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Star players that got washed up before 35

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Old
05-28-2010, 11:48 PM
  #51
MS
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Yeah I know it was the 1980s, but still, I always thought he became an afterthought in the NHL rather rapidly. You watch him in the Isles dynasty and he's all over the ice, carrying the play, rushing the puck into the zone, hitting people left right and centre. Then watch him in 1987 the year he turned 31. He wasn't a force anymore. It's true the 1980s had that era of young talent coming up that pushed out the olde fogies but I think it was more a product of Trottier wearing down after all those years. He had played so much hockey by the time he was 30. I really think it wore him down.

Other players to mention are Shutt, McDonald, Barber and Leclair. The first 3 were all 28, 29 years old when the Canada Cup was played in 1981 and were all cut from the team. We all know that when Lafleur faltered so did Shutt but what about McDonald? He gets 66 goals in 1983 when he's 30, almost beating a prime Gretzky, and then gets more than that many POINTS once in a season afterwards. In fact he had a 26 point season 4 years later. Leclair went south when Lindros left town. You hate to see a hockey player become a fraud, but that was the moment that we saw what Leclair could do without #88 and it wasn't pretty.
But, again, the problem with the notion that 'playing so much hockey wore Trottier down' is that *every* star player with birthdates between about 1946 and 1958 saw the exact same thing happen at the exact same age.

During the 1980s, careers simply ran out of steam when guys were 31-33 years old. For everyone. Guys still producing at a first-line level when they were 32 were *exceptionally* rare.

I think of McDonald as being ancient when Calgary won the Cup in 1989, and it's bizarre to me to think that a guy like Martin St. Louis will be the exact same age next season. Pronger is the same age now.

Bill Barber goes in the 'injury collection' as he was still a very good player at age 32 when he suffered a career-ending injury in the spring of 1984.

__________

As for Leclair, it's unfortunate for his legacy that he suffered a career-crippling back injury right at the start of his first season without Lindros.

Leclair's stats in the many games without an injured Lindros have been posted here before, and they didn't drop off at all during the 1995-2000 period. He was an absolute force with or without Lindros in the lineup.

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Old
05-29-2010, 12:31 AM
  #52
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But, again, the problem with the notion that 'playing so much hockey wore Trottier down' is that *every* star player with birthdates between about 1946 and 1958 saw the exact same thing happen at the exact same age.

During the 1980s, careers simply ran out of steam when guys were 31-33 years old. For everyone. Guys still producing at a first-line level when they were 32 were *exceptionally* rare.

I think of McDonald as being ancient when Calgary won the Cup in 1989, and it's bizarre to me to think that a guy like Martin St. Louis will be the exact same age next season. Pronger is the same age now.

Bill Barber goes in the 'injury collection' as he was still a very good player at age 32 when he suffered a career-ending injury in the spring of 1984.

__________

As for Leclair, it's unfortunate for his legacy that he suffered a career-crippling back injury right at the start of his first season without Lindros.

Leclair's stats in the many games without an injured Lindros have been posted here before, and they didn't drop off at all during the 1995-2000 period. He was an absolute force with or without Lindros in the lineup.
Yes it's absurd to think that about St. Louis. Here is this babyfaced star of Tampa and he is going to be the same age as McDonald with that Yosemite Sam stache! Yes I agree, players do have better training and are able to age much better than their 1980s counterparts. I guess I just remember the days of Trottier being so relevat in the NHL landscape and then being almost an afterthought so shortly after. Like today though there was such young talent in the NHL at that time.

I mentioned Barber knowing about the knee injury as well. Prior to that he was noticeably slowing down the two last seasons.

Shall we add Todd Bertuzzi to this list?

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05-29-2010, 01:26 AM
  #53
Kyle McMahon
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It certainly is strange that the change is so abrupt. Tons of guys who had rookie seasons in 1979-80 played at a high level well into the 90's. Yet there was almost nobody left in the league period who began their career pre-WHA merger by the time a couple seasons in the 90's had gone by. Trottier and Doug Wilson, who were on their last legs by the start of the 90's, seem like they were probably the last two guys still playing who played an NHL game prior to the 1979-80 season. Yet there is a laundry list of guys who began their careers in 79-80 or the following couple of years who stuck around for 20 years.

I know the draft age changed right around that time, allowing guys to add on a season or maybe two on to the start of their careers, but that simply isn't enough to account for such a dramatic leap in expected career length. Was there something special in the water in 1960 that wasn't there in 1958?

