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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Is hockey softer than it has ever been?

View Poll Results: Is hockey softer than it has ever been?
No, hockey is tougher now than any other time 9 15.52%
No, just more precautions nowadays 22 37.93%
Yes, the players and media are bigger wusses than ever before 10 17.24%
Yes, the game has changed for the worse 17 29.31%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
01-12-2012, 05:05 PM
  #51
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Finally, I am miffed at the response to two players plights over the past number of years - Sidney Crosby and Steve Moore. I have not heard one negative comment toward Crosby and his inability to play at this point in time. I have heard endless negative comments about Steve Moore's injury, which, medically, may be and probably is more serious. This is a double standard. It is this standard that perpetuates myths that men are weak and sucks if they don't get up. We have to remember that men are human beings too, each with his own makeup and uniqueness. Just because they step on the ice does not mean they should have to conform to a certain way of being. Nobody ever asked Wayne Gretzky to break a players leg and no one ever asked Semenko to start scoring 200 points a year. But to me, they were both tough in their own way (as pointed out earlier by posters discussing Gretzky, Yashin, etc..) Each player is treated uniquely according to what they bring to the table.
Good post. I will say this though, when a guy has an injury at the level of Moore you can take all the time in the world to get up - or not. That's the thing, there are some negative things from the old days that wouldn't fly today, but there are some good things that I wish were borrowed more often. Stuff like "if you can get up, you get up." That should apply cross-generational. No one likes a boy who cries wolf. We all hated Claude Lemieux for this very reason. Call it being a pest, call it using a smart tactic or whatever, I call it being a wuss, because that's exactly what it is. To me you can't be a tough player if you roll around the ice feigning an injury. Steve Moore wasn't a wimp because he didn't get up, because like so many other NHL plays, it was understood he was hurt. But Hasek falling down like he was hung just because someone breezed by him was wimpy. Dan Carcillo pretending he was high stick in the face, was wimpy. Ask around the NHL who actually respects Carcillo.

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01-12-2012, 05:43 PM
  #52
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Interesting Thread

Interesting thread touching various topics.

I would re-phrase is hockey more immature. The Vigneault/Julien exchange - stuff from the QMJHL in the 1970's. Likewise for some of the other nonsense which comes down to posturing, etc.My dad can beat your dad, nothing more.

Diving or faking a foul.Years ago it was laughed at for two reasons - if the players mind was on diving he was not concentrating on the game at hand so he was easy to play against. If a player faked a foul - slash being an example, whether he drew a penalty or not someone later would show him what a proper slash felt like.

Today there are two factors that influence the perception of toughness or softness.

The equipment which in certain situations is almost lethal.The damage inflicted is much greater as a result. Probably the next stage once the staged fights are gone will be a serious look at the protective equipment. The other factor is the short shift game which eliminates the stamina component from the game and allows fresh players to target end of shift players. Also true with penalties - note the concussions that resulted when players were blindsided by other players leaving the penalty box.

Both factors create a reckless game as opposed to a tough game.

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01-12-2012, 05:51 PM
  #53
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My politically incorrect response that quite possibly will be censored lest it offend anyone:

NHL hockey is not soft. Never has been, never will be, I'm guessing. To be certain, the manner in which the game is now over-regulated, both on the ice and from the league's "Big Brother is Watching You" ivory tower, encourages unfortunate behavior among players, but the DNA of an NHLer is typically not soft.

The drama queen media types who cover it and an increasing percentage of the modern fanbase are an entirely different story. (The HOH board excluded, of course. )

Unwise to conflate the players with those two other types.


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01-12-2012, 06:11 PM
  #54
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Hockey today is more physical but less brutal.

Fighting, goon play, stickwork, and cheapshots are way down from the 1980s and early 1990s.

But hitting and physical play is way up.

I watched the last game of the Edmonton-NYI 1984 Finals awhile back and there's just ... no hitting as compared to today's standards. Not even close. And this is in the biggest game of the playoffs.

