10-17-2008: Quisp vs. Cristobal

From the “Inside the Kings” comments section, October 17, 2008, the day Kyle Quincey played his first game as a King, and his fourteenth career game. Commenter “Cristobal” is upset that I appear not to have a problem with Chris Chelios.

cristobal said: Quisp – Chelios is ok and Blake isn’t? I don’t think so.

Quisp said: Chelios vs. Blake 

Plus/Minus: Chelios +340, Blake -27.

You decide.

cristobal said: There are other stats than plus/minus and wether Chelios is still and effective NHL defenseman is debatable. But you’re all about character, Quisp. Do you truly support Chelios and his behavior? You criticize Blake for “supposed” criticisms of LA that only you seem to be able to read “between the lines.” Chelios actually implied Bettman should be harmed because of the lockout. There are other things I personally know about him that show a severe lack of character. He’s a troubled guy. Believe me.

You decide.

Quisp said: First of all, I never said anything one way or another about Chelios. I just linked to an interview where he said Quincey was pissed that the Def Leopard guy disrespected the cup at a wings event. That’s all I ever said about Chelios.

I didn’t know I was “all about character.” Thanks, I guess. As far as “truly support[ing] Chelios and his behavior,” no, I think his Bettman comment was insane and irresponsible. I seem to recall him having something to do with that dust-up at the Olympics. That struck me as uncool as well. My (extremely long distance) assessment of Chelios is that he has a personality and frequently talks before he thinks (sort of in the mold of Brett Hull, only perhaps more visceral and not as witty).

But I don’t think anyone would have anything bad to say about Chelios’s character as it relates to the team. He is, if anything, a team guy. His comments about the Def Leopard/cup incident are of a piece with this. He’s a scrapper and a “warrior” (to use the hackneyed phrase) and is the kind of player whose play and attitude inspires his teammates.

As far as what you personally know about Chelios but neglect to say (“believe me” etc.), that’s insinuating but not at all persuasive. He’s a “troubled guy”? The idea that some guy who “personally knows things” is making comments like that on a message board is, well, it’s kind of repulsive.

Rob Blake is not a scrapper or a warrior. He’s not particularly inspiring. Nobody thinks he’s a great captain. You may think he’s a team guy. I don’t.

As far as “you criticize Blake for ‘supposed’ criticisms of LA that only you seem to be able to read ‘between the lines’”

I’m not sure what you’re referring to, so I’ll just run through my criticisms of Blake’s comments re LA. I guess you might be referring to Blake’s comment at the time of his signing that he was “tired of all this rebuilding anyway.” I think at the time you said I was reporting heresay or something. I was reporting what the San Jose GM or coach (I forget which) said about his conversation with Blake. That’s not “supposed.” That’s quoting a direct source. But just in case you still think Blake didn’t say that or would never say such a thing, he just made virtually the same comment the other day, saying he was “tired of all that losing.” I don’t blame him for being tired of it. I think it’s kind of lame, though, to use it as an excuse for leaving. Compare to Frolov, who said virtually the same thing in the context of staying in LA to change things. Rob Blake, on the other hand, is using it as an excuse to leave. Because you know, he’s a “winner.”

The bottom line is, I think Rob Blake is kind of embarrassed to be around all that losing and rebuilding, because, darn it, he’s better than that. I also think a lot of fans agree that the Kings are kind of embarrassing, so they naturally side with Blake when he says things like that. He’s entitled to his opinion. As are you. (I’m not even going to get into the fact that a few short weeks ago you renounced your King loyalty and said you preferred the Ducks — sort of a Blake-like fan free agent move; now that things look a little different, you appear to have changed your tune.) But it’s not exactly the kind of thing that screams “retire my number.”

I actually like the Kings and I approve of the direction they’re heading. That includes the absence of Rob Blake.

[...]

Oh, I almost forgot the plus/minus thing. You said, “there are other stats than plus/minus,” which is of course true. Blake and Chelios have both scored hundreds of points, gotten their share of penalties, won cups, delivered body checks and played many many games.

