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Top-100 European Players of All-Time

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Old
08-31-2010, 10:08 PM
  #1
seventieslord
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Top-100 European Players of All-Time

The possibility of a top-100 list only for European players has been discussed in another thread so I thought I'd take a rather quick shot at it.

More thought will go into it towards the top than towards the bottom, when I'm sure I'll end up just throwing out names to fill it out. Prior to starting here, I'm actually wondering how easily I will be able to get to 100 without using mediocre NHL players.

The player's all-time greatness is my criteria. For players who got to the NHL, their NHL resumes are obviously considered along with their domestic achievements. Players whose NHL resumes don't exist are judged based on their performance versus other players in international play, and what the perceived values of those players were. Which means that I am attempting to place the players compared to their value compared to the very best in their time, not just the best in Europe or in the player's home country. (which explains no Vsevolov Bobrov, whom I ran out of room for quickly)

Attack me and the list if you want, I can take it. I am not an authority on all things European and I haven't seen some of these players, others I haven't seen more than some clips. I'll probably make some gaffes here and there. I am just hoping to generate some discussion.

I used the "common sense" approach to determine who counts as European - so no Stan Mikita, Dany Heatley, Johnny Gottselig, Olaf Kolzig, Steve Thomas, Owen Nolan, Steve Smith, etc.

1. Dominik Hasek
2. Nicklas Lidstrom
3. Jaromir Jagr
4. Viacheslav Fetisov
5. Vladislav Tretiak
6. Valeri Kharlamov
7. Sergei Makarov
8. Jari Kurri
9. Peter Forsberg
10. Boris Mikhailov
11. Borje Salming
12. Alexander Ovechkin
13. Sergei Fedorov
14. Valeri Vasiliev
15. Igor Larionov
16. Jiri Holecek
17. Anatoli Firsov
18. Zdeno Chara
19. Pavel Bure
20. Alexander Maltsev
21. Alexei Kasatonov
22. Vaclav Nedomansky
23. Vladimir Petrov
24. Alexander Yakushev
25. Sergei Zubov
26. Mats Sundin
27. Daniel Alfredsson
28. Vladimir Konstantinov
29. Vladimir Martinec
30. Markus Naslund
31. Esa Tikkanen
32. Jan Suchy
33. Frantisek Pospisil
34. Alexander Ragulin
35. Henrik Zetterberg
36. Pavel Datsyuk
37. Marian Hossa
38. Sergei Gonchar
39. Jere Lehtinen
40. Vladimir Lutchenko
41. Peter Bondra
42. Alexander Mogilny
43. Ulf Samuelsson
44. Mats Naslund
45. Bobby Holik
46. Ilya Kovalchuk
47. Viacheslav Starshinov
48. Teppo Numminen
49. Anders Hedberg
50. Robert Svehla
51. Stefan Persson
52. Vladimir Krutov
53. Jiri Holik
54. Lennart Svedberg
55. Lars-Erik Sjoberg
56. Ulf Nilsson
57. Helmut Balderis
58. Edward Ivanov
59. Thomas Steen
60. Tomas Kaberle
61. Milan Hejduk
62. Zigmund Palffy
63. Hakan Loob
64. Vitaly Davydov
65. Ivan Hlinka
66. Kimmo Timonen
67. Milan Novy
68. Andrei Markov
69. Reijo Ruotsalainen
70. Vladimir Shadrin
71. Viktor Kuzkin
72. Petr Svoboda
73. Kent Nilsson
74. Tomas Jonsson
75. Nikolai Sologubov
76. Jiri Bubla
77. Frantisek Tikal
78. Venjamin Alexandrov
79. Bengt Gustafsson
80. Yuri Liapkin
81. Mikka Kiprusoff
82. Gennady Tsygankov
83. Alexei Kovalev
84. Ivan Tregubov
85. Pavol Demitra
86. Vasili Pervukhin
87. Dmitri Yushkevich
88. Konstantin Loktev
89. Valeri Kamensky
90. Vincent Lukac
91. Marian Gaborik
92. Alexander Almetov
93. Alexander Gusev
94. Kenny Jonsson
95. Slava Bykov
96. Nikolai Khabibulin
97. Slava Kozlov
98. Samuel Pahlsson
99. Jozef Golonka
100. Zinetula Bilyaletdinov

Wow, I didn't run out of names at all... I ended up cutting out a lot of guys that I wanted to keep. I mean, a 500 point defenseman like Roman Hamrlik couldn't even make it. Or either of the other Stastnys. Or Jaroslav Jirik.

