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Round 2, Vote 1 (HFNYR Top NYR Defensemen)

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Old
06-19-2013, 12:12 PM
  #26
Crease
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Originally Posted by Greg02 View Post
How much was Howell's Norris season an anomaly?
Howell's defense was always rock-solid. He won the Norris in 1966-67 because he exploded offensively that year. He thanked Boom Boom Geoffrion for that.

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That year, I scored more goals than I ever had before. Part of the reason was that I was playing with Boomer [Geoffrion]. In the past, I had played with guys like Andy Bathgate and Rod Gilbert, who had big shots. I always fed them. But when I passed to Boomer, he'd send it back to me and say 'You shoot it'. It was funny, because Boomer was one of the first guys to use the slap shot a lot.

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06-19-2013, 12:55 PM
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Here's a couple of things I wanted to bring up:

There seems to be a lot of love for the early-70's Rangers. I can't help but think that some of it has to do with those teams being so good but not quite good enough to get over the hump, and people feeling like they deserved a better fate, whether as a team (no Cups) or individually (no Norris for Park because of Orr)...and then The Trade happened, which garnered the players traded away a sort of martyr status and made Espo into a sort of villain. (And I still think Tkaczuk wound up ranked too high!) Anybody else feel that way? (I'm referring to the respect being shown to members of the early-70's teams and not my statement on Tkaczuk).

When we were ranking the Centers, people kept bringing up Lady Byng Trophies as positives for the players being considered but now there's a lot of love for Ching Johnson who was a PIM machine. I've seen the comments about him getting away with a lot of uncalled infractions and I have to wonder how many he got away with since he still managed to accumulate seasons with 146 PIM's in 43 games; 127 PIM's in 48 games and 106 PIM's in 47 games...not to mention his 46 PIM's in 9 PO games in the 27-28 PO's. I know that his teams won hardware but I don't know how key he was to those wins, especially since he spent a lot of time in the box during those playoffs.


Last edited by Chief: 06-19-2013 at 02:33 PM.
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06-19-2013, 01:33 PM
  #28
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Chief you bring up a good point about all the penalty minutes, especially given the fact that in those days you only had 3-4 defensemen on the roster and penalties lasted for a full two minutes.

Unfortunately the Hockey Summary Project (website) and Hockey Reference (website) does not have box scores for these years, so it is difficult to determine A) what type of penalties Ching took, B) if they put his team down a man, and C) did they result in PP goals.

Google News Archive is somewhat helpful, but the newspaper box scores in those days are limited in detail and do not specify the type of infraction.

I was able to find a really nice recap of Game 4 of the 1928 Stanley Cup Finals on Google News Archive (link to recap here)

Some tidbits:

Quote:
The Rangers opened up (the powerplay) and rushed the Montreal net. On the first play, only some tight work by Benedict kept the visitors from jumping into the lead, as Bill Cook and Boucher both had clear shots at the net from close in. Johnson drew a minor for bumping Smith and the teams were even.
Quote:
Johnson drew his second penalty of the contest for cross-checking Dutton and the locals rushed play into the New York territory. The Rangers put up stubborn resistence, however, and held on until Johnson's return.
Quote:
The Maroons were trying hard to get the equalizer but the hefty Ranger defense pair, Johnson and Abel, were proving impregnable.
Quote:
Stewart and Johnson staged a bumping bee and both were charged to the penalty box. They both returned to play, however, before any damage was done.
So to summarize Game 4, Johnson took two individual minors which did not result in goals, played "impregnable" defense, and took the Maroons' leading scorer off the ice with him in the 3rd Period with 1 goal lead.

I want to avoid hypocrisy here, though. I was big on Lady Byng voting in the Centers project. If there is evidence that Johnson's penalty minutes were a detriment to the team, that should be a strike against him.


Last edited by Crease: 06-19-2013 at 01:57 PM.
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06-19-2013, 01:43 PM
  #29
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Bill Gadsby Norris Voting; Rangers

55-56: 2nd
56-57: 4th
57-58: 2nd
58-59: 2nd
59-60: 6th
60-61: 10th

Harry Howell Norris Voting; Rangers
55-56: 6th
61-62: 9th
63-64: 5th
64-65: 9th
65-66: 6th
66-67: 1st
67-68: 10th

I know Howell was always good defensively and was a top defenseman; the question is quantifying exactly how good. While Howell has the longevity and that one Norris, award voting seems to indicate that he really wasn't thought of as one of the best defensemen in the league to the same degree Gadsby was; I'm inclined to put Howell at 6 at best. As far as his playoff play, people in the HOH threads seemed to indicate that it wasn't particularly good, but like I said, no sources on that.

