NHL legends Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr say Gordie Howe was the greatest
The NHL is announcing its top 100 players in league history without ranking them. But Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux had no reluctance to say No. 9 is No. 1.
They agree that Gordie Howe is the best to ever play.
“We talk about this all of the time, and I think it’s what makes sports great and hockey wonderful,” Gretzky said Friday before the top 100 were announced. “But we are all pretty much in agreement that Gordie was pretty special.”
Howe, nicknamed "Mr. Hockey," died last June at the age of 88. He played 26 seasons in the NHL, and six more in the now-defunct World Hockey Association. He was a dominant scorer, second only to Wayne Gretzky in goals, and a monstrous physical force.
“We all had so much respect for what Gordie did and what he accomplished,” Gretzky said. “It’s not a bad thing to be named in the top 100 behind Gordie Howe.”
A case can be made that Gretzky was the best ever because his offensive numbers are staggering and the case for defenseman Orr centers on the fact he revolutionized the game with his offensive might.
“Gordie in my mind is the best to play the game,” Orr said. “I don’t know if we will ever see another one."
Howe had his first 100-point season after age 40 and scored his last NHL goal at age 52. He played his first game at 18.
Lemieux made it unanimous. “He could play any way you wanted out there,” Lemieux said. “He was a great goal scorer, tough, always taking care of business, and he was a true ambassador for the game.”