Fun to see what constituted an argument about hockey history in 1948.
"The Malone-Richard Argument"
Fans debated the merits of his record on street corners, in taverns, in restaurants, in clubs, and in the corners of the Forum between periods. It was pointed out that The Rocket had scored 50 goals in 50 games, an average of one per game, whereas Joe's average was 2 goals per game. The Rocket's admirers shouted that Joe had played in the era of 60 minute men and that he was on the ice as long or longer than The Rocket. Joe's adherents shouted just as loudly that there were no blue lines, forward passing, and power plays when he compiled his great record.
It petered out, as all such arguments do, without either side proving its case to the other.
"The Would be Great in Any Era"
Nice bit about Newsy Lalonde's thuggery
Newsy Lalonde was a great hockey player and a great goal-getter in his own right, but he was mostly in the headlines because of the ice wars he set in motion. He was one of the so-called "bad men" of his time. There is a story that Conn Smythe once wandered down to the old Mural Street Arena in Toronto to watch the Toronto Arenas play the Canadiens. Newsy and Minnie McGiffin went into action that night, carving each other like super-surgeons with their sticks, and the affair is supposed to have delayed Smythe's entry into hockey for a number of years. He didn't think the public would patronize it, even if the players survived.
The story is probably without foundation, in fact, considering the brawls the Toronto entry has been in since Conn took over.
Seems some things never change, even if the names of the players do:
We listened to Jack Adams, manager of the Detroit Red Wings, discussing the great players of the past a few nights ago with Mr. and Mrs. Decker, a pair of Red Wings enthusiasts. Eventually they got around to discussing the greatest player of all time, which seems inevitable in discussions of this time. The Deckers came out flat-footed in favor of Eddie Shore.
"A great hockey player," said Jack. "But did you ever see Howie Morenz?"
The Deckers admitted they hadn't, though conceded that he might have been a great hockey player. But they had seen Shore and they couldn't visualize another player quite in his class.
That's where these arguments seem to start and finish. Old-time fans who haven't seen a game in 20 years refuse to admit that any of the modern stars could appraoch the idols of their own era. The youngsters who have only been watching hockey for five years are just as stubborn in their conviction that any of those old-timers could match the present-day stars.
But those who have seen them all agree that a fellow who was great in his own era would have been great in any time.
As late as 1948, a "power play" seems to have meant putting more than 3 forwards on the ice at once:
Tommy Ivan, coach of the Detroit Red Wings, told Paul Chandler, Detroit hockey writer, that power plays are going out of style in the National Hockey league. Now, according to the Detroit coach, the trend is to put a brake on the power. The Red Wings no longer send a gang of forwards up the ice in a break-neck scoring effort when their opponents are short-handed... the Red Wings of today do not vary their tactics when their opponents are short-handed. They have three forwards and two defensemen on the ice with orders to play the same type of game as if the other team had six men on the ice. The Red Wings of last year tossed four or five forwards into play with orders to put on the pressure and plug for goals... But Ivan believes the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. There is always the danger that the attacking team will be caught up the ice and become victims of a breakaway, as frequently happens. And another disadvantage is that an all-out power play disrupts the forward lines for four or five minutes after the penalty has ended. Ivan's policy is to play it safe and keep a couple of defensemen on at all times. The only exceptions are late in a game when the Red Wings are trailing, or at any time in a game where the opponents have a big lead.
Keep in mind that teams only played 3 lines then, and shifts were a lot longer than they are today, so mixing up the forward lines for the powerplay would indeed screw with them for a long time afterwards.
couple of columns from early '50s mentioned that gordie howe was too unselfish and not aggressive enough.
start of one seems to indicate that some fans thought howe was getting undeserved assists.
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette: 12-29-1952
The Same Old Howe
Tommy (Ivan) remarked that Gordie Howe hadn't changed perceptibly since he joined the Red Wings a half-dozen years ago.
"Nothing bothers him and nothing you can do or say can make him move a step faster than his usual gait," he said. "The other night we were playing the Black Hawks and they're leading us 3-2 late in the third period. Howe got the puck inside their blue line and started to dawdle around with it, and I'm yelling 'Shoot! Shoot!' But he works around until he's in front of the net and sees his spot and then he fires it in. When he came back to the bench I said 'Why don't you pull the trigger sooner? You're running the risk of having someone take the puck away from you.' He drawls, 'Just wanted to make sure.'"
"Bun Cook watched him one night and after the game he said 'He's a great hockey player, but I wonder how great he'd be if he exerted himself.' Of course, he fools you because he's a relaxed athlete. But what a great attraction he'd be if he had the fire of Lindsay or Richard. The way it is, he makes things look too easy."
Tommy Ivan, the little man with the broad shoulders and sleek hair who coaches the Detroit Red Wings doesn't want to get involved in any controversies in the newspapers. "I get into enough of them in the rink," he said. "But I do want to say that Gordie Howe earns all the assists he gets and I also want to say I wish he didn't."
That sounded a little odd coming from a coach, and he was asked to explain.
"He's got the puck 50% of the time he's on the ice," Tommy said. "But he passes it too much inside the other team's blue line. I've seen him only 10 or 12 feet out and right in front of the net, but instead of pulling the trigger he'll pass to somebody who may be in a little deeper, but in as good a scoring position as he is himself."
"One night we're playing the Rangers and we're leading them by one goal and they take their goaler out in the last minute. The faceoff was in our end. But we got the draw and the puck went over to Howe. He comes busting out with it and he's got nothing between him and the empty net. So what do you think he does? He sees Lindsay over on left wing and throws the puck over to him. Lindsay is checked and does get the shot away."
"After the game I asked him why he didn't shoot at the empty net. ' Well,' he says, 'I saw Ted over there and he was closer to the net than I was, so I passed to him.' But that's the kind of guy he is. The last year Sid Abel played with us Howe must have passed to him thousands of times. Sid had his heart set on scoring 20 goals and we all knew it. If Howe hadn't been so anxious to help Sid get his 20, he'd have scored 15 more goals himself. I pointed out to him that there was such a thing as being too unselfish. He says, 'Well those 20 goals mean a lot more to old Boot' than any number I could get for myself. I want to see him get them.'