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11-04-2003, 05:27 AM
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I love this discussion (well, when I have had it in the past).

Had Gretzky, Lemieux and Orr all played the same number of games, I honestly think Gretzky is 3rd. The reason for that, is Orr changed the game for defensemen, and was simply dominant at both ends of the ice like no other player has been since. Lemieux has the ultimate ombination of speed, size, skill, finese. He could deke you out with 4 or 5 sweet moves, or he could simply hold you off with one arm... either way, he was getting his goal. Gretzky, wasn't as fast as either guy, wasn't as strong, and arguably wasn't as skilled... but I don't think that there has ever been a smarter player ever in hockey, nor someone with anywhere close to the same vision. The guy took shots that went in from weird places because he saw what the goalie was doing. He could throw a blind pass into an area where only his guy was...

But the one thing that separates all of them is durability. Yeah, Gretz had a few injuries, but nothing to the extent of what Lemieux or Orr did. I would rather a Gretzky for 20 seasons than Lemieux for 14, or Orr for 12. To me, that puts Gretz at number 1.

My personal top 5 (mostly based on what I have read, and sometimes seen in the cases of the older players):

1 Greztky
2 Lemieux
3 Orr
4 Messier
5 Howe

And My top 5 goalies are:

1 Sawchuck
2 Roy - Fuhr (tied... It is almost impossible to pick between the 2 in terms of who I would want starting game 7).
4 Dryden
5 Hall

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