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What would the smartest player ever have done with today's no red line off side?

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04-08-2012, 07:30 PM
  #1
tazzy19
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What would the smartest player ever have done with today's no red line off side?

I've noticed that when most people try and determine how Gretzky would do in today's era, they usually resort to adjusted stats, defensive strategies, and the difference in goaltending. But one thing no one seems to take into account is the fact that Gretzky had a freakish ability to exploit weaknesses and situations, and namely, what he (specifically him) would have done with no two line offsides. I believe he, more than any other player, could have exploited having no red line in ways perhaps unimagined. There are many accounts of Gretzky adapting to and exploiting situations in ways no one even thought of. For example, peeling away from the goalie when he covered up the puck, forcing a delay of game penalty. Or jumping off the bench on the other end of the boards during a change, creating odd man rushes on the fly. Or shadowing another player if he was being shadowed, in effect take out two opposing players, thereby creating a 4 on 3 man advantage for his team. There are many other examples....

This leads me to the question of how good are adjusted stats with a player such as Gretzky? Why not first ask how many points Gretzky would have scored in the 80s if there had been no red line, and then adjust those stats? Because that's really what we're talking about here. If Gretzky scores 150-160 points today adjusted, it seems flawed because we are not taking into consideration how the smartest player ever would adapt to the current rules vs the rest of the players in the NHL. This is a player who showed the rest of the league how to adapt, and taught maybe the most talented team ever to be even better, after all. Who's to say he wouldn't have schooled the modern NHL on how to exploit no red line offsides as well?

How many more points could Gretzky have scored from this one single rule change than the next smartest player in the NHL? Keeping in mind, this is a player who had by FAR the best anticipation in history, how many more assists and breakaways would he have had? What does 240 points in 1986 get adjusted to today?

Questions, comments, and cries of outrage are all welcome....


Last edited by tazzy19: 04-08-2012 at 07:39 PM.
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04-08-2012, 07:45 PM
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Johnny Engine
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Adjusted points would have a 1986 Gretzky winning the scoring title by 55 points this year (35 point if Crosby plays 82 games at pace). That's hardly selling the guy short.

The ability to put up points in any version of the NHL combines hockey sense, skills, effort and luck, and I think it's kind of narrow minded to suggest that Gretzky's the only player in history who's exceptional in the first category.

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04-08-2012, 07:56 PM
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jigglysquishy
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We have to remember that a peak Gretzky isn't the 215 season we're used to, but instead a ~230 point season. He scored 205 in 74 games. If not for his injury he would have surely hit 225+.

Gretzky without a red line is an interesting idea. The last time I talked about this with friends we came to the conclusion that Gretzky would have hit 220+ points several times and that Kurri would have hit 85 goals.

It was also decided that by about 1985 the NHL would have put the red line in to stop Gretzky ala the 4 on 4 rule.

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04-08-2012, 08:36 PM
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LeBlondeDemon10
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In past posts, I have expressed my belief that today Gretzky would find a way to exploit the weaknesses of today's game and inherent rules and dominate his peers. However, part of me also says that hockey has taken all the steps it can in the evolutionary process based on the 200 X 80 ft ice surface, general rules of the game and physical development of players/human beings. I think hockey will plateau for a considerable length of time until the issues of time and space change. Sure, we may see a 70 goal scorer again, or a 150 point season, but to achieve what Gretzky achieved; to exceed the standards as much as he did I think is beyond the current realities of the game and the tweaking of rules we have witnessed since the lockout. Unless we start fooling around with the gene pool. Then all bets are off.

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04-08-2012, 08:52 PM
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tazzy19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
In past posts, I have expressed my belief that today Gretzky would find a way to exploit the weaknesses of today's game and inherent rules and dominate his peers. However, part of me also says that hockey has taken all the steps it can in the evolutionary process based on the 200 X 80 ft ice surface, general rules of the game and physical development of players/human beings. I think hockey will plateau for a considerable length of time until the issues of time and space change. Sure, we may see a 70 goal scorer again, or a 150 point season, but to achieve what Gretzky achieved; to exceed the standards as much as he did I think is beyond the current realities of the game and the tweaking of rules we have witnessed since the lockout. Unless we start fooling around with the gene pool. Then all bets are off.
I understand what you're saying, and you might be right. However, people thought that 200+ points and 50 goals in 39 games (and 92 goals) was totally impossible in the early 80s as well.....until Gretzky proved otherwise. Keep in mind -- Gretzky didn't just break the previous marks; he obliterated them. If it had not been for Gretzky, people would have never believed those stats were part of the then "current reality reality of the game". Because let's face it, no one in history besides Gretzky had ever come close up until that point. Gretzky was actually doubling most of the top 5 scorers in the NHL. That is just absurd, and defies what everyone thought to be possible no matter the era. The only other player who eventually came close was Lemieux. But if it had not been for Gretzky doing it first, and showing Lemieux how to do it, likely not even Lemieux would have thought it possible...


