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Gordie Howe

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Old
11-30-2011, 02:26 PM
  #76
BraveCanadian
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
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.
I must have missed the memo because 3/4s of what gets discussed on the history board are hypothetical comparisons.

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11-30-2011, 02:26 PM
  #77
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Points per game 1950-51 to 1953-54:

Gordie Howe 1.24
Maurice Richard 0.94
Ted Lindsay 0.94 (Howe's linemate)
Jean Beliveau 0.84
Bernard Geoffrion 0.79
Ted Kennedy 0.77

In 1954-55, Howe missed 6 games with injury and was clearly hampered in games he did play. This is the only season for 2 decades during which Howe didn't lead the Red Wings in scoring.

Howe was 2nd to Beliveau in scoirng in 1955-56 and won his 5th Art Ross in 1956-57.

Points per game 1950-51 to 1956-57:

Gordie Howe 1.19
Jean Beliveau 1.11
Maurice Richard 0.98
Ted Lindsay 0.94 (Howe's linemate)
Bernard Geoffrion 0.90
Andy Bathgate 0.76

After 56-57, Howe fell back to the pack (but always near the top). Perhaps the loss of Red Kelly and Ted Lindsay was a factor? On the other hand, Gretzky and Lemieux both had their best seasons with Paul Coffey.

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11-30-2011, 02:29 PM
  #78
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Is it really controversial to say that Wayne Gretzky practiced as hard or harder than anyone from the beginning, starting under the watchful eye of his father, while Mario Lemieux (the more natural talent) didn't learn the value of practicing and working hard until he saw how hard Gretzky worked in the 1987 Canada Cup?

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11-30-2011, 02:35 PM
  #79
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Is it really controversial to say that Wayne Gretzky practiced as hard or harder than anyone from the beginning, starting under the watchful eye of his father, while Mario Lemieux (the more natural talent) didn't learn the value of practicing and working hard until he saw how hard Gretzky worked in the 1987 Canada Cup?
Not it isn't because there are several people in the know who will attest to just that.

In Legends of Hockey a couple people make the point of how much Gretzky practiced both as a youth and in the NHL. Muckler said that one of the things that made him the best player in the world was that even when he was the best player in the world he was still trying to improve all the time.

Mario was blessed with a ton of talent but he didn't have the drive like Wayne until he saw how Wayne worked at it. Lemieux admits himself how much he learned from the Oilers and Wayne in particular during '87. Secondly, it isn't exactly new knowledge that he wasn't much for conditioning early in his career and that after his back problems started up he didn't really practice at all due to the pain. Again, right from the horses mouth.

And that isn't calling into question Lemieux's love of the game because he played through that pain and came back from cancer so you can't doubt his willpower when he dedicated himself to something. He just didn't know better early on or was so blessed with talent that it came too easily for him at first.

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11-30-2011, 06:22 PM
  #80
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post
I must have missed the memo because 3/4s of what gets discussed on the history board are hypothetical comparisons.
It happened earlier in the thread - someone mentioned something about Lemieux's scoring pace rather than his actual totals because he missed some games, and was called out for using a hypothetical, specifically that Lemieux would have scored at the same rate in the games he missed as he did in the games he played.

Besides, you're not understanding what I mean by hypothetical. Comparisons are not hypotheticals. Things that did not happen, but could have, are hypotheticals. Comparing the things that Lemieux accomplished with the things Howe accomplished is not hypothetical, since you're talking about what they actually did.

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11-30-2011, 07:46 PM
  #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Is it really controversial to say that Wayne Gretzky practiced as hard or harder than anyone from the beginning, starting under the watchful eye of his father, while Mario Lemieux (the more natural talent) didn't learn the value of practicing and working hard until he saw how hard Gretzky worked in the 1987 Canada Cup?
No, not at all "controversial". Its a truism, documented, straight from the Horses Mouth in a refreshing burst of candidness. Personally, Im more interested in what it was that distracted Guy Lafleur so much. He was, early in his career, first on & last off in practices, showing up at the Forum or on the road at the Chicago Stadium or wherever usually hours before his team mates.