Discuss!


edit: names I inadvertently omitted:

Peter Stastny: Would be 8th, behind Makarov and ahead of Kurri.
Teemu Selanne: Would be 16th, behind Vasiliev and ahead of Larionov.
Patrik Elias: Would be about 35th
Evgeni Malkin: Would be 41st, behind Vladimir Lutchenko and ahead of Peter Bondra.
Calle Johansson: About 58th
Alexei Yashin: About 88th


Last edited by seventieslord: 09-01-2010 at 10:00 PM.
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Old
08-31-2010, 10:12 PM
  #2
kmad
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Teemu Selanne is a notable omission

edit:

Sven "Tumba" Johansson, Vlad Dzurilla might be worth considering

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08-31-2010, 10:16 PM
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
The possibility of a top-100 list only for European players has been discussed in another thread so I thought I'd take a rather quick shot at it.

More thought will go into it towards the top than towards the bottom, when I'm sure I'll end up just throwing out names to fill it out. Prior to starting here, I'm actually wondering how easily I will be able to get to 100 without using mediocre NHL players.

The player's all-time greatness is my criteria. For players who got to the NHL, their NHL resumes are obviously considered along with their domestic achievements. Players whose NHL resumes don't exist are judged based on their performance versus other players in international play, and what the perceived values of those players were. Which means that I am attempting to place the players compared to their value compared to the very best in their time, not just the best in Europe or in the player's home country. (which explains no Vsevolov Bobrov, whom I ran out of room for quickly)

Attack me and the list if you want, I can take it. I am not an authority on all things European and I haven't seen some of these players, others I haven't seen more than some clips. I'll probably make some gaffes here and there. I am just hoping to generate some discussion.

I used the "common sense" approach to determine who counts as European - so no Stan Mikita, Dany Heatley, Johnny Gottselig, Olaf Kolzig, Steve Thomas, Owen Nolan, Steve Smith, etc.

1. Dominik Hasek
2. Nicklas Lidstrom
3. Jaromir Jagr
4. Viacheslav Fetisov
5. Vladislav Tretiak
6. Valeri Kharlamov
7. Sergei Makarov
8. Jari Kurri
9. Peter Forsberg
10. Boris Mikhailov
11. Borje Salming
12. Alexander Ovechkin
13. Sergei Fedorov
14. Valeri Vasiliev
15. Igor Larionov
16. Jiri Holecek
17. Anatoli Firsov
18. Zdeno Chara
19. Pavel Bure
20. Alexander Maltsev
21. Alexei Kasatonov
22. Vaclav Nedomansky
23. Vladimir Petrov
24. Alexander Yakushev
25. Sergei Zubov
26. Mats Sundin
27. Daniel Alfredsson
28. Vladimir Konstantinov
29. Vladimir Martinec
30. Markus Naslund
31. Esa Tikkanen
32. Jan Suchy
33. Frantisek Pospisil
34. Alexander Ragulin
35. Henrik Zetterberg
36. Pavel Datsyuk
37. Marian Hossa
38. Sergei Gonchar
39. Jere Lehtinen
40. Vladimir Lutchenko
41. Peter Bondra
42. Alexander Mogilny
43. Ulf Samuelsson
44. Mats Naslund
45. Bobby Holik
46. Ilya Kovalchuk
47. Viacheslav Starshinov
48. Teppo Numminen
49. Anders Hedberg
50. Robert Svehla
51. Stefan Persson
52. Vladimir Krutov
53. Jiri Holik
54. Lennart Svedberg
55. Lars-Erik Sjoberg
56. Ulf Nilsson
57. Helmut Balderis
58. Edward Ivanov
59. Thomas Steen
60. Tomas Kaberle
61. Milan Hejduk
62. Zigmund Palffy
63. Hakan Loob
64. Vitaly Davydov
65. Ivan Hlinka
66. Kimmo Timonen
67. Milan Novy
68. Andrei Markov
69. Reijo Ruotsalainen
70. Vladimir Shadrin
71. Viktor Kuzkin
72. Petr Svoboda
73. Kent Nilsson
74. Tomas Jonsson
75. Nikolai Sologubov
76. Jiri Bubla
77. Frantisek Tikal
78. Venjamin Alexandrov
79. Bengt Gustafsson
80. Yuri Liapkin
81. Mikka Kiprusoff
82. Gennady Tsygankov
83. Alexei Kovalev
84. Ivan Tregubov
85. Pavol Demitra
86. Vasili Pervukhin
87. Dmitri Yushkevich
88. Konstantin Loktev
89. Valeri Kamensky
90. Vincent Lukac
91. Marian Gaborik
92. Alexander Almetov
93. Alexander Gusev
94. Kenny Jonsson
95. Slava Bykov
96. Nikolai Khabibulin
97. Slava Kozlov
98. Samuel Pahlsson
99. Jozef Golonka
100. Zinetula Bilyaletdinov

