More important to Oiler dynasty: Gretzky or Messier?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Randall Graves*, May 22, 2006.

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  1. Which player do you guys think was more important to the Oilers of the 80's, Mark Messier or Wayne Gretzky.

    Now I know alot of people will say Gretzky easily, but keep in mind Messier won a cup with the Oilers post Gretzky as well as with the Rangers. Meanwhile Gretzky was unable to win a cup away from Mark Messier
     
  2. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    And keep in mind that Messier wasn't the MVP of the Oilers Cup run in 1990. Bill Ranford was. And IMO, Esa Tikannen was their second-most valuable player. Tik not only scored over a point per game clip, but effectively checked the best players of every team the Oilers faced. Some of the best work you'll ever see from a defensive forward. Messier tied for the team playoff scoring lead with Craig Simpson, but Ranford and Tik meant more.

    The Oilers in 1990 were not just Messier et al. Their success was a reflection of a lot of guys playing the best hockey of their career, especially Ranford, Tikannen and Simpson. Messier was great, he was their captain, but I wouldn't say 1990 was the best hockey of his career. Also, there were six other players from the five Cups in seven years with the Oilers in 1990, including Kurri, Anderson and Lowe. (Grant Fuhr was injured that playoff).

    Gretzky was far more valuable to the Kings in 1993 when the Kings reached the Stanley Cup final, than Messier was to the Oilers in 1990 or the Rangers in 1994. Again, Messier was great on those teams, but nothing like Gretzky in 1993.

    Glenn Anderson won without Gretzky, but Gretzky never won without Anderson. So what? Rally Killer, that argument is irrelevant. Messier winning without Gretzky is a reflection of the talent that Messier had around him.

    Arguments that the Gretzky haters (chooch) conveniently omit (other than the presence of other key players for the Oilers in 1990):

    *The Gretzky-led LA Kings (whose only other notable additions were Kelly Hrudey and John Tonelli), defeated the Oilers in the first round of the 1989 playoffs. The Oilers had pretty much the same core as they did in 1988, when they won the Cup without Gretzky.
    *The Oilers advanced as far as they did in the 1992 playoffs without Messier, as they did with Messier in 1991.
     
  3. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Gretzky without a seconds thought.

    As a Flyers fan that lost twice in the finals to those great Oilers teams, if I had the opportunity to take remove a player from the Oilers it would have been:

    1. Gretzky
    2. Coffey
    3. Fuhr
    4. Kurri/Messier

    This whole notion that Messier the better player on thr Cup winnign teams and/or the "real leader" is beyond ridiculous. Gretzky was indusputibly the best player in the world at the time, Messier was a borderline top 10 player in the NHL.

    Messier played his best hockey during the early 90's.

    re: No Cups after after leaving Edmonton. Gretzky naver played on very talented teams after leaving Edmonton, he certainly never played on a team close to the 94 Rangers (whose best player was clearly Brian Leetch).
     
  4. ScaredStreit

    ScaredStreit Registered User

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    A lot of people don't agree with but I've always thought that Messier was a better all around player then Gretzky. Sure Gretzky was a better scorer-no quesition. But Messier was a great scorer in his own right, and had much more grit and defensive play in his game. Not only that but Messier was also a great leader on top of that. Messier even went on to win a cup without Edmonton, and is the only player to captain two different stanley cup franchises.

    Now Gretzky is a great player, but you have to take into consideration that scoring points isn't the only important thing when it comes to hockey players. Gretzky wasn't even the best goal scorer of all time, I'd say Bossy of that era was better-thats right-better when it came to pure goal scoring. More consistant.
     
  5. KariyaIsGod*

    KariyaIsGod* Guest

    Easily Gretzky.

    Anyone who saw that team knows the truth. Messier wasn't vital to the 90 cup run.

    Bill Ranford played better than any goalie I have ever seen in any playoff I have ever watched.

    As for Bossy, I would have to disagree. Gretzky scores 8 50 goal seasons in a row (Including 1 60, 2 70, 1 80 and 1 90 goal season) and if it wasn't for injury, he probably would've hit 50 in 87-88 as well.

    Furthermore, if it had not been for further injury, he probably would've scored 50 a few more times later in his career.

    He was just as consistent as Bossy.
     
  6. I'd probably take Gretzky too, but I was just trying to build a small argument for Messier.
     
  7. JCD

    JCD Registered User

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    Being that Messier was always behind Gretzky in the line-up, wore an "A" to Gretzky's "C" when they were together and that Messier wasn't the reason the Oilers won a Cup without Wayne, this should be an easy answer. Wayne, no question about it. Best player on the planet, arguably ever. Oilers dynasty wouldn't exist without him.
     
  8. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Scoring isn't everything, but Gretzky's scoring prowess was so incredible that it really renders all of his other deficiencies moot. No one will argue that Messier was able to play a more multifaceted game than 99, but Gretzky was so dominant in scoring and passing and attacking that those contributions outweighed all the things Messier brought. Who cares if you're not a good hitter or a great two way forward when you're scoring 92 goals and over 200 points a season?

    Also, Gretzky was a fantastic leader in his own right. Gretzky himself won the Conn Smythe twice, more than Messier, and beat Messier head on with a much inferior team in 1989. In 1993, he almost willed his average Kings team to the finals.
     
  9. Badger Bob

    Badger Bob Registered User

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    That's it, right there. If Gretzky had won in '93 with the Kings, this debate wouldn't even pop up. Granted, they were backstopped by a slug goalie like Kelly Hruddy.

