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All-time Greatest defenseman Round 3

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Third Greatest Defenseman All-Time   

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7 hours ago, Rick Blight said:

A.J. I would never take anything away from Pilote as he was a very good player but those 6 seasons were not amongst the strongest ones in NHL history for defensemen.

 

The 3 years he finished 2nd in the Norris the winners were Harvey (when he was 37), Jacques Laperriere and Harry Howell. The 3 years he won the 2nd and 3rd place voting went to Lapperriere and Gadsby (1965), Horton and Vasko (1964) and Carl Brewer and Horton (1963).

A very fair assessment, though I would also point out that Harvey was excellent, even into his later years (much like Lidstrom), and I believe that Gadsby and Horton are probably both underrated. It wasn't really a time of exciting offensive defensemen, so it's sensible that none of the guys in that era put up inspiring numbers. I believe we'd be saying the same thing of Harvey's Norris wins if he didn't win so many of them. Harvey won a few times against Kelly, but otherwise he faced similar competition to Pilote, beating out guys like Allan Stanley, Marcel Pronovost, and the same Bill Gadsby you mentioned, none of whom are considered dominant names.

 

Then again, maybe you'd put Harvey much lower than I would for the same reason. I'd say the era and style of hockey in the 50s and 60s made for a very unglamorous set of top tier defenders who focused much more on being physical stay-at-home defenders.

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5 minutes ago, -AJ- said:

A very fair assessment, though I would also point out that Harvey was excellent, even into his later years (much like LIdstrom), and I believe that Gadsby and Horton are probably both underrated. It wasn't really a time of exciting offensive defensemen, so it's sensible that none of the guys in that era put up inspiring numbers. I believe we'd be saying the same thing of Harvey's Norris wins if he didn't win so many of them. Harvey won a few times against Kelly, but otherwise he faced similar competition to Pilote, beating out guys like Allan Stanley, Marcel Pronovost, and the same Bill Gadsby you mentioned, none of whom are considered dominant names.

 

Then again, maybe you'd put Harvey much lower than I would for the same reason. I'd say the era and style of hockey in the 50s and 60s made for a very unglamorous set of top tier defenders who focused much more on being physical stay-at-home defenders.

That part is so, so true. Stanley, for example, could hardly skate.....he made Dana Murzyn look like Pavel Bure.

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Here's another fact about Larry Robinson.  Ever wonder why a guy who won as Stanley Cup as a head coach isn't a head coach today?  Simple, he loathed being 'a bad guy' towards players.  And being a head coach means you have to be tough with the players under you *some of the time*.  You can't be their best friends.  He's like the anti-Mike Keenan!:lol:

Edited by NewbieCanuckFan
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5 hours ago, IBatch said:

I take it you nominate Stevens ... if you go back to the first entry you might be pleasantly surprised to see his name was on it ... nobody voted for him, and I paired down the list to those who got votes or had multiple Norris trophies/Harts (aside from EK...he’s not in the HHOF...yet). 

Sorry didn't see the first entry. Yes, I nominate him.

I think it's a joke he never won a Norris. However, he did win the Conn Smythe.

I don't think any Devils fan would say Niedermayer is better than Stevens, although to be fair he had his most productive years in Anaheim. I'm a big fan of both. 

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On Potvin. 
 

When he retired he led defenseman in virtually all catagories.   Had he started at 18, which for sure he was good enough to do given the hype around him and how well he played right away at 20,  his legacy would have been even more impressive.   Without Orr in the picture before him I’d bet we’d still be talking about him instead.  
 

Some of his list of achievements:

 

First to 300 goals, 1000 points, first to 100 playoff assists, led the 1976 Canada Cup in points and assists, part of the team that had a record 19 consecutive playoff series..Captain of the NYI dynasty and considered a top ten leader all-time by Sportsnet  -  the highest amongst defenseman.  Only Orr, Potvin, Coffey, MacInnis and Leetch managed 100 point seasons.   That’s a very exclusive list.   And half of his seasons are among the best ever. 

 

His stats are almost as gaudy as Orr and Coffey’s, yet on the other side of the puck he was just as good.   15 seasons and by 23 was already posting 98 point years.   Crazy amount of 20 plus goal seasons with a couple consecutive 30 plus goal years.     And was no slouch when it came to grit ... first four seasons all well over 100 PIMs and was one tough rock em sock em Hombre.   Had six fights his rookie year and earned his respect...fought Shultz in 78 too.   One of the better hitters during his era as well.  
 

