comparing Yzerman's PPG to other players points)?
If you want, we can do a straight PPG comparison.

I thought it might be helpful to get an actual feel for what the GPG/APG/PPG meant in terms of actual points each year.

So here's other data:

Total points from 87-88 through 93-94:

3. Yzerman 814
4. Robitaille 719
5. Oates 702

Yzerman is over 100 points ahead of the likely second-place finisher in a Gretzky/Lemieux-free NHL over the span in Oates, his former second-line center.

Now to total PPG.

3. Yzerman 1.55 (127.3 per 82)
4. LaFontaine 1.37 (112.1 per 82)
5. Oates 1.37 (112.0 per 82)

Doing what I did in averaging his yearly PPG perhaps gives him extra credit because his two worst years in his prime were healthy, and two much better years were spent missing 16 and 26 games. But he was still be by far the most dominant offensive player of the time period other than Gretzky and Lemieux. And would actually have the trophies to show for it. Sakic was not the most dominant offensive player in the league no matter what stretch of his career you pull up. Best forward? Yeah, at times. But never most dominant offensive player. And it wasn't until after at least 1998 that he was playing defense the way Yzerman played it in his prime.


Last edited by pdd: 02-26-2013 at 09:47 AM.
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Old
02-26-2013, 09:37 AM
  #227
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
But he was still be by far the most dominant offensive player of the time period.
What? When?

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Old
02-26-2013, 09:46 AM
  #228
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Originally Posted by unknown33 View Post
What? When?
Oops. Forgot the "without Gretzky/Lemieux" part of the paragraph.

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02-26-2013, 09:54 AM
  #229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
I thought it might be helpful to get an actual feel for what the GPG/APG/PPG meant in terms of actual points each year.
But only for Yzerman, that way you could get away with saying he would have 4 Art Ross Trophies and two runner-up finishes if:

1. Gretzky and Lemieux didn't exist
2. Yzerman was healthy and no one else was
3. Yzerman was abnormally consistent, with his peaks of 155 and 137 points being spread out to turn seasons of 82/102/103/108/127 points into uniform 129 point seasons

Do you not see how far you've strayed from reality? Without Gretzky and Lemieux, Yzerman wins one Art Ross. Just one. Not four. His points-per-game finishes are as follows: 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9. His points finishes are: 3, 3, 4, 7, 7, 12, 34. And you're trying to give him an Art Ross in the year where he finished 34th.

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02-26-2013, 10:33 AM
  #230
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Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
But only for Yzerman, that way you could get away with saying he would have 4 Art Ross Trophies and two runner-up finishes if:

1. Gretzky and Lemieux didn't exist
2. Yzerman was healthy and no one else was
3. Yzerman was abnormally consistent, with his peaks of 155 and 137 points being spread out to turn seasons of 82/102/103/108/127 points into uniform 129 point seasons

Do you not see how far you've strayed from reality? Without Gretzky and Lemieux, Yzerman wins one Art Ross. Just one. Not four. His points-per-game finishes are as follows: 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9. His points finishes are: 3, 3, 4, 7, 7, 12, 34. And you're trying to give him an Art Ross in the year where he finished 34th.
I did specify that it was an average, and say "If he posts those numbers", only intending to give an idea of how good they were compared to the league (obviously removing Yzerman's 137-point finish in 1993).

I know it's not Sakic-related, but I've always wondered what Messier and Yzerman would have done in 90 (and after for Yzerman) had Carson not walked out on Edmonton and been shipped to Detroit for a stupid price.

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02-26-2013, 11:18 AM
  #231
Le Magnifique 66
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Joe Sakic for me was the better of the 2

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Old
02-26-2013, 08:14 PM
  #232
pdd
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Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
But only for Yzerman, that way you could get away with saying he would have 4 Art Ross Trophies and two runner-up finishes if:

1. Gretzky and Lemieux didn't exist
2. Yzerman was healthy and no one else was
3. Yzerman was abnormally consistent, with his peaks of 155 and 137 points being spread out to turn seasons of 82/102/103/108/127 points into uniform 129 point seasons

Do you not see how far you've strayed from reality? Without Gretzky and Lemieux, Yzerman wins one Art Ross. Just one. Not four. His points-per-game finishes are as follows: 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9. His points finishes are: 3, 3, 4, 7, 7, 12, 34. And you're trying to give him an Art Ross in the year where he finished 34th.
Here's a better way of trying to show what I wanted to:

From 1987-88 to 1993-94:

