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Lidstrom Vs. Potvin

View Poll Results: Better ATD Value (Peak and Career Value)
Lidstrom 56 60.87%
Potvin 36 39.13%
Voters: 92. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
08-27-2010, 10:58 AM
  #76
revolverjgw
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Flip a coin for peak, but Lidstrom wins for prime and career pretty easy. He's been so consistently perfect for years that frankly it just gets boring. I'm tired of him being so good.

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08-27-2010, 11:08 AM
  #77
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
If you're talking about scoring stats, I agree. I think that would be a really silly way to compare two defensemen, comparing their point totals or adjusted totals and leaving it at that. But I haven't done that. In fact all I ever mentioned in this thread is their adjusted +/- which measures their effectiveness in improving their team's goal differential when on the ice. It is a very valid comparison because:

- They both spent the majority of their careers on good teams
- They were (almost) always #1 defensemen logging a ton of minutes
- They always played against the opposition's best

Potvin had a better score per season, but Lidstrom maintained it longer. Based on that particular metric, they look rather close, and it really matches what the perceptions of the two players are, too.
I would like to address your very good post in two ways.

On Lidstrom-Potvin: they are close, especially when you factor in longevity and level of play. Peak to peak, i give a clear edge to Potvin. But watching them play at their peak, ignoring any statistic, ignoring team success and if you could just watch the game even with no names and jersey numbers on the back - Potvin would "STAND OUT" significantly as one of the best players on the ice.

At his peak, Potvin was far more visible on the ice than Bryan Leetch at his peak while carrying the puck, than Chris Pronger is in front of the net or along the boards. He was that good! It would be clear to anyone who say him play, especially against the best competition, at key moments in the playoffs.

Lidstrom is just not that type of player. He plays the game differently and is great in different ways. It's just not measurable. It's more than just intimidation, leadership, "presence", etc.

Which brings we to my next point.

I completely respect your approach to the "stats" piece. I'm a stats-geek myself and I think YOUR approach to stats evaluation is tangibly different (and significantly better) than anything I've seen on these boards.

I think it's an important distinction to make in your case specifically because what you're saying is that, regardless of they attribute, it's ALL FACTORED into the stats. Just like the stock market. "oh but company "A" just hired a top-notch CEO with a track record and just came out with earnings" - well, all that information is already reflected in the stock price.
Mike Bossy scored more than Lafleur - but Lafleur was faster - BUT that attribute is reflected in the stats. A great illustration of your point, you made earlier. That's not a small nuance but an important distinction in your statistical view. I completely respect that.

But here's my take.

I think you have the wrong metrics or that the better metrics don't exist. I think that finding a statistical indicator like you're attempting is far more complex than even the best possible stats you have available.

If you were able to get stats on situational play, assess points/shift or goals/minute or per second of ice time, relative to 5on5 play, weighted with the relative strengths of each other player on the ice at that time, etc.

How do players perform when up a goal, down a goal, in the third period of a 1 goal game, does it change if it's a playoff clinching game, a playoff game, a championship game, etc.

That level of statistical analysis would be interesting.

I think you do a great job with what you have (in terms of stats) - but it's far too weak of a statistical base to have any real relevance or causation/correlation to events. It would be really interesting to break down the numbers at that level and see if they show anything but I think it's impossible, especially in a sport like hockey with so many variables.

Ultimately, I think you'll find that there are key MOMENTS in situational analysis where some players play better than others.

Without the supporting data, I believe you "get this" by watching the players play and especially, seeing their contributions at key moments. It's almost like people assess these so-called "intangibles" in SOME WAY inherently as they watch/evaluate the players and the game. So when you think of a player like Claude Lemieux or Mike Keane or Henri Richard or Billy Smith, you automatically see beyond the numbers - you can determine a player's "value" with no need for the data/stats.

In baseball, you'd have much better luck. The interactions of the game are based on 1on1 interactions (to a larger extent than hockey).

So you can break down RBIs and home runs into a lot of situational play much easier. Like with runners in scoring position or in 1run games etc etc. Hockey though, much tougher if not impossible.

(I do enjoy your posts though!)

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08-27-2010, 11:45 AM
  #78
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Originally Posted by Dark Shadows View Post
I could really care less. I watched both players play. Potvin, defensively was nearly as good as Lidstrom, while showing a larger offensive edge. He is also one of the best playoff warriors ever.

And if you don't like his style because it leads to penalties, too bad for you. Potvin's style lead to the opposing team playing in disarray afraid of him, (Not to mention taking retaliation penalties) and coaches pulling out their hair trying to get players to execute their systems without being afraid of Potvin. In a 7 game series, that paid dividends and wore the opposing team out much quicker and was well worth the penalty minutes IMO.



I am perfectly justified in having my opinion of Potvin's leadsership.




Actually, I don't value offense higher. But the defensive edge is smaller than the offensive edge in this case.

As I already said, I do give Lidstrom the career nod. Potvin simply had a better peak.


And we gave very good reasons for thinking so. You just do not like those reasons.
A distinction has to be made between players that often lost control - Cleghorn, Shore, Maurice Richard resulting in situations that seriously hurt their team's ability to win and taking penalties.

Lidstrom v Potvin has to be viewed in this context. Regardless of whether they favoured a physical style or not both played in complete control of their emotions and never hurt their team's ability to win.

At the team level it is rather interesting.Looking at Stanley Cup winning teams - the ultimate objective. Some of the Red Wing teams with Lidstrom had more PIM per season than the Islander teams with Potvin, some had less. One way or the other championship teams have to fill the need for a physical presence with the resulting penalties.

Players who can fill multiple roles and have a complete range of skills tend to be more valuable. Players with limited roles and skills tend to be less valuable.Keeping less valuable players on a team to fill physical presence needs inevitably creates shortcomings somewhere. The difference is that if all the skills including physicality are part of one player's skill set then the appropriate tools are always present with him on the ice.


