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Was Messier dirty just because he couldnt fight?

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Old
02-13-2006, 03:59 PM
  #26
EvilCorporateLawyer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O_Oglethorpe
Just a few years ago, I can remember watching Messier with the Rangers...somebody took a run at one of NY's skill guys, Messier dropped his gloves.

I remember thinking then that while Messier's skills were no longer the same, he still (at least on this occasion) brought that same intensity as I remembered him having with the Oil.

I'll take a guy that knows when it's time to drop em over a good fighter that brings nothing else to the table anyday.
IIRC, one of his prime fights was when Danyko ran Malhotra and Mess went over and beat the crap out of him.

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02-14-2006, 07:10 PM
  #27
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Yes, its true that it isn't fair that some players can play dirty and instead of being villified, their dirty play is known as a virtue. That's the way it is.

But we all have our favourite players and heroes and usually we base them on our visions of how the game should be played or the way a certain type of player plays and conducts himself.

I recognize that Gordie Howe and Mark Messier were two of the best players that ever played the game. I also recognize that Howe, Messier & others were able to be successful due to the extra room they created because of the way they played the game.

Would they have had the same success and numbers without the extra room on the ice? Maybe. They still would have been great players but maybe not to the extent that they were. Howe wasn't shadowed like Bobby Hull was. Howe was a viscious, no conscience, sneaky player that made opponents fear him. Hull was too nice in that respect (although Bryan Watson would disagree).

If I had to pick a favourite player between Howe and Hull, I take Hull for sure - because he played the game with more class. I like the tough players who stand up to aggression but also play the game within the rules.

I find it amusing when I hear people say how great Gordie Howe was and then they start talking about how Howe cut so and so for so many stitches or how he took some rookies teeth out on their first shift in the NHL.

Gordie Howe got away with so many infractions because he did the deeds from behind or with his stick or elbow. If a lesser player did those sneaky and cowardly infractions, he would be villified.

I guess Messier falls into the same category but not to the extent that Howe does.

No, my favourite players don't include the likes of Gordie Howe or Messier or other players who bent the rules by intimidating younger and smaller players.

Hull, Richard, Orr, Salming and other players had the courage to confront their opponents head on - Gordie Howe chose not to.



[QUOTE=Trottier]And yes, there was a double-standard for Howe and Messier. You know why? Because they could get away with it. No one wanted to mess (pardon the pun) with either one of them. They were intimidating. Yes, a double-standard indeed; wasn't the same for most mere mortals on the ice. Life is unfair, you know?

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02-16-2006, 02:26 PM
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClassicHockey
No, my favourite players don't include the likes of Gordie Howe or Messier or other players who bent the rules by intimidating younger and smaller players.
First game of the 1983 Finals, first period, Messier comes straight on with a cross check to the face of Tomas Jonsson as the NYI defender is passing the puck at mid-ice.

First and last whimper that was heard from Edmonton in that four-game sweep. I detested Messier's belligerence as an opponent for so many year. But, ultimately, I had to come to respect it.

Question: would you put my favorite player - Trottier - in that category of Howe and Messier, with regard to "bending the rules"? I'd be curious to know. Part of what attracted me to his game was that he was a relentless bodychecker who obviously played near the edge often. (Same with Scott Stevens.)

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02-16-2006, 11:57 PM
  #29
ClassicHockey
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I don't know if you can put anyone in the category of Gordie Howe when comparing superstars who bent the rules and got away with it. From what I saw, Trottier was mostly a punishing hitter from in front. That's not to say he didn't hit from behind or hit dirty sometimes because he did. But not to the extent of Howe or even Messier.
Fans like players watching playing on the edge but those players should be held accountable if they go over the edge consistently.

I can think of good players over the years who bent the rules consistently and were not always accountable - Ken Linseman for example. But Howe was on another level, someone who would cut up players for no apparent reason, other than they were rookies or they got in his way. I didn't see Howe act like a 'policeman' much considering his supposed superior fighting ability. I didn't see him challenging many heavyweights like John Ferguson. Orland Kurtenbach told me that he wanted to challenge Howe to a fight but Howe wouldn't drop his stick.

