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Round 2, Vote 2 (HOH Top Centers)

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Old
11-10-2013, 01:14 PM
  #376
MXD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
From the bottom of that page"

"CLUTCH RATING - Important Goals & Assists-Power Play Appearances"

Lemaire, Larouche, Lefley, Merrick, Bennett, and St. Saveur were all on the ice for a similar number of power play goals. And Lemaire probably scored too many of his points when the game was out of reach to rank high in "Important Goals & Assists", as a player on an elite team as opposed to an average team.

All of which says that the clutch rating may be internally consistent but wasn't measuring anything meaningful.
Off topic.

The poll was made after Lemaire's arguably worst season, and certainly his worst as fa as shooting percentage is concerned. And quite after his string of good playoffs in the late 60, early 70.

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11-10-2013, 04:57 PM
  #377
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Voted

Voted.

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Old
11-10-2013, 05:34 PM
  #378
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11-10-2013, 11:07 PM
  #379
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Originally Posted by Wrath View Post
Mikita seems like a cold hard lock for 5th (overall behind Morenz) at this point.

I really don't see any arguments for knocking him anywhere below that considering he's a 2 time hart winner, 4 time art ross winner, and 6 time first team all star center, and noted for his solid two way play.

I know I quoted this post already, but I just want to point out that Phil Esposito is a 2 time Hart winner, a 5 time Art Ross winner, and a 6 time first team All Star center.

He also led the NHL in goals 6 times, behind only Bobby Hull, and ahead of Charlie Conacher, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Maurice Richard, who led the league in goals 5 times each.

Not noted for his two-way play, however.

I'm finding that Esposito is the hardest one for me to rank this round. I know, Bobby Orr blah blah, but that is some "on-paper" resume that Esposito has for himself.

Beats out Bobby Clarke 6-2 in 1st Team All-Star nods, despite Clarke's 3-2 advantage in Harts.


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Old
11-10-2013, 11:44 PM
  #380
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is esposito the paul coffey of the centers list?

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11-10-2013, 11:53 PM
  #381
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Why do you rank Mikita below Lalonde, Taylor, or Esposito as a playoff performer?

I do agree that this forum tends to give star players from underachieving pre-expansion teams too much of a pass, but this is no Dionne we are talking about.
Yeah... I definitely gave some thought to Lalonde for this "distinction." Taylor? Lower quality teammates? I'm sure I don't know enough about Taylor's teammates... but I don't think they could have been of the caliber of The Jet and Pilote.

One thing I've tried to keep in mind while viewing those players born in the late 19th C. is that it's almost precisely a 4⅓-year separation between the three of them. [Taylor- June 1884, Lalonde- Oct. 1888, Nighbor- January 1893.] So- when Nighbor was going head-to-head against Lalonde, it was against a player over four years older. When doing same-calendar-year comparsions with Taylor [c.f.: this post and my response], it's over nine years separation.

Back to that "Esposito/Clarke" chestnut you posed earlier... I don't find conclusive evidence to consider Espo as better than Clarke- but I don't find conclusive evidence for the converse, either. I suppose that, to me, the clearest pro-Clarke point is this: Esposito is maybe hockey's most famous "ugly duckling" story. Those comparatively unimpressive Chicago years are just so jarring when contrasted to his later greatness that the natural tendency is to discount them somewhat. But really, we shouldn't discount them- at least not totally. Three full seasons, during a span in his life when Trottier, at the same age, was winning two Cups- and little to show for Chicago, except that it induced the Hawks to undervalue him and place him in the perhaps the most infamous trade in The Windy City's sports history. [Well, it's either that one or "Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio"]

To assess Orr & Esposito independent of one another is a maddening endeavor. Esposito falls off after leaving Boston (of course), but there's also his natural performance rate-of-decay to consider, here. One can't even address it from the other direction, because we don't have a parallel forward in Orr's life, absent Esposito. I suspect that the Rosetta Stone of this exercise is to (somehow) assess Esposito's rate-of-decay Δ, find a "degree-of-fit" analogue rate of decay for a similar player who had teammates of comparable quality in his 20s and 30s, and complete backwards for "hypothetical prime" statistics as they may have been with just "good" defensemen, instead of the consensus greatest ever.