Ching Johnson was voted first team all star at LD by the GMs (this predates official AST voting) and I saw one person who gave him a retroactive Norris for that year too. Either way, he was probably at worst the second best defenseman in the league that year, and that's the year that he was in the box 127 minutes. You know the one player who took more PIMs than him? Eddie Shore. Ching Johnson was certainly the best defenseman on the Rangers during the championship years. While I'm sure the high PIMs weren't great, and do detract a bit, I'm inclined to say that it wasn't that big of a deal.

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06-19-2013, 01:48 PM
  #30
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Greg brings up a good point about penalty minutes during that era. Shore, Clancey and Conacher were regularly among the top three in post-season all-star voting. All put up similar PIM totals as Johnson. Shore and Clancey actually spent more time in the box than Johnson did during his career.

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06-19-2013, 03:10 PM
  #31
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A few more thoughts about Ching Johnson:

The more I read about Ching, the more I wish we had someone like him on the current Rangers squad. That said, even if Ching didn't cause his team to be a man down, when called for a penalty, you have to remember that he was still in the box and not on the ice for a substantial amount of time. That's something that I find somewhat problematic because there were only 4 defensemen on each team back then. If Ching went off the ice for 10 minutes, that's a long time for the other 3 defensemen to cover.

I also think we have to be careful as to how we interpret the poetic anecdotes that we read about some of the players from the early eras, for various reasons: (1) sportswriters liked to flex their writing skills back then much more than we see nowadays. They were writing stories for people who couldn't see the games back then; (2) they also seemed to be much more buddy-buddy with the home teams they covered (if they traveled to away games, they probably were traveling with the team); (3) I would expect that reporters did not have much access to video or replays (especially during games); (4) their viewing of teams other than the one they covered was mostly limited to games against the team they covered, so they were much more dependent on what other people said about those other teams and players than what they actually saw; and (5) I don't know how many reporters traveled to away games back in the day, which would again mean they were reliant on other people for their information.

Just bringing up some food for thought.

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06-19-2013, 04:02 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg02 View Post
I know Howell was always good defensively and was a top defenseman; the question is quantifying exactly how good. While Howell has the longevity and that one Norris, award voting seems to indicate that he really wasn't thought of as one of the best defensemen in the league to the same degree Gadsby was; I'm inclined to put Howell at 6 at best. As far as his playoff play, people in the HOH threads seemed to indicate that it wasn't particularly good, but like I said, no sources on that.
Do you have Coulter and Gadsby in front of him? I do. But then I remind myself that Howell's # is retired and wonder if I'm missing something. Does anyone want to make a case for how to rank these three?

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06-19-2013, 04:14 PM
  #33
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Looks like we are agreeing on a top 3, just not as to order.

Balance of the 10..............?

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06-19-2013, 04:19 PM
  #34
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It depends on how you weigh peak/prime/longevity/playoffs, but I have it broken down like this:

Tier 1: Johnson/Leetch/Park
Tier 2: Coulter/Gadsby/Howell
Tier 3: Heller/Seibert
Tier 4: Greschner/Pratt

The names within the tiers are listed in alphabetical order, not by rank.


Last edited by Crease: 06-19-2013 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Forgot my ABCs
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06-19-2013, 04:55 PM
  #35
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Couple comments for now, and I'll hopefully add more to the discussion later:

- Agreed with Chief. I don't see high PIMs as a valuable quality or a positive in a player. I am in the camp that hates the fact that PIMs are included in a lot of fantasy leagues as a category. You're providing a reward for picking up players who do something that harms their team? Idiotic. But to bring it back to this conversation; personally I think the only value PIMs should play when evaluating a defenseman is in looking at players who you didn't see play - it gives you a sense of the type of style they played and whether they played a physical game or were an intimidating presence. Those are the types of players who tend to rack up the PIMs. Other than that, pretty useless in my opinion, if not an outright negative for a player.

- Crease - if I'm remembering the preliminary list I sent you correctly, your tiers look pretty similar to what I had.

- As much as I argued for Park in the preliminary discussion, I agree that ultimately Leetch gets slotted ahead of him. Not sure we need to rehash that debate unless others want to. I am personally more interested in the Park vs. [Other Player] for 2nd/3rd position. In the prelim discussion Chief prodded a bit asking why not Howell over Park. And now Crease has put forth the notion that Ching should be above Park. I'm curious what people's thoughts are on those two suggestions. I've got some anecdotes/quotes for Park similar to the ones Crease posted about Ching that I compiled during the prelim discussion. And a couple videos if I can dig them up. Will post them later.

