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A Final Look At The Norris Race

I think the most interesting trophy race this year was the Norris Trophy race.  I wrote about it a few times during the season (most recently here).  There were four legitimate candidates.  Very little separated them and none were big favorites.  When we look at the first choices of the voters, 127 ballots were cast and 35 (or 27%) named Nicklas Lidstrom as first choice, Zdeno Chara was picked 33 times (26%), Shea Weber was picked 32 times (25%) and Lubomir Visnovsky 20 times (16%).  There were also a handful of ballots naming Keith Yandle and Kris Letang as first choice.  There were ten ballots that did not name Lidstrom in any position (1st through 5th), 18 omitting Shea Weber, 16 omitting Zdeno Chara and 14 omitting Lubomir Visnovsky.

From these numbers we can conclude that nobody was a consensus choice and all candidates were not seen as legitimate choices by some voters.

Were I to have had an award ballot, my vote would have been 1. Lubomir Visnovsky 2. Zdeno Chara 3. Nicklas Lidstrom 4. Kris Letang and 5. Shea Weber.  This is a position consistent with the voting, but not with players finishing in the same order as they actually finished.

It is interesting to look at the players and why they may have finished in that order.

Nicklas Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy.  It was his seventh of his career.  He won because he was the most common choice for first place in the race (by a very slim margin) and he was left off the ballot the fewest number of times.  Lidstrom finished second in scoring among defencemen.  He did this with very strong play on the power play.  His play at even strength was not as strong as it had been in the past.  39 of Lidstrom’s points came on the power play and 22 at even strength (1 shorthanded).  His even strength drop is shown with his puck possession stats (he was a -2 this year).  It has been interesting to watch some Red Wings supporters stuck in pretzel logic to explain why +/- doesn’t matter, when in previous years his +/- showed how good a player he was.  Given the fact that most of the play in hockey is at even strength, Lidstrom should be downgraded somewhat for this.  To his credit Lidstrom played against as tough competition as any defenceman in the NHL.  He is a legitimate Norris candidate but I do not believe he should have won.  Defensive awards are won partially on reputation and given Lidstrom’s past he was the hardest player to leave off of a ballot.  I think some voters gave him credit based on his past.  Lidstrom has a reputation as a strong defensive player, but his defensive play is starting to slip and this was not noticed by those voters who voted based on reputation.

Shea Weber finished second in the voting.  He was only nine points (less than one first place vote) behind Lidstrom.  He finished third (behind Chara) in terms of first place votes.  He was the most popular second place choice by a significant margin (with 41 second place votes - Chara was second here with 24).  Of the top Norris candidates, Weber is the one I least supported.  Weber was tenth in scoring among defencemen with 48 points.  He had solid (but unspectacular) puck possession numbers with a +7 +/- rating.  He has a very good slap shot and is a good defensive player who hits very well.  My biggest problem with his Norris candidacy is that many nights it looked like Ryan Suter was the bets defenceman on the Nashville Predators and he was overlooked in the voting.  He only got two fifth place votes.  Suter missed 12 games (Weber played all 82 games).  Suter better drove puck possession on Nashville than Weber did.  The difference between the two was not nearly as big as the voting showed.  I think Weber was not as good and Suter was not as bad as the results showed.  Weber’s success came from being a popular second choice.  He is a prototypical defenceman who plays a physical two-way game that is highly regarded by scouts.  He plays on a Nashville team with no scoring stars that succeeds in being a tough playoff team.  As a result, he gets more credit than he truly deserves.  Of the four top Norris candidates he was most frequently omitted from ballots.  This shows the widest degree of uncertainty in the opinions of Shea Weber’s value in the Norris race.

Zdeno Chara finished third in the Norris voting.  He was second in terms of first place votes.  With 44 points he finished 19th among defencemen in scoring.  He had a +33 +/- rating that led the league (although after any team adjustment he does not remain the top).  Chara is a very good defensive player who won the Norris Trophy in the past.  I think he was downgraded in some Norris voters because he scored a few less points than the other top candidates.  Chara is a big reason that Boston goalies have had the best saves percentage in the league for the past three years straight.  Tim Thomas has a great season in goal this year, but without Chara’s presence on the blueline I do not think he would have set a saves percentage record this year.

