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Claude Lemieux and the HHOF.

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05-12-2010, 12:52 AM
  #1
Blades of Glory
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Claude Lemieux and the HHOF.

Okay, he's a lock for eventual induction in my mind, but I want to hear other opinions, because his name rarely comes up in the HOH section.

His regular season numbers are pedestrian, especially for playing the first half of his career in the high-scoring era. But he completely changed once April rolled around, as we all know. His ability to turn into an impact offensive player in the playoffs is a trait that is very rare amongst players with his type of regular season production. Unquestionably the best forward on his team during 2 Stanley Cup-winning playoff runs in Montreal and New Jersey, and played a huge role by scoring clutch goals for Colorado in 1996. Lemieux wasn't really a factor in 2000 with the Devils, but that's the only time his team won the Cup without him being a major offensive contributor in the playoffs.

Would you agree with me when I say that Lemieux's playoff career is so spectacular that you simply can't keep him out of the HHOF? He's another player that is evidence against the ludicrous assertion made in an earlier thread that players are comparable to robots, thus every player would perform in a similar way had they been in a similar situation. Something about the playoffs got this man going, especially offensively. I find him similar to Glenn Anderson; not as strong offensively as Anderson, but with a slightly superior playoff career. We all know how long Anderson had to wait to get into the Hall, but Lemieux does have a Conn Smythe, which will help a lot.

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05-12-2010, 01:24 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Well he'd be a more worthy induction than Dick Duff, but I don't know if that's the standard we should use...

I'm still in awe of the job he did shadowing Cam Neely in the first round of 1995.

I don't think Claude gets in any time soon. He's probably a borderline guy normally, but he's made a lot of enemies over the years, and that kind of thing will keep a borderline guy out. At least until a veterans committee decides to induct him...

Here's an interesting question: Who would deserve HOF induction more? Guy Carbonneau or Claude Lemieux? The case for them is pretty similar - they were both awesome in the playoffs on multiple Cup winners, though in different ways.

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05-12-2010, 01:56 AM
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Scotty Bowman is a member of the selection committee and I believe he once challenged Claude to a fist fight after a game, so even though I think he should get in he probably wont.

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05-12-2010, 02:09 AM
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Scotty Bowman is a member of the selection committee and I believe he once challenged Claude to a fist fight after a game, so even though I think he should get in he probably wont.
The list of people that Scotty Bowman did not get along with includes names like Fedorov, Coffey, Recchi, Lemieux (the other one), Esposito, and the entire rosters of every team he coached to the Stanley Cup. Bowman has always been noted for his ability to put aside personal differences for the sake of winning. He loves winners, and Claude Lemieux was nothing if not a winner. I would bet that Scott Bowman actually would support Lemieux when his time comes.

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05-12-2010, 03:19 AM
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Claude's accomplishments are closely mirrored by Nieuwendyk, who also won the Calder, Olympic Gold and trumped the lesser Lemieux statistically, and I wouldn't vote Joe in. If Joe doesn't get in, Claude has no chance.


Last edited by RECsGuy*: 05-12-2010 at 08:53 AM.
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05-12-2010, 04:31 AM
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He could play on my team anytime, but he wouldn' get my vote .... And its really not all that close.

The HoF should be about excellence, and to me part of being excellent is bringing it every night. The season starts in October, not April.

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05-12-2010, 04:42 AM
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If Lemieux was a classy guy who earned universal respect, then he might have the tiniest chance.

To be inducted, a player is supposed to have been a credit to the sport with how he carried himself. Lemieux was a dirty player, diver, and cheapshot artist and that doesn't help. Neither does the Kris Draper incident. Neither does stuff like the fax machine excuse he used to get out of a signed contract in NJ in 1995.

Ciccarelli isn't in for similar reasons and he's a hell of a lot better player than Lemieux.

Lemieux will never, ever be inducted into the HHOF.

