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What is Gretzky's legacy if he retires after 1988?

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Old
07-07-2013, 04:53 PM
  #51
vadim sharifijanov
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Originally Posted by florida pwnthers View Post
Orr was arguably more dominant in his career than Gretzky was in his first years. What makes Gretzky the beast he is is the fact that he produced for like 20 years, getting every record. If he retired prior joining the Kings, Messier would have the all time most points etc.
an interesting thought. messier is the guy who stands to have his legacy the most if gretzky retired early. you'd have to think there'd be a strong contingent to place him in the top ten all-time, maybe even top five. which would be wrong, of course, but still...

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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
If Gretzky had been done in '88, then Messier winning cups in '90 and '94 would have raised comparison questions, peak versus career, which was better, Gretzky or Messier?

I personally think it's obscene that Orr is considered on par (better!) than Howe and Gretzky. Orr had the sort of shortened career posited in this thread.
what's obscene is that mario is considered in the same level as the three guys above him.

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Originally Posted by Merya View Post
Orr's injuries should count against him, not for him. Same for Forsberg etc. They're caused by their playing style. Diseases on the other hand... Lemieux Non-Hodgins clearly isnt sportsrelated.
that's one way of looking at it. but two things:

1. i don't think cancer was the only thing that impacted mario's career, nor do i think all of his back issues can be traced to the cancer. not to say mario could have prevented his injury troubles by changing his playing style, but i do think a lot of his injuries were game-related.

2. with orr and forsberg, as well as bossy and bure, i make the argument that those guys at least partially causing their own early retirements due to playing style is a plus, not a minus. in different ways, they all paid the price to be orr, to be forsberg, to be bossy, to be bure. and i don't think any of them would change a thing looking back, even in the case of orr, where his bad knees affected his quality of life for the rest of his life.

it's a fine line, as this article about patrice bergeron brings up. i mean, no one holds it against forsberg that he didn't "play through" his ruptured spleen. most of us would side with injured players over bobby clarke/flyers medical staff. but on the other hand, i think there is a "price" athletes sometimes are asked to pay to be the best players they can be (sometimes this price is asked by themselves), and they are presented with a choice: does bossy want to take a pounding and be four cups, conn smythe, top five goal scorer of all-time bossy, or does he want to be mike gartner? i think he made a heroic choice. it speaks to his competitiveness, his will to win and to be great.

which is also to say, orr sacrificed an awful lot to be the greatest player the world had ever seen. mario whined and moaned and retired how many times, and gave up an opportunity (however remote) of becoming the greatest player the world had ever seen. to me, that's a big deal in terms of ranking them, even assuming all other accomplishments are equal (which they are not).

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Originally Posted by flyin_finn View Post
If Gretzky had retired in '88 his legacy would have been:

- Sidenotes like "many Canadians consider him as greatest ever to play the game"

- Debates on HFBoards about did Gretzky retire too early and is he all-time best after Howe?
as long as i've followed hockey seriously (which roughly coincides with the gretzky trade, but not due to it), gretzky has always been considered by at least 50% as the greatest of all time. by the time of the trade, it was "when," not "if," he was going to break howe's record, and even then anyone arguing for howe over gretzky would be in a distinct minority. then as now, orr had a much better argument.

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Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
In 1983 The Hockey News ran a "Top 10" issue where they polled some players, ex-players, coaches, writers, broadcasters, etc. about the 10 best so-and-sos in various categories. One of the categories was greatest player of all-time. Gretzky finished 4th. Keep in mind, he was only 22 and hadn't won a Cup yet.
#3 was hull? or maybe beliveau or rocket?

