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Will we ever see a better player than Gretzky? Will we know it?

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03-03-2013, 07:36 PM
  #276
Long Duk Dong
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Originally Posted by tombombadil View Post
Same split between nostalgics who don't believe the game has progressed, and guys who do think it has.

I'm surprised it gets heated on Mario v Wayne. I mean that I am surprised anyone is deadset that either was clearly better.
I try to ride the middle of the boat. You have the stat guys in one side, the ones who don't value stats as much. I'm a Lemieux guy, but I don't get offended when someone chooses Gretzky. Either way, they're the 2 best forwards ever to play.

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03-03-2013, 07:41 PM
  #277
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
He'd still stop a hell of a lot more.

Modern trained goalie in normal sized pads would destroy most older goalies in modern pads. Still wouldn't be as fun to watch though.

Mike Liut in Lundqvist's pads
Henrik Lunqvist in Mike Liut's pads

Just using those guys since we brought them up, but that would be a good discussion though. You should start that thread up
Henrik Lundqvist in pads from circa 1982 wouldn't be able to go down in the butterfly regularly due the the weight of the pads (which got progressively heavier as the game went on). He would be forced to play the same stand-up style that everyone else played.....Oops! There goes "modern technique".

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03-03-2013, 07:47 PM
  #278
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
He'd still stop a hell of a lot more.

Modern trained goalie in normal sized pads would destroy most older goalies in modern pads. Still wouldn't be as fun to watch though.

Mike Liut in Lundqvist's pads
Henrik Lunqvist in Mike Liut's pads

Just using those guys since we brought them up, but that would be a good discussion though. You should start that thread up
Ya, it really isn't just equipment. In fact, the nostalgic types will talk about how much more Gretzky could score with a new stick, but won't factor in that he would then also be facing new pads. In that sense, equipment is a wash. Old sticks shot on old pads, new sticks shoot on new pads.

Equipment aside, now - 6'4 A-level athletes play goal now. It used to be 5'8 guys who weren't amazing athletes. I can think of many, many friends, coworkers, ex-players, over 35 years old who referred to the kid who played goalie as "the guy who wasn't very good anywhere else" Please, ex-goalies, don't take offense to this. I honestly don't think the mindset back in the day was that a team could live and die by it's goalie. Patrick Roy likely changed that. Every other great name in goalie was also a product/piece of a very well-oiled, dominant machine. Roy showed that teams could win with little else. Hasek took it further.

Even if you think my theories are wrong, no one should deny that it isn't just the pads that have gotten bigger and faster.

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03-03-2013, 07:57 PM
  #279
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
Remember the competition is a HELL of a lot more tight now than it was in 1982. Mike Liut might not have been able to stop a wrister from the top of the face off circle, but even MAF would now. Well, maybe not him but any other goalie would. Unless the game changes significantly, there isn't going to be a guy who hits 92 goals or 163 assists today.
That's just it though: If Gretzky was never born, there was NEVER a guy who could score 163 assists assists in the 80s either! In fact, the 2nd best play maker of all time (Lemieux), only scored 100+ assists ONCE in his career, and it was 114! So let's face it, there isn't a guy in the 80s who could put up those numbers either. None except for Gretzky of course.

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03-03-2013, 08:19 PM
  #280
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
His strength training and conditioning would allow him to use those old pads that weighed 75lbs more than fancy modern ones. Yeah, that's why Patrick Roy totally sucked and refused to use the butterfly style until he scored the lighter pads in the early-mid 90's.
And Patrick Roy using those old pads had seasons of .880, .892, .900, and a peak of .908 in 4 full seasons in the '80s.....again, using those old pads.....a far cry from the 7 consecutive seasons of .913+ using the bigger, lighter pads. And Roy's '80s numbers weren't out of line with other elite caliber seasons produced by other goalies in the decade. Bottom-line is Roy's save percentage went up with the new equipment just like everyone else's did.

Are you suggesting that Lundqvist is BETTER than Roy? Because quite frankly he's not in Roy's league.


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03-03-2013, 08:20 PM
  #281
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Goalie conditioning, training and strategy was unheard of until the 90's.
And I've seen posts by some old goalies on this board that call BS on that.