I keep voting Shore, acknowledging THN famous 1998 ranking (the most in depth, accurate and detailed one ever created) as number 10 on the all-time greatest players ever (Potvin was 18th) - all positions....but Potvin is for sure the next guy up after him.   
 

Nobody else in the history of the game has had his name chanted as much or as often as he has (POTVIN SUCKS!!) is still chanted 4 decades later... now that’s impact.   If I was to start a team and could pick anyone outside of Orr,  Potvin would be the first one up.   Imagine if he played 20 seasons Bourque  would be outside looking in as far as all-time points go, those 19 consecutive playoff series took a lot of steam out of that NYI team, and Potvin absolutely was their engine. 

Edited by IBatch

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9 hours ago, NaveJoseph said:

Sorry didn't see the first entry. Yes, I nominate him.

I think it's a joke he never won a Norris. However, he did win the Conn Smythe.

I don't think any Devils fan would say Niedermayer is better than Stevens, although to be fair he had his most productive years in Anaheim. I'm a big fan of both. 

I’d agree - I’d rather have Stevens on my team too.   Best hitter in the history of the NHL, and did a little of everything.   Excellent player that never won a Norris. I’d say Weber is the closest comparable today, always in the conversation but never won one.   Both guys play huge minutes against the best of the best,  and some of his hits are legendary (Lindros and Kariya).   Not a huge Devils fan myself - but respect their legacy a lot, and it starts with Broduer and ends with Stevens.   Hated the trap...and the obstruction.   But some don’t remember that the Devils actually led the league in offense occasionally as well (Mogilny years - just extremely well balanced scoring).   That era is all about Detroit and COL battling it out in the West, but they often had to get by NJ at the end...and NJ won just as many cups as Detroit did over the same period of time (don’t include the Datsyuk/Zetterberg/Osgood/Lidstrom core)...that said didn’t Broduer have one last kick at the can in his mid-late 30’s?

 

Detroit, NJ and COL won 9 cups ... and made 12 final appearances over that time period....pretty incredible if you think about it.   And Detroit and COL went hammer and tong against each other 7 times ... usually to have to pleasure to play your favourite team. 

Edited by IBatch
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18 hours ago, -AJ- said:

Voting for Harvey, nominating Pierre Pilote, winner of three Norris trophies and runner up three times as well. I doubt many other players not on the list yet can say they've been 2nd or better in Norris voting six times.

I don’t understand the lack of love for Coffey. Won Norris 3 times (2different teams), runner-up 2 times, top 5 10 times. Won his final Norris in his 13th season at the age of 32. Had 77 pts for Detroit that year. In his last full season he had 11-29=40 for Carolina at the age of 39. NHL D-man record for most goals scored ever (455 reg season and playoffs). 4 Stanley Cups (2 different teams). 2nd highest scoring D-man in NHL history (48 points behind Bourque who played 203 more games). Played for 20 seasons.

Edited by CaptKirk888
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6 minutes ago, CaptKirk888 said:

I don’t understand the lack of love for Coffey. Won Norris 3 times (2different teams), runner-up 2 times, top 5 10 times. Won his final Norris in his 13th season at the age of 32. Had 77 pts for Detroit that year. In his last full season he had 11-29=40 for Carolina at the age of 39. NHL D-man record for most goals scored ever (455 reg season and playoffs). 4 Stanley Cups (2 different teams). 2nd highest scoring D-man in NHL history (48 points behind Bourque who played 203 more games). Played for 20 seasons.

I'm not sure how my post relates to Coffey. He's already on the list as a voting option.

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10 minutes ago, -AJ- said:

I'm not sure how my post relates to Coffey. He's already on the list as a voting option.

Sorry, not directed specifically to you. It does relate to your post However as you mentioned How many wins and nominations Pierre Pilote received. Coffey similarly received many nominations and had 3 wins as well and is on the list. Perhaps Pilote should be as well.
 

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1 minute ago, CaptKirk888 said:

Sorry, not directed specifically to you. It does relate to your post However as you mentioned How many wins and nominations Pierre Pilote received. Coffey similarly received many nominations and had 3 wins as well and is on the list. Perhaps Pilote should be as well.
 

Ah yes, I do have Coffey quite high on my list as well. He gets a lot of flack because during his time in Edmonton, he was sometimes more of a fourth forward than a defenseman, but in his later years, he had a more balanced game while retaining much of his offensive level.

