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Round 2, Vote 1 (HOH Top Defensemen)

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Old
11-08-2011, 10:59 AM
  #101
Dreakmur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
The most perfect description I've seen of Eddie Shore in this thread, and it really shows why it's so difficult to rank him. I know I want to rank Shore in my 3-5 range; I just don't know where!
I did just finish reading his book, which was a great read.

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11-08-2011, 11:22 AM
  #102
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Cannot ignore the negatives. Harvey, Robinson and Potvin never lost their composure and negated the efforts of teammates by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory like Eddie Shore did. Shore also benefited from a strong supporting cast but at times he negated the efforts of his teammates.
Could you or someone else be more specific about Shore's negatives? It's hard to know how much to count them against him without an idea of the frequency or magnitude of the issues.

Voters thought he was consistently the best defenceman in the regular season and often the best player, so they took these negatives into account and felt the positives outweighed them. Or did Shore have problems with losing his temper and hurting his team more often in the playoffs, as opposed to the regular season?

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11-08-2011, 11:27 AM
  #103
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Doug Harvey revolutionized the game in the following manner.

Doug Harvey was a LHS but could play both LD and RD with equal proficiency. Until Harvey came along the ideal defensive pairings were a LHS playing LD and a RHS playing RD. Since you coach dmen you must appreciate that this was the most efficient approach from the standpoint of going into the corner to control/clear the puck, eliminating time consuming movement. Also it facilitated the various one hand on the stick moves by a dman in the defensive zone, etc. In the offensive zone it allowed a wider spread for puck movement especially on the PP amongst other advantages. The dynasty Leaf teams from the forties and sixties were very efficient moving the puck out of their zone because they had LHS / RHS pairings -sixties LHS Stanley with RHS Horton, LHS Brewer with RHS Baun.
As somebody who both coaches and plays defense, I can tell you there are advantages and disadvantages to playing either side. If you want me to explain them, I can do that. I prefer playing my wrong side - I find it easier.

Any intelligent player can pick up the nuances of playing either side. I don't beleive Harvey was the first to do it, but even if he was, it wasn't revolutionary.

Having the LH/RH configuration was a coaching issue, not a player issue.

Quote:
Harvey appreciated the geometry showing the basic changes in body position required for a LHS dman to be equally proficient on either side. The Soviets caught on very quickly especially after a first hand experience playing against Harvey with 5 AHLers plus juniors in 1964. Check the Soviet dmen from the early seventies on almost all LHS. Young Slava Fetisov transitioning the puck from any point in the defensive zone almost as well as Harvey did.
That's nothing. Any decent player would have figured out the different angles.

Quote:
Harvey mastered the transition game. Post Red Line introduction teams still had the center come back and get the puck or receive a short pass from the dman to start the rush or head man the puck.Harvey would head man the puck accelerating the attack. The old truism that a pass travels faster than any skater optimized.
Again, this is not just Harvey.

First of all, he was just one piece of an entire team that developed this quick transition game.

Second, and more importantly, this style was a result of a combination of new rules and a coach who uderstood how to use the rules to his team's advantage.

This would be like saying Scott Stevens revolutionized the game by creating "the trap" in New Jersey.

Quote:
Harvey was the master at supporting the offense at the blueline. Previously the dmen used to hang at center ice, or midway to the blueline.
Again, this has more to do with changing rules and coaching than the player.

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11-08-2011, 11:34 AM
  #104
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Eddie Shore

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Voters definitely took the "most valuable" thing to heart when they voted for the Hart Trophy in the first few decades of the award and paid very little attention to the "best player" criteria that is important today.

I don't think "best player" even came up for consideration until Gordie Howe started demolishing records, and even then, it probably wasn't until Wayne Gretzky that "best player" became more important than "most valuable to his team."

Shore won 4 Harts in 6 years. The other two years, he was injured for significant games, and Boston failed to make the playoffs. He was definitely helped in voting by how much is team relied on him.
1933-34,Eddie Shore was suspended for 16 games following the Ace Bailey incident. The Bruins failed to make the playoffs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ace_Bailey_Benefit_Game

1936-37 when Shore only played in 20 games the Bruins made the playoffs.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...shoreed01.html

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11-08-2011, 11:36 AM
  #105
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There's been a lot of talk surrounding the merits of the "dynasty" guys on the list and how they compare to the rest of the top ten. I'm just as interested in how they compare to each other. Is there any merit for thinking that Larry Robinson could be ranked ahead of Denis Potvin on this list or would that be taking things a little too far?