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03-03-2013, 08:25 PM
  #282
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Originally Posted by tazzy19 View Post
That's just it though: If Gretzky was never born, there was NEVER a guy who could score 163 assists assists in the 80s either! In fact, the 2nd best play maker of all time (Lemieux), only scored 100+ assists ONCE in his career, and it was 114! So let's face it, there isn't a guy in the 80s who could put up those numbers either. None except for Gretzky of course.
Since your THE Gretzky expert ON here, what DO you think OF point projections if THEY both started their CAREER in 2005?

I'll take THE guy who showed he could PLAY against the BIGGER and BETTER players. LOOK at my POST last page AND tell me WHAT you THINK.

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03-03-2013, 08:32 PM
  #283
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And Patrick Roy using those old pads had seasons of .880, .892, .900, and a peak of .908 in 4 full seasons in the '80s using those old pads.....a far cry from the 7 consecutive seasons of .913+ using the bigger, lighter pads. And Roy's '80s numbers weren't out of line with other elite caliber seasons produced by other goalies in the decade. Bottom-line is Roy's save percentage went up with the new equipment just like everyone else's did.

Are you suggesting that Lundqvist is BETTER than Roy? Because quite frankly he's not in Roy's league.
Not suggesting that at all. But those poor goalies and their heavy pads. They were so heavy they had no choice but to stand there because they couldn't move at all. Come on now.

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03-03-2013, 08:38 PM
  #284
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
Not suggesting that at all. But those poor goalies and their heavy pads. They were so heavy they had no choice but to stand there because they couldn't move at all. Come on now.
Here's your answer >>>>>

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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
The weight reduction, lack of water retention, better shaped and better at holding that shape pads allowed for better stances and technical play.
Does buddy mention that at all?
You could not go down with anywhere near the frequency that goalies do today. You would be so dead by the third period and your pads would weigh even more by that point on top of it.
And honestly, how effective does anyone think the butterfly was when you covered at least 25% less net when you did it back then.
Guys like Tony O and Dan Bouchard were known as butterfly goalies but they used it maybe 30-40% of the time. They would barely qualify as hybrids in today's NHL heh.

As I said earlier, my style changed overnight with synthetic equipment.
I didn't just suddenly become good technically, I always knew my angles. I had to play the way my equipment would allow me to play.

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03-03-2013, 08:44 PM
  #285
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
Since your THE Gretzky expert ON here, what DO you think OF point projections if THEY both started their CAREER in 2005?

I'll take THE guy who showed he could PLAY against the BIGGER and BETTER players. LOOK at my POST last page AND tell me WHAT you THINK.
Gretzky would have won some of his scoring titles based on assists alone. The last 3 Art Ross winners scored 112, 104, and 109 points. I think it's reasonable to think that prime Gretzky gets 100-120 assists in a given year.

The last 3 Richard winners scored 51, 50, and 62 goals. Gretzky won some goal scoring titles, but I don't think he was necessarily a transcendent goal scorer, though he did have a couple of seasons like that.

I think 55-110-165 is a decent estimate of a typical prime Gretzky season if he played today.

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03-03-2013, 09:56 PM
  #286
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
Since your THE Gretzky expert ON here, what DO you think OF point projections if THEY both started their CAREER in 2005?

I'll take THE guy who showed he could PLAY against the BIGGER and BETTER players. LOOK at my POST last page AND tell me WHAT you THINK.
As good as Lemieux was, he never had to play against someone with the unbelievable skill and strentgh of Mario Lemieux, because he was Mario Lemieux. You know who did play against him a bunch? Wayne Gretzky.

Wayne Gretzky vs Mario Lemieux Head to Head

With more assists than Lemieux has points, even if no Edmonton games are counted, Wayne never showed any problem dealing with Mario's size and skill. Even with Jaromir Jagr and Ron Francis backing him up against a 36 year old Gretzky, Lemieux can't quite match up to the Rangers-era Gretzky.

As for Gretzky in today's league, keep in mind that a 37-year old, post-back injury Wayne Gretzky played on a 25-win Rangers team whose leading goal scorer had 23 goals (it was some old guy named Wayne Gretzky) in the 1997-98 NHL season where a lack of obstruction enforcement let big guys thrive in an environment where scoring was lower than in any season post-lockout.

The result was that the old man was 1st in assists, 3rd in points, 5th in MVP voting and was a 2nd-team All Star at Centre. Just based on the post-lockout changes I imagine that the old guy could top 100 points in today's NHL. Make him younger, healthier, and faster and he's a perennial Art Ross winner.

