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How important is 'generational player'


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#1 mjd1001

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 06:55 PM

Ok, it would be great to get a generational player who is drafted #1 overall, this thread is not about saying you are better off NOT getting a chance at McDavid, but I thought about how important is it to your success at winning the cup?

I went back through my hockey watching years (close to 30 years now) and came up with 3 'for sure, no doubt'  "generational players" who were picked first overall:  Crosby, Lemieux, and Lindros.  Those are the only 3 guys I can remember getting as much hype as McDavid in their draft year.  There have been other players with almost as much hype (Tavares, Ovechkin, Joe Thornton, and a few others) but only 3 guys were this hightly touted.


So looking at Crosby, Lemieux, and Lindros, what do we get?  
-3 Stanley Cups in 38 seasons played between them.

I'd take it, and those players were really exciting to watch, but those numbers show that missing out on a #1 overall 'generational' player doest mean much in terms of going on a multiple Cup run.

If you look at next tier, the 'almost generational player hype' guys, I would say that group would be Pierre Turgeon, Joe Thornton, Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares, Taylor Hall, and Nate Mckinnon (sorry, Patrick Kane is close to this list, but not quite there). What do you get there?
-0 Stanley Cups in 58 combined seasons.

Once again, you have multiple 100 point seaons, 50 goal years, all star games, awards won, but not as much success as we would think from players this highly touted as first overall picks in the draft.

So what is my take-away from this?  I'm thinking the Sabres will not finish last, and thus not get either McDavid or Eichel.  I'm trying to convince myself that over the next 10-15 years, getting McDavid will not guarantee they will be a more successful team.  I'd still love to get him, it would bring excitement to the building, hype to the team, but it really isn't needed.

Edited by mjd1001, 22 August 2014 - 06:57 PM.


#2 Tankalicious

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:04 PM

For me, "generational player" is an extremely exclusive list. I wouldn't say having a "generational player" is a must (considering only one or two teams get them in a "generation" and they don't always win *cough Penguins*). But having truly elite players is big for Cup chances.

#3 Moulson26

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:25 PM

i think the thing missing here is, we're not the Winnipeg Jets who are just terrible from the very bottom, no real serious prospects, bad front office, awful head coach, very few legit current NHLers.... and thinking that just with drafting McDavid he can take us to the promise land. Surely, McDavid if he lives up to his hype will attract some free agents on his own.

Thing that really makes exciting and important is McDavid would be joining a very skilled group of players. All our hopes and dreams are on McDavid/Eichel but in seriousness, we could probably draft the 7th best player and still find a way to become a contender soon. So, getting McDavid would really set up really well with what we have now.

#4 Yuri Olesha

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 07:42 PM

I like this topic, and respect the way you go about categorizing the players.  For some reason, to me, 'generational player,' made me think only of Gretsky and Crosby, or singular best of the generation.  I guess now that I think about it, according to my preconception two generational players couldn't possibly play professionally at the same time.

This is a new term though, generational player?  The first I've heard it was this year in reference to McDavid.

Someone needs generational player as their member title.  Spndchz would be funny.

#5 3putt

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 08:01 PM

Bobby Orr. Changed how the position was perceived. Also I think you have to put Bossy on the list. Extending the list gets to my point. I don't think hype determines who is a generational but who impacts the game during his generation. So that might mean that being hyped or the top pick is not necessary to be considered generational. Prospect yes. Player no as much. Hasek is an example.

Edited by 3putt, 22 August 2014 - 08:02 PM.


#6 SwampD

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 08:18 PM

F%#€ the tank!




Edited by SwampD, 22 August 2014 - 08:18 PM.


#7 Kristian

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 03:52 AM

I'm in the camp that says having, and most importantly paying, for a generational talent, is not a healthy thing when it comes to winning it all.

If you look at the last 20-30 years of Stanley Cup champs, apart from Mario's Penguins, and Wayne's Oilers, none of those teams has a "generational player".

And both those teams were stacked on talent, besides Gretzky and Lemieux.

