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Round 2, Vote 9 (HOH Top Defensemen)

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Old
01-14-2012, 01:33 PM
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Jan Suchy


For anyone wondering if Suchy was considered NHL-worthy:


On Czechoslovakia's second goal, Suchy grabs the puck in the defensive zone, is double-teamed by two Soviets and springs a perfect outlet pass leading to a 2-on-1 Czech goal.
I think we have to use the term potentially NHL worthy and even then it's doubtful after 71 and the car accident.

In the clip there were two guys in the area but the term double teamed is very loose, they hardly applied any pressure and Suchy had tons of time and space to make his pass.

I'm pretty sure I had Suchy in my top 80 but the more I look at him, the more that looks like a mistake on my part.

For that matter Housley looks alot better than Suchy and I'm beginning to doubt that his name even comes up but one never knows.

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01-14-2012, 01:38 PM
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I think we have to use the term potentially NHL worthy and even then it's doubtful after 71 and the car accident.
On the other hand, he dominated European competition, which included the Soviets, from 1968-1971. The Summit Series was in 1972. The clip of the USSR/Sweden game from 1969 features Boris Mikhailov prominently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
For that matter Housley looks alot better than Suchy and I'm beginning to doubt that his name even comes up but one never knows.
Suchy probably blocked more shots in a game than Housley blocked in his career. Playing defense is part of the job of a defenseman. If you want to compare Lennart Svedberg to Housley as offense-only guys, that might be fair, but Suchy was reportedly a fairly complete player.

Edit: Not to mention that Suchy was clutch in big games, while the only thing Housley was actually good at (putting up points) kind of went away in the playoffs.


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01-14-2012, 02:47 PM
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
On the other hand, he dominated European competition, which included the Soviets, from 1968-1971. The Summit Series was in 1972. The clip of the USSR/Sweden game from 1969 features Boris Mikhailov prominently.



Suchy probably blocked more shots in a game than Housley blocked in his career. Playing defense is part of the job of a defenseman. If you want to compare Lennart Svedberg to Housley as offense-only guys, that might be fair, but Suchy was reportedly a fairly complete player.

Edit: Not to mention that Suchy was clutch in big games, while the only thing Housley was actually good at (putting up points) kind of went away in the playoffs.

I'm guessing that in 1495 and 85 regular season and playoff games that this might be a slight exaggeration but your point is taken. But it's not like Suchy is a defensive shutdown guy either and look at the speed of the game and that doubled teamed attempt in that clip in 69.

Playing 19:20 MPG in 03 and averaging well over 20 in his 20 game career should mean something right? He was a decent scoring Dman and overall player for 20 years in the NHL.

From the clips I have seen Suchy didn't face a very physical presence in those Eurpean games either, it's very doubt full that his game would have translated to star or even very good level for the NHL and even then we are taking about a guy with a 4 or 5 year peak.

Housley has his faults but had an incredibly long NHL career and if he had a comparable career pre WW2 he would probably already be on this list.

His modernness is killing him here in that I'm betting he wasn't even on 25% plus of the top 80 lists entered.


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01-14-2012, 02:58 PM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
From the clips I have seen Suchy didn't face a very physical presence in those Eurpean games either, it's very doubt full that his game would have translated to star or even very good level for the NHL and even then we are taking about a guy with a 4 or 5 year peak.
First of all, if you've seen clips of Suchy other than the one I posted, please post them.

More importantly, Suchy played against the USSR when they had players like Boris Mikhailov and Valeri Kharlamov and he was, on average, the best defenseman on the ice on either team. We know that Kharlamov and Mikhailov (and others) looked like superstars against Canada. Why wouldn't Suchy have starred? I'm not saying Suchy would have necessarily been a perennial Norris winner in the NHL, but anyone who was a perennial Norris winner has been voted in already.

Quote:
Housley has his faults but had an incredibly long NHL career and if he had a comparable career pre WW2 he would probably already be on this list.
Housley was a 2nd Team All-Star just once in an era where the all-stars favored offensive defensemen. Pre-WW2 comparibles might be Flash Hollett or Pat Egan in terms of defensemen who put up a lot of points but didn't get much all-star consideration. We'll see if they end up on the list...

Quote:
His modernness is killing him here in that I'm betting he wasn't even on 25% plus of the top 80 lists entered.
I'm not going to talk much more about Housley since he's not up for voting, but I'd say it was more the fact that he was an absolute disaster in his own zone, combined with the fact that he was a terrible all-round playoff performer. Neither of which comes close to applying to Suchy.

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01-14-2012, 03:19 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
First of all, if you've seen clips of Suchy other than the one I posted, please post them.

More importantly, Suchy played against the USSR when they had players like Boris Mikhailov and Valeri Kharlamov and he was, on average, the best defenseman on the ice on either team. We know that Kharlamov and Mikhailov (and others) looked like superstars against Canada. Why wouldn't Suchy have starred? I'm not saying Suchy would have necessarily been a perennial Norris winner in the NHL, but anyone who was a perennial Norris winner has been voted in already.



