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Round 2, Vote 9 (HOH Top Defensemen)

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01-16-2012, 11:05 PM
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I only have access to a limited number of their game summaries that season, but here are the dates I can find, with Siebert's position and scoring noted:

Nov 8 - D, 0pt
Nov 17 - D, 1g
[Nov 25 - Described in the Chicago Daily Tribune as "a new defense man, Babe Siebert, switched from a left wing position"]
Nov 27 - D, 0pt
Dec 16 - D, 0pt
Dec 30 - D, 0pt
Jan 1 - D, 1a
Jan 5 - D, 0pt
Jan 22 - D, 1g
Jan 29 - D, 2a
Feb 3 - D, 0pt
Feb 10 - D, 1g 1a
Feb 24 - D, 0pt
Mar 5 - D, 0pt
Mar 14 - D, 0pt
Mar 17 - D, 1a

Total - 15 games, 3-5-8
Unaccounted for - 33 games, 3-13-16



While this doesn't definitively prove that Siebert never played forward in 34-35, I think it is very highly likely based on the above that he was a legitimate defenseman the entire season. His scoring pace in the games accounted-for suggests his totals were not inflated.

[This is where I make my standard argument against trying to make logically linear deductions from All Star ballots of the 1930s. The voters may very well have just been wrong.]
Good research. But as for your second point, sure the voters may have been wrong.... But what better information do we have?

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01-16-2012, 11:43 PM
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Good research. But as for your second point, sure the voters may have been wrong.... But what better information do we have?
I don't object to using the ASTs per se... I just don't feel comfortable with extrapolating anything from them as if they are logically coherent data sets.

My gut feeling is that Siebert was in his first season at D and playing next to Shore, so he was simply an early victim of two ballot pitfalls -- reputation voting and vote-splitting. Probably more of the latter than the former, with voters going with a "Shore and the next 3" approach. Even if Siebert was in that next-3 range, being Shore's partner would have killed his chances.

Anyway, we can take Siebert's strong numbers at face value. Also noteworthy that he was injured durin the playoffs.

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01-16-2012, 11:56 PM
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My point in bringing up Langway is that he is currently the lowest ranked multiple Norris winner at 29. And that includes all NHL-era "retro Norris" winners too. We're already past 40 with no Chara. If Chara wins the Norris this season, he'll be the lowest rated multiple winner by far.

So I do think we as a group already gave him basically no credit for his current season for him to drop below 40.
It was pretty much inevitable, since our original lists were submitted at the very beginning of the season... and those lists had Chara coming available for voting only a round ago. TBH, I would have groaned a little if Chara had been eligible a lot earlier.

I agree that a Norris this year would rocket him up the chart. Hopefully history will be kind and take note of when we started the project.

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But how much credit should we give him for the "missing years?"
Personally, I give him the same amount of credit for his mid-career missing years as I give him for the 2011-12 season. DNP.

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01-17-2012, 07:57 AM
  #79
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
It was pretty much inevitable, since our original lists were submitted at the very beginning of the season... and those lists had Chara coming available for voting only a round ago. TBH, I would have groaned a little if Chara had been eligible a lot earlier.

I agree that a Norris this year would rocket him up the chart. Hopefully history will be kind and take note of when we started the project.



Personally, I give him the same amount of credit for his mid-career missing years as I give him for the 2011-12 season. DNP.

Are we only talking about his non playing years and taking into account his Finnish and world championship and IHL play?

I'm assuming that everyone is taking into account all that brewer did on the ice regardless if it was the NHL or not.

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01-17-2012, 08:24 AM
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Are we only talking about his non playing years and taking into account his Finnish and world championship and IHL play?

I'm assuming that everyone is taking into account all that brewer did on the ice regardless if it was the NHL or not.
I guess I should modify that line. It's not that I give him zero credit for playing in other leagues, but I don't think playing in the minors or amateur leagues should be interpreted as "credit" in a conversation about all-time greats. I respect Brewer's decision to follow his own path, and the influence he had on Finnish hockey, but it doesn't help him here.

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01-17-2012, 08:45 AM
  #81
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Speaking of Brewer's time out of the NHL, I found this interesting:

In the 1967 World Championships, Carl Brewer is named to the All-Star Team, but is not named the Directorate Best Defenseman. The guy who won Best Defenseman is not on the All-Star Team.

Jan Suchy is then named to the WC All-Star team at the 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1971 Olympics and is named Directorate best defenseman in 1969 and 1971. In 1968, the guy named "Directorate Best Defenseman" was also not on the All-Star team.

