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Robitaille vs. Ciccarelli

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Old
12-09-2016, 05:46 PM
  #1
GMR
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Robitaille vs. Ciccarelli

Who was the better player?

Very, very similar regular season and playoff numbers. Points per game were almost identical. Both guys scored most of their goals in front of the net. Robitaille has a lot of 1st/2nd Team All Star selections (I don't remember Dino even having one), but how much of that is because of Gretzky and playing LW?

I've always thought they had identical careers, but Robitaille got into the HHOF a lot quicker than Ciccarelli did.

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12-09-2016, 09:03 PM
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The Panther
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I'll go with Robitaille here. I like Dino, but I think his skill-set was slightly more limited. (As one example, you mention them being 'close-in' scorers, but actually not so -- Robitaille could score from anywhere inside the blue-line, and often did. I also think Luc was a better passer and playmaker.)

Not only does Luc have EIGHT 1st or 2nd-team All Stars (to none for Dino), but look at the scoring comparisons over 'X' number of seasons:

7-season 'peak'

Robitaille 1986-87 to 1992-93:
GOALS
1. Lemieux 386
2. Yzerman 362
3. Hull 356
4. Robitaille 348
POINTS
1. Gretzky 991
2. Lemieux 933
3. Yzerman 822
4. Robitaille 717

Ciccarelli 1981-82 to 1987-88:
GOALS
1. Gretzky 477
2. Kurri 365
3. Goulet 360
4. Bossy 332
5. Hawerchuk 312
6. Anderson 309
7. Vaive 300
8. Gartner 287
9. Dionne 286
10. Ciccarelli 282
POINTS
(1. to 15.)
16. Bobby Smith 539
17. Mike Gartner 545
18. Ron Francis 567
19. Ciccarelli 562

I mean, there's no comparison there. Easy win for Robitaille. He outscored Messier over 7 seasons, while Ciccarelli couldn't outscore Mike Gartner.


Larger sample size? Both guys had longevity, so let's take a 15-season sample:

15-season 'prime'

Robitaille 1987-88 to 2001-02:
1. Hull 678
2. Robitaille 575
3. Yzerman 544
4. Lemieux 509
5. Shanahan 503

Ciccarelli 1981-82 to 1995-96:
1. Gretzky 731
2. Gartner 580
3. Lemieux 563
4. Kurri 551
5. Ciccarelli 533
(In fairness, Dino jumps up to 4th when we add 1996-97 -- his last 'big' season.)

In any case, Robitaille still wins in any peer-productivity comparison.

I don't think the 'Gretzky factor' affects Robitaille much or at all. He's one of those rare wingers who never really meshed with Gretzky (they were never line-mates, despite seven seasons together on two franchises). Robitaille scored 53 goals and 111 points before Gretzky came to L.A., and his numbers went down from there after Wayne arrived. The best hockey Robitaille ever played (first half of 1992-93) was when Gretzky was injured and out of the line-up.

It's really impressive, to me, that from 1997-98 to 2000-01, Robitaille was the 4th (or 5th, depending on Bondra's position) highest-scoring left-winger in the NHL, because he was getting old and it was the height of the dead-puck era.

I definitely go with Luc, but I enjoyed both players. Dino was feisty as hell.

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12-09-2016, 09:07 PM
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BenchBrawl
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Easily Robitaille.

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12-09-2016, 09:17 PM
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^^^ agreed. Lucky Luc. Very classy player.... Dino?... yeah, not so much.

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12-09-2016, 09:49 PM
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Lucky Luc. Just more consistent and better peaks.

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12-10-2016, 02:13 PM
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Dino was a really good goal scorer in the playoffs, as it were.

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Old
12-10-2016, 04:07 PM
  #7
vadim sharifijanov
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how much of that is because of Gretzky and playing LW?
the gretzky argument against robitaille has been disproven so many times that i can't even believe we're still talking about it.

but as for the LW thing, here are the years that luc robitaille might have conceivably been a 1st or 2nd team all-star if he were RW:

1988 - robitaille is the highest scoring winger in the league, outscored loob (AS1 RW) by 3 goals and 5 points, cam neely (AS2 RW) by 11 goals and god knows how many points

1989 - outside chance of unseating kurri as AS2 RW, but kurri finished with four more points and was more valuable to his team as edmonton's main offensive guy, post-gretzky. a bit of a down year by robitaille too.

1990 - outside chance of unseating neely as AS2 RW, but not likely. unlike '88, robitaille's lead in points doesn't make up for peak neely's edge in physicality and intimidation. also, boston won the president's trophy that year.

1991 - same as above, re: neely. not robitaille's best year either.

1992 - would likely have beaten recchi as AS2 RW. outscored recchi by 10 points.

so if he was a RW, robitaille would likely have retired with one first team all-star, one second team all-star, and at least three third place finishes (and a good chance at a 4th and 5th third place finish in 1993 and 2001). ciccarelli had two third place finishes in his entire career, and nothing higher.

so if he were a RW robitaille loses a lot of his trophy case (5 AS1s and 3 AS2s) but he's still way ahead of ciccarelli.

