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Puckgenius* 10-10-2012 06:00 PM

Kevin Hatcher
 
How good was he in his prime? Was he a #1 dman? How does he compare to Derian? Going back to his Caps days, he posted a couple 74pt seasons.

Mike Farkas 10-10-2012 06:11 PM

Big, but surprisingly soft in his time with Pittsburgh. Not sure if the numbers (if there are numbers, I'm guessing not) back that up...but he was a big guy, just didn't really get involved physically that much it seemed...like Ryan Whitney in that sense...Hatcher could shoot though, he'd jump into the play and fire...didn't score 30 goals in a season once or something ridiculous?

Of course, he was a Pen much later in his career...so maybe he was more physically inclined back in the day. Pens traded Zubov for him (which Dallas agreed to instantly and eagerly) because - as the story goes - Lemieux didn't like how much Zubov would carry the puck.

vadim sharifijanov 10-10-2012 06:13 PM

total pylon. but dynamite on the PP.

to answer your question about his brother, kevin had the exact same body and played the same position but was almost the exact opposite player. if you combined all of kevin's and derian's strengths, that's probably a hall of famer.

Leafsdude7 10-10-2012 06:55 PM

Would I be completely out of line to compare Kevin Hatcher to Bryan McCabe?

From what I can tell, Hatcher was a tough cookie and could throw a good hit from now and then, not to mention fought with some of the bigger players in his day (Semenko, Kocur, Shanahan, Berube), but was never truly a dominant defensive or physical player like Derian Hatcher or Chris Pronger.

Ziggy Stardust 10-10-2012 07:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leafsdude7 (Post 54897403)
Would I be completely out of line to compare Kevin Hatcher to Bryan McCabe?

From what I can tell, Hatcher was a tough cookie and could throw a good hit from now and then, not to mention fought with some of the bigger players in his day (Semenko, Kocur, Shanahan, Berube), but was never truly a dominant defensive or physical player like Derian Hatcher or Chris Pronger.

That's an accurate and fair assessment. Kevin Hatcher was lousy defensively. Look at how he was a minus player for a good chunk of his career, even when he put up some amazing numbers as a defenseman. He was never considered among the best defensemen in the NHL.

Nalyd Psycho 10-10-2012 07:12 PM

Classic case of a player with the tools but no tool box.

Big Phil 10-10-2012 08:16 PM

Was 6'4" 235 lbs. That alone should mean he should be physical but he wasn't. He was just big which was sort of a deterrent but he could have thrown his weight around more like Derian.

That being said, he scored 34 goals in a season once and it took 16 years before a defenseman (Green) scored 30 again. I would have liked him on my team but if he was your best defenseman you weren't winning anything.

MS 10-10-2012 08:46 PM

Hatcher was a guy who just ended up stagnating.

Showed flashes of greatness from about 1988-93, but was prone to brain farts and poor defensive play. Still a young player, though, and you felt that if he could round out his defensive game and be a bit more consistently physical, he’d contend for a Norris eventually.

After his huge 1992-93 season, though, he went the other way. At a point in time where he should have been pulling everything together to develop into a mature, reliable player, he just regressed and went backwards. His physical game disappeared entirely, and his defensive play got worse as his skating deteriorated as he aged. Still good on the PP, but an average at best player at ES through the second half of his career. Was also constantly overplayed which didn’t help matters.

Ultimately a major disappointment given what he promised in his first few seasons in the league – when he broke in, he was billed as what Rob Blake ended up being. Played his last game at only age 34.

As someone else noted, if you could have combined Derian’s defensive game with Kevin’s offensive skills, you’d have ended up with a Larry Robinson-esque HHOFer. Kevin, though, lacked the fire and competitiveness of his brother. Through the first half of his career, coaches could get a mean streak out of him on occasion, but as he aged he just seemed content to play small and contribute on the PP.

begbeee 10-11-2012 01:05 AM

I was a fan of him. As a teenager, you can't dislike a defensmen who scored 30, while just 6 other did it at the time (+ Green later). I think all was said in this thread. He was definitely a star level defensman, just not the absolut elite.

Ziggy Stardust 10-11-2012 02:46 AM

Check out 1:17 in this clip to get a small sample of how lackadaisical Hatcher was in his own end.


Nowhere to be seen near his net

Burgs 10-11-2012 10:33 AM

During his Pens days Hatcher said how he now saw himself as being a complete player. His play at the time said something else but reflected this complacency. He had size and skill but he just didn't care enough. The Hockey News once called it his 'What, me worry?' attitude. The way he quietly slipped into retirement at a relatively early age shouldn't surprise anyone.

BobRouse 10-11-2012 12:33 PM

I watched pretty much every televised game he played for the Caps.

