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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Is Mario Lemieux a bit overrated?

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Old
04-20-2013, 03:49 PM
  #276
Morgoth Bauglir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin8se7en View Post
99% of the arguments for Mario and against Wayne are all based on that one word.
Forget the IF and I'll take #99 over 99% any day.
Worse, practically all the arguments for Mario over Wayne are based on "eye candy": Mario LOOKED flashier running over 3 opponents to school a goaltender then Wayne did with his subtle moves and cerebral approach to achieve the same result.

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04-20-2013, 06:22 PM
  #277
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Originally Posted by charliolemieux View Post


Somebody needs to go have a look a the highest single season goal totals in the history of the NHL. And while you're at it just take a peak at the career goal totals just for S&G's.

The way some people talk you would think Gretz never even shot the puck.
yeah, yeah. that wasn't the argument. the argument was that Gretzky scored those goals when goalies and defenses were poor.

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04-20-2013, 06:36 PM
  #278
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Originally Posted by BraveCanadian View Post


The team was not stacked when he came into the league. I mean outside having Gretzky that is.. two seconds on any site would tell you that.

And by the time Gretzky was putting up his first 200 point season he was still more than doubling the next best player on his team in scoring.

ok, sorry. stacked was the wrong word. but he was on playoff teams while Lemieux didn't have a chance to see the playoffs before the 88-89 season.

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And how many more games did Gretzky maintain that pace for?
yes, i understand the health issue. but like Bobby Orr, he's human. you can't expect everyone to play 15 years without going through problems. when Lemieux came back from his radiation treatments - he finished the season with 2.67 PPG, which is very close to Gretzky's best seasons.

Quote:
Maybe. For Lemieux it depended a lot more on how the rules were being enforced.

He relied on the PP a lot more for his offense than Gretzky did.
can't argue that, but i also believe that shouldn't go against Lemieux.

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04-20-2013, 07:30 PM
  #279
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Originally Posted by sansabri View Post
yeah, yeah. that wasn't the argument. the argument was that Gretzky scored those goals when goalies and defenses were poor.
When did Lemieux get most of HIS goals? Against the same defenses as Gretzky was getting his goals against. Let's not pretend Mario was getting the lion share of his goals in the DPE.....he wasn't.

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04-20-2013, 08:42 PM
  #280
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Originally Posted by quoipourquoi View Post
But here's the kicker about Gretzky and Lemieux: They were so extremely talented offensively, they were a greater proximate cause for their pluses than Datsyuk was for his - and since they weren't defenseman or goalies, there's typically going to be someone else on the Kings or Penguins who was a greater proximate cause for their minuses.
You're right on the first half; but you are not correct when you simply translate the inverse to "the most important players at the defensive end are always the most reponsible for the outcome".

The better offensive players are more responsible when the offense succeeds. The worse defensive players are more responsible when the defense fails.

An example?

I'll use one of my favorite players, Jiri Hudler. In the 2011 playoffs against San Jose, he moved from his wing position towards the slot, even though every other player on the ice was either in the opposite corner or a Sharks defenseman on the point. This let Dan Boyle slip past him and receive a pass back-door to score a key goal. Hudler wasn't the only player to make an error on the play (I've broken it down in depth and now is not the time or place) but a better defensive player might not have made the error of putting himself in a position where he couldn't help defensively.

Hypothetically, a team could have all of prime Scott Stevens, prime Vladimir Konstantinov, prime Michael Peca, prime Craig Conroy, and Ales Hemsky on the ice at a given time. If a goal is scored against, and you can attribute it to a certain player of those five, who would you guess that player to be most often?

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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
What is with this emphasis on power play and even strength points? Las time I checked a power play goal helps a team win a game too. Let's split Lemieux's 1989 season up shall we?

Lemieux 1989 - 102 ES points, 79 PP points, 18 SH points

Am I missing something here? What gives? Bottom line is, if we didn't know this already, you put Lemieux on the ice in any situation at any time and he would excel. Shorthanded he was a threat, 5-on-5 and on the power play. Other than when we would see Lemieux dangle his way through defensemen you have to remember that the power play structure was TAILOR MADE for Lemieux. Even at even strength he was able to slow the game down to whatever level he wanted to. On the power play he would often be at the side boards on the left side just daring the defenseman to pressure him. I honestly think the power play situation fit Lemieux better than any other player in NHL history. Gretzky was good on the power play too, but his game was more off the cuff and subtle. Lemieux up until his first retirement was dangerous in all three situations of the game and the stats show it. For whatever reason, it is something a player gets penalized for now.

