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Hall of Fame players that aged well

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04-21-2013, 11:06 PM
  #1
kaiser matias
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Hall of Fame players that aged well

Reverse of the other thread there about HHOF players that had a sharp decline, how about some who kept up a high level until the very end?

I'd say the first one to come to mind is Gordie Howe. So much to pick from in his career, but I'll just pick two: WHA MVP in 1974 age 46 (granted its the WHA, but that's impressive) and playing all 80 games in 1979-80 and scoring 41 points age 52.

Another that I think of is Joe Sakic. Injuries derailed his last two seasons, where he recorded a combined 52 points in 59 games, but in 2006-07 he put up 100 points age 37. The only other player to do that at that age or older was, of course, Howe (who's only 100 point season in the NHL came at age 41.

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04-21-2013, 11:21 PM
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Nicklas Lidstrom. He won his seventh Norris (and tenth nomination and first-team All-Star selection) in his 19th season.

Raymond Bourque. Postseason all star in each of the first 17 seasons of his career, and 19 of 22. Walked out with the Cup in hand as a first-team All-Star and Norris runner-up.

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04-21-2013, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by kaiser matias View Post
I'd say the first one to come to mind is Gordie Howe. So much to pick from in his career, but I'll just pick two: WHA MVP in 1974 age 46 (granted its the WHA, but that's impressive) and playing all 80 games in 1979-80 and scoring 41 points age 52.
Howe also played in the All-Star game that season as the Whalers' representative. The game was played in the *brand new* Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit.



There are a few other faces you might recognizes as well.

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04-21-2013, 11:41 PM
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Bill Durnan. In 6 of his 7 seasons he wins the Vezina,
abruptly quitting at 35 in 1950 and still in top form....

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04-21-2013, 11:42 PM
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kaiser matias
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Howe also played in the All-Star game that season as the Whalers' representative. The game was played in the *brand new* Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit.



There are a few other faces you might recognizes as well.
Yeah Howe going to the All-Star Game is another good choice. But with his career there was just so much to pick from I only wanted to go with a couple things.

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04-21-2013, 11:42 PM
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Larry Robinson played pretty good hockey til the end of his career even though he didn't score as much. Its amazing that he recorded 17 assists in the 1986 playoffs after 13 years in the NHL and the scars of a dynasty.

Yzerman too. He changed his game and still put up some decent numbers.

Jacques Plante and Terry Sawchuk were amazing even in their older years despite some limited playing time.


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04-21-2013, 11:44 PM
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Chris Chelios the fact that he was able to stick around until the age of 45 is amazing, in any sports.

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04-21-2013, 11:45 PM
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Chris Chelios gets a bum rap because he perhaps played a bit 'too' long, but he was a runner-up for the Norris in 2002 (aged 40) and I will never forget how much he stepped up in the 2007 playoffs for the Wings when Schneider and Kronwall were out with injuries. He was still an impact, solid player capable of logging big minutes at the age of 45.

MacInnis and Leetch also fit into this category - a lot of defensemen.

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04-22-2013, 12:44 AM
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MacInnis was still rocking it at age 39 where he became at first team all pro in 2002-2003 and put up an impressive 66 points with a plus 22

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04-22-2013, 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
Nicklas Lidstrom. He won his seventh Norris (and tenth nomination and first-team All-Star selection) in his 19th season.

Raymond Bourque. Postseason all star in each of the first 17 seasons of his career, and 19 of 22. Walked out with the Cup in hand as a first-team All-Star and Norris runner-up.
That last season hurrah was mainly in part due to a change of scenery though to the Avs.

Before that he was aging as expected, just a little bit less each year and ahead of the normal curve.

Howe is the obvious choice here and Chelios was 2nd, although he like Bourque did benefit from a change of scenery.

Selanne will be up with with Howe once he makes the HHOF which he will do.

Ron Francis also aged very well, better than expected IMO.

