What does the Bruins board think of the issue of renaming the NHL trophies? There are obviously more pressing issues, but I got into a heated hour-long debate over pints with two of my friends on Saturday night.
In case you're not aware, they're thinking of renaming the Vezina Trophy to the Roy Trophy - renaming the Norris the Bobby Orr Trophy - and renaming the Art Ross Trophy the Wayne Gretzky Trophy - etc.
I entered the conversation thinking the trophie's names should be left as is. Here were a few arguments I used:
1. The trophies were named after the first individuals who set the standards in the first place. They were the first to stand out enough to make a trophy and name it after them in the first place - therefore, they shouldn't be renamed.
2. I like history alot and think it's very important. Hockey is a game with a very rich history and we need to cherish it. If you rename the Vezina the Roy Trophy, Vezina will be forgotten. In 15 years, when my son approaches me and says "Daddy, so-and-so won the Roy Award!" - I will turn to him and say, "No, son. That's the Vezina Trophy". He'll turn around and say "Who the heck's Vezina?". Nowadays, as it was in my case, I looked up Vezina and found out what he was all about. I learnt something about hockey history my son wouldn't as likely be interested in.
3. What happens, in the case of renaming the Vezina the Roy, when/if someone breaks Roy's records? Are we going to re-name the trophy again? And if not, why not? If we want the Vezina to go to the top goalie in the NHL, are we going to keep re-naming it when the next best goalie comes around?
4. There's no way of saying, again in the case of the Vezina, how Vezina would compare to Roy in this day and age of hockey. Vezina played without a mask. He played without huge pads. Vezina played played without all the new crease rules - and he played without 250 pound defencemen in front of him blocking shots at all cost at times (due to the improved pads since 20's). Who's to say Roy is actually better and therefore worthy of having a trophy names after him - and in the process turning our backs to history?
5. It's unlikely, but nothing's impossible: Roy was apparently contemplating coming out of retirement to join the Avs. How can we name a trophy after a player who might actually still be capable of winning it?
6. Roy "only" won the Vezina three (3) times during his career. In contrast, Hasek won the Vezina five (5) times during his career. If a strong case can't be made as to why we'd re-name the trophy after Roy when Hasek won in more often in his career, then you know it's a bad idea in the first place. Roy isn't even in the Hall of Fame yet, how can we re-name the Vezina after him? I realize he may be one of the most successful goalies in history (more so than Hasek), but if you're going to re-name the Vezina, and wanted to put a modern twist on it, you would think it would go to the player who has won the trohy the most in recent history. I'm not saying it should be re-named the Hasek trophy - I'm saying it shouldn't be re-named at all, period.
7. I'm against re-naming trophies. History is important - re-naming trophies as a way to "modernize" the game and make it more interesting to the youth or to attract new/disgruntled fans - we're doing it at the expense of our game's rich history. No one's going to know who Art Ross, or George Vezina are. And this, at a time when we long for some good old-fashioned hockey.
What's your take? Should we be re-naming the Trophies?
NOTE: I would perhaps create a new trophy to honour Bobby Orr, the best defenceman ever. Heck, the best player all-time, but I can't bring myself to actually strip another person of their honour, in this case, James Norris
NOTE: I would perhaps create a new trophy to honour Bobby Orr, the best defenceman ever. Heck, the best player all-time, but I can't bring myself to actually strip another player of their honour, in this case, James Norris
I'm not for renaming trophies. But i have read before(probably in THN) that they should create an Offensive Defenseman trophy(Orr) and keep the Norris for the best defensive defensemen.
And what happens in about 15 years when its time to rename it to the Raycroft Trophy?
That's what I mean, it would be such a debate. There shouldn't be a need for any debate if you're going to rename trophies that have been in existence for so long. Keep it the way it is... we're just asking for more trouble and bad publicity
I don't think the trophies should be renamed. What happens, if in 20 or 30 years, someone comes along who is better. They can't keep renaming the trophies. It's fine how it is. Everyone knows what the Art Ross trophy is for, and the Vezina.
I'm pretty much with the rest of you, do not dishonour the history of hockey with renaming the trophies.
