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The 1989 Hart Trophy

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07-19-2014, 10:11 AM
  #76
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Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
In regards to the 1985-86 season in particular, it bears remembering how dominant Wayne and the Oilers were by the summer of '85 (entering that season). As Kevin Lowe said once, in the early years they were "Canada's team"; they were "Gretzky and the Oilers", and everyone loved to see them win (in 1981 over Montreal, during the 1983 run, in 1984 and maybe 1985). But around this time, it started to change and people were getting tired of their domination.

The team was coming off three straight trips to the Finals, four straight 1st place seasons, and they had the top center, right-winger, and defenceman in the League. Gretzky had won 5 straight scoring titles with ridiculous ease, and 6 straight Hart Trophies. A peak-level Mark Messier was their 2nd-line center! With 2 Cups in the bag, ALL their main players were 23-24 years old. (Fuhr was 22.) There was no end in sight to it. Everyone thought they'd win a 3rd-straight Cup, with no real challengers on the horizon.

Jealousy and an anti-Gretzky mood crept in. (As a comparison, look at all the anti-Crosby fury that his relatively lesser success engenders today... and he's only won about three major trophies. At the same age, Gretzky had won about 30.) The Flames' Cliff Fletcher, in cahoots with other anti-entertainment GMs (i.e., idiots), conspired in the off-season to do away with 4-on-4 hockey for coincidental minor penalties, thinking this would slow down Edmonton. (It failed, as the Flames went down in the standings, and the Oilers 10 points up.) Fans were getting tired of it, too. There was even a game in Edmonton, against Mario and the Pens (I think it was the game on Jan.22nd, 1986) in which several Edmonton fans were heard booing Gretzky from the stands -- Lemieux outplayed him on this night, and the Pens won the game. Players, too. The players were tired of Sather smirking behind the bench and Gretzky winning everything.

So, looking for any chance to take Gretzky down a peg, the players association gave Mario the Pearson Award.

Twelve games into 1986-87, Wayne was off to the usual fine start with 30 points in 12 games. But Lemieux had 29. (Gretzky soon pulled away from Mario when the Oilers heated-up in the 2nd half, and Mario missed some games to injury to boot.) When it came time for fan voting for Rendezvous '87, Lemieux was in 1st-place in voting for starting center despite Wayne easily leading the scoring race and the Oilers being at the top of the League. Hilariously, Gretzky was in 3rd-place in voting.

Of this period (1986-1987), Terry Jones writes:

That fans were beginning to overdose on Gretzky's greatness was the diagnosis by many. And Gretzky didn't disagree.

"I've won it too many times," he said of the scoring race. "When I came into the League, I came under a lot of heat and fire for my early success. It seemed they wanted to protect the players who held the old records and nobody wanted to see a new guy take over. They would say I didn't play on a good team, and, 'Sure, but he hasn't won a Stanley Cup'. Now it seems like they want somebody else to take over."

Gretzky said he knew the way it was.

"Let's say I ended up with 160 points. Would I get the Hart Trophy? Definitely not. Nobody else has ever managed to get more than 160 but that's the way it would be," said Gretzky.



(The Gretzky quotes here are from January 1987.)
Interesting. I remember during the 1987 Canada Cup when he was asked about Lemieux Gretzky said that he would love it if someone could compete with him in the scoring race. It turns out that the post 1987 NHL was exactly the time someone finally could. You know, I never really got sick of him dominating. At that time even I knew that this was a time to cherish and appreciate. Gretzky was a hard guy to dislike. He wasn't boastful, he didn't rub it in, he wasn't a loud mouth. There are reasons why people liked it when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke 61 home runs in 1998 but hated it when Barry Bonds did it. But Gretzky wasn't like that at all. However, after nearly a decade of him destroying records I think things changed in people's eyes. Still though, the Oilers didn't win in 1986 so they weren't invincible. Gretzky was in the scoring race though.

Despite all of that, which I agree with you on, I still can't see how 500 players could still feel that way (or at least the majority since Lemieux won the Pearson). Because there is simply no way Mario was better than Gretzky in 1986. Not even close. So there isn't a chance that a person can make a case for it. I can't believe that even the players that resented Gretzky didn't still say: "Well I resent his success, but from a logical standpoint there is no way I can't vote for him."

The only thing that has the slightest bit of defense to it would be this: Gretzky was winning everything at this time under the sun. I am not sure if it is mandatory for the players to vote but if it isn't I can imagine a lot of them wouldn't bother voting because "Gretzky is going to win anyway and my vote won't change it." If that was the attitude I could see Lemieux possibly sneaking in. But the players dropped the ball in 1986 more than ever.

