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

Gretzky, Lemieux and their superpowers

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Old
07-18-2013, 11:50 AM
  #1
Brainiac
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Gretzky, Lemieux and their superpowers

So, I was talking with some friends yesterday and the subject of Wayne vs. Mario was brought up.

First and foremost, I think these two are very different but almost equally dominant players. Getzky has the edge for sure with his longevity and even his peak. However, some of my friends were arguing that Mario was more impressive, which is hard to deny.

Don't ask me how, but we ended up trying to compare them to superheroes. It's not exactly easy to compare, but a better idea was to identify Wayne's and Mario's superpowers.

Gretzky: small, though physically gifted, but he can 'see' the next 2-3 seconds before they happen. Hence, he's always at the right place, making the perfect no-look pass etc.

Mario: very agile and he can 'see' the game in slow-motion, hence being able to move in an optimal way to deke a defensman or goaltender or make an incredible top-corner slapshot from a closed angle. He's not seeing 'ahead' he's just seeing the game in slow-motion.

From this, you have Gretzky looking average but always ahead of the others. And you have Mario, not ahead in terms of anticipation, but always able to make an incredible play.

One is extremely efficient, the other is more flashy.

Thoughts?


Last edited by Brainiac: 07-18-2013 at 01:31 PM.
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07-18-2013, 11:59 AM
  #2
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To keep on the super hero theme... I think Gretzky was Batman so to speak and Lemieux Superman... Gretz was at the end of it all just a normal guy... nothing amazing when you looked at him... scrawny really... but he tested off the charts in recovery peripheral vision reaction time... his game was all about his mind... sure he had physical agility... but it was his mental agility that really made 99 99...

Lemieux on the other was not just gifted with amazing skills but a great physique... at 6'4 200 you were not easily going to pull the puck from him even if he was not two steps ahead of you... he used his power with tremendous grace... making him the perfect hockey player, IMO.... however his Kryptonite was his own body... it betrayed him again and again

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07-18-2013, 12:21 PM
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Yeah, that whole Batman/Superman analogy is probably close enough.

The only other thing I could see for Gretzky is that he was actually a Jedi.

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07-18-2013, 12:34 PM
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I think Gretzky's athleticism tends to get undervalued. As you mention his vision was second to none and he had an excellent constitution, be he also was an exceptional skater, as agile as just about anyone in the league with very underrated straight line speed. I don't recall anyone ever catching Wayne while on a breakaway. Somebody on these boards recently put up footage of Gretzky competing in a Superstars competition for Swedish TV and winning the 100yd. dash against soccer and tennis stars. Guess who wins?
I also think Gretzky's slapper may be the most underrated shot in the history of the league.

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07-18-2013, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by double5son10 View Post
I think Gretzky's athleticism tends to get undervalued. As you mention his vision was second to none and he had an excellent constitution, be he also was an exceptional skater, as agile as just about anyone in the league with very underrated straight line speed. I don't recall anyone ever catching Wayne while on a breakaway. Somebody on these boards recently put up footage of Gretzky competing in a Superstars competition for Swedish TV and winning the 100yd. dash against soccer and tennis stars. Guess who wins?
I also think Gretzky's slapper may be the most underrated shot in the history of the league.
Yep his brain was the best the game has ever seen, but you still have to be a great athlete to score 200 points no matter how well you see the game. He was fast, agile and had great hand-eye coordination. If he was slow he would have been hit more often. Yes his ability to see the game helped avoid situations where he could get crunched but not all of them, sometimes you have to get out of the way in a hurry.

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07-18-2013, 01:34 PM
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You're right about Gretzky's athlecism. I changed my description a little bit.

What I wanted to convey was that he was not this big, dominant physical presence.

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07-18-2013, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Brainiac View Post
You're right about Gretzky's athlecism. I changed my description a little bit.

What I wanted to convey was that he was not this big, dominant physical presence.
For sure, Lemieux was physically gifted beyond belief. A massive man who still, somehow had possibly the best hands in hockey history and he was fast. Just a physically imposing monster that couldn't be stopped 1-on-1.

While Gretzky wasn't exactly an imposing figure he was born to play hockey, a brilliant mind for the game. If he had Lemieuxs body the records would be even more ridiculous than they already are.

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07-18-2013, 01:50 PM
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Well one could compare Gretzky to Mr. Fantastic. The smartest person in hockey. However that would be a hero best assumed by a genius GM or Coach. Sam Pollack or Scotty Bowman. Gretzky is ALL about instincts. So I will go with Spider-Man. Unassuming outside package like Peter Parker. Throw him on the ice and No one can hit him and he is stealing, passing and shooting the puck like he has a Spider-puck sense and no one else does.
Mario Lemieux is some combination of James Bond, Data from Star Trek and an Eric Lindros sized version of Rocket Richard.