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05-30-2010, 10:31 AM
  #54
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Sergei Samsonov? The guy is only 31 and still his best years were almost 10 years ago.

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05-30-2010, 10:48 AM
  #55
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Yes I agree, players do have better training and are able to age much better than their 1980s counterparts.
Forget the better training; simply not drinking and smoking as much as the athletes of yesteryear is bound to decrease the process of premature aging.

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05-30-2010, 02:01 PM
  #56
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Sergei Samsonov? The guy is only 31 and still his best years were almost 10 years ago.
Remember when it seemed the whole NHL figured he was going to be much better than Thornton after his rookie season? I'd like to think I am not the only one, but even in Thornton's rotten rookie season I always knew he would be the better player eventually

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06-01-2010, 11:18 AM
  #57
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Goulet? Kind of fell off the map when he was 29-30 years old, although he did plenty enough in the 1980s to be a HHOFer IMO
Goulet was part of one of the best lines in hockey with Larmer and Roenick until he hit his head to end his carreer.

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06-01-2010, 11:27 AM
  #58
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Hatcher crashed quickly. Darius Kasparaitis did too. Zigmund Palffy also comes to mind. I have always wondered why players on the other side of 30 declined so quickly. I wonder if it is like NFL running backs........there is only so much mileage on a player and, other than the icons like Yzerman, Messier, Sakic, Borque...........you become a checking line forward at 32 and out of the league shortly thereafter.

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06-01-2010, 11:34 AM
  #59
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Hatcher crashed quickly. Darius Kasparaitis did too. Zigmund Palffy also comes to mind. I have always wondered why players on the other side of 30 declined so quickly. I wonder if it is like NFL running backs........there is only so much mileage on a player and, other than the icons like Yzerman, Messier, Sakic, Borque...........you become a checking line forward at 32 and out of the league shortly thereafter.
Washed up? Sure not. He was 33 or 34 when he decided to end his NHL career. In last season he has 42 points in 41 games. Season before 41 points in 35 games and in his last full season he was 85 points.
He was remarkable player until his last season with Crosby.

As I thinking now, best two wings which play on Crosby line were Slovaks. Think about Malkin <-> Gaborik trade

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06-01-2010, 11:40 AM
  #60
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Hatcher crashed quickly. Darius Kasparaitis did too. Zigmund Palffy also comes to mind. I have always wondered why players on the other side of 30 declined so quickly. I wonder if it is like NFL running backs........there is only so much mileage on a player and, other than the icons like Yzerman, Messier, Sakic, Borque...........you become a checking line forward at 32 and out of the league shortly thereafter.
I can definitely see the comparison between hard hitting physical defenseman like Hatcher and Kaspar to NFL running backs.

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06-01-2010, 12:19 PM
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I think that with a lot of these guys they were in ideal situations early on and/or in the middle of their career, managed to make a real name for themselves while in that ideal situation for a few years, but then later moved on and where never the same after.

It's only the truly elite that can excel with any team, with less than 1st line ice-time, within any system, with any coach, and with any linemates. Most players have significant rises and falls in their production due to the above factors. Some of these players go from ideal situation to less than ideal situations, and aren't able to cope through it at all.


To explore this idea a bit more, let's look at this in reverse: taking a guy who was typically a 2nd or 3rd liner, but who had one great year.

I give you Donald Audette, arguably the Thrashers most productive forward pre-Ilya Kovalchuk. A 2nd liner most of his career before Atlanta, but thrived on the first line with Ray Ferraro for about one calender year there.

And maybe Donald has a few more great years, and actually builds a real name for himself, if he doesn't get traded back to Buffalo, and gets Ilya as his linemate next year.

Maybe the only thing that separates the Friesens from the Audettes is the situations they have in their careers.

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06-01-2010, 02:35 PM
  #62
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Yes it's absurd to think that about St.
Shall we add Todd Bertuzzi to this list?
You beat me to it!

It was really sad to see Alex Mogilny take such a slide as well, which began at age 32.

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06-01-2010, 02:52 PM
  #63
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You beat me to it!

It was really sad to see Alex Mogilny take such a slide as well, which began at age 32.
He probably could have hung on as a one-dimensional PP specialist a'la Selanne, for at least two more years. but his contract was ugly, particularly for New Jersey, so the only option was burying him in the minors.

