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Who would still be a star?

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Old
07-21-2014, 11:30 AM
  #126
tarheelhockey
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We have had the argument about hockey participation levels SO many times. Does it really need to all be re-hashed again?

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07-21-2014, 12:02 PM
  #127
danincanada
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
And 6 teams in the NHL is a lot less than 30 isn't it? That's 20%. Right now if you eliminated 80% of the worst players in the NHL what would you have? You'd have the original 6. Crosby is still the best player in the world no doubt. The top line players are still the top line players. Best defenseman, etc. best goalies are all the same. The difference lies in the fact that a first liner on a non-playoff team is a 2nd or 3rd liner now.

The 6 starting goalies in the NHL would be: (Just guessing) Lundqvist, Quick, Crawford, Price, Rask, Fleury. Now that's a pretty good league isn't it?
If you eliminated 80% of the worst players with this talent pool that's what you would have. Back in the O6 they didn't have a talent pool near this size though. You basically agreed to that already so this exercise you've done doesn't work the way you've proposed.

Didn't you notice that only half of the goalies you listed are Canadian? Back in the O6 the small Canadian-only talent pool didn't provide a Lundqvist or Rask. For the goalies why don't you randomly cut the current Canadian NHL goalies in half and pick from them as your starters in this current 6 team league? That would be more close to reality.

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Why would he sit somewhere in between? What reasoning do you have that he wouldn't have been every bit as good as he was back then? Horton is a terrible example of a guy that you think couldn't adjust.
It's not about Horton, he could be every bit as good now as he was then. The problem for him would be that there are 10 or 20 other guys who are just as good competing with him. I never said Horton couldn't adjust either, it's not about that. He could probably adjust fine to being a pro hockey player now. The question would he still be the exact same elite spot even though the talent pool grew multiple times combined with new elite competition from the US and Europe?

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Horton did this against opponents he saw 14 times a year. You tell me if that's easier or harder.
Again, you already proposed that the talent pool probably grew at a similar rate as the NHL. If you really believe this then randomly taking 6 teams from the current NHL and making them play each other over a season and it would be the same as what Horton faced.

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Because he was routinely in the top 4 in Norris voting in his career. The talent pool might grow approximately 5 times but all we've seen is just more depth players in NHL history. There still have been more elite players added just based on math, but the idea is that the best would still be the best. Horton is routinely thought of as a top 25 d-man of all-time and you think he'd be fighting for top 25 in the current NHL today with modern advantages?
Why would it only be more depth players?

The best would still be the best? Okay, when I was in school we'd have a track meet and I was a pretty good sprinter. I'd win that event at my school, I was "the best" and felt pretty good. Next I go to a regional track meet and I come in 3rd. Okay, maybe I'm not the best anymore. My time is good enough to get me to the provincial track meet where I come dead last. Is the best simply the best? Doesn't it matter who you're competing with?

The people who routinely have Horton in the top 25 dmen of all time are the same people who think the way you are right now. You can't reinforce flawed thinking with a flawed thought and say that's proof.

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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Just out of curiousity, exactly how many seasons of 200 points would be suffice for Gretzky in your mind? Do you have any idea how difficult it is to dominate your entire sport for a decade? Even then, that still doesn't "cut it" for you? Come on. Maybe Babe Ruth is the only athlete who has dominated vs. his peers for so long in over 100 years in SPORTS. Year after year Gretzky was doing this while winning Cups and Canada Cups. Then in the 1990s when his goal scoring dries up a bit (which happens historically to ever single player in NHL history, look it up) this is when you start complaining? Up until 30 years old he put up his last NHL season that dominated the NHL. Then Suter hit him and then the superhuman Gretzky wasn't quite the same. It was his back, this is common knowledge. But by the mid 1990s he had played 17 seasons of hockey and you think he was "close to his prime" at this time? Man, you should have seen the guy in his 20s in the mid 1980s. That was prime Gretzky. 1996 was not prime Gretzky and he still led the NHL in assists TWO times after this. What more did you want the man to do?
I think Gretzky is one of, if not, the greatest offensive player of all-time. His goal scoring abilities dropped off too much to just explain away though, using his age when he was only in his mid-30's or injuries when he was playing full seasons. There was more going on there than just that.

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This isn't 1920 or anything either. This wasn't the early stages of hockey when they are still testing with dramatic rule changes. If you want to say "I'm not sure how Joe Malone would do today" then you have a pretty good case. There was no forward passing yet. The game was in its early stages, they were tinkering constantly. By the time Horton came along in the 1950s the game was pretty much what we see today. I mean seriously, watch a complete game from that time. Players did much of the same thing we see today. Just some more new tricks we've learned over the years, that's it. I am pretty sure the original 6 guys would have picked that stuff up if they were born in the 1980s though. These were the best players in the world then: Howe, Richard, Harvey, Beliveau, Kelly, Lindsay, Geoffrion, etc. Those are some pretty insane names. How does that not translate into today?
There is far less time and space today and players have to be way more precise with passing, shooting, etc. I have watched games from the O6 and it's night and day.

That's still not my point though. Take away all the training, nutritional, equipment, and coaching advantages from current day players. Take away all the frozen pond and free thought (creativity) advantages away from the players from the past. What are we left with if they were to all grow up at the same time and have the same advantages? One group is huge and the other is a lot smaller. That's what we're left with.

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07-21-2014, 12:18 PM
  #128
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It is much more complicated than the raw numbers.. especially in the US where there are still so few seamless programs to take a player from starting out all the way to the professional level.
As long as people are playing hockey there's an opportunity though. Canada isn't all about seamless programs either. Of course the raw numbers aren't everything but that's the best we have.

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There are a lot of reasons to doubt that today's talent in the NHL is the zenith of all time. It could be true.. but it is hardly a slam dunk.
No, but should we really be asking new posters in this section to prove whether or not the talent pool has grown since 1960? To me that's as absurd as asking someone to prove the sky is blue with a source. We shouldn't be driving away new posters who take an interest in this section with such silliness.

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07-21-2014, 12:46 PM
  #129
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
As long as people are playing hockey there's an opportunity though. Canada isn't all about seamless programs either. Of course the raw numbers aren't everything but that's the best we have.
Right. So maybe lets not draw conclusions we're so sure of..


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No, but should we really be asking new posters in this section to prove whether or not the talent pool has grown since 1960? To me that's as absurd as asking someone to prove the sky is blue with a source. We shouldn't be driving away new posters who take an interest in this section with such silliness.
No one is driving away people by bringing up facts that demonstrate how complex an issue it really is...

As tarheel said, this has been gone over again and again so I'm not going to do it again.

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07-21-2014, 12:52 PM
  #130
TheDevilMadeMe
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
We have had the argument about hockey participation levels SO many times. Does it really need to all be re-hashed again?
Well, the whole thread is basically "which old players could still cut it in today's NHL," which is like a rehash of a rehash.

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07-21-2014, 12:53 PM
  #131
LeBlondeDemon10
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A good example of Stars continuing their dominance of play despite the size of the league and increase or decrease in the talent pool is to look at the 79-80 season compared to the 74-75 season. 79-80 saw the merger of 4 WHA clubs into the NHL to create a 21 team NHL. In contrast, 74-75 had 18 NHL teams and 14 WHA teams for a total of 32 professional hockey teams in North America. In 74-75 Dionne and Lafleur had breakout seasons scoring at a 1.51 and 1.70 ppg clip. Their ppg rates in 79-80 are similar despite professional hockey in NA contracting by 11 teams and a higher influx of Americans and Europeans by the 79-80 season. See quanthockey.com for the breakdown. Also significant of this season is 99's first year when he tied for the scoring title by overcoming Lafleur and catching Dionne with a fantastic second half. One might say that this was the beginning of a new era. More free flow (in some divisions...not the Adams) and European influences entering every year thereafter. In other words, one should not assume that the stars of an era be affected by a diluted or strengthened talent pool. They will produce at the rate they, for lack of a better phrase, are destined to, if they are in their prime.

