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Was hockey better in the 80s?

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Old
11-13-2012, 12:32 AM
  #26
jumptheshark
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Originally Posted by Passchendaele View Post
Yes, scoring was much higher, but do you feel the game was more enjoyable? For those like me who weren't old enough to watch hockey in those days, you might have seen some classic hockey game sometime, NHL Network used to show some games from the 80s (maybe they still do, I don't have access to the channel anymore so I wouldn't know).

The common argument defending modern hockey is that more goals doesn't equal more scoring chances. I disagree.

From what I've seen there were always scoring opportunities and interesting plays, no useless puck dumping. The game looked much more exciting than it looks now.

Thoughts?
for those who watched the game

9 times out of ten you would get a high scoring, fight filled entertaining game.

The only good part of living in Edmonton in the 80's was watching the oilers in their games--even when they sucked they rocked

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11-13-2012, 01:10 AM
  #27
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To me, NHL hockey between 1975 and 1993 was pure unadulterated fun. I'll never love a pro sport as much, ever again.

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11-13-2012, 01:17 AM
  #28
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Originally Posted by Supreme King View Post
The NHL in the 1980's was much more fun to watch.
This.

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11-13-2012, 01:27 AM
  #29
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What I liked best about the 80s was 21 teams. Everyone played the other 3 times minimum, which means you could see every team at home at least once.

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11-13-2012, 02:54 AM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Too much overlap for this to be a reason. Plenty of coaches coached successfully in the 80s, 90s, even 2000s.

I think the emphasis changed but not the ability of the best coaches so much.

You'll have a hard time convincing me that Scotty Bowman was a better defensive coach in 2002 than he was in 1992 or whatever. But coaches have to work with what they have and in the environment they are in too.

I do agree that today teams are practically all defense first now, and coaches are much more strict enforcing it, which results in a lot of boring chippy hockey, though.



True player shifts were longer primarily in the early 80s. They shortened quite a bit by the later 80s so again.. so I am not sure how this is a good reason.



I think this is primarily a change in how teams are assembled now.

In the 80s teams often had scoring depth. Now they have players who can skate and check and not much else.

Secondly I don't think the drop off is especially on defense. I think it is just more noticeable in a defenseman.



I take a real issue with this.. goalies didn't stink. They just played a reactive style with much smaller and heavier equipment.

Goalies today have to master a technique that gives them a big edge over the goalies of the past in that they can often just let the puck hit them with little chance of a shooter beating them.

I give them full credit for playing the odds (lets face it, its smart and effective!) but I do believe that equipment advances helped a lot of that change.




You're going to have a hard time convincing me that 80s Gretzky, Lemieux, Bourque and Coffey for an example aren't better than any player similar player playing today.



I agree but I think that it has to do with how players developed in that generation.

They had more access to ice. More free time and less distractions.



That training on defensive systems pretty much from childhood is a big factor in many of us believing that players today are generally less creative.

Back when we had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to school, people played hockey for fun. You tend to play a lot more when it is fun, and that ends up being an awful lot of creative practice.



The pace may look slower but that is because there is actually flow to the game at times instead of broken plays and chip outs and chip ins.

Top players from 1985 could skate with the top players from today quite easily. Particularly with lighter and better equipment.

I disagree again that the goalies were terrible. They were just different. You get in net with the pads they had in 1985 and stand in front of a few Al MacInnis slapshots and then come back here and tell me how terrible they were.
^^^^^ This is my view to a tee. Could not have said it better and you've saved me a LOT of typing.

As to the original question, yes the '80s (and the '70s for that matter) were more exciting.

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11-13-2012, 03:01 AM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
This is the anti sticky IMO, why don't teams just get 500lb 6'4" guys to play net then? There is alot more skill and science in goal tending going on today compared to the reflex 80's.
Science big time yes, skill no.

It's easier to play goal now than it ever was in the 80's.
It's more about letting the %'s stop the puck than using skill to do it.
It doesn't take skill to drop into a butterfly, just practice.
Don't confuse skill with talent and anticipation.

