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-   -   Why is Gretzky known as the best? (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=109227)

KOVALEV10* 10-18-2004 07:09 AM

Why is Gretzky known as the best?
 
First off I wanna say hi to everyone here I'm new to the boards so maybe this question has come up before or maybe not so bare with me. Anyways before everyone starts screaming at me and stuff I wanna say that Gretzky was a real dominant player in his era BUT that doesnt mean he was the BEST of all time. Look here's a list of who in my opinion are equally great as Wayne and dominated in their era:

1- Rocket Richard: First player to score 50 goals in 50 games. Played during a tough time where people knew how to check. Led the habs to 5 straight Stanley Cup wins which is still a record today.

2- Gordie Howe: Somoene who has dominated the game for the longest amount of time. Played till he was 52 and still at a high level.

3- Jean Beliveau: Another great player in his own right, he was one of the finest stick handlers and passers of all time during his era. 10 Stanley Cup championships among other trophies.

4- Bobby Orr: Awesome natural skater, passer, play maker, shooter, deker, defensive and offensive defenseman. Was best defenseman for 8 years in his short career due to injuries. Lead the Bruins to their first cup in years in 1970 and then again in 1972.

5- Guy Lafleur: Known as the most exciting player there ever was, the Flower played during the 70-s and won the Hart trophie twice, 3 times Art Ross, Conn Smythe trophie, scored 50 or more goals for 6 straight seasons, tallied more then 120 points for 6 straight seasons as well. Won 5 stanley cups with 4 of them consecutively. However a car accident in 1980 slowed him down a ot.

6- Mario Lemieux: Mario could play like no one else. He was drafted by Pittsburgh who was the last team in the league then in 1984 and just 6 years later won the stanley cup with that same team and then repeated as champs the year later. He won two straight conn smythe trophies and 2 straight Art Ross trophies. Battle through injuries and Cancer speaking of which, the same day of his last radiation treatment, Mario came back to Pittsburgh's lineup to play against Philadelphia and scored a goal and won the scoring title that year!

Also lets not forget about Marcel Dionne, Bobby Hull, Mike Bossy and Bret Hull.

Plus Gretzky played with some great teammates such as Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Coffee, etc. And unlike the first 5 people I mentioned, he played in a high scoring era. So what are your thoughts about this?

mcphee 10-18-2004 07:38 AM

I think the thing with Gretzky is the way he lapped the field. He would lead the leafue in scoring just with his assists. Stat wise, I can only think of how Babe Ruth had more homers than entire teams in the 20's. Personally, I've always considered Orr the best I've ever seen.

NYIsles1* 10-18-2004 07:39 AM

Being the best more often than not is more about time peirods in league history.

Maybe Rocket Richard scores a hundred goals in Edmonton on that ice surface in the early eighties. Maybe Mike Bossy does if he is not on an Eastern Conference team and has to play some defense. Switch Paul Coffey and Bobby Orr and what numbers does Orr put up on that ice surface in that era.
Gretzky would not have scored what he did playing in today's league and would not have put up the numbers he did in previous era's.

He played his most productive hockey in an expansion conference against some very weak teams. If he played in the Eastern Conference in that era he would not have put up the same numbers and would have taken more of a physical wear in the playoffs to get to the finals.

Personally I felt Lemieux and Bossy's numbers in a better conference was far more tangible than anything Gretzky did.

Chili 10-18-2004 08:13 AM

Or Cyclone Taylor, Howie Morenz et al.

It's individual bias based on the era you followed closest.

How would Gretzky have fared in the 6 team league? No one really knows.

Lemieux and Orr were the most talented players I've seen. Bossy's consistent goal scoring speaks for itself. All three players stats were impacted by serious injuries. Guy Lafleur is still the most exciting player I ever saw. I don't know if he would dominate the same the way the game is played today...or anyone else for that matter.

Bottom line I guess, is that comparing eras is pretty tough and probably unfair.

Edit: I'd be remiss if I didn't add that I admired watching the marvelous skill of Bobby Hull when I first started following the game.

Malefic74 10-18-2004 09:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NYIsles1
He played his most productive hockey in an expansion conference against some very weak teams. If he played in the Eastern Conference in that era he would not have put up the same numbers and would have taken more of a physical wear in the playoffs to get to the finals.

