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Greatest Hockey Player of All Time?

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Old
02-11-2006, 12:41 AM
  #26
Payne
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Well if comparing forwards, d-men and goalies wasn't tricky enough, dividing them by continents is a whole new war. In fact were probably better off arguing "who is the best European hockey player of all time" because the Howe-Orr-Gretzky-Lemieux comes up on every hockey board once a month with the same conclusion... nothing.

Actually it might be worse trying to compare the Soviet greats like Mikhailov and Tretiak at their peak versus NHL current and former stars like Jagr, Forsberg and Peter Stastny. I couldn't say who's the best ever but off the top of my head I'd have to say Pavel Bure at his peak in '92 was probably the most entertaining player I've ever seen. Best of the bunch, no way, but he was something to see. "IF" he hadn't have blown out his knees...

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02-11-2006, 01:21 AM
  #27
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gretzky was the best to ever play. i hope i live long enough to see someone better.

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02-11-2006, 02:55 AM
  #28
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If we are going to play the what if game, then Gretzky without a back injury is by far the scariest one of them all. His point totals would have been absolutely disgusting if he hadn't gotten hurt.

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02-11-2006, 05:04 AM
  #29
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Best or greatest? Those arent neccesarely the same thing, infact in most cases theyre not.

And for Gods sake, quit comparing players from different eras, it simply cant be done. Not one player that were active in the 50:s could even make the lineup in any of the current NHL-teams, if he was teleported to the year of 2006.

Its a completely different game today..

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Old
02-11-2006, 07:18 AM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cup2006sensrule
Warren Young, Rob Brown? Career AHLers that Mario turned into scoring stars for a few years at least.

Open NHL yearbook, 1979-1980. Look in player register under 'M' for Blair MacDonald.

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Old
02-11-2006, 07:37 AM
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McDonald19
Come on those teams were stacked...Coffey, Kurri, Messier, etc.

I'm also talking eras...put Lemieux as an 18 year old in the early 80s hockey...Lemieux didn't get to play as much hockey in the open ice 80s as Gretzky did.
Two of the most used and incorrect people use to defend Mario:

1) Mario joined the league only a few years after Wayne. And played a higher % of his games during the run-ad-gun era.

2) The Pens were a stacked team in Mario's prime as well. Francis, Jagr, Mullen, Coffey, Murphy, etc. Both players carried scrubs and both were surrounded by Hall of Famers at various points in their career.

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02-11-2006, 07:45 AM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cup2006sensrule
Warren Young, Rob Brown? Career AHLers that Mario turned into scoring stars for a few years at least.
And Wayne is any different?

Blair MacDonald. Worse than anybody Mario has ever played with. Managed only 219 career games. A 19-year-old Wayne turned him into a 46-goal scorer. 65 of his 91 career goals came when he was Wayne's winger.

Brett Callighen. Worse than anybody Mario ever played with. Managed only 160 career games. All put 8 of his career goals were on Wayne's wing. Wayne had him scoring at a goal every-other-game.

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Old
02-11-2006, 08:17 AM
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starshollow
Best or greatest? Those arent neccesarely the same thing, infact in most cases theyre not.

And for Gods sake, quit comparing players from different eras, it simply cant be done. Not one player that were active in the 50:s could even make the lineup in any of the current NHL-teams, if he was teleported to the year of 2006.

Its a completely different game today..
That is a ridiculous statement. You think Howe & Hull wouldn't make it today. I think the entire 6 team NHL of the 50's would make today's watered down version.

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02-11-2006, 09:03 AM
  #34
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My money is on Gretzky.

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Old
02-11-2006, 09:30 AM
  #35
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First off I am tired of hearing how much better the Oilers were than the Penguins. Do you know that the Pens in '93 had 119 points? Which was the same as the '84 and '86 Oilers! How is Edmonton so much better than them? The truth is, in a fantasy match up it would nt be that different to have the Pens vs. the Oilers. yeah the Oilers would win, but not by that much. I agree with an earlier post, when they both won Cups, both players had HOFers on their teams.

