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Ovechkin vs. Lindros as of Summer 2000

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Old
10-13-2012, 06:55 AM
  #51
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Taking position into account, I would certainly have Ovechkin in the top-100 because he is a left wing. But if we're speaking strictly of the top-100 players of all time, I don't think the case is nearly as clear, because a rational top-100 players list is going to be overloaded with centers for obvious reasons.

Ovechkin over Jackson? Certainly. Ovechkin over Denneny? Not so sure about that one. Denneny's playoff exploits simply blow Ovechkin's out of the water. He was the key scorer of the NHL's first dynasty team, and dominated league scoring for basically a decade.

But maybe more to the point: should we rate Ovechkin over guys like Norm Ullman, Hooley Smith, Nels Stewart, Bill Cowley, Alexander Maltsev, Dave Keon, etc.? Has he really had a better career than Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne and Eddie Gerard? There are definitely 100 players in hockey history whose careers have been plausibly better than Ovie's.

I haven't put together a personal all-time top-100 list in some time, but if I did, Ovechkin would probably be in it. Nevertheless, someone who emphasizes longevity, playoff success, or both, may see it differently. It's not yet open-and-shut in my opinion.
You're overrating older players if you think a stanley cup in a 6-team NHL (top 17% of teams) is worth that much more than a 2nd round exit (top 25% of teams) in a 30-team NHL. The first is better, but not by much.

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10-13-2012, 10:06 AM
  #52
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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
It doesn't make sense that someone who was a step or two below the best players of his era should be considered to be that much better than one of the top three or four players of another era.
True, unless someone is very strongly valuing longevity. Of course there is also the possibility that if you simply knew more you would agree with Sturminator completely.

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10-13-2012, 10:56 AM
  #53
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
You obviously do not grasp just how good Dave Keon was defensively. In my opinion, a better modern comparison than Fedorov would be Guy Carbonneau with about twice as much offense. That's how good Dave Keon was.
The precise cross era comparison doesn't matter that much as trying to figure out where these players fit onto the totem pole during their eras, in order to get a relative idea of where they stand. Even if we just solidify the comparison that Keon was like a Carbonneau with twice as much offense and say that end result is loosely a 3 time winning Pavel Datsyuk, Datsyuk still wasn't as big a star as Ovechkin is/was over the past 7-8 seasons, just as Keon was overshadowed by the 1960s superstars and also in the 1970s during the second half of his career.

There just no way that a top 10 player from the 60s should be better than a player who is rated in the top 2 and 3 for most of his career in the 2000s and 2010s.

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10-13-2012, 12:10 PM
  #54
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Originally Posted by DAChampion View Post
You're overrating older players if you think a stanley cup in a 6-team NHL (top 17% of teams) is worth that much more than a 2nd round exit (top 25% of teams) in a 30-team NHL. The first is better, but not by much.
i don't even have a response. i just wanted to quote this to make sure everybody notices.

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10-13-2012, 01:30 PM
  #55
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Is Lindros really ranked lower than Ovechkin? If we're talking about ATDs it's normal that Ovechkin gets picked before because he's a LWer.

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10-13-2012, 02:18 PM
  #56
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i don't even have a response. i just wanted to quote this to make sure everybody notices.
The funny thing about this, is that some person will easily agree that cup finals in the O6 is not a great accomplishment compare to a 30 teams league of today, but their brain will block to transfer the exact same logic to a cup win.


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10-13-2012, 02:38 PM
  #57
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Originally Posted by JackSlater View Post
True, unless someone is very strongly valuing longevity. Of course there is also the possibility that if you simply knew more you would agree with Sturminator completely.
Those of us who do know a lot about older players have our disagreements, as well. TDMM is a very knowledgeable guy, and he seems to think Ovechkin is a lock for the top-100, so there you go, though I bet you'd be surprised how low Ovie ultimately falls on his list.

