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 columbia on Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:03 pm

Rylan wrote:lol. i missed this article. is there a WAR rating like for baseball in hockey?


Funny, I have asked that same question.
If it is out there, I haven't found it.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby bhaw on Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:30 pm

Wow, just caught up on the last 20 or so posts. great thread.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby André on Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:22 pm

mikey287 wrote:I'm not sure what "local cliques" is referencing WRT to Howe. I'm assuming by local cliques you mean like in the 1955 Stanley Cup Playoffs when Gordie Howe went against the "local clique" of Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard, Doug Harvey, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Bert Olmstead, Dickie Moore, Tom Johnson, Eddie Litzenberger, Butch Bouchard and Jacques Plante and scored an NHL record 20 points in 11 playoff games and captured the Stanley Cup for Detroit?

Again, with respect as always Andre, your arguments smack of modern biases and paint a very distorted picture of hockey's golden age.


"Local cliques" was a silly phrasing, no doubt (altough many of the players had other day time jobs?). Nonetheless my quantity (and quality) of competition argument stands. Those names you name are classic because they were the best of that era. That shouldn't make their names greater than the best of any other era. It is that way for some as a result of romanticising the vintage years, the good old days and so on. You mention a modern bias on my part, I say you still don't get (or ignore) my point about the differences of era's and especially numbers of teams and players.

mikey287 wrote:there's no substantially tangible proof that Lemieux would have led the league in scoring more than 10 times...unless, of course, you remove injuries from all players too in the process (you can't give invincibility to one) in which case Mario would actually have had some competition. If we had removed the iron curtain sooner what would that have meant for Makarov, Tretiak, Sven Tumba (no iron here I guess), Hasek, Balderis, etc.


What competition? Bless all players with health and who stops Mario from the vast majority or actually all of the Art Ross's 88-98? That can of course never be anything but speculative (you seem to think I claim otherwise) but I maintain it's a very educated guess. Likely, even. You can't tell me to not speculate, we must given the nature of Lemieux's career. Altough even if we don't speculate I can still point out how Lemieux's peak production outrivaled his competetion more than Howe did. And I will.

mikey287 wrote:- Quality >>>>>>>>>> Quantity. You've made my argument for me here. 100 of the best players in the world, going against multiple HHOFers every night doesn't exactly compete with playing in the 1992-93. Foolhardy hockey "fans" think they could have played in the 1950's because of how poor the competition was...on the contrary, you had a way better chance of playing in 1993 given the talent around the league at the time. Scoring didn't go up because the league was infused with talent, it went up because the best players beat the worst ones by a much larger margin than any time in history. I'd be curious to see league player turnover numbers from 1991-1994 vs. any time in history.


How can you be certain the quality was that much higher because there were fewer players? Rationally the relation between bad, average and good NHL'ers ought to be the same today but with all groups increasing in numbers. What sais the difference in skill was less between the worst and best player in 53 than in 93? You have made that assumption as if a given fact. Actually, given how much more global the game is today, and how vastly many more different leagues contribute players to the NHL today (and in 93 already, compared to in the 50s) of course the gap between the worst and best players is smaller today. This something former and current players often mention.

mikey287 wrote:The Elitserien adds 10 more teams tomorrow...3 of them have Elitserien money, 5 of them have Allsvenskan money, 2 of them have Division I money...but they're all Elitserien teams now, they all play the Elitserien regulars, night in and night out...I assure that that will be the crappiest, highest scoring hockey you've ever seen. Pavel Brendl will score 568 goals in 55 games...which will be good for 4th in the league.


Why the Elitserien example? I wouldn't understand otherwise? I might be paraonid but that comes out as patrionizing.

And regardless of how many goals Brendl scored others would have the same chance, vs the same "crappy" competition to score as many (like you say yourself, he'd be 4th). This leading me to the below.

mikey287 wrote:- It's tough to "toy" with the rest of the league, when the rest of the league is good. Which pretty much cements my argument for league quality. Anyone can toy with Peter Sidorkiewicz or whatever his name was and the 1993 Senators...

In 1956, the league's goaltenders were Gump Worsley, Glenn Hall, Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, Harry Lumley and Al Rollins...I'll name the players that failed to make the HHOF:
Al Rollins (who, ho hum, had a Vezina ('51), a Hart Trophy ('54), a Cup ring ('51), and the led the league with a 1.77 GAA one season.

In 1993, 72 goalies played in the NHL...as of last year, only 2 of them are HHOFers (Fuhr and Roy). Gordie Howe got to "toy" with Al Rollins on a poor Blackhawks team...woo.

Lemieux struggled with Jeff Hackett and his 5.28 GAA and .856 save pct., or Peter Sidorkiewicz and his 4.43 GAA and .856 save pct., or Pat Jablonski and his 3.97 GAA and .874 save pct., or Frank Pietrangelo and his 4.85 GAA and .858 save pct.

Those must have been lean, lean times...of course, Gordie Howe would not have benefitted from playing in a bloated league with 25 teams filled with mill workers and dirt farmers...


Those goalies are in the HHOF, yes. Those goalies all won Vezinas, yes. How could they not? The league's six starting goalies all ought to get a Vezina now and then, and a Cup or two. Not literally but my point is easy to make. It can't be understated how only six active teams scewer any comparison concerning individual awards. You very much overlook this.

Anyone toyed with the Senators and the other expansion teams? Everyone scored as much as the others vs those goalies you mention? Yes, you make that point, and give an example of how Brendl could score in droves against lesser competition in an expanded Elitserien and still be only 4th in scoring. But how come no one was very close to 99 and 66 then? No one toyed as much as them. No matter how you slice it (PPG of a player in relation to the league's GPG of the same season, scoring race win margin etc) no one has outscored the competition like 99 and 66.

A healthy Mario wasn't 4th in PPG playing vs the "crappy" 93 league. He was outproducing the competition by margins Howe was never close to. A competition who played vs the same competition as Mario did. A competition which's top group of players was larger than the top group Howe competed with, and played vs the same "crap" without being close to Mario's production (save Wayne). Yeah 93 was a crazy year with many players getting high on the most productive season's ever list, but they still can't compare to Lemieux. Lafontaine was 2nd in the scoring race with 148 points in 84 games. That's 1.76 PPG. Mario was at 2.66 PPG. He scored 0.9 points more per game! He was 51% more productive!

In 88/89 he outscored close to prime Gretzky by 21% and Yzerman's unique, lonely run away 155 point season by 31%. In 95/96 he outproduced Jagr by 31% and Sakic at number three in scoring by 58%!

Howe's two most dominant seasons seems to have been 50/51 and 52/53 (possibly mixing the years up now but did the math on his Art Ross seasons), outscoring the 2nd leading scorer by 30%.

A silly example to illustrate my thinking. Had Howe scored a 100 points against prime Hasek born again cloned to play on all teams while the second leading scorer gets 80 points, and Lemieux scored 150 points vs Ken Wregget cloned to play on all teams while the second leading scorer gets a 100 points I'm still more impressed by Lemieux. He has outrivaled his competetion more.

mikey287 wrote:Longevity and the Lidstrom example.


He was top five for 20 years (about half of which with the league consisting of six teams and the other half consisting of twelve teams), yes. And I don't have a problem with him at 4th all time. But I will never put Lemieux fourth and name the top three more prominent with Howe being the third of those. Lemieux could've done something along those lines (top five 20 years), but for ten+ of those years he outproduced the other's (save one who who's in the top three all time) and dominated by greater margins than Howe did.

If Lidstrom comes back at 52 and is close to as good as today it would be a marvel to behold, but not something that would ever happen unless the league was much smaller, not filled with players from all over the world competing for a spot in the NHL. In short, it could never happen unless the league/sport was much less demanding than it is today (and was in 93 already).

I have not responded to some details but think those are covered in what I've written. This essentially comes down to you taking for granted that the gap between the worst and best players was less wide back then (and I really don't see how that could be the case), and overlooking how Mario could outproduce his competetion more than Howe.

