Top-100 Hockey Players of All-Time - Round 2, Vote 9

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by quoipourquoi, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. ChiTownPhilly

    ChiTownPhilly Not Too Soft

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    Yeah- absolutely... no doubt. However, I had earlier said that I had little doubt that Clancy and Conacher were of mutual benefit to one another, and to the end, I'd like to call as a witness: King Clancy himself-
    On my Prelim List, I had (alphabetically, not ordinally) Chris Chelios, King Clancy, and Valeri Kharlamov back-to-back-to-back. And (to be fair), my earlier quip about Clancy out-PiMming Conacher in Toronto can be fully explained by the certainty that Clancy had significantly more ice-time. That said, I don't question for a moment that the presence of Conacher & Red Horner helped provide the sort of environment where Clancy could do his sandpaper-thing in comparative safety. Of course, Clancy had really constructed most of his résumé before that time- but those Toronto years are an exhibit in productive longevity- and part of why Clancy v. Chelios is a really close call.
     
  2. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    Tretiak was strong against European opponents and very strong against North American opponents. That's what I would call an impressive package, regardless of the fact that Holeček was even stronger against Europeans (but vulnerable against North Americans).

    Yes, Holeček's WCH accomplishments top those of Tretiak, but that shouldn't make us forget that Tretiak's WCH achievements are still good in their own right. Prime Tretiak (as defined by Soviet Best Player records) received the following WCH honours:

    1974: Best Goaltender (I)
    1975: All-star (II)
    1976: none
    1977: none
    1978: none
    1979: both (III)
    1980: no WCH
    1981: Best Goaltender (IV)
    1982: none
    1983: both (V)
    1984: no WCH

    (When I wrote: individual honours in five years out of ten I was wrong. It was five years out of nine.)

    As for Holeček having a better award record while both goaltenders were peaking at the same time: I don't think that is entirely correct. You have to remember that Tretiak was eight years younger than Holeček. The time frame when both were competing against each other was 1971-1978. At the beginning of this time frame, Holeček was 26/27 years old, at the end 33/34. Tretiak was 18/19 at the beginning and 25/26 at the end.

    Holeček was a much more experienced and seasoned player throughout the years when their respective primes overlapped.
     
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  3. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    The Soviet and Czech domestic leagues did not feature a high density of games like NA leagues did. No or hardly any back to back or three games in four days sequences.This allowed for rested goalies.

    Internationally this created unique situations.

    Should be accounted for.
     
  4. DannyGallivan

    DannyGallivan Your world frightens and confuses me

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    Exactly. It's too early for Tretiak... and Dryden.
     
  5. Kyle McMahon

    Kyle McMahon Registered User

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    Ok that's fair to push it out another couple seasons, but it still leaves us with a goaltender who reached his peak level of play at an age when North American goalies were still typically developing. Which wouldn't be of particular importance in its own, but for the fact that Tretiak's situation made him a big fish in a small pond with no obvious means of getting any bigger, even though he quite likely had that potential.

    I think this might be a key consideration when comparing Dryden and Tretiak. We have the benefit of gauging Dryden against Parent, Esposito, Cheevers, etc. in a large domestic sample size. What would we think of Dryden if none of those guys existed though? We'd probably default to Tretiak due to superior international accomplishments. The question is, do we have reason to believe Tretiak would still have fared so well in Soviet MVP voting if there were a couple other HOF-level goalies in the league?
     
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  6. DN28

    DN28 Registered User

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    Yes, I´m little surprised to see people taking Tretiak as an early-peak goalie, goalie who first sparked when he was 20 and then had more or less flat career path till his retirement. It´s completely opposite to my understanding of Tretiak: a goalie who constantly kept getting better, more reliable and more successful as he aged.

