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

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Old
07-28-2010, 11:28 AM
  #26
God Bless Canada
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To use the THN list that was released in 1998 (and voted on in 1996) is an unfair argument. At the time of voting, Yzerman had zero Cup rings, Hasek had zero Hart Trophies and Martin Brodeur had three NHL seasons. Obviously, a list compiled now would look very different. Guys like Yzerman, Sakic and Hasek would be much higher. Brodeur and Lidstrom would be in the top 50. (I don't think they were in the top 100). Francis, Stevens and MacInnis would be on the list. Lindros, and possibly Leetch, would not be on the list. (Thank you very much, forecasting for the future voting).

You'd obviously also have a different panel. Unfortunately, they won't be able to draw on the wisdom and the brilliance of a guy like Milt Dunnell. Dunnell had seen every single player in NHL history play. (He died a couple years ago at age 102). According to his peers, Dunnell's mind was still incredibly sharp, with a tremendous recall. When voting was done in 1996, nobody would have questioned the recollections from Dunnell on how good those guys really were.

It means you'll have more stats-based voting, which is really unfortunate.

As for the original poster's question, it goes both ways. You get some fans who don't know the history of the sport, live in a world of ignorance, and gush about the current crop of players and how much better they are than anyone else. (We've seen that in this thread). You'll also get the other side of the coin: fans who are living in a time warp. For them, today's players can do no right.

The best time for evaluation, IMO, is five years after a player's career is finished. At that time, you'll have that fair opportunity to evaluate a player. You'll be far enough removed that you can marvel at how great he was, and the impact he had on the game. You can remember how he played the game, so you won't be relying on stats. But you won't be caught up in sentiment over a player.

The fundamentals in the game have never been better. Every player in The Show is a strong skater, and they can all shoot the puck. When I first started watching the game, maybe half the players could legitimately shoot the puck. Some of that's technology-related, but at the same time, skating and shooting are skills that you can work on with the proper work ethic. (And make no mistake about it: if you're going to stick in The Show, you probably have the proper work ethic. Unless you're coasting on potential, reputation and second/third/fourth chances). Most players are also very good on the backcheck and they have good puck skills.

As for Orr, watch him play. You'll see that nobody in today's NHL skates like he could, or skates with the puck like he could. (Bure was probably the closest). Forget the guys in the 70s who couldn't skate; nobody in today's game went from Point A to Point B quicker than Orr. It truly is a marvel to watch. And nobody's more creative than Orr. Would there be a gap from Orr to average player like there was in the 70s? No. Would anybody be faster or smarter? No. Not only was Orr ahead of his time, in 20 years from now, he'll still be ahead of that time.

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07-28-2010, 12:18 PM
  #27
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I think people are focusing too much on when the list was made. Let's be very statistically generous and say that 16 more players would make the list in the second half of the last 25 years, even though only 4 players made it in the first half, and this would still only make it 20 players (20%) in the last 27% of the league's lifespan.

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07-28-2010, 06:23 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by God Bless Canada View Post
As for Orr, watch him play....
Ah, you're just idolizing him, promoting a myth.

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07-28-2010, 06:38 PM
  #29
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I think Joe Sakic gets treated unfairly, I have a hard time beleiving every elite player from the 1976-1984 era is better than him. Maybe thier hardware looks more impressive because they didn't have orr and lemeiux taking all the trophies.

He has numerous top 10 finishes, an excellent two way game, and one of the best playoff resumes among forwards and he gets ranked 31st?

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07-28-2010, 07:17 PM
  #30
Dennis Bonvie
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
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.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

I watch a lot of hockey. I used to listen to a lot of it because it wasn't on TV in the States much in the 60's & 70's. I read a lot about hockey. I talk a lot about hockey. I listen to a lot about hockey. You are the first person I have encountered that wanted to make a case for Lidstrom being as good as Bobby Orr.

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07-28-2010, 08:01 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
In the case of some players and fans, perhaps. But you are generalizing.



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.

I wasn't really generalizing at all. Look at the "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 I'm not saying anything close to "Bobby Orr is a myth, he sucks! The only reason he's good is because of nostalgia goggles!"

.. C'mon. I'm just saying in general that past players have their faults limited and current players have countless tiny flaws that get focused on extensively.

Think about a guy like Gonchar. As he stands now, all Pens fans will remember him with a lot of hatred for his mediocre defensive play the past few seasons, and especially his TERRIBLE defensive play against Moen in the playoffs.

