Will we ever see a better player than Gretzky? Will we know it?
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03-07-2013, 12:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Originally Posted by
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.
I agree with everything you just said with no exceptions. Where we differ is in the details, obviously. Gretzky may very well have caused other coaches to change their game plan which led to the high flying era of the 80s and early 90s. I'm not going to debate that, but my point was that those times are past. IF Gretzky were to come in to today's league, which is unarguably better coached defensively, other teams wouldn't necessarily change to a freewheeling style of hockey, because while Gretzky's team would be successful, the also rans of the league often have to compensate by playing a defense first game due to their insufficient talent level. Like you said, it just took until 95 or so before they actually figured this out it seems.
So sure there have always been bottom feeders, but Columbus doesn't beat the Penguins 11-0. Ever. (At least I doubt it
) The game isn't like that anymore, that's my only point. I don't want to nitpick about the details, I agree that Gretzky 2.0 would absolutely put on a clinic in today's NHL, but not enough that he would come close to the records he put up in the past. That's all.
As for the Ted Lindsay quote I find that quite funny. He's just jealous.
Try telling P.K. Subban that he doesn't know HOW to check:
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