And as far as MAF's ability to stop any shot from anywhere is concerned, after watching the Flyers-Pens series from last year I'd say that's the best argument AGAINST you. If I were you, I'd say nothing and hope that everyone forgets you said it at all. It wasn't really all MAF's fault though. No matter how big the pads are, if teams are willing to run and gun they can still make goalies look silly.

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03-03-2013, 11:19 PM
  #287
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1. You're wrong. Then why is Yzerman so low on his list?

2. Because Gretzky was in his prime while Lemieux was just starting out. Also, Gretzky had a MUCH deeper team. Why is it that Gretzky was never able to win the cup without the Oilers when the Oilers did it without him?

3. Again, if you're a great passer and you're playing with pure finishers, you're bound to have more assists. Gretzky said it himself, when speaking of Lemieux "Our passing was pretty much equal, but he was a much better scorer".

4. Why couldn't Gretzky come close to doing any of that when he didn't have the deep roster that managed to win without him? Plenty of factors can be why Lemieux didn't do it. Lemieux started his career in the mid 80s. His team sucked. Gretzky was in an ideal situation at the perfect time.

5. Of course, he didn't have the type of roster that Gretzky had, and he battled cancer. You don't seem to realize the type of toll cancer treatment takes on one's body. Before his cancer, he was not only on pace to destroy his personal record, but he was on pace to beat Gretzky's single season records.

Oh and the 1989 Hart trophy that went to Gretzky was a pure joke. That year, Lemieux murdered him by 31 goals in 2 less game.
1. What part am I wrong about? I said Bowman coached Lemieux. He did. I also said Bowman recently ranked Richard ahead of both Gretzky and Lemieux. He did. Its my opinion that Bowman may not be the most neutral person to ask about how good Gretzky was. I could be wrong about that, but neither of us really has any proof. Any facts I stated though are absolutely correct.

2. So we overlook Lemieux's slower start on a bad team because Gretzky was in his prime, but use Lemieux's prime on a good team vs Gretzky being past his prime on a bad team as definitive proof that Lemieux was somehow better?

3. As someone else already mentioned, Gretzky had more assists on the Kings, who were the 4th worst team in the league when he went there, then Lemieux did at any point in his career. Also, who cares if Gretzky said Lemieux was good, better, the best ever? He says lots of stuff to the media while trying to downplay his own accomplishments. He said Ovechkin could break his goal scoring record once. Does anyone still think that's likely to happen?

4. Why would you expect Gretzky to have his peak years 10 or 12 years into his career on a worse team and with injuries beginning to take their toll on him? Of course he didn't equal what he did in Edmonton, but neither did anyone else, including Lemieux. Other than Howe and maybe Messier, how many forwards have their best seasons in the 2nd decade of their career instead of the first? Gretzky peaked younger than most. He declined younger than many superstars too. But even with that "unusual" career arch, he won more scoring titles than anyone, more Hart trophies than anyone, and scored more goals, assists, and points than anyone in both single season and career. He set records for PPG, GPG, and APG for single seasons as well. It seems ridiculous to say "well, he should have been able to do all that in LA too". Why? No one else has done it ever.

He already turned LA from the 4th worst team to the 4th best overnight and took them to a cup finals a few years after that. He already proved he could turn a bad team into a contender. Lemieux never did that. His team was bad when he got there, continued to be bad even with him putting up tons of points, and only became good when they got significant talent around him.

5. The only time Lemieux came close to Gretzky's best seasons was when he himself had a very deep roster, and when you pro-rate is pace over the full 84 game season. Lots of people point out that he was on pace to beat Gretzky's goals and points records - which he was. But they fail to consider he had 4 extra games that season, or that he may not have continued that pace for the 24 games he missed that year, or that Gretzky himself was on an even better pace the year of his 51 game point scoring streak before injury prevented Gretzky from bettering his own records. If you look at the top PPG seasons of all time, Gretzky is #1 and 2. Lemieux is 3 and 4. Lemieux's fairy-tale season full of unicorns and injury-free hockey still doesn't measure up to Gretzky's best season under similar criteria. Its also worth noting, that Gretzky beat Lemieux to every significant goal scoring milestone - he reached 300 goals in less games, 400, 500, 600 (though only 1 game less, but I already stated earlier that Lemieux was the better player later in their respective careers), 700, and obviously 800 since only Gretzky and Howe have ever reached that plateau. This is actual games played, a stat that one would think should favor Lemieux given that it doesn't penalize him for games missed. But even there Gretzky comes out ahead.

