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Morning Line

I’m not so sure the same can be said for Nicklas Lidstrom being the best all-around defenseman in 2010-11, however. While it’s great to see him win another Norris Trophy from the standpoint of pumping up his well-earned legacy, Lidstrom played only 23:28 minutes per game to Zdeno Chara‘s 25:26 time on ice and Shea Weber‘s 25:19. Lidstrom’s defensive numbers were – at times – disturbingly pedestrian, especially compared to his lofty legacy and his more leaned-upon colleagues. Lidstrom was great in the regular season, but he didn’t seem as crucial to his team as Weber or Chara was to theirs.

Lidstrom’s victory smells of name recognition, emphasizing points far too much for a defenseman and a general deficit in defensive stats that don’t require an accounting degree, though.

-James O’Brien of Pro Hockey Talk at NBC Sports.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+lidstrom

Comments

SnLO's avatar

-James O’Brien of Pro Hockey Talk at NBC Sports.

Wow. Bitter much?

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 06/23/11 at 12:40 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

The writer is 12 years old and is from Dallas. I’m guessing he hears it from his dad about how many times Zubov should’ve won the Norris but didn’t.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 06/23/11 at 12:46 PM ET

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i think even the most loyal of wing fans could agree that if there was one year that Lidstrom perhaps should not have won, it would have been this year.

that being said, last year crosby was not even voted onto the first team all star lineup… i have given up hope for the awards to be legit.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 06/23/11 at 12:58 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Those situational stats ignore the fact that a) Lidstrom scored the vast majority of his points on the power play and b) the Wings as a team were terrible at keeping the puck out of their net, at least by Red Wings standards. Lidstrom’s defensive play did not suffer any more than that of his teammates…frankly, because his ice time is lower these days but he’s still out there for so many crucial moments, it’s easier to pick on his stats than it used to be, but the numbers simply aren’t indicative of Lidstrom’s value to the team—and the same can be said for his points to some extent because the Wings are a completely different team when he’s in the lineup. A better one.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/23/11 at 12:58 PM ET

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that being said, last year crosby was not even voted onto the first team all star lineup… i have given up hope for the awards to be legit.

to add to that point, over the past 6 seasons sid has been voted to 1 first team and 1 second team.  what a joke.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 06/23/11 at 01:02 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 06/23/11 at 10:58 AM ET

I agree, the awards shows and all star games are pandering to a very young and enthusiastic audience that eats this kind of stuff up (along with the chalky bubble game that comes in packs of 1982 Topps baseball cards).  Now that I think of it, it’s probably why this writer decided to go out of his way to blast Lidstrom to begin with.

Personally, I’ve never felt the need to engage in tit for tats on who should be starting or winning awards, the focus for me has always been on appreciating what these players contribute to hockey.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 06/23/11 at 01:06 PM ET

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Weber was the obvious choice - I was surprised Lidstrom was even nominated… didn’t he have a minus rating?  Oh well… I find it more insulting that Jay Mohr and the other fake celebrities/horrible music acts were part of the Award’s Ceremony.  But Weber still deserved it…

Posted by Kevin on 06/23/11 at 01:07 PM ET

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Reasonable comments that are not particularly out of line, this does appear to be a legacy vote over a purely statistical one. Chara’s plus 33 blows either Weber or Lidstrom out of the water. This isn’t about whether Lidstrom is great player, it is who was best on defense this year.

Posted by timbits on 06/23/11 at 01:08 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Weber and Chara were arguably more valuable to their respective teams than Lidstrom (ARGUABLY).  But the Norris is for “best overall defenseman” not for “most valuable defenseman”.  It’s a non-starter argument to discuss that.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/11 at 01:08 PM ET

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along with the chalky bubble game that comes in packs of 1982 Topps baseball cards

I loved that bubble gum… i would walk 4 blocks to the sheetz store (first one ever Altoona pa) to get that pack of baseball card stickers for my book… the gum is what made my day smile

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 06/23/11 at 01:10 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

this does appear to be a legacy vote over a purely statistical one. Chara’s plus 33 blows either Weber or Lidstrom out of the water.