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Old
11-30-2011, 07:51 PM
  #82
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
It happened earlier in the thread - someone mentioned something about Lemieux's scoring pace rather than his actual totals because he missed some games, and was called out for using a hypothetical, specifically that Lemieux would have scored at the same rate in the games he missed as he did in the games he played.

Besides, you're not understanding what I mean by hypothetical. Comparisons are not hypotheticals. Things that did not happen, but could have, are hypotheticals. Comparing the things that Lemieux accomplished with the things Howe accomplished is not hypothetical, since you're talking about what they actually did.
I don't think attributing some of lemieux's poor health to his lack of conditioning is stretching much truth here. It's a well known fact, that weakened muscles around the abdomen can contribute greatly to back problems. This isn't speculation, it's the truth. Had Lemieux dedicated himself early on it is unlikely that he would of suffered the same injury plagued career. By the time he took his conditioning seriously, his problems were basically irreversible, this is bit different than speculating how many points he would of scored in games he hadn't played, no?

I don't think it's debatable that his own behaviors contributed to his poor back.

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11-30-2011, 09:50 PM
  #83
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I don't think it's debatable that his own behaviors contributed to his poor back.
And that affects what he actually did on the ice (not what he might have done) how exactly?

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11-30-2011, 10:10 PM
  #84
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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
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.
I agree here and the one game thing is really weird.

The all time greats being mentioned in this thread were great consistently, any player can have 1 single great game.

Even if we assume that the poster means his order of players playing their best game ever, the gap between greatness is rather small in a one game sample compared to a series, season and career.

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11-30-2011, 10:18 PM
  #85
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Originally Posted by habsjunkie2 View Post
I don't think attributing some of lemieux's poor health to his lack of conditioning is stretching much truth here. It's a well known fact, that weakened muscles around the abdomen can contribute greatly to back problems. This isn't speculation, it's the truth. Had Lemieux dedicated himself early on it is unlikely that he would of suffered the same injury plagued career. By the time he took his conditioning seriously, his problems were basically irreversible, this is bit different than speculating how many points he would of scored in games he hadn't played, no?

I don't think it's debatable that his own behaviors contributed to his poor back.
You don't understand the human back very well. Most people will have back problems in their lives 9 out of 10 I believe is the number.

I think being 6'4" in a heavy crosscheck era may have contributed more to his back problems but are any of us medical experts here?

While poor conditioning may contribute to the higher likelihood of getting injuries I don't remember Phil "bring a case of beer into the sauna training camp guy" Espostio being any better at training than Mario was.

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11-30-2011, 10:37 PM
  #86
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Attributing Mario's back problems to his lack of abdominal conditioning or whatever is stretching it a bit. Lemieux was fast, agile and strong, not some Tkachukian slug, but training like that was just not something the majority of hockey players didn't do back then. Some people are just prone to things like that, even elite athletes. It didn't help that Lemieux was gigantic and thus had guys riding on his back all game long.

A big reason I put Gretzky ahead of Lemieux is because he was able to dominate the same way with a safer style, it's sort of the only tie-breaker I can think of with those two... but I'm not willing to put Howe ahead for his longevity. He had a few years where he had Lemieux-like dominance in a shallower league, and that was it.

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11-30-2011, 11:33 PM
  #87
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Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
He had a few years where he had Lemieux-like dominance in a shallower league, and that was it.
Interesting & valid points revolver. There were actually a lot of similarities between Howes & Lemieuxs' game, the main difference being that in Howes era if you did Piggyback (the way so many did with Lemieux) youd' wind up in the stands or on a stretcher, immediately. Lesser transgressions, he'd just take your number, skate away & get even "later". Mean streak a mile wide and a long memory. When Gordie broke-in, the talent pool had been decimated by WW2, however, I think you go too far in suggesting it was completely bereft of challenging talent. It was afterall the beginning of the NHL's "Golden Era". He was a force a to be reckoned with. Ask Richard, Horton, Vasko, Brewer, Hull, Armstrong. Anyone."Shallow"?. Guess again. All-round, he's likely the greatest player of all time. Now, Im' an Orr fan, but only contemporaneously to my own lifetime & I faced him. But overall?. Howe.

