Would Gretzky still be called the "Great One" if...
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10-05-2003, 05:19 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Originally Posted by
I think it was JCD who posted that Gretzky's numbers were not the result of playing during that time. I wish I had saved the post, it was a good one. Hosted the goals/game average before, during, and after Gretzky's career. He said that the GPG now is very similar to the numbers before Gretzky. There was a lot more to it and I'm probably not doing it any justice. I think he concluded saying that the high scoring era of the 80s and early 90s was because of Gretzky, not the other way around.
Also with medicine and regimes, he'd (everyone really) have that to take advantage of. I think Gretzky would do just as well, and maybe even produce at a high clip for a longer amount of time.
Numbers aren't everything!
Players today are better athletes than they used to be. Just look at an NHL player's training schedule. NHL players from the 70s and before were nowhere near what they are today... just look at some old tapes from that time--the difference is very obvious.
And--obviously, goaltenders. Not only is their equipment much bigger, but it's also a lot lighter and easier to move around with. Goaltending techniques have evolved beyond comparison and the goaltenders themselves are much better athletes.
If you take for example Joe Thornton in his current state with and you throw him in a 72 Boston Bruins time warp he'd easily score over 130 points, maybe even 150.
In the same way, I don't think a player like Guy Lafleur or Marcel Dionne would ever hit 100 points in today's NHL. They were gritty players with heart bigger than the rink, but if you look at them in terms of pure ability--speed, strenght, power, stamina, reaction time, etc, they would struggle a lot. The game is so much faster today, the hits are more powerful, the shots are harder, the players are stronger, faster, better trained, etc. Not to mention the closed up defensive systems that take monsters to get around.
The numbers themselves don't tell the whole story at all.
Taking all that into consideration, scoring 150 points today would be an absolutely out of this world accomplishment. Guys like Forsberg and Thornton who seem to be almost at the limit of what a human being can possibly be as a hockey player are not able to touch that mark.
Saying Wayne Gretzky could hit it today is an incredible compliment, and probably possible too considering the inhuman about of skill he had. But 200? Today? No way.
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