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

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03-04-2013, 01:03 PM
  #301
tazzy19
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Originally Posted by ryanwb View Post
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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03-04-2013, 01:15 PM
  #302
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Originally Posted by ryanwb View Post
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.
at his CURRENT AGE, then yes, Gretzky would be slightly better than Sid. He probably hasn't skated in a few years.

In his 20s, yeah, you get the DeLorean I'll program the dates and times - he's be as dominant as he was in the 80s.


I think 150pts is a starter for 99 in a healthy season, assuming he'll spend more time on Twitter and Facebook but I also think 200pts would be cracked once or twice before they changed some rules to slow him down, like the 4on4, the centre-line and they'd probably eliminate the sticks if Gretzky developed a shot that could beat goalies (that was not possible with the Titans that he and Bossy used)


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03-04-2013, 01:47 PM
  #303
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Originally Posted by redbull View Post
at his CURRENT AGE, then yes, Gretzky would be slightly better than Sid. He probably hasn't skated in a few years.

In his 20s, yeah, you get the DeLorean I'll program the dates and times - he's be as dominant as he was in the 80s.


I think 150pts is a starter for 99 in a healthy season, assuming he'll spend more time on Twitter and Facebook but I also think 200pts would be cracked once or twice before they changed some rules to slow him down, like the 4on4, the centre-line and they'd probably eliminate the sticks if Gretzky developed a shot that could beat goalies (that was not possible with the Titans that he and Bossy used)

Gretzky without two line off sides? I'd totally forgotten about that....if there's anyone who could find a way to exploit that rule, it would be him.

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03-04-2013, 02:09 PM
  #304
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Originally Posted by Goalsfordinner View Post
I have a hard time seeing Gretzky dominating a 2010-2011 Crosby.
curious. did you watch Gretzky play in the 80s?

I have a really hard time seeing Gretzky NOT dominating Crosby, who's one of my fav players in the NHL and someone who I think is the obvious top forward in the NHL.

Those great games that Sid has, when he gets a big goal and 2-3 assists, has a nice week that vaults him in the scoring race, Gretzky did it exactly the same way, but better and far more often.

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03-04-2013, 02:24 PM
  #305
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And nobody could imagine anyone getting 200 points until Gretzky did it... again, and again.

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03-04-2013, 02:27 PM
  #306
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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.
good call, I had forgotten about this line of thinking. Jagr was asked who was better - Mario or Sid, way back in Sid's Hart season, as JJ had played with both, obviously.

He basically said that no one can be like Mario anymore, because teams don't run all their offense through one single guy anymore.

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03-04-2013, 02:28 PM
  #307
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Originally Posted by Goalsfordinner View Post
When I say dominate I mean by like 40 points. Crosby was poised to put up 130-140 points. I can't see anyone getting 180 points nowadays.
In 1979 a lot of experts didn't see Gretzky survive in the NHL, and it was unimaginable for anyone to ever get 200pts (the record at that time was 152 and was 9 years old). So the thing to learn with Gretzky is, don't believe what you see...

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03-04-2013, 02:29 PM
  #308
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Originally Posted by redbull View Post
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.
Agree.

Quote:
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'm not sure what you're getting at. Gretzky didn't play in the 1976 Canada Cup.

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03-04-2013, 02:35 PM
  #309
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Originally Posted by Goalsfordinner View Post
Crosby is now an 130 point guy. Yes I know he has not hit that yet but this is the third straight season at that pace. I don't Gretzky can hit 180. Now? That is too high.
Wait until Crosby actually hits 130. Lecavalier and Ovechkin both had streaks like Crosby's 2010-11 since the lockout and both slowed down towards the end of the year.

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03-04-2013, 03:28 PM
  #310
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Agree.
I'm not sure what you're getting at. Gretzky didn't play in the 1976 Canada Cup.
WJC, WJC !! my mistake.

still, impressive.

