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What is the case for Lafleur over Jagr?

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01-16-2011, 04:12 AM
  #1
steve141
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What is the case for Lafleur over Jagr?

The 2009 HOH Top 100 list has Lafleur at 19th and Jagr at 23rd. I just don't see why we pick Lafleur over Jagr.

I can understand why some would pick Messier's or Clarke's "intangibles" and "leadership" over Jagr's, but Lafleur's?

They both came into the league on power house teams, and struggled with motivation as their teams got worse. They had comparable peaks, but Jagr had the better start and the better end to his career.

Both played 17 seasons. Here are their best point finishes:
Lafleur: 1,1,1,3,3,4.
Jagr: 1,1,1,1,1,2,2,5,6,8,9.

That is one huge difference!

In his highest scoring season Jagr outscored his closest team mate by 53%, and the second highest scorer in the league by 19%. In his highest scoring season Lafleur outscored his closest team mate by 28% and the second highest scorer in the league by 11%. I don't really see an argument for better regular season peak either.

Since Jagr had better regular season numbers during his peak, prime and career, the only thing left is to argue that Lafleur was better in the playoffs. The thing is that Jagr actually has a higher career PPG in the playoffs aswell, despite Lafleur playing in the highest scoring eras in hockey.

Please inform me why Lafleur is better?


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01-16-2011, 04:48 AM
  #2
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Lafleur is not better, but Jagr gets a lot of undeserved bad reputation, so most use that against him to rank him lower. IMHO Jagr is clearly ahead of Lafleur, since both weren't anything special defensively and Jagr is just better offensively. Not to mention Jagr's longetivity blows Lafleur's out of the water. Once Lafleur lost his speed, he was done. Jagr was able to adjust his game a lot better. Later, when he matured, he became a great leader for the Rangers and Czech national team (won gold last year).


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01-16-2011, 10:42 AM
  #3
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Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
Lafleur is not better, but Jagr gets a lot of undeserved bad reputation, so most use that against him to rank him lower. IMHO Jagr is clearly ahead of Lafleur, since both weren't anything special defensively and Jagr is just better offensively. Not to mention Jagr's longetivity blows Lafleur's out of the water. Once Lafleur lost his speed, he was done. Jagr was able to adjust his game a lot better. Later, when he matured, he became a great leader for the Rangers and Czech national team (won gold last year).
I agree as well. I honestly think its very close between them for peak/prime years. In fact, the difference is pretty slim. But as you mention, Jagr was better outside of those prime seasons. Some may argue post season, but Jagr won his cups on a great team. So did LaFleur. LaFleur just happened to be on a great team longer (though to be fair, he was a big part of that team being great). Still, Jagr did what he did in those 5 Art Ross seasons without as much help as LaFleur, and still put up better finishes. IMO slight edge to Jagr for their prime years, bigger edge still for years outside their primes.

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01-16-2011, 11:51 AM
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I hate how I always seem to beat up on Guy cause he was fantastic but I've brought this up regarding Jagr and Bossy and Trottier before. Jagr and Trottier were almost certainly better players than Lafleur and Bossy is close to par in my opinion. Basically it boils down to:

"Lafleur was clearly the best player in the league for a couple years". However if you ask me it was against weak competition outside of Dionne who was on a dreadful team.. and argument 2:

"He was the best player on a dynasty club" and did play very well in the playoffs.

Which are both great points but Jagr, despite losing points for having a "bad attitude", was a better player individually.

You can't even make the argument that Lafleur was a better all around player because he didn't play defense any more than Jagr did.

This is case in point where some players get extra credit for playing on outstanding teams and some get held back because they played on mediocre ones. See the recent Bourque/Lidstrom thread for more of this double standard which sometimes inexplicably works in reverse in these comparisons too.


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01-16-2011, 01:07 PM
  #5
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What is the case for Lafleur? If arguing the case I would probably try to argue that Lafleur's prime was better than Jagr's, Lafleur was the #1 playoff scorer in the dynasty years, and Lafleur might have been a little better defensively than Jagr.

Lafleur doesn't seem to have a good reputation for defense so far in this thread. His +/- and ESGA numbers are stellar for the Habs Cup years, even if that's influenced by Savard, Lapointe, Robinson and the 76-80 Habs in general. The +453 career rating is 8th all-time, behind only Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Clarke and defensemen. As such his ability to generate offensive numbers are impressive on a defensive team, as opposed to putting up numbers on the wide-open Pens teams that got outshot 61-28 by an expansion team (well, 2nd year) in the playoffs.

