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Round 2, Vote 5 (HOH Top Centers)

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Old
12-03-2013, 01:49 PM
  #201
Hardyvan123
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I see we've already reached the part of the project where you're throwing whatever you can at the wall and hoping it sticks to rank modern players over older players. Who cares that there was only one time zone in the 6 team era? (You're wrong about that anyway - Chicago is in the Central Time Zone).

As for your Richard/Francis/Keon comparison, let's take a look at their All-Star records:

playerFirstSecondThirdTotal
Henri Richard1326
Dave Keon0224
Ron Francis0003

Henri has the second best All-Star record of any center available this round (Schmidt has the best), and that's despite the fact that he was generally overshadowed by Beliveau on his own team. (He shared the official All-Star spot with Beliveau for 3 of his 4 1st or 2nd Team All-Star berths, the only teammates in history to share official All-Star berths in the same year).
Okay so it's 2 time zones, less GP and better chance of staying healthy than in a 82 Games season all over NA and with more frequent long impact injuries, say in the 90's forward.

As much as it goes unsaid in here the NHL wasn't static nor were the conditions the players played under.

I don't have an definite answers but at Least I'm asking the questions and considering all the information.

As for post season all stars, a 6 team league is alot easier to make it than in a 21 plus team league, throw in the era francis played in doubly (at least) so.

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12-03-2013, 02:03 PM
  #202
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I believe (but am not 100% certain) that after Olmstead was traded away, Dickie Moore was moved from the Richards line to the Beliveau line.
I believe matnor's point collaboration data suggests Moore and Henri were linemates when both were in the lineup until Moore left Montreal.

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12-03-2013, 02:06 PM
  #203
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Originally Posted by Rob Scuderi View Post
I thought Moore spent one season on Beliveau's wing because of this quote. Not that it undercuts the rotating door of LWs before and afterwards you mentioned.
That might be what I was thinking of.

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Old
12-03-2013, 02:29 PM
  #204
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Late 1958-59

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Originally Posted by Rob Scuderi View Post
I thought Moore spent one season on Beliveau's wing because of this quote. Not that it undercuts the rotating door of LWs before and afterwards you mentioned.
Handful of games late 1958-59 season going into the playoffs three of the top six wingers were injured - Maurice Richard, Geoffrion and Bonin.

Bit of experimenting for the playoffs, makeshift lines - example McDonald, Henri Richard, Ralph Backstrom.

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12-03-2013, 02:51 PM
  #205
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I expected Crosby to have a vastly increased trophy case if you "removed" all Europeans. But I didn't expect this: Crosby led all North Americans in official points-per-game numbers in every individual season over a 7 year period (2007-2013), except 2012 when he actually was 1st in PPG, but didn't meet the minimum games threshold.
Doesn't surprise me too much. As you said, the North American talent seems to be in a lull outside of Crosby. Since 2007-08, the highest PPG total recorded by a non-Crosby North American was 1.25 by a 37-year-old Martin St. Louis. Eleven seasons from European players had higher numbers than that in the same time frame. The next best North American number was, what, a 1.21 by a 35-year-old Martin St. Louis?

With respect to Steven Stamkos, non-Crosby North American talent hasn't been much to write home about since Joe Thornton's last huge year, and even the surprise peak seasons that have garnered trophy support haven't been that huge. Looking at the DPE which had comparable scoring levels to 2008-2013, eleven North Americans had numbers that exceeded Martin St. Louis' 1.25 - while a similar number of Europeans (13) did the same.

While the European competition is pretty consistent (Jagr, Selanne, Forsberg; Ovechkin, Malkin, Sedins), there just aren't any Lemieuxs, Sakics, Lindroses, or Kariyas running around out there with Crosby.

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12-03-2013, 03:29 PM
  #206
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe
If Richard was the Canadiens' first line center at even strength over Beliveau, isn't that a positive for him?

Look, I think there are some what-ifs going on with Henri Richard - if I actually believed he was almost Mikita's equal offensively, I would rank him over Mikita due to Henri's elite all-round game, but I didn't do that.

What if he was on a team where he was given the offensive opportunities of every other center discussed and a normal amount of powerplay time? Best-case scenario, he's as good as Mikita, but we shouldn't rank players on best-case scenarios. I think it's more likely than not that he would have been as good as Clarke or maybe Trottier, but still, those guys were definitely that good, and "definite" is better than "probably." That said, I think the appropriate place for Henri Richard is a single tier down from Clarke or Trottier, basically in the same tier as Yzerman.
I think I was pretty clear that the only reason Henri might have been given more ice time than Beliveau is because of Jean's heart issue. Certainly Beliveau was the #1 centre on those teams.

BTW, I don't have a problem regarding Henri being a top 4 guy this round. Looks like a crapshoot to me. If I had a vote though I would go with Richard, Schmidt, Bentley, Kennedy (not necessarily in that order)


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 12-03-2013 at 04:39 PM. Reason: Fixed quote brackets
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12-03-2013, 03:54 PM
  #207
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Originally Posted by pappyline View Post

I think I was pretty clear that the only reason Henri might have been given more ice time than Beliveau is because of Jean's heart issue. Certainly Beliveau was the #1 centre on those teams.

