Beliveau or Lafleur??

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by KOVALEV10*, Mar 24, 2005.

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  1. KOVALEV10*

    KOVALEV10* Guest

    Hey guys I posted this in the habs board but wanted to get your thoughts as well. I was looking at the stats obviously as you can see my post about the point leaders in the habs board (take a look its pretty interesting if you're a habs fan/ stats freak) and came to the realisation that Beliveau and Lafleur were so close in terms of talent. I mean I know most people prefere Beliveau to guy because he was a better leader, won more cups, had a much longer and more consistent career. Let's take a look though.

    I would think that Lafleur was the slightly better goal scorer as he had 6 consecutive 50 plus goal seasons while Beliveau had none but that's because for the most part of his career they played in 60/70 games. I would think that Beliveau was the slightly better playmaker even though Lafleur had a lot more assists, again the 60/70 games thing comes into play and the defensive era Beliveau played in.

    Here's how they stand in the all time goals, assists and points categories of the habs.

    Jean Beliveau: 507 goals, 712 assists, 1219 points in 1125 games
    Guy Lafleur: 518 goals, 728 assists, 1246 points in 962 games

    Lafleur is ranked 2nd in goals all time only to Rocket, 1st in assists and 1st in points. Beliveau is ranked 3rd all time in goals, 2nd in assists and 2nd in points.

    Lafleur won 3 art ross trophies to Beliveau's 1. Lafleur won 3 Lester B. Pearson trophies whereas Beliveau didnt win any. Lafleur won 2 hart trophies to Beliveau's 1. Both won the conn smythe trophy once. Both were incredible in the playoffs leading their teams to 5 straight cups and 4 straight cups respectively. Ironically, Lafleur's idol was Beliveau. Both were incredible stickhandlers and I would say after Lemieux, they both rank very high in stickhandling. Both of them were exciting to watch. I know stats mean little when discussing players of this calibar, but who do you think was the best overall as in goal scoring and playmaking in their primes and over a whole career.

    Oh and one other thing that's impressive for Lafleur is that after Gretzky and Lemieux he has the record of the fastest to 1000 points. He did it in only 720 games!!
     
  2. monkey_00*

    monkey_00* Guest

    That's an interesting comparison you make there....I didn't realize that the two had very similar career stats.........I always assumed that LaFleur was more of the goal-scorer and Beliveau more the play-maker but by looking at those two stats there they are almost identical........the only thing I can say to that is that both guys played in different eras.....Believeu was a little before my time and unfortunately I never got to see him play......LaFleur on the otherhand I did see and was my personal favorite NHLer even though I grew up a fan of the Leafs....I always respected the talent those Habs teams had.
     
  3. #66

    #66 Registered User

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    This may be a homer pick because I am a huge fan of Beliveau but IMO and many others he was the Lemieux of his day. From watching some old game tapes, I would say that his stickhandling is alot like Lemieuxs at his best but Lemieux was a better skater in his prime. Also Beliveau seemed to have that elite on ice sense about him like a Lemieux or Gretzky. Plus his size would still be good by todays standards but back then he looked like Chara. If you add in his work ethic, leadership, class and IMO being the greatest captain ever I would pick Beliveau 10 times out of 10. I'm not knocking Guy Lafleur, as he is a favorite of mine too, but I just think the world of Beliveau.
     
  4. David Puddy

    David Puddy Registered User

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    It was clearly Jean Beliveau for career. If the two players’ career stats are similar, the player who played in the more competitive era, which is also indicative of less scoring in the NHL, has the advantage.

    From Daryl Shilling's The Hockey Project, "Normalized Point Production,"
    Mr. Beliveau is also ranked 15th in normalized goals and 21st in normalized assists.

    I will go with Lafleur as the better during peaks. Lafleur won three straight Hart Trophies, three straight Art Ross Trophies and five consecutive First All-Star Team selections.

    Beliveau was selected to six First All-Star Teams and four Second All-Star Teams during his career. He won two Hart Trophies and one Art Ross Trophy. His peak was longer than Lafleur's peak, but not quite as dominant.
     
  5. mcphee

    mcphee Registered User

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    If I was drafting and the 2 were at their peak,I'd lean to #4 just because I'd rather an elite center than rw. Very hard to argue one over the other though. I'm not big on idolizing athletes and wouldn't walk across the street for an autograph, but if Jean Beliveau walked into a room and told me to do something, it would be no questions asked. In my mind there is no one like him in sports.
     
  6. KOVALEV10*

    KOVALEV10* Guest

    Well I was a teenager the time Lafleur started dominating the NHL so I was really into hockey and the habs winning cups and going to clubs (called discoteques back in the day lol) and watching the game and everything was great. Beliveau was a class act but if you look at it that way so was Lafleur. Yes he did smoke and drink but he was a very generous person and funny and all in all far from a bad guy.

    Now in terms of talent, Beliveau dominated much longer then Guy because he took care of himself more, his coach wasnt a guy like Lemaire who rarely played him and gave him defensive roles. I bet if those two things hadnt happened, Lafleur would've dominated at least 4-5 more years like Dionne did. Lafleur was almost more clutch performer then Beliveau. Beliveau was this big guy, who could stickhandle incredibly well and could check, take hits, make incredible plays but being center also helps in playmaking and also because he had a certain Boom Boom playing on his wing who was one of the best goal scorers of his era. All in all both of them were great and although I prefere Lafleur by the slightest margin, I'm glad my team has had both and we'll leave it at that.
     
  7. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    As far as a better player I'd have to go with Beliveau. He was more consistent throughout his career. And while Lafleur is one of the all time greats, the knock I had one him was that he had six SUPER seasons and then fell off the face of the earth. I guess getting in his car accident in '81 didnt help neither did the fact that he reportedly smoked. To me Beliveau is still better. He won ten Cups to Lafleur's 5. I know he played in the original six but hey ten Cups is ten Cups!
     