There's a reason guys 30 years ago could play without helmets. And it's not just the hitting, either. Shot-blocking is on a whole different level, and while it isn't what's traditionally associated with 'tough' or 'soft', to me it speaks to how tough today's players actually are. Regardless of whether as many guys are getting sucker punched in the head by goons.

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01-12-2012, 06:14 PM
  #55
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Very True about shot blocking, but also the way players sacrifice their body to make the best play with the puck.

This lead to a lot of dangerous check from behind into the board, very very often the responsability is on the player that played the puck recklessy.

player before presented much more their shoulder instead of sacrifing themself like that.

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01-12-2012, 06:16 PM
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Good post. I will say this though, when a guy has an injury at the level of Moore you can take all the time in the world to get up - or not. That's the thing, there are some negative things from the old days that wouldn't fly today, but there are some good things that I wish were borrowed more often. Stuff like "if you can get up, you get up." That should apply cross-generational. No one likes a boy who cries wolf. We all hated Claude Lemieux for this very reason. Call it being a pest, call it using a smart tactic or whatever, I call it being a wuss, because that's exactly what it is. To me you can't be a tough player if you roll around the ice feigning an injury. Steve Moore wasn't a wimp because he didn't get up, because like so many other NHL plays, it was understood he was hurt. But Hasek falling down like he was hung just because someone breezed by him was wimpy. Dan Carcillo pretending he was high stick in the face, was wimpy. Ask around the NHL who actually respects Carcillo.
Yes, I agree.

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01-12-2012, 06:22 PM
  #57
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Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
OFFTOPIC: Some things are given. All this equality went too far. Do you know guys Austrians recently changed their hymn?
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/14/wo...OUNDE_BRF.html

That's when such kind of thing goes too far. Seriously, some common sense is welcome, not nitpicking.
I think there are much much worse cases of taking equality too far. I can actually understand that one. just think it is strange to pair diving with feminine behaviour since men, in my experience, dive a lot more than women. or do you have another opinion?

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01-12-2012, 09:39 PM
  #58
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The players are bigger, the equipment is better, the game is faster and when contact occurs it's "bigger" than it used to be.

But I don't know how anyone can deny that it's also a toned down version of the game that was played once by truly mean men with a Wild West mentality. I mean the stuff Rocket Richard did, he'd be banned for life not the rest of the season these days. There's also definitely less fighting than in the 70s or even the pre-lockout NHL. The new rules have also made hits suspendable that were considered part of the game only a decade ago.

I don't know if the term "soft" is one that you would apply to the players of today, I think it's just a different game. Today's players seem much more professional, my body is my temple type guys (with some exceptions), but they are also guys who grew up with extremely effective protective gear. Maybe the rules needed to tighten up with those 6'4 220 pound terminator types out there thinking they can hit whatever is moving in their vicinity.

All in all it is softer, but life has become softer, people have overall become softer. It's a result of increasing wealth, increasing removel from the struggle for survival. A 1960s NHL would look like a sport fit for medieval mercenaries to the majority of current observers and fans, just like a 1920s NHL may have looked to observers in the 1960s.

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01-12-2012, 10:17 PM
  #59
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I think toughness is maybe up as in:
Able to withstand great strain without tearing or breaking; strong and resilient

Being mean have nothing to do with it, abusing hit/pains without impacting the quality of your play is all about it.

Ryan Smith, Thomas Holmstron, etc... Are maybe tough as any hockey player in the history of the game.

Player sacrifice intentionally maybe more their body now than ever (blocking shot, exposing their back to hit to protect the puck , etc...).

But the league is softer in term of meanness, elbowing like Messier and hockey stick hit like in the rocket day are less and less frequent.

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01-12-2012, 10:27 PM
  #60
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and what is being a "real woman"?

I really respect you as a poster, and it is not just you, but I donīt think these kind of stereotypes are helpful. itīs a bit too Cherryesque for my liking.
Since I'm not a woman, I'll stick to what I know and let the women speak for themselves By a man, I mean a mature male human being who is responsible to himself and those around him. Not as opposed to a woman (since men and women aren't opposites but complements.)

