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08-09-2012, 04:28 PM
  #601
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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
How many Americans were playing hockey then?

Admittedly my historical knowledge is lacking, but weren't leagues being created, folding, merging... weren't players taking pay cuts or not being paid at all... wasn't every team and league suing each other? I mean, just how stable of a sport and profession would this be considered by prospective players and their families. "Gimme those skates and get back to your homework, Jimmy"... "Oh darling, how can we have kids when you might get shipped to BFE and have to take a 50% pay cut without any notice?"..."Hmmm, my uncle's team is getting sued by my friend's team... not sure how that'll turn out or who I should play for... screw it, I'm going to make buggy wheels." My point is that sports in general and hockey in particular may not have been considered as viable professions as they would be in later years. If you don't even know if the league will be around, or if your local team will be, or if the pay will even remain steady, let alone increase, doesn't that affect how many people would seriously train and specialize for a sport like hockey? I mean, kids are in school in the winter, the nights are very short in Canada during the winter, I doubt they were building tons of indoor rinks during the Depression. These are all types of factors which influence the player pool. After WW2, if hockey doesn't work out, you can always find a job, but before WW2, you probably didn't often pass up a guaranteed income to barnstorm for a bunch of back-stabbing bandits. It's difficult to quantify the magnitude of the effect, but common sense says that at least some of these types of factors came into play.

When you additionally consider the smaller overall population in Canada, and the lack of popularity worldwide until much later, it all adds up to a much, much smaller pool of high end players IMO.

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08-09-2012, 05:25 PM
  #602
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Americans/Depression and Schools

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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
How many Americans were playing hockey then?

Admittedly my historical knowledge is lacking, but weren't leagues being created, folding, merging... weren't players taking pay cuts or not being paid at all... wasn't every team and league suing each other? I mean, just how stable of a sport and profession would this be considered by prospective players and their families. "Gimme those skates and get back to your homework, Jimmy"... "Oh darling, how can we have kids when you might get shipped to BFE and have to take a 50% pay cut without any notice?"..."Hmmm, my uncle's team is getting sued by my friend's team... not sure how that'll turn out or who I should play for... screw it, I'm going to make buggy wheels." My point is that sports in general and hockey in particular may not have been considered as viable professions as they would be in later years. If you don't even know if the league will be around, or if your local team will be, or if the pay will even remain steady, let alone increase, doesn't that affect how many people would seriously train and specialize for a sport like hockey? I mean, kids are in school in the winter, the nights are very short in Canada during the winter, I doubt they were building tons of indoor rinks during the Depression. These are all types of factors which influence the player pool. After WW2, if hockey doesn't work out, you can always find a job, but before WW2, you probably didn't often pass up a guaranteed income to barnstorm for a bunch of back-stabbing bandits. It's difficult to quantify the magnitude of the effect, but common sense says that at least some of these types of factors came into play.

When you additionally consider the smaller overall population in Canada, and the lack of popularity worldwide until much later, it all adds up to a much, much smaller pool of high end players IMO.
Actually none of them came into play.

Hockey was played in Canada during the winter months, reflecting its origins.Park,school/church and industrial leagues were the feeder systems to the NHL. Youngster going to school in the winter actually advanced hockey since they were on site to play at lunch time and after school.School yards especially the male Catholic elementary schools held 1 - 4 rinks. No travel was involved to just play hockey.

Various municipal job creation programs during the depression resulted in arenas being built. Verdun, St. Eustache, St. Hyacinthe, comprise just a short list of municipalities that built arenas. Likewise municipalities used job creation programs during the depression to expand athletic facilities in parks - fields were built that were used for football, soccer, baseball in season, and hockey during the winter. One CFL sized football field held up to 4 hockey/skating rinks in winter. Job creation funds assured staffing for upkeep and cleaning. Appropriate facilities were built for changing and incidentals.

All of this produced the hockey players of the post WWII era.

American players 1917 -1950 (pre Red Line development results):

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...order_by=goals

plus goalies:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...y=games_goalie

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08-09-2012, 05:34 PM
  #603
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
How many Americans were playing hockey then?

Admittedly my historical knowledge is lacking, but weren't leagues being created, folding, merging... weren't players taking pay cuts or not being paid at all... wasn't every team and league suing each other? I mean, just how stable of a sport and profession would this be considered by prospective players and their families. "Gimme those skates and get back to your homework, Jimmy"... "Oh darling, how can we have kids when you might get shipped to BFE and have to take a 50% pay cut without any notice?"..."Hmmm, my uncle's team is getting sued by my friend's team... not sure how that'll turn out or who I should play for... screw it, I'm going to make buggy wheels." My point is that sports in general and hockey in particular may not have been considered as viable professions as they would be in later years. If you don't even know if the league will be around, or if your local team will be, or if the pay will even remain steady, let alone increase, doesn't that affect how many people would seriously train and specialize for a sport like hockey? I mean, kids are in school in the winter, the nights are very short in Canada during the winter, I doubt they were building tons of indoor rinks during the Depression. These are all types of factors which influence the player pool. After WW2, if hockey doesn't work out, you can always find a job, but before WW2, you probably didn't often pass up a guaranteed income to barnstorm for a bunch of back-stabbing bandits. It's difficult to quantify the magnitude of the effect, but common sense says that at least some of these types of factors came into play.

When you additionally consider the smaller overall population in Canada, and the lack of popularity worldwide until much later, it all adds up to a much, much smaller pool of high end players IMO.
Some of these factors definitely come into play.

