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Would Mark Messier be considered greater if he retired after 1994?

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01-05-2011, 03:12 PM
  #1
kmad
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Would Mark Messier be considered greater if he retired after 1994?

Simple question. If he took off after bringing the Cup back to New York, would we romanticize his leadership skills and continually prattle on, "What if he didn't retire young?" Would we consider him a top 10-15 player?

Essentially all he did after 1994 was accumulate statistics and money.

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01-05-2011, 03:34 PM
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lextune
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I don't think so.

It's not like he fell off after '94.

He played another 629 games and put up another 571 points. That plays a big part in his legacy.

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01-05-2011, 03:37 PM
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begbeee
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What hurts him most is his time in Canucks. He should retired after 1997 or continued playing for Rangers.

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01-05-2011, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by lextune View Post
I don't think so.

It's not like he fell off after '94.

He played another 629 games and put up another 571 points. That plays a big part in his legacy.
Good answer.

A relatively very small number of players have ever played 629 NHL games, and even fewer have scored 571 points - only about 300. And that's just what Messier did in the twilight of his career.

Of course, he was also the Hart runner-up in 1996. That didn't hurt.

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01-05-2011, 03:47 PM
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revolverjgw
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He had a few awesome seasons after '94... I mean, the guy was Hart runner-up to Mario in 1996.

Retiring before joining the Canucks might have resulted in fewer haters, but he DID put up a lot of points for a guy his age and passed Gordie Howe. That's a pretty big accomplishment, even though he had no team success during that period.

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01-05-2011, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by lextune View Post
I don't think so.

It's not like he fell off after '94.

He played another 629 games and put up another 571 points. That plays a big part in his legacy.
Agreed. If he had retired in 1994, he would have had significantly fewer points and as glorious as 1994 was, his extra decade of hockey at a relatively high quality of performance and longevity adds an extra dimension to his career. His last season with the Rangers with Gretzky before going to Vancouver and the year before that were pretty successful as just a great player so he would have missed on those years.

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01-05-2011, 05:48 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Messier still did a lot between 1994 and 1997. 2nd in Hart voting to Mario Lemieux in 95-96 and he led a deeply flawed Rangers team on a miracle run to the Conference finals in 1997 (he did have an aging Gretzky, but there was no depth).

If Messier retired after 1997 would he be remembered better? Absolutely. The THN Top 100 list that came in 1998 but was voted on the previous year listed Messier as the 12th best player of all time, and there was a pretty big consensus that he was a top 15 all-time player at the time. Even if that was wrong, I can't see him falling out of the top 20 like he did in the latest HOH Top 100.

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01-05-2011, 07:19 PM
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"Would Mark Messier be considered greater if he retired after 1994?"

Not in my mind. Players play. Critics, meanwhile, live to find blemishes on those of accomplishment. Life is imperfect, so is a player's career. He loved the game, as well as its rewards, so he played as long as he damn could. Good for him.

His career is legendary, regardless.

Ask people if they remember Johnny Unitas for stumbling his way around a football field in his last NFL year in San Diego, circa 1973. Or Willie Mays for his last two seasons on broken knees with the Mets.

Only the haters will remember Messier and a forgettable Vancouver team or his playing out the string in NYR in the early part of this past decade.

The better question is: if Messier retired in the late 80s, several years into his NHL career, how many players, past, present or future, would match his career accomplishments even up to that point? Answer: few.

And really, should any player who still loves the game retire just so he will be thought of more splendidly by some hockey fans?


Last edited by Trottier: 01-05-2011 at 07:33 PM.
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01-05-2011, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
"Would Mark Messier be considered greater if he retired after 1994?"

Not in my mind. Players play. Critics, meanwhile, live to find blemishes on those of accomplishment. Life is imperfect, so is a player's career. He loved the game, as well as its rewards, so he played as long as he damn could. Good for him.

His career is legendary, regardless.

Ask people if they remember Johnny Unitas for stumbling his way around a football field in his last NFL year in San Diego, circa 1973. Or Willie Mays for his last two seasons on broken knees with the Mets.

Only the haters will remember Messier and a forgettable Vancouver team or his playing out the string in NYR in the early part of this past decade.

The better question is: if Messier retired in the late 80s, how many NHLers, past, present or future would have matched his career even up to that point? Answer: few.

And really, should any player who still loves the game retire just so he will be thought of more splendidly by some hockey fans?
My thoughts exactly. Which is why I'm always shocked when people criticize Chelios for playing in the AHL recently...the guy loved the game, and just wanted to keep playing.