At any rate, criticising older players without really knowing much about them is not going to get you very far here. I don't want to offend you, but the comparison of players across the 130 years of hockey is very difficult, and requires a lot of knowledge to do with any degree of authority. There are some people here and on the ATD board who have spent embarrassingly large parts of their lives researching and debating the merits of old time hockey players, and among those groups, I know of no consensus that places Ovechkin in the top-100 as it stands today. You'll have to forgive me for placing value in a person's historical judgments in proportion to their knowledge of history; I think it's only fair.

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10-13-2012, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Those of us who do know a lot about older players have our disagreements, as well. TDMM is a very knowledgeable guy, and he seems to think Ovechkin is a lock for the top-100, so there you go, though I bet you'd be surprised how low Ovie ultimately falls on his list.

At any rate, criticising older players without really knowing much about them is not going to get you very far here. I don't want to offend you, but the comparison of players across the 130 years of hockey is very difficult, and requires a lot of knowledge to do with any degree of authority. There are some people here and on the ATD board who have spent embarrassingly large parts of their lives researching and debating the merits of old time hockey players, and among those groups, I know of no consensus that places Ovechkin in the top-100 as it stands today. You'll have to forgive me for placing value in a person's historical judgments in proportion to their knowledge of history; I think it's only fair.
Everyone's entitled to their opinion. Forgive me, but while I understand why you may value a person's judgments in proportion to their knowledge of history... I don't think that's necessarily fair at all, although you are certainly free to value others' opinions as much or as little as you wish. If you are talking about the placement of a player from long ago, then it would seem fair. However, I don't think one necessarily needs to have knowledge of the whole history of hockey to have some idea of where a more modern player might rank. If one has an idea of the size of the talent pool from which players were drawn throughout history, and where a modern player ranks among his more contemporary peers... then one may be able to rank that player with about as much certainty as one with a comprehensive knowledge of the players throughout hockey history. Even when the "experts" share the common ground of historical knowledge, consensus seems the exception as much as the rule.

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10-13-2012, 03:41 PM
  #59
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
At any rate, criticising older players without really knowing much about them is not going to get you very far here. I don't want to offend you, but the comparison of players across the 130 years of hockey is very difficult, and requires a lot of knowledge to do with any degree of authority. There are some people here and on the ATD board who have spent embarrassingly large parts of their lives researching and debating the merits of old time hockey players, and among those groups, I know of no consensus that places Ovechkin in the top-100 as it stands today. You'll have to forgive me for placing value in a person's historical judgments in proportion to their knowledge of history; I think it's only fair.
Seems to me that people who spend too much time looking at an era is going to give preference to the era of their preference or the one they grew up in. At the same time, things that are happening today before our eyes won't be appreciated without historical distance.

No one's criticizing players from historical eras, but at the same time, I'm not comfortable saying that all the Original Six clubs were populated by players who are superior to the best in the game today. If Alexander Ovechkin occupies a similar position on the totem pole as Bobby Hull did in the 1960s as one of the top three individual star players, why should he be slotted below guys like Dave Keon and Norm Ullman who were not among the top handful of superstars in the NHL during their playing days?

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10-13-2012, 05:18 PM
  #60
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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
Seems to me that people who spend too much time looking at an era is going to give preference to the era of their preference or the one they grew up in. At the same time, things that are happening today before our eyes won't be appreciated without historical distance.

No one's criticizing players from historical eras, but at the same time, I'm not comfortable saying that all the Original Six clubs were populated by players who are superior to the best in the game today. If Alexander Ovechkin occupies a similar position on the totem pole as Bobby Hull did in the 1960s as one of the top three individual star players, why should he be slotted below guys like Dave Keon and Norm Ullman who were not among the top handful of superstars in the NHL during their playing days?
I'm not sure anyone believes "all Original Six clubs were populated by players who are superior to the best in the game today," rather some of them had better careers than today's stars as of the 2011-2012 season.

Bobby Hull led the NHL in goals 7 times, despite his WHA time, so anyone with a 7 year career will be hard-pressed to compare favorably.


