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

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Old
08-08-2012, 02:27 PM
  #201
danincanada
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Please explain how the unchecked population explosions in India, Africa, and the Middle East are affecting the pool of actual or potential hockey players
That wasn't my point. I said "very general terms" and it's not just hockey we're discussing, it's everything. The potential for human excellence in most fields has grown with population.

The 100M dash is a perfect example of this because all able bodied people can run and we've seen the world record drop over the years. More people are playing hockey now so the same logic applies.

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08-08-2012, 02:30 PM
  #202
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Please explain how the unchecked population explosions in India, Africa, and the Middle East are affecting the pool of actual or potential hockey players


I wish this thread would just disappear sometimes. All people convinced players of today are so much better should be barred from the History section and have their own section where they can happily converse together.

And then I won't have to continually point out that a grey bearded slower less agile Ray Bourque was a Norris runner up in his last year in the 2000's just like in his first year in the 80's. Not getting blown away by all the 25 year old young guns of the new generation since someone from his generation could not possibly compete with these new modern athletes.

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08-08-2012, 02:32 PM
  #203
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Originally Posted by tazzy19 View Post
Make no mistake, Gretzky's physical skill set was one of the best skill sets in history. Take a look at the opening segment of this video:



While his primary asset was his hockey sense and anticipation, he had to rely more and more on this attribute -- almost solely -- as he got into his late 30s. In his late 30s, he was finishing top 4 in scoring (one point out of second place at age 37) simply because of his hockey sense and passing abilities. Make no mistake, if he still had the physical skill set of his prime, you could add another 60 points onto his late career season totals, and 80 points if he were playing for a great team. Gretzky was unbelievable in his prime -- even against the best players in the world (see the 1987 Canada Cup for details).

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08-08-2012, 02:41 PM
  #204
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Originally Posted by Dark Shadows View Post


I wish this thread would just disappear sometimes. All people convinced players of today are so much better should be barred from the History section and have their own section where they can happily converse together.

And then I won't have to continually point out that a grey bearded slower less agile Ray Bourque was a Norris runner up in his last year in the 2000's just like in his first year in the 80's. Not getting blown away by all the 25 year old young guns of the new generation since someone from his generation could not possibly compete with these new modern athletes.
You'd like to have your own section and bar people like me so you could continue to sweep this very legitimate argument under the rug.

You use the Bourque example but how many players have we witnessed lose their place in the league due to ever increasing competition? It far outweighs the few examples we have of guys who could maintain their spots.

You feel that Doug Harvey would dominate todays NHL the same way as he did back when he played. Correct? I've never stated that I don't think he would be a star in todays league, I just feel that he would probably have a much tougher time dealing with todays players with his "pure talent" because of increased competition due to sheer numbers. He'd probably be knocked down at least a few notches. I think I'm closer to the truth than you are because I'm not ignoring the big picture. Hockey has grown and more people are playing now. Again, the potential for excellence has grown with it.

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08-08-2012, 02:55 PM
  #205
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
First of all, 6'5" Bolt would blow 5'10" Owens off the track no matter how multi-demensional each one was purely based on talent and body type. I don't care if Owens also played water polo or snakes and ladders in his spare time, you have no argument here.

Secondly, how many times have I heard the legends of hockey admit "not everyone could shoot the puck or skate back then like they can today"? Countless times so, no, the avarge player in todays NHL are far more balanced and multi-demensional than in the past.

You've brought up Hal Gill's name in past threads numerous times as some evidence that not everyone can skate today. The problem is he's 6'7", and even though I agree he appears to be a slug on skates, no one in the past was 6'7" and had his reach and if there was a guy back then who could skate as well as he can and was that size they'd be a force on the ice. It was unheard of in the past.
Overlooking the fact that 5'11", Johan Blake gives Usain Bolt all the competition he can handle. So much for your body type /height point.

Point is that you are slanting the issue to your agenda. Better Olympic sprinter versus better Olympic track and field athlete produces a different result.

