Dynamic Duo's: NHL's Highest-Scoring Teammates

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Hockey Outsider, Jun 13, 2005.

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  1. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    We all know about individual players like Gretzky, Orr and Howe who dominated the scoring races. However, it’s also interesting to see when pairs of teammates put up a lot of goals, assists or points in the same season. This is a list of two teammates who recorded the most combined goals, assists and points in a single season. (All statistics are adjusted for era and there are some rounding errors, some of the totals may be off by 1).

    Most Goals

    1 1996 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux (70) + Jaromir Jagr (63) = 134
    2 1971 Boston Bruins Phil Esposito (77) + John Bucyk (51) = 128
    3 1985 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (62) + Jari Kurri (60) = 122
    4 1989 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux (75) + Rob Brown (43) = 118
    5 1984 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (72) + Glenn Anderson (44) = 117
    6 1930 Boston Bruins Ralph "Cooney" Weiland (58) + Aubrey "Dit" Clapper (55) = 114
    7 1974 Boston Bruins Phil Esposito (66) + Ken Hodge (48) = 114
    8 2003 Vancouver Canucks Markus Naslund (58) + Todd Bertuzzi (55) = 113
    9 1976 WHA Quebec Nordiques Marc Tardif (61) + Real Cloutier (51) = 112
    10 2001 Pittsburgh Penguins Jaromir Jagr (60) + Alexei Kovalev (51) = 112
    11 1993 Buffalo Sabres Alexander Mogilny (65) + Pat LaFontaine (45) = 111
    12 1928 Montreal Canadiens Howie Morenz (60) + Aurel Joliat (50) = 110
    13 2001 Colorado Avalanche Joe Sakic (63) + Milan Hejduk (47) = 110
    14 1956 Montreal Canadiens Jean Beliveau (61) + Maurice Richard (49) = 110
    15 1975 WHA Winnipeg Jets Bobby Hull (65) + Anders Hedberg (44) = 110
    16 1982 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (71) + Mark Messier (38) = 110
    17 1989 Los Angeles Kings Bernie Nicholls (61) + Wayne Gretzky (47) = 109
    18 1925 Toronto St. Pats Cecil "Babe" Dye (70) + Jack Adams (38) = 109
    19 1953 Detroit Red Wings Gordie Howe (66) + Ted Lindsay (42) = 109
    20 1993 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux (59) + Kevin Stevens (47) = 107
    21 1977 Montreal Canadiens Steve Shutt (55) + Guy Lafleur (51) = 107
    22 1997 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux (55) + Jaromir Jagr (51) = 107
    23 1991 St_ Louis Blues Brett Hull (82) + Adam Oates (23) = 106
    24 1998 Philadelphia Flyers John LeClair (62) + Rod Brind'Amour (43) = 106
    25 1994 St_ Louis Blues Brett Hull (55) + Brendan Shanahan (50) = 105

    Lemieux and Gretzky each make four appearances on this list. Obviously they were both great goal-scorers, but their playmaking ability also helped lesser skilled teammates like Brown and Stevens put up a ton of goals.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise on this list is Naslund and Bertuzzi from 2003. Once we account for the fact that 2003 was a very low-scoring year, we see that the two Canucks had a truly historic year (in terms of goal-scoring).

    Most Assists

    1 1986 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (128) + Paul Coffey (70) = 199
    2 1925 Montreal Canadiens Bill Boucher (109) + Aurel Joliat (89) = 199
    3 1926 Ottawa Senators Frank Nighbor (101) + Cy Denneny (92) = 194
    4 1922 WCHL Edmonton Eskimos Duke Keats (119) + Joe Simpson (64) = 183
    5 1996 Pittsburgh Penguins Ron Francis (88) + Mario Lemieux (88) = 176
    6 1985 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (107) + Paul Coffey (66) = 174
    7 1971 Boston Bruins Bobby Orr (98) + Phil Esposito (72) = 171
    8 1930 New York Rangers Frank Boucher (92) + Bill Cook (76) = 169
    9 1925 Ottawa Senators Cy Denneny (127) + King Clancy (39) = 166
    10 1928 Montreal Canadiens Howie Morenz (102) + Sylvio Mantha (62) = 165
    11 1925 Toronto St. Pats Clarence "Happy" Day (101) + Jack Adams (63) = 165
    12 1989 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux (94) + Paul Coffey (68) = 162
    13 1987 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (103) + Mark Messier (59) = 162
    14 1984 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (93) + Paul Coffey (68) = 161
    15 1989 Los Angeles Kings Wayne Gretzky (94) + Bernie Nicholls (65) = 160
    16 1929 Toronto Maple Leafs Andrew Blair (95) + Irvine "Ace" Bailey (62) = 158
    17 1930 Boston Bruins Dutch Gainor (79) + Ralph "Cooney" Weiland (76) = 155
    18 1974 Boston Bruins Bobby Orr (83) + Phil Esposito (71) = 155
    19 1983 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (100) + Paul Coffey (53) = 154
    20 1931 Toronto Maple Leafs Joe Primeau (97) + Irvine "Ace" Bailey (56) = 153
    21 1988 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (91) + Mark Messier (61) = 153
    22 1926 WCHL Saskatoon Crescents Corbett Denneny (85) + Bill Cook (67) = 152
    23 1929 New York Rangers Frank Boucher (102) + Bill Cook (49) = 152
    24 1932 Toronto Maple Leafs Joe Primeau (91) + Harvey "Busher" Jackson (60) = 151
    25 1927 Chicago Blackhawks Dick Irvin (105) + Duncan "Mickey" MacKay (45) = 151

