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The all encompassing "players of today vs players from the past" thread

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Old
12-05-2010, 02:33 PM
  #1
TheDevilMadeMe
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The all encompassing "players of today vs players from the past" thread

I'm sure I'm not the only one tired of half the threads on this board turning into a discussion of whether advances in the game of hockey mean that guys from 1, 2, 3 decades ago wouldn't be able to cut it in today's game.

Perhaps we should have a single thread to consolidate these arguments. Maybe it could even be stickied?

Would Wayne Gretzky still be the leading scorer in today's league? Are the player's constantly improving so the best player 10 years from now will be better than the best player today, who is better than the best player 10 years ago? Or do men like Ray Bourque (First Team All Star in 1980 and First Team All Star in 2001) put that theory to rest?

This is the place for such discussion.

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12-05-2010, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infinite Vision View Post
The funny thing is you guys have fooled yourselves into believing that proves those same players could have came just as they were in the 80's and didn't improve at all and any improvements were minor, etc. etc. Wrong. That ignores years of hardwork, combined with the god given talent you so fondly speak of. Also, one watch of an entire game from now and the 80's puts that entire theory to rest.
Nobody is saying you can just drop 1980s Ray Bourque into today's game. There would, of course, be an adjustment period. But why wouldn't he adjust to today's game? He did, in fact, adjust to changes in the game over his 20+ year career.

And I don't think I buy the "he changed along with the game" argument. Mario Lemieux sat out 3 years, came back, and still tore the league to shreds.

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12-05-2010, 02:59 PM
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Good call on the thread Devil, others were getting pretty mucked up.

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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I think the biggest problem is not giving Crosby his due after his 1st 5 years by a couple of select posters and some selective stat posting as well, without context or full disclosure.
If by credit you mean a lot of us aren't willing to agree that he has earned his spot in the top 25 yet or the even more ridiculous notion that he's somehow on par with the likes of Jagr yet, let alone Gretzky and Lemieux then yeah I guess we're guilty of not giving him his "due" according to you

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12-05-2010, 03:11 PM
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If Crosby beats Jagr's past-prime, post-lockout season this year, it'll be a step in the right direction for him. Although if he's as good as certain people think, he should have done it easily by now.

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12-05-2010, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Unaffiliated View Post
If Crosby beats Jagr's past-prime, post-lockout season this year, it'll be a step in the right direction for him. Although if he's as good as certain people think, he should have done it easily by now.
To be fair to Crosby, scoring was a bit higher in 2005-06 than in succeeding years due to all the powerplays.

Crosby is definitely on pace for (which doesn't mean he'll get it) a season as good as any of Jagr's, especially when you consider his more complete game.

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12-05-2010, 03:14 PM
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... I shudder to think what Wayne Gretzky in his prime would do in a league without the two-line pass.

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12-05-2010, 03:23 PM
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IMHO just because SOME players managed to be successful for a very long time does not mean that ALL of the old time greats would. How would Eddie Shore do in an era where his over the top violence just wouldn't work, where all players can actually lift the puck and goalies do make saves? I see absolutely no evidence for considering him superior to Potvin, Bourque, Lidstrom or even Pronger for that matter.
Being the best in 1933 is good, being the best 75 years later is a much bigger achievement.

It's not just hockey, look at soccer, today's game is much more demanding, and the best players are simply superior athletes compared to any soccer player 70 years ago.

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12-05-2010, 03:27 PM
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No poster worth reading honestly thinks that players of the past are worse than current players.

By this I mean, obviously if Cyclone Taylor stepped into the NHL today he would be annihilated. Obviously, the game changes. But what I'm getting at is you can't discredit past players for being born when they were.

You can only compare players of past generations by comparing how everyone does against their peers. Saying "Player from 2000 would crush player from 1940 if they happened to be dropped into a game in 2010" is useless and idiotic, and no one who says this is worth paying attention to.

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12-05-2010, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
No poster worth reading honestly thinks that players of the past are worse than current players.

By this I mean, obviously if Cyclone Taylor stepped into the NHL today he would be annihilated. Obviously, the game changes. But what I'm getting at is you can't discredit past players for being born when they were.

