Is Bobby Orr the Greatest Hockey Player of All Time?

Djcz, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is a never-ending debate among hockey fans as to which player of Gretzky, Lemieux and Orr was the greatest.  There are certain areas where each stands supreme.

Our vote is for Orr because we think he played the more difficult and more important position and because he revolutionized the position as well. (Also, the skating.) But at least one of us thinks there’s room for debate.

Listen to us talk about Bobby Orr:

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Is Bobby Hull the Greatest Left Wing of All Time?

Many 21st century hockey fans likely think the answer to the question “Who is the Greatest Left Winger of All Time?” has an easy answer, Alex Ovechkin.

But it’s possible we don’t remember how dominant Bobby Hull truly was. Hull won 2 Hart trophies and 3 Art Ross trophies. But he was a Hart finalist for most of a decade. Additionally, he was, by most standards, the best offensive player of his era, both in the regular season and, crucially, in the playoffs.

And then he went to another league and dominated it in his late 30s. (It’s possible his departure to the WHA colours how we think of his career.)

So, is Bobby Hull the Greatest LW of All Time? Listen here:

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Is Stan Mikita a Top 5 Centre All Time?

If you didn’t see him play, it’s possible Stan Mikita’s resume is better than you think it should be. In addition to winning multiple Hart trophies, Art Ross trophies and the Stanley Cup, he’s likely the 2nd best centre of the ’60s and among the best centres of the ’70s.

So it’s clear Stan Mikita belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The question is, where does Stan Mikita rank among centres all time?

Listen here:

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Is Phil Esposito one of the Greatest Centres of All Time?

Why is it that we (our generation anyway) have trouble thinking of Esposito as one of the greatest hockey players of all time? Is it because he was on the same team as Bobby Orr, whose legend has endured far better? Is it because of Esposito’s extraordinarily unathletic physique? Is it because everything he did has since been done multiple times by multiple players so those records feel less important?

We have no idea, but Espo was the most dominant offensive player between Howe and Gretzky. (We read somewhere that Lafleur was the most dominant offensive player between Howe and Gretzky, but we don’t see evidence to back that up.)

Sure, Espo benefited from playing more games per season in the newly expanded league (someone was going to set records) and, yes, he benefited from playing with the Greatest of All Time, but lesser players wouldn’t have excelled the way he did, over such a long period of time.

Listen to us talk about Esposito here:

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Does Herbie Lewis Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Herbie Lewis led the playoffs in Goals twice. So, as the second old timer inducted by the Veteran’s Committee, it makes some sense he was admitted to the Hall of Fame.

But did he do enough else to really belong? He was never really a regular season star.

In this episode, we discuss Herbie Lewis’ Hockey Hall of Fame case:

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Is Mike Bossy the Greatest Goal Scorer of All Time?

Mike Bossy is 1st All Time in Goals Per Game, was Top 5 in GPG in all but one season of his NHL career and is the only player other than Gretzky to score 50 goals 9 straight times.

But nobody is hurt by Hockey Reference’s adjustment for era more than Mike Bossy. So arguably nobody benefited from playing when they did more than Bossy.

So, is Mike Bossy the greatest goal scorer in NHL history?

Listen to us talk about Mike Bossy’s Hall of Fame case here:

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Should Clint Smith be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

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Clint Smith set the single-season record for assists in the ’40s. So of course he should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Right?

Well, he did it during World War II, when talent in the league was quiet watered down. He doesn’t have a lot of other accomplishments. And he doesn’t have the Cups that many other “veterans committee” inductees of the ’90s have.

So, does Clint Smith belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us try to sort it out here:

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Is Marcel Dionne one of Greatest Centres of All Time?

Marcel Dionne’s regular season numbers are absolutely incredible, yet he’s rarely talked about as among the greatest forwards or even centres of all time.

Why is that?

Well, a lot has to do with his playoff numbers, which are, um, awful.

Listen to us talk about Marcel Dionne’s Hall of Fame career and where he ranks All Time:

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Does Frederick Bun Cook Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Frederick “Bun” Cook, Bill Cook’s younger brother, does not have his brother’s stats or achievements.

But he does has some periodic individual success. And he may have had a hand in inventing both the slap-shot and the drop-pass.

So, does Bun Cook belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Listen to us talk about his case here:

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Why is Bobby Bauer in the Hall of Fame?

Bobby Bauer was part of the famous Kraut Line. And he won two Stanley Cups, one Memorial Cup and one Allan Cup. (He might be the last hockey player to win all three.)

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But he was never even the best player on his own team, let alone in the league. And he underperformed in the NHL playoffs.

Not only is it kind of strange that he’s in the Hall of Fame, but it’s extra strange he was inducted 40+ years after he retired and over 30 years after he died.

So why is Bobby Bauer in the Hall of Fame?

Listen as we try to find out:

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