Sunday, March 7, 2010

Good Point, John Buccigross

In this mailbag, ESPN's John Buccigross writes the following to a question on Peter Bondra:

As I've said before, Peter Bondra was scoring goals when no one was scoring goals in the late '90s. Bondra had 52 of the Capitals' 219 goals during the 1997-98 season. That's almost 25 percent of the team's goals. If Wayne Gretzky had scored 25 percent of the Oilers' goals in 1981-82, he would have finished with 104. That's what kind of season Bondra had. The second full season after the 1994-95 partial lockout is when the NHL got very defensive.
The NHL's golden era for offense was 1970-96. If you played a bulk of your career during this era, and especially with Bobby Orr, Gretzky or Mario Lemieux, your numbers were skewed. Good news for offensive players, bad news for some goalies. If Frank Brimsek played in that era instead of 1938-50, he would have been "Mr. 3.45" instead of "Mr. Zero." And he would have been Don Beaupre.

It's true and no one disputes it.

In 1996, the Devils' trapping system caught hold and the game of hockey bogged down until the rule changes following the lockout.

Baseball is working to blast through its generational divides, to show that a 3.00 ERA in 1938 is a far cry from a 3.00 ERA in 1968, and that 40 homers in 1980 are greatly different from 40 homers in 2000.

The next step is for other sports to realize this.  Hockey, with its emphasis on goals, assists, and total points, should be foremost among them in understanding that not all 100-point seasons are created equal.

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