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Are today's players getting unfairly treated from a historical perspective?

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07-27-2010, 08:42 PM
  #1
MrJonas
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Are today's players getting unfairly treated from a historical perspective?

I've been thinking about this for a while, and I think this is a relevant question since these kinds of comparisons are quite frequent everywhere whenever a discussion about the "all time greats" comes up.

First, I just want to say that I know that the mentioned list below doesn't represent each and every hockey fan's opinions. Neither do I claim that I'm presenting some kind of exact emipirical evidence with my calculations. However, I do view the mentioned list below as indicative of the general consensus, and thus I also think that my calculations should carry at least some relevance here.

Take The Hockey News list of the 100 greatest NHL players of all time. The first player on this list to have entered the league after 1985 is Eric Lindros at place 54. The total number of players on this list to have entered the league after 1985 is 4. Doesn't this strike anyone as being very strange? Has the NHL really decreased so incredibly much in quality, that the last 25 years (27%) of its lifespan have only been able to account for 4 (4%) of the 100 greatest players of all time? Frankly, I simply find this impossible to believe. Barring that something in the earth's water changed in the last 25 years to make it cause severe retardation of hockey-talent, logic tells us that something around 25-30% should be a more correct estimation of players to crack such a list. Things get even more illogical when we consider that, despite the fact that the available talent pool has grown massively since 1985 (especially with the fall of the Soviet Bloc and increasingly intense European scouting), the production level of "top 100 players" has still dropped rapidly since. Not to mention how much the talent pool has grown since 1917, when it consisted solely of Canada and the U.S.

I think the problem is, that once someone is cemented as a great player and quits the game, his estimated "value" keeps escalating year after year, until eventually it reaches unproportional and outright insane heights, wrongfully turning said person into some kind of abnormal superman. The purpose of this thread isn't to smear players of the past, I'm simply claiming that maybe a player like Martin Brodeur, entering the league in 1993, doesn't deserve to be compared to a player like Georges Vezina, playing his last game in 1925. Armchair speculation here , but no defenceman, no matter how much better than Bobby Orr he actually becomes, will ever post a 139 point season again. We can't really compare, either, how players from different time-periods fared against their current peers, because after all, how could we know if they really were at one certain level, or if the overall competition was just at a higher/lower level? Granted, we can look at a player like Mario Lemieux and see how he transcended eras, from his first Art Ross in 88 to his last in 97, but comparing a player in the 60's to a player in the 00's? No way, that's taking it way too far. Ultimately I think people should just think about this in a 10-15 year period way, and that most else is just a bunch of fantasy humbug, filled with so many intangibles that it can't really be argued for or against in a reasonable way.

These are some of my thoughts on the whole "all time greats"-phenomenon. What do you guys think? Do you stand by the general consensus that the elite of hockey players kept a higher level in the past, or are you closer to my line of thinking, that today's players are getting unfairly treated from a historical perspective?

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07-27-2010, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJonas View Post
Do you stand by the general consensus that the elite of hockey players kept a higher level in the past, or are you closer to my line of thinking, that today's players are getting unfairly treated from a historical perspective?
Truthfully, neither.

For "the best" is subjective interpretation, thankfully, despite the insufferable efforts of the "adjusted stats" memorizers. A lot (not all) of older fans will be likely be biased toward the heroes of their youth. Younger fans are likewise understandably biased toward contemporaries and often are unfortunately oblivious to "anything NHL" that transpired before they were hatched. So it goes.

Likewise, if any players are getting cheated, it is the ones who toiled before any of us, young or old, were around. (Which is why this particular HF board is great; there are posters who possess the curiosity and knowledge about players from the early part of the last century.) As such, I guarantee you that should HF exist, say, in 30 or more years from now, less homage will be paid to the likes of Orr. Out of sight, out of mind.

Personally, I've watched decades of hockey. Greatness is greatness, be it 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005 and, no doubt, 2015 and onward.

