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Round 2, Vote 4 (HOH Top Goaltenders)

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Old
11-23-2012, 09:43 AM
  #276
Canadiens1958
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Facts

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Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
There were two points to the Osgood example. One was that he put a lot of work in to learn the fundamentals again, and while a goalie completely tearing apart their game is far more rare than you imply, I do agree with you that goalies can work on their fundamentals and make technical adjustments or learn the latest and most efficient styles of play.

That is in fact a strong counterargument to anybody who wants to criticize older goalies because they had never been taught better technical fundamentals, because they would be able to pick those things up with work and proper coaching. Crha obviously picked up some things pretty quickly upon arrival in North America, and it seems to be nothing more than penalizing Holecek for his circumstances to assume that he wouldn't have fixed some of the holes in his game in the same way.

But perhaps the more important point with Chris Osgood is the fact that he played 568 games in the NHL with "high-school level technique". He didn't lift his skates off the ice when he moved laterally*, but he had plenty of other holes in his games for shooters to exploit and yet he stuck around for an awful long time at the highest level in the world. How does that happen if technique is everything?

I'm not completely minimizing the importance of strong technique, a guy like Sean Burke shows how a talented goalie can go from average to really good after putting in the work to develop their game. But the best goalies are generally very adaptable, there are no absolutes in goaltending in terms of style, and goaltending is a results business. If the guy gets the job done for a long time in an outstanding way relative to his team context then that's good enough for me, and I don't care an awful lot about how he looks while doing it.

(*-By the way, did Holecek always do this or did he do it once facing one breakaway in one clip? I haven't seen enough of him to know, and I'm extremely leery of the some of concrete claims being made here from awfully scant video evidence).
So you made a statement of fact previously that you could not support with any evidence.

The Osgood example just puts in question his relationship with the NHL goalie coaches he had. Goalies, especially since the advent of goalie coaches have always worked on their technique and fundamentals - practice, training camp, off season, etc, networking with other goalies, etc

Crha bolded. So you admit that Crha's pre NHL background was lacking. Evidence that the Czech goalie training was insufficient in general.

The flaw you attribute to Osgood is the type of flaw that separates the career back-up from a career #1 goalie. Will not prevent a solid NHL career, one that will allow him some HHOF consideration?

The flaw shown by Holecek was evident oh the 1976 Olympic and Canada Cup clips, more than one clip, contrary to what you allege.The flaw keeps coming back - which would explain Holecek's bad performances in some international events, listed above.
Same flaw kept Jamie Storr from a long NHL career despite a reasonable statistical performance:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...storrja01.html

Would like to see your explanation of the specific flaw and why it dooms goalies to the high minors.

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Old
11-23-2012, 09:59 AM
  #277
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
...
Patrick Roy was ranked first in this project mainly because of his playoff resume. What are the playoffs other than a short tournament compared to the regular season? If you go by the 82 game NHL season, Martin Brodeur is at least Roy's equal.
No, that is not true at all.


Last edited by spiny norman: 11-23-2012 at 10:10 AM. Reason: added ID of post being quoted
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11-23-2012, 11:57 AM
  #278
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Which is why they often talk about Tretiak (72 Summit, 74 Summit, 75-76 Super Series etc etc) and not about Holeček (played in one game against WHA Team Canada in 1974 and in one game against Winnipeg in 1975). So the circumstance you mention actually works in Tretiak's favour.
Yes, it worked in Tretiak's favour in terms of North American recognition that he played more against Canadian internationals, I agree with that. He also played far better against Canadian internationals than Holecek did. It's tough to handle that, because we don't really want to penalize Holecek too much because of lack of opportunity, but at the same time you absolutely have to credit Tretiak for what he did as well, and a Canada Cup MVP and a string of elite performances against NHLers is something that Holecek simply doesn't have on his resume.

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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
I thought that was a given. If you want to compare the top Soviet goalie and the top Czechoslovak goalie, you compare their performance at the one stage where they meet head to head.
I disagree. I think each goalie should be judged on the entirety of their careers, international and domestic, relative to the situations they played in. Otherwise we're vulnerable to making incorrect conclusions from small sample sizes.

And head-to-head results certainly aren't everything. Take the example of John Vanbiesbrouck and Mike Richter. If you compare their performances on the same team in New York and internationally for the U.S. national team, Richter easily beats Vanbiesbrouck. That's a much better point of comparison than even head-to-head international results as well as a much larger sample size, but I still rate Vanbiesbrouck as having clearly had the better career overall. Similarly, even if you accept that Holecek outplayed Tretiak in the mid-'70s it's still pretty easy to make the same type of case for Tretiak having the better career when you factor in how highly rated he was from 1979 to 1984.

And that's comparing two guys who are close to the same age. Holecek was 8 years older than Tretiak, and Tretiak had just turned 26 when Holecek won his last WC best goalie award in 1978. Tiny Thompson, Roy Worters and Ed Belfour were all in only their second season as an NHL starter at the age of 26, and Bill Durnan and Johnny Bower weren't even in the league yet. Sure seems like a lot of lower-ranked goalies were outplaying those guys as well in their early twenties, and yet here they all are being considered for the spots in the top 15 all time. Not to mention Holecek himself, who at the age of 26 had zero domestic league recognition and all of 2 games played at world championships.

North American exposure may have favoured Tretiak, but the age factor was definitely on Holecek's side when it comes to world championship awards in the 1970s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
He won the World Championship awards over Tretiak - that's enough for European observers to consider him better.
Sure, and for the reasons discussed above I think that's putting too much significance on a few award votes. Maybe Holecek was better, but it shouldn't be only because of world championship performance, particularly subjectively rated world championship performances.

