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Savard and Nieds, a detailed comaprisson

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04-14-2013, 10:40 AM
  #26
Big Phil
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I think a lot of factors have to be considered here. For starters, there is a love affair with Niedermayer that I have never understood. HHOFer? Yes, probably this year too. No arguing that. He was a winner, he won everything that needed to be won. But let's not forget he was an underacheiver until he was 30 years old. Only once the 2003 playoffs came around did he show up. Then he wins the Norris in 2004, then followed by a couple of first team all-stars and a Cup not to mention the most controversial and head scratching Conn Smythe I've ever seen.

Then he "retires" after 2007 and was never really the same after that up until his retirement in 2010. I've heard many times that Niedermayer is not really any better than Blake. In fact, you could argue Blake was a better defenseman. Early in his career Niedermayer was not strong defensively. He glided a lot and he would show us his skill once in a blue moon (a la goal in the 1995 Cup finals) and then we would never see it again for a while.

So compare that to Savard where you have a defenseman who is in the running for the best defensive d-man of all-time. If anyone wants to know why Robinson rushed the puck with such ease it was because Serge was back there holding the fort. Scotty Bowman described Savard as someone who played error-free defense. Paul Henderson said that he always felt a lot better when Savard was on the back end in the 1972 Series. And here's another thing, Savard never played in a game where Canada lost in the 1972 Summit series.

Plus if we are talking about intangibles which is what Niedermayer is lauded for a lot, let's also talk about Savard. He was very subtle on the ice but he made very important plays that resulted in famous goals. He was on the ice for Henderson's goal. He started the rush for Sittler's 1976 Canada Cup winner. And he took the puck from Middleton and fired a clean pass to center in order for Lambert to score the overtime goal in 1979 vs. Boston. This is why his plus minus is so high in comparison to his point totals.

As for Norris voting, well, how would anyone do against Orr? Not to mention the 1970s had better top end talent than the years Niedermayer was gunning for it. Park, Salming, Robinson, Lapointe, Potvin and earlier Orr were there. Could Niedermayer have done any better in the Norris voting back then either? Let's just look at the players ahead of Savard. Not too shabby. Niedermayer had Lidstrom and Pronger. He won his only Norris the year Lidstrom had an off year.

In the postseason, well, Savard's Conn Smythe is one that doesn't get contested. Not to mention we know the staple he was on those Habs teams. Scott Stevens is clearly more important to the Devils than Niedermayer, as was Brodeur. I don't put Niedermayer ahead of Stevens on an all-time list.

I guess it also comes down to reliability. It's a big game, which defenseman do you want on the ice for Game 7? I think I'd lose sleep if I didn't pick Savard over Niedermayer. There really wasn't anything he couldn't do.

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04-14-2013, 11:22 AM
  #27
vadim sharifijanov
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one thing i would add is that in the absence of a clear cut smythe guy (giguere misses the first round, pronger got himself suspended), pahlsson is... samme pahlsson), i feel like they gave it to niedermayer to make up for his conn smythe-worthy '03 run, where he just happened to be outshone by one of the greatest goaltending displays of all time. given that, while the '07 smythe is fraudulent, i think nieds does deserve a smythe on his resume.

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
So how do you treat the fact of the matter that those other guys weren't in the NHL at the time Savard played.

You know the 4 guys that made our top 60 dman list and overlapped with Savard? Not some imaginary guys here that I'm talking about.

Even with those 4 guys not playing in the NHL and JC skipping over to the WHA Nieds resume on voting sure looks alot better even straight up to Savard. Unless one looks at some weird way without looking at peak and career.

Not sure how you are treating the lockout year either, does Nieds get any benefit of the doubt, if not the WW2 lost years don't either I hope.

