Claude Lemieux = HHOF?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by reckoning, Oct 28, 2005.

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  1. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    The case against him:

    - less than 800 career points, there`s dozens and dozens of players with more that aren`t in the Hall.

    - never finished in the top 25 scorers in any season

    - never came remotely close to being named to a post-season All-Star team or winning a regular season individual award

    - never picked to play in the All-Star game

    - his +/- marks were never anything special, despite usually playing on top teams

    - infamous for dishing out cowardly cheap shots

    - wore out his welcome with several teams


    The case for him:

    - 1995 Conn Smythe winner

    - won 4 Stanley Cups with 3 different teams; played a key role each time

    - lead NHL in playoff goal-scoring twice and was top 10 in points 3 times, despite usually playing on defensive-minded teams

    - 4th all-time in playoff games played

    - 8th all-time in playoff goals with 80; more than Mario, Yzerman, Sakic or Jagr among others

    - perhaps most impressively, is 3rd all-time in playoff game-winning goals; quintessential clutch performer

    - played on Team Canada in the `87 Canada Cup and the `96 World Cup


    Discuss.
     
  2. Ronnie Bass

    Ronnie Bass elite pissy upside

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    Oh hell yeah, how can the HOF be worth a damn if you leave out one of the all-time playoff clutch players the league has ever seen?

    Sure his regular season stats might not be comparable to most players in the HOF, but there are always exceptions to the rules and Peppy is most certainly one of those exceptions.
     
  3. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    This is going to be one of the most interesting debates starting in 2007. He won't get in on the first ballot, and I don't think he should get in at all.

    As I've stated many times before, I believe Joe Nieuwendyk is a sure-fire HHOFer because he was a very productive player in the regular season (and would have done more if not for injuries) who was magnificent in the playoffs. It's that playoff play that I believe will get Nieuwendyk in, even though there are many players with better regular season numbers who won't get in. (I've also stated before that the Hall voters aren't just looking at numbers anymore, they're looking at how players put those numbers up, and what those players did in the legitimately important hockey: the playoffs).

    Lemieux and Nieuwendyk are two of only six players to win a Stanley Cup with three different teams. Lemieux has actually one more ring. Both have a Conn Smythe. Both built their careers by being there when their team needed them most.

    Lemieux will run into two hurdles that won't obstruct Nieuwendyk: regular season performance and character. Lemieux's scored more than 35 goals twice. Those were also the only two years he scored at a 40-goal clip. He was a point-per-game player once. Scoring wasn't his only attribute, but compare it with Nieuwendyk, who scored 45-plus goals his first four years, scored at a 40-goal clip two other times, and was a point-per-game player six times.

    Lemieux's character will also hold him back. Not only was he a notorious cheap shot artist and a very bad diver, his off-ice conduct wasn't the best. Herb Brooks referred to him as a cancer. He signed a multi-year contract with the Devils prior to the 1994-95 season, won the Conn Smythe, held out for more money and was shipped to Colorado at the start of the 1995-96 season. Hall voters do remember antics like that, and that will hurt Lemieux's chances. Nieuwendyk, meanwhile, has blossomed into a gifted leader late in his career.

    Would I put Lemieux in? No. But there are many out there who would. Because of his clutch performances, he'll generate a lot more debate than 90 per cent of players with bad attitudes who produce 785 points in nearly 1,200 games.
     
  4. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    If he was a nice guy and stuck with one team for most of his career, he would probably get in (not necessarily deservedly, mind you). But since he's pretty much despised by fans and players alike, it's not gonna happen.

    I don't think he merits entry. The difference between "clutch" and "great" is that his regular-season production didn't match his post-season production. Those games should count in the final analysis. There's a lot more of them.

    He was a heck of a player, though, the kind you want for a winning team. There's a reason he was selected to the national team those years.
     
  5. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    A player you certainly want on your team, but not a Hall of famer ... and it has nothing to do with his character.
     