And this is concerning production only. When adding peak ability compard to the competitions of their eras, adversity and line mates during most high scoring years it's easy to lean things even more towards Mario. They're both top four all time, but I'm putting Lemieux ahead of Howe.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby ulf on Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:43 pm

Rylan wrote: baseball hasnt changed much,

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

Postby mikey287 on Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:56 pm

André wrote:
mikey287 wrote:I'm not sure what "local cliques" is referencing WRT to Howe. I'm assuming by local cliques you mean like in the 1955 Stanley Cup Playoffs when Gordie Howe went against the "local clique" of Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard, Doug Harvey, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Bert Olmstead, Dickie Moore, Tom Johnson, Eddie Litzenberger, Butch Bouchard and Jacques Plante and scored an NHL record 20 points in 11 playoff games and captured the Stanley Cup for Detroit?

Again, with respect as always Andre, your arguments smack of modern biases and paint a very distorted picture of hockey's golden age.


"Local cliques" was a silly phrasing, no doubt (altough many of the players had other day time jobs?). Nonetheless my quantity (and quality) of competition argument stands. Those names you name are classic because they were the best of that era. That shouldn't make their names greater than the best of any other era. It is that way for some as a result of romanticising the vintage years, the good old days and so on. You mention a modern bias on my part, I say you still don't get (or ignore) my point about the differences of era's and especially numbers of teams and players.


Many players going well back when owners still "owned" players would work day jobs or at least summer jobs as hockey wasn't paying enough to support a family. I'm not sure how that helps the "local cliques" thing but...I get your point, "more people from more places = better chance of high competition" but without rehashing my same point a hundred times and treading water...I would suggest two things...

a) Owners ran teams like factories. If you were too old or too slow or not producing, you were fired. Because there's a ton of people that want one of those jobs and the new guys always come in cheaper. These guys had to defend their job night in and night out. There were 6 starting goalie jobs in the NHL and no backups. The 6 best were playing every night. If they failed, they were dumped. Jacques Plante played for 22 years because he was the best. Played from one side of the expansion to the other (1953-1975), he even holds the modern era save percentage record (over .940) that some people think Thomas has...Plante did it at 42 years old. These guys were the quality. It was harder to go against Plante every 5th game than it was going against Roy in 1993 every 40th.

b) Let's define this other competition. The World Championships were won by the Soviet Union from 1963-1990 with only 5 exceptions (the Czechoslovakians 4 times and the Swedes once). Is it unfair to say that that is Europe's championship? As the North Americans (well, the Canadians really) never took it seriously. So, really, we're talking Soviet players that could have played in the league with only minor exception.

Could Jiri Holecek and Vladislav Tretiak played in the NHL post-expansion? Almost certainly. Could they have played pre-expansion? Maybe, I don't know. Could Sven Tumba played in any era? Probably. Could Anatoli Firsov play in any era? Probably. Could Nedomansky have played at any time? Probably. But once you get passed the elite names how sure can you be? How many players are we missing that we are positive they were in the top, say, 75 in the world?

I mean, maybe it's reverse justification with a small asterisk at points, but when it came down to best-on-best tournaments the NHL goes and kicks ass. They won the 1972 Summit Series, they win each Canada Cup except 1981 where they lose the Final. The Finns are completely irrevelant, the United States are almost totally irrevelant. The NHL ends up with Borje Salming which was Sweden's best export for seemingly 15 years. Who are we talking about here exactly? Who was it that the NHL was deprived of in the 1950's-1970's (or farther back?) that really makes Howe's and Hull's exploits less impressive?

I'm not saying that there was no one, I've thrown out names already. But I'm saying are you projecting a 50% European league in 1952 if everything is even? I would not subscribe to that theory at all, not by a long shot. So, I'm asking what were we missing in 1953 that made 1993 so much better?

mikey287 wrote:there's no substantially tangible proof that Lemieux would have led the league in scoring more than 10 times...unless, of course, you remove injuries from all players too in the process (you can't give invincibility to one) in which case Mario would actually have had some competition. If we had removed the iron curtain sooner what would that have meant for Makarov, Tretiak, Sven Tumba (no iron here I guess), Hasek, Balderis, etc.


André wrote:What competition? Bless all players with health and who stops Mario from the vast majority or actually all of the Art Ross's 88-98? That can of course never be anything but speculative (you seem to think I claim otherwise) but I maintain it's a very educated guess. Likely, even. You can't tell me to not speculate, we must given the nature of Lemieux's career. Altough even if we don't speculate I can still point out how Lemieux's peak production outrivaled his competetion more than Howe did. And I will.


Gretzky to the first question.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding or miscalculating the last point.

Gordie Howe as scoring champ
1950-51: 23.26% scoring margin (86 to 66) Age: 22
1951-52: 19.75% scoring margin (86 to 69) Age: 23
1952-53: 23.26% scoring margin (95 to 71) Age: 24
1953-54: 17.28% scoring margin (81 to 67) Age: 25
1956-57: 4.49% scoring margin (89 to 85) Age: 28
1962-63: 5.81% scoring margin (86 to 81) Age: 34

Mario Lemieux as scoring champ
1987-88: 11.31% scoring margin (168 to 149) Age: 21
1988-89: 15.58% scoring margin (199 to 168) Age: 22
1991-92: 6.11% scoring margin (131 to 123) Age: 25
1992-93: 7.50% scoring margin (160 to 148) Age: 26
1995-96: 7.45% scoring margin (161 to 149) Age: 29
1996-97: 10.66% scoring margin (122 to 109) Age: 30

For reference: Wayne Gretzky as scoring champ
1980-81: 17.68% scoring margin (164 to 135) Age: 19
1981-82: 30.66% scoring margin (212 to 147) Age: 20
1982-83: 36.73% scoring margin (196 to 124) Age: 21
1983-84: 38.54% scoring margin (205 to 126) Age: 22
1984-85: 35.10% scoring margin (208 to 135) Age: 23
1985-86: 34.42% scoring margin (212 to 141) Age: 24
1986-87: 40.98% scoring margin (183 to 108) Age: 25
1989-90: 9.15% scoring margin (142 to 129) Age: 28
1990-91: 19.63% scoring margin (163 to 131) Age: 29
1993-94: 7.69% scoring margin (130 to 120) Age: 32

* - linemates not removed

I'm not sure how this reflects positively on Lemieux unless I misunderstood the point. I'm not here to debate that Lemieux wasn't dominant, may the good Lord strike me dead should I ever say such a thing. But vs. Howe, Gretzky and Orr...it's not as clear-cut as people want it to be, even with what-if's...he's closer to 4 than he is 1. I mean, just looking at the statistical domination of Howe doesn't factor in that he was also one of the best defensive forwards in the game, one of the most physical and played in upwards of 45 minutes per night.

mikey287 wrote:- Quality >>>>>>>>>> Quantity. You've made my argument for me here. 100 of the best players in the world, going against multiple HHOFers every night doesn't exactly compete with playing in the 1992-93. Foolhardy hockey "fans" think they could have played in the 1950's because of how poor the competition was...on the contrary, you had a way better chance of playing in 1993 given the talent around the league at the time. Scoring didn't go up because the league was infused with talent, it went up because the best players beat the worst ones by a much larger margin than any time in history. I'd be curious to see league player turnover numbers from 1991-1994 vs. any time in history.


André wrote:How can you be certain the quality was that much higher because there were fewer players? Rationally the relation between bad, average and good NHL'ers ought to be the same today but with all groups increasing in numbers. What sais the difference in skill was less between the worst and best player in 53 than in 93? You have made that assumption as if a given fact. Actually, given how much more global the game is today, and how vastly many more different leagues contribute players to the NHL today (and in 93 already, compared to in the 50s) of course the gap between the worst and best players is smaller today. This something former and current players often mention.


I'm not sure I quite even grasp the inverse of my argument. Right now, if we knocked the number of teams down to 20 and the roster size to 16, we'd see better hockey. Because Carcillo is out of the game, Zac Rinaldo is out of the game, Andy Sutton is out of the game, Steve Mason is out of the game...it's better players, that can skate and pass and score and play 200-foot hockey. If you dispute that point, well, then that's...well, I'm not sure what to make of that.

