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A question about Points Totals (then and now)

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06-28-2013, 08:08 AM
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rkwittem
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A question about Points Totals (then and now)

Ok, so I'm pretty new to hockey. I've been reading as much as I can about it and been playing some old NHL games. Anyway, one of my favorite hobbies on old NHL games is going back and looking at the guys' historical stats. The one big question I have is how come guys don't have monster points seasons like Gretzky, Lemieux (who obviously own all of the top 13 best individual seasons in terms of total points), et al. (Yzerman, Esposito, Orr, Oates show up fairly often as well.)

So where are all the points going? When/how/why has hockey changed since the early 90's when the most of those huge statistical seasons happened? Crosby and Jagr have had a few good years here and there since the early 90s, but the days of 120+ point seasons seem to be over. What's the cause?

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06-28-2013, 08:23 AM
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Sens Rule
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Look at a picture of Patrick Roy in 1986 as a rookie with his first cup. Look at his equipment. He looks small, has small, yet heavy, pads. Smaller jersey, smaller EVERYTHING! And the mask is a flimsy hard plastic mask that you would NEVER want to be hit in. Now they where huge cages! Then look at Roy in his final year... he is HUGE with his equipment on.

It is all about goaltending.

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06-28-2013, 08:28 AM
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BraveCanadian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkwittem View Post
Ok, so I'm pretty new to hockey. I've been reading as much as I can about it and been playing some old NHL games. Anyway, one of my favorite hobbies on old NHL games is going back and looking at the guys' historical stats. The one big question I have is how come guys don't have monster points seasons like Gretzky, Lemieux (who obviously own all of the top 13 best individual seasons in terms of total points), et al. (Yzerman, Esposito, Orr, Oates show up fairly often as well.)

So where are all the points going? When/how/why has hockey changed since the early 90's when the most of those huge statistical seasons happened? Crosby and Jagr have had a few good years here and there since the early 90s, but the days of 120+ point seasons seem to be over. What's the cause?
There are a bunch of reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sens Rule View Post
Look at a picture of Patrick Roy in 1986 as a rookie with his first cup. Look at his equipment. He looks small, has small, yet heavy, pads. Smaller jersey, smaller EVERYTHING! And the mask is a flimsy hard plastic mask that you would NEVER want to be hit in. Now they where huge cages! Then look at Roy in his final year... he is HUGE with his equipment on.

It is all about goaltending.

Goaltending is one of the bigger changes for sure. Particularly equipment that enabled a different style of play as you point out.

Almost every team plays a low risk defense first philosophy as well.

My opinion is that there also isn't a player at the level of a Gretzky/Lemieux currently playing.

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06-28-2013, 08:41 AM
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Rhiessan71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sens Rule View Post
Look at a picture of Patrick Roy in 1986 as a rookie with his first cup. Look at his equipment. He looks small, has small, yet heavy, pads. Smaller jersey, smaller EVERYTHING! And the mask is a flimsy hard plastic mask that you would NEVER want to be hit in. Now they where huge cages! Then look at Roy in his final year... he is HUGE with his equipment on.

It is all about goaltending.
Goaltending is a large part of it but it's also about there simply not being a Gretzky or a Lemieux class player in the league now either.
Jagr is the best since and even he was at least a notch below, more like 2 IMO. Crosby is about as good as it gets today and while he might look like he's close to Jagr's level, he hasn't done it over full seasons with any consistency yet.

Systems are more complex, shorter shifts and straight up, young players are no longer trained to win, they are trained not to lose.

The Cap is another factor. No team can afford to pay 3rd liners that score 20+ goals, at least not for long. Speed has replaced overall talent today.

And don't let certain people fool you into thinking that because the talent pool is larger today, that that means anything when it comes to the number of the very top tier/elite players in the league. It doesn't!

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06-28-2013, 08:43 AM
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Canadiens1958
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Connor McDavid

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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
There are a bunch of reasons.




Goaltending is one of the bigger changes for sure. Particularly equipment that enabled a different style of play as you point out.

Almost every team plays a low risk defense first philosophy as well.

My opinion is that there also isn't a player at the level of a Gretzky/Lemieux currently playing.
See Connor McDavid, January 13, birthday vs Wayne Gretzky January 26, birthday. Interesting to see how McDavid progresses thru the OHL and how he fills out physically.

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06-28-2013, 09:03 AM
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From what I've observed and learned, there are a combination of factors that led to the decrease in offensive production from the time when players like Gretzky and Lemieux were in their primes in the 80's and early 90's and the present day.

