Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Adjusted Career Points/Game

With Sidney Crosby collecting his 1000th point recently, there was lots of chatter about how few games he needed and his career points per game. Many pointed out that his 1.32 points/game over his career is the 5th best all-time behind only Gretzky, Lemieux, Bossy and Orr. This is a rather impressive feat considering the era in which Crosby has played is one of the lowest scoring ever. 
On social media, folks were wondering about how the leaders would look if Adjusted Points was used to even out the different eras. Adjusted Points is calculated at hockey-reference.com and equalizes for Goals/game, roster size and length of league schedule. For example, it calculates Gordie Howe's 49 goals in 1952/53 as an Adjusted Goal total of 65 when compared to all eras. 
Using Adjusted Points, Crosby does indeed get a bump due to the era he plays in, his Points/game climbs to 1.52 while Lemieux drops to 1.68 and Gretzky drops a bit further to 1.62. Crosby certainly is in the discussion with the big boys. The problem with Adjusted Points appears when you go way back to the dawn of the NHL. Below are the Adjusted Career Points/Game leaders across all eras. I went all the way to 1.02 Career Adjusted Pts/GP, so it's a fairly long list.
(Blue are pre-WWII players, Yellow are Modern Players)
Player GP-AdjPts-AdjPts/GP
Lalonde 99 376 3.80
Denneny 328 847 2.58
Morenz 550 1229 2.24
Nighbor 349 761 2.18
Irvin 94 203 2.16
Dye 271 567 2.09
FBoucher 557 1155 2.07 
Primeau 310 612 1.97 
GHay 238 437 1.84 
BiCook 474 872 1.84
Bailey 313 568 1.82
Joliat 655 1183 1.81
NStewart 650 1170 1.80
Conacher 459 792 1.73
Lemieux 915 1540 1.68 
Fredrickson 161 268 1.67
Gretzky  1487 2475 1.66 
CCooper 286 467 1.63
Noble 510 804 1.58
Apps 423 664 1.57
Crosby 756 1146 1.52 
Broadbent 303 461 1.52
HSmith 715 1074 1.50
Cowley 549 807 1.47
Weiland 509 749 1.47
BJackson 633 879 1.39
GBoucher 449 622 1.39
Forsberg 708 977 1.38
Malkin 692 940 1.36
Clancy 592 797 1.35
Orr 657 878 1.34 
Shore 550 721 1.31
RGreen 195 256 1.31
Ovechkin 895 1165 1.30 
DBentley 566 728 1.29 
PThompson 582 753 1.29
TBlake 577 740 1.28
Siebert 592 753 1.27
MRichard 978 1229 1.26
GHowe 1767 2190 1.24
Gottselig 589 731 1.24
Lindros 760 942 1.24
Jagr 1684 2074 1.23
Beliveau 1125 1385 1.23
Lach 664 816 1.23
SHowe 698 849 1.22
Sakic 1378 1679 1.22
Bossy 752  906 1.21
Kane 715 859 1.20 
Stamkos 586 695 1.19
Esposito 1282  1508 1.18
Bure 702 823 1.17
BoHull 1063 1239 1.17
Backstrom 708 829 1.17
Palffy 684 784 1.15 
MBentley 646  734 1.14
Tavares 565 631 1.12
Dionne 1348 1493  1.11
Kovalchuk 816 904 1.11
Geoffrion 883 982 1.11
BrHull 1269 1390 1.10
Lamb 443 486 1.10
Schmidt 776 845 1.09
Yzerman 1514 1650 1.09 
Kariya 989 1078 1.09
Selanne 1451 1565 1.08
Thornton 1425 1533 1.08 
Datsyuk 953 1026 1.08
Clapper 833 890 1.07
Getzlaf 838 898 1.07
Mogilny 990 1054 1.07
Benn 562 603 1.07
Mikita 1394 1478 1.06
Giroux 631 670 1.06
Kennedy 696 728 1.05
Sundin 1346 1410 1.05 
Lindsay 1068 1109 1.04
Bathgate 1069 1113 1.04 
Oates 1337 1396 1.04
Lafontaine  865 902 1.04
Spezza 889 927 1.04
Stastny 977 1001 1.03
Lafleur 1126 1161 1.03
Zetterberg 975 1002 1.03
Toews 693 713 1.03
Turgeon 1294 1315 1.02
Well, there you have it. Edouard 'Newsy' Lalonde is the top Adjusted Point producer of all-time. As you can see, the early era guys are inflated mainly due to the shortness of the NHL seasons back then. The top 14 guys are from the 1930's or earlier, also a few relatively obscure names make the all-time list. Longtime Montreal Maroon Hooley Smith, Hamilton Tiger/New York American Red Green and Blackhawk Johnny Gottselig show high on this list. A few modern surprises like Ziggy Palffy and Jason Spezza also sneak onto the list. Can all these guys really be considered among the greatest producers of all-time?
Perhaps it would be beneficial to look at simply the raw totals of Adjusted Points, forgetting about games played:
This list is sounding a bit more like the top scorers ever. 
Another way to approach the Adjusted Points/GP could be to narrow it down to players with at least 500 games played, doing this the leaders are;
Gretzky and Lemieux are the only guys that are in the top ten of both the last two lists. This just illustrates how hard it is to compare eras. Maybe we should just leave it at that, #99 and #66 are the two greatest point producers in NHL history and Crosby is climbing fast. Who could have an issue with that?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Rod Bloomfield; Reg Dunlop's Stunt Double