I have heard what Sammy87 mentioned about creating a new trophy for best offensive defenceman and naming it the Orr Trophy. I have also heard a suggestion on TV (TSN or Sportsnet) about creating the Gretzky trophy for the player with the most assists during the regular season. Sounds good to me as he has more assists than anyone else has points.
This doesn't speak to what introduced the conversation which, by the way, I would hate to see happen (and, besides, didn't the Bruins light up Roy in five of six playoff series over a seven-year span? Roy had longevity, a cocky attitude, and the good fortune to be on championship teams, but the only Stanley Cup I saw him really step up and win was the last one against NJ in 2001. He's had a great career but I'll never understand the reverence, especially around here.
But the thread started me thinking about the fact there's been a lot of suggestion the last several years to create a new trophy to honor the league's best defensive defenseman, thus allowing a player like Scott Stevens to get his due and not take it away from an outstanding offensive performer like Lidstrom or whoever.
This idea I find even more disturbing, compartmentalizing trophies for different aspects of a defenseman's job.
A: If they did ever do it, it's the defensive defenseman that should get the Norris. Give the other guy the Coffey Trophy, as he owns the season scoring records for a defenseman and in no way embodied the defensive demands of his position. But I disagree in two awards from the get-go, as a top defenseman is a rock in his own end by definition, and a timely contributor at the other end of the rink.
B: To categorize Orr only in offensive terms seems a no brainer for people that didn't grow up watching him play, but he was so unlike today's O-ffensemen. He was as rough and tough and fierce a competitor as there was in the game. It would be a gross insult to create a legacy under his name in which the winner displayed his elegance but not his mean streak.
I hope this never changes, that there's only one Norris Trophy, and the only change I wish for is that the Scott Stevenses of the world would get greater consideration from voters. Now he looks to join Brad Park as another great defenseman who got the shaft when Denis Potvin won it in 1977-78.
1) i'm adamantly against having any official plus/minus trophy. plus/minnus is one of the most overrated stats in hockey, and has more to do with how well a team/line is playing rather than the individual player. seems silly to me that a winger who is covering a d-man at the point (which is his job) to get a minus for a goal scored on the cycle down low. doesn't really mean anything.
2) i completely agree with doc, if you're going to have a category for top scoring defenseman, it shouldn't be orr, simply because that diminishes the legacy of his game, imo. i never got to see orr live, but everything i've seen/heard showed him to be a COMPLETE player, who could score a lot in that era because he was talented enough (and quick enough) defensively to get back on D while still taking offensive chances. if there is a top scoring d-man trophy, it should be coffey, but overall i think that's a silly thing to have, as a defenseman's primary role is to play defense... offense should be a plus to the overall value of the player, but it shouldn't be rewarded in and of itself, only as a part of what he does.
3) the history of the game is too important to be rewritten every few years. besides, what happens if it's renamed the gretzky trophy, and then next year someone like forsberg wins it. do we know say he's won an art ross and a gretzky trophy, as though they are two different things? or do we say he won two scoring titles, which then makes the award nameless for some players. not fair to ross, vezina, norris, or even selke for that matter. leave them be, taking away the name of a trophy from someone would be like taking away a soldiers medal because someone else performed (arguably) more brave decades later.
I like the idea of naming a plus-minus award after Orr. He absolutely kicked the crap out of that stat in a way no one comes close to now. In his last full season, 1974-75, playing on one leg and with a Bruins team hitting a wall, he edged Bobby Clarke, who was on his way to repeating as a champion, plus-80 to plus-79. And he used to be way over three figures.
Every statistic has to be taken in the context of a player's team, line, etc. Goals (Bernie Nichols playing with Gretzky for instance), assists (Oates passing to Hull and Neely), plus-minus is no different. It's an individual stat affected by the individual and to varying extents, his team, and, of course, matchups. I think people reacting against an overly simple application of the stat are throwing away valuable information. Plus-minus, besides being the name of a very talented rock band on the Teenbeat label, is just another stat that needs interpretation in context. I wouldn't throw it away because determining that context and the resulting merit of the number is not an exact science.