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What to make of Ken Linseman

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04-14-2012, 12:54 PM
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TheMoreYouKnow
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What to make of Ken Linseman

The man is somewhat of a mystery to me. For one, he's not really very much talked about when it comes to players from that era.

But when he came up into the big league, he was considered a great talent, an offensive weapon who played with an edge. He had speed and the skill to do some damage, a shifty playmaker type.

He was also disliked as a pest and was a bit of a dirty player who spent a lot of time in the box. But then also had a really good playoff record with all the teams he played. 120 points in 113 games is really quite good and it's not like he got all of those on the Oilers juggernaut, in fact his Oilers playoffs weren't even his best.

Would he be the most skilled pest ever? Doesn't his playoff record show that maybe if he had laid off the whole dirty stuff a bit his numbers could have been much better? Did he have HoF talent? It's often said his overall effectiveness was greater than the numbers indicate, so maybe he was actually a more valuable players than say a Turgeon type player?

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04-14-2012, 01:08 PM
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Johnny Engine
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The most skilled pest ever was Bobby Clarke. If you say "no, I meant role players," you get into a situation where it's impossible to draw the line.

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04-14-2012, 02:47 PM
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Killion
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I actually liked this guy. He started out as an underage in the WHA with Birmingham (Baby Bull's as they were affectionately called) after some legal wrangling. When he landed in Philly in 78-79 he spent a half a year in Maine, and after awhile was tagged heir apparent to Bobby Clarke for obvious reasons, who also nicknamed him "The Rat". Not because he was dirty per se', but because of his skating style. Quiet upper body, head tilted up & back, butt extended, wee tiny legs flailing away at warp speed.

He had skill, serious guttersnipe with the mouth, stick, elbows, great at starting problems but never finished them and as such wore out his welcome, a liability forever traipsing off to the box, his actions resulting often times in his team mates taking a beating for what he'd done or said. Edmonton on a line with Messier, a Cup, taking down the Isles; followed by Boston where he was an extremely valuable part of that club for 5 seasons. Return to Philly, then Toronto for like 2-3 games. Interesting player. Maybe a good comparison cross would be a little bit of Derek Sanderson, a lot of Bobby Clarke, a dash of Dave Keon....

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04-14-2012, 06:28 PM
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mbhhofr
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Ken Linseman, known for, "Let's you and him fight."


Last edited by mbhhofr: 04-14-2012 at 06:48 PM.
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04-14-2012, 08:21 PM
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Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhhofr View Post
Ken Linseman, known for, "Let's you and him fight."
yepp, that'd be correct.

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04-15-2012, 11:40 AM
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Dennis Bonvie
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I don't think Linseman is getting enough credit here.

He had outstanding speed and was a very good playmaker. But he was also a clutch goal scorer who was better in the playoffs than the regular season.

He was also one of the dirtiest players of the modern era with a personality to match. From what I've heard he hasn't mellowed any in retirement either.

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04-15-2012, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
I don't think Linseman is getting enough credit here.

He had outstanding speed and was a very good playmaker. But he was also a clutch goal scorer who was better in the playoffs than the regular season.

He was also one of the dirtiest players of the modern era with a personality to match. From what I've heard he hasn't mellowed any in retirement either.
I think that's what I found so interesting, he seems to be a much better talent than generally acknowledged. When you hear about Linseman, you usually just hear about him being a yapper, a s***-stirrer and all that. Looking at his playoff record though he seemed to be a really nifty player though.

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04-15-2012, 04:12 PM
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Killion
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Originally Posted by TheMoreYouKnow View Post
...he seemed to be a really nifty player though.
... he was actually, "nifty" & "shifty". Heck of a skater, deke'r, Pinball Wizard. I think "crafty" best describes his pure hockey abilities & smarts. I mentioned Keon earlier, Henri Richard would be another comparison however in Linesmans case nowhere near being the Gentleman those guys were, none of the class or leadership, but sorta/kinda similar in-game... imagine John McEnroe on skates. In both cases, genuinely upset & disturbed, at the refs', hos Coach, opponents, team mates, the waitress he ordered a tuna salad sandwich from earlier in the day who forgot to hold the lettuce & mayo. Permanent scowl & sneer plastered on the face. You could see he was a terrific player, however, he'd just do stuff, pull crap, yack. His tongue tripping his feet. Cant do much when your sitting in the Penalty Box yourself and or caused a team mate to take a penalty because of your big mouth or irresponsible actions....


Last edited by Killion: 04-15-2012 at 05:27 PM. Reason: Typos...
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04-15-2012, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
I don't think Linseman is getting enough credit here.

He had outstanding speed and was a very good playmaker. But he was also a clutch goal scorer who was better in the playoffs than the regular season.

