Gordie Howe was top-5 in NHL scoring for 20 consecutive seasons and was heralded as the strongest physically, not to mention his defensive abilities, discipline and dominance whenever on the ice in all game situations, including significant penalty kill time. Throughout his career he was the fiercest on the ice but the most gentlemanly off the ice. He was the model of a hockey god.
Originally Posted by Scotty Bowman
I pick Gordie as my #1 all-time player. He played the longest. He was the toughest player of his era. He was the best offensive player and defensively he was used in all situations. He could play center, right wing, and defense. He could shoot right and he could shoot left. If you could make a mold for a hockey player it would be him. I never thought there was another player close to him."
“When I think about players, I consider three ingredients: the head, heart and the feet,” Bowman said. “Some players don’t have any of those, and some players have one or two. But Gordie had all three in high dimensions.”
Originally Posted by Mark Kram, Sports Illustrated, 1967
Despite an even temperament and a real distaste for combat, there is a part of Howe that is calculatingly and primitively savage. He is a punishing artist with a hockey stick, slashing, spearing, tripping and high-sticking his way to a comparative degree of solitude on the ice."
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
In 1957, XXXX knocked Howe down with vicious intent. Howe had to be helped to the bench. 10 seasons later in 1967, XXXX(the same player) was playing for Oakland and was defending Howe on a one-on-one rush. Howe took a shot and the follow through of the stick caught XXXX in the throat. XXXX was down on the ice bleeding. Howe mercilessly stood over him and said "Now we're even."
Originally Posted by Gary Ronberg, Sports Illustrated, 1968
The aura of health is obvious even to those in the stands, but what they go to see is Howe the goal scorer, flicking his huge wrists with a silken strength, a mongoose quickness. Chicago's XXXXX is famous for a slap shot that has been timed at 118.3 mph. Howe's wrist shot—he doesn't waste time winding up—sizzles in at 114.2 mph. It is the game's most accurate shot, and Howe, the only truly ambidextrous NHL player, can score with equal facility from either side of his body. He uses a 21-ounce stick of Canadian ash with only a slight bend in the blade and an extremely stiff handle. "Give Gordie a stick with an ordinary handle," says Trainer Lefty Wilson, "and he'll break it like a toothpick. He is so strong that when he shoots, that handle bends like a banana."
"Nobody could take better care of himself than Gordie does," says Oakland's XXXXXXX, once a Red Wing roommate of Howe's. "He doesn't smoke, and he won't drink anything stronger than beer. He knows exactly what his body needs and he makes sure it gets it. For Gordie it's always the same: go to bed, get up for the team meeting at noon, eat at 2 o'clock, take a walk, then back to bed until time for the bus to the game."
Originally Posted by Ted Lindsay
There are many good players in this league, some truly great ones. In thirteen years, I’ve managed to play against all of them at one time or another. Why then do I pick Gordie as the top?
Well, let me put it this way. In my opinion, Gordie Howe just does things so much better than any other player. On offense, there are few who can come close to him, let alone surpass him. That big guy can do more things with a stick and puck than any man I’ve ever seen. And that shot of his! I’ll tell you, he gets that thing away faster than most people can blink their eyes.
He’s as great a playmaker as he is a scorer, and he’s the second highest scorer in hockey history. Defensively, he’s top too. With that long skating stride of his and his long reach, Gord’s a pretty hard man to get around. He can check with the best of them and his covers don’t score many goals, when he’s on the ice.
Just name me one other team which, like the Red Wings, uses its number one star to kill penalties. Our coach, Jimmy Skinner, often uses Gord in this role, because of his great defensive ability.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Howe didn't just survive, he was dominant - on the scoring lists, in battles in the corners, on game-winning goals and when the year-end awards were handed out. He was a big man, though by modern standards no behemoth, but what set him apart was his incredible strength.
Though other superstars could be deemed somewhat better scorers, tougher fighters or faster skaters, no player has approached Gordie Howe's sustained level of excellence. Incredibly, Gordie finished in the top 5 in NHL scoring for 20 straight seasons. To endure and excel, Howe needed a unique set of qualities, both physical and mental, and the foundations for his astonishing career were laid in him from an early age.
Here he is as a Bantam 14-year-old player:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
In his prime in the 1950s and 1960s he was routinely described by coaches as the smartest player, the finest passer, the best playmaker and the most unstoppable puck carrier in the game. XXXXX, an opponent of Howe back in the early days, understatedly remarked "Gordie plays a funny kind of game; he doesn't let anyone else touch the puck!"
Originally Posted by Jimmy Skinner
“Y’know,” said Jimmy, “I can use the big guy anywhere. At center, on either wing or even on defense if need be. In fact, I believe that if I had to use him on defense, he’d be as good as any defenseman in time. But I’ll tell you the most remarkable thing of all about Gordie. Do you know that, as great and all as he is, Howe will come into the dressing room after he’s had a poor game, which isn’t often, and ask me what he was doing wrong out there. Imagine! Me trying to tell a player of Howe’s unquestioned ability what he’s doing wrong.”
Originally Posted by Kevin Allen
Gordie Howe has to be the greatest Detroit Red Wings player of all-time because he is the greatest NHL player of all-time.
There is ample testimony and evidence to support that verdict, starting with the fact that his nickname is Mr. Hockey. Going back to the 1940s, Howe’s name was synonymous with the Red Wings and the game of hockey. Undoubtedly many people in America in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s didn’t know pucks from polka dots, but they could have told you that Gordie Howe was the league’s best player.
Supporting evidence for how remarkable Howe was during his career:
- Won six Hart trophies and six Art Ross trophies.
- Suffered a fractured skull and brain swelling during the 1950-51 playoffs, and then won the NHL scoring championship in 1951-52.
- Registered 103 points in the season when he turned 40 years old.
- Played in 29 All-Star games in 32 seasons of professional hockey.
- Scored his last NHL goal at age 52, now an age when you can have an AARP membership.
- In 1959, Howe fought and defeated New York Rangers forward Lou Fontinato, who was considered the NHL’s top fighter. Howe won the Hart Trophy that season.
- In the 1960s, it was estimated that Howe’s wrist shot was well over 100 mph.
- In 26 NHL seasons, he played almost 97% of his games during his career. From 1961 to 1970, he missed only two games, even though he played a ruthlessly rough style of play.
Howe had special tricks and he used them all. He could shoot with either hand, and he would often switch just to confuse the goalie. He could bank pucks off Olympia Stadium boards and read the caroms like an expert pool player. Hall of Fame goalie Glenn Hall recalls that Howe would drive the net with his knee out to beat the defenseman, “and he could shoot with one hand if he needed to.”
He was always faster than he looked. “I watched a lot of good skaters try to catch him from behind and never do it,” Hall of Fame defenseman Bill Gadsby said.
Originally Posted by Al Arbour
“It is like a great golfer,” Arbour said. “They swing so nice and easy and they make it seem so simple. You try to duplicate that swing and it’s impossible. No one could do it like Mr. Hockey. No matter what it was, he could do it well, whether it was penalty killing, power play or making passes.”
HT/WT: 6'0", 185 lbs
Nickname(s): "The Great One"
Born: January 26, 1961 in Brantford, ON
- All-time NHL scoring leader, undisputedly best offensive player of all time.
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999.
- 4-time Stanley Cup Champion - (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988)
- 16-time top-10 in All-Star C Voting (1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3)
- 10-time Art Ross Trophy recipient - (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1994)
- 9-time Hart Memorial Trophy recipient - (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989)
- 2-time Conne Smythe Trophy recipient - (1985, 1988)
- 5-time Lady Byng Trophy recipient - (1980, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1999)
- 5-time Lester B. Pearson Trophy recipient - (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987)
- 8 acknowledgements for the First NHL All-Star Team - (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1991)
- 7 acknowledgements for the Second NHL All-Star Team - (1980, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1997, 1998)
- Holds 40 regular season NHL records and 15 playoff records
- ranked number 1 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players
- scored 894 goals and 1963 assists for 2857 points in 1487 games, adding 577 penalty minutes.
- scored 122 goals and 260 assists for 382 points in 208 playoff games, adding 66 penalty minutes.
Coaching Survey conducted from the early 70's to mid 80's:
Best hockey sense
Best penalty killer
First player to build team around
First player to build team around
Most dangerous near goal
Most natural ability
Most natural talent
Originally Posted by Gordie Howe
"A lot of people ask me about him, and of course I tell them he would be a star in any era."
Originally Posted by Mark Messier
"What amazes me most is that he never stops amazing me, he'll do some totally incredible thing and you think, 'O.K., that's it; I'll never see the likes of that again.' Then, damn, he does something even more incredible."
Originally Posted by Bill Torrey
"Everything that happens when he's on the ice revolves around him.Either he's got the puck or the other team does."
Originally Posted by Denis Potvin
"Hitting Wayne [Gretzky] was like wrapping your arms around fog. You saw him but when you reached out to grab him your hands felt nothing, maybe just a chill."
Originally Posted by Lou Nanne
"Gretzky has to see the game five times slower than the average guy."
Originally Posted by Red Berenson
"If Gretzky plays 40 minutes, and I play my best defensive player 40 minutes, sooner or later Gretzky's going to score because he's better at his game than my guy is at his. Furthermore, Edmonton's going to win because when Gretzky's out there, he always has a chance to score, and my defensive line has very little chance of doing so. You have to stick with what you do best."
Originally Posted by Cliff Fletcher, on Gretzky's behind the net play
"It's like having an extra player out there, particularly on the power play, he uses the net like a pick"
Who's Who in Hockey
His quick thinking, lightning quick passes and uncanny ability to zero in on a target would raise the performance bar for all future players and alter the sport forever.
In his prime, he was the most consistent threat and impenetrable force ever seen in the NHL.
Legends of Hockey
Of course, as soon as he retired he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and in century-end polls he was consistently ranked the greatest hockey player of all time.
His style was unique and almost impenetrable. The area behind the opposition goal was dubbed "Gretzky's office" because it was from there that he made so many perfect passes for goals. He was equally known for using the trailing man on rushes rather than a man skating ahead of him. Gretzky would come in over the blue line and then curl, waiting for a defenseman, often XXXXXX, to join the rush and create a great scoring chance. When on the ice to kill penalties, Gretzky wasn't looking to ice the puck in a defensive role; he was looking to take the other team by surprise, to take advantage of their defenselessness to score shorthanded. The result was goals and more goals - the Oilers scoring 400 a season as a matter of routine - and Gretzky won the scoring race virtually every year in the 1980s.
Originally Posted by 'Great' and 'Gretzky' belong together
Known primarily for his playmaking, Gretzky has scored a record 894 goals in his 20 NHL seasons.
The captain of the Oilers had physical abilities that surpass widely the common average. Skilful with the stick, he was able to maneuver easily with the puck. Fast and agile on his skates, he was able to create space for himself in order to see the game better. It is exactly with these abilities that he had a step ahead of the other guys. Gretzky had a lithe build with a matchless will. He did not have the physiognomy of the typical hockey player, which is centered on physical power. Therefore, he had to use his unique qualities in order to be at the top on the ice rink.
Like the matador who deceives the ferocious bull by a precise movement of the red cape, Gretzky got around the opponents either by a skilful gesture or by an accurate pass to a teammate. His movements transcended ease. He succeeded to be the best player on ice because of his talent, but also with his intelligence and his unequalled comprehension of the game.
Indeed, Gretzky understood the fundamental essence of the game. With his technical qualities of hockey and his comprehension almost supernatural, he always knew what to do.Even under the toughest opponent's pressure, he was calm. Whatever the situation, he knew if he should pass, shoot or keep the puck a little bit longer. One thing is sure, he was a split second ahead of every other player.
With his unequalled comprehension of the game, a proven handling of the stick and exceptional peripheral vision, Gretzky was an outstanding passer who could easily find an open man. His 1,962 passes during the regular season prove without a doubt his passing abilities. In a situation of two against one, 99 was pitiless. His passes floated just above the stick of defensemen and finished their way onto the stick of one of his teammates. Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson and of course Bernie Nicholls have surely thanked many times the Almighty for the arrival of Gretzky to their team.
The Gretzky frenzy reached a culminating point when the media assigned to him as his office the back of the opponent's net! Gretzky has stated clearly that it is advantageous to create plays from the zone at the back of the net. "You've got the whole play in front of you and with the defensemen's and goalie's backs to you". Indeed, he fed with profusion his teammates from that point. The opposing players were all confused between the fact that they had to keep an eye on their player and that Gretzky was enjoying himself behind the net. The Gretzky passes were so precise that his teammates had only to push the puck into the goal. When he was behind the opponent's net with the puck, the palpitations of the fans increased, because everybody knew that a spectacular play was imminent.
The marvelous 99 was not only a great passer, he was an awesome goalscorer. He touched the bottom of the net so often that it would take at least five hours to view all of his goals. During twelve seasons, he managed to score more than forty goals. Gretzky excelled at this level, because he was fast, was a good stick handler, had an extraordinary sense of anticipation and an accurate slap shot. How many times has he entered into the opponent's zone at full speed and made a well aimed shot? Mike Liut, Patrick Roy, Billy Smith and many other goalkeepers remember it surely. For that matter, the result is terrifying: 894 goals during the regular season.
Last edited by Velociraptor: 03-10-2013 at 09:58 PM.
Originally Posted by Those Were the Days – The Stratford Streak
Long before Rocket Richard took his first strides toward superstardom with the Montreal Canadiens Howie Morenz was taking his giant steps to greatness. It is possible that he was the greatest goal-scorer major league hockey has known. Or, the most exciting skater in NHL history. Or, the fastest man to lace on a pair of skates. Perhaps he was all of these things, but we’ll never know for sure.
Morenz played when hockey was a different game from the high-speed sport of the seventies. In Howie’s rookie season, NHL rules permitted forward passing only in the center zone between the blue lines (the red line was not employed at that time) and four years passed before the league permitted forward passing within each zone.
The result was more of an individual than a team game. End-to-end rushes by such giants as Eddie Shore were sights to behold. But nobody could do it better than Morenz simply because nobody could skate as fast as the man they called “The Stratford Streak” and later “The Mitchell Meteor”.
There was something gallant about the Morenz style that as missing in the other great ones – even in Shore. Howie asn’t very big, yet he inevitably charges at the defensemen, preferring to bowl them over on his rush toward the goal rather than out-feint them and then skate unmolested toward the net.
Those words – “he skated at me… and then over me” – were to be repeated time and again by Morenz’ victims. Of course, Howie didn’t always succeed but he never stopped trying and an incident which took place in 1930 at Boston Garden really symbolizes his heroic qualities.
On this night Howie’s Canadiens were skating against the Boston Bruins and their notorious defense combination of Eddie Shore and Lionel Hitchman. At his heaviest, Morenz never cleared 165 pounds and both Shore and Hitchman were in the 200-pound category. By this time the style of the Mitchell Meteor as renowned among NHL veterans and the Shore-Hitchman team had devised a tactic to defuse it. When Howie charged toward the Boston blue line Shore would take the first crack at him but only in a halfhearted manner.
He would lunge at Morenz just enough to check him lightly and deflect the Montreal ace like a pinball toward Hitchman who’d attempt to hammer Morenz back to the Canadiens’ net. On this particular evening Morenz reached the Bruins blue line three times and in each instance was struck aside by Shore and pounded yards backward by Hitchman. It was an awful battering that sent shudders through the 12,00 Bruins partisans in Boston Garden.
After the third collision both Shore and Hitchman appeared reasonably certain that they had dispatched Morenz to the bench, if not the hospital. But to their amazement he skated behind his net, fidgeted with the puck on his stick, and skated headlong toward his foe. Once again, they applied the one-two punch and once again Morenz went down, this time with a grin. He looked up at his enemies and in none but friendly tones asked, “Don’t you s.o.b.’s ever get tired?”
Morenz was seemingly inexhaustible and nobody knew it better than Shore. Howie never made this point more evident than during the playoffs that seasons in which the Danadiens defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins in three games straight.
The play in question began with a high-speed Morenz rush, resulting in a shot that flew just wide of the Boston goal, hit the endboards, and ricocheted toward the blueline where Shore captured it and launched a charge toward the Montreal zone. At this moment, Morenz was hopelessly out of the play, deep behind the Bruins’ net. Instead of forfeiting a defensive play, Morenz leaped forward and sped after Shore.
“I still don’t know how Morenz stayed on his skates that night,” said Conn Smythe, manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “He was like a red, white, and blue blur as he chased Shore.”
Meanwhile, the Boston defenseman himself was skating at top speed, over his own blue line, toward center ice, readying for the feint at the Montreal defense. But it never came. Before Shore even reached the Canadiens’ blue line Morenz had not only caught up with him but, as Smythe remembered, “swooped around in front of him,” taking the puck off his stick and then heading back toward the Boston net for another scoring thrust. “I never saw a play like that before,” said Smythe, “and I don’t expect I will again.”
Although renowned for his bulldozer-like assaults on enemy defensemen, Howie also betrayed a healthy sense of guile. The somewhat bizarre charges at Shore and Hitchman were more a manifestation of his stubborn streak, than examples of stupidity. In fact, the very next time Morenz faced the Bruins both Shore and Hitchman were expecting more of Howie’s head-on charges at the blue line and to a certain extent they weren’t disappointed. Morenz took the puck on his very first shift and plunged forward toward the Boston behemoths. Shore and Hitchman, in turn, prepared to execute their pinball routine when Howie cut sharply just a foot or two in front of them, sprinted on what amounted to an end run, and skated in clear for an easy goal. The Bruins vividly recall Morenz wearing a broad smile on his face as he skated back to center ice and passed the two Boston defenders.
Like Frank Boucher, Syl Apps, and more recently Jean Beliveau, Morenz was a center who played an almost obsessively clean brand of hockey.
Originally Posted by Total Hockey – Biography
Howie Morenz was voted Canada’s outstanding hockey player of the half-century in 1950. He was considered the biggest star in the game during the colorful days of the 1920s and 1930s, and his great skill helped sell the game in the United States, where he was often called “The Babe Ruth of Hockey” because of his box office appeal.
An aggressive player throughout his career, injuries began to catch up with Morenz, and by 1933-34 his production tailed off.
Originally Posted by The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 1 - Biography
Morenz was one of the fastest skaters in hockey and his hurtling rushes were to be a feature for years to come.
Originally Posted by The Trail of the Stanley Cup , Vol. 2 – Biography
On his hurtling end-to-end rushes Morenz would frequently outspeed his linemates. They would follow through as best they could for a rebound or a passout if the meteor had finished in a corner. He was an aggressive player and for some years his opponents found that they could bait him into chippy penalties.
He was spectacular in the (1930) playoffs as the Canadiens won the Cup by defeating the powerful Bruins who had lost only five games all season.
… In the (1931) playoffs he was outstanding but went ten games before he scored a goal.
Originally Posted by Hockey's 100
During an era when low-scoring games were the norm and goals were hard to come by, Morenz totalled 270 in 564 regular season games but his game was more comprehensive than most.
Originally Posted by Canadiens Legends: Montreal’s Hockey Heroes
His spectacular rushes and brilliant stickhandling lifted fans out of their seats. His desire to win was evident to everyone who watched him perform… As good as Morenz was as a goal scorer, Toronto general manager Conn Smythe was just as impressed with the center’s all-round game. Morenz knew that you needed the puck to score, so he’d work at checking to get the disk back…
One of Howie Morenz’ greatest strengths was his competitive nature and fiery approach to the game, despite his small size.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory
Besides his speed, Morez could handle the puck, he possessed extraordinary stamina and he was tough. The Senators tested him in their first meeting. Jack Darragh ran at him, but Morez flattened him with his shoulder and send him to the bench. He also laid out George Boucher, Billy’s older brother, with a stiff check.
Originally Posted by Canada’s Top 100: The Greatest Athletes of All Time
Over the next 11 years, Morenz dominated the ice with his aggressive play and dazzling stickhandling…
Originally Posted by Hockey’s Greatest Stars
Morenz quickly became famous for his blazing rushes and reckless style of play. Seemingly able to accelerate to top speed in a single stride, he helped establish Montreal’s growing reputation for “firewagon” hockey.
Originally Posted by Putting a Roof on Winter
At first glance, Morenz didn’t seem like all that much. Only five-foot-nine and 165 pounds, with thinning hair and perennial five-o’clock whiskers shadowing his amiable, earnest, sometimes puzzled face, Morenz liked to wander out of position as if playing a game in his imagination and not on the ice. He looked like somebody’s uncle who stumbled into the rink by mistake.
Like all great players, Morenz was inside his head, seeing the ice the way no one else could. As Rickard looked on, Morenz would pounce on the puck and speed along with it on his stick as if he had invented his own laws of physics.
Originally Posted by Canada on Ice – How They Broke The Heart of Howie Morenz
Morenz’s ceaseless drive did not stem from a physique comparable with the majority of hockey stars. He stood five feet eight and weighed 165 pounds. But he looked heavier than that because as Charlie Conacher once put it, “all his weight was in his face.” He had a wide high forehead from which thinning hair lay smoothly back, wide-set brown eyes and the suggestion of jowls on his dark-whiskered cheeks. But Morenz, with his comparatively small frame, never backed up from the big men. He loved the violent exchanges, the speed and the competition of the game and the roars of the fiery partisans who shouted his name in the Forum.
Once he received a terrible bodycheck from Red Horner, of Toronto, the league’s bad man who weighed 210 and stood six feet two. The check knocked Morenz 30 feet across the ice into a corner where he lay still for a moment. Then he climbed to his feet, skated shakily toward his own end of the rink and retrieved the puck. He bounced into a stride, catapulted directly toward Horner, faked a serve to deceive the defenseman and leaped past him nimbly past him to score.
Originally Posted by Eddie Shore: And That Old Time Hockey
Morenz on ice was a sight to behold, and it was once said of the superstar that when he dashed forward at phenomenal speed, it was as if all other players were suddenly skating backwards. Morenz wore Number 7, but he skated by his opponents with such rapidity that, in the blur, they swore they saw 777. Morenz was so fast that he often struggled to properly set himself up for a shot. The man was a pest to his adversaries thanks to his ability to attack one second and then fly back the very next to be here, there, and everywhere.
Shore missed just one game due to his injuries and returned to duty to meet the Canadiens at the Garden, where he and Howie Morenz did their best to annihilate each other.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey – Biography
Morenz’s incredible speed and incendiary offensive skills whipped crowds everywhere into chaotic joy. His incredible skating ability gave him the illusion of gliding on air. Although players like King Clancy accelerated faster than Morenz, no one could outpace him once he got going. His bullish play led to a string of minor injuries and the premature wear on his once-iron skating legs.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey – In a Flash
Howie Morenz was like lightning. His skates left the ice in mid-stride, giving the illusion that he was airborne.
Originally Posted by Aurel Joliat
I couldn’t tell you how many goals I scored merely by having to tip in a puck that he passed to me from the corner behind two opponents.
Originally Posted by King Clancy
Morenz skated right at me, going like hell, shot the puck, and knocked me on my ass. I told him if he tried it again, I would cut his head off. He laughed and said he planned to do it again. Know what? He did.
He could adjust to any situation. He could barge between a defense, or he could poke the puck between your legs, then wheel around you and pick it up. His shot was like a bullet, and he didn’t fool around looking for an opening, he just let it go.
Morenz never even bothered to skate around me. He skated straight at me – and then over me.
