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International Tournaments Discuss international tournaments such as the World Juniors, Olympic hockey, and Ice Hockey World Championships, as they take place; or discuss past tournaments.

Where would you say each major national team is in cyclical terms.

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Old
12-05-2012, 07:29 PM
  #26
William H Bonney
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I'd say the U.S. is "in the valley" at this point. I wouldn't really classify as us "on the rise" anymore because our talent production has leveled off in the last 8-9 years since we started our rise. Some years are better than others and while our overall depth is still growing, I think we should now expect more out of USAH and it's time for the next step. As others have alluded to earlier, the amount of talent we've produced in the last 10 years is pretty good but it looks better than it should just because of how dreadful our production was between the "Golden Generation" and the current crop that came in together like Parise, Suter, etc. USAH needs to start developing more high end talent as our upcoming depth will be better than our best generation, which is great, but our top end talent (besides the goalies) - and especially at forward - still lags too far behind.

USAH addressed this too slowly but hopefully the ADM and the shift in focus at the youth hockey levels will help address some it. I'm always skeptical how high we can take hockey in this country because it's such a unique sport. And while I do agree we need more American kids playing hockey, it's not simply for the sake of "higher numbers of kids playing equals more professional players" but to build a more sustainable youth hockey culture which is so vital to sustained success.

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Last edited by William H Bonney: 12-05-2012 at 07:38 PM.
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Old
12-06-2012, 02:57 AM
  #27
Tomas W
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Sweden is clearly in a rebuild phase, we have a lot of good (great even) prospects, but our senior team is struggling a bit, after the retirement of Sundin/Lidström etc.

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12-06-2012, 02:59 AM
  #28
Tomas W
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I have a hard time believing Russia can ever be like they were in the 1970s/1980s. These were years when their best was more or less neck and neck with Canada in a short tournament. Throw in a couple of blowout wins like the 1981 Canada Cup in there. I can't see them ever getting there again.

I agree with an earlier post. The USA almost seemed to spike back in the 1990s. The USA could ice a pretty good roster in 1996, 1998 and even 2002 (although the core was aging at the time). Their best do not compare to the era of the Modano, Leclair, Hull, Roenick, Tkachuk, Chelios, Leetch, Richter era. Not even close quite frankly. It will take a long time to see the USA have that type of top notch talent again.

Sweden went so long with terrible World Junior results I have to wonder if they ever can get back to what they were. You think of all those Silver medals they won in the 1990s with the WJC and then look at their placings in the 2000s. They won gold last year for the first time in 31 years so who knows.
Sweden have won several medals during recent WJC's, not only the gold last year.

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12-06-2012, 03:12 AM
  #29
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Finland is pretty high on the cycle, but not yet the highest point. I'd say we're back on the highest point when new Kurri / Selänne's kind of superstars are found again. The depth is probably better than ever, thought, and goalie situation is unbelievable good atm.

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12-06-2012, 03:40 AM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Statsy View Post
I was really thinking more about their results at the U20, U18, and U17 levels which is a good indicator of where they're heading.
These results aren't necessarily the best indicator. U20, the USA has 2 gold and 2 bronze since 2004. It brings their overall total to 7 medals in 31 years, so that is better recent results, but there are many years of not even getting to play in a medal game.

U18 & U17 have national teams that play all year together, which is a huge advantage against the other nations that have tournament squads. The U18 that USA does well in is during the CHL playoffs when many top players can't play for their national team. Canada is subpar in that tournament as they are effected the most, but so are other European teams with talent in the CHL. The Ivan Hlinka tournament in the summer, when players are free to play, does not see USA win much. As for the U17, Canada has 5 regional squads playing.

So overall, while their is improvement, it hasn't been as significant as some of these skewed results might indicate. I also agree that USA peaked around 1996. Hopefully a Salt Lake or Vancouver Olympic generational surge happens for USA like the Lake Plasid effect, even if those were silvers.

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12-06-2012, 06:34 AM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Statsy View Post
2) The U.S has been increasing its hockey enrollment rate and it's only a matter of time until they greatly out number any other country. Success in a sport is largely about the amount of people that play it, and though it will still take a few years, they will definitely put up the numbers. Frequent success is already starting to role in for this team at different levels and thanks to their NTDP they are already a dominant force at the U18 levels. The US is the biggest riser on the international hockey scene.
The US has, by far, had more active hockey players than Sweden ever since the invention of the sport. We're talking hundreds of thousands more. Would an additional 100,000 really do that much of a difference?

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12-06-2012, 06:45 AM
  #32
Nash
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Originally Posted by Slimmy View Post
The US has, by far, had more active hockey players than Sweden ever since the invention of the sport. We're talking hundreds of thousands more. Would an additional 100,000 really do that much of a difference?
Not really and the general argument against the quantity improving the top end quality is that given that hockey is a fourth or more tiered sport in the USA, the naturally gifted athletes gravitate towards other sports. 100,000 more recreation league players would have way less effect than even 100 elite level all American athletic types deciding to lace up.

