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Round 2, Vote 7 (HOH Top Defensemen)

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Old
12-26-2011, 02:04 PM
  #51
overpass
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Butch Bouchard's wikipedia article is detailed and well-sourced. I haven't found any articles that add to it.

To follow up on previous discussions about hockey as a career, Bouchard had planned to go into banking. But when the bank offered him $7 a week and he realized that he could make $75 a week playing senior hockey, he chose hockey. And he kept bees during the off-season.

Ebbie Goodfellow and positions: I posted this in the preliminary discussion thread.

Goodfellow played part of the 1933-34 season at centre and part at defense, before returning to centre for the playoffs. He started the 1934-35 season at defense, but moved back to centre around the new year. Goodfellow finally moved to defense for good in the 1935-36 season.

Mar 31, 1934 Border Cities Star:

Quote:
Ebbie Goodfellow, blonde-haired Ottawa boy who had led an uncertain career most of the Winter...bouncing from centre to defense, and defense to centre...was the hero of the piece.
Quote:
Ebenezer Goodfellow, who a few weeks ago wasn't sure whether he was a defenseman, or a centre, or even how long his job was going to last.
Goodfellow was playing centre in this game, centring Sorrell and Wiseman on the second line, as he did for the rest of that years playoffs. He also played on the power play with Weiland, Lewis, Aurie, and Sorrell.

Leader-Post, Dec 29, 1934:
Quote:
Ebbie Goodfellow will return to his old position at centre with Eddie Wiseman and Johnny Sorrell...
Goodfellow's career looks like this.

The Forward Years (1929/30 through 1932/33)

Goodfellow was a top scorer on a bad, low-scoring team.

1929-30 - Goodfellow was a close second to Carson Cooper in team scoring, on a low-scoring Detroit team. 17th in league scoring.

1930-31 - Goodfellow led the league in scoring for much of the season, finished second in points, and was fourth in Hart voting behind Morenz, Shore, and Clancy. He registered a point on 48 of Detroit's 102 goals.

1931-32 - Goodfellow led the offensively inept Detroit team with 30 points, but finished only 19th in league scoring.

1932-33 - Goodfellow slipped to 20 points, 6th on Detroit. It appears that Detroit had a more balanced attack this season, and Goodfellow played on the second line for much of the season.

The Transition Years (1933/34 and 1934/35)

1933-34 - Goodfellow was off the first line for good, with the arrival of Cooney Weiland. He spent most of the season playing defence. He still scored 26 points, 5th on Detroit, as he was part of Detroit's strong power play unit of Lewis-Weiland-Aurie-Goodfellow-Sorrell. He also received a single vote for the all-star team at defence. One of the quotes above suggests that Goodfellow's job was in danger, so maybe he wasn't playing well earlier this year. In the playoffs, he moved back to second line centre.
Quote:
In order to provide his forwards with every ounce of scoring punch, Manager Adams has moved Ebbie Goodfellow from his defence post to centre.
Quote:
Goodfellow has played defence for the greatest part of the season...
Goodfellow had a strong playoff as Detroit lost in the Stanley Cup finals. Four of those came in the first two games against Toronto, which Detroit won, and Vern Degeer of the Border Cities Star wrote that Goodfellow played two of the greatest games of his career.

1934-35 - Goodfellow started the season at defence. He was on fire, leading all players in the American division in scoring as of Dec 17 with seven goals and 14 points. But around the new year, to break up the team's slump, he was moved back to the second line between Wiseman and Sorrell, where he had played in the playoffs the previous year. The move didn't help, as Detroit missed the playoffs. Goodfellow's point totals remained high despite spending part of the year as a rearguard, finishing fifth in scoring on Detroit once again. His presence on the power play probably drove that, with the five power play players finishing 1 through 5 in scoring on Detroit (Aurie-Lewis-Weiland-Sorrell-Goodfellow.) Goodfellow's position switching in this season may have cost him an all-star spot.

The Defence Years (1935/36 through 1940/41)

1935/36 - Goodfellow moved back to defence for good before the season. He was paired with Ralph "Scotty" Bowman, and Doug Young and Bucko MacDonald formed the starting pairing. Syd Howe replaced Goodfellow on the second line, and Marty Barry replaced Weiland on the first line. As a full-time blueliner, Goodfellow "only" scored 23 points, which still led all defencemen in the league. He was named to the second all-star team after the season. In the playoffs, Detroit won the Stanley Cup.

