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HOH Top 60 Centers of All-Time: Round 1 Preliminary Discussion Thread

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Old
08-25-2013, 06:59 PM
  #101
TheDevilMadeMe
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Really?

Go and actually compare them from age 25-34 and tell me that Dats doesn't have the better seasons and playoffs during that 10 year stretch.
Keon was 26 years old when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1967.

Quote:
I'll grant that for the first 5 years of Keons career 20-24, it's alot better than Dats, but the next 2 five year blocks it's pretty clearly Dats and really it's not even that close if one does a fair comp.
I don't care how they did in discreet chunks of their careers, I care about how they did over their entire careers.

This is a good time to remind everyone (including myself) just how good Keon was in the playoffs. From 1962-1964, the Leafs won 3 Cups and Keon scored 19 goals in 36 playoff games, while being arguably the best defensive center in the world. And like I said above, he won the Smythe in 1967.

There's a reason I compare Keon to Fedorov. Keon was a better goal scorer, Feds a better playmaker, but I see a lot of similarities between them. I prefer Feds, because like I said, he's basically Keon with 2 regular seasons better than Keon ever had. The 2008 Top 100 project preferred Keon's consistent work effort over Fedorov's mercurial nature, however.

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Maybe it's the ATD reputation he has but Keon is one guy that can really get overrated sometimes.
It's also the fact that Keon was voted the best Maple Leaf of All-Time by a panel of "experts" on the team about 10 year ago. I don't agree with that panel (and apparently neither does Keon's coach Punch Imlach), but it shows how highly regarded he is by Maple Leafs fans - as well as fans of other teams who saw him play.

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08-25-2013, 07:00 PM
  #102
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Ftorek was the Bobby Clarke of the WHA. Dirty as hell with his stick and always going hard. A player with his talent and motor stood out in the WHA. Most nights in the WHA weren't exactly max effort from all involved.

A very good player, but not list worthy for me.
Do any of the other top WHA peak centers make your list?

If Robbie doesn't who would?

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08-25-2013, 07:35 PM
  #103
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Keon was 26 years old when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1967.
Okay that's great but Dats had a Conn Smythe worthy performance when Zetts won his in 08 and he also was the best playoff performer through 2 rounds in 11 when his team wasn't all that great anymore.

I was born in 67 so I didn't get to see Keon and I'm sure he was worthy of his Conn Smythe.

I'm also pretty sure that guys are going to focus on the impacts of other forwards on that 67 team as we go forward on to the wingers in this project and I'm pretty sure I can go back and find some accolades for Horton in the 67 SC in our top 60 Dman project.

But comparing their top years in their primes isn't the problem I have here it's in the next section



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I don't care how they did in discreet chunks of their careers, I care about how they did over their entire careers.
Discreet chunks? I'm taking about the 5 and 10 year blocks that comprise many of the top players in this project primes years.

We should all care how players do in 10 year chucks to other player, heck in most cases it's half their careers or more. I'll assume that perhaps you could have worded that differently since peaks and primes are pretty standard comps around here, why wouldn't same age 10 year blocks be up for debate and analysis?

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This is a good time to remind everyone (including myself) just how good Keon was in the playoffs. From 1962-1964, the Leafs won 3 Cups and Keon scored 19 goals in 36 playoff games, while being arguably the best defensive center in the world. And like I said above, he won the Smythe in 1967.
Agreed it's an impressive streak but he also has his lesser years in playoff runs, with weaker teams sure but we must take the good with the bad.

Now let's compare Keon versus his peers in actual playoff scoring over his 1st stint in the NHL ( and yes I realize that some of it unbalanced due to the growth in the league and the strength of Toronto pre expansion but here it is anyways).

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...rder_by=points

He is 16th in points over that time period up to age 64 which ties in nicely where Dats is at for his career right now.

Let's move to Dats, which includes his horrible early performances or however it was described

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...rder_by=points

Dats is in very well at 5th place

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There's a reason I compare Keon to Fedorov. Keon was a better goal scorer, Feds a better playmaker, but I see a lot of similarities between them. I prefer Feds, because like I said, he's basically Keon with 2 regular seasons better than Keon ever had. The 2008 Top 100 project preferred Keon's consistent work effort over Fedorov's mercurial nature, however.
feds is a hard guy to peg but Keon wasn't the most consistent of players either as his run of post expansion eludes to, I'll break in down in PPG and include the last 2 pre expansion year (age 25-34)
66 .78
67 .79
68 .72
69 .81
70 .86
71 1.00
72 .67
73 .96
74 .72
75 .76

Here is Dats (25-34)

.91
1.16
1.10
1.18
1.20
.88
1.05
.96
1.04

Combine the regular season with playoff performances between these 2 guys over a 10 year period, it's pretty clear of the huge edge Dats has here.

