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Bernie Nicholls vs. Bernie Federko?

View Poll Results: Who was the better Bernie?
Federko 18 62.07%
Nicholls 11 37.93%
Voters: 29. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
06-20-2013, 02:10 AM
  #1
pdd
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Bernie Nicholls vs. Bernie Federko?

While posting in another thread, I came upon an interesting coincidence. Of all players with 100+ playoff points, only two have never been to the Stanley Cup finals. Bernie Nicholls and Bernie Federko.

And as you all know, I personally feel Nicholls belongs in the Hall. Federko, of course, is already there. So I wondered, how do these two stack up when compared directly? Who do you think is/was the better player?

I'm definitely in favor of Nicholls.

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06-20-2013, 02:29 AM
  #2
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Federko for me. I feel that Nicholls benefited from playing with Gretzky, Dionne, and Robaitalle.

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06-20-2013, 03:22 AM
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pdd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Litework View Post
Federko for me. I feel that Nicholls benefited from playing with Gretzky, Dionne, and Robaitalle.
In the time Nicholls and Robitaille were together, they scored as such:

Nicholls: 271GP, 162-222-384
Robitaille: 284GP, 179-180-359

In the time he was together with Dionne:

Nicholls: 399GP, 188-252-440
Dionne: 451GP, 251-359-610

It should be noted that this includes Nicholls' first six seasons, except for the last twelve games of the 86-87 season after the Dionne trade. If we cut off Nicholls' first two seasons, it looks like this:

Dionne: 293GP, 145-241-386
Nicholls: 306GP, 146-212-358

That's almost identical to Nicholls v. Robitaille, except Nicholls' spot is reversed.

Also... did Federko not benefit from Brian Sutter, Joe Mullen, Brett Hull, Doug Gilmour, Blake Dunlop, Jorgen Petterson? Yeah, maybe they're not all household names... but they put up some numbers for the Blues.

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06-20-2013, 09:21 AM
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Hardyvan123
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Taking Nicholls here, but it's pretty close.

Better goal scorer and showed well outside of playing with Wayne.

Federko fell off the cliff fast in his 2nd season after the trade to the Red wings, a trade which killed his desire and career, might have been different had he stayed a Blue.

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06-20-2013, 09:23 AM
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I think they are both very, very close.

I'd pick Nicholls personally but Federko was a great player too.

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06-20-2013, 01:03 PM
  #6
TheDevilMadeMe
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Based on the sum of their VsX scores (a slight modification of Vs2):

Nicholls 7 year weighted sum: 80.3
Federko 7 year weighted sum: 77.3

Nicholls 10 year weighted sum: 74.8
Federko 10 year weighted sum: 74.4

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...1361409&page=2

Nicholls, however, did play with Gretzky on the power play for his best season, while Federko was almost always the driving force on his line. Regular season is probably too close to call.

I'm leaning towards Federko because of playoffs. 101 points in 91 games for Federko vs 114 points in 118 games for Nicholls, again with Federko being the driving force of his team's offense for most of his career.

But I think this comparison has to considered very close.

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06-20-2013, 01:16 PM
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Give me Nicholls as well. Federko was a good player but I find he gets over-rated around here at times.

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06-20-2013, 05:58 PM
  #8
reckoning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Also... did Federko not benefit from Brian Sutter, Joe Mullen, Brett Hull, Doug Gilmour, Blake Dunlop, Jorgen Petterson? Yeah, maybe they're not all household names... but they put up some numbers for the Blues.
Considering that Federko consistently produced throughout his time in St. Louis no matter who his teammates were, it would tend to suggest that they benefitted more from him.

Federko and Hull were only teammates for one season and a bit, towards the end of Federko's career. Gilmour and Dunlop were not usually his linemates. Brian Sutter was, but separate them and I'm sure Federko would've fared better, as Federko continued to produce after 84-85 when Sutter was no longer as much of a factor.

For an example of how much better Federko could make a linemate, look at Mark Hunter's goal totals his three years with Federko in St. Louis, compared to the rest of his career: http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...huntema01.html

Federko was arguably the NHL's best playmaker from 80-86 not named Gretzky. He never had a single season as big as Nicholls did in 88-89, but was more consistent, better defensively, and better in the playoffs. His HHOF wait would've been shorter if he had played his prime in a bigger hockey market than St. Louis.

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06-21-2013, 01:43 AM
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pdd
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Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
Considering that Federko consistently produced throughout his time in St. Louis no matter who his teammates were, it would tend to suggest that they benefitted more from him.

Federko and Hull were only teammates for one season and a bit, towards the end of Federko's career. Gilmour and Dunlop were not usually his linemates.
So taking away guys who were "not usually linemates", we can remove Gretzky and Dionne from Nicholls' list of help. After all, they played on a different line than he did.

