Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by jcbio11, Jan 13, 2011.
Bonus question - what does he have to do to be considered the best d-man of all time?
1. In my personal opinion, the only thing Bourque has on Lidstrom is that he was an elite defenseman for significantly more seasons. 19 post-season all star teams to soon to be 12. The difference isn't that great, I don't think, as Bourque came into the league an elite defenseman, so he already had a "reputation" during his very slow decline. Whereas, Lidstrom probably lost a nod or two early in his career because his style of play was unappreciated.
Regardless, there is still a definitely edge for Bourque in terms of number of elite seasons, and it's not a small one.
So Lidstrom really needs to either put together another couple of seasons like the one he currently is having, or he needs another Smythe-worthy playoff run to close the gap.
For those who think peak Bourque was better than peak Lidstrom, there is no way he can catch Bourque this late in his career.
2. Best defenseman of all time? Lidstrom would need to compete for the Art Ross and Hart Trophy on a regular basis and be the undisputed best player on his team for multiple playoff runs... yeah... not going to happen.
The Top Three Plus Bourque
Lidstrom has not and will not revolutionize the game like Shore, Harvey or Orr did nor can he skate like Orr did nor does he have his on ice vision or ability.
That leaves Bourque. Lidstrom could not compete with an aging Bourque let alone a prime Bourque. Not the skater that Bourque was in his prime. Bourque had much better offense. Lidstrom brings longevity due to a non-physical approach. Their defensive skills balance.
All-time : I'd say something like winning an Art Ross, with Crosby, AO, and another future Top-50 guy in their primes (and all healthy, obviously). In other words -- no chance at all.
Bourque -- well, that has to do with the "eye" factor. Those who consider Bourque a better player won't consider Lidstrom to be a better player than him, no matter what he does, because Lidstrom adds absolutely nothing to his "peak" legacy now. He's peaked, and I don't know if we can consider him to have a post-peak (...decline) at all. But Bourque was a feared defencemen, not to a Stevens-level, but feared nonetheless. Lidstrom, well, just doesn't scare anybody. He beats guy while playing the puck. And Lidstrom just doesn't beat Bourque with peak longevity (at this point). Lidstrom had more team success than Bourque, but Lidstrom didn't make... let's say, Pavel Datsyuk, look like a 1st-liner; Datsyuk already is, and that's not talking about all those players that were one of the best at their trades that Datsyuk had the opportunity to play with.
Best all time or better than Bourque? Two different things in my mind. For best all time he needs to score 40+ goals and 100+ assists in a season. For Bourque, I think he is very close to being if not already at that level. I'd even suggest that Lidstrom has been more dominant in his generation than Bourque was in his. Bourque had to contend with Coffee, Langway, Chelios. No one defenseman in Lidstrom's time has consistently challenged him. He seems to be the cream that always rises to the top...but very quietly. He is not flashy and I don't have a memory of a definitive play he made (though I don't watch the Red Wings enough) like Bourque beating the Habs in OT or raising the Cup in his last game. Orr had the OT goal soaring through the air, plus his amazingly pure dominance. Potvin had a great shot from the point and delivered great hip checks. Robinson and his rushes and manhandling of other players. Pronger and his presence, albeit dirty a lot of the time. Zubov and his skating/passing. Stevens and his thunderous, borderline legal hits. Coffee and his effortless skating. These guys all stand out for me because of definitive plays they made to define themselves again and again. With Lidstrom, he just quietly gets the job done at an extremely efficient level. Perhaps the one thing that defines him, and I think I read this somewhere, is his seemingly lack of effort in execution. While the rest of the players are skating around at 100 mph and accomplishing little, Lidstrom seems to calmly execute what needs to be done.
That's impossible in today's NHL. Only one defenseman has ever done it and that was Orr in the 1970s. Today - impossible. Quality of competition is on another planet today.
I do have one big argument for Lidstrom vs Bourque.
Cups. Team succes.
Bourque had to be piggybacked to his Stanley cup on an absolutely stacked Avalanche team, which had a fair chance of winning that year without him as well. Lidstrom played a critical role on 4 Stanley cup winning teams.
Sometimes it seems to me like people choose which arguments are okay for which players. I've often heard a player isn't HOF worthy or is worse than player X, because he hasn't had as much team success. Yet somehow this doesn't work for many people in the Lidstrom vs Bourque debate.
Also, say he wins another Norris trophy and the Wings win another Cup with him being instrumental in that win, does that do it (better than Bourque)?
Not a chance they win with no Bourque and Forsberg out for the last two rounds like he was that year. They were down 3-2 in the Finals as it was.
Well that's debatable. Not my point anyway. Still 4 cups vs 1 cup. Bourque powered Bruins - no cups.
I'm not even sure Steve Kasper would have had a roster spot on the Wings during their Cups wins, with the possible exception of the '08 Cup.
Kasper was the Bruins top C for the year they had their best shot at the Cup. (during the years they made it to the Finals -- their best shot might have been 93, but the Bruins went on being the Bruins, and we all know what happens then).
For every year, with the possible exception of 08, the Wings had TWO HHOF'ers in their lineup. And that's only counting the top-2 centers. Not only Yzerman and Fedorov are HHOF'ers, but both are Top-100 players of all time. One of them is a Top-50 guy -- heck, a Top-30 guy.