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Originally Posted by reckoning View Post
By '87 or '88, he was probably the most popular choice. I wouldn't say consensus choice, because Orr and Howe still had their supporters. But anybody who didn't have Gretzky #1 by '88, wouldn't be convinced to put him there based on anything he did after that.
but with orr, i do think gretzky gained extra traction for GOAT status with the post-trade years. to me personally, orr is the greatest (because i believe that at the very highest orr/gretzky/howe level, nine years is plenty to show who you are and what you did, and career value means little when dealing with such astronomical peaks; and i do concede that orr and gretzky's peaks are close, but that difference to me can't be overcome by the addition of inferior years, even extremely high level ones like gretzky had, and even 12 years of them). but i can certainly see and respect the argument for gretzky due to him having more than 2x the career length, even if i don't agree with it.

but if they had equally brief nine year careers (10 for gretzky if you count the WHA year), i think the orr contingent would be a significantly less of a minority than it currently is.

---

overall, i don't think gretzky's legacy would have been helped by retiring after his second smythe/fourth cup. for one, howe's case for #1 would be much larger, even with messier eventually passing him.

secondly, even though it would be completely untrue, questions would arise about gretzky dominating the playoffs without a stacked team. LA in '93 answered that question.

nonsense about his ability to dominate an "integrated" league would also abound. the timeline lines almost perfectly for disingenuous commentators to say he was "scared" to compete against the deeper european talent pool. (yes, that would be ridiculous given his domination of CC tournaments, but i think it would be naive to believe that facts could dissuade those commentators; cf. "sample size," etc.)

the arguments for gretzky's legacy being augmented by retiring early, i think, wouldn't apply to someone with his ridiculous peak. the "per game" argument is made on behalf of players like bure, even players as great as bossy. when a guy puts up five straight 195+ point seasons, i don't think the degree to which his career per game average is higher than the next guy really makes a difference.

same with the "retiring on top vs. fading away" argument. i mean, with chelios or messier, some of us forget how great those guys were in their prime. but it's gretzky. no one, even those of us who didn't really even see him at his peak, loses sight of what he did in the 80s. his legacy is already so staggeringly great that a ken dryden "walking off" narrative doesn't add anything.

the only argument i can see for gretzky benefiting from retiring early is the "what if" argument. i.e., maybe he continues to average 185 points for the next five to ten years? but i think those what ifs are balanced out by the what ifs about him falling flat on his face without the oilers, or in an "integrated" league, or with the new generation of talent then starting to come into the league (sakic, jagr, roenick, bure, lindros, etc.)

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07-07-2013, 05:00 PM
  #52
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Very interesting observations, and you are probably spot on. How did you feel after watching the 1987 Canada Cup, now that he was on your side, and pretty much toying with arguably the most talented team ever in hockey (specifically game 2 against Russia)?
I didn't think he got the credit he deserved. Lemieux was the focus because of all the goals he scored. Gretzky had somewhat changed his game by then to passing more. But he was the straw that stirred that Canadian drink. I also wonder if Gretzky changed his game purposely so that he became less of a focus by setting up goals and scoring less. I think many saw him as a cherry picker which hurt his image. But by 87 the bar had been raised so high for him, anything less than a Canadian victory and his dominance would have been a travesty. There was a lot of pressure on that team.

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07-07-2013, 05:12 PM
  #53
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
an interesting thought. messier is the guy who stands to have his legacy the most if gretzky retired early. you'd have to think there'd be a strong contingent to place him in the top ten all-time, maybe even top five. which would be wrong, of course, but still...
I went into it earlier about how Gretzky retiring in 1988 before the trade means Messier would more likely be viewed as lesser, not greater. There's no "Messier leading Edmonton to the Cup without Gretzky" storyline, and there's likely no Messier trade to New York (the Rangers traded wingers for a center when they got Nicholls - a deal that doesn't happen without the Gretzky trade - and the Oilers needed a center back when they traded Messier.

It's more likely that you see a guy like Oates or Yzerman (or even Sakic, LaFontaine, or Roenick) getting a first-team nod and some real recognition with Gretzky retired and Lemieux injured.