Quote:
Federko was arguably the NHL's best playmaker from 80-86 not named Gretzky. He never had a single season as big as Nicholls did in 88-89, but was more consistent, better defensively, and better in the playoffs. His HHOF wait would've been shorter if he had played his prime in a bigger hockey market than St. Louis.
It's debatable as to whether Federko was better in the playoffs. Offensively they are pretty close, and Federko has an era advantage there. Neither of them made the Cup finals, and they are the only two players to score 100+ playoff points with that distinction.

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06-21-2013, 01:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Based on the sum of their VsX scores (a slight modification of Vs2):

Nicholls 7 year weighted sum: 80.3
Federko 7 year weighted sum: 77.3

Nicholls 10 year weighted sum: 74.8
Federko 10 year weighted sum: 74.4

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...1361409&page=2

Nicholls, however, did play with Gretzky on the power play for his best season, while Federko was almost always the driving force on his line. Regular season is probably too close to call.
Nicholls also scored 87 points at even strength, and was only involved on something around 40-45 scoring plays that Gretzky was also involved in. Even without Gretzky, he still would have topped Federko's high of 107.

Quote:
I'm leaning towards Federko because of playoffs. 101 points in 91 games for Federko vs 114 points in 118 games for Nicholls, again with Federko being the driving force of his team's offense for most of his career.

But I think this comparison has to considered very close.
Nicholls dragged a dismantled Edmonton squad to the Campbell Conference finals. He was an important piece of New Jersey making the ECF in 1994, and went to the WCF with Chicago the following season. Nicholls played most of his playoff games post-prime and still did very well. He was extremely unlucky in the teams he played for; he was traded by a soon-to-be Cup winner to a recent Cup winner, he left New Jersey the summer before they won the Cup (out of the blue) to go to a Chicago team that was about to be dismantled. Guy had worse luck than Norm Ullman (enters the league with Detroit in 55-56, after the Wings win 4 Cups; plays over a decade for Detroit with no Cup while watching Montreal win. Toronto wins four straight, and then the next season Ullman is traded to the Leafs. No Cup for Ullman, and Toronto has not won a Cup since then.

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06-21-2013, 02:06 AM
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vadim sharifijanov
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well, federko once led the playoffs in points. i didn't see that run, but that's got to be pretty meaningful right?

i do remember nicholls' best playoffs. i remember thinking that he was edmonton's most dangerous player, even though joe murphy easily outscored him. damphousse was probablytheir best forward, but nicholls was the one you'd be worried about torching you. which is saying something, because murphy scored 5 goals and added 8 assists in 6 games against us that spring.

nicholls also almost doubled gretzky in points in their first round matchup.

but i have to go with bernie f here. shorter career, but he seemed to generally come up huge in the playoffs, albeit in losing causes. bernie occasionally shared the spotlight with mullen and gilmour, but he was the driving force. except for that one year in edmonton (and the stats don't bear out what my memory says), when nicholls had productive playoffs he was almost always second banana, if not lower.

also, federko has five top tens. nicholls has two top fives, but both were gretzky-assisted. zero top tens without gretzky on his team. in '90, when he was traded for sandstrom and granato, nicholls would have been on pace to finish 20th in points if you only count the NYR games. if you count only his LA games, he's on pace to finish third, just barely above yzerman.

both bernies are generally considered compilers, and given their playoff production, that might not be ultimately fair. but i'd say more of bernie n's resume seems to have been "compiled" than of bernie f's resume.

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06-23-2013, 09:07 AM
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tough one. they are on the same tier i think, bernie being one of the most underated players on these boards. but if i had to pick one i'll take the superior puck-mover every time. i think that was federko.

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06-23-2013, 09:20 AM
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Very close. Nicholls had an unbelievable season in 88-89. But comparing their careers I vote for Federko.

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06-23-2013, 10:21 AM
  #14
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One is overrated in the grand scheme of things -- Federko.
The other is SOMEWHAT underrated -- Nicholls.

Tough choice, really. All in all -- give me their contemporaries Smith and Damphousse instead.

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06-23-2013, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by MXD View Post
One is overrated in the grand scheme of things -- Federko.
The other is SOMEWHAT underrated -- Nicholls.

Tough choice, really. All in all -- give me their contemporaries Smith and Damphousse instead.
I'll second that bobby smith call. talk about underrated on here...loved his game.

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06-23-2013, 02:58 PM
  #16
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If Federko was still waiting for the Hall call, you could make a case for him as the best playmaking forward not in the Hall, a guy who was money in the bank for 65 assists and nearly 95 points a year. With the exception of two-and-a-half years with Joe Mullen, Federko never really had elite talent around him, but still put up assists by the bushel load, and is seventh all-time in assists per game among those who played at least 1,000 games, or finished with at least 750 assists.

