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Histories Great Chokers

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Old
05-08-2010, 04:06 PM
  #1
theRedAce9*
 
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Histories Great Chokers

With all the talk about Joe in San Jose and Luongo in Vancity (maybe) being "playoff chokers" (I don't believe it personally..) I was wondering who in the pantheon of hockey's history really qualifies as a "Playoff Choker?"

Here's the terms: I'm not just looking for good players that never won the Cup, there's lots of those. I'm talking about guys who were GREAT regular season players (statistically provable) and who suffered serious performance issues in the post season, again w/stats that would demonstrate it, not just "he was a loser, etc."

I'm looking for guys with big drop offs in their point production from reg. season to post season. My personal assertion is that very few of these guys actually exist: That the term "Playoff Choker" is basically a fan myth and that great players in the reg. season, over the course of time, prove to be just as good in the post-season, despite not having won the Cup, for which they may not have been at fault.

Thoughts?

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05-08-2010, 04:23 PM
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Big Phil
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Well so far Thornton is a choker. I said so far of course. The reason why is because he has not led his team past the 2nd round and even when they win games he is not usually the cause of it. Joe Pavelski probably should not be San Jose's best player but he is so far this postseason. Now Thornton is looking better vs. Detroit of all teams and who knows after tonight he could be in the 3rd round for the first time ever, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I would call him a choker because he has a religious drop off that is significant from his regular season numbers.

Luongo so far can be labelled the same way. Great first round goalie but this is his 3rd playoffs and what looks to be his 3rd exit out of the 2nd round. He's done it while playing very ugly hockey as well. Not what you want from a player who finished 2nd in Hart voting in 2007

Others that qualify:

Dionne - Maybe the "choker" label is rough but while he didn't have a great team he should have still led them further at some time

Primeau - Thank God he scored that 5 OT goal in 2000. No one wants to really remember how awful of a playoff performer he was even with the 2004 run

Tkachuk - A guy who you'd think would be built for the postseason but for some odd reason he wasn't. Could have had a better case for the HHOF with a wicked playoff resume

Dumart - Statistically possibly the worst of all time. No one knows this either. We remember Dumart as a guy on the "Kraut Line" and he won two Cups so it is safe to assume he was a big part of it right? Wrong. The 1939 Cup was all Mel Hill and Bill Cowley. The 1941 Cup was Schmidt and Conacher among others. Dumart has a career playoff portfolio of 27 points in 88 games. Bad for his era, and bad for a player who is in the HHOF and had better numbers in comparison in the regular season. Perhaps the biggest drop off in NHL history from the regular season to postseason is Dumart

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05-08-2010, 04:43 PM
  #3
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Jean Ratelle's performances with the NY Rangers from 1967-75 are the worst ever from an elite player on a legitimately contending team. 8-28-36 in 62 games from a guy who was a consistent 35-40 goal and 80-90 point player over that stretch. Ratelle 'salvaged' his playoff legacy by lighting up bad LA King teams in the first round when he was with Boston later in his career, but continued to be iffy against better teams when it mattered.

Keith Tkachuk's playoff performances will probably cost him a place in the HHOF. Especially in St. Louis, where he was aquired to be the guy who put them over the top.

Amongst non-elite players :

Christian Ruuttu was *awful*. 4-9-13 in 42 games. Somehow Pierre Turgeon took the blame for the failures of those Buffalo teams while he was scoring over a point-per-game in the playoffs, while the 2nd line players on those teams absolutely vanished.

Tony Tanti : 3 goals in 30 playoff games. 1 goal in 18 games for Vancouver during the stretch where he averaged 40+ goals/season from 1983-88. Didn't help that all of those games were against elite Calgary/Edmonton teams, but still.

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05-08-2010, 05:29 PM
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The entire North Stars team against the Penguins in game 6 of the 1991 cup final. If that wasn't an epic choke by a team who played well up until that point (at least in the post season), then I don't know what is.

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05-08-2010, 05:37 PM
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Dennis Bonvie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS View Post
Jean Ratelle's performances with the NY Rangers from 1967-75 are the worst ever from an elite player on a legitimately contending team. 8-28-36 in 62 games from a guy who was a consistent 35-40 goal and 80-90 point player over that stretch. Ratelle 'salvaged' his playoff legacy by lighting up bad LA King teams in the first round when he was with Boston later in his career, but continued to be iffy against better teams when it mattered.
Keith Tkachuk's playoff performances will probably cost him a place in the HHOF. Especially in St. Louis, where he was aquired to be the guy who put them over the top.

Amongst non-elite players :

Christian Ruuttu was *awful*. 4-9-13 in 42 games. Somehow Pierre Turgeon took the blame for the failures of those Buffalo teams while he was scoring over a point-per-game in the playoffs, while the 2nd line players on those teams absolutely vanished.

