When did the 80s generation end?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Don Taylor*, Mar 22, 2006.

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  1. Don Taylor*

    Don Taylor* Guest

    Trying to think on how to say this...

    When did the Gretzky/Messier/Yzerman/Lemieux era end to you?

    Maybe calling it the 80's generation wasn't the best name but meh.

    When Gretzky retired?

    When Messier retired?

    (Lemieuxs retirement was too soon I think.)
     
  2. Patty Ice

    Patty Ice Best in the World

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    For me it started when Gretzky was traded to St. Louis. And it continued when all those of the Oilers' dynasty were gradually phased out. Coffey was bouncing around, Messier took a sharp decline, Kurri was an afterthought and Fuhr no longer had a spot for any team. It took a couple of years (about 4) to weed them out though cuz they ain't no *****es.
     
  3. kdb209

    kdb209 Registered User

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    If I had to pick one date it would be Mario's first retirement (after the '96-'97 season). At that point Gretzky had already declined from a great player to merely a very good one. Messier hung around longer with the Canucks and back with the Rags, a shadow of his former self. Yzerman remained a very good player longer ('96-'97 was his last 80+ pt season), but he was never in the same class with Wayne and Mario.

    If you just look at the Art Ross and the Hart - from 1981 to 1997, Wayne and Mario won the Art Ross every year except one (Jagr in '95) and from 1980 to 1996 Wayne, Mario, and Messier won 14 out of 17 Harts. None of them won a major award after '97.

    After '96-'97, the mantle of "Best Player in The NHL" had obviously been passed from Mario/Wayne to Jagr and more debateable others. That really strikes me as the end of an era.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2006
  4. Lowball Norm

    Lowball Norm Registered User

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  5. PurpleShamrock

    PurpleShamrock Registered User

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    I'm going to asnwer this from a slightly different angle: The type of creative, up-tempo, run-and-gun hockey personified by Messrs. Gretzky and Lemieux, started to die a slow death when the league expanded by 30% beginning in the early 90's. But I think the final coup de grace was delivered by Jacques Lemaire's NJ Devils, who trapped their way to a Stanley Cup in 1995 and ushered in the "dead puck era".
     
  6. Expansion, a refusal to call clutch and grabbing, as well as unabated growth of goalie equipment killed run and gun hockey.
     
  7. MS

    MS 1%er

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    To me, that era is pretty easy to pin down.

    It started in 1979, with the WHA merger. New 18 y/o draft. Gretzky, Messier, etc. break into the league. Scoring takes a sharp upturn. New dynasty on Long Island, end of the Habs dynasty.

    Ended in 1994/95. Lockout, rising salaries, advent of unrestricted free agency. Scoring takes a dive after the lockout, trap is suddenly everywhere. NJ wins the Cup, Edmonton is a mickey-mouse team now. Most of the stars of the '80s are now well past their prime. Bettman comes in, expansion is in full effect, divisions are re-named. Start of the era we've seen up until the 2004-05 lockout.
     
  8. Alan Jackson

    Alan Jackson Registered User

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    I agree with this post.
     
  9. #66

    #66 Registered User

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    I'll agree with the angle but I'll go with the year after (1996). Every expantion team and their mother tried to copy the Devils. Most teams didn't have the transition game that the Devils did but IMO thats when all out defense became an "in thing". Trapping was around before JL's Devils but it wasn't such a league wide thing.
     
  10. I could not have said it better.
     
  11. jiggs 10

    jiggs 10 Registered User

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    Yep, that's pretty much what I would say also. Yzerman still had a couple of good seasons, but having those extra teams come in (some of whom are actually very good now) and the clutch-and-grab style of "defense" being allowed to flourish (thanks to a few hard-headed referees who can't read the rule book, apparently), and yes, the dreaded "trap". There were/are still a few players who could/can play the wide open style of that era, but as a whole it ended about 1994.
     
  12. Evil Genius

    Evil Genius Registered User

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    Can't find a single thing I disagree with here but a few other things happened too that affected the game and added to the 'dead puck' era of the mid 1990's-2004.

    1. It wasn't just the trap, but rather a bunch of different 'systems' that teams began to employ. Teams hired more assistance coaches to specialize on stuff like special teams, goaltending etc.

    2. Game prep, coaching and scouting seemed to get better too which helped teams break down the opponents better and made the game even more positional and robotic. Scouts and video coaches could break down individual and team tendancies much better. The Center Ice package now meant that anybody on one team could watch any other NHL game anytime they want.