  6. lemieux32*

    lemieux32* Guest

    Don't forget that he was a fantastic defensive forward. He was often assigned the opponents best scorer in the playoffs.
     
  7. Bring Back Bucky

    Bring Back Bucky Registered User

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    No, I can't see Lemieux in... Good player, great clutch guy, but Glen Anderson isn't in and there's lots of guys retiring/ just retired who are light years ahead of Claude Lemieux.
     
  8. V-2 Schneider

    V-2 Schneider Registered User

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    No.

    Standards are lax enough as is, and when you allow the very good to enter, rather than the great,then where do you draw the line? Having Federko,Gillies and Neely in has lowered the bar, so that Lemieux and Nieuwendyk can warrant serious consideration.Gary Suter may be a possiblity as a HOF inductee.

    If you allow Lemieux, you may as well put Kevin Dinnen in too.
     


  9. BINGO. If Glenn Anderson doesn't get in and Claude freaking Lemieux does, they might as well induct me.
     
  10. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Neely lowered the bar? How so? One of the most defining players of his generation? A four-time post-season all-star? A guy that ranks 12th in goals per game and fourth in playoff goals per game? A guy who was a consensus top 10 player in the league for several years at his peak? So what if he wasn't over a point-per-game for his career. He did a lot more than just score. Keep in mind he lost two of the prime years of his career, and he came into the league at a young age.

    The comparison between Lemieux and Dineen is laughable at best. Lemieux has four Cup rings and a Conn Smythe. He was considered one of the best clutch players of his time. Dineen has no Cup rings, no career-defining playoffs (although he was quite good for Philly in 1994-95). If you're making the comparison based on regular season numbers, go for it. But we aren't discussing Lemieux's Hall worthiness based on the regular season, and the Hall voters won't decide his Hall worthiness on the regular season alone. We're discussing it based on the NHL hockey that really matters, the NHL hockey that defines careers, the NHL hockey that creates legends: the playoffs.

    I think Bucky made a great point with Glen Anderson. Anderson's been passed over five times now. Six Cup rings, multiple post-season all-star selections and a history of being a clutch player in the playoffs and a stellar producer in the playoffs. Anderson's abilities as an antagonist were underrated, too. Hopefully next year will finally be his year.
     
  11. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    Yeah people like Dino!

    Claude is not an obvious enough candidate to overcome people hating his guts.
     
  12. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    Skip Bayless?
     
  13. Hadoop

    Hadoop The GOAT Generation

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    Claude Lemieux? F*** No!!
     
  14. Dr Love

    Dr Love Registered User

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    Damn. I had made a hockey version of "the Keltner List" in a discussion about Mike Gartner, I called it "the Gartner Test." But I can't find a trace of it, I guess it was lost in the great board implosion. Anyways, I re-did it very quickly (not that it takes long, but I recall adding a few things (I think there were 17 questions) and changing some other stuff, but I can't remember what exactly those changes were), and I'll present it without explaination (except for one question, when we get to it). If someone can actually find it, I'd be extremely grateful.

    *There are no correct or incorrect answers to these questions. There is no ideal combination of answers. It is simply a set of questions that helps one put a player in a better perspective.*


    The Gartner Test: Claude Lemieux

    1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in hockey? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in hockey?

    Not during the regular season. I can not specifially recall anyone saying it, but I'm sure that at times he was called the best player in the postseason in a given year besides 1995. But that's not the same as the best player in hockey.

    2. Was he the best player on his team?

    No.

    His first four full seasons were with Montreal from 1986-87 to 89-90. Patrick Roy was clearly the best player on those teams, Mats Naslund was clearly the best skater the first three years, his fourth year he was not healthy enough to be the best skater.

    His next five seasons were in New Jersey, from 1990-91 to 94-95. He was never the best player there either. 90-91 he was not better than John MacLean or Brendan Shanahan. He led the team in scoring in 91-92 and 92-93, but Scott Stevens was the best player on the team those years. In his final two seasons in his first stint in NJ, Scott Stevens continued to be the best skater, while Martin Brodeur became the goalie.

