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Was the game really much better 25 years ago?

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Old
06-05-2004, 10:53 AM
  #26
colonel_korn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PecaFan
We're reading the original post differently then. The original post repeatedly talks about the poor skill levels of the players, they just float around, there's no intensity, the goalies can't stop anything, the defencemen can't cover their men, etc.

Seems to be directly questioning the talent, not the entertainment to me. Guess only Korn knows for sure.
Heh, well honestly I'm not sure if I had one of those specific questions in mind when I started the thread. I was just giving my reaction when I see clips from the old days and wondering whether that was a fair reaction. Any discussion that spins off from that is A-ok with me.

Lots of interesting comments so far btw.

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06-05-2004, 11:02 AM
  #27
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It is hard to judge era to era, but one thing is certain: Bobby Orr could have played and dominated in any era. I really wish he had come along a few years later when medicine was advanced and they could have saved his career. Knee surgery in the 70s was like turkey carving today. He could have played into his 40s if he had come along 5-10 years later, plus we would have had the bonus of seeing him and Gretzky or Lekieux go head to head.

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06-05-2004, 11:36 AM
  #28
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Perhaps we have only the talent of the players to blame for the increasingly-defensive systems of the NHL. I mean, there is no doubt in my mind that Gretzky could have put even close to those kind of numbers up today.

It's not just coaching. Defensemen right now are some of the best-conditioned guys on the ice, and it's so competative on bluelines these days, you have to be very, very good on even some of the poorest teams to make the NHL.

Goaltenders move laterally so.. SO much better. I mean, it's ridiculous almost. It's the equipment too here, but they move so much quicker. The butterfly too has caused a lot of this.

There are more than one or two things here to 'blame' for the defensive era of hockey we're in. However, I would argue that hockey now is just as entertaining as it was in the past, and I saw plenty of hockey from the 80's and early 90's.

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06-05-2004, 11:39 AM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier
Dare anyone prematurely proclaim the "next Michael Jordan", "the next Babe Ruth"? Only the misguided, IMO. Same applies here.
You're not calling Art Williams misguided, are you Trots?

I agree though. For example, I'm sure many of you have seen me post how great I think Kovalchuk could be, but I do not say he'll be the 'Next Lemieux' or 'Next one' etc.., mostly because I think we can't readily do that until the player has hit his prime.

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06-05-2004, 01:49 PM
  #30
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I watched the 1983 All Star Game, and I dunno if it was just a crappy game... but man it was boring, the players couldn't make a pass, and the goalies were horrible. It seemed like any shot would go in.

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06-05-2004, 02:00 PM
  #31
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No need to go back 25 years. It was better 10 years ago.

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Old
06-05-2004, 02:15 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arrbez
hockey has moved from an art to a science.

Anyone been to a goaltending camp lately...they'll teach angles using a puck with four strings connected to the four corners on the net. The focus is on minimizing movement...by coming out to a certain point the shooter can only hope to shoot it through you...yet, you're still in the net enough to go post-post with ease.

I never thought i'd see goaltending reduced to geometry. It really opened my eyes to the science behind the position.

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Old
06-05-2004, 02:51 PM
  #33
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that's why i quit rep hockey (i'm a goalie). i just like doing my own thing and stacking the pads whenever it seems like a fun thing to do

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Old
06-05-2004, 03:09 PM
  #34
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No comparison of today vs 20-25 years ago IMO. The hockey then was simply better in every way. Today you cannot even see a goal hit the net because the goalies are so huge and the system of teams are structured because of no cap to spread the talent so most choose to play conservative. (Sorry Trotts)

Only downside in the old days was a horrible Western Conference for years that forced league playoffs after expansion St Louis was bounced three years in
a row in which the Orr goal was part of. Changing the playoff format brought the league some great finals and made the game more popular. Chicago was the only origional team from the west to make a final after StLouis. Between team usa getting the gold and New York winning the cup in 1980, the game grew even more.

Isles-Flyers still hold the network television record for game six in 1980.