My point being : I'll take a team of Kane's, Hossa's, Keith's, Seabrook's, Sakic's, Forsberg's, Messier's, etc. any day, over a team of Grosek's, Sillinger's, Stillman's and a Gretzky.

#8 Claude_Verret

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 08:19 AM

You still have to suck a lot to have the best chance at sub-generational, aka elite talent. DR needed to go, but he was also absolutely correct, suffering was/is necessary with the where this franchise found itself late in 2013.

#9 Sabres Fan In NS

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 08:22 AM

I don't really like the term generational talent.

In a team sport you can't win with Wayne / Mario alone.

Whichever team is fortunate enough to draft McDavid will not win the cup until / unless they build a great team around him.


View PostKristian, on 23 August 2014 - 03:52 AM, said:

I'm in the camp that says having, and most importantly paying, for a generational talent, is not a healthy thing when it comes to winning it all.

If you look at the last 20-30 years of Stanley Cup champs, apart from Mario's Penguins, and Wayne's Oilers, none of those teams has a "generational player".

And both those teams were stacked on talent, besides Gretzky and Lemieux.

My point being : I'll take a team of Kane's, Hossa's, Keith's, Seabrook's, Sakic's, Forsberg's, Messier's, etc. any day, over a team of Grosek's, Sillinger's, Stillman's and a Gretzky.

This is spot on.  Good post.

And, I like Yuri's notion of the impossibility of two generational talents playing at the same time ... like Wayne and Mario did.

By the way Yuri, where's your fancy hat?  I really liked your recent avatar photo.  A so-called *selfie*, right?

Edited by Sabres Fan In NS, 23 August 2014 - 08:23 AM.


#10 TrueBluePhD

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 09:47 AM

View PostKristian, on 23 August 2014 - 03:52 AM, said:

I'm in the camp that says having, and most importantly paying, for a generational talent, is not a healthy thing when it comes to winning it all.

If you look at the last 20-30 years of Stanley Cup champs, apart from Mario's Penguins, and Wayne's Oilers, none of those teams has a "generational player".

And both those teams were stacked on talent, besides Gretzky and Lemieux.

My point being : I'll take a team of Kane's, Hossa's, Keith's, Seabrook's, Sakic's, Forsberg's, Messier's, etc. any day, over a team of Grosek's, Sillinger's, Stillman's and a Gretzky.

Of course it's better to have a collection of elite players than a single generational player surrounded by meduocrities. But that's not really the question at hand, since nothing says if you get a generational player then the rest of the roster won't be good. For me the answer is simple: generational players are neither necessary nor sufficient for winning a Cup, but I'd rather have one than not.

Edit: worst case scenario is you fall short of the Cup, but get to watch one of the best players ever for a long time. If I'm not winning it all, I'll gladly take that consolation prize.

Edited by TrueBluePhD, 23 August 2014 - 09:49 AM.


#11 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 11:00 AM

The only pre-draft player in the past ten years to be labeled a generational talent is Sidney Crosby.  Examine the Pengunis' win record and their achievement in the playoffs after his sophomore year: 1 Stanley Cup, 1 Stanley Cup Finals loss, 1 Conference Final, 2 Conference Semifinals, 3 Conference Quarterfinals.  Eight seasons, eight trips to the playoffs, two SCF appearances with one win.

I very much dislike that shithead, but he's an elite talent that contributes to his team.  Remember pre-Crosby Penguins?  If Pittsburgh doesn't draft Sydney Crosby, they might not have replaced the igloo and may have moved the team. Crosby's existence transformed that franchise.

Now, it helps that he's been surrounded by a fundamentally sound roster (at times), including a first selection overall goaltender in Fleury and a second selection overall center in Malkin.  The 2nd round picks have contributed as well.

Examine the last seven SC winners.  Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago (x2), Boston, LA (x2).  Only Pittsburgh has that generational talent.  But every team, including Pittsburgh, has a large amount of elite talent.  Think of the "hockey household" names on those teams.  Think of how many players on those teams you'd like to have play for the Sabres.  Now think about how you acquire a core of elite talent.