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07-21-2014, 12:55 PM
  #132
TheDevilMadeMe
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
I could see why participation went up and down over the years after the baby boom and due to the cost of playing hockey.

In the US you had some pretty crazy growth spurts in hockey registration over the last 20 years. Why is it so hard to believe Canada didn't have something similar in the 60's? Consider that CBC started showing games on TV in 1952 and that coincided with the baby boom.

http://unitedstatesofhockey.com/2011...rs-in-2010-11/

I remember a few years ago everyone wanted proof via registration statistics. Now we have them and you don't want to accept them as any kind of tangible evidence.

I just want to find out what the truth is. Don't you want the same?
Direct question: Do you believe that the Canadian junior talent pool from 1992 was about 2/3 the strength of the Canadian junior talent pool from 1975? Meaning basically, that the Canadian talent in the NHL in the first decade of the 21st century was about 2/3 the strength of the Canadian talent pool in the 1980s?

Yes or no?


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Old
07-21-2014, 02:02 PM
  #133
danincanada
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
Right. So maybe lets not draw conclusions we're so sure of.
I'm sure more people are playing hockey now than in 1960, 1940, and 1920. Far more people, in fact. It's not like the sport hasn't grown.

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No one is driving away people by bringing up facts that demonstrate how complex an issue it really is...

As tarheel said, this has been gone over again and again so I'm not going to do it again.
More people play the sport now, and in the last 30 years, worldwide than in 1960. That's not complex at all. There's no need to ask for a source for that claim because it should be obvious to all who follow the sport and know a little about it's history.

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07-21-2014, 02:09 PM
  #134
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Direct question: Do you believe that the Canadian junior talent pool from 1992 was about 2/3 the strength of the Canadian junior talent pool from 1975? Meaning basically, that the Canadian talent in the NHL in the first decade of the 21st century was about 2/3 the strength of the Canadian talent pool in the 1980s?

Yes or no?
Yes, if that's what the registration numbers say then yes, I do believe it. I also believe that was more than offset by the growth and development of hockey in Europe and the US.

Keep in mind, you should give the "junior" talent pool 5 to 15 years to become potential NHL talent pool.

I'm after the truth so I'm open to new sources and references as they come available. My theory is based on what I know and have seen.

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07-27-2014, 03:49 PM
  #135
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
If you eliminated 80% of the worst players with this talent pool that's what you would have. Back in the O6 they didn't have a talent pool near this size though. You basically agreed to that already so this exercise you've done doesn't work the way you've proposed.

Didn't you notice that only half of the goalies you listed are Canadian? Back in the O6 the small Canadian-only talent pool didn't provide a Lundqvist or Rask. For the goalies why don't you randomly cut the current Canadian NHL goalies in half and pick from them as your starters in this current 6 team league? That would be more close to reality.
But as I said before, the argument falls flat once you see how good some great players still were when we physically saw the leagues expand on their own during their careers. Marcel Dionne for example played 1 season as a rookie in a 12 team league and had 77 points. For the rest of his career whether or not it was a 14-18 team league or a 21 team league he was one of the best players in it. Certainly always right at the top offensively. He started to lose his offense as his 30s went on, which is normal. But the talent pool expanded during his career and there wasn't a change. There wouldn't be with the great players. Beliveau, Howe, Hull, Mikita, etc. were all great in the original 6 but still were great when the league expanded to 12 teams. They were older as well.

Or if you want a more modern spin on things look at Bourque. First team all-star in his first season in 1980 with 21 teams and first team in his last in 2001 with 30 teams. 17 of them in between by the way. It never hurt Messier either. Lemieux had 199 points in 1989 in a 21 team league. He then wins the MVP and Art Ross in 1993 with a more Euro-induced league and 24 teams. He then wins two Art Ross Trophies and one Hart in 1996 and 1997 in a 26 team league. He then makes a comeback at 35 years old and scores 76 points in 43 games in a 30 team league in 2000-'01. Then has a pretty good season two years later.

I honestly think you should take these things into account. You can see it right before your eyes that no matter where the players were from or no matter how big the talent pool was the best would still be the best. Even taking a guy like Tim Horton, how many defenseman of his caliber would come along in a 30 team league? How many in the NHL today would be better than him? Not many. But would Horton win Norrises? It would still be tough for him, so perhaps not. But he'd be garnering all-stars. Heck, Shea Weber who is as close to Horton's style as I can think racks them up but Horton doesn't in today's game?


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The best would still be the best? Okay, when I was in school we'd have a track meet and I was a pretty good sprinter. I'd win that event at my school, I was "the best" and felt pretty good. Next I go to a regional track meet and I come in 3rd. Okay, maybe I'm not the best anymore. My time is good enough to get me to the provincial track meet where I come dead last. Is the best simply the best? Doesn't it matter who you're competing with?
Easy. You weren't going against the best until you got to your regional track meet. The players in the original 6 were still competing against the best. Just because the talent pool hadn't exploded yet doesn't mean they simply forgot about certain players. No, if you were the best player in the world you were knocking on the NHL's door. They weren't missing anyone, the next best rode the bus in the minors.




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I think Gretzky is one of, if not, the greatest offensive player of all-time. His goal scoring abilities dropped off too much to just explain away though, using his age when he was only in his mid-30's or injuries when he was playing full seasons. There was more going on there than just that.
Without a doubt, he is the best offensive player. When he was in his mid 30s he was still getting over 90 points, good for top 5 in his second to last season. What more did the man have to do in your eyes? His scoring barely dropped off at all leaving the Oilers in 1988 to the Kings in 1989. He still had 168 points. This was after dominating the game for a decade. Man, you can't just rack up 200+ point years for 20 seasons. He did it for a few years. How is that not good enough? In 1991 he had 163 points the year he turned 30. Suter wrecks his back in the Canada Cup and we see a direct drop in points for him. 42 points is quite a drop overnight. His goal scoring was never the same after this. He still was a great playmaker, and was smart enough to score, but 25ish goals a season in your mid 30s just before retirement while leading the NHL in assists is still pretty darn good isn't it? The guy had to see his point totals drop eventually didn't he?


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That's still not my point though. Take away all the training, nutritional, equipment, and coaching advantages from current day players. Take away all the frozen pond and free thought (creativity) advantages away from the players from the past. What are we left with if they were to all grow up at the same time and have the same advantages? One group is huge and the other is a lot smaller. That's what we're left with.
But no coach if they saw a Gretzky or a Lemieux-caliber type would try and change them. You simply let those types play their game and they'll win for you more often than if you are tinkering with it.

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07-28-2014, 04:09 AM
  #136
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If you eliminated 80% of the worst players with this talent pool that's what you would have. Back in the O6 they didn't have a talent pool near this size though. You basically agreed to that already so this exercise you've done doesn't work the way you've proposed.

Didn't you notice that only half of the goalies you listed are Canadian? Back in the O6 the small Canadian-only talent pool didn't provide a Lundqvist or Rask. For the goalies why don't you randomly cut the current Canadian NHL goalies in half and pick from them as your starters in this current 6 team league? That would be more close to reality.



It's not about Horton, he could be every bit as good now as he was then. The problem for him would be that there are 10 or 20 other guys who are just as good competing with him. I never said Horton couldn't adjust either, it's not about that. He could probably adjust fine to being a pro hockey player now. The question would he still be the exact same elite spot even though the talent pool grew multiple times combined with new elite competition from the US and Europe?



Again, you already proposed that the talent pool probably grew at a similar rate as the NHL. If you really believe this then randomly taking 6 teams from the current NHL and making them play each other over a season and it would be the same as what Horton faced.



Why would it only be more depth players?

The best would still be the best? Okay, when I was in school we'd have a track meet and I was a pretty good sprinter. I'd win that event at my school, I was "the best" and felt pretty good. Next I go to a regional track meet and I come in 3rd. Okay, maybe I'm not the best anymore. My time is good enough to get me to the provincial track meet where I come dead last. Is the best simply the best? Doesn't it matter who you're competing with?

