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Lidstrom's place in history - ALL DISCUSSIONS OF LIDSTROM'S "ALL TIME RANKING" HERE

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Old
12-02-2012, 12:10 AM
  #401
newfy
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Originally Posted by OccupySheen View Post
Bourque was a top 5 offensive player of his ERA, not just defensemen, can we say the same about Lidstrom?

I'm not sure why some people are so intent to put Lidstrom at or above Bourque, Lidstrom has played on loaded teams for almost 20 straight seasons and i'd suggest that may have slightly inflated his overall point totals
Lidstrom was by far the best offensive dman of his generation (after the 80s/late90s were gone), very few guys are even close really and he was by far the best defensive dman as well. Maybe early on in the 2000s Stevens gave him a run defensively.

Its hard to compare eras and players and adjust for points but I can tell you Bourque definitely didnt come close to dominating his peers the way Lidstrom did. As for his inflated point totals, how is sharing your ice time with great players going to inflate your points more then lets get the puck to our only great player and play him all the time?

Guys who go from bad teams to winning teams where they have to share their ice time and arent the go to guy usually see their point total take a hit. Look at Hossa and Kovalchuk after they left Atlanta, Kaberle after he left the leafs etc.

I would really like to see examples of good players going from bad teams to good teams and seeing their production increase. I cant think of any guys that have had that happen, but I can think of more then a few who have seen their offense take a hit going to good teams

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12-02-2012, 12:31 AM
  #402
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Originally Posted by newfy View Post
Lidstrom was by far the best offensive dman of his generation (after the 80s/late90s were gone), very few guys are even close really and he was by far the best defensive dman as well. Maybe early on in the 2000s Stevens gave him a run defensively.
No one is debating this, it's actually a fact. It's also a pretty accepted opinion that Lidstrom is one of the top defensive D-men of all time.
The issue is that the competition that Lidstrom dominated was very sporadic and wildly inconsistent.
Lidstrom went from being 3rd in total points and 7th in points per game in his first 10 seasons to 1rst in points and tied for 2nd in points per game in his last 10 seasons.
He scored 567 points in his first 10 seasons, 575 in his last 10 seasons yet despite scoring almost exactly the same number of points, he has this huge gap in the second half of his career while he was well behind in the first half.
And that of course doesn't tell you anything right?

Doing the same for Bourque...
First 11 seasons, 2nd in points, 2nd in PpG 840 points
Last 11 seasons, 1rst in points, 2nd in PpG, 739 points


Quote:
Its hard to compare eras and players and adjust for points but I can tell you Bourque definitely didnt come close to dominating his peers the way Lidstrom did. As for his inflated point totals, how is sharing your ice time with great players going to inflate your points more then lets get the puck to our only great player and play him all the time?

Guys who go from bad teams to winning teams where they have to share their ice time and arent the go to guy usually see their point total take a hit. Look at Hossa and Kovalchuk after they left Atlanta, Kaberle after he left the leafs etc.

I would really like to see examples of good players going from bad teams to good teams and seeing their production increase. I cant think of any guys that have had that happen, but I can think of more then a few who have seen their offense take a hit going to good teams
You mean besides Bourque?

99/00 Boston GP-65 P-38 PpG-0.58 ToI-27:12
99/00 Colorado GP-14 P-14 PpG-1.00 ToI-27:08
00/01 Colorado GP-80 P-59 PpG-0.74 ToI-26:05


Last edited by Rhiessan71: 12-02-2012 at 12:48 AM.
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12-02-2012, 12:45 AM
  #403
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I think it's helpful to expand the generational PPG rankings to show just where these guys stood in relation to their peers.

What you see below uses the same criteria R71 cited above, MINUS players who didn't play at least 15 years head-to-head. So, for example, Denis Potvin is no longer the closest defenseman behind Bourque -- which is fair enough, because Potvin didn't play into the 1990s when scoring went down. The purpose of the 15-year block is to ensure that we are looking at the players against their true generational peers -- those who played together for a long time under essentially the same set of era influences.

