Nobody is saying the 70's were a good era for level of play. Remember, with
the WHA factored in back then there were 30 plus pro teams and less
Europeans and Americans. They were hockey's dark ages! I remember the Caps
and Seals well! I was referring more to the 1960's.
You are right in everything that you say about wider recruitment areas
bringing in more talent. What I am saying is that the increased talent base
hasn't kept pace with the increase in teams! IF only we still had a NHL with
under 20 teams! Then the compensation would be significant!
As far as European demographics go, remember the populations of Europe's key
hockey nations. Before you even say it, much of the ex Soviet Union doesn't
really factor in. Estonia, the Ukraine, and Central Asia count soccer as the
big sport. It is a minor miracle that we see the number of Ukrainians that
we do! There was only one big club in the Ukraine (Sokol Kiev) and a weak
youth system. I was talking to some of their coaches a few years back and it
was amazing to hear how little that there is there!
Remember, when you add Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia
together, you get about 29 million or about Canada's current projected
population. But there is a hitch here, only in Finland
Do all of the top athletes opt for hockey ala Canada. Soccer is king
elsewhere! Even in the Russian Republic, soccer is every bit as popular as
hockey. Plus not every European player comes over here that could. NHL clubs
don't chase role players much nor do all players over there want to play in
the NHL. They make some serious money, have no desire to do time in the
minors (listening Mr. Patera ex of Dallas) , like to raise their kids back
home, and some plain old dislike our style of play or the travel!
You are fundamentally right but the numbers just don't work well enough!
Simple math, no Europeans and one American in 1966
to 44% today. 44% of the NHL allows for about 13 teams. IF, that is, one
assumes that none of them are lesser filler type players which is crap,
especially where the US kids are concerned. BUT the NHL is growing from 6 to
30 teams, a net growth of 24 teams! Even if you factor in Canadian
population growth, we STILL only get a possible net growth of 16 teams for
that period. But being that demographics don't mean squat, efficient player
production does and that a lot of these phantom athletes are lousy hockey
players by six team standards, it's safe to slice that by at least 25 %.
Look nobody is saying today's players are bad at all! Just not to belittle
the old players and not to be taken in that the hockey that you see today
comes close to where it should be! I've scouted players for over 15 years
and can safely say that when I watch the NHL today, I see some line ups that
would be mostly in the AHL in the 80's! There are too darn many teams!
From: James Karkoski [mailto:austin@...
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 1999 4:45 AM
Subject: RE: [hockhist] Introduction, and more - Lorne Chabot
From: James Karkoski <austin@...
>From: "William Underwood" <wausport@...>
>1-The Euro-invasion PARTIALLY offset expansion. But unfortunately not
>enough. Look at it this way, today's NHL is about 28 % European. But the
>game has expanded 5 fold from 1967. Meanwhile, the Canadian population has
>went from 19 million to 29 million, not even a two fold increase. As for US
>players... they are only 16 % of the league, a figure that has stayed
>for about a decade.
Getting players from a wider area than just one country means that you
are getting better athletes because you have a wider pool of talent to
choose from. When the NHL had only players from Canada, then that meant
that the league had only one small area to choose athletes from. Now that
the rest of the world is involved in the sport, the league has access to
more players with a higher athletic ability than it ever has. 44% change
over from the past.
That is unless you want to argue that Canada for some reason has a higher
ratio of people with athletic ability per capita than any other place in
As for the talent level of what it was than and what it is now, it's be
interesting to hear the opinion of someone who suffered through watching
a Caps-Seals in 1975 who also watched a Lightening-Canucks game last year.
"Old players" always say that "the game was better when they played."
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