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07-07-2013, 05:27 PM
  #54
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
I didn't think he got the credit he deserved. Lemieux was the focus because of all the goals he scored. Gretzky had somewhat changed his game by then to passing more. But he was the straw that stirred that Canadian drink. I also wonder if Gretzky changed his game purposely so that he became less of a focus by setting up goals and scoring less. I think many saw him as a cherry picker which hurt his image. But by 87 the bar had been raised so high for him, anything less than a Canadian victory and his dominance would have been a travesty. There was a lot of pressure on that team.
Yes, Gretzky did purposefully change his game to a passing game by 1987 (actually by 1985-86 when he went for 2 assists per game and achieved it). He also told Mario Lemieux he'd be doing the passing, and Mario the shooting. That explains how Gretzky assisted on all (but 2?) of Lemieux's goals. It also explains how Gretzky tied Lemieux in Canada Cup scoring with his assists alone. I think most would agree Gretzky was the true MVP of that tournament, and of course he did win the tournament's MVP award. The consensus also seemed to be that game 2 was the best game Gretzky had ever played, and all the talk seemed to be about how Gretzky "was all over the ice" with his 5 assists in game 2, and not so much about Lemieux's hat trick. Of course, Lemieux's game winning goal in game 3 (from Gretzky) was also much talked about, and was seen as almost a "passing of the torch".

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07-07-2013, 05:43 PM
  #55
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Originally Posted by Ruston View Post
...if he retires immediately after the '88 Stanley Cup final/before "the trade"?
He was 27 and did 11 more years of damage. why have you decided to make him retire are 27?

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07-07-2013, 05:57 PM
  #56
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post

#3 was hull? or maybe beliveau or rocket?

I would be really surprised if the top three wasn't Orr, Howe, and Richard in any order. I think it's easy to forget just how highly traditional hockey fans think of Richard outside the confines of message boards like this.

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07-07-2013, 06:23 PM
  #57
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If Gretzky retires after 88 does Peter Pocklington need to sell off Messier, Kurri and Anderson to find the $15 million he got from Bruce McNall in the Gretzky deal? And without knowing their destinations it's impossible to even speculate on what success they would or wouldn't have going forward.

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07-07-2013, 07:14 PM
  #58
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Originally Posted by tazzy19 View Post
Wow, this might be the best thing I've ever read on Gretzky/Lemieux. Thanks for that "ice-level" insight, something that sports writers never really have the ability to uncover. You are right, I never really saw those subtleties as for more than they seemed -- mere "subtleties". Your last line is spot on. Game 2 of the 1987 Canada Cup might be the best example of "chemistry" I've ever seen in one hockey game.
And they only beat the Soviets, with Belosheikin in net, by one goal. Maybe it's time somebody here recognizes the talents on that Soviet team.

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07-07-2013, 07:56 PM
  #59
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I'd love to see the full results of those polls if you have them.
Despite being a packrat my whole life, that issue seems to have disappeared at some point as I've unsuccessfully tried finding it before. Just going from memory, Howe and Orr were the top two (not sure which one was first) and either Richard or Beliveau were third.

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07-07-2013, 08:24 PM
  #60
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Originally Posted by mrcrazycanuck View Post
He was 27 and did 11 more years of damage. why have you decided to make him retire are 27?
Think about it, smart guy: When did he win his last Stanley Cup? When did he stop playing for the Oilers, the organization with which he had his greatest success.

