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02-07-2012, 11:01 PM
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C Joe Primeau

#92 on THN's list of 100 Greatest Hockey Players
Hockey Hall of Fame Member
5x Top 8 Assists(1, 1, 1, 7, 8)
3x Top 6 Points(2, 2, 6)
1x Stanley Cup Champion
5x Top 6 All Star Voting(2, 3, 5, 6, 6)
Lady Byng Trophy Winner, 1932

Gentleman Joe Primeau, a playmaking wizard and star center of the famed “Kid Line” with Busher Jackson and Charlie Conacher, got a late start as a hockey player.

Though born in Lindsay, Ontario, Joe was raised in mild Victoria, British Columbia where outdoor ice is almost non-existent. It wasn’t until his family moved to Toronto that Joe took up the game. Although hockey was a big part of the Primeau household, Joe never learned to skate until he was nearly 13 years old.

Little did anyone realize just what an impact on hockey in Toronto Joe would have when they were packing their bags and moving back east. Perhaps no other hockey player of that generation is as synonymous with the city of Toronto as Primeau.

Success was immediate, but Joe, who like so many Ontario boys of the day idolized Frank Nighbor immensely, worked hard over the next few years to make up for lost time, and before long he was one of the hottest prospects on the hockey scene. He blossomed with the junior Marlies team.

Conn Smythe gets the credit for discovering Primeau. While Smythe was building the Rangers, he brought in Primeau as a prospect, but the Rangers felt Primeau, who was 5’11” and played at about 160 pounds, was too small and they refused to sign him.

When Smythe was unceremoniously let go by the Rangers, he never forgot the slick passing centerman. When Smythe joined the St. Patricks (later re-named at the Maple Leafs) signing Primeau was one of his best moves. It took a while though, as, perhaps because of his late start in hockey, Primeau needed to polish his game. Joe only appeared sparingly in the first two seasons. He spent most of the two years of minor professionally hockey with the Toronto Ravinas.

Primeau found a permanent spot on the Leafs in 1929-30, as the Kid Line appeared and changed hockey history forever. While Jackson and Conacher are remembered for their scoring theatrics, it was Primeau who was the glue of the unit.

Not unlike Doug Gilmour years later, the slippery Primeau masterfully set up his two line mates time and time again, as well as acting as the line’s defensive conscience. He was as good a defensive center and penalty killer as there was in his day.

Primeau led the NHL in assists three times. He was never better than in the 1931-32 season. He not only led the league in assists, but he established a new season record with 37 helpers. That record would stand for 9 seasons. Joe, who was named as the Lady Byng trophy winner despite picking up a career high 25 penalty minutes, then went on to lead all NHLers in assists in the playoffs, as the Leafs won the Stanley Cup – the only championship of Primeau’s playing career.

Primeau scored 86 goals and 177 assists for 243 points in 310 NHL games before retiring prematurely at the age of 30 to attend to his successful concrete business. But he also turned to coaching. He started by coaching several Toronto senior teams and coached a Canadian Air Force team which included xxx and xxx, xxx, and Ken Reardon during World War II.

Heading into their third season in 1929-30, the Maple Leafs remained a mediocre team. To help out veterans Ace Bailey and Harold "Baldy" Cotton, Smythe added the smooth skating playmaker Joe Primeau...

Known for his artistry and clean play, Primeau was one of Toronto's all-time favorite players.

In some ways, left winger Harvey "Busher" Jackson was the Rodney Dangerfield of the Toronto Maple Leafs' famed Kid Line. His center, Joe Primeau, was widely admired for his classy playmaking ability...

Few players in NHL history so dramatically exploited a rules change as did Joe Primeau, a tricky, little playmaker who took full advantage of the NHL's decision, in 1927, to allow forward passes in the offensive zone.

Primeau drew rave reviews. "He is without a doubt a real find. His work is better every time he steps out on the ice, and he should be one of the most valuable relief players the Leafs have,"

At five foot eleven and just 150 pounds, he was a stringbean of a player but had speed and puck sense and an ability to put a pass exactly where it needed to be.

"We had our little playmaker there, Joe Primeau, who would give you the puck just where you wanted it," recalled Jackson in the 1950s.

I could have found lots of guys to go with Joe Primeau, but he was the only centre who could make Conacher and Jackson click.

In his memoirs, Conn Smythe blamed Jackson and Conacher for the Leafs' failure to win more cups. "Conacher and Jackson never did feel very interested in getting in shape. They were busy driving their new cars and chasing women. Conacher and Jackson were never half as good as they were ought to be. They wanted Joe Primeau to do all the work, and they'd score the goals, which they were pretty good at.
dq=joe+primeau&hl=en&sa=X&ei=N_YxT63bDIbx0gGk-tnXBw&ved=0CGYQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=joe%20primeau&f= false

"I never knew Joe to make a bad pass," King Clancy once said of his teammate.

right wing Charlie Conacher and left wing Harvey "Busher" Jackson were the beneficiaries of center Joe Primeau's slick passes...

