Gretzky vs. Messier who was better from '90-99?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Big Phil, May 31, 2007.

  1. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Okay Gretzky was obviously the better player in the '80s. No one would deny that without getting laughed out of the room. But what about from '90 to Gretzky's retirement in '99? Who was better in that decade?

    I feel both players see-saw in the 90's season after season as to who was better. So its close.

    '89-90:
    Gretzky: 142 points leads NHL.
    Messier: 129 points 2nd in NHL. Hart Trophy, Cup, first team all-star
    Edge: Messier

    '90-91:
    Gretzky: 163 points, first team all-star, leads NHL in points by 42.
    Messier: plays just over half the season, non-factor
    Edge: Gretzky

    '91-92:
    Gretzky: 121 points third in NHL
    Messier: 107 points 6th in NHL. Hart Trophy.
    Edge: Messier

    '92-93:
    Gretzky: Hurt half of year comes back and leads Kings in playoffs. 40 playoff points
    Messier: Off year, Rangers dont even make playoffs
    Edge: Gretzky

    '93-94:
    Gretzky: Leads NHL in points with 130.
    Messier: 87 points, leads Rangers to Cup, huge playoff year
    Edge: Even

    '94-95:
    Gretzky: worst year of his career "only" a point per game, no playoffs
    Messier: Out points Gretzky and had decent playoff
    Edge: Messier

    '95-96
    Gretzky: 102 points, well down the list.
    Messier: 99 points and Hart runner up.
    Edge: Messier

    '96-97:
    Gretzky: 97 points good for 5th overall. Amazing playoffs.
    Messier: 84 points, the last year he has that doesnt make you ill.
    Edge: Gretzky

    '97-98:
    Gretzky: 90 points, 4th in scoring. 2nd team all-star for second year in a row
    Messier: Why did he leave NYR? Why again?
    Edge: Gretzky

    '98-99:
    Gretzky: his last year, injury riddled, but was still 6th in assists
    Messier: That Vancouver move looks worse and worse, even the NYI have more points
    Edge: Gretzky


    My total by my count is Gretzky with an edge in better seasons with a 5-4-1 record. That doesnt mean much so I'll let everyone else hash it out
     
  2. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    Worth the read for the "last year that doesn't make you ill" comment.

    Going with the "which player would you rather have had over the ten years" method, you'd have to go with Mess. Two Hart Trophies, a runner-up, and a critical element of two Stanley Cups. Even knowing you're getting a couple of "makes you sick" years near the end, they still don't take your name off the Cup. Gretzky was a great point-producer, but there were weaknesses in his game from a team perspective, and that really came out during the 90s.
     
  3. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest


    Weaknesses? Actually, I think he played admirably on a bad Rangers team to finish so high in the scoring race and lead the league in assists twice in his 3 year NY stint.

    He was strong offensively to the bitter end and he did more good to help the Rangers win than not.
     
  4. slade

    slade Registered User

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    damn if gretz had weaknesses in his game then what can be said for the rest of the league??
     
  5. LogiquePaR4dOcKs

    LogiquePaR4dOcKs Registered User

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    Regular season:

    Gretzky: 713 games, 257+763=1020 points, 1.43 PPG
    Messier: 694 games, 275+544=819 points, 1.18 PPG

    Playoffs:

    Gretzky: 77 games, 36+72=108 points, 1.40 PPG
    Messier: 110 games, 42+84=126 points, 1.15 PPG

    Both had two great playoffs, difference being that Messier won those two Cups...if it was 1990-96 my pick would without a doubt be Messier. However, each year considered, I choose Gretzky.
     
  6. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    I would take Gretzky every one of those years. Different teams make for different results for each player. Messier got a lot closer to Gretzky's level of play in 1990-96 then he was in the 1980's but Gretzky was always a better player.
     
  7. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    I didn't say he wasn't a good player, but despite the point totals he wasn't a superstar any more. He didn't sniff the Hart Trophy after the 1990-91 season for good reason. He wasn't a complete player, and the records of the teams he played on over the 90s are indicative of that.
     
