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thenewestlights

Crosby Better Than Gretzky?

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Posted (edited)

 

Michael Grange of The Globe and Mail wondered all the way back 

in 2010 if Crosby was already better than Gretzky. Did you see this 

article? Check his observations and discuss:

 

So let's try and connect some thoughts here.

 

Sidney Crosby is, by any measure, in the midst of an absolutely monstrous season. As Eric Duhatschek pointed out the other day, so far this year the Penguins star has temporarily 

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 what was a pretty spirited debate, one that gets waged at breakfast tables, bar stools and arena dressing rooms across the land: Sid or Ovie, who's better?

 

His conclusion is that unless Ovechkin does something special from here on in, Crosby at his current pace will separate himself from the competition inGretzky-like fashion.

 

Meanwhile James Mirtle 

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 away from the crowd around Crosby on the eve of the Leafs-Penguins game tonight and chats with his linemates/lottery winners, the otherwise undistinguished Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz, neither of whom is on pace to score 50 points this season.

 

And this is where I clumsily stick my nose in: How does what Crosby is doing this year - trouncing the competition with no-names for linemates - compare with Gretzky at his peak?

 

At first glance it doesn't. If he can keep it up Crosby is on pace to finish with 132 points - the most by someone in an Art Ross season not named Gretzky or Lemieux since Marcel Dionne in 1979-80 - but not in Gretzky's league.

 

In his prime, Gretzky would laugh at 132 points, given he scored that many or more for 12 straight seasons, and cracked 200 points, hockey's statistical Everest, four times.

 

But the numbers are closer than you'd think at least to this point this season (small sample size; small sample size!).

 

And while numbers don't make the hockey player, they have to be a big part of the story when you're discussing Gretzky; they're so overwhelming it almost seems pointless bring up anyone else not named Lemieux.

 

Consider though Gretzky's most ridiculous - in my mind - season; 1981-82 when he scored 92 goals, added 120 assists and finished with 212 points.

 

It's mind boggling, but it also goes without saying that goals were on sale back then. In 81-82, Gretzky averaged 2.65 points a game but teams were averaging 4.08 goals a night. The Oilers? Only 5.21 a game; that's all.

 

So far this season Crosby is averaging 1.66 points a game, but the league average is just 2.8 goals a game and the Penguins are averaging 3.13.

 

Which means, by ratio, Crosby is tearing it up, even compared with what might be the most prolific season in hockey history.

 

The ratio between Gretzky's points per game and goals per game league-wide was 1.54 (2.65/4.08) -- the smaller ratio the bigger the impact the individual is having, in theory.

 

The ratio between Gretzky's and the Oilers team total was 1.96.

 

Crosby? So far this year the ratio between his scoring and the league average is 1.68 or slightly less than Gretzky's. Put another way, Gretzky was having a bigger impact on league scoring overall.

 

But then we get to how Crosby is affected by his team and it gets a little more interesting as the ratio between his point totals and the team's goal scoring is 1.89.

 

Translation?

 

So far this season Crosby is having a bigger impact on his team's scoring than Gretzky did on the Oilers at the peak of the fire wagon era, when they were the most effervescent offensive show the NHL has ever seen.

 

Numbers can be twisted a lot of ways, but that kind of jumps out at me because it's at least one sign that Crosby - when totals are adjusted to account for league and team averages - is better than Gretzky, or at least more more impactful.

 

It feels weird to even write that.

 

Which isn't to say Crosby is better than Gretzky. There are many measures of an athlete and a hockey player and even if Sid the Kid does keep the pace this season, he'd need about five more like it before you could really make the case.

 

But what it does say, and sadly I'd add, is that we may never know exactly the potential ceiling for Crosby.

 

In his best years with the Oilers Gretzky always had two and sometimes as many as four teammates in the NHL's top-20 in points per game, we know who they are by rote: Kurri, Messier, Coffey, Anderson etc.

 

This year so far the Penguins don't have a single other player in the top-20 in points per game, though you'd think Evgeni Malkin will be eventually; he has before.

 

But Crosby takes the ice mostly with Kunitz and Dupuis; that's a long way from Kurri finishing your plays or having Coffey feeding you the puck on the power play.

 

And in a hard-cap league the reality is Crosby is stuck; the cavalry isn't coming.

 

Is Crosby better than Ovechkin? This year certainly.

 

Is Crosby better than Gretzky? A few more seasons like this one and it might be worth the argument. The problem is as long as he's playing with two guys named Mo -- his fate in a hard cap league -- it will be pretty hard to win it.

