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Wayne Gretzky - Faceoff Ability

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10-29-2010, 08:57 PM
  #1
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Wayne Gretzky - Faceoff Ability

I only got a chance to see him play the last few years of his career and even then I was way too young to pick up on how good he was in this area. Can anyone fill me in on Gretzky's faceoff ability? A quick google search gave me nothing.

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10-30-2010, 12:00 AM
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Scott1980
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It might be personal bias, but having watched some of his earlier games now for the last two or three months, he doesn't wow you much the first two seasons, but then he just turns it on! In a game against St Louis in 81/82, I swear, the ref drops the puck, Mike Liut sets himself and

BOOM!

It's in the net! I couldn't believe it. The puck never touched the ice. He batted it in before it landed from the left faceoff circle. Now I've only seen this on highlights, but I read in a book that he actually did this twice in the same game once!

In game 5 of the 1984 SCF vs Trottier middle of the third period, he won the draw cleanly and it almost went in!

I saw him score off the faceoff against Mike Richter in his last season in LA. I remember thinking at the time, "Only Gretzky could have done that, and now I've seen it!"

Apparently, when Gary Unger joined the team in 80/81, he kind of taught Gretzky how to beat the player to the puck on the faceoff!

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10-30-2010, 04:46 AM
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Rhiessan71
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He was a decent in faceoff's, not bad but not great either, he was no Yzerman in that aspect.
Messier or more often MacT would take the big draws with the Oilers.
Can't even count how many times I remember Otto vs MacT taking draws against each other through those years.

The true "Great One" in the face off circle was Yanic Perreault, 8 years straight of close to 70% or better.

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10-30-2010, 03:02 PM
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nik jr
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i could not give any %, but gretzky never looked like much of a faceoff man to me. he may even have been below 50%.

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10-30-2010, 03:15 PM
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I remember him being pretty average. I recall the same thing Rhiessan71 stated, most of the big/important draws taken by MacTavish and Messier.

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10-30-2010, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
He was a decent in faceoff's, not bad but not great either, he was no Yzerman in that aspect.
Messier or more often MacT would take the big draws with the Oilers.
Can't even count how many times I remember Otto vs MacT taking draws against each other through those years.

The true "Great One" in the face off circle was Yanic Perreault, 8 years straight of close to 70% or better.
Pretty sure Perreault was never better than 70%. Still, the guy was awesome, definitely the best faceoff man of his generation, and had a lot of 60%+ years.

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10-30-2010, 11:44 PM
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Gretzky was a below average face-off guy, and Lemieux was generally even worse, which i find unfathomable.

Winning face-offs generally comes down to just a few things: quickness, strength, anticipation and desire. Lemieux was elite at the first three items.

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10-31-2010, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Pretty sure Perreault was never better than 70%. Still, the guy was awesome, definitely the best faceoff man of his generation, and had a lot of 60%+ years.
Yeah, he never broke 70%, 67% was his highest finish.
He was consistently around 60% or higher though.

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10-31-2010, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Yeah, he never broke 70%, 67% was his highest finish.
He was consistently around 60% or higher though.

67% is crazy. It's a 2:1 ratio.

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10-31-2010, 10:28 AM
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Didn't Niuwendyk and Lindros have 60%+ seasons too? I don't remember exactly but I think they were pretty excellent faceoff men. As well as Yzerman, Tim Taylor and Oates.

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10-31-2010, 01:35 PM
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Gretzky scored several goals off of faceoffs in the oponents end - I believe he even scored two in one game against the Blues once. So yes, I would say he was pretty good. How many players have ever scored a goal from the puck drop?

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10-31-2010, 01:42 PM
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Gretzky scored several goals off of faceoffs in the oponents end - I believe he even scored two in one game against the Blues once. So yes, I would say he was pretty good. How many players have ever scored a goal from the puck drop?
I personally saw Gretzky, Lemieux and Oates do it......pretty good company, lol.

I remember Wayne as an above average, but not superlative faceoff man.
His coaches seemed to be perfectly fine with him taking draws in the offensive end, but often would have other players take big defensive end draws in his stead.

