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Best Defensive Forward

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Old
11-04-2010, 01:56 PM
  #26
BraveCanadian
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I was about to say, "do we really need a magical stat before forming an opinion about anything anymore?"
That would have been a simple way of putting it!

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11-04-2010, 01:57 PM
  #27
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I mean the league created an award basically to recognize the guy.
I think that's a bit of a myth. They created the award to recognize forwards who were great defensively, not just Bob Gainey. He just happened to be the best the first 4 years it was awarded. In coaches polls in the preceeding 3 or 4 years, Clarke was generally recognized as the best defensive forward, not Gainey.

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11-04-2010, 03:52 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
What statistical evidence is there even available?

All the "defensive" stats collected are hopelessly inadequate in determining an individuals contribution defensively.

A poor defensive player playing with 4 outstanding defensive players and a good goalie would still statistically be great defensively using the stats available (and vice versa).

In the absence of that we have to lend weight to what we see after watching a player a lot.

In that respect pretty much everyone: coaches, teammates and opponents rank Gainey as among the best ever.

I mean the league created an award basically to recognize the guy.
So you're saying that looking at any raw numbers will not give the whole picture... good point. I never even considered that for a moment. Obviously the context is going to be important. Context is important in every statistic. Everyone knows that it is much more difficult to statistically measure defence than offence as well. That does not mean that there is no value in statistics that measure defence or that they should be completely ignored. That being said, defensive statistics are clearly not a complete replacement for actual observation and contemporary opinion by any means.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I was about to say, "do we really need a magical stat before forming an opinion about anything anymore?"
I never said anything about needing a "magic stat" before forming an opinion. I would like to know if anyone knows of any statistic that points to Gainey as being the best defensive forward ever. For someone so widely regarded as the best defensive forward I would assume that there would be something out there that demonstrates this statistically. Lack of such evidence doesn't necessarily rule Gainey out though. Clearly the argument over who the best defensive forward is doesn't come down to comparing statistics alone.

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11-04-2010, 04:02 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
I just love how it's so obvious and automatic that Gainey is the best ever. Great analysis!
What more needed to be added other than the post I quoted when I said that???

The Selke was created just for him, just about says it all really.
He mentored Carbo to be the player he was.

Then you have Tikhonov, a notorious hardass and not exactly someone that liked dishing out compliments to anything or anyone in NA hockey, proclaiming Gainey to be the most complete hockey player he had ever seen.

If that isn't enough though, we then have his Conn Smythe. A friggin Conn Smythe to a defensive specialist.

What kind analysis do you need for pete's sake? It's one of those questions like asking what 10+13 is, it's #23 Gainey.

If statistical analysis is what you're looking for, see if you can talk/beg Overpass into running his full adjusted +/- spread sheet on a list of renowned defensive specialists like Gainey, Carbo, Ramsay ect, ect.


Last edited by Rhiessan71: 11-04-2010 at 04:24 PM.
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11-04-2010, 04:19 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Then you have Tikhonov, a notorious hardass and not exactly someone that liked dishing out compliments to anything or anyone in NA hockey, proclaiming Gainey to be the most complete hockey player he had ever seen.
And he was totally wrong of course - if he even said that (word for word). Gordie Howe was complete. Messier was complete. Gainey was not; he was a defensive wizard, although I've seen a couple of eye-catching offensive plays from him too.

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11-04-2010, 04:28 PM
  #31
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And he was totally wrong of course - if he even said that (word for word). Gordie Howe was complete. Messier was complete. Gainey was not; he was a defensive wizard, although I've seen a couple of eye-catching offensive plays from him too.

Not wrong if he never personally saw Howe play and by 1979, Howe's best years were long behind him.
Your point of whether he actually said it or not is valid I guess. There are some that believe it was actually Tarasov that said it but who knows.


