Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby guiner on Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:28 pm

pcm wrote:I think Lemieux wins out for me when it comes to the case of: one game, winner takes all, who do you pick?

But being a professional is all about consistency, and nobody compares to the heights that Gretzky sustained for so long.


I agree. Often Pens fans will bring up the claim to Mario's health. I don't think that should matter at all. Some of his problems, like his back, are a part of the package. One of his biggest strengths was his size/wingspan, it gave him an advantage. A part of the cost of benefit of that body was its liability to injury. Can't just take the part you like and disregard the rest.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby since1970 on Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:59 pm

...other than the obvious medical condition most of Mario's health problems were self inflicted, when you don't train, worry about nutrition, smoke, as you get older your body rebels. I will say this having seen both play. Gretzky never made me sit on the edge of my seat like Mario when he had the puck, but both guys had the ability to think game situations and turn them into reality better than any other players of that era, and I think Gretzky was just a shade better than Mario, and given the same type of supporting cast Mario put up comparable numbers, and Gretzky was a media darling, but he also had a greater respect for the history and traditions of the game.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pucks_and_Pols on Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:41 pm

So you want to say Gretzky is the greatest to ever play the game, okay. He does hold mostly every significant single season and career scoring record. I am just trying to point out that there are circumstances that lead to those records and that there are in fact comparable great players in the games history.

But this post spawned from me being pissed that he gets his number retired league wide, for all teams, for all eternity. What degree of greatness makes Gretzky worthy of that, compared to Lemieux, Howe, Orr, or just to throw another name out there, Nick Lidstrom, the greatest positional defensmen of all time. Just cause he didn't break scoring records and instead played immaculate defense, he should not be even considered?
Or any of the all time great goalies as well? The most important position for any winning team is often totally overlooked when it comes to these discussions as well.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby She'sTheFastest on Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:52 pm

Pucks_and_Pols wrote:Yes, Gretz has pretty much every points record. Mario would be very close tho if he had stayed healthy. They both played in the 80s and early 90s, the highest scoring era in league history. But Wayne had a better team for more years, and more importantly did not lose large chunks of his prime career to injuries. If Mario had been able played as many total games as Messier did, he would have eclipsed 3000 points. Gretzky was great, but not locked in as, with no debate, the greatest.


I agree with your point that 99 should not be retired league wide based on the fact that he didn't play for every team. However, "if" is a big word in your argument. That's like saying if Guns N Roses stayed together they would have sold more records than Metallica. Fact is they didn't and Mario didn't stay healthy so you're comparing apples to oranges.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby mikey287 on Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:15 pm

It also has to do with more than just Gretzky himself. Think of the number. A rarity in and of itself. If Gretzky got 9 like he originally wanted, it probably wouldn't be retired league wide because it would disrespect many of the other great 9's that have been celebrated throughout history. Was it a touch over the top? Maybe. But it's not like they took 4 out of service. They took 99 out, no one is wearing it anyway.

The Penguins don't have to retire 68, no one is touching that number again.

And everything else really has a lot more debate to it. You say Lidstrom was the greatest positional defenseman of all time, which is really just an individual trait of one player, equivalent to saying Bobby Hull is the best pure shooter of all-time, but anyway, I'd argue for Doug Harvey. Lidstrom was special, but he's a huge step down from what we're talking about here...maybe two huge steps down. Not even on the same planet, much less atmosphere...

Gretzky's number was synonymous with him. And you say, "num-bah fo-ah" but not always...I believe, and you can check me on this, Orr - ever respectful - swallowed his pride and took #5 in the 1968 all-star game because Jean Artur Beliveau owned #4. It's synonymous with Orr, but not always Orr all-time.

And once you do it once, you don't take the starch out of it and do it again for Lemieux. A player that quit on the league when he didn't like how it was going. Gretzky was always a great ambassador for the game, hell, he helped save Mario from himself...the accolades that he got were apt.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby DropEmJayBird on Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:37 am

A question to kind of move this conversation in another direction.
What kind of points do you think Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin would put up during the Gretzky era?

I have a feeling one of those guys puts up 250, I mean just watching some of Gretzky's goals from that era are laughable, taking snap shots from above the circles and beating a goalie clean.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pavel Bure on Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:56 am

Even though Gretzky played in the highest scoring era of hockey it's not like he's barely #1 in those categories. He's far and away #1. It's not even close. That's why I don't like the whole, "He played in the highest scoring era." argument. Yes he did but he scored at such a prolific pace and number that no one else is even close. A fictional comparison would be something like the tallest buildings in the world are 75 feet, 100 feet, and 1000 feet tall. You can argue all you want that the 100 foot tall building has a better foundation, and if the builders kept building it then the 1000 foot building wouldn't stand a chance. However the fact remains that the tallest building is far and away the tallest without anyone else being close and really the only arguments against it are sabermetrics which even though they are meant to prove something on a different level still need to be twisted to make the argument. Gretzky is the tallest building by far and all the other buildings aren't close despite era... I'm insane.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pucks_and_Pols on Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:08 am

