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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

The all encompassing "players of today vs players from the past" thread

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Old
12-05-2010, 07:15 PM
  #26
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This was a long time in coming. I was considering making it but I thought that would be presumptuous and I should wait for someone with a history and reputation here to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor No View Post
This is now officially the "Evolution of Hockey" thread as discussed in the sticky:
http://hfboards.com/showpost.php?p=20296230

The stipulations in that post apply here. Other than that, have fun.

Carry on.
You should sticky this.

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12-05-2010, 07:31 PM
  #27
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The truly special players would be special players in any era in my opinion.

You cannot make an argument that will convince me that a Howe/Gretzky/Orr/Lemieux would not be simply outstanding players today.

And by outstanding I mean outstanding from their peers.

These arguments get essentially blown out of the water by the overlap some players have over "eras".

An example that TDMM uses quite effectively (and often when these silly arguments come up) is that Raymond Bourque was a top defenseman in the 80s, a top defenseman in the 90s and a top defenseman when he hung them up in 2001.

Jagr is another example of a player who played in part of the "high scoring era", dominated the "dead puck era" and put up a season that stands up to anything the supposedly "newer faster better" players have done post lockout. And this while past his prime.

Lidstrom is another example that simply invalidates the whole argument.

Yes, players on average are better conditioned and trained and coached. The problem is the players that we generally discuss on these boards are not average.

There is very little room to improve when you're at or near the top level of human ability.. we simply aren't evolving very quickly at all.

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12-05-2010, 07:48 PM
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
The truly special players would be special players in any era in my opinion.

You cannot make an argument that will convince me that a Howe/Gretzky/Orr/Lemieux would not be simply outstanding players today.

And by outstanding I mean outstanding from their peers.

These arguments get essentially blown out of the water by the overlap some players have over "eras".

An example that TDMM uses quite effectively (and often when these silly arguments come up) is that Raymond Bourque was a top defenseman in the 80s, a top defenseman in the 90s and a top defenseman when he hung them up in 2001.

Jagr is another example of a player who played in part of the "high scoring era", dominated the "dead puck era" and put up a season that stands up to anything the supposedly "newer faster better" players have done post lockout. And this while past his prime.

Lidstrom is another example that simply invalidates the whole argument.

Yes, players on average are better conditioned and trained and coached. The problem is the players that we generally discuss on these boards are not average.

There is very little room to improve when you're at or near the top level of human ability.. we simply aren't evolving very quickly at all.
An aging Lemieux in the mid 90s outscored Jagr, who, when he was aging, was two points behind the Art Ross winner in 2006, that Art Ross winner being only six points behind Crosby in his Art Ross season.

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12-05-2010, 07:53 PM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cognition View Post
An aging Lemieux in the mid 90s outscored Jagr, who, when he was aging, was two points behind the Art Ross winner in 2006, that Art Ross winner being only six points behind Crosby in his Art Ross season.
Thanks for reiterating my point.

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12-05-2010, 07:56 PM
  #30
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I didn't reiterate your point, I gave an example of it.

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12-05-2010, 08:02 PM
  #31
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Interesting that you bring up the 100m race. Jesse Owens set a new world record in 1936 that took 20 years to break. Since then over a hundred runners have beat Jesse Owens' time. Even the last place finishers in races today will often beat Owens record. Does that mean Jesse Owens should not be on a list of the best runners ever? Does that somehow mean that a guy that finishes 20th in the next Olympics is a better runner than Owens?

Owens would not win the Olympics today, just like hockey players from the 30s would not be able to skate in today's NHL without some serious preparation time in lower leagues.

But when people say that players like Gretzky and Lemieux who played just ten years ago are somehow so ancient that they couldn't compete with Sidney Crosby in their primes it's just laughable. If the game had changed that much in ten years we wouldn't be seeing the same guys showing up to work every year. Heck, even a guy like Mike Modano, who is in his fourth NHL decade and over 40 years old, can still hold a job on the team with the strongest record in the league. How is that possible if the game is so totally different now from in the 80s?

