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Was Lidstrom a generational talent?

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Old
09-06-2013, 12:33 PM
  #201
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Speaking of Mike Liut: he often gets the blame for being out of his league in that Canada Cup. But it's not like Sergey Mylnikov and Evgeniy Belosheikin had any business going against Gretzky and Lemieux in 87, did they?
He was, but what a horrible crossroads for Canadian goaltending at the time. Dryden retired, Esposito an old man, Grant Fuhr just a rookie, Beaupre still young... besides Billy Smith, who were the biggest guns who were even available with the gift of hindsight? Peeters, Meloche, or Chico?

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09-06-2013, 12:48 PM
  #202
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Yeah, but it's not like the Soviet goal was defended by a great goaltender after Tretiak retired. In fact, the only time in the post-Tretiak era when Team Russia had a dominant goalie performance that I can recall was 2002 OG QF when Khabibulin stopped 52 SOG from the Czechs.

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09-06-2013, 04:34 PM
  #203
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Yeah, but it's not like the Soviet goal was defended by a great goaltender after Tretiak retired. In fact, the only time in the post-Tretiak era when Team Russia had a dominant goalie performance that I can recall was 2002 OG QF when Khabibulin stopped 52 SOG from the Czechs.
Didn't Irbe play for the National team for a while?

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09-06-2013, 07:42 PM
  #204
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Lidstrom wasn't an All-Star until age 27 in 98, his seventh year in the league. He didn't win the Norris until age 30 in 01, his tenth year in the league. He was not slated as the Wings' franchise player when he started playing, & was not considered their number one defender for the first few years of his career. At various points early in his career, Lidstrom was down the Wings depth chart behind Fetisov, Konstantinov, Coffey, Howe & Murphy. He didn't emerge as the clear top D until 98, & perhaps wasn't even recognized as the best Wing until 01.

If he was truly "generational," then why did it take a decade before he was recognized as the greatest player at his position? Or even on his team?

In contrast, Denis Potvin was projected to be the next Orr, was drafted first overall & won the Calder at 20, was a first team All-Star at 21 & a Norris winner at 22. The Islanders built their franchise around him, & named him team captain at age 25. He was the clear number one D for the franchise for his entire career, & was arguably the MVP for the Isles during their Stanley Cup dynasty years, even with Trottier & Bossy playing in their primes.

Ray Bourque was drafted 8th overall, won the Calder at 19, was an All-Star for 17 consecutive years starting with his first season, & won his first Norris at 26. He was clearly the MVP on the Bruins for his entire tenure in Boston, and was generally regarded as a top 3 defenseman in the league for almost his entire career.

Paul Coffey was drafted 6th overall, All-Star second year at 20, first of 5 100 point seasons at 22, first Norris at 23, came within a point of Bobby Orr's record for points by defenceman at 24, & beat Lidstrom for a Norris at age 33 when Lidstrom was 24. By age 24 Coffey was arguably a top 2 player in the world, eclipsed only by Gretzky, & was debated as such by many, & he already cemented himself a spot in the HOF & the list of all-time greats by the time he was in his sixth season.

Lidstrom's ascent into "all-time great" & "best defenceman of his generation" status is a relatively recent designation, coming in the latter half of his career & post-retirement. He really wasn't considered on that kind of elite level by most until he was years into his career, despite an exceptional rookie campaign.

The way some people on HF talk, Lidstrom was as elite as Potvin, Bourque & Coffey from the moment he stepped into the league, too, but if that was the case, he would've been recognized earlier by everybody - his coaches, teammates, opposing players, the media, scouts. He wasn't. If somebody came to any one of you 94ish & said Lidstrom was a top 10 player in the world at the time who would go on to be considered an all-time great, most of you would've thought the dude was nuts for suggesting it. Yet by a couple of years into the careers of Potvin, Bourque & Coffey, they were already dominant NHL forces with clear HOF careers ahead of them. & none of them ever had any guy higher up the depth chart than they did, they were always the number one point man.

I'm not exactly sure what a "generational talent" or "generational player" is or what the distinction is, because there is no clear & concise consensus definition, so the distinction is meaningless.

