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Old
04-18-2011, 04:26 PM
  #151
seventieslord
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Thought the owners of some of these players might like to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blood On the Ice
In 1958, in an informal poll, the six NHL general managers were asked to name the toughest player they ever saw and the toughest men playing at that time...

Lynn Patrick (Boston): Flaman, Harvey, Howe, Armstrong, Lindsay, Fontinato
Frank Selke (Montreal): Howe, Flaman, Armstrong, Labine, Fontinato, Evans
Tommy Ivan (Chicago): Howe, Lindsay, M.Richard, Flaman, Labine, Fontinato
Muzz Patrick (New York): Howe, Labine, M.Richard, Flaman, Fontinato, Lindsay
Jack Adams (Detroit): Howe, Flaman, Fontinato, M. Richard, Labine
Stafford Smythe (Toronto): Lindsay, Gadsby, Labine, Evans, T.Johnson, Flaman

Most votes:

Flaman 6
Fontinato 5
Howe 5
Labine 5
Lindsay 4
M.Richard 3
Armstrong 2
Evans 2

votes for "all-time toughest": Jack Stewart (2), Reg Noble, Joe Hall, Jimmy Orlando, Bill Cook
- Blood On the Ice, by Ira Gitler.

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Old
04-20-2011, 05:56 PM
  #152
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Well, I've been meaning to post this for awhile, but here goes. Awhile back, I noticed that Babe Pratt was ranked the 47th best Ranger all time in the "top 100 Rangers" book. I found this interesting, since most of what we know about Babe was after he was traded to Toronto. I had always assumed his Rangers years were fairly unimpressive. I asked LL, and he was kind enough to scan the book and send me scans of the section on Pratt. Here's some of what it said:

Quote:
A rollicking defensemen, both on the ice and off, and one of the most unique individuals ever to pull on a Rangers sweater, Pratt was a winner from the first time he laced up the skates. His teams won 15 championships, from the junior ranks to the NHL during his 26 years in the game.

Al Ritchie, the Rangers' legendary scout during the 1930s and 1940s, called Pratt "the finest prospect I have ever seen," when the Rangers signed him to his first NHL contract on October 18, 1935. He spent just 28 games with the Philadelphia Ramblers of the Canadian-American League before the Rangers called him to New York. It would be 12 more years before Pratt would play another minor league game.
Sounds like Pratt really was one of the biggest natural talents ever.

Now, a description of his "color" that seems to have prevented him from taking that next step:

Quote:
The swift summons to New York would mark the beginning of the love affair between Pratt and the Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps. After seeing Broadway for the first time, he joked, "Where has this place been all my life? I looked out at all those beautiful lights and said, 'Babe, you are going to personally look behind every one of them."

No doubt he did.
Seems like Babe spend a lot of time in the apartments of other people...

And he chose his partner in crime unwisely:

Quote:
Babe's running mate on the Rangers was usually defenseman Murray (Muzz) Patrick, son of Lester Patrick, the team's patriarch, general manager and coach. One year, as the Rangers were fast developing into one of the National Hockey League's strongest franchises, Pratt remarked, "This team has balance. We've got some hungry rookies and two thirsty veterans: me and Muzz."
I'm not sure if "thirsty" referred to an appetite for women or booze, but the conservative Lester Patrick was not pleased:

Quote:
That remark surely never sat well with boss man Patrick. Neither did Pratt's oft-stated description of Patrick's frugality: "I wouldn't say Lester was cheap, but he was certainly adjacent to cheap."
I'll be back to post more on Pratt's style with the Rangers and what the Maple Leafs did to tame the wild horse.

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Old
04-20-2011, 06:03 PM
  #153
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TDMM, shouldn't you be saying you intend to prove with quotes that Pratt actually had an above-average level of maturity and commitment?

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04-20-2011, 06:21 PM
  #154
TheDevilMadeMe
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"The perfect successor to Ching Johnson"

Quote:
On the ice, Pratt's style was boisterous and rough. The fans loved him and he was the perfect successor to the Rangers' first great defenseman, Ching Johnson, whose style was the same as Pratt's and who left the Rangers prior to the 1936-37 season.

Pratt's defensive partner was Ott Heller, while Muzz Patrick played with team captain, Art Coulter. The foursome is probably the best quartet of Rangers defensemen ever. Pratt was also an offensive force, posting 28 points in 1941-42 as the Rangers won their last regular season championship, the club's last hurrah, really, before World War II broke up that formidable group of All-Stars.
The article goes on to talk about Pratt's trade to Toronto and describe the Pratt we are familiar with who led defensemen in scoring while winning the Hart trophy, and then scoring the Cup winning goal the following season in Toronto.

But his style as a Ranger was something of a mystery before. The comparison to Ching Johnson stylistically is quite believable when combined with the contemporary articles I found describing Pratt's rough style.

Pratt appears to have played more offensively than Johnson (as evidenced by his point totals) and obviously wasn't as "tough to get around" (as shown by his relative lack of All Star consideration as a Ranger). But his "boisterous and rough" style in his own zone is quite reminiscent of Ching.

So Pratt could be considered "a more offensive minded but not as good overall version of Ching Johnson." Or, as I prefer, "a lesser version of Rob Blake."