Lubomir Visnovsky was fourth in the Norris voting and thus not a nominee.  He led the NHL’s defencemen in scoring with 68 points and put up good puck possession numbers including a +18 +/- rating that gets even better after team adjustment.  Other than Lidstrom, no player was on more Norris ballots than Visnovsky.  Of the top four Norris candidates, nobody has as little of a reputation as Visnovsky going into this season.  Thus voters were less likely to push him to the top of their ballots and he had fewer first place votes than the other three, but they also could not leave him off their ballots.  This is a significant showing for Visnovsky in a reputation driven voting system.  I think many voters slighted him due to his lack of a big reputation, but they couldn’t slight him entirely and put him on their ballots. 

Of the other players who were not among the top four Norris candidates, I think Kris Letang was the strongest candidate and I think deserved a better showing than Shea Weber.  He put up 50 points for 8th in scoring among defencemen and a +15 +/- rating.  He was the top candidate for the award for the first half of the season and then slowed down the stretch.  His entire season was very good, but in the what have you done for me lately voter mindset that picked Corey Perry for the Hart Trophy somebody who played their best hockey in the first half of the season gets downgraded.

The Norris Trophy race was the tightest of the major NHL awards this season.  It had four legitimate candidates.  I think the voters view things through a filter of the player’s reputation.  Lidstrom had the best reputation and Visnovsky the worst going into the season.  It isn’t any surprise that is how they finished in the voting.  I think the fact that Visnovsky appeared on more ballots than Weber or Chara is quite telling.  It shows that his season was so good that voters couldn’t overlook it even with his lack of a Norris Trophy reputation.  It is rare that any award is this close with as many strong candidates.

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Comments

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Lindas1st's avatar

This should be fun.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 06/26/11 at 06:11 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

Simply put. Lidstrom was given a career-achievement award and it should have been awarded to Weber. Here we go…

Posted by cs6687 on 06/26/11 at 06:18 PM ET

Heaton's avatar

Why should it have gone to Weber, cs6687?  He had a poor first half and only started to emerge when Suter was healthy?  Very good defensemen, but he was a distant 3rd IMO.

Posted by Heaton on 06/26/11 at 06:22 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

We’ve already discussed this as great length.  To me, Visnovsky’s offensive numbers were not sufficient to overcome the fact that he was not used enough in defensive situations to be considered the best overall defenseman. 

I have enjoyed watching people misunderstanding what people have been saying about Lidstrom’s career plus/minus and what it means.

All that said, looking objectively, I do believe there is a solid argument for Visnovsky to be above Weber on the Norris balloting and a solid argument that reputation had more to do with the way they finished than this year’s numbers. 

I also have no idea which piece is the cart and which piece is the horse between Chara’s plus/minus and Tim Thomas’ save percentage.  From all the Boston games I watched this season, I have a difficult time separating those pieces.  I have seen Chara make some absolutely horrid defensive mistakes and get bailed out by Thomas and I have seen Thomas find himself horribly out of position and get bailed out by Chara.  At the very least, it’s safe to say that those two work very well together.

Ultimately, the most bothersome part of this entire article isn’t an opinion from the author, but the fact that the four best defensemen in the league were left off so many top-five ballots.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/26/11 at 06:33 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The point JJ and I disagree on is that I think the Norris Trophy is for the best defenceman in a given season.  There is no reason he needs to be an offensive defenceman, defensive defenceman or any other kind of defenceman.

Visnovsky had more ice time than Lidstrom this year.  They played in different roles with their teams.  The fact that Visnovsky didn’t penalty kill is irrelevant since he played huge minutes and was in no way sheltered from top competiton.  There is no reason to think the best defenceman should have to play on the penalty kil or power play or any other time (there would be a different argument if we were arguing best defensive defenceman or best offensive defenceman).

