Is the current league another level above the 80s and 90s?

Discussion in 'National Hockey League Talk' started by illpucks, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. ScaredStreit Registered User

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    As a whole yes, but the top end is not. Mario dominated the 2000's NHL after tons of injuries, missing years, and in his late 30's. Nobody has shown that level of dominance over their peers since him (including Crosby, Ovechkin, McDavid).
     
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  2. ThrowDemTongs Registered User

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    There is also a difference physically I was born in the 80s and I was literally shorter back then but I am taller now so I guess what I'm tryna say is nowadays we built different
     
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  3. mattihp Registered User

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    More players have the means to make it the most of those talents and more of the talented people have an opportunity to play hockey. So the talent pool is vastly bigger.
     
  4. surixon Registered User

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    Yeah that is a bunch of BS by Ray. There were some incredibly talented players that pulled highly skilled moves like Lemieux, Bure, Kariya, Jager etc...

    Style of game was a bit different due to the clutching and grabing and head hunting but there was a bucket load of skill in the 90'.
     
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  5. AngryMoose Registered User

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    The game itself is faster today.
    The players in today's game skate better and stick handle better.
    Goalies in today's game stop the puck better.
    ---
    What keeps getting forgotten:
    Equipment has gotten much lighter and less restricting so players today can move quicker. Just the skate technology makes a huge difference in the way players can move on the ice. A player of equal talent and skill today will automatically look much better than their counterpart in the 80s for this reason alone. Does anyone really think that Ovechkin's shot would be as good using the old Titan and Koho's of the 80s? The reason an "average" NHL player today can shoot the way they do is the technology in the sticks.
    But then add on top of that the training these players have grown up with. In the 60s, 70s, and 80s the players did not have access to the high end coaching, trainers, and dieticians that players today do.
    Goaltending. Just take a look at a picture of a goalie in the 80s and a goalie today. Enough said on that.
    ---
    I'm not complaining about today's game (other than game management), but I don't think the top end players today are any better than the top end players from the 80s. Their performance level is up, but the raw talent is not.
     
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  6. tarheelhockey Offside Review Specialist

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    On the other side of that coin, people lived a much more physical, less sedentary lifestyle a century ago. Nutrition has led to people getting taller, but also fatter. Testosterone levels have declined steadily.

    Children who end up in the NHL are exposed to a lot of repetitive hockey training early in life, but spend most of the rest of their time just sitting there. This creates offsets in terms of their general physical conditioning compared to someone who e.g. grew up on a farm.
     
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  7. tarheelhockey Offside Review Specialist

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    Anyone looking for the actual answer to this question, the post above nails it.
     
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  8. Statto Registered User

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    Had Gretzky and Lemieux been born to play in this era they would be just as dominant. No one has dominated like those two. Also players today have advantages not there in the 80’s. To shoot a puck using a wooden stick with power you needed close to perfect technique, but today a technically average shot still launches a cannon. Give today’s player two line passes, wooden sticks, heavier equipment and opponents that will take their heads off without any comeback and let’s see how a modern player does... it would not be that easy. Each era has its advantages and disadvantages.

    The only way to compare talent between era’s is to look at how dominant players are in their respective eras. Nobody comes close to the dominance of Gretzky and Lemieux, both genuine outliers. Otherwise the talent distribution will be very similar with players developing in the context of their era.
     
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  9. Bank Shot Registered User

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    Do you think it is a coincidence that the expansion era produced the 3 players with the biggest level of dominance over their peers in Mario, Gretz, and Orr?

    I don't think it was a coincidence. You had players that shouldn't have been in the league because the NHL expanded so fast. Look what happens when you get today's stars against the other team's depth players. They feast. In the 80s and 90s you had a larger percentage of depth players that just weren't good. That allowed the best to dominate more.
     
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  10. PaulD Time for a new GM !

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    Best is best. Its all relevant.

    If you took all the best players in history and put them at the same age starting in peewee together. By the time they turned and played pro in the NHL.

    Crosby and Lafleur would be pretty even.

    Mario and McDavid would be pretty even.

    Robinson and Hedman would be pretty even.

    Price and Roy would be pretty even.

    Neely and OV would be pretty even.

    Fourth liners and bottom pair players are faster and more skilled today.

    Fourth liners and bottom pair players were far more physical and punishing in 80s, 90s.

    The role of those players has evolved/changed.

    Players like Drouin, Sheary, Galchenyuk, Ennis etc .........while more skilled than the third liners of yesteryear , would not have made their teams in the 80s, 90s. They require a softer game in order to show their skill for a long season plus play off wars.
    Where as 4th liners like Nilan, Otto, Plett, Brad Smith, and bottom pair D of 80s, 90s would not make the their teams today. Not as skilled as they were rough and tough.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
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  11. Bank Shot Registered User

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    Do you think it is a coincidence that the expansion era produced the 3 players with the biggest level of dominance over their peers in Mario, Gretz, and Orr?

    I don't think it was a coincidence. You had players that shouldn't have been in the league because the NHL expanded so fast. Look what happens when you get today's stars against the other team's depth players. They feast. In the 80s and 90s you had a larger percentage of depth players that just weren't good. That allowed the best to dominate more.
     
  12. Mordoch Registered User

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    I do think you see a shift once you are measurably into the early 90s simply because of a bigger talent pool with former Soviet players now in the NHL. (The also was a shift as NHL teams accepted the ability of European players in general to transition their game to the NHL and talent was pursued more aggressively.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
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  13. stringunspecified Registered User

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    To me the mobility & skating technique of defensemen is so much higher in the league now. The upswing started in the 90's, but it's on a different level now. It used to be that Zubov's skating ability made him look other-worldly at times. Now there's usuallyn at least 1-2 defenders on a team that skates with a similar if not equal style and technique. Even defenders who come from juniors looking plodding can get transformed by specialists teams hire.
     