He was the best. He could stop on a dime and leave you nine cents change. He was in a class by himself. And when he couldn't skate around you, he'd go right over you.
I seen 'em all score goals. Howe, wicked and deft, knocking everybody on their ass with his windshield-wiper elbows. Rocket Richard coming mad, guys climbing all over him. Hull, booming a slapshot like a WWII cannon. Wayne Gretzky mesmerizing the defence as he waltzes across the blueline, then wafting a feathery pass to a fast coming winger.....But I never saw anybody - nobody - score like Morenz on a furious charge down center.
There's nobody in the league today who is as good a skater. He could start on a dime and hit full speed within a couple of strides. He had wide shoulders, thin hips and about the strongest legs I've ever seen on a hockey player.
Originally Posted by Eddie Shore
He had a heart that was unsurpassed in athletic history and no one ever came close to him in the colour department. After you watched Howie you wanted to see him often, and as much as I liked to play hockey, I often thought I would have counted it a full evening had I been able to sit in the stands and watch the Morenz maneuvers. Such an inclination never occurred to me about other stars.
I can truthfully say that he is the hardest player in the league t stop. He comes at you with such speed that it is almost impossible to block him with a body-check. He crashes so hard that his opponent often gets the worst of it. Ask me – I can tell, for he’s shaken me right to my toes many a time. Furthermore, he serves so quickly when travelling at top speed that you may miss him entirely. Add his bullet shot to his speed, and you have, to my mind, the greatest offensive combination in hockey today. Everybody likes Howie. He’s clean, fair, and sportsmanlike, and always gives his best. He’s the one player whom no opposing defense bears down on unnecessarily, because he doesn’t deserve any unduly rough treatment.
Originally Posted by Toe Blake
He was an inspiration for all of us to play with. Even the guys who played against Howie all loved him.
Originally Posted by Roy Worters
He could shoot harder than anybody I see nowadays.
Morenz is not number seven to me. He’s number 77777 – just a blur.
Originally Posted by Joe Primeau
We couldn’t take the puck away from Morenz all night, but no matter what he did, he couldn’t put the puck into the net. He finally got a break when we were penalized early in the overtime. By this time he had us dizzy trying to catch up with him and 15 seconds after our man went into the penalty box he took the puck himself, skated through our entire team, and scored. He made good on his promise to me but never said a word about it. Howie was the perfect gentlemen.
Originally Posted by Myles Lane
Howie Morenz was the fastest thing I ever saw on ice. He’d be in full speed after taking only two strides. Offhand, I’d say he was one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
Originally Posted by Harold Krease
Grace in every moment: a feather dart, a streamlined train, a swooping gull. There was poise, distinction, artistry in his skating form.
Originally Posted by Roger Kahn
First Morenz is circling behind his own goal. Then a little hop signals the start of his charge down center ice. Skating from the hips with ease, long strides, Morenz gains speed with incredible swiftness. The crowd at the Forum rises to its feet in waves, as he skates past and the cheering comes down in waves too, rolling from the tiers of seats louder and louder. As if to match the crescendo’s rise, Morenz drives himself still faster past the goal. In his path two defensemen brace and set their heavy frames. Suddenly, Morenz is upon them, hurling his body into the air as though he would jump over the two men. All the crowd is on its feet now and screaming. Somehow, Morenz breaks through. There is a feint, a goalie’s futile lunge, a hard, quick shot into the open corner of the cage. Morenz has scored. While the Forum rocks with sound, he skates easily back to center ice for the next face-off.
Other hockey players score goals and slam through defensemen, but the furious charge down center ice belonged to Morenz alone. Like a Babe Ruth home run or a Roger Bannister mile, a Morenz charge was, in a sense, the original. Other hockey players can only imitate it as best they know how!
Originally Posted by Andy O'Brien
He would challenge the opposing defenses by dazzling dash and deception rather than by shooting from longer range and following up for a rebound.
Originally Posted by Charles Coleman on the 1930 play-offs
Although Morenz had not scored a goal in the playoffs to date, he was easily the outstanding player.
Originally Posted by King Clancy
Gretzky is one of the greatest. But I still say the greatest player ever was Howie Morenz. He could skate even better than Bobby Orr. He was just as great after you hit him as before.
Originally Posted by Jim Coleman
There never was a skater like Morenz. He burst through the defence like a cannonball. His wicked left-handed shots actually curved upward and outward in flight. Morenz was Man O War, Rudolf Nureyev and Dylan Thomas, all rolled into one.
Originally Posted by Cyclone Taylor
Howie was everything they say he was. He was a dynamic and forceful player. You can just say he was a real player.
Originally Posted by Lester Patrick
Howie was really tops. He was colorful - supercolorful. He had a magnetic personality and he was easy to handle and no trouble at all to get along with. Any adjective at all would fit Howie. There'll never be a perfect hockey player, but Howie had many, many assets.
Originally Posted by Montreal Canadiens’ official website
Drawing crowds and dazzling fans across the NHL, Howie Morenz was the first player to have his number retired by the Montreal Canadiens.
No hockey player’s star ever shone brighter than that of Howie Morenz. Known as both “The Stratford Streak” and “The Mitchell Meteor”, Morenz was the NHL’s first true superstar, carving out a reputation as one of the best to ever play the game. His 14-year career began reluctantly and ended suddenly, sadly and prematurely.
Scoring at a rate unseen in the hockey world, Morenz became the biggest name in the game as his exploits filled arenas with curious spectators who quickly became fans. Attracted by the little man with the big reputation, they soon saw that the hype was warranted. Morenz typically finished the season in the upper echelons of the scoring lists, notching at least 20 goals seven times.
No giant at only 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, Morenz played alongside the even smaller Joliat, each driving the other to surpass himself as they terrorized goaltenders around the NHL for a dozen years.
Morenz won the Hart Trophy – awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player – three times, in 1928, 1930 and 1931, a feat unmatched by another Hab in the 70-plus years since. He also finished atop the scoring race twice, peaking with an unbelievable 40 goals in 44 games during the 1929-30 campaign, one that finished with the Habs going undefeated en route to hoisting the Stanley Cup.
When the Hockey Hall of Fame opened its doors in 1945, Howie Morenz was among the 12 men who formed the initial group of inductees. In 1950, he was voted the outstanding hockey player of the first half of the century by a national press poll.
The number “7” that he wore while blazing a trail for the legends who followed was the first to be retired by the Montreal Canadiens, raised to the rafters of the Montreal Forum in 1937.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Howard "Howie" Morenz has often been referred to as hockey's first bona fide superstar. He electrified fans and confounded the opposition in a way that ensured his exalted status in hockey history. Remarkably, Morenz's total of 291 regular-season and playoff goals in 14 NHL seasons represents only one aspect of the enormous impression he left on the sport.
Morenz was one of the dominant offensive forces in the league in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He scored a league-high 51 points in 1927-28 and was presented with the Hart Trophy. Two years later he registered an incredible 40 goals in 44 games. In 1930-31, he won his second Hart Trophy and scoring title with another 51-point season. Morenz was also selected to the NHL's inaugural First All-Star Team in 1931. The following year he scored 49 points in 48 games and was awarded his third Hart Trophy in five seasons as well as another spot on the First All-Star Team.
In 1950, Howie Morenz was voted the outstanding hockey player of the half-century by a national press poll.
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
We live in an era where we quickly give good hockey players the label of superstar. But rarely has hockey seen a true superstar - a player who transcends the great game itself. We've been blessed to see the likes of Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull, Mario Lemieux, Rocket Richard and a precious few others - hockey's true superstars.
Perhaps the first NHL player to transcend the game (arguably Cyclone Taylor, who played mostly prior the creation of the NHL, was the first hockey player to transcend the game) was the man they called "The Babe Ruth of Hockey" - the great Howie Morenz.
Morenz was the most electrifying player of his era, and perhaps ever. To compare him to a modern player for today's fans, "The Russian Rocket" Pavel Bure is an interesting comparison, although historically Morenz is most often compared to Maurice "The Rocket" Richard. However Morenz, unlike those two, excelled at both ends of the ice.
For much of Morenz's career forward passing was illegal so end to end rushes were the norm. Like Bure, Morenz excelled in that area in spectacular fashion. He had blazing speed and could do magical things with the puck at that speed. He would dance through the entire team, often with reckless abandon, and often resulting in a terrific scoring chance. He did so in dramatic fashion, often bringing the fans out of their seats like so few hockey players are able to do.
Ultimate Hockey's All-Star Team of the 1920s
Ultimate Hockey’s Best Skater of the 1920s
Ultimate Hockey’s Fastest Skater of the 1920s
Fastest Skater in the NHL – as voted by NHL columnists in 1934
In the first 5 seasons after forward passing was introduced, Morenz was among the leaders in assists.
Joe Primeau – 142 assists in 214 games
Frank Boucher – 140 assists in 234 games
Hooley Smith – 109 assists in 223 games Howie Morenz – 108 assists in 220 games
Busher Jackson – 95 assists in 219 games
Originally Posted by The Edmonton Journal – March 11th, 1931
Howie Morenz, dashing centre player of the world’s champion Montreal Canadiens, is the fastest skater in hockey, a quick, hard and accurate shot accompanying his phenomenal speed. He has the uncanny knack of getting a shot away at full speed without telegraphing the drive. These attributes, coupled with generous passing, have earned him the position of top scorer of both sections of the National Hockey League…
Although Morenz won his greatest renown for his spectacular lone rushes, circling his own goal and darting and swerving through the entire opposing team to score, he also is a great play-maker and passes unselfishly. His record of assists resulting in goals is almost as high as his total for goals scored.
His swerving, hesitating style of rushing is equaled by nobody in the game, and as he swings from one side of the ice to the other in a flash, he seems to increase his speed.
Originally Posted by Canada on Ice – How They Broke The Heart of Howie Morenz
Howie’s speed was a defensive asset too. Once in Ottawa a defenceman, Alex Smith, got a breakaway against Canadiens and had a 50-foot start on Morenz. But Howie caught him, batted the puck into a corner, picked it up, passed Smith going the other way and flipped the Aurel Joliat for a goal before the Ottawa team knew what hit them.
Originally Posted by Nels Stewart
They don't come like Morenz very often, about one in a century. He had everything, could rush, score goals, backcheck. You couldn't put the Rocket in the same breath as Howie, and that goes for everybody else, including Bill Cook. None of them were in the same stable.
Originally Posted by Toe Blake
You can take any era of hockey and the stars of yesterday would be stars of today. And Morenz is right up there at the top of the class. I don't think from end to end I ever saw a guy like Morenz. He was small, stocky, with the most powerful legs you've ever seen. He'd make rush after rush - at least 20 a game - and it never mattered how hard he got hit. Most players, after they were hit, you'd think 'Oh, he can't take that again,' but it didn't matter with him. Shot up into the seats in one rush, by killers like Eddie Shore and Taffy Abel and the like, and he'd come right back as if they didn't exist. And I'll tell you another thing, one of the greatest backcheckers I ever saw. He was just a terrific hockey player.
Originally Posted by Jack Adams asked if Rocket Richard was the greatest ever
Definitely not. He is colorful and undoubtedly one of hockey's greatest scorers. But to term him the greatest as against Gordie Howe, Eddie Shore and Howie Morenz is to overlook defense and passing skills and team spirit. The ability to score is most important, but it isn't all important.
Originally Posted by Tommy Gorman
I would suggest that Morenz was the fastest and greatest two-way center in the game and that Richard is in a class by himself inside the blue line.
Originally Posted by Conn Smythe
The trouble is that writers are always talking about what a great scorer Morenz is. Which is true enough. But they overlook the fact that he's a great two-way player.
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – March 15th, 1929
Hooley Smith and Boucher are potential candidates for the pivot, but Morenz is too fast and his ability to hurdle through a defense right into the goal mouth gives him the edge over the other candidates. Howie also can poke-check with the best and his scoring proclivities, not much better than Boucher’s, surpasses Smith.
Originally Posted by Vern DeGeer - Toronto sportswriter
You can quote me once more as saying that Milt Schmidt is the greatest all-around player the NHL has seen since Howie Morenz. He's an amazing two-way performer.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – April 13th, 1931
Morenz bore down with all his speed, broke up Hawks attacks and harassed their defence by breakneck rushes. His shoulder injuries prevent him from shifting fast around the defence in his customary style, but he makes up in effectiveness by an inspired defensive game.
Originally Posted by Those Were the Days – The Stratford Streak
The play in question began with a high-speed Morenz rush, resulting in a shot that flew just wide of the Boston goal, hit the endboards, and ricocheted toward the blueline where Shore captured it and launched a charge toward the Montreal zone. At this moment, Morenz was hopelessly out of the play, deep behind the Bruins’ net. Instead of forfeiting a defensive play, Morenz leaped forward and sped after Shore.
Originally Posted by Charlie Appleton, longtime Montreal Forum usher
Nobody could ever skate like Morenz. Two hops and he was at full speed. And back-check! When he missed a goal and went around behind the net he could go tearing back and catch the other team before they got the puck to the blue line.
With their first round pick (17) in the 2013 ATD, the Guelph Platers have selected: Jaromir Jagr, RW
2 time Stanley Cup Champion 1991, 1992
1998 Olympic Gold Medal Winner
2005, 2010 World Championships Winner
15th Member of the Triple Gold Club (World Champion, Olympic Champion, Stanley Cup)
Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins 1998-2001
NHL Record Holder for Assists and Points by a RW
15 Consecutive seasons of 30+ goals (including the lockout 94-95 season!)
15 Consecutive seasons of 70+ points (including the lockout 94-95 season!)
Hart Memorial Trophy Winner - 1998
5 Time Art Ross Trophy Winner - 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
Lester B. Pearson Award Winner - 1999, 2000, 2006.
NHL First Team All Star - 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006
NHL Second Team All Star - 1997
NHL All-Rookie Team - 1991
Golden Stick Award – 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011
#37 on The Hockey News list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players (he was 26 at the time)
In addition to his scoring totals, Jagr has been a remarkable clutch goal scorer with 114 GWG (2nd all-time) and 16 overtime goals (1st all-time) in the regular season.
Another hallmark of Jagr's offense is his consistency. He recorded 15 straight seasons of 30+ goals and 70+ points, even including the shortened lockout season in 1994-1995.
Originally Posted by overpass
Adjusted Even Strength Points per season during prime (First 10 modern forwards drafted)
The adjustment is to a league scoring level of 200 even strength goals per team per season. The power play adjusted points are also included - those are adjusted to a league scoring level of 70 power play goals per team per season, and to a league-average number of power play opportunities.
Lemieux was a much better scorer on the power play and shorthanded. And his numbers would have been better if he had been healthy more often. But at even strength, Jagr was just as productive during their respective primes.
Note that other players in this list are not all directly comparable to Jagr, some had more defensive roles and contributions. This list should not be taken as a definitive ranking of even strength performance.
Originally Posted by overpass
Hart Trophy Voting Record
1995 - 2nd. 27 of a possible 75 voting points.
1995-96 - 4th. 156 of a possible 540 voting points.
1997-98 - 2nd to Dominik Hasek. 308 of a possible 540 voting points.. 1998-99 - 1st. 543 of a possible 560 votes.
1999-00 - 2nd. 395 of a possible 580 voting points.
2000-01 - 3rd. 210 of a possible 620 voting points.
2005-06 - 2nd. 974 of a possible 1290 voting points.
One of the common knocks on the boards here regarding Jagr is his lack of playoff success without Lemieux or that "he never took over a series".
Having seen it in 1992, I'll argue that when he was without Lemieux but still on a team capable of winning, he did.
Lets put that to rest with a few points:
1) Jagr is 7th all time in playoff points with 189 points in 180 playoff games. The highest ranking player who didn't play any games in the 80s.
2) He is currently 4th all time with 16 game winning goals in the playoffs (8th position due to ties).
3) Lemieux himself needed a lot of help to lead the Pens to the promised land. Including Jagr's when Lemieux was slashed by Graves in the 1992 playoffs:
Jagr, the Pittsburgh Penguins right wing who is emerging in these Stanley Cup playoffs as a marquee performer in the National Hockey League.
Jagr scored the winning goals in both Game 5 and Game 6 of the second-round series with the Rangers, won by Pittsburgh four games to two. He also scored on a penalty shot in Game 5 and he has six goals and eight assists in 13 playoff games.
With Mario Lemieux still idled by a broken hand, Jagr is the most dynamic offensive threat for the Penguins, who open their third-round series with the Boston Bruins on Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
4) In the Conference finals against the Bruins that same year:
Originally Posted by Sure cure for spring fever: a few devastating defeats,Boston Globe, Dan Shaughnessy, May 21, 1992
The Penguins were vulnerable. This was a season in which they endured the death of their beloved coach (Bob Johnson), plus fiscal chaos and a couple of salary-dump trades. They'd escaped elimination after trailing Washington, three games to one. They lost Mario Lemieux for 4-6 weeks in the series against the Rangers. They were ready to be taken, and five hockey krishnas from this paper picked the Bruins to beat the Penguins in six.
It's pretty simple. The B's trail the Penguins, 2-0, and must win tonight or their season is effectively over. Let's not pretend these Bruins can win four straight from the Penguins. Lemieux is back (did anyone else notice that Bret Sabrehagen went on the disabled list with tendinitis in his index finger on the same night that Lemieux and Ray Bourque played with broken bones inside their gloves?).
"The first game." Those words still sting Bruins fans. Boston should have won the first game of this series. The B's outskated Pittsburgh and peppered Tom Barrasso with 41 shots. But they were beaten in overtime by the inimitable Jagr (seeing him in your dreams yet?). Losing that game may be the 1992 equivalent of the triple-overtime loss to Edmonton in the first game of the finals in 1990. It took too much out of the B's.
5) This leaves the common criticism that in the late 90s after Lemieux had retired (and the team had declined), Jagr was supposed to have carried a ragtag bunch of players to the Cup.
I'm going to examine his playoffs during this time in some detail:
Lemieux retires for the first time.
The Penguins surprise in the regular season with 98 points (but 18 ties!) and face off against the 87 point Habs.
Jagr assists on a late 3rd period goal to put the game into OT.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post Gazette April 25, 1998, Relentless Jagr will prevail in the end, Ron Cook
No, he might not always say the proper thing. At times he can be immature, a spoiled brat. What was his line about Kevin Constantine when he was in a pout with 10 days to go in the regular season? "He's put me through hell."
But Jagr never stops playing hard when he's on the ice, never stops trying to win. Despite being frustrated practically for the whole game by some interesting strategy by Montreal Coach Alain Vigneault, he found a way to force overtime. He couldn't produce a win on this night, but he'll find a way to win the series. Write it down.
Jagr puts up 3 assists in a 4-1 win.
Jagr scores the opening goal but the Pens lose 3-1.
Jagr scores 2 goals and adds an assist in a 6-3 win.
Jagr scores but the Pens lose 5-2.
Pens are shutout 3 - 0.
Jagr scores 9 points on the Pens 15 goals total in the 6 game loss.
Jagr leads the team in scoring by a whopping 44 points in the regular season and scores 12 points in 9 games while fighting a groin injury throughout the playoffs.
The Pens were an 8th seed 90 point squad facing a 1st seed 105 point Devil's squad in the first round:
Pens lose 3-1, Jagr assists on their only goal.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 23, 1999, Devlish delights, Dejan Kovacevic
Jaromir Jagr was tripped and trapped, hacked and whacked, punched and pulled down by the New Jersey Devils.
And, somehow he did not score a goal.
The Devils game plan was as simple as it was evident: Shut down Jagr at all costs and, if the rest of the Penguins were good enough to beat them, so be it.
Jagr assisted on the Penguins' lone goal and wheeled around the rink with his customary flash and flair. But when time came to penetrate the Devils defense, the door was slammed in his face by Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey's finest defensemen and two of the best in the NHL. The pair matched up against Jagr for all 20 of his even strength shifts and limited him to four shorts.
Jagr does not play due to a groin injury. Barrasso and the Pens play very well and win 4-1.
Jagr does not play (groin). Straka & Barrasso and the Pens win 4-2.
Jagr does not play, Pens lose.
Jagr does not play, Pens lose, now facing elimination.
Jagr returns to action - playing 29:35 minutes with an injured groin - and scores the tying goal late and the OT winner to help the Pens to a 3-2 win, tying the series.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 3, 1999, CAPTAIN COMEBACK, Dave Molinari
The Penguins might not play another game at the Civic Arena this season.
Or ever, for that matter.
If not, Jaromir Jagr has given fans enough memories to carry them through a long summer. Or, if necessary, an
But never, since he arrived in 1990, has Jagr managed anything more remarkable or enduring than what he accomplished during the Penguins 3-2 overtime victory over New Jersey yesterday in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series.
It's not just that he scored the tying goal with little more than two minutes left in regulation. Or even that he got the game-winner at 8:59 of overtime.
What makes Jagr's performance one of the most magnificent in franchise history is that he did it all while playing with a groin problem that, by most accounts, shouldn't have permitted him to do anything more strenuous than watch the game on TV.
And that almost certainly is where hew ould have spent the afternoon had the Penguins not been facing elimination from the playoffs.
But Jagr takes that "C" stiched to his sweater seriously and wasn't willing to sit out a fifth consecutive game if tehre was any chance he'd be able to help his teammates extend their season.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 3 1999, Jagr's return stuff of legend, Bob Smizik
His intention was to limit himself mostly to power plays, and understandbly so. He really couldn't skate. Maybe he could muck in the corners, but when it came to up and down the rink, he just didn't have it.
... It was the stuff of Lemieux, the stuff - if the Penguins win the series - of legend. It was a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils, which sends the series to a seventh game tomorrow night. [b]The team that had no chance - the eighth seed that didn't match up in any way against the first seed - is eminently capable of sending the Devils to a third consecutive much-earlier-than-expected exit from the posteason.
The Penguins can win because Jaromir Jagr is back and, as he proved yesterday at Civic Arena, when he's in uniform all things are possible.
Jagr picks up two assists in a 4-2 win to beat the Devils.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, True Believers Unite, May 5, 1999, Dave Molinari
The Penguins believed, even when it seemed no one else did.
They believed when the only question about their first-round playoff series appeared to be how long it would take New Jersey to run them into the off-season.
When it seemed that adding Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux and St. Jude to their playoff roster might not have been enough to save them.
They believed before the series began, and, now that it's over, they're not alone anymore
... The Penguins, owners of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, completed an astonishing upset of the top-seeded Devils with a 4-2 victory last night at Continental Airlines Arena in game 7 of their series.
Against the Devils, the image that will endure is of Jaromir Jagr, playing with a bad groin, returning for Game 6 after sitting out four games, and scoring the tying and winning goals to give the Penguins momentum that carried through the conclustion of the series.
Round 2 had the 90 point Pens facing the 97 point Leafs.
Accord to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Jagr's groin is still ailing at the start of the series and he is skipping practice but playing.
Very tight game with 37 shots total. Jagr is pointless but Pens win 2-0.
Jagr has an assist as the Pens lose 4-2.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 10 1999, Split Personality, Dave Molinari
Penguins right winger Jaromir Jagr, hobbled by a bad groin for more than two weeks, kept his pledge to be in the lineup for Game 2 and was held to one assist, despite being visible and menacing for most of the game."