There are 2 Kevin Hatchers:

1. Young Kevin Hatcher (first 3 or so years) was a physical beast who had offensive potential and could really lay the wood down. He crushed some fools. He was ornery too and in one game frustrated Lemieux so much with his stickwork that Mario, after the play was dead, just shot the puck at him.

2. Then he became Hollywood Hatcher. He started away from physicality and went more on his offensive instincts. All he worried about was scoring and he simply lost his path defensively.

He was really well liked by the fans in those early years but in later years with them he got the Larry Murphy "whoop whoop" treatment for his utter disdain for physical play.

vadim sharifijanov 10-11-2012 03:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BobRouse (Post 54912371)
I watched pretty much every televised game he played for the Caps.

There are 2 Kevin Hatchers:

1. Young Kevin Hatcher (first 3 or so years) was a physical beast who had offensive potential and could really lay the wood down. He crushed some fools. He was ornery too and in one game frustrated Lemieux so much with his stickwork that Mario, after the play was dead, just shot the puck at him.

2. Then he became Hollywood Hatcher. He started away from physicality and went more on his offensive instincts. All he worried about was scoring and he simply lost his path defensively.

He was really well liked by the fans in those early years but in later years with them he got the Larry Murphy "whoop whoop" treatment for his utter disdain for physical play.

i do remember people saying that hatcher was going to replace stevens, when st. louis made the offer sheet. how did he become "hollywood hatcher"? with langway nearing the end of his career and stevens gone, wouldn't the team have put a lot of pressure on hatcher to fill a physical, defensive role?

seventieslord 10-11-2012 04:30 PM

Like McCabe, but a little better.

Ate up a ton of minutes for very strong teams in his 87-95 prime.

Huge shot. Potential to be devastating physically, and sometimes was, but not always. Assertive, though.

Not great defensively - for a 26 minute, 1st pairing defenseman. which is an important distinction to be made.

MS 10-11-2012 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seventieslord (Post 54918143)
Like McCabe, but a little better.

Ate up a ton of minutes for very strong teams in his 87-95 prime.

Huge shot. Potential to be devastating physically, and sometimes was, but not always. Assertive, though.

Not great defensively - for a 26 minute, 1st pairing defenseman. which is an important distinction to be made.

I'd rate McCabe ahead of Hatcher.

Say what you want about McCabe, he had heart and he was a battler. Hatcher was just mentally soft. Not a guy you went to war with, while McCabe was.

Would also take McCabe's defensive game over Hatcher's - he had issues, but always felt these were overblown Larry Murphy-style by Leaf fans, and weren't nearly the issue anywhere else he went. Hatcher, especially in the 2nd half of his career, was just *so* soft/lazy in his coverage for large stretches. Was approaching the Vladimir Malakhov territory.

Hatcher has a bit of an offensive edge, but when you adjust for era, it isn't that great.

_______

Agreed about the defensive play relative to minutes distinction. Have been trying to get that point across in the Housley thread, not sure if I've succeeded.

tarheelhockey 10-11-2012 09:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov (Post 54896463)
if you combined all of kevin's and derian's strengths, that's probably a hall of famer.

I think we can safely remove the "probably" from that sentence. Combining the strengths of the Hatchers would produce a two-way player in the Chelios/Robinson/Potvin mold.

Very strange that they were both such one-way players (for the most part) in opposite directions.

BobRouse 10-12-2012 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov (Post 54916095)
i do remember people saying that hatcher was going to replace stevens, when st. louis made the offer sheet. how did he become "hollywood hatcher"? with langway nearing the end of his career and stevens gone, wouldn't the team have put a lot of pressure on hatcher to fill a physical, defensive role?

That offer sheet is a major reason he went hollywood. If I recall correctly his agent immediately wanted Poile to give him more money. The next couple years he scored at a pretty good pace and then there was more contract disputes and he ended up being traded for Tinordi.

Hatcher definitely should have been Stevens. But he let his ego and/or agent get to him and just became lazy defensively.

He fought more than a couple times I think in those early years then wouldn't even lay a hit later on.

I'm sure they wanted a more physical presence. Remember after Stevens left Poile tried to sign Dave Manson away from the Oilers and that failed he turned to trade Hatcher for Tinordi. I have to believe in addition to the contract disputing it had to have something to do with his softness.

tarheelhockey 10-12-2012 08:57 AM

I know you can't judge too much from one clip, but watch this fight against Brendan Shanahan in 1995.



Body language speaks can be so revealing. Shanahan was 100% into that fight, Hatcher not so much.

