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Where do the great Soviets rank?

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Old
08-31-2010, 03:54 AM
  #76
steve141
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I just don't know who to put in the top 20. When I first submitted my list for the project, I was thinking along these same lines. I had Kharlamov at #14, one spot ahead of Guy Lafleur. But after more research, I just couldn't justify it. Kharlamov had an incredibly short peak and barely stood out over his linemate Mikhailov in both domestic play and international play. Phil Esposito is ranked 20th on the list. What did Kharlamov accomplish to make him a no-brainer pick over Phil Esposito?

There are no Soviets in the top 20 for the same reason there are no goalies in the top 10 - there is really no consensus best player of the group.
While I agree about Kharlamov, I don't understand your general reasoning. Why would there have to be a consensus best Russian player to put him in the top 20? We are not ranking based on affirmative action here, picking one player from each country. If a player is good enough he is good enough regardless of how good his countrymen were. Would Tretiak suddenly become a less deserving goaltender if Hasek was also Russian? Who is the consensus best Habs player?

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08-31-2010, 04:39 AM
  #77
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
When I first submitted my list for the project, I was thinking along these same lines. I had Kharlamov at #14, one spot ahead of Guy Lafleur. But after more research, I just couldn't justify it. Kharlamov had an incredibly short peak and barely stood out over his linemate Mikhailov in both domestic play and international play. Phil Esposito is ranked 20th on the list. What did Kharlamov accomplish to make him a no-brainer pick over Phil Esposito?
I think it's also possible to turn that argument around. How can we justify Howie Morenz at 11th as a no-brainer pick over Makarov at 61? Morenz didn't dominate his peers more. He didn't have a longer prime. He didn't win more awards.

Canadian Press named Morenz the best player before 1950. Makarov was the best Soviet player ever. To rank Morenz at 11th and Makarov at 61th you'd have to rank the competitiveness of the really early NHL way above the 80s Russian league. I'm not sure that's right.

I never saw Morenz play, but based on external factors I don't see how anyone can justify one being ranked 50 spots above the other.

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08-31-2010, 04:40 AM
  #78
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Despite only seeing a limited amount of Balderis, I'm a huge fan of his -- I certainly think he's in the same calibre as some of the best Russians of the Soviet Era. I also know that this is being nitpicky (and not really a central point of your argument), but I genuinely think Kharlamov was faster than Kapustin...
Don't be fooled by his long, Frank Mahovlich-esque 'lazy' stride; Kapustin was definitely faster IMO. Well, who cares really??!

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08-31-2010, 07:59 AM
  #79
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I think it's also possible to turn that argument around. How can we justify Howie Morenz at 11th as a no-brainer pick over Makarov at 61? Morenz didn't dominate his peers more. He didn't have a longer prime. He didn't win more awards.

Canadian Press named Morenz the best player before 1950. Makarov was the best Soviet player ever. To rank Morenz at 11th and Makarov at 61th you'd have to rank the competitiveness of the really early NHL way above the 80s Russian league. I'm not sure that's right.

I never saw Morenz play, but based on external factors I don't see how anyone can justify one being ranked 50 spots above the other.
Makarov is not the best soviet player ever. Kharlamov and Fetisov are, followed by Tretiak. Makarov is more in the Firsov/Mikhailov level. Makarov may have won more individual awards in the soviet league, but largely my Russian friends tell me that was because by the time Makarov was taking over the team Tikhonov pillaged every other team to stack the red Army team and focus on working them together all year round for international play.

Detailed arguments as to Howie Morenz's placement can be found in the thread.

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08-31-2010, 08:45 AM
  #80
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System and Style

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Originally Posted by Dark Shadows View Post
Makarov is not the best soviet player ever. Kharlamov and Fetisov are, followed by Tretiak. Makarov is more in the Firsov/Mikhailov level. Makarov may have won more individual awards in the soviet league, but largely my Russian friends tell me that was because by the time Makarov was taking over the team Tikhonov pillaged every other team to stack the red Army team and focus on working them together all year round for international play.

Detailed arguments as to Howie Morenz's placement can be found in the thread.
Your post focuses on the difficulty projecting system players or style players beyond their specific niche. Combination of factors the dominance of the system, the staying power of a certain style and the ability and willingness of the player to adjust.

True for NA players who never clicked in the NHL - Guyle Fielder being a prime example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guyle_Fielder

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guyle_Fielder

Making a transition is never guaranteed or obvious.