Both played on squads that are in the discussion for the most dominant teams of all-time (Robinson's 1976-77 Canadiens are frequently cited as the best individual single-season squad), both guys ended up winning the Norris Trophy as the clear-cut best offensive defencemen in the league during said seasons, and both were extremely intimidating physical presences who struck fear into the hearts of opposing forwards but went about it in different ways. Robinson is generally regarded as more quiet and methodical whose intimidation lay in his "waiting game" type style of play before choosing the appropriate time to deliver a big hit, and without peer in terms of his positioning, while Potvin is regarded as one of the best pure bodycheckers of all-time, a physical beast who went all out to deliver punishment but remained an extremely reliable defensive player. Robinson's career is more impressive in terms of team sucess with six Stanley Cup titles and seven Finals appearances (his only loss coming in 1989), while Potvin is a part of the vaunted five consecutive Finals appearances and four straight Stanley Cup victories Islanders squads of the early 1980s.

What's the difference between these two players? Who had the better peak? The better career? Potvin seems to have been acknowledged as having the better peak and he does have a Norris on Robinson, and is generally considered to have been offensively Robinson's superior (with 92 additional points in 324 fewer games it's hard to argue there) but I think that there's an argument to be made that Robinson's 1977 season is the best out of all of the seasons between the pair and he ended up with a career of greater longevity and consistency.

I'm not sure how much stock Hockey-Reference.com's point shares statistics have on here but I think they can be a quick useful tool in showing the quality of individual seasons over a specific player's career, especially if he's being compared to a comparable player:



Denis Potvin (ranked from best to worst)

15.4 15.0 13.9 13.3 12.2 12.0 10.6 10.1 9.7 9.4 8.9 8.7 8.7 5.9 5.4

Adjusted Career total: 90.0 points

Reference: http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...potvide01.html



Larry Robinson (ranked from best to worst)

16.4 12.1 11.8 11.0 10.8 10.7 9.7 9.5 9.2 9.1 9.0 8.9 7.1 6.8 6.7 6.4 4.8 4.4 2.8 1.6

Adjusted Career total: 87.7 points

Reference: http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...robinla01.html

What's significant here is that even with five additional seasons of hockey, including some quality hockey as late as age 38, Robinson never ended up catching up to Potvin's career value despite playing a much longer period of time: equivalent to 25% additional career time once Potvin had retired at age 34.

He had the best single season between the two: his vaunted 1976-77 campaign when he led all defencemen in points and put up a stunning +120 (second only to Orr's record +124 from 1971), however his career as a whole provided less value. That leads me to the conclusion that Potvin was slightly better than Robinson. Any other ideas on comparing these two greats?

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Old
11-08-2011, 11:42 AM
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
1933-34,Eddie Shore was suspended for 16 games following the Ace Bailey incident. The Bruins failed to make the playoffs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ace_Bailey_Benefit_Game

1936-37 when Shore only played in 20 games the Bruins made the playoffs.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...shoreed01.html
Good corrections. I was doing a quick scan of Shore's H-R page an obviously missed a lot.

This is a more complete version of what you posted:

1932-33: Shore plays all 48 games, wins Hart, Bruins make playoffs
1933-34: Shore misses 18 games, Bruins fail to make playoffs (the Ace Bailey year)
1934-35: Shore plays all 48 games, wins Hart, Bruins make playoffs
1935-36: Shore misses only 3 games, wins Hart, Bruins make playoffs
1936-37: Shore misses 28 games, Bruins make playoffs but Shore doesn't play in them
1937-38: Shore plays all 48 games, wins Hart, Bruins make playoffs

Not nearly as clearcut as the picture I originally had.

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11-08-2011, 11:48 AM
  #107
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Originally Posted by JaysCyYoung View Post
I'm not sure how much stock Hockey-Reference.com's point shares statistics have on here but I think they can be a quick useful tool in showing the quality of individual seasons over a specific player's career, especially if he's being compared to a comparable player:
Refer to this thread for why "points shares" are not worth mentioning in any serious historical discussion: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=889335

Your analysis would be far more compelling if you didn't refer to them.

