ADSactly Sports - The Greatest Players of All-Time - Who is the G.O.A.T? (Part 4)

in #sports5 years ago

ADSactly Sports: The Greatest Players of All-Time - Who is the G.O.A.T? (Part 4)


In part 1, part 2 and part 3 of this series, we started to look into one of the oldest and most speculated argument in sports. Who are the greatest players in their respective sports? Who are the G.O.A.T.’s? Sports fans are passionate creatures and their loyalty to players and teams can run very deep. When it comes to the G.O.A.T fans sometimes have to push their loyalties to the side and look at the bigger picture. As much as we might want to say that our favourite player on our favourite team is the greatest ever, it is essential that we take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

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In our previous posts, we discussed the G.O.A.T’s from NFL football, soccer, baseball, NBA basketball, golf, tennis and boxing. The conversation in the comments section has been great. It is so much fun to read through and see the opinions and reasoning for your choices. I think what has intrigued me the most is how much the character of the player plays a part in your choices. I have read several times about how good a person was or what they did for people. Let's continue the banter and take a look at a few more sports and try to decide who is the greatest of all time. It is clear that the era a player played in, plays a large part in how people view the greatest players of all time as well.

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I think the most interesting thing that has continually been brought up through this series is the idea that we can’t really ever claim with absolute and complete certainty who the G.O.A.T in any sport is. The whole argument is founded on opinions that are subjective. Even when the statistics seem to clearly point to one player, people are able to find valid reasons why you could possibly discount the statistics or even inflate the value of a player that didn’t win as many championships as another player.

There are often many other factors that must be considered when analyzing this debate. These factors include the technology of the equipment and development of training methods depending on the era, the level of competition at the time, the longevity of a player vs the sheer output during a specific period. During any given discussion of the G.O.A.T there can be doubt created. The comment that stands out to me the most is that our opinions about the greatest players are always changing because new and better players are coming along all the time. The proclaimed greatest player right now will very likely be surpassed one day and therefore changing our minds about this debate yet again.

In this our final installment of this series, we will be taking a look at the sport of hockey.

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The discussion of who the greatest hockey players of all time has a long history. For the most part, you only need to look to the NHL to find the best of the best when it comes to this sport. The National Hockey League has long been the considered the best of the best and is the league that all young players aspire to make it to. There are however some fans that will remind you that there were some great players that played internationally but never made the transition to the NHL. There were some fantastic players from Russia during the 70’2 who did not come to the NHL as they were committed to playing for the Soviet Union. This was something that occurred more in the early years of the NHL and for the most part players from all over the world come to the NHL to compete against the best.

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The name that leads all discussions when it comes to the G.O.A.T in hockey is none other than Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky was an NHL player for 20 years and he practically re-wrote all the record books. Noone has ever scored points at the rate that he did. He holds every major statistical record in the NHL including career goals (894), assists (1963), and points (2857). No other player is even close to reaching these numbers and with the rate of scoring decreasing in the NHL as goalies and defensive systems improve, there might be a chance that no other player ever does. Not only are his career totals astounding, Gretzky set records for season totals and consecutive seasons reaching milestone levels. He once even scored 50 goals in 39 games. A feat that has never been remotely challenged. As part of the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980’s, Wayne Gretzky won 4 championships in five years as part of one of the greatest dynasties in NHL history.

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Wayne Gretzky is recognized for so much more than just his incredible play on the ice. He has long been considered one of the greatest ambassadors for the sport of hockey and credited for the huge increase in popularity of hockey in the U.S, in particular, the boom in the western US and California. This came after he was moved to the L.A. Kings in one of the most shocking and unexpected trades in NHL history. He brought success to a struggling franchise and with that came fans and popularity for the sport in that region. Gretzky’s play on the ice and his ability not only score at an unheard of rate but his ability to make the players around him better saw him nicknamed “The Great One”. When he retired, he was immediately inducted into the hockey hall of fame, bypassing the usual waiting period required. His jersey number (99) was retired by the entire NHL, meaning that no other player can ever wear that number again.

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Before Gretzky, there were a couple players who set the gold standard in hockey and were recognized as the best in the game. Gretzky’s number 99 was actually based on one of the best players ever and his favourite player, Gordie Howe. Howe was the record holder in many statistical categories before Gretzky came along. He was never a prolific scorer but he consistently put up great numbers over the course of a very long career. Howe was also known for being a tough player who wouldn’t hesitate to rough it up and get into fights. The Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and a fight) was coined after him. Bobby Orr was a player form the 1970’s who was and is still considered one of the best defenseman to play in the NHL. He scored at a torrid pace and was known for his incredible skating and speed. His career was cut short by injuries and people will often mention that if he had played a full career, he would have set new records for scoring.

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The game has changed a lot over the years. The players are getting bigger and stronger all the time and the level of training and preparation is heads and tails beyond what it was years ago. Recently there have been a few players that are setting very high standards in what is considered to be a new era of hockey. Sidney Crosby has been considered to be the “best” player in the game for the past decade or so. He plays the game at a completely different level and with a competitiveness that is unmatched by many. He set new standards for the level of training and preparation for the season. He has been one of the leading scorers throughout his career and has won 2 Stanley cups so far.