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05-12-2010, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blades of Glory View Post
The list of people that Scotty Bowman did not get along with includes names like Fedorov, Coffey, Recchi, Lemieux (the other one), Esposito, and the entire rosters of every team he coached to the Stanley Cup. Bowman has always been noted for his ability to put aside personal differences for the sake of winning. He loves winners, and Claude Lemieux was nothing if not a winner. I would bet that Scott Bowman actually would support Lemieux when his time comes.
Jocelyn?

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05-12-2010, 06:06 AM
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I consider Esa Tikkanen as similar type of playoff clutch shutdown agitator, but better, and I can't see him as Hall of Fame material either.

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05-12-2010, 08:22 AM
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Agree with most - if he was a beloved player I think he'd have a chance, but no chance in hell as it is. Unless we are talking 50+ years from now and there is a push to get some old and forgotten guys in.

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05-12-2010, 08:37 AM
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This is an absolute "no" as far as I'm concerned. Weak resume' + atrocious reputation = non-starter

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05-12-2010, 09:33 AM
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I consider Esa Tikkanen as similar type of playoff clutch shutdown agitator, but better, and I can't see him as Hall of Fame material either.
Esa was better than Lemieux. For sure. He was probably the best Oiler after Gretzky left for 5 Oiler years. He was a huge clutch player.

Claude to me is not at all a HHOFer and never should be. He was a 2nd liner/3rd liner. He had a few great playoffs and that does not make him a HHOFer. He is Paul Henderson with a couple more seminal moments but the same kind of career.

I would induct Carboneau over him. Propp or Howe of his era far over him.

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05-12-2010, 10:06 AM
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This is an absolute "no" as far as I'm concerned. Weak resume' + atrocious reputation = non-starter
I agree. Absolutely not

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05-12-2010, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Blades of Glory View Post
Unquestionably the best forward on his team during 2 Stanley Cup-winning playoff runs in Montreal and New Jersey
while the guy showed up in the playoffs and was clutch he didn't lead those teams in scoring ... mats näslund outscored him in montreal in 1986 [8+11 19|10+6 16] and in 95 with the devils he was outscored in points by three team mates [stephane richer 6+15 21, neal broten 7+12 19, and john maclean 5+13 18 ... lemieux was 13+3 16]

so i can't see how he was 'unquestionably the best forward' on those teams, he even unquestionably wasn't

definitely not hof material, he actually makes trevor linden look hof as linden also was great in the post season in his first seven or eight years in vancouver [over ppg with 79 30+50 80]

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05-12-2010, 11:11 AM
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This would be a selection in the Gillies, Duff territory.

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05-12-2010, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by the edler View Post
while the guy showed up in the playoffs and was clutch he didn't lead those teams in scoring ... mats näslund outscored him in montreal in 1986 [8+11 19|10+6 16] and in 95 with the devils he was outscored in points by three team mates [stephane richer 6+15 21, neal broten 7+12 19, and john maclean 5+13 18 ... lemieux was 13+3 16]

so i can't see how he was 'unquestionably the best forward' on those teams, he even unquestionably wasn't
Try to base your argument off something other than raw point totals. You can't seriously believe that Claude Lemieux wasn't the best forward on the Devils during the playoffs in 1995. The notion that Richer, Broten, or Maclean were actually playing at a higher level than him is so ludicrous that I won't even bother bringing up those three players. Lemieux led the entire playoffs in goals, and it wasn't really that close. He scored 13 while the only other player to reach double digits was Jaromir Jagr, with 10. But most of all, he was incredibly clutch, and his goals seemed to always come at the most important times. Did you actually watch the games? Because there is a reason he won the Conn Smythe Trophy. No Devil forward was in the same universe as Claude Lemieux in the 1995 playoffs.

