Take me back to the good old days, where each team would have at least one 100-point scorer, netting 20 goals was not considered an accomplishment, and the league was still trying to get people excited about the league where the idea of a glowing puck was soon to happen.
There’s no better era of hockey then the late 80s into the 90s thanks to the goons. Yes, the goons. Change my mind. And if you don’t believe me, I’m here to change yours.
The best player in the game was split into two players in fantasy hockey drafts because he was scoring more goals than 80% of the league had points in a season while the scariest of players reigned the penalty boxes. Now, 30 is the new 50.
Goons were allowed to police the game from the ice, not afterwards in suits after hearings. Granted power plays would result, and goals could be scored, but isn’t that the point? Consider the fact too that this was also in an era where the goons would be padding their numbers too. Rob Ray notched 350 penalty minutes in 1990-1991. Everyone in the top 20 in the category had at least 240 minutes. Last season (2017-2018), only Michael Haley of the Florida Panthers topped 200 PIM (212). Only 6 other players topped 100.
Since the creation of the “Rocket” Richard Trophy, awarded to the league leader in goals, only one player has topped 60 goals. Alexander Ovechkin tallied 65 in 2008, his first of 7 trophy wins. Pavel Bure came close in 2000, and 2001 with 58 and 59 goals respectively.
Phil Esposito was the first to finish a season with more than 60 in the 1971-72 season (66). He’d top that number two seasons later by two more goals. Mike Bossy potted 69 in 1978-79. That record for most goals in a season would stand a few seasons until Wayne Gretzky destroyed it with 92 goals in 1981-82. The league would see 31 50 goal seasons between Bossy’s 69 and Gretzky’s 92. Guy LaFleur would do it twice in that span, Bossy and Gretzky would accomplish it three times. Marcel Dionne would go 4 for 4.
And what’s better than a good old-fashioned hockey fight. They are more entertaining than a shootout, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, concussions are a serious issue. We aren’t even going to get into that because there’s no argument that can win against the fact that a brain is a valuable thing. I just miss the days of Domi v. Probert, just because they were on the ice at the same time.
The point I’m trying to make here is that the glory days were just that. As good as guys were today, the game was better 20-30 years ago. The excuses were that guys were getting bigger. Now players like Patrick Kane and Johnny Gaudreau are in the tops in the league for points. Goalie’s pads were getting bigger and bigger… pads are now mandated to be a certain size across the board, mainly thanks to Garth Snow.
Since the creation of the “Rocket” Richard Trophy, only 26 50 goal seasons have been registered. That’s in 20 seasons.
I truly believe there will be an upswing in scoring within the league. I don’t know how or when. I don’t know why scoring is down when the league has done everything in their power to increase puck in net. Give me a Modano, Yzerman, Sakic, Lemieux, Bure, Lindros led era with goons mixed in over Crosby, Ovechkin, Matthews, McDavid’s current day “magic” any day of the week where I couldn’t tell you who the current heavyweight champion is.
Find a way to bring goons back to the game, and excitement and scoring are sure to follow.
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