Anyway for silly Superhero analogies:
Captain America: Gordie Howe.
Wolverine: Eddie Shore
Spider-Man: Wayne Gretzky
Professor X: Lou Lamoriello
Green Lantern: Mike Modano
Flash: Paul Coffey
Superman: Bobby Orr
Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes): Jeremy Roenick
The Watcher: Ken Dryden
Dr. Doom: John Tortorella 2 years after he is last fired as a coach.
Juggernaught: Buffuglien
Collosus: Chara
Thor: Eric Stall
Bruce Banner: Todd Bertuzzi
Puck: Theo Fleury

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07-18-2013, 02:50 PM
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Hockey-IQ is the most important thing a player can have. Mario may have had the second-highest hockey IQ the sport's ever seen, but there was still a noticeable difference between him and 99 and I say this as a Pens fan.

This difference basically wipes any other advantages Mario had.

ETA: should note these two had the two softest hands I've ever seen. Any free puck bouncing within stick reach got buried every single time. Maybe Bossy would have something to say about that, though.

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07-18-2013, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainiac View Post
Gretzky ...
he was not this big, dominant physical presence.
Which makes his accomplishments and laughable dominance even more stupefying.

When combing all NHL games played, Gretz averaged 1.91 points per game for his career, despite playing 20 seasons and until he was 38 years old.

I mean, what does someone say to that?

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07-18-2013, 05:25 PM
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I mean, what does someone say to that?
Awesome?

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07-18-2013, 05:35 PM
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Fun mindgame for sure. For me Gretzky was much like the TV-version of Batman in the sixties that was much for "SMACK!"-bubbeling into thin air, while Lemieux was more of the modern, more visually correct superhero.

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07-18-2013, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
Fun mindgame for sure. For me Gretzky was much like the TV-version of Batman in the sixties that was much for "SMACK!"-bubbeling into thin air, while Lemieux was more of the modern, more visually correct superhero.
As if one needed more reasons to like Gretz, I LOVE the fact that a guy who looked the part of a nerd utterly dominated a sea of jocks, and comnents like those in the post above are proof that, even today, folks are irked by the fact that the player universally accepted as the best didn't physically fit the bill.

Love it.

We tend to want our heroes to look like heroes, but what happens when they don't?

If Gretzky had Lemieux's size and Orr's toughness, NO ONE would discount Gretzky as the greatest, but alas...

When people hear/read of Babe Ruth's dominance, and then they SEE the man, they think,"Well, that makes sense. He was a behemoth."

But when people read/hear of Gretzky's strangehold on hockey, and then they SEE this guy that looks like the nerd they used to pick on in high school, they think, "Impossible!"

And that is the most fascinating part of Wayne's legacy.

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07-18-2013, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruston View Post
As if one needed more reasons to like Gretz, I LOVE the fact that a guy who looked the part of a nerd utterly dominated a sea of jocks, and comnents like those in the post above are proof that, even today, folks are irked by the fact that the player universally accepted as the best didn't physically fit the bill.

Love it.

We tend to want our heroes to look like heroes, but what happens when they don't?

If Gretzky had Lemieux's size and Orr's toughness, NO ONE would discount Gretzky as the greatest, but alas...

When people hear/read of Babe Ruth's dominance, and then they SEE the man, they think,"Well, that makes sense. He was a behemoth."

But when people read/hear of Gretzky's strangehold on hockey, and then they SEE this guy that looks like the nerd they used to pick on in high school, they think, "Impossible!"

And that is the most fascinating part of Wayne's legacy.
So true. If I remember, it was in Gretzky's autobiography when he was still in his early days playing for the Kings, where he said that you would never recognize him on an airplane. In street clothes, he always looked like a normal guy, not a professional athlete -- even when he was winning Hart Trophies and scoring 200 points a season.

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07-18-2013, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruston View Post
As if one needed more reasons to like Gretz, I LOVE the fact that a guy who looked the part of a nerd utterly dominated a sea of jocks, and comnents like those in the post above are proof that, even today, folks are irked by the fact that the player universally accepted as the best didn't physically fit the bill.

Love it.

We tend to want our heroes to look like heroes, but what happens when they don't?

If Gretzky had Lemieux's size and Orr's toughness, NO ONE would discount Gretzky as the greatest, but alas...
All very good points. The nerd in Gretzky did study the game up to a point where its micro-dynamics had no secrets for him. It's not flashy, it's not what you expect, but damn, it's effective.

