According to the vast majority, Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all time, and Mario Lemieux often ranks at No. 2.
Lemieux only played 915 games in his career due to various health issues, most famously battling cancer.
But he still managed to record the eighth-most points in league history, and just looking at Points per Game, only Wayne Gretzky tops him.
In his prime and when healthy, Lemieux was a powerhouse. He saved the Pittsburgh Penguins’ franchise and carried the team for a long time. In the 1992-93 season, Lemieux won the Hart Trophy and Art Ross trophy with 160 points in 60 games—despite missing nearly two months due to cancer treatments.
But Wayne Gretzky is still No. 1 when it comes to goals, assists, and points, and when he retired, he had 61 records to his name.
Gretzky is the only player to have his number retired league-wide and is widely acknowledged as the GOAT, perhaps even the GOAT of all GOATs.
No matter who you ranks higher, Gretzky or Lemieux, you just have to appreciate what they’ve done for hockey.
They’re both great ambassadors for the beautiful game and when they were active, they were such a thrill to watch. Some were very fortunate enough to play with both of them, and one of those guys was Paul Coffey.
The legendary defenseman played with Gretzky during the Oilers’ dynasty years in the 80s and with the Penguins when they were at their peak in the 90s.
And once, he perfectly and humorously described how it is to experience the legends firsthand. He claimed there was a big difference between them but that playing with them was amazing.
”With Wayne, I would throw him the long pass, hustle after him, watch him draw the whole rink to him and then give somebody an open net goal,” Coffey said during a ’Terriers Sportsman’s Dinner’ in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
”With Mario, you threw him a long pass, and all you do is speed up and get a front-row seat because he would just deke everybody else and score.”
What a quote from the Hall of Famer! We’re incredibly grateful for Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, two legends that have always meant so much to the game.