Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby relantel on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:25 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.

I think a fair number here would side with Gretzky. The "comeback" managed to wash away the one stat record Mario had on Wayne - career ppg. Mario was 2.005 before the comeback, and those last two partial seasons dropped him below Gretzky's 1.92, eventually finishing at 1.88. With that sealed, there are very few metric arguments to make on 66>99 (only goals per game comes to mind), and mostly subjective arguments left. I think we ignore their relative longevity at our own peril. Gretzky had 10 seasons over 2.0 ppg. Lemieux had 6. That's a significant gap to me that is hard to argue. They are the only two players since 1920 to accomplish the feat. (http://www.hockey-reference.com/leaders ... eason.html - first one not in the HHOF on this list is the 53rd entry, aside from Jagr who is still active)

As for the underlying question of league-wide retiring - who cares. It's not like anyone was going to wear 99 anyway. I don't see it as a slap in the face of anyone else. And mikey makes great observation about 9 and 4 among others.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby mikey287 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:28 am

I don't know baseball that well, but how is Ruth not considered better than Bonds? Bonds is really in that top-2 discussion? Might have to do some homework...
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby since1970 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:34 am

Gretzky was far and away the best ambassador hockey has ever had, if anyone deserves to have their number retired it's him. He grew the sport. You might say if he didn't exist there might not be as many teams in the league. He put behinds in the seats in places no one else did, and that goes for Mario. Gretzky's profile in his prime was arguably as high as any athlete in any sport, and I'm including MJ in that discussion.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby DropEmJayBird on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:44 am

mikey287 wrote:I don't know baseball that well, but how is Ruth not considered better than Bonds? Bonds is really in that top-2 discussion? Might have to do some homework...


I consider Ruth far an away better than Bonds - if not for the fact of Ruth's pitching stats alone.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Idoit40fans on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:45 am

Yeah, I don't know how someone can make an argument against Ruth being far and away the greatest baseball player ever and still be taken seriously. 0 hyperbole here and really zero room for discussion. Ruth was, is, and always will be the greatest ever. If you want to talk greatest hitter ever, then we have a discussion, but i'd still have trouble listening to an argument against Ruth.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pavel Bure on Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:49 am

Idoit40fans wrote:Yeah, I don't know how someone can make an argument against Ruth being far and away the greatest baseball player ever and still be taken seriously. 0 hyperbole here and really zero room for discussion. Ruth was, is, and always will be the greatest ever. If you want to talk greatest hitter ever, then we have a discussion, but i'd still have trouble listening to an argument against Ruth.

I'll defer to you guys on that.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Froggy on Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:03 pm

i guess the deciding factor for me is what characteristic of "greatness" was gretzky either lacking, or possessed in a lesser quality than someone else? i can't think of any.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby mikey287 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:14 pm

Pavel Bure wrote:
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?


Goaltending before the proliferation of the butterfly asked that goaltending rely on reflex and anticipation. Today, goalies rely on percentages. That's what they're told growing up, that's what they practice even down at the mite level..."block the first shot" has replaced "make the save".

The goals that Gretzky and Lemieux scored may look weak (and some of them are...the 80's wasn't a sparkling time for goaltenders: I'd say Fuhr, Smith and Liut were the three best of the 80's as a whole and none of them are top-20 of all time...especially Liut who is in the top-50 somewhere perhaps, though I wonder if he doesn't have a better career if he's not perforated by the Soviets in the 1981 Canada Cup, he never could shake that 8-1 loss off...anyway, back at the ranch...)

The over-expansion of the league and the focus on crafting new offensive defensemen and the like caused a massive push towards offensive tactics (sans a couple teams really, notably the Capitals and Flyers of all teams). Goaltending didn't really develop all that well because there was a transition period where different styles came about and no one could really decide what was working and what wasn't. Esposito and the butterfly, Dryden as octopus man, Parent drew some attention as more of a stand-up goalie and he was completely unbeatable in 74 and 75, etc. etc. Not to mention to the success of some goalies on the international scene: the hybrid Vladislav Tretiak left many in awe and some consider him the best goalie of the era all together and meanwhile the flopping antics of Jiri Holecek in Czechoslovakia helped paved the way for some major upsets (though, I personally don't credit them directly to Holecek, that's another story...) and for Dominik Hasek who took a lot from Holecek's style which focused on vertical angles quite a bit.

