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Zubov and the Norris

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Old
01-13-2006, 11:46 PM
  #1
Kritter471
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Zubov and the Norris

Just wondering other people's perpectives on why a defenseman like Zubov has never been nominated for the Norris. He's been an elite (and criminally underrated) d-man since he broke into the league with the Rangers, one of four active players (I believe) to have 500+ career points on D. (**stat from memory, or more of these numbers can be wrong - I do know Zubov has 642 points in 897 games).

This season, he's fourth among defensemen in scoring and leads defensemen in even-strength points. And career, among the elite, more veteran offensive defensemen (because that's who his peer group is), His PPG (.716) ranks only behind Lidstrom (.723) and Leetch (.863).

All the other comparables - Niedermayer (.541), Blake (.652), Chelios (not necessarily scorer, but a high PPG at .639) and Pronger (again, more physical but a .560) - rank behind him. The notablely low career +/- (below +100 as a career) belong to Leetch (+30) and Blake (-3, who won his Norris with a wonderful -3).

Not winning the Norris is understandable. There's a handful of elite defensemen it's rotated between since he came into the league, and anyone can have a great season, but to have been a consistantly top-tier d-man and never even be nominated strikes me a little odd.

So for people with a bit more objectivity than me, what keeps him out of the names that are mentioned when people say "best defensemen in the league"?

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01-13-2006, 11:50 PM
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The Mars Volchenkov
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Very good post. Zubov has flown competely under the radar during his career. He was overshadowed in NY by Leetch, and is just off the radar in Dallas completely since people seem to forget about them.

He's easily a Top 10 defenseman in this league. Not surprised at all that he's doing so well in the 'new' NHL. He's tailor made for it, especially the no redline rule.

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01-13-2006, 11:51 PM
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Honestly? I dont have a clue. Just gets lost in the shuffle for some reason.


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01-13-2006, 11:52 PM
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Bobby Orr's Knees
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Zubov isn't flashy, isn't too physical, and is kind of understated - just rock-solid, steady, and consistently great. He'd get a lot more consideration if his game was either flashier offensively (a la Brian Leetch back in the day), or more physical. Great d-man, no doubt. Potential HOF-er if you ask me.

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01-13-2006, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Orr's Knees
Zubov isn't flashy, isn't too physical, and is kind of understated - just rock-solid, steady, and consistently great. He'd get a lot more consideration if his game was either flashier offensively (a la Brian Leetch back in the day), or more physical. Great d-man, no doubt. Potential HOF-er if you ask me.
You just described Nicklas Lidstrom. Which leaves the question unanswered. Why does Zubov not get more credit?

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01-13-2006, 11:56 PM
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Bobby Orr's Knees
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Higgy4
You just described Nicklas Lidstrom. Which leaves the question unanswered. Why does Zubov not get more credit?
Nicklas Lidstrom isn't Russian. I wondered for years why Vladimir Konstantinov never won the Norris, and frankly I can't find a logical explanation either.

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01-13-2006, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Orr's Knees
Nicklas Lidstrom isn't Russian. I wondered for years why Vladimir Konstantinov never won the Norris, and frankly I can't find a logical explanation either.
Lidstrom isnt North Amercian either. Vlady could have won MANY Norris Trophies, if you ask me. His offensive stats and a limo crash are the reasons he did not. Vlady was a stud.

But still...what does "Nicklas Lidstrom isn't Russian" have anything to do with this? Lidstrom is the only European to win the Norris.

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01-14-2006, 12:06 AM
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The answer with Lidstrom may very well lie in where he plays. Detroit has become a media-darling franchise since they started putting it together in the mid-1990s. He's obviously been their star offensive defenseman and a great one at that. Detroit gets a lot more exposure and hype than Dallas on a national level, so perhaps that contributed to the difference in recognition.

The knocks I see against Zubov (as far as recognition, not play) are this - he's not a big talker. He doesn't do a lot of interviews because of his limited English and the fact he doesn't want to be misunderstood with a very thick accent. This limits his exposure to a national media off the ice. And his very, very slick offense often comes in the form of assists rather than goals. And while assists are just as valuable as goals points-wise, they don't draw the attention goals do.