To give one example of where the NHL was around 1930, George Owen, a multisport star at Harvard, left Wall Street to join the Bruins in the late 20s. (I believe that was even before the stock market crash.)

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08-09-2012, 06:12 PM
  #604
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
How many Americans were playing hockey then?

Admittedly my historical knowledge is lacking, but weren't leagues being created, folding, merging... weren't players taking pay cuts or not being paid at all... wasn't every team and league suing each other? I mean, just how stable of a sport and profession would this be considered by prospective players and their families. "Gimme those skates and get back to your homework, Jimmy"... "Oh darling, how can we have kids when you might get shipped to BFE and have to take a 50% pay cut without any notice?"..."Hmmm, my uncle's team is getting sued by my friend's team... not sure how that'll turn out or who I should play for... screw it, I'm going to make buggy wheels." My point is that sports in general and hockey in particular may not have been considered as viable professions as they would be in later years. If you don't even know if the league will be around, or if your local team will be, or if the pay will even remain steady, let alone increase, doesn't that affect how many people would seriously train and specialize for a sport like hockey? I mean, kids are in school in the winter, the nights are very short in Canada during the winter, I doubt they were building tons of indoor rinks during the Depression. These are all types of factors which influence the player pool. After WW2, if hockey doesn't work out, you can always find a job, but before WW2, you probably didn't often pass up a guaranteed income to barnstorm for a bunch of back-stabbing bandits. It's difficult to quantify the magnitude of the effect, but common sense says that at least some of these types of factors came into play.

When you additionally consider the smaller overall population in Canada, and the lack of popularity worldwide until much later, it all adds up to a much, much smaller pool of high end players IMO.
The owner of the Chicago Blackhawks tried an experiment where he would sign Americans just for the sake of signing them, in hopes of making the Hawks "America's Team." The experiment ended sometime before World War 2. With the exception of Frank Brimsek and a couple of role players , the NHL was basically Canadian-only league during the Original 6 period.

I used to agree with your last point, until it was pointed out to me that most of Canada's population growth since World War 2 has been from immigration and aging, two pools that add very little to the hockey playing population

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08-09-2012, 09:28 PM
  #605
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
How many Americans were playing hockey then?

Admittedly my historical knowledge is lacking, but weren't leagues being created, folding, merging... weren't players taking pay cuts or not being paid at all... wasn't every team and league suing each other? I mean, just how stable of a sport and profession would this be considered by prospective players and their families. "Gimme those skates and get back to your homework, Jimmy"... "Oh darling, how can we have kids when you might get shipped to BFE and have to take a 50% pay cut without any notice?"..."Hmmm, my uncle's team is getting sued by my friend's team... not sure how that'll turn out or who I should play for... screw it, I'm going to make buggy wheels." My point is that sports in general and hockey in particular may not have been considered as viable professions as they would be in later years. If you don't even know if the league will be around, or if your local team will be, or if the pay will even remain steady, let alone increase, doesn't that affect how many people would seriously train and specialize for a sport like hockey? I mean, kids are in school in the winter, the nights are very short in Canada during the winter, I doubt they were building tons of indoor rinks during the Depression. These are all types of factors which influence the player pool. After WW2, if hockey doesn't work out, you can always find a job, but before WW2, you probably didn't often pass up a guaranteed income to barnstorm for a bunch of back-stabbing bandits. It's difficult to quantify the magnitude of the effect, but common sense says that at least some of these types of factors came into play.

When you additionally consider the smaller overall population in Canada, and the lack of popularity worldwide until much later, it all adds up to a much, much smaller pool of high end players IMO.
For somebody that admits that their historical knowledge of hockey is lacking you sure do like giving uneducated opinions. You really don't understand the Canadian passion for the game. I go back to the 50's but I think things were not much different before then. The short days didn't matter. school got out at 3:30, you grabbed your skates & stick & headed to the pond. If it got too dark to play on the pond, you played road hockey under the street lights. in my small village, there was a back yard rink with lights, we played there. Thats what you did. Nobody cared what NHL players got paid. We all would have played for nothing. This is why Canada was the predominant hockey nation. Unless you understand this Canadian passion for the game, you will never understand its history.

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08-09-2012, 10:44 PM
  #606
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
The owner of the Chicago Blackhawks tried an experiment where he would sign Americans just for the sake of signing them, in hopes of making the Hawks "America's Team." The experiment ended sometime before World War 2. With the exception of Frank Brimsek and a couple of role players , the NHL was basically Canadian-only league during the Original 6 period.

I used to agree with your last point, until it was pointed out to me that most of Canada's population growth since World War 2 has been from immigration and aging, two pools that add very little to the hockey playing population
I must have misunderstood your point about only two sport in NA at that time. I just doubt that hockey is being drained of a lot of potential NHL players by other major league sports. I know Tom Glavine and Kirk McCaskill became pitchers, but those are likely relatively rare exceptions.

How does immigration not add to hockey playing population? I know the population of hockey age has plateaued, but still it was a factor:

"Prior to World War I, Gretzky's paternal grandfather Anton (Tony) Gretzky immigrated along with his family to Canada via the United States from the Russian Empire (what is now Grodno, Belarus). Following the war, Anton would marry his wife, Mary, who immigrated from Pidhaitsi, interwar Poland (now Ukraine). Tony and Mary owned a 25-acre (10 ha) cucumber farm in Canning, Ontario."

