Position: Right Wing HT/WT: 5'9", 170 lbs Handedness: Right Nickname(s): "Boom Boom" Born: February 13th, 1931 in Montreal, QC
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.
- 6-time Stanley Cup Champion - (1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960)
- 9-time top-10 in All-Star RW Voting (1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 7)
- 2-time Art Ross Trophy recipient - (1955, 1961)
- 1-time Hart Memorial Trophy recipient - (1961)
- 1 acknowledgement for the First NHL All-Star Team - (1961)
- 2 acknowledgements for the Second NHL All-Star Team - (1955, 1960)
- ranked number 42 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players
- scored 393 goals and 429 assists for 822 points in 883 games, adding 689 penalty minutes.
- scored 58 goals and 60 assists for 118 points in 132 playoff games, adding 88 penalty minutes.
I was a natural as a stick-handler, I was a natural as a shooter, I could put the puck in the net, that's something I had as a talent. A lot of people are great hockey players but they cannot find the net. I could find the net every angle, I want to be humble when I say that. But I always did have confidence when somebody would score two goals, I would say to myself I'm gonna get three. I had to be not better, but I wanted to prove the public, my organization, my teammates that I can play this game of hockey, and you know what I think I did.
I couldn't deliberately not score, that isn't the point of hockey, Montreal
Greatest Hockey Legends
With Maurice Richard headlining a who's who of hockey, the Montreal Canadiens had an outstanding power play for years. But when Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion perfected his slap shot from the point, the NHL was forced to take action. With Richard, Jean Beliveau and Dickie Moore up front and Doug Harvey and Geoffrion on the points, the Canadiens often scored two or even three goals during a single minor penalty, so the rules were changed to allow the penalized player back on the ice after a power play goal was scored.
It was "Boom Boom's" dynamic shot that became his trademark. He perfected the now-common slap shot. Firing little discs of frozen rubber at speeds upwards of 100 mph put fear into the hearts of enemy goaltenders as never seen before.
Geoffrion was more than just a heavy shooter. His all-out style of play and unquenchable desire to win enabled him to win the Calder Trophy in 1952 and the Hart Trophy in 1961. He led the league in scoring twice and was name to the First All Star Team in 1961 and the Second in 1955 and 1960. The fact that he made three post-season All Star teams is actually quite amazing. Geoffrion was a right winger in the same era as Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe.
The number five holds a special place in the hearts of Montreal Canadiens fans who remember the late 1950s for two reasons: the number of consecutive Stanley Cup Championships and the flamboyant right winger with the thunderous shot who wore it on his back.
Drive and desire were the key elements of Geoffrion’s game. He played with his heart on his sleeve and thrived on pressure, coming up with highlight performances when the stakes were at their highest. Throwing caution to the wind, he played an “all-out, all the time” game, the only way he knew how.
While his legend was built around his nose for the net and his booming slap shot, Geoffrion was also a skilled passer and playmaker, usually picking up at least as many - if not more - assists as goals.
Legends of Hockey
Bernie Geoffrion, nicknamed "Boom Boom," gained NHL fame for his hard shot and feisty temperament. Born and raised in Montreal, he played right wing for the Montreal Canadiens' dynasty teams in the 1950s and 1960s alongside Maurice "Rocket" Richard and Jean Beliveau. The powerful combination brought the Stanley Cup home to Montreal an amazing six times during Geoffrion's time there, and he also won the league scoring title twice and the Hart Trophy in 1961.
Many claim Geoffrion invented and perfected the slapshot - not bad for a kid who was once told by the assistant coach of a junior hockey team that he'd never make it in big-time hockey.
Although he and the Rocket were teammates, they were also rivals. In 1955 Richard seemed to have the league scoring title clinched, but he was suspended by NHL president Clarence Campbell for hitting a referee. Fans begged Geoffrion to cut down his scoring so Richard could win the title, but Boom Boom ignored them. And when he beat the Rocket for the title by a single point on the final day of the year, the crowd in the Montreal Forum booed him. But by 1961 it seemed Montreal fans had forgiven him - they gave him a ten-minute standing ovation at the Forum when he scored his 50th goal of the season. Geoffrion became only the second NHL player to hit the 50-goal mark after his teammate Rocket Richard.
Montreal Gazette, Jun. 27th, 1966
The New York Rangers gave their blushing powerplay a $30,000 facelifting yesterday with the signing of Bernie Geoffrion, one of the NHL's greatest scoring opportunists.
Last edited by Velociraptor: 03-03-2013 at 08:55 PM.
Top 10 Assists: 1st , 1st , 1st , 2nd , 2nd , 2nd , 2nd , 4th , 6th
Top 10 Points: 2nd , 3rd , 3rd , 4th , 6th , 6th , 7th , 10th
Top 10 Goals: 4th , 9th
AST: 1st , 1st , 1st , 2nd
Lady Byng Memory : 7
Stanley Cup: 2
Won the playoff scoring title 2 times
Often considered to be the Wayne Gretzky of his day because of his superior playmaking skills and understanding of the game, Frank Boucher had the gentility, class and manners rarely matched at such an elite level. In a game that is enthralled by it's violent behavior, Boucher won the Lady Byng Trophy, emblematic of gentlemanly play and excellence, 7 times from 1928-1935. In fact in 1935 he was given the trophy to keep, and a second trophy was created to give to the annual winner.
Barely standing 5'9", he was strong and sleek on his skates. He was a genius of a puck handler, with this uncanny ability of drawing defenders to him.
Selflessly, and almost without fail, he would thread the puck through defenders, right on to the stick! He was truly the balance wheel on arguably hockey's best line. He also was credited for perfecting the drop pass so common in today's game.
When Frank, Bill and Bunny were on the ice, it always seemed to me they had the puck on the string."
Thanks to Sturminator for assembling the vast majority of these infos:
Providence news , February 24 , 1928
Frank Boucher, of the New York Rangers, is a young player that has developed a poke-check, and as he is improving with experience he will probably become one of the stars at this sort of play.
Ottawa Citizen , October 26 , 1922
Frank Boucher, who was one of the best second string men in the National Hockey Association, will leave for Vancouver at 1:40 tomorrow morning...
Coming from the west last fall, he was secured by Ottawas, and from the first of the season showed promise of being a noted addition to the ranks of the famous family. Used at center ice, a real opportunity never really came his way till Frank Nighbor was put out of the game for ten days when Sprague Cleghorn cut loose in the memorable Canadien game here. Stepping into the poke check wonder's place, Frank immediately went in solid with the local fans, and his aggressive and consistent play earned him a high place in the N.H.A. lists.
While his passing to Vancouver is regretted by Ottawa fans, every good luck goes with him, and the only thing we cannot wish him is that he may help Vancouver beat Ottawa for the Stanley Cup next spring. A clever stick-handler, a good shot, a rugged check, and with plenty of speed, he has all the necessary requirements of a first-class big leaguer, and there is no reason why he should not make good with a vengeance in the Coast aggregation.
Vancouver sun , December 12 , 1922
In a thrilling three-reel film, starring the juvenile Frank Boucher, the Vancouver Maroons last night advanced into sole tenancy of second place in the coast hockey circuit over the rugged opposition of the Victoria Cougars. The score was 2 to 1. Boucher skated right into the hearts of the fans within half a minute of the start, when he stole the puck at the Victoria blue line, wormed his way close in on xxxxxx and flipped the gutta percha into the strings from a hard angle.
From then on he continued to be the star of the piece. His stickhandling was a revelation to the paid attendance and a constant knife under the ribs of the opposition, who allowed their resentment to show itself in efforts to rough-house the youngster out of his stride. But Frankie stood up under the punishment and still kept standing the Cougars on their heads. He skated back all the way with his check, repeatedly hooked the rubber away and dashed into enemy territory, where he wriggled through time after time and spanked the pill dead on the nets. Nice stops by xxxxxx, however, robbed him of any further scores.
In the final period Boucher played chiefly on the defense, where his poke-checking broke up a dozen attacks. Altogether the young Ottawan turned in a pretty flossy exhibition and the fans whooped for him from start to finish in a way that left no doubt that he was elected.
Vancouver Sun , March 27 , 1923
Ottawa's victory was decisive, convincing and alibi-proof. The Senators skated as fast as their opponents, combined play better, back-checked more closely and shot harder and more accurately. The 5-1 score was perhaps a bigger margin that the play warranted, but there was no doubt in the minds of the 8000 fans present that the better team won.
A long shot by George Boucher from the left boards, away out by the blue line, that Lehman touched with his arm but failed to stop, put Ottawa one to the good seven minutes from the start...
Vancouver failed to show the stuff that beat out Victoria and Seattle for the coast title. Frank Boucher, Harris and xxxxx all played up to their best form, but MacKay was lost in his unaccustomed position at right wing, where he replaced the injured Skinner. Duncan failed to put the finishing touch to his rushes that marked his work last week. Cook was fair, but not as good as he has been at times. Lehman was far from the form that won him the sobriquet of "Eagle Eye". Corbett Denneny made some nice efforts when he got a couple of fairly long spells on the ice.
Frank Boucher was the best of the local forward line. He was back at his old game of hook-checking and stealing, and his back-checking was excellent. More than once he whizzed back on the defense in time to avert goals, and on the attacking end he contributed a number of clever passes and an occasional stinging shot. Harris and Duncan both slammed a number of hot ones at the nets, but with one exception, Benedict handled them all to perfection.
Calgary Daily Herald , April 4 , 1927
Bruins were the more aggressive throughout. Chabot in goal for New York made 28 stops as against 15 by xxxxx. But the Rangers were the more brilliant in action. The high scoring Bill Cook was too closely checked to be effective, but Frank Boucher, New York centre, was everywhere on the ice, and his work was a spectacle.
Montreal Gazette , April 2 , 1928
New York, April 1 - Sixty minutes of torrid hockey between the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers ended in a 1-1 deadlock here tonight...
Both goals were scored within three minutes of the start of the final period. Frank Boucher, Ranger centre player, connected with a pass from behind the net to beat xxxxx for the first goal. Seventy-two seconds later a three-man Bruins rush tied the score, Harry Oliver, right winger, shooting the puck past Lorne Chabot.
The game, played before a crowd of 18,000 persons, was featured by the brilliant defense of both teams...
The poke-checking of xxxxx and Boucher were outstanding features of the bruising game, and the crowd was not slow to appreciate their work.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , April 5 , 1928
Out of the welter of preliminary rounds in the National Hockey League battle for the historic Stanley Cup, the world series of the ice world, Frank Boucher, diminutive center ice star of the New York Rangers, has come to stamp himself as one of the greatest players in the game.
Boucher will lead the Rangers on the ice of the Montreal Maroons in the Canadian metropolis tomorrow night for the first of the final five-game series for the professional hockey title...
The brilliance of Boucher stands out above all others in a composite score of the preliminary efforts of the two teams fighting tomorrow night in the championship. Boucher tallied three goals, assisted in the scoring of three others, and spent no time in the penalty box...
Boucher, recipient of the Lady Byng trophy for combining effectiveness with sportsmanship, played through the four games without once incurring the displeasure of the referees. In addition to leading all scorers, Boucher was a tower of strength on the defense, his sweeping poke-check smashed dozens of attacks of Pittsburgh and Boston forwards.
Vancouver Sun , April 2 , 1931
"Raffles" To Be Here
Frank Boucher was named on the second team and is again the winner of the Byng trophy awarded to the cleanest and most useful player to his club in the big league. Boucher is almost as well known in Vancouver as xxxxxx. He was called "Raffles" with the old Maroons because of his uncanny stickhandling ability and his penchant for hooking the puck from opposing players.
Originally Posted by Frank Boucher
I did get into a pretty good fight once. That was in my first year in the NHL in 1926-27. Bill Phillips of the Old Montreal Maroons and I started to mix it up. He hit me over the head with his stick and that about ended the fight. I was a little bit groggy.
On the difference between the 20s/30s and the 60s.
Originally Posted by Frank Boucher
You don't see much precision passing nowadays. It's more of a five-man gang attack instead of three forwards carrying the puck into the attacking zone. Some of the color has gone from the game because there is less bodychecking. The game is a lot faster today, though.
Boucher picks his all-time team:
Boucher tapped for his all-time, all-star team goalie Chuck Gardiner of the Chicago Black Hawks, defensemen Eddie Shore of the Boston Bruins and Ching Johnson of the Rangers, center Frank Nighbor of Ottawa, left winger Aurel Joliat of the Montreal Canadiens and center Bill Cook.
Boucher picks best player ''today'' (in 1962):
Jean Beliveau of the Canadiens has more ability than any other forward in the game today. He does everything well. Doug Harvey of the Rangers is the best defenseman and Jacques Plante of the Canadiens the best goalie.
Calgary Daily Herald , March 8 , 1924
Frank Boucher, the clean playing, clean-limbed centre star for Vancouver, broke up the greatest athletic contest ever staged in the city of Vancouver when he took a pass from Bostrum just on the centre ice side of the blue line, tricked two men and beat Happy Holmes in 14 minutes overtime last night, giving Vancouver a 2-1 victory, or 4-3 on the round. It was a million dollar shot. It smashed the hopes of the fighting Mets, sent Pete Muldoon away screaming "offside!" and shoved the Maroons into the Stanley Cup finals with Calgary Monday night, a trip east and all the kopecks attaching to the tast of battling mid-west and east for the world's honors in hockey.
Calgary Daily Herald - March 11, 1924
BOUCHER, BATTLING WONDER
Frank Boucher, the battling boy wonder, found on the wilds of the prairies in the neighborhood of Lethbridge by the Patricks a few years back, made more trouble for the Tigers than a thousand motorists for an armless traffic cop. He was stick-handling like a circus wizard and hook checking so closely that the Tiger pucks flew to his club like to a magnet. He was a demon checker all through. It was a mystery how any of them got by out there in centre ice. In the third period he was summoned back to play guard along with Cook and Duncan, because the Maroons had snared a couple of marks to Calgary's one, and they wanted to protect it. Boucher was set up at the nose of the barricade where he sucked in the force of many Tiger drives, and invariably the puck evaporated when it struck his twisted pole.
Calgary Daily Herald - March 17, 1924
Boucher and MacKay were mighty annoying and they drew all kinds of attention. Boucher's hook checking was extremely clever, and he worried the Tigers when they swung into position for attacks
MOntreal Gazette , March 19 , 1924
For Vancouver, Frank Boucher, of the noted hockey family, and Hughie Lehman, coast net guardian, were the bright performers. Frank Boucher was the most consistent player on the ice. He broke up rush after rush with a long poke check that brought visions of Frank Nighbor at his best for Ottawa Senators, while his stickhandling through a sturdy defense was always smartly performed...
Calgary Herald Daily March 21 , 1924
It was well for the Canadiens that Joliat negotiated that trip, for Frank Boucher's tally on Vezina was almost as brilliant shortly afterward when he dodged body drives, eluded hook and poke checks and then passed in a sizzling shot straight against the goal's front, catching the opposide side of the cage...
The report is from a blog called Third String Goalie
Bill Cook put the Rangers up 1-0 just 30 seconds into the third period before Stewart tied it with a goal for Montreal with a long shot that made in between Patrick's pads with less than six minutes remaining. Boucher then scored the game winning goal in overtime to give New York a 2-1 win to even the series at a game apiece as the Rangers carried a tearful Patrick off the ice on their shoulders in celebration
Calgary Daily Herald - April 14, 1928:
the lone goal of the rugged contest was scored by Frankie Boucher, centre player of the visitors. The scoring play was started by Ching Johnson, who carried as far as the blue line. He then passed over to Bill Cook on the right wing, the latter was forced behind the Maroons net and apparently out of danger, but he still managed to control possession of the puck. He quickly snapped a pass out in front. Four men, two Maroons and two Rangers, then struggled for the puck. A Ranger got it, but Benedict stopped the shot. As the puck bounded out in front again, Benedict fell. Boucher quickly snapped up the rubber and shot it over the prostrate goalie's body into the net.
Vancouver Sun - March 24, 1933
Many glamorous athletic figures will step into the playoffs that lead to the league championship and the Stanley Cup finals when play starts Saturday night. But no finer record for efficiency and sportsmanlike play in these classics will be on view than that of Frank Boucher, playmaking centre-ice ace of the New York Rangers.
Picked this season as centre player for the mythical all-star team that is selected by vote of 32 hockey experts in the cities of the National League circuit, Boucher brings into the playoffs this season an amazing record of consistent play in these finals. One of the originals of the Rangers since that team entered competition in 1926-27 he has never missed a playoff since, and leads the great Cook-Boucher-Cook forward line into the playoff action for the seventh straight time. Boucher's own playoff record is remarkable.
The spectacular part of this record is the almost complete lack of penalties. Five straight playoff series, with all the strain that these entail, without a penalty at all, two penalties in another, testify to the value of this player, always on the ice, always available.
Position: Defenseman HT/WT: 5'11", 180 lbs Handedness: Left Born: March 2nd, 1922 in Toronto, ON
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.
- 9-time top-10 in All-Star D Voting (1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9) (this would be two Norrises if the Norris existed)
- 1-time recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy (1949)
- 3 acknowledgements for the First NHL All-Star Team - (1948, 1949, 1951)
- 2 acknowledgements for the Second NHL All-Star Team - (1947, 1953)
- scored 62 goals and 222 assists for 284 points in 774 games, adding 95 penalty minutes.
- scored 2 goals and 19 assists for 21 points in 80 playoff games, adding 8 penalty minutes.
"He's one of the best all-around players I've ever played with."
Legends of Hockey
Defenseman Hubert "Bill"Quackenbush excelled at both offensive and defensive aspects of the game. During 14 seasons, he was among the NHL's elite rushing blueliners. More significantly, he was a superior defender in his own end who relied on positioning and discipline rather than physical intimidation for his success. Consequently, his penalty minute totals were remarkably low considering his role on the ice.
...By the late 1940s, he'd evolved into one of hockey's top blueliners. Three times Quackenbush was placed on the NHL's First All-Star Team and twice he was selected to the Second Team.
...Amazingly, he incurred only one major penalty in his entire career, and that was a dubious call based on a quick wrestling match he had with XXXX XXXXXXX. To many observers, he was the prototype of efficiency and finesse in defensive zone coverage. Quackenbush was also considered a master at diffusing any forward's attempt to generate offense from behind his opponent's net.
A month before training camp in 1949, Quackenbush was traded to the Bruins for several players... Quack's rushes with the puck helped endear him to the Beantown supporters who hadn't seen this type of daring play from the blue line since the days of Eddie Shore.
Later in the 1950-51 season, the Bruins' blue line brigade was decimated by injury, leaving Quackenbush as the only experienced player. He was forced to play 55 minutes in one contest, a test of his stamina and experience. He retired in 1956 and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.
Trail of The Stanley Cup, Vol. 3
By the end of 1946 had established himself as one of the most effective rushing defensemen in the game... He was an excellent checker, which he learned to do without tripping or holding... His big attribute was the ability to stop a rush without thumping an opponent into the boards... He could control the puck in much the same way as Doug Harvey, until he spotted one of his forwards in the clear or took off on one of his end-to-end rushes... His assist record indicates how well he performed as a playmaker... This remarkable player had completed six full seasons with only 22 minor penalties and one major... was the bulwark of the Boston defense for the next seven years... he continued his clean defensive play... After fourteen years of play, he had served 95 minutes in penalties or an average of 0.12 per game, a record never approached by a defenseman before or since.
Greatest Hockey Legends
Bill Quackenbush played with the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins in his 14 year career in the NHL. The 5'11" 180lb blueliner was not only one of the best defensive blueliners, but also, much like Niklas Lidstrom in the modern NHL, was as gentlemanly as he was efficient... Instead of using violence and brute strength, he would use a clean, pure version of defense. He seemingly knew what the opposing team would do before it would happen and he'd break-up the play without having to resort to physically manhandling the player. His positioning was perfect, his defense as elegant as it was disciplined... Quackenbush was an extraordinary thinker. To play NHL defense and to do it without taking many penalties requires an incredibly intelligent level of hockey sense. Bill Quackenbush was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1976.
Hockey's Glory Days: The 1950s And '60s
Bill Quackenbush was not a hard hitter, but he was an effective checker who excelled at breaking up the rush.
He played only 10 games with the Red Wings that year before breaking his wrist. The injury cost him a chance to play on a Stanley Cup winner. It also reduced his shooting power and so he became a playmaking specialist. Quackenbush was one of the best puck-carrying defensemen of his era, and was named to the All-Star Team five times in six years between 1946-47 and 1952-52.
Who's Who in Hockey
Although the temptation to join the brawlers always was quite apparent, Quackenbush resisted the lure and played a pure defence. In doing so, he made a greater impact on the game than some of his more violent teammates.
More than anything, Quackenbush was an extroadinary practitioner of his art. He was named to the National Hockey League's First All-Star Team in 1948, 1949 and 1951 during an era when the NHL was oozing with top-notch blueliners. Bill made the second team twice.
It is a measure of the influence of Quackenbush that some hockey writers have over the years suggested that the NHL name a trophy in his honour to be given the league's best defensive defenseman.
Last edited by Velociraptor: 03-07-2013 at 04:21 PM.
Weight: 185 lbs
Position: Right Wing
Birth: June 19, 1958 (Chelyabinsk, USSR)
Awards & Honours Soviet League
- USSR League MVP (1980, 1985, 1989)
- USSR League All Star (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)
- USSR League Champion (11x)
- Scoring Champion, Goals (3x)
- Scoring Champion, Points (9x)
- Gold Winter Olympics (1984. 1988)
- Silver Winter Olympics (1980)
- Gold IIHF World Championship (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1990)
- Silver IIHF World Championship (1987)
- Bronze IIHF World Championship (1985, 1991)
- IIHF Best Forward World Championship (2x)
- IIHF All Star (6x)
- World Championship Leading Scorer (3x)
- Gold IIHF World Junior Championships (1977, 1978)
- Golden Stick Award (2x)
- Calder Memorial Trophy (1991)
- IIHF Hall of Fame (2001)
Top 10's Soviet League
MVP Voting –
- #77 on History of Hockey list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players (2008 edition)
- #61 on History of Hockey list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players (2009 edition)
- IIHF Centennial All Star Team, Second Winger (2008)
... a work in progress
Last edited by papershoes: 02-14-2013 at 01:24 PM.