1. Lemieux 2.25
2. Gretzky 1.90
3. Yzerman 1.55
4. LaFontaine 1.37
5. Oates 1.37
6. Messier 1.33
7. Hull 1.31
8. Robitaille 1.28
9. Gilmour 1.23
10. Recchi 1.23
11. Sakic 1.22
12. Coffey 1.22
13. Hawerchuk 1.21
14. Neely 1.20
15. Nicholls 1.20
16. Fedorov 1.19

Notable:
Yzerman is as close to Gretzky as Gretzky is to Lemieux (0.35). Yzerman at 3rd is as far ahead (0.18) of 4th place (LaFontaine) as he is ahead of 16th place (Fedorov). Only Gilmour and Fedorov from the top 16 were better defensive forwards than Yzerman during this period of Yzerman's career; most listed were well behind him in that area as well.

So a some have put it on HFboards, Yzerman was by far the best "mortal" forward during his prime. Sakic cannot make the same claim. Many would argue that Sakic wasn't even the best forward on his team during his prime.

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02-26-2013, 10:22 PM
  #233
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Yzerman is as close to Gretzky as Gretzky is to Lemieux (0.35).

In absolute number maybe Lemieux is scoring about 18.5% more points than wayne.

And wayne 22.5% more than Yzerman.

Messier was not a better defensive forward ?

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02-26-2013, 10:30 PM
  #234
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Originally Posted by MadLuke View Post
In absolute number maybe Lemieux is scoring about 18.5% more points than wayne.

And wayne 22.5% more than Yzerman.

Messier was not a better defensive forward ?
Messier was at best equal. Hawerchuk more or less equal. Everyone else I haven't named was worse; in some cases worse to the degree that they were liabilities.

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Old
12-31-2015, 12:27 AM
  #235
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Both great players, both wear nș19 and both were the captains of the teams that had the best NHL rivalry ever (Colorado and Detroit). Yzerman was better defensive but I take Sakic, he was Mr.Clutch, to me Sakic is a top 10 player of all time.

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12-31-2015, 04:27 AM
  #236
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Epic thread-bump there, Danny46!

I've never seen this thread before, or even thought about this topic.

I'm not going to vote (if it's even still possible) because I have no preference between these two awesome players.

I'll make a few observations, though:

- I think Sakic's first 7 years, in Quebec, are a bit under-appreciated. I remember watching him when he was a 19-year-old rookie, and he was already great. How bad was the team he joined? His first 4 seasons, the win-percentages were:
.381
.194
.288
.325
They make Mario's 1st-year Penguins look like a dynasty team. It's not exactly easy to produce three straight years at a 100+ points pace on a team that bad, when you basically never have the lead in games. Has any other player in history ever had a 100 point season (as Sakic did in '90) on a team that bad?? I doubt it.

- I think Yzerman's later years are a bit over-appreciated because the Wings were a perennial powerhouse. Yzerman was still awesome in '97 and '98, and I really liked him in the '02 playoffs, but after age 30 he never really had a statistically great season (though you could argue about 1999-2000). He certainly never put up a season like Sakic did at age 37 when he had 100 points -- that was incredible. But anyway, I think Yzerman's truly elite seasons are from 1987 through 1994 (a dip in the work-stoppage season, and then a strong '95-'96, but by then he's clearly the 2nd-best forward on the Wings). Anyway, I think the argument that "Bowman reduced Yzerman's stats" is kind of bogus, because Bowman didn't prevent Lafleur from dominating scoring or Phil Housley from playing offense. In fact, I think Bowman's effect increases Yzerman's reputation, because if the Red Wings had been an average team from, say, 1995 to 2006, I think Yzerman's stats and performance would have been less than it actually is.

- Identifying Sakic's prime years is more difficult because his prime extends to a longer time frame. Really, 1989 to 2007 is his offensive prime... which is crazy. He put 17 years between 100 point seasons, which I guess no other player has ever done (Gretzky's is 16 from 1980 to 1996). And it's not like those are cheap seasons -- in the first (1990), Joe played on the lowest-scoring team in the NHL and one of the worst teams of all time (in the last 35 games, they went 3-31-1); in the second (2007), scoring was way lower than in his youth and he was the oldest guy on his team (and no Forsberg in sight).

