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72-79 WHA CALIBRE & effect on NHL

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Old
08-31-2010, 03:26 AM
  #51
pappyline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
You don't see a clear comparison of the WHA and 1945 in the NHL? Both years where an average player could look like a star? Even the NHL in 1945 had players that the best WHA stars weren't fit to carry their jockstraps. Don Cherry has stated on more than one occasion that he felt the WHA was a "floaters league". I agree with that sentiment
LOL. This is hilarious. I am starting to think that Big phil is really Don Cherry.They sure sound alike and use the same logic.

Yep, The WHA was the Floaters league and the NHL never missed a beat despite rapidly expanding to 18 teams and competing for talent with 14 WHA teams. If you look at the NHL rosters of the mid 70's, you would be surprised at how weak most teams were. More on this later when I have more time.

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08-31-2010, 06:54 AM
  #52
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Expansion

Aside from the 1967 expansion, there is an argument that suggests that expansion actually lowers scoring. History tells us this. This is as a result of adding players that a) would normally not be playing in the NHL and b) are generally 3rd or 4rth liners and c) have less offensive ability so adapt to play a defensive game to remain in the NHL. When the WHA merged with the NHL in 1979, the number of teams shrank from 27 to 17. The highest scoring era in NHL history followed this decrease in teams. When the NHL expanded in the 1990`s, scoring decreased yearly up to the 04-05 lockout. Now I realize that the boom in scoring in the 80`s is a result of many factors such as a greater European influence, better trained players, Bobby Orr and the offensive influence of the Montreal Canadiens of the late 70`s. All I am saying is that one could argue.

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08-31-2010, 08:50 AM
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Aside from the 1967 expansion, there is an argument that suggests that expansion actually lowers scoring. History tells us this. This is as a result of adding players that a) would normally not be playing in the NHL and b) are generally 3rd or 4rth liners and c) have less offensive ability so adapt to play a defensive game to remain in the NHL. When the WHA merged with the NHL in 1979, the number of teams shrank from 27 to 17. The highest scoring era in NHL history followed this decrease in teams. When the NHL expanded in the 1990`s, scoring decreased yearly up to the 04-05 lockout. Now I realize that the boom in scoring in the 80`s is a result of many factors such as a greater European influence, better trained players, Bobby Orr and the offensive influence of the Montreal Canadiens of the late 70`s. All I am saying is that one could argue.
What are you talking about? The number of NHL teams didn't shrink by ten. First of all - don't put WHA teams on a parallel with NHL teams - at least half of each roster weren't NHL calibre.

Second - there were only six WHA teams in existence when the merger happened.

The highest scoring era occurred because sticks got better, shots got faster, skates became better and the game got faster, but goaltending was still in the dark ages with ten-pound belly pads, 30-pound leg pads that were half the size they are now, and mediocre 5-9 goalies who became goalies because they couldn't skate, and few if any goalie coaches.

Plus the European and American factor - before the 1980's pretty much every player was Canadian, and the pool to pick from was much more limited. Scoring went down in the 90's because of improved goaltending techniques and equipment, and especially because the player talent caught up with the number of teams thanks to a major influx of talented international players, particularly from former Communist countries. Scoring also decreased in the 90's because coaching, scouting and management improved among the lower teams - suddenly fewer franchises were being run by incompetent imbeciles, so there were very few "Mickey Mouse teams" unlike during Gretzky's heyday.

There was never a 100-point scorer in the NHL before expansion - then it became commonplace.

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08-31-2010, 10:07 AM
  #54
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To give some idea of the effect of rapid expansion and the WHA on NHL rosters, I took a quick look at each NHL team's regular defensemen in 75-76. Montreal, of course were way ahead of everyone else. Islanders, Rangers,Chicago,Boston,Buffalo,Toronto,Philly all had decent D's. The remaining 10 teams were weak. Obviously, there were a few decent journeymen out there but there are a lot of guys who would be AHLers if not for the WHA.

