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Round 2, Vote 1 (HOH Top Centers)

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Old
10-22-2013, 09:03 AM
  #1
TheDevilMadeMe
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Round 2, Vote 1 (HOH Top Centers)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Post 2 of every voting thread will contain instructions as to who to send your votes to. If you send your votes to the wrong person, we can't guarantee that they will be counted.

MOD: This is a strictly on-topic thread. Posts that don't focus on the centers listed in Post 2 will be deleted or moved at the discretion of the moderators.

Before we begin, just a recap on how Round 2 will operate:

Round 2
  • The top 8-10 ranked players from the aggregate list will be posted in a thread
  • Players will be listed in alphabetical order to avoid creating bias
  • Player merits and rankings will be open for discussion and debate for a period of at least five (5) days. Administrators may extend the discussion period if it remains active
  • Final voting will occur for two (2) days, via PM. Everyone ranks their top 8 players.
  • Top 4 players will be added to the list
  • Final results will be posted and the process repeated for the next 4 places with remaining players until a list of 60 centers is obtained
  • After Vote 5 (when we have a list of the top 20 centers), we may increase the number of players added per round to 5. Participants will be allowed to vote on whether to increase the number added per round to 5 or to stay at 4 per round
  • If there are major breaks in the Round 2 voting totals, we may add more or less than the targeted 4 or 5 players in certain rounds
  • The number of players available for discussion at once will increase from 8 as we move down the list, based on natural breaks in the aggregate list put together in Round 1

These might be tweaked to allow longer or shorter debating periods depending on how the process moves along.

Additionally, there are a couple guidelines we'd ask that everyone agree to abide by:
  • Please try to stay on-topic in the thread
  • Please remember that this is a debate on opinions and there is no right or wrong. Please try to avoid words like "stupid" "dumb" "wrong" "sophistry" etc. when debating.
  • Please treat other debaters with respect
  • Please don't be a wallflower. All eligible voters are VERY HIGHLY encouraged to be active participants in the debate.
  • Please maintain an open mind. The purpose of the debate is to convince others that your views are more valid. If nobody is willing to accept their opinions as flexible there really is no point in debating.

Eliglible Voters (23):
bigbuffalo313; BillyShoe1721; Canadiens1958; DaveG; Dennis Bonvie; hardyvan123; Hawkey Town 18; intylerwetrust; Jigglysquishy; MadArcand; Mike Farkas; MXD; reckoning; Rob Scuderi; seventieslord; Sturminator; tarheelhockey; ted1971; the edler; TheDevilMadeMe; tony D; VanIslander; vecens24

All posters are encouraged to participate in the debates and discussions, but only those listed above will be eligible for the final votes. Anyone else who wishes to participate will have until the start of Round 2, Vote 2 to get their list in. Once Vote 2 begins, no additional lists will be accepted.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 10-22-2013 at 05:36 PM.
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Old
10-22-2013, 09:08 AM
  #2
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Vote 1 will begin now and debates are scheduled to run through Sunday, November 3. You may PM votes to Hawkey Town 18 starting on Friday, November 1.

We decided to give a little more than the normal week for the first discussion thread to get everyone going.

We will be sending out confirmations when we receive ballots from the voters. Any voter who does not get a confirmation within 24 hours of submitting a ballot should assume we never received it and should either resubmit it or contact the person collecting ballots to arrange a different method to submit the ballots.

Vote 1 will be for places 1 through 4 on the Top 60 list.

Here are the candidates, listed alphabetically:

Jean Beliveau
Bobby Clarke
Phil Esposito
Wayne Gretzky
Mario Lemieux
Mark Messier
Stan Mikita
Howie Morenz
Bryan Trottier

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Old
10-22-2013, 09:47 AM
  #3
tarheelhockey
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My biggest question mark in this round is where to place Morenz.

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10-22-2013, 10:02 AM
  #4
VanIslander
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The only centers to win more than two Hart trophies other than Gretzky and Lemieux were Howie Morenz and Bobby Clarke.