Again your hockey analogy falls apart. Limits on stick length have changed over the years to accommodate increases in height. So taller players do not have to play hunched over. Previously they did.

Again you focus on one skill and try to build a case. Quotes about a single skill shooting or skating do not cover the complete skill set required to play hockey. Find a quote where an old time hockey player admits that every element of the complete skill set today is better and you may have a point.

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08-08-2012, 02:59 PM
  #206
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
You'd like to have your own section and bar people like me so you could continue to sweep this very legitimate argument under the rug.

You use the Bourque example but how many players have we witnessed lose their place in the league due to ever increasing competition? It far outweighs the few examples we have of guys who could maintain their spots.

You feel that Doug Harvey would dominate todays NHL the same way as he did back when he played. Correct? I've never stated that I don't think he would be a star in todays league, I just feel that he would probably have a much tougher time dealing with todays players with his "pure talent" because of increased competition due to sheer numbers. He'd probably be knocked down at least a few notches. I think I'm closer to the truth than you are because I'm not ignoring the big picture. Hockey has grown and more people are playing now. Again, the potential for excellence has grown with it.
Disagree. Coaches and systems and short line changes have weaned out creativity in the game. Now you just need to be a big robot to succeed.

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08-08-2012, 03:02 PM
  #207
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
Do you see what you're saying here? Did you not consider the problem here while typing this?

Why would age matter if Gretzky was all about hockey sense and instincts as you explained above? Did that diminish with age too?
Do YOU understand what I'm saying there and consequently to what you're agreeing with in your second paragraph here?

Talent/instinct>>>training every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Again, you can transpose any player in history to today's standards of equipment and training. That doesn't make them more talented of have better instincts than Gretzky or Lemieux or Orr or Bossy or "long list of other players names".
If anything, it would make those great players even better today than they were.

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08-08-2012, 03:45 PM
  #208
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Overlooking the fact that 5'11", Johan Blake gives Usain Bolt all the competition he can handle. So much for your body type /height point.

Point is that you are slanting the issue to your agenda. Better Olympic sprinter versus better Olympic track and field athlete produces a different result.

Again your hockey analogy falls apart. Limits on stick length have changed over the years to accommodate increases in height. So taller players do not have to play hunched over. Previously they did.

Again you focus on one skill and try to build a case. Quotes about a single skill shooting or skating do not cover the complete skill set required to play hockey. Find a quote where an old time hockey player admits that every element of the complete skill set today is better and you may have a point.
Bolt has a world record time of 9.58. I want to see a guy under 6' run better than that who isn't drugged to the gills. As great as Blake is he's still not in Bolt's class at this point. Owens' probably wouldn't have been either and that was my point.

You are the one trying to slant the argument. I brought up the 100M and you tried to bring in other events. The 100M is a perfect example of how we are evolving and advancing. Now we have this 6'5" freak of nature who can move his legs just as fast as much shorter sprinters. In the future I suspect there will be someone even taller and faster than Bolt.

As for your last point, all I have to do is watch a game from the 60's and then watch a game from today. The proof is right in front of me and I don't need a quote from a legend in order to see it. If you really feel the elite players of today are worse then 50 years ago then I can't help you and I don't know what you are watching.

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08-08-2012, 03:47 PM
  #209
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Originally Posted by Dark Shadows View Post
Disagree. Coaches and systems and short line changes have weaned out creativity in the game. Now you just need to be a big robot to succeed.
Define creativity. I'd say it's includes stick handling, skating agility with and without the puck, passing, vision of the ice, etc. All have greatly advanced over the years IMO.

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08-08-2012, 05:19 PM
  #210
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
Define creativity. I'd say it's includes stick handling, skating agility with and without the puck, passing, vision of the ice, etc. All have greatly advanced over the years IMO.
Honestly, at this point if you can't see the difference between playing to win, taking chances and actually playing in the middle of the ice like it used to be to playing not to lose, playing scared to get benched and sticking to the boards like glue today...then there's not much anyone can do for you.