Plus look at the 57% of his team's goals in 1989 that he was in on. That is just pure dominance and no one else - not Gretzky or Yzerman - carried the load as much as Lemieux did.

The biggest factor in Lemieux not winning either award in 1989 was his reputation at that time. Gretzky's was polished for sure and Lemieux's was not of the favourable kind. He was very much the anti-Gretzky at that time in the eyes of many. Never led his teams anywhere, dove on the ice, complained on the ice, wasn't as friendly to the media at that time. Lots of factors. So considering Gretzky had a season close to Lemieux and Yzerman just so happened to have a season that gave a mild argument for the Hart this is what made Lemieux lose either award. This is a pre-cancer, pre-Cup Lemieux. The media had a much different opinion of him back then. To me, that is the factor here because no one can say Lemieux didn't have the best season or wasthe most valuable player on his team in 1989.
Pittsburgh PPO in 1988-89: 491
Detroit PPO in 1988-89: 352
Los Angeles PPO in 1988-89: 395
League average PPO in 1988-89: 403

We'll assume they were handed out at an even rate given Lemieux and Gretzky missed games.

And assuming they go out for part of every PPO in the games they play, that puts them out for:
Yzerman: 352
Gretzky: 385
Lemieux: 466

For a refresher, let's look at their PP points that season:
Yzerman: 46
Gretzky: 53
Lemieux: 79

Lemieux was 79 for 466 (17.0%)
Yzerman was 46 for 352 (13.1%)
Gretzky was 53 for 385 (13.8%)

I wonder... what are the stats on Paul Coffey and other Pittsburgh players compared to LA and Detroit players?

Pittsburgh
Rob Brown 47PPP in 68GP (417PPO) for 11.3%
Dan Quinn 47PPP in 79GP (485PPO) for 9.7%
Paul Coffey 64PPP in 75GP (460PPO) for 13.9%
Zarley Zalapski 28PPP in 58PG (356PPO) for 7.9%

Los Angeles
Bernie Nicholls 49PPP in 79GP (390PPO) for 12.6%
Luc Robitaille 24PPP in 78GP (385PPO) for 6.2%
Steve Duchesne 24PPP in 79GP (390PPO) for 6.2%
Dale DeGray 8PPP in 63GP (311PPO) for 2.6%

Detroit
Gerard Gallant 34PPP in 76GP (334PPO) for 10.2%
Adam Oates 25PPP in 63GP (277PPO) for 9.0%
Lee Norwood 18PPP in 66GP (290PPO) for 6.2%
Steve Chiasson 16PPP in 65GP (286PPO) for 5.6%

If we take the league average (403) for PPOs and apply them to these players, then these players (assuming points per opportunity remain constant) would look more like this:

Pittsburgh
Mario Lemieux 65PPP in 76GP (383PPO) for 17.0%
Rob Brown 39PPP in 68GP (343PPO) for 11.3%
Dan Quinn 39PPP in 79GP (398PPO) for 9.7%
Paul Coffey 53PPP in 75GP (378PPO) for 13.9%
Zarley Zalapski 23PPP in 58PG (292PPO) for 7.9%

Los Angeles
Wayne Gretzky 54PPP in 78GP (393PPO) for 13.7%
Bernie Nicholls 50PPP in 79GP (398PPO) for 12.6%
Luc Robitaille 24PPP in 78GP (393PPO) for 6.2%
Steve Duchesne 25PPP in 79GP (398PPO) for 6.2%
Dale DeGray 8PPP in 63GP (317PPO) for 2.6%

Detroit
Steve Yzerman 53PPP in 80GP (403PPO) for 13.2%
Gerard Gallant 39PPP in 76GP (383PPO) for 10.2%
Adam Oates 29PPP in 63GP (317PPO) for 9.0%
Lee Norwood 21PPP in 66GP (332PPO) for 6.2%
Steve Chiasson 18PPP in 65GP (327PPO) for 5.6%

I think that shows pretty conclusively that Pittsburgh's excessive number of power play opportunities helped separate Lemieux from the others. Having a lineup that is clearly geared towards power play effectiveness also helps.

