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Marcel Dionne - Playoff Legacy

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Old
05-01-2008, 04:52 PM
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Hockey Outsider
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Marcel Dionne - Playoff Legacy

Here's my analysis of Marcel Dionne's playoff performances. Was he as bad as everybody says? Did he ever have any great series? Was he hurt by weak teammates?

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MOD: New link: http://www11.zippyshare.com/v/65898845/file.html


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05-01-2008, 05:00 PM
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WingsFan95
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Dionne wasn't absolute garbage in the playoffs, but he terribly underperformed at least on the stats sheet.

He finished his career with 731 goals and 1771 points in 1348 games.

In the playoffs however he notched 21 goals and only 45 points in 49 games.

His PPG looks like this:

Regular Season: 1.31
Playoffs: .918

Meh, I don't know.

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05-01-2008, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post
Here's my analysis of Marcel Dionne's playoff performances. Was he as bad as everybody says? Did he ever have any great series? Was he hurt by weak teammates?

PDF File
Excellent job. Don't think it broke any news, but did a better job of confirming the suspicions most of us had about Dionne.

I've never gotten on him for not winning a Cup, nobody could with his supporting cast ... but to never win a 7 game series is terrible for a player of his skill.

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05-01-2008, 06:39 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Yes, no intelligent fan would punish Dionne for not winning a Cup. It's a team award and clearly he was never on a team that was even close to being good enough to contend. It's the fact that he usually did nothing to further the cause and never stepped up and carried them through a series. Adam Oates was a high-scoring forward who never won a Cup either, but he brought it in the playoffs even if his team didn't have much of a shot.

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05-01-2008, 06:42 PM
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Great work as usual, HO. That was a good read.

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05-02-2008, 01:57 AM
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Dionne was franchise... a guy you love to build around. He was an intense competitor, a fantastic scorer, and solid all around. The problem is nothing substantial was ever built around him. The Kings lucked out with Simmer and Taylor as both weren't even pegged to make the NHL. To say Dionne isn't even a top 100 player of all time is a damn travesty and a disgusting injustice... and that's not just bias talking. He was that good, and whoever says he wasn't just simply did not watch the guy play.

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05-02-2008, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Blikian29 View Post
Dionne was franchise... a guy you love to build around. He was an intense competitor, a fantastic scorer, and solid all around. The problem is nothing substantial was ever built around him. The Kings lucked out with Simmer and Taylor as both weren't even pegged to make the NHL. To say Dionne isn't even a top 100 player of all time is a damn travesty and a disgusting injustice... and that's not just bias talking. He was that good, and whoever says he wasn't just simply did not watch the guy play.
I think that's exactly what HO didn't say in his paper....

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05-02-2008, 12:37 PM
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This is really an excellent write-up, and I really enjoy the approach to go back to timely articles to make conclusions on Players or Teams or anything else.

I'm personally reading up on Paul Coffey throughout the 1980's and early 1990's and also Ray Bourque as a comparison to see the play and status of these two in relation to each other.

I find it much better than Awards Voting which I feel only gives other peoples' opinions without even the reasoning behind it or even Stats, which are better, but only gleam info on limited areas of generally Offensive performance. It is the closest thing to watching the games.

Out of curiosity, did you use other Sources besides the Toronto Star? I use a searchable database and find that the most (and best) articles for general information and Player Profiles come from either the Boston Globe or the Washington Post, and the game recap information is usually from the local city papers.

I think your treatment of Marcel Dionne is very fair except I think that the inconsistency bit may be slightly overplayed.

It is very hard for a Player to put up long stretches of point streaks throughout the playoffs, especially one like Dionne who was the focal point for the other team's Checkers and Defensemen.

In these situations Dionne may simply be too tightly checked or play slightly better in one game then the other, and that can make a world of difference.

Granted, not playing at the same level every game does show inconsistency, but it stands out more in the case of beating the Kings, which means stopping Dionne, as compared to beating the Montreal Canadiens, in which Guy Lafleur would naturally face less checking because of the team depth as well as the problem of scoring on the Habs which wasn't too much of a concern against the Kings.

Lastly, I would point out that one thing makes Dionne's Playoff resume look a lot more impressive, at least in my eyes. In the three years that the Kings went past the first round, Marcel Dionne had:

28 Games - 18 Goals - 14 Assists - 32 Points

One thing I do find interesting and it maybe lends credence to the whole "underperformer" label is Dionne's international play. Just looking at the stats, they aren't very impressive.

year team event games goals assists points
1972 team canada summit series 0 0 0 0
1976 team canada canada cup 7 1 5 6
1978 team canada world championships 10 9 3 12
1979 team canada world championships 7 2 1 3
1981 team canada canada cup 6 4 1 5
1983 team canada world championships 10 6 3 9
1986 team canada world championships 10 4 4 8

Aside from one strong year in 1978, on face value, Dionne's play looks solid, but nothing impressive from a player of his caliber.