We need to draft well.  We need to hit on our 2nd and some 3rd round selections.  We need to acquire guys that support elite and possibly a generational talent.  We can draft these players or we can trade for these players.  But the players that will ultimately define our team are the elite and generational talent that we'll have to draft.  These players are extremely difficult to trade for and you're lucky if you can draft them.

But best chance to draft those highly influential players is to tank the ###### out of the season.

#12 Claude_Verret

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 12:12 PM

View PostTrueBluePhD, on 23 August 2014 - 09:47 AM, said:



Of course it's better to have a collection of elite players than a single generational player surrounded by meduocrities. But that's not really the question at hand, since nothing says if you get a generational player then the rest of the roster won't be good. For me the answer is simple: generational players are neither necessary nor sufficient for winning a Cup, but I'd rather have one than not.

Edit: worst case scenario is you fall short of the Cup, but get to watch one of the best players ever for a long time. If I'm not winning it all, I'll gladly take that consolation prize.

Good post. Spot on.

#13 DeLuca1967

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 01:51 PM

Hasek, IMO, was a "generational" player. He may have not gone the traditional route to becoming one but he was as dominant as any forward or even blueliner. Hasek was very important to the Sabres as Perreault was before him. There is a stability that comes with having a "generational player." One of the biggest aspects of having that type of player is the feeling that you always have a chance no matter the odds or the opponent. It's been a while since the Sabres had a player that could carry the team on his back.

#14 BRAWNDO

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 03:21 PM

Schopp (I am not a fan either) did a show about tanking for McDavid/Eichel this past May.  He stated that analytics projects his future stats to be worth 2.5 Stanley Cups to what ever team drafts him.

I imagine the .5 means he is projected to win between 2 or 3 cups?

#15 PASabreFan

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 03:29 PM

View PostBRAWNDO, on 23 August 2014 - 03:21 PM, said:

Schopp (I am not a fan either) did a show about tanking for McDavid/Eichel this past May.  He stated that analytics projects his future stats to be worth 2.5 Stanley Cups to what ever team drafts him.

I imagine the .5 means he is projected to win between 2 or 3 cups?

McDavid or Eichel?

#16 BRAWNDO

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 03:39 PM

Sorry PA, McDavid.

#17 Kristian

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 04:03 PM

View PostTrueBluePhD, on 23 August 2014 - 09:47 AM, said:

Of course it's better to have a collection of elite players than a single generational player surrounded by meduocrities. But that's not really the question at hand, since nothing says if you get a generational player then the rest of the roster won't be good. For me the answer is simple: generational players are neither necessary nor sufficient for winning a Cup, but I'd rather have one than not.

Edit: worst case scenario is you fall short of the Cup, but get to watch one of the best players ever for a long time. If I'm not winning it all, I'll gladly take that consolation prize.

I agree, which is why I added the "and paying for" remark - My point being that a generational player, in a very short timespan will be signed to a contract so huge, it could hamper your ability to build a proper team around him.

We have an owner who likes to spend crazy cash, but for a Buffalo fan, this is something we rarely see and there's also a salary cap to consider.

Do we have a generational player in the game today? Is Crosby, or Ovechkin that player? If not, then will there ever *be* another generational player?

#18 TrueBluePhD

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 05:47 PM

View PostKristian, on 23 August 2014 - 04:03 PM, said:

I agree, which is why I added the "and paying for" remark - My point being that a generational player, in a very short timespan will be signed to a contract so huge, it could hamper your ability to build a proper team around him.

We have an owner who likes to spend crazy cash, but for a Buffalo fan, this is something we rarely see and there's also a salary cap to consider.

Do we have a generational player in the game today? Is Crosby, or Ovechkin that player? If not, then will there ever *be* another generational player?

Well we have yet to see a crippling contract so I'm not aall top concerned. I think Crosby is clearly a generational player, and arguments could be made for Ovechkin and Malkin.

#19 PASabreFan

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 06:47 PM

I'm embarrassed to say I never figured out how long a generation l

View PostBRAWNDO, on 23 August 2014 - 03:39 PM, said:

Sorry PA, McDavid.

