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Will we ever see a better player than Gretzky? Will we know it?

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Old
02-22-2013, 07:14 PM
  #51
ushvinder
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Originally Posted by AD1066 View Post
On an absolute scale, I think so. But the average player will be so much better than the average player of the 80's that he won't stand out in the same way or dominate by the same percentage relative to his peers. What makes Gretzky special is how far ahead of the curve he was at the time. But there are players today who are closer to him in talent than nostalgic memories would have you believe.

Don't get me wrong, he is undoubtedly the best player there has been. But it rubs me the wrong way when we discredit the current batch of guys playing. In every other sport there's an improvement between generations, yet it's common around here to elevate players of the past above anyone playing today. I don't think any player today is better than Gretzky, but l think we sometimes give too much reverence to certain other players just on the basis of them having played in an older era.
The classic section also tries to suggest most greats from the older eras had thier offensive and defensive peaks at the same time, when they really didnt, another way to make them even more mythical in status.

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02-22-2013, 07:16 PM
  #52
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Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
Are there any truth to the claim that Gretzky ran up the numbers during the eighties?
absolutely, he was a freak about it. zero mercy.

here's the famous mickey mouse game....lol, wayne puts up 8 points then talks smack after the game... led to a bunch of turnover in new jersey...

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02-22-2013, 07:35 PM
  #53
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To me Lemieux is the only guy close to the Gretzky. If i was starting a team tomorrow Super would be the first pick. I think Mario was better in his healthy prime then Wayne. The Great One had a much longer career so he gets probably the greatest of all time tag.
To me this isnt like baseball or basketball. Ruth and jordan without a thought.
But the answer is simply No. Lifetime talents in a much higher scoring era cannot be matched in the future. That is only my opinion/prediction.

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02-22-2013, 08:55 PM
  #54
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Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
It's going to be VERY hard to gauge, so many things have changed. I know Crosby isn't as good as Gretzky (it's closer than a lot of people want to admit ), but even if he WAS, he's handcuffed by parity... he's not lining up next to Stamkos and Erik Karlsson every shift (Malkin is his Messier, and he'll have to make do with that, and even THAT might actually hurt his stats), he plays a more refined defensive game, he doesn't have as many weak franchises to beat up on, and he's had to compete with Russians and more elite Euros. I guarantee Gretzky's relative dominance would take a BIG hit if prime Ovechkin and Malkin were in 1984. Outscoring Michel Goulet by 30 goals is one thing, doing that to '08 Ovechkin would be another thing entirely.

There's no chance of anybody dominating statistically like Gretzky did, so we're left with things like extremely subjective era comparisons and "intangible" contributions like defensive ability that can't be measured or recorded in the record books. If/when somebody better than Gretzky comes along, he's got his work cut out for him to actually be recognized as such.
I was going to post something like this but you summed it up quite well.

Wayne is my #1 player of all time, for a number of reasons but people forget that there was a perfect storm going on as well and the game has really changed and it's never going back.

Heck, if Wayne came along we probably wouldn't recognize him.

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02-22-2013, 09:03 PM
  #55
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Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
Gretzky regularly won the Art Ross by over 30%. He hit 50% four times. Only Howe topped 30% besides Gretzky.

Crosby's monster year (132 point pace) would only be 27% better than second best (Henrik Sedin). To hit the 50% that Gretzky regularly hit Crosby would have needed 156 points.

That's my barometer for Gretzky offensive production.
This is all true but Wayne also played in the "we will outscore you by 7-5 era" as well with many points coming on the 5,6,7,8 goals in games out of hand already.

Howe and Crosby had their seasons in much different circumstances.

I have never seen a stat for it but Wayne also had a lot of empty net points (which were probably higher in the early 80's than they are now but like I said I have never seen the stats on this).

Without recognizing context we would not see the next one at all IMO.

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02-22-2013, 09:04 PM
  #56
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His name is Dominick Hasek

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02-22-2013, 10:50 PM
  #57
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Originally Posted by AD1066 View Post
On an absolute scale, I think so. But the average player will be so much better than the average player of the 80's that he won't stand out in the same way or dominate by the same percentage relative to his peers. What makes Gretzky special is how far ahead of the curve he was at the time. But there are players today who are closer to him in talent than nostalgic memories would have you believe.

