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Your 5 Greatest Seasons (by a player) -- Reg.Season + Playoffs

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Old
06-08-2014, 03:30 AM
  #1
The Panther
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Your 5 Greatest Seasons (by a player) -- Reg.Season + Playoffs

Here's a fun one -- choose the top 5 seasons by an NHL player, regular-season + playoffs. I personally am considering the player's performance in the regular season and playoffs, as well as the team's, as a criterion. It ends up that my Top 5 are all players/seasons that ended in Stanley Cup wins. But feel free to use any such criteria you like.

Today, I'll go for:

1. Wayne Gretzky (Edm.) 1984-85:
RS = 80GP 73G 135A 215PTS (+98) Team was 2nd-overall.
P = 18GP 17G 30A 47PTS (+28) Team won the Stanley Cup.

Team won the Stanley Cup at 15W, 3L.

RS: Gretzky was #1 in goals, #1 in assists (setting the new all-time record), #1 in points (won the scoring title by 73 points), #1 in plus/minus (highest all-time for a forward). He won the Hart Trophy, the Lester Pearson, the Art Ross. He was also #1 in even-strength goals, short-handed goals, and shots on goal.

P: Gretzky was #2 in goals (to his line-mate, Kurri), #1 in assists (new record), and #1 in points (new record, still standing today after almost 30 years). He had a 2.61 points-per-game in the playoffs, slightly better than in the RS. His best hockey was in the Finals, against the #2 defensive team, Philadelphia, whom he destroyed for 7 goals in the last 4 games.

(Although not really an individual stat, Gretzky's +28 in the '85 playoffs -- in 18 games (!) -- deserves mention. This is the best plus/minus I can find from anyone in the playoffs since the stat was recorded.)

In sum, then, Gretzky scored 255 points in 98 games in 1984-85 while playing for a top team, winning every major award he was eligible for, winning the Stanley Cup, setting new marks for assists in a season (broken only by Gretzky), setting a new mark for points in the playoffs, and being -- in terms of goal-differential -- the most impactful player on his team in both RS and playoffs.


2. Wayne Gretzky (Edm.) 1983-84:
RS = 73GP 87G 118A 205PTS (+76) Team was 1st-overall.
P = 19GP 13G 22A 35PTS (+18) Team won the Stanley Cup.

Team won the Stanley Cup at 15W, 4L.

RS: Gretzky was #1 in goals, #1 in assists, #1 in points (won the scoring title by 79 points), #1 in plus/minus, #1 in even-strength goals, #1 in power-play goals, #1 in even-strength goals, #1 in short-handed goals, #1 in shooting-percentage. He won the Hart Trophy, the Lester Pearson, the Art Ross.

In '83-'84, Gretzky scored 50 goals in 42 games, and had a 1.19 goals-per-game average, best all-time of the modern era. He also had a 2.77 points-per-game average, best all time. (At the time of his late-January injury, he was scoring 3.0 points per game. The Oilers went winless in 6 of the 7 games without him.)

P: Gretzky was #2 in goals (to his line-mate, Kurri), #1 in assists, and #1 in points. (He had the 2nd-best plus/minus.)

The 1983-84 regular season is Gretzky's most dominant, per games played. He was slightly less effective in the playoffs, but ends up with 100 goals scored in 92 games, while playing for the #1 team and winning the Stanley Cup.


3. Bobby Orr (Bos.) 1969-70:
RS = 76GP 33G 87A 120PTS (+54) Team was 2nd-overall.
P = 12GP 9G 11A 20PTS Team won the Stanley Cup.

Team won the Stanley Cup at 12W, 2L.

Orr wins the NHL scoring title, setting marks for being the highest-scoring D-man ever, and -- today, 44 years later -- still the only one to ever win the scoring title. He powers both the Boston offense and the Boston defence. Orr leads the League not only in points but in assists (and plus/minus).

In the playoffs, Orr is 2nd in scoring to Esposito, and caps an epic season by scoring the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

Orr is the only player ever to simultaneously be 1st-team All-Star, The Hart Trophy winner, the Art Ross winner, The Norris winner, and the Conn Smythe winner.


4. Bobby Orr (Bos.) 1971-72:
RS = 76GP 37G 80A 117PTS (+86) Team was 1st-overall.
P = 15GP 5G 19A 24PTS Team won the Stanley Cup.

Team won the Stanley Cup at 12W, 3L.

Orr leads the League in assists (and plus/minus) and is 2nd to Esposito in points.

In the playoffs, Orr is #1 in assists and is tied for 1st in scoring with Esposito, and is the best player against the Rangers in the Finals.

