View Single Post
11-16-2012, 09:37 AM
Theokritos's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 8,275
vCash: 500
The art analogies lead us nowhere because art is measured by a rather subjective benchmark: taste. In hockey taste is secondary. A player who is the most elegant skater and the flashiest stickhandler is still not a good player if he neither helps his team to score goals nor to prevent goals against. The objective aim is winning and every player is measured against this aim. Now granted, it's not always easy to decide how much a player actually contributes to success or failure of his team, which is the reason for most of the debates on the boards. But basically we strive for an objective evaluation. To answer the question whether Wayne Gretzky was one of the Top 3 forwards in history or not is not a matter of taste, it's a matter of fact. In art it's different. Statements like the following are arbitrary:

Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
So... the Mozart and Beethoven of our time were both active in the late 60s and early 70s, on the leading edge of rock music as an art form.
John Lennon and Jimmy Page? Well, actually Cole Porter was the next Mozart and Ray Charles the new Beethoven. Or was it Karlheinz Stockhausen and Jay-Z? It's anybody's choice.

Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Even if we assume, wrongly, that genius arises from increases in population, that doesn't define an increase in the degree of separation between the upper-echelon talents.
If we assume that increased population (or better: increased number of people playing hockey) means increased talent pool, then it is possible that we have several Doug Harveys in the league today as opposed to one Doug Harvey in the O6 era. And Lidström could be better than Harvey, but not by as much as Harvey was better than his competitors in the O6. In numbers: Let's say Lidström is a 10, Harvey a 9 and the next best defender is a 7. Lidström > Harvey, but Harvey's edge over the next best defender > Lidström's edge over Harvey.

IMO the problem is that we are not really aware of what we actually try to measure when we compare players from different eras: Talent level in an absolute sense or domination relative to contemporaries. Often it seems to be a mix of both.

Theokritos is offline   Reply With Quote