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03-04-2013, 03:28 PM
  #311
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Originally Posted by Goalsfordinner View Post
Crosby is now an 130 point guy. Yes I know he has not hit that yet but this is the third straight season at that pace. I don't Gretzky can hit 180. Now? That is too high.
Well Gretzky once hit 183 when the second best (his own teammate) only hit 108, and the top 15 players except one are in the Hall of fame.

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03-04-2013, 03:43 PM
  #312
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Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
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.


I see Gretzky winning every Art Ross and being the clear best player of this generation, but forget about those ridiculous leads, they're not going to happen in a league with so much parity and so many great Euros... players like Ovechkin and Malkin would have cut deeper into Gretzky's scoring margins than Peter Stastny or Jari Kurri could, especially if they had the support players like that often had in the 80s.

Today's stars have it tough. Teams are not built to accommodate them anymore (like Jagr pointed out). Today Crosby is a career 1.4+ PPG player and has Chris Kunitz 3rd in scoring, and he spends a lot of time and energy backchecking and digging hard for pucks because he HAS to with these teammates and systems. He doesn't even have the benefits that Gretzky's most typical rivals Bossy (HOF center and d-man) or Stastny (had an entire line of very talented brothers he had great chemistry with, and a HOF winger on the team) had, let alone the insanely cushy situation Gretzky had in Edmonton.

The year Ovechkin scored 65, no teammates had 70 points. Malkin just scored at a 120 point pace as James Neal's sugar daddy. Crosby has always rolled with slow 40 year olds and decent grinders.

That's the way it generally is now (unless you have a psychic twin on your line to make the sum far greater than the parts). If Gretzky was playing today making his 9.9 million a year, the team and strategy accommodation to win scoring titles by the same ridiculous point percentages every year isn't going to be there. If you gave a consistently dominant player like Crosby or 90s Jagr back in an environment where they could hook up with HOF linemates in a 7.5-8 GPG environment, you'd see some fireworks. It's just not going to happen anymore.

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03-04-2013, 04:18 PM
  #313
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What would a 130 point season today be in 1984, 170?

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03-04-2013, 04:32 PM
  #314
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Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
I see Gretzky winning every Art Ross and being the clear best player of this generation, but forget about those ridiculous leads, they're not going to happen in a league with so much parity and so many great Euros... players like Ovechkin and Malkin would have cut deeper into Gretzky's scoring margins than Peter Stastny or Jari Kurri could, especially if they had the support players like that often had in the 80s.

Today's stars have it tough. Teams are not built to accommodate them anymore (like Jagr pointed out). Today Crosby is a career 1.4+ PPG player and has Chris Kunitz 3rd in scoring, and he spends a lot of time and energy backchecking and digging hard for pucks because he HAS to with these teammates and systems. He doesn't even have the benefits that Gretzky's most typical rivals Bossy (HOF center and d-man) or Stastny (had an entire line of very talented brothers he had great chemistry with, and a HOF winger on the team) had, let alone the insanely cushy situation Gretzky had in Edmonton.

The year Ovechkin scored 65, no teammates had 70 points. Malkin just scored at a 120 point pace as James Neal's sugar daddy. Crosby has always rolled with slow 40 year olds and decent grinders.

That's the way it generally is now (unless you have a psychic twin on your line to make the sum far greater than the parts). If Gretzky was playing today making his 9.9 million a year, the team and strategy accommodation to win scoring titles by the same ridiculous point percentages every year isn't going to be there. If you gave a consistently dominant player like Crosby or 90s Jagr back in an environment where they could hook up with HOF linemates in a 7.5-8 GPG environment, you'd see some fireworks. It's just not going to happen anymore.
this is a balanced assessment. I hope everyone reads it carefully.