In addition to being 1st-team All-Star, Orr wins the Hart Trophy, The Norris, and the Conn Smythe... all while playing for the best team and winning the Cup.


5. Jean Béliveau (Mon.) 1955-56:
RS = 70GP 47G 41A 88PTS (Hockey Ref. 'adjusts' this to 63 G, 119PTS) Team was 1st overall.
P = 10GP 12G 7A 19PTS Team won the Stanley Cup.

Team won the Stanley Cup at 8W, 2L.

"Le gros Bill" led the NHL in goals (every one scored at even-strength) and points. His team totally dominated the NHL at 24 points better than 2nd place (in a 70-game season). He won the Art Ross and the Hart Tropy.

He then scored 12 goals in 10 playoff games in an era when the top scorers struggled to score 1 in every 2. (He was clearly the Conn Smythe winner, except the award didn't exist yet... when it came into existence 9 years later, Béliveau was the first recipient). Montreal kicked butt through the playoffs, winning the first of five straight Cups.




Runners-up:

-- Gordie Howe 1952-53: did everything but win the Cup; amazingly dominant season; won the scoring title by a 26% margin; team was 1st overall.
-- Bobby Orr 1970-71: as above, one of the two or three most dominant regular seasons in history -- probably his greatest ever -- but slightly marred by the Bruins' playoffs collapse against the Habs. Orr's +124 is the best such figure ever.
-- Phil Esposito 1970-71: sets all-time records for goals (76) and points (152), not broken for 12 and 11 years, respectively.
-- Guy Lafleur 1976-77: (this probably came closest to making my Top Five): While playing for arguably the greatest single-season team of all-time, Lafleur is 2nd in goals, 1st in assists, 1st in points (and 2nd in plus/minus). In the playoffs, he leads everyone with 26 points in 14 games. Lafleur thus was 1st-team all-star, and won the Hart, Pearson, Art Ross, and Smythe, all while playing for the #1 regular season team of all time. Oh, and the Habs were 12-2 in the playoffs.
-- Wayne Gretzky 1981-82: sets all-time records that still stand today for fastest 50 goals (39 games) and most goals in a season (92), and the then-most assists and points (both broken later by Gretzky). Epic choke by Edmonton in the playoffs, however.
-- Wayne Gretzky 1985-86: sets all-time record for assists (163) that not only hasn't been broken in 28 years, but hasn't even been approached at a distance by any other player. Sets all-time record with 215 points. Season slightly marred by Edmonton's tough loss to Calgary in the 2nd-round.
-- Mario Lemieux 1988-89: Mario wins his first clear-cut scoring title over a healthy Gretzky by 31 points, scoring 4th-best-ever 85 goals along the way. Leads Pens to playoffs for the first time.
-- Mario Lemieux 1992-93: as with the above two -- unbelievable regular-season play (though didn't lead the league in either goals or assists), despite missing games due to cancer treatment -- and a top-team that was expected to 'Three-peat'. Tough playoff loss to NY Islanders in 2nd round is a small stain on a brilliant season.



What are your choices?

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Old
06-08-2014, 04:31 AM
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VanIslander
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Pfff... this is a hockey history forum so forgive me for dipping before my lifetime to.... the first three to come to mind (from the all-time drafts):

Nels Sewart. In 1926 the 23-year-old rooke NHLer scored the most goals, won the Hart trophy and the Stanley Cup.

Frank McGee. In 1904 he averaged 3 goals per game in the regular season then scored 21 playoff and Stanley Cup goals in 8 playoff games.

Joe Malone. In 1913 he scored 43 goals in 20 games and then 9 goals in a single playoff game.

Note: In 1955 Gordie Howe finished his "worst" goals and point totals of his first 10 years (top-5 but less than other years) yet scored a league-leading 9 goals, 20 points in 11 playoff games to win his 4th Stanley Cup. Was that his best year? 20 years of top-5 scoring and six Hart trophies in other years suggest otherwise (especially among those who somehow think regular season play is worth more not just equal to playoff play), yet that magical 1955 postseason he was a beast on a mission to rebuff the Habs juggernaut and hard not to give an honorable mention nod to in terms of all-time great years of play, when all was said and done.

Also note: Domink Hasek in 1998 was otherworldly (NHL & Olympics) in a way I've only seen Gretz match. Yeah, you could argue his 1998-99 NHL season and Game 6 OT Stanley Cup Finals run (and illegitimate goal defeat) was the peak of his career but I'd say the year before that was his hayday and worthy of consideration on any top-5 seasons by a hockey player ever!