As for 1986, once again, try to base your argument off something other than raw point totals. Lemieux had outplayed Naslund by a wide margin going into the Stanley Cup Finals, and was the only reason Montreal scored enough goals to actually get there in the first place. Scored OT winners against Hartford and New York. Led the playoffs in GWG and was third in total goals. Naslund was invisible until the Cup Finals, and even then, Lemieux played a huge role with the most important goals. Scored the only goal in Game 5, and helped set up Srudland's OT goal in Game 2. Playoff point totals of individual players are useless without context. The fact is, Lemieux came up with the goals when Montreal needed it most. I like Mats Naslund, but he wasn't even Montreal's second-best forward in the 1986 playoffs. Lemieux and Bob Gainey were superior to him by a fair margin. They were incredibly clutch and Gainey was at the top of his game defensively.

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05-12-2010, 01:00 PM
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If Lemieux was a classy guy who earned universal respect, then he might have the tiniest chance.
Good way to put it.

I say absolutely not. This is not Glenn Anderson we are talking about here. Claude Lemieux is about as good as Anderson in the playoffs (maybe 90% as good after team and era considerations, despite the Smythe) but his regular season resume is very, very underwhelming. Anderson's bread and butter, likewise, is the playoffs, but he was no regular season slouch.

Based on this analysis I did a few months back: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?p...f#post22714112 it appears Anderson was a considerably better offensive player in the regular season than Lemieux, and Duff was a marginally but clearly better offensive player too. Just below that in the playoff table it also appears that Anderson has a clear edge on both of them, and Duff a small edge on Lemieux. Duff is a very, very marginal selection and should not be used as a benchmark, and I don't think Lemieux is as good as him anyway. Anderson is definitely a weaker HHOFer too, and Lemieux doesn't compare to him.

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05-12-2010, 01:04 PM
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This is a joke, right?

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05-12-2010, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by the edler View Post
while the guy showed up in the playoffs and was clutch he didn't lead those teams in scoring ... mats näslund outscored him in montreal in 1986 [8+11 19|10+6 16] and in 95 with the devils he was outscored in points by three team mates [stephane richer 6+15 21, neal broten 7+12 19, and john maclean 5+13 18 ... lemieux was 13+3 16]

so i can't see how he was 'unquestionably the best forward' on those teams, he even unquestionably wasn't

definitely not hof material, he actually makes trevor linden look hof as linden also was great in the post season in his first seven or eight years in vancouver [over ppg with 79 30+50 80]
Lemieux brought high level defense along with those points. He was definitely the best forward on the 1995 Devils, without question, considering all he brought to the table. And I've heard the same thing about the 1986 Canadiens, that he was a lot of people's 2nd choice for Conn Smythe after Roy.

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05-12-2010, 03:16 PM
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The knock with Lemieux was that he was not a regular season guy. A player like Glenn Anderson was a better playoff performer and was miles ahead of him in the regular season. Lemieux was never top 25 in points in his life, he never had more than 81 points in a season, then 71, then 68, then 61. Unless you have a Selke to go with that..........

And while we praise him as a playoff genius, the truth is his PPG is underwhelming with 234 career games and 158 points. He had some good years, yes but he followed it up with shoddy performances and he reminds me of a guy like Mike Richter who was too inconsistent in the postseason. He was good in 1986 but then was a no show in 1989 en route to the final. He won the Conn Smythe in 1995, but hurt his team in 1996 with the suspension despite eventually winning the Cup.

And another thing about Lemieux is that he had one of the worst choke jobs no one knows about. In 1996 Canada was leading USA 2-1 in the deciding game of the World Cup. There is about 4 minutes left. Lemieux goes in on a two-on-one with Graves after an ill advised pinch from Chelios. Lemieux comes in on his off wing and pauses, pauses, pauses and then.........fans on it. The puck glides into Richter. He had no pressure on him too shoot, the American defenseman back (Leetch) was letting him take the shot. Then 30 seconds later he made an ill advised clearing attempt right to Leetch who shot the puck for a Hull deflection and in the net. USA of course wins the game. And that was Claude Lemieux in a nutshell. He could score a goal with two minutes left in the game or cross check an opponent for the game winning powerplay goal, you just didn't know and that bothers me.