Tony Tanti : 3 goals in 30 playoff games. 1 goal in 18 games for Vancouver during the stretch where he averaged 40+ goals/season from 1983-88. Didn't help that all of those games were against elite Calgary/Edmonton teams, but still.
Except, of course, for that game 6 hat trick against the Canadiens in 1979 that led to the too-men-on-the-ice game 7.

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05-08-2010, 06:02 PM
  #6
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John Leclair - Post 97.

Keith Primeau

Tony Amonte

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05-08-2010, 06:34 PM
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bertuzzi was consistently terrible in vancouver.

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05-08-2010, 06:36 PM
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bertuzzi was consistently terrible in vancouver.
I would say this is the first playoff he has been above average.

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05-08-2010, 09:56 PM
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Andy Bathgate has a very questionable playoff record for a player of his calibre.

Tony Esposito among goalies definitely fits. His playoff performances kept him out of the last HOH Top 100 list and will do so again.

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05-08-2010, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Except, of course, for that game 6 hat trick against the Canadiens in 1979 that led to the too-men-on-the-ice game 7.
The odd good game doesn't mitigate a career of futility in the post-season. His record with the Rangers was simply abysmal.

Same for Primeau, who had a couple big moments but was dreadful otherwise.

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05-08-2010, 11:07 PM
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How bad is Luongo sans his games against Chicago?

San Jose? They're proving some of their doubters wrong this year.

We could maybe say "so far" for the above, but they still have a chance to redeem themselves. It happens. A lot of teams need to lose early over and over (Remember Detroit prior to 94/95? Washington you know will be back next year!)

Tony Esposito? He pretty much played Dryden to a standstill in that '71 finals. And more than a decade later he posted a 2.52 GAA taking Chicago to the Conference finals 11 years later.

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05-08-2010, 11:58 PM
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Hmmm, was Jean Ratelle really that bad in the playoffs with Boston too? Those few games I've seen him play vs. Canadiens, he's been good - if not exactly great. In the 'TMMOTI game' he got 3 assists, for instance (though admittedly it was more of a case of him just being there rather than doing a brilliant set up job).

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05-09-2010, 12:05 AM
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The entire Washington Capitals against Montreal with a 3-1 lead. I think that one takes the cake!

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05-09-2010, 12:24 AM
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VanIslander
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I nominate the Ottawa Senators as chokers in the team category for a high percentage of postseason letdowns after great regular seasons.

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The entire Washington Capitals against Montreal with a 3-1 lead. I think that one takes the cake!
This is the History Forum. 2010 was nothing special in that regard. The Capitals have a history of losing when leading a series 3-1 (to the Penguins twice!).

Primeau just couldn't score in the postseason, had just 9 goals in his first 110 playoff games before having a decent playoffs his last postseason.

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05-09-2010, 12:56 AM
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seventieslord
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Dumart - Statistically possibly the worst of all time. No one knows this either. We remember Dumart as a guy on the "Kraut Line" and he won two Cups so it is safe to assume he was a big part of it right? Wrong. The 1939 Cup was all Mel Hill and Bill Cowley. The 1941 Cup was Schmidt and Conacher among others. Dumart has a career playoff portfolio of 27 points in 88 games. Bad for his era, and bad for a player who is in the HHOF and had better numbers in comparison in the regular season. Perhaps the biggest drop off in NHL history from the regular season to postseason is Dumart
45%... you just may be right.

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05-09-2010, 12:59 AM
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seventieslord
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Robert Reichel has a great sample size of 830 regular season games and 70 playoff times to go by, and his points per game experienced a 42% drop.

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05-09-2010, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
I nominate the Ottawa Senators as chokers in the team category for a high percentage of postseason letdowns after great regular seasons.
I would like to see a 15-year ranking: regular season win% and playoff win%. And the difference between your ranking in the regular season and in the playoffs is how clutch a team you are, or how much you choke.

Ottawa would be about 3rd in regular season win%, but probably 12th in the playoffs. San Jose would have about the same discrepancy by now, too.

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05-09-2010, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
I nominate the Ottawa Senators as chokers in the team category for a high percentage of postseason letdowns after great regular seasons.


This is the History Forum. 2010 was nothing special in that regard. The Capitals have a history of losing when leading a series 3-1 (to the Penguins twice!).

Primeau just couldn't score in the postseason, had just 9 goals in his first 110 playoff games before having a decent playoffs his last postseason.
First, I have my degree in History, so I know a little bit about it. Yes, it is 2010, but it is now the past. Still, has any 1st seed team, winning the Presidents Trophy, had a 3-1 lead in the first round and then lost? Not that I can remember, and never during the current format with 1 vs. 8 (aka, since Bettman screwed up everything).