BTW, I don't have a problem regarding Henri being a top 4 guy this round. Looks like a crapshoot to me. If I had a vote though I would go with Richard, Schmidt, Bentley, Kennedy (not necessarily in that order)
Why Bentley in the top 4? Also, where's Dionne?


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12-03-2013, 04:38 PM
  #208
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Why Bentley in the top 4? Also, where's Dionne?
Why not Bentley? Won the AR twice and won a Hart even though he missed 2 prime seasons because of WW II. Got traded for 5 pretty decent NHL players. With the Leafs, the offensive calibre of his linemates dropped but he still put up good regular season numbers and incredible playoff numbers. He was a force on the point playing on the powerplay, And I cannot believe that he wasn't at least adequate defensively. Apps was criticized for his defensive play and he has already made the list. Was Bentley any worse.IMO he was better than Apps offensivelly. Just because he isn;t being pushed by some of the more influential members of this panel is no reason to disregard him this round.

Dionne? Maybe it is his time. Probably my number 5 guy.


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12-03-2013, 06:00 PM
  #209
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The Canadiens "super-team" where all 6 of their top 6 forwards were inducted into the HHOF was actually only together for THREE seasons - 1955-56, Henri Richard's rookie season until 1957-58 when Bert Olmstead was traded away: http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...olmstbe01.html

I believe (but am not 100% certain) that after Olmstead was traded away, Dickie Moore was moved from the Richards line to the Beliveau line.

Maurice Richard did play with Henri until he retired following the 1959-60 season: http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...richama01.html. However, Maurice was a shell of himself the last 2-3 years of his career (his last season as a top 10 scorer was in 1956-57, Henri's sophmore season), and he is quoted as saying that the only reason he didn't retire earlier was that he was enjoying playing with his younger brother. Likewise, other sources indicate that Maurice was struggling with weight problems the last few years of his career and that he actually (believe it or not) reinvented himself as a more defensive forward as his offense finally started to leave him.

As for Dickie Moore himself, regardless as to whether he was moved to the Beliveau line, his last season in Montreal was 1962-63: http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...mooredi01.html. The overpass chart I reposted in post 149 showing Henri very close to Hull and Mikita in even strength scoring goes from 1961-62 to 1966-67.



If Richard was the Canadiens' first line center at even strength over Beliveau, isn't that a positive for him?

Look, I think there are some what-ifs going on with Henri Richard - if I actually believed he was almost Mikita's equal offensively, I would rank him over Mikita due to Henri's elite all-round game, but I didn't do that.

What if he was on a team where he was given the offensive opportunities of every other center discussed and a normal amount of powerplay time? Best-case scenario, he's as good as Mikita, but we shouldn't rank players on best-case scenarios. I think it's more likely than not that he would have been as good as Clarke or maybe Trottier, but still, those guys were definitely that good, and "definite" is better than "probably." That said, I think the appropriate place for Henri Richard is a single tier down from Clarke or Trottier, basically in the same tier as Yzerman.
And what if Richard played with the teams Dionne played on? Without his brother to usher him in? Without the Canadien's pride? Without the Canadien's system? Without the coaching and mentoring he got in Montreal? Where language may have been a bigger barrier? Where losing was contagious instead of winning?

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Old
12-03-2013, 06:02 PM
  #210
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And what if Richard played with the teams Dionne played on? Without his brother to usher him in? Without the Canadien's pride? Without the Canadien's system? Without the coaching and mentoring he got in Montreal? Where language may have been a bigger barrier? Where losing was contagious instead of winning?
I would imagine he would have put up a ton more regular season points (with the added PP time) and won far fewer games.

I doubt Dionne develops into an elite defensive player if he played for Montreal, however, though he probably ends up a better one that he was in real life.


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Old
12-03-2013, 06:19 PM
  #211
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I would imagine he would have put up a ton more regular season points (with the added PP time) and won far fewer games.

I doubt Dionne develops into an elite defensive player if he played for Montreal, however, though he probably ends up a better one that he was in real life.
Why not?

Most kids coming out of junior need to learn D at the pro level. Sure seems like almost all of the centers that played any length of time in Montreal in those years were at least very good defensively and on face-offs.

As for Richard, I'm not sure his engine would run at the same high energy level that was demanded in Montreal.

Best we judge on what actually happened than what-ifs, eh?

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12-03-2013, 06:29 PM
  #212
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Why not?

Most kids coming out of junior need to learn D at the pro level. Sure seems like almost all of the centers that played any length of time in Montreal in those years were at least very good defensively and on face-offs.

As for Richard, I'm not sure his engine would run at the same high energy level that was demanded in Montreal.
Does Bobby Clarke because an elite defensive center without Fred Shero? What about Bryan Trottier without Al Arbour? We KNOW Yzerman wasn't a particularly good defensive center until Bowman came to Detroit. Heck, given Bowman's love of two-way centers, maybe he converts Dionne to winger if Dionne were drafted by Montreal. I think we're getting pretty far into what-ifs here.

