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11-15-2012, 07:28 PM
Mike Farkas
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Developmentally, it's usually ok. But a major change - even to a lower level - could result in negative results for certain types of players. For instance, Hasek moving from the Czech league to the IHL. It's a step down, so you might expect better results. Off hand, I don't know the results and I'm just doing a hypothetical.

The best goalies, in my - and many - opinion, are the ones with the best anticipation. Goalies that see the play develop, know what pass-shot combo is coming and react to make the save. Hasek, despite his slinky-like, reflexive stylings, was wonderful at anticipation...and using his anticipatory skills combined with previously mentioned geometric understanding of the position, he became one of the top goalies in history.

When you drop down a level, speed changes, player types can change, decision-making changes, skill generally lowers. This is actually turns into a negative for our great anticipators: Hasek, Brodeur, etc.

I'll switch to Brodeur, as he has one of the highest hockey IQs in history, when Brodeur sees someone wind up for a shot or set up for a one timer or whatever, he has a beat on where that's going to go and at what speed it's going to go. When you're playing with lower-level players, these timings are thrown off. So when No Hands Johnny flubs a bouncing pass to Slow Shot Jimmy, Brodeur - in his mind - has already gotten the shot, made the save and maybe turned it into a breakaway the other way. In reality, the shot is knuckling through the air aimlessly like so many chicken wings in William Shatner's sweetest of dreams...

Goal. But only because they're so bad at hockey, that the timing of a good player is so thrown off.

Similar theory, but way different practice: A knuckleball pitcher in baseball.

So if the player(s) in question is advanced mentally (usually past his developmental stage) but is stuck with lower-level players, you actually might see poorer than expected results, in my opinion (especially if he's played at a higher level previously). I would suggest that Martin Brodeur, for instance, would put up worse numbers in the AHL than the NHL.

Open to interpretation and other individual circumstances certainly, but that's my take or a take.

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