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Round 2, Vote 1 (HOH Top Centers)

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Old
10-23-2013, 09:06 AM
  #126
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
For me, the top four are in order:

Gretzky
Lemieux
Beliveau
Morenz

I don't see a realistic argument for any of the others breaking into the top four.

Gretzky and Lemieux are obviously on a completely different level for the rest. Yes, it could be debated that Lemieux's peak was comparable to Gretzky's, but the fact that Gretzky maintained that level of offensive greatness for so long gives him the decisive victory in my opinion. Most of the anti-Gretzky arguments ("He's protected by goons", "The league won't let anyone hit him", "He only get points because of the stars on Edmonton") have been thoroughly debunked on this board several times.


Howie Morenz was considered the greatest player in hockey during his prime. Others on the list were in contention for that title during the eras, but with Morenz it was almost unanimous. A good example of this is the voting in 1950 by the Canadian Press for the greatest hockey player from 1900-1950:

Howie Morenz - 27 votes
Maurice Richard - 4 votes
Cyclone Taylor - 3 votes
Frank Nighbor - 2 votes

Winning the poll by any margin would have been impressive enough, but it was an absolute landslide.

But I still have to put Beliveau at #3. He was just so good for so long. The only player in history to be the top centre on two separate dynasties. Certainly had a better second half to his career than the rest in this vote.

7 players also received 1 vote: Syl Apps, Turk Broda, Aurel Joliat, Newsy Lalonde, Milt Schmidt, Eddie Shore, Nels Stewart

There were a total of 43 voters it looks like, and Morenz got 27 votes (63%). Landslide like you said.

Here's a link to an article about the release of the poll: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...e+taylor&hl=en

Such polls always favor forwards over defensemen, but still, why does this forum have so much more respect for Eddie Shore than Howie Morenz?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
With all due respect to the Canadian Press poll, comprised of many who probably saw Morenz play never or only a hand full of games ever, his myth and legend grow due to his unfortunate death.

It's only a recent phenomenon that the sports media or even home teams press has taken a critical or more subjective view on players, in past days the media room was full of free booze and food, "reporters" didn't upset the gravy train.
The poll was conducted by "sports editors and sportscasters;" I have no idea why you think they wouldn't have seen Morenz; it was only 13 years since his last hockey game. I mean, you're right that there was probably something of a sympathy vote for Morenz since he died young, but still, 27 of 43 voters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
And hard to believe Eddie Shore garnered no votes. Perhaps his sparkling personality had something to do with it?
Well, like I said above, he got 1 vote. His personality could certainly affect some votes, but a sample of 43 sportscasters and reporters? The flip to your argument is that Eddie Shore's "personification of old-time (violent) hockey" is a reason why this forum tends to hold him in higher esteem than Morenz.

I think that on an all-players list, Morenz should be ranked quite close to Shore and there is at least an argument that he should be ranked higher.


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Old
10-23-2013, 09:15 AM
  #127
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Here's something of a flip side to Morenz being considered the best player before 1950 (by this particular group of sportscasters, of course).

Hawkey Town 18 asked this in the last ATD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18
Shouldn't the fact that Hull was drawing the attention of the best defensemen and checkers diminish some of Mikita's offensive resume?
Nik jr responded with a poll he found:

Quote:
Originally Posted by nik jr
yes, and that is probably one of the main reasons hull had greater superstar status even though the 2 were close statistically and in awards.

a couple of years ago, i found in newspapers a poll from 1969 or early 1970 about best player of the '60s.

hull: 436.5
howe: 145.5
orr: 19
mikita: 7

beliveau got only 2 votes.


mikita was the leading scorer of the '60s, had the highest points per game among players who played a large number of games, won 4 art rosses and 2 harts, but only got 7 votes.

orr had not yet won the '70 art ross, and had only played a couple of seasons.


it corroborates comments by older posters like pappyline, dennis bonvie, psycho papa joe, killion, etc that bobby hull was the biggest star of his time, and even though some others were similar statistically, hull was considered superior.
I wouldn't look into the poll too much in terms of Beliveau - his peak was really 1955-1966, and he was clearly past his prime (though still effective) in the late 1960s), while the primes of Hull and Mikita almost perfectly coincided with the decade. Especially Mikita, who was a top 4 scorer every season between 1962 and 1970, then never again - Mikita was definitely a very good player for a very long time, but he has a clear statistical prime of 9 years that was at another level.

Here's a link to an article (from Jan 29, 1970) about the "best player of the 1960s" poll:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...veau+orr&hl=en

It was an AP poll of the sports writers and sportscasters.