Don't get me wrong, he is undoubtedly the best player there has been. But it rubs me the wrong way when we discredit the current batch of guys playing. In every other sport there's an improvement between generations, yet it's common around here to elevate players of the past above anyone playing today. I don't think any player today is better than Gretzky, but l think we sometimes give too much reverence to certain other players just on the basis of them having played in an older era.
Even if we accept this as true, why use an absolute scale? What would be the point? If Crosby today is better than Gretzky only because Crosby played in the more modern-era, what is the point of comparing them? The newer player always wins!

When people mean better, they often mean greater. Which player was more accomplished, etc.

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02-22-2013, 11:02 PM
  #58
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Maybe and umm... someone will eventually put up similar type numbers, and said player will probably be spoken of, without too much derision, in the same breath as Gretzky. Huge arguments will ensue.

Has there ever been a better baseball player than Babe Ruth? Maybe. Did we know? Huge arguments ensued.

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02-22-2013, 11:32 PM
  #59
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Someday, someone will come along with Gretzky's vision and skill, Lindros' body and Howe's durability. He will destroy the league. Do I ever hope I'm alive to see it. Heck, I'll be ecstatic if I get to witness someone who's "only" as good as Lemieux was. Given a long enough time line, it will happen, but I'm not holding my breath that I'll witness it. Barring advances in modern medicine, I've only got another 60 years at best. It's possible the Even Greater One will appear before then, but I wouldn't call it probable.

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02-22-2013, 11:48 PM
  #60
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I think we're more likely to see another Gretzky if the game somehow changes to recruit intelligence and creativity more than purely physical gifts (size, strength, speed). Gretzky used to finish last in many of the team's physical tests after all.

It's kind of a shame that the game has turned into such a physical "arms race" - any player who isn't a 6'3" monster who works out 24/7 is considered imperfect (or at least stands out) these days...

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02-23-2013, 12:26 AM
  #61
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There almost always is a thread once a week about Gretzky and how he would do in today's game. He would destroy the NHL talent today, no question about it. For starters, hockey IQ transcends eras. No one was smarter on the ice than Gretzky. Also, I know the less enlightened (and I don't mean that with disrespect) will say the NHL was less competitive then but if we look at top flight talent it looks like this:

1980s offensive stars - Bossy, Trottier, Hawerchuk, Savard, Stastny, Dionne, Messier, Kurri, Lemieux (eventually)

Current offensive stars - Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Stamkos, Sedin, Sedin, Thornton


Call me crazy, but I don't think you can put the 1980s stars any worse than today's stars. It is more or less the same. A healthy Crosby lost the scoring title to Sedin in 2010. It is the equivalent of Gretzky losing it to Stastny. The best we saw Stastny do was 139 points. That year Gretzky had 212. He also routinely scored more goals than Bossy, sometimes by large margins. Bossy is better as of now than Stamkos. Crosby has never surpassed Stamkos in goals, they tied in 2010. As great of a talent as Malkin is he won both of his scoring titles by 3 and 12 points. That's nice, but Gretzky once won a scoring title by 79 points and it was his own teammate in Coffey who was about as good offensively as a prime Ovechkin, I think.

So hopefully people are seeing a trend here. We saw Lemieux win a scoring title with 60, 64 and 70 games played. That's good stuff. Gretzky would have won a scoring title once or twice in 45 games. Also, in the last year of Gretzky's true dominance - 1991 - he would have won the Art Ross after 66 games had he stopped playing. This may have been different without an injured Lemieux but at the same time this was Gretzky against the entire NHL and he wins a scoring title at 30 years old in 66 games. Incredible.

I don't think Gretzky is playing in 2013 and still tied with Thomas Vanek at 25 points for the scoring lead this late in the season. I think he has 40 by now, at least. Why is that? Because the one underrated thing about Gretzky is that he always kept the pedal to the metal. He worked extremely hard and never took a night off. I was watching the Pens/Panthers game tonight. Yeah Crosby and Malkin are the stars of today's game and we love watching them. They can surely have their "on" games where they rack up 4 points. But too often you see them have games like tonight. Nothing special. Gretzky just didn't do that very often. In his last dominant season in 1991 he had a 25 game scoring streak.

So not only does a player have to have the on-ice vision of Gretzky to come around again but he also needs to have the drive to be the best day in and day out. That's what makes someone like Gretzky who he is.

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02-23-2013, 12:26 AM
  #62
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Originally Posted by superroyain10 View Post
Even if we accept this as true, why use an absolute scale? What would be the point? If Crosby today is better than Gretzky only because Crosby played in the more modern-era, what is the point of comparing them? The newer player always wins!

