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2nd Best Defenceman Of The 80s

View Poll Results: 2nd Best Defenceman Of The 80s
Denis Potvin 23 24.21%
Paul Coffey 49 51.58%
Chris Chelios 4 4.21%
Rod Langway 3 3.16%
Al MacInnis 2 2.11%
Doug Wilson 0 0%
Mark Howe 5 5.26%
Scott Stevens 2 2.11%
Larry Robinson 0 0%
Other 7 7.37%
Voters: 95. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
10-07-2013, 05:06 PM
  #26
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
He was a HHOFer by 1990 with seven (7) first team all-star selections by then. Recent HHOFers like Niedermayer have no more than four their entire career.

I have a lot of memories of the eighties, having watched hockey the whole decade as a teenager and young adult then, and while I was a Habs, Canucks and Oilers fanatic, I was in awe of Bourque, and he was certainly touted as the game's best time and again. Many game day storylines revolved around him. He excelled in all facets of the game throughout the decade. He was considered a complete defenseman. To say Coffey was the best defenseman of the decade (not just two or three years due to gaudy offensive numbers) sounds a bit like favoring Housley over Chelios based on scoring stats.

Anyways, it appears there are some these days who think Coffey was better than Bourque so on this board at least, the poll doesn't reflect the opinions ideally of posters. Don't anyone start a 'Who's the second best center of all time' thread because Lemieux has his supporters.
To be precise, Bourque had 6 First Teams in the time frame this thread is about. I realize it's nitpicking. Anyway, carry on.


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Old
10-07-2013, 05:23 PM
  #27
Dennis Bonvie
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Coffey missed too many games to be an AS in 1987 and 1988. The time frame in question also leaves out Bourque's 1989-90 season. If 1989-90 were included, Bourque's case would be much stronger obviously.

From Dale Hawerchuk's LOH profile:



Edit: To be fair, mid 1980s was basically Coffey's peak; Bourque was better from 1987 onwards.

I just think it's far from a given that Bourque was the best defenseman of the 1980s, even in the NHL. I think if you are doing a poll for best defenseman of the 1980s, you could make an argument for a couple of guys and the OP shouldn't just assume Bourque would win.

Edit: When the Bruins reached the finals in 1988, they also had Cam Neely (HHOF) and Rick Middleton (some argue he should be in). Definitely no Oilers, but not a patsy team without Bourque, either.
Middleton was all done in 1988.

Bourque led that team in scoring that year and only Kenny Linseman outscored him in the playoffs. He pretty much carried that team on his back. They would be mediocre at best without him.

Meanwhile, the Oilers of '88 steamrolled the league in the playoffs, going 16-2 without Coffey.

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Old
10-07-2013, 05:29 PM
  #28
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The only time they were actually competing with each other in the '80s Fetisov outperformed Coffey (offensively and defensively), yet you claim Coffey was better. Fetisov was definitely better than Coffey and could definitely play consistently over a 80 game schedule. The only reason Fetisov would't have been a Norris threat in the '80s would be because he's russian.
I don't know about that. The only time they played directly against each other in the Canada Cup was 1987. Coffey wasn't there in 1981, and Fetisov wasn't there in 1984.

Coffey:
1984 Canada Cup - 11 points in 8 games
1987 Canada Cup - 6 points in 9 games

Fetisov
1981 Canada Cup - 8 points in 7 games
1987 Canada Cup - 7 points in 9 games

After that Coffey plays very well in the 1991 Canada Cup (which Fetisov wasn't there for) and the 1996 World Cup where he is Canada's best defenseman while Fetisov isn't a big factor anymore.

So I am just saying, it isn't as if you can give a clear edge to Fetisov here either.

All we have to judge for sure is the 1989 NHL onwards. In this case Fetisov is not among the elite in the NHL while Coffey still is. Yes I know Fetisov is spent by now, but Coffey himself played a lot of hockey by this time. Even accounting for the culture shift it still is quite a big separation in the 1990s between these two.

