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Better offensively: Jagr vs. Howe

View Poll Results: Who's Better Offensively?
Jaromir Jagr 29 37.66%
Gordie Howe 48 62.34%
Voters: 77. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
07-30-2014, 08:15 PM
  #101
Czech Your Math
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
If I was knowledgeable about baseball and was looking at the best power hitters of all-time, I'd certainly do the same thing I do in hockey and look at a player versus his peers; therefore, it's quite likely I would call Babe Ruth the greatest of all-time.
And same with Wilt Chamberlain, who won scoring titles by 18.8 and 10.8 PPG, while Jordan could only manage an 8 point margin at best. So Wilt was a better peak offensive player than Jordan, case closed right?

The fact that Wilt, Ruth, or Howe were bigger, stronger, and/or better at a time when most weren't of the same caliber in those areas is really not relevant, correct?

By the same prinicple, if there were two cavemen, and one was faster than the other in the 100m by a larger % than Usain Bolt, then he was the best sprinter of all time. Because those cavemen were shorter and smaller, and ran in their bare feet on rocky, uneven soil, not in track cleats on synthetic tracks. Any discussion on the matter would seem unnecessary, since Gwar was way faster than his peer Grog. Yep, sounds completely fair and logical.

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Old
07-30-2014, 08:22 PM
  #102
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
And same with Wilt Chamberlain, who won scoring titles by 18.8 and 10.8 PPG, while Jordan could only manage an 8 point margin at best. So Wilt was a better peak offensive player than Jordan, case closed right?

The fact that Wilt, Ruth, or Howe were bigger, stronger, and/or better at a time when most weren't of the same caliber in those areas is really not relevant, correct?

By the same prinicple, if there were two cavemen, and one was faster than the other in the 100m by a larger % than Usain Bolt, then he was the best sprinter of all time. Because those cavemen were shorter and smaller, and ran in their bare feet on rocky, uneven soil, not in track cleats on synthetic tracks. Any discussion on the matter would seem unnecessary, since Gwar was way faster than his peer Grog. Yep, sounds completely fair and logical.
So if Usain Bolt was born 100 years earlier and didn't have access to the same training and nutrition but still destroyed his peers by more than any other modern athlete he couldn't be the greatest of all-time simply because he was born in the wrong time? If this is the case whats the point of ranking the best players, if they are all just going to inferior to the next wave of players?

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Old
07-30-2014, 09:02 PM
  #103
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
And same with Wilt Chamberlain, who won scoring titles by 18.8 and 10.8 PPG, while Jordan could only manage an 8 point margin at best. So Wilt was a better peak offensive player than Jordan, case closed right?

The fact that Wilt, Ruth, or Howe were bigger, stronger, and/or better at a time when most weren't of the same caliber in those areas is really not relevant, correct?

By the same prinicple, if there were two cavemen, and one was faster than the other in the 100m by a larger % than Usain Bolt, then he was the best sprinter of all time. Because those cavemen were shorter and smaller, and ran in their bare feet on rocky, uneven soil, not in track cleats on synthetic tracks. Any discussion on the matter would seem unnecessary, since Gwar was way faster than his peer Grog. Yep, sounds completely fair and logical.
Agree completely. There is something to be said about being the best or most dominant player for your time period, but using the margins of dominance to compare players "equally" up against completely different levels of competition is simply inane. As time goes on, humans have become better athletes due to advancements in medicine, nutrition, and training techniques, and those aspiring to be professional athletes have to put in an increasing number of hours to achieve their goal. The amount of training, and therefore skill level has increased drastically as there is simply more spare time for young athletes to practice and refine their skills than one growing up in the 30s. Not to mention the exponentially higher financial incentives to pursue a career as an NHL player as opposed to those who also had to work a second job in the offseason, which would again inherently reduce the amount of time to train and improve as a player.

The reason many in this forum like to use the % margin over 2nd place is that it confirms their already decided upon belief that the best players in the past (their idols) are among the very, very best in history and with their logic, they will always remain so.