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04-20-2011, 06:47 PM
  #155
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The Leafs gave Pratt special attention to get the most out of him:

Quote:
The Leafs knew they were getting a player who marched to the beat of his own drummer and they felt they would have to keep Pratt in check if he was going to be effective. They went as far as to make coach Hap Day his roommate on the road. In his first 40 games as a Leaf, Pratt recored 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists).
The article then goes on to talk about Pratt's amazing next two years in Toronto,* which included a Hart Trophy and Cup winning goal. His relatively rapid decline happened after the Leafs failed to reward Pratt properly, giving him a $6500 raise instead $7000 like Pratt asked for, which left Pratt feeling slighted. Then game the famous gambling scandal (Pratt was banned then reinstated) and the trade to Boston.

I think Pratt is a guy a bit like Krutov (though not as extreme as Krutov) who requires individual attention to get the most out of him. Working with Babe Pratt will be one of out assistant coach Larry Robinson's main duties.


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Old
04-20-2011, 06:49 PM
  #156
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Yeah, those stories about Krutov filling his pool with donuts and swimming it really scared me off...

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Old
04-20-2011, 07:00 PM
  #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
Yeah, those stories about Krutov filling his pool with donuts and swimming it really scared me off...
I wasn't scared until I read that the donut had bacon sprinkles.

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Old
04-21-2011, 07:16 AM
  #158
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I believe 6 of Pratt's 15 championships came in one year when he played for 6 Winnipeg teams at the same time.

ATD#4 Bio

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Old
04-22-2011, 10:06 AM
  #159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Looks like it happened in February of 1924. From the Ottawa Citizen - February 4, 1924:

After this incident, we start seeing references to the injury (indicating that it was quite serious). From the Ottawa Citizen - January 9, 1925:

From basically 1925 onwards, we see references to Boucher's "bad leg", and the frequent struggles he had with it. Here is a good example - from the Calgary Daily Herald - April 12, 1927:

It should be noted that the timing of the injury matches the end of Boucher's peak quite closely. The injury occured late in the 1923-24 season, and Boucher's last peak season came in the next season 1924-25. He was 28 years old. It seems quite likely that Boucher was able to squeeze one more good season out of the knee before his leg problems forced him to slow down, and he spent the twilight of his career (he would play for seven more years) as a slow, physical, stay-at-home defenseman.

As I have found no mention of Boucher's skating (either positive or negative) before the occurence of the knee injury, I think it is safe to assume that he was an average skater through his years as a forward and then peak as an attacking defenseman, before succumbing to the realities of his injury, and changing his style of play. He is likely mentioned as "not the greatest skater" (which I believe comes from LOH) because he played as an immobile stay-at-home defenseman for seven full seasons, and that is the last image anyone had of him.
i also do not remember anything describing georges boucher as slow (or fast).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Yeah. I certainly don't consider Boucher fast, but I don't think we can consider him to be one of the slugs of the draft anymore. I always wondered how someone that slow could out up such numbers.
for much of the game, the players were standing around, and players often played 60 minutes, so speed was not as important, and boucher was one of the best stickhandlers of the era.

speed and stickhandling seem to have been the main ways to get through a defense.


Last edited by nik jr: 04-24-2011 at 05:54 AM.
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Old
04-24-2011, 01:29 AM
  #160
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Recent article praising Clint Benedict:

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/n...b-d12249cc9950

It's worth reading the whole thing, but here are some highlights:

Quote:
MONTREAL -- How sacrilegious is it, in a city where the Canadiens are worshipped when they're not prayed for, to point out that Clint Benedict was a better goaltender than Georges Vezina?
Quote:
Inexplicable is the fact that Benedict was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame only in 1966, a decade before his death at age 84 and years after many early-era goalies with lesser credentials had been enshrined.

"I seem to have crossed someone somewhere along the way," he told a Montreal Star interviewer a year before his induction, quoted in Douglas Hunter's 1995 book A Breed Apart: An Illustrated History of Goaltending.

"Politics? Yes, I guess that's what you'd have to call it."

Hunter reasonably wondered whether playing for the Senators and Maroons, clubs which mostly faded from the public consciousness when they folded in the 1930s, slipped him through the cracks.
The article then goes on to point out how many more games played, career wins and shutouts Benedict had and how much lower his GAA was as its entire case that he was better than Vezina. Take it for what it's worth...

Amusing story about the origins of the "Praying Benny" nickname and how he was able to get away with "cheating:"

Quote:
Hard numbers don't begin to tell his story, however. Where Vezina played a conventional stand-up style that left his pads dry at game's end, Benedict was the Dominik Hasek of his time, flopping in his crease like a fish out of water.

Every modern-day goaltender at least in part owes their butterfly or pad-stacking technique to Benedict, whose dropping to the ice bullied the newborn NHL to introduce a rule in 1918 allowing a goalie to leave his skates.

Indeed, he had been nicknamed "Praying Benny" by sarcastic Toronto fans for his habit of falling to his knees, allegedly to thank the Lord during a scramble or after a save.