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01-05-2011, 08:04 PM
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kmad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
Only the haters will remember Messier and a forgettable Vancouver team or his playing out the string in NYR in the early part of this past decade.
It is important to note that while being lauded as the greatest captain and leader in league history, he failed to lead a team to the playoffs for the final 7 years of his career.

Quote:
The better question is: if Messier retired in the late 80s, how many NHLers, past, present or future would have matched his career even up to that point? Answer: few.
Very few. I agree, Messier's career was legendary. But we have a tendency to romanticize careers that were cut short. Would we remember Bossy as well if he tacked on seven Lindros years after his injury took him out? Probably not...

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01-05-2011, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
"Would Mark Messier be considered greater if he retired after 1994?"

Not in my mind. Players play. Critics, meanwhile, live to find blemishes on those of accomplishment. Life is imperfect, so is a player's career. He loved the game, as well as its rewards, so he played as long as he damn could. Good for him.

His career is legendary, regardless.

Ask people if they remember Johnny Unitas for stumbling his way around a football field in his last NFL year in San Diego, circa 1973. Or Willie Mays for his last two seasons on broken knees with the Mets.

Only the haters will remember Messier and a forgettable Vancouver team or his playing out the string in NYR in the early part of this past decade.

The better question is: if Messier retired in the late 80s, several years into his NHL career, how many players, past, present or future, would match his career accomplishments even up to that point? Answer: few.

And really, should any player who still loves the game retire just so he will be thought of more splendidly by some hockey fans?
And Trottier comes in with an excellent post as usual

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01-05-2011, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Bolt Vanderhuge View Post
It is important to note that while being lauded as the greatest captain and leader in league history, he failed to lead a team to the playoffs for the final 7 years of his career.
Yes, which is just another example of how much individual impact on team play is vastly overstated in many cases.

Messier also missed the playoffs at age 32 when honestly he should have been able to will his team into the playoffs and at least the final four if the criticisms of players like Dionne or Jagr are to be believed.

Like the "clutch" label I think a lot of our perceptions get attached to players in hindsight. Not always mind you.

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01-05-2011, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by begbeee View Post
What hurts him most is his time in Canucks. He should retired after 1997 or continued playing for Rangers.
This, Messier was a success everywhere he went until he joined the Nucks.

Now he gets overshadowed by that.

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01-05-2011, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bolt Vanderhuge View Post
It is important to note that while being lauded as the greatest captain and leader in league history, he failed to lead a team to the playoffs for the final 7 years of his career.
The team didn't perform any better for him, in fact Naslund, the Canucks best player of all time thanked him.

Coaches are to blame, as said, he was successful everywhere except Vancouver, coincidence? I think not.

Quote:
Very few. I agree, Messier's career was legendary. But we have a tendency to romanticize careers that were cut short. Would we remember Bossy as well if he tacked on seven Lindros years after his injury took him out? Probably not...
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, Mess is the greatest captain in my opinion and many others would agree.

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01-05-2011, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Bolt Vanderhuge View Post
But we have a tendency to romanticize careers that were cut short. Would we remember Bossy as well if he tacked on seven Lindros years after his injury took him out? Probably not...
never would have happened - that guy was just too good. Even with a broken back he scored 38 goals in 63 injury filled games his last season, on a relatively bad team.

But I'm biased.

And I do agree with your greater point on romanticizing careers cut short.


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01-05-2011, 10:28 PM
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I think he did damage his legacy, much of which was based upon his "leadership." Both Vancouver and Rangers (pt II) underperformed relative to their talent, and you heard all sorts of rumbling that Messier was right in the middle of it. Sure he scored a bunch more points, but does anyone really think he was the second greatest point scorer in NHL history? Or even close?

In other words, what he gained in stats he more than lost in leadership. Pre-'95 you could have made an argument that he was the greatest leader in NHL history, but I can't fathom how anyone could do so after his Canucks and second Rangers stint. He divided his dressing rooms, and his teams suffered for it.

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01-06-2011, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by lextune View Post
I don't think so.

It's not like he fell off after '94.

He played another 629 games and put up another 571 points. That plays a big part in his legacy.
I agree here, his next 3 seasons with the Rangers 95-97 his age 34-36 were simply still great but his next3 season in Vancouver is what really hurts his legacy as a leader and he showed none here in Vancouver and that signing (along with Mike Keenan ) set back the Canucks big time, although there wasn't much to be set back from to be sure.

