Potvin vs. Robinson (please specify)

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Big Phil, Jul 5, 2006.

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  1. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Okay as far as I'm concerned in loose order you have Orr, Harvey, Shore and Bourque as the best 4 d-man ever. After that most people either pick Robinson or Potvin. Kelly comes to mind to. But this is just about who was better Robinson or Potvin.

    Case for Potvin:

    Three time Norris Trophy winner ( '76, '78, '79) and you could argue that in '81 he probably should have gotten it over Carlyle. Five time first team all-star ('75, '76, '78, '79, '81). Two time second team all-star ('77, '84). Four time Cup winner, career high of 101 points. Averaged a point per game throught his career. Its safe to say the Isles dont win four Cups in a row without Potvin. he was a solid defenseman and outside of Harvey might be considered the most well rounded defenseman of all time. Was a crunching open ice hitter and one of the strongest players of all time.


    Case for Robinson:

    Two time Norris Trophy winner ('77, '80). Three time first all-star team ('77, '79, '80). Three time second all-star team ( '78, '81, '86). Lus minus leader in 1977 with a +120. Only Orr had a higher mark in a season. Career high 85 points. Conn Smythe Trophy winner in '78. Never in 20 years missed the playoffs. Also a six time Cup winner. Led the playoffs in points in '78.


    Conclusion:
    I can rack my brains out on this one forever. Both of them were great dominant players. Potvin had more of an offensive upside but still didnt lack in the defensive department. Robinson could score too, and might arguably been a little more conservative in his own end. Potvin only missed the playoffs once in his career. Robinson never. I dont know the answer to this one so I'll just leave it up in the air and let the polls decide it. Its that close IMO. The best thing to think about is who was better in their prime. A '77 or '78 Robinson woudl be tough to beat but a '79 Potvin would give him all he could handle
     
  2. raleh

    raleh Registered User

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    I don't think they're necessarily 5 and 6. I think Kelly was better than both of them, but between the two I would preffer Robinson. It is really hard to choose between the two, so in situations like this I choose the one I would rather have on my side for game 7 of the cup finals and Robinson seems to be the safer choice for me. I am extremely biased towards habs players though and really can't help it!
     
  3. Talent Analyst

    Talent Analyst Registered User

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    I prefer Potvin
     
  4. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    I think Potvin was better.
     
  5. Trottier

    Trottier Very Random

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    Denis Potvin is the second best defenseman I've seen, period, next to #4. As a rule, I do not comment on players I never saw first-hand, so I cannot rate Shore, Harvey, etc., though their place among the games greats is well-known.

    As a sidenote, it's pleasure to re-visit this board, where adults can respectfully and intelligently debate/articulate the achievements of greats from all eras. (If one has viewed the insufferable thread about Bobby Orr currently on the main board, you appreciate my sentiment. :shakehead )
     
  6. Spitfire11

    Spitfire11 Registered User

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    Another point to consider is there wasn't another HOF player on that Islanders blueline throughout their dynasty.
     
  7. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Trotts, you know you're always welcome to visit this forum, where the best of the best sit down and discuss the game in an intelligent, informed, respectful manner.

    I'll go with Potvin. Frankly, I think the tighter race would be between Robinson and Red Kelly for No. 6. (I have Orr, Shore, Harvey and Bourque as the top four, then Potvin, and then Robinson and Kelly). When we were doing the rankings of the top defencemen ever, Potvin won No. 5 pretty handily. Robinson beat Kelly in a close race for No. 6, with many of the informed posters siding with Kelly.

    I chose Potvin because he was better all-round. This isn't a slight to Robinson, but Potvin was better defensively and physically. He could be downright vicious at times, too. Robinson may be the best combination of size, strength and skill ever seen in an NHL defenceman. (6'3", 220 lbs., and he could skate like the wind). Both consistently elevated their play in the post-season.
     
  8. Potvin, to me, was incredible. He really did it all, in every zone.

    I never saw Robinson play.

    The bottom line is that these two guys are big winners, and rock-solid players through their careers.

    Potvin is a very possibly Top 5 all-time guy all time to me, and I give the edge to him over Robinson.

    But I'd take them both on my team any day. Thos are the type of guys you build dynasties with.
     
  9. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    A bit OT but......

    Who do you think was the best Junior Defenceman ever? In terms of in the history of Major Junior A hockey in Canada?

    I would say Denis Potvin has to be right up there. And of Course Bobby Orr. Potvin got to play longer in Junior becuse you weren't allowed to go to the NHL at 18 when he started. Bryan Fogarty had one great season but wasn't near as good as Orr or Potvin over his junior career or on both ends of the rink.

    Anyone remember a junior defenceman that had a better junior career than Potvin or Orr?
     