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11-13-2012, 04:10 AM
  #32
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It was definitely more fun to watch. The biggest difference for me in comparing the two eras is the red line. Put the red line back in today's game and you will see scoring go down and pace come to a stand still. The emphasis on defensive systems over the past 20 years is evident. However, if the NHL increased the size of the ice to European standards, put the red line back in and continued to call infractions as they are now, we may see a return to more run and gun style hockey. Today's players have the skill and creativity to turn the game into more of a spectacle. Let's give them a chance to show those skills off more. Also, the NHL should reduce the size of goalie equipment and bring back wooden sticks. Sigh, I dream a lot.

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11-13-2012, 04:33 AM
  #33
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For me, it was basically the decade of '85 to '95 that sticks out the most. My first actual memories of watching hockey as a conscious viewer (keeping track of teams/players/stats, etc) were right on the cusp between Gretzky's top goal scoring and point scoring seasons, and Roy leading the Habs to the Cup as a rookie. Those 10 years that followed certainly didn't disappoint, but the interruption in '94/95 did, lol. Nothing since has compared for me, despite players gradually becoming better athletes.

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11-13-2012, 05:38 AM
  #34
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Not more entertaining. It was slower, sometimes the goaltending looks absolutely ridiculous and most of the hits were softer than today(because of slower skating speed).Now it is better.

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11-13-2012, 03:08 PM
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Too much overlap for this to be a reason. Plenty of coaches coached successfully in the 80s, 90s, even 2000s.

I think the emphasis changed but not the ability of the best coaches so much.

You'll have a hard time convincing me that Scotty Bowman was a better defensive coach in 2002 than he was in 1992 or whatever. But coaches have to work with what they have and in the environment they are in too.

I do agree that today teams are practically all defense first now, and coaches are much more strict enforcing it, which results in a lot of boring chippy hockey, though.



True player shifts were longer primarily in the early 80s. They shortened quite a bit by the later 80s so again.. so I am not sure how this is a good reason.



I think this is primarily a change in how teams are assembled now.

In the 80s teams often had scoring depth. Now they have players who can skate and check and not much else.

Secondly I don't think the drop off is especially on defense. I think it is just more noticeable in a defenseman.



I take a real issue with this.. goalies didn't stink. They just played a reactive style with much smaller and heavier equipment.

Goalies today have to master a technique that gives them a big edge over the goalies of the past in that they can often just let the puck hit them with little chance of a shooter beating them.

I give them full credit for playing the odds (lets face it, its smart and effective!) but I do believe that equipment advances helped a lot of that change.




You're going to have a hard time convincing me that 80s Gretzky, Lemieux, Bourque and Coffey for an example aren't better than any player similar player playing today.



I agree but I think that it has to do with how players developed in that generation.

They had more access to ice. More free time and less distractions.



That training on defensive systems pretty much from childhood is a big factor in many of us believing that players today are generally less creative.

Back when we had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to school, people played hockey for fun. You tend to play a lot more when it is fun, and that ends up being an awful lot of creative practice.



The pace may look slower but that is because there is actually flow to the game at times instead of broken plays and chip outs and chip ins.

Top players from 1985 could skate with the top players from today quite easily. Particularly with lighter and better equipment.

I disagree again that the goalies were terrible. They were just different. You get in net with the pads they had in 1985 and stand in front of a few Al MacInnis slapshots and then come back here and tell me how terrible they were.
A picture speaks a thousand words >>>>>

Goalie equipment in the 1980s:


Goalie equipment in the 1990:


No one can tell me that the huge difference in the size of goalie equipment hasn't had a HUGE impact on save percentages.

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11-13-2012, 03:37 PM
  #36
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I love to watch the game at all ages, all skill levels and in any era.

I respect the history of the game and enjoyed it but I think the game continues to get better with time. The 80s was not better than today. Up until the late 80s maybe early 90s puck movement was pretty slow compared to today I feel. It was very inividualistic, I much prefer the Soviet style of moving the puck which most NHL teams finally started to mix or adopt in their systems.

I also did not like the constant brawls. I enjoy a good fight, and im for fighting in hockey but it was annoying to see every single hit or check or any play for that matter resulting in a fight or bench clearing. It took away what I felt is the beauty of the game... Puck movement.