- The names I found myself constantly moving around and swapping were Gadsby vs. Howell; Seibert vs. Heller; and then Greschner. Gresch was actually just outside of my original top 10. Interested to hear people's thoughts on these guys. Will try to weigh in with my thought processes after I post the stuff I have about Park (which even now, as I'm looking at it, I'm not sure I'm happy with what I recall ultimately going with for my 4-5-6 prelim ordering).


Last edited by Richter Scale: 06-19-2013 at 05:09 PM.
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06-19-2013, 05:44 PM
  #36
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I don't think anyone has posited the PIMs as a positive yet- the only argument has been how much of a negative it should be. Johnson also was physical by the anecdotes- speaking of which, here's a great one by Frank Boucher:

Quote:
Ching loved to deliver a good hoist early in a game because he knew his victim would probably retaliate, and Ching loved body contact. I remember once against the Maroons, Ching caught Hooley Smith with a terrific check right at the start of the game. Hooley's stick flew from his hands and disappeared above the rink lights. He was lifted clean off the ice, and seemed to stay suspended five or six feet above the surface for seconds before finally crashing down on his back. No one could accuse Hooley of lacking guts. From then on, whenever he got the puck, he drove straight for Ching, tring to outmatch him, but every time Ching flattened poor Hooley. Afterwards, grinning in the shower, Ching said he couldn't remember a game he enjoyed more.
So basically, he was a nasty SOB.

RE: Park vs. Johnson: Both of them have three years as the clear second best defenseman in the game (well, for two of them, Ching would have possibly been the best; especially in 1932 when he was runner-up for the Hart after Morenz). They both clearly were top end players at the time. Park was definitely better at offense, but the game was different back then. Regardless, I don't think Park was a stronger runner up than Ching was (aka I don't think Park would have been beating Shore out for Norrises if the two players' top end competition was swapped). On top of that, Ching beats out Park on longevity and won a pair of Stanley Cups. It's kind of funny how much of a difference a day makes; when I first saw Crease's post I said no way in hell, then accepted it but expected to change my mind, and by now I'm pretty much convinced that at least on my list, Ching needs to be above Park.

RE: Park vs. Howell: Park was indubitably a far higher end player than Howell. Outside of Howell's Norris win, he either wasn't considered for the Norris or was in the 5-10 range (mind you in a very strong 6 team league). Extrapolate that out and figure that he's good enough to be a very good number one defenseman- I never saw him play, but I'm imagining that he's the equivalent of Ryan McDonagh being on the Rangers for 17 years and having one big offensive year where he wins the Norris. If you're ranking Howell over Park, then your list probably looks something like Leetch, Howell, Johnson, Park, Heller, Coulter, Gadsby, Greschner, Seibert, Pratt.

Gadsby vs. Howell and Seibert vs. Heller are the same issue, in my opinion. It's probably either Gadsby and Seibert or Howell and Heller.


Last edited by Greg02: 06-19-2013 at 06:23 PM.
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06-19-2013, 06:13 PM
  #37
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Originally Posted by Richter Scale View Post
Couple comments for now, and I'll hopefully add more to the discussion later:

- Agreed with Chief. I don't see high PIMs as a valuable quality or a positive in a player. I am in the camp that hates the fact that PIMs are included in a lot of fantasy leagues as a category. You're providing a reward for picking up players who do something that harms their team? Idiotic. But to bring it back to this conversation; personally I think the only value PIMs should play when evaluating a defenseman is in looking at players who you didn't see play - it gives you a sense of the type of style they played and whether they played a physical game or were an intimidating presence. Those are the types of players who tend to rack up the PIMs. Other than that, pretty useless in my opinion, if not an outright negative for a player.

- Crease - if I'm remembering the preliminary list I sent you correctly, your tiers look pretty similar to what I had.

- As much as I argued for Park in the preliminary discussion, I agree that ultimately Leetch gets slotted ahead of him. Not sure we need to rehash that debate unless others want to. I am personally more interested in the Park vs. [Other Player] for 2nd/3rd position. In the prelim discussion Chief prodded a bit asking why not Howell over Park. And now Crease has put forth the notion that Ching should be above Park. I'm curious what people's thoughts are on those two suggestions. I've got some anecdotes/quotes for Park similar to the ones Crease posted about Ching that I compiled during the prelim discussion. And a couple videos if I can dig them up. Will post them later.

