December 14th, 2010 at 6:47 PM ^

that is some of the more flawed reasoning I've read on this blog.


messier is a top 5 forward of all time, he isn't sniffing gretzky. just like Lidstrom doesn't sniff Orr.

surpassisng borque is the best he can hope for, and that is nothing to be ashamed of

Edward Khil

December 15th, 2010 at 12:55 AM ^

Why don't you grace us with your Top 4 Defensemen.  I'd be really interested in hearing who it is you place above Lidstrom other than Orr.

In fact, Orr really seemed to play a different position.  He wasn't a Defenseman.  He was an OmniDefenseman.

Ceding that to the inimitable Bobby Orr, I think many could agree that Nick Lidstrom is the greatest Defenseman ever in the NHL.

Just not flaproosta08.

Anyway, thanks very much to the OP for starting this OT thread.  It's truth.


December 14th, 2010 at 3:02 PM ^

Not to mention Doug Harvey and Ray Bourque. 


Bobby Orr would probably be the best ever but his time in the league was cut short because of injuries and bad knees. I think, without a doubt, that if Orr could have prolonged his time in the league he would be the best. The problem is that he just did not have that long of a career. He only played in 657 games, but won the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year), 8 consecutive Norris Trophies (best defenseman), two Conn Smythes (playoffs MVP), and 2 Stanley Cups. *Orr was the only player to ever win the Norris, Art Ross (leading points getter), Hart (NHL regular season MVP), and Conn Smythe Trophies in the same season. 

Lidstrom on the other hand has played over 1400 games, rarely getting injured. He plays enormous amounts of minutes every night, voted to 11 All-Star games, won 4 Stanley Cups and 1st Euro born captain to win it, 6 Norris Trophies, 1 Conn Smythe Trophy, Olympic gold medalist, has over 1000 career points, and made the NHL all rookie team. 


I hate to say this, because I think Orr would have been better if given more time, but Lidstrom has to go down as #1 or at worst #2 best NHL defensemen of all time. Hes crazy consistent and good. 

Blue in Yarmouth

December 14th, 2010 at 3:16 PM ^

but I disagree with you. I don't necessarily think you need a twenty year career to determine whether one player is better than another. Wayne Gretzky had a realatively short career and retired in his prime, but I can't think of a person who knows hockey that would say there has ever been a better player.

I agree with someone above who said he is in the top five. Those five I think are pretty fluid except for the number one spot. Number one is Bobby Orr. 2-5 could be any of: Coffey, Bourque, Lidstrom and the last could be a few as well. Harvey, Stevens, Robinson...

The only constant I could see in a top five would be the number one spot. His career was short, but in that time he showed skilss that no other defensement has before or since. That makes him the best IMHE.


December 14th, 2010 at 3:26 PM ^

Well, I'm not saying I disagree. Orr was an unbelievable talent. You don't need 20 years to go down as the "best ever", but I do think Lidstroms longevity gives him an advantage over Orr in that category. I guess I look at it as, if I could get either Orr or Lidstrom as a rookie who would I choose? Orr and his talents for 12 years, or Lidstrom and his talents for 20 years? Thats still a tough decision, but I'd take Lidstrom. 

I am a big hockey guy, if you couldn't tell from my avatar, my Dad is even more obsessed with me. I think he would choose Orr. That being said, I find it difficult to choose between the 2. I would argue that if you chose either one of those guys as the "best ever" that it would be a good pick. I think that Lidstrom and Orr are clear cut #1 and #2 of all time, the other guys are a little behind, but thats really just splitting hairs. 


December 14th, 2010 at 3:41 PM ^

Wayne Gretzky had a short career?  He played for 20 years!  He was 38!  That's a very long career, especially for a forward.  C'mon man.


Now if you wanna say Orr is the best ever, okay - IMO its a toss up.  But Nick is definitely #2 in that case (and if he wins another Norris and another cup, I'd say Nick is the unquestioned #1).