For over a decade, he was the cog in St. Louis' offence. And he was pretty good in the post-season. As mentioned before, he led the playoffs in scoring once, and had a couple other impressive post-season performances.

I think Nichols should get a little more discussion for the HHOF. I wouldn't vote for him (I wouldn't have voted for Federko, either; somebody has to be the best in a category not in the HHOF), but Nichols could beat you as a goal-scorer or a playmaker, and he had a physical dimension for a pivot, too.

The one thing that does hurt his cause is that while he was a first line centre playing on the second line behind Dionne and then Gretz in LA, when he did get the first line gig in LA for a couple years, and then in NYR and Edmonton, he wasn't sensational. Good for a few years, really good numbers in 87-88 in LA, but not elite. Not at the level of what Federko produced with, even though, for the most part, Federko didn't have as good of linemates.

Nichols was the gimmie for production that Federko was. As a coach, it's really reassuring when you can bank on a guy for 60 assists and 90 points before the season starts. (65-70 assists and 95-105 points if he plays 80 games). And Federko played all-but one season with one team. Nicholls became a suitcase; after he left LA, the most games he played with for one team was 135 with the Sharks at the tail end of his career.

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06-23-2013, 06:57 PM
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Nicholls: Just shy of his 35th birthday....59 GP - 19 G - 41 A - 60 PTS in the Dead Puck Era season of '95-'96 (let's also not forget that he was also a PPG player in the DPE season of '94-'95 [48 GP - 22 G - 29 A - 51 PTS], being well into his 30s in both seasons)

Federko: At age 34....out of the NHL. At age 33? '89-'90: 73 GP - 17 G - 40 A - 57 PTS (0.78 PPG) , in the midst of the high-flying '80s/early '90s

If Pumper Nicholls retired at age 34 (i.e. retiring after the shortened '94-'95 season), the same age Federko hung 'em up, these would be the Kings legend's number:

Regular Season: 933 GP - 438 G - 636 A - 1,075 PTS - 1.15 PPG ('81-'95)
Playoffs: 102 GP - 40 G - 60 A - 100 PTS - 0.98 PPG ('81-'95)

Had he never played with Gretzky, yet retired at the same age that Federko:

Regular Season: 807 GP - 341 G - 508 A - 849 PTS
Playoffs: 91 GP - 33 G - 51 A - 84 PTS

Bernie is not in the Hall Of Fame because: 1) He continued to find NHL work beyond his Chicago days, thus leaving with us a final impression of 3 season's worth of defensive-oriented, elder statesmanship for the Sharks, which looks all the worse compared to his "I-supposedly-leached-off-of-Gretzky" days, and 2) his inordinately grotesque success as Gretzky's teammate, and what makes this particular criticism funny is A) in 15 seasons alongside Gretzky, Jari Kurri posted one 70-goal season; Nicholls needed just his one and only full season with the Great One to achieve the same, despite consistently playing with Wayne only on the man advantage, B) his PPG average of 1.79 (126 GP - 97 G - 128 A - 225 PTS) remains the highest such average of any of Gretzky's teammates during their time alongside Wayne at the NHL level, and, lastly, C) Nicholls' 150 PTS in '88-'89 remains the highest single season point total among any of Gretzky's teammates during their time alongside Wayne at the NHL level...and, again, it took Nicholls just his one and only full season with the Great One to do it.

70 Goals
150 Points

Such laugh-out-loud flukes, yet somehow no other Gretzky teammate ever achieved those single-season totals. Not Mess. Not Jari. Not Paul. No one. Bernie only needed one season, and did so without being on Wayne's line consistently, outside of the PP.

The damnedest thing, ain't it?


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06-24-2013, 01:55 PM
  #18
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I definitely.still take federko, but I agree it's close.

I think by now we all realize a guy like Pierre Turgeon is better than both, though.

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06-26-2013, 06:51 PM
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I definitely.still take federko, but I agree it's close.

I think by now we all realize a guy like Pierre Turgeon is better than both, though.
You couldn't pick three players (Nicholls, Federko, Turgeon) any closer. Out of the three, I'll take Federko first just on the basis that stayed good longer and wasn't hampered with injuries.

As for Nicholls though, I've never understood how a guy could have 70 goals and 150 points and it is a season that is almost a knock against him. 4 players in history have more points in a single season than Nicholls. Esposito, Lemieux, Yzerman and Gretzky. Espo and Yzerman doing it once. Sure you have to throw in the Gretzky factor, but I've always marvelled at the fact that it is just a flat out great season by the man.

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06-26-2013, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
You couldn't pick three players (Nicholls, Federko, Turgeon) any closer. Out of the three, I'll take Federko first just on the basis that stayed good longer and wasn't hampered with injuries.