Finally, not that it even applies to the comp between the two guys because we have those 4 non NHLers, how do you exactly treat 06 guys to the fully integrated ones? As even, that's what's indicated by your post here please clarify.
i get that. but as rhiessan noted above, those other guys' play in NHL games against savard is imaginary.

now please don't mistake my position with this one:

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Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
I certainly wouldn't have included them. As far as I'm concerned if you didn't do it in the NHL then you didn't do it at all. It's one thing to tear up competition that's AHL level or below, it's quite another to do it with the big boys in the NHL.
i don't penalize vasiliev, posposil, etc. for the NHL competition they didn't face either. but the point is, without getting into the quagmire of WW2, because i'm running out the door in ten minutes, i don't see why it should be held against savard's actual accomplishments that he didn't beat guys he couldn't possibly have beaten because they weren't in the same league.

and as someone noted above, it's not like savard didn't show he was among the best of the best in international competition.

also, correct me if i've misremembered here, but wasn't niedermayer injured/getting surgery during the lockout season? i could be totally making this up, but at least in my head that happened.

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04-14-2013, 11:37 AM
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I think a lot of factors have to be considered here. For starters, there is a love affair with Niedermayer that I have never understood. HHOFer? Yes, probably this year too. No arguing that. He was a winner, he won everything that needed to be won. But let's not forget he was an underacheiver until he was 30 years old. Only once the 2003 playoffs came around did he show up. Then he wins the Norris in 2004, then followed by a couple of first team all-stars and a Cup not to mention the most controversial and head scratching Conn Smythe I've ever seen.
first of all it's not a love affair it's a serious look at how two guys with vastly different resumes can get flipped on the top 60 Dman project.

Yes Nieds was a guy "that left you wanting more" at times and this perception probably alters how many look at him.

Quote:
Then he "retires" after 2007 and was never really the same after that up until his retirement in 2010. I've heard many times that Niedermayer is not really any better than Blake. In fact, you could argue Blake was a better defenseman. Early in his career Niedermayer was not strong defensively. He glided a lot and he would show us his skill once in a blue moon (a la goal in the 1995 Cup finals) and then we would never see it again for a while.
Rob Blake does bring a more physical and intimidating factor to the back end but also doesn't lose that lockout year in his peak or prime either. Probably a good case could be made that he and Nieds are pretty close overall.

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So compare that to Savard where you have a defenseman who is in the running for the best defensive d-man of all-time. If anyone wants to know why Robinson rushed the puck with such ease it was because Serge was back there holding the fort. Scotty Bowman described Savard as someone who played error-free defense. Paul Henderson said that he always felt a lot better when Savard was on the back end in the 1972 Series. And here's another thing, Savard never played in a game where Canada lost in the 1972 Summit series.
Sure but the parity and push back those stacked Habs teams faced in the 70's is something that I remember as well. It's very easy to stand out when you don't need to as a team even play your best to virtually win every game. I was a kid then and a real Hab hater because it really wasn't fair when the Habs played the Canucks in the 70's. Looking at many of the teams they played, the outcome was seldom in doubt.

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Plus if we are talking about intangibles which is what Niedermayer is lauded for a lot, let's also talk about Savard. He was very subtle on the ice but he made very important plays that resulted in famous goals. He was on the ice for Henderson's goal. He started the rush for Sittler's 1976 Canada Cup winner. And he took the puck from Middleton and fired a clean pass to center in order for Lambert to score the overtime goal in 1979 vs. Boston. This is why his plus minus is so high in comparison to his point totals.
This sounds like the stuff the media guys that put Nieds way too high would say about him.

Savards plus/minus is very dependent on his team situation as well don't you think?

I looked up their rankings in Overpass study of adjusted plus/minus and Nieds comes out quite a bit higher. some of this might be explained by Nieds not playing shutdown MPG compared to Stevens for part of his career and Savard doing so but the gap is really quite a bit too.

Maybe Overpass has some thoughts on this?

Quote:
As for Norris voting, well, how would anyone do against Orr? Not to mention the 1970s had better top end talent than the years Niedermayer was gunning for it. Park, Salming, Robinson, Lapointe, Potvin and earlier Orr were there. Could Niedermayer have done any better in the Norris voting back then either? Let's just look at the players ahead of Savard. Not too shabby. Niedermayer had Lidstrom and Pronger. He won his only Norris the year Lidstrom had an off year.
Go back and look at my post regarding the overlapping guys for both Savard and Nieds. throw in the fact of the 4 non Canadian guys in Europe that made out top 60 Dman list and something would need to give there if it's a fully integrated NHL that Nieds is playing in later on.

