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 Jean Ratelle Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

By regular season numbers, Jean Ratelle was one of the best forwards of his era. And, had he been healthy in his best season, he might have competed for the scoring title. (His peers awarded him with the Pearson for that.)

However, his playoff numbers are noticeably worse. And, of course, he never won a Cup.

So, how great was Jean Ratelle? Is he one of the greats of his era or does his longevity make him look better than he was? Listen to us discuss Ratelle’s Hall of Fame case here:

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Is Bobby Clarke the Best 2-Way Forward of All Time?

Bobby Clarke is one of the most notorious players in NHL history but he’s also one of the most decorated, one of only a few players to ever win the Hart three times. (He also became a star in spite of his diabetes.)

He was extremely hard to play against but also an offensive star. He only won one Selke because it was introduced half way through his career.

So where does Clarke rank all time among defensive forwards? Listen to us discuss his Hall of Fame case 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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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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Is Dominik Hasek the GOAT?

The Dominator had a nearly unrivaled stretch of goalie dominance during the Dead Puck Era.

But it was only 6 years. Is that enough for Dominik Hasek to be considered the Greatest Goalie of All Time?

Listen to us talk about Hasek here:

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Is Mark Messier the Greatest Leader in Hockey History?

The narrative is that Mark Messier is the Greatest Leader/Captain in NHL history, probably hockey history and (depending upon who you talk to) maybe even in pro sports history.

So the question isn’t whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but how good he was. And do his “intangibles” make up for never being a top offensive player ever during the course of his career?

Listen to us talk bout Mark Messier:

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Does Steve Yzerman Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

by Don Bigileone [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Of course Steve Yzerman belongs in the HOF. But what we really want to know is, how good was he? Where does he rank all time?

In our latest episode, we discuss just how good he was, and his remarkable transition from elite offensive player to Selke winner.

You can listen here:

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Does Brett Hull Belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

by Johnmaxmena2 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Brett Hull is one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history but he is often accused of being so one-dimensional that he shouldn’t be considered a great player.

In this episode, we discuss his case and whether or not he’s as one-dimensional as many often claim.

Listen here:

Stats:

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