I argue that Visnovsky was worth more wins to his team than Lidstrom - the big difference was their even strength play - and that is why he should be the Norris winner.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 06:40 PM ET

Avatar

The fact that Visnovsky didn’t penalty kill is irrelevant since he played huge minutes and was in no way sheltered from top competiton.

But, doesn’t the fact that he didn’t kill penalties mean that he WAS sheltered from top competition?  There’s no competition above any given team’s first power play unit, is there?

Posted by Garth on 06/26/11 at 06:51 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

I argue that Visnovsky was worth more wins to his team than Lidstrom

So I guess your point is Visnovsky is the MVD of the NHL, if not the best defenseman.
——————————————————————————————————————————

I’ve always thought in these terms with the Hart & Pear Lindsay Awards. To me the Hart should go to the Most Valuable Player to his team. And the Pear Lindsay should go to the best player that season.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 06/26/11 at 06:51 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

I think a whole lot of the “Lidstrom doesn’t deserve it” talk comes from people who really didn’t watch him play much this year. I’m not really sure where the talk about his defensive ability waning comes from. I get that the +/- is a bit of a concern, but this was the first year in a long time that Lidstrom didn’t play even strength with the second best D-man on the team. With Rafalski and Lids being broken up, it meant he saw quite a bit of even strength time with guys like Jonathon Ericsson, who was, in a word, terrible. Honestly, I’ve seen Lidstrom break up more odd-man rushes this season than I can ever remember in the past.

I’m not arguing that plus/minus is totally irrelevant, but without context it doesn’t tell much of the story. Lidstrom far and away faced the highest quality of competition during his time on ice. His outlet pass essentially enabled the Wings to play their style of game. He was instrumental on the PK and the man advantage. He scored the second most amount of points of any defenseman in the league, and did so often playing next to garbage. I get how one could perhaps disagree with the selection - but suggesting, as someone did above, that Lidstrom only got the award as some sort of “Lifetime Achievement” award is patently absurd.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 06/26/11 at 06:55 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

So I guess your point is Visnovsky is the MVD of the NHL, if not the best defenseman.
——————————————————————————————————————————

I’ve always thought in these terms with the Hart & Pear Lindsay Awards. To me the Hart should go to the Most Valuable Player to his team. And the Pear Lindsay should go to the best player that season.

I have argued many times there is no difference between the distinction your are trying to make.

PSH:The fact that Visnovsky didn’t penalty kill is irrelevant since he played huge minutes and was in no way sheltered from top competiton.

Garth:  But, doesn’t the fact that he didn’t kill penalties mean that he WAS sheltered from top competition? 

PSH: Visnovsky played against top competition.  He played against all comers for the Ducks.  That is shown by his quality of opposition numbers in the behind the net quality of competition numbers</A>.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 06:56 PM ET

cs6687's avatar

Why should it have gone to Weber, cs6687?  He had a poor first half and only started to emerge when Suter was healthy?  Very good defensemen, but he was a distant 3rd IMO.

Lidstrom didn’t wow me this year. For his age, what he’s doing is remarkable. He’s an all-time great. But I just think Weber was better.

Posted by cs6687 on 06/26/11 at 07:05 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

I have argued many times there is no difference between the distinction your are trying to make.


First off, let me fix that for you. “you’re”.

PSH:The fact that Visnovsky didn’t penalty kill is irrelevant since he played huge minutes and was in no way sheltered from top competiton.

Unless you have the full 60 minutes of each of the 82 games of Anaheim Ducks played this season, you know damned well you have no way to back that statement up. Did he play against the top lines of other teams each game? Of course he did. Did Carlyle always cycle him out there against the toughest competition? You don’t know, and the answer is leaning NO because he wasn’t on the PK.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 06/26/11 at 07:06 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

PSH: Visnovsky played against top competition.  He played against all comers for the Ducks.  That is shown by his quality of opposition numbers in the behind the net quality of competition numbers</A>.