Well, this goes back to the whole playing HHOFers every night vs. playing Peter Sidorkiewicz some nights. You don't see 5 and 10 future HHOFers in a playoff series today...I think you can judge the fact that the players were able to stay in the league at an elite level in the 50's and through the expansion depsite their advanced age vs. the roster turnover in the early 1990's...

Players like Bucyk, Delvecchio, Horton, Hull, Mikita, Howe, Beliveau, Richard and countless others were all-stars on both sides of the expansion. So when the competition that was waiting in the wings waiting to disrupt the "local cliques" - they still didn't supplant these players. Not only did they not kick them out of the league despite their advanced ages (Howe played til 51, Plante til 44 or so, Beliveau til 40 or so, etc.) nor did they supplant them on all-star teams or Cup winning teams...so the players that were there in 1963 were there in 1973 (injury, age notwithstanding). The roster turnover in the 1990's was enormous.

So we open up the border so to speak and they come over...Sergei Starikov, a noteworthy d-man comes over (3 time Olympian, rendez-vous 87, etc.), sucks...goes home...Vladimir Krutov (same resume and then some), sucks...goes away...Balderis, Priakin same deal...now that isn't to say that there are no successes in that criteria but you have to wonder why players that were so successful in the Soviet Union on national teams in big situations were so useless over here.

You have look at the goalie turnover from 1988-1993 to 1994-1999. These players just weren't good enough to hang on in the league for very long. These players that were getting walked 10 ways from Sunday by the league's best every night were not in the league very long. Until the league normalized itself after expansion settled, it was just a very high scoring and sloppy era. 1993 exemplifies it bigger than most years.

mikey287 wrote:The Elitserien adds 10 more teams tomorrow...3 of them have Elitserien money, 5 of them have Allsvenskan money, 2 of them have Division I money...but they're all Elitserien teams now, they all play the Elitserien regulars, night in and night out...I assure that that will be the crappiest, highest scoring hockey you've ever seen. Pavel Brendl will score 568 goals in 55 games...which will be good for 4th in the league.


André wrote:Why the Elitserien example? I wouldn't understand otherwise? I might be paraonid but that comes out as patrionizing.

And regardless of how many goals Brendl scored others would have the same chance, vs the same "crappy" competition to score as many (like you say yourself, he'd be 4th). This leading me to the below.


André, somewhat insulting given our very friendly history that you would accuse me of patronizing you for bringing an example of what I'm saying to your backyard. That's all I'll say about that.

mikey287 wrote:- It's tough to "toy" with the rest of the league, when the rest of the league is good. Which pretty much cements my argument for league quality. Anyone can toy with Peter Sidorkiewicz or whatever his name was and the 1993 Senators...

In 1956, the league's goaltenders were Gump Worsley, Glenn Hall, Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, Harry Lumley and Al Rollins...I'll name the players that failed to make the HHOF:
Al Rollins (who, ho hum, had a Vezina ('51), a Hart Trophy ('54), a Cup ring ('51), and the led the league with a 1.77 GAA one season.

In 1993, 72 goalies played in the NHL...as of last year, only 2 of them are HHOFers (Fuhr and Roy). Gordie Howe got to "toy" with Al Rollins on a poor Blackhawks team...woo.

Lemieux struggled with Jeff Hackett and his 5.28 GAA and .856 save pct., or Peter Sidorkiewicz and his 4.43 GAA and .856 save pct., or Pat Jablonski and his 3.97 GAA and .874 save pct., or Frank Pietrangelo and his 4.85 GAA and .858 save pct.

Those must have been lean, lean times...of course, Gordie Howe would not have benefitted from playing in a bloated league with 25 teams filled with mill workers and dirt farmers...


André wrote:Those goalies are in the HHOF, yes. Those goalies all won Vezinas, yes. How could they not? The league's six starting goalies all ought to get a Vezina now and then, and a Cup or two. Not literally but my point is easy to make. It can't be understated how only six active teams scewer any comparison concerning individual awards. You very much overlook this.


Well, if someone "has to win one eventually" because there are 6 teams...then surely it should be more diverse when the globe is opened up and all this talent enters the league, right? From 1980-2001 only 3 players won the Art Ross. Where is all this talent? From 1989-2008, Roy, Brodeur, Hasek and Belfour win all but 3 or 4 Vezina's? I thought the flood of talent would create this great diversity where everyone could win? Instead, it was just really good players dominating a bunch of semi-stars and scrubs. In order to make the HHOF in the 50's, you had to perform your trade at its best every night against the very best. You played a playoff caliber team almost every night. To make the HHOF in the 80's and 90's you just had to hideout and compile points against weak teams (Gartner, Ciccarelli, Nieuwendyk...). Because scoring is higher (because the players are worse), players can get in on total numbers...they didn't have that luxury back in the day...I mean, Christ, Mark Recchi is gonna walk into the HHOF...get real...

André wrote:Anyone toyed with the Senators and the other expansion teams? Everyone scored as much as the others vs those goalies you mention? Yes, you make that point, and give an example of how Brendl could score in droves against lesser competition in an expanded Elitserien and still be only 4th in scoring. But how come no one was very close to 99 and 66 then? No one toyed as much as them. No matter how you slice it (PPG of a player in relation to the league's GPG of the same season, scoring race win margin etc) no one has outscored the competition like 99 and 66.


Again, I'm not here to debate whether Gretzky or Lemieux were dominant. I already answered the last point above, it's simply not true in the case of 66. And yes, everyone toyed with these teams. I don't think the Senators won a road game in 1992. Didn't the Sharks, Whalers and Senators give up 400 goals in those seasons...come on, that's 5 goals every night...that's embarrassing. They sucked outloud.

André wrote:A healthy Mario wasn't 4th in PPG playing vs the "crappy" 93 league. He was outproducing the competition by margins Howe was never close to. A competition who played vs the same competition as Mario did. A competition which's top group of players was larger than the top group Howe competed with, and played vs the same "crap" without being close to Mario's production (save Wayne). Yeah 93 was a crazy year with many players getting high on the most productive season's ever list, but they still can't compare to Lemieux. Lafontaine was 2nd in the scoring race with 148 points in 84 games. That's 1.76 PPG. Mario was at 2.66 PPG. He scored 0.9 points more per game! He was 51% more productive!

In 88/89 he outscored close to prime Gretzky by 21% and Yzerman's unique, lonely run away 155 point season by 31%. In 95/96 he outproduced Jagr by 31% and Sakic at number three in scoring by 58%!

Howe's two most dominant seasons seems to have been 50/51 and 52/53 (possibly mixing the years up now but did the math on his Art Ross seasons), outscoring the 2nd leading scorer by 30%.

A silly example to illustrate my thinking. Had Howe scored a 100 points against prime Hasek born again cloned to play on all teams while the second leading scorer gets 80 points, and Lemieux scored 150 points vs Ken Wregget cloned to play on all teams while the second leading scorer gets a 100 points I'm still more impressed by Lemieux. He has outrivaled his competetion more.


I discussed the scoring race vs. competition thing already. And once again it appears that Lemieux is once again given a pass for not being durable. Howe actually did what people assume Lemieux probably could have done. And when you factor in what Howe brought, he did it better.

mikey287 wrote:Longevity and the Lidstrom example.


André wrote:He was top five for 20 years (about half of which with the league consisting of six teams and the other half consisting of twelve teams), yes. And I don't have a problem with him at 4th all time. But I will never put Lemieux fourth and name the top three more prominent with Howe being the third of those. Lemieux could've done something along those lines (top five 20 years), but for ten+ of those years he outproduced the other's (save one who who's in the top three all time) and dominated by greater margins than Howe did.