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12-06-2012, 06:57 AM
  #33
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Originally Posted by Nash View Post
Not really and the general argument against the quantity improving the top end quality is that given that hockey is a fourth or more tiered sport in the USA, the naturally gifted athletes gravitate towards other sports. 100,000 more recreation league players would have way less effect than even 100 elite level all American athletic types deciding to lace up.
That's what I'm thinking. Of course, it doesn't hurt, but I'd say the popularity of the sport is a bigger issue than active players.

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12-06-2012, 08:44 AM
  #34
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This is kind of interesting and semi-relevant. The LINK shows a graph of percentage of players by nationality in the NHL. It indicates that the US is on a light upswing as in the last 10-12 years the US has went from 15% of all NHLers to 23%. It also indicates that the American gains are coming mostly from the Eastern European countries as Russia, Czechs and Slovaks are declining in percentage of NHLers.

Probably not an indication of actual talent put more of third-fourth liners staying in the KHL for better money or something. But I found it interesting.

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12-06-2012, 10:06 AM
  #35
wings5
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I would say:
Canada: neutral
USA : neutral
Russia:incline
Slovakia-decline
Czech-decline (hard to say as they have really talented group of 93 and 94 if its coincidence)
Sweden-incline
Finland-incline
Switzerland-incline
Latvia-incline
Germany-neutral
`

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12-06-2012, 03:54 PM
  #36
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by Fulcrum View Post
Why?
Well we're talking about a country where they at one time beat Canada (Team NHL) 6-0 in a deciding game in the Challenge Cup in 1979 and 8-1 in the Canada Cup. These were great Canadian teams as well. Also coming within a whisker of beating a prime Gretzky/Lemieux in the 1987 Canada Cup. It is just hard to see that kind of talent coming again. I don't think the 2010 Canadian Olympic team was as good as the 1987 Canada Cup team and they spanked the Russians 7-3 in the Olympic quarterfinals. This was also a pretty good Russian team, I thought, with Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk and Nabokov in net. 31 years without winning a best on best is just a long time and I don't think you can ever underestimate how dominant those earlier Soviet teams were.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomas W View Post
Sweden have won several medals during recent WJC's, not only the gold last year.
Lots of Swedish talent came out in the 1990s though. It is unclear if they can recapture that again.

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12-06-2012, 04:11 PM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Well we're talking about a country where they at one time beat Canada (Team NHL) 6-0 in a deciding game in the Challenge Cup in 1979 and 8-1 in the Canada Cup. These were great Canadian teams as well. Also coming within a whisker of beating a prime Gretzky/Lemieux in the 1987 Canada Cup. It is just hard to see that kind of talent coming again. I don't think the 2010 Canadian Olympic team was as good as the 1987 Canada Cup team and they spanked the Russians 7-3 in the Olympic quarterfinals. This was also a pretty good Russian team, I thought, with Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk and Nabokov in net. 31 years without winning a best on best is just a long time and I don't think you can ever underestimate how dominant those earlier Soviet teams were.



Lots of Swedish talent came out in the 1990s though. It is unclear if they can recapture that again.
Ok I can see where you're coming from.

But I also thinking you're vastly underestimating how much Russian hockey has expanded since the Soviet days of have 1-3 Good Teams with Elite players (Red Army, Dinamo Moscow, Spartak).

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12-10-2012, 06:39 AM
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I have a hard time believing Russia can ever be like they were in the 1970s/1980s. These were years when their best was more or less neck and neck with Canada in a short tournament. Throw in a couple of blowout wins like the 1981 Canada Cup in there. I can't see them ever getting there again.

I agree with an earlier post. The USA almost seemed to spike back in the 1990s. The USA could ice a pretty good roster in 1996, 1998 and even 2002 (although the core was aging at the time). Their best do not compare to the era of the Modano, Leclair, Hull, Roenick, Tkachuk, Chelios, Leetch, Richter era. Not even close quite frankly. It will take a long time to see the USA have that type of top notch talent again.

Sweden went so long with terrible World Junior results I have to wonder if they ever can get back to what they were. You think of all those Silver medals they won in the 1990s with the WJC and then look at their placings in the 2000s. They won gold last year for the first time in 31 years so who knows.
4 medals since 2008 is clearly terrible.

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12-10-2012, 10:06 AM
  #39
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People are comparing generations with pevious generations too much, and not comparing age groups within nations currently against each other enough.

It doesn't particularly matter what happened in the 1970's and how Canada and the Soviet union compared.

People (Big Phil) use the 2010 quarter final against Russian development far too much. It was one game. If those teams played 100 times, i would imagine niether nation would have a significant advantage in win numbers. People put stock in off performances far too much. Not suprised however, given the clear Russian bias on this forum, and the ability to rationally think.