How much is counterbalanced by Keon's advantage before 25 and 35 plus is up for people to decide but peak and prime guys should have them pretty close IMO.





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It's also the fact that Keon was voted the best Maple Leaf of All-Time by a panel of "experts" on the team about 10 year ago. I don't agree with that panel (and apparently neither does Keon's coach Punch Imlach), but it shows how highly regarded he is by Maple Leafs fans - as well as fans of other teams who saw him play.
Sure being a fan favorite or popular player is important but I'm sure Trevor Linden would do quite well in a poll of Vancouver RW'ers and another guy Bure is a lock for the top wingers project, for what it is worth.

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08-25-2013, 07:39 PM
  #104
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Sure being a fan favorite or popular player is important but I'm sure Trevor Linden would do quite well in a poll of Vancouver RW'ers and another guy Bure is a lock for the top wingers project, for what it is worth.
It wasn't a fan poll: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/keon-leafs/

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Jury members were (Mike)Leonetti, (John)Iaboni, Mark Askin, Howard Berger, Joe Bowen, Milt Dunnell, Doug Farraway, Paul Hendrick, Lance Hornby, Harry Neale, Frank Orr, Paul Patskou, Frank Selke and Bill Watters.
(It also wasn't 10 years ago like I said earlier, it was 4 years ago)

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08-25-2013, 07:46 PM
  #105
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Do any of the other top WHA peak centers make your list?

If Robbie doesn't who would?
Nope.

Talk me into one.

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08-25-2013, 07:50 PM
  #106
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
It wasn't a fan poll: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/keon-leafs/



(It also wasn't 10 years ago like I said earlier, it was 4 years ago)
I'm not familiar with all the guys but hockey experts can be fans as well.

A lot of people do draw certain memories in their formative years and I'm betting a lot of the panel members grew up or matured watching Keon.

I'm a huge career guy but Keon's peak is so underwhelming and the fact that he played a lot of his career post expansion and in the WHA makes him a hard case for me to place.

I looked over at the most recent ATD (he went 105th between Francis and Peter Stastny) and am comparing all sorts of lists to get ball park ideas on guys but Keon went way too high there IMO.

Ironically with the current Crosby/Forsberg thread on here Sid went right after Peter at 74,75 with Feds going 76.

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08-25-2013, 08:06 PM
  #107
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Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
When I start one of these lists, I try to begin by rating the best players by era, with an eye on approximately how many from each era I want on the final list.

Anyways, going through the 20-year era of the 50s and 60s in the NHL, there are seven players who peaked in that time who are easy no-brainer slam dunk picks: Beliveau, Mikita, Richard, Kennedy, Keon, Delvecchio and Ullman (I consider Schmidt and Abel to have peaked in the 40s). But after those seven centres, it looks to be a huge gap to the next group of centres from that era. Would that be a fair assessment, or do the other centres suffer from being overlooked because the position had such elite talent at the top?

For other NHL centres from the 50s and 60s, here's where I roughly rate them for the list:

Strongly considering: McKenney, Mosdell, Sloan

Considering: Backstrom, Goyette, Henry, Mackell

Long shots: Harris, Hay, Oliver, Prystai, Sullivan

Is there anyone there you feel is a definite top-60 candidate?
Anyone I mentioned who shouldn't be realistically considered?
Anyone I didn't mention who I should have?
Just a random thought, but there's a good case that Red Kelly was the 8th best center of the era. And well... he's listed as a defenseman first for good reasons.

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08-25-2013, 08:25 PM
  #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Nope.

Talk me into one.
Andre The Magician Lacroix. Look him up if your unfamiliar, though Im sure you'll remember him in his rather unmemorable final season with the Whalers in 79/80. Played respectably enough but pretty much done by then. Still, brilliant Junior career in Peterborough, with the Aces in Quebec of the AHL, Philly from 68/69 on, unhappy stay in Chicago before jumping to the Blazers of the WHA where on various teams he was a 3X 1st Team All Star, 2X League Scoring Leader, All Time Points Leader & one of only 6 or 7 players to record over 6 or 7 100pt+ seasons etc.

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08-25-2013, 09:12 PM
  #109
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Datsyuk was never top 10 in points-per-game after 2008-09 either.
You must not have understood my post.

Datsyuk was top 5 in points in both 2011 and 2012 before he got injured. When he came back, or - in the case of the knee - attempted to play thru it before needing surgery, his numbers took a hit.

