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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

A question regarding comparing players from the past to present

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Old
07-13-2011, 10:35 PM
  #26
mbhhofr
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Like everything else, hockey has evolved. I have followed the NHL since the early 1950's. I used to have season tickets. I had good friends who officiated in the NHL. It's a different game today than it was back in the day. No helmets, you knew who the players were. There is no doubt that the skill level and skating is better today, but I find that the games in the 50's, 60's and 70's were more entertaining and that is what I want to be, when I watch a hockey game, entertained.

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07-13-2011, 11:11 PM
  #27
WanderingCapsFan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhhofr View Post
Like everything else, hockey has evolved. I have followed the NHL since the early 1950's. I used to have season tickets. I had good friends who officiated in the NHL. It's a different game today than it was back in the day. No helmets, you knew who the players were. There is no doubt that the skill level and skating is better today, but I find that the games in the 50's, 60's and 70's were more entertaining and that is what I want to be, when I watch a hockey game, entertained.
No argument on the entertainment factor. That's why we pay the money, to be entertained.

The problem, to me, in comparisons is this: time and space. This is what hockey players want to acquire, and this is what allows hockey players to make plays. With modern nutrition, training regimens, etc., todays players are faster, and mostly quicker. The size of the rink hasn't changed, but the time and space today's players have has been reduced by the ability of the opposition to close quicker. Players from past eras simply had more time to make a pass, or take a shot. That extra time is everything.

Now, would great players from the past have adjusted to the urgency of today's game? Possibly? Probably? Definitely? This is unanswerable, but we must acknowledge that offensive players from the past had a luxury that today's players don't have.

Watch a game from the 70's, then watch a game from today. In many ways, it's a different game.

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07-14-2011, 06:27 PM
  #28
Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingCapsFan View Post
Now, would great players from the past have adjusted to the urgency of today's game? Possibly? Probably? Definitely? This is unanswerable, but we must acknowledge that offensive players from the past had a luxury that today's players don't have.

Watch a game from the 70's, then watch a game from today. In many ways, it's a different game.
Fair enough, but to totally grasp how a player of the past would play in today's game you have to imagine him born in the 1980s and not 1930. They would know nothing more than the game being faster, it would have been how they grew up. The kicker is they probably still have their same skillset and vision, maybe even better.

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07-14-2011, 07:57 PM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingCapsFan View Post
Now, would great players from the past have adjusted to the urgency of today's game? Possibly? Probably? Definitely? This is unanswerable, but we must acknowledge that offensive players from the past had a luxury that today's players don't have.
This is a very interesting & imaginative thought WCF. I would have to rate Ovechkin as the most creative & dominant player in todays game who is really just coming into his own. This guy actually practices the showboat moves he executes on the ice on top of a vacant parking garage in Washington with nothing more than a tennis ball and a stick. Private 3am ice time rentals in order to "get twisted" as he puts it, creating the time & thus the space in a game situation that can in fact make everything & everyone else around him stop in Twilight Zone time.

Physically, he runs over over 6'9" Chara, belts the Hell out of a 37yr old Jagr, thinks like a Canadian old-school player with a mean streak, a hybrid freak half Soviet half Flin Flon Bomber circa 1968 maniac. A game changer who can make the opposition look like their skating through cement. We dont have to "look back" to see whats coming ahead, all bets are off, when you consider in the same context Orr ragging the puck for an eternity, killing a penalty or creating the time & space for his team mates to psychologically recover from a bad goal. Players like that?. They play with eyes' 20' above the surface of the ice. Im talking Remote Viewing. ESP. It transcends decades, era's. Its infinite. To suggest that Richard, Moore on the prowl, a Sanderson in full flight were not possessed by the same visions, that the competition was inferior?. How many Witchy ways of a Sundays Mass you wanna be told you dont have a clue?.

You have eyeballs like that, youve got a luxury thats timeless....

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07-14-2011, 08:34 PM
  #30
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Two-way Street

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingCapsFan View Post
No argument on the entertainment factor. That's why we pay the money, to be entertained.

The problem, to me, in comparisons is this: time and space. This is what hockey players want to acquire, and this is what allows hockey players to make plays. With modern nutrition, training regimens, etc., todays players are faster, and mostly quicker. The size of the rink hasn't changed, but the time and space today's players have has been reduced by the ability of the opposition to close quicker. Players from past eras simply had more time to make a pass, or take a shot. That extra time is everything.

Now, would great players from the past have adjusted to the urgency of today's game? Possibly? Probably? Definitely? This is unanswerable, but we must acknowledge that offensive players from the past had a luxury that today's players don't have.

Watch a game from the 70's, then watch a game from today. In many ways, it's a different game.
Time and space is a two-way street. No one is given time and space on the ice it has to be earned

You mention that the opposition today has the ability "tp close quicker". Skating ability is independent of offense or defense so why is this ability suddenly limited to the defensive aspect of closing quicker?

The answer is rather simple. The vast majority of players when on offense do not have the ability to freeze or slow down the opposition by being able to exploit all the available offensive tools. Centers cannot pass equally well to both sides, very few players can make a backhand pass or shot, very few wingers arrive in the slot with proper body position to take an optimum forehand shot on goal. Once the defense is allowed to focus on one option as opposed to many or deal with players who waste time then "closing quicker" is very easy with little risk of being caught out of position..

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Old
07-14-2011, 11:25 PM
  #31
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I compare results vs. peers strongly with relative strength of the league, as well as relative strength of the position.

If vs your peers are exactly the same, player A vs B vs C vs D vs E vs F
A: In the 30s
B: 40s
C: 50s
D: 70s
E: 80s
F: 00s

I rank them:
F, C, E.... A, B, D

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Old
07-16-2011, 02:35 AM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RabbinsDuck View Post
I compare results vs. peers strongly with relative strength of the league, as well as relative strength of the position.

