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Longevity vs Excellence

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Old
04-26-2005, 03:49 PM
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning
Boring Statistics Alert

A while back I came up with a formula to try and combine excellence with longevity into one number when rating goal-scorers and since we`re on this topic, I was wondering what some of the stats experts on this site (i.e. Outsider, MoneyP, pnerp ) thought of it:

As a base I decided to use for a season 80 games, 6.50 goals per game and 22 min. avg. ice time (Klein & Reif method). So for each player their adjusted games played for that year would be the % of scheduled games that they actually x 80, and the goals would be adjusted to account for the other two factors. For the following three players that gives us:

Wayne Gretzky GP- 1506 G- 830 GPG- .551
Marcel Dionne GP- 1354 G- 693 GPG- .512
Mike Bossy GP- 752 G- 522 GPG- .694

How do you rank those players? Bossy`s far below the other two in goals but far ahead of them in goals per game. The fact that his career was cut short early should be factored in but his goals per game would obviously have decreased if he played into his late 30s.

I decided to use a base of 1000 games to represent a career- that`s 12.5 seasons; an arbitrary choice but seems like a fair mid-point. For players who played less than 1000 games their totals are pro-rated to 1000 games, but receive a slight handicap depending on how short their career was. For the missing games needed to reach 1000, they are pro-rated with their GPG X (GP/1000). This way they receive some credit for missed time, but a player who scored 500 goals in 1000 games will rate higher than one who scored 400 goals in 800 games.

For players who played more than 1000 games, I went through their career and took the seasons where they had the highest GPG and kept going until I reached 1000 games. Everything else is discarded. That way a player like Mark Messier`s total isn`t inflated because he stuck around for so long, but he`s not penalized for it either. For the three players in my example, the final numbers are:

Gretzky 677
Bossy 651
Dionne 574
To properly put the longevity question in its place, number of excellent seasons is what is needed not just number of seasons.

For example, Gordie Howe was named an all-star 21 times. That is 21 excellent seasons when you consider how he dominated the scoring race, won cups and major awards, too.

Ron Francis was never named an all star, never dominated the scoring race, did win a couple of cups and no major awards. Should he be considered on the same level as Howe? Their career point totals are very close.

The fact is, they are not close at all. Howe was dominant for 21 years. Francis was good for 21 years. I take dominant over good any day.

Similarly with Mike Bossy vs. Mike Gartner. Would you rather have Gartner's 708 goals or Bossy's 573? I'll take Bossy every day of the week. He was a dominant scorer, all-star, cup winner. Gartner was a good scorer but he was never dominant or a cup winner or an all-star.

The number of great seasons is what matters - not the total number of seasons.

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04-26-2005, 03:56 PM
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
The number of great seasons is what matters - not the total number of seasons.
At some point the number of good seasons can balance great seasons.

Francis has never dominated a season like Forsberg or Lindros have. The former had many good years but no truly great years, and the latter two a few dominant great ones and then 5-6-7 good years with a couple miserable injury filled ones. I'd take Francis' career over Lindros or Forsberg's any day of the week.

peace

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04-26-2005, 04:27 PM
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning
Boring Statistics Alert

A while back I came up with a formula to try and combine excellence with longevity into one number when rating goal-scorers and since we`re on this topic, I was wondering what some of the stats experts on this site (i.e. Outsider, MoneyP, pnerp ) thought of it:
Good lord, I've become a "stat expert."

I'm not really a stat expert. I'm a mathemetician and an economist and a computer junkie who likes toying around with numbers. Mostly team numbers, though.

I think what you're trying to do is trying to combine apples and nuts into one box and coming out with "appluts." If it tastes better than an apple or a nut to you, than by all means, put it on your cereal. It's better than tallying up Hart Trophies, adding your own multipliers and then declaring to anyone who will listen that Jari Kurri is the 49th best player of all time because you said so.

But to answer your question, there are many methods of combining multiple numbers to achieve a synthesis. One easy to figure out method is:

(A*B)/(A+B)*2

Where A and B are whatever you want them to be. Career goals, top five goal seasons, goals per game, whatever. That's just one method.

These sorts of things are what I like to call "grail statistics." Attempts to parcel bits of information into one Truth, in order to settle barstool arguments. Don't get me wrong, I love 'em. Alan Ryder's Player Contribution and Ian Fyffe's Point Allocation are nifty beasts. But, as Ian writes in that analysis, "due to the paucity of hockey statistics, some artistry is called for." Indeed. A painting, no matter how good it looks, isn't a photograph.

