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For anyone who doesn't think Gretzky was the best of all time...

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Old
07-25-2010, 08:21 PM
  #1
tazzy19
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For anyone who doesn't think Gretzky was the best of all time...

What would he have had to have done statistically to have been the best? Let's suppose his defensive game were the same and his physical game was the same. How many points in a season, goals in a season, records, Cups, etc, would he have to have to earn your number 1 selection? For example, would six 300 point seasons have done the trick? 100 goals in a season? 200 assists in a season? Would there be a statistical breaking point where you could say, ok, he was the best? Honest question here...

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07-25-2010, 08:30 PM
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SeanVT395
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Based of your criteria of stats, since Gretzky has literally set the bar on the threshold of every offensive record in the NHL. How is it possible argue he wasn't the best? off stats alone that is. you should probably rephrase your question.

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07-25-2010, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by SeanVT395 View Post
Based of your criteria of stats, since Gretzky has literally set the bar on the threshold of every offensive record in the NHL. How is it possible argue he wasn't the best? off stats alone that is. you should probably rephrase your question.
I don't necessarily agree with the premise involved, but the initial post does mention things other than stats.

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07-25-2010, 08:51 PM
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Based of your criteria of stats, since Gretzky has literally set the bar on the threshold of every offensive record in the NHL. How is it possible argue he wasn't the best? off stats alone that is. you should probably rephrase your question.
I suggest you read this thread (the debate over the top 4 players from the 2008 Top 100 list) if you want to see good arguments for Orr, Howe, or Lemieux as #1:

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=481636

Anyway, the original post wasn't directed at me because I do have Gretzky as #1.

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07-25-2010, 09:11 PM
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A lot of it has to do with bias towards him really. He has the best of both worlds. He has incredible peak value rivalled by no one and great longevity rivaled by Howe and Bourque yet neither of them touch him in peak value.

To me, it is impossible to make a case that Gretzky didn't have the best career in NHL history. A lot of it comes down to spite. A poster on here once who is no longer with us once claimed that in 1984 he'd have taken Trottier's all around game over Gretzky. The fact that Gretzky won the Cup that year, had more assists than Trottier had points and still led the NHL in goals is just too impossible to ignore for me, and for most of us on here.

In Baseball most people hate Barry Bonds. But if some people still put Babe Ruth ahead of him on an all-time list (and I do) among other players then you can easily make that case. Ditto in the NFL. I'd put Montana #1 all-time. Some wouldn't. I can see that. In the NBA it's almost impossible to see anyone ahead of Jordan unless they are a homer Celtics fan and put Bill Russell ahead of him. Same with hockey and Gretzky. If you go into a debate against the idea that he is the best of all-time you are already down two strikes and about to get a fastball down the middle. You have to make an extremely good case against him, but I've just never seen one believable to be honest and most of the time I see bitter anti-Gretzky fans trying to find a way to discredit him (eg. EVERYONE scored 200 points in the 1980s )

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07-25-2010, 09:30 PM
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tazzy19
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Originally Posted by SeanVT395 View Post
Based of your criteria of stats, since Gretzky has literally set the bar on the threshold of every offensive record in the NHL. How is it possible argue he wasn't the best? off stats alone that is. you should probably rephrase your question.
That's exactly my point: Would there be a point where Gretzky could have attained the #1 slot (in even the naysayers minds) with certain statistical marks? I mean, for example, if he had scored 200 points every single year for 20 years, would that be enough to convince the anti-Gretzky camp that he was the best? That would have been 4000 points. The argument against Gretzky seems to be his physical game and defensive game. My question would be would any of that matter with that kind of statistical dominance? If the answer is, "No, it would not matter," then we must go down a very slippery slope when arguing against Gretzky being #1...

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07-25-2010, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
A lot of it has to do with bias towards him really. He has the best of both worlds. He has incredible peak value rivalled by no one and great longevity rivaled by Howe and Bourque yet neither of them touch him in peak value.

