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Old
09-21-2013, 11:23 PM
  #1
saskriders
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Top Rovers

Has there ever been any interest in a top rovers list (like the top other positions you have)?

I would get more involved, but I don't think I know enough about the history to contribute

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Old
09-21-2013, 11:43 PM
  #2
Killion
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Context

I dont believe so, that a lists ever been compiled. But heres some background for context & edification...

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Originally Posted by Shootmaster_44 View Post
When exactly did hockey of all sorts eliminate the rover? Also, why was this move made?

For those unaware until the 1920s some professional hockey was played 6 vs. 6 with goalies. There were three forwards and three defencemen and the third defenceman was known as the rover. He was more or less like the centreman of the defensive line. Not having seen games from that era I am unaware whether the defence played a basketball style zone defence where the rover and the other two defencemen kept to their sides of the ice or what.

I know the WCHL and PCHA played with a rover until their demise, but was that the end of the rover or did it live on in Europe or youth hockey longer than that?

On this note, does anyone know whether this caused any outrage by eliminating the position? Since the rover seemed to be a Western Canadian thing, I could see this being seen as an attempt to be more like Toronto (or Ontario or whatever the derisive term for the "East" was at the time) and eliminate the unique aspects of the "Western" game. Much like how Canadian football fans bristle whenever an American football fan suggests the CFL adopt American rules.

Who was the last player who was regularly a rover in the NHL? What I mean is when the NHL eliminated the rover (which I think came with the transformation from the NHA to the NHL), what player who was a rover ended up playing the longest after that change? Did most rovers end up becoming defencemen or did they transform into forwards instead?

The whole 6 on 6 plus a goalie game has intrigued me for awhile. It would have been interesting to see how the game would have developed if the rover hadn't been eliminated. I'd think scoring wouldn't have been as high simply because there was another defender on the ice. Granted that could also mean since there were two extra bodies on the ice, the likelihood of the goalie being screened is much higher also. Interesting things to ponder though.

Is hockey the only sport to have undergone such a radical change in the number of players? Other than Harvard rules in football reducing from 12 to 11 in the early days of football (at such a point where nothing was really codified yet), I can't think of any other sport that changed the number of participants so far into its development. By that point hockey had been played as hockey for around 50 years. 50 years in, in the development of baseball, it had basically solidified their rules. Yes they added the Designated Hitter in 1972, but it wasn't on both the offensive and defensive side of play that this made a difference. So I don't really count that, if the DH became a 4th Outfielder than that would count. Basketball I believe also was entrenched at 5 players 50 years after development. The list could gone on and on, but hockey decided that it needed to reduce the number of players.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Around 1912 for professional eastern hockey, 1920s for western hockey. Eastern amateur hockey held on to the position for a number of years before eliminating it.

It was done to open up the ice. Some cynics suggest the NHA owners did it to require one less player on the payroll, but the fact is they generally just used one additional sub per game, so they kept the same number of players around.

Until very late in its existence, the rover was a fourth forward, not a third defenceman, and was generally the player most responsible for a team's offence. This article might interest you.

I believe that the western pro league was the last holdout in terms of eliminating the position.

I doubt very much it was seen as a western thing, since the position (and the game) originated in the east. I'm sure there were protests (as there are to any change), but given that every league ultimately followed suit, it seems to have been accepted as a positive change.

The rover was long gone before the NHL arrived in 1917. But this is an interesting question, and I'll have a look at my records and get back to you.

Well, they had only standardized the number of skaters to six for the first Montreal Winter Carnival in 1883. In the famous McGill game in 1875, for example, they used nine men a side.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
1910/11 was the last full season that the NHA used a rover. The rovers that season were Newsy Lalonde and Didier Pitre for the Canadiens, Pud Glass for the Wanderers, Jack Darragh for Ottawa, Ken Mallen for Quebec, and Steve Vair for Renfrew. These are all career forwards, although both Lalonde and (especially) Pitre played a not-insignificant amount of cover-point in their careers.

