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Best player ever from non-traditional nation

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Old
12-15-2013, 02:37 PM
  #26
MS
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Originally Posted by slovakia18 View Post
olaf Kölzig is a GERMAN Player it doesn't matter where he come from (Born in South Africa).So so much Player in NHL have German Grandpas and Grandmothers but Play for Canada-Niedermayer(at Home he speak german with his relatives i see in a documentation about him)-Langenbrunner-Umberger-and so on.
Fact is, KÖLZIG Play for Germany so he is German Player.
Kolzig is a Canadian kid from Courtenay, BC. Moved to Canada as an infant, is a Canadian citizen, learned to play hockey in Canada, went to school in Canada, played in the WHL.

When he realized he was never going to represent Canada internationally, he took advantage of his German parents to participate in the 1996 World Cup.

Peter Stastny and Petr Nedved represented Canada internationally. But in a hockey context, there's no way in hell they're Canadian.

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12-15-2013, 03:06 PM
  #27
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Originally Posted by MS View Post
Peter Stastny and Petr Nedved represented Canada internationally. But in a hockey context, there's no way in hell they're Canadian.
Yeah you gotta wonder, how Canadian hockey history would be seen if Stastny and not Bossy scored the goal that beat the Soviets in 1984.

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Old
12-16-2013, 05:07 AM
  #28
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I would say, it is Balderis.


I think he was the best forward in the Soviet Union at some point of his career.


Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Old
12-16-2013, 01:02 PM
  #29
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No Ivan Boldirev from Yugoslavia. 866 points in 1052 games ain't too shabby. Yeah yeah, Canadian trained. His name should still come up though.

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12-16-2013, 02:33 PM
  #30
Boom Boom Bear
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Balderis' home hockey club, Dinamo Riga, played in the Soviet League from 1946 to 1995. Irbe was also trained under the Soviet system, being born in the USSR & playing for Dinamo from 87-91, as was the younger Ozoliņš, who played for Dinamo 90-92. I don't think there's any way you can divorce Latvian hockey from Soviet & post-Soviet Russian hockey. When Dinamo was reestablished in 2008, it was in order to join the KHL, dominated by old Soviet league & Russian Superleague teams. I'm not sure Latvia would necessarily qualify as a non-traditional country, in this sense.

Other ex-Soviet republics that didn't have well-developed hockey programs during the Soviet era, like Ukraine & Kazakhstan, may qualify as non-traditional, as their hockey programs have actually become stronger in the post-Soviet era of the past 20 years or so.

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12-16-2013, 04:14 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Boom Boom Bear View Post

Other ex-Soviet republics that didn't have well-developed hockey programs during the Soviet era, like Ukraine & Kazakhstan, may qualify as non-traditional, as their hockey programs have actually become stronger in the post-Soviet era of the past 20 years or so.
Kazakhstan maybe has gotten stronger, but not Ukraine. Compare Ukraine's junior program of the early and mid-90s to that of today. They've slipped quite a bit. And the national team hasn't been in the World Championships since 2007.

I think Ukraine (well, Sokol Kiev) had quite a developed hockey program in the Soviet era considering Sokol was a bit of a powerhouse in the 80's.

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Old
12-17-2013, 12:56 PM
  #32
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I think Langway is the answer to this being he's in the Hall of Fame. Just throwing one other that hasn't benn mentioned yet. Ken Hodge (England), 800pts in 880 games. 2 Stanley Cups, 50 goal scorer, at one time held the season record for points by a RW 105, 2 first team All-Star, and played in 3 All-Star games.

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Old
12-17-2013, 01:07 PM
  #33
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Anze Kopitar.

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Old
12-17-2013, 02:30 PM
  #34
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Tony Hand, born and trained in Edinburgh, Scotland is clearly the best player of modern days from the UK. He was the first British-born and trained player drafted to the NHL (1986, Edmonton Oilers). He has scored over 4000 points during his career and he broke the 400 point limit in British elite league when he was only 19 years old.

Bulgarian goalie Konstantin Mihaylov is probably the best goalie from Bulgaria. He has represented senior national team since 1989 and he (probably) retired from the national team in 2013 but I guess he still plays in local league despite he is 49 years old. He was Bulgaria's netminder in 1994 Pool C World Championships when Bulgaria was accompanied by Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Slovenia.

Bulgaria lost to Ukraine 0-31 and Slovakia 0-31 and their total goal difference was 3-115.

From Spain the best player is their soon 22-years old goalie Ander Alcaine. He is the first professional Spanish born and trained hockey player. He played in French Ligue Magnus in 2011-2012 season and he participated Toronto Maple Leafs' prospect camp in summer 2012.

In Spanish national team he lead Spain to Division 1 for the first time in their history when they won the 2010 Division 2 World Championships. In division 1 Spain faced Italy in their first game and Spain lost only 0-2 and Alcaine made 58 saves in that game.