Atlanta-Manery,Gibbs,Romanchych,Kea,Carriere
Vancouver-Kearns,Dailey,Snepsis,Robitaille,Murray
St' Louis-Hess Gassoff,Plagerx2
Minnesota-Bialowas,Hicks,Reid,O'Brien
KC-Bergman,Patterson.Legace
LA-Murdoch,Sargent,Hutchinson,Kanneguesser,
Pitt-Stackhouse,Burrows,Wilkins,Campbell,Owchar
Det-Harper,R.Lapointe,Watson,cameron
Wash-Joly,Labre,Lynch,Scamurra,Paradise
Calif-Hampton, Stewart,Frig,Christie

As far as goalies go, once you look past Dryden, Esposita,and a couple of others-- These guys were regularlly playing:

Stephenson,Myre,Davidson,G.Smith,Belanger,Maniago, LoPresti,Herron,Plasse,Rutherford, Low ,Thomas,G.Simmons.

Just thought that I would throw this out there for those that thought the NHL wasn't weakened in those years.

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08-31-2010, 10:11 AM
  #55
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Couldn't this all just be solved by doing a year-by-year analysis of the WHA rosters and look at how many players were there who:

- Would be NHL stars based on the NHL makeup at the time,
- Would likely be contributing NHL regulars, and
- Would not make the NHL at all.

It wouldn't take that long, the league only existed for 7 seasons.

Then set a standard for what constitutes a star in the NHL (a contributing regular should be self-explanatory) and check NHL rosters and make the same distinctions, and see what percentage of each demographic was in what league.

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08-31-2010, 10:40 AM
  #56
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Basic Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
To give some idea of the effect of rapid expansion and the WHA on NHL rosters, I took a quick look at each NHL team's regular defensemen in 75-76. Montreal, of course were way ahead of everyone else. Islanders, Rangers,Chicago,Boston,Buffalo,Toronto,Philly all had decent D's. The remaining 10 teams were weak. Obviously, there were a few decent journeymen out there but there are a lot of guys who would be AHLers if not for the WHA.

Atlanta-Manery,Gibbs,Romanchych,Kea,Carriere
Vancouver-Kearns,Dailey,Snepsis,Robitaille,Murray
St' Louis-Hess Gassoff,Plagerx2
Minnesota-Bialowas,Hicks,Reid,O'Brien
KC-Bergman,Patterson.Legace
LA-Murdoch,Sargent,Hutchinson,Kanneguesser,
Pitt-Stackhouse,Burrows,Wilkins,Campbell,Owchar
Det-Harper,R.Lapointe,Watson,cameron
Wash-Joly,Labre,Lynch,Scamurra,Paradise
Calif-Hampton, Stewart,Frig,Christie

As far as goalies go, once you look past Dryden, Esposita,and a couple of others-- These guys were regularlly playing:

Stephenson,Myre,Davidson,G.Smith,Belanger,Maniago, LoPresti,Herron,Plasse,Rutherford, Low ,Thomas,G.Simmons.

Just thought that I would throw this out there for those that thought the NHL wasn't weakened in those years.
The Flyers defense beyond Jim Watson did not rate highly talent wise but they played well beyond their talent level.

This is also true for forwards. Flyers, again, being the prime example.

Go beyond the stars on each team and the Bruins in terms of talent were superior to the Flyers, yet during the WHA era the Flyers won two cups in three trips to the finals while the Bruins won 0 in three.

The basic issue in the WHA and the NHL beyond the top 6-7 teams was a lack of management, structure and coaching. Most of the weak NHL teams shared minor league affiliations which meant getting synergy in place with the NHL team was next to impossible.. Training camp was the time when teams were thrown together. The season was basically a question of hope.

Bolded the underagers who simply did not develop.Similar situation in the WHA - Gaston Gingras being a prime example.Although the good NHL teams lost a few also for various reasons - Robin Sadler, Pat Price, Al Sims.

Goalies - add Dan Bouchard, Chico Resch, Roger Crozier, Gerry Desjardins, Don Edwards, Mike Palmateer, Gilles Meloche. Overall goaltending was solid but there was little defensive team cohesion beyond Philly, Montreal, NYI, Chicago, while with Buffalo, Boston, Toronto it was a function of who was coaching.