I think Cherry can be a bit narrow minded sometimes but his heart is in the right place in terms of trying to preserve what is good in Canadian hockey.

Anyway, regarding the original point, I think there may be a wider range of toughness/softness than there used to be. Some players finish every check (which is a modern addition to hockey made possible by short shifts) and some players don't engage in physical play at all. Toughness in terms of hitting is more of an option and more specialized.


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01-13-2012, 05:38 AM
  #61
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Since I'm not a woman, I'll stick to what I know and let the women speak for themselves By a man, I mean a mature male human being who is responsible to himself and those around him. Not as opposed to a woman (since men and women aren't opposites but complements.)

I think Cherry can be a bit narrow minded sometimes but his heart is in the right place in terms of trying to preserve what is good in Canadian hockey.

Anyway, regarding the original point, I think there may be a wider range of toughness/softness than there used to be. Some players finish every check (which is a modern addition to hockey made possible by short shifts) and some players don't engage in physical play at all. Toughness in terms of hitting is more of an option and more specialized.
fair enough. I would like Cherry better if it was only preserving Canadian Hockey and not also insulting all other forms but we can disagree about that.

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01-13-2012, 08:19 AM
  #62
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Some things are given. All this equality went too far. Do you know guys Austrians recently changed their hymn?
...
That's when such kind of thing goes too far.
So it is given that Austria has great sons, but not great daughters? Seems like equality hasn't even gone far enough yet.

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By a man, I mean a mature male human being who is responsible to himself and those around him. Not as opposed to a woman (since men and women aren't opposites but complements.)
Good for you. However, for more than a few others "not a real man" means "unmanly" means "pussification". Why use wording that at least seem to put you into company with, well, meatheads?

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01-13-2012, 08:58 AM
  #63
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Ishdul wrote: "I don't mean to sound like I'm encouraging diving, because I'm not, but it's silly to think that older era guys who would do anything to win would not dive because it's not tough or fair or whatever excuse you think fits."

That's not true. The culture of the game has tremendous force, and very few of the players of the Original Six era or earlier would have contemplated diving or feigning injury. Those things were indeed considered an indication of weakness and an example of poor sportsmanship, and players who engaged in them were subjected to scorn. The older era guys you refer to would do almost anything to win, but not that. Ted Lindsay and Eddie Shore would do almost anything to win, but can you imagine them taking a dive and writhing on the ice in feigned pain? I think not.

I think the change has come about because the players regard hockey as a business, not as a sport. The attitude is that winning gets you and your team a bigger payday and whatever gets you the win is okay. (Last night I listened to TSN's interview with Mike Cammalleri after his trade to Calgary, and Mike referred to the game as a business with winning as the bottom line at least half a dozen times in his answers.)

I don't equate the increased chance of players getting injured with increased toughness on the part of the players. The question is whether the game is softer than it ever has been, not whether the players are. The two are not the same. I'll have to give the question a lot more thought before I offer my views.

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01-13-2012, 09:12 AM
  #64
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Originally Posted by Peter9 View Post
Ishdul wrote: "I don't mean to sound like I'm encouraging diving, because I'm not, but it's silly to think that older era guys who would do anything to win would not dive because it's not tough or fair or whatever excuse you think fits."

That's not true. The culture of the game has tremendous force, and very few of the players of the Original Six era or earlier would have contemplated diving or feigning injury. Those things were indeed considered an indication of weakness and an example of poor sportsmanship, and players who engaged in them were subjected to scorn. The older era guys you refer to would do almost anything to win, but not that. Ted Lindsay and Eddie Shore would do almost anything to win, but can you imagine them taking a dive and writhing on the ice in feigned pain? I think not.

I think the change has come about because the players regard hockey as a business, not as a sport. The attitude is that winning gets you and your team a bigger payday and whatever gets you the win is okay. (Last night I listened to TSN's interview with Mike Cammalleri after his trade to Calgary, and Mike referred to the game as a business with winning as the bottom line at least half a dozen times in his answers.)

