Stable lines where the winger was the best player/center was the worst

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by vadim sharifijanov, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    an either/or question. the HOH100 bill cook discussion made me think of this.

    rules: must be a line that was stable, i.e., the same three guys for multiple years

    - seriously, three guys. so not jagr/francis/revolving plug or ovechkin/backstrom/random

    - also, no superstar and two non-star guys, with all due respect to bill hay... or kristian huselius

    - power of balance must have been relatively stable through the line's existence (yes corey perry had a career year and won the hart one time, we would still count getzlaf as usually that line's top dude)

    - must be one of the league's top lines, my apologies to the great checking lines, esp gainey/jarvis/risebrough, or elite but not that elite scoring units like egg line

    - winger must be either far and away the best player on the line (daniel often scored more than henrik, but no sedins obviously), or the center must be the clear third best player (the cash line being an extreme grey area here, but i say spezza is close enough that you can't call him the clear #3; but this is subjective i guess... i would count KLM, albeit by the slimmest margin, but not the hot line as i am really high on ulf nilsson)

    - bonus points for if all three players are all-stars, if not hall of famers

    ---

    so we have lots of examples from the original six:

    even if we say that there's a decent argument that original production line doesn't count (decent argument for abel or abel/lindsay before howe unequivocally takes over in 1951), nor the punch line (ditto lach), you have the bread line (cook), the kid line (conacher, or if you really like jackson then primeau was the clear third guy), production lines 2 and 3 (howe)

    not so much after expansion. the donut line (with pete mahovlich) and the subsequent version with lemaire would be your best example(s).

    and in the modern era (post-WHA merger), there are a couple of borderline examples (borderline because they were very successful in terms of team accomplishments but maybe not necessarily elite in the absolute sense), propp/poulin/kerr and the A line of elias/arnott/sykora. or you have the opposite, where you have a massive donut line like kariya/rucchin/selanne or naslund/morrison/bertuzzi, with no team success.

    you do have the KLM line, which i guess could be very arguable, but that happened outside the NHL. and i guess there is also matti hagman between young messier and anderson, but i don't know that they stayed together long enough, and in any event in the long run they moved the clear best guy to center. a shorter lived example of this being sub-optimal is the option line, where they dumped the weak link center (john cullen) at the deadline and won a cup with the best player on the planet centering those two great wingers (kevin stevens and mark recchi).

    more recently, if you are as high on MSL as i am (or as low on lecavalier), then you could definitely argue for that prospal/lecavalier/MSL line. that wasn't the line that won the cup, of course.

    i guess my point here is to bring back the old question of whether the league can ever bring back the model where the center is the dirty work or defensive guy, and the winger(s) are the star scorer. it obviously failed miserably when that guy was rucchin or morrison. but could it have succeeded if those teams had someone more on the level of a delvecchio or larionov or lemaire or dare i say boucher? (but then frank boucher was probably better than all four of kariya, selanne, naslund, and the todd) or on a deep team with vezina-level goaltending, could upgrading rucchin/morrison to someone like dave poulin have worked?

    this also goes back to the playmaking winger question that's come up from time to time. can a line like giroux/couturier/voracek make waves and make multiple deep runs (like the 80s flyers) or dare i say win multiple cups (like the 70s habs and some of those great O6 lines)? panarin/anisimov/kane did some wonderful things but they didn't win any cups. and back when jamie benn was the clear top guy on his line, they kept moving him to center and seguin to the wing.
     
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  2. ehhedler

    ehhedler thus edler

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    I think Bernie Morris played center on a line with HHOF forwards Jack Walker (winger/occasional rover) and Frank Foyston (rover/winger/occasional center). Morris had a HHOF case/career of his own going on though before the whole draft dodging debacle, so while I guess you can say he was the worst guy of the three mentioned, it wasn't by some huge margin (Morris led the PCHA in points and feasted on the Canadiens in the 1917 SCFs).

    It was 7 man hockey too so technically archaic pest Cully Wilson was the worst player on that line.
     
  3. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

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    Not by the slimmest margin at all; when they played together, Makarov and Krutov were considerably better than Larionov imo.

    Mikhailov, Petrov and Kharlamov could be mentioned too; I don't think many consider Petrov to be as good as or better than either.
     
  4. Rasmus Ascendant

    Rasmus Ascendant cybersabre his prophet

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    Vanek - Roy - Pominville fits the bill here in their respective prime years.
     
  5. streitz

    streitz Registered User

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    Selanne- Rucchin - Kariya

    Selanne- (mostly)Zhamanov/Steen- Whoever else they had at wing

    Neely- Janny/Linseman- Whoever


    Will post more if I think of them.
     
  6. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

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    Who played left with Conroy and Iginla?
     
  7. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    One of the three finalists of this thread is:

    Straka - Lang - Kovalev

    Clearly. And I hate the Pens.
     
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  8. Nick Hansen

    Nick Hansen Registered User

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    Read the OP, folks.
     
  9. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    I did.

    The SLK line was stable for years. They were the top-scoring line in the NHL one of their years together. Straka was top 5 in NHL assists and points, Kovalev top 10 in goals, both went to the all-star game during the line's tenure together, Lang their center was clearly the third wheel and didn't go to the all-star game until AFTER the line disbanded.

