Jump to content
×

Ducks Hockey Forum Coyotes Hockey Forum Bruins Hockey Forum Sabres Hockey Forum Flames Hockey Forum Hurricanes Hockey Forum Blackhawks Hockey Forum Avalanche Hockey Forum Blue Jackets Hockey Forum Stars Hockey Forum Red Wings Jackets Hockey Forum Oilers Hockey Forum Panthers Hockey Forum Kings Hockey Forum Wild Hockey Forum Canadiens Hockey Forum Predators Hockey Forum Devils Hockey Forum Islanders Hockey Forum Rangers Hockey Forum Senators Hockey Forum Flyers Hockey Forum Penguins Hockey Forum Sharks Hockey Forum Blues Hockey Forum Lightning Hockey Forum Maple Leafs Hockey Forum Canucks Hockey Forum Golden Knights Hockey Forum Capitals Hockey Forum Jets Hockey Forum

News Ticker
  • News Around the NHL
ScottM

Would You Take Gretzky or Lemieux?

Who would you choose?  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. Who would you choose?

    • Wayne Gretzky
      6
    • Mario Lemieux
      6


Recommended Posts

gretzky_lemieux640_3.jpg

 

There are four players for whom I could seriously entertain an argument as the greatest of all-time. Of the four, I personally consider the argument for Lemieux to be the weakest because his injury issues make much of his case a case of "what if's." In this thread, I want to ask a question related to the concept of who's the greater player, but in a slightly different manner. In this question, the "what if's" become fair game, if not necessary. If you could have either Gretzky or Lemieux to anchor your team for one season, and you had a guarantee that your choice would be in his prime and be healthy, which would you choose?

 

Gretzky is, of course, the only player to score at least 200 points in a season, and he did it four times In three of those seasons, he played in every game. But, Lemiuex once scored 199 points in a season, while missing a few games. I decided to look at each player's four best point per game seasons and compare them, with the assumption that they'd have the same point per game stat for a full 80 game season to keep things balanced. Yes, it's a big assumption, but this is just for the fun of the discussion, so indulge me. Btw, I did not adjust these totals for league scoring averages, but I have included the average goals per game per team for the given season in parentheses for reference.

 

Gretzky

1983-84 94G, 128A, 224P (3.94)

1985-86 52G, 163A, 215P (3.97)

1981-82 92G, 120A, 212P (4.01)

1984-85 73G, 135A, 208P (3.89)

 

Lemieux

1992-93 92G, 121A, 213P (3.63)

1988-89 89G, 120A, 209P (3.68)

1995-96 79G, 105A, 184P (3.14)

1987-88 73G, 102A, 175P (3.71)

 

So, at first glance, Gretzky's totals are a bit better, but the highest scoring season on Lemieux's list of best seasons had an average of nearly two-tenths of a goal per game per team than the highest scoring season on Gretzky's list. Plus, I think it's fair to say that Gretzky played with a better supporting cast than Lemieux did for most, if not all, of his peak seasons. With all real life factors included, I find Gretzky to clearly be the "greater" player, but the better peak player seems less clear. So, with all of that in mind, which one would you choose for that single, healthy, prime season?

Edited by ScottM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of these two, with the what ifs removed I take Lemieux all day, everyday.  I like his size , I like his goal scoring mentality he had greater speed.  the good big man beats the good little man - bill parcells. 

 

I would, however, take Bobby Orr over both of them. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, mojo1917 said:

I would, however, take Bobby Orr over both of them. 

 

As would I. I posed this particular question because it struck me as the most interesting. But, to quote you, I'd take Orr "all day, everyday." I'd probably say the same thing about Gordie Howe, but if either of those debates gets started, it would be a whole other can of worms. Lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went back and added a poll to the original post, so make sure you vote in it as well as giving your thoughts in the thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed on Lemieux's size and speed playing a big factor.