He was also one of the dirtiest players of the modern era with a personality to match. From what I've heard he hasn't mellowed any in retirement either.
I do know he lived in the Boston area for quite some time, (don't know if he still does), and was a pal of a local rocker who liked surfing, Ralph Fatello. Fatello gave him guitar lessons and I know they used to go surfing around New England, (usually with Fatello's brother) and take trips to the west coast/pacific on occasion to take on bigger waves.


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04-16-2012, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BubbaBoot View Post
I do know he lived in the Boston area for quite some time, (don't know if he still does), and was a pal of a local rocker who liked surfing, Ralph Fatello. Fatello gave him guitar lessons and I know they used to go surfing around New England, (usually with Fatello's brother) and take trips to the west coast/pacific on occasion to take on bigger waves.
I've heard about that. Fatello's raised a lot of money for charity, surfing 365 days a year through the worst weather the NE can deliver... Linesman not exactly endearing himself to many in the surfing crowd apparently. Seems he just cant keep his yap shut with trash talk, even in the laid back hurachi wearing world of rip curls & Dick Dale. 54 going on 17. Boston Townies "apreeseeate it" if he'd just move on back up to Canada; rumored that local boy & Bruins fan Denis Learys' amusing video "Im an A**Hole" was inspired by #13's behaviour on & off the ice... Yepp. And not to be forgotten, Young Kenny kicked another player in the head with his skate in Junior while playing for the Kingston Canadians, wound up getting himself charged for his loss of sanity by the local constabulary...

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04-16-2012, 07:36 AM
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LInseman was truly a guy that you hated if he was on another team and loved if he was on yours. At least from a fans perspective. (Not so sure the players he played with felt the same way. ).

I got a good chance to see a lot of Linseman when he played for the Oilers. He fit in quite well with his speed and his brash attitude, though his role on the Oilers was more of a secondary player than it had been for the Flyers.

No question he was skilled but to be honest I don't think he was that much better than a guy like Tikkanen at his peak. And by this I think most people under estimate how good a hockey player Tikk was rather than over estimate Linseman.

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06-13-2013, 03:44 AM
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Permanent scowl & sneer plastered on the face.

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06-13-2013, 04:46 AM
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Kyle McMahon
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Never saw Linseman, but many compare him to Brad Marchand. Comparison seems appropriate given both have the reputation of being a real nuisance to play against, but aren't necessarily regarded as outright dirty players. Both put up some good offensive numbers, especially in the playoffs.

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06-13-2013, 06:52 AM
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BobbyAwe
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Terrific player. Basically a point a game over his career and although he played during a very high scoring decade that's still damn good. Yes, he was dirty and had the rap of taking bad penalties but there's no stats on how many penalties he drew by infuriating the opposition. Also he was smaller even than his listed 5'11 - 175. More like 5'9 - 165. (Not that that means anything but...)

Comparison to Marchand? Attitude-wise they're a lot alike. Ability-wise they're both fast, although Marchand is more of a scorer and Linseman more of an assist guy. Also Marchand's bulkier/stronger.

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06-13-2013, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
Never saw Linseman, but many compare him to Brad Marchand. Comparison seems appropriate given both have the reputation of being a real nuisance to play against, but aren't necessarily regarded as outright dirty players. Both put up some good offensive numbers, especially in the playoffs.
I would have to disagree...Linseman WAS regarded as an outright dirty player.

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06-13-2013, 07:05 AM
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Canadiens1958
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Linseman / Marchand

Linseman tended towards dirty while Marchand tends towards reckless.

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06-13-2013, 09:24 AM
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One of the more pesky centres of all-time, such a good pest.

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06-13-2013, 09:38 AM
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MiamiScreamingEagles
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He was part of the "Baby Bulls" legacy of the WHA's Birmingham Bulls, a team owned by John Bassett. Came to the NHL with much hype and it manifested through his early career with undisciplined play at times. He was part of the aptly named "Rat Patrol" with Brian Propp and Paul Holmgren which was an energetic and a terrific line. He had the reputation for being distant off the ice in his early years and he later stated that his maturation came after he settled down. After Bob McCammon became head coach very late in the 1981-82 season, there was a need to improve the defense. That summer, Linseman was rumored to be part of packages so that the Flyers, injury-riddled on the blue line around this time, could move up in the draft (they had the #4 pick) with the hope to select either Gary Nylund or Gord Kluzak. When negotiations, especially with Toronto and Minnesota failed, the team went elsewhere that summer and made separate trades for Brad McCrimmon and Mark Howe (the latter in a package to Hartford involving Linseman who was then immediately sent to Edmonton) who turned into arguably the two best defensemen in franchise history. All that said, he had a good NHL career and his role to antagonize was a highlight but he could play both offense and defense. He returned for the Alumni Classic outdoor game and I think he lives in New Hampshire.

