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Meeting will tell of NHL's destiny -- JR speaks up...again

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12-09-2004, 07:56 AM
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Meeting will tell of NHL's destiny -- JR speaks up...again

Does he ever shut up? I mean really, he probably can't even play if there was a season...

Quote:
If the owners don't want guaranteed contracts, see you later," Roenick said. "Football players hate that. No way. Why should we have to give that up and subject ourselves to immediate cuts because we're not playing well?"

Roenick said his idea of capping individual player salaries at $5 million - he currently earns $7 million with the Flyers - went over like a lead balloon with sides, even though he was completely serious about it.

He also said he, personally, could live with a soft salary cap as long as it was in the $45 million to $50 million range, a figure that would be summarily rejected by the owners. Dire straits thing Roenick is sure about is the dire straits in which the NHL will find itself if a new agreement is not reached, and this season is wiped out. If Bettman declares today's proposal unacceptable he will, in effect, be tossing away an entire season for the first time in league history while opening up an unsavory can of worms.
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12-09-2004, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HungryforHockey25
Does he ever shut up? I mean really, he probably can't even play if there was a season...



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At least he speaks his mind, He knows, as do most people, except Bettman, that if we lose a whole season teams such as Nashville, Florida etc are toast. People do NOT care about hockey in these markets, skipping a whole season only makes the problem worse. Bettman screwed up by expanding to all these non hockey towns and now he will do anything to try and save those teams, instead of admitting he screwed up. Nashville has $10 tix, and they still can't sell out, why watch hockey when you can watch LawnMower racing ?

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12-09-2004, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HungryforHockey25
Does he ever shut up? I mean really, he probably can't even play if there was a season...
Hitch said on DNL that if there is a season Roenick would be playing, maybe not immediately, but that he will be back for this season if it exists. This was 2+ weeks ago and he said Roenick had started to ramp up his training and all that... An added point is that Roenick truly cares about the game and he's been babbling about this stuff as long as he's been around. As much as guys like Roenick and Hull may be annoying, they offer up fair criticism of the league most of the time and it is said with the best of intent... even if it isn't worded in the best manner or thought through all the way.

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12-09-2004, 11:00 AM
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While JR isn't the brightest bulb in the shed, I'm glad he speaks up, even when he puts his foot in his mouth sometimes.

Most players are very enigmatic, and come off having the personalities of door knobs. I beleive that one of the big problems in this country with the NHL is the fact that there are not enough colorful guys like JR, Brett Hull ect...

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12-09-2004, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HungryforHockey25
Does he ever shut up? I mean really, he probably can't even play if there was a season...



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why because he speaks up and tells everyone what no one else wants to say? That Bettman is a incompitent fool who has no idea what the hell he is doing? JR may be annoying but i aplaud him for speaking his mind. He only speaks the truth, unless of course if your the owners and or Gary Buttman reading his comments.

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12-09-2004, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennysflyers16
At least he speaks his mind, He knows, as do most people, except Bettman, that if we lose a whole season teams such as Nashville, Florida etc are toast. People do NOT care about hockey in these markets, skipping a whole season only makes the problem worse. Bettman screwed up by expanding to all these non hockey towns and now he will do anything to try and save those teams, instead of admitting he screwed up. Nashville has $10 tix, and they still can't sell out, why watch hockey when you can watch LawnMower racing ?
Why would Nashville, as a market, die out? It's not going to help hockey, but it's not going to kill hockey either. We have plenty of other things down here (such as football) that'll keep the average fan occupied. One of the saving graces is that most people who would ever attend games realize that this lockout is happening to make Nashville a viable market, just like the Titans in the NFL. Nashville fans, moreso than a lot of fans, realize that if we emerge from this lockout with a Cap, we've just been given a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup, given proper team management of course. Besides, hockey is enough of a fringe sport right now that it can fly under the radar. It could reemerge in a year or so and the Preds will lose some people. But if the system makes the Preds more competitive, they'll be back quickly.