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04-08-2012, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Engine View Post
Adjusted points would have a 1986 Gretzky winning the scoring title by 55 points this year (35 point if Crosby plays 82 games at pace). That's hardly selling the guy short.

The ability to put up points in any version of the NHL combines hockey sense, skills, effort and luck, and I think it's kind of narrow minded to suggest that Gretzky's the only player in history who's exceptional in the first category.
I don't think anyone is suggesting Gretzky's the only player in history who had exceptional hockey sense. But to suggest that he isn't by far the best in this category is indeed selling him short. I think we need to ask ourselves just how much better he was before we start making bold claims that today's players could exploit the rule changes to the same degree, and that we can adjust points across eras without accounting for said abilities to exploit rule changes across these eras.

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04-08-2012, 11:43 PM
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BenchBrawl
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In a way Gretzky is still underrated , his brilliance is unmatched in any sports.

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04-09-2012, 11:39 AM
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tarheelhockey
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Well, when the red line was taken out we all thought it would lead to a long-term rise in scoring. That didn't happen at all. So my inclination is to guess Gretzky would have been more or less the same player regardless of that one rule.

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04-09-2012, 12:34 PM
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tazzy19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Well, when the red line was taken out we all thought it would lead to a long-term rise in scoring. That didn't happen at all. So my inclination is to guess Gretzky would have been more or less the same player regardless of that one rule.
That's my point though. Gretzky was not part of the norm, and you can't group him into the same results. Nobody took advantage of 4 on 4 like Gretzky either, yet if he had not been around during 4 on 4 situations, we would have said he wouldn't have done any better than the rest of the league all things being equal.. But of course we know different...

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04-09-2012, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tazzy19 View Post
I understand what you're saying, and you might be right. However, people thought that 200+ points and 50 goals in 39 games (and 92 goals) was totally impossible in the early 80s as well.....until Gretzky proved otherwise. Keep in mind -- Gretzky didn't just break the previous marks; he obliterated them. If it had not been for Gretzky, people would have never believed those stats were part of the then "current reality reality of the game". Because let's face it, no one in history besides Gretzky had ever come close up until that point. Gretzky was actually doubling most of the top 5 scorers in the NHL. That is just absurd, and defies what everyone thought to be possible no matter the era. The only other player who eventually came close was Lemieux. But if it had not been for Gretzky doing it first, and showing Lemieux how to do it, likely not even Lemieux would have thought it possible...
And I hear what your saying because I began my post stating just that. However, I think I can verbalize the doubt I am feeling. In 1980, Gretzky exploited a system of hockey, which was predominantly Canadian in style, with a hybrid European/Russian style while at the same time utilizing the best vision and thinking hockey had seen to that point in time. No one knew how to counter his offensive genius. As more Europeans came over to the NHL and the NHL embraced the European/Russian style, the game changed dramatically. The uneven playing field Gretzky had exploited soon became more indicative of the style he played. Two distinct systems blended and borrowed from each other creating a system which was considerably different than the one Gretzky played in when he began in 1979-80. Throw in the advancements in goal tending and the contrast is even greater. Now I am a firm believer that any star would be a star in any era. And Gretzky would be head and shoulders above anyone in any era. With respect to this era, I can't say how he would do it or how it would translate into a form of domination (if I could, I wouldn't be contributing to HF boards). But domination can take shape in many forms, not just scoring. We have witnessed the dominance of Lemieux, Hasek and a brief spurt from Eric Lindros in recent years. Scoring (Lemieux), goal tending (Hasek) and a combination of power, speed and finesse never before seen (Lindros). Your guess is as good as mine as to how the 'next one' will dominate. I just don't think it will be in scoring with the playing field so diverse and equal within the confines of the current dimensions of time and space in which hockey is played.


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04-09-2012, 10:10 PM
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Big Phil
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It isn't just the red line that Gretzky would exploit, but it would be other things too. Every power play starts in the opposing team's end. Not like in Gretzky's day when it started wherever the penalty took place. Maybe that doesn't add up to a whole lot, but I'll bet that rule alone notches an extra 4-5 points a season.

Just like in the 1980s, there are still players that have no business in the NHL. Gretzky would exploit those lazy defensemen just like back then.

But let's compare him to the best in the NHL today. Crosby and Malkin are the two best players. They are also the two smartest players with the best hockey sense so to speak. People think Gretzky wouldnt compete in today's game because players are bigger, well there were many bigger than him in the 1980s as well. Gretzky was just smarter than everyone else then and he would be today as well.

No question he's still the best player in the world today. If I could bring up a less used theory about him I would say what seperated him from other superstars is that he never quit. Walter used to tell him to always put on a show and never have an off game because there was someone in the crowd watching him for the first time - and last time. So that's what he did. He never took a night off. If he had a 5 point night he would gun for a 6 point night two nights later. I'm not even sure Crosby has that kind of drive - or Malkin. But Gretzky never took his foot off the pedal.

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04-09-2012, 10:49 PM
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BenchBrawl
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Gretzky's consistancy is highly superior than anybody else.

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