"Sakic was born in Burnaby to Marijan and Slavica Sakic (originally Šakić, Croatian, immigrants from Croatia in what was then Yugoslavia. Growing up in Burnaby, he did not learn to speak English well until kindergarten, having been raised with Croatian as his mother tongue. At the age of four Sakic attended his first NHL game, a match between the Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Flames; after watching the game, Sakic decided that he wanted to become a hockey player."

"Sawchuk was born and raised in East Kildonan, a working-class, Ukrainian section of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was the third of four sons and one adopted daughter of Louis Sawchuk, a tinsmith who had emigrated to Canada as a boy from Galicia, Austria–Hungary (now Ukraine)..."

"Bucyk was born in Edmonton to Sam and Perl Bucyk, Ukrainian immigrants from the village of Butsiv, in what is now Mostyska Raion, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine. The family was poor, with Perl working two jobs and his father, Sam, was unemployed for over four years"

Mikita and Mahovlich are other players whose family emigrated from Europe. Bossy has Ukrainian heritage (although I don't know when they emigrated) and his mother was British born (no emigration, no Bossy). I don't know about Hawerchuk, Tkachuk, etc. Yzerman's grandpa came over from the Netherlands in 1901, so I guess his grandpa at least had a chance to be a hockey player.

It's certainly not a stagnant pool of Anglo-Canadians over the last century.

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08-09-2012, 10:48 PM
  #607
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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.


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.
Maybe there has been some misunderstanding here, I will try to be more clear.

If there is too much emphasis on how players did against their peers how is it fair to guys who played in pre NHL times with various volatile leagues and little information, comparatively speaking left from those times compared to say a guy like Nieds who competes in fully integrated NHL with many top players being non Canadians.

If the league had stayed the same and sued a somewhat similar player pool it would be one thing but we know how much the game has changed and how many new top skilled players have entered the NHL from the US and other non Canadian systems.

If we look at all the players over time that have been able to play at the NHL level, or equivalent would it not look like an inverted pyramid and all things being equal would it be unfair to expect any list of top players from all time have a similar look?

In reality we had a project like the top 60 Dmen of all time that predetermined, for the most part, the outcome (of the top 60 but not the order) by the necessary inclusion of players from all time. when there are only 5 guys from say the 20's to even enter the conversation and maybe 4 or 5 times more from a more recent time there will be less consensus on the larger group.

Also I'll bring up the case of Nieds again and how he finished in Norris voting, his competition included players from other non Canadian sources and a guy like Pierre Pilote didn't.

But the lists and thinking acted like the NHL was the same for both players, which is what I'm talking about with raising the bar.

It's not enough that Nieds has to dominate on the same or better level as his predecessors but he has to compete against other elite Dmen as well.

That's just one example but hopefully you understand what I'm getting at.

In all honesty it would be more fair to both groups of players at either end of the historical timeline to break down separate lists in eras or something because there is more possibility of error or misjudging given the two extremes of information and the differences in play form one end of the spectrum to the other IMO.

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08-09-2012, 10:56 PM
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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
Also prior to WW2 the pay in the NHL was not so grand and many good players played in mining towns for the good steady work and family reasons as well. How much of an affect this had on the quality of the NHL is hard to quantify even if we had better data, which we don't.

Hockey was also a Canadian, almost exclusively for it's talent, game with little impact from the US for players and up north we have the CFL (football) as well.

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08-09-2012, 11:08 PM
  #609
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Actually none of them came into play.

Hockey was played in Canada during the winter months, reflecting its origins.Park,school/church and industrial leagues were the feeder systems to the NHL. Youngster going to school in the winter actually advanced hockey since they were on site to play at lunch time and after school.School yards especially the male Catholic elementary schools held 1 - 4 rinks. No travel was involved to just play hockey.

Various municipal job creation programs during the depression resulted in arenas being built. Verdun, St. Eustache, St. Hyacinthe, comprise just a short list of municipalities that built arenas. Likewise municipalities used job creation programs during the depression to expand athletic facilities in parks - fields were built that were used for football, soccer, baseball in season, and hockey during the winter. One CFL sized football field held up to 4 hockey/skating rinks in winter. Job creation funds assured staffing for upkeep and cleaning. Appropriate facilities were built for changing and incidentals.

All of this produced the hockey players of the post WWII era.

American players 1917 -1950 (pre Red Line development results):

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...order_by=goals

plus goalies:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...y=games_goalie
http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...order_by=goals

Just for comparison sakes and to show how much impact the US has had here is the list from 92-12

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...order_by=goals

Here are the goalies from 92-12

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...y=games_goalie

This is all before we even get to other countries.

The increase in the number of teams does not account for all of this either IMO.


Last edited by Hardyvan123: 08-09-2012 at 11:21 PM.
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08-09-2012, 11:19 PM
  #610
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For somebody that admits that their historical knowledge of hockey is lacking you sure do like giving uneducated opinions. You really don't understand the Canadian passion for the game. I go back to the 50's but I think things were not much different before then. The short days didn't matter. school got out at 3:30, you grabbed your skates & stick & headed to the pond. If it got too dark to play on the pond, you played road hockey under the street lights. in my small village, there was a back yard rink with lights, we played there. Thats what you did. Nobody cared what NHL players got paid. We all would have played for nothing. This is why Canada was the predominant hockey nation. Unless you understand this Canadian passion for the game, you will never understand its history.

I understand your point completely and for ice hockey it applies historically even more outside of my home province of BC.

