Author Topic: The NHL's Dead Era  (Read 528 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21737
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
The NHL's Dead Era
« on: July 12, 2017, 09:09:32 PM »
So this is more of a half-formed idea than anything but the mediocre-ness of the HOF class as well as the absence of any real OGWAC to root for in this year's finals I thought I'd look back 20 or so years to look at why there doesn't really seem to be any iconic older players in the NHL right now(absent Jagr who I think started playing in 1976).

Basically, if you look at the '94 to '02 drafts and try to work out who in those classes might be HOFers you get a pretty bleak picture. I've divided it into these categories:

Definitely: Iginla, Thornton, Datsyuk, Chara
Probably: The Sedins, Hossa, Alfredsson, Zetterberg
Maybe: Marleau, Doan, Nash, Lecavalier, Richards, Elias

Now, are any of these guys icons? Combined among those 15 guys are only 7 cup winners(winning a total of 13 cups, 8 for Hossa/Elias/Datsyuk). There are only 2 Hart trophies there and both of those were questionable choices, there are 2 Lindsays, 2 Conn Smythes, 4 Richards and 1 Norris. Combined, those 15 only had 9 NHL first team all-star selections. For the most part they were either the best players on teams that didn't win or sidekicks on teams that did.

So I guess my question with all of this is...what happened? Is there some kind of Malcolm Gladwell-esque explanation as to why this almost decade long period of hockey seems so lacking in greats? Is it concussions? The lockouts? I know there was a lot of talk around that time about how Canadian hockey needed to re-emphasize skill but it's not like other nations dominated(Sweden probably fares the best on that list but still...). I sort of have a half-baked theory on why that is but it doesn't really answer the major question.

Anyways, just something I'm thinking about.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 09:16:12 PM by Nik the Trik »
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline Bill_Berg

  • Rookie
  • ***
  • Posts: 720
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2017, 11:47:12 PM »
Is it abnormal to go 8 years without an iconic hockey figure entering the league?

Edit: Nine I suppose it is. Same question though.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21737
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 12:34:37 AM »
Is it abnormal to go 8 years without an iconic hockey figure entering the league?

Edit: Nine I suppose it is. Same question though.

Obviously that depends on your definition of iconic. For these purposes, I guess, I'm trying to be fairly liberal with the definition.

Here are the other 9 year periods of the modern game, with the criteria that I'm using modern standards of draft eligibility rather than when they actually started playing in the league:

03-11: Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Toews, Kane, Price, etc.

85-93: Jagr, Fedorov, Forsberg, Sakic, Brodeur, Lindros, Lidstrom and so on

76-84: Gretzky, Lemieux, Yzerman, Roy, Bourque, Coffey, Messier, Hasek, Hull, etc

67-75: Dryden, Lafleur, Dionne, Bossy, Trottier, Potvin as well as a bunch of your big deal Russian talents.

58-66: Orr, Esposito, Keon, Mikita, etc

49-57: Hull, Beliveau, Geoffrion, etc

40-48: Howe, Plante, Sawchuk and so on.

Nine years before that Richard and a bunch of guys and at this point we're sort of losing the plot because this is about the time where the idea of an iconic hockey player began.

So, yeah, I think it's pretty unusual for any nine year stretch. You could maybe cherry pick another one in the 60's or 50's with more research(I'm doing this tired, with beers in me, and an incomplete knowledge of the history of the game) but even then you're going back into a situation where the player pool was so much smaller it's a very different situation.

Also, as a PS, I forgot Lundqvist from the 94-2002 group. He's definitely going to be a HOFer but, again, 1 Vezina, 0 cups.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 12:40:55 AM by Nik the Trik »
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21737
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 12:59:26 AM »

Also, just because I'm on a roll here, the 9 year period is fairly arbitrary as that's the point where I think you can unquestionably say there's a lack of a certain type of player this drought can be seen to be as long as maybe even 12 years.

If you extend it back to '92 then the only real contender you add to the mix is Pronger who probably fits the bill and even if you push it forward to '03 you're adding a lot of guys who are definitely going to get HOF consideration because the '03 draft was crazy for depth but the best player from '03 is someone like Staal or Getzlaf/Perry or Bergeron.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Online herman

  • All Star
  • *****
  • Posts: 7900
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 10:06:41 AM »
Not that this changes the complexion of your point drastically, but where would you slot Martin St. Louis (who wasn't drafted, but was eligible for 1993?)