There were many wonderful lines in hockey, but to me the most colourful of them all was Toronto's Kid Line of Conacher, Primeau, and Jackson. Joe Primeau was a very slight individual and a great play-making centre. He had quite a time with Charlie and Busher, who would both whistle at him when they were in the open waiting for a pass. And it was up to Joe to give the puck to the fellow who had the best chance. I think he was one of the all time greats as far as handling and passing a puck was concerned. I don't ever remember him giving a bad pass. For instance, if Joe took a look and saw that I was coming along with him, he knew just where I wanted that puck. It had to be away from me, not in around my feet. He'd take a quick look, and the puck would land right on my stick.

Joe knew exactly when to pass him the puck. I have to think that Primeau was the greatest centre in the league, and he doesn't get the credit he should.

He's a throwback to Hap Day, Joe Primeau, and Ted Kennedy, all tenacious types who didn't know the meaning of defeat.

The pivot of the kid line was a smooth skating centerman named Joe Primeau. He was an expert at avoiding checks...

Joe Primeau never received the adulation that was bestowed on his line-mates, but it was largely because of his steady playmaking and unselfishness with the puck that the Maple Leafs blossomed into league- leading scorers

Age has finally caught up with the New York Rangers' great trio of Bill Cook, xxx and Frank Boucher, whiel the combination of years and a profitable business has deprived Toronto's famous "Kid Line" of its key man, Joe Primeau.

Primeau is one of hockey's outstanding men of distinction...

the playmaking ace of the kid line, the brains behind the brawn and breathtaking brilliance of...

tackweight but artistic...

Smythe envisioned Primeau as the ideal center for the junior boys. He was older and level-headed. He had been "bloodied" in the tough minor pro competition and knew how to handle himself. He also knew how to handle a puck. When it came to ladling out a pass, Primeau was one of the best.

There is no doubt that the introduction of the forward pass contributed greatly to the success of the kid line. Primeau, a brainy puck manipulator, could ladle out passes as though he had the puck on a string.

Conacher, in his first pro season, had scored 20 goals but was glossed over in criticism of seemingly lacksadaisical efforts. Primeau had played steady, clever, and hard hockey all season, so good in fact that thet New York Rangers tried to reclaim him.

Primeau would handcuff his opponents by luring them to him, then his passes to the open wing, either right or left, would let Jackson or Conacher streak through unmolested.

the kidliners were free-thinkers, willing to try anything that would lead to success. They weren't content with hoary hockey format.

the artistry of Primeau, the least-publicized of the trio, was admired even by rival fans. In New York one night, with the Leafs two men short and a goal up on the Rangers, he ragged the puck for two solid minutes with Ranger players chasing him all over the ice. It was such a dauntless display that everybody in the arena cheered him as he staggered wearily to the bench, almost in a state of collapse, when his penalty-killing chore ended.

Of the three, Primeau was accorded the least amount of glory in his playing days, even though he was an integral part in the success of Conacher and Jackson...
-The Gashouse Gang of Hockey

Defensively, he worked like a trojan for the Leafs. His expert playmaking was the dominant factor in the success of Toronto's famous kid line... Joe could not match them in speed or actual goalscoring, but he was the workhorse of the line. When he quit to devote himself to business, the other two never scaled the same heights without him.

The profile of a movie star, the physique of a wrestler, and the poise of a ballet dancer, could do more things with a flourish than any of his rivals. His left handed shot was second only to Morenz, his backhand drives were beautiful to behold. He could take a bad pass on his skates, flip it forward, and send the puck screaming netward in such spectacular fashion.
-Frank Selke

set a pattern of unselfishness in organizing plays for his fine wingmen to finish off... his story is one of persistence. He became a hockey star because of his great heart, and because of his willingness to take the bad breaks with the good... he seldom complained... never the sensational, headline-hunting type of player... a team-man first and foremost and it was his destiny to play at a time when individual stars were the order of the day. hard-working, unselfish... his style of play has been carried forward by such stalwarts as Syl Apps and Ted Kennedy.
-Ron McAllister

During the 1929-30 season, Primeau's pro career finally took flight when Leafs coach Conn Smythe put the 23-year-old centre on a line with a pair of 18-year-old rookies, Charlie Conacher and Harvey "Busher" Jackson. The Kid Line was born. The three young players - all superstars, Stanley Cup winners and Hall of Famers in the making - complemented each other's style perfectly.

A testament to Primeau's playmaking ability was the fact that Jackson won a scoring title while Conacher twice led the league. But as Primeau revealed, it was chemistry as much as talent that made the line work. In 1931 the Leafs moved into a new rink, leaving the Mutual Street Arena for the palatial Maple Leaf Gardens. That first season, the team won the Stanley Cup, led by the incomparable Kid Line.

Last edited by BillyShoe1721: 02-09-2012 at 04:53 PM.
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