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06-13-2013, 10:32 AM
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The most skilled pest ever was Bobby Clarke.
Without a doubt.

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06-13-2013, 02:45 PM
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When people think of a "pest" in the NHL today for whatever reason Sean Avery comes up in recent years. To me, the word "pest" is a lot like the word "power forward". It can get overused and the original intention of that word describes a guy like Linseman. In other words, Sean Avery was known for his mouth, saying "sloppy seconds" and waving his arms like an idiot in front of Martin Brodeur. He once had 18 goals in a season. That's it. He wasn't very good in the postseason. That's what people think a pest is today. Incorrect. You want to be a pest, you have to be able to play the game well. Linseman could play the game well. The Brad Marchand comparison is a good one. Very disruptive on the ice but they can beat you just as well with their stick. Avery just had a big mouth................period.

Linseman also started that classic bench clearing brawl in 1986 between the Habs and Bruins. Remember, Chris Nilan was skating off the ice to the dressing room and who spears him on the way to the dressing room? Linseman. Yeah he was a pest, but like Tikkanen, he had the talent to beat you both ways. If you want to be called a "pest" in my books, you'd better be able to play the game, most notably in the postseason.

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06-13-2013, 04:43 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyAwe View Post
I would have to disagree...Linseman WAS regarded as an outright dirty player.
OK, I mostly hear him called a "pest or "agitator", and I don't usually equate those terms with dirty. I see above that he started a bench clearing brawl by spearing somebody, so there we have it.

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06-13-2013, 04:57 PM
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Killion
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Yeah he was a pest, but like Tikkanen, he had the talent to beat you both ways.
Ya true enough Phil, but Linesman, total dirtbag of a fighter. In Junior he got himself Charged with Assault for literally kicking a guy in the head with his skate while he was down, being held down actually by real a Linesman, like the official, Zebra striped type. That was after he'd had a fight with him and bit his chin... thats right, Linesman was a Biter. Got close enough, have a snack, take a piece outta ya. In 84 while with Boston he gets into a fight with former team mate Lee Fogolin of Edmonton. Takes a bite out of Fogolin's left cheek, poor Bastid requiring a tetanus shot, antibiotics, face all swelled up like an over-ripe steak tomato.

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06-13-2013, 06:13 PM
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Takes a bite out of Fogolin's left cheek, poor Bastid requiring a tetanus shot, antibiotics, face all swelled up like an over-ripe steak tomato.
I'd get a tetanus shot too after being bitten by a "rat". Too bad he didn't play his way in the 81 CC. From what I remember he was well behaved and generally ineffective. However, he did not get a lot of ice time.

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06-13-2013, 07:10 PM
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When people think of a "pest" in the NHL today for whatever reason Sean Avery comes up in recent years. To me, the word "pest" is a lot like the word "power forward". It can get overused and the original intention of that word describes a guy like Linseman. In other words, Sean Avery was known for his mouth, saying "sloppy seconds" and waving his arms like an idiot in front of Martin Brodeur. He once had 18 goals in a season. That's it. He wasn't very good in the postseason. That's what people think a pest is today. Incorrect. You want to be a pest, you have to be able to play the game well. Linseman could play the game well. The Brad Marchand comparison is a good one. Very disruptive on the ice but they can beat you just as well with their stick. Avery just had a big mouth................period.

Linseman also started that classic bench clearing brawl in 1986 between the Habs and Bruins. Remember, Chris Nilan was skating off the ice to the dressing room and who spears him on the way to the dressing room? Linseman. Yeah he was a pest, but like Tikkanen, he had the talent to beat you both ways. If you want to be called a "pest" in my books, you'd better be able to play the game, most notably in the postseason.
Oh, I totally agree with this.

If an opponent can just keep his cool and ignore him, Avery is rendered ineffective. You ignore Brad Marchand's antics, and he'll still go and score the winning goal on you. And after that, its just a little bit harder to ignore his yapping.

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06-14-2013, 09:47 AM
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Linseman was a very good little player. At times good enough to elevate his game to the level of being an 'impact' player. Actually, if you consider his 'pest' persona, he probably had a direct impact on a lot of games when he was in his prime.

In my opinion, he's the most effective 'pest' of the last 20-30 years (I don't include Bobby Clarke, although I probably should...Clarke was a superstar, and to refer to him as a pest sort of undermines what he accomplished in my eyes)...

Linseman had a great set of wheels, a good head for the game and vision, and if I recall correctly, I think he had a pretty decent wrist shot as well. I wonder if he had cut out some of his antics and concentrated more on just playing the game, if he could have had a HoF caliber career???

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