If he played in the 60's he would be fondly remembered as an offensive beast. The infamous Moen vid would never have been shown to all fans across the world countless times. All the other bad defensive plays he made in his Pens career wouldn't have been pointed out and scrutinized by Pens fans from all over the world via an internet forum.

No one would be able go on this very board and have the research in front of them to realize that, despite his offensive abilities, he never had substantial Norris votes, and his top 3 finish was only on the strength of his PP prowess. HoF voters wouldn't care enough to remember that he was a 4th forward on his team in that 3rd place Norris finish.

No one would know any of these bad things. Maybe the fans in his local market that saw him on a frequent basis would know some of these things. The DEDICATED fans 50 years in the future would know these things. But the non-internet-saavy hockey fans (75% of the hockey world) wouldn't know these things. Regular hockey fans are just going to be exposed to stories of these "Myths" (And I'm comfortable in using that term, since this would be a case of a flawed player become a myth) from their parents and from CBC, and aren't going to know about all of Gonchar's flaws.

Players from the past have the benefit of the doubt in terms of flaws. Most hockey fans have warped perceptions of older players because of nostalgia from other people. Current players are being underrated due to the constant focus on their flaws.

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07-28-2010, 08:07 PM
  #32
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Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
I wasn't really generalizing at all. Look at the "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 I'm not saying anything close to "Bobby Orr is a myth, he sucks! The only reason he's good is because of nostalgia goggles!"

.. C'mon. I'm just saying in general that past players have their faults limited and current players have countless tiny flaws that get focused on extensively.

Think about a guy like Gonchar. As he stands now, all Pens fans will remember him with a lot of hatred for his mediocre defensive play the past few seasons, and especially his TERRIBLE defensive play against Moen in the playoffs.

If he played in the 60's he would be fondly remembered as an offensive beast. The infamous Moen vid would never have been shown to all fans across the world countless times. All the other bad defensive plays he made in his Pens career wouldn't have been pointed out and scrutinized by Pens fans from all over the world via an internet forum.

No one would be able go on this very board and have the research in front of them to realize that, despite his offensive abilities, he never had substantial Norris votes, and his top 3 finish was only on the strength of his PP prowess. HoF voters wouldn't care enough to remember that he was a 4th forward on his team in that 3rd place Norris finish.

No one would know any of these bad things. Maybe the fans in his local market that saw him on a frequent basis would know some of these things. The DEDICATED fans 50 years in the future would know these things. But the non-internet-saavy hockey fans (75% of the hockey world) wouldn't know these things. Regular hockey fans are just going to be exposed to stories of these "Myths" (And I'm comfortable in using that term, since this would be a case of a flawed player become a myth) from their parents and from CBC, and aren't going to know about all of Gonchar's flaws.

Players from the past have the benefit of the doubt in terms of flaws. Most hockey fans have warped perceptions of older players because of nostalgia from other people. Current players are being underrated due to the constant focus on their flaws.
I get your overall point of the nitpicking of modern players and I agree.

But now to point out that you are overrating Gonchar. The man was a seive in his own zone for the majority of his career. Basically a #5 defenseman in Washington who played the whole PP. I'm not even sure he could have kept a job in the Original 6 era... at least not long enough to improve his overall defense in Pittsburgh.

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07-28-2010, 08:24 PM
  #33
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Originally Posted by MrJonas View Post
I think people are focusing too much on when the list was made. Let's be very statistically generous and say that 16 more players would make the list in the second half of the last 25 years, even though only 4 players made it in the first half, and this would still only make it 20 players (20%) in the last 27% of the league's lifespan.
Just think it through, though. A player who was drafted in 1985 would probably be a late '66 or early '67 birth year. Which means that he would be 29 or 30 (likely 29) when the voting was completed. I believe Sakic was 27 when the vote occurred. Leetch was 28, and even his ranking was somewhat based on what he would do in the future. (As it turned out, his game really fell off after 1997. When the next list comes out, Leetch will be hard-pressed to crack the top 100). There aren't many guys on that list whose rankings were assured at age 25-29.

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07-28-2010, 08:30 PM
  #34
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I get your overall point of the nitpicking of modern players and I agree.

But now to point out that you are overrating Gonchar. The man was a seive in his own zone for the majority of his career. Basically a #5 defenseman in Washington who played the whole PP. I'm not even sure he could have kept a job in the Original 6 era... at least not long enough to improve his overall defense in Pittsburgh.