Interesting you bring that up. Lidstrom’s #4 on that list, Visnovski is #45, behind both Chara and Weber.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 06/26/11 at 07:09 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

...And he’s #1 for players who played at least 40 games.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 06/26/11 at 07:16 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Capt Norris is aware of the difference between playing against the top competition and being the best defenceman.  This is clear because he doesn’t argue that the player who is #1 on this list (which list exactlyBehind the net ranks quality of opposition multiple ways).

Anyone whos is as high as 45th on a list played against tough competition in a league where 303 defecemen played last year (if this list he chose includes forwards there were 891 skaters).

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 07:18 PM ET

Inglewood Jack's avatar

Why count not playing on the PK against Selke nominees and then make it negligible in (your take on) the Norris voting?

Posted by Inglewood Jack from first in line for curly fries on 06/26/11 at 07:25 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

Capt Norris is aware of the difference between playing against the top competition and being the best defenceman.  This is clear because he doesn’t argue that the player who is #1 on this list (which list exactlyBehind the net ranks quality of opposition multiple ways).

No, that by itself doesn’t make the case. But it does shed some light the value a guy like Lidstrom has. He put up solid numbers, playing against the best competition. I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that Visnovsky didn’t ever play against quality competition. However, Lidstrom, Chara, and Weber all did so more often.

My main point was that plus/minus is really the only thing you can point to to indicate that Lidstrom somehow took a step backward defensively. But again, without context, it doesn’t add much. Anyone who watched enough of Lidstrom’s play likely would know that it’s not a very fair argument to make. If anything, he was better defensively this season that he was offensively.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 06/26/11 at 07:28 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

I have argued many times there is no difference between the distinction your are trying to make

I think a distinction can be made.
The best case to me are the late 70’s Canadiens. Lafleur was definitely the best player in the league at that time, but I believe that Dryden was the Most Valuable the Canadiens. I believe Lafleur was better at his job than Dryden was at his, but Dryden job was more important.I know this goes to the whole goalie & Hart argument, which I’m not going to get into here, but I think you can see my point….......Goalies should probably always win the Hart as MVP. wink

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 06/26/11 at 07:28 PM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

If Norris’ were handed out to the top scorer from the point Mike Green would be catching up to Bobby Orr

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 06/26/11 at 07:33 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The point JJ and I disagree on is that I think the Norris Trophy is for the best defenceman in a given season.  There is no reason he needs to be an offensive defenceman, defensive defenceman or any other kind of defenceman.

We do not disagree on that point.

The point we disagree on is that Visnovsky’s offensive output compared to Lidstrom’s was not sufficient to overcome the fact that Lidstrom is significantly better at defense than Visnovsky.

We don’t disagree that the defenseman who provides the most good to his team deserves to win the Norris, we simply disagree whether Visnovsky or Lidstrom provided that.  I think it was Lidstrom and TPSH thinks it was Visnovsky.

To re-introduce the concept that you came up with the last time we had this disagreement, If we had to give each player a score from 0-50 on both offensive and defensive ability, then I would give Visnovsky 50/25 for an overall score of 75 while I would give Lidstrom 45/45 for an overall score of 90.  This (to me) makes Lidstrom a better overall defenseman.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/26/11 at 07:54 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

If Norris’ were handed out to the top scorer from the point Mike Green would be catching up to Bobby Orr

No not really- he’d only have won 2 so far.  But Paul Coffey would have passed him with eight because Orr would have lost one. In ‘67-68, the year he won his first Norris he didn’t lead D-men in scoring. That season Mike McMahon led all D-men with 47 points while Orr had only 31 in 46 games played, but still won his first Norris.
In case you were interested here’s the list of D-men scoring leaders since the ‘67 expansion.

