I wonder when I watch these old games on the NHL Network. Say 1970 and earlier. How good were these players? The hockey seems choppy, less skilled, with less of a focus on playing a system. The athletes are generally smaller, poorly conditioned guys for the most part. I saw Gordie Howe play in a game and thought that, while he's easily the best player out there, he's not *that* dominant...seems kinda lazy. Like, he's so far above and away the competition that there's no need in trying. Compared to the hustle of a Joe Sakic, the effort and "flash" just isn't there. Seems to me, over an extremely small sample size, that back then, there's a few star players around...some mid-level guys, and a whole bunch of Aki Berg skating around out there. Real journeymen guys, with the offensive prowess of Scott Ferguson types. Was this really the case? Thinking elsewhere, and to a larger sample size, I wonder about Chris Pronger. Watching this guy over the course of this past season for the Oilers redefined, for me, exactly what a quality d-man was. I've never seen a D with such control of the game. I'm sure many people will refer to guys like Robinson, Potvin, and of course ORR as guys with a similar ability (I'm not qualitatively comparing them here, just mentioning that element that a dominant d-man brings to the game they share, in whatever varying degrees). The interesting part? You could never see the dominance in Prongs over one game. You need to watch a 7-game stretch to see exactly how much of a difference maker he is. I tend to wonder if it is not the same situation with the great hockey games/players/rivalries of the past. Really, my question stems from this. People always wonder about viewing players from the past in comparison to their modern counterparts, along with the limitless whatifs that follow. For the most part, recordings of the best players from 1970+ are sketchy at best; it is rare to find that much material to draw a clear picture of how good a player was, or how good the hockey was for that matter. Can we truly appreciate the dominance of former greats without being able to re-examine, in detail, the immense impact they had on the game as a whole? Is it possible to accurately view these past games, and justified to compare the level of talent present in the league in 1950 with the level present 56 years in the future?