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12-05-2010, 08:34 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve141 View Post
Interesting that you bring up the 100m race. Jesse Owens set a new world record in 1936 that took 20 years to break. Since then over a hundred runners have beat Jesse Owens' time. Even the last place finishers in races today will often beat Owens record. Does that mean Jesse Owens should not be on a list of the best runners ever? Does that somehow mean that a guy that finishes 20th in the next Olympics is a better runner than Owens?

Owens would not win the Olympics today, just like hockey players from the 30s would not be able to skate in today's NHL without some serious preparation time in lower leagues.

But when people say that players like Gretzky and Lemieux who played just ten years ago are somehow so ancient that they couldn't compete with Sidney Crosby in their primes it's just laughable. If the game had changed that much in ten years we wouldn't be seeing the same guys showing up to work every year. Heck, even a guy like Mike Modano, who is in his fourth NHL decade and over 40 years old, can still hold a job on the team with the strongest record in the league. How is that possible if the game is so totally different now from in the 80s?
I agree with your line of thinking but an interesting thing to look at is really how little the 100m record has changed in say the last 40+ years.

The 100m record went sub 10 seconds in 1968 and basically improved at an average rate of 1/100th of a second a year for the last 40 years in spite of all the advances in sport training.

According to the new faster better crowd Jesse Owens would not only be last he should somehow be getting lapped in the 100m.

We're talking a very small incremental improvements in the grand scheme of things because the better the runners get, the harder it is to improve again. Diminishing returns has long set in.. and similarly in hockey.. when you look at a picture of Gordie Howe or Bobby Hull and realize what a freak they were physically you can't convince me that they would not be doing just fine in today's league. If you gave them the training and nutrition of todays players they would just be better.

Gretzky is a special case because apart from his first step, stamina and agility he was never relying on his physical attributes to the degree most players do anyways... he's on a totally different plane.

You're right Jesse Owens would come in last in the heat against todays runners but at the same time he would still be competitive.. and that is using the magical time machine and putting him in a 2010 competition without the benefits of living in 2010.

It's a good analogy for how little the focused physical training in sports has really made a difference to the very top players.. it isn't a good analogy for hockey overall though because hockey is much more complex than single discipline competitions.

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12-05-2010, 08:40 PM
  #33
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I think comparatively it will be much harder for players to dominate the league than say 50 years ago, simply due to the number of players currently playing the game (as was previously mentioned). A larger player pool means more star players.

Right now according to wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_hockey there are about 1.5 million registered hockey players in the world and 500 k in Canada. The population of Canada has roughly doubled since 1950. If we assume that the number of players playing hockey in Canada increased linearly with population growth, then there were about 250,000 hockey players in 1950. Assuming at this time that the vast majority of hockey players came from Canada, then the total number of players has increased by 600% since 1950.

So if for example you expect that there will be a star player every 100,000 players, in 1950 that would be ~2-3 while in 2010 it would be ~15. While you may have been one of the top players in the league back then, now you may not be in the top 10. If you could hypothetically bring them forward in time to the current era, even with modern training/preparation, they would still be great, but now there would be more players closer/equal to their ability.

Now the all time greats wouldn't really be affected by the increased competition. A generational player like Gretzky will only come around maybe every 10 million players and would dominate the current crop.

If you removed all the non-Canadians (Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk, etc.) in the NHL and randomly 50% of the Canadian players (Stamkos/Thornton) a player like Crosby could dominate much easier as now 75% of his competition would be gone. For this reasons a player who may have dominated 60 years ago, will have a much harder time doing so now.

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12-05-2010, 08:47 PM
  #34
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Some posts from the Crosby's pace thread that are apt here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Semantics View Post
Actually, it *is* nearly as impressive. 140 today is almost exactly equivalent to 205 then.

Crosby's is on pace for 134 points this year in 82 games. That translate into 195 points in 80 games in 1985-86, which is the year Gretzky got 215 points in 80.

So no, Crosby is not quite as good as Gretzky or Lemieux were in their peak, but he is closer than most people give him credit for. And he's still only 23.

(In points adjusted to 6.00 goals per game, Crosby is on pace for 158 in 82 games, compared to Gretzky's best of 170 in 80 games. Lemieux had 156 in just 70 games in 95-96.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cognition View Post
So it takes a sample size of a quarter of a season and an adjustment system biased towards the present and Gretzky missing two games for Crosby to reach a grand total of 12 fewer points.

