If Wayne Gretzky had never scored a goal...

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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby shmenguin on Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:00 am

mikey287 wrote:
columbia wrote:You appear to be taking this discussion too seriously.
Chill out.


I'm not aggravated, it's just silly to see so many historical threads (a rarity here, as expected) with "well, anyone could play in the 1940's! Those guys sucked!" without any knowledge or context...it's very disrespectful to the game. That's all I'm saying.


maybe those posts are hidden by my foe list or something, but i haven't seen anything of the sort in this thread. the closest thing was the claim dupuis could put up 50 goals in the 1950's or whatever - if that's disrespectful to the game, then i don't know what to say. start comparing different eras and this is what will happen - the not-so-bold claim that modern players would be better than old-time players against common competition. seems more common sense than disrespect.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never scored a goal...

Postby count2infinity on Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:48 am

changed the thread title to be more accurate... stupid people with your stupid correctness and whatnot...
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby mikey287 on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:03 am

columbia wrote:Alternately, you truly don't understand the foolishness of trying to compare players from radically different eras, yet constantly insist on doing so.


What a strange thing to insist upon. While the ways may not be 100% perfect, you can get a pretty good idea of it with a little context and a little research. I also don't constantly insist on doing so (as if I bring it in to every thread or something...), I'm merely participating in a spirited debate. Which if you don't want to be a productive part of, certainly would have no reason to continue posting in the thread.

No disrespect, columbia at all, but I mean, if for some reason you feel the need to criticize the ability to compare players historically, then, well, what are you doing in the thread to begin with?
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby mikey287 on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:09 am

shmenguin wrote:
mikey287 wrote:
columbia wrote:You appear to be taking this discussion too seriously.
Chill out.


I'm not aggravated, it's just silly to see so many historical threads (a rarity here, as expected) with "well, anyone could play in the 1940's! Those guys sucked!" without any knowledge or context...it's very disrespectful to the game. That's all I'm saying.


maybe those posts are hidden by my foe list or something, but i haven't seen anything of the sort in this thread. the closest thing was the claim dupuis could put up 50 goals in the 1950's or whatever - if that's disrespectful to the game, then i don't know what to say. start comparing different eras and this is what will happen - the not-so-bold claim that modern players would be better than old-time players against common competition. seems more common sense than disrespect.


The individual point isn't as disrespectful as that mantra is...look, if you wanna sit here and say Howe couldn't do anything in today's game or better yet, Gretzky couldn't do anything in today's game...you're wrong, but fine, whatever. But what good does it do for this discussion to go "[insert 3rd liner here] could have scored 4000 goals a season in 1910"? I mean, Caleb Hanne or Rex Grossman or Ja-normous Russell would have been the best QBs of all time if we sent them back to the 1930's...and...? If Canada had today's technology back during the American Revolution they probably could have captured America all to themselves...it's just abject silliness...who cares about that? You compare players against their peers, gauge the domination than compare the domination...it's not easy to do, but the concept isn't hard to understand.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never scored a goal...

Postby shmenguin on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:36 am

saying so and so could have tore it up in the old days is just a mechanism for saying that these cross-era comparisons are a soft science. that's one perspective. using stats to firm up the science is another. it's not particularly constructive, but it's still germane to the topic at hand. just like me saying that i don't particularly trust the statistical evidence in the lemieux/howe debate, and am skeptical about anyone's claims who didn't actually experience both players first hand.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby BurghersAndDogsSports on Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:13 am

columbia wrote:Meh...I saw them both play live and Gretzky was better in an a priori way.
(I've tried to rationalize the reverse, but can't and still be honest.)

Orr was probably more important than either of them, however.



Lemieux came within 15 or 16 points of breaking the single season record for points while
playing on a line with Bob Errey and Rob Brown. Just saying - there is no reason to think
he doesnt break the record with even average wingers - by a lot.

Nice players in their prime but I doubt I would consider them record breaking helpers.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby André on Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:55 am

mikey287 wrote:I'm not aggravated, it's just silly to see so many historical threads (a rarity here, as expected) with "well, anyone could play in the 1940's! Those guys sucked!" without any knowledge or context...it's very disrespectful to the game. That's all I'm saying.


So very true and well phrased.

Columbia & Physical_Graffiti: I mention how you have to compare a player vs his own competition, which you didn't. I use the Jesse Owens example to do this. Then you both tell me you have to compare a player against his own competition :face: I suggest you read the posts you replied to more carefully.

Like Mikey287 pointed out; we are looking at what a player did vs his own competition. The Howe vs Lemieux debate then uses that to see who out of those two outproduced their own competition the most. Sure that's another spin at comparing two guys from different eras, but the basis of the argument is what they did vs their own competition.
Last edited by André on Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never scored a goal...

Postby André on Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:05 am

shmenguin wrote:saying so and so could have tore it up in the old days is just a mechanism for saying that these cross-era comparisons are a soft science. that's one perspective. using stats to firm up the science is another. it's not particularly constructive, but it's still germane to the topic at hand. just like me saying that i don't particularly trust the statistical evidence in the lemieux/howe debate, and am skeptical about anyone's claims who didn't actually experience both players first hand.