Howe played until 1980, when you factor the number of pro teams in the league at that time, it's hard to say that you only come up with 12 for whatever it's worth. I'm not sure how being top-5 in scoring (actually top-5, not "well, he probably might have been if he could play more than 52 games") for 20 straight years is being swept under the rug so quickly...considering that will never be done again. I mean, most careers wouldn't last 20 years in that time because of the ferociousness of the game and he took on that ferociousness head-on and still dominated. Lemieux was a pansy compared to Howe - Howe didn't quit because the league got too rough, he made it rough himself.

André wrote:If Lidstrom comes back at 52 and is close to as good as today it would be a marvel to behold, but not something that would ever happen unless the league was much smaller, not filled with players from all over the world competing for a spot in the NHL. In short, it could never happen unless the league/sport was much less demanding than it is today (and was in 93 already).


Chelios played into his mid-40's, Selanne is still a master into his 40's, Lidstrom still into his 40's...and this is in a faster game, faster than ever. So, even with players competing from all over the world the old guard like Chelios still played over these guys. Mark Recchi still played over these guys on Cup winnners...Lidstrom will retire on his own accord, he won't be forced to. He could play longer than Chelios age-wise, I have no doubt.

André wrote:I have not responded to some details but think those are covered in what I've written. This essentially comes down to you taking for granted that the gap between the worst and best players was less wide back then (and I really don't see how that could be the case), and overlooking how Mario could outproduce his competetion more than Howe.

And this is concerning production only. When adding peak ability compard to the competitions of their eras, adversity and line mates during most high scoring years it's easy to lean things even more towards Mario. They're both top four all time, but I'm putting Lemieux ahead of Howe.


Competition of eras
Howe's > Lemieux's - not close

Adversity
Lemieux - cancer, back problems, selfish player that lacked proper conditioning for some of his career
Howe - chronic back problems, nearly died on the ice as a result of a fractured skull, played in one of the roughest hockey eras in history and didn't quit.

Linemates-
Howe never had anyone as good as Jagr. For the career, the edge probably goes to Howe though.

Now important stuff that was conveniently left out...
Defense
Howe >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Lemieux - never close

Physicality
Howe >>>>>>>>>>>> Lemieux - never close

Durability/stamina
Howe >>>>>>>>>>>>> Lemieux - never close

Which obviously leans Howe's way even more than the points that you think lean Lemieux's way (even though most of them don't, or don't as much as you think).
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby André on Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:31 pm

On the gap between the worst and best players according to you being more narrow in the 50s than in 93:

Whoa now. Whether an injection of Soviet players could've narrowed the gap in talent in the 50s or not is not releveant to the obvious, easy to make point that we know for a fact foreign players, other leagues and the sport having gained tremendous ground more than significantly narrowed that gap in 93. The league had about twice as many teams then, yes, but how much greater was the number of players competing for a spot in the NHL compared to than in the 50s? Tenfold? Fiftyfold?

André wrote:What competition? Bless all players with health and who stops Mario from the vast majority or actually all of the Art Ross's 88-98? That can of course never be anything but speculative (you seem to think I claim otherwise) but I maintain it's a very educated guess. Likely, even. You can't tell me to not speculate, we must given the nature of Lemieux's career. Altough even if we don't speculate I can still point out how Lemieux's peak production outrivaled his competetion more than Howe did. And I will.


mikey287 wrote:- Gretzky to the first question.


Like I mentioned further down in my post he's excluded as he's up there in the all time debate already. We're talking Howe vs Lemieux. You in regards to that fourth spot. I'm more open about the positions but put Lemieux ahead of Howe.

That said. Bless all players with health 88-98 and I still bet Lemieux wins at least seven Art Ross's. Speculative of course but again; a very educated guess.

mikey287 wrote:Maybe I'm misunderstanding or miscalculating the last point.

Gordie Howe as scoring champ
1950-51: 23.26% scoring margin (86 to 66) Age: 22
1951-52: 19.75% scoring margin (86 to 69) Age: 23
1952-53: 23.26% scoring margin (95 to 71) Age: 24
1953-54: 17.28% scoring margin (81 to 67) Age: 25
1956-57: 4.49% scoring margin (89 to 85) Age: 28
1962-63: 5.81% scoring margin (86 to 81) Age: 34

Mario Lemieux as scoring champ
1987-88: 11.31% scoring margin (168 to 149) Age: 21
1988-89: 15.58% scoring margin (199 to 168) Age: 22
1991-92: 6.11% scoring margin (131 to 123) Age: 25
1992-93: 7.50% scoring margin (160 to 148) Age: 26
1995-96: 7.45% scoring margin (161 to 149) Age: 29
1996-97: 10.66% scoring margin (122 to 109) Age: 30

For reference: Wayne Gretzky as scoring champ
1980-81: 17.68% scoring margin (164 to 135) Age: 19
1981-82: 30.66% scoring margin (212 to 147) Age: 20
1982-83: 36.73% scoring margin (196 to 124) Age: 21
1983-84: 38.54% scoring margin (205 to 126) Age: 22
1984-85: 35.10% scoring margin (208 to 135) Age: 23
1985-86: 34.42% scoring margin (212 to 141) Age: 24
1986-87: 40.98% scoring margin (183 to 108) Age: 25
1989-90: 9.15% scoring margin (142 to 129) Age: 28
1990-91: 19.63% scoring margin (163 to 131) Age: 29
1993-94: 7.69% scoring margin (130 to 120) Age: 32

* - linemates not removed

I'm not sure how this reflects positively on Lemieux unless I misunderstood the point. I'm not here to debate that Lemieux wasn't dominant, may the good Lord strike me dead should I ever say such a thing. But vs. Howe, Gretzky and Orr...it's not as clear-cut as people want it to be, even with what-if's...he's closer to 4 than he is 1. I mean, just looking at the statistical domination of Howe doesn't factor in that he was also one of the best defensive forwards in the game, one of the most physical and played in upwards of 45 minutes per night.


Come on. My math was obviously based on PPG. Which is more fair and relevant. It's not giving Lemieux a free pass because of injuries. He did what he did over a long period of time (see more on this below).

Gordie Howe as scoring champ
1950-51: 20.6% scoring margin (1.23 to 1.02) Age: 22 20.6%
1951-52: 24.24% scoring margin (1.23 to 0.99) Age: 23
1952-53: 34.65% scoring margin (1.36 to 1.01) Age: 24
1953-54: 20.83% scoring margin (1.16 to 0.96) Age: 25
1956-57: 4.96% scoring margin (1.27 to 1.21) Age: 28
1962-63: 6.03% scoring margin (1.23 to 1.16) Age: 34

Mario Lemieux as scoring champ (excluding Gretzky the first two years)
1987-88: 32.93% scoring margin (2.18 to (2.33 Gretzky) 1.64) Age: 21
1988-89: 55.95% scoring margin (2.62 to (2.15 Gretzky) 1.68) Age: 22
1991-92: 33.12% scoring margin (2.05 to 1.54) Age: 25
1992-93: 51.7% scoring margin (2.67 to 1.76) Age: 26
1995-96: 26.37% scoring margin (2.30 to 1.82) Age: 29
1996-97: 15.0% scoring margin (1.61 to 1.4) Age: 30

Will do Gretzky too later although that's not relevant for this debate.

mikey287 wrote:I'm not sure I quite even grasp the inverse of my argument. Right now, if we knocked the number of teams down to 20 and the roster size to 16, we'd see better hockey. Because Carcillo is out of the game, Zac Rinaldo is out of the game, Andy Sutton is out of the game, Steve Mason is out of the game...it's better players, that can skate and pass and score and play 200-foot hockey. If you dispute that point, well, then that's...well, I'm not sure what to make of that.

Players like Bucyk, Delvecchio, Horton, Hull, Mikita, Howe, Beliveau, Richard and countless others were all-stars on both sides of the expansion. So when the competition that was waiting in the wings waiting to disrupt the "local cliques" - they still didn't supplant these players. Not only did they not kick them out of the league despite their advanced ages (Howe played til 51, Plante til 44 or so, Beliveau til 40 or so, etc.) nor did they supplant them on all-star teams or Cup winning teams...so the players that were there in 1963 were there in 1973 (injury, age notwithstanding). The roster turnover in the 1990's was enormous.

