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Classic NHL Hockey back in the day is so less physical

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Old
07-24-2012, 12:21 AM
  #1
Dream Big
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Classic NHL Hockey back in the day is so less physical

I'm watching a game between Detroit and Philidelphia Oct. 28, 1979. It's a good fast moving game but it's a stark contrast to the crash and bash game played today. It is so much less physical.

A few of the players aren't wearing helmets and none of the refs/linesmen.

I'm actually enjoying it and don't miss the physical way that the game is played now. I'm wondering if it would be so bad to go back to that style of play?

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07-24-2012, 01:29 AM
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I've always felt, that they picked their spots more back then. There were still big hits but no one targeted the head so much. It doesn't help that Detroit was not a very good team then either. They never did anything right back then.

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07-24-2012, 01:55 AM
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It's especially obvious in games from the 60s and earlier. They used to generally hit to separate the man from the puck, not to hurt them. And most of the time these weren't even really hits that would register as an official hit today, though of course you'd get the odd open ice crunch or boarding. Some people might cite Gordie Howe as the first or best powerforward or whatever, but that brand of physicality was a far cry from a modern PF like Lindros. A 50's player would watch him and wonder why he was trying to kill everybody. And if he probably would have killed someone if he played his way in a helmetless league.

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07-24-2012, 01:37 PM
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Maybe I'm way off base, but in my mind the increase in physical play in the modern game (crash and bash as the OP called it) is because of the overall lack of creativity that is prevalent in the game today. Yes the game is faster, but that is really all most of the modern players have. They learn the defensive systems and get good at them, but the skill and creativity that was rewarded in the 80's, etc... is no longer present. You get huge defenceman and power forwards and all they are taught is to punish the other players, not the skills at taking the puck away without taking off the other players head.

Now before anybody jumps down my throat, I LOVE the physical aspects of the game, but there needs to be a better balance between the physical and the skill/creativity.

Also, I do believe that the modern players have lots most (if not all) respect for each other which leads to so much more of the crash and bash dangerous plays.

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07-24-2012, 01:55 PM
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The mentallity of gooning, bullying and intentionally injuring players didnt really come along until Flyers. It was expansion ******** hockey.

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07-24-2012, 02:06 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Shift Length

The short shifts, 30-45 seconds, since 1984-85 do not require shift management and stamina so the so-called energy players crash and bang without fear of being caught out of position.

The longer shifts, over a minute precluded the reckless running around since shift management and stamina were at a premium.

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07-24-2012, 02:21 PM
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It seems like players in juniors are being taught less and less how to engage in correctly-timed, efficient hits meant to separate the other player from the puck and potentially bring him down without doing so to yourself, and instead they just come barreling into the play elbows-first like a bat out of hell.

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07-24-2012, 03:47 PM
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It isn't as if there weren't big hits in the helmetless days either. Bill Gadsby on Tim Horton hit? Larry Robinson? Pat Quinn on Bobby Orr?

But things you didn't see were hits from behind. The players probably thought they'd have killed the guy if they did it. Now it is a dangerous combination of players not holding up with the hittee not keeping his head up. A good example of this is Rob Scuderi getting drilled from behind by Steve Bernier in the final. Scuderi would have never gone into the corner blind like that 40 years earlier, heck, he's stupid to do it now. But that ensured the Kings won the Cup because Bernier didn't hold up (if he were able to) and rammed him into the boards. Game over.

The game revolves around the puck and I think you saw that happen more yesteryear than today because there was less intent on drilling a guy into next week. They picked their spots.

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07-24-2012, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
It isn't as if there weren't big hits in the helmetless days either. Bill Gadsby on Tim Horton hit? Larry Robinson? Pat Quinn on Bobby Orr?

But things you didn't see were hits from behind. The players probably thought they'd have killed the guy if they did it. Now it is a dangerous combination of players not holding up with the hittee not keeping his head up. A good example of this is Rob Scuderi getting drilled from behind by Steve Bernier in the final. Scuderi would have never gone into the corner blind like that 40 years earlier, heck, he's stupid to do it now. But that ensured the Kings won the Cup because Bernier didn't hold up (if he were able to) and rammed him into the boards. Game over.

The game revolves around the puck and I think you saw that happen more yesteryear than today because there was less intent on drilling a guy into next week. They picked their spots.
My thought on this is that the players of yesteryear were allowed to be more creative and display their skills way more than they are now. This is what allows the game to revolve around the puck.

In the modern game, the players are taught to play systems and any deviation from the system seems to be frowned upon for most players.