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 08-27-2010 at 11:48 AM. Reason: wording
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Old
08-27-2010, 11:48 AM
  #79
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Originally Posted by redbull View Post
Because of my several attempts to convey that the emphasis on statistics when evaluating players is flawed, I tried with overly simplistic examples (yes, hyperbole) to further illustrate a glaring point that is way-too-often missed.

I appreciate the statistical relevance in evaluating players - TO SOME EXTENT. But, especially when talking about defensemen like Lidstom and Potvin, it’s so far down the list of what makes these players great that they are almost negligible.

You obviously read the posts, I appreciate it...but you aren’t understanding MY VIEW on the stats. I’m not disputing the stats at all - in fact, I simply put a SMALL weighting on evaluating these two players specifically.

If you think Lidstrom is a better player than Potvin then that’s perfectly fine. Your opinion. If you (or anyone else) thinks otherwise - also fine. I think Lidstrom is fantastic. How he’s played, and for how long he’s been able to maintain that level of play, incredible. I can completely respect that opinion WITHOUT any numbers.

I believe that merely looking for numbers to support that viewpoint HINDERS the argument and misses the point, and BOTH Lidstrom’s and Potvin’s real value.

It does seem obvious to me that you have not seen Potvin play in his prime. I don’t mean that as a slight in any way. I posed the question earlier of those who watched Potvin play, in his prime AND watched Lidstrom play, was Potvin not the better player? Peak to peak? Serious question - just based on those who watched them BOTH play at their peak.
thanks for answering. I just thought the hyperbole was badly applied but I get your point. and I agree of course. lots of things doesn´t show in stats. but another way of looking at it is that the things you talk about are often a reason for over-valuing. I love Forsberg but I can see he is overvalued because of his flash. and hard hitting is one way defenders stand out. i´d like to stress that in no way am I saying Potvins hits were not great for him and his team, just that other defending behaviours might be just as effective but as you say harder to see.

and I don´t know if he competed harder. this is also a factor where big hits or emotions can be overvalued.

a good comparison would be McEnroe vs Borg. if you were only a casual fan you would say Mac competed much harder. and that Borg did not seem to care. nothing could be further from the truth. Borg was a freak of competitiveness. I think Lidström might be the same. I´ve heard coaches say that they never seen anybody tape their club as perfect as Lidström.

and again. not saying emotions or hits are not great for winning. just that there are other, in my eyes equally efficient ways. and in this case the results support this view.

I just think Lidström is also a player who performed his best when the going got tough.

but again, thanks for clarifying.

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08-27-2010, 11:49 AM
  #80
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But yes, generally speaking, there have been too many forwards to count who have chosen to enter the other side of the zone rather than try to take Lidstrom 1 on 1. His poke check has to be one of the most feared defensive weapons in history.

Having said that, I never saw Potvin, so I can't speak to the comparison directly. Just wanted to back up the notion that Lidstrom absolutely intimidated his opposition . . . he just didn't do it with hitting.
If you think players enter the zone on the other side due to Lidstrom's feared pokecheck.. imagine Potvin as a chainsaw with laserbeams and then think of how much players wanted to go to his side.

You're talking about apples and oranges. They are afraid of losing the puck to Lidstrom.. they were afraid of losing their life AND the puck to Potvin.

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08-27-2010, 11:59 AM
  #81
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Originally Posted by redbull View Post
Which brings we to my next point.

I completely respect your approach to the "stats" piece. I'm a stats-geek myself and I think YOUR approach to stats evaluation is tangibly different (and significantly better) than anything I've seen on these boards.

I think it's an important distinction to make in your case specifically because what you're saying is that, regardless of they attribute, it's ALL FACTORED into the stats. Just like the stock market. "oh but company "A" just hired a top-notch CEO with a track record and just came out with earnings" - well, all that information is already reflected in the stock price.
Mike Bossy scored more than Lafleur - but Lafleur was faster - BUT that attribute is reflected in the stats. A great illustration of your point, you made earlier. That's not a small nuance but an important distinction in your statistical view. I completely respect that.

But here's my take.

I think you have the wrong metrics or that the better metrics don't exist. I think that finding a statistical indicator like you're attempting is far more complex than even the best possible stats you have available.

If you were able to get stats on situational play, assess points/shift or goals/minute or per second of ice time, relative to 5on5 play, weighted with the relative strengths of each other player on the ice at that time, etc.

How do players perform when up a goal, down a goal, in the third period of a 1 goal game, does it change if it's a playoff clinching game, a playoff game, a championship game, etc.

That level of statistical analysis would be interesting.

I think you do a great job with what you have (in terms of stats) - but it's far too weak of a statistical base to have any real relevance or causation/correlation to events. It would be really interesting to break down the numbers at that level and see if they show anything but I think it's impossible, especially in a sport like hockey with so many variables.

Ultimately, I think you'll find that there are key MOMENTS in situational analysis where some players play better than others.

Without the supporting data, I believe you "get this" by watching the players play and especially, seeing their contributions at key moments. It's almost like people assess these so-called "intangibles" in SOME WAY inherently as they watch/evaluate the players and the game. So when you think of a player like Claude Lemieux or Mike Keane or Henri Richard or Billy Smith, you automatically see beyond the numbers - you can determine a player's "value" with no need for the data/stats.

In baseball, you'd have much better luck. The interactions of the game are based on 1on1 interactions (to a larger extent than hockey).

So you can break down RBIs and home runs into a lot of situational play much easier. Like with runners in scoring position or in 1run games etc etc. Hockey though, much tougher if not impossible.

(I do enjoy your posts though!)
This is a really good post.

As you point out we have to be careful not to try to shoehorn too many attributes into the statistics we do have available.