I don't equate the increased chance of players getting injured with increased toughness on the part of the players. The question is whether the game is softer than it ever has been, not whether the players are. The two are not the same. I'll have to give the question a lot more thought before I offer my views.
Eddie Shore was apparently a notorious diver.

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Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, Nov 13, 1929
There is much joy around Madison Square Garden today. Ching Johnson, the great Ranger defenseman, has signed a contract and will chase the puck again while his supporters cheer and his enemies jeer... There is not a better natured hockeyist in existence than the amaible Ching but he has an unusual way of checking which confounds his critics and upsets his opponents. "Elbows" Harry Broadbent never had anything on Johnson the latter being most playful in the art of using his arms to ward off attackers. But "it's all fun" as far as Johnson is concerned and even opposing players are among his most loyal admirers. [Johnson can take the bumps as well as deliver them, and he stepped into many terrific jolts, most of them engineered by the Bruins at Boston, where they would willingly play $10,000 to keep Johnson out of hockey. The latter invariably has selected Eddie Shore as his body-checking victim, and the moans and groans of disapproval in the Hub have been something out of the ordinary. Shore is a great player. He is colorful. In Boston he is an idol and he knows how to play to the gallery. His specialty is falling to the ice, as if in tremendous pain. So Johnson, an obliging sort of player, has helped along the hero act by upsetting Shore at every opportunity. May the good work continue.

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Old
01-13-2012, 09:25 AM
  #65
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
So it is given that Austria has great sons, but not great daughters? Seems like equality hasn't even gone far enough yet.
In Slovak national anthem there are words "Let us stop them, brothers" and it means army. It will be not changed to "Let us stop them, brothers and sisters", not in a billion years. Why? I dont remember any women army which has won a war. Some things are given and forced equality will not change them.

Forced equality is against women. It's not just me, even some guy with Nobel Prize thinks the same. There you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsIpQ7YguGE

I guess you are watching women hockey in same amount of time as men hockey. If not, your are not political correct.

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01-13-2012, 02:18 PM
  #66
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Eddie Shore was apparently a notorious diver.
No way. Shore had a lot of enemies, who said a lot of things about him, and the story you cite, from a Toronto newspaper, is more than a bit partisan, written by a hack, and is not the stuff anyone seriously interested in history should rely on. Shore was the guy who had his ear ripped off during one play and didn't flinch. I've been reading about hockey since 1953, and I never saw anything referring to Shore as a diver or a feigner until the piece you quote. Everything I ever read about him has him as unbelievably tough. But old as I am, I have to admit I never saw Shore play. I did see plenty of Original Six hockey in the 1950s and 1960s, and I can tell you I never saw any diving or feigning of injury.


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01-13-2012, 02:22 PM
  #67
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No way. Shore had a lot of enemies, who said a lot of things about him, and the story you cite seems to me more than a bit partisan. Shore was the guy who had his ear ripped off during one play and didn't flinch. I've been reading about hockey since 1953, and I never saw anything referring to Shaw as a diver or a feigner until the piece you quote. Everything I ever read about him has him as unbelievably tough. But old as I am, I have to admit I never saw Shore play. I did see plenty of Original Six hockey in the 1950s and 1960s, and I can tell you I never saw any diving or feigning of injury.
Here's another one (originally found by nik jr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen: 2-17-1931
Boston was bad a few seasons back when Manager Art Ross had the habit of jumping out onto the ice to argue with the officials and Eddie Shore did his falling acts, feigning injury when checked by an opponent. Now Ross may do some talking, but it's all from the bench, and the customers have run out of sympathy for Shore when he flops, so the life of the referee is much easier than it was in Boston.
Supposedly the Eddie Shore book talks about his diving. I haven't read it yet though.

Eddie Shore was obviously a super tough guy, but apparently he had an act.