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11-08-2011, 11:50 AM
  #108
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
If you truly believe Lidstrom has "just been slow to get noticed," does that mean the we can consider him Bourque's equal in terms of longevity as an elite player? Or possibly even better than Bourque? Lidstrom has certainly had a better career after the age of 35 than Bourque did.
Well, it was a combination of thing that has led to the perception that Lidstrom has gotten better with age.

First of all, as I said before, it took a while for people around the game to really notice what he does on the ice. This had a lot to do with the Eastern guys not seeing him play enough. I know I've grown to appreciate him more as I've started to watch more Western game. I can't really say whether his defensive game has changed much over the years, since I only started following him over the last 4 years or so. His offensive game, statistically, has not developed over the years, which is why I said it was fine to use the offense from the first half of his career.

Second, and more importantly, as Lidstrom aged, all of the heavy competition started dropping off, which left a huge gap to be filled. As I have said before, he won quite a few of his Norris Trophies by default. Some seasons, nobody had a great year, so Lidstrom got it with a merely good year.

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11-08-2011, 11:55 AM
  #109
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Shore Negatives

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Originally Posted by overpass View Post
Could you or someone else be more specific about Shore's negatives? It's hard to know how much to count them against him without an idea of the frequency or magnitude of the issues.

Voters thought he was consistently the best defenceman in the regular season and often the best player, so they took these negatives into account and felt the positives outweighed them. Or did Shore have problems with losing his temper and hurting his team more often in the playoffs, as opposed to the regular season?
Previous post about the Ace Bailey Incident and resulting 16 game suspension which basically ruined a solid teams season costing them a playoff spot goes a long way to explaining.

Up thread we had an anecdotal account of Shore shooting a puck at a referee with negative team results in the playoffs.

Shore's stats:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...shoreed01.html

note:

550 regular season games / 1047 PIMs / 1.9 PIM/G
55 playoff games / 181 PIMs / ~ 3.3 PIM/G

550 regular season games / 284 points
55 playoff games / 19 pts.

The old adage that you cannot score or help your team from the penalty box applies.

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11-08-2011, 12:01 PM
  #110
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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
Well, it was a combination of thing that has led to the perception that Lidstrom has gotten better with age.

First of all, as I said before, it took a while for people around the game to really notice what he does on the ice. This had a lot to do with the Eastern guys not seeing him play enough. I know I've grown to appreciate him more as I've started to watch more Western game. I can't really say whether his defensive game has changed much over the years, since I only started following him over the last 4 years or so. His offensive game, statistically, has not developed over the years, which is why I said it was fine to use the offense from the first half of his career.

Second, and more importantly, as Lidstrom aged, all of the heavy competition started dropping off, which left a huge gap to be filled. As I have said before, he won quite a few of his Norris Trophies by default. Some seasons, nobody had a great year, so Lidstrom got it with a merely good year.
These are Lidström's point finishes among defensemen since he entered the league:

Season Rank
91/92 9
92/93 34
93/94 16
94/95 20
95/96 6
96/97 3
97/98 1
98/99 2
99/00 1
00/01 2
01/02 1
02/03 3
03/04 22
05/06 1
06/07 5
07/08 1
08/09 3
09/10 8
10/11 2

As can be seen, he didn't crack the top-5 during his first five seasons but has after that placed at least top-5 in all but two seasons.

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11-08-2011, 12:03 PM
  #111
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Refer to this thread for why "points shares" are not worth mentioning in any serious historical discussion: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=889335

Your analysis would be far more compelling if you didn't refer to them.
Interesting. If anything, it tends to give Potvin more of a boost because the statistic is weighted towards goals being more valuable than assists and Potvin was the far more prolific scorer between the pair between their careers.

Looking at the numbers, Robinson's career high in goals was 19, which he accomplished on two occasions, while Potvin reached a peak of 31, also on two occasions, and only scored fewer than 19 in five out of his fifteen full seasons in the NHL. Their respective goals per 80 games average reflects this imperfection in the statistic (as outlined in the link you provided): Potvin - 23.3 goals / season; Robinson - 12 goals / season. That would seem to give Potvin an undue offensive advantage according to how point shares is compiled.

Nonetheless, it did reflect the fact that Robinson had probably the best all-around season between the pair, so I think it got that right when listing the point shares values. And it did provide a quick illustration that Potvin had many more high-end seasons than Robinson in total, which is something I suspected when evaluating the pair. It's obviously a very flawed statistic but for a quick glance I think it actually got the rankings of individual seasons correct in this instance.