The full results were this:


hull: 436.5
howe: 145.5
orr: 19
mikita: 7
Beliveau, P Esposito, Plante: 2
Worsley, Geoffrion: 1

I guess a writer picked Hull and Howe as tied for them to each have half a point.

A very young Bobby Orr already showing up is similar to a young Maurice Richard already showing up in 1950.


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Old
10-23-2013, 09:41 AM
  #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ted1971 View Post
Adjusted Goals & Assists & Points vs Actual Goals & Assists & Points

Wayne Gretzky:
Actual : 894 Goals, 1963 Assists , 2857 Points
Adjusted: 758 Goals, 1729 Assists, 2487 Points

Mario Lemieux:
Actual: 690 Goals ,1033 Assists, 1723 Points
Adjusted: 616 Goals, 930 Assists, 1546 Points

Jean Beliveau:
Actual: 507 Goals ,712 Assists, 1219 Points
Adjusted: 575 Goals, 810 Assists, 1385 Points

Howie Morenz:
Actual: 271 Goals, 201 Assists, 472 Points
Adjusted: 501 Goals, 728 Assists, 1229 Points

Bobby Clarke:
Actual: 358 Goals , 852 Assists, 1210 Points
Adjusted: 312 Goals, 754 Assists, 1066 Points

Phil Esposito:
Actual: 717 Goals, 873 Assists, 1590 Points
Adjusted: 671 Goals, 841 Assists, 1512 Points

Stan Mikita:
Actual: 541 Goals, 926 Assists, 1467 Points
Adjusted: 541 Goals, 940 Assists, 1481 Points

Bryan Trottier:
Actual: 524 Goals, 901 Assists, 1425 Points
Adjusted: 428 Goals, 753 Assists, 1181 Points

Mark Messier:
Actual: 694 Goals, 1193 Assists, 1887 Points
Adjusted: 628 Points, 1109 Assists, 1737 Points

Actual Points:
1. Gretzky
2. Messier
3. Mario
4. Esposito
5. Mikita
6. Trottier
7. Beliveau
8. Clarke
9. Morenz

Adjusted Points:
1. Gretzky
2. Messier
3. Mario
4. Esposito
5. Mikita
6. Beliveau
7. Morenz
8. Trottier
9. Clarke

Actual PPG:
1. Gretzky 1.92
2. Mario 1.88
3. Esposito 1.24
4. Trottier 1.11
5. Beliveau 1.08
6. Messier: 1.07
7. Clarke 1.06
8. Mikita 1.05
9. Morenz 0.86


Adjusted PPG:
1. Morenz 2.23
2. Mario 1.68
3. Gretzky 1.67
4. Beliveau 1.23
5. Esposito 1.17
6. Mikita 1.06
7. Messier 0.98
8. Clarke 0.93
9. Trottier 0.92

PPG Difference:
1. Morenz +1.37
2. Beliveau +.15
3. Mikita +.01
4. Esposito -.07
5. Messier -.09
6. Clarke -.13
7. Trottier -.19
8. Mario -.20
9. Gretzky -.25
They're no way Howie had over two adjusted points per game. You need adjusted points per adjusted game... and you'll have to calculate adjusted James manually. This affects mikita and Beliveau as well.

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Old
10-23-2013, 10:12 AM
  #129
ted1971
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
They're no way Howie had over two adjusted points per game. You need adjusted points per adjusted game... and you'll have to calculate adjusted James manually. This affects mikita and Beliveau as well.
Howie Morenz played 550 NHL games. His adjusted point total was the following, 501Goals and 728 Assist for 1229 Points. This is all coming from Hockey-Reference.com
http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...misc_nhl::none

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10-23-2013, 10:15 AM
  #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ted1971 View Post
Howie Morenz played 550 NHL games. His adjusted point total was the following, 501Goals and 728 Assist for 1229 Points. This is all coming from Hockey-Reference.com
http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...misc_nhl::none
H-R adjusts points totals to 82 game seasons, but then does not adjust games played to 82 games (you have to do that manually if you want to calculate adjusted points-per-game). It's a stupid way of doing things.

H-R's version of adjusted points is borderline useless for pre-WW2 seasons anyway due largely to their questionable roster size adjustments

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10-23-2013, 01:48 PM
  #131
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How good was Espo defensively really? I read somewhere that his skating was so poor he had problems with changing on the fly, is that true? If it's true then it doesn't sound like a guy who could be very good defensively. I'm no expert on the 70s so some input there would be nice. I have a weak spot for graceful skaters a la Fedorov and Nighbor, so Espo and his playing type isn't necessarily a favorite of mine, although you can't ignore his strengths.

