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Soviet League MVP Voting Results (1968-1991)

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Old
01-10-2009, 05:02 AM
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thornton_19 View Post
Kharlamov looked very good against Montreal. His goal late in the 2nd made it a one goal game, slicing through Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe so quickly that they did not react in time. By the end of the 2nd period, Montreal was outshooting the Red army by a large amount. The red Army had only managed 7 shots by this point. However, 3 of them were Kharlamov's and 4 of them Mikhailov's. All the offense was coming from that line.

Tretiak was the player of the game that game though.]
I don't know about 'very good'. CSKA's top line managed to dominate a bit in the 2nd period, but Kharlamov's rushes were mostly quite ineffective. And I think Petrov deserves a little credit for that goal too (well-timed pass!). Of course, they were playing vs. the best defense the hockey world has ever seen, as far as club teams go.

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Against the Flyers, nobody on the red army team really asserted themselves. The Red Army's passing into the zone game was absolutely manhandled by the Flyers trapping, particularly on the smaller NHL ice surface. To make matters worse, they were physically manhandled, and not in a clean way. I completely understand why the Coach made them walk off the ice. Within 30 seconds. Kharlamov had taken a cold cocked punch to the face from Bill Barber along the boards, no call, and then a charging elbow to the head from Van Impe, no call. In fact, they gave the Red Army a delay of game penalty for protesting the elbow to Kharlamov, which is what led to them walking off the ice.
True, no CSKA player shined vs. Flyers. They just didn't have a clue... and didn't seem to have the will either.

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01-10-2009, 05:13 AM
  #27
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
You said: Kharlamov didn't win many - if any! - individual awards & scoring titles, not in the Soviet league & ditto for WCh. But is it his popularity, obvious skills, charisma and flashiness that still outweigh all of that?


And I compared him to Gilbert Perreault. Because his spot on all-time lists seems to be quite inflated when compared to his awards, all-star teams, top-10 finishes, etc. But he's got the flash and dash, he was popular, highly skilled, and charismatic.
Yeah, but I still think Kharlamov gets far more recognition than Perreault. In that sense, I don't think they can be compared; i.e. Perreault isn't to Canadians what Kharlamov is to Russians.

Maybe I've just seen Perreault at his best (Summit series '72, Canada Cup '76, Challenge Cup '79). Hell, he looked like the best Canadian player to me.

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01-10-2009, 05:21 AM
  #28
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Originally Posted by AMH View Post
Yeah, but I still think Kharlamov gets far more recognition than Perreault. In that sense, I don't think they can be compared; i.e. Perreault isn't to Canadians what Kharlamov is to Russians.

Maybe I've just seen Perreault at his best (Summit series '72, Canada Cup '76, Challenge Cup '79). Hell, he looked like the best Canadian player to me.
I'm looking at it more from a worldwide perspective, than a by-country perspective.

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01-10-2009, 05:47 AM
  #29
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
I'm looking at it more from a worldwide perspective, than a by-country perspective.
Well, I, for one, had never even heard about Perreault until about 8 years ago, and I've known about Kharlamov since I was, say, 2 years old (I'm 34 at the moment). Maybe that's just me being an ignoramus plus I live in Finland and obviously the European greats like Kharlamov were better known here, in the '70s at least.

I still don't think Perreault was/is nearly as popular as Kharlamov; thus he doesn't get the same recognition (and maybe he doesn't deserve it either, I don't know!). I haven't seen Perreault doing that well in those Top 100 lists and so forth.

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01-10-2009, 09:48 AM
  #30
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Originally Posted by AMH View Post
I don't understand/see the connection??? Kharlamov is quite universally hailed the greatest Soviet player of all-time, but not many make a case for Perreault of even being a Top 3 Canadian forward of his time, even though I personally think he is clearly better than Marcel Dionne, for instance. IMO Perreault might be the most underrated Canadian forward of all-time and Kharlamov, well, is anything but underrated.
Maybe that's true in North America, but I've seen many Russian posters and talked to some older Russians who watched alot of these guys play and it seems that Kharlamov isn't a consensus choice as you seem to believe. Mikhailov and Tretiak especially get mentioned quite a bit as being better than Kharlamov in the opinions of some.