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Old
06-08-2014, 04:37 AM
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Not top 5 all-time, but has anyone had a better (reguar season plus playoffs) than Joe Sakic in 2000-01 in the last 15 years?

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06-08-2014, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Not top 5 all-time, but has anyone had a better (reguar season plus playoffs) than Joe Sakic in 2000-01 in the last 15 years?
tim thomas would rival that in '11 i think



what about bernie parent? or haseks ridiculous finals run?

i guess you cant have a beast season without winning the cup though

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06-08-2014, 10:00 AM
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Mike Bossy 81 and 82 seasons have to be mentioned.

1980-81: 79GP 68G 51A 119PTS + 18GP 17G 18A 35PTS = Cup
1981-82: 80GP 64G 83A 147PTS + 19GP 17G 10A 27PTS = Cup

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06-08-2014, 11:02 AM
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tim thomas would rival that in '11 i think
Oh goodness gracious, no...

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06-08-2014, 03:09 PM
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Oh goodness gracious, no...
Why not? Not saying the career of Thomas compares to any of the players mentioned here, but that season from him was pretty spectacular. Vezina (best save% ever in regular season), SC and Conn Smythe (even better save percentage in the playoffs and he was absolutely the clearcut winner, I don't think anyone else was seriously considered). His season could hardly be any better than it was, and certainly in the running for the best of last 15 years. Which other players compare (best at their positions in the regular season, winning the cup and best player in the playoffs)?

Edit: The only players who fulfill that in the last 15 years are Malkin (Art Ross, 1st all-star centre, Cup, Conn Smythe), Lidstrom (Norris, Cup, Conn Smythe) and Thomas (Vezina, Cup, Conn Smythe).


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06-08-2014, 08:14 PM
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Well, for starters, Jonathan Quick's 2012 blows Thomas' 2011 out of the water. Quick never put his team in the amazing amount of trouble that Thomas' did. The 55 games (or whatever it was) and the averaging stats are charming and shiny, but he was not dominant. He was erratic, with wild fluctuations. Often single-handedly costing his team games in the process. He did a fine job of helping pull them out in game 7's (well, the Tampa and Vancouver ones, the game 7 against Montreal was another pretty poor performance), but Quick never let the Kings get in any hot water. Never left a series in doubt.

Thomas repeatedly allowed lesser teams to crawl back into games and series...the trophy collection at the end of it is sparkly, but it's not a fair representation of his efforts as an individual, in my opinion...

There's no question from a coach's perspective that Quick's 2012 was well better...

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06-09-2014, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
Well, for starters, Jonathan Quick's 2012 blows Thomas' 2011 out of the water. Quick never put his team in the amazing amount of trouble that Thomas' did. The 55 games (or whatever it was) and the averaging stats are charming and shiny, but he was not dominant. He was erratic, with wild fluctuations. Often single-handedly costing his team games in the process. He did a fine job of helping pull them out in game 7's (well, the Tampa and Vancouver ones, the game 7 against Montreal was another pretty poor performance), but Quick never let the Kings get in any hot water. Never left a series in doubt.

Thomas repeatedly allowed lesser teams to crawl back into games and series...the trophy collection at the end of it is sparkly, but it's not a fair representation of his efforts as an individual, in my opinion...

There's no question from a coach's perspective that Quick's 2012 was well better...
As you say, it is your opinion and you are entitled to it. As a Bruins fan I remember it differently. I think he was the main reason the Bruins won the cup and if he cost them some games (which ones?) he surely more then made up for it by winning them more games in a spectacular fashion. He was the best Bruin in that run, easily (not being a homer when I compare him to other Bruins).

Quick was great, but would you think best season after the regular season? He didn't even get the Vezina. That is an objective fact. He didn't even have the best (regular) season that year (not to mention last 15 years). Thomas only played some 55 games, but including playoffs it was ~80 and he maintained his great numbers.


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Old
06-09-2014, 05:05 AM
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Malkin's 2009 campaign should rank up there. Won the Art Ross and led the playoffs in points. Plus the first team All Star nod and Conn Smythe.

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06-09-2014, 07:24 AM
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One that I forgot to list as a 'runner-up' would be Mark Messier (Edm.) in 1989-90.

In 29 years of watching the NHL, I don't think I've ever seen one player dominate a team as much as Messier did the Oilers that year. His 129 points were easily a career high (and only 12 behind Gretzky for the scoring title). He then tied for the playoff scoring lead and won the Cup.