I'm struggling with Vladislav Tretiak. Part of me thinks he's getting underrated by our NHL-centric worldview and deserves to go near the top of this round. The other part of me is always skeptical of goalies with accolades on great teams, particularly against mostly weaker competition, and wants to leave him where he fell on my original list (which was ahead of only Benedict and Durnan, who I think has nearly as many questions about quality of competition and strength of team defence as Tretiak does).
I spent a fair amount of time researching international goalies for this list. The concerns about quality of competition for goalies in weaker leagues are fair, although just throwing out their results entirely based on whatever league they played in is certainly not. It's all a matter of context. It is fair to demand that a goalie dominates a weaker league. The flipside is that when the goalie does dominate a league by winning MVPs and championships and being widely seen as the best goalie, then that should be given at least some credit. Otherwise you're just penalizing the goalie because of circumstance.
What you ideally want to see out of a goalie in a weaker league is all the signs that they were a rare talent. Them being a prodigy, breaking into the top level at an early age is usually a sign (many of the goalies who went on to North American success were cleaning up their domestic leagues in their early 20s). Winning a pile of domestic awards and putting up strong stats relative to other goalies is also fairly crucial, even though there are certainly limitations to the value of awards voting. And finally you want to see evidence that the goalie could compete at the highest level on the international stage, and that includes things like NHL interest, starting for their country a long time, etc., not just how many best goalie awards they win.
As far as I can tell, the only two goalies who really fill in all the checkmarks when you look at their international careers are Vladislav Tretiak and Dominik Hasek. The more I look at Holecek, the more I think that he's getting too much credit for a few comments made around the 1976 Canada Cup, and because members of the media directorate were hesitant to vote for world championship goalies on dominant teams. I really don't know why results from the mid-'70s are so crucial for evaluating Tretiak, particularly relative to Holecek, since Tretiak was only 24 at the 1976 Canada Cup and his best hockey really came later. Maybe Holecek was better than Tretiak for a few seasons in the mid-'70s, but maybe Tretiak was the best goalie in the world in the early 1980s. Compare them head-to-head at the same ages and I think Tretiak has a clear advantage career-wise, even just on the international stage, and any weighting at all given to domestic results further tilts the advantage decisively to Tretiak.
From watching Tretiak play, I think it's possible he was the best in the world and a guy who was capable of being an NHL star. However, I also put a lot of stock in numbers for evaluating goalies.
There is one big concern with Tretiak's statistical record, and that is according to Chidlovski Tretiak's career international GAA is higher than every other goalie who played at least 20 games for CCCP. Tretiak had 2.28, every other Soviet goalie combined for 2.07. In the early years Puckov and Konovalenko probably had much weaker competition, and since Tretiak dominated the net for so long it's possible that all the other guys were mainly playing against Poland and East Germany whenever they did get the odd start, but that is at least questionable for Tretiak.
Same thing with shutout rate: Tretiak had 29 in 291 games (10.0%), all others had 105 in 725 (14.5%). Tretiak was worse than every other Soviet goalie with at least 25 games played, with the exception of Alexander Sidelnikov.
On the other hand, his Olympic numbers are excellent even on a dominant team, with the noticeable exception of Lake Placid:
And Tretiak's numbers relative to his backups in CSKA Moscow seem to be clearly better than Ken Dryden's relative to his backups in Montreal, although I'm not positive that the data I have is accurate (sources are HockeyDB and Elite Prospects). I'm assuming there was no overtime skewing the minutes played numbers and that Tretiak's games played numbers were from the regular season only and didn't include any other games (which was an issue with Hasek's numbers in the last thread):
1972: Dryden 64 GP, 2.24; Montreal 2.60
1973: Dryden 54 GP, 2.26; Montreal 2.33
1975: Dryden 56 GP, 2.69; Montreal 2.79
1976: Dryden 62 GP, 2.03; Montreal 2.14
1977: Dryden 56 GP, 2.14; Montreal 2.12
1978: Dryden 52 GP, 2.05; Montreal 2.27
1979: Dryden 47 GP, 2.30; Montreal 2.52
In all, I think I need to move Tretiak up some but I haven't decided yet how much. I'd be very interested to hear more from European posters who might have access to better Russian league stats or more info on how Tretiak was rated in Europe relative to his NHL contemporaries.
Quotations and Perspective:
Originally Posted by overpass
Darren Eliot made a case for Tretiak as the greatest of all time in SI.
The offense-happy 80's took its toll on goalies, increasingly incorporating side-to-side plays and drop passes to defensemen who were jumping up and joining the attack. Goaltending techniques remained divided and still mostly self-taught, with strict stand-up practitioners like Greg Millen adhering to Plante's teachings and drop-down advocates being represented best by the economical Mike Liut and the athletic and agile Grant Fuhr. These guys provided the bridge to the fully adjusted netminders of today -- the generation sacrificed to arrive at what Russian great Tretiak already knew.
Tretiak brought both styles together -- playing big with his upper body, while protecting the low corners with his pads forming a V. He also introduced a change in priorities -- the need to consider the offensive player on the weak side, rather than zeroing in solely on the puck carrier. Tretiak's controlled butterfly style -- playing a little deeper in the crease to protect against the cross-ice pass -- is now the norm in the NHL, adopted by virtually everyone and turned into an art form by Roy, who further refined Tretiak's mechanics on plays in tight by playing neither the shot nor the pass. Roy chose to play percentages only by spreading out and taking away as much net as possible.
If imitation is truly the highest form of flattery, then Tretiak's role in redefining the position -- particularly when considering how the North American game was evolving to add more European influences on the attack -- makes him the greatest goaltender of all time.
Eliot puts a lot of emphasis on innovation when defining the greatest goaltender of all time. Maybe more than anyone here would. But there's probably some validity to that. Goalie statistics can be difficult to evaluate separately from a team context. If a goalie is really a difference-maker, one should also be able to answer the subjective question: how did he do it? Innovators are more likely to be able to add value as they can gain an edge over their peers.
Among those goaltenders already added to the list, Roy was a pioneer of the modern butterfly position. Hasek's unique sprawling style, which some may be able to explain as "a superior understanding of vertical angles" but which looked like black magic to most of us. Plante was an innovator in playing the puck. Hall played an early version of the butterfly style.
Other goalies up for voting in this round had their own stylistic edges. Brodeur's puck handling and integration of such with his team defence. Benedict's pushing the boundaries of the rule book by dropping to his knees. Durnan's ambidextrous play (not an innovation that stuck, but possibly an advantage over his peers.)
E.M. Swift of SI had another take on what made Tretiak great. Skating technique and attitude.
Technically, what sets Tretiak apart from other goalies is his skating ability—the single most important facet to goaltending. He flows about the crease seamlessly. "A goalie must be a virtuoso on skates," Tretiak wrote in his autobiography. The Hockey I Love. "He does not stand in the crease, he plays in the crease." Tretiak's superior skating enables him to cut down angles a fraction more quickly, to set himself for a rebound the moment the first shot is stopped. And when he does leave his feet, Tretiak recovers almost instantaneously. He never seems out of control. It is not, however, technical matters that define greatness in goaltending—it's the intangibles Tretiak has a sort of genius for his position a love of the game an unwillingness to fail and the absolute conviction that he is a better man than the shooter he is facing There is something almost regal about great goalies on great teams—Dryden comes to mind—an air of dominion that starts at the crease and emanates outward. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...90/3/index.htm
Swift was the SI writer who rated Tretiak as the best goalie of all time in 1992.
Skill, flair, fire in the belly—these are the traits I've looked for in the players on my alltime hockey Dream Team. No one said anything about passports. So in goal, I'll start Tretiak. Big, quick and fundamentally flawless, he dazzled hockey's cognoscenti from 1972, when he starred for the Soviets against Team Canada, until his retirement in '84. I'll back him up with seven-time Vezina Trophy winner Plante, whose minuscule 2.17 goals-against average in 112 playoff games helped his teams win six Stanley Cups. To those who would name Montreal's Ken Dryden and Detroit's Terry Sawchuk to the team, I say this: Those four were the best ever, but there are only two seats on the starship.
For MXD - while Eliot and Swift may be Sports Illustrated writers, they are both former goaltenders, so they have some credibility in this discussion. Eliot was an NHL backup for a few years in the 80s. Swift played goal for Princeton in the early 70s (coached by Bill Quackenbush.) Not that all goaltenders are perfect evaluators, or that only goaltenders can rate other goaltenders, but it's something. (Actually, it would be interesting to know how many project participants are or have been goaltenders themselves.)
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
Team Canada's players fully believed their scouts' observations early in game one in Montreal. Tretiak allowed a goal just 30 seconds into the game, and before the 7 minute mark it was 2-0 Canada.
But from that point on Tretiak shut the door. Tretiak emerged seemingly from nowhere to rob and frustrate Canadian shooters who peppered him relentlessly.
Originally Posted by September to Remember
Canada outshot the Soviets in 6 of the 8 Summit Series games including game 4 when Tretiak stopped 21 third period shots in a 5-3 Soviet win. And while Tretiak's save percentage of .884 isn't spectacular by today's standards, his play was spectacular by any era's standards.
Originally Posted by Pat McLean
Tretiak's positioning was excellent and the reality is that he makes very few fivebell saves. The puck just hits him. He looks the modern goaltender. All angles covered and no holes.
* some of this lifted from Dreakmur's profile as well as the HOH top goaltenders project
Last edited by BraveCanadian: 01-27-2013 at 05:37 PM.
I guess I was tough enough. You had to be to survive. But I wasn't the toughest. That mule-headed, son of a ***** Eddie Shore was the meanest, toughest player I ever met. I was rushing up the ice at the Forum one night when my lights went out. Shore hit me with a check that almost killed me. I was what? 130 pounds at the time and he must have been 190. He dislocated my shoulder and they carried me off in a lot of pain. Then I look around and Shore is leading a fancy rush. Forget the sore shoulder. I leapt over the boards and intercepted the big bugger. Hit him with a flying tackle. Hit him so hard he was out cold on the ice. He had it coming, I'd say!
Awards and Achievements:
3 x Stanley Cup Champion (1924, 1930, 1931)
Hart Trophy Winner (1934)
2 x First Team All-Star (1931, 1934)
Second Team All-Star (1932)
NHL GM-voted Second Team All-Star (1928)
Originally Posted by Canadiens Legends: Montreal’s Hockey Heroes
When anyone speaks of the best players of the early era of professional hockey, the name Aurel Joliat inevitably comes up. Listed officially at 5’7” and 136 pounds, Joliat was something of a dynamo who impressed all those who watched him play hockey. He understood the game very well and could sizzle with his stickhandling abilities. Joliat was quick on his skates and not the least bit afraid to use his stick if he had to protect himself.
Joliat could spin and turn like few other players and showed a great sense of anticipation. He could break up plays and counterattack quickly, knowing that he had to excel at the finesse game.
Throughout his career Joliat never lost any of his feisty nature. Even after suffering two displaced vertebrae, the result of falling some 35 feet off a roof, he was still able to play with an edge to his game. Joliat would take on the legendary Eddie Shore, a much bigger man with an even larger reputation for being tough.
Originally Posted by The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 1 – Biography
Probably the smallest player in the league, he only weighed about 140 pounds. His tricky skating made it difficult for bigger players to hit him with a solid check and he came in for a lot of trips and holding.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Aurel Joliat proved that a small man can hold his own in hockey by becoming one of the finest left wingers ever to play. For 16 seasons, the little man soared up and down left wing with the Montreal Canadiens.
Joliat was an exceedingly tricky and agile skater, a winger so fast and so small he was difficult to hit. He didn’t have a hard shot, but it was accurate. Joliat scored 284 goals in 708 regular season and play-off contests. This master stick-handler could fade away from checkers like a wraith. But he was best known for his bullet-like speed.
Originally Posted by Great Left Wingers: Stars of Hockey’s Golden Age
Joliat was five foot 6 inches and 135 pounds. That made him one of the smallest and lightest players in NHL history, but he was one of the fastest, slickest, and toughest players of his era.
During one memorable game in the 1930s, Joliat controlled the puck during a penalty kill for a minute and a half.
Joliat might not have had Morenz’s speed but according to Rangers Frank Boucher, he was “as slippery as Howie Morenz was sift.” Joliat’s quickness was so frustrating that during one game, Babe Dye of the Toronto Maple Leafs skated over to the Montreal bench and said to Canadiens owner, Leo Danurand, “I’m tired of chasing that shadow of yours, the Flying Frenchman Joliat. Move him to centre, hold a mirror to each side of him, and you’ll have the fastest line in hockey.”
Originally Posted by Montreal Canadiens’ official website
At just 5-foot-6 and tipping the scales at 136 pounds, Joliat played in an era when men took care of themselves on the ice. Bigger men intent on inflicting physical damage soon found out that that Joliat refused to back down and often felt no obligation to drop his stick, especially when settling accounts with adversaries 50 pounds heavier.
Toughness combined with speed, smarts and shiftiness were Joliat’s trademarks for the next 16 seasons. Most NHLers of the 1920s and 30s had nicknames; Joliat had two. He was known as both “The Little Giant” and “The Mighty Atom”.
Wearing his trademark peaked cap, Joliat was an instant scoring sensation, finishing among the NHL’s leaders in his rookie campaign. A complete player, he was as proficient at thwarting an enemy’s rush down the ice as he was at creating his own scoring chances. Joliat was paired with Howie Morenz the following season and the two went on to form one of the most potent scoring duos of the NHL’s early years.
Joliat was a member of three championship teams. His first title came in 1924, before the Stanley Cup became exclusive property of the NHL. The Canadiens had to defeat both the Vancouver Millionaires and the Calgary Tigers to lay claim to being the top hockey team in Canada.
After a dozen years patrolling the left wing for the Montreal Canadiens, Joliat’s value to the team was officially recognized. He received the Hart Trophy, as the league’s most valuable player.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Aurele Joliat was a prolific scorer and relentless backchecker during 16 rewarding seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. He never allowed his comparatively small frame to impede his progress in the NHL. Joliat often teamed with his good friend Howie Morenz to form one of the most potent offensive duos in league history. His blazing forays down the port side made him one of hockey's most exciting left wingers of all time, and his combination of speed and small size made him one of the trickiest skaters to bodycheck.
Joliat was acquired by the Montreal Canadiens when he was traded for the legendary Newsy Lalonde in one of the most controversial trades of hockey's early years. But in his rookie season, the Mighty Atom impressed fans with his speed and puckhandling abilities. He was also a feisty adversary who frustrated his larger opponents.
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
He was a marvelous stickhandler and had an unusual abundance of "hockey sense," he simply did the right thing at the right time.
One Montreal writer of his era said, "He rolled away from 200-pounders, faded from the path of charging rivals and sidestepped and hurdled his way clear of smashing body-blows, flying elbows and jabbing butt-ends. His amazing quickness saved him from untold punishment over the years and kept him going like a brook, apparently forever."
Despite six shoulder separations, three broken ribs, and routine injuries such as five nose fractures, Aurel went on to score 270 goals, tying Morenz on the all-time list. He was also an outstanding checker, capable of stopping an opponent and then quickly starting a rush of his own.
Aurel was also known for a strange idiosyncrasies. For example, he wore a black baseball cap while he played, and wouldn't chase the puck without it. He was often the target of opponents who would swipe at that cap with a gloved hand. If they managed to dislodge it, a mighty roar of yeas and boos followed from the crowd. Aurel always retrieved his cap and put it on again to cover his bald spot. This lack of respect always infuriated Aurel, who played his best hockey when it happened.
And if Aurel didn't score then he saw to it that he slashed the cap-disturber across the ankles with a two-hander. Aurel was also noted for taunting his opponents, needling them until they ended up making mistakes.
Originally Posted by Elmer Ferguson
Aurel Joliat was the playmaker on that line and the greatest playmaking left-winger of all time.
Originally Posted by Jim Coleman
He would dodge, flit, and with split-second timing, he could back pedal, evading the most formidable body checks, leaving some large and embarrassed defensemen floundering on the ice
He was smaller, you understand, and he fought back in his own way. He as singularly adept at sinking the butt end of his stick into the opponent’s ribs.
Originally Posted by Howie Morenz
If it wasn’t for Joliat, you wouldn’t be writing about me so much.
Originally Posted by Leo Dandurand
I think Aurel is the brainiest hockey player now in the game and one of the brainiest who ever played. He has more hockey sense than 10 ordinary players.
Originally Posted by Johnny Gagnon
Joliat was more of an artist, a strickhandler. Aurel always made beautiful passes. He wasn’t as fast as Morenz, but he could move when he wanted to. Joliat skated with short, choppy strides and manipulated the puck as if it were stuck to his stick.
Originally Posted by Bill Cowley
One shift my first year, I remember I tried to run him through the boards. He put a deke on me, and I almost went through the boards myself. I was trying to knock that black cap off his head, and he skated by me and said, ‘Don’t try that again, young fella.’ He was small, but nobody could hit him. If they did, he could handle himself.
Originally Posted by Frank Boucher
Joliat was as slippery as Howie Morenz was swift.
Ultimate Hockey's All-Star Team of the 1920s
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – March 11th, 1931
Aurel Joliat, chosen by 22 out of 37 sports writers of National Hockey League cities for left-wing on a mythical all-star team, and by one for centre berth, is the “Mighty Atom” of Montreal Canadiens, Canadian group leaders and holders of the Stanley Cup, emblematic of the world’s professional title. A tricky little offensive player and a smart checking center ice defence man, Joliat is one of the cleverest stickhandlers hockey has ever seen.
Weighting only 135 pounds and about 5 feet 7 inches in height, Joliat’s slim, wiry figure is ever in the thick of the play. His stick beats a brisk tatoo on the ice as he stickhandles his way through opposing teams. Diminutive compared with the majority of big league players, Joliat’s size and weight have not handicapped “Quette”, as French-Canadian fans know him. He skates fast and can turn on a dime, stopping with disconcerting suddenness in the midst of a rush so that his pursuers swing past him as he shifts, leaving him clear to continue his bewildering weaving dash in another direction.
The modern “David of the NHL” is not afraid of anybody, and has even upset such hockey goliaths as big Ching Johnson, massive Ranger defenceman, with a well-timed body check. He plays with a long-handled stick with scarcely any bend in it, enabling him to carry the puck far in front of him with better control. Remarkably quick on his feet, Joliat hurdles the sticks of opposing defencemen with grace and agility and has scored many a goal with a quick snap shot after stealing the puck off the stick of an opposing player. He often stickhandles his way around the goalkeeper to push the puck into the net.
Originally Posted by Meridan Record, Feb 9, 1962
(Frank) Boucher tapped for his all-time team goalie Chuck Gardiner of the Chicago Black Hawks, defense men Eddie Shore of the Boston Bruins and Ching Johnson of the Rangers, Center Frank Nighbor of Ottawa, left winger Aurel Joliat of the Montreal Canadians and right winger Bill Cook.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – November 10th, 1938
Red Dutton, in his coming hockey piece, goes reminiscent and picks an all-time all-opponent hockey team with Tiny Thompson, Boston goalie, the only active player on the list…
On the forward line Dutton puts Bill Cook, Dick Irwin, and Aurel Joliat… Spreague Cleghorn and Eddie Gerard get his call for the defence jobs…
Originally Posted by Kings of Ice by Andrew Podnieks et. al
Aurel Joliat was a prolific scorer and relentless backchecker during 16 rewarding seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. He never allowed his comparatively small frame to impede his progress in the NHL. Joliat often teams with his good friend Howie Morenz to form one o the most potent offensive duos in league history. His blazing forays down the port side made him one of hockey's most exciting left wingers of all time, and his combination of speed and small size made him one of the trickiest stars to bodycheck.
Many labeled Morenz as the key member of this explosive unit, but Joliat was unquestionably of equal value as a catalyst. Morenz himself said: "If it wasn't for Joliat, you wouldn't be writing about me so much."
His ability to break up plays defensively and quickly lead the counter attack provided the Canadiens with a feared transitional game. Over time, he earned the respect of many of the toughest players in the NHL because of his fearless refusal to back down in on-ice confrontations.
13 points in 16 Olympic GP
Placements - 1988: 33rd in overall scoring, 6th in team scoring, 6th in defensemen scoring (7 points behind Fetisov); 2002: 13th in overall scoring, 4th in team scoring, 2nd in defensemen scoring (1 point behind Lidstrom) 1998: only scored 2 points in 4 GP
4 points in 7 Canada Cup GP
Placements - 1991: 18th in overall scoring, 6th in team scoring, 3rd in defensemen scoring (3 points behind Coffey)
8 points in 12 World Cup GP
Placements - 1996: 3rd in overall scoring, 3rd in team scoring, 1st in defensemen scoring (tied with Coffey); 2004: only 1 point in 5 GP
16 points in 20 World Championship GP
Placements - 1987: 11th in scoring, 2nd in team scoring, 2nd in defensemen scoring (1 point behind Fetisov); 1989: 24th in scoring, 2nd in team scoring, 2nd in defensemen scoring (1 point behind Hannu Virta)
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends
One of the keys to Leetch's early NHL success was coach Michel Bergeron. Bergeron was a fiery coach who insisted on passion, and was not known for tactics and Xs and Os. Leetch was free to play his game, which is so rare for any player nowadays. He was allowed to show what he could do.
That was great for the beginning of Leetch's career, but he truly became the NHL's top defender upon the arrival of coach Mike Keenan and former Oiler Mark Messier. Leetch would develop special bonds with both, especially Messier. Those bonds would teach him how to become one of the NHL's all time great players.
In 1991-92, Leetch became only the 4th defenseman in league history to record 100 points in a season. His 80 assists were a team record. His dominance earned him his first Norris Trophy as the league's best rearguard.