  8. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    Dude, you're not talking to chooch here. He was a good player, but he wasn't a great all-around player at that point in his career. I don't know why people have trouble acknowledging this.
     
  9. BNHL

    BNHL Registered User Sponsor

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    Damned good argument. I'd take Messier because his overall worth does not show up on the scoresheet though I think Gretzky's overall worth is the scoresheet. Earlier on I'd take Gretzky because of sheer statistical dominance but that Oiler cup without Gretzky opened my eyes. Would they have won without Messier but with Gretzky?
     
  10. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    I don't want to continue on this tangent but, the records of the teams he was on in the 90s indicate nothing more than he played for crappy teams most of the time during the 90s.
     
  11. Wisent

    Wisent Registered User

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    if anything team play was Gretzky`s strong point. I never heard about Gretzky dividing a locker room. Messier had to be the man, Gretzky was foremost team.
     
  12. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    Total nonsense, considering he played such a critical part on those teams. Of course he bears some responsibility for that. Big numbers in a losing environment are a pretty hollow accomplishment.
     
  13. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    Unless he was the GM of those teams, it is pretty difficult to heap blame on him for a losing record. He was the best player on each team he played for - he was the reason their record wasn't far worse.

    Big numbers in a losing environment is all you can accomplish when your GM does a terrible job.
     
  14. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    THAT is nonsense, how is Gretzky supposed to control the level of talent around him? Even the best don't win with lousy supporting casts.

    The question here is who was BETTER from 90-99, not who accomplished more. I'd say with 2 Cups and 2 Harts Messier clearly accomplished more, but Gretzky was still better.
     
  15. Bear of Bad News

    Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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    Great players are often times on poor teams.
     
  16. Snap Wilson

    Snap Wilson Registered User

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    Gretzky did have a say in personnel movement. You'll notice a lot of his friends seemed to follow him around.

    But I won't argue about it too vehemently. You guys can have the points and pretend that it makes no difference whether a player gets them for a 100-point team or a 60-point team. I say there's a difference in how easy it is to score when other teams are gunning for you. Scoring is critical, of course, but it only takes a second for a team to score a goal. What you do with the rest of your time on the ice is important as well.

    Again, Gretzky was a good player, even in the '90s. I'm not disputing that. But I'll take the three-time Hart Trophy candidate who had two monster playoff seasons, points-wise, and added other elements that yes, helped his team win.
     
  17. pnep

    pnep Registered User

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    Wayne Gretzky


    Mark Messier

     
  18. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    This is so absurd. Do you realize it's harder to get points in crappy teams with fewer talented players around you?
     
  19. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    All I got to say is this.

    Would the Canucks have been better off if they got Gretzky in '96 rather than Messier in '97?
     
  20. Wisent

    Wisent Registered User

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    I really believe so.
     
  21. Bear of Bad News

    Bear of Bad News HFBoards Escape Goat

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    They couldn't have been much worse off. :walrus:
     
  22. shawnmullin

    shawnmullin Registered User

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    Gretzky was healthier at the time at least.
     
  23. Hedberg

    Hedberg MLD Glue Guy

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    They would have made the playoffs
     
  24. Kyle McMahon

    Kyle McMahon Registered User

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    By that logic Ovechkin must be part of the problem in Washington.

    As for the discussion at hand, how would things be different if not for McSorley's illegal stick? Gretzky had the Smythe in the bag if the Kings won. Messier's two Hart's are of course important, but Gretzky's Art Ross in '94 is notable in that he lead the league in scoring despite being on a non-playoff team, a very rare accomplishment. You have to go all the way back to the 1948-49 Blackhawks (Roy Conacher) to find a team about on par with the 1993-94 Kings who had the league's leading scorer. Tough call.
     
  25. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    Peak performance in the 1990's - Gretzky performance in the 1993 playoffs was better than anything Messier did at his peak in the 1990's. Better than Messier in the 1990 season and playoffs - better than Messier in the Rangers Cup year.

    This is just my opinion of course.
     

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