 

Of course, I caught "Super Mario" towards the end of his career as I became a full fledged hockey fan, but looking back, it was amazing to me the amount of abuse he took on the ice (meaning the physical punishment), yet he was able to not only withstand it, but dish it out as well.

 

I am in NO way dismissing Gretzky and his skill set, but I too don't think he scores as many points with today's smarter defenses, bigger, more mobile defensemen, and larger more athletic goaltenders.

I don't think Gretzky was  as fast, certainly not as strong as Lemieux.

His greatest assets were his playmaking ability, smarts on the ice, and just a unique way of seeing plays unfold....which of course, helped him in his point totals, as well as his linemates.

 

Mario Lemieux, today, however, would fit right in....and probably wouldn't miss a beat in his play style.

Would score just as many points as he would in his own era....perhaps MORE, given the clutching and grabbing is gone, and while the smaller Gretzky could possibly be slowed down some, teams would be hard pressed to do the same to a power forward free of clutching like Lemieux.

 

Ok...now that I chose a life long Penguin player over a former Oiler/King/Ranger (nevermind the Blues...THAT never happened! :5726b5f6e7bd6_bigteeth: ), I need to go get some Pepto.......... :zorro:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Hockey Junkie said:

Dont you think its an injustice to leave Gordie Howe out of this poll?  I do. 

 

Fair point, but he played in a different era.  Only broke the 100 point barrier twice.  I don't think it is a total injustice though.  You just can't compare the NHL game from the 50's. 60's and 70's to the 80's and early 90's.  It is a very fair question though. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Hockey Junkie said:

Dont you think its an injustice to leave Gordie Howe out of this poll?  I do. 

 

I could have included both Howe and Orr, but as I said above, I found this particular question to be the most interesting one-on-one comparison, which is what I was aiming for. I even said above that I'd take Howe over either of these guys if he were in the discussion. So, no, I don't think there's an injustice.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, pilldoc said:

 

Fair point, but he played in a different era.  Only broke the 100 point barrier twice.  I don't think it is a total injustice though.  You just can't compare the NHL game from the 50's. 60's and 70's to the 80's and early 90's.  It is a very fair question though. 

The goalie pads are bigger now than even when Wayne and Mario played.  Those too were sort of different eras.  Howe has to be included in the conversation because any time a defensive comparison comes up Orr will be included.  And so will Terry Sawchuk and Jackue Plante.  And Bernie Parent.  Ever see Sawchuck's gear?  Looks naked compared to todays goalies.  He had to have far more skill than Jones of the Sharks who takes up the whole net

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, ScottM said:

 

I could have included both Howe and Orr, but as I said above, I found this particular question to be the most interesting one-on-one comparison, which is what I was aiming for. I even said above that I'd take Howe over either of these guys if he were in the discussion. So, no, I don't think there's an injustice.

Yes and I thought about that after I posted.  So comparing them one on one, I do not think its possible to say one is better than the other

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Hockey Junkie said:

Yes and I thought about that after I posted.  So comparing them one on one, I do not think its possible to say one is better than the other

 

Well, it's certainly a matter of personal preference since it can't be proven, but I think it makes for an interesting conversation. I'm personally on he Lemieux bus for the reasons others have mentioned, but I agree that there's not a clear-cut definitive answer. I'm hoping an advocate for Gretzky will pop in so we can have comparison of points.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ScottM said:

 

Well, it's certainly a matter of personal preference since it can't be proven, but I think it makes for an interesting conversation. I'm personally on he Lemieux bus for the reasons others have mentioned, but I agree that there's not a clear-cut definitive answer. I'm hoping an advocate for Gretzky will pop in so we can have comparison of points.

