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11-27-2009, 11:37 PM
Leafs Forever
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Came across this little nuggest about Howe and Mortson.

Globe and Mail, October 29th, 1951
Not that one instance necessarily means Mortson is useless against Howe. If I really dig into those archives, I can make almost any defenceman look bad by focusing on a bad moment or game. Just an example:

On the defense, he and "Red" Stuart held the Ottawa Attackers at bay with unexpected skill, and on the attack, Randall bored right in on the net in telling fashion. Severeal times he beat the Gerard-Boucher-Clancy second line with ridiculous ease.
(To explain, Clancy would be inestered into the pairing later in the game). Randall got by Gerard and Clancy with ease, two guys better than any of your defencemen. Does thi mean if I employ Randall against Gerard and Clancy had I faced them, or against yours because your guys are worse than these two, Randall will get by, succeed against them "with ridiculous ease", and outshine them?


You're defensive comparision almost entirely relies on offensive statistics. Of course, that is merely one aspect of being a blueliner. Let's look at the first pairings in totality, and not just one aspect.

All-Star selections

Zdeno Chara - First Team 2 times, Second Team 2 times
Ching Johnson - First Team 2 times, Second Team 2 times
Ebbie Goodfellow - First Team 2 times, Second Team 1 time
Doug Wilson - First Team 1 time, Second Team 2 times

Chara-Johnson = 8 all-star nominations
Goodfellow-Wilson = 6 all-star nominations
I was trying to note intangibles as well; the speed problems can limit them somewhat with your pairing.

The reason Goodfellow didn't have more AST's was his starting out as a highscoring centre (which he exceled at) in the beginning of his career.

As for the difference between Johnson and Wilson, well , Johnson had Shore, clancy, Mantha, Conacher, Horner, and Day to compete, as opposed to Wilson who had Bourque, coffey, Potvin, MacInnis, Chelios, Mark Howe, and Robinson to deal with over the course of the 80s.

Hart Trophy Voting

Chara - 2004 (25th place), 2006 (19th place), 2008 (14th place), 2009 (8th place)
Johnson - 1928 (5th place), 1932 (2nd place)
Goodfellow - 1937 (3rd place), 1940 (1st place)
Wilson - 1982 (9th place)

Chara-Johnson = 6 Hart Trophy placements
Goodfellow-Wilson - 3 Hart Trophy placements
Here's a question- which is better; a 25th, a 19th, and a 14th in hart voting, or a hart win? Again, this is going back to what you were trying to do earlier with the with top 5's; just like in top 5's, hart placements aren't always created equal. Did hart voting even extend to the 25's in Goodfellow's day? I highly doubt Goodfellow was worse than say 25th in hart voting in years where he wasn't on ballot for hart voting.

As Hockey Outsider noted, those finishes aren't meaningful.

I also got Goodfellow coming 4th in Hart voting in that wrong? He was a forward at the time and aspects of a player don't always translate between forward and defenceman, but as Goodfellow's valuability to his teams did evidently translate, I think it holds value.

Can you please prove this ?? I just went through the entire Globe and Mail archive as well as my books and you're write up and was unable to find much on Goodfellow's defensive attributes.

Here's the quote in question:

The Wings broke camp here before Adams had a chance to analyze the outburst of Ebbie Goodfellow, his big defensive star from Ottawa, who felt a complete change in the attitude of the team was necessary before the Wings could hit a winning stride.-Globe and Mail
As for the hard-nosed bit:

"He was a good one," (undrafted player) said of this player. "One of the real stars of the league. He was known at that time as one of the defensemen who could shoot a heavy puck and was one of the hardest shots in the league. He was a hard-nosed player, but a real nice fellow."-Ultimate Hockey
(taken from a bio another made for him)

But an in-game account of toughness:

Ebbie Goodfellow's aggressive tactics were wasted, as the Bruins regained their winning stride after two setbacks. Goodfellow engaged in two fist-fights during the game and divided the honors with the Boston fisticuffers. Goodfellow's first-period bout with Jack Portland, 215-pound defenceman, was short and sweet, and the Red Wing was sent sprawling by a right to the jaw. In the next frame, however, Goodfellow had all the better of the battle with Ray Getliffe, and, after he connected about five times on that Bruin's jaw, both drew major penalties.-Globe and Mail

Perhaps you were focusing only on in-game accounts?

From a scoring perspective, a small edge, not as much as you claim.

Goodfellow regular season points per game average = .58
Goodfellow playoff points per game average = .36

Chara regular season points per game average = .42
Chara playoff points per game average = .32
Well I am going to come right out and question this as A. Goodfellow is the better regular season offensive too and B. What was the average percentage drop for defenceman in these two era's?

And I am going to challenge you to show Chara's points amongst defenceman in the playoffs. In addition to reflecting Goodfellow's superiority, they also reflect Chara's relative inexperience in the playoffs compared to Goodfellow's.


I would argue that suitablity to play opposing offenses is in the favour of Ching Johnson, not Wilson.

In this example, Johnson seem's to have little trouble holding the great Howie Morenz, in addition to frustrating him out of his game. He figures to do the same in this series.

A clear example of Johnson's defensive skill beyond his physical attributes.
Well first off, it seems like Johnson handled Morenz along the boards- where speed doesn't play as much of a factor and Johnson can play his clutch and grab game, which seems to be his bread and butter to somewhat make up for his speed issues based on this LOH quote:

More significantly, he perfected the technique of nullifying the opposition by clutching and grabbing them as discreetly as possible - a pragmatic defensive strategy for the wily but slow-footed rearguard.
Secondly, I wouldn't call it a "clear" example, as it doesn't exactly say how Johnson got the puck off of the opposing guy's stick; by pushing him off it or by using stickwrok, but at anyrate based on the LOH quote, Johnson's defensive ability does stem primarily from his body work. On the quote on Morenz too.

Blake is the primary puck winner for my line most likely, who can handle the rought stuff pretty well. But this doesn't defend your #1 defenceman against speed who you can't defend as well as I believe we have seen Chara struggle in the playoffs against a speedy Buffalo team. And is Johnson going to fare as well on the rush, where my speedsters could get around him due to sheer speed before Johnson can employ his clutch and grab game? I don't think he is going to fare well in that regard.


That would be an incorrect assumption.

If they had the Norris Trophy in 1932 Ching Johnson would have been the winner.
As overpass noted, they did LD-RD at the time.


I also found this little tidbit about Ching Johnson and Eddie Shore.

If Ching Johnson was this much of a pain to the great Eddie Shore I can only imagine the effect he will have on the opposition alongside Zdeno Chara.
That last bit confuses me- somewhat suggesting Shore as a diver. Interesting though; although I am not questioning his physicality ability. But Shore sought the rough stuff- didn't try to get or speed away from it to my knowledge.

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