Goaltending evolved and the best took to these different styles and made a name for themselves: Patrick Roy and his butterfly, Martin Brodeur's hybrid style and Dominik Hasek's reflex-based style that had a lot more purpose than people realize, he was in control a lot more than people think.

The next wave of expansion and the growth in coaching tactics (use of video, assistants, etc.) had a short-term spike in scoring (any time a league gets worse, scoring goes up generally), but long-term it meant for defensive tactics. The 1995 Devils also helped in this, as their upset of the Red Wings really struck a chord with the NHL community as a whole. As a result, defensive tactics became the norm. At that time, the goal was to prevent shots as that was simply the nature of the beast. "Prevent shots, prevent goals" sounds simple enough, right? Thus a lot of mimicking of the 1-2-2 which will see today, just slightly modified for the fact the red line has been removed.

Prevent shots, in my estimation, was a better mantra because goaltenders - while on the high end were better than those today - on the low-end, they were worse, far worse. Which is a lot of what younger people see (and even myself saw when looking at highlights of 99 and 66 and the like) when looking back. People look at highlights of goals and comment on the bad goaltending. It's no wonder. Could there be a more obvious observation! A goalie gives up a goal on every shot in those highlights, of course they look bad! :lol:

Today, the fundamentals are better. The average goaltender today is better than the average goaltender in 1981. The proper fundamentals exist for almost all goalies today and therefore coaches can change the defensive mantra: "prevent shots, prevent goals". You can allow an infinite amount of shots today from 50 feet, and they aren't going to go in. Oddly enough, one of the goalies that had the worst fundamentals in the game (Tim Thomas) was even successful, proving that anyone could do it in Boston (see: Tuukka Rask being the all-time leader in NHL save pct. currently). It was really only Thomas that could give up a 40 footer along the ice from Vincent Lecavalier. It was really only Thomas that could give up that 35 footer from the left wing boards to Alexandre Burrows early in the SCF. That's why I always had such beef, everyone said "look at the numbers" and I'm saying "they could have been better!" His lack of focus on fundamentals put the Bruins in serious jeopardy in those playoffs. Nearly ousting them in the first round.

Counter, the next season. Another very good defensive team in Los Angeles runs roughshod over the competition. Jonathan Quick, of fundamentally sound quality, doesn't allow any games to get close. It's been a long time since we've seen such a steamroll job by a team through a playoffs, fair to say? It's not the Kings defense was better, hell, they don't have a HHOF playing 30 minutes a night, they don't have a Selke winner patrolling the center of the rink. But no games ever got put into jeopardy by Quick, that's why his performance blows Thomas' out of the water. It blows Niemi's out of the water, it blows Osgood's out of the water, it blows Giguere's out of the water. And it was certainly better than Fleury's and Ward's Cup wins. He left no doubt.

The butterfly has flaws and they are covered by equipment now...one of the least sportsmanlke things I've seen in sport is allowed to transpire every night in rinks across the world...
- They drop down so up high is exposed. Solution: chest protector to the ears.
- Their five hole is exposed because the Allaire's do not teach proper stick mechanics. Solution: just add to the pads to cover the five hole
- The space between their arms and their body is susceptible because there's no catching of the puck, just blocking. Solution: Bigger jerseys to help catch pucks, plus additions to the cuff of the glove and to the blocker to prevent these slip throughs.

They literally just want to form a blocking wall. Instead of working on these weaknesses, they just put on more pads. They just band-aid and band-aid and protect and protect...I hope one day they get serious about reducing goalie equipment. I don't wanna anyone to get hurt, they don't have to go out there in a t-shirt and a pair of Craig Ludwig's shin guards, but with all the technological advances we've made in equipment, I find it impossible to believe that goalies need to protect the area above their shoulders in order to not feel pain...these aren't chest protectors, they're net protectors. It's garbage.

And when I'm around youth teams, I can't even say anything because they have goalie coaches that are telling them this stuff. "Just make yourself big...don't worry so much about the rebound" So, because there's a rebound that's just dangling out there, I have to adjust my tactics to collapsing back to the net, and you get defensive hockey because everyone has to come back because the goalie can't do his job correctly.