Montreal tended to have good to great defensive centers, but anecdotally, none were better than Henri Richard (at least until you get to Carbonneau decades later). Beliveau* and Lach were both strong defensively, but Henri Richard was excellent, likely not Clarke level, but just one level below (probably comparable to Trottier or later career Yzerman, though these things are hard to tell).

*Have you ever seen any of Beliveau's profiles talk specifically about his defensive ability? I haven't. They all talk about him having no weaknesses or being the perfect player, which obviously means that he was at least good defensively. But profiles of Henri Richard rave about his two-way play.

As for Dionne specifically, from the SI articles overpass posted, he just didn't seem to have it in him to give a consistent defensive effort. Maybe he would have if it were required of him as a young player, who knows? Harder to teach old veterans new tricks.

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Best we judge on what actually happened than what-ifs, eh?
I agree with this.

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12-03-2013, 06:46 PM
  #213
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Henri Richard

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Does Bobby Clarke because an elite defensive center without Fred Shero? What about Bryan Trottier without Al Arbour? We KNOW Yzerman wasn't a particularly good defensive center until Bowman came to Detroit. Heck, given Bowman's love of two-way centers, maybe he converts Dionne to winger if Dionne were drafted by Montreal. I think we're getting pretty far into what-ifs here.

Montreal tended to have good to great defensive centers, but anecdotally, none were better than Henri Richard (at least until you get to Carbonneau decades later). Beliveau* and Lach were both strong defensively, but Henri Richard was excellent, likely not Clarke level, but just one level below (probably comparable to Trottier or later career Yzerman, though these things are hard to tell).

*Have you ever seen any of Beliveau's profiles talk specifically about his defensive ability? I haven't. They all talk about him having no weaknesses or being the perfect player, which obviously means that he was at least good defensively. But profiles of Henri Richard rave about his two-way play.
Henri Richard played for the 1954-55 Junior Canadiens coached by Elmer Lach and was groomed for the NHL Canadiens. He arrived in the NHL one season early with a year of junior eligibility left.

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12-03-2013, 08:07 PM
  #214
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Why not Bentley? Won the AR twice and won a Hart even though he missed 2 prime seasons because of WW II. Got traded for 5 pretty decent NHL players. With the Leafs, the offensive calibre of his linemates dropped but he still put up good regular season numbers and incredible playoff numbers. He was a force on the point playing on the powerplay, And I cannot believe that he wasn't at least adequate defensively. Apps was criticized for his defensive play and he has already made the list. Was Bentley any worse.IMO he was better than Apps offensivelly. Just because he isn;t being pushed by some of the more influential members of this panel is no reason to disregard him this round.

Dionne? Maybe it is his time. Probably my number 5 guy.
Bentley really doesn't impress Me too much at this stage. Maybe in another 2 rounds, but not with the current players listed. He averaged 0.84 PPG and 0.88 PPG in 51 playoff games. He was a consistent player, but never a player that could take over a game. You can almost compare Bentley to Denis Savard and Savard shouldn't be anywhere near the voting process yet.

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12-03-2013, 08:12 PM
  #215
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Bentley really doesn't impress Me too much at this stage. Maybe in another 2 rounds, but not with the current players listed. He averaged 0.84 PPG and 0.88 PPG in 51 playoff games. He was a consistent player, but never a player that could take over a game. You can almost compare Bentley to Denis Savard and Savard shouldn't be anywhere near the voting process yet.
I don't understand the Savard comparison. Bentley won two Art Ross Trophies. He was also the leading playoff scorer of a team that won 3 Cups in 4 years, scoring slightly more than Ted Kennedy over that period and far more than anyone else in the league.

If there is a knock on Bentley, it's that his peak was fairly short.

Edit: Peaking in an NHL that might not have quite recovered from the War might be another knock, but I still think you are underrating him.


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12-03-2013, 08:15 PM
  #216
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It's interesting that both Sergei Fedorov and Peter Forsberg spent the prime of their career playing on the same team as another centre already on this list.

Both Fedorov and Forsberg had arguably their best seasons and won their Hart trophies in seasons when the other top centre on their team was injured and they had to carry the team. When Yzerman missed 26 games in 93-94, Fedorov scored 17-28-45 (+15) and led the Wings to a 16-8-2 record. When Sakic missed 24 games in 02-03, Forsberg scored 10-28-38 (+25) as the Avs won 18 of those games. Makes you wonder if they would have had better individual numbers as a featured scoring centre.

From the pages of SI - Sergei Fedorov

January 24, 1994
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...4779/index.htm

Quote:
With Sergei Fedorov, the conversation always comes back to skating.

You could be talking about his dramatic defection from the Soviet Union in 1990 or his heavy, accurate shot or his friendship with the guys in Guns N' Roses. But when the subject is Fedorov, a dynamic center for the Detroit Red Wings, the talk always turns to the wonders he works with steel blades on his feet. "Best skater I've ever seen," Detroit captain Steve Yzerman states flatly.

