Does Anybody Not Like Original Six Hockey?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Stephen, May 2, 2011.

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  1. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Maybe it's a bit of a sacrilegious point on a history board of all places, but I find Original Six hockey to be pretty boring to watch. Maybe the terrible production values on old broadcasts is partially to blame, but for me whenever I watch classic games on Leafs TV, I always prefer the 70s, 80s and 90s stuff to the 50s and 60s. Whenever I watch the earlier era, I can't help but feel like the east west element and creativity, changes of speed introduced after exposure to the Soviet game is way more interesting to watch than the constant north south back and forth, which looks so unsophisticated and chaotic, like everyone's running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Defensive coverage looks awful, goaltending relied on reflexes and guess work, and the physical play always looks like a lot of elbows and sticks up and very little finishing the forecheck with a proper hit. You see a lot of plays where guys slow down way before they get to the boards. Guys just looked very cautious. Does anyone agree?
     
  2. buffalowing88

    buffalowing88 Registered User

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    I think that you'd be hard pressed to find someone who didn't find today's game pace and action ten times more entertaining than that of 50 years ago. That being said, the storylines and passionate fan bases that provided the backdrop for those Original Six teams probably made for some very interesting matchups frequently.

    But as with anything that ages, we tend to look back at it as archaic. NASA looks pretty rag tag when you watch The Right Stuff and MC Hammer looks like a joke next to today's rappers. No matter what the outlet, things will look worse over time, you just have to appreciate that progress is relevant and that those guys were pioneers.
     
  3. Buck Aki Berg

    Buck Aki Berg Done with this place

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    I can't watch hockey from that era. I can deal with the low production quality (it was the 40s...), but I find the announcers to be extremely bland and matter-of-fact. They do nothing to add excitement to the game; rather they just narrate it with the same tone of voice they would use if they were leaving a message on an answering machine.

    I also hate, hate, HATE how every time there's a shot on goal, they'd go from the standard red-line camera to a shot of the goalie making the save (or getting scored on).
     
  4. King Woodballs

    King Woodballs Captain Awesome

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  5. TheMoreYouKnow

    TheMoreYouKnow Registered User

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    I can't watch old games from any era for sheer entertainment value, maybe a highlights clip but really the pleasure and thrill of a sporting event rest in the uncertainty of outcome and the resulting suspense. When I watch old games I do so for the documentary effect and really old games are better for that, I remember Gretzky playing, I remember Messier playing, I didn't see Lindsay, Beliveau or Keon play.
     
  6. I can honestly say, that of games I've seen in both the 60's and 70's... I swear the hockey seems better in the 60's. Pace, skill, etc... I actually find it quite odd why that is. Combination of old film quality making the 60's players appear faster than they are, and the dilution of the 1970's NHL I suppose? I've literally seen countless entire games from both decades as well.
     
  7. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Great era of hockey. Just the 6 teams so you didn't get the dilution of talent brought on by expansion. A lot of the best players of all-time played during this era. Just a great time for hockey.
     
  8. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    To me, that's the biggest advantage of the O6 era.

    Given the choice between watching 1951 Habs/Leafs or 2011 Habs/Leafs on television, I'm taking the modern game.

    But if I have a choice to watch either of them in person, I'm not even going to think twice about jumping in the time machine and going to the Forum or Gardens. Knowing the name of every player, seeing their faces clearly, no glass around the rink, fans sitting right next to the players' benches... it was truly a different experience to attend one of those games I'm sure. It must have been addicting.
     
  9. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    O6 Hockey

    The available O6 games or hilite packages are not being viewed in the context of the season. So present day viewers do not get to see the game to game adjustments, do not appreciate if a fresh team was playing a team playing 3 games in 4 nights or 4 in 5 nights., the injury situations or the variables that give context to a "new" game where the result is not known.

    Also the viewer may not be familiar with the tendencies of the players, coaching strategies or the officiating of the O6 era as they are with the current era.
     
  10. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

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    It's this mentality that has led the league to the increasing number of injuries. Finish your check changed the purpose of a body check from separating the man from the puck to try and kill him or at least inflict as much pain as possible. It evolved to what it is today. Late hits, boarding, charging. The O6 era didn't have body armour. Letting up a bit at times saved yourself an injury and they also understood what the purpose of having "contact" in the game was.
    If you surveyed fans from the last 15 or so years and asked what the purpose of a body check was I would bet the vast majority would not give the answer - separate the man from the puck.
    It's really too bad people don't realize that the O6 era had just about everything right.
     
  11. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    The thing I don't like about original six hockey is the black and white picture and the poor quality video.

    The goaltending was much better. Goalies should rely on reflexes and athleticism, that is what makes goaltending fun to watch. Today's goalies with the wall of equipment is terrible. Just sit there and let the puck hit you. Yay.

    That being said, anything will look better today than 50 years ago. Compare computers from 1961 to the computers of today, that is just how the world works. Hockey 50 years from now will make today's game look like a bunch of untrained monkeys.

    That does not diminish the fact that it was the best hockey in the world at the time. You compare how players dominated their peers in their own era to determine greatness so, Jean Beliveau is still one of the 10 greatest players of all-time no matter how advanced today's game appears.
     
  12. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    A Few More Details

    Bolded. Taking the comment a few steps further. If posters saw the Don Cherry Story on the CBC, there was a segment where Eddie Shore was trying to teach Don Cherry how to rub-out the puck carrier along the boards, get the puck and start the counter attack.

