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The "Gretzky was protected" myth.

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Old
06-25-2008, 10:51 PM
  #26
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Gretzky had no protection, this myth that no one could touch him was made by Bobby Orr fan boys

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06-25-2008, 10:59 PM
  #27
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Originally Posted by Bruwinz37 View Post
Well said. I was going to bring this same point up. Gretz didnt get hit because he saw the game 4-5 moves before the other guy did. Trying to line him up would only end as an embarrasment. To think that guys like Tim Hunter and other goons of the 80s were 'afraid' to hit Gretz because he had tough guys on his team is the completely idiotic. Anyone who believes this is an absolute shill for arguing that goons 'police' the sport......another myth that has never been close to true.

Gretzky being protected had nothing to do with him being 5 steps ahead of the play.

Of course, Gretzky was elusive….however, that didn’t preclude him from being in physical situations. Hockey IS a physical sport. Even the world’s biggest perimeter player will find themselves in the middle of a scrum from time to time. Gretzky was no different. He rarely, if ever, received an extracurricular elbow, a face wash after the play, a hack or slash to the hands/shins like EVERY OTHER hockey player deals with constantly.

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06-25-2008, 11:00 PM
  #28
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Who was Gretzky's protector in all those Canada Cup tournaments where he was the leading scorer? I don't remember Semenko being on any of those teams.

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06-25-2008, 11:13 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
Who was Gretzky's protector in all those Canada Cup tournaments where he was the leading scorer? I don't remember Semenko being on any of those teams.
What do the Canada Cups have to do with anything?

International play was far less physical back then. It was the norm that all players (much less Gretzky) had more room with the less physical play.

However, in the NHL........

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06-25-2008, 11:48 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
Who was Gretzky's protector in all those Canada Cup tournaments where he was the leading scorer? I don't remember Semenko being on any of those teams.
Seems to me Gretzky got drilled by Suter in a Canada Cup. I believe a lot of people blame his decline on that injury.
In the NHL no one wanted to be the guy who hurt Gretzky. Suter was a very decent defenseman but that's now how he's remembered is it.
If you injure one of the all time best players ever you end up a pariah.

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06-26-2008, 12:48 AM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Bruwinz37 View Post
Well said. I was going to bring this same point up. Gretz didnt get hit because he saw the game 4-5 moves before the other guy did. Trying to line him up would only end as an embarrasment. To think that guys like Tim Hunter and other goons of the 80s were 'afraid' to hit Gretz because he had tough guys on his team is the completely idiotic. Anyone who believes this is an absolute shill for arguing that goons 'police' the sport......another myth that has never been close to true.
Right from the horse's mouth.

"I didn't fight a lot," Semenko said. "I don't know how much trouble I actually stopped by being there. A lot of times it was just talking to a guy. You'd say, 'I don't know what you're doing, but if you plan on continuing it ...,' and that usually would stop it. We had a lot of tough players on our team, so it wasn't just my sole role, but I got the most attention for it.


"There weren't a lot of games, but there might have been some, where if our game was going south, I might try and go out and try and start something, but that really didn't happen a lot. And as far as Wayne was concerned, I could only remember a couple of instances where I actually had to react to somebody doing something to him. That was very rare.


"Tim Hunter took a slash at him once when I was on the ice in Edmonton and I went after Tim. Paul Baxter was threatening [Gretzky] once, and he went by our bench and threatened Gretz, and I dropped him with a punch right from the bench, so I didn't even have to get on the ice. But there were very few instances where someone was threatening him or went after him. He was a tough guy to hit, and he had a lot of respect [from players]. But they knew someone was going to come after you, and that sort of backed guys off, too. But that was in that era, and that's something that isn't effective now, for some reason."

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06-26-2008, 12:49 AM
  #32
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There is no doubt that Semenko was used as a deterrent to going after Gretzky but the biggest problem I have against the idea that Gretzky received extra special care is the idea that in the playoffs no self respecting opposing player should dare pass up the opportunity to do whatever was needed to win.

I can't imagine players on the Islanders, Bruins, Flyers etc. who faced the Oilers in the playoffs and especially the finals not doing whatever it took to win. For these players/team that may have been the only chance to win a cup and I really cannot see any self respecting player not giving it their all and doing whatever it took to win, and if that meant attempting to get at Gretzky, then so be it. I don't think that Gretzky not being "crushed" as often as some people would like had to do with the lack or trying on the opposing teams part.

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06-26-2008, 01:02 AM
  #33
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and winning the MVP. Tell us why you gave the car to Semenko?