However it was the 1993-94 season that ranks highest on Leetch's incredible list of accomplishments. After another impressive regular season of 79points, Leetch led the New York Rangers in the playoffs, scoring 11 goals and a league high 23 assists and 34 points on route to the first Stanley Cup championship on Broadway in 54 years. Leetch was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff's most valuable performer, the first non-Canadian born player to do so.
The key to Leetch's game was always his mobility and vision. He was a terrific skater and stickhandler. Everyone marveled at how he could sidestep the league's best forecheckers and make a great breakout pass, often creating something out of nothing. He was a good rusher too, and manned a power play point as good as anyone. Defensively he overcame relatively small size with impeccable timing and positioning. He was never adverse to the physical game either. He truly was one of the all time great defensemen.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 1/30/1989
With his breathtaking offensive skills, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Leetch, a first-round pick who played a year at Boston College before competing in the Olympics, gives the Rangers an attacking defense-man from the Denis Potvin and Paul Coffey mold—in effect, a fourth forward, which seems to be a prerequisite for Stanley Cup teams of the '80s. And he even seems to be justifying the comparisons being made between him and Bobby Orr. "I saw Orr at the same age, and I put Brian in the same breath with Orr," says Esposito. "I've never done that with anyone."
Coach Colin Campbell of the Rangers does not use the word superstar frivolously. That is why he calls defenseman Brian Leetch a near superstar. But Campbell is clearly convinced that Leetch can supplant Boston's Ray Bourque as the National Hockey League's next great defenseman.
"I think Brian Leetch can grab the torch," the coach said. "In my opinion, he is the premier defenseman in the league. Among his great strengths is his recovery rate after shifts and his ability to play a lot of hockey and thrive on it."
...And he is among New York's most effective penalty killers.
There is only one thing left on Campbell's wish list when it comes to Leetch: consistency.
"He did things that we needed him to do," Campbell said. "The down low, the hard, the penalty kills, the battling. And it all came against a hard, tough team."
He paused a moment, then said, "When Brian does that, we have a great chance of winning."
The way fellow defenseman Bruce Driver sees it, Leetch with the puck at the offensive end is double trouble for the opposition because his scoring skill is matched by his ability to find the open man.
"If I get the chance, I like to shoot," he said. "But I always look to pass if there's an opportunity. I like to draw someone to me and set someone else up. You don't score many goals when the goaltender's looking at you."
For most of his career, Leetch's incredible playmaking talent has earned him carte blanche on the ice. That's not so with Keenan around. Keenan has dramatically altered Leetch's role in the Rangers' system. Leetch is still expected to be the offensive catalyst on the power play. And he is expected to initiate plays. But he is also expected to play defense. And in five-on-five situations, he is expected to be patient, and conservative, and, if necessary, play the dreaded dump and chase.
"Brian has played exceptionally well in the last 20 games at least," Keenan said. "The thing that probably stands out most of all is that he's been playing excellent defensive hockey, especially one on one. We look at him to create offense, of course, but his one-on-one play and his penalty killing have been exceptional."
Leetch acknowledges that Keenan's instructions have made him a better all-round player, even if he's not particularly fond of the change. There are times when he gets the puck and aches to rush up ice, but knows he's not allowed. There are other times, though, when he looks at the team's record, and the balanced scoring, and can only feel good about what has happened this fall.
Originally Posted by Slap Shot, New York Times - 1/24/2008
“When I first came on, Michel Bergeron used to yell at me, ‘We need a goal, we need a goal.’ And I’d say OK and go right up ice as fast as I could,” Leetch said. “It wasn’t as much system, the trap wasn’t there. It wasn’t until a few years later, more video came in, our team got better as a group and that responsibility would come. They used to tell me, ‘Carry the mail, carry the mail.’ They used to tell guys, ‘Back him up, stay back.’ So that was what they wanted me to do. Then it started to be, ‘You can’t be up ice all the time.’ And I said, ‘Alright, whatever you guys want me to do. Just tell me what to do.’”
He said he developed the defensive side of his game as the Rangers acquired more scorers and built the team that would become the 1994 Stanley Cup team.
Originally Posted by New York Daily News - 1/24/2008
Mike Richter: "I look at Brian and I liken him to all the greatest players from all sports. They're able to see their game in a unique way - maybe it's a little slower than all the rest of us see it. Maybe it's just in advance.
Position: LW ▪ Shoots: Left
Height: 5-7 ▪ Weight: 168 lbs.
Born: December 23, 1891 in Farrow's Point, Ontario
-248 Goals and 85 Assists in 328 Career NHL Games (392 G and 455 A if you adjust those stats)
-9 top 10 finishes in Goals in a Regular Season (Including leading the league once)
-6 top 10 finishes in Assists in a Regular Season (Including leading the league twice)
-8 top 10 finishes in Points in a Regular Season (Including leading the league once)
-33 Goals in 42 NHA Games
Though best remembered as a sniper, Denneny was also quite the physical player, not afraid to mix things up with the opposition.
Legends Of Hockey
One of the top-scoring left wings of his era, Cy Denneny topped the 20-goal mark eight times in his stellar career. Although he wasn't the swiftest skater, Denneny used his shot to deadly effect.
I really like this pick. Denneny and Clarke will benefit from 1 another on the first line given both play an offensive and rough and tumble game.
Kudos to the Ottawa Senators for the great season despite injuries to their 3 best players.
On the ice, he was an accomplished playmaking center and team leader who contributed to three Stanley Cup championships in Detroit
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
He was as creative a center as he was abrasive. His passes were crisp and accurate and his body checks were lusty
I had a choice between Sid Abel and Alex Delvecchio to center Gordie Howe a few years ago and chose Abel. And I'd still choose Abel first - I think he proved to be a superstar on his own before Gordie Howe started dominating, while Delvecchio was something of an elite complimentary player for an extremely long time. It is close though. Abel is much more physical than Delvecchio, but Delvecchio was faster and seems to have a more versatile special teams skillset, which is useful in this format.
2nd Team AS LW (1942)
1st Team AS C (1949, 1950)
2nd Team AS C (1951)
Abel received a single 2nd place vote for AS LW in both 1941 and 1943. He missed 1944-46 due to the war, didn't get any votes in 1947, and received a single 3rd place vote (out of 5 coaches - coaches couldn't vote for their own players) for AS C in 1948. We don't have full records for 1952.
Hart Trophy winner (1949); also finished 4th in voting (1950)*
Named "Hockey's Man of the Year" in 1949 by Sport Magazine
Captained 3 Stanley Cup winners (1943, 1950, 1952) - Gordie Howe was injured during the first round in 1950, so he was only a major factor in 1952.
Missed all of 1944 and 1945 and most of 1946 because of World War 2 - and was an All-Star both before and after the war.
*Dink Carroll reported in 1-20-1951 Montreal Gazette that Sport Magazine's boards of experts voted, by a wide margin, Maurice Richard as top player of 1950, with Rayner and Abel also mentioned.
1941: 10th in assists, 17th in points
1942: 11th in goals, 3rd in assists, 5th in points
1947: 7th in assists, 14th in points
1948: 5th in assists, 14th in points
1949: 1st in goals, 5th in assists, 3rd in points
1950: 3rd in goals, 3rd in assists, 2nd in points
1951: 7th in goals, 5th in assists, 4th in points
1952: 5th in assists, 7th in points
Abel finished 2 points back from 20th in scoring in 1943, then missed 1944, 1945, and 1946 due to the war.
While Howe and Lindsay brought a mixture of styles and aggression that would intimidate their opponents, Abel's creativity and savvy was the backbone of the line and the Red Wings. But don't think he was soft. He could hit as hard or be as abrasive as his line mates…
It can be argued that Abel, not Howe, Sawchuk, Lindsay or Kelly, was the backbone of the great Red Wings team of the 1950's. Hockey historian Ed Fitkin was once quoted as saying "Sid will go down in the Red Wings' history as the greatest competitor and inspirational force the Red Wings ever had."
Despite Abel's gaudy assist totals (top 10 in assists in 1941, 1942, and every year from 1947-1952), an undrafted NHL coach with a long and storied career called Abel a "driver" more than a pure playmaker - someone who would go hard into corners to come out with the puck and feed it to his linemates. Milt Schmidt and Ted Kennedy were also said to play this style:
Originally Posted by Dink Carroll
Milt Schmidt, Syl Apps, Teeder Kennedy, Sid Abel, and even Howie Morenz are not classified in the trade as great playmakers, though acknowledged as great hockey players.
"They belong to the 'driving' type of player, Dick Irvin said. "Fellows like Schmidt, Kennedy, and Abel go into the corners and get the puck out to their wings." Apps used to hit the defense at top speed and XXX would come behind and pick up his garbage. Apps used to get sore when I told him that Drillion profited from his mistakes.
Howie Morenz wasn't a good playmaker, said Elmer Ferguson. "Aurel Joliat was the playmaker on that line and the greatest playmaking left-winger of all time...
Via Joe Pelletier, Abel was a mentor to a young Gordie Howe. Howe's story is further support for Abel as a "driver" type player.
Originally Posted by Gordie Howe
In my first game, he gave me my first lesson. I was in the corner fighting for the puck with him, and when I came back to the bench he said, ‘what are you doing in the corner?’ I looked at him and thought it was kind of a stupid question. And I said, ‘I was there trying to help you get the puck.’ He said, ‘what am I going to do if I get it and you’re standing beside me? What I want you to do is get your fanny in front of the net, and if you’re right-handed, make sure that your stick is free. Don’t go on your backhand, go on your forehand, that’s what I’m passing you the puck for.’ And I’ll be darned if I didn’t go out the next shift and get a goal. You think I didn’t listen to everything he said after that?”
When the Production Line was put together, Sid Abel (whose skating had slowed down by that point), stayed back as the defensive conscience or "glue" of the line while the speedy Lindsay and Howe went in hard on the dump-and-chase game:
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
He was a dogged and creative playmaker, the cog in the wheel with Howe and Lindsay.
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
Abel had the savvy, and Howe and Lindsay had a mixture of style and aggressiveness than intimidated their opponents.
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
Sid was the backbone of the Red Wings. While he played for Detroit, the team won the Prince of Wales Trophy in 1942-43 and again for four straight years from 1948-49 to 1951-52.
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
In the 1949-50 playoffs, the Red Wings had to recover from a 5-0 beating in the first game against Toronto and the loss of an injured Gordie Howe. Sid's leadership finally helped the Red Wings end the Toronto jinx and eliminate the three-time Stanley Cup winners.
Originally Posted by Red Wings teammate
According to Jack Adams' plan, I was supposed to center Lindsay and Howe, while Sid Abel would kill penalties. But after I got hurt, Abel was moved in there, and the Production Line was formed and became the best line in hockey for a few years. Sid was reborn because he had the two young kids doing all the work. That's not to take anything away from Sid; he was excellent in front of the net, a terrific playmaker, and a good faceoff man. He could do all those things, and besides that, he was the team captain. He was the guy who got everyone together for nice team meetings.
One of the top playmaking centers ever to compete in the NHL, Elmer Lach spent his entire 14-year career with the Montreal Canadiens. He helped "les glorieux" win the Stanley Cup three times and gained much acclaim as the center on the club's dreaded Punch Line with Toe Blake and Maurice Richard. Lach also received accolades for his determination on the ice and his resilience in battling a host of serious injuries.
Most observers were particularly impressed with his blinding speed and devotion to defensive play.
With the conclusion of the 1953-54 season, Lach's fourteenth, Elmer Lach had played 664 regular season contests, collecting 215 goals and 408 assists for 623 points. In 76 postseason games, he accumulated 64 points on 19 goals and 45 assists. But the points, as impressive as they are, reflect but one aspect of an outstanding career. The skilled centre was master of the faceoff and was effective defensively as he was in the offensive zone. The Hockey News ranked Lach number 68 on their 100 Greatest Hockey Players in 1998. In 1966, Elmer Lach was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.*
Elmer Lach on the Punch Line:
The three of us did like to win. We made sure that we didn't have any goals scored against us. We hated that more than wanting to score. As for Rocket, he enjoyed scoring the goals and I enjoyed watching him.
Coach Dick Irvin on Lach:
Dick Irvin declares that only two hockey players in recent memory have had the capacity to "make" wings.
"One was Bill Cowley and the other was Elmer Lach" said Dick. "Cowley was the better playmaker but he wasn't as good a hockey player as Elmer because he was weak defensively."
"I've seen them all in the last 20 years as a coach and I played against the best for some years before that and to my mind Lach is certainly among the three great centres of all time," said Irvin. "The other two?...well, you can't leave Howie Morenz out of it and for my other man I'd take Mickey Mackay of the old Pacific Coast League."
Then Irvin came up with his novel twist on the evaluation of a hockey player.
"You've heard of the one-way player...the man who only scores goals but doesn't back-check. Then there's the two-way player who's good at both. Well, Lach is the perfect four-way player. He not only is able to go up and down the ice but he goes to both sides as well.
"Lach has that happy faculty that made Babe Ruth such a terrific baseball player. He's able to do the right thing at the right time just as naturally as can be. He doesn't make mistakes in a hockey game and he has a great will-to-win."
"Another thing I'd like to stress about the Punch Line is the way they all backchecked. Some people seem to think that Richard isn't much of a backchecker. Well, we have records that show the Punch Line was scored on only 14 times in 60 games. That's certainly not a bad showing...and Richard helped make it.
Lach...was a fast, smooth skater, tenacious in the corners, had good vision and deft hands and could fire a puck through a churning thicket of legs and skates and place it on the blade of a teammate's stick.
One observer noted that "Lach still has all his old speed, skates opponents into the ice and is setting up plays with his usual skill."
With their fourth round pick (102) in the 2013 ATD, the Guelph Platers have selected: Ron Francis, C
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame
2-time Stanley Cup Champion (1991, 1992)
Stanley Cup Finalist (2002)
Frank J. Selke Trophy Winner (1995)
3-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy (1995, 1998, 2002)
King Clancy Memorial Trophy Winner (2002)
NHL Plus/Minus Award Winner in 1995.
Played in the NHL All-Star Game 4 times (1983, 1985, 1990, 1996)
Captain of the Whalers, Penguins and Hurricane.
Born: March 1, 1963
Weight: 200 lbs
Francis currently ranks 26th all time in regular season goals with 549, 2nd all time in regular season assists with 1249, and 4th all time in regular season points with 1798.
Courtesy of Hockey Outsider:
Top ten in scoring & Selke voting (in the same season)
Top-10 in Hart Voting Three Times (6th, 9th, 10th)
Top-12 in Selke Voting 8 Times (1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 6th, 8th, 12th)
Top-10 in All-Star Voting 8 Times (3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 9th)
Top-20 in Assists 15 Times (1st, 1st, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 9th, 10th, 10th, 10th, 15th, 16th, 17th)
Top-20 in Points 12 Times (4th, 5th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 17th, 20th, 20th)
Originally Posted by Posted by NHL Players' Poll, 1993 and 1994
Best on faceoffs T-2nd 1993
Best on faceoffs 1st 1994
Most Underrated T-2nd 1993
Best Defensive Forward 3rd 1993
Best Defensive Forward T-6th 1994
Smartest Player T-1st 1994
5th in Playoff Goals (1991)
Top-10 in Playoff Assists 4 Times (1st, 3rd, 7th, 8th)
Top-10 in Playoff Points 3 Times (3rd, 3rd, 8th)
Originally Posted by Mellon Arena Memories, Post-Gazette.com, 07-29,10
On his hat trick in Game 4 of the 1992 Patrick Division final against the Rangers. Francis' third goal won the game in overtime:
"Obviously when you lose guys like Mario Lemieux and Joey Mullen early in that series and you’re playing against the Presidents Trophy (winners), you think you’re in trouble. But that team had a lot of guts. We weren't going to give up easily. Everyone talks about Game 4 in here when I had the hat trick but for me, I think the best game I ever played in my life was probably Game 3 here. I believe I scored two goals and we lost that one. I remember calling my dad on the ride home and saying, ‘I probably played about as good as I can play.' He said, ‘You’re going to have to do it again.’ We came back in Game 4 and it’s kind of do or die for us. It’s not every game where you score from your own blue line. We ended up winning that game in overtime. (Jaromir Jagr) was great in Games 5 and 6 and we were able to sneak by them. We got Mario back and the rest was history. We won 11 straight to win the (Stanley) Cup."
Originally Posted by Best In the Game: The Turbulent Story of the Penguins' Rise to Stanley Cup Champions
Ron Francis probably got no more than token support in the Smythe voting, but that is more testimony to the talents of his teammates than any shortcoming on Francis' part. And it was entirely fitting that Francis scored the cup-clinching goal, because there probably wouldn't have been a championship if Francis had not risen to the challenge so brilliantly when Lemieux's hand was broken.
What's more, Francis played the final months of the season on a knee that was crying out to be surgically repaired. But Francis refused to leave the lineup... The Penguins were fighting for a playoff spot, and Francis was too much of a competitor to watch the race from the press box. "I didn't think it was going to make it through the Washington series", Francis said. "It started off all right, then seemed to go downhill. Then it seemed to get better, and the last couple of series it was a struggle every night. But when you're winning hockey games, you don't feel it as much, And when you see the finish line ahead of you, it gives you the incentive to just play through.
Quotations and Perspective:
Originally Posted by Who's Who in Hockey
In an accurate assessment of the fraying center during the 2001-02 season, Hartford Courant sports columnist Jeff Jacobs described Ron Francis as "the most underrated player in hockey history". Virtually guaranteed entrance into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Francis excelled at the center ice position both defensively and offensively.
... Invariably he was overshadowed by flashier performers, such as Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. However Francis's all-round talents were always appreciated by his coaches and managers.
... It's no wonder why Carolina fans loved their captain, who held some of the most elite records on the team, nor is it surprising why Jacobs described him in such a manner. Though Francis's name may not be one of the first to be uttered around the league as a memorable player, he will definitely be remembered for his extraordinary career.
Originally Posted by loh.net
...Although just a 19-year-old rookie, Francis showed maturity well beyond his years when he first stepped onto NHL ice. He had 25 goals and 68 points his first season and instantly became a fan favorite both for his playing skill and his unfailing work in the community. He was blessed to be able to room with the great Dave Keon on road trips, and the two became fast hockey friends.
While the Whalers were happy to have Francis, the team missed the playoffs the first four years he was with the team while it developed its young talent. Then it became a consistent playoff team but had an awful time winning even one round of the playoffs each spring, playing in the same division as Montreal, Boston and Quebec. Midway through the 1984-85 season, he was made team captain... At 22, Francis became one of the youngest captains in NHL history, but he was able to live up to the expectations of wearing the "C" without it affecting his play. He routinely scored 25 goals and 80 points...
In Pittsburgh he played behind Mario Lemieux and a young Jaromir Jagr, but he took his game to another level. He became not only a goal scorer but one of the best passing centers and two-way players in the league. Pittsburgh won back-to-back Cup titles in 1991 and 1992, and Francis twice reached the 100-point plateau. He was equally consistent in the playoffs as in the regular season, and for 1994-95 he was named Penguins captain while Mario Lemieux recovered from injuries and missed the year. At the start of the next season, though, the captaincy was given back to Mario, and Francis just kept on leading by example. His sportsmanship paid off, for when Lemieux retired in 1997, the captaincy was once again sewn onto his sweater.
Although he has played in four All-Star games and has won the Selke Trophy (1995) and the Lady Byng Trophy (1995, 1998), Francis is perhaps the quietest superstar in the league. He reached 500 career goals in 2002, is one of only a few to record 1,000 career assists, and is climbing into the top 10 of all-time scorers, yet few would put him in the same class as Lafleur, Dionne or Lemieux.
In the summer of 1998 he returned, sort of, whence he came. Pittsburgh felt Francis was getting on in years. He was 35 years old and an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career and was in a position to negotiate possibly one final contract. He signed with the Carolina Hurricanes, which was where the Hartford Whalers had relocated the previous season. In 2002 Francis led the Hurricanes to their first Stanley Cup Final only to fall to mighty Detroit Red Wings and was the recipient of the King Clancy Memorial and his third Lady Byng Memorial.
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
Very quietly Ron Francis was one of the best centers in the history of the National Hockey League. He finished his career with 549 goals, 1249 assists (2nd best of all time) and 1798 points (4th best). He won two Stanley Cups, three Lady Byng trophies, a Selke trophy and a Clancy trophy.
Picked fourth overall by Hartford in the 1981 Entry Draft, Ron excelled for years in relative obscurity with the Hartford Whalers. For almost a decade Francis was the Hartford Whalers. He was their leading offensive threat while also being their top checker. He was their special teams specialist, face-off specialist and most importantly he was their leader.
Francis, like Gretzky, thought the game better than most. He somehow exceeded the sum of his parts. He was a choppy skater, deceptively quick but not pretty to watch. He had good size and used it effectively, but was anything but imposing. He was never a dazzling or charismatic player, just a greatly efficient one.
...Ron immediately had an impact in Pittsburgh. Francis played a huge part in helping the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, in 1991 and 1992. While continuing to be a top defensive center man, Ron enjoyed his finest scoring season in Pittsburgh. In 1995-96 he was often moved on to left wing with Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. Francis would score 27 goals and lead the league with 92 assists for 119 points.
Francis became the glue of a very talented Pittsburgh Penguins team. Playing in the huge shadows of scoring sensations Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, it was Francis' defensive contributions and quiet offensive genius that was the missing ingredient in Pittsburgh. The Pens' two Stanley Cup victories were largely, but typically quietly, due to Ron Francis.
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide Of Everyone Who Has Ever Played In the NHL
22 years later he is still among the game's best passers... has been a model of consistency... Yet there is nothing spectacular about his game, nothing that defines him or separates him from 100 NHLers except that he does everything exceptionally well whereas the other 99 players do things merely well... has been one of the league's premier playmakers for many, many years.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
He was more than just a scorer, however. He was an exceptional defensive forward with a knack for faceoffs, and had a soft passing touch. Former Whalers coach **** *** commented that Francis was "easily one of the best all-around players in the game".
