If A.O. is Calder eligible, should Gretzky have been?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by kurt, May 12, 2006.

  1. kurt

    kurt the last emperor

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    This is a question that came to my mind when reading another thread (link) on the Capitals' page.

    The discussion was stimulated by an article (link) discussing why Ovechkin should perhaps be ineligible for the Calder. While it logistically misses the mark at certain points, the logic presented begs a more interesting question, which wasn't addressed directly in the article:

    If A.O. is Calder eligible, should Gretzky have been?

    The core argument behind Gretzky's ineligibility for the NHL Calder trophy is because he played pro hockey in the "strong" WHA before coming to the NHL, and because of that, they determined he should not be considered a rookie. At least that's how I understood it, feel free to fill in the gaps, it was a little before my time.

    Since then, they've awarded the trophy to those who have played in "lesser" pro leagues, such as Selanne - 22 yrs old, played pro hockey in Finland, joined the NHL when he was 22, won of the Calder trophy. Obviously making a determination of which pro leagues are of the status that a player would not be Calder eligible is a sensitive subject area. Comparing strengths of pro leagues is highly subjective, and drawing a line anywhere is bound to cause offense. Let's not go there. ;)

    However, it is interesting to note that last year was unique, in that no NHL was played. As such, the best players in the world played elsewhere, and a case could be made that the Russian league was the best in the world. Perhaps on par, or above, the caliber of the old WHA.

    Now I'm not saying that Ovechkin should not be eligible because he played hockey in Russia. What I am saying, is Gretzky should have been. If the NHL considers themselves the highest level of professional hockey in the world, they should allow any new player to the league to have an opportunity to win the rookie race, because they are rookies. I like the idea of having the "Sergei Makarov" age cap on rookie status though, to recognize the achievement of young players.

    Other leagues can make determinations of who should be eligible for Rookie-of-the-Year (i.e. should Scott Gomez have won the ECHL award? Of course not). But, if you're the best league in the world, everyone is a rookie until they've played in your league.

    My 2 cents.
     
  2. Epsilon

    Epsilon #basta

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    I think most people agree that Gretzky should have won the Calder and the whole thing was just a vendetta by the NHL against the WHA.
     
  3. Forever27

    Forever27 Registered User

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    He didn't win it because of POLITICS.

    No matter how many times this is talked about this just can't seem to become common knowledge.
     
  4. kurt

    kurt the last emperor

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    If it is because of "politics", I find it interesting that the NHL would legitimize the quality of a competitor league by considering one of their players to no longer be a rookie. Also, I think it would be interesting, and appropriate, for the NHL to officially revisit the topic.
     
  5. doublejack

    doublejack Registered User

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    Why? Gretzky is retired and in the HHOF already, why revisit it? What more glory could it possibly add to his career?

    I think the final tweak that was done after Makarov won the Calder fixed any issues that remained. Time to let it rest, imo.
     
  6. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    Of course Gretzky should have been given the Calder.

    Although, the Calder is not a very important award in the whole scheme of things.
     
  7. Superfluous U

    Superfluous U Registered User

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    Perhaps politics isn't the right word so much as spite.
     
  8. chooch*

    chooch* Guest

    Gretzky didnt deserve it anyway. He was hanging out at centre collecting points all season on a loser team while others were fighting for wins. Ray Bourque had a better career anyway. Maybe it didnt sell a lot of trucks on tv but what a classy player on and off the ice. His son is named Chris not after two old baseball players who were caught in 1928 in a betting scandal (Ty and Tris).

    Yeah, look it up.

    Bourque could have won 15 Norris'. How valuable were 99's 9 Harts when the Oilers won the Cup just after he left.
     
  9. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    Speaking of spite......
     
  10. Forever27

    Forever27 Registered User

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    At least 4 of them were pretty valuable to the Oiler's cup hopes... I think Gretzky was just showing off with the other 5. :D
     
  11. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Sounds exactly like Lemieux`s rookie season.
     
  12. Oh please ****. Gretzky was a frickin' Hockey machine. He knew and saw the ice the best and he didn't deserve it? He got all of his 51 goals and 137 points at the the centre of the ice? Who did he have his first season in Edmonton to help him? Coffey? Nope. Lowe? Nope. Kurri? Nope. I guess the only way he has more assists alone then anyone else in NHL history has in points is only because he sits at centre ice. :sarcasm:

    Seriously, like the other person said that sounds more like Lemieux his rookie season.

