Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Bring Back Bucky, Sep 16, 2005.
Just curious, how many of you hockey historians rate Bob Gainey in your top three overall players?
I'm not an historian but he is'nt even in the top 3 Habs.
Richard, Beliveau, Roy, Lafleur > Gainey
Don't even try to compare him to Gretzky, Lemieux or Orr.
Messier rates higher too, Also brett and Bobby Hull both higher ratings,
You forgot to put larry robinson on your habs list
Nah. Kovalev wasn't implying that Gainey was one of the three best players, ''all things considered'', just one of the top ''can do it all to at least some extent'' players. Even then I wouldn't call him top 3 but he's still damn close. I'd feel as comfortable and confident with Gainey on the ice as pretty much any player ever. Doesn't even matter what the situation is, just stick him out there and you're set.
Down two, on a powerplay with 5 minutes to go?
I'm a big Gainey fan, but his defensive side was more complete than his offensive side.
Honestly I wouldn't feel so silly putting him out there in that situation. Obviously I wouldn't DO IT if I had the players the Montreal Canadiens had, but if you put him out there, I'd feel a lot more comfortable than having Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky out there protecting a lead against a great team, or killing a 5 on 3, potential for a shorthanded goal notwithstanding. You won't have a shorthanded goal scored against you, and he could finish any pretty passes the other 4 offensive stars send to him, he wasn't Stu freakin' Grimson.
Gainey didn't score much but that's what happens when you're the best defensive forward in history, you're assigned to cover your teammates' asses and not being put in a position to score. He put up fine numbers and they could have been better if he was on an inferior team and was counted on for a few more points. Obviously his defensive side is much better than his offensive and I'm not saying he was a sniper being held back, haha, but there was nothing to fear when he's on the ice regardless of the situation. Ever. He even had a point-per-game Conn Smythe playoff. He can thank Lafleur and Lemaire for a few of those points but they can thank him for keeping up with them.
No, Gainey is not one of the top three complete players of all time, and this is coming from a Habs fan. I'd take Mikita, Trottier, Howe, Forsberg and Clarke over Gainey, and several others too. These are the guys that I would feel comfortable playing in just about any situation, regardless of the opponent.
More importantly, I think the concept of a "complete player" is overrated. (I know most people will probably disagree though). A player helps his team win games by outscoring opponents. It really doesn't matter if this comes from offense, defense, or a bit of both. It's true that, say, Craig Ramsay is a more complete player than Gretzky, but that's irrelevant. Who played better? Who helped his team win more games? That's what counts.
If Gainey had offensive abilities he'd be a top 3 all time IMO. HOWEVER he didn't, but his defensive side of the game was just so flawless.
I am a Habs fan and I think that is ridiculous
No, but IMO his performance in the 1979 playoffs was the finest all round hockey performance I have ever seen.
Yes, Papa P.J., Gainey was undeniably a fine hockey player. He once tried to run away from me and my friend Spaz after promising us autographs, circa 1982... I have forgiven him, but I think Spaz's life has been worse for the experience..
Just ask yourself one question, would you give you or Spaz an autograph?
Seriously, who wouldn't want to stop and talk to two eleven year old geeks with curly hair and coke bottle glasses. Plus, Spaz is a huge lifetime Habs fan. Oh well, Gainey's loss
I've watched many of those games again recently and I think, as much as he was a butthead, Lemaire was deserving of the Conn Smythe over Gainey and all round play also. Not that either should have won it over Lafleur but if you had to choose. Gainey had a signature play that Red Fisher could hang over the other "candidates" (knocking Maloney off puck and scoring in one motion on Davidson, Game 4), like Robinson had in 78 (solo rush and scoring on Cheevers in Montreal).
But take away #10, and they dont get past Boston in the semis in 79. Looking back Gainey's Smythe is in the record books but...trophies were awarded on many different bases ie "Guy's already won it...". Red had an indordinate amount of sway over voters in those days.
I agree you could put Bob on in any situation and a coach would feel safe, but to be honest as anyone who watched him would admit, he was really embrarrassing with the puck, couldnt hit a barn door with his shot.
I always maintained he might have been a right handed shot in fact.
Trottier and Howe won scoring championships for gods sake.
For anyone to put Gainey in the top 3 players of all time tells me that they really don't understand the game.
Gainey was great defensively. For a forward defense is, at most, 50% of the game. Gainey had very poor offensive numbers, only 3 times did he ever crack the 40 point barrier - and that was during a more offensive time than we have seen over the past decade.
What that tells me is that the man was excellent at HALF the game and not so excellent at the other half. In fact, I will be so bold as to say that he was not excellent at the more important half for a forward.
Another major clue as to how valuable a player is, is how they do in voting for the Hart Trophy, Post Season all star selections and Conn Smythe voting.
