Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby MRandall25 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:16 pm

since1970 wrote:I'd say Gretzky would be @ 50/60pts. 15 goals, 35/45 assists. You have to remember he is 52yrs old....


Still better than a good 3/4 of the league.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Staggy on Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:31 pm

I love this thread, great info Mikey :thumb: :thumb:
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pucks_and_Pols on Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:38 pm

mikey287 wrote: Goaltending before the proliferation of the butterfly asked that goaltending rely on reflex and anticipation. Today, goalies rely on percentages. That's what they're told growing up, that's what they practice even down at the mite level..."block the first shot" has replaced "make the save".

The goals that Gretzky and Lemieux scored may look weak (and some of them are...the 80's wasn't a sparkling time for goaltenders: I'd say Fuhr, Smith and Liut were the three best of the 80's as a whole and none of them are top-20 of all time...especially Liut who is in the top-50 somewhere perhaps, though I wonder if he doesn't have a better career if he's not perforated by the Soviets in the 1981 Canada Cup, he never could shake that 8-1 loss off...anyway, back at the ranch...)

The over-expansion of the league and the focus on crafting new offensive defensemen and the like caused a massive push towards offensive tactics (sans a couple teams really, notably the Capitals and Flyers of all teams). Goaltending didn't really develop all that well because there was a transition period where different styles came about and no one could really decide what was working and what wasn't. Esposito and the butterfly, Dryden as octopus man, Parent drew some attention as more of a stand-up goalie and he was completely unbeatable in 74 and 75, etc. etc. Not to mention to the success of some goalies on the international scene: the hybrid Vladislav Tretiak left many in awe and some consider him the best goalie of the era all together and meanwhile the flopping antics of Jiri Holecek in Czechoslovakia helped paved the way for some major upsets (though, I personally don't credit them directly to Holecek, that's another story...) and for Dominik Hasek who took a lot from Holecek's style which focused on vertical angles quite a bit.

Goaltending evolved and the best took to these different styles and made a name for themselves: Patrick Roy and his butterfly, Martin Brodeur's hybrid style and Dominik Hasek's reflex-based style that had a lot more purpose than people realize, he was in control a lot more than people think.

The next wave of expansion and the growth in coaching tactics (use of video, assistants, etc.) had a short-term spike in scoring (any time a league gets worse, scoring goes up generally), but long-term it meant for defensive tactics. The 1995 Devils also helped in this, as their upset of the Red Wings really struck a chord with the NHL community as a whole. As a result, defensive tactics became the norm. At that time, the goal was to prevent shots as that was simply the nature of the beast. "Prevent shots, prevent goals" sounds simple enough, right? Thus a lot of mimicking of the 1-2-2 which will see today, just slightly modified for the fact the red line has been removed.

Prevent shots, in my estimation, was a better mantra because goaltenders - while on the high end were better than those today - on the low-end, they were worse, far worse. Which is a lot of what younger people see (and even myself saw when looking at highlights of 99 and 66 and the like) when looking back. People look at highlights of goals and comment on the bad goaltending. It's no wonder. Could there be a more obvious observation! A goalie gives up a goal on every shot in those highlights, of course they look bad! :lol:

Today, the fundamentals are better. The average goaltender today is better than the average goaltender in 1981. The proper fundamentals exist for almost all goalies today and therefore coaches can change the defensive mantra: "prevent shots, prevent goals". You can allow an infinite amount of shots today from 50 feet, and they aren't going to go in. Oddly enough, one of the goalies that had the worst fundamentals in the game (Tim Thomas) was even successful, proving that anyone could do it in Boston (see: Tuukka Rask being the all-time leader in NHL save pct. currently). It was really only Thomas that could give up a 40 footer along the ice from Vincent Lecavalier. It was really only Thomas that could give up that 35 footer from the left wing boards to Alexandre Burrows early in the SCF. That's why I always had such beef, everyone said "look at the numbers" and I'm saying "they could have been better!" His lack of focus on fundamentals put the Bruins in serious jeopardy in those playoffs. Nearly ousting them in the first round.

Counter, the next season. Another very good defensive team in Los Angeles runs roughshod over the competition. Jonathan Quick, of fundamentally sound quality, doesn't allow any games to get close. It's been a long time since we've seen such a steamroll job by a team through a playoffs, fair to say? It's not the Kings defense was better, hell, they don't have a HHOF playing 30 minutes a night, they don't have a Selke winner patrolling the center of the rink. But no games ever got put into jeopardy by Quick, that's why his performance blows Thomas' out of the water. It blows Niemi's out of the water, it blows Osgood's out of the water, it blows Giguere's out of the water. And it was certainly better than Fleury's and Ward's Cup wins. He left no doubt.

The butterfly has flaws and they are covered by equipment now...one of the least sportsmanlke things I've seen in sport is allowed to transpire every night in rinks across the world...
- They drop down so up high is exposed. Solution: chest protector to the ears.
- Their five hole is exposed because the Allaire's do not teach proper stick mechanics. Solution: just add to the pads to cover the five hole
- The space between their arms and their body is susceptible because there's no catching of the puck, just blocking. Solution: Bigger jerseys to help catch pucks, plus additions to the cuff of the glove and to the blocker to prevent these slip throughs.

They literally just want to form a blocking wall. Instead of working on these weaknesses, they just put on more pads. They just band-aid and band-aid and protect and protect...I hope one day they get serious about reducing goalie equipment. I don't wanna anyone to get hurt, they don't have to go out there in a t-shirt and a pair of Craig Ludwig's shin guards, but with all the technological advances we've made in equipment, I find it impossible to believe that goalies need to protect the area above their shoulders in order to not feel pain...these aren't chest protectors, they're net protectors. It's garbage.