You can only compare players of past generations by comparing how everyone does against their peers. Saying "Player from 2000 would crush player from 1940 if they happened to be dropped into a game in 2010" is useless and idiotic, and no one who says this is worth paying attention to.
Yes, all players would easily adjust to all the changes and dominated the same way. Not unrealistic assumption at all. Why give all players this benefit of the doubt?

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12-05-2010, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
Yes, all players would easily adjust to all the changes and dominated the same way. Not stupid and unrealistic assumption at all.
I'm not sure how the bolded text of my post relates to your post..

But beyond that, it's dumb to even entertain the idea of putting players in different eras and evaluating their worth based on this fantasy world.

100 years from now, the human race will be bigger and stronger. If you took Gretzky circa 1985 and put him in the NHL in 2110, he would be eaten alive by the players of the future. And in what way would this make Gretzky any worse? The only useful way of looking at players is by comparing how they did against their peers.

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12-05-2010, 03:38 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
But beyond that, it's dumb to even entertain the idea of putting players in different eras and evaluating their worth based on this fantasy world.

100 years from now, the human race will be bigger and stronger. If you took Gretzky circa 1985 and put him in the NHL in 2110, he would be eaten alive by the players of the future. And in what way would this make Gretzky any worse? The only useful way of looking at players is by comparing how they did against their peers.
In that case, how can you objectively compare Shore and Pronger? Who is better and why? 4 Hart Trophies in 30's somehow tip the scale? They have not even played the same game at all.

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12-05-2010, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
In that case, how can you objectively compare Shore and Pronger? Who is better and why? 4 Hart Trophies in 30's?

You compare who dominated their peers more, of course.

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12-05-2010, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
You compare who dominated their peers more, of course.
Regardless of the peers, right?

Dominating guys that are faster, stronger, are better coached and train regularly is much harder than dominating players who have to have second job and are not nearly as good athletes.

E.g. if guy X runs 100m race against a bunch of averge students and beats them by 1.5s and then guy Y wins Olympic Gold by 0.1s does not mean that guy X is a better sprinter than guy Y.

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12-05-2010, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
No poster worth reading honestly thinks that players of the past are worse than current players.

By this I mean, obviously if Cyclone Taylor stepped into the NHL today he would be annihilated.
And in the same breath, who's to say Crosby doesn't get his ankle chopped in half by Bobby Clarke 5 minutes into his first shift?

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12-05-2010, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
Regardless of the peers, right?

Dominating guys that are faster, stronger, are better coached and train regularly is much harder than dominating players who have to have second job and are not nearly as good athletes.
Dominating a well-conditioned group of athletes is harder than dominating a group of athletes who have to work a summer job, yes. But.. the guy in the second group has to work a summer job himself. And the guy who has to play against a bunch of well-oiled athletic machines is himself, a well-oiled athletic machine. Being 5'8" and dominating a bunch of 5'8" competitors is the same accomplishment as being 6'2" and dominating a league where the average height is 6'2".

Why would you fault players from previous generations just because they had the misfortune of being born in the past?

Assuming the human race keeps evolving and players keep getting bigger and better, than players will keep getting "better" as compared to players in the past. If we wanted to crown the true "best" player of all-time, we would just wait until the NHL dies 200 years in the future, and anoint the current Art Ross winner. But what value would that hold?

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12-05-2010, 04:11 PM
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This is now officially the "Evolution of Hockey" thread as discussed in the sticky:
http://hfboards.com/showpost.php?p=20296230

The stipulations in that post apply here. Other than that, have fun.

Carry on.

