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12-29-2009, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by overpass View Post
Does anyone know have anything more about Stewart's defensive game? With Esposito, we have a more nuanced picture. I didn't see him play, but according to the stats and reputation his defensive play was fine up to about 1972 or 1973, when his it really started to drop off. Later in his career with New York his defensive problems meant he was getting to be a liability at even strength.
Other than the fact the Bruins decided to put him back on defense after the dissolution of the Maroons, I don't know much. I think that says a lot, even if he was little more than the Mike Green of the early NHL. I mean, you don't take a goal scorer like Stewart and move him back on D unless he's a) good enough at it, and/or b) team offense doesn't suffer as a result. His reknown lack of foot speed probably also contributed. I've read criticism of his "laziness" and lack of commitment to back-checking as a forward, but find surprisingly little about how he did on the blueline.

It was likely that his propensity for the rough-and-tumble (didn't he lead the league in PIMs early in his career, and come close a few times?), size, and strength made him a natural choice to fill in back there, and the ability to provide offense from the back probably caught a few teams off guard despite knowing full well who he was.

Originally Posted by overpass View Post
So that means Esposito really has a nice peak from about 1968 to 1972 when he was scoring a ton and his defence was OK. Is it possible that Stewart's reputation comes from later in his career also, with the same implications for peak value?
I don't know if we're talking defense or overall, but the guy had 2 Hart trophies in his first 5 seasons and was in the top 2, 3 scorers pretty much his whole time as a Bruin (despite playing a lot of defense)... that's all in the 1st half of his career. I also think he scored every "playoff" goal for the Cup winning Maroons in his rookie year. That's right, all ten goals.

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