Before Francis arrived, the Penguins were an offensive juggernaut with a tendency to strain under the tight checking required in the playoffs. Francis changed the complexion of the team almost overnight, bringing aboard leadership and a two-way conscience... As a Penguin, the big man played inspired hockey.
Originally Posted by Penguin Profiles
Ron Francis: Always the Big Brother
The Penguins veteran comes close to perfection. he reminds one of athletes from a bygone era with his refreshing approach and appeal... He is dedicated to succeed... was admired by teammates, management, and fans alike... Francis says "I was brought up that if I spoke to much 'me' and 'I' stuff, I got a real tongue lashing. I was taught to be team-oriented and to be family-oriented. I was told to do whatever I was doing as well as I could do it, but to share the credit."... Francis was a fantastic #2 center in Pittsburgh, a two-way player who contributed in so many ways, on the ice, in the clubhouse, outside the rink... He is an accomplished penalty killer and can play defense like a man who truly cares. "I don't know where we'd be without him", said coach ***** ********.
Originally Posted by Best In the Game: The Turbulent Story of the Penguins' Rise to Stanley Cup Champions
The Penguins got a taste of life without Ron Francis early in the season, and while his absence was impossible to overlook, veterans Bryan Trottier and **** ****** were doing a commendable job of filling in for him. Neither could take over Francis' vast array of duties, at least not for an extended period...
Originally Posted by Best In the Game: The Turbulent Story of the Penguins' Rise to Stanley Cup Champions
Francis gave Pittsburgh a sound two-way center who was the perfect complement to Mario Lemieux... He had been the cornerstone of the franchise in Hartford, a perennial fan favourite who commanded respect because of the consistency and quality of his game. There were no fundamental flaws in his game, but Francis' attitude was every bit as important to the Penguins as his ability... He made the transition from being the focus of attention with the Whalers to playing a supporting role with Pittsburgh... Francis was willing to accept a reduced role for the good of the team... He was qualified to play a role no one else in the organization could. "We had Mario, but we didn't have a #2 center who could play both ends of the ice the way Ronnie can," Bob Errey said. "He wins big draws and shuts the other team's top center down. And he's a great scorer when he has to be."
Originally Posted by Scotty Bowman: A Life In Hockey
A playmaking center who was almost as big as Jagr... a tremendous all-around player with great defensive abilities... scored the goal that won game 4 against the Rangers, tied the series, and probably turned it around.
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook of Pro Hockey 1983
Once called up from junior, Francis made everyone ask what he was doing there all along. He not even helped the offense, he generated and controlled it... Had a hand in a remarkable 74% of goals scored while he was on the ice... also led the whalers with four unassisted goals... swift, with accurate shot... supremely confident and has reason to be...
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook of Pro Hockey 1984
No relation to Whalers' GM, but has the same fierce competitive drive and energy... hasn't gained full recognition yet because he plays for a weak team... fast, elusive skater... a gifted playmaker.
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1985
Impresses fans and rivals with energetic style of play.
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1986
An outstanding young center who has superstar potential and plays hard every game... Has perfect size and ability to develop into one of hockey's best centers... Plays with determination. Hustles every time he's on the ice.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1986-87
A big man and will play physical but operates much better in open ice...
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook of Pro Hockey 1987
His absence coincided with Whaler tailspin (11-15-1)... When Ron Francis is healthy, so are the Whalers.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1987-88
A good skater with good speed, and he can turn up the juice to surprise a defenseman when need be. Ron doesn't have one-step quickness, but his long stride and long-haul speed will take him away from most checkers... Agility is also a big part of Francis' game. He darts in and out of traffic and changes direction quickly... To exploit his playmaking ability, Francis plays the point on the Whaler powerplay... does not shy away from contact and will initiate some of his own, but Francis is not a punishing hitter... a strong two-way center... has developed the character to play hurt and has increased his intensity... an unselfish player and a leader for the Whalers.
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1988
The backbone of the Whalers... voted MVP by teammates in three of the past four seasons...
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1988-89
Francis is a very good skater in a non-spectacular way. He has excellent balance... will surprise unwitting defensemen... his ability to lean away from checks and his long stride make him difficult to catch... Francis is a complete player, coming back to his zone to aid in the breakouts...
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1989-90
Francis' excellent balance keys his skating and gives him speed and agility surprising for a bigger man. He's a smooth skater with better than average foot speed, and that asset combines with his balance to give him superior lateral movement and agility. He uses his foot speed and balance to lean away from checks, and he also functions well in traffic because of his balance.
His hockey sense (Ron always knows where he is on the ice) complements his skating skills by guiding him to places where he can put his soft hands to work... unselfish... plays a complete game in all three zones...can muscle the opposition off the puck, and won't shy away from contact, but not like an Yzerman in this regard... he has learned to do the character things a captain must - like playing through pain.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1990-91
There are two keys to his success as a playmaker: passing and hockey sense. He has great vision of the ice, as well as the patience and poise to wait that split second more to reach the opposition's panic zone; Francis simply forces the opposition into committing itself, and then exploits the opening he has essentially created. He reads the ice very well, and not only finds the open man but also sees the openings into which he can lead his teammates. The physical side of this is his passing, which is excellent. Francis has great touch with the puck and can deliver anywhere in any way necessary, be it feathered or fired.
Francis' skating is good to very good, equipped with speed and agility that is a little surprising to find in a man with his size and bulk. He can dipsy doodle, and his balance gives him both superior lateral ability and the skill to lean away from checks. He also functions well in traffic.
Francis has great size, but he doesn't initiate contact. That's not to say he's afraid of playing physically or that he won't take a hit. He just doesn't take advantage of his size by imposing himself. He has good upper body strength and superior balance to muscle the opposition off the puck... He waits outside the scrums to snare loose pucks with his good reach... A good faceoff man who loves to go forward with the puck off the draw... A character player and a good team man.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1991-92
When it comes to combining offense and defense, there are few centers in the league the equal of Francis. He is a good positional player and is smart with and without the puck. Francis has a good head in the game, which is his #1 asset.
Above average skater... good in tight with lateral mobility and balance... moves the puck pretty well... Has good vision and is very calm and patient with the puck when looking for the open man... Francis is good on faceoffs and is willing to adapt his role to the needs of the team. He can play in all situations and on both special teams... Francis has an excellent attitude and leadership qualities... good size and strength.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting report 1992-93
Francis is a player of fine two-way skills, which is why he always seems to be there when danger is to be created offensively or averted defensively[... he is an excellent defensive player who is depended upon to win the key defensive zone faceoffs - especially the first draw in penalty killing situations. Francis has a nice touch on the draws, and good hands also enable him to feather a pass to a breaking teammate. He also has a long reach, and he uses it.
Francis is strong on his feet, which helps him keep his legs going in the scrums. Good balance enables him to tie up his opponent, then kick the puck to a teammate... He is a responsible player who is as dilligent in front of his net as he is in the attacking zone. He has above average drive and determination, and will not hesitate to dive toward a puck - to block a shot, to sweep the puck from the goal mouth, to chop it away from an opponent... He sees the ice well, distributes well and takes the hits to spring a teammate with the puck.
Francis does not shy away from the painful places on the ice, the places where you get bruises. He goes in front of the net for deflections and rebounds, uses his strength and balance to gain position, keeps plugging away... He doesn't bury people. But he uses strength in the faceoff battles, does his best to lock up his man on offensive zone draws, fights hard to get to his point those rare times he loses a draw in the defensive zone.
Francis inspires a sense of confidence in his teammates because he is such a dependable player. And he was an absolute tower of strength in the playoffs last spring, stepping into the gap and playing a huge leadership role when Mario Lemieux was injured... Francis may not seem to show much emotion on the ice, but he has tremendous desire to win and is an extremely gritty competitor. He may not be much for the spotlight, but his persistence and contribution to victory are laudatory.
Originally Posted by 1993-94 Hockey Almanac
Aside from his immense value as a "character" player - a leader and a former team captain - Francis brings great skill to the rink every night. He is a good skater with long strides and surprising grace and agility. His playmaking is among the best in the league... chips in with important points... Always a reliable defensive player, his line often skates against the opposition's best line... when Lemieux is forced out of the lineup - as he was last January - Francis is capable of stepping in and quietly keeping up the offensive pace.
WILL: Be a Leader.
CAN'T: Compete with Mario.
EXPECT: 20 to 25 goals.
DON'T EXPECT: To notice him.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1993-94
May have had the quietest 100 point season in league history... the best two-way player in the NHL... his hands enable him to turn from checker to playmaker in an instant... poise and professionalism have always marked Francis' career, and he has only enhanced that reputation with the way he has conducted himself...
Originally Posted by 1994-95 Hockey Almanac
His job has been to act as the superstar stand-in for the brilliant but perpetually injured Mario Lemieux... In 1993-94, when Lemieux missed most of the regular season, Francis stepped into the breach and carried the Penguins to a 1st place finish... one of the most consistent, creative, and sturdy playmaking centers in the league... He is a big man who plays with remarkable finesse and grit... Proved that, like other great centers before him, he could carry a team on his broad shoulders... goes about his business in a quiet, effective manner, and as a result he fails to get the recognition and glory his accomplishments merit... without Francis it is unlikely that the Penguins would have achieved all the miracles they were able to pull off... were it not for the brilliant "understudy" work of Francis, the team would not have been poised to grab the championships they won when their spectacular but fragile hero, Lemieux, was unable to play.
WILL: Be a hall of famer.
CAN'T: Be undervalued.
EXPECT: A true leader.
DON'T EXPECT: Him to slow down.
Originally Posted by Pro Hockey Play-by-Play, 1995
He plays in all special team situations, he won't back down from the rough stuff (yet he's not at all dirty), he's been a captain and leader. Fantastic player.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1995-96
Francis may be the einstein of faceoffs... the ultimate number two center... The Penguins wouldn't have won a Stanley Cup, let alone two, without his acquisition...
Originally Posted by 1995-96 Hockey Almanac
His play is reminiscent of Jean Beliveau. He plays clean but tough, and his repertoire is full of tricks... Stopping Francis on the ice is almost as difficult as finding a fault in his game... a team leader who can do anything he's asked to on the ice - like taking faceoffs and checking the opposition's top scorer...
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1996-97
Petr Nedved and Jaromir Jagr owe much of their success to this cerebral center... once the Penguins lost Francis to a broken foot in the playoffs, their Stanley Cup hopes disappeared... Pittsburgh goalies have no fear about freezing the puck because of Francis' superiority on faceoffs... While he focuses on a defensive role, Francis has the hands and the vision to come out of a defensive scramble into an attacking rush... Jagr is always hanging and cicrling and looking for the opportunity, and Francis often finds him... He can kill penalties or work the point on the powerplay with equal effectiveness.
Originally Posted by 1996-97 Hockey Almanac
...takes the puck into traffic, battles in the corners, holds his position in the slot, and has a quick trigger on a very heavy snap shot. He's been outshined by Lemieux and Jagr in Pittsburgh, but Francis has not been overlooked by experts who recognize his greatness... keeps in good shape and has managed to avoid serious injuries...
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2000
Francis can still put points on the board, but his value now is as a two-way center with an emphasis on defense... His understanding of the game is key because he has great awareness of his conditioning... Francis is Dr. Draw. On rare nights when he is struggling with an opposing center, he'll tinker with his changes in the neutral zone, then save what he has learned for a key draw deep in either zone. Just as a great scorer never uses the same move twice in a row, Francis never uses the same technique twice in succession. He has good hand-eye coordination and uses his body well at the dot. Few players win their draws as outright as Francis does on a consistent basis... Francis has the vision to come out of a scramble into an attacking rush. he anticipates passes, blocks shots, then springs an odd-man breakout with a smart play... He complements any kind of player.... Not a big, imposing hitter, Francis will still use his body to get the job done. he will bump and grind and go into the trenches. On defense, he can function as a third defenseman; on offense you will find him going into the corners or heading for the front of the net for tips and rebounds. He keeps himself in great shape and is remarkably durable...
Originally Posted by NYTimes, N.H.L.: ROUNDUP; Francis Scores Two Goals In Victory, Jan 15, 2001
Ron Francis has never sought the spotlight during his 20-year National Hockey League career. The captain of the Carolina Hurricanes cannot seem to stay away from it this season as he climbs the N.H.L. scoring chart.
Francis scored twice to become the league's fifth leading scorer, and Arturs Irbe recorded his fourth shutout as the streaking Hurricanes beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 4-0, yesterday.
Francis scored his ninth goal of the season with 21 seconds left in the second period to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead and move him past Phil Esposito -- his boyhood hero -- with 1,591 points.
''I heard it put once that it is probably the quietest 1,500-plus points that anybody has ever scored,'' Francis said. ''That's probably true.''
''But it doesn't really matter to me what people say about me. As individuals you try to go out there and work as hard as you possibly can and at the end of the day you can look in the mirror and know that you're tried your best and given everything you have. That's when you have to be satisfied. That's all I've ever been concerned with.''
Originally Posted by USAToday, Captain Francis delivers for 'Canes in overtime, 06/07/2002, Kevin Allen
The Carolina Hurricanes erased any notion that they couldn't compete with the Detroit Red Wings by winning Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals 3-2 on a Ron Francis overtime goal.
Tuesday's victory marked the first time the Hurricanes had won a game in Joe Louis Arena since 1989, when the franchise was located in Hartford.
* some of this lifted from BillyShoe and 70s previous profiles
Last edited by BraveCanadian: 02-04-2013 at 11:38 AM.
I like to compete. I love the competition. I don’t know if that’s a leadership quality or not. I really just enjoy the battles and the passion. I just love playing hockey and love competing. Hopefully it helps my team.
Awards and Achievements:
2 x Olympic Gold Medalist (2002, 2010)
World Cup Gold Medalist (2004)
World Championship Gold Medalist (1997)
Lester B. Pearson Award Winner (2002)
3 x First Team All-Star (2002, 2008, 2009)
Second Team All-Star (2004)
Point Leading Percentages - 155, 148, 128, 125, 119, 116, 114, 114, 110, 109, 109
Goal leading Percentages - 228, 193, 159, 157, 152, 140, 123, 119, 115, 115
Originally Posted by Who's Who in Hockey
His game, in which he did everything well, trumped expectation, and vaulted the Edmonton native of African descent into superstardom. A compact, powerful skater at six feet one.
The Complete Call: Hockey Stories From a Legend in Stripes]Jarome is the complete playerthat leads by example whether his team needs a goal, a big hit, or even a fight to ignite their competitive spirits.
Originally Posted by The Captains: Ranking the Greatest Leaders in Hockey History
#28 – That’s what defines Jarome Iginla: an all-around game, on and off the ice.
Underneath that smiling façade, however, is a ferocious competitor.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News: The Best of Everything in Hocke
2nd Most Respected
5th Best Power Forward
3rd Best Leader
Calgary Flames: Best Player Ever – He’s a leader who scores big goals, drops the gloves, runs the power play and does community work. What more can you ask for?
Originally Posted by The Hockey News Yearbook 2010-11
#41 - You know you’re going to get your best from him and if he isn’t scoring, he’s still showing leadership and playing a robust physical game.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News: The NHL’s Top 50
#26 - On the ice, he’s a smart, fierce competitor who had the fire to fight rookie Adam Henrique when the kid dared hit the veteran, but also the composure not to beat him into a pulp despite having the opportunity.
Easily Calgary’s best player ever.
Originally Posted by Steve Muir
His last name means "big tree" in his Nigerian father's native language, which seems fitting for a player who is still virtually impossible to move when he plants himself in the slot. The beauty of Iginla lies in his longevity. While others wear down over time, his dark passenger has kept him company throughout his 16-year career. He's relentless and punishing along the boards and a terror down low, but it's his continued willingness to make a statement that sets him apart. When the moment arises, he'll drop them, and he remains one of the most ferocious fighters in the game at 35.
Originally Posted by Rob Blake
He'll run you over. Or he'll fight somebody. And then he'll score a goal. He does pretty much everything you'd want a guy to do.
Originally Posted by Craig Conroy
You've got a power forward who does it all. I mean, he'll fight, and hit, and score goals. Maybe it's not the end-to-end rushes, but he does all those little things that win games and get things done.
Originally Posted by Rhett Warrener
All-around he is just a special guy from being an amazing hockey player, to the way he lives his life, to the way everyone respects him. It's his nature to win the battles, and do everything in his power to win.
Originally Posted by Trevor Linden
I think it was a very classy thing to do. I think Jarome is one of the most classy players in the league, not only that, he’s probably the best player in the league. When you have a captain like that, it was certainly a very classy move on their part, no doubt.
Originally Posted by Craig Button
He doesn't carry himself with any attitude or arrogance. He's confident in his abilities. He's self-assured. He's genuine. He's a better person than he is a player, and we all know what kind of player he is.
Originally Posted by Vincent Lecavalier
You could really see he was the leader of that team, just by the way he as playing and the way he was acting. That’s how he got his team to the final. When you play against him, you can see leadership just the way he plays. He’s really involved and he’s physical.
Originally Posted by Alex Edler
He’s fast, has a great shot, great release and he’s smart. Tough player to play against. I’ve definitely had problems with him over the years.
Originally Posted by Steve Yzerman
Leadership was a factor in our decision. He has always been a player to count on in the clutch.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News – Player Bio
ASSETS: Has deceptive speed, great strength and a lethal shot. Can overpower defenders physically or use finesse. Possesses the soft hands of a natural goal-scorer, but will also drop the gloves when necessary. He is the ultimate leader.
FLAWS: Is needed on the ice, so he's limited in the amount of physical toughness he can display, as well as the number of times he can drop the gloves. Has been known to start off slowly out of the gate in recent seasons.
Originally Posted by Forecaster
Has deceptive speed, great strength and a lethal shot. Can overpower defenders physically or use finesse. Possesses the soft hands of a natural goal-scorer, but will also drop the gloves when necessary.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News - December 30th, 2009
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames: Tough, intense right winger can score and bang in the corners.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News – Draft Primer
Iginla is extremely strong on the puck and has solid offensive skills, but is responsible defensively too.
Originally Posted by The Hockey Scouting Report - 1998
The Finesse Game
Iginla is an ideal second-line player who was forced to handle first-line responsibility with talent-starved Calgary; for most of the season he held up well under the circumstances. If he hadn't run into a second-half slump, he would have given Bryan Berard a better run for the Calder.
Iginla doesn't have great speed but he's smart and energetic. What puts Iginla ahead of other 19-year-olds is his defensive play, which he developed first in junior. The scoring touch came later, which is the reverse for most young players and is one of the reasons why he was able to step into the NHL with such success. He has a veteran's understanding of the game, though he may never be a great scorer and will have to work hard for his goals. Throw out Adam Graves' one 50-goal season and you are looking at Iginla's future.
Iginla does his best work in the corners and in front of the net. He is strong, and doesn't mind the trench warfare. In fact, he thrives on it.
The Physical Game
Iginla is gritty, powerful and aggressive. He will take a hit to make a play but, even better, he will initiate the hits. He has a mean streak and will have to control himself at the same time he is proving his mettle around the NHL; a fine line to walk.
The key word to describe Iginla is character. He has played on winners in Kamloops and Team Canada. He was not a bit player in those titles, either. He will pay his share of dues with a rebuilding Calgary team, but he proved last year he was all he was advertised to be when the Flames acquired him from Dallas for Joe Nieuwendyk. Iginla's only flaw was learning how to concentrate on each game, but that will come with experience.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 1998
Rarely do 19-year-old NHL rookies blend in from their first shift. But that was the with Iginla who from the outset, was clearly the best first-year forward in the league. Page didn't hesitate to use him in any situation, as the former Kamloops star demonstrated the poise and commitment to defense of a veteran. His is a combination of speed, strength and grace similar to Flyer John Leclair, and has quickly gained respect for his talents along the boards and in the corners
Originally Posted by McKeen's - 1998
Assets: Character and grit. Already one of the best NHLers along the boards and in the corners, Iginla is extremely strong and will take the pounding in front of the net. Great defensively for a youngster. Soft-as-silk hands.
Flaws: A strong skater but not a speed merchant. Has finesse skills but is not overly gifted in that regard.
Originally Posted by The Hockey Scouting Report - 1999
The Finesse Game
... Iginla plays well in all three zones. He's a power forward who plays both ends of the rink, and there aren't many players with that description in the NHL.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 1999
Has the skills and physical game to be a high-scoring power-forward but needs a major confidence boost to get there.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2000
Blessed with tremendous physical tools, Iginla has developed into one of Calgary's more important players. Versatile enough to play any forward position, he's best suited to play the wing. Strong on the puck, Iginla has deceptive speed for a man of his size.
Originally Posted by McKeen's - 2000
Big skilled winger has the physical tools to dominate yet has been plagued by inconsistent work habits and confidence problems.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2001
Tough, strong-skating power-winger has the size, strength and puck skills to dominate the offensive zone, however to be effective he must play a physical, hard-working style on a nightly basis which he started to show last season.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2002
Iginla is a complete player with sweet hands, excellent skating ability and hard-hitting skills. He kills penalties, is versatile enough to play either wing and is great with the puck coming out of the corners.
Originally Posted by The Hockey Scouting Report - 2004
He is a savvy two-way forward...
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2004
Iggy combines strength, tenacity and great hands to pose a threat every time he is on the ice. The power forward plays an untraditional big mans game, since he usually carries the puck himself rather than wait for it in scoring position.
Originally Posted by McKeens - 2004
Iginla regained his explosiveness and was once again terrorizing opponents with his determination, soft hands and formidable finishing skills.
Originally Posted by McKeen's - 2006
.. a rugged, power-skating winger with soft hands and a big heart .. consistently uses his size, strength and ever-maturing finishing skills to torment and overwhelm the opposition.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2007
One of the game's most prominent power forwards, Iginla took a step back from NHL elite status last season. A big player with great strength, above-average wheels and a great shot, the Calgary captain can do it all. He can get into a little trouble in his own zone but is far from a defensive liability. Iginla is also willing to drop the gloves to protect a teammate.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2008
Iginla is unstoppable when he decides to crank it up a notch.