1921/22 was the last season that the PCHA used a rover; the following season they played an interlocking schedule with the WCHL, which did not use the position. Rovers in this final season were Jack Walker for Seattle, Mickey MacKay for Vancouver, and Harry Meeking for Victoria. Again, these are all career forwards, even though the rover was more of a defensive position near its end. These are all forwards with excellent defensive reputations (Walker in particular), but forwards nonetheless.

The Ontario Hockey Association used the rover until 1915/16 - it's possible that wartime player shortages contributed to their decision to decrease roster sizes. I believe they were the last eastern league to keep the rover, but I might be mistaken there.

The Manitoba league dropped the position after 1917/18, and the Alberta league after 1919/20. Just like the game itself in the 1880s and 1890s, it seems the five-skater game worked its way westward across the country.

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Old
09-22-2013, 08:32 AM
  #3
the edler
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Sometimes it's hard to tell who's a rover or not. Or the extent of a players roverness.

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09-22-2013, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the edler View Post
Sometimes it's hard to tell who's a rover or not. Or the extent of a players roverness.
Even though it was 5-5 hockey Orr played very much like a rover.

Karlsson is the best modern day comp to a rover IMO.

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09-22-2013, 10:26 AM
  #5
Steve Doan
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Wasn't One Eyed Frank McGee a rover? If so he is #1 all time.

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09-22-2013, 11:21 AM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve French View Post
Wasn't One Eyed Frank McGee a rover? If so he is #1 all time.
McGee is listed as a center/rover. Not sure when he played each position. But either way, the best rover of all time is easily Cyclone Taylor

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09-22-2013, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saskriders View Post
Has there ever been any interest in a top rovers list (like the top other positions you have)?

I would get more involved, but I don't think I know enough about the history to contribute
To answer your original question, when we were discussing doing the top forwards projects over the last few months, I think everyone just assumed that there wouldn't be much interest in doing a discreet "rovers only" list, so we just decided to include rovers as centers, since the old rover played most similarly to the modern center, and center was the primary forward positions of most (not all) rovers when they moved up front.

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09-22-2013, 01:10 PM
  #8
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Coffey for sure. He was more of a 4rth forward than a defenseman, at least for the first half of his career.

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Old
09-23-2013, 05:50 AM
  #9
the edler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Even though it was 5-5 hockey Orr played very much like a rover.

Karlsson is the best modern day comp to a rover IMO.
You forgot one of your favourites, Phil "The Thrill" Housley. What a rover.

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09-23-2013, 07:00 AM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the edler View Post
You forgot one of your favourites, Phil "The Thrill" Housley. What a rover.
Yes he was but not sure he ever reached the heights that Eric has so far, although that's debatable.

How is he one of my favorites BTW?

Just because he gets no love here and he has a good case scoring wise if he was just a winger to be on one of our lists?

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09-23-2013, 07:53 AM
  #11
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Steamer Maxwell. I had the pleasure of meeting him. He used to attend the Jr. games in Winnipeg back when I was reffing in the MJHL. He was offered a pro contract, but remained an amateur.

http://www.legendsofhockey.net/Legen...io&list=ByName

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Old
09-24-2013, 05:41 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Just because he gets no love here and he has a good case scoring wise if he was just a winger to be on one of our lists?
What lists? I don't do lists so I don't know where Housley would end up on my list, but he's no Brian Leetch. And if he played the winger position he probably couldn't have played the same rover style as he did, carrying the puck as much, something he was good at and which benefited his offense. A winger work the boards and that wasn't Housley's strength. Perhaps he could have worked out as a shifty type of center.

And even if he was a winger, or center, numbers alone isn't everything. See Andreychuk. And there's a lot of better forwards than Andreychuk outside all time lists and outside the HOF like Mogilny, Fleury, Lindros, LeClair, Turgeon for example. Not everyone can be in the HOF.

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09-24-2013, 07:43 AM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the edler View Post
What lists? I don't do lists so I don't know where Housley would end up on my list, but he's no Brian Leetch. And if he played the winger position he probably couldn't have played the same rover style as he did, carrying the puck as much, something he was good at and which benefited his offense. A winger work the boards and that wasn't Housley's strength. Perhaps he could have worked out as a shifty type of center.

