If it wasn't for injuries, his stats would've been even higher. That said, the difference between Mario Lemieux and other players who suffered injuries which gave them setbacks was Lemieux was that he made an incredible impact when he was healthy. Or even near healthy. Even cancer couldn't keep him down.
IMHO, he's a better player than Greztky.
To celebrate the passing of the Troll Amnesty (and for otherwise no reason at all), I present to you the very best of Trolling here on The W. This Troll Moment of the Week is brought to you by;
Goldbergista, who brought us such pieces as wisdom as: "The people on the forums need to see the truth; you need to see that Benoit is garbage… and that Nash, Batista, Hogan, Warrior and Goldberg are the true wrestlers!!"
I'm going to keep this brief and half-assed because I don't want to go crazy trying to make the perfect paean -- and because message board tributes are really tacky. Nevertheless.
Mario's comeback against Toronto in December 2000 was the single greatest sports moment of my life. He stepped onto the ice and was instantly the best player in the world, outscoring everyone in the league from January to April. The subsequent playoff run to the conference finals with OT winners in two Game Sixes and a Game Seven was equally unforgettable.
The next three seasons were not as special, with injuries and the firesales to keep the team solvent until the CBA. But Mario still had some brilliant stretches. Captaining Canada's gold medal team, obviously, and an amazing stretch where he took a painkiller shot for his hip and proceeded to score about a million points. Even this year, at 40 and slowed to half-speed by age and his health, he had a five point night and was playing at a point-per-game pace until the heart problems worsened.
It's Sidney's team now, and now that he's a bonafide drawing card, Mario no longer has to stick around to keep people in the seats. I wish that coming back to the Crap NHL hadn't knocked his career PPG average below 2 (it used to be better than Wayne's), and I wish he could've gone out closer to on top. But he's still the awesomest.
Imagine how Jagr felt, being the best player in the world one day, then not even being the best on his own team the day Mario came back. Mario thank you for the great games I witnessed, and thanks for being a classy individual!
66 will be missed immensely, but this really, really feels like the Nail in the Coffin as far as the Pittsburgh Penguins goes. The Winnipeg Jets MK II Starring Sidney Crosby are coming in 2007, and a piece of me dies inside as the Pens leave Pittsburgh.
Mario _IS_ the Pittsburgh Penguins, and has been since he came into the league, and I just can't seem to seperate the two in any way. With his retirement, and him selling the team, along with Rendell's constant hinting that he's making sure Isle of Capri can't get the Pittsburgh slots license, it really does feel like the final death of the Pens.
Though I hope harder than anything else that this isn't the case.
This is probably old news to a lot of fans, but the thing that blew me away today was the mention that he once had an even strength goal, a power play goal, a shorthanded goal, an empty netter, and a successful penalty shot in the same game. Makes the baseball cycle look minor by comparison.
The most talented player I've ever seen. Greatest combination of size, speed, skating ability, stickhandling and shooting I've ever seen.
I'll never forget a goal of Mario's I saw on the first Don Cherry Rock 'Em Sock 'Em video. He splits two Canadien defenders into the offensive zone, they both hook him around the legs similtaneously and as he's pitching from being hooked he casually wrists the puck over the goalie's shoulder like it was nothing. No way anyone should be able to make a play like that, or any of a thousand other plays he made, but he did.
All-time three greatest Mark Messier moments.... #3: The look of sheer joy and laughter on his face when he was being handed the Cup as a Ranger #2: This picture I saw of him dressed as the Joker for a ritzy Halloween party. Holy lord, it was creepy.