It's interesting that with certain all-time greats -- I noticed Orr, Lemieux, Yzerman among them -- their very-greatest regular seasons don't align with their greatest playoffs. Mario's closest would be 1991, but he actually wasn't that great in the regular season (I'm talking by his own standards), partly because of injury. Orr's greatest RS, 1970-71, seemed destined for a Cup but the Bruins choked against Montreal. And Yzerman's two or three greatest years went no further than the third round (in 1988), and even that was after an injury-shortened RS. I suppose my thread gives the advantage to players that had a career-year followed by a Stanley Cup run.

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06-09-2014, 12:55 PM
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Hasek 1998-99 may be the best season+playoffs of all-time for a goalie, especially considering the team he was on compared to Thomas and Quick.

Hart
Vezina
1st team AS

64GP
30-18-14
9 SO
1.87 GAA
937 SV%

playoffs:
13-6
2 SO
1.77 GAA
939 SV%

came within a botched call + a game 7 win from easily winning the Conn Smythe too

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06-09-2014, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intylerwetrust View Post
Hasek 1998-99 may be the best season+playoffs of all-time for a goalie, especially considering the team he was on compared to Thomas and Quick.

Hart
Vezina
1st team AS

64GP
30-18-14
9 SO
1.87 GAA
937 SV%

playoffs:
13-6
2 SO
1.77 GAA
939 SV%

came within a botched call + a game 7 win from easily winning the Conn Smythe too
You are probably right.

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06-09-2014, 03:40 PM
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As you say, it is your opinion and you are entitled to it. As a Bruins fan I remember it differently. I think he was the main reason the Bruins won the cup and if he cost them some games (which ones?) he surely more then made up for it by winning them more games in a spectacular fashion. He was the best Bruin in that run, easily (not being a homer when I compare him to other Bruins).

Quick was great, but would you think best season after the regular season? He didn't even get the Vezina. That is an objective fact. He didn't even have the best (regular) season that year (not to mention last 15 years). Thomas only played some 55 games, but including playoffs it was ~80 and he maintained his great numbers.
I consider Quick's regular season better, based on what I saw of both of them in each season, but I think Thomas' PO run was a hair better. Both were great seasons and runs, though.

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06-09-2014, 03:48 PM
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For Thomas and Quick, I thought Quick was more valuable, while Thomas was better.


Quote:
Originally Posted by intylerwetrust View Post
Hasek 1998-99 may be the best season+playoffs of all-time for a goalie, especially considering the team he was on compared to Thomas and Quick.
Since expansion, it's certainly in the argument with the aforementioned Tim Thomas (my pick for Hart Runner-Up and Conn Smythe) and Jonathan Quick (my pick for both Hart and Conn Smythe). Here's two more contenders for the goaltending title:


Bernie Parent, 1973-74
47-13-12, .933 (+.037; League Average: .896)
12-5, .933 (+.037)

Patrick Roy, 1988-89
33-5-6, .908 (+.029; League Average: .879)
13-6, .920 (+.041)


EDIT: For comparison:

Dominik Hasek, 1998-99
30-18-14, .937 (+.029; League Average: .908)
13-6, .939 (+.031)

Tim Thomas, 2010-11
35-11-9, .938 (+.025; League Average: .913)
16-9, .940 (+.027)

Jonathan Quick, 2011-12
35-21-13, .929 (+.015; League Average: .914)
16-4, .946 (+.032)


Last edited by quoipourquoi: 06-09-2014 at 03:55 PM.
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Old
06-09-2014, 04:49 PM
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i think bourque in '90 is up there with messier of the same year as a potential top 20 contender.

goalies are tough-- i can see an argument for thomas and quick. i'd add hextall's rookie year to that conversation, and probably fuhr in '88-- total workhorse year. roy's best full season is ironically the one time he lost in the finals. but i think '99 hasek is on a whole other level than those guys, and probably the only goalie year to really be a top ten/twenty contender since plante and before that sawchuk. seems like a goalie's impact is magnified in the playoffs and we'd need to account for that when ranking goalies' playoff dominance vs. forwards' or dmen's.

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06-09-2014, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
For Thomas and Quick, I thought Quick was more valuable, while Thomas was better.