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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
It's not like Holeček didn't do well in the Czechoslovak League MVP voting. And in another thread TDMM asked whether Tretiak was overrated in the Soviet League MVP voting because he simply looked outstanding compared to the other Soviet League goalies who were nothing to rave about.
That's a legitimate question, and all that should be taken into account. I think it might very well be true that Tretiak's earlier MVP awards were in large part aided by weak quality of competition. On the other hand, Tretiak's case is really strong enough even without those MVPs, as he was named the Russian athlete of the century, he was the first Russian voted into the HHOF, and there are lots of sources that suggest he was considered the best Russian player around that time period (New York Times in 1988: "Of all the Soviet players before glasnost, Tretiak would have been the most pursued by N.H.L. teams.") I find it hard to explain all that away merely by the level of domestic goalie competition Tretiak was competing against.

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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Fair enough. If you're the best goalie of a short tournament once, then no. But if you are the best goalie of a short tournament* time and time again, you have a case. *Not just any short tournament, the World Championship: see below.
I agree that multiple awards is better evidence, but just to correct that statement, Holecek was voted as the best goalie of a short tournament time and time again. Does that mean he performed the best? Probably. Does it mean he was the best goalie overall? Maybe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Patrick Roy was ranked first in this project mainly because of his playoff resume. What are the playoffs other than a short tournament compared to the regular season? If you go by the 82 game NHL season, Martin Brodeur is at least Roy's equal.
Strongly disagree with that last sentence.

Career regular season GVT:
Patrick Roy 431.1
Martin Brodeur 304.7

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
For starters I take directorate awards AND all-star team nominations into account. Holeček won gold in 1972, 1976 and 1977. In 1972 he received the directorate award and in 1976 both the directorate award and the media vote. That he didn't win anything in 1977 is not a surprise when you consider that he lost his position to Dzurilla during the tournament (Holeček played 200 minutes, Dzurilla 400).
As for the Tretiak leg: Why should they have voted for him all of the time the Soviets won when he simply wasn't the best goalie? If your theory was right you'd except Tretiak would have been honoured in the years the Soviets failed to win gold, but no, he wasn't.
Fair point on Holecek in the gold medal winning years. As for Tretiak, no, I don't think it is likely that he would have been named the best goalie if the Soviets lost. When the best team in the tournament also has the best goalie, they become overwhelmingly likely to win the gold medal. If Tretiak did get robbed of any best goalie awards they probably would have been in the years that he won but didn't get credit for playing on the best team, rather than in the years that he lost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
A 20 game stretch that happens to be the most decisive in the perception of the involved players, coaches and observers. That's what everybody worked and aimed for: top performance at the international stage. If everybody is supposed to deliver at that stage more than anything else, then you cannot dismiss this period as random, and if one player is delivering more than the other in that crucial period, then you have to give him credit.

There is hardly any other evidence for or against Holeček outside of that anyway, so we have to stick with what we got.
I'm not dismissing it as random. It definitely counts. The question is whether it is significant enough to make up for the rest of the story, particularly with regard to the balance of Tretiak's career. Because there is piles of evidence for Vladislav Tretiak as an all-time great:

Rejean Houle, 1974: "[Tretiak] is one of the best goalies I've ever been up against."

Bob Pulford, 1976: "The Soviets are a good team and they capitalized on their opportunities. I don't think they are as good as Canada but they have Vladislav Tretiak and you never know."

Scotty Bowman, 1979: "He's the kind of goalie who's good on everything. He's especially good on the angles."

Sam Pollock, 1981: "He ranks with the great goaltenders of all time."

Serge Savard, 1983: "I think he's the best goaltender in the world."

1976:
Quote:
"Tretiak, considered among the best goalies in the world, played his normal game, making 38 saves, many of them from point-blank range."
1979:
Quote:
"The goaltending of Vladislav Tretiak - who some observers insist is the best goalie in the world - is also beyond question."
1980:
Quote:
"But Friday, his 55-foot shot in the first period signaled the beginning of the end for goalie Vladislav Tretiak - the most famous and respected goalie in the world."
1983:
Quote:
"The most conspicuous part of that defense has been the goaltending of first-year Bruin and fourth-year NHLer Pete Peeters, the hottest netminder west of the U.S.S.R.'s Vladislav Tretiak."
1983:
Quote:
"[Tretiak] is still, at 31, the best goaltender not only in the U.S.S.R. but also in the world, and when he retires, an era will end."
1984:
Quote:
"The veteran goalie is acknowledged as one of the greatest players at the position in history."
Many of those are higher praise than Holecek ever got outside of one comment by Bobby Hull. Given all of that, I just don't see why a few world championship best goalie awards won by a much older goalie over a younger one are the decisive evidence in the debate. It just seems like a way of framing the debate that ends up slanting it in Holecek's favour. Being widely considered the best in the world from 1979 to 1984 by both North American and European observers should surpass being considered the best in Europe from 1973 to 1978, shouldn't it (if that was even actually the case)?

If Holecek was on Tretiak's level then he should easily go #1 this round, and I don't see the support for that relative to the other candidates. I still have Esposito fairly comfortably ahead of Holecek, for one.

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Old
11-23-2012, 12:47 PM
  #279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
It's not like Holeček didn't do well in the Czechoslovak League MVP voting. And in another thread TDMM asked whether Tretiak was overrated in the Soviet League MVP voting because he simply looked outstanding compared to the other Soviet League goalies who were nothing to rave about.
To add to this - if Dzurilla provided Czechoslovakia with a good second option behind Holecek, while none of the goalies in the USSR were particularly good past Tretiak, then Tretiak legitimately could have been quite a bit more valuable than Holecek, even if he wasn't as good.