    Totally off. As a matter of fact, Gretzky in his first season as a RANGER he had more points that year then any year in Bourqe's career.

    They won just ONE cup 2 years after he left. I guess getting 200 points + 50 goals in 39 games means nothing to your team. He also won a Hart on the Kings too and proved how valuable he is in '93 especially when he brought them to the Stanley Cup.

    Gretzky was the best, don't think so? Check the record book yourself and if you still can't face the facts, here's a present from me to you.

    [IMAGE]http://www.manorhg.com/store/images/Rec%20Tissue%20Box%201125.1.jpg[/IMAGE]
     
  13. chooch*

    chooch* Guest

    Heck, Mats Sundin has more heart than $99 ever showed. At least Mats doesnt shy away from the rough stuff and didnt have goons standing by just in case....

    $99 never won a cup without Messier. And Messier won without $99 - does that tell your concussed noggin something?
     
  14. revolverjgw

    revolverjgw Registered User

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    It tells me that Wayne was never on a team as good as the '94 Rangers or '90 Oilers. He was never on a team with a Conn Smythe winning goalie like Ranford and he was never on a team good enough to win a President's Trophy. Hockey's a team game, you don't win Cups unless your team gets Godly performances by a handful of players on the team. Gretzky was never again on a team that could boast that kind of quality.

    He DID lead an 88 point team backstopped by Kelly Hrudey to the finals... I wonder if Messier could have done that. He never did so I guess we'll never know.
     
  15. Thank you. I was going to say something similar like this.
     
  16. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Not to say Boruque didnt have a stellar career. He did certainly. Other than Orr, Harvey and Shore no defenseman was better. But why dont you bash Bourque for having only won one Cup? Not to say I think you should because Bourque was still on some very good Boston teams, but how can you explain that Bourque had a better career than Gretzky? No one did. Gretzky won four Cups. Thats as much as Howe, two more than Orr, three more than Hull, as many as Sawchuk, as many as Bossy. And here's some food for thought, Gretzky led the playoffs in points six times. So if his 2857 career points dont satisfy you then look at his postseason play. Come on chooch, seriously man how old are you? Do you forget the 80s? Gretzky had the scoring title in his back pocket. He could have gotten injured on New years day every year and still won four or five.
     
  17. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    92-93 Kings were a great team though. Look at the players they had. By the time of the playoffs they were a freaking awesome team. They were as good or almost as the 1990 Oilers they just didn't win in the finals. None of the Rangers, Kings or Oiler teams were as good as the pre 1988 Oiler teams but the Kings with Gretzky were a pretty great team. Saying they weren't is silly and wrong.

    92-93 Kings

    Gretzky
    Robitaille in the best season of his career
    Kurri still good enough to get 87 points with Gretz out half the season
    Granato PPG player in his prime
    Sandstrom over a PPG in his prime
    Also Jimmy Carson, Mike Donnelly, McSorely, Dave Taylor, Warren Rychel

    On Defence Blake, Coffey, Sydor, Zhitnik, Huddy

    That is a great team loaded with Stars and good role players.
     
  18. JCD

    JCD Registered User

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    Can I assume that you never actually saw that team play?

    That team was all about Gretzky. He carried them. ESPECIALLY in the play-offs. In fact, Gretzky's exploits that post-season is often considered one of the most impressive showings by a single player in NHL history.

    The only high-end talents Gretzky had helping him that year were Luc and Kurri. His linemates.

    Donnelly and Carson are just above average players. Granato is bit better, but still nothing special.

    Zhitnik was still a young defender who made plenty of mistakes. Made some plays too, but he wasn't to be mistaken as an elite defender.

    Blake was very good, but hadn't taken the next step yet.

    Huddy was WAY past his prime. That was one of his last seasons I believe.

    Why even mention Warren Rychel?

    Saying there were in the class of the 90's Oilers is just being silly. That team has Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Tikkanen, Lowe, Huddy and Ranford playing out of his mind. Heck, if you are dropping the bar to make Donnelly worth mentioning, then the Oilers had Beukaboom, Joe Murphy, Klima, Simpson, Steve Smith and Adam Graves as well.
     