"If you did it a little bit sneaky and made it look accidental, you could fall on the puck without being penalized," Benedict said in 1964.
Fight with Cully Wilson:

Quote:
Benedict once had a scrap with the fearsome Cully Wilson, sending both to the penalty box in the days when a goalie served his own time.

"[Wilson] seemed to have had enough," he recalled in Hunter's book. "So when he politely invited me to enter [the penalty box] first, I did. ... [Then] he hit me with a beautiful right in the jaw. You couldn't trust anybody in those days."
The article then goes on to talk about how Benedict had his face shattered by a Morenz shot, wore the first goalie mask,* threw the mask away after he couldn't see well in it, then had his career ended by a Morenz shot to the throat.


*actually it was the first goalie mask by a man


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Old
04-24-2011, 01:40 AM
  #161
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Interesting story about Bill Cook and Charlie Gardiner. Apparently Bill Cook had quite the backhand:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette, Jan 28, 1942
...But that knowledge of an opposing forward's mannerisms is what helps the goalie.

Chuck Gardiner explained it to us once. He was talking about Bill Cook, who was then one of the league's leading scorers.

"Bill had a great backhand shot and he scored a lot of goals with it, Gardiner told us. "One of his pet tricks was to fake a shot on one side of the net, but hold the puck and go right across the mouth of the goal and then let fly with that backhand into the other corner. I used to pretend that I had fallen for that fake and then crowd the near side of the net. But before the puck had left Bill's stick on his favorite backhand shot, I'd have swung over to the other side and was read for it."
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...benedict&hl=en

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04-24-2011, 09:01 PM
  #162
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Interview with a 60 year old Frank Boucher in 1962

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...ner+best&hl=en

Boucher had just been awarded the annual Sportsmanship Brotherhood Award in New York.

First, the article reminds us that Boucher won the Lady Byng 7 times and calls it "hockey's equivalent of a good conduct medal."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Boucher
I did get into a pretty good fight once. That was in my first year in the NHL in 1926-27. Bill Phillips of the Old Montreal Maroons and I started to mix it up. He hit me over the head with his stick and that about ended the fight. I was a little bit groggy.
On the difference between hockey in the 20s/30s and 1962:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Boucher
You don't see much precision passing nowadays. It's more of a five-man gang attack instead of three forwards carrying the puck into the attacking zone. Some of the color has gone from the game because there is less bodychecking. The game is a lot faster today, though.
Boucher picks his all-time team:

Quote:
Boucher tapped for his all-time, all-star team goalie Chuck Gardiner of the Chicago Black Hawks, defensemen Eddie Shore of the Boston Bruins and Ching Johnson of the Rangers, center Frank Nighbor of Ottawa, left winger Aurel Joliat of the Montreal Canadiens and center Bill Cook.
Yet another contemporary picks Frank Nighbor over Howie Morenz. I think it really is an open question as to which was the better player. I still think the evidence is in favor of Morenz, but it's close.

Boucher joins Howie Morenz in his effusive praise of Ching Johnson, and joins a variety of players who called Charlie Gardiner the best goalie they ever played against.

On the best players "today" (in 1962):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Boucher
Jean Beliveau of the Canadiens has more ability than any other forward in the game today. He does everything well. Doug Harvey of the Rangers is the best defenseman and Jacques Plante of the Canadiens the best goalie.


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Old
04-27-2011, 04:03 AM
  #163
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The results of the MacLean's Magazine 1925 "All-Star, All-Time, Canadian Hockey Team" project can be found here.

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04-27-2011, 04:04 AM
  #164
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The throat problem which led to Eddie Gerard's retirement - here.

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04-27-2011, 05:54 AM
  #165
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Here is a bit of information on Gerard's physical play, from the Regina Morning Leader - March 17, 1923:

Quote:
Gerard and Harris, both famous body-checkers, bumped each other merrily in one corner and were chased to the boards.
This next document is an extremely interesting look at the off-ice interests of the Ottawa Senators. From the Vancouver Sun - March 25, 1923:

Quote:
Gerard was also a member of the New Edinburgh war canoe crew when they held the one mile championship of Canada.

...

He is noted in the east as one of the cleanest players in the game and it is unfortunate that his strenuous tactics should have earned him on the coast a reputation of being a mixer.
Interesting that Gerard should have a reputation for dirty play among western hockey fans that doesn't match his reputation in the east. As western fans were exposed to Gerard only during Cup Finals matches, one can only assume that he played a somewhat dirtier game in those serieses.

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04-27-2011, 06:29 AM
  #166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
Interesting that Gerard should have a reputation for dirty play among western hockey fans that doesn't match his reputation in the east. As western fans were exposed to Gerard only during Cup Finals matches, one can only assume that he played a somewhat dirtier game in those serieses.
Or the PCHA played a different style of hockey, where physical play was not common. Based on all the top PCHA players, I'd say that appears to be the case.

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04-27-2011, 06:53 AM
  #167
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Quote:
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Or the PCHA played a different style of hockey, where physical play was not common. Based on all the top PCHA players, I'd say that appears to be the case.
Certainly a possibility. There is considerable crying about the physical tactics of the Canadiens in a number of the western Cup Finals game reports, though I don't recall anything about the Sens other than Gerard, himself.