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01-10-2009, 11:29 AM
  #31
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Nikolai Drozdetsky played in my home town Borås. He died prematurely... can't remember how though. A friend of mine went to school with his doughter.

I do remember him carrying the puck during a whole PK in BHC, just circeling around the opponents all over the rink. I guess he was in his late 30:s early 40:s at this stage. He was simply phenomenal, I wish I had gotten to see him during his peak.

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01-10-2009, 03:01 PM
  #32
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Originally Posted by AMH View Post
Well, I, for one, had never even heard about Perreault until about 8 years ago, and I've known about Kharlamov since I was, say, 2 years old (I'm 34 at the moment). Maybe that's just me being an ignoramus plus I live in Finland and obviously the European greats like Kharlamov were better known here, in the '70s at least.

I still don't think Perreault was/is nearly as popular as Kharlamov; thus he doesn't get the same recognition (and maybe he doesn't deserve it either, I don't know!). I haven't seen Perreault doing that well in those Top 100 lists and so forth.
No, not that well, but pretty high, and actually higher than you'd think he should judging by his credentials. Some are fixated on how he played the game, and they see the flash and dash and reward him accordingly.

I'm just suggesting that maybe that is the case with Kharlamov too. Kharlamov's flash and dash outweigh his actual accomplishments, seemed to be what you were saying.

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01-10-2009, 03:59 PM
  #33
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Who voted for the Soviet League MVP?

Anyone know?

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01-10-2009, 04:13 PM
  #34
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Originally Posted by Reks View Post
Two months later he was the best forward at WC76 (some sources indicate that it was Martinec but I trust childovski.com).
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Originally Posted by AMH View Post

MOST SOURCES say it was Martinec! He had 20 points to Kharlamov's 14 and he was the best player on the best team of the tournament (i.e. Czechoslovakia).

Here are couple of sources I found:

http://www.azhockey.com/PA/PAwcF.html
http://www.swehockey.se/files/%7B6F6...0B39A75%7D.pdf

But I don't know. I've been trying to find the answer to this mystery for some time now. Well, I guess it doesn't really matter that much.
The official IIHF Yearbook that I have shows Martinec as the best forward of the 1976 WC.

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01-12-2009, 05:54 AM
  #35
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
No, not that well, but pretty high, and actually higher than you'd think he should judging by his credentials. Some are fixated on how he played the game, and they see the flash and dash and reward him accordingly.

I'm just suggesting that maybe that is the case with Kharlamov too. Kharlamov's flash and dash outweigh his actual accomplishments, seemed to be what you were saying.
Fair enough. Obviously one doesn't know the whole story just by looking at Kharlamov's numbers, and I guess that's the same with Perreault, too. IMO they were about equally good, and I don't think I'm downplaying Kharlamov in any way by saying so.

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01-21-2009, 05:33 PM
  #36
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I am still trying to make heads or tails of some of Kharlamov's Runner up's.
Are these results strictly Soviet league? or do they include WC?

Even so, they are strange. There certainly was not much correlation with scoring, but Some of these players were less complete than Kharlamov as well, so I find it strange. Assists on some of the early years are missing or simply not present.

In 1969-70, I cannot find any stats on Konovalenko whatsoever, but he won MVP. Maltsev was 2nd with 32 goals and 0 assists in 42 games, while Starshinov was 3rd with 34 goals and 0 assists in 39 games, and Vikulov next with 25 goals and 0 assist in 43 games. Kharlamov was 5th with 33 goals and 10 assists in 33 games. Strange that there are assist records for Kharlamov, but none of the others.

I am almost certain that this year was mixed up with 1970-71. Firsov scored 33 goals in 38 games in 69-70, but only 17 goals the year after(When he supposedly won MVP)

In 1970-71, Firsov was MVP according to the Chart, but he only had 17 goals and 0 assists in 33 games? This was probably supposed to be 69-70, not 1971 for Firsov. But then again, he did have a strong WC with 11 goals an 19 points in 10 games. But strong enough to offset Kharlamov's 40 goals and 52 points in 34 games? or his 17 points in 10 games WC the same year? This was also the year Maltsev scored 36 goals and 56 points in 37 games. Vikulov was runner up to Firsov with 19 goals an 0 assists in 39 games? over Kharlamov and Maltsev with those numbers?

