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Who Was The Better Player Guy Lafleur Or Mike Bossy

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Old
07-21-2010, 06:21 PM
  #1
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Who Was The Better Player Guy Lafleur Or Mike Bossy

Let the Debate begin

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07-21-2010, 06:59 PM
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Lafleur had a better peak but it lasted only about 5 or 6 seasons. Bossy had a longer peak lasting his whole career which was short. Both were very unique players as well.

I'll say I take Guy by a hair over Bossy. With a little bit different circumstances and better health (maybe not smoking?) they could have both had 12-15 years at near peak and then they would be even higher up the hockey echlon. I'd take both over Dionne too bad neither had the longevity and health Marcel Dionne did.

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07-21-2010, 09:49 PM
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Both of them are outstanding and among the best of all time at their position but in my books Bossy was a bit better.

He had a higher peak in goals, assists and points, more 50 goal seasons, more 100 point seasons & produced way better in the playoffs. All while playing mostly in the same time period.

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07-21-2010, 09:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Both of them are outstanding and among the best of all time at their position but in my books Bossy was a bit better.

He had a higher peak in goals, assists and points, more 50 goal seasons, more 100 point seasons & produced way better in the playoffs. All while playing mostly in the same time period.
Bossy's prime pretty much perfectly coincided with the most offense-crazy period in history. Lafleur was just a tad too old to benefit to the same extent, but his production is quite a bit more impressive, to me. Much better adjusted, if you're into that kind of thing. He was THE absolute best for a while and a goal and assist leader.

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07-21-2010, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
Bossy's prime pretty much perfectly coincided with the most offense-crazy period in history. Lafleur was just a tad too old to benefit to the same extent, but his production is quite a bit more impressive, to me. Much better adjusted, if you're into that kind of thing. He was THE absolute best for a while and a goal and assist leader.
Uh.. Lafleur didn't even really get going until 74-75 and Bossy entered the league in 77-78. We're not really talking about a big difference here.

Lafleur also retired for the first time at 34 so it isn't even like he hung around too long.

And don't get me started on those adjusted stats again.

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07-21-2010, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Uh.. Lafleur didn't even really get going until 74-75 and Bossy entered the league in 77-78. We're not really talking about a big difference here.

Lafleur also retired for the first time at 34 so it isn't even like he hung around too long.

And don't get me started on those adjusted stats again.
Lafleur was 6 years older. That's pretty significant, especially back then when most stars started tailing off around 30. And guess what happened right as Lafleur exited his prime years, and Bossy entered his... offense around the league spiked massively.

Bossy just didn't have the all-around offense to win Art Ross trophies regularly. And he only had 1 2nd-place finish, so it's not like he was a victim of Gretzky.

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07-21-2010, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
Lafleur was 6 years older. That's pretty significant, especially back then when most stars started tailing off around 30. And guess what happened right as when Lafleur exited his prime years, and Bossy entered his... offense went KABOOM.
Lafleurs best year was 76-77 with 136 pts and his best season for goal scoring was 77-78 with 60 in 78 games

Bossy scored 53 goals in only 73 games as a rookie during the same 77-78 season Lafleur had his best goal scoring year in. That would give him 56-57 goals in 78 games like Lafleur had. As a rookie.

Bossy had 69 goals and 126pts the very next season (78-79). That is 9 more goals than Lafleur ever had and only 10 less points as a sophomore.

There is way too much overlap in their careers for you to try to say this is an issue of the league suddenly changing a lot over 2-3 seasons difference in their careers starting and stopping.

Or are you going to tell me that the league changed dramatically between 76-77 and 78-79?

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07-21-2010, 10:29 PM
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I honestly don't see any argument for bossy over lafleur, unless you value goals significantly higher than assists. And how does bossy have the playoff edge? Lafleur basically scored at a 120 point per 80 games pace in the playoffs over the course of his prime.

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07-21-2010, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I honestly don't see any argument for bossy over lafleur, unless you value goals significantly higher than assists. And how does bossy have the playoff edge? Lafleur basically scored at a 120 point per 80 games pace in the playoffs over the course of his prime.
Lets turn it around then and you guys try to convince me how Lafleur was better than Bossy.. because I really can't see any way he measure better.

Except for maybe his hair.

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07-21-2010, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post

Bossy scored 53 goals in only 73 games as a rookie during the same 77-78 season Lafleur had his best goal scoring year in. That would give him 56-57 goals in 78 games like Lafleur had. As a rookie.