Fetisov was certainly better in the 1980s, we know this, but so was Coffey. I would have had a hard time passing up Coffey on my team in favour of Fetisov back then.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Yeah. I think Bourque was easily the best defenseman of the 1990s (Chelios a distant 2nd), but I'm kind of reluctant to give him the 1980s too!
I think you almost have to give it to Bourque in the 1980s. I realize Coffey is very close behind, but he missed the 1979-'80 season, was a rookie in 1980-'81 and wasn't an all-star until his 3rd year. The missed time in 1987 and 1988 hurts him too. This is Bourque's decade, even with Coffey's better Cup runs.

Other than that, Potvin and Robinson weren't Norris threats after the mid 1980s, Chelios didn't arrive until the mid 1980s and others like Langway, Wilson, Howe either didn't maintain it long enough or had far less all-star nods.

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Old
10-07-2013, 07:16 PM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I don't know about that. The only time they played directly against each other in the Canada Cup was 1987. Coffey wasn't there in 1981, and Fetisov wasn't there in 1984.

Coffey:
1984 Canada Cup - 11 points in 8 games
1987 Canada Cup - 6 points in 9 games

Fetisov
1981 Canada Cup - 8 points in 7 games
1987 Canada Cup - 7 points in 9 games

After that Coffey plays very well in the 1991 Canada Cup (which Fetisov wasn't there for) and the 1996 World Cup where he is Canada's best defenseman while Fetisov isn't a big factor anymore.

So I am just saying, it isn't as if you can give a clear edge to Fetisov here either.

All we have to judge for sure is the 1989 NHL onwards. In this case Fetisov is not among the elite in the NHL while Coffey still is. Yes I know Fetisov is spent by now, but Coffey himself played a lot of hockey by this time. Even accounting for the culture shift it still is quite a big separation in the 1990s between these two.

Fetisov was certainly better in the 1980s, we know this, but so was Coffey. I would have had a hard time passing up Coffey on my team in favour of Fetisov back then.



I think you almost have to give it to Bourque in the 1980s. I realize Coffey is very close behind, but he missed the 1979-'80 season, was a rookie in 1980-'81 and wasn't an all-star until his 3rd year. The missed time in 1987 and 1988 hurts him too. This is Bourque's decade, even with Coffey's better Cup runs.

Other than that, Potvin and Robinson weren't Norris threats after the mid 1980s, Chelios didn't arrive until the mid 1980s and others like Langway, Wilson, Howe either didn't maintain it long enough or had far less all-star nods.
I'm not sure.

In relation to other greats, Coffey was never that stallwort and steady d-man who could regularly dictate every aspect of the game. And unlike Fetisov and Bourque, generally somebody I wouldn't consider building a team around.

At the very least, a unique and interesting case in history of the game.

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10-07-2013, 08:52 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Both Bourque and Coffey are ahead of Fetisov. It is hard to judge Fetisov. The way the Russians played all year they faced relatively weak competition and were geared towards peaking at the Worlds or the Canada Cups. It is a lot easier to see your best in a two week span than over a full 80 game season.
Not that I fully agree with Fetisov's high ranking in the top 60 D project but his peak is the time period in question and he wasn't as good as Coffey in the 90's and still did better than him in the top 60 project. That would strongly suggest that many would view him as better in the 80's one would think.

Quote:
It doesn't mean Fetisov wouldn't have been a Norris threat in the 1980s, it just means we can't assume he would have.
I think it's safe to assume that Fetisov could very well have been a strong Norris threat in the 80's actually and I'm hardly his biggest booster around here.

Quote:
We do know that in the 1990s he wasn't anywhere near Bourque's level, and for that matter Coffey's. I'll take into account the culture shift to the NHL, the fact that he was 30,31 when he did it and the fact that Tikhonov drained them emotionally and physically.
Agreed in the 90's Fetisov faded and that's part of the reason why I have huge questions about his top rating in the Dman project but there is little doubt that he was pretty much equal to Ray in the 80's and that Coffey was a nightmare defensively when compared to many of the other top guys being considered here.