To me, it is impossible to make a case that Gretzky didn't have the best career in NHL history. A lot of it comes down to spite. A poster on here once who is no longer with us once claimed that in 1984 he'd have taken Trottier's all around game over Gretzky. The fact that Gretzky won the Cup that year, had more assists than Trottier had points and still led the NHL in goals is just too impossible to ignore for me, and for most of us on here.

In Baseball most people hate Barry Bonds. But if some people still put Babe Ruth ahead of him on an all-time list (and I do) among other players then you can easily make that case. Ditto in the NFL. I'd put Montana #1 all-time. Some wouldn't. I can see that. In the NBA it's almost impossible to see anyone ahead of Jordan unless they are a homer Celtics fan and put Bill Russell ahead of him. Same with hockey and Gretzky. If you go into a debate against the idea that he is the best of all-time you are already down two strikes and about to get a fastball down the middle. You have to make an extremely good case against him, but I've just never seen one believable to be honest and most of the time I see bitter anti-Gretzky fans trying to find a way to discredit him (eg. EVERYONE scored 200 points in the 1980s )
Jim Brown is usually considered the king of NFL, montana is up there though.

The only person who can rival Gretzky is gordie howe. I love orr but longevity matters.

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07-25-2010, 10:01 PM
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Jim Brown is usually considered the king of NFL, montana is up there though.

The only person who can rival Gretzky is gordie howe. I love orr but longevity matters.
Not to get off topic, Brown would be in tough with a comparison of a player in his own position (Walter Payton). But yeah, if Brown is right in the mix I have no problem. The thing is with the NFL it isn't cut and dry like Hockey or even the NBA. The NFL is more like Baseball where there might be 3-4 guys with as good of cases as the next. Where as hockey to most of us is pretty clear cut who the best ever was.

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07-25-2010, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by tazzy19 View Post
What would he have had to have done statistically to have been the best? Let's suppose his defensive game were the same and his physical game was the same. How many points in a season, goals in a season, records, Cups, etc, would he have to have to earn your number 1 selection? For example, would six 300 point seasons have done the trick? 100 goals in a season? 200 assists in a season? Would there be a statistical breaking point where you could say, ok, he was the best? Honest question here...
I have Gretzky as my personal #1, but one thing that may have convinced the naysayers, is if he scored goals at a higher rate in the 90's. As of 1989, he looked like he had a shot at 1200 career goals, and put it out of reach for good, but due to the back injury he suffered, he was never the same goal scorer again. Still ended up with a great total, but unlike his assist total, it seems like an attainable goal for a future phenom.

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07-25-2010, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe View Post
I have Gretzky as my personal #1, but one thing that may have convinced the naysayers, is if he scored goals at a higher rate in the 90's. As of 1989, he looked like he had a shot at 1200 career goals, and put it out of reach for good, but due to the back injury he suffered, he was never the same goal scorer again. Still ended up with a great total, but unlike his assist total, it seems like an attainable goal for a future phenom.
He adjusted his game fairly well though in order to focus on playmaking a bit more since his speed dropped a bit. He was still the smartest player on the ice and all-time there has never been a smarter player to ever play so that's what I think makes him the best along with the stats.

But even after 1989 he still did well in the goals department:

1990: 40
1991: 41
1992: 31
1993: 16 (injured)
1994: 38
1995: 11 (lockout year)
1996: 23
1997: 25
1998: 23
1999: 9 (retirement injury riddled year)

Not bad at all. This would be sufficient enough for a Hall of Fame career. Except it wasn't even his prime anymore and he was far superior in playmaking at this stage of his career.

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07-25-2010, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Not to get off topic, Brown would be in tough with a comparison of a player in his own position (Walter Payton). But yeah, if Brown is right in the mix I have no problem. The thing is with the NFL it isn't cut and dry like Hockey or even the NBA. The NFL is more like Baseball where there might be 3-4 guys with as good of cases as the next. Where as hockey to most of us is pretty clear cut who the best ever was.
For other sports:

MLB
http://www.baseball-reference.com/le..._monitor.shtml

NBA
http://www.basketballreference.com/l...leadershof.htm

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07-25-2010, 11:09 PM
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For me it's fairly simple. And I know this gets argued to death on these boards, but here's how I would answer:

Wayne Gretzky is by far and away the greatest offensive player ever. He has the stats to prove it. I am not a hater and openly admit that his greatness was unparalleled, yet a few things could be mentioned as a critique.