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11-04-2010, 04:47 PM
  #32
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Not wrong if he never personally saw Howe play and by 1979, Howe's best years were long behind him.
Well, Tikhonov was a coach for USSR's 1976 Canada Cup team, and during the tournament he certainly saw Bobby Orr and Bobby Clarke, both easily more complete and better players than Gainey. And add Bryan Trottier in the 1979 Challenge Cup.

Gainey was big, strong, a very good skater and yes, maybe the best defensive forward ever. But he hardly had great hands or great shot or was a good offensive player. So I don't know what Tikhonov meant by "complete".

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11-04-2010, 04:56 PM
  #33
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Guy Carbonneau amoungst players I've seen. As a center, his defensive responsibilities were more difficult than Gainey, hence why I rate him a tad higher. Gainey was a better hitter, but IMO Guy was as good, or better, in every other aspect of the game.
That's my feeling as well. Center is the more defensively important position.

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11-04-2010, 05:18 PM
  #34
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I don't think Gainey is an obvious number one (he is up there for sure) my vote goes to Carbo however.

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11-04-2010, 05:26 PM
  #35
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I wasn't around in the 70s, but they say that Don Marcotte could shut down the best of them

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11-04-2010, 05:36 PM
  #36
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probably not in the running for best of all time, but i wanted to mention some guys i remember fondly. joel otto and bobby holik (been watching him on OTR this week) were just big dominating forces. they had some legendary playoff battles shutting down the big star forwards of their time: messier, jagr, lindros, sundin, etc. it's no secret why philly picked up otto at the end of his career-- after they lost to the devils in the lockout season, clarke wanted his own bobby holik to go against the big centers of the east. a more recent guy in this mould is michal handzus. he hasn't lived up to the promise he showed before the lockout, but he was great for the flyers in the playoffs those couple of years.

tikkanen has already been mentioned. such a fantastic shadow. dave poulin was another great defensive guy for the flyers-- such a complete defensive player: fantastic face-off man, shadowed the other team's best player, blocked shots, killed penalties with the best of them, and a playoff warrior, captain and emotional leader of one of the best teams to never win a stanley cup on top of all that.

and kris draper is a guy i hate, rooting for the avs in the 90s, but who i really respect. i remember even when he was a kid at the WJC he was incredible, shadowing and shutting down bure, who was having at that time the greatest offensive WJC tournament ever.

i'm too young to remember steve kasper in his prime, but gretzky called him the best shadow he ever played against. i did see tikkanen dominate wayne in the 1990 playoffs though, and if kasper was better than that, wow.

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11-04-2010, 05:40 PM
  #37
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
probably not in the running for best of all time, but i wanted to mention some guys i remember fondly. joel otto and bobby holik (been watching him on OTR this week) were just big dominating forces. they had some legendary playoff battles shutting down the big star forwards of their time: messier, jagr, lindros, sundin, etc. it's no secret why philly picked up otto at the end of his career-- after they lost to the devils in the lockout season, clarke wanted his own bobby holik to go against the big centers of the east. a more recent guy in this mould is michal handzus. he hasn't lived up to the promise he showed before the lockout, but he was great for the flyers in the playoffs those couple of years.

.
It's hard for me to pick Holik as one of the best defensive players of all time when he couldn't kill penalties.

At even strength, he was a dominating defensive force for a few years (late 90s-early 00s) after the Devils coaches figured out he could use his size and strength to just mug the star centers of the other team (such was allowed in the rules at the time).

I don't think you are remembering 1995 that well though. Holik was the center of the Crash Line - the Devils excellent 4th line. Bobby Carpenter got all the big defensive assignments at the time, followed by Neil Broten.

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11-04-2010, 05:44 PM
  #38
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
It's hard for me to pick Holik as one of the best defensive players of all time when he couldn't kill penalties.

At even strength, he was a dominating defensive force for a few years (late 90s-early 00s) after the Devils coaches figured out he could use his size and strength to just mug the star centers of the other team (such was allowed in the rules at the time).

I don't think you are remembering 1995 that well though. Holik was the center of the Crash Line - the Devils excellent 4th line. Bobby Carpenter got all the big defensive assignments at the time, followed by Neil Broten.
yeah, i'm probably getting my devils playoff runs mixed up. so it wasn't until later that holik took on lindros?