Isn't it strange that Gretzky won 9 Harts and just 5 Pearsons? That's a large discrepancy. In comparison Crosby has won 2 Harts and 3 Pearsons. 5 Pearsons, that's it? That looks bad on the players.

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07-19-2014, 10:15 AM
  #77
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Look at the history of the Pearson/Lindsay award and try to make sense of it. I can't.

Though Gretzky has 9 Hart wins and Mario only 3, in Pearson awards its only 5-4. Considering 2 of those are before Lemieux is in the league, the NHLPA actual felt Mario was the most outstanding player more often.

How about Esposito having 2 Pearson's and Orr only one?

Marcel Dionne has 2, but Bobby Clarke has only one.
The only one that makes a little bit of sense is Dionne. The 2 he won were also years (1979, 1980) that he was very close to the Hart too, and it wouldn't have been a travesty. So I get that. But some of the others make no sense to me.

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07-19-2014, 10:28 AM
  #78
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Interesting. I remember during the 1987 Canada Cup when he was asked about Lemieux Gretzky said that he would love it if someone could compete with him in the scoring race. It turns out that the post 1987 NHL was exactly the time someone finally could. You know, I never really got sick of him dominating. At that time even I knew that this was a time to cherish and appreciate. Gretzky was a hard guy to dislike. He wasn't boastful, he didn't rub it in, he wasn't a loud mouth. There are reasons why people liked it when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke 61 home runs in 1998 but hated it when Barry Bonds did it. But Gretzky wasn't like that at all. However, after nearly a decade of him destroying records I think things changed in people's eyes. Still though, the Oilers didn't win in 1986 so they weren't invincible. Gretzky was in the scoring race though.

Despite all of that, which I agree with you on, I still can't see how 500 players could still feel that way (or at least the majority since Lemieux won the Pearson). Because there is simply no way Mario was better than Gretzky in 1986. Not even close. So there isn't a chance that a person can make a case for it. I can't believe that even the players that resented Gretzky didn't still say: "Well I resent his success, but from a logical standpoint there is no way I can't vote for him."

The only thing that has the slightest bit of defense to it would be this: Gretzky was winning everything at this time under the sun. I am not sure if it is mandatory for the players to vote but if it isn't I can imagine a lot of them wouldn't bother voting because "Gretzky is going to win anyway and my vote won't change it." If that was the attitude I could see Lemieux possibly sneaking in. But the players dropped the ball in 1986 more than ever.

Isn't it strange that Gretzky won 9 Harts and just 5 Pearsons? That's a large discrepancy. In comparison Crosby has won 2 Harts and 3 Pearsons. 5 Pearsons, that's it? That looks bad on the players.
The media and fans loved Gretzky, but I'm not sure the players of that time did.

I think many resented his lack of defense and physical play. He was a complainer, often moaning to the officials even though contact was rarely made on him. Also the fact that he played for the arrogant Glenn Sather who had no trouble running up the score and then stand behind the bench with that half-ass smirk.


Last edited by Dennis Bonvie: 07-19-2014 at 05:31 PM.
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Old
07-19-2014, 02:39 PM
  #79
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To clarify, I'm not saying that Mario didn't deserve the Hart in 1989. I personally would have voted for him. I am saying that his classless comments reveal an aspect of his personality in the 80s that probably contributed to (not entirely caused) his not winning.
those comments by mario were regrettable. but as i recall, he also was still smarting from not being invite to gretzky's '88 wedding. and i don't know that i blame him; like, i don't think ovie and crosby are buds or anything, but if one gets married, the other will get invited. it's just the right thing to do. and it's not like gretzky had a small wedding-- i mean, other than mario, who else wasn't at wayne's wedding?

especially after their time together in the summer of '87, i'd have taken it as a slap in the face.


Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
In regards to the 1985-86 season in particular, it bears remembering how dominant Wayne and the Oilers were by the summer of '85 (entering that season). As Kevin Lowe said once, in the early years they were "Canada's team"; they were "Gretzky and the Oilers", and everyone loved to see them win (in 1981 over Montreal, during the 1983 run, in 1984 and maybe 1985). But around this time, it started to change and people were getting tired of their domination.

