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Round 2, Vote 5 (HOH Top Goaltenders)

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12-04-2012, 03:28 PM
  #101
Canadiens1958
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1894-1899

1894-1899 saw goalies lose time to WWI - George Hainsworth lost one year to war service. The war severely impacted youth and developmental hockey.

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12-04-2012, 04:05 PM
  #102
Mike Farkas
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Is the answer just too simple? I'm going to over-simplify and be downright disrespectful to the history of the game by saying this, while using a maybe-one-shot situation to explain the majority. That's my disclaimer, this is for conversational purposes only.

Was goaltending so unspectacular at the time because it was just an auxiliary position and was assigned to the "worst" player? I mean, I don't know what the numbers might look like on this but since goalies had to serve penalties at points, I know I've read stories where King Clancy would go back and there and just kind of hold the fort and what not...I'm not sure how prevalent that was or how "successful" it ended up being...

But my point is and stems from this...as the story goes, Alec Connell started playing while he was stationed in Kitchener for the War and he wanted to play hockey but couldn't really skate...so they stuck him in net...so he gives it a try at 18 years old and yada, yada, yada, he's the all-time leader in goals against average in NHL history.

Connell's story, if accurate, paints a gloomy tale for goaltending of the time. But it might explain why - minus some scant elite goalers - there wasn't anything noteworthy in the field. Did some teams just "stick the fat kid in net"? The cream of the crap crop rose to the top and had limited success against quality players and are largely ignored historically...? And players of these types just cycled in and cycled out randomly until the position grew into more of an art form...? A specialized position of great note.

See, I clearly don't know every goalies' backstory from that time. And like I said, I know I'm taking one instance and simplifying and all that...but maybe it sparks something or maybe it just shorts out...

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12-04-2012, 04:51 PM
  #103
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Skating

Mike. For the most part your speculation is not that far off.

People did not start skating at an early age like they did when the baby boomers arrived.Fourth or fifth in line in a large family may have started earlier - they needed a goalie or a body.

Leisure time was rare. The working class put in 10 hour days, M-F and half days Saturdays. Sundays were for church. The Blue laws in Ontario precluded Sunday sports in most communities into the 1960s.

Youngster - working class males and females received little formal schooling past grade school, usually joining the work force by the age of 16. Common into the 1950s.

Goalies. University teams or athletic clubs - usually a multi sport athlete would handle the position, or a soccer goalie.

Once equipment became a factor it was the kid whose parents could afford the equipment. In the fifties at the Boys Club where I played the goalie equipment was provided but sizing was an issue so the older teams got first call on equipment. Intro level was a question of fitting equipment. If the youngster was too big for the remaining equipment he did not play goalie.

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12-04-2012, 04:52 PM
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Farkas View Post
Is the answer just too simple? I'm going to over-simplify and be downright disrespectful to the history of the game by saying this, while using a maybe-one-shot situation to explain the majority. That's my disclaimer, this is for conversational purposes only.

Was goaltending so unspectacular at the time because it was just an auxiliary position and was assigned to the "worst" player? I mean, I don't know what the numbers might look like on this but since goalies had to serve penalties at points, I know I've read stories where King Clancy would go back and there and just kind of hold the fort and what not...I'm not sure how prevalent that was or how "successful" it ended up being...

But my point is and stems from this...as the story goes, Alec Connell started playing while he was stationed in Kitchener for the War and he wanted to play hockey but couldn't really skate...so they stuck him in net...so he gives it a try at 18 years old and yada, yada, yada, he's the all-time leader in goals against average in NHL history.

Connell's story, if accurate, paints a gloomy tale for goaltending of the time. But it might explain why - minus some scant elite goalers - there wasn't anything noteworthy in the field. Did some teams just "stick the fat kid in net"? The cream of the crap crop rose to the top and had limited success against quality players and are largely ignored historically...? And players of these types just cycled in and cycled out randomly until the position grew into more of an art form...? A specialized position of great note.