1. Phil Esposito scored at a higher % over his positional peers for a season or two even above Gretzky -- people forget how insane 76 goals was when Espo did it. Please note, I am NOT saying Esposito is better than Wayne Gretzky. I am saying, however, that another center other than Gretzky had a higher scoring margin over his fellow centermen than Gretzky did.

2. Hockey does not consist of only a physical component, yet it is part of the game. Gretzky played the angles better than anyone, and was a master at positional hockey, so he could compensate for his lack in this regard. But please note, the physical game was LACKING in Gretzky's game. Some of you don't give a rip about the physical stuff -- I happen to think it's important. And for giggles, youtube Gretzky vs Broten for irrefutable proof.

3. Gretzky never won a Norris. Yes this is a ridiculous statement. But so is this -- a defenseman won the Art Ross. Not supposed to happen, in fact, only one (Bobby Orr) has ever done it, and he did it multiple times, while also winning the Norris, and playing clean your clock physical hockey to boot. When they go back and retroactively award Gretzky a Norris trophy I will cede this point, until then, only Bobby Orr has accomplished this.

4. The hypothetical: Because hockey is a three zone game, and because Orr has won hockey's major awards acknowledging his superiority at BOTH ends of the ice -- Norris and Art Ross -- only player ever to accomplish this, and because he was a much better skater than Gretzky, and had a dominating physical presence while on the ice -- what would be the score of six Orr's vs. six Gretzky's hockey game? If a team full of healthy Gretzkys faced off against a team of healthy Orrs, who would win? For me, this answer is telling.

Bobby Orr was the more complete and hence, the better player, imo. By stating this, I am not hating Gretzky or promoting an anti-Gretzky bias. Gretzky had the better career, and was the better offensive player, but Bobby Orr was just the better player, for he was dominant on both ends of the ice -- Gretzky was dominant (but oh so dominant!) in one and lacking in some other areas.

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07-25-2010, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 85highlander View Post
For me it's fairly simple. And I know this gets argued to death on these boards, but here's how I would answer:

Wayne Gretzky is by far and away the greatest offensive player ever. He has the stats to prove it. I am not a hater and openly admit that his greatness was unparalleled, yet a few things could be mentioned as a critique.

1. Phil Esposito scored at a higher % over his positional peers for a season or two even above Gretzky -- people forget how insane 76 goals was when Espo did it. Please note, I am NOT saying Esposito is better than Wayne Gretzky. I am saying, however, that another center other than Gretzky had a higher scoring margin over his fellow centermen than Gretzky did.

2. Hockey does not consist of only a physical component, yet it is part of the game. Gretzky played the angles better than anyone, and was a master at positional hockey, so he could compensate for his lack in this regard. But please note, the physical game was LACKING in Gretzky's game. Some of you don't give a rip about the physical stuff -- I happen to think it's important. And for giggles, youtube Gretzky vs Broten for irrefutable proof.

3. Gretzky never won a Norris. Yes this is a ridiculous statement. But so is this -- a defenseman won the Art Ross. Not supposed to happen, in fact, only one (Bobby Orr) has ever done it, and he did it multiple times, while also winning the Norris, and playing clean your clock physical hockey to boot. When they go back and retroactively award Gretzky a Norris trophy I will cede this point, until then, only Bobby Orr has accomplished this.

4. The hypothetical: Because hockey is a three zone game, and because Orr has won hockey's major awards acknowledging his superiority at BOTH ends of the ice -- Norris and Art Ross -- only player ever to accomplish this, and because he was a much better skater than Gretzky, and had a dominating physical presence while on the ice -- what would be the score of six Orr's vs. six Gretzky's hockey game? If a team full of healthy Gretzkys faced off against a team of healthy Orrs, who would win? For me, this answer is telling.

