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Posted - 06/01/2010 :  09:43:04  Reply with Quote
"The league didnt change to a trapping style until mid to late 90's and Lemieux had 10-12 years of the same era of offensive league to prove he was better than Gretzky. Show me the year his all time was better than the Great one."

The year is 1997. Before retiring for 3 years and a half, Mario Lemieux's ppg avg was 2.01 (1494 pts in 745 games).

There are so many coffeehouse amateur comments here by people who think they know so much and yet have obviously never played hockey that it makes little sense arguing with this kind of stuff. Like suddenly, Alex Kovalev, Martin Straka, Robert Lang and als become great teammates...ok... Except of course that they were not great at any other point of their carreers when they were not playing with 66. Give me Kurri, Messier, Anderson, Tikkanen, Coffey (in his prime), Fuhr etc. anytime over these monday-morning quarterbacks. And as much as I liked Ron Francis, the best in the Lemieux's teammates mentioned, he was no Messier.

I overall agree with some simple comments above who just said that face-to-face, Mario > Gretzky. Teamwise, that's perhaps a better question, as some of the wiser commentators above suggested. I am not choosing between the two.

But the stuff about Mario having no heart compared to Gretzky (as if Dave Semenko never existed) cannot be left unanswered. Mario "looked" lazy and Gretzky looked like he worked hard, but this to me only tells how easy it was for Lemieux to play in the world's best league. Roger Federer does not need to go full throttle all the way against weaker opponents. But foremost, I will although leave it to Frank Deford of Newsweek/SI, back in the 90's, to put this heart debate to rest, or so I hope :

"Notwithstanding Gretzky's abiding majesty, posterity will never forget that no athlete—not even the sainted Lou Gehrig—has ever before Lemieux been struck down by a deadly disease at the very moment when he was the best of his sport at the best he ever would be. And since: Lemieux has achieved miraculously in remission, struggling, on the side, with a back injury so grievous that it has benched him after he merely laced up a skate. That is the stuff that answers people these days when they wonder where all our sports heroes have gone."
- Frank Deford, Newsweek
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107 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2010 :  16:38:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I like them both but i had to give it to the great one....there is a reason they call him that
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Posted - 06/30/2010 :  15:23:32  Reply with Quote
I can tell you that Wayne Gretzky is the best NHL player of all time. Mario Lemieux is the fourth best NHL player of all time. i heard. I picked Gretzky. He is awsome.
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Posted - 07/02/2010 :  13:59:42  Reply with Quote
Gretzky was great but Mario was Magnificient, Only Bobby Orr could take over the game the way mario lemieux did he may have looked lazy but he was a monster. From a stats perspective Gretzky is the man but over the course of his career gretzky played with 10 - 15 first ballot hall of famers (Messier Hull, Coffee Kurri Robataille and the list goes on where as lemieux played with 4 Jagr, Coffee, Francis & Maybe Recchi) So from the point of view of who could of been more dominant it was Lemieux for me but like all of these questions about who's better it is simply an opinion
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Posted - 07/08/2010 :  22:58:02  Reply with Quote

Well the debate rages on, and this time I had to respond, I had to give my opinion to this subject as to who was better Gretzky or Lemieux. I'm a proud Canadian myself, and although I’m not a hockey expert, or actually follow the sport that much, I feel like some people just don’t get the mark. As I ponder this I try to think of this in a pure logical, common sense approach, a pure sense of substance and in my opinion the choice is incredibly clear, Gretzky was the better of the 2 players and I’ll tell you why,