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01-13-2012, 02:43 PM
  #68
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Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
OFFTOPIC: Some things are given. All this equality went too far. Do you know guys Austrians recently changed their hymn?
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/14/wo...OUNDE_BRF.html

That's when such kind of thing goes too far. Seriously, some common sense is welcome, not nitpicking.
Wow.

Go through the pages of discussion. Let me know if anyone ever tries to make a case for (insert female hockey player) in the HHOF. They never do. Why? Because no one cares. Everyone knows Angela James and Cammi Granato got inducted into their own wing as a way to be politically correct. Except it's a fake and forced feeling. No one in the 8 years that I have been on this board have ever talked about a woman we can make a case for in the HHOF. What does that tell you?

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Ishdul wrote: "I don't mean to sound like I'm encouraging diving, because I'm not, but it's silly to think that older era guys who would do anything to win would not dive because it's not tough or fair or whatever excuse you think fits."

That's not true. The culture of the game has tremendous force, and very few of the players of the Original Six era or earlier would have contemplated diving or feigning injury. Those things were indeed considered an indication of weakness and an example of poor sportsmanship, and players who engaged in them were subjected to scorn. The older era guys you refer to would do almost anything to win, but not that. Ted Lindsay and Eddie Shore would do almost anything to win, but can you imagine them taking a dive and writhing on the ice in feigned pain? I think not.
Despite an article TDMM dug up I had never heard anyone talk about Shore diving. I know I never saw it a long time ago either (no, not THAT long ago). I go back to the quote I once heard Dick Irvin make in the late 1990s reminiscing about the days when you got up off the ice because you didn't want anyone thinking you were hurt. That's unheard of now, there is no shame. I do think the influx of Europeans added to the diving in the NHL. No, it isn't exclusively to Europeans, but the embellishments skyrocketed over the last 20 years. 30 years ago you never would have seen a hockey game that reminded you of a soccer game.

But it is entrenched in our society now, not just hockey. Drama queens and attention grabbers are famous now. If you act this way you can be on Jersey Shore, or the Kardashians. When you draw attention to yourself people watch you. This has spilled into sports as well. The theatrics are just as important to some as winning. Sometimes it is done at no cost or expense of your dignity.

I can certainly maintain Howe never rolled around on the ice. Lindsay the same. Rocket, etc. You can't say these guys weren't competitors. They were. Even Yzerman, Neely, Stevens, Messier, Trottier among others are guys that were intense competitors that didn't need to resort to dives. Why the changes? Because in our society there is a dying breed of the idea that "men are men". I don't have to tell anyone this, men are wimpier than they ever have been in our world and it is crazy to think that this won't spill into sports either.

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01-13-2012, 03:03 PM
  #69
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From C. Michael Hiam's "Eddie Shore and that Old-Time Hockey." From the section where he's writing about Shore in the 1927-28 season.

Quote:
By every account Shore was a hothead who returned every slight with compound interest and who rarely passed up an opportunity to get into a fight. Also, by every account, Shore was not above a little theatrics.

(Longtime referee Cooper) Smeaton and his colleagues knew Shore and his little "acts", and they afforded the big Bruin zero leeway. Press reports from the era seem to have Shore forever"writhing" on the ice, only to recover miraculously moments later to regain his "zip." While fortitude and smelling salts accounted for many of Shore's speedy recuperations, this was not always the case. "Shore was a very colourful hockey player," (Bruin centre Frank) Fredrickson explained, "who put everything he had into the game but also used every subterfuge he could to win the sympathy of the crowd. He'd fake getting hurt and would lay down and roll around in agony. Then he'd get up and be twice as good as ever."
Not a positive aspect of Shore's game, for sure.

But Shore was still legendary for his toughness, in terms of taking a beating and returning to the game from real injuries.

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01-13-2012, 03:12 PM
  #70
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No way. Shore had a lot of enemies, who said a lot of things about him, and the story you cite, from a Toronto newspaper, is more than a bit partisan, written by a hack, and is not the stuff anyone seriously interested in history should rely on.
I feel the same way anyone here brings up Vancouver or Boston. Vancouver fans love Burrows but hate Marchand, and vice versa. The home-team player is loved and the other reviled for being a diver.