    Here’s yet another scoring list that Wayne Gretzky dominates. He makes an incredible 7 appearances on this list. He was the best playmaker in history, though this list shows he played with some great talents as well. Coffey and Cook are the only players with more than two appearances here.

    Most Points

    1 1996 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux (158) + Jaromir Jagr (146) = 305
    2 1925 Montreal Canadiens Aurel Joliat (144) + Bill Boucher (143) = 287
    3 1971 Boston Bruins Phil Esposito (149) + Bobby Orr (136) = 286
    4 1986 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (172) + Paul Coffey (110) = 282
    5 1985 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (169) + Jari Kurri (110) = 280
    6 1928 Montreal Canadiens Howie Morenz (163) + Aurel Joliat (112) = 275
    7 1989 Los Angeles Kings Wayne Gretzky (142) + Bernie Nicholls (127) = 269
    8 1984 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (166) + Paul Coffey (101) = 267
    9 1989 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux (169) + Rob Brown (97) = 266
    10 1926 Ottawa Senators Cy Denneny (135) + Frank Nighbor (123) = 259
    11 1922 WCHL Edmonton Eskimos Duke Keats (165) + Joe Simpson (90) = 256
    12 1987 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (159) + Jari Kurri (94) = 253
    13 1974 Boston Bruins Phil Esposito (137) + Bobby Orr (114) = 252
    14 1983 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (161) + Mark Messier (87) = 248
    15 1972 Boston Bruins Phil Esposito (131) + Bobby Orr (115) = 247
    16 1999 Pittsburgh Penguins Jaromir Jagr (147) + Martin Straka (96) = 244
    17 1930 New York Rangers Frank Boucher (128) + Bill Cook (116) = 244
    18 1925 Ottawa Senators Cy Denneny (179) + King Clancy (64) = 243
    19 1999 Anaheim Mighty Ducks Teemu Selanne (125) + Paul Kariya (117) = 242
    20 1930 Boston Bruins Ralph "Cooney" Weiland (135) + Aubrey "Dit" Clapper (105) = 241
    21 2001 Pittsburgh Penguins Jaromir Jagr (134) + Alexei Kovalev (105) = 239
    22 1929 Toronto Maple Leafs Andrew Blair (124) + Irvine "Ace" Bailey (115) = 239
    23 1982 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (159) + Glenn Anderson (78) = 237
    24 1926 WCHL Saskatoon Crescents Bill Cook (120) + Corbett Denneny (116) = 236
    25 1925 Toronto St. Pats Clarence "Happy" Day (119) + Cecil "Babe" Dye (116) = 236

    Gotta love those ’96 Penguins. They topped the goal-scoring list and top this list as well. Never before have two players on the same team had such dominant offensive seasons. Lemieux and Jagr finished first and second in points by margins of 34% and 24%, respectively, over third-place Joe Sakic. Lemieux had 71 goals and 88 assists; Jagr had 64 goals and 83 assists.

    Gretzky makes seven appearances on this list, appearing alongside Coffey (twice), Kurri (twice), Nicholls, Messier and Anderson. Right from the beginning Gretzky made everyone he played with better, turning offensive dynamos like Blair MacDonald and Mike Krushelnyski into 40 goal scorers.