    He then played in Colorado for the next 4+ years, behind Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and once again, Patrick Roy. In his fifth season he was dealt to NJ, where he was not the best player, then off to Phoenix for two and a half seasons and Dallas for half a season, again not the best player on his team.

    3. Was he the best player in hockey at his position? Was he the best player in his conference at his position?

    No and no. The one time you could make a case was probably 92-93, when he was the leading scorer for the Devils, but even then he wasn't a top 5 right wing.

    4. Did he have an impact on a number of Cup runs?

    Absolutely. Lemieux won 4 Cups: 1 with Montreal (he also made the Finals with Montreal in a losing effort), 2 with NJ, and 1 with Colorado. He was second on the team in playoff scoring with Montreal, and scored well in the other three Cups. He also scored well in three conference finals appearances. He scored a number of clutch goals in those runs. And as always he was an enormous physical presence.

    5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?

    He scored 87 points in 196 games after turning 36, only once playing more than 46 games (although he did play all 82 games that season). That's a .44 point per game rate, compared to a .70 ppg rate prior to that, a ~33% drop off. Perhaps that is not a relatively large drop off, but that info is not readily available. Lemieux was never a great scorer but he was a good scorer, albeit inconsistent. So, from age 36 onwards, he scored at two thirds the rate had in the past, and only played three seasons.

    6. Is he the very best hockey player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    Glenn Anderson, Mark Howe and Brad Park immediately come to mind. There are certainly others who were better players.

    7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    Lemieux's point total pales in comparison to his peers. 785 points in 1197 games in a career that started in the mid-80s is certainly nothing to scoff at, but they are far from dominate numbers for his era.

    8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    Note: Hall of Fame Standards is a formula for the baseball hall of fame. Since we've already discussed his career numbers, this question will be passed.

    9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    Yes. Lemieux was a punishing hitter and scored a number of clutch goals in the playoffs. He seemingly always turned his game up a notch further than everyone else when the playoffs arrived, and he was as tough a customer as there was when he played. He was also an excellent defensive forward. Lemieux was the quintessential on the ice leader, if a big hit or big goal was needed, he probably made it or created it.

    10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?

    There are a number of right wings who have a better claim. For example Dino Cicarelli is 40th all time in scoring, and scored at a much better rate than Lemieux did. Expand to wings in general and Glenn Anderson is all but a lock, but will not get in for personal reasons.

    11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close? How many awards total did he ever win?

    He was never an MVP-type player. His only award was the Conn Smythe in 94-95, and it was deserved.

    12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?

    Lemieux played in the '87 Rendez-Vous game that replaced the All Star Game and the 1996 World Cup, those were his only All Star Games/All Star Team appearances.

    13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could make the Finals?

    Probably not. Lemieux was always a greatbut inconsistent playoff scorer, his best scoring run in the playoffs in 1997 couldn't get his team to the Finals.

    14. What impact did the player have on hockey history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

    His hit on Kris Draper ignited the fiercest rivalry in hockey in the late 90s.

    15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    Sportsmanship was never Claude Lemieux's strong point. There have been players that were far more unsportsmanly in the HOF, but they were also far better players.

    *******************

    Comments, corrections and constructive critism are always welcomed.
     
  15. habs_24x

    habs_24x Registered User

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    the case for him is hard to ignore. He had a great career and incredible success in the playoffs, the time when it really matters. i say he would be a good fit in the hall.

    If Neely who never won anything and never did anything remotely resembling Lemieux's heroics in the playoffs got in, i dont see how Lemieux couldnt get in.
     
  16. shadoz19

    shadoz19 Registered User

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    HHOF: No *******s allowed.
     
  17. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    Very good test. I'd like to see it when other players' candicy comes up.
     
  18. RSBPC

    RSBPC Registered User

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    Are you serious?

    Career playoff stats:

    Cam Neely: 93 GP, 57 goals, 32 assists, 89 points. 0.96 PPG, 0.61 GPG.