Suchy seems to have been better than Carl Brewer in the World Championships of the era, with the big caveat that Brewer had taken some time off of competitive hockey before then.

Not sure what to make of this.

Edit: I know Lennart Svedberg said that Suchy was the best defenseman he ever saw play. So I checked to see if Svedberg played in the 1967 World Championships. His profile sites only list stats for 1965, 1969, 1970, and 1971. So I assume he didn't play in the 1967 WCs (which means he probably wasn't comparing Suchy to Brewer since he never played against Brewer in a tournament).


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01-17-2012, 09:12 AM
  #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Speaking of Brewer's time out of the NHL, I found this interesting:

In the 1967 World Championships, Carl Brewer is named to the All-Star Team, but is not named the Directorate Best Defenseman. The guy who won Best Defenseman is not on the All-Star Team.

Jan Suchy is then named to the WC All-Star team at the 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1971 Olympics and is named Directorate best defenseman in 1969 and 1971. In 1968, the guy named "Directorate Best Defenseman" was also not on the All-Star team.

Suchy seems to have been better than Carl Brewer in the World Championships of the era, with the big caveat that Brewer had taken some time off of competitive hockey before then.

Not sure what to make of this.

Edit: I know Lennart Svedberg said that Suchy was the best defenseman he ever saw play. So I checked to see if Svedberg played in the 1967 World Championships. His profile sites only list stats for 1965, 1969, 1970, and 1971. So I assume he didn't play in the 1967 WCs (which means he probably wasn't comparing Suchy to Brewer since he never played against Brewer in a tournament).
International hockey from that era was very political and should be analyzed very carefully.

Usng Jan Suchy as an example. After the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union, the hockey games between the two countries became much more political than athletic.

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01-17-2012, 09:54 AM
  #83
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I've been trying to find something substantial to make a case for Suchy, but have actually found myself going in the opposite direction of considering him a less viable candidate than before I started the research.

Suchy is almost entirely absent from American media. The only references I could find, even in World Championships recaps, were brief notes that he scored a goal. There were one or two articles that called him the Czech "ace" and their best offensive defenseman, but that's not telling us anything new. The lack of press on Suchy is frustrating, but it can probably be chalked up to Americans simply not knowing or caring about individual Czech players enough for sports writers to describe them in brief game capsules. It shouldn't reflect negatively on him.

Suchy's two biggest accomplishments on the international stage were his Best Defenceman awards at the World Championships in 1969 and 1971. At face value, this seems very impressive as these tournaments included competition such as Ragulin, Pospisil and Svedberg. But then, consider that none of those three players have come up for voting yet. They are good, but not great competition.

The most impactful NHL'er in those tournaments was Suchy's teammate, Vaclav Nedomansky. He was good enough to lead an NHL team in goal scoring, even if it was a bad Detroit team. Two other teammates, Jiri Bubla and Ivan Hlinka, were respectable in the NHL.

Then, looking at the full slate of opposition in those tournaments:

1969

Team Soviet Union - 8W 2L - Czechs scored monumental wins, 2-0 and 4-3

Goaltenders: Viktor Zinger, Viktor Puchkov.
Defencemen: Vitali Davydov, Igor Romishevsky, Alexander Ragulin, Vladimir Lutchenko, Yevgeni Paladiev, Viktor Kuzkin.
Forwards: Vladimir Vikulov, Alexander Maltsev, Anatoli Firsov, Boris Mikhailov, Vladimir Petrov, Valeri Kharlamov, Yevgeni Zimin, Viacheslav Starshinov, Alexander Yakushev, Yevgeni Mishakov, Vladimir Yurzinov.


Team Canada - 4W 6L - Czechs won 6-1 and 3-2

Goaltenders: Wayne Stephenson, Steve Rexe.
Defencemen: Gary Begg, Terry O'Malley, Ken Stephanson, Jack Bownass, Bob Murdoch, Ab DeMarco, Jr.
Forwards: Gerry Pinder, Fran Huck, Morris Mott, Richie Bayes, Terry Caffery, Steve King, Chuck Lefley, Roger Bourbonnais, Ted Hargreaves, Bill Heindl, Danny O'Shea


Team Sweden - 8W 2L - Sweden won 2-0 and 1-0

Goaltenders: Leif Holmqvist, Gunnar Bäckman.
Defencemen: Lennart Svedberg, Arne Carlsson, Bert-Olov Nordlander, Lars-Erik Sjöberg, Nils Johansson, Kjell-Rune Milton.
Forwards: Stig-Göran Johansson, Stefan Karlsson, Tord Lundström, Ulf Sterner, Lars-Göran Nilsson, Björn Palmqvist, Håkan Nygren, Mats Hysing, Dick Yderström, Roger Olsson, Leif Henriksson.


