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NHL All Star Team Selections... Bias?

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06-17-2012, 12:53 AM
  #1
trentmccleary
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NHL All Star Team Selections... Bias?

Put on your tin foil hats boys and girls! It's summer and we're desperate to find something to discuss. Well, the NHL Awards are coming up and I've had a bit of a nagging question.

Over the years, I've argued the careers merits of players like Alfie, Sundin, Iginla, etc and well... this just doesn't make a lot of sense to me unless you add in Canadian/Toronto media bias.

Primarily, I've kind of wondered how Sundin had two end of seasons All Star selections despite playing a deep position and only making the top-10 in scoring twice in his career. Meanwhile, Alfie plays a more scare position (C > RW > LW in terms of NHL depth), has finished in the top-10 in scoring three times and had been receiving significant Selke attention throughout his prime (& all three of those seasons).

The 8 times a Senator was in the Top-10 (named to All Star Team)
98-99: Yashin = 44-50-94, 6th overall
03-04: Hossa = 81-36-46-82, 5th overall
03-04 Alfredsson = 77-32-48-80, 7th overall
05-06: Heatley = 82-50-53-103, 4th overall
05-06 Alfredsson = 77-43-60-103, 5th overall
06-07 Heatley = 82-50-55-105, 4th overall

07-08 Spezza = 76-34-58-92, 8th overall
07-08 Alfredsson = 70-40-49-89, 9th overall


Other top-10 finishes for these players
02-03 Heatley = 77-41-48-89, 9th overall
06-07 Hossa = 82-43-57-100, 6th overall


Top-10 finishes for Sundin and Iginla
96-97 Sundin = 82-41-53-94, 7th overall
01-02 Sundin = 82-41-39-80, 4th overall
01-02 Iginla, 1st overall
07-08 Iginla, 3rd overall
08-09 Iginla, 8th overall

10-11 Iginla, 6th overall

Non-Top-10 Finishes & All Star Selections:
03-04 = Sundin; 2nd All Star Team (81-31-44-75)... he was 13th in scoring and 5th amongst centers.
03-04 = Iginla; 2nd All Star Team (81-41-32-73)... he was 16th in scoring and 7th amongst right wings (Hossa & Alfie were 2nd and 3rd).
08-09 = Hossa; 2nd All Star Team (74-40-31-71)... he was 37th in scoring and 9th amongst right wings (Alfie was 5th). [Some sort of weird Detroit campaigning?]

Iginla = 4 Top-10, 4 All Star Team Selections
Sundin = 2 Top-10, 2 All Star Team Selections
Alfie = 3 Top-10, 1 All Star Team Selection
Heatley - 3 Top-10, 2 All Star Team Selections
Hossa= 2 Top-10, 1 All Star Team Selection


There seems to be a number of seasons where Alfredsson and Hossa were amongst the leading scorers in the league, while both were getting Selke votes, while playing a more scarce position than center and they somehow couldn't be considered be considered amongst the best players in the league.

Meanwhile, the player from our team who was more consistently recognized by the journalists for the few years he was with us (Heatley), was Canadian.
Sundin got recognized twice and once with a fairly deep finish for center. But he was Toronto's Captain, their media is big and their media brainwashes the rest of Canada all season long.
Iginla was top-10 four times and got selected four times, though one of those seasons was when he was clearly outscored by Hossa & Alfie. But Iginla was Captain Canada in international tournaments.

I guess it sort of reminds me of seeing A-Rod with Texas. He'd be the best hitter in baseball, win a Gold Glove at one of toughest defensive positions... but couldn't win the MVP. He couldn't win the MVP because his team didnt make the playoffs, but it still seemed silly.

Here we have Alfie and Hossa, top-10 scorers in quite a few seasons at a scarce position while getting Selke votes and they only get selected once out of the five top-10 finishes (plus the bizarre Hossa pick in 08-09). Meanwhile, Sundin has two top-10 finishes and gets selected twice at a very deep position. Or to put another way, Spezza has already basically matched the best offensive seasons that Sundin has ever had (4th & 7th vs. 4th & 8th). Spezza is young enough to maybe even have a few more top-10 finishes. However, he'll probably never have an All Star selection because the chances that 2 out of the top-3 scorers every year are going to be centers (Gretzky/Lemieux, Yzerman/Sakic/Forsberg, Crosby/Malkin/Stamkos) is always going to be very high.