    It's true that there may have been better players on the '90 Oilers and '94 Rangers, but there were no better leaders. In a lot of ways, it was like how the Red Wings were never the same without Ted Lindsay. Gordie Howe was considered the finest player, but a strong case could be made for Lindsay being the catalyst.
     
  10. Canucks5551

    Canucks5551 Registered User

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  11. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    When you score at the rate Gretzky was, it makes all other elements of your game irrelevant. Do you really think Gretzky would have added more value to the Oilers if he dug in the corners and fought once in a while? It would have been a complete waste of his talents.

    One could say that there is more to hockey than grit and defensive play. If you can't score 70 goals and 200 points per season, by all means, be gritty if you want. But, if you can, don't waste your time with grit.
     
  12. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Gretzky's '93 team in LA was not even close to being a legitimate contender. It was nothing compared to the Presidents Trophy winning Rangers of 1994 or even the 1990 Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky was simply stuck on an inferior team.
     
  13. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Exactly.

    Hockey is about scoring more goals than the other team. That's the basic objective of the game. Gretzky did that better than anybody. People who need to play defense and block shots and play with grit and physical intimidation are people who can't score at will the way Gretzky could in his prime. They need to do more to succeed. Gretzky didn't need to block a shot to preserve a 1 goal lead. He'd go out there and make it a 4 goal lead.
     
  14. 12# Peter Bondra

    12# Peter Bondra Registered User

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    Gretzky was more valueable.
     
  15. mooseOAK*

    mooseOAK* Guest

    The key was having Gretzky AND Messier, try to stop one and the other could hurt you.
     
  16. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    Gretzky is far, far better than Messier or Bossy. He got averaged 200 points in the years they averaged 120 and 100 or so. Gretzky was the leading scorer in the playoffs by a wide margin every year he was with the Oilers.

    Messier was a great player but to say he was better than Gretzky when both were teammates on the Oilers is beyond ******ed. There is no room for argument Gretzky was better. In fact Gretzky was a better player every year he played then Messier was.

    Messier may have been more physical but he was no better defensively or as a leader. Gretzky was Messier's equal defensively and as a leader he was certainly no worse than Gretzky. Look at Gretzky's playoff record. He never, ever had a bad playoff.
     
  17. copperandblue

    copperandblue Registered User

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    I say Gretzky was more important to the Oilers.

    I will also go argue that without Gretzky, Messier's career ends up looking more like Mike Foligno's than the legend that ultimately became Mark Messier.
     
  18. Towmater14

    Towmater14 Registered User

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    My favorite all time player on the Oilers was Mark Messier, I always wore #11 on any hockey team that I played for. That being said...Gretzky without a doubt.
     
  19. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Okay that's a bit extreme. Messier is a leigt HOFer even if he never met Gretzky in his life. He won two Hart Trophies when Gretzky wasnt on the team so lets not get crazy here.

    But the truth is Gretzky is miles ahead of Messier. I mean like in an earlier post does it really matter if Gretzky never threw a bonecrushing bodycheck if he was getting 200 points a year? I mean sure he didnt fight but who cares? Watch Gretzky throughout his career when he doesnt have the puck can you see him? No. And neither could anyone else on the ice. He was elusive, he showed up at the right time at the right place. he knew where the puck was going to be. And was Messier a better all around player? No. Think about this, the record for best plus minus in a season belongs to Orr at +128, then Robinson at +120, then its Gretzky at +98. So for a guy who "never" played defense he sure had a good plus minus ratio.

    In conclusion Messier was said to be a great leader in the dressing room and of course on the ice, he could singe a teammate with a glance. but wihtout Gretzky the Oilers dont win 4 Cups in 5 years.
     
  20. copperandblue

    copperandblue Registered User

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    I dunno Mike Foligno had a pretty decent career as well so it's not like I am saying he would have been a bum.

    I don't frankly know who remembers what from that era but Messier was NOT a good hockey player when he broke in with the Oilers. He was a 4th liner who alot of people wanted traded because he was unreliable, mistake prone and didn't look particularily interested.

    Messier was as much a product of the Oilers as he is given credit for the Oilers being in part a product of Messier.

    Ultimately Messier put it all together and that is to his credit but in my eyes it was more because a group of personalities - some of who had incredible natural talent - became an inseperable, unshakable collective. They all fed off each other to varying degrees and demanded more from each other than anyone else could demand of them.

    That all started with Gretzky and the level he played the game at and without those cicumstances I have no doubt that Messier never becomes the player he ultimately did.

    And he became a great player, there is no mistake about it but the thread starter was asking who was more important to the Oilers dynasty...all of which was before Messier really started collecting his hardware and became what he is remembered for today.
     
  21. You think they would've beaten the islanders without Mark Messier?

    the Oilers would not have won that many cups without Messier..no way.
     
  22. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    If the question is how many of the 5 Oilers Cups would have been won without Gretzky or Messier:

    Oilers with no Gretzky - 0 cups, yes losing Gretzky would even take away the Cup victory he wasn't present for. Gretzky gave the Oilers their swagger, their aura.

    Oilers with no Messier - At least 2 Cups.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2006
  23. Biggsy

    Biggsy Registered User

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    I'd have to go with the Moose
     
  24. ScaredStreit

    ScaredStreit Registered User

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    True but with no D, your team will suck. Even in the new NHL. Look at Pittsburgh, they were a monster offense on paper-sucked why? They had no D.

    As for Bossy or Gretzky, in my oppinion the best player of all time is easily Orr.
     
  25. ScaredStreit

    ScaredStreit Registered User

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    Sorry to be be rude, but I'd say your argument is nothing if for nothing else Edmonton won 5 cups-not 6.
     
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