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08-31-2010, 10:56 AM
  #57
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Commutativity and Distributivity

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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Couldn't this all just be solved by doing a year-by-year analysis of the WHA rosters and look at how many players were there who:

- Would be NHL stars based on the NHL makeup at the time,
- Would likely be contributing NHL regulars, and
- Would not make the NHL at all.

It wouldn't take that long, the league only existed for 7 seasons.

Then set a standard for what constitutes a star in the NHL (a contributing regular should be self-explanatory) and check NHL rosters and make the same distinctions, and see what percentage of each demographic was in what league.
Assuming that commutativity and distributivity properties hold. They do not when looking across leagues and time.Never did, never will. Prime examples great junior lines - Shutt/Gardner/Harris, Deziel/Larouche/Cossette, Tremblay/Savard/Cyr to the NHL. Or O6 minors to NHL, NHL to minors.Even today AHL to NHL. Good luck trying to find a viable multiplier or a mapping or any numerical relationship that would hold across time.

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08-31-2010, 11:38 AM
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I'm aware of that. He was 24 years old in his last NHL season prior to the WHA (1973). He had 50 points in 76 games. You can't tell me he was a young pup and green by then, he had won two Cups. Also he probably isn't making the Canada Cup team in 1976 anyways unless you have some idea as to who he would kick off.

Also despite the 1976 incident Tardif had 154 points in the 1978 WHA season, leading the league. In comparison only Yzerman, Gretzky and Lemieux have had that many points in a single NHL season. Two years later Tardif is in the NHL and has 68 points in 1980. Followed by 54, 70 and 52. So you tell me, was the WHA clearly an inferior league when a guy like Tardif is putting up those points or shall we rank the guy among the elite in hockey history? I know my answer.
So because Tardif and Ftorek put up great numbers in the WHA, the league must be much more inferior to the NHL? Give me a break. WHA was between 15-30% below the NHL depending on which team you played on. Tardif, Ftorek, Lukowich and Cloutier clearly took advantage of a much more offensive league which didn't translate into the NHL. WHA is to me miles ahead of being a minor league in the sense like AHL, ECHL, IHL etc are. I would probably still rank it ahead of KHL too although its hard as KHL is a defensive minded league.

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08-31-2010, 12:04 PM
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Assuming that commutativity and distributivity properties hold. They do not when looking across leagues and time.Never did, never will. Prime examples great junior lines - Shutt/Gardner/Harris, Deziel/Larouche/Cossette, Tremblay/Savard/Cyr to the NHL. Or O6 minors to NHL, NHL to minors.Even today AHL to NHL. Good luck trying to find a viable multiplier or a mapping or any numerical relationship that would hold across time.
The vast majority of good WHA players played at least a couple of NHL seasons so we have an idea of what their stature in the NHL would have been throughout their career. Of course it is all guesswork - there is no way to ever say for sure. But there is strong enough evidence to work with.

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08-31-2010, 08:22 PM
  #60
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Present the phantom ratio alluded to previously. Your attempts at revisionist history are quite quaint. Dave Keon a floater?
Who said Dave Keon was a floater? He was in a much more inferior league, that's all. He also was 35 years old and insanely sick of Ballard on the Leafs. You do realize he wanted desperately back in the NHL and was thought of being part of the deal for the Islanders yet Ballard wouldn't give up his NHL rights, you know? That man that went to the Islanders was Butch Goring. We all know how that ended up.

Even then, Keon was no different than many other NHL players turned WHA players. His numbers jumped. He was a 90 point man as a 36 year old in the WHA. He was rapidly becoming further and further from a PPG man prior to his departure from the NHL.

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08-31-2010, 08:27 PM
  #61
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Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
LOL. This is hilarious. I am starting to think that Big phil is really Don Cherry.They sure sound alike and use the same logic.

Yep, The WHA was the Floaters league and the NHL never missed a beat despite rapidly expanding to 18 teams and competing for talent with 14 WHA teams. If you look at the NHL rosters of the mid 70's, you would be surprised at how weak most teams were. More on this later when I have more time.
Oh okay, so just so I know where you and Canadiens1958 are at, I assume we are ignoring one of my previous posts about the weak goaltending in the WHA? So we are going to pretend that lacklustre goaltending in an inferior league has nothing to do with inflated numbers then right? I mean you guys either come up with a defense for that or you don't, your choice. Unless you think Al Smith is a HHOFer?