1936/37 - Detroit returned another strong team this season. Goodfellow and Bowman were the starting pairing this year. Goodfellow finished in a tie with Lionel Conacher for defenceman scoring, behind Babe Siebert. He was named a first-team all-star after the season. In the playoffs, Detroit won their second straight Stanley Cup, and Goodfellow contributed four points in Detroit's first eight playoff games. He missed Game 4 of the final due to injury and played only briefly in the deciding Game 5, but star centre Marty Barry put the team on his back and scored three of Detroit's four goals in those two games.

1937/38 - Detroit crashed hard, missing the playoffs and finishing last in the division, in one of the big stories of the NHL season. Their core players were getting a little long in the tooth, with all of Lewis, Barry, Aurie, Sorrell, and Hec Kilrea aged 30 or older. Goodfellow himself was 30 years old, and he broke his wrist early in the season and missed 18 games in total. It was a season to forget.
Quote:
Big Ebbie Goodfellow, the blond Ottawan with the winning smile, shattering body check, and world of speed, will be on the spot in Detroit tonight...
Quote:
Opinion has been growing lately that Goodfellow's absence for some weeks with an arm injury is the answer to the dismal showing of last season's world champions...
During Goodfellow's absence in November and December, Detroit went 2-10-1. In January, he missed another 5 games and the team was 2-2-1. Overall, Detroit was 8-13-9 (.417) with Goodfellow in the lineup, and 4-12-2 (0.278) while missing Goodfellow. He may not have been in top form even while playing, as he failed to score a goal all season and only had 7 assists.

1938/39 - Goodfellow was named team captain before the season. He played in all 48 games and scored 16 points. Detroit improved, but still failed to make the playoffs. They had failed to bring in enough young talent to replace their aging stars, and struggled to score. Goodfellow's 16 points were good for a tie for fifth among blueliners (Clapper, Heller, Pratt, Shore.) In the all-star voting, he was a non-factor, receiving only 3 votes total, the same as his teammate Bowman.

1939/40 - After two off-years, Goodfellow had a huge comeback season. Detroit continued the rebuilding process, as Jack Adams let Barry, Lewis and Doug Young go and brought in dozens of young players for tryouts, leaving Goodfellow and Bowman as the only holdovers from their championship seasons. The moves led to little on-ice success, as the Wings finished 16-26-6, good for fifth out of seven NHL teams. But Goodfellow scored 28 points, second on a weak Detroit attack. He tied for the lead in points among all defencemen. He was second in all-star voting among defencemen, with 16 first team votes and 9 second team votes to Dit Clapper's 21 and 4. And he won the Hart Trophy in a close vote over Syl Apps and Clapper.

Windsor Daily Star:
Quote:
The Ottawa-born Goodfellow, a 10-year man in the N.H.L., long has been recognized as one of the best defense-men in the league and was chosen this year with Clapper on the first Canadian Press All-Stars team.

Conceded by Manager Jack Adams to have been the rallying force of the Detroit club during the 1939-40 season, Goodfellow was second highest point-scorer for the Red Wings during the season.
1940/41 - Goodfellow continued his strong play at the age of 33. Not only a captain and star player, he became a playing coach for this season also. Adams was still the bench coach, and Goodfellow was an on-ice coach. Detroit's rebuild paid dividends this season, as they finally climbed back over 0.500 and made the Stanley Cup final. Their 102 goals against was a big improvement, and they tied for 2nd in the league in GA. Syd Howe and Goodfellow were the stars once again, and young stars Sid Abel and Jack Stewart were developing. On the ice, Goodfellow was once again among the leading scorers from the blueline, with 22 points. He received substantial support in the all-star voting, with 19 voting points, but finished fifth and fell short of making the first or second team.

Goodfellow was injured in Detroit's first round victory over the defending champion Rangers. His injured elbow and knee kept him out of the rest of the playoffs. Detroit beat Chicago without him, but probably missed him as they were swept by Boston in the final.