... he's usually at his best when the games matter most.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2009
The consummate team captain, Iginla is the straw that stirs the drink for the Flames... Physical, he loves to take the man and even drops the mitts if need be.
Originally Posted by McKeen's - 2009
.. outstanding skater - propelled by remarkable quickness and fluidity in strides .. gets to the net and positions his body intelligently for tips and rebounds.
Swamp Devils pick the best goalie of his era and probably the best goalie to ever play before 1950 (more later after more players are drafted):
Frank Brimsek, G
By his third season, he was already considered the best goalie in the world and already better than his predecessor in Boston.
Brimsek was a 1st or 2nd Team All Star every year for a decade starting in his rookie year (1939), except the 2 season he missed because of World War 2.
1st Team All Star (1939, 1942)
2nd Team All Star (1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1948)
BRIMSEK WAS LIKELY CHEATED OUT OF 2-3 1ST TEAM ALL STARS BY THE TRADITION THAT THE 1ST TEAM ALWAYS WENT TO THE VEZINA WINNER (THE LEADER IN GAA). THE 2ND TEAM AS WASN'T TIED TO GAA.
The First Team All Star went to the goalie with the lowest GAA (as long as he played close to a full season) 100% of the time from 1935-1956. It's highly unlikely that the goalie with the lowest GAA was the best goalie in the league year-in, year-out. Also note that the 2nd Team All Star was not attached to GAA like the 1st Team All Star was.
In 1942-43, players, general managers, and opposing goaltenders all seemed to agree that Brimsek was the best goalie. But the voters gave the 1st Team to the goalie who led the league in GAA (Johnny Mowers).
In 1947-48, Brimsek and the GAA leader (Turk Broda) were tied in voting points, and the 1st Team went to the GAA leader in a tiebreak. Brimsek easily beat him in Hart voting (finishing 2nd while the GAA leader got no votes).
In 1940-41, Brimsek lost the 1st Team by a single point to the GAA leader (Turk Broda) by a single point.
Frank Brimsek was likely cheated out of 2-3 1st Team All Star Teams by the tradition that the 1st Team always went to the Vezina winner. And remember that the Vezina was simply awarded to the goalie with the lowest GAA, like the modern Jennings Trophy.
I believe credit has to go to TCG for being the first to notice that the First Team All Star went to the goalie with the lowest GAA 100% of the time from 1935-1956. It's highly unlikely that the goalie with the lowest GAA was the best goalie in the league year-in, year-out. Also note that the 2nd Team All Star was not attached to GAA like the 1st Team All Star was.
Credit goes to Sturminator for doing all the original research here on Brimsek.
1942-43: Brimsek widely considered the best goalie, despite Johnny Mowers' being awarded the 1st Team
Brimsek lost a close vote to Johnny Mowers for the 1st Team All Star: 12-14, despite placing 5th in Hart voting (Mowers didn't place). It appears that Brimsek was widely considered the best goalie in the league that year, however.
By the NHL players:
Returning NHL performers who have been turning up in various prairie rinks there last few weeks, concede that they have little quarrel with the all-star band of puckists collected in the Canadian Press vote this spring. They put up a stout argument on Frankie Brimsek's behalf for the goaltending assignment, but nod assent to all other choices from then on as they sum up the dream team this way:
Johnny Mowers: A fine goalkeeper playing behind the strongest team in the big-league. Worthy of all-star recognition, but the hockey players' goaltender is Frank Brimsek. They unanimously point to Brimsek as the king of custodians. "Frankie is our man, " they chorus."
By NHL coaches and managers, including Mowers' own GM:
Detroit's Johnny Mowers can't miss winning the Vezina goal-tending award but he appears far back in the running for a National Hockey league All-Star berth...Judging by the talk of the visiting hockey masterminds, the Bruins' Frankie Brimsek still is the greatest goalie in pro hockey.
Mowers can not depend upon the vote of his own boss, Jack Adams. The latter rates Mowers as a very good goaltender, "But when I am called upon to name the best one, I must pick Brimsek," Adams explained. "If there ever has been a better goalie anywhere at any time than Brimsek, I've never seen him."
Adams sadly confessed that Brimsek gives the Bruins a goal and a half start before they even take to the ice..."The only reason why Mowers has had fewer goals scored against him is because our Red Wing defensemen give him much better support than the Bruins provide Brimsek," Jolly Jack points out....Adam's high opinion of Brimsek has been loudly seconded by Chicago's Paul Thompson, Ranger's Frank Boucher, and Canadiens' Dick Irvin...that group is almost as enthusiastic about Brimsek as Art Ross, who predicted that Frankie would be the greatest goalie in history long before he ever appeared in a major league net.
Johnny Mowers is about as safe a bet as you can get to win the George Vezina Trophy this season, but he is going to be slightly embarrassed if he does. All the glowing notices so far have been reserved for frigid Frank Brimsek and Turk Broda of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But everybody who ever saw enough hockey to venture a prediction will tell you that Mowers is less efficient between the pipes than either Brimsek or Broda. Mowers himself hands the palm ungrudgingly to Brimsek and Broda was recently quoted as saying that Mr. Zero was tops in his book too, even though 126 pucks have been filtered in past the man Bun Cook discovered.
On the other hand, Broda is no slouch either. In a clutch, he is probably as smooth a worker as Brimsek although he moves his bulky form less quickly and is hardly as sharp on rebounds.
1947-48: Brimsek loses the First Team on Tiebreak to Turk Broda, the Vezina Winner, while easily beating him in Hart voting
In the late 40s, the All Star teams were voted on by NHL coaches. Coaches couldn't vote for their own players, so the most votes a player could get was 5.
GOALTENDER: (54, 6-6-6) Turk Broda, Tor 19 (3-1-1); Frank Brimsek, Bos 19 (2-3-0); Bill Durnan, Mtl 9 (1-1-1); Harry Lumley, Det 7 (0-1-4)
Brimsek, however, was 2nd in Hart voting, while Broda didn't receive a single vote.
1940-41: Brimsek loses the First Team by a single point to Turk Broda, the Vezina Winner
As of now, there is no supporting evidence that this one is questionable, other than the 100% correlation between the 1st Team and the Vezina at the time.
GOALTENDER: FIRST TEAM: Turk Broda, Tor 14; Frank Brimsek, Bos 13; Johnny Mowers, Det 2
We do, however, have reports of praise that was heaped on Brimsek in only his 3rd season:
Then, just in case you think the Boston rearguard isn't so good, let us consider the last line of the Bruin defence - Frankie Brimsek. As successor to the peerless Tiny Thompson, Brimsek was sensational as a rookie. Today Brimsek, all reports to the contrary, is a better goalie than he was then.
As the Boston club was held to a 2-2 tie by an inspired band Red Wings at Olympia last Sunday evening, Brimsek gave the best display of puck fending for two periods that this observer has seen all season. Right now we'd rate him as the best goalie in the league with Johnny Mowers of the Wings second and Turk Broda of the Maple Leafs third - and we are not just judging on the basis of their goals against records.
I wouldn't normally make too much of the Vezina / 1st team all-star phenomenon, but the newspaper articles make it so obvious who the better goalie was and that for whatever reason the voters stuck with the Vezina winner, anyway, that it sort of calls the entire all-star system for goalies into question for that era. But once you see the papers and realize the obvious distortion, then a lot of results start to look strange. I mean...Turk Broda was only a 1st team all-star twice in his long career, the exact same years he won the Vezina, both times beating Brimsek by the thinnest of margins.
This is all very suspicious stuff. I think Brimsek is rightfully probably a 4 time 1st team / 4 time 2nd team all-star and one can quibble about another of the 2nd teams maybe being really a 1st. He also lost two prime years to the war, and if there is ever a scenario where we should count lost war years, it is for Brimsek, who was an all-star in the five years preceding the war, and in the three years after the war.
Originally Posted by Sturminator
The thing about Brimsek is that if you think about it, all those 2nd team all-star selections in an era when the first-team selection almost always went to the Vezina winner is really impressive - moreso than it appears at first glance. What it means is that in a year where the Vezina winner wasn't one of the two best goalies, Brimsek had to be the best goalie in the league just to make the second team, because the second-best goalie was not represented, at all, on the all-star team. Brimsek made eight consecutive all-star teams, with a two year break for the war almost directly in the middle of his career.
Originally Posted by Sturminator
I think people have undervalued Brimsek around here because of all the 2nd team appearances, which are deceptively good given the circumstances of his era. During Frank Brimsek's career, the winner of the Vezina trophy was the first team all-star every single season. That fact, alone, is extremely dubious, but when we combine it with multiple pieces of clear evidence that Brimsek was at times better than the Vezina winners...well, I think he starts to look more like a superstar and less like "that guy with a bunch of 2nd team all-star nods".
Brimsek likely deserved 4 1st Teams (the two he actually won plus 1943 and 1948) and 4 2nd Teams, with at least a possibly a 5th 1st Team in 1941. And that's before you take into account that he lost 2 years in the middle of his prime to World War 2.
BRIMSEK WAS VERY GOOD IN THE PLAYOFFS FOR THE MAJORITY OF HIS CAREER
The Bruins ended a 10 year Cupless Drought in Brimsek's rookie year and won 2 Cups in his first 3 seasons in the league before the team was destroyed by World War 2
World War II decimated the Bruins. Brimsek played very well in 1946, his first playoffs after the war, but was let down by the Bruin Defense
Frank Brimsek in the playoffs
Articles found by Sturminator. Commentary is mine.
The Bruins ended a 10 year Cupless Drought in Brimsek's rookie year and won 2 Cups in his first 3 seasons in the league before the team was destroyed by World War 2
The Bruins of the 1930s were a team that tended to underachieve in the playoffs. The franchise won its first Cup in 1929, then wouldn't win another for a decade. The Bruins finished 1st overall in the regular season 4 of 9 years between 1929-30 and 1937-38, and yet failed to win a single Cup during this time.
Frank Brimsek was a rookie in 1938-39 and he backstopped the Bruins to their first Cup in a decade that spring. They would win against in 1941.
Was replacing Tiny Thompson with Frank Brimsek a reason for the Bruins' new postseason success? Brimsek was certainly a difference maker in 1941 as he won his second Cup:
Originally Posted by Brimsek Logical Hero of Stanley Cup Hockey Series
As goes Brimsek so goes the Bruins was the watchword and little Frank came thru (sic)...When you start adding up the credits for the Stanley Cup this year the cool goalie is the answer...
Watching the whole series - from Toronto thru Detroit - there is only one logical hero and that is Brimsek... You can name more of them and the one on the tip of your tongue is Milt Schmidt...That great center was tremendous and so was Jack Crawford."
Late the following season (1941-42), Milt Schmidt and his linemates become the first NHL stars to leave the NHL to join the war effort. The Bruins would never really recover. Brimsek himself would join the war effort for 1943-44 and 1943-45.
Brimsek played very well in 1946, his first playoffs after the war, but was let down by the Bruin Defense
Which brings us back to the series again. If there has ever been any better goaltending exhibited in a Stanley Cup final than that offered by Bill Durnan and Frankie Brimsek, no one can recall it. These two are high on the list of all-time great netminders. They are largely responsible for the low scores and the tenseness of the games.
Staying at the torrent pace they set all winter, Montreal Canadiens put on a three-goal splurge against Boston Bruins Tuesday night to break a 3-3 stalemate and win 6-3, capturing the Stanley Cup, emblematic of world hockey supremacy. It was the fifth game of the cup final and Canadiens won by four games to one.
Boston Defense Falters
Both teams staged furious hockey in the first two periods but in the last frame the Boston defense broke down under the pressure, paving the way for Canadiens' scoring spree.
After taking the National Hockey League championship during three consecutive seasons the smooth-working Canadiens captured their second Stanley Cup in the same number of years. They waltzed through the semifinal series in easy fashion to beat Chicago Black Hawks in four straight games and took four games from Bruins and dropped one to take the cup.
Montreal's Bill Durnan and Boston's Frankie Brimsek, who staged a terrific goaltending duel throughout the series, again turned in outstanding exhibitions of puck stopping Tuesday night. Brimsek deserved no part of the Boston defeat, which was mainly due to a weak defence that left him time and time again without protection.
Frank Brimsek was a strong playoff performer from his rookie season in 1939 until 1946. He won 2 Cups in his first 3 seasons in the league, after the Bruins had just gone through a 10 year Cup drought. World War 2 destroyed the Bruins, however. In Brimsek's first year back from the War (1946), he was stellar in the playoffs, but his defense let him down.
The question then remains, how much should Brimsek be faulted for the three straight first round losses in 1947, 1948, and 1949 to close out his career?
Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 01-30-2013 at 12:29 AM.
Long before he became a coaching legend, left wing Hector "Toe" Blake was a talented scorer and NHL star. He totaled 235 career goals, including six 20-goal seasons and became known as "the Old Lamplighter" in honor of his skill for putting the puck in the net. During the 1940s he formed one of the league's most dangerous lines, the Punch Line, with Maurice Richard and Elmer Lach.
Blake's first two full NHL seasons were solid, but he took his game to a higher level with a league-leading 47 points in 1938-39. His effort was rewarded with the Hart Trophy and placement on the NHL First All-Star Team. He was teamed up with Elmer Lach and Maurice Richard in 1943 and the Punch Line led Montreal to the Stanley Cup later that season. It was the Old Lamplighter's goal at 9:12 of overtime in game four that gave Montreal a 5-4 win over Chicago and possession of hockey's ultimate prize. That year he led all post-season scorers with seven goals and 18 points. His record for that playoffs of two points per game went untouched until Wayne Gretzky took over the NHL record book in the 1980s.
"Blake was the backbone of that group," explained Lach. "He was always in position; he was always serious and he was the same when he coached the Canadiens. The three of us did like to win. We made sure that we didn't have any goals scored against us. We hated that more than wanting to score.
An excerpt from the Weekly Sports News of October 1948 by H.P. Zinck, presented this performance of Blake:
There was nothing at which he did not excel. He was a strong, fast skater; he could and did pick the corners with his shots; his passing left little to be desired; he was a past-master at both fore and back checking; his services were in demand when his team had the odd-man advantage and he was often pressed into service when his team was short-handed.
"The hallmark of Blake's success is his doggedness," Marc T. MacNeil of the Gazette wrote. "He never ceases trying. He doesn't know what it means to quit." MacNeil was watching the Canadiens one night with Blake's injured teammate Bob Gracie. "There goes the best left winger in the National Hockey League," Gracie said as Blake dashed down the ice. "What a worker that guy is."
What most impressed the fans was his fiery temperament. "If ever there was a player in the league with more spirit, we haven't seen him," Dink Carroll wrote.
Toe Blake is Getting Reputation as a Fighter
Toe Blake's outbreak at Detroit is nothing new for the fiery Frenchman from norther Ontario. They say that when he was in the Canam league earlier this year with Springfield he was willing to take on all comers and got into some glorious brawls.
Toe Blake is a modest young man. After the Canadien left-winger went on that four-goal scoring rampage last week-end, he attributed it all to luck. He may be right to a certain extent, according to his own viewpoint, but there is one thing for which Blake didn't take any credit: he is a worker. Every second he is on the ice, he is digging. He skates ceaselessly, bores in all the time, and is trying every inch of the way. And if you try hard enough, you're bound to be rewarded sooner or later.
Toe Blake is an aggressive, boring-in goal scorer, who has inspired the Floating Frenchmen to a fine late season spurt. He will hurtle through the centre of a defence man or practically run along the rail of the boards to get that biscuit into a shooting spot and he should rank with the all-time greats in a few more years if his ribs hold out.
Blake is a coach who lives to get out on the ice and show his players just what he means. He took the odd turn with the team, sometimes at defence...Now old Toe has to get out there and do his stuff, aching dogs and all, but still a canny player and a wizard at killing off penalties.
3x 1st team All-Star at LW
2x 2nd team All-Star at LW
Nickname: The Big E Height: 6'04'' Weight: 240 lbs Position: Center Shoots: Right Date of Birth: February 28th, 1973 Place of Birth: London, Ontario, Canada
Memorial Cup Champion (1990)
Olympics Gold Medalist (2002)
Olympics Silver Medalist (1992)
World Cup Finalist (1996)
Stanley Cup Finalist (1997)
Best Forward at WJC-A (1991)
OHL First All-Star Team (1991)
Best Forward at World Championship (1993)
NHL First All-Star Team (1995)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1996)
NHL Third All-Star Team (1999)
NHL All-Rookie Team (1993)
OHL MVP (1991)
CHL Player of the Year (1991)
Lester B. Pearson Award (1995)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1995)
Sporting News NHL Player of the Year (2007)
Played in the NHL All-Star Game (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
NHL Team Captain (1994-2000)
Olympics Captain (1998)
1992-93: 9th position (Mario Lemieux) ((0-0-1))
1994-95: 1st position (+57.1%)
1995-96: 3rd position (Mario Lemieux) (-51.5%)
1996-97: 9th position (Dominik Hasek) ((0-2-2-1-3))
1998-99: 6th position (Jaromir Jagr) ((0-4-5-6-6))
Selke Memorial Trophy:
1995-96: 22nd position (Sergei Fedorov) ((1-1-0-0-0))
1996-97: 15th position (Michael Peca) ((2-0-0-1-0))
1998-99: 14th position (Jere Lehtinen) ((1-1-0-0-1))
Originally Posted by Toronto Star Coaches’ Poll, January 22, 1994
Best Bodychecker:Eric Lindros (9), Bryan Marchment (3), Scott Stevens (3), Wendel Clark (1), Keith Tkachuk (1), Darius Kasparaitis (1), Adam Graves (1), Mark Tinordi (1) Best Stickhandler: Jaromir Jagr (5), Sergei Fedorov (4), Alexander Mogilny (4), Wayne Gretzky (3), Eric Lindros (1), Alexei Zhamnov (1), Pierre Turgeon (1), Sergei Nemchinov (1) Toughest Player: Cam Neely (5), Eric Lindros (3), Wendel Clark (2), Doug Gilmour (2), Bob Probert (1), Scott Stevens (1), Chris Chelios (1), Marty McSorley (1), Mark Tinordi (1), Adam Graves (1), Rick Tocchet (1), Brendan Shanahan (1) Best Shot: Brett Hull (6), Al MacInnis (4), Mike Modano (2), Eric Lindros (1), Mike Gartner (1), Ray Bourque (1), Jimmy Carson (1), Alexander Mogilny (1), Joey Mullen (1), Cam Neely (1), Sergei Fedorov (1)
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Even as a boy he could dominate NHLers physically, as he proved in the 1991 Canada Cup. Plus he had all the skills to be a great scorer - great shot, good passing, good skating, good stickhandling. He was unrealistically billed as the closest thing to a perfect hockey player since Gordie Howe. Expectations were out of this world.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
When it comes right down to it, I say there is little to choose between Eric Lindros and Peter Forsberg. Lindros was always easy to dislike, which helps to stain his legacy. Forsberg's legacy is, in my opinion, a bit overrated if only due to the great supporting cast he enjoyed.
In reality, they had pretty equal careers, though history will suggest otherwise.
- If you remove the years following the infamous Scott Stevens hit in the 2000 playoffs, Lindros rank sixth all time in points per game. The only players to rank ahead of him would be Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy, Sidney Crosby and Bobby Orr.
- ''I believe he should be in (HHoF). He was the first big, powerful, dominant forward with the skill, not (Wayne) Gretzky or (Mario) Lemieux, but close. He won MVP, he was an All-Star, he went to the Stanley Cup final. If you eliminate the crap that circled him, he is easily a Hall of Fame hockey player. The last few years were really tough but prior to that Eric was just a player playing hockey. Had his parents left him alone I don't know what this kid could have done because he could really play.'' - Bobby Clarke
- ''Big E was a player that dominated every time he stepped on the ice. He set his personal standards high for himself and his teammates pushed themselves because of that. Players fed off his commitment to get better every practice and his desire to win. He was a captain that made everyone on the team better.'' - John LeClair
Last edited by EagleBelfour: 02-12-2013 at 03:41 AM.
Position: C ▪ Shoots: Right
Height: 5-11 ▪ Weight: 190 lbs.
Born: August 27, 1962 (Age 50) in Weston, Ontario
-341 Goals and 1079 Assists for 1420 Points in 1331 Games
-42 Goals and 114 Assists for 156 Points in 163 Games
-5 All Star Game Appearances
-12 Top 10 Finishes for Assists in a Season including leading the league 3 times
-The 6th most Assists all time
-7 Top 10 Finishes for Points in a Season including 3 times in the top 3
Legends Of Hockey
A hard worker without a lot of flash who was good on defence and at making plays, the young Oates was one of the few NHL stars never to have been chosen in the draft, and was slotted into the Detroit lineup as a second-line centre behind Steve Yzerman.
He was at times unselfish almost to a fault. But he was far from a one dimensional player. In fact, he was an underrated defensive center and was particularly utilized on the penalty kill or when there was a defensive zone face-off late in the game. His defensive awareness made him invaluable as it would allow his coaches to go head to head with the other team's big line without fear.
Oates is the only player to center three 50-goal scorers- Undrafted, Cam Neely and Hull. He is also the only one to center two players , Neely and Hull, who scored 50 goals in 50 games. Coincidence? No way.
"As far as I'm concerned, he's the second best playmaking center behind Wayne Gretzky in hockey," said Brett Hull.
People take what he does for granted. He does it in a quiet way. He's not a flashy guy,” Bourque once told the Boston Globe. “He's the best centerman I've been around."
Really glad to get Oates. He should provide a solid foundation for my 2nd line in terms of playmaking.