The percentages in the final column are to be read as "% of Bourque/Lidstrom's point total". I think this is helpful to illustrate the tiers of offensive talent in each era, and how closely or distantly those tiers are compacted. I assume we're not going to hold it against Bourque that he didn't outscore Coffey.

Dman RankOverall RankPlayerPointsP/GP/G%
110Paul Coffey15311.09111%
215Ray Bourque1579.98100%
319Al Macinnis1158.9294%
422Phil Housley1164.8688%
525Mark Howe742.8082%
632Gary Suter811.7678%
733Larry Murphy1216.7577%
838Chris Chelios835.7172%
943Dave Babych723.6162%
1044Scott Stevens859.6061%

* I don't know off the top of my head whether Howe played D during the entire period from 1980-95.


Dman RankOverall RankPlayerPointsP/GP/G%
135Nicklas Lidstrom1142.73100%
237Sergei Zubov771.7299%
349Sergei Gonchar748.6690%
452Sandis Ozolinsh564.6488%
557Rob Blake731.6184%
662Chris Pronger698.6082%
763Scott Niedermayer740.5981%
864Matheiu Schneider692.5981%
976Chris Chelios575.49.67%
1078Teppo Numminen546.4866%


Observations

- We clearly see that offensive output has globally shifted away from defensemen over time. Stevens was the 44th highest scoring player of Bourque's generation but only 10th among defensemen. Sergei Gonchar was the 49th scoring player of Lidstrom's generation and third among defensemen, which is a pretty startling shift in such a short timeframe.

- I find the national makeup of Lidstrom's list very interesting. PLEASE NOTE: THE THING I FIND INTERESTING IS THAT ALL THE LEADING SCORERS OF HIS ERA ARE EUROPEAN!!!!! Apparently, and I think this is an extremely important connection to some side arguments we've had lately, Canada and the USA went an entire generation without producing a really great offensive defenseman. I mean, maybe I've been out to lunch and everyone else figured this out already, but that's kind of a big deal when talking about talent pipelines influencing competiton at the top. The percentage numbers speak for themselves. Does anyone have some insight as to what was going on generationally that would cause such a sharp contrast?

- The fact that Chelios is on both lists is kind of astounding when you think about it.

- Ok, the meat and potatoes of what this analysis is all about. Excluding Coffey as an all-time outlier, we can clearly see that Bourque was in his own tier of offensive production. In fact, so are the next two guys in MacInnis and Housley, each a clear step down from the other. When we get down to the Howe/Suter/Murphy cluster, we dip below 80% of Bourque's productivity. Chelios is not too far behind those guys, but then it's a large step down to the next level and it's fair to say Babych and Stevens were not considered offensively elite most of the time.

Compare to Lidstrom. Zubov actually shares a tier with him, rather than being a step down like MacInnis was to Bourque. Two players, Gonchar and Ozolinsh, play the role of Housley on this list (with Gonchar being a little higher). Next, rather than dropping to the pack you have Blake, and then a similar cluster of three players near 80% (but this time, they're over 80% instead of under it). A much older Chelios is still in play, and then you have Numminen who is considerably closer to Lidstrom than either Babych or Stevens were to Bourque. And I think it's fair to say that Numminen was clearly an inferior offensive player to those guys.

So, hopefully, this makes it clear that there is a gap of some significance between Bourque and Lidstrom offensively even when adjusting for era considerations, ignoring team factors, ignoring the game situations in which they got their points, and generally ignoring everything other than how they ranked in comparison to players who had virtually the same exact career timing. The gap is not marginal, either, with Bourque clearly more distinguished from both his top competition and from the depth of competition, and there's an argument to be made that the depth of competition during Lidstrom's generation is not quite as strong as advertised.


My apologies for the long post -- I hope this streamlines the debate in the long run.


