"Players like Joe Thornton don't come available very often," Wilson said. "He's a big, physical guy with a lot of ability. He also knows a lot of our players very well. He should fit in well with our group.
"He's a special guy. The combination of he and [Patrick] Marleau down the middle should be very strong for us," Wilson said.
"He's one of the top 10 players in the league. He's a big, powerful forward. I expect him to be a giant on special teams."
Thornton squared off with Lindros in the second period of a chippy game with the Rangers. After a faceoff in the Rangers' zone, Lindros cross-checked Thornton in the head area and the behemoths traded punches. As they grappled to find punching room, Lindros (6 feet 5 inches, 237 pounds) wrestled Thornton (6-4, 223) into a vulnerable position, then dropped him with a powerful right hand.
Thornton doesn't fight much, but he has a short fuse, his rage often responding to defensive tactics to slow him down. Lindros received a five-minute major for fighting, as did Thornton.
Thornton is probably best known for his play as a playmaker, setting up Jonathon Cheechoo for several goals and open shots. His size allows him to create lots of space and his uncanny ability to find open players with a soft pass and with great hands makes him an asset to any NHL team. Thornton instantly raises the levels of the players around him, like Crosby, and has a vicious streak that strikes fear into most opponents.
Sharks captain Joe Thornton, among the game's best passers—as well as, at 6'4" and 230 pounds, one of its toughest skaters to knock off the puck—acknowledges the Wings' influence on his own play. "My game totally changed," says Thornton, who entered the league as a Bruin in 1997 with a dump-and-chase mandate. "Watch this series [with Vancouver]. We do a middle drive, where the center drives to the net [with the puck]. I never used to do that. I'd be in the corner."
"When Joe has the puck," Kesler says, "he's so strong on his skates, it's pretty useless to play him; I have to play his stick. We really have to start with the puck because then we play at our pace and they have to play our game—and Joe can't have the puck.
Thornton has made others better throughout his career—linemate Sergei Samsonov in Boston; Team Canada when he cheerfully accepted a third-line checking role in the 2004 World Cup; the Sharks in the season of the trade
. "I sensed a little different Joe in the playoffs last year, and more important, Joe did too," Ron Wilson says. "There was a fire and a hunger. Maybe in the past he'd more readily accept a poor performance from a teammate as long as he did well himself. Now you saw a little more urgency."
One other factor has favored Murray since his return to Boston: His development coincided with that of linemate Joe Thornton, who often dominates when he's on the ice. "The kicker for [ Murray] is the emergence of Thornton," says Panthers G.M. Rick Dudley. "When a player like Thornton emerges, then a player with the ability to score, like Murray, will get more opportunities."
He can impose himself on a game in myriad ways, the puck seems to follow him...
Though his long curls have been trimmed and styled, though he packs 220 pounds on a 6'4" frame, though he plays with a jagged edge that twice earned him two-game suspensions last season
Thornton has emerged as the Bruins' central player. He's a rare composite. He has some of Modano's ability to dangle without the flash, some of Lemieux's reach without the leverage, some of Brendan Shanahan's toughness without the reputation. Plus, his hands are soft. This is Joe's world now—"Over the summer I told people that in two or three years, Joe would be the best player in the game," says New York Islanders assistant coach Jacques Laperriere, who was a Bruins assistant from 1997-98 through '00-01
Bruins forward Joe Thornton, who has been dominant for the last couple of weeks (17 points in his last 10 games), was pulled aside by coach Mike Keenan recently and told to stop taking unnecessary stick-related penalties. Keenan, who likes Thornton's aggressive play, is concerned Thornton may develop a rep with referees as a dirty player....
When single-elimination play began in the World Cup of Hockey, Joe Thornton was converted by Team Canada coach Pat Quinn from a high-scoring pivotman to a checking center. His assignment was to shut down the other teams' top combinations. With his size, strength, and hockey sense, Thornton parlayed his new role into a crucial one that helped Canada enjoy success in this international event. There was no better example of that than last night.
In the championship game against Finland, Thornton proved that good defense can lead to opportunistic offense.
In an ornery mood from the outset of Game 5, Thornton finished with one hit and a 61 per cent success rate in the faceoff circle. He also excelled by staying away from Pronger, who made it his priority to keep Thornton away from the Ducks' net, but at times was caught out of position.
The six-foot-four, 235-pound Thornton drove the net with regularity and skated to the opposite side of the ice as Pronger to open the scoring with a power-play goal at 7:25 of the first period.
"He's thinking so much about where Joe is and Joe is having success getting away from Pronger," Hockey Night in Canada analyst P.J. Stock said of Thornton. "The second [Sharks goal] he picked up an assist and Pronger wasn't on the ice."
"I don't think it's in Joe's nature to be mean, but when he is mean, he's unstoppable," San Jose forward Jeremy Roenick told reporters. "When you're intense, you're a hard person to play against.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Although Joe Thornton usually does his finest work helping others, the Sharks superstar threw himself quite an anniversary party Friday night.
Thornton had two goals and an assist in a dominant two-way performance exactly two years after his arrival from Boston, and San Jose snapped a three-game winless streak with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
"Joe played unbelievable," Wilson said. "He was a force out there. He's physical, making plays. He made a decision he's going to shoot more, that he's going to score and not just look to pass. That will open up some of his playmaking abilities, because now they have to worry about him shooting."
"I should have stopped that second goal," Budaj said. "Joe made a great play. He's playing great right now, and he made us pay. He had a hand in all three goals. You want to excel against great players like him, but he beat us tonight."
The Boston Bruins probably figured they would need Joe Thornton to deliver solid two-way play and Andrew Raycroft to perform as he did during a strong rookie campaign if they were to be successful this season.
3. No matter how much Marleau and Cheechoo might be struggling, the amazing Thornton invariably is there to bail out the Sharks offensively.
It only underlines the MVP-type campaign Thornton is turning in. Almost 46 percent of San Jose's attack goes through him. He has 66 points, tied for 10th overall in the NHL. The next-highest ranking Shark is Milan Michalek, 91st, with 33 points.
The Sharks are circling. They are big, deep and committed defensively, in an aggressive, hard, forechecking way. They own arguably the best two-way player and passer in the game. Only the Detroit Red Wings have posted more road victories.
"Joe works so hard out there," San Jose captain Patrick Marleau, who spent part of Game 4 on the top line with Thornton, told Cassie Campbell of Hockey Night in Canada. "He's drawing double coverage sometimes and he handles it.
"He's a big horse out there for us. To have him going and everyone follow him, it helps everybody."
"He continues to make smart plays and finding a way to get his stick on the puck [for the winning goal]."
-- Joe Thornton sometimes seems to be playing a one-man game of keep-away in the playoffs -- and the Nashville Predators are losing it.
Both coaches agree the San Jose center's physical presence is the defining difference in the clubs' first-round playoff series
"People are fearing him now, and that's what you want to see with Joe," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said Wednesday. "He's a man on a mission, and people are picking up on that. ... Even though he's not getting points, he's totally controlling the game.
"When he's on the ice making plays, it's just unbelievable how he competes and is so strong. It's got to be frustrating to play against. He's almost like a beast out there. When he puts his mind to it, you can't take [the puck] from him," he said.
But Thornton drew four penalties in Game 3, holding onto the puck with his strength and control until the Predators tried something illegal to separate him. Though the Predators agree Thornton has impressive puck-possession skills, they're growing frustrated by their inability to slow him legally.
Here's Joe Thornton feeding left wing Milan Michalek for a shot that goes just wide of the Detroit goal. There's Joe Thornton taking a perfect pass and lifting a backhand shot that barely misses the top corner of the net. Here's Joe Thornton drawing a penalty. There's Joe Thornton crushing Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios. And that was just the third period. ''He was easily the best...
And the poster boy for these Sharks has been Thornton, maligned by media around the league for past playoff performances, sometimes fairly, most recently unfairly. If anyone in the East has been watching Western Conference hockey, they have seen a transformed Thornton, one whose two-way play has been dominant. He raised his game Wednesday night in the third period and overtime when his team needed him most.
Thornton has played an excellent two-way game, working hard in his defensive zone, and making an impact on offense, something he failed to do in San Jose's opening round series against the Colorado Avalanche.
On the flip side, the evolution of the captain this season was hugely encouraging. Thornton took his game to new heights, especially in the playoffs, playing both sides of the puck like never before. His willingness to sacrifice offense for two-way play is reminiscent of the great Steve Yzerman. So is Thornton's willingness to play through pain, the star center revealing afterward he separated his shoulder in Game 4 but played through it Tuesday night.
Thornton's defensive game has clearly improved and his offensive game has not necessarily suffered either. He has 2 goals and 9 assists in the playoffs, but he's being recognized more for the little plays he's making with his stick and his body that either bump players off the puck or knock the puck away from them to start the Sharks' offense going the other way.
A member of one of hockey's best-known families, George "Buck" Boucher was a stellar defenseman during a professional career that spanned two decades. Although he wasn't blessed with lightning speed, his proficient stickhandling and competitive zeal assured his status among the NHL's best.
In the nation's capital he was partnered with King Clancy to form one of the toughest, most effective duos in the league. In fact, Boucher helped nurture the young Clancy from his first days with Ottawa and contributed significantly to the Senators' four Stanley Cup triumphs in 1920, 1921, 1923, and 1927.
Although the Ottawa Senators would boast such talents as Eddie Gerard, King Clancy, Sprague Cleghorn and XXXXXX XXXXXXXX, the man they called Buck was the linchpin. Although he wasn't a particularly fast skater. His puck control was other-worldly. According to reports, opposing players could hear the curious tap-tap of his stick on the ice as he navigated his way through oppsing teams. In all, he figured in four Stanley Cups in Ottawa and during his prime was considered one of the leagues elite talents. It's often said that King Clancy was the first of the modern rushers, but Buck Boucher, a stick handling wizard, started the proverbial puck rolling.
Credit to LF for the newspaper articles.
Ottawa Citizen - Nov. 30, 1927
George Boucher played cleverly both defensively and offensively. He was given a rough ride and near the end was put down for the count but carried on to the finish in gallant fashion.
Ottawa Citizen - Dec. 27, 1927
Boucher is playing the best hockey of his career and if there is any man on the Ottawa team at present time deserving of the most valuable player award it is the game George Boucher. "Buck" has scored many goals for Ottawa this winter, goals which have come at opportune times and only for the fact George Hainstworth was playing the game of his life last night. Boucher would have whipped in at least one goal. He absorbed plenty of punishment in Canadiens goalwards thrusts but he took it all with a grin- at the same time evening up for any sly cracks that came his way.
... The defensive and offensive brilliancy of George Boucher, Frank Clancy, XXXX XXXXX and Frank Nighbor and the gallant forward line movements of Punch Broadbent, Len Grosvenor and Cy Denneny
Boucher whizzed Gardiner's cap off with a hard body check.
Leduc came barging through and Boucher flattened him.
Boucher blazed down the center and passed to Broadbent
Ottawa Citizen - Mar. 18, 1927
Harry Oliver and Sailor Herberts played well on the forward line, but they were unable to break through the stone-wall defense of Clancy and Boucher
Buck Boucher, making his first local appearance in several games, put up a masterful performance on the Senatorial defense, routing Oliver or XXXXXXXXXXX whenever they succeded in outwitting the first line of defense.
Globe and Mail - Dec. 20, 1923
Six minutes of the second period had elapsed when Boucher, who was playing a brilliant offensive game, swept from end to end and scored the opening goal. In 1.15 he again rushed, passing to Denneny inside the defense, who made it sure.
Two minutes from the start of the final session Boucher sent the crowd wild with a goal, in which he carried the puck from end to end and eluded practically every man on the Toronto Team, flipping the disc into the empty net after tricking Lockhart...and Denneny finished the scoring when he accepted Boucher's pass to score in nine minutes more.
Protection of Buck's teammates
The Montreal Gazette - April 14, 1927
Hooley Smith rode high into Hitchman, it is true, but big Hitch made a bad move when he clubbed Hooley across the ribs. Then in sailed George Boucher and the fat was in the fire.
Ottawa were in a hole when George Boucher spilled Herberts as the latter tried to hurdle the Ottawa defense.
As the pivot, he was feeding his wings, but both Oliver and Galbraith piled up on a solid Ottawa defense. Oliver was almost through alone, but George Boucher poked the puck from him just as the Bruin right winger broke.
While the Senators finished up with the score 3 to 1 in their favour, the play was much closer than that and only through stellar defensive work on the part of the Boucher-Clancey-Connel tandem aided by the stury young Alex Smith and the devastaing poke-checks of Frank Nighbor and Hooley Smith were the Bruins held at bay to the finish.
Last edited by Velociraptor: 02-06-2013 at 08:42 PM.
Position: Left Wing HT/WT: 5'10", 185 lbs Handedness: Left Born: October 16th, 1974 in Vancouver, BC
- 9-time top-10 in All-Star LW Voting (1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 6, 7, 8, 8)
- 2-time recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy - (1996, 1997)
- 3 acknowledgements for the First NHL All-Star Team - (1996, 1997, 1999)
- 2 acknowledgements for the Second NHL All-Star Team - (2000, 2003)
- scored 402 goals and 587 assists for 989 points in 989 games, adding 399 penalty minutes.
- scored 16 goals and 23 assists for 39 points in 46 playoff games, adding 12 penalty minutes.
To this day, I've never had another player tell me that a player's position is mostly about who he has to cover when the puck comes the other way. But that's the way Kariya thinks.
Originally Posted by Jack Ferriera
You look at him, and, O.K., he has great wheels and good hands, but those aren't his best assets, he has that sixth sense of knowing where everybody is, that great anticipation.
Originally Posted by Craig Hartsburg
Paul Kariya is the most focused, most intense athlete I have ever been around.
Sports Illustrated, February 22nd, 1993
He has been called the Wayne Gretzky of college hockey. While Paul Kariya (ka-REE-ya), a freshman at Maine, may not be quite the stickhandling genius Gretzky was at 18, there are enough similarities between the two to justify the comparison. Bent over at the waist, deceptively fast, Kariya skates like the Great One. He passes the puck with a Gretzky-like sixth sense, anticipating the movements of everyone else on the ice. A left winger, Kariya nevertheless likes to set up behind the opponent's net to the goalie's left, a la Mr. Wayne-derful. And at 5'11", 165 pounds, Kariya has been knocked for being too small, a criticism Gretzky endured before turning pro.
"It's almost sacrilegious to compare him to Wayne," says Maine's coach, Shawn Walsh. "But you can't help it." At week's end Kariya, a Vancouver native, was averaging 2.25 points a game, with 21 goals and 51 assists for the Black Bears, who are 30-0-2 and ranked No. 1 in the country. And just like you-know-who in 1978, Kariya was named to the all-tournament team at the World Juniors last month in Sweden for helping lead Canada to the gold. One final similarity: Teammates, coaches and reporters love the kid. Says Walsh, "He's so conscious of the team, there's no resentment that he's stealing the spotlight."
"Paul's extremely analytical. Earlier this season we were at a tournament in Alaska, and in the morning he asked which bench we'd have. I asked, 'Why?' He said, 'I like to visualize which goal I'll be skating toward.' This guy's mind is at a higher level."
Legends of Hockey
In February 1996, Kariya was named a starter for the All-Star Game. He was still in awe of his fellow stars, making comments to that effect to the man he stood next to during the introductions, Winnipeg's high scoring Teemu Selanne. Three weeks later Kariya became more familiar with the talented Finn when the Mighty Ducks made a trade with Winnipeg to bring Selanne to Anaheim. Selanne had the speed and goal-scoring touch to take advantage of Kariya's innate ability to find the open man. The twosome formed a dangerous and fast combination, often teaming with center Steve Rucchin who, like Kariya, was a product of the post-secondary hockey system, joining the team after starring at the University of Western Ontario.
Anaheim was improving but still had not made the playoffs during Kariya's stay when the 1996-97 season began. Kariya, named the team's captain, missed the first 11 games of the season due to injury, and his importance to the Mighty Ducks became apparent. The team won only one game during his absence. When he returned, Anaheim began to climb in the standings, earning a playoff spot by the end of the season. Kariya scored an overtime goal to keep the team alive in the first round against the Phoenix Coyotes as the Ducks rallied to advance to the next round in seven games. The Detroit Red Wings, the eventual Stanley Cup champions, had too much depth for Anaheim in the conference semifinals, sending the upstarts from the West home in four games. Kariya's 99 points in his shortened season and Anaheim's success ensured his name was among the final three considered for the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player.
He returned to form the next season. Terrorizing defenders and goalies with Selanne, Kariya finished third in overall scoring in 1998-99.
In Nashville, Kariya was a steady offensive threat recording 55 goals and 161 points over 164 games. However, the club opted not to re-sign the left winger in the off-season. On July 1st, 2007 Kariya signed a three-year deal with the St. Louis Blues.
Known for his creative explosiveness, energy and great speed ends a stellar 15-year NHL career where he was undoubtedly one of the most skilled players of his generation.
Kariya was a special player, certainly a top 10 player in his prime. His peak years were from 1995 through 2000 when he was mentioned in the same breath as Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Eric Lindros, Jaromir Jagr and Selanne as the best player in the game. He was the best skater and arguably the most intelligent hockey superstar of his time.
Kevin Allen, USA Today
When Paul Kariya announced his retirement Wednesday because of concussion issues, the first memory that probably most of us had was him rocketing up the ice like he was a cruise missile. His first three strides were as dynamic as any I've seen, and it seemed as if he could cover 150 feet of ice in the snap of your finger. His skating seemed supersonic. His shot release was wickedly quick.
Explosive. Exciting. Energetic. All of those words fit Kariya.
But Kariya, more than anything else, was well-prepared. There weren't many in this sport who worked harder at their craft than Kariya did. He came to work every day with the idea that he was going to be the best player he could be.
When the Nashville Predators signed Kariya in 2005, they were most excited about securing an offensive star. But I would bet if you asked general manager David Poile and coach Barry Trotz today what they liked most about him, it would be that he set an example for younger players on how to be a pro.
Who's Who in Hockey
When the NHL sought a marquee successor to Wayne Gretzky, they hoped to find a gifted skater with exceptional playmaking abilities, who embodied Gretzky's clean play. The obvious choice was Paul Kariya, from the very beginning he epitomized the Lady Byng style of play that had been Gretzky's trademark.
Possessing unfathomable speed, Gretzky-like stickhandling skills, and a backhand shot practiced and executed to a rare accuracy, Kariya had the misfortune of thriving in a franchise too bereft of talent to complement his abilities and win meaningfully.
Joe Yerdon, NBC Sports
A smaller player with speed to burn, Kariya was a dynamic goal scorer after coming out of the University of Maine. The skills he had were the stuff of legend and the kind of thing that saw him team up with Teemu Selanne in Anaheim to help lead the Ducks to the 2003 Stanley Cup finals.
Rising Stars: The 10 Best Young Players in the NHL
He's a great thinker and one of the most creative playermakers in the game. Combine that with his Gretzky-like vision and it's easy to see why so many people compare him to "The Great One".
Last edited by Velociraptor: 02-06-2013 at 09:27 PM.
5x NHL All Star Game Participant
2x Lady Byng Trophy Winner
1972 Ted Lindsay Trophy Winner
Voted East Division MVP in 1972 Sporting News Player Poll
9x Top 6 AS Voting Center(2, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 9)
5x Top 11 Hart Trophy Voting(4, 6, 8, 9, 11)
2x Top 14 Selke Trophy Voting(11, 14)
9x Top 22 Goals(5, 6, 7, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 22)
11x Top 19 Assists(3, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19)
11x Top 18 Points(3, 4, 6, 6, 6, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 18)
3x Top 9 Playoff Goals(2, 4, 9)
3x Top 9 Playoff Assists(3, 7, 9)
3x Top 7 Playoff Points(4, 5, 7)
VsX: 93, 93, 90, 90, 88, 86, 77, 73, 72, 72, 65, 63, 62, 61
During 11 Year Peak(1967-68 to 1977-78)
3rd in goals(99% of 2nd place Cournoyer)
3rd in assists(94% of 2nd place Ratelle)
2nd in points(100% of 2nd place Ratelle)
Per Game(min. 300 games)
12th in Goals/game(.44)
7th in Assists/game(.70)
7th in Points/game(1.14)
During "Playoff Peak"(1976-1979)
5th in goals(77% of 2nd place Leach)
5th in assists(85% of 2nd place Robinson)
4th in points(90% of 2nd place Lemaire)
A talented center who exhibited class and style throughout his career, Jean Ratelle spent two decades in the NHL with the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins. He was one of the most gifted and respected players of his era but had the misfortune of never playing on a Stanley Cup championship team.
A model performer along the lines of Jean Beliveau, Ratelle was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 1971. The 1971-72 season represented the high point of Ratelle's career. He established his personal high of 46 goals and 109 points and was the recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the top player in the NHL as chosen by his peers.
Later that year, the classy forward was an important component of Team Canada when it defeated the USSR in the 1972 Summit Series. He scored four points in six matches while playing chiefly a defensive role, and his overall skill and calm temperament impressed the Soviet players and coaching staff.
He was often joined by Rick Middleton and Stan Jonathan on one of hockey's hardest-working lines.
Jean Ratelle is about as perfect a hockey player as there as we have ever seen. His professionalism and sportsmanship are as rare as his elite puck handling and skating skills.
While his road to the NHL wasn't the smoothest, but once he got there he quickly established himself as smooth operator.
"The way I see it, Jean Ratelle is the quiet leader of the Rangers. It's a mistake to think that a player has to be noisy in order to command respect and lead a hockey club. Jean inspires by his behavior - on and off the ice. He's a fine family man and an inspiration to the other players, especially the younger ones. He reminds me of my self in the sense that neither of us were flashy or noisy or were quoted saying anything controversial, and because of that it took longer to get recognized."
By this time Ratelle had cemented himself among the league's elite, but he had already been known as the league's nicest gentleman and most respected players.
"Jean commands so much respect because of his ability and his style, it's impossible to get yourself mad enough at him to try any dirty stuff," once said Derek Sanderson. Sanderson was one of the NHL's top checkers. It was his job to get a top player like Ratelle off of his game by any means necessary, including by breaking the rules.
It has often been said of Jean Ratelle that he was so consistently effective at a high level of play day in and day out that he has been overlooked by some as one of the greatest to have played the game.
He starred for several more seasons for Boston, gaining admiration for his slick passing, skill at faceoffs and all-around excellent play, retiring a Bruin after the 1981 season.
In his place, Sinden placed Dennis Hull, and the line of Ratelle between Gilbert and Hull was given a primarily defensive role, although the trio clicked and contributed offensively as well. Ratelle's calm demeanour served the Canadian team well, but impressed the Soviet team, too.
Originally Posted by Fischler's Hockey Encyclopedia
Employing a crisp wrist shot, Jean embarked on a string of three consecutive 32-goal seasons. He was the club's leading scorer throughout those campaigns and commanded the respect of teammates and opponents alike as a quiet, efficient centerman. His forte was not power, but grace. His skates glided lyrically across the glistening ice surface as he put beautiful syncopated passes right smack on the sticks of his wings, setting them up for perfect scores.
Originally Posted by Hockey Hall of Fame Legends
Jean Ratelle's sublime hockey intelligence and playmaking skills, combined with his deep sense of honour and dignity, once moved a teammate to say, "He functions at a different level from the rest of us. He's the kind of man we'd all like to be.".. Ratelle never sipped champagne from the cup, but when he retired in 1981 as the league's sixth-highest point scorer, he left a legacy of sportsmanship that embodied all of the virtues symbolized by the Stanley Cup.
Originally Posted by *** ****** Hockey Stories and Stuff
He had that same class as Beliveau.
He had a straight stick, but what a backhand he had.
What a guy! The guys loved him. he was father-like.