(thanks to EagleBelfour for the basis of this bio and a number of quotes)
602 points in 848 GP
59 points in 115 playoff GP, x5 Stanley Cup winner (1953, 1956-1958, 1962)
Nickname: Bert, Dirty Bertie Height: 6'1'' Weight: 180 lbs Position: Left Wing Shoots: Left Date of Birth: September 04, 1926 Place of Birth: Sceptre , Saskatchewan, Canada
Stanley Cup Champion (1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1962)
Stanley Cup Finalist (1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1959, 1960)
Second All-Star Team (1953, 1956)
Played in NHL All Star Game (1953, 1956, 1957, 1959)
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1985)
- In 1949-50, he was put together on a line with Metro Prystai and Bep Guidolin. They were dubbed the "Boilermaker Line"
- Olmstead was traded to Detroit by Chicago with Vic Stasiuk for Lee Fogolin Sr. and Stephen Black on December 2nd, 1950
- Eight days later, he was traded to Montreal by Detroit for Leo Gravelle
- Bert Olmstead set an NHL record for most assists in a season with 56 in 1955-1956, a record that wasn't broken until Jean Beliveau collected 61 five years later
- He scored eight points in a game, tying a league record
- Olmstead was claimed by Toronto from Montreal in Intra-League Draft om June 3rd, 1958
- In Toronto, Punch Imlach named Olmstead his assistant and he was the one running the practices
- He was claimed by NY Rangers from Toronto in Intra-League Draft, June 4th, 1962. He refused to report, although the Montreal Canadiens promessed him to trade for him in the first month
- Olmstead played in the Stanley Cup final in 11 of his 14 seasons in the NHL
- In the 1967–68 season, Olmstead served as coach of the expansion Oakland Seals
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
For much of his time in Montreal he played on the number one line. Initially this meant playing with Elmer Lach and Maurice Richard, succeeding the retired Toe Blake on the famed scoring line. Later he was on the left wing with Jean Beliveau and Boom Boom Geoffrion, and, surprisingly, it was his more famous linemates who claimed Bert was the key to the combination.
Although he wasn't known as a scorer or point-getter, Olmstead did set an NHL record for most assists in a season with 56 in 1955-1956, a record that wasn't broken until Jean Beliveau collected 61 five years later. He also scored eight points in a game, tying a league record, but most of all he was known for his leadership qualities, for getting the most out of his teammates and inspiring those around him to play better. As Punch Imlach later said, he coached himself.
In Toronto, his career was rejuvenated and his experience proved a catalyst to the team's improved fortunes as the 1950s became the 1960s...The team made it to the finals in 1960 and two years later won the Stanley Cup, in large measure because of Olmstead's role on the team and despite his having missed two months of the season with a badly broken shoulder.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends
During his playing days Bert Olmstead had a reputation of being a ferocious, antagonistic checker. Today he would classified as a top power forward. "Dirty Bertie" wasn't a natural, and because of that he had to work harder than most players. He wasn't the most fluid skater around but he made up his lack of talent by an enormous will to win. He even got upset during exhibition games if there was a lack of commitment from his teammates.
Hall of Fame defenseman Ken Reardon once said of Bert: "He's the best mucker in the league. By mucker I mean that he's the best man in the corners. He goes in there and digs the puck out for you."
Olmstead did not possess tremendous skating skills or speed, but he made up for his shortcomings with strength in the corners, power, defensive ability and forechecking skills, and an excellent scoring touch and playmaking vision... In Montreal, Dirty Bertie, as he was known to opposing players on the wrong end of his body checks called him, played for the Stanley Cup in every season with Les Habitants, winning four with the organization (1953, 1956-1958). Olmstead led the league in assists in 1954-55 and 1955-56, setting an NHL record for assists in the latter, until it broken by linemate Jean Beliveau in 1961.
Originally Posted by Our History - Montreal Canadiens
Power forwards have been around a lot longer than the term itself. Lean and mean Bert Olmstead did a lot of the heavy lifting on two of the greatest forward lines of all time. A 20-goal scorer with Chicago the year before, Olmstead joined the Canadiens during the 1950-51 season and remade himself into one of hockey’s greatest playmakers.
Olmstead’s job was to work the left side of the ice, winning battles along the boards and digging the puck out of the corners to create scoring chances for his teammates. He filled this role as well as any man in the league.
Originally Posted by Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 3
Olmstead was a hard hitting type of player who went into the corners with determination and did not yield the puck without a battle. He was a leader and his spirit rubbed off on the other players.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 3/19/1956
Nonetheless, despite the unquestioned contribution of Montreal's big scoring guns and of Bert (Old Elbows) Olmstead—that relentless puck-digger who has been almost as instrumental as Beliveau in making their line with Geoffrion the outstanding forward combination in the league
Olmstead also talks about a sixth sense that the line had about each other's positioning. In his autobiography, Beliveau talks about Olmstead ordering him not to assist him in retrieving pucks along the boards. Whether he was fighting one, two or three opponents, Olmstead promised Beliveau he would get him the puck if Beliveau was in front of the net, in position to shoot. It worked that way for five years.
"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."
Originally Posted by Jean Beliveau: My Life in Hockey by Jean Beliveau
Another veteran who shaped my game in my first years with Montreal was Bert Olmstead, the hard-rock left-winger who could hammer an opponent senseless and seconds later chew you out on the bench because you were three inches out of position on a play. The best years Boom and I ever had - and remember that we won back-to-back scoring championships in 1955 and 1956 - was when Bert was on our line. He never let us relax or gave us a minute's rest. He was always after us, pushing, pushing.
Often, Bert would be banging away in the corner with two or three opponents draped over him, while I wanted out front of the net. Instinctively, I might drift over to help him, but he'd scream, "Get the hell out of here! Get back in front, and stay there!" More often than not, he'd come up with the puck, Boom or I would receive the pass, and we'd find ourselves staring down the goalie, unopposed.
Pity the defensemen who faced us in those days. If you played on the right side, Dickie Moore and Bert Olmstead would be pounding you shift after shift.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 4/21/1958
It is a tribute to the shrewdness of Frank Selke in obtaining Bert from the Detroit Red Wings some years ago. Since that time he has become a major cog in the big Canadien wheel. Always known as one of the top playmakers in the league, Bert's usefulness does not stop there. He is also an excellent penalty killer and one of the best back-checking wings in hockey.
Originally Posted by The Windsor Star (Jack Dulmage) - 3/25/1961
The loss of Bert Olmstead due to a knee injury suffered in a collision with Howe, complicates Imlach's problem of checking the big Detroit right winger.
In the first game, Imlach, at the start employed the Olmstead line against Howe. Abel accepted this arrangement, countering the Frank Mahovlich line with the Ullman unit...But after a while, Imlach moved Mahovlich against Howe. This suited Abel better. "I'd sooner have it that way...But darned if no sooner he does that than he comes back with Olmstead. So right there I decided to hold the line. That's why I pulled Howe off and sent out Ullman's line.
Originally Posted by Hockey is a Battle: Punch Imlach's Own Story by Punch Imlach and Scott Young
One of the toughest things I had to do at the 1962 meetings was leave Bert Olmstead unprotected...Olmstead had been able to play only about forty game the previous season. The way he played the game was all out, all the way. He played the danger spot, the corner, as if there was no tomorrow. In close quarters or at passing or taking a pass he was as good as he ever had been, if not better. But when end to end skating was needed he had trouble.
...And I know he went out that season and in the 1962 playoffs to show me that he still deserved to be protected. Some people thought he was a dominant figure in our last two games against Chicago, when we won the Stanley Cup, and I wouldn't argue with that.
Originally Posted by NHL.com (Red Fisher) - 1/19/2009
The Leafs had put Bert Olmstead on Geoffrion. Olmstead, in a twist, was a former Canadien who had held Gordie Howe off the score sheet some years earlier when he had reached the 49-goal mark. And for two periods, Olmstead worked his magic, holding Geoffrion to only one shot in each period.
Cesare affirms that it is the few veterans who are the backbone of the Leafs but singles out George Armstrong and Bert Olmstead more than Red Kelly. "Armstrong as captain, has to get the team going. Olmstead is the guy who can fire the team up."
-''I grew up on a farm and I learned early how to work hard.'' - Bert Olmstead
-''He didn't stand any nonsense from us. Bert was about hte best left wing I ever saw when it came to fighting for possesion of the puck. And if I was where he wanted me, parked in front of the net, his pass would be perfect. Playing with Bert, I always felt that he got the best out of me, that he made me do smarter things than I would of done myself.'' - Jean Béliveau
-''He's the best mucker in the league. By mucker I mean that he's the best man in the corners. He goes in there and digs the puck out for you.'' - Kenny Reardon
-''Ollmstead could hammer an opponene senseless, and seconds later chew you out on the bench because you were three inches out of position'' - Jean Béliveau
-''The last game I played for Montreal I won the Cup and the last game I played with Toronto I won the Cup. So there you go!'' - Bert Olmstead
Last edited by Bring Back Scuderi: 05-17-2013 at 05:58 PM.
Defenseman Ernie "Moose" Johnson, renowned for his skating, rough play, poke checking, resilience, competitiveness and success everywhere he went, at the highest levels of competition. "The Bull Moose", as he was described in 1912, was "sensational", having won Stanley Cup challenges in 1906, 1907, 1908, 1910. The future HHOFer went on to be a 1st team all-star in the PCHA for eight straight seasons 1912-1919. Ultimate Hockey awarded him five retro Norris (1914, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1919) after two retro Selke (1910, 1911), naming him “Best Defensive Defenseman” of 1910-19 as well as “Best Poke-Checker” of both decades 1900-09 and 1910-19. He also was given two retro Hart (1913, 1916). Moreover, at the end of Trail of the Stanley Cup Vol. 1, Charles Coleman selects his all-star team from 1893-1926 and Ernie Johnson was one of the defensemen he selected.
Originally Posted by Regina Leader, Dec 24, 1921
"The Wonder Man of Hockey" That's what they're calling Moose Johnson around the Pacific Coast hockey loop.
Today he is reckoned as one of the hardest and most fearless players in professional hockeys.
Playing in the rover position, the Moose works havoc with opposing scoring divisions. He takes about as many hard cracks as any other individual in the puck sport and comes up smiling.
Originally Posted by Vancouver Sun, Feb 14, 1927
Mr. Patrick brings word that Moose Johnson is the idol of Minneapolis hockey fans. The coast boss saw Johnson play in Winnipeg and he says the old boy is going just about as fast as ever. His famous nose-diving poke check by which he sweeps, with his tremendously long stick, everything in front of him as he dives, has been looked upon by acting referees down there as a foul.
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen, 1912-12-13
Ernie Johnson, the Westminster cover-point is a great drawing card, and one of the Vancouver/Westminster games may be transferred to Victoria so that the fans there may have an opportunity to see "The Cyclone" and "The Bull Moose" up against one another.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Johnson was a powerful skater and one of the faster men of his day. Oddly, he played his entire career without any fingers on his right hand! In 1900, he lost the fingers after receiving a 2,300 volt electrical jolt.
Johnson was a regular First-Team All-Star on PCHA referee Mickey Ion's famous hand-picked squads and has been considered the finest all-around rearguard in hockey between 1900 and 1925. Regularly playing with broken jaws, fractured arms, even separated shoulders, Johnson was a gamer in the truest sense.
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette, 1906-01-06
Johnson was put out for some minutes with a crack on the arm, but aside from this, the two escaped injury. Both played excellent games for their respective teams, Johnson's work being particularly good. He went right into the thick of the fray and took all that was going.
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette, 1908-01-27
Johnson worked like a trojan, and never let up in following back when Quebec had possession of the puck.
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 1, 1916 Season
The game on December 14th was featured by a bulldozing stunt by Ernie Johnson. In a headlong rush he crashed into the boards and a whole section toppled over.
Ernie Johnson continued to play a rough game and drew the ire of president Lester Patrick for his work when the Rosebuds defeated the Mets January 7th.
Originally Posted by NY Times, 1916-04-05
Moose Johnson was a tower of strength for Portland on both the offense and the defense, and it was his work that broke up the concerted attacks of Les Canadiens not once, but almost every time that he dove after the puck.
In the second period Moose Johnson began to show signs of his famous speed,...
Johnson was stopping most of the attacks of Les Canadiens before they got within hailing distance of the Portland goal...
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 1
A long and spectacular career... was the speedy left wing for the Wanderers... In those days there he was described as a six-footer with terrific speed, a bullet shot and indomitable courage... He developed a marvelous poke check and was a very difficult man to get around... developed an extraordinary skill at playing the puck rather than the man, although he was by no means backward with his bodychecking... In his first years in the PCHA he was a hard man to keep in training, and was inclined to draw useless penalties for rough play. However, when he steadied down there was no better defenseman in the estimation of those who saw him perform...He played eleven years in the PCHA, and was chosen as an all-star defenseman ten times. He was never sold or traded, being too valuable an attraction... He earned the nickname "Moose" for the fortitude he displayed in brushing off injuries that would put other players out of action for weeks. During his career he had his nose broken twice, received three bad cuts over his eyes, a piece cut from a thigh, many ankle cuts, and a badly gashed foot. Black eyes, jammed fingers and bruises didn't count. In spite of these injuries, he missed only twelve games in ten years of play... at times he was unpopular for his rough play... He developed the poke check so well to such an art that in his last few years with Victoria, Lester Patrick used him frequently at rover to spearhead the defense. In his final years with Victoria he had regained all his popularity and the fans applauded him everywhere. Near the close of the 1921 season a special Johnson night was held in Victoria. He was presented with a trophy from the PCHA inscribed "To Moose Johnson as a token of appreciation of his brilliant career as the greatest defense player in the PCHA during the past ten years."
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 1, 1922 Season
This was the final year for Ernie Johnson who was now beginning to show signs of slowing up but his great spirit and checking power kept him in the lineup... In a game against Seattle January 4th, Johnson was cut badly over the eye and had to be carried from the ice. Manager Patrick had to take away his skates to keep him from returning to the ice.
Last edited by VanIslander: 01-31-2013 at 05:53 PM.
6'2, 210 lbs. defenseman Larry Murphy, the four-time Stanley Cup champion (1991, 1992, 1997, 1998) who is top-5 all time in NHL playoff points among defensemen with 152. He also is a three-time 2nd team all-star (1987, 1993, 1995) and scored 7 points for Team Canada in the epic '87 Canada Cup. He retired top-3 in NHL points and games played for a defenseman and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
...Steady, reliable and tremendously gifted offensively...
Originally Posted by Scotty Bowman, in The Hockey News, November 2004
"Murphy was a smart, studious player. It was his understanding of what he could do that made him special"
... In 1980-81, his freshman season, Murphy recorded 16 goals and 60 assists for 76 points. The assists and point totals set records for a rookie defenseman. Larry finished as the runner-up for the league's Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's Rookie of the Year in 1979-80, which was collected by 25 year old Peter Stastny of the Quebec Nordiques. Murphy's point total was fourth on the Kings that season, behind only the Kings' vaunted Triple Crown Line of Marcel Dionne,...
In his second NHL season, Larry cracked the twenty-goal mark for the first of five times through his NHL career, finishing with 22. That total was fifth on the Kings in 19810-82, while his 66 points placed him fourth on the franchise's list that season.
Early in his fourth season with L.A., Larry was traded to the Washington Capitals. On October 18, 1983, the Kings sent Murphy to the Nation's Capital in exchange for Ken Houston and Brian Engblom. It turned out to be one of the most lopsided trades of all-time. While Houston and Engblom scored a combined 93 points over the remainder of their careers, Larry Murphy added another 1,009 points before retiring in 2001.
Larry Murphy continued his offensive exploits with Washington, earning his first selection to the NHL's All-Star Team in 1987. Murphy was selected to the league's Second Team after compiling 23 goals (a career best) and 81 points, the second highest total of his career.
As a Penguin, Murphy's offense bloomed once again, and in his first season in black and gold, Larry and his Pittsburgh teammates collected the Stanley Cup; the first in franchise history. In 1991-92, Larry scored 21 goals and 77 points and helped the Penguins win a second straight Stanley Cup championship. During his stint with Pittsburgh, Larry was named to the NHL's Second Team All-Star in 1993, enjoying a career year with 85 points, compiled from his 22 goals and 63 assists. Murphy was named to the Second All-Star Team again in 1995 while playing with the Penguins.
During the summer of 1995, Larry Murphy was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in return for Dmitri Mironov and a second round draft selection. He spent nearly two tumultuous years in Toronto before the Detroit Red Wings secured the talented defenseman for their run for the Stanley Cup late into the 1996-97 season. The deal reinvigorated Murphy, and he played a significant role in the Red Wings' Stanley Cup victory that spring. Paralleling the feat accomplished by the Murphy-led Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the decade, Larry was again part of back-to-back championships when the Red Wings claimed their second consecutive Cup in 1998. The forty-year-old Murphy retired in 2001 after a stellar 21-season career which included five 20-goal seasons, eleven 60-point seasons plus two Canada Cup championships (1987 and 1991).
Murphy left the game ranked second all-time in NHL games played and third all-time in assists and points by a defenseman. His astonishing totals include 287 goals and 929 assists for 1,216 points through 1,615 regular season contests. In 215 playoff games, Larry added 37 goals and 115 assists for 152 points.
Position: Left Wing HT/WT: 6'1", 185 lbs Handedness: Left Born: April 21st, 1960 in Peribonka, QC
- Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998.
- 8-time top-10 in All-Star LW Voting (1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 9, 10)
- 3 acknowledgements for the First NHL All-Star Team - (1984, 1986, 1987)
- 2 acknowledgements for the Second NHL All-Star Team - (1983, 1988)
- scored 548 goals and 604 assists for 1152 points in 1089 games, adding 825 penalty minutes.
- scored 39 goals and 39 assists for 78 points in 92 playoff games, adding 110 penalty minutes.
One would have to wonder how good Michel Goulet would have been playing a full season on Wayne Gretzky's left wing. Gretzky never had a regular left winger until the arrival of Esa Tikkanen, but in Canada Cup tournaments Goulet was often Wayne's left side partner. He played on a line in the 1984 Canada Cup with Gretzky and Rick Middleton. In 1987 Goulet is often the forgotten man on Team Canada's top line of Goulet-Gretzky-Mario Lemieux. Goulet provided offense but was more or less the defensive safety valve as well.
Legends of Hockey
One of the most opportunistic scorers in league history, Michel Goulet was an elite left winger during his 15-year career. He managed to score at least 20 goals in all but his last NHL year and once enjoyed a stretch of seven consecutive seasons with at least 40 goals. Although he wasn't considered a rough player, Goulet wasn't intimidated by aggressive play on the part of the opposition.
Just prior to the trading deadline in March 1990, Goulet was sent to the Chicago Blackhawks. He adjusted well to his first new team in a decade, but this change required his veteran poise; he was now playing on a tight-checking team that required him to play a defensive role while providing timely scoring.
Greatest Hockey Legends
Michel Goulet was probably the most consistently high scoring left winger in the National Hockey League throughout the entire 1980s. The native of Peribonka, Quebec did this under the intense pressure of the hometown Quebecois fans, as most of his career was spent with the Quebec Nordiques.
Though known as a goal scorer, Michel started out slowly in the NHL. He concentrated on improving his defense and doing small things to help his team win. He would quickly blossom into one of the league's brightest shooters.
Who's Who in Hockey
If ever there was a high-scoring forward who remained obscure for ages, it was Michel Goulet. Despite his scoring accomplishments, Goulet was hidden from the media centres because he spent much of his career in Quebec City, the smallest town in the NHL.
Deadly around the net, Goulet was a key member of successful Quebec Nordiques teams which included offensive ace Peter Stastny.
Boston Herald - Nov. 3, 2002
Think of the great left wingers in NHL history, and names like Bobby Hull, Johnny Bucyk and Michel Goulet come to mind.
quotes regarding Goulet's defensive prowess and hard-work in the corners.
All Roads Lead to Hockey, William T. Boyd
Originally Posted by John Brophy
"Goulet was eighteen when he came, and he didn't speak a word of English, but he was a super player. He did everything he was asked to do. He became not only one of the best offensive players in the NHL, he became one of the best defensive wingers as well.
Goulet was a strong skater with a superb shot, who threw his body around and played well defensively. Goulet was the complete package.
Hockey! The world of the pros, Michael A. Berge
Quebec's Michel Goulet deserves all the attention he can get. Goulet is a very versatile player, one who devotes much time and effort to checking, penalty-killing and being a good defensive presence.
A Century of Hockey Heroes: 100 of the Greatest All-Time Stars
Goulet was traded to Chicago and he continued to be a productive, defensively sound winger in the Windy City ...
The Montreal Gazette - Apr. 12, 1986
He's only 25 years old and he's scored 50 or more goals for four consecutive seasons. He's also French-Canadian. It's not often said about him, but at his age, Michel Goulet is the most prolific goal scorer in the history of French Canada.
He is the unappreciated and unloved superstar...
He is one of the fastest skaters in the league, he is one of the best left wingers along the boards, yet he gets no credit for it. He can even fight. Last season in Hartford he broke his hand trashing rugged XXXXX XXXXXX. Then he played the following month with his hand in a cast and he still scored goals.
The Leader-Post - Oct. 27, 1982
Michel Goulet's goal output has risen steadily in his three seasons with Quebec and the hard-working left winger appears destined for another season of improvement with the National Hockey League's Nordiques.
Goulet's relentless work has not gone unnoticed by Quebec head coach Michel Bergeron.
"He is a complete player with a great attitude, he knows the value of a good pass and he is a great team player."
Boston Globe - Jan. 5, 1984
Quebec's hottest player is Michel Goulet, who may be "one of the most underrated players in the game," as his coach, Michel Bergeron, says, but certainly not by the Bruins.
"He's underrated because he executes as well on defense as on offense," says Bergeron
Chicago Sun-Times - Oct. 30, 1990
Wayne Presley is probably an underrated defensive player. And Michel Goulet always was a smart defensive player.
Observer-Reporter - May 29, 1992
Neither did linemate Michel Goulet who played a good defensive game for 60 minutes ..
Chicago Sun-Times - Apr. 13, 1990
Michel Goulet, who had sat since Game 1, celebrated his return to the lineup by playing a strong all-around game and scoring the Hawks' fourth goal. ...