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5 hours ago, -AJ- said:

Ah yes, I do have Coffey quite high on my list as well. He gets a lot of flack because during his time in Edmonton, he was sometimes more of a fourth forward than a defenseman, but in his later years, he had a more balanced game while retaining much of his offensive level.

Said in the first thread if this was “favourite D all-time” my first vote would go to Coffey.   As a teenager growing up with Gretzky and Coffey an Co making the game as about as exciting as I’ve ever seen it (and that includes Semenko and later McSorely...talk about cool enforcer names - and both belonged in the game even without their fighting skills)....it wasn’t just his skating - although it was unbelievable- it was his entire package.   Begrudgingly I admit there are better D’s but not many.   He won a Norris is 95...well after his time with EDM and brief time in PIT.   And didn’t matter where he played he helped their offensive engine.   And he could take over a game any night the same way Wayne Gretzky did - or hate to say this - Mark Messier could.   87 Canada Cup is always referred to the best hockey ever played.   It was Coffey that broke up the 2-1 that could have changed the history of that game to the USSR.    For sure he was better then a one trick pony.  Lidstrom gets all the love because folks on this site weren’t alive to see better D’s in action.   That’s ok.   But it makes me wonder if Harvey vs Orr used to be a conversation - how good was Shore.   THN 1998 Bible of rankings has him at number 10 all-time (Shore/any position).   Back then people that watched all those guys were still alive so do my best to differ to them.   But Coffey was something else.   In today’s game without obstruction and no redline ... wow.  His name definitely deserves to be on the top five all-time debate.  

Edited by IBatch
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1 hour ago, CaptKirk888 said:

Sorry, not directed specifically to you. It does relate to your post However as you mentioned How many wins and nominations Pierre Pilote received. Coffey similarly received many nominations and had 3 wins as well and is on the list. Perhaps Pilote should be as well.
 

Coffey played during the “Golden Era” of the NHL.   When there was 18-21 teams and the overall talent level was through the roof.   2002 Yzerman near the end of his career was better then 90% of the young stars that went on and enjoyed success in the 2000’s.   This idea that players are much better now is idiotic.   Maybe without the 4th line like it used to be the game is faster - but that’s about it.   Would be faster back then too with no redline - one extra pass - that guys had to deal with.  
 

Not hard to trace it all the way back to the original six.   The quality of competition Coffey had to deal with was immense.   Still won a couple back to backs ... and later won one more - plus was always in the hunt.   The dead puck era (95-2004) affected everyone thanks to NJ and further expansion.   Yet the stars of the 80’s regularly shined almost or brighter then the stars of the 2000’s in their later years.   Zubov scoring 73 points as a 37 year old after the lockout is a horse I will beat to death on the subject.    Have no idea how 1/2 the stars would do today with the sort of attention they got during that time.   EP falls over whenever he’s slightly bumped.   QHs might be in the infirmary half the time who knows.   It was violent and it was about as perfect entertainment as a fan could ask for from 1973-1995... things have changed.  
 

Edit:  Cap hasn’t done fans any favours but I understand why it’s here.  The shootout is a gimmick I hope they get rid of.   But I love the game now too.  It’s fast - it’s exciting and I love the core JB has built.    Nostalgia hits me hard at times but things are terrible now either.   Just wish the enforcers would come back but don’t see that happening.   Some very old writers have a said things have reverted to the original six on that point where everyone has to take care of themselves.   Problem is after 3-4 decades of having someone to do it for you it’s not in the system anymore. Hockey is supposed to be a rough game.   Hope the players figure that out over time - but doubt it will ever happen. 

Edited by IBatch
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All time best in my time has to be Bobby Orr. He did absolutely everything. As much as I hated the Bruins I loved watching him. His acceleration was breath taking. I didn't see enough of Tim Horton to have a real opinion but his strength was legendary. Another mention is Serge Savard. Before he broke his leg he was effortless. The Savardian spin-o-rama was not meant for Denis. Savard's Cup record means something as well. The Habs d-core during those CUPs was one of the best ever. Coffey, like Orr was a pleasure to watch coming up the ice. I would say Orr's overall game was superior.  

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1 hour ago, Boudrias said:

All time best in my time has to be Bobby Orr. He did absolutely everything. As much as I hated the Bruins I loved watching him. His acceleration was breath taking. I didn't see enough of Tim Horton to have a real opinion but his strength was legendary. Another mention is Serge Savard. Before he broke his leg he was effortless. The Savardian spin-o-rama was not meant for Denis. Savard's Cup record means something as well. The Habs d-core during those CUPs was one of the best ever. Coffey, like Orr was a pleasure to watch coming up the ice. I would say Orr's overall game was superior.  