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11-08-2011, 12:03 PM
  #112
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
550 regular season games / 1047 PIMs / 1.9 PIM/G
55 playoff games / 181 PIMs / ~ 3.3 PIM/G

550 regular season games / 284 points
55 playoff games / 19 pts.
Just to add some context, during Shore's career, league-wide scoring in the play-offs dropped by about 20%. Compared to the league average, Shore's scoring goes down by about 10% in the play-offs.

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11-08-2011, 12:09 PM
  #113
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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
Just to add some context, during Shore's career, league-wide scoring in the play-offs dropped by about 20%. Compared to the league average, Shore's scoring goes down by about 10% in the play-offs.
When we're talking about relatively low sample sizes involving numbers like 19 points, a 10% difference is probably within the margin of random variation.

The more telling part to me is the almost comical spike in Shore's PIM numbers in the playoffs. I assume that league-wide PIM minutes did not spike in the playoffs?

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11-08-2011, 12:15 PM
  #114
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Originally Posted by matnor View Post
These are Lidström's point finishes among defensemen since he entered the league:

Season Rank
91/92 9
92/93 34
93/94 16
94/95 20
95/96 6
96/97 3
97/98 1
98/99 2
99/00 1
00/01 2
01/02 1
02/03 3
03/04 22
05/06 1
06/07 5
07/08 1
08/09 3
09/10 8
10/11 2

As can be seen, he didn't crack the top-5 during his first five seasons but has after that placed at least top-5 in all but two seasons.
Competition had a lot to do with those finishes. 1992, 1994, and 1996 not significantly worse than what he's done recently - he just had stiff competition.

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11-08-2011, 12:19 PM
  #115
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The more telling part to me is the almost comical spike in Shore's PIM numbers in the playoffs. I assume that league-wide PIM minutes did not spike in the playoffs?
Based on Shore's book, a lot of his PIMs were the result of retaliation rather than instigation. When he felt the other team fouled him, he paid it back tenfold.

In the play-offs, I think teams would do more in an attempt to seet him off.

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11-08-2011, 12:28 PM
  #116
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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
Competition had a lot to do with those finishes. 1992, 1994, and 1996 not significantly worse than what he's done recently - he just had stiff competition.
It's pretty clear to me from those stats that Lidstrom didn't mature offensively until 95-96.

He had good stats in his rookie season, but I'm pretty sure he was playing a much more offensive role then than he later would, which inflated his totals compared to later in his career, when he was defense-first, but still put up the points.

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11-08-2011, 12:30 PM
  #117
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Interesting

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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
As somebody who both coaches and plays defense, I can tell you there are advantages and disadvantages to playing either side. If you want me to explain them, I can do that. I prefer playing my wrong side - I find it easier.

Any intelligent player can pick up the nuances of playing either side. I don't beleive Harvey was the first to do it, but even if he was, it wasn't revolutionary.

Having the LH/RH configuration was a coaching issue, not a player issue.



That's nothing. Any decent player would have figured out the different angles.



Again, this is not just Harvey.

First of all, he was just one piece of an entire team that developed this quick transition game.

Second, and more importantly, this style was a result of a combination of new rules and a coach who uderstood how to use the rules to his team's advantage.

This would be like saying Scott Stevens revolutionized the game by creating "the trap" in New Jersey.



Again, this has more to do with changing rules and coaching than the player.
Interesting. Started playing in the mid fifties, LW, and coaching/scouting/administrating youth hockey in the late sixties. Still relax by going down to the arena.

Everything is easy after you have a hockey culture where proper technique is engrained for well over 50 years. Yet someone had to be the first or the one who advanced the technique. Someone was the first to use the sweep check, poke check, hook check, etc. Today they are rather obvious techniques. Not so originally.

Previously you mentioned about youth dmen not knowing or having problems with D to D passing. Rather obvious to some. From one basic explanation they will derive the variations. Others will never get it. Part of coaching.

