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HOH Top 60 Defensemen of All-Time

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Old
11-19-2012, 12:44 PM
  #351
tarheelhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
Yes, my estimate is 5X, but it I'll admit it could be 4X, and possibly as high as 6X. No one can say for sure and we are all just estimating.
And that's exactly what I said pages ago when this all kicked off. We can argue about it all day without changing the fact that it's all just guesswork.


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Whether it's 3X or 4X it's difficult to rank Harvey above Lidstrom due to this. They are very close in terms of the type of careers they had and their dominance over their peers, yet Lidstrom dealt with a much deeper talent pool. You seem to agree with this so is your only reason for placing Harvey higher because he came first?
Putting the originality issue aside, I'm not 100% certain that Lidstrom doesn't pass Harvey on merit. I've been pushing for a detailed look at the both of them for a long time (see here: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh....php?t=1084719) and with Lidstrom now retired, it seems there's no time like the present to do just that.

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Russia is a "ghost" that won the WJC in 2011, came 2nd last year and have produced recent talents like Malkin, Ovechkin and Datsyuk.
That's all very nice for their program, but there's little doubt of Russia's decline over the past 30 years. A handful of Russian superstars isn't exactly uncommon over history; what has changed is their ability to consistently produce dynamic talent at a rate that influences every NHL team rather than just a few. And the KHL makes it even more complicated, further reducing the NHL talent pool from where it was before.

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Sweden won the WJC last year, which was the first time in 31 years, and are producing lots of great young players. The SEL is another very strong league outside the NHL.
Indeed. When I said they are still in the same place they were before, I meant it as a compliment. A lot of Europe has moved backwards during that timeframe.

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The American program is better and larger than it ever was in the past.
Unless we're talking about grinders, I don't see how American talent in the NHL is any better than it was 15 years ago.

Chelios, Leetch, Modano, Lafontaine, Roenick, Leclair, Amonte, Weight, Guerin, Janney, Housley, Suter, Hatcher(s), Richter, Vanbiesbrouck, Barrasso
vs
Parise, Kane, Kessel, Ryan, Pavelski, Kesler, Backes, Callahan, Pacioretty, Brown, Johnson(s), Suter, McDonagh, Miller, Thomas, Quick

I'm not seeing a huge uptick in talent here. If anything, the 2012 group would be doing pretty well for themselves to have the kind of careers the older guys had. No shame in that.

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I don't think there is a legitimate case for saying hockey is on the decline in Canada. It may be more spread out and less available to the lower middle class but the kids that are being produced are fantastic.
I'm not going to touch this because I can't make eyewitness testimony. But what I have seen on this forum and in the media is not consistent with the notion of a growing Canadian talent pool.

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The only problem is it's hard to stand out when everyone can play at such a high level and are so serious about training.
Crosby, Lindros and Forsberg certainly didn't have a problem standing out. Yet they have each missed about half the time they were supposed to have spent dominating the competition over the past 15 years. Something to think about when judging the past generation or two of hockey talent.


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This was the topic so why should I have to ask? Why discuss something without giving your own opinion until I beg for it?
Protocol is generally to ask a question before you accuse someone of dodging it. Just something to consider in the future.

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11-19-2012, 12:52 PM
  #352
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Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
Actually no, Penguins didnt build around Crosby or Lemieux. They've been trying to build around Crosby but their team was actually built around them having Crosby-Malkin-Staal.

When Karlsson came up he was surrounded with teammates to utilize his offense (yes he is great offensively). This is what happens when you stop suffocating young defensemen like they did to Niedermeyer, Tverdovsky etc in the DPE.

But my guess is that you know what I mean but it doesnt fit in to your whole "Lidström is overrated"-angle you spew in every possible thread. Lets just leave it before this thread becomes another one.
Not sure how I call the guy I have as the 4th best D-man of all time overrated.
I guess in the context that he is clearly behind Orr, Harvey and Bourque in my book, sure.
Or that I find his offense gets very overrated by many posters, quite often.
Besides that, I don‘t think he is overrated at all.