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07-08-2013, 12:17 AM
  #61
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From the time he was a pee wee player he had haters and jealous types chastising him. It was no different in the NHL. I mean this was a guy who broke into the NHL and didn't just dominate. He embarrassed the league and its records. Now not by his choice. This was not his goal. He was just that good. I believe a lot of the Canadian public at the time resented this kid having so much fun doing this while looking like he should be asking 'do you want fries with that' at some hamburger joint. (Can you imagine if Michael Jordan looked like a 6'6" Erkel?) It came so easy to him. As Killion stated, his on-ice moves were so subtle even at ice-level they were hard to pick up. I think it took a long time for hockey observers and players not on his team to really appreciate what he was doing. As I've said before, it wasn't until after the trade that the Canadian public as a whole really understood and appreciated what he did in hockey. Now he was across the border and we just lost are greatest Canadian asset since oil and water. Ok, misunderstood, perhaps in the sense of most geniuses, yeah. However, most geniuses are ignored or called crazy during their time rather than idolized, resented and called lucky. Most geniuses are shut-ins, doing their thing until they find a way to communicate their invention to the general public in an understandable way. Gretzky was a genius right in the mix challenging the egos of every Canadian who ever played or watched the game. Personally, I hated him. Being 12 at the time of his onslaught on the NHL; my younger brother idolizing him and the Oilers trouncing the Habs in 3 games. That Habs team was old but still a formidable force. Gretzky embarrassed the most revered franchise in the history of hockey. Huh? A lot of this just didn't compute for us. It took years to settle in, years to get past our denial and personal biases, years to finally say, "Wow! That's incredible!" Of course I am speaking more for myself than the Canadian public as a whole, but I think I probably speak for a lot of Canadians.
I remember being 8 years old and watching the Oilers play in their NHL debut season (not game) at my uncle's trailer. I was excited, because to my way of thinking, Edmonton finally had a real team. I hadn't even heard of the WHA until shortly before the merger, and hadn't known we even had a team. There was a lot of excitement around Gretzky, but already people were starting to doubt him. My uncle was one of them.

I remember my uncle was always a Bobby Hull fan. Gretzky was too small, weak, slow, skated weird, and didn't go to the net. Hull was a real hockey player. Everything Gretzky lacked, that's what Hull was. But I didn't care - I was watching the Oilers, and in that first year it really was the Wayne Gretzky show. The Oilers were not a good team. Messier was not the player people think of today. None of them were. Our defense wasn't great. Our goalie was mostly note-worthy because he was Ken Dryden's brother. But Gretzky was sensational even that first year. I was too young to understand why so many people didn't like him. I just wanted a team that won games, I didn't care about how he skated, or if he only weighed 170 lbs.

A few seasons later, I remember watching a game at my uncle's when everything changed. I'd love to say it was his 50 in 39 record setting game - usually when I tell the story it is - but TBH it was so long ago I don't remember. But it was against the Flyers, and Gretzky was on that night. I remember the game ended and I looked over at my uncle, and he had a tear running down one cheek. I asked him what was wrong, and he just said "I was wrong, Robby, I was wrong. He's the greatest player ever." After that, my uncle didn't complain about him skating strangely, or not fighting anymore. I don't even know if that game specifically did it, or if my uncle had been thinking it for a while and just trying to deny it because he was such a big Hull fan, but it really did take some people years before they started to see just what Gretzky was.

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07-08-2013, 12:23 AM
  #62
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He would basically be a demigod, if he isn't already.

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07-08-2013, 12:32 AM
  #63
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Originally Posted by Ruston View Post
...if he retires immediately after the '88 Stanley Cup final/before "the trade"?
He would be Bo Jackson. Gretzky definitely had more awards than Jackson, but the same questions would have remained. Would he have broken all the records? How many championships would he have won? Is he the best to ever play?

At the same time, Bo leaving as early as he did made him even more of a legend. An athlete's decline makes them so much more human.

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07-08-2013, 09:05 AM
  #64
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I think its interesting that him retiring after the trade vs him retiring after the Canada Cup actually seems to make a large difference in people's mind. It seems to be the idea of actually beating those records vs being just short of beating them.

