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02-02-2013, 01:21 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
I'm leaving out goalies, because they're in a class by themselves. That being said (in MY opinion)...
Gretzky, Orr, Howe, and Lemieux are the top tier. The 'Big Four' if you will. An exclusive club, and I don't know if a fifth will be added to this group anytime soon. Whoever number five will be hasn't entered the NHL yet.
I think Mark Messier belongs in this next group with; The Richards, Dennis Potvin, the Hulls, Guy Lafleur, Steve Yzerman, Jean Beliveau, Larry Robinson, Paul Coffey, Phil Esposito, and Mike Bossy. A case could also be made for Ray Bourque, Marcel Dionne, and Mike Modano's inclusion in this group, also.
Mark Messier had a scoring touch, and was a beast on the ice. The fact that he was ALWAYS picked as an alternate captain every time in international competition for the Canadian squad should close that question. Personally, I wish he could have been a Boston Bruin. Even if it were only for a day... Some of his stats are inflated because he played for so long, but you don't play in the NHL from 1979-2004 without being pretty darn great.
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