It's not like people just decided he was a top 5 forward without understanding this. When he's been healthy, he's been top 10 offensively while being an annual Selke candidate. Injuries in consecutive seasons during his prime made it so that when you just look at the numbers without any context, it's looks rather pedestrian for a guy who's consistently been considered a top player. Which is once again while consistently just using point finishes as the end all be all is significantly flawed.

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08-25-2013, 09:17 PM
  #110
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Originally Posted by silkyjohnson50 View Post
You must not have understood my post.

Datsyuk was top 5 in points in both 2011 and 2012 before he got injured. When he came back, or - in the case of the knee - attempted to play thru it before needing surgery, his numbers took a hit.

It's not like people just decided he was a top 5 forward without understanding this. When he's been healthy, he's been top 10 offensively while being an annual Selke candidate. Injuries in consecutive seasons during his prime made it so that when you just look at the numbers without any context, it's looks rather pedestrian for a guy who's consistently been considered a top player. Which is once again while consistently just using point finishes as the end all be all is significantly flawed.
It's easy to say this about a recent player, but I wonder if we went through Keon's record with a fine comb if we'd see similar streaks. He's also a guy who was considered a top player, despite his yearly statistics not being so impressive.

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08-25-2013, 09:26 PM
  #111
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
It's easy to say this about a recent player, but I wonder if we went through Keon's record with a fine comb if we'd see similar streaks. He's also a guy who was considered a top player, despite his yearly statistics not being so impressive.
Well that'd be the best option for making comparisons. The more details, more context you get about players the more accurate your assessment can be.

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08-25-2013, 10:02 PM
  #112
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
It's easy to say this about a recent player, but I wonder if we went through Keon's record with a fine comb if we'd see similar streaks. He's also a guy who was considered a top player, despite his yearly statistics not being so impressive.
I doubt it with Keon, his scoring rates are quite low for a top line 06 guy and even in his highest scoring years he does very poorly to Dats standard. No doubt he would do even worse on the apples to apples vsX best Canadian standard over time.

No doubt Keon is a lock for top 80 but not for top 30 IMO, he could fall on either side.

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08-26-2013, 10:06 AM
  #113
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
It's easy to say this about a recent player, but I wonder if we went through Keon's record with a fine comb if we'd see similar streaks. He's also a guy who was considered a top player, despite his yearly statistics not being so impressive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by silkyjohnson50 View Post
Well that'd be the best option for making comparisons. The more details, more context you get about players the more accurate your assessment can be.
I would agree with that, now is the time to get this kind of research together before we really start picking the candidates apart.

This is far from an exhaustive study, but a quick check of the newspapers revealed three injuries to Keon:
- 11/29/61, groin pull
- 12/6/69, broken left thumb
- Sometime before 10/7/71, knee strain

That's at least a starting point for analysis. I'll try and dig deeper when I have time.

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08-26-2013, 10:24 AM
  #114
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Dave Keon was more like a Jonathan Toews than a Sidney Crosby type centre if you ask me. His point totals don't jump out at you (986 in 1296 career NHL games) but his all around game was always good. Going to be interesting to see where he ranks on this list given he's usually taken within the 1st 4 rounds of the ATD and is usually considered a low level #1 centre there.

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08-26-2013, 01:49 PM
  #115
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Classifying Early Era (Pre-consolidation) Centers

Obviously guys changed leagues, so you can't complete classify a guy in one league, but this might be a good starting point for ranking early players, or at least making sure we aren't forgetting any important names.

Amateur and Semi-Professional Leagues (Before 1909)
There were several of these, but for the purposes of this project, it doesn't really matter. The talent pool was likely a lot thinner back then, and we can classify any relevant centers who played during this time together.

National Hockey Association (1909-1917), Pre-Consolidation NHL (1917-1926)
The NHA was the first fully professional hockey league in the world, and was based in eastern Canada. In 1917, Eddie Livingstone, who owned the Toronto team had a dispute with the other owners, who then formed the NHL in order to exclude him. The NHL was basically the NHA under a different name. The Bruins became the first American NHL team in 1924.

Pacific Coast Hockey Association (1911-1924)
For much of its existence, the PCHA was seen as the NHA/NHL's equal. From 1915-1921, the Stanley Cup finals were officially between the winners of the NHL and PCHA. The PCHA won the Cup in both 1915 and 1917. From 1922-1924, the winners of the NHL, PCHA, and WHCL all competed for the Cup. The PCHA began to weaken (both in terms of players and financially) around when the WCHL emerged.

