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My argument against Valery Kharlamov

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Old
03-20-2009, 08:09 PM
  #1
finchster
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My argument against Valery Kharlamov

The History of Hockey top 100 list places the top Russian players as follows: Valery Kharlamov as number 30, Viacheslav Fetisov at 35 and Vladislav Tretiak at 52. Vladislav Tretiak and Viacheslav Fetisov should be over Valery Kharlamov any day of the week. While I donít deny he was a good player, I just see an overrating of him across the board. While there is a consensus that Valery Kharlamov was the greatest Russian player ever, I contend he gets the fan favorite award of all time rather than being the best Russian player ever.

Valery Kharlamov won the Soviet MVP twice (one of which was shared with Alexander Maltsev in 1971) and led the Soviet league in scoring once and in goal scoring once. His line mate Boris Mikhailov has two Soviet MVPís and led the Soviet League in goal scoring three times. His other line mate Vladimir Petrov led the Soviet League five times in point scoring and three times for goals but no MVPís. So it is obvious he did not dominate his peers in terms of goal scoring, point producing, or domestic awards.

Soviet League Stats
Valery Kharlamov
GP G A P PIM
436 293 214 507
Goals per game
0.672
Points per game
1.163

Boris Mikhailov
GP G A P
572 452 223 675
Goals per game
0.790
Points per game
1.180

Vladimir Petrov
GP G A P
596 370 341 711
Goals per game
0.620
Points per game
1.193

Both Petrov and Mikhailov average more points and Mikhailov more goals a game. This is especially telling since Kharlamov had a shorter career and usually a shorter career leads to high points averages. Kharlamovís last two years playing in Russia was underwhelming at best,

CSKA Moscow 1979-80 42 16 22 38 40
CSKA Moscow 1980-81 30 9 16 25 14

He averaged 0.389 goals a game and 0.905 points 1979-80 and in 1980-81 0.300 goals a game and 0.833 points a game. One could argue while he died young his best years were behind him.

With any talk of Soviet hockey there needs to be a discussion of international play as playing for country was more important than club.

Games played
Kharlamov 292
Mikhailov, 288
Petrov, 281

Goals
Kharlamov, 193
Mikhailov, 207
Petrov, 189

Average goals per game
Mikhailov 0.719
Petrov 0.673
Kharlamov 0.661

Mikhailov has a 0.071 decrease, Kharlamov has a 0.011 decrease and Petrov has a 0.041 increase. Many contend Kharlamov was better in international play but what we see here is nothing of the sort. So there is no way in terms of dominance you could make that he was necessarily better than his line mates. If you take Kharlamovís 72 Olympics out his totals (his best international play by a mile) he was not as good in international play than club play.

IIHF awards are important as well to judge how they did on the international scale so how did he do compared to his line mates.

IIHF world Championship all-star
Kharlamov, 1972, 1973, 1976
Mikhailov, 1973, 1979
Petrov, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979

IIHF Best Forward
Kharlamov, 1976
Mikhailov, 1973 and 1979
Petrov,

IIHF Best Scorer Goals
Kharlamov,
Mikhailov, 1977, 1978
Petrov, 1973

IIHF Best scorer Points
Kharlamov,
Mikhailov, 1974
Petrov, 1973, 1977, 1979

What does that all mean? Well the IIHF did not take the most points as the most important fact when they voted for the best forward. Kharlamov was only named best at the IIHF world championships once. Petrov in 1973 had the most goals and points but Mikhailov was named best forward that year so there was a clear indication that points were not as important when they named best forward. So the argument that he was so important even when not scoring seems not valid when Mikhailov has more MVPís than him.

So why does Kharlamov seem to be recognized as the best Russian player? He was a national hero on a different level than his line mates. In 1972 the Soviet Union won the Gold medal in the Winter Olympics where Kharlamov was lights out.

Kharlamov
GP G A P
5-9-5-15

He led the second goal scorer by three goals, and had six more points than second place. Six more points in five games over second place is a great achievement. This puts him over his peers in this respect, but I donít put much stock in the Olympics from this time. This would have made him a national hero and loved by everyone in a way his line mates could never be. In the Summit Series the Soviet media blamed Petrov for his lack of creating scoring opportunities as one reason for losing, add in the hero Kharlamov getting slashed by Bobby Clarke and you have a recipe for a legend.