If playoff success means something, Lafleur should have an edge. The Habs won 4 Cups with Lafleur as the leading playoff scorer each time. Jagr's best finish on the Cup-winning teams was 4th. So if Stevens was the Robin to Lemieux's Batman, Jagr was Batgirl. When Jagr was the top guy, his team never got past the second round.

Lafleur won a Conn Smythe, and also won the Hart twice (averaging +81 +/- rating). Jagr won the Hart once. Jagr's peak +/- was +34 in 05-06, one of three times he hit +30. Lafleur finished in the top ten six times (to Jagr's three) between 75-80, leading the league in 78 and never finishing worse than +40. In these six years at or near the top of the NHL's +/- ratings, Lafleur finished first in points three times, third twice and fourth once. The offensive numbers may have been less gaudy, but the performance was more balanced than Jagr's.

At the end of the day, I would probably vote for Batgirl over Lafleur, but this is the argument I would make.

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01-16-2011, 02:04 PM
  #6
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They are easily in my top 5 favorite player all-time.
Hockey doesn't get a lot more awesome than with these 2.
I hate debate like this cause I have to listen to ''bash'' from both sides lol.
I think Lafleur was a little bit better in his prime , no matter the numbers or anything.
I know I would count on him a little bit more , not to say I wouldn't count on Jagr.

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01-16-2011, 03:04 PM
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To be short I think people put Lafleur ahead of Jagr due to playoff performance and slightly better peak.

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01-16-2011, 04:11 PM
  #8
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Originally Posted by blogofmike View Post
What is the case for Lafleur? If arguing the case I would probably try to argue that Lafleur's prime was better than Jagr's, Lafleur was the #1 playoff scorer in the dynasty years, and Lafleur might have been a little better defensively than Jagr.

Lafleur doesn't seem to have a good reputation for defense so far in this thread. His +/- and ESGA numbers are stellar for the Habs Cup years, even if that's influenced by Savard, Lapointe, Robinson and the 76-80 Habs in general. The +453 career rating is 8th all-time, behind only Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Clarke and defensemen. As such his ability to generate offensive numbers are impressive on a defensive team, as opposed to putting up numbers on the wide-open Pens teams that got outshot 61-28 by an expansion team (well, 2nd year) in the playoffs.

If playoff success means something, Lafleur should have an edge. The Habs won 4 Cups with Lafleur as the leading playoff scorer each time. Jagr's best finish on the Cup-winning teams was 4th. So if Stevens was the Robin to Lemieux's Batman, Jagr was Batgirl. When Jagr was the top guy, his team never got past the second round.

Lafleur won a Conn Smythe, and also won the Hart twice (averaging +81 +/- rating). Jagr won the Hart once. Jagr's peak +/- was +34 in 05-06, one of three times he hit +30. Lafleur finished in the top ten six times (to Jagr's three) between 75-80, leading the league in 78 and never finishing worse than +40. In these six years at or near the top of the NHL's +/- ratings, Lafleur finished first in points three times, third twice and fourth once. The offensive numbers may have been less gaudy, but the performance was more balanced than Jagr's.

At the end of the day, I would probably vote for Batgirl over Lafleur, but this is the argument I would make.
That would be the argument but at the end of the day it's pretty hard to argue Lafleur over Jagr , Jagr beats him in every meaningful individual category (plus minus is really a team stat for these 2 guys) by quite a bit as well when we put each players peak, prime and career into the proper context. One guy happened to play on better overall teams and won 5 Cups but to me it isn't even really close Jagr was far better than Lafluer overall.

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01-16-2011, 04:45 PM
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I wonder what sounds better:

...left in regulation time. Boston 4, Montreal 3. Lafleur, coming out rather gingerly on the right side.

He gives it into Lemaire, back to Lafleur - HE SCORES!


OR

...it's still in there. Jagr intercepted it. Hangs on to it. Made a good move. ANOTHER good move.

HE'S IN! SCORES! WHAT A GOAL! JAGR TIES IT, FOR PITTSBURG!

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01-16-2011, 04:50 PM
  #10
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To be short I think people put Lafleur ahead of Jagr due to playoff performance and slightly better peak.
Sums it up perfectly.

There's a good argument that Lafleur has the highest peak of any player after the Big 4.