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07-18-2013, 11:47 PM
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Gretzky probably had the best slapshot in the history of the game. It was pinpoint accurate and he could shoot it with a lot of power while off-balance.

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07-19-2013, 12:51 AM
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Gretzky probably had the best slapshot in the history of the game. It was pinpoint accurate and he could shoot it with a lot of power while off-balance.
I agree. People get too caught up in how hard the shot is, and don't focus enough on how productive it is. Fact is, Gretzky's shot wasn't super hard, but it was one of the most accurate slappers I've ever seen, and he scored a ton of goals with it. That's all that really needs to be said about it.

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07-19-2013, 10:15 AM
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Gretzky probably had the best slapshot in the history of the game. It was pinpoint accurate and he could shoot it with a lot of power while off-balance.
Spiderman with his web?

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07-20-2013, 12:26 AM
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A fun but trivial endevour, any mention of superpowers and any of the greats starts to get too nostalgic for me.

All hockey players are human and part of their greatness is the competition or state of the game when they played.

As all sports mature the ability to "dominate" over long periods of time become less likely.

All time great should be honored and remembered but when it get's to superhuman powers it's too over the top for my tastes.

It's like the big fish story, Gretzky seems to get even better the farther away we look at him, when in fact part of his dominance was a perfect storm of the times.

Still if there was a cartoon character that was perfect it would be Lidstrom right?

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07-20-2013, 02:57 PM
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It's like the big fish story, Gretzky seems to get even better the farther away we look at him, when in fact part of his dominance was a perfect storm of the times.
Dumbest **** I've ever read anywhere.

If anything, as time goes on, Gretzky's greatness is downplayed more and more, and merely a product of the '80s/supposedly crappy goaltending/teammates/Gretzky rules/etc., all of which you refer to as a perfect storm, while Lemieux and Orr become more mythological by the second.

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07-20-2013, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post

As all sports mature the ability to "dominate" over long periods of time become less likely.
PROVE IT!



Quote:
It's like the big fish story, Gretzky seems to get even better the farther away we look at him, when in fact part of his dominance was a perfect storm of the times.
OR that he was the one that created that storm in the first place.
Either way...PROVE IT!

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07-20-2013, 06:06 PM
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It's like the big fish story, Gretzky seems to get even better the farther away we look at him, when in fact part of his dominance was a perfect storm of the times.
I'd love to see this explained.

Why did it apply to Gretzky and no one else?

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07-20-2013, 06:08 PM
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Gretzky is more like the Joker because he did so much damage without having that big of a physical advantage (if any) over his rivals.

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07-20-2013, 06:44 PM
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tazzy19
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Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
A fun but trivial endevour, any mention of superpowers and any of the greats starts to get too nostalgic for me.

All hockey players are human and part of their greatness is the competition or state of the game when they played.

As all sports mature the ability to "dominate" over long periods of time become less likely.

All time great should be honored and remembered but when it get's to superhuman powers it's too over the top for my tastes.

It's like the big fish story, Gretzky seems to get even better the farther away we look at him, when in fact part of his dominance was a perfect storm of the times.

Still if there was a cartoon character that was perfect it would be Lidstrom right?
Depends on whether you believe in the "great man" theory of history or not. Some people believe that history creates "great men." Others prefer to believe that "great men" create history. Considering that history never created another "Great One" -- even on the so called "perfect storm" of the 80s Oilers -- I'm inclined to go with the latter in this case


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07-20-2013, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sens rule View Post
well one could compare gretzky to mr. Fantastic. The smartest person in hockey. However that would be a hero best assumed by a genius gm or coach. Sam pollack or scotty bowman. Gretzky is all about instincts. So i will go with spider-man. Unassuming outside package like peter parker. Throw him on the ice and no one can hit him and he is stealing, passing and shooting the puck like he has a spider-puck sense and no one else does.
Mario lemieux is some combination of james bond, data from star trek and an eric lindros sized version of rocket richard.

Anyway for silly superhero analogies:
Captain america: Gordie howe.
Wolverine: Eddie shore
spider-man: Wayne gretzky
professor x: Lou lamoriello
green lantern: Mike modano
flash: Pavel Bure
superman: Bobby orr
calvin (from calvin and hobbes): Jeremy roenick
the watcher: Ken dryden
dr. Doom: John tortorella 2 years after he is last fired as a coach.
Juggernaught: Buffuglien
collosus: Chara
thor: Eric stall
bruce banner: Todd bertuzzi
puck: Theo fleury
ftfy

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