1) Coffey - 8 times
2) Orr -7 times
3) Lidstrom - 5 times
4) Leetch - 4 times
5) Potvin - 3 times
5) MacInnis - 3 times
6) Bourque - 2 times
6) Gonchar - 2 times
6) Green - 2 times

...See, Green would only be tied for 5th.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 06/26/11 at 07:55 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Let me correct Visnovsky’s defensive score to 35.  I don’t think it’s fair to call him half-bad at defense.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/26/11 at 07:58 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

BTW, the Norris Trophy winner has led all defensemen in scoring 23 times in the last 43 seasons. So if a player leads all d-men in scoring he’s got a better than 50% of winning the Norris Trophy.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 06/26/11 at 08:02 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

1) Coffey - 8 times
2) Orr -7 times
3) Lidstrom - 5 times
4) Leetch - 4 times
5) Potvin - 3 times
5) MacInnis - 3 times
6) Bourque - 2 times
6) Gonchar - 2 times
6) Green - 2 times

...See, Green would only be tied for 5th.


fixed:
1) Coffey - 8 times
2) Orr -7 times
3) Lidstrom - 5 times
4) Leetch - 4 times
5) Potvin - 3 times
5) MacInnis - 3 times
7) Bourque - 2 times
7) Gonchar - 2 times
7) Green - 2 times

...See, Green would only be tied for 7th.

I don’t want to get in trouble with the grammar police.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 06/26/11 at 08:08 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Two examples of pretzel logic:

1) Capt Norris argues that while +/- doesn’t mean much, quality of opposition numbers derived from them do.

2) JJ makes up numbers that look like statistics but have no statistical basis whatsoever to make his case.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 08:14 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Why count not playing on the PK against Selke nominees and then make it negligible in (your take on) the Norris voting?

Because the Selke is for the best defensive forward the Norris is for the best defenceman as opposed to defensive defenceman.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 08:16 PM ET

Avatar

He played against all comers for the Ducks.

But no, he didn’t.  Not if he didn’t play the PK.

Posted by Garth on 06/26/11 at 08:26 PM ET

Avatar

For those arguing qual comp numbers, there’s more to the story than just a single number or standing.  I actually went and thought about this for a while a few days ago after all the complaints I saw on various places about how Lidstrom didn’t “deserve” it (aka the reputation argument).  My goal was two-fold.  My first goal was to see how strong of a case that I could make for Chara or Weber.  My second goal was to see if I could back up whether Lidstrom deserved to win.  My conclusion kind of surprised me actually.  Going in I kind of thought that I might find either Chara or Weber ahead of Lidstrom, but I actually ended up being more convinced that he should have won it with Chara close behind and Weber a bit further back in third.  I had only looked at the top three, but going back and looking at Visnovsky, Letang, and Suter as well, I still think none of those should have been better than 3rd (replacing Weber).

Here’s my reasoning: (I’ll just do NL, SW, and ZC since the other 3 are similar to Weber anyway.)

First, look at two things, qual comp and TOI (5v5).
Lidstrom: TOI/60 16.04   QC 0.128
Chara: TOI/60 18.87   QC 0.062
Weber: TOI/60 18.74   QC 0.046
At first it would seem that Lidstrom had the toughest competition by far.  I don’t think that’s the case.  He also had the least TOI/60.  My thoughts are that their QC are much lower due to their larger TOI/60.  The best forwards in the league average roughly 15 TOI/60.  Lidstrom was closest to that and had the highest QC of any D-man playing more than 10 games.  This tells me that he was pretty much used 5v5 against the top lines only probably due to age and wanted to control his ice time.  Chara and Weber on the other hand had much more ice time, meaning they would have had to play against lower competition at times.  This would decrease their QC which is an average.

Start by comparing Lidstrom and Weber since both play in the same division and should have similar numbers of games against the same teams.  If both played against top lines, then you’d expect similar qual comp numbers.  As mentioned above, Weber’s should be lower due to more ice time, but having ~2.7 more minutes against lower competition shouldn’t lower his QC that much as compared to Lidstrom’s (assuming that if Weber played Lidstrom’s minutes against the similar competition, he should have a similar QC).  Therefore, I’d conclude that Lidstrom had tougher competition than Weber.

Adding in Chara is more difficult since he would have faced more different teams than both the others since he is in the other conference.  His is lower than Lidstrom’s, but that was explained above.  Correcting for the time factor, I think Chara’s QC would still be little lower than Lidstrom’s but much closer to it than Weber.