The guys loved Jean so much and the word got out: You touch Jean Ratelle and you're a dead man.
There was no better guy that ever walked the earth than Jean Ratelle. A complete gentleman.
One time I had Jean Ratelle, ********, and Donnie Marcotte on a line. Each of them had over 20 goals and each of them could check.
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide Of Everyone Who Has Ever played In the NHL
A paragon of hard work and determination... happily resigned himself to a checking role in the Summit Series...tall, elegant, and a true leader.
Originally Posted by Coach's Poll, Toronto Star
Best playmaker 5th 1974
Smartest player 3rd 1979
As Jean Ratelle goes, so do New York Rangers. Right now, Ratelle and the Rangers are sizzling. Ratelle centers the expereinced GAG line, with Rod Gilbert and captain Vic Hadfield on the wings. "They are the big thing going for us," says Ranger goalie Ed Giacomin.
"When Ratty's hot, his line is hot; when his line is hot, we're hot."
"Ratelle means as much to the Rangers as Jean Beliveau did to the Canadiens," says Vancouver coach Phil McCreary.
Ratelle is difficult to check when he has the puck, and he does as much checking himself as any centre, McCreary notes.
A big plus on Ratelle's side is the way he plays in the faceoffs. "He must win 80% of his faceoffs," McCreary says. "There wasn't anything I could do to stop him."
Jean Ratelle, who for two decades displayed an effortless and graceful agility on the ice, Thursday announced his retirement...
In his 20 year career, Ratelle blended his own graceful style with an uncanny ability at both ends of the arena as a scorer and a tough defensive checker. He made the all star team just once, in 1972, due mainly to the fact that he played a position which seems to yield a disproportionate number of superstars.
"He's every bit as good as anyone I ever saw or played against," said Gilbert, now the coach of the Rangers' minor league team in New Haven, Conn. "He could do it all. He was always a classic, a real artist, who would have been successful at anything he did."
Boston Bruin Center Jean Ratelle was one of hockey's premier performers, an effortless skater and exact shooter who inspired adjectives—"elegant," "classy," "balletic"—not always associated with his sport.
Ratelle nonetheless skated his way into the hearts of knowledgeable local rooters with a combination of skill and dedication. Without much fuss and fanfare, he did the job that had to be done...
What Ratelle brought to Boston-and what he lacked for a number of earlier years as a Ranger-was a consistency about his game that would compliment his innate gifts of skating, stickhandling, and overall creativity.
"Others skate," observed Ryan, "but Ratelle glides. Others arrive on the scene as if escorted by 17 motorcycle cops, but Ratelle is already there."
Cerebral almost to a fault, Ratelle became the thinking man's Bruin. He saw the ice much the way Wayne Gretzky would in later years.
"Some people noticed Ratelle's effectiveness with the puck," former teammate Gregg Sheppard explained, "but they didn't see what a great positional player he was. I very rarely saw an opposing center score a goal from the slot with Jean on the ice."
Cherry: "Jean was terrific at picking passes off in front of our net."
Credit for Ratelle's success late in his hockey life belongs to Bruins boss Harry Sinden for having the wisdom to perceive Jean's potential. "I knew he was a good player," reflected Sinden, "but I had no idea how good he was until he joined our team. I always recognized his offensive ability but I hadn't realized that he was such an excellent defensive player, too."
"They damned near ruined Jean in New York and it was pretty stupid," said Don Cherry. "They wore him out for the playoffs in New York. They never gave him a day off from practice. They had him on the ice every day and made him burn himself out before the playoffs. That's why he never did much in the playoffs with the Rangers. Look at how he changed in Boston: average more than a point a game in the playoffs."
"I told Jean once that if I saw him in practice the day after a game I'd fine him. I knew that he wasn't the strongest guy in the world and he was up there in years and still killing penalties and working the power play and taking all the important faceoffs. You've got to be crazy not to give a guy like that a day off, especially when you know he busts his tail and always keeps himself in shape.
Al Arbour, who both played and coached against Ratelle, put it another way: "Jean always made things look easy. Playing against him was like playing a chess game. He waited for you to make the first move and at the slightest mistake he'd pass the puck or go around you. "He never looked that fast until he was right on top of you and then he would be by you with that great natural stride. When I coached the Islanders, I would tell my players, 'Don't give him any extra room and play him tight,' because he was so deceptive.
Former teammate Rod Gilbert claimed that Ratelle's longevity not only was a product of his skating and stickhandling skill but because of the respect he inspires in the opposition.
At 32 years of age, the 6'1" 175 pound French-Canadian center from Lac St. Jean, Quebec, is, perhaps, the best and cleanest scorer ever to skate on a sheet of ice.
Ratelle's graceful skating style and pinpoint passing lifted him to a plateau above even Orr and Esposito. "If Jean hadn't been injured last season," says Phil Goyette, a center who has played for champion teams in Montreal and St. Louis as well as for the Rangers" he would have beaten out Bobby Orr for the Hart Trophy."
Typical was the night of February 20th when Jean dipsy-doodled through the Detroit Red Wings defense like a pinball zigzagging down its course...
I've been coaching Ratelle for 13 years now, starting in junior hockey," says Francis, "and I can't remember him ever having a bad practice, let alone a bad game. He's the most consistent player I've ever seen.
Ratelle shrugs off barbs as casually as he brushes away enemy bodychecks.
The fan's admiration was for the way Jean Ratelle had nearly faked LA goalie Denis DeJordy out of his skates as he went in on him slowly in the 2nd period and scored the third Ranger goal of the evening.
"Ratelle gave DeJordy so many dekes I nearly fell of the bench just watching him,"
However, Ratelle didn't get down about his status on the team and soon found himself playing in all 4 games scheduled for Moscow. He was a very steadying influence on the team and did some great work killing penalties. When Hadfield left the team, Dennis Hull of Chicago was placed in his spot and the Blackhawk winger seemed to fit right in with the Rangers' stars. The line scored some very important goals and gave Team Canada another steady trio they could count on for offence or defence.
Rod was very, very good. He had a good centerman, Jean Ratelle. I played junior with them. Oh, the passes were unbelievable. Jean used to set up plays and Rod would put it in. That was easy...Rod had an incredible shot, but he needed Jean. Jean was the passer and set him up.
It was a terrible break when Jean broke his ankle. Jean was such a workhorse," Hadfield says. "We just couldn't replace him with anyone. It was devastating when that happened. We couldn't survive with a hole as big as Jean Ratelle in our lineup. We had played together for so long. Jean killed penalties, worked the power play, he was a workhorse for our team."
Ratelle was rated a good player, but he turned out to be an excellent one. In a head-to-head matchup with Esposito, he scored more points with the Bruins than Esposito did with the Rangers. His greatest asset was consistency-he always played with a high level of talent.
"Has Esposito done as much for Boston as Ratelle did for New York?" he asked recently. "He (Ratelle) is superb at faceoffs, does an awful lot of work on defence and passes like Beliveau," added Francis in reference to the now retired Montreal centre star Jean Beliveau.
"He has made his line great and this has turned the race around.
"I really like Boston," said the 35 year old centre, who probably is more responsible than he's willing to admit for the Bruins' successful season.
Against the Flyers, Ratelle won faceoffs that helped set up the Bruins' second and third goals by Ken Hodge and Dallas Smith. He won 24 of 36 faceoffs during the game, and 11 of 18 from center Bobby Clarke of the Flyers.
"Jean Ratelle got almost 100 points in both his first two years with us," Sinden recalled. "You know, I've often used his name as players have come along since and pointed out what a great defensive player he was without being an aggressive type of forward. He was a terrific checker. A lot of players who don't have an aggressive nature think you're talking body-checking, but Ratelle is a great example of how you can check so well without necessarily being a body-checker. He brought a lot to this team. He was an excellent faceoff man and more of a creative playmaker than a shooter. He'd get 35 goals while Espo would get around 60, but Jean was able to put a lot of points up there with his playmaking."
6'1, 210 lbs. left winger Luc Robitaille, whose first seven seasons were phenomenal with seven consecutive 1st or 2nd team all-star selections and seven straight years top-10 in goals. By age 26 he had already scored 382 NHL goals, including 34 playoff goals. He scored 799 points in his first 640 NHL games, not once in his first eight seasons dipping below the 84 point total of his rookie year. "Lucky" Luc worked hard to put himself in good scoring position and had a fantastic shot. He was known for his competiveness, even in practices, as much as he was known for his friendliness. He had a boatload of determination and it showed. He went on to play for over a decade more, including three more times top-10 in goals, five more times top-10 in powerplay goals, another 2nd team all-star. He is presently still top-10 all-time in career goals scored among all NHLers, tied with Jaromir Jagr. The fact that he has scored the most goals and points in history for a left winger is almost beside the point, as is his secondary role in a Stanley Cup championship in his 16th year.
Originally Posted by Los Angeles Kings Legends
Robitaille made up for any skating deficiencies with one of the most accurate shots in NHL history. He was a regular leader in shooting percentage, thanks to a number of reasons. He worked himself into high percentage scoring areas, often down low and in tight. Though a defender might have been draped all over him, he always kept his stick unchecked. He would release his shot in the blink of an eye, usually just burying passes and rebounds with no backswing at all.
Robitaille, an under-noticed physical player, continued to be almost unquestioningly the league's best left winger for 8 seasons, consistently scoring goals. He scored at least 44 goals in 8 consecutive seasons (only Gretzky and Mike Bossy had better streaks), and also managed to shake his playoff jinx as he became a genuine playoff threat in 1992 with 12 goals in 12 games and in 1993 when he was a major part of the Kings "Cinderella" Cup run.
Just one year after coming so close to winning Lord Stanley's Grail, the Kings missed the playoffs. Robitaille played for Canada's national team at the 1994 World Championship in Italy. It was Robitaille who scored the gold medal winning goal in a shootout, giving Canada its first world championship in 33 years.
Originally Posted by Los Angeles Times, Nov. 10, 2009
... he personified everything good about this game and the undying power of hope backed by tireless effort.
"I've known Luc since he was 17, with the Hull Olympiques," Gretzky said as he traveled the red carpet before the [Hall of Fame induction] ceremony.
"I've said this before: with 'Rocket' Richard, Mike Bossy, Guy Lafleur and Mario Lemieux, there's nobody who wanted to score more desperately than Luc Robitaille. He made himself a Hall of Famer."
Originally Posted by Scott Burnside, ESPN.com Nov 5th 2009
When Robitaille made the Kings out of training camp in 1986, legendary Kings center Marcel Dionne asked him what he wanted to do now that he was in Los Angeles. Did he want to see the sights, meet the stars? No, he wanted to play hockey, Robitaille told him. OK, then, Dionne responded, Robitaille could move in with him and his family.
"I never went anywhere," Robitaille said, recalling the steady routine of going from practice to Dionne's home to games and back again.
Blake likewise recalled a deeply competitive player beneath that happy-go-lucky exterior. He remembered how, even in practice, Robitaille had to score. Even if his turn during a drill appeared to be over, he would fish the puck out of the corner and still rip it into the net, often to the consternation of netminders such as Kelly Hrudey.
Pat Quinn was the coach in Los Angeles at the time, and he recalled looking beyond the skating to see "a great brain in there."
Pure speed? No. But Quinn said he still thinks Robitaille got from the corner to the net as quickly as any player, a testament to his anticipation and that big hockey brain.
Last edited by VanIslander: 02-07-2013 at 08:08 AM.
Position: Defenseman HT/WT: 6'2", 182 lbs Handedness: Left Nickname(s): "Snowshoes" Born: March 1st, 1926 in Timmins, ON
- inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981.
- 6-time top-10 in All-Star D Voting (3, 3, 3, 6, 10, 10)
- 4-time Stanley Cup Champion - (1962, 1963, 1964, 1967)
- 3 acknowledgements for the Second NHL All-Star Team - (1960, 1961, 1966)
- scored 100 goals and 333 assists for 433 points in 1244 games, adding 792 penalty minutes.
- scored 6 goals and 33 assists for 39 points in 109 playoff games, adding 100 penalty minutes.
Stanley was a fixture on the Leafs' four championship teams of the 1960s. He often was paired along side big Tim Horton on a blueline that also boasted Marcel Pronovost, Carl Brewer and Bobby Baun. Stanley became a bit of an offensive presence in the era before Bobby Orr redefined a defenseman's offensive role. Stanley was a pinpoint passer and as a result he often saw time on the Leafs' power play units.
Allan Stanley ranks as one of the greatest defensemen to ever wear Maple Leaf blue and white. Stanley was a superstar - He was a solid defensive blueliner who eventually would become outstanding en route to a Hall of Fame career. Toronto fans were very appreciative of Stanley's textbook defense and subtle majesty. Allan has to rank as one of the greatest defensive back liners in the history of the NHL, and it was eventually duly noted while he played. He is not your typical superstar, but a definite important star that every team needs.
Legends of Hockey
Stanley would prove yet another franchise wrong when he became a fixture on the Leafs' championship teams in the 1960s. He was often teamed with Tim Horton, another big veteran who knew a lot about positional play, and was a large part of the league's, and perhaps history's, best defensive unit with Carl Brewer, Bobby Baun and Marcel Provonost. Stanley also used his veteran savvy in the offensive zone and was placed on the Leafs' powerplay because of his accurate passes. Beginning in 1960, rumours began to circulate about his retirement. That season Stanley was voted to the league's Second All-Star Team. The next season there were more rumours and once again Stanley was an alternate All-Star. He ended up playing 10 seasons in Toronto, finally living up to his last name when the Maple Leafs won the Cup in 1962, the first of his four Cup wins with the team. His final title came in 1967, and after one more season with Toronto, he moved to the Philadelphia Flyers in 1968. He finally retired in 1969 at the age of 43.
Hockey's Glory Days: The 1950s And '60s
By the start of the 1958-59 season, Boston had given up on Stanley and he was once again traded, this time to Toronto for Jim Morrison. Punch Imlach was resurrecting careers in Toronto, and while most of the league believed that Stanley's career was on its last (very slow) legs, Imlach breathed new life into the veteran. Paired with Tim Horton, another veteran, the two complemented each other and became rocks on the Leafs' blueline.
"Horton was my buddy. I roomed with Tim," explained Allan. "We played together for most of 10 years. On the road, we were inseparable. It seemed like all the defensemen were pretty close, but Tim and I, wherever we went, we went together." George Armstrong contended that Stanley was the reason Horton developed into the All-Star defenceman he became.
Allan Stanley was overlooked behind star teammates and fellow great defensemen such as Doug Harvey, Red Kelly, Tim Horton and Harry Howell, but he played 1,244 games over a 21-year NHL career and was recognized eventually as one of the greats of the game. He never was noted for his skating speed, but his ability to anticipate the flow of the game meant he rarely was caught out of position.
Last edited by Velociraptor: 03-07-2013 at 04:15 PM.
HHOF left winger Fred "Bun" Cook, who was a fan favorite for his innovation, hard work and consistent production. For eight consecutive NHL seasons he was top-10 in goals or assists. The nickname "Bun" comes from the shape of his nose, swears his wife, but journalists in NY described him as "quick as a bunny" and the interpretation stuck. His hard-nosed and fast style of play graced Madison Square Gardens for nearly a decade, Bun ranking 29th in 100 Ranger Greats.
"While Bill was known as the goal scorer and Boucher the playmaker, Bun was known as a bit of both. Many claim it was Bun who innovated the drop pass in the offensive zone. Some even suggest it was Cook who invented the slap shot.
A solid offensive contributor, Bun was a fan favorite in the old Madison Square Garden because of his hustling speed and reckless physical play. He was a bit of a celebrity, drawing praise from the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ed Sullivan.
"When Bun Cook is hot, he is one of the most amazing players in hockey," wrote Sullivan. "At such moments, he attempts plays that stagger the imagination. At his peak, there is no player so enjoyable to watch."
Bun was less dangerous around the net than Bill, but he was no less determined, and his work ethic and ability to carve out a niche of his own despite being the brother of a hockey legend earned him respect throughout the league. He was a fan favorite at Madison Square Garden because of his dedication...
"Men who would know credit Bunny Cook with the introduction of the passing attack," wrote Frank Selke. "The Cook-Boucher line introduced a style of attack completely their own — each member kept working into an open spot, passing the puck carefully and adequately and frequently pushing the puck into the open net after confusing the defensive force of the opposition. This was a repetition of lacrosse as played by the great Indian teams."
Bun is also credited with being the innovator of the drop pass. "I had a dream about the drop pass one night and at our next practice, I told Frank and Bill about it," explained Bun. "They thought I was crazy, but they decided to humour me. By gosh, it worked! I'd cross over from left wing to centre as I moved in on defense. I'd fake a shot and leave the puck behind and skate away from it, with Frank or Bill picking it up. We got a lot of goals off the crisscross and drop pass."
Bun was always tinkering with elements of the game. He was an early proponent of the slapshot, and occasionally took a rolling puck up on the blade of his stick and carried it through the bewildered opposing team.
"When Bun Cook is hot, he is one of the most amazing players in hockey," wrote Ed Sullivan (yes, the same one) in the New York Graphic. "At such moments, he attempts plays that stagger the imagination. At his peak, there is no player so enjoyable to watch." In his rookie season, Bun Cook was named to the NHL's Second All-Star Team in 1926-27. The New York Rangers, playing an exciting and successful brand of hockey, became the toast of the town in New York. "Babe Ruth would be there. For some reason, Lou Gehrig took a liking to me. I never did get to see them (the Yankees) play although Bill went to see them," stated Bun.
Bun Cook was named to the Second All-Star Team again in 1930-31. Although overshadowed by the exploits of his linemates, Bun Cook proved to be every much their hockey peer. During the ten seasons he played with the Rangers (1926 to 1936), Bun outscored Frank Boucher (154 to 141) and earned more assists than his brother Bill (139 to 138).
Then, a throat infection and arthritic condition forced Bun out of the Rangers line-up during the 1935-36 season.
After two years out west in Saskatoon, Bun Cook was a Blueshirt for a decade, with eight straight seasons of significant production:
1926-1927, 6th in NHL assists + NHL 2nd team all-star selection
1927-1928, 2nd in NHL assists + The Stanley Cup
1928-1929, 10th in NHL goals
1929-1930, 10th in NHL goals
1930-1931, 7th in NHL assists + NHL 2nd team all-star selection
1931-1932, 9th in NHL assists + Cup Finals leading 6 goals
1932-1933, 4th in NHL goals + The Stanley Cup
1933-1934, 10th in NHL goals
Note: his best season for goals and for assists were cup-winning seasons.
405 points in 484 games played
29 points in 59 games played, x2 Stanley Cup winner (1942, 1945)
Hart Trophy Voting: 3rd (1936)
All-Star Team Voting: 1st in 1936, 2nd in 1937, 2nd in 1941, 3rd in 1939, 4th in 1938, 4th in 1945
Calder Trophy winner (1935)
Two-time Art Ross Trophy winner (1936, 1937)
6x Top 10 in Points (1st in 1936, 1st in 1937, 2nd in 1939, 7th in 1938, 8th in 1935, 10th in 1941)
5x Top 10 in Goals (2nd in 1941, 4th in 1936, 4th in 1937, 4th in 1938, 7th in 1941)
3x Top 10 in Assists (2nd in 1936, 3rd in 1937, 3rd in 1939)
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends
"He was the best left winger I ever saw. That includes everybody - Frank Mahovlich, Busher Jackson, Bobby Hull, everybody."
Those were the words of Conn Smythe, one of hockey's greatest architects, used to describe Dave "Sweeney" Schriner.
Although Schriner is not as well remembered as other great players of his era, Smythe just might have been right.
The New York Americans were a woefully weak team, but Schriner quickly developed as the team's brightest and on most nights lone star. He would win the Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year in 1935, and lead the NHL in scoring in 1936 and again in 1937.
In the summer of 1939, Schriner was traded in a mammoth deal designed to give the Americans the depth they needed to become a better team, and to give Toronto a super star. Toronto traded Buzz Boll, Doc Romnes, Jim Fowler, Murray Armstrong and former super star Busher Jackson to New York all for Schriner.
Schriner enjoyed playing for the Leafs. The team offered him stability and a supporting cast, and allowed him to thrive without having to be the one-man-show of years past. He would continue to be a top scorer while the Leafs, although was never quite as in explosive fashion that he was known for in New York.
Originally Posted by Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 2
Sweeney was a big man, a fast skater and very nimble in his play. He played hard and his penalty record is surprisingly low considering his size.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald - 1/14/1935
Rarely does a recruit to the major league hockey in his first year among the big-time battlers steal the goal scoring thunder of veterans. That, however, is just what David Schriner, New York Americans' stellar rookie, is doing. Schriner is a big, husky, aggressive lad, standing over six feet high and weighs 183 pounds, and so far has been a standout among the season's rookies.
There is an impression rapidly gaining ground hereabouts that New York Americans...have the greatest left wingman in the business. Dave "Sweeney" Schriner...is just that and nothing else in the opinion of his coach, Joe Simpson, and another keen judge of talent, Frank Fredrickson...
"Why next year? asked Bullet Joe. "Right now he is a shade better than Jackson and that means better than anybody else as his position in the league. He is a deadly shot, is more elusive than Jackson, a better backchecker and every bit as good if not better puck carrier. They say our team has improved 5 percent over last year. I think it has shown even greater improvement than that. And there is but one answer, Sweeney, of course.
"The kid has everything," said Fredrickson. "I could harp on his good points, and yes the one or two almost weaknesses he has for hours, but I think his record speaks for itself. He was just what you might call a raw graduate when he joined the Americans. It took a few games to polish off the rough spots and another few for him to really find himself. Then what does he go out and do? Why nothing much but jump up into third place amongst the league's leading scorers. If he isn't the best at his business today he soon will be."
Although it's anybody's race right now, there seems to be a good chance for Dave (Sweeney) Schriner, the clever left winger of the New York Americans, to win the National Hockey League's individual scoring crown for the third time...Schriner is up in a four-way tie for the lead in the current race.
What's more, Schriner's position demonstrates his versatility. When he won the title in 1936 and 1937, he was on the receiving end of a lot of brilliant passes from Art Chapman. This season he's doing the passing himself, collecting 22 of his 32 points so far on assists. He's the league's leading playmaker.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 1/8/1935
A feature continued to be the advance of Dave "Sweeney" Schriner, the year's outstanding rookie to date, who is pacing New York Americans and taken over third place in the Canadian Section with 17 points, seven goals and 10 assists.
Originally Posted by Rochester Journal - 3/24/1936
Dave Schriner, prize rookie of the National Hockey League last season, has proved himself no flash in the pan. Pacing the New York Americans to their first playoff series in eight years. Schriner compiled forty-five points to lead the circuit in scoring.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Herald - 3/20/1941
Schriner's left-winging has been a standout all season and his showing made up for a mediocre first year with Toronto Leafs after seasons with Americans of New York had him tabled as one of the big stars of the league.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald - 11/21/1939
Schriner said yesterday it was the game he missed since jumping to professional ranks in 1933-34 when he moved from Calgary amateur ranks to Syracuse, only season he spent in the minor pro leagues. The Syracuse stay was followed by five seasons with the New York Americans, during which he led the league in scoring two seasons. Leafs bought him from the Americans this year. It was decided to rest Schriner for a game following a tilt against Detroit here Sunday...Sweeney says he had no hopes of setting an "iron-man" record.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald - 5/26/1939
And so it may be taken for granted that an Apps-Drillon-Schriner trio on the attack will land a lot of goals for Conn Smythe, but who will do the backchecking for that proposed line with be Conny's worry if he sends them out in that order. All three can move smartly on the goal, but hockey is still a two-way game - the other side must be stopped as well.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald - 11/14/1941
Schriner, fractured toe in a cast and wearing oversize skates, returned to National Hockey League wars last night in Toronto and led the Leafs to a 4-2 victory over Montreal Canadiens. Schriner scored two goals.
