did Mario help or hurt his legacy with his comeback in late 2000?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by HowsUrBreath, Aug 21, 2017.

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  1. GordieHowsUrBreath

    GordieHowsUrBreath Nostalgia... STOP DWELLING ON THE PAST

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    when he made his comeback it was like he never left, he led the league in points per game and led the pens to the eastern final

    but after that he had tons of injury problems and they didn't make the playoffs again as long as he was an active player

    other than selling a few more tickets, was the comeback worth it?

    did it enhance his legacy or hurt his legacy?
     
  2. MadLuke

    MadLuke Registered User

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    A bit of a double edge sword, could hurt him with people looking at career point by game and some other way.

    But
    43 game 35g 41a 76pts (2.76 goal by games league)

    That is a 35 year's old Lemieux with a 66 goal, 78 assist 145 points pace in a 2.76 goal by games league

    67 game 28g 63a 91pts (2.65 goal by games league)

    That is a 37 year old Lemieux with 34 goal, 77 a, 111 points pace in a nhl season with one of the worst goal by game post the 50's.

    Those were 2 of the season's in the deep dead puck era (96-97 was at 2.92 goal by game for is last season before that).

    Lemieux scoring at that pace, in that era, playing on those average team made it ultra clear that he would have scored at ridiculous pace any year of the nhl league in is prime and separated himself by a distance from any one except the Gretzky/Howe/Orr peak.

    I think it helped Greztky/Lemieux legacy in a way, that made it without a doubt that they were just special and not something to do with worst goaltender/league/system/etc...
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  3. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Enhanced. He'd acquired his ownership stake in the team, Pittsburgh in a precarious situation, needed all the help they could get on the ice having to eventually sell off & trade expensive contracts early 00's through to 2004 & the 1st Lockout. Lemieux playing for the minimum. His presence, unfortunately cut short die to injuries as you note the draw they needed to hang on, hang in there, get a new arena going, stabilize the situation, stop the bleeding, bring in cost certainty, win the Crosby Sweepstakes, turn the corner. While he didnt single handedly save the franchise he played a huge & critical role, part in doing so. Thats seriously impressive... and just to put the icing on the cake, earlier on when he first came back, claimed he did it for his 4yr old son who'd never seen him play.... Whats not to like about this guy? :)
     
  4. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Gold Medal

    Enhanced especially Internationally, scoring a goal in the winning Gold Medal game helps.
     
  5. Albatros

    Albatros Registered User

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    Yes, he wouldn't be an Olympic champion otherwise, I think his career moves have been thoroughly solid.
     
  6. Hackett

    Hackett BAKAMAN

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    It totally enhanced it. Coming back at age 35 and putting up 70 plus points in 40 some games is one of the most amazing accomplishments in the history of the NHL.
     
  7. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    Lemieux didn't score in the 2002 Olympic final, or the 2004 World Cup final for that matter. He did pay well in those tournaments though, and certainly perceptions of him as a leader and ambassador improved due to his international exploits post-comeback.

    Lemieux's reputation is unquestionably enhanced by his comeback. Had Lemieux not returned, there would be a fair amount of people claiming that he couldn't handle the dead puck era and that he consequently retired. Instead, Lemieux showed that even as a shell of his former self he was one of the most dangerous players in hockey. Lemieux's 2003 season in particular was amazing. It is somewhat incredible that he was able to score 1.36 points per game in 2003 while being among the very slowest players in hockey.
     
  8. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    He didn't score in the gold medal game but he made a superb play where he faked a shot on a pass received from Pronger. Richter committed to the wrong side, assuming 66 would have shot, which left Kariya open for an easy tap-in. Brilliant play by Lemieux (though credit is due to Kariya for reading that play correctly). I can't find the box score but if I recall correctly Lemieux didn't even get an assist on the play, even though he was he most crucial piece.
     
  9. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    It was crazy what he did that first half season especially after being retired for a few years.. his ability through his career to show up out of no where and still be at the top level of the sport is the stuff of legends. His reputation with the media and his image also turned around tremendously as the captain of Team Canada winning the gold. He really seemed so much more mature than his younger days.

    Definitely helped his legacy.

    Not to mention it provided good evidence against the today's players are bionic superheroes crowd.


    Lemieux just missed it. ;)
     
  10. Casanova

    Casanova Registered User

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    No, but this is about the same thing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MObTsc69LvI
     
  11. Casanova

    Casanova Registered User

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  12. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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  13. bobholly39

    bobholly39 Registered User

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    How could it have hurt it? There is 0 argument/case to be made that it hurt his legacy. Worst you could argue is that maybe it didn't enhance it a "lot". But there was no negatives.

    It worked wonders for his reputation as others have said, though reputation is not the same as legacy.

    On a per game basis he was still as dominant as ever (a bit less than at his peak, but still exceptional vs others)
    He "won". Olympic gold (when 1998 team couldn't). Also 2004 world cup. Maybe not a stanley cup, but he still led 2 teams to very important victories.
    Two relatively full seasons where he clearly showed to be a step above his peers even at advanced age.

    Are there any negatives?

    Honestly - him playing 2001, and 2003 at such a high per-game pace as he did opens up a lot of the "what if" questions. I think there'd be less of those if he stayed retired. The dialogue would be more about "wow he was great, but he did retire early. Gretzky way ahead"

    Now it's more like. "Wow he was great. He was even pretty great older in age. What if injuries/health issues hadn't surfaced, how good/consistent could he have been throughout?"