As for Nicholls though, I've never understood how a guy could have 70 goals and 150 points and it is a season that is almost a knock against him. 4 players in history have more points in a single season than Nicholls. Esposito, Lemieux, Yzerman and Gretzky. Espo and Yzerman doing it once. Sure you have to throw in the Gretzky factor, but I've always marvelled at the fact that it is just a flat out great season by the man.
Also, the fact that people use it against Nicholls to me has always seemed ridiculous when you consider Messier.

Messier was a comparable offensive player to Nicholls through most of the 80s, and benefited FAR more from Gretzky. Yet when the "Gretzky factor" is brought up with regards to Messier, it's usually in a "Messier would have scored more if he were the top center" context.

How many second-line players are given that assumption as a whole for a large portion of their career?

EDIT: Also, Turgeon was a top-notch center for at least as long as Federko. Turgeon was probably the best player of the three and yet is also the least likely to see his name in the Hall.


Last edited by pdd: 06-27-2013 at 12:34 AM.
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06-26-2013, 07:27 PM
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Yet when the "Gretzky factor" is brought up with regards to Messier, it's usually in a "Messier would have scored more if he were the top center" context.

How many second-line players are given that assumption as a whole for a large portion of their career?
Maybe because Messier actually did score more as the top center. His best three seasons in adjusted points came after he and Gretzky were no longer teammates.

Nicholls never came close before or after to the numbers he had in the year and a half he was Gretzky's teammate.

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06-26-2013, 08:23 PM
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Maybe because Messier actually did score more as the top center. His best three seasons in adjusted points came after he and Gretzky were no longer teammates.

Nicholls never came close before or after to the numbers he had in the year and a half he was Gretzky's teammate.
I'm not debating those facts.

But even outside of actual point totals, one can make the argument that Messier was playing his best hockey in the late 80s and early 90s. My point is that Messier benefited as much as Nicholls from Gretzky during the early to mid 80s, before his prime. Messier wouldn't have been scoring 120-130 points every season the way some people like to suggest. There's a greater chance that his production declines than improves.

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06-27-2013, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
You couldn't pick three players (Nicholls, Federko, Turgeon) any closer. Out of the three, I'll take Federko first just on the basis that stayed good longer
Please back this claim.

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06-27-2013, 04:07 PM
  #24
vadim sharifijanov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
You couldn't pick three players (Nicholls, Federko, Turgeon) any closer. Out of the three, I'll take Federko first just on the basis that stayed good longer and wasn't hampered with injuries.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruston View Post
Please back this claim.
i'm not going to speak for big phil, but i'll give my opinion about consistency and longevity between the two bernies:

from what i'm seeing, nicholls has a stretch of seven mostly healthy seasons where he consistently places around 15th in points, with obviously two spike seasons at the end, one 20th, and one year where he missed some games and finished 36th but was on pace for 13th.

federko has a stretch of eight mostly healthy seasons where he finishes between 8th and 10th five times, with a 13th, an 18th (on pace for 14th), and 25th (on pace for 18th). then, after an injury year federko comes back with one last good season, finishing 20th (and 7th in assists) at age 31. he also had one season after that at age 32 where he still put up a PPG (67 points in 66 games). nicholls had neither any PPG seasons nor even any mostly healthy ones after 29 (the most he ever played in a season in his 30s were 69 and 65 games), and no top 20 finishes after 28.


now turgeon from ages 19-31:

18, 7, 27, 13, 5, 14 (on pace for 5th), 22, 17, 13, 24 (on pace for 2nd, but forsberg, selanne, and lindros all finished ahead of him in total points and were on pace to either match or beat him if we project them to play an 82 game season), 27 (on pace for 14th), 35 (on pace for 1st, but jagr, sakic, and bure all finished ahead of him in total points, and were on pace to match or beat him if...), 16

to compare turgeon to the bernies, turgeon was the best high end scorer of them without question. he has a stretch of nine mostly healthy seasons, one more than federko and two more than nicholls. his finishes are all over the place, closer to nicholls's than federko's, but the spike years don't come with the same questions re: gretzky.


i think turgeon is clearly ahead of nicholls and where he pulls away isn't even necessarily that he had his best years as unquestionably the offensive motor of his team but in the injury years. even without giving turgeon credit for what he didn't do while he was injured, when he was in the lineup he put up some decent points in his 30s far outpacing what nicholls did. looking at the per-game numbers, i'm kind of blown away by turgeon's DPE scoring. honestly, i had no idea.

but turgeon vs. federko (high end ability and spikes vs. consistency and health), i think, is a legitimate question. the numbers (including playoffs) say turgeon by a tiny bit, but i don't know: my gut still says federko by a hair. even in those two good years in st. louis where all his teammates choked, turgeon never even finished top ten in playoff scoring, let alone leading the playoffs in scoring like federko did.

their respective best playoff finishes:

federko-- 1, 5, 11, 22

turgeon-- 12, 13, 23


all three, though, are in my hall of pretty darn good.


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