Better peak: Howe vs Lemieux?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by steve141, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    Over their four best seasons:

    Howe - 82 games, 59 goals, 69 assists, 128 points (1951 to 1954)
    Lemieux - 71 games, 62 goals, 84 assists, 146 points (1988-89, 1993, and 1996)
    Gretzky - 80 games, 59 goals, 105 assists, 163 points (1982, 1984-1986)

    Gretzky is 12% ahead of Lemieux and 27% ahead of Howe. Lemieux is 14% ahead of Howe.
     
  2. bobholly39

    bobholly39 Registered User

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    That's the point though. Hockey in 1953 vs Hockey in 1989 if we're comparing these 2 seasons. There's like a million adjustments to make if you want to figure out which season is better because the eras are so different.

    It's easier to compare 2018 McDavid to 2016 Kane, 2 years apart. Is pp up a bit? If so that's likely the main/only difference. Minor adjustment if any.

    But Lemieux vs Howe for offensive peak there's so many things to consider. I'm not saying i have the perfect formula to "adjust" or compare the 2 properly - all i'm saying is it takes more than "hey he beat this guy by this % of points, that means he's better than this other guy who only beat #2 by a lesser % of points".

    I also think Raw point totals don't get given enough importance in across era comparison.
    In recent post by Hockey Outsider he's saying it wouldn't be fair to give Mario full 82 games instead of 71 games when adjusting his peak because he didn't play those games. And it's true. You can't project for an extra 11 games with 100% certainty. Which is why for Lemieux 160 points in 60 games can't be prorated to 220+ points in 84 games, as who knows what happens in those extra 24 games.

    Yet when adjusting points - we somehow feel comfortably saying that just because Howe hit 95 points in 1953 - he would be able to do....what 50 more points? 70 more? in 1989. That's a whole ton of assumptions and prorating going on.
     
  3. Ageless

    Ageless Registered User

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    A couple years after Howe scored 95 believeau scored 89-90. Who came close to 199 points after Lemieux scored it huh? Nvm it's 44 more points more than anyone besides Gretzky has scored. Lemieux was a far more dominant player.
     
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  4. Sentinel

    Sentinel Registered User

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    Bourque and Jagr came close to the second one. That's doable. Top 5 in scoring for twenty straight years while remaining elite defensively is far less likely, to the point of impossibility.
     
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  5. MIAtoBKLYN

    MIAtoBKLYN Registered User

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    In a league with so much parity that an expansion team is gifted rules where they are contenders from Day 1, yes, Howe's accomplishments are more attainable than what Gretzky, Lemieux and Orr did.
     
  6. BigBadBruins7708

    BigBadBruins7708 Registered User

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    well Beliveau is considered #5/#6 all time. Its not like some scrub came close to Howe.

    You're talking about 2 instances where top 5 players of all time scored close to each other.
     
  7. Staniowski

    Staniowski Registered User

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    Both Lidstrom and Chelios were 1st team all-stars at age 40.
     
  8. daver

    daver Registered User

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    But part of Howe's legacy is having a peak that was, at worst, #4 all-time and a reason why he is in the Big Four. There is not even a unanimous #5 player, let alone one that could argubly be close to the Big 4.

    He has one season that is apart from any other non-Big Four player but if his other best seasons can be reasonably compared with the best of a handful of others (Richard, Bellivuea, Hull, Jagr, Mikita) then that looks weak in comparison to Mario who played at his absolute peak for a more extended period.
     
  9. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    True, except Ray Bourque was a 1st team AST member as a 19 year old - first season and as a 40 year old, last season.Neither Chelios nor Lidstrom had such an achievement.

    Ray Bourque Stats | Hockey-Reference.com
     
  10. Ageless

    Ageless Registered User

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    Lemieux would mop the floor with beliveau is what I'm getting at. NOBODY approached anything Lemieux did besides Gretzky
    199 points
    160 in 60
    44 point playoff
    34 points in 15 game playoff
    46 game point streak.
    168 points
    161 in 70

    Lemieux had NO peers. Just like Gretzky. You wanna talk peak. ^thats a peak.
     
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  11. Ageless

    Ageless Registered User

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    I truly believe that if Gretzky never existed that Lemieux would be universally regarded the best forward or even player of all time. The fact that Gretzky does exist hurts Lemieux. Lemieux would smoke any player from howes era.
     
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  12. Ageless

    Ageless Registered User

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    Lemieux as a 37 mummy had a damn 13 point lead in the scoring race midway through the season in 02-03. 2003! Not the 50' not the 60's. Injuries derailed him and yet still finished 2nd in ppg to peak forsberg.

    Drop Lemieux in any era and he would be by far the best. He's the most era proof player of the big four. Even more then Gretzky. Dominant in the 80's 90's and 2000's
     
  13. Staniowski

    Staniowski Registered User

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    Yes, indeed. I didn't realize Bourque did it too. So, 3 defensemen in the past 20 years have been 1st teamers at the age of 40.

    You're right, Bourque was a great player out of the gate in 1979. He was one of my favourites, especially in the '80s.
     