And what if the Sabres got both? 3.75 Cups?

#20 DGW54321

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 08:11 PM

View PostPASabreFan, on 23 August 2014 - 06:47 PM, said:

I'm embarrassed to say I never figured out how long a generation l

And what if the Sabres got both? 3.75 Cups?

Let's shoot for one cup first.

#21 Kristian

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:04 AM

View PostTrueBluePhD, on 23 August 2014 - 05:47 PM, said:

Well we have yet to see a crippling contract so I'm not aall top concerned. I think Crosby is clearly a generational player, and arguments could be made for Ovechkin and Malkin.

Must admit I really don't follow the Pens enough to tell, so I'll take your word for it.

I guess I'm old-fashioned, I expect generational players to be head and shoulders above their peers, for at last one or two seasons.

But I also think those days are gone, where single players would stand out so much.

#22 Sabres Fan In NS

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 07:10 AM

View PostPASabreFan, on 23 August 2014 - 06:47 PM, said:

I'm embarrassed to say I never figured out how long a generation l

And what if the Sabres got both? 3.75 Cups?

More likely, 3.75 *cusps* ........

#23 PASabreFan

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:29 AM

View PostSabres Fan In NS, on 24 August 2014 - 07:10 AM, said:

More likely, 3.75 *cusps* ........

Thank you for that kind homage. If only I received this kind of respect from the rest of the board.

#24 Sabres Fan In NS

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:42 AM

View PostPASabreFan, on 24 August 2014 - 08:29 AM, said:

Thank you for that kind homage. If only I received this kind of respect from the rest of the board.

... *my brother from a different mother*

I have your back.

#25 TrueBluePhD

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 09:31 AM

View PostKristian, on 24 August 2014 - 12:04 AM, said:

Must admit I really don't follow the Pens enough to tell, so I'll take your word for it.

I guess I'm old-fashioned, I expect generational players to be head and shoulders above their peers, for at last one or two seasons.

But I also think those days are gone, where single players would stand out so much.

There's no hard and fast definition of what a generational player is (that I'm aware of, anyway), but consider the following:

Crosby is 4th all-time in points per game, behind only Gretzky, Lemieux, and Bossy. This season he had 104 points....second place?  Getzlaf at 87.  Crosby shot one percentage point under his career average, Getzlaf shot three percentage points over his.  So Crosby has just a typical season, and still produced 20% more than second place who had a career season.  Patrick Kane (who I think everyone agrees is an elite offensive player) is actually under 1 PPG for his career, sitting at 0.96...while Crosby is at 1.40.  

Point totals of course don't tell the whole story, but possession numbers say the same thing...every metric we have puts Crosby among the best all time, and he's doing it in an era that isn't exactly encouraging fire-wagon hockey.  If a player produces offense at a top-5 historical rate, that has to be at least in the conversation for a generational player, right?  And he's so clearly head and shoulders above his contempories that I don't think it's even a worthwhile discussion as to who the best player in the game is right now: it's Crosby, and it's really not close.

#26 PASabreFan

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 11:16 AM

Blue, where does the Cup factor in? Kane closes some ground there, no?

#27 Tankalicious

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 11:19 AM

For me, generational players aren't necessarily the best players in the league. They're the guys that define the generation.

The under-30 guys that fall into that, for me, are Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Kane, Toews, Stamkos and Quick. Subban will probably creep in there soon.

#28 TrueBluePhD

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:13 PM

View PostPASabreFan, on 24 August 2014 - 11:16 AM, said:

Blue, where does the Cup factor in? Kane closes some ground there, no?

I know many (maybe even the vast majority) will disagree, but I don't believe in equating individual success with team success.That Kane has one more Cup than Crosby means absolutely nothing to me when comparing the players.  

View PostTankalicious, on 24 August 2014 - 11:19 AM, said:

For me, generational players aren't necessarily the best players in the league. They're the guys that define the generation.

The under-30 guys that fall into that, for me, are Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Kane, Toews, Stamkos and Quick. Subban will probably creep in there soon.