Orr is the only other player (sorry Mario) that is in the debate for the best player ever.   Even with the slight 3.5% SP difference in today’s game (bigger goalies, equipment and Roy - butterfly have everything to do with that) Orr’s stats are unreal.   Plus I’d argue without the redline and obstruction it’s at least an equal playing field now.   That one extra pass or deke or whatever in the neutral zone is a huge thing for guys as skilled as Orr, Gretzky and Mario.  Sure you can even the playing field a little with math...but what you can never do is not acknowledge how special those players were.   Orr used to play the PK and just hog the puck for two minutes.  Who does that now?  Who else ever did that?  Makes the Lumme “long slow lob” look very very ordinary.  And yes for sure Orr’s game was better then Coffeys.   Only Potvin IMO came close to his overall game.

 

Edit:  And on SP.   Historians have gone all the way back to the very early 50’s on that stat.   Dryden’s was better then almost any goalie ever, better then Roy’s, Broduer’s, Luongo and Rask’s.   Esposito is right in there with Roy’s and Broduers, and Parent just PHI was also over .920...(only Jesus saves more then Parent right?)...the 80’s wasn’t a great time for goalies ... but wonder why.   Look at the guys that played then.   Hawerchuk would have owned the league with Stastny if there was no Gretzky.    Yzerman was equally as special.  Only Crosby and Ovi have managed similar levels since.   
Maybe McDavid too but time will tell.  
 

Back then the WHA proved they were on par with the NHL, but I’d be all for bringing the league back to 21 teams. Imagine the fourth lines gone and the talent level going up ... that’s how it was back then .. even with enforcers as they could play the game as well at that point. 

Edited by IBatch

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37 minutes ago, IBatch said:

Orr is the only other player (sorry Mario) that is in the debate for the best player ever.   Even with the slight 3.5% SP difference in today’s game (bigger goalies, equipment and Roy - butterfly have everything to do with that) Orr’s stats are unreal.   Plus I’d argue without the redline and obstruction it’s at least an equal playing field now.   That one extra pass or deke or whatever in the neutral zone is a huge thing for guys as skilled as Orr, Gretzky and Mario.  Sure you can even the playing field a little with math...but what you can never do is not acknowledge how special those players were.   Orr used to play the PK and just hog the puck for two minutes.  Who does that now?  Who else ever did that?  Makes the Lumme “long slow lob” look very very ordinary.  And yes for sure Orr’s game was better then Coffeys.   Only Potvin IMO came close to his overall game.

 

Edit:  And on SP.   Historians have gone all the way back to the very early 50’s on that stat.   Dryden’s was better then almost any goalie ever, better then Roy’s, Broduer’s, Luongo and Rask’s.   Esposito is right in there with Roy’s and Broduers, and Parent just PHI was also over .920...(only Jesus saves more then Parent right?)...the 80’s wasn’t a great time for goalies ... but wonder why.   Look at the guys that played then.   Hawerchuk would have owned the league with Stastny if there was no Gretzky.    Yzerman was equally as special.  Only Crosby and Ovi have managed similar levels since.   
Maybe McDavid too but time will tell.  
 

Back then the WHA proved they were on par with the NHL, but I’d be all for bringing the league back to 21 teams. Imagine the fourth lines gone and the talent level going up ... that’s how it was back then .. even with enforcers as they could play the game as well at that point. 

I met Orr 2X and he was a great guy. His legs were massive. He came to Kootenay Lake to fish with Bucyk. 

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1 hour ago, Boudrias said:

I met Orr 2X and he was a great guy. His legs were massive. He came to Kootenay Lake to fish with Bucyk. 
 

 

Used to swim across the Kootenay river at Nelson under the bridge ...  best freshwater fishing in the province IMO by far is in the West Kootenay’s ... caught some salmon sized rainbows in the Columbia..on the shore 

 

Growing up at my grandparents in the summer (plus very early years and one year of high school) in Castlegar i had some favourite spots on the river ... Mouth of Bluerberry Creek and the back-eddies about 1 KM upstream on a steep cliff trail down to the river.   Saw fish every time ... and eventually figured out how to catch them.   “Smellgar” used to stink up the river back then, but hasn’t done it like that for decades now.   Some 25-30 pound rainbows in there if your lucky.    And loads of 5-15 pounders.   When I’m all done with the kids.... can see myself doing that three or four times a week again.
 