The people who routinely have Horton in the top 25 dmen of all time are the same people who think the way you are right now. You can't reinforce flawed thinking with a flawed thought and say that's proof.



I think Gretzky is one of, if not, the greatest offensive player of all-time. His goal scoring abilities dropped off too much to just explain away though, using his age when he was only in his mid-30's or injuries when he was playing full seasons. There was more going on there than just that.



There is far less time and space today and players have to be way more precise with passing, shooting, etc. I have watched games from the O6 and it's night and day.

That's still not my point though. Take away all the training, nutritional, equipment, and coaching advantages from current day players. Take away all the frozen pond and free thought (creativity) advantages away from the players from the past. What are we left with if they were to all grow up at the same time and have the same advantages? One group is huge and the other is a lot smaller. That's what we're left with.
Regarding Gretzky. Sure he declined a great deal in his early 30's. To a mere mortal superstar from an unprecedented career. How good was Jordan on the Wizards? No better then Gretzky in his 2nd and 3rd last seasons.

Gretzky was the focus of every bit of attention from his childhood. He averaged around a 100 games a season of pro hockey from age 17-32 and probably played 25-26 minutes on average a game. He was a truly elite athlete and that is forgotten because of his stature and slim build. But still he had a slum build. He was really good at mot being hit, but he was the target of every team and every player and he rarely ever missed time to injury. He played ridiculously hard minutes in every situation. Physically, mentally that drains you.

Gretzky scored 92 and 87 goals. I say if he was interested in scoring goals in his prime years after that rather then winning Cups and being the greatest playmaker ever he would have topped 100 goals. In 85/86 he wanted to get 2 assists a game and he got 163 assists and 215 points.... The records. He also got 52 goals. One can look at that as a decline in goal scoring ability. However I believe if Gretzky had wanted to focus on scoring 100 goals that season instead, he would have done it.

Looking at Gretzky and his decline and thinking that it gas to do whatsoever with harder competition for him to face or better goalies is completely wrongheaded. For a dozen plus years Gretzky could basically school every other elite player ever. He was in another dimension only populated by Orr and Mario. And neither of them did it healthy or for as long as Gretzky. Mario had a bad back, but he also had many times to heal up and get healthier everywhere else.

Gretzky could still score goals when it mattered most during and after his decline. Like in 92/93 playoffs or getting 10 goals for the Rangers in 3 rounds.

Gretzky declined because he played incredible amounts of hockey at the highest level and those miles add up. Plus he is human not a cyborg. He is inevitably going to age. He didn't have Gordie Howe's physique or build. No one does. He played 20 seasons and led the league in assists in year 19. Competition level vs Gretzky is the silliest argument of all time.

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07-28-2014, 12:47 PM
  #137
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But as I said before, the argument falls flat once you see how good some great players still were when we physically saw the leagues expand on their own during their careers. Marcel Dionne for example played 1 season as a rookie in a 12 team league and had 77 points. For the rest of his career whether or not it was a 14-18 team league or a 21 team league he was one of the best players in it. Certainly always right at the top offensively. He started to lose his offense as his 30s went on, which is normal. But the talent pool expanded during his career and there wasn't a change. There wouldn't be with the great players. Beliveau, Howe, Hull, Mikita, etc. were all great in the original 6 but still were great when the league expanded to 12 teams. They were older as well.
Again, don’t get stuck on the size of the league. When you said the size of the talent pool probably corresponded with the size of the NHL I didn’t take it literally. The talent pool obviously didn’t double just because the size of the league did. I do think that for most of the O6 the talent pool was fairly small because the baby boom in Canada hadn’t really taken affect yet though. Expansion took place when the baby boomers were starting to come of age so this does make sense in terms of supply and demand. Then after that we saw more NHLers coming from the development of hockey in the US and Europe so that helped increase the talent pool as well.

To your point above though, no, I don’t believe star players would simply fade away because the talent pool grows. We know that because players did adapt over a 20 year period and continue to be good/great. Over 40 or 60 years though? The change is more dramatic and we obviously don’t have any cases where we can know for sure. Some players might drop far more than you'd anticipate.

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Or if you want a more modern spin on things look at Bourque. First team all-star in his first season in 1980 with 21 teams and first team in his last in 2001 with 30 teams. 17 of them in between by the way. It never hurt Messier either. Lemieux had 199 points in 1989 in a 21 team league. He then wins the MVP and Art Ross in 1993 with a more Euro-induced league and 24 teams. He then wins two Art Ross Trophies and one Hart in 1996 and 1997 in a 26 team league. He then makes a comeback at 35 years old and scores 76 points in 43 games in a 30 team league in 2000-'01. Then has a pretty good season two years later.
You guys sure get your money’s worth for this cliché of Bourque’s first and last all-star nomination. Those were seasons where a healthy Potvin and Pronger would have probably taken those first all-star nominations away from Bourque. I get your point though; guys like Bourque would be elite in any era. Again though, had he only faced Canadians like in the NHL of the 60’s, wouldn’t he fair even better instead of also having to face more streams of talent with the elite American defenders like Chelios, Leetch, Langway, and later the Swede Lidstrom? Of course he would. That’s my point here. If even an all-time elite defender like Bourque would inevitably suffer from facing a deeper talent pool with more talent streams then a guy like Horton, who never won a Norris, would suffer even more.

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I honestly think you should take these things into account. You can see it right before your eyes that no matter where the players were from or no matter how big the talent pool was the best would still be the best. Even taking a guy like Tim Horton, how many defenseman of his caliber would come along in a 30 team league? How many in the NHL today would be better than him? Not many. But would Horton win Norrises? It would still be tough for him, so perhaps not. But he'd be garnering all-stars. Heck, Shea Weber who is as close to Horton's style as I can think racks them up but Horton doesn't in today's game?
How do you know Horton is equal to Weber and would still be garnering all-stars if he played today? Based on Norris voting, Weber has been the top Canadian defender for a few seasons but Horton never was. Look who Weber is losing out on Norris’ to: Lidstrom, Karlsson, Chara, and he also lost in voting to Suter and OEL. Horton didn’t face elite Europeans or Americans in his day, he really only had to compete with fellow Canadians, and even that talent pool of Canadians was much smaller. It’s not just about where these other guys are from either, it’s simply the easiest way to point out to you that hockey has grown so there are more elite level players developing. If there are more elite level defenseman now, as there should be based on the talent pool, than why wouldn’t Horton be pushed down further in his ranking if he played today?

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Easy. You weren't going against the best until you got to your regional track meet. The players in the original 6 were still competing against the best. Just because the talent pool hadn't exploded yet doesn't mean they simply forgot about certain players. No, if you were the best player in the world you were knocking on the NHL's door. They weren't missing anyone, the next best rode the bus in the minors.
True, but it still shows that being the best is relative to who you are competing with and that the larger the group is, the more difficult it is to maintain that top position. It’s not just as simple as saying “the best would still be the best” and closing the book on it like it shouldn’t be questioned. If I felt that way after my school track meet than I’d be really disappointed to learn it wasn’t true at the regionals.