I can see I am not the only poster here against him in the HHOF but I've always felt a good way to gauge it is figuring out who else he would open the door for who do not deserve it. If Lemieux got in, then Tonelli, Goring, MacLeish, Mahovlich (Pete) and Ken Hodge would deserve it and the truth is they do not.

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05-12-2010, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RECsGuy View Post
Claude's accomplishments are closely mirrored by Nieuwendyk, who also won the Calder, Olympic Gold and trumped the lesser Lemieux statistically, and I wouldn't vote Joe in. If Joe doesn't get in, Claude has no chance.
I think Joe Nieuwendyk will get in. 500 goals, Conn Smythe, a few cups, olympic gold, calder. Nieuwendyk is a no brainer imo.

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05-12-2010, 03:42 PM
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Nieuwendyk is a no brainer imo.
If you mean, "you'd have to have no brain to induct him", then yeah I agree.

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05-12-2010, 03:45 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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If you mean, "you'd have to have no brain to induct him", then yeah I agree.
There are a lot of really smart hockey people that want to induct Joe.

Joe Pelletier thinks Nieuwendyk should go in and that he might be First Ballot:

http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com...ieuwendyk.html

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05-12-2010, 03:51 PM
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There are a lot of really smart hockey people that want to induct Joe.

Joe Pelletier thinks Nieuwendyk should go in and that he might be First Ballot:

http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com...ieuwendyk.html
Not sure why we've glamourized the career of Nieuwendyk. His playoff resume is fine, but not anything that will push him into the HHOF. I mean honestly, is 116 points in 158 playoff games something legends are made of? He won three Cups with three different franchises and while that looks nice on paper the truth is he was no more important than 6th on Calgary in 1989 and at least that low on Jersey in 2003. He did win the Smythe in 1999 but it was his only "great" postseason. Really, it was

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05-12-2010, 03:51 PM
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Blades of Glory
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I think Joe Nieuwendyk will get in. 500 goals, Conn Smythe, a few cups, olympic gold, calder. Nieuwendyk is a no brainer imo.
Nieuwendyk is a pretty polarizing player in the regard that his career is very tough to judge for the HHOF. Personally, I never once looked at him during his career and got the special vibes that I usually get when I watch a Hall of Famer play. Nieuwendyk, honestly, was never what one could label a "great" player. Sometimes I forget how under-whelming his regular season numbers were after the age of 25, when injuries first took a toll on him.. He never scored 40 goals or 80 points after that age, and after age 27, he only scored 30 goals twice and, shockingly, only crossed the 60 point plateau once.

His reputation as a playoff hero, as many of us agreed in another thread (and Big Phil makes a point of above), is rather over-stated. Aside from the fact that his playoff numbers are rather mediocre outside of his first two Cup runs, he benefited greatly from the teams he played on. Nieuwendyk never had to carry the load at forward in the playoffs, during a Stanley Cup run. He benefited greatly from playing behind an elite first line center in both cases. I hate criticizing him because I really, really like him, but the fact is that his Conn Smythe should have gone to Mike Modano or Ed Belfour. There is simply no argument that those two were not Dallas' most valuable players that year. Modano played 8 more minutes per game than Nieuwendyk in the playoffs. 8. That is astounding. I see Nieuwendyk as more of an emotional leader in the dressing room than someone who physically led teams to victory, but many seem to misunderstand the line between the two distinctions.

Either way, many people think he will get into the HHOF. I wouldn't be surprised if he did, because he is well-liked and his reputation as a leader and playoff performer, the latter being justified or not, is going to have an impression on the voters. But to me, he's not a HHOF-caliber player. Claude Lemieux was much more of an impact player in the playoffs, and in his first two Cup runs, never had the luxury of playing behind a first line that carried the load. Now that I think about it, I'm not really sure why I thought Lemieux was likely to get in. He was just one of those guys that I figured had to go for how spectacular he was in the playoffs.

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