Morenz and Clarke both have three Hart trophies each, two 1st team all-star selections each, and were extremely competitive and aggressive. Morenz was more known for his speed and Clarke for his checking.

Morenz was twice 1st in NHL scoring and ten times top 10 whereas Clarke never was first in scoring and seven times top 10 in scoring. Moreover Morenz had been seven times top-5 to Clarke's three times. There is no doubt who is the greater offensive player in the regular season.

In the playoffs, Morenz led the NHL in points to his first Stanley Cup championship, then led the league again the following year only to fall short. He was 8th both other of the three times he has won Lord Stanley's cup. Clarke was second in Flyers points three consecutive postseasons, including his only two cup years. Morenz scored a bit more goals than assists whereas Clarke had way more assists than goals.

Morenz had Joliat for all three cups, with Cleghorn and Vezina the first time and Mantha and Hainsworth the next two times. Clarke had MacLeish, Barber, Parent (and the Broadstreet Bullies to fight the battles he started: he was a known agitator who didn't finish what he started), with Leach for the second cup.

The only way one could rank Clarke ahead of Morenz is to make hay over his defensive abilities. Though the size of the gap between them offensively is arguable, it is clear.

Morenz and Clarke are closer in value than I'd thought before.

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10-22-2013, 10:09 AM
  #5
BraveCanadian
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Was Morenz not the one who was fleshed out more defensively this past ATD?

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10-22-2013, 10:15 AM
  #6
Hardyvan123
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4th post in and we have Clarke and his 3 Harts already?

Does anyone here honestly think Clarke was better than Orr in 73 or 75?

There is an argument for him being the best center in those years sure but let's keep his 3 Harts in some perspective please.

Clarke also was a much better point producer once Reggie Leach became his trigger man as well.

He is probably the worst offensive guy on the list yet the best defensive guy so how to treat him?

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10-22-2013, 10:24 AM
  #7
TheDevilMadeMe
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I guess I'll get this party started by posting some tables (edit, I took too long making them. looks like the party already started)

NHL All-Star Teams (1st, 2nd, and 3rd)

Player First Second Third Total
Wayne Gretzky 8 7 1 16
Jean Beliveau 6 4 1 11
Mario Lemieux 5 4 0 9
Stan Mikita 6 2 0 8
Phil Esposito 6 2 0 8
Bobby Clarke 2 2 3 7
Bryan Trottier 2 2 1 5
Howie Morenz* 3 1 0 4
Mark Messier 2(4) 0(1) 1 3(6)


Messier's numbers include just All-Star C and combined All-Star Teams.

*About half of Howie Morenz's prime was before the official All-Star Teams. We do have an unofficial All-Star Team from 1927-28, and Morenz was a unanimous 1st Team All-Star (with most votes coming at C, but a couple putting him at 1st Team LW with Nighbor at C). Edit: I'm adding his 1928 1st Team vote to the table above. We have no information for any other seasons before 1931.

Hart Voting Top 10 finishes

Finishes in italicsmeans he had less than 10% of 1st place's points; these shouldn't be treated as any form of consensus vote. Not all finishes are created the same. In 1930, Morenz finished in 7th place, but had 60% of 1st place's voting points. In many years, 7th place would barely have any votes. In 1970, Mikita finished 4th, but with only 10 points to winner Bobby Orr's 156 (only Tony Esposito was close to Orr in voting).

Bobby Clarke 1, 1, 1, 2, 4, 6, 6, 8, 10, 10
Jean Beliveau 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 7, 8
Phil Esposito 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 6, 6
Wayne Gretzky 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Mario Lemieux 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5
Mark Messier 1, 1, 2, 9
Stan Mikita 1, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 9
Howie Morenz 1, 1, 1, 2, 6, 6, 7, 8
Bryan Trottier 1, 2, 2, 3, 5

Messier was undoubtedly hurt in Hart voting by Gretzky's presence. The only Hart votes he received before Gretzky left Edmonton were in 1986-87, finishing 9th in Hart voting while 3rd in NHL scoring.


