The Instigator
ArthurBlair
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Irato99
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

Mario Lemieux is the greatest player to have played in the NHL

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Irato99
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2011 Category: Sports
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,513 times Debate No: 15036
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)

 

ArthurBlair

Pro

Many look at Wayne Gretzky as the greatest player in the NHL, and while he averaged 1.921 points per game and holds the all-time record for points per game, goals, assists, etc., I then take a look at Mario Lemieux, who averaged 1.883 points per game in his career. Aside from this, he played in close to 600 games less than Gretzky, many of which were missed during the prime of his career. Through his career, Lemieux suffered from spinal disc herniation, Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic tendinitis of a hip-flexor muscle, and chronic back pain so severe that others had to tie his skates. Though being slowed down during his prime by numerous injuries and eventually calling it a career due to irregular heartbeats caused by atrial fibrillation, Lemieux could not only put up points at the same pace as Gretzky, totaling at 1723, but at six feet, four inches, weighing pounds, he brought the physical aspect to the game that Gretzky could not.
Irato99

Con

A list of health issues should not make Mario a better player, these things are part of being a professional athlete and a hockey player should be judged by how he delivers on the ice, not on how he could be if this or that. As a matter of fact, I think that if Gretzky kept a higher points per game average despite playing 600 more games, it's a plus for the Great One, not the opposite, it's definitely harder to keep a pace the more you play. And, by the way, if you're talking about injuries you should also mention Gretzky's career threatening herniated disc he suffered at the middle of his career.

And even though Gretzky owns most of the records in the NHL, I don't think it's a stronger argument than the number of times he was voted the most valuable player on his team. He won it 9 times, that's the most ever on any professional sport.
Debate Round No. 1
ArthurBlair

Pro

You are right in that the health issues do not make Lemieux a better player, but those are nothing more than a little background information to give an idea of what was overcome to still play at such a high level as he did. And since both Lemieux and Getzky suffered from severe back problems, you can void the injury out for both and that still leaves Lemieux with a spinal disc herniation, cancer, and tendinitis of a hip-flexor.

What a player delivers on the ice does make him the better hockey player, and what Lemieux brought to the ice was a scoring touch that kept pace with that of Gretzky as well as the ability to take a player such as Gretzky out of a play and sometimes a game by using the physicality which Gretzky could not.

Your "thinking" that "if Gretzky kept a higher points per game average despite playing 600 more games, it's a plus for the Great One, not the opposite, it's definitely harder to keep a pace the more you play." is nothing more than an assumption. The facts are there and they show that Lemieux had both the ability to put up points similar to Gretzky's as well as get involved on defense and take the other team's scorer out of the play.

My assumption is that it for Lemieux to not only miss hundreds of games with multiple career-threatening injuies, but retire twice and then come back and put up points of the same magnitude as he did before retirement is better and harder than Gretzky's playing until age 39 with one injury he suffered after becoming the all-time scoring leader.

After one looks at Gretzky's statistics after the one injury it is quite clear to the viewer that he was never the same while Lemieux could still play with the same intensity and skill before his injuries.

I feel as though your claim that his being voted M.V.P. nine times as his best feat is not as important as you think it is. Voting, in both sports and in politics does not always end with the best candidate winning. What you are saying, and this is assuming that the votes are not rigged, is that the best candidate always wins which is not true. Voting is based on popularity and therefore does not result in the best available candidate for a position, but the most popular or flashy player, in this case, running[or in this case, skating] for a position.
Irato99

Con

Your last paragraph lacks of seriousness, the MVP is not important? I know it's not always the best candidate that wins, there must be some mistakes here and there, but do you really think hockey experts who voted for the Hart were wrong nine times?

I won't argue that Lemieux had the ability to put up points similar to Gretzky, but you can't seriously say that 1.883 ppg during 915 games is better than 1.921 ppg during 1487 games, at this Gretzky wins at both ends.

I won't agree it's harder to perform coming from retirement, it's the opposite, Gretzky never had that two and a half years to rest his body like Lemieux did. Gretzky played for 20 straight years and only missed 97 regular season games, he also played in 208 playoffs games, and add to that four Canada Cups, a World Cup and the Olympics. So why Gretzky should be penalized for playing that much? I just think it's another fact that puts him over Lemieux.

I don't recall Lemieux being a physical player, sure he was gifted with a big body and he had a clear advantage over his peers (something Gretzky didn't have but overcame with his intelligence and his passion for the game), maybe you saw something I did not, to me it's more like an assumption you made.

