Is Phil Esposito one of the Greatest Centres of All Time?

Why is it that we (our generation anyway) have trouble thinking of Esposito as one of the greatest hockey players of all time? Is it because he was on the same team as Bobby Orr, whose legend has endured far better? Is it because of Esposito’s extraordinarily unathletic physique? Is it because everything he did has since been done multiple times by multiple players so those records feel less important?

We have no idea, but Espo was the most dominant offensive player between Howe and Gretzky. (We read somewhere that Lafleur was the most dominant offensive player between Howe and Gretzky, but we don’t see evidence to back that up.)

Sure, Espo benefited from playing more games per season in the newly expanded league (someone was going to set records) and, yes, he benefited from playing with the Greatest of All Time, but lesser players wouldn’t have excelled the way he did, over such a long period of time.

Listen to us talk about Esposito here:

Continue reading “Is Phil Esposito one of the Greatest Centres of All Time?”

Does Jean Ratelle Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

By regular season numbers, Jean Ratelle was one of the best forwards of his era. And, had he been healthy in his best season, he might have competed for the scoring title. (His peers awarded him with the Pearson for that.)

However, his playoff numbers are noticeably worse. And, of course, he never won a Cup.

So, how great was Jean Ratelle? Is he one of the greats of his era or does his longevity make him look better than he was? Listen to us discuss Ratelle’s Hall of Fame case here:

Continue reading “Does Jean Ratelle Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?”

Why is Ed Giacomin in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

We don’t know exactly what happened between 1987 and now, but the standards for goalie admission got a lot stricter. (Well, we do know that goalie stats got better.) It’s so hard to get admitted into the Hall of Fame as a goalie now, but when Ed Giacomin was inducted, it seems like it was less hard.

Why?

Giacomin has good traditional stats, such as wins. And it’s arguable he was the Most Valuable Goalie in the league for four seasons.

But he was never the best goalie in the league by Save Percentage, Goals Saved Above Average or even GAA – that Vezina is for total Goals Against – and his peak only lasted about four years. The rest of his regular season career is not outstanding (especially as he got older).

Additionally, his playoff numbers aren’t great.

So does Ed Giacomin actually belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us discuss it here:

Continue reading “Why is Ed Giacomin in the Hockey Hall of Fame?”

Is Guy Lafleur one of the Greatest of All Time?

For 6 seasons – more than half a decade – there was arguably no better hockey player on earth than Guy Lafleur. And there is arguably no better team in NHL history than Lafleur’s Canadiens of the late ’70s.

For the rest of his career, Lafleur was, um, not the best hockey player in the world. And so the question is, was he good enough in those six seasons to rank among the very, very best forwards in history, who managed longer peaks but less consistency?

Listen to us talk about Guy Lafleur’s case for one of the Greatest of All Time here:

Continue reading “Is Guy Lafleur one of the Greatest of All Time?”

Does Brad Park Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Steven Carter, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Brad Park was always a bridesmaid – few people have been nominated so many times for major awards and never won one. In addition, Park was in three Stanley Cup finals and never won.

So Brad Park had some bad luck. And it’s possible that he was the second best defenseman of his era – at least based on Norris trophy nominations.

So, where does Brad Park rank all time?

Listen to us talk about Brad Park’s Hall of Fame career here:

Continue reading “Does Brad Park Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?”

Does Buddy O’Connor Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Buddy O’Connor was the first ever Hall of Fame inductee of the old Veteran’s Committee. He is one of only 4 Rangers to ever win the Hart Trophy.

But we’re not sure O’Connor deserved his Hart. And, if he didn’t deserve the trophy, his case isn’t so good. He had some good seasons but he was arguably never the best player in the league.

So, does Buddy O’Connor belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us discuss it here:

Continue reading “Does Buddy O’Connor Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?”

Is Potvin One of the Greatest Defencemen of All Time?

Charny, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Denis Potvin was the greatest offensive D between Bobby Orr and Paul Coffey. He might have been the best all around defender too, as when was the last time you heard someone complain about his defence?

So obviously Denis Potvin belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But where does he rank all time?

Listen to us try to figure it out:

Continue reading “Is Potvin One of the Greatest Defencemen of All Time?”

Is Mike Bossy the Greatest Goal Scorer of All Time?

Mike Bossy is 1st All Time in Goals Per Game, was Top 5 in GPG in all but one season of his NHL career and is the only player other than Gretzky to score 50 goals 9 straight times.

But nobody is hurt by Hockey Reference’s adjustment for era more than Mike Bossy. So arguably nobody benefited from playing when they did more than Bossy.

So, is Mike Bossy the greatest goal scorer in NHL history?

Listen to us talk about Mike Bossy’s Hall of Fame case here:

Continue reading “Is Mike Bossy the Greatest Goal Scorer of All Time?”

Should Clint Smith be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Clint Smith set the single-season record for assists in the ’40s. So of course he should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Right?

Well, he did it during World War II, when talent in the league was quiet watered down. He doesn’t have a lot of other accomplishments. And he doesn’t have the Cups that many other “veterans committee” inductees of the ’90s have.

So, does Clint Smith belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us try to sort it out here:

Continue reading “Should Clint Smith be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?”

Is Marcel Dionne one of Greatest Centres of All Time?

Marcel Dionne’s regular season numbers are absolutely incredible, yet he’s rarely talked about as among the greatest forwards or even centres of all time.

Why is that?

Well, a lot has to do with his playoff numbers, which are, um, awful.

Listen to us talk about Marcel Dionne’s Hall of Fame career and where he ranks All Time:

Continue reading “Is Marcel Dionne one of Greatest Centres of All Time?”