Gretzky the pure athlete
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02-12-2013, 07:11 PM
Master Of The Fates
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Angband via Utumno
Originally Posted by
Again you're using raw totals, ignoring the huge changes in league-wide scoring that occurred throughout Gretzky's long era-spanning career, and it makes his dropoff look less severe than it was. I would suggest you stop thinking in terms of "50-60 goal seasons", or "he settled into a 40 goal man". Think about WHEN he settled into a 40 goal man and where he was relative to the rest of the league's goal scorers. Look at the other historical goal leaders during their post-prime years and how many goals they were scoring relative to the rest of the league. Don't just think about X-amount of goals, otherwise it makes it look like 33 year old Gretzky's 38 goals were better than 39 year old Hull's 37 goals, or 35 year old Yzerman's 35 goals, or 37 year old Sakic's 37 goals, or 34 year old Robitaille's 37 goals, or 36 year old Messier's 36 goals. Gretzky's 38 goal year is clearly the worst on there, at the youngest age (and he declined very steeply from there).
Farther to fall... well I don't see why it's logical to assume that the number one goal scorer of all-time must have the worst goal scoring resume of any of the top 13, and all but a couple of the rest of the top 25. I would expect the exact opposite. Am I to assume that because Stamkos has been dominating the goal race for a few years now, that he should logically be expected to be done as top scorer before he turns 30, and relegated to being top 25-40 AT BEST by 33? That's what you're asking me to accept, and I have a hard time doing so because that is almost unheard of when you look at the rest of the all-time goal leaders. With Stamos' shot, I expect Brett Hull-esque effectiveness into his 30s.
Don't jump the gun on Ovechkin's fall from grace just yet. He was still an elite sniper last year. He's a productive week away from having good totals right now. He's a trade away from being reinvigorated and dominating again. Even if he DOES crash and never again puts up great goal numbers, he'll be an extreme outlier in this regard, not the norm.
The usual rationalizations for this is that Gretzky played a lot, got older and had injuries, as if that kind of wear is exclusive to Gretzky (a guy that was an unphysical as could be). The simplest explanation, and the one that passes the eyetest for me when I see the types of goals he scored in his prime (admittedly I was too young too watch his prime but I've seen tons of full games) and the kind of player he was when he was older (I watched his entire 30+ career), is that Gretzky just didn't have the skillset required to keep up being a top scorer as he aged and the game changed. When it came to having a particular birthdate, Gretzky had characteristically perfect timing to maximize the skillset he did have.
Oh for the love of God.
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