And what the hell are you talking about, that the Pens didn't build around Lemieux? ********!


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Old
11-19-2012, 01:23 PM
  #353
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Recent Phenomena

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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
Do the same google search for Manitoba, Alberta, etc. There are year round rinks in a lot of places now and people are playing hockey during the summer.

I grew up in a small town and the more fortunate kids played summer hockey or attended summer hockey camps in the larger towns and cities nearby.

Besides, about 80% of Canada's population now live in urban areas anyways. Those "urban" areas are often near a larger city that does have a year round rink. The option is at least there now and many young players are fortunate enough to take advantage of it. If your son shows potential to make the NHL at an early age and loves hockey, if you could manage it wouldn't you pay to get him additinional icetime during the summer? That's what many people are doing.

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tabl...emo62a-eng.htm
Recent phenomena. Sherbrooke, QC opened in 2010, a few other Quebec centers in the last five years. Results are about 10 years away.

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11-19-2012, 01:26 PM
  #354
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Putting the originality issue aside, I'm not 100% certain that Lidstrom doesn't pass Harvey on merit. I've been pushing for a detailed look at the both of them for a long time (see here: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh....php?t=1084719) and with Lidstrom now retired, it seems there's no time like the present to do just that.
You're a Bourque fan and this is your attempt to get him up to # 2 on the list. Just be honest and forthright and admit it for a change.

(This is where you claim you aren't biased because it's the history section so it's uber important to be fair - I don't buy it if you haven't noticed, there's just as much bias on here as any other board.)

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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Protocol is generally to ask a question before you accuse someone of dodging it. Just something to consider in the future.
I asked you questions about it in post #277, then you said for me to use the search function. I asked you again in post #299 and you didn't respond. Either way, you were critical of my estimate but didn't offer your own which is against "prototcol" as well.

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11-19-2012, 01:28 PM
  #355
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Not Quebec Centric

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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Recent phenomena. Sherbrooke, QC opened in 2010, a few other Quebec centers in the last five years. Results are about 10 years away.
Hockey in Canada is not Quebec centric. There are rinks here in Ontario that have been opened during the summer hockey and camps much longer than that.

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11-19-2012, 01:31 PM
  #356
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
You can refer to them as geniuses and outliers but really what they were is the best player at their position for an extended period of time. I agree there is no guarentee that a generation produces two Harvey's or two Lidstrom's based on a doubling of the talent pool but there is also no guarentee that it doesn't produce 3 or 4 either.
I've been chewing on this statement and had a thought. I'm going to throw it out there for consideration... maybe it'll float, maybe it won't.

When I think of hockey players that operated at a true "genius" level -- meaning if there were a league above the NHL where players could get called up to play against the hockey gods themselves, these guys would still be good players in that league -- I really only think of three names. Orr, Gretzky, Lemieux. Those players looked like men among boys, not just at their peak but pretty much all the time. They performed at a level that wouldn't even be considered possible if they hadn't proven otherwise, and were only slowed by the limitations of the human body. Some would throw Forsberg or Hasek in the same category which is fine for the sake of this discussion.

Then, below that, you have some great players who were merely "the best at their position for an extended period of time". Bourque belongs in this category, as does Jagr and Bossy and so forth. Perhaps controversially, I'd put Gordie Howe here. I think we all agree that Lidstrom goes in this category, in the sense that he was more like Bourque than Orr, with the difference between Ray and Nick simply being a matter of measuring the degree to which they were the best defensemen and for how long.

So this leads me to ask: to which category do we assign Doug Harvey? Unless I am missing something, he goes into the "best at the position for a long time" category rather than the "transcendental genius" category. As opposed to Orr and Gretzky exposing new horizons in game that have never been duplicated in spite of legions of imitators, Harvey was one of those players who found something new but fairly easily duplicated. Closer to a Glen Hall or Bernie Geoffrion, pioneering the technical possibilities of the game.

