"[Lemieux] Too much taking time off, defensive lack of effort - especially early in career, and whining cost him."
- Although missing all that time effectively takes away any statistical argument for Lemieux (except for PPG and GPG), it adds far more to his legacy than it detracts. It's ludicrous to say that he "picks and chooses when he plays," as if he's handpicked himself an easier schedule/career. He played when his body, however barely, lets him, and it's not like games played in equates full healthiness. Far from it. The 46-game scoring streak was played with the excruciating back pain that eventually ended it. The '92-3 scoring title was compiled around a 20-game midseason vacation for chemotherapy. And at age 37, he's still by far the most dominant single player in the game, dominating the scoring race last year before the familiar combination of injuries and no surrounding talent let it slip away. (Compare that to Gretzky's final, 70-game accomplishment of 9 goals and 62 points at the age of, what, 38?)
While I'll accept DQ'ing Lemieux from The Best competition because the "what if" factor isn't tangible enough evidence, I hardly think his injuries can detract from what he accomplished in the slightest.
- Lemieux was every bit the two-way center that Gretzky was during the playoffs, especially during the two Cup years.
- Lemieux (and Brett Hull) don't do enough "whining" -- the league sucks. It takes as much integrity to point out what a terribly-run league the NHL is as it does to smile, shake hands, and get the "ambassador for the game" love (and the more glowing light it places you in). It's not as if goals- and penalty-per-game stats over the last decade don't painstakingly illustrate what he's talking about. And since the comeback, he's been more than willing to play the elder statesmen -- especially since the NHL has no alternative, since, due to everything Lemieux decries about taking the game away from the great players, they have no current stars.
Well Padi, my man, it was in the Greatest Of All Time thread that closed before I saw it, and then I saw it, and it got my goat there, temporarily, and I freaked right out and did the dreaded new thread reply, because I had to defend the honor of my man.
Peter Forsberg gets my vote as the best today, and I just can't pick anyone but Gretzky as the best of all time (though I think I covered this in the old thread, started by some guy ).
"When this bogus term alternative rock was being thrown at every '70s retro rehash folk group, we were challenging people to new sonic ideas. If some little snotty anarchist with an Apple Mac and an attitude thinks he invented dance music and the big rock group is coming into his territory, [that's] ridiculous." - Bono, 1997