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Mario Lemieux after the cancer

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07-16-2012, 10:57 PM
  #1
malPHONEY
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Mario Lemieux after the cancer

A simple question that's been bugging me.

How much speed and athleticism did Mario retain when he returned from his ordeal with cancer? Considering how brilliant his point totals were smack in the middle of the dead puck era, I think some people embellish how much of it he lost in order to boost his all-time status.

A little too young at the time so please help me out.

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07-16-2012, 11:15 PM
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Jules Winnfield
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malPHONEY View Post
A simple question that's been bugging me.

How much speed and athleticism did Mario retain when he returned from his ordeal with cancer? Considering how brilliant his point totals were smack in the middle of the dead puck era, I think some people embellish how much of it he lost in order to boost his all-time status.

A little too young at the time so please help me out.
It wasn't just the cancer he was dealing with. He also had a chronic back problem that was so bad he couldn't even tie his own skates at times. Several of his former teammates said they'd see him wincing in pain trying to tie his skates and they'd have to do it for him.

It would be amazing to see how great he was "fully" healthy. The closest you'll probably ever see that is from his 88'-89' highlights. Just an amazing force.

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07-16-2012, 11:37 PM
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malPHONEY
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Originally Posted by Jules Winnfield View Post
It wasn't just the cancer he was dealing with. He also had a chronic back problem that was so bad he couldn't even tie his own skates at times. Several of his former teammates said they'd see him wincing in pain trying to tie his skates and they'd have to do it for him.

It would be amazing to see how great he was "fully" healthy. The closest you'll probably ever see that is from his 88'-89' highlights. Just an amazing force.
Thanks for the response. It's kind of a difficult question to ask when it involves both cancer and a player so revered.

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07-16-2012, 11:59 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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I don't think he lost anything after the cancer in 1993 other than games played. Obviously, cancer can be life threatening, but once he beat it, I don't think it hurt him.

The chronic back problems were a much bigger issue IMO

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07-17-2012, 12:11 AM
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I don't think he lost anything after the cancer in 1993 other than games played. Obviously, cancer can be life threatening, but once he beat it, I don't think it hurt him.

The chronic back problems were a much bigger issue IMO
Yeah, it sounds ridiculous to downplay cancer but I do believe Mario's back ultimately made more of an impact on his game than cancer.

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07-17-2012, 12:22 AM
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Dark Shadows
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I don't think he lost anything after the cancer in 1993 other than games played. Obviously, cancer can be life threatening, but once he beat it, I don't think it hurt him.

The chronic back problems were a much bigger issue IMO
Well, he would have suffered a few months of Radiation therapy side effects as well. Extreme fatigue being the most common.

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07-17-2012, 12:25 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Well, he would have suffered a few months of Radiation therapy side effects as well. Extreme fatigue being the most common.
Yeah, I get that, but it didn't seem to affect his performance on the ice, right? He scored at a higher pace in 1992-93 after coming back from treatment than he did before

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07-17-2012, 08:05 AM
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Yeah, I get that, but it didn't seem to affect his performance on the ice, right? He scored at a higher pace in 1992-93 after coming back from treatment than he did before
He had some time to rest his back during the time off from hockey. Might be that it bothered him less than it did during the first part of the season.

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07-17-2012, 08:33 AM
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I remember when Lemieux finally came back he could barely skate anymore. Like he wasn't even sweating in post-game interviews. He just physically wasn't the same player he was in the 80's and early 90's, with the constantly moving legs and the shifty speed.

But the guy was still so damn talented he put up 76 points in 43 games. It was more than just talent, he had the on-ice vision and intelligence to efficiently get into dangerous spots on the ice and the hands to put the puck where it needed to be. It seemed like he was standing still in some games and he would still somehow have a goal or an assist by the 3rd period without fail.

One of the weirdest things I've ever seen.

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07-17-2012, 08:36 AM
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I don't think he lost anything after the cancer in 1993 other than games played. Obviously, cancer can be life threatening, but once he beat it, I don't think it hurt him.

The chronic back problems were a much bigger issue IMO
Good to see, and good thread question.

Cancer is a hot button topic, you don't wanna say too much. I grew up absolutely mindblown that Mario, and then Koivu, could not only defeat the most feared (maybe AIDS) killer out there, and come back and play well. The thing I have realized is that it CAN kill you, but if you beat it, you can also recover.