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05-02-2008, 03:20 PM
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The more I think of Dionne the more I think of Joe Thornton. Or should it be the other way around? Oh well.

But Dionne did have good linemates at one time, Simmer and Taylor. Now I wouldnt blast him for not winning a Cup but he should have put up better numbers than that in the playoffs. A guy who was a perrenial 100+ point man, always within the top 5 scorers in the game, and twice a Pearson winner. He should have done better. He contributed not too bad in the '76 Canada Cup. So that proves he COULD win and didnt lack passion. But I dont know, that really bugs me about Dionne. I mean Park and Perreault never won a Cup either. But both were excellent playoff performers.

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05-02-2008, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
Yes, no intelligent fan would punish Dionne for not winning a Cup. It's a team award and clearly he was never on a team that was even close to being good enough to contend.
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Originally Posted by Blikian29 View Post
Dionne was franchise... a guy you love to build around. He was an intense competitor, a fantastic scorer, and solid all around. The problem is nothing substantial was ever built around him. The Kings lucked out with Simmer and Taylor as both weren't even pegged to make the NHL. To say Dionne isn't even a top 100 player of all time is a damn travesty and a disgusting injustice... and that's not just bias talking. He was that good, and whoever says he wasn't just simply did not watch the guy play.
Basically enough said. The Kings were a one line team + Rogie Vachon. Hard to remember, and too lazy to research, but their best d-man might've been Pat Quinn during that era.

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Aside from one strong year in 1978, on face value, Dionne's play looks solid, but nothing impressive from a player of his caliber.
You're making this assumption based on evaluation, strictly based on points. [sarcasm]That really says a lot.[/sarcasm] World/Canada Cup, Olympics, World Championships requires players to check their egos at the door. Maybe he brought other things to the table besides points? He continually got selected, so Hockey Canada didn't have problems with him being in the lineup time and time again.

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05-02-2008, 08:10 PM
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Firstly, let me say thank you to Hockey Outsider for actually taking the time and effort to research this unbiasedly. A very interesting read.

Just a few more points about Dionne:
  • Not that it excuses any lack of production from Dionne, but the Kings as a team didn't perform well. For example, Butch Goring had only 18 points in 30 playoff games as a King- a big drop from his regular season rate. Then he's traded to the Islanders and becomes a playoff legend. Did he magically become a better player, or was he [the same player on a better team?
  • The biggest upset of the Kings in their playoff history actually occurred the year before Dionne arrived when 105 pt L.A. lost in the first round to 78 pt Leafs. This would tend to suggest that the teams playoff struggles weren't solely due to Dionne.
  • The teams L.A. were losing to were strong ones. In `76 and `77 it was the Bruins, one of the top clubs in league (in `77 Boston needed 6 games to beat L.A, but swept the Flyers in the semis). In `78 it was Roger Neilson's Leafs, who used that same tough style to shock the Islanders in the next round. In `79 it was the Rangers who went on to beat Philly and the Isles to make it to the Final. In `80 it was the Cup winning Islanders. The Ranger team who upset L.A. in `81 also beat the #2 overall St. Louis Blues. So while you can certainly argue that the Kings weren't pulling off any upsets, they weren't exactly losing series they were favoured to win often.
  • Dionne could be a strong defensive player, but wasn't consistent enough at it. A couple of interesting stats somewhat related to his defensive play: in `75 with Detroit he led the NHL with 10 shorthanded goals, but only 30 PP goals were scored against Detroit when he was on the ice. That's a much better ratio than most of the top SHG scorers of the era had. Secondly, the +/- of the Triple Crown line during their prime years was exceptional compared to the rest of the team. In '80 all 3 of them were over +35 despite the Kings finishing 6 games under .500.
  • In the Gary Mason book "Oldtimers", Dionne says that the key missing part that the Kings never had was a puck-moving defenceman. While Lafleur had Robinson, Ratelle had Park, Trottier had Potvin and Sittler had Salming, Dionne had Gary Sargaent or Doug Halward. He talked about how the passes more often hit the back of his skates instead of his stick, and that it forced the forwards to move slower which hindered their effectiveness. He said he couldn't believe how much easier it was for him at World Championships with better blueliners starting the rush. He also makes the very interesting observation in that same book that he always felt he would've been a more effective player as a second-line centre due to his small height.
  • I can just imagine the outcry on the main board here if Dionne was playing today "He's too small." "He's too fat." But the phrases you hear most repeatedly in articles about Dionne's style of play usually talk about how it was impossible to knock him off the puck. He was able to use his low centre of gravity to his advantage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cfy
One thing I do find interesting and it maybe lends credence to the whole "underperformer" label is Dionne's international play. Just looking at the stats, they aren't very impressive.
You're seeing something I'm not, because those international statistics actually look pretty good. He won the award as Best Forward at the `78 Worlds.