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07-08-2013, 12:07 PM
  #65
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Originally Posted by shazariahl View Post
I think its interesting that him retiring after the trade vs him retiring after the Canada Cup actually seems to make a large difference in people's mind. It seems to be the idea of actually beating those records vs being just short of beating them.
I think the best time for Gretzky to have retired -- from a "legacy" standpoint -- was after his last Art Ross. At that point, he'd broken the all time points and also the goals record, and came off his 10th Art Ross in 15 years. He would have had justification as well, as the Kings organization was showing no desire to win or turn the team around. Gretzky would go out as someone who had just carried the Kings on his back to the Cup finals a year before, and had revolutionized the popularity of the sport in the United States, causing the entire Sun Belt expansion in only 5 years time since being traded. He would have been going out while still a "superstar" with potential Art Ross's ahead of him. 10 scoring titles in 15 years would have been an unfathomable concept for most people (winning the scoring title almost 70% of the time during his career), and would have cemented him to an even higher standard. I also believe that this was actually Gretzky's last "Gretzky-esque" year. He was already showing signs of slowing down -- the Gary Suter hit had taken quite an effect by this point -- and he was not nearly the same player the next season (1994-95) and beyond.

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07-08-2013, 01:15 PM
  #66
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Would he be thought of as similar to Michael Jordan after 1993 had he never come back? Just a comparison here. Then again, Gretzky dominated in those early years better than Jordan did and would have had 1 more championship at the time (4 in 5 years while Jordan gets three in a row).

There would be a "what if" factor when it would have come to him. Retiring at 27 years old. His legacy might become bigger because we would start to use our imagination about him rather than what he actually did. But in reality he would not, and should not ever be considered higher had he just retired. Had Lindros retired in 2000 and never played after the Stevens hit he's probably a HHOFer by now. But Gretzky still had some dominant years after 27.

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07-08-2013, 01:33 PM
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Would he be thought of as similar to Michael Jordan after 1993 had he never come back? Just a comparison here. Then again, Gretzky dominated in those early years better than Jordan did and would have had 1 more championship at the time (4 in 5 years while Jordan gets three in a row).

There would be a "what if" factor when it would have come to him. Retiring at 27 years old. His legacy might become bigger because we would start to use our imagination about him rather than what he actually did. But in reality he would not, and should not ever be considered higher had he just retired. Had Lindros retired in 2000 and never played after the Stevens hit he's probably a HHOFer by now. But Gretzky still had some dominant years after 27.
Absolutely, Big Phil. He would have been like a Michael Jordan (if Jordan had not come out of retirement). 1993 was the last time we saw the "Gretzky of old". His 40 points that season is the 4th best post-season of all time. We had a glimpse of "prime Gretzky" that spring which we had not seen since 1991 (before the Suter hit). He pushed himself to the limit. And that would have been our lasting impression of him. No, he would not have beaten Gordie Howe's all-time goal record, but it wouldn't have mattered. Everyone knew he would have done it the next season anyways. Yes, he did win one more scoring title the next season, and yes he did break the goal record, but he was not the same player he was in the 1993 playoffs. He had most definitely lost a step (moreso half way through the 1993-94 season with the Kings lagging). Gretzky almost did retire after that 1993 loss to the Habs. I am glad he didn't, as I got to watch him come out with some stellar performances as a Ranger, particularly in the 1996 playoffs when he was arguably the best in the game for those 3 rounds.

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07-08-2013, 02:49 PM
  #68
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Originally Posted by shazariahl View Post
I remember being 8 years old and watching the Oilers play in their NHL debut season (not game) at my uncle's trailer. I was excited, because to my way of thinking, Edmonton finally had a real team. I hadn't even heard of the WHA until shortly before the merger, and hadn't known we even had a team. There was a lot of excitement around Gretzky, but already people were starting to doubt him. My uncle was one of them.

I remember my uncle was always a Bobby Hull fan. Gretzky was too small, weak, slow, skated weird, and didn't go to the net. Hull was a real hockey player. Everything Gretzky lacked, that's what Hull was. But I didn't care - I was watching the Oilers, and in that first year it really was the Wayne Gretzky show. The Oilers were not a good team. Messier was not the player people think of today. None of them were. Our defense wasn't great. Our goalie was mostly note-worthy because he was Ken Dryden's brother. But Gretzky was sensational even that first year. I was too young to understand why so many people didn't like him. I just wanted a team that won games, I didn't care about how he skated, or if he only weighed 170 lbs.