My brother in law got the same cancer as Lemieux a few years ago. He was 16, got definitely weakened by chimo (don't even know how to spell it), after several tries, they said it was gone. There was a period of time where he was skinny, and without energy, and just eating a lot again. But, and I think it was only about 6 months after they'd killed the cancer, he was back to competitive swimming - and, he never lost a beat. In fact, he did better the year after cancer, then he did the year before. Anyways, aside from learning technique, that sport is completely about performance/conditioning/power and has nothing to do with reading the game or linemates.

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07-17-2012, 08:49 AM
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Mario never had much speed and athleticism to begin with. He has said in interviews that his back problem caused more trouble than the cancer ever did.

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07-17-2012, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CLF4life View Post
Mario never had much speed and athleticism to begin with. He has said in interviews that his back problem caused more trouble than the cancer ever did.

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07-17-2012, 10:02 AM
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Mario never had much speed and athleticism to begin with. He has said in interviews that his back problem caused more trouble than the cancer ever did.
Haha, that's funny. So because he was 6'4, he was slow? Ask anyone that played against him if he was slow. 2 of his strides were equal to 4 strides of any other player. I still laugh at people that say he was slow.

...and you're right, no athleticism at all. None. The guy was strong as hell and barely worked out early in his career. He scored goals through his legs, juggled pucks out of the air with his stick, and generally made people look stupid.

"Whenever we played Pittsburgh, you were almost thinking, 'I hope he's really not that interested in playing tonight' because you knew, when he did decide to play, he was unstoppable. And when he was just okay, he was the best player in the league."
- NHL goaltender Sean Burke.


"How many more points would he have had if he stayed reasonably healthy? Four hundred? Five hundred? Six hundred? We'll never know. No disrespect to Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Bobby Orr, Gilbert Perreault ... but Mario did things nobody else could ever do."
- Hall of Fame forward Bryan Trottier


"What he can do, I couldn't do... He can do more things than any other player I've ever seen."-Bobby Orr on Mario Lemieux

I remember an NHL player saying that Mario doesn't beat you, he embarrasses you. He was that talented.

I'm pretty sure there's some athleticism there. If you watch some of his goals while he's hauling guys on his back, there's a bit of athleticism there.

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07-17-2012, 12:39 PM
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I'm more amazed at how he was able to compete at such a high level with the back injuries + the smoking.

I remember waiting after a game to get an autograph...Tomas Sandstrom came out first and joked "hey waiting for mario?...don't worry you can smell when he's getting closer" sure enough he reeked of cigarettes.

what kind of lungs does he have? Bossy too.

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07-17-2012, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malPHONEY View Post
A simple question that's been bugging me.

How much speed and athleticism did Mario retain when he returned from his ordeal with cancer? Considering how brilliant his point totals were smack in the middle of the dead puck era, I think some people embellish how much of it he lost in order to boost his all-time status.

A little too young at the time so please help me out.
His hands and strength didn't seem to be effected at all by his health problems until real late in his career (around the second lockout).

Don't know if it would be his cancer recovery or his back, but after taking the 95 lockout season and most of the previous season off, he was waaaaaay slower in 95-96. Like moving 2/3 as fast as he did before. Of course, his hands being what they were, he still put up 160 that year.

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07-17-2012, 07:59 PM
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Holy **** people.. My comment was not putting him down or disrespecting his talent in any way.. He is the best player the NHL has ever seen.. He didn't have great speed but 2 of his strides = 4 normal strides. He had great vision and hand eye coordination but wasn't the most athletic. Calm down Mario is my fav player of all time

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07-17-2012, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by blamebettman View Post
I'm more amazed at how he was able to compete at such a high level with the back injuries + the smoking.

I remember waiting after a game to get an autograph...Tomas Sandstrom came out first and joked "hey waiting for mario?...don't worry you can smell when he's getting closer" sure enough he reeked of cigarettes.

what kind of lungs does he have? Bossy too.
Smoking causes back injury and cancer 1046% of the time

His main issue throughout his career was his back as others have said. After his radiation treatments were done, he was slower for a bit due to the fatigue that happens with stuff like that, but his back was rested as much as it could be, and he was fired up. He changed his style more, where he started playing LW a lot more than he used to.


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07-17-2012, 08:15 PM
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Quickness and Balance

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Originally Posted by MurphyDump View Post
Haha, that's funny. So because he was 6'4, he was slow? Ask anyone that played against him if he was slow. 2 of his strides were equal to 4 strides of any other player. I still laugh at people that say he was slow.

...and you're right, no athleticism at all. None. The guy was strong as hell and barely worked out early in his career. He scored goals through his legs, juggled pucks out of the air with his stick, and generally made people look stupid.