The team was coming off three straight trips to the Finals, four straight 1st place seasons, and they had the top center, right-winger, and defenceman in the League. Gretzky had won 5 straight scoring titles with ridiculous ease, and 6 straight Hart Trophies. A peak-level Mark Messier was their 2nd-line center! With 2 Cups in the bag, ALL their main players were 23-24 years old. (Fuhr was 22.) There was no end in sight to it. Everyone thought they'd win a 3rd-straight Cup, with no real challengers on the horizon.

Jealousy and an anti-Gretzky mood crept in. (As a comparison, look at all the anti-Crosby fury that his relatively lesser success engenders today... and he's only won about three major trophies. At the same age, Gretzky had won about 30.) The Flames' Cliff Fletcher, in cahoots with other anti-entertainment GMs (i.e., idiots), conspired in the off-season to do away with 4-on-4 hockey for coincidental minor penalties, thinking this would slow down Edmonton. (It failed, as the Flames went down in the standings, and the Oilers 10 points up.) Fans were getting tired of it, too. There was even a game in Edmonton, against Mario and the Pens (I think it was the game on Jan.22nd, 1986) in which several Edmonton fans were heard booing Gretzky from the stands -- Lemieux outplayed him on this night, and the Pens won the game. Players, too. The players were tired of Sather smirking behind the bench and Gretzky winning everything.

So, looking for any chance to take Gretzky down a peg, the players association gave Mario the Pearson Award.

Twelve games into 1986-87, Wayne was off to the usual fine start with 30 points in 12 games. But Lemieux had 29. (Gretzky soon pulled away from Mario when the Oilers heated-up in the 2nd half, and Mario missed some games to injury to boot.) When it came time for fan voting for Rendezvous '87, Lemieux was in 1st-place in voting for starting center despite Wayne easily leading the scoring race and the Oilers being at the top of the League. Hilariously, Gretzky was in 3rd-place in voting.

Of this period (1986-1987), Terry Jones writes:

That fans were beginning to overdose on Gretzky's greatness was the diagnosis by many. And Gretzky didn't disagree.

"I've won it too many times," he said of the scoring race. "When I came into the League, I came under a lot of heat and fire for my early success. It seemed they wanted to protect the players who held the old records and nobody wanted to see a new guy take over. They would say I didn't play on a good team, and, 'Sure, but he hasn't won a Stanley Cup'. Now it seems like they want somebody else to take over."

Gretzky said he knew the way it was.

"Let's say I ended up with 160 points. Would I get the Hart Trophy? Definitely not. Nobody else has ever managed to get more than 160 but that's the way it would be," said Gretzky.



(The Gretzky quotes here are from January 1987.)
but that last quote illustrates the difference between gretzky and mario. gretzky is not being the aw-shucks self-effacing choirboy that we sometimes retroactively paint him as here (or, to put it another way, he's not embodying our bobby orr good humble canadian boy ideal). wayne gets his digs in about the snubs on both ends of his career, but even his bitterness doesn't sound like mario's "i guess they only give the MVP to the guy who finishes in second place."

gretzky was extremely competitive and protective of his perch. he says all the right things about mario being the "next one" and all that, but maybe wayne was also one sneaky, passive-aggressive little mf. he wants to snub mario? he doesn't come out and attack him; he just doesn't invite him to the hockey event of the year. mario feels snubbed? he gives the microphones shoved in his face what they want and makes a donkey out of himself in the press.

to put a finer point on it, think way back to gretzky's own snub at the beginning of his career. wayne was raised so smart, media-wise, and he knew how to conduct himself even when he was a kid. wayne wins the hart, but the art ross goes to dionne. and wayne is not unbitter about this. but what does he say? "i was raised with the saying that 'an assist is just as good as a goal.' and that's an important message kids are not hearing from the NHL in this decision." if you're going to pout, do it in a way where you leave yourself the benefit of the doubt, some plausible deniability, and the possibility of coming off classy, instead of like a baby or a sore loser. haters are going to hate either way, but at least let those who could love you love you. mario never learned that.

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07-19-2014, 06:05 PM
  #80
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Look at the history of the Pearson/Lindsay award and try to make sense of it. I can't.

Though Gretzky has 9 Hart wins and Mario only 3, in Pearson awards its only 5-4. Considering 2 of those are before Lemieux is in the league, the NHLPA actual felt Mario was the most outstanding player more often.

How about Esposito having 2 Pearson's and Orr only one?