    Let´s have a quick look at phases of his development:

    a) 1970-1972
    Tretiak recorded impressive 0.950 at WHC 70 (the highest SV% of the tournament) when he was still only 17/18 yo but I wouldn´t think too highly of this yet. I´ve read the game reports and Tretiak´s usage was extremely sheltered, most of his 6 games that he officially played were just 1 or 2 periods against the low-level opponents (Poland, E. Germany, Finland). Kudos to Tretiak that he approached these games conscientiously, as he should have, but there is nothing of a serious value in this yet... Tretiak didn´t get a single vote in either WHC all-star team voting or subsequent SPOTY voting.

    Then comes the WHC 71, Tretiak again posted impressive 0.930, 2nd only to Holecek, but again it is still just 5 games played, when Konovalenko (7 games) still acted as soviet starting goalie. Kudos to Tretiak again for how he played and that he again posted higher SV% than his colleague Konovalenko, but it was Konovalenko again who received a couple of votes in AST voting, Tretiak didn´t receive any. Tretiak did at least become soviet all-star goalie (instead of Konovalenko) and finished 5th in SPOTY voting (ahead of Konovalenko, so we can make a solid judgement that Tretiak became the best Soviet goalie already here at this point. But I again don´t see anything of serious value on a macro-level yet.

    OG 72, I didn´t read anything of Tretiak´s big contribution to the gold medal, there was no award voting for Olympics but goalie Mike Curran pretty much stole the show with the way he led the underdog USA team to silver medals. Tretiak had solid 0.921 but it was only 4th best SV%, Curran led the tournament with 0.928%.

    Moving to the WHC 72, the tournament where Soviets didn´t win for the first time in 10 years or so. Tretiak posted 0.912 which was only 2nd among starters (behind Holecek) and he did receive 10 votes in AST voting of the championship for the first time, but it was still just a 4th best result (Holecek, Molina and Valtonen had more votes). Moreover, I´ve read the game reports from this championship, Tretiak was shaky precisely in both crucial games against Czechoslovakia, allowed some weaker goals from shots from the blueline. I have read plenty from this particular season (aside from game reports also descriptions from Gól magazine and post-seasonal hockey yearbook 1972) and I can say with certainty that Tretiak was still at this point firmly considered below the top tier Czechoslovak, Swedish and Finnish goaltenders (namely Holecek, Dzurilla, Holmqvist and Valtonen). Tretiak finished 6th in ´72 SPOTY voting, which as I´ve written few days ago, was notably weak voting finish for the top Soviet goalie by their standards.

    b) 1973-1976
    Summit series in the summer of 1972, this is where Tretiak took the next step. It was interesting to read contemporary Czech comments to this series, regarding Tretiak, Czechs had thought pretty much the same as Canadians prior to series - that is, Tretiak, or generally weak Soviet goaltending, will be the main reason why Soviets would lose the series, that was the expection. Otherwise Czechs expected that the Soviet forwards are going to shock the Canadians and generally expected a rather close series. It was a big surprise for all the sport writers and columnists in the Czech press to see Tretiak playing so well.

    Anyway, after Summit Series, Tretiak had somewhat average WHC 73 (7 games with 0.921, 6th SV% overall, 4th among starters, no award recognition) but finished 4th in SPOTY in pretty good competition.

    What followed then? Tretiak´s incredible 3-year stretch of winning the 'Soviet player of the year' award in 1974, 1975, 1976... Now we´ve already discussed in this thread that these finishes might very well be inflated and why. But let´s not completely discount what Tretiak showed here, he was firmly in the range of best players in Europe during this time (at the very least one of the top 10 players in Europe, but more likely top 5-7, something like that), he showed well his qualities vs. NHL opponents. Look at his international 73-76 stretch again, there´s nothing wrong with being "only" 2nd best goalie in Europe, there were simply 2 elite goalies, one who was at his peak and the other one (=Tretiak) who didn´t his his peak yet:

    c) 1977-1979
    Let´s skip that, it´s not that important...

