Mark Messier vs Bobby Clarke

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Nalyd Psycho, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    Who was the better player?

    Both were great leaders, top notch playmakers, stepped up big in the playoffs and were noted for often being quite dirty. Love 'em or hate 'em, both are among the best centers of all time.

    Messier has an edge in cups, Clarke has the edge in MVPs.

    Who's better?
     
  2. Skroob*

    Skroob* Guest

    if you think this is even close, there is something wrong with you.
     
  3. trevchar1971

    trevchar1971 Registered User

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  4. raleh

    raleh Registered User

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    I would take Clarke on my team over Messier any day. In fact, aside from Gretzky, Lemieux, and Beliveau I would probably take him over any other center in the history of the game. Flame away, but he was that good.
     
  5. UAGoalieGuy

    UAGoalieGuy Registered User

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    Messier by a long shot. Greatest leader of all sports (arguably) and what had the 3rd most points in all NHL history? Not to mention is work ethic as well.
     
  6. Murphy

    Murphy Registered User

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    I can't remember even seeing Clarke play, but I feel pretty fortunate to have seen alot of Messier and he gets my vote.

    I think Messier intimidated more, both with his play and his stick and was probably more talented. Strong skater, strong on the puck and a pretty decent shot. Messier blazing down the right wing and letting go a quick wrist shot off his wrong foot was just a thing of beauty. The goalies were expecting it but he scored many like that anyways.
     
  7. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    I don't see how either one gets a real edge work ethic wise, Messier obviously stayed in great shape throughout his career and that lead to his longevity, he always played hard and stepped up. Clarke though has the distinction of being the first successful diabetic pro athlete. That is nothing to sneeze at and takes alot of commitment and work to simply be able to play.

    And who do you vote for?

    One argument for Clarke. Bobby Orr only played one complete season, 74-75, that year he won the Art Ross, Bobby Clarke won MVP. There are only a handful of players that have won MVP 3 times or more, Howie Morenz, Eddie Shore, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Bobby Clarke, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Even if you count Clarke as the worst of the bunch, that is elite company. And, he won against names like Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and Guy Lafluer, hardly players to sneeze at.

    Messier on the other hand, has the distinction of captaining two different teams to the Stanley cup, winning 6 in total. Two time MVP against very tough competition from Gretzky and Lemieux. And has a long career that's given him a large edge in total points.
     
  8. Wisent

    Wisent Registered User

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    I don`t like either of them. I gove the edge to Clarke (who I like even less than Messier) just because being an elite player with diabetes is such an incredible feat. This just spells determination.
     
  9. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    Very good comparison. Clarke by a nose.
     
  10. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    Great question, nalyd. raleh made a great point. You have the consensus top three centres in NHL history: Gretzky, Lemieux and Beliveau. Then you have the next six - Clarke, Messier, Trottier, Mikita, Esposito and Morenz. Outside of Morenz and Espo, they're known for their grit and physical play along with their skill.

    I'll go with Clarke, but I don't blame anybody for choosing Messier. I loved watching both play - despite their penchant for cheap shots - although both have had their iffy off-ice moments. (Especially Clarke as a GM). But I respect both. I'm not a Messier fan in the least, but he definitely earned my respect.

    I would say that Messier was the better goal scorer, but Clarke was the better playmaker. They were both outstanding in the playoffs. Messier won more Cups, but keep in mind that Messier was on the dynasty while Clarke ran into the dynasty. They were both very physical. Messier was more likely to plough into an opponent, but Clarke was no spring chicken in that regard, and Kharlamov wasn't the only victim of Bobby's stick.

    Clarke was definitely the better defensive player. He won a Selke and probably would have won more if it existed before 1977. And as much as we've all heard about Messier's leadership ability, Clarke was the better leader. Clarke might be the best leader of all-time outside of Jean Beliveau.
     
  11. Evil Sather

    Evil Sather YOU KILL THE JOE

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    They seem to be very similar in every way but one.

    Clarke was regarded as something of a plodding skater. Messier was quite a good skater up to around 36 years old.

    Not going either way on it, but that's about the only physical/skill difference ever heard between them. Other than Messier being a better goal scorer.
     
  12. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    Where would Nels Stewart fit in that group?
     