True, current players "may" get less emphasis; if so, it is worth noting that their careers are incomplete (unfinished). With past players, we have the entire body of work to assess.

(And when you find a dman in Bobby Orr's galaxy, let alone one who becomes "much better than" him, let us all know. )


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07-27-2010, 09:14 PM
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SidGenoMario
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The reason why the 1998 list only had a handful of post-85 players is because.. it came out in 98. I'm sure this board's most recent Top 100 list has a good share of post-85ers. And in 10 years there will be even more post-85ers.

Today's players don't get treated unfairly, they get the respect they deserve. I'd say the players of the past got treated with TOO MUCH respect. Players today have tons of people all over the world seeing every one of their games, thanks to center ice and the internet, and we also get details of their personal lives, and personal flaws, that the old greats never had to suffer through.

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07-27-2010, 09:16 PM
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Today's players haven't put together full careers. Players are generally judged in historical perspective by their entire career's resume. At this point, we have to put a guy like Ovechkin pretty close to a guy like Eric Lindros even though all signs point to Ovechkin being able to put together a far, far better career in the long term.

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07-27-2010, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
I'd say the players of the past got treated with TOO MUCH respect. Players today have tons of people all over the world seeing every one of their games, thanks to center ice and the internet, and we also get details of their personal lives, and personal flaws, that the old greats never had to suffer through.
That's a commentary on the gutter-level voyeur society that the digital age has accelerated, including self-important sports fan. It is not a reflection on the players, past or present.

And, "too much respect"?

To the contrary, we could use a little (a lot) more respect today, instead of the "too cool" cynicism, abject cla$$ envy, and intrusiveness that characterizes today's post-modern "TMZ" fan, if this board is any example.

Just my opinion.

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07-27-2010, 09:27 PM
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MrJonas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
(And when you find a dman in Bobby Orr's galaxy, let alone one who becomes "much better than" him, let us all know. )
But that's my point with the unproportional elevation of certain older players though. I'm not desputing that Bobby Orr is the greatest defenceman of all time, but rather I'm expressing dislike towards the fact that he, along with several other players, has become an untouchable superman in the eyes of so many fans. Why would he be that, really? I think it removes some of the excitement of the sport when, at least this is how I feel; the golden age of hockey is considered to be behind us.

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07-27-2010, 09:32 PM
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Another reason for the dearth of post '85 players. The window is actually smaller than 25 years - more like 10-15 years.

Most persons "voting" tend to discount current players - except for those approaching retirement with a completed body of work (Lidstrom, et al) that merits inclusion in that top-100 (or top-whatever) list.

While the Crosby's and Ovechkin's of the world are very likely to reach that level - many would be loathe to vote for them yet.

As a result, I would not expect a player with less than 10-15 years in the League to get serious consideration for the list - so, for post '85 players you are really looking at the population which began in '85-'95 or '85-'00.

If you look at the most recent HOH Top 100 (err, Top 70) the most recent players started in '90 and '91 - with 5 players starting between '85-'91 (and 7 between '84 and '91).

I agree that there is a bias against newer players - but that bias is not all rose colored nostalgia.

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07-27-2010, 09:42 PM
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SidGenoMario
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Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
That's a commentary on the gutter-level voyeur society that the digital age has accelerated, including self-important sports fan. It is not a reflection on the players, past or present.

And, "too much respect"?

To the contrary, we could use a little (a lot) more respect today, instead of the "too cool" cynicism, abject cla$$ envy, and intrusiveness that characterizes today's post-modern "TMZ" fan, if this board is any example.

Just my opinion.
Yeah, of course it's not a reflection on the players themselves, of course it's a reflection on our society, but since the different societies throughout hockey history are the ones judging different eras of players, these different societies are rating players on different criteria; criteria that overrates the greats of the past and finds ridiculous flaws in today's greats.