- The names I found myself constantly moving around and swapping were Gadsby vs. Howell; Seibert vs. Heller; and then Greschner. Gresch was actually just outside of my original top 10. Interested to hear people's thoughts on these guys. Will try to weigh in with my thought processes after I post the stuff I have about Park (which even now, as I'm looking at it, I'm not sure I'm happy with what I recall ultimately going with for my 4-5-6 prelim ordering).
I agree a rehashing is not useful, although anyone, voting or otherwise, should feel free in an open forum to render comments, especially if they are providing additional insight.

I'm impressed as to how much higher Ching Johnson has grown in our view since we uncovered more about him, and thanks to you guys who have done the research to make that happen.

That said, I retain my vote for Park at #1. He was our best overall across the board D by far. Just to be clear, what I mean by that is he was a great skater, though not the skating wonder Leetch was, because at skating Leetch was a poor man's Orr. We can't be sure if he was tougher than Johnson, but he was competitive with him in physical aspects of the game.

I seen em both; shooting, on a breakaway, I prefer Leetch; but for a reliable shot from the point, consistently 5 inches off the ice, hard to reach, great placement, rebounds, Park. I wouldn't say AIAEC, but clearly Park.

Johnson seems to mirror Park in being overlooked due to Morenz, as Park was shadowed by Orr. But remember, please, for the last time, it is on an order of magnitude of competition that makes all efforts to properly grade relatively on a curve seem compromised. Orr was more dominant than Jordan was comparatively in hoops.

Leetch in comparison had a career year and some stellar years, but he was not head and shoulders better than, say, Ray Bourque in those years. And there are others closer to Leetch than those closer to Park.

I agree it is an elite trio at tier 1, however you rank it, which I have: Park, Leetch, Johnson.


Last edited by bernmeister: 06-20-2013 at 01:19 PM.
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06-19-2013, 06:38 PM
  #38
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Originally Posted by bernmeister View Post
That said, I retain my vote for Park at #1. He was our best overall across the board D by far.
bern, one thing I have to give you credit for is that you're consistent. In the Centers project, you had Ratelle over Messier. You value -- at least to some degree -- pure skill over results, which is fine. And you're consistent, which is commendable.

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06-20-2013, 08:46 AM
  #39
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Originally Posted by Richter Scale View Post
I am personally more interested in the Park vs. [Other Player] for 2nd/3rd position. In the prelim discussion Chief prodded a bit asking why not Howell over Park.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg02 View Post
RE: Park vs. Howell: Park was indubitably a far higher end player than Howell. Outside of Howell's Norris win, he either wasn't considered for the Norris or was in the 5-10 range (mind you in a very strong 6 team league). Extrapolate that out and figure that he's good enough to be a very good number one defenseman- I never saw him play, but I'm imagining that he's the equivalent of Ryan McDonagh being on the Rangers for 17 years and having one big offensive year where he wins the Norris. If you're ranking Howell over Park, then your list probably looks something like Leetch, Howell, Johnson, Park, Heller, Coulter, Gadsby, Greschner, Seibert, Pratt.
I assume Chief had Park #2, Howell #3, and wanted to test it's validity.

The way I see it, the only case for Howell over Park would be based on longevity and strict Norris counting. Anyone with Howell over Park would have to also put Johnson over Park for the same reasons. I argue that Park's 1971-72 season is better than Howell's Norris-winning season in 1966-67. In 1971-72, Park gave a healthy Bobby Orr a run for his money in Norris and AST voting.

While, we're on the topic of Howell, he's an interesting one to place. He was just so steady for so long, but not much to show for it. He was never really among the elite defensemen of his era, but no slouch either. His decent Hart voting record could be explained by the fact that those 1950s Rangers teams were brutal. He was all they had before Emile Francis righted the ship. I think a modern day comparison would be 17 years of a less physical Marc Staal.

I have Johnson ahead of Park, so I absolutely have him ahead of Howell. The only question for me is where to place Howell relative to Gadsby and Coulter. I'm still working that out.

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06-20-2013, 09:38 AM
  #40
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I hadn't previously done much Ranger research going back to Ching's years but I still find it odd that if Ching was good enough to be #2 on this list, that I'd never really heard of the guy or heard other people discuss him either. I have this nagging suspicion that he's getting more credit from us simply because he was on a 2x Cup winner. Was he a driving force on those Cup teams? The Rangers web site calls him the Rangers first enforcer.

