It would be great if we had the plus/minus stats and goals-for and against stats of Gordie Howe for his entire career. (He was +45 at 40 years old in 1968-69, which is ridiculous.) We do now have the plus/minus of his playoffs from 1960 to 1970, which is underwhelming (he was +6 over 65 games), but then those are all seasons when he was past age 30 and when the Wings were no longer the top team. The thing with Mario is, he was dependent on power-plays for a lot of his points. That's sort of understandable from 1984 to 1989-ish, because the Pens simply didn't have a lot of teammates who could play at his level. But surprisingly he still scored the same (or more) of his points on the PP after the Pens were stacked with talented players. In 1995-96 he scored almost 50% of his points on the power-play. From 1995-96 to 1996-97, the Pens' team power-play opportunities dropped by about 90 or so, and accordingly Lemieux scored 40 fewer points overall as the Pens scored nearly a goal-per-game less than the preceding season. Before we conclude that Lemieux's offensive peak was clearly above Howe's (I suppose it was, but I could be convinced otherwise), I'd like to see how many PP opportunities Howe was getting per game. I mean, I've no idea how good/average Howe was on the power-play, but in seasons like 1987-88 and 1988-89 the Pens had 491 to 500 (!) power-play opportunities, which is insane. My suspicion is, in addition to far lower scoring in the early/mid-50s overall compared to Mario's prime, that 1950s' era top-scorers could depend less on PP for points. I'm not saying that Mario didn't have the higher offensive ceiling anyway, and you have to also assume Mario himself (being huge and physically unstoppable) drew a lot of the Pens' PP opportunities, but I wonder if the even-strength peak-scoring years of Howe and Lemieux were compared, relative to era and to contemporary peers, if Howe wouldn't narrow the purely offensive gap yet further.