Above is one of the only photos of Rod Bloomfield as Reg Dunlop's skating double for the movie Slap Shot, from a 1977 American magazine named "Hockey". In the 2010 book, "The Making of Slap Shot" the details of how Bloomfield got the role are explained; 
"Bloomfield and another player were considered for the job of doubling Newman. Bloomfield was more Newman's size and build but the other guy was chosen and Bloomfield returned home, content to wait until he was called back to play an extra. About two weeks later, he received a phone call asking if he was still interested in being Newman's double. They said 'they made a bit of a mistake. They shot for two weeks and figured out he was shooting right-handed. You and Paul both shoot left. We've had to scrap all the film'
Bloomfield agreed to the demand that his blond hair be cut short and painted - not dyed- grey every day to match Newman's hair.
'That was one of the best experiences I ever had.' he says. 'I think that was the greatest thrill. I had a really good time. Paul Newman was just the greatest guy. He'd sit in the bar every night and drink beer with us. He was really down to earth'."
Bloomfield was a worthy fill-in to depict Newman's hockey skills, not only was he pretty much the same size and build, but he was a hell of a hockey player. After excelling at junior and senior levels, Bloomfield turned pro in 1973/74 with the Binghamton Dusters of the NAHL. He topped the league with 73 assists and his 119 points was four off the scoring title. The following year, his 55 goals was tops in the NAHL, this time five points off the points lead and he was named MVP. After 37 goals and 96 points in 75/76 Bloomfield exploded in 76/77. He was named league MVP once again as well as Hockey News Minor League Player of the Year with 173 points, 46 ahead of second place. 
In 1977/78, the Binghamton Dusters moved to the AHL and Bloomfield had 46 points in 49 games before he was hit in the face with a puck, forcing his retirement.
Interestingly, in his post-hockey career, Bloomfield was an electrical contractor. He worked for IBM in the early 1980's and then for five years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In 1991, through a contract with the US government, Bloomfield helped rebuild Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion, living there for another five years. 
As a native of Bracebridge, Ontario, Bloomfield was elected to the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame in 2011 for his fine hockey career. 
Captain of the Dusters
1967/68 with Junior B Owen Sound

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rendezvous '87 Non-Stars

This week marks the 30th anniversary of Rendezvous '87. In lieu of the All-Star game that season, the NHL played the Soviet National team in a two game series at the Colisee in Quebec City. The NHL won the first game 4-3, the Soviets the second 5-3, in what was generally regarded as a successful event showcasing the two greatest hockey powers. However, not everyone was pleased with the fact the event even went down in the first place.
On the day of the first match, in the February 11 Ottawa Gazette, the great Bobby Orr himself is quoted showing his displeasure at Rendezvous.
He actually had a good point, Rendezvous '87 removed over twenty All-Star spots. After looking at the NHL stats up to that point in the 86/87 season, it's clear at least a few players were robbed of their one and only chance at playing in an All-Star game. 
More than a few guys missed the festivities due to injuries. Mark Howe, Paul Coffey and Mike Bossy were all voted onto the squad by fans but were unable to play and Tim Kerr was selected to the team but did not play. The others voted in were Mario Lemieux, Michel Goulet and hometown favourite, goaltender Clint Malarchuk. Overall, Team NHL had 14 forwards, 8 defencemen and 3 goalies. Below is a team full of players who up to that point in the season were most deserving of being All-Stars in addition to the Rendezvous boys.
Forwards (GP-G-A-PTS)
Dino Ciccarelli, Minnesota 54-41-32-73
Doug Gilmour, St.Louis  54-26-42-68  
Walt Poddubny, NY Rangers   51-30-34-64
Steve Yzerman, Detroit   55-20-44-64
Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles  55-21-42-63
Luc Robitaille, Los Angeles   54-31-29-60  
Paul MacLean, Winnipeg    56-26-34-60
Joe Mullen, Calgary     55-32-27-59  
Denis Savard, Chicago    49-24-35-59
Peter Zezel, Philadelphia     54-27-30-57
Bryan Trottier, NY Islanders    55-16-41-57
Peter Stastny, Quebec  41-17-33-50
Ron Francis, Hartford  56-21-35-56  
Russ Courtnall, Toronto  56-19-36-55