And don't tell me I don't understand cancer. My grandfather passed away from cancer.

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03-04-2013, 12:06 AM
  #288
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
Since your THE Gretzky expert ON here, what DO you think OF point projections if THEY both started their CAREER in 2005?

I'll take THE guy who showed he could PLAY against the BIGGER and BETTER players. LOOK at my POST last page AND tell me WHAT you THINK.
I'll take the guy who beat the other guy out in scoring and winning the tournament MVP while playing on the same team (often on the same line) as the other guy, with and against the best players in the world. Thankyou very much.

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03-04-2013, 12:35 AM
  #289
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Originally Posted by shazariahl View Post
1. What part am I wrong about? I said Bowman coached Lemieux. He did. I also said Bowman recently ranked Richard ahead of both Gretzky and Lemieux. He did. Its my opinion that Bowman may not be the most neutral person to ask about how good Gretzky was. I could be wrong about that, but neither of us really has any proof. Any facts I stated though are absolutely correct.

2. So we overlook Lemieux's slower start on a bad team because Gretzky was in his prime, but use Lemieux's prime on a good team vs Gretzky being past his prime on a bad team as definitive proof that Lemieux was somehow better?

3. As someone else already mentioned, Gretzky had more assists on the Kings, who were the 4th worst team in the league when he went there, then Lemieux did at any point in his career. Also, who cares if Gretzky said Lemieux was good, better, the best ever? He says lots of stuff to the media while trying to downplay his own accomplishments. He said Ovechkin could break his goal scoring record once. Does anyone still think that's likely to happen?

4. Why would you expect Gretzky to have his peak years 10 or 12 years into his career on a worse team and with injuries beginning to take their toll on him? Of course he didn't equal what he did in Edmonton, but neither did anyone else, including Lemieux. Other than Howe and maybe Messier, how many forwards have their best seasons in the 2nd decade of their career instead of the first? Gretzky peaked younger than most. He declined younger than many superstars too. But even with that "unusual" career arch, he won more scoring titles than anyone, more Hart trophies than anyone, and scored more goals, assists, and points than anyone in both single season and career. He set records for PPG, GPG, and APG for single seasons as well. It seems ridiculous to say "well, he should have been able to do all that in LA too". Why? No one else has done it ever.

He already turned LA from the 4th worst team to the 4th best overnight and took them to a cup finals a few years after that. He already proved he could turn a bad team into a contender. Lemieux never did that. His team was bad when he got there, continued to be bad even with him putting up tons of points, and only became good when they got significant talent around him.

5. The only time Lemieux came close to Gretzky's best seasons was when he himself had a very deep roster, and when you pro-rate is pace over the full 84 game season. Lots of people point out that he was on pace to beat Gretzky's goals and points records - which he was. But they fail to consider he had 4 extra games that season, or that he may not have continued that pace for the 24 games he missed that year, or that Gretzky himself was on an even better pace the year of his 51 game point scoring streak before injury prevented Gretzky from bettering his own records. If you look at the top PPG seasons of all time, Gretzky is #1 and 2. Lemieux is 3 and 4. Lemieux's fairy-tale season full of unicorns and injury-free hockey still doesn't measure up to Gretzky's best season under similar criteria. Its also worth noting, that Gretzky beat Lemieux to every significant goal scoring milestone - he reached 300 goals in less games, 400, 500, 600 (though only 1 game less, but I already stated earlier that Lemieux was the better player later in their respective careers), 700, and obviously 800 since only Gretzky and Howe have ever reached that plateau. This is actual games played, a stat that one would think should favor Lemieux given that it doesn't penalize him for games missed. But even there Gretzky comes out ahead.

And don't tell me I don't understand cancer. My grandfather passed away from cancer.
I agree with your basic point, but just wanted to point out that Gordie Howe also had his best seasons when he was younger. His 6 Art Rosses were at 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, and 34 years old.

The 4 in a row in his early 20s were by margins of 20, 17, 24, and 14 points each, while the later two were by margins of 4 and 5 points.

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03-04-2013, 12:42 AM
  #290
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Originally Posted by Long Duk Dong View Post
There's no way Mario or Wayne even sniff 200 points today.

It'd be like 70-80-150 for Lemieux and 40-100-140 for Gretzky. Maybe 160 for either in a freak season.
We really don't know what either player would do or how thye would react to not being able to play all out offense. Both of their goals on ice against (when they played) might present large problems in todays game with a coach like Hitchcock.