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10-23-2013, 01:59 PM
  #132
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Originally Posted by the edler View Post
How good was Espo defensively really? I read somewhere that his skating was so poor he had problems with changing on the fly, is that true? If it's true then it doesn't sound like a guy who could be very good defensively. I'm no expert on the 70s so some input there would be nice. I have a weak spot for graceful skaters a la Fedorov and Nighbor, so Espo and his playing type isn't necessarily a favorite of mine, although you can't ignore his strengths.
Esposito was a poor skater. I know we shouldn't rely on a short video, but this clip perfectly demonstrates Phil. Poor skater that was a MONSTER around the net.

He was probably the best player in front of the net, and was willing to take the physicality. If you got the puck on net, you could be sure that Espo was gonna get the rebound.

There's the old saying "Jesus saves, Espo scores on the rebound."

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Old
10-23-2013, 02:00 PM
  #133
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Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Chronic injury is not something I give any player a break on. There are a few things that can cause this: their body is naturally weaker, they aren't taking care of themselves, or their playing style is constantly putting them in harms way. I think all three were contributing factors to Lemieux, and I see no reason why he shouldn't be docked for them.

The cancer aspect is completely different. There is a lot of gray area as to how many games his cancer ultimately caused him to miss. We do know that Lemieux had injury problems long before the cancer showed up.
This is my feeling about Mario's injury problems, as well. I'm not going to punish him for getting Hodgkins, but his back problems are fair game. Mario had more god-given talent than Gretzky, but he didn't think the game as well or devote himself to it as much as the great one. Even just comparing primes, I would build a team around Wayne ten times out of ten. Comparing careers, I don't think they're even close.

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10-23-2013, 02:09 PM
  #134
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Originally Posted by MXD View Post
Wasn't Lorenz dead by the vote !?
Morenz was dead by the vote by his legend had been sealed by then.

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10-23-2013, 02:18 PM
  #135
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
7 players also received 1 vote: Syl Apps, Turk Broda, Aurel Joliat, Newsy Lalonde, Milt Schmidt, Eddie Shore, Nels Stewart

There were a total of 43 voters it looks like, and Morenz got 27 votes (63%). Landslide like you said.

Here's a link to an article about the release of the poll: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...e+taylor&hl=en

Such polls always favor forwards over defensemen, but still, why does this forum have so much more respect for Eddie Shore than Howie Morenz?




The poll was conducted by "sports editors and sportscasters;" I have no idea why you think they wouldn't have seen Morenz; it was only 16 years since his last hockey game. I mean, you're right that there was probably something of a sympathy vote for Morenz since he died young, but still, 27 of 43 voters?



Well, like I said above, he got 1 vote. His personality could certainly affect some votes, but a sample of 43 sportscasters and reporters? The flip to your argument is that Eddie Shore's "personification of old-time (violent) hockey" is a reason why this forum tends to hold him in higher esteem than Morenz.

I think that on an all-players list, Morenz should be ranked quite close to Shore and there is at least an argument that he should be ranked higher.
Well one interesting thing about the article is that his death was mentioned before his play and it was stated that in 36-37 that he "whipped around like the Morenz of Old" until the injury.

We can clearly look back and see what an exaggeration that comment is right?

Was he really Wayne compared to the field pre 1950?

Other than colorful comments it doesn't seem like it.

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10-23-2013, 02:23 PM
  #136
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Not part of this round of the vote unfortunately, but I've always had:
1. Gretz
2. Lemieux

The debate between the two, while fun, doesn't really change anything. It's hard to negate Gretzky's consistent, amazing seasons and just how much better he was than everyone else. Lemieux was also in the same realm as Gretz, but health obviously got in the way. When he retired for the first time in 97, Lemieux had over 2 points per game career average (which is crazy) and just won his second consecutive and sixth total Art Ross trophy. He was just at another level compared to his peers. Still, Gretzky takes the cake and pretty much always has.

After these two, my list personally goes:
3. Beliveau
4. Morenz

It's hard for met to place Morenz honestly. The first real star of hockey and yet nothing aside from comparisons and history to rank him on.

After that, it gets pretty mucky and close. I feel like the next group of players were all elite in one aspect of the game (longevity, defense, screening/garbage goals, etc.) and only decent-good-great in other aspects.

