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Greatest Offensive Defensemen

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Old
02-20-2006, 09:22 AM
  #26
mcphee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cup2006sensrule
I am curious if you are using all of Kelly's stats here or only those when he was a defenceman? He was a centre for his last 7 seasons or so I think with the Leafs.

Just curious. It would be very impressive if he is 4th on this list yet played 12 full years as a D-Man.

Was Kelly a Centre only with the Leafs? Did he immediately switch to Centre when he was traded in 1959-60 or did that happen the next season? Did he ever play Defence for the Leafs? Anyone know?

+++ Apparently you accounted for Kelly missed that above, interesting he is so high and very impressive+++

Still interested in details about Kelly though if anyone knows.
Our friend Classic Hockey can correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought Punch Imlach acquired Kelly with the idea of converting him to C. Specifically.he wanted a big C to match up against Jean Beliveau. As to why Detroit would deal him, I have no idea. Considering the era, Kelly either was involved in talks to form a union, or asked for a raise, would be my guess.

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02-20-2006, 09:33 AM
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
Our friend Classic Hockey can correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought Punch Imlach acquired Kelly with the idea of converting him to C. Specifically.he wanted a big C to match up against Jean Beliveau. As to why Detroit would deal him, I have no idea. Considering the era, Kelly either was involved in talks to form a union, or asked for a raise, would be my guess.
Not sure why Detroit wanted to trade Kelly in the first place but the original deal was with NY for Bill Gadsby (another great defenceman). Kelly refused to report to NY and Toronto basicaly stole him from Detroit (Detroit only got Marc Reaume in return). Gadsby did eventually play for Detroit via a later trade.

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Old
02-20-2006, 10:31 AM
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murray
Not sure why Detroit wanted to trade Kelly in the first place but the original deal was with NY for Bill Gadsby (another great defenceman). Kelly refused to report to NY and Toronto basicaly stole him from Detroit (Detroit only got Marc Reaume in return). Gadsby did eventually play for Detroit via a later trade.
Thanks, didn't know that.

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02-20-2006, 01:52 PM
  #29
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Red Kelly played forward a number of times over the years with Detroit, so playing forward was not new to him, although playing centre might have been.

Kelly, by the late 50's was starting to slip as an all-star defenceman but he was still a great player. In the 1958-59 season, Kelly had an off year for Detroit and the Red Wings missed the playoffs with Jack Adams indirectly blaming Kelly. But Kelly was playing with a broken foot and was dismayed that Adams wouldn't have mentioned that. So, there was friction between the two.
In February of 1960, Adams traded Kelly and Bill McNeil to the Rangers for Bill Gadsby & Eddie Shack. Only Kelly wouldn't report, and retired.
Two interesting observations: Bill McNeil had just lost his wife and had young kids to look after but that didn't stop Adams from trading him away.
And, after the trade, Eddie Shack said bad things about the Rangers and had to return to NY after the trade was voided. The first time the Leafs met the Rangers after Kelly joined the Leafs, Shack took a number of runs at Kelly in retaliation for not reporting to NY and sentencing Shack to a longer stay with the Rangers.

Anyways, the Leafs decided to try to acquire Kelly but no one could no why they wanted Kelly when they had 4 top defencemen already. What isn't known is that in a practice one day, Johnny Wilson, an ex Red Wing, told Imlach that he'd bet that if Leafs offered their spare defenceman Marc Reaume to Adams, that he would take it. For some reason, Adams like Reaume. So the offer was made and Kelly became a Leaf.
Imlach didn't let on his plans to convert Kelly to centre to play against Beliveau and also to feather great passes to Frank Mahovlich. When Kelly appeared at centre, in his first game, the fans were mostly surprised. Kelly was such an outstanding player that he had no problem with the adjustment.

Its interesting that you bring up the union thing. This a whole different topic that can be discussed but Kelly and Gordie Howe, were responsible for the new players association led by Ted Lindsay to collapse because they took the Red Wings out of the association at a critical time.

It was not a moment that Kelly and especially Howe should NOT be proud of as a lot of their fellow players suffered because of their decision.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mcphee
Our friend Classic Hockey can correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought Punch Imlach acquired Kelly with the idea of converting him to C. Specifically.he wanted a big C to match up against Jean Beliveau. As to why Detroit would deal him, I have no idea. Considering the era, Kelly either was involved in talks to form a union, or asked for a raise, would be my guess.


Last edited by ClassicHockey: 02-20-2006 at 04:10 PM.
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Old
02-20-2006, 02:23 PM
  #30
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Stats can only take you so far. Orr is far superior IMO.

