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The buzz for Lemieux's 46 game point streak

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09-24-2016, 10:24 AM
  #1
Ageless66
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The buzz for Lemieux's 46 game point streak

What kind of buzz was there around when it was happening? Was it getting a lot of attention? Did people think he would beat 51?

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09-24-2016, 12:12 PM
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The Panther
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I remember it as a fairly big hockey story, as it went along. I wasn't a Pittsburgh or a Lemieux fan, particularly, in those days, so I wasn't really bothered, but I do recall it being hyped up quite a bit around the 35-45 games mark.

I have a question about that, however. It was in 1989-90, right? Looking at the game logs, Lemieux's streak started in the Pens' 12th game of the season, on October 31st (weirdly, he had been shut out in 3 of the previous 5 games). Let's say he had gone past 51 games -- does it count as an NHL record? I thought those game-streaks (like, 50 in 50) only counted from the start of the season. Or is it one of those "unofficial" records?

For whatever reason, he got off to a slower start that year than the season before -- this is in relative terms, of course. He had 18 points in the first 11 games (the Pens were 3-6-2 to that point), which is obviously good, but he'd had 38 points (!) in the first 11 games the year before.

Once the streak started, he seemed to score maybe more consistently, but less in huge numbers (no 6, 7, or 8 point games) than the year before.

It appears he had 16 one-point games during the 46-game streak, so there must have been some close calls along the way, as you'd expect. (Gretzky had 13 one-point games during his fifty-one game streak from the start of the season.) Conversely, there were 3 five-point games in there, including two in a row.

His streak stopped at MSG against the Rangers. What happened in that one? I don't remember. The stat-line shows that he didn't have a shot on goal and was -1. Did he get injured and go out early?

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09-24-2016, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
I remember it as a fairly big hockey story, as it went along. I wasn't a Pittsburgh or a Lemieux fan, particularly, in those days, so I wasn't really bothered, but I do recall it being hyped up quite a bit around the 35-45 games mark.

I have a question about that, however. It was in 1989-90, right? Looking at the game logs, Lemieux's streak started in the Pens' 12th game of the season, on October 31st (weirdly, he had been shut out in 3 of the previous 5 games). Let's say he had gone past 51 games -- does it count as an NHL record? I thought those game-streaks (like, 50 in 50) only counted from the start of the season. Or is it one of those "unofficial" records?

For whatever reason, he got off to a slower start that year than the season before -- this is in relative terms, of course. He had 18 points in the first 11 games (the Pens were 3-6-2 to that point), which is obviously good, but he'd had 38 points (!) in the first 11 games the year before.

Once the streak started, he seemed to score maybe more consistently, but less in huge numbers (no 6, 7, or 8 point games) than the year before.

It appears he had 16 one-point games during the 46-game streak, so there must have been some close calls along the way, as you'd expect. (Gretzky had 13 one-point games during his fifty-one game streak from the start of the season.) Conversely, there were 3 five-point games in there, including two in a row.

His streak stopped at MSG against the Rangers. What happened in that one? I don't remember. The stat-line shows that he didn't have a shot on goal and was -1. Did he get injured and go out early?
Lemieux played with a herniated disc the entire streak. The streak ended because he was forced to miss the entire third period against the rangers. Really unfortunate

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09-24-2016, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
I remember it as a fairly big hockey story, as it went along. I wasn't a Pittsburgh or a Lemieux fan, particularly, in those days, so I wasn't really bothered, but I do recall it being hyped up quite a bit around the 35-45 games mark.

I have a question about that, however. It was in 1989-90, right? Looking at the game logs, Lemieux's streak started in the Pens' 12th game of the season, on October 31st (weirdly, he had been shut out in 3 of the previous 5 games). Let's say he had gone past 51 games -- does it count as an NHL record? I thought those game-streaks (like, 50 in 50) only counted from the start of the season. Or is it one of those "unofficial" records?

For whatever reason, he got off to a slower start that year than the season before -- this is in relative terms, of course. He had 18 points in the first 11 games (the Pens were 3-6-2 to that point), which is obviously good, but he'd had 38 points (!) in the first 11 games the year before.

Once the streak started, he seemed to score maybe more consistently, but less in huge numbers (no 6, 7, or 8 point games) than the year before.

