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HOH Top 70 Players of All Time (2009)

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Old
08-09-2012, 05:33 AM
  #576
Canadiens1958
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Mikhailov

Quote:
Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
Yeah, they might have done well in the NHL if they had been young, but would they have done any better than, say, Makarov or Larionov, in their 30s? (I can agree that neither would've been as bad as overweight, out of shape Krutov [Mikhailov, for one, certainly had more discipline])

I like Mikhailov, he is my 2nd favourite player of all-time after a certain Mr. Martinec, but I can't quite agree that Mikhailov was less-dependent on his linemates/unit than the likes of Kharlamov and Makarov. Mikhailov with weak linemates, hmmm, I don't think much would have happened, but Kharlamov and Makarov, with their skating and 1-on-1 skills would have created at least something. And while Mikhailov had more talent than Cashman, there's no question that Cashman was also a lot bigger & stronger and had more 'authority' in the corners. Not even comparable IMO. And I don't know if a Wayne Cashman like career would have been something to drive for anyway. I think everyone would already agree now that Mikhailov is the better player, even without having played a single game in the NHL.

So have I understood correctly... you rank the Soviet players based on whether they have 'NHL skills' or not, is that what you're saying?

Hypothetical: A Soviet player X, who did not do much in the Soviet league or internationally but who in your opinion had those 'NHL skills' is better than a Soviet player Y, who was destroying opponents in USSR and international tournaments, but who didn't have - again, in your opinion - the skills needed in the NHL? Sorry for an 'extreme example'...

And no, I don't think Mikhailov - although he aged very well - or Yakushev would have done much in the NHL as 30-year old 'rookies'.
Mikhailov had more authority in the corners /boards than Cashman because he had a more versatile skill set. Also he had a much greater presence in all parts of the ice.

Issue is whether the skills will adapt well to the NHL and vice versa. Example Vic Hadfield's skills did not translate from the NHL game to the international game very well.

Post 30 years old in the NHL. If you look at NHL players from the early 1970's who did well you would see Frank Mahovlich and John Bucyk who are comparable to Yakushev and Mikhailov respectively.As for Kharlamov and Makarov their skills were similar to a Guy Lafleur whose performance after the age of 30 was nothing special.

You have to appreciate Mikhailov's main skill - creating space and time on the ice for his linemates. Weak linemates given more space and time improve performance.See Rob Brown with Mario Lemieux.

I am not ranking just recognizing what skills worked effectively in the NHL of a specific era. No different than a player moving from junior/university/minor leagues to higher leagues or parallel leagues. Certain weak European players surprised in the NHL. Kjell Dahlin is a good example. Those whose skating was not strong enough for the large international rinks could and did find a niche on the smaller NHL surface. Issue is not better but adaptability.

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08-09-2012, 07:18 AM
  #577
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Do you seriously think Larionov is one of the 30 best players ever.
Absolutely. Legendary passing skills, superb vision and hockey sense, Double Triple Gold club member, extreme longevity, an ambassador for the sport.

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08-09-2012, 08:05 AM
  #578
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
The bias on the lists here is clearly in favor of O6 players and clearly against more recent (post-80s) players IMO. It's clear as day to me.
Absolutely, it's the pre-O6 players I'm mosly talking about. Whenever such players are discussed, the changes in forward passing rules are always used as a reason to exclude them as much as possible, since we don't know how good they would have been playing a game that they didn't play.

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08-09-2012, 08:15 AM
  #579
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Any "all time" list that purposefully downgrades pre-WW2 players by dint of them being pre-WW2 players needs to be taken with a large mouthful of salt. Don't pretend it's an all-time list if you're not going to respect players from all times.
Perhaps you didn't read the 1st part of the post you are referring to. there is no effort on my part to purposely "downgrade" players from pre WW2 but part of the problem is in fairly evaluating all players over such a large time span and so many changes in which the game was played and where players come from, ie the huge growth in talent available.

Basically by "respecting" past players and not taking the differences into account we raise the bar for more recent players since they have to compete against non Canadians for instances post early 90's.

It was pretty obvious in the setup and reality of the top 60 Dman list that different players were being held to different standards.

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08-09-2012, 08:25 AM
  #580
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
I can prove he wasn't. Visual evidence:

awesome, and about as relevant to Gordie's greatness as to the Strawman post it was responding to.

Seriously though it seems that people seem to go to the sticky and then give it more worth and value than it really deserves in any all-time discussions.