Atlanta went from a non-playoff team in the East to a top cup contender simply by moving to Calgary. A weak conference made Gretzky's Oilers and most of the records they set because a lot of those teams were AHL caliber. When the playoff formats were changed back to conference in 1982, Edmonton had their opening and an easy road (after Calgary) to the finals where they met teams that had to go thru wars to get back to the finals (Islanders) or into the finals. (Philadelphia-Boston-Montreal)

In the mid-90's I think the West finally caught up to the East in terms of several good teams in the conference. Start with Wings-Devils 1995. Wings, Avs, Dallas became the standard of dominace out West and now there are several excellent Western Conference teams.


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Old
06-05-2004, 03:16 PM
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYIsles1
No comparison of today vs 20-25 years ago IMO. The hockey then was simply better in every way. Today you cannot even see a goal hit the net because the goalies are so huge and the system of teams are structured because of no cap to spread the talent so most choose to play conservative. (Sorry Trotts)
I think on the other hand that the system they're using now would not have worked 20-25 years ago simply because the average players were not good enough to make it work.

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06-05-2004, 03:16 PM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colonel_korn
Those who watched Game 5 on CBC might have caught Don Cherry's Coach's Corner segment where he had the Bobby Orr montage that ran for a few minutes. As skilled as Orr was (and I'm not trying to take anything away from him here), I have to say that the level of competition back then just seemed to be way, way down from what it is today. Maybe it's just because Orr made everyone else look bad, but honestly there seemed to be very little intensity. A lot of the skaters just seem to be floating around, and the goalies just kind of wave at slapshots from the blueline that go by them or right through their pads.

I didn't start watching hockey til the early 90s so I haven't seen any actual games from the era, but every time I see footage from the 70's and early 80's I have the same reaction. The forwards don't really look out of place, but most of the defensemen don't seem to have any idea how to cover their men effectively. And the goaltenders...don't get me started. Like I said, they just seem to wave at pucks and get regularly beaten by weak shots that pretty much any goalie in the league would have today. I don't think you can just blame it on the equipment either. I'm willing to bet that if you took pretty much any #1 goalie in the league and had him play in that era with the old equipment, he'd still shine just because his positioning and fundamentals would be so much more solid.

Anyways, am I completely out to lunch here? I can't help but think that my view might be jaundiced a bit just because the hilights I have seen have been of guys like Orr, Gretzky, whoever making most players on the other side look bad. Still, I'm interested in hearing from the posters here who were able to watch hockey in that era. Do you think it's fair to say that the level of intensity and skill in the NHL today is greater than it was 25 or 30 years ago? Does the footage from that era really accurately reflect what the game was like?
Hockey in the days was Gold, today hockey is taking the fast lane down the toilet, I have about enough of hockey!

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06-05-2004, 03:32 PM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent_TheGreat
Hockey in the days was Gold, today hockey is taking the fast lane down the toilet, I have about enough of hockey!
Don't want to be harsh on anything but what are you doing here if hockey is not your thing anymore ?

-------------------------------------------------------------

As for the subject :

I'm 30 years old, I remember watching hockey in 1983-84. Before that it's blurry.

Hockey was more exciting back then because we saw more offensive play. When you are young or just a simple hockey amateur, offense is everything you are looking for to love this sports.

The thing that I hate the most about the 1980's hockey is how many goals were scored that was a given by the goalie. They were very poor at the time. You know the goal Pavel Datsyuk scored over Marty Turco this year. We saw a lot of goal like this but sounds even worst because the goalie look like he was outside the net & the players only need to push the puck. Today's to see a Pavel Datsyuk's kind of goal, it's a true sing of greatness because Marty Turco is not a POOR goalie like the '80s.

Also how many goals we scored from the center of the ice, it's almost a shame today when it's happening but just in the '80s it happen very often.

Hey it's not a knock on Gretzky but how many goal does he scored with a not so fast shot but still getting it because the goalie just didn't look ready ?

Conclusion : I love hockey in the '80's because offense was the thing I was attracted to. But today's hockey is so much better, it's a fast pace & almost perfectly planned all the way. Sure there's clutching & grabbing that make me scream all the time but it's another subject.

