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What was/is the problem with Al MacInnis?

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Old
09-16-2011, 04:28 PM
  #26
Canadiens1958
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Comparisons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
MacInnis played 19 minor-league games so far as I can tell. So I guess he technically spent time in the minors, but in terms of career minor-league games, he's much closer to Bourque's zero than Savard's 70. He was also an NHL regular at a younger age than Chelios, or Savard.

And yes, as stated above that's not what "contemporary" means.
The gist of the minor league comparison is there but MacInnis was healthy whereas Savard saw his last junior season ended after 20 games by career threatening knee surgery and the year in the minors served to rehab the leg and become NHL ready.

Well they were contemporaries especially by posted definitions.

Savard(Winnipeg), Park(Detroit), Lapointe(St.Louis/Boston) finished their careers mainly out west against the same opponents that MacInnis was starting against. Unbalanced schedule did not see Bourque / Chelios / Leetch face the western opponents as often. Leetch never faced the Gretzky lead Oilers.

You could see how the veterans played against the powerhouse Oilers and how the young defencemen like Al MacInnis played against the same team and star players clearly illustrating the differences.

As long as such direct comparisons are possible between players, common opponents, challenges, rules, coaches, etc it is accurate to view them as being contemporaries.

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09-16-2011, 04:53 PM
  #27
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Please define "contemporary" in the way that you intend that we use it.

As I see it, any definition which leads to MacInnis being a contemporary of Savard but not a contemporary of Chelios is one that I'd rather not see the light of the English language.

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09-16-2011, 05:03 PM
  #28
Dennis Bonvie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McNuts View Post
He shouldn't be ranked much lower than Pilote and Horton IMO.
I had MacInnis ahead of Horton on my list last time.

I'm a little surprised he wasn't on the top 70.

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09-16-2011, 05:52 PM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
The best defensive defensemen like Scott Stevens, Chris Pronger, Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom are strictly matched by their coaches against the best lines of their opponents. MacInnis was certainly not sheltered, but he wasn't matched either.
This is based on eye observations, rather than some kind of statistics, right?

Quote:
You sort of get an idea of how MacInnis was used over his career by how he was used on special teams. He killed 39% of his team's penalties over his career, basically a career 2nd pairing PKer. Compare to Scott Stevens (56% over his career, even higher in NJ only) or Chris Chelios (58%).
Where do these numbers come from?
If they are from overpass' thread about adjusted +/-, I would be careful to use them (no offence meant!) as facts. Having compared some of the numbers with the real ones (official icetimes), they are often off by some (usually small) margin.
So what you write here is not facts, but estimations, right?

(Your points still stands, though, as the margins between Stevens/Chelios and MacInnis seem large enough to draw conclusions on. Plus that your numbers probably matches what you've seen when watching games, as well as with the general consensus.)

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09-16-2011, 05:58 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plusandminus View Post
Where do these numbers come from?
If they are from overpass' thread about adjusted +/-, I would be careful to use them (no offence meant!) as facts. Having compared some of the numbers with the real ones (official icetimes), they are often off by some (usually small) margin.
So what you write here is not facts, but estimations, right?
No offence taken.

Something to consider - the GA-based estimates of actually have an advantage over the actual percentage of time played, in that they give more credit to players who play the toughest shorthanded minutes, such as defending 5-on-3's and defending against the opponent's first power play unit.

In any case, I agree that MacInnis clearly played less of a defensive role than Chelios and Stevens. We're not splitting hairs trying to compare two similar players like Chelios and Stevens. While MacInnis played on the first penalty kill unit for much of his career, it wasn't to the degree of the best defensive defenders.


Last edited by overpass: 09-16-2011 at 06:03 PM.
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09-16-2011, 06:06 PM
  #31
Dennis Bonvie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overpass View Post
Pronger had a much better plus minus than MacInnis in 2000. Are you thinking of 1999?

I agree with your overall point. Comparing the plus minus of MacInnis and Chelios is not apples to apples.

I wonder about Paul Coffey MacInnis had the better plusminus, and Coffey wasn't a shutdown defender either. MacInnis killed more penalties, and was arguably better on the power play.

Coffey's case is peak+playoffs. And hockey fans tend to put a lot of weight on those categories, so there you go.
I'd call that an understatement.