Wow, I didn't run out of names at all... I ended up cutting out a lot of guys that I wanted to keep. I mean, a 500 point defenseman like Roman Hamrlik couldn't even make it. Or either of the other Stastnys. Or Jaroslav Jirik.

Discuss!
Man, Jungosi will be pissed. Udo Kiessling can certainly find a way in this list. As do Eirich Kunnhachckl (spelling issues...)

Does Bad Joe Hall fits the nonsense category?

And I'm not sure if it's right to consider Hamrlik behind Svoboda at this point. However, Hamrlik has a claim to the dubious title of worst playoff player ever, so it might be a good idea to leave him off this list.

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08-31-2010, 10:17 PM
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Some of the discrepancies seem odd(at least with players I recognize)... I don't know that Timonen should be so far ahead of Kiprusoff or Demitra.

I'd definitely leave Pahlsson off the list in favor of another Swede/Czech/Soviet legend.

And I think Kent Nilsson needs to be higher.

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08-31-2010, 10:21 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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No Selanne or Stastny? Just an oversight, I'm sure.

Great effort.

Two guys that stand out as players I'd rate higher are Milan Novy and Lennart Svedberg. I know Svedberg had a short career, but I've heard him talked about as the Paul Coffey of Sweden during his heyday. I believe Novy had great success in the Czech domestic league (Golden Stick/MVP I think), but perhaps I'm overrating the quality of that league in the late 70's. I don't know if I'd have Suchy and Chara that far apart either.

Eager to hear some critique from the European posters in here. Some players are rated much higher on their own continent and vice versa relative to others.

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08-31-2010, 10:23 PM
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I'd consider Mattias Ohlund for the list. He should at least be on par with a guy like Kimmo Timonen .. definitely somewhere between Markov and Svoboda.

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08-31-2010, 10:24 PM
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Oh...
While he's something of a marginal in a european Top-100, Ivan Boldirev deserves to be considered.

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08-31-2010, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stank Mahovlich View Post
Teemu Selanne is a notable omission

edit:

Sven "Tumba" Johansson, Vlad Dzurilla might be worth considering
You are right, completely forgot Selanne. I would put him 15th, ahead of Larionov.

Johansson and Dzurilla, I just plain ran out of room for. It was tough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MXD View Post
Man, Jungosi will be pissed. Udo Kiessling can certainly find a way in this list. As do Eirich Kunnhachckl (spelling issues...)

Does Bad Joe Hall fits the nonsense category?

And I'm not sure if it's right to consider Hamrlik behind Svoboda at this point. However, Hamrlik has a claim to the dubious title of worst playoff player ever, so it might be a good idea to leave him off this list.
Hall would fit in the nonsense category.

Kiessling and Kuhnhackl I simply ran out of room for.

Svoboda seems to be more popular with other people than he is with me. But the guy keeps finding a way to be an ATD staple, and Hamrlik is lucky if he gets selected in the MLD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stank Mahovlich View Post
Some of the discrepancies seem odd(at least with players I recognize)... I don't know that Timonen should be so far ahead of Kiprusoff or Demitra.