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07-24-2012, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetsFanForever View Post
Maybe I'm way off base, but in my mind the increase in physical play in the modern game (crash and bash as the OP called it) is because of the overall lack of creativity that is prevalent in the game today. Yes the game is faster, but that is really all most of the modern players have. They learn the defensive systems and get good at them, but the skill and creativity that was rewarded in the 80's, etc... is no longer present. You get huge defenceman and power forwards and all they are taught is to punish the other players, not the skills at taking the puck away without taking off the other players head.

Now before anybody jumps down my throat, I LOVE the physical aspects of the game, but there needs to be a better balance between the physical and the skill/creativity.

Also, I do believe that the modern players have lots most (if not all) respect for each other which leads to so much more of the crash and bash dangerous plays.
IMO you are off base a bit here, the players have the skills required but as you allude to there is a bigger reward in playing systems and defensive hockey and part of that is due to the greater difficulty in scoring goals with all teams playing these systems and goalies being so much better (both technically and equipment wise).

As well players have never had less time and space to create than they do now and there is just plain and simple a heck of a lot more contact because of it.

Some might point to picking spots, other to shorter shifts but the bottom line is that the game is played at a much faster pace and speed which invariably leads to more contact.

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07-24-2012, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
The short shifts, 30-45 seconds, since 1984-85 do not require shift management and stamina so the so-called energy players crash and bang without fear of being caught out of position.

The longer shifts, over a minute precluded the reckless running around since shift management and stamina were at a premium.
Nice theory but doesn't fit the facts. A lot of the long shifts guys simply were never fast ever.

The game is simply played at much higher pace than ever before due to faster players overall and conditioning as well.

Gone are the days of taking a case of beer into the sauna at training camp.

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07-24-2012, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobnobs View Post
The mentallity of gooning, bullying and intentionally injuring players didnt really come along until Flyers. It was expansion ******** hockey.
It's funny because hockey was extremely physical, even violent in the 20's and 30's.

Maybe more skill in 06 era took the game away from the early days hard to speculate why.

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07-24-2012, 06:32 PM
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Hal Gill

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Nice theory but doesn't fit the facts. A lot of the long shifts guys simply were never fast ever.

The game is simply played at much higher pace than ever before due to faster players overall and conditioning as well.

Gone are the days of taking a case of beer into the sauna at training camp.
Hal Gill, Gregory Campbell, Mathieu Darche, Adam MacQuaid just a short list, contradict your comment.

Very skill, speed challenged, 30 - 45 second players whose skills and speed sag drastically after 30 seconds.

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07-24-2012, 06:38 PM
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In all fairness I think his point still stands. A few slow guys in the league doesn't change the fact that the game is played at a much faster pace today.

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07-24-2012, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Nice theory but doesn't fit the facts. A lot of the long shifts guys simply were never fast ever.

The game is simply played at much higher pace than ever before due to faster players overall and conditioning as well.

Gone are the days of taking a case of beer into the sauna at training camp.
Nah, Gerry Cheevers had it all figured out. Wear a wet suit and drive around in the car with the heat on in the middle of summer.

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Originally Posted by JetsFanForever View Post
My thought on this is that the players of yesteryear were allowed to be more creative and display their skills way more than they are now. This is what allows the game to revolve around the puck.

In the modern game, the players are taught to play systems and any deviation from the system seems to be frowned upon for most players.
True enough. We're even seeing this with Ovechkin. The biggest mistake any of the Caps coaches have made are handcuffing this guy because it handcuffs the entire team. Back in the day Lafleur did have to back check and do the little things too for Bowman's sake but he also was the first guy to ever screw up the power play at practice because being structured wasn't his style. A player like Lafleur, you let him win games on his talent alone. 4 Cups in a row coupled with a brilliant performance in Game 7 in 1979 shows you that this was the best medicine. With Ovechkin the Caps were one game away from the Cup final in 2009 just by letting him play his own style (yes the Canes were in the semis but the Caps beat them). They ran into a Pens team that could not only match them but better them in that category. Tough luck but I wouldn't have changed a thing with him, and in reality they didn't until they lost to Montreal in 2010. That was nuts too. The Caps outplayed Montreal to an extent I hadn't seen since Pittsburgh of NYI in 1993 and thanks to a little bad luck and a hot goalie they lost. I still wouldn't have changed a thing.

Glen Sather did not change a thing after 1982. He didn't change a thing after 1983. He knew his team would come through if he let them have their way. That is the mistake coaches are making today, not handing the game over to their top players. More often than not, they will win you the games.