It appears he had 16 one-point games during the 46-game streak, so there must have been some close calls along the way, as you'd expect. (Gretzky had 13 one-point games during his fifty-one game streak from the start of the season.) Conversely, there were 3 five-point games in there, including two in a row.

His streak stopped at MSG against the Rangers. What happened in that one? I don't remember. The stat-line shows that he didn't have a shot on goal and was -1. Did he get injured and go out early?
From my understanding the official 50 in 50 needs to be from the start of the season and within the team's first 50 games, not just the player's, simply because that was the scenario Richard had to play under. I don't believe there's anything about when point streaks happen, but I could be wrong. I know Crosby's 25 gamer that got a lot of hype started 10 or so games into the year.

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09-24-2016, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Regal View Post
From my understanding the official 50 in 50 needs to be from the start of the season and within the team's first 50 games, not just the player's, simply because that was the scenario Richard had to play under. I don't believe there's anything about when point streaks happen, but I could be wrong.
But I guess it's only within one season, then? For example, Gretzky scored points in the last 9 games of 1982-83 and the first 51 games of 1983-84, so then shouldn't that "record" be 60 games? But I guess the record maxes-out at whatever the number of games for the season is.

It seems kind of contradictory that points-streaks count from anytime, but 50-goal streaks count only from game 1 of the season.

Then again, as Mario Lemieux once said, "Nothing in this league makes sense."

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09-24-2016, 09:15 PM
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Lemieux played with a herniated disc the entire streak.
When did he get injured?

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09-24-2016, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
When did he get injured?
Lemieux said he was starting to have back problems as early as the end of 88-89. So it's something thst progressed into a problem. Lemieux couldn't even tie his skates during the streak

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09-25-2016, 06:04 AM
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But I guess it's only within one season, then? For example, Gretzky scored points in the last 9 games of 1982-83 and the first 51 games of 1983-84, so then shouldn't that "record" be 60 games? But I guess the record maxes-out at whatever the number of games for the season is.

It seems kind of contradictory that points-streaks count from anytime, but 50-goal streaks count only from game 1 of the season.

Then again, as Mario Lemieux once said, "Nothing in this league makes sense."
I get what you're saying but at the same time these are all subjective tallying up of records. It's not like there's an official nhl record keeping of 50 in 50 from the start vs not the start for points.


I think if next year Ovi didn't score in first 3 games but went on to score 48 in his next 49 games - there would still be a ton of hype about the potential of him scoring 2 to have 50 in 50 games the next game.

In contrast - the idea of counting point streaks across seasons just seems kinda dull. But it also depends. You said Gretzky finished the year with 9 games - 9 games means nothing. If instead he had finished the year with 30 game point streak and started the next year with a 30 game point streak too it might get more talked about because people would be keeping track in year 1 and be like "man if only season didn't end I wonder how long he keeps it going" and so counting from game 1 following year would happen. That of course is without considering playoff games in between. It's all subjective really

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09-25-2016, 07:21 AM
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I get what you're saying but at the same time these are all subjective tallying up of records. It's not like there's an official nhl record keeping of 50 in 50 from the start vs not the start for points.


I think if next year Ovi didn't score in first 3 games but went on to score 48 in his next 49 games - there would still be a ton of hype about the potential of him scoring 2 to have 50 in 50 games the next game.
I don't know about that. Players have closed the season on a 50 in 50 without any hype in regard to Rocket Richard's accomplishment.

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09-25-2016, 08:52 AM
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I don't know about that. Players have closed the season on a 50 in 50 without any hype in regard to Rocket Richard's accomplishment.
How many players have scored 50 goals in any consecutive 50-game stretch? I know Kurri, Mogilny, Neely, and Lemieux have unofficial 50-in-50 (with Lemieux also having a real 50-in-46), but those are counted from the start of their seasons.

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09-25-2016, 12:05 PM
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How many players have scored 50 goals in any consecutive 50-game stretch? I know Kurri, Mogilny, Neely, and Lemieux have unofficial 50-in-50 (with Lemieux also having a real 50-in-46), but those are counted from the start of their seasons.
Nicholls, Selanne, and Simmer have done it. Simmer was the exact situation bobholly39 described: no goals in Game #1, then 50 in 50.