USA and Finland were so bad they don't need to be listed.

The only players in the tournament who went on to a substantial NHL career were Bob Murdoch, Chuck Lefley, Bob Paradise, Gerry Pinder, Morris Mott, and Danny O'Shea. Most of these were what we might call "WHA-era NHL'ers", the guys who got roster spots on bad expansion teams as the WHA was stealing talent, and they are certainly not elite competition by any standard. A few others, notably Larry Pleau, actually did go on to substantial WHA careers which was of course a dubioius honor.



Directorate Awards

Goaltender - Leif Holmqvist - Played one WHA season and didn't look particularly good there.
Defenseman - Jan Suchy
Forward - Ulf Sterner - First Euro-trained NHL'er. Was successful in the AHL and didn't play in the WHA due to a contract dispute (a forged signature of all things). He ended up playing 4 games with the Rangers, generating no stats even though he had a goal disallowed due to a quick whistle. Apparently he didn't look out of place in the NHL, but didn't like the roughness.

All Stars

Goaltender - Vladimir Dzurilla - Remembered primarily for his international play, where he was good but not a star
Defense - Lennart Svedberg - Borderline candidate for this project.
Defense - Jan Suchy
Left Wing - Anatoli Firsov - 3-time Soviet MVP and 3-time WC Best Forward winner
Center - Ulf Sterner - see above
Right Wing - Vaclav Nedomansky - see above

-----------------------------------
1971

Team Canada

Did not play due to a dispute over the eligibility of semi-pro players

Team USA - 2W 8L - Beat the Czechs in the opening game 5-1. Czechs won the rematch 5-0. USA was demoted after the tournament.

Goalkeepers: Carl Wetzel, Mike Curran, Dick Tomasoni.
Defencemen: George Konik, Jim McElmury, Don Ross, Bruce Riutta, Tom Mellor, Dick McGlynn.
Forwards: Henry Boucha, Gary Gambucci, Craig Patrick, Craig Falkman, Keith Christiansen, Tim Sheehy, Leonard Lilyholm, Kevin Ahearn, Bob Lindberg, Paul Schilling, Pete Fichuk, Richard Toomey.

Team Soviet Union - 8W 1T 1L - Tied 3-3, Czechs won the rematch 5-2

Goalkeepers: Viktor Konovalenko, Vladislav Tretiak.
Defencemen: Vladimir Lutčenko, Alexandr Ragulin, Vitalij Davidov, Viktor Kuzkin, Igor Romiševskij, Jurij Ljapkin.
Forwards: Boris Michajlov, Vladimir Petrov, Valerij Charlamov, Vladimir Vikulov, Alexandr Malcev, Anatolij Firsov, Alexandr Martyňuk, Jevgenij Mišakov, Vjačeslav Staršinov, Vladimir Šadrin, Gennadij Cygankov, Jevgenij Zimin.

Team Sweden - 5W 1T 4L - Split series, 6-5 and 3-1

Goalkeepers: Christer Abrahamsson, Leif Holmqvist, William Löfqvist.
Defencemen: Arne Carlsson, Lennart Svedberg, Thommy Abrahamsson, Bert-Ola Nordlander, Thommie Bergman, Kjell-Rune Milton, Gunnar Andersson.
Forwards: Inge Hammarström, Stig-Göran Johansson, Stefan Karlsson, Hans Lindberg, Tord Lundström, Lars-Göran Nilsson, Håkan Nygren, Björn Palmqvist, Håkan Pettersson, Ulf Sterner, Håkan Wickberg.



Directorate Awards

Best Goaltender - Jiri Holecek - The other half of the tandem with Dzurilla. Outside of WC and Czech League awards, there's nothing to recommend his play.
Best Defencemen - Jan Suchy; Ilpo Koskela - I can't find anything on this guy. I don't think he's been suggested for this project.
Best Forward - Anatoli Firsov - see above

All Star Team

Goal - Jiri Holecek - see above
Defence - Ilpo Koskela - see above
Defence - Jan Suchy
Left Wing - Anatoli Firsov - See above
Center - Alexander Maltsev - Tied Kharmalov for Soviet MVP this season. 3-time IIHF Best Forward winner.
Right Wing - Vladimir Vikulov - Top Soviet goal-scorer that year.


The lack of a Team Canada didn't help the level of competition from 70-76. A few of the Swedes played in North America, notably Inge Hammarstrom and Thommie Bergman who had a few respectable NHL seasons. A handful of Americans, Jim McElmury and Craig Patrick being the only notables, had some seasons in the NHL. Henry Boucha was a standout rookie in Detroit but faded quickly due to an eye injury. Most of the players who made it to the North American pros did so in the WHA or on NHL expansion teams.