Marcel Dionne has 2, but Bobby Clarke has only one.
This is why I laugh when people say they hold the Pearson/Lindsay in higher regard than the Hart trophy. Although the players should, in theory, have more hockey knowledge than the average joe, this doesn't always play out in practice. For one thing, I doubt players carefully track the statistics of other players in the league, so they are likely voting based on their memories of playing against certain players over the course of the season. I also doubt that they watch nearly as many hockey games as the writers. The other similar issue here is that there is likely a bias in voting for players that certain players play against more often since they see them more often. Also you've got to figure there are biases involved with players voting for people that they like more personally. Overall, I think there are far more head-scratching Pearson/Lindsay award winners than Hart winners. NHL players have many talents, evaluating other players' value is not one of them.

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07-19-2014, 06:27 PM
  #81
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So in all honesty, why wasn't Mario invited to Gretzky's wedding? I remember seeing Vladislav Tretiak in attendance. I guess the best thing I can think of is this: It's 1987. They have a whale of a time in 1987 together but there isn't the luxury of texting every two minutes or Facebook or Twitter. Do you know how you got a hold of someone in 1987? You called their home. If you were lucky they had an answering machine. I don't know, we really don't know how much of an actual friendship they built. Maybe it was just cordial, maybe it was business-like. Mario did show up to Gretzky's retirement celebration on the ice in 1999. So who knows?

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07-19-2014, 07:54 PM
  #82
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Getting back to the discussion about Gretzky's 168 points vs Mario's 199 points, I truly believe that if Gretzky had the same number of power play opportunities that Mario had, that would have been 15 more points for Gretz. And then put a prime Paul Coffey on the Kings instead of the penguins, and you may as well give Gretz another 20-30 points....which now puts him around 205-215 points (look familiar?) vs Mario's 199. Now take Paul Coffey off the Pens, as well as all those power play opportunities, and you are more than likely left with what Mario had the year before when he won the Hart - 168 points, coincidentally enough!

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07-19-2014, 08:29 PM
  #83
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
So in all honesty, why wasn't Mario invited to Gretzky's wedding? I remember seeing Vladislav Tretiak in attendance. I guess the best thing I can think of is this: It's 1987. They have a whale of a time in 1987 together but there isn't the luxury of texting every two minutes or Facebook or Twitter. Do you know how you got a hold of someone in 1987? You called their home. If you were lucky they had an answering machine. I don't know, we really don't know how much of an actual friendship they built. Maybe it was just cordial, maybe it was business-like. Mario did show up to Gretzky's retirement celebration on the ice in 1999. So who knows?
i don't know about that, phil. i mean, if you wanted to talk to me in 1987, yeah you'd call my mom's house and say: "hello mrs. sharifijanov. this is phil. is vadim available to speak on the phone?" but if mario wants to talk to gretzky, or vice-versa, he calls his assistant, who calls gretzky's assistant or mike barnett or someone else, and that person passes a phone number to mario's person to mario, and also passes a note or message to wayne telling him to expect the call. if both parties wanted to talk or hang out, it wouldn't be that hard for the people who work out their respective logistics to work out the logistics. i remember in both gretzky's and brett hull's autobiographies ('89 and '91, respectively, i think), both wrote graciously and movingly about the assistants they had who tirelessly ran their lives.

so i have to think that somewhere along the line of planning that gigantic wedding, gretzky's assistant or the wedding planner or whoever else said to wayne (or janet): "okay, so are we inviting mulroney?" yes. "gordie howe?" of course. "brett callighen?" sure. "jimmy pattison?" okay. "nelson skalbania?" "i guess we have to, right?" "how about mario?" "...nah."

and i don't think we can really know why that decision was made, but it had to have been a decision. there's no way they just forgot to invite the second biggest hockey star in the world. and i think there's also no way that, whether they were friends or acquaintances or even if wayne hated mario's guts, mario didn't have a right to expect that invitation. i'm sure there were members of the islanders dynasty at that wedding, and given the enormous scale of the thing, you'd invite mario just like if you were a big wig who ran a company in a small town, you'd invite the guy who ran the rival big company in that town if you had a giant blowout wedding.

i always thought of it as a not-so-subtle "you're not in the cool kids club yet, kiddo" message. and i definitely remember reading that mario was upset by the snub.

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07-19-2014, 08:53 PM
  #84
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I really don't have a problem with the 89 Hart. I thought Gretzky was full value in LA and was a huge impact.

It was one of those years were I think you could argue for both of them for either award and make a solid case.