In that light, with all due respect to Harvey as a pioneer, for me it kind of takes a little bit of the luster off the "outlying genius" aspect of his argument. Not that he doesn't deserve some credit for being influential, but it seems to me that matters of influence are a bit of a tangent here.

Harvey and Lidstrom both went against the popular concept of what a defenseman was supposed to be, and proved a lot of people wrong about what a "complete" defenseman looks like, and in that respect they are more or less on equal ground as influencers. So it seems to me that they really should be compared purely in terms of career merit, without the distraction of which one was more of a trailblazer and whatnot. Harvey shouldn't get an automatic bonus above and beyond our normal standards for comparison.

On that note, I'm also starting to wonder if we haven't underestimated the possibility that Eddie Shore was closer to the Orr-Gretzky-Mario level, and what that might mean.

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11-19-2012, 01:34 PM
  #357
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Recent phenomena. Sherbrooke, QC opened in 2010, a few other Quebec centers in the last five years. Results are about 10 years away.
Very recent. I'm from/in Halifax, and aside from the newly-constructed BMO Centre out in Bedford, I'm not sure if there has ever been a rink that keeps its ice year round - including the Metro Centre. Oh sure, it gets put back in for a couple of weeks of hockey school here and there, but as far as the ability for a group of guys to rent an hour of ice in August to play some hockey? Don't think it's even possible these days, and Halifax is on the urban side of "municipal".

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11-19-2012, 01:53 PM
  #358
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
You're a Bourque fan and this is your attempt to get him up to # 2 on the list. Just be honest and forthright and admit it for a change.

(This is where you claim you aren't biased because it's the history section so it's uber important to be fair - I don't buy it if you haven't noticed, there's just as much bias on here as any other board.)

Frankly, you're not showing very well if this is the route you want to go. I gave you plenty of material for an intelligent and dignified response. The moderators here have been clamping down on forumers questioning each other's motives, and for good reason.

In response to the Bourque/Harvey/Lidstrom thing, I told you from the start where I stand. My votes are all a matter of public record. I have nothing to hide and will happily discuss why I have Bourque over Harvey if you'd like. I don't need to do some kind of end-around involving Lidstrom to get there. I have him over Harvey and Lidstrom for almost identical reasons, so switching Lidstrom and Harvey around makes no difference to me. I just think it's an intriguing argument, less irritating than continuing the Bourque/Lidstrom epic argument and less challenging than dealing with Eddie Shore.

Quote:
I asked you questions about it in post #277, then you said for me to use the search function. I asked you again in post #299 and you didn't respond. Either way, you were critical of my estimate but didn't offer your own which is against "prototcol" as well.
There's a big difference between "let me know your estimate" and "show me the arguments that were made last time this came up". I'm happy to offer an opinion but I'm not doing your homework for you. Are you going somewhere with these comments or is it just more catfighting?

In any case, the argument seems to have stalled at "your guess is as good as mine", which confirms the orginal comment that it probably wouldn't be worth our time to rehash it again.

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11-19-2012, 01:55 PM
  #359
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
Hockey in Canada is not Quebec centric. There are rinks here in Ontario that have been opened during the summer hockey and camps much longer than that.
It was until the 20s probably though, maybe 10s with the PCHA and Stanley Cup trustees' decision to recognize the US teams. The Wanderers folded and the NHL takes over putting franchises all over the map breaking the Eastern Canada focus to that point.

By contrast, Toronto can get in a pissing match with Pittsburgh and Detroit about who was the better second-tier market of the time, but that's all they're fighting for.

I think this is one of the main problems with this back and forth. You're talking more about the present where rinks are more available than they were in the past.

There's a reason for so few teams/players in Western Canada for most of hockey history (see HV's post) and I'm entirely sold the reasons are what CS58 is claiming. You believe this area's contributions are vital to the 5x larger talent pool, but you still haven't presented why you believe they suddenly came on the scene.