WAYNE GRETZKY: It was a different era back then. It was kind of an era where it's a tier system where the top players made a lot of money, then the middle guys made okay money, then there was a tier of guys who didn't make a lot of money. But I felt that the bottom guys in the salary category were very important to my success and the success of the hockey team. I don't believe we would have, as an individual player, I would have had the same success I've had without Dave Semenko. I just felt it was my way of thanking him for what he had done for my career and the career of a lot of guys on that team. And I just felt that it was my way of showing him that I appreciated what he did for the Edmonton Oilers as a team. And the other side of it was I had a lot of great years in Edmonton and I wanted the truck to stay in that city.

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06-26-2008, 01:06 AM
  #34
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I think Gretzky's "protection" boiled down to an uncanny ability to see plays like no other, and a league wide collective respect for his talent and ability.

Honestly, if you watch the OP's youtube clip, that's an uncharacteristic play on Gretzky's part. The puck was behind him, on his back hand, so he was forced to look down to make the play across the blueline. If that would have been a regular play, no way would he have been hit like that.

Few players can dodge checks like Gretzky did. Orr was one of them. So were Yzerman and even Sakic. A very rare gift to see the ice that well.

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06-26-2008, 01:08 AM
  #35
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One more idiotic assertion;

In the Battle of Alberta, I continually pushed and prodded Wayne Gretzky, trying to get him to think more about me than scoring goals. Consequently, I had to face retribution from Dave Sememko, Marty McSorley, Don Jackson and Kevin McClelland every night. I took several hits to the head every game, but I would not fight. I told them that if I fought them, I would be fined. And in reply, Kevin McClelland eloquently quipped, “I’ll pay it!” It was obvious that he and his teammates desperately wanted a "piece of me."

Neil Sheehy

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06-26-2008, 05:06 AM
  #36
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The "myth" isn't about open ice hits but putting an Avery on Gretz. In todays hockey the extremelly skilled players get a defensive overcoat that plays one-on-one with an edge. It just didn't happen to Gretz because McSorley would break his stick over your head and shove it up your ***. And if Marty wasn't on the ice just take your pick.

/cheers

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06-26-2008, 05:23 AM
  #37
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Again, the question that no-one wants to answer :

If Gretzky was so well protected in Edmonton by Semenko and this is why he wasn't hit, why was it still impossible to hit Gretzky in the mid-1990s with LA? Different era, instigator rule now in place, Semenko long retired, and still you couldn't hit him. As a Canuck fan, it was beyond frustrating knowing he'd put up a couple assists every night and your team just couldn't do a thing about it.

Additionally, can anyone explain why players would be scared to hit Gretzky on account of Semenko but not scared to hit, say, Steve Yzerman on account of Bob Probert? Every star player in that era had an enforcer on their team. If Gretzky got 'special treatment', then so did every other elite player. The notion that Gretzky got 'different' protection that what any other star got from their enforcer is patently ridiculous.

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06-26-2008, 05:50 AM
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MS View Post
Again, the question that no-one wants to answer :

If Gretzky was so well protected in Edmonton by Semenko and this is why he wasn't hit, why was it still impossible to hit Gretzky in the mid-1990s with LA? Different era, instigator rule now in place, Semenko long retired, and still you couldn't hit him. As a Canuck fan, it was beyond frustrating knowing he'd put up a couple assists every night and your team just couldn't do a thing about it.

Additionally, can anyone explain why players would be scared to hit Gretzky on account of Semenko but not scared to hit, say, Steve Yzerman on account of Bob Probert? Every star player in that era had an enforcer on their team. If Gretzky got 'special treatment', then so did every other elite player. The notion that Gretzky got 'different' protection that what any other star got from their enforcer is patently ridiculous.
How many actually insisted on the "enforcer" being part of a trade package? Just because one player got "special treatment" is no certification at all that every other player received it. Gretzky said it himself "I don't believe I would have had as an individual player the same success without Dave Semenko" end of quote.

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06-26-2008, 10:33 AM
  #39
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Originally Posted by lrodptl View Post
How many actually insisted on the "enforcer" being part of a trade package? Just because one player got "special treatment" is no certification at all that every other player received it. Gretzky said it himself "I don't believe I would have had as an individual player the same success without Dave Semenko" end of quote.
I think that there were a number of factors. Semenko helped Gretzky. The talk [the myth] becomes real if enough people talk about it and it was then.

Nowadays, players, at least more players are willing to run a star to make a name. I don't mean that they treat a star like any other player, but they go out after someone.