- Having said the above, I also think Yzerman reached a level of domination circa 1987 to 1990 that Sakic probably never quite reached (though you could argue about 2000-01... but by then Joe played on one of the most stacked teams ever). What's remarkable about Yzerman's performance those three seasons is, as everyone notes, how average his supporting cast was (note I said "average", not "weak"). The Wings were actually a high-scoring team in 1987-88, and Yzerman was not the only good player, but they had only four 60-point players in a fairly high-scoring era... so getting 50 goals in 64 games was crazy. The next year, the Wings regressed to a .500 team, but Stevie went nuts with a ridiculous 155 points, the most-ever by anybody not named Wayne or Mario. The Wings regressed further in 1989-90, and fell to middle-of-the-pack in offense, but Yzerman scored 62 goals and 127 points -- 47 more than linemate Gallant and 70 more than the next guy.


So again, I have no preference between these two. Working through my points, above, it seems like I'm preferring Sakic by a hair... but I'm not sure.

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Old
12-31-2015, 06:06 AM
  #237
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panther View Post

- I think Sakic's first 7 years, in Quebec, are a bit under-appreciated.
If anything, Sakic's first 7 years are over-appreciated and there is a lot of revisionism.
He had some years in Quebec where his level of commitment to defense makes OV look like a Selke candidate heh.
I'm not sure Sakic even saw the inside of his own blueline for his first 3-4 seasons heh

I have always found Joe's defensive game to be overrated around here though and it's no secret that I take Yzerman over Joe.
Yzerman simply peaked higher offensively and higher defensively.
Yzerman had a greater arsenal of shots, was a better stickhandler, better faceoff man and was a better playmaker.
Yzerman was a player that could make things happen out of nothing and had you on the edge of your seat.
Sakic was more of an opportunist that counted on opposing players' mistakes. You could play a perfect game and Yzerman would still beat you.

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12-31-2015, 07:48 AM
  #238
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
If anything, Sakic's first 7 years are over-appreciated and there is a lot of revisionism.
He had some years in Quebec where his level of commitment to defense makes OV look like a Selke candidate heh.
Well, I'm speaking from the perspective that most people's claim to Sakic's 'greatness' stems from his Colorado career, but in fact I suspect his first five seasons are better than Yzerman's. As I said, from about Yzerman's 4th or 5th season, through about 1991 or 1992, Stevie hit a level of offensive domination that I don't think Sakic ever reached.

I'm not sure what you mean by "revisionism"; you'll have to explain that. Can you, in fact, find another player in history who got 100 points on a team as bad as Sakic's in 1990?

I'm not sure what you expect in terms of defensive play from a young forward on a team with 3 wins in 41 games. First-line forwards in their early 20s (esp. in the 80s/early 90s) are not normally defensively responsible. I would ask what your evidence is that Sakic was particularly poor defensively in Quebec, as that's not really how I remember it?

While we're on the subject, it's not like Yzerman was defensively great as a young player. When the Wings fell to the very bottom in 1985-86, Stevie had 42 points in 51 games, and was -24. His total on-ice goals for vs. goals-against is -2. At the same age, on an even worse team, with one NHL year less of experience, Sakic had 102 points... and was -40, but his total on-ice goals for vs. goals-against is +7.

To reiterate, I'm not arguing on behalf of Sakic. I have no particular dog in this fight. My initial thinking was to select Yzerman, but when I thought about it more and looked at some of the numbers, I began to doubt his superiority. I did watch both play though their whole careers. I have no preference, but my inclination is to say Sakic has a slight edge due to his longevity that and 37-year-old 100 point season, which is incredible.

I do agree with you that Yzerman could beat players by himself in his prime, which is something Sakic could rarely do. And I think Yzerman was a better playmaker, overall.

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12-31-2015, 02:20 PM
  #239
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This thread makes me miss Burnaby Joe, helluva player and probably my favorite of all time.

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12-31-2015, 02:22 PM
  #240
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The one thing that really helps Sakic is that much like Stevie, he really became a good & responsible defensive player in the second half of his career, but unlike Yzerman he was still able to produce alot offensively and have top numbers.

Having two working knees did help tho

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12-31-2015, 04:57 PM
  #241
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As one of the group who got to see the entirety of both of their careers, I'll always consider Yzerman the better talent. Give me Yzerman on his best day over Sakic on his, every time. But Joe had the type of career where you could hardly begrudge anyone for preferring him instead. Both greats among the all-time greatest.

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01-06-2016, 06:23 PM
  #242
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
As I said, from about Yzerman's 4th or 5th season, through about 1991 or 1992, Stevie hit a level of offensive domination that I don't think Sakic ever reached.
Absolutely, for about 7 years straight from 87-94, Yzerman was almost untouchable.

