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Round 2, Vote 1 (HOH Top Centers)

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Old
10-24-2013, 11:45 PM
  #226
Hardyvan123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Nice study. Break it down by opposing teams and centers. Example against Buffalo with Hasek and Peca.

1995-96 Pittsburgh played six games against Buffalo, three home, three away. Lemieux, Hasek and Peca all missed playing time

Nov. 3, 1995 at Buff, 3-3, Lemieux did not play.
Nov. 25, 1995 at Pitt, 5-3 Pitt, Lemieux (0,1,-1).
Dec. 26, 1995 at Pitt, 6-3 Pitt, Lemieux (1,1,0).
Jan. 17, 1996 at Buff, Pitt won 1-0, Lemieux did not play.
Feb. 26, 1996 at Buff,6-3 Buff. Lemieux(0,0,-2)
March 23, 1996 at Pitt, 7-5 Buff. Lemieux(1,2,-1), Peca did not play. Trefilov allowed all the Pittsburgh goals. Hasek finished-up 22 saves on 22 shots.

Rather interesting difference. Lemieux against Hasek and Peca vs Lemieux no Hasek and Peca. Overall, Pittsburgh was well over .500 while Buffalo was not a playoff team, well under .500.
6 games won't tell us much at all IMO, it's too small a sample and the 2 games Mario missed were road games, but again 6 games is too small a sample to derive anything from.

This was the same Pens team that had a 4th place finish in the shortened 95 season and was 2nd in goals for as well.

Mario and his 161 point season led to the same 4th place finish and a 1st in goals for.

He simply didn't have the type of impact that a 161 season over 70 games would seem to indicate on the surface.

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Old
10-25-2013, 12:44 AM
  #227
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
6 games won't tell us much at all IMO, it's too small a sample and the 2 games Mario missed were road games, but again 6 games is too small a sample to derive anything from.

This was the same Pens team that had a 4th place finish in the shortened 95 season and was 2nd in goals for as well.

Mario and his 161 point season led to the same 4th place finish and a 1st in goals for.

He simply didn't have the type of impact that a 161 season over 70 games would seem to indicate on the surface.
What are you talking about, a +10 while having one of the all-time great seasons on the man advantage, which as you know, is not reflected in +/-. The teams D was not exactly all-time great that season either.
When it comes to him possibly being uneven during different games that year, its partly becouse of him at that point not being all-time great 5-on-5, but mostly becouse of his first half of the season being much better than the second, which in my mind was becouse after taking so much time off due to injuries during seasons past, Lemieux at this point simply did not have the juice to play a full season. He was also permanently crippled which is why he mainly shined during the PP. He played one more year after which he himself said that he had lost a step, which was true, probably two or three actually. The question is if he really was that much more fitter efter the three year retirement either, with amongst other things the 02 Olympics in mind where he really was a literal geriatric displaying his amazing shot capazity on top of two half legs and no back. He really, really must have wanted to play there becouse he could barely turn on the ice.


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Old
10-25-2013, 01:53 AM
  #228
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Comparables

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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
No it's not. You've used that as a way to prop up an O6 player on multiple occasions. Hey, I like Doug Harvey better than Lidstrom too, but the fact that Harvey played Gordie Howe every 5 games should have nothing to do with why.



I'd prefer to focus more on how the player performed the other 95% of the time. Preferably 100% of the time. But certainly I have no interest in worrying about the 5%.



Doesn't matter. Hart votes were available to all players, not just centers, so when the argument is put forth that Morenz was the best player of his era or that he was a much bigger presence in MVP voting, my response is a valid one.



This is an old bio with much less info than I like to provide nowadays, but there's clearly info suggesting he was able to play an offensive game: "could rush the puck"... "two way"... and of course he was top-5 in defensemen scoring 5 times so he was putting up good point totals.

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...&postcount=269
The comparable is a valid one. Around hockey it is often the meat of any discussion. Claude Provost playing against Bobby Hull over 14 games of a season the last years of the O6 era. Suddenly not important in hockey analysis?