I have seen on a couple of occasions, players give the stick back to Howe after being cut by Howe and Howe didn't go back at them. Howe always waited until the right moment to get even and it could have been weeks down the road. Of course, Howe would get even using a stick or elbow from behind or when the player didn't see it coming. To me, that doesn't show a lot of courage on Howe's part.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier
Question: would you put my favorite player - Trottier - in that category of Howe and Messier, with regard to "bending the rules"? I'd be curious to know. Part of what attracted me to his game was that he was a relentless bodychecker who obviously played near the edge often. (Same with Scott Stevens.)

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Old
02-17-2006, 04:28 PM
  #30
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Messier was dirty because of some character flaw that didn't allow him to be touched by mere NHL players! God forbid you actually CHECKED the guy, you were going to get a stick in the teeth or a spear in the nuts.

He was a mean, intimidating player with no regard for other NHL players. While some may think this is a virtue, in reality it isn't. He was basically rewarded for breaking the rules (spearing, hacking, cross-checking, etc.) by the officials, who should have been calling "intent to injury" penalties on many of these plays. I respect Messier's longevity (even if I think he should have quit 3 years sooner), but not much else. He was a "fierce competitor" or a cheap bas**rd, depending on if he was on your team or not.

Trottier was NEVER a cheap-shot artist. He was tougher than a $2 steak, but hit people straight-up from the front, kept his stick down, and didn't use his elbows or shoulders (ala Scott Stevens) to hit in the face. He just flat-out out-worked you. THAT'S what makes a great player, and a 6 (or is it 7? as an assistant in Colorado) time Cup winner.

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02-18-2006, 03:10 PM
  #31
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I agree with you. Just because dirty players like Howe and Messier do cowardly and mean acts on the ice, it doesn't mean they should should be excused from criticism because they were great players - as if that gave them a license to hurt people illegally.

They were superstars, even heroes but they were badly flawed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jiggs 10
Messier was dirty because of some character flaw that didn't allow him to be touched by mere NHL players! God forbid you actually CHECKED the guy, you were going to get a stick in the teeth or a spear in the nuts.

He was a mean, intimidating player with no regard for other NHL players. While some may think this is a virtue, in reality it isn't. He was basically rewarded for breaking the rules (spearing, hacking, cross-checking, etc.) by the officials, who should have been calling "intent to injury" penalties on many of these plays. I respect Messier's longevity (even if I think he should have quit 3 years sooner), but not much else. He was a "fierce competitor" or a cheap bas**rd, depending on if he was on your team or not.

Trottier was NEVER a cheap-shot artist. He was tougher than a $2 steak, but hit people straight-up from the front, kept his stick down, and didn't use his elbows or shoulders (ala Scott Stevens) to hit in the face. He just flat-out out-worked you. THAT'S what makes a great player, and a 6 (or is it 7? as an assistant in Colorado) time Cup winner.

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02-18-2006, 04:01 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiggs 10
Trottier was NEVER a cheap-shot artist. He was tougher than a $2 steak, but hit people straight-up from the front, kept his stick down, and didn't use his elbows or shoulders (ala Scott Stevens) to hit in the face.
Bob Gainey would disagree. He threw a hell of a charging flying elbow while leaving his feet in the 1984 playoffs. Boarding, charging, leaving his feet and elbow all on the same play for Mr Clean.

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02-26-2006, 05:35 PM
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe
Bob Gainey would disagree. He threw a hell of a charging flying elbow while leaving his feet in the 1984 playoffs. Boarding, charging, leaving his feet and elbow all on the same play for Mr Clean.
Odd, I was one of the biggest Isles fans ever, and I watched all of their playoff games back in the day, and I don't recall ever even HEARING about a play like this, much less seeing it. But I guess you heard about it, so I'll have to take your word on it.

He would still be much less dirty than Messier, though. A play like that would be a Sunday morning-skate play for Moose!

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02-26-2006, 05:43 PM
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bring Back Bucky
Messier was dirty because he was genuinely mean on the ice, much like Howe if what I read about Gordie is true.
That is exatly the way I saw Mess he was a mean Dirty SOB out there and I mean both of those as compliments.

As far as the fights go I dont remember him fighting a lot, but I would bet Dollars to doughnuts he could fight as well as a Tkachuk who isnt a good fighter at all despite being a Power Forward Or Jerome Iginla who will fight and is OK at it but who I feel is very overrated as a fighter.