Without the player executing, rule changes, coaching, etc are abstractions. Example would be your attempt to link "The Trap" with Scott Stevens in NJ

Versions of "The Trap" go back to coaches Blake and Bowman, predating Stevens' birth. Jacques Lemaire played for both and simplified(or dumbed down) "The Trap" in NJ after using variants of it in Montreal. Blake, Bowman, Lemaire were pretty bright coaches but they did not figure out the consequences to resulting offensive lanes and how a defenseman could close them with a punishing hit. Scott Stevens figured it out and to an extent revolutionized the hitting aspect of the game.

Changing or revolutionizing the game does not require something dramatic - sun rising in the west type of event. Little things.

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11-08-2011, 12:30 PM
  #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
What can be drawn from this?
  • I would be awfully careful with using Eddie Shore's Hart record as an argument for him against defensemen from other eras. It's clear that it was the norm for defensemen to get Hart consideration prior to World War 2, but it became the exception afterwards
  • I would be awfully careful with using Nicklas Lidstrom's lack of Hart consideration as an argument against him, considering the fact that defensemen just don't get recognized for the Hart anymore
  • Bobby Orr's Hart record speaks for itself
  • Look at how much better Red Kelly and Doug Harvey were than any other defenseman of the Original 6 era!
  • Ray Bourque's Hart record is quite impressive, but I don't think it is directly comparable to Lidstrom's, as defensemen seem to have gotten a bit more consideration for the Hart in the 1980s.
Excellent analysis.

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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Previous post about the Ace Bailey Incident and resulting 16 game suspension which basically ruined a solid teams season costing them a playoff spot goes a long way to explaining.

Up thread we had an anecdotal account of Shore shooting a puck at a referee with negative team results in the playoffs.

Shore's stats:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...shoreed01.html

note:

550 regular season games / 1047 PIMs / 1.9 PIM/G
55 playoff games / 181 PIMs / ~ 3.3 PIM/G

550 regular season games / 284 points
55 playoff games / 19 pts.

The old adage that you cannot score or help your team from the penalty box applies.
You need to take into account the fact that scoring decreased significantly in the playoffs during Shore's era. All defensemen (and forwards) experienced large decreases in scoring.

During the span of his career (1927-1940), Shore scored more assists and points than any other defenseman in the playoffs, and he was second in goals (while being 3rd in games played).

If we look at defensemen with a minimum of 20 playoff games played, Shore ranks 4th in points per game (though he's within 0.05 ppg of first place, and he played at least 50% more games than every player ahead of his, which makes it harder to maintain a good per-game average). Shore clearly took a lot of penalties in the playoffs, but it didn't seem to hurt his offense much. (Perhaps all these penalties are reflect in the Bruins spending more time on the PK, thus allowing more goals against? Someone else can look into this).

Link


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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
We actually have relatively complete all-star voting from Shore's era. He was first in voting among defensemen 7 times. I think it is fair to use those all-star votes as substitutes for the Norris. It is extremely rare for the leader in all-star voting doesn't also lead the Norris. That gives him 7 that are very solid.

Here are the results: 1st(1931), 1st(1932), 1st(1933), 1st(1935), 1st(1936), 1st(1938), 1st(1939), 4th(1934), *10th(1940)
It's more subtle than that. During the 1930s, the media would sometimes separately vote on left- and right- side defensemen. Thus, we can't say that Shore led all defensemen in all-star votes. He was a right defenseman and thus didn't directly compete against left defensemen like King Clancy. Thus, I'm not comfortable saying that this is the equivalent of Shore leading all defensemen in all-star voting seven times, because the voting procedures were different (and less useful IMO) back then.

Taking the above into account, his seven seasons as a first-team all-star likely translate into around 4 Norris trophies, and he probably would have added one or two more for his strong years before the all-star teams were first awarded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Refer to this thread for why "points shares" are not worth mentioning in any serious historical discussion: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=889335
I agree. For the reasons outlined in the link above, "point shares" is a poor statistic and although it may sometimes give results that "look right", it has so many flaws that I dismiss it outright.


Last edited by Hockey Outsider: 11-08-2011 at 12:43 PM.
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11-08-2011, 12:34 PM
  #119
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Simply looking at Robinson and Potvin respectively using their rankings in defenceman points to evaluate their production relative to their contemporaries.