And tickets are only 10 dollars in the highest few rows in the highest sections on one end. It's not that many seats, but they almost always sell out. The average ticket price for the upper deck is around 27-30 dollars. The average ticket for the rest of the arena borders on 70 dollars. It's some of the cheapest in the NHL, but it's not cheap by any stretch. It's certainly not as if we have around 4,000 seats at $10 or so.

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12-09-2004, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennysflyers16
Nashville has $10 tix, and they still can't sell out, why watch hockey when you can watch LawnMower racing ?
And does it surprise me that you're in winnipeg? I'm sure you guys will enjoy the preds when they're relocated there, huh? I'm sure it's already a done deal.

I'm sorry that you're bitter you lost the jets, but please refrain from the ignorant, unresearched nashville comments.

P.S. Try and do a little better than lawnmower racing next time

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12-09-2004, 11:58 AM
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agreed with smokey.

there was recently an article on TSN talking about just that. The die-hards from ALL markets, despite what they say, aren't going anywhere...it's the fringe fans that a lot of the BIGGER markets(Vancouver's got a lot, I've heard...I assume Toronto and Montreal do, as well) that might be alienated. Teams like Nashville and Phoenix simply don't have those. They have the die-hards..and they have the casual attenders. The die-hard fans in these markets view a new CBA as something to look forward to for the good of their teams..and that the lockout is a necessary evil. The casual game-attenders? Some don't even know that there's a lockout going on, and arent going to change their attendance habits because of it. If Nashville comes back in the same winning fashion it finished with...the building will fill right back up. That's the nature of a lot of these cities, and I don't think losing a whole season would kill these teams at all.

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12-09-2004, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomorekids
agreed with smokey.

there was recently an article on TSN talking about just that. The die-hards from ALL markets, despite what they say, aren't going anywhere...it's the fringe fans that a lot of the BIGGER markets(Vancouver's got a lot, I've heard...I assume Toronto and Montreal do, as well) that might be alienated. Teams like Nashville and Phoenix simply don't have those. They have the die-hards..and they have the casual attenders. The die-hard fans in these markets view a new CBA as something to look forward to for the good of their teams..and that the lockout is a necessary evil. The casual game-attenders? Some don't even know that there's a lockout going on, and arent going to change their attendance habits because of it. If Nashville comes back in the same winning fashion it finished with...the building will fill right back up. That's the nature of a lot of these cities, and I don't think losing a whole season would kill these teams at all.

Agreed, a team with no tradition has two things to stand on...winning and novelty. The novelty of NHL hockey is gone in Nashville and that is certainly understandable. What it takes now is winning to keep these fans. I have no doubt that Nashville can build a hockey tradition, but it will take decades of hockey for that to happen. Philly fans weren't diehard overnight. I would venture to say some winners, starting in 72 and continuing well into the mid 80's cemented NHL hockey in the hearts of Philadelphians. To build diehard fans out of markets, you have to have winners. The Steelers fans, oft-considered some of the most diehard, are a good deal the product of the Steel Curtain era. The Flyers had similar success during that time including a couple of Championships and numerous runner ups from 72-88 or so. During that span, I'm not sure they had a losing record.

All we ask, as Nashville fans, is that we get a chance to build that type of fan loyalty. I realize we aren't a traditional market, but was Philadelphia all that traditional back in the early 70's? Give us a chance to build fans, as you guys did. A nice string of incredible seasons with a Stanley Cup or two could cement our fanbase for decades. The teams with the diehards are teams with histories of success (usually). All we really want is a chance to experience that success. Who knows, through several management blunders, the Preds may never again make the playoffs and the marketplace may fizzle out. We just want a chance to let this play out and see what happens.

Hockey is growing at an astounding rate here in Nashville. High School hockey is well on it's way to becoming a state recognized sport. (along with other high school sports like Football/Baseball/Basketball...) It's only a matter of time. In the Nashville area alone, we have gone from no High school affliated hockey teams before the Preds arrived to a few dozen HS hockey teams. We're having to add new rinks left and right at accomodate this influx. These are the kids that will be our diehards in a few decades.