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09-25-2016, 12:19 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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well i had this hockey card when i was nine.

this is what i remember and have pieced together in the years since: there was a sense of inevitability with mario. not at first, mind you: at first i think there were doubts that anyone could be as good offensively as gretzky because those numbers were ridiculous. the degree to which gretzky easily topped orr's assist record and espo's point record in just his second year, and then destroyed all three records in year three was staggering. i obviously don't remember those years, having just been born but i think with mario coming into the league everyone was naturally wary of the comparisons because how could anyone be as offensively dominant as what we had just seen with gretzky?

but this is what i do remember: after mario hit 85, 114, and 199 in his fifth season people were saying, well he's only 23 years old so he might still be improving. what is this kid's ceiling? i can't believe it but he might actually break gretzky's records.

and going back through mario's early career, he hits 100 as a teenager. not a giant huge deal (i mean, so did hawerchuk) but impressive. but then in year two he hits 140 and already vaults himself above dionne, trottier, stastny, savard, hawerchuk territory and he's not even 21 yet. i would guess that that second year where he scored more than anyone ever other than gretzky, espo, and bossy's spike year, recalibrated everyone's expectations to say, yes maybe we can actually have the gretzky conversation with mario.

so during the streak, and i do remember being passively aware of the streak, you did actually think he could do it. you did actually think he had improved from the 199 mario of the previous year. and i think because he'd hit the checkpoints in season two and season five that put him above and beyond even superduperstar scorers like dionne and trottier and those three poor '80s centers who had the bad luck to peak during gretzky's run, and then above and beyond everyone but gretzky, even the biggest gretzky fan or the biggest mario hater had to admit that mario one day owning all the records was a possibility.

which, by the way, is why in the disappointing rookie season threads i asked out loud whether mario's rookie year was a disappointing relative to expectations. the hype on that guy must have been way higher than hawerchuk, and yet mario basically repeated hawerchuk's rookie year. one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time, but i don't think it's what you'd expect from the hype.

this is also why despite what an incredible force lindros was from day one, i think his career, including his first few years up to and including the '95 hart trophy and art-ross-but-not-art-ross, were also disappointing. under normal circumstances, even a guy with lindros hype wouldn't have been disappointing if he'd had the same first three years. they were like nothing we'd ever seen (being that most of us didn't see peak howe). but post-mario, expectations were that, omg yes hype isn't just hype, we actually just saw a guy capable of running with gretzky. in '89 mario showed it numerically. in '91 and '92 he showed it by winning cups and then by basically owning the league in '93, the playoff upset notwithstanding. and the fact that lindros could not dominate on that level offensively, even if he was a very different kind of player, was disappointing well before he became feuding-with-bobby-clarke lindros, or later damaged-goods-lindros.

i'd say, in the same way, crosby became the undisputed best player in the world, as was expected. but he never came close to knocking on mario's door, let alone gretzky, and for that reason ultimately his career was disappointing too relative to expectations. objectively of course, his career is still one of the greatest of all time.

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09-25-2016, 05:47 PM
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so during the streak, and i do remember being passively aware of the streak, you did actually think he could do it. you did actually think he had improved from the 199 mario of the previous year. and i think because he'd hit the checkpoints in season two and season five that put him above and beyond even superduperstar scorers like dionne and trottier and those three poor '80s centers who had the bad luck to peak during gretzky's run, and then above and beyond everyone but gretzky, even the biggest gretzky fan or the biggest mario hater had to admit that mario one day owning all the records was a possibility.
Yeah, I don't remember it being like this at all.

As I noted above, Mario's scoring was (obviously) more consistent during the streak than ever before, but also less spectacular. He was scoring at a noticeably lower rate than the year before, and the Pens were losing more than the year before. When his streak started, they were 3-6-2 (ironically, his streak started in a loss against Gretzky and the Kings in Pittsburgh, in a game when Wayne had 3 goals and 3 assists). When his streak ended, the Pens were barely .500. So, overall they were 23-21-2 during his streak, which is below the previous year's pace.

I don't recall Mario's point-streak suddenly alerting the hockey world to the fact that he could now challenge Gretzky's scoring records. The previous season (1988-89) or two might have done so, but not 1989-90 particularly. If anything, it kind of underscored the likelihood of his coming up short.

