Thursday, September 1, 2011

Big Minus Cup Finalists


The 2011 Stanley Cup Finals between Vancouver and Boston was certainly one of the strangest in history. It produced the worst Plus/Minus number by a player who sucessfully got to the Cup Finals. In truth, Canuck Christian Ehrhoff merely tied the record of -13 set by Luc Robitaille in 1993. Ehrhoff played 23 of Vancouver's 25 games on his way to equaling the unwanted record.


Canuck captain Henrik Sedin checked in with a -11 mark which is the second worse rating for a Cup Finals participant since +/- became an official statistic. The only two other players to make it to a Final while sporting a -10 rating was Florida's Scott Mellanby in 1996 and Boston's Don Sweeney in 1990.


How rare is it for a player to get to the Finals and have even a -7 rating over the playoffs? Since 1984 it's been done by only 13 players.


If the threshold is raised to a -5 rating, even that is a rare number for a player who made it to the Cup Final. As some solice for the five Canucks who were at least -5 last year (Oreskovich, Glass and Daniel Sedin the others) there have been some big name Finalists in the past that were saddled with a poor minus. In 1984 Denis Potvin and Bobby Nystrom of the Islanders both sported -5 ratings enroute to a Cup loss to Edmonton. The following year Flyer Peter Zezel also went -5, then Calgary's Joel Otto did it in '86. Of course all of these lost the Cup. In 1991 Brian Bellows had a -6 and Bobby Smith a -5 during the unsuccessful Minnesota Cup run.


In 1992 Pittsburgh's Jiri Hrdina somehow clocked a -6 rating in "helping" the Pens to a Cup win. Rob Niedermayer is the only player to have done ths more than once. In 1996 for the Panthers he was -8 and in 2003 for the Ducks he was -5, his team lost the Cup in each of those years.



4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Nitz, great stuff as usual. Since your the Gretzky authority can you tell me if Wayne was exempt from the Helmet rule that came out in 1879? I would assume since he signed a pro contract with the WHA in 1978-79 he would have had the option to play without one. This brings me to another question, a buddy of mine who was a big Cincinnati Stingers fan seems to recall that when listening to one of their radio broadcasts the announcers mentioned that either Wayne was playing without a helmet or that he was toying with the idea of playing without a helmet. Can you remember if Wayne ever played a game without the headgear and on that waiver the players had to sign that was reguired when playing without one, did that actually stipulate that if a player suffered a head injury then the club he played for was not required to pay the medical expenses or was it a safe guard policy to prevent the player from suing the club he played for if he suffered a serious career threatning injury? Any insight on these questions would be much appreciated. Keep up the great work

Anonymous said...

One quick followup to my question Nitz, I actually meant 1979 not 1879 and can you tell me if a Current NHL player still has the option of not wearing a helmet going back to the rule ammended in 1992-93 when the NHL decided to once again make helmets optional. I can't find an updated rule change that tells me different. Again, any help would be appreciated

Nitzy said...

I have never come across a case where Wayner did NOT wear headgear. I do know he was indeed exempt from the mandatory helmet rule of 79/80 along with Messier. Craig MacTavish of course was the last player to play without a helmet when he retired. Perhaps your friend was thinking of Mess, who spent the entire 78/79 season with the Stingers and may very well have played without a helmet. As for an ammendement to the helmet rule in 92/93, I am not aware of any such thing. I'll have to have a look at that one.

Anonymous said...

Hello Nitz, many thanks for your response, on that Helmet rule in 1992-93. I checked a NHL site that has a list of all the rule changes introduced since the league started and for 1992-93 it simply said "Wearing of helmets optional for forwards and defensemen. It makes no mention of a waiver and I do remember when it was announced that Brett Hull and jeremy Roenick were thinking about trying it for a game or two. The only player that actually tried it was Greg Smythe and when some of the younger players were asked about experimenting with it they remarked that until they saw some vetern players try it they were sticking with the headgear. The reason the NHL amended the old rule was supposedly to try to make the game more player appealing so the fans could identify with the players more easily but it turned out to be a big bust with players who never played hockey without a helmet simply not wanting to risk injury. Since I am a old school NHL fan I love the article I saved a few years ago where Brad Marsh remarked that after donning a helmet when suffering a concussion he ended up getting hit in the head more times with opponents sticks in two weeks than he did playing without one for several seasons. Off went the helmet! In closing, I cannot seem to find a rule that ammends the 1992-93 change so is it still in place and is that option to wear or not wear a helmet still in the NHL rulebook. Thanks Nitz Jim

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