Dave (Sweeney) Schriner, left wing ace, returned to action after one year's absence to highlight the Toronto win over Rangers. Schriner, ever a dangerous sniper, potted both Leaf goals to delight 13,000 fans.
Originally Posted by The Windsor Daily Star - 10/30/1944
Whose year in retirement from hockey had no ill effects on his ability to get the puck in the net. Schriner, back with the Toronto Maple Leafs for his 11th season of National League play, scored two goals on Saturday and three on Sunday as the Leafs upset the Rangers an Black Hawks, respectively.
1936 (5 GP): 13th in points (6 behind Buzz Boll), 2nd on team (1 behind Joe Jerwa); 2nd in goals (4 behind Boll), 1st on team; only 1 assist
1938 (6 GP): only 1 point 9th on team; only 1 goal 5th on team
1939 (2 GP): scoreless, Americans were shutout in both games with Schriner getting a misconduct penalty for high-sticking Reg Hamilton in Game 2
1940 (9 GP): 10th in points (5 behind Phil Watson and Neil Colville), 3rd on team (3 points behind Apps); only 1 goal; 5th in assists (4 behind Colville), 1st on team (tied with Metz, Gus Marker, Bob Davidson, and Pete Langelle)
1941 (7 GP): 26th in points (8 behind Milt Schmidt), 4th on team (4 behind Nick Metz); 11th in goals (4 behind Eddie Wiseman), 4th on team (1 behind Syl Apps, Gordie Drillon, Metz); only 1 assist
1942 (13 GP): 6th in points (5 behind Apps), 4th on team; 2nd in goals (2 behind Don Grosso), 1st on team (1 ahead of Apps); 12th in assists (6 behind Apps), 5th on team
1943 (4 GP); 18th in points (10 points behind Carl Liscombe), 2nd on team (2 points behind Bud Poile); 16th in goals (4 behind Carl Liscombe), 2nd on team (1 behind Mel Hill); 16th in assists (7 beind Flash Hollett), 2nd on team (2 behind Bud Poile)
1945 (13 GP): 18th in points (7 behind Joe Carveth), 4th on team (5 behind Ted Kennedy)
Originally Posted by Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 2
(Round 1, Game 1)On their record they appeared to have little chance against Chicago. However, they staggered the bookmakers and other experts by downing the Hawks 3-0 in the opener. Little Roy Worters played brilliantly to get his shutout. Dave Schriner scored within two minutes of the start and later added another with the assistance of Art Chapman.
(Round 1, Game 2)Sweeney Schriner also played a remarkable game doing double duty.
(Round 1, Game 2)Syl Apps scored three goals and he and Sweeney Schriner were the stars.
(Round 1, Game 4)The scoring leader Bryan Hextall finally converted for a goal but it wasn't enough to overcome goals by the scintillating Apps and Schriner.
(Round 1, Game 4)Sweeney Schriner, who had bruised his wrist in the first game, was back and revitalized the Leafs.
(Round 1, Game 6)Detroit led 2-1 until thirteen seconds from the end of the match when Sweeney Schriner tied the score.
(Round 1, Game6)However, the Leafs backed up by the superb goaling of Frank McCool and the great play of veteran Sweeney Schriner, eliminated the Montrealers in a closely-fought game...
(Round 2, Game 1)Sweeney Schriner scored for Toronto in the first period, and from there it was a great struggle.
Like many NHLers, Schriner did not play during the 1943-44 season but unlike most he was not part of the armed forces. Schriner retired taking the year off, and had a serious habit of "retiring" in his 30s.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette (Dink Carroll) - 10/13/1942
Veteran athletes are forever announcing their retirements, only to retract those announcements later. You had a sample of that last spring in the case of Sweeney Schriner, the Maple Leaf hockey player. We asked Dick Irvin for some illumination on this point.
"Sweeney was probably all tuckered out at the end of the season," said Dick, "and suffering from nervous exhaustion. He thinks at the moment that he never wants to play the game again. Then he has a good rest all summer and his nerves become healthy again. He begins to think playing hockey isn't such a bad way to make a living after all. It's as simple as that."
This was an article written as a career retrospective, little did the author know it was a few years early
Originally Posted by The Calgary Herald - 4/27/1942
At the peak of his hockey playing career Dave (Sweeney) Schriner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, returned to Calgary yesterday to surprise a welcoming gathering with the announcement that he was retiring as an active player.
"I made up my mind before the Stanley Cup series," he said, "and the main reason is because I find it impossible to make the weight. I can't get down to 190 any more and that's where I play my best hockey."
Always a Star
Schriner broke into the pro game in a blaze of glory closed out his career in similar starry fashion he led the Leafs to victory over Detroit Red Wings in the final game for the Stanley Cup.
Continuing his sensational play with a club that was always in the lower bracket, Schriner won the league's scoring championship in 1935-36 and 1936-37...In both instances his assists bulked larger than his goals.
Because of illness he had a mediocre first season after joining the [Leafs] and failed to show the form that made him a standout with the Americans. He his peak the following year, 1940-41, and teamed with Billy Taylor to form one of the most effective two-man passing combinations in the league.
"Sweeney did a swell job during the past season and were the best of friends when he left for home," Selke said...Schriner, a star in the Leafs' victory over Detroit for the Stanley Cup, received a bonus of $1,000 for his season's work.
June Is Here So Sweeney Schriner Is Back With "Annual" Retirement
Ho hum! It's June and Sweeney Schriner announces his retirement again. Every year about this time the veteran National Hockey Leaguers says he will not return to Toronto Maple Leafs - will hang up his skates. This time his is reported to have said the retirement is definite: that his trick knee has ended his hockey career; that he has a good job in Calgary and will stay will it.
The league's "Retiring Club" has many members who retire every spring or so but always look at things differently by the next fall.
Mr. Sweeney Schriner of Toronto Leafs, for example, carries it to the extent of retiring each and every March, and announcing that it is all null and void each September. They don't all retire quite as consistently as Mr. Schriner, but it is quite a large club.
Originally Posted by The Windsor Daily Star - 3/19/1946
Schriner on behalf of himself and Carr said last night that they weren't ready for retirement. "If some other club wants me for next season I'll be Available Jones and I'm sure Lorne feels the same way about it.
"We've signed voluntary retirement papers with the Leafs but Conn Smythe has assured us the Toronto Club won't stand in our way if we get a chance to play next season with another NHL team.
Originally Posted by Saskatoon Star-Phoenix - 3/20/1946
Big, easy-going Dave (Sweeney) Schriner, who moments before was shaking off sentiment by matching repartee with fleeting well-wishers, or joking as he autographed a collector's book, became serious and direct as he voiced a farewell of a treasured guest who, knowing his time had run out, lingered over departure.
"It's time now for older legs to make way in this game that's becoming increasingly a young man's business," said Schriner who at 34 is a year younger than Carr. "The day of the stickhandler is past," added the man whom NHL observers have classed among the trickiest of all time.
Both got a great thrill upon reaching the 200-goal mark this season...Schriner, needing 12 when the season started, bagged it in the closing weeks, adding one more for a lifetime total of 201 and 205 assists.
"I wanted to get the 200th in Toronto but it came in Boston," Sweeney said. "I got the thrill of my life anyway when the crowd cheered as hard as if I was one of the their Bruins. That's what I'll miss most. Sure, I know it's a business. But it lifts a guy right out of himself to hear 16,000 people yelling his name like that."
Veterans like Sweeney Schriner, Lorne Carr and Bob Davidson retired from active participation at the end of the season. Waivers have been asked on Schriner and Carr, just in case they do decide to play some more...
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald - 3/24/1949
A couple of guys in Calgary told Dave (Sweeney) Schriner that the Western Canada Hockey League is as good as a professional loop. Sweeney disagreed and now at 37 he is riding the crest of a great comeback, just to prove he was right.
Getting bald, and a little bulgy in spots, the man who retired from the National Hockey League three years ago, probably is the western circuit's most dangerous man around the net. Wednesday night he was up to his old tricks. Congratulated after the game for his two goals...Both times he was parked just outside the crease and merely deflected passes behind Keith Woodall in the Edmonton net.
..."I wanted to prove to a couple of guys in Calgary that I could still play in this league." Did he mean the WCHL is not close to professional hockey in quality? Sweeney replied: "Not in my book."
Nobody could ever accuse Schriner of wasting energy, and now that he's older, he's more cagey than ever. But Sweeney can still get into high gear quickly when there is a scoring opportunity. Schriner has been one of the most-feared men on a hard driving team...He was 14th among point getters over the regular schedule with 26 goals and 27 assists for 53 points although he played only 36 games. In seven playoff games he has beaten opposing goalers seven times.
(this is a cut and paste of Dreakmur's excellent bio with a few quotes added)
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Andy Bathgate was a hockey stylist--an athletic, graceful skater who handled the puck with skill and flash. Known for his blazing, accurate shot, he was one of the first men to use the slapshot to overpower goaltenders. Bathgate was a creative playmaker on the ice and often did the unexpected, throwing off opposing defenders with imaginative feints and passes.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News: Top 100
Despite the team’s record, Bathgate – who led the Rangers in scoring for eight straight seasons – proved to the archetypal all-around player. The Hall of Famer was a smooth skater, deft puckhandler, gifted playmaker, hard shooter and fierce competitor.
Originally Posted by Baltimores on Broadway
Whether stationary at the point or on the fly, Bathgate had one of the hardest slap shots in the game, but he also possessed an effective, accurate wrist shot and passed the puck with precision. As a stickhandler, his skill level brought to mind the dexterous stars of earlier eras.
Originally Posted by Hockey’s Golden Era
Bathgate was a clever playmaker who always seemed to find the right spot on the ice to work his magic. His hard shot was also compared to that of Bobby Hull and Bernie Geoffrion.
Originally Posted by Hockey’s Glory Days
Andy Bathgate was a strong skater, slick stickhandler, powerful shooter, and skilled playmaker.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey video
Bathgate’s shot made him a threat to goaltenders around the league…. Although capable of playing a tough physical style, Andy was outspoken in his opposition to violence in hockey… in the 1964 Stanley Cup finals, Bathgate was outstanding.
Originally Posted by Jim Coleman
Superb stickhandler. Superb shot. Great game strategist. Played for years and always played well.
Originally Posted by Red Sullivan
He’s an expert on the power-play, where the Leafs need help, and he has an excellent shot.
Originally Posted by Kings of the Ice
Though truly an individualist on the ice and off, he always placed the team above his own accomplishments and was disappointed with the Rangers’ consistently poor performances.
Originally Posted by Great Right Winger: Stars of Hockey’s Golden Age
The big right winger, who was as graceful as future star Wayne Gretzky and as physical as Rocket Richard was simply unstoppable…
Originally Posted by Who’s Who in Hockey
Andy Bathgate at first appeared too much the pacifist for the NHL jungle. But he raised his dukes when necessary, licking such notorious hockey cops as Howie Young, then of the Red Wings, and Vic Stasiuk of the Bruins. By 1954-55, Andy was in the NHL to stay, and soon was being favorably compared with the greatest Ranger right winger, Bill Cook.
Originally Posted by Kevin Shea
He was known as a smooth-skating playmaker who, through the ten years from 1955 to 1965, was among the most prolific forwards in the National Hockey League, despite playing with the struggling New York Rangers… Yet, surrounded with a lineup that often looked like it was held together with bandages and hockey tape, Bathgate was able to shine.
Originally Posted by Tim Hunt
Bathgate was not a little guy – he was a big powerful man. They didn’t tangle with Andy Bathagte because he was big and strong, and if they tried to get smart with him, he’d answer them back. He wasn’t reluctant to, you know, hit back, but he didn’t feel that it was necessary. He’d rather score a goal than take a penalty.
Originally Posted by Kings of the Ice
Like Howe, Bathgate could play the physical game and was known as a fierce fighter when the occasion warranted it.
Originally Posted by Baltimores on Broadway
Bathgate didn’t go looking for trouble, but as the Rangers’ top gunner he was often the target of enemy bullies. He provided his own protection. The same lightning reflexes that served him as a goal-scorer ad play-maker made him equally quick with his fists. When Detroit’s bad boy, Howie Young, wouldn’t stop tormenting him with his stick, Andy ripped the lumber out of Howie’s hands, dropped his gloves, and cleaned Young’s clock. Hulking Vic Stasiuk of the Bruins challenged Bathgate with his fists in the first and third periods of a game and came off second best on both occasions.
Andy Bathgate !!!
Awards and Achievements:
Stanley Cup Champion (1964)
Hart Trophy Winner (1959)
2 x First Team All-Star (1959, 1962)
2 x Second Team All-Star (1958, 1963)
8 x All-Star Games (1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964)
4 x Rangers MVP — 1956-57, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1961-62
5 Year Peak (1959 to 1963) 1st in Points and 2nd in Points per Game (Jean Beliveau) 2nd in Goals and 5th in Goals per Game (Jean Beliveau, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Frank Mahovlich) 1st in Assists and 2nd in Assists per Game (Jean Beliveau)
10 Year Peak (1956 to 1965) 2nd in Points and 3rd in Points per Game (Jean Beliveau and Gordie Howe) 3rd in Goals and 8th in Goals per Game (Jean Beliveau, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Frank Mahovlich, Maurice Richard, Bernie Geoffrion, Camile Henry) 1st in Assists and 1st in Assists Per Game
Play-off Scoring Review:
1956 – 2nd on team in Points, Goals, and Assists.
1957 – 1st on team in Goals.
1958 – 1st on team in Goals and Points. 2nd on team in Assists.
1962 – 3rd on team in Assists.
1964 – 2nd on team in Goals.
1965 – 4th on team in Goals.
1966 – 1st on team in Goals.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 1/30/1965
Bathgate has played well with the Leafs. In last season's Stanley Cup playoffs he scored five goals, including the winner in the seventh and deciding game against Detroit Red Wings. As the Leafs celebrated their victory with champagne from the Stanley Cup, Stafford Smythe, the president of the team, said: "We wouldn't be drinking champagne now if we hadn't got Bathgate." Across the hall in the Red Wing dressing-room, coach Sid Abel was agreeing. "Without Bathgate, we would have beaten them," Abel said.
Bathgate is one of the most skillful players in hockey, a fine playmaker, stickhandler and goal-scorer. He set the tempo for the entire [New York Rangers] team.
"Every year this trade is going to look better for the Rangers and worse for us," Imlach says. "But to prove me wrong the Rangers have to win a Stanley Cup and they may never do that. I have my championship."
Originally Posted by The Calgary Herald - 4/19/1966
With four goals in five games, all on the power play, Bathgate is leading goal scorer of both Stanley Cup semi-final and a prime reason for Detroit's 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series that resume here tonight.
It was Bathgate's power-play potential that interested Toronto coach Punch Imlach when he got him from the Rangers...It paid off handsomely. Arriving 15 games before the end of the 1963-4 season, Bathgate and McKenney scored 12 goals of the remainder of the schedule and nine more in the playoffs as the Leafs captured their third consecutive Stanley Cup...
Then...Bathgate went through a miserable 16 goal season with Toronto, ending it with a blast at Imlach for working his players too hard in practice. No one was surprised when the Leafs shipped him to Detroit.
Despite coach Sid Abel's more relaxed training methods, Bathgate had difficulty adjusting to his Detroit teammates. He failed to fit in with Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio on what figured to be one of the most potent lines in the NHL and was shuffled from one combination to another.
Howe credits a shift in strategy for Andy's sudden emergence as a power-play threat. "It could be because he and I swapped positions," Howe said. "I'm back on the point now and Andy moved up to the wing."
I always felt that making good passes was more important than how many goals you could get. At certain levels, you'd score, but when I played a year above my age range, I learned early that you move the puck and get in the open. I really enjoyed that and I built my career around puck movement rather than trying to be a big goal scorer.
Originally Posted by Andy Bathgate
Management wins Stanley Cups. Players can only do their best. You've got to bring the right ingredients to make a Stanley Cup winner and if the manager is not doing his job, the players can only do so much. You produce and do what's right, but if you don't have the talent there, you're not going to win many games.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 4/23/1969
"Do you know what the most futile feeling in the world is? [Bathgate] asked. "It's to be playing out the regular season when your last mathematical chance to make the playoffs has been eliminated."
Andy Bathgate blames coach Punch Imlach for the Toronto Maple Leafs' elimination in the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup playoffs. The one-time all-star right wing, who saw little action in the semi-final games against the Montreal Canadiens, said:
"The Leafs were too tired to beat Montreal, there is a limit to a player's endurance. Imlach pushed a few of the players' past that limit. Physically and mentally." Bathgate...revealed Imlach "never spoke to Frank Mahovlich or myself for most of the season. When Punch did speak to us, it was to criticize..."
Bathgate also complained about Imlach's "exhausting" practice sessions. "Many (players) didn't get along with the coach," he said. "Even (Ron) Ellis and (Pete) Stemkowski, the rookies, complained of overwork, but Punch paid no attention. This season we played some of our best games in practice."
Awards and Achevements:
2 x Stanley Cup Champion (1927, 1935)
Olympic Gold Medal (1924)
First Team All-Star (1936)
Second Team All-Star (1932)
“Third” Team All-Star (1928*, 1934 & 1935)
*By modern voting interpretations, he was 2nd team all-star in 1928
**Some consideration for 1st or 2nd team in 1927 and 29. See below for details. Of course, no such teams officially existed.
A cocky player with a nasty streak, there was nothing that Smith could not do. He was described as a "hockey genius" and its easy to see why - a hardnosed winger/center who was an expert defensively (his trademark was his famous hook check) and explosive offensively. He had great speed and a temper with a short fuse.
Forward Hooley Smith excelled at several facets of the game during his 17 years in the NHL. A prolific scorer, he retired in 1941 as one of the few skaters to reach the 200-goal mark. Smith was also considered a dogged checker and one of the most physically imposing combatants in the league.
Early in his NHL career he perfected a sweeping hook-check that stymied many opponents' offensive surges. When he was teamed with Frank Nighbor and Cy Denneny, his hook-check combined neatly with Nighbor's poke-check to give the Ottawa team an unrivalled defensive forward line. He didn't lose any of his scoring abilities, however, and so he developed into one of the game's most complete performers.
On being one writer's 1st all-star winger in 1927.
Originally Posted by New York Times - April 4, 1927
But how about Hooley Smith of the Ottawa Senators? Here's a chap who can cut his way to the net through the best of defenses. Nothing short of an injunction can keep Hooley off the first team.
That would leave Bill Cook and Hooley Smith in the forward line, Howie Morenz at centre, Gardiner and Clancy on defense and Connell in the net. Not a bad team with which to set out for a hockey war.
On how some viewed him as 1st team all-star in 1928.
Originally Posted by New York Evening Post - the Saturday, March 24, 1928 edition
On Morenz's right is HooleySmith, Montreal Maroon stalwart. Though playing center after Eddie Gerard shook up his lineup, Smith, christened Reginald J.,is really a right winger and there he is on the all-star six.
On being one writer's 2nd team all-star centre in 1929. Also on possibly being an elite trash talker.
Originally Posted by The Morning Leader*-*Jan 26, 1929
Rugged, fast, a great poke check and playmaker as well as possessing a personality which gives him confidence in himself to make a good fist of anything he tackles. Hooley hands out a ready body check as well and in an oratorical contest would probably finish number one of all the forwards in the league.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette*-*Nov 28, 1927
Ottawa's assertion that the Senators are as strong as last year, despite the sale of Hooley Smith, XXXXX and XXXXX, was almost, but not quite, borne out in the play of the Senators. Smith undoubtedly is a stronger man at right wing than XXXXX, but XXXXX, the rugged youngster who has replaced Cy Denneny as regular left winger, has counter-balanced matters. This sturdy youngster caused even rabid Maroons fans to gasp through his fast, courageous play and he worked in smartly with Nighbor and Clancy. But Ottawa misses Hooley Smith's defensive play.
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen*-*Dec 15, 1927
Montreal Maroons, Ottawas intense rivals again play Senators here tomorrow night in a setting that will eclipse all previous hockey demonstrations. Hooley Smith one of the greatest defensive players in hockey will be with the Maroon retinue.
Who in hockey has not heard of Hooley Smith, daring, dauntless and doughty, fearing no man, and accordingly to report few women, as John Bassett said at the banquet to the Senators last spring when they were acclaimed world's champions.
Smith, the daring chance-taker who makes more hazardous plays than any man in hockey, has twice been injured in recent games, and is playing with a fibre jockey cap to prevent head injuries. He has given xxxxxx the hockey attribute he has been seeking for years, a strong poke-check, and around his check and ability to stop headlong rushes by opponents, Maroons are building a mighty machine again...
Smith, of course, isn't the whole machine, though a strong cog. Any team that had Nels Stewart would think it well endowed in a scoring way. Stewart, rugged and rangy, whose vicious drive is the nemesis of many a goal tend, is now at left wing playing well. With Smith and xxxxxxx, he helps to work in a close-knit combination, and is particularly powerful in his body-checking propensities.
Hooley" Smith and Clancy starred for Ottawa on the offensive, while Nighbor, of course, showed up well for the defensive...
Ottawa's defensive work, particularly the poke work of Frank Nighbor at center-ice, was finished and spectacular. Nighbor and Hooley Smith, the latter following the old master's methods, broke the heart of the Bruins by their stick work.
Originally Posted by The Border Cities Star*-*Dec 10, 1926
Hooley Smith and Frank Nighbor were once again the outstanding luminaries on the Ottawa front line and the pair of them have rarely turned in better displays. They poke-checked the Cougars dizzy from first to last, intercepted dozens of passes and worried every puck carrier from behind to such a good purpose that scarcely a Detroiter could get an open shot on the net.
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen - December 15, 1926
The New York forwards were dashing into the attack but were being crowded off the puck before they could get set for a shot at the goal. The Americans were trying their best to play a combination game, but were making a terrible mess of it. Usually their passes were so far back that the line had to wheel about and start all over again. Frontal passes were covered by the Senators.
Hooley Smith stopped the entire American line single-handed and waded in for a drive which skidded along the ice to the skate of xxxxxxx...
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen*-*Jan 31, 1927
Frank Nighbor of the Ottawas, who had been carded as a doubtful starter on account of an injury received at the Capital with Detroit on Thursday night, was the only casualty. Frank was put out of action in the latter part of the second period when his ankle was badly wrenched by Seibert (sic - he is actually referring to Babe Siebert), who had his stick caught in Nighbor's skate...
Hooley Smith was in his element. The favorite son of Balmy Beach revelled in the rough going. He took them all on one after another, missing only Benedict, and it cannot be said that any of his opponents took down the decision. Hooley's crouch-check and poke-check worked havoc with the Maroons all evening.
Originally Posted by Chicago Daily Tribune - February 8, 1927
In Nighbors (sic) and Hooley Smith, one of the newer Senator players, Ottawa has two of the greatest hook checking players in hockey. Nighbors (sic) took Smith in hand when Hooley joined the Senators last fall and taught him the finer points of the sport, including the art of hook checking - stopping an opponent's progress on the ice by hooking both the player's skate and the puck with the hockey stick - and now Smith is claimed to be a faster checker than his teacher.
Going over extensive newspaper clippings I have come to the following conclusion. From 1925-1931 (With the exception of the 1928-29 season where he played mostly centre and defense and was viewed as a centre.) was viewed as right wing being his natural or default position. As quotes about him refer to him as a right winger. But box scores tell the story of him playing centre on a semi-regular basis through out the era. In Ottawa he was a winger, playing on either wing, but in case of an injury to Nighbor, he was first in line to start at centre. In Montreal, versatility was the name of the game as the coach loved sliding the players around like chess pieces. Meaning Smith took regular shifts at all three forward positions and defence. Interestingly enough, the S-Line was formed in 1927-28 season, but was broken up for the 28-29 season and then took off in the 29-30 season. From 1932-1941 (With the exception of the 1936-37 season where he played defense almost exclusively.) Smith was viewed as centre being his natural position. From 38-41 Smith was used almost exclusively in a reserve role, but, interestingly enough, even in his prime he would occasionally fill that role, likely in a 6th man style role where his versatility would allow him to back everyone up and thus get starting minutes.
