Will we ever see a better player than Gretzky? Will we know it?
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02-25-2013, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Originally Posted by
He didn't really have to. The game revolved around him while he was on the ice. He was like a surgeon out there. The ice was tilted in his favour because he often had the puck. He was a player you didn't want to see sacrifice his offense for anything. Glen Sather was smart enough to know that he had a gem in his hands and he didn't screw it up. Dan Byslma, not a bad coach himself,
allows Crosby and Malkin to do their thing knowing that they'll win him the game more often than not playing their style.
The game has changed, but the basics are the same. Watch a full game in the 1980s. The same things happen. The puck gets dumped in, a defenseman grabs it, the other team changes it up. A two-on-one ensues, etc. So things like the equipment and such have changed, the size of the players and even the speed. However, Gretzky wasn't big or overly fast in his day either and he did what he did. I think it is very relevant to bring up Sedin because he isn't any better of a player than Peter Stastny. He was a contemporary of Gretzky and wasn't even in the same universe. We saw that with our own eyes, a full blown legit HHOFer was miles behind Gretzky. The league knew that, the fans knew that and I would guess even Quebec fans at that time would acknowledge it.
The closest we've seen to Mario and Gretzky since has been Jagr. In the dead puck era he didn't pretty good by getting 127 points and 96 points in 63 games (projected to 125). Jagr was a beast and we can't argue that. However, in 2000-'01 we saw a glimpse of the Mario of old when he came back at 35 years old. Here are the PPG leaders:
Lemieux - 1.77
Jagr - 1.49
Sakic - 1.44
Forsberg - 1.22
Now I know we can take into account the fact that Lemieux played half a season. That's fine. And he was refreshed. That's fine too. But we are talking about an old Lemieux in the dead puck era on pace for 145 points in a full season. You don't think he does it, then fine I'll be generous and assume he slows down a bit and gets a 120 point year. That is still incredible. You see, I think the first thing you need to do is realize that these guys themselves are exceptions to the rule. Gretzky and Lemieux were not the typical superstars who were just good at that time. They would be good at ANY time. We only have enough evidence from their playing days but in my opinion there is enough there to show just how they could still dominate from era to era.
Gretzky dominated the NHL in the 1980s. Yet he still led the NHL in points in the 1990s. Think about that for a second. Gretzky found a way to do it all the time. We can only go as long as he played. His second to last season he led the NHL in assists. Don't ask who he was feeding on the 1998 Rangers because I don't know either. So we can work with the evidence we have and make a fair projection on it for how he would do today.
Gretzky had 90 points in 1998. Bure had 90 points. Forsberg, who is hardly any worse than a 2010 Sedin had 91. Gretzky was 37 years old with a bad back and a sad sack team and he kept up with Forsberg and even Jagr (102 points) as good as a prime Crosby kept up with Sedin who had 3 more points than him. Doesn't that tell you all you need to know about Gretzky right there? Can you imagine what he does at 25 years old in this game today considering we saw what he did at 37?
There is no comparison on the defensive end between Gretzky and Crosby.
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