For whatever reason GPG disproportionately weights the present. There are a lot of variables between league goals scored and how easy it is for star players to score points. The points scored by the top 20 or so players in the league on average has not gone down as much as GPG has.

Adjusted based on the 3rd - 18th highest scorers, not GPG, and look at Gretzky best quarter-season, not his best full season, and this wouldn't be close.

Anyone who has glanced at a list of top 10 scorers in the 80s would know he would still easily be leading the league if he played today.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cognition View Post
I've run the numbers for the average scoring total for the top 3rd - 18th scorers for every year since expansion. Last year it was 89.57.

In 85-86, when Gretzky scored, 215 points, it was 110.79. 89.57/110.78 = 0.8085, so I predict Gretzky would score about 81% as much in today's league, which would be 174 points.

Crosby is on pace for 135, and his PPG will almost definitely go down.

A great thing to do, though, would be to adjust for this season up to this point - as all the other top scorers should be benefiting from small sample size inflation as well, so that will adjust for the small sample size.

The average scorerer 3rd-18th right now has 29.92 points, where Crosby has 46. So Crosby has 54% more points than the average 3rd-18th top scorer today, and Gretzky in 1985-86 had 94% more. Gretzky was skating circles around his peers in a way Crosby isn't close to.

(If you're wondering why I picked 3rd-18th, no I didn't run different samples and pick the one that favors my argument here. I've used it for a long time, 18 based on the number of first line forwards in the league during the original six era, and getting rid of the top two is based on there never being more than two generational players in the league at once.)

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Old
12-05-2010, 09:14 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
IMHO just because SOME players managed to be successful for a very long time does not mean that ALL of the old time greats would. How would Eddie Shore do in an era where his over the top violence just wouldn't work, where all players can actually lift the puck and goalies do make saves? I see absolutely no evidence for considering him superior to Potvin, Bourque, Lidstrom or even Pronger for that matter.
Being the best in 1933 is good, being the best 75 years later is a much bigger achievement.

It's not just hockey, look at soccer, today's game is much more demanding, and the best players are simply superior athletes compared to any soccer player 70 years ago.
So if you dropped me into 16th century Europe, I'd be a better scientist than Copernicus, right? But you won't see my name in the top 100 scientists of all time.

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12-05-2010, 09:59 PM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
So if you dropped me into 16th century Europe, I'd be a better scientist than Copernicus, right? But you won't see my name in the top 100 scientists of all time.

Clearly.

And Pythagoras was simply an intellectual slowpoke. I mean, the retard thought the earth was flat.

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12-05-2010, 10:54 PM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unaffiliated View Post

Clearly.

And Pythagoras was simply an intellectual slowpoke. I mean, the retard thought the earth was flat.
That's probably not true. It's a myth that no one knew the Earth was a sphere before Columbus, there were mathematical ways to prove it wasn't, based on the angle light comes in on and stuff like that.

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12-05-2010, 11:56 PM
  #38
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A couple of thoughts on longevity and in general.

For Longevity, like Lidstrom and Bourque, it is my opinion that there are two factors at play in the development of a player, talent/skill and experience. Often times, a player will decline in skill and improve in experience allowing him to remain effective. The rate of decline is important as certain styles tend to reduce the impact. A style like Lidstrom or Bourque with low impact, efficient play styles will of course let their skill remain high over a long time as their experience lets them compensate, perhaps improve, later in life.

In general, a key point, to me, was the expansion in 67. More teams means more players, means more exposure to youth, more grass root programs, more television deals etc. In general, people started watching hockey more often and in more places. Combine this with advances in television proliferation and more kids could watch and emulate their idols. By the time the mid 80s rolled around, a whole generation grew up being able to live hockey all the time and globalization added a new dimension of international competition. This fundamentally changed the talent level in the NHL, there was more demand for good players and more supply from around the world. Therefore, players became a lot better than they used to.

Now fast forward to the new millennium and the internet is show people around the world everything they could want from hockey. Watching tricks and skill displays on Youtube or watching games over and over on DVR combine with even more teams than ever and even more rampant global exposure and adoption of technology and I am going to guess that in about 10 years, players will be even better than today but guys like Crosby will continue to impress and earn mid-late career accolades like Lidstrom has.