No interest in worrying about the 5%? So why not give every player a 5% pass on the worst or forgettable moments of his career? Clarke/Kharlamov did not happen? Clarke gets to use his 5% card. The slash cannot be considered any more.

Best player of an era. What about the pre Hart Trophy era? The PCHA era? No Hart Trophy. Point is that you need other reference frameworks otherwise the discussion is artificially limited.

The link to Sylvio Mantha's ATD bio is interesting but it is from a fantasy context not reflected by reality of game situations. What he could do and actually did are two different things. Terry Harper made an end to rush in the 1971 finals. Does not make him a rushing, puck moving defensman. Allan Stanley, a defenseman, taking faceoffs on the Imlach coached Leafs does not make him a center.

Howie Morenz played with Sylvio Mantha. No one denies this fact. But Jean Beliveau played with Doug Harvey and Tom Johnson. 1961-62 season after Harvey was traded the Canadiens' centers had to come back deep to start the rush because the defensemen were not solid in the transition game or rushing the puck. Team actually scored more goals than in 1960-61, 259 to 254 but on a per game basis Beliveau's assists dropped from 58 in 69 games to 23 in 41 games, never again reaching the 1960-61 level, the rest of Beliveau's career. The adjustments to defensive zone exits made by Toe Blake in 1961-62 and beyond reflected how the Canadiens played in the Morenz/Sylvio Mantha era. A good picture emerges about the downward impact on Morenz' assist total.


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Old
10-25-2013, 01:56 AM
  #229
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I See.....

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
6 games won't tell us much at all IMO, it's too small a sample and the 2 games Mario missed were road games, but again 6 games is too small a sample to derive anything from.

This was the same Pens team that had a 4th place finish in the shortened 95 season and was 2nd in goals for as well.

Mario and his 161 point season led to the same 4th place finish and a 1st in goals for.

He simply didn't have the type of impact that a 161 season over 70 games would seem to indicate on the surface.
I see ... six game sample do not tell us much at all? Successfully arguing against your own examples where you use 2, 4 or 6 game samples to make a point.

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10-25-2013, 07:40 AM
  #230
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
6 games won't tell us much at all IMO, it's too small a sample and the 2 games Mario missed were road games, but again 6 games is too small a sample to derive anything from.

This was the same Pens team that had a 4th place finish in the shortened 95 season and was 2nd in goals for as well.

Mario and his 161 point season led to the same 4th place finish and a 1st in goals for.

He simply didn't have the type of impact that a 161 season over 70 games would seem to indicate on the surface.
Looking at his +/- totally ignores the impact Lemieux had on the PP. Since he is perhaps the single greatest PP player in NHL history, that's a pretty big thing.

In 1995-96 Mario was on ice for 102 PPGF (of the teams 109), and had 79 PP Pts in 70 GP. The only impact the PP had on his +/- was the 12 SHG the team gave up.

102 PPG in 70 games with Mario, and only 7 in the 12 games he missed. That's roughly 2.5 times the PPG rate with Mario as without.

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10-25-2013, 08:40 AM
  #231
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Can't you also make an argument that, because Mikita played on the line behind Hull (the greater offensive threat), he did not face top d-men from the opposition?

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10-25-2013, 09:16 AM
  #232
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Not Really

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Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
Can't you also make an argument that, because Mikita played on the line behind Hull (the greater offensive threat), he did not face top d-men from the opposition?
Not really. Basically teams played two defense pairings in a rotation. Three forward lines in a rotation with some teams Montreal and Toronto tending to four lines, others would extra shift the star players thru a makeshift fourth line.

If the Hawks played their top two lines one after the other then one of the top lines would play without Pilote on defense, weakening the offensive game. So they would split the lines in a fashion to play Pilote with both top lines. This allowed the other team to match their top defensive pairing against the top two Hawk lines. So both Mikita and Hull faced the defensive pairings that the opposition wanted to play against them.