Bobby Orr was the more complete and hence, the better player, imo. By stating this, I am not hating Gretzky or promoting an anti-Gretzky bias. Gretzky had the better career, and was the better offensive player, but Bobby Orr was just the better player, for he was dominant on both ends of the ice -- Gretzky was dominant (but oh so dominant!) in one and lacking in some other areas.
This is the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard. For one, as a forward you can NOT win the Norris. You could have a +/- of +1000 and not win it as a forward because it's a defensman only award. Secondly, it is not a forward's job to play defense, it's a nice addition to their game, but as a forward it is their job to score.

As for your last point, a team of Gretzky's vs. a team of Orr's would probably be a lot closer then you're making it out to be. As amazing as Orr's offense was, Gretzky's was lightyears ahead, and that's someone coming from someone who believes Orr was the greatest player to live.


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07-25-2010, 11:52 PM
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Secondly, it is not a forward's job to play defense, it's a nice addition to their game, but as a forward it is their job to score.

It's everyone's job on the team to play defense. Everyone's.

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07-26-2010, 12:07 AM
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This is the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard. For one, as a forward you can NOT win the Norris. You could have a +/- of +1000 and not win it as a forward because it's a defensman only award. Secondly, it is not a forward's job to play defense, it's a nice addition to their game, but as a forward it is their job to score.

As for your last point, a team of Gretzky's vs. a team of Orr's would probably be a lot closer then you're making it out to be. As amazing as Orr's offense was, Gretzky's was lightyears ahead, and that's someone coming from someone who believes Orr was the greatest player to live.
Ridiculous? You did notice I SAID it was ridiculous -- thanks for agreeing with me.

Of course Gretzky CAN'T win the Norris as a centerman. And just because a defenseman can win the Art Ross, no one ever has...except one, and he also won the Norris concurrently -- something Gretzky couldn't or didn't do, this is a factual statement and irrefutable.

Let's reverse this to make it more understandable. Do you think Wayne Gretzky, given his physique and his abhorrence to anything physical could have won the Norris trophy while also winning the Art Ross? If you answer yes, then fine. I respect your opinion, though I would question its veracity.

I thought the thread was looking for counter arguments. I took the bait. Other centers have won scoring championships. NO ONE ELSE has won the Art Ross and Norris concurrently. To my mind, this is conclusive proof that Orr was the better player, until someone else comes along and can do the same.

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07-26-2010, 12:09 AM
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He adjusted his game fairly well though in order to focus on playmaking a bit more since his speed dropped a bit. He was still the smartest player on the ice and all-time there has never been a smarter player to ever play so that's what I think makes him the best along with the stats.

But even after 1989 he still did well in the goals department:

1990: 40
1991: 41
1992: 31
1993: 16 (injured)
1994: 38
1995: 11 (lockout year)
1996: 23
1997: 25
1998: 23
1999: 9 (retirement injury riddled year)

Not bad at all. This would be sufficient enough for a Hall of Fame career. Except it wasn't even his prime anymore and he was far superior in playmaking at this stage of his career.
Just for the record I have Gretzky at number 1 but your statement that the above goal totals would have been enough for the Hall of fame by itself without other info is a reach IMO.

Put another way if we looked only at those goal scoring stats, both actual and adjusted and asked the question, Is this guy a HHOF guy the answer would clearly be no.

Back to the original question an idea and thought came to me, what would a player need to do to pass Gretzky as a number 1 guy of all time?

I for one think it will be impossible because of the way the game is played now as I believe that there are players that might be close to as good as the great one, he even named one in Sid the Kid, but the overall play and game is so much more developed into a different animal that no one will ever be able to have the kind of separation that Gretzky and others like Orr had in the past.

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07-26-2010, 12:13 AM
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Ridiculous? You did notice I SAID it was ridiculous -- thanks for agreeing with me.