 

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:toast:

Edited by thenewestlights

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flyercanuck    6,440

Gretzky would have seasons where he'd have more assists than the 2nd place guy would have points. Then you throw on his 50-60-70-80-92 goals on top!  

 

 Crosby is currently the best player in the league...but he's never come close to dominating the way Gretzky did.

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Poulin20    912
2 hours ago, thenewestlights said:

 

Michael Grange of The Globe and Mail wondered all the way back 

in 2010 if Crosby was already better than Gretzky. Did you see this 

article?

 

As a rabid Flyers fan I wouldn't make it past the title of the article before closing my browser and then throwing up in my mouth a bit.

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musky    2

lol not even close. Gretzky is way better.

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J0e Th0rnton    1,441

This doesn't even deserve consideration.

 

The only guys that can remotely be considered in Gretzky's stratosphere are Orr, Howe and Lemieux. And even they are decidedly behind

 

 

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ruxpin    5,179

I go Gretzky, but i don't think it's as ridiculous as people here think.  I wonder about either player in the other's era. 

 

Crosby leads his team to another cup it becomes a difficult conversation. 

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Poulin20    912
6 minutes ago, ruxpin said:

Crosby leads his team to another cup 

 

Please don't even think about this kind of thing...

 

REPORTED!

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B21    1,103

Um....no. Gretzky is the best ever. Period. 

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mojo1917    2,033

i find it difficult to compare eras.

I think if one was to put today's Sidney Crosby in the 80's he'd score a bazillion points too.

think about how gnarly 87's game is, he goes into the corners, and in the "man places" in front of the net today...imagine if he had that game with his physicality playing in the wide open 80's .  I don't think it's as far fetched as people might want to think either.

 

Whenever Gretzky was on the ice you thought his team was going to score. He was amazing.

I can't imagine him with today's training and fitness routines not being an amazing player if he were in the league now.

I don't know if he'd be "the Great One" though.  

 

too tough to compare eras in sports, I think hockey is the most difficult/least apples to apples of all sports.

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WordsOfWisdom    827
On 8/10/2017 at 2:29 PM, flyercanuck said:

Gretzky would have seasons where he'd have more assists than the 2nd place guy would have points. Then you throw on his 50-60-70-80-92 goals on top!  

 

 Crosby is currently the best player in the league...but he's never come close to dominating the way Gretzky did.

 

Grange is a pretty smart cookie. He makes an excellent point: Crosby plays with two dead-weight wingers. Gretzky played with two of the greatest wingers of all time. In terms of team depth, there's no comparison. The Oilers were stacked. The modern day "dynasty" (snicker) Penguins crushed by modern day cap restrictions would lose 4-0 if they ran into that Oilers team. They wouldn't be able to match any of the Oilers lines talent for talent. 

 

Crosby would need to have Karlsson feeding him the puck, with Ovechkin on his wing, and then he'd be playing with the kind of talent that Gretzky had on his line (at least for one line only). :)

 

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flyercanuck    6,440
15 hours ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

 

Grange is a pretty smart cookie. He makes an excellent point: Crosby plays with two dead-weight wingers. Gretzky played with two of the greatest wingers of all time. In terms of team depth, there's no comparison. The Oilers were stacked. The modern day "dynasty" (snicker) Penguins crushed by modern day cap restrictions would lose 4-0 if they ran into that Oilers team. They wouldn't be able to match any of the Oilers lines talent for talent. 

 

Crosby would need to have Karlsson feeding him the puck, with Ovechkin on his wing, and then he'd be playing with the kind of talent that Gretzky had on his line (at least for one line only). :)

 

 

Well you'd think the greatest player of all time could at least beat out Connor McDavid in his teen/20 season for the scoring title. :dunno:

 

 Bobby Orr won as many Art Ross trophies, as a defencemen as Crosby has. :bow:

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OccamsRazor    4,405
On 8/10/2017 at 2:29 PM, flyercanuck said:

Gretzky would have seasons where he'd have more assists than the 2nd place guy would have points. Then you throw on his 50-60-70-80-92 goals on top!  

 

 Crosby is currently the best player in the league...but he's never come close to dominating the way Gretzky did.

 

Yeah well Gretz did all that in an era where teams didn't really play defense like they do now.

 

And those goalies pads were so small.

 

$

 

Today much bigger.

 

$

 

 

Gretz would not come close to those stats today were goalies are 6-6 not 5' 10"....no way. And i think Cindy is a better skater as well.

 

As much as i hate Sid he has played in a much harder era. I can't imagine how much better Sid would have been back in Gretz era.