Contrary to what some might think, I don't consider PIM's to necessarily be a negative. Players like Shanahan, C. Pronger, C. Lemeiux and Beukeboom were all different players but if they played in a way that would have cut down their PIM's, then I don't think they or their teams would have been as successful as they were.


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06-20-2013, 11:03 AM
  #41
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I mean, he was winning 1ASTs and has been awarded Retro Norrises when up against Eddie Shore. I think his awards record alone puts him right there with Park, and the playoff success pushes him over.

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06-20-2013, 11:07 AM
  #42
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I mean, he was winning 1ASTs and has been awarded Retro Norrises when up against Eddie Shore. I think his awards record alone puts him right there with Park, and the playoff success pushes him over.
This is the summary of a long, drawn out post I have planned for this afternoon.

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06-20-2013, 12:29 PM
  #43
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I have this nagging suspicion that he's getting more credit from us simply because he was on a 2x Cup winner. Was he a driving force on those Cup teams? The Rangers web site calls him the Rangers first enforcer.
Well, let's ignore Cups for the moment. In fact, let's ignore the playoffs altogether.

My argument will rely on the assumption that postseason all-star team voting is a good indicator of overall regular season performance of the defensemen relative to their peers. If you don't like this asumption, you're not going to like the argument.

POSTSEASON ALL-STAR VOTING (outright rank amongst defensemen)
Johnson: 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 6
Park: 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 14

Now let's consider competition, since Johnson and Park were not competing against the same crop of defensemen for these finishes.

How much better was Park (the Ranger) than all other defensemen in his era (excluding Orr, the outlier)? Park finished alone in second place in postseason all-star voting behind Orr 3 times. In 1969-70, he has 2.3x more votes than third place Carl Brewer. In 1971-72 he has 2x as many votes as third place Bill White. The other time Park finished alone in second place in all-star voting was 1973-74. He edged out Bill white 196-145. So there were really two seasons in which Park (the Ranger) dominated an Orr-less field. For context, he was competing against the likes of JC Tremblay, Guy LaPointe, Jacques Laperriere, Serge Savard, Bill White, Pat Stapleton.

And if we're removing Orr from the equation, why not remove Eddie Shore? If Shore was a career Ranger, he would indisputably be at the top of our list. You can make an argument that only a handful of defensemen were better than Shore (Orr, Bourque, Harvey, and maybe Lidstrom). He's absolutely ahead of Leetch, Park, Johnson, et al.

How much better was Johnson than all other defensemen in his era (excluding Shore)? Johnson finished alone in second place in postseason all-star voting behind Shore 3 times. In 1927-28, he edged out King Clancy 12-9. In 1931-32 he had 3.7x as many votes as third place King Clancy. In 1932-33 he had 1.7x as many votes as third place King Clancy. For context, he was competing against the likes of King Clancy, Dit Clapper, Lionel Conacher, Babe Siebert, Earl Seibert, Ebbie Goodfellow, Art Coulter.

This is not an attempt to show you how much better Johnson was than Park in the regular season. This is an attempt to show you how close they were.

Then when you factor in playoff performance/success and longevity, it tilts clearly in Johnson's favor.

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I hadn't previously done much Ranger research going back to Ching's years but I still find it odd that if Ching was good enough to be #2 on this list, that I'd never really heard of the guy or heard other people discuss him either.
I hadn't heard a lick about him before this project either. And before the Centers project I never heard of Coville or Watson. Could name-drop Boucher and the Cooks but couldn't really tell you much about them. Mike mentioned this earlier in the thread and it came up in the Centers project as well: the Rangers do a terrible job of honoring their history, especially the pre-WWII era. Johnson went into the HHOF on the merit of his play as a Ranger. In books written by hockey historians, he's mentioned in same breath as other top defensemen in the pre-WWII era. The fact that his name is not mentioned much (if at all?) at MSG, on the team website, or on MSG Network says more about the organization than it does about Johnson. Hell, Graves had his number retired before Howell and Bathgate.


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06-20-2013, 01:18 PM
  #44
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bern, one thing I have to give you credit for is that you're consistent. In the Centers project, you had Ratelle over Messier. You value -- at least to some degree -- pure skill over results, which is fine. And you're consistent, which is commendable.
Thanks crease.
And while there is nothing wrong with factoring in results, I think individual skill and ability should be dominant barometers of greatness, assuming the individual applied the effort for such skill/ability to actually be realized.

