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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Power forward, the beginning ...

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Old
11-10-2007, 12:52 PM
  #1
kent_carlson
 
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Power forward, the beginning ...

In another thread, a poster claimed that Cam Neely "defined the power forward position", but honestly, I don't remember when that expression became related to hockey. I think that Serge Savard used it for Bob Bourne... I think that Al Secord was one of the first to be qualified as such ... but does anyone remember when this expression became, you know, "popular"?

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11-10-2007, 02:13 PM
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How long has it been used in Basketball? Was it stolen from them?

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11-10-2007, 02:56 PM
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I recall reading that in hockey the term was first applied to Gordie Howe during the 1950's.

Whether it was or not Howe was, along with Rocket Richard, the first forward who would fit the bill as the term is used today.

Bobby Hull in the 1960's and Clarke Gillies in the 1970's were protypical power forwards.

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11-10-2007, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
I recall reading that in hockey the term was first applied to Gordie Howe during the 1950's.

Whether it was or not Howe was, along with Rocket Richard, the first forward who would fit the bill as the term is used today.

Bobby Hull in the 1960's and Clarke Gillies in the 1970's were protypical power forwards.
+1. I don't know how you could not count Howe as one of the early power forwards. The term "Gordie Howe Hat-Trick" should be a good indicator.

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11-11-2007, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Vakar Lajos View Post
+1. I don't know how you could not count Howe as one of the early power forwards. The term "Gordie Howe Hat-Trick" should be a good indicator.
......and then there was the "Terror Forward" starring Terry O'Reilly,mid career Owen Nolan etc.

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11-11-2007, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kent_carlson View Post
In another thread, a poster claimed that Cam Neely "defined the power forward position", but honestly, I don't remember when that expression became related to hockey. I think that Serge Savard used it for Bob Bourne... I think that Al Secord was one of the first to be qualified as such ... but does anyone remember when this expression became, you know, "popular"?
From what I have read, Harry Sinden first used "power forward" to describe Neely's emerging offense/harddriving game circa 1988. There were certainly some others who played the style with success before him...but that was where and when the term came into (seemingly) everyday hockey lexicon.

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11-11-2007, 11:00 AM
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some say hooley smith was the first power forward 60-70 yrs ago

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11-11-2007, 12:28 PM
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some say hooley smith was the first power forward 60-70 yrs ago
And before him, guys like Punch Broadbent and Gordie Roberts were playing the 'power forward' role. Even a guy like Lalonde could be considered a power forward, though he wasn't huge for his day.

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11-11-2007, 12:37 PM
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IRC, I don't think the phrase had a lot of currency until the early 90's.

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11-11-2007, 01:53 PM
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The question is.... how many seasons and times did some coach or reporter or fan say Brad Isbister is going to turn into a great power forward?

I'd say a zillion.

There have been very few great power forwards since the late 80's/ early 90's and there are even less today. Everybody wants a Neely. A few teams are lucky enough to get a Cole.

Some players can play in a Power forward style like Iginla and AO... but they aren't the prototypical physical monsters Neely and Lindros were. They hit you sometimes not every time they get the chance.

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11-11-2007, 02:18 PM
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This subject has come up before a few times here. The term wasn't in common usage until, roughly, the 90's. It was applied to the likes of Cam Neely, Mark Messier, Gary Roberts, Keith Tkachuk, Kevin Stevens, Eric Lindros, Brendan Shanahan, and several others. It's generally agreed that it denotes a very physical forward with above average scoring ability. Usually, the player stacks up fighting major penalties in the early years of an NHL career, because success doesn't obviously come as quickly as it did during juniors.

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Originally Posted by Cup 2008 Sens Rule View Post
The question is.... how many seasons and times did some coach or reporter or fan say Brad Isbister is going to turn into a great power forward?

I'd say a zillion.

There have been very few great power forwards since the late 80's/ early 90's and there are even less today. Everybody wants a Neely. A few teams are lucky enough to get a Cole.

Some players can play in a Power forward style like Iginla and AO... but they aren't the prototypical physical monsters Neely and Lindros were. They hit you sometimes not every time they get the chance.
It's the most difficult type of forward to develop. Since probably around the time of Clark Gillies, the Islanders have had difficulty making it happen. Bertuzzi had to go elsewhere to become what he was projected. With the Sabres, they've attempted this with (Brad May, Keith Primeau and another one from the Isles - Taylor Pyatt). What happens for these orginizations, is they have to send the player to another team or utilize him as a checker or enforcer if the scoring touch doesn't come.