Usain Bolt is great example of the flaw in this logic. He has ran the best 100m time in history (multiple times, actually). However, other runners have won the world championships by even greater margins than Bolt. Is he therefore not the best sprinter ever, even though he is objectively faster than any other human to ever live?

None of this also mentions that as the talent level rises, it becomes increasingly more difficult to dominate the other players in one's sport. There are diminishing returns for the amount of time training a player does, so as the average level of talent in the NHL rises, it would require significantly more training to separate oneself from the "pack."

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07-30-2014, 09:31 PM
  #104
Dennis Bonvie
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Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
And same with Wilt Chamberlain, who won scoring titles by 18.8 and 10.8 PPG, while Jordan could only manage an 8 point margin at best. So Wilt was a better peak offensive player than Jordan, case closed right?

The fact that Wilt, Ruth, or Howe were bigger, stronger, and/or better at a time when most weren't of the same caliber in those areas is really not relevant, correct?

By the same prinicple, if there were two cavemen, and one was faster than the other in the 100m by a larger % than Usain Bolt, then he was the best sprinter of all time. Because those cavemen were shorter and smaller, and ran in their bare feet on rocky, uneven soil, not in track cleats on synthetic tracks. Any discussion on the matter would seem unnecessary, since Gwar was way faster than his peer Grog. Yep, sounds completely fair and logical.
Speed is measurable.

Hockey ability is not.

Ruth, Howe and Chamberlin were not just all-time greats, they were freaks of nature. They all could have played in their respective sports today and still be dominate players.

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Old
07-30-2014, 11:51 PM
  #105
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correct me if i'm missed something, but all i've seen in this thread is reasonable doubt created for jagr to maybe be in the same conversation as howe offensively.

- howe only played against canadian players, so he maybe that knocks his dominance down a peg
- he played a long time ago, when the canadian talent pool was smaller, so maybe that knocks him down a peg
- he played a long time ago, and that degree of offensive domination over the next guy is no longer possible in today's game (for some completely unarticulated reason... that also ignores gretzky and mario's even greater degree of offensive domination over their competition)

but there is nothing in this thread that suggests that jagr was actually better, or even close to, howe offensively. only insinuations to cast doubt on the validity of howe's observable dominance over his competition.

right?

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Old
07-30-2014, 11:53 PM
  #106
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Originally Posted by TAnnala View Post
I am not a stat's geek, but isn't it "easier" to amass a large percentage lead in points over smaller amount of games. If you play 82 games and score around 120 points, it takes a larger statistical anomaly to make 5%/10%/X% chance than it does with 70 games and around 85 points.

Is that something that should be taken in to account when talking about % lead over peers?
It is no doubt, statically easier all thing being equal (which they never are in these things but let's pretend they are) for a guy to have a larger chance at a lead in a 5 team league than say a 21-30 team league.

Variance is just more likely to occur more often in a larger sample.

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07-31-2014, 12:02 AM
  #107
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i'm not really in favour of the "take out all non-canadians" method of cross-era analysis. but even if we pretend just this once that that method makes sense, and even if furthermore pretend that the population increase in canada between the 1950s and '90s would yield stronger competition from canadians also, i fail to see how these shenanigans could reasonably justify ranking jagr close to howe offensively.
I have to ask, why wouldn't one be in favour of the one constant across all eras?

Ie. the best Canadians are always in the NHL and make up to 50% to all of the elite top end talent in the league.

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Old
07-31-2014, 12:27 AM
  #108
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I think "rank vs all Canadians" is an interesting and useful cross-era starting point. Here's an excerpt from a post I did in January:

2. Scoring ranking compared to Canadian players

This is an indirect method of taking into account the fact that Jagr played against a larger talent pool in a larger league. For those curious, there were no adjustments to any of the rankings for Howe, Beliveau, Hull or Esposito (let me know if I missed anything that should have been adjusted). Jagr's "Canadian only" rankings are as follows: 6th (1994), 1st (1995), 2nd (1996), 4th (1997), 1st (1998), 1st (1999), 1st (2000), 1st (2001), 3rd (2002), 8th (2003), 7th (2004), 2nd (2006), 7th (2007).