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12-05-2010, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
Dominating a well-conditioned group of athletes is harder than dominating a group of athletes who have to work a summer job, yes. But.. the guy in the second group has to work a summer job himself. And the guy who has to play against a bunch of well-oiled athletic machines is himself, a well-oiled athletic machine. Being 5'8" and dominating a bunch of 5'8" competitors is the same accomplishment as being 6'2" and dominating a league where the average height is 6'2".
It is not about height. But if someone is talented, and plays against guys that are relatively slow etc. gives him more time for everything. If the players are faster, there is less time to make plays and mistakes are more costly. Not to mention that today all stars are under microscope, every play is analyzed, all teams have video coach, strategy against each team and the best players. There is just no comparison in this regard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
Why would you fault players from previous generations just because they had the misfortune of being born in the past?
And why would you punish current guys by giving all the benefits to all older players? Why rank Morenz above Jagr, just because Morenz is "the first superstar"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
Assuming the human race keeps evolving and players keep getting bigger and better, than players will keep getting "better" as compared to players in the past. If we wanted to crown the true "best" player of all-time, we would just wait until the NHL dies 200 years in the future, and anoint the current Art Ross winner. But what value would that hold?
Of course that future players will be better, not sure if Art Ross winner means the best, but whatever.

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12-05-2010, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
It is not about height. But if someone is talented, and plays against guys that are relatively slow etc. gives him more time for everything. If the players are faster, there is less time to make plays and mistakes are more costly.
You're right, as competition gets better, it's harder to stick out. And this is something people keep in mind when comparing players.

Quote:
And why would you punish current guys by giving all the benefits to all older players? Why rank Morenz above Jagr, just because Morenz is "the first superstar"?
No one gives benefits to all older players. If you think Morenz is better than Jagr, there should be reasoning behind it (Reasoning that includes how they compared to their peers), and if people do think Morenz is ahead of Jagr just for being "the first superstar," well then I too disagree with that.


Quote:
Of course that future players will be better, not sure if Art Ross winner means the best, but whatever.
So you agree that future players will be "better," and thus comparing across generations is silly?

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12-05-2010, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
You're right, as competition gets better, it's harder to stick out. And this is something people keep in mind when comparing players.
Doesn't seem that way to me to be honest. It is very popular to back up old players in all regards around here

Quote:
No one gives benefits to all older players. If you think Morenz is better than Jagr, there should be reasoning behind it (Reasoning that includes how they compared to their peers), and if people do think Morenz is ahead of Jagr just for being "the first superstar," well then I too disagree with that.
I think Jagr is far better player, but most of the people don't. (the list is stickied here). Hell, Morenz was rated ahead of Roy, Hasek and Plante.

Quote:
So you agree that future players will be "better," and thus comparing across generations is silly?
Not silly, just biased against modern players, because nostalgia and legends kick in and overpower everything else.


Last edited by Reds4Life: 12-05-2010 at 04:38 PM.
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12-05-2010, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidGenoMario View Post
So you agree that future players will be "better," and thus comparing across generations is silly?
What do you mean with better? It seems that you think its silly just because most people dont automatically count your favorite players into the top25. Which is ridiculous. Crosby has a cup and a hart (and a maurice and a ross.) with that alone he doesnt beat out a guy like Chelios (~41). I might agree that he is currently competing with guys like Dionne and Mahovlich for a top50 entrance.

We are talking about 5 seasons vs. whole careers.

For example Paul Coffey (currently ranked at #46) has 7 consecutive ASTs from his 2nd season. Crosby simply doesnt beat that (yet).

Don't you think that this whole thing about future generation is better been talked about before? They did the same in other sports. In football people said that no one would dominate like Pele did and suddenly there was Maradona. So the whole notion that dominating like for example Gretzky wont happen again or that Gretzky couldnt do it now is ridiculous.

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12-05-2010, 04:55 PM
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Again, you cherry pick 2 of the greatest soccer players, Pele and Maradona who are basically Gretzky and Lemieux of soccer.

No one since Maradona even came close to that level of domination, because the talent pool is bigger and average players are just better athletes. Not to mention tougher schedule and better coaching.

Also the changes in the game of hockey have been much more significant than in the soccer.


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12-05-2010, 05:14 PM
  #22
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Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
What do you mean with better? It seems that you think its silly just because most people dont automatically count your favorite players into the top25. Which is ridiculous. Crosby has a cup and a hart (and a maurice and a ross.) with that alone he doesnt beat out a guy like Chelios (~41). I might agree that he is currently competing with guys like Dionne and Mahovlich for a top50 entrance.