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01-06-2011, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by overg View Post
I think he did damage his legacy, much of which was based upon his "leadership." Both Vancouver and Rangers (pt II) underperformed relative to their talent, and you heard all sorts of rumbling that Messier was right in the middle of it. Sure he scored a bunch more points, but does anyone really think he was the second greatest point scorer in NHL history? Or even close?

In other words, what he gained in stats he more than lost in leadership. Pre-'95 you could have made an argument that he was the greatest leader in NHL history, but I can't fathom how anyone could do so after his Canucks and second Rangers stint. He divided his dressing rooms, and his teams suffered for it.
Excellent post and fully agree his legacy should really have 2 parts to it and just because we remember the 2nd part shouldn't make us "haters", never understood that line of thinking.

The reality is that Messier's last 7 tarnished his reputation as a great leader and rightly so, his actions in Vancouver were not of a great leader but rather a guy with an ego and reputation.

Not sure if he was over rated as leader prior to his Vancouver run but it sure draws attention to the possibility that maybe there was more to the "one of the greatest leaders of all time " reputation that Messier enjoys than meets the eye on 1st glance.

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01-06-2011, 02:07 AM
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No. Part of Messier's legacy is his longevity, and a large part of that is him being #2 all time for points. Despite his failure in Vancouver, many still consider him one of the greatest leaders in sports, so I don't think that really hurt him much.

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01-06-2011, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by HemskyToHall View Post
The team didn't perform any better for him, in fact Naslund, the Canucks best player of all time thanked him.

Coaches are to blame, as said, he was successful everywhere except Vancouver, coincidence? I think not.
The most telling (and, IMO, damning) thing about his stint in Vancouver was not so much that the team was so bad, but rather how much he didn't give a damn. The guy had the gall to come on the radio in Vancouver a couple years back and talk, at length, about how those years were such a success. At the time he also, if I remember right, said that he thought they'd had a pretty good year after leading the Canucks to their worst season in franchise history (which, considering that history, is a pretty colossally awful achievement). This is the greatest leader ever? Really?

He was successful everywhere except Vancouver, maybe, or maybe he was successful everywhere that he had the kind of supporting cast he had in Edmonton and NY.

Anyway, if he had retired pre-Vancouver, he might have lost a bit from the points he'd have left on the table, but I think he'd probably have gained a bit, too, by having retired before turning into a lazy cherry-picker.

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01-06-2011, 04:58 PM
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1994? No. 1997? That's a different story. It has been well documented what he did from 1994 to 1997. Each of 1995, 1996 and 1997 he was on teams which went to the 2nd round and on.

He barely added anything to his career value from 1997-2004 though but when you get down to it, it'll still never hurt to stick around another forgettable season. I think you might remember Andreychuk as a guy who hung around too long, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that there isn't a lot of things to remember about Andreychuk's career to his compiling years stick out while there is - needless to say - a ton of great things to remember about Messier that his last 7 years are often just a footnote, nothing more.

Paul Coffey did very little from 1997 to 2001 but we still remember him as an Oiler first and foremost. I'm not sure Coffey would be thought of any differently had he retired in 1997 because he had already cemented his legacy

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01-06-2011, 05:05 PM
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I loved Mess until he joined my beloved Canucks. I loathed him after that. He should have retired or stayed in NY.

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01-06-2011, 05:30 PM
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He barely added anything to his career value from 1997-2004 though but when you get down to it, it'll still never hurt to stick around another forgettable season. I think you might remember Andreychuk as a guy who hung around too long, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that there isn't a lot of things to remember about Andreychuk's career to his compiling years stick out while there is - needless to say - a ton of great things to remember about Messier that his last 7 years are often just a footnote, nothing more.
I have to disagree. Simply because he had a significantly negative impact on Vancouver. It doesn't make him a worse player. But it does call into question his greatest claim to fame.

When people call him one of the best leaders ever, I want to vomit. To tarnish people like Yzerman and Beliveau like that is sickening.

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01-06-2011, 06:42 PM
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Well he likely would be more highly regarded if he had not spent the last 7 years of his career living of his reputation, and doing nothing to improve the teams he was on. First 18 seasons 17 playoff appearances. Last 7 seasons 0 playoff appearances.

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01-06-2011, 11:30 PM
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Big Phil
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I have to disagree. Simply because he had a significantly negative impact on Vancouver. It doesn't make him a worse player. But it does call into question his greatest claim to fame.

When people call him one of the best leaders ever, I want to vomit. To tarnish people like Yzerman and Beliveau like that is sickening.
Oh I'm not saying his leadership image didn't get tarnished a bit but his overall career value didn't get hurt.

I too agree that Beliveau is the best ever. Yzerman is right up there as well with the Moose.

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