Jagr a goal and two assists and the first star as the Pens win 4-3.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 12, 1999, Third Period Surge, Dave Molinari
Penguins right winger Jaromir Jagr, who is nursing a sore groin, was in the lineup for the fifth consecutive game
Jagr's goal re-energized the crowd and his teammates, and the momentum it generated led to a go-ahead goal by Jiri Slegr precisely 100 seconds later.
Jagr opens the scoring but the Pens lose 3-2.
Another extremely tight game with a total of 36 shots.
Barrasso allows 4 goals on 20 shots and Jagr's line is a -3.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 17,1999, Penguins must win Game 6, Dave Molinari
He (Jagr) has two goals and three assists in give games, in large part because of some nice work by Maple Leafs defenseman Dimitri Yushkevich and his partner, Danil Markov.
The groin problem that has dogged Jagr since Game 1 of the first round continues to affect his play, although it's impossible to quantify its impact.
"What I do know is that he's not 100 percent," Constantine said. "Is he 90, is he 80, is he 70? I don't know."
Jagr said yesterday that he feels "pretty good" but acknowledged "there are some times when it hurts, [such as] when I try to go full speed from nothing.".
Facing elimination Jagr has a goal and an assist but the Pens lose 4-3.
The Pens, tired or outclassed (or both), manage an average of 20.7 shots for per game in the series.
Jagr misses 19 games of the regular season and still leads the team in scoring by 30 points.
In the first round the 88 point Pens upset the 102 point Capitals in a decisive 4-1 series with 15 goals for in the 5 games.
The Pens blow out the Capitals 7-0, Jagr has 4 assists.
Jagr has a goal (OT winner) and an assist as the Pens win 2-1.
Jagr has 2 assists as the Pens win 4-3.
Jagr has a goal but the Pens lose 3-2.
Jagr scores the series winner in the third and the Pens win 2-1.
After defeating the Caps, the 88 point Pens then faced the 105 point Flyers.
Jagr scores the winner in the first period as the Pens shutout the Flyers 2-0. The Pens are outshot 28-14.
Jagr scores two goals, including the winner, as the Pens win 4-1. The Pens are outshot 45-25.
The Penguins are outshot 44-18 but Jagr scores 2 goals and an assist to get them into OT. They lose 4-3.
Jagr reinjures his leg while playing 59 minutes in the 5 OT game the Pens lose 2-1. Outshot 72-58. Tugnutt makes 70 saves.
Jagr plays despite his injury but is shut down as the Pens lost 2-1.
Jagr continues to play but the Pens lose 2-1 and lose the series.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mourning after Penguins loss still hurts for Patrick, Ron Cook, May 11, 2000
Maybe Patrick could have traded for a big defenseman to neutralize the Flyers' great John LeClair. No one will question Bob Boughner's toughness, not after his hit on Keith Primeau Tuesday night. But he was no match for LeClair and the Flyers' other big wingers over the course of six games.
Certainly Janne Laukkanen wasn't. When he tried to check LeClair in Game 3, LeClair ran him over.
Kasparaitis deserves more blame than Patrick for the rotten outcome. So does Alexei Kovalev, who did nothing offensively. And Robert Lang, who did nothing after Game 2; Martin Straka who did nothing after Game 3; Josef Beranek who did nothing, period; Jan Hrdina, Aleksey Morozov.
It wasn't Patrick's fault that Jaromir Jagr re-injured his leg while getting 59 minutes of ice time in Game 4. Jagr didn't score a point in the final three games.
"He wasn't feeling good. He didn't have anything left. Yet he still played," Matthew Barnaby said.
"I have more respect for him as a captain now than I ever have. I've never seen anyone who wants to win as much as he does."
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jagr believes team's future looks bright, May 11, 2000, Dejan Kovacevic
Jagr could use the break, having endured enough injuries since January to fill a medical manual.
But the hurt he feels from the Penguins' collapse to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup playoffs likely will hound him longer than any physical wounds.
Remember this is the guy who boldly stated last month that it was his job as captain to lead the Penguins to a championship.
Jagr pointed to Game 3 against the Flyers, when the Penguins had a chance to take a 3-0 stranglehold in the series. Jagr elevated his play that night, netting two goals
and an assist but he was pretty much alone in what fizzled into a 4-3 overtime loss.
"I think we're not very far away from being a very good team," Jagr said. "In my opinion, we need one forward, a skilled left winger. It doesn't have to be a powerful guy, but it doesn't hurt if he's powerful and big. And maybe one more offensive defenseman."
He also questioned why the Penguins management opted not to dress center Milan Kraft, their top pick in the 1998 Entry Draft, for any postseason games.
... "Hopefully, one day, we can win a championship with these guys."
Lemieux returns from retirement.
He and Jagr rampage through the regular season but they are unable to beat the Devils in the midst of a second straight run to the finals.
Jagr is alternatively criticized and praised for his play.
He is also playing through injuries, again.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jagr hedges on status for tonight, April 30, 2001, Dave Molinari
(apparently Jagr and Hlinka were possibly getting into it before Game 2 in an animated discussion)
... Jagr, who apparently has a charley horse, sore groin and a bad shoulder, initially said, "I don't think so," when asked if he expects to play tonight, then revised his assessment to, "I don't know if I'm going to play."
The Penguins have a 2-0 lead in the series but, as was the case between Games 1 and 2, Jagr said the status of the series will not have an impact on his decision about whether to dress.
"When I feel like I can help the team, be healthy enough to play, I'm going to play", he said. "I don't look at what the score is, or what the series is like. When I'm 40 or 50 percent able to play, I'm going to play."
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Lemieux sets stage for Jagr deal in off-season, Apr 27, 2001, Bob Smizik
Mario Lemieux is well known as a man who rarely makes a move on or off the ice without good reason, which means his highly uncharacteristic criticisms of teammate Jaromir Jagr were done with intent. The question is: For what intent?
Was Lemieux trying to motive Jagr to a higher level of play in the Penguins' second-round Stanley Cup series against the Buffalo Sabres?
Or was his intent somewhat more diabolical? Was he setting the stage for trading the man who has won the past four NHL scoring titles?
How about both?
But in a national conference call Wednesday, he said: "I think we need [Jagr] to pick up his game a little bit. I think we need him to play a little bit better for us to have a chance to go all the way."
... Lemieux said: "I think he has to skate a little more, create some speed in the neutral zone. I think, as I've said, for us to be successful we're going to need him to play at the top of his game. If he doesn't, our chances are diminished by a lot. We need our leaders to go out and lead the way and play at a high level".
Jagr seemed angered and surprised by the remarks Lemieux made Wednesday.
Lemieux had nothing but praise for Jagr after the game. "He was great. Right from the start he was skating well. He was going after the puck and being a leader. It was great to see."
Trading Jagr, once seemingly preposterous, becomes more logical every day. Not only does his salary take up almost one-third of the team's payroll, but the team also is learning in these playoffs it can win without a high-octane offense.
Game 7 of the Buffalo series goes to OT -- Jagr has three assists as the Pens win 3-2.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jagr takes painkillers, accepts the risks, May 14, 2001, Ron Cook
Jaromir Jagr heard the whispers. When his right shoulder ached, when he barely could carry his stick and couldn't shoot the puck, when he had to miss two games in the Penguins' playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres, he heard every last ridiculous whisper.
"He's not really hurt"
"He's pouting because Mario said he needed to play better."
"How can you miss two games with a charley horse?"
(In their usual, silly, misguided attempt to camouflage injuries, the Penguins announced Jagr's problem as a charley horse).
"This is the team captain?"
"Why are they paying him $10 million a year?"
And, maybe the most hurtful:
"The guy is soft."
So Jagr, after the announcement that he was a scratch for Game 3 against the Sabres was greeted by some cheers from idiots at Mellon Arena, did what just about any hockey player would do, what just about any athlete would do.
He loaded up on pain-killing medication and played, the risks to his short- and long-term health be damned.
"It's stupid when you think about it," Jagr said. "But, that's just it, you don't think. You just do it. There's so much at stake and so much pressure to play. It just seems like what's at stake now is more important than what might happen in the future."
This isn't the first time Jagr has taken injections in his shoulder to play in the playoffs.
"I did it last year, too. I had a lot of problems once the season ended. I couldn't do much with my arm. I couldn't life weights all summer. I said then I wouldn't take the shots again. But look at me now. I'm doing the same thing all over again. I'm sure I'll do it every time as long as I play."
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Trade first step in busy summer, Jul 12, 2001, Bob Smizik
The deal, in which Washington also took overpaid defenseman Frantisek Kucera, is the biggest trade in that franchise's history and establishes the Capitals as a Stanley Cup contender.
Jagr gives the blue-collar Capitals, a team the Penguins have dominated in the playoffs, the offensive force they have so sorely lacked. And they were able to add such a force without touching their core of players, a rare feat and one that has the Capitals and their fans talking about the Cup.
... By lopping Jagr and Kucera from the roster, the Penguins dropped $11.2 million from their payroll.
The Washington Years
Initially good: Jagr was working hard & players and fans were excited to have him. They resign him to a long term deal.
Originally Posted by The Free Lance-Star, Oct 6, 2001, Jagr a Capital Investment, Joseph White
Jagr, the NHL's top scorer four years running, makes his Capitals debut tonight at home against the New Jersey Devils.
The back to back Southeast Divison champions, who acquired Jagr in a bargain of a summer trade with Pittsburgh, are soaring on a
wave of confidence like never before.
"Every year our goal is to win the Stanley Cup," Nikolishin said. "Now it's more realistic."
The thing about Jagr that has surprised the Capitals the most the No. 1 answer from virtually every player and coach-- is his work ethic.
He's often still on the ice 30 minutes after practice. He's diligent about the care of his equipment. And he stunned Peter Bondra by heading straight to the gym after a home exhibition game last week.
"It surprises me how much he does extra," Bondra said. "He's already gone to the gym and he's thinking about the next game."
Even hardworking goaltender Olaf Kolzig might have met his match.
"He's usually one of the first guys on the ice, one of the last ones to leave," Kolzig said. "That's why he's one of the greatest players in the world. He works at it."
And while the Capitals are adjusting to Jagr, Jagr is adjusting to the Caps.
"I was playing with the smae guys for the last five years," Jagr said. "I'm playing a different style. I like to have the puck all the time. Those guys play different. We have to practice more and more and more."
"Hopefully, we're going to get better and better. It's going to take time."
Originally Posted by LA Times, Jagr, Capitals Agree to Deal for $88 Million, October 19, 2001, AP
Jaromir Jagr signed the richest contract in NHL history, then advanced the Washington Capitals' five-year plan to win the Stanley Cup by two years.
Jagr, the league's scoring leader for five of the last six seasons, signed an eight-year, $88-million contract Thursday. The first seven years are guaranteed at $77 million with an option year to follow that could keep Jagr in a Capital uniform into 2009.
"When I came here, I didn't know what to expect," said Jagr, who had played only with Pittsburgh in an 11-year career before the PEnguins traded him in July. "Then I heard the promise to win the Stanley Cup in five years."
He paused briefly, then added: "Maybe three years now."
Season 1 2001-2002
Originally Posted by CNNSI, Feb 2, 2002, Jagr criticizes the Capitals during All-Star Game interview, AP
Jaromir Jagr didn't seem to have any fun at the All-Star Game. And he definitely isn't having any fun with the Washington Capitals.
"Am I happy that we are out of playoffs now? No," he said Saturday. "It is a disaster for me and a disaster for the team. I want it to change."
The seven-time All-Star, in his first season with Washington, has 15 goals and 25 assists. The Capitals are 12th in the Eastern Conference, seven points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
Jagr's World team fell behind early in Saturday's NHL All-Star Game. He told ABC's Darren Pang it was nothing new.
"I'm getting used to it from Washington. Every time we step on the ice in Washington, [we] have minus right away. But we're going to come back," he said.
Originally Posted by USA Today, Capitals dismiss Wilson, May 10, 2002, AP
The Washington Capitals fired coach Ron Wilson, who led the team to the 1998 Stanley Cup finals but hasn't won a playoff series since.
Wilson's dismissal Friday came a month after the Capitals, who were thought to be a sure bet for the playoffs after trading for Jaromir Jagr, finished ninth in the Eastern Conference — one spot away from a postseason berth — with a 36-33-11-2 record.
General manager George McPhee said the players started to "tune things out" after five years under Wilson.
"I didn't believe it that these things had to happen, but I believe it now," McPhee said, "that at some point the players need a new message."
The Capitals were hurt by injuries to several key players, including Jagr, and owner Ted Leonsis said at the end of the season he would not make a coaching change during the offseason.
Season 2 2002-2003
The Caps start off the first two months very poorly. Jagr and the Caps then resurge to make the playoffs.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Jagr's surge fuels Capitals' resurgence, Jan 30, 2003, Dave Molinari
The Washington Capitals had a magical season in 2001-02. They took a stable of world-class talent and a $56 million payroll and made a playoff berth disappear.
Pretty amazing stuff. A feat worthy of David Copperfield or Penn and Teller.
Or even the New York Rangers, the underachievers emeritus of the National Hockey League.
But unthinkable as it was for a team built around the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Sergei Gonchar, Peter Bondra and Olaf Kolzig to sit out the postseason, the Capitals began 2002-03 intent on proving that it had been no fluke. That they really were a bad team.
... Cassidy's incessant tinkering with line combinations and defense pairings was counterproductive, preventing the development of any chemistry among the units, and the only thing that made the Capitals' five-on-five work palatable was that their special-teams play was worse.
After shaving $6 million or so from their payroll in the summer, the Capitals looked to be in a process of slicing perhaps a dozen points off their total for the season.
But, just as their season seemed to be on the verge of unraveling, the Capitals followed the disheartening loss in Atlanta with a 4-1 victory at Mellon Arena two nights later. That sparked a turnaround that has carried them four games over .500 and to the top of the Southeast Division as they head into their game against the Penguins tonight at the MCI Center.
... Jagr has nine goals and 10 assists in his past 10 games. Gonchar has four goals and 11 assists in that same span.
... Jagr was one of those slow starters this season, but he has overcome a sluggish beginning to reclaim his usual spot among the league's top scorers. He hurdled numerous players recently when he piled up 11 points in two games and has been performing at a rarefied level few others can reach.
... Jagr was nowhere near his peak earlier in the season, and there actually was talk -- unfounded or otherwise -- that the Capitals were looking to trade him
Those tough times are disappearing into the mists of ancient history now, and there's not much chance Jagr will have a "For Sale" sign dangling from his neck when he steps onto the ice this evening.
The Caps and Jagr start off the series strong, winning the first two but then fall in four straight.
Jagr's wrist is apparently bothering him in this series. After being shut down he scores two goals and two assists in Game 2.
Originally Posted by The Free Lance-Star, Jagr gives Capitals a commanding lead, April 13, 2003, Fred Goodall AP
Jaromir Jagr played like he had something to prove to everyone.
A nonfactor in the opening game of the first-round playoff series between Washington and Tampa Bay, the NHL's highest paid player asserted himself from the start yesterday afternoon in the Capitals' 6-3 victory over the Lightning.
Jagr, meanwhile, didn't show any signs of being bothered by a sore right wrist after being limited by the Lightning to just one shot during Game 1 on Thursday night.
Originally Posted by The Free Lance-Star, Apr 21, 2003, Caps ousted in OT thriller, Joseph White
Washington failed to meet owner Ted Leonsis' goal of winning a playoff series, despite the huge investment he's made in Jaromir Jagr and other high-paid players.
It also hurt that the money-losing Capitals failed to sell out any of their three home games in the series.
... "I have to really reconsider the kind of commitment and investment I'm making with this team," Leonsis said.
Season 3 and Trade to New York
Before the trade:
Originally Posted by ESPN.com, With Jagr, Caps in a no-win situation, Jim Kelley, Nov 28, 2003
Whether or not a trade between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals for Jaromir Jagr is on again or not, Jagr wants two things to be known:
One, he is not the source of the rumor. Jagr told ESPN.com he was unaware of the reports and he did not tell confidants that there is a deal in the works. "I don't talk to anyone about those things," Jagr said. "Besides, it's a management decision."
And, two, to paraphrase a line from the classic hockey movie "Slap Shot," he feels shame.
"The bad part about all of this is that I feel I've let people down," Jagr said, "especially the owner."
Jagr made his remarks before Wednesday's game at Buffalo, a game he left with a groin injury that coach Bruce Cassidy later said he didn't know when it happened.
Before that, however, Jagr said owner Ted Leonsis made a commitment to him in the form of his salary -- which has four years and $44 million remaining -- and that he was sorry it hasn't worked out.
"Of course I want to win," he said. "I don't want to be in this situation where we are the last (place) team in the National Hockey League. He (Leonsis) brought me here to help make things better and I kind of let him down. I'm sorry for that. He had faith in me."
The mea culpa's seemed genuine, but one has to believe that the Capitals have no recourse but to trade Jagr even if it does mean eating a substantial amount of his salary. He is no longer able or willing to carry the team entirely by himself and the Capitals, a stagnant hockey franchise in a city that has never truly embraced the sport, certainly can't afford to add talent around him.
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Capitals unload Jagr on Rangers, Jan 24, 2004, Joseph White
Jaromir Jagr was traded to the New York Rangers yesterday, capping more than six months of off and on negotiations that brought to and end a disappointing 2 1/2 year stay with the Washington Capitals.
Jagr was traded for forward Anson Carter, but most of the negotiations centered on how much of Jagr's $11 million-per-year contract the Capitals would continue to pay as the cost-conscious NHL heads toward a possible lockout next seasons.
"This trade is a good one in that it moves the largest player contract in the NHL to a team that can absorb it, and it provides us with options as we seek to improve our team," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said.
... Leonsis said he had to move Jagr because of the "new economic reality" the league is facing with the expected lockout and the possible salary cap that could follow.
"With our current payroll, our ability to improve was hindered as well as our flexibility to plan for the future as we move toward a possible new NHL business model, " Leonsis said.
Jagr has not provided the payoff expected when the Capitals acquired him from Pittsburgh in 2001...
... Attendance has sagged for a franchise that was already losing about $20 million per year.
Originally Posted by NYTIMES, Capitals' Lang May Have Talked His Way Out of Trade to the Rangers, Feb 8, 2004, Joe Lapointe
Washington recently traded Jaromir Jagr to the Rangers. Jagr is tied for 11th in scoring with 53 points. Regarding Jagr's disappointing play in Washington, Lang said:
''They put him in a situation that sort of could not work out. You can't put a player like that on a team like Washington and want him to play a defensive system. He's been winning scoring races and titles and all that because he played loose hockey and had a good support cast. They didn't really give him the cast.''
Originally Posted by The Washington Times, Jaromir Jagr reflects on unmet expectations in D.C., October 19, 2011, Stephen Whyno
Jaromir Jagr laughs nervously as he recalls his life from 2001 to 2004 with the Washington Capitals.
“The part I was playing there I would rather forget,” he said. “I wasn’t very good.”
You don’t have to look too far to find people who agree, from ownership through the fan base. The expectations for Jagr coming to Washington in 2001 were high. He had just wrapped up four straight seasons leading the NHL in scoring, piling up the Art Ross Trophies with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But his point production dropped from 121 his last season in Pittsburgh to 79 and then 77 in two full season with the Capitals.
... “Maybe I didn’t play the way I should play,” he said. “Probably [the] managers or the owners, they were hoping when they got me we were going to win the Cup — at least get a little farther in the playoffs, and it just didn’t happen.”
Unlike Gretzky, Lemieux will have the opportunity to school his own successor. He has seen the future of hockey, and its first name, Jaromir, is an anagram for Mario Jr. Jagr, a 20-year-old from Czechoslovakia who joined the Penguins in 1990, scored 32 goals this season, but he didn't truly open up his bag of tricks until Lemieux was injured in the second game of the Patrick Division finals against the Rangers. Since then, he has scored fabulous goal after fabulous goal. Just watching him carry the puck can be a thrill. In Game 1 of the finals he faked and juked his way past three Blackhawks before calmly delivering a backhand shot that tied the score 4-4 late in the third period. "Inexcusable," fumed Keenan. "The greatest goal I've ever seen," gushed Lemieux.
Screaming down the right wing, his long dark hair flopping behind his helmet, the lefthanded-shooting Jagr would time and again beat both defensemen like a pair of rented mules.
"He's a different type of player than the league has seen in a long time," says Scotty Bowman, who coached the Penguins last season and is now the team's director of player development and recruitment. "He has a lot of Frank Mahovlich in him. His skating style and strength make him almost impossible to stop one-on-one. A lot of big guys play with their sticks tight to their bodies and don't use that reach to their advantage like Jaromir does."
In style, though, Jagr is something much different from Lemieux. "When Mario gets the puck, he's always thinking, Where can I put it?" says Bowman. "He'll pass the puck off and get himself in a better situation to score than he was in. When Jaromir gets the puck, he's always thinking, Where can I go with it? He reminds me of Maurice Richard in that way. They both played the off-wing, and both had so many moves I don't think either knew which moves they were going to do until they did them. Totally unpredictable."
"They've got different styles, but Jagr does remind you of Mario in a lot of ways," says Penguin wing Kevin Stevens, who is sidelined with a fractured left ankle. "He's got the same kind of presence on the ice."
"When you're sitting on the bench, it's just like it was with Mario," says Cullen. "You watch. You can't help. You know Yaggs can get the puck and just take over the game. You don't want to miss it."
Jagr might be, among other things, the best one-armed player in the game today. The trend in the NHL toward more clutching and grabbing may slow down some slick-skating Europeans, but not Jagr, who is 6'2" and 208 pounds. He actually seems to enjoy the challenge of handling the puck while carrying a couple of passengers. "He should practice with a 100-pound dummy strapped to his back," says Penguin center Shawn McEachern, "because that's the way he has to play in the games."
Johnston has increased Jagr's ice time this season by putting him on the first power-play unit and allowing him to kill penalties. According to the coach, people are missing something when they attribute all of Jagr's success to his size and natural abilities. There is a pretty good mind under all that hair, says Johnston.
"He knows the game better than anyone on the team," says the coach. "He's very smart out there. He knows the little things, things you can't teach. He knows how to play the angles and how to protect the puck. You know where he got that, don't you?"
Of course the NHL could invent other categories for Jagr, besides best-tressed. Best one-on-one player: Jagr. There are faster forwards who might embarrass a defenseman with their speed, but no one plays one-on-one in traffic the way he does. Best combination of skill and strength: Jagr again. The 6'2", 215-pound Czech is the first man to combine the traditional European attributes of slickness, nimble feet and goal scorer's hands with lower-body strength, allowing him to fend off checks and protect the puck. "He's a gorilla, strong as a horse," Penguins coach Ed Johnston says, offering his own vision of Jagr as a crossbreed. "I don't know anybody who's stronger on his skates."
Last month Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Denis Savard proclaimed Jagr "the best player in the game by a million miles," as if the subject were as closed as a team meeting.
"Jaromir should get a cut of every contract of everyone who plays with him before signing a new deal because half the money they're getting is due to him," Constantine says, despite his occasional differences with his star. "He makes it tricky for this organization. We have to ask ourselves how good the guy is. Is he good because he plays with Jagr? Not taking anything anyway from Marty Straka, who's a helluva player, but none of the guys Jaromir plays with have a time-tested history of being major talents." There is no one riding shotgun for Jagr the way Joe Sakic does for Forsberg, John LeClair does for Lindros or Selanne does for Kariya. Pittsburgh has several forwards with a clue, but it also has more extras than there were in Titanic.
