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01-05-2013, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Yes but we are talking about three NHL seasons. Not a lot of staying power. After failing to lead the Oilers against a weak L.A. team the vision of Gretzky would have been vastly different.
I don't think so. People would've also looked back on Gretzky's '81 playoffs, which were utterly astounding at the time. He wiped the floor with a 103-point Montreal team in the first round, and all the newspapers were making a big deal of the fact that Gretzky had just snatched away Lafleur's title as the league's most dominant player. That was *the* story of the spring.

Then he had a great series against the Islanders in the second round, even though Langevin and Trottier were smacking him around and eventually wore him down toward the end. That was by far the toughest series the Islanders faced that year and Gretzky got basically all of the credit for it. Remember, he was playing on a sub-.500 team and still put up 21 points in 9 games. It was a big reason why he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated before the 1981-82 season even started.

The '82 playoffs were a huge disappointment, sure, but if he'd vanished off the face of the earth that summer he'd still have been a lock for the HHOF.

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