Player 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Howe 6 1 5 3 5 1
Esposito 5 3 1 1
Jagr 5 2 1 1 1 2 1
Hull 3 3 1 1 1 1 1
Beliveau 1 2 4 1 1 2 1

Rankings
1. Howe: clearly in a class above the rest. He has more than twice as many top five finishes as any other player! Any way you analyze the data (Art Ross trophies, top three finishes, top ten finishes) Mr. Hockey is no worse than tied for first in any category (EDIT: I realized he's actually tied for second in top two finishes, but otherwise this statement is accurate).
2. Jagr: the great Czech fares very well according to this metric. He's second in number of top five and top ten finishes.
3. Esposito: surprisingly poor longevity (the fewest top ten rankings in the group), but I rank him ahead of the others because it's hard to overlook 8 top-twp finishes. We'll get to teammate context later.
4. Hull: very similar numbers to the great Hab, but gets the edge due to having a more dominating performance over his best years (6 top two finishes compared to 3).
5. Beliveau: see above.

Jagr makes up some ground compared to using the "unadjusted" (official) scoring results, but Mr. Hockey is still ahead, regardless of if you're looking at wins, top threes, top fives or top tens. (They are tied for top twos though).

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Old
07-31-2014, 12:29 AM
  #109
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always thought Jagr was underrated by the media since even in his best years in the late 90s he was considered behind several guys by a lot but man is he overrated on hf...

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07-31-2014, 12:57 AM
  #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
correct me if i'm missed something, but all i've seen in this thread is reasonable doubt created for jagr to maybe be in the same conversation as howe offensively.

- howe only played against canadian players, so he maybe that knocks his dominance down a peg
- he played a long time ago, when the canadian talent pool was smaller, so maybe that knocks him down a peg
- he played a long time ago, and that degree of offensive domination over the next guy is no longer possible in today's game (for some completely unarticulated reason... that also ignores gretzky and mario's even greater degree of offensive domination over their competition)

but there is nothing in this thread that suggests that jagr was actually better, or even close to, howe offensively. only insinuations to cast doubt on the validity of howe's observable dominance over his competition.

right?
You're doing a much better job of summarizing this thread than I could

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Old
07-31-2014, 03:18 AM
  #111
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Originally Posted by bambamcam4ever View Post
Agree completely. There is something to be said about being the best or most dominant player for your time period, but using the margins of dominance to compare players "equally" up against completely different levels of competition is simply inane. As time goes on, humans have become better athletes due to advancements in medicine, nutrition, and training techniques, and those aspiring to be professional athletes have to put in an increasing number of hours to achieve their goal. The amount of training, and therefore skill level has increased drastically as there is simply more spare time for young athletes to practice and refine their skills than one growing up in the 30s. Not to mention the exponentially higher financial incentives to pursue a career as an NHL player as opposed to those who also had to work a second job in the offseason, which would again inherently reduce the amount of time to train and improve as a player.

The reason many in this forum like to use the % margin over 2nd place is that it confirms their already decided upon belief that the best players in the past (their idols) are among the very, very best in history and with their logic, they will always remain so.

Usain Bolt is great example of the flaw in this logic. He has ran the best 100m time in history (multiple times, actually). However, other runners have won the world championships by even greater margins than Bolt. Is he therefore not the best sprinter ever, even though he is objectively faster than any other human to ever live?

None of this also mentions that as the talent level rises, it becomes increasingly more difficult to dominate the other players in one's sport. There are diminishing returns for the amount of time training a player does, so as the average level of talent in the NHL rises, it would require significantly more training to separate oneself from the "pack."
This is a great post. I've used the track athlete and the Olympic lifter as examples of this. Numbers are good when they are in a controlled setting - as in - nothing changes but the number itself. Shoes and bar quality make a difference, but it is minor compared to bouncing numbers off of the actual guys you are playing a team sport with & against.