The whole thing does not fit. Not one bit.

It makes even less sense when I look at Kharlamov's Runner up's to Tretiak in 74-75 and 75-76(Or is it 75-76 and 76-77). Not Tretiak mind you, but Mikhailov. Mikhailov outscored Kharlamov by some big numbers a few times(So did Maltsev one year), yet Kharlamov came ahead of them. In other years, Kharlamov was well ahead of the pack, yet not even considered? Hell, the Year stated that Kharlamov won was one of his weaker years statistically(Both possible years for the year in question since it is so muddled)

The Russian MVP results here, and the available information and statistics are two things. Very Unreliable and Unlikely to be accurate.

I cannot in good conscience utilize these very questionable results in my rankings.

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01-22-2009, 12:33 AM
  #37
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The question of scoring and MVP correlation is certainly an interesting one, Joe, and gives us reason to put these results under some scrutiny. They are, however, confirmed by multiple sources online (I know chidlovski lists the same results for the years he covers) and are a reflection of who the voters thought was best in each given year. Dismissing them out of hand is uncalled for.

If we take the same razor to early NHL Hart trophy results, many of the same questions pop up. Frank Nighbor won the very first NHL MVP award in a season in which he finished 8th in points and 10th in goals. Billy Burch the next year was also 8th in points. Ted Kennedy wasn't a top-10 scorer the year he won the Hart and Aurel Joliat was 8th in league scoring when he got his. All three of Nighbor, Kennedy (especially this one) and Joliat can be partly explained as 'career' awards, and all of the above clearly had a lot to do with the forwards' two-way game.

And that's just the forwards. We haven't even begun discussing Herb Gardiner, Babe Siebert or some of the goalies.

There are a wide variety of possible reasons the MVP award might not always correlate with the scoring race, some of them legitimate, some less so. From looking at the results, I have the impression that the discrepancies you're seeing come mainly from 'hidden offense' (missing assist records or the fact that the league didn't record the 2nd assist) and from defensive play. Leadership is debatable, as well, and it may well be that Firsov's last MVP was a sort of career achievement award as it was clear he was falling off with a young generation coming up and they wanted to give him some more laurels before he was done. It also seems quite plausible that a certain amount of 'collaboration' was present among the voters, and they may have doled out the awards as they saw fit from a broader perspective, righting past wrongs, etc., much like North American writers have done from time to time, especially early on. In short, the Soviet MVP results are likely rife with the same nonsense that makes NHL results to hard to understand sometimes, but that doesn't mean they should just be thrown out. They should be viewed in much the same way we look at early NHL Hart voting and awards: not perfect, but far from worthless.

If you go by scoring only, Vladimir Petrov is easily the greatest Soviet player of his era. So do you want to go by scoring only, then? Although some of the details are a little foggy, these MVP results confirm generally our accounting of relative greatness in the era, and shed some light on areas that North Americans may have missed (eg. Maltsev, Vikulov, Yakushev's relative weakness, etc). I can't in good conscience throw them out.


Last edited by Sturminator: 01-22-2009 at 04:19 AM.
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Old
01-22-2009, 11:42 AM
  #38
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The question of scoring and MVP correlation is certainly an interesting one, Joe, and gives us reason to put these results under some scrutiny. They are, however, confirmed by multiple sources online (I know chidlovski lists the same results for the years he covers) and are a reflection of who the voters thought was best in each given year. Dismissing them out of hand is uncalled for.
I tried finding these sources in the links provided, but I could not navigate through the sites at all. Could you please link both sources so i can sift through them myself?