MacInnis was much better than Coffey defensively. I would rank them very close overall.

I wonder what MacInnis's offensive numbers would have been like playing for Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Philly and Detroit like Coffey did.

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09-16-2011, 10:07 PM
  #32
vadim sharifijanov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
I'd call that an understatement.

MacInnis was much better than Coffey defensively. I would rank them very close overall.

I wonder what MacInnis's offensive numbers would have been like playing for Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Philly and Detroit like Coffey did.
i'd say that calgary team was a pretty good offensive powerhouse to be on, at least on the PP, where macinnis feasted. suter or reinhart as his PP d partner, some combination of gilmour, nieuwendyk, and sometimes otto at center, with kenta nilsson early on and bullard briefly; with a succession of great scoring wingers that went from mcdonald and loob with mullen joining them to tonelli and hull (briefly) to makarov and fleury and roberts. that's eleven different guys who had scored either 50 goals or 100 points + sergei makarov + an underrated crease guy in otto who also dominated in the faceoff circle, and this doesn't even take into account very productive PP guys like dan quinn, robert reichel, eddy beers, brian maclellan, mark hunter, and german titov for a short spell. terry crisp may have stressed defense, but macinnis wasn't exactly hurting for high quality offensive teammates.

in st. louis, he had at various times shanahan, hull again, demitra, tkachuk, weight, turgeon, as well as productive sub-star guys like scott young, corson, mellanby, stillman, rucinsky, and hecht. and pronger and duchesne on the back end.

short of spending time with gretzky's oilers, i'm not sure macinnis' numbers could really have been higher than they were. in terms of offensive talent, i don't think the pens during their cup years were really any better than those flames teams.

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09-16-2011, 11:11 PM
  #33
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Going back to the big picture about MacInnis, it is interesting that his stats are much better than his reputation.

Here's how MacInnis's regular season career is rated by two all-in-one metrics.

GVT (Puck Prospectus)
numbers from 1944-2010
1 Wayne Gretzky 542
2 Gordie Howe 519
3 Ray Bourque 492
4 Patrick Roy 434
5 Dominik Hasek 426
6 Al MacInnis 378
7 Jaromir Jagr 376
8 Paul Coffey 367
9 Jacques Plante 362
10 Phil Esposito 357

Point Shares (hockey-reference.com)
numbers from 1918-2011
1 Wayne Gretzky 251
2 Ray Bourque 243
3 Gordie Howe 217
4 Nicklas Lidstrom 204
5 Patrick Roy 198
6 Al MacInnis 195
7 Martin Brodeur 191
8 Paul Coffey 186
9 Terry Sawchuk 180
10 Tony Esposito 179

Note: I don't endorse either of these metrics as a complete method to compare all players across eras. Just presenting them as the two most comprehensive statistical approaches available.

If this were baseball, MacInnis would probably have a better reputation because of the focus on accumulating career numbers and career value in the regular season.

Hockey fans/media have traditionally put more weight on peak performance and playoff performance when evaluating players (except for Dino Ciccarelli.) At it's worst this can turn into counting Cups and awards, but overall I prefer it to baseball's focus on accumulating numbers.

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09-17-2011, 06:19 AM
  #34
Dennis Bonvie
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[QUOTE=vadim sharifijanov;36768125]i'd say that calgary team was a pretty good offensive powerhouse to be on, at least on the PP, where macinnis feasted. suter or reinhart as his PP d partner, some combination of gilmour, nieuwendyk, and sometimes otto at center, with kenta nilsson early on and bullard briefly; with a succession of great scoring wingers that went from mcdonald and loob with mullen joining them to tonelli and hull (briefly) to makarov and fleury and roberts. that's eleven different guys who had scored either 50 goals or 100 points + sergei makarov + an underrated crease guy in otto who also dominated in the faceoff circle, and this doesn't even take into account very productive PP guys like dan quinn, robert reichel, eddy beers, brian maclellan, mark hunter, and german titov for a short spell. terry crisp may have stressed defense, but macinnis wasn't exactly hurting for high quality offensive teammates.

in st. louis, he had at various times shanahan, hull again, demitra, tkachuk, weight, turgeon, as well as productive sub-star guys like scott young, corson, mellanby, stillman, rucinsky, and hecht. and pronger and duchesne on the back end.

short of spending time with gretzky's oilers, i'm not sure macinnis' numbers could really have been higher than they were. in terms of offensive talent, i don't think the pens during their cup years were really any better than those flames teams.[/QUOTE]

342 (2nd) and 343 (1st) goals in their cup winning years.