The Coaching Years - 1941/42 and 1942/43

1941/42 - Goodfellow was recovering from a knee operation, and only played in 9 games. He continued as a coach of the Red Wings. The team's regular season record suffered, as they dropped below 0.500. They went on a run in the 1942 playoffs, winning the first two rounds and going up on Toronto 3-0 in the final, but lost four straight games to Toronto. Goodfellow's playoff contribution was limited to his coaching duties.

1942/43 - Goodfellow's knee again allowed him into only 11 regular season games, and no playoff games. But by this time Detroit didn't need him on the ice anymore. Under Goodfellow's tutelage, Jack Stewart had developed into the best defenceman in the league. Led by a strong mix of veterans and young players, and coached by Adams and Goodfellow, the Wings won the regular season title and the Stanley Cup.

Random note: Goodfellow was a big man, one of the fastest skaters in hockey, and he had a hard shot. He was also tough.
Quote:
"Goodfellow, long known as the "best one-punch fighter in hockey's history,"


Last edited by overpass: 12-26-2011 at 04:32 PM.
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12-26-2011, 02:50 PM
  #52
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I'm having a really hard time figuring out how to evaluate Larry Murphy's peak, especially in terms of the value of his Norris voting record. His 1992-93 season is clearly the most impressive from his context, where he's in the consensus top 3 and not far behind Bourque for 2nd after Chelios (and note that Murphy had more 1st place votes that year than Bourque). Is that year better value than Blake's Norris trophy season, or any of Chara's finishes? I'd be inclined to say yes.

His 4th place finish in 1993-94 looks good given that the only guys ahead of him are Coffey, Chelios, and Bourque, and that he's a clear 4th even given the constraints of that season's voting (the 5th and 6th place guys, Duchesne and Leetch, got no votes in the final round of voting, which suggests that Murphy didn't beat out a superior player from another conference due to the two-step voting system).

Going back a year, his 1991-92 season looks good on paper and in the voting since he's right there with Scott Stevens for the final 2nd team all-star spot with a healthy number of votes. Well behind him in 6th place is Chris Chelios with only 4 total votes to Murphy's 19. So it looks like a legitimately strong top-5 finish (albeit one in a year where Phil Housley finished 3rd). It's hard to read a lot out of the results since Leetch so dominated the voting.

I'm not sure what to make of him getting a single 1st place vote and finishing 6th in 1997-98. Murphy looks like he's in the mix for the 5th-10th place positions with a bunch of guys after the clear top 3 (Blake, Lidstrom, Pronger) and Stevens in 4th. He finished with about the same number of votes as Bourque in 7th, although with a slightly different distribution that put him ahead. I'd say he can be comfortably called a top 10 defenseman for that season although any credit as a "3rd team all-star" or whatever might be pushing the limits of the meaningfulness for that designation. The 11th place finish in 1998-99 looks like an example of him getting lucky to get thrown a few high votes and finish in a mish-mash of players that put up okay numbers. When you finish behind Fredrick Olausson and an aging Phil Housley it doesn't say all that much.

Finally, going well back in time, we have his 3rd place finish in 1986-87. This was before my time so I can only draw inferences from the results. He's clearly in a "best-of-the-rest" situation given how Bourque dominated the voting and Mark Howe dominated the 2nd place voting. The guys he beat out for 3rd place include some big names (Robinson, Coffey, Stevens) but none of them had more than a smattering of the voting. It's interesting that in the years surrounding this one, until his peak with Pittsburgh in the early 1990s Murphy didn't pick up a single Norris vote of any kind (unless I'm mis-reading the results), not even a token 3rd place vote from a hometown writer or something. Was this year just a one-off fluke where he had a 20-point jump in scoring that got him noticed by the voters at the same time as a transition was taking place (from the Robinson/Potvin time period to the MacInnis/Stevens/Leetch time period)?
Good summary. I'm not really impressed with Murphy's record in the 1980s either.

Overall, it looks like Murphy was really at his best as a complementary defenceman. His best seasons came in 1980-81 (playing with the Triple Crown line at their peak), 1986-87 (the forwards weren't that good, but Scott Stevens was a pretty good partner), the early 90s with Pittsburgh (Mario Lemieux and co.), and the late 1990s in Detroit (paired with Nicklas Lidstrom). He didn't play as well in Toronto or Minnesota, which were weaker teams with average forward groups where he was expected to be the #1. He played well in the 1987 Canada Cup with an outstanding group of players.