Letís also compare him to Bobby Orr for a moment.
They were born in the same year, their careers overlapped and there are some similarities. Bobby Orr was injured and his career ended short, Kharlamov was attacked by Clarke and his career ended short as well. Kharlamov died young which adds to his legacy as a player as it does with artists or musicians. He could be thought of in the same way as Bobby Orr for having some outside factors impacting their career negatively thus getting lots of praise and sympathy.

Kharlamov lack domination I can not call him the best Russian player ever he was as good as or slightly better than his line mates.

Vladislav Tretiak is by far the best Russian player and should be in the top ten or at least top twenty. I donít have a lot of time to go into my reasons but I will just use the 1975-76 Super Series for my example. Kharlamov was the top forward with seven points and the player behind him had six. Tretiak in that series faced 168 shots in four games for an average of 42 a game, while his opponents faced 74 shots in four games for an average of 18.5 shots a game. Take Kharlamov off the Soviet team they still win, take Tretiak off and they are in the hockey third world. Kharlamov was the fan favorite not the best player.

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03-20-2009, 09:07 PM
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Comparisons

You took alot of time and effort to present the data BUT your effort has a Fantasy Hockey sense to it as opposed to actual on ice considerations.

You mention leading the league in scoring. This is an interesting stat but is overrated in terms of evaluating the greatness of a player. An NHL example,contemporaries, Maurice Richard never led the NHL in scoring for a season while Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore both won the scoring championship twice each. Yet no one will seriously argue that Bernie Geoffrion or Dickie Moore were better players than Maurice Richard.

From my perspective there are three considerations that weigh heavily.

The really great players step-up and make a difference during important games. Maurice Richard had seven play-off overtime game winning goals. I doubt that Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore combined had more than one. The great Gordie Howe had none. Kharlamov was a difference maker.

In every team sport the opposition defines a player on the other team that is the important player - the one who is to be stopped, the one who you do not give a chance to beat you on his own. Clarke's actions against Kharlamov, though not honourable, speak loudly as to who the key player was on the Soviet national team during the Kharlamov era. Kharlamov simply could beat you on his own anytime he was on the ice. Teams had to assign a special checker against him.

The third consideration is does the player make his teamates or linemates better players. In the fall of 1955 Maurice Richard was paired with two young players, Henri Richard, his brother and a rookie and Dickie Moore who had app five seasons in the NHL but was considered a disappointment. Looking at the stats of the three players you can see how the two younger players developed into great players playing with Maurice Richard. The result was one of the great lines in history. When Maurice Richard retired after the 1959 - 60 season neither Henri Richard or Dickie Moore had the same success.

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03-20-2009, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
The third consideration is does the player make his teamates or linemates better players. In the fall of 1955 Maurice Richard was paired with two young players, Henri Richard, his brother and a rookie and Dickie Moore who had app five seasons in the NHL but was considered a disappointment. Looking at the stats of the three players you can see how the two younger players developed into great players playing with Maurice Richard. The result was one of the great lines in history. When Maurice Richard retired after the 1959 - 60 season neither Henri Richard or Dickie Moore had the same success.
I would disagree here. Henri's greatest season & Moore's first AR were in 57-58 when the Rocket only played 28 games. Moore won a second AR in 58-59 playing with beliveau & Boom Boom. If anything they were carrying the Rocket his last 3 seasons. The Rocket had very little to do with Henri & Moore being great players.

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03-20-2009, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
You took alot of time and effort to present the data BUT your effort has a Fantasy Hockey sense to it as opposed to actual on ice considerations.
You mention leading the league in scoring. This is an interesting stat but is overrated in terms of evaluating the greatness of a player. An NHL example,contemporaries, Maurice Richard never led the NHL in scoring for a season while Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore both won the scoring championship twice each. Yet no one will seriously argue that Bernie Geoffrion or Dickie Moore were better players than Maurice Richard.
Richard did lead the NHL in goal scoring five times to Kharlamov one in the Soviet league. Richard was also second in NHL goal scoring four times, so nine times he was first or second in goal scoring, thatís a decade of being the best. Richard was also second in points five times.