Just curios, when did Gretzky save Lemieux from himself? Are you talking about the 87 Canada Cup? While Lemieux has credited that tournament as a turning point in his career, I'd say he was already doing pretty well for himself at that point. And Gretzky himself claims that while he helped the 21 year old prodigy along, it was only in a manner of veteran to younger player, similar to how he gained experience playing in the 1981 tournament with Guy LaFleur. It certainly helped fine tune Mario's game, but I don't think he needed salvation at that point, just more experience and a little better comitment. I'd say it was a big deal for 66, that for the first time in his career he played on a team where he wasn't head and shoulders above and beyond every single teammate.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pavel Bure on Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:15 am

Pucks_and_Pols wrote:Just curios, when did Gretzky save Lemieux from himself? Are you talking about the 87 Canada Cup? While Lemieux has credited that tournament as a turning point in his career, I'd say he was already doing pretty well for himself at that point. And Gretzky himself claims that while he helped the 21 year old prodigy along, it was only in a manner of veteran to younger player, similar to how he gained experience playing in the 1981 tournament with Guy LaFleur. It certainly helped fine tune Mario's game, but I don't think he needed salvation at that point, just more experience and a little better comitment. I'd say it was a big deal for 66, that for the first time in his career he played on a team where he wasn't head and shoulders above and beyond every single teammate.

I believe Mario has stated that playing in that Canada Cup showed him what a real professional did, their work ethic, their demeanor, their leadership, and that showed him what it meant to be the best in the world.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pucks_and_Pols on Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:22 am

Just curios, when did Gretzky save Lemieux from himself? Are you talking about the 87 Canada Cup? While Lemieux has credited that tournament as a turning point in his career, I'd say he was already doing pretty well for himself at that point. And Gretzky himself claims that while he helped the 21 year old prodigy along, it was only in a manner of veteran to younger player, similar to how he gained experience playing in the 1981 tournament with Guy LaFleur. It certainly helped fine tune Mario's game, but I don't think he needed salvation at that point, just more experience and a little better comitment. I'd say it was a big deal for 66, that for the first time in his career he played on a team where he wasn't head and shoulders above and beyond every single teammate.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby since1970 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:12 am

DropEmJayBird wrote:A question to kind of move this conversation in another direction.
What kind of points do you think Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin would put up during the Gretzky era?

I have a feeling one of those guys puts up 250, I mean just watching some of Gretzky's goals from that era are laughable, taking snap shots from above the circles and beating a goalie clean.

......people seem to undervalue some of those players in the 80's/90's based on what they think was shoddy goaltending, but guys like Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin played in those eras.....Bossy, Dionne, Gretzky, Lemeuix, Brett Hull, Trottier, and a few others....250 pts is kind of a stretch....averaging 3 points a game??? That might be a little much in any era..
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Gaucho on Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:13 am

Kind of a stretch is putting it mildly.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby DropEmJayBird on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:22 am

Well in terms of shoddy goaltending - compared to today - it was shoddy. I'm sure some of that was equipment weight, and having a puck hurt if you took it off the body all day long, but still I mean if you spend 4 hours today watching youtubes of those games - the goals are laughable by today's standards.

I guess it's not a fair comparison though. Like comparing the 205 pound linebackers of the 70's to today's 240 pound guys. Today's guys are bigger/faster/stronger - but I think that's just because fitness is taken a bit more seriously today.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby IanMoran on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:41 am

I notice the same type of arguments in any Gretzky v. Mario debate

Side Gretzky:
Brings up crazy, unmatched career statistics

Side Mario:
Brings up ppg, in a lesser-scoring era, with worse teams... and if take that into consideration, Mario's ppg are more impressive

Honestly... both sides of the argument make sense and the debate just goes into circles. I think there is no one RIGHT answer, and instead it depends on what standards you are using:

If you want to debate the most talented, best at the top of his career at one time, etc... than I do think Mario belongs in the conversation. If you are arguing "who had the best career" and stating have to take into consideration that Mario was injured while Gretzky was healthy and therefore more productive.. then Gretzky is the better of the two.

Imo - Mario = most talented ever
Gretzky = Best career ever (not really a debate)
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby DropEmJayBird on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:46 am

Gretzky lasted, Mario didn't. I think if Mario plays from 79-84, he fills the net goal wise as much as Gretzky (and certainly if he's on the same team). But I think Gretzky still plays more games and ultimately scores more points. He was smart, had great vision, and didn't smoke a few packs a day early on.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby IanMoran on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:47 am

DropEmJayBird wrote:Gretzky lasted, Mario didn't. I think if Mario plays from 79-84, he fills the net goal wise as much as Gretzky (and certainly if he's on the same team). But I think Gretzky still plays more games and ultimately scores more points. He was smart, had great vision, and didn't smoke a few packs a day early on.