Housley was a 2nd Team All-Star just once in an era where the all-stars favored offensive defensemen. Pre-WW2 comparibles might be Flash Hollett or Pat Egan in terms of defensemen who put up a lot of points but didn't get much all-star consideration. We'll see if they end up on the list...



I'm not going to talk much more about Housley since he's not up for voting, but I'd say it was more the fact that he was an absolute disaster in his own zone, combined with the fact that he was a terrible all-round playoff performer. Neither of which comes close to applying to Suchy.
I was talking about clips that I have seen from that are and European clips in particular, not really sure when there was ore physical play and more determined checking, something that a lot of NHL games lacked until the later 80's and early 90's as well.

I'm not arguing that Housley is necessarily a top 60 guy, my biggest beef is the inclusion of a guy like Suchy so early (with a small peak and non NHL as well) and the probable exclusion of a guy like Housley, warts and all, from probably over 25% plus of all the top 80 lists submitted.

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01-14-2012, 03:22 PM
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post

I'm not arguing that Housley is necessarily a top 60 guy, my biggest beef is the inclusion of a guy like Suchy so early (with a small peak and non NHL as well) and the probable exclusion of a guy like Housley, warts and all, from probably over 25% plus of all the top 80 lists submitted.
Why does it matter that Suchy didn't peak in the NHL? This isn't the "top 60 NHL defensemen of all time" it is the "top 60 defensemen of all time."

I'm not even sure I'm voting for Suchy this round (Zdeno Chara and Moose Johnson are my only guarantees), but I'm ranking him a hell of a lot higher than Phil Housley.


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01-14-2012, 03:24 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Why does it matter that Suchy didn't peak in the NHL? This isn't the "top 60 NHL defensemen of all time" it is the "top NHL defensemen of all time."

I'm not even sure I'm voting for Suchy this round (Zdeno Chara and Moose Johnson are my only guarantees), but I'm ranking him a hell of a lot higher than Phil Housley.
Umm, TDMM...

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01-14-2012, 03:28 PM
  #33
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Umm, TDMM...

Hahaha, give him a minute to edit that

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01-14-2012, 03:29 PM
  #34
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Umm, TDMM...
FAIL

Apparently I knew I had to delete a word and deleted the wrong one.

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01-14-2012, 03:34 PM
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Vote 9 will begin now. Votes must be submitted between 9PM EST on Thursday 1/19/12 and 9PM EST on Saturday 1/21/12. Votes received outside this time frame will not be accepted unless you make prior arrangements with me via PM. Voting will run until the deadline or until all voters have sent their vote in, whichever comes first. THESE DEADLINES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE SO PLEASE READ THROUGH THE ENTIRE THREAD.

Please PM me your votes during the above timeframe.

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL VOTE FOR YOUR TOP 10 OUT OF THE POOL OF ELIGIBLE PLAYERS.

Vote 9 will be for places 41 through 45 on the Top 60 list.

Here are the candidates, listed alphabetically:

Rob Blake
Emile "Butch" Bouchard
Georges "Buck" Boucher
Carl Brewer
Harry Cameron
Zdeno Chara
Ebbie Goodfellow
Ernest "Moose" Johnson
Tom Johnson
Sylvio Mantha
Larry Murphy
Ken Reardon
Albert "Babe" Siebert
Jan Suchy
Doug Wilson

Please note that you are voting for your top 10 of the 15 available candidates.
As for the new candidates (other than Reardon, who, like reckoning said, should have been available for voting four rounds ago)...

+ Harry Cameron is an interesting entry that was, in my list, between Moose Johnson and Scott Niedermayer (amongst guys available or voted). Offensive oriented D-Men that had some issues around him. Numbers are pretty close to Sprague Cleghorn, but the numbers are arguably Cameron's calling card. He could have been available a round earlier, but he's probably available right when he should be.

+ Sylvio Mantha? Well... I think there's something slightly wrong about him appearing only one round after Ching Johnson. However, considering what happened with Johnson last round, it's safe to say that Johnson was available a bit too late. Mantha was a solid defensively according to pretty much every account and had better offense than Johnson, which isn't really saying much. I think it'S the right round for him... even though I'd be really surprised to see him finish in the Top-10.

+ Albeit a completely different player, I think the same could be said in regards to Doug Wilson. I had him something like 15 ranks below Larry Murphy in my original rankings, and frankly, I don't know why.

+ Babe Seibert's case is interesting. To be honest, I can't see exactly how does he have a better case than George Boucher, but then I might be missing something.