This also allowed the opposing team better forward line match-ups.

Critical in key games and at playoff time.

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10-25-2013, 09:22 AM
  #233
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Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
Can't you also make an argument that, because Mikita played on the line behind Hull (the greater offensive threat), he did not face top d-men from the opposition?
He and Messier are in that boat. Morenz, not.

There are so many considerations for 4th overall.

No one will be surprised at who the top-3 inductees of this round will be.

After that,... it's a crapshoot. (I was hoping to be convinced by the discussion, but only a two positions in my ranking have been affected. This is dang hard.)

Are we voting for the guy with the greatest impact on the history of the game, the most inherent skill, the greatest performer when it matters most, the most renowned, the most iomportant to the history of the game, oh so many considerations. I am glad this isn't reducible to a formula but, at the same time. discussion hasn't been compelling as good points are made all around.

I certainly think, more than ever, that the Top-3 centers are on a tier above the next three to four, if not six to eight.

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10-25-2013, 09:33 AM
  #234
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I don't see the gap here.

I think of Clarke, Esposito and Morenz as about equivalent, sandwiched between Trottier and Mikita.


Indeed. No 2nd in all-time career regular season scoring Marcel Dionne yet.
My thoughts:

Trottier: Great in the playoffs, but still probably the 3rd most important Islander in the playoffs (while being 1a or 1b in the regular season).

Morenz: 3 Cups, led the team in playoff points once and goals once in small sample sizes (playoffs were many fewer games back then). Kind of up and down in the playoffs, but again, EVERY star player of the era was up and down, other than the always-underrated Marty Barry. I dunno; Morenz in the playoffs was the hardest for me to rank; maybe he should be on Clarke level.

Clarke: 2 Cups, but after leading the team in regular season points by wide margins both years, he finished a distant 2nd to Rick MacLeish in playoff scoring both years. And this was in a time when the playoffs were long enough where the cream should have risen to the top. Played great defensively those two Cups though.

Esposito: Played great for his 2 Cups, but had some off years too when the Bruins didn't advance as far as they should have. Orr was never really shut down or even slowed down in the playoffs (at least statistically), but Espo was. I see Espo as similar to Jagr in the playoffs, where he generally played well, but not as well as his regular season season stats said he should have.

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Pilote was the beneficiary of Hull and Mikita becoming superstars more than the other way around.
I think all three were beneficiaries of the coaching change in 1963, when Rudy Pilous, the guy who coached them to the 1961 Cup was forced out by a player mutiny (led by Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita). The new coach, Billy Reay, started giving his stars massive amounts of ice time in all situations:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated, 1963
One of the complaints that both Hull and Mikita had last year was that Pilous did not give them enough ice time, a deprivation that cut down their opportunity to score. One of Reay's first changes was to put these high shooters on a schedule that has them skating for 40 minutes of every game. Both of them are now serving not only in their regular lines but as penalty killers and key men. Chicago's players are known for being among the roughest and toughest in the league, but under Reay they seem suddenly to have become also the happiest.
The Rich Bounty Of Mutiny, Sports Illustrated, Dec 2, 1963

I think the 40 minutes per game is probably an exaggeration, but I don't doubt that after Reay took over prior to the 1963-1964 season that he gave Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita significantly more ice time than stars on deeper teams like Montreal or Toronto. We know for a fact that Beliveau, H Richard, and Backstrom were rarely on the ice at the same time, so they almost certainly were getting significantly less ice time than Hull and Mikita.


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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
should Stan really be that low though?

Here is his year by year ranking on his team along with some details and don't forget he was a very good defensive player throughout his career as well.
...
You're focusing on Mikita's personal numbers in the playoffs, but why not focus on what his most common job in the playoffs was: Going head to head with Jean Beliveau (while Henri Richard and his RW focused on checking Hull).