Western Canada Hockey League / Western Hockey League (1921-1926)
From 1922-1924 the WCHL, PCHA, and NHL all competed for the Stanley Cup, with the NHL winning all 3. After the PCHA folded, their best players and teams were absorbed by the WCHL. In 1925 and 1926, the NHL and WCHL (called WHL in 1926) played for the Stanley Cup. The WCHL won the Cup in 1925, the last time a non-NHL team won the Cup. After 1926, the WHL folded and their best players joined the NHL. In 1926-27, 3 of the top 4 NHL scorers, 6 of the top 10 scorers, and the top 4 in Hart voting had all spent the previous year in the WHL.

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08-26-2013, 02:04 PM
  #116
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Classifying Early Era (Pre-consolidation) Centers

Obviously guys changed leagues, so you can't complete classify a guy in one league, but this might be a good starting point for ranking early players, or at least making sure we aren't forgetting any important names.

Amateur and Semi-Professional Leagues (Before 1909)
There were several of these, but for the purposes of this project, it doesn't really matter. The talent pool was likely a lot thinner back then, and we can classify any relevant centers who played during this time together.
Amateur and Semi-Professional Leagues (Pre-1909)

There are 2-3 centers who I can see warranting consideration during this time period.

If Hod Stuart is the Bobby Orr of the first decade of the 20th century, then Russell Bowie is the Wayne Gretzky of that decade. Bowie was primarily a goal scorer (the passing game was pretty primitive back then), but he lapped the field statistically like Grezky did. Bowie played for more than a decade, which was a long career for that era.

The big question is "what does lapping the relatively weak field prior to World War 1 mean?" But I think our list would be incomplete without Bowie, just like our defenseman list would be incomplete without Hod Stuart.

Here is a fairly detailed statistical analysis of Russel Bowie compared to his peers: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...&postcount=274

Here is a more traditional ATD-style profile of Bowie, full of newspaper quotes: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...3&postcount=66

Frank McGee is actually more famous than Bowie, as for a few years, McGee was the centerpiece of the Silver Seven dynasty in Ottawa. He's first in scoring in Cup Challenge matches by a wide margin, but part of that was running up the score against weak competitors. In the ECAHA regular season (both McGee and Bowie played in that league), he was the 2nd best goal scorer to Russel Bowie while their careers overlapped. During McGee's career, observers seem to have been split as to whether he or Bowie was the better player. However, McGee's career only lasted 4 years before he retired after losing an eye to an errant hockey stick. Edit: He actually injured his eye towards the beginning of his career.

Here's an ATD-style profile of McGee:
http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...1&postcount=65

Dan Bain is a hard guy to rank. If hockey was in the bronze age when Bowie and McGee played, it was in the stone age when Bain played. Also, the small talent pool that was around was so spread out among different leagues that it's hard to tell who was actually the best. But if not the best, Bain was at least the most famous center from the 1890s, credited with helping spread hockey out west as his Winnipeg Victorias became the first non-Montreal team to win the Cup.

Here is an ATD-style profile of Bain:
http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...&postcount=118

Edit: Hope someone else can do the PCHA or NHA/NHL


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 08-27-2013 at 03:33 AM. Reason: cut down quote length
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08-26-2013, 06:52 PM
  #117
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Andre The Magician Lacroix. Look him up if your unfamiliar, though Im sure you'll remember him in his rather unmemorable final season with the Whalers in 79/80. Played respectably enough but pretty much done by then. Still, brilliant Junior career in Peterborough, with the Aces in Quebec of the AHL, Philly from 68/69 on, unhappy stay in Chicago before jumping to the Blazers of the WHA where on various teams he was a 3X 1st Team All Star, 2X League Scoring Leader, All Time Points Leader & one of only 6 or 7 players to record over 6 or 7 100pt+ seasons etc.
Very familiar with Andre Lacroix. Saw him a lot at the end of his career in Hartford.

Top 80 center? No sale.

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08-26-2013, 07:39 PM
  #118
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Very familiar with Andre Lacroix. Saw him a lot at the end of his career in Hartford.

Top 80 center? No sale.
Anyone who only saw Lindros in Toronto would think likewise.

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08-26-2013, 09:21 PM
  #119
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Technical question -- Is "conscious cross-referencing" allowed? (we obviously cannot disallow inconscious cross-referencing).

Explanation : I'll give you two guys. One who will almost certainly NOT make my Top-80, and another who isn't available and for whom I would probably have not voted for if he was a center. The names : Bernie Federko and Vincent Damphousse.