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01-14-2012, 05:17 PM
  #36
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Babe Siebert

Albert "Babe" Siebert might have the most unique career of anyone available now. Here's an attempt to try to get a handle on him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Siebert was one of those few players who could do it all - excelling both as a power forward and an all star defenseman. You don't see that any longer! He was as strong as an ox, making him nearly impossible to stop. In addition he added very good skating abilities with good straight-ahead speed. He was very responsible defensively and though he never had the scoring exploits of his famous "S" Line teammates, he was an underrated shooter and a skillful playmaker
The years as a Left Wing / Utility Player (1925-26 to 1933-34)

Babe Siebert as best known as the Power Forward who helped do the dirty work for his teammate Nels Stewart when Stewart was standing in front of the opponent's net Phil Esposito style or outright cherrypicking:

Quote:
Originally Posted by legendsofhockey
Stewart was the natural scorer on the line, and Smith was the passer, but Siebert was equally well known for his rushing, his sheer physical strength and his relentless backchecking to get the team possession of the puck
Quote:
Originally Posted by HHOF
Siebert was the digger, using his physical strength to spring pucks from opponents in the corners, then backchecking relentlessly in order to lug the puck back into the opposing end.
However, Siebert spent a significant amount of time at D even during this time (quotes via Sturminator).

It appears that the Montreal Maroons regularly rotated their players between forward and defense:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - November 4, 1927
There are only two regular defense players, Dunc Munro and Red Dutton, but the Maroons have three others who can fill in on the guard positions when required, namely, Nels Stewart, Hooley Smith and Babe Siebert, all of whom are perfectly at home in front of the net.

Hooley Smith can work in three positions, centre, right wing or defense. Bill Phillips can work at centre and right wing. Nels Stewart can play centre, right wing and defense. Babe Siebert is at home at left wing or defense. Bill Touhey is a centre or left wing player. Oatman plays left wing and a fair defensive game. Ward is a right winger primarily, as is Frank Carson.

With a galaxy of players as mobile as the Maroons, Manager Eddie Gerard should be able to meet any occasion without impairing the effectiveness of his team. In the practices he has tried out all the possible combinations and finds the results are about the same.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...3,665235&hl=en

Siebert appeared to be a regular on defense for the 1927-28 season:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen, February 2, 1928
Dunc Munro, who has developed into a fast performer and who has achieved a reputation as a money-maker on the stock market; Red Dutton, the most improved defense player in hockey, and the durable Siebert, help to form a flashy and hard-checking defense.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...,5073190&hl=en

Quote:
Originally Posted by hfboards user Sturminator
Based on what I've seen (didn't save all the articles), it seems that this was the regular formation for most of the season - Siebert on D, Stewart at LW and Smith at center with (Jimmy Ward) on the right wing.
From the playoffs that season:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rochester Evening Journal - April 5, 1927
The Lineup:

The Maroons will have Clint Bendict in their nests (sic) with Babe Siebert and Red Dutton on defense. Hooley Smith at center and Nelson Stewart and Jimmy Ward at the wings.
Siebert also spent siginficant time at D during the 1928-29 season. Here are two game reports that list him at D:

Montreal Gazette - November, 19, 1928: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...,3245670&hl=en
Montreal Gazette - December 10, 1928: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...,1668198&hl=en

Conclusion: While Babe Siebert is traditional thought of as a left wing during this period, it would be more accurate to call him a "utility player" who would play either left wing or defense, depending on team needs.

His late career peak as a defenseman (1934-35 to 1938-39)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens Offiical History Site
Having lost a step, Siebert moved back to defense where he not only held his own but actually improved his game, claiming the Hart Trophy as league MVP. Renowned for his offensive rushes and his outstanding defensive coverage, Siebert had eight goals and 20 assists in 44 regular season games.-ourhistory.canadiens.com
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadien Legends: Montreal's Hockey Heroes by Mike Leonetti
Blessed with a powerful body and broad shoulders, Albert "Babe" Siebert played hockey with a great deal of heart and determination. He was certainly not afraid to use his body, and while he racked up penalty minute totals, Siebert was a complete player whose career as a Montreal Canadien included winning the Hart Trophy as the best player in the league
(Quotes via Leafs Forever)

1934-35: Babe Siebert's first full season in Boston. This appears to be a transition year. Despite high point totals, Siebert was not an All-Star, indicating that he probably began the season at forward.

1935-36: Siebert's second and final season in Boston. Siebert is a full time defenseman by this point. He is a 1st Team All-Star at D next to Eddie Shore, but finishes far behind Shore in All-Star voting.

1936-37: Siebert's first season as a Montreal Canadien and the best of his career. He leads all defensemen in All Star voting - Eddie Shore is right behind. And Babe wins the Hart Trophy in a landslide:

1. Babe Siebert, Mtl D 63
2. Lionel Conacher, Mtl M D 43
3. Ebbie Goodfellow, Det D 42
4. Tiny Thompson, Bos G 31
5. Marty Barry, Det C 26

In the context of the 1930s, a 20 point win is a landslide.

1937-38: Siebert is a 1st Team All Star for the 3rd season in a row. He has almost as many votes for the All Star Team as Eddie Shore, and finishes a distant 3rd behind Eddie Shore and forward Paul Thompson for the Hart.

1938-39: Siebert finishes 6th in All Star voting for defensemen at the age of 35. He then retires.