Over time, I’ve seen different opinions in papers and magazines, offering the constant debate that rages on to this day, but there are a few facts that rarely if ever have been addressed. There are 2 main topics that come to mind that give Gretzky that advantage, that brilliance that Lemieux never had, that sets the 2 players apart. In the early part of Gretzky joining the NHL, Gretzky was a skinny, weak, teen that was one of the lightest, players to play the game. In the early part of Gretzky joining the NHL, many critics believed Gretzky would never last, that Gretzky would get killed if he ever went professional, because people assumed he never had the aptitude to overcome the physical play of the game. In one article, another analogy was that he would be tossed around like a rag doll on the ice. Well, not only was Gretzky so good for so long with few injuries, but also he had what Lemieux never had, the prowess to be protect himself defensively and physically. On the contrary, Lemieux entered the NHL one of the biggest and strongest in the league which you think would have helped him, but it didn’t. I was watching some old video of Gretzky on youtube recently, old games from the early 80’s and I was impressed to see how the skinny young weak prodigy could not only dodge the big players from an offensive check, but how he could anticipate any player near him and get out of the way before being physically hurt in the boards. Gretzky had a way of going into a corner, retrieving the puck by doing an incredible 180 degree turn and dodge out of harms way before anyone could touch him. Many retired players later said that it was very hard to even check Gretzky, because he knew how to anticipate an opponent’s move. This sixth sense of Gretzky allowed him to accomplish 20 years in the NHL with minimal injuries. Think of the odds Gretzky overcame from a statistical curve by being so skinny and weak; yet to dodge injury in a league where your 25lbs lighter than most of your opponents. That wasn’t just luck, it was an incredible skill that Gretzky had that Lemieux never did. Lemieuxs skill simply consisted of plowing through players.
I hear a lot that Gretzky played on a stacked team (the Edmonton Oilers), and that the talent-loaded team contributed to his success, but that’s not entirely true either since he rarely played along side Messier, Anderson, or Coffey unless there was a power play. I think it was also a credit to Gretzky’s talent that he could go from a “stacked” Oilers team to a talent-less bunch of nobody’s last place Kings team and still manage to finish with nearly 170 points in his first kings year as well as average nearly 150 points a season over his next 4 years……Absolutely Astonishing! Gretzky’s skill also went well beyond just his points total. It is understood that Lemieux style of play was different, but Lemieux’s style of play caused himself to have many different types of injuries, back problems and so forth. Lemieux just didn’t have the karma to dodge danger or have the physical STAMINA like Gretzky did; and he paid the price for it.
The other scenario I would like to explain is that Lemieux never finished an entire full season while he played and this is important. I never thought it was really fair for people to compare players that get exhausted due to stress, physically, mentally, and on the road, during the course of the season and players that periodically get injured. The effect of slow depletion is what I like to call the FATIGUE FACTOR affecting everything from point performance to health. It has been proven statistically that there is usually a 20% drop in the point performance of a player due to this fatigue factor. The first 40 games of the season for most players, is statistically 20% higher than the last 40 games. I never thought it was fair that someone like Lemieux could get injured at one point throughout the season, miss 10 games and come back refreshed physically and mentally to complete the season. Lemieux experienced this A LOT throughout his career and he never had to experience the FATIGUE FACTOR as much as Gretzky did. When a player misses games due to an injury, not only does the injury get time to heal, but their whole body, physically and mentally. The whole body gets a rest, not only the injury, and when they come back, they are out of the FATIGUE FACTOR for a while. Here is an incredible example for you to ponder on; in Gretzky’s 1981-82 record-breaking goal scoring season, he scored 50 goals in his first 39 games. Now, if you were to PRO-RATE that performance throughout the entire season, Gretzky should have scored 102 goals that season. Why didn’t he? Because throughout the year, he came in to the fatigue factor and his goal performance went down during the last 20 games of that season…. And could you blame him? Gretzky, although playing, was being broke done physically and mentally, and in the end he finished with only 92 goals. Lemieux routinely was injured mid-way throughout the season, and came back new and refreshed to complete the season before the fatigue factor affected him. In retrospect, that’s why I see a lot of debates based on Lemieux’s PRO-RATE would-have/could-have stats. The problem with pro-rating in general is that it doesn’t factor in true predictions and chance scenarios of injuries or missed games due to a set of unanticipated circumstances. These bologna PRO- RATING stats literally assume a player will be playing a set amount of games without stopping. But you need to factor in unforseen happenings not only in life, but in sports as well. The fact that Lemieux was routinely injured and missed many games to recover further shows that Gretzkys genius for his sport goes way beyond just point stats, but his injury and circumstance record. Gretzky tops Lemieux slightly in the career ppg (1.92 to 1.88) but in reality, how many of Gretzkys games were played in the FATIGUE FACTOR compared to Lemieux? I would assume at least 500 games. We should have given Gretzky a break every time Lemieux had an injury and see how it would have turned out……. intriguing thought. I had to laugh when in one early season, Lemieux had 16 goals in his first 11 games right and people were already PRO-RATING his chance to challenge Gretzkys 92 goal season. Preposterous. Thank god as karma set in, and as fate would have it, Lemieux was unable to play AGAIN and the race was done. To think that critics were trying to PRO-RATE that little start of the season to breaking Gretzkys goal record is ludicrous, as with Lemieuxs impressive 41 points in 12 game start.
He should have finished the season with 273 points…but didn’t. Both Gretzky and Lemieux have experienced short scoring explosive game point streaks during their careers, but you should not Pro-rate that streak as being able to sustain that level of play the entire season. That’s just no realistic. Also as a side note, Lets us remember that there were times when Lemieux had the opportunity to show his abilities to top Gretzky side by side in the international competitions such as the 1987 Canada cup, only to lose to Gretzky statistically again, and Lemieux never missed any games that time either. I took into account lemieuxs illness and cancer, but in the end this debate removed that because Lemieux routinely had injuries and missed games well before he was diagnosed in the early 90’s. Lemieux started his NHL season in 1984. Considering Gretzky owns mostly all the records that matter, Lemieux has had several different chances of opportunity to challenge and beat any of Gretzkys many other indirect scoring records but always came up just a little bit short…ppg career/ play-off stat records/ point streak etc…….
These 2 scenarios I’ve mentioned I rarely see from debaters. Over the years I’ve been reading various NHL magazines and newspaper articles made from hundreds of critics, players, writers and managers, and I’ve never seen an article yet where Mario Lemieux, even as slight as it may be, has ever been regarded above Gretzky. You just can’t excuse Gretzkys longevity of greatness for so long.
In the future, many up and coming greats in the NHL would need a couple factors to ever be able to break Gretzkys career points record;
q They would have to have Gretzkys god given scoring gift on the ice throughout the entire season
q Have to maintain that skill level for at least 18+ years.
q Have the genius to dodge injuries
q And have at least 18 full seasons of minimal injury play.
Lemieux, as great as he may have been, will forever be in Gretzky’s shadow, and he should be. I’ve been all over the U.S., and Gretzky’s name is pop culture now for most of North America and even the world, but Lemieux’s isn’t, since most people outside of Pittsburgh or the hockey realm don’t know who Mario is. In my opinion, I don’t see any player today that has the COMPLETE genius factor to ever-top Gretzky statistically. Quite a few players in the top 5 NHL career stats were good players, but they mostly got there because they played 4 or 5 more seasons than Gretzky and are still 1000 points back. In reality, it’s bewildering to think that unless a prodigy comes along in the next few years, Gretzky will be old and gray, or may never even witness anyone ever being able to challenge his career points total. Even at 140 points per season, it will take at least 20 years to come close to Gretzkys record. In the end, it’s not really a contest, there’s really nothing to debate at all, and Gretzky has been and will be for the long-term future the greatest hockey player ever. Period.