  14. Dennis Bonvie

    Dennis Bonvie Registered User

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    So was Bourque.
     
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  15. Dennis Bonvie

    Dennis Bonvie Registered User

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    Mario was also -25 in 67 games 2003.

    You have to realize that there is more to the game than just point production.
     
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  16. Dennis Bonvie

    Dennis Bonvie Registered User

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    Seriously.

    Context is Howe playing in a lower scoring era, with wooden sticks with flat blades where being physical and standing up for yourself were necessities.

    Context is not, what if there was a time machine to drop 1989 Mario Lemieux into the 1954 NHL.

    As for the Joe Malone reference, that was a post to a different person and you took it (not surprisingly) out of context to make a different argument.
     
  17. bobholly39

    bobholly39 Registered User

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    Ok great, got it. And Howe scored 95 points in 1953, fantastic.
    How come Beliveau scored 88 3 years later? Was he almost just as good? In 1959 so 6 years apart Dickie Moore scored 96 points.

    Were hockey sticks no longer wooden? Were blades less flat? Was being physical and standing up for yourself no longer necessary which permitted more offense?

    I highly doubt it.

    Lemieux's peak is as high as it is because no one (sans Gretzky) ever dominated the game offensively as he did. No one else even came CLOSE. Except for maybe Howe - 40 years earlier in a completely different era.

    If you want to truly compare peaks there's a ton of context that needs to be put in perspective.

    Because Howe scored 95 points you ASSUME he would score 150-170+ in the 1980s? That's a TON of points being assumed. Because that's what saying Howe peaked as high as lemieux offensively, or close. Lemieux's peak is 199 points. Lemieux's peak is 1993 where he was on pace for 220+ points.

    I acknowledge that you have to account for era adjustments - i'm not suggesting to use raw statistics at face value. The problem is there are a ton of "what if" type of questions you need to ask to try to adjust for era properly. Which is the point. And if you don't want to bother with all these what if's, and the proper context, fine. Limit yourself to admiring Howe for dominating his era, and Lemieux/Gretzky for theirs - and don't suggest Howe peaked as high or higher than Lemieux offensively.
     
  18. Dennis Bonvie

    Dennis Bonvie Registered User

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    "... and don't suggest Howe peaked as high or higher than Lemieux offensively."

    Nowhere in my post did I mention anything about Howe's or Mario's peak. Didn't even mention either of them at all. If you feel compelled to reply, please try to address what I actually stated.

    My only point was that what ifs are not context. Context is actual circumstances. What ifs are pure speculation. I prefer not to deal with speculation when evaluating players.
     
  19. Kyle McMahon

    Kyle McMahon Registered User

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    The increasingly available plus-minus data also suggests that no all-time great bled goals against like Lemieux did.
     
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  20. daver

    daver Registered User

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    Good post.

    You literally cannot compare the offensive production of two players straight up, even if they played at the same time, even if they played on the same team, without getting into assumptions.

    It really should be almost a non-starter to compare a six team league where between '51 and '54 there were seven PPG seasons with Howe having four of them to a 21 team league that in 88/89 had only six players in the Top 50 below a PPG.

    I don't think it is unreasonable to question Howe's peak as being close to Mario's and Wayne's given he only had one season that truly stood out from his peers - 52/53.

    At the same time, I don't think it is unreasonable to question Mario's peak as being quite as high as it came at a time where offense was at a an all-time high.

    But I think it's unreasonable to put them on the same level from an offensive production standpoint.
     
  21. bobholly39

    bobholly39 Registered User

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    What are actual circumstances when comparing offensive peaks? 199 points to 95 points? Lower scoring eras of the 50s? Why is it just assumed it's a lowing scoring era because - and not because actual on-ice talent was lacking and not able to score as much? That's a huge amount of speculation there.

    Adjusting across eras is almost always pure speculation. Which is my point. Context. What ifs. Speculation. Adjusting across eras. It's all the same.

    You can look at league average goal per game all you want that's still only a number that has only so much actual impact/value on adjusting for era.
     
  22. Sentinel

    Sentinel Registered User

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    Except Howe would mop the floor with Lemieux. Physically speaking, of course.

    Dude, the guy was out more than he was in! And in the brutal O6 Era... forget it.
     
  23. Sentinel

    Sentinel Registered User

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    I've been saying this for years. But to some people "Hart" and "Art Ross" are essentially the same thing.

    Howe is the best two-way forward in the Top 10 of All Time. There is nobody in the Top 10 that comes even close. THAT (and his longevity) is what makes him superior to Lemieux in my eyes. Then you go down, down, down that list until you see Makarov (Top 10-15), Yzerman, Sakic, Messier, Trottier, and Mikita.
     
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  24. K Fleur

    K Fleur If You Know You Know

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    According to hockey-reference

    Gretzky played 1487 games and was on the ice for 2285 goals against (1.53 against per game)

    Lemieux played 915 games and was on the ice for 1364 goals against (1.49 against per game)



    Granted those are just raw totals with little context, but it looks like this is another area where Lemieux comes up short to Gretzky.
     
  25. daver

    daver Registered User

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    So do the hockey writers and the players.
     

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