I never watched it live since I am young but I do watch many old games, old highlights and study the history. I bet watching guys the legends like Gretzky, bossy, trottier, lafleur, Clarke, messier, kurri and more was a true excitement but I still stand at my belief that the game style is much more exciting today



I like the limitations that dmen have today. More focus on proper checks, more focus on actual athleticism rather than size. On a avg basis I enjoy the games today

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11-13-2012, 03:41 PM
  #37
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Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
A picture speaks a thousand words >>>>>

Goalie equipment in the 1980s:

And that's not even a very good representative of goalie equipment for most of the 80's.

Here's Mike Liut 1981 through 1986
1981

1986

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11-13-2012, 03:44 PM
  #38
Morgoth Bauglir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
And that's not even a very good representative of goalie equipment for most of the 80's.

Here's Mike Liut 1981 through 1986
1981

1986
Revealing isn't it? I swear to God, I'm going to whip these pics out every time I hear the "oh goaltending in the '80s sucked" BS.

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11-13-2012, 04:20 PM
  #39
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Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
Revealing isn't it? I swear to God, I'm going to whip these pics out every time I hear the "oh goaltending in the '80s sucked" BS.
I was wearing that equipment in the mid 80's while playing Junior B/C and in Senior A in the late 80's.
When I got my first set of synthetic equipment in the early 90's, it was a vast and incredible difference. It changed my entire style overnight, from standup to hybrid.
I could open my legs more because i could shut the 5-hole so much faster and more completely. I could cheat blocker side on lefties because my glove hand, which was already my biggest weapon, was suddenly 1/3 of the weight and even faster. I could go down and recover in half the time and 1/4 of the energy.
Sliding across the ice didn't become an adventure depending on how much water/how wet my pads held/were.
Seriosuly, just too many things to list.


Last edited by Rhiessan71: 11-13-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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11-13-2012, 04:22 PM
  #40
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
I was wearing that equipment in the mid 80's while playing Junior B/C and in Senior A in the late 80's.
When I got my first set of synthetic equipment in the early 90's, it was a vast and incredible difference. It changed my entire style overnight.
I believe it. I have no doubt at all that the equipment is a big component in the creation of our latest "dead puck era".

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11-13-2012, 06:20 PM
  #41
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
I was wearing that equipment in the mid 80's while playing Junior B/C and in Senior A in the late 80's.
When I got my first set of synthetic equipment in the early 90's, it was a vast and incredible difference. It changed my entire style overnight, from standup to hybrid.
I could open my legs more because i could shut the 5-hole so much faster and more completely. I could cheat blocker side on lefties because my glove hand, which was already my biggest weapon, was suddenly 1/3 of the weight and even faster. I could go down and recover in half the time and 1/4 of the energy.
Sliding across the ice didn't become an adventure depending on how much water/how wet my pads held/were.
Seriosuly, just too many things to list.
Ken Dryden had a great take on this:

"Goalies too have adapted. How do you cover a net that is bigger than you are, when a puck can be shot faster than you can move, and when a skater might be on one side of the ice, or, after a pass an instant later, on the other side? You do what you could have done a few years earlier, but didn't, because you didn't have to. But now you do. You make your equipment bigger. Not your leg pads, there are rules against that, but your gloves, and most particularly your arm and torso pads. You couldn't really do that effectively a few years earlier. The protective padding was made mostly of felt, deer hair, and leather, so adding my size also added prohibitively more weight. But by using lightweight nylon, plastic, and foam, goalies could have size mobility too. There weren't really rules to stop them, and the principle on which equipment had been introduced in sports in the first place years before had been forgotten. Once, equipment had been understood as something to protect the body and allow it to do what a game asked it to do. So, if in rushing up the ice and trying to score, or defend, a puck might incidentlly strike you in the shins, why not be able to wear shin guards, so you can continue to skate and play as if undistracted by what really isn't important? The same for incidental blows to your hands. Why not wear protective gloves? And for the goalie, for whom stopping the puck is not incidental, why not protective leg pads and gloves? The principle, so universally understood as to require no discussion, was that equipment was to protect the body. If that meant, coincidentally, the protected body covered a little more of the net, that was OK. Anything more was unthinkable.