I like some of the statwork that I've read on HF boards. Whomever submitted the PP% numbers, that was interesting. Hockey Outsider's (and Ian Fyffe's, and Klein and Reif's, and Total Hockey's) adjusted scoring numbers are interesting as well (although it's odd that everyone thinks individual assists are fluid from year to year, but not individual goals).

Anyway, just my opinion.

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04-26-2005, 05:27 PM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneyp

These sorts of things are what I like to call "grail statistics." Attempts to parcel bits of information into one Truth, in order to settle barstool arguments. Don't get me wrong, I love 'em. Alan Ryder's Player Contribution and Ian Fyffe's Point Allocation are nifty beasts. But, as Ian writes in that analysis, "due to the paucity of hockey statistics, some artistry is called for." Indeed. A painting, no matter how good it looks, isn't a photograph.

I like some of the statwork that I've read on HF boards. Whomever submitted the PP% numbers, that was interesting. Hockey Outsider's (and Ian Fyffe's, and Klein and Reif's, and Total Hockey's) adjusted scoring numbers are interesting as well (although it's odd that everyone thinks individual assists are fluid from year to year, but not individual goals).
I`ve been interested in adjusting statistics for comparison ever since the first K&R Compendium. When Bill James came out with Win Shares, i thought that was as close to perfect a method there could be to measure how great a player was and I tried to make a similar one for hockey, but compared to baseball there`s so little to work with. I found Ryder`s and Fyffe`s systems really interesting, but a lot of the math goes over my head.

Nothing can replace actual memories from watching the games, but opinions based solely on that are rarely impartial. Statistics are impartial, but they can lie. The trick is finding the truth in them. If I wanted to prove Roy was the best goalie ever I could easily invent a system that would say that. Ditto for Hasek. I`m most interested in the systems that provide solid reasoning behind them instead of just twisting numbers around to fit one`s agenda.

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04-26-2005, 05:41 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning
I`ve been interested in adjusting statistics for comparison ever since the first K&R Compendium. When Bill James came out with Win Shares, i thought that was as close to perfect a method there could be to measure how great a player was and I tried to make a similar one for hockey, but compared to baseball there`s so little to work with. I found Ryder`s and Fyffe`s systems really interesting, but a lot of the math goes over my head.

Nothing can replace actual memories from watching the games, but opinions based solely on that are rarely impartial. Statistics are impartial, but they can lie. The trick is finding the truth in them. If I wanted to prove Roy was the best goalie ever I could easily invent a system that would say that. Ditto for Hasek. I`m most interested in the systems that provide solid reasoning behind them instead of just twisting numbers around to fit one`s agenda.
I completely agree. Shaping statistics to prove what one wants to prove is completely counterproductive. When I began creating my rating systems, I was surprised to see how well Hasek fared. The more research I have done, the more convinced I am that Hasek is superior to Roy. I had no agenda before working this out, that is just how the numbers look.

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04-26-2005, 05:49 PM
  #31
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Good question. Baseball writer Bill James (for a while) divided up rankings by "Career Value" and "Peak Value". In other words, players who played for a long time and accomplished a lot scord well in Career Value, whereas players who were dominant (even briefly) scored well in Peak Value. I'm not sure if it's possible (or even desirable) to combine the two. It all depends on what situation you're in.

Let's say you're the GM of a veteran team contending for the Cup; your window of opportunity is short. You'd always take somebody with a dominant career (Orr, Bossy, Hasek), even if that career is very short, because your goal is to win right away.

Conversely, let's say you're starting a franchise from scratch and want to have building blocks that will allow you to be competitive for many years. In that case you'd probably take somebody with a long, steady career (Murphy, Andreychuk, Vanbiesbrouck). The fact that those players will never dominate doesn't matter, because they can provide you with steadiness over two decades.

For Hall of Fame purposes, I tend to focus more on Peak Value. It's supposed to be the hall for the excellent, not the good. If you're excellent for a reasonable amount of times (3 seasons? 5? 10?), you've met the hall's standards. Being good for 20 years doesn't mean very much when you're trying to elect the excellent players.

And yes, Ryder's Player Contribution and Fyffe's Point Allocation are fascinating. I think another version could be made using the best parts/concepts of each.

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04-26-2005, 06:13 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
Although our lists differ greatly, the principle that you are talking about fits in very well with my belief.

I'll take Jagr's 5 scoring titles over Francis' 1795 points any day.
I have Jagr listed 13th ... and Francis 26th.