Players back in the day were perfect. You never heard about anything questionable in their free-time. You were never aware that they had the worst goals-against-per-sixty-minutes-of-even-strength-road-game-time-on-afternoon-Sunday-games-with-Pierre-McGuire-commentating in the league. You never spent hours watching and debating Youtube videos of laughable defensive plays on an internet forum.

Players were perfect. If you happened to see anything bad in person, you gave them the benefit of the doubt, or else you pointed it out to your friend in the seat next to you. But you sure didn't point it out to thousands of miscellaneous friends on the internet.

You already went off on our current era and what's wrong with it, so you already agree that our current players are being mis-hated.

EDIT: Now, if you actually go back and watch games, and compare previous and present players on accurate measures (How they performed against their peers), then you'd be doing the right thing. And players from the past MAY be FAR better and more perfect than current stars. But I doubt that. I think part of the reason why some beloved stars of the past have an untouchable aura around them is just because of.. well, rose colored nostalgia. And any player starting up now will have SOOOO much more time spent focusing on the bad things they do, rather than celebrating a myth of a hockey player.

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07-27-2010, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by MrJonas View Post
I think it removes some of the excitement of the sport when, at least this is how I feel; the golden age of hockey is considered to be behind us.
Just my opinion, but every season and decade I've ever watched of NHL hockey has been "golden," including up to this very moment. Truly. I'm not one who thinks the '80s NHL was "better" than hockey today...or vice versa.

With regard to #4, my comment is based on admitted bias. In my lifetime as a fan, I'm yet to see anyone come within miles of him, #99 and #66. No one is even in the conversation. (Gordie Howe was, for the most part, before my day.) Can it happen? Yes, and I hope to be around to see it. But the odds of that occuring are proportionate to their unparalled level to greatness.

I mean, how many baseball players have been legitimately compared to Babe Ruth over the last century? How many Presidents have been compared favorably by historians to Lincoln? (Answer in both cases: few to none. And rightly so.) Sometimes, it's a lot more than simply sappy reverence for the past and folklore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
You already went off on our current era and what's wrong with it, so you already agree that our current players are being mis-hated.
Not sure I'd express it exactly that way, but yes.

Truthfully (and thankfully), the NHL has very few bad actors, reprobates who embarrass the sport with their off-ice actions. That said, none of us walking this earth are without flaws, of course.


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07-27-2010, 09:58 PM
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I think it goes both ways. There's a lot of people who grew up with certain players, and the nostalgia for that era leads them to place a premium on those players. As well, there's a lot of people, many of whom frequent the main board, who consider players from the past vastly inferior to those today, refer past goaltenders as unable to stop a beachball, and think that Ovechkin would score 100 goals a season in the 80's.


I think though that while the game is constantly changing and evolving, it's not quite by the leaps and bounds that some people attribute to it. If that were the case, players wouldn't be having 20 year careers, and still being great players well into their 30s. As Trottier basically said, greatness is greatness. Those that were great in one era would most likely be great in another, even if they were great in a slightly different way. In a few instances it may not be the same, especially in the early days, with with things like allowing forward passing, or goalies to drop to their knees, but for the most part I think it holds true. Also, I think the majority of hockey historians place a premium in greatness relative to ones peers, which makes spanning eras a little less daunting.

As well, you mention the THN top 100 list, but that was created in '98 I believe it was, so any player coming into the league after '85 had at most 12 or 13 years to pad their resume. Lindros made it based mainly on potential (I don't think he makes many top 100 lists today), and there's a bunch of guys that have since secured their place on the list, or at least made a case for themselves.

Lidstrom is now easily on anyone's top 100 list, as is Brodeur. Sakic has moved up that list considerably, as has Hasek, pushing for the number 1 goalie spot. Forsberg now makes many people's lists, as does Fedorov. Pronger is pushing for a spot, and Thornton will probably end up making the list eventually as well.

