Will we ever see a better player than Gretzky? Will we know it?
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02-23-2013, 10:51 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Originally Posted by
It's NOT the same though, I don't even see how people can come to that conclusion. You go through a list of top players in the 80s and it's almost exclusively Canadians. 23 of the top 100 scorers from Gretzky's prime years (I picked 80-81 to 87-88 because it's the same length of time as the post-lockout era) are non-Canadian, just 3 in the top 20. HALF of the top 100 since 2005 are non-Canadian, 10 in the top 20. Nowadays, more often than not it's a non-Canadian winning the Art Ross, Hart and Vezina.
Look at the goalies. During Gretzky's prime, only ONE non-Canadian is in the top 20 winningest, since the lockout it's well under half. This year it's more like one-third.
How is it even logical to think, that with so many countries producing so much more talent and all of them coming to the NHL, that talent HASN'T increased? With so many kids playing hockey, with the system being so efficient now, with so much money in the industry, I'd say even Canada is producing more skill than ever... but it's so much harder for them to stand out. And none of them are going to put up Dale Hawerchuk numbers... even though plenty of them are more skilled.
And this talent is spread out. Every team has a good goalie, whereas before half the league's teams had to make due with some 5'9'' Canadian. You can't pad your stats in an era of parity like you could in a watered down league comprised of mostly North Americans.
Gretzky has said as much... there is WAY more talent out there today, it's not even comparable. And he deserves a lot of credit for this. The old guys grew the game tremendously. It's illogical to think their efforts haven't resulted in a talent boom, and yet some people that don't want to accept it.
The talent pool is NOT a static thing, not in a global, big-money sport like this.
I would actually argue that the change in talent is as much a decrease in Canadian players as it is an increase in foreign talent.
And don't discredit the 87 Canada Cup. The Canadian went up against arguably the greatest non-Canadian team ever and Gretzky put up 2.33 PPG and Lemieux 2.00 PPG.
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