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Doug Harvey overrated?

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02-09-2012, 05:35 PM
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oolalaa
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Doug Harvey overrated?

Hey, NHL newbie here I have a question for you guys:

I see that on this forum, Doug Harvey has been voted as the 2nd greatest defenceman, and the 6th greatest overall player of all time. My question: Is he overrated?

I understand that he was one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, defensive defenceman of all time. And I've read that he was a master at controlling the pace and tempo of a game, even more so than Bobby Orr.

However, he was clearly not a goalscorer. Of course, I get that scoring goals is not the be all and end all - there are a myriad of other aspects that go into winning hockey, as with any sport, and I know that he played in a lower scoring era. But he really, really, REALLY wasn't a goalscorer!


I guess what I'm basically asking is - does his great defence and playmaking ability offset him only scoring 8 goals in his entire playoff career? (just 8 goals!) Why is he necessarily better than Potvin or Bourque or even Lidstrom? And was he really more valuable than his teammate, Jean Beliveau?

Did he have all time great intangibles? Was he a great leader? Did his teammates love and respect him? Was he insanely competitive? Was he clutch?

In other words, was he the Bill Russell of Hockey? Because that's the only justification I can see for ranking him so high.


I apologise if this is well trodden ground. I'm just very curious....

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02-09-2012, 06:04 PM
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Nalyd Psycho
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Originally Posted by oolalaa View Post
In other words, was he the Bill Russell of Hockey? Because that's the only justification I can see for ranking him so high.
Pretty much. Like Russell, he used his brilliant defence to create speedy transition that enabled everyone on the team to score more.

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02-09-2012, 06:40 PM
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BM67
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Well, there's overrated and then there's overrated. I've always felt that Roy was overrated, but never to the extent that I didn't think he was great, and possibly the best of all-time.

Harvey dictated more of the way Montreal played the game than any other player on the team.

Consider that Harvey was the last of the players that tried to form a union to get traded. Lindsay and Hall got traded from Detroit years before Harvey was traded from Montreal. There was no way the team could trade Harvey until after they stopped winning Cups. He was that important.

Yes, I think Harvey is overrated, but no #2 and #6 are not out of line.

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02-09-2012, 06:48 PM
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revolverjgw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oolalaa View Post
However, he was clearly not a goalscorer. Of course, I get that scoring goals is not the be all and end all - there are a myriad of other aspects that go into winning hockey, as with any sport, and I know that he played in a lower scoring era. But he really, really, REALLY wasn't a goalscorer!
Goals were so rare for d-men back then that I think goal totals are kind of a pointless measure of offensive creativity. He didn't score much but neither did anyone else... during his prime years of 52-62, only Red Kelly scored more goals (and he played as center sometimes before going full-time, dunno if he scored any goals as a center). Harvey averaged .08 goals per game, only Kelly scored more than .09... so these are such tiny goal totals, I don't think they say much. His assist and overall offensive numbers were dominant.

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02-09-2012, 06:50 PM
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MXD
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Considering he's widely considered the 3rd best player on those Habs teams, if anything, Harvey is underrated...

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02-09-2012, 10:01 PM
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Hardyvan123
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Considering he's widely considered the 3rd best player on those Habs teams, if anything, Harvey is underrated...
Not on these boards with a 2nd and 6th respectively.

IMO he is probably overrated but it happens to some of the legends.

Sure he controlled the pace of the game as good as or better than Orr but the makeup of the league and the actual NHL was different back then as well.

Post late 80's early 90's with a fully integrate league it's simply much more difficult for any individual to dominate (outside of goalies), like it was for Harvey in the 50's or Orr in the late 60's or early 70's.

And let's face reality here it's impossible for the current to compete with a memory in any realistic sense.

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02-09-2012, 10:19 PM
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I asked Ted Lindsay if Harvey was pretty much "perfect" defensively, and he looked at me very strangely - said Harvey (and Kelly) was the best in his time, but I thought it illustrated perhaps how legends grow over the decades.

I have no problem believing Harvey was the best Hab from that period, though. Not overrated much at all.

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02-09-2012, 10:30 PM
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Killion
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
And let's face reality here it's impossible for the current to compete with a memory in any realistic sense.
Very true. Legends often do grow larger with the passing of time. Harvey was basically the link or bridge between Shore earlier, cranking up by several notches some parts of Eddies game. Orr following later who in turn took it even further than most imagined possible. Three generations of defencemen who operated in a zone of red hot flux, the final weld when it cooled ushering in a major transition in terms of how the game was thought about, played. Giving birth to a whole new generation of greats like Coffey & Bourque, and of course your personal favorite HV, Al Wild Thing Iafrate....

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02-09-2012, 10:45 PM
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Big Phil
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Well I have personally argued that Beliveau might have been the most important Hab during that dynasty. That idea has often been criticized and to be honest, I don't disagree with it in a way. No doubt he controlled from the back end and forward. Beliveau couldn't do that. Harvey DID that.

No, he isn't overrated.

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02-09-2012, 10:46 PM
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Rhiessan71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post

Post late 80's early 90's with a fully integrate league it's simply much more difficult for any individual to dominate (outside of goalies), like it was for Harvey in the 50's or Orr in the late 60's or early 70's.
Can you just once leave the "newer is always better" crap at the door, just once!

Harvey played against the best of the best and with far, far more regularity than anyone does today.
You honestly think it was easier facing the likes of Howe, Bathgate, the Big M, Bobby Hull among many others 14 friggin times each per season than what players face today?
Gimme a break.

What's more, Harvey is the guy that set the standards that ALL D-men are still taught by today.

I'd love to see how well Lidstrom's stats would fare if he was facing Malkin/Crosby, Stamkos and the Sedin's 14 times EACH a season instead of what, 6-10 combined.


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02-10-2012, 12:04 AM
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Nalyd Psycho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Very true. Legends often do grow larger with the passing of time. Harvey was basically the link or bridge between Shore earlier, cranking up by several notches some parts of Eddies game. Orr following later who in turn took it even further than most imagined possible. Three generations of defencemen who operated in a zone of red hot flux, the final weld when it cooled ushering in a major transition in terms of how the game was thought about, played. Giving birth to a whole new generation of greats like Coffey & Bourque, and of course your personal favorite HV, Al Wild Thing Iafrate....
I really wonder if he did notch up Shore's game. More and more I suspect that latter years Shore was Harvey with more of a temper. So Harvey was just the next defenceman able to play that style of game. Much is written about Shore's puck rushing days, but it can be harder to find info on his stay at home, quarterback the team days.

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02-10-2012, 02:38 AM
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nik jr
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something i have wondered about for quite a while is his D.

it seems to be conventional wisdom here that harvey was the best defensive d-man in history, and i have never seen anything that says he was not a great defensive player, but when i read old papers, his ability with the puck is mentioned far more often than his D, and i have not seen similar effusive praise of his D.

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02-10-2012, 06:41 AM
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MXD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Not on these boards with a 2nd and 6th respectively.

IMO he is probably overrated but it happens to some of the legends.

Sure he controlled the pace of the game as good as or better than Orr but the makeup of the league and the actual NHL was different back then as well.

.
When I said "widely", it excluded those boards.

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02-10-2012, 07:05 AM
  #14
tarheelhockey
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oolalaa, you may find it helpful to scroll down the list and find the recent "Lidstrom vs Harvey" thread, as well as Round 2 Vote 1 in the top-60 project which is linked from the first post in the sticky thread.

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