I guess my point there isn't that we are underrating or overrating Gonchar now, it's that if he played in 1960, he'd be overrated.


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07-28-2010, 08:46 PM
  #35
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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?
Just curious, could you name some players who entered the league after 1985 who you feel deserved to be on that list in 1996?

I honestly don't see any obvious omissions considering what they'd done up to that point in time.

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07-29-2010, 12:43 AM
  #36
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Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
Think about a guy like Gonchar. As he stands now, all Pens fans will remember him with a lot of hatred for his mediocre defensive play the past few seasons, and especially his TERRIBLE defensive play against Moen in the playoffs.
I give Pens fans more credit than that. And if "all Pens fans" only remember him for flaws in the last two years, they suffer from acute memory loss and myopia. And are ingrates - he was a key cog of you winning a Cup and a catalyst in getting the puck up the ice to your big guns over the last 5 years.

With your Gonchar example, you are inadvertently proving my point (criticism) about many members of today's internet society: incapable of absorbing and recalling anything past...as in last year, last month, yesterday. Only "now". That's not a personal shot, but if what you say is true about "all" Pens fans, pity them.

Regardless, if you want to assume that Gonchar would be overrated had he played in 1960, and that all contemporaries are underrated, again, you are entitled to your bias. No way for me to argue or convince you otherwise (nor any desire to do so). And as such, it's no wonder have you would have limited regard for former players.

Personally I appreciate players from all eras, equally. But that's me. I leave the age bias to others.


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07-29-2010, 01:15 AM
  #37
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Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

I watch a lot of hockey. I used to listen to a lot of it because it wasn't on TV in the States much in the 60's & 70's. I read a lot about hockey. I talk a lot about hockey. I listen to a lot about hockey. You are the first person I have encountered that wanted to make a case for Lidstrom being as good as Bobby Orr.
I'm probably the 1st person because it is liking saying that you hate mom and apple pie to even question the myth of ORR. Look closely as I said the myth not the player, he was the best player during his time in the NHL but it was a short ride.

God Bless Canada in his last part of the post that states "As for Orr", it's funny that he is still the fastest, best ect.. player to ever play and still will be in 20 years time and in every other sport players are bigger, faster, stronger than in the past.

Lets take the running events like the 100 meters to the marathon, all of the times in these races have decreased to guys being faster today than they where in the past.
The current group of leaders like Bolt do not take away the past accomplishments of past 100 M race winners, it's just a timeline.

I understand that there is more to hockey than just speeed, strength and size but until guys actually take the whole context of the times that past players played in we are NEVER going to see anyone make the top 10 or top 5 on these lists no matter what they do becasue they will be competing with a memory or a myth instead of past players.

Guys have to get past the Orr myth and look at him in context as a player and not as a god and look at Lidstrom or even Bourque in context as the length of their careers and the extremely high level they played at do bring them into the conversation with Orr and the best Dmen of all time discussion.

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07-29-2010, 01:53 AM
  #38
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I don't have a horse in this race, but let me give my two cents on Orr v Lidstrom. They're both very different players in very different eras. There's literally nobody on the blueline that consistently leads the rush for their team as Orr did. Orr was also more physical. But he could not play "quiet shutdown defense" like Lidstrom did. Lidstrom also played in a league that had a far more even level of playing talent than Orr did.

They're both really different, hard to compare honestly.

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07-29-2010, 02:38 AM
  #39
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Natural instincts and hiow quick are your instinct is not something 30 years can change in the human race so it's not impossible the best player of yesterday would still be the best player of today.Mobility is another thing that comes to mind that even if players are better today on average the best player from the past would still be the number 1.

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07-29-2010, 08:44 AM
  #40
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I don't have a horse in this race, but let me give my two cents on Orr v Lidstrom. They're both very different players in very different eras. There's literally nobody on the blueline that consistently leads the rush for their team as Orr did. Orr was also more physical. But he could not play "quiet shutdown defense" like Lidstrom did. Lidstrom also played in a league that had a far more even level of playing talent than Orr did.

They're both really different, hard to compare honestly.
It's pretty easy for me; Orr was clearly more dominant and the superior player.

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07-29-2010, 10:19 AM
  #41
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I'm probably the 1st person because it is liking saying that you hate mom and apple pie to even question the myth of ORR. Look closely as I said the myth not the player, he was the best player during his time in the NHL but it was a short ride.

God Bless Canada in his last part of the post that states "As for Orr", it's funny that he is still the fastest, best ect.. player to ever play and still will be in 20 years time and in every other sport players are bigger, faster, stronger than in the past.