Username - HarvardPHD88
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115 Posts

Posted - 11/19/2010 :  01:17:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mario had amazing skill. He proved it in those few years he came back during the trap years. Unfortunately Mario was cursed with injuries, so he could never get the numbers that Gretzky did.

Gretzky also was very skilled. He was also the better team player, and had ridiculous peripheral vision. His eyes are the side of his head!

In my opinion, no one will ever break Gretzky's numbers. He was way ahead of his time, and the game has advanced so much defensively.

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Posted - 03/22/2011 :  01:16:36  Reply with Quote
The stats do not speak for themselves.

If you take the average goals per game and point per game totals of Mario Lemieux, and then add the same amount of games played by Gretzky to Mario that he WOULD have had if he didn't fight cancer and miss so many games, he would end up 9 points shy of Wayne Gretzkys career points mark, and over 50 goals more.

Fun huh?
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Posted - 03/22/2011 :  02:04:41  Reply with Quote
Part of the reason I think Gretzky was better was because he could stay healthy, for the most part, while Lemieux couldn't. Granted Lemieux did get cancer but even before then. If you look at todays NHL, Gaborik could be top 5 for points in the league every year if he were healthy, but he can't seem to stay healthy, where as a guy like Ovechkin who is able to stay healthy is always in the top 5. Health plays a huge factor.
Lemieux also had an advantage on Gretzky in almost every tangible way. Make Gretzky Lemieux size with the same strength and then it would probably be a no contest. Gretzky did what he did while being so small. Given the physical advantages with Lemieux and he still couldn't surpass Gretzky, it's hard not to say that Gretzky wasn't better.

