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01-04-2008, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by SpartyWing86 View Post
Athletes are better now than they were many years ago. It's not that the person has changed, but the preparation for playing at the highest level has changed drastically. We know more about nutrition and physiology today than decades ago. The game has been reinvented a few times. Remember when the trap was first conceived and teams bashed their heads against the wall trying to solve it? Athletes today aren't better made, but they are better trained.
I don't think this is true. I think that the average world class athlete is superior now, for a number of reasons. But I see little reason to think that what is true for the average is true for the extremes, especially the top superstars. Top superstars are psychologial and physical freaks. They're different from ordinary athletes, period. Differences between eras are overstated when it comes to the outstanding.

If Bobby Orr played today, he would be a top defenseman, hands down. Personally, I don't have a horse in this Orr vs. Lidstrom race. But to say that Lidstrom is 10X the player beause of the era is just plain silly.

People who think that the progression of the game is so extreme may wonder how Rod Brind'Amour played the same game for almost 20 years with such consistent success. And Ron Francis, who did the same thing a few years earlier. You might not want to compare Brind'Amour with Francis (as an Islander fan, though, there's no opposing player I feared like Brindamour), but the guy always had freaky strength and endurance, things tha determined his game. I'd bet he'd be roughly the same kind of player *in any era*.



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