If you add in the less reliable qual team, Lidstrom played with the weakest teammates and Chara and Weber’s were more similar with Chara’s being highest.  Add in that Weber and Chara had Vezina candidates behind them, and this could account for each one’s +/-.

You can also look at P/60 for both 5v5 and 5v4 which adds even more to the story.  But, I’m about to go eat dinner, so I can add that part of the argument on later if you’d like.

Posted by puppydogbones from Muskegon, currently stuck in Sabresland on 06/26/11 at 08:28 PM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

Because the Selke is for the best defensive forward the Norris is for the best defenceman as opposed to defensive defenceman.

Isn’t playing good defense implied in being the best defenseman?

How could you truly think that someone was the best defenseman in the league if he wasn’t even deemed valuable enough defensively to be played on the penalty kill? Isn’t that one of the biggest measures of how valuable a defenseman is? Being out there in a situation when great defense is needed?

(is this comment acceptable?)

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 06/26/11 at 08:46 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

A player can put up more total value while not playing on the power play/ penalty kill / every third Thursday or any other segment of a hockey game that one were to deem important than a player who does play in that segment of the game.

Are you into special pleading for the penalty kill because it helps Toni Lydman as he played the most penalty kill of anyone in the league and hence must be your Norris Trophy winner?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 08:51 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

Two examples of pretzel logic:

1) Capt Norris argues that while +/- doesn’t mean much, quality of opposition numbers derived from them do.

2) JJ makes up numbers that look like statistics but have no statistical basis whatsoever to make his case.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 06:14 PM ET

Swing and a miss. My argument is that plus minus doesn’t mean much without context. It’s the same thing I’d say if Lidstrom was +40. You can’t make an argument that Chara’s plus/minus isn’t inflated by playing in front of Thomas, or Weber’s have been inflated because of playing in front of Rinne. Just the same, Lidstrom’s was inflated in years past by often playing with two selke-worthy forwards and another elite D-man almost every minute he was on the ice. That’s not to say it doesn’t mean anything - it’s just to say that relying on it as the only basis for an entire argument is pretty flawed.

This is especially so on an individual basis. For the quality of competition, it’s based on an aggregate. With a much larger sample size, the room for error and inflation or deflation decreases. But again, it’s just a piece of the puzzle. Your fundamental error is relying on one stat alone to make a blanket statement.

My bigger concern is with those who suggest that this is some sort of Lifetime Achievement award and that there’s no way Lidstrom could have deserved it at all. That’s simply foolish, and plain wrong. No amount of logic can back that up.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 06/26/11 at 08:59 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Two examples of pretzel logic:

1) Capt Norris argues that while +/- doesn’t mean much, quality of opposition numbers derived from them do.

2) JJ makes up numbers that look like statistics but have no statistical basis whatsoever to make his case.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 06:14 PM ET

I would remind you that the concept of a subjective “scoring” method that created the numbers I gave were your own creation there, Frankenstein.

However, if you don’t have a means of adequately explaining how Visnovsky’s pedestrian defense compared to Lidstrom’s excellent defense more than makes up for Visnovsky’s small advantage in offensive output while playing behind the Hart Trophy winner compared to Lidstrom’s also excellent offensive output, I suppose that moving to a more ad hominem style of discussion would seem to fit the bill.  As long as you don’t ever have to nail down what you like to call “win shares” while continuing to use them in arguments, you should do fine.

It’s hypocritical to accuse somebody of circular logic while engaging in exactly that.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/26/11 at 08:59 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

JJ you know the answer.

Visnovsky does not have pedestrian defence.  He is quite a good defenceman.  The difference between Lidstrom and Visnovsky offensively is bigger than you believe it is, since Visnovsky has a much higher scoring rate at even strength where most of the NHL hockey game is played.

We have been through this multiple times before.  I think you understand the argument but don’t accept it because it doesn’t favor a Red Wing.

While we are on the topic, Chara also had a better season than Lidstrom.  Why do you not discuss this?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 09:04 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Visnovsky has a much higher scoring rate at even strength where most of the NHL hockey game is played.

