Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Heat McManus, May 9, 2007.
Where would Konstantinov rank had he not had his career cut short?
He would be one of the top 4 defensemen in the NHL still. He was probably the 2nd most important Red Wing in the 96-97 playoffs (after Vernon), and was getting better every year. At least 2 Norris Trophies had he not been injuried. What a waste.
Lidstrom was easily the second most important. What he did to neutralize the Legion of Doom with Larry Murphy really showed people that you can fight power with skill on defense for the first time.
How would he be ranked? Really really tough call. Assuming the Wings win at least 1 more Cup with him (so 4 overall) and assuming he'd still be playing today at 40 he might creep into the top 25. It'd be really hard for him to overtake a guy like Scott Stevens however because of the late start to his NHL career and his position on the team of being a player, and not a leader.
He turned 40 this year. Probably would have retired pre-lockout.
I imagine he would have had a Scott Stevens-type legacy - remembered as one of the best of his era, pretty good chance at the HHOF.
I'm a big Konstantinov fan, but I don't think he would have reached Stevens' level of dominance. He was never a big point producer like Stevens was able to reach, and that would have held him back.
I think he'd probably have a similar career trajectory as Adam Foote but probably would have ended up being better than him, but below a guy like Stevens or Pronger.
Agreed, not one of the best of his era like others suggest
Personally thinks he's one of the more overrated players discussed here.
Very good defenseman ??? Yes.
Norris contendder ??? No
He was the runner-up in '97 and Bowman was convinced he should have been a Hart finalist in '96.
Vlad and Lidstrom were 1A and 1B for the Wings and as we all know Lidstrom is damn good.
Konstantinov = Post-Lemaire Stevens.
Konstantinov was more than a pest, as some had taken to calling him; he was a skilled player. He earned the NHL Plus/Minus Award in 1995-96, with a plus/minus difference of plus +60. In 1996-97, his final season, Konstantinov was runner-up (to Brian Leetch) for the Norris Trophy, given to the league's best defenseman.
He will be truly missed!
Remember the Russian Five...
When the accident happened, Konstantinov was 30, and I think he had become as good as he was going to get, while you knew that Lidstrom was going to just keep getting better.
Konstantinov was far from a one-year wonder. He was Norris-nomination worth in 1996 and 1997, and even as early as 1993-94, his style had placed him near the top of the heap for players "you hate to play against, but would love to have on your team."
I think pit nailed it earlier when he said that Konstantinov would have likely been an Adam Foote type of player - a guy who rates among the very best at his style of play on an annual basis, and elevates his play in the big games. Konstantinov would not have been a "post-Lemaire Stevens." A post-Lemaire Stevens is the ultimate shut-down defence, a player whose leadership, defensive ability and physical play elevates him to a level rarely seen in the post expansion era.
I think some people do overrate Konstantinov, in the way that some people overrate Pelle Lindburgh. Konstantinov is a guy who was an awesome player at his peak, one of the best at his role in the game, but thanks to tragic circumstances, will go down as one of hockey's biggest what ifs. But I don't think he was going to get much better than he was, since he was 30, and with defencemen like Lidstrom, Blake, Pronger and Niedermayer improving/breaking through, and Bourque, Stevens, Chelios and MacInnis playing at a very high level into their late 30s (hell, Chelios is playing at a very high level at 45), Konstantinov's best hope for individual accolades was likely more second team all-star births.
Would have been a Foote type player? He was already well beyond that at the time of the accident. Far closer to Stevens than Foote.
He was already a Norris contender when his accident happened. Whether he would have won a Norris I don't know.....there was some good competition especially with Lidstrom really coming into his own around that time. Definately would have been in the top 3 NHL d-men for years to come.
HHOF might be pushing it though....although I wouldn't have been surprised if he got in.
He never scored at a level near what Stevens was capable of in his prime. That's what separates the two, IMO.
Yeah but I do think that he was better in transition. IMO very few came close to Konstantinov at breaking up plays and turning the puck up ice. Plus if you watch Stevens before he met Robinson his game was kind of sloppy.
I didn't want to bother typing up the whole "post-Lemaire Stevens" again. The Stevens that is revered around here.
I guess it's just me, but I feel that post-Lemaire Stevens is very much like Adam Foote, with an extra bit of intimidation due to the big hits. Stevens wouldn't be a top-20 defenseman of all time if his entire career was of the post-Lemaire sort. Obviously he'd be regarded higher than Foote (he did have a Smythe and all during that period), but still not at that same level he's viewed now.
Pre-lockout, there wasn't much between Foote and Stevens. Foote is one of the best defensive defencemen of the last 20 years.
Well he was 30 in 1997. Was he a Norris runner-up that year? I thought it was only '96 when he had his only 2nd team all-star. Oh well.
Either way the next year Blake had a great year along with Lidstrom and Pronger. Those three along with Niedermayer and MacInnis would dominate the all-star selections for the next few years. He wouldnt have had a Norris by any means. He could have been a 2nd team all-star a couple of more times though and would have been at least a two-time Cup winner. Adam Foote might have been the best comparison and Foote wont be a HHOFer.
Yes Konstaninov can sometimes sentimentally get rated higher than he really is because of his popularity or his unfortunate death. Guys like Neely and Andreychuk are in the same boat IMO. But Lindbergh keep in mind won the Vezina trophy 6 months before he died. He was about to hit his prime and I dont think you could deny the fact that he would have been a HHOFer if he didnt pass away.
Isn't he still alive? I thought he just got his brain scrambled but did not die. Am I wrong? Just wondering?
I hope over time Konstantinov can regain more of his brain and enjoy 30 or 40 more years with his family in at least a close to normal life and recover from his severe brain injury.
Am I worng or is he still alive and at least somewhat of a functional human being?
Yes, he is still alive.
That's a little premature isn't it?
Hextall, Carey, Vanbiesbrouck, Theodore all came out of the gate strong and won the Vezina as well...
While I think it's premature to say he was a lcok Hall of Famer I believe it would have happened. I think he would have won the Vezina in 86 & 87 making it three in a row, with long playoff runs on an excellent team.
IMO he would have been the best goalie in the world from 84-90.
Maybe alike playing style, but "post-Lemaire Stevens" was twice the hockey player Adam Foote EVER was.
Konstantinov, while a VERY VERY VERY small notch below "post-Lemaire Stevens" (and we're talking millimeters of a notch), was also a much better hockey player than Adam Foote ever was.
Konstantinov should be looked at as one of the better shutdown guys of his era. I think he'd be HHOF material if he had played a full career and went on to win a few more Cups. Given the chance to do that, you might even have seen him win a Conn Smythe trophy since the guy was damn good in the playoffs.
Kind of funny IMO, though, how much more heart the "old" Russian players had compared to the newer breed. And a lot of those old guard guys are coaching or leading in the Russian Hockey Federation. Yet the attitudes of the old compared to the new are like completely different.
This is JMHO, but I think that Konstantinov was better than Blake by a small amount. I watched Vladdy play for a while and I would've taken him on my team before Blake. Just an opinion, though.
I see it the same way as you do, but I don't see the gaps to be as significant. I did see a lot of Foote being on the West Coast, but I just don't see Stevens during that time period being twice the player Foote was. He was better, but it wasn't night and day, IMO.
Konstantinov, had he played out his career, could have been better than Foote (especially considering how much he scored in a shut down role), and probably gotten close to the level of shut-down Stevens. But he'd never be the complete defenseman Stevens was prior to 94/95, which would hurt him in an all-time ranking.