Edmonton was tough enough to beat without running around after Gretzky. You'd send out your best player or best checker when he was on. Kasper,Carbonneau, those kind of guys. They weren't following behind chipping at your ankles, they were hoenst players.

Messier had an effect too. If things got crazy, Messier's line would exact there own revenge. No one wanted Anderson with a heqad of steam hitting Thomas Gradin from behind.

So teams would just try and contain their offense, until it got to playoffs and you'd see the effects of a long series chage things.

Wayne Cashman never suckered Jean Beliveau or Cournoyer for the same reason Ferguson never went after Orr's knees, no one wanted reciprocity.

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06-26-2008, 10:36 AM
  #40
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Originally Posted by eyeball11 View Post
When I watch Crosby, I am flabbergasted at what he has to put up with compared to other superstars of the past. I've never seen a superstar receive more blatant shots to the face and head than Crosby does.
Forsberg.

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06-26-2008, 10:41 AM
  #41
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Originally Posted by greatgazoo View Post
I find that the Gretzky detractors are usually fans of teams that he burned. (ie. Flames and Leafs fans)

Thinking that the Refs were protecting him by some kind of directive from the league President is such BS that it wreaks with ignorance. Ever hear of anti-trust suits? If there were a conspiracy put forth by the league to protect Gretzky, the NHL would've been brought to its knees by a major lawsuit.

Keep on smokin' Cheech & Chong.

Gretzky played Lacrosse as a kid in the off seasons and that helped him to learn how to roll off of a hit and how to avoid hits. Betchya didn't know that.

He also played in the era where the instigator penalty was not enforced. So yeah, if you hit him, you had Semenko or McClelland or McSorley or sometimes all-three to deal with!

Lemieux also had plenty of body guards and the Bruins weren't exactly a group of choir boys.

Every star player has protection, if they don't then their GM should be looking for a new job.
In baseball, umpires tended not call 'strike' on pitches that Ted Williams did not swing at. More recently, they tended not call 'ball' on pitches thrown by Greg Maddux, in which the batter did not swing. Unless you're Bill O'Reilly, talk of conpiracy theories don't count form much. All professional sports leagues treat its star players differently, and, yes, there is favoritism. About a decade ago, Vincent Damphousse received a multi-game suspension for a similar infraction, which didn't even get a minor penalty to Mark Messier, who was with the NYR.

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Agreed completely it's a myth.

The notion that pro athletes wouldn't hit the best player on the other team, and by contrast would just let him walk all over them, because they were cowering in the presence of Semenko and McSorley is ridiculous.

Every team in the league had a Semenko or McSorley. The notion that players were willing to hammer every other 'star' player in the league but not Gretzky in spite of the fact that they were all protected by the same type of enforcer is just stupid.

Gretzky didn't get hit because he was so quick and absolutely brilliant at avoiding hits. You still couldn't hit him in the mid-1990s when he was in his mid-30s and Semenko had been retired for a decade.

Does anyone really think that Risebrough, Peplinski, Baxter, Hunter and the like were scared to hit Gretzky in the Edmonton-Calgary Battle of Alberta games?
So, Semenko and McSorley were in the roster just to entertain the fans with an occasional fight major? The #1 reason for enforcers is to protect star players. If it was as simple as Gretzky avoiding hits, then there was no reason for Semenko and McSorley to be on the roster. Then, there was the little matter of Gretzky insisting on McSorley following him to LA.

Jim Peplinski and Tim Hunter handled themselves just fine. It was the other types of liberties that were taken, which proved to be the problem for the league. As soon as the instigator rule was removed, then that led to punks crosschecking to the head without fear of retribution from toughguys. Instances of concussions shot up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruwinz37 View Post
Anyone who believes this is an absolute shill for arguing that goons 'police' the sport......another myth that has never been close to true.
Yeah, they're just there for amusement..like loud rock music blasting over the PA system, neon light shows, mascot appearances and prize giveaways.


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Old
06-26-2008, 11:03 AM
  #42
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Originally Posted by Badger Bob View Post
In baseball, umpires tended not call 'strike' on pitches that Ted Williams did not swing at. More recently, they tended not call 'ball' on pitches thrown by Greg Maddux, in which the batter did not swing. Unless you're Bill O'Reilly, talk of conpiracy theories don't count form much. All professional sports leagues treat its star players differently, and, yes, there is favoritism. About a decade ago, Vincent Damphousse received a multi-game suspension for a similar infraction, which didn't even get a minor penalty to Mark Messier, who was with the NYR.

