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08-12-2009, 06:23 PM
Kyle McMahon
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Join Date: May 2006
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Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
Sure there are Super Mario & Bobby Orr or even Kharlamov fans who argue that their man was the best - and obviously not totally without reason (in the 1st 2 cases, that is). But I think that if any sports/hockey magazine, for example, would pick someone else than Gretzky as the best hockey player ever, it would be very controversial and people would question their credibility; such were the numbers/performances that Gretzky procuded, in the NHL and in international tournaments. In my opinion, there were certainly more exciting and flashier players, but it's REALLY HARD to make a case for anybody else.

But whether there has been a "serious argument" or not, well, I guess I don't know...
I have Gretzky #1, but there are reasonable arguments for Orr and Howe especially, and Lemieux as well. Only a fool would question the credibility of a list that didn't have Gretzky at the top (unless he was out of the top four entirely, which would indeed be completely outrageous). Obviously any American publication (Sports Illustrated, ESPN) will have Gretzky at the top, as will almost every list in a Canadian newspaper (occasionally you'll see Orr at the top).

Those lists are usually compiled by reasonably knowledgable hockey people, but not those who have done the extensive research that many of the participants in this project have, nor have they collaborated extensively and gone through a process such as this. For them, putting Gretzky at the top is simply done out of habit and reputation moreso than actually doing a detailed breakdown of the careers of Howe, Orr, and Lemieux and determining that Gretzky's was better.

It's the same with a baseball list. Babe Ruth will top almost every one that you see, but people who have actually done their research will come to realise that there are valid arguments for Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner, maybe Willie Mays as well, to be #1.

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