When people mean better, they often mean greater. Which player was more accomplished, etc.
We measure the 100m dash in absolute time because we're interested in knowing who is the absolute best. Accomplishments relative to one's peers certainly matters, but I think it's at least worth keeping in mind the quality of competition.

I don't think Crosby is better than Gretzky, and the newer player is not guaranteed to be better than than his older counterpart. But over a wide enough range of years, the average player is going to be better. Pretending that the skill level hasn't gone up (or has even gone down according to some people) is a disservice to today's greats because we'll be comparing them to a standard that is now impossible to achieve.

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02-23-2013, 12:36 AM
  #63
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
There almost always is a thread once a week about Gretzky and how he would do in today's game. He would destroy the NHL talent today, no question about it. For starters, hockey IQ transcends eras. No one was smarter on the ice than Gretzky. Also, I know the less enlightened (and I don't mean that with disrespect) will say the NHL was less competitive then but if we look at top flight talent it looks like this:

1980s offensive stars - Bossy, Trottier, Hawerchuk, Savard, Stastny, Dionne, Messier, Kurri, Lemieux (eventually)

Current offensive stars - Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Stamkos, Sedin, Sedin, Thornton


Call me crazy, but I don't think you can put the 1980s stars any worse than today's stars. It is more or less the same. A healthy Crosby lost the scoring title to Sedin in 2010. It is the equivalent of Gretzky losing it to Stastny. The best we saw Stastny do was 139 points. That year Gretzky had 212. He also routinely scored more goals than Bossy, sometimes by large margins. Bossy is better as of now than Stamkos. Crosby has never surpassed Stamkos in goals, they tied in 2010. As great of a talent as Malkin is he won both of his scoring titles by 3 and 12 points. That's nice, but Gretzky once won a scoring title by 79 points and it was his own teammate in Coffey who was about as good offensively as a prime Ovechkin, I think.

So hopefully people are seeing a trend here. We saw Lemieux win a scoring title with 60, 64 and 70 games played. That's good stuff. Gretzky would have won a scoring title once or twice in 45 games. Also, in the last year of Gretzky's true dominance - 1991 - he would have won the Art Ross after 66 games had he stopped playing. This may have been different without an injured Lemieux but at the same time this was Gretzky against the entire NHL and he wins a scoring title at 30 years old in 66 games. Incredible.

I don't think Gretzky is playing in 2013 and still tied with Thomas Vanek at 25 points for the scoring lead this late in the season. I think he has 40 by now, at least. Why is that? Because the one underrated thing about Gretzky is that he always kept the pedal to the metal. He worked extremely hard and never took a night off. I was watching the Pens/Panthers game tonight. Yeah Crosby and Malkin are the stars of today's game and we love watching them. They can surely have their "on" games where they rack up 4 points. But too often you see them have games like tonight. Nothing special. Gretzky just didn't do that very often. In his last dominant season in 1991 he had a 25 game scoring streak.

So not only does a player have to have the on-ice vision of Gretzky to come around again but he also needs to have the drive to be the best day in and day out. That's what makes someone like Gretzky who he is.
I feel very ignorant but why was Gretzky's last dominant year at 30? Seems young to me for a guy that relied on his mind more than physical attributes. Was it injuries?

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02-23-2013, 12:55 AM
  #64
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I feel very ignorant but why was Gretzky's last dominant year at 30? Seems young to me for a guy that relied on his mind more than physical attributes. Was it injuries?
A critical back, plus he had a LOT of hockey on his body at that time...playing since he was 19, long seasons + playoffs, getting more than 30 minutes a night very frequently....

Plus, a natural decline in his physical attributes. Goal-scorers tend to decline at that age anyways...

Gretzky also went to a less gifted team and was surrounded by less talent.

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02-23-2013, 01:02 AM
  #65
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Originally Posted by superroyain10 View Post
A critical back, plus he had a LOT of hockey on his body at that time...playing since he was 19, long seasons + playoffs, getting more than 30 minutes a night very frequently....

Plus, a natural decline in his physical attributes. Goal-scorers tend to decline at that age anyways...

Gretzky also went to a less gifted team and was surrounded by less talent.
Wasn't he more of a playmaker anyway?

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02-23-2013, 02:05 AM
  #66
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Is here some stat geeks who can figure this out for me? I probably could find the information to do this myself but it would take me insane amount of time.

How much did Gretzky outscore his opponents in the 80's?


If we take 10-first season's from Gretzky and then take every years 2nd place scorer (or first if Gretzky does not win) how much more did he score than the combination of 2nd best scorers every year?

