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05-19-2013, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by roto View Post
It's not wrong to say that NHL is the league with best players, because it is but:

Ice hockey on small ice (NA hockey) is different from the hockey played on large ice. NA hockey requires some attributes that are not needed that much on big ice: size, physical strength to wrestle on the boards and mentality to play in physical style. Elite NHL players are successful also on big ice, but big ice doesn't suit for all NHL players.

The are huge amount of forwards skilled enough for NHL top-6 in Europe. Why they are not then playing NHL? First, there are only limited amount (=180) of top-6 spots available and if you're as skilled as existing top-6 players it's hard to break in the team. Existing players have proved that they can play at NHL level and they have their contracts.

It's also takes time to get used to NA hockey and get a proper chance in NHL to prove that you're good enough. If you've got used to play top minutes in offensive roles and then you get to play in NHL 8 minutes per game defensively with some grinders, it's hard to show your skills. If you want to get top minutes and show your skill, why would player want to play dump 'n chase with minimum minutes?

What many skilled European skilled forwards lack is size and physicality. It means that it's already hard for them to get in top-6 if they're only as good as existing players, but they don't fit lower lines because they're too small and soft.

AHL could be useful "training camp", but many or players prefer playing in European top leagues instead, which is very understandable: they want top minutes, they want to use their skill and not just dump in and wrestle in the boards and they want to earn something. A Swiss player must be really fond of NHL and NA style of hockey if he wants to change a spot in Swiss league team to a spot in AHL team.

My point is that there are a lot of players outside NHL who are as skilled as top-6 players in NHL. Lower line grinders in NHL are often primarily physical and not so skilled. It's not correct to say that they're best of the world just because they play with best players of the world. Leo Komarov got easily a spot in Leafs this season, but he just isn't better player than some Kontiola who still plays in KHL. Komarov is just a perfect grinder for NA style hockey.
I agree with you, I might be the only Canadian who prefers watching European hockey than NHL, there's a ton of fantastic hockey players playing in the different domestic leagues in Europe. I love to watch the game on the big ice, players can be a lot more "creative" on the big ice, u can control the puck more.

But what i love the most about European hockey is the fans, the atmosphere is second to none, the chanting, all the flags, the beating of the drums its unreal. And the players are more close to the fans in Europe I think, they appreciate their fans more.

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