I'd definitely leave Pahlsson off the list in favor of another Swede/Czech/Soviet legend.

And I think Kent Nilsson needs to be higher.
I thought I was generous to Nilsson... he brought so, so little beyond offense.

I am definitely higher on Timonen than Kipper or Demitra. I think he's had more elite seasons than either.

Pahlsson was a legitimate Conn Smythe candidate, and I highly respect his defensive ability. I realize that he is there in favour of other guys who were bigger "stars" but I think he provided more value overall - depends what your preference is, I guess.

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08-31-2010, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
No Selanne or Stastny? Just an oversight, I'm sure.

Great effort.

Two guys that stand out as players I'd rate higher are Milan Novy and Lennart Svedberg. I know Svedberg had a short career, but I've heard him talked about as the Paul Coffey of Sweden during his heyday. I believe Novy had great success in the Czech domestic league (Golden Stick/MVP I think), but perhaps I'm overrating the quality of that league in the late 70's. I don't know if I'd have Suchy and Chara that far apart either.

Eager to hear some critique from the European posters in here. Some players are rated much higher on their own continent and vice versa relative to others.
Stastny was absolutely an oversight. I'd actually put him in that 8th spot after Makarov.

I looked long and hard at Novy last ATD, but I ended up taking Rick MacLeish over him. I was a little unimpressed by his NHL stint, and he didn't seem to be much more than a scorer. But I'd like to hear what others say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stank Mahovlich View Post
I'd consider Mattias Ohlund for the list. He should at least be on par with a guy like Kimmo Timonen .. definitely somewhere between Markov and Svoboda.
I had Ohlund there, I thought I'd have room, but eventually he just fell off the bottom...

I'm starting to think I put Svoboda way too high.... Maybe Ohlund is better, but maybe that doesn't necessarily mean he belongs

Quote:
Originally Posted by MXD View Post
Oh...
While he's something of a marginal in a european Top-100, Ivan Boldirev deserves to be considered.
He's more of a one-dimensional compiler forward who wasn't really a difference maker long-term. He'd fall into the Kovalev category for me, but just not as good. I have no room!

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08-31-2010, 10:31 PM
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evgeni malkin is not on your list? Ovechkin should be moved up

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08-31-2010, 10:34 PM
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evgeni malkin is not on your list? Ovechkin should be moved up
You are right, Malkin should be there.... forgot him too.

I've edited the OP with the three omissions.

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08-31-2010, 10:36 PM
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Tomas Plekanec?

Seriously, you're right for Boldirev. Kept comparing him with Kamensky, and, well, Kamensky had decent playoffs, which makes him a Top-100 IMO, cause otherwise, he just doesn't deserve, and two good years with the CSKA doesn't make you a Top-100 sureshot.

If anything, Boldirev's best comparable could very well be Robert Lang, and Lang deserves as much to be there as Anton Stastny.

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08-31-2010, 10:37 PM
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Sven 'Tumba' Johansson should arguably be in before half of the Swedes on there. Surely he's a lock for a list such as this?

SEL 121gp (267g+79a) 306p
World Championships 76gp (62g+25a) 87p
Olympics 21gp (18g+4a) 26p

Those were different times but that's an unreal level of dominance.

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08-31-2010, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MXD View Post
Tomas Plekanec?

Seriously, you're right for Boldirev. Kept comparing him with Kamensky, and, well, Kamensky had decent playoffs, which makes him a Top-100 IMO, cause otherwise, he just doesn't deserve, and two good years with the CSKA doesn't make you a Top-100 sureshot.

If anything, Boldirev's best comparable could very well be Robert Lang, and Lang deserves as much to be there as Anton Stastny.
I would put Boldirev ahead of Lang, but behind Stastny, and like you said, Stastny ain't there.

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08-31-2010, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Pentothal View Post
Sven 'Tumba' Johansson should be in before half of the Swedes on there. Surely he's a lock for a list such as this?