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04-26-2005, 06:19 PM
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan
I have Jagr listed 13th ... and Francis 26th.
I have Jagr at 15 and Francis does not crack the top 100.

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04-26-2005, 06:20 PM
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
I have Jagr at 15 and Francis does not crack the top 100.
For what time period ???

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04-26-2005, 06:37 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan
For what time period ???
All time.

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04-26-2005, 06:43 PM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
All time.
My list was based purely on players that I've seen play ... I only o****ed players whose prime was 1980 - onward.

If I did an all-time list Francis wouldn't be in my top 100 either. Jagr at 15 all-time is too high IMO.

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04-26-2005, 07:01 PM
  #37
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Since I have joined HFBoards, I have been given some new resources that I did not know existed so, I will be tweaking my ratings somewhat. Jagr may move a little but, not too much I suspect.

Take a look at what I have done. Keep in mind, I will be improving the ratings with the new information that I have.

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=140085

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04-26-2005, 07:05 PM
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
I have Jagr at 15 and Francis does not crack the top 100.
See, this is just beyond absurd. I don't care how you rationalize it there is no way in hell you can drop the #4 all-time scorer out of the top 100 scorers. Being that high among such esteemed company is by definition great.

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04-26-2005, 07:10 PM
  #39
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Originally Posted by norrisnick
See, this is just beyond absurd. I don't care how you rationalize it there is no way in hell you can drop the #4 all-time scorer out of the top 100 scorers. Being that high among such esteemed company is by definition great.
I disagree and that is what prompted my whole project. It made no sense to me that a guy that never had a dominant season in his life, was #4 of all time. When I researched it, I came to the conclusion that he belongs nowhere near the #4 slot.

How is he better than Cy Denneny, Howie Morenz, Rocket Richard, Stan Mikita, Bobby Orr, Marcel Dionne, Bill Cowley or Babe Dye? The truth is, he is not better than these guys. He was an excellent player but, there are probably 100-150 greater scorers than him. Just because they played a shorter season or in a more defensive era does not mean that Francis deserves to be ahead of them.

So, that is what this system fixes. The unfair advantage that Francis has:

Rank Name PTS
1 Wayne Gretzky 133
2 Gordie Howe 104
3 Mario Lemieux 57
Phil Esposito 57
5 Stan Mikita 52
6 Maurice "Rocket "Richard 50
7 Bobby Hull 49
8 Jaromir Jagr 46
Cy Denneny 46
10 Jean Believeau 45
11 Andy Bathgate 40
12 Howie Morenz 39
13 Bobby Orr 37
14 Marcel Dionne 36
15 Guy Lafleur 35
Ted Lindsay 35
17 Cecil " Babe" Dye 31
Bill Cowley 31
19 Mike Bossy 28
20 Joe Sakic 27
Doug Bentley 27
22 Charlie Conacher 26
23 Bill Cook 25
24 Bernie Geoffrion 24
Edouard "Newsy" Lalonde 24
26 Frank Boucher 23
27 Elmer Lach 22
Joe Malone 22
Max Bentley 22
30 Nels Stewart 21
David "Sweeney" Schriner 21
32 Peter Stastny 21
33 Harvey "Busher" Jackson 20
Peter Forsberg 20
35 Aurel Joliat 19
Hector "Toe" Blake 19
Marty Barry 19
38 Bryan Trottier 18
Sid Abel 18
Syl Apps, Sr. 18
Teemu Selanne 18
Norm Ullman 18
43 Jari Kurri 17
Paul Coffey 17
Bobby Clarke 17
46 Bryan Hextall, Sr. 16
Markus Naslund 16
Gord Drillon 16
Jean Ratelle 16
50 Paul Kariya 15
Pavel Bure 15
Steve Yzerman 15
Adam Oates 15

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04-26-2005, 07:15 PM
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
Since I have joined HFBoards, I have been given some new resources that I did not know existed so, I will be tweaking my ratings somewhat. Jagr may move a little but, not too much I suspect.

Take a look at what I have done. Keep in mind, I will be improving the ratings with the new information that I have.

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=140085
Your list is based more on statistical eveidence and if I was ranking players I've never seen play ... I'd have to use some sort of statistical guide.

That's why my list only contains players I've witnessed play. There is so much more to the game than what shows up in a stat sheet or awards voting.

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04-26-2005, 07:35 PM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
I disagree and that is what prompted my whole project. It made no sense to me that a guy that never had a dominant season in his life, was #4 of all time. When I researched it, I came to the conclusion that he belongs nowhere near the #4 slot.