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02-26-2006, 06:28 PM
  #35
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There have been many greats who were nasty cheapshot artists, including a sainted Bruin D man.Ray Bourque loved to swing his stick,though in fairness, he never came across as a mean SOB, like that other HHOF legend, Denis Potvin.Denis,while admittedly strong and rugged, was a dirty player, and the slash was his signature move, even more feared than his wrist shot.It's a wonder he didn't get his clock cleaned.

I had the pleasure of watching Salming up close, and folks would be suprised at how skilled he was with his carving technique.I put it down to justifiable self preservation,but he was a master at the sly spear to the back of the calves, and when pushed, he'd wave his Koho is someone's face.Gosh, and did he ever learn the most useful english words known to hockey players....

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02-28-2006, 07:17 PM
  #36
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Same thing I posted about Stevens applies to Messier, and Howe to an extent (this coming from a Detroit fan....I dont respect guys that resort to head hunting or dirty play to intimidate guys, because if you're intimidated by garbage like that you're soft as cake anyway. I've seen many a kid lay a strong, legal check on Messier only to receive a slash, cross-check or get his face cut up because Messier took offense. Similar to stories I hear about Howe in his day. I'm all for squaring off man to man and throwing the hands if theres a problem, but the cheap %&*@ that Messier and Co. were infamous for is *****(cat).

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02-28-2006, 10:58 PM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V-2 Schneider
There have been many greats who were nasty cheapshot artists, including a sainted Bruin D man.Ray Bourque loved to swing his stick,though in fairness, he never came across as a mean SOB, like that other HHOF legend, Denis Potvin.Denis,while admittedly strong and rugged, was a dirty player, and the slash was his signature move, even more feared than his wrist shot. It's a wonder he didn't get his clock cleaned.

I had the pleasure of watching Salming up close, and folks would be suprised at how skilled he was with his carving technique.I put it down to justifiable self preservation,but he was a master at the sly spear to the back of the calves, and when pushed, he'd wave his Koho is someone's face. Gosh, and did he ever learn the most useful english words known to hockey players....
Amen, a hockey fan near and dear to my own heart.

No goon lover here. But the cheapshot lament is pitiful. This is not supposed to be an easy game to play. This fan admires the greats who performed without overt aggression (e.g., Mike Bossy), as well as those who were chippy as anything (Messier), and the silent assassins (Potvin). These guys played that way...because they could! Eat or be eaten. End of story.

Regarding Potvin: check out the Canada Cup '76 DVD. Through the first two games, he's circling like a shark around center ice looking to submarine any opposing player daring to receive a neutral zone pass between him and Robert Orr. Great stuff.

As for his never getting his clock cleaned. One of my favorite stories is when he took out the Cap's Bengt Gustafsson with a blueline hip check that unfortunately wrecked BG's knee. This being an era when hockey players stood up for one another (circa 1985), Washington's resident goon, Lou Franceschetti jumped Potvin later in the game. Afterwards, in the lockeroom, a single Cap came to Potvin's defense, calling the hit "clean".

That player?

Scott Stevens.


Last edited by Trottier: 02-28-2006 at 11:33 PM.
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Old
02-28-2006, 11:01 PM
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiggs 10
Odd, I was one of the biggest Isles fans ever, and I watched all of their playoff games back in the day, and I don't recall ever even HEARING about a play like this, much less seeing it. But I guess you heard about it, so I'll have to take your word on it.
It happened. Gainey played the remainder of the series with two separated shoulders.

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02-28-2006, 11:14 PM
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiggs 10
Odd, I was one of the biggest Isles fans ever, and I watched all of their playoff games back in the day, and I don't recall ever even HEARING about a play like this, much less seeing it. But I guess you heard about it, so I'll have to take your word on it.

He would still be much less dirty than Messier, though. A play like that would be a Sunday morning-skate play for Moose!
Did'nt hear about it? It was a five minute major and Gainey was still unconscious when the feed came back after commercials. That was the other shoulder separated.

It was a vicious series like all of them in the east. The Isles took out Chelios and then someone took out Potvins knee and he was gone for a bit.

