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06-27-2008, 01:39 AM
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People seem pretty split on this issue... I'm going to assert that the truth lies somewhere down the middle. I think it's a combination of everything that's been mentioned. On one hand it's true that he was protected by his enforcers, maybe even more so than the average superstar. He was also possibly protected to a certain degree by the refs/league, as someone in this thread said when he mentioned human bias. On the other hand, he was also very elusive and simply great at avoiding hits, thanks in large part to his unmatched hockey sense.

I think it's also a matter of respect, especially later on in his career. How many nonphysical 30-35+ years old superstar forwards get pasted on a regular basis? When players have earned their stripes for long enough, they tend to get a break from the rest of the league. This was true for Gretzky, it was true for Yzerman, and it's true for Sakic today as well.

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