My pick however is Gretzky. Its just stagerring to know that three times he had more assists in a season than the next player had POINTS! One other season he was tied. From '81-87 no one was even close to him in the scoring title or the Hart Trophy. In Orr's prime he won it three times while Esposito won it twice and Clarke twice. Orr also won the Art Ross twice. Orr dominated and I wont get into a big debate if someone has him over Gretzky cuase its close but Wayne just anihilated everyone else in the league.

And the excuse that it was the 80s well, if it was so easy to score than why didnt Statsny or Trottier or Dionne put up 200 points then? Well Gretzky was head and shoulders above even them!

My order

Gretzky
Orr
Lemieux
Howe
Beliveau

I respect each and everyone of these talents, great, great players.

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Old
02-11-2006, 10:23 AM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil
but Wayne just anihilated everyone else in the league.
From the New York Times yesterday:
" When Wayne Jones glided across the ice setting NHL scoring records, he always seemed to be skating inside a bubble of bulletproof glass.He hardly ever took a big hit from a goon, and when he did one of his teamates retaliated for him. You didnt rough up Jones without paying for it....this time wayne..... out there with no enforcers around...."


As usual in the US they have it right: these "records" are as meaningless as Celine Dion's sales records and Grammy awards ("from the people who saw her play").

Jones didnt play in the tough East and wouldnt have lasted 3 years there and he did it with protection that no player ever had. How many years did he play with no broken bones or injury - compare that with Lemieux or Orr or Lafleur etc.

Ever looked at the road the Oilers had to cross in the playoffs in those "dynasty" years while the East teams were bashing themselves senseless? And if Blair Callighan benefited from that for a year what does it prove?

The Beatles were better than Celine even though they played for 9 years and dont have the sales records and stats. This doesnt need to be about "ifs"; its about who was better.

Celine fans are just plain wrong.


Last edited by chooch*: 02-11-2006 at 10:29 AM.
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Old
02-11-2006, 10:40 AM
  #37
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It depends how you define it. I am fortunate to have seen all three play

In terms of a mix of skills and the ability to play all facets of the game (including fists and elbows) coupled with longevity and consistency Howe is the pick. He was amazing and logged incredible amounts of ice time. At some times he was triple shifted. It would have been very interesting to see his icetime stats but they were not kept in those days. He was the most complete package as a forward and remains the protypical power forward. He finished in the top five in scoring for 20 STRAIGHT SEASONS. He was a first team all-star 12 times and second team 0n 9 other ocassions.

In terms of pure hockey ability and probably the greatest skill set ever, it is Orr. But for the injuries there would be no question he would be considered the consensus all-time greatest player IMHO. He could also really "throw 'em" as Donald S. Cherry notes. And his skating was unbelievable. When he put it into overdrive he left other players in his wake. Also he pretty much revolutionized his position.

Gretzky's offensive skills were phenomenal and his numerous scoring records attest to that fact but unlike Howe and Orr he did not have the physical aspects of the game. Gretzky also seemed to have an uncanny knack to make his teammates better players.

Maybe it really is a ranking of 1a, 1b and 1c - and the order is a pick 'em.

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Old
02-11-2006, 10:45 AM
  #38
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For once, Murray, we agree. I think attitudes like that of starshollow are disgraceful and displays nothing but ignorance. Bobby Hull still likely has the greatest shot ever seen. Jean Beliveau was the ultimate combination of size and skill until Mario came along. Rocket Richard combined tenacity, toughness and talent better than anyone. Gordie Howe had size and loved to hit (not always clean, of course), and had an excellent skill set.

You can't teach instincts, offensive or defensive awareness, creativity or vision. You can teach some skills - skating, shooting, puckhandling, passing, etc. - but the all-time greats are all-time greats because they were blessed with God-given talents that can't be taught. They also had traits like determination, tenacity and leadership that can't be taught.