Why you should vote for Babe Siebert this round
  • Probably the best peak of any defenseman remaining - Babe was a 1st Team All Star for 3 seasons in a row, before finishing 6th in the 4th season. Only Butch Bouchard has done that among available defensemen, and competition was much stronger when Siebert did it - Eddie Shore and Earl Seibert were at their peak, and so were lesser HHOFers like Ebbie Goodfellow and Art Coulter. Lionel Conacher had a few good years in there, as well. Babe also finished 1st and 3rd in Hart voting.
Why you shouldn't vote for Babe Siebert this round
  • Only 4-5 seasons as a pure defenseman. Babe was a utility player for the first 9-10 seasons of his career, switching between LW and D based on team needs. He was only a pure defenseman for the last 4-5 seasons of his career. But his best years (by far) were his final 4 years at D.
  • While Siebert was a very useful player outside of his 4 year peak, he was not an All-Star calibre player.


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01-14-2012, 05:38 PM
  #37
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Originally Posted by MXD View Post
As for the new candidates (other than Reardon, who, like reckoning said, should have been available for voting four rounds ago)...
I have to be missing something about Reardon. Both Reardon and Goodfellow finished top 5 in All-Star voting 5 times. Reardon's finishes are slightly better than Goodfellow's, but against much weaker competition than Goodfellow faced. Call it even. At first glance, I have to say that Goodfellow looks better because, unlike Reardon, Goodfellow has accomplishments of note outside a five year period.

Goodfellow has a 2-1 edge in Cups and unless I'm missing something about Reardon's 1946, Goodfellow appears to have been much more important to his team's 2 Cup wins than Reardon was to his one.

And Goodfellow won't even top my list this round.

So what am I missing?

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01-14-2012, 05:44 PM
  #38
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Ken Reardon finishes in All Star voting(1946-1950): 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th
Zdeno Chara finishes in Norris voting (2003-2011): 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th (not including the current season)

I don't need to say who that favors.

Reardon has one Cup (1946), but there's no way he was as important as Maurice Richard, and I doubt he was as important as Elmer Lach or Toe Blake. Butch Bouchard was a 1st Team All Star that season (Reardon was a 2nd Teamer in his first season back from the war), so it's unclear to me who Montreal's #1 defenseman was. So I'm not sure how much Reardon makes up in the playoffs.

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01-14-2012, 05:45 PM
  #39
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Why does it matter that Suchy didn't peak in the NHL? This isn't the "top 60 NHL defensemen of all time" it is the "top 60 defensemen of all time."

I'm not even sure I'm voting for Suchy this round (Zdeno Chara and Moose Johnson are my only guarantees), but I'm ranking him a hell of a lot higher than Phil Housley.
Yes it is the top 60 Dmen of all time but its pretty much acknowledged here that the NHL is the top league in the world period through out history and the strength of the European leagues and the World tournament at the time of Suchy was pretty much a 2 team affair with the USSR and CSSR and non NHL Canadians.

If we are going to look at Suchy, and we are, we need to determine what the environment was that he played in since it wasn't the NHL and I'm pretty sure the Czech league at that time was weaker than the NHL, even post expansion.

The context of his greatness and his short peak make me question if he really is even top 80 material.

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01-14-2012, 05:53 PM
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Ken Reardon finishes in All Star voting(1946-1950): 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th
Zdeno Chara finishes in Norris voting (2003-2011): 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th (not including the current season)

I don't need to say who that favors.

Reardon has one Cup (1946), but there's no way he was as important as Maurice Richard, and I doubt he was as important as Elmer Lach or Toe Blake. Butch Bouchard was a 1st Team All Star that season (Reardon was a 2nd Teamer in his first season back from the war), so it's unclear to me who Montreal's #1 defenseman was. So I'm not sure how much Reardon makes up in the playoffs.
Count me in as one who is questioning how Readon could rank over Chara or even Goodfellow from your previous post.

I understand some guys might have listed them higher on their original lists but an argument in support of Reardon would be nice for discussion.

I understand the all star allure, on the surface which doesn't look as impressive when scrutinized, and perhaps temptation to say that he might have been one in one or more of those missing war years but he also left hockey repetitively young and not due to any injury that I know of.

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01-14-2012, 06:05 PM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Norris records of Murphy, Blake, and Chara* with all non-Canadians removed

*For Chara, I obviously removed all non-Canadians but him.