    Today very few d-men, if any can do this. If the body checker does not come away with the puck then he precludes the counter attack since one of his wingers has to comeback and retrieve or battle for the puck. This kills any opportunity for an odd man rush the other way.

    Similarly for forwards. Finishing the check but leaving yourself pinned in the offensive zone and allowing an odd man rush the other way was a one way ticket to the minors in the O6 era. Today it is common place.mitigated by the fact that few forwards know how to adjust spacing and angles to take full advantage of any odd man situation.
     
  13. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Goalies Today

    Goaltending today requires very little lateral movement. The forwards, especially the wingers do not take the wide angles to the net so the goalie does not have to account for a great variety of passing and shooting angles like the goalies in the O^ era did. Likewise the loss of the backhand pass and shot simplified the job for the goalies since options on the rush were eliminated and rebound control was not as important since slow recovery time was mitigated by slow offensive execution as players brought the rebound from their backhand to the forehand.

    The Hawks against the Canucks in the 2009 and 2010 playoffs showed how vulnerable a goalie like Luongo can be is forced to play
    a wide attack with strong lateral movement and a full arsenal of shots.
     
  14. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

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    Yes exactly.
    Also why the hip check has become a lost art. The beauty of the hip check? It separates the man from the puck while allowing the checker to easily transition to offence. It's so simple. But what do us old timers know?
     
  15. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

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    Was going to mention the backhand in my last post as well. Isn't it funny how amazed everyone is when they see backhands like Kane and Crosby pull off. Yet years ago the backhand was an essential skill. They should have seen Keon's backhand. Few take into account all of these little things when proclaiming the NHL players and the game in general now are soooo much better.
     
  16. Axxellien

    Axxellien Registered User

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    Backhand:

    ..Right about the backhand..Boston`s Don Mckenney possessed a particularly lethal, low backhander, surgically clean and precise..Montreal`s Jake Plant was a favored victim, always had trouble adjusting for angle trajectory, etc...Finesse shooters from the 1950s who lacked a powerful slapshot in their arsenal would fall out of favour as the 60s progressed & the hard slapshot became the weapon of choice among NHL Marksmen...
     
  17. Axxellien

    Axxellien Registered User

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    Original Six:

    ..I can only say that i recently viewed a 1980s playoff game between Calgary Flames and Gretzky`s Edmonton Oilers and was SHOCKED by the total lack of Defense:shakehead...It seemed the defensemen would turn away and attackers had total free reign!!...No playing the man or puck coverage!!...They just turned their heads away!!:shakehead..Resembled an All Star game!:sarcasm:..Certainly no hipchecks!!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  18. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Backhand

    Doubt that a forward would come close to the NHL without strong backhand passing or shooting in the O6 era.

    The interesting point about the Crosby and Kane backhands is that hardly anyone tries to imitate their backhands yet it is very obvious that there are numerous advantages to using a backhand. Most obvious being the additional options and more open ice since the defense has to respect both the backhand and the forehand.
     
  19. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    By and large a backhand shot is going to be a lower percentage scoring play than something on the forehand. While it's a great tool to have, it's not surprising to see the ability atrophy in an era when goalies are more positionally sound and take up more space while attackers have the advantage of better slap, snap and wrist shots that come with better sticks and blades that favour one side over the other.

    But generally, I just can't get excited about Original Six hockey. It's just so frantic and unstructured.
     
  20. revolverjgw

    revolverjgw Registered User

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    Heh, that's actually why I LOVE watching it. I find it super entertaining. But yeah, it's definitely pretty sloppy looking compared to today's hockey. Definitely a lot more "what was he thinking there?" moments. Players today seemed almost programmed to do things a certain way, every time, any mistakes are much more glaring.
     
  21. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    It's funny, because I think the best hockey is basically sloppy hockey between two evenly matched teams going at it full tilt. It's why WJC games can be really awesome. But I think to me, the Original Six is just too foreign having grown up after the Soviet invasion. 80s hockey is great to watch, it's still freewheeling and unstructured and the goalies are terribad, but there seems to be more east west deviation from the pure north south back and forth which adds a degree of complexity to the action.
     
  22. Peter9

    Peter9 Registered User

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    For me, today's hockey is much more boring than the hockey of the 1950s and 1960s. Largely gone are the beautiful passing plays, the scintillating stickhandling, the clean (undeflected and unscreened) goals from open ice. Instead, with few exceptions, we get robotic repetition--shooting the puck in over and over again, the players doing the same thing over and over again, until a puck goes into the net when someone lapses from robotic perfection or there's a largely fortunate coincidence of shot with screen and/or deflection. I'd rather see goals that come from creativity rather than goals produced by mechanical repetition setting up screens and deflections.

    The backhand shot and even the forehand wrist shot are lost arts. The percentages say use the slap shot to take advantage of the screen or the deflection to put the puck past goalies sporting much bulkier equipment, so no one practices the backhand or the wrist shots. The equipment on the goalies is so bulky that goaltending has become largely a mechanical task.

    The artistry is largely gone from the game.
     
  23. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

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    Very well said. Is there anything more frustrating than watching the predictable modern cycle game? Predictable = boring.
     
  24. mbhhofr

    mbhhofr Registered User

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    Having watched and been involved in the game since the early 1950's and seeing how the game has evolved, for entertainment value, I prefer the original six.

    My first thought, when I saw Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull putting the hook on the blade of their sticks, was, how do you get a good back hand shot with that?
     
  25. The wrist shot is a lost art? That can't be a serious statement.
     

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