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Round 2, Vote 1 (HOH Top Centers)

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Old
10-24-2013, 08:00 AM
  #176
steve141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
II. For just one season (1927-28), Howie Morenz approached a Gretzky level of domination

1. Howie Morenz*-MTL 51
2. Aurele Joliat*-MTL 39
3. Frank Boucher*-NYR 35
George Hay*-DTC 35
5. Nels Stewart*-MTM 34

Morenz scored 23.53% more than second place, his linemate Joliat. His lead over his nearest non-teammate was 31.37%.
I'm not sure these numbers should be taken at face value. If you compare the number of assists per goal of the teams in 1928 you will see that it varies greatly from about 0.6 A/G to 0.33 A/G. All of the players with high assist counts happen to be from the teams with high A/G.

I suspect that there was some under-counting of assists taking place in the early NHL, and that the goal totals are more useful for single season comparison of players.

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10-24-2013, 09:11 AM
  #177
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I'm starting to see a change in My top 4.
1. Gretzky
2. Beliveau
3. Mario
4. Mikita/Morenz

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10-24-2013, 09:58 AM
  #178
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Originally Posted by steve141 View Post
I'm not sure these numbers should be taken at face value. If you compare the number of assists per goal of the teams in 1928 you will see that it varies greatly from about 0.6 A/G to 0.33 A/G. All of the players with high assist counts happen to be from the teams with high A/G.

I suspect that there was some under-counting of assists taking place in the early NHL, and that the goal totals are more useful for single season comparison of players.
Yeah but at the same time as you yourself are drifting here the assists are way off, they need to be recounted to todays 3-2 ratio over assists-goals. I was in a Floorball tournament ten years ago where beocuse of lazyness the only scoring appearing on the whiteboard was goals, and at the end of the tourney it was me or my brother for the last spot on the all-star team, me with like five goals and he with 20. The leaders had 25. I got the nod that time becouse i was the premiere playmaker of the whole tournament, the peak Adam Oates. Maybe that is about what gave Morenz his supreme recognition as well.


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10-24-2013, 10:10 AM
  #179
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Re: Mikita having more "elite" games than Mario, I guess it depends on how low you set the bar for "elite." I have no doubt that Mikita had more top 20 seasons than Mario, but is a top 20 season "elite?"

Top 5 seasons in points: Lemieux 9 Mikita 9 Beliveau 7 Morenz 7*
Top 10 seasons in points: Beliveau 12 Lemieux 10 Morenz 10* Mikita 9

*includes 1 top 5 finish and 2 top 10s before the 1926 consolidation.

Lemieux' 2000-01 when he finished 2nd in Hart voting doesn't even count due to lack of GP.

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10-24-2013, 10:22 AM
  #180
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I think the fact that a point as been made to the effect Mario could be considered better than Great, while nobody even thought of doing so with Stan, Howie or Jean, speaks volume.

For the record, I have Gretz first.

Biggest question for me at this point is the order of the last 3, that is, Brian, Mark or Phil.

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10-24-2013, 10:25 AM
  #181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve141 View Post
I'm not sure these numbers should be taken at face value. If you compare the number of assists per goal of the teams in 1928 you will see that it varies greatly from about 0.6 A/G to 0.33 A/G. All of the players with high assist counts happen to be from the teams with high A/G.

I suspect that there was some under-counting of assists taking place in the early NHL, and that the goal totals are more useful for single season comparison of players.
Morenz was credited with 18 assists in 1928 (which led the NHL); none of his teammates had more than 11. (A 61% gap, although percentages get a little murky when the absolute numbers are so low).

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10-24-2013, 10:26 AM
  #182
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Does the fact that Mikita only has one title not make him somewhat inferior to others? And he doesn't even have a "bad team" excuse.