See, I clearly don't know every goalies' backstory from that time. And like I said, I know I'm taking one instance and simplifying and all that...but maybe it sparks something or maybe it just shorts out...
Did Clancy even play net longer than Lester Patrick did? Not to say anything about your point, just not sure he's an appropriate example.

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12-04-2012, 05:03 PM
  #105
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It's semi-off topic, but Alec Connell played lacrosse before he ever played hockey. Anyone know what position he played in lacrosse? Not that it's an easy adaption from lacrosse goalie to hockey goalie, but at least SOME of the skills are the same (the whole visually tracking the small, fast thing coming at you, at least).

Lacrosse/hockey crossovers were not that uncommon then. I know Newsy Lalonde's true love was hockey, but at one point, he played lacrosse because there was more money in it. At some point (maybe right after World War I; I've never been able to really pin it down), hockey passed lacrosse and became the second major professional sport (after baseball) in North America.

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12-04-2012, 05:15 PM
  #106
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Lacrosse

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
It's semi-off topic, but Alec Connell played lacrosse before he ever played hockey. Anyone know what position he played in lacrosse? Not that it's an easy adaption from lacrosse goalie to hockey goalie, but at least SOME of the skills are the same (the whole visually tracking the small, fast thing coming at you, at least).

Lacrosse/hockey crossovers were not that uncommon then. I know Newsy Lalonde's true love was hockey, but at one point, he played lacrosse because there was more money in it.
At some point (maybe right after World War I; I've never been able to really pin it down), hockey passed lacrosse and became the second major professional sport (after baseball) in North America.
Lacrosse was a factor,pre NHA,pre WWI.

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12-04-2012, 05:23 PM
  #107
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
1894-1899 saw goalies lose time to WWI - George Hainsworth lost one year to war service. The war severely impacted youth and developmental hockey.
That's a good point. I totally forgot about the war effect.

Now, in regards to Mike's theory... I thought about saying something similar but backed off for two reasons. 1) I can't really back it with research the way I'd want to when advancing a theory that far-reaching and 2) I'm not sure how it reconciles with our idea of what Vezina was doing. But the subject has been brewing on my back-burner since the big debate over Tom Paton, and the realization that no goalie seems to have dominated the early era based on full merit -- Paton is the guy we remember because he played on a lot of winning teams, but there's no evidence of his genuinely dominating play like a more modern goaltender. Something seems awry with the balance of the game when a whole generation produces zero standouts at a position.

So yeah, I'm not buying into it just yet but it falls into the category of "things I'd like to see someone refute convincingly".

Just adding another thought to consider: almost everyone who plays the game has been in a situation at some point where they stood in net and tried to play goalie while standkng upright in skater's equipment. It's pretty hopeless, really, if the shots have any kind of lift and velocity.

I find it hard to imagine that things were much different 100 years ago -- when shots were coming slow and low to the ice, and the angles of approach were relatively easy to predict, perhaps the goalie had a little more chance to stand out and influence the game. Tough to imagine that was still the case as next-generation players learned to lift and aim their shots better, and more effective offensive strategies emerged; one would have to imagine that the guy standing in net had less and less of a chance to positively influence the game. There were some known advances in goaltending during that timeframe, but not quite so much as the advances that were occurring at the other positions.

That dynamic may have reversed itself with Clint Benedict and the end of the no-flopping rule. Allowing the goaltender to spend a good deal of time on the ice made his role more substantially different than it had ever been before. The first generation to be trained in that style was Worters' generation (he was 11 at the time). And just as that generation entered its prime, thick leather leg pads came into fashion. From that point forward, goalies were capable of being the most important players on the ice.

Again, I don't have the research to back up this theory. Not pretending to. But the timing of events works out superficially to suggest that goalies lost importance right up until Worters' generation learned to play the game, and that was exactly when the Benedict Rule was changed. At least from a bird's eye view, the events seem to be connected.


