Soviet players in top 10 of all time- do they belong there?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Veela, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. Veela

    Veela Registered User

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    I am a freelance journalist and recently I compiled a list of top 10 players ever to play a game of hockey for some hockey fans.

    The list contains these players - Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, Roy, Howe, P.Esposito, Sawchuk, Bourque, Beliveau, Richard. (Purposedly I don´t present the standings, because this would lead to nowhere).

    But I was confronted with idea that the list of Top 10 should contain players from Soviet Union like Tretjak, Kharlamov, Makarov, Fetisov or Larionov.

    Do you believe any of Soviet players is eligible to crack the Top 10 of all-time?
     
  2. Crosbyfan

    Crosbyfan Registered User

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    Of that group you could make a case for Fetisov or Tretiak.
     
  3. kruezer

    kruezer Registered User

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    I'd say Fetisov and Kharlamov, perhaps taking a look at some of the older Russian guys (Firsov, Bobrov et. al) though they are very difficult to judge considering their competition.
     
  4. xeric716x

    xeric716x Born To Expire

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    homer vote. Kharlamov belongs in there
     
  5. Wisent

    Wisent Registered User

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    It is incredibly hard to judge top 10 players. I can´t make a case for guys like Kharlamov, Mikhailov, Bobrov or Firsov not belonging there. I mean, what makes Esposito better than Mikhailov? They both very very good players, I`d give Mikhailov the edge but others would judge different. The top players are so close.

    Kharlamov IMO belongs there. He did crazy things.
     
  6. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Top 10 overall? Not a chance. My top nine: Orr, Howe, Gretzky, Lemieux, Richard, Beliveau, Shore, Bo. Hull and Harvey. The top European-born player ever is Mikita.

    Top 10 at a position? Yes. Fetisov and Tretiak are in my top 10 for their respective positions. Kharlamov would likely crack my top 10 LWs. Makarov would be close for RWs. I love Larionov, I think he's a fine player, and one of hockey's all-time finest human beings and ambassadors, but there's too much depth at centre to be a top 10 all-time at that position.
     
  7. Veela

    Veela Registered User

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    This is eternal question like boxers vs. slippers or Gretzky vs. Lemieux. What makes the player to shine above all others. Talent or his career. I would say career, thus my vote for Gretz as the best ever, but then you can never have any Soviet player to crack the top 10, ´cause their stats are incomparable.
     
  8. Wisent

    Wisent Registered User

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    True, and that is why it is so hard. IMO it is a bit unfair to only judge by stats. I am sure there were great players in Russia before they came to the NHL. You can see that by the exhibition games they had once in a while.
     
  9. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Want to evaluate a player's greatness? It's much, much more than just stats. Stats? Yeesh. Look at how they elevated their play in the most important games (playoffs), look at how they dominated their peers, their longevity, their consistency, etc. Look at how they actually played the game. Hockey is far more than just stats. Anyone who knows anything about the sport knows that it's far more than just stats.
     
  10. XploD

    XploD Registered User

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    Sounds like someone who's just watched the NHL.
     
  11. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Hardly. Name me one Soviet/Russian player better than any of the players I just mentioned. There isn't one.

    If I had only watched the NHL, I wouldn't have mentioned where I rate several Soviet stars within the context of their position.
     
  12. canucks666

    canucks666 Registered User

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    wow, you're so glib
     
  13. pappyline

    pappyline Registered User

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    Anybody that would put Esposito on a top 10 NHL list & leave off hull sure doesn't know much about hockey.
     
  14. Wisent

    Wisent Registered User

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    Kharlamov for instance. Cases can be made for others as well (Firsov, Mikhailov...)
    I have no fixed top of all time. How can you judge who elevates more?
    If you want to compare them to their peers the Russians CSKA players are the most dominant. They were dominant, had the longevity and were consistent. When they had a chance to play the Northamericans they made good games. Richard and Mikhailov for instance are at least comparable when it comes to level of dominance. They ahd the allstar selections, they had the scoring records...)
     
  15. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    See, this is how you make an agrument. Not "Sounds like someone who's just watched the NHL" or "wow, you're so glib." Pulling quotes out of context isn't a good idea, either. Wisent, many people from HF Boards would be wise to follow your example. I don't agree with you, but at least you understand how to craft an articulate, well-thought-out argument.

    I have no question about the Soviet players dominance, consistency or clutch play. If I did, they wouldn't be in my positional top 10. Some have made the case for Tretiak being the greatest goalie ever. (Including SI during one of their 40th anniversary commemorative editions).

    I think there's a certain element of mystery about the old Soviet block players which can help or hinder their place in the game's history. Some scoff at their place, saying they dominated the Soviet League, which was at an NHL level in terms of the top-end talent, but didn't have the depth. They also question the relevance of the World Championship accomplishments, because most of the best NHL don't play in the worlds. I don't subscribe to that theory.

    And then there are others who elevate the old Soviet players' status because of that mystery element. It's that hypothesis of how good they would have been if they came to North America. Kharlamov would have shredded the NHL in any era. Would he have been as good as Bobby Hull? I don't think so.