The top-2 C's of the Bruins during their SCF appearances are Kasper, a guy who's remembered for chippyness/dirtiness/ugly glasses, a guy who's remembered for extreme softiness, and another whose best claim to fame was his dad throwing a hissy fit because he wasn't drafted by the Hartford Whalers.
is that supposed to be a joke? i love lidstrom as much as the next wings fan, but are u really going to discredit the roles yzerman, fedorov, shanahan, draper, konstantinov, larionov, and the various roleplayers? our team was just as talented as the avs team during their stacked run almost every year.
It is not debatable. To say Bourque was piggybacked to a cup by a stacked team is revisionist history.
Both were incredible playoff performers.
One more Norris or Cup should do it. But you'll never convince the Orr fanboys here.
One Cup will move Lidstrom past ORR?
Comparables and Team Success
With forward scoring declining I would be reluctant to say that another defenseman winning the Art Ross is impossible. It would take a special talent playing on a team where the coach is willing to let the player simply play but it is possible given present circumstances.
Team success. Have always believed that team success is a key measure of a players greatness. However the team concept has to extend far beyond the players. Coaches, management and ownership play vital roles as well.
In the context of Bourque vs Lidstrom the Red Wings provided Lidstrom with a huge advantage. He was surrounded with better players - Bourque had Neely for a few years while Lidstrom had a steady supporting cast with multiple HHOFers most of the time. Coaching / management. Bourque's career was marked by Harry Sinden in Boston with a steady turnover of fair to mediocre coaches until it was too late. Lidstrom's career featured excellent management/ownership throughout his career supported by the greatest coach in NHL history - Scotty Bowman and the best present day - 21st century coach in Mike Babcock. Simply Ray Bourque had to overcome bad ownership/management and coaching to achieve whatever success he had while Lidstrom was helped by elite ownership/management/coaching to attain his success.
Bourque was very strong in the playoffs but I think at this point you really gotta give Lidstrom the nod.
He has 4 cups wins, 6 finals appearances and has a Conn Smythe and was the captain of a cup winner. That is one hell of a playoff resume for the modern NHL.
People can give Bourque the regular season title for having a ton of longevity but Lidstrom wins the playoff resume pretty handily.
The same people that will defend Bourque as having "played on bad Bruins teams" are the same ones who will pound on Marcel Dionne and others regardless of their teams being even worse.
Not sure if serious.
I agree with almost everything you posted.
Except that Bourque retained his superb play in the playoffs, often carrying his team far further than they would have made it his team carrying superhuman efforts, despite almost always being the prime target of shutdown for the opposing team, while Dionne's play in the playoffs was the opposite.
I think the common theme is that people look at how those players performed in the playoffs, not the results their teams ended up with.
Nobody (well, nobody smart) rips on Dionne for not carrying those Kings teams to the Cup. People rip on him for not performing up to his regular season standards. I don't think you'll see anyone rip on Dale Hawerchuk for not taking those crappy Jets teams to the finals. But that's because Hawerchuk scored like the star he was in the playoffs, even in losing causes. Ray Bourque played like the star he was in the playoffs, and looking over those Bruins rosters (especially when Neely was injured) it's pretty hard to fault Bourque for not carrying them to the Cup. Of the 5 times Bourque made it to the 3rd round or deeper in his career, his teams lost to the dynasty Islanders, the dynasty Oilers twice, the should-have-been-dynasty Pens, and then finally beating the (near dynasty) Devils in 2001.
That is very true.
A) They said the same thing about defensemen in Orr's day.
B) Its totally unfair to heap a team's success onto one player. Players don't win cups, teams do. Its not Bourque's fault that he had to play Edmonton in the finals twice. I don't think having Orr could have made a difference. Edmonton was just too good a team. And we could be saying the same thing about Lidstrom if he played in that era.
This sums it up very well. I have Bourque with a somewhat higher peak, so I would need to see another few seasons from Lidstrom at basically his current level so that the argument could possibly be made in terms of longevity as an elite player. In order to pass Orr Lidstrom would need to suddenly become a far better player than he ever was, maintain his current defensive play and probably lead the league in scoring.
Same thing people said when Orr entered the NHL... and then he proceeded to lead the league in scoring.
Lidstrom has enjoyed playing on teams as strong as that Colorado team as well, and for a far longer period than Bourque did. I would say that Bourque was piggybacked to that championship just a little more than Lidstrom was piggybacked to championships in 1997 and 1998, for what it's worth. Bourque played on good but not great teams for the majority of his career. Lidstrom has played on great teams for the majority of his career. Making an argument for a player based on how they played in the playoffs individually is quite fair, but judging them by team success is pointless, particularly if they were not really in similar situations. Players don't win or lose championships, teams do.
What players have you seen that argument used against in this section? I've seen it used against Jagr a few times (stupidly) but that's it mainly.
What's this nonsense that the only reason Lidstrom has never competed for the Art Ross is that the competition from forwards is too high compared to Orr's era?
Since the lockout 2nd in PPG among defenseman has 0.77 and 10th has 0.68. 1st, Lidstrom, had 0.82.
From 69 to 74, second among defenseman had 0.81 and 10th had 0.60. About the same competition, if not less. 1st, Orr, had 1.53
Orr was doubling his peers in scoring. If Lidstrom had ever been outscoring his fellow defenseman by the same margin, he'd be putting up ~130 points per year, easily enough to compete for the Art Ross.
Bourque was better.
I already said Bourque was very good in the playoffs.
So were Jagr and Cujo and many others but they get denigrated and Bourque gets excused.
I just find the double standards that rear their heads about clutch play in general to be pretty fascinating.
Maybe you should not have used Dionne as an example then.
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