I think Murphy as a strong complementary player but not a primary offensive catalyst makes sense, considering that he was a slow skater who had to use smarts and skills to compensate.

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12-26-2011, 03:53 PM
  #53
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Good profile of Goodfellow, but one correction - Detroit didn't win the Cup in 1934 - they lost in the finals. Goodfellow has 2 Cups - 1936 and 1937.

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12-26-2011, 04:13 PM
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Good profile of Goodfellow, but one correction - Detroit didn't win the Cup in 1934 - they lost in the finals. Goodfellow has 2 Cups - 1936 and 1937.
Good catch on that slip.

Goodfellow had a hand in the 1943 Cup too, as a coach and playing 11 regular season games.

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12-26-2011, 04:18 PM
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The Zdeno Chara paradox. - remove the system and supporting cast and what do you have? A big turnover machine with average skills - skating, passing, shooting - takes too long, that are enhanced by size and favourable rules.

Go back to the O6 era and the tall defensemen - Laperriere, Vasko, later Bill White were constrained by having to play with sticks that were too short for them - stick length was regulated, so they had to play somewhat hunched over. Today the sticks are longer so Chara can play fully balanced and extended.

Basically a talented Hal Gill.
Like others have hinted at, I sure hope that you are looking at all those Hab players through the same filter.

There is nothing wrong with looking at a player and seeing in his team context and era and coaching helped or hindered him but I highly doubt that people use this evenly for every player and that's where the problem really lies.

We have had 3 great Hab Dmen to consider from the 70's in Robinson, Lapointe and Savard, do you consider how we might view them or how they might have turned out if they had been drafted by the Oakland seals rather than the Habs?

I highly doubt it but perhaps I'm wrong in this matter.

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12-26-2011, 06:07 PM
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Like others have hinted at, I sure hope that you are looking at all those Hab players through the same filter.

There is nothing wrong with looking at a player and seeing in his team context and era and coaching helped or hindered him but I highly doubt that people use this evenly for every player and that's where the problem really lies.

We have had 3 great Hab Dmen to consider from the 70's in Robinson, Lapointe and Savard, do you consider how we might view them or how they might have turned out if they had been drafted by the Oakland seals rather than the Habs?

I highly doubt it but perhaps I'm wrong in this matter.
The only problem here is that we never saw Robinson, Lapointe or Savard play on bad teams until they were at the end of their careers. We saw Chara in what should have been his prime on a bad Boston team. And he looked bad.

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12-26-2011, 06:20 PM
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One of my biggest issues with Chara at this point is that he had two Norris trophy-winning/contending seasons with his starting goaltender winning the Vezina trophy (and in the second case putting up arguably one of the greatest goaltending seasons ever), while slotted right in between was a really mediocre season at the same time said goaltender also had one. Now of course one can argue to which degree these events are symbiotic, but my gut instinct from watching (and also from Tuuka Rask's numbers) is that Thomas has had more to do with it than Chara over the past 3 seasons.

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12-26-2011, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Like others have hinted at, I sure hope that you are looking at all those Hab players through the same filter.

There is nothing wrong with looking at a player and seeing in his team context and era and coaching helped or hindered him but I highly doubt that people use this evenly for every player and that's where the problem really lies.

We have had 3 great Hab Dmen to consider from the 70's in Robinson, Lapointe and Savard, do you consider how we might view them or how they might have turned out if they had been drafted by the Oakland seals rather than the Habs?

I highly doubt it but perhaps I'm wrong in this matter.
Ehhh..
Why is that question restricted to former Habs?

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12-26-2011, 09:04 PM
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Ehhh..
Why is that question restricted to former Habs?
It isn't but for C1958 he does seem to talk about the Hab guys quite a bit but it should apply to all players IMO and considered evenly not just for favorites and non favorites which was my main point about it.

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12-26-2011, 09:09 PM
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One of my biggest issues with Chara at this point is that he had two Norris trophy-winning/contending seasons with his starting goaltender winning the Vezina trophy (and in the second case putting up arguably one of the greatest goaltending seasons ever), while slotted right in between was a really mediocre season at the same time said goaltender also had one. Now of course one can argue to which degree these events are symbiotic, but my gut instinct from watching (and also from Tuuka Rask's numbers) is that Thomas has had more to do with it than Chara over the past 3 seasons.
Looking at the numbers (and not wins and losses), only in 11 has Thomas been better than Rask who was better in 10 and 12, so far.