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04-22-2013, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by RabbinsDuck View Post
Chris Chelios gets a bum rap because he perhaps played a bit 'too' long, but he was a runner-up for the Norris in 2002 (aged 40) and I will never forget how much he stepped up in the 2007 playoffs for the Wings when Schneider and Kronwall were out with injuries. He was still an impact, solid player capable of logging big minutes at the age of 45.

MacInnis and Leetch also fit into this category - a lot of defensemen.
Dmen tend to age better on the whole than forwards do.

It's pretty obvious as to why IMO as on the back end guys can get by on their smarts and for forwards physical tools are probably more important.

Doug Harvey Aged quite well and was pretty darn good even if a watered down league in his early 40's

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04-22-2013, 02:03 AM
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It's pretty obvious as to why IMO as on the back end guys can get by on their smarts and for forwards physical tools are probably more important.
Yep. Remember Harold Snepsts Hv? Doctor told him after his like 5th Concussion he'd better start wearing a helmet.
Harold said "aw Doc, dont worry about it. I can always come back as a forward if its real bad".

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04-22-2013, 05:21 AM
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Yep. Remember Harold Snepsts Hv? Doctor told him after his like 5th Concussion he'd better start wearing a helmet.
Harold said "aw Doc, dont worry about it. I can always come back as a forward if its real bad".
Yes, the big guy had a stash and scored on a freaking slapshot on a penalty shot against Minny as I recall.

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04-22-2013, 06:14 AM
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Jean Beliveau was still arguably the Habs best forward the year he retired, a Cup Winning season.

Jacques Lemaire had his best year in his 2nd last season and was still the Habs 2nd best forward the year he retired in 1979.

Ken Dryden was voted the best goalie in the NHL his last 4 years.

Tim Thomas qualifies if he never returns.

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04-22-2013, 06:25 AM
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Jean Beliveau was still arguably the Habs best forward the year he retired, a Cup Winning season.

Jacques Lemaire had his best year in his 2nd last season and was still the Habs 2nd best forward the year he retired in 1979.

Ken Dryden was voted the best goalie in the NHL his last 4 years.

Tim Thomas qualifies if he never returns.


Do you think Dryden is a good example? Dryden retired just as he was beginning to slip so we never got to see him age. Thomas is similar to Johnny Bower starting in the NHL so late and playing so well into his late 30's. Lemaire aged well, although his career was buoyed by playing with Lafleur for sure (and visa versa).

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04-22-2013, 06:44 AM
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Saint Nick of course epitomizes this.

So does Joe Sakic of the hated Avalanche.

Jean Beliveau of course.

The pocket rocket aged gracefully on the ice, if you look past his tantrum against his coach in the cup finals late in his career.

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04-22-2013, 06:57 AM
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Hardyvan123
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Do you think Dryden is a good example? Dryden retired just as he was beginning to slip so we never got to see him age. Thomas is similar to Johnny Bower starting in the NHL so late and playing so well into his late 30's. Lemaire aged well, although his career was buoyed by playing with Lafleur for sure (and visa versa).
I was thinking the same thing with Dryden, in fact he retired quite young.

Ditto for Lemaire, he was strong till the end but retired quite young as well to take a player coach job in France.

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04-22-2013, 07:47 AM
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Psycho Papa Joe
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Do you think Dryden is a good example? Dryden retired just as he was beginning to slip so we never got to see him age. Thomas is similar to Johnny Bower starting in the NHL so late and playing so well into his late 30's. Lemaire aged well, although his career was buoyed by playing with Lafleur for sure (and visa versa).
Just going by what was said in the OP. Guys who retired before their games went downhill.

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04-22-2013, 10:08 AM
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vadim sharifijanov
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not a guy where you can point to his late-career numbers, but how about scott stevens? obviously the concussion problems that ended his career compromised his very last, abbreviated season, but his last full year he was a 25 minute d-man on a stanley cup winner, at age 39.

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04-22-2013, 10:58 AM
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...how about scott stevens?
Ya thats a good one. I could have seen him playing another several seasons and in excellent form into his mid 40's actually. Eddie Shores another, still had gas in the tank, playing in the the AHL after leaving the NHL.