So we open up the border so to speak and they come over...Sergei Starikov, a noteworthy d-man comes over (3 time Olympian, rendez-vous 87, etc.), sucks...goes home...Vladimir Krutov (same resume and then some), sucks...goes away...Balderis, Priakin same deal...now that isn't to say that there are no successes in that criteria but you have to wonder why players that were so successful in the Soviet Union on national teams in big situations were so useless over here.

You have look at the goalie turnover from 1988-1993 to 1994-1999. These players just weren't good enough to hang on in the league for very long. These players that were getting walked 10 ways from Sunday by the league's best every night were not in the league very long. Until the league normalized itself after expansion settled, it was just a very high scoring and sloppy era. 1993 exemplifies it bigger than most years..


I've covered all this. Regardless of how big the gap between the worst and best players of an era was (though I can't see how it was narrower in the 50s) I still look at how Mario outproduced his competition compared to how Gordie outproduced his.

mikey287 wrote:André, somewhat insulting given our very friendly history that you would accuse me of patronizing you for bringing an example of what I'm saying to your backyard. That's all I'll say about that.


I'm glad you say that, as that proves I was wrong and you had no intention of patronizing. I'm sorry.

mikey287 wrote:Well, if someone "has to win one eventually" because there are 6 teams...then surely it should be more diverse when the globe is opened up and all this talent enters the league, right? From 1980-2001 only 3 players won the Art Ross. Where is all this talent? From 1989-2008, Roy, Brodeur, Hasek and Belfour win all but 3 or 4 Vezina's? I thought the flood of talent would create this great diversity where everyone could win? Instead, it was just really good players dominating a bunch of semi-stars and scrubs. In order to make the HHOF in the 50's, you had to perform your trade at its best every night against the very best. You played a playoff caliber team almost every night. To make the HHOF in the 80's and 90's you just had to hideout and compile points against weak teams (Gartner, Ciccarelli, Nieuwendyk...). Because scoring is higher (because the players are worse), players can get in on total numbers...they didn't have that luxury back in the day...I mean, Christ, Mark Recchi is gonna walk into the HHOF...get real....


The Art Ross domination between 80-01 is because those years cover the active careers and prime years of two of the guys beyond doubt in that top four all time group. The third (Jagr) is not that far off. I don't get you using that argument. It's a fact clearly illuminating the greatness and dominance over their era by Gretzky and Lemieux. It's in favour of my case. There was fantastic talent from all over the world during these years. Concerning production dominance no one came close to Wayne and Mario though. No one all time, including Howe even though he was not as far behind as I thought, comes close to them.

mikey287 wrote:Again, I'm not here to debate whether Gretzky or Lemieux were dominant. I already answered the last point above, it's simply not true in the case of 66. And yes, everyone toyed with these teams. I don't think the Senators won a road game in 1992. Didn't the Sharks, Whalers and Senators give up 400 goals in those seasons...come on, that's 5 goals every night...that's embarrassing. They sucked outloud.

I discussed the scoring race vs. competition thing already. And once again it appears that Lemieux is once again given a pass for not being durable. Howe actually did what people assume Lemieux probably could have done. And when you factor in what Howe brought, he did it better.


I've covered all this. Regardless of how big the gap between the worst and best players of an era was (though I can't see how it was narrower in the 50s) I still look at how Mario outproduced his competition compared to how Gordie outproduced his. Can I clarify it even more? Mario's competition also played the Sharks, Whalers and Senators, and so on. Yet he outproduced them more than Howe did his competition.

And Mario is not given a pass for not being durable. He was over two PPG for about 800 games for crying out loud. I'm wildly speculating? Come on. It's not far fetched, we're not talking some five game seasons by him. His sickest season averages were over 76 and 60 games. Come on, PPG is more fair and relevant for this debate.

mikey287 wrote:Chelios played into his mid-40's, Selanne is still a master into his 40's, Lidstrom still into his 40's...and this is in a faster game, faster than ever. So, even with players competing from all over the world the old guard like Chelios still played over these guys. Mark Recchi still played over these guys on Cup winnners...Lidstrom will retire on his own accord, he won't be forced to. He could play longer than Chelios age-wise, I have no doubt.


And Chelios sucked during his final years. Recchi, Lidstrom and Selanne aren't close to 52. The physical difference between 52 and 40 is immense. That makes Howe's age feat very impressive, but I still say it couldn't have happened with as good results had the game been more established back then.

mikey287 wrote:Competition of eras
Howe's > Lemieux's - not close

Adversity
Lemieux - cancer, back problems, selfish player that lacked proper conditioning for some of his career
Howe - chronic back problems, nearly died on the ice as a result of a fractured skull, played in one of the roughest hockey eras in history and didn't quit.

Linemates-
Howe never had anyone as good as Jagr. For the career, the edge probably goes to Howe though.

Now important stuff that was conveniently left out...
Defense
Howe >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Lemieux - never close

Physicality
Howe >>>>>>>>>>>> Lemieux - never close

Durability/stamina
Howe >>>>>>>>>>>>> Lemieux - never close

Which obviously leans Howe's way even more than the points that you think lean Lemieux's way (even though most of them don't, or don't as much as you think).


I say:

Competition of eras
Howe's < Lemieux's - not close

Howe's league was half or a quarter as small. Even assuming (which I don't agree with) the gap between the worst and best players was closer in the 50s the amount of players in the top category competing for best individual were just that much more for Lemieux than for Howe. He had alot more rivals.

And if you consider the different sizes of the league (like you do) an argument for the gap between the worst and best players being more narrow I'm just not with you. Yeah the league was half or a quarter as small but the influx of hockey markets contributing to the NHL 40 years later must've been tenfold than in the 50s or even significantly more than that.

Adversity
Lemieux - cancer, back problems, selfish player that lacked proper conditioning for some of his career
Howe - chronic back problems, nearly died on the ice as a result of a fractured skull, played in one of the roughest hockey eras in history and didn't quit.

Remove a separate incident that didn't hamper Howe long term (?) and league trend regards to toughness which is covered by how obviously correct it is to compare a player to the competition of his own era only (again, if things were more slack during Lemieux's era that goes for his competition as well), and that's back problems vs cancer as well as back problems. I say Lemieux.

Linemates
I must point out most of Lemieux's sickest seasons were without Jagr on his wing. Also, remove linemates from the above stats and Lemieux's win margin benefits more from that than Howe's.

Defense
Can't argue this.

Physicality
I haven't read up on Howe's style that much but have no problem with taking your word for it. Physicality is using your body according to benefit your game, however. Lemieux didn't hit alot but he didn't have to, as he sure knew how to use his size, strength and reach to dominate games. Sure still give the edge to Howe because he hit as well as outproduced his competetition but I'd remove some of those >s.

Durability/stamina
Not a factor I'd give much weight in this debate. I't not giving Lemieux a free pass for not being durable, he showed how dominant he could be over 800 games and 20 years (that saw great changes of the game). That's not a bad sample size. The opposite; punishing Lemieux for health issues, is alot more wrong.

When just looking at production dominance (that we've focused on as it's the most measureable (if our math's relevant)) Howe's prime was closer than I thought to Mario's, but still not as dominant. And I'm leaning towards Mario in most of the other categories as well.

Also, look at EA's Be a Legend mode, where Mario's clearly held in greater regard ;)
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby André on Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:41 am

And on the HHOF: Were more inducted during the 90s even if you put it in relation to the total number of players?
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby The Snapshot on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:59 am

count2infinity wrote:He would STILL be the NHL's all time points leader as he had more assists in his career than anyone had goals and assists combined! just incredible...

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/5791 ... sport-ever


Wait, so he never got assists off of his rebounds? They were all passes?