Last edited by Rob Scuderi: 10-13-2012 at 05:22 PM. Reason: counted WHA goal-title
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10-13-2012, 05:24 PM
  #61
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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
Seems to me that people who spend too much time looking at an era is going to give preference to the era of their preference or the one they grew up in. At the same time, things that are happening today before our eyes won't be appreciated without historical distance.

No one's criticizing players from historical eras, but at the same time, I'm not comfortable saying that all the Original Six clubs were populated by players who are superior to the best in the game today. If Alexander Ovechkin occupies a similar position on the totem pole as Bobby Hull did in the 1960s as one of the top three individual star players, why should he be slotted below guys like Dave Keon and Norm Ullman who were not among the top handful of superstars in the NHL during their playing days?
i think what people have been trying to point out to you is that while keon and ullman (but especially keon) were not top five guys like howe, hull, beliveau, etc., on top of being hall of fame calibre point producers, they also brought intangibles to the table. and they were in fact widely considered the greatest of their time with respect to those intangibles (keon and defensive play, ullman and forechecking).

whether that over twenty year careers puts them above seven years of ovechkin is debatable. but i'd add one variable: when keon and ullman met in the finals and led their respective teams in playoff scoring, there were six teams in the league. keon played with a greater offensive talent in mahovlich, ullman with howe. now imagine those guys in a 30 team league. keon wouldn't be sharing center ice playing time with three hall of famers (kelly, armstrong, and pulford). ullman, to my knowledge, usually played behind howe and delvecchio's line. i wonder whether guys like this would have had more impressive peaks as the undisputed guy on their teams. could keon have been closer to clarke than to ron francis?

i'd also note that keon and ullman aren't mike gartner. keon has a 4th and 6th place hart finish; ullman has a 2nd and a 5th. peaking at that high a level and each having easily better playoff resumes than ovechkin makes this a fair question.

but as it stands, i'd ask you to think about the modern players who didn't make the top 100. mike modano is one. keon was a greater player than modano, but let's follow this idea: it's 1991 and you know how their careers will play out. lindros at his best destroys modano at his best. but do you take modano's entire career from '91 on, or do you take lindros? because by that token, if we are looking at only ovechkin's career to date and not projecting what he might or might not do from here on in, the argument for someone like keon, who won four cups, led a stanley cup winner in scoring and won a conn smythe in a separate season, and played 20 years, makes sense.

all that said, if you took ovechkin's regular season career and added malkin's playoff career, i'd find it very hard to rank him below dickie moore (which catapults this hypothetical player well above keon and ullman).

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10-13-2012, 06:29 PM
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If one has an idea of the size of the talent pool from which players were drawn throughout history, and where a modern player ranks among his more contemporary peers... then one may be able to rank that player with about as much certainty as one with a comprehensive knowledge of the players throughout hockey history.
Rubbish.

There are many factors to be weighed when discussing the size of the talent pool throughout hockey history. Simply looking at a population graph and projecting from that is going to end up significantly overrating modern players. A few points:

1) Not all hockey talent pools are created equal. This is not a matter of genetics, but of differing levels of interest in the sport, and different levels of quality in youth development programs. Hockey is sport #1 in Canada and the youth programs are always well-organized and well-funded. The same could be said of Sweden and Finland for the past 40 years or so.

Hockey is the most popular sport in Russia, but the quality and organization of their youth programs has waxed and waned with the fortunes of their government. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, hockey has to compete with soccer for talent, and arguably comes out on the losing end. In the smaller hockey nations of Europe (like Germany), it is at best a distant second in popularity. It is difficult to say just how much quality talent the integration of European players has added to the NHL talent pool, but it is easy to overestimate. Many people seem to think that adding Europe effectively doubled the NHL talent pool, but in truth it probably increased the pool by about a third. The number of Europeans in the NHL at present is actually below 25%, though of course that number is distorted by NHL rules and the presence of the KHL, which siphons off a good chunk of lesser European talent.

2) With the exception of baseball (which almost no canadian played), hockey was the only well-paid professional sport open to Canadian kids until the middle of the 20th century. Now there are four major north american sports. Canada still produces more hockey talent than it produces talent in all other sports combined, but the other sports take a noticeable cut out of the pie. Guys like Steve Nash and Joey Votto would have made excellent hockey players had they been born in the 1930's.