I also agree that most people, not just on here, use the numbers that show the result they wanted to see int he first place. I've done it.

I won't go so far, as I used to, to discredit the oldtimers. While I think Howe benefited from playing as a giant, and giantly skilled man, amongst people that hadn't figured out the game to what we perceive as normal now - he was still great, and the benefit of the doubt has to be given that he would adapt. I do believe that great athletes are great athletes... but I agree that we can't use % gaps as definitive proof of 'amount of greatness'. As a general rule, numbers get closer the higher the level of the league. Take track again - A high school meet will generally have some national level kid smoking every regular kid by a great %. As that kid moves up to playing with more elite athletes, the margins of victory will narrow.

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07-31-2014, 06:13 AM
  #112
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The today v.s. yesterdays athletes, with Usain Bolt and Jesse Owens being just about equals as a part of the argument, is talked about in this great TED-talk. How the records developed in sports often make jumps only when an technololgy changes. Even in a sport where it would seem easy to judge the greatest all time (like 100 m), it ain´t...
http://www.ted.com/talks/david_epste..._txRq#t-176928

And that people think that all time greats wouldn´t hold up today is for me quite unbelievable. Howe had an impact in the NHL from 1946-1980 (last season as an 52 year old...). Raymond Bourque from 1979-2001. Let´s add a player lika Thornton and those three players overlap from 1946-presence. We are not a new species than the players who played 25, 50 or 100 years ago...
With the difference that some eras and rules (DPE for example) favour different kind of bodytypes (some of todays players wouldn´t make it in previous eras, as well as some former wouldn´t make it today...). But the elite talent is always going to be the elite talent. And they are not evenley "produced", in the way that the greatest of every generation got to have someone on the all time greatest list. Stats alone can´t measure such things. But dominace (with % being ONE part of it) over the others playing is one of the most accurate ways of determing ones all time greatness. Add that there is much coincedence to wich, if any, sports a talent like Gretzky/Lemieux/Howe/Jagr/Lindros gets involved in.

To add: A swedish skier, Martin Lundström, who won gold at Sankt Moritz in 1948 in 18 km, actually beat his own time 40 years later. Even that Lundström sure aged better than most athletes and was a great veteran competitor, I can guarantee you that he wasn´t a better skier 1988 than 1948 all things accounted. Wax, clothes and better skies was doing the job. Just as skates, sticks and lighter equipment is doing the job making todays hockeyplayers seem greater than the pasts.

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07-31-2014, 08:35 AM
  #113
Theokritos
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Speed is measurable.

Hockey ability is not.
Indeed, a team sport like hockey and an individual sport like running are very different in this regard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
but there is nothing in this thread that suggests that jagr was actually better, or even close to, howe offensively. only insinuations to cast doubt on the validity of howe's observable dominance over his competition.
English is not my first language, so forgive me for asking: is insinuation the same thing as reasonable doubt? The first one doesn't sound so reasonable necessarily.

What's wrong with reasonable doubt anyway? See:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
There is no data which can prove anything, only educated guesses based on the population of hockey age in each respective era, and the fact that Jagr had to compete against a large % of elite non-Canadian talent.

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07-31-2014, 08:49 AM
  #114
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Ruth, Howe and Chamberlin were not just all-time greats, they were freaks of nature. They all could have played in their respective sports today and still be dominate players.
Absolutely. The GOATers transcend eras. But Jagr could still be on par or slightly better at one aspect of the game than Howe. If Jagr decides to play 2 more seasons in the NHL and scores 58 points each, he'll end up 2nd all-time to Gretzky in points. And that's with 3 very good years playing in the KHL.

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07-31-2014, 10:07 AM
  #115
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I don't see how anyone not named "livewell" can argue for Jagr here. Jagr is as close as one can legitimately hope to come to Howe in modern day NHL... yet Howe he is not. Howe dominated his peers by far bigger margin than Jagr, was a far better two-way player than Jagr, his prime lasted far longer than Jagr's (and anyone else for that matter). Finally, his winning record is superior to Jagr's. Seriously it's not even close. And I love Jagr. It would be cool if he wins Art Ross again. He'd still be the second best Czech of all time

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07-31-2014, 10:14 AM
  #116
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Howe...was a far better two-way player than Jagr
Which is not what the OP is asking for. I can certainly see how someone could argue for Jágr in terms of offence only.

