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04-03-2004, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Fletch
1990 was another, and there were others. Just like TGO didn't score a goal or cause a goal to be scored each time he touched the ice, Mess may not have been able to motivate players each and every night, but he did it often enough to earn the respect of many. I truly believe that Leetch, Graves and Richter became better players as a result of Messier (and some may argue the same for Naslund and Bertuzzi, but that's another argument and I don't have all the facts to argue it, but it's been suggested). To me, that's a bit more important than getting, say, Jeff Toms an extra 5-10 goals in a season.
---Umm, yah, except for the fact that TGO never played with Toms. He did, however, play with guys like Paul Coffey and Jari Kurri, who had career-best 70 and 48 gooal seasons respectively playing with Gretz, never really approaching those totals playing without him. We're talking about a guy here who had more career assists than anyone else has points. I don't really characterizing him as a guy who would have gotten Jeff Toms an extra few goals a year quite does Gretz justice in that area.

And as for Messier making other players better, that's a harder point to argue. With Gretzky, you could point to countless passses he made to set guys up as plays nobody else before or since would ever have made. It's difficult to point to something tangible that Messier did to make the players around him better. Especially if you're going to start throwing in names like Richter. Crediting a forward with making a goalie a better player strikes me as something of a stretch.

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