But I really don't see where Lidstrom has the edge over Bourque, Potvin or Coffey in this regard, or Harvey or Shore for that matter. If Lidstrom is "generational," than so are these guys. Counting Lidstrom's Norrises when he had a lot weaker competition than Bourque, Potvin & Coffey for accolades is not the best way to determine his value in this regard.

Lidstrom is an all-time great, for sure, but he is overrated around here.

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09-07-2013, 12:11 AM
  #205
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Would Bourque and Potvin be considered generational talents too?
Bingo.

This is my issue with calling him a generational talent.

The guy was great, but he wasn't game changing, totally dominating, doing things no one else could think of doing, great.

McInnis had the harder shot. Pronger was tougher. Niedermayer was faster. and as those guys faded others like Weber and Chara took their place. But Lidstrom just plugged along at the top of the league for 2 decades.

Lidstrom is a special player, but he is not in my mind a generational talent. HE is whatever the level immediately below that is.

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09-07-2013, 12:36 AM
  #206
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Originally Posted by Boom Boom Bear View Post
Lidstrom wasn't an All-Star until age 27 in 98, his seventh year in the league. He didn't win the Norris until age 30 in 01, his tenth year in the league. He was not slated as the Wings' franchise player when he started playing, & was not considered their number one defender for the first few years of his career. At various points early in his career, Lidstrom was down the Wings depth chart behind Fetisov, Konstantinov, Coffey, Howe & Murphy. He didn't emerge as the clear top D until 98, & perhaps wasn't even recognized as the best Wing until 01.

If he was truly "generational," then why did it take a decade before he was recognized as the greatest player at his position? Or even on his team?

In contrast, Denis Potvin was projected to be the next Orr, was drafted first overall & won the Calder at 20, was a first team All-Star at 21 & a Norris winner at 22. The Islanders built their franchise around him, & named him team captain at age 25. He was the clear number one D for the franchise for his entire career, & was arguably the MVP for the Isles during their Stanley Cup dynasty years, even with Trottier & Bossy playing in their primes.

Ray Bourque was drafted 8th overall, won the Calder at 19, was an All-Star for 17 consecutive years starting with his first season, & won his first Norris at 26. He was clearly the MVP on the Bruins for his entire tenure in Boston, and was generally regarded as a top 3 defenseman in the league for almost his entire career.

Paul Coffey was drafted 6th overall, All-Star second year at 20, first of 5 100 point seasons at 22, first Norris at 23, came within a point of Bobby Orr's record for points by defenceman at 24, & beat Lidstrom for a Norris at age 33 when Lidstrom was 24. By age 24 Coffey was arguably a top 2 player in the world, eclipsed only by Gretzky, & was debated as such by many, & he already cemented himself a spot in the HOF & the list of all-time greats by the time he was in his sixth season.

Lidstrom's ascent into "all-time great" & "best defenceman of his generation" status is a relatively recent designation, coming in the latter half of his career & post-retirement. He really wasn't considered on that kind of elite level by most until he was years into his career, despite an exceptional rookie campaign.

The way some people on HF talk, Lidstrom was as elite as Potvin, Bourque & Coffey from the moment he stepped into the league, too, but if that was the case, he would've been recognized earlier by everybody - his coaches, teammates, opposing players, the media, scouts. He wasn't. If somebody came to any one of you 94ish & said Lidstrom was a top 10 player in the world at the time who would go on to be considered an all-time great, most of you would've thought the dude was nuts for suggesting it. Yet by a couple of years into the careers of Potvin, Bourque & Coffey, they were already dominant NHL forces with clear HOF careers ahead of them. & none of them ever had any guy higher up the depth chart than they did, they were always the number one point man.

I'm not exactly sure what a "generational talent" or "generational player" is or what the distinction is, because there is no clear & concise consensus definition, so the distinction is meaningless.

But I really don't see where Lidstrom has the edge over Bourque, Potvin or Coffey in this regard, or Harvey or Shore for that matter. If Lidstrom is "generational," than so are these guys. Counting Lidstrom's Norrises when he had a lot weaker competition than Bourque, Potvin & Coffey for accolades is not the best way to determine his value in this regard.

Lidstrom is an all-time great, for sure, but he is overrated around here.