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04-21-2013, 12:21 AM
  #281
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To me a thread that questions whether Mario was overrated kind of is comparable to Sens fans now that sometimes say Alfredsson sucks or is struggling.

Alfredsson dominates the play most times he is on ice... he steals pucks and is still a great player... not near his 2003-2007 peak... but still incredibly effective. Mario.... was a force of nature in his prime. There is no doubting it... no looking at stupid plus/minus stats. No debate. He comes back after 3 and a half years off and is like 20 or 30 lbs heavier... older... works himself into shape... is very visibly slower then ever... and yet utterly dominates the NHL and is the best offensive player in the NHL.

Mario a couple of years later... less healthy and maybe in better shape though... and 37, 38... is like the best PPG guy in the NHL... on a bad team.

Like whatever... Mario is unbelievable. I saw Yzerman and Lindros and Sakic and Gilmour and Messier and Bourque and Coffey and Jagr and Forsberg at their best. Mario is in another league. A completely other league. Is he as good as Gretzky? I say no... but he is the only one I saw that is even remotely close... and he is not remotely close.. he is close.

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04-21-2013, 12:24 AM
  #282
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The closest I have seen to Mario/Gretzky level play was Yzerman in 1989 and Gilmour in the 1993 playoffs.... since watching hockey for 30 years.

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04-21-2013, 12:26 AM
  #283
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Originally Posted by eva unit zero View Post

I think that shows pretty conclusively that Pittsburgh's excessive number of power play opportunities helped separate Lemieux from the others. Having a lineup that is clearly geared towards power play effectiveness also helps.
In one season maybe but what happens when you do the same for 92/93 when Mario had 55 PPP in just 60 games (77PPP pace) and the Pens were just below the league average in PPO's at 14th out of 24 teams?
Or what about in 95/96 when Mario had 79PPP in just 70 games (93PPP pace!) and once again the Pens were only around the league average for PPO's at 11th of 24 teams?

No, I think we can quite safely say it was Mario himself that caused the separation heh

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04-21-2013, 12:37 AM
  #284
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
In one season maybe but what happens when you do the same for 92/93 when Mario had 55 PPP in just 60 games (77PPP pace) and the Pens were just below the league average in PPO's at 14th out of 24 teams?
Or what about in 95/96 when Mario had 79PPP in just 70 games (93PPP pace!) and once again the Pens were only around the league average for PPO's at 11th of 24 teams?

No, I think we can quite safely say it was Mario himself that caused the separation heh
I think it's safe to say that Mario is the best PP player ever period.

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04-21-2013, 12:45 AM
  #285
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Pretty sure Lemieux is the only player to have over 2 points per game in a career until he came back to play with Crosby.

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04-21-2013, 02:02 AM
  #286
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Originally Posted by Adityase View Post
Pretty sure Lemieux is the only player to have over 2 points per game in a career until he came back to play with Crosby.
Lemieux came back 5 years before Crosby was drafted.

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04-21-2013, 02:14 AM
  #287
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Originally Posted by Adityase View Post
Pretty sure Lemieux is the only player to have over 2 points per game in a career until he came back to play with Crosby.
If ifs and buts were candy and nuts oh what a party we'd have.....

If you're going to play that game then if Gretzky hadn't hung around the last five years of his career when he was a shell of himself then HE would have averaged over two points a game for his career.....and still would have finished higher than a non-comeback Lemieux.

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04-21-2013, 03:19 AM
  #288
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Originally Posted by sansabri View Post
yeah, yeah. that wasn't the argument. the argument was that Gretzky scored those goals when goalies and defenses were poor.
Alright, let's pretend every goalie back in the 1980s fell off a hay wagon and couldn't stop a beach ball. Why is it then that no one else approached Gretzky's goal numbers? Why did Mike Bossy of all people top out at 69? Why did Gretzky have 92 in 1982 while Bossy had 64? This "goalies were weak" argument holds no water when you look at the fact that Gretzky was completely thrashing the next best goal scorer in the NHL. He was shooting at the same goalies that every other sniper was.