"There are probably four ways to play Jagr, all of them wrong," Montreal assistant coach Dave King says. "He's the toughest player in hockey to devise a game plan against."
With 32 goals and 39 assists in 39 games through Sunday, Jagr was close to a 150-point pace and was leading the league in both categories, something not achieved outright since Wayne Gretzky did it 13 years ago. Night after night Jagr finds not only open ice but also the inherent joy of his sport. He dances and dazzles, getting seven points against the hapless New York Islanders in one game, derailing the powerful Detroit Red Wings with a goal and an assist in the next, and, in the match after that, twisting New Jersey Devils checker Claude Lemieux into a pretzel by putting the puck through Lemieux's legs at the Penguins' blue line and creating a three-on-two. Jagr, with sturdy haunches that make him all but impossible to bump off the puck, puts on That '80s Show for almost 82 games a season. He's setting hockey back more than 10 years.
"The game in the 1980s was played with the puck," Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Glenn Healy says. "In the '90s it became a game of often willingly losing possession, of dumping the puck in and moving the battle to other areas, such as behind the net and in the corners. Jagr is an '80s player because he holds on to the puck and tries to make plays. He won't give it up until there is absolutely no other play, which isn't often, because he has the ability to make something out of nothing, even a one-on-three. As a goalie you're always aware of Jagr's presence on the ice."
Jagr's scoring rampage in an era of constipated hockey has ended debate about who is the NHL's best player. "With no disrespect to the other guys," says New Jersey defenseman Ken Daneyko, a 15-year veteran, "you've got [Eric] Lindros, [Paul] Kariya, [Teemu] Selanne and [Peter] Forsberg here, and Jagr head and shoulders above them, up there." That assessment was implicitly endorsed by Gretzky last April when he blessed Jagr with a private word during the Great One's retirement ceremony. "Maybe that's why I play good right now," Jagr said last week, his face crinkling in merriment as he sat at his locker. "I don't want to make Wayne a liar."
When SI asked NHL coaches in September, "Who is the best all-around player in the world?" 19 of the 26 respondents named Penguins right wing Jaromir Jagr. The other seven coaches fell into one of those hard-to-figure minorities, like the one dentist in five who does not recommend sugarless gum for his patients who chew gum.
You can rhapsodize about the casual excellence of the Detroit Red Wings or the explosiveness of the Ottawa Senators, but the ideal jumping-off point for the 2006 NHL playoffs, and there is just no getting around it, figuratively and often literally, is Jaromir Jagr's booty. His derriere is large enough to cause a lunar eclipse, J. Lo-esque in its amplitude and wondrously utilitarian. When he is parked at the right half boards on the power play, Jagr can turn his formidable backside--"You can hang a license plate off it," New York Rangers coach Tom Renney marvels--and protect the puck for five, 15 or however many seconds he chooses until he spots a vacant passing lane or identifies a moment when he can easily wheel to the net. His rhythm. His whim. The game and, to some extent, the playoffs proceed at the discretion of a 6'3", 245-pound right wing with impossibly thick haunches, a player who is the NHL's top scorer since 1990 and whom New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur calls the best he has ever faced.
* - some of this material shamelessly stolen from overpass' earlier bio
With pick 16 in the 2013 ATD, the Baltimore Blades select Centre Bobby Clarke
Position: C ▪ Shoots: Left
Height: 5-10 ▪ Weight: 185 lbs.
Born: August 13, 1949 in Flin Flon, Manitoba
Some stats on Clarke:
-358 Goals, 852 Assists for 1210 points in 1144 Career Games
- 119 Points in 136 Career Playoff Games
- 8 All Star Game Appearances
- 3 Hart Trophy Wins
- 2 Time League Leader in Assists
- Twice led league in Short Handed Goals
- 2 Time Stanley Cup Champ (1974, 1975)
- 7 Top 10 Finishes in Points for a Season
- 6 Seasons of 10 or more Power Play Goals
- Inducted to Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987
No hockey player worked harder than Bobby Clarke, the tenacious leader of the Philadelphia Flyers for 15 enjoyable years. As a result, no one personified the Philadelphia Flyers better.
A wonderful talent blessed with great vision and playmaking skills, Clarke is better remembered for his physical talents - a relentless work ethic, a powerful leadership presence, and an unquenchable thirst to win complete with a willingness to do anything it took to capture victory.
Legends Of Hockey One On One With Bobby Clarke
Philadelphia continued to be a threat every season Clarke played for them. His on-ice leadership was inscrutable,
Legends Of Hockey:
It was no surprise when in the summer of 1972 the head coach of Team Canada, undrafted, named Bobby Clarke as one of the first candidates for the Summit Series against the USSR.
Really glad to have Clarke on the team. The guy is rightfully recognized as a great player. He may not have been the best offensive player available at #16 but I'll take his leadership and smarts for the game along with his decent offensive game.
People got to learn how to use punctuation. On our radio ads the other day a black man's wallet was reported as missing. Instead of a man's wallet black in colour missing a black man's wallet is missing.
2x Hart Trophy winner (1956, 1964)
1x Art Ross Trophy (1956)
2x Conn Smythe Trophy winner (1959 retro Smythe, 1965)
6x First All-Star Team (1955-1957, 1959-1961)
4x Second All-Star Team (1958, 1964, 1966, 1969)
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette (Paul Rimstead) - 4/6/1968
It is not the usual portrait of a great leader. He is a big man and quiet, and he rarely shows emotion. He sits in silence on the Montreal Canadiens' bench, his eyes fastened to the play. When he does speak in the dressing room, it is always with carefully chosen words, no matter what the situation. His name is Jean Beliveau, captain of the Canadiens, and they say he has never said anything bad about anyone.
"It's hard to put into words how we feel about Jean Beliveau," [Ralph Backstrom] said. "It's just that...well, we're so damned proud to have him as our captain." John Ferguson tried to explain..."What can you say about the guy?" he said. "He just has so much class, on and off the ice. And he never says anything bad about anybody."
Teammate Dick Duff is one of the more articulate players in the NHL. "It's his quiet dignity," he said. "Jean is so unassuming for a guy of his stature. When something has to be done - a presentation or something - we're all happy to have Jean Handle it, in English or in French. He's a very unselfish player. He has great moves, that great range, and anybody playing with him is certain to wind up with a lot of goals. If you get there, the puck will be there. Everybody likes to play on his line. Gilles Tremblay, for one, wants to play with Beliveau all the time if he can. I think Jean would have scored more goals over the years if he shot more. Instead, he looks for his wingers."
Duff recalled the day he joined the Canadiens from the New York Rangers. He was to play on a line with Beliveau. "Is there anything special you want me to do?" he asked. "No," smiled Beliveau. "Just play."
"And I remember," said Duff, "when I was with Toronto. We knew we had to stop Beliveau, so Bob Pulford would be assigned to him. Pully was supposed to bump him all night to slow him down. But the guy kept going. He has so much courage, so much determination."
In a game against Chicago, Beliveau skated after the puck with Stan Mikita and Doug Jarrett of the Blackhawks. When he skated past them, the blade of a stick creased his eyeball. Beliveau was rushed to the hospital that night and it was three days before his eye could be properly inspected to determine if his sight would be impaired. "I was very worried," he said. "I couldn't see...I kept wondering...how I would react when I started playing again. Would I instinctively pull back when a stick was raised in a corner? If I did, that would be the end for me." He thought about it only until the moment he jumped over the boards for his first shift.
And moving, says Jean, is the key. "Everything is right when I am skating...Being a centreman, most of the time I have to be first when we hit the blueline. If I'm a half-step slower some night, my passes will be intercepted or I'll throw the line offside." And, if one of his wingers is having an off-night, Jean must adjust. "If my rightwinger is a half a step slower tonight when we get into the offensive zone. I must remember that and wait for him."
If Imlach had his choice, what NHL player would he like to see Brent [his son] pattern his life after? "Beliveau!" Imlach shot back, ignoring his own team. "The reason I said that...is because Jean Beliveau is about the best thing that ever came down the pike. He could play for me anywhere, any time - in this world or the next."
David Molson, president of the Canadiens, shrugged. "what Can I say that you haven't already heard?" he asked. "Jean is the most striking and articulate professional athlete. I think that it's generally known that our team goes the way Jean Beliveau goes."
Originally Posted by Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 3
There are many who rate Beliveau as the greatest centre of all time and certainly his characteristics and record give support for this opinion. Jean was a big handsome and strong man who could never be crowded off the puck and the bully boys of the league soon found that trying to body him was like hitting a truck in motion. He was a graceful skater and his long sweeping strides gave deception to his speed. His stickhandling was superb and his great reach accentuated his checking which was mindful of Frank Nighbor, a great centre of another era. Like Nighbor, he was also a gentleman on and off the ice.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette (Dink Carroll) - 2/20/1956
What's Beliveau's Weakness?
"Every hockey player has a weakness Phil Watson, coach of the New York Rangers, was saying here a few hours before Saturday's game. "I could skate but I couldn't score. Neil Colville couldn't skate but he could make plays. Alex Shibicky had a terrific shot but he couldn't lay down a pass.
"I've been watching Jean Beliveau closely and I haven't been able to find his weakness - not yet anyway. But I know he's got one because every hockey player has one. If I don't find it out this season, maybe I will next season. Beliveau can skate, he can carry the puck, he can make plays and he can score. But there must be something he can't do. You study a player like Beliveau. Can he pass as well to his left as to his right? Does he have to turn to make a pass? Does he backcheck? Does he dig the puck out of the corners? Is he timid?"
"How about Rocket Richard?" he was asked. "What's his weakness?"
"The Rocket doesn't backcheck," he replied...
Phil had a scheme to impair Jean Beliveau's effectiveness on the ice of the Madison Square Garder, which worked for a while. "Every time the Canadiens came to New York I had the hockey writers ready for him," he revealed. "I told them Beliveau was the greatest thing to come into the league in years. If they were looking for feature stories, he was it. They'd go around to his hotel with their photographers shortly after the Canadiens would arrive. They'd ask him questions and take shots of him all day long. They never game him any rest and he didn't play his game in our rink. "But Toe Blake got wise to it. The last time the Canadiens came to New York he wouldn't allow Beliveau to be interviewed or photographed. That night he scored two goals against us.
"But he's a nice guy. He was in Quebec for two years when I was coaching the juniors. He used to drop in my office just to talk hockey. Not that I could tell him anything because he's just a natural and knew it all instinctively...I know he's got a weakness and I'll find it out yet.
It says here that the Rangers are still seeking their first win of the season on Montreal ice and that Phil is still trying to find Beliveau's weakness. They were beaten, 9 to 4, and all Beliveau did was score three goals.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 1/23/1956
Beliveau, on the other hand, is probably the classiest hockey player I've ever seen. He has a flair for giving you his hockey as a master showman. He is a perfect coach's hockey player because he studies and learns. He's moving and planning all the time, thinking out the play required for each situation. The difference between the two best hockey players in the game today is simply this: Beliveau is a perfectionist, Richard is an opportunist."
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette (Lloyd Percival) - 12/6/1960
Jean Beliveau, the smooth skating and clever centre star of the Montreal Canadiens, besides being an excellent playmaker and check, is a constant scoring threat who takes full advantage of any scoring opportunities that come his way. Whereas the average player needs as many as 9 or 10 chances before he gets one past the goalkeeper, Beliveau gets one every 3 or 4 chances.
One of the reasons the Montreal player has such a good scoring per chance percentage provides a lesson every young player should learn as soon as possible. Watching Beliveau go in on goal you will notice that he successfully resists the temptation to go in too close before shooting. Usually he shoots from 10-15 feet out, knowing that if he gets any closer his target area gets smaller and the goalkeeper has to come out and cut down the angle.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 5/15/1969
As Beliveau demonstrated pretty clearly in the Boston series, he is the best hockey center who ever lived. Others have outscored him. Others have looked flashier, but none has had his ability to be in the right place at the right time so consistently or to pass the puck with his remarkable accuracy.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald - 2/11/1956
For years any controversy over who was the best player in hockey has been pretty well confined to right wingers Maurice Richard of Montreal and Gordie Howe of Detroit.
Now Bill Chadwick, former NHL referee, injects the name of Montreal's "Le Gros Bill" centre Jean Beliveau.
Chadwick said, "Beliveau is the best I have ever seen", and "smarter" than the Rocket. "You never seen Beliveau give the puck away. There isn't anything he can't do." Referring to his bullet shot, Chadwick added: "Some guys can put it through the building but miss the net. Beliveau never misses."
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette (Dink Carroll) - 4/11/1955
Le Gros Bill was ill and weak in Detroit. He was ill from an adverse reaction to a sleeping pill, which caused blisters to form inside his mouth...He could hardly stand on his skates in Detroit and wasn't of much help to his team.
But he felt much better on his return home and in the last two games he has looked much more like the man some experts have labeled "the best hockey player in the league today." Dick Irvin credited him with sparking the Canadiens' comeback in last Thursday's game.
"The big guy was really flying out there," he said. "If he can keep it up we may be tough to beat."
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette (Dink Carroll) - 3/25/1959
The best hockey player in the NHL today is Jean Beliveau, and you don't have to be a supporter of the Canadiens to come to that conclusion. We heard it from Herb Goren, the Rangers' publicity director, during a brief stopover in New York last weekend.
"Andy Bathgate has scored 40 goals, but he isn't the best player in the league," Herb said. "Jean Beliveau is." Yesterday Johnny Gottselig, who is Herb's opposite number with the Chicago Black Hawks, arrived by plan early in the afternoon from the Windy City. Johhny, who once played for an later coached the Hawks...
Settled in the room, Johnny was asked who he thought was the best player in the league. He didn't hesitate a second. "That's easy," he said. "Jean Beliveau. I've been around the league a long time and he's as good as any I've ever seen, if not better. Yeah I think he's maybe the best I've ever seen."
"He can skate, he can handle the puck, he can score and he's rough. He goes both ways, too, and lately he's become a leader. I think he's been playing better since the Rocket got hurt. When the Rocket was around he was a little under his shadow. But with the Rocket out of there he's had to take more responsibility and it's made him a better player. I think he's just beginning to reach his peak now. If he gets any better, there won't be anybody close to him."
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 4/10/1956
Jean Beliveau played such a magnificent game that the Detroit fans cheered him when it was over. "I think he's the best I ever saw," said Murphy [Chamberlain]. "There isn't anything he can't do, and he does it all a little better than anybody else. I won't say he's a better finisher than the Rocket. You'd have to wait until he's been in the league as long as the Rocket has, and he may not last that long."
"He's a sweetheart," Wilfie [Cude] said. "Give him another three years in the league and I think we'll be saying he's the greatest of them all. I'm not saying he's the best stickhandler I ever saw. I can't forget what a great stickhandler Aurel Joliat was, Aurel was small and that was a disadvantage. Beliveau is big, strong, and has such a long reach that it's hard for opposing players to get at the puck. He makes great players, he's always a step ahead, he's got hockey sense, he does a lot of forechecking and he can score. He makes it all look easy, too."
"How would you compare him with Syl Apps," one of the reporters in the group asked. "Apps wouldn't come up to his ankles," was the reply. "But Apps resembled him in that he was a gentleman, one or off the ice..."
"A gentleman" somebody kidded, "Beliveau had over 140 minutes in the penalty box this season. How about that?"
"I don't care if he spent six years in the penalty box. He's still a gentleman."
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette (Dink Carroll) - 4/25/1960
When you hear arguments as to who is the best player in the league, you never hear Horvath's name mentioned. The names you hear most often The names you hear most often are Jean Beliveau and Gordie Howe. If one of the debaters is defense-minded, you may hear Doug Harvey mentioned.
After Alf Pike had been back in the league a month as coach of the Rangers, he remarked: "What we need is centres. If I had my choice, I'd take Beliveau first and Little Rocket next."
Ted Lindsay says he means no disrespect to Gretzky and Mario when he says that Big John is the greatest centre that has ever played the game because the 205lbs swift-skating 6'3" pivot "played in a tough time, when checking was tough, where guys knew how to bodycheck, how to hit, you checked your man, you took your man"
Originally Posted by Saskatoon Star-Phoenix - 10/16/1953
The experts are saying that Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens' new whiz kid, is fashiond along the same type as Nels Stewart. Canadien coach Dick Irvin has a tendency to agree.
"He's quite a bit like Stewart," said Dick. "Stewart had a great shot and so has Beliveau. I'd say he's got the best shot in hockey today. It's fast and accurate. He's big like Stewart, too. Another thing, he's a fine puck manipulator...He can juggle that puck on the end of his stick like some of those guys in the one-arm joints can handle a pea on the blade of a knife, He's got the equipment to make it talk."
"Jean Beliveau was just like an artist on the ice," Geoffrion said. "He knew exactly where I was and I always knew where he was. He was a natural in everything he did. He was as close to a perfect hockey player as you will ever see. It was very rare to see him make a mistake on the ice."
"Lots of people say that was the best line ever, Jean and Bernie and me," Olmstead said. "Jean was smart, hardworking, emotionally level and a complete hockey player. He was coachable, a real good student who wanted to learn. He could really play. He is at the top of the list of teammates that I played with.
"There wasn't enough room for both of us in the corner and somebody had to score the goals," Olmstead said. "I knew I could get the puck so I told him, 'Don't move from where I last saw you. It takes me three, four or five seconds to get the puck and it's going where I last saw you.'
"You gave Jean the puck in the slot and it was in!" Olmstead said. "We didn't have to do fancy plays, just bread and butter. If it didn't go in, somebody made a hell of a stop."
"He was such a great center, the best I've ever seen," Geoffrion said. "He was definitely the best as far as thinking about what he was doing out there, not just with me but with anybody who played with him. They had to have success. It goes both ways, I guess. I could put the puck in the net and he could make the plays."
John Ferguson led the American Hockey League in goals and penalty minutes the year before he was brought up to the Canadiens. He started his NHL career in 1963 on a line with Beliveau and Geoffrion.
"Toe Blake said, 'I want you to play with the big guy and protect him.' I scored a couple of goals in my first game in Boston and I was in the Top 10 in scoring early in the season until I nearly tore my thumb off in a scuffle with Eddie Westfall.
In the latter part of his career, Beliveau was often asked by coach Toe Blake “to centre some good young players,” like Gilles Tremblay and Bobby Rousseau or Cournoyer and John Ferguson. “I told them not to ever change their style of game to play with me,” he said. “Just play your game; it’s up to me to adjust to you.”
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 4/22/1968
"Certainly you have a better shot with a curved stick," says Beliveau, who has tried the bent blade in practice but never in a game.
"But what would it do to my passing and face-offs?" To say nothing of his backhand. "You see, I'm passing as much with my backhand...50 percent to Gilles and 50 percent to Yvan," the 36-year-old playmaker explained.
"It's the same on the face-offs. Half the time I want to draw the puck back and you can't do it with a curved stick..." Does that give him an advantage over Mikita, who uses a Sophia Loren model? He smiled, "Let's say, I win my share."
It isn't often a player can call his shots in a playoff game, but Montreal Canadiens' Jean Beliveau called the turn on the winning goal in Montreal's 3-1 win over New York Rangers Saturday afternoon to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven semi-final.
Beliveau told winger John Ferguson where to position himself to receive a pass that Ferguson converted into the game winner. "We were taking a faceoff in the circle to the left of the Ranger net," said Beliveau, "and Ferguson came out to replace Gilles Tremblay on left wing on the power play.
"Ferguson asked me where he should stand in order to pick up a pass that I would try to get to him. I suggested he stay out a bit in front of the net, roughly between the two faceoff circles. He did, and I was lucky enough to win the draw and get the puck onto his stick."
Ferguson praised Beliveau's strategy in setting up the game winner. "I asked him where the puck was going and he told me," said Ferguson. "Sure enough the puck landed right on my stick and I just let it go."
The best year of Moore's career was the 1958-59 season when he and centre Jean Beliveau, who have never since played regularly together, went on a remarkable late-season scoring splurge.
That was the year he scored 96 points-the league record-on 41 goals and 55 assists, and Beliveau wound up with 91 points. No two players on the same team had ever scored more than 90 points a season, and none have since.
Bonin, in fact, is an amazing player. There is the inclination to suggest that only because of Beliveau and Moore is he able to play on the club, but then at other times it appears he more than carries his weight the digging he does for this pair.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 3/27/1959
Big Jean Beliveau said that it was an easier game than on Tuesday night but that the Hawks still had Glen Skov checking him most of the time.
"I don't know why they kept Skov out there checking me in the third period when we had such a big lead. You'd think they would be out to score goals. But they can keep on checking me all they want. It leaves a bigger opening for the other fellows."
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 1/23/1956
Beliveau, for a time, was just the opposite, and, in fact, during his first year with Les Canadiens he acquired the nickname Gentleman Jean when it was discovered around the league that the new rookie had a distinct aversion to mixing it up. His former coach, Dick Irvin, noticing the change that has come over Beliveau during the last year, says of him now, "Like the other great players in the game, Jean was quick to smarten up when he saw the opposition getting the best of him. He'll never be the type to go around looking for trouble, but now he can be as tough as anybody."
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette (Dink Carroll) - 2/13/1959
Jean Beliveau, who has continued to play well even when his teammates were bogging down, gave such a wonderful display against the Leafs that he had spectators goggle-eyed. Teeder Kennedy, the former star centre of the Leafs, was talking about him at the end of the second period.
"He's the best player in the league today," was his summation.
It was Big Jean who started the rhubarb in the third period when he hit Dick Duff from behind and slammed him into the boards. He was given a five-minute penalty for crosschecking.
This is to say that Big Jean is a better hockey player when he's a bit rough. There was nothing chippy about him when he first came into the league, and opposing players took advantage of him and chopped him down, he had to become more aggressive to protect himself. The year he led the individual scoring race he set a new record for penalties for a centre.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette (Dink Carroll) - 2/4/1955
The Toronto Leafs made a fatal mistake in the final period of the game with Canadiens at the Forum last night. They riled Jean Beliveau and the big fellow came out of the penalty box to score a goal and give Canadiens a 3-2 victory.
However, in talking with him [Bob Pulford], there's no doubt that he leans toward harsh hockey...As for Canadiens' Jean Beliveau whom he opposes at centre ice, Bob flatly rates him "the best hockey player I have ever seen," yet adds: "Beliveau would probably be even better if he had a nasty disposition. People would stay away from him."
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends
Like Mario, Big Jean was an almost unseen blend of grace and power. He had the body of a giant, yet was such a gentleman. He could use his physical gifts to dominate a game, but more often than not relied on his skill and smarts.
Wild Bill Eznicki, one of the most physical players of his era, recalled what it was like to attempt to knock down Beliveau: "It was like running into the side of a big oak tree. I bounced right off the guy and landed on the seat of my pants."
The other was to get Big Jean Beliveau so angry he'd forgot about hockey, or leave the game through penalties. Actually it didn't materialize that way, although for a moment in the first period, it almost worked. I have never seen Beliveau as angry, and certainly angry enough to swing his stick viciously. It happened in a wild scramble in front of the Chicago net, and whatever occurred, Beliveau suddenly took a two-handed, axe-like swing with his stick at Terrible Ted Lindsay who, fortunately, backed out of range just in time.