 

This is my opinion.

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flyercanuck    6,440
17 minutes ago, OccamsRazor said:

 

Yeah well Gretz did all that in an era where teams didn't really play defense like they do now.

 

And those goalies pads were so small.

 

$

 

Today much bigger.

 

$

 

 

Gretz would not come close to those stats today were goalies are 6-6 not 5' 10"....no way. And i think Cindy is a better skater as well.

 

As much as i hate Sid he has played in a much harder era. I can't imagine how much better Sid would have been back in Gretz era.

 

This is my opinion.

 

 Teams didn't play as well defensively...yet Gretzky was the one winning the Art Ross 10 times...7 in a row. Putting up more assists than the next guy had points. Etc. etc. etc.  You'd think since he had it so easy that the other top players would be giving him a go...like they do with Crosby today.

 

 Meanwhile Sid has won TWO Art Ross trophies...and never dominated the scoring like Gretzky did many times. 

 

 If it was so easy for everyone to score back then...how come the other guys put up half the points Gretzky did? 

 

 I agree the amount he put up was padded...but the fact he outscored everyone else by so far has never been equaled by Crosby. Crosby getting outscored by a teenager doesn't better Gretzky blowing away all competition year after year. Even if he didn't have the better quality sticks, equipment, training, diet that Crosby has today.

 

 IMHO.

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OccamsRazor    4,405
4 minutes ago, flyercanuck said:

Putting up more assists than the next guy had points. Etc. etc. etc.

 

Ok well that proves the NHL was no where as talent and deep as it is today. Much harder to play against today.

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OccamsRazor    4,405
Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, flyercanuck said:

If it was so easy for everyone to score back then...how come the other guys put up half the points Gretzky did? 

 

Simple talent pool wasn't very good as it is today. It was easier for stars to stand out. Players are bigger faster and smarter than back then. Easily.

 

Gretz would never pot 92 goals versus today's team and goalies....never!

Edited by OccamsRazor

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OccamsRazor    4,405

@flyercanuck

 

It is why i always said an asterisk needs to be placed by Babe Ruth's records...

 

...he did all that without even having to play with black people in his league!!!

 

Just saying.

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flyercanuck    6,440
3 minutes ago, OccamsRazor said:

 

Simple talent pool wasn't very good as it is today. It was easier for stars to stand out. Players are bigger faster and smarter than back then. Easily.

 

Gretz would never pot 92 goals versus today's team and goalies....never!

 

I agree he wouldn't put up the same points. I already said that.  I agree athletes are better today. But if we're going to put todays Crosby against Gretzky it's only fair to let Gretzky have the same quality of equipment and training. I'm comparing Gretzkys career relative to his peers then. Same with Orr. Howe. Lemieux. If Gretzky played today, he'd likely also be in better shape than he was back then. He'd also be using composite sticks etc. 

 

 My point is Gretzky dominated the league. Dominated. Crosby doesn't.

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OccamsRazor    4,405
2 minutes ago, flyercanuck said:

My point is Gretzky dominated the league. Dominated. Crosby doesn't.

 

I guess.

 

Gretz won 4 Cups by 27 i think.

 

Sid has 3 Cups by 30. Not too shabby.

 

So depends on what you call success.

 

Sid will never be able to catch Gretz stat wise.

 

Yet as you say we'd never know how good the greats would have been today with today's training techniques nutrition too.

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WordsOfWisdom    827
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, flyercanuck said:

 

Well you'd think the greatest player of all time could at least beat out Connor McDavid in his teen/20 season for the scoring title. :dunno:

 

 Bobby Orr won as many Art Ross trophies, as a defencemen as Crosby has. :bow:

 

I didn't say he was the greatest player ever. He's the greatest player today. How his numbers compare with the greats of the past require a few things:

  • Compare him to the league averages of his time
  • See how the league averages have changed over time
  • Compare teams (today's "very good" Penguins versus the 80's "best team ever made" Oilers). Parity has made it impossible for teams or players to stand out from the pack. Every game is a coin toss, and in that environment, great players are lost amongst a sea of blandness. Nobody dominates any more because the league won't allow it. 
  • The 1980's NHL didn't have any Russian players in it. The league was almost exclusively Canadian players. Today's NHL is much more international. The level of competition today is higher.