It's fair to say that Chara doesn't have the consistency of some of the players listed but IMO it's alot harder to remain consistently great today than say in the early 70's for a great Habs team when the league disparity from top-bottom was greater as well.

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12-26-2011, 10:17 PM
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Dave Lewis

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If we're going to start punishing players for playing under good coaches and with good supporting casts, we should probably start with... every player who ever played for the Montreal Canadiens before the 1990s.

Then continue on to Rob Blake and Scott Niedermayer, both of whom were coached by Larry Robinson as young players (though I guess Blake did have a weak supporting cast much of his career).
Question of recognizing the rather obvious.

Upthread the point was made about Chara`s weak first season in Boston with Dave Lewis as coach. Now lets look at Nicklas Lidstrom and his subpar 2003-04 season in Detroit with guess who as coach....... Dave Lewis.

After leaving Boston, Dave Lewis has coached how many NHL teams?

Conversely great players will perform under mediocre coaching - see Bobby Orr, Brad Park .....

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12-26-2011, 10:24 PM
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Size

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Yeah, was there ever an era where speed was less important than the current one? And Chara seems to be doing just fine.
Zdeno Chara is the only successful project from the era, roughly 1985-2005, when size mattered. The scouting / drafting mantra was that you could not teach size, but skills could be taught.

Speed as in short term liner speed may be negated by size/reach as long as movement is not introduced into the equation. Once foot speed and lateral movement become factors the size advantage is countered.

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12-26-2011, 10:33 PM
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Done

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Like others have hinted at, I sure hope that you are looking at all those Hab players through the same filter.
There is nothing wrong with looking at a player and seeing in his team context and era and coaching helped or hindered him but I highly doubt that people use this evenly for every player and that's where the problem really lies.

We have had 3 great Hab Dmen to consider from the 70's in Robinson, Lapointe and Savard, do you consider how we might view them or how they might have turned out if they had been drafted by the Oakland seals rather than the Habs?

I highly doubt it but perhaps I'm wrong in this matter.
That has been done - Harvey gets credit for the success of the 1961-62 Rangers, Robinson,Savard and Lapointe get praise for their efforts raising the quality of the teams they played for post Montreal. Respectively Los Angeles, Winninpeg - Savard helped a young Winnipeg team tremendously and Lapointe though slowed by injuries helped St. Louis and Boston.

J.C. Tremblay gets credit for his WHA days with the horrific early Nordiques, Tom Johnson eventually will get discussed and his Boston days will be mentioned.

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12-26-2011, 11:32 PM
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That has been done - Harvey gets credit for the success of the 1961-62 Rangers, Robinson,Savard and Lapointe get praise for their efforts raising the quality of the teams they played for post Montreal. Respectively Los Angeles, Winninpeg - Savard helped a young Winnipeg team tremendously and Lapointe though slowed by injuries helped St. Louis and Boston.

J.C. Tremblay gets credit for his WHA days with the horrific early Nordiques, Tom Johnson eventually will get discussed and his Boston days will be mentioned.
You are missing the point and it's a very weak argument that Lapointe helped St. Louis and most of Winnipeg's fortunes were turned around by a guy named Hawerchuck not Savard. Robinson didn't make the Kings any better at 38 either.

Your original point was that Chara greatly benefited from the situation he was in and was basically a Hal Gill, something which you give the 3 Habs guys credit for, instead of being in that great situation.

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12-26-2011, 11:41 PM
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Question of recognizing the rather obvious.

Upthread the point was made about Chara`s weak first season in Boston with Dave Lewis as coach. Now lets look at Nicklas Lidstrom and his subpar 2003-04 season in Detroit with guess who as coach....... Dave Lewis.

After leaving Boston, Dave Lewis has coached how many NHL teams?

Conversely great players will perform under mediocre coaching - see Bobby Orr, Brad Park .....
Coaching was also less relevant in the 70's than in the 00's. Most Dmen would love to have Lidstrom's off year in 04.