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

In sum, there are a few bright spots of talent in this tournament (notably Kharmalov, Nedomansky, Ragulin, Pospisil, Firsov, Maltsev, Pleau, Svedberg) but they were mostly concentrated on the Soviet and Czech teams with Svedberg and Ragulin as the only serious competitors with Suchy for Best Defenseman. The tournaments come off more as a European championship than a World Championship, to such an extent that in 1971 the World Championship and European Championship standings were identical with the exception of the 2-0-8 Americans at the bottom of the world chart.

I would consider this at best a WHA-type level of competition. Winning the Directorate award, therefore, is roughly comparable to winning Best Defenseman in a WHA playoff.

This might come off as unflattering for Suchy, but I just can't find anything else to support his candidacy. Translated into North American terms, he is like a player who completely dominated the minor leagues, won a couple of awards in the WHA, then went back to the minors for the rest of his career. Such a player wouldn't even have made our top-80 lists if he had been born in North America.

IMO, we should use Chara as the gold-standard for Czechoslovakian defensemen and rank Suchy appropriately far below him.


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01-17-2012, 10:01 AM
  #84
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Remove Firsov (arguably the USSR's best player at that time) from the 1971 USSR team and you basically have the same team that almost beat Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, right?

Is Suchy's competition really any worse than Hod Stuart's?

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01-17-2012, 10:26 AM
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Remove Firsov (arguably the USSR's best player at that time) from the 1971 USSR team and you basically have the same team that almost beat Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, right?
That would be ignoring the USSR's leading scorer (Yakushev), best defenseman (Vasiliev) and 4 other Russian/Soviet Hockey Hall of Famers -- Blinov, Mishakov, Lebedev, Anisin.

So... no, the Summit Series team was a lot better equipped.

Quote:
Is Suchy's competition really any worse than Hod Stuart's?
In absolute terms it was probably better, but I don't think that's really relevant to "greatness".

In relative terms, Suchy's competition was definitively sub-par for the time period. Stuart played in the best amateur league available, and in the first professional league -- against at least a few players who are universally recognized as the best in the world at the time. Suchy was arguably playing in one of the least-competitive professional leagues in the world, and his international competition was simply second-rate.

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01-17-2012, 10:42 AM
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That would be ignoring the USSR's leading scorer (Yakushev), best defenseman (Vasiliev) and 4 other Russian/Soviet Hockey Hall of Famers -- Blinov, Mishakov, Lebedev, Anisin.

So... no, the Summit Series team was a lot better equipped.
Not sure why Yakushev didn't play in 1971. He played in the 1967, 1969, and 1970 World Champoinships. Vasiliev played on the 1970 World Championship team, then didn't play against until 1973. I don't think he was in his prime yet in 1971 or 1972. Didn't check the other four because I think they were more like role players.

The Summit Series team might have been better, but if it was, it wasn't that much better. Soviet fans say that missing Firsov was like the Canadian team missing Bobby Hull (and no, I don't think Firsov was as good as Hull but relative to other Soviets he probably was).

Quote:
In absolute terms it was probably better, but I don't think that's really relevant to "greatness".

In relative terms, Suchy's competition was definitively sub-par for the time period. Stuart played in the best amateur league available, and in the first professional league -- against at least a few players who are universally recognized as the best in the world at the time. Suchy was arguably playing in one of the least-competitive professional leagues in the world, and his international competition was simply second-rate.
By the 1970s at least, the Czech league was the clear cut third best league in the world behind the NHL and the Soviet league. And it was the best league Suchy was allowed to play in.

Edit: To be clear, I ranked Stuart over Suchy, but that has more to do with Suchy's lack of longevity as an elite player than it does with his peak.


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01-17-2012, 11:26 AM
  #87
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Not sure why Yakushev didn't play in 1971. He played in the 1967, 1969, and 1970 World Champoinships. Vasiliev played on the 1970 World Championship team, then didn't play against until 1973. I don't think he was in his prime yet in 1971 or 1972. Didn't check the other four because I think they were more like role players.

The Summit Series team might have been better, but if it was, it wasn't that much better. Soviet fans say that missing Firsov was like the Canadian team missing Bobby Hull (and no, I don't think Firsov was as good as Hull but relative to other Soviets he probably was).
I don't want to get too far derailed here, but Firsov was 31 and past his prime by 1972.