Quote:
A 20 game stretch that happens to be the most decisive in the perception of the involved players, coaches and observers. That's what everybody worked and aimed for: top performance at the international stage. If everybody is supposed to deliver at that stage more than anything else, then you cannot dismiss this period as random, and if one player is delivering more than the other in that crucial period, then you have to give him credit.
I think this needs to be emphasized. In Eastern Europe, the domestic league was basically a glorified exhibition schedule in preparation for the real deal: International tournaments, in particular the Olympics and World Championships. I know that in Extraliga, the Army Team Dukla Jihlava won the domestic title in the majority of the seasons. The Soviet league stacked the three Moscow teams with almost every player good enough to play on the National Team, so they could easily be pulled from their domestic team to practice together. The Czech and Soviet Elite Leagues were not independent leagues where players dreamed of winning a domestic title. They were basically preparation for major International Tournaments and were organized to best prepare their players for International tournaments, not to be internally competitive.

The USSR officially considered the 1979 Challenge Series vs the NHL All Stars a great warm up for the World Championships. That might have just been propaganda, but in non-Olympic years, the World Championships were the main event for Europeans who weren't playing in the NHL.

So tournaments are the most important hockey the teams played each season, and I think we should value them accordingly. That said, I realize they are also a small sample size, which is why I want to look towards the domestic league for "supporting evidence" for a non-NHL Euro's greatness. And I think Holecek has that - named the best goalie in the Extraliga 7 of 8 years, named the best overall player in Czechoslovakia once, and runner up for best player 3 times.


Quote:
There is hardly any other evidence for or against Holeček outside of that anyway, so we have to stick with what we got.
I think the converse to TCG's statement "the only reason to put Holecek on the same level as Tretiak are the WCs" could be "the only reason to put Tretiak on the same level as Holecek is his play in North America."

Like I said, I understand ranking Tretiak over Holecek because of Tretiak's sample of games against NHL competition. But if you look to a "Europe only" world and only consider competition within Europe itself, it's hard for me not to consider Holecek more accomplished within Europe itself.

Holecek played a very limited number of games vs NHLers, because Canada wanted to beat the USSR. They didn't care as much about beating Czechoslovakia, since the USSR was considered the top dog in Europe.

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11-23-2012, 12:55 PM
  #280
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
So you made a statement of fact previously that you could not support with any evidence.
What are you talking about, my claim that there are goalies in the minor leagues with good technique because they don't have NHL athleticism and other attributes? I was referring to guys like Yann Danis and Cedrick Desjardins who do very well at the minor league level but can't even hold down backup jobs in the NHL. It takes much more than just being technically sound to be one of the 30 best in the world at your job.

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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
The Osgood example just puts in question his relationship with the NHL goalie coaches he had. Goalies, especially since the advent of goalie coaches have always worked on their technique and fundamentals - practice, training camp, off season, etc, networking with other goalies, etc
Sure, it puts that into question. It also puts into question the importance of being a strong technical goalie considering Osgood's achievements at the NHL level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Crha bolded. So you admit that Crha's pre NHL background was lacking. Evidence that the Czech goalie training was insufficient in general.
Of course. Who is arguing that Czech goalies were well coached? Certainly not me. But you seem to want to blame Holecek for his lack of coaching, and that doesn't make any sense to me because it's largely a matter of circumstance. I think Holecek's success was quite impressive despite his apparent lack of training.

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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
The flaw shown by Holecek was evident oh the 1976 Olympic and Canada Cup clips, more than one clip, contrary to what you allege.The flaw keeps coming back - which would explain Holecek's bad performances in some international events, listed above.
OK, just wanted to confirm. But suggesting that one technical flaw caused all of Holecek's bad performances while somehow failing to impact all of his good ones would require a mountain of video evidence to support it. Count me as highly, highly skeptical of that oversimplified explanation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Would like to see your explanation of the specific flaw and why it dooms goalies to the high minors.
Not understanding what you're asking here. I'm not making a case about any specific technical flaws because I don't think they are particularly relevant when rating goalie careers in retrospect.

If you're scouting a prospect or trying to pick a starting goalie in training camp then subjective evaluations will be relied on to attempt to project performance, and that's when you need to be concerned about something that could be exploited by the opposition. But when you're looking back on a goalie's entire career, then what's the relevance? Any weaknesses are already in their performance record because they would have caused goals against. If you're right that Holecek had an exploitable flaw, then he probably did lose some games because of it. We don't need to take off any additional points off.

The only exception to that is if a case can be made that the rest of the team protected the goalie well enough that his flaws weren't exposed. You've made some points towards suggesting that Czechoslovakia was pretty good defensively in the 1970s, but I'm not sure I'm completely sold yet on that one.

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11-23-2012, 01:01 PM
  #281
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
Yes, it worked in Tretiak's favour in terms of North American recognition that he played more against Canadian internationals, I agree with that. He also played far better against Canadian internationals than Holecek did. It's tough to handle that, because we don't really want to penalize Holecek too much because of lack of opportunity, but at the same time you absolutely have to credit Tretiak for what he did as well, and a Canada Cup MVP and a string of elite performances against NHLers is something that Holecek simply doesn't have on his resume.
I agree with crediting Tretiak for what he did against North America. But we already did that - he's already ranked above Holecek, who seems to have played at least as well against European competition and probably a little better.

Quote:
I'm not dismissing it as random. It definitely counts. The question is whether it is significant enough to make up for the rest of the story, particularly with regard to the balance of Tretiak's career. Because there is piles of evidence for Vladislav Tretiak as an all-time great:

Rejean Houle, 1974: "[Tretiak] is one of the best goalies I've ever been up against."

Bob Pulford, 1976: "The Soviets are a good team and they capitalized on their opportunities. I don't think they are as good as Canada but they have Vladislav Tretiak and you never know."

Scotty Bowman, 1979: "He's the kind of goalie who's good on everything. He's especially good on the angles."

Sam Pollock, 1981: "He ranks with the great goaltenders of all time."