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04-30-2011, 10:19 AM
  #168
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I went through Toronto Star game reports looking for mentions of Eddie Gerard. I checked every game report between Toronto and Ottawa from 1919-20 to 1922-23.

Some game reports had no information on how opposing players performed. Others were illegible. But there were a fair number of game reports that mentioned the individual performances of each player. Here are the ones that mention Gerard, as well as other Ottawa defenders.

January 5, 1920:
Quote:
Their defense, Sprague Cleghorn and Eddie Gerard, gave a superb exhibition both defensively and offensively. Gerard was simply great all night.
January 26, 1920
Quote:
They have a great defense in Gerard and Cleghorn...Gerard and Cleghorn played fine hockey all the way. The former is a fast breaker and dangerous on every rush. He carried the forward line along with a great burst of speed, and usually passed the puck after crossing the defense, which was the most effective play in the visitors’ repertoire.
January 29, 1920:
Quote:
Ottawa played without Sprague Cleghorn, but Boucher and Merrill, who were used on the defense, played stellar games…Benedict played a steady game, and aided by the splendid defense of Gerard and Boucher, stood off the Toronto attack and turned in an errorless game.
Feb 23, 1920:
Quote:
Ottawa, minus Eddie Gerard, their star defense man, displayed as much superiority over the Snake Chasers as Hamilton Tigers did over Toronto Dentals – and that was plenty.

Sprague Cleghorn, Boucher, and Darragh were the best of Ottawa’s superb lineup. Cleghorn’s head work was conspicuous, and he was always dangerous in a rush. This Boucher boy has been playing stellar hockey all season. He is as valuable a man as Ottawa has. He is game, has speed, can shoot, and as a defense man looks as good as either Cleghorn or Gerard.
March 1, 1920:
Quote:
Cleghorn and Gerard made an almost impregnable defense. They both carried the puck well in a rush and were always able to beat their opponents back to their positions.
March 25 (Game 2 of the Cup Final):
Quote:
On Monday night it was the dazzling all-round efforts of Frank NIghbor in the third period that blocked nearly every budding offensive of Walker, Rowe, Riley, and Foyston, while last night it was young Boucher who battered back the Seattle attack and carried the offensive into their territory. Men like Cleghorn, Darragh, and Capt. Gerard rise to great heights when necessity demands, and Cy. Denneny always packs a dangerous shot and an elusive rush.
Jan 17, 1921:
Quote:
They are not weakened by the loss of Sprague Cleghorn, as Jack Boucher is just as effective and a harder worker. Boucher teams up splendidly with Eddie Gerard on the defense, and they are both strong rushers.
Jan 24, 1921:
Quote:
Sprague Cleghorn, rated as the best defense player in pro hockey, will make his initial appearance in a St Patrick uniform on Wednesday night.
Mar 15, 1921:
Quote:
Both goals were scored in the final period, Gerard and Nighbor doing the needful, and both counters were on low, hard shots to the corner and from outside the defense.

That the better team won there is no doubt. The fact that the Irish were held scoreless in both games of the series is sufficient to tell the tale. It was Ottawa’s excellent defensive qualities which earned for the the N.H.L. title, and in doing so every member of the team played his part. Nighbor played brilliantly throughout, and his poke check broke up the St. Pat’s attack repeatedly at centre ice.
Dec 22, 1921:
Quote:
Young “King” Clancy jumped into the fray during the second period and received a rousing reception. The former St Brigid star made good right off the hop. He replaced Broadbent in this period and again in the final. This youngster will do.

Captain Gerard just bubbled over with brilliancy. The Ottawa pilot was chock full of pep and decidedly effective. He scored three of the four goals, not a usual thing for a defense player.

Frank Nighbor’s perfect poke was again baffling. Reg. Noble was also there with the hook, but the Toronto captain has yet much to learn before he equals Nighbor in that style of play.
Jan 5, 1922:
Quote:
Gerard, as usual, played fine hockey and was a tireless worker. Boucher did a lot of good work, but he wasted a lot of time trying to referee the game instead of leaving the job to Cooper Smeaton, so that he wasn’t as much use to his team as he thought he was.
Jan 12, 1922
Quote:
Gerard was the star of the Ottawa team, and “Cy” Dennenay was a close second. The latter’s shooting and following back were features of the play.

The speed exhibited by Captain Eddie Gerard was a treat to gaze upon.
Feb 13, 1922:
Quote:
Ottawa had their three cripples – Gerard, Denneny, and Nighbor – on hand for the St. Pat’s game but the Irish played them to a standstill.
Feb 27, 1922:
Quote:
Ottawa were without George Boucher, a regular defense man. He was replaced by young King Clancy, and the boy did mighty well.
March 2, 1922:
Quote:
The Ottawa defense was particularly vulnerable, and but for the yeoman work of Frank Nighbor, the Ottawa centre man, the Irishmen would have piled up a commanding lead in the first two periods. The crack centre was at his best, both on attack and in defensive tactics. Benedict, Gerard, and Boucher had an off night and showed little of the brilliancy they had displayed in other contests. Clancy, while subbing for Boucher, put up a rattling line of hockey.

