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In the grand scheme of things, trading Gretzky was a good thing

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09-29-2011, 02:42 PM
  #26
Canadiens1958
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Correct

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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
i think that probably has to do with how minor hockey and development programs in the US work.

for example, in the previous generation, we had a bunch of american centers who ranged from occasional all-star to superstar: modano, roenick, doug weight, janney, and farther back lafontaine, broten, and for a time jimmy carson.

the fact that since the modano/roenick generation our biggest american star center is kesler probably suggests more that either the most naturally gifted players are moved on D from an early age (makes sense because they would get more icetime) or that the national development program does a better job of developing dmen than forwards. i don't think it's as easy as to suggest that it was a failure of gretzky's legacy that the best US players haven't played center, or presumably chose not to play center and instead defense or some other position.
Exactly. US coaches from Novice onwards tend to play the best youngster on defense for the reasons you stated.

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09-29-2011, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Exactly. US coaches from Novice onwards tend to play the best youngster on defense for the reasons you stated.
right. the question is, is this because they are trying to produce the next bobby orr as you seem to be suggesting, or are these top young players (the johnsons, bogosian) moved to defense for the same reasons orr was-- that is, because defensemen get more ice time and thus can affect the game more?

i.e., is this orr's influence, or is it structural?

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09-29-2011, 03:46 PM
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Combination

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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
right. the question is, is this because they are trying to produce the next bobby orr as you seem to be suggesting, or are these top young players (the johnsons, bogosian) moved to defense for the same reasons orr was-- that is, because defensemen get more ice time and thus can affect the game more?

i.e., is this orr's influence, or is it structural?
Combination of the two factors. Not an either/or situation.

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09-29-2011, 04:03 PM
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C1958, that sounds reasonable and i could probably accept that. but can you say something, anything about the actual influence on american d-men that orr might have had?

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09-29-2011, 04:21 PM
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Initial Wave

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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
C1958, that sounds reasonable and i could probably accept that. but can you say something, anything about the actual influence on american d-men that orr might have had?
The initial wave of American defensemen tended to be at least solid skaters. Orr was an exceptional skater.

You did not have the Pierre Bouchard, Gilles Lupien, Andre Dupont types.

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09-29-2011, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
C1958, that sounds reasonable and i could probably accept that. but can you say something, anything about the actual influence on american d-men that orr might have had?
Not just American defenceman, Canadian as well and to a lesser extent the Finns, Swedes etc however it should be noted that "rushing defencemen" in Europe were playing contemporaneously to Orr's minor, junior & NHL 60's & 70's era. The game was all about lanes & angles over here, rare to see defencemen rush with the puck past center or jump into the offensive zone going deep without the puck like a 4th forward or "Rover". On the whole, defencemen were a lot more plodding, conservative, and size mattered plenty.

One guy who often gets over-looked as a rushing defenceman was Tim Horton early in his career, however, a broken leg (and really, really bad eyesight) inhibited his ability to get back into position if & when his dashes in deep went awry thereafter. Had he not been injured & like Al Arbour worn glasses while playing he could well have become a link between Shore, an early contemporary of Doug Harvey & on to Orr... Questionable as to whether or not Punch Imlach wouldve been able to live with it I suppose...

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09-29-2011, 06:33 PM
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Doug Harvey

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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Not just American defenceman, Canadian as well and to a lesser extent the Finns, Swedes etc however it should be noted that "rushing defencemen" in Europe were playing contemporaneously to Orr's minor, junior & NHL 60's & 70's era. The game was all about lanes & angles over here, rare to see defencemen rush with the puck past center or jump into the offensive zone going deep without the puck like a 4th forward or "Rover". On the whole, defencemen were a lot more plodding, conservative, and size mattered plenty.

One guy who often gets over-looked as a rushing defenceman was Tim Horton early in his career, however, a broken leg (and really, really bad eyesight) inhibited his ability to get back into position if & when his dashes in deep went awry thereafter. Had he not been injured & like Al Arbour worn glasses while playing he could well have become a link between Shore, an early contemporary of Doug Harvey & on to Orr... Questionable as to whether or not Punch Imlach wouldve been able to live with it I suppose...
Doug Harvey had a unique appreciation of angles,lanes, time and space, movement and the other key hockey skills. He was not the skater that Bobby Orr was.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkcH6jsqJE0

Tim Horton is an example of players who were held back a bit in Toronto. Similar claims were made about Bill Barilko and especially Jim Morrison. Horton had some latitude with King Clancy, Howie Meeker and Billy Reay but things changed under Imlach. Ironically when Horton was hurt rushing the puck in January 1956 it was during a very weak offensive season for him.

One other factor is worth noting. International hockey including the USA was played with the red line removed in many game situations. It was used as the demarcation for body checking - offensive team could not body check in the defensive zone until the fall of 1969. This impacted the angles and lanes plus it gave a false read on rushing dmen at times.

Getting back to Bobby Orr. One of his key contributions was redefining the traditional lanes and angles while stretching and adding new ones.

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