Here's a guy who's never missed the playoffs.  He's missed 28 out of 1440 regular season games, most of those due to intentional rest before the playoffs.  He has 4 Stanley Cups, Olympic gold, and a World Championship (putting him the triple Gold club).  He has 6 Norris trophies, is on track to be a finalist this year, and very well could've won another had there not been a lockout in '04.  He doesn't take penalties - 466 TOTAL penalty minutes over his NHL career!


Watch Nick play, seriously, just watch him play.  Don't look at anyone else on the ice.  It'll blow your mind.

Blue in Yarmouth

December 14th, 2010 at 4:08 PM ^

and I didn't say he isn't a great player. When he plays, it isn't hard to just watch him because when he is on the ice, he is always in the play and generally dominates the game. I just think Orr was better, but arguements can be made for both.

Steve Lorenz

December 14th, 2010 at 2:52 PM ^

Orr played for 13 years. Lidstrom has been playing at a high level for almost 20 years now and doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon. Orr is great but give me Lidstrom. Funny thing is he's arguably the most under-appreciated player in SPORTS history. Only those who follow hockey truly know how great of a player he is. 


December 14th, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

Look at it the other way:  imagine if Orr played longer and wasn't hurt so often.   It'd be a toss up for me if I needed one defenseman on my team -- I'd probably take Lidstrom due to his consistency but Orr would so tough to pass on.

Steve Lorenz

December 14th, 2010 at 2:56 PM ^

I agree that if Orr had lasted longer that he would probably be my choice.....but he didn't and that's one of the main reasons I'd take Lidstrom. 

Since the 90-91 season in games played: 80, 84, 84, 43 (lockout), 81, 79, 80, 81, 81, 82, 78, 82, 81, 80, 80, 76, 78 and 82. All while playing at a legendary level. It's amazing. 


December 14th, 2010 at 3:06 PM ^

I think it is worth factoring in that hockey today is a much more competitive sport than it was in the past.  Watching how some of the NHL goalies played back then is a joke.

Also, Orr not being durable is a reasonable point as to why he is not the best.  Hockey is a very physical game and being able to play many games over a long time is something that has to be valued.  There are plenty of players who had short careers who you could argue would have been hall of famers if you added 5-10 years to what they were doing.  Nick has been a top player in the league at an old age, something Orr never did.

Blue in Yarmouth

December 14th, 2010 at 3:25 PM ^

Let me be the first to say that hockey has always been competitive and it isn't any moreso now then it was back then.

Also, look at what they had to play with back then if you want to talk about factors. Wooden sticks, skates with absolutely no support in the ankles, no helmets etc etc etc.

Look, Lidstrom is great and most definitely a top five player. To me he isn't number one but there are certainly valid arguements that can be made on his behalf. But trying to diminish what Orr did in his career is absurd.

Also, with his short career in mind, Orr is in the Hall of Fame, and not many people question that decision. That speaks to how good he was.


December 14th, 2010 at 6:33 PM ^

trying to diminish what Orr did in his career is absurd.

Blue in Yarmouth, your points here in several posts on Bobby Orr vs. Lidstrom are remarkably well said and I respect your patience with the "modern" fan. It's easy for people to look at Lidstrom's durability and overall excellence in the modern game and deduce, quite incorrectly, that he is the superior player to Orr. Bobby Orr changed the way the game was played and was, without question, the most dynamic player of his era.

I think the most instructive comment about the relative merits of Lidstrom versus Orr would be if you were to go to any location in Canada and ask 100 people who the greatest of all time was...you'd get a pretty even split between Gretzky and Orr with the occasional Howe and/or Lemieux loyalist thrown in there. Lidstrom's not in the conversation of GOAT...he's not even the GOAT for the Wings...that's either Howe or Yzerman.

