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"Physical Freaks" in the Functional, Hockey Sense

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Old
02-12-2013, 02:42 PM
  #1
sanitysrequiem
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"Physical Freaks" in the Functional, Hockey Sense

Inspired by the other thread on whether the NHL will ever see a "freak" like Lebron James. I will post my reply to that thread here.


No we won't see a Lebron James type "freak" in the NHL, because that is not functional athleticism for the sport. It would get you nowhere as the game does not require it. It would actually hinder you, as that type of muscle mass won't allow for as much agility and speed.

I think a more interesting question is who was a physical "freak" in the hockey sense. That is, who has the best combination of athletic attributes which help you most in hockey? So lower body / leg strength, size and reach, balance, explosiveness, hand-eye coordination, reflexes, agility, skating ability, speed, endurance, lung-recovery, etc?


Having said that, who do you guys think are the most "functionally athletic" players in hockey history?

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02-12-2013, 02:44 PM
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Steven Stamkos thanks to Gary Roberts.

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02-12-2013, 02:45 PM
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Jagr at his peak. Lindros as well

Forsberg to a slightly lesser extent. As well as guys like Scott Stevens and Larry Robinson

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02-12-2013, 02:46 PM
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Crosby and Stamkos.

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02-12-2013, 02:48 PM
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SimplySensational
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Ovechkin.

I really hate that the media ended up dictating this whole idea of Ovechkin not being allowed to stay on the ice for a 2 minute even strength shift.

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02-12-2013, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by typicryptic View Post
Inspired by the other thread on whether the NHL will ever see a "freak" like Lebron James. I will post my reply to that thread here.


No we won't see a Lebron James type "freak" in the NHL, because that is not functional athleticism for the sport. It would get you nowhere as the game does not require it. It would actually hinder you, as that type of muscle mass won't allow for as much agility and speed.

I think a more interesting question is who was a physical "freak" in the hockey sense. That is, who has the best combination of athletic attributes which help you most in hockey? So lower body / leg strength, size and reach, balance, explosiveness, hand-eye coordination, reflexes, agility, skating ability, speed, endurance, lung-recovery, etc?


Having said that, who do you guys think are the most "functionally athletic" players in hockey history?
Your second paragraph... What're you talking about? Hinder you? Lebron's physique is all explosive speed.

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02-12-2013, 02:50 PM
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kakemono
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That kind of muscle mass is not a hinder to speed or agility.

This is an old addage that has been busted for decades and decades as poeple kept thinking getting bigger and stronger and dominating people who thought it would hinder them.


That said, Chara?

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02-12-2013, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by typicryptic View Post

I think a more interesting question is who was a physical "freak" in the hockey sense. That is, who has the best combination of athletic attributes which help you most in hockey? So lower body / leg strength, size and reach, balance, explosiveness, hand-eye coordination, reflexes, agility, skating ability, speed, endurance, lung-recovery, etc?
When I see this combination of attributes, my only answer is a prime Jagr. He had all that in droves.

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02-12-2013, 03:11 PM
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Kovalchuk?

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02-12-2013, 03:14 PM
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Kovalchuk?
Thought the same thing

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02-12-2013, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kakemono View Post
That kind of muscle mass is not a hinder to speed or agility.

This is an old addage that has been busted for decades and decades as poeple kept thinking getting bigger and stronger and dominating people who thought it would hinder them.


That said, Chara?
Chara is the name that comes to mind first.

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02-12-2013, 03:26 PM
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Kovalchuk?
And Fedorov.

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02-12-2013, 03:28 PM
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Jagr at his peak. Lindros as well

Forsberg to a slightly lesser extent. As well as guys like Scott Stevens and Larry Robinson
Freaks are not injury prone.

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02-12-2013, 03:47 PM
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I really don't understand why people have such a hard time understanding athleticism.

IMO: There's 3 main aspects that make up an athlete:

Skill: this refers to coordination and motor skills. In hockey terms, you'd never find a great stickhandler or puckhandler who didn't have outstanding skill. In football, you'd never find a great pass catcher without elite skill. In basketball, you'd never find an elite ball handler who lacked skill. And on and on. This refers to foot work, skilled skating (edge work, change of direction), etc as well.

