Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jagr vs Yzerman

Last week on the Mark Madden show, he started a debate on top 10 all time NHL forwards and said that Jaromir Jagr would be on the list. I had to think about it for a minute, but I don't think Jagr would quite hit the top ten. Here's my list:

1. Mario Lemieux
2. Wayne Gretzky
3. Gordie Howe
4. Mark Messier
5. Guy Lafleur
6. Phil Esposito
7. Marcel Dionne
8. Steve Yzerman
9. Brett Hull
10. Joe Malone

I respect Jagr and his talent but I think top 10 all time, is a little much. I would rather have any of those players over Jagr. At least one caller thought so too, which then drew a challenge from Madden for the caller to name 10 forwards better than Jagr. The caller named a lot of people on this list and also named Ron Francis and Steve Yzerman. Madden scoffed at the Yzerman response and replied, "Jagr won 5 scoring titles. How many did Yzerman win? Huh? How many?". The caller correctly replied zero. Steve Yzerman was in his prime at the same time as Lemieux and Gretzky. Its next to impossible to win a scoring title when you're up against the two greatest players in the history of game. Jagr won his scoring titles matched up against Eric Lindros and Peter Forsberg. That doesn't exactly carry the same weight as Lemieux and Gretzky. Yzerman had six straight 100+ point seasons and in 5 of those seasons he scored over 50 goals. When Scotty Bowman came to Detroit he asked Yzerman, "Do you want points or Cups?" Yzerman wanted to win and dramatically changed his game to be more than just a scoring machine, but also backcheck, block shots and focus more on defense. His individual stats took a hit, but the Red Wings went on to win 4 Campbell Conference trophies, 5 Presidents trophies, the 1996 team finished with more wins than any other team in history, and won three Stanley Cups. "How many Cups did Jagr win? Huh? How many?" Saying that Jagr is better than Yzerman because he has more scoring titles is asinine. By that logic Martin St Louis is better than Yzerman, Messier, Sakic, and Hull.

Madden, unfortunately, wasn't done. The self proclaimed "Super Genius" continued, "Yzerman scored that one Game 7 goal in the playoffs, but what else has he done? Jagr was always clutch and scored a ton of big goals in the playoffs." Jagr did score a big goal in the 92 Finals against the Blackhawks, but he must not have been too clutch if all he has is two Cups and he had little to do with those championship teams. Those two Cups that he has were won by Lemieux, Stevens, Recchi, Francis, Murphy, Tocchet and Barrasso. Aside from just a couple plays, Jagr kind of just went along for the ride. Yzerman, on the other hand was very instrumental in his teams' success shutting down the opponents top line and scoring big goals at the same time. Yzerman won the Conn Smythe Trophy in '98. You can't get more clutch than being the playoff MVP of championship run. "How many Conn Smythe's did Jagr win? Huh? How many?"

Its one thing to love your team and the players that played for it, but when getting into a hockey debate, let's use a little common sense. Jagr was great for the Pens and did a lot of things for the franchise, but calling him one of the greatest of all time, that's a bit much. Steve Yzerman is widely recognized as one of the greatest leaders in all of sports. To not rank him in the top ten of forwards would be a crime. As for Jagr, I would probably rank Jagr around 15 right now and 10 years from now, he'll probably be over 20.


  1. Finally Someone with the same view point as me with me on the topic of stevie Y. But I would even put him ahead of Messier there's no way the moose would have put all those points if he wasn't an oiler. Also he he only scored 50 goals once.

  2. ????
    you cannot be serious guys.


    brett hull=adam oates
    Esposito=bobby orr hands and juiced in playoffs

  3. Jagr as the 4th best forward ever? I don't think Jagr would rank himself that high. Hull and Oates are hardly equal. Hull is probably one of the best, if not the best, sniper in NHL history. Esposito was a 60 and 70 goal scorer in the NHL during a time when goals were down and I think Orr is better than Espo, not equal. Not a fan of Messier myself, but the guy produced and even lead the Oilers to a Stanley Cup AFTER Gretzky left, not to mention what he did in New York after that.

    Jagr was a very good forward, but he was very one dimensional. He was strong on the puck, a great shooter and playmaker, but played ZERO defense, wasn't an effective leader as captain and had an attitude that affected his on ice performance. He's not a top 10 all time forward.