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01-28-2013, 06:09 PM
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Sid Abel - "Old Bootnose"

Originally Posted by legendsofhockey
On the ice, he was an accomplished playmaking center and team leader who contributed to three Stanley Cup championships in Detroit
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
He was as creative a center as he was abrasive. His passes were crisp and accurate and his body checks were lusty
I had a choice between Sid Abel and Alex Delvecchio to center Gordie Howe a few years ago and chose Abel. And I'd still choose Abel first - I think he proved to be a superstar on his own before Gordie Howe started dominating, while Delvecchio was something of an elite complimentary player for an extremely long time. It is close though. Abel is much more physical than Delvecchio, but Delvecchio was faster and seems to have a more versatile special teams skillset, which is useful in this format.
  • 2nd Team AS LW (1942)
  • 1st Team AS C (1949, 1950)
  • 2nd Team AS C (1951)
Abel received a single 2nd place vote for AS LW in both 1941 and 1943. He missed 1944-46 due to the war, didn't get any votes in 1947, and received a single 3rd place vote (out of 5 coaches - coaches couldn't vote for their own players) for AS C in 1948. We don't have full records for 1952.
  • Hart Trophy winner (1949); also finished 4th in voting (1950)*
  • Named "Hockey's Man of the Year" in 1949 by Sport Magazine
  • Captained 3 Stanley Cup winners (1943, 1950, 1952) - Gordie Howe was injured during the first round in 1950, so he was only a major factor in 1952.
  • Missed all of 1944 and 1945 and most of 1946 because of World War 2 - and was an All-Star both before and after the war.
*Dink Carroll reported in 1-20-1951 Montreal Gazette that Sport Magazine's boards of experts voted, by a wide margin, Maurice Richard as top player of 1950, with Rayner and Abel also mentioned.

1941: 10th in assists, 17th in points
1942: 11th in goals, 3rd in assists, 5th in points
1947: 7th in assists, 14th in points
1948: 5th in assists, 14th in points
1949: 1st in goals, 5th in assists, 3rd in points
1950: 3rd in goals, 3rd in assists, 2nd in points
1951: 7th in goals, 5th in assists, 4th in points
1952: 5th in assists, 7th in points

Abel finished 2 points back from 20th in scoring in 1943, then missed 1944, 1945, and 1946 due to the war.

Goals: 1, 3, 7, 11
Assists: 3, 3, 5, 5, 5, 5, 7, 10
Points: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 14, 14, 17

Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
While Howe and Lindsay brought a mixture of styles and aggression that would intimidate their opponents, Abel's creativity and savvy was the backbone of the line and the Red Wings. But don't think he was soft. He could hit as hard or be as abrasive as his line mates…

It can be argued that Abel, not Howe, Sawchuk, Lindsay or Kelly, was the backbone of the great Red Wings team of the 1950's. Hockey historian Ed Fitkin was once quoted as saying "Sid will go down in the Red Wings' history as the greatest competitor and inspirational force the Red Wings ever had."
Despite Abel's gaudy assist totals (top 10 in assists in 1941, 1942, and every year from 1947-1952), an undrafted NHL coach with a long and storied career called Abel a "driver" more than a pure playmaker - someone who would go hard into corners to come out with the puck and feed it to his linemates. Milt Schmidt and Ted Kennedy were also said to play this style:

Originally Posted by Dink Carroll
Milt Schmidt, Syl Apps, Teeder Kennedy, Sid Abel, and even Howie Morenz are not classified in the trade as great playmakers, though acknowledged as great hockey players.

"They belong to the 'driving' type of player, Dick Irvin said. "Fellows like Schmidt, Kennedy, and Abel go into the corners and get the puck out to their wings." Apps used to hit the defense at top speed and XXX would come behind and pick up his garbage. Apps used to get sore when I told him that Drillion profited from his mistakes.

Howie Morenz wasn't a good playmaker, said Elmer Ferguson. "Aurel Joliat was the playmaker on that line and the greatest playmaking left-winger of all time...
Dink Carroll, The Montreal Gazette, March 10, 1952

Via Joe Pelletier, Abel was a mentor to a young Gordie Howe. Howe's story is further support for Abel as a "driver" type player.

Originally Posted by Gordie Howe
In my first game, he gave me my first lesson. I was in the corner fighting for the puck with him, and when I came back to the bench he said, ‘what are you doing in the corner?’ I looked at him and thought it was kind of a stupid question. And I said, ‘I was there trying to help you get the puck.’ He said, ‘what am I going to do if I get it and you’re standing beside me? What I want you to do is get your fanny in front of the net, and if you’re right-handed, make sure that your stick is free. Don’t go on your backhand, go on your forehand, that’s what I’m passing you the puck for.’ And I’ll be darned if I didn’t go out the next shift and get a goal. You think I didn’t listen to everything he said after that?”
When the Production Line was put together, Sid Abel (whose skating had slowed down by that point), stayed back as the defensive conscience or "glue" of the line while the speedy Lindsay and Howe went in hard on the dump-and-chase game:

Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
He was a dogged and creative playmaker, the cog in the wheel with Howe and Lindsay.
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
Abel had the savvy, and Howe and Lindsay had a mixture of style and aggressiveness than intimidated their opponents.
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
Sid was the backbone of the Red Wings. While he played for Detroit, the team won the Prince of Wales Trophy in 1942-43 and again for four straight years from 1948-49 to 1951-52.
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
In the 1949-50 playoffs, the Red Wings had to recover from a 5-0 beating in the first game against Toronto and the loss of an injured Gordie Howe. Sid's leadership finally helped the Red Wings end the Toronto jinx and eliminate the three-time Stanley Cup winners.
Originally Posted by Red Wings teammate
According to Jack Adams' plan, I was supposed to center Lindsay and Howe, while Sid Abel would kill penalties. But after I got hurt, Abel was moved in there, and the Production Line was formed and became the best line in hockey for a few years. Sid was reborn because he had the two young kids doing all the work. That's not to take anything away from Sid; he was excellent in front of the net, a terrific playmaker, and a good faceoff man. He could do all those things, and besides that, he was the team captain. He was the guy who got everyone together for nice team meetings.
Detroit Red Wings, Greatest Moments and Players, by Stan Fischler

Sid Abel will be captain of the Swamp Devils.

Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 02-22-2013 at 08:35 AM.
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