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04-12-2013, 04:24 AM
I voted for Kodos
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Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Here is the one example of line matching that I was able to find in my research...
This is an interesting quote:

The Windsor Daily Star - April 18, 1949

Smythe thought that one of the determining factors of the series was that Detroit's big line of Syd Abel, Gordie Howe, and Ted Lindsay tried to bump his "Three Feathers" line. But Bentley, Ray Timgren and Joe Klukay were too light to be bumped and just bounced away "while the Wings took themselves out of the play."
Though it looks more like Adams was trying to match the Production Line against the Bentley line, rather than the other way around. This is not at all clear evidence that Day was matching lines. In fact, it looks like Jack Adams was the coach with a habit of linematching here:

20.3.1936 - The Windsor Daily Star:,4775495&hl=en

One of the amazing performances in hockey class last night was that furnished by Detroit's great forward line of Barry, Aurie and Lewis. This trio opposed, throughout the evening, Chicago's most formidable line, Romnes, March and Thompson...

Last night Detroit's three musketeers not only outchecked and outskated their arch rivals in the sharpshooting fraternity, but overwhelmed them in the scoring school.
I think you've got it backwards here with what was going on in that playoff series. And it's not all that hard to find evidence of linematching among coaches of this era. The above shows that Adams did it, and there is an article in the Gorman bio I posted that talks about an aggressive linematching duel between he and Lester Patrick in 1937.

It appears that the Bentley line was matched up against Detroit's big line. On a side note: This should be a feather in Bentley's cap, who is generally thought of as an offense-only type guy (Or maybe a feather in Day's for getting him to be able to play that way!)
So I don't agree with your conclusion here. We know that Adams linematched as early as 1936, and I think it is unlikely that Day would have tried to match the Bentley line against the Production Line. I seriously doubt that Max Bentley was ever a good defensive center (all evidence points to the contrary), and I don't think Day was actually using him in defensive matchups. I am still quite skeptical that Day was a linematcher.

You might want to do a search for something like "Day Toronto Shadow" and "Day Toronto Blanket" in google archives (with the appropriate date range) if you're looking for real evidence of linematching. I haven't finished the profile on Joe Klukay yet, but I've found a number of reports that talk about the "Shadow Line" or "Blanket Line" in Boston being used quite successfully against the Production Line in the 1953 playoffs. At any rate, I think the words that were most commonly used for the practice of linematching in this era were "shadow" and "blanket".


While I'm definitely not going to argue that Brewer and Johnson are great puckmovers, it should be noted that they were both the best puckmovers on their real-life pairings. Johnson usually being paired with Abel...
It should be noted that this is how Ching Johnson played during his heyday.

Before Gorman brought forechecking into hockey, with the exception of the "rushers" (guys like Shore and Clancy), defensemen generally hung back at their own bluelines when the forwards were in the attacking zone. This means two things. First, they were a lot less involved in the offense than modern defensemen. Second, they never faced five-man forechecking pressure (which was referred to in the press as "ganging" after it made its way into the game), and so didn't have to move the puck under nearly as much duress as the defensemen of later generations.

overpass speculated in the Dirt thread that forechecking may have been the impetus behind the conversion of a number of forwards to defense starting in the mid-1930's, which includes Ebbie Goodfellow, Babe Siebert, Dit Clapper and Neil Colville. This is what he said:

In the Stanley Cup final, Detroit moved Ebbie Goodfellow back to right defence in game 3, after he was the second line centre in games 1 and 2. Detroit won Game 3 5-2 and lost Game 4 1-0 with Goodfellow on the blueline, after scoring 2 goals in the first two games. Maybe Goodfellow's speed and skill helped to beat the Chicago forecheck?

If Gorman was right about forechecking becoming a more popular style, I wonder if that was a reason that several high scoring forwards were moved to play defence during the 1930s - their skill was needed in the puck-moving defenceman role, to beat the forecheck and establish the transition game.
...and it is probably accurate. Forechecking was quickly adopted all over the hockey world, and teams had to adapt by putting more skilled players on the blueline. Other than rushers like Clancy and Shore, most blueliners from before the dawn of forechecking would have had little experience and probably little skill at moving the puck quickly under pressure. It makes sense that we'd see skilled forwards moved back to the defense in the immediate aftermath of forechecking's introduction into hockey, and then the practice would slowly disappear as more skilled defensemen were brought up in the junior ranks in response to the new tactics.

To make a long story short, defensive defensemen from the pre-forechecking era likely did very little actual puckmoving during their careers. Ching Johnson's last all-star season was the same year that forechecking was introduced into the NHL, 1933-34, but he played another four seasons in the NHL after that. Over those four seasons, he scored 13 points in 142 games, mostly paired with Ott Heller in New York, who was a puckmover. Johnson's puckmoving credentials are essentially nil.

[/Johnson & forechecking]


I think what TDMM said was fairly accurate, these guys are fine at ES, but fall in an overall ranking because of sub-par play on the PP.
I'm going to try to be as fair to Brewer as possible here, because I don't think he's a trainwreck as a 1st pairing puckmover, and I don't want it to come across that way. Removing the guys whose even-strength production wasn't really elite, I would say Brewer definitely falls behind the following defensemen as an ES puckmover:

Top-7 weighted VsX for Defensemen (1926-2012):

Rank Player
1 Bobby Orr
2 Paul Coffey
3 Raymond Bourque
4 Denis Potvin
5 Brian Leetch
6 Red Kelly
7 Al MacInnis
8 Nicklas Lidstrom
9 Eddie Shore
10 Bill Gadsby
11 Brad Park
12 Doug Harvey
13 Pierre Pilote
14 Larry Robinson
15 King Clancy
16 Mark Howe
...and also behind Cleghorn, Cameron, Georges Boucher, Jan Suchy and Slava Fetisov. So, that puts us at 21 defensemen who I think were almost certainly better even strength puckmovers than Carl Brewer.

Brewer was a good ES puckmover - better than I had thought before looking at the numbers, and I think he legitimately enters the conversation at this point, along with a whole bunch of other guys like Sergei Zubov, Sergei Gonchar, Chris Chelios, Dan Boyle, Gary Suter, Pat Stapleton, Doug Wilson, Doug Mohns, Lester Patrick, Hod Stuart, Alexei Kasatonov, Marcel Pronovost, Larry Murphy, Lionel Conacher, Chris Pronger, Bill Quackenbush, Art Ross and Flash Hollett. So that gets us to 40 defensemen. I think it's probably fair to say that Carl Brewer is somewhere between the 22th and 40th best even strength puckmoving defenseman of all-time. This would make him in all likelihood an adequate, but low-end top pairing puckmover in the ATD, somewhere towards the bottom of the top-32. I think Brewer can do what you're asking of him here, but he's going to be pretty weak at it relative to most top pairing puckmovers in the ATD.

Between Brewer and Johnson, you've still got arguably the weakest top pairing puckmoving in the draft.

Finally, one thing that should really help move the puck in the defensive end is having Plante in goal, who not only was a great puckhanlder that often left the net to help his defensemen, but also a great communicator, constantly yelling to his teammates and acting as a second set of eyes for them.
Having Plante in goal is helpful, yes.

Last edited by Sturminator: 04-12-2013 at 04:40 AM.
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