But if by protecting your body, equipment also made you a better goalie, over time it might seem that the real purpose of goalie equipment was to make you a better goalie. And if part of the goalie's approach was to preventing goals meant catching pucks, using a modified glove like forwards wore seemed pretty stupid. Why not a modified first baseman's glove? And if later, those quick, European, change-of-direction passe for a goalie meant the need to move but block just as much, if the goalie had to take away space to shoot at, he needed to take up more space himself. Besides, shot at one hundred miles per hour, even with a well-protected body, the puck hurts. So to a goalie, anything new that he adds to his equipment is arguably for protection. And to a League administrator, a former forward or defenseman, who wouldn't be caught dead playing goal, who doesn't understand goalies, and who by now is so confused by all this, it all seems allowable. In the last ten years, goalies have gone from Gumby-like stick figures to net-protecting objects as big as a house. The principle that the purpose of equipment is to protect the body, not the net, has been forgotten. Who says goalies are crazy?"

Ken Dryden from the 2003 Afterward to "The Game"


Last edited by Morgoth Bauglir: 12-14-2012 at 05:00 PM.
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11-13-2012, 06:28 PM
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
Ken Dryden had a great take on this:

"Goalies too have adapted. How do you cover a net that is bigger than you are, when a puck can be shot faster than you can move, and when a skater might be on one side of the ice, or, after a pass an instant later, on the other side? You do what you could have done a few years earlier, but didn't, because you didn't have to. But now you do. You make your equipment bigger. Not your leg pads, there are rules against that, but your gloves, and most particularly your arm and torso pads. You couldn't really do that effectively a few years earlier. The protective padding was made mostly of felt, deer hair, and leather, so adding my size also added prohibitively more weight. But by using lightweight nylon, plastic, and foam, goalies could have size mobility too. There weren't really rules to stop them, and the principle on which equipment had been introduced in sports in the first place years before had been forgotten. Once, equipment had been understood as something to protect the body and allow it to do what a game asked it to do. So, if in rushing up the ice and trying to score, or defend, a puck might incidentlly strike you in the shins, why not be able to wear shin guards, so you can continue to skate and play as if undistracted by what really isn't important? The same for incidental blows to your hands. Why not wear protective gloves? And for the goalie, for whom stopping the puck is not incidental, why not protective leg pads and gloves? The principle, so universally understood as to require no discussion, was that equipment was to protect the body. If that meant, coincidentally, the protected body covered a little more of the net, that was OK. Anything more was unthinkable.

But if by protecting your body, equipment also made you a better goalie, over time it might seem that the real purpose of goalie equipment was to make you a better goalie. And if part of the goalie's approach was to preventing goals meant catching pucks, using a modified glove like forwards wore seemed pretty stupid. Why not a modified first baseman's glove? And if later, those quick, European, change-of-direction passe for a goalie meant the need to move but block just as much, if the goalie had to take away space to shoot at, he needed to take up more space himself. Besides, shot at one hundred miles per hour, even with a well-protected body, the puck hurts. So to a gaolie, anything new that he adds to his equipment is arguably for protection. And to a League administrator, a former forward or defenseman, who wouldn't be caught dead playing goal, who doesn't understand goalies, and who by now is so confused by all this, it all seems allowable. In the last ten years, goalies have gone from Gumby-like stick figures to net-protecting objects as big as a house. The principle that the purpose of equipment is to protect the body, not the net, has been forgotten. Who says goalies are crazy?"

Ken Dryden from the 2003 Afterward to "The Game"
Even Ken Dryden calls BS on modern goaltending "science". Anyone with common sense can easily see that larger goaltending equipment has changed the game significantly - and not for the better.

If today's goalies are so much better than the 80s, give them the same sized equipment - they can even keep the lighter stuff just make it the same size as the 80s - then, let's see where they really stand. I suspect a .900 save percentage will be much harder to achieve and hockey will become much more entertaining.