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12-09-2004, 12:42 PM
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salary cap/harsh tax will create parity. very few if any "dynasties" will be appearing in hockey without some amazing management and amazing luck after this CBA gets worked out.

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12-09-2004, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jester
salary cap/harsh tax will create parity. very few if any "dynasties" will be appearing in hockey without some amazing management and amazing luck after this CBA gets worked out.
No, but a series of successful seasons coupled with a cup run or two isn't out of the realm of possibility. That's really what it takes to be successful long term. A dynasty would be nice, and I wouldn't compain if that happens, but it's realistic to think that we could compete handily in that environment.

A salary cap has the potential to create parity. The purpose of a salary cap really isn't parity as much as gving every team to have a chance to win it all regardless of location, financial intake. The NFL's parity (which I assume is what you are basing this on) stems in large part from the low UFA age. Because it is so low, it's hard to keep talent under the cap. If there is a higher UFA age in the NHL (it appears it would be higher than the NFL), it'll become a little bit easier to keep players, thus extending the likelihood of continued success.

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12-09-2004, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crossxcheck
And does it surprise me that you're in winnipeg? I'm sure you guys will enjoy the preds when they're relocated there, huh? I'm sure it's already a done deal.

I'm sorry that you're bitter you lost the jets, but please refrain from the ignorant, unresearched nashville comments.

P.S. Try and do a little better than lawnmower racing next time

If Nashville is such a hot Hockey market, then you don't need a cap and should be angry that you are missing out on Hockey right now, I am not a Jets fan, never have been, I went to 3 games in Minny, Toronto, and the World Cup in Mtl., so I still attend games. Winnipeg losing a team has nothing to do with me being bitter, I don't think Winnipeg can support a team, so I do not beleive the Nhl should make drastic measures to achieve that. If Nashville is such a great hockey town, then I apologize for suggesting otherwise. I beleive that the NHL has approx. 6 too many teams, and the league would be stronger by getting rid of them.

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12-09-2004, 01:36 PM
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his points are accurate, if there is competitive balance it will help these small markets. my concern is that if the lockout goes through the year and into next year the markets may be so damaged that they will be irrecoverable. hopefully that won't happen... but if they come back in these hurting markets and even less people are going to the games the mess will just be worse.

the league is about five teams too big at the moment, which isn't any specific cities fault, it's bettman's. he overexpanded and the league revenue wasn't good enough to support it.

would have been much better off letting 1 or 2 teams get a bunch of high draft picks and build their system up. instead of continually introducing teams that were on the basement and needed to try and build up, forcing them to all compete with one another for the top draft picks.

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12-09-2004, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jester
his points are accurate, if there is competitive balance it will help these small markets. my concern is that if the lockout goes through the year and into next year the markets may be so damaged that they will be irrecoverable. hopefully that won't happen... but if they come back in these hurting markets and even less people are going to the games the mess will just be worse.

the league is about five teams too big at the moment, which isn't any specific cities fault, it's bettman's. he overexpanded and the league revenue wasn't good enough to support it.

would have been much better off letting 1 or 2 teams get a bunch of high draft picks and build their system up. instead of continually introducing teams that were on the basement and needed to try and build up, forcing them to all compete with one another for the top draft picks.

