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12-19-2012, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
I'll certainly re-visit my opinion of Gump. I came to this thinking that he was just a "likable loser" - not that he lost a lot, but that he wasn't an elite guy but very likable, a guy you could have a beer with. In fact, from the looks of Gump - described sometimes as a "bloated fire hydrant" - he may have a couple beer head start.

Is there any significant difference - perceived, I suppose - between say early-mid 1950's hockey and the hockey right before the league expanded (late 50's through mid-60's) in terms of talent level? Quality? The effects from the War were probably wearing off or almost completely worn off by the time the early 1950's rolled around. Is there any further talent bulge right before expansion that made the fans/league/players/coaches/any combination of the sort to believe that they had the pool to expand now (1966/1967 area)?

My question obviously directly relates to the goaltenders of the times in question. But not so much for the competition against other goalies (while relevant), but the defenders defending them, the shooters shooting on them.
Not goalies in particular, but my opinion is that the overall talent pool didn't fully recover from WW2 until the Jean Beliveau generation in the mid 1950s. There have been some hfboards studies on this, but if you look at the top scorers year by year, there is a lot more parity and depth in the late 50s and 60s than in the late 40s and early 50s. Also, very few of the top scorers of the early 50s continued being top scorers in the late 50s. Obviously, the studies I've seen have been forward-heavy, though. With many fewer goalies than scorers, it's hard to study them. The only thing noteworthy I can say is that Hall and Plante didn't come around until the mid 1950s.

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