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12-10-2016, 10:25 PM
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I've never seen a better player at screening goalies, deflecting pucks and taking abuse from defensemen and nasty goalies and still burying rebounds than Dino.

He was phenomenal at doing that, and hockey history ought to remember him for it, and will thanks to his induction.



That said,...

Luc's first seven seasons were phenomenal with seven consecutive 1st or 2nd team all-star selections and seven straight years top-10 in goals. By age 26 he had already scored 382 NHL goals, including 34 playoff goals. He scored 799 points in his first 640 NHL games, not once in his first eight seasons dipping below the 84 point total of his rookie year. "Lucky" Luc worked hard to put himself in good scoring position and had a fantastic shot. He was known for his competiveness, even in practices, as much as he was known for his friendliness. He had a boatload of determination and it showed.

He went on to amass "compiler"-like stats for over a decade, though he had three more times top-10 in goals, five more times top-10 in powerplay goals, another 2nd team all-star. He was top-10 all-time in career goals scored among all NHLers, until Jagr passed him a couple of years ago. The fact that he had scored the most goals and points in history for a left winger is almost beside the point, as is his secondary role in a Stanley Cup championship in his 16th year.



Neither Luc nor Dino backchecked enough though.

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12-10-2016, 10:27 PM
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The Panther
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Slightly off-topic: There have been rumours of a Gretzky-Robitaille rift behind the scenes, at certain points in L.A. (and New York?) history. They did obviously play together on the power-play a lot from 1988 to 1994, and again a bit during 1996-97. But it's odd that they were never linemates. I think after the '93 Cup run and during the 1994 'All-Stars' tour of Europe (led by Wayne), there were some grumblings of a Robitaille-Gretzky standoff, but I've never been quite sure of what it entailed (if anything).

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12-11-2016, 12:08 AM
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Robitaille eight days a week

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12-11-2016, 04:55 PM
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Both played for the Wings. I'll take Robitaille without blinking though. He also burned us a few times as a King.

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12-11-2016, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
Slightly off-topic: There have been rumours of a Gretzky-Robitaille rift behind the scenes, at certain points in L.A. (and New York?) history. They did obviously play together on the power-play a lot from 1988 to 1994, and again a bit during 1996-97. But it's odd that they were never linemates. I think after the '93 Cup run and during the 1994 'All-Stars' tour of Europe (led by Wayne), there were some grumblings of a Robitaille-Gretzky standoff, but I've never been quite sure of what it entailed (if anything).
I won't comment of a 99 vs Robitaille issue. But Luc is the greatest King ever to so many fans. He is beloved in LA. Even more then Dionne or even Gretzky. That says so much about Luc Robitaille and the Kings franchise.

Even with Vachon and Dionne and Gretzky and actual Cups with Doughty/Quick/Kopitar. I think in LA and among Kings fans it is Robitaille that is the man. The symbol of the team and the greatest King.

I could be wrong and maybe 2016 sentiments are not that way. But I still think Kings fans think Luc is the greatest King. A huge honor!

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12-11-2016, 07:09 PM
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Robitaille for me.

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12-11-2016, 11:58 PM
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Sprague Cleghorn
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This is kind of obvious isnt it? One is a solid HOF inductee, and the other is a weak one that people like to complain about.

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12-12-2016, 02:20 AM
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I won't comment of a 99 vs Robitaille issue.
Why? Do you know something I don't...??

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12-12-2016, 03:00 PM
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This is kind of obvious isnt it? One is a solid HOF inductee, and the other is a weak one that people like to complain about.
I know stats aren't everything, but if you look at their PPG, they're almost identical in the regular season and playoffs. I don't think it's as obvious as the HHOF voting ended up being. They likely looked at Robitaille's Stanley Cup and Ciccarelli's long suspension for trying to take a guy's head off, as factors in the voting.

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12-12-2016, 03:17 PM
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I know stats aren't everything, but if you look at their PPG, they're almost identical in the regular season and playoffs. I don't think it's as obvious as the HHOF voting ended up being. They likely looked at Robitaille's Stanley Cup and Ciccarelli's long suspension for trying to take a guy's head off, as factors in the voting.
Ciccarelli played a good 7 seasons before Robitaille in a really high scoring NHL, and Robitaille then played 8 seasons after Ciccarelli had retired in a really low scoring NHL. In the end he maintained the same career PPG average as Ciccarelli over a sample that was 18% larger.

In their respective 7 year primes, Robitaille scored at a rate of 89% the level of the league's #2 scorer not named or influenced by Gretzky/Lemieux. Ciccarelli scored at 75% of the same standard. This is not even close. A cursory look at career PPG averages simply doesn't tell the story for these two.