From Estonia the best player is probably now retired capital city Tallinn-born Toivo Suursoo who have played two seasons in Finnish SM-liiga for TPS in 1996-98. He is drafted by Detroit Red Wings in 1994. He have played one whole season in AHL for the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in 2000-01. From North America he moved to Sweden to Elitserien and he has since played in Denmark, Belarus, Russia, Norway and France.

For Poland I guess there aren't other options than Mariusz Czerkawski. Finnish people might remember him from Kiekko-Espoo (now Blues) from the 1994-95 lockout season. He have played 745 regular season NHL-games and he played in 1999-00 NHL All-Star game.

Unlike his Polish colleague Krzysztof Oliwa, Czerkawski could score points and he scored 215+220=435 points in NHL and took only 274 PIM. Meanwhile Oliwa scored only 17+28=45 points in his 410 regular season NHL- games but he took 1447 penalty minutes and he was a well-known enforcer. Oliwa won the Stanley Cup for the New Jersey Devils in 2000.

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Old
12-17-2013, 04:41 PM
  #35
Mike Martin
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Originally Posted by MS View Post
I know what the history is. But at the time, he was born in the USSR and trained in the USSR system. Played for the USSR internationally.

I'd obviously consider a Latvian player trained post-1990 to be 'Latvian' in a hockey context. But pre-1990 players are, to me, Soviets. Riga was just as much a part of the USSR as Moscow. If Quebec left Canada tomorrow, would Roberto Luongo no longer be considered a Canadian goalie?

If you asked this question in 1990, *nobody* would have considered Baldaris to be from a 'non-traditional hockey country'. But we now take our current borders and apply them retroactively.

Obviously others may interpret it differently.
I agree, that aspect of the poster's question doesn't make any sense unless they just don't know where Latvia is and that it was part of the USSR until 1990. There's nothing non-traditional about someone from the Baltic States being good at hockey.

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Old
12-17-2013, 05:01 PM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS View Post
I know what the history is. But at the time, he was born in the USSR and trained in the USSR system. Played for the USSR internationally.

I'd obviously consider a Latvian player trained post-1990 to be 'Latvian' in a hockey context. But pre-1990 players are, to me, Soviets. Riga was just as much a part of the USSR as Moscow. If Quebec left Canada tomorrow, would Roberto Luongo no longer be considered a Canadian goalie?

If you asked this question in 1990, *nobody* would have considered Baldaris to be from a 'non-traditional hockey country'. But we now take our current borders and apply them retroactively.

Obviously others may interpret it differently.
This is somewhat bizarre, though. Latvia is Latvia, and Russia is Russia. Was he trained in the Russian (or if you will, Soviet) system? Yes. But he was latvian, just as a finn was a finn during the time Finland was a de-facto part of Russia. The USSR afterall was a union of soviet republics of which Latvia was part.

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12-17-2013, 05:06 PM
  #37
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The first name I thought of that might have been forgotten, but wasn't, is Yugoslav (Serb) Ivan Boldirev -- even though he was "raised" in Canada, as his family moved when he was young.

Would Levente Szuper be the best hugarian player?

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Old
12-17-2013, 05:14 PM
  #38
Mike Martin
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Originally Posted by Cruor View Post
This is somewhat bizarre, though. Latvia is Latvia, and Russia is Russia. Was he trained in the Russian (or if you will, Soviet) system? Yes. But he was latvian, just as a finn was a finn during the time Finland was a de-facto part of Russia. The USSR afterall was a union of soviet republics of which Latvia was part.
No, it is bizarre to think that Russia and the Soviet Union played no role in Latvians achieving in hockey and thus the concept of Latvian achievement in the NHL being out of the norm as compared to Russians doing the same thing is odd to say the least. Latvia was part of the Soviet Union from 1945-1990, that's a long time. There's no connection to Latvia and the case of Finland. Finland has been independent since 1918.

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12-17-2013, 05:18 PM
  #39
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Originally Posted by Mike Martin View Post
No, it is bizarre to think that Russia and the Soviet Union played no role in Latvians achieving in hockey and thus the concept of Latvian achievement in the NHL being out of the norm as compared to Russians doing the same thing is odd to say the least. Latvia was part of the Soviet Union from 1945-1990, that's a long time. There's no connection to Latvia and the case of Finland. Finland has been independent since 1918.
I'm sorry, this must be a novel concept that I'm yet to encounter. Are all Latvian players Soviets (I take it they are no longer russians, atleast)? No sorry, the whole notion is bizarre.

As I said, call them a Soviet type, or learned player. But he is latvian, no wishful thinking will ever change that.

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Old
12-17-2013, 05:24 PM
  #40
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Originally Posted by Cruor View Post
I'm sorry, this must be a novel concept that I'm yet to encounter. Are all Latvian players Soviets (I take it they are no longer russians, atleast)? No sorry, the whole notion is bizarre.

As I said, call them a Soviet type, or learned player. But he is latvian, no wishful thinking will ever change that.
The point that you keep missing is that you can't divorce Latvia from a whole 45 years of hockey development in which they were involved in the Soviet sports system.

