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11-09-2012, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
Yes, you are correct, it's a matter of probability. If the talent pool is 4x as large as 60 years ago, then if you took the best 2 players from 60 years ago, the odds are there would be ~8 in a more recent season. Maybe there would only be 3 or 4 of that quality... and maybe there would be a dozen or 20 of that quality. However, what is quite improbable is that there would be the same or fewer of that quality with 4x the talent pool.

I think a lot of it has to do with the "aura" surrounding some of the earliest stars of the post-WWII NHL, playing on stacked teams which were consistently Cup contenders (by nature of the much smaller league), who could dominate a much smaller talent pool. The smaller league also limits ice time & PP time to a much smaller group of forwards, which basically means only the top 30 or so forwards had any real chance at high rankings and awards in those O6 seasons.

Think about this: Randomly cut the NHL's talent to 1/4 of its present level. Then condense the remaining 1/4 to 6 teams. The top players remaining would have a much easier time dominating the remaining competition.

Players like Gretzky and Lemieux are going to appear very infrequently and seemingly randomly, because there are so few (if any) other players of that quality. I don't think Sakic or Yzerman are that unique as far as peak/prime adjusted production. There are other players who were in the same range of career adjusted production as well. It's the combination of peak/prime and career that sets them apart, but there will certainly be more players at/above their level IMO. Besides Jagr, who was at a higher level, the closest to matching both their peak/prime and career adjusted production is probably Selanne. He's still (hopefully) still playing and didn't start to play in the NHL until he was 22, so I'd say he's about the equivalent of Sakic & Yzerman in terms of peak/prime and career production (but most would rank them significantly above Selanne based on playoffs, defense, leadership, etc.). The other player with similar peak/prime production who could end up with similar career adjusted numbers is Thornton (who also shares a relatively mediocre playoff record with Selanne), but he'll have to play several more seasons to do so.

Sakic and Yzerman didn't end their careers that long ago, so we must give it time to see who will emerge as the next at their level. It will probably be whichever of Malkin, Crosby and Ovechkin can sustain a long, productive career, as the other contemporary equivalents of Sakic & Yzerman (Lindros, Forsberg) were not able to do so. The difference between Sakic & Yzerman and some other great forwards has more to do with longevity, team success and perceived intangibles than their objective peak/prime production being significantly superior to their potential rivals.
I doubt that. After Orr everyone said you'll never see his like again. But then came Gretzky, Lemieux hot on his tail. This appearance of talent has a lot of factors other than mere population. How many excellent pro athletes take up the game. How many people with the skill set or appropriate intelligences get involved. Again averaging fails.

Lose this mind set.

Last edited by Dalton: 11-09-2012 at 09:46 AM.
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