3) A good chunk of the growth in Canada's population over the last hundred years (and continuing today) has been driven by immigration, and non-European Canadian immigrants (and their children) have a quite low participation rate in hockey. The exceptions (like Setoguchi and the Kariyas) really only prove the rule.

Of course the talent pool is bigger today - no one is disputing that, but there are no easy answers when trying to put 130 years into perspective.

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10-13-2012, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim
i'd also note that keon and ullman aren't mike gartner. keon has a 4th and 6th place hart finish; ullman has a 2nd and a 5th. peaking at that high a level and each having easily better playoff resumes than ovechkin makes this a fair question.
I don't see Ullman having a better playoff record than Ovechkin. Neither won a Cup. Ullman had some great personal performances and some disappointing ones

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all that said, if you took ovechkin's regular season career and added malkin's playoff career, i'd find it very hard to rank him below dickie moore (which catapults this hypothetical player well above keon and ullman).
Meh, Malkin is really up and down in the playoffs. As of now, he's ahead of Ovechkin in the playoffs because of the Smythe, but I don't think he's been a particularly great playoff performer outside of 2009


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10-14-2012, 01:58 AM
  #64
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Those of us who do know a lot about older players have our disagreements, as well. TDMM is a very knowledgeable guy, and he seems to think Ovechkin is a lock for the top-100, so there you go, though I bet you'd be surprised how low Ovie ultimately falls on his list.
Oh wow, tell me more about this club of learned hockey wise men!

I respect TheDevilMadeMe's opinion quite a bit, as well as many other posters in this section, but where he has Ovechkin in his all time rankings isn't going to be Earth shattering to me.

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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
At any rate, criticising older players without really knowing much about them is not going to get you very far here. I don't want to offend you, but the comparison of players across the 130 years of hockey is very difficult, and requires a lot of knowledge to do with any degree of authority. There are some people here and on the ATD board who have spent embarrassingly large parts of their lives researching and debating the merits of old time hockey players, and among those groups, I know of no consensus that places Ovechkin in the top-100 as it stands today. You'll have to forgive me for placing value in a person's historical judgments in proportion to their knowledge of history; I think it's only fair.
Czech Your Math and Stephen already responded to your comment very well, so I just have a few points.

1. No one in this thread has criticized older players, and your assumptions about the knowledge of people who disagree with you are laughable. I have honestly never seen a series of posts more arrogant than those you have made in this thread. Thanks for the advice on what will get me far though.

2. It doesn't take a master historian such as yourself to understand the basic premise here. Ovechkin and Lindros were both players who spent extended periods of time at the very top of the hockey world. The number of players who have done that is well below 100. No one here is saying that someone like Keon or Ullman is bad, or even anywhere near that. As great as they both were, it is unlikely they reached the levels attained by Lindros and Ovechkin. It's not about attacking retired greats, but instead appreciating modern greats. If you want to use something like longevity against Lindros and Ovechkin, that is perfectly fine. We will disagree, but it is at least a legitimate reason. In fact, it would be a legitimate reason even if a few hockey fans who research hockey history in their spare time (a noble and interesting pursuit) disagreed.


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10-14-2012, 03:13 AM
  #65
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
There are many factors to be weighed when discussing the size of the talent pool throughout hockey history. Simply looking at a population graph and projecting from that is going to end up significantly overrating modern players. A few points:

1) Not all hockey talent pools are created equal. This is not a matter of genetics, but of differing levels of interest in the sport, and different levels of quality in youth development programs. Hockey is sport #1 in Canada and the youth programs are always well-organized and well-funded. The same could be said of Sweden and Finland for the past 40 years or so.
It's not as simple as looking at a population graph, that is true. Age/gender demographic is certainly important. However, Canada's commitment to hockey has been relatively constant, which allows for a good baseline of hockey population pool estimates based on the population of appropriate age/gender.