Last edited by tarheelhockey: 12-03-2012 at 12:37 PM.
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12-02-2012, 12:57 AM
  #404
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
* I don't know off the top of my head whether Howe played D during the entire period from 1980-95.
He's listed as playing LW for one year (80-81 for Hartford) but as far as I can tell he's listed as a defenseman for the rest of those seasons.

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12-02-2012, 01:07 AM
  #405
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Chelios is not too far behind those guys, but then it's a large step down to the next level and it's fair to say Babych and Stevens were not considered offensively elite most of the time.
Stevens was never really an "offensive" defenseman. He was considered a high calibre two-player for the first 11 years of his career before Jacques Lamaire turned him into a purely defensive defenseman. I don't think any of us in Washington ever thought him in Bourque's league offensively, though there's no shame in that.

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12-02-2012, 01:09 AM
  #406
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Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
He's listed as playing LW for one year (80-81 for Hartford) but as far as I can tell he's listed as a defenseman for the rest of those seasons.
In 81 Howe gets Norris votes and votes at all-star on defense but none at LW.

Mark was 11th in Norris voting, mainly because he missed 17 games, and probably would ahve been higher had he played the whole season.

Here are the guys that got votes at LW

Charlie Simmer 284
Bill Barber 168
Steve Shutt 38
Bob Bourne 23
Anton Stastny 15
Brian Sutter 9
Clark Gillies 9
Jacques Richard 5
Darryl Sutter 4
Jorgen Pettersson 3
Bob Gainey 2
Dave Williams 2
Tony McKegney 1
Pat Boutette 1
Rick Kehoe 1
Paul Gardner 1
John Ogrodnick 1

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12-02-2012, 01:10 AM
  #407
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
In 81 Howe gets Norris votes and votes at all-star on defnese but none at LW.

Here are the guys that got votes at LW

Charlie Simmer 284
Bill Barber 168
Steve Shutt 38
Bob Bourne 23
Anton Stastny 15
Brian Sutter 9
Clark Gillies 9
Jacques Richard 5
Darryl Sutter 4
Jorgen Pettersson 3
Bob Gainey 2
Dave Williams 2
Tony McKegney 1
Pat Boutette 1
Rick Kehoe 1
Paul Gardner 1
John Ogrodnick 1
I was going by what he was listed as on the roster. Hence why I posted "listed as".

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12-02-2012, 01:28 AM
  #408
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Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
I was going by what he was listed as on the roster. Hence why I posted "listed as".
I saw that he was listed as that as well and he was a LW in the WHA but as I recall he did play some on the back end in the WHA as well.

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12-02-2012, 01:28 AM
  #409
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I did some quick research and can't find a definitive breakdown of his GP at each position, but it seems generally Howe played D in 1981 (which is how he ended up in the back of the net that one ill-fated night in December 1980) so I'll just leave the numbers as they are. Eliminating that season wouldn't change the order, though it would bring his %-of-Bourque down two points to 80%.

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12-02-2012, 01:31 AM
  #410
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I saw that he was listed as that as well and he was a LW in the WHA but as I recall he did play some on the back end in the WHA as well.
The problem that we're going to run into is it's also possible he could very well have played BOTH positions during the same game, any given game, and we have no way to tell.

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12-02-2012, 02:02 AM
  #411
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I did some quick research and can't find a definitive breakdown of his GP at each position, but it seems generally Howe played D in 1981 (which is how he ended up in the back of the net that one ill-fated night in December 1980) so I'll just leave the numbers as they are. Eliminating that season wouldn't change the order, though it would bring his %-of-Bourque down two points to 80%.
I've done the research by going through newspaper articles and posted a detailed breakdown of Howe's positions before, but can't find it now.

Basically he opened the 1979-80 season at defence, played there for a few games, moved up to LW for about 30 games, and then switched back to D full time in January 1980. From that point on he was almost exclusively a defenceman, except for maybe the occasional shift up front on the PK.