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04-21-2013, 10:28 AM
  #289
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Alright, let's pretend every goalie back in the 1980s fell off a hay wagon and couldn't stop a beach ball. Why is it then that no one else approached Gretzky's goal numbers? Why did Mike Bossy of all people top out at 69? Why did Gretzky have 92 in 1982 while Bossy had 64? This "goalies were weak" argument holds no water when you look at the fact that Gretzky was completely thrashing the next best goal scorer in the NHL. He was shooting at the same goalies that every other sniper was.
Phil, the 80's goalies couldn't stop as many pucks as later on, looking at save % and the number of 50 goal scorers will tell you that.

In the first 7 seasons since the lockout there have been exactly 17 50 plus goal scorers.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...order_by=goals

From 80-86 Wayne start in the league there were 57.

Quite simply it was easier to score goals in the 80's due to the conditions of the NHL at the time.

Wayne was the most skilled player of the time and also played in a system that let him play all out offense and even run up scores on teams.

Some guys who weren't really the greatest of all time scored over 5o goals in the 80's as well as stars.

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04-21-2013, 10:32 AM
  #290
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Here is a list of the PPG for career leaders of all time.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/lead...me_career.html

Mario is pretty close with his 1.883 rate to Wayne at 1.921

Sid is in 4th at 1.415

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04-21-2013, 10:50 AM
  #291
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Phil, the 80's goalies couldn't stop as many pucks as later on, looking at save % and the number of 50 goal scorers will tell you that.

In the first 7 seasons since the lockout there have been exactly 17 50 plus goal scorers.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...order_by=goals

From 80-86 Wayne start in the league there were 57.

Quite simply it was easier to score goals in the 80's due to the conditions of the NHL at the time.

Wayne was the most skilled player of the time and also played in a system that let him play all out offense and even run up scores on teams.

Some guys who weren't really the greatest of all time scored over 5o goals in the 80's as well as stars.
I'm quite sure that everyone here understands that.

Now you explain why, while attacking the same defenses and shooting at the same goalies, no one else was even close to Gretzky.

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04-21-2013, 11:07 AM
  #292
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Why does this thread even exist?

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04-21-2013, 11:44 AM
  #293
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Phil, the 80's goalies couldn't stop as many pucks as later on, looking at save % and the number of 50 goal scorers will tell you that.

In the first 7 seasons since the lockout there have been exactly 17 50 plus goal scorers.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...order_by=goals

From 80-86 Wayne start in the league there were 57.

Quite simply it was easier to score goals in the 80's due to the conditions of the NHL at the time.

Wayne was the most skilled player of the time and also played in a system that let him play all out offense and even run up scores on teams.

Some guys who weren't really the greatest of all time scored over 5o goals in the 80's as well as stars.
That's not really the question though. I mean, why did Gretzky get 92 goals and the next best player from 1979-'88 get 71? That player was Kurri by the way, who wouldn't have hit 71 goals without Wayne. Yeah the Oilers were a wide open team who thrived on offense but that was because of Gretzky's style of play, not the other way around. Let's also not pretend that there weren't other offensive teams out there. The Isles scored 385 goals in 1982. Other teams scored a bunch as well.

I mean, it took a generational player like Lemieux to finally come close to Gretzky's goal scoring with 85. All the wonderful goal scorers in the 1980s shooting on the same goalies day in and day out were never close. You can't tell me there is a good reason for that other than the fact that Gretzky was simply that much better than the field.

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04-21-2013, 11:50 AM
  #294
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You can't tell me there is a good reason for that other than the fact that Gretzky was simply that much better than the field.
We both know that the terrible goalies just played even worse for Wayne.

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04-21-2013, 11:56 AM
  #295
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He did good the first two rounds. Dropped a little against New Jersey in the semis. Against Buffalo he scored the tying goal in Game 6 with a minute left. The Pens won in overtime and then won Game 7 in overtime. I guess a lot of it has to do with the fact that this is a 35 year old Lemieux. We saw him play good in the 2002 Olympics and 2004 World Cup. He did very well, but he didn't take things over like a prime Lemieux did. I don't think we should have expected a 2001 Lemieux to have a playoff like he did 10 years earlier.
While I totally agree that we shouldn't expect a 35 year old Lemieux to play like a 27 year old Lemieux, or heck even post cancer, completely battered '97 lemieux, if any other player went from scoring at a 1.77ppg pace (and to be fair, there are NONE) to just under 0.95 during the most significant stretch of games, it would be considered a disappointment. Not a BAD disappointment, but one would conclude that that player performed below expectations. And it's not like he made up for it with Datsyuk like defensive work either. Again, I DON'T mean to pick on Lemieux at all, I think he's worthy of GOAT talk and I know it's not all about stats, but with Lemieux, part of his greatness comes from his statistical dominance over his peers, so I guess it's worth mentioning as a cursory exercise in rhetoric.