Geoffrion led the NHL in goal scoring twice and was never in second place but third twice and one NHL scoring title. Dickie Moore was first in goal scoring once and he was second in goal scoring once, he also won two scoring titles.

You can already see from Richard play over the long term he was better than his line mates and the most dominate goal scorer of his era. While I donít know second or third placed Soviet stats, Kharlamovís line mates all had similar stats so there was no dominance like Richard, their production was pretty even.

In international play when it was more important there is no increase in production and his line mates have the same stats (Petrov was a poor skater so people often over looked him). When it came time to give out the MVP which is not based on scoring he won it twice and once it was shared. Being as good or a little bit better than your line mates is not impressive. Did the Soviets have the best line in hockey? My guess is they did at that time, but no one sticks out as more dominate than the rest.

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03-20-2009, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
You took alot of time and effort to present the data BUT your effort has a Fantasy Hockey sense to it as opposed to actual on ice considerations.

You mention leading the league in scoring. This is an interesting stat but is overrated in terms of evaluating the greatness of a player. An NHL example,contemporaries, Maurice Richard never led the NHL in scoring for a season while Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore both won the scoring championship twice each. Yet no one will seriously argue that Bernie Geoffrion or Dickie Moore were better players than Maurice Richard.

From my perspective there are three considerations that weigh heavily.

The really great players step-up and make a difference during important games. Maurice Richard had seven play-off overtime game winning goals. I doubt that Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore combined had more than one. The great Gordie Howe had none. Kharlamov was a difference maker.

In every team sport the opposition defines a player on the other team that is the important player - the one who is to be stopped, the one who you do not give a chance to beat you on his own. Clarke's actions against Kharlamov, though not honourable, speak loudly as to who the key player was on the Soviet national team during the Kharlamov era. Kharlamov simply could beat you on his own anytime he was on the ice. Teams had to assign a special checker against him.

The third consideration is does the player make his teamates or linemates better players. In the fall of 1955 Maurice Richard was paired with two young players, Henri Richard, his brother and a rookie and Dickie Moore who had app five seasons in the NHL but was considered a disappointment. Looking at the stats of the three players you can see how the two younger players developed into great players playing with Maurice Richard. The result was one of the great lines in history. When Maurice Richard retired after the 1959 - 60 season neither Henri Richard or Dickie Moore had the same success.
Henri Richard led the league in assists in 1962-63 a few years after the Rocket's retirement, while Moore made the second all-star team his first year without the Rocket. Moore's decline was due to injuries more than the Rocket's retirement.

Also, in 1957-58, the Rocket only played in 28 games. Moore won the scoring title and Henri finished second. Obviously great players on their own.

You should also know in that talking to Dickie Moore, he credits Toe Blake with all of his success, and feels that his hiring was the turning point in his career.

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03-20-2009, 10:31 PM
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Kharlamov is like Sandy Koufax of hockey.

His prime was relatively short, but during that time he was absolutely the Greatest Russian/Soviet player.

If you value longevity, then you can certainly put Fetisov, Makarov, Tretiak and Maltsev above him, but none of those were as dominant.

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03-20-2009, 10:48 PM
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Let's Complete the Picture

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Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
I would disagree here. Henri's greatest season & Moore's first AR were in 57-58 when the Rocket only played 28 games. Moore won a second AR in 58-59 playing with beliveau & Boom Boom. If anything they were carrying the Rocket his last 3 seasons. The Rocket had very little to do with Henri & Moore being great players.
True. Maurice Richard played only 28 games before suffering a Achillis tendon injury. 28 G 15 goals, 19 assists = 34 points, projected over a 70 game season would be 85 points. Considering that Dickie Moore won the AR with 84 points while playing all 70 games this could lead to some interesting conjecture by those so inclined.

In the play-offs Maurice Richard(11G 4A) easily outscored both Henri Richard( 8pts) and Dickie Moore(11pts). In 1958-59 he scored at a .9ppg rate while 1959-60 saw a .7ppg performance.So your claim that Maurice Richard was CARRIED by his linemates is somewhat dubious.

Marcel Bonin played a good part of the 1958-59 season with Beliveau and Geoffrion. The 1958 -59 season saw the Canadiens plagued by injuries. Harvey played hurt a good part of the season. Moore was the only one of the HOFers that played 70 games. Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau played only 4 play-off games each. Players like Don Marshall, Tom Johnson, rookie Ralph Backstrom and others step - up as well.

