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11-19-2012, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
No, but you said it was "probably about right". Presumably that means you believe 5x to be an accurate estimate?
Yes, my estimate is 5X, but it I'll admit it could be 4X, and possibly as high as 6X. No one can say for sure and we are all just estimating.

Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I think it's actually wavered over time.

Let's take 1960 as our 1x.

Very roughly speaking, I think we hit something like 3-4x by the mid-1990s. From what I have seen, hockey was virtually universal among Canadian boys in the mid-1970s when those players were born, so the upper-class-ization of the sport was less of an issue for that generation. Russia was probably coming off its peak at that time, Sweden was in its Forsberg/Sundin/Naslund/Lidstrom phase, and the USA was producing elite talent at about the same rate it does today. Also, the former Czechoslovakia was producing talent at a rate it no longer matches. On top of all that, there was no competition to speak of from overseas leagues. If we take into account the excellent aging of the 1980s classes, which featured at least 4 players who are all-time top-3 in their positions, we can probably pin down "Peak Talent" somewhere around 1996. And that's not just nostalgia speaking -- go back and look at NHL rosters from that season. Nearly all teams were built around one or more Hall of Famers, and some were just flush to the gills with talent. Look at the All Star Team rosters. The difference in across-the-board eliteness between then and now is noticeable.

Today I think we're back at 3x, maybe even a little lower. Canadians aren't playing the game at the same rate any more, and fewer elite Canadian talents stick with hockey after childhood. American talent has grown, but mostly in expansion markets which are just starting to produce real talent. The Russian program is a ghost, the Slovaks virtually non-existent. The Czechs have declined. Sweden and Finland are still where they used to be. And, maybe even more important, virtually every major talent from Lindros to Crosby has been injury-plagued or inconsistent. The league is no longer producing Gretzkys and Bourques who dominate for 15+ years without a break. Expansion has spread the remaining talent too thin, to the point that a team like Pittsburgh is seen as "stacked" because they managed to get three good centers, an above-average top defenseman and a competent goalie. Compare them to the "stacked" 1996 Red Wings, it's really not close. I'll give this league the benefit of the doubt and say 3x, but my suspicion is that it's worse than we think. A lot of the deficiencies are covered up by increases in technology -- better skates, lighter sticks that make these guys look a little better against their predecessors than they probably deserve.
Whether it's 3X or 4X it's difficult to rank Harvey above Lidstrom due to this. They are very close in terms of the type of careers they had and their dominance over their peers, yet Lidstrom dealt with a much deeper talent pool. You seem to agree with this so is your only reason for placing Harvey higher because he came first?

Russia is a "ghost" that won the WJC in 2011, came 2nd last year and have produced recent talents like Malkin, Ovechkin and Datsyuk. I wish I could watch KHL games during the lockout but don't have time because they have some great talent in that league.

Sweden won the WJC last year, which was the first time in 31 years, and are producing lots of great young players. The SEL is another very strong league outside the NHL.

The American program is better and larger than it ever was in the past.

Say what you want about Pierre McQuire but he constantly states that these young players coming up are far better than when he was coaching in the NHL. I see it myself when I play hockey and these kids come out with us. Most of them are upper middle class but they have amazing skill sets and probably won't even make it to the NHL. I don't think there is a legitimate case for saying hockey is on the decline in Canada. It may be more spread out and less available to the lower middle class but the kids that are being produced are fantastic. The only problem is it's hard to stand out when everyone can play at such a high level and are so serious about training.

Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
All you had to do was ask.
This was the topic so why should I have to ask? Why discuss something without giving your own opinion until I beg for it?

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