Photos by Jeffery Simpson

Introducing a new contributor to Jets Nation – Ross Smith! Today Ross finally solves the issue of who is the Greatest Player of All Time. It’s what the summer is for.

As we recline here in the lazy summer days between hockey seasons, we dedicated fans fill up the puck-shaped hole in our hearts by following the draft and the free agent signings and even pretending to care about baseball or the CFL until it’s time to hit the ice again. This summer, though, offered up the 25th anniversary of an event so dramatic that it changed the NHL irrevocably: The Gretzky Trade. Its mere mention in Edmonton still yields mournful stories of lost innocence and squandered opportunity – Gretz revered and commemorated like a war hero or a precious family member. Who can blame them? He is unquestionably the best player ever to lace up a pair of skates… or is he?

This Silver Jubilee marking Peter Pocklington’s transformation from mere unsavoury entrepreneur to “Wanted by The Hague” in a single craptastic business deal is the perfect time to renew Hockeydom’s favourite debate about who, exactly, is the greatest player of all time.

Lucky for you, I have just completed, with the assistance of 22 super-computers (kept in storage at IBM, formerly dedicated to the humiliation of the Soviets in chess battles) and 37 Kyrgyzstani interns (assigned to serfdom as laid out in the terms of the 1964-72 Cold War Chess Battle Treaty; they work cheap and all room in the same storage facility at IBM) a new statistical assessment of some of the consistently acknowledged top players in hockey history: Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby and Randy Gregg.  

What’s exciting about this new research is the groundbreaking data-gathering model that we’ve created. A player’s worth has always been difficult to rank objectively so we’ve tried to work outside the normal parameters to codify these oft-debated “intangibles”.  Setting aside the traditional goals/assists/plus-minus categories for less conventional yet more revealing holistic data, we are able to determine, to a frightening degree of accuracy, just who really deserves the mantle of GOAT. I’m sure you’ll find our results both entertaining and illuminating!

Here’s looking forward to a rousing 2014 season!

Most Creative Lover

*Averages tallied using International Figure Skating judging criteria, 6.0 being a perfect score. Scores provided by former sexual partners and other eyewitness testimony.


Best Relationship With Their Mother

*Based on a 46-page questionnaire filled out by the subjects during a Sunday dinner with their mothers or hired actress in the case of those whose mother is deceased.

Gentlest Horse Whisperer

*Number of horses mollified annually by the sweet nothings of love and encouragement bestowed upon them by each individual player, as verified by Ian Tyson. Randy Gregg unable to participate due to allergies.

Remembers Most Lyrics To Kansas’ “Dust In The Wind”

* By percentage, based on tape recordings of an “Iron John” men’s retreat campfire sing-along, August 12, 2009. Orr’s results disqualified after it was revealed that he actually co-wrote the song while on tour with Kansas in 1975 as a Monitor Technician.


Most Popular In Online Slash Fiction

*Based on number of pieces posted on “hotjocks.com” involving at least one of the candidates, though most involved two or more of them mostly in “coaching” scenarios. Interestingly, over 67% of the postings are from the same writer, identified as “Golden_Jet09”.

Best Jaromir Jagr Joke

*By percentage, based on audience reaction at NHLPA charity golf event, July 2011


Attempted Closure Of Embarrassing Family Twitter Accounts

*Annually, as documented by Deadspin.com and Perezhilton.com. Gregg not currently on Twitter, results interpolated from deletions of Dave Semenko chain-letter spam in old Hotmail account.


Fastest Time Posted In 2-Man Luge Olympic Trials

*4 run combined time rounded up to the nearest second, Vancouver 2010

Best Acid Trip

*Based on… uh…whoah.

Times Blackmailed

*Data available for $500 000 in unmarked small denomination bills and a Chevy Nova with a full tank of gas. We have Bobby Orr’s toe.


Most Medical Degrees

*Based on number of medical degrees. Duh.


So there you have it, folks! Let the debate cease here. The evidence provided by our tireless research is incontrovertible. The greatest hockey player of all time is Randy Gregg. He’s a freakin’ doctor!

Good work, Randy. We’re all very proud of you. Your name may never grace the record books but real hockey fans and statisticians know the truth.

As for the anniversary of the trade – anniversary is really the wrong word. Who celebrated?! It sucked. It will never not suck. It’s a suckiversary. Still, Edmontonians can console themselves with one post-Gretzky Stanley Cup and the fact that Wayne had to spend a year in St. Louis, which is truly penance enough for any perceived betrayal.

Next week, we’ll look at the greatest boxer of all time. The results will all depend on who comes through with the larger “research grant”, Don King or Oscar De La Hoya. And, no, Oscar, we do not accept pesos.

  • Alsker

    Welcome!!Awesome article, finally someone to challenge J Willis and his corsi etc. stats, love it. Probably why no one mentioned this on ON, must read for all us diehard Oilheads, especially those of us who were there. Must admit that pic is hilarious, was he trying out for a role in flashdance??? Looking forward to more great work like this.

  • The Last Big Bear

    One time Darryl Sydor told me a Jagr joke so funny I actually peed in my luge suit. Incidentally, this was just after we posted a better luge time than Crosby/Lemeiux. Also, he can actually eat just one Lay potato chip. That alone should put him in the running. So I think we need to expand your analysis to include him as a dark horse contender.