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03-04-2011, 04:05 AM
Nalyd Psycho
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Art Duncan

I'm having trouble getting a read on Duncan, from everything I've read and found, he sounds like a cross between Dit Clapper and Larry Robinson. Obviously Clapper has a longevity edge, but, there has to be more than that. There has to be some reason for cannon? There has to be some reason Duncan isn't one of the greatest of all time. But from what I've read, he just may have been.

The first issue is that Art Duncan is not in the Hall of Fame. Is this proof that he is less than peers that are? Or is it an oversight? Unfortunately I didn't save the quotes and links, if desired, I can, but I believe it to be an oversight. The reason being that he pissed off people who would have had sway in the Hall of Fame. First he held out on the Patrick family when he played in Vancouver. Then he held out in Toronto, causing the NHL to suspend him until he reported to camp, the first player suspended for holding out. Then after he was fired as the Leaf's coach, he sued Conn Smythe for back pay. In the first 20 years of the Hall you could get in if one of Patrick or Smythe was against you, but both? Probably not. By the time the people who would oppose Duncan were out, the Western leagues were no longer historically appreciated. But he (and Hugh Lehman) was the star player of the four time PCHA champions in the early 20's and would have been the unified MVP of major pro hockey in the 1923-24 season when he lead the PCHA in scoring playing solely as a defenceman. Whenever the Millionaires/Maroons are mentioned in papers, Duncan and Lehman were the players highlighted as the teams stars and star attractions. References to Duncan as an elite and sensational player were frequent.


1924 PCHA Scoring Leader (the only defenceman other than Orr?)
PCHA First Team All-Star (1920, 1922 & 1924)
PCHA Second Team All-Star (1919 & 1923)

Style of Play:

Duncan was first and foremost an offensive defenceman. Known for his strong skating and stickhandling, where he used his size and strength to protect the puck against defenders, his hard shot and his ability to draw defenders to him and then thread the pass to his fellow attackers. He was also noted as a strong defensive player, using his mind to defend rather than physically overwhelming opponents like he probably could. One possible flaw is that he was an either or player, his offence came at the expense of his defence and visa versa. I can find no evidence of this, but it is a possibility. It is noted that when he rushed, forwards would hang back, but, that is just good tactics, and when Cook took over as coach, defensive play became a priority for the team. Duncan was noted as one of the most gentlemanly players of his era. He likely would have been a Lady Byng contender. But there are examples where he would play rough very effectively. It just wasn't the norm. He was generally noted as a calm and jovial player.

The likely picture of Art Duncan is that he was a very effective rushing defenceman who could shoot and score like a winger, and an effective back-checker, but, he could be caught up ice due to his rushing. But when he had to focus particularly on defence, he was more than just effective in his own zone. A leader with a strong mind for the game. A gentile giant.

(sorry, these are scattershot) More will be provided during the Lloyd Cook bio, where I will place quotes that put them both together as a unit.

Originally Posted by The Vancouver Sun - Feb 4, 1922
The sterling performances put up by Art Duncan in recent games at the Arena have been the talk of fandom. Duncan has cut loose with a burst of speed which has often left many a lighter forward standing still. There are not many men of Duncan's stature who can break away as fast as the big Millionaire defence man can. He is a strenuous checker but very seldom does the referee find it necessary to even warn Art.
On Friday evening at Victoria Tommy Dunderdale started out to get Duncan's goat. He did not succeed in doing so until the third period. Then Art took the naughty Tommy in hand and boxed his ears in such a manner that the Victoria winger will think twice before starting anything with Lloyd Cook's partner.
Originally Posted by The Vancouver Sun - Feb 20, 1922
The big fellow who holds down the right defence position on the Vancouver Millionaires, Art Duncan, is playing the game of his life this season. The P.C.H.A. boasts some pretty good defence players and the fact that Mickey Ion selected Arther for a place on his mythical all-star septette speaks for itself. Duncan is also high man in scoring among defence men.
Originally Posted by The Morning Leader - Mar 10, 1922
Regina fans will see in Art Duncan, defense star of the Vancouvers, one of the cleanest and most effective puck propellers in hockey history. Standing over six feet in height and weighing around 185 pounds, Duncan has starred throught the Coast League season.