Here are a handful of quotes supporting my conclusion.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette*-*Nov 4, 1927
There are only two regular defense players, xxxxxxx and xxxxxxx, but the Maroons have three others who can fill in on the guard positions when required, namely, Nels Stewart, Hooley Smith and Babe Siebert, all of whom are perfectly at home in front of the net.
Hooley Smith can work in three positions, centre, right wing or defense. xxxxx can work at centre and right wing. Nels Stewart can play centre, right wing and defense. Babe Siebert is at home at left wing or defense. xxxxx is a centre or left wing player. xxxxxxx plays left wing and a fair defensive game. xxxxx is a right winger primarily, as is xxxxxxx.
With a galaxy of players as mobile as the Maroons, Manager xxxxxxxxxx should be able to meet any occasion without impairing the effectiveness of his team. In the practices he has tried out all the possible combinations and finds the results are about the same.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - Oct 4, 1927
Rumors are prevalent that Hooley Smith, right wing player of the Ottawa Senators and a former Canadian Olympic hockey star, would be seen in a Montreal Maroon uniform in the National Hockey League this winter.
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette - Jan 25, 1932
Hooley Smith was moved from defence to centre at intervals, and spent about 55 of the 70 minutes on the ice. He made plays, tested Gardiner with regularity and had his sweep check working finely throughout the game. He was a team in himself on the ice, a source of inspiration to his teammates and a source of of worry to the Hawks.
3x NHL Second All-Star Team
1x WHA First All-Star Team
1x WHA Second All-Star Team
1x Dennis A. Murphy Trophy winner (WHA Top Defenseman)
Member of WHA Hall of Fame
Captain of Chicago Blackhawks (1969-1970), captain of Team Canada (1974 Summit Series)
Stapleton was voted to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 1966 and duplicated this honor in 1971 and 1972. He played with the Hawks until the end of the 1972-73 season and helped the squad reach the Stanley Cup finals in 1971 and 1973. His quick hands and lightning reflexes, combined with a hard, accurate shot, made him one of the more effective point men in the NHL. Defensively, he was a master of the poke-check and was able to consistently steer opponents away from the goal.
Stapleton and defense partner Bill White developed into one of the NHL's elite tandems. They were the key to the Hawks winning four straight West Division crowns, and in the 1972 Summit Series against the USSR they were teamed in seven of the eight games. Stapleton was on the ice when Paul Henderson scored the dramatic series-winning goal with 34 seconds left in the third period. Amid all the celebrations, he grabbed the historic puck, a treasure he preserves at home to this day. Stapleton and White were also known for their pranks that helped keep the Chicago and Canada teams loose.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 5/7/1973
As Chicago opened hostilities with Montreal this week for possession of the Stanley Cup, it was perhaps fitting that some of the Black Hawks' largest hopes lay with the smallest defense-man on the ice. What Chicago could not accomplish in the same situation in 1965 and 1971 with the bullets of Bobby Hull it was now attempting with teamwork and defense—and the breakaways that could develop through the alertness of that defense. In the Chicago scheme of things no man was more important than 5'7" Pat Stapleton, the team's unfrocked captain but a most conscientious worker.
Although Stapleton was a dominant force in the game, his contribution was largely missing from the statistics. He was credited with one assist; in fact, he initiated the passing plays that led to each Chicago goal. And though officially he scored only six points in the five games with the Rangers, he was on the ice when Chicago got 12 of its 15 goals.
"Finding the puck was never any problem," mumbled Captain Vic Had-field of the Rangers. " Stapleton always had it. Trouble was, we couldn't get it away from him," Stapleton and lanky Bill White have formed hockey's best defensive pair the last three seasons, and in cup games they always play at least 40 of the 60 minutes. White contentedly anchors himself to the Chicago blue line, but the irascible Stapleton roves throughout center ice on search-and-destroy missions, anticipating plays and then darting in front of opposing forwards to filch the puck from them. "We completed more passes to Stapleton than to any of our own guys," mourned one confused Ranger.
Once Stapleton steals the puck he either headmans it to one of his streaking forwards or cruises to the opposition blue line and fires it at the goaltender. "Most people think I'm an offensive defenseman, but I'm not," Stapleton says. "An offensive defenseman is someone like Bobby Orr who carries the puck in deep. Me? I rarely, if ever, take the puck more than a stride or two across the blue line before getting rid of it."
"If Stapleton plays against Montreal the way he played against us," says New York Coach Emile Francis, "the Black Hawks will beat the Canadiens." Stapleton did his part in Sunday's opener in Montreal by firing lead passes that were converted into three Chicago goals. The defensive part of the equation didn't quite work out, though. After being up 2-0 and 3-2, in the end Chicago was routed 8-3 because it could not cope with the Canadiens' speed and close-in passes.
Regardless of how the Black Hawks ultimately fare against the Canadiens, there is a strong possibility that the 32-year-old Stapleton will not play for them next season. His relationship with Chicago management deteriorated after Coach Billy Reay snipped the captain's C from his jersey three years ago when he had the audacity to hold out for a better contract.
Hoping that Stapleton would grow a few inches, Boston sent him to Portland of the Western League for two years. "I learned how to play the game out there," he says. "I had always tried to muscle people and, of course, it never worked. In Portland I learned how to finesse them, how to box them away from the goal without getting run over." In his second season with Portland, Stapleton scored 29 goals and 57 assists and was voted the league's top defenseman.
Then he was named captain of the Black Hawks, a move Bobby Hull applauded by saying, "He is our inspiration."
Stapleton was paying his price in stitches. Doctors have sewn more than 600 of them into his face. "When you're little," Stapleton says resignedly, "you get a lot of sticks in your face that other players get in their chest." Pucks, too.
Originally Posted by Lewiston Evening Journal - 9/14/1961
"I'm expecting Stapleton to be a regular," Watson said. "Stapleton gives us mobility on defense. He's as good a skater as Leo Boivin with Doug Harvey's style of skating. He does a fine job of starting plays out of our zone."
On defence, the Hawks have Pierre Pilote and newcomer Pat Stapleton, who has played well in the 45 games he has appeared in with Chicago since being recalled from St. Louis of the Central Professional Hockey League.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 1/15/1973
Early in the week Mikita criticized the Chicago management. "I think we might be winning more if Pat Stapleton was still playing regularly," he said. "Here we are, still fighting for our lives. I think we could be doing better. Pat and Bill White were the best defense team in hockey last year. Now they're not together anymore and Pat's sitting on the bench. Can an All-Star change that much in one season? I'm sure if he played more often Pat could help us. We're having a few problems moving the puck in our own end, and Pat's great at moving it out, you know."
Stapleton, one of Team Canada's best defensemen in the series against the Soviet Union, broke a bone in his foot at the start of the season, and during his recovery lost his regular job to a promising 20-year-old rookie, Phil Russell. Now Stapleton takes an occasional shift on defense, a spot assignment or two at center and an occasional turn on the power play.
"I don't know what's going on, and I don't think Pat does," Mikita said. "Maybe they're slapping him on the wrist for talking about retiring earlier this year, just like they took his captaincy away three years ago when he held out for awhile. It makes me wonder about myself. Suppose I decide to sign a contract here for next year, but it doesn't go smoothly. Will they put me on the bench?"
Originally Posted by The Evening Independent - 6/25/1973
Pat Stapleton, former star defensemen with the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League, is the new coach of the Chicago Cougars of the World Hockey Association.
Stapleton signed with the Cougars Tuesday as a player-coach for a reported million dollars in a five-year contract. He received a bonus of $125,000 for signing...Stapleton, 33, said of his new job: "I'll have complete control of the hockey operation."
He had become an outstanding defensive player, who did provided strong support for the Chicago goalies. "Whitey" was a very good puck handler who launched many Chicago offensive "counterattacks" with fast, accurate passes to the Black Hawk forwards.
He was named to Team Canada 1972 and went into the Canadian line-up to stay after the debacle of Game 1. Along with defensive partner Bill White, "Whitey" was probably Team Canada's finest defensemen during the series. He was always Head Coach Harry Sinden's first choice on defense when it came to protect a lead in the final minutes.
He was one of Head Coach Billy Harris's first choices for Team Canada 1974. Pat was named captain of the team and along with defensive partner J.C. Tremblay would be the defenseman Harris would use in almost every crucial situation. He played in every game of the Summit picking up 2 assists, and solidifying his reputation as being one of the finest players in the world.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 4/20/1972
"Some of the first to receive invitations," says Eagleson, "will be Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito of Boston, Bobby Hull and Pat Stapleton of Chicago, Vic Hadfield, Rod Gilbert and Jean Ratelle of New York, and Yvon Cournoyer of Montreal. Dave Keon and Paul Henderson of the Leafs have also been mentioned.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Herald - 10/2/1972
Harry Sinden had to make a difficult decision in Prague - a decision which almost left Canada's team a bit too thin to cope with the Czechs. However, Sinden wished to give some of the substitutes...a chance to play in at least one game behind the Iron Curtain.
Accordingly, Harry benched some of the players who had been highly instrumental in Canada's wins over the Russians. He benched Paul Henderson, Ron Ellis, Pat Stapleton, Gary Bergman, Bill White and Rod Gilbert.
Valery Kharlamov, the star forward on the Soviet Union's national hockey team, said Tuesday he was impressed with the work of defencemen Brad Park and Pat Stapleton in the Team Canada-Russia hockey series last fall.
...He then noted that both Stapleton and Park saw "all the ice very clearly."
When Team Canada '74 hits Gorky Street in downtown Moscow later this month, only three players will recognize the scenery. And one of them, Pat Stapleton, wasn't all that certain he wanted to make the trip.
Stapleton was named player-coach of the WHA's Chicago Cougars last season, and his immediate reaction was allegiance to his team when the Canada-Russia rematch was initially announced. The 34-year old defenceman didn't feel he could vacate his managerial duties until Oct. 6, scheduled completion date for the Super Series II.
Team Canada organized had other ideas however...Stapleton was considered a necessary link along the club's blueline. He had been one of Canada's steadiest performers in the previous international showdown.
Pat Stapleton almost wasn't part of the excitement. But when a fellow's indispensable, he doesn't have much a choice.
Originally Posted by The Vancouver Sun - 9/16/1974
"I want my defencemen to defend territory, to retreat when the Russians have the puck," said [coach Billy] Harris. "I've asked them, when they're sitting on the bench, to watch Pat Stapleton, who was among the leading defencemen in the 1972 series."
Stapleton and J.C. Tremblay are expected to be Team Canada's premier defensive pairing throughout the eight game series...Harris sees little sign of difficult although they play similarly, each preferring to use finesse rather than outmuscle the opposition.
I asked Pat Stapleton about that. He laughed and said, "I don't think we'll get used to any kind of refereeing." Stapleton, a Sarnia man, is one of the finest defencemen to the modern game has produced. He is mature. He is playing his second Canada-Russia series, not because he likes it but because he wants to help the WHA where he has gone to coach the Chicago entry.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 9/23/1974
The Russians' superior conditioning told in this game for the first time in the series and it was only the indefatigable efforts of Pat Stapleton, J-C Tremblay and Paul Shmyr that kept the Russians from piling it on to an "embarrassing" degree...
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 9/30/1974
"We're also making them look bad by taking out a player the instant he passes the puck," said Stapleton. "Two years ago it took us about seven games to discover that a Russian player passes the puck and promptly skates into position to get it back on the next pass. Well, we're hitting these guys and preventing them from getting that next pass. That's why they've been passing the puck to us as much as to themselves."
In addition to an exemplary career as a defenseman, Art Ross contributed to the development of hockey through his off-ice endeavors. Ross recorded 85 goals in 167 regular-season games and provided stability and savvy in the defensive zone. He won the Stanley Cup twice as a player and later added another in his 18 years behind the bench. Ross also improved the construction of goal nets and the design of the puck.
Ross was pioneering the defence position, and many compare him to Bobby Orr of more recent hockey. He was a rushing defenceman during an era when players in that position either shot the puck down the ice or passed to a forward. Instead, Ross carried the puck up the ice into the offensive zone.
Through his playing career, the pioneering defenceman scored 102 goals and had 34 assists in 192 through several leagues that could be deemed comparable to the best in the world at that time. He added one goal in 3 NHL games.
The Thistles grabbed (Ross) as an up and coming defence start. He could stickhandle and score like a forward, and after an outstanding series against the Montreal Wanderers he soon was back in his home town playing the game.
He later moved to the Ottawa Senators and during his stay there helped evolve the kitty-bar-the-door defence.
When he was a youth in westmount there wasn't so much emphasis on professional sport and the seasons did not overlap as they do today. Boys played baseball or lacrosse in the summer, football in the fall, and hockey in the winter. Sometimes they also participated in aquatic sports, track and field meets, tennis, and did a bit of boxing or wrestling.
You don't find his type around any more. In this era of specialization, a boy picks his particular sport and concentrates on it. If he is good enough at it, the pros spot him early and his course is charted for him.
Art eventually did become a professional hockey player, but the game wasn't as highly-organized as it is today and the money wasn't so good. You couldn't make a good living at hockey alone.
He had an inventive mind and the goaling nets, the puck, and some protective devices used by the players today are his ideas. He once appeared at McGill football practice when Frank (Shag) Shaughnessy was coaching the Redmen. Afterwards he showed Shag a play he had dreamed up.
Quotes on Ross's play throughout his career in chronological order
There was one bright feature to the game, and that was the play of Art Ross, the Wanderer point. Ross has improved every time out this year, and last evening he gave one of the finest exhibitions of defence playing yet seen at the arena. In breaking up attacks he was cool and fearless. He waited until the man was in, and seldom missed stealing the disc or intercepting the pass. From the start he kept rushing back into Victoria quarters, and his great speed and splendid stick handling made him too difficult a proposition for the challengers to solve. The crowd was not slow to appreciate the fine work he was doing, and every rush he made was greeted with increasing applause from all sides. Towards the end there was a tremendous call to the big cover-point to "come on yourself" every time he touched the disc.
Ross was easily the individual star of the match and stood head and shoulders above all others, his brilliant work evoking round after round of applause. His speed was phenomenal, his stick handling superb, and his checking very effective.
Art Ross, on the defence, is the finest player in his position in the East...(Fred) Taylor, according to Ottawa men who saw Thursday night's game, is faster than Art Ross, but not the same finished stick handler.
Art Ross, who has starred with spectacular rushes in all his games this year, only once or twice got past centre ice in the first half. Patrick, who starred in the Quebec game with similar plays, was in much the same position as Ross, although more successful for a time. The forwards kept checking back relentlessly and it was almost impossible for one player to advance alone for any distance. In the second half, when there were weak spots on both teams, the individual's chances became better and Ross and Smaill on the one side and Patrick and Gilmour on the other pulled off some long runs.
Ross and Patrick, playing much the same style of game, shone in dashes down the ice, but Ross had a shade the better of it, as a defence player.
A discussion was started yesterday as to the relative merits of Ross and the late Hod Stuart as hockey players. Nearly all who have attended the Gardens in recent years have seen the great cover point, who met such an untimely death, play, and regard his as the greatest ever. But there are many who have declared Ross is the superior, and not a few will watch his work tonight to make their own deductions.
Ross was undoubtedly at his peak in the 1907-08 seasons, and was probably the best hockey player in the world.
It is considered by the challengers that (Lester Patrick) has finer points in stick handling than Ross, his rival in the point position, but Ross is a stronger man at withstanding attacks and he has almost as spectacular, and certainly a more aggressive manner of going up the ice. In Montreal Ross is regarded as the greatest defence player in hockey.
Ross, it is claimed, has not been playing his game of last winter, when he was acclaimed as the greatest point in hockey, and his showing in the Saturday night match was not considered satisfactory. It is further said that he might have won Saturday's game for Wanderers had he displayed better judgment and passed the disc to Vair when Lesueur ran out to block him in the thrilling play of the last four minutes of the big match. Ross tried to score the goal off his own stick when he had only Lesueur to elude. Weakness in passing, it is claimed, has spoiled his efficiency this winter and Wanderers have decided on a change.
Several other articles in this season point to significant internal dissension in the Wanderers club, with Ross at the centre. He left to form his own team at the end of the season. The events of this season are almost certainly the source for Ultimate Hockey calling him the "most selfish player" in hockey.
Feb 8, 1911, Montreal Gazette:
In the final period the game degenerated into a brutal affray and a procession of Wanderer players to the penalty timer's box continued until there were only two of the team, Ross and Hern left on the ice...Hyland, Glass, Johnston, and Roberts were with the penalty timekeeper when the game ended, leaving Hern and Ross, the latter crippled, to play against five Canadiens...Ross was the only player on the team who showed anything...
Ross had just signed with the team after his attempt to extract more money from the NHA bosses for the players and to form a new league had failed. The report mentions that the Wanderers were not in shape. Despite Ross's offseason activity he seems to have been better prepared for the season than his teammates.
The Wanderers really dropped off in the 1910-11 season, going from 11-1 to 7-9.
Feb 13, 1911, Montreal Gazette: By bringing off the most brilliant run of the night as far as the Wanderers were concerned, Ross shared the honors with Darragh who did the same trick for Ottawa.
Feb 16, 1911, Montreal Gazette:
Ross and Johnston were Wanderers best.
Feb 20, 1911, Montreal Gazette:
Both Ross and Johnston got away several times, the point's (ed: Ross's) rushes being the more effective.
Feb 23, 1911, Montreal Gazette:
When they did get in on the poles either Hern or Ross was there to save the day, and both the latter put up a good game.
Feb 27, 1911, Montreal Gazette:
A fist-fight marked the closing minutes of the game and some of the spectators rushed on the ice to get a better view of the combat. Ross of the Wanderers and Oatman of Quebec were the principals in the clash.
With Oatman in the lead, the unruly pair skated towards the penalty timer's box and, as the Quebec player started to mount the rail Ross, angered at the crack he received on the head, pulled off his glove and struck Oatman a hard blow over the eye with his bared first. This was the signal for about fifty excitable spectators to jump on the ice but they were soon shooed off by the Westmount police and Arena officials. After Ross had punched him, Oatman was eager to continue the fray, but peacemakers kept the belligerents separated.
The fight occured with but two minutes of play remaining...when the game finished policemen were placed to guard the dressing rooms.
It was not a good game from the hockey point of view...that the Wanderers are fallen idols was plain from the attitude of the crowd. Most of the spectators seemed to support Quebec.
Mar 22, 1911, Boston Daily Globe:
Great defensive work may be expected of Ross at point, for he knows the game inside and out...
Fred Taylor and Art Ross were the shining lights in tonight's fracas...Ross was the most effective player of the Easterners, though he played on a strange pair of skates. He scored three goals as a result of end to end rushes right through the opposing team.
Here's a more negative view on Ross from a different paper.
Toronto World, Feb 17, 1913:
Ross, Hyland, and Roberts look just about due for the ash heap, while Russell and Millar were sent there some time ago. Ross looked like a sick duck in his dying efforts to break into the limelight, and only once did he break away from the watchful "Minnie" who was working hard to get a chance to put him away.
New York Times, Mar 9, 1913:
...all received a warm welcome last night. Especially was this true of the Cleghorn brothers, who once played with one of the local teams, and Art Ross, who for years has been recognized as one of the greatest of hockey players. Although under a tremendous handicap last night, Ross gave an exhibition that scintillated with brilliancy all the way, and his spectacular trips up and down the ice drew forth round after round of cheers.
Several days ago, while playing at home, Ross sustained a serious bruise on his back and right side. He went into this game so heavily bandaged that the protection stood out like huge pads under his heavy sweater. That his playing was affected by this injury could be plainly seen several times, when he was forced to rest after a brilliant display of his cleverness, but the injury was not enough to dim his lustre. His journeys up and down the rink were easily the features of the game that brimmed over with features.
When Ross set out to carry the puck through the opposing team he left the Ottawa players behind him as if they were standing still, cleverly eluding one and then another without any apparent exertion. A massed defense at the goal usually stopped his tries for a goal, but he managed to shoot two past the noted Le Sueur, both of them being at the finish of spectacular juggling.
Next to Ross the star playing for the Wanderers was done by Odie Cleghorn and Hyland...
New York Times, March 11, 1913:
The game was a series of splendid plays by both teams, the Wanderers easily excelling in spectacular feats. Sprague Cleghorn excelled in dazzling serpentine runs down the ice, for the Ottawa defense watched Art Ross closely and had him boxed when he approached the mouth of the net. In the open rink, however, Ross easily dodged and zigzagged his way through the Ottawa skaters.
Ross, outgeneralling the opposing skaters who crowded about him, toyed and poked the rubber through the Ottawa players' skates, and always came out of the scrimmage with the puck and a broad smile.
For the Wanderers Hyland, Art Ross and the Cleghorn boys made many fast runs down the rink, but their long shooting for the Quebec goal was successfully thwarted by the great work of Moran, the Quebec goal keeper.
One exciting encounter took place between Art Ross, of the Wanderers, and Mummery of the Quebecs. Both are 200 pounders, and they came together with a resounding crash. Both tried each other's skill at tripping, and they were sent from the game for five minutes. Later on they repeated the rough work and were banished again.
The players completely forgot hockey in the final period and started a campaign of wholesale tripping and slashing. Players were sprawled out on the ice half the time. The officials lost all control over the men and they played as they pleased.
Saskatoon Phoenix, Mar 24, 1914:
The climax arrived when Art Ross and Mummery got into a fight and rolled around the ice locked in each others arms. They were quickly separated and both went to the timers to cool off.
Montreal Gazette, Jan 9, 1915:
Art Ross made his first appearance in an Ottawa uniform and was a great factor in their victory. He played a brilliant game on the defence, breaking up Toronto rushes on many occasions when scores seemed certain. He bowled the champions over with his body and there was an excuse for his rough work as he became the target for the Toronto tripping and slashing. Shore and Merrill were also at their best, but had they not had Ross to relieve them at times they never would have pulled out. Ross was very unselfish and figured in several clever two man rushes with Gerard.
...Ross charged into Cameron, knocking him unconscious...McGiffin finally began to mix things up with Ross and tripped the ex-Wanderer player. Ross waited his opportunity and then sent McGiffin head over heels into the boards with a body. It dazed the Toronto man and took much of his effectiveness away.
Art Ross again scored against his former team-mates, scoring the first goal on an end-to-end rush.
Performance in the 1915 Stanley Cup Final
The (Vancouver) Sun, Mar 23, 1915:
The first goal scored by the visitors came after Lehman had stopped a wicked shot from Art Ross. Darragh caught the rebound and slipped the runner into the net without giving Lehman a chance.
In front of (Benedict) Merril and Ross gave good support, but stellar stick-handling on the part of Vancouver forwards repeatedly beat them. Ross particularly seemed to suffer from the hard-going of the match and if anything marred his work by a little too free use of the stick.
The (Vancouver) Sun, Mar 25, 1915:
Ross initiated many rushes, but was too much inclined to rough it. Ross went to the penalty bench a couple of times but at that got away with a lot of stuff that escaped the eyes of the officials.
The (Vancouver) Sun, Mar 27, 1915:
Gerard was the most effective man on the Ottawa line...Merrill and Ross found the Vancouver forwards too speedy for them. Ross initiated many fine rushes down the ice.
Ross's extensive coaching career also points to him being an intelligent hockey man. Among other things he developed the power play attack, which kept four or five players in the attacking zone for extended periods of time.
JC is an ace in the #1 spot, and belongs right next to guys like Leetch and Lapointe.