How is he better than Cy Denneny, Howie Morenz, Rocket Richard, Stan Mikita, Bobby Orr, Marcel Dionne, Bill Cowley or Babe Dye? The truth is, he is not better than these guys. He was an excellent player but, there are probably 100-150 greater scorers than him. Just because they played a shorter season or in a more defensive era does not mean that Francis deserves to be ahead of them.

So, that is what this system fixes. The unfair advantage that Francis has:
See "dominant" is a completely silly concept when ranking scorers. Either you score points or you don't. If Sidney Crosby would win the Calder, Art Ross, Hart, and be named the 1st Team All-Star center then suffer a career ending injury while his team won the Cup he would rank higher than Ron Francis on your all-time scorers ranking. All the while likely scoring less than 10% of Francis' career points.

Plus, how is being able to remain healthy, competitive, and productive for 20 years an unfair advantage? That isn't an unfair advantage, that is a sign of greatness.

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04-26-2005, 07:57 PM
  #42
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Originally Posted by MS
But in principle you're right. I've maintained for awhile that Bure, Forsberg, Neely all belong in the HHOF ahead of these guys who played 18 years and averaged 70 points/season.
My problem with Neely is that, if it wasn't for his miracle season in '94, he would likely never be mentioned as a HoF candidate.

Neely barely averaged 70 points per 82 games himself, and he played during an era where everyone was putting up big numbers.

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04-26-2005, 09:43 PM
  #43
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As for a couple players mentioned. Dale Hawerchuk is one of the best offensive players I've ever seen. Hawerchuk in his prime in today's would likely be a perennial Art Ross contender. I think he'd score 100 points, even in today's NHL. (Let's keep in mind one of the chief reasons for the drop in scoring is the lack of elite talent, especially among players under 30). He never played with premier talent in Winnipeg, and still scored over 100 points SIX times. He turned Paul MacLean into a 100-point scorer. No player in NHL history would have led the Jets to a Cup. He's a guy who combined excellence and dominance. He only had one second all-star selection, but chalk that up to the depth of great centres in the 1980s.

Ron Francis is one of the best all-round players I've ever seen. Simply put, there isn't anything the guy couldn't do. Great offensively and defensively. A master in the face-off circle. And honestly, I've never seen a forward play the point on the power play better than Francis. (A truly underrated skill). A gimmie as a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, and no doubt in my mind, one of the top 100 all-round players ever. Great leader, great character, smart as they come. I think he would have been one of the 10 or 15 best all-round players in any era he played in. (And like Hawerchuk, he had to contend with incredible depth of elite centre in his peak years).

Some of those players are in the Hall for good reason. Larry Murphy was a top 5 or 10 NHL defenceman for most of his career. Mike Gartner set a standard that nobody has ever done, or will ever reach. Doug Gilmour was an elite two-way player for most of his career. Others weren't ever among the truly elite. Bernie Nichols had one or two elite years, and a few good years. Same with Turgeon and Andreychuk, although our last memories of Andreychuk were very good, and that may be enough to get him in. In the case of Turgeon, his point total will be the most ever for a non-HHOFer.

In the case of those with longevity but no greatness (ie: Craig Ludwig, Tom Fitzgerald), they won't get in. Longevity with some greatness (Vinny Damphousse) likely won't get in. Excllence without longevity usually doesn't get a player in (Cam Neely). Those who had excellence but not much longevity but got in the Hall were the very best at their position for a sufficient period of time. (Dom Hasek, Ken Dryden, Bobby Orr, Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux before his first retirement).

A comparison of Mike Gartner to Mike Bossy isn't fair. Gartner is in the HHOF because of an unprecedented career. Bossy is one of the five best RWs ever. Instead, how about Gartner or Pavel Bure, or Ron Francis versus Peter Forsberg, or Damphousse vs. Eric Lindros. (Two guys who won't be getting in the Hall. Much better comparisons when making the longevity vs. dominance debate.


Last edited by God Bless Canada: 04-26-2005 at 11:24 PM.
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04-26-2005, 10:22 PM
  #44
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Originally Posted by norrisnick
See "dominant" is a completely silly concept when ranking scorers. Either you score points or you don't. If Sidney Crosby would win the Calder, Art Ross, Hart, and be named the 1st Team All-Star center then suffer a career ending injury while his team won the Cup he would rank higher than Ron Francis on your all-time scorers ranking. All the while likely scoring less than 10% of Francis' career points.

Plus, how is being able to remain healthy, competitive, and productive for 20 years an unfair advantage? That isn't an unfair advantage, that is a sign of greatness.
Its mostly a sing of luck.

