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Discussion Starter #1
I’m spoiled seeing McDavid every game. Watching him deke guys out and how absolute fast he is with the puck, I blurted out ‘he has to be the best ever at that’. But I immediately stopped myself and started giving it some consideration. I saw most of Gretz best and many times on TV games. I saw maybe not tons but enough to see how good all of the #1 scorers, and their line mates were for most of the last 45ish years, and know tons of hockey history, though past say Gordie Howe ‘52 it gets thin fast.

I actually don’t know, have other guys had McD level moves? Even at his level would have been very fast for years gone by, go watch a game from say 1990 and compare to a high pursuit and speed team like LasVegas.
 

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A few guys that had those ankle-breaking moves were Kovalev (when he felt like it), Mogilny and Bure. Pavel Bure stick handling at speed Was a sight to behold.

Edit: of course Lemieux and Jagr were both amazing.
 

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Also, Datsyuk, Crosby and Ovie are worthy mentions here. We’ve seen lots of great puck wizards in the past few decades.
 

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Guy La Fleur, Jean Belliveau, Bobby Orr
 
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Of the current guys...Patrick Kane hasn't been mentioned yet and is one guy who sticks out to me as a wizard with the puck on his stick.

Denis Savard was a fun guy to watch...so quick and so creative with the puck, you never knew what he was going to do.
 

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You can't compare yesterday's stars to today. The sticks are so much different.
Everyone talks about McDavid being the best but I think the fastest hands ever go to nathan McKinnon. He's probably the best player in the NHL right now. Check out his hands. Ridiculously fast.
 

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The time and hardwork that today’s players put in surpass yesterday’s players. Just YouTube the skills of some of these 8-9 year old kids
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I was saying to my family yesterday that *I think* there are more better younger players in all major sports than even 3-4 years ago, then today ESPN has an article about under 25's dominating baseball.

I think there are more 22-23 year old dominant players in the NFL
I think there are more in the same age group in baseball, where typically kids that age are still in the minors or just making their debuts, with peak years being 25-30ish.
In hockey, peak years are more often by age 25, and good ones start at 18, but I think there are more than ever 18-22 who are smart, fast, skilled etc. Even 31+ is starting to look very old in the NHL, rather than say 35+
 

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I only saw Datsyuk for a couple of games in the few seasons at the end, but he was really good.

There was one clearing attempt where he jumped up to pull it out of the air, it must have been 12 feet up, I had never seen anyone attempt that.
 

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I do think that, as sports science, nutrition, training methods, sports psychology and all the rest continue to develop, it isn't surprising that we see these amazing young players doing things regularly that used to be exceptional. The current crop of young NHL stars are nothing short of outstanding. An impressive crop, for sure. Watching NHL hockey lately has been pretty entertaining and I had gone off it for a while because it had lost some lustre for me.
 

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There were so many great stick handlers, but I agree with the nod to Bure. He was the first guy to pop into my head when I read the thread topic line. His early days with Vancouver were incredible! I'm a Toronto fan through, and through, but if CBC was carrying a Van game in the late slot, I'd watch it. He was nutso fast and tricky!

...of course Ovie can dangle too.
 

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Federov, Lafontaine and Kariya
 

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Following up on Ken Dryden's point about the connection between historical changes in shift length, skating speed and concussions resulting from higher-impact collisions, you have to wonder if the historical increase in skating speed has undermined stickhandling as an art. How slow do you have to skate to stickhandle effectively? Or conversely, at what speed does stickhandling become too difficult to do? Dryden has noted how he was struck by the noticeably slower skating speed when viewing games from the '50s and '60s at the Hall of Fame. Has the change to shorter shifts signaled the end of stickhandling?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Following up on Ken Dryden's point about the connection between historical changes in shift length, skating speed and concussions resulting from higher-impact collisions, you have to wonder if the historical increase in skating speed has undermined stickhandling as an art. How slow do you have to skate to stickhandle effectively? Or conversely, at what speed does stickhandling become too difficult to do? Dryden has noted how he was struck by the noticeably slower skating speed when viewing games from the '50s and '60s at the Hall of Fame. Has the change to shorter shifts signaled the end of stickhandling?
Good lord no. I’ve watched a lot of hockey this year, it seems to me there is more skill than ever, to go along with the speed. Teams like Tampa and Toronto and Vegas and Winnipeg have guys who can fly, and a lot of them can dangle really well at speed.
 

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I guess I don't watch enough hockey, or enough of the right games. Most of what I tend to see is dump-it-and-scrap. Not much stickhandling from my end.
 

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My brother-in-law is a hockey nut and first name out was Patty Kane and also suggested Andy Bathgate, but he is a bit older than I am.:rolleyes:
 
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