From what I've read, the much larger Beliveau pretty much dominated Mikita head to head, and that was a key factor in Montreal usually beating Chicago in the playoffs (the other was Richard - Provost/Houle doing a good job at slowing down Hull).

Like I said, no center this round was BAD in the playoffs, but if I HAD to pick a worst one, it would probably be either Esposito or Mikita.

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Great information and it's pretty clear that Mikita probably had the "lesser" line mates of the group of 8 listed here, especially at ES.
Mikita's line (the Scooter line) was known as the best line in hockey in the mid 1960s:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated, 1967
To many observers, of course, the Hawks have had the best team in the NHL for the last five years. After all, they had the top goal-scorer in Hull, the top defenseman in Pierre Pilote, the all-star goalie in Glenn Hall and the best forward line in the Scooters (see cover), a line consisting of Mikita, Kenny Wharram and, during the last three years, Doug Mohns. Yet every March, with the long-awaited championship in sight, the Hawks would collapse. Explanations for this phenomenon have ranged from the mythical Muldoon Jinx—a curse allegedly pronounced by the team's first coach, Pete Muldoon, when he was fired in 1927—to accusations of "choking," but the Hawks tend to explain their past failures in more basic, physical terms.

"There was a simple reason for those late slumps," says Pilote, the 35-year-old team captain. "We always depended too much on a few stars. We had to use them a lot and they got worn out. And when the stars got tired the team faded. This season the load is more evenly distributed, so the stars have stayed strong all year long."
No Foldo in Chicago, March 20, 1967


IMO, Chicago's lack of depth cuts both ways. It largely explains their playoff failures. But the fact that they rode their stars hard in the regular season makes it seem to me that the offensive numbers of those stars might be somewhat inflated compared to deeper teams like Montreal and Toronto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
Can't you also make an argument that, because Mikita played on the line behind Hull (the greater offensive threat), he did not face top d-men from the opposition?
Every source from the time indicates that the best checkers ALWAYS focused on Hull. How much that would have helped Mikita (who had better linemates than Hull while facing opponents who weren't as good defensively) is up for debate.

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Old
10-25-2013, 09:42 AM
  #235
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord
As far as Mikita and Morenz are concerned, I realize the argument has been made, through polls and hart voting, that Morenz was higher up in the pecking order of his time. That's true. It's not really disputable, even.

However: we need to take level of dominance AND quality of competition into consideration. And Mikita's quality of competition was much greater. (please don't mistake this for a "he played more recently, therefore he is better" argument)
If it was just Morenz being the best of his time and Mikita being 3rd best of his time, I would see the point. But it's more accurately portrayed as the following:

Morenz was widely considered the best forward to play the game before Maurice Richard, the best forward in the first 50 years of the history of hockey. It isn't just that Morenz was the best at his peak; nobody who came after him for 10 years was as good as him, either.

Whereas Mikita considered to be at best, the third best forward in the NHL during his prime. And I say "at best," because when Howe and Hull received 582 of 615 votes for "best player of the 1960s" between them, it's hard to tell if the remaining guys who were thrown votes represent a consensus or just the opinion of a fringe minority.

That said, I think it's likely Mikita was the third best forward of the time (since Beliveau was aging). That would put him on a level similar to Mark Messier, who most (not all) would have had as the third best forward of the late 80s/early 90s, right?

*I just have a hard time with the idea that someone who was 3rd at best in his prime could rank higher than someone who was considered the best of the first 50 years of organized hockey, best of the first 30 years of the NHL, whatever).

Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post


This is an old bio with much less info than I like to provide nowadays, but there's clearly info suggesting he was able to play an offensive game: "could rush the puck"... "two way"... and of course he was top-5 in defensemen scoring 5 times so he was putting up good point totals.

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...&postcount=269
I have no doubt that Mantha could rush the puck (it was part of being a job of a defenseman back then), but he was praised much more for his defense than his puck rushing, and if you look at the bios of Morenz, you'll see that he often went end to end with it. Being top 5 in defenseman scoring isn't THAT impressive when there are only a handful of top rushing defensemen in the league (Shore and Clancy were way ahead of Conacher, who was way ahead of Mantha and the pack). Especially when Mantha got to pass to Morenz.