And frankly in comparison to baseball the statistics we have available are actually more simplistic while the game itself is more complex in situations.

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08-27-2010, 12:36 PM
  #82
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Originally Posted by redbull View Post
I would like to address your very good post in two ways.

On Lidstrom-Potvin: they are close, especially when you factor in longevity and level of play. Peak to peak, i give a clear edge to Potvin. But watching them play at their peak, ignoring any statistic, ignoring team success and if you could just watch the game even with no names and jersey numbers on the back - Potvin would "STAND OUT" significantly as one of the best players on the ice.

At his peak, Potvin was far more visible on the ice than Bryan Leetch at his peak while carrying the puck, than Chris Pronger is in front of the net or along the boards. He was that good! It would be clear to anyone who say him play, especially against the best competition, at key moments in the playoffs.

Lidstrom is just not that type of player. He plays the game differently and is great in different ways. It's just not measurable. It's more than just intimidation, leadership, "presence", etc.

Which brings we to my next point.

I completely respect your approach to the "stats" piece. I'm a stats-geek myself and I think YOUR approach to stats evaluation is tangibly different (and significantly better) than anything I've seen on these boards.

I think it's an important distinction to make in your case specifically because what you're saying is that, regardless of they attribute, it's ALL FACTORED into the stats. Just like the stock market. "oh but company "A" just hired a top-notch CEO with a track record and just came out with earnings" - well, all that information is already reflected in the stock price.
Mike Bossy scored more than Lafleur - but Lafleur was faster - BUT that attribute is reflected in the stats. A great illustration of your point, you made earlier. That's not a small nuance but an important distinction in your statistical view. I completely respect that.

But here's my take.

I think you have the wrong metrics or that the better metrics don't exist. I think that finding a statistical indicator like you're attempting is far more complex than even the best possible stats you have available.

If you were able to get stats on situational play, assess points/shift or goals/minute or per second of ice time, relative to 5on5 play, weighted with the relative strengths of each other player on the ice at that time, etc.

How do players perform when up a goal, down a goal, in the third period of a 1 goal game, does it change if it's a playoff clinching game, a playoff game, a championship game, etc.

That level of statistical analysis would be interesting.

I think you do a great job with what you have (in terms of stats) - but it's far too weak of a statistical base to have any real relevance or causation/correlation to events. It would be really interesting to break down the numbers at that level and see if they show anything but I think it's impossible, especially in a sport like hockey with so many variables.

Ultimately, I think you'll find that there are key MOMENTS in situational analysis where some players play better than others.

Without the supporting data, I believe you "get this" by watching the players play and especially, seeing their contributions at key moments. It's almost like people assess these so-called "intangibles" in SOME WAY inherently as they watch/evaluate the players and the game. So when you think of a player like Claude Lemieux or Mike Keane or Henri Richard or Billy Smith, you automatically see beyond the numbers - you can determine a player's "value" with no need for the data/stats.

In baseball, you'd have much better luck. The interactions of the game are based on 1on1 interactions (to a larger extent than hockey).

So you can break down RBIs and home runs into a lot of situational play much easier. Like with runners in scoring position or in 1run games etc etc. Hockey though, much tougher if not impossible.

(I do enjoy your posts though!)
I think this is a well-written post and I think you have some valid points. However, I also have to disagree on two of the things you write. First, I don't argue that intangibles aren't important but I do think it's very hard for us to determine who has a lot of intangibles. Instead people seem to project these attributes on players they like and it's easy to have biased opinions. Furthermore, for some reason intangibles seem to always belong to players from North America, I don't know why that is.

Second, while players may play differently in different situations it is easy to overestimate these effects. The reason is that humans has a tendency for seeing patterns in pure chance. For instance, I do believe that "clutchness" is an attribute that is thrown around way to much based on very little data.

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08-27-2010, 01:37 PM
  #83
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Originally Posted by Dark Shadows View Post
And if you don't like his style because it leads to penalties, too bad for you. Potvin's style lead to the opposing team playing in disarray afraid of him, (Not to mention taking retaliation penalties) and coaches pulling out their hair trying to get players to execute their systems without being afraid of Potvin. In a 7 game series, that paid dividends and wore the opposing team out much quicker and was well worth the penalty minutes IMO.
So happy you responded to that red herring, as it caught my eye, as well: "Potvin's style leads to more penalty minutes, period. That is not good for your team no matter what you say."



Nevermind results.

Potvin's style hurt his team alright....to the tune of a dynasty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redbull View Post
I think you have the wrong metrics or that the better metrics don't exist. I think that finding a statistical indicator like you're attempting is far more complex than even the best possible stats you have available.

...I think you do a great job with what you have (in terms of stats) - but it's far too weak of a statistical base to have any real relevance or causation/correlation to events....

Ultimately, I think you'll find that there are key MOMENTS in situational analysis where some players play better than others.

Without the supporting data, I believe you "get this" by watching the players play and especially, seeing their contributions at key moments. It's almost like people assess these so-called "intangibles" in SOME WAY inherently as they watch/evaluate the players and the game. So when you think of a player like Claude Lemieux or Mike Keane or Henri Richard or Billy Smith, you automatically see beyond the numbers - you can determine a player's "value" with no need for the data/stats.
Pure gold.

It's not an "either/or" thing, stats vs. observation. And, in some cases, stats offer much "meatier" evidence or proof points. But not in this specific instance of Potvin's physical play.


Last edited by Trottier: 08-27-2010 at 02:27 PM.
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08-27-2010, 01:38 PM
  #84
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Second, while players may play differently in different situations it is easy to overestimate these effects. The reason is that humans has a tendency for seeing patterns in pure chance. For instance, I do believe that "clutchness" is an attribute that is thrown around way to much based on very little data.
This is a very good point matnor.

Being "clutch" is after a point a self reinforcing loop.