It does seem that a lot of recent players don't stack up to some of the other guys on the list, either not matching up in terms of prime, or having too short of a prime to make the list. You have a lot of guys like Iginla, Heatley, Hossa, Naslund, Elias, etc, who just seem a step behind a lot of those other players. I think part of this seems to stem from the fact that players seemed to have a difficult time adjusting to the NHL during the dead puck era, or at least moreso than many other eras. This may be because the emphasis on defense and all the hooking and holding was such a big change for a young, not fully developed player, and it took longer to adjust. Or perhaps they simply weren't as good.

Perhaps time will cause us to shed new light on these players. If you look at some Hall of Fame players from the early days, many had considerably shorter careers than some recent players, which was acceptable because that's just what happened. Even the THN list has Joe Primeau on it, who only really played 7 years. Maybe some of the late 90s-2000s players should be judged by a different criteria than the 80s-early 90s players. However, recently we've seen a surge in young talent, and guys like Crosby and Ovechkin, and possible Malkin looking like good bets to crack the top 100 as well, so perhaps it was simply a poor era for top end players

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07-27-2010, 10:39 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Quote:
but no defenceman, no matter how much better than Bobby Orr he actually becomes, will ever post a 139 point season again.
May I ask why?

It may seem inconceivable that another defenseman will reach that total. But think of what it must have been like to think of such a thing in the late 60's, just a couple years before Orr did infact do what seemed impossible. Heading into the 1968-69 season, no blueliner had ever hit 60 points in a season. One hitting 120, and then 139in 1970 and 71? Preposterous. But, then it happened.

A note on THN list. The Top 50 was voted on in late 1996 I believe, so obviously anybody who entered the league after about 1985 would have been hard pressed to build up a career resume worthy of a spot. Jagr was the only one who did I think, and this was based largely on potential, which he went on to fulfil. At the time, Jagr at #37 created quite the controversy. As did Yzerman's ommission.

The rest of the 50 was added on a couple of years later when the list was released as a book around 1998.

At the time when they announced the Top 50, they also listed out all-time all-star teams. Roy being named the 1st team goalie was laughed at by many (and made odd by the fact that he was only the 6th highest goalie on the actual list). Sawchuk was relegated to 2nd team status, which was considered blasphemy. There were serious suggestions that even Roy's contemporary Grant Fuhr would have been the better choice on an all-time team.

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07-28-2010, 12:23 AM
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[QUOTE=Kyle McMahon;27130541]May I ask why?

It may seem inconceivable that another defenseman will reach that total. But think of what it must have been like to think of such a thing in the late 60's, just a couple years before Orr did infact do what seemed impossible. Heading into the 1968-69 season, no blueliner had ever hit 60 points in a season. One hitting 120, and then 139in 1970 and 71? Preposterous. But, then it happened./QUOTE]
I think the original poster is right for a couple of reasons regarding Orr.

1. Orr played in an expanding NHL that went from 6 to 12 to 14 to 16 teams then the WHA further diluted the talent pool of the NHL.

While this was happening there was not an influx of talent from other parts of the world ,like in the 1979 expansion through to today.

Orr was the best player of his time and probably might have scored over a 100 points in a 6 team NHL but it is highly unlikely that he would have scored 120 and 139 points IMO.

2. also as any sport evolves it becomes harder to become a revolutionary player because coaching, training and other things come into play to make the entire field of talent greater and lessens the gap between the talent level of the top players and other players in the league.

Just for the record I think that after Lidstrom is done we can have a serious discussion that he is comparable to Orr in his greatness as I respect the different conditions that Lidstrom has played under compared to Orr.

Orr is definitely one of top 3 Dman of all time even with his injury shortened career and without those wonky knees it is very likely that no one would have been able to challenge the assertion that he was the number 1 player of all time that some people say he is.