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06-01-2010, 02:56 PM
  #64
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He probably could have hung on as a one-dimensional PP specialist a'la Selanne, for at least two more years. but his contract was ugly, particularly for New Jersey, so the only option was burying him in the minors.
Agreed...and i looked over some numbers...he actually doesnt quite qualify for the thread...his slide started at age 35...not 32.

Apologies.

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06-01-2010, 04:19 PM
  #65
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Goulet was part of one of the best lines in hockey with Larmer and Roenick until he hit his head to end his carreer.
No, that was 1994 he hit his head. Larmer was in New York by then. Goulet had clearly declined by 1994 and come to think of it, post 1990. That's fine, because he did a lot in the 1980s but to watch him in the 1990s you could see he was not the same player and his numbers supported that

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06-01-2010, 04:32 PM
  #66
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Sergei Samsonov? The guy is only 31 and still his best years were almost 10 years ago.
Definitely fits the bill on this thread. Hell, there's serious talk about buying him out in Carolina now too. Guy just doesn't have it anymore for whatever reason and it's not like he's ancient. He just really slowed down after leaving Boston, aside from a brief showing of his former self when Carolina first acquired him.

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06-01-2010, 06:36 PM
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No, that was 1994 he hit his head. Larmer was in New York by then. Goulet had clearly declined by 1994 and come to think of it, post 1990. That's fine, because he did a lot in the 1980s but to watch him in the 1990s you could see he was not the same player and his numbers supported that
You are right about 1994. He declined in the end. My memories were off. But that Larmer-Roenick-Goulet line was potent. His early 91-92 decline might have to do with not being on Stastny's wing anymore. Roenick was slowly ramping up but was not the playmaker Statsny was. Also seems like he was always injured come playofs. 14/20, 0/6 and 9/18 games played. Consistent with the lack of conditioning induced decline.

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06-01-2010, 09:00 PM
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06-01-2010, 09:15 PM
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#2 overall after Lindros, Pat Falloon. There was a potential shining star that faded really quick. Not sure he ever really attained 'star' status, but at #2 overall, you should be, lol.

Craig Janney should have had more staying power but he was a 1-dimentional player only, ever.

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06-02-2010, 12:11 AM
  #70
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#2 overall after Lindros, Pat Falloon. There was a potential shining star that faded really quick. Not sure he ever really attained 'star' status, but at #2 overall, you should be, lol.

Craig Janney should have had more staying power but he was a 1-dimentional player only, ever.
Correct on both. Falloon was never what he should have been. In fact he was never at Janney's level either. Janney was maybe a lighter version of Turgeon in his prime without the staying power. Hard to believe you play in the NHL as a minor star (and that's pushing it) and the best thing to this day you are remembered for is having Brendan Shanahan steal your wife away from you

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06-02-2010, 09:05 PM
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06-03-2010, 12:19 AM
  #72
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On the Right Track

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
It certainly is strange that the change is so abrupt. Tons of guys who had rookie seasons in 1979-80 played at a high level well into the 90's. Yet there was almost nobody left in the league period who began their career pre-WHA merger by the time a couple seasons in the 90's had gone by. Trottier and Doug Wilson, who were on their last legs by the start of the 90's, seem like they were probably the last two guys still playing who played an NHL game prior to the 1979-80 season. Yet there is a laundry list of guys who began their careers in 79-80 or the following couple of years who stuck around for 20 years.

I know the draft age changed right around that time, allowing guys to add on a season or maybe two on to the start of their careers, but that simply isn't enough to account for such a dramatic leap in expected career length. Was there something special in the water in 1960 that wasn't there in 1958?
You are on the right track. It wasn't the water. Combination of two factors.

First factor is how "Hockey Age" is determined. Do we determine "Hockey Age" as simply chronological age or do we determine hockey age by the number of junior games and NHL games played?

Let's use 1960 as the starting point. The OHA JR season was 48 games long. The other key junior leagues in western Canada, Ontario and Quebec played between 36 and 48 games per season. Two maybe three playoff series followed by the Memorial Cup final.

By the 1979 - 80 season junior leagues were playing 66 - 72 game seasons with a much longer playoff but a shorter Memorial Cup. To date these numbers have stabilized. Still over the course of a four season career, a junior player in 1960 would have played app 100-125 fewer games.