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07-31-2014, 11:16 AM
  #117
vadim sharifijanov
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov
but there is nothing in this thread that suggests that jagr was actually better, or even close to, howe offensively. only insinuations to cast doubt on the validity of howe's observable dominance over his competition.
English is not my first language, so forgive me for asking: is insinuation the same thing as reasonable doubt? The first one doesn't sound so reasonable necessarily.

What's wrong with reasonable doubt anyway? See:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Czech Your Math
There is no data which can prove anything, only educated guesses based on the population of hockey age in each respective era, and the fact that Jagr had to compete against a large % of elite non-Canadian talent.
"reasonable doubt" is a strategy used by lawyers (in the united states) to win cases where they have no positive or solid evidence. because the letter of the law states that someone must be found guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt," when there is insufficient evidence, defense attorneys try to create reasonable doubt.

for example, if i'm accused of driving while drunk and the breath test came back positive (so i have no solid evidence that i wasn't drunk), my lawyer will attack the credibility of the accusing officer, attack the credibility of the test, of the instrument used to create the test, of the methodology, the lab, etc. (as a sidenote, this "reasonable doubt" strategy is most politicized and most often criticized when used in sexual assault trials, where defense attorneys "put the victim on trial," so to speak.)

so what i'm suggesting here is that gordie howe should not be on trial. the facts, the evidence, orthodoxy, and everything else suggests that gordie howe was the greater offensive player by some margin. therefore, it's incumbent on jagr supporters and presentists to make a positive argument that jagr is that good, rather than only making arguments that detract from howe's accomplishments (i.e., "reasonable doubt").

to repeat: i don't think i've seen one single argument in this five page thread about why jagr is better than we think, only arguments about why howe is worse than we think. so even if all of that reasonable doubt is correct (and no, i don't think it is) and we knock howe down a few pegs, there is still nothing in this thread that suggests we've knocked howe down far enough that he's even with jagr. because, again, none of this thread has established or even argued where jagr even is in relation to howe; it has only insinuated that if you knock howe down enough pegs you get jagr.

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07-31-2014, 11:18 AM
  #118
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
You're doing a much better job of summarizing this thread than I could
and when all else fails, turn it into a time machine thread.

so long guys.

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07-31-2014, 11:42 AM
  #119
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
the facts, the evidence, orthodoxy, and everything else suggests that gordie howe was the greater offensive player by some margin. therefore, it's incumbent on jagr supporters and presentists to make a positive argument that jagr is that good, rather than only making arguments that detract from howe's accomplishments (i.e., "reasonable doubt").
Can't follow your logic here. If there is reasonable doubt about the "facts, evidence, orthodoxy" then what they suggest is not so clear anymore in the first place.

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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i don't think i've seen one single argument in this five page thread about why jagr is better than we think, only arguments about why howe is worse than we think.
Two sides of the same coin, whether you say Howe is not as good as we think or Jágr is better than we think. So here is the argument worded as a positive claim: The talent pool in Jágr's time was larger than in Howe's time, therefore it's likely Jágr is better than we usually think when we compare him to Howe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
there is still nothing in this thread that suggests we've knocked howe down far enough that he's even with jagr. because, again, none of this thread has established or even argued where jagr even is in relation to howe
This I have to agree with.

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07-31-2014, 12:17 PM
  #120
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Can't follow your logic here. If there is reasonable doubt about the "facts, evidence, orthodoxy" then what they suggest is not so clear anymore in the first place.



Two sides of the same coin, whether you say Howe is not as good as we think or Jágr is better than we think. So here is the argument worded as a positive claim: The talent pool in Jágr's time was larger than in Howe's time, therefore it's likely Jágr is better than we usually think when we compare him to Howe.