Toronto manager George O’Donoghue: “…Boucher and Gerard laid on the hickory as they never did before…”
Dec 21, 1922:
Quote:
Ottawa’s defense pair, Gerard and Boucher, stood out for the winners. They led many rushes, and worked right in on top of Roach.
Jan 4, 1923:
Quote:
Ottawa was without George Boucher, who was detained at home owing to the …. of his …, and Frank Clancy paired up with Gerard on the defense, and turned in a nice performance. He rushed repeatedly, and was a source of worry all night to the local defense. Gerard rushed at times but devoted most of his work to the defensive end, although he scored the Senators’ second goal on an individual rush.

Clancy was the star of the Ottawa team, this young player showing speed and willingness to work. Nighbor was as smooth as usual in centre ice and Denneny was always dangerous with a wicked shot. Eddie Gerard played his customary steady game. Previous of the start of play Gerard was presented with a diamond stickpin by the local club for the assistance he gave them in winning the world’s championship last March when he played one game against Vancouver.
Jan 25, 1923:
Quote:
Gerard and Boucher were the most effective for Ottawa, though Denneny was always dangerous. Both of the Ottawa defense men were closely checked, but were always prominent. Nighbor did clever work with his poke-check. Clancy was the fastest man on the Ottawa train, but was seldom used. Darragh tried hard, but is slipping fast.
Mar 6, 1923:
Quote:
Benedict was never better and the defense when Boucher and Gerard were working was brilliant. The forwards all went well and took no undue chances.

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04-30-2011, 10:21 AM
  #169
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A scouting report on the Vancouver Coast champions from 1922. Written by a Toronto writer for a Toronto readership.

Toronto Star, March 15, 1922:
Quote:
Anyway Lester Patrick has a mighty smart looking bunch along with him and figures on handling George O’Donoghue’s newly crowned champions a bigger surprise than “Happy” Mellroy got the morning he found a quart of Irish where the bottle cow sap was usually parked.
Here they are:

GOAL: Hugh Lehman, who landed on the hockey map long before Berlin became Kitchener. Lehman might be a grand-daddy for all I know, but he still can read ‘em without his specs. He is the Vezina of the Coast League. The boys on the coast say that he is so mean about this goal business that he wouldn’t let his own grandmother poke on through with a garden rake one day he was out showing the kids how goal should be kept. Lehman was with us in 1918, when Vancouver came down and tied Charlie Querrie’s Arenas, then N.H.L. champions, in four games and played them a 2-1 game in the fifth. Arenas won the cup.

LEFT DEFENSE: Lloyd Cook was down in 1918, too, but he had only finished getting acquainted with long pants then. He is six feet something of bone and muscle man. He was good then. He is better now. Cook is figured as good as “Peg” Cleghorn as a defense man.

RIGHT DEFENSE: Art Duncan, the Soo boy. Five feet 11 inches he stands, and he is the star of the team. He played here with the 228th Battalion team along with the McNamara’s. The fans remember him. He is one sweet hockey player and a boy they will love to cheer.

CENTRE: Our old castoff Jack Adams. John wasn’t good enough to ??? here for St Pats three years ago, so he went west with a “good luck” ???. He had to scramble to show the Patricks that he was a hockey player, but he finally arrived with both ???, and now the club owners wouldn’t trade him for Frank Nighbor. John gets goals, and when his feet get tire, Ernie Parkes, the ex-Kitchener boy, goes out and amuses the customers with some of his rocking-horse glides. Parksey has been so good that Adams gets plenty of rest. The team doesn’t fade away so that you could notice it with the recruit from Bun Lang’s town in centre ice.

RIGHT WING:
Alfie Skinner, the Toronto boy, parks his No. 9’s over on the dexter side of the forwards when the boys make their bows. He has been doing that for Vancouver for some years. Some years Alfie is up there threatening the laurels of the league’s chief scorer. He is never far away. Many’s the game finds Skinner “mentioned in despatches,” and he is never so far off color that the ??? pan. He is the Ken Randall of the forwards for his checking, but he gets more goals than the hard-battling St. Pats man does. When Skinner’s knees wobble and his tongue sticks out, Charlie Tobin, the Winnipeg boy, steps in. Tobin is high class. Anyone who keeps him subbing steps along.

LEFT WING: Mickey Mackay, the Chesley cyclone, whose speed and stick-handling featured the coast champions’ play here in 1918. McKay is a whirlwind. Eddie Oatman, the Tillsonburg boy, is his sub. Oatman belongs to Victorias, but is subbing on the team by special permission is in hospital with his nose adrift from its anchorage and threatened with complete wreck.

Look that squad over and then tell me St. Pats have a cinch. They have the same sort of cinch the colored boy had when he grabbed the bear by the tail.

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04-30-2011, 11:20 AM
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What does it mean when it calls Lehman the Vezina of the Coast?

Also, I don't know whether to laugh or facepalm at the "same cinch as a colored boy grabbing the tail of a bear" comment.

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04-30-2011, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
What does it mean when it calls Lehman the Vezina of the Coast?

Also, I don't know whether to laugh or facepalm at the "same cinch as a colored boy grabbing the tail of a bear" comment.
I read it as a comment on Lehman's quality as a goaltender. It says more about Vezina, IMO. The writer is familiar with Vezina and considers him the standard to which an unfamiliar Western star should be compared.

