August 10, 2010
Who's Better? Bobby Hull vs. Gordie Howe
Here's an old Hockey Illustrated magazine from December 1966. The cover story blares "Who is the Greatest? Bobby Hull or Gordie Howe?" It was an argument that would go on for 10 more years as the two superstars greatly impacted the hockey world until the late 1970s.
Nowadays we compare Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby in the very same light. There are some interesting comparables.
Ovechkin and Hull, both left wingers, and the flashiest and most flamboyant artists of the ice. They are not just great hockey players, able to score fantastic goals almost at will. They are entertainers. The NHL should never charge full price for a seat for one of their games, because you will rarely be sitting down with either of these two guys on the ice. They will have you either on the edge of your seat or standing in amazement all game long.
Howe and Crosby are similar, too, though not as conveniently so for this exercise. While I can already see comparing Ovechkin to Hull, I would not put Crosby in the same mention as Mr. Hockey yet. But still their styles of games in that while they are not necessarily spectacular, they are efficient, complete and above all they are winners. They get the job done. Their greatness is perhaps not immediately noticeable, but to the trained eye they are perfect hockey players in every aspect of the game.
So who's better? Hull or Howe? History almost unfailingly gives Gordie the edge, probably because he had so much success in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Who was more entertaining? The Golden Jet, hands down.
Will we have the same comments about Ovechkin and Crosby ten years from now? I think we already are. Whoever has the most post-season success will determine who was better in history's eyes.
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