This I have to agree with.
i guess my point is there's nothing wrong with points one and two. it's good to challenge orthodoxy, and yes a case can be positively made that jagr's era makes his dominance look smaller than it would have in other decades. but without the still missing third part, none of that constitutes an actual argument. they are just preconditions for an argument that hasn't yet been made.

rather than saying 1 + 2 allows me to argue 3, which proves 4 (where 3 is an accounting for how jagr's accomplishments compare relative to howe's). this thread has looked like this: 1 + 2, therefore 4. the missing term 3 makes it an insinuation rather than an argument.

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07-31-2014, 01:39 PM
  #121
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but without the still missing third part, none of that constitutes an actual argument. they are just preconditions for an argument that hasn't yet been made.
You are right. Here's my attempt at an educated guess (not more, not less) based on the available stats (yes, another argument based on stats and not on observation):

Gordie Howe's scoring dominance over his peers in his best six seasons (PPG). Howe vs the second best scorer. For the benefit of Howe I exclude his teammate Ted Lindsay whose scoring might have been inflated by Howe himself.

1950-1951
2. Maurice Richard 66/65 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 86/70 = 121.0 %

1951-1952
2. Elmer Lach 65/70 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 86/70 = 132.3 %

1952-1953
2. Maurice Richard 61/70 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 95/70 = 155.7 %

1953-1954
2. Maurice Richard 67/70 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 81/70 = 117.3 %

1956-1957
2. Jean Beliveau 84/69 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 89/70 = 104.4 %

1962-1963
2. Andy Bathgate 81/70 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 86/70 = 106.2 %

Now the same thing for Jágr, but excluding non-Canadians to look at Jágr vs the Canadian talent pool only. Also excluded: Ron Francis (teammate), Mario Lemieux (teammate and historic outlier).

1995-1996
2. Eric Lindros 115/73 = 100 %
1. Jaromír Jágr 149/82 = 115.3 %

1996-1997
2. Paul Kariya 99/69 = 100%
1. Jaromír Jágr 95/63 = 105.1 %

1997-1998
2. Wayne Gretzky 90/82 = 100 %
1. Jaromír Jágr 102/77 = 120.7 %

1998-1999
2. Joe Sakic 96/73 = 100 %
1. Jaromír Jágr 127/81 = 119.2 %

1999-2000
2. Joe Sakic 81/60 = 100 %
1. Jaromír Jágr 96/63 = 112.9 %

2000-2001
2. Joe Sakic 118/82 = 100 %
1. Jaromír Jágr 121/81 = 103.8 %

What this table does not factor in is the change within the Canadian talent pool. We're not able to quantify the size exactly, but if we go by numbers of birth in Canada for a start and assume the level of hockey participation throughout the Canadian population remained more or less on one level from the 1950s to the 1990s then the talent pool in Jágr's day is to the talent pool in Howe's day roughly as 4,105,000 (births 1961-1971) is to 2,415,000 (births 1921-1931) or 1.7 : 1. That's a significant difference. It's easy to see how someone who believes size of the talent pool matters could put Jágr on par with or a little above Howe in terms of scoring dominance based on those numbers, except for his outstanding 1952-1953 season. Mind you, we're only talking about offensive output, not overall game.

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07-31-2014, 02:17 PM
  #122
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You are right. Here's my attempt at an educated guess (not more, not less) based on the available stats (yes, another argument based on stats and not on observation):

Gordie Howe's scoring dominance over his peers in his best six seasons (PPG). Howe vs the second best scorer. For the benefit of Howe I exclude his teammate Ted Lindsay whose scoring might have been inflated by Howe himself.

1950-1951
2. Maurice Richard 66/65 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 86/70 = 121.0 %

1951-1952
2. Elmer Lach 65/70 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 86/70 = 132.3 %

1952-1953
2. Maurice Richard 61/70 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 95/70 = 155.7 %

1953-1954
2. Maurice Richard 67/70 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 81/70 = 117.3 %

1956-1957
2. Jean Beliveau 84/69 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 89/70 = 104.4 %

1962-1963
2. Andy Bathgate 81/70 = 100 %
1. Gordie Howe 86/70 = 106.2 %

Now the same thing for Jágr, but excluding non-Canadians to look at Jágr vs the Canadian talent pool only. Also excluded: Ron Francis (teammate), Mario Lemieux (teammate and historic outlier).