Afterwards, Beliveau just shrugged it off, appearing to disdain even commenting on the incident. But he was plenty irked at the time, and only the quick intervention of the officials kept the fracas to a minimum...If it was the plan, and somehow I am inclined to believe that perhaps it was just Terrible Ted, it didn't work, and there were no repercussions thereafter.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 6/15/1971
"He's a big strong guy and he's got such long arms that you can't get the puck away from," [Ted] Lindsay said. "It's a frustrating job trying to check him. But he concentrates on playing hockey and there's nothing chippy about him. You have to respect a guy like that."
"I think I've got a good hockey team, but it lacks a Beliveau," Emile Francis remarked on one of the Rangers' visits here last season. "He makes a big difference to a team because he's a leader and there aren't many of them around.
Reay's strategy was to keep the Scooter line of Stan Mikita, Doug Mohns and Ken Wharram away from the tenacious checking of Jean Beliveau, Yvan Cournoyer and Gilles Tremblay.
The Chicago coach would wait until the teams were ready on the faceoff an then send out his Scooter Line, making sure Beliveau and his wingers were on the Montreal bench. Blake, however, would keep the gate to his players' bench open until Reay sent out Mikita, Mohns and Wharram and then he would send out the Beliveau line. Referee Bill Friday obviously annoyed at the juggling for position, finally refused to allow Reay to rank Mikita when Beliveau appeared.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 3/19/1956
Same thing with Beliveau (SI, Jan. 23). Even taking into account the continued greatness of Richard, Gordon Howe and Red Kelly, Beliveau is doubtless the finest all-round player in the game today and is beginning to emerge as a performer who can do more things and do them better than any other center in the full history of hockey.
Originally Posted by Sarasota Herald-Tribune - 4/3/1966
Jean Beliveau, the Canadiens' veteran center and captain and the game's offensive star with two goals, pinpointed skating and checking as the major reasons for his club's easy triumph. "Checking gets you the breaks," Beliveau said. "The breaks never come when you're just looking for them."
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette (Dink Carroll) - 5/3/1965
Jean Beliveau won the new Conn Smythe Trophy and he certainly deserved it. He scored, set up plays, checked persistently and set the pace for his teammates. It was no accident that his linemates, Dick Duff and Bobby Rousseau, also enjoyed a good series.
Originally Posted by Saskatoon Star-Phoenix - 4/29/1965
Beliveau...has been a star in almost every game both in the semifinal against Toronto and in the final against the Blackhawks. He has 14 playoff points, including seven goals, has been a consistently strong forechecker, and has acted as the "general" of the Canadiens' awesome power play.
Most of what they got Monday was news the Canadiens' best player, centre Jean Beliveau, is hobbling with a leg injury which will probably keep him out of action altogether tonight when the second Cup game comes up.
Beliveau was a superb leader in Canadiens' four-game rout of Boston and five-game dismissal of Chicago. In those nine games, he scored seven goals and four assists, and one game-winner and led the club in power-play strikes with three.
That made him the most logical choice for the Conn Smythe Trophy which he has already won once.
The Bruins thought they were ready to take over the world. They certainly had the technical impedimenta to do it. But their time is not quite yet. Their greatest player, Bobby Orr is a stripling of 21. When all the chips were down at Boston Thursday, it was the great old pro, Jean Beliveau, 37, who raised his sceptre to the gods, not Orr, the great young pro.
Phil Esposito...missed so many scoring chances in the closing games, it became a conversation piece. But, there was a reason he missed, just as there was a reason Beliveau didn't with his golden goal in overtime. I was talking about it with Neil Armstrong, the Sarnia linesman who worked the final game. "The thing about those old pros," said Armstrong, "is they know how to take the time to be sure when the time is offered to them. Mostly there isn't time to make sure, but the young fellow doesn't have the experience to tell the difference."
It is strictly bad news for the St. Louis Blues that Beliveau is coming on his stick coming into the Stanley Cup final. Jean was unable to play any of the games against the Blues in last year's final because of a leg injury. Consequence was the Canadiens had to work like madmen to defeat St. Louis. They didn't beat them by more than one goal in each of the four games even though the Blues never looked as if they could take one of them.
Beliveau was dangerously active in back of the Boston net Thursday, a sure sign he's going to be a handful. Jean suffered a hip injury late in the season and it slowed him.
Beliveau almost retired during the down years of Canadiens' "Forgotten Decade" in the 60s, which saw them claim 5 Stanley Cups
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 4/4/1964
At the end of last season, Jean Beliveau, the great centre and captain of the Montreal Canadiens, seriously though of retiring. The year had not been a good one for either Big Jean or the Canadiens. Doctors confirmed a report that Beliveau had a small heart - an Austin motor in a Cadillac was the popular comparison - for a man who stands six-three and 210 pounds. As a result he tired easily.
Fortunately for Canadiens, Beliveau reconsidered. "When Dickie Moore quit and Jacques Plante was traded I decided I shouldn't quit," he said recently. "I didn't think all the veterans should go at once."
This year, instead of playing like a man on his last legs, Beliveau proved once more to be one of the best players in hockey. At the half-way mark of the season, he was the leader in the balloting for both the Hart trophy awarded to the NHL's most valuable player, and the centre spot on the all-star team. Going into the finals weeks of the season, he was locked in a fight for the scoring leadership with bobby Hull and Stan Mikita of the Chicago Blackhawks. Most hockey men agree that the main reason that Canadiens were a threat for the Stanley cup, instead of also-rans, was the outstanding play of Beliveau...
Beliveau is an athlete with so much grace that every move he makes seems easy. But in Montreal, no matter what he does, his fans fell he should be doing more. "Sometimes I wonder what they expect me to do," he says. This season he surpassed Nels Stewart, of the old Montreal Maroons, as the highest-scoring centre in NHL history.
"I don't know why, but I feel better than I've ever felt at this time of the season," the Montreal team captain said in a Forum rinkside interview where the Montreal Canadiens are in training.
What this could mean is bad news for the NHL rivals and a badly-needed shot in the arm for the sagging Canadiens. The talented 32 year-old center hasn't had a good season - for him - since 1960-61 when he scored...only five less points than the league's scoring champion, teammate Bernie Geoffrion.
Jean thinks this may be his best season in 10 years in the NHL. "I've always been a slower starter, but this year it's different.. I'm in better shape and I'm skating harder and moving easier than other years."
Holds National Hockey Leauge record for most most 30-or-more-win seasons by a goaltender (11).
Holds National Hockey League career postseason record for most games played by a goaltender (247).
Holds National Hockey League career postseason record for most wins (151).
Holds National Hockey League career postseason record for most shutouts (23).
Shares National Hockey League single-season record for most postseason shutouts (4), 2000.
Shares National Hockey League single-season postseason record for most wins (16), 1993.
Shares National Hockey League single-season postseason record for most wins (16), 1996.
Shares National Hockey League single-season postseason record for most wins (16), 2001.
Shares National Hockey League record for most consecutive postseason wins (11), 1993.
Became National Hockey League's all-time playoff win leader with his 89th win vs. 7-0 victory over Chicago, April 24, 1997.
Became youngest goaltender to record 400 victories (33 years), February 5, 1999.
Recorded 15th career National Hockey League postseason shutout (2-0 victory over Dallas), tying Hall-of-Famer Clint Benedict.
On November 14, 2001, Roy and the Avalanche defeated the Minnesota Wild 1-0 at the Pepsi Center for his 200th victory with the Colorado franchise. In the process, Roy became the first goaltender to win 200 games with two separate franchises (including 289 wins with Montreal).
On June 7, 2001, Patrick blanked the New Jersey Devils (4-0 win, 24 saves) in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the thirteenth goaltender in National Hockey League history to record four shutouts in one postseason.
Holds Colorado Avalanche franchise all-time record for most games played by a goaltender (352).
Holds Colorado Avalanche franchise all-time record for most wins by a goaltender (195).
Holds Colorado Avalanche franchise all-time record for most shutouts (23).
Holds Colorado Avalanche franchise all-time record for lowest goals-against average (2.39).
Youngest player (20 years) to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, 1986.
Most Conn Smythe trophies. (3)
Tied Colorado Avalanche franchise postseason record with 31 penalty minutes at Detroit, April 1, 1998.
Stanley Cup Champion: 1986, 1993, 1996, 2001 President's Trophy Winner: Vezina: 1989, 1990, 1992 Conn Smythe: 1986, 1993, 2001 William M. Jennings: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 2002 1st-Team All-Star: 1989, 1990, 1992, 2002 2nd-Team All Star: 1988, 1991 All-Star Game Participant: 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 All-Rookie Team: 1986
Vezina: 1986: 9th (0.01) 1987: 10th (0.02) 1988: 8th (0.08) 1989: 1st (0.83) 1990: 1st (0.87) 1991: 2nd (0.42) - Winner was Ed Belfour 1992: 1st (0.86) 1993: 6th (0.03) 1994: 3rd (0.26) - Winner was Dominik Hasek 1996: 9th (0.04) 1997: 3rd (0.19) - Winner was Dominik Hasek 1998: 5th (0.04) 1999: 8th (0.01) 2000: 7th (0.04) 2001: 5th (0.13) 2002: 2nd (0.70) - Winner was Jose Theodore 2003: 4th (0.11) Hart: 1992: 2nd - Winner was Mark Messier 1997: 8th 2002: 2nd - Winner was Jose Theodore All-Star: 1987: 4th (0.11) 1988: 2nd (0.20) - Behind Grant Fuhr 1989: 1st (0.92) 1990: 1st (0.97) 1991: 2nd (0.41) - Behind Ed Belfour 1992: 1st (0.93) 1993: 7th (0.01) 1994: 3rd (0.32) - Behind Dominik Hasek and John Vanbiesbrouck 1996: 8th (0.00) 1997: 3rd (0.18) - Behind Dominik Hasek and Martin Brodeur 1998: 6th (0.00) 1999: 7th (0.01) 2001: 4th (0.15) 2002: 1st (0.75) 2003: 6th (0.04)
Inducted into HHOF (2006)
Has number retired by the Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, Team Canada, and his QMJHL team
One of only 6 NHL players to have his number retired by two different teams.
Was ranked #5 in The Hockey News’ The Top 60 Since 1967 – The Best Players of the Post Expansion Era
Named Best Goaltender of All Time by a panel of 41 writers in 2004 in The Hockey News
Rated #2 in Hockey Stars Presents "The Top 50 Netminders in Pro Hockey", November 1993.
Named best goaltender, The Sporting News 1994-95 Hockey Yearbook.
Named best reflexes among goaltenders, The Sporting News 1994-95 Hockey Yearbook.
Named second-best glove hand, The Sporting News 1994-95 Hockey Yearbook.
Named third-best player to build a team around, The Sporting News 1994-95 Hockey Yearbook.
Rated #1 in Hockey Stars Presents "The Top 50 Netminders in Pro Hockey", November 1994.
Rated #3 in Hockey Stars Presents "The Top 50 Netminders in Pro Hockey", November 1995.
Voted Denver's Top Athlete in a Denver Post reader poll, 1997.
In The Hockey News 1997-98 Yearbook, was the only goaltender named "a franchise player".
Longest Win Streak: 11 games (January 12 to February 7, 1999).
Longest Unbeaten Streak: 17 games (January 28 to April 1, 1989 (14w3t), and January 30 to March 24, 1994 (13w4t)).
Longest Shutout Streak (regular season): 168 minutes, 47 seconds (February 1 to February 7, 1990).
Most Saves, Game: 51 (2-2 tie at Toronto), December 10, 1997.
Currently holds an eight-game Stanley Cup Finals winning streak.
Roy will not skate over the blue/red lines on the ice, writes the names of his children on his stick before every game, keeps the pucks from his current season's shutouts in his locker, and tapes the knob of his stick with exactly sixty revolutions (one for each minute in a regulation game).
In 1986, Patrick became the youngest starting goaltender to win the Stanley Cup.
In the first round of the 1994 playoffs, Roy came down with appendicitis and missed the third game of the series vs. Boston. Roy convinced doctors to let him return for Game Four and led the Canadiens to a 5-2 victory, stopping 39 shots.
Patrick Roy and Mario Lemieux were born on the same day.
Patrick Roy now co-owns, GMs, and coaches the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts
Patrick Roy was voted the best goaltender in history in the 2012-13 HOH Top Goaltender Project, narrowly edging out Dominik Hasek
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 22, 2004
He might not win every night (his once great glove-hand flourish was awkwardly slow when the Detroit Red Wings peppered Roy's goal with shots, knocking his Colorado Avalanche from the 2002 Western Conference final), but he knew that most nights and especially on those nights when it mattered most, he had the goods to come out on top. And so did the shooters.
He played in more games than any other goalie (1,029) and recorded more wins (551).
Perhaps those records will some day be matched or broken. Perhaps not. In the end, those are window dressing to the real heart of the matter -- Roy was the best money goaltender of all time.
The numbers say so. So do the memories.
He played in 247 playoff games, a playoff record. His 23 playoff shutouts are also a record.
What's most impressive, though, what ultimately separates the flash in the pans who surface every spring from Roy's blinding greatness, are the wins.
The one night he was the backup, the starter had equipment troubles early in the game. Subsequently Patrick came in and played well, and the starter never played another game the rest of the season. In the AHL playoffs, Roy established what was to be his finest attribute -- the ability to play under pressure. He led the team to a Calder Cup championship, and the next fall, he was at Montreal's training camp looking to join the club full time.
Originally Posted by E.M. Swift, Sports Illustrated, June 21, 1993
Certainly not in overtime of the Stanley Cup finals. "Always Sandstrom is in my crease, bothering me, hitting at me when I have the puck," Roy (pronounced WAH) said. "When I made the save on Robitaille, Sandstrom hit at me again. So I winked. I wanted to show him I'd be tough. That I was in control."
In control? Is that what you would call Roy's remarkable 10 straight overtime wins in the 1993 playoffs, a record the Canadiens set during their run to their 24th Stanley Cup? How about invincible? Impenetrable?
Though Canada missed out on a medal at Nagano, Roy was an impressive 4-2 with a 1.46 goals-against average and considered the top candidate to start in goal again at Salt Lake City.
Originally Posted by John Mossman, The Associated Press, 2/21/2003
In what should have been a lopsided first period, Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy faced 16 shots while New Jersey's Martin Brodeur faced only three. But Roy's brilliance allowed Colorado to emerge from the first 20 minutes with a lead, and the Avalanche went on to beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 Tuesday night...Roy had several outstanding saves in the period, including a stop on Nieuwendyk on a breakaway.
Originally Posted by Joe LaPointe, The New York Times, 5/29/2003
Roy was not the only dominant goalie of his era. Dominik Hasek, who retired last year, might have been as good and certainly played with more flamboyance. And Roy was not the first famous goalie from Quebec. Georges Vézina, Jacques Plante and Bernie Parent came before.
But Roy may have been the most influential goalie of the modern era, redefining his position the way Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain changed the perception of the center's role in basketball. And, like a tree that spawns a forest, Roy inspired a generation of French Canadian athletes in Quebec to play his position.
Originally Posted by Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated, 5/28/2003
Here's an offseason project for the NHL: Create the Patrick Roy Award. Then give it each spring to the postseason's best goalie -- which is exactly what Roy has been throughout his career.
Originally Posted by The Associated Press, 5/24/2002
The Avalanche were outshot 42-21 on Wednesday night, and no one needed to tell them that that discrepancy can't continue, regardless of Roy's brilliance.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/25/2002
"The same thing we've seen for years," Colorado center Joe Sakic said. "That's just Patty being Patty. He was in a zone. When he gets like that, you know what's going to happen."
And you can pretty much assume that it won't be a goal. When Roy stays square to the shooter, has his glove hand moving, and gives up few rebounds, as was the case Tuesday, the goal judge behind his net could go home early and no one would notice...... "Patrick proved once again he's the greatest goalie to ever play this game," Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said.
Originally Posted by Jacques Demers
"There are certain athletes, like Patrick, who are pure-breds," says Demers, who was fired four games into this season and now scouts for the Canadiens. "They're intense. Winners. Guys I've coached like Steve Yzerman in Detroit and Mike Liut, Bernie Federko and Doug Gilmour in St. Louis. They're not always easy to deal with. I was around [Piston coach] Chuck Daly, and I saw him praise Isiah Thomas, and, well, maybe there's a little different attitude in the States about how you treat stars. Patrick was the best player in Montreal since Guy Lafleur, and your best athletes—not your fourth-liners—win Stanley Cups for you. Roy is a guy who won 10 straight overtime games to get us the Cup in 1993.
Originally Posted by The Associated Press, 12/12/95
Few professional athletes have been as low as Patrick Roy was after he demanded to be dealt from the Montreal Canadiens. The man considered hockey's best goaltender for the last ten years wanted a clean break, and he got it.
Originally Posted by The Sporting News Hockey Yearbook, 1994-95
"Dominik Hasek of the Sabres and John Vanbiesbrouck of the Panthers outplayed him during the regular season and Mike Richter of the Rangers was outstanding in the playoffs. But put all the general managers together and ask them to pick the best goalie in the conference, and they'll choose Roy.
Originally Posted by Brian Skrudland
If Patrick Roy isn't the best goaltender in the world, he's right there - and he's been right there for more than a decade. Patrick is a proud man, and when Montreal traded him in December, he took it personally. I've never seen him so at ease and confident. And when Patrick Roy plays with that kind of confidence, he's almost unbeatable.
Originally Posted by Joe Nieuwendyk
Patrick's among the best at waiting you out, then reacting. That patience, plus his size, makes for a pretty formidable challenge. A lot of goalies over-commit. Not him. He's so technical. If you've got a chance against Patrick, you'd better make up your mind and stay hard with whatever decision you come to. If you doubt, you play right into his hands and you are dead.
Originally Posted by Scotty Bowman
When he's on, he is about as good as it gets
Originally Posted by Craig Billington
I think his mental skills make him a great goalie. He obviously has good physical skills, but I think it is what he has upstairs that makes him different.
Originally Posted by Bob Hartley
He's one of the greatest goalies in the game's history. When the big games are there, Patrick brings his game to another level. He's exceptional under pressure.
Originally Posted by The Washington Post, 5/4/1986
After a game in which his Maine team outshot Sherbrooke by 51-19 (23-5 in the first period) and lost, 7-3, Coach Tom McVie said: "They called Ken Dryden an octopus, but I've never seen a guy sweep up the puck like Roy."
"If we'd switched goalies, we would have won, 15-1."
Originally Posted by The Historical Website of the Montreal Canadiens
Over the course of the following seasons, Roy continued his dominant play in front of the Canadiens' net while establishing himself as one of the league's top goalies. From 1986 through 1993 he amassed a collection of Jennings Trophies, as the Canadiens regularly allowed the fewest goals against. Roy also claimed the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender three times with the Habs. His superstitions and ticks became known throughout the league, particularly his insistence on stepping over the blue line as well as his habit of talking to his goalposts.
Widely known for his competitiveness and determination, Roy raised his game to another level when his play was criticized after the Canadiens lost the first two games of their 1992-93 playoff series against Quebec. Montreal won the next four games to eliminate the Nordiques and set off on a tear that led to the team's 24th Stanley Cup. Roy, who claimed his second Conn Smythe Trophy, and the Canadiens set an incredible playoff record in the process by winning 10 straight overtime games.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
He imposed his style on the game, and legions of hockey fans and goalies everywhere were grateful. It is not just that his method was effective, that the revolutionary quick drop-n-slide of a pad could stone the wickedest snap shot. Roy's way was also fun, dramatic, cocky, marvelous, at times even beautiful. Far beyond the statistics, Patrick Roy entertained us and thrilled us while he emerged so dazzlingly as the best.
Some information taken shamelessly from chaosrevolver’s 2012 ATD bio
Last edited by bluesfan94: 01-25-2013 at 03:04 PM.
9x NHL All Star Game Participant
5x Top 9 Hart Trophy Voting(5, 5, 5, 8, 9), also received one vote in 82, 83, 84
10x Top 9 Norris Trophy Voting(2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 8, 8, 9)
13x Top 15 AS Voting among Defensemen(2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 15
3x Top 10 NHL in Assists(7, 10, 10)
9th in NHL in Points, 73-74
9x Top 12 Goals among Defensemen(2, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 10, 12)
11x Top 7 Assists among Defensemen(2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7)
11x Top 10 Points among Defensemen(2, 2, 2, 3*, 6**, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8, 10)
2nd in Goals in Playoffs, 77-78
5x Top 9 Assists in Playoffs(2, 5, 7, 8, 9)
2x Top 7 Points in Playoffs(3, 7)
10x Top 12 Points among Playoff Defensemen(2, 2, 2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12)
*one less point of 2nd place in 24 less games, 2nd best offensive defenseman that year
**2nd in PPG, 1.05 to .92 of 2nd place Jean Potvin
Brad Park was a highly efficient defender, combining size and clean but dogged tenacity with an uncanny awareness of the game. A noted hip-checker, Park was brash and unintimidated. But with the puck he became a natural chessmaster on the ice. more-than-likely make a perfect pinpoint pass to clear the puck out of the zone and start the attack. With a short burst of speed he would often jump to join the rush as a fourth attacker, and was a true power play quarterback. Park, not unlike Ray Bourque years later, was a consistently steady defender with often brilliant offensive instincts.
In almost any other time period Brad Park would have been considered the best defenseman of his time. But Park played in the enormous shadows of Bobby Orr in Boston and Denis Potvin on Long Island. The only thing that kept the spotlight on them as opposed to Park was their team success and a combined 6 Stanley Cup championships to Park's zero.
That's right, Brad Park never had the chance to sip champagne from the Stanley Cup, despite participating in the playoffs each of his 17 NHL seasons. Along with the likes of Marcel Dionne, Gilbert Perreault, and Mike Gartner, Park may be the best player ever not to have tasted Stanley Cup victory.
Park went from unbridled prodigy to popular sensation in New York, ranking him as perhaps the greatest defenseman in the long history of the Blueshirts.
"Park reminds me of Pierre Pilote," once said Chicago coach Bill Reay. "Both were relatively compact men who could accelerate better than most forwards."
Though it was popular with Manhattan fans, Park was brash off the ice as well. He penned the book Play The Man in 1971 where he was very forthcoming in his thoughts, notably badmouthing Boston fans, calling them animals and players, calling them thugs.
The Bruins fans hated Park and their natural rivals from New York, which made the feud all the more ironic when Park would be part of a blockbuster trade with the Boston Bruins. Perhaps the biggest the trade to that date, Park was the centerpiece of a Ranger/Bruin swap that saw the legendary Phil Esposito leave Beantown. Looking to find a fill-in for the often injured Orr, the Bruins also sent Carol Vadnais to New York and also received veteran Ranger Jean Ratelle.
The trade was uncomfortable for Park, who openly cried and considered not reporting. The two teams were bitter rivals. The only thing that could have been worse is if the Red Sox traded for a Yankee's starting pitcher.
But Park's cerebral play would quickly win over the fans. But the Bruins got a different, more mature Park than the one who so often dominated games against them. Park's play in Boston tamed down somewhat, mostly due to necessity. By the time he was 28 he had undergone five major knee surgeries and four arthroscopic surgeries. But his play remained sterling, in some ways better than ever under the Bruins tight checking system.
"My wheels aren't as good, but my brain is better," Park said at the time. "When I was younger and quicker I was capable of controlling a whole game over the whole rink. Now I've got to be content to control our zone. Basically I'm prepared to do less and do it well rather than try doing what I used to do and do it badly."