So overall, players today are better than before from a skill point, training point, health point, etc. As much as Gretzky and Orr dominated the competition in their times, they simply would not be as good today unless they were born and raised in our new society with our technology etc.

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12-06-2010, 12:39 AM
  #39
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It's wrong to assume competition has always been equal in the NHL - specifically in cases like the 40s when a lot of players were in the war, or in the 70s when a lot of players were overseas or in a competing league.

Context is important - and I think most here do take it into consideration.

A while back I had looked up stats on worldwide hockey playing numbers and found that the worldwide hockey playing population has increased close to 5 times since the Original 6 era, which corresponds perfectly with the amount teams have increased since then. Wish I had saved the numbers!

In my opinion, the NHL is now at a point of league-wide depth similar to the ultra-competitive years of the O6. Yes, drawing from a larger world-wide pool does mean competition is more numerous, with more players having a chance at a skewed great statistical season each and every year, but I do not believe the margins have really altered that much. An adjusted model illustrated earlier, looking at the top 3-18 players in a league makes a lot of sense to me, especially post-expansion.

I think ideally you modify it to something like the top 8 players in the O6, top 12-18 players in the 70s and 80s and top 30 players for modern times, but that still fails to factor in the context of many of the top players in the world were not in the NHL through all that time.

Just some random, sporadic thoughts.

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12-06-2010, 12:59 AM
  #40
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I'm very interested in how people view player v player from different eras.

Gretzky is the most interesting case because you can point to many disadvantages he had in terms of size, speed, etc that you can't with guys like Lemieux, Howe, Orr.

People propose that he would dominate without a two line pass rule and clutch and grab hockey. How much would his speed play a factor?

He scored almost 600 more points (if I remember my math from a week ago) in an 8 year period while playing in Edmonton (a far better team) than with the Kings. I left out his last year with Edmonton to compare equal amount of years. He dominated in both cities, but how much of that scoring discrepancy will hurt his ranking going forward? He obviously benefitted from playing with Edmonton (just as he made so many careers of those around him during his time there)

Most specifically...the salary cap. It prevents those kinds of dynasties from staying together throughout multiple seasons. The only team comparable today is Detroit IMO.

Nothing against Gretzky, or any of yesterday's legends, I'm just interested how less obvious things like financials have changed the game.

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12-06-2010, 01:16 AM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Good call on the thread Devil, others were getting pretty mucked up.



If by credit you mean a lot of us aren't willing to agree that he has earned his spot in the top 25 yet or the even more ridiculous notion that he's somehow on par with the likes of Jagr yet, let alone Gretzky and Lemieux then yeah I guess we're guilty of not giving him his "due" according to you
Once again you build up the straw man to knock it down, I repeatedly have stated that we can only compare what Sid has done in his 1st 5 years with the other guys you have mentioned had done in their 1st 5 years. When he is done then we can compare entire careers to entire careers but not until then IMO.

Get your knickers out of their knots beofre you puts your words in my mouth please.

As for the original post some players from the past would do well even excel in today's' game but some others would not.
skating to me would be the biggest difference maker as the game is way faster than it has ever been in the past.

A guy like Orr was dealing with some pylons compared to today's overall level of skating, never mind the coaching and systems that are around.

I have no doubt though that Orr would be a great player in today's game, just not sure on the level of greatness he would achieve due to the increased competition and the nature of the game and of course the perfect storm he had in Boston.

Gretzky also had the perfect situation in Edmonton were he was allowed to go all out on offense and I'm not sure anyone can do that in today's game.
He would still be one of the top players but not sure how great it would really depend on the situation IMO.

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12-06-2010, 01:29 AM
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
No poster worth reading honestly thinks that players of the past are worse than current players.

By this I mean, obviously if Cyclone Taylor stepped into the NHL today he would be annihilated. Obviously, the game changes. But what I'm getting at is you can't discredit past players for being born when they were.

You can only compare players of past generations by comparing how everyone does against their peers. Saying "Player from 2000 would crush player from 1940 if they happened to be dropped into a game in 2010" is useless and idiotic, and no one who says this is worth paying attention to.
The only problem with this approach is that when comparing any player to his peers in any season assumes that the competition stays constant throughout time and this obviously is not the case.