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02-20-2006, 02:29 PM
  #31
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Bobby Orr was by far the greatest offensive defenseman of all-time. He revolutionalized the game like no other player, he could skate faster backwards than most players could skate forwards. If he played in Bourque/Coffey's time, there's no question he'd produce the same if not more than those two guys.

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02-20-2006, 02:38 PM
  #32
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I'll have to side with Trottier's points in this one.

A players individual dominance (whatever that truly means) is influenced not only by the era in which he played, but also his own individual style, and the quality of his teammates.

Unless a method is devised to alter basic stats either in the positive or negative based upon era, team quality, and style of play, then the study is fun, but not necessarily valid.

Charlie Huddy put up some great numbers with the 80s, while Rod Langway did not. Does that mean Huddy was more dominant than Langway?

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02-20-2006, 02:54 PM
  #33
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To me any list of D-men Offensive Defensive or otherwise the list begins with Bobby Orr.

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02-20-2006, 07:10 PM
  #34
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Paul Coffey was the most dominant from a pure offensive point of view bobby Orr was just as dominant on the offensive and way more dominant on the defensive end. But to say Bobby Orr was far more dominant then the second best which was Coffey is a bit farfetched, SORRY to the person who puts Ray Bourque offensively on par with Paul Coffey, ...... Paul Coffey had tools on offense Raymond Bourque could only dream of.

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02-20-2006, 08:55 PM
  #35
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Paul Coffey also greatly benefited from playing with superior offensive teammates.

Put Ray Bourque on that Edmonton team and the offensive drop off wouldnt have been too severe, but the defensive improvement would have been startling.

To say that Paul Coffey was that far ahead of Bourque in offensive skills isnt accurate. The only blatant advantage coffey posseses over Bourque was his breath taking speed.

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02-20-2006, 09:18 PM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianscot
Paul Coffey also greatly benefited from playing with superior offensive teammates.

Put Ray Bourque on that Edmonton team and the offensive drop off wouldnt have been too severe, but the defensive improvement would have been startling.

To say that Paul Coffey was that far ahead of Bourque in offensive skills isnt accurate. The only blatant advantage coffey posseses over Bourque was his breath taking speed.
Completely disagree.

No player makes a career by riding on the coattails of others. Coffey earned every one of the points he scored, Bourque would no more have put up Coffey type numbers on the Oilers than Dionne would have put up Gretzky type numbers.

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02-20-2006, 09:27 PM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
One of the interesting points is how good Doug Harvey was offensively. MANY people falsely believe that he was a stay at home, defensive defenseman. In reality, he was good all-around and that included being very good offensively.
I think that comes from the way he played. He would stay deep in his own zone and make long headman passes rather than spearhead the offense like Kelly did. If you ever get to see any classic games of his, you could see that he generated alot of offense from his own zone. Plus alot of old timers speak of his defensive game in such glowing terms that it I guess it overshadows his offense. Most of them go out of their way to say that he was better defensively than Orr.

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Old
02-20-2006, 09:34 PM
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClassicHockey
Red Kelly played forward a number of times over the years with Detroit, so playing forward was not new to him, although playing centre might have been.

Kelly, by the late 50's was starting to slip as an all-star defenceman but he was still a great player. In the 1958-59 season, Kelly had an off year for Detroit and the Red Wings missed the playoffs with Jack Adams indirectly blaming Kelly. But Kelly was playing with a broken foot and was dismayed that Adams wouldn't have mentioned that. So, there was friction between the two.
In February of 1960, Adams traded Kelly and Bill McNeil to the Rangers for Bill Gadsby & Eddie Shack. Only Kelly wouldn't report, and retired.
Two interesting observations: Bill McNeil had just lost his wife and had young kids to look after but that didn't stop Adams from trading him away.
And, after the trade, Eddie Shack said bad things about the Rangers and had to return to NY after the trade was voided. The first time the Leafs met the Rangers after Kelly joined the Leafs, Shack took a number of runs at Kelly in retaliation for not reporting to NY and sentencing Shack to a longer stay with the Rangers.

Anyways, the Leafs decided to try to acquire Kelly but no one could no why they wanted Kelly when they had 4 top defencemen already. What isn't known is that in a practice one day, Johnny Wilson, an ex Red Wing, told Imlach that he'd bet that if Leafs offered their spare defenceman Marc Reaume to Adams, that he would take it. For some reason, Adams like Reaume. So the offer was made and Kelly became a Leaf.
Imlach didn't let on his plans to convert Kelly to centre to play against Beliveau and also to feather great passes to Frank Mahovlich. When Kelly appeared at centre, in his first game, the fans were mostly surprised. Kelly was such an outstanding player that he had no problem with the adjustment.