Denis Potvin:

Season Rank
73/74 5th
74/75 2nd
75/76 1st
76/77 2nd
77/78 1st
78/79 1st
79/80 T-20th
80/81 2nd
81/82 11th
82/83 10th
83/84 3rd
84/85 7th
85/86 14th
86/87 T-23rd
87/88 18th

Number of offensive titles amongst defencemen: 3
Average offensive ranking amongst defencemen: 8th (best five seasons rank: 1st)

Larry Robinson:

Season Rank
72/73 T-95th*
73/74 33rd
74/75 5th
75/76 16th
76/77 1st
77/78 5th
78/79 7th
79/80 2nd
80/81 25th
81/82 14th
82/83 11th
83/84 30th
84/85 22nd
85/86 3rd
86/87 13th
87/88 T-29th
88/89 T-46th
89/90 T-31st
90/91 T-59th
91/92 T-104th

*partial rookie season - just 36 GP.

Number of offensive titles amongst defencemen: 1
Average offensive ranking amongst defencemen: 28th (best five seasons rank: 3rd)

Edit: if we add in the table already provided by matnor for Lidstrom (might as well given that we're discussing defenders likely ranked from slots 5-10) and those of Red Kelly and Chris Chelios the aforementioned rankings compare as follows.

Nicklas Lidstrom:

Season Rank
91/92 9th
92/93 34th
93/94 16th
94/95 20th
95/96 6th
96/97 3rd
97/98 1st
98/99 2nd
99/00 1st
00/01 2nd
01/02 1st
02/03 3rd
03/04 22nd
05/06 1st
06/07 5th
07/08 1st
08/09 3rd
09/10 8th
10/11 2nd

Number of offensive titles amongst defencemen: 5
Average offensive ranking amongst defencemen: 7th (best five seasons rank: 1st)

Chris Chelios:

Season Rank
83/84 T-168th*
84/85 10th
85/86 38th**
86/87 T-19th
87/88 9th
88/89 4th
89/90 43rd
90/91 8th
91/92 T-13th
92/93 9th
93/94 12th
94/95 T-5th
95/96 4th
96/97 8th
97/98 T-21st
98/99 19th
99/00 T-30th
00/01 T-224th***
01/02 T-17th
02/03 T-75th
03/04 T-70th
05/06 T-148th
06/07 T-144th
07/08 T-136th
08/09 T-272nd****
09/10 T-263rd*****

*partial rookie season - just 12 GP.
**partial injured season - just 41 GP.
***partial injured season - just 24 GP.
****partial veteran season - just 28 GP.
*****partial veteran season - just 7 GP.

Number of offensive titles amongst defencemen: 0
Average offensive ranking amongst defencemen: 68th (best five seasons rank: 6th)

Leonard "Red" Kelly:


Season Rank
47/48 4th
48/49 5th
49/50 1st
50/51 1st
51/52 1st
52/53 1st
53/54 1st
54/55 2nd
55/56 2nd
56/57 3rd
57/58 3rd
58/59 11th
59/60 6th

Number of offensive titles amongst defencemen: 5
Average offensive ranking amongst defencemen: 3rd (best five seasons rank: 1st)

A few things jump out at me from the comparative rankings.

Firstly, Red Kelly's offensive game relative to his peers might just have been the best out of any defenceman not named Orr. He led the league in scoring by a defenceman in five straight seasons, in a period when both Bill Gadsby and Doug Harvey were at their peak strength (or close to it) as NHL defenders. That is insanely impressive in a historical context. The fact that Kelly only has one season out of the top ten while playing defence, and it was an eleventh place finish no less, is also extremely impressive to his cause. His 1960 season split between Detroit and Toronto is the only other season in which he is even out of the top five in defenceman scoring, although I am not sure how many games he played at centre once Imlach converted him to a centre with the Leafs.

Secondly, despite the bemoaned lack of high-end historical competition, Lidstrom also has five finishes as a top defenceman point-wise, tied with Kelly for the lead on this list and better than even the vaunted Potvin, who many consider a better offensive player historically-speaking. Lidstrom accomplished two of these titles when all of Ray Bourque, Al MacInnis, Brian Leetch, Chris Pronger, Scott Stevens, and Chris Chelios were still considered stud defenders, or close to it. He received another one in the season after Ray Bourque retired and the season before Al MacInnis had one of his best years in his final full NHL season (2002-03). That seems to downplay the notion that Lidstrom has only dominated against sub-par competitors in the history of the position.