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12-04-2012, 05:26 PM
  #108
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
It's semi-off topic, but Alec Connell played lacrosse before he ever played hockey. Anyone know what position he played in lacrosse? Not that it's an easy adaption from lacrosse goalie to hockey goalie, but at least SOME of the skills are the same (the whole visually tracking the small, fast thing coming at you, at least).

Lacrosse/hockey crossovers were not that uncommon then. I know Newsy Lalonde's true love was hockey, but at one point, he played lacrosse because there was more money in it. At some point (maybe right after World War I; I've never been able to really pin it down), hockey passed lacrosse and became the second major professional sport (after baseball) in North America.
Bouse Hutton retired from the Silver Seven after the 1904 season to pursue lacrosse where he was a goalie as well. I've read a few articles where Ottawa was hopeful to lure him back, but he only returned for the meaningless 1909 FAHL season against awful competition. You have to think if the money was there, he'd have continued winning Stanley Cups with the best team in the world instead of just cashing in on the more lucrative sport.

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12-04-2012, 05:57 PM
  #109
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
That's a good point. I totally forgot about the war effect.

Now, in regards to Mike's theory... I thought about saying something similar but backed off for two reasons. 1) I can't really back it with research the way I'd want to when advancing a theory that far-reaching and 2) I'm not sure how it reconciles with our idea of what Vezina was doing. But the subject has been brewing on my back-burner since the big debate over Tom Paton, and the realization that no goalie seems to have dominated the early era based on full merit -- Paton is the guy we remember because he played on a lot of winning teams, but there's no evidence of his genuinely dominating play like a more modern goaltender. Something seems awry with the balance of the game when a whole generation produces zero standouts at a position.

So yeah, I'm not buying into it just yet but it falls into the category of "things I'd like to see someone refute convincingly".

Just adding another thought to consider: almost everyone who plays the game has been in a situation at some point where they stood in net and tried to play goalie while standkng upright in skater's equipment. It's pretty hopeless, really, if the shots have any kind of lift and velocity.

I find it hard to imagine that things were much different 100 years ago -- when shots were coming slow and low to the ice, and the angles of approach were relatively easy to predict, perhaps the goalie had a little more chance to stand out and influence the game. Tough to imagine that was still the case as next-generation players learned to lift and aim their shots better, and more effective offensive strategies emerged; one would have to imagine that the guy standing in net had less and less of a chance to positively influence the game. There were some known advances in goaltending during that timeframe, but not quite so much as the advances that were occurring at the other positions.

That dynamic may have reversed itself with Clint Benedict and the end of the no-flopping rule. Allowing the goaltender to spend a good deal of time on the ice made his role more substantially different than it had ever been before. The first generation to be trained in that style was Worters' generation (he was 11 at the time). And just as that generation entered its prime, thick leather leg pads came into fashion. From that point forward, goalies were capable of being the most important players on the ice.

Again, I don't have the research to back up this theory. Not pretending to. But the timing of events works out superficially to suggest that goalies lost importance right up until Worters' generation learned to play the game, and that was exactly when the Benedict Rule was changed. At least from a bird's eye view, the events seem to be connected.
I think there is good reason to believe that hockey became Canada's national past time during the generation of Vezina/Lehman/Benedict. Before World War I, most of the talent pool came from the Ottawa and Montreal areas, not Canada at large. I can post links to some recent posts from the ATD board (mostly by Sturminator) about this if you like.

It's too much to go into in detail now, but I view World War I as kind of a bright line when the talent really exploded. Before then, there were still great players, they just have to be discounted somewhat.

Hockey developed a lot in its first few decades (I would compare it to the rapid development of European hockey from the 1950s to the 1970s).

Winter Carnivals (1883-1889) were the first "competive" hockey tournaments:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montrea...ey_tournaments

The Stanley cup was first awarded in 1893

The HHOF started recognizing players who played in the late 1890s. These were also probably the first players who grew up exposed to competitive hockey.