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10-31-2010, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
Didn't Niuwendyk and Lindros have 60%+ seasons too? I don't remember exactly but I think they were pretty excellent faceoff men. As well as Yzerman, Tim Taylor and Oates.

Oh definitely, Yanic wasn't the only guy to ever finish 60%+ in a year.
You can add Otto and Carbo to that list off the top of my head.
The thing with Yanic though, is he finished first in faceoff % 8 years in a row.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lextune View Post
I personally saw Gretzky, Lemieux and Oates do it......pretty good company, lol.

I remember Wayne as an above average, but not superlative faceoff man.
His coaches seemed to be perfectly fine with him taking draws in the offensive end, but often would have other players take big defensive end draws in his stead.

Kirk Muller also used that trick from time to time.
I remember an interview with him after scoring with it once with him saying he tries that like once every 50-60 or so draws.

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10-31-2010, 02:29 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lextune View Post
I personally saw Gretzky, Lemieux and Oates do it......pretty good company, lol.

I remember Wayne as an above average, but not superlative faceoff man.
His coaches seemed to be perfectly fine with him taking draws in the offensive end, but often would have other players take big defensive end draws in his stead.
i wonder if that is indicative of gretzky's faceoff abilities, or whether it's because you would rather have mess or mact out there in crucial defensive situations. i ask this remembering very little of those 80s oilers in late game situations, so i'd love to hear what people who remember those days clearly have to say on this topic.

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10-31-2010, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i wonder if that is indicative of gretzky's faceoff abilities, or whether it's because you would rather have mess or mact out there in crucial defensive situations. i ask this remembering very little of those 80s oilers in late game situations, so i'd love to hear what people who remember those days clearly have to say on this topic.
If the Oilers were down a goal late and had an offensive zone faceoff, Messier would come on for Semeko and take the draw.

Just like with the Kings later on. In the '93 playoff's for example, faceoff's were a glaring weakness for that team.
Gretzky got owned by Gilmour and Zezel constantly in the Conf finals and then by Carbo and Muller in the Cup finals.

Hey, there's another very strong faceoff guy, Zezel, best feet in the business.

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10-31-2010, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
Gretzky scored several goals off of faceoffs in the oponents end - I believe he even scored two in one game against the Blues once. So yes, I would say he was pretty good. How many players have ever scored a goal from the puck drop?
vernon fiddler in game 7 in 2010 playoffs.

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10-31-2010, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
Gretzky scored several goals off of faceoffs in the oponents end - I believe he even scored two in one game against the Blues once. So yes, I would say he was pretty good. How many players have ever scored a goal from the puck drop?
Jeff Carter's done it in each of the last two seasons, and he's a good face-off guy, but certainly not elite.

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10-31-2010, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Oh definitely, Yanic wasn't the only guy to ever finish 60%+ in a year.
You can add Otto and Carbo to that list off the top of my head.
The thing with Yanic though, is he finished first in faceoff % 8 years in a row.
Yes, Otto, forgot about him and definitly Zezel.

I know he had some incredible record but just thought I mention those other strong face off guys.

In my time I thought Delvecchio was amazing but don't know how he measures up to these guys mentioned.

Kris Draper is an underrated player in this category (aswell as others ofcourse).

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10-31-2010, 09:34 PM
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11-01-2010, 12:20 AM
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Gretzky faceoff stats 1997-99 (2 seasons)
2448 faceoffs 1199 wins 1249 losses = 48.9%

He was average at the end of his career. And as someone who lived through the Oilers glory years, I can say that he wasn't much better earlier in his career.

Like someone already pointed out, Messier, Ken Linseman (then Mike Krushelnyski) and MacT took the important draws.

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11-01-2010, 10:07 AM
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As others, I remember him as being only average.

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11-01-2010, 03:26 PM
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Yeah Lemieux scored right off a faceoff more than a few times that's for sure. Wasn't aware Gretzky had as well, but is obviously not surprising.

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11-03-2010, 12:58 AM
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Alright then, I'll go with average!

But I'll include these links for future reference!

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...52C1A967948260

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+faceoff&hl=en

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+faceoff&hl=en

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+faceoff&hl=en

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+faceoff&hl=en


Now about the rest of his game...

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...+faceoff&hl=en

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