  10. canucksfan

    canucksfan Registered User

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    Both are great players but Potvin is better. The reason being, Potvin was better offensively and he was more physical. I used to have Robinson ahead of Kelly but the more I read about Kelly the more I want to put Kelly 6th and Robinson 7th.
     
  11. Larry Robinson is my choice. He was so dominating in the 70s and into the 80s. He could do it all: He kept the other teams scorers in check, chipped in, and could handle the goons when they got out of line.
     
  12. kruezer

    kruezer Registered User

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    I'd take Potvin, he and Robinson could both do it all, but I think Potvin was just ever so slightly the better player.

    Kelly vs. Robinson would be a very interesting debate as well.
     
  13. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    In `79-`80 Potvin missed about 50 games and the Islanders really struggled (by their high standards) without him before he returned to the lineup. If you look at the career year-by-year point totals for Trottier, Bossy, Gillies etc. you`ll notice there`s a drop that season for all of them; that`s why. Potvin was the glue. Don`t forget the way the Isles totally crumbled after he retired. They went from 6th overall to tied for dead last just like that.
     
  14. chooch*

    chooch* Guest

    Well, they're 14 and 15 on Chooch's Top 20 list so that must be a fact then.....

    I gave Denis the nod because he didnt play his best 8 years with a Serge Savard next to him. Very close call though - I should add that no player was ever more respected by other players on ice than Bird. His 1981 Norris was a thing of beauty and he carried the Habs that year. I recall against the Leafs one winter night in a 5-5 draw (?) he rushed all night spectacularly breaking through the defence time and time again. He was named 2nd star that night to my guffaws.

    BTW the debate through the 70's was Salming v. Larry. funny you never hear that one 25 years later.
     
  15. ScaredStreit

    ScaredStreit Registered User

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    Potvin in #4 in my books, barley beating out Bourque. Bourque's only downfall was he never got Boston the cup, where Potvin dominated in the playoffs.
     
  16. scribe114

    scribe114 Registered User

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    Saw a good portion of Potvin and Robinson's career, been watching Hockey since 79.

    Potvin is No. 2 on my Defenseman list behind Orr ahead of Kelly. I have my reasons to believe that Kelly was better than Harvey.

    Potvin was about as complete as they come and he anchored what was a very solid Islander defense corps. He was the last piece of the Stanley Cup puzzle coming back from injury in the 79-80 season. Potvin and Robinson were about the same physical presence Potvin still continued to lay the bone-crushing checks while Robinson as he got older moved away from it and nobody wanted to tangle with Big Bird to begin with.

    Potvin comes out ahead of Big Rob as an offensive threat, and he was clearly the best Defenseman on his team Potvin had a pretty good supporting cast on the Blue Line during his prime Stefan Persson and Tomas Jonsson were the standouts IMO there was also Bob Lorimer, Ken Morrow, Mike McEwen, and Dave Langevin.

    Robinson on the other hand had to compete with Guy LaPointe and Serge Savard to be the best D-Man on his own team most years the rest of the Habs D-Men outside of Brian Engblom and Gaston Gingras were pretty non-descript.

    Potvin for me.
     
  17. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    I assume you're ignoring Shore because he's too far ahead of your time?
     
  18. Nifty=HHOF

    Nifty=HHOF Registered User

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    It's a tough call, you're choosing between two amazing players. I think Potvin was just a little better, but not much.
     
  19. scribe114

    scribe114 Registered User

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    He's just not in my top 3, top 5? yes.

    Let's not jump to snap judgements about people that post thoughts and opinions......see the thread below.

    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?p=3065340#post3065340
     
  20. CaptBrannigan

    CaptBrannigan Registered User

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    I pick Robinson, if only for the fact that I got the opportunity to play against him this summer, and he's still the best I've ever been on the ice with. Was barely trying, but it was amazing still. A great guy too, very friendly on the ice.

    Aside from that I have no valid opinion. :dunce:
     
  21. Malefic74

    Malefic74 Registered User

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    I'll buck the trend a little here and say Robinson.

    A lot of the arguments for Potvin hinge to his offensive numbers. I think this is misleading. Potvin was the Isles powerplay. The proverbial straw that stirred the drink. Also as the only consistent blueline threat the Isles had he had to force things upfront and consequently got more points because he was just that good.

    Robinson certainly had the talent to do the same things. But with other defencemen around him with offensive talent and coaches who preferred to spread the wealth so to speak he didn't get nearly as many opportunities as Potvin did in New York. Both on the power play and even strength.

    If you even them out on that (my opinion) than they are practically dead even.

    I'll also give Robinson the edge in a category that cannot be argued. Size. His wingspan was enormous in comparison with other players at the time, I've lost track of how many rushes he broke up with a flick of that long stick or getting his big frame in the passing lane.

    That and he's the only player I've ever seen who dented the boards with quite possibly the biggest bodycheck ever thrown. And all of Potvin's poster perfect hipchecks can't come close to that.
     

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