Unless of course you feel that endless cycling in the corners is being creative

Define creative...seriously, gimme a break already.

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08-08-2012, 06:30 PM
  #211
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
Define creativity. I'd say it's includes stick handling, skating agility with and without the puck, passing, vision of the ice, etc. All have greatly advanced over the years IMO.
This was creative:



Guy Lafleur was creative, Bobby Orr was creative etc.

Cycling, dump and chase and crash the net aren't.

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08-08-2012, 06:42 PM
  #212
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
As for your last point, all I have to do is watch a game from the 60's and then watch a game from today. The proof is right in front of me and I don't need a quote from a legend in order to see it. If you really feel the elite players of today are worse then 50 years ago then I can't help you and I don't know what you are watching.
You're still dodging the issue: the context in which an athlete performs.

In some sense at least, today's athletes are "better" than those in the past. The point is, is this relevant when comparing players from different eras? Is it not most fair to evaluate players based on the contexts of their time?

Let's take Steven Stamkos back to, say, 1908. How does he do in hockey's highest league, the ECHA? He doesn't have his strength & conditioning coach, his sports psychologist, his this coach and that coach. Training is pretty much up to him by himself. But of course he can't train all off-season; he has to work during the off-season. He's not making millions, or the equivalent at the time, and needs to make ends meet.

This lack of training is going to be difficult on him, because he's going to be expected to play 60 minutes per game. No 30-second shifts in 1908. He doesn't have a fancy composite stick, his skates are primitive and his pads are almost non-existent. He'll have to play on rinks smaller than he's used to, on ice that's often bumpy and rutted, and sometimes slushy. Sometimes he'll have to play in frigid temperatures, with only a small coal oven to warm up a bit between halves. He'll be taking pucks off his shins and his hands and his face at times, and will have nothing more than a few minutes to get his breath back before he has to be playing again.

And of course, he'll have to stay onside all the time. There's no forward passing allowed, at all. Will he be able to cope with such a different game?

There are all kinds of reasons to question whether a modern player like Stamkos could even play hockey at a high level a hundred years ago. But that makes no difference, because that is not the context in which he actually played, and as such it is unfair to him to raise such questions. Players cannot control the contexts in which they play, and to judge them on contexts that didn't even exist when they played is ridiculous.

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08-08-2012, 06:54 PM
  #213
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
Do you see what you're saying here? Did you not consider the problem here while typing this?

Why would age matter if Gretzky was all about hockey sense and instincts as you explained above? Did that diminish with age too?
There may have been only one Gretzky, but the notion that there was only one player born before the 70s or 80s (I don't know where your bright line is drawn) who could rely on their hockey sense and instincts to excel against players bigger and stronger than them is beyond laughable. In fact it's unquestionably farcical.

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08-08-2012, 07:02 PM
  #214
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
Define creativity. I'd say it's includes stick handling, skating agility with and without the puck, passing, vision of the ice, etc. All have greatly advanced over the years IMO.
I'd say passing and vision are 2 areas that the modern player lacks compared to past players.

Still, you're comparisons of hockey players (in a team sport) to athletes in individual sports is apples and oranges. Being bigger, faster, stronger and more "skilled" (meaning being able to do creative things while not in a game situation?) does not translate to automatically better.

Marek Malik scored a shoot goal that at the time was the best ever made in an NHL shootout. How does that skill translate into his offensive game? Not much.

In baseball they say pitching isn't what it used to be, but players strikeout more now than they ever did. Most players are poor baserunners compared to past players and no one seems able to throw from the outfield anymore. And no one that isn't juiced hits the ball farther than Ruth or Mantle or Frank Howard or Josh Gibson.

Baseball and hockey are similar in that size and speed and stregth are plusses, but not necessities like in football and basketball.