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07-28-2010, 12:45 AM
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Just for the record I think that after Lidstrom is done we can have a serious discussion that he is comparable to Orr in his greatness as I respect the different conditions that Lidstrom has played under compared to Orr.
I just can't believe that anyone who has seen both play would ever say this.

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07-28-2010, 01:19 AM
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Sure Orr LOOKED better but it's all about context and to dismiss any current superstar like Lidstrom from that discussion is a bit close minded IMO.

Look Orr was great but he did only play in 12 NHL seasons and only 8 full ones and seasons of 46, 20, 10 and 6 games.

Lidstrom has played at an extremely high level for 18 seasons in a more competitive environment.

If you can't take the context of Orr's expanding NHL years (6 to 12 to 14 and the WHA for his final 3 full seasons) with no evidence of increased player pool compared to Lidstroms with all the best players in the world playing in the NHL then it's a disservice to your analysis IMO and I do think that you know your hockey it's just that you seem to have blinders on a couple of subjects here.

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07-28-2010, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
I think part of the reason why some beloved stars of the past have an untouchable aura around them is just because of.. well, rose colored nostalgia.
In the case of some players and fans, perhaps. But you are generalizing.

Quote:
And any player starting up now will have SOOOO much more time spent focusing on the bad things they do, rather than celebrating a myth of a hockey player.
By inserting the term "myth" you are explicitly suggesting that the greatness of all/most past players are exaggerated and that those who had the privilege to witness them are incapable of any objective thought. That's unfortunate stereotyping, but you are entitled to your bias.

With regard to current players, the proliferation of media encourages obsessive scrutiny compared to previous eras, to be sure. However, one must also acknowledge, ironically, a general lack of curiousity among many younger fans regarding anything that is not "now," as often explified on the main board. As such, they often disregard past players exploits, and lazily sweep them under cliches like "such and such period of hockey was inferior," or, with all due respect, suggesting that they are simply benefactors of fables and hyperbole.

Indeed, "the good old days" were never as good as we imagine as life moves on. But respect and a common interest in the past is a basic virtue that is in short supply on HF. (Except, thankfully on the HOH board). As I've observed previously, growing up as a young kid in the 70s, loving and playing hockey, I know that me and my peers never talked down the great players that were before our time, who we read and were told about...Maurice Richard, Jean Believeau, Howe, etc. We idolozed them.

Today - if this board is any indication - it's seemingly blood sport among some fans to disparage entire eras of NHLers who had the nerve to play before they were hatched.

Sad. For them.


Last edited by Trottier: 07-28-2010 at 02:21 AM.
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07-28-2010, 02:29 AM
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Of course, happens with everything else too. Old time greats have legendary status and people tend to remember only the good stuff anyways. There were no discussion boards, videos of every play, goal etc.
All you can do today is to read old newspaper articles raving about this or that. Not something I would call a credible source. Respect is important, but some people can't, and don't want to, admit that their idolized legendary player is actually not better than X who plays right now.

(for example Howie Morenz, he is an all-time great, but is he really a better (not greater - Morenz is obviously greater) hockey player than for example Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby? I seriously doubt that.)


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07-28-2010, 02:53 AM
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Of course, happens with everything else too. Old time greats have legendary status and people tend to remember only the good stuff anyways. There were no discussion boards, videos of every play, goal etc.
All you can do today is to read old newspaper articles raving about this or that. Not something I would call a credible source. Respect is important, but some people can't, and don't want to, admit that their idolized legendary player is actually not better than X who plays right now.

(for example Howie Morenz, he is an all-time great, but is he really a better (not greater - Morenz is obviously greater) hockey player than for example Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby? I seriously doubt that.)

There is a lot of truth to this. But there's also a strong case to be made for the sheer dominance of some of these older players vs their peers, something that the greats today haven't yet shown. Would Gretzky have lost a scoring race during his prime to Sedin? Would Lemieux? Probably not.