Disagree. Just because the Campbell Conference didn't play grind hockey does not make it weaker in any way. As for a weak division, well you could arguably say that every year the Oilers had to go through the second-best team in the entire NHL in the Calgary Flames. The Winnipeg Jets led by Hawerchuk were no easy pickings and the Kings while inconsistent were strong enough to oust the Oilers at least once in that run.

And the east had more than it's share of patsies on the schedule too. If you look back at his records versus certain teams it is pretty obvious he had no more problems against the Bruins, Flyers or Canadiens than he did playing the Wings, Hawks and Canucks. Goals still poured into the net and the assists kept coming. Eastern time zone or west. In his prime Wayne destroyed the systems that were meant to slow him down. Against physical teams, skating teams, checking teams or "offese is the best defense" teams it did not matter. Wayne got his points and 9 nights out of 10 was the best player on the ice.

As for a lot of the stars he played with.... he didn't play ina vacuum. Kurri, while a great shooter and one of the best defensive forwards the league had seen since Bob Gainey certainly benefitted from playing with Gretzky. Those two saw the oppositions top defense pairings and best checkers every single night. You don't suppose that gave Messier and Anderson more room to move do ya? Richard played on a team full of stars, ditto Beliveau, Orr, Howe, Lafleur played on on possibly the most dominant team in the last 50 years and during the Cup runs in the early 90's then Pens were a stacked team. Yet you only here this argument about all the "help" when it comes to Gretzky. It's weak, very weak.

dawgbone 10-18-2004 10:02 AM

Judging era's is impossible...

Richard might have scored 100 goals in Gretzky's era, or he might not have even made an NHL team. He wasn't the best skater, and he was notorious for not being in very good shape.

Orr may have destroyed Coffey's numbers in the 80's, or Coffey's speed may have destroyed the the slow-paced hockey of the 70's.

All you can really go by is this:

Gretzky dominated like no other player in NHL history. He was lightyears above any other player in the league, and the NHL created rules to stop him from scoring (getting rid of 4 on 4 hockey).

If your top 3 is Lemieux, Gretzky, Orr, Gretzky gets the nod... not only for his dominance, but his longevity. That has to be taken into account. Would you rather have 8 seasons of Orr, 12 of Lemieux, or 20 of Gretzky?

Even in the twilight of his career, during the scoring lull, Gretzky was still a dominant player. His very last season was the only season he averaged less than 1 point per game.

As for Lemieux leading a bad Penguins team to the Cup 6 years later, don't forget what Gretzky did. When the Oilers joined the NHL from the WHA, their roster was absolutely pillaged in not just 1, but 2 dispersal drafts (all but guaranteeing the best players on the team would be gone).

Just 5 years later, Gretzky won a cup... not just that, but got his team to the playoffs every year leading up to it.

Trying to compare eras is impossible. What we do know, is that Gretzky was still a top player in the league near the end of his career, despite the fact that the game had completely changed, and had gotten significantly tighter.

VanIslander 10-18-2004 10:39 AM

Gretzky is the best because the past best players even have said so.

If you watched him you just knew he was playing in a league by himself (until Mario came along).

Your jaw drops time and again. If Hasek did for over a decade what he did for two years, he'd be ranked right up there too.

I still don't understand quite what made Gretzky so great. But it was just so obvious! It really was.

NYIsles1* 10-18-2004 07:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malefic74
Disagree. Just because the Campbell Conference didn't play grind hockey does not make it weaker in any way. As for a weak division, well you could arguably say that every year the Oilers had to go through the second-best team in the entire NHL in the Calgary Flames. The Winnipeg Jets led by Hawerchuk were no easy pickings and the Kings while inconsistent were strong enough to oust the Oilers at least once in that run.

The Western Conference for over a decade only had one team to even qualify for a final in the seventies until the conference playoffs were put back in 1982. Only Chicago even went to final over that time peirod. Every year it was an all-Eastern Final. Back in 1967 expansion St Louis went to three finals and it was so non-competitive they had to change playoff formats.

Calgary? They went from a team off the radar in Atlanta to a prime contender for a cup simply because they moved.

In the early 80's the top five Eastern Conference teams would have easily made two finals as a Western Conference team. If the Oilers had to play the Rangers, Washington, Montreal in 1984 and the Isles had to play the Western Conference, Paul Coffey would never have been able to say we were waiting all year just to play the Islanders.