In just about any other era, Brad Park would have been considered the best defenseman of his generation. He had size and played aggressively, taking care of business in his own zone. Offensively, he was a pinpoint passer and a deceptive stickhandler, abilities which made him a natural and potent power-play threat. He had the skating speed and the instincts to join the rush, providing his team with a fourth attacker. But Park played at the same time as Bobby Orr, the greatest blueliner of any era, and later in his career his stellar achievements were second to Denis Potvin's dominating play with the powerhouse New York Islanders. Park was the runner-up six times for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defender and earned a berth on the league's All-Star Team seven times. He was an easy choice for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.
Park established himself as one of the top defensemen in the league in his second year. He earned the respect of his teammates and the fans in New York, and soon the whole league was talking about his savvy and poised play. Park was named to the NHL's First All-Star Team alongside Orr and placed second to the Bruins star in voting for the Norris Trophy. He was the youngest Ranger ever to earn a place on the league's first team.
Park's offensive numbers improved in each of his first four years with the Rangers. He was chosen to play for Canada in the Summit Series in 1972 and was impressive on the blue line for the embattled Canadians, finishing with five points in eight games. For the next several seasons, Park, whose Rangers had redeveloped into one of the league's better teams, was regularly compared to Orr, who was struggling with knee problems but still revolutionizing the position with his outstanding play.
Park was an expert at taking forwards out of the play and away from the middle of the rink. Opponents would feel as though they'd beaten the defender to open ice, only to find they no longer had a good view of the net. Though Park had knee problems of his own, many hockey people predicted his career would stretch further than Orr's.
In Boston, Park was a natural fit, his offensive skills meshing perfectly with the team's style of play. He enjoyed some his finest individual seasons with the Bruins and brought the club to the Stanley Cup finals in two consecutive seasons, 1977 and 1978, though the team failed to capture the title either time. Twice Park was second in the voting for the Norris Trophy while he played in Boston, beaten out both times by the emerging Denis Potvin of the Islanders.
He spent two seasons with the Wings, and though he had slowed a step, he proved he still had a unique sense of the game and the passing skills to take advantage of the openings he saw
Through seventeen NHL seasons, Brad Park exemplified blueline excellence. He was heralded as one of the best defensemen in the league virtually from the moment he first stepped onto the ice with the New York Rangers during the 1968-69 season.
Cherry rated Park the best defenseman in the NHL in 1978. "He doesn't rush the puck as much any more. He's hanging back a bit, playing an exceptional defensive game — the type of game a goaltender loves."
Often overshadowed by the great Bobby Orr, New York Ranger and Boston Bruins defenseman Brad Park (who later also played with Detroit) might have been the next best defensemen in the game during the 1970s.
Park often teamed with Gary Bergman to form an awesome defensive duo in the 8 game series with the Soviets. Park scored 1 goal and and had 4 assists in the series. He was especially strong in Moscow. In the historic final game he and Paul Henderson (of course) were named as Canada's players of the game. That is quite a feat considering that Canada's best player in the entire series, Phil Esposito, had 2 goals and 2 assists in the game and had a big role in the last minute heroics.
A few moments earlier, with Park dominating the play from his defense position the way Bobby Orr once did, the Bruins—hockey's Lunch Pail Athletic Club—had beaten the favored Montreal Canadiens 4-3 to tie the Stanley Cup finals at two games apiece.
It was a kind of Bobby Orr look-alike contest for defensemen. No centers, wings or goaltenders need apply. There was Boston's Brad Park playing keep-away with the puck, just like Orr did, and keeping Philadelphia Flyers away from Goaltender Gerry Cheevers.
Park, who as a New York Ranger never measured up to the "as good as Orr" label pinned on him by the club's management, was routinely brilliant for Orr's old Bruins as they swept away the stunned Flyers in four straight games
Park performed multiple chores for the Bruins, who, ironically, acquired him from the Rangers last season mainly as defense protection in the event that Orr should exercise his free-agent status and sign with some other club—which he did. Park played a minimum of 40 minutes a game in three of Boston's four wins, and in the other he was on the ice for more than 60 minutes as the teams battled into a second period of sudden death before Terry O'Reilly's goal won Game Two for the Bruins after 90:07 of hockey.
I need Park out there 40 minutes a game," says Boston Coach Don Cherry. "I sat down with him and asked him to change his style, to forget his end-to-end rushes, to forget individual recognition. Considering what we've asked him to do, and the help he's had, I don't think there's any question that Park's the best defenseman in the game."
But above all, the Bruins have benefited from the arrival of Park, who has helped the team alter its style largely by amending his own. With the Rangers, Park was a do-it-all defenseman who was frequently called upon to play tough guy and execute end-to-end rushes. When Park joined the Bruins, Cherry urged him to concentrate more on straight defense. Cherry is positively ecstatic when he says today, "Brad's not as flashy as he used to be, but he's a better player
On the ice Park is an intense, even fiery performer
Park did some nice poke checking in his own end and controlled the tempo of the Boston attack. He was on the bench during both Capital goals and on the ice for all of the Boston scores, including one of his own that put the Bruins ahead 2-1.
Poor Park. No matter how well he plays the NHL's second-best defenseman cannot escape Orr's giant shadow.
It was thanks mostly to Park, however, that the Great Boston Hex cracked quite abruptly in the third game, a contest played in Madison Square Garden amid a hail of transistor batteries, cigarette lighters, 50� pieces, beer cans (empty), shaving cans (filled), bags of cashew nuts ("very tasty," said Boston Goaltender Gerry Cheevers, who stopped one sack with the back of his neck) and rolls of pink toilet paper. The fans, relentless Boston haters, were aiming the missiles at the Bruins and cheering happily as Park revived the Rangers and led them to a 5-2 victory.
"As much as I hate to admit it," Phil Esposito said afterward, "Park was the difference." Park won it in the first 13 minutes of the first period. Three times he produced goals on the Ranger power play, scoring two himself and setting up Rod Gilbert for a third when his dead-on blast from 30 feet left Cheevers in no position to stop Gilbert on the rebound. Perhaps more important, though, Park also helped destroy the Boston power play three times—an assault that has been the most destructive force in hockey—when Orr, Esposito and friends had opportunities to take immediate command of the game and the series.
But mention that name on Ste. Catherine Street in Montreal or on Boylston Street in Boston. " Brad Park," goes the response, "is Bobby Orr disguised as a New York Ranger."
Baby-faced but brash, the 23-year-old defenseman has emerged as the Orr-style leader the Rangers have lacked in their lineup since, oh, before World War II—and Ching-a-ling Johnson isn't much help today. Like Orr, Park operates from the right defense position although he is a left-handed shot (a tricky switch, something like being a left-handed shortstop in baseball), and—again like Orr—he controls the tempo of a game. "Park does for us what Orr does for Boston," confirms Emile Francis, the tigerish little coach and general manager of the Rangers.
What Park has done for the Rangers so far this season is lead them recklessly past the struggling Bruins and the Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Canadiens to the top in the NHL's East Division. Last week he was routinely first-rate as the Rangers defeated Detroit and played tie games with Toronto and Pittsburgh, the latter a contest they would have won if their forwards had converted only one of the three clear breakaways they had on Goaltender Roy Edwards as the result of Park's perfect passes.
He was a total performer at the highest level, a fact firmly acknowledged by his induction into hockey's Hall of Fame.
Playing under coach Don Cherry, Park performed like the first team all star he had been in three seasons as a Ranger, if not better.
For a glorious, but all too brief period, Park teamed with Orr to give the Bruins the greatest power play quarterback tandem the league has ever seen.
Mostly though, it was Park's ability to step into a commanding role once Orr moved from Massachusetts to Illinois. And was Cherry's ability to realize that an alteration in Park's style would make Brad a better all around performer.
As a Ranger, Park was used in a do-it-all role, which means that he not only had to defend and score but also was called upon to play policeman and lug the puck from one end of the rink to the other.
The consumate contemporary defenseman, Park was the master of the hip check, as well as an exceptionally accurate shooter who could develop an attack and then retreat in time to intercept an enemy counterthrust.
His game was embellished by a fluid skating style that often underplayed his speed, as well as a storehouse of power that proved deceptive because of his relatively modest size.
He was the ice general and captain of a modestly successful Rangers teams...after his trade to the Bruins, he played for a team already in a decline, but the team remained competitive because of Park's combative play.
More than anything, Park was a refreshing player to watch and, in some ways, a throwback to an earlier, more robust era of defensive play.
The Rangers were playing the Red Wings and dangerous Gordie Howe wasa still playing for the Detroit team. Park was guarding Howe, notorious for his great strength, durability and viciousness. "Watch Howe!" Brad was warned. "He likes to club you with his elbows."
Park remained vigilant and when Howe confronted him, the young Ranger bodychecked the veteran cleanly, depositing him on the ice.
As Brad passed Howe, he turned to his assailant and rasped, "You sonofagun. It could have been my eye. From now on, when you're skating around me, keep your head up."
Unfortunately for him, a number of younger, flashier defensemen such as Denis Potvin of the New York Islanders and Randy Carlyle of the Pittsburgh Penguins were scoring more than Park, although not necessarily playing better defense.
But the purists remained appreciative of his skills, particularly his submarine body check, in which he'd thrust his hip into the path of onrushing attackers, catapulting them upside down to the ice. In 1977 and 1978, Park was one of the main reasons the Bruins reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
Like a Brad Park, we lost him twice in March and i mean, when we didn't have him, our power play wasn't the same. He was a key guy on our power play at the point.
They didn't like him and they didn't like him because he was good too.
Don Cherry used to call him truck driver strong. He didn't have the defined physique of a, you know, a weight body-builder but he was really a good player. The year that Potvin won the MVP (he won the Norris Trophy in 1976, 1978 and 1979 - Larry Robinson of Montreal won in 1977) really disappointed me. I mean, we played the Islanders, Brad Park would outplay Dennis Potvin every way to Sunday, you know?
I was very impressed with Brad Park because of all the different things he could do for your team. Espo was just a slot guy, score goals type of thing, you know? You couldn't move him he was so big. But Brad could do everything.
I think Brad Park, certainly after his first year, was a sort of leader. I don't know if he was vocal but he could make things happen.
Without Orr and Esposito, the Bruins high-fliers for nearly a decade, play that way no longer. Brad Park, traded from New York, has taken on a more economical and realistic style, and is once again one of the league's best defensemen.
Brad Park played his best game of the year at a critical time for the Boston Bruins.
With first place in the Adams Division at stake, Park scored one goal, assisted on another, played strong defense and helped kill penalties to spark the visiting Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
2x Stanley Cup Champion
2x 2nd in NHA Points Among Defensemen
2nd in ECAHA Points Among Defensemen, 06-07
3rd in ECAHA Points Among Defensemen, 07-08
36 points in 29 games in IHL as Forward
5x Led PCHA in Assists
5x Led PCHA in Points
3x Led PCHA in Goals
1st all-time points in PCHA
1st all-time assists in PCHA
2x Retro Norris Trophy Winner
3x Retro Hart Trophy Winner
Hockey Hall of Fame Member
In addition, Taylor was named to the first all star team in every season in his career up to 1918, at defense in the beginning of his career and later at rover.
Here are the two best attempts I've seen to put how dominant Taylor was in perspective compared to the rest of professional hockey, and within the PCHA
After adjusting to equalize the assists per game ratios, I have a new set of consolidated finishes for the 3 split league players who were selected.
Note that this study appears to be missing Taylor's 1916-17 season, where he had 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points in 11 games, which would add another impressive finish in there.
Here is the second study, examining Taylor's dominance within the PCHA after adjusting for spotty assist recording, which underrated his abilities as the best playmaker in maybe the first 30 years of hockey's existence:
Frederick Wellington Taylor performed exceptionally well at several positions during his legendary career. His dynamic rushes and memorable scoring feats made him one of hockey's first superstars. He was one of the few players in the history of the game capable of skating backwards as fast as many could forwards.
Taylor joined his new team in time for only the last six games of the season, but the "Listowel Wonder" wasted little time in making an impact. He took the league by storm, scoring 11 goals in the half-dozen matches and garnering a place on the IHL All-Star Team. The following year, Taylor was a major component of the Houghton club's league championship.
In 1907-08, Taylor joined the Ottawa Silver Seven of the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association. It was here that he made a name for himself as an explosive rushing defenseman, scoring nine goals in 10 games. The nickname "Cyclone" was first accorded this exciting figure by local reporters after a cartoonist with the Ottawa Journal depicted one of his cyclonic rushes in vivid detail.
Taylor's excellent play helped Ottawa win the ECAHA championship in 1909 and the team became holders of the Stanley Cup. In a transaction that caused a stir across Canada, Taylor was signed in 1910 by the Renfrew Millionaires franchise, which was preparing to join the newly founded National Hockey Association in 1910. The salary paid to him was the highest ever for a Canadian athlete up to that time and remained so for many years. Taylor scored 22 goals in 28 games over the next two seasons before the team was disbanded.
While employed on the West Coast, Taylor averaged more than a goal per game in a formidable display of offensive prowess. His second Stanley Cup triumph came in 1915. He scored six goals in the Millionaires' three-game domination of Ottawa in the championship showdown. The sheer magnitude of Taylor's excellence in the series elevated him to the status of hero right across Canada.
Taylor led all PCHA goal scorers in 1918 and 1919 with 32 and 23 goals respectively. Even though the Toronto Arenas defeated Vancouver in the 1918 Stanley Cup championship, Taylor proved to be the most revered performer in the match-up. He finished ahead of all playoff scorers with nine goals in seven games.
Cyclone retired following the 1920-21 schedule but delighted the fans one more time by making a one-game cameo appearance for Vancouver two years later. He accumulated 194 goals in 186 regular-season games while carving out a reputation as one of hockey's surefire drawing cards. He earned the remarkable distinction of being named to the First All-Star Team everywhere he played from 1900 to 1918.
Long before there was such a thing as the National Hockey League, Fred "Cyclone" Taylor was already established as the first legend of hockey.
Cyclone's amazing ability to skate from one end of the rink to the other and score became so well known that it wasn't long before people all over were talking about him. In fact many claimed to have seen him score a goal while skating backwards. When asked about this Cyclone replied by saying, "No, I never did score a goal while skating backwards. I know there are a lot of elderly people in Ontario today who would swear they saw it happen. But it's just one of those stories that was blown up."
What many consider one of the best skaters ever to grace the ice, Fred "Cyclone" Taylor died on June 9, 1979, leaving behind a legend of a player who will never be equaled.
Nicknamed "Cyclone" for his breathtaking speed, Fred Taylor was hockey's first superstar. Though known for his squeaky clean game, Taylor was often caught up in the politics and turmoil of hockey's early professional years.
One of the first hockey superstars, Fred "Cyclone" Taylor was a talented, high-scoring rover/centerman who played for nine successful seasons with the Vancouver Millionaires of the PCHA. His reputation as a scorer, however, as well as his flamboyant nickname, was earned back east, where he broke into hockey as one of the game's earliest rushing defensemen.
His blazing speed dazzled both players and fans alike, and when he used it to dominate the game, scoring five goals in his very first game in the league, it was reported that the governor general turned to his aide and commented, "They should call that man the Cyclone-his speed blew the other team out of the rink."
The rover's place on the ice wasn't clearly defined, but like a centreman, his responsibilities encompassed essentially the entire sheet of ice. Cyclone Taylor was truly one of the best. In fact, some long time sportswriters consider Taylor to be hockey's first superstar. From 1900 to 1918, he was named to the First All Star Team of every league in which he played.
"Taylor got the puck on a pass" reported the Mercury, "and skating down the ice in his usual fine fashion, he turned, going backwards, he skated a piece and then sent the shot home to the Ottawa nets with skill and swiftness
Taylor was effective, and managed to win over the hostile crowd, but was held off the scoresheet. As Gorman reported, eleven minutes into the second half, "The one and only Taylor, the cynocosure of all eyes, eventually carried the puck through to Whitcroft who, amidst a wild demonstration on the parts of the Renfrew backers, tied the score." The wire services said that, "The crowd towards the close were unable to retain a demonstration in favour of Taylor. When he carried the rubber down and give it over to Whitcroft, who tied the score, nearly everyone in the rink broke into cheers. Nine out of ten people expect Taylor to go up in the air, but, on the contrary, he was as cool as an iceberg.
Taylor picked up the puck in his own end and raced towards the boards, sharply cutting up ice. He isolated the point men with a feint inside and moved around them. In just a few strides he was alone in on LeSueur. He pivoted around, his back to the goalie and while continuing backwards, lifted the puck past the startled Ottawa netminder."
As usual, it was Taylor who stole the show and got raves such as "...Taylor's cyclonic rushes electrified the audience..." and "...the player they so aptly call 'Cyclone' almost literally explodes with excitement. There is nothing quite like him in American sport..."
Just before leaving east, he had refereed a benefit game, ahd been caught in a collision on the boards and suffered a badly gashed left hand. As he could barely hold the stick, he was asked to play just a few minutes of the first game and none of the second. But, after all the buildup, the pressure was on for more of Taylor in the final game back in Vancouver, and Frank was all for it.
The story of the game is more fully told in my earlier book, "Cyclone Taylor: A Hockey Legend", so suffice to say here that Taylor came out just like his nickname and all but blew the West All-Stars off the ice with his blinding speed and hell-for-leather aggressiveness. The arena was in an uproar as he broke up a rush, stole the puck, and then split the defense before slipping a silk-slick pass to Art Ross for the go-ahead goal. The fans were on their feet minutes later when Taylor repeated the maneuver, this time setting up Jack Darragh for the score. He got a two-minute ovation for that little gambit.
Frank Patrick, who had been beaten badly in the second rush, must have had mixed emotions.
Although he had played brilliantly in that night's losing cause, it was the beginning of the end for Taylor. This was to be his last season after 17 years in pro hockey as the game's most exciting performer.
So would another player of that season of 1907-8 a tough, wily ittle bolt of lightning named Fred "Cyclone" Taylor of the Ottawa Senators.
At 23, Taylor was fresh from 2 brilliant seasons with Houghton of the 6 team International league that had just closed shop after a brief but turbulent life as the game's first fully professional circuit. In those 2 seasons, he had dazzled the fans in the tough Michigan copper country with a blinding speed that was matched only by his remarkable stick-handling. He was the player about whom Lester Patrick would one day, after ending his long reign as boss of the New York Rangers, say, "There will never be his equal."
Taylor, a center in Houghton, had been switched to cover-point, a more independent role that made better use of his great speed. A prime factor in the switch was the fact that the Ottawa forwards simply couldn't keep pace with him.
Taylor proved to be the sensation of the night. Such marvelous defensive play and individual work has never before been seen in Ottawa. He himself scored four goals, but was directly responsible for many more. Taylor arrived here with the appellation "The Whirlwind of the IHL" tagged on him.
As for Frank Patrick, high up in the cheap seats at that historic unveiling, he was stunned by Taylor's performance. "I had never," he recounted, "seen such an explosive hockey player, nor one with such skills. I was literally mesmerized by the man. I knew right away that he was something special."
On the ice, the two brothers, even as every other player in the league including the redoubtable Lalonde, had to get used to the idea of playing second fiddle to Taylor, the master showman who hogged the headlines wherever he played.
The night following a game in which Taylor had again electrified the fans and mesmerized reporters with his dazzling end to end rushes...
Of Taylor himself, Frank has written: "Taylor was the ultimate hockey player. There'll never be another like him. He was blessed with the complete skills, quite apart from a unique excitement he generated every time he stepped onto the ice. I watched him very closely, and some of our ideas, such as creating the two blue lines to open up the center-ice area for passing, were inspired by his marvelous style.
Despite the horrible conditions, the eccentric Fred Taylor was there playing in all his glory...always he kept an opponent guessing. He loved to race ahead and then suddenly double back with the puck. this exasperated the enemy, but the coolness of it provoked thunderous cheers from the fans.
Barney Holden took a swipe at Taylor's head with his stick. Cyclone retaliated in kind, bloodying Barney's nose.
Taylor, the man of immense skills who packed the arenas wherever he played, was the classic example of this. In a game where another player might get 4, 5, or 6 goals while he was being held to one or two or maybe none at all, it was invariably Taylor who got the headlines.
Taylor represented the best that the professional game had to offer. Although not a big man, he was a tenacious, skillful, speedy, and flamboyant player...Like Wayne Gretzky in the late 20th century, Taylor's fame and drawing power extended beyond Canada.
He supplied the only "rough stuff" of the game when he made a vicious attack with his stick on Meeking as the latter was lying on the ice. The Toronto boy in checking Taylor, fell and his stick caught "Cyclone" on the back. He left the puck and twice hit the fallen player with his stick. Randall went to Meeking's rescue and both he and Taylor exchanged jabs.
During the first period, Taylor, who is really on the sick list and should not have been on the ice, delighted the crowd with some of his sensational rushes and they had no eyes or yells for the first period for anything but "Fred".
Fred Taylor, the Renfrew star, over whom there was a long wrangle as to whether he should play or not, when Ottawa substituted him for Fred Lake, after the Wanderers had scored twice in the first period, was the most spectacular man on the ice. For cleverness in carrying the puck down the rink his equal has never been seen here. A giant almost in stature he brought the crowd to its feet whenever he started down the ice, Taylor captivated his audience and was warmly applauded after each rush.
Fred Taylor and Art Ross were the shining lights in tonight's fracas which was one of the cleanest exhibitions played here this winter. Taylor was in fine form and his grand stand work was frequently applauded. He scored half of the goals for his team.
"Cyclone" Taylor, Vancouver's star centre player and boss scorer of the PCHA, is on the hospital list. Playing for the past 2 weeks with a sore back, the scoring wizard suffered a further severe strain in the groin, in the game last Thursday in Seattle. While the veteran, who has been playing in wonderful form of late, is a mighty sick man, it is expected that he will be able to take his place on the lineup against Portland here tonight.
Vancouver, who lacked punch, suddenly came to life. Taylor took a pass from Stanley at centre ice and wiggled through Cameron and Mummery registering a direct hit. He took the rubber from beside his own goal and scored the second tally, one minute after.
The trouble came after the referee had been obliged to order off the ice for palpably rough play Taylor, Walsh and Lake, all of the Ottawa team. Taylor had been particularly conspicuous for rough work, and Russell promptly ordered him out of the game for good.
Taylor, who was on the line the night the team was beaten in Quebec, was in Moore's position at cover point, increasing the efficiency of the defence about 50 percent. He was ruled off 4 times in the game, twice for heavy bodychecking and twice for slashing Wanderer forwards over the arms. His play, while on the rough side, was very effective; he was a hard man to get by and towards the end he stirred up the crowd by lightning rushes from end to end of the rink. He scored Ottawa's sixth and seventh goal on such dashes and was also responsible for the twelth, although Phillips landed teh disc in the twine.
With Taylor off, the Wanderer forwards found it easier to work in on the Otttawa defence...
Taylor made it 11 to 1 on an end to end run and a pretty shot.Taylor immediately after the face repeated the run and Phillips scored from the rebound of Taylor's shot.
Taylor brought the crowd to their feet by stealing the disc from Hooper at the Ottawa end and going through the whole Wanderer team for Ottawa's sixth goal. Taylor went in and out through Glass and Ross and taking his time picked out the open corner of the net.
