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11-23-2012, 01:38 PM
Darth Joker
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1. Gretzky - I don't think that longevity is the most important factor in weighing players against one another, but it is a factor at least. In many of the various "vs." debates, longevity does enter into the discussion. So why shouldn't it for the very top? For Gretzky vs. Orr? Gretzky and Orr are very close, as each had a knack for dominating the game in his own unique way. But sheer longevity wins this for Wayne, imo.

2. Orr - However, Orr is clearly the most dominant defenseman of all-time, and truly revolutionized his position.

3. Lemieux - For pure talent and physical capability, Lemieux can't be touched, imo. He's a larger Gretzky, but with just a touch less offensive vision. He's a solid 3, imo.

4. Howe - Simply the best winger to ever play the game, and an incredibly complete hockey player.

5. Richard - Probably my most controversial pick, and so I'm going to spend extra time explaining this one. If a newcomer to the sport of hockey wanted to know the best NY Ranger of all-time, he'd probably first ask Rangers fans for their opinion, correct? If a newcomer wanted to know the best Blackhawk of all-time, he'd probably start by asking Blackhawks fans, correct? So, if you want to know the best Montreal Canadien of all-time...

It's telling to me that in a star-studded cast that includes Beliveau, Roy, Harvey, Lafleur, etc... there's no question who the most popular Hab ever is. "The Hockey Sweater", and the closing of the Forum, makes this crystal clear. For Habs fans, the most popular Hab of all-time is Maurice Richard. That says something, imo. And given that a lot of the "next tier" guys below the top four are Habs greats...

It also says something that Richard was viewed as "Howe's rival" in a way similar to how Mario was viewed as "Gretzky's rival" (and which, tellingly, no defenseman was viewed relative to Orr).

Finally, I agree with Disgruntled Goat's point on playoff performance.

6. Jean Beliveau - I view him as the 3rd best center of all-time, with a highly impressive career that spans two different dynasty teams both with the same franchise.

7. Bobby Hull - A pure goal-scoring winger almost in a class by himself for that role (and with a longevity edge over Bossy).

8. Patrick Roy - There's no goalie I'd rather go into the playoffs with as my No. 1 than Patrick Roy. Period. And for me, that gives him the edge over Hasek and Brodeur.

9. Mark Messier - 2nd in points all-time, and captained two different teams to the Stanley Cup. While Messier is not the offensive dynamo like some players that didn't make this list are, he's a greater difference-maker than them all, imo. Messier was probably the best player on the 90 Oilers and the 94 Rangers.

10. Dominik Hasek -Peak Hasek is probably the most intimidating goalie you could face. Hasek vs. Brodeur basically comes down to unbelievable peak/very good career vs. excellent peak/excellent career, and Hasek takes that by a nose for me.

Honourable Mentions: Doug Harvey, Ray Bourque, Nik Lidstrom, Jaromir Jagr, Mike Bossy, Guy Lafleur, Martin Brodeur

Last edited by Darth Joker: 11-23-2012 at 01:43 PM.
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