I think assessing where each nations are in development is on the surface quite simple. Czech Republic and Slovakia are having severe issues. Predicting when those valleys end (Or if they do) is a much harder question. I think with these two nations ; you won't see such regular success at the elite level again for along time.

Canada is doing fine. Though i have to laugh at Big Phil saying Russia cannot match the output of previous Soviet teams. So when is Canada producing the next Gretzky or Lemieux? Contradict yourself much?

Russia is seeing some improvements and with the re-organisation of junior hockey and the increased investment in all areas of hockey, they will challenge at all levels for top honours.

US in my mind has actually reached some stagnation. The depth is excellent, and they produce many good hockey players. However development of elite Forwards (Galchenyuk shouldn't really count) is still sparse. The numbers are good, the quantity of solid talent is good, the results at Junior level are acceptable ... but transitioning that into elite talent at the senior level still hasn't happened.

Sweden is certainly seeing a surge in talent. Large numbers in the NHL, large NHL draft numbers, success at all Junior levels and consistently solid draft classes (of course variations still happen class to class). Perhaps not enough exceptional forwards within these recent age groups, but not much of an issue.

Finland definitely is beginning to escape the dark. Some enticing forward prospects have recently emerged and the age groups seem more promising. Naturally they are more likely to be affected by variations due to the available player pool.

Switzerland ... odd. Depth is still improving, and couple of elite talents recently, yet still they struggle to consistently develop elite talent. But excellent foundations within the country.

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12-10-2012, 01:17 PM
  #40
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Swedens depth is getting better and better, but if theres some real elite talent emerging is unclear. We still haven't replacements for the golden generation that is retiring (Forsberg, Sundin, Näslund, Lidström, soon Alfredsson, et.c.)

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12-10-2012, 01:49 PM
  #41
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Looking at it now Canada is producing super talented youngsters almost every other year now as opposed to every 5-10 it seems. Ekblad 96, McDavid/Barzal 97, Benson 98.

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12-10-2012, 04:22 PM
  #42
Nash
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Swedens depth is getting better and better, but if theres some real elite talent emerging is unclear. We still haven't replacements for the golden generation that is retiring (Forsberg, Sundin, Näslund, Lidström, soon Alfredsson, et.c.)
It's not like Canada has produced replacements for the likes of Gretzky or Lemieux, but that may just be too high a bar to replace. I think we've been able to produce some high end replacements for the Sakic, Yzerman, and Bourque type level though which is still very good. The biggest let down is in net. However, I think this is over exaggerated as well. It isn't just that we aren't producing a dearth of talent in net. It is that the level of elite goaltending nation to nation is much closer now. Were all those great Canadian goalies elite superstars or were other nations simply not producing much in the crease?

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12-10-2012, 05:57 PM
  #43
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Well as far as USA goes, the depth is really good and getting better. But we still can't become that superpower that we are capable of because of the lack of popularity of the sport in this country. So I don't know when the US will reach that superpower level, it could be a long, long time until that happens.

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12-10-2012, 06:09 PM
  #44
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Well as far as USA goes, the depth is really good and getting better. But we still can't become that superpower that we are capable of because of the lack of popularity of the sport in this country. So I don't know when the US will reach that superpower level, it could be a long, long time until that happens.
The population of Sweden is just under 10 million people. The population of Michigan alone is around the same number. When you add in all the kids playing hockey in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, New England and elsewhere you see it's not a population issue, or an issue of kids playing the game, it's an issue of proper developmental techniques and culture.

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12-10-2012, 06:56 PM
  #45
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The population of Sweden is just under 10 million people. The population of Michigan alone is around the same number. When you add in all the kids playing hockey in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, New England and elsewhere you see it's not a population issue, or an issue of kids playing the game, it's an issue of proper developmental techniques and culture.
He never said population. He said popularity.

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12-10-2012, 07:00 PM
  #46
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Slovakia is on the way down. Once Hossa, Chara and Gaborik are gone they won't be nearly the force they are or once were. I think they really peaked when they won gold in the early/mid 2000's at the WJC. The silver this past year will be one of the last they win for a while.

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12-10-2012, 07:05 PM
  #47
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Slovakia and Czechs need to realy step it up again.

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12-10-2012, 07:23 PM
  #48
Xokkeu
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He never said population. He said popularity.
....and the sport isn't popular in Michigan? Minnesota? Wisconsin? New York? There are plenty of kids playing, they just simply aren't being taught properly.

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12-10-2012, 07:59 PM
  #49
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Slovakia and Czechs need to realy step it up again.
Czechs situation isn't as bad, they are very patriotic and many of the old vets still jump at the chance to put on the National jersey even after long grueling seasons. When they get too old there will be some good young talent ready to come in and contribute after learning from the vets.

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12-11-2012, 01:56 AM
  #50
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Wasn't even something like this planned? The Helvetics?

http://www.helveticshockey.ch/
Hey! It wasn't only planned it still is! The project hasn't been cancelled, though if something happens it does behind the scenes

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