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Gordie Howe

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Old
11-29-2011, 12:44 PM
  #26
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Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
There's something to be said for one player being just as productive as another without having to put his body in harm's way. We've all seen the videos of Lemieux with defensemen hanging on his back or Orr recklessly flying through opponents. A guy like Gretzky was just as productive without putting himself in those types of situations, which in turn lengthened his career.

As for durability, it may not be a "skill" but it is an important part of evaluating how good a player is. It is in the same category as size, strength, or speed. No one gives Gretzky extra credit because he was smaller than Lemieux, why should Lemieux get a pass on durability (especially when he was known for not keeping himself in the best shape early in his career)
I can see your point.

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11-29-2011, 12:48 PM
  #27
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Mainly because Howe dominated his peers to the same extent as Lemieux. percentages.
Only for a very short period did he produce at that rate. A healthy Howe was outscored, in his prime, by Bronco Horvath and Dutch Reibel, he was more than once matched or bettered by Henri Richard and Andy Bathgate, Red Sullivan and Ed Litzenberger were able to more or less kept pace with him. Jean Beliveau and Dickie Moore dominated the scoring race against a healthy Howe.

It's not that these weren't good players, some of them are among the best ever, but the fact that Howe had any offensive peers at all puts him far below Lemieux in this regard. Lemieux was far and away the best offensive player in the world for essentially his whole career*. He became clearly the best when he was 20, and he walked away from the game at 31 carrying the Art Ross. He would have continued being the best offensive player for years after that, or at worst 2nd behind Jagr, a European the likes of which Howe didn't have to compete with.

*the above is not including Gretzky for obvious reasons

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11-29-2011, 01:02 PM
  #28
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Only for a very short period did he produce at that rate. A healthy Howe was outscored, in his prime, by Bronco Horvath and Dutch Reibel, he was more than once matched or bettered by Henri Richard and Andy Bathgate, Red Sullivan and Ed Litzenberger were able to more or less kept pace with him. Jean Beliveau and Dickie Moore dominated the scoring race against a healthy Howe.

It's not that these weren't good players, some of them are among the best ever, but the fact that Howe had any offensive peers at all puts him far below Lemieux in this regard. Lemieux was far and away the best offensive player in the world for essentially his whole career*. He became clearly the best when he was 20, and he walked away from the game at 31 carrying the Art Ross. He would have continued being the best offensive player for years after that, or at worst 2nd behind Jagr, a European the likes of which Howe didn't have to compete with.

*the above is not including Gretzky for obvious reasons
The thing is, atleast Howe was healthy. Lemieux was arrogant and lived on his talent. He didnt want to work out and payed the price for it. I see Lemieux as #4 as I cant rank him above people who worked for their careers.

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11-29-2011, 03:28 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
Only for a very short period did he produce at that rate. A healthy Howe was outscored, in his prime, by Bronco Horvath and Dutch Reibel, he was more than once matched or bettered by Henri Richard and Andy Bathgate, Red Sullivan and Ed Litzenberger were able to more or less kept pace with him. Jean Beliveau and Dickie Moore dominated the scoring race against a healthy Howe.

It's not that these weren't good players, some of them are among the best ever, but the fact that Howe had any offensive peers at all puts him far below Lemieux in this regard. Lemieux was far and away the best offensive player in the world for essentially his whole career*. He became clearly the best when he was 20, and he walked away from the game at 31 carrying the Art Ross. He would have continued being the best offensive player for years after that, or at worst 2nd behind Jagr, a European the likes of which Howe didn't have to compete with.

*the above is not including Gretzky for obvious reasons
As well, Howe's four year stretch came in a league that I don't think had fully recovered from the war yet.

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11-29-2011, 04:04 PM
  #30
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I think domination is best judged by PPG and that is not close. Lemieux led the league every season he played between ages 20-35 (excluding Gretzky), Gretzky every season between ages 19-31 (excluding Lemieux), Howe between ages 22-25, and this was probably with the least competition. Beliveau basically matched Howes production from his rookie season being just 3 years younger. nobody would argue his offense versus Gretzky or Lemieux.

now if you value longevity and physical play highly I have no problem with Howe above Lemieux (I might put him there myself, I constantly flip-flop on that) but for offensive talent I donīt think itīs very close just as the aforementioned factors are not close in Howes favor.