3rd in points behind only you know who and you know who and 100 points better than 4th place.
3rd in PpG with 1.50, behind the same two usual suspects with a decent gap on 4th place (1.34)
4th in goals behind only Hull, Mario and Robitaille
4th in GpG behind only Mario, Hull and Neely
3rd in shots behind only Bourque and Hull
#1 in SH goals with 41
#2 in even strength goals with 252, just one back of Hull's 253.

Sakic may have been able to produce a little better later in his career but he never came close to Yzerman's peak height, peak length or sustained peak.
Yzerman was still a point per game player from 94-02

And let's not forget Stevie's 22 seasons to Joe's 20ish

For me, Sakic makes up some ground producing a little better later on but never makes up for Stevie's peak/sustained peak length.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
As one of the group who got to see the entirety of both of their careers, I'll always consider Yzerman the better talent. Give me Yzerman on his best day over Sakic on his, every time. But Joe had the type of career where you could hardly begrudge anyone for preferring him instead. Both greats among the all-time greatest.
Pretty much yep.

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01-06-2016, 10:44 PM
  #243
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Sakic IMO was better. Careers are really close but at his best I just think Sakic was the better player.

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01-07-2016, 01:22 AM
  #244
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Yzerman. You could divide his career in two, and he'd give you two hall of famers.

First, you have the Yzerman of 1983-1994. Offensively, he took a back seat to no one but Gretzky and Lemieux. As Rhiessan said, for a good stretch, his PPG was third only behind those two. He passed the eye test, and he also made the back of his hockey card look good. Really good. 470 goals and 1120 points up to age 29.

Then there's the Yzerman of 1994-2006. Captain of 3 cups and a perennial powerhouse for every single year. A Conn Smythe, a Selke, a perennial Selke-type player, and still 630 points at the heart of the dead puck era. That's essentially Jonathan Toews of today (and Toews still has 100 points less).

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01-07-2016, 01:30 AM
  #245
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Sakic IMO was better. Careers are really close but at his best I just think Sakic was the better player.
Please explain to me how Sakic was ever as good as Stevie was in 1989 or for a straight 7 year stretch like Yzerman from 87-94?

Sorry, as good as Joe was, Yzerman was better at his best and better longer at that level.

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01-07-2016, 02:21 AM
  #246
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Please explain to me how Sakic was ever as good as Stevie was in 1989 or for a straight 7 year stretch like Yzerman from 87-94?

Sorry, as good as Joe was, Yzerman was better at his best and better longer at that level.
Given the fact that Yzerman didn't really provide anything defensively from 87-94, I do think there's an argument that Sakic from 1999-2004 was at least as good. Each with their big years (Yzerman 1988-89, Sakic 2000-01).

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01-07-2016, 03:06 AM
  #247
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Given the fact that Yzerman didn't really provide anything defensively from 87-94,
And that is based on what exactly? I would be rather interested in these "facts" you refer to?
Because leading the League in SH goals during that time span seems to indicate heavy minutes killing penalties and he was regularly double shifted as the checking line center playing a checking role. (Going head to head with Gretzky in the '87 PO's sound familiar at all?)
Stevie was asked to carry the offense so he did and when he was asked to play defense he did, even back then.

And I'll tell ya, Stevie was many times better defensively in his first 6-7 years than Sakic was in his, MANY TIMES!

Quote:
I do think there's an argument that Sakic from 1999-2004 was at least as good. Each with their big years (Yzerman 1988-89, Sakic 2000-01).
How do you figure that 5 years is equal to 7 and there is no freaking way that Sakic's 00/01 is on par with Yzerman's 88/89. More like on par with Yzerman's 89/90 or 92/93 but NOT 88/89.

Yzerman went from one of THE most dangerous offensive players in the League behind only 99 and 66 in the first half of his career to one of the best defensive players and shut down centers in the League in the second half.

Sakic was a defensively inept offense only player for most of the first half of his career and learned to be defensively responsible for the second half.
No more than that though and at a level that wasn't much higher than what Yzerman was already playing by '87.

You can learn to be more defensively responsible but you don't learn to become a top shut-down guy all but overnight like Stevie did when Bowman asked it of him without having a very high level of defensive awareness and instinct already.

Stevie gets a bad rep for supposedly not playing D in the 80's and that's horse****
I watched him play and compared to other top offensive players like Gretzky, Lemieux, Lucky Luc, Hull, LaFontaine and Oates, Yzerman played a noticably higher level of defense and put more effort in defensively than any I just named.

End of the day Yzerman was quite simply better offensively at his best and better defensively at his best than Sakic was.