The number of teams in the league and the makeup of the league players ie. where they come from also matters a great deal as well.

Too many posters just look on the surface with what Orr, Gretzky and Lemieux (and their dominance to their peers)did without looking at the context and makeup of the NHL and when each player played in them.

Gretzky is the prime example here. Age 21-25 he averaged pretty close to 200 points a game then dropped off to seasons of 183, 149(64 games), 168, 142 and 163 points in his age 26-30 seasons.

did he become a less great player in those seasons or did the league change (and his situation) ever so slightly to cause this drop off?

I think the latter is more likely.

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12-06-2010, 01:50 AM
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Once again you build up the straw man to knock it down, I repeatedly have stated that we can only compare what Sid has done in his 1st 5 years with the other guys you have mentioned had done in their 1st 5 years. When he is done then we can compare entire careers to entire careers but not until then IMO.

Get your knickers out of their knots beofre you puts your words in my mouth please.
Is this thread all about you?

No.

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12-06-2010, 01:51 AM
  #44
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Originally Posted by Cognition View Post
That's probably not true. It's a myth that no one knew the Earth was a sphere before Columbus, there were mathematical ways to prove it wasn't, based on the angle light comes in on and stuff like that.
Whatever. My point remains the same regardless

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12-06-2010, 02:48 AM
  #45
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If we went strictly by domination of peers and awards/accomplishments Lidstrom easily wins, but still people who use this formula discount it and say that Bourque had better competition and was just better.
Hogwash.

There is no question that Bourque had tougher competition. Your argument that Lidstrom's peers are being underrated because they play in an era with Lidstrom is silly. That would mean that Sakic, Yzerman, etc. are/were being terribly underrated. Lidstrom's peers are not as highly valued as Bourque's or Orr's simply because those of us who have seen them play, know that the defensive crop was weaker during Lidstrom's time. We know that Coffey, Stevens, MacInnis, Chelios etc. are superior to Niedermayer, Pronger, and Chara....

It isn't awards/domination against his peers that makes me think Bourque is superior to Lidstrom. It is having watched them play for most of their careers...

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12-06-2010, 03:38 AM
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unaffiliated View Post
Is this thread all about you?

No.
No, I was specifically responded to how he characterized the argument, to me and others that don't agree with him in 2 previous threads, which lead to this thread being posted.

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12-06-2010, 05:21 AM
  #47
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
So if you dropped me into 16th century Europe, I'd be a better scientist than Copernicus, right? But you won't see my name in the top 100 scientists of all time.
And who says you wouldn't be on the list if you were in his shoes?
You never know. Also, there is a good chance Copernicus was not even the first guy that discovered that the sun is the center of our galaxy. Some Ancient Civilization most likely knew it thousands of years before him, but their legacy might have been destroyed, so he is the one guy in the history books. Second place does not count, so not even the smartest guy ever could rediscover it today, but that does not mean Copernicus is a better scientist, he was just lucky to be at the right place at the right time.

What I don't understand is why do you assume that for example a random star from the 1930's would dominate the same way in 2010 and vice versa? I mean I look at today's game, see Pronger and how he plays. Then you can read about Shore and maybe even watch a video clip from 1933 or something.
It is not possible to compare the two players and be unbiased one way or the other. There is no way you can just assume Shore would be better than Pronger in this era because Shore won 4 Harts in his time and Pronger has only one etc. and vice versa, for all we know Pronger might suck in Shore's era.
What you CAN do is compare the game, which game is a better hockey game overall, which one would you rather watch? There is no question at all that the game is more demanding in every way today, which is why I think that dominating today is a much bigger feat than it was some 80 years ago, and that is why I am biased towards modern players.


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12-06-2010, 05:54 AM
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Once again you build up the straw man to knock it down, I repeatedly have stated that we can only compare what Sid has done in his 1st 5 years with the other guys you have mentioned had done in their 1st 5 years. When he is done then we can compare entire careers to entire careers but not until then IMO.