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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Without a doubt, he is the best offensive player. When he was in his mid 30s he was still getting over 90 points, good for top 5 in his second to last season. What more did the man have to do in your eyes? His scoring barely dropped off at all leaving the Oilers in 1988 to the Kings in 1989. He still had 168 points. This was after dominating the game for a decade. Man, you can't just rack up 200+ point years for 20 seasons. He did it for a few years. How is that not good enough? In 1991 he had 163 points the year he turned 30. Suter wrecks his back in the Canada Cup and we see a direct drop in points for him. 42 points is quite a drop overnight. His goal scoring was never the same after this. He still was a great playmaker, and was smart enough to score, but 25ish goals a season in your mid 30s just before retirement while leading the NHL in assists is still pretty darn good isn't it? The guy had to see his point totals drop eventually didn't he?
This whole Gretzky topic is a bit of a tangent. I wouldn’t expect him to continue scoring 200 points his whole career but his goal scoring took a huge dip, more than you’d expect from the guy who has the record for goals in a season. It was simply a lot more difficult to score later in his career due to several reasons but it shows that even though a player completely dominates during one era he may not be as dominant in the next. Lemieux proved he could still score when it got tougher, even though he was older, but Gretzky seemed to have problems scoring like he used to. Goaltending changed a lot from the early 80’s when Gretzky was a goal scoring machine to the mid 90’s when he was more of a playmaker. Everyone knows he’d be a (super)star if he played today but how many Rocket Richard Trophies would he have? Crosby only has one, which he shared with Stamkos, and most still view him as the best player of his generation.

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But no coach if they saw a Gretzky or a Lemieux-caliber type would try and change them. You simply let those types play their game and they'll win for you more often than if you are tinkering with it.
What does this have to do with my post?

I’ll point it out again…we can all agree that current players have advantages when it comes to training techniques, nutrition, equipment, and coaching. Most point to past players having an advantage because they could play for hours and hours on frozen ponds/lakes and this helped them become more creative, combined with less stringent coaches when they did play organized hockey.

I get all that. The issue I have is that if you could take away all the advantages each era has so you just had groups of hockey players on the same playing field; the more recent group completely dwarfs that past group in terms of numbers/participants. You already agreed with this a while back so why wouldn’t this inevitably make it more difficult to rise to the top, or near the top in Horton’s case, and be elite in the more recent and larger group? The “best would still be the best” is just a simple way of saying I don’t want to deal with this and I want to treat all eras as equal when they clearly aren’t. It’s not fair to the current era to pretend this because they have to overcome a lot more competition to reach the top.

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07-30-2014, 05:03 PM
  #138
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To your point above though, no, I don’t believe star players would simply fade away because the talent pool grows. We know that because players did adapt over a 20 year period and continue to be good/great. Over 40 or 60 years though? The change is more dramatic and we obviously don’t have any cases where we can know for sure. Some players might drop far more than you'd anticipate.
What more do you need though? 20 years isn't enough?

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You guys sure get your money’s worth for this cliché of Bourque’s first and last all-star nomination. Those were seasons where a healthy Potvin and Pronger would have probably taken those first all-star nominations away from Bourque. I get your point though; guys like Bourque would be elite in any era. Again though, had he only faced Canadians like in the NHL of the 60’s, wouldn’t he fair even better instead of also having to face more streams of talent with the elite American defenders like Chelios, Leetch, Langway, and later the Swede Lidstrom? Of course he would. That’s my point here. If even an all-time elite defender like Bourque would inevitably suffer from facing a deeper talent pool with more talent streams then a guy like Horton, who never won a Norris, would suffer even more.
It isn't a cliche at all. It shows you that a great player has, and would be great in any era. Your argument that a healthy Pronger and healthy Potvin likely grab a 1st team all-star is a little weak. Basically that means Bourque is a 2nd team all-star both years. Big difference.

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How do you know Horton is equal to Weber and would still be garnering all-stars if he played today? Based on Norris voting, Weber has been the top Canadian defender for a few seasons but Horton never was. Look who Weber is losing out on Norris’ to: Lidstrom, Karlsson, Chara, and he also lost in voting to Suter and OEL. Horton didn’t face elite Europeans or Americans in his day, he really only had to compete with fellow Canadians, and even that talent pool of Canadians was much smaller. It’s not just about where these other guys are from either, it’s simply the easiest way to point out to you that hockey has grown so there are more elite level players developing. If there are more elite level defenseman now, as there should be based on the talent pool, than why wouldn’t Horton be pushed down further in his ranking if he played today?
And if Horton is alive today he doesn't have any of the modern advantages? Look, this is where people get caught up in thinking the past players couldn't compete in today's game. All we have is the era they played in, that's it. Besides, how many defensemen in the game today could control the game the way Horton could? Or going further back, if you watch someone like Doug Harvey play the game, I mean actually play the game in live footage from game tapes, you don't think he'd still be racking up Norris trophies just because the talent pool is bigger?

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This whole Gretzky topic is a bit of a tangent. I wouldn’t expect him to continue scoring 200 points his whole career but his goal scoring took a huge dip, more than you’d expect from the guy who has the record for goals in a season. It was simply a lot more difficult to score later in his career due to several reasons but it shows that even though a player completely dominates during one era he may not be as dominant in the next. Lemieux proved he could still score when it got tougher, even though he was older, but Gretzky seemed to have problems scoring like he used to. Goaltending changed a lot from the early 80’s when Gretzky was a goal scoring machine to the mid 90’s when he was more of a playmaker. Everyone knows he’d be a (super)star if he played today but how many Rocket Richard Trophies would he have? Crosby only has one, which he shared with Stamkos, and most still view him as the best player of his generation.
Corey Perry won a Rocket with 50 goals in 2011. I'm pretty sure Gretzky would do just fine. Remember one thing, even in the 1980s when Gretzky was leading the NHL in goals, he didn't skate end to end, go through a defenseman's legs and roof it top corner. He scored goals the way he always did. He was smart, he was deceptive, he used his teammates as decoys. He had an accurate shot. He never had a hard shot, not even in 1984. So why wouldn't he have done this in today's game? I don't think anyone can deny he leads the NHL in assists year after year, but for some reason people assume Gretzky wouldn't be able to cut it in the goal scoring department anymore. It makes no sense to me.

But I'll try and think on the level of the people critical of it. For starters, Lemieux looked pretty when he scored. He did it so many ways and he physically looked amazing out there. Ovechkin is another guy with lots of physical tools to score. Hard shot, a bullet for a wrist shot, blazing speed coming off the wing, big body, etc. I think most people think Lemieux and Ovechkin score goals in any era. Gretzky just relied on his instincts, his hockey sense. Remember, he was skinny and small in the 1980s too. But watch how he scored goals, even back then. He was in the right place at the right time. I think people have a hard time accepting this because there has never been a player close to the same style as Gretzky. I can't even think of someone he compares to style-wise. No one did what he did, and while his goal scoring didn't always look spectacular it has hurt him in modern times for some reason.

What has been mentioned on here often, is that Gretzky himself as early as 1986 focused more on playmaking. He still had 52 goals in a year that he had over two assists per game. Let that sit for a second. The next year he led the NHL in goals with 62 despite having 121 assists. Even in 1989 he led the NHL in assists while having 54 goals. Finally, someone (Lemieux) was comparable to him. It only took a decade. In 1991 he had 41 goals and 122 assists. A 41 goal scorer is good in any era. This after he's played in 12 NHL seasons. There have been 72 times when a player 30 or older have scored at least 40 goals in a season. Gretzky did it once. There have just been 9 times when a player scored 40 goals at 35 years or older. Those names are Bucyk (2), Selanne (2), Shanahan, Howe, Esposito, Messier and Alfredsson.

You see, goal scoring dries up with the best of them. Even Gretzky. Jagr didn't score a single goal in 22 playoff matches in 2013. But there is a noticeable factor with Gretzky as well. The hit he took from Suter in 1991. It is no secret that he lost a lot of quickness after that. He wasn't the same, he really wasn't. Watch him in the 1991 Canada Cup. He was as good as 1987 in my opinion. He was all over the place. This is the last that we ever saw of the Gretzky we all came to know. The odd time like the 1993 playoffs we'd see glimpses of him scoring at will, but he lost a lot after that.

And I think there is one final thing here. Esposito suffers from this syndrome as well as Gretzky. They scored so many goals for quite a while that when they dropped at the end of their careers it looked a lot worse because they had a longer ways to go than others. 70 goals down to 25 in the space of 10 years looks bad but it isn't. They weren't just leading the NHL in goals, they were demolishing the rest of the league. Even Gretzky had to come back to earth somehow.