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11-19-2012, 02:26 PM
  #360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I've been chewing on this statement and had a thought. I'm going to throw it out there for consideration... maybe it'll float, maybe it won't.

When I think of hockey players that operated at a true "genius" level -- meaning if there were a league above the NHL where players could get called up to play against the hockey gods themselves, these guys would still be good players in that league -- I really only think of three names. Orr, Gretzky, Lemieux. Those players looked like men among boys, not just at their peak but pretty much all the time. They performed at a level that wouldn't even be considered possible if they hadn't proven otherwise, and were only slowed by the limitations of the human body. Some would throw Forsberg or Hasek in the same category which is fine for the sake of this discussion.

Then, below that, you have some great players who were merely "the best at their position for an extended period of time". Bourque belongs in this category, as does Jagr and Bossy and so forth. Perhaps controversially, I'd put Gordie Howe here. I think we all agree that Lidstrom goes in this category, in the sense that he was more like Bourque than Orr, with the difference between Ray and Nick simply being a matter of measuring the degree to which they were the best defensemen and for how long.

So this leads me to ask: to which category do we assign Doug Harvey? Unless I am missing something, he goes into the "best at the position for a long time" category rather than the "transcendental genius" category. As opposed to Orr and Gretzky exposing new horizons in game that have never been duplicated in spite of legions of imitators, Harvey was one of those players who found something new but fairly easily duplicated. Closer to a Glen Hall or Bernie Geoffrion, pioneering the technical possibilities of the game.

In that light, with all due respect to Harvey as a pioneer, for me it kind of takes a little bit of the luster off the "outlying genius" aspect of his argument. Not that he doesn't deserve some credit for being influential, but it seems to me that matters of influence are a bit of a tangent here.

Harvey and Lidstrom both went against the popular concept of what a defenseman was supposed to be, and proved a lot of people wrong about what a "complete" defenseman looks like, and in that respect they are more or less on equal ground as influencers. So it seems to me that they really should be compared purely in terms of career merit, without the distraction of which one was more of a trailblazer and whatnot. Harvey shouldn't get an automatic bonus above and beyond our normal standards for comparison.

On that note, I'm also starting to wonder if we haven't underestimated the possibility that Eddie Shore was closer to the Orr-Gretzky-Mario level, and what that might mean.

Good post. I agree with a lot of it.
However, I think it downplays the innovations Harvey brought and what it took for him to do so.
It's like the line from Money Ball near the end, "The first guy through the wall always gets creamed."
Harvey took a lot of heat playing the way he did, in the face of the norm and against conventional thinking.
There are articles I read about how Harvey drove his coaches and teammates crazy with how he held onto the puck, wouldn't pass to anyone standing still and thought he was being passive and/or lazy in how he defended.
It took a while for people to understand what he was really doing and just how effective it truly was.
Effective enough that it changed the way D-men play to this day.

Harvey took a lot of risk to play the way he did, especially in those days when it didn't take much cause to earn a trip back to riding a bus in the minors and IMO, that shouldn't be downplayed.

And I don't believe that Lidstrom went against anything. If anything, he played as a text book ultra conservative, classic D-man. Nothing new there IMO.

And of course, you know what I'm going to say next...a text book written by Doug Harvey


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Old
11-19-2012, 02:42 PM
  #361
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
However, I think it downplays the innovations Harvey brought and what it took for him to do so....
Harvey took a lot of heat playing the way he did, in the face of the norm and against conventional thinking.
I think that's important to know about him, but how does it make him better than if his innovations had been eagerly accepted? Or if they hadn't been his ideas at all?

In a sense, is it any bigger a deal than inventing the butterfly or the slap shot? Those are important innovations, but they don't vault Glen Hall and Bernie Geoffrion (or whoever is getting credit for inventing slap shots this month) over the competition on an all-time list. Shouldn't Harvey be judged on what his innovations allowed him to achieve, rather than on the fact that they were innovative?