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04-21-2013, 12:11 PM
  #296
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Here is a list of the PPG for career leaders of all time.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/lead...me_career.html

Mario is pretty close with his 1.883 rate to Wayne at 1.921

Sid is in 4th at 1.415
Sid has played only 8 seasons, and has missed a lot of games each of those seasons. Why don't you show us the PPG average of Mario, Wayne, and Sid after the same number of games that Sid has played so far, and THEN compare it. This should be fun.....

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04-21-2013, 02:36 PM
  #297
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I'm quite sure that everyone here understands that.

Now you explain why, while attacking the same defenses and shooting at the same goalies, no one else was even close to Gretzky.
I did, did you not read my post, here it is again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Wayne was the most skilled player of the time and also played in a system that let him play all out offense and even run up scores on teams.
All 3 things come into play, Wayne's skill, the Oilers system of all out offense and who cares about defense and the running up of scores all goes to explaining it.

It's kind of like Orr's domiance and video game states, part skill, part team and league situation.

I won't break down the parts as it's impossible to do so, but it's fair to say that skill was the major factor for both guys.

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04-21-2013, 02:44 PM
  #298
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Sid has played only 8 seasons, and has missed a lot of games each of those seasons. Why don't you show us the PPG average of Mario, Wayne, and Sid after the same number of games that Sid has played so far, and THEN compare it. This should be fun.....
I was being a tad sarcastic as the PPG thing is more often than not thrown in the face of Sid, and probably will be for those that don't appreciate him that much, for the rest of his career.

Of course the more important PPG reference to Sid is his contemporaries which is still excellent.

And I'll state it again both Mario and Wayne were better offensive talents than Sid was and ever will be, but the difference is amplified by the scoring differences in the eras as well.

Throw in 2 way play and Sid narrows the gap quite a bit as well.

We will have to wait for Sid's career to wind out, there still is a good 10 plus years left and he has a very good chance of top 5 of all time, and a chance to pass Mario for overall value, health permitting IMO.

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04-21-2013, 02:50 PM
  #299
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
That's not really the question though. I mean, why did Gretzky get 92 goals and the next best player from 1979-'88 get 71? That player was Kurri by the way, who wouldn't have hit 71 goals without Wayne. Yeah the Oilers were a wide open team who thrived on offense but that was because of Gretzky's style of play, not the other way around. Let's also not pretend that there weren't other offensive teams out there. The Isles scored 385 goals in 1982. Other teams scored a bunch as well.

I mean, it took a generational player like Lemieux to finally come close to Gretzky's goal scoring with 85. All the wonderful goal scorers in the 1980s shooting on the same goalies day in and day out were never close. You can't tell me there is a good reason for that other than the fact that Gretzky was simply that much better than the field.
Unless one is a "all eras are equal" type of guy adjusted stats helps us put into context of "how great" Wayne's goal scoring was.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/lead...ed_season.html

Wayne still has two top 10 placings here but it helps to show how era can inflate or deflate raw counting stats.

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04-21-2013, 03:04 PM
  #300
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As was said before by Bowman... Lemieux was the most physically talented player ever. He wasnt the most driven, like Crosby, or the greatest, like Gretzky. He was probably the most dangerous goal scorer ever, was playing against teams tackling him since 89. was constantly hacked and hit late without the protection that other superstars got. He certainly didnt work out or take well to coaching. Once he refered to his diet as holding off on the ketchup with his fries... He ran bowman out of town and straight to Detroit. He was far from the perfect hockey player, But he was built to play in any era and his hockey sense was as good as anyone who ever played.

Note that he was 3rd all time in goals per game and 1st all time in goals per game in the playoffs, and he played a serious amount of time injured in the dead puck era...

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