I think a lot of it has to do with a lack of celebration of the history of the game. You'd never see an attitude of Starshallow, or others, in sports like baseball, boxing or golf. Why? Because those sports celebrate their history and their past.

I've long maintained that one of the reasons that baseball's HOF (Cooperstown) is so revered is because baseball celebrates its past and its greats so fervently. I don't think hockey does that, especially the players who played in the 1920s and 1930s.

Anyone who follows golf knows about the exploits of Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, etc. Boxing's golden era was in the 60s and 70s (at least among the heavyweights), but we hear about the accomplishments of past heavyweights, too, like Tunney and Louis. Heavyweight boxing may be currently suffering its greatest derth of talent ever.

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Old
02-11-2006, 03:17 PM
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starshollow
Best or greatest? Those arent neccesarely the same thing, infact in most cases theyre not.

And for Gods sake, quit comparing players from different eras, it simply cant be done. Not one player that were active in the 50:s could even make the lineup in any of the current NHL-teams, if he was teleported to the year of 2006.

Its a completely different game today..
It can be done. Just because you can't wrap your head around that does not mean it is impossible.

Look at it this way, just because you can't come up with the cure for cancer does that mean it will never happen?

You need to understand what evolution is and its effect on NHL hockey. Once you have that concept down, you will have a greater understanding of how to compare players of the past.


Last edited by Ogopogo*: 02-11-2006 at 03:27 PM.
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Old
02-11-2006, 04:21 PM
  #40
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Haha... you people crack me up.

Take the allstarteam of 1950 Vs allstarteam 2006, the outcome would be like..


0-15, and the only reason the difference wouldnt be even bigger, is that the stars today wouldŽne be that motivated playing against happy amateurs.


Pls get real.

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Old
02-11-2006, 04:38 PM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starshollow
Haha... you people crack me up.

Take the allstarteam of 1950 Vs allstarteam 2006, the outcome would be like..


0-15, and the only reason the difference wouldnt be even bigger, is that the stars today wouldŽne be that motivated playing against happy amateurs.


Pls get real.

Here is what you are missing. The measure of a person's greatness is how they dominate their peers. Players of the 50s all have the same evolutionary advantages or disadvantages as each other. Players of the 2000s have 50 years of better coaching, better equipment, better nutrition, better exercise and humanity is now bigger stronger and faster than it was 50 years ago. What that all means is that EVOLUTION is taking place.

Nobody is saying take a 50s player and put them against a 2000s player. That is dumb. Unless you are Marty McFly, it doesn't work that way.

If Jaromir Jagr played in the 50s, he would be shorter, slower and in worse shape than a 2000s Jagr. Evolution is not a reason to bash the greats. HOW THEY DOMINATED THEIR ERA IS THEIR MEASURE OF GREATNESS. Gordie Howe cannot be held responsible for evolution. He is not crap because the world progresses.

Using your logic, Gretzky, Lemieux and Jagr are crap because the players of 2050 will be much better.

The fact is HOW YOU DOMINATE YOUR PEERS IN YOUR ERA is your measure of greatness.

Only Wayne Gretzky has dominated his peers more than Gordie Howe did his. Just because that happened well before your birth is irrelevant.

Get it now?

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Old
02-11-2006, 06:43 PM
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
Here is what you are missing. The measure of a person's greatness is how they dominate their peers. Players of the 50s all have the same evolutionary advantages or disadvantages as each other. Players of the 2000s have 50 years of better coaching, better equipment, better nutrition, better exercise and humanity is now bigger stronger and faster than it was 50 years ago. What that all means is that EVOLUTION is taking place.

Nobody is saying take a 50s player and put them against a 2000s player. That is dumb. Unless you are Marty McFly, it doesn't work that way.

If Jaromir Jagr played in the 50s, he would be shorter, slower and in worse shape than a 2000s Jagr. Evolution is not a reason to bash the greats. HOW THEY DOMINATED THEIR ERA IS THEIR MEASURE OF GREATNESS. Gordie Howe cannot be held responsible for evolution. He is not crap because the world progresses.