1995-1996
2. Eric Lindros 115/73 = 100 %
1. Jaromír Jágr 149/82 = 115.3 %

1996-1997
2. Paul Kariya 99/69 = 100%
1. Jaromír Jágr 95/63 = 105.1 %

1997-1998
2. Wayne Gretzky 90/82 = 100 %
1. Jaromír Jágr 102/77 = 120.7 %

1998-1999
2. Joe Sakic 96/73 = 100 %
1. Jaromír Jágr 127/81 = 119.2 %

1999-2000
2. Joe Sakic 81/60 = 100 %
1. Jaromír Jágr 96/63 = 112.9 %

2000-2001
2. Joe Sakic 118/82 = 100 %
1. Jaromír Jágr 121/81 = 103.8 %

What this table does not factor in is the change within the Canadian talent pool. We're not able to quantify the size exactly, but if we go by numbers of birth in Canada for a start and assume the level of hockey participation throughout the Canadian population remained more or less on one level from the 1950s to the 1990s then the talent pool in Jágr's day is to the talent pool in Howe's day roughly as 4,105,000 (births 1961-1971) is to 2,415,000 (births 1921-1931) or 1.7 : 1. That's a significant difference. It's easy to see how someone who believes size of the talent pool matters could put Jágr on par with or a little above Howe in terms of scoring dominance based on those numbers, except for his outstanding 1952-1953 season. Mind you, we're only talking about offensive output, not overall game.
This is a very fair way to look at the strength of the "potential talent pool," but I don't agree with your conclusions.

You know, I am someone who strongly agrees that the quality of the talent pool is important, but all the numbers you posted show Howe's level of domination was much, much higher than Jagr's. They also show that the size of the potential talent pool is about 3 times larger today than it was in Howe's time (1.7 times as many Canadians, plus the European influx). I say "potential," because I'm not entirely convinced that nearly as much of the potential talent pool goes into hockey today as did back then, because there are far more options today. (Edit: By this, I mean that back then, if you were Canadian working class and wanted to escape from the farm or the mines, hockey was a very attractive option).

But assuming that the actual talent pool is about 3 times larger than it was back then, what does this mean for players at the top? It doesn't mean that players at the top were worse back then, it just makes it LESS LIKELY to get a transcendent player back then. Then look at real history - Only 1 of 4 transcendent players played before expansion - seems like about the ratio you would expect after taking into account the increasing talent pool.

A more minor point - When Mario Lemieux was helping out Jaromir Jagr (as the superior offensive player for most of their time together), is it really fair to remove him? I guess it's a tough question, since Lemieux was such an obvious outlier.

And again, you are ignoring the important fact that empirical evidence shows that it was not, in fact, easier to dominate like that pre-expansion. The empirical evidence? No other player in the half-century before expansion even came close to the offensive dominance Howe had over his peers. The idea that it was easier to dominate back then sounds attractive as a theory, but the reality of history is that Gordie Howe is the only one who did it.


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07-31-2014, 02:27 PM
  #123
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And whatever you say about Orr/Esposito (whoever you want to credit for their stats), Lafleur, and Crosby, the fact is that one could make a non-trivial argument that they had/have better offensive primes than Jagr, while nobody before expansion was even close to Howe.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 07-31-2014 at 02:48 PM. Reason: reworded
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07-31-2014, 03:00 PM
  #124
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all the numbers you posted show Howe's level of domination was much, much higher than Jagr's.
For two seasons (51-52 and 52-53) to be exact, other than that Jágr is on par with Howe according to the numbers above.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
They also show that the size of the potential talent pool is about 3 times larger today than it was in Howe's time (1.7 times as many Canadians, plus the European influx). I say "potential," because I'm not entirely convinced that nearly as much of the potential talent pool goes into hockey today as did back then, because there are far more options today.
There is no way to determine the size of the actual talent pool unfortunately, so yeah, it's a very rough estimation with elements of uncertainty.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
But assuming that the actual talent pool is about 3 times larger than it was back then, what does this mean for players at the top? It doesn't mean that players at the top were worse back then, it just makes it LESS LIKELY to get a transcendent player back then.
But it also means it's less likely you get a player of Joe Sakic calibre who diminishes the scoring dominance of the top scorer over his peers.

