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

Most Physically Gifted Athlete in Hockey History

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Old
06-06-2010, 02:07 PM
  #26
Loto68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules Winnfield View Post
Physically gifted is tough to say. You could say guys like Lindros and Ovechkin rank up there. Hard to say overall who would be #1. Guess it depends on the definition of physically gifted.

One guy to consider who no one would think about would be Brian Leetch. They did some test on him many years ago where they ranked the players from major sports for having some of the best body responses to cardio and most of the top players were from professional soccer leagues but Leetch came in #1 over everyone.
Basically, the results of the test showed that Leetchie had an almost inhuman recovery rate, that his body could recover from physical exertion something like twice as fast as the average person. What ever the exact rate was, it was insane.

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06-06-2010, 02:12 PM
  #27
TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
This is the correct answer to the question.

Perhaps the most physically gifted athlete in history, period.
The thing is that sports are so much more specialized today, it would be nearly impossible for someone to dominate multiple sports at a high level.

But in hockey's early days, multi-sport athletes were fairly common (though none as dominate across sports as Conacher).

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06-06-2010, 02:13 PM
  #28
Jules Winnfield
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Originally Posted by Loto68 View Post
Basically, the results of the test showed that Leetchie had an almost inhuman recovery rate, that his body could recover from physical exertion something like twice as fast as the average person. What ever the exact rate was, it was insane.
Thanks for posting on that. It was bugging me but I remember it being something off the charts where he blew people away on it.

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06-06-2010, 03:51 PM
  #29
Badger36
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Maurice Richard.

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Old
06-06-2010, 04:23 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
The thing is that sports are so much more specialized today, it would be nearly impossible for someone to dominate multiple sports at a high level.

But in hockey's early days, multi-sport athletes were fairly common (though none as dominate across sports as Conacher).
Oh this is definitely true, although it's certainly not unprecedented in modern sports to see guys that were high caliber athletes in multiple sports. Danny Ainge was a HSAll-American in baseball, football and basketball for example. But Bo Jackson (baseball, football, track) is probably the closest we've seen in my lifetime to be at an elite level in 3 or more sports, but even there he dropped track to focus on football and baseball for economic reasons.

Still though, for Conacher to dominate as many sports as he did is nothing short of incredible.

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06-06-2010, 04:30 PM
  #31
Heat McManus
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That I've seen in my day:

Lemieux, Jagr, Fedorov, Lindros, Kovalev.

I'll probably get hosed for the Kovalev pick, but based on pure skill the guy is up there. And physically he's a tank. Unfortunately the drive and mental game were not always there.

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06-06-2010, 05:01 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heat McManus View Post
That I've seen in my day:

Lemieux, Jagr, Fedorov, Lindros, Kovalev.

I'll probably get hosed for the Kovalev pick, but based on pure skill the guy is up there. And physically he's a tank. Unfortunately the drive and mental game were not always there.
Physically gifted does not include skill in my opinion.

Physically gifted: Size, speed, endurance, strength, athleticism

I guess it depends on what OP meant by physically gifted.

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06-06-2010, 05:48 PM
  #33
seventieslord
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Originally Posted by GoBucky View Post
Maurice Richard.
Richard was not a great skater... he was a bit chunky his whole career and got quite overweight at the end.

He doesn't belong in this thread. He was great for much different reasons than his physical package.

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06-06-2010, 06:09 PM
  #34
Hammer79
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Originally Posted by lextune View Post
Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr....

....I give the edge to Mario though. The man was just sick. Deadliest one on one player in NHL history, by quite a bit.

I have said this before, but I'll say it again here: Mario would destroy the league as it is today; 90 goal, 200+ point seasons.

The only ways to slow him down (and/or stop him), are all illegal now, with obstruction penalties regularly called for things that were absolutely commonplace in team's efforts to defend against him.

They would all be penalties now....and Lemieux was one of, if not the, greatest powerplay force there has ever been.
Sure, obstruction is called more often, but goaltenders in today's game are a lot bulkier and a lot better than their 80's and early 90's counterparts. Lemieux would be consistently near the top of the scoring leaders, no doubt, but 90 goal and 200 point seasons are a thing of the past unless they cut down goalie equipment or make the nets larger. 60 goals/ 130 points is what I'd expect Lemieux to get at most if he was playing in his prime now.

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06-06-2010, 06:57 PM
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer79 View Post
Sure, obstruction is called more often, but goaltenders in today's game are a lot bulkier and a lot better than their 80's and early 90's counterparts. Lemieux would be consistently near the top of the scoring leaders, no doubt, but 90 goal and 200 point seasons are a thing of the past unless they cut down goalie equipment or make the nets larger. 60 goals/ 130 points is what I'd expect Lemieux to get at most if he was playing in his prime now.
I'd expect him to get much more than that. He scored at a 145 point pace when he came back at age 35. Couple of years later at age 37, he scored at a 111 point pace. This was far past his prime in a low scoring era. A young, less beat-up Lemieux playing with today's star-friendly rules would score a hell of a lot more than 130 points.

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06-06-2010, 07:58 PM
  #36
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Vsevolod Bobrov deserves to be in the discussion. Soviet Union's best football and hockey player of 1940s/early 50s.

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Old
06-06-2010, 08:32 PM
  #37
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Richard was not a great skater... he was a bit chunky his whole career and got quite overweight at the end.

He doesn't belong in this thread. He was great for much different reasons than his physical package.

Let's keep this PG rated!!!


