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11-20-2012, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
not sure I agree with your inclusion of Mario in the same bracket as Orr & Gretzky though Tarheel. He was an incredible player, unbelievable moves, but did he "re-think & re-shape" the way the game was actually fundamentally played positionally? Gretzky, Orr & Lemieux, Roy, Parent, Hasek & others from the crease out could control a game and its momentum, swings, dips & ultimately its outcome through sheer force of will & talent.
I feel that Orr and Mario were simply forces of nature, men who had a talent so unique that they were less "outliers" and more "phenomena". Closer to artists, as you say, than athletes in that they could not only achieve their goals but do so at their own pace and by methods of their own choosing. Why bother grinding for goals when you can shoot the faceoff directly into the net? Why bother blocking shots when you can kill a whole penalty by skating figure-8s around the other team? I honestly believe that Mario's petulant attitude toward the league in his 30s was akin to a PhD forced to teach remedial high school classes. A guy with that level of ability was wasting his time in the DPE.

Gretzky, I agree he's on yet another plane altogether. That's why I have him #1 all time. He's a true athletic genius, operating at a level that goes beyond physical talent and into higher-level cognition that we probably won't fully understand for a long, long time. He's going to seem more impressive in about 50 years when we're still waiting for someone to approach that level.

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