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03-04-2013, 04:37 PM
  #315
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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?
Perhaps. All we can do is speculate. Sure I wouldn't really be too surprised if he did it. But realistically, I don't think a prime Gretzky is THAT much better of a playmaker than a guy like Joe Thornton where size and speed is often so important in today's NHL that he could win the Art Ross purely on assists. Joe Thornton topped out at what, 96 assists? Spezza was 2nd in the NHL that season with 71. Joe was clearly the best playmaker in the NHL at this point in time. That season is the 16th highest assist total in NHL history, ahead of guys like Lafontaine, Yzerman or Stastny's best. And even then he barely squeaked ahead of Jagr in points at the end of the season. I guess if Gretzky had chemistry with a pure sniper like Kessel or Ovechkin or something, sure maybe 100, 110, maybe even a bit more is realistic. But not enough to win the Art Ross.

I still think he would dominate though. But when I speculate this, I also speculate Crosby topping out at about 130-140 points in a full season, which is why I don't see Gretzky ever getting by on just assists. I can't in any way, shape, or form see him doing that today. And that is by no means a knock on his talent level at all. I could see him getting 150-160 points nowadays. But the game has just changed way to much for him to take advantage like he used to IMO.

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03-04-2013, 04:37 PM
  #316
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Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
What would a 130 point season today be in 1984, 170?
The average of the 2nd-5th place scorer in 1984 is 121 points.
The average of the 2nd-5th place scorer in 2012 is 89 points

If you use this as a standard, 130 points today would be 177 in 1984.

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03-04-2013, 04:38 PM
  #317
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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.

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.
Exactly right. And when people continue to talk about today's players, they really really diss all the great players that played in Gretzky's era. And Gretzky dominated every single one of them, except a healthy Mario Lemieux (who would also be considerably better than anybody playing today).

All of those players in the 80's were the best in the world, and Gretzky made a mockery of them nightly. He also dominated in International competition against the very best from elsewhere. As if playing at a supremely high level against the Soviet Central Red Army isn't as good a barometer as playing against the Columbus Blue Jackets today...please.

AND, something people very rarely mention, but while today's players are better athletes and better skaters and bigger/stronger, I truly believe they don't have nearly the hockey sense of players from the 1970's and 1980's. Because they're taught to play in a more systematic/robotic fashion, and their coaches protect a lot of their weaknesses. But players thought the game way better in the 1970's and 1980's, and Gretzky could not be defeated in a chess match on the ice, EVER.


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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.
Why would Gretzky score fewer goals with much better sticks today? Gretzky always took what the defense gave him, which is why sometimes he scored 92 and sometimes he only scored 54. But give him a better stick, he would score just as many as he did.

Also, in terms of pure playmaking Thornton MAY be better than Peter Stastny, but overall Stastny was a better player than Thornton.


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Originally Posted by Goalsfordinner View Post
Look how the game has evolved. Players are better , stronger, faster. Theres far better technology. Teams dedicate hours to watching videos of other teams and acessing a star players strengths etc.
All of that would also be accessible to Gretzky, the greatest mind on ice the game has ever seen. You don't think he'd exploit that to the best of his abilities? If David Desharnais can be a very productive No. 1 center on a good NHL team today, Wayne Gretzky could easily be the best and most productive by a gargantuan mile.


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WJC, WJC !! my mistake.

still, impressive.
I think that was in 1978, not 1976. Gretzky was 17 in 1978.

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03-04-2013, 05:18 PM
  #318
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Perhaps. All we can do is speculate. Sure I wouldn't really be too surprised if he did it. But realistically, I don't think a prime Gretzky is THAT much better of a playmaker than a guy like Joe Thornton where size and speed is often so important in today's NHL that he could win the Art Ross purely on assists. Joe Thornton topped out at what, 96 assists? Spezza was 2nd in the NHL that season with 71. Joe was clearly the best playmaker in the NHL at this point in time. That season is the 16th highest assist total in NHL history, ahead of guys like Lafontaine, Yzerman or Stastny's best. And even then he barely squeaked ahead of Jagr in points at the end of the season. I guess if Gretzky had chemistry with a pure sniper like Kessel or Ovechkin or something, sure maybe 100, 110, maybe even a bit more is realistic. But not enough to win the Art Ross.
He wouldn't need Kessel or Ovechkin. Oh sure, those guys would hit the 65-70-goal mark next to 99, but Gretzky turned Dave Lumley into a 32-goal man in 1982. He helped Pat Hughes score 24, 25 and 27 goals from 1982-84. Dave Semenko had double-digit seasons in goals four times. It wasn't always because of Gretzky, but 99 played with a lot of different players all the time and could set up even the John Scott's of today for about 4-7 goals.