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11-19-2012, 03:02 PM
  #362
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I think that's important to know about him, but how does it make him better than if his innovations had been eagerly accepted? Or if they hadn't been his ideas at all?

In a sense, is it any bigger a deal than inventing the butterfly or the slap shot? Those are important innovations, but they don't vault Glen Hall and Bernie Geoffrion (or whoever is getting credit for inventing slap shots this month) over the competition on an all-time list. Shouldn't Harvey be judged on what his innovations allowed him to achieve, rather than on the fact that they were innovative?
So how do we set about judging that though?
How do we judge the effect his puck possession and control had on those Hab teams? Or how his positional defensive play instead of attacking prevented more goals?
I mean obviously it must have been much more effective than what was going on previously or it wouldn't have been copied so thoroughly.
We don't have, or at least I haven't seen anything for him in R-on/R-off numbers or ESGF/G or ESGA/G. Is there even enough info available to do it?

All we really have are articles from people saying how incredible he was at controlling a game and preventing goals. Along with his 7 Norris for doing it.

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11-19-2012, 03:24 PM
  #363
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So how do we set about judging that though?
How do we judge the effect his puck possession and control had on those Hab teams? Or how his positional defensive play instead of attacking prevented more goals?
I mean obviously it must have been much more effective than what was going on previously or it wouldn't have been copied so thoroughly.
We don't have, or at least I haven't seen anything for him in R-on/R-off numbers or ESGF/G or ESGA/G. Is there even enough info available to do it?

All we really have are articles from people saying how incredible he was at controlling a game and preventing goals. Along with his 7 Norris for doing it.
Pretty much the same as Lidstrom, right? To me, a lot of this stuff just cancels out unless you're giving a substantial originality bonus to Harvey... which I'm getting more reluctant to do now that I'm thinking of him as more of a technical trailblazer than a force of nature. Other than that, we could almost not create two more equally balanced players from such a diverse era. It's like everything between them just evens out, or boils down to guesswork.

At some point, hopefully soon, I want to dig up as much info as possible on Harvey to try and at least determine what seasons he was the #1, #2, #3 most important player on each of those Hab teams. And then do the same for Lidstrom, try and pin down exactly where he was in the pecking order that resulted in so much team success. My nightmare is that they'll be tied, but maybe there will be some kind of difference that would push one ahead of the other.

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11-19-2012, 03:39 PM
  #364
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Pretty much the same as Lidstrom, right?
No, not the same. Puck possession and full ice control of pace and tempo has never been a big part of Lidstrom's game. That's much more in Bourque's territory.


Quote:
To me, a lot of this stuff just cancels out unless you're giving a substantial originality bonus to Harvey... which I'm getting more reluctant to do now that I'm thinking of him as more of a technical trailblazer than a force of nature. Other than that, we could almost not create two more equally balanced players from such a diverse era. It's like everything between them just evens out, or boils down to guesswork.

At some point, hopefully soon, I want to dig up as much info as possible on Harvey to try and at least determine what seasons he was the #1, #2, #3 most important player on each of those Hab teams. And then do the same for Lidstrom, try and pin down exactly where he was in the pecking order that resulted in so much team success. My nightmare is that they'll be tied, but maybe there will be some kind of difference that would push one ahead of the other.
So basically, the way I see it is that they both played very conservatively, both played a very strong positional defensive game and both were very much more inclined to exhibit their offensive abilities on the PP than at Even Strength.
However, Harvey also had a physical element to his game (Harvey was deadly with his hip checks) that Lidstrom didn't and Harvey was no boy scout. He exhibited a nasty mean streak from time to time to keep the opposition honest.
Then you add to that, his puck possession and game control abilities and I simply see Harvey as the superior overall D-man.



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11-19-2012, 06:00 PM
  #365
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No, not the same. Puck possession and full ice control of pace and tempo has never been a big part of Lidstrom's game. That's much more in Bourque's territory.
I've probably been underrating Harvey's offense. The assist at 0:20 of that video... wow.

