Wayward Ditch Pig
Damn... Mario was amazing. Considerably better than Matthews and McDavid combined.
Mario just played the game differently, saw it differently. The speed that he processed the game at was incredible.
My favourite "Mario is on another level" moment was from the 2002 olympics.
At the 45 second mark...
Nobody does this at the this level, the game is just too fast to process like this, HD chances like this are too precious to risk wasting. Dummying is a common high skill play in footy, but in hockey is more or less unheard of. To have that level of awareness to know that a pass is going to be on your winger's tape is obscene. Tied gold medal game, the entire country was on edge and still embarassed from the 98 shootout loss to the Czech's. One of the highest pressure games of Mario's career and he's dummying passes to slot opportunities to freeze the American goalie? Fucking insane levels of hockey IQ.
All the physically skilled plays he made in his career are nuts. Watching him dangle two defenders, bull rush the net, etc...super impressive. But we've seen Rick Nash and guys of that level score goals as pretty with raw physical talent. What made Mario different was that "chess not checkers" view of the game. He just processed shit different, saw it different. Wayne is the only guy I've ever seen with that same level of hockey IQ.