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01-31-2013, 07:23 AM
  #311
Sturminator
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An interesting article I found on Frank Nighbor whilst researching Eddie Shore.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...e+hockey&hl=en

The Ottawa Citizen - December 30, 1927:

Quote:
Peerless Frank Nighbor

Elmer Ferguson in the Montreal Herald devotes considerable space in eulogizing Frank Nighbor, Ottawa's peerless center ice player, but it was not ever thus. Fergy intimates that this famous star is at his best only on Ottawa ice or on a surface no larger than that of the local Auditorium. This, of course, is only a matter of opinion, and after all, there are no ice surfaces in the national hockey league much larger than in this city.

Frank Nighbor has played wonderful hockey on every rink in the circuit, but like all athletes, he has not always been at his best, having off nights the same as all other players have. If there has been an outstanding player in hockey, that player is Frank Nighbor. His equal for all-around play has not yet appeared, regardless of the fact that until the last season or two he was not given the support by officials due a player of his sterling qualities.

Abandoning all hope of getting the protection from referees that his sportsmanlike style of hockey entitled him to, Nighbor began protecting himself, and he has shown that he can do that about as well as the next one. Greatly to the credit of Frank Nighbor, it can be said that in fifteen years of hockey, he was never charged with deliberately fouling an opponent. He has been a credit to Pembroke, the town where he broke into the game, to Ottawa, the city that he represented in big time hockey for twelve years, and to the national hockey league, as well as to Canada.
Some interesting stuff there. We have the old familiar rink size debate, which the Ottawa writer finds silly, and an intimation that Nighbor became tougher and more physical later in his career out of necessity, but remained gentlemanly and played within the rules.

The statement that "his equal for all-around play has not yet appeared" is interesting given the context. Howie Morenz was already an established star in the NHL, although at the time this article was written, he was just beginning his first true high-peak season. I wonder what the author would have said on the subject five years later? We'll never know.

This reminds us, though, that the moniker "Peerless Frank" is a rather special sort of nickname. It seems to have been an early version of Gretzky's "The Great One" nickname - a way of stating that one player is head and shoulders above the rest. As much as we have revised our opinions on Frank Nighbor, I wonder if we do not underrate him still. He was quite clearly the titan of hockey's first 40 years.


Last edited by Sturminator: 02-01-2013 at 06:17 AM.
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