Murphy:
6th in 1981 (remove Langway)
2nd in 1987 (remove Howe)
3rd in 1992 (remove Leetch and Housley)
2nd in 1993 (remove Chelios)
3rd in 1995 (remove Chelios)
5th in 1998 (remove Lidstrom)
7th in 1999 (remove Lidstrom, Leetch, Olausson, and Housley)

Blake:
1st in 1998
2nd in 2000 (remove Lidstrom)
3rd in 2001 (remove Lidstrom)
1st in 2002 (remove Lidstrom and Chelios. 4th was Gonchar - this would have been an easy win for Blake in an all-Canadian league).
2nd in 2003 (remove Lidstrom, Hatcher, and Gonchar)
5th in 2004 (remove Chara, Lidstrom, and Schneider)

Chara:
4th in 2003 (remove Lidstrom, Hatcher, and Gonchar)
2nd in 2004
2nd in 2006 (remove Lidstrom and Zubov)
2nd in 2008 (remove Lidstrom)
1st in 2009
7th in 2010 (remove Lidstrom)
2nd in 2011 (remove Lidstrom)

So in this hypothetical Canadian-only league (where we are pretending Chara is Canadian only when comparing him to himself):

Larry Murphy: 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th
Rob Blake: 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 5th
Zdeno Chara: 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 4th, 7th
Chara is already a lock for my top 5 this round and being a career guy Moose Johnson is looking good as well.

But when guys are comparing all star records of past players IMO they should be fair and look at Murphy and Blake in a similar context, ie. against Canadians for comparative purposes

Being a career guy I think Blake and Murphy are going to make my top 5 but for different reasons. Both guys have some negatives but at this point every candidate does as well.

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01-14-2012, 07:12 PM
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MXD View Post
While Reardon's seasons were quite "average", let's not forget that he was 19/20 years old at that time and that the only player who did frankly better than Reardon prior to the Expansion is already in since A WHILE (King Clancy). In other words, if Reardon doesn't play in the NHL at an age where nearly no d-men played in the league, all we have is a 5-year stretch of AST, in spite of missing quite a few games for every season.

It's also interesting to note that Reardon played for a moribund franchise that was on the verge of bankruptcy -- thus might have gotten less exposure -- and that he ... actually outscored Stewart those years.
outscoring Jack Stewart is meaningless. And his record of defense, physicality, playoffs and longevity all fall short of Stewart's.

Not sure if this means Reardon is mistake-prone, or just that Leo Reise was mistake-free, but I found this last ATD:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Originally Posted by Calgary Herald, December 21, 1949
mulling over the league's defenseman, Abel told Carroll that Detroit's Leo Reise is the most underrated. "He's the best in the league," Abel thinks. "Who's better? Don't tell me Reardon." Ken Reardon of Canadiens, apparently one of Abel's pet peeves, "makes more mistakes in a single game than Reise will make all season."

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01-14-2012, 07:14 PM
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
outscoring Jack Stewart is meaningless. And his record of defense, physicality, playoffs and longevity all fall short of Stewart's.

Not sure if this means Reardon is mistake-prone, or just that Leo Reise was mistake-free, but I found this last ATD:
Is that Sid Abel talking down a rival to extol the virtues of a teammate? It's interesting, but I wouldn't put THAT much stock into it. Or is that another Abel?

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01-14-2012, 08:20 PM
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Butch Bouchard and Ken Reardon
  • Reardon played hockey in 1940-41 and 1941-42 but did not receive any votes for the All-Star team. He missed 1942-43, 1943-44, and 1944-45 because of World War 2. He then came back and was immediately an All-Star, playing 5 seasons of All-Star level hockey before retiring.
  • Bouchard played from 1941-42 to 1955-56. He first became an All-Star in 1943-44 when most of the league when off to fight in the war. He was an All-Star for 4 straight years and received some votes in 1947-48. His serious knee injury was in 1949 and he didn't receive a single all-star vote again until 1955-56, right before he retired.
This table shows the top 4 finishes in All-Star voting in order.

Year1st1st2nd2nd
1943-44Babe PrattEarl SeibertEmile BouchardDit Clapper
1944-45Emile BouchardBill HollettBabe PrattGlen Harmon
1945-46Jack CrawfordEmile BouchardKenny ReardonJack Stewart
1946-47Kenny ReardonEmile BouchardJack StewartBill Quackenbush
1947-48Bill QuackenbushJack StewartKenny ReardonNeil Colville
1948-49Bill QuackenbushJack StewartGlen HarmonKenny Reardon
1949-50Gus MortsonKenny ReardonLeo ReiseRed Kelly

Keep in mind that Jack Stewart (and many other great players) missed 43-44 and 44-45 due to the War. A few great players (including Ken Reardon who probably wasn't great yet) also missed 1942-43.

Also keep in mind that the NHL implemented major changes to the offside rules in 1943-44 (adding the Red Line, allowing forward passes between zones) and defensemen like Butch Bouchard who played during the war probably had an advantage over defensemen coming back from the war (like Jack Stewart and Kenny Reardon) in 1945-46.

Stanley Cups:
Montreal (the team both men spent their careers playing for) won the Cup in 1944 and 1946.

After Butch Bouchard's serious knee injury that severely limited his skating, the team kept him around for his leadership. He became Doug Harvey's stay-at-home partner and was captain of the Canadiens when they won the 1953 and 1956 Cups. After the 1956 Cup, he retired and Maurice Richard became captain.

Ranking them

I'm still not sure who I like better. Based on the period of time during which both were all stars, Reardon definitely looks more impressive. But something has to be said for the fact that Bouchard played for so much longer as a role player and captain of the team, right? Thoughts?


