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12-04-2012, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Interesting point. What do you think of Nalyd Psycho's contention that the fact that Vezina, Benedict, and Lehman all had excellent longevity is evidence that it was a strong generation - meaning that the younger generation (Worters' generation) wasn't producing players who surpassed them?
That's quite possible, and it's exactly the reason I didn't want to oversell that particular point. Even if the general talent level increased, that doesn't lead us to automatic conclusions about the top-3 goaltenders in each era.

The goalies that I consider direct generational peers with Worters are:

Chabot (b 1900)
Connell (b 1902)
Gardiner (b 1904)
Roach (b 1900)
Thompson (b 1903)
Worters (b 1900)

And Lehman's peers are:

Holmes (b 1888)
Lehman (b 1885)
Vezina (b 1887)
If you want to be overly thorough, maybe you could throw in Bert Lindsay (1881)

Ok, to this point it's pretty much a matter of Vezina being the first great goalie but otherwise the later generation having a clearly greater pool of talent. Not that all of them are superstars, but there are certainly more viable long-term professionals in the later group.

But here's what I find weird. The notable goalies in the intermediary period, born between about 1888 and 1900 are:

Benedict (b 1892)
Hainsworth (b 1895)
Winkler (b 1892)
I guess you could toss in Jake Forbes (1897) if you stretch the definition of noteworthy.

It just seems kind of odd to me that we had three great early goalies born in a 4-year period, then this huge 12-year gap with only three guys really worth talking about, then 6 all-timers born in a 5-year period. Something seems off about that. Either we are underrating the 1888-1900 cohort... and I can't really see how we are... or there was a really hard-to-explain deficit of quality goaltending for a long time after the Vezina generation passed over. The opportunity was certainly there for guys like Benedict, Hainsworth and Lehman to pretty much play as long as they wanted due to a serious talent shortage.

I'm not sure what to make of any of this. Were average goalies just recyclable commodities? Were there on- or off-ice reasons not to want to stick with the position during this period? Was it a lack of specialized training and institutional knowledge about how to tend goal?

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