Until fairly recently an occasional player or 2 would coem from BC and the increase has grown substantially in recent years even as the overall Canadian % has decreased which counters the aging population and immigrant population for Canada population that was brought up.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/friv...ince=BC&state=

A similar pattern is Nova Scotia

http://www.hockey-reference.com/friv...ince=NS&state=

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08-09-2012, 11:24 PM
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If there is too much emphasis on how players did against their peers how is it fair to guys who played in pre NHL times with various volatile leagues and little information, comparatively speaking left from those times compared to say a guy like Nieds who competes in fully integrated NHL with many top players being non Canadians.
It's absolutely fair to judge the players against their peers. It may be more difficult to obtain information about earlier years, but that's a practical issue rather than a conceptual one.

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
In reality we had a project like the top 60 Dmen of all time that predetermined, for the most part, the outcome (of the top 60 but not the order) by the necessary inclusion of players from all time.
I'm still not understanding the objection to an all-time list necessarily considering players from all time. If it's an all-time list it must have players from all time.

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
But the lists and thinking acted like the NHL was the same for both players, which is what I'm talking about with raising the bar.
If this is done, it's certainly a problem. A realization that the quality of the NHL is not constant over time is certainly necessary for fair comparisons. But that's nothing inherent in modern players having the bar raised, that's just failing to consider a factor appropriately. And I daresay it's not everyone who does this.

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08-10-2012, 01:33 AM
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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.
"In all parts of the ice" I definitely agree with. Especially in goal-scoring he was miles ahead of Cashman. Ditto for a more versatile skill set.

But I have to disagree about their corner work. From what I've seen, that was Cashman's main job - at least when he was playing with Esposito - i.e. dump & chase and then fight for the puck in the corners, and get the puck to Espo (--> "Espo shoots, he scores!"). Mikhailov's main job, however, was to stand in the slot and score goals (rebounds, deflections). In other words, he was the Espo rather than Cashman of his forward line(s). Look at his G/A ratio, for example; always clearly more goals than assists (especially early in his career, but usually later on too, with some single exceptions).

The dump and chase thing was much bigger part of the North American game in the Seventies. Watch the CSKA vs. the Flyers game, for example. I don't remember Mikhailov showing his authority in the corners at all in that game. He was soundly beaten in that area.

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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.
Players like Kharlamov and Makarov created a lot of space for their linemates. Simply because usually one player/defender was not enough to stop them; it required two or even three. Mario Lemieux, hmmm, I think both Kharlamov and Makarov were closer to Lemieux than Mikhailov, though none of them were that skilled or dominating, obviously.

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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.
Okay.

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08-10-2012, 01:44 AM
  #613
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For somebody that admits that their historical knowledge of hockey is lacking you sure do like giving uneducated opinions. You really don't understand the Canadian passion for the game. I go back to the 50's but I think things were not much different before then. The short days didn't matter. school got out at 3:30, you grabbed your skates & stick & headed to the pond. If it got too dark to play on the pond, you played road hockey under the street lights. in my small village, there was a back yard rink with lights, we played there. Thats what you did. Nobody cared what NHL players got paid. We all would have played for nothing. This is why Canada was the predominant hockey nation. Unless you understand this Canadian passion for the game, you will never understand its history.
I'm trying to learn and presenting my tentative theories about pre-WW2 hockey. I wasn't referring to the 50s, which aren't exactly comparable to the pre-WW2 era which included a worldwide depression for over a decade. I may be wrong in some cases and will admit when I am. I'm surprised a small village had an outdoor rink with lights, and would be more surprised if that was common in the 30s or earlier. I do understand that Canadians are passionate for the game, but perhaps not enough. You would have played for nothing... but could people during the Great Depression afford to play for nothing or peanuts? Maybe in some cases they could, but I would guess not as frequently as in the 50s, when there was more economic activity and jobs were more plentiful in general (so one could find suitable work whenever their hockey career was over).

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08-10-2012, 01:55 AM
  #614
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I must have misunderstood your point about only two sport in NA at that time. I just doubt that hockey is being drained of a lot of potential NHL players by other major league sports. I know Tom Glavine and Kirk McCaskill became pitchers, but those are likely relatively rare exceptions.

How does immigration not add to hockey playing population?
I know the population of hockey age has plateaued, but still it was a factor:

"Prior to World War I, Gretzky's paternal grandfather Anton (Tony) Gretzky immigrated along with his family to Canada via the United States from the Russian Empire (what is now Grodno, Belarus). Following the war, Anton would marry his wife, Mary, who immigrated from Pidhaitsi, interwar Poland (now Ukraine). Tony and Mary owned a 25-acre (10 ha) cucumber farm in Canning, Ontario."

"Sakic was born in Burnaby to Marijan and Slavica Sakic (originally Šakić, Croatian, immigrants from Croatia in what was then Yugoslavia. Growing up in Burnaby, he did not learn to speak English well until kindergarten, having been raised with Croatian as his mother tongue. At the age of four Sakic attended his first NHL game, a match between the Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Flames; after watching the game, Sakic decided that he wanted to become a hockey player."

"Sawchuk was born and raised in East Kildonan, a working-class, Ukrainian section of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He was the third of four sons and one adopted daughter of Louis Sawchuk, a tinsmith who had emigrated to Canada as a boy from Galicia, Austria–Hungary (now Ukraine)..."

