Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/25/08 at 05:21 PM ET
from Tom Lynn at Hockey Ops Blog,
Myth #1: Expansion has diluted the level of talent in the NHL
This is the popular fable of the myopic scribes who cover hockey in some of the oldest markets. As the story goes, in the “Original Six” NHL (there were actually eight teams originally, but this fact was somehow lost on them) there were so few spots available on the teams, the level of play was extremely high. This was their “Golden Age” of hockey, with so many (per capita) of the League’s players achieving legend status and enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. In 1951, the top five scorers in the NHL all ended up in the Hall of Fame (Howe, Richard, Bentley, Abel, and Schmidt). Later, so the fable goes, with the NHL expanding more and more, anyone who could lace up a pair of skates was eligible for an NHL roster spot. This reached its lowest point after the last expansion, to 30 teams, when the Wild and Columbus took to the NHL ice with players that offended the high sensibilities of the Fourth Estate and older columnists.
Like many myths, this one is based on a reasonable premise, but has the unfortunate quality of being completely false.
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