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01-14-2012, 08:37 PM
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After you look at competition, Rob Blake's All Star record looks just a little bit superior to both Reardon and Bouchard, I think. I guess the counter argument is that Blake played in an era when writers couldn't possibly watch all 30 teams more than a few times and based their votes on highlight reels and stats. And Blake, with his big hits (2nd best open ice hitter of the era after Stevens IMO) and big shot (that resulted in a lot of goals) may have been overrated by the hockey writers who vote on the awards.

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01-14-2012, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
After you look at competition, Rob Blake's All Star record looks just a little bit superior to both Reardon and Bouchard, I think. I guess the counter argument is that Blake played in an era when writers couldn't possibly watch all 30 teams more than a few times and based their votes on highlight reels and stats. And Blake, with his big hits (2nd best open ice hitter of the era after Stevens IMO) and big shot (that resulted in a lot of goals) may have been overrated by the hockey writers who vote on the awards.
I think this might have been true in the 30's and 40's as well.

Also while there might have been 30 teams there was also access to alot of film and clips although I'm not sure how much voters actually would or do watch.

BTW it would be awesome if anyone who knows of anyone who ever voted for the post season awards to find out how much actual thought and comparative analysis went into those votes, especially for Dmen were part of the vote is for a less measurable defensive component.

It seems from this observer that often reputation comes into play for some of these awards.

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01-14-2012, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I think this might have been true in the 30's and 40's as well.

Also while there might have been 30 teams there was also access to alot of film and clips although I'm not sure how much voters actually would or do watch.

BTW it would be awesome if anyone who knows of anyone who ever voted for the post season awards to find out how much actual thought and comparative analysis went into those votes, especially for Dmen were part of the vote is for a less measurable defensive component.

It seems from this observer that often reputation comes into play for some of these awards.
In the 30s and 40s, there were far fewer than 30 teams. And no highlight reels.

I mean, the awards aren't perfect by any means, but I think they are a lot more reliable pre-expansion.


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01-14-2012, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
In the 30s and 40s, there were far fewer than 30 teams. And no highlight reels.

I mean, the awards aren't perfect by any means, but I think they are a lot more reliable pre-expansion.
Sorry you misunderstood what I meant to say the 2nd part is about how writers vote, the 1st part about the 30's and 40's was in reference to the bolded part in your quotation about hard hitting big shooting guys sometimes getting over rated.

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01-15-2012, 12:34 PM
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Rob Blake

I think Blake is borderline for this round. Here's what I already posted on him.

First the table showing Norris finishes for Blake and Chara. Note how strong Blake's competition is.

Top 5 finishes in Norris voting 1997-98 to 2010-11

Note that I'm using Norris voting this time, not All-Star voting - in modern times, the Norris Trophy ballot allows writers to vote for their top 5, so there is a large enough sample size of votes.

Year1st2nd3rd4th5thOther
1997-98Rob BlakeNicklas LidstromChris ProngerScott StevensScott Niedermayer 
1998-99Al MacInnisNicklas LidstromRay BourqueChris ProngerEric Desjardins Blake (18th)
1999-00Chris ProngerNicklas LidstromRob BlakeEric DesjardinsSergie Gonchar 
2000-01Nicklas LidstromRay BourqueScott StevensRob BlakeBrian Leetch 
2001-02Nicklas LidstromChris CheliosRob BlakeSergei GoncharChris Pronger 
2002-03Nicklas LidstromAl MacInnisDerian HatcherSergei GoncharRob BlakeChara (7th)
2003-04Scott NiedermayerZdeno CharaChris ProngerBryan McCabeAdrian AucoinBlake (8th)
2005-06Nicklas LidstromScott NiedermayerSergei ZubovZdeno CharaWade ReddenBlake (12th)
2006-07Nicklas LidstromScott NiedermayerChris ProngerDan BoyleKimmo TimonenChara (20th)
2007-08Nicklas LidstromDion PhaneufZdeno CharaSergei GoncharBrian Campbell 
2008-09Zdeno CharaMike GreenNicklas LidstromShea WeberDan Boyle 
2009-10Duncan KeithMike GreenDrew DoughtyNicklas LidstromChris ProngerChara (8th)
2010-11Nicklas LidstromShea WeberZdeno CharaLubomir VisnovskyKeith Yandle 
  • You can see just how highly regarded Rob Blake was from 1997-98 to 2002-03: Top 5 in every season, except for 98-99, when he missed 20 games. Against stronger than average competition.
  • IMO, the handful of votes that Blake got in 2004 and 2006 were just "reputation votes" given to a declining star player - I don't take them very seriously.
  • The chart above illustrates just how equal Rob Blake and Scott Niedermayer's regular season careers have been. (Blake actually has more top 5 seasons). The biggest difference is that Blake was an early bloomer and Niedermayer a late bloomer, so it's easier to remember Niedermayer's great years.
  • Chara's record is harder to get a handle on. I think that given the chart doesn't include his excellent first half of 2011-12 and the fact that he plays defense-first style, he's probably surpassed Blake and Niedermayer in terms of regular season prime.