Ciccarelli was 4th in NHL scoring to that point and would finish 3rd in year-end All-Star voting that season. Rookie Luc Robitaille would be voted to the 2nd All-Star team after the season and Gilmour and Mullen ended up 5th in voting at their positions. All were deserving of going to a mid-season All-Star game. At least all of these guys did play in at least one All-Star game in their careers, the same can't be said for Peter Zezel. His 27 goals and 57 points to this point were certainly worthy of All-Star game recognition. He would never make an All-Star game in his career.
Larry Murphy, Washington  57-18-38-56  
Al MacInnis, Calgary  56-15-40-55
Paul Reinhart, Calgary  53-12-38-50  
Scott Stevens, Washington  54-8-27-35  
Phil Housley, Buffalo  53-12-29-41
Ulf Samuelsson, Hartford  55-1-24-25   
Gaston Gingras, Montreal 50-9-30-39
Darren Veitch, Detroit   52-10-28-38  

Murphy and MacInnis were each selected as 2nd team All-Stars after the season and would have definitely played in a mid-season game if not for Rendezvous. The last three defenders I chose here all were denied their only chance at playing in an All-Star game this season. As much as Samuelsson was reviled, he finished 6th in year end voting among defence and should have been invited to a mid-season All-Star affair along with Gingras and Veitch. None of the three would ever be an All-Star.
Patrick Roy, Montreal 3.07gaa
Mike Liut, Hartford  3.11gaa
Pokey Reddick, Winnipeg  3.17gaa
Kelly Hrudey, NY Islanders 3.18gaa

Liut and Roy would have been obvious All-Stars, Liut was voted to the 2nd Team at season's end. One of Reddick and Hrudey should have been honoured as well, once again, neither of them would be chosen an All-Star in their careers. Robbed by Rendezvous.
The link to NHL stats up until Feb. 10, 1987 is below:

Maple Leaf Rookies; Fastest to 25 Goals

Recently, on the terrific magazine-style website theathletic.com, James Mirtle discussed scoring records that Maple Leafs rookies are approaching or have already achieved. He mentions how Mitch Marner is well on pace to break Gus Bodnar's Leaf record for assists by a rookie, Auston Matthews on pace to break Wendel Clark's record for goals, and both on pace to top Peter Ihnacak's record for point. At one point the following juicy fact is mentioned:

"The goal was Matthews’ 25th of the season after 52 games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Matthews’ goal broke the franchise record for the fastest player to get his first 25 NHL goals, beating Howie Meeker’s 70-year-old mark of 58 games."

This got me thinking. In 1985/86, Wendel Clark potted 34 goals in 66 games played, surely he scored 25 goals in less games. So I checked. Below are the Leafs scoring stats as published Feb.25, 1986 in the Montreal Gazette.
At this point Toronto had played 60 games as a team, but Clark having missed 14 games early in the season had played only 46. The same day this was published, the Leafs hosted the New York Rangers in their 61st game, Clark's 47th:
Not only did Clark notch his 25th goal this night, but he potted a hat-trick to get to 26 goals in his 47th game. Now, far be it from me to say that Elias Sports and Mirtle got it wrong and that Clark still holds the Leaf record for fastest 25 goals as a rookie...they are going by the number of games the team had played, not the individual. It's the same way the NHL doesn't recognize Jari Kurri, Cam Neely and Alexander Mogilny scoring 50 goals in 50 games because their teams had played more than 50. Even still, I think it's fair to recognize that Clark did what he did.
Maybe Matthews can top Wendel's 34 rookie goals in 66 games, he would need 10 goals in his next 15 games. He has already scored 14 in a 17 game stretch this season, so it's more than possible.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Maple Leafs Five Rookie Scorers in One Game

On February 6, against the Islanders, the Maple Leafs did something that hadn't been done in the NHl in over 30 years. They had five different rookies score a goal in the same game (Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Hyman, Soshnikov). The last time that happened was March 31, 1984 when the Calgary Flames did it against the Minnesota North Stars. The five Flame rookies were Tim Hunter (with two), Richard Kromm, Al Macinnis, Dan Quinn and Carey Wilson.
Toronto's previous record was four different rookies scoring in the same game, and it had been almost 70 years since that last happened. On October 23, 1948 Maple Leaf rookies Fleming MacKell, Frank Mathers, Les Costello and Bob Dawes scored in a 6-1 victory over Chicago. The crazy thing is, not one of these four would play more than 15 regular season games with the Leafs that season, and collectively that year they scored a grand total of FIVE goals (Costello had 2). The fact that all four scored on October 23 is amazing.
In addition to those four rookies, the 1948/49 Leafs would dress nine additional first year players; Tod Sloan, Ray Timgren, Ray Ceresino, Al Buchanan, Chuck Blair, Ray Hannigan, John McCormack, Stan Kemp, Harry Taylor. Perhaps expectedly, with all the youth on the squad, the Leafs finished that season in fourth place with a record of 22-25-13. Unexpectedly however, they caught fire in the post-season and would knock off second place Boston four games to one then swept first place Detroit to win the Stanley Cup. MacKell contributed greatly to the playoff run with two goals and six points in the nine games but the rest of the rookies saw limited action.
The goals scored by Mathers and Ceresino would stand to be the only ones of their NHL careers, while Dawes added only one additional goal the following years. MacKell went on to have a real nice NHL career with 149 goals, 369 points in 665 games played.

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