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11-29-2011, 08:34 PM
  #31
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Originally Posted by pluppe View Post
I think domination is best judged by PPG and that is not close. Lemieux led the league every season he played between ages 20-35 (excluding Gretzky), Gretzky every season between ages 19-31 (excluding Lemieux), Howe between ages 22-25, and this was probably with the least competition. Beliveau basically matched Howes production from his rookie season being just 3 years younger. nobody would argue his offense versus Gretzky or Lemieux.

now if you value longevity and physical play highly I have no problem with Howe above Lemieux (I might put him there myself, I constantly flip-flop on that) but for offensive talent I donīt think itīs very close just as the aforementioned factors are not close in Howes favor.
Or you can measure it on the percentage of points scored higher than their closest compeition and theres a post earlier in this thread that shows Howe dominated just as much, if not more than Mario.

While dominating offensively like that, Howe was also the toughest in the league and good defensively as well.

He also is the most durable player all time.

He also had to return from a fractured skull that almost killed him in 1950, so Marios cancer cant be used to question if Howe cuold have done something like that.

I think Howe is clearly above Mario, always thought it but after reading this thread I cant see an argument in the favour of Lemieux

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11-29-2011, 10:16 PM
  #32
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It's interesting that there is so much unanimity that Howe, Gretzky, Orr and Lemieux are the four greatest players ever yet so much disagreement about the order. I believe good arguments can be made for any one of them to be number one. Anyone who values longevity over peak should have Howe in the top spot. For peak performance I'd choose Orr or Lemieux. People who value both equally might choose Gretzky. I'm more of a peak guy so I have Orr and Lemieux in the top two spots but I wouldn't argue strenuously against any ordering of these four players.

I do think that in fifteen years there will be a consensus top five that will include Sydney Crosby.

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11-29-2011, 11:27 PM
  #33
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Originally Posted by Ed Wood View Post
It's interesting that there is so much unanimity that Howe, Gretzky, Orr and Lemieux are the four greatest players ever yet so much disagreement about the order. I believe good arguments can be made for any one of them to be number one. Anyone who values longevity over peak should have Howe in the top spot. For peak performance I'd choose Orr or Lemieux. People who value both equally might choose Gretzky. I'm more of a peak guy so I have Orr and Lemieux in the top two spots but I wouldn't argue strenuously against any ordering of these four players.

I do think that in fifteen years there will be a consensus top five that will include Sydney Crosby.
I see how a string of 8 norrises is a pretty damn high peak and can be argued,


But how is Marios peak higher than Gordies?

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11-30-2011, 12:06 AM
  #34
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I see how a string of 8 norrises is a pretty damn high peak and can be argued,


But how is Marios peak higher than Gordies?
Or Gretzky's?

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11-30-2011, 12:15 AM
  #35
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Originally Posted by Ed Wood View Post
It's interesting that there is so much unanimity that Howe, Gretzky, Orr and Lemieux are the four greatest players ever yet so much disagreement about the order. I believe good arguments can be made for any one of them to be number one. Anyone who values longevity over peak should have Howe in the top spot. For peak performance I'd choose Orr or Lemieux. People who value both equally might choose Gretzky. I'm more of a peak guy so I have Orr and Lemieux in the top two spots but I wouldn't argue strenuously against any ordering of these four players.

I do think that in fifteen years there will be a consensus top five that will include Sydney Crosby.
This statement is correct, but I find it funny, because for me personally, when doing an all-time ranking that takes peak, prime, and longevity into account Mario Lemieux is probably the very easiest player for me to rank. I see no real argument for him to be any higher or lower than 4th.

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11-30-2011, 12:51 AM
  #36
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mario's peak is easily better than gordie's. In 1989, only gretzky was remotely close to him and the scoring finishes were inflated because gretzky and lemieux's linemates were in the top 5. After yzerman, every other score scored 110 or fewer points.

In 1996 lemieux scored 161 points in 70 games, besides his linemate no one else was even close to him. Lemieux scored at a pace of 189 points in 1996 for darn sakes.

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11-30-2011, 02:25 AM
  #37
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Originally Posted by newfy View Post
I see how a string of 8 norrises is a pretty damn high peak and can be argued,


But how is Marios peak higher than Gordies?
He was the best skater in the league from age 20 to 31, his massive superiority to the rest of the league only ended when he retired. The only other players that can claim anything that, or anything close to that, is Gretzky and Orr.

