I don't really buy that argument about modern skaters not being as good as old time skaters. Throwing out technology and the "watering down" of the league, today's players spend a lot of time taking power skating classes which are all about mobility, transitions, tight turns, crossovers, proper stride, etc. That specialized training really started after the Soviets were winning with their style in the 1970's.
Whether or not today's skaters use that agility as much in a faster game doesn't mean that the skaters can't execute those maneuvers, especially if you throw out the handful of sideshow goons like Boogaard.
100% correct. On the whole, it's ridiculous to think NHLers of the past were better skaters.....especially those of 30+ years ago.
With the money invested in players today, they are expected to be athletes in every sense of the word. This means year-round training with help of the latest in sports science and advanced equipment. It's incomprehensible that there be a regression in skating.
Edit: The game today is also 'globalized' and players are more prepared and aware of what it takes (skating wise) to perform on the big ice......a style where there's more time and space available and generally demands more diversity in ones skating.
Although I hate to say, improved overall strength and conditioning put todays players head and shoulders above the players of eras past. In the 60's there was relatively zero emphasis placed on diet, lifestyle, off season training, versatility etc... and naturally that will equate to a reduction in cross board talents. This is all the more glaring if you're measuring two different era's using an average of players.