Physical Talent: this refers to size, strength, speed, explosiveness, etc... In hockey, think of prime Ovechkin's best attributes.

Mental Game: this is IQ, understanding the game, vision, etc. Huge in hockey. Look no further than The Great One.

Obviously these 3 categories aren't equally weighted in every sport. Some aspects are more important in other sports. You can have the most amazing field vision on the planet, but if you're 5'5 130 with 4.9 speed you're not going to make it as a RB in the NFL. Likewise, you can having amazing physical talent to get open as a WR, but of you don't have the skill to catch a football, you're not going to be Randy Moss.

When it comes to the LeBron James' and Calvin Johnson's of the world, they are elite in all 3 categories. Their physical talent is highlighted when people refer them as freaks, but that's because people with their skill level and on court/field IQ typically don't possess their physical talent. They are the type of athletes that you would seemingly manufacture in a lab. When you're 6'5 with amazing hands and body control, you're not supposed to be able to run a 4.3 40 (Calvin). Likewise, you're not supposed to be able to run all day and jump through the roof at 6'8 250, let alone have elite skill and court vision(LeBron).

There's never been a hockey player comparable to these guys in terms of physical talent.

My biggest problem with the people who don't seem to get it is that they totally ignore/disrespect how much skill these guys have. Despite LeBron's obvious physical talent, his skill level and coordination is elite for any athlete. If he grew up with a hockey stick in hand he would be highly skilled. Coordination and skill with time and practice can be applied to most sports. That's why so many skilled athletes are so good in many sports. Haven't any of you guys been in gym class with a kid who was seemingly skilled at everything? He can stickhandle, dribble, catch, throw and handle a racquet at a high level? That's because the same aspect applies to all of these.

I feel like I'm rambling so I'll finish on one last point: assuming physical talent isn't useful in hockey. Or ever worse, saying that it's detrimental. With all due respect, that's one of the dumbest things I've heard today...

A player is going to be less effective because he's bigger, stronger, faster, and more explosive? That's crazy talk. Even if a player wasn't highly skilled, you could manufacture a hell of a role player/grinder with elite physical talent and the right mental game (willingness to play that type of game.) Darren Helm is a great role player because he has elite speed and the willingness to play in the tough areas. You're telling me it would hinder him is he were also bigger and stronger on top of this speed?

The NHL will not truly get one of these freaks of nature until a hockey mind and skill set like Crosby's is sitting on top of a guy with elite physical talent. And I'm not talking elite in NHL terms. I'm talking elite in athletic terms. I'm talking LeBron James, Calvin Johnson, Vernon Davis. Can it happen? Yes. Will it soon? Not likely. Not unless hockey suddenly became more popular and available to the United States' best athletes.

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02-12-2013, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimplySensational View Post
Ovechkin.

I really hate that the media ended up dictating this whole idea of Ovechkin not being allowed to stay on the ice for a 2 minute even strength shift.
If it still worked it would still happen. That's not the media's fault, NHL coaches do what they feel is best to win not what the media feels.

Lindros is the one guy who stands above all the rest for this thread.

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02-12-2013, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by TheAngryHank View Post
Freaks are not injury prone.
On what basis? Do we not get to look back on Bo Jackson and say that dude was a physical freak because injuries got to him? Injuries don't take away the specimens these guys were when healthy.

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02-12-2013, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silkyjohnson50 View Post
I really don't understand why people have such a hard time understanding athleticism.

IMO: There's 3 main aspects that make up an athlete:

Skill: this refers to coordination and motor skills. In hockey terms, you'd never find a great stickhandler or puckhandler who didn't have outstanding skill. In football, you'd never find a great pass catcher without elite skill. In basketball, you'd never find an elite ball handler who lacked skill. And on and on. This refers to foot work, skilled skating (edge work, change of direction), etc as well.

Physical Talent: this refers to size, strength, speed, explosiveness, etc... In hockey, think of prime Ovechkin's best attributes.

