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Rank the best players on a breakaway all-time

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Old
09-10-2011, 06:52 PM
  #1
Big Phil
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Rank the best players on a breakaway all-time

Inspired by the Lemieux thread. Throw together a top 5 list for yourself. Who are the players that were in the bank for scoring on a breakaway? Who seemed to do it with the most frequency?

#1 Lemieux - Hard to imagine anyone else being in this slot. Mario was gold when he was in alone on the goalie. He was famous for two moves, the first one was slowly going in on the goalie and waiting for a square inch and then roofing it top corner under the crossbar (think vs. Andy Moog in 1992 playoffs when he deked Bourque). The other play was waiting (patiently) for the goalie to bite and then with his long reach putting the puck past the goalie when he was out of position (think Jon Casey in the 1991 final). Mario had the gift of being able to slow things down to a crawl and yet still making the goalie look foolish. I've said it before that there is only one player in NHL history to ever make Hasek look foolish.

#2 Bure - He used his speed and stickhandling to turn goalies into a ball. Bure's moves included the forehand move (Vernon in 1994 playoffs) or the half backhand play where he implied that he was going on his backhand only to slide it through the goalies pads.

#3 Jagr - Have to put him up here too because of his skill and smarts. Jagr had the forehand move as well, like Bure, but he also had some of the fastest hands in the world and he was excellent at forcing the goalie to move east-west. Think of him with that mullett behind him and the puck on his stick, you knew Jagr was scoring every time.

#4 Bossy - One of the most talented goal scorers ever has got to be on this list. Bossy had that quick release and the overall talent to beat the goalie. When he was in alone with the goalie it was lights out.

#5 Sakic - Maybe an obscure pick but hear me out. He had the most lethal wrist shot in the history of the game. So many times Sakic was able to place the puck where he wanted it to go. He KNEW the puck was going in at the end of the 2002 Olympics against Richter and everyone else knew it too. Plus he was fast, had good hands too. But it was his shot that left he goalie thinking.

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Old
09-10-2011, 07:04 PM
  #2
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Lemieux and Bure are number one and two that's all I know for sure, after there's a whole lot to choose from.

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09-10-2011, 07:34 PM
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Mario appears to be best since at least 1980.
Internationally, I think Mats Sundin was great on breakaways, and without having thought much about this subject I rank him as number 2. I think that might have been his best asset, and that he was very, very good at it, while overall of course being far from number 2. (Sundin was great when playing for Sweden, ending up on tournament first all star teams during Canada Cup, World Cup, Olympics, World Championship.)

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09-10-2011, 07:47 PM
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Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plusandminus View Post
Mario appears to be best since at least 1980.
Internationally, I think Mats Sundin was great on breakaways, and without having thought much about this subject I rank him as number 2. I think that might have been his best asset, and that he was very, very good at it, while overall of course being far from number 2. (Sundin was great when playing for Sweden, ending up on tournament first all star teams during Canada Cup, World Cup, Olympics, World Championship.)
Fair enough, Mats did come to mind originally with me too. As for the 1980 thing, I think the amount of breakaways were less prior to expansion so its hard to judge the likes of Howe. But in the 1970s I also flirted with Lafleur being among one of the names. Of course if I were to throw a name out there, Beliveau isn't a bad choice either for breakaways.

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09-10-2011, 08:43 PM
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agree with the OP, Mario by far, Bure the next closest, then it gets debatable.

Bossy seemed to be able to score easily when he had time and space. He often scored low, through the legs, catching the goalie off balance and deadly accurate - but he rarely had breakaways. He simply didn't have breakaway speed and Arbour wouldn't have him floating around centre ice like Bure. Bossy's real game was blue-line in, cycling and hovering around the slot with a deadly one-timer, rebounds, deflections and sticks to the back from defenders.

Bure was explosive and at speed, he could stickhandle and was so agile, he was tough to stop.