"The strongest skater I've seen in 21 years," agrees Red Wing defenseman Mark Howe. "He's got unbelievable balance, strength and speed. The guy just doesn't get knocked down."
Quote:
This year he has blossomed into one of the NHL's most dangerous scorers, thanks in part to Detroit coach Scotty Bowman, who gets his kicks by putting Fedorov's line out with offensive defensemen Lidstrom and Paul Coffey, and in part to a...herniated disk?

That disk, in the neck of Yzerman, was injured on Oct. 21 in a game against the Winnipeg Jets. The mishap put Yzerman out for more than two months. When the Red Wing captain went down, Bowman called Fedorov in for a little talk, saying, in essence, O.K., kid, time to carry the team. With linemates Vyacheslav Kozlov and Dino Ciccarelli, Fedorov has done just that. After dropping seven of their first 10 games this season, the Red Wings have gone 22-7-4. Stoking that bull run has been Fedorov, who had 32 goals and 43 assists through Sunday, and who has spent the season trading the NHL's overall scoring lead with Wayne Gretzky of the Los Angeles Kings.

It seemed cruel to the other NHL teams when Yzerman returned to the lineup on Dec. 27. If you're a coach with only one checking line, whose line do you check, Fedorov's or Yzerman's? So far Fedorov seems to be getting more intense defensive attention—some of it illegal.
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This is the first season Fedorov has been asked to be more than a defensive specialist. That's one reason for his gaudy numbers. Another is that he has become, after pleas from Bowman and Murray, a more selfish player. Says Murray, "He's learning the North American way: Get greedy, score goals, get paid."

Bowman thinks Fedorov's scoring is up because he's no longer trying to be "too fancy." He's stickhandling less this season, simply picking his spots and letting her rip.

April 23, 2001
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...2357/index.htm

Quote:
Whether he subconsciously defers to Yzerman, Detroit's storied captain for the last 15 years, or whether Yzerman's presence simply strips him of minutes and opportunities, Fedorov seems at his best during times that Yzerman is out of the lineup. "When Steve's on the ice, you're thinking that he can make something happen," Fedorov says. "When he's not, I have to remind myself to make something happen. Obviously it's a different mental approach."

In the 25 games Yzerman missed early in the season because of torn cartilage in his right knee, Fedorov had 13 goals, 17 assists and a +12 rating as he ached for the puck. In 48 games after Yzerman's return, Fedorov had 18 goals, 19 assists and a-1 rating. Fedorov looked like the best player in hockey for the first 10 weeks of the season, bringing up a question that arose after he scored 56 goals in 1993-94 (a season in which Yzerman missed 26 games because of a herniated disk) and was voted MVP and top defensive forward: Why isn't Fedorov the best player not for 10 weeks but for 10 years? Says Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman, "Sometimes I don't know if he realizes how good he is."

The glory—and the exposed underbelly—of Fedorov is that of a hockey artist. Did talk-show hosts scream at Picasso to churn out Guernica 82 times a year and then give us 20-plus Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in the postseason? Legendary Montreal Canadiens coach Toe Blake often told Bowman that the elegant Jean B�liveau, the Renoir of his era, simply couldn't play with a heavy cold. "There are players who have high expectations who need to feel they're going on all eight cylinders," Bowman says. "Whereas other players, without high expectations, will just get by in those situations."

Fedorov seemed pleased and mildly surprised when Bowman's assessment was relayed to him. The artist, you see, is often misunderstood by critics. "To deliver some nice things on the ice, I have to be feeling really, really good," Fedorov says. "If I feel physically down, sometimes my stick doesn't work. Or my skates." Indeed, after his nose was broken in a Feb. 23 collision with St. Louis Blues defenseman Bryce Salvador, Fedorov scored only one goal the rest of the regular season. Bowman lauded Fedorov's defense during the slump, which, while accurate, was like saying your blind date had a terrific personality.

The playoffs, however, have almost always brought out the best in Fedorov, who had 139 points in 132 postseason career games through Sunday and had been the Red Wings' playoff scoring leader or coleader in seven of the past 10 years. In Detroit's 5-3 victory in Game 1, he created or scored three of the first four goals by slipping through a slovenly Kings defense. He set up wing Tomas Holmstrom, converted a Shanahan pass from the slot and finally rifled another shot off Potvin that Shanahan tucked into the net. With Yzerman out, Bowman double-shifted the 31-year-old Fedorov in the first three games.

"Sergei was playing a ton when Steve was out early in the season, and he was thriving, even by Sergei's high standards," Shanahan says. "He's probably the most talented player I've ever played with if you break down his gifts. It's too easy to criticize him for being fragile. This is a man of real independence who has had a bull's-eye on his back his whole career. He had the mental toughness to defect from his country at age 20, to deal with the pressure of being Sergei Fedorov in Detroit, the scrutiny of being Kournikova's friend. People say he's fragile mentally. Well, you try to keep your composure on the road when some moron in the first row has some sign insulting her."
Peter Forsberg

February 7, 1994
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...8168/index.htm

Quote:
The best hockey player outside the NHL skates for MoDo, a team in Sweden named after a company that builds wastepaper-recycling plants. There's rich felicity in that: Peter Forsberg, the 20-year-old center who will lead the Swedish team that is a favorite to win a medal in Lillehammer, has a knack for turning a trashed play into a tidy scoring opportunity. At 6' 1" and 192 pounds, he's too strong to be knocked off the puck, but he's no lumbering garbage man, either. In fact, when Forsberg joins the Quebec Nordiques in April, he could become the finest Swede to play in North America since Ulf Sterner broke in with the New York Rangers almost 30 years ago.
Quote:
"Even before the junior worlds, we were being told by Swedish hockey observers, who can be very conservative in their assessments of young players, that this was the best player ever to come out of Sweden," says Pierre Page, the Nordiques' coach and general manager. "I won't say Peter will be a Lindros, but I don't think this franchise is ever going to kick itself for making the trade."