I think the fact that he was always willing to play for Canada over there says a lot about his character.

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05-03-2008, 02:16 AM
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Yes, no intelligent fan would punish Dionne for not winning a Cup.
But any intelligent fan would rate players of similar careers who helped lead teams to the the Cup above him.

Without the Cups, Mario Lemieux is mentioned by some in the same sentence as Dionne and Bryan Trottier is mentioned alongside Bernie Federko. As it is, they are not, of course.

When evaluating elite players, guys who were the top players on their teams, winning matters.

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05-03-2008, 10:43 AM
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Basically enough said. The Kings were a one line team + Rogie Vachon. Hard to remember, and too lazy to research, but their best d-man might've been Pat Quinn during that era.
.
It was probably Bob Murdoch, whose better word to describe him is competent, but I definitely see your point. Not the kind of material to win SC's if he'S your 1st D-Men.

After Murdoch left, they had like.... Doug Halward, one year of Larry Murphy, and the dog years of Jerry Korab.

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05-07-2008, 07:29 PM
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This is really an excellent write-up, and I really enjoy the approach to go back to timely articles to make conclusions on Players or Teams or anything else.

I'm personally reading up on Paul Coffey throughout the 1980's and early 1990's and also Ray Bourque as a comparison to see the play and status of these two in relation to each other.

I find it much better than Awards Voting which I feel only gives other peoples' opinions without even the reasoning behind it or even Stats, which are better, but only gleam info on limited areas of generally Offensive performance. It is the closest thing to watching the games.
Thanks very much. Reading hockey articles in old newspapers is an interesting hobby, despite the eye strain it causes. I agree that it gives you more information than looking at statistics or even looking at awards -- though of course it's pretty time-consuming so I usually only do it when I'm looking for a fact/story about a specific player/season.

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Out of curiosity, did you use other Sources besides the Toronto Star? I use a searchable database and find that the most (and best) articles for general information and Player Profiles come from either the Boston Globe or the Washington Post, and the game recap information is usually from the local city papers.
I only have access to Canadian newspapers and, generally, the Toronto Star and Globe & Mail are by far the most thorough and reliable. To be really thorough, I probably could/should have double-checked everything in the G&M. I'd like to try some American newspapers, but I don't have free online access to them.

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I think your treatment of Marcel Dionne is very fair except I think that the inconsistency bit may be slightly overplayed.
You might be right. I suppose that Dionne having only two good games in a series would be more noticeable than, say, Lafleur having two great games, as he'd also have Dryden, Robinson, etc., also probably stealing a game along the way.

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Lastly, I would point out that one thing makes Dionne's Playoff resume look a lot more impressive, at least in my eyes. In the three years that the Kings went past the first round, Marcel Dionne had:

28 Games - 18 Goals - 14 Assists - 32 Points
This is a good point - when Dionne stepped it up, the Kings performed well (going 2-1 as favourites, and winning arguably the largest upset in NHL playoff history). It really shows how much the Kings relied on Dionne - their playoffs depended so heavily on how well he performed.

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05-07-2008, 08:04 PM
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Firstly, let me say thank you to Hockey Outsider for actually taking the time and effort to research this unbiasedly. A very interesting read.
Thanks!

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  • Not that it excuses any lack of production from Dionne, but the Kings as a team didn't perform well. For example, Butch Goring had only 18 points in 30 playoff games as a King- a big drop from his regular season rate. Then he's traded to the Islanders and becomes a playoff legend. Did he magically become a better player, or was he [the same player on a better team?
This, combined with the point about how the Kings were badly outplayed in the first of several series, suggests that coaching may have been an issue. (Then again, there were seven different coaches during Dionne's tenure as a King... surely there must have been some even bigger underlying issues, and it is worth mentioning that Dionne played far more games than any other King during this span).