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11-10-2013, 11:53 PM
  #382
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Looks like. Poor Phil's like the Rodney Dangerfield of Centers.

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11-11-2013, 12:08 AM
  #383
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Why do you rank Mikita below Lalonde, Taylor, or Esposito as a playoff performer?

I do agree that this forum tends to give star players from underachieving pre-expansion teams too much of a pass, but this is no Dionne we are talking about.
Maybe if Mikita had dominated his peers in playoff scoring there might be a better perception about him?

Oh wait he did.

But that's the funny thing about perceptions they often get in the way of the cold hard fact of the matter, which is that Mikta was an outstanding playoff performer for his career, despite one one TEAM SC, whatever metric or lense we choose to view him by .

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11-11-2013, 12:17 AM
  #384
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Esposito finished 7th in overall NHL scoring in his last year in Chicago, despite playing on the second PP unit in an era when the first unit saw the lion's share of the time. His first year in Boston, he finished a close 2nd in NHL scoring (to Mikita), while basically maintaining his even stength scoring.

I agree that Espo wouldn't have reached the heights he did without Orr, but I think it's a little overblown as to how "unimpressive" he was in Chicago.

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11-11-2013, 12:22 AM
  #385
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Maybe if Mikita had dominated his peers in playoff scoring there might be a better perception about him?

Oh wait he did.

But that's the funny thing about perceptions they often get in the way of the cold hard fact of the matter, which is that Mikta was an outstanding playoff performer for his career, despite one one TEAM SC, whatever metric or lense we choose to view him by .
Well really only two people here seem to be harping on his lack of tram success, I think he'll be voted in top of this round in a landslide.

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11-11-2013, 12:41 AM
  #386
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
is esposito the paul coffey of the centers list?
In a word yes.

At least in terms of being over rated.

Paul had tremendous offensive ability and was more of a catalyst than Esposito was but Coffey also probably benefited as much, or more from his team mates and situations.

Esposito is more like a rich man's Charlie Simmer, without the injuries but these comps always have problems and are more for fun than anything else.

Both Phil and charlie played for SSM in their junior careers.

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11-11-2013, 12:57 AM
  #387
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Maybe if Mikita had dominated his peers in playoff scoring there might be a better perception about him?

Oh wait he did.
Individual playoff scoring, Hull & Mikita as teammates-

Hull: 121 points in 104 games
Mikita: 104 points in 105 games.

[Also, keep in mind that containing Hull was typically considered an opponent's first defensive responsibility. One frequently heard about one player or another serving as "Hull's shadow." I have no memory of any talk of "Mikita's shadow."]

Long story short- can't credibly say that a player dominated his peers in playoff scoring, when one need look no further than his own team to find a more dominant scorer- although I'll confess that my understanding of dominance and yours might differ...

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11-11-2013, 01:49 AM
  #388
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Does anyone have anything on 'Esposito the playmaker'?

I mean, for a guy who is known mostly as a (garbage) goal scorer, he does have pretty impressive assist numbers (regular season: 873 A to 717 G, playoffs: 76 A to 61 G). Is that just the benefits of being a center (i.e. assists will 'automatically' come), and him being in the right environment, or does Espo actually deserve some credit for his playmaking? I'm sure that there were many cases in Chicago and especially Boston, where he just merely had to give the puck to Hull or Orr, respectively, and he would get an assist, but could he still be slightly underrated in that department?

BTW, before this, I never thought that Esposito would be placed after e.g. Clarke on an all-time list, but that's probably me just giving too much weight on Espo's heroics in 1972.


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11-11-2013, 01:56 AM
  #389
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Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
Does anyone have anything on 'Esposito the playmaker'?

I mean, for a guy who is known mostly as a (garbage) goal scorer, he does have pretty impressive assist numbers (regular season: 873 A to 717 G, playoffs: 76 A to 61 G). Is that just the benefits of being a center (i.e. assists will 'automatically' come), and him being in the right environment, or does Espo actually deserve some credit for his playmaking? I'm sure that there were many cases in Chigago and especially Boston, where he just merely had to give the puck to Hull or Orr, respectively, and he would get an assist, but could he still be slightly underrated in that department?

BTW, before this, I never thought that Esposito would be placed after e.g. Clarke on an all-time list, but that's probably me just giving too much weight on Espo's heroics in 1972.
Espo over Clarke seems an "establishment" position, at least if the THN top 100 is a decent representation of that.