But lets call it what it is. Plus/minus measures one thing: how many goals for and goals against you are on the ice for at even strength. You can debate whether the stat could be tweaked to reflect other variables (e.g. quality of opponent — there are some fascinating studies that have done just this; p.s. they don’t do Blake any favors). But you can’t deny what the stat tell you:

Rob Blake is on the ice for hundreds and hundreds of goals against MORE than his peers who will be considered for or are already in the Hall of Fame. Several hundred goals against. Even Paul Coffey (a.k.a. “Cough-up”) had a career plus/minus of +294.

cristobal said: Blake has been continually ragged on because of how he handled his career with the Kings. If you want to accuse me of “repulsive” behavior, that’s your right. But I didn’t make any unfounded accusations or tell stories that may or may not be true. These guys are “public” figures. From what I’ve seen of Chelios and from what I’ve heard, I don’t know why you’d be posting comments and opinions from him. He’s shown seriously questionable behavior at times as you pointed out. And as far as effectiveness as an NHL defenseman, I don’t think there’s any need to point out that Blake is much more effective than Chelios at this stage and age.

Anyway Quisp, my intentions were never to get under your skin or repulse you. I just think you’re unfair when it comes to Blake and wanted to show you how YOUR comments may appear to someone else. I’m going to try and make this my last post about either Blake or Tukonen. Help me make it work…one day at a time…

cheers.

Quisp said: You seem pretty wound up about Chelios. However, I was posting an item about Quincey.

cristobal said: If you’re so impressed with plus/minus numbers, you should take a look at Manchester’s playoff plus/minus numbers last season. Moulsen and Purcell should have been gone while Tukonen should still be here, if that’s the barometer.

Quisp said: Okay, maybe you’re right. Maybe +/- is not an important statistic. Maybe it doesn’t tell us anything about the quality of a defenseman. With that in mind, I took a look at the stats of ALL the defensemen in the Hockey Hall of Fame. There are 75 of them. Of which, these 15 are from the era in which +/- was recorded (post-1968, I believe). They are, of course, some of the most famous names of the last 40 years. For reference, I included in parenthesis two players believed to be headed to the Hall eventually. Three, if you count Blake.

Robinson +730
Orr +597
Bourque +528
Potvin +460
Stevens +393
(Lidstrom +382)
MacInnis +373
Park +358
(Chelios +351)
Savard +344
LaPointe +329
Coffey +294
Langway +277
Laperriere +241
Murphy +200
Salming +175
Fetisov +114
(Blake -27)

(and yes, Cristobal, Tukonen’s plus/minus was zero in last years’ playoffs; so was MINE, and for the same reason)

-J said: Like the stat or not, Robinson’s +/- is just sick. Hard to believe he finished one year +120.

cristobal said: I didn’t say plus/minus was meaningless. To the contrary, I think it is an important stat, but I don’t think Gleason is unquestionably better than Jack Johnson because he had more points and a better plus/minus last season. Tukonen played in the playoffs for manch. last season so your assertion that your plus/minus is the same holds no water.

I wonder what Larry Robinson’s career plus minus would have been had he been a King 80% of his career, playing with Brian Benning, Peter Praijsler, Aki Berg, and Tim Watters. We’ll never know.

btw – Phil Housley had 17 minus seasons out of 25 with a final plus/minus of negative 53, but he was a great defenseman no doubt. [...]

Quisp said: Tukonen dressed for the Monarchs two games and — per his M.O. — was a non-factor. I also was a non-factor. My point is, you can’t compare a player who watched from the press-box half the time to someone who led the team in scoring and played in every game in all key situations.

Your “question” about what Larry Robinson’s numbers would look like if he were a King in the 90s/00s is b.s. for two reasons. (1) some of the players in the Hall of Fame played on bad teams; some played on bad teams that became good teams under the influence of that player. Rob Blake has played on some good teams and bad ones. He’s not special in this regard. (2) your logic is circular; Blake’s numbers are bad because the team was bad, but Blake is the defensive anchor on the team 33% of the game; Blake is getting first pairing icetime AND STILL PUTTING UP CRAPPY NUMBERS. The numbers of the other players on these crappy teams that dragged Blake down…are better than Blake’s numbers.

Re Phil Housley –

Yes. A lot of skill. Why isn’t he in the HoF?

cristobal said: Wow, Mark Hardy is a career minus – 93. Horrible player? No.

Quisp said: Mark Hardy. Also not in the Hall of Fame. I never said Rob Blake was horrible. He’s very talented. He’s not Hall of Fame worthy in my opinion. And I would prefer he not play on any team I’m rooting for.

You act as though there are two options: horrible, or Hall of Fame. Most players fall in the middle of those two extremes. Rob Blake, for example, is on the high end of not horrible.