Serge Savard, 1983: "I think he's the best goaltender in the world."

1976:

1979:

1980:

1983:

1983:

1984:

Many of those are higher praise than Holecek ever got outside of one comment by Bobby Hull. Given all of that, I just don't see why a few world championship best goalie awards won by a much older goalie over a younger one are the decisive evidence in the debate. It just seems like a way of framing the debate that ends up slanting it in Holecek's favour. Being widely considered the best in the world from 1979 to 1984 by both North American and European observers should surpass being considered the best in Europe from 1973 to 1978, shouldn't it (if that was even actually the case)?

If Holecek was on Tretiak's level then he should easily go #1 this round, and I don't see the support for that relative to the other candidates. I still have Esposito fairly comfortably ahead of Holecek, for one.
It seems that you are taking the position that only opinions by North American observers matter.

Edit: Don't get me wrong, I would love to see more first hand accounts of people praising Holecek, but when google archives seems limited to North American sources, I wouldn't even know how to go about doing it. Right now, I see no better option than assuming that the awards voters (both for the WCs and Extraliga) and after-the-fact biographies know what they are talking about


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 11-23-2012 at 01:35 PM.
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Old
11-23-2012, 02:05 PM
  #282
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
To add to this - if Dzurilla provided Czechoslovakia with a good second option behind Holecek, while none of the goalies in the USSR were particularly good past Tretiak, then Tretiak legitimately could have been quite a bit more valuable than Holecek, even if he wasn't as good.



I think this needs to be emphasized. In Eastern Europe, the domestic league was basically a glorified exhibition schedule in preparation for the real deal: International tournaments, in particular the Olympics and World Championships. I know that in Extraliga, the Army Team Dukla Jihlava won the domestic title in the majority of the seasons. The Soviet league stacked the three Moscow teams with almost every player good enough to play on the National Team, so they could easily be pulled from their domestic team to practice together. The Czech and Soviet Elite Leagues were not independent leagues where players dreamed of winning a domestic title. They were basically preparation for major International Tournaments and were organized to best prepare their players for International tournaments, not to be internally competitive.
The USSR officially considered the 1979 Challenge Series vs the NHL All Stars a great warm up for the World Championships. That might have just been propaganda, but in non-Olympic years, the World Championships were the main event for Europeans who weren't playing in the NHL.
So finally we have an admission about the real goal and value of the Soviet and Czech Leagues. The value of earned honours and awards should be judged accordingly - value of the MVP on the basketball Harlem Globetrotters or Washington Nationals.

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11-23-2012, 02:13 PM
  #283
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I agree with crediting Tretiak for what he did against North America. But we already did that - he's already ranked above Holecek, who seems to have played at least as well against European competition and probably a little better.



It seems that you are taking the position that only opinions by North American observers matter.

Edit: Don't get me wrong, I would love to see more first hand accounts of people praising Holecek, but when google archives seems limited to North American sources, I wouldn't even know how to go about doing it. Right now, I see no better option than assuming that the awards voters (both for the WCs and Extraliga) and after-the-fact biographies know what they are talking about
Try Google in the various European contries. Google.cz, you may need the appropriate country designations plus the translator.

Also there is an unsupported assumption that European writers and voters actually saw the NA and /or NHL contemporary comparables first hand like they saw European goalies.

Conversely the leading Canadian media types did see the European goalies - George Gross Sr, Ron Reusch, and others had European backgrounds, sources and regularly visited the major hockey events.

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11-23-2012, 02:23 PM
  #284
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WHCs weren´t the only window for "observers". There was also the Izvestija Tournament which was fairly respected tournament and also good amount of other international games so it wasn´t only those "20 games".

I would somewhat agree that CSSR was maybe better than USSR when talking about defensive game. From the games that I have watched from Youtube has left me a feeling that maybe Tretiak was more "alone" in goal than Holecek. Also the Finnish hockey book stats (I have feeling that those aren´t 100% correct but good guidelines) imply that CSSR had usually slightly less shots against goal than USSR. I have few all star voting results from early 70´s and those give love to Holecek and also CSSR defence. In Gold year 72 top 3 was all from CSSR (third tied)

1. Oldric Machac 79
2. Frantisek Pospisil 75
3. Josef Horesovsky 20
3. Vladimir Lutshenko 20

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11-23-2012, 02:32 PM
  #285
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Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
What are you talking about, my claim that there are goalies in the minor leagues with good technique because they don't have NHL athleticism and other attributes? I was referring to guys like Yann Danis and Cedrick Desjardins who do very well at the minor league level but can't even hold down backup jobs in the NHL. It takes much more than just being technically sound to be one of the 30 best in the world at your job.



OK, just wanted to confirm. But suggesting that one technical flaw caused all of Holecek's bad performances while somehow failing to impact all of his good ones would require a mountain of video evidence to support it. Count me as highly, highly skeptical of that oversimplified explanation.



Not understanding what you're asking here. I'm not making a case about any specific technical flaws because I don't think they are particularly relevant when rating goalie careers in retrospect.

If you're scouting a prospect or trying to pick a starting goalie in training camp then subjective evaluations will be relied on to attempt to project performance, and that's when you need to be concerned about something that could be exploited by the opposition. But when you're looking back on a goalie's entire career, then what's the relevance? Any weaknesses are already in their performance record because they would have caused goals against. If you're right that Holecek had an exploitable flaw, then he probably did lose some games because of it. We don't need to take off any additional points off.

The only exception to that is if a case can be made that the rest of the team protected the goalie well enough that his flaws weren't exposed. You've made some points towards suggesting that Czechoslovakia was pretty good defensively in the 1970s, but I'm not sure I'm completely sold yet on that one.
Yann Denis and Cederick Desjardins types lack the stamina to play at the NHL levels. Look at their minor league or developmental stas and you will see that they were playing at best a small majority of their team's games.