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07-24-2012, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Hal Gill, Gregory Campbell, Mathieu Darche, Adam MacQuaid just a short list, contradict your comment.

Very skill, speed challenged, 30 - 45 second players whose skills and speed sag drastically after 30 seconds.
The exception proves the rule C1958, %wise those guys you listed were much higher in 06 times just go look at the tape.

Heck if you watch games at the rink from then, like you say you have done, to now you would see the difference in pace of the game and it's not just the shorter shifts.

But we have been over this before and I'm not sure why you have a closed mind about it.

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07-24-2012, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
The exception proves the rule C1958, %wise those guys you listed were much higher in 06 times just go look at the tape.

Heck if you watch games at the rink from then, like you say you have done, to now you would see the difference in pace of the game and it's not just the shorter shifts.

But we have been over this before and I'm not sure why you have a closed mind about it.
Watch a game from pre lockout where the red line is still in play. 1997-2004 is some of the slowest, dullest hockey I've seen.

The question is, what will we be saying 20 years from now about today's game? I am a little worried.

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07-24-2012, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
The exception proves the rule C1958, %wise those guys you listed were much higher in 06 times just go look at the tape.

Heck if you watch games at the rink from then, like you say you have done, to now you would see the difference in pace of the game and it's not just the shorter shifts.

But we have been over this before and I'm not sure why you have a closed mind about it.
Not an O6 tape. Your typical % position. Name the turtles from the O6 era - say the 1966-67 season.

Pace. O6 games took a lot less time to play. No time outs for commercials, etc. A typical game starting at 8PM would be over by 10:15.


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 07-24-2012 at 09:26 PM. Reason: typo
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07-24-2012, 09:03 PM
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Nah, Gerry Cheevers had it all figured out. Wear a wet suit and drive around in the car with the heat on in the middle of summer.



True enough. We're even seeing this with Ovechkin. The biggest mistake any of the Caps coaches have made are handcuffing this guy because it handcuffs the entire team. Back in the day Lafleur did have to back check and do the little things too for Bowman's sake but he also was the first guy to ever screw up the power play at practice because being structured wasn't his style. A player like Lafleur, you let him win games on his talent alone. 4 Cups in a row coupled with a brilliant performance in Game 7 in 1979 shows you that this was the best medicine. With Ovechkin the Caps were one game away from the Cup final in 2009 just by letting him play his own style (yes the Canes were in the semis but the Caps beat them). They ran into a Pens team that could not only match them but better them in that category. Tough luck but I wouldn't have changed a thing with him, and in reality they didn't until they lost to Montreal in 2010. That was nuts too. The Caps outplayed Montreal to an extent I hadn't seen since Pittsburgh of NYI in 1993 and thanks to a little bad luck and a hot goalie they lost. I still wouldn't have changed a thing.

Glen Sather did not change a thing after 1982. He didn't change a thing after 1983. He knew his team would come through if he let them have their way. That is the mistake coaches are making today, not handing the game over to their top players. More often than not, they will win you the games.
Sather also hasn't done anything since leaving those stacked Oilers either.

The Habs team circa late 70's and Caps in 09 and like apples and oranges. That Hab team was so stacked that you could ahve taken any player off of the roster and they still would win all of those Cups IMO. The gap between the rich and poor in the late 70's was great.

The post lockout era has way more parity and the style of play is what it is and Guy would have problems with the structure as well in terms of not being as free flowing. He isn't scoring off the wing rush, blonde locks flowing in the wind, with that slap shot for instance as often

The end part of your quote sounds great but doesn't work with todays goalies. Goalies and teams are just so much better equipped to stop any team today than in the 70's.

Coaches also play a larger role in their teams fortunes in that they control every facet of play out there most of the time.

Indeed I would love to watch a season of hockey where only 1 coach was allowed on the bench with no mic access up to the booth to correct every little thing during the game. that and pre 80's goalie pads and equipment.

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07-24-2012, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Watch a game from pre lockout where the red line is still in play. 1997-2004 is some of the slowest, dullest hockey I've seen.

The question is, what will we be saying 20 years from now about today's game? I am a little worried.
sure I didn't enjoy the clutch and grab era either but without the redline, less clutch and grab (well until the alter part of last season) and no automatic off sides the pace of the game post lockout has been super high and so has the contact and collisions.