After the junior worlds Forsberg returned to the MoDo team and dominated the Swedish Elite League, that country's equivalent to the NHL, as no player ever had—and he was still a junior. Never before had a teenager even come close to winning the league MVP award, yet in the voting Forsberg beat out 33-year-old Hakan Loob, a former Calgary Flame, to win the honors.

In a country that looks scornfully on rugged hockey, Forsberg uses his bulk willingly. During his first three years with MoDo, he became something of an outcast in the Elite League for all the scrapes he got into as he doled out punishment belying his years. To opposing veterans this was like getting sucker-punched by some punk, and they responded with vigilante justice. But by last spring, the end of his fourth season, Forsberg commanded a wary respect. Now when they hook and hold him, foes are trying to stop him, not provoke him.
Dec 9, 1996
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...9189/index.htm

Quote:
Mike Milbury distilled the dilemma to these words: "Who are you going to check?"

Eight hours before a recent game between the New York Islanders and the Colorado Avalanche, Milbury, the Islanders' coach and general manager, pinpointed the predicament in which Colorado's opponents find themselves: If, like most teams, you have one checking line, whom do you try to shut down, Joe Sakic or Peter Forsberg?

Pick your poison. Sakic, 27, the center on the Avalanche's first line, is slick, quick and equipped with the most lethal wrist shot in hockey. He releases it in stride, from odd angles, with no windup and no warning. The 23-year-old Forsberg, the center on Colorado's second line, plays with dazzling creativity and against type—he's a Swede with a mean streak.

Who is better? Milbury gives the edge to Forsberg, whom he calls "the best player in the league right now, no question."

Who's the second-best player? "Probably the guy on the same team," Milbury adds.
Feb 9, 1998
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...1932/index.htm
Quote:
Now there are too many good Swedes, tough Swedes. There's center Peter Forsberg, the best two-way player in the world. There's Niklas Lidstrom, the best defense-man in the world. There's Mats Sundin, the best forward in the 1996 World Cup. These aren't the nifty-but-meek players who drove Parmstrom to distraction as they were being driven into the boards, not the stereotypical Swede who would rather play chess with the devil than fight the traffic in the corner to retrieve a puck. The Swedish team has a strong, mobile defense, quality role players and as much grit as a sandstorm. "You used to be able to intimidate the Swedish teams, but not anymore," says Theo Fleury, who will play for Canada at the Games. " Forsberg's one of the toughest guys in the NHL."
May 4, 1998
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...2758/index.htm
Quote:
Like Frankenstein's monster—another amalgamation with scars—Forsberg is a piece of work. Oilers assistant coach Bob McCammon says that Forsberg has the meanness of Mark Messier, the dirtiness of Ken Linseman, the smarts of Wayne Gretzky and the strength of Bryan Trottier. Avalanche coach Marc Crawford says that Forsberg's competitiveness sets him apart from "ordinary superstars." As Forsberg lay on a table in the Colorado trainer's room after Game 1, a mask covering all of his face but the gash, his coach was at a press conference complaining that Edmonton had gotten away with murder against Forsberg. Considering that Forsberg had scored both goals, Oilers captain Kelly Buchberger later said, "Maybe we didn't play him tough enough."
Quote:
before the Oilers chartered home 36 hours later, Forsberg had fashioned one of the most extraordinary playoff performances of the 1990s, on the embarrassingly slushy McNichols Arena ice.

The story was not simply the five points Forsberg scored but the artistry he displayed. He tallied one goal by weaving through two Edmonton defenders and beating goalie Curtis Joseph from a sharp angle, though that was merely his third-best play of the night. While killing a penalty after the Oilers had crept to within 2-1, Forsberg was cut off along the boards by a defenseman. Instead of dumping the puck aimlessly into the Edmonton zone, he flipped a long, blind, backhand pass onto the stick of Sakic, who scored Colorado's third goal. The pass was so accurate and well-timed that Lacroix speculated, incorrectly, that Forsberg must have seen Sakic's reflection in the glass. But the real eye candy came in the third period. With Bobby Dollas pressuring him behind the Oilers' net, Forsberg passed the puck to himself off the bottom of the cage with his forehand, then backhanded it through the skates of the suddenly ossified defenseman, picking it up and zipping it around the net for a scoring chance on which his team, alas, did not capitalize. "[Dollas] was coming so fast, I had to figure out some way to get out of it," Forsberg said. The play was the equivalent of Michael Jordan switching to the left hand and going under the hoop for a layup, something that can be justified on utilitarian grounds even though the whole world knows he did it just for the heck of it.
May 15, 2000
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...9214/index.htm
Quote:
After that game the teams engaged in the traditional postseries handshakes, repaired to their dressing rooms to slather compliments on each other and then, for all anybody knows, went out together for a marshmallow roast. There are marked advantages in substituting etiquette for a tourniquet, as the once-incorrigible Colorado center Peter Forsberg has found out. Forsberg's brilliance comes from a unique amalgam of skills, styles and attitudes. If you borrowed a dollop of Jaromir Jagr's intimidating strength on the puck, a drop of Paul Kariya's speed, a dash of John LeClair's stevedore toughness, a pinch of Teemu Selanne's finesse, a healthy dose of Michael Peca's body-checking skills and a full measure of Steve Yzerman's commitment to playing all 200 feet of the ice, the product would be a rough approximation of Forsberg.

