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04-12-2013, 11:50 AM
Hawkey Town 18
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Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
This is an interesting quote:

The Windsor Daily Star - April 18, 1949

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

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.

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".
I agree with you here. This just as easily could have been Detroit matching up to Toronto, and that does makes more sense. I will try to do some more searching using the terms you suggested.

EDIT: Still a feather in Bentley's cap for not being thrown off his game by a very physical opponent.

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:

...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'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:

...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.

Having Plante in goal is helpful, yes.
What does Johnson sitting back at his own blueline when his team is on offense tell us about how he moved the puck out of his own zone? It should also be noted that Johnson would likely be underrated in any kind of an offensive stat comparison because the Bread Line is credited for introducing a passing attack that featured frequent passing between the 3 linemates who were constantly moving into open space. This type of strategy would make it harder for Johnson to rack up assists when comparing him to other Dmen on teams that still used a more individual-rush type of attack. This makes Johnson's puckmoving from his own zone very tough to evaluate. What we know is that the Rangers were a top team, and Johnson was clearly their best Dman during those years and he has an AS record that shows he was one of the very best Dmen in the league. There's all sorts of praise about his defensive at the very least he was stealing the puck from players and moving it to someone on his team safely. We don't know how often he was moving it out of the zone himself vs. giving it to a teammate to do it, but he was doing something with the puck all those times he was taking it from the best offensive players. I'm not saying Johnson is a great puckmover or anything, but I do think he is better than a nil, and that the Brewer-Johnson pairing combined with Plante will not be a liability at all.

Last edited by Hawkey Town 18: 04-12-2013 at 12:21 PM.
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