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11-11-2009, 06:31 PM
  #21
God Bless Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafs Forever View Post
But they were playing against the best in the world on a nightly basis. Most teams certainly had talent, and considering there weren't that many teams back then, certainly featured some of the best in the world at the time.

Relating the few number of teams, when they met for the cup, the teams facing off were likely loaded with talent, and would likely compete with, or beat, a team made up of the stars of the rest of their league. And in those matches, we know each team would give 100%- it was the cup on the line.

It didn't mean that much to the NHLers by the looks of things at first, but that soon changed. I think they could dig deep for motivation and win, with the big talent difference.
When a guy in the west coast leagues played a game in the 20s, what percentage of the players there were among "the best in the world." What percentage would have played in a consolidated league? Of course, it varied, but what percentage would it have been? And what percentage would it have been in, say, 1912? (I'll leave the war years out of it. While the game wasn't weakened like it was in the Second World War, there was an impact). Prior to the war, there were a lot more options out there, guys retained their amateur status longer. It really is hard to evaluate players. Looking at raw numbers is a fool's ploy, because the game had completely different rules. Even looking at top fives or top 10s is tough, because each player will react to different circumstances differently. A guy who was top two or three in points might not be after consolidation, because of the changes in the game caused by consolidation. Just like a guy who was top five in assists prior to 1929 might not be afterwards, because of how radically different the forward pass in the offensive zone made the game. (It also changed what teams were looking for in a player).

I view consolidation as one of the most significant events in hockey history. Right up there with the NHL/WHA merger, and behind the expansion in 67. Once consolidation happened, for the first time, you could look at a hockey league and say "the best players in the world are in one league." Before there were options. After consolidation, there wasn't.

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