But there is no doubt in my mind he scores more goals in a season than Ovechkin and Stamkos for quite a few years in today's game. If you don't believe me, ask Mike Bossy.

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What does this have to do with my post?

I’ll point it out again…we can all agree that current players have advantages when it comes to training techniques, nutrition, equipment, and coaching. Most point to past players having an advantage because they could play for hours and hours on frozen ponds/lakes and this helped them become more creative, combined with less stringent coaches when they did play organized hockey.

I get all that. The issue I have is that if you could take away all the advantages each era has so you just had groups of hockey players on the same playing field; the more recent group completely dwarfs that past group in terms of numbers/participants. You already agreed with this a while back so why wouldn’t this inevitably make it more difficult to rise to the top, or near the top in Horton’s case, and be elite in the more recent and larger group? The “best would still be the best” is just a simple way of saying I don’t want to deal with this and I want to treat all eras as equal when they clearly aren’t. It’s not fair to the current era to pretend this because they have to overcome a lot more competition to reach the top.
I think you are still forgetting though that while there was a smaller pool in the original 6, there was also 20% of the NHL teams there. Definitely didn't make it easy to make the NHL either. Besides, take a look at the all-star nods in the 1950s and 1960s. Look at them in the last 20 years. See a similarity? The best guys routinely were all-stars. Like today. Of course there was the odd player who had a spike year (Francois Beauchemin in 2013) but if you look at it, there are a handful of guys occupying those spots. They are the likes of Weber, Chara, Keith, Subban, Doughty, Suter, Lidstrom (before now), Letang got in there in 2013. Nothing against Kevin Bieksa, but you aren't seeing his caliber in there at all. So if you look at the 1950s, the same thing applies. Harvey and Kelly were in there a lot of course all the time. Or the 1970s even. A bit of variety, but it was always the same old guys at the top: Orr, Potvin, Robinson, Lapointe, Salming, Park, Savard. The fact of the matter is, there are more 3rd and 4th defenseman in the NHL today than ever before, but they aren't a threat to the Norris caliber defenseman in the game today. Just like Bobby Orr never had to worry about Keith Magnuson (solid of course but never elite) catching up with him.

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08-01-2014, 12:11 PM
  #139
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What more do you need though? 20 years isn't enough?
The talent pool has continued to grow since people started playing hockey but obviously that growth hasn’t been totally consistent as it has had peaks and valleys. We know all players are affected by age, wear and tear, and injuries so they become less dominant later in their careers no matter who they are. That’s part of the reason why players become less dominant as they get older. Why couldn’t there be other factors as well though? It’s a lazy approach for someone to just throw their hands up and say a players age is the only reason why they aren’t exactly as dominant as they used to be when we know how much the league, and the sport of hockey, has changed and grown over time.

Now, increase it from 20 years to 60 years and you don’t think things could change a whole lot in this regard? Why wouldn’t it when, in front of our very eyes, we’ve seen the NHL go from a small 6 team league made up of nearly only Canadians to what we have now. That’s a lot of change right there. The real question that needs to be answered is why wouldn’t it be more difficult to be the top player or an all-star when the talent streams feeding the league have grown so much?

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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
It isn't a cliche at all. It shows you that a great player has, and would be great in any era. Your argument that a healthy Pronger and healthy Potvin likely grab a 1st team all-star is a little weak. Basically that means Bourque is a 2nd team all-star both years. Big difference.
I already acknowledged this in my post because I know Bourque was near elite for his whole 20 year career and that’s the point of the cliché remark, which I get. You’re focusing on this but not my main point which comes after:

“Again though, had he only faced Canadians like in the NHL of the 60’s, wouldn’t he fair even better instead of also having to face more streams of talent with the elite American defenders like Chelios, Leetch, Langway, and later the Swede Lidstrom? Of course he would. That’s my point here. If even an all-time elite defender like Bourque would inevitably suffer from facing a deeper talent pool with more talent streams then a guy like Horton, who never won a Norris, would suffer even more.”

Agree or disagree, and why?

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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
And if Horton is alive today he doesn't have any of the modern advantages? Look, this is where people get caught up in thinking the past players couldn't compete in today's game. All we have is the era they played in, that's it. Besides, how many defensemen in the game today could control the game the way Horton could? Or going further back, if you watch someone like Doug Harvey play the game, I mean actually play the game in live footage from game tapes, you don't think he'd still be racking up Norris trophies just because the talent pool is bigger?
I’m already past this. It’s not about modern advantages unless you see facing a larger talent pool with more developed talent streams (Europe, Russia, US, in the NHL) as somehow being an advantage. Of course you don’t, it’s a disadvantage for modern era players to have to face more competition for trophies, all-star nominations, and championships. It makes it harder for them to establish themselves as elite.

Again, you are using your “eye test” with completely different eras of hockey to tell me how well a player could control the pace of the game today - a much faster pace with more advanced players. Who knows how they’d adapt. I’d like to think someone like Horton would adapt fine but I don’t think he’d rank the same in terms of elite dmen today simply because he’d be competing with a much larger group. We don’t know how Doug Harvey would fair today either but I do know he wouldn’t only be competing with fellow Canadians for the Norris, and we know todays fellow Canadians come from a larger talent pool within Canada, so that should make it more difficult to win them. Doesn’t this make sense to you?

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Corey Perry won a Rocket with 50 goals in 2011. I'm pretty sure Gretzky would do just fine. Remember one thing, even in the 1980s when Gretzky was leading the NHL in goals, he didn't skate end to end, go through a defenseman's legs and roof it top corner. He scored goals the way he always did. He was smart, he was deceptive, he used his teammates as decoys. He had an accurate shot. He never had a hard shot, not even in 1984. So why wouldn't he have done this in today's game? I don't think anyone can deny he leads the NHL in assists year after year, but for some reason people assume Gretzky wouldn't be able to cut it in the goal scoring department anymore. It makes no sense to me.
But I'll try and think on the level of the people critical of it. For starters, Lemieux looked pretty when he scored. He did it so many ways and he physically looked amazing out there. Ovechkin is another guy with lots of physical tools to score. Hard shot, a bullet for a wrist shot, blazing speed coming off the wing, big body, etc. I think most people think Lemieux and Ovechkin score goals in any era. Gretzky just relied on his instincts, his hockey sense. Remember, he was skinny and small in the 1980s too. But watch how he scored goals, even back then. He was in the right place at the right time. I think people have a hard time accepting this because there has never been a player close to the same style as Gretzky. I can't even think of someone he compares to style-wise. No one did what he did, and while his goal scoring didn't always look spectacular it has hurt him in modern times for some reason.

What has been mentioned on here often, is that Gretzky himself as early as 1986 focused more on playmaking. He still had 52 goals in a year that he had over two assists per game. Let that sit for a second. The next year he led the NHL in goals with 62 despite having 121 assists. Even in 1989 he led the NHL in assists while having 54 goals. Finally, someone (Lemieux) was comparable to him. It only took a decade. In 1991 he had 41 goals and 122 assists. A 41 goal scorer is good in any era. This after he's played in 12 NHL seasons. There have been 72 times when a player 30 or older have scored at least 40 goals in a season. Gretzky did it once. There have just been 9 times when a player scored 40 goals at 35 years or older. Those names are Bucyk (2), Selanne (2), Shanahan, Howe, Esposito, Messier and Alfredsson.

You see, goal scoring dries up with the best of them. Even Gretzky. Jagr didn't score a single goal in 22 playoff matches in 2013. But there is a noticeable factor with Gretzky as well. The hit he took from Suter in 1991. It is no secret that he lost a lot of quickness after that. He wasn't the same, he really wasn't. Watch him in the 1991 Canada Cup. He was as good as 1987 in my opinion. He was all over the place. This is the last that we ever saw of the Gretzky we all came to know. The odd time like the 1993 playoffs we'd see glimpses of him scoring at will, but he lost a lot after that.

