Was hockey better in the 80s?
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11-12-2012, 08:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Vancouver, BC
Originally Posted by
The game was more fun to watch. I wasn't alive to watch it but I watch 80s games. To me you had more generational talent. The goalies back then actually worked for there saves also.
Originally Posted by
Much more entertaining to watch and teams/players played to win, they didn't play to not lose like they do today.
There was a lot more play in the middle of the ice, the puck wasn't getting dumped in half as much and there sure as hell wasn't the endless cycling going on.
I agree that the product was probably more entertaining but disagree with most of the reasons given.
The sport was more ‘exciting’ in the 1980s because :
a) defensive systems were absolutely terrible relative to today
b) players took two-minute shifts for most of the early part of the decade – leading to more tired players moving more slowly when they didn’t have the puck.
c) there was a bigger gap between the best and the worst players, especially on defense
d) goalies absolutely stunk relative to today
I don’t buy that the players in the 1980s (Gretzky excepted) were more skilled, or more creative, or more daring, or that there were more ‘generational talents’ at that point.
There was just a perfect storm whereby talented players in that era had far more space and time to make plays and make the most of their talent relative to today. In 2012 every defending player is skating 100% for 45-second shifts, matchups are optimized, and players are trained on defensive systems pretty much from childhood. You need space and time to be creative, and star players today just don’t have much of either. Touch the puck, and you’re being hounded immediately.
Having said all that, there’s also quite a bit of nostalgia clouding perception of that time. When you actually watch games from 1985, the pace looks really slow compared to today, hitting is *way* down, and of course the goalies are terrible. Much of the inflated scoring and ‘excitement’ of fire-wagon hockey came from the fact that goalies were letting in so many routine shots. Normalize save percentages, and scoring probably wouldn’t be that much different from today.
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