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Lady Byng Leader

The Lady Byng Trophy goes to the player who best combines sportsmanship and a high level of play.  In early November I picked Loui Eriksson as the leader.  Eriksson is certainly a strong Lady Byng candidate.  He is having the best year of his career so far.  He has 55 career points and is playing solid defence.  He has only six penalty minutes so far this season.  However I think there is another player who is playing better hockey and also has a very high level of sportsmanship in Martin St Louis.  St Louis is the fourth highest scorer in the league with 69 points.  Many argue that his passing is a big part of the reason that Steve Stamkos leads the league in goals.  St Louis is last year’s Lady Byng winner.  He has only eight penalty minutes on the season.  Thus I think St Louis is a better Lady Byng candidate.

Martin St Louis has won a reasonable amount of hardware in his career so far.  He has a Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and a Lester Pearson Award to go with last year’s Lady Byng.  He has won a Stanley Cup and represented Canada in the 2004 Olympics.  He has six career All Star Games played.  These are credentials that are consistent with a Hall of Fame career.  The problem is that St Louis does not yet have great career numbers.  He has 748 points in 831 career games.  Those are pretty poor for a Hall of Fame forward.  St Louis had a slow start to his career.  He was 25 before he played an entire season in the NHL.  His first season where he scored above point per game rate was at age 28.  That was the year he won his Hart and Art Ross Trophies and Stanley Cup.  That was when he first became a top NHL start.  His progress was then slowed by the lockout.  It was three years later when he got back to the level of NHL stardom.  By then St Louis was in his thirties, an age when most players decline.  St Louis is yet to show signs of decline, but may have to continue scoring for a while to raise his career numbers to Hall of Fame level.  In the meantime, winning awards will help his cause and he is the current Lady Byng leader.

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“but may have to continue scoring for a while to raise his career numbers to Hall of Fame level”

Odd he has more hardware than your boy Joe Thornton who is a lock no matter what…

Posted by paulklos on 02/23/11 at 08:05 PM ET

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Joe Thornton was the top scorer in the entire NHL in the last decade and has about 250 points more in his career.  Their hardware difference is one Lady Byng Trophy.

Being top scorer in the NHL over a decade far makes up for one Lady Byng Trophy.

I don’t think you realize how significantly Thornton lead the league in scoring over the last decade - defined any way you want 2000-2009, 2001-10 start of 1999/2000 season to end of 2008/09 season or start of 2000/01 to end of 2009/10.  That alone makes a solid Hall of Fame career.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/23/11 at 10:48 PM ET

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So you discount the Pearson award than?  That would more like around 230 points and I think in general Joe has had the fortune to play on better teams in most years. The decade range is arbitrary - more logical might be the 10 years before the lockout and the time after…

In any case Joe does not seem likely to earn any hardware this year and unless he wins a cup that will still stand against him and if your argument holds it will be two Lady Byng’s and Pearson and SC by the end of the year.

Posted by paulklos on 02/24/11 at 02:38 PM ET

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Let’s be honest.  Your problem with Joe Thornton is that you precieve him as a playoff failure (you would perceive Peter Stastny, Marcel Dionne, Brad Park, Norm Ullman and others who have ben in the Hall for many years the same way).  You are willing to overlook and downgrade his accomplishments because of this.

Here you are comparing him to a player who hasn’t had as much of a successful career (as is clearly shown by his career point total) in Martin St Louis.  St Louis is probably on pace to have a Hall of Fame career, but just isn’t there yet.  Thornton has a few more high scoring seasons to his record and thus is.

You continue to ignore the significance of being the top scorer over a decade.  That is strong evidence of prolonged success.  Anyone who leads the NHL in scoring over a decade is a clear Hall of Famer.  That would include decades with arbitrarily chosen start and end points like the first ten years after the lockout like you suggest.  Obviously we do not know for sure who leads the NHL in that decade because it isn’t over yet.  Educated guess is that it will be either Crosby or Ovechkin and both should make the Hall of Fame now if their careers were to end - even before this decade where they would lead the NHL in scoring ends.