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10-24-2013, 10:27 AM
  #183
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
1929-30 was such a weird season, I don't think you conclude anything from it. Got rid of the forward pass at the beginning of the year, but didn't add offsides, so scorers could literally just hang out in the offensive zone cherrypicking if they wanted to like in pond hockey. Scoring was so out of control, they banned players from passing between zones halfway through the season.* Three different players - Cooney Weiland, Weiland's linemate Dit Clapper (then a RW), and Hec Kilrea - all had the only top 5 finishes of their careers during that wacky season.
But why would the rule changes impact Morenz more than Weiland or Clapper? If he was truly at the Gretzky/Lemieux/Beliveau level, shouldn't he have won (or come close to winning) the scoring title regardless of the rules? It's kind of hard to imagine a prime Gretzky finishing 7th in scoring because the league took out the red line or something.

One thing that would sway me here would be some kind of indication that the scoring leaders racked up points by cherrypicking, while Morenz played a 200-foot game.


Quote:
What other "down" years does Morenz have? He was top 5 in scoring EVERY season between 1924-25 and 1931-32, except for his 7th place finish in the wacky 1929-30! Did any other player before WW2 have consistency as a scorer like that?[
That is of course impressive in and of itself. But when you have Esposito winning scoring titles in 5 of 7 years... Wayne and Mario pretty much locking up the title for the better part of two decades between them... Mikita winning it 4 out of 5 years and top-3 seven years running...

It just seems that Morenz is offensively average compared to the group we're discussing. Undoubtedly the greatest star of his time, but that doesn't mean he necessarily set a higher bar in terms of production.

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10-24-2013, 10:32 AM
  #184
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Elite Games

Elite Games. This is an issue or concept that gets swept under the rug by many here basically because the actually data is not readily available nor is there much on going research.

An NHL game(regular season) or season does not necessarily represent and elite game. So should the results and stats generated be weighed equally?

Example Mario Lemieux. How many of his games were played against the three best goalies of his era - Roy, Hasek, Brodeur? How many games were against Norris Trophy or AST defensemen? How many games were against the best defensive centers, Carbonneau, Peca,etc? What happened to his stats in these games?

Extend to other centers being considered. Likewise hockey situations and confrontations across history.

RW is a future consideration. Howe vs Jagr. How many times did each face elite goalies, etc. Important part of the discussion.

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10-24-2013, 10:48 AM
  #185
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Well.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
But why would the rule changes impact Morenz more than Weiland or Clapper? If he was truly at the Gretzky/Lemieux/Beliveau level, shouldn't he have won (or come close to winning) the scoring title regardless of the rules? It's kind of hard to imagine a prime Gretzky finishing 7th in scoring because the league took out the red line or something.

One thing that would sway me here would be some kind of indication that the scoring leaders racked up points by cherrypicking, while Morenz played a 200-foot game.




That is of course impressive in and of itself. But when you have Esposito winning scoring titles in 5 of 7 years... Wayne and Mario pretty much locking up the title for the better part of two decades between them... Mikita winning it 4 out of 5 years and top-3 seven years running...

It just seems that Morenz is offensively average compared to the group we're discussing. Undoubtedly the greatest star of his time, but that doesn't mean he necessarily set a higher bar in terms of production.
Well............... if you look at the composition of the respective teams for each player considered the answer is rather obvious.

Except for Morenz all the other players you list were the beneficiaries of puck moving, rushing defensemen.

Morenz was supported by Sylvio Mantha, Albert Leduc and Herb Gardiner, non rushing or rarely rushing, non-transition defensemen The Canadiens centers of the era had to comeback deep and lead the rush, Morenz, Lepine and to an extent LW - Aurele Joliat all played a 200 foot game.

Weiland in 1929-30 was the original goal hog hanging near the net waiting for a forward pass until the "Blue Line" rule was introduced roughly beyond the 1/3 part of the season. But Boston had Eddie Shore to rush and move the puck from the defensive zone.

Esposito always had the benefit of rushing, transition defensemen - Pilote, Orr, etc. Prime example of cherrypicking with Espo, playing basically a 60' game.

Gretzky, Lemieux, Beliveau all enjoyed excellent transition, rushing defensemen help from the back end. Coffey, Harvey, Murphy, others all facilitated the rush while creating open ice in the offensive zone.

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10-24-2013, 10:56 AM
  #186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
But why would the rule changes impact Morenz more than Weiland or Clapper? If he was truly at the Gretzky/Lemieux/Beliveau level, shouldn't he have won (or come close to winning) the scoring title regardless of the rules? It's kind of hard to imagine a prime Gretzky finishing 7th in scoring because the league took out the red line or something.

