Is Mario Lemieux a bit overrated?
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04-20-2013, 10:00 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
What is with this emphasis on power play and even strength points? Las time I checked a power play goal helps a team win a game too. Let's split Lemieux's 1989 season up shall we?
Lemieux 1989 - 102 ES points, 79 PP points, 18 SH points
Am I missing something here? What gives? Bottom line is, if we didn't know this already, you put Lemieux on the ice in any situation at any time and he would excel. Shorthanded he was a threat, 5-on-5 and on the power play. Other than when we would see Lemieux dangle his way through defensemen you have to remember that the power play structure was TAILOR MADE for Lemieux. Even at even strength he was able to slow the game down to whatever level he wanted to. On the power play he would often be at the side boards on the left side just daring the defenseman to pressure him. I honestly think the power play situation fit Lemieux better than any other player in NHL history. Gretzky was good on the power play too, but his game was more off the cuff and subtle. Lemieux up until his first retirement was dangerous in all three situations of the game and the stats show it. For whatever reason, it is something a player gets penalized for now.
Plus look at the 57% of his team's goals in 1989 that he was in on. That is just pure dominance and no one else - not Gretzky or Yzerman - carried the load as much as Lemieux did.
The biggest factor in Lemieux not winning either award in 1989 was his reputation at that time. Gretzky's was polished for sure and Lemieux's was not of the favourable kind. He was very much the anti-Gretzky at that time in the eyes of many. Never led his teams anywhere, dove on the ice, complained on the ice, wasn't as friendly to the media at that time. Lots of factors. So considering Gretzky had a season close to Lemieux and Yzerman just so happened to have a season that gave a mild argument for the Hart this is what made Lemieux lose either award. This is a pre-cancer, pre-Cup Lemieux. The media had a much different opinion of him back then. To me, that is the factor here because no one can say Lemieux didn't have the best season or wasthe most valuable player on his team in 1989.
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