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11-04-2010, 05:51 PM
  #39
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
yeah, i'm probably getting my devils playoff runs mixed up. so it wasn't until later that holik took on lindros?
Honestly, I don't know if the two ever really went head to head in a playoff series. The Devils only met the Flyers in the 1995, 2000, and 2004 playoffs I think. Holik was still a 4th liner in 1995 (but the Devils rolled 4 lines so it was a bigger role than an average 4th liner), and Lindros only played games 6 and 7 of 2000.

In the late 90s, they did go head to head in the regular season quite a bit. At the time, the Flyers and Devils were each other's biggest rivals because the Rangers were awful and the Penguins were mediocre. So maybe you are thinking of regular season?

Holik didn't become a defensive specialist until 1999-2000, when the emergence of rookie Scott Gomez allowed the Devils to have 2 scoring lines that didn't involve Holik. Holik got big press as a shut down center because of the great job he did in the 2000 and 2001 playoffs (Smythe candidate before the start of the finals in 2001), but he really didn't have that role for all that long.

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11-04-2010, 06:03 PM
  #40
vadim sharifijanov
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hmm, i guess it must be the regular season then. did the devils put a forward specifically on lindros in '95, or was it by committee with stevens always there on d?

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11-04-2010, 06:16 PM
  #41
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
hmm, i guess it must be the regular season then. did the devils put a forward specifically on lindros in '95, or was it by committee with stevens always there on d?
Stevens was against him pretty much every shift to the point that if Lindros went on the ice, the nearest Devil changed immediately and Stevens came out, regardless of the position of the guy who changed. Ken Daneyko was usually Stevens' partner against Lindros, though Shawn Chambers (Stevens' partner for most of the playoffs that year) saw some time with him too.

At forward, I'm not sure if they had one guy always against Lindros, but they used Bobby Carpenter for every defensive zone draw, so he would have been out there against Lindros the majority of the time anyway, even if he wasn't specifically matched against him. But they didn't use a forward to shadow Lindros like they used Claude Lemieux in the first round against Cam Neely.

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11-04-2010, 06:38 PM
  #42
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
dave poulin was another great defensive guy for the flyers-- such a complete defensive player: fantastic face-off man, shadowed the other team's best player, blocked shots, killed penalties with the best of them, and a playoff warrior, captain and emotional leader of one of the best teams to never win a stanley cup on top of all that.

i'm too young to remember steve kasper in his prime, but gretzky called him the best shadow he ever played against. i did see tikkanen dominate wayne in the 1990 playoffs though, and if kasper was better than that, wow.
Yeah Dave Poulin was such a gritty competitor. I liked him too. He left it all out there.

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11-04-2010, 06:50 PM
  #43
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Clarke with an edge over Carbo, and both over Ramsay and Gainey.

Centers have more responsibilities and a more difficult job than wingers.

The Selke wasn't created for Gainey, and if the award had been around 5+ years prior, Clarke would have a shelf full.

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11-04-2010, 06:53 PM
  #44
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Clarke with an edge over Carbo, and both over Ramsay and Gainey.

Centers have more responsibilities and a more difficult job than wingers.

The Selke wasn't created for Gainey, and if the award had been around 5+ years prior, Clarke would have a shelf full.
I thought the award was largely created for Gainey, after people saw the huge impact he had in the playoffs and to a lesser degree, against the Soviets. Clarke already had his award - the Hart Trophy that he won 3 of by combining elite defense and offense.

I thought the Selke was an effort to recognize guys like Gainey for what they brought - elite, game changing defensive play without necessarily the offense that got everyone's attention. (Elite, game changing offensive guys already had their stats and the Art Ross to give them recognition).

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11-04-2010, 06:54 PM
  #45
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
If statistical analysis is what you're looking for, see if you can talk/beg Overpass into running his full adjusted +/- spread sheet on a list of renowned defensive specialists like Gainey, Carbo, Ramsay ect, ect.
Actually, that wouldn't help your case at all.