"Was regarded as a speedy rushing defender in the east. (Played rover and center upon moving west) He was a great goal scorer and inspirational leader. He was named many times to western all-star teams.
"When the O'Briens decided to pack the Renfrew team in the newly formed NHA, their plans wo win the Cup were predicated on securing Taylor from Ottawa. Altough Renfrew never got anywhere in their quest for the Cup, they put on a good show and Taylor was the star."
"Great players like Smokey Harris, Frank Nighbor, Mickey Mackay, Barney Stanley, and Gordon Roberts appeared on the Vancouver forward lines, but Mackay was the only one who seriously challenged Taylor."
Upon his arrival in Houghton/Portage Lakes in 1906 the local newspaper stated:
"Taylor is one of the fastest and most effective, if not the very best player that western Canada has ever produced." (I guess Ontario was considered Western Canada in those days.)
And also: "Taylor is a whirlwind, and has a superior on not any of the league teams."
The likes of Lalonde and several other Hall of Famers played in this league.
Legendary Pittsburgh shortstop Honus Wagner claimed Taylor "was as fine of an athlete as he has ever seen".
He was as near perfection as we shall probably ever see. He had the speed of Morenz, the grade of Bun Cook, the poke check of Frank Boucher, the shot of Tom Phillips.
Last edited by BillyShoe1721: 04-22-2013 at 06:31 PM.
I keep telling myself that "this is the draft I'll finally build a defense-first team," but it never works out that way.
IMO, the best value pick at this point is clearly 5-time Art Ross winner, Phil Esposito, C
He falls because he's a very specialized player, not because of lack of upside:
5 Art Ross Trophies (the same number as Jagr )
Led the league in goals 6 Times
Led the league in assists 3 Times
2 Hart Trophies
2 Lindsay Trophies
1st Team All Star Center 6 straight seasons
1st or 2nd Team All Star Center 8 straight seasons
Had thirteen consecutive 30+ goal seasons, second most in history.
Points finishes: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 7, 9
Goals finishes: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 4, 8
Assists finishes: 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 5, 6
Led the playoffs in points 3 times, goals 3 times, and assists 2 times.
Led the 1972 Summit series in scoring with 13 points (7 goals, 6 assists) in 8 games. With no Bobby Orr in the lineup.
NHL coaches polls:
Best on faceoffs
Best on faceoffs
Most dangerous near goal
Most dangerous near goal
Most dangerous near goal
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Esposito was teamed up with Bobby Orr in Boston, forming one of the most dynamic scoring duos in hockey history. Orr would dance around from his point position with no one knowing how to defend against hockey's first offensively dominant defenseman. Esposito would park himself in the slot, readying himself for a pass, a deflection or a rebound. He was such a master of scoring garbage goals that a common saying in Boston in these days was "Jesus saves, but Espo scores on the rebound." Stan Fischler once dubbed Espo as the "highest paid garbage collector in the United States."
In his very first year in Boston Espo led the entire league in assists. By year two He became the first player to break the 100 point plateau. In fact, he smashed the old record held by Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull. Both of those magnificent Chicago players shared the record with 97 points in a single season. In 1968-69, Phil scored 126 points!! Two years later he would again post mind boggling totals of 76 goals and 76 assists for 152 points, unheard of stats then especially, and even by today's standards absolutely amazing!
Three years after the trade Espo led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup, ending a 29 year drought for the B's. Although Bobby Orr's flying-through-the-air Cup clinching goal against the Blues is best remembered, Esposito had an incredible playoff, scoring 13 goals and 27 points in just 14 games, leading all post season scorers in each category Two years later, the Bruins won another Stanley Cup with Esposito scoring 24 points in 15 games.
He is one of those lucky players with a comprehensive well-cited wikipedia entry:
Chicago Black Hawks
Midway through the 1964 season, Esposito was called up to the parent Black Hawks to make his NHL debut. Centering for the great Bobby Hull beginning in the 1965 season, he proved himself a quality playmaker, twice finishing amongst the league-leading scorers over the next three seasons.
In 1967, he was dealt to the Boston Bruins in a blockbuster trade, along with Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield. While the hitherto unremarkable Hodge and Stanfield became stars in the black-and-gold, Esposito blossomed into the greatest scorer of his day, becoming the first NHL player to score 100 points in a season with 126 in the 1969 season. He would top the "century" mark six times in all, including five consecutive seasons between 1971 and 1975 (plus a 99-point season in 1970), capturing the Art Ross Trophy in 1969 and 1971–74 as the top regular season scorer, and leading the league in goals for six straight seasons, (69/70 to 74/75).
Esposito was named to the NHL's First All-Star team six consecutive times (from 1969–74), and won the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player in 1969 and 1974. His Boston fans printed and displayed bumper stickers during his best years to celebrate his scoring: they read, "Jesus saves, Espo scores on the rebound." Esposito, while not a fast or graceful skater, was best known for his unmovable presence in front of the opposition net from which he could score from all angles. Esposito has said: “Scoring is easy. You simply stand in the slot, take your beating and shoot the puck into the net.”
During these great years, centering one of the most renowned forward lines in history with Hodge on right wing and left winger Wayne Cashman, Esposito and fellow superstar Bobby Orr led the Bruins to Stanley Cup victories in 1970 and 1972, and first-place finishes in the league in 1971, 1972 and 1974.
During 1970–71, Esposito shattered the record for most goals scored in a season when he finished up with 76. This record stood until 1982 when Wayne Gretzky scored his 77th, 78th and 79th goal against the Buffalo Sabres on February 24, 1982 at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Esposito was on hand to present the game puck to Gretzky. Esposito also set the single season point-scoring record in 1971 with 152, a mark now held by Gretzky at 215. Only three other players have reached the 150 point-scoring plateau — Mario Lemieux 199, Steve Yzerman 155 and Bernie Nicholls 150 — and only Gretzky, Lemieux, Brett Hull, Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny have scored 76 or more goals in a season. That season also saw Esposito shatter the single season mark for shots on goal with 550. This record still stands; in fact, only one other player has been within 100 shots of tying it (Alexander Ovechkin in 2008–09, in a season that was four games longer than when Esposito set the record).
After his performance in the Summit Series, where he was the inspirational leader for Team Canada and its leading scorer in the series, he won the 1972 Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's outstanding male athlete of the year and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Esposito also scored the first goal of the series and he scored or assisted four times in the deciding game. During that series, his scolding of Canadian fans, who booed the national team after a 5–3 loss to the Soviet Union in Game Four, was credited with firing up his teammates:
"If the Russian fans boo their players in Moscow like you people are booing us, I'll come back and apologize personally to every one of you, but I really don't think that will happen. We gave it and are doing our best. All of us guys are really disheartened. . . . We came out here because we love Canada. They're a good hockey team, and we don't know what we could do better, but I promise we will figure it out. But it's totally ridiculous — I don't think it is fair that we should be booed."
He also played for Team Canada in the inaugural Canada Cup in 1976, on a line with Hall of Famers Bobby Hull and Marcel Dionne. The following year, Esposito would represent Canada once more in the 1977 World Championships.
New York Rangers
In 1975–76, he and Carol Vadnais were traded to the New York Rangers for Brad Park, Joe Zanussi and Jean Ratelle.
While not as glittering an offensive force as in his glory days, as captain of the Rangers, Esposito led the Blueshirts in points each of his full seasons with the club and remained an effective scorer until his final season. The highlight of his years in New York was leading the Rangers to the Stanley Cup final in 1979 where at 37 years of age he finished third in postseason scoring.
On November 4, 1977, Esposito scored his 600th NHL goal at Vancouver, becoming the first player to reach that milestone in a Rangers uniform.
He retired in 1981, behind only Gordie Howe in career goals and total points, and third in assists to Howe and Stan Mikita.
Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 01-25-2013 at 06:34 AM.
-Three time Stanley Cup Champion (1929, '29 & '41)
-Two time Captain of the Stanley Cup Champions (1939 & '41)
-Three time First Team All-Star (1939, '40 & '41 as a D)
-Three time Second Team All-Star (1931 & '35 as a RW, 1944 as a D)
-Four times Top 10 in NHL goal scoring (2nd: 1930, 5th: 1935, 8th: 1931 & 10th: 1937
-Two times Top 10 in NHL assist scoring (7th: 1932, 10th, 1930)
-Two times Top 10 in NHL scoring (3rd: 1930, 8th: 1932)
-Four times Top 5 in NHL scoring by a Defenceman (1st: 1941, 2nd: 1939 & '40, 5th: 1943)
-Captain of the Boston Bruins for 13 seasons, 4th longest for any player, held the record for approximately 50 years.
Dit Clapper enjoyed a NHL career that few others have equaled. He is the only NHLer to have been named an All Star at both forward and defense. Clapper, who was the first player to play 20 seasons all in the National Hockey League, all with the Boston Bruins, was extremely versatile, playing 9 seasons on the right wing, and 11 seasons on the blue line. ...
In 1937-38 Clapper was dropped back to the blue line. His unmatched knowledge of the game allowed him to dominate from both positions and become an all star at each position. "Clapper diagnosed the plays like a great infielder in baseball," remembered Bruins goalie Tiny Thompson. "He put himself where the puck had to come. "
...I'm inclined to rank Clapper highly this round. His peak came as a defenceman. And his lack of longevity as a defenceman is not because of any failings he had. It's because Boston had Eddie Shore and Lionel Hitchman at defence and needed a right winger. And Clapper was "amazingly fast on skates and had the swiftest, most bullet-like shot in hockey; a shot so blindingly fast that the puck was in the net long before goalies knew what had happened," (Hiam) so he was also a good fit at forward.
Originally Posted by BM67
...Here's a quote from Bobby Bauer talking about Clapper - "He was so very good in so many ways, but he stood out for one thing. He made so few mistakes." - I believe this came from him talking about how Clapper took the young Kraut Line under his wing when they got to Boston.
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe
...The competition argument for Clapper is being overblown, considering he played at the exact same time as Earl Seibert and for 3 straight years, was better. ...
Originally Posted by BM67
...Clapper during the 10 years he played D has at least as good an award voting record (has more 1st team all-star votes), scored more points and had more team success than Seibert. ...
Originally Posted by overpass
...I have very little doubt that Clapper was better as a defender than as a forward, based on the voting results. ...
Originally Posted by BM67
... From 37-38 on, Clapper has more 1st team all-star votes, and has a 2nd and 3rd in Hart voting to Seibert's 4th place finish. Clapper was 4 years older and played half his time on D after a career threatening injury. Why doesn't Seibert beat Clapper out for the 1st team all-star until after Clapper severs his tendon? And during the war years to boot.
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey
That's a fair point. A cursory review of the newspaper archives shows a pretty much unanimous opinion that Clapper was the best defenseman in the game at his 38-41 peak.
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe
...There are multiple ways to judge players, and it seems very likely that for three straight seasons, Clapper was a better defenseman than Seibert ever was.
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe
... It's valid to judge players based on their peak, and if so, there's a good case that Clapper peaked higher than Seibert, as a defenseman. ...
Originally Posted by The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 2 – Biography
Earl Seibert was one of the finest defensemen of the era, playing for 15 years in the NHL, during which time he as chosen as an All-star for ten consecutive years, four times for the first team and six times for the second. He was on one championship team and two Cup winners.
Over six feet tall and almost 200 lbs, he was very fast and a superb checker both with stick and body. He was an excellent stickhandler and there were those who thought he would have done well as a forward.
He drew a lot f penalties but they were largely in the line of duty and he was not inclined to enter needless battles.
[quote The Hockey News: The Top 100 Players of All Time]An excellent rushing defenseman, Seibert scored 89 goals and recorded 276 points. He was also considered one of the best shot-blockers of his era, never afraid to use his body to prevent a goal.[/quote]
Originally Posted by Kings of the Ice
Earl's demeanor was always serious. On the ice, this manifested itself in mature play and tremendous leadership.
Seibert was generally regarded as second only to Eddie Shore in terms of skill and rugged play, and Shore once confessed that Seibert was the only man he was afraid to fight. Defensively, Seibert was one of the best shot-blockers in the game, and he could move the puck as quick as anyone.
A writer for the Springfield Daily News, Sam Pompei, once commented, "I've heard a lot of people say Earl was the best player of his era, but Eddie Shore stole the spotlight with his color."
In 1938 he led the Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in five games. "The biggest reason we won," coach Bill Stewart asserted, "was that we had Earl Seibert on our defense. The big guy played about 55 minutes a game."
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
His fine blend of strength, size, and skill drew the attention of many scouts…
Seibert was a strong, fast skater, an intimidating force with his stick and his body. He was also one of the better shot-blockers around… Earl also owned excellent puck-handling skills and he was almost impossible to knock off his skates.
Originally Posted by The Chicago Blackhawks
Earl Seibert was a great all-around player who helped Chicago to its second Stanley Cup. He was a fearless shot blocker, a powerful skater, and a good passer.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey - Biography
Seibert's demeanor was always serious. On the ice, this manifested itself in mature play and tremendous leadership. Off ice, it meant he was a tough negotiator in contract talks. During his second season, Seibert enlisted his father as his agent in some acrimonious negotiations with the Rangers, but any ill feelings were forgotten by the time New York won the Stanley Cup that spring, beating the Leafs 3-1 in a best-of-five final series. Eventually, though, the Rangers brass tired of Seibert's tenacious haggling and he was traded to Chicago for Art Coulter.
It was in the Windy City that Seibert established himself as one of the best defensemen of his era. He was named to the First or Second All-Star Team each year between 1935 and 1944, a feat surpassed only by Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull and Doug Harvey. Seibert was generally regarded as second only to Eddie Shore in terms of skill and rugged play, and Shore once confessed that Seibert was the only man he was afraid to fight. Defensively, Seibert was one of the best shot-blockers in the game, and he could move the puck just as quickly as anyone.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey – Spotlight
Compared to most in the National Hockey League, Seibert was a big man at 6-foot two inches in height and 220 pounds. He played the game tough but fair, but had a mean streak, and when partnered with Johnson, was one of the most formidable defence pairings in the league at that time. In addition, Seibert was an excellent puck-moving defenceman who was also a good shot-blocker. He quickly developed into a star.
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
Seibert was much more than just a rearguard roughian. He was a great shot blocker, and he was a far better skater and puck handler than the departed Abel. Seibert rarely gets remembered as the excellent hockey player that he was. Between 1934-35 and 1943-44, he made the All Star team 10 seasons in a row, six times on the first squad and four times on the second squad. Some old timers insist only Eddie Shore was better.
Though he was intimidating and unforgiving, most of the time Seibert was very clean.
Originally Posted by Clem Loughlin
I don't think there is a better defense player in the league than Earl Seibert. He plays a hard game at the defence position, and is a more valuable player than Eddie Shore, Babe Siebert or Ebbie Goodfellow. Seibert is down to his playing weight of 210 pounds right now. Although he weighs more than the defence stars I have mentioned, he can break faster and skate faster than any of them.
Originally Posted by Ching Johnson
Let’s put it this way, no one wanted any part of ‘Si’ in a fight. Even Eddie Shore and Red Horner steered clear of him, and Shore and Horner were considered the toughest guys in the League at the time.
Originally Posted by Eddie Shore
It's lucky he was a calm boy, because if he ever got mad, he'd have killed us all.
Originally Posted by Frank McCool
You just hope somebody gets him before he blasts you, net and all, right out of the rink.
Originally Posted by Joe Pompei
He had acceleration with his second step no one could match and he was probably the best skater of the 1930s.
Ultimate Hockey's All-Star Team of the 1930s
Originally Posted by The New York Times – December 22nd, 1933
The New Yorkers made their strongest bid in the second when they rattled sixteen shots at the Northerns' cage. Earl Seibert, the big defense star, played a large part in the Rangers' offensive in this session, and several times sent blistering shots that looked too hot for the Senator goalie to handle.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – February 16th, 1934
Rangers' big shot was Earl Seibert, who sailed down the ice with the greatest of ease like the daring young man on the flying trapese and then sailed back again with equal effectiveness, in a great two-way display.
Originally Posted by The Telegraph – January 29th, 1938
Seibert, whose sharp-shooting eye and natural speed…
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – December 28th, 1938
Stewart had… outstanding two-way defenceman in Earl Seibert.
Earl Seibert remains one of the best two-way rearguards in the league. He is a powerful bodychecker, good blocker and cyclonic rusher.
Originally Posted by The Edmonton Journal – October 25th, 1941
Thompson still has four experienced men for his defence positions. They are Earl Seibert, the speedy bruiser who can score consistently …
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – February 26th, 1942 – How to build a championship team
And finally one pillar-of-strength two-way defenseman as your spark and rallying-point (an Earl Seibert or a Dit Clapper).
Originally Posted by The Ottawa Citizen – December 4th, 1942
Earl Seibert, probably the best defence player in the league…
Originally Posted by The Leader-Post – January 23rd, 1943
Earl Seibert of Chicago Black Hawks, for instance, would be accorded high rating defensively by any impartial tribunal. Offensively, the Chicago star ranks second only to Walter (Babe) Pratt of Toronto Maple Leafs. ...
Without Seibert, the Chicago defense collapsed.
Originally Posted by The Lewiston Evening Journal – December 29th, 1944
Seibert, the bulwark of the Chicago club’s defense for years – he has played 55 of 60 minutes.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – April 4th, 1944
Hawks are pinning their hopes of victory on their great defensive trio of Art Wiebe, Mike Karakas and Earl Seibert, who were largely responsible for the downfall of Detroit. Karakas, former Chicago goalie recalled by the club late in the season, literally "goaled" his team into the final round, while Seibert has been both the defensive and offensive sparkplug of the squad all season.
Originally Posted by The New York Times - January 5th, 1945
Detroit had big Earl Seibert, recently obtained in a swap for three players from the Black Hawks, in its line-up. Seibert, of course, turned in his usually dependable game.
Originally Posted by The Leader-Post – January 11th, 1945
Boston's Arthur Ross is just one of the many well-versed hockey men who believes Detroit Red Wings traded themselves to a Stanley Cup when they obtained Earl Seibert...
Toronto's Conny Smythe backs up the Ross claim and looks upon Red Wings as the club to take it all...even Montreal isn't so sure but what they're right...they all agree Seibert will be a damaging fellow in the playoffs now that he isn't carrying a whole team around on his back, which was his chore at Chicago...even goalie Frank McCool of the Leafs gets in a plug for Seibert when he remarks that massive Earl is the most fearsome sight in the whole NHL when he comes charging over the blue line.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – January 12th, 1945
It is more than likely that the defensive strength added to the team by old Professor Adams when he secured Earl Seibert is the real cause of the improvement in the work of goalie Lumley.
Originally Posted by The Maple Leaf – February 10th, 1945
If and when a hockey "Fall of Fame" is established in Canada - one guy who would seem to richly deserve entry is Earl Seibert, currently starring on defense for Detroit Red Wings. The swashbuckling Seibert has a brilliant 14-year record in the National Hockey League behind him and experts claim he's every bit as good today as at any stage of his sparkling career. Earl is 33 years of age and, barring accidents, has many good years of hockey left in him. A deadly shot and noted as one of the most solid bodycheckers in the business, Seibert is among the few remaining defencemen who can carry the puck from end to end. He spurns modern methods of hurling the rubber into a corner and chasing it.
Position: D ▪ Shoots: Right
Height: 5-10 ▪ Weight: 180 lbs.
Born: January 12, 1930 in Cochrane, Ontario
Horton was a:
- 3 time 1st team all star in post season voting
- 3 time 2nd team all star in post season voting
- 7 time leader in Games Played in a season
- 4 Time Stanley Cup Champion
- 1 Top 10 Finish in Game Winning Goals
- 13 Time Top 10 finish in Defensive Point Shares
- 6th All Time in Defensive Point Shares behind only Ray Bourque, Scott Stevens, Nicklas Lidstrom, Larry Robinson and Chris Chelios
Tim Horton was the ultimate defenseman in his time, and one of the greatest to ever play in the National Hockey League. An excellent skater, Tim had good rushing ability and a powerful slap shot. But he was better known for his defensive play where his physical strength and intelligent play made him a joy to watch for 24 seasons.
Legends Of Hockey
Though it would be impossible to prove, the case could be made that Tim Horton was the strongest man ever to lace up skates in the National Hockey League. As a junior player with the St. Michael's College team in the Ontario Hockey League, Horton had NHL scouts and executives claiming he'd be the league's all-time great defenseman.
For the next two decades, Horton defined the bruising, reliable defenseman who can rush the puck and deliver a hefty slapshot. In today's jock talk, he was a blueline stud - muscular, smart, tough, mobile and sure-handed, a man the coach could send out for 30 minutes a night without worry.
Really like this pick. Horton will be one of my alternate captains. Horton's renowned for a good defensive game but he played a good offensive game as well. Like the dynamic game both Horton and Clarke will bring to the Blades. Also regardless of how the Blades do in the standings we should lead the league in coffee sales thanks to Horton's off-ice interests:
Weight: 185 lbs
Date of Birth: March 05, 1918
Place of Birth: Kitchener, Canada
Stanley Cup Champion (1939, 1941)
Stanley Cup Finalist (1946, 1953)
First All-Star Team Centre (1940, 1947, 1951)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1952)
Art Ross Trophy (1940)
Conn Smythe Winner (1941**)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1951)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1976)
Played in NHL All-Star Game (1947, 1948, 1951, 1952)
Canada Sports Hall of Fame (1975)
Team Captain (1950–1955)
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1961)
#15 Retired by the Boston Bruins (1980)
- #28 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players
- #31 on History of Hockey list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players (2008 edition)
- #34 on History of Hockey list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players (2009 edition)
- Named the best all-around player of the 1940's by Ultimate Hockey
- It's coach and former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Albert Leduc that gave the nickname ''The Krauts'' to Milt Schmidt and his two linemate
- On February 11, 1942, the final game before the Kitchener trio was to depart to serve Canada, the Bruins spanked Montreal 8-1, and ''The Kraut Line'' earned 22 points between them
- With the World War II and the animosity toward Germany, they held a contest in Boston to change the famous Kitchener native trio's nickname. ''The Buddy Line'' was supposed to be the new Schmidt's line nickname, but it never stick
- After his playing career, he worked as a coach and a general manager for the Boston Bruins and the Washington, all between 1955 and 1976
- Elected into the World Wide Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Thanks to the memories of the decreasing old time fans, writers and most importantly on ice peers, Schmidt is still recognized as one of the greatest players in NHL history.
Schmidt was considered to be the ultimate two-way player of his day, a Trottier or Steve Yzerman of the 1940s. He was small but determined. He was a strong skater and clever puck distributor but also a great finish. As beautiful as he was to watch on the offense, the Bruins long time captain took equal pride in the defensive zone, and was not afraid to get his nose dirty. While he usually played cleanly, one reporter described his play as "angry."
Two years later it was Schmidt who led the Bruins to another Cup. After a relative off-season (13-25--38pts in the regular season), Schmidt led the Bruins to their second Cup in three years by collecting five goals and six assists for 11 points in as many playoff games. In this era prior to a MVP award for Stanley Cup playoff competition, it is unanimously agreed Schmidt was the key cog. The Bruins lost NHL scoring leader Bill Cowley to a knee injury in the very first game of the playoffs. Schmidt came through with a hard-checking style that earned him mention as a game star in four of the games against Toronto, then was great in the finals with points in all four games. He led all playoff scorers by 3 points.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey The ''oaken-hearted'' Schmidt was a superb playmaker, known for creating brilliant scoring plays at breakneck speeds. Despite being one of the more aggressive players in the NHL, he played the game clean and hard
Peak Years 1939-43
Comparable Recent Players- Mark Messier
In a Word- LION
Best All-Around Player Of The 1940's
Originally Posted by Who's Who in Hockey
The saddest part of Milt Schmidt's career was that the majestic center excelled in the National Hockey League in the pretelevision era.