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11-30-2011, 03:58 AM
  #38
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Or you can measure it on the percentage of points scored higher than their closest compeition and theres a post earlier in this thread that shows Howe dominated just as much, if not more than Mario.

While dominating offensively like that, Howe was also the toughest in the league and good defensively as well.

He also is the most durable player all time.

He also had to return from a fractured skull that almost killed him in 1950, so Marios cancer cant be used to question if Howe cuold have done something like that.

I think Howe is clearly above Mario, always thought it but after reading this thread I cant see an argument in the favour of Lemieux
That percentage over competition stat really gets oversold in my opinion. It's based off of the final stats for the season, yet Lemieux was winning several Art Rosses while missing a good chunk of games. To me, this is giving Howe credit for his durability while trying to look only at their offense.

For example, in '92-93, Lemieux only beat LaFontaine by 8 %. But he missed 24 games! His PPG that season was 52% better than LaFontaine's. And while we can say that perhaps he couldn't sustain that level over those 24 games, even if he only scored at his career average over them, he'd outscore LaFontaine by almost 40%. If you go by PPG for Lemieux's Art Ross Seasons (minus Gretzky), he wins by 33%, 35%, 26%, 52%, 26%, and 6% (he finally started coming back down to earth in his last year before his first retirement). That's insane domination that's better than Howe's total point win percentages. While PPG will always have the "what if?" question about it, Lemieux was doing this every season to the point where I don't think it was a question that he was going to put up numbers very close had he played the whole season every year.

As well, while most people take Gretzky out of the equation for Lemieux's Art Rosses, they don't mention that without Gretz he would have won another in '86, and most likely another in '87 since it's doubtful Kurri would have outscored him by a point (though Lemieux still beat Kurri in PPG by 22%). Without Gretz he also would have finished 6 points out of the Art Ross in '90 while only playing 59 games (while beating Messier in PPG by 28%)

Essentially, Howe had 4 years where he dominated league scoring to Lemieux like levels, and then became a consistent top 5 Art Ross threat along the lines of a Beliveau. Lemieux dominated for over a decade from his sophomore season til the year he first retired.

The fact that Howe was able to dominate for a solid period, be a top 3 player for the rest of his career, stay healthy and consistent despite playing a physical game, adapt his game through several decades to still be productive, and play a much more well-rounded game than many top scorers are all reasons to consider him a better player and rank him higher than Lemieux, and even Gretzky and Orr. There's no way he was better at offense than Lemieux though.

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11-30-2011, 05:42 AM
  #39
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That percentage over competition stat really gets oversold in my opinion. It's based off of the final stats for the season, yet Lemieux was winning several Art Rosses while missing a good chunk of games. To me, this is giving Howe credit for his durability while trying to look only at their offense.

For example, in '92-93, Lemieux only beat LaFontaine by 8 %. But he missed 24 games! His PPG that season was 52% better than LaFontaine's. And while we can say that perhaps he couldn't sustain that level over those 24 games, even if he only scored at his career average over them, he'd outscore LaFontaine by almost 40%. If you go by PPG for Lemieux's Art Ross Seasons (minus Gretzky), he wins by 33%, 35%, 26%, 52%, 26%, and 6% (he finally started coming back down to earth in his last year before his first retirement). That's insane domination that's better than Howe's total point win percentages. While PPG will always have the "what if?" question about it, Lemieux was doing this every season to the point where I don't think it was a question that he was going to put up numbers very close had he played the whole season every year.

As well, while most people take Gretzky out of the equation for Lemieux's Art Rosses, they don't mention that without Gretz he would have won another in '86, and most likely another in '87 since it's doubtful Kurri would have outscored him by a point (though Lemieux still beat Kurri in PPG by 22%). Without Gretz he also would have finished 6 points out of the Art Ross in '90 while only playing 59 games (while beating Messier in PPG by 28%)

Essentially, Howe had 4 years where he dominated league scoring to Lemieux like levels, and then became a consistent top 5 Art Ross threat along the lines of a Beliveau. Lemieux dominated for over a decade from his sophomore season til the year he first retired.