If a player gets known as being "clutch" they are invariably put in situations where they have the opportunity to be so.. if you are a third liner riding the pines at the end of a crucial game.. you have no chance of getting the reputation.

Secondly, people tend to remember big successes and forget failures because they focus on the winner.

So Messier becomes legend guaranteeing victory over the Devils but gets let off to a large extent for a guarantee that failed when he said the Rangers would make the playoffs a few years later.

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08-27-2010, 01:59 PM
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08-27-2010, 02:01 PM
  #86
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This is a very good point matnor.

Being "clutch" is after a point a self reinforcing loop.

If a player gets known as being "clutch" they are invariably put in situations where they have the opportunity to be so.. if you are a third liner riding the pines at the end of a crucial game.. you have no chance of getting the reputation.

Secondly, people tend to remember big successes and forget failures because they focus on the winner.

So Messier becomes legend guaranteeing victory over the Devils but gets let off to a large extent for a guarantee that failed when he said the Rangers would make the playoffs a few years later.
I actually think it comes down to how much weight one places on success. As in: winning...Stanley Cups. Versus other milestones of success.

My own observation (and I'm generalizing, to be sure) is that HF tends to not place as much emphasis on championships, and the performances that lead to them. As such, it reasons that some would diminish clutch performances, or consider them random or lucky, or flukes.

My own persepctive: winning a single Stanely Cup is an enormous accomplishment, the ultimate in the sport. And it remains exceedingly difficult. As such, a player who performs well even in a single spring and who is a major contributor to SC success richly deserves a clutch label. To be sure, as you point out, he and his team will likely "fail" in numerous other instances. But that does not diminish him. For there are no .1000 (or even .400) batters in the NHL, sports or life. Point being, there is often much failure.

With that perspective, the idea that Mark Messier was a major contributor on six Cup winners renders moot some failed prediction in the latter stage of his career. (and I say that while acknowledging fully that his prediction in '94 has been manufactured into mythological proportions.

Likewise, the ultimate value of both Lidstrom and Potvin, at least for this poster, is that they each were/are the top dmen and leaders of four Cups winners.

Four Cups, as top, great players and epic contributors. That's a meaningful statistic. You don't accomplish that with smoke and mirrors; heck you don't win once with smoke and mirrors. That's performing, getting it done, when the games matter most and the competition is the highest in hockey anywhere. Yep, that's "clutch", in my book. And no exaggeration, whatseover.


Last edited by Trottier: 08-27-2010 at 06:22 PM.
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08-27-2010, 02:18 PM
  #87
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Maybe also because in the playoffs, his numbers dropped like a rock. He was a mediocre performer in international competition too, never one of the leading players in best-on-best tournaments and usually not even in the numerous World Championships he played.

I would almost call him overrated, meaning that his regular season numbers flatter him (and based on the 13-15 or so complete games I've seen him play).
I agree with you. Everything I've seen and read about Dionne shows that once teams really gameplanned to stop him, he never adapted his style of play.

Was in the 1981 Canada Cup where Perreault went down with injury to be replaced by Dionne on the line, which then promptly became much less effective?

It's not just that he didn't win Cups. It's that his own linemates outscored him in the playoffs fairly regularly, even after he "carried" his line in the regular season.

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08-27-2010, 02:19 PM
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Potvin
not even close
Lidstrom big fish little pond
Little pond? You mean a 30 team NHL drawing from double the talent pool as it did in Potvin's time? I'm confused.

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08-27-2010, 02:35 PM
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I actually think it comes down to how much weiht onbe places on success. As in: winning...Stanely Cups. Versus other milestones of success.

My own observation (and I'm generalizing, to be sure) is that HF tends to not place as much emphasis on championships, and the performances that lead to them. As such, it reasons that some would diminsih clutch performances, or conside rhtme random or lucky, or flukes.

My own persepctive: wining a single Stanely cup is an enormous accomplishment, the ultimate in the sport. And it remains exceedingly difficult. As such, a player who performs well even in a single spring and who is a major contributor to SC success richly deserves a clutch label. To be sure, as you point out, he and his team will likley "fail" in numerous other instances. But that does not diminish him. For there are no .1000 (or even .400) batters in the NHL, sports or life. Point being, there is often much failure.

With that perspective, the idea that Mark Messier was a major contributor on six Cup winners renders moot some failed prediction in the latter stage of his career. (and I say that while acknowledging fully that his prediction in '94 has been manufactured into mythological proportions.

Likewise, the ultimate value of both Lidstrom and Potvin, at least for this poster, is that they each were/are the top dmen and leaders of four Cups winners.

Four Cups, as top, great players and epic contributors. That's a meaningful statistic. You don't accomplish that with smoke and mirrors; heck you don't win once with smoke and mirrors. That's performing, getting it done, when the games matter most and the competition is the highest in hockey anywhere. Yep, that's "clutch", in my book. And no exaggeration, whatseover.
The way I see it we just try to answer different questions. Yours would be something like:

How much did player X accomplish during his career.

While the question I'm interested in is something like:

Suppose we took player X and placed him on any team during the time he played. How much would we expect him to accomplish?

To me there's nothing wrong with either question. And yes, I know that the question I ask is extremely difficult to answer but I think it's worth a shot.

I do wonder how you would look at a comparison of, say, Ray Bourque and Larry Robinson with your line of reasoning. Robinson was an integral part of 6 cup wins (well, maybe he wasn't key in the first one) and definitely accomplished more during his career in terms of success. Still, I think Bourque was the vastly superior player and yet he was only a part of one cup victory at the very end of his career.

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08-27-2010, 03:17 PM
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The way I see it we just try to answer different questions. Yours would be something like:

How much did player X accomplish during his career.

While the question I'm interested in is something like:

Suppose we took player X and placed him on any team during the time he played. How much would we expect him to accomplish?