You'll get no argument from me on that, Bossy was a better goal scorer, no doubt. Pretty much from from day one. Don't forget to mention that he only had 38 assists. I'm not worried about Lafleur's goal scoring vs Bossy, that's an argument I can't win. Lafleur wasn't a pure sniper. It was his all-around offensive toolset that made him superior and the best in the game for years. He finished 2nd (or 4th or 5th) to NO ONE during his prime run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian
There is way too much overlap in their careers for you to try to say this is an issue of the league suddenly changing a lot over 2-3 seasons difference in their careers starting and stopping.

Or are you going to tell me that the league changed dramatically between 76-77 and 78-79?
You can't just cherry-pick a couple of seasons and stats, citing huge goal totals, ignoring smaller assist totals and an "off" year, and leave it at that. By the time Bossy had his career year and began consistently putting up 120-ish points a year, the league certainly HAD changed a LOT. The goalstorm was raging, and Lafleur was on the wrong side of 30. He was part of a generation that didn't tend to age too well (and back then, the game changed FAST, which is why Lafleur's 6-year seniority is very important), and in addition to that, he hadn't taken care of himself.


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Old
07-21-2010, 10:52 PM
  #11
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Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
Lafleur wasn't a pure sniper. It was his all-around offensive toolset that made him superior and the best in the game for years. He finished 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) to NO ONE during his prime run.
Only because there was no Gretzky for him to compete against.

You're really clinging to an argument that makes no sense to me.

Lafleurs prime years are for sure 74-75 to 79-80. And if you were to prorate 81 and 82 because he missed a bunch of games you'd see he was still performing at around a 100pt/80gp pace then too.
So really he was performing at a high level up until 82.

Bossy's best year which eclipses all Lafleur's totals was 81-82.

Which by the way was his 3rd 60 goal 120ish or more point season by that time.

Come on guys.. even giving you the benefit of the doubt and stripping away the two injury years for Lafleur where he was still playing really well we're talking about TWO seasons here. 80 to 82.


Last edited by BraveCanadian: 07-21-2010 at 10:57 PM.
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07-21-2010, 10:53 PM
  #12
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Lafleur / Bossy

Guy Lafleur was a better skater and playmaker. Canadiens experimented with him at center briefly at the start of his career.

Mike Bossy was a better pure goal scorer, more goals than assists in his career, the assists he did get tended to the rebound assist variety. His skating was never good enough - lacked lateral movement to play center.

Lafleur's effectiveness was curtailed after a knee on knee hit in the 1980 playoffs against Hartford - Pat Boutette. Chances are that ten years later medical technology would have easily recitifed the problem.

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07-21-2010, 11:15 PM
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You guys need something else to convince me. Your "different scoring era" argument is done.

Lafleur's best season (80GP-56-80-136pts):

76-77 Canadiens 60-8-12 387GF 171GA (+216!?!)


Bossy's best season (80GP-64-83-147 pts):

81-82 Islanders 54-16-10 385GF 250GA

Winner: Bossy.

Those Canadiens invented firewagon hockey after all.

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07-21-2010, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Only because there was no Gretzky for him to compete against.
It's not like Bossy was finishing 2nd every year. He only finished higher than 4th ONCE. Disregard Gretzky and he'd still be getting outscored regularly by Marcel Dionne, Peter Stastny, Denis Savard... even Kent Nilsson. He wins no more than one Art Ross even if Gretzky gets erased from history, Stalin-style. He wins no MVPs, Gretzky or not... Lafleur took home 3 Pearsons and 2 Harts.

Yeah, Gretzky would steal Lafleur's hardware, but that point is moot, because Lafleur would still have fared better than Bossy did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian
You're really clinging to an argument that makes no sense to me.

Lafleurs prime years are for sure 74-75 to 79-80. And if you were to prorate 81 and 82 because he missed a bunch of games you'd see he was still performing at around a 100pt/80gp pace then too.
So really he was performing at a high level up until 82.

Bossy's best year which eclipses all Lafleur's totals was 81-82.

Which by the way was his 3rd 60 goal 120ish or more point season by that time.

Come on guys.. even giving you the benefit of the doubt and stripping away the two injury years for Lafleur where he was still playing really well we're talking about TWO seasons here. 80 to 82.
Yeah Lafleur still played at a high level, but he wasn't the same Lafleur. The goal scoring spike that occurred in the early 80s most likely padded Lafleur's stats, too... when goal scoring shoots up by .6 a game, the effect cannot be ignored.