 

:)

 

Edited by WordsOfWisdom

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flyercanuck    6,440
43 minutes ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

 

I didn't say he was the greatest player ever. He's the greatest player today. How his numbers compare with the greats of the past require a few things:

  • Compare him to the league averages of his time
  • See how the league averages have changed over time
  • Compare teams (today's "very good" Penguins versus the 80's "best team ever made" Oilers). Parity has made it impossible for teams or players to stand out from the pack. Every game is a coin toss, and in that environment, great players are lost amongst a sea of blandness. Nobody dominates any more because the league won't allow it. 
  • The 1980's NHL didn't have any Russian players in it. The league was almost exclusively Canadian players. Today's NHL is much more international. The level of competition today is higher.

 

:)

 

 

 I'm on the "greatest player today" wagon with Crosby. Have been for a decade.

 

 The topic is, is he better than Gretzky. I don't think so. Taking into consideration the eras they played in.

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WordsOfWisdom    827
5 hours ago, flyercanuck said:

 

 I'm on the "greatest player today" wagon with Crosby. Have been for a decade.

 

 The topic is, is he better than Gretzky. I don't think so. Taking into consideration the eras they played in.

 

I see Crosby as being on a par with someone like Steve Yzerman or Joe Sakic. (Which is to say, he will be remembered as one of the all-time greats, but he's one tier below the level that includes Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, Howe, etc.

 

:)

 

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OccamsRazor    4,405
16 hours ago, WordsOfWisdom said:

 

I see Crosby as being on a par with someone like Steve Yzerman or Joe Sakic. (Which is to say, he will be remembered as one of the all-time greats, but he's one tier below the level that includes Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, Howe, etc.

 

:)

 

 

I don't agree with this at all.

 

You're talking about a generational talent with all this talent now in modern times #1 overall and the talent back then no where as good and neither of them went #1 overall.

 

Yzerman went 4th and Sakic went 15th to me great players but no where in the same class as Crosby.

 

I'm cool not agreeing like Sid or not he is the best thing to come out in forever.

 

Now i think Mcdavid has a chance to be as good if not better than he i guess we'll see.

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B21    1,103

@flyercanuck

@OccamsRazor

@WordsOfWisdom

 

Let's compromise. 

 

Crosby would have put up "insane" numbers in the Gretzky era as well...just not as "insane" as Gretzky.

 

Gretzky would be the best player in the Crosby era...just not by as much (i.e. - by as many points).

 

There. Settled. :cheers:

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OccamsRazor    4,405
1 minute ago, B21 said:

@flyercanuck

@OccamsRazor

@WordsOfWisdom

 

Let's compromise. 

 

Crosby would have put up "insane" numbers in the Gretzky era as well...just not as "insane" as Gretzky.

 

Gretzky would be the best player in the Crosby era...just not by as much (i.e. - by as many points).

 

There. Settled. :cheers:

 

Fine by me since we have no way of proving any of it. Just opinions and we don't have to agree.

 

However i think we can agree the overall talent is better these days and the players are bigger, stronger and faster.

 

And Gretz is whom these great players look up to and try to be like along with the Orrs and other greats of the past.

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      Post
         Teams didn't play as well defensively...yet Gretzky was the one winning the Art Ross 10 times...7 in a row. Putting up more assists than the next guy had points. Etc. etc. etc.  You'd think since he had it so easy that the other top players would be giving him a go...like they do with Crosby today.    Meanwhile Sid has won TWO Art Ross trophies...and never dominated the scoring like Gretzky did many times.     If it was so easy for everyone to score back then...how come the other guys put up half the points Gretzky did?     I agree the amount he put up was padded...but the fact he outscored everyone else by so far has never been equaled by Crosby. Crosby getting outscored by a teenager doesn't better Gretzky blowing away all competition year after year. Even if he didn't have the better quality sticks, equipment, training, diet that Crosby has today.    IMHO.
    • 2
      Post
      I go Gretzky, but i don't think it's as ridiculous as people here think.  I wonder about either player in the other's era.    Crosby leads his team to another cup it becomes a difficult conversation. 
    • 2
      Post
        I see Crosby as being on a par with someone like Steve Yzerman or Joe Sakic. (Which is to say, he will be remembered as one of the all-time greats, but he's one tier below the level that includes Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, Howe, etc.    
    • 2
      Post
      @flyercanuck @OccamsRazor @WordsOfWisdom   Let's compromise.    Crosby would have put up "insane" numbers in the Gretzky era as well...just not as "insane" as Gretzky.   Gretzky would be the best player in the Crosby era...just not by as much (i.e. - by as many points).   There. Settled. 
    • 2
      Post
        Ovechkin maybe ten years ago.  Ovechkin now?  Not so much....
    • 1
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        As a rabid Flyers fan I wouldn't make it past the title of the article before closing my browser and then throwing up in my mouth a bit.

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