As to the other comment - times have changed eh? Just a pop culture reference at the time but it's jarring to read now.

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05-01-2011, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by overpass View Post
I read it as a comment on Lehman's quality as a goaltender. It says more about Vezina, IMO. The writer is familiar with Vezina and considers him the standard to which an unfamiliar Western star should be compared.
It may have been something of a stylistic comment, rather than a relative value judgment between Vezina and Benedict. Both Vezina and Lehman spent most of their careers playing behind porous defenses, and both were known for their ability to make spectacular, acrobatic saves, while Benedict seems to have been a much more consistent, play the angles, don't give up rebounds (by dropping on them) kind of goalie.

I will say that the picture of who was the best goalie of this era has become quite muddied for me, and I think they are in truth much closer than was assumed during the period when Benedict's stats were regularly held up as evidence of his superiority.

I appreciate your inclusion of the text regarding the other Sens defensemen in your study on Gerard. Speaking somewhat selfishly, the snippet about George Boucher in 1920 is interesting, especially the business about his speed. This would seem to be the last piece of the puzzle regarding the conundrum of Boucher's skating. Thanks.

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05-01-2011, 12:03 PM
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Some information on Frank Boucher's playoffs in 1924:

The Vancouver Maroons defeated the Seattle Mets in the PCHA playoffs in a two game total goals series 4-3, with the first game tied 2-2 and the second game going into overtime tied 1-1 before Frank Boucher ended the series with an overtime goal to send Vancouver through. From the Calgary Daily Herald - March 8, 1924:

Quote:
Frank Boucher, the clean playing, clean-limbed centre star for Vancouver, broke up the greatest athletic contest ever staged in the city of Vancouver when he took a pass from Bostrum just on the centre ice side of the blue line, tricked two men and beat Happy Holmes in 14 minutes overtime last night, giving Vancouver a 2-1 victory, or 4-3 on the round. It was a million dollar shot. It smashed the hopes of the fighting Mets, sent Pete Muldoon away screaming "offside!" and shoved the Maroons into the Stanley Cup finals with Calgary Monday night, a trip east and all the kopecks attaching to the tast of battling mid-west and east for the world's honors in hockey.
Vancouver would then go on to face Calgary in the western league finals for the right to face the NHL winner for the Cup. Here is the report from game 1 from the Calgary Daily Herald - March 11, 1924:

Quote:
Ten thousand, five hundred fans peered through the haze in Patrick's show house here last night and caught a glimpse of a somewhat tangled arrangement of hockey in which the Maroons emerged victorious by 3-1 over the Calgary Tigers in the first game of the Stanley Cup semi-final round...

BOUCHER, BATTLING WONDER

Frank Boucher, the battling boy wonder, found on the wilds of the prairies in the neighborhood of Lethbridge by the Patricks a few years back, made more trouble for the Tigers than a thousand motorists for an armless traffic cop. He was stick-handling like a circus wizard and hook checking so closely that the Tiger pucks flew to his club like to a magnet. He was a demon checker all through. It was a mystery how any of them got by out there in centre ice. In the third period he was summoned back to play guard along with Cook and Duncan, because the Maroons had snared a couple of marks to Calgary's one, and they wanted to protect it. Boucher was set up at the nose of the barricade where he sucked in the force of many Tiger drives, and invariably the puck evaporated when it struck his twisted pole.

DUNCAN EXHIBITS STYLE

That being done with lauding Boucher, let the light sweep around and stare on Art Duncan for a while. He did a lot of stuff and it was all good. He did a neat strut step through the Calgary make-up on several fast sweeps, and the boys appeared to be at a loss to figure out his style. He made a way for himself with apparent ease, the left side of the Calgary defense being the most popular course to follow. Cook also veered the course of his straddling pins in that direction and broke in a few times, especially with the first goal, that should have been clamped.
Here is the game 2 report from the Calgary Daily Herald - March 13, 1924:

Quote:
Bursting in with a series of combination rushes at top speed the Calgary Tigers completely bewildered the Vancouver club here last night, and crushed them under a tally of 6-3...

Boucher and MacKay, who cut up pretty tantrums in Vancouver, were out of the picture completely here last night. They couldn't stand the gaff like Wilson, Oliver and Morris, who were treated to a special line of trips, slashes and stiff shoulders when they endeavored to negotiate the shoals around Vancouver's harbor.
And the game 3 report from the Calgary Daily Herald - March 17, 1924:

Quote:
Aggressiveness beat the Vancouver Maroons out of the bye into the final round of the Stanley Cup series here Saturday night when the Calgary Tigers swept in on Hughie Lehman with a system of fast combination that resulted in a toll of three counts and the Tigers finished in front 3-1...

Boucher and MacKay were mighty annoying and they drew all kinds of attention. Boucher's hook checking was extremely clever, and he worried the Tigers when they swung into position for attacks. Duncan and Cook were stout obstacles and it was apparent that the Maroons were providing for a stiff weight battle as they started off with Bostrum and Skinner on the forward line, two of the heftiest customers on the coast makeup. They had the weight, but not the speed and the Tigers were soon breaking away from them, but Duncan and Cook blocked many rushes in the early part of the show.
After losing to the Tigers, the Maroons faced the Canadiens in the third round. Here is the game 1 report from the Montreal Gazette - March 19, 1924:

Quote:
Canadiens took the lead in the [unreadable]-final series for the Stanley Cup and world's professional hockey honors when they defeated the Vancouver Maroons 3 to 2 in the first game of the round played at the Mount Royal Arena last night...