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11-13-2012, 06:31 PM
  #43
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Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
Even Ken Dryden calls BS on modern goaltending "science". Anyone with common sense can easily see that larger goaltending equipment has changed the game significantly - and not for the better.

If today's goalies are so much better than the 80s, give them the same sized equipment - they can even keep the lighter stuff just make it the same size as the 80s - then, let's see where they really stand. I suspect a .900 save percentage will be much harder to achieve and hockey will become much more entertaining.
Exactly. Personally I'd go even further and ban the trap which has no other purpose than to hold the score down for both teams, and I'd call penalties with the same frequency as the '80s.

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11-13-2012, 06:43 PM
  #44
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Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
Even Ken Dryden calls BS on modern goaltending "science". Anyone with common sense can easily see that larger goaltending equipment has changed the game significantly - and not for the better.

If today's goalies are so much better than the 80s, give them the same sized equipment - they can even keep the lighter stuff just make it the same size as the 80s - then, let's see where they really stand. I suspect a .900 save percentage will be much harder to achieve and hockey will become much more entertaining.
I would love, love, love that. Would love to see them go back to wooden sticks, too, but that's probably asking too much.

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11-13-2012, 06:52 PM
  #45
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Exactly. Personally I'd go even further and ban the trap which has no other purpose than to hold the score down for both teams, and I'd call penalties with the same frequency as the '80s.
The science isn't really BS though.
It really is more about the "math" now, the %'s.

And the "Trap" gets a bad rap. It's the ultra conservative versions of it that focuses on the opposition to give up control of the puck (dump it in) from center and have very little or even no forechecking that is employed so often that is the culprit.
You can play a more offensive version with more forechecking that focuses more on creating turnovers instead but you don't see it.
It's the ridiculous versions like the one Tampa was employing at times that really make it look bad...

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11-13-2012, 06:53 PM
  #46
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
The science isn't really BS though.
It really is more about the "math" now, the %'s.

And the "Trap" gets a bad rap. It's the ultra conservative versions of it that focuses on the opposition to give up control of the puck (dump it in) from center and have very little or even no forechecking that is employed so often that is the culprit.
You can play a more offensive version with more forechecking that focuses more on creating turnovers instead but you don't see it.
It's the ridiculous versions like the one Tampa was employing at times that really make it look bad...
Yeah, what they were doing in Tampa Bay made me gag. I was cheering the Flyers response to it (you no wanna play, then we no wanna play either)

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11-13-2012, 06:56 PM
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Yeah, what they were doing in Tampa Bay made me gag. I was cheering the Flyers response to it (you no wanna play, then we no wanna play either)
Yeah like I said previously, the biggest difference between now and then is teams/players playing to win then and playing to not lose now.

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11-13-2012, 08:17 PM
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Yeah like I said previously, the biggest difference between now and then is teams/players playing to win then and playing to not lose now.
Yup. "Unfortunate" reality of the dollar figures attached to the game.

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11-14-2012, 12:05 AM
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
The science isn't really BS though.
It really is more about the "math" now, the %'s.

And the "Trap" gets a bad rap. It's the ultra conservative versions of it that focuses on the opposition to give up control of the puck (dump it in) from center and have very little or even no forechecking that is employed so often that is the culprit.
You can play a more offensive version with more forechecking that focuses more on creating turnovers instead but you don't see it.
It's the ridiculous versions like the one Tampa was employing at times that really make it look bad...
This is exactly why hockey was better in the past. No one was employing this catenaccio garbage. Can't tell you how many yawn fests I've watched since the late 90s where the 2 man forecheck just never happens. Go back and watch the '87 Canada Cup and tell me hockey in the 80s was slow. It wasn't. What Guy Boucher is coaching, now that is slow. And embarrassing.

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11-14-2012, 08:54 AM
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintPatrick33 View Post
A picture speaks a thousand words >>>>>

Goalie equipment in the 1980s:


Goalie equipment in the 1990:


No one can tell me that the huge difference in the size of goalie equipment hasn't had a HUGE impact on save percentages.
Perhaps a better example of what you're getting at. Here's Roy in 1986:


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