- Won 5 Stanley Cups as the #1 D-man of the late 1960s Montreal Canadiens
- "A very important cog in our machine" -Jean Beliveau
- Arguably played 8 seasons of top-5 Norris level hockey in a tough era, and once lost winning the trophy only to Bobby Orr
- High-end skill set
- Smooth skater, highly mobile, puck-moving defenseman
- Elite playmaker who was known for making perfect passes at high-speeds coming out of his zone
- Ran Montreal's transition game
- Was THE powerplay quarterback on one of the most efficient units in the league for 11 years
In his own zone:
- Tremendously responsible defensively
- Intelligent, efficient defenseman who was known for impeccable positioning and crafty stick-work
- Played in all crucial defensive situations for the Habs during their playoff runs, in all areas of the ice, at all times, when a lead had to be protected, etc...
- An absolute monster in the playoffs, arguably the most dominant post-season player of his era
Originally posted by Joe Pelletier's blog Greatest Hockey Legends:
Jean-Claude (J.C.) Tremblay is one of the most intelligent, two-way defenders of all time. Yet very few give him recognition as such.
Tremblay was an excellent all around performer during this time, and saved his best performances for the playoffs.
He was tremendously responsible defensively and a great two way defenseman, often head manning the puck to the speedy Montreal forwards...
Defensively Tremblay was efficient and heady, relying on his intelligent stick to break up plays rather than bones. He never really had an obvious physical game, something that his critics pointed out regularly. But he was so smart, it did not really matter.
Tremblay established his reputation as a great in the playoffs, where he was a tremendous performer, seemingly able to turn up his game like flicking a switch. He scored 14 goals, 51 assists and 65 points in 108 games, helping the Montreal Canadiens to 5 Stanley Cup championships.
The year is 1966. Ace defenseman Jean-Claude Tremblay is the key player as the Montreal Canadiens defend their Stanley Cup championship. Tremblay leads all Canadiens players in point scored during these playoffs, tallying 11 points including 1 goal and 6 points in the finals against Detroit. His defensive effort was also supreme. He seemed to always be on the ice for the many crucial situations faced in a playoff game.
For years J.C. played in the NHL and didn't put up great numbers until his 11th season. Then, when he reached his prime, he left the NHL to join a league which was mostly regarded to be of lower quality than the NHL. If he had stayed in the NHL he, as it turned out, would have won 4 more Stanley Cups and be part of what many believe is the greatest team of all time (the 1976-79 Canadiens).
Originally posted by Montreal Canadiens' site:
A mobile defenseman with a smooth skating stride, Jean-Claude Tremblay sparkled as the team's power play quarterback for 11 seasons in Montreal.
Jean-Claude Tremblay patrolled the Montreal blue line for over a decade, earning five Stanley Cup Championships along the way.
A superb skater – fast, mobile and blessed with innate hockey smarts – Tremblay was an offensive threat able to make precise passes through traffic to teammates in full flight.
Forgoing the more robust style of play preferred by most defensemen, Tremblay rarely lay on the body, going about things with a bit more finesse than most of his peers. A magician with his stick, Tremblay effortlessly stripped enemy forwards of the puck, turning it back up the ice to begin the counter attack.
Agile and elusive, once Tremblay had the puck, rarely did opponents get it back. He quarterbacked the most potent power play in the league and often seemed to kill entire penalties on his own, weaving his way through whole teams for the duration of his team’s penalty.
Dedicated to his craft, Tremblay spent countless hours refining his skills and adding to his bag of tricks. He developed a long lob that he occasionally released from centre ice, sometimes embarrassing unsuspecting goalies.
A regular season stalwart, Tremblay took his game to another level in the playoffs.
Originally posted by HabsWorld's "The Forgotten Habs" Series:
There wasn’t a better puck handler in the league than J.C. He was able to produce offense from the blue line, and was the leagues best playmaking defenseman. One of his signature plays was to rush up to the center red line and flip the puck in the air towards the goaltender. When done properly the puck would take an unpredictable bounce in front of the goaltender. Tremblay later estimated that he was able to score 25 goals off these weird bounces by frustrated goalies.
But it was in the playoffs where J.C. really shone, scoring 9 points in 13 playoff games. With the Canadiens up 3 games to none in the finals against the Blues, the Canadiens were trailing 2-1 in the third period. At 7:24 of the third, J.C. set up Henri Richard for the tying goal, and four minutes later scored the Stanley Cup winning goal.
In 1971-72 Tremblay was made one of the team’s assistant captains. He responded by contributing 57 points and an astonishing career high plus/minus of +52. Tremblay’s stature was never higher; he was named to represent Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series.
J.C. Tremblay played the majority of his career in the shadows, first in the shadow of the great Doug Harvey, and then when his spot on the Canadiens was taken over in the next year by Larry Robinson. But J.C. Tremblay was a great player in his own right, a player for whom recognition was a constant struggle, and one of the top defensemen ever to play for the Canadiens.
Originally posted by legendary Habs sportswriter Red Fischer:
During his time, there was nobody better, in terms of taking care of business in his own end of the ice.
He didn't have the size, but few had a better understanding of what was needed to win.When a lead had to be protected or an important goal was needed, Tremblay was your man
Originally posted by hockey author, Paul Denault:
[addressing the notion that Tremblay had a bad personality]
We must be careful to make judgements about people off the ice, when we only know them through heresay. I have spoken to many of his former teammates, and to a man they all recall J.C. as a great player, an exemplary teammate, and above all a winner.
Originally posted by reputable HFBoards member, and former ATD champion, Struminator:
Tremblay was one of the most misunderstood athletes of his time, in my opinion. I don't think anyone ever called him a bad teammate, and really he appears to be one of the earliest victims of the Montreal media as much as anything. I also think people sometimes confuse Tremblay's softness with lack of defensive ability, which is not the case. J.C. had tremendous hockey sense and timing, and was extremely good at playing the stick, stealing pucks, etc. - more or less the same tactics we see employed by Lidstrom today (though Tremblay wasn't that good defensively). At any rate, he was quite good in his own end.
It seems strange to me that Tremblay has had a reputation on this board for playing poor defensive hockey For those of us who saw Tremblay play (I am old enough to remember him in his last couple of years in Montreal), such statements are mindboggling, but they seem to have been accepted as fact around here for some time. At any rate, it is hard to imagine that the Habs could have won 5 Cups with Tremblay as their #1 defenseman if he hadn't been very good in his own zone.
WHAT ABOUT THE WHA?
Originally posted by Sturminator:
J.C. Tremblay broke through late in the 64-65 season, carried it through to an excellent playoffs and went into the 65-66 season as one of the best defensemen in the league, ending up 4th in Norris voting. Over the next six seasons, Tremblay would place in the top-5 in Norris voting another 4 times, peaking at 2nd in 67-68, the year Bobby Orr won his first trophy. Other than the 69-70 season, in which J.C. missed 18 games to injury, he was considered one of the NHL's top 5 defensemen 5 out of 6 seasons at his peak - an impressive run of consistency in an era of stiff competition.
The players who beat Tremblay during those seasons: Bobby Orr (4 times), Pierre Pilote (2 times), Brad Park (2 times), Tim Horton, Jacques Laperriere.
After 7 seasons among the NHL's best and still at the top of his game, J.C. Tremblay jumped to the WHA. At this point, evaluating his career becomes a little bit harder. What do we make of his WHA career? We know he was very good in his first four seasons in the WHA, being named a 1st team all-star three times, once 2nd team, leading the league in assists twice and winning the Dennis A. Murphy award for best defenseman twice. But so what? How much should we credit Tremblay's WHA accomplishments?
I'm not normally one to look upon WHA players all that favorably. It was without a doubt a second rate league when compared to the NHL, and while there was certainly some nice talent in the league, there was very little depth. With a few exceptions, the performance of WHA players are very hard to evaluate against their NHL counterparts, but Tremblay is one of those exceptions. It is accepted as fact that J.C. carried over into the WHA the level of play which had defined his NHL career for the 7 previous seasons. He wasn't merely good in the WHA, for the first 4 seasons he was ridiculously dominant, which is exactly what you'd expect from a guy who was NHL top-5 good and still at his peak. If we're simply rating Tremblay against himself, three of his first four WHA seasons were up to his previous NHL standard: he won the best defenseman award and the assists crown in 72-73, won best defenseman again in 74-75 and won another assists crown to go along with a 1st team all-star berth in 75-76.
Add those accomplishments to his NHL resume, and suddenly you've got a guy who played 8 seasons of top-5 Norris level hockey in a tough era, and once lost winning the trophy only to Bobby Orr - a record of success that compares favorably to established lower-level ATD #1's like Brian Leetch, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, Borje Salming and Chris Pronger. When we factor in Tremblay's outstanding playoff record and his strangely underrated two-way play (which stems mostly from his softness and the misconception that it made him ineffective in his own end), there is a very good argument that he is, in fact, a top-32 all-time defenseman, and every bit deserving of his #1 role.
Alternate Captain of the 1972 Montreal Canadiens
Captain of the the 1973 Quebec Nordiques (WHA)
First NHL All-Star Team Defenseman (1971)
Second NHL All-Star Team Defenseman (1968)
NHL All-Star Game x7 (1959, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972)
First WHA All-Star Team Defenseman x3 (1973, 1975, 1976)
Second WHA All-Star Team Defenseman (1974)
Top-5 Norris Trophy Nomination x5 (2nd*, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th)
*2nd to Bobby Orr
Dennis A. Murphy Award (best defenseman in the WHA) x2 (1973, 1975)
Played in the 1974 Summit Series
Selected to play in the 1972 Summit Series, but was dropped after leaving the NHL to go play in the WHA
*Including Pilote, Kelly, Gadsby, Orr, Park, etc...
Stanley Cup Champion x5 (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1971)
*Was robbed of a Conn Smythe trophy in 1966 - he led the playoff in scoring and was spectacular for the cup winning Canadiens, but the award was controversially given to the goalie of the losing team*
Reputable HFBoards poster Struminator:
It's worth noting that Montreal was able to win Cups over this period without Laperriere in the playoffs, but the one year that Tremblay got hurt (69-70), they did not even qualify for the postseason. Over the span of Tremblay's peak years in Montreal (1965-72), he scored 60 points in 85 playoff games, an absolutely ridiculous pace for that era, and didn't have a single poor performance. The 2nd place scorer among defensemen over this period (XXXXXX) has barely more than 50% of Tremblay's total, with 32 points. J.C. Tremblay was quite clearly the dominant postseason defenseman of his era, and quite possibly the single best postseason player of his era, as well.
This from Mike Wyman of chidlovski.net:
J.C. Tremblay soon established himself as a magician with the stick and graduated to the Habs in 59-60. Unlike others in his position, his wizardry involved using his lumber to break plays rather than opponents' bones. He's often maligned because he didn't lay on the body as did most of his peers buy he didn't have to play a physical game to succeed.
By '61-62 he had established himself as a mainstay on a Canadiens squad that was in a rebuilding phase following their 5-Cup run in the fifties.
He was a student of the game, one of the smartest players on the ice at any given time. He led the Habs' in scoring in the playoffs leading up to the '66 Cup against Detroit and seemed to have a lock on the Conn Smythe, which ended up going to Roger Crozier, who played a couple good games in the final.
Tremblay was, as we say in French, un vieux bougonneux, or "grumpy old man" in the eyes of most media members, largely because he really didn't have much to say to them and was often curt and abrupt in his answers. The fact that his English was not too good may have had something to do with him aquiring a reputation as a grouch.
After a decade with the Habs that saw him accumulate 5 rings and a couple All-Star nominations, yet not the acclaim that was due his talents, Tremblay jumped to the upstart WHA and gave the Quebec Nordiques the same credibility that Bobby Hull brought to Winnipeg.
While he may not have been a favorite of the newspeople, he got along with his teammates and was a source of information, advice and inspiration to his teammates.
Wally Weir played a couple years with Tremblay. As a rookie he was offered a couple choices come contract time, a two way agreement that potentially paid more if he stuck with the team and a guaranteed deal for less money than the top end of the split contract.
Tremblay advised him to take the guaranteed deal, telling Weir that if he was any good, he'd sign another contract in a couple years for even more money.
Weir also remembered Tremblay practicing a trick shot for an entire season in practice. Sort of a chip shot where he's bring his blade down on the edge of the puck, sending it into the air, towards the goal for about 30 feet, when it would suddenly drop, as if falling offa table. He practiced it all year and finally used it effectively in the final game of the '77 Avco Cup final.
Overlooked by the HHoF because he had the misfortune of playing at a time when there was only one defenceman in the NHL, some guy named Orr in Boston, Tremblay was one of the most entertaining players on the ice, especially when his team was shorthanded. He would kill penalties virtually alone, dipsy-doodling up and down the playing surface, behind both nets, opponents trailing behind him ,completely outclassed in his game of "keepaway".
When asked for a comment on Tremblay when he passed away a number of years ago, Gordie Howe expressed surprise that he wasn't already enshrined in the HHoF.
"He's got 5 Cups. I've only got 4".
After his playing days he moved to Europe and was scouting for a number of years before passing away. Unfortunatly the Canadiens were latecomers to the practice of drafting players from outside North America and only started giving his reports weight once the rest of the league had been picking overseas players for years.
Last edited by JFA87-66-99: 02-09-2013 at 05:00 PM.
Play-off Points per Game among Defensemen – 1st(2004), 2nd(1996), 2nd(2003), 3rd(2007), 4th(2008), 5th(2010), 9th(2001), 10th(2012)
1996 World Cup – 5th in Points among Defensemen, 2nd in Goals among Defensemen
2004 World Cup – 5th in Points among Defensemen, 2nd in Goals among Defensemen
1998 Olympics – 12th in Points among Defensemen
2006 Olympics – 15th in Points among Defensemen
2007 World Championship – 11th in Points among Defensemen
2010 World Championship – 3rd in Points among Defensemen
5 Year Peak (2002-2007)
1st in Points among Defensemen, 103% of 2nd place Nicklas Lidstrom
1st in Goals among Defensemen, 108% of 2nd place Rob Blake
2nd in Assists among Defensemen, 97% of 1st place Nicklas Lidstrom
1st in Points per Game among Defensemen
10 Year Peak (2000-2010)
2nd in Points among Defensemen, 89% of 1st place Nicklas Lidstrom
1st in Goals among Defensemen, 107% of 2nd place Nicklas Lidstrom
2nd in Assists among Defensemen, 84% of 1st place Nicklas Lidstrom
Physically, he's very gifted. He has real good size, strong, an excellent skater, mobile and very agile. He's very sound in his hockey sense and knowledge of the game and is very good defensively.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News - Profile
Assets: Can still be an asset on the power play. Has size, hockey sense and a wicked point shot. Makes crisp, precise passes to get out of the defensive zone. Can still put up good numbers.
Flaws: Doesn't use the body nearly enough, and can be guilty of lazy play on occasion. Because he sees a lot of ice time, and is getting on in years, he has become more of an injury risk with time.
Originally Posted by Russia: Beyond the Headlines
Gonchar spent the next two seasons playing for Dynamo, becoming a national champion in 1993. His attacks hardly ever ran counter to the interests of the team. For two seasons, Sergei was the best under the “+/-” system.
Originally Posted by Viktor Peregudov
He could play in the attack line because he always found a chance to attack, and not at the expense of defense. When he made the junior team, Coach Vladimir Bogomolov immediately noticed Sergei’s first pass. I kept statistics at a tournament in Finland and 19 out of every 20 passes were accurate.
Originally Posted by On The NHL - June 4th, 2009
Sergei Gonchar's return saved Penguins' playoff run
The Penguins missed the dynamic shot from the blue line, his bread and butter in a career that includes five All-Star game appearances in 14 NHL seasons. They also missed his ability to quarterback the power play and turn a collection of superb talents into a focused, potent unit.
They didn't realize, until he wasn't there, that they weren't as cohesive or confident without the Russian defenseman. They had come to depend on his leadership, to look for his cues and be calmed by his reassurance.
A healthy, and effective Gonchar gives the Penguins a better than fighting chance of keeping these finals competitive.
Time on Ice - 1st(2002), 1st(2003), 1st(2004), 1st(2006), 1st(2007), 1st(2008), 1st(2009), 1st(2010), *1st(2013), 2nd(1999), 2nd(2000), 2nd(2001), 2nd(2011), 2nd(2013), 3rd(2012)
Even Strength Time - 1st(1999), 1st(2002), 1st(2003), 1st(2004), 1st(2006), 1st(2007), 1st(2008), 2nd(2001), 2nd(2009), 2nd(2013), 3rd(2000), 3rd(2010), 3rd(2011), 3rd(2012), 3rd(2013)
Originally Posted by The Hockey Almanac - 1997
Strengths: When the Caps drafted him, Gonchar was just 5’11”. He currently stand 6’2” and may well still be growing; he’s only 22 years old. The lanky defenseman has a healthy mean streak and plays physical hockey. He doesn’t make many mistakes, which is a feather in his helmet, considering his brief NHL experience. He sees the ice well and is able to move the puck. Gonchar will step up to join the attack f he doesn’t risk an odd-man rush into his own zone.
Weaknesses: The fear that Gonchar wouldn’t be able to translate his rugged style from Europe no longer seems at issue, although the NHL plays a considerably longer schedule than hat Gonchar faced in Russia. He has to show he can play tough every night for 82 games and not take nights off.
Will….. use his body
Can’t….. frighten with puck
Expect….. poise and smarts
Don’t Expect….. another Fetisov
Originally Posted by The Hockey Scouting Report - 1997
The Finesse Game
It’s difficult to believe that Gonchar was known as a defensive defenseman when he played in Russia. He sees the ice well and passes well, but he never put up any big offensive numbers before coming into the NHL, which made his rapid development last season a surprise, even t the Caps.
Gonchar jumps up into the play willingly and intelligently. He has a natural feel for the flow of a game, and makes tape-to-tape feeds through people and under pressure. The Caps quickly realized this while he was in their farm system at the start of the 1994-95 seasons, and gave Gonchar a green light. He saw first-unit power play time on the point, and is growing into the role after some struggles. He doesn’t have the blazing speed that elite defensemen have when carrying the puck, but he is very heads-up. Gonchar is better after the team has set up the zone.
Gonchar has a good shot but there isn’t a lot on it. He doesn’t push the puck forward and step into it lke Al MacInnis. Most of the time he is content with getting it on the net, and he is not reluctant to shoot.
The Physical Game
Gonchar is very strong on his skates and has worked hard on his off-ice conditioning. His defense is based more on reads and positional play than a physical element, but he has a bit of an aggressive streak. He was known as a very aggressive player by Russian standards, but he won’t run people. Gonchar will probably become a little more assertive as he gains confidence.
Gonchar has logged a lot of ice time the past two seasons and has a tendency to pace himself, which is why at times he appears a bit passive. Gonchar was teamed with Mark Tinordi much of last season against other teams’ top lines, and did a very intelligent job. He is an effective penalty killer.
Gonchar has a big upside, even given the distance he has already covered since coming to North America. He won’t be in the top 10 scoring among defenseman, but he may provide 50-55 points backed up by a solid defensive game.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 1997
A good, all-around defenseman who can read the play well. He can play the physical game when needed, knows when to jump into the play, and what to do with the puck. Labeled as a stay-at-home defenseman, he led the Caps' defensemen in points.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 1998
Strong skater with impressive offensive skills...
Originally Posted by The Hockey Scouting Report - 1998
The Finesse Game
... He plays very heads-up. He doesn't have the blazing speed that elite defensemen have when carrying the puck, but he will gain the zone with some speed. He is an excellent passer.
Originally Posted by McKeen's - 1998
Once seen as a stay-at-home "D", Gonchar has proved to be a pure two-way rearguard.
Flaws: His shot is not of the 100 m.p.h. type, but Gonchar compensates ten-fold with his accuracy and instincts.
Originally Posted by The Hockey Scouting Report - 1999
... Gonchar never got into a consistent groove after his contract dispute. Some nights he would dominate. Some nights he would be gun-shy Gonchar.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 1999
A strong skater with largely untapped offensive abilities, although he has a penchant for making costly errors when things aren't going well.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2000
One of the most dangerous shots among defensemen. Can be caught out of position when he pinches, which is often. Good puck carrier.
Originally Posted by McKeen's - 2000
Big, strong-skating rearguard has always possessed the offensive skills and booming shot, but it wasn't until last season that his overall game blossomed.
Originally Posted by The Hockey Scouting Report - 2001
Just as we expected, Gonchar provided 50-55 points last season, and played better defense.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2001
It's hard to believe Gonchar was mostly recognized as a defensive blueliner back in Russia. Since coming to the NHL, the laser-shooting quarterback has demonstrated nothing but offensive potential. Gonchar is a tape-to-tape passer with a cannon from the point who focuses on getting the puck to the net. Often involved in offensive sprees, he unfortunately does get caught out of position.
Originally Posted by McKeens - 2001
Big, hard-shooting rearguard with good offensive skills and deceptive quickness, he is constantly looking to launch an assault towards goals and has continued to shore up his defensive play.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report - 2002
The Finesse Game
... Now he ranks among the games elite offensive defensemen.
Gonchar made the quick jump to becoming a complete player by adding offense. He becomes a little too involved with the offensive game, however, and frequently lapses into making high-risk passes.
Originally Posted by McKeens - 2002
Big, powerful-skating rearguard with deceptive speed, Gonchar was a two-way force over the second and third quarters and terrorized opponents with his lethal puckrushing abilities and feared power-play blasts...
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2002
Gonchar is the offensive catalyst on the blueline. For a guy once considered a defensive defenseman upon arriving in the NHL, its amazing to see the improvement in his offensive production. After a career high in points, finishing fifth among all blueliners in scoring last season, people are starting to give the Russian some Norris Trophy consideration. He is a tremendous passer with a laser from the point. He loves to join the rush.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2003
The slick Russian has a scorers mindset and is always in attack mode. He can spring a teammate with a bullet pass or lead the rush himself. Furthermore, he is a key cog on the Caps lethal power play. The 28-year-old gets little Norris Trophy consideration each year because of his defensive shortcomings.
Originally Posted by McKeens - 2003
Big, powerful, jet-fueled rearguard possesses explosive acceleration and speed, and is particularly potent on the power play, equally feared for his blazing point-shot and his knack for sneaking into the slot undetected, all of which compensate for the odd lapse in physical intensity and defensive-zone miscue.
Originally Posted by The Hockey Scouting Report - 2004
The Finesse Game
Even though the Caps asked Gonchar to take his offensive game down a notch and concentrate more on his own end, Gonchar was still among the scoring leaders among NHL Defenemen.... Now he ranks among the game's elite offensive defensemen, but he is not high-risk. He has also become among the best two-way defensemen in the game.
The Physical Game
Strong on his skates, Gonchar has worked hard on his off-ice conditioning and he can handle a lot of quality minutes. His defense is based more on reads and positional play than on a physical element. He is not an overly aggressive player. Teams like to target him early to scare him off his best effort.
He is a coach's delight because he is completely no-fuss and low-maintenance.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2004
The offensive minded rearguard is coming off his finest NHL season. Gonchar finished second in scoring among league defensemen and garnered Norris Trophy consideration. Moreover, he accomplished this while maintaining a solid plus minus rating an showing tremendous defensive improvement. In fact, he is no longer a liability without the puck.
Originally Posted by McKeen's - 2004
A big, fast powerhouse with a fearsome shot, Gonchar has steadily developed into a reliable defensive player...
Originally Posted by McKeen's - 2006
.. big, fast and powerfully built .. main weapon is a sizzling pointshot that is quick, hard and accurate, but he's also a superb outlet passer and has steadily matured into a conscientious and reliable defender.