Its either:

- Yeah the weak goaltending in the WHA was a big reason for the inferior competition

or the the high road which you seem to want to take

- Big Phil is crazy, I'd rather compare him to Don Cherry, who apparently wasn't around in the 1970s either, then come up with a defense.

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08-31-2010, 08:30 PM
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
So because Tardif and Ftorek put up great numbers in the WHA, the league must be much more inferior to the NHL? Give me a break. WHA was between 15-30% below the NHL depending on which team you played on. Tardif, Ftorek, Lukowich and Cloutier clearly took advantage of a much more offensive league which didn't translate into the NHL. WHA is to me miles ahead of being a minor league in the sense like AHL, ECHL, IHL etc are. I would probably still rank it ahead of KHL too although its hard as KHL is a defensive minded league.
The spike in the WHA and then the drop once they got back to the NHL is too big of a gap to ignore. Please don't isolate this to two players either, I have provided several examples previously and that's only the tip of the iceberg. I wouldn't rank the WHA any higher than the KHL though.

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08-31-2010, 08:43 PM
  #63
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Basic Logic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Who said Dave Keon was a floater? He was in a much more inferior league, that's all. He also was 35 years old and insanely sick of Ballard on the Leafs. You do realize he wanted desperately back in the NHL and was thought of being part of the deal for the Islanders yet Ballard wouldn't give up his NHL rights, you know? That man that went to the Islanders was Butch Goring. We all know how that ended up.

Even then, Keon was no different than many other NHL players turned WHA players. His numbers jumped. He was a 90 point man as a 36 year old in the WHA. He was rapidly becoming further and further from a PPG man prior to his departure from the NHL.
Your quote from post #48 of this thread.

"Don Cherry has stated on more than one occasion that he felt the WHA was a "floaters league". I agree with that sentiment"

Statement by Don Cherry. Means all players in the WHA were floaters since Cherry did not qualify the statement with a some or most. You agree unconditionally since you did not qualify your agreement with a some or most qualifier either. Dave Keon played in the WHA therefore you agree that Dave Keon was a floater. Reasoning that could be extended to Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and each WHA player.

Since you have not provided any evidence of the phantom ratio that you alluded to previously then your comments will be viewed accordingly - typical shallow attempts at bluffing your way through a discussion.

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08-31-2010, 08:54 PM
  #64
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Finally

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Oh okay, so just so I know where you and Canadiens1958 are at, I assume we are ignoring one of my previous posts about the weak goaltending in the WHA? So we are going to pretend that lacklustre goaltending in an inferior league has nothing to do with inflated numbers then right? I mean you guys either come up with a defense for that or you don't, your choice. Unless you think Al Smith is a HHOFer?

Its either:

- Yeah the weak goaltending in the WHA was a big reason for the inferior competition

or the the high road which you seem to want to take

- Big Phil is crazy, I'd rather compare him to Don Cherry, who apparently wasn't around in the 1970s either, then come up with a defense.
Biggest problem with the WHA, as mentioned previously was that there was very little team cohesion. Really no different from a modern day All Star game where the idea is to put on an offensive show and entertain with flash as opposed to substance. No one would judge goalies or any players based on All Star game type performances. Conversely those capable of appreciating and evaluating skills could see beyond the flash and appreciate the substance.

That you cannot make such distinctions is fine. That others can does not mean that you are entitled to try to bridge the gap with "phantom ratios", bluffing to go along with your usual bluster.

Do not comment on self-portraits.


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 08-31-2010 at 08:55 PM. Reason: addition
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08-31-2010, 08:59 PM
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Your quote from post #48 of this thread.

"Don Cherry has stated on more than one occasion that he felt the WHA was a "floaters league". I agree with that sentiment"

Statement by Don Cherry. Means all players in the WHA were floaters since Cherry did not qualify the statement with a some or most. You agree unconditionally since you did not qualify your agreement with a some or most qualifier either. Dave Keon played in the WHA therefore you agree that Dave Keon was a floater. Reasoning that could be extended to Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and each WHA player.

