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01-26-2013, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
One theory that I've touted around for awhile is that everybody became better because of Gretzky even after he left.

What are the chances that the Oilers draft three HoFers between the '79 and '80 drafts plus Glenn Anderson and Kevin Lowe? Did they happen to have the best/luckiest drafting on all time or is there something else in effect?

My theory is that playing with Gretzky didn't just improve the performance of players, but just all around made them better players. More on, that Messier would not be a HoFer if not for the experience of playing with Gretzky.

I know from my own standpoint that playing with players so much better than me has not just improved my performance while playing with them, but has taught me things that made me better on my own.

I think this extends into a lot of dynasties. They're quarterbacked by two or three amazing players that made the other good players into great players.

Now, I don't have any empirical data, but it certainly does help to make sense of how a team like the Oilers could get so good so quickly.
I agree with that. The Oilers' players were good, but learning from Gretzky during practice and games turned them into great players. I think same could be said for Jagr and Lemieux (note: this is not related to the topic in this thread), Jagr would have been great regardless, but I'm not sure if he would have been better than Fedorov or Bure had Jagr not played with Lemieux. Hell, Jagr, a bit like Messier, entered superstardom in 94-95 when Lemieux wasn't on the team.

Here's an old SI article that briefly touches on the subject of Messier learning from his teammates: On the second page, Moose's father says Messier probably wouldn't top 25 goals if he was on a team such as the Red Wings.

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