Would have been interesting to see how tired Edmonton would have been as Philadelphia and Boston later had to really go thru a grind while Edmonton struggled and even lost to Calgary.

Things did not change in terms of disparity until the mid-90's.

jiggs 10 10-18-2004 08:59 PM

The Eastern Conference (as it is NOW known) was weak even in the 80's and 90's. Washington? They didn't even win a series for 15 years, let alone pose a threat! Montreal was fading fast, Boston was just starting to rise again.
I'll grant you the Jets may not have seemed like a threat to anyone...except the teams that played them!

Gretzky was the best EVER because there was NOTHING he couldn't do, and do better, in the game of hockey. He out-thought every player in the league for 20 seasons. He is the greatest passer hockey has ever seen. People try to say Oates and Weight are good passers? Gretzky was better than them RIGHT HANDED!!! It's just all the big and little things he did better than everyone that add up to being the greatest forward to ever play the game, and if not the best PLAYER, at least 1A (behind Orr).

He would STILL be the all-time leading scorer in the history of the NHL if he had NEVER scored a goal! Yet he scored almost 900 goals, too! He has the highest PPG average in history. He did it with great teams and terrible teams (Blues, Rangers, Kings). He did it in high scoring eras and low-scoring eras (1979-1982, 1994-1999). He scored with wingers like Marty McSorley and Dave Semenko, he did it with Kurri and Robitallie and Nicholls. He made Messier a better player by allowing him to develop on the 3rd and 2nd line against weaker checkers. Ditto Anderson. He had that inner drive that no player I've seen has had, and maybe only Richard had it to a higher degree.

DownFromNJ 10-18-2004 09:01 PM

2857 points. Nearly a thousand ahead of the closest competition.


He's the best ever. No doubt. Guys like Messier and Howe have less points than Gretzky's assists.

espo* 10-18-2004 09:07 PM

Over 2,800 points and somewhere along 60 nhl records is basically why many consider him the greatest of all time.Gretzky's numbers are hard to argue with,damn the eras,when you produce like that you're great by any standard.He's one of the most dominant athletes of all time,not just a dominant hockey player.He has to go down as one of the all-time great athletes.

RangsDave 10-18-2004 09:43 PM

He's just an awesome guy
Every sport has a legend, some one who is the "best"

Basketball- michael jordan
Baseball- babe ruth
Golf- tiger woods
Soccer- Pele
Football- Dan Marino ( maybe someone better, i'm not a big football fan
and in Hockey theres Wayne Gretzky

Took a pill in Sbisa 10-18-2004 10:19 PM

You wanna know why Gretzky is the best?

Read the record book.

mymkovski 10-18-2004 11:22 PM

Based on stats alone...Gretzky is the best ever. But, stats aren't everything right??? Well, what else are you going to base it on? Best passer, best vision of the ice, best goal scorer, best, best, best....check, check, check and check. Wayne is the "Great One" for a reason. #99 simply is the best...

mymkovski 10-18-2004 11:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RangsDave
He's just an awesome guy
Every sport has a legend, some one who is the "best"

Basketball- michael jordan
Baseball- babe ruth
Golf- tiger woods
Soccer- Pele
Football- Dan Marino ( maybe someone better, i'm not a big football fan
and in Hockey theres Wayne Gretzky

I'll give you all those with the exception of Woods. Sure he's dominated 5 of the last 7 or 8 years, but he still has a lot more to do to catch the real legends of golf...Nicklaus, Player, and Palmer....

Haj 10-18-2004 11:58 PM

Wayne Gretzkey is the best because he thought the game the best.

I dont know how else to say it.

Diaboli 10-19-2004 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RangsDave
He's just an awesome guy
Every sport has a legend, some one who is the "best"

Basketball- michael jordan
Baseball- babe ruth
Golf- tiger woods
Soccer- Pele
Football- Dan Marino ( maybe someone better, i'm not a big football fan
and in Hockey theres Wayne Gretzky

I agree with you in soccer, but everyone doesn't. Two awards were handed out to the best player in the last 100 years. Pele AND Diego Maradona. Many think of him as the best player ever.

pei fan 10-19-2004 11:44 AM

There is a difference between greatest and best.

pei fan 10-19-2004 11:53 AM

"Football- Dan Marino ( maybe someone better, i'm not a big football fan"

Yeah maybe you should have left the football alone.I think the argument is
usually between Jim Brown,Walter Payton,and Joe Montana(because he
won so much)some might also say Jerry Rice.

pei fan 10-19-2004 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pei fan
"Football- Dan Marino ( maybe someone better, i'm not a big football fan"

Yeah maybe you should have left the football alone.I think the argument is
usually between Jim Brown,Walter Payton,and Joe Montana(because he
won so much)some might also say Jerry Rice.