He isn't the NHL's best player—"Some would argue I'm not even in the top 10," Forsberg says—but he has the broadest set of skills. The only facet of his game that's diminished these days is surliness. Forsberg, 26, used to play with a chip on his shoulder, a shoulder he would attempt to drive into anybody who had the temerity to knock him down or even look at him cockeyed. Forsberg was a vigilante, his style as self-destructive as it was eye-catching.

"Pete got into problems looking for stuff," says Avalanche captain Joe Sakic. "He got tired playing that way, and it took him away from his real strengths. When he's avoiding confrontations, when he's more rested, we're all better off. I've talked to him. We've all talked to him for a long time, and he just said, I know. I know.' "

Forsberg, who was shifted to left wing early in the first round, which freed him from some down-low defensive responsibilities, finally applied the oft-taught lesson. After having had more penalty minutes than points in the postseason for the past two years, he shunned his role as judge, jury and executioner against Detroit and scored three game-deciding goals, set up the other winner and made several plays worthy of being stored on a virus-free floppy disk. "The general feeling on Forsberg is he wants to prove you're not going to push him around," Yzerman, the Wings' captain, said on Friday night. "This series he played more disciplined than he has in the past. He's matured a bit, and now he doesn't get off his game. We would have rather had him running around trying to hit people than getting the puck and trying to make a play."
Quote:
He warmed up with a tip-in goal in Game 1 and then won Game 2 with a play notable not only for its deftness but also for the two defensemen he victimized. On a four-on-three power play, Forsberg burst in alone on Nicklas Lidstrom, a perennial Norris Trophy finalist. Lidstrom dutifully pokechecked the puck, but it struck Forsberg's shin pad and caromed back onto his stick. Forsberg danced past Lidstrom, then pulled the puck inside to avoid the sliding Chris Chelios, a three-time Norris winner, before beaming one into the top corner. It was a dazzling play made at freeway speeds. "We're on the bench, and we could hardly believe it," says Colorado checking winger Dave Reid. "He made two great players look as silly as rookies."

Although that goal has been rerun more often than a Seinfeld episode, it was only Forsberg's second most audacious play of the series. In the Avalanche's 3-1 loss in Game 3, Forsberg was being hounded by Lidstrom behind the Detroit net. With severely limited options but seemingly limitless creativity, he passed the puck through Lidstrom's feet and off the back of the net to himself before circling for a scoring chance with the flummoxed Lidstrom in pursuit. "Maybe he got that one from Wayne Gretzky," says Red Wings scout Mark Howe, a former All-Star defenseman. "Some guys have that play. I saw [ Edmonton Oilers wing] Ryan Smyth do it twice in one game. What I haven't seen is anybody do that to Nick."

Two nights later, in the pivotal match of the series, Forsberg helped Colorado steal a 3-2 overtime victory in Detroit by chipping the most delicate of passes over Chelios's stick on a two-on-one, a feed Chris Drury neatly converted. "Peter was the best player in this series," Lidstrom says. "By far."

Forsberg's offensive production and almost preternatural calm were a stunning reversal for a player who in 1999-2000 had slouched through the worst of his six NHL seasons. In 49 games he scored only 14 goals and had half as many game-winners (two) as he did in the nine games he played in the first two playoff rounds. His 37 assists were below his career average of .89 per game, which was fourth-best in NHL history. "The numbers, as bad as they were, were actually kind to me, because I didn't play well at all," Forsberg says. "You play on the power play with [Raymond] Bourque and Sakic, you're going to get points. But I wasn't good. I wasn't skating. I wasn't doing anything. It was frustrating. You start to wonder, Have I lost it?"

Forsberg's season was a series of plateaus and depressions: He missed the first 23 games while recuperating from off-season surgery on his left shoulder, returned with two goals and three assists within two periods against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 27, went more than three weeks without scoring again, then had points in 12 straight games. The nadir came after a concussion he sustained on Feb. 1 against the Vancouver Canucks. He missed five games, and after he came back, he was listless. His timing was off. His defense suffered. Colorado closed the regular season with eight consecutive wins, but Forsberg, who'd had just four multiple-point games in his last 21 matches before separating his right shoulder on the final weekend of the season, was eerily ineffective.