Using your logic, Gretzky, Lemieux and Jagr are crap because the players of 2050 will be much better.

The fact is HOW YOU DOMINATE YOUR PEERS IN YOUR ERA is your measure of greatness.

Only Wayne Gretzky has dominated his peers more than Gordie Howe did his. Just because that happened well before your birth is irrelevant.

Get it now?
Ogopogo, I agree with most of what you say but I think you are still doing NHL players of the 50's a slight injustice. Players such as Hull & Howe had so much inate ability and stength that I believe you could drop the 1959 edition into 2006 and they would be dominate. Hull was only 20 in 1959. Can you imagine him playing in freewheeling 2006.

As for Starshallow, he is not worth responding to as his premise is absolutely ridiculous.

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Old
02-11-2006, 10:58 PM
  #43
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No offence but your comment is one of the most closed minded comments I've read on this site since I've joined.

What you wrote is essentially nonsense and I suppose you didn't even try to understand what Ogopogo was explaining to you. Even the players of today wouldn't agree with your asinine comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starshollow
Haha... you people crack me up.

Take the allstarteam of 1950 Vs allstarteam 2006, the outcome would be like..


0-15, and the only reason the difference wouldnt be even bigger, is that the stars today wouldŽne be that motivated playing against happy amateurs.


Pls get real.

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Old
02-11-2006, 11:15 PM
  #44
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There's a school of thought that says that hockey, and most other sports, are 90 per cent mental and 10 per cent physical. I don't know if I would go quite that far, but it illustrates a key point. There are skills that you can teach - skating, shooting, puckhandling, passing - but there are so many you can't: offensive and defensive awareness, hustle, grit, etc. You also can't teach character traits. All of these contribute to the making of a great player.

What made so many of the 50s stars great was their all-round abilities. We know about Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Maurice Richard and Stan Mikita's ability to play the physical game. But Jean Beliveau was an intense competitor who led the 1956 Cup champion Canadiens in penalties. Bobby Hull knew how to get involved, too. (And nobody in today's game has as dangerous of a shot as Bobby Hull).

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02-11-2006, 11:30 PM
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetcoaster
It depends how you define it. I am fortunate to have seen all three play

In terms of a mix of skills and the ability to play all facets of the game (including fists and elbows) coupled with longevity and consistency Howe is the pick. He was amazing and logged incredible amounts of ice time. At some times he was triple shifted. It would have been very interesting to see his icetime stats but they were not kept in those days. He was the most complete package as a forward and remains the protypical power forward. He finished in the top five in scoring for 20 STRAIGHT SEASONS. He was a first team all-star 12 times and second team 0n 9 other ocassions.

In terms of pure hockey ability and probably the greatest skill set ever, it is Orr. But for the injuries there would be no question he would be considered the consensus all-time greatest player IMHO. He could also really "throw 'em" as Donald S. Cherry notes. And his skating was unbelievable. When he put it into overdrive he left other players in his wake. Also he pretty much revolutionized his position.

Gretzky's offensive skills were phenomenal and his numerous scoring records attest to that fact but unlike Howe and Orr he did not have the physical aspects of the game. Gretzky also seemed to have an uncanny knack to make his teammates better players.

Maybe it really is a ranking of 1a, 1b and 1c - and the order is a pick 'em.
Can't really say it better than that. But I would add Lemiuex right in there. And because of the physical aspect, I would put Mario ahead of Gretzy.

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02-12-2006, 01:59 AM
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo
Here is what you are missing. The measure of a person's greatness is how they dominate their peers. Players of the 50s all have the same evolutionary advantages or disadvantages as each other. Players of the 2000s have 50 years of better coaching, better equipment, better nutrition, better exercise and humanity is now bigger stronger and faster than it was 50 years ago. What that all means is that EVOLUTION is taking place.