And even if he was a winger, or center, numbers alone isn't everything. See Andreychuk. And there's a lot of better forwards than Andreychuk outside all time lists and outside the HOF like Mogilny, Fleury, Lindros, LeClair, Turgeon for example. Not everyone can be in the HOF.
Who called Housley like Leetch?

The guy played like a rover on pretty poor teams, if they had been with a team like the 80's Oilers he would have been thought of much better.

As it is the start of his career until that first injury (around 10 years, his first 11 actually) is probably in the top 10 for Dmen of all time, maybe top 5, in terms of offensive production).

era aside 1232 points is still extremely impressive period.


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Old
09-24-2013, 07:52 AM
  #14
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Newsy Lalonde was a rover for Montreal back in the days. I imagine he was one of, if not the best, at his position during that time.

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09-24-2013, 08:16 AM
  #15
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Stanley Cup Finals

Quote:
Originally Posted by the edler View Post
Sometimes it's hard to tell who's a rover or not. Or the extent of a players roverness.
During the era when the PCHA participated in the SC Final the games alternated eastern rules / western rules. Question of doing the research and seeing which eastern players played as rovers when western rules were used and which western rovers moved to center, wing or defence when eastern rules were used.

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09-24-2013, 08:18 AM
  #16
the edler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TGV View Post
Newsy Lalonde was a rover for Montreal back in the days.
Not for very long. NHA dropped the rover position in 1911 so he couldn't have played it for more than a season or two, and with the Millionaires in 1912. Unless you mean he played the style of a rover. That you can do forever. Lalonde's squire in Montreal Didier Pitre is also listed as having played the rover position.

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09-24-2013, 08:31 AM
  #17
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Here's a list for the OP with rovers in the HOF. From the HHOF site.

Hobey Baker
Russell Bowie
Tommy Dunderdale
Si Griffis
Newsy Lalonde
Mickey MacKay
Steamer Maxwell
Frank McGee
Lester Patrick
Didier Pitre
Frank Rankin
Ernie Russell
Tommy Smith
Bruce Stuart
Cyclone Taylor
Harry Trihey
Jack Walker
Rat Westwick
Fred Whitcroft

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Old
09-24-2013, 10:32 AM
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Larry Kwong! Chinese player for the NY Rovers!



and of course, Eddie Giacomin!


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Old
09-24-2013, 04:01 PM
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Eddie didn't quite have the offensive production to be a top rover...

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Old
02-08-2014, 08:59 PM
  #20
Iain Fyffe
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I hope no one minds me dredging up old threads, but I haven't been checking the board for some time and missed out on some discussions. Let's talk about rovers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the edler View Post
Sometimes it's hard to tell who's a rover or not. Or the extent of a players roverness.
This is an unfortunate truth of historical research - for the most part, people doing the research have been very lax in noting a player's position each season. I take pains to do it myself, but few others pay much attention to it. Ideally a player's position should not be listed with his biographical information, but included as a column in his statistical record. Many players played many different positions in their careers, and knowing when each was is very useful information.

For example, for a long time Joe Hall was listed as "forward/defence" in the SIHR database. Thanks, that's very helpful. He's now just listed as defence, as that's where he played most of his time, but early in his career he was a forward (centre or right wing) and he had some big goal-scoring years. So he's listed as a defenceman who scored 33 goals in 20 games in the IHL in 1905/06. That's simply not an accurate reflection of reality. He played right wing that season, not defence (which wasn't even a position at that time, it was point and cover-point instead).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Doan View Post
Wasn't One Eyed Frank McGee a rover? If so he is #1 all time.
He did play rover at the intermediate level, but in senior he was at centre. McGee played each of his senior seasons with Harry Westwick, who was far better defensively and played rover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
McGee is listed as a center/rover. Not sure when he played each position. But either way, the best rover of all time is easily Cyclone Taylor
Taylor is certainly a candidate. I would also put forward Russell Bowie, and Jack Walker and Westwick should be considered due to their defence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbhhofr View Post
Steamer Maxwell. I had the pleasure of meeting him. He used to attend the Jr. games in Winnipeg back when I was reffing in the MJHL. He was offered a pro contract, but remained an amateur.
Unfortunately, it seems that Maxwell retroactively became seen as a superstar player due to his many involvements in the game after he retired from playing. I've researched Manitoba hockey extensively, and when he played Maxwell was noted for his speed and was seen as a good player, but he was nowhere near the top of the game. He was not noted as being exceptional defensively, and did not score nearly enough at the position to be considered as one of the best. With his speed, his lack of goals suggests he didn't have much of a shot.