Quote:
If we take the same razor to early NHL Hart trophy results, many of the same questions pop up. Frank Nighbor won the very first NHL MVP award in a season in which he finished 8th in points and 10th in goals. Billy Burch the next year was also 8th in points. Ted Kennedy wasn't a top-10 scorer the year he won the Hart and Aurel Joliat was 8th in league scoring when he got his. All three of Nighbor, Kennedy (especially this one) and Joliat can be partly explained as 'career' awards, and all of the above clearly had a lot to do with the forwards' two-way game.

And that's just the forwards. We haven't even begun discussing Herb Gardiner, Babe Siebert or some of the goalies.
There is a big difference between early NHL awards voting and what I see along these Soviet MVP votings.
Nighbor is one of the greatest defensive forwards ever to play by all accounts and Burch is a retro Selke winner himself.

Joliat outscored his winger and center by 40%-75%, but kept them in the top 3 for wins in a 9 team league.

Ted Kennedy was a supreme playmaker on a weak defense first team, and other than his winger Smith, he had 12 more assists than anyone on the team had points. In this era, players most valuable to their team got the nod for the Hart.

Gardiner is not a good example because the Soviets just did not recognize Defensemen in their votings(From what I can see), until after the Summit series when Vasiliev's frowned upon style in the USSR was suddenly praised. Ragulin got a pittance vote at one point, but that's it.

Babe Siebert played Defense the year he won the Hart, and put up a large scoring number for Dmen while being a rock in his own end. Not surprising he won the Hart.

Of the Goalie Selections, Only Rollins is a visible Retro Vote. Rayner held a terrible terrible team to league average instead of rock Bottom, and Worters performed miracles with a last place team with no scorers.

Do I know everything about the Soviet teams? No, but I can say for certain that Defensively, there were no real standouts at forward position until the later 70's when they started adding elements of NHL scoring to their system and guys like Makarov were allowed to go solo and Fetisov was allowed to join the rush. They played Robotic Hockey in the 60's and early 70's. Everyone knowing when to backcheck, and passing back and forth like, well, Robots.

And I went through the Russian teams at Eurohockey. At no point does it seem like they are voting on "Most valuable to his team" like the NHL trophy did.
Kharlamov had 2 Runner up's on 2 of his worst years, yet nothing on other years in which he was well ahead. It just does not fit.

Tretiak, for all intents and purposes, was the best goalie in the league by a country mile, and he made all other goalies look so bad by comparison that it is no wonder he got so many MVP's. I often wonder how much that played a part in his 5 MVP's.

It looks more like voting was "Favorites" than anything. Fetisov got 3rd in his final year when he missed over half the season.

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01-22-2009, 12:59 PM
  #39
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I tried finding these sources in the links provided, but I could not navigate through the sites at all. Could you please link both sources so i can sift through them myself?
The MVP award was released in 1968.

Direct link

Scroll down to jump to next season.

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01-22-2009, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Triffy View Post
The MVP award was released in 1968.

Direct link

Scroll down to jump to next season.
I don't suppose there is an English link is there.........

I also want to see the chidlovski links

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01-22-2009, 01:33 PM
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I don't suppose there is an English link is there.........

I also want to see the chidlovski links
You can insert the address in google translate for example. It'll translate the whole web page if you need. "Élection des meilleurs joueurs" is the row you're looking for. Edit: Translated link

Chidlovski I think has the MVP voting results (winners) only from 1970-1980. The link is here.

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01-22-2009, 02:08 PM
  #42
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You can insert the address in google translate for example. It'll translate the whole web page if you need. "Élection des meilleurs joueurs" is the row you're looking for. Edit: Translated link

Chidlovski I think has the MVP voting results (winners) only from 1970-1980. The link is here.
Thank you for the link in English.

Unfortunately, I still question the veracity of the voting process. Its funny how Kharlamov can only win 2 MVP's, yet he still gets voted Soviet player of the Decade for the 70's.

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01-22-2009, 03:34 PM
  #43
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Thank you for the link in English.

Unfortunately, I still question the veracity of the voting process. Its funny how Kharlamov can only win 2 MVP's, yet he still gets voted Soviet player of the Decade for the 70's.
Actually, Kharlamov was only MVP once, losing on a tiebreak to Maltsev in the other year. A loss on tiebreak is still a loss. Counting Kharlamov as a two-time winner of the Soviet MVP is like calling Andy Bathgate an Art Ross winner because he tied Hull in points one year but lost the tiebreak in goals. Bathgate didn't win the Art Ross - end of story. Kharlamov has only one MVP trophy to his credit.