I mainly disagree with the argument that draft position carries weight in the discussion. Clearly the NHL was going through a shift in where scouting took place, in addition to the rules mentioned above that really tilted the ice in favor of North Americans due to the age restrictions, perceptions of European players that had little to do with skill.

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09-09-2013, 08:54 PM
  #207
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No. He was a transcendent player defensively. He wasn't defined by an era of ugly brutishness like,say, Scott Stevens. He could excel during an era that favored that style, which he did. Also, he was great on any rink size. How is that not the embodiment of transcendent? He played with intelligence and technique. These are two things that fall in line with any era. No. He was definitely not a generational talent--quite the opposite. He was a transcendent talent.

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09-09-2013, 09:04 PM
  #208
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Originally Posted by Boom Boom Bear View Post
Lidstrom wasn't an All-Star until age 27 in 98, his seventh year in the league. He didn't win the Norris until age 30 in 01, his tenth year in the league. He was not slated as the Wings' franchise player when he started playing, & was not considered their number one defender for the first few years of his career. At various points early in his career, Lidstrom was down the Wings depth chart behind Fetisov, Konstantinov, Coffey, Howe & Murphy. He didn't emerge as the clear top D until 98, & perhaps wasn't even recognized as the best Wing until 01.

If he was truly "generational," then why did it take a decade before he was recognized as the greatest player at his position? Or even on his team?

In contrast, Denis Potvin was projected to be the next Orr, was drafted first overall & won the Calder at 20, was a first team All-Star at 21 & a Norris winner at 22. The Islanders built their franchise around him, & named him team captain at age 25. He was the clear number one D for the franchise for his entire career, & was arguably the MVP for the Isles during their Stanley Cup dynasty years, even with Trottier & Bossy playing in their primes.

Ray Bourque was drafted 8th overall, won the Calder at 19, was an All-Star for 17 consecutive years starting with his first season, & won his first Norris at 26. He was clearly the MVP on the Bruins for his entire tenure in Boston, and was generally regarded as a top 3 defenseman in the league for almost his entire career.

Paul Coffey was drafted 6th overall, All-Star second year at 20, first of 5 100 point seasons at 22, first Norris at 23, came within a point of Bobby Orr's record for points by defenceman at 24, & beat Lidstrom for a Norris at age 33 when Lidstrom was 24. By age 24 Coffey was arguably a top 2 player in the world, eclipsed only by Gretzky, & was debated as such by many, & he already cemented himself a spot in the HOF & the list of all-time greats by the time he was in his sixth season.

Lidstrom's ascent into "all-time great" & "best defenceman of his generation" status is a relatively recent designation, coming in the latter half of his career & post-retirement. He really wasn't considered on that kind of elite level by most until he was years into his career, despite an exceptional rookie campaign.

The way some people on HF talk, Lidstrom was as elite as Potvin, Bourque & Coffey from the moment he stepped into the league, too, but if that was the case, he would've been recognized earlier by everybody - his coaches, teammates, opposing players, the media, scouts. He wasn't. If somebody came to any one of you 94ish & said Lidstrom was a top 10 player in the world at the time who would go on to be considered an all-time great, most of you would've thought the dude was nuts for suggesting it. Yet by a couple of years into the careers of Potvin, Bourque & Coffey, they were already dominant NHL forces with clear HOF careers ahead of them. & none of them ever had any guy higher up the depth chart than they did, they were always the number one point man.

I'm not exactly sure what a "generational talent" or "generational player" is or what the distinction is, because there is no clear & concise consensus definition, so the distinction is meaningless.

But I really don't see where Lidstrom has the edge over Bourque, Potvin or Coffey in this regard, or Harvey or Shore for that matter. If Lidstrom is "generational," than so are these guys. Counting Lidstrom's Norrises when he had a lot weaker competition than Bourque, Potvin & Coffey for accolades is not the best way to determine his value in this regard.

Lidstrom is an all-time great, for sure, but he is overrated around here.
It took hockey fans 10 + years to reconcile his true value. Because his game didn't lie in the fringes of what is considered dirty or clean and because he didn't over rely on measurable a like slap shot speed, it took a long time for people to appreciate his game.

I'm an Avs fan but, sorry, this guy deserves his due.