And when I'm around youth teams, I can't even say anything because they have goalie coaches that are telling them this stuff. "Just make yourself big...don't worry so much about the rebound" So, because there's a rebound that's just dangling out there, I have to adjust my tactics to collapsing back to the net, and you get defensive hockey because everyone has to come back because the goalie can't do his job correctly.

Sometimes I just want to yell, "stand up! show that you know where the shot is going! stop taking the easy way out...make yourself better long term for the cost of some goals now...please..."

Goaltender used to be the most important position on the ice...remember that? It is by far the least important today...by far. And it's not even remotely close either. On behalf of the coach's union, save pct. should be a coaching stat, not a goalie stat.


Most insightful post ever. :thumb:
We may not see eye to eye on Gretzky's greatness, but that is just awesome stuff.
I, for one, welcome our new hockey knowledge overlord.
Just for kicks and giggles, what would the butterfly effect on the league have been if the team lined up to draft Gretzky in the 1979 draft had been able to select him instead of the NHL updating its rules to allow him to stay with the Oilers (and put the Oilers at the very bottom of the draft in exchange) after the WHA merger?
Spoiler:
:scared: The Colorado Rockies :scared:
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby mikey287 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:06 pm

Re: Butterfly technique. Right, as covered above, holes abound. When you drop down, five hole. Areas between arm and body. Over the shoulders.

The holes in the technique were recognized early. And the cheating started almost instantly.

Image

That's Tony Esposito. Now, it doesn't look like much. And if I don't point it out, you may not even notice it. Look at his pants. Between his legs he sewed this webbing to help catch pucks when he dropped down.

Now, we're reduced to this...

Image

(by the way, the glove has its own meshing, it catches pucks...that's not a hole. The only thing this thing covers that goalies don't is around the head, but you don't want a bunch of youth players growing up aiming at the goalies head! Blocker-side ear is a good place to go though, truth be told.

The butterfly shouldn't be so overly effective today because shooters have wicked accuracy. Or, goals are scored through a maze of players and it happens to hit someone in the shin and it goes in...real exciting play that is...yawn -> barf.

So the cat and mouse game has ended. Goalies were better, then shooters, then goalies, then shooters, and then the response was, "well, **** it, we'll just cheat..." I don't know why the competition to get better died, but goaltending - in its current state - has no hope of catching up. The wheels have been set in reverse for some reason. If you can't compete, you just cheat. And here we are.

Right, "if you're gonna get beat, get because it was a really good shot". Exactly. The percentages are, the odds are, it won't be a really good shot. And you've stumbled across Modern Defending 101. Who cares about shot quantity, focus on shot quality. Just don't give up good shots, you can give up anything bad, the odds are we'll stop it. And if a goalies gives up a "bad goal", we'll put in a different goalie who will not allow "bad goals".

Goalie wins 4-3 because he "made the saves he needed to make", almost as if its predetermined what's stoppable and what's not. It used to be, anything was stoppable. Hasek could stop anything, he didn't even allow goals in warm-ups. Patrick Roy would turn the faucet off in the playoffs. There wasn't a feeling of "well, we're gonna give up two, so we need to score three". The Devils got cash bonuses for helping in a shutout cause. They believed allowing zero every night was a distinct possibility.

I mean, it's not like these guys:

Image

Weren't stopping pucks at any horrific rate.

League average save pct. in 2012: .914
League average save pct. in 1953: .916

In 1954: it was .919, in 1955 it was .915, in 1956 it was .916. Just so you don't think I cherrypicked one great year.

Jacques Plante at 40 years young in 1969, posted a .940 save pct. for the expansion St. Louis Blues. Then two years later for the Leafs, at the age of 42, he posted a .944 save pct. when the league average was .903! Today, we celebrate a guy who goes .930 when the league average for a starter is .919 or whatever. Please...

You measure vs. peers, as I've said, then you branch out and weight the domination. That, or Brian Elliott had the best goalie season ever last year...your choice.

Totally random guess, Gretzky scores 120-150 points a season today.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby mikey287 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:15 pm

Pucks_and_Pols wrote:Most insightful post ever. :thumb:
We may not see eye to eye on Gretzky's greatness, but that is just awesome stuff.
I, for one, welcome our new hockey knowledge overlord.
Just for kicks and giggles, what would the butterfly effect on the league have been if the team lined up to draft Gretzky in the 1979 draft had been able to select him instead of the NHL updating its rules to allow him to stay with the Oilers (and put the Oilers at the very bottom of the draft in exchange) after the WHA merger?
Spoiler:
:scared: The Colorado Rockies :scared:


I'll do ya one better...Sam Pollock, the best GM in league history, was aware of Gretzky and knew that he had to have him. He made a deal with the Colorado Rockies in September 1976 (!!!): Canadiens traded Ron Andruff and Sean Shanahan to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for the right to switch first round picks in the 1979 or 1980 draft (Habs choice).

Had Gretzky not had a personal services contract with Pocklington and he would have entered the draft, he would have been drafted by the Montreal Canadiens. That's right...after winning the Stanley Cup for 4 straight years ('76, '77, '78, '79), just as the tank was running low, they would have added Gretzky to their lineup. Irv Grundman took over, and he was as bad as he sounds, opted for the 1980 pick and took Doug Wickenheiser over Denis Savard.

If Gretzky had gone to the Habs in 1980, I would guess 5 teams close up shop immediately just because of how scared they would be to give up 10 goals a game to them every night...I mean...holy cow...

Steve Shutt-Wayne Gretzky-Guy Lafleur
Larry Robinson - Rod Langway
[Does it matter? Use the shooter tutor]

They win. That's game.
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