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03-04-2013, 05:34 PM
  #319
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Originally Posted by Jag68Sid87 View Post
He wouldn't need Kessel or Ovechkin. Oh sure, those guys would hit the 65-70-goal mark next to 99, but Gretzky turned Dave Lumley into a 32-goal man in 1982. He helped Pat Hughes score 24, 25 and 27 goals from 1982-84. Dave Semenko had double-digit seasons in goals four times. It wasn't always because of Gretzky, but 99 played with a lot of different players all the time and could set up even the John Scott's of today for about 4-7 goals.
Sure he might not need a sniper on his line to rack up points at a crazy rate, but he most certainly would need one if he wanted a chance to break 100 assists in a season today. Not a chance in hell Gretzky gets 100 assists in today's game playing with Semenko, Scott, or the like.

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03-04-2013, 05:44 PM
  #320
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Okay smart guy, if he was in a normal bell curve decline already what would have his point totals been after the 91 hit?

Do players, even superstars hit their absolute peak at 25 and start their "normal bell curve decline'?

Was this the norm in 86-87 when the 1st big dip occurred?

I won't even bring up adjusted stats since you don't believe in them.

Give it a ballpark 10 point range.

He was already taking less SOG and his point totals were relying on assists so injuries and changes to his line mates also affected his production.
I think even when you are trying to knock him down a peg it still is a compliment to him. I mean he had 183 points in 1987, led the NHL in goals.........still, and this is something considered a "big dip"? The next year he misses 16 games and is on pace for 186 points. I mean, are we seriously trying to knock the guy down a peg because he was 17 points short of stringing together 4 consecutive 200 point seasons?
I mean, he technically took a dip in 1983 by going from 212 to 196. What happened there? Well, for starters my take is that it is next to impossible to score 200 points in a season in any era, and even Wayne Gretzky got stopped doing it.

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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.
I honestly don't know the basis of this. Thornton had 125 points in 2006. Jagr had 127 in 1999 and 123 in 2006 and 121 in 2001. Crosby had 120. Malkin had 113. Ovechkin had 112. Henrik had 112. Now, this is all in a lower scoring era in the NHL compared to the 1980s.

Thornton had back to back years of 96 and 92 assists. He had some great years but I think we are forgetting one thing here. Gretzky never took a game off. He was the hardest worker in practice and a player who was incredibly consistent. Gretzky didn't have a 5 point night and then disappear the next game. That is another thing we tend to forget here. This is a guy who set out a goal in the beginning of the year to average 2 assists a game. He just "felt" like it. He did that along with a 52 goal campaign. Or in 1981-'82 when he decided he wanted to become more of a threat on the ice he started shooting more. He ends up with 92 goals. I really don't know what more the man could have done to convince people. Believe me, in the 1980s it was just as surreal as we would see it today. It was such a dominant stretch that 30 years later we try and justify it by saying "well, no one could do that TODAY." Let me tell you, no one could do that THEN either.

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Originally Posted by Goalsfordinner View Post
Crosby is now an 130 point guy. Yes I know he has not hit that yet but this is the third straight season at that pace. I don't Gretzky can hit 180. Now? That is too high.
Crosby has peaked at 120 points. Look, I love Sid but there is a huge difference between a guy we predict COULD have gotten 130 points in a season and a guy who had 130+ assists in a season - twice. Gretzky did all the things and more that people are saying Crosby COULD do. He hasn't and it isn't a knock against him at all, he's going against Wayne Gretzky. No one until Mario Lemieux could compete with the guy.