And I think there is one final thing here. Esposito suffers from this syndrome as well as Gretzky. They scored so many goals for quite a while that when they dropped at the end of their careers it looked a lot worse because they had a longer ways to go than others. 70 goals down to 25 in the space of 10 years looks bad but it isn't. They weren't just leading the NHL in goals, they were demolishing the rest of the league. Even Gretzky had to come back to earth somehow.

But there is no doubt in my mind he scores more goals in a season than Ovechkin and Stamkos for quite a few years in today's game. If you don't believe me, ask Mike Bossy.
I didn’t say Gretzky wouldn’t “cut it as a goal scorer”, just that there’s a huge question mark as to if he’d be a natural goal scorer with today’s goalies and defensive styles or if he’d be more of a playmaker. He was really only a big goal scoring threat earlier in his career so it’s easy to question this.

Mike Bossy was scoring on the same goaltenders Gretzky was so how is asking him going to help? He was a great goal scorer in the 80’s but does that automatically mean he’d outscore today’s premier goal scorers?

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I think you are still forgetting though that while there was a smaller pool in the original 6, there was also 20% of the NHL teams there. Definitely didn't make it easy to make the NHL either. Besides, take a look at the all-star nods in the 1950s and 1960s. Look at them in the last 20 years. See a similarity? The best guys routinely were all-stars. Like today. Of course there was the odd player who had a spike year (Francois Beauchemin in 2013) but if you look at it, there are a handful of guys occupying those spots. They are the likes of Weber, Chara, Keith, Subban, Doughty, Suter, Lidstrom (before now), Letang got in there in 2013. Nothing against Kevin Bieksa, but you aren't seeing his caliber in there at all. So if you look at the 1950s, the same thing applies. Harvey and Kelly were in there a lot of course all the time. Or the 1970s even. A bit of variety, but it was always the same old guys at the top: Orr, Potvin, Robinson, Lapointe, Salming, Park, Savard. The fact of the matter is, there are more 3rd and 4th defenseman in the NHL today than ever before, but they aren't a threat to the Norris caliber defenseman in the game today. Just like Bobby Orr never had to worry about Keith Magnuson (solid of course but never elite) catching up with him.
That small talent pool was condensed during the O6 so it wouldn’t be easy from game to game. You already agreed earlier that the talent pool grew at a similar rate as the size of the NHL though so wouldn’t this mean there are more elite players competing for individual awards and accomplishments now due to the much larger talent pool? If not, then why not?

No matter what the size of the talent pool and/or league you’re probably going to have a certain group of elite players who separate themselves from the pack as you’ve shown. That’s not a big surprise. If there are more 3rd and 4th defenseman now then you have to ask yourself, why wouldn’t there be more 1st and 2nd defenseman as well? Of course there are, not only because there are more teams, resulting in more first pairing roster spots, but there is a larger talent pool as well, feeding that. Hypothetically, if there were 6 true # 1 defenseman back in the O6 and they were the only ones capable of winning the Norris, and there are 30 true # 1 defenseman now capable of winning the Norris, which group has more competition for the Norris?

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08-01-2014, 01:07 PM
  #140
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Please explain Mike Gartner then.
Or how about Sakic, 48 in 90/91 and then 54 10 years later.
Ray Bourque, 23 goals in 86/87, 18 goals 15 years later.

How many more players do I have to list before your theories of how much things change goes away?
Players adapt and the best players adapt the best, it's why they are the best.

Sure, Gretzky's decrease in goal scoring over the years is a result from goalies wearing bigger equipment and being harder to score on but it's not even close to the only reason and it's not, imo, the largest factor.
Aging and suffering a major injury still had more to do with his decline than goalies being better. We didn't just go from 0-60 in a single season, it took decades for goaltending to get better, year by year.
Gretzky's decline was gradual until the Suter hit, then there's a sharp drop off in all of his production, I have shown and proven this many times around here. Goalies did not suddenly go up 3 notches in the space of 2 years. Sorry, that didn't happen.

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08-01-2014, 01:16 PM
  #141
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Please explain Mike Gartner then.
Or how about Sakic, 48 in 90/91 and then 54 10 years later.
Ray Bourque, 23 goals in 86/87, 18 goals 15 years later.

How many more players do I have to list before your theories of how much things change goes away?
Players adapt and the best players adapt the best, it's why they are the best.

Sure, Gretzky's decrease in goal scoring over the years is a result from goalies wearing bigger equipment and being harder to score on but it's not even close to the only reason and it's not, imo, the largest factor.
Aging and suffering a major injury still had more to do with his decline than goalies being better. We didn't just go from 0-60 in a single season, it took decades for goaltending to get better, year by year.
Gretzky's decline was gradual until the Suter hit, then there's a sharp drop off in all of his production, I have shown and proven this many times around here. Goalies did not suddenly go up 3 notches in the space of 2 years. Sorry, that didn't happen.
You're not following along very well. I never said anything happens right away. That's actually the whole point here. Over 30, 40, 60 years things can and have changed a lot though. That's why simply pointing to someone like Horton and thinking he'd be at the same level of eliteness (top 5) in today's NHL isn't very realistic. There's a lot more competition among the top 20 or 30 defenseman right now than back then and there's really no denying it.

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08-01-2014, 01:37 PM
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You're not following along very well. I never said anything happens right away. That's actually the whole point here. Over 30, 40, 60 years things can and have changed a lot though. That's why simply pointing to someone like Horton and thinking he'd be at the same level of eliteness (top 5) in today's NHL isn't very realistic. There's a lot more competition among the top 20 or 30 defenseman right now than back then and there's really no denying it.
But it isn't the talent level and natural instincts of the players that changes that much.
Equipment, training methods and medical advances by FAR account for the differences in today's players compared to players from 50 years ago.

Talent is talent is talent period.

Is there more all around talent in the NHL today, that's pretty probable as there are more players but is there more elite talent...there is NOTHING to prove that as there seems to be the same 3-4 players every single year leading the pack while the next 10-20 spots fluctuate every season. It's been that way for decades.

If it's your contention that Crosby would be great in any era despite being subjected to the same restrictions as Howe was under (training and growing up playing the same way Howe did, wearing the same equipment and under the same medical conditions) then you are saying it's all about talent.
That talent is the one thing that transcends era and if it's true one way, it's also damned well true going the other.

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08-01-2014, 02:16 PM
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But it isn't the talent level and natural instincts of the players that changes that much.
Equipment, training methods and medical advances by FAR account for the differences in today's players compared to players from 50 years ago.

Talent is talent is talent period.

Is there more all around talent in the NHL today, that's pretty probable as there are more players but is there more elite talent...there is NOTHING to prove that as there seems to be the same 3-4 players every single year leading the pack while the next 10-20 spots fluctuate every season. It's been that way for decades.

If it's your contention that Crosby would be great in any era despite being subjected to the same restrictions as Howe was under (training and growing up playing the same way Howe did, wearing the same equipment and under the same medical conditions) then you are saying it's all about talent.
That talent is the one thing that transcends era and if it's true one way, it's also damned well true going the other.
So it doesn't matter if the talent pool doubles, triples or quadruples, there are 3 or 4 truly elite and then everyone else? The talent level doesn't change among those two groups even with this in mind?

Wow, it's hard to believe anyone would actually believe this to be the case. I guess it's the same mentality as "the best are always the best", which is a lazy way of saying all era's are equal no matter how much hockey participation has grown. Gotcha.

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08-01-2014, 02:47 PM
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So it doesn't matter if the talent pool doubles, triples or quadruples, there are 3 or 4 truly elite and then everyone else? The talent level doesn't change among those two groups even with this in mind?

Wow, it's hard to believe anyone would actually believe this to be the case. I guess it's the same mentality as "the best are always the best", which is a lazy way of saying all era's are equal no matter how much hockey participation has grown. Gotcha.
Ok, so what was participation in the late 70's/early 80's?
Higher or lower than it is today and by how much according to your research?