Nobody is saying take a 50s player and put them against a 2000s player. That is dumb. Unless you are Marty McFly, it doesn't work that way.

If Jaromir Jagr played in the 50s, he would be shorter, slower and in worse shape than a 2000s Jagr. Evolution is not a reason to bash the greats. HOW THEY DOMINATED THEIR ERA IS THEIR MEASURE OF GREATNESS. Gordie Howe cannot be held responsible for evolution. He is not crap because the world progresses.

Using your logic, Gretzky, Lemieux and Jagr are crap because the players of 2050 will be much better.

The fact is HOW YOU DOMINATE YOUR PEERS IN YOUR ERA is your measure of greatness.

Only Wayne Gretzky has dominated his peers more than Gordie Howe did his. Just because that happened well before your birth is irrelevant.

Get it now?

So when hockey was created "back in the day", IŽm sure there was someone that was more dominate than any player since, does that translate into him being the best hockeyplayer ever? Your logic is cracked and full of holes.

You could possibly use the word "talented", because that isnt the same as skill and being the best. Howe could possibly have been as talented as a hockeyplayer as some of the stars today, but saying that he would stand a chanse against the top player in the workd today on the ice is just rediculous.

Greatness is an appropriate word to use when reflecting over the level plays on, compared to his peers in the same era. You can say that someone in the 50:s is the greatest player ever due to his career and accomplishments, but not the best

They were amateurs, nothing else.

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Old
02-12-2006, 04:50 PM
  #47
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Joe Malone scored 7 goals in a game in 1920. In all the NHL games played since then and all the great players who've come down the road no one has ever matched that feat.

I'm not old enough to have seen him play (I would assume like all the rest here) but I would have loved to see how he compared to the greats over the years.

Some great comments in this thread and I'm glad to see that there are open minds to the different (and for me intriguing) eras of the game.

I've watched hockey since the original six and not sure I could even name 'the greatest player I've seen'.

Does one have to be better than the other though? Not for me.

That's why I list several players in no particular order of the best I have seen.

They would include Hull, Orr, Howe, Lafleur, Tretiak, Gretzky, Lemieux, Jagr, Messier, Robinson, Gainey.

Just think of the greatest goaler of all time...and watch one of the vintage games of the great netminders of the era before the mask. I really never appreciated how good someone like Johnny Bower or Gump Worsley was until re-watching these games (and I did see them back then). Like I've heard Johnny say, he wasn't afraid of being hit with the puck as much as errant sticks. Try to imagine focusing on the two at hockey's highest level.

Who's the greatest of all time?

Who's the best player in the league right now? If you asked ten 'experts' right now you might get different 10 answers.

Which is probably the way it should be.

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02-12-2006, 05:41 PM
  #48
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I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I understand that when you compare players from era to era, you factor in obvious human size and strength issues that have increased incrementally from generation to generation. Starsh---, why don't you grasp how the comparison is based on what a Hull,Howe,Richard did in comparison to their peers ?
You don't simply drop a 1950 body in 1950 equipmnet and say,'see they're no good'. There's a kind of magic or art to imagining and comparing these guys. Claiming that Chad Kilger probably shoots harder or skates faster than Gordie Howe has nothing to do with comparing him as a hockey player.

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02-12-2006, 05:44 PM
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCD
And Wayne is any different?

Blair MacDonald. Worse than anybody Mario has ever played with. Managed only 219 career games. A 19-year-old Wayne turned him into a 46-goal scorer. 65 of his 91 career goals came when he was Wayne's winger.

Brett Callighen. Worse than anybody Mario ever played with. Managed only 160 career games. All put 8 of his career goals were on Wayne's wing. Wayne had him scoring at a goal every-other-game.
Blair MacDonald's my best friend's 2nd cousin. A little respect please. Assuming he was telling me the truth.

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02-12-2006, 05:55 PM
  #50
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Quote:
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Blair MacDonald's my best friend's 2nd cousin. A little respect please. Assuming he was telling me the truth.

BJ for the Hall of Fame!

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