Maxwell was massively outscored by his centres in his senior years. From 1911 to 1915, Maxwell scored 20 goals in 36 games. The centres on his team scored 88 goals in 35 games. Now, for the last two seasons that centre was Dick Irvin (46 in 14 games), but in the first three it was Walter "Dolly" Gray (42 in 21 games), who is not a man anyone should ever mention as being one of the top players from the era. And Maxwell scored at one-quarter of his rate, at a position that was expected to produce offensively. I just can't see Maxwell as being anywhere near the top when he played.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the edler View Post
Here's a list for the OP with rovers in the HOF. From the HHOF site.

Hobey Baker
Russell Bowie
Tommy Dunderdale
Si Griffis
Newsy Lalonde
Mickey MacKay
Steamer Maxwell
Frank McGee
Lester Patrick
Didier Pitre
Frank Rankin
Ernie Russell
Tommy Smith
Bruce Stuart
Cyclone Taylor
Harry Trihey
Jack Walker
Rat Westwick
Fred Whitcroft
The only ones I would remove from this list would be McGee, Russell and Trihey. McGee was a centre, as was Trihey, and Russell played centre and right wing. Jack Brannen was Trihey's rover, he was faster than Trihey and better defensively, though he did take the faceoffs as well. So if you considered their positions as where they were on the ice for the faceoff, Brannen was the centre and Trihey the rover, but in play it was the opposite.

Lalonde, MacKay, Patrick and Pitre also played significantly at other positions, but spend some years at rover.

Here are the players I would consider notable rovers, by decade:

1890s: Jack Armytage, Graham Drinkwater, Clare McKerrow, Archie McNaughton, Havilland Routh, Arthur Swift.

1900s: Hobey Baker, Russell Bowie, Jack Brannen, Si Griffis, Archie Hooper, Herb Jordan, Lester Patrick, Didier Pitre, Bruce Stuart, Harry Westwick, Fred Whitcroft.

1910s: Jack Darragh, Tommy Dunderdale, Pud Glass, Mickey MacKay, Ken Mallen, Frank Rankin, Fred Taylor, Jack Walker.

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Old
02-24-2014, 02:08 AM
  #21
the edler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Here are the players I would consider notable rovers, by decade:

1890s: Jack Armytage, Graham Drinkwater, Clare McKerrow, Archie McNaughton, Havilland Routh, Arthur Swift.

1900s: Hobey Baker, Russell Bowie, Jack Brannen, Si Griffis, Archie Hooper, Herb Jordan, Lester Patrick, Didier Pitre, Bruce Stuart, Harry Westwick, Fred Whitcroft.

1910s: Jack Darragh, Tommy Dunderdale, Pud Glass, Mickey MacKay, Ken Mallen, Frank Rankin, Fred Taylor, Jack Walker.
Good list.

How much rover did William "Lady" Taylor play in the IPHL? He's listed as a center but I've read he played rover with the Canadian Soo.

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02-24-2014, 09:03 AM
  #22
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Sandis Ozolinsh.

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Old
02-24-2014, 03:13 PM
  #23
tarheelhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the edler View Post
How much rover did William "Lady" Taylor play in the IPHL?
Should I ask what he did to earn that nickname?

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Old
02-24-2014, 04:43 PM
  #24
the edler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Should I ask what he did to earn that nickname?
I have no info on that. But players back then went by "Dolly" too...

IPHL was a very physical league though and "Lady" Taylor on one occasion broke Garnet Sixsmith's leg in three places, so I don't think the nickname had anything to do with a non-physical playing style. But I don't know.

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