His 1979-80 season was his only NHL season in which he would be considered a LW/D. Oddly enough his scoring rate was slightly higher while playing defence than while playing forward in that season. Howe scored something like 97 points in 75 games in the 1980 calendar year as a defenceman, before the injury limited his rushing ability.

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12-02-2012, 02:03 AM
  #412
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Contextually, yes. It depends on the situation, who's on the ice, who your
facing. In certain situations, Id have Bourque out there; others, Lidstrom. If
I had to cut one of them from the same team, only room for one, bye bye Nicky.
I'm with you, but it is close.

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12-02-2012, 02:21 AM
  #413
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Originally Posted by overpass View Post
His 1979-80 season was his only NHL season in which he would be considered a LW/D. Oddly enough his scoring rate was slightly higher while playing defence than while playing forward in that season. Howe scored something like 97 points in 75 games in the 1980 calendar year as a defenceman, before the injury limited his rushing ability.
When you're the top offensive defenseman on the team, you're probably going to get more points passing to three quality forwards all the time; as opposed to being one of those forwards, and expecting the same kind of chance creation from the next best defenseman/men down the list. Suppose it depends on how good of a defense pairing you can put together without Howe, but either the other defensemen around weren't as good at helping create chances for their forwards or Howe just didn't quite have the skill set to be equally productive from a forward position.

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12-02-2012, 02:27 AM
  #414
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Tarheel: Nice post, but I see Lidstrom a clear step above when you factor in actual, real production in addition to just PPG -- 340 *REAL* points over his closest competition is very significant, way more so than PPG, IMO.

Also the difference between .01 PPG and .06 PPG is a whole 4 pts over an 82 game season. I do not consider that a significant amount, even for defensemen.

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12-02-2012, 02:30 AM
  #415
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
You mean besides Bourque?

99/00 Boston GP-65 P-38 PpG-0.58 ToI-27:12
99/00 Colorado GP-14 P-14 PpG-1.00 ToI-27:08
00/01 Colorado GP-80 P-59 PpG-0.74 ToI-26:05
The reason this doesn't fit the argument is because Bourque was put into the same role in Colorado as he had in Boston, with the same ice time, but had much better linemates to work with.

Another Colorado defenseman who's a great example is Kyle Quincey. He had one point in 13 games over three seasons playing around 12 mins per game for Detroit. He ended up being waived, and LA picked him up. Injuries resulted in his playing tons of minutes, especially on the PP, and he posted 38 points. Injured players returned, and he was traded away for next to nothing. He scored 29 points his first year in Colorado as their #1 at ES and PP. Last year, he scored 23 points in 54 games with the Av before posting a remarkable 3 in 18 after returning to Detroit via Tampa Bay.

Is Quincey the 4 points in 31 games #5-6 defenseman that he has been over his Detroit career? Or is he the 25-40 point #1-2 defenseman from LA and Colorado? Or is it somewhere in between?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
I don't think anyone takes issue with anyone saying that they think Lidstrom had the edge defensively over Bourque.
It's the "significantly" part that causes the problem.
Why? If *nobody* disagrees with Lidstrom being better defensively, that's a more significant defensive edge than your argument of "Lidstrom didn't play Bourque's game because he didn't have the skill to do it."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Contextually, yes. It depends on the situation, who's on the ice, who your
facing. In certain situations, Id have Bourque out there; others, Lidstrom. If
I had to cut one of them from the same team, only room for one, bye bye Nicky.
That is an argument that is not limited to defense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I assume we're not going to hold it against Bourque that he didn't outscore Coffey.

Dman RankOverall RankPlayerPointsP/GP/G%
110Paul Coffey15311.09111%
215Ray Bourque1579.98100%
319Al Macinnis1158.9294%

PlayerOverall RankDman RankPointsP/GP/G%
135Nicklas Lidstrom1142.73100%
237Sergei Zubov771.7299%
349Sergei Gonchar748.6690%
Quote:
- Ok, the meat and potatoes of what this analysis is all about. Excluding Coffey as an all-time outlier, we can clearly see that Bourque was in his own tier of offensive production.

