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02-24-2013, 09:16 PM
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Another Dink Carroll column that's been floating around for awhile and can use a permanent home:

Montreal Gazette, March 25, 1955

In 1955, Johnny (Jack) Crawford said Maurice Richard was the best player he ever saw.

Originally Posted by Jack Crawford
At least he's the greatest scorer I ever saw. He can do more things better inside the blue line than anybody else. You never know what kind of move he's going to make and his shots are always on the net.
"A guy" asked Crawford about Jean Beliveau, who some thought was the best player in the league and had a chance at being the best player of all time. Crawford said to wait 5 years before comparing him to all-time greats.

"Someone" said that Maurice Richard was one of the most exciting athletes ever, right up there with Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, Red Grange and Ty Cobb. "Just reeking with color." Crawford responded:

Originally Posted by Jack Crawford
Oh he's got it all right. Beliveau has color too, but not in the same way. You know who was something like the Rocket? Milt Schmidt.

Those three fellows on the Kraut Line were all different in temperament. Woody Dumart would parade up and down his wing all night. He had a placid temperament and it was hard to get him annoyed. Bobby Bauer was a very smart hockey player at right wing. He used to work out plays for the line, and he was the playmaker too. He paid strict attention to his knitting and he hardly ever got a penalty. Why he won the Lady Byng Trophy too.

Milt was the fireball of the line. He was a wonderful skater, a great bodychecker, and a fine all-round player. But he had a temper. Nobody ever gave him the works and got away with it. When a game exploded, Milt was right in the middle of it.
Lots of praise for Milt from his former teammate Crawford, and yet another reference to Bauer basically being the brains and playmaker of the line. Yet, Bauer was just not credited with that many assists. I really do suspect that "playmaker" at the time was like a point guard in basketball or a powerplay quarterback today, rather than the guy who made the final pass for a goal.

Later in the article, Crawford said that Frank Brimsek "for his first two or three years in the league" was the best goalie he ever saw. This would include Durnan, Broda, and basically all of Sawchuk's prime. But it could have just been Crawford pumping his old teammate.

Dick Irvin was also quoted extensively on Syl Apps:

Originally Posted by Dick Irvin
Apps was a great broker, field runner. He could carry the puck, but he wasn't a great scorer. Gordie Drillion led the league in scoring twice just by cashing in on Apps mistakes once he hit the defense. The fellow who could get the big goal on me for the Leafs was Charlie Conacher.
Great description of Apps' ability to go end to end with the puck and not necessarily know what to do with it, and Drillion as basically the ultimate garbageman. I have seen it said elsewhere that the only reason that Hap Day tolerated Drillion's lack of, basically anything without the puck, was because of his chemistry with Apps.

The article then goes on about Apps' lack of creativity:

Syl once confessed that he found it difficult to vary his tactics aroundthe goal mouth, the thing that Rocket Richard does so superbly.
The article then quotes a reporter who interviewed Apps and found that when the Leafs visit New York, Apps always went to the same hotel, had breakfast, went to his room, went for a walk (always the same walk), sat around the lobby, ate, then rested until game time. The reporter said, "New York is one of the most exciting cities in the world and he didn't seem to have any curiosity about it."

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