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09-10-2013, 03:20 AM
  #209
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It took hockey fans 10 + years to reconcile his true value. Because his game didn't lie in the fringes of what is considered dirty or clean and because he didn't over rely on measurable a like slap shot speed, it took a long time for people to appreciate his game.

I'm an Avs fan but, sorry, this guy deserves his due.
Has it crossed your mind that there may actually have been better players at that time than him? Even in the same team, even playing the same position, not to mention in the league

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09-10-2013, 10:13 AM
  #210
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I think other d-men had higher peaks than Lidstrom, but the only man who had a comparable stability over his career was Bourque.

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09-10-2013, 10:23 AM
  #211
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I think other d-men had higher peaks than Lidstrom, but the only man who had a comparable stability over his career was Bourque.
Orr won 8 Norris trophies.

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09-10-2013, 11:18 AM
  #212
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Orr won 8 Norris trophies.
But didn't play 20 solid seasons, which I think was the point.

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09-10-2013, 11:57 AM
  #213
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I think other d-men had higher peaks than Lidstrom, but the only man who had a comparable stability over his career was Bourque.
Lidstrom is interesting case: at first half of his career he competed with historically the strongest pack of defensmen and ironically, the second half of his career he competed against significantly weaker group if not the weakest group of high-end defensmen.

He couldnt beat the aging all-time bests, yet he destroyed his weaker but still all-star counterparts.

So as has been said by someone, he is not generational talent, but he's as close to it as he can.

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09-10-2013, 12:12 PM
  #214
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Whatever you want to term Lidstrom > "generational talent"

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09-10-2013, 12:35 PM
  #215
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Lidstrom is interesting case: at first half of his career he competed with historically the strongest pack of defensmen and ironically, the second half of his career he competed against significantly weaker group if not the weakest group of high-end defensmen.

He couldnt beat the aging all-time bests, yet he destroyed his weaker but still all-star counterparts.

So as has been said by someone, he is not generational talent, but he's as close to it as he can.
I'd agree with the general gist of your argument, but would nitpick splitting Lidstrom's career in half like that, as Lidstrom started beating the "all time bests" in Norris votes (I'd presume this includes Bourque, Chelios, and Coffey, although names like Stevens, McGinnis, and Leetch are also surely highly relevant) by 1998 (only McGinnis would beat him in '99, none of the older big guns would ever do so again), which was a year after his real coming out party in the '97 playoffs. So that's really only 5 1/2 seasons which it took him to get to the top of the charts.

Norris Votes for those who wish to peruse them for that time period:

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...&postcount=104

Which isn't too bad. How many rookie defensemen in history would have competing for Norrises if they'd started in 1992 and had to compete against '92 Leetch, '93 Chelios, '94 Bourque, '95 Coffey, '96 Chelios and '97 Leetch? Those weren't just great defensemen who were winning the Norris, they were established great defensemen having great seasons.

Having said that, as I stated earlier in this thread, my personal definition of "generational" is a cut above the level Lidstrom ever reached. He was an amazing player (and along with Yzerman, one of my two favorites ever) who did seem to play nearly flawless hockey for about a decade, but he never quite reached the level of dominance I think of when I consider a player "generational." Really, the only two players I've ever seen reach that level were Lemieux and Hasek (I started watching in '92, so Gretzky's peak, Orr, and Howe all predate me), who were just so far beyond the norm that it was like they were playing a different game.


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09-10-2013, 01:39 PM
  #216
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It took Ray Bourque 7 years to win a Norris.

It took Larry Robinson 4 years (as part of an official dynasty).

It took Paul Coffey 4 years (also part of an official dynasty).

It took Dennis Potvin 3 years (again, also part of an official dynasty).

It took Chris Chelios 6 years.

It took Chris Pronger 7 years.

It took Doug Harvey 8 years.

Bobby Orr was the only defenseman who walked into the league and started destroying things on a team that wasn't necessarily Cup-guaranteed at the time.

I think Nick Lidstrom's growing pains are safe.

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09-10-2013, 04:30 PM
  #217
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It took Ray Bourque 7 years to win a Norris.

It took Larry Robinson 4 years (as part of an official dynasty).

It took Paul Coffey 4 years (also part of an official dynasty).

It took Dennis Potvin 3 years (again, also part of an official dynasty).