Jagr also didn't really get many breakaways, especially as he got older. I thought he was more dynamic and explosive when he was younger, but became a much better player as he matured. Rare combination of size, strength, agility, slick stick skills and ability to power to the net. With time and space, 1on1 with the goalie, there were few better.

I like the Sakic pick, he was deadly accurate with the shot but equally capable of going to his backhand and roofing it. Just like Frans Nielsen does on EVERY shootout attempt, and he almost always scores.

Alexander Mogilny was pretty great on breakaways too, especially during the Buffalo years, in Toronto as well.

On a side note, nobody gets as many breakaways as Michael Grabner. He must have had 30-40 breakaways last season, that's no exaggeration. He scored maybe on 7-8 of them. He's terrible on breakaways though. He's too fast for his hands/head. If he ever gets it together - wow. He's the complete opposite of Mario who really looked like he was in slow motion, seemingly had as much time as he wanted.

Other players who were good: Rick Middleton, Teemu Selanne

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Old
09-10-2011, 10:36 PM
  #6
VanIslander
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Alex Ovechkin has won three all-star game breakaway challenges.
Pavel Bure has among the most beautiful breakaway goals.
Mike Fisher has scored about half of his career goals on breakaways off of turnovers.

Petr Bondra scored a lot of breakaway goals on feeds from backchecking pivot Michal Pivonka. They had it down to a science.


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Old
09-10-2011, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
Alex Ovechkin has won three all-star game breakaway challenges.
Which included moments like wearing a hat & sunglasses using two sticks. Please. If you want to argue that Ovie belongs in this discussion, then by all means do so. But don't use that as a basis for your argument.

For me it's Super Mario, if he was ever alone time just seemed to slow to a crawl until he'd beaten the goalie.

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Old
09-10-2011, 11:10 PM
  #8
Rhiessan71
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Kent Nilsson, Gilbert Perreault, Theo Fleury and Patty Lafontaine come to mind.

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09-10-2011, 11:46 PM
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Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
Kent Nilsson, Gilbert Perreault, Theo Fleury and Patty Lafontaine come to mind.
Hmmmm, good picks. Like the Fleury pick. He sure didn't blow his chance on a breakaway when Messier coughed the puck up to him in Game 6 of the 1991 series. And even in the 1998 Olympics he looked the best out of all the Canadians shooting against Hasek, I thought. He tried to roof it only to have it bounce off the top of Hasek's shoulder into the air. So close.

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09-11-2011, 12:21 AM
  #10
DisgruntledGoat
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I was coming in here to post Theo Fleury. I didnt' think anyone would have thought of him yet.

He was money in the bank on most nights, though. He had the speed, the hands and he loved the big stage. Nagano notwithstanding.

Yzerman is another name that deserves to be mentioned. He slowed down as he got older and didn't get as many breakaways but, when he was younger and faster, he was very dangerous. He had a breakaway on Roy in the playoffs in 1997 where he missed on his initial shot but then banked in from behind the net. It ended up being a really important goal, and turning point in that series. I actually thought that sitting him for the shootout in the 1998 Olympics was almost as bad as sitting 99.

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Old
09-11-2011, 01:55 AM
  #11
begbeee
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HM to Gaborik and his speed resulting to lot of breakaway goals.

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Old
09-11-2011, 02:05 AM
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Obscure pick, but honourable mention to Mike Peca. That man was money one on one.

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09-11-2011, 10:21 AM
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EvDawg
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I too was going to say Theo, he was awesome on breakaways.

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09-11-2011, 10:48 AM
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Rhiessan71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvDawg View Post
I too was going to say Theo, he was awesome on breakaways.
Yep, exactly, after Mario and Bure, Theo and Kent were the next to pop into my head.
I rarely recall Theo not scoring on a breakaway and well Nilsson...how can you not think of the guy that is generally credited as the first to do this...



No shootout either, that was in game. Just a shame his heart didn't come close to matching his skill

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09-11-2011, 04:12 PM
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seventieslord
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I agree that it's Lemieux #1 and Bure #2, after that it gets harder to choose. I definitely agree that Sundin should be close to the top of the list. Few were better at roofing it off the backhand on breakaways.

