What does Messier owe Gretzky? and what do they both owe to the WHA?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Seanconn*, Jan 19, 2011.

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  1. Seanconn*

    Seanconn* Guest

    Simple.

    How much did Messier starting his career as a youngster in the WHA and then with Gretzky on the Oilers as an 18 year old in the NHL, affect his hall of fame career? Sure they never played on the same line, but they practiced together, and definitely knew each other well from 18 onwards.

    The experience as a 17 year old in the WHA, for Wayne, and even with Messier would have been an especially intense introduction to professional hockey as 17 year olds. No matter how many arguments there are about the merit of the league, any team from the WHA could definitely beat any NHL club today, the same way the Oilers can defeat the Penguins today, although I think some WHL clubs weren't all that bad Gretzky was an elite forward at 17 against some of the very same NHL idols he grew up studying, and some other extremely talented players that never gained NHL stardom. Obviously Messier had an entirely different experience in the WHA, and as a third/second line winger, then finding his place as a centermen, and gaining NHL stardom with his spectacular conn smythe performance for the Oilers first cup.

    Gretzky's start in the WHA is definitely a factor why he scored so many goals in his first NHL season. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if he hit 130+ coming straight in from Jr. hockey. I think the fact that he played at a star level in a professional league at 17 motivated and gave Wayne the confidence to literally change the face of hockey into the 80's.

    Messier didn't produce anything spectacular in his first three seasons, but I think the experience being immersed in pro hockey from 17 on would have been extremely formative.

    Starting to be on a team centered around Gretzky from 18 on, had to have affected Messier's game that cannot be even comprehended by words. Messier always being in Gretzky's shadow made him step up to a level he may never have lived up to had he been drafted by say the Jets, or the Colorado Rockies.

    mark definitely owes something to Gretzky, and vice versa... but I think they both especially owe something to the WHA for starting them off as 17 year olds in pro hockey.
     
    Last edited by moderator : Jan 19, 2011
  2. Psycho Papa Joe

    Psycho Papa Joe Porkchop Hoser

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    While blessed with great raw skills, Messier was really a project player when he broke into the WHA/NHL. He actually admitted that early in his career, he really wasn't interested in hockey much. I've always thought he probably wouldn't have developed into the Superstar he did without getting the opportunity to play on a Gretzky led team. Being on that team really taught him would it takes to be a superstar. If he had gone to another team, I'm not sure he would have developed the confidence in his own natural talent that he would eventually have. I've seen few players with the learning curve he had in his 1st 5 years in the league. Watching Gretzky conduct himself really helped in that regard IMO.
     
  3. Scott1980

    Scott1980 Registered User

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    Messier owes nothing to WHA goaltenders who held him to a 1.6 S%!
     
  4. blogofmike

    blogofmike Registered User

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    I guess history messed up Gretzky's line about missing 100% of the shots you don't take. Surely he meant Mess missed 100% of the shots he did take.
     
  5. WilliamRanford

    WilliamRanford Registered User

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    To go from 1.6% SH% as an 18 year old to 21.3% as a 21 year old is incredible. He would hit 20%+ 5 times in his career, and another year at 19.5% at the start of the dead puck era with 47 goals at the age of 35. He is the classic case of a guy who is discounted too often on HOH, imo.
     
  6. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    Personally I do not think either Gretzky or Messier owe much to the WHA. They would have played junior hockey anyway.

    To the idea that one of those WHA teams could beat an NHL team today. I guess they could but it would happen as often as Switzerland beating Canada in International hockey. They were not as good as NHL teams back when the WHA existed, they could have beat NHL teams time to time but except for maybe the Jets at their best I doubt any of the WHA teams would have even contended for an NHL playoff spot at the time.

    Messier IMO owes a ton to Gretzky and to Glen Sather. If not for Sather believing in him and making him a project Messier might never have become a star or got as much out of his raw talent. Gretzky was huge to Messier and all the Oilers players. Gretzky even at 18 was mature, he was dedicated to hockey 100% and he had a drive in him to be the best and to win every game. Clearly it rubbed off on Messier and others and that is where they got their swagger from.

    Messier owes the most to Sather and Gretxky not sure what order they would be in. I guess Gretzky made Sather too. WHA not so much IMO.
     
  7. King Woodballs

    King Woodballs Captain Awesome

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    if anything gretz owes some cups to moose just because moose won twice without gretz and gretz got zero after playing with moose
    but that is a stretch
     

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