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03-20-2009, 10:58 PM
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Closing the Circle.

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Originally Posted by Canadiens Fan View Post
Henri Richard led the league in assists in 1962-63 a few years after the Rocket's retirement, while Moore made the second all-star team his first year without the Rocket. Moore's decline was due to injuries more than the Rocket's retirement.

Also, in 1957-58, the Rocket only played in 28 games. Moore won the scoring title and Henri finished second. Obviously great players on their own.

You should also know in that talking to Dickie Moore, he credits Toe Blake with all of his success, and feels that his hiring was the turning point in his career.
Because Toe Blake showed faith in Dickie Moore by playing him with Maurice Richard and on the power play.

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03-20-2009, 11:48 PM
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Obviously like most of us I only saw him play in int'l competition. So my sample is relatively small compared to NHL players. And it was a long time ago.

To me Tretiak was the best Soviet player. He was a brick wall. Possibly the best goalie who ever played. If he had not been pulled from the 1980 Olympic semi-final game there might never have been the miracle that the USA pulled off.

And Kharlamov was the next best. Every time he had the puck you felt like something could happen. He was as dangerous as any player I have ever seen play.

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03-21-2009, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Because Toe Blake showed faith in Dickie Moore by playing him with Maurice Richard and on the power play.
No, because in Dickie's own words "he simply told me to play my own game." Moore was not a big fan of Dick Irvin Sr. as coach. I don't think that playing with the Rocket was that magic tonic. I would actually give more credit, to his new centreman, Henri Richard.

Also keep in mind that Moore led all Habs in playoff scoring in 1953-54 with 13 points with Beliveau as his center and Geoffrion on the wing a few years before Blake arrived on the scene. Moore may have been the most versatile forward on that team, played both wings, excelled with both Henri Richard and Beliveau as his centermen. No matter who or were he played, he put up points.

Did the Rocket help his career, I'm sure in some ways. But I don't think any more than had Geoffrion been his winger. With that being said both Moore and Henri Richard we're definitely carrying the Rocket in 1958-59 and 1959-60, that is when he was able to play.

Quote:
True. Maurice Richard played only 28 games before suffering a Achillis tendon injury. 28 G 15 goals, 19 assists = 34 points, projected over a 70 game season would be 85 points. Considering that Dickie Moore won the AR with 84 points while playing all 70 games this could lead to some interesting conjecture by those so inclined.
Conjecture being that the absence of the Rocket had no negative impact on either Moore or Henri's season.

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03-21-2009, 12:30 AM
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Kharlamov is like Sandy Koufax of hockey.

His prime was relatively short, but during that time he was absolutely the Greatest Russian/Soviet player.

If you value longevity, then you can certainly put Fetisov, Makarov, Tretiak and Maltsev above him, but none of those were as dominant.
I think it is generally accepted Kharlamov peak would range between 68-74 so lets look at the club record.

Boris Mikhailov
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 68/69 42 36 14 50
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 69/70 44 40 15 55
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 70/71 40 32 15 47
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 71/72 31 20 13 33
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 72/73 30 24 13 37
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 73/74 31 18 9 27
Total 218 170 79 249

Vladimir Petrov
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 68/69 39 27 18 45
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 69/70 43 51 21 72
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 70/71 37 16 16 32
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 71/72 32 21 16 37
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 72/73 30 27 22 49
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 73/74 28 14 14 28
Total 209 156 107 263

Valeri Kharlamov
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 68/69 42 37 12 49
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 69/70 33 33 10 43
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 70/71 34 40 12 52
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 71/72 31 26 16 42
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 72/73 27 19 13 32
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 73/74 26 20 10 30
Total 193 175 73 248

Mikhailov GPG 0.780 PPG 1.142
Petrov GPG 0.746 PPG 1.258
Kharlamov GPG 0.907 PPG 1.285

During his peak he led his team mates in goal scoring four out of six years and had a big lead in goals per game and a narrow lead in points per game. However if you add the next two years Kharlamov falls of the face of the earth so to speak and Mikhailov starts to hit his peak later in his career.