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  • The biggest upset of the Kings in their playoff history actually occurred the year before Dionne arrived when 105 pt L.A. lost in the first round to 78 pt Leafs. This would tend to suggest that the teams playoff struggles weren't solely due to Dionne.
They mentioned this in an article from 1975 (I think). I meant to include this in the write-up somewhere but must have forgot. Like what I said above, this leads me to believe that coaching may have been a bigger issue than most realize.

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  • The teams L.A. were losing to were strong ones. In `76 and `77 it was the Bruins, one of the top clubs in league (in `77 Boston needed 6 games to beat L.A, but swept the Flyers in the semis). In `78 it was Roger Neilson's Leafs, who used that same tough style to shock the Islanders in the next round. In `79 it was the Rangers who went on to beat Philly and the Isles to make it to the Final. In `80 it was the Cup winning Islanders. The Ranger team who upset L.A. in `81 also beat the #2 overall St. Louis Blues. So while you can certainly argue that the Kings weren't pulling off any upsets, they weren't exactly losing series they were favoured to win often.
I agree - the Kings weren't just underdogs, they were quite often the weaker team by 10-20 points in the standings, if not more.

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  • In the Gary Mason book "Oldtimers", Dionne says that the key missing part that the Kings never had was a puck-moving defenceman. While Lafleur had Robinson, Ratelle had Park, Trottier had Potvin and Sittler had Salming, Dionne had Gary Sargaent or Doug Halward. He talked about how the passes more often hit the back of his skates instead of his stick, and that it forced the forwards to move slower which hindered their effectiveness. He said he couldn't believe how much easier it was for him at World Championships with better blueliners starting the rush. He also makes the very interesting observation in that same book that he always felt he would've been a more effective player as a second-line centre due to his small height.
I knew Dionne never played behind a great defense, but I was shocked by just how bad they were as I was doing the research.

In his first three seasons, Larry Murphy averaged just under 70 pts per year; he drops to just 49 pts the year he's traded to Washington and breaks the 70 pt mark just once over the next eight years.

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05-12-2008, 07:23 AM
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But any intelligent fan would rate players of similar careers who helped lead teams to the the Cup above him.

Without the Cups, Mario Lemieux is mentioned by some in the same sentence as Dionne and Bryan Trottier is mentioned alongside Bernie Federko. As it is, they are not, of course.

When evaluating elite players, guys who were the top players on their teams, winning matters.
What's the old message that used to appear on posters, that elementary school teachers loved to hang in their classrooms? "It's hard to soar with eagles when you're surrounded by turkeys."

A SC certainly enhances the legend of an outstanding career, but it is not the defining factor. If a standout player doesn't have an adequate supporting cast, there's only so much that can be done to improve the teammates.

Where would your idol have been without Bossy to feed and Potvin to patrol the bluelines? Likewise, Kurri, Messier, Anderson, Fuhr, Coffey, Lowe, et al, sure made life a bit easier for Gretzky.

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05-13-2008, 01:18 AM
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What's the old message that used to appear on posters, that elementary school teachers loved to hang in their classrooms? "It's hard to soar with eagles when you're surrounded by turkeys."
True. And no one is suggesting that it is "fair" that some players have greater supporting casts.

But life is unfair, no?

And those who take advantage of their circumstances should be noted as such.

Dionne was a great offensive center.

Trottier was a great player and six-time champion.

Big, big difference, IMO.

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05-13-2008, 09:04 AM
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True. And no one is suggesting that it is "fair" that some players have greater supporting casts.

But life is unfair, no?

And those who take advantage of their circumstances should be noted as such.

Dionne was a great offensive center.

Trottier was a great player and six-time champion.

Big, big difference, IMO.
He scored almost 1800 points, was the best player on his crappy teams most of the time, was a classy Lady Byng winner and respected teammate, and you're still relegating him to a status that doesn't even qualify him as a ''great player''? I'm sure the players that played against him and voted him as the best in the league twice would disagree.

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05-14-2008, 06:14 PM
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He scored almost 1800 points, was the best player on his crappy teams most of the time, was a classy Lady Byng winner and respected teammate, and you're still relegating him to a status that doesn't even qualify him as a ''great player''? I'm sure the players that played against him and voted him as the best in the league twice would disagree.
Yeah I would have to think think that Dionne is a great player regardless of no Cup. We would still call Joe Thornton great nowadays even with shady playoff performances. You cant win the Pearson Trophy ahead of Trottier and Gretkzy in back to back years without being great. With that being said, Dionne's legacy is less about not having a Cup rather than not being a good playoff performer. I mean he may have had a lacklustre team but I've always felt that he should have done a little bit more with Simmer and Taylor spotting him

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05-14-2008, 06:27 PM
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He scored almost 1800 points, was the best player on his crappy teams most of the time, was a classy Lady Byng winner and respected teammate, and you're still relegating him to a status that doesn't even qualify him as a ''great player''? I'm sure the players that played against him and voted him as the best in the league twice would disagree.
I'm comparing him to other great players of his time. And have explained ad nauseum why he comes up short against them.