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04-26-2005, 10:27 PM
  #45
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Originally Posted by KOVALEV10
Its mostly a sing of luck.
Sorry, I'm not biting. A span of 15-20 years does not fall under the heading of being lucky.

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04-26-2005, 10:29 PM
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Sorry, I'm not biting. A span of 15-20 years does not fall under the heading of being lucky.
Yeah it does. It doesnt make a player better. Messier is not even close to being as great as Orr was. Who was more lucky not to get injured? Messier obviously.

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04-26-2005, 10:43 PM
  #47
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Originally Posted by KOVALEV10
Yeah it does. It doesnt make a player better. Messier is not even close to being as great as Orr was. Who was more lucky not to get injured? Messier obviously.
Longevity makes a player better if the two you are comparing are already comparable. Take Mark Messier and Mark Messier 1/2. Mark Messier has the real Mark Messier's full career and stats. Mark Messier 1/2 retired after his career with the Oilers. Who was better? Compare Lindros to Messier. Who is better? Plus there comes a time when seasons upon seasons of "good" equal or better fewer seasons of "great" when you are comparing them as a whole. Martin St. Louis has a Hart, Art Ross, and Pearson but that doesn't automatically give him a better career than Ron Francis, Dale Hawerchuk, Brendan Shanahan, etc...

Bobby Orr is among that tiny group of players that shone so brightly in their relatively short careers that they can compare to players with twice the tenure. Lemieux and Hasek are two more.

Still, luck isn't what kept Messier healthy. But even if it did, wouldn't having luck be a positive attribute? Wouldn't you rather want a lucky player than one continually rolling snake eyes? Maybe Bobby just used up all his luck in his blazing run.

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04-26-2005, 10:47 PM
  #48
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Originally Posted by norrisnick
Longevity makes a player better if the two you are comparing are already comparable. Take Mark Messier and Mark Messier 1/2. Mark Messier has the real Mark Messier's full career and stats. Mark Messier 1/2 retired after his career with the Oilers. Who was better? Compare Lindros to Messier. Who is better? Plus there comes a time when seasons upon seasons of "good" equal or better fewer seasons of "great" when you are comparing them as a whole. Martin St. Louis has a Hart, Art Ross, and Pearson but that doesn't automatically give him a better career than Ron Francis, Dale Hawerchuk, Brendan Shanahan, etc...

Bobby Orr is among that tiny group of players that shone so brightly in their relatively short careers that they can compare to players with twice the tenure. Lemieux and Hasek are two more.

Still, luck isn't what kept Messier healthy. But even if it did, wouldn't having luck be a positive attribute? Wouldn't you rather want a lucky player than one continually rolling snake eyes? Maybe Bobby just used up all his luck in his blazing run.

I would rather have Orr then Messier any day of the week. Same with Mario or Hasek. If longevity was more impressive then prime excellence then Andreychuk is also better then Orr. I see your point but I just cant seem to agree with it.

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04-26-2005, 11:07 PM
  #49
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Originally Posted by KOVALEV10
I would rather have Orr then Messier any day of the week. Same with Mario or Hasek. If longevity was more impressive then prime excellence then Andreychuk is also better then Orr. I see your point but I just cant seem to agree with it.
Like I wrote in the post you just quoted, longevity is not the only factor especially not with a guy like Orr. Is Andreychuk's career better than Neely's? That's actually debatable. In their primes there is no question that Neely was the better player, but when comparing careers that isn't the only thing you can look at.

You have to look at the entire package to make a comparison and when one guy plays 20+ productive seasons and the other 12, well there is something to that. Otherwise simply take every player's single best season and compare that way. And I don't think that that is the way to do it.

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04-26-2005, 11:19 PM
  #50
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Originally Posted by Ogopogo
As good as Hawerchuk and Francis were, they never were dominant. Francis was never an all star and Hawerchuk was a 2nd team all star once. Neither of them crack the top 50 scorers of all time on my rating system :

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=140072

and neither of them won a Hart Trophy. They were very good players just not justified in their place on the all time scoring list.
Nevermind your arbitrary ratings system. Dale Hawerchuk was an offensive machine who was literally the franchise in Winnipeg when he was there. Also, it's hard to win a lot of Hart Trophies, and 1st team All Star appearances when you play in a league with Mario Lemieux and in the same division with Wayne Gretzky for your prime years.

Also, I fail to see how Hawerchuk can be considered a player who had longevity especially when his scoring trailed off so much in the 1990s after a brilliant start to his career in the 80s.

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