"Bucyk was born in Edmonton to Sam and Perl Bucyk, Ukrainian immigrants from the village of Butsiv, in what is now Mostyska Raion, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine. The family was poor, with Perl working two jobs and his father, Sam, was unemployed for over four years"

Mikita and Mahovlich are other players whose family emigrated from Europe. Bossy has Ukrainian heritage (although I don't know when they emigrated) and his mother was British born (no emigration, no Bossy). I don't know about Hawerchuk, Tkachuk, etc. Yzerman's grandpa came over from the Netherlands in 1901, so I guess his grandpa at least had a chance to be a hockey player.

It's certainly not a stagnant pool of Anglo-Canadians over the last century.
Usually one - three generations down the road after the parents arrived in Canada. Your Gretzky example clearly illustrates this. Likewise Bossy and the others. Mikita was an exception coming to Canada as a toddler.

You forgot the French-Canadians.

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08-10-2012, 02:19 AM
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Assists and Corner Work

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"In all parts of the ice" I definitely agree with. Especially in goal-scoring he was miles ahead of Cashman. Ditto for a more versatile skill set.

But I have to disagree about their corner work. From what I've seen, that was Cashman's main job - at least when he was playing with Esposito - i.e. dump & chase and then fight for the puck in the corners, and get the puck to Espo (--> "Espo shoots, he scores!"). Mikhailov's main job, however, was to stand in the slot and score goals (rebounds, deflections). In other words, he was the Espo rather than Cashman of his forward line(s). Look at his G/A ratio, for example; always clearly more goals than assists (especially early in his career, but usually later on too, with some single exceptions).

The dump and chase thing was much bigger part of the North American game in the Seventies. Watch the CSKA vs. the Flyers game, for example. I don't remember Mikhailov showing his authority in the corners at all in that game. He was soundly beaten in that area.



Players like Kharlamov and Makarov created a lot of space for their linemates. Simply because usually one player/defender was not enough to stop them; it required two or even three. Mario Lemieux, hmmm, I think both Kharlamov and Makarov were closer to Lemieux than Mikhailov, though none of them were that skilled or dominating, obviously.



Okay.
My appreciation of Mikhailov is based mainly on his play in NA or against NA teams. When Mikhailov went into the corners or behind the net he was more efficient than Cashman at getting the puck and getting it to one of his four teammates. Cashman did not use the three other teammates as well as he did Esposito.

Assists were very sparsely awarded in international or Soviet hockey so they are not the best indicator when comparing to NHL players.

International rink is too big for the dump and chase to work effectively so Mikhailov had little opportunity to work the corners in the international games. Likewise in the Flyers game which was played in the Soviet half of the ice with little exception.

Kharlamov and Makarov had a reciprocal space creating situation with their linemates.However none of Makarov's linemates would occupy the defense in front of the net or screen the goalie like Mikhailov could.Lemieux's linemates like Rob Brown never drew attention from or created space for Mario Lemieux.

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08-10-2012, 02:54 AM
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Depression Era

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I'm trying to learn and presenting my tentative theories about pre-WW2 hockey. I wasn't referring to the 50s, which aren't exactly comparable to the pre-WW2 era which included a worldwide depression for over a decade. I may be wrong in some cases and will admit when I am. I'm surprised a small village had an outdoor rink with lights, and would be more surprised if that was common in the 30s or earlier. I do understand that Canadians are passionate for the game, but perhaps not enough. You would have played for nothing... but could people during the Great Depression afford to play for nothing or peanuts? Maybe in some cases they could, but I would guess not as frequently as in the 50s, when there was more economic activity and jobs were more plentiful in general (so one could find suitable work whenever their hockey career was over).
Reading about Conn Smythe and how Maple Leaf Gardens was built during the depression would certainly change your theories. Adaptations of this approach became commonplace across Canada to build community and recreational facilities sponsored by the various municipalities or service clubs or foundations or a blend of such organizations.

Pro sports in NA during the depression generated salaries not only for the players but for support staff and all the way down the chain to the amateur, municipal level.

The function of schools from the 1890's onwards was to advance education and act as community centers or parks. During the school year youngsters were taught from roughly 8AM to 4PM then after supper in the pre TV era, older people would use the facilities for various social and educational activities. Likewise the schoolyard had athletic facilities - makeshift markings for various sports.

Parks and other municipal facilities had outdoor lights for rinks. The rink(s) was situated between the street and the park's public facility. Rather easy to connect the wiring from street lights to the public facilities in the park to light the rink. Also the benefits of using a public space like a park longer justified creating one in the first place.

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08-10-2012, 04:52 PM
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For somebody that admits that their historical knowledge of hockey is lacking you sure do like giving uneducated opinions. You really don't understand the Canadian passion for the game. I go back to the 50's but I think things were not much different before then. The short days didn't matter. school got out at 3:30, you grabbed your skates & stick & headed to the pond. If it got too dark to play on the pond, you played road hockey under the street lights. in my small village, there was a back yard rink with lights, we played there. Thats what you did. Nobody cared what NHL players got paid. We all would have played for nothing. This is why Canada was the predominant hockey nation. Unless you understand this Canadian passion for the game, you will never understand its history.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Here's Gordie Howe's story growing up in Saskatchewan in the 1930s, a bit before your time. After Howe got his first pair of skates...
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From that moment on, I loved skating. As a boy, I even ate meals with my skates on. Hockey meant everything to me. I'd go off the ice straight into the kitchen. My mom put some papers down so that I wouldn't mark up the linoleum. As soon as I finished eating, I'd go right back on the ice, missing only a couple of shifts.
Gordie Howe from Hockey: A People's History

While natural talent and good training are also important for becoming a hockey star, there's no substitute for spending thousands or tens of thousands of hours on a rink, developing technical skill and an instinctive feel for the game. Canadian hockey stars have had this background for a hundred years.