Quote:
Compare to Lidstrom. Zubov actually shares a tier with him, rather than being a step down like MacInnis was to Bourque.
Quote:
So, hopefully, this makes it clear that there is a gap of some significance between Bourque and Lidstrom offensively even when adjusting for era considerations, ignoring team factors, ignoring the game situations in which they got their points, and generally ignoring everything other than how they ranked in comparison to players who had virtually the same exact career timing. The gap is not marginal, either, with Bourque clearly more distinguished from both his top competition and from the depth of competition
What's clear here is that you decided that Bourque's main competitor doesn't count, and then proceeded to argue based on that premise.

If we take away Zubov (Lidstrom's main competitor) as well, the percentages line up much more closely. Lidstrom didn't quite have the offensive dominance over his peers that Bourque did when speaking of total numbers. But again, Lidstrom led defensemen in scoring five times. Bourque led three times. If you remove Coffey, Bourque leads an additional two times.

Quote:
, and there's an argument to be made that the depth of competition during Lidstrom's generation is not quite as strong as advertised.
Quote:
My apologies for the long post -- I hope this streamlines the debate in the long run.
For a gymnast, which is better? Always putting up performances worthy of mostly 9s; or occasionally putting up performance worth mostly 9s and maybe a 10, but also being more likely to get a bunch of 8s?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
Stevens was never really an "offensive" defenseman. He was considered a high calibre two-player for the first 11 years of his career before Jacques Lamaire turned him into a purely defensive defenseman. I don't think any of us in Washington ever thought him in Bourque's league offensively, though there's no shame in that.
Stevens was primarily an offensive defenseman in his earlier days. Lemaire focused him on the defenive side of things to take advantage of his physical game and high skill level; Stevens wasn't any kind of defensive star before the 90s.

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12-02-2012, 02:35 AM
  #416
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Stevens was primarily an offensive defenseman in his earlier days. Lemaire focused him on the defenive side of things to take advantage of his physical game and high skill level; Stevens wasn't any kind of defensive star before the 90s.
I'm from Washington DC and followed the Caps in the '80s. Stevens was very much highly regarded for his defense in those days.

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12-02-2012, 02:38 AM
  #417
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R71:
No one is debating this, it's actually a fact. It's also a pretty accepted opinion that Lidstrom is one of the top defensive D-men of all time.
The issue is that the competition that Lidstrom dominated was very sporadic and wildly inconsistent.
Lidstrom went from being 3rd in total points and 7th in points per game in his first 10 seasons to 1rst in points and tied for 2nd in points per game in his last 10 seasons.
He scored 567 points in his first 10 seasons, 575 in his last 10 seasons yet despite scoring almost exactly the same number of points, he has this huge gap in the second half of his career while he was well behind in the first half.
Solely looking at Lidstrom's offensive production, it's obvious he was offensively better later in his career, as he was scoring the same, or more, as the NHL transitioned into the clutch & grab era, when league-wide scoring took a nose-dive.

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12-02-2012, 02:52 AM
  #418
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
The problem with his defensive edge is that it's harder to prove than with offense that has stats to back it up but seriously does anyone have Ray being better defensively than Lidstrom?
There are plenty of stats to back up defensive play, and the stats show that Lidstrom and Bourque were roughly even when you adjust for era.

That said, Lidstrom probably was better than Bourque defensively. But Bourque is clearly, clearly the superior offensive talent.

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12-02-2012, 03:51 AM
  #419
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
The reason this doesn't fit the argument is because Bourque was put into the same role in Colorado as he had in Boston, with the same ice time, but had much better linemates to work with.
What the hell are you talking about???
It fits the argument to a freakin "T"!!!
He asked if there was ever a good player that went to a better team and actually had better production while playing the same minutes.
Believe me it was more than fitting, very satisfying and more than just a little funny when the answer was the very same player that was being argued against.