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

Postby mikey287 on Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:23 pm

André wrote:On the gap between the worst and best players according to you being more narrow in the 50s than in 93:

Whoa now. Whether an injection of Soviet players could've narrowed the gap in talent in the 50s or not is not releveant to the obvious, easy to make point that we know for a fact foreign players, other leagues and the sport having gained tremendous ground more than significantly narrowed that gap in 93. The league had about twice as many teams then, yes, but how much greater was the number of players competing for a spot in the NHL compared to than in the 50s? Tenfold? Fiftyfold?


So it's not even international players that existed that you're talking about? It's just the fact that the population is higher now that Howe's accomplishments aren't as impressive as Lemieux's? I mean, is that not the bare bones of what you're saying? I thought we were talking about international stars like the aforementioned - ya know, real players. But this is just basically the "population's propensity to play hockey"? That's a bigger what-if than Lemieux's whole career...

André wrote:What competition? Bless all players with health and who stops Mario from the vast majority or actually all of the Art Ross's 88-98? That can of course never be anything but speculative (you seem to think I claim otherwise) but I maintain it's a very educated guess. Likely, even. You can't tell me to not speculate, we must given the nature of Lemieux's career. Altough even if we don't speculate I can still point out how Lemieux's peak production outrivaled his competetion more than Howe did. And I will.


I don't think you claim otherwise. Gretzky gets 6, Lemieux gets 3, Kariya gets 1 - that's an educated guess too. Unfortunately, it's just a guess. With all due respect, we can't just guess at these things without being fair to everyone. Gretzky was never really the same after Suter cheapshotted him in the 1991 Canada Cup...it wasn't just normal wear and tear that caused Gretzky to slow down. Lemieux and Howe both led the league in points per game 7 times, for whatever it's worth.

mikey287 wrote:- Gretzky to the first question.


Like I mentioned further down in my post he's excluded as he's up there in the all time debate already. We're talking Howe vs Lemieux. You in regards to that fourth spot. I'm more open about the positions but put Lemieux ahead of Howe.

That said. Bless all players with health 88-98 and I still bet Lemieux wins at least seven Art Ross's. Speculative of course but again; a very educated guess.


mikey287 wrote:Maybe I'm misunderstanding or miscalculating the last point.

Gordie Howe as scoring champ
1950-51: 23.26% scoring margin (86 to 66) Age: 22
1951-52: 19.75% scoring margin (86 to 69) Age: 23
1952-53: 23.26% scoring margin (95 to 71) Age: 24
1953-54: 17.28% scoring margin (81 to 67) Age: 25
1956-57: 4.49% scoring margin (89 to 85) Age: 28
1962-63: 5.81% scoring margin (86 to 81) Age: 34

Mario Lemieux as scoring champ
1987-88: 11.31% scoring margin (168 to 149) Age: 21
1988-89: 15.58% scoring margin (199 to 168) Age: 22
1991-92: 6.11% scoring margin (131 to 123) Age: 25
1992-93: 7.50% scoring margin (160 to 148) Age: 26
1995-96: 7.45% scoring margin (161 to 149) Age: 29
1996-97: 10.66% scoring margin (122 to 109) Age: 30

For reference: Wayne Gretzky as scoring champ
1980-81: 17.68% scoring margin (164 to 135) Age: 19
1981-82: 30.66% scoring margin (212 to 147) Age: 20
1982-83: 36.73% scoring margin (196 to 124) Age: 21
1983-84: 38.54% scoring margin (205 to 126) Age: 22
1984-85: 35.10% scoring margin (208 to 135) Age: 23
1985-86: 34.42% scoring margin (212 to 141) Age: 24
1986-87: 40.98% scoring margin (183 to 108) Age: 25
1989-90: 9.15% scoring margin (142 to 129) Age: 28
1990-91: 19.63% scoring margin (163 to 131) Age: 29
1993-94: 7.69% scoring margin (130 to 120) Age: 32

* - linemates not removed

I'm not sure how this reflects positively on Lemieux unless I misunderstood the point. I'm not here to debate that Lemieux wasn't dominant, may the good Lord strike me dead should I ever say such a thing. But vs. Howe, Gretzky and Orr...it's not as clear-cut as people want it to be, even with what-if's...he's closer to 4 than he is 1. I mean, just looking at the statistical domination of Howe doesn't factor in that he was also one of the best defensive forwards in the game, one of the most physical and played in upwards of 45 minutes per night.


André wrote:Come on. My math was obviously based on PPG. Which is more fair and relevant. It's not giving Lemieux a free pass because of injuries. He did what he did over a long period of time (see more on this below).


Fine, but Howe did what he did over a longer period of time. That's really the whole thing. Lemieux's PPG winning percentages are nice, Howe's are really not unimpressive even matched up against Lemieux's...4 finishes greater than 20% for Howe, 5 for Lemieux...Lemieux might have a greater peak, but the primes are quite close, and Howe's career is sufficiently better.

André wrote:Gordie Howe as scoring champ
1950-51: 20.6% scoring margin (1.23 to 1.02) Age: 22 20.6%
1951-52: 24.24% scoring margin (1.23 to 0.99) Age: 23
1952-53: 34.65% scoring margin (1.36 to 1.01) Age: 24
1953-54: 20.83% scoring margin (1.16 to 0.96) Age: 25
1956-57: 4.96% scoring margin (1.27 to 1.21) Age: 28
1962-63: 6.03% scoring margin (1.23 to 1.16) Age: 34

Mario Lemieux as scoring champ (excluding Gretzky the first two years)
1987-88: 32.93% scoring margin (2.18 to (2.33 Gretzky) 1.64) Age: 21
1988-89: 55.95% scoring margin (2.62 to (2.15 Gretzky) 1.68) Age: 22
1991-92: 33.12% scoring margin (2.05 to 1.54) Age: 25
1992-93: 51.7% scoring margin (2.67 to 1.76) Age: 26
1995-96: 26.37% scoring margin (2.30 to 1.82) Age: 29
1996-97: 15.0% scoring margin (1.61 to 1.4) Age: 30

Will do Gretzky too later although that's not relevant for this debate.


mikey287 wrote:I'm not sure I quite even grasp the inverse of my argument. Right now, if we knocked the number of teams down to 20 and the roster size to 16, we'd see better hockey. Because Carcillo is out of the game, Zac Rinaldo is out of the game, Andy Sutton is out of the game, Steve Mason is out of the game...it's better players, that can skate and pass and score and play 200-foot hockey. If you dispute that point, well, then that's...well, I'm not sure what to make of that.

Players like Bucyk, Delvecchio, Horton, Hull, Mikita, Howe, Beliveau, Richard and countless others were all-stars on both sides of the expansion. So when the competition that was waiting in the wings waiting to disrupt the "local cliques" - they still didn't supplant these players. Not only did they not kick them out of the league despite their advanced ages (Howe played til 51, Plante til 44 or so, Beliveau til 40 or so, etc.) nor did they supplant them on all-star teams or Cup winning teams...so the players that were there in 1963 were there in 1973 (injury, age notwithstanding). The roster turnover in the 1990's was enormous.

So we open up the border so to speak and they come over...Sergei Starikov, a noteworthy d-man comes over (3 time Olympian, rendez-vous 87, etc.), sucks...goes home...Vladimir Krutov (same resume and then some), sucks...goes away...Balderis, Priakin same deal...now that isn't to say that there are no successes in that criteria but you have to wonder why players that were so successful in the Soviet Union on national teams in big situations were so useless over here.

You have look at the goalie turnover from 1988-1993 to 1994-1999. These players just weren't good enough to hang on in the league for very long. These players that were getting walked 10 ways from Sunday by the league's best every night were not in the league very long. Until the league normalized itself after expansion settled, it was just a very high scoring and sloppy era. 1993 exemplifies it bigger than most years..


I've covered all this. Regardless of how big the gap between the worst and best players of an era was (though I can't see how it was narrower in the 50s) I still look at how Mario outproduced his competition compared to how Gordie outproduced his.


mikey287 wrote:André, somewhat insulting given our very friendly history that you would accuse me of patronizing you for bringing an example of what I'm saying to your backyard. That's all I'll say about that.