Sometimes I just want to yell, "stand up! show that you know where the shot is going! stop taking the easy way out...make yourself better long term for the cost of some goals now...please..."

Goaltender used to be the most important position on the ice...remember that? It is by far the least important today...by far. And it's not even remotely close either. On behalf of the coach's union, save pct. should be a coaching stat, not a goalie stat.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby brwi on Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:37 pm

mikey287 wrote:
Goaltending before the proliferation of the butterfly asked that goaltending rely on reflex and anticipation. Today, goalies rely on percentages. That's what they're told growing up, that's what they practice even down at the mite level..."block the first shot" has replaced "make the save".

The goals that Gretzky and Lemieux scored may look weak (and some of them are...the 80's wasn't a sparkling time for goaltenders: I'd say Fuhr, Smith and Liut were the three best of the 80's as a whole and none of them are top-20 of all time...especially Liut who is in the top-50 somewhere perhaps, though I wonder if he doesn't have a better career if he's not perforated by the Soviets in the 1981 Canada Cup, he never could shake that 8-1 loss off...anyway, back at the ranch...)

The over-expansion of the league and the focus on crafting new offensive defensemen and the like caused a massive push towards offensive tactics (sans a couple teams really, notably the Capitals and Flyers of all teams). Goaltending didn't really develop all that well because there was a transition period where different styles came about and no one could really decide what was working and what wasn't. Esposito and the butterfly, Dryden as octopus man, Parent drew some attention as more of a stand-up goalie and he was completely unbeatable in 74 and 75, etc. etc. Not to mention to the success of some goalies on the international scene: the hybrid Vladislav Tretiak left many in awe and some consider him the best goalie of the era all together and meanwhile the flopping antics of Jiri Holecek in Czechoslovakia helped paved the way for some major upsets (though, I personally don't credit them directly to Holecek, that's another story...) and for Dominik Hasek who took a lot from Holecek's style which focused on vertical angles quite a bit.

Goaltending evolved and the best took to these different styles and made a name for themselves: Patrick Roy and his butterfly, Martin Brodeur's hybrid style and Dominik Hasek's reflex-based style that had a lot more purpose than people realize, he was in control a lot more than people think.

The next wave of expansion and the growth in coaching tactics (use of video, assistants, etc.) had a short-term spike in scoring (any time a league gets worse, scoring goes up generally), but long-term it meant for defensive tactics. The 1995 Devils also helped in this, as their upset of the Red Wings really struck a chord with the NHL community as a whole. As a result, defensive tactics became the norm. At that time, the goal was to prevent shots as that was simply the nature of the beast. "Prevent shots, prevent goals" sounds simple enough, right? Thus a lot of mimicking of the 1-2-2 which will see today, just slightly modified for the fact the red line has been removed.

Prevent shots, in my estimation, was a better mantra because goaltenders - while on the high end were better than those today - on the low-end, they were worse, far worse. Which is a lot of what younger people see (and even myself saw when looking at highlights of 99 and 66 and the like) when looking back. People look at highlights of goals and comment on the bad goaltending. It's no wonder. Could there be a more obvious observation! A goalie gives up a goal on every shot in those highlights, of course they look bad! :lol:

Today, the fundamentals are better. The average goaltender today is better than the average goaltender in 1981. The proper fundamentals exist for almost all goalies today and therefore coaches can change the defensive mantra: "prevent shots, prevent goals". You can allow an infinite amount of shots today from 50 feet, and they aren't going to go in. Oddly enough, one of the goalies that had the worst fundamentals in the game (Tim Thomas) was even successful, proving that anyone could do it in Boston (see: Tuukka Rask being the all-time leader in NHL save pct. currently). It was really only Thomas that could give up a 40 footer along the ice from Vincent Lecavalier. It was really only Thomas that could give up that 35 footer from the left wing boards to Alexandre Burrows early in the SCF. That's why I always had such beef, everyone said "look at the numbers" and I'm saying "they could have been better!" His lack of focus on fundamentals put the Bruins in serious jeopardy in those playoffs. Nearly ousting them in the first round.