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08-08-2012, 07:07 PM
  #215
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Marek Malik scored a shoot goal that at the time was the best ever made in an NHL shootout. How does that skill translate into his offensive game? Not much.
Keep in mind that part of the reason that goal was so great was because nobody would have expected Malik to do that in any context, ever.

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08-08-2012, 07:34 PM
  #216
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Originally Posted by danincanada View Post
Define creativity. I'd say it's includes stick handling, skating agility with and without the puck, passing, vision of the ice, etc. All have greatly advanced over the years IMO.
Skating agility? I still have yet to see anyone as good as Bobby Orr surface in the past 50 years.

No, I would say vision of the ice is something that has been slowly culling out of today's game in favor of "following the system". Players have a more narrowed vision these days focused on the vision of the system.

Few, if any players today have the Gretzky/Orr/Lemieux x-ray vision eyes in the back of their head on ice vision that made them special.

I remember in 2003(Just to call up recent examples). Lemieux threw a puck through 7 different sets of legs all clogging the front of the net to the opposite side of the net. A perfect pass through that many sets of legs is difficult enough, but it landed right on the stick of the one open guy who for all intents and purposes, was barely visible to Lemieux. When asked in an interview after if he was just trying to make something happen, or if he actually saw Morozov, Lemieux said "watch the tape". Yup, he saw him. Everyone was in oogle eyed awe at his unique vision(And pillow soft perfect pass through nearly an impassable barrier of legs). Something you see occasionally from other players, but saw regularly with Gretzky, Orr and Lemieux.

Everyone still wets their pants when they see Lemieux pretending to play the Pronger pass of the puck forcing Richter to go down, only to watch him not even try to touch it and go straight to Kariya for an open net. This is the sort of Gretzky/Orr/Lemieux vision that cannot be replicated, taught, or trained to that level.

The ability to enter the zone and create offense free of a system(And in their cases, with X-ray vision and the ability to see the ice as if they were 100 feet above the rink). Something that was much more relied on in the days of longer shifts. Incidentally, the reason the games seem so much slower from the 60's is not that the old players are all out of shape turtles compared to today. It is that players were playing longer shifts and expected to conserve energy and find creative ways to throw on their bursts of speed and energy to create opportunities.

A recent example.
Ovechkin was a guy allowed to be exceptionally creative and given free reign with the puck his first few seasons(Something very few players are given these days). With the coaching change and more dedication to "the system" and team play, that freedom has been culled and Ovechkin's game has suffered as a result.

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08-08-2012, 07:42 PM
  #217
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
I'd say passing and vision are 2 areas that the modern player lacks compared to past players.

Still, you're comparisons of hockey players (in a team sport) to athletes in individual sports is apples and oranges. Being bigger, faster, stronger and more "skilled" (meaning being able to do creative things while not in a game situation?) does not translate to automatically better.

Marek Malik scored a shoot goal that at the time was the best ever made in an NHL shootout. How does that skill translate into his offensive game? Not much.

In baseball they say pitching isn't what it used to be, but players strikeout more now than they ever did. Most players are poor baserunners compared to past players and no one seems able to throw from the outfield anymore. And no one that isn't juiced hits the ball farther than Ruth or Mantle or Frank Howard or Josh Gibson.

Baseball and hockey are similar in that size and speed and stregth are plusses, but not necessities like in football and basketball.
I know you will back me up on this since you saw several of Gordie Howe's games as a 52 year old on the Whalers.

Have you ever seen someone able to more perfectly make backhand shots from as far as the blueline, yet still pick corners from that far out on the backhand?

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08-08-2012, 08:24 PM
  #218
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As an analogy, since athletic ability has increased so much shouldn't we be seeing 80yard field goals and 100 yard passes.

The longest field goal is a 3 way tie, 63 yards:

George Dempsey - 1970
Jason Elam - 1998
Sebastian Janikowski - 2011
41 years difference


I would have included the longest completed passes but those include YAC yards.

So if as every athlete is bigger and stronger should'nt this record been broken mutiple times.