The fact that Howe was able to dominate for a solid period, be a top 3 player for the rest of his career, stay healthy and consistent despite playing a physical game, adapt his game through several decades to still be productive, and play a much more well-rounded game than many top scorers are all reasons to consider him a better player and rank him higher than Lemieux, and even Gretzky and Orr. There's no way he was better at offense than Lemieux though.
Still, Lemieux's shortened career is hard to over come in an all time sense when comparing with the 3 best ever.

When taken into account, peak, longevity, prime, playoffs and internationals. I don't know see an argument for anyone other than Gretzky at number 1, I find some try to marginalize him, because they can't fathom how far and away he was from the rest of the pack. I don't see an argument for Howe to be number 1, although he is my consensus number 2, I can see orr and lemieux being flipped based on what you value more, but Gretzky's longevity, peak, prime, playoffs is no worse than number 2 in any category and number 1 in most and the level of dominance is only rivaled by orr imo.

I see most of the post of Lemieux's point shares ect have to remove Gretzky in order to be truly dominant. You don't have to remove anyone to see Gretzky's dominance, he set the bar imo. Regular season and playoffs.

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11-30-2011, 06:16 AM
  #40
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Originally Posted by Regal View Post
That percentage over competition stat really gets oversold in my opinion. It's based off of the final stats for the season, yet Lemieux was winning several Art Rosses while missing a good chunk of games. To me, this is giving Howe credit for his durability while trying to look only at their offense.

For example, in '92-93, Lemieux only beat LaFontaine by 8 %. But he missed 24 games! His PPG that season was 52% better than LaFontaine's. And while we can say that perhaps he couldn't sustain that level over those 24 games, even if he only scored at his career average over them, he'd outscore LaFontaine by almost 40%. If you go by PPG for Lemieux's Art Ross Seasons (minus Gretzky), he wins by 33%, 35%, 26%, 52%, 26%, and 6% (he finally started coming back down to earth in his last year before his first retirement). That's insane domination that's better than Howe's total point win percentages. While PPG will always have the "what if?" question about it, Lemieux was doing this every season to the point where I don't think it was a question that he was going to put up numbers very close had he played the whole season every year.

As well, while most people take Gretzky out of the equation for Lemieux's Art Rosses, they don't mention that without Gretz he would have won another in '86, and most likely another in '87 since it's doubtful Kurri would have outscored him by a point (though Lemieux still beat Kurri in PPG by 22%). Without Gretz he also would have finished 6 points out of the Art Ross in '90 while only playing 59 games (while beating Messier in PPG by 28%)

Essentially, Howe had 4 years where he dominated league scoring to Lemieux like levels, and then became a consistent top 5 Art Ross threat along the lines of a Beliveau. Lemieux dominated for over a decade from his sophomore season til the year he first retired.

The fact that Howe was able to dominate for a solid period, be a top 3 player for the rest of his career, stay healthy and consistent despite playing a physical game, adapt his game through several decades to still be productive, and play a much more well-rounded game than many top scorers are all reasons to consider him a better player and rank him higher than Lemieux, and even Gretzky and Orr. There's no way he was better at offense than Lemieux though.
You can't score in games you don't play.

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11-30-2011, 07:04 AM
  #41
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You can't score in games you don't play.
Durability ≠ offensive ability. As I said, that's a separate factor in Howe's favour.

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11-30-2011, 07:16 AM
  #42
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I would agree here Howe was probably the most complete forward of all time while Mario was the most offensively gifted.

Wayne was simply the best.
Interesting. I would like to hear this argument on how Wayne Gretzky is better all-around than the much larger and more physically capable Mario Lemieux, a player who used that advantage to perform offensive feats no one other than Gretzky had ever matched or beaten. Better offensively? Sure. Healthier? Definitely. But better all-around? Not a chance in hell.

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It's interesting that there is so much unanimity that Howe, Gretzky, Orr and Lemieux are the four greatest players ever yet so much disagreement about the order. I believe good arguments can be made for any one of them to be number one. Anyone who values longevity over peak should have Howe in the top spot. For peak performance I'd choose Orr or Lemieux. People who value both equally might choose Gretzky. I'm more of a peak guy so I have Orr and Lemieux in the top two spots but I wouldn't argue strenuously against any ordering of these four players.