Counter, the next season. Another very good defensive team in Los Angeles runs roughshod over the competition. Jonathan Quick, of fundamentally sound quality, doesn't allow any games to get close. It's been a long time since we've seen such a steamroll job by a team through a playoffs, fair to say? It's not the Kings defense was better, hell, they don't have a HHOF playing 30 minutes a night, they don't have a Selke winner patrolling the center of the rink. But no games ever got put into jeopardy by Quick, that's why his performance blows Thomas' out of the water. It blows Niemi's out of the water, it blows Osgood's out of the water, it blows Giguere's out of the water. And it was certainly better than Fleury's and Ward's Cup wins. He left no doubt.

The butterfly has flaws and they are covered by equipment now...one of the least sportsmanlke things I've seen in sport is allowed to transpire every night in rinks across the world...
- They drop down so up high is exposed. Solution: chest protector to the ears.
- Their five hole is exposed because the Allaire's do not teach proper stick mechanics. Solution: just add to the pads to cover the five hole
- The space between their arms and their body is susceptible because there's no catching of the puck, just blocking. Solution: Bigger jerseys to help catch pucks, plus additions to the cuff of the glove and to the blocker to prevent these slip throughs.

They literally just want to form a blocking wall. Instead of working on these weaknesses, they just put on more pads. They just band-aid and band-aid and protect and protect...I hope one day they get serious about reducing goalie equipment. I don't wanna anyone to get hurt, they don't have to go out there in a t-shirt and a pair of Craig Ludwig's shin guards, but with all the technological advances we've made in equipment, I find it impossible to believe that goalies need to protect the area above their shoulders in order to not feel pain...these aren't chest protectors, they're net protectors. It's garbage.

And when I'm around youth teams, I can't even say anything because they have goalie coaches that are telling them this stuff. "Just make yourself big...don't worry so much about the rebound" So, because there's a rebound that's just dangling out there, I have to adjust my tactics to collapsing back to the net, and you get defensive hockey because everyone has to come back because the goalie can't do his job correctly.

Sometimes I just want to yell, "stand up! show that you know where the shot is going! stop taking the easy way out...make yourself better long term for the cost of some goals now...please..."

Goaltender used to be the most important position on the ice...remember that? It is by far the least important today...by far. And it's not even remotely close either. On behalf of the coach's union, save pct. should be a coaching stat, not a goalie stat.


:thumb: This is great stuff and I completely agree. I also liked how you took all the time to compose this so I didn't have to :D
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pavel Bure on Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:43 pm

Real good stuff there Mikey. Thanks.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby DelPen on Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:52 pm

If Mario approached hockey as a job instead of a game like Sid did when growing up then Mario would own every record. He'd have been even better on the ice and also in much better shape. It certainly would have kept him healthier and lengthened his career.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby columbia on Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:57 pm

The lack of minorities in baseball before the late 40s makes the cross-era comparisons especially problematic.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby newarenanow on Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:15 pm

Claude Girioux is the best player ever.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby relantel on Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:15 pm

DelPen wrote:If Mario approached hockey as a job instead of a game like Sid did when growing up then Mario would own every record. He'd have been even better on the ice and also in much better shape. It certainly would have kept him healthier and lengthened his career.

This last statement is most certainly true. Likely so is the 2nd. Own every record? Conjecture at best. Though, I imagine the application of Crosby's work-ethic would improve most every hockey player.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby since1970 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:45 pm

Mikey's post on goaltending pretty much sums up my feelings. I do think the goaltenders of the 80's were much better at covering angles and rebounds. I mentioned previously that some manager is going to figure out how to get a human wall in net, cause the athletism of some larger athletes is ridiculous today. Imagine Casey Hampton/Wil Woolfork in goalie equipment, although they still might not be a big as King Henrik, but seriously if you find someone six foot seven 285lbs and they are reasonably quick and mobile, and can skate of course, what's to stop them from trying, it's simplistic thought on my part, but I think you get where I'm going.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby DropEmJayBird on Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:48 pm

I understand your point Mikey - we see only goals when we watch highlight videos - but I think as some commenters have mentioned - the goals themselves look like easy saves today. Goalies are going to positioning because it works and the equipment allows it (like you said). Gretzky of 1980 is going to beat today's goalies with a half slapper above the circles. Like someone just mentioned with baseball and a lack of minorities - it's got to be near impossible to compare today to back then.