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12-01-2011, 12:32 AM
  #88
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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.
In that case, shouldn't it be Howe, Gretzky, Orr, then Lemieux, given that half the time Lemieux was injured and not playing, and 1/3rd of the time so was Orr? Really, if its based on just 1 game, pick someone who is healthy and can play that 1 game.

Besides, I'd rate on a playoff series. Which is why I put Gretzky at #1. Probably the best peak (him or Orr), best sustained prime of the 4, and 2nd best longevity. Best playoff performer as well.

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12-01-2011, 12:51 AM
  #89
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Really, if its based on just 1 game, pick someone who is healthy and can play that 1 game.
Context is so important. We can debate best Left or Right Winger, Center or Defencemen, Transitional Player, transcending the generations with Paper Tigers', but really, who's to say?. Stats dont tell the whole the story. Hockey and its players are enigmatic, inconsistent.

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12-01-2011, 12:59 AM
  #90
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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?
Agree, didn't mean to imply otherwise

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12-01-2011, 01:03 AM
  #91
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Context is so important. We can debate best Left or Right Winger, Center or Defencemen, Transitional Player, transcending the generations with Paper Tigers', but really, who's to say?. Stats dont tell the whole the story. Hockey and its players are enigmatic, inconsistent.
Agreed, and I thought it was quite clear I was being facetious. My point is though:
1. Why rate off 1 game, when all 4 of these players were excellent in any "1 game" scenario. Frankly, it would be hard to rate them on a 1 game basis.

2. Obviously if you were ranking them on 1 game, it would be a game people were all healthy. My point, tongue in cheek as it was, is just that there were many MANY games Lemieux wasn't healthy and didn't play at all. Orr less so, but still an abreviated career, and several years where he missed a lot of games. Gretzky and Howe were both pretty durable.

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12-01-2011, 02:00 AM
  #92
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Gretzky and Howe were both pretty durable.
Very true. Dependability is important and as such, by whatever modicum you measure these 4 it might be prudent to shorten the list by 2; removing Orr & Lemieux altogether from the equation. It seems rather preposterous to compare Energizer Bunnies Gretzky & Howe to the knee blown Orr & medically dyslexic Lemieux in the first place no?...

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12-01-2011, 02:15 PM
  #93
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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?
No it means you can say things that you have sources for but cant believe are completely true.

Coming back from cancer is ovbiously a love for the game thing, but that doesnt change his lack of commitment to training or when he called the league a garage league and talked about how he shouldnt play in it because it was too rough for him basically.

He obviously loved the game but we're talking about his commitment and love for the game compared to Gordie Howe or Gretzky and I just dont think it was on the same level. Howe played into his 50s, recovered from a fractured skull that almost killed him etc. Without any of that garage league garbage Lemieux was whining about

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12-01-2011, 05:20 PM
  #94
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when he called the league a garage league and talked about how he shouldnt play in it because it was too rough for him basically.
You're either misunderstanding or misrepresenting what he was saying. It was not that the game was too rough for him, it's that lesser-skilled players were cheating and the league and refs were constantly letting them get away with it, more and more each year as the 1990s progressed. Nothing to do with roughness, but with hooking and holding and clutching and grabbing.

You're right that Howe didn't have any of the garage league garbage, since interference was not an epidemic when he played.

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12-01-2011, 05:26 PM
  #95
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Besides all that, newfy, is the fact that you still seem to be discussing hypotheticals, which is what you came out hating when someone was using on-pace numbers. Or at least, that's what I guess you're doing, since I can't be sure. I'm trying to figure out the relevance of your posts to the discussion. Because they seem to be simply Lemieux-bashing rather than anything meaningful.

Let's say it's a given that Lemieux didn't have a love for the game or good training habits. What does that change about what he actually did on the ice? It might change what he could have done otherwise, but that's about as relevant as guessing what he might have done in those games he sat out. If he did have these things, maybe he would have had a longer and better career, and therefore would be given credit for them by looking at what he actually did in that case. As it is, we can only look at what he did do, not what we imagine he might have done.