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Agree that neither comes close to 200, but why would Mario outscore Wayne? And why would Gretzky only have 17 more assists than Henrik Sedin got back in 2009-10?
Personally I'm guessing Wayne would find a way to do better than Mario, his preparation and focus was just that much better but team situation would affect it quite a bit as well. Playing on Columbus against the tough west opponents would be different than say in a division in the eastern conference, especially in 12.

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Agreed entirely.

To think that Gretzky is only a ~5% better playmaker than a peak Thornton is a ludicrous statement. One doesn't lead the league in assists 16 times, net 1900 assists and have a 2 APG season while being only of a Thornton quality.

One thing we're all misunderstanding is that Gretzky achieved ~210 in very different manners.

92-120-212
52-163-215

So if we want to give Gretzky 40 goals for his 215 point campaign we would likely have to give him ~120 assists. If we want to only give him ~100 assists he would likely have ~60+ goals.
I think the hard part in the equation is to separate what Wayne did in his perfect storm of all out offense in the early 80's on that Oilers team and trying to translate it to the landscape that is the current NHL where teams are much better equipped to stop offense and two way play is so much more important.

At the very best we can only guess and have very little basis to judge any estimates on IMO.

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Because Wayne Gretzky will always be dissed by those that never saw his true genius at work on a nightly basis. And even I unfortunately couldn't see him every single game because of a lack of technology back then.

Everybody automatically assumes Oilers fans posting here are biased about Gretzky because they're, well, Oilers fans. But they're among the few that actually DID see him most nights, whether live or on local TV.

And the only way to get the Gretzky phenomenon was to observe the consistent production, every single frickin' night. People see his stats and pick at them because by today's standards they're impossible.

Instead of believing in the genius, the prevailing thought here is to denounce Gretzky's accomplishments because "he couldn't possibly be better than today's NHLers". Please.

I saw Wayne play alot in the 80's and also saw alot of the great defensive teams that were the Canucks, Jets and Kings as well.

The game simply has changed so much with systems, goalies and teams being much better prepared to win games 2-1 or 3-2 than in the 80's. There are many reasons for this but you simply choose to ignore the reality of it.
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I think the 40-50 ahead of Crosby/Stamkos/Malkin is fair.

Last year Malkin was on a 119 point pace. 50 point ahead of that is 169. That's a 42% margin. A little less than Gretzky's in his prime, but probably where he'd be now. This assumes competition now is tighter and that Malkin is in the same ballpark as a Kurri/Coffey/Bossy, which I think is fair.
Malkin is a much higher skilled player than the 3 guys you mention here and I think your assumption makes your scoring pace for a guy like Gretzky rather improbably high.

It's also harder for a guy not entirely focused all of the time like Malkin to compete in a post lockout NHL than the easy going 80's where defensive play was hardly at a premium.

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03-04-2013, 12:57 AM
  #291
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Gretzky would have won some of his scoring titles based on assists alone. The last 3 Art Ross winners scored 112, 104, and 109 points. I think it's reasonable to think that prime Gretzky gets 100-120 assists in a given year.

The last 3 Richard winners scored 51, 50, and 62 goals. Gretzky won some goal scoring titles, but I don't think he was necessarily a transcendent goal scorer, though he did have a couple of seasons like that.

I think 55-110-165 is a decent estimate of a typical prime Gretzky season if he played today.I
while I see why some might guess at that there a slight problem that I ahve a hard time trying to square with the numbers as we know them.

Wayne scored, even in his best seasons on around a little over 50% of his teams goals in the NHL and very few teams even flirt with close to 300 GF in a post lockout NHL.

Say Wayne is on 55% of his teams GF (which I'm not sure he ever achieved) then that team would need to score 300 GF in the regular season, in a typical year.

The problem for me is Wayne going to score on more than his highest % rate of his teams GF or is the team he is on going to score the extra 40ish to 80ish goals required.

And if said team goes out and scores at the higher rate does the GF and GA (that Wayne had in a less defensive era) come back to haunt that team and they can't win so they switch styles, which is what happened to Washington after their 318 GF season.

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03-04-2013, 12:58 AM
  #292
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There will never be another player like Gretzky. Now every generation says this about certain players, but the truth is Gretzky is one of a kind that played at the right time. He did things on the ice that were amazing and produced points that were mind boggling.