I don't think Mantha was bad at rushing the puck, just kind of average for a #1 defenseman at the time.


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Old
10-25-2013, 10:11 AM
  #236
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Looking at his +/- totally ignores the impact Lemieux had on the PP. Since he is perhaps the single greatest PP player in NHL history, that's a pretty big thing.

In 1995-96 Mario was on ice for 102 PPGF (of the teams 109), and had 79 PP Pts in 70 GP. The only impact the PP had on his +/- was the 12 SHG the team gave up.

102 PPG in 70 games with Mario, and only 7 in the 12 games he missed. That's roughly 2.5 times the PPG rate with Mario as without.
Right, and if you are going to dock Lemieux for being overly reliant on the PP, you should also do it to Beliveau. From 1955-56 to 1966-67 (Henri Richard's prime but almost the same as Beliveau's 1954-55 to 1965-66 prime), Beliveau was outscored by his teammate Richard at even strength, while absolutely cleaning up on the power play:

Player Years GP Pts ESG ESA ESP PPG PPA PPP ESP/G PPP/G
Richard 56-67 764 710 222 343 565 41 97 138 0.74 0.18
Howe 56-67 826 920 245 330 575 120 192 312 0.70 0.38
Beliveau 56-67 745 830 217 300 517 126 181 307 0.69 0.41
Bathgate 56-67 811 825 232 326 558 55 205 260 0.69 0.32

(overpass originally posted this table during the 2009 project to make the case for Henri Richard)

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10-25-2013, 10:12 AM
  #237
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The example was the 95-96 season when Pittsburgh was a really good team , as they were also the year before when he was out, not in his early days when the Pens were truly horrible as a team.

The bottom line in NHL games is about winning, scoring points is part of it, but if you can only score slightly more than the opposition to the tune 0f a plus 10 on that Pens teams then his impact certainly overall wasn't nearly as large as his 70-69-92-161 stat line suggest.
So how are you distinguishing that from Wayne Gretzky's 1990 season?

73GP, 40-102-142, +8

From Esposito's 1973 season?

78GP, 55-75-130, +16

How are you distinguishing it from Lemieux's own 1993 season?

60GP, 69-91-160, +55


Did Lemieux play excellent two-way hockey in 1993 and just forget how to do it by 1996?

It just seems to me that this analysis drawing these kinds of conclusions from the +/- statistic is asking for trouble. The statistic itself isn't up to the task of evaluating defensive play in this manner.

In terms of talking about consistency, your breakdown above suggests that Mario scored in 90% of his games that season and had a multi-point game over 60% of the time. Best I can tell, that is normal for a player who scores in the 160-point range (ie, Gretzky in '91 or Yzerman in '89).

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10-25-2013, 10:22 AM
  #238
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should Stan really be that low though?

Here is his year by year ranking on his team along with some details and don't forget he was a very good defensive player throughout his career as well.

60-61

As a 20 year old he was 3rd in scoring with a 12-6-5-11 line (first in goals) and only behind Bobby Hull (14 points aged 22) and Pilote (15 points aged 29).

61-62

As a 21 year old Stan literally was the Black Hawks with a 12-6-15-21 line ahead of Hull 12-8-6-14 and stan was in on 21 (62%) of the Black Hawks 34 goals. Pilote had a 12-0-7-7 line good for 6th on the team.

62-63

Stan was tied for 4th on the team in scoring with a 6-3-2-5 line behind Hull who had 10 points, Pilote with 8 assists and points and Wharram with a 6-1-5-6 line.

63-64

Stan teid with 1st in goals (3) and led the team in assists (6) and points (9)

64-65 the top 5 were like this

Hull 14-10-7-17
Maki 14-3-9-12
Makita 14-3-7-10
Mohns 14-3-4-7
Pilote 14-0-7-7

65-66

Not a great year for Stan or the Hawks in the playoffs

Stapleton 6-2-3-5
Hull 6-2-2-4
Mikita 6-1-2-3 well you get the point not a great playoffs.