One thing that would sway me here would be some kind of indication that the scoring leaders racked up points by cherrypicking, while Morenz played a 200-foot game.




That is of course impressive in and of itself. But when you have Esposito winning scoring titles in 5 of 7 years... Wayne and Mario pretty much locking up the title for the better part of two decades between them... Mikita winning it 4 out of 5 years and top-3 seven years running...

It just seems that Morenz is offensively average compared to the group we're discussing. Undoubtedly the greatest star of his time, but that doesn't mean he necessarily set a higher bar in terms of production.
If regular season production is the be-all end-all, this should be your top 6:
Gretzky
Esposito (seriously, his raw numbers are slightly better than Mario's)
Lemieux
Mikita
Morenz
Beliveau

All this talk about Morenz falling out of the top 5 once (in season in which the rules were so poor and encouraged cherry picking so much, the NHL changed them halfway through the season), yet nothing about how Beliveau fell out of the top 5 on several occasions.

For what it's worth, Morenz was 5th in Hart voting in this "down" year

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10-24-2013, 11:06 AM
  #187
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Does the fact that Mikita only has one title not make him somewhat inferior to others? And he doesn't even have a "bad team" excuse.
Failures of support players of the Hawks in the 60 are well-documented on this site.

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10-24-2013, 11:17 AM
  #188
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Well............... if you look at the composition of the respective teams for each player considered the answer is rather obvious.

Except for Morenz all the other players you list were the beneficiaries of puck moving, rushing defensemen.

Morenz was supported by Sylvio Mantha, Albert Leduc and Herb Gardiner, non rushing or rarely rushing, non-transition defensemen The Canadiens centers of the era had to comeback deep and lead the rush, Morenz, Lepine and to an extent LW - Aurele Joliat all played a 200 foot game.

Weiland in 1929-30 was the original goal hog hanging near the net waiting for a forward pass until the "Blue Line" rule was introduced roughly beyond the 1/3 part of the season. But Boston had Eddie Shore to rush and move the puck from the defensive zone.

Esposito always had the benefit of rushing, transition defensemen - Pilote, Orr, etc. Prime example of cherrypicking with Espo, playing basically a 60' game.

Gretzky, Lemieux, Beliveau all enjoyed excellent transition, rushing defensemen help from the back end. Coffey, Harvey, Murphy, others all facilitated the rush while creating open ice in the offensive zone.
Morenz was the main transition player for the Canadiens, playing in front of defensive blueliners like Mantha. He never had someone like Shore or Clancy or even Lionel Conacher to help him out. Perhaps this affected him more in the cherrypicker year of 1930; I don't know. He was still 5th in Hart voting that year and it's not like 7th in NHL scoring is exactly bad.

It's actually a compelling theory on why the Bruins forwards made such mincemeat out of the league that year.


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10-24-2013, 11:32 AM
  #189
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Originally Posted by steve141 View Post
I'm not sure these numbers should be taken at face value. If you compare the number of assists per goal of the teams in 1928 you will see that it varies greatly from about 0.6 A/G to 0.33 A/G. All of the players with high assist counts happen to be from the teams with high A/G.

I suspect that there was some under-counting of assists taking place in the early NHL, and that the goal totals are more useful for single season comparison of players.
You are most likely correct to an extent.

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I don't understand how you can say that. In the 14 years of the Hart prior to WWII only Shore and once Seibert were defenders.
Because there's more to analyzing Hart voting than just looking at who won.

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10-24-2013, 11:37 AM
  #190
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Originally Posted by ted1971 View Post
I'm starting to see a change in My top 4.
1. Gretzky
2. Beliveau
3. Mario
4. Mikita/Morenz
Good luck with that bet buddy. I just hope you did not put your life savings into it.

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10-24-2013, 11:41 AM
  #191
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Doing just a bit of reading on Morenz's 1929-30 season in the Montreal Gazette.


At the beginning of the season, there's a striking absence of Morenz in the game narratives. Other than a couple of decent shots in the home opener, he seemed to be completely stifled during the first two games.

