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10-22-2003, 09:35 AM
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Guy you make a good point as to whether or not a player has earned that honor. I was born in 55 and never saw Harvey play in his prime. There was no question though among anyone who had followed hockey in the 50's, Harvey was the best. I remember my father speaking of how Harvey would control the game and its' tempo. He was considered THE best in his era. Robinson's greatest attribute was that he was consistently at the top, with the best for a long period of time. He could do anything that you could want a player to do on the ice. Was he the absolute best ? He was right up there, but he was never clearly the best. Should his number be retired ? I say yes, because he was our second best of all time and probably top 10 in the NHL historically. The fact that we had a lot of great players shouldn't diminish what a player accomplished. I think that certain players qualify more for the way they wore the sweatre than for the actual numbers they put up. Henri Richard is an example of this, and I think Gainey falls into this category.
Patrick ? Sure, why not ? When you put a team on your back and carry them to 2 Cups, you become a legend.

I think I get your point though. How do you give the same honor to Bob Gainey as Maurice Richard, a folk hero in many ways. Frankly, if you retire #23, why not Claude Provost ? Not the player Gainey was ? Ask Bobby Hull about Claude Provost. I guess it becomes about an aura as you say, but it becomes generational. To me, whatever 'it' is, Gainey had it. Anyways, it isn't a right or wrong debate but often a player's legend has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time.

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