A few seasons later, I remember watching a game at my uncle's when everything changed. I'd love to say it was his 50 in 39 record setting game - usually when I tell the story it is - but TBH it was so long ago I don't remember. But it was against the Flyers, and Gretzky was on that night. I remember the game ended and I looked over at my uncle, and he had a tear running down one cheek. I asked him what was wrong, and he just said "I was wrong, Robby, I was wrong. He's the greatest player ever." After that, my uncle didn't complain about him skating strangely, or not fighting anymore. I don't even know if that game specifically did it, or if my uncle had been thinking it for a while and just trying to deny it because he was such a big Hull fan, but it really did take some people years before they started to see just what Gretzky was.
Nice story. Your uncle was really emotional about being wrong. What do you think that was about? My guess is that Gretzky impacted so many of us so strongly that the most intense emotions came out whether they be tears, anger, disbelief, ...Funny my dad was a Hull fan too. Also Teeder Kennedy and he used to compare Gretzky to Kennedy. But he was also one of the ones that doubted Gretzky because he didn't play or look physical. We all soon found out that he didn't need to be and that hitting him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork, if I may borrow a Willie Stargel adage about trying to hit Sandy Koufax. I remember the 50 in 39 game, but only the highlights that we caught on the late night news in Manitoba. Like a man playing with boys. Another 'utter disbelief moment' growing up with Gretzky.

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07-10-2013, 06:30 AM
  #69
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
in reality he would not, and should not ever be considered higher had he just retired
That's a joke.

We do it with Orr, Bossy, Dryden, Forsberg, Lemieux, Neely, Bure, Lindros, etc. Why would it be any different with Gretzky? As for the former 9 and those like them, we "project" the imaginary remainder of their careers based solely off the spectacular yet relatively brief period they played. Gretzky played 20 seasons and doesn't get that luxury. If Gretz retires instead of agreeing to "the trade," EVERYONE would be doing the same "projecting" for Wayne.

Before donning a Kings jersey...

Regular Season: 696 GP - 583 G - 1,086 A - 1,669 PTS (which would be good for 9th all-time today)

Playoffs: 120 GP - 81 G - 171 A - 252 PTS (which would be good for 2nd all-time today)

(4) Stanley Cups
(2) Smythes
(8) Harts
(7) Art Rosses
(5) Pearsons
(7) 1st Team All-Star selctions
(2) 2nd Team All-Star selections
(2) Canada Cup titles
(3) Canada Cup scoring leader
(1) Canada Cup MVP

Another thing I didn't consider when I raised this hypothetical: spurning the big American market and remaining forever loyal to Canada

Add that to the above and he'd become a mythological figure.

If only...


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07-10-2013, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Nice story. Your uncle was really emotional about being wrong. What do you think that was about? My guess is that Gretzky impacted so many of us so strongly that the most intense emotions came out whether they be tears, anger, disbelief, ...Funny my dad was a Hull fan too. Also Teeder Kennedy and he used to compare Gretzky to Kennedy. But he was also one of the ones that doubted Gretzky because he didn't play or look physical. We all soon found out that he didn't need to be and that hitting him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork, if I may borrow a Willie Stargel adage about trying to hit Sandy Koufax. I remember the 50 in 39 game, but only the highlights that we caught on the late night news in Manitoba. Like a man playing with boys. Another 'utter disbelief moment' growing up with Gretzky.
Ya, I think my uncle had just decided in his head that no one was ever going to be better than Hull, and it took a few years for that belief to finally start breaking down. I think in the end he just had to face the truth. I was too young at the time to really understand why he felt the way he did - to me Gretzky was the superstar playing on the local team and he was scoring tons of points and breaking lots of records. What wasn't to like? But once my uncle finally came around, he really became a true fan. It just took a while first.