Also, the guys you dismissed were significant hockey players. Anisin ran away with the Soviet scoring title two seasons later over Kharmalov. Lebedev was his wingman in international competition. Blinov was a scoring star, but had a weak series in '72 and is not well remembered. Mishakov shocked the world when he engaged in a fight with Rod Gilbert, proving that at least some of the Russians would punch back.

Anyway, the point is that the Russian team in '71 and the Summit team in '72 were two very different groups. And in any case, the '69 and '71 WCs were nothing like the Summit Series, in that they did not feature elite best-on-best competition from the North American side and the European talent was not exactly gangbusters. I think the WHA is a reasonable comparison.


Quote:
By the 1970s at least, the Czech league was the clear cut third best league in the world behind the NHL and the Soviet league. And it was the best league Suchy was allowed to play in.
Questionable whether it was all that clear cut, IMO. But conceding the point, it was still miles behind the NHL and significantly behind the Soviets.

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01-17-2012, 11:35 AM
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Questionable whether it was all that clear cut, IMO. But conceding the point, it was still miles behind the NHL and significantly behind the Soviets.
Disagree. Post 1970 czechoslovakian league was really good. It was the players from czechoslovakian league who were able to steal three (!) WC titles from Soviets, same who were able to beat Best-of-Canada (1976) and teams from this league defeated some NHL teams.
I am not sayin' it was on par with NHL, but definitely not miles behind.

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01-17-2012, 11:42 AM
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I don't want to get too far derailed here, but Firsov was 31 and past his prime by 1972.

Also, the guys you dismissed were significant hockey players. Anisin ran away with the Soviet scoring title two seasons later over Kharmalov. Lebedev was his wingman in international competition. Blinov was a scoring star, but had a weak series in '72 and is not well remembered. Mishakov shocked the world when he engaged in a fight with Rod Gilbert, proving that at least some of the Russians would punch back.
Heh, so he did. Didn't finish top 5 in MVP voting and wasn't an all-star though. Didn't finish top 5 in scoring again, I don't think. Strange.

Anyway, I guess it's possible that the Soviet team improved tremendously between 1971 and 1972. I just find that unlikely.

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01-17-2012, 12:54 PM
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Disagree. Post 1970 czechoslovakian league was really good. It was the players from czechoslovakian league who were able to steal three (!) WC titles from Soviets, same who were able to beat Best-of-Canada (1976) and teams from this league defeated some NHL teams.
I am not sayin' it was on par with NHL, but definitely not miles behind.
Not as good as pre 1967 expansion AHL/WHL players who showed they could compete on a nightly basis in the 12 team NHL.

1976 Canada Cup Czechs, won the classic 1-0 game but then once Dzurilla and Holocek were figured out there was no plan B.

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01-17-2012, 12:59 PM
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Disagree. Post 1970 czechoslovakian league was really good. It was the players from czechoslovakian league who were able to steal three (!) WC titles from Soviets, same who were able to beat Best-of-Canada (1976) and teams from this league defeated some NHL teams.
I am not sayin' it was on par with NHL, but definitely not miles behind.
I don't disagree that top-level Czechoslovakian talent, ie the national team, was strong at the time. Players like Nedomansky, Pospisil, Dzurilla and of course Suchy speak to that. I'm talking about the Czechoslovak domestic league circa 1970, not the national team upset or exhibition games a decade later. Is there a way to verify that the domestic league was anywhere close to the NHL in day-to-day quality of competition?



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Heh, so he did. Didn't finish top 5 in MVP voting and wasn't an all-star though. Didn't finish top 5 in scoring again, I don't think. Strange.
3rd place in voting that year was Vasiliev, not on the '71 team but played in the '72 Summit Series.

Yakushev was the top Soviet scorer in '69, then again '74, then second in '76. He was 3rd in MVP voting in '75. One might chalk his MVP finishes up to having a couple of poor international tournaments (which counted in voting) and being on a line with Shalimov, another top scorer. He was a very significant addition to the '72 Summit Series team and, of course, went on to lead the team in scoring.

Then again, if I don't really trust voting from NHL coaches from the 1940s you can only imagine how I feel about the reliability of Soviet voting from the Cold War

Quote:
Anyway, I guess it's possible that the Soviet team improved tremendously between 1971 and 1972. I just find that unlikely.
I'd say the above explains it fairly well. They added a few key contributors at forward and defense.

Also, they turned over goaltending duties to some guy named Tretiak...

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01-17-2012, 01:07 PM
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I don't disagree that top-level Czechoslovakian talent, ie the national team, was strong at the time. Players like Nedomansky, Pospisil, Dzurilla and of course Suchy speak to that. I'm talking about the Czechoslovak domestic league circa 1970, not the national team upset or exhibition games a decade later. Is there a way to verify that the domestic league was anywhere close to the NHL in day-to-day quality of competition?