Chicago Sun-Times - Jan. 22, 1991
Keenan, while happy with Goulet's defensive work, challenged him to get ...
Last edited by Velociraptor: 02-26-2013 at 04:30 PM.
With the Montreal Wanderers, the team that went on to win the 1907 ECHA title, Stuart came through big-time. Instead of anchoring himself to the blue-line, he rushed the puck with remarkable ease and fluidity. With his help, the Redbands were able to regain the Cup from the Kenora Thistles. At the time, Stuart was being called the “greatest hockey player in the world,” although he would not have long to savor the praise…
Stuart stands among a select group of hockey legends. He was capable of controlling a game’s flow, much like Doug Harvey of the Montreal Canadiens some 50 years later.
Originally Posted by Putting a Roof on Winter: Hockey Rise from Sport to Spectacle
William Hodgson Stuart, the star of the Pittsburg Bankers, accepted an offer from Portage Lake, and in Stuart, the team had the kind of player who is today called “the franchise”.
Originally Posted by The Patricks: Hockey’s Royal Family
Hod joined the Wanderers for their first game two weeks later, and this diamond-in-the-rough – a doggedly tough and tenacious defenseman…
If there was ever a “team policeman” in those days to equate with today’s designated “hit man”, it was Hod Stuart.
He (Lester Patrick) was trapped by two Ottawa players who homed their sticks, plainly intent on administering a lesson in submission. They were slashing at him with their sticks when Stuart, just back on the ice and barely recovered from his own ordeal, came roaring to the rescue. With blood still oozing from the hastily stitched gash on his forehead, he waded in and took on all four assailants.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
He was as complete a player as there was back in the days of the "onside" game. He could skate, shoot, and make the big play from his point position.
Stuart was a clean player who played for keeps. His punishing checks and long reach frustrated his opponents as much as his offensive rushes dazzled the fans.
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
Just how good was Hod Stuart? When the Hockey Hall of Fame was established in 1945, the powerful skating defenseman, the Bobby Orr of his era, was included as one of the 12 initial inductees. That tells you just how highly acclaimed he was.
Originally Posted by Chauncer Elliott
He could skate, shoot, play-make, and play-break…. and he was a good fellow as well.
Originally Posted by Daniel Mason, hockey historian
One of hockey’s first great defensemen.
Originally Posted by Bruce Stuart
He has more speed and genuine science than any two players on the other teams.
Ultimate Hockey's All-Star Team of the 1900s
Ultimate Hockey’s “Best Offensive Defenseman” of the 1900s
Ultimate Hockey’s “Best Defensive Defenseman” of the 1900s
Ultimate Hockey’s “Best Skater” of the 1900s
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press – December 18, 1904
Hod Stuart is a whole team by himself.
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press – December 11, 1905
Hod Stuart has been barred from the International Hockey League, the western contingent claiming he won too many championships and that he is too rough. He is one of the best hockey players on this continent.
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press – January 17, 1906
Spittal referred to Hod Stuart, the local’s famous cover-point, as undoubtedly the greatest hockey player who ever donned skates. And “Baldy” was correct there, too…
Hod has been accused of being a rough and dirty player, but there was nothing in the least offensive in his work last night. He was here, there, and everywhere, always following the puck when it went down the rink, and yet never losing sight of his opponent. When the Canadians line would start towards the Pittsburgh goal, with the puck in its possession, Hod always got busy. He would skate in and out between the opposing men, and nearly every time take the puck away from the man who was dribbling it.
He did his work without any rough tactics, but Stuart was so big that when a Canuck bumped him it was usually a case of the fooler being fooled, for Suart skated on, while the aggressive Soo man was sent sprawling to the ice.
Stuart is undoubtedly in a class by himself, when it comes to coolness, quick thinking, and speed…
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press – January 27, 1906
Hod Stuart, of course, put in another great game. He can’t play any other way.
The Pittsburgh Press – February 14, 1906]There is no wonder that Hod Stuart’s name is mentioned wherever hockey is played. His work toward the last half of the second half was sensational. Stuart plays both offense and defense, and what he doesn’t do in a game is not worth doing.
Originally Posted by The St. John Sun - October 19, 1906
Pittsburg is so far away from here that little is heard of its team for next year. Hod Stuart, the greatest of all cover-points, is at its head, and will doubtless get a fast seven to represent the Smoke City.
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press – November 25, 1906
Hod Stuart – than whom there is no better – is here…
Originally Posted by The Montreal Star – December 4, 1906
Two weeks ago, the Star announced that Hod Stuart, considered the greatest hockey player in the world, was going to play with the Wanderers.
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press – December 17, 1906
Is the Pittsburgh International Hockey League team to lose its wonderful leader, Hod Stuart, the greatest hockey player in the world?
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press – March 8, 1907
Bruce Stuart is not any more lamb-like than his brother Hod. The Stuart boys never run away from trouble.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – March 14th, 1907
While he was on the ice, Stuart exhibited many of those qualities which have gained him renown in the hockey world. He handled his stick with marvelous dexterity, skated rings around most of the men on the ice, broke up rush after rush with ease, and several times carried the puck down through the whole Toronto team, his great speed carrying his huge bulk along with almost irresistible force.
When he was at cover-point Stuart was generally the turning point of every attack, and during the entire period the defense appeared well nigh impregnable. After his retirement the locals had comparatively little difficulty in sifting through or circling right up to the posts. With Stuart in the dressing room, the Wanderers appeared to be little better than the average team. The big fellow appears to be the backbone as well as the brains of the outfit. He instills confidence and spirit into the men in front of him, wakens them when they lag, steadies them when they are inclined to give way to the rattles, is cool and collected in an emergency, and is in every way the life of the team.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – June 24, 1907
Stuart's work throughout the winter is well known here and requires little comment. He was the backbone of the team, and without him the Wanderers would have been lost. He was a real general of the game, he knew it thoroughly himself, and could play any position from forward to point, and he had the ability to impart what he knew to others. One feature won Stuart hosts of friends here in Montreal, and that was that in all the many hard games he took part in during the winter he played clean, gentlemanly hockey all the way through.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – 1907
Hod Stuart, cover-point for the Wanderers, Canadian hockey champions and holders of the Stanley Cup, considered one of the finest all-round athletes in Canada and perhaps the greatest exponent of defense play in Canada’s winter sport.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - March 29th, 1934
He was rated the finest player who had ever handled a stick up to that time and one of the best all-round athletes that Canada has ever produced. Playing cover point for Wanderers, he was not only the greatest exponent of defense play of his time but he was undoubtedly the most talked of athlete in the Dominion.
Of almost perfect physical build, Hod Stuart was over six feet tall and weighed about 175 points. He was rather slim but strong and muscular and was possessed of splendid courage.
All Time All Star Teams:
In 1925, MacLean's magazine in Canada published an "All-Star, All-Time, Canadian Hockey Team" which "represents the opinions of sporting editors and other critics throughout the Dominion."
First team: Sprague Cleghorn, Hod Stuart
Second team: Eddie Gerard, George Boucher
Third team: Joe Simpson, Lester Patrick and Art Ross (tie)
Lester Patrick, who helped found the PCHA and competed as a player there, must have been very familier with Moose Johnson, the star PCHA defenseman. He appeared to prefer Hod Stuart too.
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends – Tommy Phillips Biogaphy
In a 1925 article Patrick was asked to select his all-time all-star team. Here's what he said:
"My opinion is based on consistency of players over a period of years, and the fact that men selected possessed nearly all the fundamentals of an ideal player - physique, stamina, courage, speed, stick-handling, goal-getting ability, skill in passing, proper temperament and, above all, hockey brains."
Patrick selected Hughie Lehman in goal, Sprague Cleghorn and Hod Stuart on defence, and up front he chose Tom Phillips, Arthur Farrell and Fred "Cyclone" Taylor.
One major caveat: As Patrick admits, he places a high value on "hockey brains." One of his three forwards was Arthur Farrell, as well (better?) known for writing what I think was the first popular book on hockey strategy as he was for what he did on the ice.
(And once again note that Patrick apparently preferred Stuart to Gerard too. But like overpass says, it's hard to tell how much of that is nostalgia for the player who died in the middle of his prime).
7x Top 10 LW AS(1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 10)
5x Top 15 Hart(1, 1, 2, 6, 15)
Calder Trophy Winner, 05-06]
2x Hart Trophy Winner
1x Art Ross Trophy Winner
3x Rocket Richard Trophy Winner
3x Ted Lindsay Trophy Winner(Most Outstanding Player according to NHLPA)
4x NHL All Star Game Participant
2006 Olympics All-Tournament Team
2x World Championships All Star Team(2006, 2008)
8x Top 14 Goals(1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 14)
4x Top 20 Assists(6, 6, 10, 20)
7x Top 13 Points(1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 7, 13)
5th in points, 08-09 playoffs
3rd in Playoff PPG post-lockout(59 points in 51 games, behind Crosby & Malkin)
Washington Capitals Captain, 2010-present
VsX: 106, 100, 100, 100, 98, 86, 81, 67
During Career(05-06 to 12-13)
1st in goals(113% of 2nd place Kovalchuk)
9th in assists(71% of 2nd place H.Sedin)
1st in points(101% of 2nd place Thornton)
Originally Posted by Gordie Howe
"If he got any better he'd be scary. His strength, and he moves so well. He doesn't mind taking a whack to get a shot. Sometimes there's guys that don't like that, they just dump it in. He can absorb a pretty good check to get a shot on net. Any guy that does that for a team is a pretty good man."
Originally Posted by Wayne Gretzky
"He's got the hands of Mike Bossy, the on-ice awareness of Jari Kurri, and the physicality of Mark Messier... You know, he's a phenomenal player, and he's been a tremendous influence in the game."
Originally Posted by Barry Trotz
"Ovechkin has the total package."
Originally Posted by Ken Hitchcock
"To me, he's a special player who comes around once every 10 years. He's unbelievable."
Originally Posted by Randy Carlyle
"He did everything he had to do to dominate the game, he was a force out there. I think at times we stood around and were in awe of him. We got beat by a very special player. He's the real deal."
Originally Posted by Joe Thornton
"You see some highlights of him and it's just unbelievable. He uses his size, he makes some big hits, and he has so much speed he really backs off the defenseman. When you have a step on him, he just has a lethal shot as well."
Originally Posted by Jeff Halpern
"Having him has made us feel we can win every game."
Originally Posted by Sean Burke
"There's not a lot of players in the league that will challenge guys 1-on-2 and make a play like that. He has no fear. He goes at everybody and challenges them."
Originally Posted by Martin Broduer
"He'll go in traffic 100 miles per hour. He doesn't care about getting hurt because he's so big."
Originally Posted by Dany Heatley
"He's got great speed, great moves, and he's a great one-on-one guy."
Originally Posted by Curtis Sanford
"He's the best player in the league. That's not saying anything (bad) about a lot of players in this league, but he's the best I've seen. His release on his shot, the way he moves with the puck, you understand why he's the first pick right there."
Originally Posted by Jay Harrison
"The more you hit him, the more physical he gets and the more into it he gets as well."
Originally Posted by Pavel Bure
"He is young, but he's already a great player. I think he's going to have a huge future. The way he skates, the way he throws the hits. He has size. He has power. What I really like about him: it doesn't matter what the score is. He goes out there and plays hard every shift."
Originally Posted by Daniel Alfredsson
"Everybody is coached so well, every defenceman knows how to play the one-on-one. It's very rare that you see it and he can beat people clean. He can create chances from nothing, really. I just think he's got everything you could want. He's a great skater, he's a great stickhandler, good one-on-one and he's got a really good work ethic. He's the best player consistently."
Originally Posted by Marty Turco
"Someone who plays hard every shift, it's pretty admirable for a young guy."
Originally Posted by Derek Armstrong
"He's dynamite. He flies out there. He plays really gritty too... and he doesn't just skate around and try to score goals but he'll go after you which is really impressive."
Originally Posted by Glen Hanlon
"He gets the puck, goes hard. And when he doesn't have the puck, he's forechecking -- bang, crash. He's come to us as close to perfect as there is."
Originally Posted by Washington Post, April 21, 2008
If Alex Ovechkin's inspired performance Saturday was any indication, the NHL's leading scorer has begun to adapt to the postseason's tight-checking style. Ovechkin took shorter shifts and delivered some heavy hits, including a highlight-caliber hip check on Flyers center Jim Dowd. He managed to slip loose of Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen's smothering coverage long enough to generate scoring opportunities and finished with a series-high six shots on net. He also drew a first-period hooking infraction on Timonen that resulted in a power-play goal, and screened goaltender Philadelphia goaltender Martin Biron on Alexander Semin's third-period winner.
Originally Posted by Scott Morrisonn, Slam Sports
Truth is, the Washington Capitals wouldn't be uttering the word, never mind be contemplating the playoffs if not for the brilliance of the 22-year-old forward. He has been good, by and large, from start to finish and was outstanding this past month when they needed him most as the Capitals chased down a playoff spot.
Originally Posted by Edmonton Journal April 8, 2008
Ovechkin stole the puck from Philadelphia defenceman Lasse Kukkonen with four minutes left and ripped one over a sprawled goalie Martin Biron to rally the Capitals to a 5-4 win over the Flyers in a hugely entertaining opening game of their series. It was a signature play by the world’s best player...
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Ovechkin, whose mother was a two-time Olympic gold medalist in basketball (1976 and 1980) and father was a professional soccer player, is a highly skilled forward who has blazing speed and does not shy away from the rough stuff.
"I'd watch him in the warmup. He transcends. I think he's the evolution of our game—a young, reckless, skilled player."
NOW BESIDES Mach 3 speed, a hammer of Thor shot, a long reach and nifty moves—don't forget the moves—one of Ovechkin's perceived advantages over other gifted scorers such as Iginla is location. While logic suggests that Ovechkin can pad his stats by joysticking through the tissue-soft Southeast Division, he hasn't. In 25 intradivisional matches Ovechkin was averaging .600 goals a game as opposed to his .875 average against the rest of the league. (He also scores at an .875 clip against Western Conference teams, which generally have better top-pair defensemen.)
Ovechkin also passes smartly and uses teammates more effectively than he once did, largely because slick rookie center Nicklas Backstrom gives him a credible alternative.
He's a once in a lifetime, a [Rocket] Richard-- or Bossy-type guy who has the combination of explosive speed and huge power. He also reminds me of [two-time 60-goal scorer] Pavel Bure when he first came over from Russia—that exuberance, that desire to score."
The left wing certainly has style. From his dynamic play to his trademark smoky face shield--call him Darth Visor--Ovechkin headed a rookie class for the ages. At week's end he was on the cusp of 50 goals (48), a milestone that would rank him with Teemu Selanne, Mike Bossy and Joe Nieuwendyk as the highest-scoring rookies of all time, but it was the sheer fabulousness of his game (he scored a goal reaching one-handed with his stick while flat on his back) that distinguished the 20-year-old. On the thrill meter he ranks with Pavel Bure and Gilbert Perreault among the most eye-catching forwards of the past three decades.
Ovechkin, a righthanded-shooting left wing who combines great speed, dazzling creativity and a willingness to go through defensemen as well as around them. He is the Russian Evolution.
" Pavel Bure in Mark Messier's body," says Capitals general manager George McPhee of his 6'2", 216-pound runaway locomotive, who wallpapered the New Jersey Devils' 6'4", 215-pound defenseman Colin White with the most thunderous hit of the season on Nov. 11.
Alex plays harder than Kovalchuk. [Is Ovechkin] the most talented guy I've ever played with? Yep. That's because he uses his talent to the fullest all the time. [Former Cap Jaromir] Jagr was obviously very talented, but there were nights he didn't show up. Jags didn't have the speed and the edge this guy has."
"If we had anybody who could get him the puck off the wall," said one member of the organization after watching the other Caps handle the puck on the power play as if it were a hand grenade, "he wouldn't be getting a point a game but three points a game."
But Ovechkin, a 6'2", 212-pound left wing, could play on the rebuilding Caps' top line next season. A strong skater with a lethal wrist shot, Ovechkin, 18, had 23 points in 53 games for Dynamo Moscow. He's the youngest player on Russia's World Cup team and the only nongoalie without NHL experience. Ovechkin's mix of finesse and physical edge draws comparisons to Jarome Iginla, and scouts are impressed with his poise.
He has a thick body and soft hands, a nose for the net and feet quick enough to get him there.
There's more of a Canadian approach that Ovechkin combines with those Russian skills. He's not reluctant to shoot. He already has an NHL-caliber shot, and he uses it—wrister, slap shot, one-timer. He knows how to go high on a goalie."
And he knows the game. You'd see Kovalchuk hanging around the blue line waiting for the puck, and you'd think that he was lazy. Not with Ovechkin. You never have the sense he isn't working."
International Competition Stats and Accomplishments
Member of IIHF Hall of Fame
52 points in 77 World Championship GP
5x World Championship All-Star Team (1982-1983, 1985-1986, 1991)
1x World Championship Best Defender (1983)
5x WC Gold (1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989)
1x WC Silver (1987)
2x WC Bronze (1985, 1991)
Placements - 1981: 40th in overall scoring, 8th in team scoring, 10th in defensemen scoring (4 points behind Tapio Levo); 1983: 6th in overall scoring, 4th in team scoring, 1st in defensemen scoring (1 point ahead of Fetisov); 1985: 5th in overall scoring, 4th in team scoring, 2nd in team scoring (2 points behind Fetisov); 1986: 24th in overall scoring, 6th in team scoring, 3rd in defensemen scoring (8 points behind Fetisov); 1987: 16th in overall scoring, 6th in team scoring, 3rd in defensemen scoring (2 points behind Fetisov); 1991: 32nd in overall scoring, 8th in team scoring, 2nd in defensemen scoring (1 point behind Lumme); 1982: only 3 points in 10 GP; 1989: 2 points in 10 GP
21 points in 21 Olympic GP
2x Olympic Gold (1984, 1988)
1x Olympic Silver (1980)
Placements - 1980: 31st in overall scoring, 11th in team scoring, 3rd in defensemen scoring (2 points behind Fetisov and Pervukhin); 1984: 20th in overall scoring, 4th in team scoring, 2nd in defensemen scoring (5 points behind Fetisov); 1988: 14th in overall scoring, 5th in team scoring, 4th in defensemen scoring (5 points behind Fetisov)
22 points in 27 Canada Cup GP
1x Canada Cup All-Star Team (1981)
1x Canada Cup winner (1981)
1x Canada Cup runner-up (1987)
Placements - 1981: 5th in overall scoring, 1st in team scoring, 1st in defensemen scoring (3 points ahead of Fetisov); 1984: 15th in overall scoring, 3rd in team scoring, 2nd in defensemen scoring (1 point behind Coffey); 1987: 17th in overall scoring, 9th in team scoring, 5th in defensemen scoring (3 points behind Bourque); 1991: only 1 point in 5 GP
160 points in 383 GP
(thanks to overpass for many of these quotes)
Originally Posted by Toronto Star (Jim Proudfoot) - 2/7/1987
Kasatonov, the 27-year-old right defenceman, came from Leningrad. He is a bear of a man, 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, and yet he is a quick and clever attacker.
Originally Posted by Who's Who in Hockey by Stan Fischler
The taller Kasatonov played a heady, two-way game and never was intimidated by the NHL scene.
Originally Posted by Vancouver Province (Jason Botchford) - 3/26/2006
Weinrich credits former teammate Chris Chelios for teaching him a lot. But Weinrich said he learned the most about killing penalties while playing on the New Jersey Devils in the early 1990s. There it was Russian defencemen Viacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov who showed him essential, finer points of the game.
"Those two Russian guys were just masters at killing penalties," Weinrich said. "To be a good penalty killer you need to anticipate really well and be able to think ahead, three, sometimes four moves. I won't compare myself to those guys but playing with them helped me a lot."
Originally Posted by Toronto Star (Jim Proudfoot) - 8/8/1987
Fetisov would be the perfect person to spearhead a Soviet invasion of the NHL. He is like Denis Potvin, cruel and efficient in his own zone and utterly dynamic on the attack - possibly Russia's first genuine big leaguer. Kasatonov is almost a duplicate.
Originally Posted by Vancouver Sun - 2/19/1988
Alan Eagleson said he doesn't think the quality will set off a flood of NHL teams chasing them. He said Alexei Kasatonov, 28, and Vyacheslav Fetisov, 29, might be available for the New Jersey Devils. The Devils drafted both in 1983. They are the Soviet version of Bobby Orr and Denis Potvin, but both have a lot of mileage on them.
Originally Posted by Toronto Star (Jim Proudfoot) - 2/22/1988
Soviet defenders Viacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov are capable of transforming the New Jersey Devils into National Hockey League contenders. This was the opinion of several NHL executives who watched the redshirts demolish Czechoslovakia in an Olympic game at the Saddledome yesterday.
"They're both NHL-type defencemen," said Bob Pulford, general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. "They're exceptionally good with the puck and they're tough. And they're great skaters. They'd have an immediate impact in the NHL."
Fetisov and Kasatonov, rearguard sidekicks for many seasons, lead the unbeaten Soviets in scoring here. After five victories, Fetisov had three goals and six assists; Kasatonov is two and six.
Originally Posted by Bangor Daily News - 2/11/1987
They blend with two super-fast defensemen, Alexei Kasatonov and Vyacheslav Fetisov.
7 ALEXEI KASATONOV, defence - 27, teams with Fetisov as the top Soviet blueliners. He has played 33 games against NHL players, with two goals and 24 assists. He was also drafted by New Jersey in 1983.
Originally Posted by Toronto Star - 4/29/1989 (Frank Orr)
Kasatonov, who isn't far behind Fetisov as a great defenceman, works with the solid Alexei Gusarov while Fetisov, perhaps the best player in this tournament as he was at the '88 Olympics, is paired with newcomer Valeri Shiriaiev, from Sokol Kiev.
"The Green Five is absolutely amazing when you look closely at what they have accomplished, especially how much hockey they've played at such a high level in the past 10 years," King said.