Quick?  Ugh.  Couldn't disagree more (I'm assuming you're factoring in the Cups, to which I point to my reply to PA.  Very possible we'll never see eye to eye on that).  If we're tossing goalies into the mix here, Lundqvist is the only choice.  I also think if you're including Toews, you have to include Kopitar.

#29 LGR4GM

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:39 PM

View PostIKnowPhysics, on 23 August 2014 - 11:00 AM, said:

The only pre-draft player in the past ten years to be labeled a generational talent is Sidney Crosby.  Examine the Pengunis' win record and their achievement in the playoffs after his sophomore year: 1 Stanley Cup, 1 Stanley Cup Finals loss, 1 Conference Final, 2 Conference Semifinals, 3 Conference Quarterfinals.  Eight seasons, eight trips to the playoffs, two SCF appearances with one win.

I very much dislike that shithead, but he's an elite talent that contributes to his team.  Remember pre-Crosby Penguins?  If Pittsburgh doesn't draft Sydney Crosby, they might not have replaced the igloo and may have moved the team. Crosby's existence transformed that franchise.

Now, it helps that he's been surrounded by a fundamentally sound roster (at times), including a first selection overall goaltender in Fleury and a second selection overall center in Malkin.  The 2nd round picks have contributed as well.

Examine the last seven SC winners.  Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago (x2), Boston, LA (x2).  Only Pittsburgh has that generational talent.  But every team, including Pittsburgh, has a large amount of elite talent.  Think of the "hockey household" names on those teams.  Think of how many players on those teams you'd like to have play for the Sabres.  Now think about how you acquire a core of elite talent.

We need to draft well.  We need to hit on our 2nd and some 3rd round selections.  We need to acquire guys that support elite and possibly a generational talent.  We can draft these players or we can trade for these players.  But the players that will ultimately define our team are the elite and generational talent that we'll have to draft.  These players are extremely difficult to trade for and you're lucky if you can draft them.

But best chance to draft those highly influential players is to tank the ###### out of the season.
Fleury does not help the Penguins do anything but lose. Also the reason the pens haven't won a cup since 2009 is they draft horrendously bad.  They have almost 0 players from drafts between 2007-2011.  This problem is something they have appeared to be correcting.

#30 Tankalicious

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:48 PM

View PostTrueBluePhD, on 24 August 2014 - 12:13 PM, said:


Quick?  Ugh.  Couldn't disagree more (I'm assuming you're factoring in the Cups, to which I point to my reply to PA.  Very possible we'll never see eye to eye on that).  If we're tossing goalies into the mix here, Lundqvist is the only choice.  I also think if you're including Toews, you have to include Kopitar.

Lunqvist isn't under 30. Toews is head and shoulders above Kopitar when it comes to who people will talk about when they mention this generation.

I included Quick because, if you're going to include an under-30 goalie, it has to be him.

#31 TrueBluePhD

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 01:04 PM

View PostTankalicious, on 24 August 2014 - 12:48 PM, said:

Lunqvist isn't under 30. Toews is head and shoulders above Kopitar when it comes to who people will talk about when they mention this generation.

I included Quick because, if you're going to include an under-30 goalie, it has to be him.

My bad, I missed the "under-30" when I read your post.  More people talk about Toews than Kopitar, sure, but that's a function of their respective markets.  Should we really let the media dictate whether a player is considered generational?  I think that should be purely based on what they do on the ice, regardless of how much attention they get.

I still wouldn't put Quick anywhere near generational status, whether we're talking under-30 or everyone.  For my money Rask is better than Quick, and by quite a bit (and I wouldn't include Rask as a generational goaltender either...at least not yet).

Perhaps we should try to actually come up with a workable definition of generational player.  To me, a generational player can be loosely defined by meeting two criteria: being among the best several players of his generation with a clear separation to the next tier (and that next tier has to be elite players) and having a reasonable comparison to the all-time greats...of course, this also means we have to have some idea of how long a generation is.  There has to be some longevity too, to avoid labeling a flash in the pan as generational.  To me, players like Kane, Toews, Kopitar, etc. are not generational players because there are so many of them clumped up with reasonable arguments to who is or is not better--the clear separation just isn't there.  If you have 10 players roughly equal, then you either have 10 generational players or zero; I'd opt to say zero in that situation.

