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Gretzky and Draymond

A couple of SportsWorld links for this Monday morning:

Draymond Green: Draymond Green provides a language problem …

Wayne Gretzky: Trying to define Wayne Gretzky’s greatness without reverting to those amazing numbers …

Have something coming later today on Novak Djokovic, something coming on Peyton Manning, something coming on the Bruce Springsteen concert I saw in Washington and so on.

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16 Responses to Gretzky and Draymond

  1. My son, to a much lesser extent of course, is like Draymond Green. He averages 9 points, 7 rebound and 2.5 assists in High School. He is the team’s best defensive player by far & can, and does play all five positions. He starts at forward, is the backup point guard and sometimes guards the post. He does this at 6′ 2″. He’s the 4th best scorer on the team and does lead the team in rebounding. But when he’s not on the floor, the team is demonstrably worse off. The parents that watch him play every game get it & often remark that he’s the best player on the team. But if you don’t watch every game, especially if you rely on the numbers, he looks like the 3rd or 4th best player on the team. You have to watch what Draymond Green does every night or it’s never going to compute. That’s the problem, of course, with the draft. You look at the measurables of size, speed and vertical jump. You look at the stats. And you completely miss what kind of player he is & his importance to the team.

  2. ericanadian says:

    Growing up as a Flames fan in Calgary, I can’t say as I knew many people who liked Gretzky. I also still feel like Bobby Orr is the greatest of all time.

  3. BobDD says:

    Every time I hear people trying to explain how Wayne Gretzky wasn’t the greatest, they end up merely describing what he overcame to become the greatest.

  4. otistaylor89 says:

    Bias because I saw most of Bobby Orr’s games in the early 70’s, but don’t see Gretzky being a better player. Both played on teams that had a lot talent, although Gretzky’s goalies were probably better. I have a big question of the level of talent the teams the 80’s Oilers played against in the West or lack there of. Orr went up against top level talent on a higher percentage bases and generally made them look foolish – while playing on bad knees. Gretzky played very little defense because he didn’t need to, while Orr was the best defenseman in the league as well as being a great offensive force.

    • Stephen says:

      One thing that always needs to be kept in mind when thinking about Orr’s career is the effect of expansion.

      When he came into the league, there were six teams. By the time Orr’s career was effectively over, less than ten years later (’74-’75), that number had tripled to 18. That’s a LOT of dilution of talent.

      Yes, Orr was excellent in his rookie season, when there were still just six teams’ worth of players; yes, Orr was able to take advantage of the spread of talent in a way that few other players of his time were able to match.

      But there’s no question that there was a steady stream of new players into the league throughout Orr’s career, players who wouldn’t have been in the NHL if the number of teams had remained at six. These players were not close to Orr’s talent level, and their presence on the ice made him seem more effective than he perhaps actually was. If there had been six teams throughout his career, it’s doubtful from where I sit that he would have seemed quite so dominant.

      • ericanadian says:

        Expansion certainly didn’t help things during Gretzky’s time. We ended up with a bunch of coaches deciding that the best way to compete using inferior talent was the trap and it was a huge reason for scoring taking a dive.

      • John says:

        The biggest problem with that argument is that it doesn’t allow for the fact that the NHL was even more diluted in Gretzky’s time. Bobby Orr never referred to another franchise as Mickey Mouse as Wayne did.

    • Darrel says:

      Growing up an Oilers fan it pains me to say this but if not the Oilers the Flames would have been multiple cup winners. That team was great but their timing was awful. To say the talent in the west was less in the 80’s means you weren’t watching the games. Even those Jets teams were very good but cursed to play in the same division with Oil and Flames. My admittedly biased opinion is Gretzky is the GOAT. You can argue otherwise of course but saying the west was no good in his era is not how I’d go about it.

  5. NevadaMark says:

    Bobby Orr was of course a great, great player. But he was hurt A LOT and hung em up early. Isn’t staying healthy an important skill when you are talking about the greatest of all time?

    • otistaylor89 says:

      He actually miss very few games – out of his 9 full seasons he missed almost half his 2nd year about 15 his 2nd to last year. Orr lead the league in games his last full year with 80. He played 9 mostly full seasons by age 26.

  6. jalabar says:

    Bobby Orr… statistically, Coffey was close. I have heard New Englanders call Ray Bourque the best defenseman ever, meaning it’s not totally clear that Orr was the best defenseman in Bruin history, much less NHL. I personally think Lidstrom was every bit the defenseman Orr was, in a different (changed) League. Gretzky, statistically no one is close. Orr was the greatest defenseman of all-time. Gretzky was the greatest forward. Hasek was probably the greatest goalie. I rank them Gretz, Orr, Hasek.

  7. Kent Morgan says:

    Living in Winnipeg, we saw Gretzky, Messier and the Oilers beat the Jets many times and I always said Wayne was the greatest player. Sometimes that was just to irritate my friends with whom I shared season tickets who didn’t like Gretzky for obvious reasons. Truthfully, I think those of us who grew up playing hockey (and still play) and know the game would agree that Bobby Orr was the best defenseman. Not so sure about Gretzky at forward despite his scoring achievements. While the game has changed so much over the years with more speed and size, I expect here in Western Canada many might take Gordie Howe in his prime as their first choice if they were starting a team. He could do it all and did it for the longest time.

  8. BobDD says:

    Bobby Orr more defense, but Don Rickles most offensive puckster?

  9. pjr1427 says:

    Minor note: Steve Young’s injury came not from a linebacker, but from a safety (Aeneas Williams). It was Lawrence Phillips’ job to pick up Williams.

  10. puckpaul11 says:

    a few thoughts on Gretzky here. for one, watching what i consider to be the greatest hockey ever played, the 1987 Canada Cup, it is astonishing to watch Gretzky shift after shift create scoring opportunities. i have seen no one else in hockey ever do that. great players seem to always break out at some point in a game, but Gretzky did it ALL the TIME. his consistency at the great heights that he reached was one of his greatest attributes, and he came to play nearly every night in his prime…that was a key reason he racked up so many points. even if it was against lesser competition at times, the fact that he cared to keep playing to his fullest shouldn’t penalize him here.

    i also watched Gretzky turn ordinary or worse players into scoring wizards…Chris Kontos for a spell on the LA Kings. Dave Semenko, essentially a bodyguard, scored 26 goals one year i believe. i recall watching Gretzky cut across the offensive zone just inside the blue line, drawing attention his way, and then flip an impossibly gorgeous back hand pass against the grain right onto Kontos’s stick open on the opposite side of the goal, from where Kontos scored easily.

    Best? who knows? Lemieux in his prime was unstoppable and had he been healthy could have challenged Gretzky of many records. but he seemed to not reach Gretzky’s vision of the game, the one aspect for which i doubt there was a better player. Orr, Howe, and others….really impossible to compare. does it matter? Gretzky was a marvel to watch. That Oilers team is still my favorite team to watch play, so fast and skilled with great personality and drive.

  11. Jim LaBrie says:

    Joe – did you ever post your Springsteen story? (Or am I missing it?)

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