And playoffs are no contest. Jagr put up good stats in the playoffs, but he was no Lafleur. Lafleur averaged about 1.5 points per game in the playoffs over his 6 year peak. It's incredible. And when it comes to "memorable playoff moments," it's not close. How many legendary playoff runs can anyone actually remember that Jagr had?

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01-16-2011, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Sums it up perfectly.

There's a good argument that Lafleur has the highest peak of any player after the Big 4.

And playoffs are no contest. Jagr put up good stats in the playoffs, but he was no Lafleur. Lafleur averaged about 1.5 points per game in the playoffs over his 6 year peak. It's incredible. And when it comes to "memorable playoff moments," it's not close. How many legendary playoff runs can anyone actually remember that Jagr had?
Legendary? None. Not even Mario could have won with the Pens after 92. Although Jagr had some very good playoff runs. Is it his fault that the team sucked?
Lafleur had much better chance to have legendary runs considering the team he played for. It's interesting that Bourque gets a free pass for not getting the job done in Boston, and Jagr's playoffs are summed up as "put up good stats, but otherwise, meh".

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01-16-2011, 05:02 PM
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Legendary? None. Not even Mario could have won with the Pens after 92. Although Jagr had some very good playoff runs. Is it his fault that the team sucked?
Lafleur had much better chance to have legendary runs considering the team he played for. It's interesting that Bourque gets a free pass, and Jagr "put up good stats, but otherwise, meh".
I was just about to point this out.

Lafleur over Jagr is a joke.

Bourque over Lidstrom, while I certainly don't agree, I can see where the people who favor Bourque are coming from and I respect their opinion. But to have Lafleur over Jagr just is ridiculous. Jagr was/is just way more dominant. Hart trophy argument is a really bad one, Jagr was robbed in the Thornton year and arguably in others as well (Pronger year stands out after the Thornton year the most).

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01-16-2011, 05:06 PM
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Jagr has better Hart record as well.

Top5 finishes (1st;2nd etc.)

Jaromir Jagr 1;4;1;1;0
Guy Lafleur 2;1;1;1;1

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01-16-2011, 05:13 PM
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I must not have been reading the same board as you guys, because I've seen older posters like Dark Shadows and lextune repeatedly talk about how amazing Bourque was as the Bruins' leading player on multiple runs to the finals. I was too young at the time, but it certainly seems like Bourque had memorable runs on more than one occasion with the Bruins.

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01-16-2011, 05:18 PM
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I must not have been reading the same board as you guys, because I've seen older posters like Dark Shadows and lextune repeatedly talk about how amazing Bourque was as the Bruins' leading player on multiple runs to the finals. I was too young at the time, but it certainly seems like Bourque had memorable runs on more than one occasion with the Bruins.
And Jagr did not lead the Penguins? He wasn't amazing? I remember him coming back semi-injured and weak and despite that he beat the Devils in OT. (forgot which season that was)

Just before he left NHL, he was the only skater (Lundqvist did his best as well) that could do anything against the Penguins in the playoffs. Jagr is certainly a great playoff performer.

Jagr: GP 169 G 77 A 104 P 181
Lafleur: GP 128 G58 A 76 P 134

And Jagr played in a lower scoring era, on much worse teams. Lafleur did absolutely nothing outside his 6 amazing years, even if you give him the edge in prime, which I disagree with, Jagr has MUCH better durability and was able to play at the elite level far longer.

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01-16-2011, 05:22 PM
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There's a good argument that Lafleur has the highest peak of any player after the Big 4.
Highest peak of any skater, perhaps. I think Hasek had the best peak of any player after the Big Four. But that's for another thread.

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01-16-2011, 06:50 PM
  #17
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I must not have been reading the same board as you guys, because I've seen older posters like Dark Shadows and lextune repeatedly talk about how amazing Bourque was as the Bruins' leading player on multiple runs to the finals. I was too young at the time, but it certainly seems like Bourque had memorable runs on more than one occasion with the Bruins.
I saw the Bourque runs to the finals. He was outstanding.

However, as anyone who also saw Jagr in the mid to late 90s.. he was also outstanding.

Its a double standard.

Jagr was just unfortunate in that his best chances at the cup came in his first 3 years before he was firmly in his prime and the only other time he was on a team with real good shot they were upset by the Panther's pumpkin run. He stlil picked up two cups and was very strong in the 2nd run at only 19 years old.