Edited by TrueBluePhD, 24 August 2014 - 01:04 PM.


#32 Tankalicious

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 01:20 PM

View PostTrueBluePhD, on 24 August 2014 - 01:04 PM, said:

Should we really let the media dictate whether a player is considered generational?

No, we shouldn't. But that's how it works. Kopitar doesn't have that star style of game, which is why he will fall out of some conversations. He's worthy of being considered generational, but I doubt I'll tell my grandkids about him.

The mix up here is that your definition is different than mine. I'm not including talent, despite the obvious fact that it takes talent to be in this class, but I'm basing it more off who everybody knows and talks about when they discuss hockey. Obviously if I was talking just die-hards then some of these guys would be in there, but I'm talking on a more general basis. The average fan won't see Kopitar the way others do.

Edited by Tankalicious, 24 August 2014 - 01:21 PM.


#33 drnkirishone

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 04:25 PM

Crosby is the only player you can use this term on currently. Maybe toews if he leads teams to another 2 cups can be meantioned.

#34 Arcsabresfan41

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 04:33 PM

View Postdrnkirishone, on 24 August 2014 - 04:25 PM, said:

Crosby is the only player you can use this term on currently. Maybe toews if he leads teams to another 2 cups can be meantioned.
Does a generational player need to have 'generational talent'? Because if so I couldn't see Toews, who is very talented nonetheless, ever qualify for that no matter how many cup wins he has. Crosby does have a talent level notably higher than everyone else in the 'elite' category so I do agree that he is the one and only qualified player right now.

#35 PASabreFan

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 05:26 PM

Miller is generational.

#36 Tankalicious

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 05:31 PM

View PostArcsabresfan41, on 24 August 2014 - 04:33 PM, said:

Does a generational player need to have 'generational talent'? Because if so I couldn't see Toews, who is very talented nonetheless, ever qualify for that no matter how many cup wins he has. Crosby does have a talent level notably higher than everyone else in the 'elite' category so I do agree that he is the one and only qualified player right now.

I want to buy you a beer.

#37 Arcsabresfan41

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 05:52 PM

View PostTankalicious, on 24 August 2014 - 05:31 PM, said:

I want to buy you a beer.
Eheheh if you're ever on campus again let me know! :P

#38 Tankalicious

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 05:53 PM

View PostArcsabresfan41, on 24 August 2014 - 05:52 PM, said:

Eheheh if you're ever on campus again let me know! :P

I'll be there for a week starting Friday. Got a paid week off at work, so I'm coming to visit the lady friend.

#39 Arcsabresfan41

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 06:49 PM

View PostTankalicious, on 24 August 2014 - 05:53 PM, said:

I'll be there for a week starting Friday. Got a paid week off at work, so I'm coming to visit the lady friend.
Well that's exciting, though I'm leaving Friday for the weekend. Enjoy the week and perhaps I'll see ya around!

#40 TrueBluePhD

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 06:56 PM

View PostTankalicious, on 24 August 2014 - 01:20 PM, said:

No, we shouldn't. But that's how it works. Kopitar doesn't have that star style of game, which is why he will fall out of some conversations. He's worthy of being considered generational, but I doubt I'll tell my grandkids about him.

The mix up here is that your definition is different than mine. I'm not including talent, despite the obvious fact that it takes talent to be in this class, but I'm basing it more off who everybody knows and talks about when they discuss hockey. Obviously if I was talking just die-hards then some of these guys would be in there, but I'm talking on a more general basis. The average fan won't see Kopitar the way others do.

Well, there's the rub. To me, any definition of "generational" that includes Toews but excludes Kopitar is invalid on face. They're basically the same player.

Edited by TrueBluePhD, 24 August 2014 - 06:57 PM.