I invite anyone who agrees to follow my methodology there, unless they'd rather not, which is cool, too, we all choose our own path(s).

If someone thinks there is an extraordinary situation that might skew something, pls feel free to bring it up.

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06-20-2013, 01:30 PM
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Well, let's ignore Cups for the moment. In fact, let's ignore the playoffs altogether.

My argument will rely on the assumption that postseason all-star team voting is a good indicator of overall regular season performance of the defensemen relative to their peers. If you don't like this asumption, you're not going to like the argument.

POSTSEASON ALL-STAR VOTING (outright rank amongst defensemen)
Johnson: 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 6
Park: 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 14

Now let's consider competition, since Johnson and Park were not competing against the same crop of defensemen for these finishes.

How much better was Park (the Ranger) than all other defensemen in his era (excluding Orr, the outlier)? Park finished alone in second place in postseason all-star voting behind Orr 3 times. In 1969-70, he has 2.3x more votes than third place Carl Brewer. In 1971-72 he has 2x as many votes as third place Bill White. The other time Park finished alone in second place in all-star voting was 1973-74. He edged out Bill white 196-145. So there were really two seasons in which Park (the Ranger) dominated an Orr-less field. For context, he was competing against the likes of JC Tremblay, Guy LaPointe, Jacques Laperriere, Serge Savard, Bill White, Pat Stapleton.

And if we're removing Orr from the equation, why not remove Eddie Shore? If Shore was a career Ranger, he would indisputably be at the top of our list. You can make an argument that only a handful of defensemen were better than Shore (Orr, Bourque, Harvey, and maybe Lidstrom). He's absolutely ahead of Leetch, Park, Johnson, et al.

How much better was Johnson than all other defensemen in his era (excluding Shore)? Johnson finished alone in second place in postseason all-star voting behind Shore 3 times. In 1927-28, he edged out King Clancy 12-9. In 1931-32 he had 3.7x as many votes as third place King Clancy. In 1932-33 he had 1.7x as many votes as third place King Clancy. For context, he was competing against the likes of King Clancy, Dit Clapper, Lionel Conacher, Babe Siebert, Earl Seibert, Ebbie Goodfellow, Art Coulter.

This is not an attempt to show you how much better Johnson was than Park in the regular season. This is an attempt to show you how close they were.

Then when you factor in playoff performance/success and longevity, it tilts clearly in Johnson's favor.



I hadn't heard a lick about him before this project either. And before the Centers project I never heard of Coville or Watson. Could name-drop Boucher and the Cooks but couldn't really tell you much about them. Mike mentioned this earlier in the thread and it came up in the Centers project as well: the Rangers do a terrible job of honoring their history, especially the pre-WWII era. Johnson went into the HHOF on the merit of his play as a Ranger. The fact that his name is not mentioned much (if at all?) at MSG, on the team website, or on MSG Network says more about the organization than it does about Johnson. Hell, Graves had his number retired before Howell and Bathgate.
Underline agree, except that comparison is overall of the era to counterparts, not a head on comparison.

Bold: Ergo, I disagree in that I conclude:
Johnson was at least = of Park in toughness, technique, possibly superior, can't tell for sure.
Johnson was probably at least slightly less than Park in skating, as athletes have gotten bigger, stronger, faster
Johnson was clearly less than Park in shooting and scoring.
It was a different game then, but the skills do go to Park on that count.

Ergo, very close. Edge to Park, IMO.

side note:
there are computer simulations of classic fighters of different eras: like Marciano v. Ali.

Park + Johnson would be allies, not adversaries, but ASSUMING the data could be properly and accurately entered --- a HUGE if ---- it would be interesting to see how Park and Johnson, each given the same defense partner (maybe Coffey, Bourque, Chelios, Langway, pick one) how each would fare against identical NHL competition (such as all time all star lineup across the decades including like Lindsay + Howe and Mikita and Lemieux + Bure).

That might provide an accurate barometer.
But I still gotta guess Park better in any scenario helping his team generate a goal!

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06-20-2013, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Crease View Post

POSTSEASON ALL-STAR VOTING (outright rank amongst defensemen)
Johnson: 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 6
Park: 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 14

This is not an attempt to show you how much better Johnson was than Park in the regular season. This is an attempt to show you how close they were.
1969-70 - Park was competing with 48 other defensemen in the NHL.

1974-75 - Park was competing with 108 other defensemen in the NHL.

Johnson was competing against 18 - 24 defensemen.