Quote:
Why? If *nobody* disagrees with Lidstrom being better defensively, that's a more significant defensive edge than your argument of "Lidstrom didn't play Bourque's game because he didn't have the skill to do it."
What in the hell does one have to do with the other?
You're not even making sense here.

Quote:
That is an argument that is not limited to defense.
Obviously and it's because Bourque is the better overall player and D-man.


Quote:
What's clear here is that you decided that Bourque's main competitor doesn't count, and then proceeded to argue based on that premise.
Count him then. It doesn't matter! Bourque is still a tier above everyone else and below the second greatest offensive D-man in history!!!

Quote:
If we take away Zubov (Lidstrom's main competitor) as well, the percentages line up much more closely. Lidstrom didn't quite have the offensive dominance over his peers that Bourque did when speaking of total numbers. But again, Lidstrom led defensemen in scoring five times. Bourque led three times. If you remove Coffey, Bourque leads an additional two times.
Actually they don't!
Also, why don't you go ahead and list the D-men that Lidstrom led in scoring. Then do the same for Bourque. Lets get some context to this shall we

Quote:
For a gymnast, which is better? Always putting up performances worthy of mostly 9s; or occasionally putting up performance worth mostly 9s and maybe a 10, but also being more likely to get a bunch of 8s?
Bourque was a First or Seconf Team All-star 19 out of 22 Years. Lidstrom 12 out of 20 years.
I think it's crystal clear which of them put up more "9's and 10's".

Quote:
Stevens was primarily an offensive defenseman in his earlier days. Lemaire focused him on the defenive side of things to take advantage of his physical game and high skill level; Stevens wasn't any kind of defensive star before the 90s.
Based on what? Your opinion?
Well MY opinion, as someone who actually watched him play since Junior with the Kitchener Rangers, is that he was always very good defensively and extremely intimidating.
His only issue earlier in his career was that he was too aggressive and sometimes took himself out of position to finish hits.
And again, Lemaire got him to take less offensive chances but it was Sutter in St. Louis that settled him down and got him to pick his spots better.

He was NOT primarily an offensive D-man!!!
He had his title as the hardest hitter in hockey loooooooong before the 90's!


Last edited by Rhiessan71: 12-02-2012 at 04:01 AM.
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12-02-2012, 10:21 AM
  #420
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RabbinsDuck
Tarheel: Nice post, but I see Lidstrom a clear step above when you factor in actual, real production in addition to just PPG -- 340 *REAL* points over his closest competition is very significant, way more so than PPG, IMO.
Unless we're going to hold it against Bourque that he couldn't blow away Coffey, he's 421 points over the next guy. Or, a 36% lead compared to Lidstrom's 32% in compilation.

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Also the difference between .01 PPG and .06 PPG is a whole 4 pts over an 82 game season. I do not consider that a significant amount, even for defensemen.
I think you have a point here about the overall narrowness of the gap between these two players. It's not like we're talking about Housley vs Hannan. The differences are clear but on the global scale they're very small... both Bourque and Lidstrom were ridiculously good offensive players.

Still, 0.05 PPG over fifteen seasons is 62 points, the equivalent of an above-average offensive season for Lidstrom. That's significant.

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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
What's clear here is that you decided that Bourque's main competitor doesn't count, and then proceeded to argue based on that premise.
Right. I said that directly in my post.

Coffey is an obvious historical outlier and the highest-producing offensive defenseman by far other than Orr. I don't think it's unreasonable to set him aside when measuring peer dominance, the same way we would set aside Gretzky and Lemieux when comparing Yzerman to some player from another era.

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If we take away Zubov (Lidstrom's main competitor) as well, the percentages line up much more closely.
But that would be a ridiculous thing to do, as Zubov is not an outlier.


