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

Rank them: Mikita, Trottier, Clarke, Messier, Sakic, Yzerman, Schmidt

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Old
08-24-2010, 05:52 AM
  #1
kmad
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Rank them: Mikita, Trottier, Clarke, Messier, Sakic, Yzerman, Schmidt

These are who I would consider to be the greatest two-way centers in history.

How would you rank them and why?

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08-24-2010, 07:07 AM
  #2
Dreakmur
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Mikita is easily the best....

After him it's pretty tough!

I'd say Sakic, Clarke, Trottier, Messier, Schmidt, Yzerman.... but it will be different every time I do it

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Old
08-24-2010, 09:13 AM
  #3
tony d
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Mikita
Clarke
Trottier
Messier
Yzerman
Sakic
Schmidt

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Old
08-24-2010, 09:15 AM
  #4
BraveCanadian
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For me it is

Trottier, Clarke, Mikita, Schmidt, Yzerman, Sakic, Messier

although it could change each time you ask me.

Trottier I just believe in his prime could play in any era and be an absolute force. The guy was so strong on his skates, so talented, had great leadership and grit..

Clarke I think is probably the best two-way center at his absolute peak but I think Trottier beats him out overall. I also don't think Clarke's game would translate to other eras quite as well because in other eras referees actually called slashing and elbowing and butt ending and spearing and on and on.. the guy was dirty and that takes him down a notch in my books.

I am not as familiar with Mikita and Schmidt since they were before my time but everyone here knows their well deserved reputations and their offensive numbers (especially Mikita leading the league) are quite impressive for the times they played in.. Schmidt is a total class act. Love seeing him in the Legends of Hockey interviews.

To me Sakic and Yzerman are almost interchangeable. Honestly I think both were quite adept defensively but I think Sakic was somewhat overlooked in that regard during his career. I also think that Yzerman, while having adapted his game to be a very strong two-way player, actually gets a little more credit for it than he really deserves. By the time he was really great defensively it was because he had to be to be competitive as his offensive game trailed off badly.

Messier I don't regard as a standout defensively. He is a fantastic all around player and certainly competent defensively but I don't ever remember him being considered a really shutdown type guy. He is just an offensive player with a mean physical streak, outstanding leadership and solid defensive play.

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Old
08-24-2010, 09:25 AM
  #5
Dreakmur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
For me it is

Trottier, Clarke, Mikita, Schmidt, Yzerman, Sakic, Messier

although it could change each time you ask me.

Trottier I just believe in his prime could play in any era and be an absolute force. The guy was so strong on his skates, so talented, had great leadership and grit..

Clarke I think is probably the best two-way center at his absolute peak but I think Trottier beats him out overall. I also don't think Clarke's game would translate to other eras quite as well because in other eras referees actually called slashing and elbowing and butt ending and spearing and on and on.. the guy was dirty and that takes him down a notch in my books.

I am not as familiar with Mikita and Schmidt since they were before my time but everyone here knows their well deserved reputations and their offensive numbers (especially Mikita leading the league) are quite impressive for the times they played in.. Schmidt is a total class act. Love seeing him in the Legends of Hockey interviews.

To me Sakic and Yzerman are almost interchangeable. Honestly I think both were quite adept defensively but I think Sakic was somewhat overlooked in that regard during his career. I also think that Yzerman, while having adapted his game to be a very strong two-way player, actually gets a little more credit for it than he really deserves. By the time he was really great defensively it was because he had to be to be competitive as his offensive game trailed off badly.

Messier I don't regard as a standout defensively. He is a fantastic all around player and certainly competent defensively but I don't ever remember him being considered a really shutdown type guy. He is just an offensive player with a mean physical streak, outstanding leadership and solid defensive play.
I think you should do some research on Stan Mikita - I think you'll find that he is clearly the best of these players. He is, by far, the best offensive player here, and his well-rounded game is very impressive aswell. He was a king in the face-off circle, an excellent defensive player, and a gritty, mean son of a gun.

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Old
08-24-2010, 09:38 AM
  #6
BraveCanadian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreakmur View Post
I think you should do some research on Stan Mikita - I think you'll find that he is clearly the best of these players. He is, by far, the best offensive player here, and his well-rounded game is very impressive aswell. He was a king in the face-off circle, an excellent defensive player, and a gritty, mean son of a gun.
I already know all that about Mikita. Based on his 1st place finishes in scoring, he probably was the best offensive player of this bunch.