If Lidstrom had a goalie with Tim Thomas’ save percentage behind him for exactly the same number of shots he was on the ice for this season, he would have finished a +15 playing against tougher competition and with less help than Chara.

Is that difference enough to make up the 14-points scored difference between Lidstrom and Chara?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/11 at 01:14 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

I don’t have a huge problem saying Lidstrom probably wasn’t the right choice this year.

But I consider this repayment for the years his defensive dominance was ignored in lieu of the physicality of Pronger and Blake, and the offense of Coffey and Leetch. He probably deserved a couple of those, but it was before the voters got over giving a non-physical European player an award that usually goes to a hard-hitting North American. Lidstrom was just so good in the late ‘90s that they couldn’t keep ignoring that he was playing better defense than a guy like Pronger, and doing it all with his smarts and his stick.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 06/23/11 at 01:16 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

This guy is a complete hack. His opening paragraph talks of moneyball and baseball, then the subsequent paragraph goes on to say:

The problem with hockey is that it’s simply not as easy to boil down to simple numbers as baseball. While baseball has an obvious point of action (pitch) and reaction (batter attempting to defeat that pitch), NHL games feature thousands of invisible calculations.
Clearly indicating that he thinks player assessment in hockey goes beyond stats. Then he goes on to argue that this year’s award determination is based too heavily on stats. From where he drew that conclusion I have no idea and is not addressed. I think we can all agree that his conclusion smells of someone that feels jilted.

So, he wraps up the column by stating:

a general deficit in defensive stats that don’t require an accounting degree
Now he is saying he thinks that award determination should be stat dependent. This guy doesn’t know what he wants and it doesn’t take an accounting degree to read the inconsistency in how he arrived to the conclusion in his position.

And, for what it’s worth, his nic is titled “cyclelikesedins”

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 06/23/11 at 01:17 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

If Lidstrom had a goalie with Tim Thomas’ save percentage behind him for exactly the same number of shots he was on the ice for this season, he would have finished a +15

That is exactly the type of argument he uses in the opening of the column.

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 06/23/11 at 01:21 PM ET

YYZerman's avatar

I find it funny that before Lidstrom announced he was comming back everyone and there mother was saying that the Wings will pretty much have to go through a rebuilding process if he leaves. But now that he’s back he’s not even good enough to win the norris because he averaged two min less ice time or because he didn’t play on the PK (only in the playoffs and against Phoenix if you’re really counting). Let’s not forget he had the second most points for D-men all the while playing against EVERY top line EVERY night.  So, this one player is good enough to make a very good Detroit team go into a rebuilding year but not good enough to win the Norris? These “writers” need to choose a story to write, either he is so good that he will cause a Detroit team that has been great the last 15 years to go into rebuilding or he is too old and bad that he can’t even win the Norris.

Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 06/23/11 at 01:27 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Lidstrom’s victory smells of name recognition… O’Brien of Pro Hockey Talk at NBC Sports.

And jealousy is a stinky cologne Mr. O’Brien…

NBC Sports writers= irrelevant.  Considering that in hockey news/commentary in the US MSM we have the likes of Milbury and Melrose near the top of the heap I’m gonna imagine Mr. O’Brien’s thoughts on Lidstrom carry all the weight of a drunk person shouting on a street corner…

As far as the Weber/Chara talk goes… tough s**t.  I don’t believe Ryan Kesler is a better defensive forward than Datsyuk, but I guess thats how it goes.  Weber and Chara are excellent players, but I’d like to see them have a career season at 41.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 06/23/11 at 01:28 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

NBC Sports writers= irrelevant.

Joe Yerdon is a champ.

That is exactly the type of argument he uses in the opening of the column.