Defensive hockey marked the greater part of the struggle, both teams keeping three and four men back for the most of the time, Vancouver continually having them lined out abreast to meet the Canadien rushes. Attacks by both sides were largely individual rushes of a spectacular nature or two-man attempts to break through. This style was maintained even when one or the other team had the advantage of the odd man through penalties to opponents.

In these rushes, Joliat, Morenz and Sprague Cleghorn were outstanding for Canadiens. Morenz was changed at frequent intervals, the local management seemingly conserving as much strength as possible for future contests.

For Vancouver, Frank Boucher, of the noted hockey family, and Hughie Lehman, coast net guardian, were the bright performers. Frank Boucher was the most consistent player on the ice. He broke up rush after rush with a long poke check that brought visions of Frank Nighbor at his best for Ottawa Senators, while his stickhandling through a sturdy defense was always smartly performed...
Vancouver's loss in game 2 of the series knocked them out of the playoffs for the season. From the Calgary Daily Herald - March 21, 1924:

Quote:
Vancouver Maroons slipped from the Stanley Cup stage last night when the Canadiens beat them 2 to 1 in a typical championship hockey struggle on miserable ice...

Joliat engineered a sensational end-to-end drive in the third period, and while Lehman sprawled out to save he was unable to smother the rebound, and Joliat kicked he disc, then stumbled and fell, but he extended himself full length to hook the rubber back to the goal mouth with his stick, and Billy Boucher raced in, knocking Cook from his feet in the plunge and nose dived into the face of the net just in time to sweep the cake through with Joliat.

It was a spectacular play, and one that crowned a wonderful effort, carry with it the graduation pass to the final of the world's hockey championship series with the Calgary Tigers. It was well for the Canadiens that Joliat negotiated that trip, for Frank Boucher's tally on Vezina was almost as brilliant shortly afterward when he dodged body drives, eluded hook and poke checks and then passed in a sizzling shot straight against the goal's front, catching the opposide side of the cage...

Vancouver were more at home under their own playing code, and after a two-day rest from their cross-country journey, the players, too, handled themselves well on the wet surface, though unquestionably not used to such heavy going. From centre ice to goal, they battled with a will that knew no check, and towards the end of the game were frequently applauded for their spectacular efforts. This was particularly true in the case of Hughie Lehman and Frank Boucher.
All-in-all, a very fine playoff run for the 22 year old Boucher, who seems to have been a revelation to the writers who watched the games. Other than game 2 of the Calgary series (don't have the report for game 1 of the Seattle series), Boucher is consistently mentioned as one of the best players on the ice, and was pretty clearly Vancouver's best skater (though Lehman was also very good for the Maroons).

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05-01-2011, 01:59 PM
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Some information on Boucher's 1928 playoffs:

The first article is a repost of something I posted earlier, which I include here as context for new information. It is a summary of the 1928 playoffs up to the finals, and a preview of the Maroons/Rangers clash for the Cup. From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette - April 5, 1928:

Quote:
Out of the welter of preliminary rounds in the National Hockey League battle for the historic Stanley Cup, the world series of the ice world, Frank Boucher, diminutive center ice star of the New York Rangers, has come to stamp himself as one of the greatest players in the game.

Boucher will lead the Rangers on the ice of the Montreal Maroons in the Canadian metropolis tomorrow night for the first of the final five-game series for the professional hockey title...

The brilliance of Boucher stands out above all others in a composite score of the preliminary efforts of the two teams fighting tomorrow night in the championship. Boucher tallied three goals, assisted in the scoring of three others, and spent no time in the penalty box...

Boucher, recipient of the Lady Byng trophy for combining effectiveness with sportsmanship, played through the four games without once incurring the displeasure of the referees. In addition to leading all scorers, Boucher was a tower of strength on the defense, his sweeping poke-check smashed dozens of attacks of Pittsburgh and Boston forwards.
This report is impressive enough on its own merits, but it is what Frank Boucher would do in the Cup Finals of that year that would truly define his legend. Unfortunately, I cannot find game reports for game 1 (a 2-0 Maroons victory) or the legendary game 2 in which Lester Patrick replaced Chabot in goal. I do have something of a band-aid for game 2, however. The report is from a blog called Third String Goalie:

Quote:
Game Two provided one of the most unusual events in NHL history, when Nels Stewart of the Maroons fired a hard shot that struck Rangers goalie Chabot in the eye, knocking him out of the game. Maroons coach Eddie Gerard refused to let the Rangers use either Ottawa Senators goalie Alex Connell or minor leaguer Hugh McCormick, both of whom were in attendance watching the contest, forcing the Rangers coach Patrick to put the pads on and take over in goal after a 40 minute delay - at age 44.