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09-17-2011, 09:09 AM
  #35
vadim sharifijanov
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calgary's goal finishes during the bulk of the macinnis era:

'85: 2nd
'86: 2nd
'87: 2nd
'88: 1st
'89: 2nd
'90: 1st
'91: 1st

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09-17-2011, 11:31 AM
  #36
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To the OP, there is nothing wrong with MacInnis or even his placement at all. Being on the outside of the top 70 is hardly something shameful although many of us would put him in the top 70.

However, if we are going to look at it this way MacInnis is probably 15-20 among the best defensemen ever. If you factor in forwards and goalies then it is reasonable to see how he would be just barely outside of the top 70.

And as much as I show reverence to MacInnis he wasn't at Coffey's level. I have no clue why this happens on HFboards but there isn't a HHOFer that has aged so badly in our eyes other than Coffey. I don't buy it. Coffey did have a ridiculous peak, but he also was great for a long time lets not forget. He was a 2nd team all-star in 1982 and then won the Norris in 1995. In between he had two other Norrises and 6 other 1st or 2nd all-star selections. That's longevity no matter how you slice it. I think it is universally observed that 1996 was Coffey's last very good season so after that he tapered off, but up until then Coffey was always an elite defenseman.

So......Coffey > MacInnis. MacInnis is on the Stevens, Horton, Salming, Leetch and maybe even Park level if you want to put him that high. And personally I probably only have Park ahead of him on that list, maybe Horton.

Don't forget what a lot of people complain about with MacInnis. The popular opinion is that he was robbed of a Norris in 1991 from Bourque. I'm fine with Bourque winning it however.

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09-17-2011, 11:53 AM
  #37
TheDevilMadeMe
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The problem with stats like GVT and adjusted plus minus is that they don't take into account usage.

Al MacInnis was one of the best ever (arguably best after Orr!) in the offensive zone. His shot, his ability to get off that shot, his ability to hold the line. He wasn't an elite rusher like Leetch or Coffey, so he was less dangerous all over the ice, but once he got in the offensive zone, he was amazing.

Since MacInnis's was most useful (by far) in the offensive zone, every coach worth anything would give him as much offensive zone ice time as possible. Unfortunately, the statistics don't exist historically but I would imagine that MacInnis took a higher percentage of offensive zone draws and a lower percentage of defensive zone draws than just about any other defenseman we talk about in this project.

PK usage does exist and this is what MacInnis has compared to other top defensemen:

Chelios 58%
Bourque 58%
Stevens 56%
Lidstrom 54%
Pronger 54%
Leetch 49%
MacInnis 39%

MacInnis is just out of whack with his contemporary elite defensemen. Yes, this is just PK and not even strength. But as far as I am aware, it is the only statistic we have that talks about usage. And from what I saw, I think his even strength usage was similar - MacInnis was pretty good in the defensive zone and was a pretty good puck rusher. But he wasn't elite at either. He was amazing at the point in the offensive zone, so he got as much time there as possible.

This is the opposite of someone like Devils-era Scott Stevens who was elite in the defensive zone but just good elsewhere on the ice.

I don't think it should be controversial that the player used in the most offensive situations would have much better statistics, even if his overall effectiveness was similar to the guy used most in defensive situations.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 09-17-2011 at 03:10 PM. Reason: added bourque and pronger
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09-17-2011, 11:57 AM
  #38
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In the "players intangibles" thread that is stickied, we have multiple polls during MacInnis's career where coaches are asked to name the best defensive defenseman in the league. Bourque, Chelios, and Stevens were the picks of multiple coaches in multiple polls. Al MacInnis never received a vote.

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09-17-2011, 11:59 AM
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
PK usage does exist and this is what MacInnis has compared to other top defensemen:

Chelios 58%
Stevens 56%
Lidstrom 54%
Leetch 49%
MacInnis 39%
I agree with your points. But where do the percentages come from? Are they from official stats or estimations?

