After our WOHL game tonight, the discussion somehow got to whether Orr or LaFleur ever dumped the puck in during the NHL days. There wasn’t much discussion but one passionate opinion (from a teammate who does not drive, nor will he ever drive, a Mazda) suggested that not only did they never dump it in during their NHL careers, they likely never dumped it in, EVER (or as today’s grade 9 girls might say “like Never, Ever”) from the time they were born ’til their days in rocking chairs at present day. Players and teams are playing not to lose instead of playing to win was how he characterized today’s game.
Another suggested that the 70’s game didn’t emphasize systems of play like today’s game does so players, especially those with the most talent, were given much more freedom in how they played back in the day. I know the systems approach may be more conducive to attempting to win as a team (just look at the Leafs for proof), but I’d sure like to see more of the talented player simply allowed to go play shinny some nights. The entertainment value would be far better than we get today. In fact, it’s probably true that even those players that we don’t normally view as “the talented ones” (ie. 3rd and 4th liners) would really surprise if they were just allowed to go out and not focus so much on avoiding mistakes.