[/quote]I'm glad you say that, as that proves I was wrong and you had no intention of patronizing. I'm sorry.[/quote]

mikey287 wrote:Well, if someone "has to win one eventually" because there are 6 teams...then surely it should be more diverse when the globe is opened up and all this talent enters the league, right? From 1980-2001 only 3 players won the Art Ross. Where is all this talent? From 1989-2008, Roy, Brodeur, Hasek and Belfour win all but 3 or 4 Vezina's? I thought the flood of talent would create this great diversity where everyone could win? Instead, it was just really good players dominating a bunch of semi-stars and scrubs. In order to make the HHOF in the 50's, you had to perform your trade at its best every night against the very best. You played a playoff caliber team almost every night. To make the HHOF in the 80's and 90's you just had to hideout and compile points against weak teams (Gartner, Ciccarelli, Nieuwendyk...). Because scoring is higher (because the players are worse), players can get in on total numbers...they didn't have that luxury back in the day...I mean, Christ, Mark Recchi is gonna walk into the HHOF...get real....


The Art Ross domination between 80-01 is because those years cover the active careers and prime years of two of the guys beyond doubt in that top four all time group. The third (Jagr) is not that far off. I don't get you using that argument. It's a fact clearly illuminating the greatness and dominance over their era by Gretzky and Lemieux. It's in favour of my case. There was fantastic talent from all over the world during these years. Concerning production dominance no one came close to Wayne and Mario though. No one all time, including Howe even though he was not as far behind as I thought, comes close to them.

mikey287 wrote:Again, I'm not here to debate whether Gretzky or Lemieux were dominant. I already answered the last point above, it's simply not true in the case of 66. And yes, everyone toyed with these teams. I don't think the Senators won a road game in 1992. Didn't the Sharks, Whalers and Senators give up 400 goals in those seasons...come on, that's 5 goals every night...that's embarrassing. They sucked outloud.

I discussed the scoring race vs. competition thing already. And once again it appears that Lemieux is once again given a pass for not being durable. Howe actually did what people assume Lemieux probably could have done. And when you factor in what Howe brought, he did it better.


I've covered all this. Regardless of how big the gap between the worst and best players of an era was (though I can't see how it was narrower in the 50s) I still look at how Mario outproduced his competition compared to how Gordie outproduced his. Can I clarify it even more? Mario's competition also played the Sharks, Whalers and Senators, and so on. Yet he outproduced them more than Howe did his competition.

And Mario is not given a pass for not being durable. He was over two PPG for about 800 games for crying out loud. I'm wildly speculating? Come on. It's not far fetched, we're not talking some five game seasons by him. His sickest season averages were over 76 and 60 games. Come on, PPG is more fair and relevant for this debate.

mikey287 wrote:Chelios played into his mid-40's, Selanne is still a master into his 40's, Lidstrom still into his 40's...and this is in a faster game, faster than ever. So, even with players competing from all over the world the old guard like Chelios still played over these guys. Mark Recchi still played over these guys on Cup winnners...Lidstrom will retire on his own accord, he won't be forced to. He could play longer than Chelios age-wise, I have no doubt.


And Chelios sucked during his final years. Recchi, Lidstrom and Selanne aren't close to 52. The physical difference between 52 and 40 is immense. That makes Howe's age feat very impressive, but I still say it couldn't have happened with as good results had the game been more established back then.

mikey287 wrote:Competition of eras
Howe's > Lemieux's - not close

Adversity
Lemieux - cancer, back problems, selfish player that lacked proper conditioning for some of his career
Howe - chronic back problems, nearly died on the ice as a result of a fractured skull, played in one of the roughest hockey eras in history and didn't quit.

Linemates-
Howe never had anyone as good as Jagr. For the career, the edge probably goes to Howe though.

Now important stuff that was conveniently left out...
Defense
Howe >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Lemieux - never close

Physicality
Howe >>>>>>>>>>>> Lemieux - never close

Durability/stamina
Howe >>>>>>>>>>>>> Lemieux - never close

Which obviously leans Howe's way even more than the points that you think lean Lemieux's way (even though most of them don't, or don't as much as you think).


I say:

Competition of eras
Howe's < Lemieux's - not close

Howe's league was half or a quarter as small. Even assuming (which I don't agree with) the gap between the worst and best players was closer in the 50s the amount of players in the top category competing for best individual were just that much more for Lemieux than for Howe. He had alot more rivals.

And if you consider the different sizes of the league (like you do) an argument for the gap between the worst and best players being more narrow I'm just not with you. Yeah the league was half or a quarter as small but the influx of hockey markets contributing to the NHL 40 years later must've been tenfold than in the 50s or even significantly more than that.

Adversity
Lemieux - cancer, back problems, selfish player that lacked proper conditioning for some of his career
Howe - chronic back problems, nearly died on the ice as a result of a fractured skull, played in one of the roughest hockey eras in history and didn't quit.

Remove a separate incident that didn't hamper Howe long term (?) and league trend regards to toughness which is covered by how obviously correct it is to compare a player to the competition of his own era only (again, if things were more slack during Lemieux's era that goes for his competition as well), and that's back problems vs cancer as well as back problems. I say Lemieux.

Linemates
I must point out most of Lemieux's sickest seasons were without Jagr on his wing. Also, remove linemates from the above stats and Lemieux's win margin benefits more from that than Howe's.

Defense
Can't argue this.

Physicality
I haven't read up on Howe's style that much but have no problem with taking your word for it. Physicality is using your body according to benefit your game, however. Lemieux didn't hit alot but he didn't have to, as he sure knew how to use his size, strength and reach to dominate games. Sure still give the edge to Howe because he hit as well as outproduced his competetition but I'd remove some of those >s.

Durability/stamina
Not a factor I'd give much weight in this debate. I't not giving Lemieux a free pass for not being durable, he showed how dominant he could be over 800 games and 20 years (that saw great changes of the game). That's not a bad sample size. The opposite; punishing Lemieux for health issues, is alot more wrong.

When just looking at production dominance (that we've focused on as it's the most measureable (if our math's relevant)) Howe's prime was closer than I thought to Mario's, but still not as dominant. And I'm leaning towards Mario in most of the other categories as well.

Also, look at EA's Be a Legend mode, where Mario's clearly held in greater regard ;)


I'm not as enthused about this debate as I was before because it's starting to boil down to "well, no it's not" for reasons that would be too time-consuming for me to prove (the era in the 50's being of higher quality than the 90's, for instance). I'll just make a last point (or so I think), just as food for thought...whether it means anything or not, or wins the debate or not I don't really care - we're both well-versed in Lemieux, I'd just like to bring to light more of Mr. Hockey's accomplishments for general education...as per your sarcastic point at the end about EA's Be a Legend mode, it's just a lack of knowledge about Howe that makes Lemieux more well known...same with the pre-War players, hell, same with the pre-expansion players...

I see your points per game work and all that...well, here's some food for thought...

Here's a six year prime vs. peers of Mario Lemieux in his best six years

Player -------- GP - G - A - PTS
Mario Lemieux 423 387 554 941
Wayne Gretzky 423 189 513 702 (Lemieux 34% better)
Steve Yzerman 468 276 401 677 (Lemieux 39% better)
Mark Messier 448 213 373 586 (...61% better)
Luc Robitaille 468 253 305 558
Adam Oates 446 142 405 547
Doug Gilmour 467 174 365 539
Pierre Turgeon 474 210 328 538
Brett Hull 443 282 241 523 (...80%)
Pat LaFontaine 384 233 287 520 (...81%)

Here's a six year prime vs. peers of Gordie Howe in his best six years

Player -------- GP - G - A - PTS
Gordie Howe 420 254 269 528
Ted Lindsay 347 142 204 346 (Howe 53% better - Lindsay was his linemate)
Maurice Richard 316 167 133 300 (Howe 76% better)
Red Kelly 410 98 191 289 (...83% better)
Bernie Geoffrion 296 131 111 242 (...118% better)
Alex Delvecchio 323 78 152 230 (...130% better)
Sid Smith 350 116 110 226
Bert Olmstead 326 72 149 221
Doug Harvey 413 33 185 218 (...142%)

I think there's one less player on the Howe the list but still more HHOFers if I'm not mistaken...Howe is 76% than all non-full-time linemates in his prime. That 76% threshold (Howe vs. non teammates) isn't met by Lemieux until way down at Brett Hull and Pat Lafontaine (a fairly weak HHOFer).