Quote:
I don't think you can hold it against Coffey that he had Gretzky and then Lemieux. I'm not sure why stuff like this gets brought up, because if we are going to do that we should say the same thing about Fetisov and the Russian 5 in the 1980s.
Usually it's 2 words but 4 here will suffice, Blair MaDonald and Warren Yong.

Sure top players make other players around them better but these 2 guys, Wayne and Mario are hands down the top 2 offensive guys in the entire history of the NHL. that and the fact that Coffey played with both guys in their peaks and teams that played fire wagon hockey absolutely should be considered. Just to take the total opposite view but how would Coffey have fared in the mid 90's or 2000's with Lemaire or Hitch as his coach?

Context really does matter.

Quote:
Great players complement other great players, and what matters the most is how they do individually while judging them. I think it is obvious that Coffey was an integral part of that offensive attack and not exactly a Rob Brown type.
Quote:
Potvin comes to mind as well, but you almost want to do 1975-'85 for him. He misses one year in the 1980s due to retirement, and wasn't a threat for the Norris after 1984.
Well Potvin had a great 9 years in the decade where he was a beast offensively and defensively, it's easy to say that Potvin in his worst year (and given team circumstances) was probably still more valuable than Paul in his worst 3 years of that decade IMO, maybe even 4.

Quote:
Howe would lose the Norris to either Bourque or Coffey and never played consistently at their level for the decade.
Howe is a bit of a forgotten man here as well as he had a very strong decade and probably is closer to the top guy than the 10th best Dman of the decade. His cake lacks the icing of some of the other players but man was he ever a really solid guy in the 80's

Quote:
Still have to go with Coffey #2 here unless shown otherwise.
Coffey has the case offensively sure but his overall impact might only from a game to game basis might only be 3rd or 4th in the decade IMO (and that's leaving Fetisov out of the equation)

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Old
10-07-2013, 11:16 PM
  #31
Rhiessan71
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Here's a big one that always gets me in a Bourque vs Coffey in the 80's discussion.

Despite Coffey out scoring Bourque at Even Strength to the tune of 473 points to 418 points, Bourque is a +348 while Coffey is only a +260.

Now, don't get me wrong here, +/- can be a horrible stat on it's own but when used in correlation with ES points totals, it sure can get some paint on that "big picture" canvas.

Bourque's +348 btw, led all D-men from 79/80-88/89 and was 3rd overall only behind Gretzky (+566) and and barely behind Kurri (+349)

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10-08-2013, 12:26 AM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I don't know about that. The only time they played directly against each other in the Canada Cup was 1987. Coffey wasn't there in 1981, and Fetisov wasn't there in 1984.

Coffey:
1984 Canada Cup - 11 points in 8 games
1987 Canada Cup - 6 points in 9 games

Fetisov
1981 Canada Cup - 8 points in 7 games
1987 Canada Cup - 7 points in 9 games

After that Coffey plays very well in the 1991 Canada Cup (which Fetisov wasn't there for) and the 1996 World Cup where he is Canada's best defenseman while Fetisov isn't a big factor anymore.

So I am just saying, it isn't as if you can give a clear edge to Fetisov here either.

All we have to judge for sure is the 1989 NHL onwards. In this case Fetisov is not among the elite in the NHL while Coffey still is. Yes I know Fetisov is spent by now, but Coffey himself played a lot of hockey by this time. Even accounting for the culture shift it still is quite a big separation in the 1990s between these two.

Fetisov was certainly better in the 1980s, we know this, but so was Coffey. I would have had a hard time passing up Coffey on my team in favour of Fetisov back then.



I think you almost have to give it to Bourque in the 1980s. I realize Coffey is very close behind, but he missed the 1979-'80 season, was a rookie in 1980-'81 and wasn't an all-star until his 3rd year. The missed time in 1987 and 1988 hurts him too. This is Bourque's decade, even with Coffey's better Cup runs.