Mario did not have the longevity due to injury.  But when he played he was the most unstoppable force to ever play.  Like Chamberlain in the NBA  So how can someone say Jordon is better than Wilt?  Cant.   Apples and Oranges

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Hockey Junkie said:

Mario did not have the longevity due to injury.  But when he played he was the most unstoppable force to ever play.  Like Chamberlain in the NBA  So how can someone say Jordon is better than Wilt?  Cant.   Apples and Oranges

 

I have to disagree that this is an apples and oranges comparison. For one thing, while Wilt and Jordan played very different positions in the NBA, Gretzky and Lemieux played the same position. Also, while Wilt and Jordan played in totally different eras, Gretzky's and Lemieux's careers largely overlapped. Now, different styles and builds would be a valid point, but I think there are more than enough similarities to draw comparisons and contrasts. Besides that, these kinds of discussions are just fun, and as long as everyone debates in good faith, comparing top players lists and debating differences is very interesting -- at least to a nerd like me. Lol

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, ScottM said:

 

I have to disagree that this is an apples and oranges comparison. For one thing, while Wilt and Jordan played very different positions in the NBA, Gretzky and Lemieux played the same position. Also, while Wilt and Jordan played in totally different eras, Gretzky's and Lemieux's careers largely overlapped. Now, different styles and builds would be a valid point, but I think there are more than enough similarities to draw comparisons and contrasts. Besides that, these kinds of discussions are just fun, and as long as everyone debates in good faith, comparing top players lists and debating differences is very interesting -- at least to a nerd like me. Lol

 

I'd still take Wilt Chamberlain today. Not so sure about Bill Russell, but I don't think I'd be unhappy with him.

 

If you gave either of them the physical regimen today's players have I think they would both dominate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Hockey Junkie said:

Mario did not have the longevity due to injury.  But when he played he was the most unstoppable force to ever play.  Like Chamberlain in the NBA  So how can someone say Jordon is better than Wilt?  Cant.   Apples and Oranges

 

 They didn't change the rules for Jordan.

 

They just called them differently.

 

They changed the rules for Chamberlain.

Edited by radoran

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, radoran said:

If you gave either of them the physical regimen today's players have I think they would both dominate.

 

That's one of the toughest things to account for when comparing across eras, but it's something I always try to take into consideration. This sort of thing is inexact "science" anyway.

 

But, back on the topic of this thread, if I applied that concept to Gretzky and Lemieux, I can't help but think that a young Lemieux only finds his advantages amplified.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ScottM said:

 

That's one of the toughest things to account for when comparing across eras, but it's something I always try to take into consideration. This sort of thing is inexact "science" anyway.

 

But, back on the topic of this thread, if I applied that concept to Gretzky and Lemieux, I can't help but think that a young Lemieux only finds his advantages amplified.

 

Exactly. I think Gretzky would be a HELL of a player today, like a Martin St. Louis (plus plus) type. I think Lemieux (with conditioning) would still just dominate play.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, radoran said:

 

Exactly. I think Gretzky would be a HELL of a player today, like a Martin St. Louis (plus plus) type. I think Lemieux (with conditioning) would still just dominate play.

 

I'm not so sure Gretzky would have fared well in the earlier decades of the league when play was sometimes downright brutal, at least not without some serious protection, but I don't think there's an era post-expansion that we wouldn't be an offensive juggernaut. My only gripe, and it's nothing to do with Gretzky himself, but rather those who have put him on an untouchable pedestal, is that people nowadays look at him as a guy that did everything better than everyone else, which is far from true. Some of the points in this thread have shown that.

 

I have to admit though, I have in the past wondered what would happen if you could put those two on the same line, moving Lemieux out to the wing and having Gretzky feed him. I look at Gretzky as one of the ultimate playmakers, probably behind only Orr, and Lemieux is a great example of a power goalscorer. That would be a strong combination of finesse and power. I'm not sure what, if anything, could be done to counteract that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ScottM said:

 

I'm not so sure Gretzky would have fared well in the earlier decades of the league when play was sometimes downright brutal, at least not without some serious protection, but I don't think there's an era post-expansion that we wouldn't be an offensive juggernaut. My only gripe, and it's nothing to do with Gretzky himself, but rather those who have put him on an untouchable pedestal, is that people nowadays look at him as a guy that did everything better than everyone else, which is far from true. Some of the points in this thread have shown that.

