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Gordie Howe

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Old
11-30-2011, 12:36 PM
  #51
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Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
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.
When he was younger, yes. A lot of players mature as they get older (even Gordie Howe did).

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11-30-2011, 12:39 PM
  #52
Hawkey Town 18
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Originally Posted by Doctor No View Post
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?
All of the critique of Lemieux's commitment I have heard are from the early part of his career. Mostly about not training as hard as other players and having a poor diet. The story goes that after playing with Gretzky in the 87' Canada Cup he was shown/learned what it took to win, and changed his ways. I've never heard anyone be critical of his commitment during his bout with cancer or later back issues.

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11-30-2011, 12:47 PM
  #53
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
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?
100% agreed.

I'm not going to go deep into this discussion but missing from a lot of this discussion is Lemieux's capabilty of turning scrubs into top scorers (See Rob Brown), as well as quality of teammates as a whole.

Yes Lemieux played some seasons with Jagr, Francis, Coffee etc.. but for the majority of his time in Pittsburgh he WAS the Franchise. Howe (who i'm not bashing whatsoever) played with several HHOF Abel, Lindsay, Kelly, Ullman etc..

How would the Red Wings have faired without Howe in the 1950-60's? How would have the Penguins have faired in the 1980-90's without Lemieux?


Lemieux was the franchise. There are multiple years where Lemieux scored 40-50% higher more points then the 2nd highest scorer on his team.


Take a look at the 2002-03 season for example. A 37 year old Lemieux (forget all his health problems) Led the Penguins in scoring. A prime Alex Kovalev was roughly 30% behind him in 2nd and Straka finished 3rd with half as many points.


Last edited by markrander87: 11-30-2011 at 01:09 PM.
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11-30-2011, 12:48 PM
  #54
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Originally Posted by dan1el View Post
I saw someone post something about Gordie Howe being in the debate for the second greatest player of all time, and was utterly confused. I wasn't around to watch him, but from things my father told me when I was young, it didn't sound like Howe could challenge Orr for the second spot.... I find it hard to believe that anyone came close to Gretzky-Lemieux-Orr trifecta. I know longevity and era are big things to consider, but I don't think one 100 point season cuts it to be in the top 3.
I need more old-time hockey education. Was Howe really better then anybody like; Messier, Jagr, Bossy, Yzerman, the Hulls or Esposito? Or any other greats that I'm not thinking of?
I'd like some Howe thoughts.
There is no reason not to conclude that Howe was better than Messier, Jagr, Bossy, Yzerman, Hull, Esposito and everyone outside of Gretzky/Orr/Lemieux. As others have shown here, Howe dominated his peers offensively to a larger degree than anyone outside of those three. He also contributed defensively as well, which certainly cannot be said of all offensive greats. Even if you note that some of those players had stronger peers, particularly during their peak seasons, it still does not make up the gap. Then you also have to consider that Howe's longevity as an elite player is unrivaled, particularly among forwards not named Gretzky. As far as a lack of 100 points seasons go.... come on.

Regarding Howe'place in the top 4, it really comes down to how you value peak and longevity. Mainly due to the reasons listed by pluppe and revolverjgw I would rate Howe as having the lowest peak level of performance, but his incredible longevity puts him well ahead of Lemieux for me. I would put him behind Orr, but that's mainly due to my strong preference for peak over longevity. If a person has slightly different preferences they can quite easily put Howe ahead of Orr. I find it pretty difficult to envision placing Howe ahead of Gretzky regardless of preferences considering Gretzky also had incredibly longevity.

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11-30-2011, 12:49 PM
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
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.
So we're back to hypotheticals then? How do you know he could have been healthier? What evidence do you have of that? How about we look at what he did on the ice rather than what you think he might have done if he had done things differently?

Besides that, given his back the best choice for his health would have been to stop playing such a physically demanding game. That would have made him healthier. But I don't think that would have increased his on-ice production.

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11-30-2011, 12:52 PM
  #56
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Originally Posted by SealsFan View Post
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).
Except for the fact that in the O6 there was usually a clear difference in the performance of the top and the bottom goalies in the league, at least based on unofficial sv% numbers. In fact the situation was much like in the post lockout NHL, the best sv%'s between .920-.930 and the worst usually a little below .900.

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11-30-2011, 12:52 PM
  #57
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
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.
Okay, he still would have hit anywhere between 175-185 points, you can do whatever you want to 'lessen' his accomplishment, but 1994 and 2006 were as equally high in scoring and no player from either of those seasons scored at anywhere near the pace lemieux did. Heck its going to be a while before anyone even breaks 135 points in the near future while we are at it.