Do you really think the Boston media would emphasize Shore's apparent attempt to draw penalties when he was not actually hurt? Of course not, his fans didn't want to read about that. They wanted to read about how great he is.

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I've been reading about hockey since 1953, and I never saw anything referring to Shore as a diver or a feigner until the piece you quote.
Two more examples have been provided already. Apparently you need to catch up.

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Despite an article TDMM dug up I had never heard anyone talk about Shore diving.
Such are the problems of only relying on your own experiences. No one can have experience with everything. If you go by only what you've seen or read yourself, you're going to miss a whole lot.

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I don't have to tell anyone this, men are wimpier than they ever have been in our world and it is crazy to think that this won't spill into sports either.
If by wimpier you mean "less likely to believe physical confrontation is an appropriate reaction to things" then thank Orr for that.

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01-13-2012, 04:49 PM
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Now I've been lectured by Ian Fyffe on my failure to have read newspaper articles from the 1920s and 1930s and a fairly obscure hockey book--failure to keep up, he calls it--I will accept, for purpose of this discussion alone, that Eddie Shore was a diver and a feigner of injury. These sources also indicate he was scorned for it. That is consistent with the point I made: "very few of the players of the Original Six era or earlier would have contemplated diving or feigning injury. Those things were indeed considered an indication of weakness and an example of poor sportsmanship, and players who engaged in them were subjected to scorn."

By the way, Ian, that one would not expect Shore's hometown rags to write about his diving/feigning injury does not logically mean that one has to accept a partisan newspaper piece written by a hack from a rival town accusing Shore of diving/feigning. Surely there's something in-between that is more credible. For all I know, the book that was cited may be it. I'm always open to learning new information, albeit it is obvious that all any of us have to go on until that new information comes our way is our own experience.

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01-13-2012, 04:55 PM
  #72
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Wow.

Go through the pages of discussion. Let me know if anyone ever tries to make a case for (insert female hockey player) in the HHOF. They never do. Why? Because no one cares. Everyone knows Angela James and Cammi Granato got inducted into their own wing as a way to be politically correct. Except it's a fake and forced feeling. No one in the 8 years that I have been on this board have ever talked about a woman we can make a case for in the HHOF. What does that tell you?

Because in our society there is a dying breed of the idea that "men are men". I don't have to tell anyone this, men are wimpier than they ever have been in our world and it is crazy to think that this won't spill into sports either.
answer this: do women dive more than men? if not, what does it have to do with degree of manliness and feminization?

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01-13-2012, 04:56 PM
  #73
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
If by wimpier you mean "less likely to believe physical confrontation is an appropriate reaction to things" then thank Orr for that.
Bobby Orr? Why? He fought enough times in his career. Was a pretty good scrapper too. What am I missing here?

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01-13-2012, 05:00 PM
  #74
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Players skate faster, shoot harder, and hit harder. By my definition that makes them much tougher.

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01-13-2012, 05:17 PM
  #75
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Hockey today is more physical but less brutal.

Fighting, goon play, stickwork, and cheapshots are way down from the 1980s and early 1990s.

But hitting and physical play is way up.

I watched the last game of the Edmonton-NYI 1984 Finals awhile back and there's just ... no hitting as compared to today's standards. Not even close. And this is in the biggest game of the playoffs.

There's a reason guys 30 years ago could play without helmets. And it's not just the hitting, either. Shot-blocking is on a whole different level, and while it isn't what's traditionally associated with 'tough' or 'soft', to me it speaks to how tough today's players actually are. Regardless of whether as many guys are getting sucker punched in the head by goons.
Could not agree more.

I have multiple games of the 1974 Finals on DVD, between two of the more legendary "tough" squads of all time, Big Bad Bruins and the Broad Street Bullies, and it looks like the all-star game (n terms of physical play) compared to the way the game is currently played.

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