I still think Trottier and Clarke are better two-ways. Clarke has a couple of other-worldly seasons and Trottier has several outstanding seasons where he is racking up 100 point seasons with +70 ratings. All the while being a physical menace.

Its just my opinion, after all.

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08-24-2010, 10:05 AM
  #7
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Dreakmur already pointed out that most of the rankings will probably change on a weekly basis but I'll give it a shot.

Mikita - Best overall package here. Best offensive player of the bunch and very well-rounded game though I think some may overrate his defensive capabilities.

Trottier/Clarke - One is better offensively, one is better defensively. The main arguement against Trottier being ranked higher that Clarke is that he wasn't the most important player on his team (Potvin was).

Messier - I hate that guy but his playoff resume is more than impressive and while his leadship qualities are overblown, he still is a great leader.

Sakic - Maybe the best playoff performer of the bunch (or maybe tied with Trottier) which is pretty awesome considering the competition. Great leader, great scorer but just a notch below the other four guy.

Yzerman/Schmidt - Interchangeabel for me. Great characters, great leaders. Schmidt's defensive is supposed to be almost on par with Clarke's which is really impressive. He missed some of his prime years due to WW II and thus could be higher but I think even the last place on this list is nothing to be ashamed of. These two finish last because I don't think Schmidt's offensive side is that impressive and with Yzerman its the two-way thing. He was great on offense and defense but not at the same time.

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08-24-2010, 11:01 AM
  #8
seventieslord
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1. Mikita, easily.

2. Clarke - the defensive edge he holds over all centers gives him the edge.

3. Trottier - close to Clarke in overall value thanks to better offense and lesser defense.

4. Messier - I really want to put him below Sakic/Yzerman, but the guy's career value, intangibles, and playoff record are through the roof.

5. Sakic - Anyone who has him below Yzerman by now hasn't been paying attention.

5. Yzerman - just a tad below Sakic in most areas.

6. Schmidt - loaded with intangibles, but comparitively weak offensively compared to the rest of these guys.

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Old
08-24-2010, 11:08 AM
  #9
poise
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Mikita
Messier
Yzerman
Trottier
Sakic
Clarke
Schmidt

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Old
08-24-2010, 11:14 AM
  #10
BraveCanadian
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Did this turn into a best overall player thing?

I thought it was best two-way center as in best combined offense and defense at the same time.

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Old
08-24-2010, 11:34 AM
  #11
seventieslord
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Did this turn into a best overall player thing?

I thought it was best two-way center as in best combined offense and defense at the same time.
....and all seven of them are players who did just that, so why wouldn't we rank them based on their overall combined value?

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Old
08-24-2010, 11:39 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Did this turn into a best overall player thing?

I thought it was best two-way center as in best combined offense and defense at the same time.
I would think overall.

Defensively, this is who I consider the best.

Schmidt will be hard for me to rank defensively simply because he was nearly retired by the time I started watching hockey and because I was too young.

Clarke (Not close)

Yzerman post Bowman(Before which he would not stack up with these guys defensively at all)
Trottier
Mikita
Sakic Messier

Overall, I ranked them:
Mikita
Messier/Clarke
Trottier
Sakic
Yzerman
Schmidt

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Old
08-24-2010, 11:42 AM
  #13
Dark Shadows
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post

Clarke I think is probably the best two-way center at his absolute peak but I think Trottier beats him out overall. I also don't think Clarke's game would translate to other eras quite as well because in other eras referees actually called slashing and elbowing and butt ending and spearing and on and on.. the guy was dirty and that takes him down a notch in my books.
That was merely the agitator aspect of his game. The rest of his game would translate just fine.

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Old
08-24-2010, 11:43 AM
  #14
RabbinsDuck
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Mikita
Clarke
Trottier
Yzerman
Sakic
Messier
Schmidt

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Old
08-24-2010, 11:48 AM
  #15
BraveCanadian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Shadows View Post
I would think overall.

Defensively, this is who I consider the best.

Schmidt will be hard for me to rank defensively simply because he was nearly retired by the time I started watching hockey and because I was too young.

Clarke (Not close)

Yzerman post Bowman(Before which he would not stack up with these guys defensively at all)
Trottier
Mikita
Sakic Messier

Overall, I ranked them:
Mikita
Messier/Clarke
Trottier
Sakic
Yzerman
Schmidt
Yeah, my rankings would change a bit for overall but oh well..