So, yeah, I think it is the biggest choke in hockey. So what if it happend a week and a half ago. I guess when Kennedy was assassinated, it wasn't 'history' on November 29th, 1963...was it? History is made, no matter when, or how long ago, the event occured.

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05-09-2010, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Kaner88 View Post
First, I have my degree in History, so I know a little bit about it. Yes, it is 2010, but it is now the past. Still, has any 1st seed team, winning the Presidents Trophy, had a 3-1 lead in the first round and then lost? Not that I can remember, and never during the current format with 1 vs. 8 (aka, since Bettman screwed up everything).

So, yeah, I think it is the biggest choke in hockey. So what if it happend a week and a half ago. I guess when Kennedy was assassinated, it wasn't 'history' on November 29th, 1963...was it? History is made, no matter when, or how long ago, the event occured.
#1 and 2 seeds have been swept, too. That's worse than losing in 7.

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05-09-2010, 07:23 AM
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I nominate the Ottawa Senators as chokers in the team category for a high percentage of postseason letdowns after great regular seasons.
What? What about Kings, Blues, Canucks then?

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05-09-2010, 07:33 AM
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Incredible

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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post

Dumart - Statistically possibly the worst of all time. No one knows this either. We remember Dumart as a guy on the "Kraut Line" and he won two Cups so it is safe to assume he was a big part of it right? Wrong. The 1939 Cup was all Mel Hill and Bill Cowley. The 1941 Cup was Schmidt and Conacher among others. Dumart has a career playoff portfolio of 27 points in 88 games. Bad for his era, and bad for a player who is in the HHOF and had better numbers in comparison in the regular season. Perhaps the biggest drop off in NHL history from the regular season to postseason is Dumart
Incredible. Superficial yet totally misrepresenting a great player.Following the early retirement of Bobby Bauer the Kraut line was no more.

Woody Dumart was the LW on a line with Milt Schmidt.On the Bruins Milt Schmidt - center and Woody Dumart were part of the offense and the two best defensive forwards. Starting in the mid-lates forties(after the 1943-44 introduction of the Red Line) and until his retirement he had a very distinct responsibility in the playoffs, check the opposing teams best right winger.

The Bruins from the post WWII era were challenged to make the playoffs most seasons, usually fighting for the last playoff spot behind Toronto, Detroit and Montreal. When they made the playoffs they were always playing dynasty quality teams and it was Woody Dumart's responsibility to check the leading RWs including Gordie Howe and Maurice Richard. He did this very well, helping the Bruins extend series longer than expected and accomplishing one of the greatest upsets in hockey history when they beat Detroit, an offensive juggernaut, in 1953.

For these rather incredible efforts, paper analysts with significantly less than 20/20 hindsight brand him a choker. Amazing.

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05-09-2010, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
bertuzzi was consistently terrible in vancouver.
The Sedins are already scoring at a higher PPG in the playoffs pace than the WCE...

Kinda sad actually.

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05-09-2010, 11:02 AM
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#1 and 2 seeds have been swept, too. That's worse than losing in 7.
Being swept means you played like crap. But having a 3-1 lead and going home to end the series....that is a choke! Choke, in my opinion, usually means that have something in the palm of your hands and then, well, choke. Like Greg Norman in the Masters.

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05-09-2010, 11:51 AM
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Woody Dumart:

Very well said about Dumart, especially that Epic 1953 Playoff season!

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05-09-2010, 12:44 PM
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Big Phil
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Incredible. Superficial yet totally misrepresenting a great player.Following the early retirement of Bobby Bauer the Kraut line was no more.

Woody Dumart was the LW on a line with Milt Schmidt.On the Bruins Milt Schmidt - center and Woody Dumart were part of the offense and the two best defensive forwards. Starting in the mid-lates forties(after the 1943-44 introduction of the Red Line) and until his retirement he had a very distinct responsibility in the playoffs, check the opposing teams best right winger.

The Bruins from the post WWII era were challenged to make the playoffs most seasons, usually fighting for the last playoff spot behind Toronto, Detroit and Montreal. When they made the playoffs they were always playing dynasty quality teams and it was Woody Dumart's responsibility to check the leading RWs including Gordie Howe and Maurice Richard. He did this very well, helping the Bruins extend series longer than expected and accomplishing one of the greatest upsets in hockey history when they beat Detroit, an offensive juggernaut, in 1953.

For these rather incredible efforts, paper analysts with significantly less than 20/20 hindsight brand him a choker. Amazing.
A couple things wrong with this post, Dumart's first half of his career was an NHL that did not yet have Howe and Richard. Secondly, even when a player is to check his ego at the door and focus on checking it still is no excuse for his lack of production. See players like Provost, Zetterberg who are good examples of checking superstars yet still putting up good numbers. Dumart had good offense, it isn't as if he was Guy Carboneau. Bobby Bauer is another guy with a bad playoff resume so it isn't all on Dumart of course, but still......................

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