I'd love to see a reduction in goalie equipment - I think we'd see the real skill involved with goaltending instead of having it hidden behind layers and layers of positioning and technical ability that nobody can really appreciate without being in the know.

Here is a question I always struggle with, if Gretzky plays today in his prime, how many points does he score? 140 per season pretty easily?
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby Pavel Bure on Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:49 pm

since1970 wrote:Mikey's post on goaltending pretty much sums up my feelings. I do think the goaltenders of the 80's were much better at covering angles and rebounds. I mentioned previously that some manager is going to figure out how to get a human wall in net, cause the athletism of some larger athletes is ridiculous today. Imagine Casey Hampton/Wil Woolfork in goalie equipment, although they still might not be a big as King Henrik, but seriously if you find someone six foot seven 285lbs and they are reasonably quick and mobile, and can skate of course, what's to stop them from trying, it's simplistic thought on my part, but I think you get where I'm going.

It would destroy their knees and hips.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby DropEmJayBird on Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:49 pm

newarenanow wrote:Claude Girioux is the best player ever.


yeah, I don't even know why this thread got this far.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby since1970 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:07 pm

Pavel Bure wrote:
since1970 wrote:Mikey's post on goaltending pretty much sums up my feelings. I do think the goaltenders of the 80's were much better at covering angles and rebounds. I mentioned previously that some manager is going to figure out how to get a human wall in net, cause the athletism of some larger athletes is ridiculous today. Imagine Casey Hampton/Wil Woolfork in goalie equipment, although they still might not be a big as King Henrik, but seriously if you find someone six foot seven 285lbs and they are reasonably quick and mobile, and can skate of course, what's to stop them from trying, it's simplistic thought on my part, but I think you get where I'm going.

It would destroy their knees and hips.

the strain on moving and trying to be moved by 300lb lineman is in my opinion equally as hard on those joints, in football it's a lot of leverage and using your legs to explode, so I'm not sure the forces aren't equivalent, but I understand your reasoning....
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby mikey287 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:19 pm

DropEmJayBird wrote:I understand your point Mikey - we see only goals when we watch highlight videos - but I think as some commenters have mentioned - the goals themselves look like easy saves today. Goalies are going to positioning because it works and the equipment allows it (like you said). Gretzky of 1980 is going to beat today's goalies with a half slapper above the circles. Like someone just mentioned with baseball and a lack of minorities - it's got to be near impossible to compare today to back then.

I'd love to see a reduction in goalie equipment - I think we'd see the real skill involved with goaltending instead of having it hidden behind layers and layers of positioning and technical ability that nobody can really appreciate without being in the know.

Here is a question I always struggle with, if Gretzky plays today in his prime, how many points does he score? 140 per season pretty easily?


As someone that spends way too much time evaluating history, I'll say that you're not really going about it in a pertinent way. It's not "JayBird's 24 hours with a time machine", it's weighing the dominance a player had over one set of peers vs. another's dominance over their set of peers. That's tough, but just throwing up in your hands and going, "well, there were no blacks in baseball...therefore we're powerless to think about it..."

Now, I don't know baseball history at all. But, I'll make a hockey equivalent or try. Look at the pre-NHL days. You had the NHA in the east and the PCHA (and similar leagues) in the West. You have to weigh the differences between the two, rules, quality of competition, quality of the league, etc. Ok, Hugh Lehman was basically destroying a "half-league" or a "split league" out West, how does that rate vs. a Percy LeSueur or Paddy Moran who played in a bit more concentrated league but of a lower total competition level because he played before Lehman, in organized hockey's infancy (early 1900's). While there might not be a clear cut answer, it's at least worth discussing and researching if you're actually curious.

Just like we saw up-thread here. PB notes that Howe didn't face Europeans generally, and while that's true, we look at international competition of the time and it's fairly weak. The Soviets and the Czechs hockey production factory is still warming up, it's not spitting out talent at full speed yet. I'm not sure that many Europeans were good enough to make the NHL in 1955. So, I see no real good reason to penalize Howe on that front. He was playing against the best competition there was, it's not his fault Finland was playing handball or whatever at the time...

