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10-29-2012, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Here is an analogy that I always like. Gretzky was by far the best player in the game in his prime. By far. Orr was the best player in the game during his time as well by a noticeable margin. The second best players respectively from that era were Trottier/Bossy (pick one) and Phil Esposito from Orr's era. Was the gap bigger between Orr and Esposito than Gretzky and Bossy? I don't think it was. I think the gap between Gretzky and the rest of the pack was larger than anyone else in NHL history. Plus he did it for a long time and no one challenged him until Mario arrived. Gretzky also did not play his last significant game/season at 28 years old. Orr did. Gretzky accomplished a ton after the age of 28 (post 1989). For reasons like this I can never see how anyone puts Orr ahead of him.
Bobby Orr was better than Gretzky, of this I have zero doubt. I would never deny the fact that Gretzky is king for offensive hockey - no question and no argument. But when you consider that Gretzky also personally witnessed more goals while on the ice than any other skater during his career, and that he was a negative +/- six out of his last seven seasons, some of the career "advantage" begins to be tarnished (at least for those without the Gretzky colored glasses). Orr redefined his position and the game. He dominated his positional peers to a far greater degree than Gretzky ever did. No other defenseman has ever sniffed an Art Ross, nor could Gretzky ever dream of winning a Norris.

Ten years may not be the longest career - but no one was ever better for their peak - heck, when Orr retired, he was #1 ppg all-time,not to mention his defensive and physical play. Bobby Orr, # 1, and everyone else is still playing for second place.

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