Checked the sporting news top 100- top3:Brown,Rice,Montana and Payton at 8.
Marino is number 27.However I think you'll have more arguments and less concensus in football and baseball than any other sports.

pei fan 10-19-2004 12:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Diaboli
I agree with you in soccer, but everyone doesn't. Two awards were handed out to the best player in the last 100 years. Pele AND Diego Maradona. Many think of him as the best player ever.

But Pele is the greatest player ever.

kruezer 10-20-2004 01:10 AM

I'd pick Gretzky, though I'm really starting to think about considering Orr on threads like this, the more I see of him, wow, I think he changed the game more than anybody, the only guy who might have changed it more is Gretz.

Diaboli 10-20-2004 03:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pei fan
But Pele is the greatest player ever.

By whose measurement? Who was awarded FIRST as the best footballer in the last 100 years? Diego Maradona. The second? Pele. But like I said, I also think that Pele is the best of all time.

revolverjgw 10-20-2004 03:30 AM

Wayne would take apart this league if he was 25 again. The argument that the league is too stifling doesn't hold up, Wayne already proved it.

At 37, playing with Adam Graves on a horrible Rangers team, he finished 4th in the league in scoring. The almighty Peter Forsberg beat him by 1 point, on an offensive powerhouse.

Wayne was 37... if he was 25, and had decent wingers, he would have blown Forsberg out of the water, and certainly would have beaten out Jagr easily. Forsberg is generally considered the best player in the world, and if Wayne at 37 with no help could keep pace with him... see what I'm getting at? The era is meaningless, he was a force and found a way to set up goals whenever he played and whoever he played against.

Now, about this ''dead puck'' era, and the percived notion that Wayne's production would be crippled by it... that was '98, when scoring was really dipping... down to 5.2, actually. Scoring in '03'-04? 5.14. It was just as bad as it is now, and he had no problems dismantling opposing offences. All that crap about him not being able to dominate now, being stopped by today's defensive play... is just that, crap. He was a dominant player in today's NHL, and he was WAY past his prime.

Did anybody watch him in the '97 playoffs? 20 points... no other Ranger had more than 12.

And this was the EASTERN CONFERENCE, whom that Islander fan up there thinks is sooooo tough... tight checking playoffs. No problem, he carried the team on his ailing back.

Mario Lemieux couldn't even get a point per game a couple of years ago in the playoffs... his production nosedived. Wayne? At the same age, with no Jaromir Jagr, EASILY eclipsed that, didn't even break a sweat. Also, Wayne and Mario's regular season PPGs are comparable... but their playoff PPGs are not. Wayne's lead is quite signifigant.

Wayne scored 10 goals in 15 games against the stingy, clutch and grab Panthers, the powerhouse Eastern Conference Champion Flyers, and the NEW JERSEY DEVILS... in the playoffs. At 37. Imagine if he was 25 and had something to work with. Total dominance.

He already dominated ''today's NHL'', even as half the player he used to be, and no high quality wingers. Wayne could score 150 even now. To wit- at 37, he got 90 playing on a team whos ''best'' wingers were Adam Graves, Niklas Sundstrom and a still sucky Alexei Kovalev. In a season every bit as low scoring as hockey is now. 90 points. That would be good for, what, second in the league last year? And he his career was just about over.

Let's see Peter Forsberg or Jaromir Jagr get 90 points in a 5.2 goals per game season, at 37.

He wouldn't score 90 goals or 215 points these days, but he'd still be by far the best player in the league. They wouldn't be able to stop him, they couldn't keep him from leading the league in assists, even when the recipients of his sweet passes was John MacLean.

pei fan 10-20-2004 08:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Diaboli
By whose measurement? Who was awarded FIRST as the best footballer in the last 100 years? Diego Maradona. The second? Pele. But like I said, I also think that Pele is the best of all time.

IMO Maradona was the best but Pele was the greatest.As i said previously there is a difference between greatest and best.Best is a measure of ones ability.Greatest
implies more than that


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