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Jeremy Roenick: Sidney Crosby is ‘way more talented’ than Wayne Gretzky

Jan 30, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT


Wayne Gretzky didn’t become the all-time leading scorer in NHL history because he skated faster than anyone else or shot harder than any other player. Instead, he dominated thanks in large part due to his incredible hockey IQ.

So it’s important to take semantics into account when you consider Jeremy Roenick’s comments. Roenick said that Sidney Crosby is “way more talented” than Gretzky was when Roenick spoke on a recent radio show. Of course, Roenick also points to that hockey IQ when discussing Gretzky’s success, so it’s not as if he’s disparaging “The Great One.”

Of course, this gets to a deeper discussion about how difficult it is to compare players of different eras. For instance: can anyone say if Patrick Roy was better than Terry Sawchuk, considering how different equipment and style of play was in their generations? The same law applies to discussing Bob Pettit versus Shaq O’Neal; it’s almost as if they are playing two different games.

So in other words, take these words with a grain of salt. Still, it’s an interesting thought to consider: is Sidney Crosby “way more talented” right now than Wayne Gretzky was in his prime?

  1. Brian - Jan 30, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    no one’s better than Gretzky in any way, except maybe fighting. love ya JR, but you say some dumb stuff.

  2. polegojim - Jan 30, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Roy’s comment towards Roenick is classic, and applies to his statements like this one.

    “I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears”

  3. lonespeed - Jan 30, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    Roenick likes to stir crap up, just like he did as a player.

    The more time that passes, the more this becomes an apples-to-oranges comparison.

    The separation between Gretzky and the rest of his peers in his prime was far wider than the separation between Crosby and his peers of today.

    Players are bigger, faster, and more talented today than they were twenty years ago in any sport. Stick Ovie, E. Staal, Stamkos, Kane, Toews or various others in the league twenty years ago, and Gretzky’s star wouldn’t shine so bright. That doesn’t mean Gretzky isn’t the greatest player of all time. It’s rather simple, those players didn’t exist twenty years ago, and Gretzky did. That’s what made him great.

    So saying Crosby is better than Gretzky is like saying Alex Rodriguez is better than Babe Ruth; the comparison really doesn’t hold water. Different generations.

  4. nesuperfan - Jan 30, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    More raw physical talent does not necessarily make one better. You have to include other factors like work ethic and what is between the ears, and no one has ever been better than Gretzky between the ears.

  5. facemaskplease - Jan 30, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Roenick? IQ? These should not appear in the same sentence, unless it’s for time Upstate. It’s just a matter of needing attention and saying any dumb thing to get it. First of all, Gretzky revolutionized the game that Mr. Crosby is now playing. This is like comparing the guy who drinks Bud Light to the guy who invented beer. Roenick should just put a sock in it.

  6. stakex - Jan 31, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Crosby is not half the player Gretzky was….

    Gretzky had a feel for the game, and saw the ice like no one before him… and Crosby isn’t even close to that ability. Sure hes putting up solid numbers, but hes no where close to the numbers Gretzky put up… and Crosby has the benifit of the new “pansified” NHL where you can’t look at him without taking a penelty. Gretzky scored all his goals during a time in which you could still hook and hold players… if the NHL didn’t change the rules after the lockout, Crosby wouldn’t be a fraction the player he is right now and not even close to being considered a top player.

    And you know… its offensive to compare a little cry baby, and constant diver to the greatest player of all time. JR should be ashamed of himself.

    • jpelle82 - Feb 1, 2011 at 3:45 PM

      you must not watch hockey. it was more pansified when gretzky played. the goof never got hit and “saw the ice” because he had no worry of being hit. crosby, ovechkin, sedin, stamkos are all better than gretzky. gretzky was an opportunist. he played during an era of pussies and poor goaltending. look at the goalie stats then to now.

  7. govtminion - Jan 31, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    It’s worth pointing out that while Crosby is unlikely ever to touch most of Gretzky’s records, he’s also playing in an era of bigger, faster goaltenders than the old Oilers dynasty had to deal with. It really is impossible to compare the two fairly, other than to say that Crosby is as dominant over the current NHL as Gretzky was in his heyday.

    (And I say that as a Pens hater. Excuse me while I take a shower…)

  8. wstander - Feb 1, 2011 at 1:53 AM

    Crosby is no way as dominant over his peers as Gretzky was in his heyday. Just compare Gretzky’s stats to his closest competitor and Crosby to his. It is not even close.

  9. ishiibrad - May 24, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    OMG! I truly am in an American room in here 1) Roenick had some pretty good chances to win a cup but he didn`t do a whole lot to help his teams( another sub par american player) So, what he says doesn`t hold a lot of water. 2) lonespeed …those players didn’t exist twenty years ago . Are you kidding me ? Do you know how many HOF`s in that time? How many do you think will come out of hockeys batch right now? 3)jpelle82…an era of pussies and poor goaltending. I`m sorry ,just ask Don Cherry about that, he will sit you down and give you it all for hours! The players wear way more equipment now(more padding,face sheilds & helmets) yet more players are dropping like flies today? The worst thing the NHL did was bring in helmets. Helmets and shields came in and sticks went up! Players played back then. Oh yeah a few goons but other players told them to bring it down, they didn`t need the refs help.

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