People hold more recent players like Jagr (who didn't leave the NHL long ago) in very high regard. Same with Lidstrom. As others have said, we tend to favor a player towards the end of his career, or even after their retirement, unless their accomplishments while active are so unbelievable as to merit otherwise, like Gretzky, Lemieux and Orr. We didn't need them to retire to look at their careers and know they were amazing.

But the same holds true for Crosby and Ovechkin - we all know they are amazing players too - but they haven't shattered records like Orr and Gretzky, or have ridiculous comebacks like Lemieux. They are so far in the Jagr category - players we know are great, but we'll need to see more of their careers before we can judge where they rank all-time. People weren't picking Jagr as a top 20 player of all time 5 years into his career either; but after 5 Art Ross trophies he suddenly had a pretty strong case.

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07-28-2010, 03:04 AM
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The primary reason that players that entered the league since '85 not being represented in a 1998 list, is that very few relevant players who entered the league even in 1985, nevermind after, had finished their careers yet. You should really be looking at players that finished their careers since 1985 and see how they are represented. You are asking for players that are 5-10 years into their career (many even less) to be named among the top 100 players of all time.

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07-28-2010, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
Of course, happens with everything else too. Old time greats have legendary status and people tend to remember only the good stuff anyways. There were no discussion boards, videos of every play, goal etc.
All you can do today is to read old newspaper articles raving about this or that. Not something I would call a credible source. Respect is important, but some people can't, and don't want to, admit that their idolized legendary player is actually not better than X who plays right now.

(for example Howie Morenz, he is an all-time great, but is he really a better (not greater - Morenz is obviously greater) hockey player than for example Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby? I seriously doubt that.)
Howie Morenz is dead, so I'd be VERY surprised if he were still better than Ovechkin. But 80 years ago, he was vastly superior to both Ovechkin and Crosby, who were not yet born.

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07-28-2010, 03:11 AM
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Howie Morenz is dead, so I'd be VERY surprised if he were still better than Ovechkin. But 80 years ago, he was vastly superior to both Ovechkin and Crosby, who were not yet born.
You know what I meant, but kudos for your fairly funny post.

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07-28-2010, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I think the original poster is right for a couple of reasons regarding Orr.

1. Orr played in an expanding NHL that went from 6 to 12 to 14 to 16 teams then the WHA further diluted the talent pool of the NHL.

While this was happening there was not an influx of talent from other parts of the world ,like in the 1979 expansion through to today.

Orr was the best player of his time and probably might have scored over a 100 points in a 6 team NHL but it is highly unlikely that he would have scored 120 and 139 points IMO.

2. also as any sport evolves it becomes harder to become a revolutionary player because coaching, training and other things come into play to make the entire field of talent greater and lessens the gap between the talent level of the top players and other players in the league.

Just for the record I think that after Lidstrom is done we can have a serious discussion that he is comparable to Orr in his greatness as I respect the different conditions that Lidstrom has played under compared to Orr.

Orr is definitely one of top 3 Dman of all time even with his injury shortened career and without those wonky knees it is very likely that no one would have been able to challenge the assertion that he was the number 1 player of all time that some people say he is.
This "dilution" argument is overstated and is exactly why older folks are needed on these boards. Even with the influx of new teams in the late sixties, it wasn't until further expansion in the late seventies that goals per game rocketed up, leaving us with run away scoring in the eighties. Goals per game increased in the late sixties and early seventies, but the increase was slow and incremental.

As for equating "dilution" with Orr's stats, you would also have to account for the lack of other players doing the same thing from his position. His scoring amongst his defensive peers was beyond laughable and beyond compare. Well, you can compare, but when the second highest scoring defenseman is less than 150% points behind you, its hard to compare. Look at the other point totals of defenseman during the early seventies and it doesn't appear that "dilution" was helping them much.

As for a comparison with Lindstrom, I'm sorry but this would be fairly futile, unless Lindstrom rises to the top of the league and outpoints Crosby, Ovechkin, and others while maintain his defensive prowess, and also outfighting Chara and the like.