With that said, no matter what anyone posts, it's not going to change anyones mind or end the arguement. It's an endless debate that comes down to personal opinion. Either way, I wish I could have seen them play more when I was growing up, because noone will ever equal what those two could do.
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Posted - 05/24/2011 :  14:22:04  Reply with Quote
Basically, were lookin at 2 of the greatest ever!
Who can say which one was better?
Maybe someone should ask Gretzky or Mario what they think. hmmmm
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Top Prospect

50 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2011 :  16:02:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Guest5001

The stats do not speak for themselves.

If you take the average goals per game and point per game totals of Mario Lemieux, and then add the same amount of games played by Gretzky to Mario that he WOULD have had if he didn't fight cancer and miss so many games, he would end up 9 points shy of Wayne Gretzkys career points mark, and over 50 goals more.

Fun huh?

That's not actually true. Gretzky played 1487 games, Lemieux played 915. That's a difference of 572 games. Lemieux retired with a career PPG average of 1.88, so 572 x 1.88 = 1075 points more had he played all those games. He actally scored 1723 points, so that plus 1075 = 2798. Gretzky scored 2857, so that minus Lemieux's theoretical 2798 = a difference of 59 points, not 9.

So not sure if you MEANT 59 and just mistyped, or not. But either way, its 59 points shy. Also, you are now giving him credit for basically 7 seasons worth of games he never played. As he got older, his PPG average would have gone down more (just as it did between his 1st and 2nd retirements), so in actual fact he would have finished further back than 59 points, IMO.

Regardless, I'll always favor ACTUALLY doing something over "could have maybe if things had worked out better", so Gretzky is still my answer.
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Posted - 06/24/2011 :  03:54:00  Reply with Quote
Here's a stat for ya: Theres only a handful of players who have hit the 100 assist mark. Every player on that list has only done it once, except for Gretzky. He has done it 11 times.

11 TIMES!!!! 11 times he cleared 100 assists in a season, just remarkable!

ill give you all a moment for that to sink in.

ps I love lemieux too

good night;)
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PickupHockey Pro

671 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2011 :  10:36:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
To say "Lemieux would have scored more points if he didn't get cancer" is the same as saying "Gretzky would have scored more points if he didn't get older". So that kind of talk is meaningless...

Statistically, Gretzky has a significant advantage for both "peak-era performance" and for "entire career performance".

Non-statistically, Gretzky has more accomplishments, awards, championships, etc..etc..

Gretzky has a little more respect and recognition as both a representative and diplomat for the game, and league, as well.

Since retiring, Gretzky has been very involved in amateur and international hockey at all levels including GMing, coaching and ownership. Lemieux has not been as much - his post-career involvement being primarily as owner of the team he inherited as compensation.

It doesn't seem to matter what categories or stipulations you apply to these two. It doesn't seem to matter if you include stats or not...whether you include just on-the-ice performance or just off-the-ice performance....whether you include just "career peak" versus "whole career"...or heck, whether you include just "post career"...

It seems that Gretz wins every single category by at least a little bit, and in some cases, by a lot!

In fact, the closest category of the thousands that you can compare these two by is this: Gretzky is the only player to ever break the 200 pt barrier, and Lemieux came closest - hitting the painful (and ironic) total of 199. Quite fitting.
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Posted - 08/17/2011 :  20:47:15  Reply with Quote
Anybody remembe the 87 series against the russian baddies? We got away with the honors because Lemieux to Gertzky to Lemieux...and SCORRREEE! Now comeon...These two players ARE awesome! But if i could only chose one....Lemieux! Better skater,b etter hands, strong as a horse and a great view od the ice (I do agree that Gretzky wat the gratest playmaker). Thats my tho cents...:)
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PickupHockey Legend

6113 Posts

Posted - 02/26/2013 :  07:47:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Damn you Saginaw crossover! I thought you were finally extinct and not you not only pop up, you bring to the forefront one of the most annoying threads.......Way to go idiot.
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240 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2013 :  11:34:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think Lemeiux had more raw or natural skill.
Gretzky saw the ice and distributed the puck the best.
I find it hard to compare the two they were much different players.
One hint about who I voted for...

66 is > than 99
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104 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2013 :  04:03:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I couldnt read all nine pages.
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