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04-22-2013, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by RabbinsDuck View Post
Chris Chelios gets a bum rap because he perhaps played a bit 'too' long, but he was a runner-up for the Norris in 2002 (aged 40) and I will never forget how much he stepped up in the 2007 playoffs for the Wings when Schneider and Kronwall were out with injuries. He was still an impact, solid player capable of logging big minutes at the age of 45.

MacInnis and Leetch also fit into this category - a lot of defensemen.
I thought Brian Leetch aged quite poorly - he lost a lot of his speed and his defensive ability took a major hit around 1997. MacInnis is a good one. There's an argument that he was better than ever as a all-round player after the age of 35.

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04-22-2013, 11:30 AM
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I thought Brian Leetch aged quite poorly - he lost a lot of his speed and his defensive ability took a major hit around 1997. MacInnis is a good one. There's an argument that he was better than ever as a all-round player after the age of 35.
If he had been surrounded by competent players his decline would not have seemed nearly as bad. He was asked to do far too much with nothing worthwhile around him. If he had played on the Wings or Aves after 97 for example instead of being on the Rangers he might have won a 3rd Norris. The offensive production he put up 2000-01 with only 2 other players that could even be considered "good" Nedved and Fluery who entered rehab with a quarter of the season remaining killed him. He still put up 79 points in 82 games. Just imagine what he might have done. The only other defenseman on that team worth even half a damn was a young and raw Kim Johnsson. I also believe that playing on some of those miserable Rangers teams killed his spirit which precipitated his decline. Physically he was a freak of nature that would have been able to play at a high level until he was 40. I remember watching a Ranger documentary where it was mentioned that they did tests on him that revealed that even by the standards of world class athletes, his body recovered exponentially faster than it should have been able to. For him a 30 second rest was as effective as a 90 second rest for someone else.

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04-22-2013, 11:45 AM
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That last season hurrah was mainly in part due to a change of scenery though to the Avs.

Before that he was aging as expected, just a little bit less each year and ahead of the normal curve.

Howe is the obvious choice here and Chelios was 2nd, although he like Bourque did benefit from a change of scenery.

Selanne will be up with with Howe once he makes the HHOF which he will do.

Ron Francis also aged very well, better than expected IMO.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loto68 View Post
If he had been surrounded by competent players his decline would not have seemed nearly as bad. He was asked to do far too much with nothing worthwhile around him. If he had played on the Wings or Aves after 97 for example instead of being on the Rangers he might have won a 3rd Norris.
Leetch would have been #2 to Lidstrom; and had he been on the Wings in 96-97 he likely wouldn't have won the Norris as he'd have been on the second pairing.

Quote:
The offensive production he put up 2000-01 with only 2 other players that could even be considered "good" Nedved and Fluery who entered rehab with a quarter of the season remaining killed him. He still put up 79 points in 82 games. Just imagine what he might have done. The only other defenseman on that team worth even half a damn was a young and raw Kim Johnsson. I also believe that playing on some of those miserable Rangers teams killed his spirit which precipitated his decline. Physically he was a freak of nature that would have been able to play at a high level until he was 40. I remember watching a Ranger documentary where it was mentioned that they did tests on him that revealed that even by the standards of world class athletes, his body recovered exponentially faster than it should have been able to. For him a 30 second rest was as effective as a 90 second rest for someone else.
That's fine and dandy... he still aged poorly given actual performances and not what-ifs. What-ifs are great sometimes. This is not a matter of "what if". It's a matter of "who aged well" meaning who maintained their level of play for a long time into their career. Leetch didn't do that.

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04-22-2013, 12:16 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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being that he might win the art ross at 37, maybe martin st. louis will be a name to throw in this discussion down the road?

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04-22-2013, 12:28 PM
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Brind'Amour comes to mind, dude was ripped. His very last season wasn't the greatest but played very well right up until then.

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