During Gordie Howe's best years from 51-54, there were a few good players in the scoring race, but the top 20 scorers in general were weak. Howe is the clearly 3rd all time in peak offense, not 2nd.

Lemieux scored 199 points with scrubs, howe had hall of famers on his line every year. Mario takes the peak argument anyday, i'll take the 1989, 1993 and 1996 mario over any version of howe.

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11-30-2011, 12:53 PM
  #58
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Ville Emard Hurricanes

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
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.
Old Montreal joke that has grown out of context beyond belief.

Marion Lemieux played his youth hockey for the Ville Emard Hurricanes sponsored by Di Lallo`s Restaurant known locally for their hamburgers.

Ergo the comment.

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11-30-2011, 01:06 PM
  #59
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Old Montreal joke that has grown out of context beyond belief.

Marion Lemieux played his youth hockey for the Ville Emard Hurricanes sponsored by Di Lallo`s Restaurant known locally for their hamburgers.

Ergo the comment.
Hah. Didn't know that.

I googled Mario Lemieux+burger+fries, and one of the first hits is from a 2010 discussion on this site, about Howe vs. Lemieux. In it we find our friend jkrx repeating the claim, which is looking more and more like an urban legend. There's also a version of the quote that replaces burger with club sandwich. That makes it even more dubious.

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11-30-2011, 01:08 PM
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Old Montreal joke that has grown out of context beyond belief.

Marion Lemieux played his youth hockey for the Ville Emard Hurricanes sponsored by Di Lallo`s Restaurant known locally for their hamburgers.

Ergo the comment.
Very impressive insider knowledge but the comment jkrx is referring to is actually about club sandwiches, not hamburgers. I do not know the direct correlation between fries and a bad back that he refers to however. It seems more than likely that Lemieux's back problems would not have been avoided just through exercise.

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11-30-2011, 01:13 PM
  #61
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Originally Posted by JackSlater View Post
Very impressive insider knowledge but the comment jkrx is referring to is actually about club sandwiches, not hamburgers. I do not know the direct correlation between fries and a bad back that he refers to however. It seems more than likely that Lemieux's back problems would not have been avoided just through exercise.
Indeed. Suggesting that all back problems are a result of poor habits is unsupportable, I believe.

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11-30-2011, 01:13 PM
  #62
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All the stats being thrown around are fun and also quite relevant to the discussion but for me I rank players based on who I would choose to have on my team if I needed to win one Just one game. I would choose Orr first followed by Lemieux, Howe and Gretzky. The greatest player and the greatest career are really two different discussions.

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11-30-2011, 01:16 PM
  #63
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Indeed. Suggesting that all back problems are a result of poor habits is unsupportable, I believe.
Not to mention Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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11-30-2011, 01:20 PM
  #64
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It seems the quote is actually from Ron Francis, who claimed that it was something Lemieux said to him. It appears likely to be a joke, either on Francis' part or Lemieux's, not a serious indictment of his work habits.

A lot of places report this as a direct quote from Lemieux, but it was actually Francis who said it. So unless we believe Francis was actually maligning his teammate and captain in the press, it was a joke. A joke that some having taken literally and interpreted in the worst possible way.

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11-30-2011, 01:26 PM
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Wood View Post
All the stats being thrown around are fun and also quite relevant to the discussion but for me I rank players based on who I would choose to have on my team if I needed to win one Just one game. I would choose Orr first followed by Lemieux, Howe and Gretzky. The greatest player and the greatest career are really two different discussions.
Interesting opinion considering Gretzky has been the best and most consistent playoff performer of the 4, and has a reputation for routinely coming up with big goals when his team needed them.

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11-30-2011, 01:27 PM
  #66
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Originally Posted by Ed Wood View Post
The greatest player and the greatest career are really two different discussions.
It's not that cut and dried, though. I mean, why just one game? Why not a playoff series? Why not one season, since that's what championships are measured in? Why not up until the player's age-27 season, when he would become a UFA in the modern game, or any other arbitrary time frame? Why evaluate a player only at his peak, when then peak might have been very short? Why do you get to choose a single game in a player's career, while ignoring others (that, for example, he might have been sitting out with bad knees or a bad back)?

There's no right answer to how much you should value peak versus longevity, of course, but it's not as simple as saying the greatest player and the greatest career are two different discussions, because some would argue that the player with the greatest career is, by definition, the greatest player.

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11-30-2011, 01:32 PM
  #67
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Lemieux's size and height were both a blessing and a curse. His size gave him a great advantage on the ice, but men of his size tend to be more injury-prone. The body is bigger but the bones and joints aren't stronger.