Another bit of a Malcolm Gladwellian idea: the Don Cherry effect? He hit the pulpit in 1981, and pretty much everyone in this dead zone grew up on a steady diet of his diatribes and philosophy of the game.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21737
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2017, 10:14:32 AM »
Not that this changes the complexion of your point drastically, but where would you slot Martin St. Louis (who wasn't drafted, but was eligible for 1993?)

I think he definitely goes into the HOF and he increases the hardware of the group by a bit(although, like you say, he's outside the '94-02 group) but I don't think I'd put him with any of the guys on that list above through the ages.

Another bit of a Malcolm Gladwellian idea: the Don Cherry effect? He hit the pulpit in 1981, and pretty much everyone in this dead zone grew up on a steady diet of his diatribes and philosophy of the game.

Maybe although, you know, seems unlikely it would affect the Euro players and Americans to the same extent.

I think one of the main factors is how this was right in the big expansion/migration era as well as the era of big spending by big market teams, as a result, big deal talents were playing in smaller and less traditional markets which, if it doesn't hurt their numbers, maybe hurts our perception of them. If Iginla had been a Ranger or Thornton had his best years in Toronto we might think of them fairly differently even without cups.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Online herman

  • All Star
  • *****
  • Posts: 7900
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2017, 10:30:46 AM »
Another bit of a Malcolm Gladwellian idea: the Don Cherry effect? He hit the pulpit in 1981, and pretty much everyone in this dead zone grew up on a steady diet of his diatribes and philosophy of the game.

Maybe although, you know, seems unlikely it would affect the Euro players and Americans to the same extent.

I think one of the main factors is how this was right in the big expansion/migration era as well as the era of big spending by big market teams, as a result, big deal talents were playing in smaller and less traditional markets which, if it doesn't hurt their numbers, maybe hurts our perception of them. If Iginla had been a Ranger or Thornton had his best years in Toronto we might think of them fairly differently even without cups.

1st round draft picks out of Europe/Russia were few and far between until the expansion you mentioned (Cold War + Cherry?). European stars hitting the NHL had a trickle down effect inspiring future athletes, with a lag of about a decade (Lidstrom --> Karlsson).

I agree that expansion is probably the main culprit, diluting perception as well as talent concentration further. That dilution, I'm guessing, allowed some careers to extend even further and continue to overshadow (by reputation) the group you're talking about.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21737
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2017, 11:02:50 AM »
1st round draft picks out of Europe/Russia were few and far between until the expansion you mentioned (Cold War + Cherry?). European stars hitting the NHL had a trickle down effect inspiring future athletes, with a lag of about a decade (Lidstrom --> Karlsson).

I'm not following your point on this one. 1st round picks or not you'd figure that the same development system that churned out your Kurris and your Stastnys earlier and then your Selanne/Jagr/Lidstrom types would have kept on churning away.

Although, I suppose, I did mention that Sweden probably looks the best on that list and maybe the collapse of the Soviet Union played a big role in disrupting things in Russia and what was then Czechoslovakia.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Online herman

  • All Star
  • *****
  • Posts: 7900
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 11:32:44 AM »
Given that I'm just shooting poop emojis with only cursory look ups in hockeydb, I'm not surprised you aren't following this point. It's not very well thought out and I don't have the excuse of inebriation.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21737
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2017, 11:49:30 AM »
Given that I'm just shooting poop emojis with only cursory look ups in hockeydb, I'm not surprised you aren't following this point. It's not very well thought out and I don't have the excuse of inebriation.

No, the whole conversation is basically poop emojis and I'm frequently too thick to follow points. I welcome spitballing as I have no real answers here or even concrete questions(outside of it seems like hockey player development took a big hit here).

Here's a maybe dumb idea, because this lines up in a way with the Blue Jays first real success could it be that a lot of Canadian kids who would have been about that age went into Baseball instead? If they'd been hockey players, Eric Gagne, Russell Martin, Jason Bay, Justin Morneau and Joey Votto all would have been draft eligible between '94-02.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Online herman

  • All Star
  • *****
  • Posts: 7900
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2017, 12:04:22 PM »
Given that I'm just shooting poop emojis with only cursory look ups in hockeydb, I'm not surprised you aren't following this point. It's not very well thought out and I don't have the excuse of inebriation.

No, the whole conversation is basically poop emojis and I'm frequently too thick to follow points. I welcome spitballing as I have no real answers here or even concrete questions(outside of it seems like hockey player development took a big hit here).

Here's a maybe dumb idea, because this lines up in a way with the Blue Jays first real success could it be that a lot of Canadian kids who would have been about that age went into Baseball instead? If they'd been hockey players, Eric Gagne, Russell Martin, Jason Bay, Justin Morneau and Joey Votto all would have been draft eligible between '94-02.