To me there's nothing wrong with either question. And yes, I know that the question I ask is extremely difficult to answer but I think it's worth a shot.

I do wonder how you would look at a comparison of, say, Ray Bourque and Larry Robinson with your line of reasoning. Robinson was an integral part of 6 cup wins (well, maybe he wasn't key in the first one) and definitely accomplished more during his career in terms of success. Still, I think Bourque was the vastly superior player and yet he was only a part of one cup victory at the very end of his career.
Bottom line is that it is not about accomplishment from either perspective rather it is about who one thinks is the superior player.

Which is fine. Nothing wrong with holding an opinion but what is the benefit of the round about trip to get to actual objective? Why all the slight of hand semantic or numeric spin?

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08-27-2010, 03:32 PM
  #91
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Originally Posted by matnor View Post
I think this is a well-written post and I think you have some valid points. However, I also have to disagree on two of the things you write. First, I don't argue that intangibles aren't important but I do think it's very hard for us to determine who has a lot of intangibles. Instead people seem to project these attributes on players they like and it's easy to have biased opinions. Furthermore, for some reason intangibles seem to always belong to players from North America, I don't know why that is.

Second, while players may play differently in different situations it is easy to overestimate these effects. The reason is that humans has a tendency for seeing patterns in pure chance. For instance, I do believe that "clutchness" is an attribute that is thrown around way to much based on very little data.
very good points. I don't disagree - much - without getting too far off topic (because this does apply to this thread in a way).....

The North American "thing" is real. I also think this impacts Lidstrom, especially earlier in his career - and many others.

I do believe there's SOME truth to the sterotype of european players lacking those "intangibles" that are often cast upon the great canadian players of our time. Don Cherry will have you believe Kirk Muller and Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark are as good, if not better, than Gretzky and Lemieux and Jagr and Forsberg. Doesn't help that the Russians leave the ice against the Flyers either - that just feeds the belief. Doesn't help when you see gutless performances from the Yashins and Kvashas of the world either.

I believe this is rooted in some of the early European players who started playing in North America and got paid well, maybe some didn't have the compete level especially when the games got really physical. Let's face it, the NA game was (still is, somewhat) significantly different than the games overseas, much more physical, especially in the playoffs. Also, these players never grew up with the "I wanna win a Stanley Cup" mentality - and that's a belief that's still shared to day - unfortunately.

There's a great deal of evidence that this is no longer true. European players don't come here for the money, exclusively. There are more options than ever to play hockey outside North America today, make a very good living.

I believe today you have the vast majority of European players who really compete hard and are committed to winning as much as anyone - regardless of nationality or where you learned the game.

Look no further than Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson. The Sedin's are starting to get their due respect for the efforts they put in - night in and night out. Lidstrom as well. Mats Sundin. There are countless examples of players that had to "earn" it (or over-earn it - is that a word) because of that euro-stigma.

I agree with your assertion though and there's definitely, still, a bias towards "intangibles" and North Americans, primarily Canadians as far as I see.

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08-27-2010, 03:53 PM
  #92
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Originally Posted by redbull View Post
Are you being too easy on Dionne? was he “stuck on crappy teams” or was he unable to elevate his team, to lead his team deep into the playoffs?

Are you giving Yzerman too little credit? was Yzerman the RESULT OF a stacked team or was he able to LEAD a better team to a championship?

You cannot forgive Dionne for poor teams and then discount Yzerman’s achievements. You’re implying the team makes the player and not vice-versa. I think there are attributes that winners possess that allow for team success. Of course, there is always support - but there’s a big difference between the leaders of the team and the support players.

There’s a disproportionate contribution to team success, often reflected in big minutes, goals/assists - but far more often in less measurable ways that typically result in team success. See: Jonathan Toews most recently. Crosby. Messier. Sakic.
Yzerman's playoff glory came when the team added Lidstrom, Shanahan, and Fedorov.

Marcel Dionne played with teams that had no defense or goaltending and no depth past thier first line. Yzerman would't have taken them anywhere. In his prime, Yzerman was a one dimensional player and he wasn't as good as Dionne. Its that simple.

top 10 point finishes
Dionne: 1,2,2,2,3,4,5,7
Yzerman: 3,3,4,7,8,10

That's a pretty clear gap to me. Anyone would have won a cup on those 1998 and 2002 red wings teams. The teams that they played against in the finals were so weak its not even funny, if detriot didnt win the 1998 or 2002 cup, it would have been seen as pathetic.

Yzerman only became a two way player when he was no longer elite offensively, what dont you get about that? He was able to put up 69-95 points but he had to sacrifice his offense in order to accomplish that, wow. At least sakic was able to maintain his offense while being a two way player.

If i'm the GM of the LA Kings I would never give up dionne for Yzerman. Steve is weaker offensively and without bowman, he wouldnt develop any defensive game either. His glory is overrated by the teams he got to play with. Marcel, Andy Bathgate, Bill Cook and Frank Boucher are all better than Yzerman because he's overrated.

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08-27-2010, 04:14 PM
  #93
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Originally Posted by redbull View Post
I would like to address your very good post in two ways.

On Lidstrom-Potvin: they are close, especially when you factor in longevity and level of play. Peak to peak, i give a clear edge to Potvin. But watching them play at their peak, ignoring any statistic, ignoring team success and if you could just watch the game even with no names and jersey numbers on the back - Potvin would "STAND OUT" significantly as one of the best players on the ice.

At his peak, Potvin was far more visible on the ice than Bryan Leetch at his peak while carrying the puck, than Chris Pronger is in front of the net or along the boards. He was that good! It would be clear to anyone who say him play, especially against the best competition, at key moments in the playoffs.

Lidstrom is just not that type of player. He plays the game differently and is great in different ways. It's just not measurable. It's more than just intimidation, leadership, "presence", etc.
That's the thing about comparing Lidstrom to Potvin.