Quote:
However, Harvey also had a physical element to his game (Harvey was deadly with his hip checks) that Lidstrom didn't and Harvey was no boy scout. He exhibited a nasty mean streak from time to time to keep the opposition honest.
And unlike most comparisons to Lidstrom, the physicality and nastiness really means something here because it's in addition to a brilliant positional game.

I guess the ball's back in Lidstrom's court then.

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11-19-2012, 07:57 PM
  #366
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I've probably been underrating Harvey's offense. The assist at 0:20 of that video... wow.



And unlike most comparisons to Lidstrom, the physicality and nastiness really means something here because it's in addition to a brilliant positional game.

I guess the ball's back in Lidstrom's court then.

Yeah, any footage I have seen of Harvey, like some of the Hab games from the 50's, he is quite simply one of the most noticeable and impressive players on the ice. That's saying something considering he was sharing ice with Richard and Beliveau.
So when I read articles about how dominant he was from games and in general from back then, I fully understand why.

Honestly, the only D-man I have seen that impressed me more was Robert Gordon.

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11-19-2012, 07:58 PM
  #367
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No, obviously the player pool is increasing steadily but it would be nice to see someone quantify the entire talent pool.
You can't exactly quantify a subjective thing like talent though.

If one assumes that the traditional pool Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Sask and Alberta) didn't decline and add all the new feeder pools and how those countries fair against Canada internationally, better and closer over time, it's pretty safe to bet that the talent pool is at least 5 times as great as say middle of the 06 era.

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11-19-2012, 08:09 PM
  #368
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Still hockey is effectively a two continent sport - NA (only 2 of 23 countries contribute) and Europe(maybe 12 of the app 50 countries contribute). This is being generous since most countries from both continents do not contribute NHL hockey players.

NA and Europe rank 4th and 3rd in terms of continental population out of all the continents.

From 1951 thru 2011 Canada's population went from just over 14,000,000 to app 34, 275,000 or app a 2.5 growth rate

2010-11 NHL season featured 482 Canadian skaters and 42 goalies.Adjusting for roster size and the tandem goal system this is the equivalent of 30 teams of 16 skaters and 1 goalie with 12 goalies left over in 1951 terms. So in terms of producing NHL players the Canadian population has outperformed the population growth. Plus the same population is a major contributor to stocking the various minor leagues in NA, the CHL, European leagues, NCAA hockey programs, etc.

The world population is not declining but it is not hockey friendly either nor is it performing at the level Canada is in producing professional or potential professional players.

As for the actual number of Canadiens playing hockey in 1951 or 1961 or points before or after, it does not matter since there is no link between population growth and the production of NHL hockey players by a country. The above clearly showed this. What matters is year round access to facilities and coaching.
I'll refer you back to post 300 where I gave the example of British Columbia which wasn't a traditional Canadian feeder into the NHL.

This pattern also happened in the maritime provinces as well.

Add all the talent from Europe as well as the US college system (which also includes top Canadian talent as well). College players from the US weren't a feeder system for the 06 NHL.

Throw in the change in the late 80's towards elite training and coaching of the top young talent after the poor showing at the WJC you have a convergence in the early 90's of a huge increase in the talent pool in the NHL both in terms of quality and depth.

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11-19-2012, 08:15 PM
  #369
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And your point is what exactly?
Did the Pens build their team around Crosby?
Did the Oilers build around Gretzky?
Did the Bruins build around Orr?
Did the Wings build around Yzerman?
Did the Caps build around OV?
Did the Bruins build around Bourque?

When you have a superior offensive talent, you build around him. Teams have been doing that for over a century now.

And who is saying that Karlsson is as good defensively as Lidstrom?
I will say one thing though, revisionism aside, I don't think Karlsson is all that far behind a 21-22 year old Lidstrom defensively.
Or did you forget that he was only 21 last year?


