Maurice Richard's Defensive Play
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06-27-2009, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Originally Posted by
- Canadiens Captains, Richard Ulmer
Hmmm... sounds like he wasn't that bad after all.
Just to add to this Beliveau as actually even more explicit in taking on Richard's critics.
"Every star has his critics and Maurice was not immune. It was said that he was a lousy backchecker, that he had little interest in the defensive game and that this shortcoming drove his coaches to distraction.
It was baloney of course.
Admittedly the kind of all-out attack that Maurice launched at an opponent's net usually ended with him sprawled in front of the crease or over in the corner. He wouldn't be able to rejoin the play right away, esp if the other team transitioned to offense. Even when he scored he'd always have two defenders on top of him..."
In the same paragraph Beliveau says that Richard was the best player from the blueline in. But its meant as a compliment not as a backhanded slap.
I think what happens is that when Richard gets compared to Gordie Howe (who seems to have been a very good backchecker) and folks answer by saying that Richard was the best from the blueline in and Howe was better overall, folks just assume that Richard was terrible defensively. Doesn't seem to be the case though from what I'm reading. Not great defensively is not the same thing as terrible. He just wasn't as good as Howe was and there's no shame in that. Bill Gadsby said Howe was a tremendous backchecker.
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