The "Gretzky was protected" myth.
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06-26-2008, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Originally Posted by
Of course Gretzky was protected by Semenko to some extent. But it was no different than the protection any other star player around the league received.
I'm willing to admit there is a small deterrent effect from having an enforcer in the lineup, although nowhere near what the pro-enforcer crowd claims. But the notion that Gretzky received protection from his enforcer that was somehow different than what every other enforcer did, and that opposing players were willing to run other stars, but not Gretzky, is what is patently absurd.
Additional comment - Semenko was a pretty fringe player on the Oilers' roster, and only played more than 70 games once. 20-30 % of the time between 1979 and 1986 he wasn't even on the ice. Did Gretzky get pounded then? Nope.
Teams tried everything they could to hit Gretzky throughout his career. They couldn't do it. He just almost never left himself in position to be smoked.
How do you then explain all of the times I witnessed where a player could have been physical with Gretzky and would have been with any other player but weren't with him? Go back and watch some 80's Oiler's games. It won't take long before you see it happen if you watch for it.
Yes he was good at eluding hits but he was not "unhittable" like people are trying to say. A lot of times they could hit and just didn't or let up a lot.
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