It took Chris Chelios 6 years.

It took Chris Pronger 7 years.

It took Doug Harvey 8 years.

Bobby Orr was the only defenseman who walked into the league and started destroying things on a team that wasn't necessarily Cup-guaranteed at the time.

I think Nick Lidstrom's growing pains are safe.

Now do it by age and see what happens

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09-10-2013, 04:58 PM
  #218
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Now do it by age and see what happens
Maybe Lidström did not really have all-time great talent(Comaparatively low draft choice), but was a great student of the game who learned not the least through playing with Coffey, Konstantinov, McCrimmon, Howe and Fetisov. He is after all sometimes called Mr. Perfect and is really down to earth and seem intelligent.

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09-10-2013, 05:22 PM
  #219
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Now do it by age and see what happens
I couldn't stand the suspense, so:

Bourque 26
Robinson 25
Coffey 23
Potvin 22
Chelios 27
Pronger 25
Harvey 30 (award created just one year previous)
Lidstrom 30

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09-10-2013, 05:26 PM
  #220
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Maybe Lidström did not really have all-time great talent(Comaparatively low draft choice), but was a great student of the game who learned not the least through playing with Coffey, Konstantinov, McCrimmon, Howe and Fetisov. He is after all sometimes called Mr. Perfect and is really down to earth and seem intelligent.
No doubt.
I didn‘t say otherwise, I was simply putting some perspective on the whole “this many seasons to win a Norris“ thing.

Almost every player mentioned were 18 or 19 year old rookies while Lidstrom was 22 before his rookie season was over.

Lidstrom is viewed as a slow starter not just because it took him X amount of years to win his first Norris but also because it took him X amount of years to even make the NHL.

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09-11-2013, 01:47 AM
  #221
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No doubt.
I didn‘t say otherwise, I was simply putting some perspective on the whole “this many seasons to win a Norris“ thing.

Almost every player mentioned were 18 or 19 year old rookies while Lidstrom was 22 before his rookie season was over.

Lidstrom is viewed as a slow starter not just because it took him X amount of years to win his first Norris but also because it took him X amount of years to even make the NHL.
Nahh, Lidström was pretty good in SEL for quite a while before playing in the NHL. I think the NHL scouting missed out. The problem I think was his size. In those days with the clutch and grab hockey big players (often slow pylons) were drafted first. Detroit took a gamble and lucked out.

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09-11-2013, 07:26 AM
  #222
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Nahh, Lidström was pretty good in SEL for quite a while before playing in the NHL. I think the NHL scouting missed out. The problem I think was his size. In those days with the clutch and grab hockey big players (often slow pylons) were drafted first. Detroit took a gamble and lucked out.
Yeah he was a real franchise talent before his draft. Not. He was not even drafted the first year of eligibility. I just dont think he was very fine tuned in his game during his first couple of seasons in the NHL, even though he obviously had taken really great steps during the two years after being drafted. There is nothing to suggest that he could not study the game in the SHL as well.

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09-11-2013, 09:57 AM
  #223
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I couldn't stand the suspense, so:

Bourque 26
Robinson 25
Coffey 23
Potvin 22
Chelios 27
Pronger 25
Harvey 30 (award created just one year previous)
Lidstrom 30
I kind of hate the "Lidstrom didn't start winning until everyone else retired" arguments, so here are a few more numbers.

Number of Norris Trophies Won After Lidstrom entered the league:

Leetch 2
Chelios 2
Bourque 1
Coffey 1

So Raymond Bourque, generally considered the best of this bunch by a comfortable margin, only managed to win one Norris trophy after Lidstrom entered the league. Basically, the competition was so strong during those years that no one, not even some of the best ever, was cleaning up in the trophy count. It's certainly fair to point out that these guys, even when not winning, were ahead of Lidstrom in Norris voting for a while, but once again, that stops in 1998 when Bourque, the oldest of Lidstrom's contempories, was 38. Lidstrom would win two Norris trophies after turning 38. If anything, this list could probably be used as evidence to support Chelios and Leetch moving up a spot or two on the all time rankings list. Winning two Norris trophies in that stretch is a pretty incredible feat.