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08-09-2012, 08:55 AM
  #581
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Further to my point above, I wonder what people who claim we can't evaluate older players would do if the NHL made a relatively drastic change in the rules this season: say they eliminate all offside and icing rules altogether.
I would sit back and watch what happens. If all of a sudden players who were mediocre yesterday became All-Stars under the new rules or All-Star players disappeared from the face of the planet, I would struggle with the idea of a ranking encompassing the old league and the new one.

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08-09-2012, 09:44 AM
  #582
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
I would sit back and watch what happens. If all of a sudden players who were mediocre yesterday became All-Stars under the new rules or All-Star players disappeared from the face of the planet, I would struggle with the idea of a ranking encompassing the old league and the new one.
It would simply have to be a composite of who did the best before and after the changes.

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08-09-2012, 10:28 AM
  #583
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Larionov was 29 when he came to the NHL. He played longer in North America than in Russia. He was not an all-star calibre player in the NHL. He and Kasatonov, to me, benefitted most from playing on the Green unit.
Larionov was a defensive forward even in Russia.

Despite this, he has the 26th most points of all time in the NHL counting from age 29 and up. Other contemporaries who have less career points after they turned 29:

Modano
Yzerman
Coffey
Jagr
Fedorov
Sundin

I realize that this stat is a bit obscure, but it at least demonstates that he could hold his own without the Green Unit.

(No I am not claiming that he was a better player past 29 than Jaromir Jagr. I'm only using this stat to demonstrate that people often over-estimate the offensive production star players have in the later half of their career. Many people hold the 30+ Green Unit players up to a standard very few players have reached past 30.)


Last edited by steve141: 08-09-2012 at 10:36 AM.
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08-09-2012, 10:36 AM
  #584
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Perhaps you didn't read the 1st part of the post you are referring to. there is no effort on my part to purposely "downgrade" players from pre WW2 but part of the problem is in fairly evaluating all players over such a large time span and so many changes in which the game was played and where players come from, ie the huge growth in talent available.
What is difficult in comparing players to the best players that existed at the time? Even if they're only the best that can arise in the circumstances at the time, they are still the best in their time.

It's the circumstances that the player played in that matters, not something that arose later, that (1) the player has no control over and (2) had no effect on the player since he did not play under that circumstance.

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Basically by "respecting" past players and not taking the differences into account we raise the bar for more recent players since they have to compete against non Canadians for instances post early 90's.
How is the bar raised? Modern players, who have all the advantages available to modern players, are compared against other modern players, who play in basically the same circumstances.

Historical players are instead compared against other historical players from their time.

This is the only way you can do it, and still be fair to players from all times.

Yes, players of a particular talent level have to "compete" against more players of that talent level in terms of being ranked on an all-time list. But this fact by itself means that there will already be more modern players on any such list, and suggesting that modern players are therefore somehow disadvantaged seems strange.

Now, whether O6-era players are fairly rated is another matter. But that's a separate issue from whether historical players can be ranked fairly.

Edit: Perhaps you believe that when I say "respect" older players, that I mean players from every era must have equal numerical representation on a list of X of the best players. That is not the case. Just that all players of a certain level should be included, and not have some disregarded because they played too long ago.


Last edited by Iain Fyffe: 08-09-2012 at 11:06 AM.
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08-09-2012, 10:48 AM
  #585
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Krutov was 29 years old and one of the best players in the world when he left the USSR. He was only 5'9 but he was all muscle and played a power game - his nickname was "the Tank." He comes to North America and in only 4 months, the muscle all turns to flab and he's barely NHL calibre if at all.

[...]

Then there is Krutov (29). By the late 80s, he had probably become makarov's equal as one of the best players in the world. He comes to North America and in 4 months isn't even an NHL-calibre player anymore. Then there is this from an interview with Ed Willes, author of Gretzky to Lemieux: The Story of the 1987 Canada Cup:



http://hockeyadventure.com/2007/11/0...-the-province/

When I say Krutov's sudden fall leads to concerns about how good he actually was, that's what I mean.
I think we've had this discussion before, but I'll just repeat my point: It's been shown time and time again that the NA track-and-field athletes were using just as much doping as the Soviets and the East Germans during the eighties. Why would we assume the situation in the hockey world would be different? To claim that the Soviet players were using and the NA were not without anything really pointing to this is just biased.