I agree with you vis-a-vis Tretiak and the MVP process. It seems a fairly clear distortion. In fact, I think the MVP results are mainly valuable as a metric for judging the forwards against one another. Among defensemen, only Vasiliev really seems to factor into the process in a serious way.

To be perfectly honest, I believe these results should raise some serious questions about Kharlamov's true standing among the Soviet greats. In my humble opinion, North American tunnel vision has caused us to view 8 games in 1972 as the end all and be all of Soviet hockey, when really there was a lot more to the story. Kharlamov was spectacular in 1972, and thus we consider him the greatest Soviet player. Guys like Maltsev and Vikulov were relatively quiet (though Mikhailov was no better in 1972, he shined against team Canada briefly in 1979 and so is elevated in our eyes), and so their contributions are badly overlooked. Yakushev happened to peak at that time (the rest of his career is rather unspectacular), and so we think he was one of the greats. Yeah, this data gives us good reason to question whether Kharlamov really was better than Mikhailov and Maltsev. What, exactly, is wrong with rethinking assumptions made on incredibly limited data?

We have to be careful about painting with too broad a brush, as well. Mikhailov's MVP win in 1979, for instance, came against a pathetic field. As it is with NHL achievements, one award does not always equal another. Maltsev was out for the year in 1979, Kharlamov was a shell of himself and Makarov was still a kid. It appears that the only real competition for the MVP vote in 1979 was between Mikhailov and Petrov. Coincidence that we don't have the complete voting from any source? Perhaps not; perhaps the league was embarrased at the names that appeared on the list. I certainly won't place the Soviet voters above politics, dirty tricks and bullsh!t motivations, but then again, anyone who knows what happened to Ray Bourque in the 1990 Hart vote shouldn't throw too many stones (to say nothing of Pronger's ludicrous Hart and other modern offenses to common sense).

I also disagree with you that all Soviet forwards in the 70's were created defensively equal. Vlad Petrov all but admitted in an interview that he was a poor defensive player before facing off with Bobby Clarke in 72, and lo and behold, Petrov says he improved defensively and his MVP results post-72 largely follow suit. Starshinov was known as a guy who liked to basically stand in front of the net and fish for rebounds (ie. did nothing on defense and created nothing) - so it should come as little surprise to us that Firsov consistently beat him in MVP voting despite the scoring being awfully close. Yakushev wasn't much of a backchecker, either (watch the tape in 72 if you don't believe me - he basically let Shadrin do all the work), and his MVP results are shockingly out of synch (on the low side) with his scoring results.

We see the Soviet league through a glass, and darkly, Joe. Shutting our eyes completely doesn't help matters. What else have we to go on, rumor and conjecture?

I will debate you on early Hart and all-star voting at another time if we see fit. I don't have the time for it now. Suffice it to say, the process was highly questionable for a variety of reasons.

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01-22-2009, 04:49 PM
  #44
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Guys,

Kharlamov died at the age of 31, while he was still in his prime.

Plus these figures are flawed.

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01-22-2009, 05:08 PM
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Actually, Kharlamov was only MVP once, losing on a tiebreak to Maltsev in the other year. A loss on tiebreak is still a loss. Counting Kharlamov as a two-time winner of the Soviet MVP is like calling Andy Bathgate an Art Ross winner because he tied Hull in points one year but lost the tiebreak in goals. Bathgate didn't win the Art Ross - end of story. Kharlamov has only one MVP trophy to his credit.

I agree with you vis-a-vis Tretiak and the MVP process. It seems a fairly clear distortion. In fact, I think the MVP results are mainly valuable as a metric for judging the forwards against one another. Among defensemen, only Vasiliev really seems to factor into the process in a serious way.

