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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Claude Lemieux and the HHOF.

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05-12-2010, 04:55 PM
  #26
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by Blades of Glory View Post
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.

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.
Agree with you on this post. However I've always thought he deserved the 1999 Smythe. He had 6 game winners (two in overtime) and I personally like to put a lot of value on a playoff GWG. But yeah he is not a legendary playoff performer. He would open the door for too many players to have the right to cry foul if he got in. If Nieuwendyk is your barometer it isn't much of a HHOF

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05-12-2010, 06:17 PM
  #27
seventieslord
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Agree with you on this post. However I've always thought he deserved the 1999 Smythe. He had 6 game winners (two in overtime) and I personally like to put a lot of value on a playoff GWG. But yeah he is not a legendary playoff performer. He would open the door for too many players to have the right to cry foul if he got in. If Nieuwendyk is your barometer it isn't much of a HHOF
There's no mystery about the 2 OT goals. But what about the other 4 game winners? Sometimes you just score a goal and it happens to be the winner. Anyone care to research that?

Personally I don't see how he could have been more valuable than Modano when Mike got almost 50% more icetime. Coaches play you more when you're the better player who is performing at a higher level.

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05-12-2010, 06:24 PM
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Blades of Glory
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There's no mystery about the 2 OT goals. But what about the other 4 game winners? Sometimes you just score a goal and it happens to be the winner. Anyone care to research that?

Personally I don't see how he could have been more valuable than Modano when Mike got almost 50% more icetime. Coaches play you more when you're the better player who is performing at a higher level.
From memory, I know another one of his game-winners was scored in the third period of Game 4 of the SCF against Buffalo. Clutch, no doubt about that. Still, Modano set up all 4 of Dallas' goals in Games 5 and 6 while playing with a broken wrist suffered in Game 3. If that plus his all-around dominance doesn't deserve the Smythe, I don't know what does. 24 minutes/game in the playoffs is unheard of for forwards in today's league. Modano was such an amazing all-around player that spring. Hitchcock openly talked about how much he trusted him in the playoffs, and for Ken Hitchcock to trust you, you have to be pretty good.

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05-12-2010, 08:52 PM
  #29
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Well Modano getting the Smythe in 1999 wouldn't have been a crime either. He played great. If I can try and put my head into the writers then I would think that a two point difference between Nieuwendyk would not be enough to overcome the 6 game winners which were at the time a record, an impressive record in one playoff run. I would think that was on the mind of the voters

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