3rd place in voting that year was Vasiliev, not on the '71 team but played in the '72 Summit Series.

Yakushev was the top Soviet scorer in '69, then again '74, then second in '76. He was 3rd in MVP voting in '75. One might chalk his MVP finishes up to having a couple of poor international tournaments (which counted in voting) and being on a line with Shalimov, another top scorer. He was a very significant addition to the '72 Summit Series team and, of course, went on to lead the team in scoring.

Then again, if I don't really trust voting from NHL coaches from the 1940s you can only imagine how I feel about the reliability of Soviet voting from the Cold War



I'd say the above explains it fairly well. They added a few key contributors at forward and defense.

Also, they turned over goaltending duties to some guy named Tretiak...
They didn't really "add" Yakushev - he was there in 1969 and 1970. He just missed the one tournament in 1971.

Tretiak played in the 1970 and 1971 World Championships, though he was quite young.

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01-17-2012, 01:20 PM
  #93
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Anyway, my point here is that the World Championships in '69 and '71 were very clearly and obviously not a tournament involving best-on-best competition. Canada was restricted to amateur players in '69 and didn't even participate in '71. The Soviets were strong, but not as strong as they would be a decade later. Sweden had a couple of notable players. Finland didn't even have a domestic professional league. The USA was terrible.

Other recipients of the Directorate award for best defenseman:

Year Name Rank on our top-60 list
1959 J.P. Lamirande  
1960 Nikolai Sologubov  
1961 Ivan Tregubov  
1962 John Mayasich  
1963 Roland Stoltz  
1964 Frantisek Tikal  
1965 Frantisek Tikal  
1966 Alexander Ragulin
1967 Vitaly Davydov  
1968 Josef Horsovsky  
1969 Jan Suchy available
1970 Lennart Svedberg  
1971 Jan Suchy available
1972 Frantisek Pospisil
1973 Valeri Vasiliev #25
1974 Lars-Erik Sjoberg  
1975 Pekka Marjamaki  
 Professional Players Admitted 
1976 Frantisek Pospisil  
1977 Valeri Vasiliev #25
1978 Viacheslav Fetisov #8
1979 Valeri Vasiliev #25
1980 Larry Robinson #9
1981 Viacheslav Fetisov #8
1982 Alexei Kasatonov #39
1983 Viacheslav Fetisov #8
1984 Viacheslav Fetisov #8

If you don't take it for granted that the Best Defenseman award during the amateur era of this 2-week tournament is an elite accomplishment similar to an NHL All-Star season, what does Suchy's case rest on? A handful of high-scoring seasons in the Czech league. That's it. And that is not anywhere near good enough to be in the conversation with guys like Chara and Blake.

FWIW, I did include Suchy on my top-80 list because I wanted him to be in this discussion. But the more I look into him, the less it seems he really has the standing to be a top-60 defenseman.

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01-17-2012, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
They didn't really "add" Yakushev - he was there in 1969 and 1970. He just missed the one tournament in 1971.
The question was why they improved so much from 1971 to 1972.

Quote:
Tretiak played in the 1970 and 1971 World Championships, though he was quite young.
He split starts 7-to-8 in 1970 and 5-to-7 in 1971 with an aging Viktor Konovalenko, who was a well established starter with the USSR program. Compare to playing all 8 games of the Summit Series after Konovalenko's retirement.

Again, this is just nitpicking the pretty plain matter of fact that the '72 Summit Series team was not the same as the '71 World Championship team. The '72 team had a different leading scorer, top defenseman and starting goalie. How much more different do they need to be?

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01-17-2012, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Anyway, my point here is that the World Championships in '69 and '71 were very clearly and obviously not a tournament involving best-on-best competition. Canada was restricted to amateur players in '69 and didn't even participate in '71. The Soviets were strong, but not as strong as they would be a decade later. Sweden had a couple of notable players. Finland didn't even have a domestic professional league. The USA was terrible.