SEL 121gp (267g79a) 306p
World Championships 76gp (62g+25a) 87p
Olympics 21gp (18g+4a) 26p

Those were different times but that's an unreal level of dominance.
I know, I know, I feel bad for leaving him out. But it was just the era. I'm not sure that the best swedish players of the 1950s were NHL-caliber, and the NHL players who made this list were/are stars.

It's not just the swedes though. I ran out of room for Bobrov and Sologubov too...

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08-31-2010, 10:40 PM
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Another worth discussing, and probably a little better : Nikolai Drozdetsky.

Hard to rank, though.

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08-31-2010, 10:42 PM
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Another worth discussing, and probably a little better : Nikolai Drozdetsky.

Hard to rank, though.
Agree that he's hard to rank.

From 70th and on, I think the forwards are "MLD top line" caliber. I don't think Drozdetsky is quite there. He didn't make the grade for me when I was researching last MLD. I would have him behind Vikulov, Shalimov and Zhluktov, and I couldn't make room for them, either.

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08-31-2010, 10:45 PM
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This is a great list. Ohlund should definitely be on--was a legitimate top-15 defenseman in the NHL for a good long period and was better than Jonsson or Yushkevich. (His Norris voting record is unjustifiably low--probably because he played the sort of defensive game that's hard to appreciate--but it still beats out those two.)

At this point the Sedins have earned spots as well--at minimum, they've certainly had a bigger impact on the game than Valeri Kamensky, and I'd put them higher still, though I'm not sure exactly where.

Edit: Would also add Tomas Sandstrom above Kamensky and Slava Kozlov. First-line agitator who was, at his best, arguably more talented than even Tikkanen, though injuries held him back (he could've had a shot at a few 100 point seasons had he stayed healthy).


Last edited by Dissonance: 08-31-2010 at 10:50 PM.
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08-31-2010, 10:54 PM
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This is a great list. Ohlund should definitely be on--was a legitimate top-15 defenseman in the NHL for a good long period and was better than Jonsson or Yushkevich. (His Norris voting record is unjustifiably low--probably because he played the sort of defensive game that's hard to appreciate--but it still beats out those two.)

At this point the Sedins have earned spots as well--at minimum, they've certainly had a bigger impact on the game than Valeri Kamensky, and I'd put them higher still, though I'm not sure exactly where.

Edit: Would also add Tomas Sandstrom above Kamensky and Slava Kozlov. First-line agitator who was, at his best, arguably more talented than even Tikkanen, though injuries held him back (he could've had a shot at a few 100 point seasons had he stayed healthy).
OK, I might be convinced on Ohlund. He was a last minute omission but you are right that he had a better peak than either Jonsson or Yushkevich and he didn't lack longevity, either.

You are right about the Sedins... completely forgot them. Not sure I can fit in Daniel, but Henrik should be there for sure. At least higher than Kovalev.

Sandstrom was also a last minute omission. Now that you mention it, you are probably right about him too. Kozlov's clutch playoff record was a big bonus because other than that, a lot of unmentioned players would beat him on paper.

FWIW, Sandstrom is an ATD 4th line staple and Kamensky and Kozlov play on MLD scoring lines, so more people seem to side with Sandstrom than those two.

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08-31-2010, 11:14 PM
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Completely Forgot

Looks like the completely forgot list will be longer than the actual list.

Happens when your ego is such that you have to jump the line and make the exercise about yourself instead of getting the list launched properly with full participation.

Time for the popcorn and a cold one. Sit back and enjoy the laughs.

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08-31-2010, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Looks like the completely forgot list will be longer than the actual list.

Happens when your ego is such that you have to jump the line and make the exercise about yourself instead of getting the list launched properly with full participation.

Time for the popcorn and a cold one. Sit back and enjoy the laughs.
Note to the OP, ignore this guy. List is solid and provides good discussion.

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08-31-2010, 11:20 PM
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Very good list as a starting point, but I'd definitely make a few changes:

-Firsov definitely needs to be higher. I see no justification for Larionov over Firsov. I'd even have him over Mikhailov. To me, he is one of 5 Soviets who has a case for best Soviet of all-time. His career overlapped with Kharlamov, so this isn't a Bobrov we are talking about.