Poor workout habits wouldn't help either, but a lot of big men have struggled with injuries, not just Lemieux.

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11-30-2011, 01:48 PM
  #68
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Originally Posted by JackSlater View Post
Very impressive insider knowledge but the comment jkrx is referring to is actually about club sandwiches, not hamburgers. I do not know the direct correlation between fries and a bad back that he refers to however. It seems more than likely that Lemieux's back problems would not have been avoided just through exercise.
Playing a physical demanding sport without proper training will give you a bad back no matter what people might be saying here. I believe any coach, physician, doctor etc can tell you that.

Wether they would have been completely avoided is of course another matter.

Exercise is a good way to prevent and help relieve back pain. Plain and simple.

Quote:
It seems the quote is actually from Ron Francis, who claimed that it was something Lemieux said to him. It appears likely to be a joke, either on Francis' part or Lemieux's, not a serious indictment of his work habits.

A lot of places report this as a direct quote from Lemieux, but it was actually Francis who said it. So unless we believe Francis was actually maligning his teammate and captain in the press, it was a joke. A joke that some having taken literally and interpreted in the worst possible way.
Actually I remembered it wrong, Lemieux still ate fries he just stopped putting ketchup on them one month before the season started. It was in the context on Mario saying he was going to start(!) to exercise during the summer and he joked about not putting ketchup on his fries. Meaning he wouldnt start excercising during summer. Why do people think that I meant it seriously?

Quote:
When he was younger, yes. A lot of players mature as they get older (even Gordie Howe did).
This is true and I do believe that once Mario had problems he matured and smartened up but by then his back was already in bad shape and the cancer didnt exactly improve the situation.

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11-30-2011, 01:51 PM
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
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.
Gretzky didn't work out until his Rangers days (when he felt he had to to keep up), was built like a girl, and ate 10 Hot Dogs and drank a couple of cokes before every game. That's just the way it was back then.

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11-30-2011, 01:53 PM
  #70
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The story is that Ron Francis asked Mario how he prepared in the off season and Mario replied that his off season training was that he stopped eating french fries with his club sandwich about a month before training camp.

Here is a reference to it from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, but it has been well known for quite some time:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08335/931702-61.stm

As far as I know, it wasn't until before his comeback in 2000 that Mario applied himself fully to his conditioning and fitness.

And if you don't think that taking care of himself better early in his career would have most likely helped prevent (or at least minimize) his back problems later.. well..

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11-30-2011, 02:02 PM
  #71
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Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
Gretzky didn't work out until his Rangers days (when he felt he had to to keep up), was built like a girl, and ate 10 Hot Dogs and drank a couple of cokes before every game. That's just the way it was back then.
This is not true as I remember him working out like crazy when he played with the kings and suffered from a herniated disc.

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11-30-2011, 02:11 PM
  #72
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Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
All of the critique of Lemieux's commitment I have heard are from the early part of his career. Mostly about not training as hard as other players and having a poor diet. The story goes that after playing with Gretzky in the 87' Canada Cup he was shown/learned what it took to win, and changed his ways. I've never heard anyone be critical of his commitment during his bout with cancer or later back issues.
Damn straight they are from the early part of his career. But he developed back problems at a relatively young age; don't you think his lack of conditioning early on was probably a factor there?

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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Indeed. Suggesting that all back problems are a result of poor habits is unsupportable, I believe.
As someone who has suffered from lower back problems for a long time, I think it's very well established that a better conditioned body (particularly the abs and other muscles around the torso) takes stress off of the back. I could uh... use quite a bit of work there myself, but I'm not a professional hockey player who is a big target for abuse.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 11-30-2011 at 02:17 PM.
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11-30-2011, 02:20 PM
  #73
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Originally Posted by jkrx View Post
Why do people think that I meant it seriously?
Because you used it as "evidence" of poor work habits?

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11-30-2011, 02:22 PM
  #74
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
And if you don't think that taking care of himself better early in his career would have most likely helped prevent (or at least minimize) his back problems later.. well..
Most likely? Quite likely. But we're supposed to be avoiding hypotheticals here, aren't we? If we should use "on pace" numbers for Lemieux, because it's a hypothetical, then we certainly can't use "what ifs" in terms of his health.

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11-30-2011, 02:24 PM
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
Gretzky didn't work out until his Rangers days (when he felt he had to to keep up), was built like a girl, and ate 10 Hot Dogs and drank a couple of cokes before every game. That's just the way it was back then.
Indeed. If eating french fries disqualifies you from having a good work ethic, then basically no one in the 1970s (for example) had a good work ethic. It's up to you to decide whether than makes sense.

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