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08-31-2010, 08:58 AM
  #81
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Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
Don't be fooled by his long, Frank Mahovlich-esque 'lazy' stride; Kapustin was definitely faster IMO. Well, who cares really??!
Haha, I probably haven't seen enough of Kapustin then -- I'll take your word

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08-31-2010, 09:04 AM
  #82
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Richard, Howe, Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, Beliveau, Hull - No way better.
Esposito, Mikita, Trottier, Lafleur - I think this is his range.
Jagr, Yzerman, Sakic, Bossy - Slightly better.
Dionne, Kurri, Perreault, Brett Hull - Definitely better.
Very doubtful that Makarov was better than Jagr.

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08-31-2010, 10:16 AM
  #83
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I think it's also possible to turn that argument around. How can we justify Howie Morenz at 11th as a no-brainer pick over Makarov at 61? Morenz didn't dominate his peers more. He didn't have a longer prime. He didn't win more awards.

Canadian Press named Morenz the best player before 1950. Makarov was the best Soviet player ever. To rank Morenz at 11th and Makarov at 61th you'd have to rank the competitiveness of the really early NHL way above the 80s Russian league. I'm not sure that's right.

I never saw Morenz play, but based on external factors I don't see how anyone can justify one being ranked 50 spots above the other.
The league Morenz played in was the best in the world. When Makarov was in his prime, the NHL was the best league in the world. So his accomplishments are judged in that context. That you say his "peers" were other players in the SEL is irrelevant. I think his "peers" were Gretzky, Lemieux, Bossy, Kurri, Stastny, Messier, etc. It's just that comparing him to his peers is a lot trickier than comparing Morenz to his.

For the record, I do believe Makarov is highly underrated.

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08-31-2010, 10:32 AM
  #84
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I disagree I believe that the years that Fetisov and Kasatonov played for the Devils Fetisov was the better player for the Devils. Kasatonov was good but I would give the edge to Fetisov maybe it was that Kasatonov digressed faster then Fetisov as far as skill I do not know but I think Fetisov was better just my opinion
You're in a very small minority then. Most old-time Devils fans absolutely hate Fetisov.

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I have a question for you. Which great hockey players is Makarov better then. is he better then ? Richard, Howe, Gretzky,Lemieux,Orr, Esposito, Dionne, Mikita, Perreault, Trottier, Lafleur, Beliveau, Bossy, Messier, Jagr, Yzerman, Bobby Hull, Brett Hull, Sakic, Kurri.
Howe, Gretzky, Lemieux, and Orr were all clearly better than Makarov and anyone else on that list. I already said that Makarov is probably most comparable to Bossy and Kurri in the 1980s. And yes, ranking players is not an exact science, but there are some obvious ones.

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08-31-2010, 10:35 AM
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The trick here isn't to reiterate the same arguments that have been circulating the boards for the past few years (IE: Makarov dominated the Russian players of his era, Kharlamov was the fastest player in the league, Yakushev and Balderis didn't play on a powerhouse CSKA team so their stats don't reflect on their true skills, etc.) -- these are all short-sighted arguments that don't really compare players on an even playing field.

Instead, it would be more beneficial to determine how the players game would have translated onto NHL ice. Sure, Kharlamov was the fastest, but did he really have the physical stamina to produce at the same rate? The Russian defensemen were slick puckmovers, but could they handle the beatings of everyday NHL? The common argument is citing international play, but there are a couple of obvious fallacies. First and foremost, the NHL players chosen for the international tournaments weren't representative of the NHL talent; they were mostly skilled players who played a finesse game, but the lineup was not reflective of an average NHL team which contained two to three defensive, physical players at a minimum. Conversely, an average Russian team wasn't nearly as fast as the team that played against Canada. The data set is skewed and NOT reflective of play -- sure it offers a small model, but no true weight can be put on that. The second flaw is the limited number of games - they certainly aren't enough to justify true quantitative analysis; it falls under the same problem many current NHLers face - Ovechkin and Crosby, in particular. Neither has played enough games, but certainly if we only looked at a limited sample, they SHOULD be much higher along the list.

Ultimately, there isn't a true objective way to judge players. Personally, I would take Mikhailov over all the other forwards, because I think he has a game that would translate the best and produced at a prolific enough rate -- but even that, though it is tenable, certainly isn't 100% accurate.
Why do we need to translate their game onto NHL ice? This isn't the All-Time Draft. I realize the NHL is the best league in the world by a good margin, but this is a really Canada-centric view and is IMO exactly the kind of thing that the European posters are complaining about. Judge guys like Kharlamov for what they actually did, not what they could do in a North American setting.