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For a gymnast, which is better? Always putting up performances worthy of mostly 9s; or occasionally putting up performance worth mostly 9s and maybe a 10, but also being more likely to get a bunch of 8s?
I have no idea. I don't follow gymnastics.


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Stevens was primarily an offensive defenseman in his earlier days. Lemaire focused him on the defenive side of things to take advantage of his physical game and high skill level; Stevens wasn't any kind of defensive star before the 90s.
Even if you were right about this, there is absolutely no portraying Stevens as an offensive star over the 15-year scope of his time with Bourque.

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12-02-2012, 11:14 AM
  #421
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Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
I'm from Washington DC and followed the Caps in the '80s. Stevens was very much highly regarded for his defense in those days.
This is true Stevens played very well defensively in his early years in Washington and was there in the 1st year Langway was there with his 1st Norris, something that often gets overlooked was Stevens contribution to that team as a 18 year old rookie and his coming out party the next year a s a 19 year old..

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12-02-2012, 11:25 AM
  #422
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
That is an argument that is not limited to defense.
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Obviously and it's because Bourque is the better overall player and D-man.
... thanks Rhiessan. Couldnt have said it better myself.

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12-02-2012, 11:40 AM
  #423
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Originally Posted by superroyain10 View Post
There are plenty of stats to back up defensive play, and the stats show that Lidstrom and Bourque were roughly even when you adjust for era.

That said, Lidstrom probably was better than Bourque defensively. But Bourque is clearly, clearly the superior offensive talent.
What stats are those?

For scoring stats are much more clear in the form of goals and assists.

For defensive stats R-on, R-off is an indicator but is less definitive than scoring stats are.

There are some guys doing advanced statistics that measure defense as well but as far as I know they only work back to the early 00's as they do not have all of the data to do a proper evaluation of earlier seasons.

At the end of the day we have 3 very important things to consider when comparing Ray and Nick

1) offensive production
2) defensive play
3) playoffs

Ray is clearly the better offensive player but it's important to note that he had a more offensive role and played almost his entire career when Dmen had the green light to jump up in the play as well.

Nick was more conservative but was still the dominant offensive Dman of his 20 year era. Even on a different team his role probably would not ahve changed in part due to his excellent breakout skills and his teams dependence on him being a rock back on D and he often played with more offensive and less defensive partners.

2) Defensive play is more subjective than can be found in stats. this is probably were most people diverge in the difference and gap, or lack of it, between the 2 guys.

3) Playoffs is also the tricky spot here in that Nick had better success but then again he played on better teams. some will stress the point that Ray played on worse teams but gloss over his better scoring opportunities because of the same fact as well. How to judge that is very hard indeed.

It's kind of ironic though that Harvey doesn't get nearly the same "he played on great teams treatment" that Nick does but that's another matter.

At the end of the day, it matters how people compare and view the above 3 areas and their context in making the decision on who the better player was IMO.

Can't go wrong with either guy IMO.

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12-02-2012, 11:53 AM
  #424
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The gaps in this epic comparison are too great.

By that I mean, Bourque wasn't that much better offensively (his rushing of the puck is very much exaggerated, he didn't do it that often) and Lidstrom was not that much better defensively. Bourque made more mistakes, but he also made way more defensive plays.

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12-02-2012, 12:29 PM
  #425
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I think it's helpful to expand the generational PPG rankings to show just where these guys stood in relation to their peers.

What you see below uses the same criteria R71 cited above, MINUS players who didn't play at least 15 years head-to-head. So, for example, Denis Potvin is no longer the closest defenseman behind Bourque -- which is fair enough, because Potvin didn't play into the 1990s when scoring went down. The purpose of the 15-year block is to ensure that we are looking at the players against their true generational peers -- those who played together for a long time under essentially the same set of era influences.

The percentages in the final column are to be read as "% of Bourque/Lidstrom's point total". I think this is helpful to illustrate the tiers of offensive talent in each era, and how closely or distantly those tiers are compacted. I assume we're not going to hold it against Bourque that he didn't outscore Coffey.