I don't think anyone with a clue could argue that Jagr should have led any of those teams he played on in the late 90s to the promised land. Just the way no one seems to slight Bourque for not being able to get it done with the Bruins despite playing very well individually.

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01-16-2011, 07:08 PM
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Sums it up perfectly.

There's a good argument that Lafleur has the highest peak of any player after the Big 4.

And playoffs are no contest. Jagr put up good stats in the playoffs, but he was no Lafleur. Lafleur averaged about 1.5 points per game in the playoffs over his 6 year peak. It's incredible. And when it comes to "memorable playoff moments," it's not close. How many legendary playoff runs can anyone actually remember that Jagr had?
If we look at theoir playoff stats it sure deosn't give any huge advantage to Lafleur overall.

And where is this highest peak after the big 4 coming from? Jagrs peak is higher any way we look at it in both actual and adjusted stats.

Lafleur has a great 6 year run in which he led the NHL in scoring in 3 of those years, Jagr has a 7 year run where he lead in scoring in 5 of those years.

Lafleur had more Cups in a short space of time and that's the only thing that sets him apart from Jagr but Jagr wins in every other department and in overall career it's not even really very close.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
Legendary? None. Not even Mario could have won with the Pens after 92. Although Jagr had some very good playoff runs. Is it his fault that the team sucked?
Lafleur had much better chance to have legendary runs considering the team he played for. It's interesting that Bourque gets a free pass for not getting the job done in Boston, and Jagr's playoffs are summed up as "put up good stats, but otherwise, meh".
Exactly the "playoff winners and losers arguement" types are not consistent with many posters on these boards and the argument is used very selectively for certain players depending on whether a poster seemed to like them or not.

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01-16-2011, 07:44 PM
  #19
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I don't think anyone with a clue could argue that Jagr should have led any of those teams he played on in the late 90s to the promised land. Just the way no one seems to slight Bourque for not being able to get it done with the Bruins despite playing very well individually.
There is a subtle distinction here.

I agree 100% that nobody with a clue could argue Jagr should have led those teams to a Cup. But what about the Finals? What about the Conference Finals with the team losing despite Jagr's best efforts to carry them? Like it or not, the impression of Jagr from those of us who watched a lot of him was a guy who rarely "went down fighting." (and believe me, I used to root for Jagr a lot... for the silly reason that when I first started watching hockey, I found his mullet hilarious)

Maybe some of it is unfair. I don't think it's a Euro thing, but more of a "following in Mario's footsteps thing." It doesn't help that Jagr seemed prone to depression and actually really did seem pretty despondent that he was unable to live up to what Mario did for the team as the previous "best player in the world."

This board definitely (and rightfully IMO) makes a distinction between guys who couldn't win it all despite putting forth as good of an effort as you could possibly expect from them (Ray Bourque in Boston, Chris Chelios in his prime, Brad Park for his career) and those whose teams failed partly because of them (Marcel Dionne, Joe Thornton so far). Jagr, in his prime, tends to fall somewhere in the middle. And I think that's probably fair. He was a good playoff performer, and anyone who says otherwise is misinformed IMO. But he wasn't "Five Art Rosses and winning the Art Ross while missing 20 games" good in the playoffs.

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01-16-2011, 07:52 PM
  #20
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If I had a really good team and needed that final piece, I would choose LaFleur. If I had anything resembling an average team or below, I would take Jagr.

Not that LaFleur needed a lot of help, but not sure any forward could do more offensively on their own than the big 3.

I'm not a huge Jagr fan, him and Mario are the only two great players I've ever been "quit", but I would still take him over LaFleur or Bossy.

I generally think Bossy and Jagr get under rated, while LaFleur gets over rated.

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01-16-2011, 07:58 PM
  #21
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There is a subtle distinction here.

I agree 100% that nobody with a clue could argue Jagr should have led those teams to a Cup. But what about the Finals? What about the Conference Finals with the team losing despite Jagr's best efforts to carry them? Like it or not, the impression of Jagr from those of us who watched a lot of him was a guy who rarely "went down fighting." (and believe me, I used to root for Jagr a lot... for the silly reason that when I first started watching hockey, I found his mullet hilarious)

Maybe some of it is unfair. I don't think it's a Euro thing, but more of a "following in Mario's footsteps thing." It doesn't help that Jagr seemed prone to depression and actually really did seem pretty despondent that he was unable to live up to what Mario did for the team as the previous "best player in the world."