I do think that in fifteen years there will be a consensus top five that will include Sydney Crosby.
Crosby? Go back to the Pens board. He had an amazing run last year, but he wasn't nearly as good as Yzerman was in 1989. And there's argument as to whether that was Yzerman's best season. Mark Messier won two Hart trophies without having any particularly remarkable years, but was always good at every facet of the game. There are a great many other players Crosby will be competing with for that spot. If he manages to average 120 points for 15 years, and develop his defensive game from "meh" to pretty good", then he'll probably have a solid argument. But in 1992-93, Yzerman's PP was ridiculous, and his defensive game was well above Crosby's level. Crosby is Jaromir Jagr. A skilled offensive player with mediocre defense whose rep as the best player (and his defensive rep as well) gets overblown by his offensive prowess. Jagr was great; don't get me wrong. But neither is/will be top 5 all-time at the end unless Crosby seriously picks up his game.

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11-30-2011, 09:20 AM
  #43
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Yeah, Howe should be up there in anyone's discussion for greatest player ever. 801 career goals, 1850 career points. Playing elite hockey well into his 40's. I have him as my #3 player all-time behind Gretzky and Orr but I have Howe closer than Orr than I have him to my #4 player (Lemieux)

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11-30-2011, 09:48 AM
  #44
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mario's peak is easily better than gordie's. In 1989, only gretzky was remotely close to him and the scoring finishes were inflated because gretzky and lemieux's linemates were in the top 5. After yzerman, every other score scored 110 or fewer points.

In 1996 lemieux scored 161 points in 70 games, besides his linemate no one else was even close to him. Lemieux scored at a pace of 189 points in 1996 for darn sakes.
Re:1996, Lemieux was sitting out the second game of back to backs, which is generally the tougher one, so I wouldn't use "on pace" numbers for him.

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11-30-2011, 11:41 AM
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Re:1996, Lemieux was sitting out the second game of back to backs, which is generally the tougher one, so I wouldn't use "on pace" numbers for him.
Thats what I hate about using on pace numbers for Mario. The guy just dudnt seem to have the commitment to the fitness and love for the game of other guys.

Its like when you see a backup goalie playing really well but only plays 25 games, than becomes a teams starter and completely ***** the bed, because they are more tired out and facing different competition.

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11-30-2011, 12:05 PM
  #46
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Thats what I hate about using on pace numbers for Mario. The guy just dudnt seem to have the commitment to the fitness and love for the game of other guys.

Its like when you see a backup goalie playing really well but only plays 25 games, than becomes a teams starter and completely ***** the bed, because they are more tired out and facing different competition.
Well he did have cancer....but I agree with your general argument, hypotheticals shouldn't take precedence over what actually happened.
With that being said, the only player to outscore their opponents by larger percent margins than Howe is Gretzky. Howe's dominance gets underrated on these boards.

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11-30-2011, 12:07 PM
  #47
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Here's how you evaluate the stats of Howe or any player who played the majority of his career in the six-team league -- pick the best six goalies from the current NHL season.... and imagine those are the only goalies you will face for the entire season (well, five actually since you don't face your own goalie).

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11-30-2011, 12:26 PM
  #48
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Thats what I hate about using on pace numbers for Mario. The guy just dudnt seem to have the commitment to the fitness and love for the game of other guys.
What I hate is weasel words like "seem", which lets you say anything you want about a player's character without having any evidence for it.

Coming back from cancer should be a mark in favour of commitment to the game and love for it, shouldn't it?

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11-30-2011, 12:30 PM
  #49
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What I hate is weasel words like "seem", which lets you say anything you want about a player's character without having any evidence for it.

Coming back from cancer should be a mark in favour of commitment to the game and love for it, shouldn't it?
Exactly. Even aside from cancer, the dude's back was so bad that he had to have help tying his skates, but he kept going out there. I think that shows a lot of heart and love for the game, no?

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11-30-2011, 12:35 PM
  #50
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Exactly. Even aside from cancer, the dude's back was so bad that he had to have help tying his skates, but he kept going out there. I think that shows a lot of heart and love for the game, no?
I doubt anyone here is saying he didnt love the game and if they are then they are confused. What I am referring to is rather his work ethic. He didn't like to work out or his idea of working out was to not order fries when getting a burger. This is things that helps a player to get a bad back, cancer or no cancer. He could have been much healthier but chose not to.

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