Dman RankOverall RankPlayerPointsP/GP/G%
110Paul Coffey15311.09111%
215Ray Bourque1579.98100%
319Al Macinnis1158.9294%
422Phil Housley1164.8688%
525Mark Howe742.8082%
632Gary Suter811.7678%
733Larry Murphy1216.7577%
838Chris Chelios835.7172%
943Dave Babych723.6162%
1044Scott Stevens859.6061%

* I don't know off the top of my head whether Howe played D during the entire period from 1980-95.


PlayerOverall RankDman RankPointsP/GP/G%
135Nicklas Lidstrom1142.73100%
237Sergei Zubov771.7299%
349Sergei Gonchar748.6690%
452Sandis Ozolinsh564.6488%
557Rob Blake731.6184%
662Chris Pronger698.6082%
763Scott Niedermayer740.5981%
864Matheiu Schneider692.5981%
976Chris Chelios575.49.67%
1078Teppo Numminen546.4866% 


Observations

- We clearly see that offensive output has globally shifted away from defensemen over time. Stevens was the 44th highest scoring player of Bourque's generation but only 10th among defensemen. Sergei Gonchar was the 49th scoring player of Lidstrom's generation and third among defensemen, which is a pretty startling shift in such a short timeframe.

- I find the national makeup of Lidstrom's list very interesting. Apparently, and I think this is an extremely important connection to some side arguments we've had lately, Canada and the USA went an entire generation without producing a really great offensive defenseman. I mean, maybe I've been out to lunch and everyone else figured this out already, but that's kind of a big deal when talking about talent pipelines influencing competiton at the top. The percentage numbers speak for themselves. Does anyone have some insight as to what was going on generationally that would cause such a sharp contrast?

- The fact that Chelios is on both lists is kind of astounding when you think about it.

- Ok, the meat and potatoes of what this analysis is all about. Excluding Coffey as an all-time outlier, we can clearly see that Bourque was in his own tier of offensive production. In fact, so are the next two guys in MacInnis and Housley, each a clear step down from the other. When we get down to the Howe/Suter/Murphy cluster, we dip below 80% of Bourque's productivity. Chelios is not too far behind those guys, but then it's a large step down to the next level and it's fair to say Babych and Stevens were not considered offensively elite most of the time.

Compare to Lidstrom. Zubov actually shares a tier with him, rather than being a step down like MacInnis was to Bourque. Two players, Gonchar and Ozolinsh, play the role of Housley on this list (with Gonchar being a little higher). Next, rather than dropping to the pack you have Blake, and then a similar cluster of three players near 80% (but this time, they're over 80% instead of under it). A much older Chelios is still in play, and then you have Numminen who is considerably closer to Lidstrom than either Babych or Stevens were to Bourque. And I think it's fair to say that Numminen was clearly an inferior offensive player to those guys.

So, hopefully, this makes it clear that there is a gap of some significance between Bourque and Lidstrom offensively even when adjusting for era considerations, ignoring team factors, ignoring the game situations in which they got their points, and generally ignoring everything other than how they ranked in comparison to players who had virtually the same exact career timing. The gap is not marginal, either, with Bourque clearly more distinguished from both his top competition and from the depth of competition, and there's an argument to be made that the depth of competition during Lidstrom's generation is not quite as strong as advertised.


My apologies for the long post -- I hope this streamlines the debate in the long run.
Label Coffey whatever you want but what he really was was Bourque's peer who was superior offensively and that certainly does count. If there was an offensive defenseman who badly outscored Lidstrom I highly doubt you'd give him the same excuse. Karlsson may end up being that guy in fact and R71 already has the gun cocked. Actually, he's already fired off lots of shots.

When making these lists didn't you notice the 3 guys directly after Lidstrom were all players from the former Soviet Union? Doesn't that resonate with you that there is a major lack of Soviet players in Bourque's list? It's very telling in a lot of ways and you know why.

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