Indoor rinks became proliferating after 1900. Professional leagues were organized.

As said before, the talent pool didn't really expand to cover large parts of Canada until 1910 or so.

If you read old newspaper articles, when they talk of the "best players ever," they usually only go back to the first decade of the 1900s (though rarely someone will mention Dan Bain from the very end of the 1890s).

Sorry, this post turned pretty rambling. But the long and short of it is that I think the generation that played from about 1900 until World War I was much stronger than anything that came before it, largely because they were the first generation exposed to competitive hockey as children and to indoor rinks as developing players. And the first post-World War I generation (which would include Vezina, Benedict, and Lehman) was quite a bit stronger than the previous one, as the hockey became Canada's national past time.

In my opinion (and this might be controversial), the competitiveness of hockey in 1920 was probably closer to the quality of hockey in 2012 than it was to the quality of hockey in 1895 due to the rapid development of the sport from its infancy.

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12-04-2012, 05:59 PM
  #110
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Originally Posted by Bring Back Scuderi View Post
Bouse Hutton retired from the Silver Seven after the 1904 season to pursue lacrosse where he was a goalie as well. I've read a few articles where Ottawa was hopeful to lure him back, but he only returned for the meaningless 1909 FAHL season against awful competition. You have to think if the money was there, he'd have continued winning Stanley Cups with the best team in the world instead of just cashing in on the more lucrative sport.
Right. The fact that hockey became where the money was (unless you played baseball, which almost nobody in Canada did) after World War I is a major reason why I think the talent pool expanded so much, so quickly.

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12-04-2012, 06:24 PM
  #111
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Goalies

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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
That's a good point. I totally forgot about the war effect.

Now, in regards to Mike's theory... I thought about saying something similar but backed off for two reasons. 1) I can't really back it with research the way I'd want to when advancing a theory that far-reaching and 2) I'm not sure how it reconciles with our idea of what Vezina was doing. But the subject has been brewing on my back-burner since the big debate over Tom Paton, and the realization that no goalie seems to have dominated the early era based on full merit -- Paton is the guy we remember because he played on a lot of winning teams, but there's no evidence of his genuinely dominating play like a more modern goaltender. Something seems awry with the balance of the game when a whole generation produces zero standouts at a position.

So yeah, I'm not buying into it just yet but it falls into the category of "things I'd like to see someone refute convincingly".

Just adding another thought to consider: almost everyone who plays the game has been in a situation at some point where they stood in net and tried to play goalie while standkng upright in skater's equipment. It's pretty hopeless, really, if the shots have any kind of lift and velocity.

I find it hard to imagine that things were much different 100 years ago -- when shots were coming slow and low to the ice, and the angles of approach were relatively easy to predict, perhaps the goalie had a little more chance to stand out and influence the game. Tough to imagine that was still the case as next-generation players learned to lift and aim their shots better, and more effective offensive strategies emerged; one would have to imagine that the guy standing in net had less and less of a chance to positively influence the game. There were some known advances in goaltending during that timeframe, but not quite so much as the advances that were occurring at the other positions.

That dynamic may have reversed itself with Clint Benedict and the end of the no-flopping rule. Allowing the goaltender to spend a good deal of time on the ice made his role more substantially different than it had ever been before. The first generation to be trained in that style was Worters' generation (he was 11 at the time). And just as that generation entered its prime, thick leather leg pads came into fashion. From that point forward, goalies were capable of being the most important players on the ice.

Again, I don't have the research to back up this theory. Not pretending to. But the timing of events works out superficially to suggest that goalies lost importance right up until Worters' generation learned to play the game, and that was exactly when the Benedict Rule was changed. At least from a bird's eye view, the events seem to be connected.
The PCHA allowed flopping if I remember correctly.