Other recipients of the Directorate award for best defenseman:

Year Name Rank on our top-60 list
1959 J.P. Lamirande  
1960 Nikolai Sologubov  
1961 Ivan Tregubov  
1962 John Mayasich  
1963 Roland Stoltz  
1964 Frantisek Tikal  
1965 Frantisek Tikal  
1966 Alexander Ragulin
1967 Vitaly Davydov  
1968 Josef Horsovsky  
1969 Jan Suchy available
1970 Lennart Svedberg  
1971 Jan Suchy available
1972 Frantisek Pospisil
1973 Valeri Vasiliev #25
1974 Lars-Erik Sjoberg  
1975 Pekka Marjamaki  
 Professional Players Admitted 
1976 Frantisek Pospisil  
1977 Valeri Vasiliev #25
1978 Viacheslav Fetisov #8
1979 Valeri Vasiliev #25
1980 Larry Robinson #9
1981 Viacheslav Fetisov #8
1982 Alexei Kasatonov #39
1983 Viacheslav Fetisov #8
1984 Viacheslav Fetisov #8

If you don't take it for granted that the Best Defenseman award during the amateur era of this 2-week tournament is an elite accomplishment similar to an NHL All-Star season, what does Suchy's case rest on? A handful of high-scoring seasons in the Czech league. That's it. And that is not anywhere near good enough to be in the conversation with guys like Chara and Blake.

FWIW, I did include Suchy on my top-80 list because I wanted him to be in this discussion. But the more I look into him, the less it seems he really has the standing to be a top-60 defenseman.
Suchy also finished 1st, 1st, and 2nd in voting for the Golden Hockey Stick )(Czechoslovakian player of the Year) in the first 3 years that award existed.

If international hockey was so bad, then why couldn't Carl Brewer win the best defenseman award in 1967? I mean honestly, anything can happen in a short tournament, but if the rest of the guys are truly as bad as you seem to think, shoudn't a guy good enough to be a 2nd Team All Star in the NHL immediately after coming back have dominated?

Here's an interesting thread on the development of Czechoslovakian hockey: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=688408. Apparently, from 1966-1972, Czechoslovakia actually had a 12-11 record against the Soviets (but would sometimes lose to teams the Soviets would never lose to).

Not sure why you included awards from the early part of the 1960s.

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01-17-2012, 01:38 PM
  #96
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
The question was why they improved so much from 1971 to 1972.



He split starts 7-to-8 in 1970 and 5-to-7 in 1971 with an aging Viktor Konovalenko, who was a well established starter with the USSR program. Compare to playing all 8 games of the Summit Series after Konovalenko's retirement.

Again, this is just nitpicking the pretty plain matter of fact that the '72 Summit Series team was not the same as the '71 World Championship team. The '72 team had a different leading scorer, top defenseman and starting goalie. How much more different do they need to be?
The top scorer from 1971 World Championships (Firsov) was left off the 1972 Summit Series team for political reasons. Hardly a point in the favor of the 1972 team.

Alexander Ragulin was probably still the top Soviet defenseman in 1972. He and Vladimir Lutchenko were the two Soviet League All-Stars that season. I think Ragulin is overrated (definitely not as good as Suchy), but he was probably better than Vasiliev at that point - Vasiliev was an All-Star for the first time in 1973. Source = http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=593025

Good point on the emergence of Tretiak, though.

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01-17-2012, 01:59 PM
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Suchy also finished 1st, 1st, and 2nd in voting for the Golden Hockey Stick )(Czechoslovakian player of the Year) in the first 3 years that award existed.
What does this mean for an all-time ranking? The only other player to win this award who might make our list is Pospisil, and I think we all expect him to be borderline. Was there a Czechoslovak forward or goalie in the same league at that time who is regarded as good enough to legitimize the quality of the award?

I'm not dismissing it, but it's hard to spin it as equivalent to Hart or Norris contention.

Quote:
If international hockey was so bad, then why couldn't Carl Brewer win the best defenseman award in 1967? I mean honestly, anything can happen in a short tournament, but if the rest of the guys are truly as bad as you seem to think, shoudn't a guy good enough to be a 2nd Team All Star in the NHL immediately after coming back have dominated?
This would be the version of Carl Brewer who had been out of pro hockey for two years and played in the IHL and Finland as his next stops -- and was named an All Star in that 1967 tournament after a PPG performance?

Perhaps the question is, why did Brewer score a point-per-game in the WC, then in the IHL, and then in Finland... but less than half a point-per-game in the NHL? What does that say about the quality of play that he could step in perform at double his NHL production after a 2-year layoff?


Quote:
Not sure why you included awards from the early part of the 1960s.
Why not? It makes it clear that for a very long time, the Directorate award was handed out to players who are largely forgotten to history. From around the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, there was an increase in talent to the point that within a decade we started seeing genuine all-timers like Fetisov and Robinson winning the award. This was coincidental with the change from amateur to professional. Suchy's awards came during the transitional period and in my view, occurred too early to be taken seriously as equivalent to a Conn Smythe or Norris or whatever we would consider the NHL equivalent.