Since you have not provided any evidence of the phantom ratio that you alluded to previously then your comments will be viewed accordingly - typical shallow attempts at bluffing your way through a discussion.
Cherry's own favourite Gerry Cheevers played in the WHA. I'm sure it was a broad generalization when he made that comment. That is how I view it, that is how I see it. I also don't paint everyone with the same brush but in general (that word again) the WHA was a significantly easier league. Is that better for you?


Last edited by Big Phil: 08-31-2010 at 09:05 PM.
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08-31-2010, 09:04 PM
  #66
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Biggest problem with the WHA, as mentioned previously was that there was very little team cohesion. Really no different from a modern day All Star game where the idea is to put on an offensive show and entertain with flash as opposed to substance. No one would judge goalies or any players based on All Star game type performances. Conversely those capable of appreciating and evaluating skills could see beyond the flash and appreciate the substance.

That you cannot make such distinctions is fine. That others can does not mean that you are entitled to try to bridge the gap with "phantom ratios", bluffing to go along with your usual bluster.

Do not comment on self-portraits.
You aren't helping your cause at all. Now all of the sudden you want to call the WHA a modern all-star game with the idea for entertainment purposes? Your words not mine. But yet you were offended with my claim that the WHA was in general terms a floaters league? Sometimes you contradict your own opinions, you know. I guess I can stop asking you or pappyline about the quality of goaltending in the WHA compared to the NHL now eh?

I mean, even I get tired of making a legitimate point that gets ignored. Luckily a neutral observer will notice how you ignore the idea that there was mediocre goaltending in the WHA. Like honestly, I'm trying to give you a chance to answer this yet again, shall I just assume you agree with me or what?

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08-31-2010, 10:13 PM
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Means all players in the WHA were floaters .
Come on....

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08-31-2010, 11:06 PM
  #68
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TG/G + Other Stats

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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
You aren't helping your cause at all. Now all of the sudden you want to call the WHA a modern all-star game with the idea for entertainment purposes? Your words not mine. But yet you were offended with my claim that the WHA was in general terms a floaters league? Sometimes you contradict your own opinions, you know. I guess I can stop asking you or pappyline about the quality of goaltending in the WHA compared to the NHL now eh?

I mean, even I get tired of making a legitimate point that gets ignored. Luckily a neutral observer will notice how you ignore the idea that there was mediocre goaltending in the WHA. Like honestly, I'm trying to give you a chance to answer this yet again, shall I just assume you agree with me or what?
TG/G WHA 1973-79 7.14/7.28/7.38/7.47/7.37/7.84/7.40

TG/G NHL 1973-79 6.55/6.39/6.85/6.82/6.64/6.59/7.00

Other interesting notes. 1973-79

#of 300+ goals allowed seasons. WHA - 38 teams / NHL 32 teams.
Goals allowed differential between the best team an the worst team.

WHA 1973-1979 95/126/94/151/142/84/45
NHL 1973-1979 163/178/265/220/139/142/144


Given the total lack of cohesive team defense in the WHA as opposed to some of the outstanding defensive NHL teams from the era, the average WHA goalie was on a par with the average NHL goalie.The WHA goalies behind elite NHL defenses would perform just as well as their counterparts in the NHL. At the elite level Bernie Parent proved it in 1974 & 1975 as did Gerry Cheevers later with the Bruins. An average goalie would be average in each league with the ability to ride a hot streak to a championship opportunity - Richard Brodeur. A journeyman would be a journeyman in each league.

So again your empty non-supported claims do not hold under scrutiny.

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09-01-2010, 12:01 AM
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Oh okay, so just so I know where you and Canadiens1958 are at, I assume we are ignoring one of my previous posts about the weak goaltending in the WHA? So we are going to pretend that lacklustre goaltending in an inferior league has nothing to do with inflated numbers then right? I mean you guys either come up with a defense for that or you don't, your choice. Unless you think Al Smith is a HHOFer?