And Bossy's 147 point year does not eclipse Lafleur's best just because he had more points. Look at the scoring levels... Lafleur scored 136 when only THREE players were able to put up 100... third place had only 105. Bossy's career year had THIRTEEN. 8th place had an amazing 114 points.

Effectively, these are two different scoring eras.


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07-22-2010, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Lets turn it around then and you guys try to convince me how Lafleur was better than Bossy.. because I really can't see any way he measure better.

Except for maybe his hair.
Maybe we would not think as greatly of him in the post hemult era, he had great hair flowing when he streaked down the wing for sure.

As for playoffs Bossy was much better overall and Bossys' peak, well his only 10 years is slightly better overall than Guy's but he might have dropped off and Lafleur did play longer and that's worth something.

Side note, while he was a shadow of his former self, I did see him as a 37 yr old in a Ranger uniform, which was pretty wierd, and the whole arena chanted Guy when ever he did somethign and he still looked decent out there.

These 2 guys are really close IMO but I would give a slight edge overall to Lafleur for longevity

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07-22-2010, 01:00 AM
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Lafleur is canonized as a better player than Bossy, and I read this thread, then sat and tried to think of a way to spin Bossy as being better, and I can't. Gotta go with Lafleur.

Similar as a goalscorer, much better playmaker, much better skater, even better than Bossy in the playoffs. Bossy does have the defense, physicality, and leadership edges but I think those are all minor.

Lafleur had one of the best six-season spans of any player ever. It was definitely better than Bossy's best six seasons. One thing I can say in favour of Bossy - his 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th-best seasons were all better than Lafleur's 7th-best.

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07-22-2010, 01:03 AM
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
It's not like Bossy was finishing 2nd every year. He only finished higher than 4th ONCE. Disregard Gretzky and he'd still be getting outscored regularly by Marcel Dionne, Peter Stastny, Denis Savard... even Kent Nilsson. He wins no more than one Art Ross even if Gretzky gets erased from history, Stalin-style. He wins no MVPs, Gretzky or not... Lafleur took home 3 Pearsons and 2 Harts.

Yeah, Gretzky would steal Lafleur's hardware, but that point is moot, because Lafleur would still have fared better than Bossy did.



Yeah Lafleur still played at a high level, but he wasn't the same Lafleur. The goal scoring spike that occurred in the early 80s most likely padded Lafleur's stats, too... when goal scoring shoots up by .6 a game, the effect cannot be ignored.

And Bossy's 147 point year does not eclipse Lafleur's best just because he had more points. Look at the scoring levels... Lafleur scored 136 when only THREE players were able to put up 100... third place had only 105. Bossy's career year had THIRTEEN. 8th place had an amazing 114 points.

Effectively, these are two different scoring eras.
Once again if we go to adjsuted scoring Brave Canadian might see that Bossy's 147 is indeed not worth as much as Lafleur's 136 best.
http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...laflegu01.html

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...bossymi01.html

It gives a pretty good starting point for the discussion.

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07-22-2010, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
It's not like Bossy was finishing 2nd every year. He only finished higher than 4th ONCE. Disregard Gretzky and he'd still be getting outscored regularly by Marcel Dionne, Peter Stastny, Denis Savard... even Kent Nilsson. He wins no more than one Art Ross even if Gretzky gets erased from history, Stalin-style. He wins no MVPs, Gretzky or not... Lafleur took home 3 Pearsons and 2 Harts.

Yeah, Gretzky would steal Lafleur's hardware, but that point is moot, because Lafleur would still have fared better than Bossy did.



Yeah Lafleur still played at a high level, but he wasn't the same Lafleur. The goal scoring spike that occurred in the early 80s most likely padded Lafleur's stats, too... when goal scoring shoots up by .6 a game, the effect cannot be ignored.

And Bossy's 147 point year does not eclipse Lafleur's best just because he had more points. Look at the scoring levels... Lafleur scored 136 when only THREE players were able to put up 100... third place had only 105. Bossy's career year had THIRTEEN. 8th place had an amazing 114 points.

Effectively, these are two different scoring eras.
I have to agree with this post quite strongly. LaFleur was much more dominant against his competition, even ignoring Gretzky, than Bossy was against his. Bossy was definitely the better goal scorer (not that LaFleur sucked at it or anything, just Bossy was better), but LaFleur was a better playmaker and just better all-round offensively.

