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"Physical Freaks" in the Functional, Hockey Sense

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Old
02-12-2013, 05:37 PM
  #26
TheAngryHank
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Originally Posted by bruinsfan46 View Post
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.
In my mind durability is what separates the Forsbergs from the Fedorovs. Chelios could be added to this list. Fedorov was probably the most naturally gifted player and most complete plus stayed healthy.

Emmitt Smith V Darren Mcfadden . one can't make it through a season while one hardly missed games, who is more gifted? Both big / strong / fast yet one doesn't break.

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02-12-2013, 05:40 PM
  #27
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Lindros comes to mind. He's the one guy I can think of who possessed a physical quality that other players basically just could not match.

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02-12-2013, 05:56 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by TheAngryHank View Post
Freaks are not injury prone.

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02-12-2013, 05:57 PM
  #29
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Booth is a physical freak, but with his tunnel vision that doesn't translate into great production.

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02-12-2013, 05:59 PM
  #30
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In the sense that Lebron is a freak (size, agility, speed, and skill):

1) Lemieux
2) Lindros
3) Jagr
4) Ovechkin

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02-12-2013, 06:15 PM
  #31
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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.
The United States isn't the only country with top athletes. They have their fair share that's for sure but I believe your argument is flawed. I agree with some of the principals (like different elements that make up a good athlete) but I would argue that there are more than three and it can help show why there are not a bunch of jacked people in the NHL. I brought up this article in another thread:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/sportSkills

It is far from gospel but it is an interesting read none the less. It breaks down the various sports and ranks the attributes required to be successful at that sport. Comparing the football and hockey it argues that hockey ranks higher than football in endurance, speed, agility, flexibility, hand-eye (by a wide margin), analytical aptidue. Whereas football not surprisingly leads in strength, power, nerve, and durability. Interestingly enough they ranked soccer, another sport with smaller athletes, along with hockey (and auto racing) as the sports that required the highest analytical apitude. Helps show why players like Gretzky can dominate despite being so small. Simply put strength is not as important to hockey as it is to football. You are better off at having a quick mind, light feet, and great hand eye than you are at being impressively strong. Would Calvin Johnson be a good hockey player? Probably. Would he be the best? Maybe, but probably not as his skills apply to the football more than hockey. He might even be really good at hockey, but I am not convinced he would outplay Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, etc.

I find your USA superiority the most damaging part of your argument. There are tons of muscle bound NFL players, its not like they are a rare thing and they exist in other countries. If a player built physically like a body builder would be such a huge advantage we would have seen at least one in the NHL right now who is a star. Someone like Chara could bulk out if he wanted too (you will find fewer who are more committed to performance) but he targets a lean build for a reason.

The only way I can see your argument being correct is if NFL/NBA use HGH and the NHL is not. But I don't think that is the case either.

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02-12-2013, 06:21 PM
  #32
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Erik Karlsson.

He might not be the biggest and strongest. But his skating is beyond everyone else's in the league. He's got a really hard shot that is freakish for someone of his size. Throw in the dexterity he displays with his stick in winning battles for the puck or stripping the puck from opponents. And his passing is unrivaled amongst defencemen.

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Old
02-12-2013, 06:22 PM
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilderPegasus View Post
Erik Karlsson.

He might not be the biggest and strongest. But his skating is beyond everyone else's in the league. He's got a really hard shot that is freakish for someone of his size. Throw in the dexterity he displays with his stick in winning battles for the puck or stripping the puck from opponents. And his passing is unrivaled amongst defencemen.
get out of here

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Old
02-12-2013, 06:24 PM
  #34
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Ray Bourque was an absolute machine when he played. His endurance was really unrivalled by anyone. His ability to play more than half the game at such a high level was incredible.

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02-12-2013, 07:13 PM
  #35
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Please....hockey is a physical sport.

Give an nhl player the physique of Lebron James and it wil give him an Very big advantage.

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