Posted by SnLO from Meeesheegan on 06/23/11 at 11:21 AM ET

Stats tell us plenty about how a player has performed, but there is a lot of noise and contextual pitfalls to many of them.  There is no perfect stat, no matter what the people who call themselves “hockey sabremetricians” want to try to convince people of.  It’s even worse for defensive consideration because there are a dozen different ways to play defense and if they’re successful, the only thing that truly shows up on the stat sheet is… nothing.  There is not a good way to mathematically compare takeaways to hits as far as how much they contribute to teams not scoring goals.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/11 at 01:36 PM ET

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Emphasizing points too much? I wonder why mike green was ever even nominated before

Posted by T.b on 06/23/11 at 01:45 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/11 at 11:36 AM ET

Agreed. In a basic sense, it amounts to intangibles. I believe, it is on that basis that TPH won the Norris. I am just annoyed at the writer’s poor effort in trying to formulate an argument to discredit Lidstrom’s awarding of the Norris.

As for “hockey sabremetricians”... OMG! Don’t get me started on him. I liken that situation to a person that repeatedly keeps running into a wall with their head, then wondering why their head hurts and why the wall won’t get out of the way.

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 06/23/11 at 01:53 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Lids only had 20 pins so he wasn’t a liability.. came in second in points overall.. and didn’t two of the other defensemen have 2 of the vezina nominees? Gimme a break lidstrom is so subtly perfect that half ass sports riders I wouldst expect to see it.  Does burrows score that OT goal on lidstrom? Don’t think so.. lidstrom doesn’t have hardest slap shot and isn’t freakishly big big but he’s definitely earned his

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 06/23/11 at 01:58 PM ET

SYF's avatar

STFU, O’Brien.  You haven’t watched a damn game all year.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 06/23/11 at 02:06 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

What does NBC know about hockey?

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 06/23/11 at 02:12 PM ET

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It’s pretty clear that there was no real consensus on who was the best d-man this year. The voting was split pretty evenly among the top three, and people who “obviously it should have gone to x” are kidding themselves. Yes, Lidstrom was a minus player for the first time in his career. Most people agree that plus/minus is a flawed stat, but there isn’t a consensus on how to measure defense. Contributing offensively has been part of consideration for the award since Bobby Orr played. Post-playoffs, our perspectives change. It’s easier to like Chara now that he has just won a Stanley Cup than it was shortly after the Max Pacioretty incident. Weber is a great defenseman as well. But was he head and shoulders better than Lidstrom? Doesn’t seem like plus-7, 48 points is zomg way way better than minus-2, 62 points. And Lidstrom was playing on a team that faced some injuries on defense (Brad Stuart, Brian Rafalski) and while Jimmy Howard was solid in goal he didn’t have a year to match Thomas or Rinne. So how do you factor in all of those variables? A few more people came down on the side for Lidstrom than for Weber or Chara. It wasn’t an issue of robbery or of nostalgia-addled voters, it was just a close race this year.

My guess is that Weber will win the award in the next few years and Chara will likely pick up another one before he retires.

Posted by anony2 on 06/23/11 at 02:38 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by anony2 on 06/23/11 at 12:38 PM ET

Well said.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 06/23/11 at 02:42 PM ET

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Meh. This year’s Norris is like last year’s Selke: all three guys were had good arguments in their favor and nobody set themselves ahead of the pack that much.

I’m just glad Daniel Sedin didn’t win, like Henrik, who shouldn’t have, did last year. Neither guy is the ‘most-valuable to his team’ and neither guy is the best player in the league, so they flunk both voting criteria journalists (supposedly) use to vote.

Posted by steviesteve on 06/23/11 at 03:13 PM ET

Andy from FightNight's avatar

It continues to baffle me that the people who keep arguing about Nick’s plus/minus being too bad never takes a look at the more advanced stats like quality of competition (where he blows every defenseman out of the water) and stuff like that. Either go with more advanced stats or use the eyeball test. And damn, Nick definitely passed the eyeball test this year.

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 06/23/11 at 03:49 PM ET

UMFan's avatar

Weber will get his chance next year as this is the last one Nick earns. They won’t let Nick tie Orr.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 06/23/11 at 04:19 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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