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:

Continue reading “Is Phil Esposito one of the Greatest Centres of All Time?”

Does Bert Olmstead Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Bert Olmstead was one of the premier passing wingers of his era, leading both the regular season and playoffs in assists two times. He also won five Stanley Cups.

But his playoff numbers are significantly worse than his regular season numbers, despite the Cups. And he never made a end of season 1st Team in a league with only 6 franchises.

So, does Bert Olmstead belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame? Listen to us discuss here:

Continue reading “Does Bert Olmstead Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?”

Should Clint Smith be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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:

Continue reading “Should Clint Smith be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?”

Is Mario Lemieux the Greatest of All Time?

Through a career riddled by injuries – including one induced retirement – Lemieux was one of the most dominant forwards the game has ever seen. He temporarily led the NHL in both career Goals Per Game and Points Per Game, despite debuting after Gretzky and despite playing more of his career in the Dead Puck Era.

But Lemieux never reached Gretzky’s accomplishments either in terms of his peak or his longevity. He has fewer scoring titles and Cups than Gretzky, and Gretzky achieved Lemieux’s offensive feats many times over.

Listen to us discuss whether or not Lemieux is the Greatest Hockey Player of All Time, the Greatest Centre of All Time, or something else, here:

Continue reading “Is Mario Lemieux the Greatest of All Time?”

Is Wayne Gretzky the Greatest Hockey Play of All Time?

Gretzky is The Great One. But some of us think Bobby Orr was better.

So maybe he’s the greatest forward ever. But then there’s Gordie Howe.

So maybe he’s the greatest centre ever. But then some people think Lemieux is.

For this episode, we spend it talking entirely about how incredible Gretzky was.

Listen here:

Continue reading “Is Wayne Gretzky the Greatest Hockey Play of All Time?”

Does Edward Reg Noble Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Reg Noble’s biggest claim to fame is that he set the NHL career record in games played and, when he retired he was way ahead of the next player.

Does he belong in the Hall of Fame? We talk about him here:

Continue reading “Does Edward Reg Noble Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?”

Does Adam Oates Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Adam Oates doesn’t have a Cup or the award recognition some of Hall of Famers have. Should he have been inducted?

We talk about Oates’ case here:

Continue reading “Does Adam Oates Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?”

Does Cy Denneny Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

If consistency is what matters, Denneny was one of the best, if not the best, wingers of the NHL’s first decade and a half. Though only briefly dominant, he played and scored longer than most players. So we wonder where he ranks all time.

Listen to us talk about Cy Denneny here:

Continue reading “Does Cy Denneny Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame.”

Does Georges Buck Boucher Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Georges Boucher aka Buck Boucher was among the very best defencemen of the NHL’s first decade and a half. Where does he rank all time?

Listen here:

Continue reading “Does Georges Buck Boucher Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?”

Does Dick Irvin Sr. Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a Player?

Dick Irvin Sr. is arguably not as famous as his son to anyone who isn’t a Habs fan or who isn’t a really old Leafs fan.

But before he was a great coach, he was a player. In this episode of The Back Check we try to decide whether he was a player who was good enough to be inducted just as a player, and not due to his coach record, because that’s a conversation we can have.

Listen here:

Continue reading “Does Dick Irvin Sr. Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a Player?”