We are talking about 5 seasons vs. whole careers.

For example Paul Coffey (currently ranked at #46) has 7 consecutive ASTs from his 2nd season. Crosby simply doesnt beat that (yet).

Don't you think that this whole thing about future generation is better been talked about before? They did the same in other sports. In football people said that no one would dominate like Pele did and suddenly there was Maradona. So the whole notion that dominating like for example Gretzky wont happen again or that Gretzky couldnt do it now is ridiculous.

For the love of god, don't just pick random specific quotes out of my entire spiel and forget the context. I was snidely using "better" to mean "Better than other players if all players throughout history were lumped together in the same time period." Obviously "better" is useless. I'm not the one supporting the theory that current players are better. I'm supporting not comparing players that way. I'm supporting comparing players only by how they played against their peers.

What the hell are you talking about making assumptions that I care that my favorite players are out of the top 25? You're making statements out of left field that I never made. In fact, I never brought Crosby up in this topic.

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12-05-2010, 05:36 PM
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Some thoughts.

In the old times coaching and conditioning were nowhere as advanced as nowadays. More talented player could dominate on "pure talent" alone. What is more important.... more talented player could widen the gap with your average player even more, because he could pay attention to conditioning a lot more than your average player. Talented player could widen the gap on pure determination and hard work.

Nowadays you can't do it anymore. Everybody uses top notch technology, special conditioning coaches and training plans. Everybody follows closely what and when they eat. Nick Lidstrom won't be that much better prepared for the season than your average player. He is more determent and a harder worker, but it's awfully hard to widen the gap on pure conditioning only. Because your average player won't be eating burritos all summer.

Same thing with coaching. Nick Lidstrom is 10 times smarter than your average player and knows 99,9% of the times what to do in every situation. But the real gap in play is not so big. Because players, who are not so gifted and don't naturally know what to do in every situation are trained and coached on a very high level. All those videos and advanced tactics really narrow the difference between Lidstrom and some average player. Average player can benefit a lot more from coaching, than Nick Lidstrom.

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12-05-2010, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
Again, you cherry pick 2 of the greatest soccer players, Pele and Maradona who are basically Gretzky and Lemieux of soccer.

No one since Maradona even came close to that level of domination, because the talent pool is bigger and average players are just better athletes. Not to mention tougher schedule and better coaching.

Also the changes in the game of hockey have been much more significant than in the soccer.
I couldve picked Cantona, Zidane, Maldini, Ronaldihno, Larsson etc too. Players who have dominated even though better coaching or whatever. Point is, a great player will dominate whenever, period. Gretzky might not scored as many points today but he would still have won the scoring race with 20-35% more points than the second player.

I will leave your last arguement because this is not the place for an advanced crash course in soccer history.

Quote:
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You are right, I'm sorry.

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12-05-2010, 07:13 PM
  #25
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Few things.

I don't think comparing to peers is as definitive as some people want to believe. Everyone discounts Lidstrom because(they say) his peers weren't as good as Bourque's. The problem is, Lidstrom dominated them so thoroughly and over such a long period of time, it almost seems as though his peers weren't that great. So people then assume that he wasn't as good as his domination suggests.

So Nick's 6 Norris Trophies(~11 top 3 overall), 4 Cups, Conn Smythe, many top 5 scoring finishes(dmen), Gold medal, do not equal Bourque's 5 Norris trophies(dont know how many top 3), 1 Cup as a secondary player, Hart Finalist, more points, and more 1st team AS selections.

If we went strictly by domination of peers and awards/accomplishments Lidstrom easily wins, but still people who use this formula discount it and say that Bourque had better competition and was just better.

People like to pick and choose which arguments to use compared to which players, especially the domination of peers one.

Also, I doubt humans will be bigger on average in weight/height/strength/physicality in 100 years. Woman are actually getting smaller, and as much of the West is relying more and more on technology to make life easier, it doesn't equal being more physically adept.

Athletes may be, but not the human race overall.

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