And Krutov's demise was not primarily because of lack of strength but lack of fitness. The guy gained weight, fell into alcoholism, and wasn't fit enough to play in the 2nd tier Swedish league. That's not a typical drop-off.

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08-09-2012, 11:01 AM
  #586
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
I would sit back and watch what happens. If all of a sudden players who were mediocre yesterday became All-Stars under the new rules or All-Star players disappeared from the face of the planet, I would struggle with the idea of a ranking encompassing the old league and the new one.
A perfectly valid line of thought, and the good news is that following it, we haven't yet had a change big enough to worry about.

The forward passing rules change of 29/30 is set up as some kind of dividing line. In the couple of seasons before the change, we have a group of the best players including names such as Frank Boucher, Bill and Bun Cook, Howie Morenz, Aurel Joliat, Nels Stewart, Ace Bailey and Carson Cooper.

In the couple of seasons after the change, we have a group of the best players including names such as Frank Boucher, Bill and Bun Cook, Howie Morenz, Aurel Joliat, Nels Stewart, Ace Bailey and Carson Cooper.

I think people see the numbers of the 1929/30 season itself and overestimate its effect. For whatever reason, the scoring lists of that season in particular feature a number of large movements from the season before. But many of these big movements reverse the following season. With 29/30 in the middle, Cooney Weiland ranked 17th-1st-9th in scoring, Dit Clapper 38th-3rd-19th, Hec Kilrea 31st-5th-32nd, Norm Himes 41st-8th-29th. (Most of the best scorers that season, though, were among the best scorers before the change.)

So there may have been a short adjustment period; or instead it could be a fluke. But if this massive change did require an adjustment period of less than a full season for the ranking of players to stabilize, holding it against whole generations of players is bizarre.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
It would simply have to be a composite of who did the best before and after the changes.
And then there's this perspective, which is simply to evaluate players based on the circumstances in which they actually played.

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08-09-2012, 11:13 AM
  #587
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NA Athletes

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Originally Posted by steve141 View Post
I think we've had this discussion before, but I'll just repeat my point: It's been shown time and time again that the NA track-and-field athletes were using just as much doping as the Soviets and the East Germans during the eighties. Why would we assume the situation in the hockey world would be different? To claim that the Soviet players were using and the NA were not without anything really pointing to this is just biased.

And Krutov's demise was not primarily because of lack of strength but lack of fitness. The guy gained weight, fell into alcoholism, and wasn't fit enough to play in the 2nd tier Swedish league. That's not a typical drop-off.
The East Germans had a systematic approach to doping summer and winter Olympic sports:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doping_in_East_Germany

well beyond track and field. Didn't help their hockey program.

Doping in NA extended beyond track and field. NFL football players from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s have shown post career symptoms and health issues related to doping. Lyle Alzado being an example.
Point is that there has not been any evidence that NHL players from the 1960s,1970s,1980s have not shown similar symtoms and health issues.

Conversely some NHL players from the 1990s onwards - PED era have been caught.

Soviet Union. See the link below:

http://joepapp.blogspot.ca/2010/03/f...er-sports.html

interpret endurance athletes to include hockey players and you see why there may be suspicion.

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08-09-2012, 11:15 AM
  #588
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Absolutely, it's the pre-O6 players I'm mosly talking about. Whenever such players are discussed, the changes in forward passing rules are always used as a reason to exclude them as much as possible, since we don't know how good they would have been playing a game that they didn't play.
First, I'm not sure just how underrepresented the pre-O6 period is:

Section Pre-WW2 Original 6 post-expansion post-Iron Curtain prime in USSR/Europe
1-1015400
11-2013420
21-3023410
31-4012232
41-5032401
51-6046000
61-7033112
Total15241975

15/70 players from before WW2 seems like plenty of representation to me.

I'm not very knowledgeable about earlier eras, but there's very reasonable justification for having fewer players per season than in later eras:

- general population growth in Canada over time increases player pool
- sport becoming more popular in Canada over time increases player pool
- sport becoming more popular worldwide over time increases player pool
- much different rules affects data which increases uncertainty
- less data and information available increases uncertainty

Let's say Early Eddie played before WW2 and Later Larry played sometimes from the 50s to present. One might guess that Eddie's absolute rating was an 85 +/- 10 points, while guess that Larry was an 85 +/- 5 points. While it's possible Eddie was better Larry, it's equally possible Larry was better than Eddie. However, it's much more possible that Eddie wasn't of minimum quality for inclusion in the top X than for Larry. Even the avg. ranking of 85 for Eddie is much more in doubt, due to the much different conditions (rules, avg. quality of players, etc.) and there is less data to support his case.