Gainey did win a Smythe - excellent work! But, the man was not seriously considered for the Hart ever. Also of note, the year he did win the Smythe, he scored 16 points in 16 playoff games - offense was a major part of the reason he won that award.
So, in short, Bob Gainey is not a top 3 player of all time and, I don't even think he is a top 100 player. Being a forward, scoring is a major part of your game. For gainey, scoring was non-existent.
So, being great at the less important part of the game for a forward, puts him somewhere in the top 200 players of all time but, I don't think he makes the top 100.
Hart trophy, post-season all star, and Conn Smythe trophy voters have all said he is behind the great offensive players of his era.
BTW Gainey was NOT a complete player, he was one-dimensional. The man did not score so calling him a complete hockey player is a complete misnomer.
One of the best defensive forwards of all-time but, hardly complete and not among the top 3 players ever.
Yeah, but you have that pesky restraining order as incentive to keep walking anyway
Another example of why I'm not keen on like comparisons and ratings.
Bob Gainey for me, was the Ozzie Smith of forwards in hockey.
His offence has very little to do with why is in the hall of fame. He was a great body checker, tenacious penalty killer, great speed and he played the game within the rules. His job was always to shut down the other teams top offensive players and he consistently did a great job of it.
I've never seen a player who compares to him. I know that I would spend some games focusing on him and marvelled at his persistence on defence. Plus he scored a couple of hundred goals in that defensive role.
He doesn't compare at all to great offensive players of the past and present but he is still one of my favorite players of all time.
Defence is at most 50 per cent of the game for a forward? Hardly. If you get a great defensive forward (Gainey, Carbonneau, Tikannen, Otto), that's critical for a championship team. A forward who consistently shuts down the opposition's top line and chips in offensively can be as valuable as a top scorer. Remember, it's not just the team that scores the most that wins, it's the team that gives up the fewest goals.
Bobby Holik was the front-runner for the Conn Smythe for the Devils in 2001. He had 16 points in 25 games, but was heralded for his defensive dominance and physical play. The consensus was that if the Devils had won in 2001, Holik would have won the Conn Smythe, unless someone came up with a truly magical effort.
If defensive play is only 50 per cent of the game for a forward, then why did Mike Peca finish in the Top 10 for Hart voting in 2002?
(Including a second place vote).
If you have a dominant defensive forward, it is of the utmost value. Defence can count for much more than 50 per cent for a forward.
And no, Gainey isn't among the top three players ever. Top 100? Definitely. Gainey at 40 points was more valuable than some players at 100. (Some players score 100, but they're responsible for 100 goals against because of their defensive deficiencies).
Ya know I love ya Bucky, but have you been overdosin' on the Donairs again? BG ain't top 3 my friend....I thought you would make the poll after reading the other thread on Messier.
So, your case for defensive forwards being as valuable as offensive forwards is one player in the history of the Hart trophy finishing in the top 10 in voting based on his defensive play? That is hardly overwhelming evidence to support the notion that a defensive forward is as valuable as an offensive one. BTW, Peca also has 60 points that year - during a defensive era.
Yes, every team needs defensive players. Yes, they are valuable. But no, they are not as valuable as offensive players. A defensive forward has two defensemen and a goalie behind him to stop the opposing team.
Offensive players always receive more consideration for the Hart Trophy because they are more valuable to their team.
Would you honestly pick Jere Lehtinen or Mike Peca over :
Martin St. Louis
Nobody would. That, in combination with the Hart Trophy results over NHL history, tells us that offensive forwards are more valuable that defensive forwards.
Many times, probably most times, a player becomes great defensively because he is not a great scorer. It is out of necessity rather than choice because everyone knows that a great offensive player is more valuable than a great defensive player. GMs know it, fans know it and yes, the Hart trophy voters know it.
As was posted before, Gainey wasn't even the 3rd best player on his team, let alone 3rd best player ever.
He was a great player - probably about #150 or so, all time.
He is ARGUABLY a Top-3 all-time among complete players of his time
(but yeah, "completeness" is overrated, and he was only that for a couple of seasons).
The Russians thought so.
Who was it that said if you give him 20 Gaineys he'd win every game every time?
Who in the name of Arthur Fonzerelli are the six that voted in his favor?
You know,Bucky, not wearing pants,may have influenced Gainey to keep walking that day. As much as I enjoy,best ever arguements, more and more I think players are defined by the quality of their teams and their roles within them. How would Don Marcotte have done on Mtl's shutdown line all those years. Would Gainey have been a great player on a team that had no use for hi sparticular talents ? A defensive winger means little on a team with no offense and that was seldom the case with Gainey. The one thing with Gainey is that he gets universal respect off the ice [except for the famous Bucky incident] and there aren't too many with that reputation. He's also one of the limited # of NHL players I have urinated beside in a bar.
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