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01-14-2006, 12:07 AM
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Very interesting question. Lidstrom and Zubov are the same person to me. But there are a few things that, IMO, have contributed to Lidstrom's higher profile:

1) Lidstrom was on a dominant team that was in contention for the Cut for 6-7 years. It's tough not to reward the best defensman on the best team in hockey.

2) Dallas aint' Detroit. Different level of hockey exposure. Different level of media involvement. There was a strong push from the Wings organization and local media for the Norris for Nicklas.

3) I do believe that it is easier for the NHL and the media to accept a Swede as a Norris candidate vs. the Russian. The Russians are supposed to be soft, selfish and lack leadership qualities. Sure it's BS, but the stereotype is alive and well.

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01-14-2006, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoonieToon
1) Lidstrom was on a dominant team that was in contention for the Cut for 6-7 years. It's tough not to reward the best defensman on the best team in hockey.
You can make a strong case that Dallas was just as dominant for four years, starting with 1997 and ending in 2000. 1997 was a total upset loss (stupid CuJo. Stupid Marchant). 1998 was a great series with the Wings where Dallas was missing a key piece (stupid Marchment for hurting Nieuwendyk). 1999 was obviously the Cup year and 2000 they were just too hurt throughout the year, though they gave it a gallant effort. And while they didn't have the three Cups to show for it, they were clearly one of the four elite teams of the era (New Jersey, Colorado and Detroit being the other ones).

I totally agree with the other two points though. I hadn't thought about the nationality aspect, but it makes a lot of sense.

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01-14-2006, 12:34 AM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritter471
You can make a strong case that Dallas was just as dominant for four years, starting with 1997 and ending in 2000. 1997 was a total upset loss (stupid CuJo. Stupid Marchant). 1998 was a great series with the Wings where Dallas was missing a key piece (stupid Marchment for hurting Nieuwendyk). 1999 was obviously the Cup year and 2000 they were just too hurt throughout the year, though they gave it a gallant effort. And while they didn't have the three Cups to show for it, they were clearly one of the four elite teams of the era (New Jersey, Colorado and Detroit being the other ones).
While Dallas was one of better teams in the league, they weren't quiet as dominant as the Wings. They also didn't have the benefit of a high-profile rivalry with Colorado. But I think Loonie's second point is really key - Detroit treats hockey differently then any other US city; thus, the players are more likely to be recognized.

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01-14-2006, 12:43 AM
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Zubov probably should have gotten a nomination or two throughout his career.

However, I think the reason he hasn't is due to him being very average in his own zone.

I haven't watched a lot of Dallas Stars regular season games throughout the years. But I have watched a lot of Dallas Stars playoff games. And Zubov never was a really good player in his own end. He was always a candidate for a bad play in the defensive end every once in awhile.

Please keep in mind that I am not saying that Zubov equals Patrice Brisebois or Martin Skoula in his own end. But he sure doesn't equal Lidstrom, Pronger, Niedermayer, Blake, Foote, Chara, Redden, etc. in his own end, either.

EDIT: Apparently I am not the only one who thinks this. Here is his scouting report from TSN:

Scouting Report

Assets: Has outstanding passing skills and is extremely agile. Possesses outstanding hockey sense and usually make things happen on the ice.

Flaws: His play in the defensive zone is suspect at times. He's not physical at all. Is overmatched when opposed to big forwards in front of the net.

Career potential: Power play quarterback.

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01-14-2006, 12:43 AM
  #13
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Zubov has always been a top 10 dman imo.. and offensively hes the ideal pp quarterback..

its a shame he might not win a norris in his career.. i remember that it took lidstrom like many yrs of finishing 2nd to eventually win his first..

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01-14-2006, 12:47 AM
  #14
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He should have atleast been nominated. And I dont by the marginal defensive player argument, for one, Zubov is a good defender, just because someone isn't physical doesn't mean he isn't good defensively.

Blake has always been a average at best in his own zone, he even won a Norris Trophy as a minus player on a playoff team. But because he is so physical people think he is a good defensive player. When in reality he is nowhere near Zubov defensively.

Zubov is no Ozolinsh or Poti, he is a good defensive player.