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03-04-2013, 05:49 PM
  #321
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If Crosby scores 70+ points this season. He needs to be considered an 130 point player.
70/48*82 = 119.58, basically a 120 point season.

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03-04-2013, 05:55 PM
  #322
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Look how the game has evolved. Players are better , stronger, faster. Theres far better technology. Teams dedicate hours to watching videos of other teams and acessing a star players strengths etc.
If Wayne Gretzky was born at the same time as those players he would have had those advantages, too. And he still would have been Wayne Gretzky on top of that. Another difference with Wayne is that he didn't really need those extra hours watching video. He absorbed/assimilated the exact same information - from player/goalie tendencies to team strategies - as he played the game. It is said often enough, but I'll repeat it here once more: incredible hockey I.Q.

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03-04-2013, 06:00 PM
  #323
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Gretzky is not going to be able to take a slap shot from the blue line and score every time like he did. He is not going to have the time and space he did. The game is faster now.
One of the biggest reasons Gretzky's slap shot was so dangerous is because the goalies were absolutely terrified by his playmaking ability and often cheated towards the open man. Gretzky was the best ever at playing mind games with the goalie.

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03-04-2013, 06:01 PM
  #324
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Originally Posted by ryanwb View Post
Sure he might not need a sniper on his line to rack up points at a crazy rate, but he most certainly would need one if he wanted a chance to break 100 assists in a season today. Not a chance in hell Gretzky gets 100 assists in today's game playing with Semenko, Scott, or the like.
I think that's fair enough to say. After all, it only makes sense that the parity issue would impact any potential linemates to a greater degree than Wayne. He would obviously need at least the calibre of wingers that any of the top scoring centres have in any given year, to so far exceed what the best of today can manage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goalsfordinner View Post
Gretzky is not going to be able to take a slap shot from the blue line and score every time like he did. He is not going to have the time and space he did. The game is faster now.
Gretzky needed less time and space to execute near perfect plays than any player I think I've seen since besides maybe Jagr, Datsyuk, Malkin, and Crosby. Was also able to buy time with simple yet effective fakes, and like TDMM said, mind games that create hesitation (the Ovechkin toe drag worked for multiple seasons as recently as post-2004/05 lockout hockey...). I find even Malkin gets noticeably sloppier when he has little to no time to make plays (quick dump off to a linemate, but on the wrong side to do anything with, for example), not every dangle of Jagr's gets around the defenseman, and not every one of Datsyuk's saucer passes land flat and on the tape of a skating linemate, but the point has already been made by someone else that Gretzky would figure out some way to put up the points; whether he found he was able to do it with his own stick through scoring, through creating quality chances for teammates, or, more likely, finding that optimum combination that resulted in wins and championships. That's just what he did, and did perhaps like no other.


Last edited by Ohashi_Jouzu: 03-04-2013 at 06:10 PM.
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03-04-2013, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Goalsfordinner View Post
But realistically. He is not going be scoring with those slap shots even close to the percentage he did in his day. Otherwise Stamkos would score much more than he already does.
Who knows? With the amount of traffic that some teams throw at the net these days, whose to say Wayne doesn't prove to be the best at finding the holes through that (100 mph slapshot though it may not be), or using that to disguise passing lanes to other open linemates, or whatever. The possibilities that come with that level of creativity and ability to observe, process, and execute in a flash... And do you see how players these days are using those aimed icing bounce passes off the corner runners to streaking linemates in order to break down blueline defenses? Wayne rarely had to resort to such measures of gaining the blueline or generating a rush, but I'd like to see how he might be able to use that to take the puck handling goalies of today out of the equation... for example. I mean, again, who among us thinks they could actually conceive the entire list of possibilities?

Put simply, the absolute hardest shooters in the league today aren't even necessarily top goal scorers, nor are the absolute fastest skaters, nor are the absolutely biggest players among them. Just like most men hope women think: it's not the strength, speed, or size of the package, it's how you use it.


Last edited by Ohashi_Jouzu: 03-04-2013 at 06:23 PM.
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