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Who is the better LW between Pittsburgh and Philly in the 90's?


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Better LW between Flyers and Pens  

28 members have voted

  1. 1. Who was the better LW

    • Kevin Stevens
      2
    • John LeClair
      26


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I have had some good discussions with Polaris and other Pens fans regarding Kevin Stevens, Leclair and Lindros.

While this board is predominantly Flyers fan, I think most are objective and very knowledgeable.

I think Stevens was a great player, but benefited allot from Lemieux / Francis / Jagr. Leclair of course benefited from Lindros.

I also think that Stevens played a 90 foot game while Leclair played a 120 foot game (not great, but certainly much better than Stevens).

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Stevens was more dynamic, but give me Johnny L any day of the week! Put it this way, if Stevens and LeClair went into the corner for the puck, Johnny L comes out with the puck 8 times out of 10. Stevens was no slouch at this, but Johnny was simply amazing at cycling and puck retrieval. Montreal does not win the cup in 93 without LeClair's many overtime goals that spring. Just a money player all the way around. Overall, pretty close between the two, but I take LeClair. A shame his career was cut short due to injuries, ditto for Stevens.

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John Leclair gets my vote. Had Stevens played on the LOD line , I might think differently. Kevin Stevens was a great player but when it came to that down low score a goal while someone is hanging on your back, that was Johnny's specialty.

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After a Little research, taking the 4 best years for both guys.......

Kevin Stevens 408 points with a plus/minus of Zero

John Leclair 371 points with a plus/minus of +131

I know a lot of people don't put a much into the plus/minus thing but that is a huge disparity ....

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I know a lot of people don't put a much into the plus/minus thing but that is a huge disparity ....

That was my point too. Stevens played excellent 70 - 90 foot hockey, but the last time I checked an NHL rink is 200 feet long. His +/- is attributed to the fact that the majority of his points were scored on the PP. Lemieux was his center for Stevens prime years and posted a +88 during the same 4 years. It tells you everything you need to know about Stevens.

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Our conversation was about "power forward" more than best all around LW but so in his context Leclaire's defense takes a much larger toll on the debate. I'll copy/paste my earlier sentiments regarding it... with a few additional remarks.

Stevens had two seasons over 100 points (123,111) including over 200 PIM in the 123 point season. He scored 17 goals in one playoff year alOne. He is one of only four players in history to score 50+ goals while accumulating over 200 PIM.

Leclaire never crossed the 100 point line, though he was close twice at 97. He also never scored more than 9 goals in a playoff year. And he wasn't the physical beat you down, kick your butt threat Stevens was. Both great in the corners, and putting them against each other going into the corner for the puck would have led to some devastating hits. Stevens was a better hitter then Leclaire but Leclaire clearly had the better hands for carrying the puck.

I liked Leclaire's game. Great power forward. But Stevens in his prime was one of the best to ever play that role. Ever. Ya gotta love a guy who scores 54 goals, 69 assists, and 254 PIMs! Plus another 54 PIM while scoring 17 goals 16 assists in the playoffs! You guys would have LOVED him in O&B... My favorite all time Pens player.

So I guess my vote is skewed... as for a pure punishing power forward... someone nobody could stop in the offensive zone and you had to be worried about punishing you within the rules or outside of them, including a punch in the nose, Kevin Stevens.

As for a complete all around player who can play both ends of the ice and shut down the opposing offense AND make offense on his own... Leclaire.

I voted for Stevens because I'm sticking with the best power forward roleplayer.

Edited by Polaris922
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That was my point too. Stevens played excellent 70 - 90 foot hockey, but the last time I checked an NHL rink is 200 feet long. His +/- is attributed to the fact that the majority of his points were scored on the PP.

Aren't PP and SH goals excluded from the calculation of +/- ?

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Aren't PP and SH goals excluded from the calculation of +/- ?

I think that is his reasoning for Stevens low +/- rating . I liked Kevin Stevens but the guy pretty much ignored the defensive side of the game. Kevin gets the edge in the fighting department but John Leclair was ridiculously strong on the puck and when he had it, no one was going to take it away. Both guys were great at the game and you knew when they were on the ice, you were going to see fireworks.

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If we are talking late 80's early 90's, then Cam Neely's name should get tossed around this thread a bit. Gotta wonder what Cam could have done if healthy!

EDIT....ahhh, thought it was just power forwards of the 90's, but thread specifically says Pitts and Philly....my bad!

Edited by jammer2
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Tough call on my part. John LeClair is by far my favorite hockey player ever, so naturally I voted for him.

But in all fairness, Stevens was drafted much later, thereby lowering the expectations.

LeClair's numbers dropped after Big E left, but that also coincides with the time period that he was having all the back problems and staph infections. His numbers were still respectable though.

However, Stevens numbers completely went into the crapper after he departed Mario's wing.

So in the end, the edge goes to LeClair.

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I have had some good discussions with Polaris and other Pens fans regarding Kevin Stevens, Leclair and Lindros.

While this board is predominantly Flyers fan, I think most are objective and very knowledgeable.

I think Stevens was a great player, but benefited allot from Lemieux / Francis / Jagr. Leclair of course benefited from Lindros.

I also think that Stevens played a 90 foot game while Leclair played a 120 foot game (not great, but certainly much better than Stevens).

Well at least Leclair didn't end up shacked up with some hooker in a roach motel smoking crack...Steven however is guilty as charged.