All in all, I consider those players roughly equal, even if Damphousse isn't in the HHOF (and Federko is), and that, in spite of being less impressive in End-of-season finishes than Federko. Damphousse had much more "relevant" longevity, and while Federko's end of season finishes are impressive, he never finished above 8th, and he's certainly a notch below many of his contemporaries who will get in this list, but not necessarily in the Top-40 (think Savard, Hawerchuck...), not to mention those who will get in the Top-40 (Gretz, Lemieux, Trottier, can't see Stastny out of it...).

Well, as I mentionned, there are many reasons (for me, at this point) to keep Federko out. Does an argument that goes like ("is he even better than Damphousse who wouldn't make list") is receivable (in the discussion phase, actually...)

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08-26-2013, 09:44 PM
  #120
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Very familiar with Andre Lacroix. Saw him a lot at the end of his career in Hartford... Top 80 center? No sale.
Check this out Mr.Bonvie: http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com...e-lacroix.html Joe refers to him as "Gretzky like", and a decade before Wayne ever wound up in LA Andre was lighting it up in San Diego. The Magician.

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08-26-2013, 10:46 PM
  #121
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Check this out Mr.Bonvie: http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com...e-lacroix.html Joe refers to him as "Gretzky like", and a decade before Wayne ever wound up in LA Andre was lighting it up in San Diego. The Magician.
"At 5'8" 175lbs, André was too small for the NHL game."

Is that the part I was suppose to see?

Now, Mike Rogers was the same size as Lacroix. Tremendous wheels. When he went to the NHL he had 3 straight 100 point seasons. He'd be on my list before Lacroix.

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08-26-2013, 10:48 PM
  #122
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Anyone who only saw Lindros in Toronto would think likewise.
Perhaps I should have said I was very familiar with the WHA.

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08-26-2013, 10:57 PM
  #123
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Originally Posted by MXD View Post
Technical question -- Is "conscious cross-referencing" allowed? (we obviously cannot disallow inconscious cross-referencing).

Explanation : I'll give you two guys. One who will almost certainly NOT make my Top-80, and another who isn't available and for whom I would probably have not voted for if he was a center. The names : Bernie Federko and Vincent Damphousse.

All in all, I consider those players roughly equal, even if Damphousse isn't in the HHOF (and Federko is), and that, in spite of being less impressive in End-of-season finishes than Federko. Damphousse had much more "relevant" longevity, and while Federko's end of season finishes are impressive, he never finished above 8th, and he's certainly a notch below many of his contemporaries who will get in this list, but not necessarily in the Top-40 (think Savard, Hawerchuck...), not to mention those who will get in the Top-40 (Gretz, Lemieux, Trottier, can't see Stastny out of it...).

Well, as I mentionned, there are many reasons (for me, at this point) to keep Federko out. Does an argument that goes like ("is he even better than Damphousse who wouldn't make list") is receivable (in the discussion phase, actually...)
I don't see anything posted here that wouldn't be "allowed"

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08-26-2013, 11:06 PM
  #124
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Frank McGee

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Amateur and Semi-Professional Leagues (Pre-1909)


Frank McGee is actually more famous than Bowie, as for a few years, McGee was the centerpiece of the Silver Seven dynasty in Ottawa. He's first in scoring in Cup Challenge matches by a wide margin, but part of that was running up the score against weak competitors. In the ECAHA regular season (both McGee and Bowie played in that league), he was the 2nd best goal scorer to Russel Bowie while their careers overlapped. During McGee's career, observers seem to have been split as to whether he or Bowie was the better player. However, McGee's career only lasted 4 years before he retired after losing an eye to an errant hockey stick.

Here's an ATD-style profile of McGee:
http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...1&postcount=65
Frank McGee lost an eye in 1902 before playing for the Ottawa Silver Seven. From the "Turning Back Hockey's Pages" series of profiles by D.A.L. MacDonald published in The Gazette in the mid 1930s.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...6940%2C2335499

Excellent profile with comments from contemporaries and comparisons to known 1930s stars.

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08-26-2013, 11:20 PM
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Killion
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
"At 5'8" 175lbs, André was too small for the NHL game."

Is that the part I was suppose to see?

Now, Mike Rogers was the same size as Lacroix. Tremendous wheels. When he went to the NHL he had 3 straight 100 point seasons. He'd be on my list before Lacroix.
About the same size as Marcel Dionne no? See, Im thinkin Lacroix "coulda been a contender" had he only wound up somewhere other than Philly. Somewhere where they put ground Unicorn horn & four leaf clovers into the Gatorade. Like that.... and Mike Rogers huh? Thats actually a pretty good pick. Maintained his scoring arc from New England of the WHA through Hartford & with the Rangers of the NHL. In Junior, 67G's one year with Calgary.

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