But it's not the recent expansion teams that are all that awful. Carolina doesn't really count, since they were relocated and were awful in Hartford long before they ever moved to a non-traditional market. Minnesota went to the Western Conference finals and had a solid season after, despite not making the playoffs. Columbus and Atlanta have the pieces in line, and with the maturation of these kids both will continue to get better. Nashville got steadily better for 5 years through the draft and finally made the playoffs, taking the President's Trophy winners to six games and selling out all their playoff games, with a prospect core that suggests even better things to come. San Jose, Anaheim, Ottawa, Tampa Bay...all teams that struggled coming into the league and turned themselves into solid franchises. How long were San Jose and Ottawa absolutely abysmal? Now, through home-grown talent and prudent FA signings, they're two of the better teams in the league. The Bolts were long considered a joke...now they're a powerhouse. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks and Penguins, too formerly great teams, are in dire straits. The talent level is consistent enough for thirty teams, and I think that some of the teams that are struggling in their infancy should be given some time to establish themselves before expansion is declared a failure. How can Atlanta be called a failure because of their poor attendance..when they haven't given the people of Atlanta a REASON to support them? Realistically...yes...this is a non traditional market, but who says it can't become a traditional one? What many people that live in the supposed "hotbeds" of hockey don't seem to understand is that hockey has to sell itself to these people, and with a few exceptions, there hasn't been such an opportunity yet. Yes...we as fans love the game...but those that are just learning it need something to pull for, and a losing team isn't going to endear itself to skeptics and the curious. Case in point is the Predators' playoff drive last year. The casual observer in Nashville was sick of watching the Preds crash and burn through five years..but as soon as things picked up...toward middle of the season, attendance soared. All three playoff games sold out almost instantly...AND season ticket sales were their highest they had been since the team was new to town and had a novelty factor going. If the Thrashers turn it around, make the the playoffs the next four or so years with a decent shot at the cup in a couple of them...and they're still pulling in 11,000 on a weekend...THEN we can call it a failure..but even then, i'd still think we were being hasty.

Hockey can work anywhere, it just has to have the chance to do so.

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12-09-2004, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bennysflyers16
If Nashville is such a hot Hockey market, then you don't need a cap and should be angry that you are missing out on Hockey right now, I am not a Jets fan, never have been, I went to 3 games in Minny, Toronto, and the World Cup in Mtl., so I still attend games. Winnipeg losing a team has nothing to do with me being bitter, I don't think Winnipeg can support a team, so I do not beleive the Nhl should make drastic measures to achieve that. If Nashville is such a great hockey town, then I apologize for suggesting otherwise. I beleive that the NHL has approx. 6 too many teams, and the league would be stronger by getting rid of them.
Yes, we would need a cap. Green Bay is a hot football market, IMO. But without a cap, they wouldn't exist. They certainly wouldn't exist to the level that they do (they'd be perennial bottom feeders). Even if the Preds sold out every game, I doubt they would be able to compete with the likes of Philadelphia and New York with regards to payroll. We simple don't have the TV market or the corporate presence to make it happen. But under an NFL type system, the differences between the Dallas' of the world and the Green Bay's of the world are minimal with regards to finances. What Nashville wants is the ability compete based on the merits of our players and management and not so much on the merits of our local TV deals, apparel sales, and corporate sponsorship.

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12-09-2004, 02:30 PM
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I realize people think the NHL has overextended it's talent pool by expanding into the South. But I think the South is a market that could produce legitimate NHL talent in the near future. Give it 10-20 years and some of these 5 year olds being coached by the likes of Darren Turcotte could become players drafted by the Q or entering college. The South produces an insanely large amount of baseball and football stars. Many of which have the skills necessary to be successful in hockey. It's only a matter of time before some of those start playing hockey. I know of several really good football players in the Nashville area who have taken up hockey around the age of 12-13. Imagine if they had done so at the age of 4 or 5. The social stigma of hockey has changed and it will continue to do so. It has rapidly become cool in high school to both play on the team and go to their games. That's something that was never the case when I was in high school.

If the South were to get the same percentage of athletes playing hockey as the North, then America would likely surpass Canada as the premier hockey nation or atleast catch up with it. They likely won't get to the North's level, but they can make up considerable ground. Legitimate players are popping up in the Dallas market and Florida market. The talent isn't on par with Northern America, but it has decreased the gap significantly. It doesn't have to catch the north to have a significant impact on both American hockey and the NHL as a whole.