There are two very similar and obvious points to be made about them:

1. Potvin, at his very best, was better. Lidstrom maintained his greatness a lot longer.

2. Potvin was clearly a more "visible" player; Lidstrom much more cerebral.

Part one means it can come down to a discussion of peak vs. longevity. Part two raises the important question - visible or not, which one was more effective?

And some stats can help to answer that question.

Quote:
Which brings we to my next point.

I completely respect your approach to the "stats" piece. I'm a stats-geek myself and I think YOUR approach to stats evaluation is tangibly different (and significantly better) than anything I've seen on these boards.
well, thank you. I assume you're referring to adjusted +/-, so I should mention that is all overpass' work. But I do incorporate stats in a way that I like to think is fair and meaningful.

Quote:
I think it's an important distinction to make in your case specifically because what you're saying is that, regardless of they attribute, it's ALL FACTORED into the stats. Just like the stock market. "oh but company "A" just hired a top-notch CEO with a track record and just came out with earnings" - well, all that information is already reflected in the stock price.
Mike Bossy scored more than Lafleur - but Lafleur was faster - BUT that attribute is reflected in the stats. A great illustration of your point, you made earlier. That's not a small nuance but an important distinction in your statistical view. I completely respect that.

But here's my take.

I think you have the wrong metrics or that the better metrics don't exist. I think that finding a statistical indicator like you're attempting is far more complex than even the best possible stats you have available.
As Brave Canadian mentioned, hockey is far too complex to ever perfectly break down. But overpass' adjusted +/- does a great job of illustrating a very key factor - did the team's fortunes improve when the player was on the ice? And if so, by how much?

I think that two players whose results can't be reasonably argued to be skewed by any factor (such as different minutes or always had superior or inferior linemates) and end up with similar scores, have shown to be very similarly effective, even if they looked much different doing it.

Quote:
If you were able to get stats on situational play, assess points/shift or goals/minute or per second of ice time, relative to 5on5 play, weighted with the relative strengths of each other player on the ice at that time, etc.

How do players perform when up a goal, down a goal, in the third period of a 1 goal game, does it change if it's a playoff clinching game, a playoff game, a championship game, etc.

That level of statistical analysis would be interesting.
Unfortunately, those kinds of sample sizes are completely insignificant for any type of meaningful analysis. We should just watch and enjoy the roller coaster ride and credit the guys who got the job done.

It doesn't necessarily make anyone clutch, though. Like matnor said, we tend to look for patterns in random events. I'm not completely dismissing clutch, but let's face it, these players are the very best in the world at what they do, and they got to the NHL by treating each game as if it was extremely important. And people love stories and they love heroes.

Quote:
I think you do a great job with what you have (in terms of stats) - but it's far too weak of a statistical base to have any real relevance or causation/correlation to events. It would be really interesting to break down the numbers at that level and see if they show anything but I think it's impossible, especially in a sport like hockey with so many variables.

Ultimately, I think you'll find that there are key MOMENTS in situational analysis where some players play better than others.

Without the supporting data, I believe you "get this" by watching the players play and especially, seeing their contributions at key moments. It's almost like people assess these so-called "intangibles" in SOME WAY inherently as they watch/evaluate the players and the game. So when you think of a player like Claude Lemieux or Mike Keane or Henri Richard or Billy Smith, you automatically see beyond the numbers - you can determine a player's "value" with no need for the data/stats.

In baseball, you'd have much better luck. The interactions of the game are based on 1on1 interactions (to a larger extent than hockey).

So you can break down RBIs and home runs into a lot of situational play much easier. Like with runners in scoring position or in 1run games etc etc. Hockey though, much tougher if not impossible.

(I do enjoy your posts though!)
I think the reason something like adjusted +/- comes in handy for these two is, like I said, they had the exact same roles for similarly strong teams. It's easy to watch someone like Potvin, see his physicality and conclude he was better. But this stat would allow one to take a step back and realize that the two players' overall effectiveness were about equal, just for different reasons. That physicality, as I think you understand, was just part of the package that led to that overall efficiency.

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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
And frankly in comparison to baseball the statistics we have available are actually more simplistic while the game itself is more complex in situations.
Unfortunately, this is very true.

It doesn't help that in hockey, you're basically on both offense and defense at all times.

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Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
I actually think it comes down to how much weiht onbe places on success. As in: winning...Stanely Cups. Versus other milestones of success.

My own observation (and I'm generalizing, to be sure) is that HF tends to not place as much emphasis on championships, and the performances that lead to them. As such, it reasons that some would diminsih clutch performances, or conside rhtme random or lucky, or flukes.

My own persepctive: wining a single Stanely cup is an enormous accomplishment, the ultimate in the sport. And it remains exceedingly difficult. As such, a player who performs well even in a single spring and who is a major contributor to SC success richly deserves a clutch label. To be sure, as you point out, he and his team will likley "fail" in numerous other instances. But that does not diminish him. For there are no .1000 (or even .400) batters in the NHL, sports or life. Point being, there is often much failure.

With that perspective, the idea that Mark Messier was a major contributor on six Cup winners renders moot some failed prediction in the latter stage of his career. (and I say that while acknowledging fully that his prediction in '94 has been manufactured into mythological proportions.

Likewise, the ultimate value of both Lidstrom and Potvin, at least for this poster, is that they each were/are the top dmen and leaders of four Cups winners.

Four Cups, as top, great players and epic contributors. That's a meaningful statistic. You don't accomplish that with smoke and mirrors; heck you don't win once with smoke and mirrors. That's performing, getting it done, when the games matter most and the competition is the highest in hockey anywhere. Yep, that's "clutch", in my book. And no exaggeration, whatseover.
Still, that's just one part of it. What about the years when they weren't champions? What if they were never champions, but did everything they could, and often came close? What if they were awesome but on terrible teams that never went anywhere? It's too much of a team sport to attribute too large of a team success to one individual.

