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03-28-2013, 03:32 PM
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
I don't get your reasoning. Makarov was a top notch player up until he retired at the age of 36 (SJ was just a mediocre team, and, again, had he been traded to Detroit...). Everything Messier did after the age of 36 was a disaster. So how can you say that Messier aged better than Makarov? Besides, snipers as a general rule have a faster drop-off rate.

As far as peak and prime go, I think this is no contest. Makarov's domination over his peers is something Messier could only dream of. Even if you remove Gretzky and Lemieux from the list of his competitors, Messier still did not dominate his league to a degree that Makarov dominated his. Plus there is this thing called "eye test." Watch them play, compare their technique and skill, and tell me who was a better player.

I'm also not buying the "never failing to show up" argument. Messier's stint in Vancouver pretty much nullifies it. If he "never failed to show up" and felt like he didn't have it in him anymore, he shouldn't have signed that ridiculous contract and retired. Which is what Makarov did, a much more honest and honorable way of concluding your career. You can say that Makarov also took part in some devastating losses (OG80, CC87), but nobody ever blamed him for any of them.
Well it's a little confusing here. Messier didn't add a whole lot to his career post 1997 but he was still playing in the NHL after 36 years old and I think when you are comparing him to a player who didn't play at all after 36 years old you give credit to the guy who was still contributing. Catastrophe or not, a 60 point season in the NHL still beats nothing. I also don't think that takes anything away from what Messier did prior to 1997 either.

The whole "he aged better" ties into just how these two men fared when they were in the same league from 1989-'95. Makarov peaked at 86 points, Messier had 129. Messier won two Harts, two Cups and had two Smythe worthy runs. The year after Makarov left the NHL (1996) Messier finished 2nd in Hart voting. I'll take into account the fact that Makarov entered a new league with some obvious adjustment periods and I'll even include the fact that under Tikhonov Makarov would have been burned out. However, you also have to take into account Messier's career in the 1980s too. A Conn Smythe, tons of deep Cup runs, playing a LOT of hockey too. Still, he aged better than Makarov.

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