Comparing Chara and Blake to Niedermayer (who we already voted in):

Longevity as a productive player and durability
  • Rob Blake was a good NHL player from the age of 21 to the age of 40. 1270 career regular season games and 146 career playoff games.
  • Niedermayer was a good NHL player from the age of 19 to the age of 36. 1263 career regular season games and 202 career playoffs games.
  • Zdeno Chara became a good NHL player at the age of 22 (the first year he broke 20 minutes) and has remained one until the age of 31. He has played 959 career regular season games and 100 career playoff games.
  • Blake definitely beats out Niedermayer in longevity, but Niedermayer's greater durability has resulted in the two playing an almost equal number of games.
  • Chara isn't that far behind them, but still has several more seasons to go before catching them in longevity. His durablity has been excellent, however.

Playoffs
  • Scott Niedermayer: 2 Smythe-calibre playoff runs (2003, 2007). 3 Solid but unspectacular runs (1995, 2000, 2001)
  • Rob Blake: 2 excellent playoff runs as a key player (1993, 2001), a few mediocre playoffs in between but generally solid.
  • Zdeno Chara: Generally mediocre in the playoffs for much of his career, though injuries were a factor. Made up a lot of ground by being the 2nd most important player and captain of the 2011 Cup winner.
  • Niedermayer clearly has the best playoff record. Chara has made up a lot of ground on Blake, but I don't think he's quite there yet.

International Play
  • Rob Blake: Best Defenseman of the 1998 Olympics (and 1997 World Championships). Represented Canada in the 1996 World Cup and the 1998, 2002, and 2006 Olympics and generally played well.
  • Scott Niedermayer: Represented Canada in the 1996 and 2004 Cups and the 2002 and 2010 Olympics and generally played very well.
  • Zdeno Chara: Represented Slovakia in the 2004 World Cup and 2006 and 2010 Olympics. I don't think he ever really stood out that much. He did not play for Slovakia when they won the 2002 World Championships in a major upset.
  • Blake has the best international resume. Niedermayer was probably better in international play than Chara.

Conclusions
  • Regular season prime: Chara is slightly ahead. Niedermayer and Blake are basically equals.
  • Longevity as a solid player: Blake > Niedermayer > Chara
  • Durability: Niedermayer and Chara have excellent durability. Blake is a bit behind, which has allowed Niederamyer to play only 8 fewer regular season games, despite retiring several years younger.
  • Playoffs: Niedermayer is quite a bit ahead. Blake is probably just a little bit ahead of Chara... for now.
  • International Play: Blake has the best resume. My "eyeball test" tells me Niedermayer has been better than Chara.

Rankings
  • Niedermayer and Blake are basically equal in the regular season. Blake has a slightly better international resume, but the biggest difference between them is in the playoffs. Niedermayer is rightfully ranked above Blake, but how far behind should Blake be?
  • Chara's tough to figure out. His R-On R-Off numbers provided by overpass indicate that he has probably been underrated by Norris voting (almost certainly because he doesn't put up the offensive stats that other players do). I think he's played long enough to be considered a better regular season player than Niedermayer or Blake right now. He's definitely behind them in big games though, especially Niedermayer.
  • My gut tells me to rank Chara between Niedermayer and Blake, but I'm open to further arguments. Chara's record in "big games" is troubling, but he was excellent in 2011.

Comparing the Offense of Rob Blake and Lionel Conacher

Prime:

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey
Looking at those years from 1932 to 1936, Conacher had 89 points to Clancy's 108 (82%) and Shore's 121 (74%). In Blake's best 5 years from 1998 to 2002, he had 257 points to Leetch's 265 (97%) and Lidstrom's 319 (81%). Also, Gonchar was higher-scoring than Clancy in adjusted points during that timeframe (49 points to 45). I think those numbers are a better representation of their primes and competition, particularly since Leetch is being held as Blake's career comparable the same way Clancy is to Conacher. They are, I think, decisively in Blake's favor as far as prime offense is concerned.
Career:
From 1992-2006, when Blake, Leetch, and Lidstrom were all in the league, Blake had 73 % of the offense of 1st place Lidstrom and 74% of the offense of 2nd place Leetch.

Over the course of Conacher's career (1925-1937), when he, Clancy and Shore were all in the league), Conacher had 77% of the offense of 1st place Shore and 80% of the offense of 2nd place Clancy.

Conacher averaged a slightly higher level of offense over the course of his career, but for a shorter period of time.

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01-15-2012, 07:33 PM
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Chara's numbers are through 38 Boston games and 36 GP by Chara.