-Martinec should be over Nedomansky, or at least right behind him. Martinec was considered the better player in the Czech league, and it's not like Nedomansky exactly tore up the NHL. Or maybe they should be one right after the other, since there is often an argument as to who was better.

-I think Holecek should be closer to Tretiak too - at minimum, I'd put him over Larionov, who was arguably the 3rd best member of KLM.

-I'd have both Suchy and Pospisil over Zubov (can you tell I like the 70s Czechs more than you do?). Whether or not they are over Zubov, I feel they definitely should be over Konstantinov.

-I really can't see any justification for Yakushev over Martinec.

-Mogilny was definitely better than Bondra, and it isn't close. For that matter, Kovalchuk is probably ahead of Bondra by now.

-It's hard for me to see Starshinov as being worse than Bobby Holik. He was the 2nd best Soviet (after Firsov) in the late 60s, and really wasn't that far behind Firsov.

-Krutov is so hard to rate, but if you look at his peak (and assume it's not because of the juice), it's hard to rank him below the likes of Mogilny and Bondra and especially Svehla.

-Bilyaletdinov needs to be much higher - when they talked about the 3 Soviet defensemen who could be stars in the NHL, they were talking about Fetisov, Kasatonov, and Bilyaletdinov. Pervukhin was definitely considered a step below Bilyaletdinov. In fact, I'd definitely rate him over Liapkin.

-Agree that Dzurilla needs to be on the list somewhere. He wasn't considered that much worse than Holecek.

-In a Euro-only vacuum, Malacek, Bobrov, and Zabrodsky would have to be on the list, but compared to North American contemporaries, they fall short. I'd be tempted to include them, since it is a list of Euros only. I have no idea where.

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08-31-2010, 11:39 PM
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kmad
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
-Krutov is so hard to rate, but if you look at his peak (and assume it's not because of the juice),
Not to sidetrack the discussion, but I haven't heard of this. Krutov was into roids?

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08-31-2010, 11:45 PM
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Very good list as a starting point, but I'd definitely make a few changes:

-Firsov definitely needs to be higher. I see no justification for Larionov over Firsov. I'd even have him over Mikhailov. To me, he is one of 5 Soviets who has a case for best Soviet of all-time. His career overlapped with Kharlamov, so this isn't a Bobrov we are talking about.

-It's hard for me to see Starshinov as being worse than Bobby Holik. He was the 2nd best Soviet (after Firsov) in the late 60s, and really wasn't that far behind Firsov.

.
I'd like to see the argument for that -- nothing I've read suggests that Firsov is a top notch player. He's a player that I haven't had the luxury of watching, but stats/anecdotes are nothing to write home about. Hell, I'm pretty sure the argument claiming Starshinov as SUBSTANTIALLY better than Firsov holds a lot of merit.

Additionally, in regards to the list, there really isn't justification of Yakushev and Shadrin being so high; I understand why people regard them as such great players, but if that is assumed true, Balderis needs to be higher.

And, personally, I see Ruotsalainen a lot higher than where you have him listed -- he dominated the Finnish league.


Last edited by duck: 09-01-2010 at 12:07 AM.
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09-01-2010, 12:22 AM
  #25
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I don't understand the love for Vladimir Lutchenko; no way he should be ahead of Starshinov and Krutov, for example. I'd put him somewhere with the other 'non-Vasiliev' Soviet Dmen of the Seventies like Tsygankov and Lyapkin. I don't think he stood out much from the others.

Ivan Hlinka should be definitely higher IMO; it's fair to say that he was the best Czechoslovak player in 1978-79 (Golden Hockey Stick in 1978, top CSSR scorer in both 1978 and 1979 WHC), for what it's worth, and he was an efficient and reliable key player for CSSR throughout the Seventies. I don't see any justification for Jiri Holik being above him - I really can't; Holik played more games in the Czechoslovak national team, that's about the only thing. Hlinka still has clearly better PPG numbers, and was far more impressive physical presence.

I wouldn't have Yakushev so high, but I understand that it's the 'North American' view, which is fair enough. Also, I would never have Mikhailov over Firsov, but I guess I'm pretty alone with that one.

Anyway, thanks for the effort!


Last edited by VMBM: 09-01-2010 at 03:22 AM. Reason: grammar
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