And don't waste your time talking about Lemieux's injuries, it actually diminishes his overall greatness.
Debate Round No. 2
ArthurBlair

Pro

I did not say it is not important. You stated that winning the MVP was the strongest argument in support of Gretzky and I disagree. There is fact and then there is opinion. Winning the MVP is based not only on opinion, but on biased opinion. Every man and woman holds bias, and those same men and women vote for who they feel to be the best player.

Even if Lemieux did not miss those seasons due to cancer and numerous other injuries, to say that coming out of retirement is not as hard as staying in the league without retirement is very foolish. To stay in the game and play the game keeps on not only in shape, but keeps a player from becoming rusty and out of sync with the game. When a player misses even a week from the game, it takes that player multiple games to get back into shape.

Lemieux won two Stanley Cups, an Olympic Gold Medal, the MVP three times, the Art Ross Trophy six times, the Conn Smythe Trophy twice, and many more. You give me the number of times he played in the playoffs and the cups and medals he won, but those are team awards. That is not take anything away from Gretzky, but he did those with a team. Gretzky should not be penalized for playing that much, but playing more does not make somebody better.

You are right, I saw something you did not. Lemieux was a play who would score points in the offensive zone, but while Gretzky was known for being able to avoid checks, Lemieux was able to give them. I am not asking for who had a more accomplished career, I am asking for who was a better player. If one wants to talk about scoring points and winning, why not throw in a Mike Bossy or in this case, Wayne Gretzky. While blessed with amazing vision, intelligence, and offensive abilities, Gretzky lacked the physical ability to get back on defense and help out on the other side of the ice.

Overall, the numbers do not lie and Gretzky had a better career with scoring, but the fact of the matter is that Gretzky lacked the defensive abilities the Lemieux had. I am not asking for the better scorer, I am asking for the better hockey player, and that is Mario Lemieux.
Irato99

Con

Gretzky won 9 MVP, that is a fact. Even if he won half of it, that still would be more than Lemieux. But did Lemieux really deserved his 3 MVP, or was it biased opinion.

It is foolish to say than playing a full season of 82 games, plus playoffs, plus practices, plus travel, is easier than resting two and a half years and come back a bit rusty.

Lemieux won a lot of things, but Gretzky won more, and they both did it with a team.

Yes, playing more does make a player better, consistency is an important factor in determining who's the best.

Are you really telling me that Lemieux was good at defense? Even though he had the body for it, Mario rarely used it, especially in the defensive zone. Mario never was good at defense, everyone will agree with that, so what you say Gretzky lacked, Mario never had it, you are wrong all the way on that matter.

So it's obvious, you have to go with the greatest numbers, the greatest accomplishments, the greatest awards, the greatest consistency, the Great One, Wayne Gretzky.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by InsertNameHere 5 years ago
InsertNameHere
Hockey! :D
Posted by ArthurBlair 5 years ago
ArthurBlair
To Irato99: I cannot message you, so I will thank you here for taking my argument. While I do not believe Mario Lemieux to be better, I have never done a debate before and tried to argue from the standpoint I usually would disagree with. I think Gretzky was better, and you did a great job in supporting his case.
Posted by xxdarkxx 5 years ago
xxdarkxx
Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Doug Harvey, Bobby Hull, Terry Sawchuck, Mark Messier, Ted Lindsay, Steve Yzerman, Paul Coffey, Jaromir Jagr, Chris Chelios, Eric Lindros, Brett Hull, <strong>PAVEL DATSYUK</strong>

all players that are better than Lemieux
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
ArthurBlairIrato99Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro could have won this if he pushed the injury argument to show heart, determination, inspiration, etc. but as it stands, clear argument to Con.
Vote Placed by Jallen289 5 years ago
Jallen289
ArthurBlairIrato99Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro provided little, if any source for his information and while, in my opinion, you cannot have a "greatest" player in a sport, 9 MVPs in Hockey is very impressive and it is not popularity that gets someone a MVP award. Its being the most valuable player and Wayne has earned every one of those. If someone has the physical ability to play hockey, than any injury they have obviously isn't beating the pain killers they use.
Vote Placed by xxdarkxx 5 years ago
xxdarkxx
ArthurBlairIrato99Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: ArthurBlair you don't know shit about hockey. They're are many, many players that are far better than Mario Lemieux. Conduct - both tied Spelling - Pro made a few mistakes in his last argument Argument - Con did far better, and Pro's points were moot Sources - lrn2cite