"Whenever we played Pittsburgh, you were almost thinking, 'I hope he's really not that interested in playing tonight' because you knew, when he did decide to play, he was unstoppable. And when he was just okay, he was the best player in the league."
- NHL goaltender Sean Burke.


"How many more points would he have had if he stayed reasonably healthy? Four hundred? Five hundred? Six hundred? We'll never know. No disrespect to Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Bobby Orr, Gilbert Perreault ... but Mario did things nobody else could ever do."
- Hall of Fame forward Bryan Trottier


"What he can do, I couldn't do... He can do more things than any other player I've ever seen."-Bobby Orr on Mario Lemieux

I remember an NHL player saying that Mario doesn't beat you, he embarrasses you. He was that talented.

I'm pretty sure there's some athleticism there. If you watch some of his goals while he's hauling guys on his back, there's a bit of athleticism there.
Mario Lemieux relied on quickness and balance plus vision and hand/eye coordination.He also understood the geometry of hockey better than most forwards, Gretzky being one exception.

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07-17-2012, 10:40 PM
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Yes, definitely the back injuries affected him more than cancer did. Strange to say that. But Mario came back to the NHL, was 12 points behind Lafontaine for the lead league and racked up 56 points in his final 20 games and ended up 12 points better than Lafontaine. Amazing. Who on earth could do that with 20 games left? Not to mention the Penguins won a still NHL record 17 games in a row when he returned.

I always thought from 1984-'90 was when you saw Mario make the most dazzling moves. This is when he outright embarassed defenders. Then in 1990 he had to end his point streak because of his back. You hate to say he was never the same again, because he was still dominant afterwards, but he may have lost a bit of his speed at that time.

That being said, post 1990 he still scored some highlight reel goals that made your jaw drop, but as someone said, a 1989 Lemieux was better than he had ever been.

I remember Paul Kariya commenting during the 2002 Olympics that he didn't realize how fast Mario was. His comment was "he can flat out fly!" This is a 36 year old Lemieux coming from a speedy Kariya. It was his back that forced him to retire in 1997 though if that tells you anything

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07-18-2012, 12:03 AM
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seventieslord
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I'll be honest, I never saw Lemieux as a guy who moved very fast either. I thought he had every other physical tool that existed, but not breakaway speed.

I mean, no one's calling him slow, but... you wouldn't have said he was among the 10, 20, 30 best skaters in the league, or ever the best on his own team, would you?

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07-18-2012, 01:15 AM
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I'll be honest, I never saw Lemieux as a guy who moved very fast either. I thought he had every other physical tool that existed, but not breakaway speed.

I mean, no one's calling him slow, but... you wouldn't have said he was among the 10, 20, 30 best skaters in the league, or ever the best on his own team, would you?
He wasn't exactly Pavel Bure, but I wouldn't call him unathletic by any means, and certainly not compared to someone like Espo. There's obviously other factors at work too: His speed was deceptive due to his size and the greats know how to alter the speed of the game to suit theirs. I mean, calling Mario slow is like calling Marcus Allen slow. They're not going to win a "speed competition", but all they need is that one gap, because they know how to get the opponent out of position and more effectively use what speed they do have.

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07-18-2012, 01:28 AM
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seventieslord
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He wasn't exactly Pavel Bure, but I wouldn't call him unathletic by any means, and certainly not compared to someone like Espo. There's obviously other factors at work too: His speed was deceptive due to his size and the greats know how to alter the speed of the game to suit theirs. I mean, calling Mario slow is like calling Marcus Allen slow. They're not going to win a "speed competition", but all they need is that one gap, because they know how to get the opponent out of position and more effectively use what speed they do have.
I totally agree. But if it was just a race from one end of the rink to the other...

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07-18-2012, 01:11 PM
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From 2001. The Big Man could move:


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07-18-2012, 02:11 PM
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From 2001. The Big Man could move:

Keeping in mind that he's blowing past an awkward man-child version of a player who had mobility issues before, and even a little bit after he became an elite player, who was caught trying to turn on the play.

I suppose you could say this is vintage Mario - doing exactly what he had to do to make the play.

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07-18-2012, 02:18 PM
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Mario's game wasnt speed based , but he had it and used it when he needed it. i mean he'd come at the defender(s) turn him inside out then take off to the net., he didnt use his speed like a bure or lafleur, but he definetly had it.

IMO the greatest player ever

and i like said countless times earlier, it was the back that game him the most problems, although im sure he felt the effects, both physically and emotionally, of the cancer for a while.

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