  13. pappyline

    pappyline Registered User

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    Messier was definitely the most physically skilled of the two. A much better skater & shooter. However when it comes to gtit & leadership, I gotta give it to Clarke. He played with Diabetes & was the leader of the back to back Flyers cup wins in the 70's. Messier had a lot of natural talent & made great use of it but Bobby Clarke made himself into a great player. Having said this, I find them both despicable as human beings.
     
  14. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    How many other top scorers in the 70s and 80s were also their teams top penalty killer and expected to shut down the opponents top line? There`s lots of negative things to say about Clarke the person, but Clarke the player was something special. I know there`s not much respect here for +/- stats, but Clarke`s numbers in the mid-70s were almost Orr-like. Teams simply didn`t score on the Flyers when Clarke was on the ice.

    A reference was made earlier to Clarke`s plodding skating. One of the remarkable things about him was that he didn`t look like a gifted player, but he was the epitome of hard work and determination.

    That`s not say he`s better than Messier. It`s a very, very close call. With Messier, unfortunately fans are a little harsh due to his final years being rather mediocre. But most players careers don`t last until their 40s, so it`s not a fair comparison. He should be judged on how great he was in his prime.
     
  15. chooch*

    chooch* Guest


    Too close to call. Same player different generation. Maybe Messier for his extra physical side. Nah..Clarke for the slapper off his unflinching head as the russkies stood mouths agape....
     
  16. mcphee

    mcphee Registered User

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    Messier looked better doing it. Clarke never had a patented move like Messier's shot from the off side, wasn't fun to watch at full speed. He just kept moving forward and getting it done. Same end result. Neither ranks high on my have a beer with list.
     
  17. pappyline

    pappyline Registered User

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    Mcphee. I Gotta say this. Where does the even more despicable -- John Ferguson sit on your "have a beer with" list.
     
  18. mcphee

    mcphee Registered User

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    :) You know I love Fergie. I can overlook a lot when the CH clouds my vision. I was going to make a Bobby Hull crack, but I couldn't do that to you Murray. I wonder if Fergy will be at Savard's ceremony tomorrow night. They were good friends.
     
  19. Bring Back Bucky

    Bring Back Bucky Registered User

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    Here's some guys I'd like to have a beer with:

    Kelly Buchberger
    Johnny Bower
    Gordie Howe
    rick Chartraw
    Clark Gillies
    Glen anderson (hopefully on his home planet)
    Brad Marsh
     
  20. mcphee

    mcphee Registered User

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    That's a thread on its own, Beliveau, but my hand would be shaking.

    Robinson
    Gainey [have a deep voice contest] many others
     
  21. Bring Back Bucky

    Bring Back Bucky Registered User

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    Did I ever tell you about my grudge against gainey? Back in about 81 or so, when the Vees played in Halifax, Gainey wasn't dressed for an exhibition game vs the B's. Me and my best friend Spaz asked him for an autograph. He said to come back at the buzzer and he'd sign our programs. Then the buzzer rang and he beat it for the dressing room. Guess he underestimated me and Spaz. We caught him and made him honor his promise. I got over it, but Spaz is a pretty big habs fan, and I think it might have been a turning point for the worse for him.
     
  22. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    That was somewhat deliberate. If it was someone like Trottier he might get quite a few votes because he's a more likeable guy.
     
  23. Bring Back Bucky

    Bring Back Bucky Registered User

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    Really? Maybe it's the bias of an Oilers fan, but I always found trottier really unlikeable, and he pissed a lot of people off when he played for the US in the Canada Cup that time. (that didn't bother me, but it didn't endear him to the masses)
     
  24. Nalyd Psycho

    Nalyd Psycho Registered User

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    I guess every big name player has a fair amount of detractors.

    Except Beliveau.
     
  25. pappyline

    pappyline Registered User

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    I knew you Love fergie but all non CH people hate him. The guy was an animal.

    Good idea for a thread: Who I would like to have a beer with. My choice:

    Bobby Hull
    Gordie howe
    Rocket
    Bentley Bothers
    Conacher Family
    Ed Litzenberger
    Howie Morenz
    Mario
    Ted Lindsay
    etc
     

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