I don't think we are disagreeing here. As I said before, the top WHA clubs
would have been tough, competitive opponents for anyone to face. Proof of
that is their record against world class teams like the Soviet Nationals.
But they would not have won the Stanley Cup (baring a miracle upset) or a
series of games against the Soviets.
Again what you are saying isn't really any different from what I said.
From: William Underwood wausport@...
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2009 11:08:20 -0500
Subject: [hockhist] Re: Changes at the HHOF (& the WHA)?
Sorry Craig but the WHA did have some pretty awful teams. Indy 74-5 with 39
points, Michigan/Baltimore had 46 that year for two. And more to the point,
the bottom WHA teams were simply not of real NHL caliber. Perhaps their
records were better than some NHL teams, and in all fairness, of the teams
that you named 2 of them were expansion clubs who lacked luxuries that WHA
expansion clubs had. But we also must consider that those records were not
against teams that were the same caliber as the NHL.. Let me back that up.in
79-80 when the leagues merged and the WHA was maybe at its height of talent,
only about half the league made it as NHL regulars the next year. Bottom
teams generally have the least talent. Now if we took a 14 team WHA are we
to believe that many more players would have survived a 4 team merger? Given
that the 78-9 league was FAR less watered down and had just done its biggest
raid on underage talent and that the NHL only had one more team, one could
argue that no more would have made it. And I'll back that up.as the WHA
contracted a lot of solid players were cut, the WHA thus in effect
acknowledged that they were really more like one dimensional AHL talents.
Look at the old PHL rosters, there were ex 40 goal men in that league! More
to the point, how so many 20 goal NHL types become 40 goal men or even
better in the WHA if the level of play was so hot night to night? Finally we
look at how players fared when they made the jump back.you usually saw at
least a 10 to 20 goal drop in output. There were exceptions but overall.it
was the norm. Now you might say that some didn't get the same ice time.but
why would that be? After all to get a WHA guy signed was not cheap, the idea
was not to be getting a 4th liner.
I liked the WHA., I worked for an old WHA club post merger and I know a lot
of people who played/worked in the league, some have been close friends. The
reality was that it was no minor league, the better teams could have held
their own in the NHL but the low end probably were not of NHL caliber. But
it was not a parallel to the NHL. When one lucidly looks at the league there
are just too many stories of "journeyman becomes star" when they went NHL to
WHA and "star becomes journeyman" when they came back. Many of the young
guys like a Napier needed time to become more rounded players. Most WHA vets
will tell you that the goalies were not the same, hell one of the merged
teams quipped "they are letting me keep two goalies and I don't have ONE
that I want to keep". They will tell you that there were less quality d-men
and less attention paid to D in general. The banana blade and no red line
made more than one 20 goal man into a sniper! :-) Some guys will tell you
that the backhand was almost extinct in the league!
I don't think that many hockey men today would deny that the WHA had some
good teams. The old era of bitterness and prejudice is more or less gone,
the old hard line guys from that era are mostly retired or dead. The reality
is that there was an overlap, the WHA was good just not as good as a whole
as the NHL. The top teams would not have been among THE BEST NHL teams but
would be solid. It would be a rung below for WHA teams. Keep in kind even
the Jets had flaws as did the Aeros.start right out in goal, Joe Daley was
never better than an NHL journeyman, Grahame was a flop when he jumped to
the NHL. We can respect the WHA but we can't go overboard! Most guys who
were any good played in both leagues and as for inclusion as full members of
the HOF, there is plenty of data to suggest where they stand. But a WHA
section? Sure! Again if the women get a section like that why not the WHA
which again has had FAR bigger impact on hockey than women's hockey has.
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