Potvin and Orr only overlap during Potvins first two years, lesser players were finishing ahead of Savard in most of those years as well if you go back and look at the voting results that Savard did finish in.

Quote:
In the postseason, well, Savard's Conn Smythe is one that doesn't get contested. Not to mention we know the staple he was on those Habs teams. Scott Stevens is clearly more important to the Devils than Niedermayer, as was Brodeur. I don't put Niedermayer ahead of Stevens on an all-time list.
I don't put Nieds ahead of stevens or Pronger for that matter, but he has to play on teams with both of thsoe guys as well.

As for the Conn Smythe, does anyone blink if Jean wins it over Serge? Or if the Habs have a full time goalie instead of split duties?

Savard got his 2nd team all star as a bit of a reward for not winning one over time in 79 so let's keep an open mind about all of this. the fact of the matter is that there is very little difference between Savard and Nieds playoff record and impact, it would be very difficult to put one ahead of the over in that regard.

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I guess it also comes down to reliability. It's a big game, which defenseman do you want on the ice for Game 7? I think I'd lose sleep if I didn't pick Savard over Niedermayer. There really wasn't anything he couldn't do.
That is one measure of reliability, consistency is as well and Nieds has that in spades over Savard in the consistency over time department.

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04-14-2013, 11:53 AM
  #29
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
one thing i would add is that in the absence of a clear cut smythe guy (giguere misses the first round, pronger got himself suspended), pahlsson is... samme pahlsson), i feel like they gave it to niedermayer to make up for his conn smythe-worthy '03 run, where he just happened to be outshone by one of the greatest goaltending displays of all time. given that, while the '07 smythe is fraudulent, i think nieds does deserve a smythe on his resume.


Quote:
i get that. but as rhiessan noted above, those other guys' play in NHL games against savard is imaginary.

now please don't mistake my position with this one:



i don't penalize vasiliev, posposil, etc. for the NHL competition they didn't face either. but the point is, without getting into the quagmire of WW2, because i'm running out the door in ten minutes, i don't see why it should be held against savard's actual accomplishments that he didn't beat guys he couldn't possibly have beaten because they weren't in the same league.

and as someone noted above, it's not like savard didn't show he was among the best of the best in international competition.

also, correct me if i've misremembered here, but wasn't niedermayer injured/getting surgery during the lockout season? i could be totally making this up, but at least in my head that happened.
It's not a question of penalizing the guys in Europe at the time or the NHL ones either, it's about putting it into context.

Those guys are real and the landscape changed where Nieds actually played against those guys in the NHL while Savard didn't.

By saying that we are not going to punish the earlier guys but it's the NHL all in for Nieds, Zubov ect.. then we are judging two different things though as if they were the same and that's the problem I have with it.

At the end of the day Savard is playing against the best Canadians and 1 Swedish guy while Nieds has the best Canadians and the other group, that did quite well in the NHL as well.

That's why it's important to look at Nieds versus his Canadian competition to derive some sort of even context between the two guys.

The guys that refuse to look at Canadian to Canadian competition for Nieds basically are punishing him then for playing in an integrated league.

While I'm not with Saint33 and his evaluation of the 4 guys from Europe on the top 60 list, the fact that they played outside of the NHL certainly didn't hurt them at all in the project and probably helped them IMO.

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04-14-2013, 02:43 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
first of all it's not a love affair it's a serious look at how two guys with vastly different resumes can get flipped on the top 60 Dman project.

Yes Nieds was a guy "that left you wanting more" at times and this perception probably alters how many look at him.
I think he does get overrated though. A future HHOFer can still be overrated. You can couple this with the hate the media had on Pronger and it explains a little more as to why Niedermayer got the Smythe.

Quote:
Go back and look at my post regarding the overlapping guys for both Savard and Nieds. throw in the fact of the 4 non Canadian guys in Europe that made out top 60 Dman list and something would need to give there if it's a fully integrated NHL that Nieds is playing in later on.