Lets say it has tripled for example.
Where's my 3 Gretzky's, where's my 3 Lemieux's?
Last I checked there isnt even one Gretzky or one Lemieux, not even anyone close.
So what's the explanation?
You keep saying that there's a correlation between the number of players and the number of elite players, PROVE IT!!!
Why is that for the last 50+ years it's always the same 3-4 players leading the way year after year while the rest of the top 20 changes drastically?
C'mon, explain it to us all.

And it's not just about pure talent either, instinct is a huge factor.
Kovalev was one of the most talented players ever, the guys skill set was off the chart, "a modern day superman player" by the definition of some around here yet he never broke 100 points even once!

Like, do you consider Kovalev to be an elite player in prime? He definitely had the talent but when one looks at his actual results one just can't justify giving him an elite status.


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08-01-2014, 03:04 PM
  #145
danincanada
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Ok, so what was participation in the late 70's/early 80's?
Higher or lower than it is today and by how much according to your research?

Lets say it has tripled for example.
Where's my 3 Gretzky's, where's my 3 Lemieux's?
Last I checked there isnt even one Gretzky or one Lemieux, not even anyone close.
So what's the explanation?
You keep saying that there's a correlation between the number of players and the number of elite players, PROVE IT!!!
Why is that for the last 50+ years it's always the same 3-4 players leading the way year after year while the rest of the top 20 changes drastically?
C'mon, explain it to us all.
No thanks, you clearly don't understand what I've pointed out here.

I'm not wasting my time pointing it out to you again.

Mario and Wayne are probably the two most talented offensive players of all-time. That's not what I'm questioning.

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08-01-2014, 03:08 PM
  #146
danincanada
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Ok, so what was participation in the late 70's/early 80's?
Higher or lower than it is today and by how much according to your research?

Lets say it has tripled for example.
Where's my 3 Gretzky's, where's my 3 Lemieux's?
Last I checked there isnt even one Gretzky or one Lemieux, not even anyone close.
So what's the explanation?
You keep saying that there's a correlation between the number of players and the number of elite players, PROVE IT!!!
Why is that for the last 50+ years it's always the same 3-4 players leading the way year after year while the rest of the top 20 changes drastically?
C'mon, explain it to us all.

And it's not just about pure talent either, instinct is a huge factor.
Kovalev was one of the most talented players ever, the guys skill set was off the chart, "a modern day superman player" by the definition of some around here yet he never broke 100 points even once!

Like, do you consider Kovalev to be an elite player in prime? He definitely had the talent but when one looks at his actual results one just can't justify giving him an elite status.
I'm too busy to post anymore today or this weekend. I suggest if you really want to know my point of view you read my posts here again.... {Mod}


Last edited by Killion: 08-01-2014 at 05:06 PM. Reason: no need for that...
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08-01-2014, 03:49 PM
  #147
Rhiessan71
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
No thanks, you clearly don't understand what I've pointed out here.

I'm not wasting my time pointing it out to you again.

Mario and Wayne are probably the two most talented offensive players of all-time. That's not what I'm questioning.
Oh no, I get what you're saying but you only look at one end of the spectrum.
There are more first liners in the league today but there's also a hell of a lot more 3rd and 4th liners as well.
Today's top players play against lower tier players a hell of a lot more of the time than players in the O6 did.

I'm sorry but playing against a Howe and/or a Harvey quality player a whopping 14/28 times a season is harder than what a Crosby has to contend with today.
Crosby faced the top 3 Norris contenders all of what, 5-6 times during the entire season?

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08-01-2014, 07:31 PM
  #148
Big Phil
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I already acknowledged this in my post because I know Bourque was near elite for his whole 20 year career and that’s the point of the cliché remark, which I get. You’re focusing on this but not my main point which comes after:

“Again though, had he only faced Canadians like in the NHL of the 60’s, wouldn’t he fair even better instead of also having to face more streams of talent with the elite American defenders like Chelios, Leetch, Langway, and later the Swede Lidstrom? Of course he would. That’s my point here. If even an all-time elite defender like Bourque would inevitably suffer from facing a deeper talent pool with more talent streams then a guy like Horton, who never won a Norris, would suffer even more.”

Agree or disagree, and why?
Did Bourque really "suffer" while playing in the 1980s and 1990s? I mean, the guy garnered 19 all-star team selections. Only Gordie Howe in the history of the NHL has more. How much better could it have possibly gotten for him? He was an all-star every year from 1980-'96. Then in 1999 and 2001. Doug Harvey doesn't have as many as that and he played in the O6 with supposedly weaker competition according to you. I think most of us consider Harvey better than Bourque slightly as well. So how did Bourque do any worse? Like Harvey, he waited a few years before his first Norris. Harvey won the Norris the second year it was in existence but I believe Kelly wins more of them pre-1954.

So you see what I'm saying here right? Bourque didn't really have a disadvantage at all.

Quote:
Again, you are using your “eye test” with completely different eras of hockey to tell me how well a player could control the pace of the game today - a much faster pace with more advanced players. Who knows how they’d adapt. I’d like to think someone like Horton would adapt fine but I don’t think he’d rank the same in terms of elite dmen today simply because he’d be competing with a much larger group. We don’t know how Doug Harvey would fair today either but I do know he wouldn’t only be competing with fellow Canadians for the Norris, and we know todays fellow Canadians come from a larger talent pool within Canada, so that should make it more difficult to win them. Doesn’t this make sense to you?
Look at it this way. Lidstrom won 7 Norris Trophies. Harvey won 7. Almost everyone considers Harvey better. I would say having Red Kelly breathing down your neck is pretty darn good competition for the Norris don't you think? It is commonly believed that Lidstrom caught a bit of a break because once the 1990s defensemen retired or tailed off he faced a group over that decade that didn't quite have the top end competition for the Norris either. Kudos to him for winning 7, but let's just say you always have to look at who he is competing against, rather than just his birth certificate.

Quote:
I didn’t say Gretzky wouldn’t “cut it as a goal scorer”, just that there’s a huge question mark as to if he’d be a natural goal scorer with today’s goalies and defensive styles or if he’d be more of a playmaker. He was really only a big goal scoring threat earlier in his career so it’s easy to question this.

Mike Bossy was scoring on the same goaltenders Gretzky was so how is asking him going to help? He was a great goal scorer in the 80’s but does that automatically mean he’d outscore today’s premier goal scorers?
Gretzky was outscoring Bossy significantly in the goal department, that's why I mentioned it. I'm pretty sure Bossy's game translates well into today's game. Unless someone would break his wrists and rob him of that quick release he had, I can't see how he isn't a bona fide sniper today as well. And as I said, all goal scorers generally decline around 30. In 1991 Gretzky had 41 goals and 122 assists. Do you really think Gretzky couldn't have made that 60 and 100 if he wanted to? It isn't as if he wasn't capable of it. He chose to focus on playmaking a lot more. Look at 1985-'86. He made a pact to average 2 assists per game at the beginning of the season. Just like that, POOF, it happens. Gretzky pretty much had the NHL on its ear back then, he did what he wanted. But the Suter hit in 1991 did remove a lot of his quickness, and that meant he became less of a threat to score against his own will.


Quote:
That small talent pool was condensed during the O6 so it wouldn’t be easy from game to game. You already agreed earlier that the talent pool grew at a similar rate as the size of the NHL though so wouldn’t this mean there are more elite players competing for individual awards and accomplishments now due to the much larger talent pool? If not, then why not?