Sakic was very good offensively throughout his career but only defensively responsible for a little more than half of it.
How one can even bring up defensive play as a pro for Sakic in this argument is beyond me when Sakic was so much poorer defensively for the first 1/3 of his career than Yzerman ever was.

I know the edge tends to go to Sakic around here but it's the only place it happens.

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01-07-2016, 03:53 AM
  #248
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
And that is based on what exactly? I would be rather interested in these "facts" you refer to?
Because leading the League in SH goals during that time span seems to indicate heavy minutes killing penalties and he was regularly double shifted as the checking line center playing a checking role. (Going head to head with Gretzky in the '87 PO's sound familiar at all?)
Stevie was asked to carry the offense so he did and when he was asked to play defense he did, even back then.

And I'll tell ya, Stevie was many times better defensively in his first 6-7 years than Sakic was in his, MANY TIMES!
Hard to counter when 'facts' like this are presented.

Seriously though, is it not pretty well accepted that Yzerman was lacking a solid two-way game in his early years most likely out of the necessity to carry his team's offense?

IMO, both players were as close to each other as any other two players you could name who played 20 plus years. Trying to pick one over the other is anything but clear and is almost a disservice to two all-time greats as it only brings up a discussion on the weaker part of their games and careers.

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Old
01-07-2016, 05:39 AM
  #249
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It's as close to a perfect tie as you'll ever get, hence I voted for the one I expected to come off as the wimp (Sakic), whom I didn't really mean to vote for.

There's this mirrorlike quality and synchronicity at work. Both franchise captains on weaklings-to-turn-powerhouses, with the same number, their respective teams finding their groove around the same time and running into one another's needle oh ever-so-sweetly.

Both very good-great at everything. Both pretty fast skaters even as old men. Both having an all-time-great Euro center (who could/should be and often is compared with/to the rivalling one) on their team.

The thing I find, in retrospect, so charming about Yzerman/Fedorov, especially in comparison with Sakic/Forsberg and other stars and galactic combos of the '90s, is that in terms of reg season and sometimes maybe even playoff numbers, they looked/look so ordinary, but whenever they got competitive, they LOOKED better than ANYONE they faced, beating them aside. Until the Stars perfected it themselves, at least to me, for a brief, there was this "no matter how good you look/are, when we want to, we'll get better -- and you know just when we want to" aura around Yzerman/Fedorov.

Maybe it's just Stockholm syndrome of an often-so-sad Avs fan, but I truly dig Yzerman (and Fedorov) because they prove how irrational and misleading personal stats may be.

The way it looks now, it's "Yzerman was really, really good even in the late nineties, but, given the numbers, Sakic was just better," while, in fact, in spite of the numbers, it may have been the other way around.

(can't speak for anything that happened prior to '93)

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01-07-2016, 06:30 AM
  #250
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Hard to counter when 'facts' like this are presented.

Seriously though, is it not pretty well accepted that Yzerman was lacking a solid two-way game in his early years most likely out of the necessity to carry his team's offense?
BIG difference between being asked to carry a teams offense resulting in getting caught up ice at times and a lack of a solid two-way game.
Yzerman proved many times that he was more than just capable of playing defense.
AGAIN, he was double shifted in just such a role all the time and he was a superb penalty killer.

You are actually describing Sakic there. He was the one that was lacking greatly a two-way game.

Like I said, you don't just flip a switch and become as good defensively as Yzerman did without a lot of knowledge, instinct and prior experience.

All you guys keep saying is that it was well accepted and that's how it was but it wasn't.
Not a single counter to his double shifting as the checking center, not a single counter to his superior penalty killing, not a single counter to his role one on one vs Gretzky in 87, not a single counter as to how he was able to flip the switch and be so good at it so quickly.
You know what these are called? They are called facts, something that no one has presented contrary to and is certainly more factual than "it's accepted that he lacked a two-way game".

No, sorry, it's not that he didn't have one, it's that he wasn't asked to use it, he was required not to in fact.
Joe is the one that didn't have one for quite a while in the beginning.

Quote:
IMO, both players were as close to each other as any other two players you could name who played 20 plus years. Trying to pick one over the other is anything but clear and is almost a disservice to two all-time greats as it only brings up a discussion on the weaker part of their games and careers.
Well...Joe didn't play 20 plus years. He played 20 and barely that with only 59 games played over his final 2 seasons.
Yzerman played almost 140 more games, over 160 more including PO games.

As far as going negative, I made a real effort in getting from going that way in my recent response in post #242
Devil went negative in his response so I countered in like manner.


Last edited by Rhiessan71: 01-07-2016 at 06:38 AM.
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