 

I have to admit though, I have in the past wondered what would happen if you could put those two on the same line, moving Lemieux out to the wing and having Gretzky feed him. I look at Gretzky as one of the ultimate playmakers, probably behind only Orr, and Lemieux is a great example of a power goalscorer. That would be a strong combination of finesse and power. I'm not sure what, if anything, could be done to counteract that.

 

Like Chamberlain, they changed the rules after Gretzky.

 

Unlike Chamberlain, I don't think he would be the same impact player.

 

He would still be a great player. Again like an MSL type. But he would not be the same dominant effect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, radoran said:

 

Like Chamberlain, they changed the rules after Gretzky.

 

Unlike Chamberlain, I don't think he would be the same impact player.

 

He would still be a great player. Again like an MSL type. But he would not be the same dominant effect.

 

I'm in partial agreement because I don't think there's any way in the world he'd have the same goalscoring dominance today. But, his vision and level of awareness and hockey smarts would still make him one of the greatest playmakers ever. I think he'd still be a juggernaut in that area and would still inflate his linemates' scoring levels.

 

Anyway, I think we're in agreement though, that he'd be affected much more than Lemieux.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, ScottM said:

 

I have to disagree that this is an apples and oranges comparison. For one thing, while Wilt and Jordan played very different positions in the NBA, Gretzky and Lemieux played the same position. Also, while Wilt and Jordan played in totally different eras, Gretzky's and Lemieux's careers largely overlapped. Now, different styles and builds would be a valid point, but I think there are more than enough similarities to draw comparisons and contrasts. Besides that, these kinds of discussions are just fun, and as long as everyone debates in good faith, comparing top players lists and debating differences is very interesting -- at least to a nerd like me. Lol

I meant comparing Jordan to Wilt is apples and oranges.  But you can compare Wayne and Mario.  Longevity goes to Wayne.  Orr played defense and as awesome as his numbers, ,like 40 goals as a defenseman, he cant be brought in the mix due to that.  IMO.  He was by far the best offensive defenseman to ever play, not even close. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ScottM said:

I find Gretzky to clearly be the "greater" player, but the better peak player seems less clear.


Most people will put Gretzky ahead of Lemieux and rhyme off all the usual regular season point totals and what not, but they never take into consideration the injuries that Lemieux had or the fact that Lemieux's era was lower scoring than Gretzky's. 

 

I've always considered them to be equally talented.

 

People talk about Lemieux's size but they forget about Gretzky's speed and agility. Lemieux was not a good skater... ever. He was slow. What Lemieux had was perfect puck handling skills, perfect shot accuracy, perfect positioning, and a willingness to shoot the puck from anywhere, and with no advanced warning -- something you can't get players today to do even if you beat them with a stick. One can't emphasize enough the importance of shooting the damn puck and doing it without a "5 Mississippi" windup. Lemieux would shoot from the slot, from the side boards, from behind the net, from the goal line, from everywhere. Players don't even attempt that stuff today and that's why they'll never be like Lemieux. 

 

Gretzky had speed, agility, flawless offensive awareness, perfect passing, perfect accuracy on his shot, and he'd fit in perfectly in today's high speed NHL with no clutching and grabbing. Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby give you a good look at what Gretzky would look like if he played in today's NHL. I can't think of any player that is like Lemieux today.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Random thoughts...


-Calling Lemieux "not a good skater" and "slow" is a travesty.

-People are talking as though Gretzky and Lemieux played in completely different eras, rather than 99 starting in the 1980 season, 66 in 1985.

-Adjusting for era, Gretzky scored almost 1,000 more points than Lemieux. If standard stats are more your bag, the gap jumps to 1,134 points. That's a HOF player's career difference there. I'm trying to picture any GM in the world, knowing how things will work out, choosing the guy who accumulates the lower total in that scenario.