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09-25-2016, 08:28 PM
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I don't recall Mario's point-streak suddenly alerting the hockey world to the fact that he could now challenge Gretzky's scoring records. The previous season (1988-89) or two might have done so, but not 1989-90 particularly. If anything, it kind of underscored the likelihood of his coming up short.
no no. as i said, 199 alerted the world that mario could challenge gretzky's records. i meant that the streak was the first of gretzky's records that mario came for (and obviously one of many that he ultimately fell short of) after his breakout omg-he-can-hang-with-gordie/orr/gretzky season. the "it" in "he could do it" refers to breaking the point streak record.

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09-26-2016, 12:42 AM
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no no. as i said, 199 alerted the world that mario could challenge gretzky's records. i meant that the streak was the first of gretzky's records that mario came for (and obviously one of many that he ultimately fell short of) after his breakout omg-he-can-hang-with-gordie/orr/gretzky season. the "it" in "he could do it" refers to breaking the point streak record.
Mario's problem though was that Gretzky came first, as you have already alluded to. Chasing records is exciting, but not as much as breaking them. I know there are a lot of factors in Lemieux not breaking any of the records, but the fact is that not getting the record just doesn't excite people as much as breaking it does.

I specifically remember thinking Lemieux would break this one though. It was the one record that seemed entirely within Lemieux's reach, and by the time he was in his 40+ games, I was certain he would do it. I thought 92 goals was a possibility in a career year, but it would be very difficult even then. 163 assists was unbreakable, even by Lemieux. 215 points was possible maybe, but not this particular season. As Panther mentioned, Lemieux was scoring consistently, but not at the same rate he did in 88-89.

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09-26-2016, 12:50 AM
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But I guess it's only within one season, then? For example, Gretzky scored points in the last 9 games of 1982-83 and the first 51 games of 1983-84, so then shouldn't that "record" be 60 games? But I guess the record maxes-out at whatever the number of games for the season is.

It seems kind of contradictory that points-streaks count from anytime, but 50-goal streaks count only from game 1 of the season.

Then again, as Mario Lemieux once said, "Nothing in this league makes sense."
Point streaks aren't like that though. This isn't a games streak like Cal Ripken or Lou Gehrig's. Or Doug Jarvis' for that matter. Points are a whole new animal. The point streak is only relevant in a single season because if it crosses over two seasons you have an entire summer - and a slightly different team - to refresh and get points again. Not the same as playing game in and game out in the season and keeping the streak going.

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09-26-2016, 12:57 AM
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Lemieux's 46 game point streak actually would have been the longest ever as it turned out if Gretzky didn't score this famous empty-netter to extend his run:



That got Gretzky's streak to 44 straight games, which otherwise would have been 3 short of Lemieux.

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09-26-2016, 02:42 AM
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The most remarkable thing, to me, about Lemieux's 46-game streak is that the Pens were not a particularly good team at that moment. They were barely over .500 during this streak (and in fact ended up 8 games below .500 and missed the playoffs). The Pens were still the 4th-best offensive team in the League, but still it's amazing to me that he could do that while losing as much as winning. We can't overstate how hard it is to set scoring records on mediocre teams.

Somebody'll have to dig out the list of all-time point-streaks, but I doubt many if any of them were achieved on mediocre clubs. I vaguely recall Gretzky having one around 30-odd games for L.A. at one point, but I can't be sure.

Of the top-28 season point-totals in NHL history (obviously dominated by the 1970 to 1994 period), Gretzky is the only player to be on the list while playing for a losing team, and he did it twice (1980-81 Oilers and 1989-90 Kings).

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09-26-2016, 02:59 AM
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The most remarkable thing, to me, about Lemieux's 46-game streak is that the Pens were not a particularly good team at that moment. They were barely over .500 during this streak (and in fact ended up 8 games below .500 and missed the playoffs).
To be exact, they were 24-21-2.

By contrast, the Oilers were 38-8-5 during Gretzky's 51 game run.

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09-26-2016, 05:18 AM
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To be exact, they were 24-21-2.

By contrast, the Oilers were 38-8-5 during Gretzky's 51 game run.
We can't really blame lemieux for this. I mean he scored 103 points in the 46 game streak. Not much else he could do

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09-26-2016, 05:58 AM
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We can't really blame lemieux for this. I mean he scored 103 points in the 46 game streak. Not much else he could do
Lol, I don't think anyone's blaming Lemieux for it -- we're just saying it's amazing to have such a run when the team isn't doing particularly well.

I suppose the even more remarkable streak would be one achieved on a low-scoring team. I doubt that's ever happened.