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10-23-2013, 02:24 PM
  #137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ted1971 View Post
Howie Morenz played 550 NHL games. His adjusted point total was the following, 501Goals and 728 Assist for 1229 Points. This is all coming from Hockey-Reference.com
http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...misc_nhl::none
I saw this as well but it's a smaller regular season sample and the "consistency" looks worse when you break down his points from year to year then.

46
104
62
87
190
118
97
139
112
77
45
67
44
41

works out to 7 elite seasons, 2 okay ones and 4 really average ones.

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10-23-2013, 02:25 PM
  #138
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Morenz was dead by the vote by his legend had been sealed by then.
The thing with Morenz (and why I think he needs to go top 4 with Gretzky, Lemieux, and Beliveau) is that he was a generational talent who was widely considered the best player in the world from the mid 1920s to the early 1930s. (Eddie Shore took over from the mid-late 30s). This part had nothing to do with legend - there is plenty of contemporary evidence that Morenz was considered the best of his time, and that many (most) considered him the best player of all-time while he was still playing.

I just don't see any other candidate having that stature. Mikita has gaudy regular season stats, but in terms of what people who saw them play thought, he seems to have been looked at similarly to Messier and Clarke - a superstar, one of the very best players in the league, but not THE best, not a generational or transcendent player. The best-of-the-rest of his generation perhaps?

Gretzky, Lemieux, Beliveau (in the late 50s), Morenz - those are the only 4 centers of all time who I think you could call transcendent or generational talents.

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10-23-2013, 02:27 PM
  #139
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Originally Posted by the edler View Post
How good was Espo defensively really? I read somewhere that his skating was so poor he had problems with changing on the fly, is that true? If it's true then it doesn't sound like a guy who could be very good defensively. I'm no expert on the 70s so some input there would be nice. I have a weak spot for graceful skaters a la Fedorov and Nighbor, so Espo and his playing type isn't necessarily a favorite of mine, although you can't ignore his strengths.
Esposito is a clear 9th player in this round for me as the more you look at him, the more you see a guy that really benefitted form his conditions, ie the Orr affect.

every other player on this list has a much clearer and better base of a resume and personal affect on the games he played in than Phil did.

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10-23-2013, 02:28 PM
  #140
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I saw this as well but it's a smaller regular season sample and the "consistency" looks worse when you break down his points from year to year then.

46
104
62
87
190
118
97
139
112
77
45
67
44
41

works out to 7 elite seasons, 2 okay ones and 4 really average ones.
Didn't we already determine that Morenz had great longevity for his era? If so this seems like a reasonable breakdown percentage wise.

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10-23-2013, 02:30 PM
  #141
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This is my feeling about Mario's injury problems, as well. I'm not going to punish him for getting Hodgkins, but his back problems are fair game. Mario had more god-given talent than Gretzky, but he didn't think the game as well or devote himself to it as much as the great one. Even just comparing primes, I would build a team around Wayne ten times out of ten. Comparing careers, I don't think they're even close.
Just to be clear though, Mario is getting evaluated on his NHL regular season and NHL games and not some "what if" scenario right?

IMO the number of elite games played by others, Wayne, Jean and Stan particularly are enough to put them ahead of Mario for me.

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10-23-2013, 02:33 PM
  #142
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I saw this as well but it's a smaller regular season sample and the "consistency" looks worse when you break down his points from year to year then.

46
104
62
87
190
118
97
139
112
77
45
67
44
41

works out to 7 elite seasons, 2 okay ones and 4 really average ones.
Well first off, H-R's adjusted points really are a crap metric for pre-WW2 seasons and we're doing this project a disservice by giving them so much attention (they are much better than that point shares nonsense though, ugh). Edit: If you look at any offensive star from before World War 2, you'll see their "adjusted points" fluctuate wildly. It really doesn't pass the smell test.

I'm going to make a statistical case for Morenz later, but it really comes down to one thing: before World War 2, nobody had year-to-year statistical dominance. It was just the way the game was then. IMO, it's largely due to small sample size - the seasons were shorter then and goal scoring was fairly sparse - so single hot and cold streaks could have larger effects on season-by-season rankings.

I think there are two things you can do then:

1) Take a longer view - look at multiple seasons at a time to even out the hot and cold streaks. If you do this you see that Morenz was the best offensive player in the world by a wide margin in the 5 years leading up to the forward pass, and that he remained the best offensive player in the world (by a smaller margin) in the few years after the forward pass. AND he did all this while playing excellent all-round hockey.