The injuries, especially the concussion, might indirectly have brought him to his senses. "Maybe getting hurt this year forced him to change his ways a little bit," Sakic says. "If he wants a real long career in this league, he's got to keep playing the way he is now. He used to look for a hit even when he had the puck."

"There was no point I was trying to prove," Forsberg says. "If there was a guy I didn't like, I was trying to hit him. If there was a good player with a good team, I tried to hit him. Right now I'm trying not to run around too much. I was wasting my energy a bit. I think I've calmed down."
Dec 10, 2001
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...4514/index.htm
Quote:
Contrary to published reports last week, Avalanche center Peter Forsberg, who hasn't played this season and is in his native Sweden recovering from various injuries, has nor begun skating. In fact Forsberg has told friends that he was so discouraged by what he considered the low caliber of his play for the last couple of seasons, which he attributes to his various ailments (ankle and shoulder injuries, plus a splenectomy last May), that he wants to recover fully before returning....
June 3, 2002
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...5914/index.htm
Quote:
There is something genteel about the sabbatical, with its overtones of hying off to read a great book or write a novel or see the world. But not necessarily. That was the perverse beauty of the leave of absence that center Peter Forsberg took from the Colorado Avalanche at the beginning of the 2001-02 season. He swears he did not read a single book that he'd always wanted to. He wrote no epics. Except for a week spent hanging around his house in Spain, he didn't travel. Instead, Forsberg literally chilled in his hometown of �rnsk�ldsvik, Sweden, a dreary seaport roughly midway between Stockholm and the Arctic Circle, working out twice a day and occasionally sitting in the stands to watch MoDo, his former Swedish Elite League team.

His playoff-leading 27 points for the Avalanche through Monday is the best argument that the unexamined life is worth living. Forsberg needed the sabbatical to recover physically and psychologically from having his spleen removed last May and also to heal his chronically injured ankles. (He had surgery to relieve the pain from inflamed bursa sacs.) He returned for the first game of the 2002 playoffs the same player he was when he exited: one of the game's top clutch performers. "I like the playoffs," says the 28-year-old Forsberg. "It's all about the hockey, winning the Stanley Cup. Yes, you play as hard as you can in the regular season, but the playoffs are when it really counts, when you have to be really good."

Forsberg would be called a money player except there is little money for NHL players come postseason. For two months of the kind of braveheart hockey being played in the superb Avalanche-Detroit Red Wings Western Conference finals—Colorado had a 3-2 series lead after a 2-1 road overtime victory on Monday night in which Forsberg scored the winner—each player on the Stanley Cup champion will earn about $85,000, or roughly half of what an NBA titlist would get. Forsberg is the man of the hour, not the man of the hourly wage. By at least one measuring stick, Forsberg, who has never scored more than 30 goals in any of his seven regular seasons, qualifies as the top playoff performer among active NHL players with at least 100 postseason games. During the regular season over his career he has averaged .3627 goals per game, but through 113 career playoff matches, when the neutral zone is a briar patch and defensemen hang on elite forwards like Christmas ornaments, Forsberg has scored .4513 per game. The differential is extraordinary, the second greatest in NHL history (behind perennial playoff pest Esa Tikkanen).
April 14, 2003
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...8565/index.htm
Quote:
Forsberg led the league with 106 points, two more than Naslund, who finished second. Forsberg, who has never scored more than 30 goals (he had 29 this season), was a gaudy +52; Naslund, who has scored at least 40 goals in each of the past three seasons (he had 48 in '02-03), had an NHL-best 12 game-winning goals but was only +6. The 6'1", 205-pound Forsberg created chances with uncanny vision and an unrivaled strength on his skates; the 6-foot, 195-pound Naslund haunted goalies with his wicked wrist shot.

"Not to take anything from Naslund, but I think Pete controls more of the game than anybody," Colorado defenseman Adam Foote says of his teammate. "He takes teams off their games and opens up the ice. No question he should win the Hart Trophy [as league MVP]. Of course, if I'm in the Vancouver room, I'd be saying some of the same things about Naslund."
Quote:
Of course, this summer there will be lots to talk about. Naslund might mention that he finally topped the 100-point plateau. Forsberg might say that when Colorado star Joe Sakic missed 24 games in midseason, he took over the team—and the NHL—with 10 goals, 28 assists and a +25 rating, helping the Avalanche get 33 of a possible 40 points during that stretch. But those accomplishments will be rendered moot if either Forsberg or Naslund can talk about hoisting the Stanley Cup.

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12-03-2013, 09:12 PM
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Hope no one saw Crosby's winner in OT tonight.

It might bias the process.

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12-03-2013, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Hope no one saw Crosby's winner in OT tonight.

It might bias the process.
Heh, you know you spend too much time on the History Board when....

(I had the exact same thought you did)

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12-03-2013, 09:56 PM
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Tonight

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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Hope no one saw Crosby's winner in OT tonight.

It might bias the process.
Far from. Nice goal. Everyone will see it on the various hilite segments on TSN, ESPN, etc at the same time they see Randy Carlyle's post game comments about the difficulties of playing with only three centers on the game day roster.