One more thing. I read a few posts on here that referenced Lidstrom's toughness versus Orr. That is god damn ridiculous. It's one thing to look at the world through red and white sunglasses but wholly another to diminish Orr's absolute toughness. The guy played with a mean streak and was widely considered the toughest player in the league throughout his career. 

Lidstrom's a great player in his era but Orr is the GOAT.



December 15th, 2010 at 6:35 PM ^

In consideration of the First Nation of Hockey, you say that like we would all think just the same from one coast to the other. I'd take the opinion of the Canadian fanbase over your evident regionalism any day. 

At the end of the day Lidstrom is a great player, a first ballot hall of famer (located in Toronto, Ontario btw.), no question. On the other hand, Orr is a legend and in the discussion of the greatest player of all time. Lidstrom is not nor will he ever be.


December 14th, 2010 at 3:13 PM ^

its almost impossible to compare bobby orr and nick.  they're very different players, each of whom has been a revolutionary who has introduced the world to a completely different dimension of the position.

orr showed the world that a defenseman can be a great scoring threat.  he was the first defenseman to lead the league in scoring.

lidstrom showed the world that you don't need to be a hard hitter to play great defense.  no one (not even orr) has had the same uncanny ability to separate players from the puck with positioning, stickwork, and skating as lidstrom.

both are incredibly intelligent, instinctive athletes, who understand the game better than any of their peers.  both are fantastic skaters and are artists with the stick.  neither are exceptionally gifted from a physical standpoint.

orr was superman, with he knee being a sad kryptonite.  nick is a fucking machine - he just doesn't make mistakes and he never breaks .  lidstrom has had a better career than orr on a whole, but orr completely changed the game.  which is more significant?  i'll call it a tie.


December 14th, 2010 at 3:31 PM ^

It's unfair to both Orr and Lidstrom to compare the two when they played in different generations of hockey. I think the "who's the best of all time?" argument is fun to debate, but it's an unanswerable question. Lidstrom is my #1 on the list, but I'm obviously quite a bit biased in that assessment. He hands down should be listed in the top 5 though.


December 14th, 2010 at 4:21 PM ^

orr showed the world that a defenseman can be a great scoring threat.  he was the first defenseman to lead the league in scoring.

I'm pretty sure he is the only defenseman to lead the league in scoring.  Think about that people, Orr scored more points from a defensive position than any forward in the entire league!  (Won the Art Ross Trophy in 1969–70 and 1974–75) That gives him the edge over Lidstrom IMO.


December 16th, 2010 at 6:23 PM ^

but his offensive production is over and above his defensive stats/awards which include: eight Norris Trophies,   the best plus/minus in the league in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 and 1975.  (the most in league history)  Career plus/minus rating of  +597, two Conn Smythe Trophies and three Hart Trophies.   He was pretty good defensively.


December 14th, 2010 at 3:47 PM ^



What makes Nick so special is his ability to absolutely wow you with even the simplest of things.  It's something you have to be a hockey fan to truly understand.  Nick doesn't make the flashy plays and thunderous hits that gain other defensemen notoriety.

The best comparison I can make is as follows:

Wayne Gretzky : passing/scoring: :  Nick Lidstrom : defense

Nick just has the sixth sense that a handful of players have.  He knows every probability, every angle, and knows what to do for his optimal EV on every play.  He knows what attackers are going to do before they do it.  And if you watch him enough, you can see the magic happen on the ice, the gears turning in his head at lightspeed.  And its so fucking awesome.


December 14th, 2010 at 3:35 PM ^

It's nearly impossible to compare players from such different eras.  You can point to Nick having a much longer career than Orr... but with todays medicine and greater knowledge on recovery times, maybe Orr plays for 20 years.  By the same token, you can look at Orr's gaudy +/- numbers over his short career as compared to Nicks, but you have to consider Orr's career was at the beginning of expansion when there was a sharp upturn in the goals per game average... whereas the core of Nick's career was during a downturn in league scoring.

Bottom Line, Orr and Nick are/were the greatest d-men of their era... let's leave it at that.