Its either:

- Yeah the weak goaltending in the WHA was a big reason for the inferior competition

or the the high road which you seem to want to take

- Big Phil is crazy, I'd rather compare him to Don Cherry, who apparently wasn't around in the 1970s either, then come up with a defense.
Hey DC, read my post #54 ,Goaltending was pretty weak all round (as was defense) which is to be expected when you go from 6 teams in 67 to 32 in 75. You are on pretty shaky ground when all you do is bash the WHA but consider the NHL to be strong league in the mid 70's.Everyone else knows it wasn't.

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09-01-2010, 12:24 AM
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
The vast majority of good WHA players played at least a couple of NHL seasons so we have an idea of what their stature in the NHL would have been throughout their career. Of course it is all guesswork - there is no way to ever say for sure. But there is strong enough evidence to work with.
i agree here the numbers would not be an exact translation but it would provide some evidence to work with.

I also agree with the assertion that it may have been around 30% less than the NHL and not closer to the AHL like Big Phil asserts.

For one thing the AHL did not have guys who would crack the top 20 in scoring cats like what happened with the merger in 79.

Also once you looked past the top 30 or 40 players in the NHL during that time period there is quite a drop off in talent as well.

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09-01-2010, 01:07 AM
  #71
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I also agree with the assertion that it may have been around 30% less than the NHL and not closer to the AHL like Big Phil asserts.
Agree, this is roughly what it looks like to me.

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09-01-2010, 03:03 PM
  #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
TG/G WHA 1973-79 7.14/7.28/7.38/7.47/7.37/7.84/7.40

TG/G NHL 1973-79 6.55/6.39/6.85/6.82/6.64/6.59/7.00

Other interesting notes. 1973-79

#of 300+ goals allowed seasons. WHA - 38 teams / NHL 32 teams.
Goals allowed differential between the best team an the worst team.

WHA 1973-1979 95/126/94/151/142/84/45
NHL 1973-1979 163/178/265/220/139/142/144


Given the total lack of cohesive team defense in the WHA as opposed to some of the outstanding defensive NHL teams from the era, the average WHA goalie was on a par with the average NHL goalie.The WHA goalies behind elite NHL defenses would perform just as well as their counterparts in the NHL. At the elite level Bernie Parent proved it in 1974 & 1975 as did Gerry Cheevers later with the Bruins. An average goalie would be average in each league with the ability to ride a hot streak to a championship opportunity - Richard Brodeur. A journeyman would be a journeyman in each league.

So again your empty non-supported claims do not hold under scrutiny.
I'm looking more at the elite level players/goalies. The WHA opened up a lot of jobs for guys too but the stars were few and far between in the WHA as opposed to the NHL. This is why a guy like Tardif or Ftorek dominated, which is something they could never do in the NHL. The elite level of talent was practically a joke to compare. Was it closer once you get to the 3rd and 4th lines? Sure, but you could do the same thing with the NHL today and a strong league over in Europe. The 3rd and 4th liners wouldn't be a WHOLE lot different - edge NHL of course still, just like then.

But it makes a whole world of difference when the best goalies in the world were in the NHL (sans Cheevers for 3 years). Take the best goalies out of the NHL in 2010 and you'll see a clear drop in quality. You're chart claims that total goals in a game wasn't all that different from the two leagues. That sums it up even more. The WHA had far less elite talent to score goals. Like I said time and time again, Mike Walton should never lead a league in scoring under any circumstances. This wasn't Mike Bossy or Guy Lafleur sniping from the wings either so if anything the difference in goaltending is even worse.

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09-01-2010, 03:12 PM
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Hey DC, read my post #54 ,Goaltending was pretty weak all round (as was defense) which is to be expected when you go from 6 teams in 67 to 32 in 75. You are on pretty shaky ground when all you do is bash the WHA but consider the NHL to be strong league in the mid 70's.Everyone else knows it wasn't.
The NHL took a little bit of a hit in the 1970s. It did, you won't hear me deny that. But in this thread I heard it compared to the NHL in WWII. It was nowhere near that. Was the WHA like the NHL in 1945 with depleted talent? I think it was worse. There wasn't Richard, Lach, Blake, Kennedy, Durnan, Cowley, Bouchard, Mosienko etc. in the WHA either.