Its interesting that you bring up the union thing. This a whole different topic that can be discussed but Kelly and Gordie Howe, were responsible for the new players association led by Ted Lindsay to collapse because they took the Red Wings out of the association at a critical time.

It was not a moment that Kelly and especially Howe should NOT be proud of as a lot of their fellow players suffered because of their decision.
Thanks for sharing all those anecdotes; lots of interesting stuff there.

The more I learn about Jack Adams, the more sorry I feel for the guys who had to play for him.

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Old
02-20-2006, 10:24 PM
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
Completely disagree.

No player makes a career by riding on the coattails of others. Coffey earned every one of the points he scored, Bourque would no more have put up Coffey type numbers on the Oilers than Dionne would have put up Gretzky type numbers.

I never suggested that Coffey rode anyones coat tails. I merely suggested that he benefited from playing with the greatest collection of offensive talent the NHL has ever seen. It's not the same thing.

Paul Coffey was a wonderfully gifted hockey player, and contributed mightily to the Edmonton onslaught, but he wasnt light years ahead of Bourque when it comes to offensive skills.

Context must be considered when considering mere stats. Put Coffey in the tighter checking Adams division and there would be no 48 goal seasons.

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02-20-2006, 10:33 PM
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianscot
I never suggested that Coffey rode anyones coat tails. I merely suggested that he benefited from playing with the greatest collection of offensive talent the NHL has ever seen. It's not the same thing.

Paul Coffey was a wonderfully gifted hockey player, and contributed mightily to the Edmonton onslaught, but he wasnt light years ahead of Bourque when it comes to offensive skills.

Context must be considered when considering mere stats. Put Coffey in the tighter checking Adams division and there would be no 48 goal seasons.
Considering that some of Coffey's biggest nights were against Adams and Patrick foes, I disagree.

Coffey was dominant offensively, moreso that Bourque. That is reality. What ifs won't change the facts.

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02-20-2006, 11:06 PM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianscot
I never suggested that Coffey rode anyones coat tails. I merely suggested that he benefited from playing with the greatest collection of offensive talent the NHL has ever seen. It's not the same thing.

Paul Coffey was a wonderfully gifted hockey player, and contributed mightily to the Edmonton onslaught, but he wasnt light years ahead of Bourque when it comes to offensive skills.

Context must be considered when considering mere stats. Put Coffey in the tighter checking Adams division and there would be no 48 goal seasons.
Paul Coffey benefited as much as he contributed to the greatness of the Oilers. He was always either one or two in Oilers scoring, and his numbers stayed in the hundreds even when he was playing with the far less talented Penguins. Coffey was way more explosive offensively than Bourque. Bourque was better defensively and had much more longevity, but Coffey's offensive star was a lot brighter than Bourque's.

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Old
02-20-2006, 11:25 PM
  #42
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"Facts" are contingent upon the context in which they occur.

Coffey put up his major numbers while playing in the bandwagon, wide open Smythe, while his team was beating up on Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Los Angeles 8 times per year.

If we are going to use mere stats to support claims, then consider this:

Bourque --- 1612 games played, 1579 points, .979 points per game.

Coffey --- 1409 games played, 1531 points, 1.09 points per game.

If a difference of .30 points per game represents "dominance" (while playing the bulk of his career with superior offensive teammates in a more offensively oriented division), then the term has lost its zest.

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02-20-2006, 11:53 PM
  #43
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Players like Pat Hughes, Mike Kruselnyski, Craig Simpson, and even Glenn Anderson, in my opinion were the ones that had their stats padded by playing with unbelievable players. Those guys "benefited" from playing on the Oilers in those days. Paul Coffey did dominate his position offensively for a good 5-6 year stretch.

Who would I take? Orr, in a heartbeat. But you cannot deny the kind of player Paul Coffey was in his prime. Someone used the word "breath-taking" a few posts back. And thats exactly what he was then. He was breath-taking on a nightly basis. He was that great. He stuck around way too long and people have lessened thier opinions of him for those types of reasons. But he didnt ride any coat tails in Edmonton. In fact, you could say that Gretzky and Kurri often benefited from playing with Paul Coffey on alot of nights.