If vs your peers are exactly the same, player A vs B vs C vs D vs E vs F
A: In the 30s
B: 40s
C: 50s
D: 70s
E: 80s
F: 00s

I rank them:
F, C, E.... A, B, D

I think it is very important to consider the context of the league and the composition and makeup of the players, coaches and equipment being used.

Just because we don't see a statistical dominance in the 00's like we did say in the 70's or 80;s by certain players some automatically lead to the conclusion that those players were more skilled or "better" than 00 players.

Skilled and talented players rise to the top in each and every era of that there is no doubt but isn't it equally possible that it is harder to dominate in a more competitive league than a weaker one? (measured top to bottom, average to top whatever criteria you want to use).

The fact of the matter is that these things are impossible to measure exactly, we can make formulas and educated guesses, or even wild ones, but like it was mentioned by someone, this is more of a conversation and exchange of ideas rather than getting it right type of exercise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Exactly the answer this thread needs. We get so caught up nowadays on "the game is so much more advanced today" that we forget that if a common player is more advanced in 2011 than in 1951 that the superstars would have those same advantages too and learn new tricks. If Gretzky was born in 1951 and not 1961 he doesn't watch the Russians in 1972. He doesn't watch Bobby Clarke set up behind the net in the 1970s and use that to his advantage (which Gretzky did better than anyone else in history). But he learned things as the game went on. So try and picture Gretzky born in 1985 witnessing Mario and Jagr and then bringing possibly new dimensions to the game with the ones he already had.

The bottom line is this, how did the guy play against his peers? There has never been and never will be a soft NHL where everything was handed to a guy on a silver platter. This is how you judge an elite player
Taking only or overemphasizing any players play against their peers without other considerations just doesn't work in equating who the "best players of all time are" as it infers that there is relative stability in the game that is being played in the NHL and that dramatic changes have and do not take place which affects the comparisons.

The game, type of opposition and competition for a player in the NHL in 1774, 1981 and 2011 is quite a bit different as well.

Just because there isn't an easy stat to show how these changes affect players doesn't mean that they don't have a great impact on how we might perceive some players greatness or lack of it in other cases.

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Old
07-16-2011, 03:23 AM
  #33
Rhiessan71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I think it is very important to consider the context of the league and the composition and makeup of the players, coaches and equipment being used.

Just because we don't see a statistical dominance in the 00's like we did say in the 70's or 80;s by certain players some automatically lead to the conclusion that those players were more skilled or "better" than 00 players.

Skilled and talented players rise to the top in each and every era of that there is no doubt but isn't it equally possible that it is harder to dominate in a more competitive league than a weaker one? (measured top to bottom, average to top whatever criteria you want to use).

The fact of the matter is that these things are impossible to measure exactly, we can make formulas and educated guesses, or even wild ones, but like it was mentioned by someone, this is more of a conversation and exchange of ideas rather than getting it right type of exercise.



Taking only or overemphasizing any players play against their peers without other considerations just doesn't work in equating who the "best players of all time are" as it infers that there is relative stability in the game that is being played in the NHL and that dramatic changes have and do not take place which affects the comparisons.

The game, type of opposition and competition for a player in the NHL in 1774, 1981 and 2011 is quite a bit different as well.

Just because there isn't an easy stat to show how these changes affect players doesn't mean that they don't have a great impact on how we might perceive some players greatness or lack of it in other cases.
Just as long as when we're talking about context, you take your own advice.
Faster doesn't always mean better, nor does it automatically mean more skilled.

You always like to talk about how the game has changed and it has.
Players today aren't necessarily more talented, they are just able to better fulfill more of their talent on average.
However, the systems and coaching is so much more strict today that most players are just robots 90% of the time so really, most of that extra fulfillment goes to waste.

Not to mention that players today do not have to be near as tough as players in the 70's and to a little lesser extent in the 80's.
I'm not talking about dropping your gloves tough either, I'm talking about taking the punishment tough.
Guy Lafleur didn't drop the gloves often but he was one tough guy, he took a hell of a lot of punishment over the years. Even Gretzky had to be tough to make it through what he did.
People always like to say that a guy like Forsberg could go back and clean up in the 70's or 80's and I just laugh. I doubt he survives more than a few seasons. You quite simply couldn't play his style without defending yourself often and he would get his head taken off eventually.
Anyone who doesn't think you had to be tough back then should do some research on Salming.
There's def a ton of guys in the league today that have more than enough skill to play back then but only a very small handful would actually be tough enough.


All I can say you Casey, is to get the NHL network so you can actually watch a ton of these older games and get a much more informed opinion. Cause I'm telling ya Casey, you think the game is physical today....

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Old
07-16-2011, 03:36 AM
  #34
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I've always thought that trying to compare players with anything else than their contemporaries is pretty much an exercise in futility. That said, modern players may be better in absolute terms but they are not more talented. If the greats of the yesteryears were born a few decades later, they would have become stars anyway.

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Old
07-16-2011, 03:48 AM
  #35
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RabbinsDuck View Post
I compare results vs. peers strongly with relative strength of the league, as well as relative strength of the position.

If vs your peers are exactly the same, player A vs B vs C vs D vs E vs F
A: In the 30s
B: 40s
C: 50s
D: 70s
E: 80s
F: 00s

I rank them:
F, C, E.... A, B, D
I agree with the concept of comparing peers vs. the strength of the league, but I very much disagree that the 50s were stronger the the 80s. Late 50s had a strong talent level, but early 50s were one of the weaker periods in NHL history as the league didn't seem to have fully recovered from the war yet.

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