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06-17-2012, 09:36 AM
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carsonscave
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The NHL is about making money and advertising. Putting a fanboy as Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos in the All Star lineup makes more sense than putting a name like Spezza on the roster. Draws more attention, more attention, more revenue. The first three names are heavily covered throughout the season in the media despite how they or their teams are performing.

I believe it will take for Ottawa to win the cup a number of times before they will finally get the respect they deserve in the league. It doesn't matter how good our teams/players are/were we are still battling for the basic respect around the league. Once Ottawa establishes a winning culture the respect will come.

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06-17-2012, 09:41 AM
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I don't doubt for a second there is significant bias in award voting among the media AND among GM's. Not for a second. And it is not some grand conspiracy, it is just human nature. People vote for the familiar.

Look at York giving whatshisface crap for saying he was going to vote Lidstrom for Norris and he hadn't even seen him play. Look at the coverage nationwide of the Leafs. Toronto sports is in the face of every Canadian all day, every day. That's why people 'jokingly' refer to TSN as the Toronto Sports Network. The Leafs are the lead story and end story and the story in the middle of the broadcast. Even when there's no news, that's reported. .. that's the story - No News in Toronto. If you are a non-Leaf fan how could I make it make sense... ah got it - it's like having to watch the Olympics on an American channel and find out about how Canada is doing. Or Greece. Or Scotland. Yeah, it's almost like they don't exist. You'll out about the American who finished 8th in shotput, but won't even find out who won gold.

So yes, there's a huge bias towards any Maple Leaf. There's a huge bias for large market east coast players (who can stay up that late to watch the yotes?), and once a reputation is established, there's a huge bias towards the easy, safe, and lazy vote.

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06-17-2012, 10:41 AM
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There's definitely a bias against Ottawa with favouritism to certain players and teams. At the same time, the Sens were considered one of the most talented and deepest teams, so it's possible that writers thought players on less talented teams, such as Iginla, did more to earn their points. Not to say this is right, but this rationale often figures into people's thinking.

As for Iginla, in '03-'04, he tied with Kovalchuk and Nash for the Rocket Richard Trophy, which is why he was named an All-Star. And based on the rationale I used above, Iginla's 73 points were 26 more than the 2nd leading scorer on the Flames, who was Craig Conroy with 47.

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06-17-2012, 11:11 AM
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trentmccleary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carsonscave View Post
Putting a fanboy as Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos in the All Star lineup makes more sense than putting a name like Spezza on the roster.

I believe it will take for Ottawa to win the cup a number of times before they will finally get the respect they deserve in the league.
I was saying that centers like those typically dominate the league and are the reason why guys like Spezza or Sundin don't end up getting All Star selections. However, there is rarely such a dominance amongst RW's and there wasn't when Alfie & Hossa were passed over repeatedly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnorth View Post
I don't doubt for a second there is significant bias in award voting among the media AND among GM's. Not for a second. And it is not some grand conspiracy, it is just human nature. People vote for the familiar.

Look at York giving whatshisface crap for saying he was going to vote Lidstrom for Norris and he hadn't even seen him play. Look at the coverage nationwide of the Leafs. Toronto sports is in the face of every Canadian all day, every day. That's why people 'jokingly' refer to TSN as the Toronto Sports Network. The Leafs are the lead story and end story and the story in the middle of the broadcast. Even when there's no news, that's reported. .. that's the story - No News in Toronto. If you are a non-Leaf fan how could I make it make sense... ah got it - it's like having to watch the Olympics on an American channel and find out about how Canada is doing. Or Greece. Or Scotland. Yeah, it's almost like they don't exist. You'll out about the American who finished 8th in shotput, but won't even find out who won gold.

So yes, there's a huge bias towards any Maple Leaf. There's a huge bias for large market east coast players (who can stay up that late to watch the yotes?), and once a reputation is established, there's a huge bias towards the easy, safe, and lazy vote.
It's not quite the familiar, but you were definitely touching on the subject.