The point to your comments is that you do not like Joe Thornton and refuse to acknowledge how good he has been.  I uinderstand that.  If you found a player with the exact same numbers as Thornton, you would argue he belngs in the Hall, but with Thornton you cannot accept it so you downgrade his accomplishments and move tghe goalposts (as you are doing with the decade of top scoring).

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/24/11 at 04:09 PM ET

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TPSH you know I should have expected as much you pre-load your own views into your own statements (but than turn to a mask of mostly selective states to hide that)  with a gusto so of course see the same in others…

I do not like or dislike Joe Thornton.  The reason I raise him is that you have suggested he is a lock for the Hall but on very thin grounds (if his career ended today) I would suggest appear you like him and you like his hardware, you don’t like others or their awards (see Pavel Valerievich Datsyuk) because they are not ones you would have made.

‘Your problem with Joe Thornton is that you precieve him as a playoff failure’

Yes in fact I do perceive him as such…

In 91 playoff games JT has 65 points and is a -23 his near contemporary Hendrik Zetterburg has in 97 games has 91 points and is a +35,  Rosbey has in a much shorter resume of 62 games has 82 points and a plus 22. Martin let’s not forget him 45 games 48 points and a +15. So you tell me who is regular season wonder and post season flop?

The post season might not count for awards but it should count for the Hall and JT has no excuse for his drop off, he has had the benefit of good to really teams and playing in the leastern confrence.

Posted by paulklos on 02/24/11 at 06:11 PM ET

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Sorry that was supposed to be selective stats not selective states…

I also still think you decade around JT is kind of pointless. I have real doubts about trying to extent any nominal date range around the lockout and it rule effects, and it not like players come and go by decade. Was JT supposed dominance any more impressive than other impressive scoring totals in any other ten year period? Maybe it was was but you have yet to show me he was like better then Gretzky in his best 10 years

Posted by paulklos on 02/24/11 at 06:26 PM ET

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But of course I ‘m sure adjusted corsie zone starts after some additional adjustment for team strength and personal bias and generally dismissing basic stats like +/- and adding some other vague stat will show Jumbo Joe is not in fact so far a poor post season performer

Posted by paulklos on 02/24/11 at 06:41 PM ET

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Was JT supposed dominance any more impressive than other impressive scoring totals in any other ten year period? Maybe it was was but you have yet to show me he was like better then Gretzky in his best 10 years

Obviously Joe Thornton is no Wayne Gretzky.  Nobody claims he is.  If the qualification to be in the Hall of Fame was that you must be as good as Wayne Gretzky, it would consist of exactly one man.

That said, you don’t seem to realize how dominant a player must be to lead the NHL in scoring in *ANY* decade.  That player is almost certanly a Hall of Famer if he does that.

It is true that it might be nice if Thornton had a big playoff run.  It would further enhance his case, but his case is more than strong enough now without one.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 02/24/11 at 09:27 PM ET

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Obviously Joe Thornton is no Wayne Gretzky.  Nobody claims he is.  If the qualification to be in the Hall of Fame was that you must be as good as Wayne Gretzky, it would consist of exactly one man.

That is not what I was trying to say, rather the decade range you chose is arbitrary and has no relation the Game.  Did he have an impressive decade of regular season play but also after that he also had a decade of post season play that was well below his regular season performance.

That said, you don’t seem to realize how dominant a player must be to lead the NHL in scoring in *ANY* decade.  That player is almost certanly a Hall of Famer if he does that.

Yet on point per game basis JT while impressive is not profoundly impressive. There are a fair number of active players with very similar numbers, there are players not usually considered Hall worthy with the same or better numbers.

Posted by paulklos on 02/25/11 at 11:32 AM 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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