Mental Game: this is IQ, understanding the game, vision, etc. Huge in hockey. Look no further than The Great One.

Obviously these 3 categories aren't equally weighted in every sport. Some aspects are more important in other sports. You can have the most amazing field vision on the planet, but if you're 5'5 130 with 4.9 speed you're not going to make it as a RB in the NFL. Likewise, you can having amazing physical talent to get open as a WR, but of you don't have the skill to catch a football, you're not going to be Randy Moss.

When it comes to the LeBron James' and Calvin Johnson's of the world, they are elite in all 3 categories. Their physical talent is highlighted when people refer them as freaks, but that's because people with their skill level and on court/field IQ typically don't possess their physical talent. They are the type of athletes that you would seemingly manufacture in a lab. When you're 6'5 with amazing hands and body control, you're not supposed to be able to run a 4.3 40 (Calvin). Likewise, you're not supposed to be able to run all day and jump through the roof at 6'8 250, let alone have elite skill and court vision(LeBron).

There's never been a hockey player comparable to these guys in terms of physical talent.

My biggest problem with the people who don't seem to get it is that they totally ignore/disrespect how much skill these guys have. Despite LeBron's obvious physical talent, his skill level and coordination is elite for any athlete. If he grew up with a hockey stick in hand he would be highly skilled. Coordination and skill with time and practice can be applied to most sports. That's why so many skilled athletes are so good in many sports. Haven't any of you guys been in gym class with a kid who was seemingly skilled at everything? He can stickhandle, dribble, catch, throw and handle a racquet at a high level? That's because the same aspect applies to all of these.

I feel like I'm rambling so I'll finish on one last point: assuming physical talent isn't useful in hockey. Or ever worse, saying that it's detrimental. With all due respect, that's one of the dumbest things I've heard today...

A player is going to be less effective because he's bigger, stronger, faster, and more explosive? That's crazy talk. Even if a player wasn't highly skilled, you could manufacture a hell of a role player/grinder with elite physical talent and the right mental game (willingness to play that type of game.) Darren Helm is a great role player because he has elite speed and the willingness to play in the tough areas. You're telling me it would hinder him is he were also bigger and stronger on top of this speed?

The NHL will not truly get one of these freaks of nature until a hockey mind and skill set like Crosby's is sitting on top of a guy with elite physical talent. And I'm not talking elite in NHL terms. I'm talking elite in athletic terms. I'm talking LeBron James, Calvin Johnson, Vernon Davis. Can it happen? Yes. Will it soon? Not likely. Not unless hockey suddenly became more popular and available to the United States' best athletes.

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Old
02-12-2013, 04:02 PM
  #18
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02-12-2013, 04:05 PM
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02-12-2013, 04:06 PM
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Mario Lemieux is the perfect hockey player, in the physical sense. Just the deadliest combination of size, skill, IQ, and agility.

For defensemen, I think of Larry Robinson. He was bigger than most, but wasn't TOO big. He could skate, pass, and most importantly defend.

That said, the best defensemen in NHL history are seem to be around 5'11.

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Old
02-12-2013, 04:06 PM
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its funny that instead of just posting in that other thread you made a completely new one for no reason.

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02-12-2013, 04:15 PM
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I think Ovechkin would be if he actually trained he just looks like a slob

Crosbys a good example guys got a massive lower body

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02-12-2013, 04:31 PM
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Crosby
Kovalchuk
Martin St.Louis to some extent. Gotta give him his due.
Brodeur, honestly..
Thornton
Jagr
Iginla
Nash

Some good examples of current players with good fitness and physical ability

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02-12-2013, 04:32 PM
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I don't even understand what this is asking. All I know about Lebron James is that he's good at basketball, the people in Cleveland hate him and he likes Vitamin water. When I think "physical freak" and "basketball" I start thinking of Shaq or Manute Bol.

What is an NHL player being asked to be able to do to be considered a comparable?

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02-12-2013, 04:36 PM
  #25
Cory Trevor
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Nash comes to mind. The size, the skill, and the speed but nothing to the degree of Lebron.

Maybe Seth Jones in the future??

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