HOH Top 70 Players of All Time (2009)
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10-27-2012, 03:30 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Originally Posted by
And why is that? I tell you... many average NHL-level players stay in Russia. In the end you have absolutely top Russians here and youngsters who try to make it big time. All other average NHL-level talent left or never even came to NA.
And to counter with one extra point. Why you could make a case that Malkin, Datsyuk, Ovechkin and Kovalchuk are among top 10 players in the NHL? So you have ten best players in the world and 4 of them might be Russians, while two of them are for sure.
Now, consider this. Until just 4-5 years ago Russian youth hockey system was a chaos. There were no system. And all those 4 players were playing their youth hockey in such conditions.
So somehow this "chaos system" produces better top talent than Canada and yet, all the Russians who never played in the NHL during Soviet times can't be possibly as good as top NA players. Players that trained and were developed when Russian hockey had actually a strong system in place. Makes sense. It really does.
I hate to burst your bubble but it all really comes down to numbers. The number of elite hockey players that a country produces is directly related to their hockey infrastructure and ultimately the number of kids they have playing the game. If you look at the IIHF's Survey of Players you will see that roughly 70% of the world's hockey arenas and players are in North America and that is the main reason why there are so many NHLers from NA. As I recall Sweden, Finland, Czech and Russia all have approximately the same number of arenas and players, each country represtenting roughly 5% of the world total. As you know almost all the players from Czech, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, USA, Canada, and the rest of the world, excluding Russia, that are good enough to make the NHL are in the NHL. When you look at the percentage of NHLers from each country you will see that it correlates with the numbers from the IIHF's survey. Again the exception is Russia which is slightly under represented in the NHL because some of the 3rd and 4th line NHL quality Russians choose to play in the KHL.
To suggest that with roughly 5% of the world's hockey players that Russia is producing much more than 5% of the world's NHL calibre players is not a notion based in reality. If you want to check look back at the number of Russians in the league in the 90's, when virtually every Soviet trained player that could get a job in the NHL came over. The percentages still correlate to one another.
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