    Jagr and Esposito both make three appearances on this list, a testament to both their excellent individual skills, and the strength of their teammates. Surprisingly, they are the only players to appear on this list more than twice. Sorry, Mario.

    Personally I would have loved to see the ’28 Canadiens. Growing up in Montreal you hear all the stories about Richard, Beliveau, Lafleur, etc., but guys like Morenz and Joliat were just as great. From all written accounts (and from what little video footage still exists), they were both fantastically skilled, exciting athletes.

    A few great duos missed out on the list. Howe and Lindsay (225), Bossy and Trottier (223), Lafleur and Shutt (217), Mikita and Hull (206), Beliveau and Richard (203) and Clarke and Barber (199) were all close to making the top 50.

    As usual, comments, suggestions and "how did player x not make this list?!" are welcome.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2005
  2. Bring Back Bucky

    Bring Back Bucky Registered User

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    That was fun, Hockey outsider. Thank you.
     
  3. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    Very interesting stuff, Outsider.

    I have a question for you. How did you "adjust" the goals and assists for the players? I know there are a few different ways that it can be done I am just wondering how you worked it out.

    Thanks
     
  4. OpAck

    OpAck Registered User

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    Interesting read, nice work! :clap:

    I do think 1981-82 Bossy-Trottier make that list. Combined Goals-Assists-Points were 114-162-276
     
  5. Elite09

    Elite09 Registered User

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    Great list.

    Just wondering how you got the totals.

    Just quickly looking at a couple of years I see:

    84-85
    Gretzky 80-73-135-208
    Kurri 73-71-64-135

    Total goals 144
    Total Points 343


    85-86
    Gretzky 80-52-163-215
    Coffey 79-48-90-138

    Total assists 253
    Total points 353

    Great list, but I kinda thought Gretzky and the Oilers should top them all.
     
  6. Trottier

    Trottier Very Random

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    Yikes!

    I'm confused. Unless I'm misreading your compilation, there is a glaring omission. Linemates Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy combined for 114 goals in the 1981-82 season, good for the 6th highest ever in that single season category.

    That same season, they combined for 185 assists (4th in that category) and 276 total points, (6th in that category)!

    Likewise, the 1978-79 version of the Trottier/Bossy duo totaled an even higher 116 goals, and they should be listed at #14 in greatest single season points totals recorded by teammates.

    Regardless of adjustments for eras, there is no way their totals should drop from Top 10 all-time to off the list!

    :dunno:
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2005
  7. Luigi Lemieux

    Luigi Lemieux Registered User

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    they were adjusted for era. lemieux and jagr scoring 69 and 62 goals and 161 and 149 pts in 1996 is IMO(and according to the adjusted stats) more impressive than Gretz-Kurri or Gretz-Coffey's totals in the mid 80s.
     
  8. colonel_korn

    colonel_korn Luuuuuuuuuu....lay?

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    He did say the points, goals, etc. are adjusted (though I'm not sure how). Since the early 80's were a high-scoring era the totals were probably shifted downwards, putting them off the list.

    As an example, if you check out Gretzky and Messier in '82 (#16 on the goals list), Gretzky was scaled down from 92 goals to 71 and Messier from 50 down to 38. So they actually had 142 goals but it scaled down to 110, 32 fewer goals. If you do the same with Trottier and Bossy's totals I imagine that puts them off the list.

    I'm kind of surprised to see Naslund and Bertuzzi in the top 10 on the goal-scoring duos, they had a great 02-03 season but I didn't realize it was up among the best.
     
  9. Elite09

    Elite09 Registered User

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    We will agree to disagree. I don't think any players in any area topped what Gretz and the Oilers did for 10 years. They changed the game and were a joy to watch. Best hockey I have ever seen in my life.
     
  10. Habsfan 32

    Habsfan 32 Registered User

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    Nice list. :handclap:
     
  11. Luigi Lemieux

    Luigi Lemieux Registered User

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    i'm not arguing that lemieux is better than gretzky or the pens were better than the oilers. all i'm saying is there was no greater duo than lemieux and jagr..imo of course. they put up insane numbers together and apart, so there is no evident mooching.
     
  12. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    Thanks everyone, I really do appreciate all the comments. Lists like this are fun to make, and are even more fun when they generate a lot of discussion.

