Sergei Zubov

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Blades of Glory, May 6, 2011.

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  1. Blades of Glory

    Blades of Glory Troll Captain

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    Am I the only one who finds him to be extremely underrated, both when he was playing and from a historical perspective? Zubov did have the unfortunate timing of playing in an era with an incredible crop of defensemen, likely the greatest collection of defense talent ever to play their primes together, but he was an elite defenseman that rarely has gotten the credit he deserves.

    During 1994, a 21-year old Zubov led the Rangers in scoring during the regular season, and perhaps most surprisingly, outproduced Leetch at even-strength, despite the fact that he was on the second pairing. Leetch scored only 6 goals and 26 points at ES, compared to 17 goals and 36 assists on the PP opposite Zubov on the Rangers' top PP unit. Zubov had 3 goals and 40 points at ES, and 9 goals and 49 points. I believe that the presence of Zubov, who was a very good skater and possessed outstanding vision and passing ability, allowed Leetch to use his elite offensive skills far more effectively than he could when partnered with Jeff Beukeboom at ES.

    He was an elite playoff performer all through his career. In the dead puck era, he was good for 50+ points a year in Ken Hitchcock's brutal defensive system. Yet his Norris voting record is mediocre, probably something to do with playing in Dallas. I will go as far to say as that I would take him over Scott Niedermayer pre-lockout, or at least pre-2004. Does anyone agree?
     
  2. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Defenseman generally get the shaft when it comes to Hall of Fame voting. If Zubov and Desjardins played at the same level they did and were forwards instead of defenseman, they would both be talked about as likely enductees.

    As defenseman they have no shot.
     
  3. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    He was under-rated, one of the top offensive defenseman of the past 2 decades. As for his Hall Chances, I think he does get in but it will be a while and in a weak class.
     
  4. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    His 94 season was amazing from an offensive standpoint, but he was pretty bad in his own zone at the time and really didn't become a two-way guy until he went to Dallas. I don't know why you think that playing for Dallas contibuted to him being underrated - they were a regular Cup contender. Unless you mean because Derian Hatcher was considered the better defenseman when they played together.

    I actually do agree that I would take Zubov over Niedermayer before Niedermayer's breakout in 2003.
     
  5. Rhiessan71

    Rhiessan71 Just a Fool

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    Agreed on Zuber over Neids early.

    Zubov got better defensively in Dallas, actually didn't have a choice under Hitch for 6 years.
    Lets be honest though, it became passable and that's about all you can say ;)

    He had an absolutely amazing first pass, thread the needle like no tomorrow and was easily one of the top three PP QB's for a long time.
     
  6. Totally disagree. He was one of those guys that seemed to win every puck battle without really playing the body so maybe thats why he tends to get called average defensively but I would say he was a great defensive dman in his time in dallas.
     
  7. Rhiessan71

    Rhiessan71 Just a Fool

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    Winning puck battles has nothing to do with playing positionally sound defense. Especially when the most important stuff is when completely away from the puck.

    Lidstrom wins a lot of puck battles without being overly physical too but the rest of the time the guy knows where the hell he's supposed to be away from the puck and almost always is.

    Zubov was weak positionally in his own zone, that was a fact my friend.
     
  8. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Zubov became strong defensively for a couple of seasons after the lockout, but there's a reason Hatcher got the toughest assignments when they played together in Dallas.
     
  9. Blades of Glory

    Blades of Glory Troll Captain

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    That reason probably has more to do with Hatcher being a monstrous physical presence than anything else. Hatcher was a prototypical dead-puck era shutdown defenseman, which means he wasn't very mobile (though he was decent for his size), couldn't move the puck, and his defensive strategy usually revolved around holding onto opposing forwards or trying to knock them out. In that era, if you had a 6'5, 235 pound defenseman, you put him on the ice knowing that he could molest the opposing teams' top forwards and get away with it.
     
  10. Padan

    Padan Registered User

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    Zubov was clearly above average defensively in his later years. He did a tremendous job against the Sedins in the 2007 playoffs.
     
  11. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    is it totally crazy to wonder whether zubov is most directly comparable to gary suter, but playing in a less competitive era for d-men?
     
  12. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    I think it's reasonable, though he obviously lacks Suter's dirty streak.
     
  13. Helistin

    Helistin Dustin's equilibrium

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    Would have been nice to see what kind of career numbers he would have piled up if he had stayed in Pittsburgh.Too bad Mario didn't like him smoking in the showers between periods :laugh:
     
  14. With all due respect having watched D. Hatcher for most of his career this guy was one of the slowest skaters i have ever seen! Zubov IMO is a HOF'er and it will suck if he does not get in. He had 40+ points in 11 seasons in a row and 12 out of 13. Norris finalist in '06 (should of been one in '93), a 2-time Stanley cup champion and a Olympic gold medalist. If that doesn't get him serious consideration for induction then i don't know what to say.
     
  15. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    RHS D-Men

    Sergei Zubov was on of the few RHS NHL d-men who had an elite level defensive and offensive game in the post 1943 NHL - Red Line ERA.

    Pre Red Line, RHS d-men that had a HHOF level game were fairly common - Harry Cameron, Eddie Shore, Merv Dutton, Earl Seibert, Sylvio Mantha, Art Coulter, Red Horner, plus a few others.

