Discussion in 'New York Rangers' started by BenchBrawl, Nov 21, 2019.
Unfortunately probably true.
The Bread Line should be a statue at MSG.
How cool would that look.
And to think that Bathgate and Howell just got there themselves.....
Awesome post. Thanks!
These should have been the first two jerseys that the Rangers ever retired! It should have been done a half century ago and is an absolute shame that they have not been honored to this day. These two players where the foundation of the Rangers for the first 20 yrs of the franchise. Boucher was an integral part of 3 Stanley Cups including head coach of the ‘40 team. I still hope they get put in the rafters they both deserve to be remembered for generations.
I think this kind of thinking is completely misguided. I think there was some effect of having such a limited number of teams, but... and this is just throwing out a number for illustrative purposes... it's more likely that 100% of the talent spread in the original 6 era represents something like 80% of the talent spread in the current NHL. In other words, guy number 120 out of 120 in the original 6 had about the same talent level as guy number 500 of 620 in the current NHL. Frankly, I think 80% is conservative. The available talent pool has really expanded that much because of expansion and the opening of the league to international players. We are, of course, talking about natural talent and ignoring training and scouting improvements or style of play.
There was definitely a lag where expansion and the WHA really did dilute the talent level. Tripling the size of the league in the span of 6 years is one major reason why suddenly you had guys putting up 100+ regularly. The gap between the top and the bottom was really wide. Adding 3 more at the end of the decade (technically subtracting 1 and adding 4) didn't slow the dilution down either. Theoretically, it makes sense that it would take 20-25 years for the talent level to catch up. You need a generation of players who grew up with the game in their backyards. 25 years after first expansion is when you started to finally have scoring levels come back to normal. Then you add 9 more teams in the 90s and it prolongs the lag back a bit, but not as much as the first expansion. I don't think adding 2 more teams on top of 30 already existing tangibly dilutes the talent level. There's a reason Vegas was able to be competitive right off the bat. Enough talent exists to spread to two more rosters without really harming other teams while providing good players to the new teams.
Hail Frank Boucher!
Agree and disagree.
Using your argument that the reason the 70's and 80's had so many 100 point scorers, it would also stand to reason that the 90's and early 2000's should have had the same time of wild offense due to the crazy expansion.
Exactly the opposite happened.
The talent level in the NHL at the "turn of the century" was pretty awful, and it was awful because of the style of play.
Starting then, and moving forward, speed and skating has become more important than shooting, passing, and hockey IQ. Unless a player is a outright stud scorer, it seems like teams would rather take the guy who can skate and disrupt, more than the slower guy who has more actual ability with the puck or is what used to be called a "natural goal scorer". There's no doubt the game is faster, more athletic, and there is no room for marginal skaters, but I don't think the actual "talent" level is all that great.
To that end, I'll go to a Charlotte Checkers game, and watch marginally talented AHLers skate rings around each other, but the actual hockey is pretty terrible. I can remember first moving here in the late 90's and going to ECHL games, where the skating was bad, the game slow, but played like actual hockey.
I did address that, though. There’s a big difference between the 40% increase in the number of teams that we saw in the 9 years of the 90s and the 250% increase we saw in the 12 years of the first expansion era. In the latter, you went from 120 players to 420 players. In the former, you went from 420 players to 600. You still get a lag, but not as much of one.
The difference between the first expansion era and the dead puck era is two-fold. First, coach’s attitude. The 70s and 80s coaches were all about offense, but 1995 saw the increased success of the neutral zone trap and it’s many emulators. Second, and this ties into the effectiveness of the first, a wider pool of people playing the game ultimately results in just as much new defensive talent as offensive talent. You didn’t have it during the first wave, but that first wave created not just offensively talented players, but defensively talented ones too, including goalies. By the time we got to the mid-90s, the combination of those two factors changed the game. I don’t agree with your statement that the talent at the turn of the century was awful.
One other thing. You’re never going to increase the top level of talent. There can be players as talented as Orr, Esposito, Gretzky, Lemieux, etc... but there never will be players with more talent. Shrinking the gap between the top players and the middle players doesn’t lead to more offense, but rather controls how much offense is possible.
There are plenty of mediocre skaters with offensive talent in the league.
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