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01-14-2014, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by cobra427 View Post
This is Orr by a mile and it is not even close. Until Bobby Orr came along, teams did not prepare for a D man that could jump into the rush and D man in general never thought about jumping into the rush. Doug Harvey would jump in before Orr came along but not as often or as well, so teams did not prepare and other D did not emulate him. After Orr, every kid playing D wanted to be him, rush the ice, not all stay at home any more.

Wayne Gretzky came along in the eighties during rapid expansion. Numbers went up every where as talent was diluted while player skills increased. Team systems came along because it was the only way to try and slow down scoring, not just Gretzky, but everyone. Gretzky was the most skilled forward ever, but he did not change his position or the game.

Esposito was a buttery goalie long before Roy and I believe Glen hall also. Both very good at it too. More athletic goalies entered the NHL and were capable of being butterfly goalies, Roy didn't change much..
While I agree with much of what you say, I don't really understand the 2nd paragraph. The 80's had less expansion than the 70's did, talent was less diluted than the 70's as well (the extra players all came from another pro-level league, unlike the 70's where the number of teams doubled w/o any influx of pro-level talent). I do think Gretzky changed the game to a much bigger degree off-ice than any of the others (that's not even really debate worthy, IMO). Orr probably changed it the most on-ice of the players listed in the thread topic, but as others have mentioned, Roy with the popularization of butterfly goaltending (others did it before but it never caught on in a big way until Roy) was also huge.

Honestly, Plante may have changed the game as much as any of these guys since he was the first goaltender to really start leaving the net to play the puck. He also popularized the mask.

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