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02-28-2006, 11:26 PM
  #40
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Maybe I'm just too much of a hothead, but there is no way in hell Potvin or Messier or whoever could cut my face up or break my hand without there being a serious problem. To me, stuff that Howe, Stevens and Co. did goes beyond the game and in to life and death type stuff. Maybe some of the diehards like to fondly recall these incidents as "part of the game", but I would treat a player who purposely cut me with a stick or head hunted me the same way I would a complete stranger who cheap shot me without provocation. There were and still are tough guys in the league that are totally honest players. I respect those men.

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03-03-2006, 02:53 AM
  #41
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i think a lot of the replies here are being exagerrated.

weren't mess and mcsorely teammates and close friends in 1989? i do remember years later mcsorely handing mess a beating when marty played for boston (with adam graves desperately trying to get in as a 3rd man and not be called for it again)


what playoff series was that against the devils that mess fought in his 2nd stint. the rangers didn't make the playoffs in his 2nd stint?

mess did not fight daneyko. it was daneyko who hit mess and malholtra jumped in to fight daneyko. he got a good punch off and knocked down daneyko.


with the rangers mess fought 4-5 times a year?? maybe 4-5 times total as a new york ranger.


i do remember after a particualr play where tocchet (as a penguin and with a broken jaw) took exception to one of mess' normal chippiness only to back down and let graves or king or dummy fight his battles.
isn't tocchet a scorer who is tough? surely someone in mess' league.
why back down if he was so tough. neely (a 50 goal scorer) and tocchet had fought a few times.

he may have well been that type of player with the oilers, but with the rangers , he didn't play no where near as tough as he was made out to be

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03-03-2006, 12:20 PM
  #42
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Hockey is a game best played with an edge. That has been true for as long as the game has existed. And the game's best players ALL had to learn to deal with the rougher elements of the sport. Players like Mess, Howe, Neely, Rocket all used intimidation. Guys like Gretzky, Lafleur, Francis and Lemieux all learned ways to avoid taking those big hits and to be fair probably got some measure of protection from officials or teammates as well.

There are some players however fall in between. Jean Beliveau is generally regarded as one of the classiest players to ever play the game. His first two years with th Habs he struggled with the physicality of the NHL. He was a clean player who never retaliated and got pushed around depite being 6'3 and 200 lbs. (A huge man in those days) As the story goes, at the beginning of the 55-56 season Rocket and Harvey told Beliveau how to take care of himself, and that if ever it got out of hand they would help him out. The result? 143 penalty minutes. A Habs record that stood until John Ferguson came to town. The following year 105, then 93. By then everyone got the message and backed off of him.

Players like Mess and Howe and Orr all had a number of fights early in their careers. Howe and Messier used their reputations to continue to intimidate their foes. Players like Beliveau and Orr used theirs to get a little extra room on the ice.

Does that make them dirty? I don't think so. As opposed to specialist players who do one or two things well, but are deficient in other areas; I think it makes them complete hockey players who can all shoot, hit, pass, fight and skate with great effectiveness. About the only thing they didn't do was stop the puck.

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03-03-2006, 12:44 PM
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chooch
Did'nt hear about it? It was a five minute major and Gainey was still unconscious when the feed came back after commercials. That was the other shoulder separated.

It was a vicious series like all of them in the east. The Isles took out Chelios and then someone took out Potvins knee and he was gone for a bit.
Yes, I remember the Trottier hit on Gainey. It was a bigtime charge. Gainey came from one side of the net and Trottier used the net to shield himself and flew in from the other side, jumped up and elbowed Bo. Serious cheapo hit. The Islanders were a cheap team though. Bunch of hacks. But, hey, they chopped and slashed their way to four cups. You do what you gotta do.

Maurice Richard and Doug Harvey were very dirty players also. The Rocket used his stick a lot, clubbing people over the head (and refs too). Of course, he faced a lot of racism and the refs never gave him a break. He had to take matters into his own hands and was a good fighter too. He and Howe had a couple good tilts, but Howe was considered the better fighter.

Harvey was a master swordsman. He could carve anyone to pieces. He loved to spear guys. My grandfather used to hang out and drink with him and he told him his old war stories. He took pride in it. Guys would NOT go into the corners with him. Watch any old tape of him and you'll see it's true too. I slo-moed a tape on him once and he was whacking guys in the leg, canopeners, everything.

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