In other words you do not know what the flaw is nor do you appreciate its importance. Hint Isaac Newton figured it out.

Last bolded. The logic exhibited is terribly flawed. Projecting forward also includes eliminating the non-candidates because they simply will be exploited at the next level by faster execution. Looking back at a goalies career, the technical flaw(s) have the same importance because they explain the reason why the performance was not always at the same level, why the goalie did not achieve certain benchmarks or how he was used by his coaches.

In the Game 2 Canada Cup game film you see Karel Gut pull Holecek right away because he realized that Holecek was out of his element yet the game was still salvagable. Gut also used to yank Holecek at other times. Mentioned up thread.

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11-23-2012, 04:06 PM
  #286
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Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
... suggesting that one technical flaw caused all of Holecek's bad performances while somehow failing to impact all of his good ones would require a mountain of video evidence to support it. Count me as highly, highly skeptical of that oversimplified explanation.
.... you dont need a whole lot of video evidence to take apart Holoceks' game CC, and he had a lot more than just "one technical flaw", while transversely, he also had a number of strengths. His was a "style" if you will that was instinctive, artistic, built to be effective against the Soviets, the style of the game being played in the Czech Republic's league.

A high energy acrobat, a sprinter rather than a 440 specialist let alone a Miler or Marathon Man, and Im talking specifically against North Americans. He was either "in the zone" right out of the blocks or he wasnt, and he'd find himself on the bench watching as his coaches got that real quick. Against the larger, faster & far more physical Canucks, you could count on him standing on his head in the same way youd bet all in with a throw of the dice. You just might get lucky in a short series, one game, but long-term, consistently facing NHL players, absolutely no way, forget it. Had he been trained in Canada in that era at a younger age then sure, as clearly he was a real "gamer".

Through no fault of his own, simply didnt have the banks of knowledge, the technical reserves upon which he could rely if facing NHL'er's night in night out. Theres just no way he could have kept up that style over a gruelling 76 or 82 game regular schedule. Requires serious pacing, economy of effort while making the save, positional control etc as you well know being a proponent of todays modern BF. You'll fold if your an abstract artist in the way Holocek was. Effective in Europe & Russia yes; shorter seasons, number of games, different on so many levels. Unsustainable in Canada or the US, and I would contend that even in the high minors, a real problem.

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11-23-2012, 06:22 PM
  #287
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
So finally we have an admission about the real goal and value of the Soviet and Czech Leagues.
What you call "an admission," I call "what pretty much everyone who followed hockey behind the Iron Curtain says," based on what I have read on this board and elsewhere. The World Championships and Olympics were basically the Euro equivalent to the NHL playoffs before the Europeans were able to join the NHL. That's why I value them so much, small sample size and all.

And yes, the domestic leagues were jiggered with to make them a better training ground for the national teams, rather than a competition on their own.

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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Try Google in the various European contries. Google.cz, you may need the appropriate country designations plus the translator
Might be worth checking out, though I imagine that Czech sources would prefer Holecek and Russian would would prefer Tretiak. Perhaps Swedish and Finnish sources are the way to go.

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Also there is an unsupported assumption that European writers and voters actually saw the NA and /or NHL contemporary comparables first hand like they saw European goalies.
No there isn't. I don't see why we should expect writers and voters for International Tournaments to cover the NHL.

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[Conversely the leading Canadian media types did see the European goalies - George Gross Sr, Ron Reusch, and others had European backgrounds, sources and regularly visited the major hockey events.
Perhaps it would be worth looking at their opinions.

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Originally Posted by Sanf View Post
WHCs weren´t the only window for "observers". There was also the Izvestija Tournament which was fairly respected tournament and also good amount of other international games so it wasn´t only those "20 games".

I would somewhat agree that CSSR was maybe better than USSR when talking about defensive game. From the games that I have watched from Youtube has left me a feeling that maybe Tretiak was more "alone" in goal than Holecek. Also the Finnish hockey book stats (I have feeling that those aren´t 100% correct but good guidelines) imply that CSSR had usually slightly less shots against goal than USSR. I have few all star voting results from early 70´s and those give love to Holecek and also CSSR defence. In Gold year 72 top 3 was all from CSSR (third tied)

1. Oldric Machac 79
2. Frantisek Pospisil 75
3. Josef Horesovsky 20
3. Vladimir Lutshenko 20
I don't think it's controversial that the Czech National Team played defensively. If you read up on the history of the Left Wing Lock, the Czechoslovaks are generally credited with inventing it to slow down the Soviets.

On the other hand, they weren't anywhere near as potent offensively as the Soviets (who would be shooting on Holecek and not Tretiak), nor were they known for puck control like the Soviets were.


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11-23-2012, 07:01 PM
  #288
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International Media

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post

Might be worth checking out, though I imagine that Czech sources would prefer Holecek and Russian would would prefer Tretiak. Perhaps Swedish and Finnish sources are the way to go.



No there isn't. I don't see why we should expect writers and voters for International Tournaments to cover the NHL.


Perhaps it would be worth looking at their opinions.
Consider that various WHC were played in non Group A elite countries, - Germany,France, Austria, Switzerland etc. These are viable sources as well, especially from countries that saw the first wave of Canadian players and coaches in the countries top league.

When the various European teams toured North America, they were accompanied by a media entourage from their home country. These media types would go to NHL games when possible, appear on HNIC, local broadcasts, telecasts, etc. Opinions about NHL goalies were thus formed. Recognizing such media types would allow us to better appreciate and differentiate European commentary.

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11-23-2012, 09:18 PM
  #289
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Core sentence:
I don't have an issue with people putting Holeček behind Tretiak. But just how far can you put him behind when you consider his international honours vis-a-vis Tretiak?