66-67

Again not a great year for Stan or the Hawks he was tied for 2nd in goals with 2 and 4th in points. Even Hull only had a 6-4-2-6 line

67-68

led the team across the board with a

Mikita 11-5-7-12
Hull 11-4-6-10
Martin 11-3-6-9
Maki 11-2-5-7

Stan was in on 12 of their 28 goals.

68-69

Despite stellar season from Hull and Mikita they didn't make the playoffs.

69-70

Hull 8-3-8-11
Mikita 8-4-6-10
D Hull 8-5-2-7
Martin 8-3-3-6
Pappin 8-3-2-5

70-71

B Hull 18-11-14-25
Mikita 18-5-13-18
Stapleton 18-3-14-17
Korroll 18-7-9-16
Pappin 18-10-4-14 8 goals at ES, perhaps he was playing ith Stan?

D Hull 18-7-6-13

71-72 Hull's last year

Mikita is tied for 2nd with 3 goals, leader had 4 and 7th in points with 4, leader had 9 (not a great year stat wise in the playoffs).

72-73 (without Bobby years)

D Hull 16-9-15-24
Mikita 15-7-13-20
Stapleton 16-2-15-17
Martin 15-10-6-16

73-74

Mikita, now aged 33, leds the Hawks with a 11-5-6-11 line ahead of D Hull 11-6-3-9 and Pappin 11-3-6-9 who I'm guessing were his wingers then?

74-75

Korroll 8-3-5-8
Marks 8-2-6-8
Mikita 8-3-4-7

Then fades for 2 years and has a 4-3-0-3 line in his age 37 playoffs and his final one.

So to recap this is where he stands in total over all of his playoffs form age 19-37 (of course the hockey reference site tool, isn't working right now...lol will update later)

Just to recap he had 8 years where he had 10 plus playoff points.

Just to compare to Clarke who played later (with more possible games/season) had 6 such seasons.
Vs Clarke is debatable, but otherwise, the tier ranking of reckoning is IMO perfectly descriptive of the situation.

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10-25-2013, 10:23 AM
  #239
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What are you talking about, a +10 while having one of the all-time great seasons on the man advantage, which as you know, is not reflected in +/-. The teams D was not exactly all-time great that season either.
When it comes to him possibly being uneven during different games that year, its partly becouse of him at that point not being all-time great 5-on-5, but mostly becouse of his first half of the season being much better than the second, which in my mind was becouse after taking so much time off due to injuries during seasons past, Lemieux at this point simply did not have the juice to play a full season. He was also permanently crippled which is why he mainly shined during the PP. He played one more year after which he himself said that he had lost a step, which was true, probably two or three actually. The question is if he really was that much more fitter efter the three year retirement either, with amongst other things the 02 Olympics in mind where he really was a literal geriatric displaying his amazing shot capazity on top of two half legs and no back. He really, really must have wanted to play there becouse he could barely turn on the ice.
Well that plus 10 was 10th best on that Pittsburgh team and 4 of those lousy Dmen had a better plus/minus as well.

The plus/minus earlier in his career on lousy teams can be excused a lot more but not in 95-96, he simply wasn't as dominant as his scoring stats suggest.

Or does Jean and Mikita's 2 way play, and how much better they were in that department that Mario was not matter?

The old, "well his offense offset his lack of defense" simply doesn't wash for much of his career.


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10-25-2013, 10:28 AM
  #240
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Well that plus 10 was 10th best on that Pittsburgh team and 4 of those lousy Dmen had a better plus/minus as well.

The plus/minus earlier in his career on lousy teams can be excused a lot more but not in 95-96, he simply wasn't as dominant as his scoring stats suggest.

Or does Jean and Mikita's 2 way play, and how much better they were in that department that Mario was not matter?