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12-01-2011, 05:43 PM
  #96
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Clutch and Grab

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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
You're either misunderstanding or misrepresenting what he was saying. It was not that the game was too rough for him, it's that lesser-skilled players were cheating and the league and refs were constantly letting them get away with it, more and more each year as the 1990s progressed. Nothing to do with roughness, but with hooking and holding and clutching and grabbing.

You're right that Howe didn't have any of the garage league garbage, since interference was not an epidemic when he played.
Clutch and Grab hockey pre-dates Gordie Howe's arrival in the NHL. Basic to Maple Leaf hockey and used by other teams. Was more of an issue when Howe played especially pre 1956-57 when complete minors had to be served regardless of the number of PP goals scored. So the referees were reluctant to call the various interference penalties.

That few dared to interfere with Gordie Howe is another issue and the result of Howe's ability and willingness to create enencumbered space for himself.

Mario Lemieux was not willing to use this option. Honourable or not, just the way it was and a distinction between players and eras.

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12-01-2011, 05:47 PM
  #97
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Clutch and Grab hockey pre-dates Gordie Howe's arrival in the NHL. Basic to Maple Leaf hockey and used by other teams. Was more of an issue when Howe played especially pre 1956-57 when complete minors had to be served regardless of the number of PP goals scored. So the referees were reluctant to call the various interference penalties.

That few dared to interfere with Gordie Howe is another issue and the result of Howe's ability and willingness to create enencumbered space for himself.

Mario Lemieux was not willing to use this option. Honourable or not, just the way it was and a distinction between players and eras.
There's a reason pnep's nickname for Ching Johnson (arguably the best defensive defenseman of the 1930s) is "The Holding Corporation." Hap Day was apparently a master of the clutch and grab too and taught it to his troops when he coached the Leafs through the 40s dynasty.

More relavant to Howe, his nemesis Tim Horton was perhaps more famous for his "bear hug" than anything else - doesn't sound like a tactic that would be thought of highly in the "New NHL."

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12-01-2011, 08:50 PM
  #98
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Points per game 1950-51 to 1953-54:

Gordie Howe 1.24
Maurice Richard 0.94
Ted Lindsay 0.94 (Howe's linemate)
Jean Beliveau 0.84
Bernard Geoffrion 0.79
Ted Kennedy 0.77

In 1954-55, Howe missed 6 games with injury and was clearly hampered in games he did play. This is the only season for 2 decades during which Howe didn't lead the Red Wings in scoring.

Howe was 2nd to Beliveau in scoirng in 1955-56 and won his 5th Art Ross in 1956-57.

Points per game 1950-51 to 1956-57:

Gordie Howe 1.19
Jean Beliveau 1.11
Maurice Richard 0.98
Ted Lindsay 0.94 (Howe's linemate)
Bernard Geoffrion 0.90
Andy Bathgate 0.76

After 56-57, Howe fell back to the pack (but always near the top). Perhaps the loss of Red Kelly and Ted Lindsay was a factor? On the other hand, Gretzky and Lemieux both had their best seasons with Paul Coffey.
doesn´t this pretty much show that Howe was nowhere near the offensive dominance of Lemieux and Gretzky (and probably even Orr if you remove Espo).

I´m guessing he is closer to some other players best years then he is to theirs.

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12-01-2011, 09:48 PM
  #99
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doesn´t this pretty much show that Howe was nowhere near the offensive dominance of Lemieux and Gretzky (and probably even Orr if you remove Espo).

I´m guessing he is closer to some other players best years then he is to theirs.
There's no question Howe does better in actual games played than PPG.

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12-02-2011, 12:33 AM
  #100
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doesn´t this pretty much show that Howe was nowhere near the offensive dominance of Lemieux and Gretzky (and probably even Orr if you remove Espo).

I´m guessing he is closer to some other players best years then he is to theirs.
If we're taking out players, how about look at Yzerman from 88 to 93 if Gretzky and Lemieux are gone? He's about 17% ahead of LaFontaine, who is second. He's second in GPG behind Hull, fourth in APG behind Coffey, Oates, and Moose.

Maybe Yzerman is the third-best player of All-Time and was simply [mod edit] blocked by Gretzky and Lemieux?


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