For me, Park's All Star rankings were more difficult to accomplish. To me, advantage Park.

If a player were much worse defensively, I'm sure people would consider that a negative. Then, shouldn't Park's offensive superiority mean something substantial?

Park: 378 points in 465 regular season games.
Johnson: 86 points in 403 regular season games.

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06-21-2013, 03:35 AM
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Adjust the points, and it becomes 358 for Park as compared to 229 for Johnson. Points have to be adjusted when you're comparing eras like that.

Park was competing against way more defensemen, but the caliber of them was also way lower. It's Orr, then Park, then who? I take the pre-WWII group any day.

Park's offensive superiority should, in my opinion, be viewed within context of the fact that defensemen weren't expected to provide as much offense during Johnson's time. Even still, once adjusted, Ching still put up some pretty decent numbers.

The fact of the matter is, Brad Park does not have a season that can match Ching Johnson's 1931-1932 campaign.

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06-21-2013, 03:45 AM
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By the way, is anyone seriously considering Heller, Seibert, Pratt, or Greschner for a top five spot? If not, I think we should put those four names to the side for now and start shifting the focus of the discussion towards how to rank Coulter, Gadsby, and Howell. Tomorrow I'll try to post my thoughts on Gadsby vs. Howell in particular.

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06-21-2013, 04:10 AM
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What are peoples thoughts on Howell? I originally had him at 3, however he's likely to drop at least one spot in a swap with Johnston.

Only other guy on the list to have a Norris (and I admitted I'm swayed by a bit as he was the last 'defensive defenceman' to win it, and that's my favourite type of player) than Leetch. His peak isn't fantastic (only the 1 1st AST in his Norris year), but his longevity is awesome, still holding the record for games by a Ranger despite playing in an era of 70 game seasons. Only D-man other than Leetch to have his # retired, although as pointed out earlier, with the way the Rangers operate that doesn't mean as much as it could.

Where do others have him? Does the length of his career keep him in your top 5 (assuming he was there in the first place), or does the higher peaks of others push him down the list?

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06-21-2013, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Greg02 View Post
By the way, is anyone seriously considering Heller, Seibert, Pratt, or Greschner for a top five spot? If not, I think we should put those four names to the side for now and start shifting the focus of the discussion towards how to rank Coulter, Gadsby, and Howell. Tomorrow I'll try to post my thoughts on Gadsby vs. Howell in particular.
This should be a priority at this point, given that ballots are due in 48 hours or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike14 View Post
What are peoples thoughts on Howell? I originally had him at 3, however he's likely to drop at least one spot in a swap with Johnston.

Where do others have him? Does the length of his career keep him in your top 5 (assuming he was there in the first place), or does the higher peaks of others push him down the list?
Ultimately it's going to come down to how much you value longevity. Coulter and Gadsby have higher peaks, absolutely.

Here's my breakdown:



BILL GADSBY Postseason All-Star Results
Year Rank 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1955-56 2 Harvey (177) Gadsby (116) Kelly (114) Johnson (81)
1956-57 4 Harvey (172) Kelly (98) Flaman (79) Gadsby (77)
1957-58 2 Harvey (180) Gadsby (168) Flaman (54) Pronovost (46)
1958-59 2 Johnson (139) Gadsby (106) Pronovost (95) Harvey (92)
1959-60 8
1960-61 13  
Seasons: 6.5
Games Played: 457
Adjusted Points: 68 - 258 - 326

Saskatoon Star-Phoenix May 9, 1966
Quote:
In November, 1954, he was traded to the Rangers. They weren't much of an improvement on his earlier company, but in a New York uniform he blossomed into one of the great defensemen of his time. The only rearguard who was consistenly rated better was Doug Harvey of Montreal.
USA Today June 7, 2002
Quote:
Think of great shot blockers and Bill Gadsby, Al Arbour, Mike Ramsey, Dave Lewis, Ken Morrow and Guy Carbonneau come quickly to mind.
Legends of Hockey
Quote:
Although he played in an era of defensive hockey, Gadsby set a record for assists by defensemen with 46 in 1958-59.
Notes:
* For four Rangers seasons, Gadsby went toe-to-toe in All-Star voting with Doug Harvey, Red Kelly, Marcel Pronovost and Tom Johnson. Keep in mind that they were all about the same age. That is exceptional company for Gadsby to be in.
* Gadsby's single-season assists by a defenseman record stood for 10 years until Stapleton broke it. Stapleton had 6 more games to do it.
* Superb shot-blocker, sprinkling in an above-average (at the time) offensive game. Overall, a very well-rounded defensemen.




