Wayne Gretzky and other hockey legends agree on greatest NHL player ever

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Though Wayne Gretzky's nickname is "The Great One," he doesn't consider himself to be the greatest player in NHL history.

Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux were, without question, three of the greatest ever to lace up a pair of skates, but they are all in agreement when it comes to the best of all-time.

Gathered together for a ceremony honoring the NHL's top 100 players in league history at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, the three legends explained why Gordie Howe was the best of the best.

Gretzky told ESPN.com that he and the other legends were in agreement over the Mr. Hockey pick:

"I think we're all in pretty much in agreement that Gordie was pretty special," said Gretzky, the game's all-time points leader with 2,857.

"These two guys here are pretty special also, and we all have so much respect for what Gordie did and what he accomplished," Gretzky added. "It's not a bad thing to be named in the top 100 behind a guy like Gordie Howe. I think we all feel the same way."

Gretzky's 2,857 career points are well ahead of second-place Mark Messier, who put up an impressive 1,887 in his legendary career, Still, Gretzky deferred to Howe, who had 1,850 points during his time on the ice, good for fourth place on the all-time list.

Orr is widely considered to be the best defenseman in league history, but he agreed with Gretzky that Howe was a transcendent player:

"Absolutely," Orr said. "Gordie in my mind is the best that ever played the game. I'm not sure if we'll ever see another one."

Howe passed away at the age of 88 last year, but it's clear that his mark on the game - and on the game's best players - is as strong as ever.

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