Dido Chara's off season in 07 when the bruins were still in their rebuilding project.

Dave Lewis is too easy a scapegoat here in this example IMO.

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12-27-2011, 03:44 AM
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Zdeno Chara is the only successful project from the era,
So, good for him, then, right?

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12-27-2011, 03:45 AM
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I will have to confirm this when I get back to my files but I think that, from a TOI standpoint, Larry Murphy was a #2 defenseman to Mark Hardy for five straight seasons in the early 80s.

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12-27-2011, 10:24 AM
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Chara's Norris record:

02-03: 7th
03-04: 2nd
04-05: lockout
05-06: 4th
06-07: 20th with 2 votes
07-08: 3rd
08-09: 1st
09-10: 8th
10-11: 3rd
11-12: 1/2 a Norris calibre season so far

Since he emerged in 2002-03, Chara had one real off-season (06-07) when he struggled to fit in with his new team (and poor coaching didn't help). It's not as consistent as Jack Stewart, but I'll put up Chara's awards recognition over just about anyone else here.

The big issue with Chara was always playoffs - and he definitely helped his case there in 2011.

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12-27-2011, 10:51 AM
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Chara's Norris record:

02-03: 7th
03-04: 2nd
04-05: lockout
05-06: 4th
06-07: 20th with 2 votes
07-08: 3rd
08-09: 1st
09-10: 8th
10-11: 3rd
11-12: 1/2 a Norris calibre season so far

Since he emerged in 2002-03, Chara had one real off-season (06-07) when he struggled to fit in with his new team (and poor coaching didn't help). It's not as consistent as Jack Stewart, but I'll put up Chara's awards recognition over just about anyone else here.

The big issue with Chara was always playoffs - and he definitely helped his case there in 2011.
I suppose a counter-point to this (not saying I disagree entirely with your point though) is that if we are going to pick apart the Norris records of guys like Lidstrom and Park due to competition, then Chara's has got to suffer somewhat under a similar analysis. You've got a 3rd place finish behind Dion Phaneuf, a 3rd behind a 40 year old Lidstrom and Shea Weber, a 1st where he beat Mike Green and Lidstrom on a down year, the 8th in 09-10 (and I'd argue he may not even have deserved to finish that high and some of those votes may have just been residual memory from his Norris trophy win the season before), and a 2nd to Niedermayer in Lidstrom's big off-year before the lockout. The 4th place finish in 05-06 holds up pretty well though.

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12-27-2011, 11:21 AM
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Everything you say is true about the mediocre competition Chara faced. But consider the following:

He is a defense-first player in an era where points are so important to Norris voting. I can think of two seasons in particular:

In 2003-04, Lidstrom was having an off season and the big story for the Norris was Niedermayer's superior offense versus Chara's superior defense. I don't think I saw a single article that didn't mention this fact. IMO, Niedermayer and Chara were equals in 2004 and the writers showed their preference for the offensive defenseman.

In 2010-11, would anyone have complained much if Weber or Chara won? It was an incredibly weak year for defensemen, but IMO, the top 3 were a level above the rest and Chara finished 3rd because he didn't have the offensive numbers of the other two.

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12-27-2011, 11:26 AM
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I suppose a counter-point to this (not saying I disagree entirely with your point though) is that if we are going to pick apart the Norris records of guys like Lidstrom and Park due to competition, then Chara's has got to suffer somewhat under a similar analysis. You've got a 3rd place finish behind Dion Phaneuf, a 3rd behind a 40 year old Lidstrom and Shea Weber, a 1st where he beat Mike Green and Lidstrom on a down year, the 8th in 09-10 (and I'd argue he may not even have deserved to finish that high and some of those votes may have just been residual memory from his Norris trophy win the season before), and a 2nd to Niedermayer in Lidstrom's big off-year before the lockout. The 4th place finish in 05-06 holds up pretty well though.
Chara (1977) is the only player born after Chris Pronger (1974) and before Duncan Keith (1983) who has ever finished top 3 in Norris voting. That weak era for defencemen has had an impact on his level of competition, IMO.

The same point was made about Dit Clapper when he was up for voting - very few great defencemen his age.

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12-27-2011, 11:54 AM
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I think the "weak era" argument gets a little overplayed in the 00's.

the other part of the equation is the nature of all the forwards and types of systems and level of competition that teams play in today.