So the comparison I will draw from all of this is Kharlamov and Brett Hull. Hull destroyed the NHL goal scoring title and an MVP when he hit his short peak then his play fell off. While I think Kharlamov is better than Hull no doubt I think it is a fair comparison that would lead me to believe Kharlamov was not near the top players of all time and perhaps more likely in the 40-60 range. I still think Tretiak was the best Russian hockey player ahead of Kharlamov. I would have an easier time placing Tretiak in the 5-20 range in best players of all time rather than Kharlamov

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03-21-2009, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by finchster View Post

IIHF Best Forward
Kharlamov, 1976
Mikhailov, 1973 and 1979
Petrov,

IIHF Best Scorer Goals
Kharlamov,
Mikhailov, 1977, 1978
Petrov, 1973

IIHF Best scorer Points
Kharlamov,
Mikhailov, 1974
Petrov, 1973, 1977, 1979

What does that all mean? Well the IIHF did not take the most points as the most important fact when they voted for the best forward. Kharlamov was only named best at the IIHF world championships once. Petrov in 1973 had the most goals and points but Mikhailov was named best forward that year so there was a clear indication that points were not as important when they named best forward. So the argument that he was so important even when not scoring seems not valid when Mikhailov has more MVPís than him.
It's questionable that Kharlamov was named the best forward even at the 1976 WCh; most sources say that it was actually CSSR's Vladimir Martinec (= the scoring leader & the best player on the best team of the tournament).

Anyway, I agree on many points you make (some of them basically the same I made when I was arguing that Anatoli Firsov was better than Kharlamov). I mean, stats and awards don't tell EVERYTHING, but guys like Firsov have such an edge vs. Kharlamov in that regard that I don't think you can just ignore it.

What, Thornton_19 hasn't commented yet?

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03-21-2009, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by mw147 View Post
Obviously like most of us I only saw him play in int'l competition. So my sample is relatively small compared to NHL players. And it was a long time ago.

To me Tretiak was the best Soviet player. He was a brick wall. Possibly the best goalie who ever played. If he had not been pulled from the 1980 Olympic semi-final game there might never have been the miracle that the USA pulled off.

And Kharlamov was the next best. Every time he had the puck you felt like something could happen. He was as dangerous as any player I have ever seen play.
I guess you haven't seen his 'bad games' (which there are plenty of). And that Lake Placid thing; yeah, that's what Tretiak keeps on claiming.

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03-21-2009, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by finchster View Post
I think it is generally accepted Kharlamov peak would range between 68-74 so lets look at the club record.

Boris Mikhailov
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 68/69 42 36 14 50
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 69/70 44 40 15 55
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 70/71 40 32 15 47
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 71/72 31 20 13 33
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 72/73 30 24 13 37
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 73/74 31 18 9 27
Total 218 170 79 249

Vladimir Petrov
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 68/69 39 27 18 45
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 69/70 43 51 21 72
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 70/71 37 16 16 32
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 71/72 32 21 16 37
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 72/73 30 27 22 49
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 73/74 28 14 14 28
Total 209 156 107 263

Valeri Kharlamov
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 68/69 42 37 12 49
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 69/70 33 33 10 43
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 70/71 34 40 12 52
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 71/72 31 26 16 42
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 72/73 27 19 13 32
CSKA Moskva Russian Hockey League 73/74 26 20 10 30
Total 193 175 73 248

Mikhailov GPG 0.780 PPG 1.142
Petrov GPG 0.746 PPG 1.258
Kharlamov GPG 0.907 PPG 1.285

During his peak he led his team mates in goal scoring four out of six years and had a big lead in goals per game and a narrow lead in points per game. However if you add the next two years Kharlamov falls of the face of the earth so to speak and Mikhailov starts to hit his peak later in his career.

So the comparison I will draw from all of this is Kharlamov and Brett Hull. Hull destroyed the NHL goal scoring title and an MVP when he hit his short peak then his play fell off. While I think Kharlamov is better than Hull no doubt I think it is a fair comparison that would lead me to believe Kharlamov was not near the top players of all time and perhaps more likely in the 40-60 range. I still think Tretiak was the best Russian hockey player ahead of Kharlamov. I would have an easier time placing Tretiak in the 5-20 range in best players of all time rather than Kharlamov
http://www.chidlovski.com/personal/1.../ss7677_ne.htm

I was at the game described above, in row 2. A lot of how I viewed the Russians of that era was influenced by that game. I know its foolish to base anything on one game, but there wasn't a lot to go by concerning the Russians at that time, so it stuck with me.