Of course Gretzky CAN'T win the Norris as a centerman. And just because a defenseman can win the Art Ross, no one ever has...except one, and he also won the Norris concurrently -- something Gretzky couldn't or didn't do, this is a factual statement and irrefutable.

Let's reverse this to make it more understandable. Do you think Wayne Gretzky, given his physique and his abhorrence to anything physical could have won the Norris trophy while also winning the Art Ross? If you answer yes, then fine. I respect your opinion, though I would question its veracity.

I thought the thread was looking for counter arguments. I took the bait. Other centers have won scoring championships. NO ONE ELSE has won the Art Ross and Norris concurrently. To my mind, this is conclusive proof that Orr was the better player, until someone else comes along and can do the same.
Orr never won a Veznia trophy and Hasek has 2 MVP's, maybe he was better.

I don't believe this but it's a pretty weak, and superficial, argument to make that Gretzky never won a Norris and I just put the above comment out there to show how unreasonable your argument is here.

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07-26-2010, 12:18 AM
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Orr never won a Veznia trophy and Hasek has 2 MVP's, maybe he was better.

I don't believe this but it's a pretty weak, and superficial, argument to make that Gretzky never won a Norris and I just put the above comment out there to show how unreasonable your argument is here.
Point taken. Yet it was nearly as inconceivable in Orr's day for a goalie to win an Art Ross as it was for a defenseman. Obviously Orr changed the paradigm, and with it the very nature of the game itself.

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07-26-2010, 12:37 AM
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Point taken. Yet it was nearly as inconceivable in Orr's day for a goalie to win an Art Ross as it was for a defenseman. Obviously Orr changed the paradigm, and with it the very nature of the game itself.
I would have to agree with you here on how Orr changed the game hockey but he also had special circumstances in playing in an expanding, and weaker NHL during his playing period with the league going from 6-12-14-16 teams in a very short time span and the moving of players from the NHL to the WHA in 1972.

I have no doubt that Orr would have been the best Dman and one of the best players in a 6 team league, if it had stayed that way through out his career but I'm not sure that we can make the argument that he would have been able to score at the pace he did or win a MVP trophy if the league had stayed at 6 teams.

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07-26-2010, 12:38 AM
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Jim Brown is usually considered the king of NFL, montana is up there though.

The only person who can rival Gretzky is gordie howe. I love orr but longevity matters.
I assumed he meant among quarterbacks, since he said Montana. If you are going across all positions, I think a strong case can be made for Rice, who dominated his position to a greater degree than anyone else, at least IMO.

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07-26-2010, 12:51 AM
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I assumed he meant among quarterbacks, since he said Montana. If you are going across all positions, I think a strong case can be made for Rice, who dominated his position to a greater degree than anyone else, at least IMO.
I for one think it is much more reasonable and better exercise to rank the goalies, Dmen and forwards separately for the most part as bias and other things come into play and it's harder to make definitive decisions on who is better and why because each position inherently has a different job and objective to it or at least as it's main focal point.

Hockey is more complicated in these matters like baseball and even football compared to basketball IMO.

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07-26-2010, 01:04 AM
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For me it's fairly simple. And I know this gets argued to death on these boards, but here's how I would answer:

Wayne Gretzky is by far and away the greatest offensive player ever. He has the stats to prove it. I am not a hater and openly admit that his greatness was unparalleled, yet a few things could be mentioned as a critique.

1. Phil Esposito scored at a higher % over his positional peers for a season or two even above Gretzky -- people forget how insane 76 goals was when Espo did it. Please note, I am NOT saying Esposito is better than Wayne Gretzky. I am saying, however, that another center other than Gretzky had a higher scoring margin over his fellow centermen than Gretzky did.

2. Hockey does not consist of only a physical component, yet it is part of the game. Gretzky played the angles better than anyone, and was a master at positional hockey, so he could compensate for his lack in this regard. But please note, the physical game was LACKING in Gretzky's game. Some of you don't give a rip about the physical stuff -- I happen to think it's important. And for giggles, youtube Gretzky vs Broten for irrefutable proof.