"There's talk about the NHL teams playing a lot of games but the Soviets, with all the tournaments they go in, their own league, NHL tours, world championships and Canada Cups play an enormous amount of high-pressure, tough hockey. And those five guys have carried the load."
All five players have been in at least six world championships, three Olympic Games and three Canada Cups, although Fetisov missed the '84 event because of an injury.
Originally Posted by Windsor Star (Bob Duff) - 1/20/1990
They were supposed to be hockey messiahs, these Soviet puck chasers.
Amidst glistening praise and bold predictions of greatness, the Russians came to the National Hockey League this season.
Instead of instant stars, these Soviet skaters have, for the most part, been a picture of mediocrity.
Through all of the pre-season hype, there was at least one voice of reason, one person who said the Soviets might find things tough.
That train of thought came from Dave King, who has seen much of the Soviets as coach of Canada's Olympic team.
"The expectations were really too high," King said. "They're all good players, but they'd played for 10 years training in a system designed exclusively for them.
"Together, they were great, but now that they're split up, things are a lot tougher."
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 1/15/1990
Five other Soviets—Krutov, 29, Larionov, 29, Calgary right wing Sergei Makarov, 31, and New Jersey defensemen Viacheslav Fetisov, 31, and Alexei Kasatonov, 30—have long been considered among the top 15 talents in the world, but it may have been too much to expect them to become premier NHL players overnight.
Originally Posted by Toronto Star (Jim Proudfoot) - 4/28/1990
In short: Calgary's Sergei Makarov wasn't the only Soviet import who succeeded as a National Hockey League rookie. Alexei Kasatonov was outstanding after joining the New Jersey defence at midterm. He was invited to the world championships in Switzerland but discovered he'd been playing with a broken jaw .
From the Hockey News after the 1989-90 season:
Kasatonov, who joined the New Jersey Devils Jan. 2, finished the regular season as their best defenseman. He adjusted faster than Fetisov and Starikov and exhibited a higher skill level.
Originally Posted by New York Times - 4/11/1991
"It doesn't matter if it's Lemieux or Coffey," Kasatonov said after today's practice. "You have to be very strong and aggressive against every player in the playoffs."
Aleksei Kasatonov, the Russian defenseman who played for three-and-a-half seasons with the Devils, may have found a home in Boston. "This is a good team. It likes to work hard, like me," Kasatonov said.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1990-1991
The Finesse Game
Unlike fellow Soviet Viacheslav Fetisov, Kasatonov's skills are far more subtle and far less dramatic. All he does is get excellent reads of the ice at both ends, contain and control both blue lines, force turnover and speed the transition game. He just doesn't do it with the flair Fetisov does - when Fetisov does it.
Kasatonov is an excellent skater across all aspects of the skill, posses speed, agility, quickness and balance. He uses that skating to its best degree in all aspects of his game and his excellent hockey sense and read and react abilities play off his skating very well.
He makes solid and sure passes from his end...Kasatonov finds the open man excellently, but he is not such an offensive dynamo that he will create open ice for his teammates. Kasatonov handles the puck very well and can rush with it, but he knows not to hang onto it for long spans of time - one very important reason he had the immediate NHL success he did.
The Physical Game
As with his finesse game, Kasatonov's physical game is a subtle one but highly defined nonetheless. His excellent skating ability puts him in good position for takeouts, and his strength and balance allow him to pin his man to the boards. He excellently uses his body to gain position, plays a willing physical game in all areas and cannot be intimidated.
A very strong NHL debut for Kasatonov...Like fellow Soviet Fetisov, Kasatonov is the rare kind of player who can make his teammates better just by his presence - which is to be expected from a world class player. He has fine desire and a strong attitude and can only improve with greater NHL experience - though it's hard to imagine his being any more effective.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1991-1992
The Finesse Game Kasatonov is a blue-collar Soviet, if there could be such a thing. Where most Soviet players have graceful, seamless games, Kasatonov is a worker. He is a powerful skater, very wide-based, and his "railroad" stance makes him a very difficult player to knock off his skates.
He is an excellent stick-checker and is able to turn the flow back quickly the other way and jump into the play offensively. He is an excellent penalty-killer, aggressive without losing his position. His enthusiasm for the game shows, but his emotions seldom affect him in a negative fashion. Coaches never have to worry about his intensity level, because he brings a consistent desire to excel to the rink every game.
The Physical Game
One of the highlights of Kasatonov's season was probably the fight he won with Ron Francis. Not that Francis is a heavyweight, but Kasatonov finally struck a blow for all of the Soviets who are constantly "tested" by NHL bullies...and has proven he cannot be intimidated. In fact, Kasatonov has shown a taste for the rough stuff.
He is a very physical player, but will not check hard. He will take an opponent out, but let him off the hook. He has to learn to crunch, because he has size and especially the skating strength to do so.
The Intangibles Now the secret is out, Kasatonov was the team's best defenseman over the long haul last season, showing real improvement late in the year.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1992-1993
The Finesse Game
Ask most scouts who is the most underrated defenseman on the Devils and they will answer Kasatonov. Opposing scouts love his poise, work ethic and powerful skating ability. Because he doesn't possess great breakaway speed, Kasatonov has never garnered as much notice as some of the other players to come from Russia, but he has all the tools and a toolbox to put them in.
Kasatonov doesn't shoot bullets from the blue line (his slap shot is one of the weaker parts of his game), but he sees the ice well and works his passes. He also likes to sneak into the right circle and use his accurate wrist shot.
One of the league's better penalty-killing defensemen, an underrated Kasatonov skill is lifting the puck from deep in his defensive zone to center ice on his backhand. Few players can do it as quickly and effectively (although it is apparent he has taught some of his Devils teammates the trick). He uses this clearing technique during the penalty kills and it is extremely frustrating to opponents.
The Physical Game
It didn't take long for Kasatonov to adapt to the more physical style of North American play. He won't be intimidated and will frequently initiate some belligerent contact. Kasatonov is not a crushing checker and the Devils would like him to get a little meaner since he has the lower body strength and agility to become a punishing hitter.
The Intangibles Kasatonov has stepped up his development last season to become the team's second-best all-around defenseman (after Stevens). The only thing lacking is consistency. One pig plus is that despite his offensive drought, Kasatonov never hurt the team defensively.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1993-1994
The Finesse Game He will not lead a rush, but he's savvy enough to jump into the play and when he is hit with a pass as the trailer, will use a strong wrist shot.
Kasatonov is an excellent penalty-killer. He is expert at breaking up passes, plays well positionally and has a great knack for clearing the zone by lifting the puck out on his backhand. It's a rare skill.
The Physical Game He was one of the first Russian players who showed a real liking for the physical part of the game, but last season he seemed more reluctant to bang, as if the hits hurt more.
Last edited by Bring Back Scuderi: 03-06-2013 at 09:31 PM.
2007 Conn Smythe Trophy Winner
5x NHL All Star Game Participant
4x Stanley Cup Champion
8x Top 13 Norris Voting(1, 2, 2, 5, 10, 10, 12, 13)
10x Top 16 AS Voting(1, 2, 2, 4, 9, 12, 12, 13, 14, 16)
3x Top 9 Hart Voting(7, 8, 9)
6x Top 12 Goals among D(7, 8, 9, 12, 12, 14)
8x Top 16 Assists among D(1, 2, 2, 3, 5, 11, 12, 16)
7x Top 14 Points among D(1, 2, 3, 3, 6, 12, 14)
5x Top 8 Goals among D in Playoffs(3, 4, 5, 7, 8)
5x Top 10 Assists among D in Playoffs(1, 3, 3, 8, 10)
5x Top 6 Points among D in Playoffs(1, 3, 4, 5, 6)
1st in Assists, Points among all players 03 Playoffs
2x Olympic Gold Medalist(2002, 2010)
2004 World Championships Gold Medalist
Captain of 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist Team Canada
New Jersey Devils Captain, 2004
Anaheim Ducks Captain, 2005-2007, 2008-2010
The key component for two Canadian Olympic gold medals seems to be hockey's winningest man: Scott Niedermayer.
Niedermayer captained Team Canada to gold in 2010, and was a top player on their previous gold medal championship in 2002. Niedermayer was inexplicably left off of the 1998 team, and was injured in 2006. Canada did not step on the podium without him.
He was instrumental in Canada's 2010 success, playing his best when his team needed him the most. The veteran was a calming influence and arguably the team's best defenseman in the gold medal game.
Niedermayer does not always get properly credited as one of the all time great blue liners. He has always been recognized as a great skill player, but not necessarily revered as a legend.
That is partially because his quiet, laid back persona off the ice. But on the ice he is a true champion. In addition to the two Olympic gold medals, Niedermayer has also won the Memorial Cup, World Junior and World Championships, a World Cup and four Stanley Cups. All he does is win.
To me, that makes him one of the greatest hockey legends.
Scouts raved about Niedermayer, especially his effortless, almost artistic skating. It was truly a treat to watch him skate, which is not something you normally say about players. He was the definition of skating agility. Scouts also liked his offensive instincts. Comparisons to Paul Coffey were inevitable.
In the Devils tight, defense first system Niedermayer never really did emerge as a Coffey-like offensive force. Instead he became a great, well rounded defender. He still carried the puck often and occasionally using his wheels for a highlight reel rush.
Niedermayer was somewhat overshadowed in New Jersey by team captain Scott Stevens. Stevens defined New Jersey hockey with his hard hitting, defensive focus. Niedermayer's skill set may have offered the Devils a nice change up, but he was also a flawless defender and an unnoticed physical player in his own fashion.
A four-time Stanley Cup winner in 1995, 2000, 2003, and 2007 Niedermayer is a strong puck carrying defenceman who is one of the league's best skaters and is blessed with outstanding speed and offensive instincts. In 2003-04, Niedermayer established a career high in points with 54 (14-40-54)and capped off his career year by winning his first Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman.
If there was any player on Canada's Olympic roster who knew the mind-set and perseverance needed to win a tournament, it was the 36-year-old Niedermayer, a habitual champion. With Team Canada he won gold at the world junior championship in 1991, the World Cup and the world championship in 2004, and the Olympic gold medal in '02. He won the Memorial Cup, junior hockey's pinnacle, with Kamloops, in '92; he won three Stanley Cups with New Jersey ('95, 2000 and '03) and a fourth Cup with Anaheim in '07. He stands alone as the only player ever to win all six of those championships.
"Scott is our most decorated player," Yzerman says. "He's played in these events. He's well respected and a calming influence."
"He doesn't say much," said Babcock during the Games. "He just goes about his business and leads the way you want a guy to lead: by doing all the right things, not making mistakes, putting the team first."
"We missed Scotty's presence," recalled Jarome Iginla, a member of the '02, '06 and '10 teams. "Who can say what kind of a difference one man could have made, but he plays a great two-way game and we really didn't replace him."
From this humble start he became one of the most efficient skaters in the NHL—a player who has sometimes been called the best puck-moving defenseman since Bobby Orr.
One lesson from Niedermayer came in the second period of that preliminary-round loss to the U.S. Though not known as especially scrappy, Niedermayer uses physical play purposefully and can at times get under foes' skin.
They mostly sit and watch because either Scott Niedermayer or Chris Pronger (or, on power plays, both) is typically on the ice between 50 and 55 minutes a night for Anaheim, giving the Ducks the best play of any two defensemen in the league. "Wondering who's been better for us is like wondering who's better looking, Julia Roberts or Nicole Kidman," says Anaheim general manager Brian Burke of his two stars. "Both guys are 10s."
"There's always one you have to deal with defensively, but they're also threats offensively," says Florida left wing Martin Gelinas. "[The 6' 6", 220-pound Pronger] is so strong, always taking the body, and the other one has probably the top vision in the NHL."
Niedermayer is more cerebral, more artistic. He is rarely caught out of position—New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire curbed some of Niedermayer's bad impulses early in the defenseman's career—and uses his exceptional speed to outsprint any mistakes. Niedermayer figure-skated on hockey skates when he was young ("That's where you learn crossovers," he says), and now he seems less to glide on the ice than hover above it, just as Anaheim is doing to the rest of the Western Conference.
To beat the trap a team needs a defenseman who has great skating ability, tremendous puck-possession skills, good vision for passing and the confidence to beat defenders one-on-one. Here are my top five defensemen at beating the trap:... 3) Scott Niedermayer, Devils...
More recently, Scott Niedermayer of the New Jersey Devils has added a few other touches to the role of defense as offense. He has been less flamboyant than Leetch and more defense-oriented than Orr. But none of the above were able to match Niedermayer when it came to the art of pokechecking.
Scott's ability to relieve opponents of the puck with a deft slice of his stick was without equal in the NHL. Because Niedermayer did it unobtrusively, this important aspect of his game often went unnoticed.
...often employing what some would consider a cat and mouse type game; one minute he's down in the defensive zone clearing the puck, the next you're chasing him into your own zone and trying to get the puck from him.
He matured smoothly with each passing year, honing his defensive zone skills under coaching wizard Jacques Lemaire.
Although he had the physical ability to be a dominant force as a defenseman, being paired with the likes of Scott Stevens and Kenny Daneyko allowed him to skate fluidly as an offensive-minded defender, sometimes jumping into rushes commandingly.
One that pops to mind is Scott Niedermayer." Scott is now playing in his fourth full NHL season, and many are pegging him as the next great thing. Like Paul Coffey, he has great speed and offensive ability. "I love the offensive part of the game ...
Sakic: It has to be a Scottie Niedermayer, or a guy like Nicklas Lidstrom. They were so fast, so smooth. You never had a chance to get away from them. I didn’t mind playing the bigger, physical guys. You could get ready for them. You knew what they were going to bring. It was tough to prepare for a Niedermayer or a Lidstrom.
"He's our leader, he's the lead dog here," said Anaheim general manager Brian Burke of Niedermayer. "You run out of adjectives when you talk about Scotty."
"[I told him] congratulations. He's one heck of a defenceman," said Alfredsson, who had both Ottawa goals in Game 5. "Very tough to forecheck [against]. I think he broke our forecheck down numerous times by just beating the first guy and relieving them of pressure. He kind of carried their team I think."
"Scotty has a huge calming effect in any situation," said Getzlaf, expected to be the second-line center. "He is not a rah-rah guy. He doesn't say a lot. He does lead by example, and when he has something he needs to say, everyone in the room knows it's big.
"Scotty just brings that winning past. He's won everywhere he's been and won about every award and everything there is to win as a defenseman."
Originally Posted by The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 2 – Biography
Without detracting from the great work of the Blake, Richards, and Lach combination, there was little doubt that Bill Durnan was the big factor as Canadiens swept to the league championship and Cup in his first year…
The Canadiens won the championship again in 1945 and it as not Durnan’s fault that they lost to Toronto in the playoff series…
Originally Posted by The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 3 – Biography
He was ambidextrous and very nimble in his movements considering his size. Whereas contemporary Turk Broda performed in a care-free manner, Durnan was serious and of a vervous temperament.
Canadiens were champions again in 1947… They defeated Boston is the semi-final of the playoffs but lost to Toronto in the final. Durnan was outstanding in both series.
Originally Posted by Canadiens Legends: Montreal’s Hockey Heroes
Durnan was as big as a horse but as nimble as a cat, always giving his team a spark. With specially made gloves to help him and his unique style, Durnan would catch the puck with either hand. He would switch his goalie stick between hands to cover the open side of the net with either glove (depending on the angle of the shooter). An intense competitor, he wanted to stop every shot. Giving up a goal bothered him, a reaction that led to his premature retiredment.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory
He played goal like no one before or since. Durnan was ambidextrous. He could catch and wield his stick with either hand, and he wore specially adapted gloves that allowed him to do so. If a shot came from the right side, he would hold the stick with his right hand and catch with the left. He would switch when the shooter approached from the left.
Originally Posted by Hockey’s Greatest Stars
Not only ambidextrous, Durnan also had lightning reflexes, particularly in his hands; it was a combination that confounded shooters throughout his career.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey – Biography
Durnan was ambidextrous, able to catch, block, and hold his stick with either hand...
The team always came first with Durnan. He was what old-timers call a “holler guy”, directing his teammates with his deep, penetrating voice. Unlike the happy-go-lucky Broda, Durnan was deadly serious, an uptight and nervous athlete.
Originally Posted by Montreal Canadiens' official website
A 6-foot, 190-pounder in a day when goaltenders were often the smallest men on their squads, Durnan broke in with the Habs to open the 1943-44 campaign. Signed to his first pro contract just minutes before the opening game, he soon stood out for reasons other than his size. While many NHL netminders played more than the seven seasons Durnan did, very few performed as well or as consistently.
Before the terms “blocker” and “trapper” became part of a goaltender’s lexicon, their gloves differed very little from those worn by skaters. Durnan was ambidextrous, equally adept holding his stick in either hand, often shifting his stick from one hand to the other as play went on.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey - Biography
Bill Durnan entered the professional game late and didn't stay for long, but he packed an entire career's worth of awards and recognition into his seven National Hockey League seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. He won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top netminder an amazing six times, missing out on the award only once when Toronto's Turk Broda borrowed it in 1948.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey - Spotlight
In his first four seasons in the NHL, Durnan was all but invincible. He was the NHL's First All-Star goalie each of those four seasons, and also captured the Vezina Trophy in each of the four campaigns. In 1946, the team won a second Stanley Cup championship with Durnan in goal.
The Canadiens endured a poor season in 1947-48, a season in which Bill served as captain of the Canadiens, sharing the honour with Toe Blake. He was the last netminder to wear a 'C' on his sweater. The league ruled against goalies serving as captains, although Roberto Luongo was named as captain of the Vancouver Canucks in 2008-09 but is not able to wear the captain's 'C.'
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
Bill Durnan had a short but absolutely brilliant career with the Montreal Canadiens.
Durnan had a very peculiar trait that helped him excel: he was ambidextrous. Instead of wearing a blocker, he would wear modified gloves on both hands. He would then switch which hand he used to hold the stick depending on which side of the rink the opposition was attacking from. Thus, the shooter would always be facing his big catching glove. He became known as Dr. Strange-Glove.
Originally Posted by Canada's Sports Hall of Fame
Although his record was impeccable, it was his style that was as noteworthy. Durnan was ambidextrous, and in the days before a formalized catching glove and blocker, goalies wore large mitten-like gloves on their stick side to go with a small catching mitt. Durnan could shift his stick from one hand to the other so he wore two mittens for gloves so that he could deflect the puck or catch it from either side. He was also the last goalie-captain in the NHL.
Originally Posted by Maurice Richard - 2008
It (Durnan quitting) really hurt us because Durnan was a wonderful, nice guy who smiled at everybody and never said a bad word against a soul. He took the blame every time there as a goal scored, never mentioning the defensemen.... Durnan was in a class by himself as a goaltender, he was the best I've ever seen.
Originally Posted by Maurice Richard
As I'm concerned, Durnan was the best goaltender I've ever seen, with Boston's Frankie Brimsek right behind.
What put Durnan head and shoulders above the others was his style. He could switch hands with ease and use either his left or his right glove to spear shots. Very few goaltenders have ever been ambidextrous like Durnan and none has ever mastered the art the way he did. He'd rarely commit himself on a play and had a great knack of waiting for the forward to make the first move, which was the reason he was so hard to beat on breakaways. Brimsek was almost the same, but he could only use one hand.
Originally Posted by Tommy Gorman
We weren't impressed with Durnan at first, but he seemed to get better with every game. As goaltenders go he was big and hefty, but nimble as a cat and a great holler guy.
Originally Posted by Glen Harmon
We knew as long as we got back for the rebound, Bill would stop the first shot. It was almost guaranteed.
Originally Posted by Hal Winkler
Over the years, I've seen some great playoff goaltending from the likes of Bill Durnan, Turk Broda, Tiny Thompson, Frank Brimsek, Glenn Hall, Terry Sawchuk and Ken Dryden to name a few...
Originally Posted by Dink Carroll
If there has ever been any better goaltending exhibited in a Stanley Cup Final than that offered by Bill Durnan and Frankie Brimsek, no one can recall it. These two are high on the all-time list of great goaltenders.
Originally Posted by Jim Coleman - January 28th, 1963
If I was picking an all-star hockey team, over the past 20 years, I'd put Milt Schmidt at centre. For that matter, I'd put Bill Durnan in goal, Babe Pratt and Doug Harvey on the defense....
Ultimate Hockey's All-Star Team of the 1940s
Ultimate Hockey’s “Best Goaltender” of the 1940s
Originally Posted by The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix - November 27th, 1943
Durnan is not the spectacular type of goalie. But he does manage to keep the puck out of the net most of the time.
Originally Posted by The Ottawa Citizen - February 6th, 1945
Bill Durnan, says Dick Irvin - who should know or may be prejudiced, depending on the way you look at it – is “the best goaler in 20 years in the National Hockey League.”
The coach admits he’s taking in a wide territory with that “20 years” business, but adds that he has formed his opinion while fully aware of the merits of such stars as Charlie Gardiner, Frankie Brimsek, Johnny Mowers, George Hainsworth and Turk Broda.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Herald - November 14th, 1949
Big Bill Durnan has proven again that he’s just about the “hottest” goaler ever to don pads in the National Hockey League.
Originally Posted by The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix - January 19th,1950
Big Bill Durnan, as good a goalie as can be found anywhere, wielded his shutout brush again Wednesday night…
Beyond the All-Stars:
1944 – most valuable goalie, 2nd most valuable to Canadiens (Elmer Lach)
1945 – most valuable goalie, 3rd most valuable to Canadiens (Elmer Lach and Maurice Richard)
1946 – most valuable goalie, most valuable to Canadiens
1947 – 2nd most valuable goalie (Broda), 2nd most valuable to Canadiens (Maurice Richard)
1948 – 2nd most valuable goalie (Frank Brimsek), 2nd most valuable to Canadiens (Elmer Lach)
1949 – most valuable goalie, most valuable to Canadiens
1950 – 2nd most valuable goalie (Chuck Rayner), 2nd most valuable to Canadiens (Maurice Richard)