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09-26-2016, 06:14 AM
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I don't know about that. Players have closed the season on a 50 in 50 without any hype in regard to Rocket Richard's accomplishment.
I've been a hockey fan for over 20 years but probably started following hockey, very, very closely only in the past 10-15 or so. The age of the internet. And also a low scoring era compared to the 80s and early 90s.

I guess I just can't fathom a scenario in today's world where a player hits 50 goals in 50 games during a season (instead of from the start) where the hockey world doesn't make a HUGE deal about it. I suppose this may not have always been the case, but I think it would in today's age of Internet and Social media and lower scoring era.

I also think if Patrick Kane's point streak from last year lasted till the end of the season (let's say 30 game point streak is hit on game 82) - there would be some hype coming into this season as to whether he can extend it into this season. If he got to the ~15 or so game mark this year with points - people would start comparing it to Mario's 46 and Gretzky's 51 game point streaks. With an asterisk maybe, but it would still happen.

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09-26-2016, 06:28 AM
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which, by the way, is why in the disappointing rookie season threads i asked out loud whether mario's rookie year was a disappointing relative to expectations. the hype on that guy must have been way higher than hawerchuk, and yet mario basically repeated hawerchuk's rookie year. one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time, but i don't think it's what you'd expect from the hype.

this is also why despite what an incredible force lindros was from day one, i think his career, including his first few years up to and including the '95 hart trophy and art-ross-but-not-art-ross, were also disappointing. under normal circumstances, even a guy with lindros hype wouldn't have been disappointing if he'd had the same first three years. they were like nothing we'd ever seen (being that most of us didn't see peak howe). but post-mario, expectations were that, omg yes hype isn't just hype, we actually just saw a guy capable of running with gretzky. in '89 mario showed it numerically. in '91 and '92 he showed it by winning cups and then by basically owning the league in '93, the playoff upset notwithstanding. and the fact that lindros could not dominate on that level offensively, even if he was a very different kind of player, was disappointing well before he became feuding-with-bobby-clarke lindros, or later damaged-goods-lindros.

i'd say, in the same way, crosby became the undisputed best player in the world, as was expected. but he never came close to knocking on mario's door, let alone gretzky, and for that reason ultimately his career was disappointing too relative to expectations. objectively of course, his career is still one of the greatest of all time.
I don't think Mario Lemieux's rookie season was a disappointment, simply because I think it's perfectly ok to expect players to have a 1-2 year adjustment period before reaching their "peak", or even "prime" form in the NHL. That happened with Lemieux, also with Lindros.
It didn't happen with Gretzky nor Crosby, who both started out stronger.

But I think that's fine. A "disappointing" rookie year for Leimeux would have been ~60 points. 100 points is fine. I don't think there's ever been an expectation for rookies to completely dominate the NHL from day 1 - it's more about showing you're good, starting to get results, and eventually building up to your best (which can take 1-2 years). I think Lemieux did ok in that sense with 100 points.

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09-26-2016, 08:39 AM
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But I think that's fine. A "disappointing" rookie year for Leimeux would have been ~60 points. 100 points is fine. I don't think there's ever been an expectation for rookies to completely dominate the NHL from day 1 - it's more about showing you're good, starting to get results, and eventually building up to your best (which can take 1-2 years). I think Lemieux did ok in that sense with 100 points.
He did more than okay -- 100 points? On a .331 team? As a rookie? Not to mention he missed 7 games. It's a crazy, incredible, rookie season.

He did start out slow, though (despite that first goal on first shift). But wow, he heated up -- on January 26th, 1985, Pittsburgh was at Edmonton. In that game, Gretzky scored his 50th goal (as well as 51st and 52nd), and Mario scored his 20th. But after that game, Gretzky scored 21 more goals and Mario 23.

Completely off-topic, but it would be interesting to see the game-by-game stats for Mario in his rookie year.

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09-26-2016, 12:13 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panther View Post

He did start out slow, though (despite that first goal on first shift). But wow, he heated up -- on January 26th, 1985, Pittsburgh was at Edmonton. In that game, Gretzky scored his 50th goal (as well as 51st and 52nd), and Mario scored his 20th. But after that game, Gretzky scored 21 more goals and Mario 23.
thanks. this is the kind of context re mario's rookie year i was looking for in the other thread.

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