    d) 1980
    Here we have to stop, this was probably Tretiak worst season of this career. Miracle on ice, Soviets losing the gold medals to American students. Tretiak was definitely an accomplice with his uncharacteristically low 0.840 SV%:


    It was not only about one tournament as Tretiak ended up 8th in SPOTY voting (his worst finish between 1971-1984) and for the first and last time, different soviet goalie, V. Myshkin was voted ahead of Tretiak on the 7th place...

    e) 1981-1984
    ...Which leads us to Tretiak´s, in my opinion, peak phase of his career. 1980, miracle on ice disaster had to motivate him to change something. Whatever that was, it was working. During this stretch, Tretiak recorded 0.9377 over this stretch of 4 seasons and 5 major international tournaments (WHC 81, CC 81, WHC 82, WHC 83, OG 84), when the average aggregate save percentage over these tournaments was a mere 0.8843. That´s a huge difference that cannot be explained just through the strength of 'Red machine' alone. In fact, the award voting proves the point, i.e. Tretiak´s excellence at this timeframe, that I define as his peak. SPOTY voting: 1st
    (1981), 1st (1983), 2nd (1984), 3rd (1982).

    Sure you can point to pro-goalie soviet bias again here but we have fortunately the voting record of the 'European Golden Stick' award, otherwise known as simply 'Izvestia trophy' for the best players in Europe, voted by European writers / coaches / officials, not just voted by Soviets. Tretiak did here just as well which points to conclusion that his 1980s performances weren´t just a fluke. Tretiak´s Izvestia trophy voting record during this stretch:

    3 times in row considered the best PLAYER in Europe, not just the best GOALIE. And that is precisely why I think Tretiak became at this point the best goalie in the world, not just in his own country or continent. Especially considering the dip down in quality of NHL goalies during the same timeframe.

    Keep in mind, Tretiak was 28-32 years old between 1981-1984 seasons, which is common age for goalkeepers to have lived their top athletic performance.

    _________________

    Summary:
    I think we can for all intents and purposes structure Tretiak´s career this way:

    Elite (= the best or one of the best players in Europe / the best or one of the best goalies in the world) seasons: 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984.

    Very good, meaningful in an all-time sense (let´s say top 10-12 best player in Europe / roughly 2nd best goalie in Europe) seasons: 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979.

    Seasons which holds no value (or even negative value) in an all-time sense: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1980.
    _________________

    Now question from me I guess would be, why put Tretiak below Dryden? If I were to be voter, I´d vote Tretiak ahead without hesitation.

     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  7. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    No objections. I'm not making a case that Tretiak belongs here (or a case he doesn't belong here). It sure is difficult to determine. But whatever conclusion you reach, the base of information should be accurate.
     
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  8. Kyle McMahon

    Kyle McMahon Registered User

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    Very informative, thank you. The idea that Tretiak had another peak in the 80s that was superior to the mid-70s definitely puts a different spin on things.
     
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  9. DN28

    DN28 Registered User

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    Yes, it seems to be the case.

    I´ve presented some potential issues with Tretiak´s 1974-1976 stretch of SPOTY awards that they may have been inflated due to lack of any other soviet goalie alternative two or three days ago.

    But I think the 80s peak is qualitatively different for simple reasons stated above: Izvestia voting record which showed that Tretiak enjoyed a lot of support not just from Soviet writers but also from European writers as a whole this time. Plus statistical argument (Tretiak´s 0.9377 vs. average SV% 0.8843). EDIT: Plus reasonable age (28-32) for a goalie to hit his peak level.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  10. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Believe Tretiak was part of the 1969-70 Soviet tour of Canada with Shapovalov.

    The Montreal Gazette - Recherche d'archives de Google Actualités

    Scroll to page 8 for story and boxscore.
     
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  11. VMBM

    VMBM Touch a mountain... m'kay?

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    Not totally, but I do think that the Soviet national team got clearly stronger (also defensively) in the early 1980s; only in the 1978-79 season did they show the same kind of domination as in the 1980s.
     