Originally Posted by McKeen's - 2008
In a 'tower of power' performance in which he soaked up a grueling 26-plus minutes per game and finished second in scoring among NHL defensemen .. a conscientious and reliable defender.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2008
If you're looking for production from the back end, it doesn't get much better than Gonchar.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2009
The 2007-08 campaign was arguably Gonchar's best in the NHL on an all-around level. He finished second to Norris trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom in defensemen scoring and played better than ever in his own end.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2010
.. has steadily evolved into a conscientious and reliable defender thanks to improvements in patience, positioning, and physical play.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2011
.. calm and calculating while quarterbacking the powerplay .. a conscientious and reliable defender ..
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2012
His general defensive play has regressed due to age and wear and tear.
Originally Posted by Hockey Forecaster - 2013
His 37 points surpassed expectations, while his rejuvenated all-around play and veteran savvy provided guidance...
Originally Posted by McKeen's - 2013
.. proved to have a stabilizing effect on sometimes partner rookie Jared Cowen - while also playing in a shutdown capacity with Chris Phillips.
5x Stanley Cup Champion
6x NHL All Star Game Participant
1988 Vezina Trophy Winner
1994 Jennings Trophy Winner
8x Top 6 Vezina Trophy Voting(1, 2, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 6)
9x Top 9 All Star Voting(1, 2, 3, 3, 6, 8, 8, 9, 9)
2x Top 6 Hart Trophy Voting(2, 6)
10x Top 10 Wins(1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 6, 7, 7, 10)
5x Top 10 Shutouts(1, 8, 9, 9, 10)
5th in GAA, 1982
3x Top 10 SV%(6, 9, 10)
2x Canada Cup Gold Medalist(7-1-3 combined record)
1987 Canada Cup All Star Team
Originally Posted by Mark Messier, ESPN SportsZone, April 1998
The classic stand-up goalie. Plays his angles well, challenges and he has that unbelievable athleticism. Just look at his record. He's made more big saves than any goalie over the last 15 years. He really has no weakness.
Originally Posted by The Sports Forecaster Hockey, 97-98
The Blues made the playoffs thanks to that Energizer bunny of a goalie, Grant Fuhr..."
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post Gazette, June 2, 1987
Grant Fuhr, the stellar Edmonton goalie who fashioned a 2.45 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage merited Conn Smythe consideration
Originally Posted by OilersHeritage.com
Grant Fuhr is one of the best clutch goaltenders in the history of the game.
Wayne Gretzky would tell the media that if there was a game that his team needed to win, his first-choice goaltender would be Fuhr.
Due to an injury, Fuhr could not play in the 1990 Stanley Cup final.
Playing in St. Louis in the modern era of tight defence, Fuhr put up microscopic goals against averages, but he admitted that he would trade it in for 7-4 shootouts if it would have made the Blues a contender.
Originally Posted by The Puck Stops Here, Ralph Wiley, SI, Jan 11, 1988
Grant Fuhr has been called hockey's premier goalie - and he had better be if Edmonton is to win another Cup.
"Grant reads the game as well as any goalie that has ever played," Ron Low, coach of the Nova Scotia Oilers, Edmonton's farm team, and formerly Fuhr's roommate on Oilers road trips, has said. "His goals-against average will never be the best. He'll give up the occasional soft goal. But in the big moment, for the big save, he's 95 percent unbeatable. Under pressure, there is none finer. He proved in the Canada Cup that he is the finest goaltender in the world."
"Bar none, Grant Fuhr is the best goalie in the league," Pederson will say later. "He has the fastest reflexes. Sometimes his concentration might drift during inconsequential games. But in the big-money games Fuhr is the best. He's the Cup goalie. It's sure not by luck."
Originally Posted by Oilers Shut out Islanders in Opener, AP, The Palm Beach Post, May 11, 1984
Edmonton's victory was built around a surprisingly staunch defense and the sensational goal-tending of Fuhr, who outperformed his more celebrated counterpart in the Islanders' net, Billy Smith. Fuhr - who did not play against the Islanders in New York's sweep of last year's finals - orchestrated the victory with catlike quickness...
Originally Posted by Fuhr Suspension may be shortened, AP, Record-Journal, Sep 29, 1990
A former all-star who was often called the best goaltender in the world during the mid-1980s...
Originally Posted by NHL Roundup, Los Angeles Times, Jan 19, 1989
Grant Fuhr, generally recognized as the game's best goaltender, was injured in a second-period collision and was carried off the ice on a stretcher..
Originally Posted by NHL:Oilers' Fuhr saves his best for the pressure of playoffs, USA Today, Apr 11, 1989
...this is the time of year when Grant Fuhr flourishes. He loves the pressure. That's why he's the best playoff goaltender in the league.
Originally Posted by Fuhr Launches CPGA tour bid, Don Harrison, The Toronto Star, May 12, 1992
The best goaltender in pro hockey for a decade, [Grant Fuhr] spent the past winter toiling with little glory as the Leafs completed another NHL season without seeing the playoffs. But when Fuhr was the backbone of the Edmonton Oilers dynasty he was also busy honing his skills in the favorite pastime of idle hockey players - golf.
Originally Posted by Fuhr's Play Inspires Pros and Conns, Philadelphia Daily News, May 30, 1985
Opposing goaltenders often feel outnumbered when confronted by the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL's most prolific goal-scoring team. Because of his team's frenetic offensive style, Edmonton goalie Grant Fuhr knows the same sense of anxiety. In any given game Fuhr must anticipate occasions when he will be a lonely sentry against attacking hordes. ...
Originally Posted by Oilers Get Quality, Quantity From Fuhr; Capitals Face Iron-Man Goaltender Tonight, The Washington Post, Dec 1, 1987
Although most people give superstars Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri and Glenn Anderson most of the credit for the Oilers' remarkable success, they have the security that, if they do mess up, Fuhr probably will save them any embarrassment.
"Grant Fuhr is the best goaltender who ever played the game, there's no question of that," Gretzky said. "Don't forget, the shots are harder and faster now, and Grant makes saves on reflexes that no other goaltender could make."
Originally Posted by Lemieux is Lemieux, Tom McMillan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct 4, 1988
Beaten for three spectacular goals on the slushy ice of Reunion Arena in Dallas, Grant Fuhr of the Edmonton Oilers - he being the world's best goaltender - minced no words.
Originally Posted by Fuhr also gets to take a bow, CP-AP, The Calgary Herald, Feb 27, 1986
Edmonton Mark Messier scored three consecutive goals, Wayne Gretzky contributed two and chipped in with four assists, but it was the outstanding goaltending of Grant Fuhr that dominated as the Oilers crushed the Winnipeg Jets 8-2 Wednesday night in a National Hockey League game.
Fuhr, who faced 21 first-period shots, showed the Winnipeg Arena crowd of 14,047 why he is widely considered the best goaltender in the league.
The 23-year-old goaltender finished with 44 saved to improve his record to 21-7-0.
Originally Posted by OILERS: Pushing Bruins a little too far, Jeff Jacobs, Anchorage Daily News, May 23, 1988
Beyond discipline, the Oilers are playing great defense. They've got the best goaltender in the world in Grant Fuhr. They get the goals when they need them. They can play any way you want. Adaptability...
Originally Posted by Gretzky familiar with Fuhr, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Apr 22, 1991
Wayne Gretzky wasn't surprised in the least when Grant Fuhr came up with one great save after another to rescue Edmonton.
Fuhr stopped 46 shots, including a few from close range by Gretzky, as the Oilers beat the Los Angeles Kings, 4-3, Saturday night in double overtime to even their best-of-seven Smythe Division semifinal series at one game a piece.
Gretzky and Fuhr teamed up to bring four Stanley Cup championships to Edmonton. Now, Gretzky is trying to help the kings win their first.
With Fuhr on his game, that won't be easy.
"Grant hasn't lost anything," Gretzky said. "He's one of the best goaltenders ever to play the game."
Originally Posted by Oilers winning without vaunted offense, CP, The Phoenix, May 11, 1987
The difference, he says, is the play of Fuhr.
"We've always said that Grant Fuhr is the best goaltender in the NHL and he proved it again last night," said Demers. "He always seems to come up with the key saves that seems to get the team up. The other night he made three big saves, outstanding saves."
"In the big games, the low-scoring games, 1-0, 2-1, that's when he's at his best."
Originally Posted by Fuhr stops Flyers in Oiler win, Gettysburg Times, Mar 3, 1986
With $200,000 at stake for the best record in the NHL as well as home-ice advantage all through the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers got a money performance out of Grant Fuhr.
"Goaltending was the difference," said Philadelphia Coach Mike Keenan following Sunday night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Oilers in a meeting of last year's Stanley Cup finalists. "The man again was Fuhr. He stopped two breakaways, made the key saves in the first period to keep them in it."
Originally Posted by Fuhr outshines the master, Eric Duhatschek, The Calgary Herald May 11, 1984
As for Fuhr, he became an instant Conn Smythe candidate with the cool he displayed under the Islanders' fire.
Originally Posted by "Gretzky's greatness mystery even to mates", Ian MacDonald, Montreal Gazette June 1, 1985
Going into Thursday night's game, the only realistic candidates for the Smythe honor were three Oilers - superb rushing defenseman Paul Coffey, clutch goaltender Grant Fuhr and Gretzky.
Originally Posted by "Gretzky leads sweep as Oilers capture 4th Cup in five years", Jay Greenberg, Beaver County Times, May 26, 1988
Gretzky and Messier time and again came up with clutch goals against the Flames, who defrocked the Oilers from the Smythe Division title during the regular season. Grant Fuhr, the best goalie in the game, delivered the key saves. Then, with the stunned Flames out of the way, Detroit and Boston mostly were a matter of course.
Over a 10-year period, Grant Fuhr led the Oilers to five Stanley Cup championships between 1984 and 1990. Without a doubt, his best year was in 1987. Fuhr was a workhorse, accumulating a league-leading 4,304 minutes played and 40 wins. He earned his sole Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender and was runner-up to teammate Wayne Gretzky for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. During the 1983-1984 season, Fuhr collected 14 points, which still stands as the single-season record for most points by a goaltender.
once great goaltender was past his prime, he signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues. Given another chance, the classy veteran didn't disappoint. Fuhr played with a renewed love for the game and an energy that matched any youngster in the league. He played an astonishing 79 games for the Blues, 76 consecutively. Both remain single-season records. Grant's great play continued into the playoffs that year. He was once again in fine form and gave Blues' fans high hopes for a Stanley Cup championship. Unfortunately, the playoff run ended prematurely when Maple Leafs' forward Nick Kypreos crashed into Fuhr as he was attempting to cover the puck. His leg twisted awkwardly and he tore his knee ligaments.
Grant Fuhr was the best goalie in the world in the second half of the 1980's. He struggled once departing from Edmonton, but late in his career resurrected his profile to elite status once again with St. Louis.
For the first few years, there was a bit of goaltending power struggle in Edmonton. Fuhr and Andy Moog would split the work, but Fuhr became the go-to guy once the playoffs rolled along.
The playoffs was when Fuhr was at his best.
It has often been said playing goal for the Edmonton Oiler dynasty of the 1980's must have been an easy job and that even an average goaltender could have done well. While it is true that the Oilers held on to the puck the majority of the game and would often give Fuhr large leads to work with, but they were also guilty of not supporting their goalie with as much defensive help as most champions, especially in the earlier years during the regular season. During his prime, Fuhr's GAA ranged from a low of 3.43 to 3.91, which is extremely high for someone who is supposed to be the "best goalie in the world." But considering the Oilers' run and gun style and Fuhr's lack of support on many nights, those numbers are very respectable.
And Grant Fuhr stood on his head! The Russians swarmed and swarmed but Fuhr continued to turn away shot after shot after shot. Remember right before Mario Lemieux's famous goal on a drop pass from Wayne Gretzky? There was mad scramble in front of the Canadian net, Fuhr kept the puck out. The results of the 1987 Canada Cup could very easily have been reversed had it not been for Grant Fuhr.
While Fuhr received little respect for his regular season play, he became recognized as the world's greatest goaltender because of his international play and the Stanley Cup playoffs. Spectacular sprawling saves were the norm in Edmonton during their Cup years. While most people give Gretzky and Messier the credit, it is highly unlikely the Oilers would have been as successful as they were without the caliber of play Grant Fuhr supplied them.
Fuhr, an excellent golfer, returned to form once he landed in St. Louis. He looked like he was 23 again, thrilling fans with his acrobatic style and is stealing games for the Blues which they have no business winning. It was great to see the living legend between the pipes back on top after most people had written him off.
As Grant Fuhr has carried the St. Louis Blues on his back and emerged as one of the best stories of the NHL season...
"Almost every night he's been one of our top players," says Blues assistant coach Bob Berry. Fuhr's spectacular plays have become routine. "We used to sit on the bench and say, 'Damn, did you see that save?' " says St. Louis defenseman Al MacInnis. "But after 50-odd games, we're tired of saying it."
Fuhr is the only reason the Blues, who were 22-23-10 after their 2-2 tie against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, are anywhere near the .500 mark.
Where would they be without him? Says Blues right wing Brett Hull, "We'd have won five games, maybe seven, honest to god."
The starting goaltender for the Leafs at the beginning of last season was Grant Fuhr. He was the foundation of all hopes for the team's return to glory, the owner of five Stanley Cup rings with the Edmonton Oilers.
"It was expansion," Fletcher says. "If we hadn't known we were going to lose one of these guys at the end of the year, we would have kept them both. Grant Fuhr is one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the game.
Grant Fuhr, the man who backstopped the Edmonton Oilers to five Stanley Cups between 1984 and 1990, was at his acrobatic best for the Sabres, who skewered the Adams Division champion Boston Bruins in a shocking four-game sweep.
Sutter can commiserate with his brother, Boston coach Brian Sutter, who was the most frustrated man in Buffalo after Fuhr stonewalled the Bruins. "If Fuhr's not standing on his ear, we win," Sutter said. "He's a world-class goalie. What can you do?"
Buffalo coach John Muckler, for whom Fuhr had played in Edmonton, relentlessly lobbied general manager Gerry Meehan to make the deal. To win a playoff series you have no business winning, Muckler argued, you need a goalie who knows how to steal a few big games. "The price was high," says Muckler, "but we got what we needed."
Then the curtain went up, and Fuhr stopped everything the Bruins threw at him. Inspired, the Sabres took the first two games in Boston. In Game 3 in Buffalo, Fuhr stopped flurry after flurry from Bruin sharpshooters Adam Oates, Cam Neely and Joé Juneau. His reflexes and glove seemed as fast as ever. At one point in the third period, after diving to fend off a point-blank shot by Neely, Fuhr did a backward somersault to get back on his skates. The Sabres won 4-3 in overtime.
His teammates are duly impressed. "He's the best goalie I've ever faced, the best I've ever seen, and he's playing better now than he ever has," says Buffalo center Pat LaFontaine. "I'm glad he's on our side."
Twice Fuhr denied Gretzky from in close during Game 1, which set the tone for the series. "That's just Grant," shrugged Gretzky. "I've been saying it for years. He's the best in the world."
In Game 2 at the Forum the next night, the Kings won 5-2, but Fuhr again was magnificent. The Kings bombarded him with 44 shots, and journeyman free-agent Chris Kontos got a hat trick, but Fuhr made half a dozen saves that did not seem humanly possible.
Eight seconds into Game 3, Gretzky stole the puck from Simpson and broke in on Fuhr for the first of what would be eight quality scoring chances. Trying to pick a corner, however, he missed the net. As it turned out, every other shot he took was stonewalled by Fuhr or missed the net. Fuhr was so tough that by the third period the Kings were passing up point-blank shots, searching in vain for the perfect scoring chance. The world's best goalie had climbed into the Kings' heads and was playing with their minds.
Ron Hextall is the best goalie I've ever faced...but I've never played against Grant Fuhr.
So this is where the puck stops, with the man behind the mask, the best goalie in the NHL. The best on earth. So this is Grant Fuhr.
During the Canada Cup, in which Canada defeated the Soviets two games to one last September, Fuhr was breathtakingly effective. Two other stellar goalies were on Team Canada's bench, Kelly Hrudey of the Islanders and Philadelphia's Hextall, but their services were not required. "Grant was utterly magnificent," says Low.
Fuhr, then, is the Oilers' bulwark as they try to skate their way to a fourth Stanley Cup without three defensemen from the 1986-87 team.
There, for good measure, was goalie Grant Fuhr—whom Oiler G.M. coach Glen Sather called "the best goalie I've ever seen"—stopping a third-period penalty shot by Flyers captain Dave Poulin, the second penalty shot Fuhr had turned back in as many games, yet another Stanley Cup record.
"Grant's the most underrated goalie in the league," said Gretzky...
The Bruins had their chances. A Cam Neely backhander with 10 minutes left in the game might have sneaked by -- if not for Grant Fuhr. Likewise, when [Ken Linseman] set up Moe Lemay with a lead pass out front, it might have poked through -- if not for Grant Fuhr. Randy Burridge's blast with 7 1/2 minutes to play? It was a nice pass from Rick Middleton, but a nicer save from Grant Fuhr.
The masked man escaped under cover of darkness late Monday night and crossed the border into Canada, this city's dream tucked neatly in his satchel. They're calling what Grant Fuhr did here in the last few days an open-and- shut case of grand larceny, but they're doing so more with a sense of awe than condemnation. At least they got robbed by one of the best.
"The guy has so much confidence in his glove," said Montreal defenceman Guy Lapointe after the Oilers and Canadiens skated to a 3-3 draw Tuesday night. "He gives you a big opening because he knows he can get to the puck."
But the Oilers needed all the defensive skills they could muster to subdue the Canadiens, whom they eliminated in 3 straight playoff games last spring, and most of the defence game from Fuhr.
The NHL All-Stars combined sudden striking skill on offense and the acrobatics of Grant Fuhr in goal to get the edge on the Soviet national team in Rendez-Vous '87...Fuhr, the Edmonton Oilers' goaltender, was sensational against the vaunted...
"We certainly play an offensive style and lots of times Grant doesn't get the credit he deserves playing behind a team like us," Edmonton wing Craig MacTavish said after Wednesday's 8-5 NHL victory over the Jets. "It's nice to know Grant is back there backing you up when you make a mistake defensively."
"Fuhr is playing well for them, there is nothing we can do about it," Jets wing Paul MacLean said. "We got a lot of quality chances but we couldn't put it in. We feel a little snakebitten, but we've got to give him(Fuhr) credit. We've got to give him a lot of credit."
Generally regarded as the league's best goaltender, Fuhr polished his image with strong performances in last year's Rendezvous '87 series in Quebec, in which the NHL All-Stars split two games with the Soviets, and this past summer's Canada Cup victory over the Soviets.
Of course Fuhr has been a key performer for the Oilers en route to three Stanley Cup championships, including last year's triumph over the Flyers.
Of course, any rough idling for the Oilers is often smoothed by Grant Fuhr in net. Fuhr was beaten for the last time at 3:23 of the second period, on Ray Bourque's second power-play goal of the year, and the goalie turned away the Bruins' final 15 shots. It was Fuhr's netminding that allowed the Oilers to keep pecking away at Reggie Lemelin and finally pull even on Charlie Huddy's goal with 2:17 to play in regulation.
"Grant was superb when he had to be," said Lowe...
"We were a little sluggish in the first period after five days off and Grant kept us in there," added Lowe. "Jari Kurri's goal was a big one for us and moments before Grant made a big save off Colin Patterson."
From 1899 to 1908, Bowie scored 239 goals in 80 games.
Blair Russel, the next closest scorer, had 109 goals in 67 games.
1901 – Bowie scored 24 goals and the next guy only had 10
1903 – Bowie scored 22 goals (next had 14)
1904 – Bowie scored 27 goals (next had 19)
1905 – Bowie scored 26 goals (next had 19)
Frank McGee vs. Russell Bowie (1903-1906)
McGee = 71 goals
Bowie = 106 goals
Ernie Russell vs. Russell Bowie (1905-1908)
Russell = 90 goals
Bowie = 127 goals
Tommy Phillips vs. Russell Bowie (1905-1908)
Phillips = 94 goals
Bowie = 127 goals
Originally Posted by The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 1 – Player Biography
There are many who maintain that Russell Bowie was the greatest centre ice player the game has known. Certainly his amazing total of 234 goals in 80 scheduled league games during ten years of play puts him in a class by himself. An average of almost three goals per game in his career is not likely to be challenged.
During his ten years of play he led the goal scorers five times. Practically every all-tar team listed during that decade and years afterwards had Bowie in the lineup.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey – Player Biogrphy
Like Wayne Gretzky, Bowie was one of the most difficult players of his era to keep track of. Although he was invariably a “marked man,” his agility usually kept him out of harm’s way. A wizard with the ood, he used his skates to shield the rubber as he swung through the enemy line with a deftness that defied description.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey – In a Flash
Russell Bowie kept the puck close to his body and was said to have had brilliant hand-eye coordination. Picture Wayne Gretzky before Wayne Gretzky.
Originally Posted by Who’s Who in Hockey
Russell Bowie, who toiled at center ice for the turn-of-the-century Victorias, has been called, by hard-line old-timers, the greatest pivotman to play the game…was a perpetual All-Star.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Russell "Dubbie" Bowie began playing hockey in his hometown of Montreal at Tucker School and remained an amateur throughout his career. "I am an amateur, was an amateur, and will die an amateur," he said after his playing days were over. Well-known as a music lover, Dubbie once rejected a unique offer of a grand piano as a signing bonus from the Montreal Wanderers to turn pro with that club. So sure of his acceptance were the Wanderers that club officials even had the piano delivered to Bowie's home the day of a game in anticipation of his turning pro and playing! However, Bowie flatly rejected the offer and ordered the piano removed from his home.
He attributed his stickhandling prowess to the fact that he always used a short stick. "Mine came only up to my armpits," he stated. Bowie once scored ten goals in a game and totaled 234 goals over ten-year career of only 80 games, a career average of almost three goals per game. He played with the Montreal Victorias for his entire career, winning a Stanley Cup as an eighteen-year-old with the Vics in 1898. Bowie ultimately retired when the professional National Hockey Association (NHA) formed in 1909 and he never played again except in exhibition matches. Bowie continued his association with the game he loved as a referee for many years after his playing days had ended.
Originally Posted by Turning Back Hockey’s Pages – April 5th, 1934
It is almost 20 years since Russell Bowie hung up his stick for good, but today he is still remembered as one of the greatest players of the game. He played for over a decade with Victorias and in that time was easily the best scorer in hockey as well as being the outstanding stick-handler of the epoch. He was on a Stanley Cup winning team when he was only 18 years old, but it is significant that nearly 20 years later when he performed in a veterans’ game, arranged as a benefit contest, it was admitted that he still ranked with the best.
The slight, almost frail rover of the Victorias played during what was probably the roughest era of hockey for he was a starred member of Victorias when the Silver Seven was in its heyday. It took more than ability to score goals to get by against such stalwarts as McGee, Pulford and the Smiths but even in this company, Bowie, over a period of ten years, was the leading scorer in the Eastern Canada Hockey Association. Bowie was probably the shiftiest player that ever carried a puck. He could nurse the disc between his skates and swing through the opposition, avoiding checks, with a deftness that beggars description. He was probably also one of the brainiest players who ever handled a stick. And, though he was a marked man in every game he played, he led the E.C.H.A in scoring in practically every season from 1900 to 1909. When the National Hockey Association was formed, the amateur Vics dropped from competition and Bowie never played again except in exhibition matches.
It would take columns of pace to tell of his scoring feats. It was a customary thing for him to perform the hat-trick and he has scored as high as 10 goals in a single game. He tallied 30 or more goals every season in the days when teams seldom played more than 10 games during the regular schedule. In 1916, he was coaxed out of retirement to play an exhibition for the regimental funds of the 148th battalion with the local seven composed of veterans like himself. They played against the Silver Seven, their greatest rivals of 10 years before, and Bowie got four goals. He had been out of hockey for almost seven seasons.