Potvin and Orr only overlap during Potvins first two years, lesser players were finishing ahead of Savard in most of those years as well if you go back and look at the voting results that Savard did finish in.
I think we saw very well that Savard was still among the elite even in international play. Furthermore, we saw what Savard did in 80 game seasons every year. We didn't see what the Russians who couldn't play over here did. We can only imagine and I think sometimes we overrate that. Just look at the players that were actually in the NHL at the time. There is a reason Brad Park never won a Norris trophy despite being a defenseman that flirts with top 10 worthiness. The 1970s were a hard time to penetrate with a logjam of elite defenseman at the top. The NHL goes in cycles and there are times when elite defensemen aren't as prevelant in other eras. I think when Pierre Pilote won his Norrises there was perhaps a break from some elite defensemen. Harvey was winding down. Orr wasn't there yet. Horton was really his best competition. So that was a weaker era. Still the NHL though, but if you are trying to get to the nitty gritty of it you have to look at those things. The late 1980s/early 1990s are another time where I think it was hard. Bourque, Coffey, Leetch, Chelios, Stevens, MacInnis and to a lesser extent Housley and Suter were all in there. Tough time to win a Norris. Hence, why MacInnis didn't win one until 1999.

Lately we've seen a bit of a lull in the last decade with respect to the Norris. Nothing against PK Subban, but he may win the Norris this year. Chara is getting older, Lidstrom is gone, Pronger is gone, Weber is there but Karlsson is injured and Green hasn't put out a great season in three years. I suppose Letang is in that group too. But let's be honest, if there was a time to win the Norris it has been post 2000. It has just been a weaker time with less top end candidates than, say, the 1970s or early 1990s. In 5 years that'll be reversed perhaps. So that's the reason I think Niedermayer's all-star selections look better than Savard's because to be honest on face value and watching on the ice I don't see how someone thinks Niedermayer is the better defenseman.

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04-14-2013, 06:37 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
That is one measure of reliability, consistency is as well and Nieds has that in spades over Savard in the consistency over time department.
even if we concede that the "integration" argument isn't going to be settled here, which is probably a good idea at this point, i don't see the argument that niedermayer was more reliable nor more consistent.

he had a pretty notoriously up and down career, and was pretty mediocre in the grand scheme of things when he should have been at his best (when NJ was a powerhouse and he was at the peak of his physical abilities).

now niedermayer certainly played more years than savard did, if you don't count partial seasons due to injuries/fake retirements/breaking into the league. but accounting for era and how long a player would realistically be expected to play, i don't think niedermayer's longevity was any "better" than savard's, though not really any worse either.

but other than the years after his injury and at the very end, savard was remarkably consistent. going by all-star voting, he was a top six defenseman in the league after he came back from his injury for the rest of the '70s except '74.

whereas niedermayer has a concentrated peak where he's top two in norris/all-star voting three straight years (and i'll give him another top 2 for the second lockout year), but is off the map (relatively speaking) other than the surprising '98 year where i think his stats spoke louder than his actual contributions.

now, 6 vs. 4 isn't huge, especially when the 6 are in the 5/6 range and the 4 are in the 1/2 range. but still when you consider that niedermayer's run of top 2 finishes are in an era where the only hall of famers still in their primes he was competing against were lidstrom and pronger, and that the hall of famers that savard was competing against were orr/potvin (i count them as one guy because they only overlapped one year), park, salming, robinson, and lapointe, i think we can safely say that both guys were in the elite pack for their year-in, year-out runs, and savard's was longer.

also i think we have to consider that by almost every account, savard was better than lapointe, who consistently beats him in norris/all-star voting until '78, so if nothing else we know that savard is at least one finish better than his finishes show.

i say all this actually being a huge fan of niedermayer. i fell in love with his game at the lindros/bure WJC, followed him as best i could his last two years on the blazers, and kept waiting and waiting and cheering him on to put it all together, which he did finally in the '03 playoffs. but i still can't help but think that if he'd had the exact same career except he peaks early instead of late-- like rob blake, who peaked when macinnis, bourque, leetch, and stevens were still a factor, and lidstrom and pronger have emerged as forces too-- niedermayer's norris record would look worse than savard's does. i think niedermayer would basically look like eric desjardins (though that's somewhat misleading too, as niedermayer was definitely the better player, peak and career, though desjardins probably had a more consistent prime).