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Hockey is the most popular sport in Russia, but the quality and organization of their youth programs has waxed and waned with the fortunes of their government. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, hockey has to compete with soccer for talent, and arguably comes out on the losing end. In the smaller hockey nations of Europe (like Germany), it is at best a distant second in popularity. It is difficult to say just how much quality talent the integration of European players has added to the NHL talent pool, but it is easy to overestimate. Many people seem to think that adding Europe effectively doubled the NHL talent pool, but in truth it probably increased the pool by about a third. The number of Europeans in the NHL at present is actually below 25%, though of course that number is distorted by NHL rules and the presence of the KHL, which siphons off a good chunk of lesser European talent.
You claim that Europeans/Russians effectively increased the NHL talent pool by ~1/3. This would mean they comprise ~25% of the NHL population. However, most of us are interested in the upper tiers of NHL players, and these seem to be much more than 25% Euro/Russian players in the past two decades. If you look at goalies' games played since the last lockout, it's almost an even split between Canadian and non-Canadian goalies. Likewise, if you look at the top 5/10/20/30/etc. players in points during each season of the past two decades, 40-50+ % are usually Euro/Russian players. For the purposes of assessing the best players in the NHL, the hockey pool has expanded by far more than 1/3. The reason the entire NHL population has not expanded by the same amount is likely (at least partially) related to more marginal players having much less incentive to leave their home country to attempt an NHL career. This does not negate the fact that competition in the top tiers of players has effectively almost doubled during the past two decades (since the early 90s at forward... later at goalie... probably not as much at d-man).

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Of course the talent pool is bigger today - no one is disputing that, but there are no easy answers when trying to put 130 years into perspective.
It's certainly not easy to put 130 years of hockey into proper perspective. However, again, I don't see that as absolutely necessary when evaluating more modern players. For players of any era, the main factors seem to be: A) how the player fared against contemporaries by various metrics, B) how difficult the competition was during that era, and C) how the style of play and rules especially helped or hindered that player as compared to other eras. I don't see comprehensive knowledge of hockey history as absolutely necessary in making an approximate evaluation of all players.

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10-14-2012, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
You claim that Europeans/Russians effectively increased the NHL talent pool by ~1/3. This would mean they comprise ~25% of the NHL population. However, most of us are interested in the upper tiers of NHL players, and these seem to be much more than 25% Euro/Russian players in the past two decades. If you look at goalies' games played since the last lockout, it's almost an even split between Canadian and non-Canadian goalies. Likewise, if you look at the top 5/10/20/30/etc. players in points during each season of the past two decades, 40-50+ % are usually Euro/Russian players. For the purposes of assessing the best players in the NHL, the hockey pool has expanded by far more than 1/3.
I actually stated it a bit poorly. I meant that the NHL talent pool (just taking top-end talent into account) had probably expanded by about 50%, meaning that approximately 33% of current "hockey talent production" is coming from Europe. I stated the ratios in a somewhat misleading way.

One distortion that often trips people up when looking at European integration in the NHL (which really got underway in the 90's) is that the Europeans started coming over in great numbers during what was a noticeably weak period for Canadian talent, at least among the skaters. Talent from all countries is not constant from one generation to the next, and the generation of North Americans who hit their primes in the 90's was simply not very good. This tends to make the Europeans looks somewhat better during the integration period. It has balanced out more lately. Europeans definitely do not make up 50% of the top-end talent in the NHL right now. As a total percentage, they are around 22-23%, though I'd say in terms of top-end talent, it's closer to one third.


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10-14-2012, 04:35 AM
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I actually stated it a bit poorly. I meant that the NHL talent pool (just taking top-end talent into account) had probably expanded by about 50%, meaning that approximately 33% of current "hockey talent production" is coming from Europe. I stated the ratios in a somewhat misleading way.