Fredrickson, former Winnipeg star, prior to leaving home a few days ago, informed the writer that he considered Duncan the cleanest and most gentlemanly player he had ever gone against.
Originally Posted by The Morning Leader - Mar 13, 1922
Art Duncan, as clean and fine a player as ever skated on any ice, was the outstanding star of both aggregations. Individually the flying ace accounted for three of his team's tallies. He seemed at home on the heavy ice and time after time swept down the length of the rink and generally finished by testing Laird by a rifle shot from his stick.
Originally Posted by The Morning Leader - Oct 25, 1924
The peerless defence leader of the Maroons will be back at his old place in front of Hugh Lehman, and once again will inspire his team-mates to greater prowess on the ice by his gallant example. Duncan's record in Canadian hockey annals lest season when he led the PCHA in goal scoring, and Duncan's driving power, which so often carried him through opposing defences, gave him a grand final of 30 points, exclusive of playoff games and world series battles, 21 goals and 9 assists.

It was Duncan's big year. Not only did he show the scorers the way from a defence position, but he captained the club and bore the brunt of attack and defence.

Standing well over six feet, built in proportion, heady and a clever stick-handler, Duncan is the terror of opposing defenders. He is about as easy to shift from the puck as a mastiff from a snippy "pom." He shoots with dead accuracy and although he takes many falls in the course of a strenuous season and sometimes mops up acres of ice and athletes, he is certainly the outstanding defence star in wester hockey circles, and stands out as one of the great modern super-stars of the game.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald - Mar 17, 1924
To lead all others in such a league of stars is a remarkable and rather unusual scoring record for a defense man, and suggests that such a one must be possessed of at least two qualities which are essential for candidates to the "perfect player" class.
First he must be wonderful on the attack, since as a defense man he has oppertunity to attack much less frequently than his scoring competitors: secondly he must be a great defense man and must not neglect that department in order to keep his rivals down and in order to help win a championship.

If he were a dirty or hot tempered player he would not be on the ice long enough to accomplish what he has to: and if he were not clean of life as well as play he would not have the stamina to play practically the whole time, as he has done.

Had he not brains in plenty he could not have taken advantage of openings and he could not have made the wonderful openings for others to score, and so credit himself with assists. He is adept at drawing the opposing defense to one side so that a team-mate will have an easier passage. To do this sucessfully he must be a clever stick-handler and a good shot, so that opponents will be greatly concerned when he is on the rampage or else using his strategy in their territory.

He must be unselfish enough to pass the puck to a contender for scoring honors like Mackay and he has the nerve to draw punishment his own way so that a less robust team-mate may be spared. He must also be a fast skater to get back to his position in proper time. He is a good passer and a good one-hand artist.

Lovers of clean sport everywhere admire him and wish him all kinds of luck when he does not happen to be opposing their favourites.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - Feb 3, 1928
Toronto were without big Art Duncan, the 200-pound defence star, who has been the chief block on the Leafs' guard.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Mar 2, 1928
Duncan threw a scare late the Pirate camp when he carried the rubber to the net, only to see the perfect pass fanned by Cox.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - Mar 21, 1924
Excitement was added to the proceedings by the tilts between Art Duncan, Maroon captain and sturdy defence player, and Joliat, who renewed their feud of the first game.

Big Art Duncan gave the Canadien defence a busy two minutes, keeping the locals to their own territory.
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen - Nov 20, 1928
Hap is back in his best form teaming with Art Duncan to make one of the best defences in the National Hockey League.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald - Dec 14, 1925
Vancouver is anxious to see how Art Duncan, stury defense man, once held as the pride of the Maroons, will perform against his former mates.

The smart shooting of Duncan thrilled the crowd.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald - Mar 12, 1924
Art Duncan will be going great guns as usual and the fans will get plenty of excitement when he starts off down the ice and he will give them plenty of thrills when he lets drive one of his wicked shots.
Originally Posted by The Vancouver Sun - Mar 22, 1921
Darragh and Nighbor staged several excursions toward the Vancouver goal, but either failed to get by Cook and Duncan or were turned back by Hughie Lehman.

Art Duncan cashed in on one of his sensational solos and made it two to nothing for the home crew.

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