1990 Hart trophy however, that is a different story.

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07-19-2014, 10:49 PM
  #85
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Originally Posted by tazzy19 View Post
Getting back to the discussion about Gretzky's 168 points vs Mario's 199 points, I truly believe that if Gretzky had the same number of power play opportunities that Mario had, that would have been 15 more points for Gretz. And then put a prime Paul Coffey on the Kings instead of the penguins, and you may as well give Gretz another 20-30 points....which now puts him around 205-215 points (look familiar?) vs Mario's 199. Now take Paul Coffey off the Pens, as well as all those power play opportunities, and you are more than likely left with what Mario had the year before when he won the Hart - 168 points, coincidentally enough!
If you have to put this many hypothetical scenarios into the equation to have Gretzky outscore Lemieux that year it shows how much better of a year Lemieux had. There are also tons of different holes in this reasoning. For one, who cares what Gretzky might have scored if Paul Coffey had been on his team and had he been involved in more pp's? Neither thing happened in reality. 2, you assume Gretzky would have produced so much more with more pp opportunities which ignores the fact that 1 area where Lemieux was clearly superior to Gretzky was as a powerplay scorer. Forget Coffey, what if Lemieux had Luc Robataille and Bernie Nichols on his wings? What if Gretzky had Rob Brown and Dan Quinn/Bob Errey on his wings?

Lemieux should have won that Hart just as Gretzky should have won the previous Hart as well as the Pearson a few years earlier. The fact of the matter is that it seems pretty clear that Gretzky won more for his impact on hockey in the west as well as his role as ambassador for the nhl. If it was based on what happened on the ice Lemieux wins easily.

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07-19-2014, 11:08 PM
  #86
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If you have to put this many hypothetical scenarios into the equation to have Gretzky outscore Lemieux that year it shows how much better of a year Lemieux had. There are also tons of different holes in this reasoning. For one, who cares what Gretzky might have scored if Paul Coffey had been on his team and had he been involved in more pp's? Neither thing happened in reality. 2, you assume Gretzky would have produced so much more with more pp opportunities which ignores the fact that 1 area where Lemieux was clearly superior to Gretzky was as a powerplay scorer. Forget Coffey, what if Lemieux had Luc Robataille and Bernie Nichols on his wings? What if Gretzky had Rob Brown and Dan Quinn/Bob Errey on his wings?

Lemieux should have won that Hart just as Gretzky should have won the previous Hart as well as the Pearson a few years earlier. The fact of the matter is that it seems pretty clear that Gretzky won more for his impact on hockey in the west as well as his role as ambassador for the nhl. If it was based on what happened on the ice Lemieux wins easily.
I still have yet to see any convincing argument that Lemieux had a much better PP percentage than Gretz. The Oilers and Kings had FAR fewer PP opportunities, so it should be pretty obvious why they scored less on the power play (see blogofmike's posts above). And as for having "all these hypothetical scenarios," I only have two! PP opportunities and Paul Coffey are the biggest separating factors.

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07-19-2014, 11:15 PM
  #87
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I'd rather not get into tabloid stuff like "Gretzky Didn't Invite Lemieux to his Wedding." Who cares? Gretzky can invite who he wants to his wedding. He can't invite every guy on the Canada Cup team the previous year. Claude Lemieux and Normand Rochefort weren't invited either.

Despite the obvious mutual respect, there was clearly a bit of edgy professional rivalry between Wayne and Mario during 1985 to 1991 or so. I doubt this was anything personal, but it was the result of the media endlessly playing the up-and-comer against the established king.

I also would prefer not to take this hypothetical "What if Gretzky had played with Coffey and had more power-plays" line of thinking... That's just not relevant when it comes to the Hart Trophy. Nor is your wedding. It's based on what you do on the ice and its relative importance to your team. It's not based on what you could have done.

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07-19-2014, 11:25 PM
  #88
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I'd rather not get into tabloid stuff like "Gretzky Didn't Invite Lemieux to his Wedding." Who cares? Gretzky can invite who he wants to his wedding. He can't invite every guy on the Canada Cup team the previous year. Claude Lemieux and Normand Rochefort weren't invited either.

Despite the obvious mutual respect, there was clearly a bit of edgy professional rivalry between Wayne and Mario during 1985 to 1991 or so. I doubt this was anything personal, but it was the result of the media endlessly playing the up-and-comer against the established king.

I also would prefer not to take this hypothetical "What if Gretzky had played with Coffey and had more power-plays" line of thinking... That's just not relevant when it comes to the Hart Trophy. Nor is your wedding. It's based on what you do on the ice and its relative importance to your team. It's not based on what you could have done.
I don't think it's intended to be a what if as much as a way of putting into perspective how good each guy was that year, that may not be obvious simply by looking at their point totals. If most of Lemieux's statistical advantage was due to largely to team circumstances and not actual play on the ice, then I think it's a relevant point.