To be perfectly honest, I believe these results should raise some serious questions about Kharlamov's true standing among the Soviet greats. In my humble opinion, North American tunnel vision has caused us to view 8 games in 1972 as the end all and be all of Soviet hockey, when really there was a lot more to the story. Kharlamov was spectacular in 1972, and thus we consider him the greatest Soviet player. Guys like Maltsev and Vikulov were relatively quiet (though Mikhailov was no better in 1972, he shined against team Canada briefly in 1979 and so is elevated in our eyes), and so their contributions are badly overlooked. Yakushev happened to peak at that time (the rest of his career is rather unspectacular), and so we think he was one of the greats. Yeah, this data gives us good reason to question whether Kharlamov really was better than Mikhailov and Maltsev. What, exactly, is wrong with rethinking assumptions made on incredibly limited data?

We have to be careful about painting with too broad a brush, as well. Mikhailov's MVP win in 1979, for instance, came against a pathetic field. As it is with NHL achievements, one award does not always equal another. Maltsev was out for the year in 1979, Kharlamov was a shell of himself and Makarov was still a kid. It appears that the only real competition for the MVP vote in 1979 was between Mikhailov and Petrov. Coincidence that we don't have the complete voting from any source? Perhaps not; perhaps the league was embarrased at the names that appeared on the list. I certainly won't place the Soviet voters above politics, dirty tricks and bullsh!t motivations, but then again, anyone who knows what happened to Ray Bourque in the 1990 Hart vote shouldn't throw too many stones (to say nothing of Pronger's ludicrous Hart and other modern offenses to common sense).

I also disagree with you that all Soviet forwards in the 70's were created defensively equal. Vlad Petrov all but admitted in an interview that he was a poor defensive player before facing off with Bobby Clarke in 72, and lo and behold, Petrov says he improved defensively and his MVP results post-72 largely follow suit. Starshinov was known as a guy who liked to basically stand in front of the net and fish for rebounds (ie. did nothing on defense and created nothing) - so it should come as little surprise to us that Firsov consistently beat him in MVP voting despite the scoring being awfully close. Yakushev wasn't much of a backchecker, either (watch the tape in 72 if you don't believe me - he basically let Shadrin do all the work), and his MVP results are shockingly out of synch (on the low side) with his scoring results.

We see the Soviet league through a glass, and darkly, Joe. Shutting our eyes completely doesn't help matters. What else have we to go on, rumor and conjecture?

I will debate you on early Hart and all-star voting at another time if we see fit. I don't have the time for it now. Suffice it to say, the process was highly questionable for a variety of reasons.
To the bolded part.

Kharlamov was not only considered the best here, but In Russia as well. The very words of Tarasov were that he was always best of the best, first among equals. He was player of the decade for the 70's, and he is considered the Russian Gretzky/Orr by the Russians. Every Russian Friends I know who saw him play considered him to be the best of the best, regardless of these results. Malkin and Kovalchuk wear his number and reverse number specifically to honor him, and the Kharlamov trophy is now the name of the Russian NHL MVP.

Every Poll I have ever seen conducted in the Russian Section here and has been unanimous in Kharlamov support.

For Myself personally, its not a matter of just the Summit series.

I saw Firsov and Kharlamov play multiple times when I lived abroad, and then even more when I moved back to North America and they started playing the Summit + Super series. Kharlamov and Firsov to me are always going to be #1 and #2 for Forwards from Russia. Unless Ovechkin keeps his current pace up.

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01-22-2009, 11:07 PM
  #46
lextune
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Guys,

Kharlamov died at the age of 31, while he was still in his prime.

Plus these figures are flawed.
I think he was 33 not 31....And unfortunately I don't think we can say he was still in his prime. After his first car accident in '76 he wasn't the same player he had been. Although he was still noticeably a highly skilled player, I remember very well seeing him play in the '80 Olympics even though I was only 9 years old.

I do agree though that these figures seem inherently flawed.

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01-23-2009, 12:42 AM
  #47
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Originally Posted by lextune View Post
I think he was 33 not 31....And unfortunately I don't think we can say he was still in his prime. After his first car accident in '76 he wasn't the same player he had been. Although he was still noticeably a highly skilled player, I remember very well seeing him play in the '80 Olympics even though I was only 9 years old.