3. Gretzky never won a Norris. Yes this is a ridiculous statement. But so is this -- a defenseman won the Art Ross. Not supposed to happen, in fact, only one (Bobby Orr) has ever done it, and he did it multiple times, while also winning the Norris, and playing clean your clock physical hockey to boot. When they go back and retroactively award Gretzky a Norris trophy I will cede this point, until then, only Bobby Orr has accomplished this.

4. The hypothetical: Because hockey is a three zone game, and because Orr has won hockey's major awards acknowledging his superiority at BOTH ends of the ice -- Norris and Art Ross -- only player ever to accomplish this, and because he was a much better skater than Gretzky, and had a dominating physical presence while on the ice -- what would be the score of six Orr's vs. six Gretzky's hockey game? If a team full of healthy Gretzkys faced off against a team of healthy Orrs, who would win? For me, this answer is telling.

Bobby Orr was the more complete and hence, the better player, imo. By stating this, I am not hating Gretzky or promoting an anti-Gretzky bias. Gretzky had the better career, and was the better offensive player, but Bobby Orr was just the better player, for he was dominant on both ends of the ice -- Gretzky was dominant (but oh so dominant!) in one and lacking in some other areas.
I'm not trying to pick on you - in fact I applaud you for being the first person to try and give some decent reasons (except for number 3, but you admitted it) as to why Orr could be better.

That being said:
1. Espo was an amazing player in his own right, but in your statement it is only addressing goal scoring. I think a strong case can be made that Bobby Hull was a better goal scorer than Gretzky as well, but NO case can be made that either were better offensively than Gretzky. As great as his goal scoring prowess was, it absolutely pales in comparison with his playmaking skills. Also, Espo really scored a lot of "garbage" goals. I'm not one to complain about this - they both count equally on the scoreboard. But I do think Gretzky was a threat from anywhere, and even more importantly, anyone on the ice with him was suddenly a much greater scoring threat.

2. Gretzky had no physical game, I absolutely agree. Not much to be said, this does count against him IMO, but to me (and many others) its not much of a mark against him. Others may value it far more, and will count it stronger against him than I.

3. Someone else already summed this up far better than I could with the Hasek remark. I do appreciate what you were trying to say behind the words - the idea that Orr dominated at both ends of the ice. Obviously he did, far more than Gretzky. And winning 2 Art Ross trophies is amazing, especially since no other D-man has won even 1. But the NHL record book is littered with things Gretzky did that no one else has as well, including 200+ pts in a season, 90+ goals, 120+ assists, etc. Many of these he has done multiple times as well. Winning 3 Art Ross trophies off assists alone is staggering as well - perhaps just as impressive as Orr's 2 Art Rosses, since neither have been done by any other player. To say "Orr did this and no one else has, so he's the best" is to ignore that Gretzky has 60 NHL records and a ton of non-official NHL milestones (like 50 in 39, or fastest to 1000 points, etc) none of which have been done by anyone else either. That's kind of what a record is.

4. I do think that 5 Orrs would beat 5 Gretzkys, but I still think Gretzky was the better player. Why? Because hockey isn't about 5 clones vs 5 clones, its about different players with different skills, abilities, play styles, etc and all those players meshing together as a team. Gretzky was better than anyone ever at maximizing the potential of his teammates. The real scenario would be Orr + random guys vs Gretzky + equally skilled random guys. And I think that's one that Gretzky probably wins, simply because his playmaking skills could turn average players into stars, and stars into superstars. Orr did that too - I think every great player does - but the fact that Gretzky has the 7 highest assist totals ever (and tied for 8th with Lemieux), and has more assists than anyone else has points, and led the league in assists 17 times IIRC all show that he was better than anyone at this.

I do think Orr was the more complete player. And Orr's my choice for #2 of all time. I just feel that completeness is sometimes overrated. Gretzky wasn't a complete player - at all, actually. Tons of people have had a more complete game than him. Many of them were great players that deserve their rankings in the top 100 of all time. But despite their complete games, none dominated like Gretzky. Completeness IS great, but so is scoring 200+ points a year.