and i said i wouldn't talk about the integrated league thing, but i guess i will after all: if you take out all the europeans ahead of niedermayer in those non-peak years, sure his rankings look a lot better. but when you consider that he's finishing behind ed jovanovski and wade redden three years in a row before he breaks out as a norris threat (and behind dan boyle and rafalski in '09), how much should those higher european-less finishes really mean? even if we add tremblay and three european stars for savard to compete with, he isn't finishing behind jovanovski and redden-calibre players in his prime.

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04-15-2013, 04:46 PM
  #32
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
and i said i wouldn't talk about the integrated league thing, but i guess i will after all: if you take out all the europeans ahead of niedermayer in those non-peak years, sure his rankings look a lot better. but when you consider that he's finishing behind ed jovanovski and wade redden three years in a row before he breaks out as a norris threat (and behind dan boyle and rafalski in '09), how much should those higher european-less finishes really mean? even if we add tremblay and three european stars for savard to compete with, he isn't finishing behind jovanovski and redden-calibre players in his prime.
That's the issue with Niedermayer that I have as well. We waited for a long time to see him finally break out. For a defenseman who was known for his skating and his offense he was a 35-40 point guy the first 10 years of his career, save a spike year in 1998. I was never overly thrilled with his defensive game although he honed it well later in his career. But in all honesty, Niedermayer was Jay Bouwmeester for the first decade of his career with the Cups.

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04-15-2013, 09:03 PM
  #33
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
That's the issue with Niedermayer that I have as well. We waited for a long time to see him finally break out. For a defenseman who was known for his skating and his offense he was a 35-40 point guy the first 10 years of his career, save a spike year in 1998. I was never overly thrilled with his defensive game although he honed it well later in his career. But in all honesty, Niedermayer was Jay Bouwmeester for the first decade of his career with the Cups.
I understand that perception as both Nieds and JayBo are often judged against what some people expected instead of what they were.
http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/im.../separator.gif
For the record Nieds was good enough to play for Canada in two best on bests in 97 and 02 ages 23 and 28.

I'll take the top 6 in those years over the 72 summit series crowd on D any day of the week. Of course Orr was out and it would change things.

The point of the matter is that Nieds played long enough and was considered good enough to play for Canada from age 23 till 36 in 4 best on best tournaments.

The bar indeed is much higher for him to jump though.

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04-15-2013, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I understand that perception as both Nieds and JayBo are often judged against what some people expected instead of what they were.
http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/im.../separator.gif
For the record Nieds was good enough to play for Canada in two best on bests in 97 and 02 ages 23 and 28.

I'll take the top 6 in those years over the 72 summit series crowd on D any day of the week. Of course Orr was out and it would change things.

The point of the matter is that Nieds played long enough and was considered good enough to play for Canada from age 23 till 36 in 4 best on best tournaments.

The bar indeed is much higher for him to jump though.
He was probably selected to the Olympic teams because of his skating and hype. On a team as stacked as Canada Niedermayer isnt a terrible pick at all because there is so much talent around him. I mean Ed Jovanovski, Eric Brewer, and JayBo were all selected to Olympic teams too.

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04-15-2013, 10:33 PM
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He was probably selected to the Olympic teams because of his skating and hype. On a team as stacked as Canada Niedermayer isnt a terrible pick at all because there is so much talent around him. I mean Ed Jovanovski, Eric Brewer, and JayBo were all selected to Olympic teams too.
All were pretty use full players at points in their careers.

Jovo I saw quite a bit off and he would look world class at times then borderline NHLer at others.

Consistency is what separates the great ones from the rest.

Savard IMO gets too much credit for some people eye test and the allusive "best defensive Dman ever" title like it's at all subjective.