Kharlamov's line did not play. It was the first game of the series with WHA teams and I guess the Russians felt they could rest their top line and still handle the Whalers. I didn't see anything special about Tretiak, guess he had an off night. I was expecting so much because I had seen the Summit Series in '72 on TV. But what I really wanted to see was Kharlamov. In the Summit Series he was the guy worth the price of admission. Without him, Petrov or Mikhailov the Russians were pretty to watch but easily rattled. Guess they were a little over confident going in. They hammered the better WHA teams (6 straight) after that before losing 6-1 in Quebec without Tretiak in goal.

The point is, Kharlamov really was the legendary Russian player to North American fans at that time. For a lot of us, it will take a lot to change that perception of him. Tretiak was also well know, but that night took a lot of the shine off him for the fans that were in Hartford. Hell, the Whalers could beat him. And then there was that Lake Placid goal in '80.

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03-21-2009, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
http://www.chidlovski.com/personal/1.../ss7677_ne.htm

I was at the game described above, in row 2. A lot of how I viewed the Russians of that era was influenced by that game. I know its foolish to base anything on one game, but there wasn't a lot to go by concerning the Russians at that time, so it stuck with me.

Kharlamov's line did not play. It was the first game of the series with WHA teams and I guess the Russians felt they could rest their top line and still handle the Whalers. I didn't see anything special about Tretiak, guess he had an off night. I was expecting so much because I had seen the Summit Series in '72 on TV. But what I really wanted to see was Kharlamov. In the Summit Series he was the guy worth the price of admission. Without him, Petrov or Mikhailov the Russians were pretty to watch but easily rattled. Guess they were a little over confident going in. They hammered the better WHA teams (6 straight) after that before losing 6-1 in Quebec without Tretiak in goal.

The point is, Kharlamov really was the legendary Russian player to North American fans at that time. For a lot of us, it will take a lot to change that perception of him. Tretiak was also well know, but that night took a lot of the shine off him for the fans that were in Hartford. Hell, the Whalers could beat him. And then there was that Lake Placid goal in '80.
It was not only North Americans who thought of him as Legendary.

In Russia, he is accepted as the Russian Gretzky by the masses. The only people I have heard question it of Russian background are some of the younger folks on this forum who question the stats. My Russian friends who are my age consider him the greatest Russian player ever, and it was unanimous agreement between them.

Malkin and Kovalchuk wear his number(And reversed Number) in his honor.

Not only the masses, but Tarasov himself made the comments abut Kharlamov in his book.
Quote:
И какие бы звезды и среди соперников, и среди партнеров ни окружали Харламова на льду, он оставался сильнейшим среди сильнейших, первым среди равных.

"No matter what kind of star players was in his environment on ice, he always was best among best, first among equals."
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.

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.

Among other things, he was named "Soviet player of the decade" for the 70's, an honor above and beyond a 1 year MVP and all the others he played with and now the Russian League hands out "the Kharlamov award" as their version of the Hart Trophy every year.

Anyways, here are the top 5 In MVP voting in his generation among soviet forwards from 69-76 before his car accident really hobbled him.

Kharlamov: 1st, 1st, 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

Now granted, I take Soviet yearly MVP voting with a huge grain of salt. I went through each year's voting individually for the Soviet MVP, while also combing through the scoring for those years, and the results indicated that their voting process was very different from ours.

Here is the post I made questioning their MVP voting
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thornton_19
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.
A few people tried to surmise that they gave Firsov that last MVP as sort of a "Lifetime achievement" award to honor him, but is that really fair to the guys who really had a good year?

Regarding Tretiak, you do not need to convince me he was terrific. I saw him play. But top 5-20 on our list? Not a chance.

If you are basing your voting off his MVP awards, it should be noted that Tretiak was easily the best goalie in the USSR and it is surmised that it made him stand out like no other. Given the strangeness of their MVP voting.......

