This question has been thrown around more nowadays than ever before. This is because there are guys like Crosby, Ovechkin, and now, McDavid, who have changed the game and some think that these guys could end up being some of the best there ever was. I’m here to tell you to pump the breaks with that take.
How can you disrespect the greatness of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr? Fans forget how dominant these players were, and how tough a league it was back when they all played. They had to endure some pretty tough slashing and “defense” back then.
Now, if guys like McDavid and other young kids get even touched on the hands with a stick it’s going to be a penalty. Hockey has changed so much since those guys played and it can really be hard to compare past to present but I am here to try and accomplish that task and name the top 3 players of all time…
1. Wayne Gretzky
There is no way to argue around this one, the man was unstoppable. He was pure magic behind the net and pretty much on the entire ice. How can you compare this guy who scored 894 times and even without those goals he would still be the leading all-time point scorer. Gretzky did so much more than just score, he had 1963 assists in 1487 games. The next closest point total is Jaromir Jagr with 1921. Gretzky remains unmatched and will probably go down in history as the greatest hockey player of all time and one of the greatest athletes of all time.
2. Gordie Howe
Now it’s getting harder to choose who should slide into these spots considering points, when they played, and other things. Howe though did it all which is why he slides into the number 2 slot on this list. The man even has a hockey term named after him since he did so many different things. The now known Gordie Howe hat trick is a special thing in hockey in which a player scores, fights and gets an assist in one game. It gets harder and harder to do nowadays since the NHL has been trying to take some of the fighting aspects out of the game. But not only was Howe a tough guy but he also could play the offensive zone. Howe ranks #4 all-time in points with 1850 in 1767 games. Howe was the definition of hockey back then and I wish players would watch and study how this guy would operate.
3. Jaromir Jagr
This was the toughest decision on this list and it pains me to leave some really respectable names out but this guy is pure dominance. He was so skillful on the offensive end that he could still dominate in a European league at age 46. Jagr also has something on everyone else. Longevity. The fact that he’s been able to play this late in his career is remarkable and it’s not like he’s a fourth line grinder. He could be put on a third or second line to get some secondary scoring if needed. Also, Jagr in his prime was close to unstoppable with Lemieux with him. You couldn’t stop that pair when they were on the ice together and Jagr was a big beneficiary of Lemieux greatness as well. But Jagr also played great for other teams. He was so skillful that I couldn’t keep him off this list.
Mario Lemieux: How could I not think about this guy who should be on this list but got robbed by a former teammate Jaromir Jagr. Lemieux played only 915 games and still had 1723 points. He is one of the greatest players of all time and could have an argument for the greatest if it wasn’t for Gretzky.
Sidney Crosby: Now I did think about putting Sid the Kid in the list but I think the sport has changed so much as the NHL is trying to get more scoring and that helps Crosby out. I am not trying to take anything away from what this guy has done and could continue to do but he hasn’t done it for nearly as long. This guy has some silky smooth hands and one of the best pure scorers and playmakers of all time.
Alex Ovechkin: Yes, I have him on here, sadly. As much as I hate this guy and how much of a loser he is, there is no denying how great of a player he is. The man is a sharpshooter and can body somebody if needed. He has a hell of a one-timer that goalies have no chance of saving and that is partly why he made it here. The reason I don’t have him in the list though is that he is a loser beyond belief. He just got to his first conference finals this year and he could be on his way out if Tampa can get their shit together. This player has never one anything of real significance and it says something that when NHL players are not allowed in the Olympics that team Russia wins the gold without him after he tried for so many years to get it. There is a great comparison in the NBA with Carmelo Anthony. Great player but has never one anything in his career.
Bobby Orr: Bobby Orr changed how hockey was played as a defenseman. As a Boston guy, I wanted to so badly put him on this list, but there are so many great players that deserve to be there just as much as him. Orr won championships, scored goals and held down the house on defense. How can I not mention this guy who has a statue outside of TD Garden because he was so damn good? All of these players deserve to be on the greatest of all-time list and maybe Crosby can earn his way up there but for now, Gretzky remains at the top.