Which is just proving my point. This debate can essentially be "What standards should be used to say who is the greatest." I don't think there is a right answer
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby since1970 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:53 am

I get people who watch today's game think goaltenders of the era couldn't play today, but I think differently, there was a lot more net to shoot at in 1986 than today, these guys today are huge compared to back then, and it's not the physical frame underneath. Today guys stop so many more shots they don't see just on size alone, if you didn't see it back then chances are it was in your net, just take a look at penalty shots when they're filmed from behind the shooter, there's way more holes to shoot at in the 80's, if today's players had that room there'd be a increase in scoring. I'm waiting for the day a GM teaches someone like Akebono to skate and tells him when they come down just flop to your knees.....(kidding???? maybe!!!).......greatest sumo goaltender discussion?? Please don't start that thread!
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Idoit40fans on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:00 am

IanMoran wrote:
DropEmJayBird wrote:Gretzky lasted, Mario didn't. I think if Mario plays from 79-84, he fills the net goal wise as much as Gretzky (and certainly if he's on the same team). But I think Gretzky still plays more games and ultimately scores more points. He was smart, had great vision, and didn't smoke a few packs a day early on.

Which is just proving my point. This debate can essentially be "What standards should be used to say who is the greatest." I don't think there is a right answer

If you don't have any standards and just ask the question, most people outside of a Pens message board are going with Gretzky.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby IanMoran on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:10 am

Idoit40fans wrote:
IanMoran wrote:
DropEmJayBird wrote:Gretzky lasted, Mario didn't. I think if Mario plays from 79-84, he fills the net goal wise as much as Gretzky (and certainly if he's on the same team). But I think Gretzky still plays more games and ultimately scores more points. He was smart, had great vision, and didn't smoke a few packs a day early on.

Which is just proving my point. This debate can essentially be "What standards should be used to say who is the greatest." I don't think there is a right answer

If you don't have any standards and just ask the question, most people outside of a Pens message board are going with Gretzky.

Yes, there are certain players who just will always have that answer in the masses no matter what really. See, Babe Ruth (I'd take Bonds over him)
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pavel Bure on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:12 am

IanMoran wrote:Yes, there are certain players who just will always have that answer in the masses no matter what really. See, Babe Ruth (I'd take Bonds over him)

That's a terrible argument. Of course you take Bonds who quite frankly had the total package until very late in his career over an alcoholic over-weight guy.

Bonds : Gretzky as Ruth : Messier
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby IanMoran on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:15 am

Pavel Bure wrote:
IanMoran wrote:Yes, there are certain players who just will always have that answer in the masses no matter what really. See, Babe Ruth (I'd take Bonds over him)

That's a terrible argument. Of course you take Bonds who quite frankly had the total package until very late in his career over an alcoholic over-weight guy.

Bonds : Gretzky as Ruth : Messier

Lol, I didn't mean the comparison in the manner you're taking it... I just meant the whole "most people off the top of their head would say Gretzky" shouldn't be used in this debate imo
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby mikey287 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:19 am

DropEmJayBird wrote:A question to kind of move this conversation in another direction.
What kind of points do you think Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin would put up during the Gretzky era?

I have a feeling one of those guys puts up 250, I mean just watching some of Gretzky's goals from that era are laughable, taking snap shots from above the circles and beating a goalie clean.


You mean, take a time machine and pluck Crosby down in the middle of 1981? Yeah, he'd do well with his composite stick and rocket skates and moisture-resistant gear...

That's a silly question. If Crosby and crew grew up in the same era, trained with the same training regimes and all that...that's the question you ask. None of them could touch what Gretzky was doing in his prime.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby mikey287 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:20 am

DropEmJayBird wrote:Well in terms of shoddy goaltending - compared to today - it was shoddy. I'm sure some of that was equipment weight, and having a puck hurt if you took it off the body all day long, but still I mean if you spend 4 hours today watching youtubes of those games - the goals are laughable by today's standards.

I guess it's not a fair comparison though. Like comparing the 205 pound linebackers of the 70's to today's 240 pound guys. Today's guys are bigger/faster/stronger - but I think that's just because fitness is taken a bit more seriously today.


The best goaltending of the 80's is better than the best goaltending today.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby since1970 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:22 am

I like the way you think Mikey!
Last edited by since1970 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pavel Bure on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:22 am

mikey287 wrote:
DropEmJayBird wrote:Well in terms of shoddy goaltending - compared to today - it was shoddy. I'm sure some of that was equipment weight, and having a puck hurt if you took it off the body all day long, but still I mean if you spend 4 hours today watching youtubes of those games - the goals are laughable by today's standards.

I guess it's not a fair comparison though. Like comparing the 205 pound linebackers of the 70's to today's 240 pound guys. Today's guys are bigger/faster/stronger - but I think that's just because fitness is taken a bit more seriously today.


The best goaltending of the 80's is better than the best goaltending today.

Is that because systems can and do make goalies today?
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