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08-10-2012, 05:10 PM
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While natural talent and good training are also important for becoming a hockey star, there's no substitute for spending thousands or tens of thousands of hours on a rink, developing technical skill and an instinctive feel for the game. Canadian hockey stars have had this background for a hundred years.
That's certainly true. Do you not think players from most other hockey countries have similar backgrounds over more recent decades?

The opportunity may not have been much less before WW2, but I would still contend it was probably less. People are talking about lack of representation of and appreciation for players who were born before 1900 or shortly after. Hockey is known as a viable long-term profession today, whereas I believe at least some % probably didn't view it in the same light in much, much earlier times. Increased overall wealth allows much more freedom of opportunity for leisure and pursuits of risky, short-lived professions such as athletics, for a wider variety of people.

Either way, the population component of the changing hockey player pool/population overwhelms the relatively minor component of opportunity IMO. This is only more true with the addition of players from around the world in more recent decades.

I did enjoy all the stories about various players' childhoods, which I ran across in researching some of the issues, and I've learnt some things as well. I don't see the need for some here to act like I'm trying to impose my viewpoint on the matter on others. If it seems that way, I apologize, but the opposing viewpoints seems to be expressed much, much more often in many forms and forums here.

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08-10-2012, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
That's certainly true. Do you not think players from most other hockey countries have similar backgrounds over more recent decades?

The opportunity may not have been much less before WW2, but I would still contend it was probably less. People are talking about lack of representation of and appreciation for players who were born before 1900 or shortly after. Hockey is known as a viable long-term profession today, whereas I believe at least some % probably didn't view it in the same light in much, much earlier times. Increased overall wealth allows much more freedom of opportunity for leisure and pursuits of risky, short-lived professions such as athletics, for a wider variety of people.

Either way, the population component of the changing hockey player pool/population overwhelms the relatively minor component of opportunity IMO. This is only more true with the addition of players from around the world in more recent decades.

I did enjoy all the stories about various players' childhoods, which I ran across in researching some of the issues, and I've learnt some things as well. I don't see the need for some here to act like I'm trying to impose my viewpoint on the matter on others. If it seems that way, I apologize, but the opposing viewpoints seems to be expressed much, much more often in many forms and forums here.
For my part, Canadian hockey is what I know and what I am interested in. I'm sure Jagr, Forsberg, Modano, and others spent their share of time on the rink. If you have links or quotes, I'm willing to be educated.

My understanding has always been that the Russians in particular, in the old Soviet Union, came from a systematic player selection and training program starting at a young age, not from a culture of outdoor hockey. I could be wrong here - I'm really not familiar with Russian hockey. But in any case it's a question of development more than the talent pool.

It seems to me that since approximately 1925 or so, hockey has enjoyed every advantage it has today in Canada. It has been the number one winter activity, there hasn't been any stigma about playing professional sports, the money has been better than any career, and boys have dreamed of growing up to play in the NHL for the Stanley Cup. From that point on you see very few hockey players passing on the NHL, and the vast majority of Canadian athletes were playing hockey (although more in some areas than others.)

I don't mean to dismiss your viewpoint, I just think that a lot of these "rational" talent pool arguments ignore valuable parts of hockey's tradition. I really think that there has been a major decline in the Canadian outdoor hockey tradition in my memory (the last 20 years or so), which has gone hand in hand with the disappearance of unsupervised and unstructured play for children. I think most Canadian boys have lost the opportunities to put in thousands of hours on the rink that previous generations had, and I think that has a cost in skill, creativity, and hockey sense that can't be taught. The rise in organized hockey schools and more resources for coaches has gone hand in hand with the decline in unorganized play, and has been able to coach the ordinary player to a certain standard, but I don't know if it develops extraordinary players as well.

I know it's hard to quantify these in a talent pool discussion, but I think these points need to be raised. It's far from certain that today's hockey culture and general culture in society will ever develop another Wayne Gretzky.

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08-10-2012, 06:36 PM
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Back to the Future

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For my part, Canadian hockey is what I know and what I am interested in. I'm sure Jagr, Forsberg, Modano, and others spent their share of time on the rink. If you have links or quotes, I'm willing to be educated.

My understanding has always been that the Russians in particular, in the old Soviet Union, came from a systematic player selection and training program starting at a young age, not from a culture of outdoor hockey. I could be wrong here - I'm really not familiar with Russian hockey. But in any case it's a question of development more than the talent pool.

It seems to me that since approximately 1925 or so, hockey has enjoyed every advantage it has today in Canada. It has been the number one winter activity, there hasn't been any stigma about playing professional sports, the money has been better than any career, and boys have dreamed of growing up to play in the NHL for the Stanley Cup. From that point on you see very few hockey players passing on the NHL, and the vast majority of Canadian athletes were playing hockey (although more in some areas than others.)

I don't mean to dismiss your viewpoint, I just think that a lot of these "rational" talent pool arguments ignore valuable parts of hockey's tradition. I really think that there has been a major decline in the Canadian outdoor hockey tradition in my memory (the last 20 years or so), which has gone hand in hand with the disappearance of unsupervised and unstructured play for children. I think most Canadian boys have lost the opportunities to put in thousands of hours on the rink that previous generations had, and I think that has a cost in skill, creativity, and hockey sense that can't be taught. The rise in organized hockey schools and more resources for coaches has gone hand in hand with the decline in unorganized play, and has been able to coach the ordinary player to a certain standard, but I don't know if it develops extraordinary players as well.