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08-31-2010, 10:57 AM
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The point is that in his NHL career and only his NHL career it was very uneventful. Was he good yes but honestly in those years that he played in the NHL he was not the top player that you are making him out to be. He still had the skill no question but at the time he just was not in the top tier players. He was not the best at his position. Also I notice that no one brings up his playoff futility. Except of course with the Sharks in 1994 which was the exception. If he was so great like you are trying to make him out during those years then I think he would have performed better in the playoffs. Or do playoffs not count?
Jesus Christ man, I'm not rating Makarov based on what he did in the NHL after the Soviet league considered him finished. I'm pointing out to those who harp on how awful he was in the NHL, that despite having to adjust to a completely new style of play, he was among the best players of his age group. That isn't impressive?

As for the playoffs, he was in them 4 times. 6 assists and no goals in 6 games as a 31 year old, clearly not adjusted to the North American game yet. Only played 3 games as a 32 year old, pretty sure he was injured. Then the great run with San Jose as a 35 year old, leading the team in playoff goals. Then as a 36 year old, he was bad, but by that time he was clearly finished and retired following the playoffs.

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08-31-2010, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by steve141 View Post
While I agree about Kharlamov, I don't understand your general reasoning. Why would there have to be a consensus best Russian player to put him in the top 20? We are not ranking based on affirmative action here, picking one player from each country. If a player is good enough he is good enough regardless of how good his countrymen were. Would Tretiak suddenly become a less deserving goaltender if Hasek was also Russian? Who is the consensus best Habs player?
If he can't stand out over other Russians, how would he be a Top 10 or Top 20 player of all time?

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I think it's also possible to turn that argument around. How can we justify Howie Morenz at 11th as a no-brainer pick over Makarov at 61? Morenz didn't dominate his peers more. He didn't have a longer prime. He didn't win more awards.

Canadian Press named Morenz the best player before 1950. Makarov was the best Soviet player ever. To rank Morenz at 11th and Makarov at 61th you'd have to rank the competitiveness of the really early NHL way above the 80s Russian league. I'm not sure that's right.

I never saw Morenz play, but based on external factors I don't see how anyone can justify one being ranked 50 spots above the other.
Because Morenz was widely considered the best forward of the NHL's first 50 years, and despite what you're trying to say, there is far from a consensus that Makarov was the best Soviet ever. Most Russians who saw them all rank Fetisov, Tretiak, and especially Kharlamov higher.

Honestly, it's possible that it is Russians themselves who are underrating Makarov.

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08-31-2010, 11:09 AM
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Makarov is not the best soviet player ever. Kharlamov and Fetisov are, followed by Tretiak. Makarov is more in the Firsov/Mikhailov level. Makarov may have won more individual awards in the soviet league, but largely my Russian friends tell me that was because by the time Makarov was taking over the team Tikhonov pillaged every other team to stack the red Army team and focus on working them together all year round for international play.

Detailed arguments as to Howie Morenz's placement can be found in the thread.
I've been wondering for a long time, just what is it that makes Fetisov better than Makarov? Their awards and dominance over peers at their respective positions is about equal.

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08-31-2010, 11:12 AM
  #89
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Originally Posted by Dark Shadows View Post
Makarov is not the best soviet player ever. Kharlamov and Fetisov are, followed by Tretiak. Makarov is more in the Firsov/Mikhailov level. Makarov may have won more individual awards in the soviet league, but largely my Russian friends tell me that was because by the time Makarov was taking over the team Tikhonov pillaged every other team to stack the red Army team and focus on working them together all year round for international play.
So there is Kharlamov and Fetisov level, then Tretiak level, followed by Firsov, Mikhailov and Makarov level? Is it somehow official? Well, I trust my beloved old Finnish pros who played against Firsov, Kharlamov, Mikhailov and who say that Firsov was the man.

Sometimes I feel that those Russians are drunk! Owning now a decent collection of old Soviet hockey games, I really don't know what more Makarov could have done. He dominated the Soviet league. He dominated international competition, including best-on-best. The statistics and my eyes tell that. Mikhailov is my #2 favourite player of all-time, but there's no way Mikhailov was as good as Makarov, and I'm not talking about their styles of play now.


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08-31-2010, 11:18 AM
  #90
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe;27596835[B
]Jesus Christ man, I'm not rating Makarov based on what he did in the NHL after the Soviet league considered him finished[/B]. I'm pointing out to those who harp on how awful he was in the NHL, that despite having to adjust to a completely new style of play, he was among the best players of his age group. That isn't impressive?