Another story is told of Bowie that is a good example of how he won games with his head as well as his stick. Playing against Quebec in a close game, Bowie was checked by Joe Hall, just as a team-mate was about to pass the puck. “Too bad, Joe, it’s in the net,” Bowie whispered in Hall’s ear. The Quebec defenceman looked up immediately relaxing his attention and then there was a swift movement of Bowie’s stick. And Hall saw then that the puck really was in the net.
Ultimate Hockey's All-Star Team of the 1900s
Ultimate Hockey’s “Best Sniper” of the 1900s
Ultimate Hockey’s “Best Stick-Handler” of the 1900s
Originally Posted by The Montreal Star
…known from ocean to ocean, and was even celebrated in the United States, as many judged by the fact they called Hobby Baker the American Russel Bowie.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette
Bowie was recognized as the trickiest player on skates, and the most effective scoring player in the game.
Originally Posted by The Ottawa Citizen
Perhaps one of the greatest players to ever don a pair of skates…. Feared by such greats as Frank McGee, Harvey Pulford, Harry Westwick, Alf and Harry Smith, Billy Gilmour and Arthur Moore of the Ottawa Silver Seven…. Bowie is listed in what is believed to be the first all-star team ever selected in major hockey in 1905.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette
Bowie picked the puck out of a scuffle and gallantly broke clear of the melee.
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press
Russell Bowie is certainly the king-pin of the Vics, and one of the best stickhandlers who ever put skates on.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – January 26th, 1903
From the Vics’ point of view, there was only one man on the ice. That was Russell Bowie. Speedy, a beautiful stickhandler and a rattling shot, he won the match for the Vics.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – March 9th, 1903
Russell Bowie played and gave an excellent performance in spite of the many difficulties under which he labored.
Allen and Bowie appeared to do the lion’s share of the attack…. Bowie performed several neat feats but was unfortunate and again he was well watched.
The Victorias indulged in several rattling combinations that were good to look at. Bert Strachan, Bowie, and Allen were responsible for most of this style of work and it was done in good order too…
Play had hardly started when Fairbanks handed out a stiff cross-check and went off; Bowie dropping back to cover.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – February 15th, 1905
Of the 4 forwards mentions (on the 1905 All-Star Team), Bowie is perhaps the slowest skater. But Bowie does not win games with his skates. His head and hands have brought him the reputation he holds as the most effective scoring player in the game.
Bowie, in the minds of the rooted who have followed the game for year, is the trickiest hockey player that ever stepped on the ice.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – December 27th, 1906
Russell Bowie, captain of the Victorias…
Originally Posted by The Ottawa Citizen – February 4th, 1907
… Russell Bowie, the stellar rover of the Victorias...
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – January 6th, 1908
The close checking from both sides was one of the features of the game… Bowie is always a closely watched player, but he was given more than the average amount of attention Saturday night. Every time the Irishmen’s goals were threatened there were cries from all parts of the rink to “watch Bowie”. But the Vics star was in great form in the first half, beating out ________ for three of the Vics goals and giving the Shamrock goaler close calls on half a dozen other occasions. He was right in the nets at every opportunity, ready for one of those lightning shots that would follow a pass from the side. Besides this, in the first half, he did more than his share of carrying the disc through the Shamrock defense… The checking was very close and a good deal of it was foul work. The Shamrocks used their sticks pretty freely early in the game, and the officials let things go a while without penalties.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - January 14th, 1908
…Bowie dashing in on the net, banged in a rebound… Bowie, coming through like a flash, picked it out, and, swinging around to the front of the nets, placed his team in the lead for the final time.
Nothing could keep Bowie away from the nets, and his eyes and wrists are apparently as quick as ever. He tired under the close attention he was receiving, however, but even then, when he looked all in, he would break away with a fine show of reserve strength.
…and then when the results were assured. Bowie was covered by Frank Glass like a home player on a lacrosse team, and cross-checked and buffeted about every time he came near the Wanderers goal. Once he was provoked to retaliation, with the result that both he and Glass were banished to the box for a five-minute rest.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald – January 15th, 1912
I see Russell Bowie is up to his old tricks of making the goal-keeper look like a wooden Indian in front of a cigar store. There was one great player who could have filled in his own figures to the N.H.A. contract if he wanted to participate in the pro league. To my mind he was the greatest player that ever lived. He was fast and brainy. His stick was a magnet to the puck and he walked right in on the defence before he ever thought of shooting. He worried every goal-keeper whether he had the puck or not and gave punishment, never got any and sent hundreds of players to the side by faking an injury. He had a great trick of playing the rubber to the boards and if his check blocked the puck, he would clap his hand to his head or side and drop to one knee. The referee would instantly stop the game and under the impression Bowie had been shortended, chase the other fellow to the penalty box. Aside from his tricks, he had the goods.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – June 10th, 1940
Just to illustrate what a difference a few years can make, they tell a story about Dubbie Bowie when that outstanding hockey player was making the opposition look silly on behalf of Victorias a generation ago.
Dubbie, rated with the greatest players of all time, was an “amateur” in the strict sense of the word. If you offered him a nickel for scoring five goals, or something like that, you would likely find yourself flat on your back with a raging hockey player warning you not to try that “bribery” again.
Originally Posted by The Ottawa Citizen -- March 4th, 1947
Bowie, who from 1905-09, was the Howie Morenz of his day, once refused the fabulous offer of $3000 plus $4 per minute for a 12-game season with a professional club.
In 1906, as numerous teams and players were becoming more open about being professional, Bowie considered retiredment.
Originally Posted by The St. John Daily Sun
Russell Bowie did not play with the Vics, and is considered to have robbed them of a victory.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – December 8th, 1906
When the Victorias appeared, Russell Bowie was there, and this gave rise to the story that he will play again this season. It is quite true that the former captain has repeatedly said he is out of the game, but his presence at two practices seems to indicate he has more than a passing interest in the team. Russel, Cavie Howard, and Gilbert will play, so that if Bowie would come out, it would make a sturdy forward line, and give the Victorias an attack that would face any line set against them and be able to flourish to the maximium of excitement.
Bowie played in the CAHL and the ECAHA, which were actually the same league under different names, between 1899 and 1908, which were not the only leagues in the world, but they were certainly the best leagues in the world. This line of leagues would eventually change its name to the NHA. The vast majority of hockey's top talents of the time were playing in these leagues.
With the exception of a few teams - Winnipeg Victorias and Kenora Thistles were from out west an the Ottawa dyasty went to the FAHL for the 1905 season - the Stanley Cup was almost always controlled by a team who played in the CAHL or ECAHA. Not only that, but very few serious Cup Challenges were played that were from outside those same leagues.
Pink-Cheeked Jimmy Thomson from Winnipeg , ranks in the books of his boss , Conny Smythe , as just about the best defensive defenceman Toronto Maples Leafs have ever had.
Originally Posted by Smythe
''THomson's record of goals-against is the best of any defenceman we have ever had.He combines the qualities of a lot of good defenceman we've had.He has many of the attributes of Day; he cant hurt attackers - although not so seriously - as Horner; he can get that puck out of his own end like Clancy - not in as dashing way but just as decisively.He'Ll be one of the all-time greats of hockey if he keeps his head and continues to give his best.''
It was a rugged game, just about the most bruising of the series. Chief Toronto casualty was Jimmy Thomson. The ace Leaf rearguard suffered a rib seperation on the right side in a second period collision with Alex Delvecchio. Dead game to the finish, however, Thomson still came back to play in the third period although it was evident that he was in great pain.
Inability to take advantage of Toronto penalties contributed heavily to Detroit's downfall. For seven solid minutes in the first period, and for a total of 19 minutes in the course of the contest, the Wings had an advantage in manpower and couldn't cash in. Not only did they fail to score, but the rock-ribbed Toronto defense, spearheaded by Jimmy Thomson, for the most part was able to make their so-called power plays appear utterly futile.
There wasn't a single weak link on the Toronto team. Broda, when he had to be, was flawless in goal. Rugged Jimmy Thomson was a standout on defense.
Lynn Patrick said the Leafs powdered the Bruins right out of the series in the first two games. They whacked Milt Schmidt and Johnny Pierson into complete submission and left the Bruins without much in the way of a scoring threat.
"Jim Thomson did most of the heavy work for them, but they've got a bruising defense," he said. "Guys like Bill Barilko, Bull Juzda and Fernie Flaman can hurt you if they get a good shot at you and that Gus Mortson is no Little Lord Faultneroy.
HHOF center Tommy Dunderdale, the six-time PCHA all-star who is the league's all-time career leader in goals scored. He three times topped the PCHA in goals, three times won the league championship and even led all skaters in penalty minutes one season. Born in Australia, but raised on the frozen ice of Winnipeg, the 5'8, 160 lbs. agile center is known to backcheck. He is a speedy, mobile puckhandler who weaves through traffic with skill and chases the play.
Originally Posted by Calgary Daily Head, Feb 27, 1913
Tommy is just reaching the zenith of his career in the Canadian National league game and is certainly one of the very greatest of them all at the present time. He conducts himself in truly elegant style on the ice, being an exceptionally fast skater, a beautiful stick handler, and a deadly shot. He leads the scorers in the league by a wide margin, and it is not too much to say that danger is always imminent whenever Tommy turns loose the puck in the direction of the net.
Originally Posted by Calgary Daily Herald, Jan 22, 1913
Breaking a four all tie with less than a minute to play, Tommy Dunderdale, Victoria's sensational forward, zig-zagged through the Vancouver defence at the Arena last night and bulged the net
Originally Posted by Vancouver Sun, Nov 20, 1914
Unless Tommy Dunderdale decides to come west again this season, the battle for scoring honours in the Pacific Coast league will probably develop into a great argument
Originally Posted by Vancouver Sun, Mar 4, 1920
Even Tommy Dunderdale, the sharpshooter of the league, could not fatten his scoring lead at the expense of Holmes
Originally Posted by Toronto World, Dec. 25, 1911
More excitement was caused over the arrival of Tommy Dunderdale, who will play this season at Victoria, than any other player from the east to go west this winter
Originally Posted by Morning Leader, Mar 17, 1920
Records crown Dunderdale, the star Victoria centre, as king of the scorers
Originally Posted by Get To Know A Hall of Famer: Tommy Dunderdale
Noted for his deft puck handling and swift skating, Dunderdale led Victoria to the PCHA title in 1913 and 1914. In 1914 the Aristocrats issued a Stanley Cup challenge to the defending champs the Quebec Bulldogs. The Stanley Cup trustees did not approve of the challenge, but the teams faced off regardless. Victoria defeated Quebec handily.
Dunderdale also played 3 seasons with the Portland Rosebuds (winning a 3rd PCHA title in 1916) and brief appearances in Saskatoon, Edmonton and Los Angeles. In total he played 18 professional seasons. He totalled 309 games played, 267 goals and 336 points.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Thomas Dunderdale was a player with enough speed to attack and to get back in time to defend. He was a right-handed shot who was famous for his deft stick-handling.
Dunderdale played very well over the next four seasons, leading his team in scoring three times and taking home league honors in 1912-13. Victoria won the league title in 1912-13 and defeated the Stanley Cup champion Bulldogs in an exhibition series. Dunderdale scored three times in three games. In 1913-14, he scored in every one of Victoria's 15 matches and was named to the PCHA First All-Star team as a center. He held out for more money in 1915. He retired as the PCHA's top career goal-scorer.
In 290 games, the speedy, highly skilled Dunderdale scored 225 goals. He is a worthy member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
HHOF goaltender Hugh Lehman, the 11-time PCHA all-star who was known for his puck-handling skill, making quick passes up ice to help the transition game. "Eagle Eye" was a leader in Ottawa senior amateur hockey and an early pro league before joining and starring in the PCHA for over a decade. He then led the Western league in games played, displaying an ironman-like workload, before joining the NHL as the Blackhawks' first ever goalie, promoted to head coach the following season, presumably on the knowledge and/or character he demonstrated to management, or perhaps simply to honour his long career experience in the game, having won the Stanley Cup once in the eight challenges he backstopped.
Originally Posted by The Regina Morning Leader Friday October 31st 1924
One of the super-stars of the game, Lehman has no counterpart in sport on the continent... If this is an age of hero worship in athletics write the name Hugh Lehman, the "eagle eye" of the fastest sport in the world, high up on the small boys shrine. Clean, purposeful, active and bettle-browed in action, no man has ever taken liberties with Lehman's citadel and escaped scathless.
As a goaltender, Lehman was a strong skater and good puckhandler. He chased down loose pucks, and was able to pass the puck to his forwards, surprising the other team's defenders.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - Mar 21, 1924
His clearing and passing out proved a revelation to many and certainly added to the spectacle, for many of his moves were smart, as well as calculated and frequently baffled the Canadien forwards, who were boring in on the goal.
Originally Posted by The Regina Morning Leader Friday October 31st 1924
Lehman for years has maintained his reputation as the most colorful goalie in the game. His mind works with the speed of an electric battery and his ability to size up a situation quickly and toss a pass to an uncovered colleague is one of his greatest assets in the moil and turmoil of a furious struggle. Many a quick break away of the Maroons has been engineered by Lehman.
In the Stanley Cup playoffs, Lehman helped the Millionaires become the first PCHA team to win the Stanley Cup, with a 3–0 record and 2.67 goals against average. This would be the only Stanley Cup victory of Lehman's career, as he was on the losing side in seven other attempts.
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen - Mar 18, 1922
Hugh Lehman who has been a star for the last twenty years. And it could not be said that youth was served to the detriment of Lehman this time, as the veteran played equally as well as the St. Patrick's wizard.
Led the Ott-Sr. in wins (8), shutouts (1) and GAA (1,67) with the Pembroke Lumber Kings, 1905-06 ... Led the OPHL in wins (11) and GAA (4,35) with the Berlin Professionals, 1909-10 ... Led the PCHA in wins (9) and GAA (5,07) with the New Westminster Royals, 1911-12 ... Led the PCHA in wins (14), shutouts (1) and GAA (4,08) with the Vancouver Millionaires, 1914-15 ... Led the PCHA in shutouts (1) and GAA (3,05) with the Vancouver Millionaires, 1917-18 ... Led the PCHA in wins (12) and shutouts (3) with the Vancouver Millionaires, 1918-19 ... Led the PCHA in wins (12), shutouts (4) and GAA (2.82) with the Vancouver Millionaires, 1921-22 ... Led the PCHA in games played (30) and minutes played (1846) with the Vancouver Maroons, 1923-24 ... Led the PCHA in wins (16), shutouts (5) and GAA (2,33) with the Vancouver Maroons, 1922-23 ... Led the PCHA in GAA (2,63) with the Vancouver Maroons, 1923-24 ... Led the WHL in games played (30) with the Vancouver Maroons, 1925-26 ... First goalie of the Chicago Black history. During 1927-28 NHL season, became Black Hawks' coach.
Nickname: Rick, Rico Height: 5'11 Weight: 179 lbs Position: Left Wing Shoots: Left Date of Birth: July 26, 1951 Place of Birth: Verdun, Québec, Canada Date of Death: March 13, 2011
Stanley Cup Finalist (1975)
Canada Cup Gold Medal (1976)
NHL First All-Star Team (1974, 1975)
NHL Second All-Star Team (1976, 1977)
NHL All-Star Game MVP (1977)
Played in NHL All-Star Game (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978)
Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame (October 25th, 2005)
#7 retired by the Buffalo Sabres (November 15th, 1995)
1971-72: 6th position (RW)
1971-72: 4th position (LW)
1972-73: 5th position (LW)
1973-74: 1st position (LW)
1974-75: 8th position (RW)
1974-75: 1st position (LW)
1975-76: 2nd position (LW)
1976-77: 2nd position (LW)
1977-78: 7th position (LW)
1978-79: 12th position (LW)
1979-80: 8th position (LW)
Hart Memorial Trophy:
1973-74: 11th position (Phil Esposito) (1 point)
Lady Bing Trophy:
1973-74: 8th position (Johnny Bucyk) (17 points)
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Left-winger Rick Martin was a talented offensive player with speed and a lethal shot. He played nearly 700 games in the 70s and 80s, mostly with the Buffalo Sabres.
In 1971-72, Martin broke teammate Gilbert Perreault's NHL rookie record for goals by firing 44 of his own. A few months later he was picked as a reserve for Team Canada in the historic Summit Series versus the Soviet Union. Martin dipped slightly to 37 goals in 1972-73 but his defensive play improved and he helped Buffalo reach the playoffs in only its third year of existence. More importantly, he formed the dreaded "French Connection" line with Rene Robert and Perreault.
During the 1973-74 season, Martin scored 52 goals though the club sagged when Perreault broke his leg in mid-season.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Martin's slapshot was terrifying and struck fear in goalies everywhere.
Rick certainly was the big gun of the Sabres, and the entire NHL for that matter. His scoring resumé is impressive: 44, 37, 52, 52, 49, 36, 28, 32 and 45 goals in consecutive season. All in all Rick scored 384 goals in 685 games which makes him one of the most productive goal scorers per game in NHL history. He was also a four time NHL All-Star on the left wing.
Don't mistake Martin as a one trick pony. His two way game was always overshadowed and over criticized.
Hockey fans who remembered "Rico" can't argue the fact that he was one of hockey's deadliest snipers of all time.
-''I knew I could make the majors some day when I was 13 and I was playing in both bantam and midget leagues at the same time and I was the top scorer in both. I was shooting, shooting, shooting every day. But I liked other sports, too. I was just as good at golf and might have played that professionally. I really wanted to be an engineer. I never thought about playing pro until I was 18. I went to Sir George William University (later renamed Concordia University) in Montreal a year, but dropped out after my freshman year. The financial opportunities in pro hockey were too god for me to pass up.'' - Richard Martin
-''The only reason Punch teamed me with Gil is because Punch said I was the only one on the team at the time that could skate with him.'' - Richard Martin
-''I worked on the defensive part of my game for quite some time. I thought by the time Punch left the team (78-79) I was playing good two-way hockey for the team. But my critics didn't see it that way. I guess that I was never supposed to be in the mold of a two-way hockey player according to them.'' - Richard Martin
-''My chance had finally come to play. I finally realized how much pressure there was playing for your country. Being part of a winning team is something I'll always remember.'' - Richard Martin
-''He hit the blue-lline and he was going to find a way to put it in the net one way or another. He had this fire. Scoring was everything to him, he just lived and died for sticking the puck in the net. - Mike Robitaille, former teammate & broadcaster
-''His eyes lit up when he had those opportunities.'' - Mike Robitaille, former teammate & broadcaster
-''Martin hit me with a shot and I thought it had gone through my skin and stuck in my ribs. He's got a hard, heavy shot and I felt it for a month. It can carry your glove right off your hand.'' - Lyle Carter, former NHL goaltender
-''You make any mistake and he takes it. You let him see the slightest opening and he'll thread something through it.'' - Rogatien Vachon
-''He's got a hair-trigger on his shot. It's uncanny how quick he shoots that puck. It just touches his stick and it's flying at the net. Few are really quick and none are quicker.'' - Vic Stasiuk
- ''Bobby Hull may shoot harder than Rick, but Rick gets his shot away quicker and he's always on target with it.'' - Joe Crozier, former Sabres' Coach
- From the beginning of his career to his freak, knee incident on November 8, 1980 (In a game against the Washington Capitals, Martin was racing in on a breakaway. Capitals forward Ryan Walter managed to trip Martin and no penalty was called. Capitals goalie Mike Palmateer, already way out of his crease, knocked Martin back down by kicking his knee, causing severe cartilage damage that all but ended Martin's career), Martin played 681 of his team 737 regular season games, or 92.4% of his team games
- At 21 years of age, Richard Martin was part of the 1972 Summit Series Canadian Team
- Martin holds the Buffalo Sabres franchise career records for hat tricks, four-goal games, 40-goal seasons, consecutive 40-goal seasons, 50-goal seasons (tied with Danny Gare) and consecutive 50-goal seasons
- Martin died on March 13th, 2011, in Clarence, New York, from a heart attack while driving, a complication of hypertensive arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease
Right-winger Steve Larmer was a classy goal scorer who led by example on the ice during his 1,006 games in the NHL. His excellent on ice vision and quick hands made him a dangerous foe around the net as well as pesky defensive player.
Throughout the 1980s and early '90s, Larmer was a reliable goal scorer on the Hawks who could also check and provide leadership. In addition to his rookie year, he topped the 40-goal mark four more times.
One of the league's most durable competitors, the crafty forward set the Chicago "iron man" record by playing 884 consecutive games between October 6, 1982 and April 15, 1993.
The crafty forward was also an asset on the international stage. In 1991 he helped Canada win the silver medal at the World Championships and capture the fifth and last Canada Cup. Early in the 1993-94 season, he was traded to the Hartford Whalers. He was then flipped to the New York Rangers a few minutes later. The veteran notched 21 goals, killed penalties, and helped the Blueshirts win their first Stanley Cup since 1940. He brought his fine career to a close after playing 47 games for New York and helping the team reach the second round of the playoffs in 1995.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends
Larmer, a superb two-way forward, didn't miss a game in 11 years with Chicago and his 884 consecutive regular-season games is the third-longest durability streak in NHL history behind Doug Jarvis (964) and Garry Unger (914). Nine times in those 11 years, Larmer scored 30-plus goals and he broke Jim Pappin's club record for points by a right winger with 101 in 1990-91. The same year, he was honored as The Hockey News/Inside Hockey "Man of the Year" and his breakaway goal against Mike Richter was the decisive marker in Team Canada's victory over Team USA in the final of the Canada Cup tournament.
Injuries to the rugged Secord prevented that line from staying together much after that season, but Larmer was always a fixture on Savard's right wing. He played a two way role which complimented the offensive wizard Savard very well. He allowed Savard to "cheat" offensively by playing sound defense, yet at the same time provided Savard with the matching skill to finish off the scoring chances Savard created.
Larmer' was incredibly consistent over his years with the Hawks. He was a constant 35-40 goal scorer and 85-90 point man. And he never missed a game in a Hawks uniform.
You couldn’t really do anything to Savy or Larms because of Secord – he was always there protecting them. My role at that point was to go against the team’s top players, try to intimidate them, but you couldn’t do that to any of them, especially Larms. You could run him, slash him, hit him, but he just kept coming back at you and never stopped.
He played without fear, and you respect guys like that.
He was really a tough, consistent player at both ends of the ice. He was always a threat in the offensive zone, and you could always count on him to backcheck and play consistent defense. In a word, he was solid.
Everything about him was team-first, with no thought to his own stats or personal fame. The way he went about his business was professional. You were always going to get 110 percent out of him every shift, and that’s all you can ask from your teammates.
He was a big part of a lot of Stanley Cup-caliber teams, and he played an important role when the Rangers won in 1994.
Savard said his winning goal was made possible by Steve Larmer. "Larmer knocked (Bernie) Federko off the puck after going behind the net and getting it to Goulet," said Savard. "It shows how much team work pays off, especially down the stretch."
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 5/14/1990
Rookie Jeremy Roenick of the Blackhawks had two first-period goals, and Steve Larmer tied a Chicago playoff record with five points.
Larmer, in his option year, is sorely underpaid now at $265,000 a year. Compare that to other right wings, such as Philadelphia `s Rick Tocchet just signing for a deal that progresses from $800,000 to over $1 million in the fourth year of the contract, and Boston`s Cam Neely, starting at $750,000 and ending at $1 million in his fourth year.
``Tocchet has played six years to Larmer`s eight and averaged 60 points to Larmer`s 85,`` Kelly said, reading from charts he has prepared for the hearing.