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12-09-2004, 02:54 PM
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i can actually make a strong argument that the talent has never been higher than it is right now. the proliferation of european players and everything else has really upped the overall level of play in the NHL, which is part of the reason why scoring is down. you don't got Gretzky going against some slow N.A. player that only made the league cuz he could bang a bit and play in front of the net.

the reason the expansion has damaged the league is due to the lack of a strong TV contract. when the NFL expands they can basically support a team without a problem -- disregarding any inherint helpers in growing a football team in the USA -- something the NHL cannot do... so they've dilluted the pool of TV-money teams could use to help themselves out by bringing in all these teams.

don't get too cocky about your boys in Nashville, or any of these other teams. both Tampa and Anaheim got into the playoffs and made a splash -- Anaheim beating Detroit and Tampa playing a strong series against the Flyers -- before they both fell back off the map. management is the only thing that keeps teams up there, which is what happened in San Jose eventually and Ottawa.

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12-09-2004, 02:58 PM
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If the South were to get the same percentage of athletes playing hockey as the North, then America would likely surpass Canada as the premier hockey nation or atleast catch up with it. They likely won't get to the North's level, but they can make up considerable ground. Legitimate players are popping up in the Dallas market and Florida market. The talent isn't on par with Northern America, but it has decreased the gap significantly. It doesn't have to catch the north to have a significant impact on both American hockey and the NHL as a whole.
don't bank on it. it isn't as if no one is in hockey regions as is, in fact some of the most densely populated regions in the country also happen to have long had hockey being played there. until the best athletes that are produced are consistently playing hockey as their no. 1 sport it is a non-issue. you got a guy like Tom Glavine who was drafted in the 2nd round by the Kings --pretty sure on the 2nd round -- who goes to play baseball instead.

just having places playing hockey isn't going to get you there. you need to have the quality of athlete sticking with the sport, which is going to be hard to do with all the different sports competing for attention and the fact that there are much much better opportunities in other sports for american athletes. on the purely collegiate view, an athlete is so much better off to focus on Football, Basketball, and Baseball in terms of getting a scholarship...

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12-09-2004, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jester
don't bank on it. it isn't as if no one is in hockey regions as is, in fact some of the most densely populated regions in the country also happen to have long had hockey being played there. until the best athletes that are produced are consistently playing hockey as their no. 1 sport it is a non-issue. you got a guy like Tom Glavine who was drafted in the 2nd round by the Kings --pretty sure on the 2nd round -- who goes to play baseball instead.
How do you get to the point where hockey has been played there a long time? At some point you have to start where the south is right now? It is at a disadvantage in that there is a lack of rink time, but demand is incredible and new rinks are popping up like weeds across the south.

The best athletes produced will never accept hockey as their number one sport (as a general consensus). It rarely happens anywhere in America. You cannot expect to get all the athletes, this is not Canada. What you can hope for is to get some athletes. There are so many quality athletes coming out of the south that grabbing a few for hockey can do wonders. What'll likely happen initially is that these players cultivate a love for hockey at a young age (something that is just finally starting to happen) and then they'll continue their careers in the North for the many U.S. junior leagues. It's where the best coaching is right now for most Americans and you'll see some migration. But that is great for hockey because the pool of American talent is increasing. In the years since I have graduated, I've known of atleast 10 kids who have taken this route. This is a relatively new phenomenon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jester
just having places playing hockey isn't going to get you there. you need to have the quality of athlete sticking with the sport, which is going to be hard to do with all the different sports competing for attention and the fact that there are much much better opportunities in other sports for american athletes. on the purely collegiate view, an athlete is so much better off to focus on Football, Basketball, and Baseball in terms of getting a scholarship...
Well, exactly how do you get a quality athlete to stick with the sport? You have to change how the sport is viewed from social stigma's to coaching to accessibility. That's exactly what having an NHL franchise in Nashville has done. All three of these aspects have been against hockey from the beginning. Now, things are changing.

The North has these exact same sports vying for attention and it manages to produce top notch talent. It is not far fetched to think the South could start to produce some as well. Certainly not on par with the North, but it can happen. I'm not asking hockey to replace football, baseball, or basketball. I know it can't. But it can steal some players that would consider those routes.

