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09-06-2009, 04:23 PM
  #158
Canadiens1958
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Earl Seibert Perspective

Quote:
Originally Posted by FissionFire View Post
Silly me forgot to copy the source info on some of this Siebert stuff but I'll post a few of the things I researched on him for ATD9.....

Seibert had 10 consecutive postseason all-star berths (4 first, 6 second) and was narrowly edged out of a spot in at the start of that run by Eddie Shore when they tied in voting but Shore was given the nod due to LD verses RD breakdowns (Source). To put into perspective the type of extended dominance that represents, consider that only Doug Harvey amongst defenseman can claim this accomplishment and if you include all players only Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, and Bobby Hull get added to that list. His level of competition wasn't low either with players such as Eddie Shore, King Clancy, Babe Siebert, Ebbie Goodfellow, Red Horner, Hap Day, Ott Heller and Lionel Conacher as just a few notable names in competition.

Seibert can't be intimidated or physically outmatched. His Legends bio states "Seibert was generally regarded as second only to Eddie Shore in terms of skill and rugged play, and Shore once confessed that Seibert was the only man he was afraid to fight. Defensively, Seibert was one of the best shot-blockers in the game, and he could move the puck just as quickly as anyone.". Some call Larry Robinson is a giant at 6'4" and 225lbs so imagine how big a 6'2" 220lb Earl Seibert must have seemed in the 30s and 40s. Joe Pelletier echos the Legends bio calling Seibert "a no-nonsense defender with a reputation as among the toughest in the game." and that "Some old timers insist only Eddie Shore was better.". Earl's defense partner in New York Ching Johnson (no shrinking violet himself) said "Letís put it this way, no one wanted any part of ĎSií in a fight. Even Eddie Shore (Boston) and Red Horner (Toronto) steered clear of him, and Shore and Horner were considered the toughest guys in the League at the time.".

Few people realize that Seibert was also a top offensive talent from the blueline in his time. I'm kicking myself for losing the link but in the board archives there was a table showing the Seibert was actually the 3rd highest scoring defenseman in the 30s and 40s.

- From 1932 to 1945 (ie every full season of Seibert's career) he ranked second in scoring among defensemen, and was 9th in points per game (min 100 gp). He was third in playoff scoring during the same span.

That's just a quick list. I'm still trying to find my old file of Siebert stuff.
Earl Seibert played in the NHL during the transition period between the introduction of the forward pass combined with expanded rosters from 12 - 15 players thru the introduction of the Red Line and a couple of season's beyond.

Art Coulter and Earl Seibert were the only two rookies from the 1931-32 season to reach HHOF status.Starting with the 1932-33 and ending with the 1941-42 season only five defensemen of HHOF caliber entered the leaugue. Babe Pratt* - 1935-36, Jack Stewart - 1938-39, John Mariucci*, Ken Reardon* - 1940-41 and Emile Bouchard -1941-42. * = debatable as to whether they were HHOF caliber due to their playing skills alone or if lifetime achievement in hockey was a contributing factor.Another discussion for later.

Basically once the pre- 1929-30 greats retired - Shore, Clancy, Mantha, etc the quality defensemen were not there. This is supported by the unusual number of older forwards who were moved back to defense in the second half of the 1930's - Dit Clapper, B.Siebert, N. Colville, Tommy Anderson, Ebbie Goodfellow and who were recognized as All Stars with little experience at the position. Rarely happened since and not with such frequency.

Anyone who watched Sergei Fedorov try to play defense the last few years with very little success should be able to extrapolate back and appreciate the fact that there was a dirth of quality defensemen the last ten years of Earl Seibert's NHL career.

The issue now becomes Earl Seibert's performance. Yes he had little in the way of competition and he did play for relatively weak Chicago teams(read cheap) but he was a physical presence and his offensive numbers clearly show that Earl Seibert had adapted to the demand of the forward passing game - note the very favourable assists to goals ratio which defines a playmaking defenseman:

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...seibeea01.html

Better assists to goals ratios than Eddie Shore.

Also note that after the introduction of the Red Line, Earl Seibert adapted to the new rules and opportunities, continuing to produce, just as he adapted in the early 1930's when other amateur defensemen could not adapt to the new forward passing rules and larger rosters.

Earl Seibert definitely merits more consideration than he has received to date.

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