2) If you insist on looking at it on a season-by-season basis, look at the margins of victory. Morenz's 2nd scoring title was typical, but his 1st scoring title was by Gretzky-like margins. Since you guys keep bring up H-R's adjusted stats, they have Morenz's 1927-28 season as the best offensive season of all-time by any scorer ever, and not particularly close either: http://www.hockey-reference.com/lead...ed_season.html

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10-23-2013, 02:33 PM
  #143
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Didn't we already determine that Morenz had great longevity for his era? If so this seems like a reasonable breakdown percentage wise.
Yes but his average years are really average not just of the guys here but for NHLer's period.

It's probably more of a reflection of the "idealness" of the HR adjusted stats for smaller pre WW2 roster sizes more than anything else.

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10-23-2013, 02:40 PM
  #144
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Mikita at age 32 was 4th in black Hawks scoring with 82 points in 57 games, the 3 guys ahead of him (And Bobby Hull was in the WHA now all played in 19,21 and 21 more games with only 9,7 and 7 more points.

In 74 at age 33 he led his team in scoring by 3 points again.

In 75 at age 34 he led his team in scoring by 19 points.

in 76 he fell to earth with only 57 points but it was in 48 GP

Even in his last NHL season at age 38 he was 2nd in his team scoring and probably the best player on the team still.

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10-23-2013, 02:46 PM
  #145
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The thing with Morenz (and why I think he needs to go top 4 with Gretzky, Lemieux, and Beliveau) is that he was a generational talent who was widely considered the best player in the world from the mid 1920s to the early 1930s. (Eddie Shore took over from the mid-late 30s). This part had nothing to do with legend - there is plenty of contemporary evidence that Morenz was considered the best of his time, and that many (most) considered him the best player of all-time while he was still playing.

I just don't see any other candidate having that stature. Mikita has gaudy regular season stats, but in terms of what people who saw them play thought, he seems to have been looked at similarly to Messier and Clarke - a superstar, one of the very best players in the league, but not THE best, not a generational or transcendent player. The best-of-the-rest of his generation perhaps?

Gretzky, Lemieux, Beliveau (in the late 50s), Morenz - those are the only 4 centers of all time who I think you could call transcendent or generational talents.
Mikita wasn't as flashy but his 2 way game and longevity as the top 1 or 2 players on his team for 19 straight years is quite a feat and tells us how good he was as a player.

He was also a great playoff performer on teams that weren't as deep as others (mainly Montreal at times).

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10-23-2013, 02:51 PM
  #146
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Morenz did indded dominate his era and is the elading point getter in his time in the NHL 24-37

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...rder_by=points

Some of the other guys do benefit from playing their peaks and primes in the later time period with more games/season and obviously higher regular season totals.

As far as goal scoring goes though 1 guy is ahead and another is just behind with virtually identical overlapping careers.

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10-23-2013, 02:59 PM
  #147
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Mikita wasn't as flashy but his 2 way game and longevity as the top 1 or 2 players on his team for 19 straight years is quite a feat and tells us how good he was as a player.

He was also a great playoff performer on teams that weren't as deep as others (mainly Montreal at times).
Tony Esposito was easily the best player on the 1970s Blackhawks.

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10-23-2013, 02:59 PM
  #148
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Gretzky, Lemieux, Beliveau (in the late 50s), Morenz - those are the only 4 centers of all time who I think you could call transcendent or generational talents.
Except for maybe Frank Nighbor.

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10-23-2013, 03:00 PM
  #149
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Just to be clear though, Mario is getting evaluated on his NHL regular season and NHL games and not some "what if" scenario right?
Correct.

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10-23-2013, 03:02 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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THE STATISTICAL CASE FOR HOWIE MORENZ

I. He was the best offensive player in the world by a wide margin in the 5 years leading up to the forward pass, and the best offensive player in the world (by a smaller margin) in the couple of years after the forward pass.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
1) Take a longer view - look at multiple seasons at a time to even out the hot and cold streaks. If you do this you see that Morenz was the best offensive player in the world by a wide margin in the 5 years leading up to the forward pass, and that he remained the best offensive player in the world (by a smaller margin) in the few years after the forward pass. AND he did all this while playing excellent all-round hockey.
Pre forward pass prime (1924-25 to 1928-29):

Morenz was:
  • 1st in points, with 124% of 2nd place Aurele Joilat
  • 1st in points-per-game with 119% of 2nd place Nels Stewart
  • 1st in goals, with 125% of 2nd place Aurele Joliat
  • 1st in goals-per-game with 110% of 2nd place Nels Stewart
  • 1st in assists, with 114% of 2nd place Frank Boucher
  • 2nd in assists per game, with 79% of 2nd place Frank Boucher (who came from the WCHL when that league folded in 1926).