I know it's hard to quantify these in a talent pool discussion, but I think these points need to be raised. It's far from certain that today's hockey culture and general culture in society will ever develop another Wayne Gretzky.
Few comments, some encouraging.

Post WWI saw the construction of "Memorial" arenas in certain cities to accommodate hockey plus other activities. Often part of a fairgrounds setting.

The outdoor rinks are making a comeback. The Canadiens have sponsored a few in the GMA recently and the various kits that are avaiable facilitate the backyard rink.

Finally public and mainly private schools are getting into hockey big time at the elementary and secondary levels. This improves coaching since qualified educators that are age specialists for the various hockey age groups and positions are involved. Also there is a tremendous economy of time since youngsters and coaches combine travel time into one daily trip. School time and hockey time requires one return trip from home. Previously this required two distinct trips. Finally the dead time in the vast majority of arenas, M-F from 8AM - 4PM gets used, so facilities are optimized.

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08-10-2012, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
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For my part, Canadian hockey is what I know and what I am interested in. I'm sure Jagr, Forsberg, Modano, and others spent their share of time on the rink. If you have links or quotes, I'm willing to be educated.
I don't really feel like searching for other examples at the moment, so I'll stick with what I already know:

"Jagr began skating at the age of four, and soon became consumed by hockey. As a child, he played on three different teams, usually against older players to improve his skills. When he reached the age of eight, he was playing in multiple games on weekends after practicing for hours daily."

"Jaromir started skating around the age of three. He learned to shoot in his backyard, playing street hockey with his dad. He often took 500 shots a day. At age six, he was on three different teams, which meant he got triple the ice team of other kids. His stickhandling and shooting skills were superb, but he was just an average skater. When he heard that the country’s top players improved their speed by doing squats, he started doing 1,000 a day. Within a year he was the fastest player on his team.

By the age of 12, Jaromir was one of the best young players in the country. He began his junior hockey career playing against boys five and six years older."

It's a combination of talent, practice, training, work ethic and the mental aspect. Maybe other countries have been more systematic than Canada in the past. I think most of the best players have a large amount of most/all of those elements. I don't like the increased focus on systems, and that may stifle creativity to some degree. However, the best will usually find a way to be the best.

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My understanding has always been that the Russians in particular, in the old Soviet Union, came from a systematic player selection and training program starting at a young age, not from a culture of outdoor hockey. I could be wrong here - I'm really not familiar with Russian hockey. But in any case it's a question of development more than the talent pool.
My limited understanding of Soviet hockey is similar. They may focus on the system more than other non-Canadian countries.

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It seems to me that since approximately 1925 or so, hockey has enjoyed every advantage it has today in Canada. It has been the number one winter activity, there hasn't been any stigma about playing professional sports, the money has been better than any career, and boys have dreamed of growing up to play in the NHL for the Stanley Cup. From that point on you see very few hockey players passing on the NHL, and the vast majority of Canadian athletes were playing hockey (although more in some areas than others.)
Okay, that seems possible. However, the pre-1925 period still includes a lot of players who were supposedly "under-represented" and that's what I was addressing and (admittedly) speculating about.

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I don't mean to dismiss your viewpoint, I just think that a lot of these "rational" talent pool arguments ignore valuable parts of hockey's tradition. I really think that there has been a major decline in the Canadian outdoor hockey tradition in my memory (the last 20 years or so), which has gone hand in hand with the disappearance of unsupervised and unstructured play for children. I think most Canadian boys have lost the opportunities to put in thousands of hours on the rink that previous generations had, and I think that has a cost in skill, creativity, and hockey sense that can't be taught. The rise in organized hockey schools and more resources for coaches has gone hand in hand with the decline in unorganized play, and has been able to coach the ordinary player to a certain standard, but I don't know if it develops extraordinary players as well.

I know it's hard to quantify these in a talent pool discussion, but I think these points need to be raised. It's far from certain that today's hockey culture and general culture in society will ever develop another Wayne Gretzky.
I think you may be very right. However, that would influence the type of hockey played and the skills of each individual player, not the total player pool. I find it strange to penalize players who are dominating a much larger player pool (last 50 years) in comparison to a much smaller player pool (before that), because life is so busy for most now or because Canada has decided to follow the Soviet systematic approach. The player pool has still grown by leaps and bounds and the better players have plenty of training, physical skill and instruction. Personally, I'm not going to assume that players that drank and smoked large amounts would be the best today. If they weren't maximizing their ability then, how do we know they would now? Maybe some of them were able to dominate against lesser competition, but would they still be able to dominate today? It's difficult to say, but I'd give the edge to players who dominated against a deeper player pool which was generally closer to maximizing their abilities. There are proably players who are partying a lot and not as good as they could be. Maybe they could have been better in past eras when a lot more players led that lifestyle, but I'm not going to give those players extra credit for that either. The best strive to be the best and usually find a way to do so.

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08-10-2012, 11:09 PM
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I don't really feel like searching for other examples at the moment, so I'll stick with what I already know:

"Jagr began skating at the age of four, and soon became consumed by hockey. As a child, he played on three different teams, usually against older players to improve his skills. When he reached the age of eight, he was playing in multiple games on weekends after practicing for hours daily."