No matter what the size of the talent pool and/or league you’re probably going to have a certain group of elite players who separate themselves from the pack as you’ve shown. That’s not a big surprise. If there are more 3rd and 4th defenseman now then you have to ask yourself, why wouldn’t there be more 1st and 2nd defenseman as well? Of course there are, not only because there are more teams, resulting in more first pairing roster spots, but there is a larger talent pool as well, feeding that. Hypothetically, if there were 6 true # 1 defenseman back in the O6 and they were the only ones capable of winning the Norris, and there are 30 true # 1 defenseman now capable of winning the Norris, which group has more competition for the Norris?
I thought I covered this pretty well in my last post, but I'll put it on paper more. Over the years regardless of the level of talent pool, there have always been more or less the same players year after year picking up all-star spots. I'll do a five year span in different decades:

1955 - Harvey, Kelly, Flaman, Goldham
1956 - Harvey, Gadsby, Kelly, Johnson
1957 - Harvey, Kelly, Flaman, Gadsby
1958 - Harvey, Gadsby, Flaman, Pronovost
1959 - Johnson, Gadsby, Pronovost, Harvey

More or less the same guys right?

1975 - Orr, Potvin, Lapointe, Salming
1976 - Potvin, Park, Lapointe, Salming
1977 - Robinson, Salming, Potvin, Lapointe
1978 - Potvin, Park, Robinson, Salming
1979 - Potvin, Robinson, Salming, Savard

More or less the same guys right? Bigger talent pool than the original 6 though, but pretty much same results.

1990 - Bourque, MacInnis, Coffey, Wilson
1991 - Bourque, MacInnis, Leetch, Chelios
1992 - Leetch, Bourque, Housley, Stevens
1993 - Chelios, Bourque, Murphy, Iafrate
1994 - Bourque, Stevens, MacInnis, Leetch

So far, more of the same in each era right? The best rise to the top and it doesn't matter how many Eric Weinrich or Steve Smith's there are in the NHL. Just because there are more of those, doesn't mean the cream still won't rise to the top. Who is the unusual one there? Iafrate. Not sure he he got in there to be honest. Would anyone have taken him over Coffey? Either way, as you can see, each era has one defenseman that just sort of sneaks in there one season. But the 1990s group are in a 21-26 team NHL. Not 6, but they are similar.

2010 - Keith, Green, Doughty, Lidstrom
2011 - Lidstrom, Weber, Chara, Vishnovsky
2012 - Karlsson, Weber, Chara, Pietrangelo
2013 - Subban, Suter, Letang, Beauchemin
2014 - Keith, Chara, Weber, Pietrangelo

Alright, now do you see a bit of a pattern there? Beauchemin and Vishnovsky are out of place for sure but no one else is.

I'll leave you with this question. Is it harder to win the Norris trophy in 2014 than ever before? Me personally, I found the Norris to be the hardest from the 1985-1995 era and from 1975-'80. Do you know why? Because the top end talent was at its best. Even better than today. I'll give the ones today credit, there are a lot of nice defenseman hitting their stride now and thank God a lot of them were on Team Canada at the Olympics. But I still think it was harder to win the Norris at other times. So it just goes to show you, even in a 30 team league you aren't necessarily going to have more top end defensemen.

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08-02-2014, 03:03 AM
  #149
shazariahl
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Please explain Mike Gartner then.
Or how about Sakic, 48 in 90/91 and then 54 10 years later.
Ray Bourque, 23 goals in 86/87, 18 goals 15 years later.

How many more players do I have to list before your theories of how much things change goes away?
Players adapt and the best players adapt the best, it's why they are the best.

Sure, Gretzky's decrease in goal scoring over the years is a result from goalies wearing bigger equipment and being harder to score on but it's not even close to the only reason and it's not, imo, the largest factor.
Aging and suffering a major injury still had more to do with his decline than goalies being better. We didn't just go from 0-60 in a single season, it took decades for goaltending to get better, year by year.
Gretzky's decline was gradual until the Suter hit, then there's a sharp drop off in all of his production, I have shown and proven this many times around here. Goalies did not suddenly go up 3 notches in the space of 2 years. Sorry, that didn't happen.
Ya, a lot of people make a big deal about Gretzky's goal scoring decline, but the fact is he was one of the most consistent high-level goal scorers ever. He's tied with Bossy for the most 50+ goal seasons ever, holds the records for most 40+, 60+, 70+, 80+ and has the only 90+ goal season ever. Obviously some of that is era. But the fact is he led the league in goals 5 different times in his career; all those other forwards were shooting against the same goalies as he was. In fact, had Gretzky not gotten injured the one season, he was on pace to break 50 goals there, which would have given him 10 seasons with 50+ goals, all consecutive.

Ovechkin and Stamkos are considered the two best goal scorers in the league these days, and neither of them has 5 Richards yet. Gretzky had crazy longevity as an elite goal scorer. He went through a natural decline, which was inevitable for any player. It was more pronounced in his case because his scoring heights were so high, that his drop off looked so much worse (compared to someone like Bossy, who we never really saw decline because he retired just as his decline started due to his injuries; Bossy's decline wouldn't have looked as severe because his high was 69 goals compared to 92). His natural decline was further accelerated by his back injury, which took away some of his shiftiness and, from what I recall, pretty much ruined his slap shot (which had always been his best goal scoring weapon).

But honestly - Gretzky was shifty and got away shots from strange angles and at strange times. He was incredibly accurate (probably the most accurate slap shot I've ever seen), and although people seem to just focus on him sliding pucks along the ice, he also scored a ton of goals by picking the top corners. Just look at the game he hits his 50 in 39 record - 3 of the 5 goals were slap shots in the top corner. Two of them were essentially perfect shots, just inside the post/crossbar. I remember his goal against Calgary, short handed in OT when he came down the wing and fired a perfect shot top corner. He did that kind of stuff all the time. Against butterfly goalies he'd obviously score less than he did in the 80's, but his skill set would still translate very well into today's game.

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08-02-2014, 12:55 PM
  #150
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by shazariahl View Post
Ya, a lot of people make a big deal about Gretzky's goal scoring decline, but the fact is he was one of the most consistent high-level goal scorers ever. He's tied with Bossy for the most 50+ goal seasons ever, holds the records for most 40+, 60+, 70+, 80+ and has the only 90+ goal season ever. Obviously some of that is era. But the fact is he led the league in goals 5 different times in his career; all those other forwards were shooting against the same goalies as he was. In fact, had Gretzky not gotten injured the one season, he was on pace to break 50 goals there, which would have given him 10 seasons with 50+ goals, all consecutive.

Ovechkin and Stamkos are considered the two best goal scorers in the league these days, and neither of them has 5 Richards yet. Gretzky had crazy longevity as an elite goal scorer. He went through a natural decline, which was inevitable for any player. It was more pronounced in his case because his scoring heights were so high, that his drop off looked so much worse (compared to someone like Bossy, who we never really saw decline because he retired just as his decline started due to his injuries; Bossy's decline wouldn't have looked as severe because his high was 69 goals compared to 92). His natural decline was further accelerated by his back injury, which took away some of his shiftiness and, from what I recall, pretty much ruined his slap shot (which had always been his best goal scoring weapon).

But honestly - Gretzky was shifty and got away shots from strange angles and at strange times. He was incredibly accurate (probably the most accurate slap shot I've ever seen), and although people seem to just focus on him sliding pucks along the ice, he also scored a ton of goals by picking the top corners. Just look at the game he hits his 50 in 39 record - 3 of the 5 goals were slap shots in the top corner. Two of them were essentially perfect shots, just inside the post/crossbar. I remember his goal against Calgary, short handed in OT when he came down the wing and fired a perfect shot top corner. He did that kind of stuff all the time. Against butterfly goalies he'd obviously score less than he did in the 80's, but his skill set would still translate very well into today's game.
Yeah, Vernon didn't even move on that shot in 1988. Almost as if he knew himself that the shot was perfect.

You know, knowing Gretzky how we do, the truth is with the butterfly style so prevelant in today's game, it could be possible that he would still score many of his goals top corner. Lemieux did this just by outwaiting the goalie and finding a hole and putting it top corner. Ovechkin routinely scores top corner, more there than anything. With the goalies going down quicker than ever my guess is a smart player like Gretzky would expose this for what it is and score more of his goals up high today rather than down low.

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