And lastly, we can see that even at his peak Chris Chelios was not as feared offensively as the other defencemen. He made his living as arguably the meanest SOB in the NHL at the time and in playing intimidating, even downright dirty defence, complete with fash-washes, cross-checks, hard hits, and clearing the front of the net to a degree that even Denis Potvin or Eddie Shore would have been proud of. However, offence was not his forte, even his 70+ point seasons, and it is demonstrative of how highly regarded his defensive game was that he was winning Norris Trophies as only the 4th (1989), 9th (1993), and 4th (1996) highest-scoring defenceman in the NHL. He also finished a close second to teammate Lidstrom in 2001-02, when Nick again led the league in defenceman scoring, in Norris Trophy voting despite being only 17th in the league amongst blueliners from an offensive standpoint.


Last edited by JaysCyYoung: 11-08-2011 at 02:34 PM.
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11-08-2011, 12:38 PM
  #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
It's pretty clear to me from those stats that Lidstrom didn't mature offensively until 95-96.

He had good stats in his rookie season, but I'm pretty sure he was playing a much more offensive role then than he later would, which inflated his totals compared to later in his career, when he was defense-first, but still put up the points.
I think that it also had a little bit to do with league-wide scoring at the time.

The average offensive team in 1992 put up 278 goals according to Hockey-Reference. In 2005-06, Lidstrom's best season point-wise, the average offensive team scored 253 goals. That's a 9.1% decrease in overall league offence. but a 25% increase in offensive production from 1992 to 2006 for Lidstrom.

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11-08-2011, 12:56 PM
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Calculations and Speculations

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Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
Just to add some context, during Shore's career, league-wide scoring in the play-offs dropped by about 20%. Compared to the league average, Shore's scoring goes down by about 10% in the play-offs.
Assuming your numbers are correct. Conveniently the ratio of Shore's regular season games played to playoff games played is exactly 10 : 1.

Regular season Shore had 284 points in 550 games or 28.4 points / 55 games. Playoffs he had 19 points / 55 games.

20% on 28.4 is 5.68 points so Shore should have been at 22.72 points / 55 games to be at the league average. Shore drop exceeds 30% compared to his regular season numbers

Interestingly enough his PIMs increased by over 73 % in the playoffs. If Shore had managed the same increase for his points per game he would be at 33 points / 55 games. 14 point differential offensively over 55 games plus a defensive differential since his on ice replacement was not as good or PK made scoring harder for the Bruins. Care to speculate on the number of SCs results this difference impacted?

Granted the scoring increase is very hypothetical but nobody can score from the penalty box.

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11-08-2011, 01:14 PM
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Eddie Shore on Ice

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Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post

You need to take into account the fact that scoring decreased significantly in the playoffs during Shore's era. All defensemen (and forwards) experienced large decreases in scoring.

During the span of his career (1927-1940), Shore scored more assists and points than any other defenseman in the playoffs, and he was second in goals (while being 3rd in games played).

If we look at defensemen with a minimum of 20 playoff games played, Shore ranks 4th in points per game (though he's within 0.05 ppg of first place, and he played at least 50% more games than every player ahead of his, which makes it harder to maintain a good per-game average). Shore clearly took a lot of penalties in the playoffs, but it didn't seem to hurt his offense much. (Perhaps all these penalties are reflect in the Bruins spending more time on the PK, thus allowing more goals against? Someone else can look into this).

Link
I did the numbers assuming Dreakmur's data was accurate in a previous post with a tongue in cheek extrapolation thrown in for fun.

Your comments are hard to accept for the reasons posted previously and because they go against conventional hockey wisdom.

Effectively your point is that a playoff goal or point during the 1930's was more valuable then a regular season goal or point. Based on data provided by another source I have shown that Shore's drop exceeded the the league norm. Combined with the data you have provided about Shore's scoring relative to his peers on defense. Two compelling reasons why he should have stayed on the ice and out of the penalty box.

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11-08-2011, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
It's pretty clear to me from those stats that Lidstrom didn't mature offensively until 95-96.

He had good stats in his rookie season, but I'm pretty sure he was playing a much more offensive role then than he later would, which inflated his totals compared to later in his career, when he was defense-first, but still put up the points.
i don't know if we would say lidstrom wasn't yet mature offensively or, as you also suggest, that his role changed between his rookie year and '96. being behind a still offensively dominant coffey will do that to anyone.