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  12. Overrated

    Overrated Registered User

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    Didn't CSKA train like 4 times a day?

    Also the best USSR/CZSVK players engaged in the World Championship, Olympics, IIHF European Cup, Izvestia Cup, Rude Pravo Cup, Sweden Cup, Spengler Cup and toured the NHL/WHA on numerous occasions, not to mention they also had their own playoff style cups as well and a 50 game league season too. Sure they still played fewer games than the NHL players but I think your point doesn't really mean much as I doubt the players would preform worse if they played a few more games each year.
     
  13. DN28

    DN28 Registered User

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    Interesting, thank you for sharing this. I remembered there were matches of Soviets with Junior Canadiens happening somewhere in 1964-1966. I didn´t know that these games occured as late as in December 1969.

    Yes, it´s fair to point out that the overall quality of the Soviets, of their defense, and likely also of their coaching improved in early 1980s. I guess my point was just that Tretiak was one of the main contributers.

    Anyway, it´s also fair to point out (not to overrate Tretiak´s 1981-84 stretch...) that he was on par or perhaps even slightly outplayed at various times by a couple of Czech and Swedish goalies (Kralik and Lindmark). On the other hand, no North American goalie outplayed Tretiak in any one of these 5 major international tournaments during this timeframe.

    I would agree with you to the extent that when it comes to raw number of games played over the given season, then European players and goalies played similar amount of games as their counterparts overseas in NHL. But I think C1958´ main point was that Euro players / goalies didn´t have to experience back-to-back games or stretches of 3 games in 4 days, which was indeed very very rare in European leagues and tournaments well up to 1990.
     
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  14. DannyGallivan

    DannyGallivan Your world frightens and confuses me

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    I get the impression that the reason for the existence of the Red Army team was to represent the Soviets internationally. The "regular season", as it was, seemed almost like the equivalent of the NHL pre-season. At least that's the impression I get of the Soviet "empire" post war up to Gorbachev.
     
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  15. Overrated

    Overrated Registered User

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    Btw why do you guys rate Esposito so low despite his stats?
     
  16. DannyGallivan

    DannyGallivan Your world frightens and confuses me

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    Phil or Tony?
    I had Phil ranked higher on my top 120 submission list that where he ended up on this list (I had him at number 17 overall). Some voters had a hard time reconciling how much influence Bobby Orr had on his stats/performance. If you have time, read the previous voting round posts for all the detail.
     
  17. Overrated

    Overrated Registered User

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    Yep I meant Phil. Of course Orr had an influence on him (though the same could be also said the other way around) but Phil still had to score all of those goals. Giving Orr credit for the 76 goals he scored in 78 games back in 70-71 would seem silly to me.

    Also Phil did great individually at both the Summit Series and the WC in 77 without Orr being present.
     
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  18. DannyGallivan

    DannyGallivan Your world frightens and confuses me

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    You should have been around during the "Phil Rounds" of the Top 100 exercise. Plenty of good discussion.

    At this point, I'm about ready to submit my list for this round. Without giving too much away, I have five consecutive defensemen between places 3 and 7.
     
  19. Overrated

    Overrated Registered User

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    Yeah if I were to construct mine it would look completely different and would likely piss off way too many people. Seeing so many prolific goal scorers (Yzerman, Mike Bossy), non-Canadians (Hasek, Jagr, Fetisov, Makarov) so low or not seeing Tretiak at all while seeing guys born in 1902 clearly playing extremely low level hockey making the top list seems just too weird.
     
  20. Bear of Bad News

    Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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    With that said, this thread is specifically for discussion of players eligible for voting in this round.
     
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  21. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Issue is the "density" of the games, not the total number.

    Playing games consecutive days is harder than a day or more apart.
     
  22. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Actually DN28 almost solved the puzzle with his reference to the Junior Canadiens.