He was a superb offensive player.

He was not Clarke, Lafleur or Trottier, not to mention Mario.

That's all.

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10-24-2013, 01:01 PM
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Marcel Dionne was the type of player if his team was down 5 to 0 he would be waiting at center ice for a cup to get an easy goal.Marcel cared for himself more than team that what a type of player he was.I would rather have Gilbert Perrault any time of the day.Many of his pts were when game was out of hand.The player I felt sorry for was Rogy Vachon who should be in Hall.I was at a game in 1981 at Pacific Gardens in Vancouver and throughout the game Dionne was cheating througout game waiting at center ice and the crowd was laughing at him and calliing him names.

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10-24-2013, 01:29 PM
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Marcel Dionne was the type of player if his team was down 5 to 0 he would be waiting at center ice for a cup to get an easy goal.Marcel cared for himself more than team that what a type of player he was.I would rather have Gilbert Perrault any time of the day.Many of his pts were when game was out of hand.The player I felt sorry for was Rogy Vachon who should be in Hall.I was at a game in 1981 at Pacific Gardens in Vancouver and throughout the game Dionne was cheating througout game waiting at center ice and the crowd was laughing at him and calliing him names.
Well this shouldn't be too hard to prove since we have access to the game sheet for every game he ever played. Please feel free, as he won't be up for voting for a while.

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10-25-2013, 12:24 PM
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Marcel Dionne was the type of player if his team was down 5 to 0 he would be waiting at center ice for a cup to get an easy goal.Marcel cared for himself more than team that what a type of player he was.I would rather have Gilbert Perrault any time of the day.Many of his pts were when game was out of hand.The player I felt sorry for was Rogy Vachon who should be in Hall.I was at a game in 1981 at Pacific Gardens in Vancouver and throughout the game Dionne was cheating througout game waiting at center ice and the crowd was laughing at him and calliing him names.
Just my opinion, but this is a load of crap.

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10-25-2013, 12:29 PM
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Of course. But just as Esposito was 2nd during his career, so was Dionne. He was a significant regular season scorer (the most prolific in the decade of the latter half of the 70s and first half of 80s). It's his playoff resume that's wanting, hence the relevance of bringing him up in talk of elite game play. If he was even "good" at the elite game level of any of the nine on our consideration list this round then maybe Dionne would be in this round instead of probably a few rounds from now.
Take a look at some of the matchups Dionne's teams faced in the playoffs. His teams were usually very overmatched.

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10-25-2013, 12:31 PM
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Take a look at some of the matchups Dionne's teams faced in the playoffs. His teams were usually very overmatched.
Agreed.

I have detailed this in the past. His teams were out of their depth and furthermore the lack of depth on his teams meant he could be keyed in on completely.

None of these guys being discussed would have gone anywhere on the Kings teams Dionne was on.


Found my old post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
In the regular season he wasn't matched up against the top seeds every time he stepped on to the ice either.

75-76 85 point Kings team loses to the 113 point Bruins.

76-77 85 point Kings team loses to the 106 point Bruins

77-78 77 point Kings team loses to 92 point Toronto.

78-79 80 point Kings team loses to 91 point Rangers.

79-80 74 point Kings team loses to 91 point Islanders.

80-81 99 point Kings team loses to 74 point Rangers. The Kings allow 23 goals in the 4 game sweep. I guess Dionne could have tried playing defense or goal...

81-82 63 point Kings team loses to 77 point Canucks team after knocking off a 111 point Oilers team. Has any other team with a 48 point regular season gap ever won a series? This has to be a record. That is ridiculous.

84-85 82 point Kings team loses to 109 point Oilers dynasty.

86-87 76 point Kings team loses to 100 point Flyers finalist.


So.. outside of 80-81, where their defense gave up 23 goals in 4 games (they were 20th out of 21 in goals against in the regular season as well).. Dionne's teams were the underdog in every series he lost.

And that is with his regular season play getting them the points they did have in their seeding.

His teams were bad in the regular season.

After dropping the even worse teams for the playoffs, the Kings were by and large showing up to a gun fight with a knife. Teams could just focus on him and they were done.


Last edited by BraveCanadian: 10-25-2013 at 12:38 PM.
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