    Post 1943 you have an initial group of three - Butch Bouchard(started pre 1943),Fern Flaman, Tim Horton.Then you have almost a generational gap to Larry Murphy and Al MacInnis with Chris Chelios, Rob Blake and Sergei Zubov now up for consideration.

    The value of a RHS defenseman is paramount when it comes to clearing or transitioning from the defensive zone. Horton and Baun contributed enormously to the 1960's Leafs success in this regard.

    The Rangers and Stars with Zubov always had above average performance from their RW. Rangers especially spiraled downwards after Zubov was traded.

    Should make the HHOF, not first ballot like Chelios but definitely faster than Flaman.
     
  16. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Zubov most definitely was NOT elite defensively.
     
  17. Hardyvan123

    Hardyvan123 [email protected]

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    During his career he was the 2nd most productive Dman after Lidstrom in the regular season and the playoffs.

    I doubt there is another defenseman who can say that and it's not like he was Phil Housley like on defense either.

    If he had even been a little bit physical I think he would be a lock for the Hall, as it is I think he deserves to get in but not sure that he does.

    http://www.hockey-reference.com/pla...val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=points

    http://www.hockey-reference.com/pla...val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=points
     
  18. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    honesty, i think suter also lacked what people often refer to as "suter's dirty streak." he was actually a pretty honest player, except for two high profile (and very unfortunate) incidents.

    he was certainly more hard-nosed than zubov though, especially post-calgary. i was thinking mostly of the powerplay prowess, spending their entire careers in the shadow of another defenseman, the single second team all-star nod, and the consistency.
     
  19. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Three that I can think of. Gretzky's hit in the 1991 Canada Cup. Kariya getting crosschecked in the mouth after a goal in 1998. Breaking his stick over Andrei Lomakin's face in the 1987 Canada Cup which makes the McSorley/Brashear incident look like a church choir. In the case of the first two, both players were never quite the same afterwards. Suter wasn't an angel.


    As for Zubov, I think he falls into the Gonchar category. He was very good offensively and got better defensively as time wore on. He won Cup(s) and was a key contributor to teams who went deep in the postseason. Gonchar has a better Norris track record though which I think will hold Zubov back and keep him out of the HHOF. Put it this way, he had 89 points in 1994. He wasn't even a 2nd team all-star and his own teammate (Leetch) was. That tells you about his defense.

    But the question is, would you consider him a guy that will be remembered? Even now, is Zubov really an unforgettable player?
     
  20. MS

    MS 1%er

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    Zubov is over-rated, if anything. He was a Norris-calibre defender for one season - 2005-06.

    In that one season, he was absolutely elite. But that level of play shouldn't be projected back over his entire career.

    For his first 5 seasons, he was basically a Russian Phil Housley. A brilliant PP player and passer who was rubbish in his own end.

    After going to Dallas, he started to fix his defensive problems, but his offensive game suffered considerably. He averaged about 45 points/season from his move to Dallas until the lockout, which isn't exactly brilliant. He was a 10-15 overall defender in the league for most of this period.

    He put both sides of his game together for one season in 2005-06, then started showing his age as he reached his late 30s.

    If he'd had 5 seasons like 05-06, he might have been HHOF-worthy. But he didn't.
     
  21. ForsbergForever

    ForsbergForever Red Rocket

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    I think if Zubov had stayed in Pittsburgh he would have been far more accomplished. In his one season there, 1995-96, which was admittedly before the dead puck era kicked in, he had 66 pts in 64 games and was a +28, good for third on the team despite missing all those games. If he had remained in an offensive system his numbers would have been stronger and compensated at least a little bit for his defensive weakness. Maybe a higher scoring Gonchar... though he probably would have been sold off at somepoint as Pittsbugh dismantled their team...
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
  22. Yeah I agree. He had his best years in 96 and 2006 I bet largely because of the increased powerplays those seasons. He was easily one of the best powerplay defenseman I have ever seen.
     
  23. SoundwaveIsCharisma

    SoundwaveIsCharisma Moderator

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    Zubov has to have one of the most deadly first passes in the history of the game. I still remember him terrorizing the Avs with absolute snipe passes that would spring forwards. He became pretty good defensively in the later years but it's his offensive game that will garner him any HoF talk. Seriously killer first pass...just a scary thing to have to defend against.
     
  24. Brooklanders*

    Brooklanders* Registered User

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    Leetch outperformed in the playoffs despite zubov having the better point totals in the reg season 1994. Zubov career wasn't as long as it ahould have been.!Zubov and Leetch were better offensively then Scott but zubov wasn't better all around. I still don't get why nyr traded him. Zubov was a great offensive player
     
  25. tjcurrie

    tjcurrie Registered User

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    I agree with this. I dont agree that he was weak positionally in his own end as stated by Rhiessen.

    I had it out with a dew boardies a couple weeks ago on the whole Zubov debate. I said it was crazy that he was not voted in to the top 60 defensemen of all time when a guy like Niedermayer is ranked 27th. Clearly this follows the pattern of him being underrated as he was his entire career. I would take Zubov ahead of Niedermayer pre lockout and post lockout. Though post lockout it could be almost a toss up. Zubov's only down fall in that time was his health. But he still put up numbers. I have no doubt in my mind he would be like Lidstrom and still be playing if he didnt have the hip problem.
     

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