If I'm arguing Jágr is better than we thought and let's say a 9 out of 10 offensively instead of a 8/10 then it doesn't mean Howe was actually worse and not a 9/10 but a 8/10 all of a sudden. He's still a 9/10 and yet he might not be better than Jágr (offensively) like we assumed before.

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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
A more minor point - When Mario Lemieux was helping out Jaromir Jagr (as the superior offensive player for most of their time together), is it really fair to remove him? I guess it's a tough question, since Lemieux was such an obvious outlier.
I wouldn't hold it against Gordie Howe either if he was outscored by Mario Lemieux (or Wayne Gretzky) had his prime fallen into the 80s or 90s, so I think it's fair to remove Lemieux.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
And again, you are ignoring the important fact that empirical evidence shows that it was not, in fact, easier to dominate like that pre-expansion. The empirical evidence? No other player in the half-century before expansion even came close to the offensive dominance Howe had over his peers.
That's probably because no other player in the half-century before expansion was that close to be as good offensively as Howe was at his best, but what does that tell us about post-expansion players relative to Howe? Does it tell us that Jágr would have been less dominant than Howe in the 1950s scoring-wise?

The argument on my part is not that Howe doesn't belong in the same tier as Jágr (still talking offence only, otherwise Jágr would in fact not belong in the same tier as Howe). What I'm suggesting is that Jágr might not belong in a tier below Howe but in the same tier. Well, Howe's 52-53 season is something else, but other than that it doesn't strike me as unreasonable to assume both players would end up with very similar scoring finishes if both played and peaked during the same era.

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07-31-2014, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
For two seasons (51-52 and 52-53) to be exact, other than that Jágr is on par with Howe according to the numbers above.



There is no way to determine the size of the actual talent pool unfortunately, so yeah, it's a very rough estimation with elements of uncertainty.



But it also means it's less likely you get a player of Joe Sakic calibre who diminishes the scoring dominance of the top scorer over his peers.

If I'm arguing Jágr is better than we thought and let's say a 9 out of 10 offensively instead of a 8/10 then it doesn't mean Howe was actually worse and not a 9/10 but a 8/10 all of a sudden. He's still a 9/10 and yet he might not be better than Jágr (offensively) like we assumed before.



I wouldn't hold it against Gordie Howe either if he was outscored by Mario Lemieux (or Wayne Gretzky) had his prime fallen into the 80s or 90s, so I think it's fair to remove Lemieux.



That's probably because no other player in the half-century before expansion was that close to be as good offensively as Howe was at his best, but what does that tell us about post-expansion players relative to Howe? Does it tell us that Jágr would have been less dominant than Howe in the 1950s scoring-wise?

The argument on my part is not that Howe doesn't belong in the same tier as Jágr (still talking offence only, otherwise Jágr would in fact not belong in the same tier as Howe). What I'm suggesting is that Jágr might not belong in a tier below Howe but in the same tier. Well, Howe's 52-53 season is something else, but other than that it doesn't strike me as unreasonable to assume both players would end up with very similar scoring finishes if both played and peaked during the same era.
So if you remove all those players to equalize competition*, Jagr looks to be on Howe's level of dominance ... if you ignore Howe's best season.

What do the numbers look like if you ignore the single best seasons from each player? (Rhetorical question obviously, as you posted their seasonal numbers above)

_______________

*and many people think the late 90s-early 00s was something of a dark age in high-end Canadian talent


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