ART COULTER Postseason All-Star Results
Year Rank 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1935-36 7
1936-37 8
1937-38 3 Shore (23) Siebert (23) Coulter (8) Seibert (3)
1938-39 3 Shore (23) Clapper (7) Coulter (6) Seibert (4)
1939-40 3 Clapper (16) Goodfellow (15) Coulter (8) Seibert (7)
1940-41 8
1941-42 8
Seasons: 6.5
Games Played: 287
Adjusted Points: 29 - 117 - 146

Legends of Hockey
Quote:
Coulter was placed on the NHL second all-star team in 1935 but found himself traded to the Rangers for Earl Seibert midway through the next season. His solid defensive play and competitive zeal pleased the New York management and fans. Prior to the 1937-38 season, Coulter succeeded Bill Cook as captain and was selected to the second all-star team three straight years beginning in 1938. In 1939 he took part in the Babe Siebert Memorial Game and the next year he helped the Blueshirts win their third Stanley Cup. Coulter set a career high with 19 points the following season and was one of the most popular players on Manhattan.
Clint Smith, Teammate on the 1940 Stanley Cup team
Quote:
Art Coulter was our best player. He was a leader, like what you have now in Mark Messier. He could really carry the puck. But he had to head-ma the puck. That's the way we played.
Frank Boucher, Coach
Quote:
He was a superb ice general. He lent strength to our smaller players, always on the spot if opposing players tried to intimidate them, responding beautifully to new responsibilities. He was a well set up fellow, quite tall, very muscular without an ounce of fat.
Notes:
* Coulter was a clear and distinct step down from Shore and Clapper during his era. That said, he was atop the next tier of defensemen. In terms of peak, I have to give the edge to Gadsby here.
* Rangers captain from 1937-42, including a Stanley Cup Championship team. This is a significant component of Coulter's resume and something Gadsby can't compare to.
* The Coulter/Seibert trade sounded like a very big deal at the time. Seibert was a stalwart for the Rangers, as Coulter was for the Blackhawks. They were swapped, and Coulter went on to captain the Rangers to a championship.




HARRY HOWELL Postseason All-Star Results
Year Rank 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1955-56 7
1960-61 15
1962-63 17
1963-64 6
1964-65 6
1965-66 6
1966-67 2 Pilote (156) Howell (147) Horton (94) Orr (89)
1967-68 11
Seasons: 17
Games Played: 1160
Adjusted Points: 91 - 302 - 393

Carol Vadnais
Quote:
He was a great veteran. I always wondered what was so great about him, but you had to play with him to see what a great skater he was.
Muzz Patrick had a policy to build up the Rangers who don't get much ink and talk down those who do. But he had this to say in 1956:
Quote:
Gadsby is a good offensive defensemen. But the key man on our defense is Harry Howell. He's the solid guy.
The Rangers, the Bruins, and the End of an Era
Quote:
Harry was great. All the young defensemen I had, Jimmy Neilson, Rod Seiling, Arnie Brown. I always put them with Harry Howell. He was not only a teammate, he was like a coach on the ice with them. He broke in all the young guys.
Notes:
* Rangers captain 1955-1957. In terms of intangibles, I would probably rank Howell slightly ahead of Coulter and significantly ahead of Gadsby.
* Foremost a defensive-defenseman. Won the Norris in 1966-67 during a breakout year offensively. That said, he finished behind Pierre Pilote in postseason all-star voting the same year. I have him below both Gadsby and Coulter in terms of peak and prime value.
* Longevity is a huge aspect of his resume. He was an 17 year ironman for the Rangers. Gadsby and Coulter don't compare.
* By many accounts, a classy player and a true gentleman of the game.

-------------------------------------------------------

Using my very sophisticated arrow system:

PEAK/PRIME: Gadsby > Coulter >> Howell
LONGEVITY: Howell >>> Gadsby = Coulter
VALUE TO FRANCHISE: Coulter > Howell = Gadsby

I tend to weigh playoffs and quality of Ranger peak/prime more than longevity, unless we're talking about someone with very short stint, like Gretzky. Gadsby and Coulter were not hired mercenaries here for just a couple of seasons. And while Howell was very very good for very very long, Gadsby and Coulter were exceptional hockey players. I think Coulter captaining the team to a Cup puts him slightly ahead of Gadsby in my book. My ranking at the moment is:

Coulter
Gadsby
Howell


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