I do agree though that these figures seem inherently flawed.
Yes, Kharlamov's career was on the downswing when he died. Actually, one of the biggest criticisms of Tikhonov for miracle on ice disaster was that he relied too heavily on older players past their primes (more specifically Mikhailov-Petrov-Kharlamov line) instead of going with a younger and hungrier team.
Kharlamov was subsequently left off the 1981 Canada Cup roster....he died a ways north of Moscow during the tournament.

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01-23-2009, 01:28 AM
  #48
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Originally Posted by Thornton_19 View Post
Kharlamov was not only considered the best here, but In Russia as well. The very words of Tarasov were that he was always best of the best, first among equals. He was player of the decade for the 70's, and he is considered the Russian Gretzky/Orr by the Russians. Every Russian Friends I know who saw him play considered him to be the best of the best, regardless of these results. Malkin and Kovalchuk wear his number and reverse number specifically to honor him, and the Kharlamov trophy is now the name of the Russian NHL MVP.
You're making an extremely circular argument here. Your evidence seems to consist of, to paraphrase, 'everyone agrees Kharlamov was the best'. And I'm not disagreeing with that assessment. In my mind, Kharlamov undoubtedly peaked higher than any other Soviet player and besides Orr, perhaps any player of his generation. At his best, he had no equals. Of course, comparing him to Maltsev and Mikhailov in MVP voting handicaps Kharlamov because his peak was much shorter than that of the M's, basically from 70-76, when he had his first car crash. If you look at the results only in this timeframe, Kharlamov comes out well ahead of the others. There is much less inconsistency in the results than you seem to think.

Kharlamov did have a short prime (about half that of the M's), and should be brought down a peg for it when compared to players who were highly productive for a lot longer. That still doesn't mean he was not the best. You seem to be a guy who values longevity fairly well, so I'm surprised to be making this point to you.

The simple fact of the matter is that this is the Soviet MVP voting record. Why on earth should we throw it out? Before the full results were known to all, people constanly cited the results (or at least the 1st place results, however inaccurately) in their arguments, but now that more it known, it is worthless?! That seems to be a perversion of common sense.

I don't honestly care much for the opinions of most of the Russians on this board. Yeah, I said it. There are a few who I really respect, but they are mostly a young and extremely partisan lot. I have seen more of the players in question here than the vast majority of the kids who vote in those polls. We should also not forget the impact K's untimely death has naturally had on his image in Russia. He's right up there with Jim Morrison and James Dean among romantic heroes, and I think both of them are a little overrated, as well.

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01-23-2009, 04:05 AM
  #49
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You're making an extremely circular argument here. Your evidence seems to consist of, to paraphrase, 'everyone agrees Kharlamov was the best'. And I'm not disagreeing with that assessment. In my mind, Kharlamov undoubtedly peaked higher than any other Soviet player and besides Orr, perhaps any player of his generation. At his best, he had no equals. Of course, comparing him to Maltsev and Mikhailov in MVP voting handicaps Kharlamov because his peak was much shorter than that of the M's, basically from 70-76, when he had his first car crash. If you look at the results only in this timeframe, Kharlamov comes out well ahead of the others. There is much less inconsistency in the results than you seem to think.

Kharlamov did have a short prime (about half that of the M's), and should be brought down a peg for it when compared to players who were highly productive for a lot longer. That still doesn't mean he was not the best. You seem to be a guy who values longevity fairly well, so I'm surprised to be making this point to you.
I always have valued peak over longevity by a good margin. Ill take 5 fantastic years over 10 very good years any day. Kharlamov was what I call a "Game breaker". That rare level above the rest that just controls the game and occupies every second of the opposing teams defense. I consider Kharlamov to be on the "Lafleur" level in that sense.

Even after his car accident when he was not what he used to be, he was still a very productive player. Its not like he had 5 fantastic years and then dropped off the face of the earth like Terry Sawchuk. his other years were still "very good"

Quote:
The simple fact of the matter is that this is the Soviet MVP voting record. Why on earth should we throw it out? Before the full results were known to all, people constanly cited the results (or at least the 1st place results, however inaccurately) in their arguments, but now that more it known, it is worthless?! That seems to be a perversion of common sense.
Worthless? No. But it is surely not "The best".