The bold part very important to point out (even though of course it goes without saying). If I haven't previously I'd like to humbly underline how I'm only actively looking at who outproduced their own peers the most. Yes we've mentioned diversity, physicality etc as well but of course that's more speculative. The only thing I claim as strong opinion or actually even fact is that numbers wise (if you're fine with using PPG which I've made a case for why I think it's more fair) Lemieux during his prime outproduced his competition more than Howe did during his prime (the six prime years production wise that Mikey287 gave us).

I can't be a 100% sure the maths I've used are relevant, but it does seem simple and rational when looking at production only.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Sarcastic on Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:51 pm

André wrote:Like Mikey287 pointed out; we are looking at what a player did vs his own competition. The Howe vs Lemieux debate then uses that to see who out of those two outproduced their own competition the most. Sure that's another spin at comparing two guys from different eras, but the basis of the argument is what they did vs their own competition.


But that still won't give you a fair comparison because both players faced different competition. I don't know what the league looked like 50 years ago or how many good players there were around that those older guys had to play against and nobody here - no matter how many books or stats they read - can't really know either unless they actually watched hockey back then, and I don't mean an archived game here and there, but really watched the entire league at the time.

And a second thing. All these players also played on teams that differed in quality. Look at the teammates Gretzky had in Edmonton and then the guys Mario played with until we added some talent. How do you account for that? You'd have to include players on their teams when comparing statistics and that really complicates things.

This is all an exercise in futility, IMO. The way I see it, Gretzky is the most accomplished player based on his stats, but I think Mario was the better player. The only thing I can use is watching these guys play and see what they do on the ice. When Ovechkin was ripping up the league, he looked out of this world. So how do you not include him in the discussion? What are we looking at anyway, stats or talent? If stats, Gretzky wins. If talent, then it is impossible to compare players from different eras because game and players change (and improve) over time. You put Ovechkin in a time machine and send him back 50 years, he doesn't score 90 points like Howe, but 300.

It's funny, but I sometimes hear older announcers bring up the great goalies of the past and say that this or that guy is one of the greatest to ever play. Well, they'd take one of those 'great' goalies and put him in today's game and he probably couldn't stop a shot (just based on black and white footage I see). It's mostly nostalgia.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby André on Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:51 am

Sarcastic wrote:
André wrote:Like Mikey287 pointed out; we are looking at what a player did vs his own competition. The Howe vs Lemieux debate then uses that to see who out of those two outproduced their own competition the most. Sure that's another spin at comparing two guys from different eras, but the basis of the argument is what they did vs their own competition.


But that still won't give you a fair comparison because both players faced different competition. I don't know what the league looked like 50 years ago or how many good players there were around that those older guys had to play against and nobody here - no matter how many books or stats they read - can't really know either unless they actually watched hockey back then, and I don't mean an archived game here and there, but really watched the entire league at the time.

And a second thing. All these players also played on teams that differed in quality. Look at the teammates Gretzky had in Edmonton and then the guys Mario played with until we added some talent. How do you account for that? You'd have to include players on their teams when comparing statistics and that really complicates things.

This is all an exercise in futility, IMO. The way I see it, Gretzky is the most accomplished player based on his stats, but I think Mario was the better player. The only thing I can use is watching these guys play and see what they do on the ice. When Ovechkin was ripping up the league, he looked out of this world. So how do you not include him in the discussion? What are we looking at anyway, stats or talent? If stats, Gretzky wins. If talent, then it is impossible to compare players from different eras because game and players change (and improve) over time. You put Ovechkin in a time machine and send him back 50 years, he doesn't score 90 points like Howe, but 300.

It's funny, but I sometimes hear older announcers bring up the great goalies of the past and say that this or that guy is one of the greatest to ever play. Well, they'd take one of those 'great' goalies and put him in today's game and he probably couldn't stop a shot (just based on black and white footage I see). It's mostly nostalgia.


On the bolded part; I don't get it. The most productive guy of his era is the most productive guy of his era. Strictly looking at production that makes him better in relation to his peers (ranking wise) than the guy who was the second most productive during his era. Using percentages you can also look at who outproduced his competition the most. That looks past the overall quality of the game. Looking at production only that's what we're doing. It involves league quality, and in a strict "who was better Howe or Lemieux" debate we've been over that as well. That doesn't figure in on how you can look at who did how vs their own competition scoring wise, however.

The rest of the post comes out of nowhere and is phrased as if you've ignored the entire thread. Look at what you mention about the goalies. That reasoning makes for example Jesse Owens not at all as significant historically as his 20.3 seconds over 200 metres doesn't put him among the top 20-30 something (not looking up his exact rank) of runners with best times today.

There are probably a 1000 hockey players today that could score thrice the numbers of Howe if he was sent back in a time machine to the 50s. That's not relevant at all when ranking the best players ever.