Emphasizing the value of depth at center and how it should be viewed today and historically.

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12-04-2013, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Hope no one saw Crosby's winner in OT tonight.

It might bias the process.
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Heh, you know you spend too much time on the History Board when....

(I had the exact same thought you did)
Meh, the terrible defense and goaltending had as much to do with that goal as Crosby did.

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12-04-2013, 07:39 AM
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True

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Meh, the terrible defense and goaltending had as much to do with that goal as Crosby did.
True. Same rationale is used about the few hilite reel goals scored by fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties stars available via youtube.

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12-04-2013, 07:40 AM
  #222
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Forsberg vs. Fedorov.

When Gretzky was retiring the player with the greatest hockey sense in hockey history was asked who was the next great one and he didn't mention Lindros (to TSN's chagrin I recall), Jagr or anyone else, but he did talk about Forsberg. He praised his vision and agility.

I have felt for over a half decade that the tide around here has gone Fedorov over Forsberg despite the fact there is no doubt that in the nineties Forsberg was considered the greater talent.

Forsberg can skate and rag the puck but Forsberg is better in traffic, at stickhandling and dishing off passes, in overall vision.

I cannot for the life of me put Fedorov above Forsberg based on all I've seen them play. Yeah, I realize that Fedorov backchecked and positionally defended more. But he had a helluva lot less grit and battle in his game. Sakic had it easy many nights with opposing top dmen against shifty and strong-on-the-puck Forsberg. I have NEVER seen a player absorb hits like he can and still keep on ticking (Dino would take them and fall down and get up, but Petr would shrug them off and it was remarkable until his internal organs couldn't handle it anymore and he got a ruptured spleen I think I recall).


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12-04-2013, 08:00 AM
  #223
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
Forsberg vs. Fedorov.

When Gretzky was retiring the player with the greatest hockey sense in hockey history was asked who was the next great one and he didn't mention Lindros (to TSN's chagrin I recall), Jagr or anyone else, but he did talk about Forsberg. He praised his vision and agility.
Gretzky has said that about everyone.

Including Fedorov. I seem to recall Gretzky saying Fedorov would probably break some of his records after Feds standout year.

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I have felt for over a half decade that the tide around here has gone Fedorov over Forsberg despite the fact there is no doubt that in the nineties Forsberg was considered the greater talent.

Forsberg can skate and rag the puck but Forsberg is better in traffic, at stickhandling and dishing off passes, in overall vision.

I cannot for the life of me put Fedorov above Forsberg based on all I've seen them play. Yeah, I realize that Fedorov backchecked and positionally defended more. But he had a helluva lot less grit and battle in his game. Sakic had it easy many nights with opposing top dmen against shifty and strong-on-the-puck Forsberg. I have NEVER seen a player absorb hits like he can and still keep on ticking (Dino would take them and fall down and get up, but Petr would shrug them off and it was remarkable until his internal organs couldn't handle it anymore and he got a ruptured spleen I think I recall).
On an individual game by game basis I would take Forsberg for sure. He didn't coast half the time like Fedorov.

The thing that muddies the water for me is that Fedorov's peak is insane but his consistency wasn't.. meanwhile he was much more durable than Forsberg. Tough call.

RE: Sakic/Forsberg.. when are we going to decide on a narrative around here? Apparently both are great two way centermen but Sakic had the tough assignments except when we're discussing Forsberg, and Sakic had the benefit of Forsberg except when Forsberg had the benefit of Sakic.. it is making my head spin.

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12-04-2013, 08:12 AM
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RE: Sakic/Forsberg.. when are we going to decide on a narrative around here? Apparently both are great two way centermen but Sakic had the tough assignments except when we're discussing Forsberg, and Sakic had the benefit of Forsberg except when Forsberg had the benefit of Sakic.. it is making my head spin.
Forsberg was undoubtedly the bigger handful from a physicality standpoint, and certainly Derian Hatcher was dispatched to cover Forsberg. Sakic on the other hand played a position al game that tactically made him a good choice to play against the opposing team's top line, though when petr played with Kamensky and C. Lemieux they rocked opposing top lines nightg in and night out.

The fact is Colorado had 1A and 1B lines, each with their own strengths and weaknesses; let's not try and be reductive to a 1st and 2nd line narrative.

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12-04-2013, 08:25 AM
  #225
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Forsberg was undoubtedly the bigger handful from a physicality standpoint, and certainly Derian Hatcher was dispatched to cover Forsberg. Sakic on the other hand played a position al game that tactically made him a good choice to play against the opposing team's top line, though when petr played with Kamensky and C. Lemieux they rocked opposing top lines nightg in and night out.
Obviously Forsberg was more physically involved than Sakic who threw about 3 hits in his whole career... but you just did it again.

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The fact is Colorado had 1A and 1B lines, each with their own strengths and weaknesses; let's not try and be reductive to a 1st and 2nd line narrative.
I agree and I'm not attempting to. You were the one who claimed Sakic had many an easy night because of Forsberg. Now you are saying Sakic often played against the other teams top line.

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