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03-21-2009, 07:26 PM
  #16
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To me Tretiak was the best Soviet player. He was a brick wall. Possibly the best goalie who ever played. If he had not been pulled from the 1980 Olympic semi-final game there might never have been the miracle that the USA pulled off.
Yeah, if he continued his play from the first period, the US may very well have won the game 6-3. The final moments wouldn't have been nearly as exciting.

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03-23-2009, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
http://www.chidlovski.com/personal/1.../ss7677_ne.htm

I was at the game described above, in row 2. A lot of how I viewed the Russians of that era was influenced by that game. I know its foolish to base anything on one game, but there wasn't a lot to go by concerning the Russians at that time, so it stuck with me.

Kharlamov's line did not play. It was the first game of the series with WHA teams and I guess the Russians felt they could rest their top line and still handle the Whalers. I didn't see anything special about Tretiak, guess he had an off night. I was expecting so much because I had seen the Summit Series in '72 on TV. But what I really wanted to see was Kharlamov. In the Summit Series he was the guy worth the price of admission. Without him, Petrov or Mikhailov the Russians were pretty to watch but easily rattled. Guess they were a little over confident going in. They hammered the better WHA teams (6 straight) after that before losing 6-1 in Quebec without Tretiak in goal.

The point is, Kharlamov really was the legendary Russian player to North American fans at that time. For a lot of us, it will take a lot to change that perception of him. Tretiak was also well know, but that night took a lot of the shine off him for the fans that were in Hartford. Hell, the Whalers could beat him. And then there was that Lake Placid goal in '80.
Why is it claimed that the Jets were the first (or sometimes 'the only') club team ever to beat the Soviet national team? Tretiak may have not been the starting goalie in the Nordiques game, but he wasn't that in the '78 Jets game either.


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03-24-2009, 03:10 PM
  #18
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Kharlamov was an impact player much the same as Beliveau was for the Habs.

What I mean was, Beliveau in a 70 game season probably didn't put up the stats like others in his era, Hull and Howe. He may have one only one AR in 1956.
But in a clutch game that really counted, he probably had more game winners than the others.

And when the playoffs began, he always ratched up his game a couple notches that his playoff goals record of 82 pushed a Gretzky well into his career to exclipse that, helped by an era of four playoff series. In the 50s and most of the 60s, you could have won the Cup in 8 games.

Kharlamov was very much of a clutch player as well.

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03-24-2009, 03:36 PM
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You took alot of time and effort to present the data BUT your effort has a Fantasy Hockey sense to it as opposed to actual on ice considerations.

You mention leading the league in scoring. This is an interesting stat but is overrated in terms of evaluating the greatness of a player. An NHL example,contemporaries, Maurice Richard never led the NHL in scoring for a season while Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore both won the scoring championship twice each. Yet no one will seriously argue that Bernie Geoffrion or Dickie Moore were better players than Maurice Richard.

From my perspective there are three considerations that weigh heavily.

The really great players step-up and make a difference during important games. Maurice Richard had seven play-off overtime game winning goals. I doubt that Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore combined had more than one. The great Gordie Howe had none. Kharlamov was a difference maker.

In every team sport the opposition defines a player on the other team that is the important player - the one who is to be stopped, the one who you do not give a chance to beat you on his own. Clarke's actions against Kharlamov, though not honourable, speak loudly as to who the key player was on the Soviet national team during the Kharlamov era. Kharlamov simply could beat you on his own anytime he was on the ice. Teams had to assign a special checker against him.

The third consideration is does the player make his teamates or linemates better players. In the fall of 1955 Maurice Richard was paired with two young players, Henri Richard, his brother and a rookie and Dickie Moore who had app five seasons in the NHL but was considered a disappointment. Looking at the stats of the three players you can see how the two younger players developed into great players playing with Maurice Richard. The result was one of the great lines in history. When Maurice Richard retired after the 1959 - 60 season neither Henri Richard or Dickie Moore had the same success.

Considering Geoffrion and Moore were the two best playoff performers of the '50ies, I wouldn't care much about who scored in OT and who didn't.

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03-24-2009, 03:37 PM
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Why does the avatar in the original post have "Eddie Shore 72"?

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03-24-2009, 03:56 PM
  #21
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Why does the avatar in the original post have "Eddie Shore 72"?
The theme is the playoff avatar theme on the B's board. The 72 is in honor of a very respected poster that sadly passed away last year before the season started.

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=549380

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