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09-17-2011, 12:01 PM
  #40
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And as much as I show reverence to MacInnis he wasn't at Coffey's level. I have no clue why this happens on HFboards but there isn't a HHOFer that has aged so badly in our eyes other than Coffey. I don't buy it. Coffey did have a ridiculous peak, but he also was great for a long time lets not forget. He was a 2nd team all-star in 1982 and then won the Norris in 1995. In between he had two other Norrises and 6 other 1st or 2nd all-star selections. That's longevity no matter how you slice it. I think it is universally observed that 1996 was Coffey's last very good season so after that he tapered off, but up until then Coffey was always an elite defenseman.
I agree, however, Coffey had such an unpresidented drop for a guy that was the all-time leader in defense and points for a period of time to drop to a guy who was placed on waivers and struggling to find a roster spot bouncing from 5 different teams in 5 years. In addition to this , Bourque was about the same age and still a significant piece the Bruins and the Avs while Coffey was struggling to find a roster spot. His peak was awesome, but those last three years or so were really brutal to his standards. The critics wouldn't be knocking him on his peak if he retired in 1997.

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09-17-2011, 01:31 PM
  #41
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I agree, however, Coffey had such an unpresidented drop for a guy that was the all-time leader in defense and points for a period of time to drop to a guy who was placed on waivers and struggling to find a roster spot bouncing from 5 different teams in 5 years. In addition to this , Bourque was about the same age and still a significant piece the Bruins and the Avs while Coffey was struggling to find a roster spot. His peak was awesome, but those last three years or so were really brutal to his standards. The critics wouldn't be knocking him on his peak if he retired in 1997.
Yeah I've never understood that post 1997 career of his. He finishes 5th in Norris voting in 1996. He plays on the World Cup team for Canada and actually ties for the team lead in scoring. Then he has a decent year in 1997 and then drops like a stone until 2001 when he retires.

All I can figure out is that he suffered from burnout and he was just one of those players that did it. Not everyone is Gordie Howe I guess. But let's just examine the amount of hockey that Coffey played from 1980-'97, it was a lot. We saw a similar thing like this with Trottier. Not to mention Messier wasn't very good post 1997 either. Maybe it was just hanging on for too long once the game passed you by. Gretzky had only one "meh" season in his career and that was his last one. Perhaps he knew this and got out in 1999. So that's my only guess with Coffey - burnout and age.

But I am talking more about when Coffey was great. Seems to me even HF posters on this board tend to underrate what he did in his prime. I never understand why. If this is 1986 then no one complains. But somehow once we look back there seems to be this distorted image of a prime Coffey as if he wasn't a valuable contribution and a liability. I never understand that.

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09-17-2011, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Yeah I've never understood that post 1997 career of his. He finishes 5th in Norris voting in 1996. He plays on the World Cup team for Canada and actually ties for the team lead in scoring. Then he has a decent year in 1997 and then drops like a stone until 2001 when he retires.

All I can figure out is that he suffered from burnout and he was just one of those players that did it. Not everyone is Gordie Howe I guess. But let's just examine the amount of hockey that Coffey played from 1980-'97, it was a lot. We saw a similar thing like this with Trottier. Not to mention Messier wasn't very good post 1997 either. Maybe it was just hanging on for too long once the game passed you by. Gretzky had only one "meh" season in his career and that was his last one. Perhaps he knew this and got out in 1999. So that's my only guess with Coffey - burnout and age.

But I am talking more about when Coffey was great. Seems to me even HF posters on this board tend to underrate what he did in his prime. I never understand why. If this is 1986 then no one complains. But somehow once we look back there seems to be this distorted image of a prime Coffey as if he wasn't a valuable contribution and a liability. I never understand that.
Let's agree that Coffey was a great player in Edmonton and in 1995.

Don't you see any issues with his play from 1988 to 1994? He was a minus player, his scoring was down, he was traded multiple times...