Semenko and McSorley were in the roster just to entertain the fans with an occasional fight major? The #1 reason for enforcers is to protect star players. If it was as simple as Gretzky avoiding hits, then there was no reason for Semenko and McSorley to be on the roster. Then, there was the little matter of Gretzky insisting on McSorley following him to LA.

Jim Peplinski and Tim Hunter handled themselves just fine. It was the other types of liberties that were taken, which proved to be the problem for the league. As soon as the instigator rule was removed, then that led to punks crosschecking to the head without fear of retribution from toughguys. Instances of concussions shot up.



Yeah, they're just there for amusement..like loud rock music blasting over the PA system, neon light shows, mascot appearances and prize giveaways.
I can't believe it's even disputed, Gretzky admits it,Semenko admits it in an understated way (what else would he say?). Sather said Semenko and McSorley had "special skills' his team needed. Who on the team? Gregg? Muni? Anderson? Messier? All of the above? or one historic,generational player who was leading them to the Holy Grail. At that time not one swinging dick thought they could get to the promised land without him and letting some pesky rat or rats injure,intimidate or derail the dream would have been more stupid than anything.

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06-26-2008, 11:18 AM
  #43
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I don't feel Gretzky had any more or any less protection than the star player on other teams. In many instances, if you're going to take liberties with a team's best player there is another guy that will deal with you.

This is not unique to Wayne Gretzky.

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06-26-2008, 11:23 AM
  #44
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So you believe that no one on the Bruins or Flyers or Flames etc. etc. was man enough to go ahead and line up Gretz......

I'm not talking about cheap shots or anything illegal, I'm talking about big, clean hits.

They were just too scared they would have to fight Semenko or McSorley....?

.....Ummm, yeah I can hear it in the locker room now....

"Sorry guys, were just going to have to let them have the Cup. I'm not going to line up Gretz. Don't you realize that I would have to fight a big scary guy if I did that....?....I mean we made the finals, isn't that good enough?"

Yeah.....that makes total sense.

lol

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06-26-2008, 11:24 AM
  #45
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Originally Posted by Vakar Lajos View Post
I don't feel Gretzky had any more or any less protection than the star player on other teams. In many instances, if you're going to take liberties with a team's best player there is another guy that will deal with you.

This is not unique to Wayne Gretzky.
Certainly not. We're talking about a player who is top 3 alltime,very young in the beginning,putting a city on the map,leading a team that would bring the Cup to Canada. The desire,pressure and need to protect this most valuable of assets was immense. They had the man.

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06-26-2008, 11:33 AM
  #46
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So you believe that no one on the Bruins or Flyers or Flames etc. etc. was man enough to go ahead and line up Gretz......

I'm not talking about cheap shots, I'm talking about big, clean hits.

They were just too scared they would have to fight Semenko or McSorley.

I can hear it in the locker room now....

"Sorry guys, were just going to have to let them have the Cup. I'm not going to line up Gretz. Don't you realize that I would have to fight a big scary guy if I did that....?....I mean we made the finals, isn't that good enough?"

Yeah.....that makes total sense.

lol
So smarty pants,you don't believe Gretzky,Semenko,Sheehy,Sather etc? So,did it ever happen? Did the "turn the other cheek" Mike Milbury Bruins? You remember that new philosophy Milbury insisted on? Terry O'Reilly's overmatched Bruins who beat the Canadiens for the first time ever? That was the climax of that season and the Edmonton train had a costar named Messier the B's could not match up with. Geez

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06-26-2008, 11:43 AM
  #47
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Originally Posted by lrodptl View Post
Certainly not. We're talking about a player who is top 3 alltime,very young in the beginning,putting a city on the map,leading a team that would bring the Cup to Canada. The desire,pressure and need to protect this most valuable of assets was immense. They had the man.
I don't see the prevailing myth as being Gretzky "was protected", but rather "Gretzky never got hit" or even stupid conspiracy theories involving NHL brass.

The team protected Gretzky because they would be out of their minds not to. Pittsburgh did the same thing when they acquired George Laraque.

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06-26-2008, 11:48 AM
  #48
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You think the refs wouldn't call stuff a little more readily if it happened to 99? That's just human bias, you can't deny it.

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06-26-2008, 12:59 PM
  #49
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The skill of avoiding hits is probably closely tied to having a great hockey sense. Just look at these two clips of Datsyuk:



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06-26-2008, 01:00 PM
  #50
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The skill of avoiding hits is probably closely tied to having a great hockey sense. Just look at these two clips of Datsyuk:


I'm going through the Ultimate Gretzky DVD right now and in some of the clips it's pretty evident how good Gretzky was at avoiding hits.

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