Other than that, Potvin and Robinson weren't Norris threats after the mid 1980s, Chelios didn't arrive until the mid 1980s and others like Langway, Wilson, Howe either didn't maintain it long enough or had far less all-star nods.
isn't 91 and 96 pretty irrelevant in a discussion like this?

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10-08-2013, 02:24 AM
  #33
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Originally Posted by Hobnobs View Post
isn't 91 and 96 pretty irrelevant in a discussion like this?
Not when he's trying to show that perhaps Fetisov's pre-NHL play (the 80's) is being overrated based on his inability to carry that over once he did play in the NHL (the 90's).

Big fish in a small pond turning into a small fish in the big pond later on.
Obviously it's not that simple though. There are excuses, or maybe excuses is too harsh, there are some reasonable and some not so reasonable explanations presented as to why Fetisov couldn't match his play in the 90's to that in the 80's.

The point being, is that it leaves a lot of questions that seem to all require complicated answers.

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10-08-2013, 02:46 AM
  #34
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Not when he's trying to show that perhaps Fetisov's pre-NHL play (the 80's) is being overrated based on his inability to carry that over once he did play in the NHL (the 90's).

Big fish in a small pond turning into a small fish in the big pond later on.
Obviously it's not that simple though. There are excuses, or maybe excuses is too harsh, there are some reasonable and some not so reasonable explanations presented as to why Fetisov couldn't match his play in the 90's to that in the 80's.

The point being, is that it leaves a lot of questions that seem to all require complicated answers.
You realize the soviets let the members of the Green Unit play in the NHL because they thought they were all past their primes?

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10-08-2013, 04:22 AM
  #35
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I still don't understand the idea of using 79-80 to 88-89 as the definition of the decade.

I would agree with Bourque being number one, and I think he would get a large percentage of the votes in a poll, but I don't think he's without argument. I think he's the one that combines consistency and elite play the best.

I think I have to go with Coffey number two. He was just so dominant offensively and had some great playoffs. Could control the play enough that defensive questions aren't much of an issue. I will say he's one of those players that needed to be on the right team to fully utilize his value, but he did play for those teams.

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10-08-2013, 04:43 AM
  #36
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Originally Posted by Regal View Post
I still don't understand the idea of using 79-80 to 88-89 as the definition of the decade.
Agreed.

And Bourque was a 1st team all-star in 1989-1990, the technically last season of the decade. Coffey wasn't.

Head-to-head Bourque was 1st team all-star FIVE TIMES that decade when Coffey wasn't. They were both 1st team all-star selections in 1985. And Coffey was twice 1st team all-star when Bourque was 2nd team.

5-1-2 .. is a clear winning margin for Bourque.

To cite scoring stats and try to imply that Bourque played with anyone in the same league as a Gretzky, Messier or Kurri is stunning, to say the least.

Ironically, the thread that was created to talk about the second best dman of the decade has turned into a discussion of why Bourque is better than Coffey.

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10-08-2013, 07:04 AM
  #37
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I would take Coffey over Bourque any day of the week.
Was he has good defensively as Bourque? No.

But what he brought offensively more then Bourque outweighes what he "lacked" defensively




Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
The Calder, 2 Norris, 6 First team All-star nods and 4 Second team All-star nods in those 10 years seems to say otherwise.

As for Potvin and Robinson is, as was previously mentioned, that they fell off part way through the 80s.
Like was mentioned, take the time frame of 75-84 into account and Potvin walks away with it pretty handily with Robinson bringing in second place.
Which he never would have won, if not for the NHL and their ridiculous rules.

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10-08-2013, 08:46 AM
  #38
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I voted for Coffey. I know he gets a lot of flack for his offensive minded game but in Coffey and the Oilers case the best defence was a great offence.

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10-08-2013, 09:24 AM
  #39
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I voted for Coffey. I know he gets a lot of flack for his offensive minded game but in Coffey and the Oilers case the best defence was a great offence.
that argument is team specific, put Bourque on any team in the league and his results would have been quite similar IMO, Coffey on the other hand now way.