Edit: I'll go out on a limb and guess Stevens one lone vote is from Polaris?????????

Edited by OccamsRazor
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Tough call on my part. John LeClair is by far my favorite hockey player ever, so naturally I voted for him.

But in all fairness, Stevens was drafted much later, thereby lowering the expectations.

LeClair's numbers dropped after Big E left, but that also coincides with the time period that he was having all the back problems and staph infections. His numbers were still respectable though.

However, Stevens numbers completely went into the crapper after he departed Mario's wing.

So in the end, the edge goes to LeClair.

Actually, it was after his face required complete reconstructive surgery from meeting Pilon's visor and being knocked unconscious, then taking a 6 foot face plant shattering most of the bones in his face. THAT was the end of the Kevin Stevens power forward days, really. Docs told him not to even play again.

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So despite Stevens being a higher PPG guy, having WAY more playoff production, being an integral part of two Stanley Cups, WAY more PIM, being WAY more active fighting to defend his star centerman, being one of only four players to ever score 50 goals AND 200 PIM in the same season in the history of the sport, and basically outperforming Leclair in every stat except plus/minus, he gets outvoted 20 to 1? LOL I love you guys. Thanks for the effort @Vanflyer ... this one was predictable. ;)

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So despite Stevens being a higher PPG guy, having WAY more playoff production, being an integral part of two Stanley Cups, WAY more PIM, being WAY more active fighting to defend his star centerman, being one of only four players to ever score 50 goals AND 200 PIM in the same season in the history of the sport, and basically outperforming Leclair in every stat except plus/minus, he gets outvoted 20 to 1? LOL I love you guys. Thanks for the effort @Vanflyer ... this one was predictable. ;)

I am not sure what you were hoping for Polaris,but 90 % of the responses here cited Leclair's better defensive play and sheer physical puck presence for the reason he was picked over Stevens. You want to say Stevens was better because he was a fighter, well that is a point no one can argue but that was not the gist of the poll.

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I thought Stevens had more skill, i thought LeClair had more "jam" and had more all around game, I always thought that JLC was unclutch though, he got the reputation for being a money player in Mtl the year they beat Gretzky's Kings and he was lights out. For us though, i always thought he gripped his stick pretty tightly in the PO's. that's an unpopular position with this crowd i know, but my memories of the puck on his stick vs marty broduer are not good and cement Marty's legend in my mind.

Stevens could light it up and did so regardless of the situation, i wouldn't have minded him being on my team. but i am not unhappy that LeClair was instead , they were both big strong guys that were vital to their teams. fun debate. to think of having stevens playing on lindros' line... holy smokes . lots of room created by those guys for each other, that's all i'm saying.

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I am not sure what you were hoping for Polaris,but 90 % of the responses here cited Leclair's better defensive play and sheer physical puck presence for the reason he was picked over Stevens. You want to say Stevens was better because he was a fighter, well that is a point no one can argue but that was not the gist of the poll.

I'm not saying just because he could fight he was better. Im saying that PIMs will always be a good measure of a power forward's game. Not the only measure but a part of it. He was better in every statistical category of the game except plus/minus. He actually blows Leclair out of the water in playoff production. And nose to nose, both fighting for the puck, anyone saying Leclair was superior just didn't watch Stevens. They'd split 50/50 I think in puck battles. That's what I'm seeing though... A player with only plus/minus in his favor getting the votes.

Like I said its predictable, and I don't mean any insult by that. Leclair was a great player and a Flyer superstar. He deserves your fan support for all he did for your organization. I just think if we were talking about two players from neutral teams the vote would swing more in Stevens' favor.

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They'd split 50/50 I think in puck battles.

add an IMHO and we're all good here. Since this is either memory or speculation.

because the memories of folks on the flyers forum is that Johnny was a beast on the cycle and rarely lost a puck battle, and since more than one person has that same memory, it might be accurate ;)

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@Polaris922

I stand corrected on his decline (sort of), but didn't he put up solid numbers for one more season? That makes me think that the injury didn't destroy his career as much as you would think it did.

It is tough to tell whether or not he would have been the same hockey player had the accident not happened and he no longer played with Mario.

In either case he was a great hockey player that could have put up great numbers had he stayed with the Penguins, specifically Mario Lemieux, and more specifically didn't suffer the injury that he did.

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add an IMHO and we're all good here. Since this is either memory or speculation.

because the memories of folks on the flyers forum is that Johnny was a beast on the cycle and rarely lost a puck battle, and since more than one person has that same memory, it might be accurate ;)

I put "I think" in there ;). They were both great in the corners!

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@Polaris922

I stand corrected on his decline (sort of), but didn't he put up solid numbers for one more season? That makes me think that the injury didn't destroy his career as much as you would think it did.

It is tough to tell whether or not he would have been the same hockey player had the accident not happened and he no longer played with Mario.

In either case he was a great hockey player that could have put up great numbers had he stayed with the Penguins, specifically Mario Lemieux, and more specifically didn't suffer the injury that he did.

He did have another solid season upon return but had lost the heavy physicality after the surgery. He became less effective in the corners and didn't see as willing to battle at the net, and his numbers began a steady decline. He's admitted after hitting rock bottom that his mentality after the face plant was altered, and several well written articles are out there about the impact it all had.

He's still part of the Pens organization, and has been clean (reportedly) for a long time now. Add him to the list of great players who's careers were too short in the sport.

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