Orr was a "one off." Something unique, changing the game in the process. I don't think this was a bad thing and it doesn't denigrate the modern game at all, in fact I'd like to think it enhances it.

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07-28-2010, 10:54 AM
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tarheelhockey
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Originally Posted by pavel13 View Post
The primary reason that players that entered the league since '85 not being represented in a 1998 list, is that very few relevant players who entered the league even in 1985, nevermind after, had finished their careers yet. You should really be looking at players that finished their careers since 1985 and see how they are represented. You are asking for players that are 5-10 years into their career (many even less) to be named among the top 100 players of all time.
I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned this.

It's pretty obvious that at a minimum Brodeur, Lidstrom, and Pronger would be on that list if they made it today. There's a whole bunch of guys who would have strong arguments: Robitaille, Iginla, Alfredsson, Niedermayer, MacInnis, Stevens, Francis, Fedorov, maybe a sentimental pick like Recchi, and of course the incomparable Forsberg who would be a shoo-in for the top 5

Then you have the younger guys who look to be on their way: Crosby, Ovechkin, Luongo, Keith, etc.

Of course, the more players you list the easier it is for a naysayer to scream "he hasn't proven anything!!!" which is why these guys would never have made the list until recently. That's just how it is with voting exercises.

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07-28-2010, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 85highlander View Post
This "dilution" argument is overstated and is exactly why older folks are needed on these boards. Even with the influx of new teams in the late sixties, it wasn't until further expansion in the late seventies that goals per game rocketed up, leaving us with run away scoring in the eighties. Goals per game increased in the late sixties and early seventies, but the increase was slow and incremental.
Actually it isn't. Not so much dilution as a concentration of talent on teams at certain times.

There was huge huge huge disparity between the best teams and the worst teams during that whole expansion period.

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07-28-2010, 10:57 AM
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Interesting Thread

Interesting thread started from an inadequate premise and other than a few nuggets from select posters we see the usual half arguments with the result that the discussion goes around in circles.

Historic or present day treatment of players has to come from a perspective that is able to distinguish quality hockey from terrible hockey.

Specifically you have to have the ability to distinguish between good and bad and how the two blend to produce the result at any given time.You have quality offense and terrible offense, quality defense and terrible defense, quality goaltending and terrible goaltending with various levels between the two extremes. The result that you see at any given time is produced by the ability and willingness of the winning team to shift the game towards the opponents weakness while establishing their strengths.

Will use an example from this years playoffs. Jaroslav Halak. Against Washington and Pittsburgh he had a .933 SV% and the Canadiens won each series, while against the Flyers he had a .8839 SV%( 99/112) and the Canadiens lost. Did quality defense and goaltending suddenly turn terrible or did the Flyers quality offense and the willingness to drive the net show the true level of Jaroslav Halak's talent? Michael Leighton against the Canadiens, .950 SV% ( 133/140). Incredible numbers, yet against Chicago he was very weak significantly < .900 SV %. Again quality offensive game using all its attributes - Hawks drove the net every chance they had while the Canadiens only did it in one game, showed the true defensive level and goaltending of the Flyers.Point supported by the defensive changes the Flyers made post season.

So you have to look beyond the flavour of the day numbers and do a complete analysis, otherwise no player, past or present is treated fairly.

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07-28-2010, 11:11 AM
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Rhiessan71
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I think the other part to this is what you could call the movers and shakers.

Every once in a while a player will come along that does something that has never been done before and changes the game itself.
10-15 years later everyone is doing it and it's not so "special" anymore.

Plante leaving his crease to play the puck, Orr rushing the puck as a dman, Gretzky behind the net are all examples of things that changed the game.
Just because it is all common place today shouldn't take away from the prestige of those players doing it first and changing the game because of it.

That's my 2 cents

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