Toronto's Captain and Captain Canada had a large media brainwashing dept behind them to get selected in some seasons where they may not have deserved it... over our non-Canadians in a small market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Neighbour View Post
There's definitely a bias against Ottawa with favouritism to certain players and teams. At the same time, the Sens were considered one of the most talented and deepest teams, so it's possible that writers thought players on less talented teams, such as Iginla, did more to earn their points. Not to say this is right, but this rationale often figures into people's thinking.

As for Iginla, in '03-'04, he tied with Kovalchuk and Nash for the Rocket Richard Trophy, which is why he was named an All-Star. And based on the rationale I used above, Iginla's 73 points were 26 more than the 2nd leading scorer on the Flames, who was Craig Conroy with 47.
I don't think it was a bias against Ottawa. But the voters clearly dug deep to reward big market team players or Canadians. The only time that one of our players was consistently rewarded for top seasons, was when a Canadian in Heatley accomplished them. Even though our offense was deep then and the 5 seasons in which Alfie & Hossa were top-10 scorers were better seasons than Heatley has/will ever have.

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06-17-2012, 11:26 AM
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All I can do is nod and agree to your information, trent.

It's true and a damn shame. Alfredsson should have gotten more credit than he received. God damn, it. All I care about now is him making the HHOF and he better damn make it. But first, he needs his cup.

Go get him his cup, Murray.

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06-17-2012, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trentmccleary View Post
I don't think it was a bias against Ottawa. But the voters clearly dug deep to reward big market team players or Canadians. The only time that one of our players was consistently rewarded for top seasons, was when a Canadian in Heatley accomplished them. Even though our offense was deep then and the 5 seasons in which Alfie & Hossa were top-10 scorers were better seasons than Heatley has/will ever have.
I think voters also prefer goalscorers at the wing position. Heatley got rewarded for having consecutive 50-goal seasons, and there were only 1 or 2 others that scored that many goals.

The 2003-04 season also seems to be a slightly odd year in that most of the league-leading scorers were wingers, and the top-10 goal scorers were all wingers.

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06-17-2012, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Neighbour View Post
I think voters also prefer goalscorers at the wing position. Heatley got rewarded for having consecutive 50-goal seasons, and there were only 1 or 2 others that scored that many goals.

The 2003-04 season also seems to be a slightly odd year in that most of the league-leading scorers were wingers, and the top-10 goal scorers were all wingers.
Perhaps, Heatley was 2nd in 06-07. But he was 5th in 05-06. While Hossa was 6th in 03-04 and 4th in 02-03.

03-04 was a lot more representative amongst C/R/L's at the top of the scoring list, but that only makes it more bizarre as to why they felt the need to dig deep to select Sundin and Iginla that year. In convincing fashion as well, considering the fact that Iginla received more voting points than Hossa & Alfie combined despite being soundly outscored by both.

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06-17-2012, 04:32 PM
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Ed Wood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carsonscave View Post
The NHL is about making money and advertising. Putting a fanboy as Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos in the All Star lineup makes more sense than putting a name like Spezza on the roster
Quote:
Originally Posted by carsonscave View Post
. Draws more attention, more attention, more revenue. The first three names are heavily covered throughout the season in the media despite how they or their teams are performing.

I believe it will take for Ottawa to win the cup a number of times before they will finally get the respect they deserve in the league. It doesn't matter how good our teams/players are/were we are still battling for the basic respect around the league. Once Ottawa establishes a winning culture the respect will come.
You do understand that the OP is talking about the end of season all-star selections and not the mid-season all-star game selections. Maybe try reading the post before trotting out the cliches.

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06-17-2012, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trentmccleary View Post
Perhaps, Heatley was 2nd in 06-07. But he was 5th in 05-06. While Hossa was 6th in 03-04 and 4th in 02-03.

03-04 was a lot more representative amongst C/R/L's at the top of the scoring list, but that only makes it more bizarre as to why they felt the need to dig deep to select Sundin and Iginla that year. In convincing fashion as well, considering the fact that Iginla received more voting points than Hossa & Alfie combined despite being soundly outscored by both.
Could be that the voters most familiar with Ottawa, and thus most likely to vote for an Ottawa player, were split between Hossa and Alfie, and Iginla came up the middle.