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01-14-2006, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Orr's Knees
Nicklas Lidstrom isn't Russian. I wondered for years why Vladimir Konstantinov never won the Norris, and frankly I can't find a logical explanation either.
He was the runner-up for the Norris the year of his crash (the year after is when Lidstrom started his string of runner-ups and then wins). You never know what would have happened had that stupid F**KING limo driver stayed sober and awake.

The two of them could have locked down the trophy or maybe Nick never gets a whiff of it. There was a also lot of bafflement about why it took Lidstrom so long to A. get consideration and B. win the thing.

But yeah, Zubov has had a long under the radar career. Like it was said he was overshadowed by Leetch, but he was also overshadowed by Hatcher in Dallas. It was sort of a stopper/puck-mover image of the two. And Hatcher had a much bigger presence out there (deserved or not)

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01-14-2006, 12:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferns8916
EDIT: Apparently I am not the only one who thinks this. Here is his scouting report from TSN:

Scouting Report

Assets: Has outstanding passing skills and is extremely agile. Possesses outstanding hockey sense and usually make things happen on the ice.

Flaws: His play in the defensive zone is suspect at times. He's not physical at all. Is overmatched when opposed to big forwards in front of the net.

Career potential: Power play quarterback.
Since when is the TSN scouting report a legitimate source of information? Zubov's had a great NHL career - and has been a lot more then a good PP quarterback.

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01-14-2006, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herby
He should have atleast been nominated. And I dont by the marginal defensive player argument, for one, Zubov is a good defender, just because someone isn't physical doesn't mean he isn't good defensively.
Zubov is an average defender. And apparently I am not the only one who thinks that (eg. look at his scouting report from TSN).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herby
Blake has always been a average at best in his own zone, he even won a Norris Trophy as a minus player on a playoff team. But because he is so physical people think he is a good defensive player. When in reality he is nowhere near Zubov defensively.
Blake is better than Zubov defensively. He is more solid, doesn't make as many mistakes, better positionally, and much more physical (which is not necessary, but it is good to have for a defenseman).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herby
Zubov is no Ozolinsh or Poti, he is a good defensive player.
You are right. Zubov is no Ozolinsh or Poti in his own end.

But he also is no Lidstrom, Blake, Pronger, or Niedermayer in his own end. Hence Zubov not having any Norris Trophies, whereas the other guys do.

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01-14-2006, 12:52 AM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferns8916
Zubov probably should have gotten a nomination or two throughout his career.

However, I think the reason he hasn't is due to him being very average in his own zone.

I haven't watched a lot of Dallas Stars regular season games throughout the years. But I have watched a lot of Dallas Stars playoff games. And Zubov never was a really good player in his own end. He was always a candidate for a bad play in the defensive end every once in awhile.

Please keep in mind that I am not saying that Zubov equals Patrice Brisebois or Martin Skoula in his own end. But he sure doesn't equal Lidstrom, Pronger, Niedermayer, Blake, Foote, Chara, Redden, etc. in his own end, either.

EDIT: Apparently I am not the only one who thinks this. Here is his scouting report from TSN:

Scouting Report

Assets: Has outstanding passing skills and is extremely agile. Possesses outstanding hockey sense and usually make things happen on the ice.

Flaws: His play in the defensive zone is suspect at times. He's not physical at all. Is overmatched when opposed to big forwards in front of the net.

Career potential: Power play quarterback.
not to jump down your throat or anything but he is very solid in his own end. he rarely gets caught out of position and makes a good pass out of his own end to get the puck out of trouble. very good poke check. just ask Ovechkin.

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01-14-2006, 12:54 AM
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferns8916
But he also is no Lidstrom, Blake, Pronger, or Niedermayer in his own end. Hence Zubov not having any Norris Trophies, whereas the other guys do.
Really? I think Zubov is at least as good as Blake. No worse then Leetch. I think you are underrating the guy defensively. He is not a physical force, but his positioning is solid.

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01-14-2006, 12:56 AM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolut
Really? I think Zubov is at least as good as Blake. No worse then Leetch. I think you are underrating the guy defensively. He is not a physical force, but his positioning is solid.
The current Leetch or the Leetch in his prime?

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01-14-2006, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferns8916
Zubov probably should have gotten a nomination or two throughout his career.

However, I think the reason he hasn't is due to him being very average in his own zone.