Lets take the running events like the 100 meters to the marathon, all of the times in these races have decreased to guys being faster today than they where in the past.
The current group of leaders like Bolt do not take away the past accomplishments of past 100 M race winners, it's just a timeline.

I understand that there is more to hockey than just speeed, strength and size but until guys actually take the whole context of the times that past players played in we are NEVER going to see anyone make the top 10 or top 5 on these lists no matter what they do becasue they will be competing with a memory or a myth instead of past players.

Guys have to get past the Orr myth and look at him in context as a player and not as a god and look at Lidstrom or even Bourque in context as the length of their careers and the extremely high level they played at do bring them into the conversation with Orr and the best Dmen of all time discussion.
This is an interesting post. I agree with parts, disagree with others. In general, I think you are correct - we tend to put some of these past players on a pedastal and overlook their flaws. And yes, players are in general bigger, faster, and stronger now. But the reason people now have a hard time making these top 5 or 10 lists is because the players ahead honestly were that good for the most part. Gretzky wasn't strong or fast or big for his day - so clearly those weren't important parts of his domination. If he'd played a rough, physically punishing game but was 170 lbs, then sure we could say "he wouldn't be able to play that style today, against stronger and larger opponants." And we'd be right. But he didn't. He played smart, avoided high-danger areas where he could get hurt, always had his head up, and was excellent at rolling off contact when someone did manage to hit him. His dominance had nothing to do with all the reasons people say players are "better" today, but everything to do with accuracy, anticipation, and endurance.

So when we see him win 10 scoring titles and 9 Harts, and we're comparing him to the elite players of today, how are any of them going to crack the top 5 against a guy like Gretzky? It's not just nostalgia - as an old man he was still amazing. He led the league in assists 17 times IIRC out of 20 seasons. After his goal scoring prowess had left him, he was still able to contribute with his playmaking, which was based on his anticipation and awareness of everyone around him - the very things that had made him great his entire career.

And we can say the same thing about Orr, Lemieux, and Howe - the usual candidates for our top 4 of all time. Each of them dominated to amazing degrees that we simply don't see from today's players. This is partly because their competition is better, and its harder to dominate them. But would Gretzky or Lemieux have lost a scoring race to Sedin during their primes? Highly doubtful.

Where we get the biggest "idolization" of players from the past, IMO, is with those who are a tier below the big 4 or 5. To me, there's no reasonable arguement for Ovechkin or Crosby being better than Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, or Howe. At least not yet. And frankly, they'll have a hard time beating them. But while neither have even accomplished as much as Jagr, they are both off to a better start through their first 5 seasons. So while I would rank them below Jagr, they could certainly pass him. And Jagr is fairly well viewed by people on these pages. So top 10 isn't out of the question for today's players. We just haven't seen their entire careers unfold yet. If Crosby wins 3 or 4 more scoring titles and another Hart or 2, I'm sure people will rank him VERY highly, probably ahead of players like Morenz, maybe ahead of Jagr (2 or 3 Harts would clearly put him ahead, IMO, especially with a better all-round game).

Like I said, one reason older players are treated so well is because we have an historical perspective on their careers. Its hard to look back on Crosby's career when he's only 22 and we have no idea what lies ahead of him.

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07-29-2010, 10:29 AM
  #42
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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.
have you ever read slaughterhouse 5?

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07-29-2010, 11:13 AM
  #43
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But would Gretzky or Lemieux have lost a scoring race to Sedin during their primes? Highly doubtful.
Never

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07-29-2010, 12:01 PM
  #44
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Never
I'd never say never.

They might have lost to Sedin if they played 50 or less games.

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07-29-2010, 02:52 PM
  #45
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I think people are focusing too much on when the list was made. Let's be very statistically generous and say that 16 more players would make the list in the second half of the last 25 years, even though only 4 players made it in the first half, and this would still only make it 20 players (20%) in the last 27% of the league's lifespan.
I think the timeframe actually explains quite a lot.

Just take the following few things into consideration:

- We can't say for certain who will be considered top-100 a few years from now. What if Tyler Myers has a HOF career and wins 6 Cups? It would be nuts to put him in the top 100 today, but that doesn't mean he won't ever be there.

- The list includes guys like Mike Gartner and Dave Keon, whose reputations have been very fluid over time. There's no telling how many of them wouldn't have made the list at all if we re-voted today.