    Fetisov would have challenged Coffey, Bourque, Langway, Chelios, Mark Howe, Doug Wilson and the rest for blue-line dominance in the 80s. Keep in mind he was 31 when he made his NHL debut. Would he have had a run of dominance like Orr, Harvey or Shore? Not likely. Fetisov starred at the Canada Cup, but he was by no means head and shoulders above every other defenceman out there. But he would have provided another outstanding rival.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  16. canucks666

    canucks666 Registered User

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    The reason why I call you glib without making more of an argument is because of how utterly ridiculous your claims are.

    The vast majority of expert hockey observers agree that some soviet hockey players could be considered among the top-10 of all time.

    BUT THAT'S NOT ALL. A significant amount even make claims for guys like Kharlamov to not just be in the top-10, but in the top 2 or 3. I have seen more than one expert say that Kharlamov may have been even a greater goal-scoring talent than Gretzky, and Larinov may have had the same kind of hockey intelligence when it comes to setting his teammates up.

    Do they claim that they're better than than gretzky? Of course not. But they're good enough to be mentioned in the same breath - not unceremoniously dumped out of the top-10.


    What is my opinion? Kharlamov certainly deserves a spot in the top 10 over Believeau. And Fetisov certainly deserves one over Doug Harvey. No disrespect to either player.



    Lastly, you may have had SOME credibility, and were just controversial had you not called Stan Mikita the best european-born player. That's just plain nuts.
     
  17. Murphy

    Murphy Registered User

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    Just once I'd like to hear your opinion that isn't freakin excellent.


    Just once!
     
  18. Wisent

    Wisent Registered User

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    Thanks.

    You make a good case for Fetisov. For me as well, Orr is the outstanding d-man. But if Fetisov would have challenged Bourque et al. for dominace he would be in elite company. Can`t say much about Shore and Harvey (I have no doubt they were alltime greats) but how much more dominant than "dominant" can you be? People said (and I actually saw) that Fetisov was dominant. It is hard to compare since that stuff is shrouded in the texts. (I am not making a case for Fetisov being better than Shore; just an example how hard it is to say one was more dominant than someone else). As an example you give the Canada Cup. But just the same can be said about the one in 1981 where Potvin and Robinson were far from their best.

    I don`t know if Kharlamov would have shredded the NHL but I have no doubt that he had all the tools to be just as dominating as Hull or Richards or Beliveau.
    And I think that other players yould have had them as well (probably not many, since the top ten consists of, well, ten players) but one or two might slip in (I have Mikhailov up there as well as one of the top players).

    You are completely right about that Soviet mystery. It distorts the view on these great athletes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  19. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Funny, last I checked, Stan Mikita only won four Art Ross Trophies. And he only won two Hart Trophies. And in addition to his offensive abilities, he played a robust physical game early in his career that saw him lead the league in penalties twice, and average 150 PIMs in his first two Art Ross seasons. Finished very high in the THN top 100 list, top 20, I believe. A strong case could be made for Mikita as one of the top five centres of all-time, as high as fourth, after Gretzky, Lemieux and Beliveau. Yeah, I don't know why he wouldn't be considered the best European-born player ever. (I didn't say anything about European-born, European-trained. That honour belongs to Fetisov).

    Who are these experts who list Kharlamov as one of the top three ever? Because I've heard of it. Not belittling you, I legitimately want to know. I enjoy reading arguments like that. I strongly disagree, but I want to see those arguments.

    Doug Harvey won seven Norris Trophies in eight years. And was an all-star 11 straight years, a first-team all-star 10 of those seasons. Considered by some to be the best defensive defenceman ever, and would have posted eye-popping numbers if he didn't play in the Original Six era, when defencemen were strongly discouraged from jumping up into the attack. (Tim Horton's another player who would have posted huge numbers if he would have played his prime post-Original 6). And maybe this means nothing to you, but it means a heck of a lot to me: Harvey was the best defenceman on the greatest dynasty the NHL has ever seen.

    Jean Believeau? 10-time Cup champion. One of the best clutch scorers ever. Greatest leader the game has ever seen, classiest player of all-time. Until Mario Lemieux came along, nobody had ever combined size and skill the way Beliveau did. And he was not a pushover: he was a very physical player who had over 1,000 PIMs.
     
  20. Wisent

    Wisent Registered User

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    Igor Larionov once said that Kharlamov was the best player he had ever seen.
     
  21. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Off of that list the only one thats remotely close is Kharlamov. I still dont put him near the top 10 though. I mean do you know how many great players have ever played? This is something that is way off but in the future maybe a guy like Ovechkin will be up there. Close at least. I'd personally put him in Bossy's class maybe by the end of his career. But that's as close as it gets.

    Tretiak is arguably not even a top 10 goalie of all time. Fetisov is even 10-15 in defenseman. Keep in mind how many great palyers have played the game.
     
  22. nik jr

    nik jr Registered User

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    from 1972summitseries.com:
     
  23. XploD

    XploD Registered User

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    This is my problem with you. Now you're only going with NHL accomplishments. Kharlamov was the better player. There's no doubt about it.

    I understand you North Americans don't like to acknowledge Russians that haven't played in your all mighty league (and often not even then) but come on.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2006
  24. xeric716x

    xeric716x Born To Expire

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    :clap: :clap:
     
  25. nik jr

    nik jr Registered User

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    THN in 02 did a russian top 10:
     

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