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10-08-2013, 09:39 AM
  #40
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I don't understand how Coffey is being selected over Potvin. What am I missing?

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10-08-2013, 09:49 AM
  #41
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Originally Posted by KingWoodballs View Post
I would take Coffey over Bourque any day of the week.
Was he has good defensively as Bourque? No.

But what he brought offensively more then Bourque outweighes what he "lacked" defensively
Don't you mean what Gretzky and Lemieux added to Coffey's offense

What % of Coffey's offense do you think we could reasonably attribute to 99 and 66? If it's even just 10%, the offensive gap between him and Bourque narrows considerably.



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Which he never would have won, if not for the NHL and their ridiculous rules.
You mean the same ridiculous rules like going into the draft that Pocklington and Gretzky circumvented with the personal services contract?
You don't think there was going to be fallout to such actions?

Besides, even if if we were to say that Gretzky should have won the Calder, it still means that Bourque was the best rookie not named Gretzky that year. Which is far from the worst thing that could be said about anyone. Coffey is still just a 32 point rookie that isn't even getting a sniff at the Calder.


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10-08-2013, 09:59 AM
  #42
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Not when he's trying to show that perhaps Fetisov's pre-NHL play (the 80's) is being overrated based on his inability to carry that over once he did play in the NHL (the 90's).

Big fish in a small pond turning into a small fish in the big pond later on.
Obviously it's not that simple though. There are excuses, or maybe excuses is too harsh, there are some reasonable and some not so reasonable explanations presented as to why Fetisov couldn't match his play in the 90's to that in the 80's.

The point being, is that it leaves a lot of questions that seem to all require complicated answers.
That's a very strange conclusion or should I say that it's a conclusion dipped in some good old canadian bias.

It's pretty clear that both Bourque and Coffey primes lasted longer. In Coffeys case, 6 years into the '90s. What you don't account for is that Fetisovs career started in 1976 and earned a full-time spot on the CSKA roster in 1977. Four years before Coffey debuted for the Oilers.

Besides, if you want to talk about them in the '90s should we not discuss their level of play after turning 35 or would that unfair since Coffey became a black hole both offensively and defensively?

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10-08-2013, 10:58 AM
  #43
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Originally Posted by Regal View Post
I still don't understand the idea of using 79-80 to 88-89 as the definition of the decade.
Because the year is defined by the playoffs, and 1980-1989 are the playoffs of the 1980s.

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10-08-2013, 11:05 AM
  #44
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That's a very strange conclusion or should I say that it's a conclusion dipped in some good old canadian bias.
Oh there's prolly some bias in there from me but it's not Canadian bias, it's NHL bias and I fully admit it.
Show me how Fetisov, playing about half the games of an average NHL player per season against predominantly non-NHL quality talent should be taken at par with what Bourque and Coffey played and played against.

Don't get me wrong, I think Fetisov was a hell of a d-man but I question sometimes whether his top 10 placement is a little inflated.
The "hype" around Fetisov is the same "hype" that was proclaiming Larionov as the Russian Gretzky and I'm sorry but that's about as inflated as one can get.

Quote:
It's pretty clear that both Bourque and Coffey primes lasted longer. In Coffeys case, 6 years into the '90s. What you don't account for is that Fetisovs career started in 1976 and earned a full-time spot on the CSKA roster in 1977. Four years before Coffey debuted for the Oilers.

Besides, if you want to talk about them in the '90s should we not discuss their level of play after turning 35 or would that unfair since Coffey became a black hole both offensively and defensively?
Case in point, the answers/explanations/excuses are always complicated.

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10-08-2013, 11:32 AM
  #45
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
Seriously? Bourque was a 1st team or 2nd team all-star EVERY SINGLE YEAR 1980-1989 was considered the only defenseman better than Coffey in the NHL.

They each won two Norris trophies that decade. Coffey had cups with Gretzky, Messier, Kurri and Bourque led his team to the Stanley Cup Finals once with no hall of fame types beside himself.