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Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
Yes, it worked in Tretiak's favour in terms of North American recognition that he played more against Canadian internationals, I agree with that. He also played far better against Canadian internationals than Holecek did. It's tough to handle that, because we don't really want to penalize Holecek too much because of lack of opportunity, but at the same time you absolutely have to credit Tretiak for what he did as well
See core sentence.

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Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
I think each goalie should be judged on the entirety of their careers, international and domestic, relative to the situations they played in. Otherwise we're vulnerable to making incorrect conclusions from small sample sizes.
We have to deal with the informations we have or we have to leave out Holeček completely. Nothing wrong in that, but then the final list reads: "Top XY goaltenders excluding Jiří Holeček - we don't know how to rank him".

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Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
And head-to-head results certainly aren't everything. Take the example of John Vanbiesbrouck and Mike Richter. If you compare their performances on the same team in New York and internationally for the U.S. national team, Richter easily beats Vanbiesbrouck.
Richter and Vanbiesbrouck played in the same league. Tretiak and Holeček did not. You either compare them at the international stage or you don't really compare them at all.

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Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
Similarly, even if you accept that Holecek outplayed Tretiak in the mid-'70s it's still pretty easy to make the same type of case for Tretiak having the better career when you factor in how highly rated he was from 1979 to 1984.
Agreed. Again, see core sentence.

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Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
I think it might very well be true that Tretiak's earlier MVP awards were in large part aided by weak quality of competition. On the other hand, Tretiak's case is really strong enough even without those MVPs, as he was named the Russian athlete of the century, he was the first Russian voted into the HHOF, and there are lots of sources that suggest he was considered the best Russian player around that time period...
The basic explanation is that Tretiak stood out against NHL competition.

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Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
Fair point on Holecek in the gold medal winning years. As for Tretiak, no, I don't think it is likely that he would have been named the best goalie if the Soviets lost. When the best team in the tournament also has the best goalie, they become overwhelmingly likely to win the gold medal. If Tretiak did get robbed of any best goalie awards they probably would have been in the years that he won but didn't get credit for playing on the best team, rather than in the years that he lost.
Anyway, there is no indication that international honours were preferentially handed out to non-gold winning goalies, so there's no need to question Holeček's honours any more.

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Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
I'm not dismissing it as random. It definitely counts. The question is whether it is significant enough to make up for the rest of the story, particularly with regard to the balance of Tretiak's career.
See core sentence.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I think this needs to be emphasized. In Eastern Europe, the domestic league was basically a glorified exhibition schedule in preparation for the real deal: International tournaments, in particular the Olympics and World Championships.
I fear you are emphasing it too much tough. When Dinamo Moscow or Spartak Moscow played against CSKA/Red Army they certainly didn't consider it a exhibition or preparation. To this day international tournaments like the world championships are considered the pinnacle in Europe (whether in hockey or in other sports like soccer), but that doesn't mean the national club competitions are nothing more than "glorified exhibitions". You're really not doing the European point of view/tradition justice here, though I concede that it's probably not easy to do that anyway if you've grown up as a North America hockey fan.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I know that in Extraliga, the Army Team Dukla Jihlava won the domestic title in the majority of the seasons.
Not comparable to the Soviet Union IMO. Jihlava won 1967-1972, but it's not like they ran away with the title (67: 3 points ahead, 68: 2 points, 69: 5 points, 70: 3 points, 71: 1 point behind, won playoffs. 72: 2 points ahead), usually there was fierce competition until the very last day. You can't lump together Europe or even Eastern Europe in this regard.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I think the converse to TCG's statement "the only reason to put Holecek on the same level as Tretiak are the WCs" could be "the only reason to put Tretiak on the same level as Holecek is his play in North America."
Absolutely. But I don't even mind ranking Tretiak higher because of his performances against NA, but... -> see core sentence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
And yes, the domestic leagues were jiggered with to make them a better training ground for the national teams, rather than a competition on their own.
What are you referring to now? Europe? Only Eastern Europe? Only Soviet Union?

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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
No, that is not true at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ContrarianGoaltender View Post
Strongly disagree with that last sentence.
Probably I shouldn't have brought it up and I don't really want to argue about it because it is off-topic by now. Let's leave it at that: Brodeur would be closer to Roy if playoff performance was not considered more important than regular season relatively speaking (relative to the number of the games.).

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11-24-2012, 01:20 AM
  #290
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post

I fear you are emphasing it too much tough. When Dinamo Moscow or Spartak Moscow played against CSKA/Red Army they certainly didn't consider it a exhibition or preparation. To this day international tournaments like the world championships are considered the pinnacle in Europe (whether in hockey or in other sports like soccer), but that doesn't mean the national club competitions are nothing more than "glorified exhibitions". You're really not doing the European point of view/tradition justice here, though I concede that it's probably not easy to do that anyway if you've grown up as a North America hockey fan.
My impression of the European domestic leagues is all secondhand knowledge, so if you have firsthand knowledge, I'll take your word on it. I do know that the Soviet domestic league was set up to benefit the national team as much as possible, rather than be a competitive league on its own, so I do think we need to take that into account.
Quote:
Not comparable to the Soviet Union IMO. Jihlava won 1967-1972, but it's not like they ran away with the title (67: 3 points ahead, 68: 2 points, 69: 5 points, 70: 3 points, 71: 1 point behind, won playoffs. 72: 2 points ahead), usually there was fierce competition until the very last day. You can't lump together Europe or even Eastern Europe in this regard.
Okay. 6 championships in a row for the army team does show a lack of competitiveness than existed in North America. I know that Jihlava had a reputation for being stacked well through the 1970s and that Vladimir Martinec and Milan Novy both put put better stats playing on Jihlava than with other teams.