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12-12-2016, 03:22 PM
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Sprague Cleghorn
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I know stats aren't everything, but if you look at their PPG, they're almost identical in the regular season and playoffs. I don't think it's as obvious as the HHOF voting ended up being. They likely looked at Robitaille's Stanley Cup and Ciccarelli's long suspension for trying to take a guy's head off, as factors in the voting.
Ciccarelli had a significant head start in the high scoring 80s, six seasons to be precise. Also, Robitaille played an additional five seasons in the DPE plus the 2005-06 season which was still lower scoring than any season in the 80s or early 90s. That would certainly screw Robitaille's career PPG. Career PPG is not a good measure to compare two players unless they both spent the same amount of time in the same scoring environment AND had the same career length.

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12-12-2016, 11:13 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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Slightly off-topic: There have been rumours of a Gretzky-Robitaille rift behind the scenes, at certain points in L.A. (and New York?) history. They did obviously play together on the power-play a lot from 1988 to 1994, and again a bit during 1996-97. But it's odd that they were never linemates. I think after the '93 Cup run and during the 1994 'All-Stars' tour of Europe (led by Wayne), there were some grumblings of a Robitaille-Gretzky standoff, but I've never been quite sure of what it entailed (if anything).
one rumour i heard a few times, but have no good source for, is gretzky kept trying to get robitaille traded for lunch pail playoff warriors and his star ex-oilers cronies but mcnall and rogie wouldn't do it. this got back to luc, who if i recall correctly even at least once publicly insinuated that wayne was playing shadow-GM.

gretzky finally got his way in '94, when nick beverly traded robitaille for rick tocchet. not an especially good turn of events for the kings, penguins, tocchet, or lucky luc.

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12-12-2016, 11:32 PM
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one rumour i heard a few times, but have no good source for, is gretzky kept trying to get robitaille traded for lunch pail playoff warriors and his star ex-oilers cronies but mcnall and rogie wouldn't do it. this got back to luc, who if i recall correctly even at least once publicly insinuated that wayne was playing shadow-GM.

gretzky finally got his way in '94, when nick beverly traded robitaille for rick tocchet. not an especially good turn of events for the kings, penguins, tocchet, or lucky luc.
I don't know about that... I remember an interview with Gretzky, maybe around the time he went to St.Louis, when he spoke quite openly and critically of the Kings for trading Robitaille.

But it did seem to be around 1993-94-95 when this rift, if it existed, occurred. I read somewhere that Luc criticized Wayne's '99 All-Stars' team or whatever it was that toured Europe. (Maybe he wasn't invited and was a bit put-out?) I actually thought Robitaille's being traded from L.A. had more to do with McNall's going to prison and the team's financial problems than anything else. But it's also true that Barry Melrose wanted more muscle... in his brain... just kidding about that last part... maybe...

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12-13-2016, 05:39 AM
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I don't know about that... I remember an interview with Gretzky, maybe around the time he went to St.Louis, when he spoke quite openly and critically of the Kings for trading Robitaille.

But it did seem to be around 1993-94-95 when this rift, if it existed, occurred. I read somewhere that Luc criticized Wayne's '99 All-Stars' team or whatever it was that toured Europe. (Maybe he wasn't invited and was a bit put-out?) I actually thought Robitaille's being traded from L.A. had more to do with McNall's going to prison and the team's financial problems than anything else. But it's also true that Barry Melrose wanted more muscle... in his brain... just kidding about that last part... maybe...
http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/10/sp...tzky-feud.html


This might help.

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12-13-2016, 07:04 AM
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The Panther
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Interesting. Thanks!

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12-13-2016, 07:53 AM
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Both were similar goal-scorers, and both had some skating issues (that really did not matter because they got to where they needed to be). However, the difference for me was Robitaille's passing was significantly better and he had incredible hockey sense. Robitaille played similar to how John Tavares plays today, in fact. Always thinking out there. Tavares might be more tenacious, but that can also be a generational thing and simply a matter of the style of game played today.

Ciccarelli was no doubt grittier and he would be a tremendous pest in today's game because nowadays you don't have to defend yourself for doing shift-disturbing acts that may have gotten you suspended back then.

However, he was more limited than Robitaille as a hockey player. Lucky Luc could kill penalties if you needed it (today you wouldn't need it because everybody is asked to kill penalties), and Robitaille was a very good playmaker too. And he seemed to get better and smarter every season.

The issues Robitaille and Gretzky had were somewhat overblown back in the day, but let's face it...the Kings at that time were covered much like the Habs and Leafs are covered today. There was so much Canadian media surrounding LA. TSN had the Kings on at least once a week. They were basically Canada's ninth team. But one of the issues Lucky Luc and The Great One had was a lack of optimum chemistry on the ice. Robitaille always seemed to do better with Jimmy Carson, Bernie Nicholls and Todd Elik as his centers. The team also preferred to split them up, having two mega stars on separate lines was a big advantage, kinda like Crosby-Malkin today.

Off the ice, I think they were (and perhaps still are close). At one point, I think they were neighbors and their wives were also close.

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