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07-22-2010, 02:58 AM
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Once again if we go to adjsuted scoring Brave Canadian might see that Bossy's 147 is indeed not worth as much as Lafleur's 136 best.
http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...laflegu01.html

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...bossymi01.html

It gives a pretty good starting point for the discussion.
Wow, when you adjust Lafleur's numbers to the all-time goal-per-game of the entire NHL's history (which 2009-10 was nearly identical to), Lafleur's numbers are off-the-hook for that 6 year span. OV or Crosby putting up that kind of stretch would be amazing but unlikely, only because salary caps and parity won't let a dominant team be built around them like Montreal could do with Lafleur.

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07-22-2010, 03:33 AM
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Hm... I think about one thing...
If I am GM, would I pick six monster seasons or would I pick guy who is lock for 50 goals per season per decade? Uhm...
Mike Bossy´s almost goal per game SC play off performance seems pretty impressive to me, Lafleur was beast too...

It is closer than I would think...

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07-22-2010, 03:58 AM
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If you rate it over there career(or even first 10 seasons) Bossy, if you just cherry picking best portion of career slight edge to Lafleur

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07-22-2010, 06:44 AM
  #22
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And Bossy's 147 point year does not eclipse Lafleur's best just because he had more points. Look at the scoring levels... Lafleur scored 136 when only THREE players were able to put up 100... third place had only 105. Bossy's career year had THIRTEEN. 8th place had an amazing 114 points.

Effectively, these are two different scoring eras.
You're totally ignoring the fact that Lafleurs Habs scored more than Bossy's Islanders during their best seasons.

Same thing with their second best seasons individually. The Canadiens scored more than the Isles.

Lafleurs team was HIGHER scoring.

How can you claim that Bossy benefited from a higher scoring era when his team scored less goals than Lafleurs... its is a nonsense argument.

The best you can do is point to a lack of competition for Lafleur at the top end of his prime years or that he benefited from being on a stacked team compared to his peers. (they were both dynasties after all)

I can't believe that I am having to defend a guy who scored 50 goals every full season he played. Scored just about half again as many playoff goals as Lafleur in the same number of games with 1 less assist.

And peaked with higher best totals for goals, assists and points on a team that scored LESS.

I agree with you guys that Lafleur was a better skater and a more artistic player but come on. At the end of the day the results matter and Bossy had better ones.


Last edited by BraveCanadian: 07-22-2010 at 06:56 AM.
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07-22-2010, 06:55 AM
  #23
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Close but I'll go with Guy Lafluer.

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07-22-2010, 07:51 AM
  #24
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You're totally ignoring the fact that Lafleurs Habs scored more than Bossy's Islanders during their best seasons.

Same thing with their second best seasons individually. The Canadiens scored more than the Isles.

Lafleurs team was HIGHER scoring.

How can you claim that Bossy benefited from a higher scoring era when his team scored less goals than Lafleurs... its is a nonsense argument.
Doesn't change the fact that it was harder to score during Lafleur's best seasons. There's a reason the mid-late 70s Canadiens are generally considered the best teams of all time. They were loaded with great players. But still, the average team during Lafleur's 136 point season scored 266 goals, and only 5 of the 18 teams topped 300 goals, with 2 of those only getting 301. During Bossy's 147 point season, teams averaged 321 goals, and 16 of the 21 teams topped 300 goals.

While Lafleur and Bossy's primes weren't that far apart, there was still a significant scoring increase as Lafleur fell out of his prime and Bossy came into his. Also, Bossy's 147 point season was a bit of a strange year for top end scorers. Like someone posted, a whopping 13 players topped 100 points, Stastny exploded for a career high 139, Trottier his a career high as well, Bobby Smith managed 114, and even Denis Maruk cranked out 136 points, to tie Lafleur's career high. I think this year may have been a bit similar to 92-93 (where guys like Oates and LaFontaine topped 140), where it was more of a random outlier among top scorers.

Now I don't think adjusted stats give an entirely accurate representation and tend to shortchange the stars of the 80s. However, even looking at the actual numbers, outside of Bossy's 147 point year, the numbers were quite similar, and favour Lafleur slightly. Lafleur's top 6 seasons were all 125 points or better, while Bossy's top 6 were 147, 126, 123, 119, 118, 118. Here we see the 147 point season stand out as a slight anomaly, which we've seen from a lot of players throughout the years.

When you factor in the fact that teams did score less in Lafleur's era, and I think there's a slight, though distinct edge in his point totals. This is shown in his point placements where he frequently finished higher than Bossy did, even if we eliminate Gretzky and Lemieux:

Top 10 points

Lafleur: 1, 1, 1, 3, 3, 4
Bossy: 1, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6

I'm not sure if Bossy's extra 5th and 6th place finishes make up for Lafleur's 2 more Art Rosses

As well, if you look at their overall offensive games, I think Lafleur clearly comes out on top. While Bossy was clearly the superior goalscorer, it wasn't by the same amount that Lafleur was a much better playmaker.