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08-08-2012, 09:01 PM
  #219
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Originally Posted by Ivan13 View Post
This was creative:



Guy Lafleur was creative, Bobby Orr was creative etc.

Cycling, dump and chase and crash the net aren't.
You have an ally here with this for sure...

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08-08-2012, 09:44 PM
  #220
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This was creative

Cycling, dump and chase and crash the net aren't.
I think Mike Keenan attributes it to the removal of the red line, so that players can just make a sharp pass through the zone, have it tipped by a teammate before the blueline, and then other teammates going full speed can chase after it. He said it's that way in college games too and was not fond of this "system" at all.

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Originally Posted by Dark Shadows View Post
Ovechkin was a guy allowed to be exceptionally creative and given free reign with the puck his first few seasons(Something very few players are given these days). With the coaching change and more dedication to "the system" and team play, that freedom has been culled and Ovechkin's game has suffered as a result.
Isn't this what they tried to do with Jagr and with similar results? Do people actually wonder why the Caps have never really come close to winning a Cup?

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Originally Posted by Expatriate View Post
As an analogy, since athletic ability has increased so much shouldn't we be seeing 80yard field goals and 100 yard passes.

The longest field goal is a 3 way tie, 63 yards:

George Dempsey - 1970
Jason Elam - 1998
Sebastian Janikowski - 2011
41 years difference

I would have included the longest completed passes but those include YAC yards.

So if as every athlete is bigger and stronger should'nt this record been broken mutiple times.
Good point. All of the longest field goals in college were in the mid-late 70s. Apparently, after that the NCAA no longer allowed them to use old, roughed up footballs, and they had to use new footballs instead. I'm not sure if the NFL did something similar or not. Pretty awesome that Dempsey did that with half a foot too.

EDIT: Wasn't it Tom Dempsey? Also, note that both of the more recent record-tying FGs in NFL were in Denver at higher altitude.


Last edited by Czech Your Math: 08-09-2012 at 01:51 AM.
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08-09-2012, 01:42 AM
  #221
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I think Mike Keenan attributes it to the removal of the red line, so that players can just make a sharp pass through the zone, have it tipped by a teammate before the blueline, and then other teammates going full speed can chase after it. He said it's that way in college games too and was not fond of this "system" at all.
It sounds about right, doesn't Cherry often moan about this as well?

Don't get me wrong I like a good cycle game from time to time, but the game today is pretty much based on d&c and cycling which is a shame.

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08-09-2012, 08:02 AM
  #222
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Honestly, at this point if you can't see the difference between playing to win, taking chances and actually playing in the middle of the ice like it used to be to playing not to lose, playing scared to get benched and sticking to the boards like glue today...then there's not much anyone can do for you.

Unless of course you feel that endless cycling in the corners is being creative

Define creative...seriously, gimme a break already.
The players of today can't take a lot of risks because it is so highly competitive (along with more parody due to the cap) and the lack of creativity you point out is mostly because there isn't enough time and space out there. Put one of those current players on the ice with lesser players and they will have more time and space and they can be more creative, imaginative and entertaining. Those creative skills are not lacking, it's just not worth it to take risks with how the league is set up and how deep the talent level is.

Another issue is that the players are bigger and faster yet the rink size hasn't changed. That's rather obvious IMO. It's not like they can't make a fancy pass or stick handle. I think you are underrating just how good the average NHL player is right now. It's at a higher average level than ever before and I hear people in the game continuously say this. On this board some people want to deny that.

I'm a Red Wings fan and Datsyuk is as creative as any player in history IMO. I loved watching Lemieux back in his prime, too. You must admit it was easier to be creative back in the 80's when defending and goaltending were behind what they are today. I've played pick up hockey with teenagers in Toronto that won't even make the NHL and their hands are just ridiculous. Young players today are not lacking skills or creativity. No bloody way. Like I said, you aren't seeing the forest for the trees.

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08-09-2012, 08:19 AM
  #223
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
You're still dodging the issue: the context in which an athlete performs.