"Jaromir started skating around the age of three. He learned to shoot in his backyard, playing street hockey with his dad. He often took 500 shots a day. At age six, he was on three different teams, which meant he got triple the ice team of other kids. His stickhandling and shooting skills were superb, but he was just an average skater. When he heard that the country’s top players improved their speed by doing squats, he started doing 1,000 a day. Within a year he was the fastest player on his team.

By the age of 12, Jaromir was one of the best young players in the country. He began his junior hockey career playing against boys five and six years older."

It's a combination of talent, practice, training, work ethic and the mental aspect. Maybe other countries have been more systematic than Canada in the past. I think most of the best players have a large amount of most/all of those elements. I don't like the increased focus on systems, and that may stifle creativity to some degree. However, the best will usually find a way to be the best.
I didn't know the details about Jagr but I'm not surprised. With the skill he has, it had to be developed somewhere.

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Okay, that seems possible. However, the pre-1925 period still includes a lot of players who were supposedly "under-represented" and that's what I was addressing and (admittedly) speculating about.
Everyone draws their line in a different place. I definitely have room for players from 1910-1925 in my top 100, if at a bit of a discount. Before that I don't see top level hockey as a competitive enough endeavor as compared to other sports and careers. Others probably disagree.

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I think you may be very right. However, that would influence the type of hockey played and the skills of each individual player, not the total player pool. I find it strange to penalize players who are dominating a much larger player pool (last 50 years) in comparison to a much smaller player pool (before that), because life is so busy for most now or because Canada has decided to follow the Soviet systematic approach. The player pool has still grown by leaps and bounds and the better players have plenty of training, physical skill and instruction. Personally, I'm not going to assume that players that drank and smoked large amounts would be the best today. If they weren't maximizing their ability then, how do we know they would now? Maybe some of them were able to dominate against lesser competition, but would they still be able to dominate today? It's difficult to say, but I'd give the edge to players who dominated against a deeper player pool which was generally closer to maximizing their abilities. There are proably players who are partying a lot and not as good as they could be. Maybe they could have been better in past eras when a lot more players led that lifestyle, but I'm not going to give those players extra credit for that either. The best strive to be the best and usually find a way to do so.
Re drinking, smoking, partying, etc, I don't know but suspect that the partying lifestyle was probably at a high point in the 1970s when society and professional hockey were both rapidly changing. I imagine players were probably better conditioned in earlier eras (although many would still drink and smoke.)

For the rest, I don't mean to say that unstructured hours on the pond are the only factor. Training by a good coach is also very important. Structured training and unstructured play have different strengths when it comes to developing hockey players. The best results come when both are present, IMO. And I would agree that coaching has become more consistently good across the board in the last decade, at least in Canada. There are different ways for players to maximize their skill. I don't think that the combination of those factors have continuously increased since the beginning of hockey.

In the end the test is how players perform on the ice. I'm just throwing out some theories as to why, say, the quality of Canadian players dropped so much going from the 1980s drafts to the 1990s drafts (and it's not just the increased competition from Europeans - the 80s Canadians were still matching or beating the 1990s Canadians when the latter we're in their prime.)

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08-11-2012, 11:45 AM
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Everyone draws their line in a different place. I definitely have room for players from 1910-1925 in my top 100, if at a bit of a discount. Before that I don't see top level hockey as a competitive enough endeavor as compared to other sports and careers. Others probably disagree.
That sounds reasonable. I just think people are paying a premium or giving a slight discount to eras that should be at near clearance sale level in terms of proportion of players included on any top Y list of all-time. I'm trying to determine a proper estimate for such.

Quote:
Re drinking, smoking, partying, etc, I don't know but suspect that the partying lifestyle was probably at a high point in the 1970s when society and professional hockey were both rapidly changing. I imagine players were probably better conditioned in earlier eras (although many would still drink and smoke.)
I would guess you're correct and that the late 60s to early 80s (the 70s) would have more of that for the cultural/hockey reasons given.



Quote:
For the rest, I don't mean to say that unstructured hours on the pond are the only factor. Training by a good coach is also very important. Structured training and unstructured play have different strengths when it comes to developing hockey players. The best results come when both are present, IMO. And I would agree that coaching has become more consistently good across the board in the last decade, at least in Canada. There are different ways for players to maximize their skill. I don't think that the combination of those factors have continuously increased since the beginning of hockey.

In the end the test is how players perform on the ice. I'm just throwing out some theories as to why, say, the quality of Canadian players dropped so much going from the 1980s drafts to the 1990s drafts (and it's not just the increased competition from Europeans - the 80s Canadians were still matching or beating the 1990s Canadians when the latter we're in their prime.)
Certainly there may be different paths to similar destinations. I agree we can only judge performance on the ice.

As far as the quality of Canadian players, it may be partly due to coaching issues or more preference for and opportunity given to larger players, but population demographics would have predicted a decline.


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08-18-2012, 09:49 AM
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How is Jari Kurri on the list but not Teemu Selänne? Sure Kurri has more cups but only 1 of them without Gretzky.

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08-18-2012, 11:53 AM
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How is Jari Kurri on the list but not Teemu Selänne? Sure Kurri has more cups but only 1 of them without Gretzky.
I wasn't involved in the project but both Kurri and Esposito benefited from the greatest of players, in Gretzky Orr and I doubt that many separate the feats or say that both Kurri and Esposito benefited from those 2 greats.

For Selanne get hurt and slides down.

Also Selanne had a disjointed career with less than great years sprinkled around and many use a top 5,10,finish against peers system to rank a player in part which also hurts Selanne in a fully integrated league, which the HNL was in his time but not Kurris.

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