Since expansion, it's certainly in the argument with the aforementioned Tim Thomas (my pick for Hart Runner-Up and Conn Smythe) and Jonathan Quick (my pick for both Hart and Conn Smythe). Here's two more contenders for the goaltending title:


Bernie Parent, 1973-74
47-13-12, .933 (+.037; League Average: .896)
12-5, .933 (+.037)


Patrick Roy, 1988-89
33-5-6, .908 (+.029; League Average: .879)
13-6, .920 (+.041)


EDIT: For comparison:

Dominik Hasek, 1998-99
30-18-14, .937 (+.029; League Average: .908)
13-6, .939 (+.031)

Tim Thomas, 2010-11
35-11-9, .938 (+.025; League Average: .913)
16-9, .940 (+.027)

Jonathan Quick, 2011-12
35-21-13, .929 (+.015; League Average: .914)
16-4, .946 (+.032)
Parent blows them out of the water with that season, and I know he was a huge part in their mini-dynasty, but it seems he benefited a lot from playing for the elite and defensive Broad Street Bullies squad.

Only Hasek and Quick played for a lower seeded team in their respective seasons, but even Quick played for a defense-first system in LA.

Id say its:

1. Hasek 98-99
2. Parent 73-74
3. Quick 11-12
4. Thomas 10-11 (55GP)
5. Roy 88-89 (44GP)
HM: Brodeur 02-03, Hextall 86-87, Plante 61-62 (dont know enough about O6 era)

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06-09-2014, 09:00 PM
  #18
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...This isn't the finals thread.

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06-09-2014, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by intylerwetrust View Post
Id say its:

1. Hasek 98-99
2. Parent 73-74
3. Quick 11-12
4. Thomas 10-11 (55GP)
5. Roy 88-89 (44GP)
HM: Brodeur 02-03, Hextall 86-87, Plante 61-62 (dont know enough about O6 era)
Well if you want to stick to expansion era, Plante in 1968-69 was pretty solid. Like Roy in 1988-89, he was stuck in a two-goalie system though, so it's light on GP.

Jacques Plante, 1968-69
18-12-6, .940 (+.032; League Average: .908)
8-2, .946 (+.038)

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06-09-2014, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
Well if you want to stick to expansion era, Plante in 1968-69 was pretty solid. Like Roy in 1988-89, he was stuck in a two-goalie system though, so it's light on GP.

Jacques Plante, 1968-69
18-12-6, .940 (+.032; League Average: .908)
8-2, .946 (+.038)
Wasn't it already shown that Plante tended to play the easier opponents in 1968-69?

Anyway, if we are going with goalies, Bernie Parent and Terry Sawchuk are my two picks for best single regular season + playoffs.

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06-09-2014, 09:40 PM
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One would have to be Russell Bowie, 1900/01. (I ignore arbitrary NHL-only restrictions!)

Bowie scored 24 goals in 7 games. The next-best player scored 10 goals in the same number of games, a mere 41% of Bowie's total. That season, the Quebec HC, featuring Hall-of-Famers Bruce and Hod Stuart, scored a total of 21 goals in 8 games. Bowie outscored an entire team. He almost matched another team as well, the Montreal HC scored 28 in 8, less than a goal ahead of Bowie's pace.

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06-09-2014, 09:55 PM
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One would have to be Russell Bowie, 1900/01.
Ya he should definitely be remembered & included for sure. Never did turn pro despite at one time being offered $3000 up~front & $4 per minute for a 12 game season. Played a bit of Rover I believe but primarily Center (retiring in 1910 due to a collarbone injury). Absolute Superstar of the early game and until the late 20's still ranking as the #1 All Star pick at Center in comparison to the NHA & NHL pro players that followed.

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06-09-2014, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Wasn't it already shown that Plante tended to play the easier opponents in 1968-69?

Anyway, if we are going with goalies, Bernie Parent and Terry Sawchuk are my two picks for best single regular season + playoffs.
I think it was usually a 2-4 split between Montreal, Boston, and Toronto games, and the reverse for New York, Chicago, and Detroit. It probably accounts for the difference between him and Hall in save percentage, but Hall didn't have a playoff.

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06-09-2014, 10:34 PM
  #24
Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Anyway, if we are going with goalies, Bernie Parent and Terry Sawchuk are my two picks for best single regular season + playoffs.
Ya I'll go along with that.... Davey Kerr in New York from 1934/41 is another. Retired at just 30 and left the game on top. Featured on the front cover of Time Magazine. One of the major Star's of the Rangers. Stanley Cup & Vezina, almost like an on~ice Coach, one of the first to communicate with & direct his Defencemen like a Traffic Cop. Excellent glove~hand, great with his stick and also one of the first to employ the full splits on skate saves. Extremely methodical about everything he did. Impressive stats.

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06-09-2014, 11:43 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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damn i forgot about parent. i guess '99 hasek is the best october to june year since him.

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