It's a separate topic but something for safety and keeping players in the game will probably be done to slow the game down a bit or lessen the collisions rate

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07-25-2012, 02:35 PM
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IMO you are off base a bit here, the players have the skills required but as you allude to there is a bigger reward in playing systems and defensive hockey and part of that is due to the greater difficulty in scoring goals with all teams playing these systems and goalies being so much better (both technically and equipment wise).

As well players have never had less time and space to create than they do now and there is just plain and simple a heck of a lot more contact because of it.

Some might point to picking spots, other to shorter shifts but the bottom line is that the game is played at a much faster pace and speed which invariably leads to more contact.
Playing at a much faster pace and speed does not equate to more skill\creativity.

My point was that the lack of creativity and skill in the modern game causes most everyone to play the game in the same way. When you know the moves of the other players and there is not enough skill\creativity involved for the player to come up with different moves all the time, then it becomes alot easier to crash and bash them as you know where they are going to be and what they are going to try to do.

As perfect example of what I'm trying to say would be Gretzky. Everybody tried to hit him (despite the theories that say otherwise) but nobody could get to him. Potvin once compared trying to hit Gretzky to "wrapping your arms around fog".

Now I don't want to turn this into a Gretzky thing, but it does illustrate my point that avoiding the big crash and bash stuff is to a large degree about skill and creativity.

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07-25-2012, 03:43 PM
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I'd have to imagine that part of the physicality we see today is an illusion. I'd be curious to know at what point hitting someone a full second after he releases the puck became "finishing your check", and thus became a common behavior at all levels.

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07-25-2012, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobnobs View Post
The mentallity of gooning, bullying and intentionally injuring players didnt really come along until Flyers. It was expansion ******** hockey.
The number of people who don't know this is amazing. Until the Flyers came along, there was no such thing a goon in the NHL. They wer considered strictly bush league and found only in the lower minors. There were tough guys, sure, but they all took regular shifts and their main job was playing hockey.

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07-25-2012, 04:41 PM
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I'd have to imagine that part of the physicality we see today is an illusion. I'd be curious to know at what point hitting someone a full second after he releases the puck became "finishing your check", and thus became a common behavior at all levels.
I guess at about the same time the Ref's at the NHL level stopped calling penalties for Holding, Boarding & Interference; nailing guys for UnSportsmans & tossed them out. "Finishing your Check" has been corrupted, its pre-meditated, whereas in the past, "Checking" was more opportunistic. You'd hit the guy when he had the puck, pull back from doing so immediately upon his release of the puck.... You wouldnt be so far gone, committed to the hit that you couldnt stop yourself. Rather than attempting to put him on a stretcher, sending a message, youd angle him into the boards or if he cut to center, give him a hip check & send him ass over tea kettle or steer him into the waiting arms of your defensive partner. There was a code of respect, you crossed it with late hits, youd pay the price right then & there with a penalty and a beating. Now its the norm. So start calling it, and remove the idiotic Instigator Penalty. Let the players police it themselves.... so ya, from coaching at amateur levels on up, gotta change. Get rid of the facemasks. Mandate soft core shoulder & elbow pads. No respect. Theyve messed up the game.

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08-01-2012, 06:06 PM
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Nah, Gerry Cheevers had it all figured out. Wear a wet suit and drive around in the car with the heat on in the middle of summer.



True enough. We're even seeing this with Ovechkin. The biggest mistake any of the Caps coaches have made are handcuffing this guy because it handcuffs the entire team. Back in the day Lafleur did have to back check and do the little things too for Bowman's sake but he also was the first guy to ever screw up the power play at practice because being structured wasn't his style. A player like Lafleur, you let him win games on his talent alone. 4 Cups in a row coupled with a brilliant performance in Game 7 in 1979 shows you that this was the best medicine. With Ovechkin the Caps were one game away from the Cup final in 2009 just by letting him play his own style (yes the Canes were in the semis but the Caps beat them). They ran into a Pens team that could not only match them but better them in that category. Tough luck but I wouldn't have changed a thing with him, and in reality they didn't until they lost to Montreal in 2010. That was nuts too. The Caps outplayed Montreal to an extent I hadn't seen since Pittsburgh of NYI in 1993 and thanks to a little bad luck and a hot goalie they lost. I still wouldn't have changed a thing.

Glen Sather did not change a thing after 1982. He didn't change a thing after 1983. He knew his team would come through if he let them have their way. That is the mistake coaches are making today, not handing the game over to their top players. More often than not, they will win you the games.
Agreed. It is rare now to see players allowed freedom and creativity that was once the biggest reason to watch the game.

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