One distortion that often trips people up when looking at European integration in the NHL (which really got underway in the 90's) is that the Europeans started coming over in great numbers during what was a noticeably weak period for Canadian talent, at least among the skaters. Talent from all countries is not constant from one generation to the next, and the generation of North Americans who hit their primes in the 90's was simply not very good. This tends to make the Europeans looks somewhat better during the integration period. It has balanced out more lately. Europeans definitely do not make up 50% of the top-end talent in the NHL right now. As a total percentage, they are around 22-23%, though I'd say in terms of top-end talent, it's closer to one third.
While many agree with you that Canadian talent was a bit down in the 90s, it also must be noted that it may have appeared less than it was due to the large influx of overseas and US talent during the same period. For instance, at forward, if there were not so many great superstars from overseas, Sakic, Lindros and Kariya would have appeared even greater.

Certainly talent can ebb and flow by country, by position, by era. However, the larger the group examined, the less likely there will be a dramatic variation from one era to the next. It does appear that the non-Canadians held more of an edge at forward from the early-mid 90s until the 2005 lockout, with Canadians holding more of an edge since then. Canada has more consistently held the edge at d-man, while goalie has gone from a substantial Canadian edge to about even in more recent seasons.

The overall representation of non-Canadians likely underestimates their impact towards the top, since most top players make there way to the NHL, while more middling and marginal players may be much less likely to do so.

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10-14-2012, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i think what people have been trying to point out to you is that while keon and ullman (but especially keon) were not top five guys like howe, hull, beliveau, etc., on top of being hall of fame calibre point producers, they also brought intangibles to the table. and they were in fact widely considered the greatest of their time with respect to those intangibles (keon and defensive play, ullman and forechecking).

whether that over twenty year careers puts them above seven years of ovechkin is debatable. but i'd add one variable: when keon and ullman met in the finals and led their respective teams in playoff scoring, there were six teams in the league. keon played with a greater offensive talent in mahovlich, ullman with howe. now imagine those guys in a 30 team league. keon wouldn't be sharing center ice playing time with three hall of famers (kelly, armstrong, and pulford). ullman, to my knowledge, usually played behind howe and delvecchio's line. i wonder whether guys like this would have had more impressive peaks as the undisputed guy on their teams. could keon have been closer to clarke than to ron francis?
I'm not really understanding this argument that a Keon or Ullman would have possibly enhanced their career peaks had they played in a 30 team league. They were elite players in a 6 team league, and they were still great players later in their career when the league expanded to 14-16 teams and briefly in the WHA. And ultimately, Ullman was second fiddle to guys like Howe on his own team. If you were to populate that league with the real life inferior players of the day, I'm sure they could have padded their stats and dominated more. But 30 team league we have today is the same composition. When you find modern day players who are stars in their own right and have lauded intangibles, the names that come to mind are Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Toews, etc. Those guys still slot below the superstars of their era.

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10-14-2012, 09:58 PM
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i don't even have a response. i just wanted to quote this to make sure everybody notices.
It's easier to win a cup when there are fewer teams. That's just math.

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10-14-2012, 10:10 PM
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I don't see Ullman having a better playoff record than Ovechkin. Neither won a Cup. Ullman had some great personal performances and some disappointing ones



Meh, Malkin is really up and down in the playoffs. As of now, he's ahead of Ovechkin in the playoffs because of the Smythe, but I don't think he's been a particularly great playoff performer outside of 2009
up and down, yes. but his high was extremely high. and the year he lost in the finals, sure he sucked in the finals. but up to the finals, that was as good as ovechkin has ever done.


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I'm not really understanding this argument that a Keon or Ullman would have possibly enhanced their career peaks had they played in a 30 team league. They were elite players in a 6 team league, and they were still great players later in their career when the league expanded to 14-16 teams and briefly in the WHA. And ultimately, Ullman was second fiddle to guys like Howe on his own team. If you were to populate that league with the real life inferior players of the day, I'm sure they could have padded their stats and dominated more. But 30 team league we have today is the same composition. When you find modern day players who are stars in their own right and have lauded intangibles, the names that come to mind are Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Toews, etc. Those guys still slot below the superstars of their era.
i'm just throwing it out there as a corollary to the theory that says it's harder to be a year-in, year-out vezina nominee in the 21 or 30 game era as opposed to the original six. with more teams, more goalies in a given year can have a career year that vaults them, however briefly, into the top tier. i wonder whether for a guy like ullman you could say the same thing: the year ullman finished second for the hart and led the league in goals, could that have been a corey perry-type hart season in a larger league where he carried a weaker team into a playoff spot? he finished behind hull for the hart, even though he outscored him handily; did being on the same team as howe take away some first place hart votes from ullman (howe finished third with 9 first place votes, and incidentally his other teammate crozier finished fourth)?