But I'm not going to denounce what happened in the NHL in the 1970s either. Bobby Clarke was still competing for the MVP against Esposito and Orr and Lafleur. As the 1970s wore on, the NHL got stronger again IMO. Yes it is well documented that the 1970s were part of an era of expansion and it took a little while for the talent to catch up with the amount of teams, but I'm not saying it was the NHL's strongest time, I am just not going to pretend that everything came easy back then either and we should ignore it.

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09-01-2010, 04:24 PM
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Mike Walton

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I'm looking more at the elite level players/goalies. The WHA opened up a lot of jobs for guys too but the stars were few and far between in the WHA as opposed to the NHL. This is why a guy like Tardif or Ftorek dominated, which is something they could never do in the NHL. The elite level of talent was practically a joke to compare. Was it closer once you get to the 3rd and 4th lines? Sure, but you could do the same thing with the NHL today and a strong league over in Europe. The 3rd and 4th liners wouldn't be a WHOLE lot different - edge NHL of course still, just like then.

But it makes a whole world of difference when the best goalies in the world were in the NHL (sans Cheevers for 3 years). Take the best goalies out of the NHL in 2010 and you'll see a clear drop in quality. You're chart claims that total goals in a game wasn't all that different from the two leagues. That sums it up even more. The WHA had far less elite talent to score goals. Like I said time and time again, Mike Walton should never lead a league in scoring under any circumstances. This wasn't Mike Bossy or Guy Lafleur sniping from the wings either so if anything the difference in goaltending is even worse.
Mike Walton playing in the CHL - pro with the Tulsa Oilers, Leaf's farm club while junior age in 1964-65 was second in the league in scoring, behind an NHL veteran Tom MCCarthy. That his career spiraled downwards because of life issues is another matter.

The TG/G gap is actually closer than you give it credit since the WHA featured limited OT during the regular season during its history while the NHL did not in the 1970's. Narrow the gap by 10-15%.

Fact of the matter is that we are looking at the 1972-79 hockey history window. Today, the KHL, 1945 are not part of the equation. A Ross Brooks, Michel Plasse, or other average on down goalies playing in the NHL(1972-79) suddenly do not become better goalies than the Binkley's, Daley's, Yves Archambeault types that they could not beat-out for NHL, minor league or junior jobs previously. Likewise for any group of forwards or defensemen.

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09-01-2010, 04:50 PM
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I'll add some numbers put into context. There were 24 skaters who played at least 20 games in the NHL each season leading up to the start of the WHA (70-72) and who also played at least 20 games in the WHA the following three seasons (73-75). Here is their average PPG during those six seasons compared with the average PPG in the NHL:



As can be seen, their PPG production doubles when they start playing in the WHA which clearly indicates a big difference between the leagues.

I also looked at the PPG production of those leaving the WHA. There were a total of 27 skaters who played at least 20 games each of the last three seasons in the WHA (77-79) and the following three seasons in the NHL (80-82). Here is how they performed:



There is a jump at this points too, but it is much smaller. This would suggest that the difference between the leagues got smaller over time though my knowledge of this is limited, I'm sure there are posters here that are better at explaining this than I am.

Below is a list of the players used:

Went to WHA 72/73:

Christian Bordeleau
Bryan Campbell
Wayne Carleton
Wayne Connelly
Jim Dorey
Norm Ferguson
Al Hamilton
Ted Hampson
Jim Harrison
Bobby Hull
Gary Jarrett
Jim Johnson
Eddie Joyal
Andre Lacroix
Danny Lawson
Rick Ley
John McKenzie
Gerry Pinder
Poul Popiel
Paul Shmyr
J.C. Tremblay
Bob Wall
Tommy Williams
Bob Woytowich

Went to NHL 79/80:

Paul Baxter
Brett Callighen
Real Cloutier
Robbie Ftorek
Al Hangsleben
Jamie Hislop
Dale Hoganson
Mark Howe
Dave Keon
Dave Langevin
Garry Lariviere
Barry Legge
Willy Lindstrom
Morris Lukowich
George Lyle
Blair MacDonald
Peter Marsh
Barry Melrose
Warren Miller
Rich Preston
Gordie Roberts
Mike Rogers
Terry Ruskowski
Paul Shmyr
Blaine Stoughton
Marc Tardif
Stan Weir

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