The old, "well his offense offset his lack of defense simply doesn't wash for much of his career.
I really hate arguments like this. You seem convinced that Mario is overrated, so you're latching on to a single argument (his plus minus in 1996) but applying it only to Mario. You're ignoring that the same could apply to other players - as Dennis Bonvie pointed out, Mikita was -3 (14th on his team!) when he won the 1968 Art Ross:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/CBH/1968.html

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10-25-2013, 10:38 AM
  #241
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Originally Posted by BM67 View Post
Looking at his +/- totally ignores the impact Lemieux had on the PP. Since he is perhaps the single greatest PP player in NHL history, that's a pretty big thing.

In 1995-96 Mario was on ice for 102 PPGF (of the teams 109), and had 79 PP Pts in 70 GP. The only impact the PP had on his +/- was the 12 SHG the team gave up.

102 PPG in 70 games with Mario, and only 7 in the 12 games he missed. That's roughly 2.5 times the PPG rate with Mario as without.
There is no doubt that Mario is probably the best PP center of all time and I fully agree with that but he is probably the worst 5-5 player on this current list aside from Phil.

Also as I recall most of those 12 games were away games in 96 for what it is worth but it doesn't really matter all that much the Pens had a really good PP as well in 94-95 without Mario as well so the 2.5 time rate in the 12 game sample is a bit misleading.

In 94-95 they were 10th with a 19% rate and in 96 Mario did help make it better with a 25.95% and a 1st place ranking in that regard.

One should look at any metric independently and then when making a total player evaluation then bring them all together.

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10-25-2013, 11:02 AM
  #242
Mike Farkas
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I'm just a tiny bit confused...is it to confirm that Lemieux was the MVP in 1996, as when the top-heavy Penguins didn't have Lemieux shoveling countless pucks into the net, they sucked?

And we're using plus/minus to measure what exactly?

Surely, the same analysis will be done on the 1993 season where he led the league in plus/minus, right? Or 1989 where his line was +41, +40, +27 and there were only two other plus players on the team (both d-men).

I'm just not quite sure what's trying to be proven about Lemieux against the eye test with one season's worth of plus/minus...

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10-25-2013, 11:12 AM
  #243
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While we're still on the subject of Mario, I'm interested to know how people are evaluating him against Beliveau.

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10-25-2013, 11:15 AM
  #244
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
While we're still on the subject of Mario, I'm interested to know how people are evaluating him against Beliveau.
I'm honestly surprised this became a debate. How many people actually think Mario is closer to Beliveau than to Gretzky?

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10-25-2013, 11:17 AM
  #245
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
While we're still on the subject of Mario, I'm interested to know how people are evaluating him against Beliveau.
Anybody who thinks Beliveau ought to be ranked higher than Lemieux, I'm sure I'm not the only one open to be swayed by argument.

Sixteen ATDs since 2004 and Beliveau has never been drafted before Lemieux. That's a different context, but still,... I've never heard a real argument for Big Bill over Mario. It would be an intriguing comparison to pursue!

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10-25-2013, 11:19 AM
  #246
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post

I think all three were beneficiaries of the coaching change in 1963, when Rudy Pilous, the guy who coached them to the 1961 Cup was forced out by a player mutiny (led by Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita). The new coach, Billy Reay, started giving his stars massive amounts of ice time in all situations:



The Rich Bounty Of Mutiny, Sports Illustrated, Dec 2, 1963

I think the 40 minutes per game is probably an exaggeration, but I don't doubt that after Reay took over prior to the 1963-1964 season that he gave Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita significantly more ice time than stars on deeper teams like Montreal or Toronto. We know for a fact that Beliveau, H Richard, and Backstrom were rarely on the ice at the same time, so they almost certainly were getting significantly less ice time than Hull and Mikita.




You're focusing on Mikita's personal numbers in the playoffs, but why not focus on what his most common job in the playoffs was: Going head to head with Jean Beliveau (while Henri Richard and his RW focused on checking Hull).