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07-19-2014, 11:51 PM
  #89
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If most of Lemieux's statistical advantage was due to largely to team circumstances and not actual play on the ice, then I think it's a relevant point.
But is it? The further you go down this road, it's starts to get a little sketchy.

For example, back to 1985-86. Gretzky was playing with four skater-Hall of Famers (Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Coffey) while in the same season Lemieux was playing with none. According to your logic, then, is it not fair to say that Lemieux deserved the Pearson award over Gretzky, even though Gretzky outscored him by 74 points and Gretzky's team finished in 1st-overall while Lemieux's missed the playoffs?

The reason I say this logic is sketchy is because (in my extreme example, above) Gretzky clearly achieved much more than Lemieux in '85-'86, and any argument otherwise is based on speculation about things that didn't actually happen.

(Not to mention, the fact that Gretzky was playing with Hall-of-Famers by 1985 might partially be due to Gretzky himself, as much as lucky circumstance. There was certainly no indication that, say, Mark Messier was going to be a Hall of Famer in 1979-1981, while Gretzky clearly already was.)

I'm not saying there aren't situations where we should consider team circumstances. If, say, Gretzky and Lemieux had each scored 175 points and Gretzky's team was 1st-overall with 5 Hall of Famers, while Lemieux's was 17th overall with none, one might reasonably give an award to Lemieux based on his relative importance to his team.

But except in such extreme cases of relative importance, I'd like individual awards to be given based on what actually happened on the ice, not based on what might have happened if....

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07-20-2014, 01:18 AM
  #90
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That's the worst thing about the Hart Trophy , sometimes it's given to the best player , sometimes it's given to the most valuable player , which is different.They should really always give it based on the definition/description of the award.

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07-20-2014, 12:41 PM
  #91
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I'd rather not get into tabloid stuff like "Gretzky Didn't Invite Lemieux to his Wedding." Who cares? Gretzky can invite who he wants to his wedding. He can't invite every guy on the Canada Cup team the previous year. Claude Lemieux and Normand Rochefort weren't invited either.

Despite the obvious mutual respect, there was clearly a bit of edgy professional rivalry between Wayne and Mario during 1985 to 1991 or so. I doubt this was anything personal, but it was the result of the media endlessly playing the up-and-comer against the established king.
i bring this up only because the media linked the wedding snub to mario's hart trophy snub a year later, and we were talking about mario's comments. i.e., this comment:

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Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
To clarify, I'm not saying that Mario didn't deserve the Hart in 1989. I personally would have voted for him. I am saying that his classless comments reveal an aspect of his personality in the 80s that probably contributed to (not entirely caused) his not winning.


(but come on panther, i think you and i both know that there's a big difference between claude lemieux not being invited and mario. mario was being trolled hard, as the kids these days say; and if i'm remembering his sour personality in the media and less than golden-boy-demeanour accurately, it seems like he took the bait.)

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07-20-2014, 02:21 PM
  #92
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Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
I'd rather not get into tabloid stuff like "Gretzky Didn't Invite Lemieux to his Wedding." Who cares? Gretzky can invite who he wants to his wedding. He can't invite every guy on the Canada Cup team the previous year. Claude Lemieux and Normand Rochefort weren't invited either.

Despite the obvious mutual respect, there was clearly a bit of edgy professional rivalry between Wayne and Mario during 1985 to 1991 or so. I doubt this was anything personal, but it was the result of the media endlessly playing the up-and-comer against the established king.

I also would prefer not to take this hypothetical "What if Gretzky had played with Coffey and had more power-plays" line of thinking... That's just not relevant when it comes to the Hart Trophy.Nor is your wedding. It's based on what you do on the ice and its relative importance to your team. It's not based on what you could have done.
Well, I wasn't comparing their stats to determine who should have won the Hart Trophy. I was simply using a thought experiment to ask how much their stats were based on PPO and Paul Cofffey. If Gretzky and Lemieux had been traded for each other right after Gretzky was sold to the Kings, I think it would have been Gretz with close to 200 points and Mario with 168 (just as the season before), but we'll never know obviously. I do know this, however: No player has ever scored over 195 points without playing with Paul Coffey. Heck, no player has even scored more than 180 points without playing at least part of a season with Paul Coffey.