    Claude Lemieux: 233 GP, 80 goals, 78 assists, 158 points. 0.68 GPG, 0.34 GPG.

    The reason Claude won cups and Cam did not has nothing to do with either player and everything to do with the talent surrounding them. Claude Lemieux wishes he was half the player Neely was.
     
  19. Gee Wally

    Gee Wally Grumpy

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    If you had Cam would you trade him straight up for Claude ?



    ( I rest my case :D )
     
  20. habs_24x

    habs_24x Registered User

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    your reasoning makes no sense. you say that Lemieux was surrounded by players that made him win all those cups but you need to understand that Lemieux took a back seat to no one when it came time to perform in the playoffs. He was KEY in all those cup wins. Neely you say didnt have anyone surrounding him and thats why he never won a cup...The Bruins made the playoffs every year that Neely was there. the truth is Neely wishes he was half the player (in the playoffs) that Lemieux was.
     
  21. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    The thing I`m curious about is how much emphasis should be put on the playoffs and how much should be put on the regular season. After all, the playoffs are what it`s all about, and it seems a little foolish that if a player gets a hat trick in a meaningless game at the end of the season, those goals count towards his career totals, but a hat trick in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final doesn`t. On the other hand, how a player plays over the course of a 82 season against the entire league may tell more than if he happened to get hot for a few weeks in April only playing against two or three teams. Does the fact that Dave Lowry had more playoff points in `96 than Mark Messier trump the fact that Messier was miles better in the regular season that year? Who should be considered to have had the better year in `96?

    Regarding Claude Lemieux: based only on his regular season performance he shouldn`t even be considered for the Hall; based only on his playoff performance he should be an automatic pick. You could say that a top playoff performer must still meet a minimum regular season standard to be admitted, but does that work both ways? No sane person would ever suggest that Marcel Dionne doesn`t deserve to be in the Hall based on lack of playoff production.

    Shockingly, there are 6 Conn Smythe winners (not counting Lemieux or active players) who are not in the Hall: Roger Crozier, Reggie Leach, Butch Goring, Ron Hextall, Bill Ranford and Mike Vernon. Every player who`s won the Hart in that same period has been an obvious Hall inductee.

    Personally, I would lean towards a "yes" vote on Lemieux; but I did go back and forth a lot on it. It`s a tough call.

    I don`t think he will get in because of his lack of character. There`s players in the Hall who have been charged with wife beating and drunk driving. But those guys were such outstanding players that they couldn`t be kept out. However for a borderline pick, it could be enough to kill their chances. It`s likely why Ciccarelli and Anderson aren`t in.
     
  22. Tao Jones

    Tao Jones Registered User

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    Sorry to go OT, but I'd like to see where Ray Bourque is on the Mike Gartner test.

    I didn't like the way Claude left NJ in '95(faxed contract signatures are not legally binding), but I don't think that should be held against him. I am too biased to give any other objectivity.
     
  23. RSBPC

    RSBPC Registered User

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    If you take Claude Lemieux off of the 4 championship teams he was on, and replace him with Cam Neely, I'd bet that they all still win the Cup. Likewise...If you take Neely off of those late 80s/early 90s Bruins teams and replace him with Claude, they still don't win the cup.

    Cam Neely was a much, much better hockey player than CLaude Lemieux. It really is not even close. Gee Wally brings up a great point. Which one would you rather have on your team?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2005
  24. Jag68Sid87

    Jag68Sid87 Nothing Else Maattas

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    Simply put, no Claude Lemieux is not a Hockey Hall of Fame player. If they want to honor those players who "performed above and beyond for short periods of time", or something to that effect, then his name should be mentioned among those that came through in the clutch.

    But, his single-season highs (41 goals in 1991-92; 71 points in 1995-96) are extremely underwhelming when you start talking about HOF players.

    So, I say no to Claude Lemieux.
     
  25. King'sPawn

    King'sPawn Enjoy the chaos

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    If it was for a race against the hare, maybe ;)
     
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