    Here I will respond to a few points being raised:

    - I adjust scoring stats for four different things: 1) the length of the schedule, 2) the level of offense, 3) the number of assists per goal and 4) roster sizes. I adjusted stats to a season with an 82 game schedule, 6.4 goals per game (the all-time average), 1.55 assists per goal (the all-time average) and modern roster sizes. So, for example, if a player scores 100 points in a year that has 5.2 goals per game, we calculate 100*6.4/5.2 and get 123 adjusted points. When you do this for goals and assists seperately, and account for all four variables at the same time, the results can change quite a bit! (If you want to read a very dry, boring explanation in a lot more detail, go here: http://www.geocities.com/thehockeyoutsider/RealScoring.pdf.) Anybody who wants a file with the adjusted scoring stats--ask and ye shall recieve.

    - Trottier, I value your feedback. I suppose the simple answer is: that's just the way the numbers worked out. Trottier and Bossy scored a lot of goals and points in '82, but that was the highest-scoring season since WW2, and their were a lot of assists per goal that year, so their number were a bit inflated. After adjustments I got 50 g, 61 a and 110 pts for Bossy and 39 g, 58 a and 96 points for Trottier. An excellent season for sure, but not quite high enough for the top 25. (Actually, I would argue that their best offensive output was in 1979, statistically speaking, and you mentioned this season as well. After adjustments Bossy got 61 g, 48 a and 109 pts while Trottier got 42 g, 73 a and 115 points. Here's another way of looking at it: in 1982, they finished 2nd and 8th in goals, and 2nd and 5th in points. However in 1979 they finished 1st and 5th in goals and 1st and 4th in points. I think this also shows that Trottier and Bossy were more dominant in '79 than '82. In '82 they finished outside the top 25 by just 2 goals and just 10 points, so they very nearly made my list).

    - Even though the Oilers dominate the list for most points (six of the top seasons... absolutely incredible!), the 1996 Penguins had the best single-season duo of all-time. Depending on the year, the Oilers played in an era of 7.3-8.0 goals per game, which is way above the all-time average. However the Penguins played in a year with just 6.29 goals per game, which is actually below the all-time average. 300 pts from two players in such a low scoring year is worth more than whatever any of the Oilers did in a single season. So the Pens have the best single season but Edmonton as a whole dominates the list.

    Thanks again for the comments everyone.
     
  13. Trottier

    Trottier Very Random

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    Ditto, I respect your work here. :handclap:

    That's an interesting tidbit about '82 being the most prolific scoring season since WWII.
     
  14. soulok*

    soulok* Guest

    1 1996 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux (70) + Jaromir Jagr (63) = 134
    2 1971 Boston Bruins Phil Esposito (77) + John Bucyk (51) = 128
    3 1985 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (62) + Jari Kurri (60) = 122
    4 1989 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux (75) + Rob Brown (43) = 118
    5 1984 Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky (72) + Glenn Anderson (44) = 117


    ???????????????????


    Kurri and Gretzky hold the top 2 all time totals .. how did they finish behind jagr and lemieux? y u gotta adjust , twist , manipulate stats so that "ur favourite" players finish on top? 134? kurri and Wayne had 144! buddy!
     
  15. soulok*

    soulok* Guest

    if gretz and kurri played in there primes in 96 or watever i still say they would finish on top. thx
     
  16. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Interesting stuff. My question may be slightly off-topic but pertains to these "adjusted" scoring lists. Of the 75 top seasons by a duo you have listed, only two of those are from the Original Six era (`42-`43-- `66-`67). Since that era accounts for almost 30% of the NHL`s history, it would stand to reason that its` representation on these lists would be roughly the same, yet on the above lists it`s only 2/75. The same thing occurs on similar lists like Klein and Reif`s or Darryl Shilling`s, usually the OS era only accounts for 10-15% of the spots.

    It`s obvious that even after the adjustments for scoring rates and ice-time that the players from the 40s, 50s and 60s still seem to have a handicap against them. So are there any ideas about a further adjustment to compensate guys for playing in a non-watered down era? Could it be things were tougher back then even though it`s not reflected in GPG.

    For example look at the NHL GPG for the last Original 6 season and the first expansion season:

    `66-`67-- 5.96
    `67-`68-- 5.58

    At first glance, it would seem that it was tougher to score in `68, but most of the players numbers went up. In `67 there were only 3 players with 70+ points and 9 players with 60+ points. The next year 8 players had 70+ points and 16 had 60+ points, despite league-wide scoring decreasing. Is it possible that it was easier for established players to score in that season, but the GPG was lower because of newer players that couldn`t score.