    3. Goaltending got better too. The equipment got larger, lighter and more flexible -all of which gave the goalies more of an advantage. Goalies covered the net so much better and seemed more flexible than in the past. They handled the puck so much better too as guys like Brodeur and Turco started roaming out of the crease more and acting to set up the first pass and negate the forecheck more often.

    4. Defensemen got bigger and more mobile. Don't remember seeing nearly as many 6'5 behemoths who could skate back in the 1980's. More than anything defensemen seems to block more and more shots. Anybody remember Craig Ludwig's shin pads in Dallas? You could land a 747 on those things.

    5. Expansion teams certainly didn't help as most (but not all) played the trapping game. I don't think the talent got diluted as badly as some people seem to think because at the same time the league grew more and more Euros entered the NHL. Also, the talent coming from places like Canada and the USA got better, not worse, IMHO.

    I think the crappy teams of the 1980's were actually worse than the crap teams of the late 1990's or '00s. Some of those old North Star, Penguins, Devil or Leaf teams back 15-20 years ago were positively dreadful; especially defensively and in goal. That one's probably more of a personal judgement call however.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2006
  13. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    From my perspective, it ended after the 1995-96 season. A bit of mid-1990s chronology:

    *Scoring dipped below seven goals per game in 1990-91 and 1991-92. In an effort to boost scoring, the league announced the first obstruction crackdown. Scoring increased to 7.2 goals per game. That, combined with an 84 game schedule, resulted in a record number of 50-goal and 100-point scorers. But Montreal won the Cup that year, employing a mostly defensive system. They beat LA, who used the run-and-gun.
    *The following year, two new teams (Anaheim and Florida) came into the league, employing defensive systems. Several other teams converted to defensive systems as well. Scoring dropped to about 6.5 goals per game. But there were still a lot of impressive numbers, including a 50-50 season by Cam Neely. Many enjoyed career years. The Rangers and Canucks reached the final, playing team games but favouring offensive hockey and a strong forecheck. Many expected a return to 1992-93 scoring levels.
    *In the lockout year, scoring dipped to under a shade of six goals per game for the first time in many years. The lockout resulted in a condenced, 48-game slate, which led to many teams playing conservative systems. There were about 6-8 players who scored at a 50-goal or 100-point pace. Paul Coffey scored at a 100-point pace from the blue line in one of the best seasons by a defenceman in many years. Scoring did increase as the season progressed, and the first round averaged around seven goals per game. New Jersey used the trap, a strong transition game, team speed, clutch scoring and top-notch goaltending to win.
    *After the prevalence of defensive hockey in the two previous years, the league renewed the obstruction crackdown. Scoring was at 7.2 goals per game early in the year, but levelled off as the year progressed and finished at 6.3 goals per game. The obstruction crackdown didn't last. However, the top players got their points, and lots of them. A lot of 50 goal and 100 point players. But the expansion to 26 teams had diluted talent pools, and most teams were only able to ice one strong PP unit, whereas in the 1980s, they could ice two. Colorado won the Cup playing a style similar to the Rangers in 1994.
    *It all went to pot in 1996-97. Scoring plunged to around 5.75 goals per game. The trap became more prevalent than ever. Only three 100-point scorers. (Mario, Jaromir and Selanne). Detroit won the Cup with a skilled team, but their left-wing lock was about as run-and-gun as it got.

    IMO, this is the season when the 80s era officially ended. It was dead and buried afterwards. Lemieux, Hawerchuk and Savard retired. Kurri, LaFontaine and Gartner retired the following year. Gretzky was 37. Many of the great playmaking centres and offensive defencemen from the 1980s were in their mid-to-late 30s. Scoring plunged again after this year, and hovered around 5.5 goals per game every year until 2003-04, when the bottom really fell out and scoring averaged under five goals per game for much of the year.
     
  14. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    And just to add one more thing: it's not just the NHL that went through a defensive era since 1995-96. Every other top developmental league had the same problems. Never, in a million years, did I think we'd see a day in which scoring in a major junior league dipped below 5.5 goals per game. It happened in the WHL in 2004-05. (5.4 goals per game). GAA and shutout records (both season and career) in the Dub are no longer relevant, because they're seemingly broken each year. The OHL had a rebirth in scoring this year thanks to an obstruction crackdown of their own. The QMJHL has a reputation for developing smallish, slick offensive forwards, but their scoring levels have been slowly declining, too.