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06-06-2010, 08:40 PM
  #38
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HHoF, CFLHoF, CLacrosseHoF, Memorial Cup, SC, Grey Cup, USAHA Champs x2, AAA Baseball Champ International League, Canadian Light heavy boxing amateur champ(undefeated)

.......and just for good measure went a 4 round exhibition against Jack Dempsey and was in it all the way

so in this respect the Big Train may be the greatest athlete who every lived, he may be ahead of guys like Jim Thorpe and Bo Jackson who were both unbelievable specimens

He also won the amateur lightweight wrestling championship of Ontario and went 27-0 as a pro wrestler in Canada and the United States and never lost a match in his career.

Funny story:

In 1920, Lionel hit the game-winning home run to give his team the Toronto semipro baseball crown, then promptly took a taxi across the city and scored four goals for his lacrosse team, which was losing 3-0 when he arrived.

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06-06-2010, 09:04 PM
  #39
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Ray Bourque was about as well a conditioned athlete as I've seen. The main reason he was so good for so long IMO.

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06-06-2010, 10:04 PM
  #40
lextune
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Originally Posted by revolverjgw View Post
I'd expect him to get much more than that. He scored at a 145 point pace when he came back at age 35. Couple of years later at age 37, he scored at a 111 point pace. This was far past his prime in a low scoring era. A young, less beat-up Lemieux playing with today's star-friendly rules would score a hell of a lot more than 130 points.
Exactly.

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06-06-2010, 10:46 PM
  #41
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Originally Posted by Hammer79 View Post
Sure, obstruction is called more often, but goaltenders in today's game are a lot bulkier and a lot better than their 80's and early 90's counterparts. Lemieux would be consistently near the top of the scoring leaders, no doubt, but 90 goal and 200 point seasons are a thing of the past unless they cut down goalie equipment or make the nets larger. 60 goals/ 130 points is what I'd expect Lemieux to get at most if he was playing in his prime now.
he put that idea to rest in 00-01.

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06-06-2010, 11:07 PM
  #42
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My vote would go to a pool of Conacher, Howe, Hull, Leetch, and maybe Orr. Not surprisingly, I came to this thread and found the arguments for each already laid out nicely. I haven't considered any players that are still a part of "hockey present", and truth be told, modern training and diet probably result in most current athletes comparing unfairly favorably for the purpose of this thread (unless we stuck to multi-sport accolades, etc.)

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06-06-2010, 11:31 PM
  #43
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Didn't Howe once take batting practise with the Tigers and was seen knocking the ball into the outfield stands at Tiger stadium?

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06-06-2010, 11:52 PM
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatgazoo View Post
Didn't Howe once take batting practise with the Tigers and was seen knocking the ball into the outfield stands at Tiger stadium?
Have found reports of a fairly impressive bit of bp from Howe:

http://www.neilhaller.com/detroit/ (scroll down a bit past the pictures)

"Al Kaline brought Gordie in to try batting practice and according to the story hit 8 of 10 pitches - line drive, rocket shots over the center field fence. (Center field is always the farthest fence). The manager wanted to sign Gordie for the Tigers!"

http://sportales.com/sports/10-best-...s-of-all-time/

"Howe often took batting practice with the Tigers, and was so good that Al Kaline thought if he had put his effort into the American pastime, he would have been great at it."

http://cgi.ebay.com/GORDIE-HOWE-Detr...-/270579206187

Swing looks pretty good.


Last edited by Ohashi_Jouzu: 06-07-2010 at 12:01 AM.
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06-06-2010, 11:59 PM
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
Have found reports of a fairly impressive bit of bp from Howe:

http://www.neilhaller.com/detroit/ (scroll down a bit past the pictures)

"Al Kaline brought Gordie in to try batting practice and according to the story hit 8 of 10 pitches - line drive, rocket shots over the center field fence. (Center field is always the farthest fence). The manager wanted to sign Gordie for the Tigers!"

http://cgi.ebay.com/GORDIE-HOWE-Detr...-/270579206187

Swing looks pretty good.
And centerfield at Tiger stadium was 440 feet away from home plate!

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Old
06-07-2010, 12:03 AM
  #46
Ohashi_Jouzu
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Originally Posted by greatgazoo View Post
And centerfield at Tiger stadium was 440 feet away from home plate!
I know! No small feat to lace frozen rope homers out there.

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Old
06-07-2010, 12:18 AM
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lextune View Post
Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr....

....I give the edge to Mario though. The man was just sick. Deadliest one on one player in NHL history, by quite a bit.

I have said this before, but I'll say it again here: Mario would destroy the league as it is today; 90 goal, 200+ point seasons.

The only ways to slow him down (and/or stop him), are all illegal now, with obstruction penalties regularly called for things that were absolutely commonplace in team's efforts to defend against him.

They would all be penalties now....and Lemieux was one of, if not the, greatest powerplay force there has ever been.
Wow, somebody is a Big Mario fan !! I wouldn't give Mario and edge to Bobby in anything....except maybe he's bigger Bobby Orr would pretty much do exactly what he did in the 70's - Own the ****ing league. I would love to see what kind of totals Gretzky would obtain with all the powerplay opportunities...

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Old
06-07-2010, 08:50 AM
  #48
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The answer is Lionel Conacher.

For current NHL I'll throw a curveball and say Steve Stamkos. Didnt he win National Titles in like 5 sports for team Ontario??

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06-07-2010, 09:33 AM
  #49
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Orr, Lemieux..

Saying a player is the most physically gifted, yet their career was severely hampered by injuries.. is a bit of an oxymoron, IMO..

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Old
06-07-2010, 09:39 AM
  #50
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It was well known that Jean Beliveau could likely have had a pro baseball career. He turned down a minor league pro contract at age 15, and at 16 played for the senior league team in Val D'or.

I would say Gordie though, on physical talent, toughness, strength and longevity. Conacher or Howe.

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