  19. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    Yes I did watch the team. Warren Rychel was huge in the playoffs. Sandstrom and Granato were awesome top level players at that time. They were both playing better than Kurri did.

    Writing what you wrote it is very apparent you didn't watch that team. And I think they were as good as the Oilers of 1990. And I watched the 1990 Oilers play. Gretzky was absolutely huge in the 1993 playoffs, maybe the best performance of his career but to say that the team wasn't great is dumb. Just plain Dumb. The Habs won the series but it was really close and could have gone either way.

    You dismiss the Kings becuse they got 88 points in the regualr season (with Gretzky only playing 48 games)

    The 1990 Oilers got 90 points the 1991 Penguins got 88 points the 1992 Penguins got 87 points.

    Let's dismiss all those teams becuse they didn't get alot of regular season points. :shakehead
     
  20. Gretzky basically carried the Kings on his back in the playoffs, by himself he killed my Leafs in 93.
     
  21. pappyline

    pappyline Registered User

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    Does it really matter that he didn't win the calder. Most great players didn't like Howe, hull, Beliveau & the rocket.

    I have a bigger problem with him winning 9 Hart's. Pre Gretzy the Hart wasn't automatically given to the Art Ross Winner but this seemed to change with the Gretzy era. It was like he was the only player that existed. 79-80 he shouldn't have won. It was like a consolation prize because he didn't get the Art Ross. He then won the Art ross & the hart for 7 straight years. Agreeably he deserved it most of those years as he dominated statistically but could you not argue that someone else was more valuabe to their team in at least a couple of those years (maybe Bourque). Bobby orr was the best player for several years but he wasn't given the hart every year,

    The biggest injustice was 88-89 when Mario led in every category but Gretzy still won the Hart.
     
  22. JCD

    JCD Registered User

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    What is dumb is to sit there and say that Kings team was stacked. One good top line, a very ordinary 2nd line (Sandstrom and Granato were elite players? Very good is a stretch. Good is about all you can say with a strait face), an above-average blueline at best without a legit top d-man and Kelly Hrudy in goal.

    I never mentioned regular season points, but nice attempt at a strawman/redirect. I mentioned talent. The 90 Oilers had a half dozen Hall of Fame caliber players in their prime on it plus another half dozen good to very good players behind them. Kings simply cannot compare. They had to get a fluke career performance out of Rychel to even compete. Career years is that hallmark of that team. A host of average to above average players whose careers hit their peak that year. Heck, they had virtually that same core of players the following year and tanked to near 20-games under .500.

    Yes that Habs series could have been won by the Kings. Why? He wore 99. Take him off that team and they are lucky to get out of the 1st round.
     
  23. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Funny thing about the Kings is they actually had a fantastic start in 1992-93. Hrudey was playing some of the best hockey of his career. They were in the division lead for much of the first two months. You even had the WOW Line (WithOut Wayne) of Kurri, Sandstrom and Robitaille. (Kurri was admirable playing out of position at centre).

    Wayne came back after Christmas, and everyone expected the Kings to continue to succeed. The offence was still there, better, of course, with Gretzky present, but Hrudey went in the tank. Badly. At a pre-banquet chat I had with him a few years ago, he told me that his play had deteriorated to the point where he was nearly sent down to the minors.

    Gretzky was unquestionably, undoubtedly, unarguably the Kings playoff MVP in 1993. He made Rychel look like a scoring star, especially against Calgary. Robitaille had his career year, but was benched several times in the playoffs. Jimmy Carson (acquired for Coffey earlier in the season) was so bad he was a healthy scratch on several occasions.

    But there were other factors. Kelly Hrudey regained his play from early in the season. Three young defencemen - Blake, Sydor and Zhitnik - stepped up with consistently strong, two-way performances. Zhitnik was often employed against the opposition's best players. Guys like Sandstrom, Donnelly, Millen and Granato played well. (The latter three players formed a high-speed line that could score). They also got timely scoring from plugs like Gary Shuchuk, who scored the double overtime winner against the Canucks in Game 5 to give the Kings a 3-2 series lead.
     
  24. futurcorerock

    futurcorerock Registered User

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    What still mystifies me is why the NHL didn't strip the WHA of it's entry draft-eligible players and put them in the '80 draft

    The Montreal Canadiens select Wayne Gretzky
     
  25. Well he did have some help from Kerry Fraser. :madfire: :cry:
     

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