Two things that come to mind is in relation to a shortened season. In 1981 Gretzky scored 50 goals in 39 games at that time he had 110 points. Glenn Anderson finished the year with 105 points. Gretzky could have taken the rest of the year off and still led the team.

When Gretzky had a point in 51 consecutive games his totals were 61 goals 92 assists 153 points. Now I know that the NHL is different league now but that is insane. How many players in NHL history have scored this many points in a season. Only 3 and Gretzky did this in only 51 games.

The NHL will never be the same since Gretzky. Some might argue that Orr was better and that is the only player who can even be considered to being an equal or better player that Gretzky. Many say we already saw a player like Gretzky in Lemieux. But I look at this way. We saw a defenceman that could skate and score almost like Orr in Paul Coffey but he was no Orr. Just like Lemieux might have put up points and dominated the game he was still no Gretzky.

Until a player dominates the NHL like Gretzky no one can even be thought of being in his league. If a player can come into the league and tie for the scoring lead in his first year. Until a player can win the scoring title by over 50 points more that once. Until a player can get more assists than anyone else has points. Until the NHL makes rule changes due to that players(team) dominance. Until a player comes into the league and can win at least 7 Hart and 7 Art Ross trophies in a row. Then maybe then we can talk about a player being as good as Gretzky. Until then you can't even consider a player as good as him

For years we always hear about the next one. It is just a hope that one day we can see a player do the things that Gretzky did and that will never happen

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03-04-2013, 01:07 AM
  #293
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Originally Posted by Starchild74 View Post
Two things that come to mind is in relation to a shortened season. In 1981 Gretzky scored 50 goals in 39 games at that time he had 110 points. Glenn Anderson finished the year with 105 points. Gretzky could have taken the rest of the year off and still led the team.
Sid had 66 points in 41 games in 11 and was forced to miss the rest of the season and still led his team in scoring by 16 points.

To be fair Kunitz had 48 points in 66 games but still a pretty incredible feat, considering he was playing a more two way game at the time.

The bottom line is that we have seen at least 2 guys close enough to Wayne, given the circumstances of their teams and the NHL and some still refuse to "see them or know it" as the thread asks.

Wayne is hands down my number 1 player of all time but some people think that he had no faults and would likely still be playing and dominating if it wasn't for that Suter hit.

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03-04-2013, 04:21 AM
  #294
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Sid had 66 points in 41 games in 11 and was forced to miss the rest of the season and still led his team in scoring by 16 points.

To be fair Kunitz had 48 points in 66 games but still a pretty incredible feat, considering he was playing a more two way game at the time.

The bottom line is that we have seen at least 2 guys close enough to Wayne, given the circumstances of their teams and the NHL and some still refuse to "see them or know it" as the thread asks.

Wayne is hands down my number 1 player of all time but some people think that he had no faults and would likely still be playing and dominating if it wasn't for that Suter hit.
haha, might not be THAT bad on these boards

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03-04-2013, 09:55 AM
  #295
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I agree with your basic point, but just wanted to point out that Gordie Howe also had his best seasons when he was younger. His 6 Art Rosses were at 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, and 34 years old.

The 4 in a row in his early 20s were by margins of 20, 17, 24, and 14 points each, while the later two were by margins of 4 and 5 points.
Good point. I just didn't want anyone to call me out on Howe for his 20 seasons in top 5 scoring, or having his highest scoring season when he was nearly 40. But as you demonstrated, Howe was still best early in his career, his incredible longevity not withstanding.

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03-04-2013, 12:20 PM
  #296
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And yes, THAT Gretzky would hit the 200-point mark in THIS NHL. He was that damn good. Look at his performance in the '97 playoffs with an old Rangers team, basically playing with a chronic back problem and essentially a playmaker. He still dominated play most of the time he was on the ice.

We'll never see another. He was unique in his constant ability to produce no matter what.
I have ZERO reason to think 99 would be any less dominant today. The nuances about equipment, conditioning, playing styles matters NONE. You'd think Scotty Bowman and Al Arbour and opposing players never really tried to stop 99 and the Oilers. There were NO SYSTEMS back then?

Simply put, having watched hockey, I don't think any player today (Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos, Ovechkin (a few years ago), Sedins, Giroux, Tavares) is any better than Trottier, Bossy, Stastny, Lafleur, Messier, Kurri, Hawerchuk - nor the Sakic, Yzerman or Esposito, Dionne - they are in the same general group of elite players.