I don't want to do a disservice to earlier eras, but I truly believe the 20th best player today is probably much better than the 10th, maybe even 5th best player from some random year before WW2. Honestly, I'd guess it's an even starker difference than that, although it's not easy to prove. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I believe.

Maybe someone who is more interested in pre-WW2 era can use the "league equivalency" type of approach and study how the quality of the league(s) changed from the inception of the league(s) through WW2. This would at least give us some evidence to use. Given the relatively small response to my post-WW2 study using such methods (Improving Adjusting Scoring on BTN), it's unlikely that it would be me. However, I'd be happy to help anyone with the methodology and/or mathematics involved in such a study.

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08-09-2012, 11:39 AM
  #589
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve141 View Post
Larionov was a defensive forward even in Russia.

Despite this, he has the 26th most points of all time in the NHL counting from age 29 and up. Other contemporaries who have less career points after they turned 29:

Modano
Yzerman
Coffey
Jagr
Fedorov
Sundin

I realize that this stat is a bit obscure, but it at least demonstates that he could hold his own without the Green Unit.

(No I am not claiming that he was a better player past 29 than Jaromir Jagr. I'm only using this stat to demonstrate that people often over-estimate the offensive production star players have in the later half of their career. Many people hold the 30+ Green Unit players up to a standard very few players have reached past 30.)
First, I believe people are proposing Larionov was a top 30 player of all-time. Using a metric in his favor that shows him to possibly be barely a top 30 forward isn't exactly overwhelming evidence.

Second, the only contemporaries behind him that are top 30 players are Jagr and possibly Yzerman. Let's look at those two in comparison to Larionov:

- Larionov turned 29 in Dec. '89. If you counted that season as age 30, that alone puts him behind Yzerman.
- Larionov's post-age 29 period includes the early '90s which were higher scoring than later years, while Yzerman's starts in '95 and Jagr's in '02
- Larionov's NHL bests are 21 adjusted goals and 71 adj. points
- Yzerman scored an avg. of 43 points before/after the recent lockout, which would be enough on its own to pass Larionov
- Yzerman had 7 post-29 seasons of at least 21 adj. goals and 5 of at least 79 adj. points
- Jagr scored an avg. of 99 points before/after the '05 lockout, which is easily enough to pass Larionov
- Jagr has 7/7 post-29 seasons of at least 21 adj. goals and 6/7 of at least 77 adj. points
- Jagr spent 3 years in the KHL and is still playing

Larionov was 43 when he retired. This hardly suggests he was broken down by the red army system. I don't see anything from Larionov's NHL career to suggest he was anything close to a top 30 player, or even a top 30 forward, even if he started his NHL career much earlier.

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08-09-2012, 01:14 PM
  #590
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
First, I'm not sure just how underrepresented the pre-O6 period is:
Bear in mind I am speaking conceptually, and not only about this one specific list.

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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
15/70 players from before WW2 seems like plenty of representation to me.
I might quibble with this somewhat, since "pre-WW2" is a period of hockey history over twice the length of the O6 era (remember it's not just the NHL/NHA that matters). But it's not an obviously problematic number. I'm debating particular statements made in this thread, not just the results of the list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
I don't want to do a disservice to earlier eras, but I truly believe the 20th best player today is probably much better than the 10th, maybe even 5th best player from some random year before WW2.
Sure, because there are a greater number of players at talent level X as time goes on. But this is not the same as saying that pre-WW2 players cannot be properly evaluated because the game was so different.

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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
Maybe someone who is more interested in pre-WW2 era can use the "league equivalency" type of approach and study how the quality of the league(s) changed from the inception of the league(s) through WW2. This would at least give us some evidence to use.
A large part of my blog is devoted to exactly this. I'm doing an enormous amount of work on leagues before WW2 to get an idea of their quality.

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08-09-2012, 01:20 PM
  #591
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A large part of my blog is devoted to exactly this. I'm doing an enormous amount of work on leagues before WW2 to get an idea of their quality.
Cool, that should yield some interesting results.

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08-09-2012, 01:39 PM
  #592
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
First, I'm not sure just how underrepresented the pre-O6 period is:

Section Pre-WW2 Original 6 post-expansion post-Iron Curtain prime in USSR/Europe
1-1015400
11-2013420
21-3023410
31-4012232
41-5032401
51-6046000
61-7033112
Total15241975

15/70 players from before WW2 seems like plenty of representation to me.