And Glavine was taken in the second round of the baseball draft (by Atlanta) and the fourth round of the NHL draft (by LA). It's not really great evidence, because baseball tends to trump even football in this regard. Many two-sport stars go the way of baseball because it's less physically demanding and the pay is greater. And football is number one in the minds of Americans, so hockey losing out in that battle is no suprise.

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12-09-2004, 06:18 PM
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Smokey,

You make some good points in your discussions, however I am having a real hard time reading your posts and looking at your avatar. I think I may have nightmares!

Jester,

You can't be serious in saying that the talent in the NHL is higher now than it was in the 80's can you? Yes, there are more players like Forsberg, Jagr etc who now play here, but there are also those third/fourth liners and 5th/6th d-men who now play here as well. That being said, they kind of wash each other out.

The bottom line, IMO, that the league is over-expanded (as has every professional sport for that matter) and there are simply too many players in the NHL that simply don't belong there. Too many muckers/grinders, players who are in the league only to be enforcers (Garrett Burnett types), etc.

Now, if you want to keep all of the teams (which I, personally, do not), then you have to lower the amount of players on the roster and who are dressed each night. In my perfect league, there would be less teams (20 max) AND fewer dressed players per game (3 lines of forwards, 4 d-men and 1 "floater"). This would seriously raise the level of talent in the NHL.

Perhaps the next professional hockey league in North America can get it right.

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12-09-2004, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pelts35.com
Smokey,

You make some good points in your discussions, however I am having a real hard time reading your posts and looking at your avatar. I think I may have nightmares!
Well, as the press secretary for the Militant Feminist party (hey, it's not the gig I wanted but fresh out of college, what can you expect), I have to get the word out. Our presidential candidate, Darryl Sutter, needs to get his face out, no matter how ugly.

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12-09-2004, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pelts35.com
Smokey,

You make some good points in your discussions, however I am having a real hard time reading your posts and looking at your avatar. I think I may have nightmares!

Jester,

You can't be serious in saying that the talent in the NHL is higher now than it was in the 80's can you? Yes, there are more players like Forsberg, Jagr etc who now play here, but there are also those third/fourth liners and 5th/6th d-men who now play here as well. That being said, they kind of wash each other out.

The bottom line, IMO, that the league is over-expanded (as has every professional sport for that matter) and there are simply too many players in the NHL that simply don't belong there. Too many muckers/grinders, players who are in the league only to be enforcers (Garrett Burnett types), etc.

Now, if you want to keep all of the teams (which I, personally, do not), then you have to lower the amount of players on the roster and who are dressed each night. In my perfect league, there would be less teams (20 max) AND fewer dressed players per game (3 lines of forwards, 4 d-men and 1 "floater"). This would seriously raise the level of talent in the NHL.

Perhaps the next professional hockey league in North America can get it right.
you think the third and fourth liners of today...and 5\6 d-men of today...aren't as good as they were in the 80s? i disagree, heavily. goalies are much better now, as well.

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12-09-2004, 07:34 PM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomorekids
you think the third and fourth liners of today...and 5\6 d-men of today...aren't as good as they were in the 80s? i disagree, heavily. goalies are much better now, as well.
Yes, but there were less teams in the 80's. What I am saying is that if you combine the influx of European talent with the amount of teams in the 80's, the 3rd and 4th lines would be significantly better (as wood the 5/6 d-men).

This would also give the minor leagues a better product as well. Reducing the amount of teams or players in the NHL would be better for hockey in general.

I do agree that the goalies are better now as well, but I would like to see how they would fare against better offensive players.

BTW, your avatar may give me a nightmare too!

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12-09-2004, 10:21 PM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pelts35.com
Yes, but there were less teams in the 80's. What I am saying is that if you combine the influx of European talent with the amount of teams in the 80's, the 3rd and 4th lines would be significantly better (as wood the 5/6 d-men).

This would also give the minor leagues a better product as well. Reducing the amount of teams or players in the NHL would be better for hockey in general.