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There have been some other players that stand out in this time but the final player I want to mention is someone who just joined the league last year and after 2 seasons is widely considered to be the “new” best player in the game. Connor McDavid has a skill set that analyst say is far beyond that of any player to this date. He plays the game at a speed that no other player has been able to show to this date. Many are looking forward to watching his career develop and feel that he could put up some of the best numbers to date in the modern day NHL.

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You can’t discuss the greatest players in hockey without looking at goaltenders. This position has evolved a great deal over the years as the goalies have become better and the equipment has changed. In fact, the equipment has become an issue in recent years as some goalies are wearing very large pads and gear that makes them much bigger in the net and therefore making it harder to score. As with the skaters, the debate over the greatest goalie is a tough one because of the differences in the game as it has evolved. A few names that come to mind in the olden days of hockey are guys like Jacques Plante who was not only a great goalie but also the first to wear a mask in a game for safety, Ken Dryden who had some amazing years in the 70’s as part of the Montreal Canadiens dynasty.

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Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur set new standards for goaltenders through the late 80’s and 90’s. They were not only elite goalies but they played major parts in their teams winning several championships. You can’t talk about great goalies without mentioning Dominik Hasek who set elite standards for statistics like GAA and save percentage. He is thought to have had the potential to do so much more if he hadn’t suffered injuries that would shorten his playing time. Now some of the best in the league are Carey Price and Pekka Rinne. Time will tell if they are able to achieve the level of success of some of their predecessors.

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Thank you for reading through the G.O.A.T series. There are so many other sports that we could add to our discussion. It has been fun engaging in the debate through your comments and having the arguments continue after the post. I look forward to hearing your opinions about the greatest players in hockey. Do you think there is someone better than the great one? I didn’t even mention Mario Lemieux who might have been the great one himself if he didn’t play in the same era as Gretzky or have his career shortened by injury.

Authored by @broncofan99

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I always had Gretzky in my opinion as the best player of all time even if I had friends for whom Mario Lemieux among others make their choice. For those who have the same age as me already yes because we are many if we add the youngest who have never seen Bobby Orr or like me too young at the time to better admire because this player is unique. Who could say that Orr did not have an excellent vision of the game and how often can we read that Gretzky was not the fastest but Orr had all in one. The only defenseman to win the championship, yes, but let's not forget that his record has not been broken since the NHL's history began more than 100 years ago. Thanks to the intrenet and youtube I had the chance to better examine Orr, he is faster than Lemieux and Gretzky and also has an excellent reading of the game, that's the sum that makes him the geratest one!

I wish that Boddy Orr had not had his career shortened by injury. I think we could have seen some amazing numbers if he played longer.

Goalies always tend to remain unmentioned. Goaltenders are like the unsung heroes of the game and every once in while, when they are mentioned my heart goes out to them. Thanks for taking care to mention them here buddy :-)

The great players of any game make it look so easy that it is a little difficult to watch others struggle to catch up to them. Since we as regular folks know little about being professional players, our expectations are set by the level of the heroes or great players of that game.

For example, I never watched golf, until Tiger Woods came along. Then after him, it was a disaster for me as I couldn't understand why others were not matching up to his skill level. When in truth, players like Tiger Woods are only born once in a century and even the most skillful players of later times cannot step into those shoes of greatness left behind by these 'Greats'.

You are so right. The greatest players have a way of making the game look so easy and even more outstanding is how they can make the players around them better.

Quoting Jay Z: Tyson, Jackson, Jordan....Game 6

All the 🐐s

There is really no discussion for me. I will mention how much fun it was to see Mark Messier next to Gretzky, but 99 is THE ONE.

My all time favorite goalie is Ken Dryden. The man just oozed style and won championships. But I think probably the all round best I've ever seen is Patrick Roy. He played on some awful teams that didn't give him a lick of support, but kept his numbers way up. Brodeur, maybe, but I always think he was part of the clutch and grab defense at NJ and benefited greatly from that.

Thanks for a truly great series, Bronco. It was really fun.

The sports gives us entertainment.All the games have a risk but the hockey game is more risky.

Hockey is one of the most dangerous sports to play.

@adsactly Nice topics.It's a most valuable games.But hockey is too more risky.

All games has it great player.... Dats undisputed fact in game of sport

Wat an educative and informative post


#Adsactly all the way

Thank for you and most welcome to [email protected] me a upvote done sir.
Thank for sharing.... best of luck..

Great post @broncofan99. I was very young when I was in Edmonton when Gretzky was still with the Oilers... a shame that I was too young to remember anything then...
For Russian players, Alex Ovechkin is definitely one of the very best of all time.. and he deserves the trophy

I was so happy to see him win this year. It's funny when he was younger I wasn't a big fan of his. I found him to be a little bit arrogant and cocky. Looking back now, I think it might have been his age showing through. He has turned into a well-respected player and he deserved that win.

Yes, him and Crosby are 2 of the best over the decade.. glad they both hoisted the Stanley Cup

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