Played alot of rink shinny in the fifties and sixties, no pads/no lifting. Rotate, each would play goalie to rest a bit. Basics reduce to playing the puck and body without the ability to pick-up or hold the puck.

The basic difference was the forward pass. Until then the defensive player beaten in the neutral or offensive zone could get back and still be a factor defensively. With the forward pass the goalie was forced to face more odd man situations. Required better skating, mobility, positioning.

Note that between the forward pass introduction, during the depression until the mid 1940s the quality of goalies went down as techniques and skills had to be adapted then further adapted to the Red Line. Very few quality goalies entered the NHL between 1929-30 and 1935-36.

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12-04-2012, 06:34 PM
  #112
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The PCHA allowed flopping if I remember correctly.

Played alot of rink shinny in the fifties and sixties, no pads/no lifting. Rotate, each would play goalie to rest a bit. Basics reduce to playing the puck and body without the ability to pick-up or hold the puck.

The basic difference was the forward pass. Until then the defensive player beaten in the neutral or offensive zone could get back and still be a factor defensively. With the forward pass the goalie was forced to face more odd man situations. Required better skating, mobility, positioning.

Note that between the forward pass introduction, during the depression until the mid 1940s the quality of goalies went down as techniques and skills had to be adapted then further adapted to the Red Line. Very few quality goalies entered the NHL between 1929-30 and 1935-36.
It seems you remember correctly:

Quote:
n the pre-NHL era, professional hockey took many different forms, with regional leagues and a variety of rules from league to league helping to shape the game of hockey. Of all the leagues established in the early 20th century, however, few had as much influence on the modern game as the Pacific Coast Hockey Association - and it was thanks to its founders, Lester and Frank Patrick, whose innovations would change the way hockey was played forever.

The PCHA introduced the blue line and the goal crease, the forward pass and the boarding penalty. It was the first to add numbers to players' sweaters and the first to allow a goalie to leave his feet in order to make a save, the first to have a farm system and playoffs.
http://www.japersrink.com/2012/11/1/...s-the-patricks

The NHL allowed "flopping" starting in it's first year of existence (1917-18), but it's predecessor, the NHA did not.

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12-04-2012, 06:35 PM
  #113
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Arenas

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I think there is good reason to believe that hockey became Canada's national past time during the generation of Vezina/Lehman/Benedict. Before World War I, most of the talent pool came from the Ottawa and Montreal areas, not Canada at large. I can post links to some recent posts from the ATD board (mostly by Sturminator) about this if you like.

It's too much to go into in detail now, but I view World War I as kind of a bright line when the talent really exploded. Before then, there were still great players, they just have to be discounted somewhat.

Hockey developed a lot in its first few decades (I would compare it to the rapid development of European hockey from the 1950s to the 1970s).

Winter Carnivals (1883-1889) were the first "competive" hockey tournaments:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montrea...ey_tournaments

The Stanley cup was first awarded in 1893

The HHOF started recognizing players who played in the late 1890s. These were also probably the first players who grew up exposed to competitive hockey.

Indoor rinks became proliferating after 1900. Professional leagues were organized.

As said before, the talent pool didn't really expand to cover large parts of Canada until 1910 or so.

If you read old newspaper articles, when they talk of the "best players ever," they usually only go back to the first decade of the 1900s (though rarely someone will mention Dan Bain from the very end of the 1890s).

Sorry, this post turned pretty rambling. But the long and short of it is that I think the generation that played from about 1900 until World War I was much stronger than anything that came before it, largely because they were the first generation exposed to competitive hockey as children and to indoor rinks as developing players. And the first post-World War I generation (which would include Vezina, Benedict, and Lehman) was quite a bit stronger than the previous one, as the hockey became Canada's national past time.

In my opinion (and this might be controversial), the competitiveness of hockey in 1920 was probably closer to the quality of hockey in 2012 than it was to the quality of hockey in 1895 due to the rapid development of the sport from its infancy.
Arenas being built with artificial ice, improvements in rink refrigeration were the key factors.