Or you were just trolling and I really took the bait? =)
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Sarcastic on Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:14 pm

André wrote:On the bolded part; I don't get it. The most productive guy of his era is the most productive guy of his era. Strictly looking at production that makes him better in relation to his peers (ranking wise) than the guy who was the second most productive during his era. Using percentages you can also look at who outproduced his competition the most. That looks past the overall quality of the game. Looking at production only that's what we're doing. It involves league quality, and in a strict "who was better Howe or Lemieux" debate we've been over that as well. That doesn't figure in on how you can look at who did how vs their own competition scoring wise, however.

The rest of the post comes out of nowhere and is phrased as if you've ignored the entire thread. Look at what you mention about the goalies. That reasoning makes for example Jesse Owens not at all as significant historically as his 20.3 seconds over 200 metres doesn't put him among the top 20-30 something (not looking up his exact rank) of runners with best times today.

There are probably a 1000 hockey players today that could score thrice the numbers of Howe if he was sent back in a time machine to the 50s. That's not relevant at all when ranking the best players ever.

Or you were just trolling and I really took the bait? =)


Is it possible that we can have a different opinion? Maybe you're the one trolling since you don't share mine.

The bolded part is explained in the rest of that paragraph. Different time and different level of competition (harder or easier, to simplify it for you). Different opponents to face, different individual greats to compete against. A historian, an older dude like Stan Fishler who was around back then, would have a better idea and even with that.. it's kinda iffy because I don't think they had Center Ice back then where you could watch a lot of hockey. The level of competition has gone up and down in the last 20 years that I watched. Look at Mario's time in the league and what happened in the mid 90's with the trap and the hooking and how much harder it became to score goals. The game constantly evolves and I don't know how you compensate for that when comparing players. It is also easier to look at the few of the truly great ones. How do you compare the 3rd best from each era?

If it is strictly about a guy's statistical dominance at his time, then the argument becomes just a math issue and whoever's good with a calculator will tell you what you want to know.

I think you skipped some points I made like the quality of teams each player played on. Do you not think that an A-grade player will have better success on a team stacked with good players, then a similiarly talented guy where he has no one to play with? How about health? What if Mario was healthy and what if there was no trap to deal with? Talent wise, I don't think there was anyone better, but if you insist on statistics and percentages, then grab a calculator and you'll have your answer.

I really think this is a silly, overdone, discussion and I have little interest in it.

There are probably a 1000 hockey players today that could score thrice the numbers of Howe if he was sent back in a time machine to the 50s. That's not relevant at all when ranking the best players ever.


So if it is about stats, instead of actual skill (that grows with each decade thanks to better training, technique, equipment, etc), then let's just say Gretzky wins, calculate #2 and #3, and that's it.

The most productive guy of his era is the most productive guy of his era.


And it should be left at that, instead of comparing best players form different eras that have nothing to do with one another. You want to compare someone, compare Mario and Yzerman. Two guys who played at the same time.

That's how I see it.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Physical_Graffiti on Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:02 pm

André wrote:Columbia & Physical_Graffiti: I mention how you have to compare a player vs his own competition, which you didn't. I use the Jesse Owens example to do this. Then you both tell me you have to compare a player against his own competition :face: I suggest you read the posts you replied to more carefully.

We were agreeing with you.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby André on Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:54 am

Physical_Graffiti wrote:
André wrote:Columbia & Physical_Graffiti: I mention how you have to compare a player vs his own competition, which you didn't. I use the Jesse Owens example to do this. Then you both tell me you have to compare a player against his own competition :face: I suggest you read the posts you replied to more carefully.

We were agreeing with you.


Oh :oops: Then I was the one not reading carefully enough, and do apologize.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby André on Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:05 am

Sarcastic: Everything you mention about differences in the game over different eras is irrelevant if all you do is compare what players did production wise vs their own competition.

Player A in his era outproduced his competition that played under the same circumstances as he did with 50 %. Player B, from a different era, outproduced his competition that played under those same circumstances by 75%.

Player B was more impressive production wise, regardless of era, total numbers and so on (if the sample size isn't too small). That's rational and simple, and not an opinion. But I'm not claiming it tells us alot more than strictly about production (which is pretty relevant for an offensive forward, however).

And come on you have to agree with me about the goalie example you give? And on that with the time machine? It's not relevant what a modern player could do in the 50s, because he as you say would be physically superior to Howe and everyone else. It doesn't matter that Glenn Hall if transported to our time would get owned in today's NHL, as he was still among the very best of his era.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Physical_Graffiti on Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:45 pm

André wrote:
Physical_Graffiti wrote:
André wrote:Columbia & Physical_Graffiti: I mention how you have to compare a player vs his own competition, which you didn't. I use the Jesse Owens example to do this. Then you both tell me you have to compare a player against his own competition :face: I suggest you read the posts you replied to more carefully.

We were agreeing with you.


Oh :oops: Then I was the one not reading carefully enough, and do apologize.

:lol: It's all good, brah.
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