    I decided to ignore all the new players and only look at the players who played in both seasons:

    `66-`67-- GP-- 6395 Goals-- 1211 GPG-- .189
    `67-`68-- GP-- 8803 Goals-- 1797 GPG-- .204

    So even though NHL scoring decreased by 6%, the scoring by those players increased by 8%. When the scoring rates are normalized it`s a 15% increase! That indicates it was easier to score after expansion, but how do you factor it in? My only clue would be to do that exercise for every season backwards and forwards, but that would take forever. Is there an obvious quicker method I`m missing?

    Sorry if it seems like I`m trying to change the threads topic, but I`ve often wondered about this discrepency and your lists reminded me of it.

    BTW, the `96 Penguins may be the most underrated offensive powerhouse ever. Probably because the numbers didn`t look so big coming right after the inflated 80s ans partly because they didn`t win the Cup that year.
     
  17. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    Gretzky and Kurri played in an era of 8.0 goals per game, while Lemieux and Jagr played in an era of 6.3 goals per game. It was much easier to score during Gretzky's, so once we adjust their points, he drops down a few spots. However, even though Gretzky doesn't have the top spot he makes more appearances on each list than anyone else. Gretzky, yet again, dominates.

    I don't think this is "manipulating" stats. What I'm doing is no different then when economists account for inflation, or when financial analysts account for the time value of money.

    Besides, if I wanted my favorites on top of this list, you'd see Stan Mikita holding down spots 1-10!
     
  18. Luigi Lemieux

    Luigi Lemieux Registered User

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    Even though the best pens teams were in the early 90s, i have no hesitation in saying the best pens offense ever was the '96 team. They had a legitimate shot at getting five hundred point scorers that year. mario had 161, jagr had 149, francis had 117, nedved had 99, and sandstrom was on pace but got injured. that's just ridiculous firepower when goals per game that year was just 6.3.
     
  19. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    You bring up a valid point. On my lists (and on Daryl's and Total Hockey's) the Original Six era is a bit underrated. (Though I don't think they should account for 30%... of all the players who played in the NHL, only 12% played in the Original Six era.) Thanks for the analysis you did, it helps to highlight the problem.

    There are a couple of ways I was trying to deal with this problem. One thing to consider is that during the Original Six era, roster sizes were still small, but top players no longer played 40-50 minutes per game. Since star players were getting less ice time than star players in the late 20's and 30's, but the roster sizes were still the same, they obviously had less chances to score. But when I calculate "average ice time" for each year, since the roster sizes are still the same, the Original Six players are underrated. I think this is the single biggest problem. I'm not sure exactly how to account for it though, because we're not sure how much players like Howe, Beliveau, Bathgate, etc played per game.

    A second way of dealing with this problem would be to somehow take the quality of the league into account. I'm not sure how this can be done objectively, though. After reading "The Physics of Hockey" by Alain Hache, I have an idea, but I don't know how easy the data would be for me to find. (At the very least, I would need the number of Canadians in the NHL each year).

    A third way could include looking at the standard deviation in goals and assists. If there's a high st dev, this would indicate that there are a lot of weak offensive players and the good players may be overrated (and vice-versa for years with a low st dev). I have no idea how this would turn out though, and I'd probably need to restrict this to only players who play, say, half the schedule length.

    Thanks for the comments, you bring up some very good points.

    I agree 100%.
     
  20. gary69

    gary69 Registered User

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    Sorry, this is not perhaps quite on thread topic, but I got myself the Klein-Reif book (2001) yesterday. I haven't obviously read it all through, but I took a look at the goaltending stats and I was really suprised on these save percentages.

    I expected to see similar type of numbers for earlier decades' guys than the 80's goalies, but it seems that every earlier season there were about a dozen goalies (or all starting goalies in the Orig 6 -era) with numbers that only a 1 or 2 goalies achieved in the 1980's.

    Since you obviously given this much more thought than I have, you (and hockey insider?) probably will incorporate this in to your adjustments as well, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on the subject. Was 80's really an anomaly in almost all aspects? And is the simpliest explanation of the playing style all that is needed?

    Mind you, I was too young to see (or remember anyway) the early 70's (only seen later some stuff likely Summit'72 and some matches on tv/vhs/dvd), and I'm afraid that apart from a few teams in the late 70's I can't really compare players of those years either based on my own experience, on the league-wide level.
     
  21. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    Great analysis, Recks! This is the sort of thinking I'd like to see more of. Well done!
     
  22. soulok*

    soulok* Guest

    Kurri- Gretzky... nuff said.
     
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