My read on Espo is that he was an excellent playmaker in tight, but his skating prevented him from being a great neutral zone player. He absolutely deserves credit for his playmaking once play entered the offensive zone, IMO. League leader in assists 3 times - I have no doubt Orr was key in getting the puck into the offensive zone*, but once there, Espo sure knew what to do with it.

*and Pilote and Hull in Chicago


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Old
11-11-2013, 06:38 AM
  #390
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
Does anyone have anything on 'Esposito the playmaker'?

I mean, for a guy who is known mostly as a (garbage) goal scorer, he does have pretty impressive assist numbers (regular season: 873 A to 717 G, playoffs: 76 A to 61 G). Is that just the benefits of being a center (i.e. assists will 'automatically' come), and him being in the right environment, or does Espo actually deserve some credit for his playmaking? I'm sure that there were many cases in Chicago and especially Boston, where he just merely had to give the puck to Hull or Orr, respectively, and he would get an assist, but could he still be slightly underrated in that department?

BTW, before this, I never thought that Esposito would be placed after e.g. Clarke on an all-time list, but that's probably me just giving too much weight on Espo's heroics in 1972.
Factor in rebound assists.

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11-11-2013, 07:15 AM
  #391
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Regular Season

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiTownPhilly View Post
Individual playoff scoring, Hull & Mikita as teammates-

Hull: 121 points in 104 games
Mikita: 104 points in 105 games.


[Also, keep in mind that containing Hull was typically considered an opponent's first defensive responsibility. One frequently heard about one player or another serving as "Hull's shadow." I have no memory of any talk of "Mikita's shadow."]

Long story short- can't credibly say that a player dominated his peers in playoff scoring, when one need look no further than his own team to find a more dominant scorer- although I'll confess that my understanding of dominance and yours might differ...
The time frame is not referenced but seems to cover the 1960-71 playoffs. Within the same time frame during the regular season Bobby Hull also outscored Stan Mikita by app. 40 points, more if we include 1972 their last season together the regular season advantage for Bobby Hull widens.

Combined regular season and playoff scoring reveals why Bobby Hull was the oppositions #1 defensive concern. NHL teams and coaches had the ability to look beyond Art Ross counting.

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11-11-2013, 07:22 AM
  #392
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Neutral Zone Player

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Espo over Clarke seems an "establishment" position, at least if the THN top 100 is a decent representation of that.

My read on Espo is that he was an excellent playmaker in tight, but his skating prevented him from being a great neutral zone player. He absolutely deserves credit for his playmaking once play entered the offensive zone, IMO. League leader in assists 3 times - I have no doubt Orr was key in getting the puck into the offensive zone*, but once there, Espo sure knew what to do with it.

*and Pilote and Hull in Chicago
Played the vast majority of his NHL career in Chicago and Boston, smaller home rinks than the NHL standard 200 x 85, reduced neutral zone. Neutral zone play has to be considered with this in mind.

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11-11-2013, 08:58 AM
  #393
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Espo over Clarke seems an "establishment" position, at least if the THN top 100 is a decent representation of that.

My read on Espo is that he was an excellent playmaker in tight, but his skating prevented him from being a great neutral zone player. He absolutely deserves credit for his playmaking once play entered the offensive zone, IMO. League leader in assists 3 times - I have no doubt Orr was key in getting the puck into the offensive zone*, but once there, Espo sure knew what to do with it.

*and Pilote and Hull in Chicago
That larger part of the games I saw Esposito play were in New York when he was a bit older, but I think your description is accurate. Phil was not much of a threat carrying the puck, but he had excellent vision and great hands, and made decisions with the puck as quickly as anyone I've ever seen besides Gretzky. He definitely generated his share of assists off of rebounds, but he was also extremely good at finding teammates on short passes around the net, a talent which helped him get a lot of assists, and also helped to set up his shot because it kept defensemen honest. He was stupidly dangerous anywhere below about the faceoff circles.