You acknowledge very well that you can't be a winner every year, but at the same time this sounds like your opinion of a player can be distilled to how many times they won and how high up that winning team's depth chart they were.

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08-27-2010, 04:18 PM
  #94
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post




As Brave Canadian mentioned, hockey is far too complex to ever perfectly break down. But overpass' adjusted +/- does a great job of illustrating a very key factor - did the team's fortunes improve when the player was on the ice? And if so, by how much?

I think that two players whose results can't be reasonably argued to be skewed by any factor (such as different minutes or always had superior or inferior linemates) and end up with similar scores, have shown to be very similarly effective, even if they looked much different doing it.
One thing I can think of - Lidstrom had a still very effective Chris Chelios anchoring the 2nd pair for a few years. And by "still effective," I mean Norris-finalist effective. Potvin never had another defenseman that good on his team. I would guess Chelios would slightly hurt Lidstrom's adjusted plus/minus.

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08-27-2010, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ushvinder View Post
Yzerman's playoff glory came when the team added Lidstrom, Shanahan, and Fedorov.

Marcel Dionne played with teams that had no defense or goaltending and no depth past thier first line. Yzerman would't have taken them anywhere. In his prime, Yzerman was a one dimensional player and he wasn't as good as Dionne. Its that simple.

top 10 point finishes
Dionne: 1,2,2,2,3,4,5,7
Yzerman: 3,3,4,7,8,10

That's a pretty clear gap to me. Anyone would have won a cup on those 1998 and 2002 red wings teams. The teams that they played against in the finals were so weak its not even funny, if detriot didnt win the 1998 or 2002 cup, it would have been seen as pathetic.

Yzerman only became a two way player when he was no longer elite offensively, what dont you get about that? He was able to put up 69-95 points but he had to sacrifice his offense in order to accomplish that, wow. At least sakic was able to maintain his offense while being a two way player.

If i'm the GM of the LA Kings I would never give up dionne for Yzerman. Steve is weaker offensively and without bowman, he wouldnt develop any defensive game either. His glory is overrated by the teams he got to play with. Marcel, Andy Bathgate, Bill Cook and Frank Boucher are all better than Yzerman because he's overrated.
Despite that I'm a Red Wings fan, I might slightly agree with you. Yzerman is a bit overrated. I personally consider Lidstrom as the most important piece.

But that part is rubbish. It was very hard to get to the finals from the West. You had Dallas and Colorado on the way. Plus, a good St Louis team. Seriously, that 2002 battle against Colorado is better (and tougher) than most Stanley Cup Finals. Essentially you had 4 big favorites every year. From the West: Detroit, Colorado, Dallas. From the East: New Jersey.

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08-27-2010, 04:24 PM
  #96
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Intangibles

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Originally Posted by redbull View Post
very good points. I don't disagree - much - without getting too far off topic (because this does apply to this thread in a way).....

The North American "thing" is real. I also think this impacts Lidstrom, especially earlier in his career - and many others.

I do believe there's SOME truth to the sterotype of european players lacking those "intangibles" that are often cast upon the great canadian players of our time. Don Cherry will have you believe Kirk Muller and Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark are as good, if not better, than Gretzky and Lemieux and Jagr and Forsberg. Doesn't help that the Russians leave the ice against the Flyers either - that just feeds the belief. Doesn't help when you see gutless performances from the Yashins and Kvashas of the world either.

I believe this is rooted in some of the early European players who started playing in North America and got paid well, maybe some didn't have the compete level especially when the games got really physical. Let's face it, the NA game was (still is, somewhat) significantly different than the games overseas, much more physical, especially in the playoffs. Also, these players never grew up with the "I wanna win a Stanley Cup" mentality - and that's a belief that's still shared to day - unfortunately.

There's a great deal of evidence that this is no longer true. European players don't come here for the money, exclusively. There are more options than ever to play hockey outside North America today, make a very good living.

I believe today you have the vast majority of European players who really compete hard and are committed to winning as much as anyone - regardless of nationality or where you learned the game.

Look no further than Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson. The Sedin's are starting to get their due respect for the efforts they put in - night in and night out. Lidstrom as well. Mats Sundin. There are countless examples of players that had to "earn" it (or over-earn it - is that a word) because of that euro-stigma.

I agree with your assertion though and there's definitely, still, a bias towards "intangibles" and North Americans, primarily Canadians as far as I see.
Intangibles are a function of a players development on his way to the NHL.

North American or European, the players who make the NHL have been playing elite hockey and assuming leadership roles since their formative hockey days.

Entering an NHL dressing room for the first time, a North American player is better equipped from the standpoint of intagibles since he has been playing North American hockey for since his pre school days. He has experienced the various situations, drafts at various levels, trades, constant coaching changes, the winning mindset from league to regional to provincial to national levels, the importance that hockey has in a community, the travel demands, and all the other little nuances of the North American game. since he has played at the elite level on elite teams,since his pre-teen days he has experience leading his elite contemporaries in a North American context.

European players did not follow the same development path plus they have a linguistic and cultural disadvantage coming over to North America. Entering an NHL dressing room for the first time a European player confronts many of hockey's nuances for the first time while trying to master a second language and adapt to another culture. The reason that he was a leader playing pre NHL hockey in Europe was that he had mastered all the nuances of hockey in his specifc situation and was able to communicate to communicate them to his contemporaries.

For a North American player such skills are transferable to the NHL level and are easy to build upon with the maturation process. For a European such skills are extremely difficult to transfer to the NHL, there is an adaptation period before the building process begins.