Then, a revealing passage during the third game (11/19/29):

Quote:
Canadiens played the entire first period without Howie Morenz who did not dress until the game was well under way. The appearance of their flashy centre inspired the Flying Frenchmen to some fine hockey whenever he took the ice but Morenz' charley horse hampered his effectiveness and Aurel Joliat was the only one of his mates who could match prowess with the rampaging Maroons.
The following day:

Quote:
Howie Morenz will play tonight against the Leafs. Just how many minutes he will spend on the ice is still a matter of doubt, depending, of course, on how well his injured leg holds up under him. Morenz' presence on the ice makes a world of difference in the morale of the Canadien team, as the past has shown, and the chances are good that he will start at his old position against the Leafs tonight.

Morenz was held scoreless through the first 5 games of the season, and it's not evident that he would have been credited with any assists even if they had been tracked. He finally broke through with a goal and at least one assist (on a rebound goal) in a 9-3 rout of the Pirates on November 26th.

Unfortunately the Gazette omits the entire month of December in their online archive. Here is what I can gather from brief summaries posted in the New York Times over the next month or so:

12/4/29 - Didn't score, but "Howie Morenz and Aurel Joliat, sensational Canadien forwards, staged many thrilling rushes but their efforts were checked by the brilliant saves of Tiny Thompson, Boston goalie, who turned them back with regularity".
12/10/29 - 2 OT goals
12/20/29 - Goal + at least 1 assist
1/2/30 - Goal + assist on OT winner

The Habs and Morenz suffered the normal ups-and-downs of the regular season, slumping in early January and then picking up the pace on the way to an undefeated Cup run. Morenz scored the Cup-winning goal.

TLDR; I think there's compelling reason to believe that Morenz' slow start, due to a pretty severe leg injury that he chose to play through, cost him at least a spot or two in the scoring race. If he had played at his normal level for the first 5 games, rather than being completely shut out and virtually invisible, he would have passed Stewart for 6th and had a shot at Kilrea for 5th. Given that his scoring pace after recovery was essentially the same as in 1928 and 1931, I don't think rule changes had much bearing on his results.

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10-24-2013, 11:45 AM
  #192
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We are discussing Top 5 centers. How relevant is Mikita's scoring compared to other players on his own team?

Esposito led the Rangers in scoring when he was 34, 35, 36, and 37.
Longevity is important to me and Phil best attribute is his scoring, the guy he was traded for and was 2 years older scored just as well and was actually a better 2 way player as well.

Phil aside from his scoring, what does he bring other than great stories and an imagination? His defense and 2 way play was just horrible.

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10-24-2013, 11:54 AM
  #193
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Does he? Is this claim backed up anywhere? I would be genuinely interested (Number of games >X pts for example)
I'm not sure if I have time to do a detailed look at it in time for the vote as I ahve flown back to visit family but one can simply look at his scoring logs on hockey reference and find lots of games where he scored 1,2,even 3 points and was a minus player on that 96 team, which was a very good team and Mario wasn't very good in the 2 way department and his offensive doesn't make up enough for the difference, at least in that season.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play.../gamelog/1996/

Go ahead and change the headings to see his best to worst games in each category for example.

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10-24-2013, 12:01 PM
  #194
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Why?

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Originally Posted by ted1971 View Post
I'm starting to see a change in My top 4.
1. Gretzky
2. Beliveau
3. Mario
4. Mikita/Morenz
Question is why are you seeing this change?

Reason being is that weighing center attributes in the same fashion could bump Jean Beliveau even higher.

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10-24-2013, 12:18 PM
  #195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I'm not sure if I have time to do a detailed look at it in time for the vote as I ahve flown back to visit family but one can simply look at his scoring logs on hockey reference and find lots of games where he scored 1,2,even 3 points and was a minus player on that 96 team, which was a very good team and Mario wasn't very good in the 2 way department and his offensive doesn't make up enough for the difference, at least in that season.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play.../gamelog/1996/

Go ahead and change the headings to see his best to worst games in each category for example.

IMO you have to be very careful using +/- this way.

For example:

February 24, 1996
Lemieux 1g 1a -3

Looks bad until you consider..