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07-20-2014, 02:29 PM
  #93
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^ i'm on my phone right now so i can't look it up, but a poster formerly known as thornton19 (and now posting here less frequently as dark shadows, i think) once went through gretzky's stats in a year where coffey missed significant time and, to my surprise the game logs revealed that gretzky actually scored at a slightly higher rate (well over 200/80) with coffey out if the lineup.

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07-20-2014, 03:38 PM
  #94
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
^ i'm on my phone right now so i can't look it up, but a poster formerly known as thornton19 (and now posting here less frequently as dark shadows, i think) once went through gretzky's stats in a year where coffey missed significant time and, to my surprise the game logs revealed that gretzky actually scored at a slightly higher rate (well over 200/80) with coffey out if the lineup.
Yes, I think I remember that post, but as I remember it was only at a higher rate THAT season. I'm sure you can find other stretches during other seasons where Gretzky scored at a significantly higher rate playing with Coffey than that particular stretch without him. At the end of the day, no one has come remotely close to 200 (actual) points (as opposed to projected points) without Paul Coffey.

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07-20-2014, 09:36 PM
  #95
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But is it? The further you go down this road, it's starts to get a little sketchy.

For example, back to 1985-86. Gretzky was playing with four skater-Hall of Famers (Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Coffey) while in the same season Lemieux was playing with none. According to your logic, then, is it not fair to say that Lemieux deserved the Pearson award over Gretzky, even though Gretzky outscored him by 74 points and Gretzky's team finished in 1st-overall while Lemieux's missed the playoffs?

The reason I say this logic is sketchy is because (in my extreme example, above) Gretzky clearly achieved much more than Lemieux in '85-'86, and any argument otherwise is based on speculation about things that didn't actually happen.

(Not to mention, the fact that Gretzky was playing with Hall-of-Famers by 1985 might partially be due to Gretzky himself, as much as lucky circumstance. There was certainly no indication that, say, Mark Messier was going to be a Hall of Famer in 1979-1981, while Gretzky clearly already was.)

I'm not saying there aren't situations where we should consider team circumstances. If, say, Gretzky and Lemieux had each scored 175 points and Gretzky's team was 1st-overall with 5 Hall of Famers, while Lemieux's was 17th overall with none, one might reasonably give an award to Lemieux based on his relative importance to his team.

But except in such extreme cases of relative importance, I'd like individual awards to be given based on what actually happened on the ice, not based on what might have happened if....
I don't think this goes down a sketchy road when we look at clear facts like power play opportunities. These are the kinds of thought experiments we do here all the time in order to get an idea of who the best players are. If Gretzky and Lemieux both had identical even strength and power play averages per ice time, but the fact that Lemieux's team was on the power play much more often caused him to create a point lead, then was Lemieux actually the better player? I would argue no. That's not really getting into scenarios of how much teammates helped one guy that are largely subjective, it's just straight up math. It's the same as when a player has a jump in points due to unreasonably high on ice shooting percentages by both him and his team. When those totals drop the next year, it doesn't actually mean he was playing any worse. Of course, if Lemieux was much better on the power play regardless of opportunities, or was responsible for drawing a lot of them then those are other advantages in his favour, but they weren't tracked the same way they are today.

I know it feels akin to "taking away from what someone actually did", but I think that's largely because we've come to associate points as definitive when it comes to judging how players stacked up each season, but they have their limitations.

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07-21-2014, 01:04 AM
  #96
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Originally Posted by Regal View Post
I don't think this goes down a sketchy road when we look at clear facts like power play opportunities. These are the kinds of thought experiments we do here all the time in order to get an idea of who the best players are.
Sure, but the issue at hand is not 'best player' but who is more important to his team.
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It's the same as when a player has a jump in points due to unreasonably high on ice shooting percentages by both him and his team. When those totals drop the next year, it doesn't actually mean he was playing any worse.
Sure it does. If a player is getting the same number of shots but fewer goals, then that player is playing worse. He needs to work on his shot and lay off the brewskies after practice.

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07-21-2014, 02:02 AM
  #97
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Sure, but the issue at hand is not 'best player' but who is more important to his team.
I realize, but how good a player is affects his importance as well. But it's more in relation to Pearson talks, which have also come up in this thread

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07-22-2014, 08:36 PM
  #98
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Tazzy, you do realise that there was an actual reason that those Oiler teams seemed to have less PP ops than a lot of teams right?
Because they, the Oilers, wanted it that way. They actually preferred to play 4 on 4.
They dominated by such a ridiculous margin 4 on 4 and they also knew if they scored it still stayed 4 on 4.
Look at the diff in ops after the League changed the rule, its night and day for the Oilers.
The League didn't just change the rule because the Oilers were so dominate 4 on 4, they changed the rule because they were actively taking advantage of it. They routinely took silly and at times almost comical penalties to make 4 on 4 situations.