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04-15-2013, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Litework View Post
He was probably selected to the Olympic teams because of his skating and hype. On a team as stacked as Canada Niedermayer isnt a terrible pick at all because there is so much talent around him. I mean Ed Jovanovski, Eric Brewer, and JayBo were all selected to Olympic teams too.
niedermayer's teammates on his pre-peak best-on-best teams:

1996: lyle odelein, sylvain cote, adam foote, eric desjardins (jovanovski was an alternate)

2002: eric brewer, ed jovanovski, adam foote

some good players there, but none of them are in savard's league.



guys who didn't play on niedermayer's pre-peak best-on-best teams:

1996: ray bourque, al macinnis, larry murphy

2002: ray bourque, scott stevens


so i don't want to suggest that it's meaningless that niedermayer made those teams. he made those teams for a lot of reasons: his skating first and foremost, but also his puck moving ability, his winning pedigree, the fact that he's a career-long team canada guy (like smyth, doan, etc.), and all those things are points in his favour.

but what i don't think we can extrapolate from this is that niedermayer was in savard's league before 2003. is there any doubt savard would have made those teams at the same ages, and played ahead of niedermayer in those years?

i mean, lyle odelein. not a bad player by any stretch, but would he have made the 1976 team? or eric brewer? sylvain cote? that d-corps was lapointe, orr, potvin, robinson, savard, vadnais, and jimmy watson. those last two guys played in six and five all-star games, respectively.


but maybe the real substance of this response should be:

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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
But in all honesty, Niedermayer was Jay Bouwmeester for the first decade of his career with the Cups.
which i think is overstating things a bit, but:

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I understand that perception as both Nieds and JayBo are often judged against what some people expected instead of what they were.
http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/im.../separator.gif
For the record Nieds was good enough to play for Canada in two best on bests in 97 and 02 ages 23 and 28.
jay bouwmeester: world cup, 2004, age 21; olympics, 2006, age 23.

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04-16-2013, 01:58 AM
  #37
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Also, Savard was a rock for Canada in '72 and '76 and not only didn't look out of place one bit playing against the best in WORLD at the time, he stood out defensively quite often in both series.
In the 1972 series definitely, but I don't think the 1976 CC was among his greatest performances; he made quite a few mistakes - and some of them lead to goals.

Overall, I've always been very impressed with Savard, when watching old games; was easily better and made more difference than Lapointe IMO.

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04-16-2013, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I understand that perception as both Nieds and JayBo are often judged against what some people expected instead of what they were.
http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/im.../separator.gif
For the record Nieds was good enough to play for Canada in two best on bests in 97 and 02 ages 23 and 28.

I'll take the top 6 in those years over the 72 summit series crowd on D any day of the week. Of course Orr was out and it would change things.

The point of the matter is that Nieds played long enough and was considered good enough to play for Canada from age 23 till 36 in 4 best on best tournaments.

The bar indeed is much higher for him to jump though.
Well it was mentioned already that Bouwmeester has played in two top level tournaments also. But the knock with Niedermayer is that there is a very big gap in his career and it is mostly at the beginning. When did anyone think he was an elite defenseman up until 2003, 2004? No one thought that, we all just thought he COULD be one of them.

I'm not sure what relevance it has, but since you mentioned it I would not take the top 6 in the 1996 World Cup over the 1972 top 6 d-men. 1996 had Coffey, Foote, Niedermayer, Odelein, Stevens and Desjardins.

Compare that to 1972 with Park, Savard, Lapointe, White, Stapleton and Bergman. No contest there in my opinion.

I'll give you 2002 though. Nice core of defensemen there: MacInnis, Pronger, Blake, Niedermayer, Foote, Brewer/Jovanovski

However, neither team comes close to the top 6 in 1976 in which Savard was named to.

But let's also look at the projection of each defenseman. Niedermayer could have been much better in my opinion. I don't rate him based on that mandate and even if we did Savard broke his leg early in his career and could have had a much different career in the long run, so he has that "what if" perspective about him. But I don't just the players by that, just what we saw. I would trust Savard in every situation and in all honesty there were times I had my reservations with Niedermayer.

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