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02-21-2006, 12:29 AM
  #44
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Take a look at Paul Coffey`s last year in the Smythe Division and first year outside that division:

`86-`87 (Edm): games-59, goals-17, assists-50, points-67, PPG- 1.136
`87-`88 (Pit): games-46, goals- 15, assists- 52, points-67, PPG- 1.457

I did a study last year comparing the average GAA of the teams Edmonton faced in the 80s compared to the rest of the league and it was only a 2% difference at most. It`s not as big a factor as some here insist it is.

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=141490

For the record. I feel that Ray Bourque was a better all-around defenceman than Coffey. Easily. But Coffey was better offensively.

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02-21-2006, 03:26 AM
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archijerej
I don't mind statistics, but not including Slava Fetisov in this debate is just.... One of the most skilled defenseman I've ever seen, and in his prime he really could dominate. Or maybe only NHL players and statistics are included?
What he said

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02-21-2006, 06:42 AM
  #46
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As most people realize, one of the fun things about stats is that they can be used to prove or discredit almost any stance.

For instance, during the years "81" - "87" :

Pts per game Team goals per game Pct. Involvement
Paul Coffey 1.39 5.17 .259

Ray Bourque 1.14 3.96 .288


So Coffey was awarded points in about 1/4 of the goals Edmonton scored, while Bourque was involved in a slightly higher percentage of Boston's.

Meanwhile Boston could only score about 3/4 of the goals per game that Edmonton did. (.766 goals per game difference), which demonstrates that Bourque had fewer overall chances to participate in goals per game, yet took advantage of a higher percentage of his opportunities.

What does any of this really mean? Mostly that Benjamin Disraeli was right. There are three kinds of lies --- lies, damned lies and statistics.

You can justify almost any stance depending upon the perspective utilized.

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02-21-2006, 06:42 AM
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClassicHockey
Its interesting that you bring up the union thing. This a whole different topic that can be discussed but Kelly and Gordie Howe, were responsible for the new players association led by Ted Lindsay to collapse because they took the Red Wings out of the association at a critical time.

It was not a moment that Kelly and especially Howe should NOT be proud of as a lot of their fellow players suffered because of their decision.

Thanks. I knew of the Lindsay/Howe split,but I was unaware of where Kelly stood.

Imagine trading Doug Harvey and Lindsay for their union involvement, 2 of the dominant players in the game.

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02-21-2006, 06:51 AM
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianscot
As most people realize, one of the fun things about stats is that they can be used to prove or discredit almost any stance.

For instance, during the years "81" - "87" :

Pts per game Team goals per game Pct. Involvement
Paul Coffey 1.39 5.17 .259

Ray Bourque 1.14 3.96 .288


So Coffey was awarded points in about 1/4 of the goals Edmonton scored, while Bourque was involved in a slightly higher percentage of Boston's.

Meanwhile Boston could only score about 3/4 of the goals per game that Edmonton did. (.766 goals per game difference), which demonstrates that Bourque had fewer overall chances to participate in goals per game, yet took advantage of a higher percentage of his opportunities.

What does any of this really mean? Mostly that Benjamin Disraeli was right. There are three kinds of lies --- lies, damned lies and statistics.

You can justify almost any stance depending upon the perspective utilized.
excellent points. Anyone who thinks the East was as loose (or within 2%) as the West didnt see Denis Savard try a spin in the East.

Take a look at the lowest GAA list in the 80's - invariably the East dominates the top 5 in any year.

Peter Stastny's points being assaulted every night against Montreal/Isles/Boston/Philly are extremely impressive.

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02-21-2006, 12:03 PM
  #49
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Originally Posted by chooch
excellent points. Anyone who thinks the East was as loose (or within 2%) as the West didnt see Denis Savard try a spin in the East.

Take a look at the lowest GAA list in the 80's - invariably the East dominates the top 5 in any year.

Peter Stastny's points being assaulted every night against Montreal/Isles/Boston/Philly are extremely impressive.
Then there was John Tonelli who in `85 had 100 points in the tight-checking East then only had 51 pts when he was traded to the wide-open West.

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02-21-2006, 12:59 PM
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianscot
"Facts" are contingent upon the context in which they occur.

Coffey put up his major numbers while playing in the bandwagon, wide open Smythe, while his team was beating up on Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Los Angeles 8 times per year.

If we are going to use mere stats to support claims, then consider this:

Bourque --- 1612 games played, 1579 points, .979 points per game.

Coffey --- 1409 games played, 1531 points, 1.09 points per game.

If a difference of .30 points per game represents "dominance" (while playing the bulk of his career with superior offensive teammates in a more offensively oriented division), then the term has lost its zest.

Is that kinda like beating up on Hartford and Quebec? I was confused.

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