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NHL’s Greatest of All Time: Gretzky, Mario, Orr, Gordie and ???



Boston Bruins' Bobby Orr, left, and Phil Esposito. AP Photo/Sal Veder)
Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito (AP Photo)

There was Twitter chatter overnight about the five greatest hockey players of all time.

There seemed to be a consensus about the top four — Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe. Of the four, Howe (Mr. Hockey) seemed to be one name some would take off the list.

There was not a consensus about the fifth.

Suggestions ranged from Patrick Roy (“goalies are overlooked,” someone said), Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Nicklas Lidstrom. A good case was made for Mark Messier, too, along with Phil Esposito and Jean Beliveau.

No Flyers were mentioned, although Jaromir Jagr was discussed. Jagr did play 73 games in 2011-12 for Philadelphia. That’s 73 out of 1,733 NHL games. He scored 19 of his 766 NHL goals for the Flyers.

A non-scientific read of the responses had Crosby the favorite for the fifth spot. Crosby fans cited him winning three Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals, a World Juniors title and a World Championships title.

Lidstrom won a World Juniors title, a World Championships title, an Olympic gold medal and four Stanley Cups. He also won the Norris Trophy seven times, one less than Orr.

Give me Lidstrom for that fifth spot. The responses and arguments for each player are fun to read.

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Colorado Hockey Now: Can Ryan Johansen match J.T. Compher’s production?

Detroit Hockey Now: Former Red Wing Pius Suter signs with Canucks.

Florida Hockey Now: Are Panthers finished in free agency?

Nashville Hockey Now: Predators’ Juuse Saros is one of the NHL’s best goaltenders and has one of the best team-friendly contracts.

New York Islanders Hockey Now: Some of the Isles’ one-hit wonders over the years.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: There’s a Flyers connection to GM Kyle Dubas’ most intriguing move.

San Jose Hockey Now: What will Sharks’ opening night roster look like?

Vegas Hockey Now: Golden Knights’ top 2023-24 awards candidates.

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