  8. KOVALEV10*

    KOVALEV10* Guest

    Well I mean Henri Richard has 10 cups yet he's not better then Lafleur. Cups shouldnt matter all that much when discussing two legendary greats.
     
  9. Malefic74

    Malefic74 Registered User

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    The numbers are a little misleading. Guy joined the Canadiens right out of Junior. But Beliveau played two seasons with the Quebec Aces of the Quebec Senior League before Frank Selke bought the entire league to get Jean's rights. In those two years he scored 172 points in 116 games. And during his brief call-ups to the Canadiens he thoroughly dominated NHL-caliber players as well.

    Beliveau was the more complete player. Scored nearly as much as Flower, had nearly as many assists, but he also won faceoffs, was very tough, (he held the Canadiens single season penalty record for 9 years until John Ferguson broke it) and unlike the mercurial Lafleur he brought the team together through his leadership.

    I'll take Beliveau, and as much as I loved Flower, to me it's not really that close.
     
  10. KOVALEV10*

    KOVALEV10* Guest

    Well you never know what Beliveau would've done his first two years had he played in the NHL. Maybe it wouldve taken him some time to adjust to the NHL like Lafleur or maybe not. I mean Guy had 130 goals his last year in junior and Mario broke the record with 133.
     
  11. Ronnie Bass

    Ronnie Bass elite pissy upside

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    You gotta go with Beliveau, he was the equivalent of what Joe DiMaggio meant to baseball.
     
  12. Habsfan 32

    Habsfan 32 Registered User

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    I have to say Beliveau. I never heard a bad thing about him he lead the team to all their sucess. He's the perfect captain and probably one of the most complete players ever.
     
  13. chooch*

    chooch* Guest

    Its difficult to make these comparisons unless you watched both play and you were not influenced by your age or lack of tv and then again the league changes and expands or equipment changes.

    So firstly, I never saw Beliveau play, even on tape. But I've certainly seen him many times post 1970 and he is all class with an aura thats unmatched in Canada. As it was once written, he's everything Americans wanted to believe Joe DiMaggio was. And more. He should have accepted the Governer Generals post in 1990.
    I recognize his hockey statistics and the opinions of others if they saw him play.

    Having said that, there was only 1 player who played with the daring and the style and verve that you could only conjure up in your imagination if it was truly a vivid one. Only one player who did what you dreamt about doing on a patch of ice with a stick, a puck and an opponent. They were only 6-8 years, but they live on in the memories of all those who saw it. We were just plain lucky. As Beliveau himself said in the late 70's: "We are fortunate to see him play like this". When the magic was gone in 1982 after the eye injury and it was clear that our imagination had won over a mere mortal life, it was only with the deepest sporting regret. One truly longed for another moment of artistry. Or two. But by then the interest was gone, the motivation was gone and even so the human body was only capable of only so much magic. We had been fortunate. We forgave because he had given something that would live on.


    I have a tape, one of a handful of those 6-8 years. It is of the 4th game 1977 cup finals. His stick is smaller than it will be next year and so the stickhandling is wondrous. He's lighter so the speed is devastating and turns and twists and stops are quicker than the eye. The shot is powerful. The possibilities are endless and the endless possibility is being created in front of your very eyes. The artistry is in full swing and you wish the game would just go on. His game that is. The other players are not mere spectators they are willing participants in the joy that is being created before them. You watch and you believe that the Bruin players are asking to be put on the ice so that they may play a small part, some minor role, as jester, or fool or knave to his majestry. The game, the season, the playoffs, the era is a foregone conclusion. What we are asking for is for time. Time to enjoy a little bit more. We wished time would stop for those 6 years.

    Here are a few of the moments:

    1977 Playoffs (Conn Smythe)

    Game 7 1979 semifinals (too many men goal) 3rd period and overtime - the greatest clutch performance in hockey history.

    Game 4 1976 Finals - third period (Mastercard commercial - in Canada - cup winning goal)

    Calgary end to end goal v. Lemelin 1982

    Super Series 78 game

    Game 1 Challenge Cup goal (at 16 s.)

    60th goal 1978 from Lemaire (only bec. I was there)

    The fastest 1000 points ever at the time;
    28 game scoring streak - longest ever at the time.
    Numerous other records since broken

    Go buy a tape of any of his games from those 6 years. You are watching art.
     
  14. David Puddy

    David Puddy Registered User

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    I will not let you slander Jean Beliveau like that. The Canadiens great is a really nice guy.
     
  15. KOVALEV10*

    KOVALEV10* Guest

    :handclap: Best poster ever :bow:
     
  16. chooch*

    chooch* Guest

    thanks sir, I;ll put in on your other thread
     
  17. That is kind of what I was thinking. Beliveau is all class. He is in a level all his own. My hatred for the Habs is balanced by my respect for #4.
     
  18. Crosbyfan

    Crosbyfan Registered User

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    Beliveau was the best Canadien ever. Richard and Lafleur may have been the most exciting from the blueline in. Beliveau was all for the team. In the 5 cups in a row of the late 50's Richard and Harvey were unquestionably the leaders but Beliveau was the best player of that run. More goals, more assists, more points, more pim than any other Canadien during that run. If the Conn Smythe existed back then he would have won it at least once (by a mile) and possibly more. He finally won it in '65 (It did not exist prior to that).
    In the next 5 cups as captain he was unquestionably the leader and often the best on the team, especially come playoffs. Although he was less physically dominating it was still a strong part of his game.

    Arguably Lafleur in his prime was better than Beliveau was during his years as captain and I think that is mostly how they are remembered. But Beliveau in his prime was the best Canadien ever.
     
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