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01-17-2012, 02:16 PM
  #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
What does this mean for an all-time ranking? The only other player to win this award who might make our list is Pospisil, and I think we all expect him to be borderline. Was there a Czechoslovak forward or goalie in the same league at that time who is regarded as good enough to legitimize the quality of the award?
IMO, both Suchy and Pospisil should make the list. I see them both as more accomplished that any Soviet defenseman we haven't added yet. (Pospisil has the second best trophy case from international tournaments in the 1970s after Vasiliev in addition to his domestic accolades).

Czechoslovakia's top goalie was Jiri Holecek, who was named best goalie of the World Championships 5 times in the 1970s vs 2 times for Vladislav Tretiak (Tretiak would add another in the 1980s after Holecek was no longer a factor).

The best Czechoslovak forward of the 1970s was probably Vladimir Martinec, who was the All-Star Right Wing at the World Championships for four straight years (1974-1977) over Boris Mikhailov. Edit: Martinec wasn't yet a factor when Suchy peaked though.

Vaclav Nedomansky was probably the best Czechoslovak forward when Suchy played. He left for the WHA in 1974 at the age of 30. Joined the NHL in 1978. In 1979, at 34 years old, he led a weak Detroit Red Wings team in scoring. He was 2nd on the Red Wings in scoring at 35 years old in 1980.

Quote:
I'm not dismissing it, but it's hard to spin it as equivalent to Hart voting or a Norris.
Nobody is doing that.

Quote:
This would be the version of Carl Brewer who had been out of pro hockey for two years and played in the IHL and Finland as his next stops -- and was named an All Star in that 1967 tournament after a PPG performance?

Perhaps the question is, why did Brewer score a point-per-game in the WC, then in the IHL, and then in Finland... but less than half a point-per-game in the NHL? What does that say about the quality of play that he could step in and double his NHL production in his first gameplay in 2 seasons?
I don't know why that's a question. There were a lot of crappy teams to run up the stats on in the WC, and the IHL and Finland were clearly inferior leagues to the NHL (or the Czechoslovak league for that matter).

Quote:
Why not? It makes it clear that for a very long time, the Directorate award was handed out to players who are largely forgotten to history. From around the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, there was an increase in talent to the point that within a decade we started seeing genuine all-timers like Fetisov and Robinson winning the award. This was coincidental with the change from amateur to professional. Suchy's awards came during the transitional period and in my view, occurred too early to be taken seriously as equivalent to a Conn Smythe or Norris or whatever we would consider the NHL equivalent.
I agree that Suchy's awards came during a transitional period of international hockey. But I think he stood out too much during that period to simply be brushed off. What happened in the late 50s and early 60s is irrelevant - European hockey had clearly improved by leaps and bounds by the time Suchy played (and it would continue to improve). Especially since by the time Suchy starred (1968-1971), European hockey was probably a lot closer to NHL level than it was to the level of European hockey from around 1960.


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01-17-2012, 02:51 PM
  #99
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Here's the voting for the Golden Hockey Stick award (for best Czechoslovak player)

1969

1. Jan Suchý
2. Jaroslav Jiřík
3. Jaroslav Holik
4. Jiri Holik
5. Vladimir Dzurilla
6. Vaclav Nedomansky
7. Frantisek Pospisil
8. Jozef Golonka

1970

1. Jan Suchy
2. Josef Cerny
3. Vaclav Nedomansky
4. Vladimir Dzurilla
5. Frantisek Pospisil
6. Jaroslav Holik
7. Jiri Kochta (never heard of this guy)
8. Jiri Holik

1971

1. Frantisek Pospisil
2. Jan Suchy
3. Vaclav Nedomansky
4. Josef Cerny
5. Jiri Holecek
6. Richard Farda (never heard of him before now, but apparenly he played a bit in the WHA in his early 30s)
7. Jiri Holik
8. Ivan Hlinka

Source = http://www.zlatahokejka2009.cz/historie

Great example of why it's so hard to place Suchy. The Czech league in 1969 seems pretty weak, but by 1971, it was getting much stronger as guys like Nedomansky, Holecek, and Hlinka emerged. Then came Suchy's car accident and he was done.

Though please keep in mind that Suchy didn't just compete against Czechoslovakians in the domestic league, he played against the USSR and was probably better than any Soviet defenseman, at least.


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01-17-2012, 02:59 PM
  #100
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I am started to think that maybe it's wrong for Suchy to be ranked much higher than Pospisil, however.

Der Kaiser, begbeee, can you tell us more about why Suchy is just so highly regarded in Europe, compared to someone like Pospisil?

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