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Old
10-22-2013, 10:32 AM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Was Morenz not the one who was fleshed out more defensively this past ATD?
Yes, here's Morenz's profile: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...55&postcount=4

Toe Blake called Morenz "one of the greatest backcheckers I ever saw," and Tommy Gorman said "Morenz was the fastest and greatest two-way center in the game."

Also we have primary source information from newspapers that Morenz was an excellent defensive player while at his offensive peak, something not true of all the centers here (for example, I really want to see evidence Mikita was well-known as a two-way center before the Blackhawks changed their style from a run-and-gun team to a more defensive one in 1970).

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10-22-2013, 10:35 AM
  #9
Hardyvan123
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I'm not a huge fan of Hart or trophy counting but it's clear Clarke was considered the best center in the NHL in the 70's and probably Stan in the 60's and Jean in the 50's.

Someone else brought up in another thread a player and his position in world rankings, as subjective as they can be at times. For guys like Espossito, Clarke, Trottier and Messier would the presence of non NHLers possibly "inflate" their Hart voting records and possibly other stats or reputations?

For example if a non NHL center comes up in this thread that played in the 70's, how he compares to Clarke, Esposito and other would be important and vice versa right?

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10-22-2013, 10:35 AM
  #10
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
4th post in and we have Clarke and his 3 Harts already?

Does anyone here honestly think Clarke was better than Orr in 73 or 75?

There is an argument for him being the best center in those years sure but let's keep his 3 Harts in some perspective please.

Clarke also was a much better point producer once Reggie Leach became his trigger man as well.

He is probably the worst offensive guy on the list yet the best defensive guy so how to treat him?
Clarke is the worst offensive player listed here, and I don't think it's particularly close. Still, his Hart record indicates he was considered more valuable than Esposito and Trottier over the course of his career, right?

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10-22-2013, 10:42 AM
  #11
Hardyvan123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Clarke is the worst offensive player listed here, and I don't think it's particularly close. Still, his Hart record indicates he was considered more valuable than Esposito and Trottier over the course of his career, right?
I'll take Clarke over Phil, Trotts is pretty close and might have a better case.

Bryan had a better rookie season that Clarke, and it's not really close and was a better playoff performer IMO.

In head to head seasons (ie each players 1st,2nd,3rd, ect...), not counting the extra ones Bryan had at the end of his career, Bryan has tilts it with more seasons and playoffs that were better IMO, at least at first glance.

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10-22-2013, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Yes, here's Morenz's profile: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...55&postcount=4

Toe Blake called Morenz "one of the greatest backcheckers I ever saw," and Tommy Gorman said "Morenz was the fastest and greatest two-way center in the game."

Also we have primary source information from newspapers that Morenz was an excellent defensive player while at his offensive peak, something not true of all the centers here (for example, I really want to see evidence Mikita was well-known as a two-way center before the Blackhawks changed their style from a run-and-gun team to a more defensive one in 1970).
I remember after helping Dreakmur with the Morenz profile that I came away believing that Morenz was QUITE close to Mikita level, if not slightly ahead. Definitely a stronger peak, at least.

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10-22-2013, 11:18 AM
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the edler
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Messier already but no Nighbor? It's a sophistry!

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Please try to avoid words like [ ... ] "sophistry"
Didn't even know that word existed, to be honest.

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10-22-2013, 11:50 AM
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ted1971
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
4th post in and we have Clarke and his 3 Harts already?

Does anyone here honestly think Clarke was better than Orr in 73 or 75?

There is an argument for him being the best center in those years sure but let's keep his 3 Harts in some perspective please.

Clarke also was a much better point producer once Reggie Leach became his trigger man as well.