Get your knickers out of their knots beofre you puts your words in my mouth please.
You keep talking about me building and knocking down the strawman and putting words in your mouth.
Yet YOU did state that Crosby is already past most of the greats and I seem to recall the statement that started almost all of this....that Crosby's skill set is just a good as Gretzky's.

So please, I don't have to put words in your mouth, you have been perfectly capable of doing that on your own along with a foot or two.

The only part of my arguments that I would change at this point is I have reconsidered how Sid stacks up against Yzerman and am willing to concede that Crosby does indeed hold the early edge.
Whether Crosby is capable of matching Stevie's peak or career value definitely remains to be seen.

As far as the rest of our issues...stronger and faster still doesn't mean more skilled or talented and I still believe that the increased speed of the game today does just as much to limit the actual incoming talent as roster spots did in previous era's.

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12-06-2010, 07:27 AM
  #49
jkrx
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And who says you wouldn't be on the list if you were in his shoes?
You never know. Also, there is a good chance Copernicus was not even the first guy that discovered that the sun is the center of our galaxy. Some Ancient Civilization most likely knew it thousands of years before him, but their legacy might have been destroyed, so he is the one guy in the history books. Second place does not count, so not even the smartest guy ever could rediscover it today, but that does not mean Copernicus is a better scientist, he was just lucky to be at the right place at the right time.

What I don't understand is why do you assume that for example a random star from the 1930's would dominate the same way in 2010 and vice versa? I mean I look at today's game, see Pronger and how he plays. Then you can read about Shore and maybe even watch a video clip from 1933 or something.
It is not possible to compare the two players and be unbiased one way or the other. There is no way you can just assume Shore would be better than Pronger in this era because Shore won 4 Harts in his time and Pronger has only one etc. and vice versa, for all we know Pronger might suck in Shore's era.
What you CAN do is compare the game, which game is a better hockey game overall, which one would you rather watch? There is no question at all that the game is more demanding in every way today, which is why I think that dominating today is a much bigger feat than it was some 80 years ago, and that is why I am biased towards modern players.
The only thing you can do is compare the player vs his peers and take into account for era, scoring, competition etc etc.

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12-06-2010, 07:41 AM
  #50
TheDevilMadeMe
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IMHO just because SOME players managed to be successful for a very long time does not mean that ALL of the old time greats would. How would Eddie Shore do in an era where his over the top violence just wouldn't work, where all players can actually lift the puck and goalies do make saves? I see absolutely no evidence for considering him superior to Potvin, Bourque, Lidstrom or even Pronger for that matter.
Being the best in 1933 is good, being the best 75 years later is a much bigger achievement.

It's not just hockey, look at soccer, today's game is much more demanding, and the best players are simply superior athletes compared to any soccer player 70 years ago.
I agree with you in part, but at some point, hockey basically began to resemble the modern game with very few differences.

29-30: forward pass allowed in all 3 zones (and around this time guys stopped playing the whole game; which meant no "loafing for large parts of it)

43-44: The introduction of the red line allowed for passes between zones.

Basically, every player who played hockey after 43-44 has been playing more or less the same game. Even the game from 29-30 until today is very similar.

I think that any successful player who played after 43-44 would be successful in today's game, if given time to adapt to the various smaller changes that have occurred since then. There are questions about guys who played between 29-30 and 43-44, but the game was mostly the same.

Especially the guys who played after 1955 or so, when the league talent pool recovered from WW2. In the old days, the game changed rapidly and you saw that a new generation completely replaced the old. The Cyclone Taylor/Newsy Lalonde/Joe Malone generation completely outclassed the previous generation on the ice. Then when Joe Malone retired, he talked about how different the game was with substitutions, rather than 60 minute players "loafing" to conserve energy.

Gordie Howe dominated the early 50s (when the talent may still have been thinned from WW2) and very few of the stars from the early 50s made much of an impact once the Jean Beliveau/Bobby Hull generation game around. But once those guys came around, you never again saw a generation gap, with a "better" generation taking over for an older one.

Sure the game is faster now. But so much of that has to do with better skate technology and the super-short shifts pioneered by Mike Keenan in the 1980s. I really don't see why a Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, or Bobby Hull couldn't adapt to these changes, when the basic nature of the game itself hasn't changed.

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