Mario was the more dominate player on the PP and it was not just because of more opportunities.
When Mario only played 60 games, he almost set the record for PP points in a season.

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07-22-2014, 09:56 PM
  #99
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i don't know about that, phil. i mean, if you wanted to talk to me in 1987, yeah you'd call my mom's house and say: "hello mrs. sharifijanov. this is phil. is vadim available to speak on the phone?" but if mario wants to talk to gretzky, or vice-versa, he calls his assistant, who calls gretzky's assistant or mike barnett or someone else, and that person passes a phone number to mario's person to mario, and also passes a note or message to wayne telling him to expect the call. if both parties wanted to talk or hang out, it wouldn't be that hard for the people who work out their respective logistics to work out the logistics. i remember in both gretzky's and brett hull's autobiographies ('89 and '91, respectively, i think), both wrote graciously and movingly about the assistants they had who tirelessly ran their lives.

so i have to think that somewhere along the line of planning that gigantic wedding, gretzky's assistant or the wedding planner or whoever else said to wayne (or janet): "okay, so are we inviting mulroney?" yes. "gordie howe?" of course. "brett callighen?" sure. "jimmy pattison?" okay. "nelson skalbania?" "i guess we have to, right?" "how about mario?" "...nah."

and i don't think we can really know why that decision was made, but it had to have been a decision. there's no way they just forgot to invite the second biggest hockey star in the world. and i think there's also no way that, whether they were friends or acquaintances or even if wayne hated mario's guts, mario didn't have a right to expect that invitation. i'm sure there were members of the islanders dynasty at that wedding, and given the enormous scale of the thing, you'd invite mario just like if you were a big wig who ran a company in a small town, you'd invite the guy who ran the rival big company in that town if you had a giant blowout wedding.

i always thought of it as a not-so-subtle "you're not in the cool kids club yet, kiddo" message. and i definitely remember reading that mario was upset by the snub.
Did they like each other though? This is an honest question. Because Lemieux wasn't at his wedding in 1988 but he was part of the on-ice festivities at his retirement in 1999. Somewhere along the way they made up. Which begs the question, was Gretzky invited to Mario's 1993 wedding?

I can remember Janet saying that Wayne was behind the planning of pretty much their whole wedding because he was familiar with Edmonton. So Gretzky did know that he wasn't inviting Lemieux, but the question is why? Then again, you are always going to hurt someone's feelings at a wedding that big. There were lots of politicians missing from Will and Kate's recent wedding.

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Originally Posted by tazzy19 View Post
Well, I wasn't comparing their stats to determine who should have won the Hart Trophy. I was simply using a thought experiment to ask how much their stats were based on PPO and Paul Cofffey. If Gretzky and Lemieux had been traded for each other right after Gretzky was sold to the Kings, I think it would have been Gretz with close to 200 points and Mario with 168 (just as the season before), but we'll never know obviously. I do know this, however: No player has ever scored over 195 points without playing with Paul Coffey. Heck, no player has even scored more than 180 points without playing at least part of a season with Paul Coffey.
I looked it up, the most points a player has ever had in a season where Coffey wasn't his teammate was 168 for Gretzky in 1989. That's unreal. And this is no accident for those that remember Paul Coffey.

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07-22-2014, 10:56 PM
  #100
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Did they like each other though? This is an honest question. Because Lemieux wasn't at his wedding in 1988 but he was part of the on-ice festivities at his retirement in 1999. Somewhere along the way they made up. Which begs the question, was Gretzky invited to Mario's 1993 wedding?

I can remember Janet saying that Wayne was behind the planning of pretty much their whole wedding because he was familiar with Edmonton. So Gretzky did know that he wasn't inviting Lemieux, but the question is why? Then again, you are always going to hurt someone's feelings at a wedding that big. There were lots of politicians missing from Will and Kate's recent wedding.



I looked it up, the most points a player has ever had in a season where Coffey wasn't his teammate was 168 for Gretzky in 1989. That's unreal. And this is no accident for those that remember Paul Coffey.
Exactly right. The crazy thing is, Gretzky was on pace for 186 points in 1987-88 without Paul Coffey. That would have been arguably Gretzky's most impressive season ever…to score that much without Coffey. (Even when Gretzky scored 182 points in 1986-87, he at least got to play with Coffey for 59 games.)

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