I was thinking that a bit too. Jays success kicked in around when... '85-'93? So the people who would be most swayed are around that time.

There was also those depressing showings at the Olympics where there was clearly something wrong in Hockey Canada's approach. I remember growing up in a climate of US against Europe at least in hockey circles, and my guess re: drafting practices was that residual racism suppressed the spotlight on some truly good European players (some still made it through the Iron Curtain).

The result of that suppressed competition resulted in hockey being played in that grind'em down, beat'em up way of the 80s that trickled into the 90s. Kids growing up learning that stupid style of play, inundated with Cherryisms, laughing at those 'selfish' Russians for holding the puck and you get a cohort of glorified 4th liners.

My favourite Leafs (when I truly started paying attention) were Gilmour, then a huge gap until Sundin, Mogilny, Kaberle... but I was aware that a large contingent of the fanbase loved the Clarks, Domis, Tuckers, Corsons, Roberts. That Calgary run to the Cup that Iggy led was typified by the heroics of the lunchpail role player being celebrated with a green hard hat.

Offline Nik the Trik

  • Sittler Status
  • ******
  • Posts: 21737
  • Some Guy On a Message Board
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 12:24:01 PM »
There was also those depressing showings at the Olympics where there was clearly something wrong in Hockey Canada's approach.

Which Olympics? '98? In hindsight I don't know if that's evidence of a bad approach so much as it is the bad luck of running into the best goalie of all time playing out of his mind.

To me, the '98 Olympic team is a little bit of a chicken and the egg thing(bearing in mind I think the '98 team probably still wins gold if Kariya is playing and 100% wins gold with Kariya and Lemieux). People remember the Rob Zamuner controversy but even a 36 year old Mark Messier isn't exactly much of a game changer. I think the reason the '98 team looks bad is that it's a mix of some older icons(Gretzky, Boutique, etc) along with some less impressive guys in their prime. The issue isn't that they didn't take a bunch of great young players the way the '06 Turin team messed up, there weren't great young players available for the most part.

Quote
I remember growing up in a climate of US against Europe at least in hockey circles, and my guess re: drafting practices was that residual racism suppressed the spotlight on some truly good European players (some still made it through the Iron Curtain).

Yeah, I suppose the bit I can't reconcile is in the case of someone like Alfredsson or the Sedins. Alfredsson was a small, skilled European. I buy that prejudices against size or Euros may have knocked him down a few rounds but he still got drafted, still made the NHL so my question is why wasn't he better? Or, to be fair to a pretty great player, why weren't any of those guys world-beaters?

Likewise, I could be inclined to believe that one of the reasons Pavel Datsyuk never got the award recognition he deserved was because of anti-Russian or European bias but, you know, at his best he was losing those awards to guys like Malkin and Ovechkin.
Give a man the reputation of an early riser and he can sleep 'til noon
-Mark Twain

Offline Frank E

  • Veteran
  • ****
  • Posts: 3293
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2017, 12:24:08 PM »
Well, as long as we're just spitballing here, the early 80's were a very difficult time for Canadians...record high interest rates...could have an effect on people's ability to pay for their kids hockey.

Offline Bill_Berg

  • Rookie
  • ***
  • Posts: 720
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2017, 02:26:25 PM »
Given that I'm just shooting poop emojis with only cursory look ups in hockeydb, I'm not surprised you aren't following this point. It's not very well thought out and I don't have the excuse of inebriation.

No, the whole conversation is basically poop emojis and I'm frequently too thick to follow points. I welcome spitballing as I have no real answers here or even concrete questions(outside of it seems like hockey player development took a big hit here).

Here's a maybe dumb idea, because this lines up in a way with the Blue Jays first real success could it be that a lot of Canadian kids who would have been about that age went into Baseball instead? If they'd been hockey players, Eric Gagne, Russell Martin, Jason Bay, Justin Morneau and Joey Votto all would have been draft eligible between '94-02.

The strike of 94-95 killed baseball for me for a long time. I paid more attention to hockey in 96-00 than I would have otherwise. I was already an adult so that didn't effect which sports I actually played, but I find it interesting to think that while I gave up on baseball for a few years, kids were potentially jumping from hockey to baseball at the same time.

I also wonder how different your numbers would be if San Jose and Ottawa had each won the Cup when they made the finals. Which isn't a stretch. There would be a few more Cups and a couple Conn Smythes in your list, although not any more Harts and the like.

TMLfans.ca

Re: The NHL's Dead Era
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2017, 02:26:25 PM »