Gretzky's greatest play?

Discussion in 'Edmonton Oilers' started by Cloned, May 25, 2020.

  1. tardigrade81 Registered User

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    Just disgusting!
     
  2. Dorian2 Define that balance

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    I think he did a no looker to Kuri in 1981 Playoffs against the Canadiens as well. I was just watching some old footage of that series because of this thread. I was 12 and there was a family feud with the Southern AB Habs fans of the clan in Calgary and the Crowsnest Pass. That was when the Flames were Atlanta. I liked that team.
     
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  3. GreeningOil Yarpmeister

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    He fakes the 360 and gets the same guy 2 times that’s amazing
     
  4. thadd Oil4Life

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    No look cross ice pass in the neutral zone? Sick.
     
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  5. The Panther Registered User

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    Gretzky in his prime was such a unique player (well, obviously) in many ways, and in particular his vision on the ice and his uncanny ability to pass the puck and make all teammates dangerous was completely unprecedented and has never been approached since. But you know that.

    However, one thing that I think doesn't get said enough is that he was probably the most relentless and consistent player ever, in his prime. I'd say his peak years were from January 1981 through to his last game with Edmonton, in May 1988. (For his "prime", you could throw in his rookie season and the first few months of his second, and his first three seasons in L.A., ending with Canada Cup '91, after which he was never remotely the same player.)

    So, first of all, that's 8.5 consecutive seasons of healthy, sustained peak (minus a few games missed in 1987-88), including five playoff runs to the Finals and three Canada Cup tournaments. With most legendary players, I'd say they have maybe three or four consecutive, full seasons at peak level. Gretzky had 8.5 (and this is discarding 163-points-in-78-game seasons, where he won the scoring title by 32 points, as outside his peak!!).

    It's rather staggering to break down his scoring rate in these 8.5 seasons in a row. Let's do it just by 40-game sections of regular seasons:

    1980-81 second half
    40GP: 34G + 60A = 94PTS (+44)
    1st in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 1st in plus/minus

    1981-82 first half
    40GP: 50G + 58A = 108PTS (+36)
    1st in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 3rd in plus/minus

    1981-82 second half
    40GP: 42G + 62A = 104PTS (+36)
    1st in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 2nd in plus/minus

    1982-83 first half
    40GP: 30G + 65A = 95PTS (+21)
    3rd in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 9th in plus/minus

    1982-83 second half
    40GP: 41G + 60A = 101PTS (+40)
    1st in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 1st in plus/minus

    1983-84 first half

    40GP: 43G + 74A = 117PTS (+50)
    1st in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 1st in plus/minus

    1983-84 second half
    34GP
    : 44G + 44A = 88PTS (+28)
    1st in goals / 2nd in assists / 1st in points / 9th in plus/minus

    1984-85 first half
    40GP: 42G + 73A = 115PTS (+67)
    1st in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 1st in plus/minus

    1984-85 second half
    40GP: 31G + 62A = 93PTS (+33)
    1st in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 1st in plus/minus

    1985-86 first half
    40GP: 28G + 75A = 103PTS (+25)
    4th in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 4th in plus/minus

    1985-86 second half
    40GP: 24G + 88A = 112PTS (+46)
    9th in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 1st in plus/minus

    1986-87 first half
    40GP: 40G + 58A = 98PTS (+43)
    1st in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 1st in plus/minus

    1986-87 second half
    39GP
    : 22G + 63A = 85PTS (+26)
    11th in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 2nd in plus/minus

    1987-88 first half
    38GP
    : 30G + 56A = 86PTS (+25)
    4th in goals / 1st in assists / 1st or 2nd in points (hard to determine) / 6th-ish in plus/minus

    1987-88 second half
    26GP
    : 10G + 53A = 63PTS (+14)
    99th in goals / 2nd in assists / 2nd in points / 20th in plus/minus

    As mentioned, 1987-88 is unique in that he missed a serious numbers of games for the first time. However, his point-per-game that season was not only higher than Mario Lemieux's, it was also slightly higher than his own PPG in 1986-87. If we look at NHL scorers after 64 games -- the total number Gretzky played -- then Wayne would rank something like this:
    6th or 7th in goals / 1st in assists / 1st in points / 1st in plus/minus


    So, yeah, look back at those 40-game segments. He had eleven 93-point seasons just based on 40-game (or fewer) segments. By average, he was good for a 100-point season every 40 games for eight-and-a-half years (i.e., he had seventeen 100+ point seasons in 8.5 years), while also being the most dominant player at even strength. Several times, he had won the scoring title in January or February. In 1984, he won the scoring title on January 7th.

    The five times the Oilers made the Finals, Wayne was the leading scorer (by a large margin) every time. In 1984-85, after arguably his greatest season, he increased his point production in the playoffs, to score 47 points in 18 games, and going +27. This put at +127 for 98 games on the season.

    When the Oilers didn't succeed in the playoffs, Gretzky was also dominant. In 1981, he had 21 points in nine games. In the series against heavily favored Montreal, when Gretzky was on the ice the Oilers scored 11 goals at even strength, and Montreal scored zero. In 1986, the Oilers went out in the second round, and Gretzky was third in playoff scoring (2 points off leading the entire four-round playoffs).

    In the three Canada Cup tournaments he appeared in during this period, Gretzky was the leading scorer in every one. (And would be again in 1991.)


    But, back to my point, you simply cannot put up consistent domination like that -- even if you are the most talented player ever (which Gretzky might have been, but probably wasn't, on an individual level) -- unless you are the most motivated guy, maybe ever. Gretzky was relentless. He showed up for nearly every game -- including Sunday matinees in Winnipeg with nobody watching on TV and the Oilers 30-points clear of a playoff spot and all the scoring titles locked up for him -- the same as if it was the Cup Finals.

    As Mark Howe said, from the drop of the puck to the final buzzer, Gretzky was determined to score.
     
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  6. Al from New Jersey Registered User

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    In a league of his own.

    Hes first and second in the fastest paces to 1000 points.
     
  7. Frank the Tank Blue, you're my boy!

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    This thread would benefit from the article Terry Jones published in the Edmonton Sun right after Gretzky retired. It was titled something like "99 great things about Gretzky". I remember it being a fun, nostalgic read that had 99 bullet points detailing all the great moments of his career.

    One that sticks out in my memory was early in his Oilers career Gretzky witnessed a teammate score by shooting directly off an offensive zone faceoff. He then demanded to learn the trick in practice and worked persistently on the technique to perfection; he then scored two goals off the draw in subsequent games.
     
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  8. Cloned Qurious Quincie

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    He and Jordan were very alike in this regard. Both regarded as good ambassadors for the game and "humble" (for their respective sports anyways), but in reality both were extremely driven to dominate their opposition and never "let up". The greatest myth is that Gretzky didn't have an ego. He absolutely did; it was an integral part of his greatness.
     

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