"Best" vs. "Most Valuable" in All-Time Rankings

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by TANK200, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    i think free pass is the wrong way of looking at it.

    the way i see it (and maybe value vs. "best," as you say, is a nice way to put it) the distinction between mario and orr's injury problems is that orr's career ended early. but in general he was very healthy for his entire peak. mario, on the other hand, had a ridiculous nine year peak, but he only played in 71% of the games. (in his six year peak, orr played in 93% of his games.)

    (sidenote: over their two peaks, they played almost an identical amount of games: mario played 454, orr played 447; but for orr, one was a 76 game schedule, four were 78 games, and one was 80 games, whereas for mario five were 80 game schedules, two were 84, one was 82, and the 48 game lockout season he missed completely. all to say, if you normalize their seasons to an 80 game schedule orr probably winds up playing a few more games than mario did over their respective peaks, though this is just small beans in the grand scheme.)

    which is to say, you can count on peak bobby orr being there for you. you can't necessarily count on peak mario to be there for you.

    here's an accounting of mario's nine season peak. on accomplishments, he has five art ross trophies, three retro rockets, three hart trophies, two cups, two conn smythes. so it's hard to complain. but it also contains three seasons that he wasn't really able to help his team.

    1988 season (mostly full)

    1989 season (mostly full)

    1990 season up to mid-february
    • his team was .500 and on pace for the #3 seed in his division when he got hurt; they finished the season out of the playoffs
    1991 season starting at the end of january
    • unlike the previous year, his team was much better so him being out of the lineup wasn't the difference between making/not making the playoffs; that's what adding three hall of famers in the offseason, plus the breakthrough of another hall of famer as a top 5 scorer, plus the addition of two more hall of famers at the deadline, will do for you.
    1992 season up to the beginning of january, picking up again near the end of january, taking another break for the entire first half of february, taking another break for the second half of march, and again for half of april (five playoff games)
    • luckily, ron francis, jagr, tocchet, and stevens carried the mail and after losing the first game without mario rattled off four straight wins, knocking off the presidents trophy winners led by the hart and norris winners, before he came back
    1993 season up to the beginning of january picking up again at the beginning of march
    • no visibly adverse effect on the team, though admittedly they did lose in the second round in one of the largest upsets in NHL history
    1994 season up to the beginning of november, picking up again in february
    • barely played
    1995 (missed the entire season)

    1996 season (mostly full)

    so who would you want? the bobby orr that has one major injury (missing 15 games) over a six year peak, or the mario who over a five year stretch within an eight year peak (1990-'95) you weren't sure was going to miss a major chunk of the season, including possibly playoffs?
     
  2. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    There is obviously a difference between "best"and "most valuable" but that doesn't seem to be the issue in the OP. The issue is that when comparing players at the highest level, the top 99.9% of players, the margins between players are so small. Actually playing the games has to count for something, so when two players are very similar I don't see any issue with consistently going with the healthier and ultimately more productive player. Between Sakic and Fosberg I could easily be convinced that Forsberg at his sustained best was a more effective player than Sakic was, but I would always rank Sakic over Fosberg given that Sakic leavs me with almost no question marks. I'm confident that Pronger was better at his best than Lidstrom was, but Lidstrom was almost always at his best for a decade while Pronger was sometimes inconsistent and missed a lot of time. I would rank Lidstrom over Pronger with quite a gap.

    Ability and especially contribution are great things, but when comparing the top percent of a percent it matters that some guys were great all the time while others were great only most of the time.
     
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  3. daver

    daver Registered User

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    Now I know you are kidding. Good one.
     
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  4. daver

    daver Registered User

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    On a more serious note. Rankings by the objective are a mix of raw talent and ability and what one actually achieved with that raw talent and ability.

    Lindros had Top Tenish raw talent and ability, injuries kept his achievements very notably low vs. others in his era who had not as much talent but achieved significantly way more (Sakic and Yzerman).

    Forsberg had Top 20ish raw talent but injuries also kept his achievements low but not as low as Lindros but not as much as Sakic or Yzerman who arguably had less talent.

    Malkin has surpassed Forsberg, offensively anyways, as he has finally put together a full season to go along with an impressive playoff resume. I would put Malkin in Forsberg's tier of raw talent, a bit lower than Lindros and Crosby, who had Top Tennish raw talent.

    The only thing lacking on Crosby's resume is a full season at his peak but that should not keep him behind any of his peers for the #5 player as he has a better playoff resume than Hull and Belliveau is also lacking in full seasons. He is generally viewed as being with these players all-time but lacking longevity at this point.
     
  5. Neutrinos

    Neutrinos Registered User

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    I disagree

    Players should be judged/ranked based solely on the impact they have in the games they played when you're talking about "who's better?"

    Who's more valuable? That's where durability can factor in
     
  6. bobholly39

    bobholly39 Registered User

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    OP.

    Basically it boils down to semantics.

    When you hear "all time ranking" you want to rank by "best players".

    Whereas majority of people here when they hear "all time ranking" want to rank by a combination of the 2 best/most valuable. ie it's possible to say that Lemieux was "better" than Howe - yet Howe was that much more "valuable" so that overall he's ranked higher.

    If you want to have a discussion about the "best" players - just start a discussion about peak. Peak is all about being the best player. Now if a player's peak is 2 years and one player's peak is ever so slightly lower but is 5 or 6 years? You can still give it to player B because length of peak should count too.

    Is Crosby better than Malkin or Ovechkin? I dunno. Argument can be made that 2011-2013 he was better than either of them ever were. But you can also argue for Ovi in 2007-2010, or Malkin a cpl of years/playoff. Ovechkin did it longer (3 full seasons) than Crosby, so maybe you give him the nod that way.

    But in terms of "all time ranking" it's very easily Crosby > Ovechkin > Malkin. Because their peak was close, but it's the rest (consistency, prime, accomplishments) that differentiate the 3.
     
  7. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    All time is an all inclusive concept not a selective,limiting fragment of the discussion.

    All time basically has to stand the test of "time" as the game and its appreciation change.
     
  8. BenchBrawl

    BenchBrawl joueur de hockey

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    Most valuable is about increasing the chance that your team will win the Stanley Cup.That's the bottom line.Most valuable is not the same as best, even though in some sense it should.But in common usage, this is not how best is perceived.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018
  9. Dennis Bonvie

    Dennis Bonvie Registered User

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    "But what criteria do the rest of you consider when putting together your own all-time ranking lists."

    I try to go by who I think (based on what I've seen, read and heard) was the best hockey player.
     

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