The biggest difference is the 70's were powerhouse teams like the Habs and Bruins could beat up on diluted teams like the Canucks and Seals.

It could very well be that the 00 Dman competition level looks weaker on the surface because it is much more difficult to stand out at the highest level on a consistent basis than it was in different eras.

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12-27-2011, 11:54 AM
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Coaching was also less relevant in the 70's than in the 00's. Most Dmen would love to have Lidstrom's off year in 04.

Dido Chara's off season in 07 when the bruins were still in their rebuilding project.

Dave Lewis is too easy a scapegoat here in this example IMO.
worth pointing out that lidstrom had arguably his best season '03 under dave lewis in '03. led NHL in TOI, 62p, +40 playing with dandenault.

other problems besides lewis in '04. many injuries, many new players, schneider took some of lidstrom's offensive role and lidstrom played a more defensive role (probably also partly b/c derian hatcher missed almost the entire season), 3 part goaltending controversy which apparently may have divided the locker room a bit.

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12-27-2011, 12:50 PM
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I think the "weak era" argument gets a little overplayed in the 00's.

the other part of the equation is the nature of all the forwards and types of systems and level of competition that teams play in today.

The biggest difference is the 70's were powerhouse teams like the Habs and Bruins could beat up on diluted teams like the Canucks and Seals.

It could very well be that the 00 Dman competition level looks weaker on the surface because it is much more difficult to stand out at the highest level on a consistent basis than it was in different eras.
It gets overplayed in the sense that some people on here act like Lidstrom was winning awards against the consistently weakest fields ever (something TDMM debunked pretty thoroughly), but with respect to Chara, overpass makes a good point: he's the only defenseman in an entire decade of players to finish in the top 3 in Norris trophy voting. There's no way to spin that other than to acknowledge the the generation of defenseman between Lidstrom/Blake/Niedermayer/Pronger/etc. and Keith/Weber/Doughty/Phaneuf/Green/etc. was exceptionally weak. Who would be the best one from that period after Chara? Dan Boyle, maybe?

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12-27-2011, 01:11 PM
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It gets overplayed in the sense that some people on here act like Lidstrom was winning awards against the consistently weakest fields ever (something TDMM debunked pretty thoroughly), but with respect to Chara, overpass makes a good point: he's the only defenseman in an entire decade of players to finish in the top 3 in Norris trophy voting. There's no way to spin that other than to acknowledge the the generation of defenseman between Lidstrom/Blake/Niedermayer/Pronger/etc. and Keith/Weber/Doughty/Phaneuf/Green/etc. was exceptionally weak. Who would be the best one from that period after Chara? Dan Boyle, maybe?
It could be that it was a weak era and it also could be that it was more difficult to be dominant as well as other factors that we might not be considering here.

The obvious examples in the recent past are bobby Orr's scoring totals in an expanded NHL from 6-12-14-16 teams and WHA, a generational talent and one of the all time best but his stats are helped by the dilution of the league and would be diminished in a 6 team only league IMO.

Diddo Coffey's scoring exploits with the early 80's Oilers, his level of offensive dominance appears greater because of the conditions he played in. the lesser scoring and dominance of 00's Dman could be attributed to the more even level of competition of the game in the 80's and not merely to some perceived decrease in the level of competition.

It is of course not measurable in any way and just an opinion but IMO there isn't any great dip in the talent level of Dmen in the 00's form other eras.

Also small factors like decreased goalie defensive plays, ie Brouduer going into the corner and the lack of checking fore checkers without the puck drastically impact on the time and space Dmen have to move the puck out of their own zone as well. These factors should be considered when evaluating players IMO.

As well there are now 30 teams with 30 #1 Dmen and the statistical possibility of one of those players bumping a top 3 in Norris voting from year to year is much greater than say in a league with 6 teams and only 6 #1 Dmen.

Chara being a top 10 Dman for basically every year in the last 10 years is simply an extremely impressive accomplishment given the environment of the NHL.

That being said the teams were drafting more for size around Chara's time in the "clutch and grab era" and their was a noticeable dip in the offensive skill set of Dmen succeeding at the next level.

Post lockout skilled Dmen were better served by the subtle changes in the game.


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