Comparable to Gordie Howe in style, Milt's fearlessness and multiple talents escaped the realm of of videotape, but not legend.
Originally Posted by Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol.2
Milt Schmidt began his spectacular career with the Boston Bruins in 1937. He became the great playmaking centre of the ''Kraut'' line.He was very much to the fore in 1939 when the Bruins swept top to the championship and won the Stanley Cup. Despite missing several games during the season with an ankle cut he was a standout in the playoffs.He became the policeman of the Boston front line, and in consequence, his penalty record stepped up. Schmidt was a rugged and skilled stick-handler with leadership qualities.
Originally Posted by Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol.2
Schmidt was by far the most aggressive and physically imposing of the three. During his career he suffered so many ailments it was hard to keep track: a broken jaw courtesy of Mac Colville; torn cartilage in his ribs; and ligament damage to both knees courtesy, most notably, of Bill Barilko. All were the result of his style of play.
Although he played 16 years in the NHL, Schmidt missed much time during the height of his career when he left the team to join the air force, a stint that lasted three and a half seasons.
(In 1939, first game of the Stanley Cup final) The Kraut Line was dominant in Game One, with Milt Schmidt engineering both Bruins goals, in a 2-1 victory.
''Milt was the best player in the League when I came up''- Elmer Lach
''As a center, you rarely see a fast skater. He was a playmaker he had everything: Milt Schmidt could shoot, tough, nobody touched Milt Schmidt!'' - Bernard Geoffrion
"I wasn't the biggest guy in the world, but I was pretty aggressive," - Milt Schmidt
"I would dare say that the biggest charge that I got out of playing hockey was winning that first Stanley Cup." - Milt Schmidt
''Milt was tall and very strong, bigger than me. He had a favorite trick: He’d push the puck between my skates and then he’d just run right over me. They were a great line to play against.'' - Elmer Lach
''The man who made the Krauts work was Milt Schmidt, the big center'' -
''He was a player that seems so dominant in that ERA of being, not only a good, talented player but a very tough hockey player at the same time. He could take it, but he could also dish it out.'' - Dick Irvin
''You touch that guy, I gotta tell you this he got your number. And you know those years when we were playing 14 games against each others, seven our of town, seven at home, he had plenty of time.'' - Bernard Geoffrion
''I was not a Lady Bing player. I lost that at the opening face-off, after the first minute of the opening game!'' - Milt Schmidt
''You talk to the old timers who played against him like Ted Kennedy, Syl Apps Sr. and other guys who played against him, about how hard he played, how tough he was. He wasn't that big, and you think he was a little dirty guy, but you looked up and see they were seasons when he only had 12 minutes of penalties.'' - Frank Orr, journalist
''Not only a great player, but a gentleman. On the ice or off the ice, he was always the same guy. Milt Schmidt always going to have my respect.'' - Bernard Geoffrion
Red Storey was asked to pick his All-Time NHL All-Star team: Bill Durnan in goals, King Clancy and Eddie Shore at defense and Howie Morenz, Ted Lindsay and Gordie as the forwards: ''Now I'll pick you another team that'd knock the socks off that one. Give me five Milt Schmidts up front and put my grandmother in goal and we'd never lose'' - Red Storey
''There's no doubt that Milt Schmidt was the best center I have ever played against. He was a good scorer too'' - Maurice Richard
More to come....
Last edited by JFA87-66-99: 01-27-2013 at 10:05 AM.
Weight: 180 lbs
Date of Birth: December 28, 1929
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, Canada
Date of Death: May 31, 1970 (Age: 40)
Stanley Cup Champion (1952, 1954, 1955, 1967)
Stanley Cup Finalist (1957, 1961, 1963, 1964)
First All-Star Team Goalie (1951, 1952, 1953)
Second All-Star Team Goalie (1954, 1955, 1959, 1963)
Calder Memorial Trophy (1951)
Conn Smythe Trophy (1952**, 1954**)
Vezina Trophy (1952, 1953, 1955, 1965)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1971)
Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1982)
Canada Sports Hall of Fame (1975)
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1971)
#1 Retired by the Detroit Red Wings (1994)
- #9 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players
- #19 on History of Hockey list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players (2008 edition)
- #24 on History of Hockey list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players (2009 edition)
- 5th All-Time in Wins (447)
- 1st All-Time in Shutouts (103)
- Selected as Manitoba's Hockey Player of the Century
- Sawchuk was the first player ever to be named rookie of the year in three different leagues: with Omaha in the USHL, with Indianapolis in the American Hockey League and in his first full year with Detroit in the NHL.
- Terry Sawchuk began wearing his famous "Sawchuk-styled" mask in 1962, a mask made by Red Wings assistant trainer Lefty Wilson.
- Sawchuk was suspended on June 15th 1957 by the Boston Bruins for leaving the team due to a nervous disorder
- Sawchuk registered his 100th shutouts on March 3rd 1967
- Elected into the World Wide Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey Sawchuk was a big man with exceptionnal reflexes. He chose to work from a bizarre ''gorilla-crouch'' style, with his head hung low and his arms sweeping the ice. This style allowed him to defend his goal against goal-mouth scrambles and screened shots. He was a fierce competitor.
Peak Years 1952-56
Comparable Recent Player- Dominik Hasek
In a Word- SEETHING
Originally Posted by Trail of The Stanley Cup, Vol.3
Terry Sawchuk, one of the greatest goalkeepers the game has known. Sawchuk was a fairly big man, who had very sharp reflexes and his arms and legs moved like lightning in defence of his goal. He was a crouching type of goalkeeper and he thought this technique gave him a better chance against screened shots.
Originally Posted by HHOF
In a playoff year where the checkers reigned supreme, Sawchuk came up with a performance of legendary quality. He shutout Toronto twice and gave them three goals in four games, then allowed the second place Canadiens only two goals while shutting them out in the final two contests. His goals against average was 0.63 and he had an incredible saves percentage of .977.
Originally Posted by NHL Alumni
His eye-popping regular season statistics suggested the second-year phenom was going to have a post-season to remember. Sawchuk, the proud son of Winnipeg, Manitoba, had the entire hockey world talking as the push for the Cup began. His sterling playoff display, however, would leave them speechless.
Sawchuk not only won all eight games en route to capturing Lord Stanley's fabled mug, he allowed a measly five goals in 480 minutes of play, for a ridiculously low 0.63 goals against average. Each stat was more impressive than the previous one, with the exception of the number underneath the category that read shutouts.
It was more than just sheer talent that set Sawchuk apart from his goaltending fraternity. Certainly, he had the agility and tenacity that made him difficult to beat from any spot on the ice, but it was style that truly confounded the opposition.
He would strike an imposing figure in front of the net, standing bent over in a deep crouch position, frequently dropping to his knees to block shots. It was an unorthodox style at the time, but it would eventually become a staple of the goaltending world, an approach commonly known as "the butterfly."
Although he revolutionized the game by employing that particular style, Sawchuk was far from a novelty act. In an era when backstoppers didn't wear masks, Sawchuk, who played a majority of his career without face shield, was the only one bold enough to play low to the ground, putting himself in an unenviable position night after night. He was, by all accounts, a legitimate superstar.
Originally Posted by Sport Illustrated
Goalie Terry Sawchuk of the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings is generally considered to be the finest net-minder extant. In Detroit's drive for an unprecedented seventh straight league championship, Sawchuk is an indispensable factor.
The other is Terry Sawchuk, who quit the Boston Bruins three years ago because his nerves, he said, were shattered. He rested for half a season, and now he is the goalie for the Wings and probably the finest goalie playing hockey today.
Sawchuk is a marvelous goaltender to behold.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Considering the serious injuries that Terry sustained during his career it's simply amazing how he could put up such impressive numbers. As a child he fractured his right arm that later required three surgeries and still grew back two inches shorter than the left one, the bone chips in Terry’s elbow numbered almost 60. Some of his other injuries included:
- The eye injury in Omaha
- A punctured lung in a car accident
- Torn tendons in his hand
- An emergency appendectomy
- Ruptured spinal discs
- A nervous breakdown
- More than 600 stitches
- Neuritis in the nerves of his legs
- A swayed back brought on by his style of playing goal
- Migraine headaches
Originally Posted by Detroit Red Wing Official Website Hockey's most talented netminder was also the game's most tortured soul. No one stopped the puck better than Terry Sawchuk. And perhaps no hockey player endured as much tragedy.
Originally Posted by Maple Leafs Top 100 Toronto's Greatest Players of All-Time
Sawchuk's time in Toronto will be best remembered for his performance in the '67 postseason. After the (April 15th 1967 playoff game against Chicago) game, the Chicago players were using words like ''brilliant'', ''fantastic'' and ''great'' to describe Sawchuk's performance.
- ''Sawchuk was an angles goalie who wanted you to shoot. But, if you preferred to put a move on him, he was happy to oblige.'' - Jean Béliveau
- "You could throw a handful of corn at him and he'd catch every kernel" - Ted Lindsay
- "One of the fine things about Terry, is he's a stand-up goalie. He doesn't fall all over the ice. He stands there and waits and usually takes the shot with his glove or brushes it away with his stick. You'll notice that not many people get rebounds off Sawchuk on long shots. When the puck comes in he stops it and clears it quickly away from the cage." - Sid Abel
- ''Terry acted like he was triplets. He swooped from side to side, jumped up and down as if on a pogo stick and fielded shots like a Phil Rizzuto (New York Yankees all-star infielder)."- A Detroit Sportwritter, resuming Sawchuk performance in the 1952 playoffs
- "Sawchuk was the greatest goalie I’ve ever seen, no doubt about it. He was the quickest I’ve ever seen." - Bob Pulford
- "The Uke (Sawchuk) was the best goalie I ever saw. Everything that a goalie should be!" - Gordie Howe
- "I saw a lot of the greats, but to my mind, I haven't seen anyone better than Sawchuk. Reflexes, angles - he had it all and he also had a lot of guts. He was fearless in the net and extremely confident." - Jimmy Skinner, former Detroit Red Wing coach
- ''(Sawchuk) is the best that ever played'' - Dave Keon
- ''He played so well. I can still see him standing on his head I can still see him challenging Hull shots after shot after night, I think Hull had 14 shots on him and it was such a courageous event he put on that night, just the way he came out, cut the angles. He knew he was going to get hit by that puck, but he just went out and did it anyway. He was black and blue all over his body after that night - Ron Ellis, talking about one of Sawchuk performance in the 1967 playoffs
- ''All I could remember, and I'll never forget, is looking at Terry Sawchuk and say to myself: ''this is the greatest goaltender I have ever seen''. - Émile Francis, looking at Sawchuk's death body at the morgue
- "A lot of people think he was the greatest goalkeeper who ever played the game. I include myself in that group." - Glenn Hall
- #30 on History of Hockey list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players (2008 edition)
- #35 on History of Hockey list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players (2009 edition)
- IIHF Centennial All Star Team, First Winger (2008)
- #17 retired by CSKA Moscow and Russian National Team
- Named a Merited Master of Sport (Russia, 1969) at the age of 21
Originally Posted by Hockey Hall of Fame
Kharlamov combined superior hockey intelligence with outstanding natural talent and established himself as one of the most formidable weapons in the dominant Soviet arsenal during the decade.
Many will best remember Valeri Kharlamov for his role in the 1972 Summit Series versus Team Canada. So effective was the high-flying winger that in Game Six, Canada's Bobby Clarke took an aggressive chop at his ankle. Although he finished the game, Kharlamov's ankle was cracked. He missed Game Seven and was clearly playing injured in the pivotal final game. Still, Valeri scored three goals and four assists in the seven games he played. Kharlamov also played in the 1974 Pro Classic against the WHA stars, scoring two goals and six assists in the eight-game tournament. In 40 games played against North American professionals, Kharlamov collected 19 goals and 29 assists for 48 points.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Valeri Kharlamov played during the 1970's prior to the arrival of Larionov and Makarov and co. His skating was unequaled and his passing and shooting was simply uncanny. He perhaps had the greatest arsenal of skill of any player ever, maybe even more so than Gretzky or Lemieux, but we never had the chance to really determine that. One European hockey expert described Kharlamov as a combination of Mike Bossy and Pavel Bure... Valery Kharlamov gained international fame in 1972 when the Soviet Union played the NHL All-Stars in a series of games. He had an excellent series, but his fame was cemented when he was anointed by the redoubtable Bobby Hull, who said that Kharlamov was “the best winger in the world.”
Originally Posted by Voice of Russia
Kharlamov enjoyed respect of his fellow players — without exception — and was the team’s informal leader.
Originally Posted by Arthur Chidlovski
Kharlamov made the Canadian defenders look like they were old-timers, minor-league wannabes or something. What he was doing to them was very intimidating. The Canadians were always looking at Kharlamov with their mouths open. But they just couldn't accept it. He was just this skinny guy. But on the ice, a magician... He was definitely one of the most talented players in the history of the game. Despite a relatively small size even by hockey standards of the 1970's, Kharlamov was an author of unforgettable 1-on-1 moves that left the best defense players in the world wondering how he managed to outsmart them. He had simply amazing skating and stick handling skills. But, he wasn't just a fast skater. He was able to constantly change the gears of his skating speed depending on his on-ice maneuvers... Being very creative and unpredictable on ice, Kharlamov was one of the major attractions to the game when he played hockey.
Originally Posted by Hockey Night In Moscow
The game ended with Kharlamov doing some magnificent stickhandling in the Team Canada end. Watching him in this game, and remembering what I had seen him do in Games One and Two, I was convinced - and still am - that he is the best winger I have ever seen in my life.
At 14:16 it happened, the inevitable - Kharlamov with a beautiful "school" pass got the puck to Vikulov...
Originally Posted by A September to Remember
Valeri Kharlamov awed Canadian audiences. His slick foot and stick work and amazing speed and shot accuracy places him as perhaps the single most talented player in the entire tournament. It is arguable that Kharlamov was as talented as Gretzky or Lemieux. Kharlamov was also feisty, leading the Soviets in penalty minutes with 16.
Originally Posted by Hockey: A Peoples History
Valeri Kharlamov, a dazzling left-winger who could stickhandle and pass with breathtaking precision, was so fast that he could beat two Canadian defenseman just by skating around them... Whenever an NHL team would have an exhibition game against the Red Army, Kharlamov was a target of cheap and dirty play. They would brutally dominate the small Russian because they feared his ability. Stop Kharlamov from scoring was half the battle against the Soviets…
Originally Posted by Putting a Roof On Winter
When the Soviets’ elegant and fearless Valery Kharlamov burned the Canadiens for three goals and four assists in five games…
Originally Posted by Kings of the Ice
Kharlamov was a wizard at managing the new style of play. His mark of greatness lay not in scoring fantastic goals...In fact, his claim to fame had nothing to do with scoring goals. Kharlamov was at his best when the opposing defenseman got him up against the boards. The defenseman would bear down on the forward at full speed in an attempt, if not to hurt him, then at least to slow him down for two or three seconds. He would prepare to throw a hard bodycheck, but it usually didn't happen. Kharlamov would skate away without even flinching.
Originally Posted by Kings of the Ice
The Mikhailov-Petrov-Kharlamov line was different from the classic Canadian pattern of playmaker-triggerman-soldier. Any of that Soviet lines three players could function in any of the three roles.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – April 19th, 1973
Bobby Clarke of the Philadelphia Flyers says the player he remembers best in the Team Canada-Russia series is Valery Kharlamov, the tough young winger.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – September 24th, 1974
Paul Shmyr, who was in trouble most of the night, couldn’t handle Valery Kharlamov in the corner.
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen – Oct. 3rd, 1974
In full stride, Kharlamov delivered a perfect pass to Mikhailov, who scored a neat goal after the game was only 34 seconds old.
"Any coach, having Kharlamov on his team, would simply be obliged to create a first-class forward line. He was a great all-round hockey personality" (Scotty Bowman)
"He was fast and so hard to defend against out there. I admired the way he kept everyone on their toes. He was simply outstanding." (Don Awrey, Canada 1972)
"His talents were God-given and he could do practically everything - a smart play, a tricky pass, a precise shot...Everything he did looked so easy, so elegant. His execution of hockey was aesthetic and he amazed millions." (Vladislav Tretiak)
"If I could do half of what Kharlamov did, my name would be heard everywhere - morning, day, and night." (Bob Gainey)
"Valery Kharlamov was born to play hockey. He was the smartest even among star players... a diamond in the crown of Russian ice-hockey.” (Kharlamov's coach)
"He was our primary target. Every night it was, 'who's going to take care of that guy?' He was dynamite. He had the skill and the ability of any player in the NHL at the time. Serge Savard figures he's one of the greatest players he's ever seen, and that's good enough for me." (Harry Sinden)
"I have never seen anyone, other than Orr, as fast as Valeri Kharlamov. He’s the only guy I’d mention in the same breath as Orr." (Alan Eagleson)
"In my NHL career, I had to shadow a number of superstars – Bobby Hull being one of them. I would certainly put Kharlamov on the same level as Hull in terms of talent and ability." (Ron Ellis)
"Kharlamov was killing us. I called Clarke over to the bench, looked over at Kharlamov and said, 'I think he needs a tap on the ankle.' I didn't think twice about it." (John Ferguson)
"What hurt the Russians badly was losing their best player, Kharlamov. He was their best goal scorer; their best player to go wide around a not-too-mobile Canadian defense, and that was a big blow to the Russians." (Howie Meeker)
"Every member of the Russian team could play in the NHL, but Kharlamov would be outstanding." (Bobby Clarke)
"Take a look at Kharlamov, at his specifications - how much does he weigh? Not much. But look at the way he goes to battle. He is practically always the first one who gets control of the puck." (Soviet coach Nikolai Epshtein)
... a work in progress Some information from the bios created by Dreakmur and Overpass
Last edited by papershoes: 02-02-2013 at 12:42 PM.
Mark Howe, known for his hard tape-to-tape passes, his footspeed, positioning and lightning wristshot. The 1973 Memorial Cup MVP signed a half million dollar contract with Houston of the WHA and that league's top rookie then played in the 1974 Summit Series against the Soviets and scored six points, the following year winning the WHA championship. In the WHA he was a 2nd team all-star defenseman and 1st team all-star left winger, finishing top-10 in WHA career goals and assists before heading to the NHL to skate exclusively as a defenseman and lead all NHL blueliners in scoring in 1979-1980 with 80 points. He was the first defenseman in NHL history to score two short-handed goals in one period when he achieved the feat in Hartford's game at St. Louis on Oct. 9, 1980. He went on to thrice be a 1st team all-star and Norris trophy runner-up (1983, 1986, 1987), largely playing in the shadow of Bourque or Coffey. He twice led the Flyers blueline to the Stanley Cup Finals (1985, 1987). He had played the lion's share of games for 15 years but in 1988 injuries caught up with him and he played only part seasons for another seven years. He had scored 742 points in 942 NHL games after six years and 504 points in 426 games in the WHA. His number 2 was retired in Philadelphia last year, following his Hockey Hall of Fame induction the year before. An all-time great player finally getting his due.
Originally Posted by Bobby Clarke
"He's not real physical, but he doesn't have to be. He's so mobile he always gets a piece of you, just enough to throw you off the puck."
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated 1985 Stanley Cup Finals Preview Edition
The only Flyer defenseman who has the speed to match Gretzky's is Mark Howe. His performance—and Howe has been spectacular in the playoffs—will be the key to keeping Gretzky off a spree. Howe, along with Edmonton's Paul Coffey, is probably the finest skating defenseman in the NHL. Unlike Coffey, he seldom gets so involved in his team's offensive thrusts that he is out of position defensively. Howe is also accustomed to an inordinate amount of ice time... Look for.. Howe on the ice whenever Gretzky's there.
... the opposing winger he defended rarely touched the puck.
"I learned how to do that," Mark said. "Once you get that in your head, you try to implement it into the way you play."
Indeed, in my lifetime only the great Red Kelly comes close as a master of both front and back line, and Kelly had already made the conversion from Norris Trophy winner to superb two-way centre by the time I tuned in to the game in the early ’60s. I watched Mark Howe star at two positions with my own eyes, and let’s just say it is high time and then some that this guy has been admitted to Hockey’s Hall.
A description of when he turned into a defenseman full time in the NHL:
Originally Posted by Craig Custance
It was the fourth game of the 1979-80 season after the WHA/NHL merger. Howe participated in the Hartford Whalers' morning skate, playing left wing. Right before the game against the Buffalo Sabres, he saw the lineup on a chalkboard in the dressing room and it had his name on defense. He thought it was a mistake, erased it and made the fix. It wasn't a mistake.
"I'm like, 'It would have been nice if you would have let me practice once on defense,'" Howe said. But he soon adjusted and things started to click. Howe liked playing 30 minutes a night and quickly became one of the league's best puck movers on defense. If there was a loose puck on Hartford's side of the ice, nine times out of 10, Howe won the race.
"I just remember that I thought I couldn't play in the league because I couldn't catch Mark Howe's passes, they were harder than my shots," XXXXX said. "It literally took three months to figure out how to do it."
XXXXX would learn that Howe's passing wasn't typical of NHL defensemen, he was in a class of his own. Gordie Howe said the three best passers he ever played with were Ted Lindsay, xxxx and his son. "Nobody passed the puck better," Gordie Howe said.
And that wrist shot. It was as good as most players' slap shot. Early in xxxx's career, a Howe wrister whipped past his face and shattered the glass behind him.
"I always remember thinking, what happens if that hits my jaw?"
Marcel Dionne, the 731 NHL goal scorer who netted 1771 points, both top-5 all time. He scored more goals and more assists than anybody between 1975-1985, scoring 100+ points an impressive eight times over that stretch but only twice was NHL 1st team all-star center (1977, 1980), twice 2nd team (1979, 1981), twice Lady Byng (1975, 1977). He was five times top-3 in NHL assists and five times top-3 in NHL points, and led the NHL in shots four times, currently second in all-time NHL career shots behind Bourque.
Originally Posted by Scott Morrison
“He was a guy who could take control of a game at any moment because of his speed and his skill and his determination. Despite his size, he was a feisty enough player. He wasn’t afraid to, as coaches say, “get his nose dirty”, and get involved. He didn’t play on the periphery.”
Canada Cup Gold (1976)
IIHF Best Forward (1978)
Canada Cup Silver (1981)
IIHF Second Team All-Star (1983)
Originally Posted by Jacques Demers
“It was his ability to find the open man, but it was his creativity – he was a very creativity player. He found ways that, even though there was no opening on the ice, he found ways to get that opening… He was a little guy that didn’t mind being in the corner or in front of the net. He got his nose dirty – he did what he had to do to get all the points. You don’t get all those points just by showing up. He showed up with a tremendous amount of intensity every game… There was criticism that he wasn’t a winner. That’s not true. He was a winner, but he played for teams that weren’t good enough to win the Cup. This guy came to play every night."