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02-23-2013, 02:21 AM
  #67
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Wasn't he more of a playmaker anyway?
Yes, but he was also a great goal-scorer. 92 goals, 50 in 39, etc. When his goal-scoring decline, so did his ridiculous point toals.

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02-23-2013, 02:39 AM
  #68
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His name is Dominick Hasek


Not it's not.

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02-23-2013, 02:59 AM
  #69
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
There almost always is a thread once a week about Gretzky and how he would do in today's game. He would destroy the NHL talent today, no question about it. For starters, hockey IQ transcends eras. No one was smarter on the ice than Gretzky. Also, I know the less enlightened (and I don't mean that with disrespect) will say the NHL was less competitive then but if we look at top flight talent it looks like this:

1980s offensive stars - Bossy, Trottier, Hawerchuk, Savard, Stastny, Dionne, Messier, Kurri, Lemieux (eventually)

Current offensive stars - Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Stamkos, Sedin, Sedin, Thornton
...
some time ago Peter Stastny (the one you from your list) said, he sometimes laugh, when he looks to the videos from 80s. And he means now the overall quality of the players. The movement, skills ... His words were, that the game level this days is far far above his years.

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02-23-2013, 08:12 AM
  #70
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some time ago Peter Stastny (the one you from your list) said, he sometimes laugh, when he looks to the videos from 80s. And he means now the overall quality of the players. The movement, skills ... His words were, that the game level this days is far far above his years.
goal tending strategies/technique, shift length & equipment for gaolies and skaters are the only differences.

the talent level is about the same. you know, not counting mario and gretz (thats not fair to today's players)

crosby reminds me of denis savard more than he does gretzky.

bigphil pretty much summed it up a pew posts ago.

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02-23-2013, 09:09 AM
  #71
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I'd like to hear an argument to have all 3 of them above Gretzky. I can understand arguments for any one of them individually, but all 3? Honestly, if you rate Howe above Gretzky for his longevity, then you can't really put Orr and Lemieux above him due to their lack of longevity.

If you rate Orr and Howe above him for their more complete games, you can't really put Lemieux above him, since he was generally worse defensively than Gretzky. If you're going by peak, it's pretty hard to rate Howe above him. If you are rating them on competition, it's hard to rate Howe and Orr above him (especially Orr, who played in the weakest era of all time except maybe right after WWII).

And if you're going by a combination of all these factors, plus awards, peer dominance, career accomplishments, etc... its hard to rate any of them above him, IMO.
You would have to disregard the numbers and awards and judge them by who was the better hockey player.

Its not hard to see Orr as being better as his game was great all over the ice, not just from the red line in.

Howe dominated offensively early in his career almost as much as Grtezky. He did it while also playing responsible defense and adding a physical aspect that was somewhat terrifying.

Mario is the most difficult, as you said. Like Gretzky, he played little defense. He played in the same era that Gretzky dominated. But Mario was still able to put up incredible production in the dead puck era while being old and sick and injuried. Gretzky's production slid as defense became more prevalent.

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02-23-2013, 09:11 AM
  #72
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Originally Posted by ot92s View Post
goal tending strategies/technique, shift length & equipment for gaolies and skaters are the only differences.

the talent level is about the same. you know, not counting mario and gretz (thats not fair to today's players)

crosby reminds me of denis savard more than he does gretzky.

bigphil pretty much summed it up a pew posts ago.
Although Crosby is much more physical than Savard was.

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02-23-2013, 09:36 AM
  #73
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Is here some stat geeks who can figure this out for me? I probably could find the information to do this myself but it would take me insane amount of time.

How much did Gretzky outscore his opponents in the 80's?


If we take 10-first season's from Gretzky and then take every years 2nd place scorer (or first if Gretzky does not win) how much more did he score than the combination of 2nd best scorers every year?
I'll jump

Year Gretzky totals Second Player Second Player Totals
1979-80 137 Marcel Dionne 137
1980-81 164 Marcel Dionne 135
1981-82 212 Mike Bossy 147
1982-83 196 Peter Stastny 124
1983-84 205 Paul Coffey 126
1984-85 208 Jari Kurri 135
1985-86 215 Mario Lemieux 141
1986-87 183 Jari Kurri 108
1987-88 149 Mario Lemieux 168
1988-89 168 Mario Lemieux 199

Gretzky points: 1837
Other points: 1420

Gretzky margin of victory: 29.4%


Because someone is going to ask. I'll do the same for Crosby. I'll even injury adjust Crosby (something I didn't give Gretzky).