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12-05-2012, 04:05 AM
  #114
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The fact that hockey became where the money was...after World War I is a major reason why I think the talent pool expanded so much, so quickly.
But why did hockey become where the money was? Because its popularity increased (mass audiences)? If so wouldn't the increased popularity already bring along an expanded talent pool with the money only being a side effect? Or did the popularity of watching hockey increase while the popularity of playing hockey did not increase at the same rate originally?* So that the money generated through the mass audiences was necessary to fuel the popularity of playing?

*Hockey is one of the most attended sports in many European countries outside of the traditional powerhouses (Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia), but very few people actually play hockey themselves. So it's fair to say that the popularity of watching hockey is there, but the popularity of playing hockey is not.

Popularity of watching > popularity of playing > increased talent pool

or

Popularity of watching > market, money > popularity of playing > increased talent pool

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12-05-2012, 06:05 AM
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Leisure Time

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But why did hockey become where the money was? Because its popularity increased (mass audiences)? If so wouldn't the increased popularity already bring along an expanded talent pool with the money only being a side effect? Or did the popularity of watching hockey increase while the popularity of playing hockey did not increase at the same rate originally?* So that the money generated through the mass audiences was necessary to fuel the popularity of playing?

*Hockey is one of the most attended sports in many European countries outside of the traditional powerhouses (Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia), but very few people actually play hockey themselves. So it's fair to say that the popularity of watching hockey is there, but the popularity of playing hockey is not.

Popularity of watching > popularity of playing > increased talent pool

or

Popularity of watching > market, money > popularity of playing > increased talent pool
Until the start of the depression, 20th century NA saw the start of the shift from rural to urban life and the growth in available leisure time especially amongst the working class.

These trends were evidenced in entertainment - cinema , theatre, vaudeville - live entertainment, professional sports.

In all cases facilities were built because of revenue potential - theatres, movie houses, arenas, baseball stadiums and the extra leisure time produced opportunity and demand for entertainment and sporting professionals. Previously professional entertainers and athletes were looked down upon in NA society.

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12-05-2012, 07:39 AM
  #116
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*Hockey is one of the most attended sports in many European countries outside of the traditional powerhouses (Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia), but very few people actually play hockey themselves.
Not to mention the United States south of Michigan.

Bringing this back around to goalies, I think the Worters generation is the first where we can really see goaltenders becoming star players across the board. After the obvious Vezina, Benedict, Hainsworth crowd it's tough for me to see all-time greats in the earlier era's deeper tiers. Lehman is the bottom of the top-60 talent pool as far as I can see, with Winkler hovering out there around 80. On that basis it intuitively seems too early for Lehman, especially when you consider he had such a similar résumé to Worters, seeing as the latter had to do it against much steeper competition.

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12-05-2012, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Not to mention the United States south of Michigan.

Bringing this back around to goalies, I think the Worters generation is the first where we can really see goaltenders becoming star players across the board. After the obvious Vezina, Benedict, Hainsworth crowd it's tough for me to see all-time greats in the earlier era's deeper tiers. Lehman is the bottom of the top-60 talent pool as far as I can see, with Winkler hovering out there around 80. On that basis it intuitively seems too early for Lehman, especially when you consider he had such a similar résumé to Worters, seeing as the latter had to do it against much steeper competition.
I think you're double counting the competition against Lehman. Prior to discussing competition, he holds a 11-4 advantage over Worters in 1st Team All Star nods. The fact that the PCHA was a half league (with Vezina and Benedict out east) is already held against Lehman if you want to say his resume is similar to Worters. You're also forgetting Hap Holmes, who I think ranks well above a non-HHOF like Winkler.