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11-11-2007, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cup 2008 Sens Rule View Post
Some players can play in a Power forward style like Iginla and AO... but they aren't the prototypical physical monsters Neely and Lindros were. They hit you sometimes not every time they get the chance.
There's two reasons for that. One is that the league is much more dependent on positional hockey than before. Guys like Brooks Orpik and Vitaly Vishnevski who are known for big hits are also known for taking themselves out of the play in order to deliver that hit. And the other reason is because the last guy left in the league who hits anything that gets close to him had to retire 10 years ago due to a neck injury and then rehab back after missing some prime years. I speak of course of Gary Roberts.

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11-11-2007, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Fire Therrien View Post
There's two reasons for that. One is that the league is much more dependent on positional hockey than before. Guys like Brooks Orpik and Vitaly Vishnevski who are known for big hits are also known for taking themselves out of the play in order to deliver that hit. And the other reason is because the last guy left in the league who hits anything that gets close to him had to retire 10 years ago due to a neck injury and then rehab back after missing some prime years. I speak of course of Gary Roberts.
Players like Neil or Schubert as a forward hit you every single time they get the chance to do it. And they don't really put themselves out of position. But of course they can't score and thus don't get near the ice time nor the best linemates.

I think forwards can throw big hits without putting themselves horribly and regularly out of position. Defencemen you are right have to be very careful in laying hits and taking themselves out of the play for a few seconds. Volchenkov used to try to make a lot more open ice hits than he does now and he is the better off for it now. Stevens would sacrifice a play to make a big hit but as he got on in his career he was so adept at picking his spots that it didn't come back to haunt him.

Phaneuf has tried to chase big hits to the detriment of his defensive game at times.

But forwards can I think play a really hard hitting style without it being detrimental. But I don't think Iginla or Ovechkin would be better if they played more relentlessly physical- they could but I think it would lead to less offence from them. Lindros or Neely played that style without limiting their offence - they may have limited their careers however with so many injuries.

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11-11-2007, 03:14 PM
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First time I ever heard it was in the early 1980's about Tim Kerr of the Flyers (before Cam Neely), and it became quite popular after that. By the mid-90's, every player who thumped a little bit was labeled a "power forward".

I would agree that Gordie Howe was probably the first of the really effective "power forwards" as it seems to be defined today: strong on the puck, hard to handle in front of the net, a very good scorer, able to take abuse and still be effective, and big! I would certainly not classify Bobby Hull as a power forward, as he had too much skill and flash-and-dash for that. A power forward is more of a lumbering player who has some soft hands, not the fastest skater/shooter to ever play the game in the NHL. But that's JMO.

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11-11-2007, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jiggs 10 View Post
First time I ever heard it was in the early 1980's about Tim Kerr of the Flyers (before Cam Neely), and it became quite popular after that. By the mid-90's, every player who thumped a little bit was labeled a "power forward".

I would agree that Gordie Howe was probably the first of the really effective "power forwards" as it seems to be defined today: strong on the puck, hard to handle in front of the net, a very good scorer, able to take abuse and still be effective, and big! I would certainly not classify Bobby Hull as a power forward, as he had too much skill and flash-and-dash for that. A power forward is more of a lumbering player who has some soft hands, not the fastest skater/shooter to ever play the game in the NHL. But that's JMO.
It is funny. Kerr was called that but he wasn't at all like Neely was a few years later. He was the immovable object in the slot. He wasn't a big hitter, nor did he ever fight. He wasn't that mean either. But he was extremely strong and big and could not be moved from where he wanted to be.

Kind of like the fat player in the original Ice Hockey game for the Nintendo!

Kerr was not at all like Tocchet or Neely or Lindros. He was a lot more like John Leclair who also got called a power forward but Leclair wasn't mean, didn't crush many guys with hits. But he was strong and skilled and went where he wanted in the offensive zone.

It is so hard to say who is a power forward. Leclair and Kerr were called that term and they were not at all like Neely or Roberts. Iginla is called a power forward and he is not much like Kerr or Neely or Roberts either.

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