After 7 seasons
Gretzky points: 1337
Other points: 945

Gretzky margin of victory: 41.5%

Year Crosby totals Second Player Second Player Totals
2005-06 103 Joe Thornton 125
2006-07 125 Joe Thornton 114
2007-08 111 Alex Ovechkin 112
2008-09 110 Evgeni Malkin 113
2009-10 110 Henrik Sedin 111
2010-11 132 Daniel Sedin 104
2011-12 138 Evgeni Malkin 109

Crosby points: 829
Other points: 788

Crosby margin of victory: 5.20%


Gretzky still demolishes even with giving Crosby the huge benefit of the doubt. I don't think anyone thinks Crosby would keep up the 130+ point pace, but even assuming he did Gretzky still embarrasses him.

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02-23-2013, 10:02 AM
  #74
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Originally Posted by ot92s View Post

the talent level is about the same. you know, not counting mario and gretz (thats not fair to today's players)

crosby reminds me of denis savard more than he does gretzky.

bigphil pretty much summed it up a pew posts ago.

It's NOT the same though, I don't even see how people can come to that conclusion. You go through a list of top players in the 80s and it's almost exclusively Canadians. 23 of the top 100 scorers from Gretzky's prime years (I picked 80-81 to 87-88 because it's the same length of time as the post-lockout era) are non-Canadian, just 3 in the top 20. HALF of the top 100 since 2005 are non-Canadian, 10 in the top 20. Nowadays, more often than not it's a non-Canadian winning the Art Ross, Hart and Vezina.

Look at the goalies. During Gretzky's prime, only ONE non-Canadian is in the top 20 winningest, since the lockout it's well under half. This year it's more like one-third.

How is it even logical to think, that with so many countries producing so much more talent and all of them coming to the NHL, that talent HASN'T increased? With so many kids playing hockey, with the system being so efficient now, with so much money in the industry, I'd say even Canada is producing more skill than ever... but it's so much harder for them to stand out. And none of them are going to put up Dale Hawerchuk numbers... even though plenty of them are more skilled.

And this talent is spread out. Every team has a good goalie, whereas before half the league's teams had to make due with some 5'9'' Canadian. You can't pad your stats in an era of parity like you could in a watered down league comprised of mostly North Americans.

Gretzky has said as much... there is WAY more talent out there today, it's not even comparable. And he deserves a lot of credit for this. The old guys grew the game tremendously. It's illogical to think their efforts haven't resulted in a talent boom, and yet some people that don't want to accept it.

The talent pool is NOT a static thing, not in a global, big-money sport like this.

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02-23-2013, 10:24 AM
  #75
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I'll jump

Year Gretzky totals Second Player Second Player Totals
1979-80 137 Marcel Dionne 137
1980-81 164 Marcel Dionne 135
1981-82 212 Mike Bossy 147
1982-83 196 Peter Stastny 124
1983-84 205 Paul Coffey 126
1984-85 208 Jari Kurri 135
1985-86 215 Mario Lemieux 141
1986-87 183 Jari Kurri 108
1987-88 149 Mario Lemieux 168
1988-89 168 Mario Lemieux 199

Gretzky points: 1837
Other points: 1420

Gretzky margin of victory: 29.4%


Because someone is going to ask. I'll do the same for Crosby. I'll even injury adjust Crosby (something I didn't give Gretzky).

After 7 seasons
Gretzky points: 1337
Other points: 945

Gretzky margin of victory: 41.5%

Year Crosby totals Second Player Second Player Totals
2005-06 103 Joe Thornton 125
2006-07 125 Joe Thornton 114
2007-08 111 Alex Ovechkin 112
2008-09 110 Evgeni Malkin 113
2009-10 110 Henrik Sedin 111
2010-11 132 Daniel Sedin 104
2011-12 138 Evgeni Malkin 109

Crosby points: 829
Other points: 788

Crosby margin of victory: 5.20%


Gretzky still demolishes even with giving Crosby the huge benefit of the doubt. I don't think anyone thinks Crosby would keep up the 130+ point pace, but even assuming he did Gretzky still embarrasses him.
All right, thanks.

This actually showed the exact thing that was pretty much in my mind before. Even if we would give huge benefits to Crosby he would not touch the dominance of Gretzky.

I am a huge offensive first kind of guy so it is hard for me to judge the difference between all-around play. But there is no way that Crosby's more complete game should bring his value even close to Gretzky.

Just proves more and more the fact that after Mario/Wayne there hasn't been the same level forward in the game. Not even in the same ballpark.

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