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11-08-2011, 01:36 PM
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Dynasty Guys

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Originally Posted by JaysCyYoung View Post
There's been a lot of talk surrounding the merits of the "dynasty" guys on the list and how they compare to the rest of the top ten. I'm just as interested in how they compare to each other. Is there any merit for thinking that Larry Robinson could be ranked ahead of Denis Potvin on this list or would that be taking things a little too far?

Both played on squads that are in the discussion for the most dominant teams of all-time (Robinson's 1976-77 Canadiens are frequently cited as the best individual single-season squad), both guys ended up winning the Norris Trophy as the clear-cut best offensive defencemen in the league during said seasons, and both were extremely intimidating physical presences who struck fear into the hearts of opposing forwards but went about it in different ways. Robinson is generally regarded as more quiet and methodical whose intimidation lay in his "waiting game" type style of play before choosing the appropriate time to deliver a big hit, and without peer in terms of his positioning, while Potvin is regarded as one of the best pure bodycheckers of all-time, a physical beast who went all out to deliver punishment but remained an extremely reliable defensive player. Robinson's career is more impressive in terms of team sucess with six Stanley Cup titles and seven Finals appearances (his only loss coming in 1989), while Potvin is a part of the vaunted five consecutive Finals appearances and four straight Stanley Cup victories Islanders squads of the early 1980s.

What's the difference between these two players? Who had the better peak? The better career? Potvin seems to have been acknowledged as having the better peak and he does have a Norris on Robinson, and is generally considered to have been offensively Robinson's superior (with 92 additional points in 324 fewer games it's hard to argue there) but I think that there's an argument to be made that Robinson's 1977 season is the best out of all of the seasons between the pair and he ended up with a career of greater longevity and consistency.

I'm not sure how much stock Hockey-Reference.com's point shares statistics have on here but I think they can be a quick useful tool in showing the quality of individual seasons over a specific player's career, especially if he's being compared to a comparable player:



Denis Potvin (ranked from best to worst)

15.4 15.0 13.9 13.3 12.2 12.0 10.6 10.1 9.7 9.4 8.9 8.7 8.7 5.9 5.4

Adjusted Career total: 90.0 points

Reference: http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...potvide01.html



Larry Robinson (ranked from best to worst)

16.4 12.1 11.8 11.0 10.8 10.7 9.7 9.5 9.2 9.1 9.0 8.9 7.1 6.8 6.7 6.4 4.8 4.4 2.8 1.6

Adjusted Career total: 87.7 points

Reference: http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...robinla01.html

What's significant here is that even with five additional seasons of hockey, including some quality hockey as late as age 38, Robinson never ended up catching up to Potvin's career value despite playing a much longer period of time: equivalent to 25% additional career time once Potvin had retired at age 34.

He had the best single season between the two: his vaunted 1976-77 campaign when he led all defencemen in points and put up a stunning +120 (second only to Orr's record +124 from 1971), however his career as a whole provided less value. That leads me to the conclusion that Potvin was slightly better than Robinson. Any other ideas on comparing these two greats?
Dynasty guys and their individual stats have to be viewed in the context of winning which is the prime objective and not stats or other by products.

Specifically as this relates to Denis Potvin and Larry Robinson.

Larry Robinson on the dynasty Canadiens shared the workload on defence with two other future HHOFers Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe for all four seasons plus Rod Langway was added midway thru the last season. So the workload and the resulting by products was shared.

Denis Potvin never had a HHOF quality defenseman as a teammate on the dynasty Islanders a greater part of the workload and resulting by products accrued to Denis Potvin.

That said Denis Potvin was a slightly better defenseman than Larry Robinson especially when he entered the NHL. Potvin was a defenseman from his early days in youth hockey while Larry Robinson was converted from forward his last year of junior. The gap narrowed as Robinson matured especially when longevity is considered.

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11-08-2011, 03:12 PM
  #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
Based on Shore's book, a lot of his PIMs were the result of retaliation rather than instigation. When he felt the other team fouled him, he paid it back tenfold.

In the play-offs, I think teams would do more in an attempt to seet him off.
I concluded the same thing from the book. Shore took a lot of abuse from opponents and had a temper.

The playoff PIMs could well fit with opponents working on him over multiple games.

I'll look at playoff game reports if I have time this week, to see how much truth there is to the theory. I could rank Shore anywhere from 2-4 still, so I'd like to get more detail.

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