In the 30 or so games, including playoffs, that I saw of Karlsson last year, I was actually pretty surprised at how responsible he was defensively, how well he plays one on one and how well he manages risk management.
That's pretty damned special in such a young player.

His play style reminds me a lot of Bourque. Great puck possession and uses a lot of give and goes.
The scariest part about Karlsson is that he is still learning how to be a good PP QB and he still has a lot of room to improve in that area.
He overall point totals are only going to go up IMO.

(oh BTW, where's my supposed Canadian bias on this one? )
You could post a poll on it to find out how over people think right?

Karlsson is a terrific young player and offensive talent but your comment is very embarrassing and bears no basis in fact.

In fact I think %wise you will find less backers than your assertion of the "robbed Norris Poll."

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11-19-2012, 08:36 PM
  #370
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I've been chewing on this statement and had a thought. I'm going to throw it out there for consideration... maybe it'll float, maybe it won't.

When I think of hockey players that operated at a true "genius" level -- meaning if there were a league above the NHL where players could get called up to play against the hockey gods themselves, these guys would still be good players in that league -- I really only think of three names. Orr, Gretzky, Lemieux. Those players looked like men among boys, not just at their peak but pretty much all the time. They performed at a level that wouldn't even be considered possible if they hadn't proven otherwise, and were only slowed by the limitations of the human body. Some would throw Forsberg or Hasek in the same category which is fine for the sake of this discussion.

Then, below that, you have some great players who were merely "the best at their position for an extended period of time". Bourque belongs in this category, as does Jagr and Bossy and so forth. Perhaps controversially, I'd put Gordie Howe here. I think we all agree that Lidstrom goes in this category, in the sense that he was more like Bourque than Orr, with the difference between Ray and Nick simply being a matter of measuring the degree to which they were the best defensemen and for how long.

So this leads me to ask: to which category do we assign Doug Harvey? Unless I am missing something, he goes into the "best at the position for a long time" category rather than the "transcendental genius" category. As opposed to Orr and Gretzky exposing new horizons in game that have never been duplicated in spite of legions of imitators, Harvey was one of those players who found something new but fairly easily duplicated. Closer to a Glen Hall or Bernie Geoffrion, pioneering the technical possibilities of the game.

In that light, with all due respect to Harvey as a pioneer, for me it kind of takes a little bit of the luster off the "outlying genius" aspect of his argument. Not that he doesn't deserve some credit for being influential, but it seems to me that matters of influence are a bit of a tangent here.

Harvey and Lidstrom both went against the popular concept of what a defenseman was supposed to be, and proved a lot of people wrong about what a "complete" defenseman looks like, and in that respect they are more or less on equal ground as influencers. So it seems to me that they really should be compared purely in terms of career merit, without the distraction of which one was more of a trailblazer and whatnot. Harvey shouldn't get an automatic bonus above and beyond our normal standards for comparison.

On that note, I'm also starting to wonder if we haven't underestimated the possibility that Eddie Shore was closer to the Orr-Gretzky-Mario level, and what that might mean.
Interesting stuff but some counter points to consider.

Orr was the best player of his generation, let's put that aside for a bit and wonder how dominant he would have been without expansion and the NHL remains a 6 team league?

Wayne also has a bit of a perfect storm thing going on as well.

In a later era with an emphasis on two way play from everyone he doesn't score and dominate offensively as much either.

Ditto for Mario.

I think that something that doesn't get considered enough with guys like Wayne and Mario is how they were allowed to play all out offense and were not expected, and didn't play defensively at all.

On the surface offensively they tower over a guy like Datsyuk but take in the total game and the dominance is a bit less.

We have seen how an all out offensive team like Washington has fared and the tinkering that has gone on. It's pure speculation but the modern game would have some influence on the 3 super gods me thinks.

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11-19-2012, 08:44 PM
  #371
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I think that's important to know about him, but how does it make him better than if his innovations had been eagerly accepted? Or if they hadn't been his ideas at all?

