The "Gretzky was protected" myth.
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06-27-2008, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
The fact that Gretzky had bodyguards is normal, no one would deny that..it's part of hockey. But what I find weird is that later on in his career no one dared to hit him..and that's not because he had bodyguards but because he was Gretzky. Players would slow down if they had a chance for an open ice hit, wouldn't go as hard in the corners on Gretzky..I remember watching games wondering how weird it was to see how no one wanted to be the one to hit Gretzky especially when he was in his 30's. It's like night and day when you compare how Lemieux was treated by other players.
Well, I think when a player reaches a certain status it's tough to play against them. Remember that players are just as much fans of the game as we are...if not more so.
If I were a big young defenseman and had a 35yo Gretzky lined up for a hit (which was easier said than done anyway)...I am sure that part of me would be saying "Holy ****! That's WAYNE GRETZKY!"
On the other hand, plenty of other superstars got mauled (such as Bossy and Lemieux).
Perhaps Gretzky's small size actually helped him in that regard. Bossy was as big as or bigger than many of the guys sent out to check him. Mario was a very big guy...so maybe there wasn't the same sense of "fragility" when hitting them.
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