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09-17-2011, 02:37 PM
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
And as much as I show reverence to MacInnis he wasn't at Coffey's level. I have no clue why this happens on HFboards but there isn't a HHOFer that has aged so badly in our eyes other than Coffey. I don't buy it.
Agreed. Coffey is incredibly underrated here now, and his supposedly poor defensive ability is played up way too much.

He was pretty average defensively and above average when it mattered most. He was also more physical in important games too.

He was actively encouraged to be a risk taker and use his instincts during his development in Edmonton.

MacInnis wasn't all that great defensively early in his career either.

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09-17-2011, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Careers overlap. Potvin and Robinson who tend to be grouped with the seventies dmen as well were listed.

Like Park, Savard and Lapointe, MacInnis spent some time in the minors after junior because like Robinson and the others he was not NHL ready for various reasons. Chelios, Bourque,Leetch post NHL entry draft did not spend time in the minors.
there is a different between overlap and being a contemporary. Sidney Crosby and Lemieux overlapped, would you call them contemporaries? Linkin Park and the Rolling Stones overlap, would you call them contemporaries?

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09-17-2011, 02:57 PM
  #45
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Originally Posted by Doctor No View Post
Yes, I understand that careers overlap. That doesn't make Al MacInnis a contemporary of Serge Savard in any real sense of the word.

Why you would list Savard as a contemporary, but not Bourque/Chelios/Leetch, is beyond me.

This makes sense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Because Bourques/Chelios/Leetch did not spend time in the minors whereas Savard did as did MacInnis.

Issue of when a player is NHL ready and how his career evolves.

This does not make sense, and for the record Al spent a grand total of 19 games in the minors.

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09-17-2011, 03:13 PM
  #46
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I agree with your points. But where do the percentages come from? Are they from official stats or estimations?
After 1998, the NHL came out with official ice time tracking. Before then, they are estimates, but the estimates are surprisingly close to actual ice time in seasons when we have both (basically after 1998).

Overpass might be able to explain more fully.

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09-17-2011, 03:19 PM
  #47
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
After 1998, the NHL came out with official ice time tracking. Before then, they are estimates, but the estimates are surprisingly close to actual ice time in seasons when we have both (basically after 1998).

Overpass might be able to explain more fully.
OK, I understand.

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09-17-2011, 03:55 PM
  #48
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Let's agree that Coffey was a great player in Edmonton and in 1995.

Don't you see any issues with his play from 1988 to 1994? He was a minus player, his scoring was down, he was traded multiple times...
I guess there are issues as far as the fact he wasn't a Norris winner. But he was still awfully good in that time frame you mentioned.

Norris finishes:
1989 - 2nd
1990 - 4th
1991 - 5th
1992 - no votes
1993 - 9th
1994 - 7th

2nd team all-star in 1990, first team in 1989

Also won a Cup and a Canada Cup in that time frame. Sure that was his down time but is that really a knock on his career?

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09-17-2011, 07:32 PM
  #49
Dennis Bonvie
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I guess there are issues as far as the fact he wasn't a Norris winner. But he was still awfully good in that time frame you mentioned.

Norris finishes:
1989 - 2nd
1990 - 4th
1991 - 5th
1992 - no votes
1993 - 9th
1994 - 7th

2nd team all-star in 1990, first team in 1989

Also won a Cup and a Canada Cup in that time frame. Sure that was his down time but is that really a knock on his career?
And how much heat would the voters take today in this forum if a Dman that didn't play against the other teams top line had a -10 (1989), -25 (1990) and -18 (1991) and finished that hight in Norris voting?

Either his reputation bought him votes or no one was voting on anything other than offensive numbers.

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09-17-2011, 07:37 PM
  #50
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And how much heat would the voters take today in this forum if a Dman that didn't play against the other teams top line had a -10 (1989), -25 (1990) and -18 (1991) and finished that hight in Norris voting?

Either his reputation bought him votes or no one was voting on anything other than offensive numbers.
Or he played an offensive style on poor overall defensive teams.

Pittsburgh
88-89 349 Goals against (20 out of 21)
89-90 359 goals against (20 out of 21)
90-91 305 goals against (18 out of 21)

Not trying to say Paul Coffey was Rod Langway defensively or anything.. but +/- is not really an individual stat, and Pittsburgh relied on their powerplay to make up for a lot of defensive shortcomings in those days.

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