I'm leaning towards having Worters exactly 1 spot ahead of Lehman, simply because Worters won a Hart Trophy (MadArcand, I guess you convinced me with that one). Though I'd really love to read newspaper articles from 1928-29 to see if the writers actually thought Worters was the best player in the league that season, or if he was just "most valuable." It wasn't completely unknown for writers to give a player a Hart and not even vote him 1st Team All Star in later dates (Worters was a 1st Teamer in 1928-29 though).

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12-05-2012, 08:19 AM
  #118
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I think you're double counting the competition against Lehman. Prior to discussing competition, he holds a 11-4 advantage over Worters in 1st Team All Star nods. The fact that the PCHA was a half league (with Vezina and Benedict out east) is already held against Lehman if you want to say his resume is similar to Worters.
What I'm saying is the PCHA represented about half of a talent pool that, at least for a time, seems much smaller than the one Worters faced. So instead of 50%, it's more like 30% or 40%, and that's a pretty substantial difference. WHA-esque.


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You're also forgetting Hap Holmes, who I think ranks well above a non-HHOF like Winkler.
You're right, he's in there too. So the stratification isn't quite so extreme, but it's still a pretty thin group.

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12-05-2012, 08:59 AM
  #119
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To place Lehman's AS record in context, this is his competition for those awards:

NOTE: following the next few posts, I went back and edited in WCHL data to make this list more complete.

1911-1914
Bert Lindsay, Alan Parr

1915
Parr replaced by Mike Mitchell

1916
Exit Mike Mitchell
Enter Hap Holmes, Tom Murray and Fred McCullough

1917
Exit McCullough, enter Norman (Hec) Fowler

1918
Exit Hap Holmes

1919
Holmes returns, replacing Fowler

1920
Fowler returns, replacing Murray

1921
Same guys

1922
Same guys
[WCHL - Hal Winkler, Sammy Hebert, Bill Laird, Charlie Reid]

1923
Same guys
[WCHL - Add Bill Benney, who played most of the season in place of Reid]

1924
Same guys
[WCHL - Exit Hebert, replaced by George Hainsworth
Exit Laird, replaced by Red McCusker
Exit Benney, as Reid played the whole season]


1925 - Leagues Merge
WCHL now has George Hainsworth, Hap Holmes, Hal Winkler, Red McCusker, Charlie Reid and Herb Stuart. Lehman plays less than half a season in Vancouver with Reid.

[B]1926[b]
Reid is out, replaced by Lehman.

It's interesting how stagnant the PCHA became at the end. That's not a good sign for a competitive league.

Basically, Lehman had no all-time competition until Holmes entered the league in '16. After that, Holmes and Fowler were his only noteworthy competition and even at that, they're not exactly on the top-20 level we're discussing now. Probably not on Lehman's own level very often. Compare to Worters, who was always up against the likes of Benedict, Hainsworth, Gardiner, Thompson, Connell, Roach.

I stuck up for the PCHA earlier because I do think it was a quality league, but during that timeframe it would seem that goalie talent just wasn't abundant. Racking up 11 AS against PCHA competition doesn't strike me as more impressive than getting 4 against consolidated, next-generation NHL competition.


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12-05-2012, 09:26 AM
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Keep in mind that newspapers indicate that Lehman was widely considered the best goalie "out west," which would have included the WCHL, as well as the PCHA. WCHL and PCHA played regular season games against each other some seasons, so fans of one would have been familiar with players in the other.

And no, I don't think Lehman's 11 All Stars in the PCHA are necessarily more impressive than Worters' 4 1st Teams in the NHL. But I don't think they are necessarily less impressive either.

Edit: Hap Holmes seems to be the only other HHOFer to regularly compete in the PCHA. Holmes was good enough to win 4 different Cups with 4 different teams. And while they were both in their primes out west, Lehman seems to have been thought of quite a bit more highly than Holmes. On the other hand, you are right in that the competition past Holmes seems weak (and Holmes wasn't always there).