Quote:
What are you referring to now? Europe? Only Eastern Europe? Only Soviet Union?
I was referring to the domestic leagues of communist USSR and CSSR, where the government controlled everything for the purpose of showing off in international competitions. Perhaps I was mistaking for lumping in CSSR with the USSR tactics.

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11-24-2012, 01:26 AM
  #291
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By the way, earlier someone asked me why I said Holecek won 6 domestic titles. I was getting my info from Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends, but I don't like citing that site for specific facts. Joe (and Patrick Houda who writes the bios of European players) are bloggers pulling from multiple sources, and they do a great job at telling the big picture story. But I wasn't sure about using them to cite specific facts.

But chidlovski seems to confirm that Holecek did, in fact, win 6 domestic titles, 3 of them for the stacked army team (Jihlava), 3 of them for Sparta Prague:

Quote:
Jiri Holecek, Goalie
b. 03.18.1944, Prague, Czechoslovakia
One of the best elite goalies in the world hockey history. One of the living legends of Czech hockey. Was exceptinally reliable, well prepared mentally and technically for any game he had to play.
Czechoslovakian Elite League: Poldi Kladno ('64-'65), Sparta Prague ('65-'69, '71-'76), Dukla Jihlava ('69-'71), Motor Ceske Budejovice ('76-'79), League Gold '67, '69-'72 and '74, played 488 games. European Leagues: EHC Munich 70 (Germany, '78-'80), EHC Essen (Germany, '80-'81). National team: WC '66,'67, '71-'78; Olympics '72, '76; WC Gold '72, '76, 77; played 164 games for Czechoslovakia.
Awards: IIHF Hall of Fame 1998, WC Best Goalie '71, '73, '75, '76, '78; IIHF WC All Stars '71, '72, '73, '76, '78, CSSR Golden Hockey Stick '74.
http://www.chidlovski.com/personal/1...c/cssrbiod.htm

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11-24-2012, 02:59 AM
  #292
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
But chidlovski seems to confirm that Holecek did, in fact, win 6 domestic titles, 3 of them for the stacked army team (Jihlava), 3 of them for Sparta Prague:
http://www.chidlovski.com/personal/1...c/cssrbiod.htm
I wonder if Pelletier and/or Houda got the information from Chidlovski, who I believe is totally wrong here.

http://hokej.snt.cz/index.html<--This site has the rosters for the championship teams from 1969 on, and there is no sign of Holecek's name. I'm not sure about 1967, though, but I've had the impression that Holecek never won the domestic championship... oh, and when did Sparta Prague win the championship anyway? Actually, it's all messed up; did Holecek ever even play for Jihlava? I think he did play for Sparta Prague, but I'm not sure about the years (i.e. 1965-69; 1971-76 according to Chidlovski)

Year - Champions - Roster
1969 Dukla Jihlava
Quote:
Sakač, Svitana - Suchý, Šmíd, Vinš, Bauer, Bednář, Zelenický - Klapáč, Jar. Holík, Jiří Holík, Hrbatý, Mařík, Ebermann, Vodák, Balun, Augusta, Mráz, Lano, Střílka, Vorlíček, Konečný - coach: J. Pittner & S. Neveselý
http://hokej.snt.cz/wrld/cze1969.html (scroll down)

1970 Dukla Jihlava
Quote:
Sakač, Crha - Suchý, Horešovský, Šmíd, Bubla, Hanačík, Vinš - J. Klapáč, Jar. Holík, Jiří Holík, Hrbatý,
Mec, Augusta, Ebermann, Balun, Bauer, Vorlíček, Žiška, Sýkora, Vodák, Mráz - coach: J. Pittner & S. Neveselý
http://hokej.snt.cz/wrld/cze1970.html

1971 Dukla Jihlava
Quote:
Hronek, Crha - Suchý, Horešovský, Šmíd, Bubla, Kajkl, Eysselt, Dvořák, Lyčka - J. Klapáč, Jar. Holík, Jiří Holík, Hrbatý, Augusta, Vorlíček, Balun, Mec, Jonák, M. Novák, J. Novák, Honc, Hlaváček, Čech - coach: J. Pittner & S. Neveselý
http://hokej.snt.cz/wrld/cze1971.html

1972 Dukla Jihlava http://hokej.snt.cz/wrld/cze1972.html

1974 Dukla Jihlava
Quote:
Svoboda, Hnídek - Suchý, Dvořák, Adamík, Horáček, Chalupa, Neliba, Kaberle, K. Dvořák - J. Klapáč, Jar. Holík, Jiří Holík, Hrbatý, Nový, Augusta, M. Novák, Titz, Výborný, Novotný, Kupec, Kousek - coach: J. Pittner & S. Neveselý
http://hokej.snt.cz/wrld/cze1974.html


Last edited by VMBM: 11-24-2012 at 03:42 AM.
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11-24-2012, 04:20 AM
  #293
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Okay. 6 championships in a row for the army team does show a lack of competitiveness than existed in North America. I know that Jihlava had a reputation for being stacked well through the 1970s and that Vladimir Martinec and Milan Novy both put put better stats playing on Jihlava than with other teams.
Is that really any different than Montreal's dynasty years?

Quote:
I was referring to the domestic leagues of communist USSR and CSSR, where the government controlled everything for the purpose of showing off in international competitions. Perhaps I was mistaking for lumping in CSSR with the USSR tactics.
It wasn't, not really. The army clubs (Jihlava and Trencin) had the benefit of being able to pick players from guys going into the mandatory 2-year military service. So they got the best young guys for two years, but whether a player stayed afterwards was up to him (assuming the club would want to keep him anyway).

Oh and Holecek never played for Jihlava, obviously (Tatra Smichov, Bohemians Praha, HC Slavia Praha, Dynamo Praha, Dukla/VSŽ Košice, HC Sparta Praha, EHC 70 München & EHC Essen-West).