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11-11-2013, 10:10 AM
  #394
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Back to that "Esposito/Clarke" chestnut you posed earlier...
For counterpoint- to me, the most compelling argument for Esposito over Clarke isn't the eye-popping pinball-machine scoring numbers, it's longevity. Esposito continued to be c. a point-per-game player through his penultimate year in the league- and his points weren't compiler/hang-on points- many of them were achieved on a Rangers team that was quite bad, in stretches. [E.g.: 75-76, 76-77, and 77-78... when they were a combined 28 games under .500 during that span.]

Poor Espo must have felt like he was "sent to Coventry" during that time. No wonder he was such a bitter b**** to the Boston brass for years afterwards.

Fred Shero had a go at trying to turn around the Rangers shortly afterwards- and things got better for a while- but the "Nineteen-Forty" taunting chants would continue for another decade-and-a-half, or so...

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11-11-2013, 10:24 AM
  #395
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Originally Posted by ChiTownPhilly View Post
For counterpoint- to me, the most compelling argument for Esposito over Clarke isn't the eye-popping pinball-machine scoring numbers, it's longevity. Esposito continued to be c. a point-per-game player through his penultimate year in the league- and his points weren't compiler/hang-on points- many of them were achieved on a Rangers team that was quite bad, in stretches. [E.g.: 75-76, 76-77, and 77-78... when they were a combined 28 games under .500 during that span.]

Poor Espo must have felt like he was "sent to Coventry" during that time. No wonder he was such a bitter b**** to the Boston brass for years afterwards.

Fred Shero had a go at trying to turn around the Rangers shortly afterwards- and things got better for a while- but the "Nineteen-Forty" taunting chants would continue for another decade-and-a-half, or so...
Sure Phil has longevity on Clarke but it's not as meaningful as the longevity that guys like moose, Mikita, Sakic, Yzerman, Taylor or nighbour had.

Those NYR teams were bad in part due to Phil being a poor man's Mario, ie still a great PP guy but really well below average ES for the league in terms of his impact.

We saw signs of this less than impact full play at ES in Boston as well.

If we look at the whole picture of what hockey is about, ie. winning games and any players impact on doing that Clarke had more impact than Phil did and so did most of the players up for voting this round IMO.

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11-11-2013, 10:54 AM
  #396
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Sure Phil has longevity on Clarke but it's not as meaningful as the longevity that guys like moose, Mikita, Sakic, Yzerman, Taylor or Nighbor had.
I agree with... eh, about 80% of what you say, here.

As one might be able to tell from my narrative, I haven't entirely made up my mind about Clarke v. Esposito. I know enough to know that I prefer young Clarke, and I prefer older Esposito.

Those individuals who rate Lemieux lower than consensus point out the relatively higher ratio of his production that owes to the Power Play... and I guess that if one is comfortable with that point, then one would apply it to Esposito, too.

Still, I feel that a variant of football coach Paul Brown's metaphorical defense of running back Jim Brown, modified into hockey terms, would be my take on such criticisms:

"How great would Esposito be if you took away his Power Play points?"

«How great would Picasso be if you took away 'blue' from his color-palette?»

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11-11-2013, 12:11 PM
  #397
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I'll be voting later today. As to Esposito it'll be interesting to see where he ends up. I've always held him in very high regard, wonder if my fellow voters here feel the same,

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11-11-2013, 02:01 PM
  #398
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and his points weren't compiler/hang-on points- many of them were achieved on a Rangers team that was quite bad, in stretches. [E.g.: 75-76, 76-77, and 77-78... when they were a combined 28 games under .500 during that span.]
Those sound more like compiler/hang on points than otherwise. As much as the bad team excuse can be used to prop a player up, it can be used to show that a player wasn't contributing to success in any meaningful way and was getting more offensive opportunities than he would on a better team. (i.e. "someone's gonna score on a bad team")

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11-11-2013, 03:00 PM
  #399
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Those sound more like compiler/hang on points than otherwise. As much as the bad team excuse can be used to prop a player up, it can be used to show that a player wasn't contributing to success in any meaningful way and was getting more offensive opportunities than he would on a better team. (i.e. "someone's gonna score on a bad team")
And how about 78-79? Was Espo compiling/hanging on as the Rangers leading scorer in the regular season and playoffs in a season they went to the finals?

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11-11-2013, 03:08 PM
  #400
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And how about 78-79? Was Espo compiling/hanging on as the Rangers leading scorer in the regular season and playoffs in a season they went to the finals?
That doesn't really fit the narrative very well, does it?

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