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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Is Guy Lafleur one of the Greatest of All Time?

For 6 seasons – more than half a decade – there was arguably no better hockey player on earth than Guy Lafleur. And there is arguably no better team in NHL history than Lafleur’s Canadiens of the late ’70s.

For the rest of his career, Lafleur was, um, not the best hockey player in the world. And so the question is, was he good enough in those six seasons to rank among the very, very best forwards in history, who managed longer peaks but less consistency?

Listen to us talk about Guy Lafleur’s case for one of the Greatest of All Time 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 Bryan Trottier Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Bryan Trottier won six Cups, a Hart, an Art Ross, a Conn Smythe (and should have won a second) and was among the all time leading scorers in NHL history when he retired.

Really the only blemish on his career is that adjustments for era hurt him a little bit.

So it’s obvious he belongs in the Hall of Fame and the question really is, where does he rank all time among NHL centres?

Listen to us talk about Trottier here:

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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:

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Does Roy Conacher Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Roy Conacher scored the second most goals of his era, behind only Maurice Richard. And he also won an Art Ross.

But it took the Hall of fame decades to induct him, and he wasn’t inducted until the late 1990s.

In this episode, we discuss Roy Conacher’s case for the Hall of Fame. Listen here:

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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:

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