In some sense at least, today's athletes are "better" than those in the past. The point is, is this relevant when comparing players from different eras? Is it not most fair to evaluate players based on the contexts of their time?

Let's take Steven Stamkos back to, say, 1908. How does he do in hockey's highest league, the ECHA? He doesn't have his strength & conditioning coach, his sports psychologist, his this coach and that coach. Training is pretty much up to him by himself. But of course he can't train all off-season; he has to work during the off-season. He's not making millions, or the equivalent at the time, and needs to make ends meet.

This lack of training is going to be difficult on him, because he's going to be expected to play 60 minutes per game. No 30-second shifts in 1908. He doesn't have a fancy composite stick, his skates are primitive and his pads are almost non-existent. He'll have to play on rinks smaller than he's used to, on ice that's often bumpy and rutted, and sometimes slushy. Sometimes he'll have to play in frigid temperatures, with only a small coal oven to warm up a bit between halves. He'll be taking pucks off his shins and his hands and his face at times, and will have nothing more than a few minutes to get his breath back before he has to be playing again.

And of course, he'll have to stay onside all the time. There's no forward passing allowed, at all. Will he be able to cope with such a different game?

There are all kinds of reasons to question whether a modern player like Stamkos could even play hockey at a high level a hundred years ago. But that makes no difference, because that is not the context in which he actually played, and as such it is unfair to him to raise such questions. Players cannot control the contexts in which they play, and to judge them on contexts that didn't even exist when they played is ridiculous.
I get putting it all in context but that's the problem. There are many posters in this section who hide behind that and don't consider that along with that there is simply a larger talent pool these days. That is a factor that must be considered as well.

No one has raw numbers on just how many people were playing organized hockey in the past, whether it's the 30's, 50's or 70's. I'll go out on a limb and say we've got 5 times more males playing hockey now worldwide than in the 60's (O6 era). How does this impact the top level talent (NHL calibre, world class players, etc.)? I realize it's not that simple but too many people on this board simply want to disregard it altogether and that is wrong in my opinion. There was one player with Doug Harvey's pure talent back in the O6 era so if we have 5 times the talent pool now there is a fairly good chance we will have 5 players with that pure talent level now. It has nothing to do with putting era's into context and everything to do with sheer numbers.

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08-09-2012, 08:34 AM
  #224
Canadiens1958
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Field Goal Kicking Tee

Quote:
Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post

Good point. All of the longest field goals in college were in the mid-late 70s. Apparently, after that the NCAA no longer allowed them to use old, roughed up footballs, and they had to use new footballs instead. I'm not sure if the NFL did something similar or not. Pretty awesome that Dempsey did that with half a foot too.

EDIT: Wasn't it Tom Dempsey? Also, note that both of the more recent record-tying FGs in NFL were in Denver at higher altitude.
At the time the NCAA allowed the use of field goal kicking tees. Banned a long time ago.

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08-09-2012, 08:36 AM
  #225
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Originally Posted by Expatriate View Post
As an analogy, since athletic ability has increased so much shouldn't we be seeing 80yard field goals and 100 yard passes.

The longest field goal is a 3 way tie, 63 yards:

George Dempsey - 1970
Jason Elam - 1998
Sebastian Janikowski - 2011
41 years difference


I would have included the longest completed passes but those include YAC yards.

So if as every athlete is bigger and stronger should'nt this record been broken mutiple times.
You are focusing on a sport that is very North American based so the talent mostly increases due to growth in two countries. Hockey is more diverse and Track and Field is even more international than that. Take a look at the list of world records in track and field and you'll notice most records are from the last 20 years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...s_in_athletics

Obviously this is due to several factors such as new training methods, improved nutrition, etc., and some athletes may be cheating the system with enhancing drugs and getting away with it...but you also must consider the amount of people striving to break these records. It has increased over the years as it has for hockey and other sports where competition has increased. Someone said it's apples and oranges to compare an individual event with a team sport, and I can agree with that, but the same logic applies.

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