As for the playoffs, he was in them 4 times. 6 assists and no goals in 6 games as a 31 year old, clearly not adjusted to the North American game yet. Only played 3 games as a 32 year old, pretty sure he was injured. Then the great run with San Jose as a 35 year old, leading the team in playoff goals. Then as a 36 year old, he was bad, but by that time he was clearly finished and retired following the playoffs.
This is really explains how good he were. He was done in Russia and yet were good enough to put up 86 points in his first year. Thats a very good transition for a 30+ year old (I think he was 31?).

I would also say that he was the best in his age group together with Gartner and Broten in his first season.

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08-31-2010, 11:26 AM
  #91
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Why do we need to translate their game onto NHL ice? This isn't the All-Time Draft. I realize the NHL is the best league in the world by a good margin, but this is a really Canada-centric view and is IMO exactly the kind of thing that the European posters are complaining about. Judge guys like Kharlamov for what they actually did, not what they could do in a North American setting.
Translate their game onto NHL ice. One of the consequences of comparing to the NHL game.

That the European poster complain is one issue. That they have never produced a European Top 100 is another issue and goes to how seriously they should be viewed. Presently European hockey has a rich and extensive international history that goes back to at least the late 1940's in most instances and further in others. The European posters had much greater exposure to international and league play of European stars from at least the 1970's onwards.

Put together a Top 100 list of past and recent European greats and we can look at fascinating comparisons.More productive than the endless efforts of some trying to spin their favourite up a notch or two against NHL centric competition.Do this and discusions about the NHL vs Olympic sized rink, style, defensive schemes, coaching , training, etc will become meaningful.

Judging Kharlamov by what he actually did? In the present context, without extensive comparables about what he actually did against what level of competition leaves a very limited view based on a rather small sampling of games against NHL competion. Even comparing Kharlamov to Makarov in this light is filled with faults since the way the Soviets toured and played NHL teams changed in the interum between their eras. With European centric comparables the discussion would advance.

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08-31-2010, 11:27 AM
  #92
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Why do we need to translate their game onto NHL ice? This isn't the All-Time Draft. I realize the NHL is the best league in the world by a good margin, but this is a really Canada-centric view and is IMO exactly the kind of thing that the European posters are complaining about. Judge guys like Kharlamov for what they actually did, not what they could do in a North American setting.
This. We don't ask how Bobby Clarke's game would have translated onto Soviet league ice, do we? What's the point in speculating about how this player or that player would have adapted to a foreign atmosphere? I mean, Sergei Makarov did very well in the NHL and Vladimir Krutov did not - does that make Makarov a much better player than Krutov? Well, many argue that Makarov was already better than Krutov before they joined the NHL, but surely not by the large margin that seperated them in the 1989/1990 season.
The Soviets and the Europeans went head to head with NHL players often enough during the 70's and 80's: Summit Series, Canada Cup, Super Series, even at World Championships. Judge them on their performances at said stages, not on how their game possibly would have translated onto NHL ice.

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08-31-2010, 11:29 AM
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For my money, Makarov is the best soviet forward ever and possibly even the best overall player. Did more than Kharlamov, who seems to get legendary points (not unlike Maurice Richard) but in the end Makarov was simply better and more effective player. Dr. Ludek Bukac certainly ranks Makarov very highly, saying he is a player that has no peers and comparing him to Gretzky. I would definitely take Makarov over Morenz any day.

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08-31-2010, 11:42 AM
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For my money, Makarov is the best soviet forward ever and possibly even the best overall player. Did more than Kharlamov, who seems to get legendary points (not unlike Maurice Richard) but in the end Makarov was simply better and more effective player. Dr. Ludek Bukac certainly ranks Makarov very highly, saying he is a player that has no peers and comparing him to Gretzky.
Amen.

Kharlamov was always more popular player, maybe partly because he was the 1st one to make Canadian pros look silly and prove that the Russians could compete with them (I'm thinking of g1 of the '72 series), and his untimely death has cemented his legend, almost to the point where you feel stupid to even suggest that he wasn't necessarily the best player after all.

Have seen many many games with both players, and Makarov just impresses me more


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08-31-2010, 11:49 AM
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Amen.

Kharlamov was always more popular player, maybe partly because he was the 1st one to make Canadian proffs look silly and prove that the Russians could compete with them (I'm thinking of g1 of the '72 series), and his untimely death has cemented his legend, almost to the point where you feel stupid to even suggest that he wasn't necessarily the best player after all.