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Old
08-24-2010, 12:28 PM
  #16
tarheelhockey
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I'm having a hard time picking the order, which is a sign of a great list

Mikita
Clarke
Trottier
Messier
Sakic
Yzerman
Schmidt

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Old
08-24-2010, 12:38 PM
  #17
seventieslord
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I'm having a hard time picking the order, which is a sign of a great list

Mikita
Clarke
Trottier
Messier
Sakic
Yzerman
Schmidt
nice order.

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Old
08-24-2010, 12:40 PM
  #18
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Yeah, my rankings would change a bit for overall but oh well..
I've never understood why 2-way player tends to get rated more on the defensive aspect of it. After all, it is 2-way, not 1-way.

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Old
08-24-2010, 12:41 PM
  #19
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Mikita
Clarke
Trottier
Sakic
Yzerman
Messier
Schmidt

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08-24-2010, 01:06 PM
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Dark Shadows
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I've never understood why 2-way player tends to get rated more on the defensive aspect of it. After all, it is 2-way, not 1-way.
Because some players are so good defensively while being comparable offensively that they deserve the extra points.

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Old
08-24-2010, 01:57 PM
  #21
ushvinder
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I prefer career value:

Mikita

Messier/Sakic

Clarke
Trottier
Yzerman
Schmidt

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Old
08-24-2010, 02:06 PM
  #22
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I consider Mikita and Messier a step up from the others. I realize Messier really hurt his legacy after 1997, but if he retired in 1997, a lot of people would have considered him a Top 10 player for everything he brought to the table (not that he should have been quite that high, but you get the point).

Just remembering how Messier was regarded before 1997 compared to how Sakic and Yzerman were regarded at their best, it seems kind of revisionist history to rank Messier below them or even with them.

This is how I rank them:

Mikita
Messier

Sakic
Clarke/Trottier
Yzerman/Schmidt

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Old
08-24-2010, 02:33 PM
  #23
redbull
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#2 Trottier
Not only did he not have a weakness, he was elite in every category that you can measure (goals, assists, points, team wins) and those you cannot (leadership, passion, determination and team success). He made everyone around him better, had tremendous vision, could win battles and make smart plays seemingly in one fluid motion, was feared in all zones.

What makes him the best is who he had to play against. The Montreal teams of the late 70s and the Oiler teams of the 80s were (with the Islanders) probably the three best teams of all time. Trottier played in one of the toughest eras for a 2way center and he was the best in that role.

#3 Messier
very similar to Trottier. He did experience a great deal of success in wins, cups, various teams and was a fantastic leader and winner. I believe his stats are somewhat inflated because of those strong Oiler teams (as are Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri - they all rode that 99train for a long time. Players, management, coaches, etc - they all have 99 to thank.)

He was able to be a great player for an incredibly long time, which is amazing. I'd rank him a smidgen below Trottier - but it's close.

#4 Clarke

His meanness made him legendary but very good hockey player all around. Leader on a great Flyers team, great vision, tough to play against.

#5 Sakic
Big game player, scored a tonne of big goals, especially in the playoffs. Underrated in many ways early in his career but definitely deserves to be on this list.

#6 Yzerman
Very similar to Sakic. The only two on this list who didn't play very physical, didn't hit much, weren't mean or dirty yet played well in all zones and were able to LEAD. Yzerman also overcame many doubters early in his career.



Never saw play in their prime:

probably #1 Stan Mikita (only saw at tail-end of career, impressive even though he was old. He's probably the most skilled in the bunch)

Schmidt (never saw play)
[/QUOTE]

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Old
08-24-2010, 02:39 PM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan87 View Post
Mikita
Clarke
Trottier
Sakic
Yzerman
Messier
Schmidt
I agree with this, although I prefer Yzerman over Sakic, Sakic had the better career so I would put sakic ahead in the end, slightly.

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Old
08-24-2010, 02:43 PM
  #25
TheDevilMadeMe
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#3 Messier
very similar to Trottier. He did experience a great deal of success in wins, cups, various teams and was a fantastic leader and winner. I believe his stats are somewhat inflated because of those strong Oiler teams (as are Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri - they all rode that 99train for a long time. Players, management, coaches, etc - they all have 99 to thank.)
IMO, playing on the same team as Gretzky held back Messier's regular season numbers a little bit. Overpass showed that Messier didn't get much PP time until a year or two before Gretzky left.

It's also no coincidence that as soon as he was separated from Gretzky, Messier immediately became a threat to win the Hart trophy, winning it in 1990, 1992, and runner up in 1996.

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