He told his squad, "Boys, don't let an old man down" and proceeded to hold the Maroons to a single goal as the Rangers came through for their boss, checking the Maroons like mad, doing everything in their power to keep them as far away from their goaltender as possible. Bill Cook put the Rangers up 1-0 just 30 seconds into the third period before Stewart tied it with a goal for Montreal with a long shot that made in between Patrick's pads with less than six minutes remaining. Boucher then scored the game winning goal in overtime to give New York a 2-1 win to even the series at a game apiece as the Rangers carried a tearful Patrick off the ice on their shoulders in celebration. Patrick's appearance set a record for the oldest person to play in the Stanley Cup Finals at 44 years, 3 months and 10 days, a record which still stands today.
Again we see Frank Boucher scoring an overtime goal at a crucial moment for his team in the playoffs. The Rangers would lose game three, again by a score of 2-0, and went into game 4 with their backs against the wall. The game report is from the Calgary Daily Herald - April 14, 1928:

Quote:
The lone goal of the rugged contest was scored by Frankie Boucher, centre player of the visitors. The scoring play was started by Ching Johnson, who carried as far as the blue line. He then passed over to Bill Cook on the right wing, the latter was forced behind the Maroons net and apparently out of danger, but he still managed to control possession of the puck. He quickly snapped a pass out in front. Four men, two Maroons and two Rangers, then struggled for the puck. A Ranger got it, but Benedict stopped the shot. As the puck bounded out in front again, Benedict fell. Boucher quickly snapped up the rubber and shot it over the prostrate goalie's body into the net.
And the report from game 5 from The Calgary Daily Herald - April 16, 1928:

Quote:
The Rangers finally got a break. Boucher broke from centre following a sustained Montreal attack. He slipped right through the local defense and then cleverly fooled Benedict for the first goal of the game...

The Rangers practically sewed up the series when Boucher broke away with only Munro to pass. He skidded past the lone defenseman and then went in to beat Bendict again. It put the Rangers two goals up with less than five minutes remaining.
The Maroons would manage to score a goal in the final minutes, leaving the score of game five as 2 to 1 for New York, with Boucher scoring both goals largely with individual efforts. In the final series overall, the Rangers scored five total goals, with Frank Boucher accounting for four of them, including all three game winners in three one-goal wins. In the playoffs overall, Boucher led all scorers with 7-3-10, with Bill Cook in second place at 2-3-5. I consider Frank Boucher's playoff performance in 1928 quite possibly the single greatest performance of all time by any player.

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05-01-2011, 02:44 PM
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A couple of bits on Boucher from later in his career:

Game reports from the 30's are disappointingly harder to come by than 20's reports, and most of those that are available are pay documents. But at any rate, here is a small snippet from the end of the 1932 finals, in which the Rangers were slaughtered by the Maple Leafs. From the Nashua Telegraph - April 11, 1932:

Quote:
The Toronto Maple Leafs, taken as a whole, the youngest team in the National Hockey League, are the new champions of the hockey world. They won the Stanley Cup, ancient emblem of the title in a way which left no doubt as to their championship ranking. This youthful team trounced the New York Rangers, a team of veterans, in three straight games with a scoring exhibition such as seldom has been seen in a world's championship series. The scores were 6-4, 6-2 and 6-4.

Most of the Rangers had helped win the cup in the 1928 playoffs but the defense contained three "first year" men in Major League hockey and it was here that they developed a weakness. Big Ching Johnson played a great game and Goalie John Roach shone in the final game Saturday night but they could not handle the job alone.

The Leads started the final game with a dazzling rush when Andy Blair scored two goals before the first period was half over and with 15 minutes of the final frame gone they led 5-1. Then the Rangers, with the veteran, Frank Boucher, in the van, staged a great comeback but it was too late. Boucher figured in every Ranger score, making three goals himself.
Boucher would end up leading the 1932 playoffs in scoring, a somewhat amazing feat considering the fact that the Leafs scored 18 goals in three games against the porous Rangers defense in the final. The last report is from shortly before the 1933 playoffs from the Vancouver Sun - March 24, 1933:

Quote:
Greatest?

Many glamorous athletic figures will step into the playoffs that lead to the league championship and the Stanley Cup finals when play starts Saturday night. But no finer record for efficiency and sportsmanlike play in these classics will be on view than that of Frank Boucher, playmaking centre-ice ace of the New York Rangers.

Picked this season as centre player for the mythical all-star team that is selected by vote of 32 hockey experts in the cities of the National League circuit, Boucher brings into the playoffs this season an amazing record of consistent play in these finals. One of the originals of the Rangers since that team entered competition in 1926-27 he has never missed a playoff since, and leads the great Cook-Boucher-Cook forward line into the playoff action for the seventh straight time. Boucher's own playoff record is remarkable.

The spectacular part of this record is the almost complete lack of penalties. Five straight playoff series, with all the strain that these entail, without a penalty at all, two penalties in another, testify to the value of this player, always on the ice, always available.
The specifics of the article are a little peculiar. For one thing, they get Boucher's scoring wrong for his best playoff season - leaving out his four goals in the finals in 1928. The business about not taking penalties also sounds rather queer to the modern ear, but the simple fact that neutral papers were writing articles in 1933 calling Boucher the greatest playoff performer of all time says a lot.

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