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06-17-2012, 08:46 PM
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trentmccleary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micklebot View Post
Could be that the voters most familiar with Ottawa, and thus most likely to vote for an Ottawa player, were split between Hossa and Alfie, and Iginla came up the middle.
It doesn't look like vote splitting, it looks like they weren't even considered by most voters.

#2) Jarome Iginla, CGY 234 (6-59-27)
#3) Marian Hossa, OTT 93 (1-18-34)
#4) Daniel Alfredsson, OTT 73 (0-17-22)
#5) Milan Hejduk, COL 22 (0-4-10)

Vote splitting to me might look more like:

140 Hossa
120 Alfie
150 Iginla

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06-18-2012, 03:50 AM
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Why waste all this time discussing a pointless game??? The bottom line is the Sens deserved every spot they got. Dunno what you guys are smoking.

Mods, please end this thread.

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06-18-2012, 07:07 AM
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Why waste all this time discussing a pointless game??? The bottom line is the Sens deserved every spot they got. Dunno what you guys are smoking.

Mods, please end this thread.
Mods, please post links to reading lessons.

(or, alternately, please post links to sarcasm detecting lessons for me)

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06-18-2012, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Neighbour View Post
At the same time, the Sens were considered one of the most talented and deepest teams, so it's possible that writers thought players on less talented teams, such as Iginla, did more to earn their points. Not to say this is right, but this rationale often figures into people's thinking.

As for Iginla, in '03-'04, he tied with Kovalchuk and Nash for the Rocket Richard Trophy, which is why he was named an All-Star. And based on the rationale I used above, Iginla's 73 points were 26 more than the 2nd leading scorer on the Flames, who was Craig Conroy with 47.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Neighbour View Post
I think voters also prefer goalscorers at the wing position. Heatley got rewarded for having consecutive 50-goal seasons, and there were only 1 or 2 others that scored that many goals.

The 2003-04 season also seems to be a slightly odd year in that most of the league-leading scorers were wingers, and the top-10 goal scorers were all wingers.
I have to play devil's advocate here, trent. I think Northern Neighbour is absolutely right about goal-scorers being rewarded, and that this is part of the reason why Heatley and Iginla were both easier selections than Alfredsson and Hossa. But I think there is truth to this at the centre position as well.

I don't doubt for a second that Mats Sundin benefited from the publicity that came from hype of being Toronto's captain. However, the pre-lockout years were pretty lean ones for centremen. There can be no question regarding his selection in 01-02 (1st in centre scoring). In 03-04, he was effectively 4th in centre scoring, not 5th, because I doubt that Patrik Elias received any attention even if he was formally listed as a centre. And of all the centres with 70+ points that season, only Sakic and Sundin had more than 30 goals. Moreover, the 2003-04 Maple Leafs were an unremarkable squad without Sundin. He was the highest-scoring forward on his team by a 25-point margin.

I really do think that Sundin and Iginla merited all of their selections. Spezza's 07-8 season was close but no cigar. The strongest case for Senators getting snubbed comes in 2003-04, where either Hossa or Alfredsson could have justly received attention for the 2nd RW spot after Marty St. Louis. However, Iginla's Richard-winning 41-goal campaign is a winning pick, particularly when you consider that Shean freaking Donovan was second on that team with 18 goals. Iginla was that team's offense. Period. It's no surprise his assist total was low.

EDIT: All that said, one player who did get snubbed in 07-08 was not Spezza, but Datsyuk. He had more points and goals than Thornton AND won the Selke, yet Thornton was selected to the 2nd all-star team. Must have suffered from both anti-Euro bias (can't have TWO Russians as the top-2 centres in the league) and from linemate bias (Zetterberg named to 2nd team).


Last edited by Germz: 06-18-2012 at 10:00 AM.
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06-18-2012, 11:20 AM
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ARod won the MVP in 2003 as a member of the Texas Rangers. I believe he was runner up the year before (but Tejada winning was a total joke that season).

Sorry for the sidebar. Carry on.

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