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Wayne Gretzky (1961-), "The Great One" - NHL Legend (1979-1999) and All-Time Leading Scorer


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It's pointless to tag all of Wayne Gretzky's career NHL records - he has his own Wikipedia page of them.

Here's how times have changed: In the 1980s, Wayne Gretzky was so famous that I used to tell people that the three most famous people in the world born in the same year as me were Eddie Murphy, Princess Di, and Wayne Gretzky.

Feeding off of these posts, I'm very curious how much I missed not fully appreciating watching Gretzky play - *everyone* knew him, but I didn't understand what he was doing, or how good he really was, except from what I kept reading in the papers.

So how good *was* he?

How *important* was he?

Is he a Wilt Chamberlain? A Babe Ruth?

And for those in the "Mario Lemieux Camp," why would you pick Lemieux over Gretzky?

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Without going into GOAT, I think that it's safe to say that Gretzky is in the top 5.

The amazing thing about him was that he was not particularly fast, not big, no standout physical attributes.

The thing that made him great was his anticipation. He knew what was going to happen before anyone else did. He was like Radar O'Reilly.

(Of course it didn't hurt that his 80s Oilers teams had multiple Hall of Famers. One of the greatest assemblages of talent ever. In any sport.)

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Without going into GOAT, I think that it's safe to say that Gretzky is in the top 5.

The amazing thing about him was that he was not particularly fast, not big, no standout physical attributes.

The thing that made him great was his anticipation. He knew what was going to happen before anyone else did. He was like Radar O'Reilly.

You just described Larry Bird.

I'd say you also just described Brooks Robinson except:

1) Nobody (including me) claims he's Top 5 in terms of GOAT - not enough offense.

2) His wasn't anticipation so much as aggression (he charged everything) and reflexes.

And something tells me you just picked a fight. :lol:

I get the feeling that *nobody* would have issues with someone who chose Bobby Orr as GOAT.

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You just described Larry Bird.

I would have said Michael Jordan, to whom I equate Gretsky in a lot of respects.  There can be no analogue to Gretsky in Baseball or Football, where the size of the team and nature of the game diminishes any one person's individual achievements, or any individual sport, where personal achievement is the sole point.

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Even if it wasn't speed, his ice-awareness was incredible, and may not ever be duplicated.

I don't care what you think about fighting in the NHL, but he had Semenko and McSorley to deal with anyone who messed with him when he was in Edmonton and LA.  Yes, he was getting older, but in St. Louis and New York they didn't protect him like they should have done.

I get the feeling that *nobody* would have issues with someone who chose Bobby Orr as GOAT.

My mom wouldn't have that issue.

The first time I went nuts in the living room...6-5 final.  Canada won 2 games to 1.  All of the 3 games were 6-5 (Soviets won the first, Canada the second and third).

If you have time, watch all three games on YouTube.  Canada Cup 1987.  Two of the best teams you'll ever see, although the games weren't goaltending gems.  If you do watch, the Canadian announcer is the dad of the guy who currently calls the games for the St. Louis Blues.

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