    Not saying this makes him better than Gretzky. But it opens up the question more as to what could have been.

    Consider Orr. He retired at age 27-28 mostly.
    Imagine Orr had healed up, and at age 36 returned for 2 full seasons. Where he was still exceptional amazing on a per-game basis, a clear step above his peers. How much stronger would the "what ifs" be about what could have been if he hadn't had to retired due to injuries.
     
  14. mrhockey193195

    mrhockey193195 Registered User

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    Helped. 00-01 and the Gold Medal in particular.
     
  15. Hackett

    Hackett BAKAMAN

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    It was really cool to see Mario play for Canada in 2002, because the only other time I can think of him playing in a major international tournament was the 87 Canada cup and I was too young to appreciate that.
     
  16. Jets4Life

    Jets4Life Registered User

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    For the life of me, I cannot think of an argument as to how Lemieux "hurt" his legacy or the Penguins organization for returning in late 2000.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  17. McGuillicuddy

    McGuillicuddy Registered User

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    No point on the play, but it is one of 2 or 3 signature plays of his career, and that is saying something. That play took absolute balls of steel to pull off. Just think about it: Mario is in the slot in prime scoring position, about to receive a fairly well-placed pass, with the goalie coming across. Instead of taking it he fakes it, and hopes that his winger won't be put off by the fake and will receive the pass through his legs and finish it off. All this in a super high stakes game while down by a goal! 999 out of 1000 players take their chances on the shot. I can't even say with confidence that Gretzky would have had the stones to let that puck go by him in that position.
     
  18. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I don't even know if you can purposely practice that play in the Olympic gold medal game and have it work to perfection like that. Think about that play, Pronger breaks into the zone, puts on the brakes and slides a pass to Lemieux who is about to enter the slot. Lemieux fakes out everyone on the ice except for Kariya who wisely enough had the skill to see it coming (I wouldn't blame him if he didn't). Look at Richter on that play, he was always built for these big games but even he is just completely faked out and is terribly out of position, as any goalie would be. Mario got an assist on that because he passed it to Pronger initially but just think about it, he could have gone pointless on that play and yet he was the architect of it without touching it.

    Anyway, a resounding YES, he helped his legacy. Even though Mario retired as a 50-goal 122 point man in 1997 there was still the odd criticism of him. Once he came back that went away. His play in 2001 was incredible, and even though the next season he was injured mostly he still was great in the Olympics. His 2003 season was still pretty good even though that was a terrible Penguins team and he was doing all the work. 91 points in 67 games, let's just pause for a moment and realize that neither McDavid or Crosby did that this year and Lemieux did this when he was 37. I remember early on in that season, the torrid pace he was on before he got hurt. He was literally making a mockery of the scoring race and there was criticism of the NHL, not him, because how could someone his age dominate like that? He missed about a month, otherwise he wins the scoring title. In the first three months of the year he had 64 points in 37 games. In the first two months, 46 in 22. Just unreal.

    Lastly, he was good in the 2004 World Cup. It was the last we would ever see of Mario to be honest because he still had some moves. Watch that opening goal vs. Finland in the championship game, he just corrals that puck so seamlessly around the Finnish forward.
     
  19. MS

    MS 1%er

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    Absolutely he helped his legacy.

    What he did in 2000-01 was absolutely jaw-dropping, and the 2002 Olympics ended up being the cherry on top of his career. Plus, as someone else mentioned above, he really softened his image during his return and came across as a much better ambassador for the sport than the often-bitter guy he'd been in the years approaching his first retirement.

    Same as Brett Hull, though, coming back for the 05-06 season at age 40 after missing another full year of hockey probably wasn't the best idea. He was still great on the PP, but absolutely left behind at ES.
     
  20. billybudd

    billybudd 1for the other thumb

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    The shift beginning at about 13:46 of the second video is just ridiculous coming from an old guy who hasn't played in 5 years. I don't have any idea how he even executed that second steal.
     
  21. Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust Master Debater

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    I'd like for the OP to explain exactly how Mario hurt his legacy with his comeback.
     
  22. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    I'll link to my posts on the 2001 and 2003 Art Ross trophy races:

    - http://hfboards.mandatory.com/showpost.php?p=113394641&postcount=26
    - http://hfboards.mandatory.com/showpost.php?p=99155987&postcount=22

    The posts (and graphs) speak for themselves, but it shows how quickly Lemieux cut into everyone's lead in 2001, and how decisively he led the NHL in scoring for the majority of 2003.

    I agree with the previous comment though - the premise of the thread is odd as I really can't think of any argument that would suggest that Lemieux in any way hurt his legacy by returning.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  23. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Ya, agreed.... and I'm just trying to think of some comparables..... Guy Lafluer..... Did Guy hurt or help his legacy when he came
    out of retirement in 88 with NY, going on to play another 3 seasons, 89/90 & 90/91 with Quebec?.... Again, no, no I dont believe so.
     
  24. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Lafleur did not hurt his legacy but he did focus attention on how players mature during their careers.

    Previously retirees coming back were rare amongst HHOF quality players. Ted Lindsay,Bernie Geoffrion, only ones of note. Ron Ellis another but he was a solid regular. Carl Brewer a tangent story.

    You had the injury issue with some. Taking time to be treated properly, rehab and continue a career. Jacques Plante, Dickie Moore, Lowell MacDonald, Geoffrion could fit into this group since he never fully recovered from a late RS knee injury during his great 1960-61 season.
     
  25. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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