Negro Leagues too...how good were these leagues? What was the transition like for Negro league stars to the Major League circuit? Were there any meaningful competitions between them? I don't know the answer to any of these things, but it's something to look for. Just like when the Eastern hockey circuit combined with hockey from the Coast just after World War I. It's helpful to gauge how the players did in the fully integrated league. It's also helpful that they played for Stanley Cup championships against each other. So you can weigh the competition level fairly well.

Back to the goalie thing, I used to think the same thing. And then I went back and started watching entire games. Instead of highlights of goals to decide goaltending. The good goalies were quite good. Did offense out-evolve goaltending at this point in history? Yes. But we also had 2 of the 4 best players that will ever play the game on the ice, that certainly helped.

You see the goals today that would be "easy saves" back in 1982 also. A lot of players shoot right up by the ears on goalies today. Over the shoulder, next to the mask, tough area to grab for a butterfly goalie. That's an easy chest save for a goalie 30 years ago. His head isn't below the crossbar. That hits his chest, the puck lays in front of him and he paddles it to a defenseman all in one motion because they have better awareness of game situations...they don't just take the faceoff every. single. time. the. puck. comes. near. them. They don't think. Devan Dubnyk in Edmonton, does not think. He covers any puck that goes near him...well...news flash DOOB-nik...your team is dead last in the league in faceoff percentage and you have documented trouble breaking out against structure NZ defenses...you should be set up as a goalie and as a team to keep the puck moving to a defenseman and spark transition while opposing skates are still moving towards you so you can use the speed that you have down the wings (Hall, Paajarvi, etc.) to gain out-numbered attacks. But no...he covers a puck that hits off the back boards and gets within 10 feet of him, assuring that once again his team is hemmed in their own end for yet another shift...and the Oilers are dead last in even strength goals for I'm sure...they score on the power play because they have talent AND because the puck doesn't start in their own end.

There's more to goaltending than just stopping pucks. Which sounds silly to say, but just being a blocking wall is the absolute bare minimum you can do. And that's what goalies do today. Banging your stick on the ice when a penalty is over is the most communication you get out of a goalie most nights...there's few Billy Smith's any more that are constantly helping out their d-men by letting them know of what's happening behind them, up at the benches, who's open on the weak side, etc.

No. Goalies are taught to drop down, hope for the best, wait for help. They're powerless today. They have no positive effect on the game in general. They can only have a negative or neutral effect.

Re: Gretzky. Now, are we transplanting acne-faced, 160-pound Wayne out of 1981 and dropping him in the league today with his Graf (?) skates and wood stick and all that? Or does he get to grow up with the same luxuries that all the players got today to help augment his skill. If it's the only answer that makes any sense (the latter), he's the best player in the game for sure. The great anticipators are always the winners. He might not rattle off four more 200 point seasons, but he wins most Art Ross Trophies for sure.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby PensFanInDC on Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:53 pm

this thread is tldnr

All I will say is if you put Mario on the 1980 Edmonton team and have him play 8 years there I think his numbers would be higher than Gretzky's
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby mikey287 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:03 pm

Give Gretzky Jagr later in his career, a winger that can actually handle the DPE with aplomb and Gretzky hits 3000 points.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby DropEmJayBird on Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:35 pm

My goal is to keep this thread going because I like reading what Mikey writes. I think his case is compelling for sure. Though one thing I can't get over - the butterfly goalies of today force you to score with a better placed shot than the goalies previously. The larger equipment, the focus on staying big - it's done for that reason I believe, if you are going to get beat, get beat because it was a really good shot. Goalies in the 80's if you got them leaning the wrong way, or guessing - you were going to beat their reaction, and you might not have even needed the perfectly placed shot to do it. Just a layperson observation.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby DropEmJayBird on Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:37 pm

Also - I give Gretzky all the advantages of today. My wonder is - what would the best player in the history of the game score in a season today or in other terms - how would Crosby stack up point wise.
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Re: Gretzky isn't the greatest player ever

Postby since1970 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:14 pm

I'd say Gretzky would be @ 50/60pts. 15 goals, 35/45 assists. You have to remember he is 52yrs old....
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