In terms of goal finishes (w/o Gretzky), Bossy has a distinct advantage:

Top ten goals:

Lafleur: 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 7
Bossy: 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 5, 6

However, when you look at it, in their primes, they were both basically capable of consistently finishing in the top 3 goal scorers every year.

The assist finishes are a much different story (w/o Gretzky):

Lafleur: 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5
Bossy: 3, 5, 9

While Lafleur was once again consistently able to finish in the top 3 in assist finishes along with his goals, Bossy only occasionally cracked the top 10. I think offensively, this is a bit like comparing a prime Jagr to a prime Brett Hull. While Hull has the goalscoring advantage, and is an underrated passer, Jagr is clearly the better all around offensive player.

Basically, Lafleur was the better all-around offensive player, and while he played for a great team, and Shutt and
Lemaire/P. Mahovlich were great linemates, and Robinson a top-10 defenseman, he didn't get to play with a forward as good as Trottier, whose tremendous playmaking really helped Bossy's goalscoring, or a defenseman as good offensively as Potvin. Lafleur was the best playmaker and the best goalscorer on his line, and I think had a larger role in the team's offense.

Lafleur was also clearly the best player on a dynasty, whereas Bossy might have only been the third best on his (Trottier actually beat Bossy in MVP voting in Bossy's 147 point season, and every other year of Trottier's prime). And even without Gretzky, Bossy wouldn't have Lafleur's 2 Hart Trophies or 3 Pearsons. And while Bossy's postseason scoring was amazing, with his 3 consecutive 17 goal playoffs, Lafleur dominated the postseason as well, and both wona Conn Smythe.

Basically, I think Lafleur's 6 year prime is clearly better than Bossy's, and while Bossy's 7th, 8th and 9th seasons easily beat Lafleur's 7th best, I don't think it's enough to surpass Lafleur due to his short career.

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07-22-2010, 08:05 AM
  #25
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You're totally ignoring the fact that Lafleurs Habs scored more than Bossy's Islanders during their best seasons.

Same thing with their second best seasons individually. The Canadiens scored more than the Isles.

Lafleurs team was HIGHER scoring.
This is just grasping at straws and splitting hairs. Bossy played with Trottier as his center, undoubtedly far better than anyone Lefleur played with. He played with Potvin, who was better offensively than any d-man Lafleur played with. Lafleur never had the luxury of playing with a 130 point center or 100 -point d-man. So we're talking about two guys on two powerhouses, each with their own advantages. Even if Lafleur benefited from a deeper Habs offense, it wouldn't be any sort of huge advantage and wouldn't come close to making a big difference here. Bossy often wasn't even the best forward or highest scoring player on his team, let alone the league. Lafleur was just flat out better offensively, full-stop. Any team factor is of minimal consequence here, whether you penalize Lafleur for a deeper Habs offense or Bossy for playing with a superior center.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian
How can you claim that Bossy benefited from a higher scoring era when his team scored less goals than Lafleurs... its is a nonsense argument.
Again, Bossy had teammates that scored more points than Lafleur's did, and didn't even lead his team in points every year. This new "but look at the teams!" argument you've trotted out just isn't going anywhere, man. The Habs' big advantage over the Isles was their unparalleled depth, and that doesn't hurt Lafleur's case much, if at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian
I can't believe that I am having to defend a guy who scored 50 goals every full season he played. Scored just about half again as many playoff goals as Lafleur in the same number of games with 1 less assist.
You're defending a non-MVP who arguably wasn't even the best player on his team against a guy with 3 Pearsons and 3 scoring titles, who was ALWAYS the best player on his team, often the best in the entire LEAGUE, and you're surprised you're meeting resistance? Some people look for more than just goal totals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian
I agree with you guys that Lafleur was a better skater and a more artistic player but come on. At the end of the day the results matter and Bossy had better ones.
Bossy got better results if you consider only raw goal totals and nothing else.

Lafleur had the better results. Three straight Pearsons and Art Rosses... that's the kind of the results the very best NHL players get.

Bossy was a Hart nominee once in his career... third place during his 147 point year.. and guess what, he wasn't even the leading Hart-candidate on his OWN LINE. Maybe we should be comparing Trottier to Lafleur... at least he was an MVP caliber-player, with the results to prove it.


Last edited by revolverjgw: 07-22-2010 at 08:13 AM.
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