A chart showing the average goals per game in the regular season and playoffs over the course of NHL history:
http://www.quanthockey.com/TS/TS_GoalsPerGame.php

Expansion:
The noticeable increase in scoring starts to appear following the Original Six era, which was the era between 1942 and 1967 when the league was only comprised of the Rangers, Blackhawks, Bruins, Red Wings, Canadians, and Maple Leafs. In 1967, the league doubled in size to twelve teams, and the NHL routinely expanded every few years or so, ultimately ending with teams like the Wild and Blue Jackets in 2000. Constant expansion led to the dilution of talent, but in a pre-salary cap era, it was also easier for teams to keep their own players, and that is why their were dynasty teams in this period of higher scoring as well. So stronger teams were kept together longer, and were able to beat up on the weaker expansion teams that usually stayed near the bottom of the league for long periods of time. And with the rules and padding being the way they were, elite teams feasted on the weaker teams to a degree that just is not possible today. As long as you have an above average goalie and a defensive minded coach, you can compete for a playoff spot.

Goaltending:
Goalies play a fairly different style today than they did back in that time, usually using a "stand up" style versus the "butterfly" today. The stand up style relied more on reflexes and standing up in the crease, while you are in more of a squatting position in the butterfly and holding your glove up and legs spread out to imitate the form of a butterfly, and is more centered on covering most of the net and having the majority of shots hit you simply because you are positioned this way (more educated posters tan me can elaborate on this, but just my observation). The goalies in that time let up goals that you would be appalled at if a goalie allowed in today's game, but that's just the way it was.
The padding and equipment of goalies is also extremely different that in the old days. Looking at pictures of Ken Dryden versus Henrik Lundqvist, you would think that Dryden would be killed if he had padding like that on in today's game. Equipment for goalies is leaps and bounds better, and is seen as a detriment to scoring in today's game because as long as a goalie positions himself correctly, he will stop most of the shots that come his way. Personally, the leg pads that a goalie has on each leg is where I would start in modifying the equipment. Making them smaller gives shooters a little more net to shoot at and should increase scoring. The big leap took place during the 90's, and when goalies adapted to their newer pads, it was game over.

Defensive schemes:
Not sure if you have ever heard of the term "The Trap", but it is essentially a 1-2-2 defensive set up where a team will only send one of their forwards into the offensive zone to forecheck and put pressure on the defense, while his teammates are in the neutral zone (the space in the middle of the ice between the two bluelines). The New Jersey Devils had success with this system in the shortened 1994-95 season that had a 48 game schedule like this season, and were able to win the Stanley Cup. Rightly or wrongly, some people put blame on them for showing that the system could succeed and hinder offense because 4 players were stacked in the neutral zone, forcing teams to dump and chase instead of skating the puck into the zone. Then the defense would be able to retrieve the puck and get it out of the zone safely and the cycle would repeat. Teams copied this method, and soon goal scoring was on the downswing, and the NHL entered the "Dead Puck" era in the late 90's and early 2000's.

Officiating
This is somewhat tied to the defensive system, since defensive teams stacked the neutral zone and the opposition tried to dump and chase, along with players being taller and bigger than ever before, there was a big cluster of players in the middle of the ice and along the boards. Essentially, the referees allowed an inordinate amount of obstruction, interference, and hooking during this time period, leading to the game slowing down and defenses having a clear edge over the offense. The rules were slanted towards the defense during this time, so bigger defense like Chris Pronger and Derian Hatcher (6'6 and 6'5) were a hot commodity and good at what they did because the refs let most things go.
This is why there was such a push to remove the interference and hooking from the game following the 2004-05 lockout. Along with removing the red line (thus eliminating the two line pass infraction), refs were cracking down on players who illegally slowed down their opponents, leading to a temporary increase in goal scoring in the 2-3 years immediately following the lockout where you saw Joe Thornton get 125 points, Jagr 123, and Crosby 120. But those powerplay opportunities have not remained steady following that lockout, and scoring is once again decreasing.

- Also, not sure how talked about this is, but with the multitude of video and coaching there is right now, teams know how to defend so much better today, knowing offensive players' tendencies and what they like to do, and it's just too much to overcome right now. Along with the NHL standard rink being 85 feet wide and 200 feet long (Olympic sized rinks are wider, leading to more ice for skilled players to take advantage). Bigger players and faster skaters on an outdated ice surface is a source of discussion as well.

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06-28-2013, 09:08 AM
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Rhiessan71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
See Connor McDavid, January 13, birthday vs Wayne Gretzky January 26, birthday. Interesting to see how McDavid progresses thru the OHL and how he fills out physically.
Yep, scouts have been talking about this kid since he was 12.
So far so good, point per game player in the O, mostly as a 15 year old. 66 points in 63 games.

Not eligible till 2015, so two more seasons in the O.

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06-28-2013, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sens Rule View Post
Look at a picture of Patrick Roy in 1986 as a rookie with his first cup. Look at his equipment. He looks small, has small, yet heavy, pads. Smaller jersey, smaller EVERYTHING! And the mask is a flimsy hard plastic mask that you would NEVER want to be hit in. Now they where huge cages! Then look at Roy in his final year... he is HUGE with his equipment on.

It is all about goaltending.
No its not.

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