In a sense, is it any bigger a deal than inventing the butterfly or the slap shot? Those are important innovations, but they don't vault Glen Hall and Bernie Geoffrion (or whoever is getting credit for inventing slap shots this month) over the competition on an all-time list. Shouldn't Harvey be judged on what his innovations allowed him to achieve, rather than on the fact that they were innovative?
This is how we should treat innovations, if they really are good they will translate into an advantage for that said player.

To do more than that is to double count but of course some traits and honors do spill over to others for most great players..

To make too much of them is folly IMO, earlier players already have a huge advantage with the interpretation of the Sticky here.

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11-19-2012, 08:53 PM
  #372
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I've probably been underrating Harvey's offense. The assist at 0:20 of that video... wow.



And unlike most comparisons to Lidstrom, the physicality and nastiness really means something here because it's in addition to a brilliant positional game.

I guess the ball's back in Lidstrom's court then.
That assist is great but the spinorama at the point, does any forward do a drive by like that post 92? Pretty rare I would think.

Nastiness and physicality are often referred to as positive attributes for a Damn but we can't judge how many plays were not tried due to a player fearing Harvey, or Chelios or Lidstroms gap control for that matter.

There is also the flip side to aggression in the form of minor penalties as well, good teams like Harveys Habs were probably able to absorb his time in the box but what if the team was less stacked?

I don't think there are solid answers for these questions, even as the statheads search for them in the modern context, but they are thing to ponder and in the end most of them even out I think.

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11-19-2012, 08:57 PM
  #373
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Yeah, any footage I have seen of Harvey, like some of the Hab games from the 50's, he is quite simply one of the most noticeable and impressive players on the ice. That's saying something considering he was sharing ice with Richard and Beliveau.
So when I read articles about how dominant he was from games and in general from back then, I fully understand why.

Honestly, the only D-man I have seen that impressed me more was Robert Gordon.
Understandably both of your observations mean more if you think there is little or no difference in the level of competition and talent level in the NHL from any period of time.

If we only had video footage of Hod Stuart and those golden years at the turn of the century....

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11-19-2012, 09:05 PM
  #374
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Interesting stuff but some counter points to consider.

Orr was the best player of his generation, let's put that aside for a bit and wonder how dominant he would have been without expansion and the NHL remains a 6 team league?
He remains the best player of his generation and he still wins 2 Art Ross.

Quote:
Wayne also has a bit of a perfect storm thing going on as well.
Here we go again, the unproven "Perfect Storm" argument and once I will ask the same question I do every time you bring it up.
Was Gretzky the product of a perfect storm or was he the creator of it?


Quote:
In a later era with an emphasis on two way play from everyone he doesn't score and dominate offensively as much either.

Ditto for Mario.

I think that something that doesn't get considered enough with guys like Wayne and Mario is how they were allowed to play all out offense and were not expected, and didn't play defensively at all.
PROVE IT!
They were allowed to play all out offense because their offense was so far in front of everyone elses that their defense didn't matter.


Quote:
On the surface offensively they tower over a guy like Datsyuk but take in the total game and the dominance is a bit less.
If you mean in that on a scale of 1-10 that Dats is an 8 offensively and a 10 defensively vs Wayne and Mario being 20's offensively and only 3 defensively.
Then yes, Dats makes up some ground but his "total" game still isn't as dominant as Wayne and Mario's offense on its own.

Quote:
We have seen how an all out offensive team like Washington has fared and the tinkering that has gone on. It's pure speculation but the modern game would have some influence on the 3 super gods me thinks.
There's a HUGE difference between trying to succeed as an offensive team and trying to succeed as an offensive team led by Gretzky or Lemieux. HUGE HUGE difference!

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11-19-2012, 09:06 PM
  #375
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understandably both of your observations mean more if you think there is little or no difference in the level of competition and talent level in the nhl from any period of time.

If we only had video footage of hod stuart and those golden years at the turn of the century....


You can't argue this here against Harvey and then completely ignore it vs Bourque.

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