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10-15-2012, 03:38 AM
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I actually stated it a bit poorly. I meant that the NHL talent pool (just taking top-end talent into account) had probably expanded by about 50%, meaning that approximately 33% of current "hockey talent production" is coming from Europe. I stated the ratios in a somewhat misleading way.

One distortion that often trips people up when looking at European integration in the NHL (which really got underway in the 90's) is that the Europeans started coming over in great numbers during what was a noticeably weak period for Canadian talent, at least among the skaters. Talent from all countries is not constant from one generation to the next, and the generation of North Americans who hit their primes in the 90's was simply not very good. This tends to make the Europeans looks somewhat better during the integration period. It has balanced out more lately. Europeans definitely do not make up 50% of the top-end talent in the NHL right now. As a total percentage, they are around 22-23%, though I'd say in terms of top-end talent, it's closer to one third.
Let's look at the top 19 players last year + Crosby:

Malkin
Stamkos
Giroux
Spezza
Kovalchuk
Kessel
Sedin
Neal
Tavares
Karlsson
Elias
Thornton
Whitney
Hossa
Gaborik
Eberle
Crosby
Kopitar
St-Louis
Pominville

Kopitar, Gaborik, Hossa, Elias, Karlsson, Sedin, Kovalchuk, Malkin; are from Europe. So 40% of the top-20 forwards.

I'm surprised there's only one American.

I'll note that there are some ethnic names among the Canadians: Spezza, Tavares, Stamkos; that you would have seen fifty years ago. Tavares is of portugese background, Stamkos is of macedonian background, Spezza I don't know but his middle name is Rocco.

Once you count these guys, the talent pool has more than doubled.

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10-15-2012, 07:20 AM
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Kopitar, Gaborik, Hossa, Elias, Karlsson, Sedin, Kovalchuk, Malkin; are from Europe. So 40% of the top-20 forwards.
Yes, and now do the defensemen. You will find a much lower number are European. The overall talent pool has increased by about 50%, or to put it another way, about 1/3rd of the top-end talent right now is European.

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I'll note that there are some ethnic names among the Canadians: Spezza, Tavares, Stamkos; that you would have seen fifty years ago. Tavares is of portugese background, Stamkos is of macedonian background, Spezza I don't know but his middle name is Rocco.

Once you count these guys, the talent pool has more than doubled.
Sorry, but this is just silly. I'm not even sure what you're really trying to argue here, but there is no way that Spezza, Tavares and Stamkos should be counted as "European" players. The vast majority of North Americans have European last names. These are Canadian players. The expansion of the Canadian talent pool through European immigration is already captured in population figures, though you mostly have to subtract Asian/African immigration to arrive at the real number. Besides, we have no way of knowing when these families immigrated. There have been Europeans of all stripes in North America for centuries.


Last edited by Sturminator: 10-15-2012 at 07:26 AM.
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10-15-2012, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
up and down, yes. but his high was extremely high. and the year he lost in the finals, sure he sucked in the finals. but up to the finals, that was as good as ovechkin has ever done.




i'm just throwing it out there as a corollary to the theory that says it's harder to be a year-in, year-out vezina nominee in the 21 or 30 game era as opposed to the original six. with more teams, more goalies in a given year can have a career year that vaults them, however briefly, into the top tier. i wonder whether for a guy like ullman you could say the same thing: the year ullman finished second for the hart and led the league in goals, could that have been a corey perry-type hart season in a larger league where he carried a weaker team into a playoff spot? he finished behind hull for the hart, even though he outscored him handily; did being on the same team as howe take away some first place hart votes from ullman (howe finished third with 9 first place votes, and incidentally his other teammate crozier finished fourth)?
Ok, that Corey Perry scenario is an interesting one, and obviously Perry's career hasn't played out fully so we don't know what his legacy will ultimately be. Assuming he returns to his usual Corey Perry pace like a Norm Ullman did after 1965, you can kind of ask whether you value Perry calibre star over an Ovechkin or Lindros.

