Will we ever see a better player than Gretzky? Will we know it?
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03-06-2013, 09:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Originally Posted by
It's ok I don't need a hint. Gretzky would transcend eras is your basic point right? I agree with you in principle.
But while I understand where you are coming from, but I just don't see it happening in a similar fashion as it actually did. Too many good players now. Too much parity. There are no "Mickey Mouse Organizations" anymore. Any NHL team can beat any other NHL team on any given night because the offensive game has been dulled down and overcoached almost to death. Gretzky doesn't get 8 point games too often nowadays. Sure he might get a couple in his career, but the goaltenders are so much better. No way he scores 50 in 39. Almost everyone in the league is as good a skater as the best were back then. (There are a few obvious exceptions on both ends) If we give Gretzky the same benefits afforded to everyone else then it obviously gets interesting, but I believe my point would stand.
This is why I hate comparing eras. It makes things way too difficult. I do believe Gretzky would flat out dominate in a way that would put Crosby to shame, but because of a lot of these changes, I just don't see that amounting to 200 points in 2013.
Clearly the best player in the league? Definitely, but his stats are not nearly as impressive as they were, because whether you think so or not, the 80s were the perfect time for a guy like Gretzky to come along. His domination nowadays would be on the same level on a game to game or shift to shift basis, but it would just be much more subdued statistically IMO.
I've always had the theory that the 1980s were a product of Gretzky, not the other way around. The NHL likes to play copycat and once the Oilers had some success other teams copied this trend. Only until 1995 and 1996 when trap happy teams started winning did this change. Gretzky literally changed the mindset of OTHER NHL teams.
I think you have to realize that there are some lousy teams out there today as well. Columbus has always been lousy. Florida too. Teams like this on the surface have more points than the worst back in the 1980s but how much of that is because of the shootout and the extra point? In 1984 the Hartford Whalers beat Edmonton 11-0. Who would have predicted that? I guess what I am saying is that lousy teams have always been able to beat the best teams on any given night. This is sports, anything is possible. Nothing has changed.
Look, I was watching a Legends of Hockey video the other night and they were profiling Jean Beliveau. It is an old interview. Ted Lindsay said: "To me he is the best center that ever lived. This isn't disregarding Lemieux or Gretzky, but he played at a time when checking was tough, when guys knew HOW to body check and you took your man." Exact quote. The word in capitals is the word Lindsay emphasized. So what does this mean? It means that whether it is a previous era questioning the current one or the current one questioning the previous one it is always the same conclusion, MY era wins out. The only thing is, both parties are wrong. Gretzky would have been a star in any era he played in. He was questioned in his OWN era. Bobby Clarke said Gretzky wouldn't "last" in the NHL. What you are doing is nothing new, it is just something that has been going on for decades. It is more or less an idea of "If I can't see it happen with my own eyes today, then it wouldn't happen." I am afraid a prime Gretzky would just embarass the NHL all over again today.
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