He is probably the worst offensive guy on the list yet the best defensive guy so how to treat him?
Clarke was no slouch offensively. He averaged 1.06 PPG for His career. He also had 6 straight years of 10 PPG from 1970-71 to 1975-76 seasons. He also did have a 100 pt season before Leach (1972-73). Also, after the 1975-76 season, Leach really fell off the cliff scoring wise. He went from 61 Goals and 30 Assists to averaging only 33.3 Goals and 57.5 Points His final 6 seasons In Philly. To say that Leach helped Him that much after 1975-76 is really reaching at straws. After the 1975-76 season, Clarke still averaged 0.98.8 PPG, when Leach started His rapid downward slide.

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10-22-2013, 12:00 PM
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Messier already but no Nighbor? It's a sophistry!



Didn't even know that word existed, to be honest.
I'm surprised that Nighbor isn't listed yet. I had Clarke & Nighbor Very close together.

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10-22-2013, 12:03 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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I'm surprised that Nighbor isn't listed yet. I had Clarke & Nighbor Very close together.
As did I. I struggle to see why Clarke/Esposito/Trottier all came up before Nighbor or Sakic, other than this forum's love for 1970s hockey. (Not that I'm surprised, they were all rated ahead on this forum's previous lists). But I guess that's an argument for a later round and perhaps a little bit of me being a contrarian


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10-22-2013, 12:15 PM
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I had Lalonde in my top ten. I'm much less hot on Messier than most.

Besides Hardyvan, does anyone have a top two different than Gretzky and Lemieux?

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10-22-2013, 12:27 PM
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Exactly how I had them.

My Top-4 is pretty much unmovable at this point. I'll keep this thread as a reference for vote 2, however.

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10-22-2013, 12:31 PM
  #19
ted1971
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I really don't see My top 4 changing either.

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10-22-2013, 12:38 PM
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Early impressions

I don't feel like going into Gretzky vs Lemieux in detail, but others can if they want. Regardless, I have Gretzky #1 and Lemieux #2.

Beliveau at #3 - he has 9 top 5 finishes in Hart voting (other than Gretzky/Lemieux, no other C has more than 5 top 5 finishes), led the 1960s dynasty in playoff scoring, and was an injury away from leading the 1950s dynasty in playoff scoring too (finishing just behind Geoffrion).

Morenz at #4. I honestly think there is a case for Morenz over Beliveau based on peak, but I'm happy with Morenz at #4. Most of my posts this round will be about Morenz.

Mikita at #5. I almost ranked Messier over Mikita during round 1, but decided that would just be too contrarian. 4 Art Rosses was just two hard to ignore even if Stan "only" won the 2 Harts and didn't quite have the playoff heroics of some other centers here. I really do want to see evidence that Mikita was a strong two-way player while he was in his offensive prime.

Messier at #6. I'm open to be convinced that any of the 70s trio deserves to go over Messier, but it would have to be because their regular season peak/prime is that much higher. Messier has pretty clear advantages over Esposito/Clarke/Trottier in longevity as an impact player and in the playoffs.

Clarke/Esposito at 7/8. Tough call between these two. Clarke was miles better defensively, Esposito was miles better offensively. In round 1, I went with Clarke over Espo mainly because of his Hart record.

Trottier at 9. I'm open to being convinced otherwise, but Trottier's "on paper" resume just doesn't seem to be as good as the rest of these guys. In my opinion at least. On the flip side, his playoff resume is stronger than Clarke or Espo's.


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10-22-2013, 01:07 PM
  #21
tarheelhockey
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The argument for Lemieux over Gretzky, in a nutshell:

1) The eye test. At one point in my life, I would have told you that Lemieux was a better hockey player than Gretzky. He just looked THAT good, on an aesthetic level in my mind with Muhammad Ali, Pele and Barry Sanders as jaw-droppingly, sublimely talented athletes who simply did whatever the hell they wanted against world-class competition. Grace and power in motion, at a level that maybe Bobby Orr could match.

