What is there to say about Wayne Gretzky that hasn't already been said? Maybe the biggest compliment you can give him is that you didn't need to be a hockey fan to appreciate what he could do with a stick, a puck and a sheet of ice.

He was a scoring machine. He could anticipate where teammates would be and pass them the puck without looking. I've seen video of him scoring a goal on a faceoff by swatting the puck out of the air before it hit the ice and right into the net. The goalie just stood there frozen as the puck passed him by.

He's often called a revolutionary player but to be revolutionary there must be others that follow you. Nobody that's come after him, with the possible exception of Mario Lemieux, is even close to being in his league. He was a singular talent. He dominated his sport during the 80s like no other athlete has ever dominated a professional team sport. And if you don't believe that, well, just look at his goal scoring numbers for the decade of the 80s, keeping in mind that 99% of NHL players never reach 50 goals in a season once in their career:

Season Goals
80-81: 55
81-82: 92
82-83: 71
83-84: 87
84-85: 73
85-86: 52
86-87: 62
87-88: 40*
88-89: 54

*played in only 64 games

Those are just goals. Regular season goals. I'm not even talking about playoff goals or his assist totals, which were just SICK (163 assists in 85-86 alone. Even if he hadn't scored a single goal that year he would have beat Phil Esposito's old regular season scoring record of 152 TOTAL points). When he retired in 1999 he held 40 regular season records and 15 playoff records. At the peak of his career during the 80s he won 8 consecutive league MVP awards and 7 consecutive scoring titles.

He wasn't the biggest by any means. He wasn't the fastest skater on the ice. He wasn't the toughest. But he was everything else and then some. He was The Great One.

I'll go into "The Trade" in a later post. In the meantime here's a bit of The Great One in his prime setting one of those many records.