Bourque:

1979-80 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1980-81 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1981-82 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1982-83 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1983-84 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1984-85 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1985-86 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1986-87 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1987-88 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1988-89 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1989-90 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)

Coffey:

Honors
1981-82 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1982-83 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1983-84 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
1984-85 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1985-86 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)
1988-89 NHL NHL All-Star Team (1st)

Four times Bourque was 1st team all-star the same year Coffey was 2nd year all star (NOT including 1980 or 1990 though technically one of those two times should count, depending on where you slice the decade, so five times that decade however you slice it) and only ONCE was Coffey a 1st team all-star with Bourque on the 2nd team.

Are there any history books that dare to assert baldly that Coffey was the greatest defenseman of the eighties? Coffey was my fav Oiler but I couldn't get anywhere trying to compare him to Bourque. Perhaps history needs to be revised.
You seem to be excluding anyone other than NHL regulars from consideration. There is a lot of support for the notion that Fetisov was the best defenseman during that period. Look at the way that he drove and engineered the potent Soviet offense. Coffey and Bourque were great talents, but they played a subsidiary role on offense (to the forwards) in comparison to Fetisov.

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10-08-2013, 12:22 PM
  #46
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Oh there's prolly some bias in there from me but it's not Canadian bias, it's NHL bias and I fully admit it.
Show me how Fetisov, playing about half the games of an average NHL player per season against predominantly non-NHL quality talent should be taken at par with what Bourque and Coffey played and played against.

Don't get me wrong, I think Fetisov was a hell of a d-man but I question sometimes whether his top 10 placement is a little inflated.
The "hype" around Fetisov is the same "hype" that was proclaiming Larionov as the Russian Gretzky and I'm sorry but that's about as inflated as one can get.



Case in point, the answers/explanations/excuses are always complicated.
Larionov was called the russian gretzky because of his hockey-IQ, not because anyone thought he would score 215 points in an NHL season.

Despite being past his prime and adapting to not only a different brand of hockey but a completely different lifestyle. Fetisov earned a spot in the top-4 on the best team in the league. A team that couldn't wait to trade away Coffey whos defensive lapses simply started to cost the team way too much.

You should also not that Fetisov was still pretty effective offensively when joining the NHL but dropped off when Devils did the bad move of signing his enemy, Kasatonov.


Last edited by jkrx: 10-08-2013 at 12:32 PM.
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10-08-2013, 12:28 PM
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Larionov was called the russian gretzky because of his hockey-IQ, not because anyone thought he would score 215 points in an NHL season.

Despite being past his prime and adapting to not only a different brand of hockey but a completely different lifestyle. Fetisov earned a spot in the top-4 on the best team in the league. A team that couldn't wait to trade away Coffey whos defensive lapses simply started to cost the team way too much.
I would vote Fetisov the best defenseman of the 1980s too, but let's not sugarcoat his NHL career too much. He was horrible in his first NHL stint in NJ before finally finding his niche in Detroit.

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10-08-2013, 12:30 PM
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Coffey and Bourque were great talents, but they played a subsidiary role on offense (to the forwards) in comparison to Fetisov.
Coffey and Bourque pretty much had the same roles as Fetisov on the blueline and PP...

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10-08-2013, 12:40 PM
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I would vote Fetisov the best defenseman of the 1980s too, but let's not sugarcoat his NHL career too much. He was horrible in his first NHL stint in NJ before finally finding his niche in Detroit.
I don't remember him being horrible. He wasn't Bourque, that's for certain but he did a good job during his first season with the Devils. He started playing poorly when they brought in Kasatonov.

I've never given any excuses for players who couldn't play with other players but this one was a terrible move by the Devils. They basically signed the guy that Fetisov had a feud with, add to that, that he was already in a bit of decline after the car accident that killed his younger brother.

