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02-25-2013, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ryanwb View Post
I'm not saying Lemieux had a better prime than Gretzky. It is quite evident from the stats that he didn't. But if you don't think that Lemieux MAY have had a similar impact statistically if he swapped places with Wayne on those Oilers teams then we likely aren't watching the same Lemieux. Case in point: I for one think the 88-89 season was Lemieux's best, when he scored 199 points. 2nd leading scorer on that team? Rob Brown who scored over 26% of his career points that singular season playing with Lemieux. The 3rd leading scorer is admittedly the same Paul Coffey who was amazing with Gretz and co., but the rest are borderline plugs. Lemieux was at the top of his game and the rest of the roster is average to marginal at best. I'd imagine having a guy like Kurri on Lemieux's wing for a whole year might improve those totals to 200 points, at the least? Or maybe not.

The guy is the only forward (I don't think Howe is close. Its Gretzky/Lemieux....then Howe...then everyone else) who can even come close to sniffing Gretz's jockstrap in the discussion of greatest offensive player of all time. That's all. That doesn't mean he had a better prime though. Just that he might have been a better individual player during their respective primes, regardless of what the statistics say. And that's just my personal opinion. I might be wrong, but I think it is definitely possible.

Unfortunately we can never know for sure. We just have the fact that Gretzky is the Great One, and Lemieux will always be a what if. Would have loved to see a Cup Finals between their two teams...
I agree with you that Mario is the only player in history that ever sniffed at playing in the same galaxy as Wayne - offensively speaking. He just couldn't maintain it due to health mostly. I will also concede that Mario was a better individual performer. Put Wayne and Mario on a poor team, and Mario will beat Wayne in scoring 9 times out of 10 (see 1988-89). But put them both on a great team, and Wayne beats Mario in scoring 9 times out of 10 (see the 1987 Canada Cup). Wayne was better at using top end talent than Mario. Mario was better at doing it by himself.

Wayne did however prove he could score 212 points without much help in 1981-82. He more than DOUBLED the next best scorer on his team (Anderson), and out scored him with assists alone (and out scored the rest of his teammates with his GOALS alone!). I've never seen Mario do that, even during his 199 point season.

At the end of the day, Mario may have looked prettier one on one, but I prefer the player who had the better peak, and, since hockey is a team game, who utilized great players better.

Last edited by tazzy19: 02-25-2013 at 04:43 PM.
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