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12-05-2012, 11:05 AM
  #121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Keep in mind that newspapers indicate that Lehman was widely considered the best goalie "out west," which would have included the WCHL, as well as the PCHA. WCHL and PCHA played regular season games against each other some seasons, so fans of one would have been familiar with players in the other.
That's a good point. Adding the WCHL into the mix, we get the following:

1922
Hal Winkler, Sammy Hebert, Bill Laird, Charlie Reid

1923
Add Bill Benney, who played most of the season in place of Reid

1924
Exit Hebert, replaced by George Hainsworth
Exit Laird, replaced by Red McCusker
Exit Benney, as Reid played the whole season

1925
Add Hap Holmes and Herb Stuart

1926
Add Lehman himself, replacing Reid


I'm going to go back and add these to the prior list, to make it more complete.

I'm not sure these additions make much difference in the first couple of seasons, with the inferior Winkler being the only notable. Being the best goalie out west still seems like being the best goalie in the WHA -- definitely an important honor, but not the same as being the best in a better league.

But after the 1924 merger we have Hainsworth, Holmes and Lehman. I think a close look at those seasons is in order, particularly 1926 when we have some head-to-head between Hainsworth and Lehman.

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12-05-2012, 11:35 AM
  #122
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I really don't understand the intuitive assertion that Lehman belongs around the bottom part of 60.

I think the whole "West" thing is a bit of a red herring too. Holmes was Lehman's best competition, and by all accounts inferior, yet he was talented enough to win a Cup with an NHA team.

The thing that impresses me about Lehman's competition wasn't the 2-3 goalies he was competing with at a team in a tiny league, but how strong the teams he was facing were. Listing the non-Vancouver players he played against every year would probably tell more about the West's talent pool than just listing the goalies.

I still have no idea who to rank between him and Worters, but to have him off the ballot this round you'd probably really have to like Hainsworth and Thompson or really like the Bower/Fuhr/Smiths of the world and I just don't see it.

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12-05-2012, 12:12 PM
  #123
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Ugh, this is a fairly messy round to vote. Very clear #1 and last place, fairly clear #2-4, and then a mess of 5 guys who could be swapped in nearly any order imaginable.

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12-05-2012, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Bring Back Scuderi View Post
I really don't understand the intuitive assertion that Lehman belongs around the bottom part of 60.
For all I know he'd be fine in the middle... we don't yet know who else will be on the ballot at that point. I just don't see him being top-20.

Quote:
I think the whole "West" thing is a bit of a red herring too. Holmes was Lehman's best competition, and by all accounts inferior, yet he was talented enough to win a Cup with an NHA team.
And Holmes isn't close to top-20 status either, so where does that leave us? All we know is that Lehman is somewhere upward of Holmes.

Quote:
The thing that impresses me about Lehman's competition wasn't the 2-3 goalies he was competing with at a team in a tiny league, but how strong the teams he was facing were. Listing the non-Vancouver players he played against every year would probably tell more about the West's talent pool than just listing the goalies.
It's definitely true that the skaters were better than the goalies in that league. But again, what can we infer from that? If you add the '79 Habs to that league, Lehman doesn't suddenly become a better goalie.

Quote:
I still have no idea who to rank between him and Worters, but to have him off the ballot this round you'd probably really have to like Hainsworth and Thompson or really like the Bower/Fuhr/Smiths of the world and I just don't see it.
Well, take Fuhr for example. He was probably the best goalie for a time in the 1980s. Even if that was a weak point in modern history, it was a lot more competitive than Lehman's era and he didn't have at least a couple of contemporaries who were clear-cut above him (as in Vezina and Benedict). I can't see how Lehman has a prime edge on Fuhr, and I can't see a longevity edge of any significance, and playoffs are really not close. So how exactly does Lehman get ahead of Fuhr?

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12-05-2012, 12:30 PM
  #125
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How exactly does Fuhr get ahead of anybody this round?

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