    1956 Sam Pollock pulled the Junior Canadiens from a strong junior league in Quebec placing them in a weak but Memorial Cup eligible junior league just inside Ontario.

    This allowed the Junior Canadiens augmented by a few pros to play in a Senior League as well, exhibition games against NHL and other pro or touring teams. Of course no one took the weak league junior individual stats at face value.

    Soviets, quick to adapt the best applied this model to their domestic league. CSKA within a league structure with complete, prioritized freedom to play outside the league internationally.
     
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  23. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Not every season,roughly from 1957 to 1973.
     
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  24. Mike Farkas

    Mike Farkas Grace Personified

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    Sorry, I've been absent. Scouting season really ramps up at this time...I have been reading this though and before bed I put on some relevant games to watch...

    So, let me talk about Brad Park...he seems underrated here and I can't quite identify why exactly...I see that we look at who is below him in the Norris race, because the guy ahead of him is too bright to stare directly at...but that only matters if the player himself isn't talented. That's not Park. Park is #2 in that era on merit, and the break is after him...or, maybe more appropriately, Orr [break] Park [break]...then the rest.

    Park was the tempo-setter and a tactician on the rink. He wasn't a great skater, and he was painfully slow by the time he shared ice with Ray Bourque...but he was super smart, head up, and he had to be an accurate outlet passer (and he was...not quite Harvey accurate, but not too far off...and similarly, they didn't skate the puck all the way down the rink like Orr did...Harvey, because that wasn't the style at the time...Park, because he generally waited and used forecheckers' momentum against them to make passes back through the seam to players with speed)...

    Park would carry it sometimes, but it was methodical...he picked his way through, and he could do it in almost a straight line too...between his stickhandling and using his eyes to move defenders, he could do this even at an advanced age...good example is midway through the 1st period of game 5 of the 1978 Semi-Final vs. Philadelphia.

    He had a big shot while also being a PP QB from the right point. And he was disadvantaged two-fold...one, because the greatest player ever to play at that time, played at that time and in the same position that he did...then to make matters worse, he was asked to fill-in DIRECTLY after Orr folds up his tent...immediately after. So he'd be ripe for criticism from a tough Boston crowd, right? But yet, when you go back, it's a hell of a lot of praise, isn't it? Can you imagine what the newspapers (now blogs?) are gonna say after Tom Brady quits New England and that next guy fills in? That's gonna be hell...Park had that exactly happen and he beasted it. And aptly carried the torch until he could hand it to Bourque...collecting Norris consideration and big point totals along the way...

    You're talking about a guy who left New York with 63 points and a +1 in his last 78 games as a Ranger...dropped into a frothing fanbase sensing their team might be underachieving with their unit having only won in '70 and '72 with the best player on the planet...a team of mostly grinders at forward (then Ratelle) who traded their superstar grinder to get Park and how does he respond? How about 199 points and a +141 (!) in his first 200 games and 2x a First-Team All-Star.

    That plus-141 over that time is 7th in the NHL behind probably the best two-way player in history (Clarke +170) and a bunch of Canadiens who just had the best season in history (yeah, this stretch includes Robinson's +120 year, Lafleur +229 3-year stretch, etc.). Playing with who exactly? In the playoffs, he was paired with weaker players like Dennis O'Brien to keep them afloat...the other guys he had around him were Mike Milbury and Rick Smith...not exactly "A" squad...with all due respect to them. And he's got 37 year old Jean Ratelle to pass it to, who is surrounded by roughians and grinders, coached by a guy who seems to have limited tactical knowledge, but loves his grinders...and his dog...who also grinds...

    I'm more interested in being sold on Park vs. Chelios and why does Clancy belong...? I'm not really feeling the "After-Thought Park" stuff...this guy was a bazooka on a team of slingshots...
     
  25. Dennis Bonvie

    Dennis Bonvie Registered User

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    Great post.
     

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