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07-10-2013, 02:18 PM
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Dark Shadows
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post
I went into it earlier about how Gretzky retiring in 1988 before the trade means Messier would more likely be viewed as lesser, not greater. There's no "Messier leading Edmonton to the Cup without Gretzky" storyline, and there's likely no Messier trade to New York (the Rangers traded wingers for a center when they got Nicholls - a deal that doesn't happen without the Gretzky trade - and the Oilers needed a center back when they traded Messier.

It's more likely that you see a guy like Oates or Yzerman (or even Sakic, LaFontaine, or Roenick) getting a first-team nod and some real recognition with Gretzky retired and Lemieux injured.
That's a lot of speculation. If Gretzky retires after the 88 season, why exactly does Messier not still get credit for leading the team to a cup in 1990? All the key pieces were still there, and Messier still took over the leadership role and excelled. What exactly does the Gretzky trade impact that stops Messier from leading them to a cup?

Instead of packaging Mike Krushelnyski and McSorely, they keep them. Nothing they acquired in the later trade of Carson was instrumental to their cup win. Klima played okay, but Krushelnyski was better all over and would still have been there. Graves, Gelinas, Murphy...none did much in an Oilers jersey and none were instrumental to the cup.

The Oilers still win the cup with Messier at the helm in 1990.
Furthermore, no matter which team Messier is traded to(After he demandeed more money), he would have made a ridiculous positive impact. He had been widely considered the 3rd best player in the league behind Gretzky/Lemieux for years.

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07-10-2013, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Dark Shadows View Post
Graves, Gelinas, Murphy...none did much in an Oilers jersey and none were instrumental to the cup.
The Kid Line or whatever it was called at the time with Klima was quite important to the cup run in 1990.

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07-10-2013, 02:46 PM
  #73
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Originally Posted by Ruston View Post
That's a joke.

We do it with Orr, Bossy, Dryden, Forsberg, Lemieux, Neely, Bure, Lindros, etc. Why would it be any different with Gretzky? As for the former 9 and those like them, we "project" the imaginary remainder of their careers based solely off the spectacular yet relatively brief period they played. Gretzky played 20 seasons and doesn't get that luxury. If Gretz retires instead of agreeing to "the trade," EVERYONE would be doing the same "projecting" for Wayne.

Before donning a Kings jersey...

Regular Season: 696 GP - 583 G - 1,086 A - 1,669 PTS (which would be good for 9th all-time today)

Playoffs: 120 GP - 81 G - 171 A - 252 PTS (which would be good for 2nd all-time today)

(4) Stanley Cups
(2) Smythes
(7) Art Rosses
(5) Pearsons
(7) 1st Team All-Star selctions
(2) 2nd Team All-Star selections
(2) Canada Cup titles
(2) Canada Cup scoring leader
(1) Canada Cup MVP

Another thing I didn't consider when I raised this hypothetical: spurning the big American market and remaining forever loyal to Canada

Add that to the above and he'd become a mythological figure.

If only...
Minor correction: (3) Canada Cup scoring leader

You also could add his 8 (consecutive) Hart Trophies and his 49 (official) NHL records.

Other than that, I agree with everything else.

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07-10-2013, 02:58 PM
  #74
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
The Kid Line or whatever it was called at the time with Klima was quite important to the cup run in 1990.
As I recall, Sather was not happy with Klima. In fact, there was a reason he looked fresh in the 3rd overtime in game 1 of the finals when everyone else looked slower than molasses. He had been benched most of the game and had been in the doghouse for a lot of the playoffs.

Overall, his 5 goals and 0 assists in 20 games that yea are often loved by Oiler fans. That much is true. But a lot of them love Krushelnyski's two way play more.

In this hypothetical situation, where Mike Krushelnyski is not traded with Wayne, I feel he more than makes up the difference.


Last edited by Dark Shadows: 07-10-2013 at 04:15 PM.
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07-10-2013, 03:11 PM
  #75
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It was always more of a sale than a trade.

No Gretzky trade means no $15 million for Pocklington. He'd probably need to sell off Messier, Fuhr and/or Kurri or, hopefully, he may have even had to sell the team itself.

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