Showing how Firsov won during a very weak year for him showed that they were willing to overlook better players now in order to give a past favorite an extra laurel. Some of the votes made no sense whatsoever to be honest(As I dissected earlier). Most of the NHL MVP's from before my time are at least explainable.

Quote:
I don't honestly care much for the opinions of most of the Russians on this board. Yeah, I said it. There are a few who I really respect, but they are mostly a young and extremely partisan lot. I have seen more of the players in question here than the vast majority of the kids who vote in those polls. We should also not forget the impact K's untimely death has naturally had on his image in Russia. He's right up there with Jim Morrison and James Dean among romantic heroes, and I think both of them are a little overrated, as well.
Most of my Russian friends are my age and saw a century mark worth of games back then. Their opinion means a lot to me when it is about their hockey and none of the question Kharlamov as the best Soviet player of all time.

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01-23-2009, 08:40 AM
  #50
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Originally Posted by Thornton_19 View Post
I always have valued peak over longevity by a good margin. Ill take 5 fantastic years over 10 very good years any day. Kharlamov was what I call a "Game breaker". That rare level above the rest that just controls the game and occupies every second of the opposing teams defense. I consider Kharlamov to be on the "Lafleur" level in that sense.
As I suspected, we basically agree on all points. There is no doubt in my mind that Kharlamov was the best of the Soviet forwards of his generation, and arguably the second best player after Orr (Espo, Clarke and Park can legitimately lay claim to this, as well). And you know what? As much as you seem to dislike this data, the Soviet voting record bears that out. From 70-76, here are the top-5 MVP finishes among Soviet forwards:

Kharlamov: 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 5th
Maltsev: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th
Vikulov: 2nd, 3rd, 4th
Mikhailov: 2nd, 4th, 5th
Yakushev: 3rd, 4th, 5th
Petrov: 2nd, 4th
Firsov: 1st
Starshinov: 3rd

During his prime years, Kharlamov was well ahead of all his competitors, with only Maltsev being even within spitting distance. Once Kharlamov was second to Maltsev on tiebreak, and twice he was second to Tretiak. If you believe (and we seem to agree on this point) that Tretiak was overrated by the Soviets (fans, pundits and voters, alike), one could easily argue that two of Kharlamov's 2nd place seasons could and should have landed him in 1st place. The fact of Kharlamov's categorical dominance during his prime is just barely hidden by the results as they are. It's not like you have to look that deep to see it. With a relatively small amount of clarification, the Soviet MVP voting records actually make a good deal of sense. It seems like you really don't want them to make sense.

Quote:
Even after his car accident when he was not what he used to be, he was still a very productive player. Its not like he had 5 fantastic years and then dropped off the face of the earth like Terry Sawchuk. his other years were still "very good"
I think you may be a little too easy on Kharlamov here, and I can't really fault the Soviet voters for not putting him in the top-5 again after 1976.

Quote:
Showing how Firsov won during a very weak year for him showed that they were willing to overlook better players now in order to give a past favorite an extra laurel. Some of the votes made no sense whatsoever to be honest(As I dissected earlier). Most of the NHL MVP's from before my time are at least explainable.
Again: Ted Kennedy. No way was Teeder a better player in 54-55 than Geoffrion, Richard or Howe, at the very least. He wasn't even the leading scorer on his team, though no doubt he was better overall than Sid Smith. What Kennedy had going for him that those other guys didn't is that he'd had a terrific career with no individual awards (except for a few all-star nods) to that point, and the writers knew he was retiring.

I don't really have a problem with Kennedy's Hart, or with a certain amount of 'revisionist' award-giving, to be honest. We shouldn't forget that Firsov was already well into his prime before the Soviet MVP award came into existence. How can we really fault the voters for throwing the old man a bone? Had the award existed in 65, Firsov probably would have won four or more of them fairly. Again, I think you're being irrationally hard on the Soviet voters here, and I don't really understand why.

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