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10-15-2012, 11:04 AM
  #74
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i don't even have a response. i just wanted to quote this to make sure everybody notices.
Thank you for this!

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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
If Alexander Ovechkin occupies a similar position on the totem pole as Bobby Hull did in the 1960s as one of the top three individual star players, why should he be slotted below guys like Dave Keon and Norm Ullman who were not among the top handful of superstars in the NHL during their playing days?
At this point, simply because they occupied a slot in the pecking order just a notch below his, but for twice as long.

Ovechkin will almost certainly be a better “all-time” player than them (and arguably is now, too) but it doesn’t just happen automatically. As of 2008, it wasn’t just “boom, he’s an art ross winner now, and they never were; therefore he is now better”. The comparison is much more nuanced and it certainly can’t be boiled down as easily as you’re trying to.

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Meh, Malkin is really up and down in the playoffs. As of now, he's ahead of Ovechkin in the playoffs because of the Smythe, but I don't think he's been a particularly great playoff performer outside of 2009
I agree.

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Oh wow, tell me more about this club of learned hockey wise men!
Hey, you’re usually on the right side of the argument in this section and I respect you a lot. So I hope you take this invitation seriously. Come to the all-time draft section and check the place out. Maybe join the upcoming AAA draft, where we are trying to select the 1200th-1400th best players in history. You may learn something about comparisons between players old and new, and you might even teach us something too. Consider it a “competitive hockey history study group”. It’s a rewarding experience and even if you doing join, I hope you will refrain from sarcastic dismissive comments like the above.

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2. It doesn't take a master historian such as yourself to understand the basic premise here. Ovechkin and Lindros were both players who spent extended periods of time at the very top of the hockey world. The number of players who have done that is well below 100. No one here is saying that someone like Keon or Ullman is bad, or even anywhere near that. As great as they both were, it is unlikely they reached the levels attained by Lindros and Ovechkin. It's not about attacking retired greats, but instead appreciating modern greats.
I don’t see it as being about that at all. I think this is just a classic “peak vs. longevity” debate. You may as well be comparing Ovechkin to Fedorov, Gilmour or Francis. At least that way the accusations of “not appreciating older players” and “being obsessed with old times” would not be flying around.

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And ultimately, Ullman was second fiddle to guys like Howe on his own team
How horrible that must have been…

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10-15-2012, 11:42 AM
  #75
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
At this point, simply because they occupied a slot in the pecking order just a notch below his, but for twice as long.

Ovechkin will almost certainly be a better “all-time” player than them (and arguably is now, too) but it doesn’t just happen automatically. As of 2008, it wasn’t just “boom, he’s an art ross winner now, and they never were; therefore he is now better”. The comparison is much more nuanced and it certainly can’t be boiled down as easily as you’re trying to.
Meh, it is just the boring old peak vs longevity debate, which usually just breaks down into a "did you like the player" subjective argument. If you don't like the player, he's labeled as a compiler, if you did, he had a ton of intangibles.

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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
I don’t see it as being about that at all. I think this is just a classic “peak vs. longevity” debate. You may as well be comparing Ovechkin to Fedorov, Gilmour or Francis. At least that way the accusations of “not appreciating older players” and “being obsessed with old times” would not be flying around.
Yep.

I'll bet if the debate was Francis, Fedorov or Gilmour, you'd have fewer people trying to make foolish statements about how their longevity could even tip the scales in favour of a couple of guys who dominated the league for about as long as Guy Lafleur's peak.

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How horrible that must have been…
I don't even know how the original statement was even a negative.

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