-Re: the mentioning of McDavid and Crosby showing us what Gretzky was like. No. Crosby plays a puck control game down low, using power along the boards. Not Gretzky: he played an elusive style to creates mismatches. McDavid speeds the game up to a pace that others have trouble matching, while Wayne slowed it down to a chess match.

-I don't think Gretzky would be as dominant today, either, but then I don't think Mario would be, because the gap between the best players and worst is smaller now than when they played. They didn't play against the sort of international talent pool the NHL draws from today, as it was almost entirely Canadians in the league until they were established, and more talent started coming in from other countries. Imagine an NHL where there isn't a Crosby/Ovechkin debate simply because Ovechkin doesn't play in North America, or doesn't make it here until he's on the wrong side of 30.

-So, to the extent that 99 wouldn't be as dominant... How much less so? Maybe he would only win 8 or 9 scoring titles instead of 11. It's still far more than anybody else. Maybe he he only leads the league in assists 11 or 12 times instead of 16 times. Again, much more than #2. Maybe he only wins the Hart twice as many times as Mario instead of 3x.

 

So... You have one season, and can choose Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux? There's not a wrong answer, and nobody could be derided for their choice.

 

 

 

Edited by JR Ewing
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, JR Ewing said:

Random thoughts...


-Calling Lemieux "not a good skater" and "slow" is a travesty.

-People are talking as though Gretzky and Lemieux played in completely different eras, rather than 99 starting in the 1980 season, 66 in 1985.

-Adjusting for era, Gretzky scored almost 1,000 more points than Lemieux. If standard stats are more your bag, the gap jumps to 1,134 points. That's a HOF player's career difference there. I'm trying to picture any GM in the world, knowing how things will work out, choosing the guy who accumulates the lower total in that scenario.

-Re: the mentioning of McDavid and Crosby showing us what Gretzky was like. No. Crosby plays a puck control game down low, using power along the boards. Not Gretzky: he played an elusive style to creates mismatches. McDavid speeds the game up to a pace that others have trouble matching, while Wayne slowed it down to a chess match.

-I don't think Gretzky would be as dominant today, either, but then I don't think Mario would be, because the gap between the best players and worst is smaller now than when they played. They didn't play against the sort of international talent pool the NHL draws from today, as it was almost entirely Canadians in the league until they were established, and more talent started coming in from other countries. Imagine an NHL where there isn't a Crosby/Ovechkin debate simply because Ovechkin doesn't play in North America, or doesn't make it here until he's on the wrong side of 30.

-So, to the extent that 99 wouldn't be as dominant... How much less so? Maybe he would only win 8 or 9 scoring titles instead of 11. It's still far more than anybody else. Maybe he he only leads the league in assists 11 or 12 times instead of 16 times. Again, much more than #2. Maybe he only wins the Hart twice as many times as Mario instead of 3x.

 

So... You have one season, and can choose Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux? There's not a wrong answer, and nobody could be derided for their choice.

 

 

 

 

Very good post, Muscles. :ahappy:

 

Lemieux? Slow skater? Ummm, well, I've never been on the ice with him obviously but I have seen him blow by defenders enough times to think his skating ability wasn't really something to question.

So agreement with you there.

 

I think although Lemieux was a 'big man', most people viewed him as more 'finesse' (which of course, he had as well)....and those that simply saw his size, don't really give him full marks for how fast and agile he really was.

 

In short, I think Mario Lemieux really was the complete package.

Size, speed, strength, rink awareness and can play either a transition rush game or park himself somewhere around the net and score garbage goals.

 

And while Wayne Gretzky always had a 'bodyguard' helping to create space for him (McSorley, Graves, Buekeboom come to mind right away), Lemieux largely created his OWN space with his own strength and speed......though having guys like Ron Francis and Jaromir Jagr as linemates certainly didn't hurt either!

 

Again, not trying to discount The Great One, but still, in my mind, Lemieux is the guy to have on your team today if you are assured full health for 82 games.

 

Now, if you will excuse me, I need another shot of Pepto....