Final score: Habs 7 Pens 3
Shots: Habs 31 Pens 25
Lemieux's goal was scored on the PP
Montreal scored a SHG, probably with Lemieux somewhere on the ice
Barrasso - 31 minutes, 6 goals on 17 shots, .647
Wregget - 29 minutes, 1 goal on 14 shots, .929

Given the circumstances, it's not surprising at all that Lemieux was a minus for that night, given he was the #1 center and likely on the ice more than anyone else during that drubbing.

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10-24-2013, 12:25 PM
  #196
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Originally Posted by Darth Yoda View Post
Good luck with that bet buddy. I just hope you did not put your life savings into it.
I said My top 4, not the collective board.

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10-24-2013, 12:26 PM
  #197
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Similarly, November 21, 1995

Lemieux 1 assist, -3

Looks bad until you consider...

Final score: Rangers 9 Pens 4
Shots: Rangers 37 Pens 42
Lemieux had skipped the previous game as an injury precaution. He had a breakaway 70 seconds into this game, was stopped by Mike Richter, and play turned back up ice where the Rangers scored to take the lead. The Pens folded after that, as admitted by Eddie Johnstone in comments to the media.
Jeff Beukeboom was ejected in the 2nd period on a boarding major where he drove Lemieux's head into the glass. Pittsburgh failed to score on the ensuing PP.
Barrasso - all 60 minutes, 9 goals on 37 shots, .757


I just have a really hard time looking at that game and thinking "Lemieux wasn't carrying his weight".

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10-24-2013, 12:33 PM
  #198
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The above were Lemieux's only two -3 games that season. But similar correlations seem to exist in the other minus games.

10-12-1995 - Lemieux -2 with a goal in a 5-1 loss
12-22-1995 - Lemieux -2 with an assist in a 4-2 loss
1-16-1996 - Lemieux -2 with a goal in a 5-2 loss
1-31-1996 - Lemieux -2 with an assist in a 4-1 loss
2-3-1996 - Lemieux -2 and scoreless in a 3-0 loss
2-21-1996 - Lemieux -2 and scoreless in a 6-3 loss
2-29-1996 - Lemieux -2 with an assist in a 7-3 loss

There were only two games that season where Lemieux was -2 in a one-goal game, and he had 3 points in those 2 games.

The Pens' record when Lemieux was a minus -- 3-1-18.
The Pens' record when Lemieux was even -- 17-4-1.
The Pens' record when Lemieux was a plus -- 24-2-0.

It doesn't look to me like it was Lemieux playing poorly, so much as him providing the bulk of his team's offense while they got stomped in every other facet of the game.

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10-24-2013, 12:38 PM
  #199
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Question is why are you seeing this change?

Reason being is that weighing center attributes in the same fashion could bump Jean Beliveau even higher.
As is aid in an earlier post, I had Mario closer to #3 then #1 due to the talent of Beliveau. After processing things even more, I think Beliveau deserves to be #2.

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10-24-2013, 12:45 PM
  #200
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Elite Games. This is an issue or concept that gets swept under the rug by many here basically because the actually data is not readily available nor is there much on going research.

An NHL game(regular season) or season does not necessarily represent and elite game. So should the results and stats generated be weighed equally?
Certainly I credit Esposito for his role on Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series. His leadership and competitiveness were significant. It's nearly impossible to talk about how that series happened without mentioning him. Those were elite games. Though, as I will explain shortly, his elite game performances pale next to another historical great center.

Playoff performances are often overshadowed by regular season hardware and top-whatever regular season stats in discussions around here of historical worth. I recall the Oilers first Stanley Cup and Messier's Conn Smythe was richly deserved with his play against the Flames and Islanders. Elite games indeed.

It was an open question often debated in the late eighties whether Gretz or Mess was more valuable to the dynasty, a real testament to Moose, before his Rangers days. Messier had 18 great years before his Vancouver debacle, and his impact in big games goes beyond offensive stats, though he scored consistently for a decade and a half in the postseason. Everyone thinks of Gretzky and Mario's winning goal in the 1987 Canada Cup but Messier was dominant there as he was in the 1991 Canada Cup, very physical in 1987 and with timely scoring plays in 1991. In terms of elite games, Messier gets a boost in his relative worth.

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