I haven't watched a lot of Dallas Stars regular season games throughout the years. But I have watched a lot of Dallas Stars playoff games. And Zubov never was a really good player in his own end. He was always a candidate for a bad play in the defensive end every once in awhile.

Please keep in mind that I am not saying that Zubov equals Patrice Brisebois or Martin Skoula in his own end. But he sure doesn't equal Lidstrom, Pronger, Niedermayer, Blake, Foote, Chara, Redden, etc. in his own end, either.
See, I totally disagree with the idea that he's average in his own zone. He'll get beat clean once in a while, but everyone does. I'm not saying he's a shut down guy, but he's very, very good one on one.

Where he gets caught once in a while is a turnover in the offensive zone. He's more of a risk taker than people give him credit for, and when he gets caught deep or turns it over, odd-man rushes can result.

There's no real stat to measure defensive performance. The closest is plus/minus. Zubov's is +137 in his 897 games, and he's better than or comparable to some of the guys you mention. The notables are Niedermayer (+179 in 934 games), Chara (+49 in 500 games), Foote (+132 in 828 games), Pronger (+129 in 765 games) and Redden (+136 in 661 games). He totally outpaces Blake, who is a career -3. No, +/- isn't totally indicative because you can get a minus for a goal that has nothing do to with you, but it's the best statistical measure we have.

Zubov is +50 in 142 playoff games, btw, with his only minus years being 94/95 with the Rangers (-9 in 10 games) and 03/04 with a -5 in five games, though the entire Stars team couldn't come up with a decent effort to save their lives in that series.

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01-14-2006, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morrow1005
not to jump down your throat or anything but he is very solid in his own end. he rarely gets caught out of position and makes a good pass out of his own end to get the puck out of trouble. very good poke check. just ask Ovechkin.
He is average-good in his own end. He isn't a bad defender.

But he also isn't an elite defender, either. He makes more mistakes in his own end than I would like for a Norris Trophy winner, and loses more battles with his man than I would like for a Norris Trophy winner.

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01-14-2006, 01:01 AM
  #23
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If you're average defensively as a defenseman, you won't lead your team in shorthanded ice time, unless your defense is severely undermanned. I don't think you can make that statement about Dallas' defense corps.

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01-14-2006, 01:01 AM
  #24
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Stop with all of the "Zubov is below average in his own zone" talk. Paul Coffey has multiple Norris Trophies and it has nothing to do with his work in the defensive zone.

Zubov has simply flown under the radar. He has been good all around for years, but never great. Well...maybe great...but not Norris Trophy great.

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01-14-2006, 01:02 AM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritter471
See, I totally disagree with the idea that he's average in his own zone. He'll get beat clean once in a while, but everyone does. I'm not saying he's a shut down guy, but he's very, very good one on one.
Yes everyone gets beat once in awhile. But I have seen Zubov get beat more than I would care for, at least as it relates to him being a Norris Trophy winner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritter471
Where he gets caught once in a while is a turnover in the offensive zone. He's more of a risk taker than people give him credit for, and when he gets caught deep or turns it over, odd-man rushes can result.
And isn't this the same type of stuff that people call Bryan McCabe horrible defensively for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritter471
There's no real stat to measure defensive performance. The closest is plus/minus. Zubov's is +137 in his 897 games, and he's better than or comparable to some of the guys you mention. The notables are Niedermayer (+179 in 934 games), Chara (+49 in 500 games), Foote (+132 in 828 games), Pronger (+129 in 765 games) and Redden (+136 in 661 games). He totally outpaces Blake, who is a career -3. No, +/- isn't totally indicative because you can get a minus for a goal that has nothing do to with you, but it's the best statistical measure we have.
You are right. There is no real statistic to measure defensive performance. Not plus/minus. Not anything else.

Thus, to measure defensive performance one must watch the player play. And after watching Zubov play at least 100 games in his (playoff) career, I have come to the conclusion that he isn't exactly an elite defender. He is not terrible defensively. But he isn't great, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritter471
Zubov is +50 in 142 playoff games, btw, with his only minus years being 94/95 with the Rangers (-9 in 10 games) and 03/04 with a -5 in five games, though the entire Stars team couldn't come up with a decent effort to save their lives in that series.
As alluded to before, I think all statistics to measure defense are irrelevant. Plus/minus is included in that.

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