I have the numbers too, let me post them:

Clarke: +369. Makes sense because he's probably as good defensively as either of the below, and provided a lot of offense too.

Gainey: -39. basically Montreal's goal differential didn't get any better when he was on the ice. It tended to get worse. Apparently an average player on the teams that he played for would have been expected to be +177, but he was just +139. That is to be expected for a lot of defensive specialists, but for the supposed best one of all-time, it's a little eye-catching for sure. It hurts him that in his best seasons his off-ice comparable would have often been Lafleur, who was unreal for 6 seasons. Keep in mind that +/- as well as its adjusted counterparts are based on both goal creation and prevention equally, so this doesn't necessarily prove anything about his defense alone.

Ramsay: +219. because he was arguably better than Gainey defensively and far superior offensively. Of course he doesn't have as great an off-ice comparable as Gainey, but Perreault was very effective offensively for a very long time.

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11-04-2010, 06:56 PM
  #46
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Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan View Post
Clarke with an edge over Carbo, and both over Ramsay and Gainey.

Centers have more responsibilities and a more difficult job than wingers.

The Selke wasn't created for Gainey, and if the award had been around 5+ years prior, Clarke would have a shelf full.
My number crunching for the pre-selke seasons tells me that Clarke and Ramsay should have been the frontrunners from 1972-1976.

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11-04-2010, 07:15 PM
  #47
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe
I thought the award was largely created for Gainey, after people saw the huge impact he had in the playoffs and to a lesser degree, against the Soviets.
That's what my father says he remembers.

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11-04-2010, 09:34 PM
  #48
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I thought the award was largely created for Gainey, after people saw the huge impact he had in the playoffs and to a lesser degree, against the Soviets. Clarke already had his award - the Hart Trophy that he won 3 of by combining elite defense and offense.

I thought the Selke was an effort to recognize guys like Gainey for what they brought - elite, game changing defensive play without necessarily the offense that got everyone's attention. (Elite, game changing offensive guys already had their stats and the Art Ross to give them recognition).
The whole Soviet thing was after the award was already created. I respect Tikonov as a hockey man, but to this day, I really don't understand how he could call Gainey the best player in the world, when, at best, he was the 7th best player on the late 70's Habs teams, behind Lafleur, the Big 3, Lemaire and Dryden.

As I posted earlier, this is my position on the topic of the Selke being created for Gainey:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe View Post
I think that's a bit of a myth. They created the award to recognize forwards who were great defensively, not just Bob Gainey. He just happened to be the best the first 4 years it was awarded. In coaches polls in the preceeding 3 or 4 years, Clarke was generally recognized as the best defensive forward, n tot Gainey.

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11-04-2010, 09:41 PM
  #49
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Gainey: -39. basically Montreal's goal differential didn't get any better when he was on the ice. It tended to get worse. Apparently an average player on the teams that he played for would have been expected to be +177, but he was just +139. That is to be expected for a lot of defensive specialists, but for the supposed best one of all-time, it's a little eye-catching for sure. It hurts him that in his best seasons his off-ice comparable would have often been Lafleur, who was unreal for 6 seasons. Keep in mind that +/- as well as its adjusted counterparts are based on both goal creation and prevention equally, so this doesn't necessarily prove anything about his defense alone.

Ramsay: +219. because he was arguably better than Gainey defensively and far superior offensively. Of course he doesn't have as great an off-ice comparable as Gainey, but Perreault was very effective offensively for a very long time.
While I agree Gainey is overrated in the grand scheme of things, Bowman, who coached both, says Gainey is the best defensive forward he ever coached.

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11-05-2010, 12:59 AM
  #50
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While I agree Gainey is overrated in the grand scheme of things, Bowman, who coached both, says Gainey is the best defensive forward he ever coached.
Even Bowman probably didn't have access to the actual numbers to see who was more effective at preventing goals. No doubt, Gainey was more noticeable.

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