I do not accept throwing out 17% of a player’s ice time because you don’t like what that comparison tells you.

Visnovsky played four more minutes of PP time over the course of the entire season and had a significantly worse scoring rate during the times of a hockey game when scoring is expected to happen with the greatest frequency. 

This does not tell me that the gap between Visnovsky and Lidstrom is wider than the numbers indicate.  This helps strengthen the indication that the quality of competition numbers tells us that Lidstrom was put in tougher situations to play against bigger offensive threats and therefore had to play significantly more defense than Visnovsky at even-strength.  If people like you are to believed, you cannot be playing offense and defense at the same time, right?

While we are on the topic, Chara also had a better season than Lidstrom.  Why do you not discuss this?

Were we on that topic?  There’s no need to discuss Chara’s season compared to Lidstrom’s.  If I think Lidstrom deserve the Norris and you think Visnovsky did, then there’s no need to bring Chara into it.  I personally feel that Chara is more worthy of 2nd place than Visnovsky is.  So why do you not discuss why you think Visnovsky had a better season than Chara?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/26/11 at 09:23 PM ET

Avatar

The difference between Lidstrom and Visnovsky offensively is bigger than you believe it is, since Visnovsky has a much higher scoring rate at even strength where most of the NHL hockey game is played.

Here’s something to think about:  If a player is more focused on playing offense, then he won’t be playing as much defense and vice versa (look at Ovi’s offense numbers) because you can’t play both at the same time (excepting outlet passes and the like and assuming you don’t go by the idea that offense is the best defense).  When is defense most important 5v5 or 5v4?  I would rather have a D-man playing D during 5v5 and O during 5v4.

Also if you look at their P/60 and correct for time differences, Lidstrom is more offensive overall even if Visnovsky put up a few more points.
Lidstrom:  5v5 0.87   5v4 6.62   total 7.49
Visnovsky:  5v5 1.39   5v4 4.87   total 6.26

Posted by puppydogbones from Muskegon, currently stuck in Sabresland on 06/26/11 at 09:27 PM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

what the hell is wrong with a lifetime achievement, reputation, basic skills, award??

Posted by Rdwings28 on 06/26/11 at 09:39 PM ET

Gary A$$ SUCK !!'s avatar

I think a Canadian stole the Hart trophy from a Swede..Congrats to nick you deserve the Norris..Go Sweden.

Posted by Gary A$$ SUCK !! from Fort Myers, Florida on 06/26/11 at 09:43 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I do not accept throwing out 17% of a player’s ice time because you don’t like what that comparison tells you.

Nobody is throwing out 17% of a player’s ice time.  I am merely weighting it properly.  17% of the playing time should get 17% of the weight - more or less.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 09:44 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

When comparing offensive ability, it would make more sense to give more consideration to the times when a player is expected to be thinking of nothing but offense.

It does not support an argument that the gap between Visnovsky and Lidstrom is larger than you think I believe it is.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/26/11 at 09:51 PM ET

Avatar

Lidstrom:  5v5 0.87   5v4 6.62   total 7.49
Visnovsky:  5v5 1.39   5v4 4.87   total 6.26

Ignore that total number because I just realized how terrible it is.

Nobody is throwing out 17% of a player’s ice time.  I am merely weighting it properly.  17% of the playing time should get 17% of the weight - more or less.

Taking weighting into account as well as TOI by using the P/60 minutes, Visnovsky wins the offense over Lidstrom by about 5.6% (~160P compared to ~151P).

That still doesn’t take into account the argument that JJ and I made about when is offensive more important and when is defense.

Posted by puppydogbones from Muskegon, currently stuck in Sabresland on 06/26/11 at 10:02 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Puppydogbones

You are working under an incorrect assumption that offence is scoring points and nothing else.  Puck possession is a significant offensive skill.  Visnovsky is well ahead of Lidstrom here.

If you dismiss it as offence (that would be a weird way to define things), then we have the situation that Lidstrom stuggled defensively due to career low puck possession numbers and with this somewhat absurd definition of defence, Visnovsky was better.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/11 at 10:07 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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