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08-27-2010, 04:26 PM
  #97
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
One thing I can think of - Lidstrom had a still very effective Chris Chelios anchoring the 2nd pair for a few years. And by "still effective," I mean Norris-finalist effective. Potvin never had another defenseman that good on his team. I would guess Chelios would slightly hurt Lidstrom's adjusted plus/minus.
With shift-by-shift data this type of issue can actually be dealt with. Essentially you could estimate the value of each player conditional on all other players on the ice. Unfortunately shift-by-shift data only exist post-lockout as far as I know. Or does anyone know if it was recorded before that?

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08-27-2010, 06:03 PM
  #98
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Originally Posted by lazerbullet View Post
Despite that I'm a Red Wings fan, I might slightly agree with you. Yzerman is a bit overrated. I personally consider Lidstrom as the most important piece.

But that part is rubbish. It was very hard to get to the finals from the West. You had Dallas and Colorado on the way. Plus, a good St Louis team. Seriously, that 2002 battle against Colorado is better (and tougher) than most Stanley Cup Finals. Essentially you had 4 big favorites every year. From the West: Detroit, Colorado, Dallas. From the East: New Jersey.
Yeah but lets be honest here, that detriot teamd had 10 hall of famers man, way different than playing with charlie simmer, dave taylor and then the rest of the team is full of mediocirty.

Personally I think Andy Bathgate is even more underrated than Marcel. Just compare his offense to Yzerman and it would seem like you are comparing two different classes of people. For 6 years, Bathgate was scoring at the exact same pace as Gordie Freakin Howe, and he gets ranked below Yzerman by 20 spots, u have to be kidding me.


Last edited by ushvinder: 08-27-2010 at 06:16 PM.
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08-27-2010, 06:13 PM
  #99
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Intangibles are a function of a players development on his way to the NHL.
very insightful post and well put. i agree.

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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
1. Potvin, at his very best, was better. Lidstrom maintained his greatness a lot longer.
2. Potvin was clearly a more "visible" player; Lidstrom much more cerebral.


Part one means it can come down to a discussion of peak vs. longevity. Part two raises the important question - visible or not, which one was more effective?

I think that two players whose results can't be reasonably argued to be skewed by any factor (such as different minutes or always had superior or inferior linemates) and end up with similar scores, have shown to be very similarly effective, even if they looked much different doing it.


Unfortunately, those kinds of sample sizes are completely insignificant for any type of meaningful analysis. We should just watch and enjoy the roller coaster ride and credit the guys who got the job done.

It doesn't necessarily make anyone clutch, though. Like matnor said, we tend to look for patterns in random events. I'm not completely dismissing clutch, but let's face it, these players are the very best in the world at what they do, and they got to the NHL by treating each game as if it was extremely important. And people love stories and they love heroes.

I think the reason something like adjusted +/- comes in handy for these two is, like I said, they had the exact same roles for similarly strong teams. It's easy to watch someone like Potvin, see his physicality and conclude he was better. But this stat would allow one to take a step back and realize that the two players' overall effectiveness were about equal, just for different reasons. That physicality, as I think you understand, was just part of the package that led to that overall efficiency.

It doesn't help that in hockey, you're basically on both offense and defense at all times.
very good post, some really interesting comments (bolded)

love the comment by matnor about the patterns in random events - this is so true in and out of sports. But it's interesting to me that the same "patterns in random events" applies equally do how we often look at statistics AND in how we assess importance to key moments in evaluating a person's actual career (outside of numbers) - interesting relationship as I see it.

Also, there's some understated brilliance in that casual comment "on both offense and defense at all times" - a point lost all-too-often when evaluating players and performances, statistically or not. A player's commitment to the GAME the TEAM when they don't have the puck is such a huge part of a player's overall value. Far more than overall goals and assists and not adequately captured in any metric (certainly not +/-)

Success is ONLY measured on a game-by-game WINS and LOSSES. There's absolutely zero relevance on the individual stats level. There's no value in overall team goal differentials, aggregate goals and assists...just team wins, one game at a time.

An MVP to a team in any one game or season is difficult to assess.

The situational play, and how it's measured, is very interesting if it can be accurately assessed.

(simplistic example: When NJ opens the scoring on a goal by Zach Parise, they often don't even look for a second goal. If they feel they can protect that lead, Parise's "value" at THAT POINT in time, FOR THAT GAME ONLY, is measured in his ability to protect the lead. I feel a vastly disproportionate time on the ice is spent without the puck and usually at times when you don't NEED a goal. Parise's more valuable if he DOESN'T try for that second goal or assist.)

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08-27-2010, 06:28 PM
  #100
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The way I see it we just try to answer different questions. Yours would be something like:

How much did player X accomplish during his career.

While the question I'm interested in is something like:

Suppose we took player X and placed him on any team during the time he played. How much would we expect him to accomplish?

To me there's nothing wrong with either question. And yes, I know that the question I ask is extremely difficult to answer but I think it's worth a shot.

I do wonder how you would look at a comparison of, say, Ray Bourque and Larry Robinson with your line of reasoning. Robinson was an integral part of 6 cup wins (well, maybe he wasn't key in the first one) and definitely accomplished more during his career in terms of success. Still, I think Bourque was the vastly superior player and yet he was only a part of one cup victory at the very end of his career.
First, good stuff.

Second, with regard to your question: I consider Bourque superior to Robinson, though probably not to the degree that you do. But that's just opinion.

With regard to Cups, I do not hold anything against Bourque because his teams could not win it all. I do, however, give Robinson credit in that he was presented with the opportunity (by virtue of a great team, of which he was a MAJOR contributor) to win, a lot. And he and his teammates seized it. Too often here I read people saying that a guy won a lot "because of his team".

Well, yes.

...And, teams are comprised of individual players, talents.

...And, in the case of Robinson, he was a major talent and critical component of those teams.

Hence, he richly deserves plaudits.


Last edited by Trottier: 08-27-2010 at 08:44 PM.
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