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09-11-2011, 08:02 PM
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LeBlondeDemon10
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Gretzky (crickets, crickets, crickets)...Famous for going to his backhand on a goalie that looked like he was off balance and falling backward ie. On Meloche or Beaupre in the 1984 playoffs.

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09-11-2011, 08:16 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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I believe I read that Gordie Howe was great on breakaways - he was ambidextrous and would switch hands in the middle of a clearcut breakaway to fool the goalie.

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09-11-2011, 08:17 PM
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pappyline
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Everyone is pretty much going with the players they saw. I would agree that Lemieux was the best. # 2 on is not so clear. Bobby Hull, Mikita, howe were all damn good on the breakway. Never saw the Rocket in his prime but am sure he was good also. Never saw Morenz but expect he was pretty good too. Fast players usually are.

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Old
09-11-2011, 08:30 PM
  #19
Psycho Papa Joe
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Rick Middleton, Stephane Richer and Denis Savard deserve mention.

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09-11-2011, 09:43 PM
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Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Gretzky (crickets, crickets, crickets)...Famous for going to his backhand on a goalie that looked like he was off balance and falling backward ie. On Meloche or Beaupre in the 1984 playoffs.
I initially didn't think of Gretzky, and I still wouldn't put him on here. Others seem to agree. Even Gretzky considered himself to be below average on breakaways. For some reason though he scored a lot of them on the big stage when the stakes were high. But on a game to game basis he wasn't anywhere near the best at this part of the game. He has to be average at something right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe View Post
Rick Middleton, Stephane Richer and Denis Savard deserve mention.
I thought of Savard much in the same way as Yzerman. The only thing with those two guys is that the first thing I think of is their end to end dipsy doodles rather than clear cut breakaways. Not that Yzerman was bad at them, quite the contrary, but I think of him stickhandling past a d-man before I do a breakaway. Savard immediately makes you think of the spinorama before clear cut breaks

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Old
09-11-2011, 10:31 PM
  #21
TheDevilMadeMe
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From the intangibles thread:

Quote:
This poll was taken by US hockey magazine "Hockey Illustrated", and the results were summarized in the Toronto Star by Jim Proudfoot on January 22, 1965.

...

Most dangerous on a breakaway
1. Gordie Howe
2. Dave Keon

Howe and Keon were tied after the coaches voted, so Sam Pollock was asked to cast the tiebreaker. He chose Howe solely on the basis of Howe's great experience.

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09-11-2011, 10:42 PM
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big phil i would just like to say i enjoyed and agree with your list only noting 2 points,

i started watching hockey in 96, but cannot remember alot of jagr breakaways, the guy just was never that fleet of foot in my opinion

and i really wish i got to see bossy play and really only have legends of hockey and documentaries to go on, but he is not one i would have thought

one more point not related but i thought forsberg was an excellent breakaway player in his younger days due to his immense creativity, yet once the shootout was brought in i think he was not very successful, odd how that works out???

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Old
09-11-2011, 11:22 PM
  #23
KingGallagherXI
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I'm not sure, but I think Mario was 8/8 in career penalty shots at some point.

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Old
09-12-2011, 06:13 AM
  #24
nik jr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
From the intangibles thread:
i once read an old newspaper article, i think from the early '60s, about keon missing many breakaways. he often got breakways b/c of his speed and anticipation, but had a drought on breakways.

i found it again. it is from april 13, 1963.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...eakaways&hl=en

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Old
09-12-2011, 07:16 AM
  #25
begbeee
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Do we consider that a penalty shot is a breakaway? Once you are on a breakaway you need the same skills like when you take a penalty shot, arent you?

With that being said, some of the best penalty shot scorer as Slava Kozlov should be mentioned.
Datsyuk is also great, does he score significantly less on breakaway than on penalty shot?

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