I'm not very knowledgeable about earlier eras, but there's very reasonable justification for having fewer players per season than in later eras:

- general population growth in Canada over time increases player pool
- sport becoming more popular in Canada over time increases player pool
- sport becoming more popular worldwide over time increases player pool
- much different rules affects data which increases uncertainty
- less data and information available increases uncertainty

Let's say Early Eddie played before WW2 and Later Larry played sometimes from the 50s to present. One might guess that Eddie's absolute rating was an 85 +/- 10 points, while guess that Larry was an 85 +/- 5 points. While it's possible Eddie was better Larry, it's equally possible Larry was better than Eddie. However, it's much more possible that Eddie wasn't of minimum quality for inclusion in the top X than for Larry. Even the avg. ranking of 85 for Eddie is much more in doubt, due to the much different conditions (rules, avg. quality of players, etc.) and there is less data to support his case.

I don't want to do a disservice to earlier eras, but I truly believe the 20th best player today is probably much better than the 10th, maybe even 5th best player from some random year before WW2. Honestly, I'd guess it's an even starker difference than that, although it's not easy to prove. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I believe.

Maybe someone who is more interested in pre-WW2 era can use the "league equivalency" type of approach and study how the quality of the league(s) changed from the inception of the league(s) through WW2. This would at least give us some evidence to use. Given the relatively small response to my post-WW2 study using such methods (Improving Adjusting Scoring on BTN), it's unlikely that it would be me. However, I'd be happy to help anyone with the methodology and/or mathematics involved in such a study.
There were only 15/70 players from before 1942 and 24/70 from 1942-1967!

Prior to World War 2, Hockey was one of two "professional" sports in North America along with baseball, so plenty of athletes who would be interested in other sports were funneled into hockey

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08-09-2012, 02:11 PM
  #593
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1922 nfl

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
There were only 15/70 players from before 1942 and 24/70 from 1942-1967!

Prior to World War 2, Hockey was one of two "professional" sports in North America along with baseball, so plenty of athletes who would be interested in other sports were funneled into hockey
NFL started in 1922:

http://www.footballhistorian.com/foo...es.cfm?page=30

Add the impact of boxing which was very popular in NA and drew from the athlete pool.


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 08-09-2012 at 02:19 PM. Reason: caps
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08-09-2012, 02:15 PM
  #594
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
NFL started in 1922:

http://www.footballhistorian.com/foo...es.cfm?page=30

Add the impact of boxing which was very popular in NA and drew from the athlete pool.
College football was still way more popular than NFL football in those days, NFL was very much a niche league.

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08-09-2012, 02:18 PM
  #595
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Nfl

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College football was still way more popular than NFL football in those days, NFL was very much a niche league.
Still drew from the pool of available athletes which was the point addressed.

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08-09-2012, 02:19 PM
  #596
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Yes and there were professional lacrosse and rugby leagues too. Baseball and hockey were where the money was. You had star atheletes who would have preferred other sports play hockey because it paid a decent living. Lionel Conacher is one I can think of off the top of my head

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08-09-2012, 02:21 PM
  #597
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Joe Krol

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Yes and there were professional lacrosse and rugby leagues too. Baseball and hockey were where the money was. You had star atheletes who would have preferred other sports play hockey because it paid a decent living. Lionel Conacher is one I can think of off the top of my head
Joe Krol picked the CFL over the NHL. Few others did likewise.

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08-09-2012, 02:25 PM
  #598
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Still drew from the pool of available athletes which was the point addressed.
It did, but its overall impact on the NHL at that point in time is negligible.

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08-09-2012, 02:26 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Joe Krol picked the CFL over the NHL. Few others did likewise.
Is the existence of the CHL supposed to be a counterargument? No, not every athlete at the time picked baseball or hockey, but a higher percentage than later would because hockey was the second moat visible and well paid sport in North America at the time

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08-09-2012, 03:16 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Is the existence of the CHL supposed to be a counterargument? No, not every athlete at the time picked baseball or hockey, but a higher percentage than later would because hockey was the second moat visible and well paid sport in North America at the time
CFL took players from pro hockey because it was a pro league that did not require time in the minors. Also it was job friendly.

Baseball in Canada was not a factor compared to the CFL

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