    Junior A leagues, the NCAA, even midget AAA and AA, have seen a decline in scoring in recent years. Of course, the AHL was under 6 goals per game for many years, often not having a 100-point scorer. (They'll likely have three this year).

    It's not just the NHL, it's every level of top developmental hockey, and over-expansion and dilution of talent at every level has a lot to do with it. You had a lot of 16-year-olds in the Dub for a few years who had no potential of playing in the NHL. Their best hockey hopes would be CIS, Europe or North American minor pro. 20 years ago, players who played in the Dub as 16 were seemingly destined for NHL stardom.
     
  15. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    The Work stoppage of 1994. After that the big goalie equipment came in and scoring dried up.
     
  16. The end of the 1980's generation had a starting point and an ending point.

    The start was when the Devils won the Stanley Cup in 1995. The end was Lemieux's retirement in 1997.

    It was from 1995 to 1997 that the NHL saw the torch passed, both from a team and player perspective.

    The Oiler generation passed the torch to the Devils, Avalanche, and Red Wings in this time.

    Gretzyk, Lemieux, Messier, and Bourque passed the torch to Jagr, Forsberg, and Lidstrom.

    This 3-season period was when the 1980's generation came to an end.
     
  17. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    The starting point was the 1990-91 season. That's when defensive play slowly started to sneak into the game. Average scoring dipped below seven goals per game. After another season below seven goals, the league implemented the first obstruction crackdown. Goal scoring was 7.2 goals per game, the extra four games resulted in a 50-goal, 100-point player windfall.

    But after Montreal won the Cup, by not playing run-and-gun, teams returned to defensive play in 1993-94. Goal scoring fell below 6.5 goals per game for the first time in decades. Hasek had the first sub-2.00 GAA season in 20 years. After the scoring average dipped below 6 goals per game in the lockout, obstruction crackdown II began in full force in 1995-96. But it peetered out as the season progressed, and goal scoring dropped from 7.2 goals per game in the first month to 6.3. (Even though many players had career years, and there was a 1980s level of 50-goal and 100-point players).

    The 1980s era did die after Lemieux retired in 1997. But it wasn't just Lemieux. We said goodbye to Hawerchuk and Savard, too. LaFontaine, Kurri and Gartner were gone the following year.
     
  18. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    P-people tried to put them down....
     
  19. IBleedOil247

    IBleedOil247 Registered User

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    12:00 AM January 1, 1990
     
  20. GuloGulo

    GuloGulo Registered User

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    Nopes.

    The 1980s ended 12:00 AM January 1, 1991 (or 12:00 PM December 31, 1990).

    The first decade began 12:00 AM January 1, AD 1. Therefore, the first decade ended (and the 2nd began) 12:00 AM January 1, AD 11.
     
  21. IBleedOil247

    IBleedOil247 Registered User

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    But as of 1990 it no longer was in the 80's anymore :teach:
     
  22. Voice of Reason

    Voice of Reason Registered User

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    I agree. I would also add that Expansion Mania of the early 90's was a major factor in killing the free-wheeling game of the 80s. When you add several teams in a short period of time, quantity does not always translate into quality. To combat the lack of scorers/offensive minded players to go around, a more defensive plan was used simply to try to keep games close. It's easier to stock a team full of good to marginal plodders and over the hills than young shooters when your just starting out. For some of them, as they gained more experience, the league stuck with the defense-first mentality and they never got to play true "1980's" hockey.
     
  23. HVPOLARBEARS19

    HVPOLARBEARS19 Registered User

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    1994-1995 ended the 80's generation I feel because thats when the salaries started to rise and heavy increase in expansion really began in earnest. If this doesn't suffice, I would say when Gretzky went to the Blues was basically the end...then he went to the Rangers and the Mess went to Vancouver...that was pretty much it. By 1997 many former Oiler greats were either retired or non-entities. What's scarier is that the 90's generation is starting to get old right now too...think Fedorov, Kariya, Selanne, Jagr, Brodeur, etc., etc.
     
  24. GuloGulo

    GuloGulo Registered User

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    yes it was :) 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 are the years of the 1980:s.
     
  25. jiggs 10

    jiggs 10 Registered User

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    No it isn't. 1990 is the start of the 1990"s . Just like at the beginning of the year 1 AD (12:00 AM, January 1, 1) it wasn't 0 BC. Think about it.
     
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