This board definitely (and rightfully IMO) makes a distinction between guys who couldn't win it all despite putting forth as good of an effort as you could possibly expect from them (Ray Bourque in Boston, Chris Chelios in his prime, Brad Park for his career) and those whose teams failed partly because of them (Marcel Dionne, Joe Thornton so far). Jagr, in his prime, tends to fall somewhere in the middle. And I think that's probably fair. He was a good playoff performer, and anyone who says otherwise is misinformed IMO. But he wasn't "Five Art Rosses and winning the Art Ross while missing 20 games" good in the playoffs.
The biggest difference is that Guy had his playoff success compacted in a 5 year period and playoff "peak" is better but his overall actaul playoff career does not stand out to be any better than Jagrs on an individual basis either.

guy outside of his 5 year peak was actually a pretty horrible playoff performer while Jagr's peak might have been a bit less in the playoffs he was far more consistent and had a stacks up way better against Guy outside of their 5 season playoff peaks or even their best 5 years in the playoffs.

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01-16-2011, 07:58 PM
  #22
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And Jagr did not lead the Penguins? He wasn't amazing? I remember him coming back semi-injured and weak and despite that he beat the Devils in OT. (forgot which season that was)

Just before he left NHL, he was the only skater (Lundqvist did his best as well) that could do anything against the Penguins in the playoffs. Jagr is certainly a great playoff performer.

Jagr: GP 169 G 77 A 104 P 181
Lafleur: GP 128 G58 A 76 P 134

And Jagr played in a lower scoring era, on much worse teams. Lafleur did absolutely nothing outside his 6 amazing years, even if you give him the edge in prime, which I disagree with, Jagr has MUCH better durability and was able to play at the elite level far longer.
Posting their career playoff stats is incredibly disingenuous when we all know that Lafleur's entire legacy is based off of his incredible 6 year peak.

Guy Lafleur in the playoffs from 1975-1980: 72GP, 51 G, 59A, 110 points.
1.52 points per game in the playoffs, over a sample size that is almost a full season's length. Complete and utter dominance.

Unfortunately, hockey reference's power play tool is down, so I don't have the stats for second place over this time, but needless to say, it isn't close at all.

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01-16-2011, 08:03 PM
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The biggest difference is that Guy had his playoff success compacted in a 5 year period and playoff "peak" is better but his overall actaul playoff career does not stand out to be any better than Jagrs on an individual basis either.

guy outside of his 5 year peak was actually a pretty horrible playoff performer while Jagr's peak might have been a bit less in the playoffs he was far more consistent and had a stacks up way better against Guy outside of their 5 season playoff peaks or even their best 5 years in the playoffs.
First off, Guy had a 6 year peak. His injuries really hit him hard after 1979-1980. He was limited to 3 playoff games in the playoffs in 1980, but still scored 3 goals and 1 assist after his final 100+ point regular season, so I included that in his peak.

Second off, Guy wasn't specifically horrid in the playoffs outside those 6 years - he just wasn't an elite player, period.

The OP asked for the case for Guy over Jagr - and it's entirely based on peak. Even if their regular season peaks are basically equal (which is what I think), Guy has the higher playoff peak and it's really not debatable.

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01-16-2011, 08:22 PM
  #24
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Peak could possibly go to Lafleur over Jagr if a person heavily weighs playoffs, which I don't think is fair given the disparity in their respective teams, but Jagr blows Lafleur away in terms of longevity. I woulf put Jagr over Lafleur pretty decisively.

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01-16-2011, 08:34 PM
  #25
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Peak could possibly go to Lafleur over Jagr if a person heavily weighs playoffs, which I don't think is fair given the disparity in their respective teams, but
See, I don't think this is fair to Lafleur, at all. Why should he be punished for playing on a better team? Lafleur was outscoring his closest teammates by huge margins in the playoffs, and I'm pretty sure it was by a much greater margin than Jagr was outscoring his teammates. (Once hockey reference works again, I can post stats). Were Lafleur's Canadiens really that much better offensively than Jagr's Penguins? Were they better at all? Jagr's Penguins were one of the few teams in the league playing an offensive-first style in the mid-late 90s. The big difference is that the Canadiens had Ken Dryden, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard, and Guy Lapointe, while the Penguins had a garbage defense and inconsistent goaltending. But Guy Lafleur WAS the offensive engine of that team.

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