2) The "what-if?" game. I think we've all been around this block a few times already. Gretzky played on a dynasty during his youth, while Lemieux basically carried the Pens on his back and won Cups as soon as they gave him something to work with. Lemieux made Kevin Stevens and Rob Brown into 50-goal scorers. Lemieux was passing to Brown when he reached the 200-point range, whereas Gretzky was passing to Kurri. What happens to those point totals if they swap wingers? Also, Lemieux's longevity was severely affected by injury and by cancer -- considering he came back and dominated at age 40, is it really fair to say he had less staying power than Gretzky?

3) The "Gretzky is overrated" angle. Wayne was the ultimate right-place-right-time story, as the playmaking center on a firewagon team during the highest-scoring period in history. Several of his teammates went on to Hall of Fame careers, and would have done so regardless whether they played with Wayne or not. Had he played primarily in the 1990s, when goalies were larger and more fundamentally sound, and opposing teams were far more willing to take liberties with slightly-built superstars, perhaps Gretzky's numbers come back down to earth a bit. Lemieux certainly never showed a lack of ability to score at will on 1990s goalies and to fight through 1990s obstruction, but Gretzky looked a bit less impressive as time wore on. It's common to hear from fans who were young in the 1990s that they were astonished by Lemieux and underwhelmed by Gretzky.

What the argument boils down to is that Lemieux was simply a better player than Gretzky, a force of nature that went largely to waste due to not being in the right time and place. That if you were drafting a team to win it all, you would be well served to take Mario #1.



^ I hope I represented that argument accurately. I think all the major points are in there.

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10-22-2013, 01:15 PM
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Much information about Morenz above, but how do you view his at first, compared to the other guys here, questionable longivety and average elite standard of play compared to these other much more modern guys? He is an outlier wheter we like it or not, just look at the players birth dates. I did NOT send any qualifying list for this project, but surely will weigh in on matters here from time to time.

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10-22-2013, 01:16 PM
  #23
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
Much information about Morenz above, but how do you view his at first questionable longivety and average elite standard of play compared to these other much more modern guys? I did NOT send any qualifying list for this project, but probably will weigh in on matters here from time to time.
He received significant Hart consideration 8 times; that is pretty typical longevity for a star player in that era.

Edit: He was a star from the age of 21 (6th in Hart voting in his rookie season) to the age of 30 (2nd Team All Star).

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10-22-2013, 01:18 PM
  #24
Hawkey Town 18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
The argument for Lemieux over Gretzky, in a nutshell:


2) The "what-if?" game. I think we've all been around this block a few times already. Gretzky played on a dynasty during his youth, while Lemieux basically carried the Pens on his back and won Cups as soon as they gave him something to work with. Lemieux made Kevin Stevens and Rob Brown into 50-goal scorers. Lemieux was passing to Brown when he reached the 200-point range, whereas Gretzky was passing to Kurri. What happens to those point totals if they swap wingers? Also, Lemieux's longevity was severely affected by injury and by cancer -- considering he came back and dominated at age 40, is it really fair to say he had less staying power than Gretzky?
Chronic injury is not something I give any player a break on. There are a few things that can cause this: their body is naturally weaker, they aren't taking care of themselves, or their playing style is constantly putting them in harms way. I think all three were contributing factors to Lemieux, and I see no reason why he shouldn't be docked for them.

The cancer aspect is completely different. There is a lot of gray area as to how many games his cancer ultimately caused him to miss. We do know that Lemieux had injury problems long before the cancer showed up.

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10-22-2013, 01:19 PM
  #25
tarheelhockey
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Quote:
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Much information about Morenz above, but how do you view his at first questionable longivety and average elite standard of play compared to these other much more modern guys? I did NOT send any qualifying list for this project, but probably will weigh in on matters here from time to time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
He received significant Hart consideration 8 times; that is pretty typical longevity for that era.
At the time of his retirement, Morenz was 4th all-time in games played (Joliat, Clancy, Finnigan) and his 14 seasons could be viewed as exceptional all the way up until the expansion era.

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