Dishing the Dirt
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01-24-2013, 09:01 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
1960s Blackhawks 3 of 3
Overpass posted some articles about Sawchuk, Plante, and Hall in the HOH goaltenders project. There is a lot of excellent information about their personalities and styles of goaltending and I would recommend that anyone interested in finding out more about these great three goaltenders read this post:
But here I'm going to focus on the passages that address the Hawks' style as a team and what it meant for Glenn Hall:
Close behind Hull in the point parade were his teammates Hay and Mikita. When Hay, Hull, Mikita and the rest of the Hawks are playing as a team, as they have been recently, they are virtually unstoppable. But much of the time, particularly in the early months, they played like five strangers scrambling for the pot in a crap game when the cops walk in. The only thing that has saved them from a fate worse than Boston's during these periods was the virtually impassable fortress in their goal: 30-year-old Glenn Hall, a stoic family man whose major dream is to settle down and raise cattle.
Playing goal for the Chicago Black Hawks is a little like fielding bricks with an eye socket. The big, bruising, fast-skating muscular Hawk forwards are determined to beat the frozen inferno out of any team they can catch; the trouble is they can't always catch them. The result is that while Hawk forwards are milling malignantly around the other fellow's goal looking for somebody to bruise, the other fellow's forwards (particularly if they happen to be the fast-skating Montreal Canadiens) are more than likely at the Chicago end swarming all over Goalie Hall. "Only 10% of goals are the fault of the goalkeeper," he says without rancor. "The rest are the result of mistakes up the ice that let a guy get through to take a shot. The goalkeeper either makes the last mistake or makes the great save that wipes out the other mistakes."
Hall, who leads the league in shutouts with eight scoreless games to his credit, prefers to make the great save—and generally does—even though the effort makes him actively sick.
The above article is quite clear that Chicago's offense-first style predates Reay's arrival as coach.
A Sick Goalie Saves Chicago, Sports Illustrated, March 12, 1962
To many observers, of course, the Hawks have had the best team in the NHL for the last five years. After all, they had the top goal-scorer in Hull, the top defenseman in Pierre Pilote, the all-star goalie in Glenn Hall and the best forward line in the Scooters (see cover), a line consisting of Mikita, Kenny Wharram and, during the last three years, Doug Mohns. Yet every March, with the long-awaited championship in sight, the Hawks would collapse. Explanations for this phenomenon have ranged from the mythical Muldoon Jinx—a curse allegedly pronounced by the team's first coach, Pete Muldoon, when he was fired in 1927—to accusations of "choking," but the Hawks tend to explain their past failures in more basic, physical terms.
"There was a simple reason for those late slumps," says Pilote, the 35-year-old team captain. "We always depended too much on a few stars. We had to use them a lot and they got worn out. And when the stars got tired the team faded. This season the load is more evenly distributed, so the stars have stayed strong all year long."
It was probably more difficult—and certainly more expensive—to induce Hall to make a comeback. But Ivan did it, and now he has the best and the most unusual goaltending combination of all. Hall, 35, has the perpetually sour expression of a menial office worker who hates his job; actually he is a brilliant hockey player who hates his job. "Enjoy this?" he says. "Are you kidding? I'm around here for one reason and that's the money." He gets sick before each game and occasionally wakes up from naps to find himself kicking out at imaginary flying pucks. But now that he plays only half as much, he is even better than before.
No Foldo in Chicago, March 20, 1967
The above article makes it clear that it's not revisionist history to talk about Chicago's playoff woes, they were well discussed at the time. And more support for the general perception that the Hawks lost in the playoffs because their lack of depth caused them to overplay their stars in the regular season.
I think the stars of Chicago can be somewhat excused for not winning as much in the playoffs as expected, but at the same time, their regular season offensive numbers are probably somewhat inflated from all the additional ice time (and of course, the offensive style they seemed to play).
If it wasn't clear before that Chicago played an offensive-first style where they often left Glenn Hall out to dry, the following article makes it crystal-clear:
What particularly distinguishes Hall's iron-man mark was the quality of his play throughout it. In '55-56 he was NHL rookie of the year. In '60-61 he led the Hawks to an unexpected Stanley Cup championship. During those seven seasons Hall was named to the first or second All-Star team six times—a feat made more amazing by the competition. This was the golden era of the goalie (or the "goolie," as Hall was nicknamed). Five future Hall of Famers were manning the nets in the six-team NHL then: Terry Sawchuk, Johnny Bower, Jacques Plante, Gump Worsley and Hall. "You pretty much saw good goaltending every night," Hall says. "That was one of the great things about the old six-team league. You always wanted to force the guy in the other net to play well."
Hall was known as a reflex goalie, one who relied more on quickness of hand and foot than on angles and positioning.
Playing most of his career for the run-and-gun Hawks of the Bobby Hull era, he was often left to fend spectacularly for himself
. Opponents had no reliable book on how to beat him, except to keep gunning.
In the following passage, Glenn Hall basically calls Bobby Hull a puck hog:
Those Hull-Mikita-Hall-led Hawks were a thrilling team to watch, but despite their great talent, they only won the one Stanley Cup, in 1961. Hall believes that the Black Hawks' penchant for the offensive game—and a lust for goal scoring—may have been a factor. "They sacrificed passing the puck for the shot," he says. "Bobby just loved to shoot the puck more than anything."
Scotty Bowman is pretty clear about what he thought about the Hawks' style:
"Those Hawk teams never paid much attention to defense," says Scotty Bowman, who coached Hall for four seasons with the St. Louis Blues. "One year Glenn was leading the race for the Vezina Trophy [which in those years went to the goalie who allowed the fewest goals against] by six goals with two games left in the season, and on the plane trip to Toronto all the Black Hawks were talking about was how many goals they needed to make their bonuses. Glenn never said a thing, which he wouldn't, knowing him. So Chicago ends up getting in a couple of shoot-outs, and Glenn lost the Vezina on the last day of the season. It tells you how well Glenn had to have played all season to even have been close."
Bowman was not a fan of offensive hockey, and ended up being Hall's coach later on in St. Louis, so it's possible that he had an interest in pimping his ex-player. Even so, I don't think his story leaves much room for doubt as to the mentality of the Chicago team.
All this from a SI profile of Glenn Hall:
The Iron Man of the Ice, Oct 27, 1992
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