1960 NHL player played a 70 game regular season schedule with a maximum of 14 playoff games. 1980 NHL player played an 80 game season with a maximum of 26 playoff games. 2010 player plays an 82 game schedule with a maximum of 28 playoff games.Min/max 1960 to 2010 and there is a potential swing between 78 and 110 NHL games played during one season including playoffs. 32 game potential difference or the equivalent of almost 1/2 a 1960 NHL season.

Perhaps the best way to address this question is to look at "Hockey Age" from the standpoint of game thresh holds and entry age into the league across the different eras. Look at performance over the first 500 NHL games including playoffs, 1000 games including playoffs, 1500 games including playoffs.

The second factor is conditioning, off ice training and medical technology/rehab.

In 1960 conditioning(inc.diet & lifestyle) and off ice training was unheard of in junior or pro hockey. Players came to training camp to get into shape. By 1980 this had changed significantly, while today if a youngster does not commit to a program then chances are he will not even get a sniff of double letter hockey beyond Pee Wee.

Sports medicine changed radically in 1974 - Tommy John surgery. This was change accompanied by advances in injury rehabilitation which dramatically increased the level of success and shortened the down time that a player had to endure before returning to play. Factor in that the players earning higher salaries are much better treated than their predecessors were by the owners and you have longer careers, perhaps not in terms of age but definitely in terms of actual games played.

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06-03-2010, 01:06 AM
  #73
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Mike Bossy
Well, that's a rare exception. Bossy had 61 goals when he was 29 and would have still had 50 in his final year if not for his back injury. It was just simply a case of a career ending injury, not slowing down

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06-03-2010, 02:23 AM
  #74
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Yes it's absurd to think that about St. Louis. Here is this babyfaced star of Tampa and he is going to be the same age as McDonald with that Yosemite Sam stache! Yes I agree, players do have better training and are able to age much better than their 1980s counterparts. I guess I just remember the days of Trottier being so relevat in the NHL landscape and then being almost an afterthought so shortly after. Like today though there was such young talent in the NHL at that time.

I mentioned Barber knowing about the knee injury as well. Prior to that he was noticeably slowing down the two last seasons.

Shall we add Todd Bertuzzi to this list?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
It certainly is strange that the change is so abrupt. Tons of guys who had rookie seasons in 1979-80 played at a high level well into the 90's. Yet there was almost nobody left in the league period who began their career pre-WHA merger by the time a couple seasons in the 90's had gone by. Trottier and Doug Wilson, who were on their last legs by the start of the 90's, seem like they were probably the last two guys still playing who played an NHL game prior to the 1979-80 season. Yet there is a laundry list of guys who began their careers in 79-80 or the following couple of years who stuck around for 20 years.

I know the draft age changed right around that time, allowing guys to add on a season or maybe two on to the start of their careers, but that simply isn't enough to account for such a dramatic leap in expected career length. Was there something special in the water in 1960 that wasn't there in 1958?
I think the reason for it is something we can see just watching games.

A game from 1970 doesn't look much different than a game from 1960 in terms of speed/pace/physical play.

A game from 1980 doesn't look too much different from 1970.

A game from 1990 is just in a whole other world from 1980. The physical play/hitting is way up, the goalies are exponentially better, shifts are shorter, the pylon defenders you see Orr walking around with ease in 1975 are long gone.

IMO, the growth of the sport in the 1960s and 1970s as youth coaching improved, as kids growing up were able to watch hockey on TV every Saturday, and so on was seen impacting the NHL in the 1980s as this generation of players reached pro.

On top of that, the talent pool to draw from became much deeper with the influx of US/European talent and competition for spots was much tougher.

What we saw was a sport that was improving at a ridiculous level year-by-year, and players were who were competitive at one point were left in the dust a few short years later.

As the improvement curve of the league levelled out, we started to see longer careers again.

__________

Conditioning might be a factor, but remember that players were in even worse condition in the 1970s and seemed to have little problem playing to 35 or 40 then.

As for why the change seemed so sudden in terms of pre-1979 guys disappearing, I think part of it is that the 1978 draft class was quite weak. On top of that the top 1959. 1960, and 1961-born players all arrived in the league in 1979, which makes a huge 'level' of players who broke into the league then.

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06-03-2010, 03:11 AM
  #75
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No, that was 1994 he hit his head. Larmer was in New York by then. Goulet had clearly declined by 1994 and come to think of it, post 1990. That's fine, because he did a lot in the 1980s but to watch him in the 1990s you could see he was not the same player and his numbers supported that
He had a serious injury earlier though, can't remember what though. And he wasn't the same after it.

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