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12-17-2013, 05:24 PM
  #41
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How about Ivan Bolderev a very good Chicago and Vancouver player in 70s to mid 80s was he not from Bulgaria and if Im wrong ingore

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Old
12-17-2013, 05:28 PM
  #42
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Originally Posted by Mike Martin View Post
The point that you keep missing is that you can't divorce Latvia from a whole 45 years of hockey development in which they were involved in the Soviet sports system.
I keep noticing the point that a Latvian couldn't be a hockey player if it wasn't for the Soviet sport system though. As I said, call him a product, or a Soviet, if you will. But he was Latvian.

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Old
12-17-2013, 05:36 PM
  #43
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Rod Langway, born in Maag, Taiwan

for the win?

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Old
12-18-2013, 02:10 AM
  #44
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I agree with Cruor totally. There is something accepted as Big7 or 8 if you wish. All other countries are more or less non-traditional, hockey program or not. They´re always something like "wow, they´ve an NHL player" or "look, they made it to the semi-final!", it´s always some kind of surprise when they achieve something in hockey.
I know Latvia played international games as soon as in ´30´s, but i.e. Czechoslovak players went to teach Russian bandy-players how to play hockey - does it make Russia non-traditional team? There was played Euro Championship in Slovakia 25 years sooner than we even hear about hockey in Russia - does it make Russia less traditional???
There are mentions about British players, I´m sure you know they are World Champions from 47 (from top of my head), even before soviets. How´re they non-traditional?
For me all countries outside of Big7-8 are nontraditional, it´s probably the easiest option how to come to relevant results. Dig in deep and you may end with only totally exotic countries being non-traditional.

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Old
12-18-2013, 10:08 AM
  #45
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It's between Vanek and Kopitar for me.

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12-18-2013, 03:35 PM
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MXD View Post
Would Levente Szuper be the best hugarian player?
It would have to be either him or Arpad Mihaly.

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Old
12-19-2013, 06:21 PM
  #47
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Originally Posted by Cruor View Post
I'm sorry, this must be a novel concept that I'm yet to encounter. Are all Latvian players Soviets (I take it they are no longer russians, atleast)? No sorry, the whole notion is bizarre.

As I said, call them a Soviet type, or learned player. But he is latvian, no wishful thinking will ever change that.
Saying Balderis isn't a Soviet is like saying Guy Lafleur isn't Canadian, if Quebec someday separates.

He might have been from a different ethnic group than most of his compatriots, but everything about his life and career was contained inside the Soviet system. The fact that his region became independent after he retired doesn't change that.

During his career nobody considered him 'less Soviet' than Boris Mikhailov or whoever.

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12-19-2013, 07:48 PM
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS View Post
Saying Balderis isn't a Soviet is like saying Guy Lafleur isn't Canadian, if Quebec someday separates.
Entirely different. Latvia lost its autonomy but at the same time never broke under the Soviet boot despite the annexation of its lands & parliament. Interesting similarities to Quebec & Lafleur but no. Autocratic Rule & Communism forever altering that comparison.

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Old
12-19-2013, 08:07 PM
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS View Post
Saying Balderis isn't a Soviet is like saying Guy Lafleur isn't Canadian, if Quebec someday separates.

He might have been from a different ethnic group than most of his compatriots, but everything about his life and career was contained inside the Soviet system. The fact that his region became independent after he retired doesn't change that.

During his career nobody considered him 'less Soviet' than Boris Mikhailov or whoever.
Fwiw, he did play a bit internationally for Latvia at the end of his career. Kind of like how Boris Alexandrov represented Kazakhstan at the end of his career.

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12-19-2013, 10:12 PM
  #50
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Kolzig is a Canadian kid from Courtenay, BC. Moved to Canada as an infant, is a Canadian citizen, learned to play hockey in Canada, went to school in Canada, played in the WHL.

When he realized he was never going to represent Canada internationally, he took advantage of his German parents to participate in the 1996 World Cup.

Peter Stastny and Petr Nedved represented Canada internationally. But in a hockey context, there's no way in hell they're Canadian.
Kolzig actually doesn't have Canadian citizenship, only German. He also tried to play for Canada at the 1989 WJC, but didn't clue into the fact that he wasn't technically Canadian until he arrived at the training camp:

Quote:
Back in 1989, Kolzig was camping in Kitchener, Ont., with the rest of the best junior-aged players in Canada, all of whom were hoping to land a spot on the prestigious National Junior Team that would travel to Alaska for the World Junior Championship.

There was just one problem.

"The second-to-last day we had visa application form we had to fill out and sign and we needed our passports, but I had too many numbers on my passport," Kolzig recalled. "I showed someone my passport and he was like, 'You have a German passport.' Two hours later they knocked on my door and told me I was ineligible. I thanked them for the shirt and shorts and went on my way."
Trip to Germany a homecoming for Kolzig

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