- Bottom line is, this list is nothing but a poll. Yeah, it's a poll among hockey experts but that doesn't make it definitive. Any time you have something as subjective as this, you're going to see bias being expressed. A few players' difference one way or another doesn't mean all that much really.

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07-29-2010, 04:23 PM
  #46
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- Bottom line is, this list is nothing but a poll. Yeah, it's a poll among hockey experts but that doesn't make it definitive.
Actually, this should be in size 5 print. It was a POLL. There was no methodology to it.

I like our list better, and not just because it's updated. We are not the experts that those guys are, but at least we got together, justified and publicized our lists, and made our arguments for and against players.

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07-29-2010, 05:59 PM
  #47
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have you ever read slaughterhouse 5?
Vonnegut is one of my favorites.

And so on...

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07-29-2010, 06:10 PM
  #48
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Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
I give Pens fans more credit than that. And if "all Pens fans" only remember him for flaws in the last two years, they suffer from acute memory loss and myopia. And are ingrates - he was a key cog of you winning a Cup and a catalyst in getting the puck up the ice to your big guns over the last 5 years.

With your Gonchar example, you are inadvertently proving my point (criticism) about many members of today's internet society: incapable of absorbing and recalling anything past...as in last year, last month, yesterday. Only "now". That's not a personal shot, but if what you say is true about "all" Pens fans, pity them.

Regardless, if you want to assume that Gonchar would be overrated had he played in 1960, and that all contemporaries are underrated, again, you are entitled to your bias. No way for me to argue or convince you otherwise (nor any desire to do so). And as such, it's no wonder have you would have limited regard for former players.

Personally I appreciate players from all eras, equally. But that's me. I leave the age bias to others.

Er.. uh, what? Not ALL Pens fans remember him as a piece of crap. I tend to exaggerate. I'll make note that I should choose my words more wisely next time I debate something with you.

And as for me inadvertently proving your point... I'm not even sure what we're debating here. I agree with your point of today's society being overly concerned with the "now." That's why I brought up the fact that a lot of Pens fans will remember the bad play against Moen... because that's the most recent play.

I do want to assume Gonchar would be overrated if he played in the 60's. Because if he played in the 60's, there would be no internet to point out his flaws to everyone. People would be less aware of his blatant flaws, and they'd be less aware of things such as his lacking Norris voting record. Players in the past have a benefit over today's players to due to us over-focusing on their flaws. Are we even debating this anymore? I'm not sure.

Today's players aren't underrated, but they sure get a lot of hatred that players in the 60's wouldn't be able to have.

I have a limited regard for players of the past?

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07-29-2010, 06:12 PM
  #49
SidGenoMario
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
We are not the experts that those guys are, but at least we got together, justified and publicized our lists, and made our arguments for and against players.
For the record, you guys ARE the experts, and media members, especially the HoF voters, have no clue what they're talking about.

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07-29-2010, 06:46 PM
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Dennis Bonvie
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I'm probably the 1st person because it is liking saying that you hate mom and apple pie to even question the myth of ORR. Look closely as I said the myth not the player, he was the best player during his time in the NHL but it was a short ride.

God Bless Canada in his last part of the post that states "As for Orr", it's funny that he is still the fastest, best ect.. player to ever play and still will be in 20 years time and in every other sport players are bigger, faster, stronger than in the past.

Lets take the running events like the 100 meters to the marathon, all of the times in these races have decreased to guys being faster today than they where in the past.
The current group of leaders like Bolt do not take away the past accomplishments of past 100 M race winners, it's just a timeline.

I understand that there is more to hockey than just speeed, strength and size but until guys actually take the whole context of the times that past players played in we are NEVER going to see anyone make the top 10 or top 5 on these lists no matter what they do becasue they will be competing with a memory or a myth instead of past players.

Guys have to get past the Orr myth and look at him in context as a player and not as a god and look at Lidstrom or even Bourque in context as the length of their careers and the extremely high level they played at do bring them into the conversation with Orr and the best Dmen of all time discussion.
You sound like Butch Cassidy:
"Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals."

Of course in the movie his vision leads them to the paradise of Bolivia, where Butch & Sundance meet their bloody deaths.

Comparing hockey player's ability to runner's times over decades is truely an upsurd comparison.

I may not be around when it happens, but I would bet money that by the end of their careers, Ovechkin and Crosby will be top 10 players and one of them will be top 5. On this site.

Bobby Orr may be a myth to you, but I guess you may have seen a little less of his career than a lot of us biased old-timers.

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