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11-24-2012, 04:37 AM
  #294
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One quite easy way to find information about CSSR domestic hockey history is go to team sites. Many have very good history sections (some even season by season stories). Google translator gives quite good trasnlations of those.

What I have understand from those it was quite free market for players to move from club to club and the competition was very tight. And I´m almost 100% sure that Holecek didn´t win any domestic championships.

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11-24-2012, 04:52 AM
  #295
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
I've had the impression that Holecek never won the domestic championship
That's true

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Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
when did Sparta Prague win the championship anyway?
1953, 1954, 1990, 1993, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007

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Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
did Holecek ever even play for Jihlava?
He never played there.
Tatra Smíchov (1956/57), Bohemians Praha (1957/58), Slavie Praha (1958-63), Dukla Košice (1963-67), VSŽ Košice (1967-73), Sparta Praha (1973-78), EHC Mnichov (1978-80), Essen (1980-81)

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11-24-2012, 04:58 AM
  #296
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My impression of the European domestic leagues is all secondhand knowledge, so if you have firsthand knowledge, I'll take your word on it.
If you compare the world championship to the Stanley Cup playoffs in terms of what it means to the participants and observers, then the respective comparison to the domestic league play is the NHL regular season, not some kind of exhibition or preparation schedule. The Stanley Cup means everything, but does that make the regular season games meaningless or almost meaningless? No. Same in Europe. The comparison is probably not 100% accurate, but it's much closer to reality than the exhibition comparison.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I do know that the Soviet domestic league was set up to benefit the national team as much as possible, rather than be a competitive league on its own, so I do think we need to take that into account.
True, but "glorified exhibition schedule" is too much account. Teams like Dinamo Moscow, Spartak and Krylja Sovetov certainly didn't just give an exhibition game attempt against CSKA and against each other.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
6 championships in a row for the army team does show a lack of competitiveness than existed in North America. I know that Jihlava had a reputation for being stacked well through the 1970s
No doubt. I'm just asking for more differentiation. The Czechoslovak League was more competitive than the Soviet League. BTW other european leagues were also less competitive than the NHL and that's not because authorities intervened: just imagine the NHL without the entry draft (and of course without a salary cap) and with promotion and relegation and you get the picture. No one cares for parity.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
and that Vladimir Martinec and Milan Novy both put put better stats playing on Jihlava than with other teams.
Huh? Martinec only played one season on Jihlava, Nový two seasons. Please tell me about the improved stats.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
By the way, earlier someone asked me why I said Holecek won 6 domestic titles. I was getting my info from Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends, but I don't like citing that site for specific facts. Joe (and Patrick Houda who writes the bios of European players) are bloggers pulling from multiple sources, and they do a great job at telling the big picture story. But I wasn't sure about using them to cite specific facts.

But chidlovski seems to confirm that Holecek did, in fact, win 6 domestic titles, 3 of them for the stacked army team (Jihlava), 3 of them for Sparta Prague:
Unfortunately the sources you name are wrong here. Holeček never played for Jihlava. He did play for Sparta Prague, but they didn't win a championship during that period. Neither did Holeček's former team Košice win anything.

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11-24-2012, 07:07 AM
  #297
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Bottom Line

Bottom line is that Jiri Holecek's domestic career was not accurately presented for consideration by the panel. His International career outside North America has a few impressive moments balanced by less impressive moments - 1972 and 1976 Olympics, 1978 WHC - losing the final at home amongst others. Overall a weak shadow of Tretiak on the domestic and international scene.

Almost a zero in North America. Testimony of his own coaches actions.1976 Canada Cup, Karel Gut pulled him faster than even Mike Keenan pulled his goalies.


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 11-24-2012 at 07:13 AM.
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11-24-2012, 08:24 AM
  #298
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Overall a weak shadow of Tretiak on the domestic and international scene.
Not sure I agree. Tretiak won Soviet league with stacked CSKA team, Holecek got 2nd and two 3rd places with team that was 6,6,7,7,8 in 10 team league before his arrival. On international scene he's worse against NA teams but atleast equal at WCs.

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11-24-2012, 08:44 AM
  #299
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Not sure I agree. Tretiak won Soviet league with stacked CSKA team, Holecek got 2nd and two 3rd places with team that was 6,6,7,7,8 in 10 team league before his arrival. On international scene he's worse against NA teams but atleast equal at WCs.
Again you are looking at a five season stretch before Holecek arrived and perhaps a three year stretch out of at least six seasons(based on the disproven claim of six titles).

Over an 11 season minimum, Holecek was not the only roster change or influence in the Czechoslovakian domestic league, yet we have a grand total of zero domestic titles that may in some small way be attributable to him.

Simply "Where's the beef?" - the substance of the argument for Holecek domestically? WHC, again no evidence of domestic dominance or even success yet a claim is made that internationally, he was at least the equally based of Tretiak who was successfull and dominated the Soviet domestic league. The facts seem to point that surrounded by the best players in the in the Czechoslovakian domestic league, Holecek, once the Dzurilla starts are factored out participated as a distinct minority factor in the team success. Holecek was not the glue neither was Dzurilla.

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11-24-2012, 08:46 AM
  #300
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamini View Post
Not sure I agree. Tretiak won Soviet league with stacked CSKA team, Holecek got 2nd and two 3rd places with team that was 6,6,7,7,8 in 10 team league before his arrival. On international scene he's worse against NA teams but atleast equal at WCs.
I'm not sure if you can answer this given how abstract the question is. But how good was the Czech League at this time? Are we talking about a league with a lot of frosting but no cake? Elite talent at the very top (that we saw in international play) and then mediocre talent below it? That's sort of what I was getting at previously when I asked about who Holecek was competing against for notoriety in this league...

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