Regular season adjusted stats for post-1967 defencemen


Career Stats
Player Start End GP EV% R-ON R-OFF $ESP $PPP PP% TmPP+ SH% TmSH+
Doug Wilson 1978 1993 1024 40% 1.08 0.90 31 29 76% 1.01 41% 1.02
Larry Murphy 1981 2001 1615 39% 1.20 1.02 34 25 65% 1.05 32% 0.92
Rob Blake 1990 2010 1270 37% 1.03 1.03 30 26 66% 1.04 50% 1.00
Zdeno Chara 1998 2012 964 40% 1.20 1.06 25 18 42% 1.06 53% 0.94

Prime Stats
Player Start End GP EV% R-ON R-OFF $ESP $PPP PP% TmPP+ SH% TmSH+
Doug Wilson 1982 1990 605 41% 1.15 0.93 35 32 78% 1.05 46% 1.06
Larry Murphy 1987 1995 687 42% 1.26 1.02 37 27 74% 1.03 29% 0.94
Rob Blake 1998 2004 515 41% 1.18 1.14 37 31 78% 1.04 52% 1.01
Zdeno Chara 2003 2012 658 41% 1.42 1.16 30 25 60% 1.06 54% 0.89

Peak Stats
Player Start End GP EV% R-ON R-OFF $ESP $PPP PP% TmPP+ SH% TmSH+
Doug Wilson 1982 1986 373 41% 1.16 0.95 38 30 72% 1.10 48% 1.05
Larry Murphy 1992 1995 292 45% 1.38 1.05 45 28 80% 1.11 45% 0.94
Rob Blake 1998 2002 362 43% 1.11 1.08 40 32 79% 0.99 54% 0.99
Zdeno Chara 2008 2012 354 41% 1.50 1.13 32 29 67% 1.04 53% 0.86

Stats Glossary
EV%: The percentage of the teamís even-strength goals the player was on the ice for, on a per-game basis.

R-ON: The teamís GF/GA ratio while the player is on the ice at even strength.

R-OFF: The teamís GF/GA ratio while the player is off the ice at even strength.

$ESP/S: Even strength points per season, adjusted to a 200 ESG per team-season scoring level.

$PPP/S: Power play points per season, adjusted to a 70 PPG per team-season scoring level and a league-average number of power play opportunities.

PP%: The percentage of the teamís power play goals for which the player was on the ice.

TmPP+: The strength of the playerís team on the power play. 1.00 is average, higher is better.

SH%: The percentage of the teamís power play goals against for which the player was on the ice.

TmSH+: The strength of the playerís team on the penalty kill. 1.00 is average, lower is better.


What does it all mean?

A note on the team-based stats - the lack of parity in the 1970s NHL made it easier to put up high numbers in these stats. EV% tended to be higher pre-1980, when teams went to 6 defencemen.

I don't have much to say about Doug Wilson. He had the one big season when he scored 39 goals and won the Norris. Other than that he was pretty consistent during the decade of the 1980s, but struggled to play full seasons in the second half of the decade. A #1 defencemen with good scoring numbers who also contributed defensively.

He was a regular on both the power play and the penalty kill in his prime, but more so on the power play, with his big shot. He was probably the best of this group on the power play, although Blake was up there too at his best. His 37% SH% in his Norris-winning season of 81-82 is one of the lowest totals for a Norris winner (behind Greg Fox, Dave Hutchison, and Bob Murray on his team), so he probably wasn't on the first PK unit yet.

I know basically nothing about his even strength usage, so it's hard to put his R-ON/R-OFF numbers into context.

Larry Murphy was a good to very good defenceman for a very long time.

I've used his four years in Pittsburgh as his prime, because he played his biggest minutes there, on the first unit penalty kill and at even strength, and scored the most points there. Could be a combination of team situation and peak performance. But he was a star defender outside of those years too - picked for Canada Cups, all-star games, etc.

Murphy was typically a first-unit power play defenceman, but not a top-tier power play quarterback in usage or production. He played on the second unit penalty kill, or not on the PK at all. His plus-minus numbers relative to team were consistently good over his career. But it doesn't look like he was playing big minutes, and I suspect he wasn't playing the toughest minutes either. The exception would be with Detroit, when he was paired with Nicklas Lidstrom at the end of his career.

Rob Blake was a #1 defenceman for most of his long career. He was strong both offensively and defensively.

Blake's plus-minus numbers are unimpressive. There were mitigating circumstances, as he spent most of his career playing against the other team's top lines. But part of it was probably because his strengths lay in the offensive and defensive zones, not in transition.

On the power play, he was more of a shooter than a playmaker, scoring a lot of power play goals over his career. He was also a strong contributor on the penalty kill, putting his strength, physicality, and defensive skills to good use.

Zdeno Chara, in the last decade or so, has consistently played the toughest minutes on his teams at even strength, against top lines and starting in the defensive zone a lot. His teams still come out ahead in those situations, as his plus-minus numbers have been very good.

He has been a solid contributor on the power play, whether using his shot from the point or his size in front of the net. But, as Boston fans have seen, he is not an offensive catalyst or quarterback on the PP, more of a supporting piece.

He has been among the best penalty killers in the league, playing big minutes on consistently strong units.

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