ColeJ 10-13-2012 06:41 AM

i remember as a kid, when derian was just coming into his own, that everyone referred to derian as kevin's little brother. then by the time kevin was traded for zubov, kevin was derian's older brother. i loved having them both on dallas for a little bit, and i really like both players.

i think kevin gets a bit of a bad wrap that isn't entirely deserved. i don't think he became "hollywood" exactly. he had the same mentality that most offensive defensemen have, especially in the era that he played.

his conditioning wasn't the greatest, and as he aged, his weight really caught up to him and his tools faded fast because of it. but i think most of his negative attributes are only magnified by what derian turned into.

kevin lacked derian's pure hatred of the opposition. they look so similar in the face and in stature, but kevin had the personality of a hockey player, while derian had the mentality of a serial killer. that hatred, for lack of a better word, is what turned derian into such an effective defensive defenseman, leader, and hitter. kevin focused more on the offensive game, despite his body.

i don't think kevin was really all that more talented offensively than derian either. it all just boiled down to the style of game they chose to play with the tools they were given. kevin coming into the league closer to the firewagon hockey era probaby had something to do with that. derian coming into the deadpuck era, in contrast.

i think if you took derian's brain and put it in kevin's body, you'd end up with derian hatcher, an inch shorter, with dark hair.

derian just chose the left-hand path, and kevin the right.

Hardyvan123 10-15-2012 12:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MS (Post 54899585)
Hatcher was a guy who just ended up stagnating.

Showed flashes of greatness from about 1988-93, but was prone to brain farts and poor defensive play. Still a young player, though, and you felt that if he could round out his defensive game and be a bit more consistently physical, he’d contend for a Norris eventually.

After his huge 1992-93 season, though, he went the other way. At a point in time where he should have been pulling everything together to develop into a mature, reliable player, he just regressed and went backwards. His physical game disappeared entirely, and his defensive play got worse as his skating deteriorated as he aged. Still good on the PP, but an average at best player at ES through the second half of his career. Was also constantly overplayed which didn’t help matters.

Ultimately a major disappointment given what he promised in his first few seasons in the league – when he broke in, he was billed as what Rob Blake ended up being. Played his last game at only age 34.

As someone else noted, if you could have combined Derian’s defensive game with Kevin’s offensive skills, you’d have ended up with a Larry Robinson-esque HHOFer. Kevin, though, lacked the fire and competitiveness of his brother. Through the first half of his career, coaches could get a mean streak out of him on occasion, but as he aged he just seemed content to play small and contribute on the PP.

This is the 1st thing that comes to mind with Kevin, combine him with his brother and you ahve a HHOF guy hands down.

Scott1980 10-16-2012 12:56 AM

Put it this way, don't run INTO him!

IComeInPeace 10-18-2012 03:48 PM

When I was a kid I used to love studying the NHL guide, looking up all the prospects each team had...

The Black Hawks had, at the time, the largest player I had ever seen. His name was Mark Hatcher (I believe the oldest brother). I think he was 6'7" and 240 pounds. Huge for the time (I guess still huge). I think he may have gotten in a single NHL game.

Those were some big kids the Hatcher parents were popping out.

A few years later the Flames drafted Peluwa, who was 230+, also very rare...and in a couple years later, there would be a couple of guys that sized drafted yearly.

In my draft yr, the Hockey News had a list of (I think) 500 names of players likely to get drafted along with their hometown and their size (and I realize that those numbers are still often incorrect). I believe out of that group of 500, there was less than 20 that were over 200 pounds.

vadim sharifijanov 10-18-2012 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IComeInPeace (Post 55092745)
When I was a kid I used to love studying the NHL guide, looking up all the prospects each team had...

The Black Hawks had, at the time, the largest player I had ever seen. His name was Mark Hatcher (I believe the oldest brother). I think he was 6'7" and 240 pounds. Huge for the time (I guess still huge). I think he may have gotten in a single NHL game.

Those were some big kids the Hatcher parents were popping out.

A few years later the Flames drafted Peluwa, who was 230+, also very rare...and in a couple years later, there would be a couple of guys that sized drafted yearly.

In my draft yr, the Hockey News had a list of (I think) 500 names of players likely to get drafted along with their hometown and their size (and I realize that those numbers are still often incorrect). I believe out of that group of 500, there was less than 20 that were over 200 pounds.

totally forgot about the other hatcher. so i consulted google:

Quote:

Born on last day of eligibility to qualify for 1982 NHL Entry Draft, making him the youngest player to be drafted in 1982. ... Was on Niagara Falls (OHL) team that relocated to North Bay prior to 1982-83 season. ... Retired from pro hockey for the first time after the 1984-85 season. He worked as a carpenter for three years before signing with Washington as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 1988-89 season. ... Wore No. 55 at Washington's 1988 training camp, where he was a teammate of his brother Kevin. ... Spent his 1988-89 comeback season in minor leagues before retiring for the final time.
Personal: Older brother of former NHL player Kevin Hatcher and NHL player Derian Hatcher.
http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1982/82112.html


now, if we combined kevin's shot and ability to jump into the play with derian's defense and toughness, and then gave them mark's size and reach...

tony d 10-20-2012 05:03 PM

Tremendous offensive defenseman but terrible defensive defenseman or the opposite of what his brother, Derian, was.


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