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  14. DRW204 Registered User

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    yes

    sometimes watching 80s hockey now it is just laughable at how different/bad it is. esp the goaltending+defending.

    *didn't grow up in the 80s*
     
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  15. allhaildraisaitl Registered User

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    Once the mid 90's hit, the NHL was a much tougher, more physical league with a lot more hooking, holding, and physical play then now. The rules have changed the game a lot since then. A lot smaller and less physical players can excel in the current NHL, there is less contact and more room for players now. Size was more important back then. I don't think the players are that much better now then they were at that point, I just think the rules allow smaller, more skilled, and less physical players to excel. A number of players in the current league would not have excelled under the old rules. They would be too small, soft, and not physical enough, just as a lot of the big, physical, less skilled grinders in that era, would not excel under the current rules. The game rules and play style has changed a lot since then.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  16. Jbo Jeans Registered User

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    The average player in the NHL today is better than the average player in the 80's/90's. Thats almost not even debatable. Literally every aspect of the game has evolved and improved; goaltending (by an incredible amount), coaching, speed, skill. Its hard not appreciate how much faster today's NHL is, the only way to truly do it is watch a game in person at ice-level. Obviously super stars from older eras giving todays training and technology would probably still dominate. But because of todays goaltending they wouldn't put up nearly the same numbers.
     
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  17. Paperbagofglory Registered User

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    The game was more football on ice. The hits were punishing and elbows that even led to injuries were seen as 2 minute minors. It produced NHLers with a different skill set, they had to be strong and skilled. A player like Jagr's skill set happened because of necessity. He needed to have a strong base in order to produce offense im the water sking era. Modern Jagr would be leaner and focus on top end speed. Defenseman and goalies got bigger but forwards are actually getting smaller in stature. The main style of 90s NHL was the power forward. How many of those do we have left? People mistake speed and skating ability for better talent. The great power forwards of the era had stick handling down low as good as any modern player not named Mcdavid. Eric Lindros would have wrecked this league and made many bigger forwards today look like minor leaguers. Talent level is not linear progression, there are peaks and valleys of eras. People mistake technique with talent. Yet a very important aspect of talent such as creativity got stiffled by rigid system play. You have better third and fourth liners as a result and worse top 6 talent. I agree with the assesment that bottom 6 NHLers of the past era would not make the league today. But so what? Are people trying to suggest that quantity equals quality?
     
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  18. BruinsBtn Registered User

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    The talent might be better but the league was way, way tougher then. In those days, guys were absolutely wrecked by the time they were 30. Guys were playing injured all the time and medical technology was nowhere near what it is now. Talent takes you a lot further in today's game then it used to. In the 80s and 90s, you needed more grit than talent. It was a different game.
     
  19. tarheelhockey Offside Review Specialist

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    When discussing goaltending, it needs to be reiterated that modern technique is objectively superior AND that these techniques are physically impossible to sustain with 80s-style equipment. Guys like Bishop and Vasilevskiy would be on IR after their first game in Billy Smith’s pads, and their adjustment to that equipment would negate the advantages of being so tall.
     
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  20. Nihiliste Registered User

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    This is a hugely underrated point. In WW2, european soldiers thought that American soldiers were like ferocious animals, because they were coming from these farm and factory backgrounds and less from metropolitan areas like London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, etc. now the average american is thought of as sedentary, fat, lazy. While the population has gone up, the population of people who are raised in households that prioritize fitness and sports and diet and are therefore able to succeed at sports probably has not
     
  21. TomppaKoo Registered User

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    This pretty much a definition of an embarrasengly BAD Post.
    :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
     
  22. skinnyFAT91 Registered User

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    I mean Jagr put up 60 points as a 40 year old not too long ago so I don’t think it’s head and shoulders more talented especially when comes to star players outside of McDavid.

    Equipment has made skating and shooting much much easier. Goalie equipment size allowed butterfly to take over that is more technique based than twitch reflex based.

    To get a true feeling of where talent is at in comparison you would need a season of current players using 80s equipment. My guess is most teams would roll 3 lines instead of the 2 lines back in the 80s/90s. Today’s training would allow most players to catch up pretty quick to roll 4 lines by the time playoffs role around.

    A lot of the physical skills such as hitting, bracing for hits, clearing the crease, and fighting have taken huge steps backwards compared to the 80s and 90s. I also think today’s over coached systems and skating cover up a step backwards when it comes to puck handling with depth players.
     
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  23. NoName Bringer of Playoffs!

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    If we say "talent" is an inborn trait randomly distributed across a population, then "how much talent" is in a league will be dependent on how large a population a league has to draw from. The NHL today has a lot more men to draw from as potential hockey players, due to being able to attract talent from countries across the world, as well as the fact that the population of all these countries are way higher then the were a in 1920. Furthermore a larger fraction of this larger population actually has the opportunity to nurture that talent and play hockey professionally, with more men and boys having access to the sport so that inborn talent is more likely to be actually be utilized and result in a player then they would have had in 1920. Therefore the league should be much more talented then it was a century ago.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
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  24. Maestro84 Registered User

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    Definitely the 80s as players smoked joints during intermissions and had beer belly’s by the time they were 30.

    90’s probably not though. That was a very talented era and it was actually harder to score in the mid-late 90s than it is today
     
  25. NyQuil F.Y.O.Ü.S.

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    I pretty much guarantee that more NHL players smoke joints now than at any time in history.

    You might have an argument about cocaine.
     
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