On that note, here's the flip to the "how young was their first Norris win?" post above. Ages for last trophy wins:

Bourque - 33
Leetch - 29
Chelios -34
Coffey - 34
MacInnis - 35 (just shy of 36)
Robinson -29
Potvin - 25
Pronger - 25
Harvey - 37
Lidstrom - 41

A few of those might be off a year depending upon my math and what exact date you choose for the Norris win. But I'm pretty sure that regardless of math and the specific dates the Norris was awarded, Lidstrom won 4 Norris trophies after everyone else (except Harvey) won their last.

I merely point all of this out as a counter to the "Lidstrom was a late bloomer" argument, which I think gets overemphasized. He was a late bloomer, but he also faced some of the toughest competition in history when he was young, and he lasted a lot longer than almost all of his comparables.

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09-11-2013, 01:04 PM
  #224
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Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
I think other d-men had higher peaks than Lidstrom, but the only man who had a comparable stability over his career was Bourque.
Well, Bourque cornered the market on that one. Lidstrom was never in the Norris top 5 conversation until 1996(rightfully so since he was not as good back then). People saw early that he was going to be a good defenseman(Runner up for the Calder), but the game he was playing back then just did not mesh as well.
Bourque walked into the league as a Norris runner up, or in the top 3 almost every year.

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09-11-2013, 01:21 PM
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Rhiessan71
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Originally Posted by overg View Post
I kind of hate the "Lidstrom didn't start winning until everyone else retired" arguments, so here are a few more numbers.

Number of Norris Trophies Won After Lidstrom entered the league:

Leetch 2
Chelios 2
Bourque 1
Coffey 1

So Raymond Bourque, generally considered the best of this bunch by a comfortable margin, only managed to win one Norris trophy after Lidstrom entered the league. Basically, the competition was so strong during those years that no one, not even some of the best ever, was cleaning up in the trophy count. It's certainly fair to point out that these guys, even when not winning, were ahead of Lidstrom in Norris voting for a while, but once again, that stops in 1998 when Bourque, the oldest of Lidstrom's contempories, was 38. Lidstrom would win two Norris trophies after turning 38. If anything, this list could probably be used as evidence to support Chelios and Leetch moving up a spot or two on the all time rankings list. Winning two Norris trophies in that stretch is a pretty incredible feat.

On that note, here's the flip to the "how young was their first Norris win?" post above. Ages for last trophy wins:

Bourque - 33
Leetch - 29
Chelios -34
Coffey - 34
MacInnis - 35 (just shy of 36)
Robinson -29
Potvin - 25
Pronger - 25
Harvey - 37
Lidstrom - 41

A few of those might be off a year depending upon my math and what exact date you choose for the Norris win. But I'm pretty sure that regardless of math and the specific dates the Norris was awarded, Lidstrom won 4 Norris trophies after everyone else (except Harvey) won their last.

I merely point all of this out as a counter to the "Lidstrom was a late bloomer" argument, which I think gets overemphasized. He was a late bloomer, but he also faced some of the toughest competition in history when he was young, and he lasted a lot longer than almost all of his comparables.

Wait...so you are trying to counter the "Lidstrom was a late bloomer" argument by showing us all how he won more than half of his Norris' after almost everyone else tended to win theirs?

Look, I have no issue with the argument that if Lidstrom comes over 2-3 years earlier that he would have "bloomed" earlier but the other side of that coin is that I guarantee you he isn't still in the NHL much in his 40's.
One can attempt to talk up the SEL league all one wants but the reality is that that they play less than half the games, half the practices and less than a tenth of the travel of an NHL sched.
An NHL sched takes a toll and adding 2-3 more NHL seasons to the front end of ones career will sure as **** take away from some at the back end.

As my ole buddy Hardy likes to say all the time, it was a perfect storm.
Lidstrom's late blooming allowed him to face some of the weakest and more importantly, some of the most inconsistent Norris competition in the history of the award.
He took advantage of this in spades.

The real problem is not in calling him a late bloomer, he most certainly was! The problem is that far too many people try to make him out as being much better than he actually was in the first 1/4 of his career.

It wasn't until around 97/98 that he truly entered the upper D-men echelon and a couple of years more before he became that super Elite D-man that we know him for today.

It's the revisionism of his early career that causes the problems not in calling him a late bloomer.

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