From what I've read, the much larger Beliveau pretty much dominated Mikita head to head, and that was a key factor in Montreal usually beating Chicago in the playoffs (the other was Richard - Provost/Houle doing a good job at slowing down Hull).

Like I said, no center this round was BAD in the playoffs, but if I HAD to pick a worst one, it would probably be either Esposito or Mikita.



Mikita's line (the Scooter line) was known as the best line in hockey in the mid 1960s:



No Foldo in Chicago, March 20, 1967


IMO, Chicago's lack of depth cuts both ways. It largely explains their playoff failures. But the fact that they rode their stars hard in the regular season makes it seem to me that the offensive numbers of those stars might be somewhat inflated compared to deeper teams like Montreal and Toronto.



Every source from the time indicates that the best checkers ALWAYS focused on Hull. How much that would have helped Mikita (who had better linemates than Hull while facing opponents who weren't as good defensively) is up for debate.
A few precisions are in order. 1963 player mutiny cost Rudy Pilous his job but it was a misguided effort by players and management. 1962-63 Hawks were beset by nagging injuries, only Al MacNeil and Bob Turner played all 70 regular season games:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/CBH/1963.html

1963-64 season, Reay's first saw 10 regulars play the complete 70 game regular season.

While it is true that Billy Reay gave the stars the extra time they requested it came at a cost - fatigue as you mention but also it made the Hawks much easier to coach against with the opposition getting its choice of match-ups a lot more than necessary.

The Beliveau and Mikita match-ups were classics. Beliveau enjoyed an edge, the size differential not only impacting on Mikita but also on Pierre Pilote. But this brings the discussion to other match-ups vs other teams. The Leafs with four solid defensemen , led by Keon and Kelly at center, Detroit with a veteran reliable defense led by Delvecchio and Ullman at center. Goaltending for the most part washed.

As you point out, playoffs, Mikita and Esposito were the least efficient of those being considered.

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10-25-2013, 11:24 AM
  #247
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I'm honestly surprised this became a debate. How many people actually think Mario is closer to Beliveau than to Gretzky?
Think or overthink?

As someone that values two-way play, the obvious is being ignored here...with all due respect.

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10-25-2013, 11:29 AM
  #248
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Completeness

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
While we're still on the subject of Mario, I'm interested to know how people are evaluating him against Beliveau.
Comes down to how much weight is given each attribute that defines a complete center.

Lemieux had weaknesses, especially defensively, game management that forced him to compensate by outscoring the opposition.

Playoffs in overtime Beliveau was reliable, could play the attrition game and wear down the opposition or strike quickly. Mario Lemieux had to get them before they got him.

Just one example, but the lack of completeness in Mario Lemieux's game would have been easily exploitable if forced to play an O6 type of schedule - 14 games against each team, with deep rosters.

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10-25-2013, 11:38 AM
  #249
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Comes down to how much weight is given each attribute that defines a complete center.

Lemieux had weaknesses, especially defensively, game management that forced him to compensate by outscoring the opposition.

Playoffs in overtime Beliveau was reliable, could play the attrition game and wear down the opposition or strike quickly. Mario Lemieux had to get them before they got him.

Just one example, but the lack of completeness in Mario Lemieux's game would have been easily exploitable if forced to play an O6 type of schedule - 14 games against each team, with deep rosters.
I don't think we should gloss over Beliveau's weaknesses either though. Namely, while a dominant offensive zone player, he was seemingly only average at transition. There's a reason his stats (especially in the playoffs) took a nosedive in the early 60s after Harvey left and before JC Tremblay came - Beliveau was one player who really needed a defenseman to help with transition to be his best.

I think Beliveau's skillset is one of two main reasons why he was statistically, the most PP-reliant star of his era. The other is that he probably received less even strength ice time than his teammate Henri Richard (who barely played on the PP).

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10-25-2013, 11:47 AM
  #250
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