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Most Liked Posts in This Topic

    • 5
      Post
      Gretzky is a product of his era and the points the same way. I still think his vision  and feel for the game is unsurpassed, but he would never score 200 today.   Lemieux would still be a force today so game and under those rules I take him every time.
    • 3
      Post
      Random thoughts...
      -Calling Lemieux "not a good skater" and "slow" is a travesty. -People are talking as though Gretzky and Lemieux played in completely different eras, rather than 99 starting in the 1980 season, 66 in 1985. -Adjusting for era, Gretzky scored almost 1,000 more points than Lemieux. If standard stats are more your bag, the gap jumps to 1,134 points. That's a HOF player's career difference there. I'm trying to picture any GM in the world, knowing how things will work out, choosing the guy who accumulates the lower total in that scenario. -Re: the mentioning of McDavid and Crosby showing us what Gretzky was like. No. Crosby plays a puck control game down low, using power along the boards. Not Gretzky: he played an elusive style to creates mismatches. McDavid speeds the game up to a pace that others have trouble matching, while Wayne slowed it down to a chess match. -I don't think Gretzky would be as dominant today, either, but then I don't think Mario would be, because the gap between the best players and worst is smaller now than when they played. They didn't play against the sort of international talent pool the NHL draws from today, as it was almost entirely Canadians in the league until they were established, and more talent started coming in from other countries. Imagine an NHL where there isn't a Crosby/Ovechkin debate simply because Ovechkin doesn't play in North America, or doesn't make it here until he's on the wrong side of 30. -So, to the extent that 99 wouldn't be as dominant... How much less so? Maybe he would only win 8 or 9 scoring titles instead of 11. It's still far more than anybody else. Maybe he he only leads the league in assists 11 or 12 times instead of 16 times. Again, much more than #2. Maybe he only wins the Hart twice as many times as Mario instead of 3x.   So... You have one season, and can choose Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux? There's not a wrong answer, and nobody could be derided for their choice.      
    • 3
      Post
      @J0e Th0rnton   LOL...going by today's NHL rules, I saw about 4 or 5 penalties being committed in that highlight!   But yea, that clip clearly exemplifies Super Mario's strength, speed and skill. Blowing by that D-man (who was that defenseman by the way?), then skating while having that same D-man hacking and hanging all over his back, but still skilled enough to NOT lose the puck.   I will need yet ANOTHER shot of Pepto after this next post.....but yea, Penguin lifer Mario Lemieux on my team for 82 games in 2016-17 please! Now...excuse me....
    • 2
      Post
      Mario did not have the longevity due to injury.  But when he played he was the most unstoppable force to ever play.  Like Chamberlain in the NBA  So how can someone say Jordon is better than Wilt?  Cant.   Apples and Oranges
    • 2
      Post
        Truth be told, I'd take Lemieux's skating over Gretzky's. I had a friend try to argue me down one day that Gretzky is the best skater in history. It was funny how he started calling every fact I gave him "opinion" after I gave him a long list of guys that could skate circles around Gretzky.     That's the thing that made Gretzky so great. He used the incredible talents he did have to turn the game into something that suited his skill set. As I said before, I get so tired of people making Gretzky out to be a Superman who was better at everything than everybody. Why can't we just appreciate him for what he really was, considering how few players in history have had the ability to mold a game the way he could.     Exactly. Which is why I thought this conversation would be a fun one. I find it interesting to see who values which aspects of each player's game the most.
    • 2
      Post
      He can do it. Just 20 more years of 50 points.         Disregarding the fact that he still hasnt peaked yet.

About us

We are an enthusiastic community of HockeyFans who enjoy discussing the NHL and the great game of hockey in our Forums. Our members may write their own blogs, converse in chat, post pics in our gallery, join our fantasy hockey leagues and more. If you are looking for a friendly community to discuss hockey then register today and begin your conversation in our NET.

 

 Contact Us

 

Recent tweets

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!
Supporting Members help keep HockeyForums Advertisement Free
×