Not too shabby I'd say...
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Rylan on Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:31 pm

What just happened? So many quote boxes and text and I can't even...
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby joopen on Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:49 pm

hey mikey, just a small point to look at, not choosing sides or anything here, but look at the games played colum. Howe played more games then everyone he is listed with and for the most part, by a very substantial number. What if you extrapolate that portion out on Lemieux, how would the %'s look?

Just with some quick math, I may be wrong, but if Lemieux had played the same number of games more than Gretzky, his point total would be approx 57% greater? Or if you equalize the games played and go by PPG avg for Howe vs Lindsay and Lemieux vs Gretzky (have Lemieux play 420 and Gretzky play 347) the differential is now at 62%.

Just some food for thought... can't equalize everything
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Idoit40fans on Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:52 pm

Posts that long shouldn't be allowed.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Physical_Graffiti on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:12 pm

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

Postby mikey287 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:13 pm

It's about the shortest post of mine in the thread...every thing in a quote box is old news, I provide little new info in there because there wasn't a ton that could be responded to. Sorry if it's confusing.

@joopen - Well, once again Howe gets punished for being durable which is just the strangest argument to me. Lemieux did not play these games, he's not valuable to his team if he doesn't play. And even with your very pro-Lemieux math, that 62% doesn't touch Howe vs. non-teammates.

There's really few fair ways to look at it that don't see Howe and Lemieux having a comparable 7-10 prime and then Howe with an additional 10 years of elite play.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby mikey287 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:15 pm

Physical_Graffiti wrote:Richard > Howe


Respectfully, please don't just spout off a fly-by inequality with nothing to back it up...
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Physical_Graffiti on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:19 pm

mikey287 wrote:
Physical_Graffiti wrote:Richard > Howe


Respectfully, please don't just spout off a fly-by inequality with nothing to back it up...

It's not called "50 in 50" because of Gordie Howe. 8-)
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby mikey287 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:22 pm

Physical_Graffiti wrote:
mikey287 wrote:
Physical_Graffiti wrote:Richard > Howe


Respectfully, please don't just spout off a fly-by inequality with nothing to back it up...

It's not called "50 in 50" because of Gordie Howe. 8-)


Yeah, that's not good enough. Maurice Richard never even led the league in points once.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Physical_Graffiti on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:25 pm

- first player to score 500 goals in a career
- Second in Playoff Overtime winners
- Gordie never had a 5 goal game in the NHL - Richard had 2
- Captain of the only team to ever win 5 straight Stanley Cups
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Physical_Graffiti on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:29 pm

mikey287 wrote:
Physical_Graffiti wrote:
mikey287 wrote:
Physical_Graffiti wrote:Richard > Howe


Respectfully, please don't just spout off a fly-by inequality with nothing to back it up...

It's not called "50 in 50" because of Gordie Howe. 8-)


Yeah, that's not good enough. Maurice Richard never even led the league in points once.

Because he was suspended for defending himself.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby MRandall25 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:31 pm

mikey287 wrote:
Physical_Graffiti wrote:
mikey287 wrote:
Physical_Graffiti wrote:Richard > Howe


Respectfully, please don't just spout off a fly-by inequality with nothing to back it up...

It's not called "50 in 50" because of Gordie Howe. 8-)


Yeah, that's not good enough. Maurice Richard never even led the league in points once.


Joe Thornton led the league in points once.

What's your point?
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Kaizer on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:37 pm

after reading and heavily analyzing every post in this thread, I've come to the conclusion that Gretzky sucked, and Mario was the best player in the universe.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby mikey287 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:45 pm

Physical_Graffiti wrote:- first player to score 500 goals in a career
- Second in Playoff Overtime winners
- Gordie never had a 5 goal game in the NHL - Richard had 2
- Captain of the only team to ever win 5 straight Stanley Cups


I mean, much of this is already fairly anecdotal and until there's some real tangible evidence put forth, it's not really worth delving into...I'll just counter in kind...

- Howe was the first to 600, 700 and 800 goals
- That's nice, I think Lemieux and Howe have a combined 0, so I don't put much weight into that for obvious reasons. Howe's 300 additional non-overtime goals would usually mean games wouldn't make it into overtime anyhow
- Gordie never had a 5 goal game because he played in an era where the average was 5 to 6 goals per game for both teams combined. There was only one 5-goal game from 1947 to 1964, so not having a 5 goal game is not really of any importance. Mike Ricci also has more 5 goal games than Howe...it's a product of the era than anything. Maurice Richard had two 5-goal games in 1944 when the league was diluted by players lost to the War...he never did it again...unsurprisingly, he doesn't reach 50 goals again once everyone returns.
- And I don't even think the last one is true.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby mikey287 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:47 pm

MRandall25 wrote:
mikey287 wrote:
Physical_Graffiti wrote:
mikey287 wrote:
Physical_Graffiti wrote:Richard > Howe


Respectfully, please don't just spout off a fly-by inequality with nothing to back it up...

It's not called "50 in 50" because of Gordie Howe. 8-)


Yeah, that's not good enough. Maurice Richard never even led the league in points once.


Joe Thornton led the league in points once.

What's your point?


We're talking about a player penetrating the top-four pedestal (not possible), it's not about anecdotal evidence...if you can't figure out my point in that, I'm not sure how much of a contribution you can make to a historical analysis thread, with all due respect.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby joopen on Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:54 pm

mikey287 wrote:It's about the shortest post of mine in the thread...every thing in a quote box is old news, I provide little new info in there because there wasn't a ton that could be responded to. Sorry if it's confusing.

@joopen - Well, once again Howe gets punished for being durable which is just the strangest argument to me. Lemieux did not play these games, he's not valuable to his team if he doesn't play. And even with your very pro-Lemieux math, that 62% doesn't touch Howe vs. non-teammates.

There's really few fair ways to look at it that don't see Howe and Lemieux having a comparable 7-10 prime and then Howe with an additional 10 years of elite play.


Eh I wasn't trying to prove or disprove anything just trying to throw more bs into the equation. There are very few fair ways to look at something so hard to define.
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Re: If Wayne Gretzky had never taken a single shot on goal..

Postby Physical_Graffiti on Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:10 am

mikey287 wrote:
Physical_Graffiti wrote:- first player to score 500 goals in a career
- Second in Playoff Overtime winners
- Gordie never had a 5 goal game in the NHL - Richard had 2
- Captain of the only team to ever win 5 straight Stanley Cups


I mean, much of this is already fairly anecdotal and until there's some real tangible evidence put forth, it's not really worth delving into...I'll just counter in kind...

- Howe was the first to 600, 700 and 800 goals
- That's nice, I think Lemieux and Howe have a combined 0, so I don't put much weight into that for obvious reasons. Howe's 300 additional non-overtime goals would usually mean games wouldn't make it into overtime anyhow
- Gordie never had a 5 goal game because he played in an era where the average was 5 to 6 goals per game for both teams combined. There was only one 5-goal game from 1947 to 1964, so not having a 5 goal game is not really of any importance. Mike Ricci also has more 5 goal games than Howe...it's a product of the era than anything. Maurice Richard had two 5-goal games in 1944 when the league was diluted by players lost to the War...he never did it again...unsurprisingly, he doesn't reach 50 goals again once everyone returns.

- And I don't even think the last one is true.

-Does having less talented players somehow raise the average gpg in a league?
- Richard also scored 18 playoff game-winning goals
- You're right: He was captain for the last four of the five
- It also took Richard 182 games less to reach the 500 mark
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