As an aside my best friend used to work for Hydro as a Fishery Biologist, and count the reds up and down the river by helicopter and by each water source from Rasberry down to Trail.   Over one a minute ran up the culverts under the highway all day long.   It’s a fisherman’s paradise really - but you need to know what works...

Edited by IBatch
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Folks thanks for playing.  Looks like - as usual - the Covid thread is getting the most action.   Will let this one hang another day and see if anyone else notices it.   Hope for a bigger sample size then 35ish hard core hockey nuts but absolutely appreciate anyone and everyone’s viewpoint.   Bourque at number three looks just fine ... but going to give it one more day to see if more folks notice it.  

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3 hours ago, IBatch said:

Orr is the only other player (sorry Mario) that is in the debate for the best player ever.   Even with the slight 3.5% SP difference in today’s game (bigger goalies, equipment and Roy - butterfly have everything to do with that) Orr’s stats are unreal.   Plus I’d argue without the redline and obstruction it’s at least an equal playing field now.   That one extra pass or deke or whatever in the neutral zone is a huge thing for guys as skilled as Orr, Gretzky and Mario.  Sure you can even the playing field a little with math...but what you can never do is not acknowledge how special those players were.   Orr used to play the PK and just hog the puck for two minutes.  Who does that now?  Who else ever did that?  Makes the Lumme “long slow lob” look very very ordinary.  And yes for sure Orr’s game was better then Coffeys.   Only Potvin IMO came close to his overall game.

 

Edit:  And on SP.   Historians have gone all the way back to the very early 50’s on that stat.   Dryden’s was better then almost any goalie ever, better then Roy’s, Broduer’s, Luongo and Rask’s.   Esposito is right in there with Roy’s and Broduers, and Parent just PHI was also over .920...(only Jesus saves more then Parent right?)...the 80’s wasn’t a great time for goalies ... but wonder why.   Look at the guys that played then.   Hawerchuk would have owned the league with Stastny if there was no Gretzky.    Yzerman was equally as special.  Only Crosby and Ovi have managed similar levels since.   
Maybe McDavid too but time will tell.  
 

Back then the WHA proved they were on par with the NHL, but I’d be all for bringing the league back to 21 teams. Imagine the fourth lines gone and the talent level going up ... that’s how it was back then .. even with enforcers as they could play the game as well at that point. 

That was only with Canadian players with a few exceptions.  Talent level with contraction would be insane.

Edited by King Heffy
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33 minutes ago, King Heffy said:

That was only with Canadian players with a few exceptions.  Talent level with contraction would be insane.

Yes with the exception of Stastny bros and the exodus that followed after the wall came down...but as Cherry said - and this is meant in the most Canadian pride way as possible “Don’t give me a Euro player that can score 10-15 goals a year.   Canadians can do that etc etc”.   The best players in the planet were all here by the late 80’s early 90’s.   All of them.  We got Larionov, Bure and Makarov... and all the best were getting drafted (Jagr, Nedved - Euro goalies etc.). And of course they weren’t the first (Gradin and others). 
 

For sure in the 70’s only a few outside USSR players filtered in.   And the NHL hockey scene wasn’t what it could have been without the WHA taking some key players off their rosters.    But after that was done and four teams were brought in, only the best got a spot (best also included best at the rough stuff too - as long as you could play 8-12 minutes a game though).    
 

32 teams now.  Half don’t make the playoffs.   Three cups a team per century on average.   Something is wrong with that picture clearly.   At this point I’d almost say a new system might be in order just for revenue purposes.   A lot of teams suffer if they don’t make the show for 5-10 years which now seems to be the average down cycle.   That’s a lot of time.    And as a Canucks fan still waiting for the parade can’t say in too happy about those odds either.   
 

Edit:  On the revenue picture.   I think the league was on to something with how they did it playoffs this year and should consider continuing it.  Back in the day most teams made the playoffs even with losing records - and sometimes the underdog’s came through - this year it would be MTL for sure (last team in - beat PIT)....

 

Id be absolutely ok if that became the new format with a few adjustments.   Let the top three teams get an automatic bye - and let the next closest four teams fight it out for the last spot.   Would at least give playoff revenue to 20 of the 32 teams.   And reduce the season length back down to 78 or at least 80 games.    82 is too many already.   Would reduce injuries and increase overall revenue’s - plus bring in some great story line’s.  

Edited by IBatch

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