    How could Pittsburgh part with Jagr? One reason was the success of the SLK line.

    They meet every condition you put in the op.
     
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  10. Nick Hansen

    Nick Hansen Registered User

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    I was mostly referring to Streitz and then the mention of Conroy.

    I didn't put in anything in the OP, though I think it could've been less convoluted.

    I was about to post Straka/Nylander/Jagr but I don't think it quite fits with OP's criterias. Straka wasn't really a star as I see it. Nylander certainly wasn't.
     
  11. Neutrinos

    Neutrinos Registered User

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    Naslund - Morrison - Bertuzzi was the first line that came to mind

    Kariya - Rucchin - Selanne

    Shanahan - Janney - Hull
     
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  12. Merya

    Merya Jokerit & Finland; anti-theist

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    Rucchin centering Kariya and Teemu is probably the most obvious one. I can't really think of any better example. It was a stable line and the wingers outscored and outplayed their center totally. Steve was a decent defensive center and "let the kids play".
     
  13. MXD

    MXD Original #4

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    The Kid Line?

    Lynn Patrick - Phil Watson - Bryan Hextall? Hextall was clearly the best player. IThe question as whom was the 2nd best player is VERY discutable (in fact, it's probably barely discutable), but Patrick is the one in the HHOF here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  14. EpochLink

    EpochLink Canucks and Jets fan

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    Dean McCammond
     
  15. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    The MPH Line: Pit Martin between Jim Pappin and Dennis Hull. Hull was a 2nd team all-star, both wingers played in 5 all-star games ,the center in 4.

    All three played together for years and put up gawdy offensive numbers.
    All three played in the same NHL all-star game together as well!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    Another Soviet example: Bobrov - Tarasov/Shuvalov - Babich. While the wingers were star players who worked their magic, the center was a pedestrian worker who was expected to cover defensively and then arrive in front of the opposing goal in time just in case there was a puck to bury, either because there was a rebound or Bobrov & Babich (more likely the latter) provided a pass.
     
  17. Pominville Knows

    Pominville Knows Induct me allready :/

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    I never played that much with Roy 5on5, but can clearly remember a time when he was considered better than me.
    Ah, how time changes!
     
  18. Talisman

    Talisman Registered User

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    somebody mentioned some soviet lines so i trow Kapustin-zlukztov-Balderis.kapustin and balderis were more talented players that the center in that line and another line were zlukztov were also center was with Boris aleksandrov and vladimir vikulov. and recent years Panarin-anisimov-Kane line coma to my mind!!

    edit: i dont remember how stables were that first two soviet line that i brought up….;)
     
  19. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    For 5 years, starting 1934-35, the New York Americans had one of the greatest lines in the NHL in:

    Sweeney Schriner - Art Chapman - Lorne Carr
    • HHOF left winger Schriner was a 1st & 2nd team all star during the 5 years on this line, two times 1st in NHL points (retro-Art Ross);
    • Center Chapman was a 2nd team all-star, leading the NHL in assists twice as Schriner's pivot;
    • Right winger Carr was 8th in NHL goals, 10th in points one year on the line; for the Leafs later in his career he was a two-time 1st team all star.
    The left winger was the biggest star, the right winger did well but his all-star years came later in his career in another city, and the center was the veteran at the tail end of his career.

    The Americans had no depth but the trio of that line were heroes in upsetting rival Rangers in the playoffs with a couple of OT wins, falling to Chicago in the Stanley Cup Final in 1938, though beating them in OT to send it to the deciding last game (Hawk HHOF defenseman Earl Seibert dominated with 55 minutes of ice time and his coach said is the reason Chicago stopped the Americans).

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  20. NHL WAR

    NHL WAR Registered User

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    A recent example would be JVR-Bozak-Kessel. Not sure if JvR and Bozak are the calibre of players OP was looking for, though.
     
  21. NyQuil

    NyQuil Neon NyQuil

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    I was thinking of Atlanta when they had Heatley and Kovalchuk and Hossa and Kovalchuk with Kozlov and White as their centres.

    Someone who knows Atlanta a bit better might be able to confirm.

    Tough to find a centre who is an all-star who is sufficiently weaker than their wingers. If they are an all-star talent they are going to get a lot of touches and a lot of points.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  22. streitz

    streitz Registered User

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    Wasn't it Shean Donovan for the 04 run? I only remember him outside of the 04 run because he got into a brawl at the 97 worlds.
     
  23. pbgoalie

    pbgoalie Registered User

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    Courneyer Lemaire LaFleur
    Shutt

    Oops misread op
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  24. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

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    Good call on Kapustin-Zhluktov-Balderis, although they didn't play that long together (about 3 years in 1976/77-1979/80).

    I think Alexandrov, Zhluktov and Vikulov played together for CSKA for a while, but did they ever play together on the Soviet national team? I don't remember (the 1976 Canada Cup maybe?), and I'm not sure that Alexandrov was better than Zhluktov especially when their whole careers are being compared.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  25. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

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    Didn't Lafleur and Shutt play together with Pete Mahovlich for a while? If so, that line could be mentioned. Then again, Mahovlich had a few big seasons in the mid-1970s.
     

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