I do agree that the goalies are better now as well, but I would like to see how they would fare against better offensive players.

BTW, your avatar may give me a nightmare too!
I think, as a whole, offensive players are better than they have ever been. From top to bottom, there is legit offensive talent that I think could be nice players in past eras. I think we see the lower numbers and we just assume that the talent isn't there or that, on a team by team basis, the talent is down. I just don't see it. The talent is there but the game has changed from a standpoint outside of offense. The defenseman are bigger and much, much better skaters. They are smarter and much less likely to take chances. They are much better coached. Watching footage of the old Edmonton team, it was amazing how silly they made defenses look. And while they would still score at a great clip even in this era, a good deal of the defenseman they were schooling were poorly coached. Nowadays, players are much less likely to put themselves out of position during a play. Blame coaching, blame superior skating which keeps Dman in the right spot, but I think the offensive talent is just fine.

The big defenseman of years past were usually awful skaters. There were exceptions but, on a whole, the skating has improved to a point at which the size can be a big difference. These players, like a Regehr, can put themselves in to positions to use their size with their skating ability. Long gone are the days when a player can skate right around most Dman like they are standing still. Their ability to move and shrink the ice has lead to an increase in the effectiveness of obstruction. It occured all the time back in the day, but it was often harder to orchestrate because the people who obstructed often had trouble catching the player they were planning on impeding. With better skating ability (than in years past) and an increased awareness of how to play the position, big Dman are much more adept at getting themselves in a position to make the hold an effective weapon even against the fastest and the most agile players. I can't tell you how many times a player like Regehr held a player like St. Louis last year. In the 80's, it seemed like players like St. Louis were able to maintain their distance and use their speed to take advantage of the poor skating, out of position clods of the 70's and 80's.

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12-10-2004, 10:07 AM
  #25
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there was a great post on the subject of the talent pool a while back on hockeytraderumors, which is what really got me interested in the topic...

Goalies - Through a combination of equipment and general athletic ability are MUCH improved in depth compared to days gone by. This isn't even debatable.

Skaters...

They are bigger, stronger, and faster than they ever were previously in the league. That alone means that the purely physical talent of the league is much higher than it was in the 80's and back. Those guys would have great amounts of trouble dealing with the modern players in the corners and in front of the net. In the 80's and back the soviet block was closed... There were some players who managed to get over, but nothing like now.

So the most dominant international hockey country in the world during those time periods was sending no one to play in the NHL... That alone increases the depth pool immensely. Sergei Federov, the best two-way player in the league over the last 10 years, doesn't play in the NHL if this is 1985. Teams are much more open to European players now than they were then, lineups are covered with players from across the pond, whereas 15 years ago it was just a few here and there (Flyers long being considered anti non-NA players).

Goons are no longer a major element in this league. Look at the Flyers, the "Broadstreet Bullies." Our "goons" last year were Brashear and Fedoruk. Brashear was getting third-line and sometimes second-line minutes -- as much as that drove me nutz -- and Fedoruk is a competent hockey player. That wasn't the case 15 years ago, you had guys like Tony Twist who brought nothing to the table into the mid 90's. Their removal from the game has raised the bottom half of the rosters immeasurably. Our fourth line in the playoffs was what, Somik/Sharp/flavor of the game? Somik and Sharp are both skating players with some skill who aren't going to bang so much, but play solid positional defense with some flare up the ice.

I don't have the time... but go down the rosters in the league right now and look at the 4th liners, then compare that to the guys that were playing in the 80's. These guys are better, hands down.

So think about it.

American's have gotten better at hockey as a nation. Europeans are playing much more. Russians are actually IN the league. The Canadian % of players has DROPPED since the 70's and 80's, which is really the most important figure. If the talent pool was weakening, then % should probably stay about the same. That isn't the case. Canadian players that traditionally would have been making the NHL on a % basis per team has gone down, and other nations have risen as their hockey talent base has improved.

They are better all-around, there are less players that can be taken advantage of on the ice. A major major part of the loss of scoring in the league.

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