It's a defensive era right now but that's doesn't mean our star players are not that good. If Peter Forsberg - Ilya Kovalchuk & many more would be playing back then, goals & assists record would drop easily. I'm not making friends by saying this but only Mario Lemieux because of his height-weight would be a great player today. Gretzky would probably be one of the passer in this league today but I dont see him scoring 92 goals let alone 50 in this era.

As for Bobby Orr , I never seen him live to make a judgement

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Old
06-05-2004, 04:00 PM
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier
Personally have never bought into either argument. Older fans typically revel in the "good old days," while younger fans understandably see "their era" as the best. Into my second generation of hockey now, I will suggest that neither category of fan is correct nor wrong.

It's human nature to romanticize the "here and now" of one's youth and place more emphasis on current players. Likewise, it's human nature (unfortunately) to lose a bit of that excitement/exuberance over "stars" as one gets older. We cling to the glory of our times.

Guess the ideal would be to gain appreciation for the past in one's youth, and not to grow bitter and disinterested over time.

Put another way: Yes, there will eventually be a player to break into hockey's "icon" category currently occupied by #99, #4, #66, #9 and perhaps a very, very few others. Heck, that player may be drafted in the next year or so, for all we know. But it is prudent - and frankly respectful - to wait before EVER even considering the notion of "The next Gretzky," "The Next Orr", "The Next Mario", etc., lest we diminish in any way whatsoever the accomplishments of the very rarest of players, the indisputable giants of the game.

Dare anyone prematurely proclaim the "next Michael Jordan", "the next Babe Ruth"? Only the misguided, IMO. Same applies here.
I agree with a lot of what you say. However, it should be pointed out that IMO, you can't stop progress. The young players today are benefitting from the mistakes of the past. They are taught by people who watched or sometimes played the game in past eras.

Their training is awesome. There's no comparison in that respect. Their lifestyle is usually way healthier. This year, I saw a game where Potvin was the color man. He and the play by play guy were discussing the 2003 training camp and how all the young players are huge and flying on skate. So the play by play guy comments on their traning and Potvin agreed that they are miles ahead of his time. Then he goes on to say:

Back in my time our training was done at the local bar. Well, he didn't say that exactly because he named the place and I can't remember the name. Says many were heavy drinkers, slept sometimes very little too. It was hilarious :lol

When you consider that guys like Guy Lafleur were smoking a pack a day, you wonder how he'd have fought off the powerful AND mobile Ds of today.

I'm a huge fan of Guy Lafleur and several older players. I'm not saying they are chopped liver but I think overall, the game is way more demanding so the athletes of today are better.

Now, put those same guys (Howe, Orr, Lafleur, anyone from any era) into today's game and they would ALSO benefit from the same training methods. Some would invariably thrive while others might not shine as much. Same with today's players. Perhaps some guys who cannot cut it today because they lack doiscipline would find a niche in an older era where creativity was valued more.

So any "better" tag has to be applied carefully. They are different eras. There were a lot of strong points then and there are a lot of strong points now. There are things I dearly miss about hockey today. Overall, I just think a team today is a tough customer and probably superior to a team of yesterday.

That being said, we can all agree ALL OF THIS is pure speculation. This is also why I don't like the "best players of all time" debates and lists. Apples and oranges. I'm much more comfortable assessing whats say, Patrick Roy did against HIS competition and don't want to worry about putting him up against Jacques Plante. It's pointless to do so.

I do think overall, hockey players will continue to progress as they benefit from the players of the past. The popularity of hockey abroad (and the political changes we have seen in the 80s/90s) will also continue to help deepen the talent pool. The deeper the talent pool, the better the chances of finding truly naturally gifted athletes for this game. Training methods for youngsters will continue to improve as well. We're just at the tip of the iceberg in motivational/discipline theories. I like what I am seeing.

The downside I guess is the game is not as flashy. You do not have that extra second to make flashy plays anymore, you do not have 4-5 options each play anymore either. Passing lanes are well covered, huge guys with reach can poke check you in an instant. But the hockey is competitive and I like it

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