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08-02-2014, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Please explain Mike Gartner then.
Or how about Sakic, 48 in 90/91 and then 54 10 years later.
Ray Bourque, 23 goals in 86/87, 18 goals 15 years later.

How many more players do I have to list before your theories of how much things change goes away?
Players adapt and the best players adapt the best, it's why they are the best.

Sure, Gretzky's decrease in goal scoring over the years is a result from goalies wearing bigger equipment and being harder to score on but it's not even close to the only reason and it's not, imo, the largest factor.
Aging and suffering a major injury still had more to do with his decline than goalies being better. We didn't just go from 0-60 in a single season, it took decades for goaltending to get better, year by year.
Gretzky's decline was gradual until the Suter hit, then there's a sharp drop off in all of his production, I have shown and proven this many times around here. Goalies did not suddenly go up 3 notches in the space of 2 years. Sorry, that didn't happen.
Ya, a lot of people make a big deal about Gretzky's goal scoring decline, but the fact is he was one of the most consistent high-level goal scorers ever. He's tied with Bossy for the most 50+ goal seasons ever, holds the records for most 40+, 60+, 70+, 80+ and has the only 90+ goal season ever. Obviously some of that is era. But the fact is he led the league in goals 5 different times in his career; all those other forwards were shooting against the same goalies as he was. In fact, had Gretzky not gotten injured the one season, he was on pace to break 50 goals there, which would have given him 10 seasons with 50+ goals, all consecutive.

Ovechkin and Stamkos are considered the two best goal scorers in the league these days, and neither of them has 5 Richards yet. Gretzky had crazy longevity as an elite goal scorer. He went through a natural decline, which was inevitable for any player. It was more pronounced in his case because his scoring heights were so high, that his drop off looked so much worse (compared to someone like Bossy, who we never really saw decline because he retired just as his decline started due to his injuries; Bossy's decline wouldn't have looked as severe because his high was 69 goals compared to 92). His natural decline was further accelerated by his back injury, which took away some of his shiftiness and, from what I recall, pretty much ruined his slap shot (which had always been his best goal scoring weapon).

But honestly - Gretzky was shifty and got away shots from strange angles and at strange times. He was incredibly accurate (probably the most accurate slap shot I've ever seen), and although people seem to just focus on him sliding pucks along the ice, he also scored a ton of goals by picking the top corners. Just look at the game he hits his 50 in 39 record - 3 of the 5 goals were slap shots in the top corner. Two of them were essentially perfect shots, just inside the post/crossbar. I remember his goal against Calgary, short handed in OT when he came down the wing and fired a perfect shot top corner. He did that kind of stuff all the time. Against butterfly goalies he'd obviously score less than he did in the 80's, but his skill set would still translate very well into today's game.

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