They span several eras, before and after the 80s.

Yet, Gretzky's production OVER other elites was just as dramatic over those superstars.

I can see Connor McDavid being a superstar in the NHL one day. It's already obvious the kid is special. But can I see him leading the Olympics in scoring in 2014? That's the scale of what we're talking about here.


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03-04-2013, 12:27 PM
  #297
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I have ZERO reason to think 99 would be any less dominant today. The nuances about equipment, conditioning, playing styles matters NONE. You'd think Scotty Bowman and Al Arbour and opposing players never really tried to stop 99 and the Oilers. There were NO SYSTEMS back then?

Simply put, having watched hockey, I don't think any player today (Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos, Ovechkin (a few years ago), Sedins, Giroux, Tavares) is any better than Trottier, Bossy, Stastny, Lafleur, Messier, Kurri, Hawerchuk - nor the Sakic, Yzerman or Esposito, Dionne - they are in the same general group of elite players.

They span several eras, before and after the 80s.

Yet, Gretzky's production OVER other elites was just as dramatic over those superstars.

Gretzky was better than everyone when he had no business being better than anyone....like in the 1976 Canada Cup when he was a child.

I can see Connor McDavid being a superstar in the NHL one day. It's already obvious the kid is special. But can I see him leading the Olympics in scoring in 2014? That's the scale of what we're talking about here.
Sure, but you gotta agree his goals versus assists ratio would be down some from 1982? Maybe 60+110 or something. I believe that Thornton was a better playmaker at best then Peter Stastny was.

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03-04-2013, 12:36 PM
  #298
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The result was that the old man was 1st in assists, 3rd in points, 5th in MVP voting and was a 2nd-team All Star at Centre. Just based on the post-lockout changes I imagine that the old guy could top 100 points in today's NHL. Make him younger, healthier, and faster and he's a perennial Art Ross winner.
Perennial Art Ross winner? Probably. Contender is more likely, because I don't see him getting 150+ points nowadays. Maybe once or twice in his prime IF he has a serious amount of talent around him. I think he would still be the player to beat in the Art Ross race, but there's no way he gets by on assists alone anymore, or outpaces 2nd place by 50+ points.

IF he were still around today, I could see him being on a level SLIGHTLY better than Crosby is viewed today. Clearly the best player in the league, but everyone else is so good now you just can't separate yourself statistically from the Stamkos', Crosby's, Malkin's, etc...like you used to.

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03-04-2013, 12:41 PM
  #299
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My short answer to the question, this deep into the conversation is: no - potentially to both questions. The way the game is evolving, there is no structure to allow the talent and creativity of one player to dictate the flow of the game - no matter how talented. I'm sure even Sidney Crosby gets an ear full if he deviates from his coach's systems (no matter which zone it is), we've seen Ovechkin reeled into a more defense first approach, etc, etc.

Part of the magic of guys like Wayne and Mario was that they were more or less sent on the ice to do what they do, and it was up to them to make things happen while everyone else tried to keep up. What was even more remarkable was how successful/productive they were compared to everyone else when basically left to their own devices. Actually, what's really remarkable is how successful they made their linemates while "writing the script as they went".

Now, would they do as well against the structured defenses of today? I dunno. Part of them thinks they'd find ways. But looking in the other direction, how many of today's top talents would actually be able to be as successful, left to their own creative devices, without each shift, PP, or break-out pre-programmed into them? With each passing year I find overall creativity being phased out of every aspect of the game besides the side show shootouts, and believe that production of today's top players is more of a function of physical/strategic preparedness and determination than skill and creativity than could have been said 20+ years ago.

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03-04-2013, 01:03 PM
  #300
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Perennial Art Ross winner? Probably. Contender is more likely, because I don't see him getting 150+ points nowadays. Maybe once or twice in his prime IF he has a serious amount of talent around him. I think he would still be the player to beat in the Art Ross race, but there's no way he gets by on assists alone anymore, or outpaces 2nd place by 50+ points.

IF he were still around today, I could see him being on a level SLIGHTLY better than Crosby is viewed today. Clearly the best player in the league, but everyone else is so good now you just can't separate yourself statistically from the Stamkos', Crosby's, Malkin's, etc...like you used to.
You don't think Gretzky could get 110 assists today? If Henrik Sedin and Joe Thornton can get 80+, you don't think that the best playmaker in history in his prime could get 20-30 more assists? With all those powerplays? Really?

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