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07-07-2013, 03:24 PM
  #43
pdd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
In 1983 The Hockey News ran a "Top 10" issue where they polled some players, ex-players, coaches, writers, broadcasters, etc. about the 10 best so-and-sos in various categories. One of the categories was greatest player of all-time. Gretzky finished 4th. Keep in mind, he was only 22 and hadn't won a Cup yet.

By '87 or '88, he was probably the most popular choice. I wouldn't say consensus choice, because Orr and Howe still had their supporters. But anybody who didn't have Gretzky #1 by '88, wouldn't be convinced to put him there based on anything he did after that.
I would bet money that if Gretzky retires in 1988, that almost nobody considers Orr to be the best player ever and that Don Cherry is laughed at for saying it. Also interesting is the comparison of "what if Howe retired after nine seasons". He'd have been third all-time in scoring, second in PPG among played with 129+ games and fifth overall, and would have just won four straight scoring titles by wide margins.

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