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10-08-2013, 12:44 PM
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Agreed in the 90's Fetisov faded and that's part of the reason why I have huge questions about his top rating in the Dman project but there is little doubt that he was pretty much equal to Ray in the 80's and that Coffey was a nightmare defensively when compared to many of the other top guys being considered here.
I think for a normal game in January Coffey let things slide a bit defensively. I can admit that, he was part of a team that played firewagon hockey. But you can't say he didn't control the pace of a game, and if there was an important game with slim lead how many times did Coffey blow it? Not many. I know the 1984 Canada Cup game against the Russians gets brought up a lot, but in all honesty that entire play from the breaking up the 2-on-1 to one fluid motion of going the other way end to end and assisting on the overtime winner..........all I can say, is that there are two players in NHL history that could have done that play as well as Coffey and one of them is him, and the other is Orr.


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Sure top players make other players around them better but these 2 guys, Wayne and Mario are hands down the top 2 offensive guys in the entire history of the NHL. that and the fact that Coffey played with both guys in their peaks and teams that played fire wagon hockey absolutely should be considered. Just to take the total opposite view but how would Coffey have fared in the mid 90's or 2000's with Lemaire or Hitch as his coach?
I'd like to think any coach that has Paul Coffey in his prime will thank their lucky stars and realize that if you let him play his game he will win you more games than if you put a leash on him. 4 Stanley Cups, 3 Canada Cups later I think we can see that Glen Sather knew what he was doing letting his star defenseman strut his stuff. Let's thank God that Ken Hitchcock never got his claws into Paul Coffey and drained all of the creativity out of him.


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Well Potvin had a great 9 years in the decade where he was a beast offensively and defensively, it's easy to say that Potvin in his worst year (and given team circumstances) was probably still more valuable than Paul in his worst 3 years of that decade IMO, maybe even 4.
My main issue is because Coffey was beating him out for Norrises in this decade and had his own fair share of contributions to a dynasty - like Potvin. I'd like to take Potvin, but he misses a year in this decade and he never wins a Norris. I can't put him ahead of Coffey here. A 1975-'85 Potvin I would though.


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I'm not sure.

In relation to other greats, Coffey was never that stallwort and steady d-man who could regularly dictate every aspect of the game. And unlike Fetisov and Bourque, generally somebody I wouldn't consider building a team around.

At the very least, a unique and interesting case in history of the game.
I'm not sure what else Coffey would have to do for you though. Sure he had Gretzky and Lemieux as teammates but they also had him as teammates. 9 out of the 10 highest single season point totals were on a team with Paul Coffey. Yes, a couple of them were partial seasons but there comes a point when the common denominator is impossible to ignore. Coffey was hardly along for the ride, and if Bourque was on a team with Gretzky or Lemieux he wouldn't have been THE building block either, so I think that's fair to point out. If the best player on your roster is Rick Middleton (nothing against Middleton of course) then I can see Coffey as THE guy on that team as well. The guy won the Norris trophy three times, and 9 years apart. Isn't it time to admit that the guy just flat out was a great defenseman wherever he went, whoever was saddled with him?

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You realize the soviets let the members of the Green Unit play in the NHL because they thought they were all past their primes?
The fall of Communism helped as well. That was the main reason

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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Not when he's trying to show that perhaps Fetisov's pre-NHL play (the 80's) is being overrated based on his inability to carry that over once he did play in the NHL (the 90's).

Big fish in a small pond turning into a small fish in the big pond later on.
Obviously it's not that simple though. There are excuses, or maybe excuses is too harsh, there are some reasonable and some not so reasonable explanations presented as to why Fetisov couldn't match his play in the 90's to that in the 80's.

The point being, is that it leaves a lot of questions that seem to all require complicated answers.
Pretty much. This isn't to downgrade Fetisov, but we don't have a projection with Coffey at all, we have what we see with him. We know what he did in the 1980s in the NHL. He won the Norris - twice. We don't have to guess with him. The fact that Fetisov was much inferior to Coffey in the 1990s does for sure cast a bit of doubt about whether or not he would have been head to head in the 1980s with him. On the surface we think he would, but again, that word "think"..........it is projections

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