While many of Orr's records have fallen, and those that haven't have all been seriously challenged, Gretzky's really haven't been. Even Mario was only close on a per game average - his actual totals were never close due to injury and illness.

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07-26-2010, 01:30 AM
  #23
vippe
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About 1 million points would be enough.

Seriously though, to me it's a matter of taste. I do however believe that if Orr did not suffer the knee injuries and effectively ending his career at the age of 27 (at the very peak of his career) I'm quite possitive he would be seen as the greatest player ever by most. But in the end it didnt happen so it doesnt matter and we are stuck with the discussion

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07-26-2010, 02:10 AM
  #24
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Originally Posted by 85highlander View Post
4. The hypothetical: Because hockey is a three zone game, and because Orr has won hockey's major awards acknowledging his superiority at BOTH ends of the ice -- Norris and Art Ross -- only player ever to accomplish this, and because he was a much better skater than Gretzky, and had a dominating physical presence while on the ice -- what would be the score of six Orr's vs. six Gretzky's hockey game? If a team full of healthy Gretzkys faced off against a team of healthy Orrs, who would win? For me, this answer is telling.
Regardless of whether or not Orr is better, I don't think "6 Xs vs 6 Gretzkys" is remotely telling at all. That's a situation you'd only see in a video game. 6 Ray Bourques would beat 6 Wayne Gretzkys. 6 Sergei Fedorovs would give him a good fight, he could play elite offense and defense. But back in reality, the dynamics of a team sport are too complex to boil it down to a scenario like that. You play one position at a time. You don't get to pick your teammates, you don't get to play with clones of yourself (unless your name is Sedin, and even THEN you only get one), you're one guy among 20. Gretzky is the greatest because of what he meant to his teammates on and off the ice, guys who, compared to him, were mere mortals, yet together looked like an unstoppable juggernaut. Even another supernatural talent deferred to Gretzky and cited how playing with him and watching how he carried himself in 1987 was a turning point in his career.

Teams are made up of different people with different skillsets and temperaments, and you have to work with THEM, not just yourself. And I don't think anybody ever meant more to a real hockey team than Gretzky did, and not just because he made guys score more than they otherwise would have.

edit- + everything shazariahl said

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor No View Post
It's everyone's job on the team to play defense. Everyone's.
True. And one thing I always notice in every classic Oilers game I've watched (just watched an Oilers/Islanders game today on the NHL Network) is that Gretzky was not useless defensively. He wasn't even just "not a liability", he was GOOD. Didn't take the body but he was very quick on the forecheck to force a puck-carrier to make a move, was a take-away machine, didn't float and was constantly in his own zone doing something, at least... he knew where to be... I always thought he was more than noticeable without the puck than Lemieux was.

I've barely seen any regular season Gretzky games from that era, aside from key games where he set records. Maybe from time to time he dogged it, cherrypicked to pad stats, I dunno... but watching how he played in the playoffs, I think he was a lot better defensively than a lot of people like to admit.


Last edited by revolverjgw: 07-26-2010 at 02:31 AM.
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07-26-2010, 09:43 AM
  #25
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Gretzky never won a Norris. Yes this is a ridiculous statement. But so is this -- a defenseman won the Art Ross. Not supposed to happen, in fact, only one (Bobby Orr) has ever done it, and he did it multiple times, while also winning the Norris, and playing clean your clock physical hockey to boot. When they go back and retroactively award Gretzky a Norris trophy I will cede this point, until then, only Bobby Orr has accomplished this.
I know this one has already been brought up, but I suspect if any defenseman today were to win the Art Ross trophy, they'd be a strong candidate for the Norris as well.

The fact that Orr won the Art Ross trophy likely made him a shoo-in to win the Norris (and probably really made the Hart trophy much easier to get as well).

Coffey put up some huge numbers as well, and got his Norris, so clearly a requirement for the Norris is not a solid defensive game. If Gretzky was a defenseman and put up the numbers he did, he'd still be winning the Norris trophy. Easily.

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