Have seen many many games with both players, and Makarov just impresses me more
Makarov certainly has the statistics and personal trophies to back up his case. If we judged the Soviets like we do Canadians, we'd consider Makarov their best forward ever by a pretty wide margin.

The case for Kharlamov over Makarov seems to rest on two assumptions:

1) The Red Army team was much more stacked in the 80s than the 70s, so Makarov's totals are inflated. (Counter-argument: But Makarov outscored his linemates to a much greater extent than Kharlamov did to his).

2) The traditional Soviet-style of hockey was very collectivist and discouraged individualism. So individual talents like Kharlamov were "held back." After seeing Bobby Orr dominate in the 1976 Canada Cup, the Soviets loosened the strings on their individual talents like Fetisov and Makarov, allowing them to stand out more.

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08-31-2010, 11:59 AM
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Translate their game onto NHL ice. One of the consequences of comparing to the NHL game.

That the European poster complain is one issue. That they have never produced a European Top 100 is another issue and goes to how seriously they should be viewed. Presently European hockey has a rich and extensive international history that goes back to at least the late 1940's in most instances and further in others. The European posters had much greater exposure to international and league play of European stars from at least the 1970's onwards.

Put together a Top 100 list of past and recent European greats and we can look at fascinating comparisons.More productive than the endless efforts of some trying to spin their favourite up a notch or two against NHL centric competition.Do this and discusions about the NHL vs Olympic sized rink, style, defensive schemes, coaching , training, etc will become meaningful.

Judging Kharlamov by what he actually did? In the present context, without extensive comparables about what he actually did against what level of competition leaves a very limited view based on a rather small sampling of games against NHL competion. Even comparing Kharlamov to Makarov in this light is filled with faults since the way the Soviets toured and played NHL teams changed in the interum between their eras. With European centric comparables the discussion would advance.
Compared to North Americans? I'm not sure if you're comparing with the HOH-top 100 list since that's supposed to be an international list.

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08-31-2010, 12:01 PM
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There have been many cases when death makes people better (or even more legendary) than they actually were.

Some examples from music:

Cliff Burton was considered a very good bass player. He died tragically in 1986 and he instantly became the greatest bassist of all time and heart and soul of Metallica.

Pantera's guitarist Dimebag Darrell was considered as solid musician. He dies and once again he becomes "the greatest".

Same thing with Kharlamov. Legend is bigger than a man himself.

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08-31-2010, 12:09 PM
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Makarov certainly has the statistics and personal trophies to back up his case. If we judged the Soviets like we do Canadians, we'd consider Makarov their best forward ever by a pretty wide margin.
I'd say Kharlamov had slightly better peak (1972-76), but even then he wasn't exactly blowing away the competition (neither in points & awards), was he? And Makarov had much better longevity; he was basically a top 1-3 Soviet forward from 20 to 30 - according to Tikhonov, he was already the best player as a 20-year old at the 1979 World Championships (and he got - along with a couple of other players -his 1st 'best forward' award then).

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08-31-2010, 12:30 PM
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The great soviets has to be judged based on what you saw. I never saw Kharlamov, Firsov, etc live but I saw the KLM-line plenty with Fetisov and Kasatonov. And I have to say that this is the best line I ever saw, including the NHL. And my father say that Kharlamov-lines were better or just as good.

Based on that its hard to judge them individually but as a team they rank at the top in my book.

/Cheers

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Old
08-31-2010, 01:15 PM
  #100
steve141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
If he can't stand out over other Russians, how would he be a Top 10 or Top 20 player of all time?
I don't understand your point. It's not like we are not allowed to put more than one Russian on the list. There are four other Habs above Lafleur in the current top 20. That he doesn't stand out over other Habs players does not change his credentials one bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Because Morenz was widely considered the best forward of the NHL's first 50 years, and despite what you're trying to say, there is far from a consensus that Makarov was the best Soviet ever. Most Russians who saw them all rank Fetisov, Tretiak, and especially Kharlamov higher.

Honestly, it's possible that it is Russians themselves who are underrating Makarov.
There is no consensus best Canadian player either. Most people have Gretzky as number one, but we all know that there are several reasonable people who would rather pick Orr, Howe or Lemieux instead.

He doesn't have to be the consensus best Russian to be high on the list. He has to be better than the other people currently in the high end spots of the list. From watching him play, and from all his awards and great statistics I think he is comparable to the players in the 20-25 range: Lafleur, Esposito, Clarke, Messier, Jagr, Trottier.

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