I'm using a 50 game minimum for all per-game numbers

Post forward pass prime (1930-31 and 1931-32)

The numbers are so crazy in 1929-30 due various rule changes that it's impossible to use in a multi-year sample like this. Unfortunately, 1932-33 seems to have been the start of Morenz's decline (he was 10th in scoring, but had been top 5 in every season between 1924-25 and 1931-32 except for his 7th place finish in the weird 1929-30). So we only get 2 full years of Morenz in his absolute prime after the forward pass and offsides rules were established.

Morenz was
  • 1st in points with 110% of 2nd place Charlie Conacher
  • 1st in points-per-game with 103% of 2nd place Charlie Conacher
  • 3rd in goals with 80% of 1st place Charlie Conacher (Bill Cook was 2nd)
  • 3rd in goals-per-game with 75% of 1st place Charlie Conacher (Bill Cook was 2nd)
  • 3rd in assists with 70% of 1st place Joe Primeau (Conacher's center!) and 96% of 2nd place (Frank Boucher)
  • 3rd in assists-per-game with 67% of 1st place Joe Primeau (Conacher's center) and 96% of 2nd place (Hooley Smith)

II. For just one season (1927-28), Howie Morenz approached a Gretzky level of domination

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe
2) If you insist on looking at it on a season-by-season basis, look at the margins of victory. Morenz's 2nd scoring title was typical, but his 1st scoring title was by Gretzky-like margins. Since you guys keep bring up H-R's adjusted stats, they have Morenz's 1927-28 season as the best offensive season of all-time by any scorer ever, and not particularly close either: http://www.hockey-reference.com/lead...ed_season.html
1. Howie Morenz*-MTL 51
2. Aurele Joliat*-MTL 39
3. Frank Boucher*-NYR 35
George Hay*-DTC 35
5. Nels Stewart*-MTM 34

Morenz scored 23.53% more than second place, his linemate Joliat. His lead over his nearest non-teammate was 31.37%.

By comparison, here are the margins by which Gretzky and Lemieux won their scoring titles (via FissionFire in the 2008 Top 100 project):

Quote:
Originally Posted by FissionFire
Wayne Gretzky
1980-81: 17.68% scoring margin (164 to 135) Age: 19
1981-82: 30.66% scoring margin (212 to 147) Age: 20
1982-83: 36.73% scoring margin (196 to 124) Age: 21
1983-84: 38.54% scoring margin (205 to 126) Age: 22
1984-85: 35.10% scoring margin (208 to 135) Age: 23
1985-86: 34.42% scoring margin (212 to 141) Age: 24
1986-87: 40.98% scoring margin (183 to 108) Age: 25
1989-90: 9.15% scoring margin (142 to 129) Age: 28
1990-91: 19.63% scoring margin (163 to 131) Age: 29
1993-94: 7.69% scoring margin (130 to 120) Age: 32

Mario Lemieux
1987-88: 11.31% scoring margin (168 to 149) Age: 21
1988-89: 15.58% scoring margin (199 to 168) Age: 22
1991-92: 6.11% scoring margin (131 to 123) Age: 25
1992-93: 7.50% scoring margin (160 to 148) Age: 26
1995-96: 7.45% scoring margin (161 to 149) Age: 29
1996-97: 10.66% scoring margin (122 to 109) Age: 30
Some of Lemieux's margins would be greater if you remove Gretzky, but whatever, not the point.

By 1927-28, all the world's best talent was in the NHL and Morenz flat out dominated them. And we have evidence that Morenz was already developing his strong defensive game at this point.

III. Morenz seemed to have developed an effective defensive game by 1927 and was excellent defensively by 1929:

Via Dreakmur's profile:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pit Lepine, February 1928
Last season Howie Morenz started to use a poke-check and at the close of the year he was getting very effective.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – March 15th, 1929
Hooley Smith and Boucher are potential candidates for the pivot, but Morenz is too fast and his ability to hurdle through a defense right into the goal mouth gives him the edge over the other candidates. Howie also can poke-check with the best and his scoring proclivities, not much better than Boucher’s, surpasses Smith.
There are many more quotes in that profile about Morenz's excellent two-way game, but these are the earliest references.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 10-27-2013 at 06:24 PM.
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