``Stephane Richer makes $750,000 a year in Montreal. He`s averaged 33.25 goals in his five years to Larmer`s 37.2 goals. Cam Neely`s statistics aren`t as good as Larmer`s, either. Larmer`s worth $800,000, don`t you think?``
Kelly believes it`s significant that Larmer was voted club MVP by his teammates the last two seasons. ``The Hawks have to quit paying lip service to his leadership qualities and compensate him with the right salary.``
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 4/1/1991
Here's his list of the 10 toughest players to stop on a breakaway...
4. Steve Larmer, Chicago Blackhawks: You don't know where the puck is going.
Larmer and Hawks captain Dirk Graham are among the three finalists for the Selke Trophy. It goes to the league`s finest defensive forward.
Mike Keenan is among the three Coach of the Year finalists. Whether he wins or not Wednesday, he will definitely be named Coach of the Year at a Hockey News luncheon Thursday. At that event, Larmer will be honored as Man of the Year and Belfour as the top goalie and rookie.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 10/7/1991
Larmer, Chelios and Roenick are three of the premier two-way players in the league...
A story in the January Hockey Digest rates Jeremy Roenick and Steve Larmer as the fifth best forward pairing in the National Hockey League.
Vancouver coach/GM Pat Quinn said: ``I`m not taking anything away from Roenick, who is an outstanding young player, but I think the success of the unit is a real credit to Larmer. He seems to be able to position off those great puck carriers (Denis Savard before Roenick) and when they are ready to make the play Larmer is also ready.``
The four duos ranked ahead of Roenick-Larmer are Adam Oates-Brett Hull, St. Louis; Mario Lemieux-Kevin Stevens, Pittsburgh; Wayne Gretzky-Jari Kurri, Los Angeles; and Craig Janney-Cam Neely, Boston.
Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune - 4/22/1992
``It happens every game,`` Roenick said. ``You guys just don`t see it all the time. `Larms` is a perfectionist, and when things don`t go the way he thinks they should, he lets you know about it.``
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 2/21/1994
Two weeks later Smith added 32-year-old Steve Larmer, a skilled, hard-nosed forward ...
Originally Posted by New York Daily News - 3/4/1995
Steve Larmer might not have the superstar skills of Eric Lindros, or the exciting future of Mikael Renberg, or the daunting strength of John LeClair, but he has the game of hockey just about completely figured out. And last night, he put on a textbook display of how a complete forward plays it. Scoring two goals, assisting on a third and preventing two others with the diligent backchecking that is as much a part of his varied repertoire as his renowned durability and statistical consistency, Larmer lifted the surging Rangers to a crackling 5-3 victory over the up-and-coming Flyers. "Steve Larmer is closing in on 1,000 points for a lot of reasons," Rangers coach Colin Campbell said after Larmer reached 998 NHL points in his 981st game. "He's not a big man in what has become a big man's game now. But he still finds a way to get there and do his job.
"I think you've got to take as much pride in stopping goals as in scoring them," said Larmer. "Both those things can swing a game either way.
"Larms is consistent not only in the way he plays but in playing every night," Graves said. "I think, when he reaches 1,000 games, he'll only have missed 13 games three from injury and 10 from his holdout last year in Chicago. "When you talk about that in combination with his numbers being only two points away from 1,000, it speaks volumes about him as a player, and we all know what kind of person he is.
Originally Posted by New York Daily News - 3/9/1995
Steve Larmer was stuck at 998 points. There were 42 names on the list of people with 1,000 NHL points, but his name was on the way-longer list of those short of that figure. Then Larmer chopped at a puck in the slot; it glanced off Brian Noonan's skate, past Martin Brodeur's left foot, and the noise came back to the Garden at 18:10 of the second period. Nine-ninety-nine. At 4:50 of the third, Larmer just did one of his things in the corner, swirling around, keeping the puck alive so Petr Nedved could feed Noonan at Brodeur's right. One thousand. History.
"Last night, it was even money Larmer prevented at least as many as the four goals he helped the Rangers score in a 6-4 slugfest. He is one of the foremost two-way players in the league, even at 33.
At the Garden, quiet and uneasy not that much earlier, earplugs might have been helpful. The Devils may remember the noise. They heard it at the end of Game 7 last spring and they wanted, last night, to put it behind them. Steve Larmer would not let that happen. Not with time left on the clock and too much silence in the stands, not with a game on the line.
Originally Posted by New York Daily News - 3/10/1995
"When Larmer speaks, the words have impact. When he is silent, the noise can be deafening. He is a 5-11 player who thrives in a 6-2 hockey world. He is a left-hand shot who excels on right wing, even if that means doing everything backward. He is 33, yet there aren't many 23-year-olds outmuscling him. "A couple of games will go by, and he'll make a couple of mistakes," coach Colin Campbell says, "but I'm not going to go to Steve Larmer and say anything, because he's his own worst critic.
"Larmer may fret about a puck he did not win in a corner. Maybe a guy beat him back into the play from the sideboards and got off a good shot. Maybe he missed an empty net; he doesn't miss many. The thing he avoids best is typecasting. If Larmer were simply a standout defensive player, it would be easy to justify claims he gets overlooked as another "defensive guy who just doesn't get the credit he deserves.
"I'll tell you what else he does: He plays two-way hockey about as smart and about as well as it can be played. Assistant coach Dick Todd calls him "the consummate calm player under pressure," and that is about as close as anyone has come to making a label stick on Steve Larmer.
Originally Posted by New York Daily News - 4/21/1995
That Steve Larmer would win the race to the dump-in and then make the perfect pass out of the corner made perfect sense. Last night was Larmer's 1,000th game in the NHL, and you'd be hard-pressed to find an unintelligent performance out of his previous 999.
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook of Pro Hockey - 1984
Strong skater, good puckhandler with scoring touch who teamed well on line with Savard and Secord...a young player who knows how to check
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook of Pro Hockey - 1985
Good all-round player, the result of finishing his junior eligibility and playing season in AHL...
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook of Pro Hockey - 1987
Admonished himself after a disappointing season in 1985-86, calling it "one big nightmare of a year"...Claims he couldn't buy a goal, yet he scored 31 of them...
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook of Pro Hockey - 1988
The one who complements Denis Savard the most...Reacts smartly under hectic situations in the attacking zone...One-times shots out of the slot most effectively
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report - 1988-89
The Finesse Game Smarts, instincts, anticipation - all the mental abilities for goal scoring that can't be taught - are the highlights of Larmer's game. It's a game that's easily explained: Larmer gets into position to shoot the puck before the puck gets to him. His tremendous sense of the game puts him in a prime scoring area, and when the puck gets to him his excellent shot does the rest.
His skating is nothing to write home about, and it is his skating that keeps him hidden from the general public. Because he doesn't have blazing speed or exceptional agility - and because his center does - Larmer can get lost in the shuffle. Which is precisely what happens until he pops up in the middle of nowhere to score.
The Intangibles Larmer is the kind of player that even NHL coaches don't know how good he is - until they see him day in and day out. He'd carried a reputation for not being in good condition and he worked especially hard prior to last season's training camp to discard that label.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report - 1990-91
The Finesse Game
How does Larmer do that voodoo that he do so well? He's not an exceptional skater in terms of glamorous assets (speed, agility), but he does possess great strength and balance on his skates critical to his success because of the amount of work he does in the traffic areas near the net.
He does have excellent hands for receiving the puck, and he shoots very well off the pass. His hand skills would extend to puckhandling...but he shies away from handling the puck because his skating won't put him in the clear. When he does have the puck, Larmer passes extremely well, using his sense to find the openings.
Ah his sense. what Larmer does better than all but the NHL's best goal scorers is get into position and let the puck do the work...
Like Ole Man River, Larmer just keeps rolling along. His consistency is so great that you can actually forget he's playing and at what level he's performing.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report - 1991-92
The Finesse Game Steve Larmer is one of the best 'wrong-shooting' wings in the league...He also has the ability to accept a pass with his skates and kick it to his stick, which also comes in handy on the off-side.
He uses remarkable balance to slip checks; people get a piece of Larmer, but his vision of the ice allows him to see the man coming and roll with the impact.
He is especially skilled at deceiving goaltenders; they read the position of the puck on his stick and anticipate he will shoot toward one spot - only to have him open or close the face of his blade and shoot toward another hole.
A solid defensive player and a top penalty killer with great anticipation, Larmer reads the play, anticipates well and makes an extremely quick transition from defense to offense. This is especially true when he is killing penalties; Larmer intercepts a lot of passes and does smart things with them. He is always in an opponent's way, in position - between the Chicago goal and his man. Either his body or stick is always in the passing lane that forces the opposition to make a flip pass, which is much more difficult to one-time.
The Physical Game He scraps efficiently for the puck, weasels away with it, brings it toward the net and gets off a strong snap shot.
Larmer literally never takes a night off. And plays the same way every time, each game a virtual photocopy of its predecessor.
A durable, consistent player who works hard for his teammates, Larmer is the guy players listen to during the between-periods jaw sessions.
And he made it very clear, last season, that he was not a guy who simply lived off playing with Denis Savard; it is time, retroactively, to give him the credit he has deserved for years.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1992-1993
The Finesse Game Larmer is intelligent away from the puck, which makes him an asset as a penalty killer. He reads, anticipates, uses smart positioning of body and stick to close the passing lane, then steals the pass and slices seconds off the clock.
The Physical Game Larmer thrives in the corners and eagerly ties up a man so a teammate can get the puck. He dishes out solid, powerful hits and does a good job of making contact in the neutral zone. He is, simply, all-business, in the business of hockey, the business is contact and Larmer ably handles his share.
He also gets crunched a fair amount of the time because you can't always see who's coming when you're playing the off-wing. Larmer takes it in stride.
Larmer perseveres, gets the most out of himself. If he is stopped by six good saves on six good scoring chances, he will turn that seventh shot into a critical goal instead of saying, "It's not my night' and going home early. He shows up for work, he competes efficiently and productively, and he expects to win.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report - 1993-1994
The Finesse Game He has great one-step quickness, which he can turn into a rink-long rush, then stop and start and tie a defenseman into a knot. And he can do it all with a puck.
Larmer is honest offensively and reliable defensively. He is an intelligent player in all zones. His hand-eye-coordination is excellent. Not only is he quick enough to tip pucks, but he tips them as if he controls where they're going, which very few players can do.
The Physical Game Larmer can get feisty and has earned himself some room through his career. He plays ever game hard, checking in the corners and making take-out checks. It's amazing that someone who plays as energetically does, shift after shift, has played so long without missing a game due to injury.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report - 1994-95
The Finesse Game
Larmer is always around the front of the net, poaching, lurking, looking for a rebound to convert or a shot to tip.
Larmer doesn't look out of place whether he's on the top line with Mark Messier or on a checking line. Not the world's fastest skater nor the prettiest one, he gets where he has to go.
The Physical Game Larmer didn't just cruise through that 884-game streak. He is an extremely physical player, and is out and out fearless. He never hesitates to throw a check or take a hit. If he's the first man in the zone, he'll go to the boards against two opponents and scrap for the puck. If he's the puck carrier, Larmer has the hands for playmaking. If he's the third man, a superior hockey intellect always puts him in the perfect position to backcheck. He is one of the best in the game at cutting the rink in half lengthwise and blocking the cross-ice passes that most other players let go through.
He does an outstanding job of using his body to shield the puck. If you tie up his arms, he'll kick the puck. If you pin him on the boards, he'll wriggle his arms loose and get something done. He is relentless. He does not stop on offense or defense. If his second effort doesn't get the job done, he'll make a third try.
Larmer is tenacious, courageous and smart. He is utterly devoted to his game, his job and his team. Larmer could not care less about publicity, which probably cost him unfairly in voting for the Selke, Masterson, or even the Lady Byng. He could an annual candidate for any or all of those trophies.
Last edited by Bring Back Scuderi: 03-15-2013 at 03:25 AM.
- Member of the HHOF
- Stanley Cup (1970, 1972)
- Stanley Cup Finalist (1956, 1958, 1974, 1977)
- NHL 1st All-Star Team (1971)
- NHL 2nd All- Star Team (1968)
- Top-5 in NHL LW All- Star voting six other times (3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th, 5th, 5th) - only seasons with significant votes are counted
- Top-20 in Goals 11 Times (2nd, 6th, 9th, 9th, 9th, 11th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 15th, 17th)
- Top-20 in Assists 17 Times (3rd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 11th, 12th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 19th)
- Top-20 in Points 18 times (3rd, 7th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 9th, 11th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 13th, 14th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th)
- Top-10 in Playoff Goals 4 Times (1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th)
- Top-10 in Playoff Assists 4 Times (4th, 4th, 8th, 10th)
- Top-10 in Playoff Points 4 Times (3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th)
Basic Online Sources:
Originally Posted by legendsofhockey.net
A member of the so-called Uke Line in Boston with fellow Ukrainian-Canadians Bronco Horvath and Vic Stasiuk, Bucyk set an astounding number of Bruins records (some of which have now been surpassed By Ray Bourque) - for the most seasons (21), the most games (1,436), the most goals (545), the most assists (794) and the most points (1,339).
Bucyk's seasonal scoring totals got better as he got older. Unfortunately, his career almost ended when he was in his mid-30s because of a back injury. From then on he had to wear a harness, but he continued to play left wing well into his forties. It wasn't the only extra bit of equipment he wore, either. Bucyk also sported a special medallion for good luck that four of his teammates gave him after his 500th goal.
In 1976, as he neared the end of his playing career, Bucyk was aware that his age was showing. But it didn't seem to be affecting his game as he continued his streak of 10 straight seasons of more than 20 goals. Bucyk ended his career with the Bruins as the fourth-leading scorer in NHL history at the time.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Given lots of ice time, Bucyk immediately stepped in and established himself as the star the Bruins had hoped for. Starring on the "Uke Line" with fellow Ukrainian-descent players Vic Stasiuk and Bronco Horvath, a former junior teammate. For six years their line was as good as any in the National Hockey League, however team success would not follow. The Bruins only made the playoffs twice.
The 1960s were a bad time for the Bruins, finishing last overall in 5 consecutive seasons. Bucyk, much like Marcel Dionne with the L.A. Kings in the 1980s, was the lone star but he could not carry the team on his back despite physically being the biggest player in the league. Yet "The Chief," as he was tagged due to his appearing to be more Native Canadian than Ukrainian, garnered respect around the league. Johnny toiled with some awful teams in Boston through the 1960s. He was almost the only bright spot on a team that lacked a supporting cast for their star. He average an impressive 20 goals a year during that time. In fact Bucyk scored 20 or more goals in 16 of 23 years in the NHL.
By the late 1960s the Bruins fortunes began to change. Captain Bucyk witnessed the arrival of superstars like Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Gerry Cheevers and a strong supporting cast. Despite being the old man on the team, Bucyk remained a top player. That's in spite of the fact he mostly played on what was considered to be the Bruin's second line. When he was teamed with Fred Stanfield and Johnnie MacKenzie, Bucyk was at his most dangerous. He scored 51 goals as a 35 year old in 1970-71. The Bruins finally emerged as the class of the league, winning Stanley Cup championships in 1970 and 1972.
Bucyk continued to play an important role until his retirement in 1978, tallying some of his most productive statistical seasons. Though he retired with 556 goals and 1369 points, then the 4th highest total of all time, it should be noted Bucyk was far more than finesse player. He was tough as nails and a heavy body checker especially noted his devastating hip checks. Despite his aggressive physical play, he was a clean player, as evidenced by his twice being twice named as the NHL's most gentlemanly player.
Originally Posted by Detroit Red Wings Greatest Moments and Players
A left-wing par excellence...
Originally Posted by THN Top 100 NHL Players of All Time
"it breaks your heart when the club lets your buddies go," Bucyk once told the writer. "But you can't be soft about it. It's a hard game and a hard life and you do the best you can." Bucyk did the best he could for as long as he could and he was a champion on both counts. 21 Boston seasons, 545 goals, both club records.… Blessed with good size, Bucyk willed himself into being an NHL player. "It's an old saying, but if you want something badly enough, you'll get it," said Ken McCauley, one of Bucyk's minor hockey coaches. "Johnny Bucyk wanted it a little more than the next guy."… In Bucyk's first 10 years in Boston, he tasted defeat often and with unfailing reluctance. In 1967, at 32, Bucyk found himself on the winning club and posted his first 30 goal season. "Management had to weed out in trade-off the guys who couldn't stop thinking like losers, said Derek Sanderson. "They had to have guys who think of winning and nothing else. The chief always have that, never will lose it."… The offense of element of his game never changed. Bucyk, 6 foot one and 215 pounds, operated within spitting distance of the crease. "Johnny Bucyk," wrote Toronto Star columnist Milt Dunnell, "is as obvious as a goalpost." "I thought of myself as a spear carrier, not a star, really, "Bucyk once said. "I'm not a glamour guy and I've just gone along getting what I could out of every game. It has added up."… When his career ended at 43, Bucyk stood as the fourth leading NHL goalscorer and point producer of all time. The kid from Edmonton had proven again that the race to the Hall of Fame goes not always to the fastest, but to the steadiest in body and heart.
Originally Posted by Hockey All-Stars
in six different seasons, Johnny Bucyk came first or second in Lady Byng trophy voting. Yet despite his gentlemanly demeanor, Bucyk was also an important member of the "Big Bad Bruins". Veteran defenseman Alan Stanley saw the left-wingers other side. "The guy is deceptive, "he said. "he's much heavier than he looks, and he hits low, with his hip. Whenever he's on the ice, you can never afford to stand admiring your passes. Not the way Bucyk hits." Bucyk was named team captain for 1966-67, but after one season, he requested an A for assistant captain instead of the C. however, there was never any doubt that The Chief was a team leader. "Bucyk has been Boston's most talented individual over the past decade," wrote Dan Proudfoot in the Canadian magazine, "even though he's never been voted the seasons All-Star and he's never one of the trophy." That soon changed. Dusek notched his first 30 goal season in 1968 and added 39 assists to join the top 10 league scorers. He placed second in Lady Byng trophy voting and made the second All-Star team. "I always knew the wheel would turn some time," said Bucyk. "I knew we'd start winning one of the seasons."
Originally Posted by Years of Glory
a man who would become of Bruins legend and play for 21 seasons for the club… In Boston, Bucyk became one of the game's greatest left-wingers. He was a key man on three of Boston's best lines, first with Vic Stasiuk and Bronco Horvath on the Uke line, then with Murray Oliver and Tommy Williams on the BOW line, and later, with Fred Stanfield and Johnny McKenzie on Boston's Stanley Cup championship clubs of 1970 and 1972. Harry Sinden, general manager of the Bruins since 1972, rates Bucyk as "one of the best passing forwards of all-time."
Originally Posted by Jean Ratelle
John was the kind of player I didn't appreciate until I played on the same line with. When I played in New York, I knew he was good, but I didn't appreciate how much he did for the team on the ice with his knowledge and how much he did for the team off the ice.
Originally Posted by Tales from the Boston Bruins
Bucyk was a player who like the rough, tough style of hockey, the didn't really care for fighting. It only took him manhandling a few opponents who challenged him early in his career to drastically reduce the number of opponents who dared. Johnny was capable of delivering devastating but clean body checks, and the fact that he was able to routinely dish out such punishment yet still win the Lady Byng trophy twice is a testament to his cleanliness and sportsmanship.
Originally Posted by Searching for Bobby Orr
"hello, Mr. Bucyk," Orr said, a little startled at the sight. "It's Johnny or Chief," he six said, without getting up. "It's never Mr. Bucyk."
Originally Posted by Black and Gold – Four Decades of the Boston Bruins in Photographs
"Bronco said I took care of business. I would do all the running around, arranging things," Bucyk remembers. "I also scored goals, so he called me the chief. Hey, you get everything done, you're the chief, he said."
"Chief could do it all, on and off the ice." Says Bruins legend Milt Schmidt. "He had a great hip check. He was a solid defender. He reminded me of my teammate Woody Dumart in that area..."
"When you think of the Bruins, you think John Bucyk," says former Bruins captain Wayne Cashman. "He was a great leader, a leader on winning clubs, and he's a great guy on and off the ice. To this day, he helps Bruins players and ex-players."
Guy Lafleur recalls "Bucyk was late in his career when I played against him but he was strong, a scorer, and a real gentleman on the ice. He was very good with the younger guys. He'd help of the younger guys a lot, I remember."
"He was very sneaky," adds Pierre Bouchard. "You wouldn't chase him up and down the wing or anything; he'd just know where the puck was going to be."
Known for his hip checks and lower body strength… For the most part, rather than fists, Bucyk preferred to leave the physical impression with his hips. He had a devastating old-fashioned hip check… Even during the time when they didn't have a formal captain, chief was the unnamed, de facto captain...
Originally Posted by Hockey's Glory Days – Stories from the Original Six Era
during the 1968 season, the Boston Bruins held the night for one of their most popular players, veteran Left-winger Johnny Bucyk. Bucyk had played spectacular hockey for the Bruins for the past decade as a member of the uke line. Now it appeared as though he was beginning to lose his touch: his goal production had slipped to 18 in 1967. Perhaps he should consider retirement while he was still on top, but some observers. Bucyk was given a new car, and hope Ford Motor and other gifts, as well as much praise for serving the Bruins so well and for so long. At the end of the on ice ceremony, it seemed that everyone expected Bucyk to announce that he was in his final year of hockey.
But that was never his intention. At the age of 32, Bucyk had no plans to buy a rocking chair, to fish from his new boat or to what golf balls into the sunset. In 1968 he recorded a 30 goal season. Then, playing as if rejuvenated, he scored 24, 31 and, incredibly, 51 goals at the age of 35. He became the only player of that vintage to score 50 or more goals in a season, and in the 33 season since then, no one older has ever scored 50.
Even then, Bucyk gave no thought to retirement. Five years after that 51 goal campaign, he connected from 36 goals only when he turned 43, more than a decade after his night, did he decide it was time to step aside – after a "disappointing" season in which he scored a mere 20 goals. by that time, the car and the boats motor had long since worn out… When it comes to durability, the man they called the chief ranks right up there with Gordie Howe.
Originally Posted by The Rangers, the Bruins, and the End of an Era
Orland Kurtenbach: "… Another guy like that is Johnny Bucyk. When I played with Johnny in Boston, I would say the two or three years I was there, Johnny, when he was going, he was like 220 pounds, 6 foot, 6 foot one, he hit guys, put 'em out for the year, scored 20 goals in a month. He was fantastic. He played what? 22 years?
Originally Posted by Boston Bruins – Celebrating 75 Years
only a few truly gentlemanly players who disdained rough stuff won the Boston hearts. Hall of Famers Jean Ratelle and John Bucyk were among the best examples, both being near technically perfect players and so fundamentally sound they were in another orbit... Bucyk's niche can be undervalued. When he was at his physical peak he played for a lousy team. When the team got good, he was overshadowed by more explosive and colorful comrades. It's instructive that he could not have cared less. Among hockey people, Bucyk's stature is monumental. He lasted 23 seasons and 1540 games; only Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio played more. And yet stats don't do him justice either, for they don't convey how sound he was in every aspect of play at both ends of the ice while also being indestructible. Built like a minivan, the chief was more durable than any other player. The subtle works hockey people consider beautiful were his specialty: digging the puck from the corner, tipping shots at the goalmouth, feeding the point man on the power play, tying up an opponent, delivering thunderous body checks that were also exquisitely clean, which scholars say he did better than any other winger who ever played the game. That's so physical a player could win the lady Byng trophy for gentlemanly play twice was astounding as well is a measure of his perfection of basic technique.
Originally Posted by Kings of the Ice
the modesty is probably how Bucyk got the reputation as being one of the game's classic nice guys – and a hard worker to boot.… Bucyk seasonal scoring totals got better as he got older. Again, the modest Bucyk said it was all because he played on better teams. "Don't forget the quality of the team we had, with Orr and Esposito and the rest," he liked to remind people. But his fans argued that it was only because Bucyk picked up his game a notch when paired with those other high-quality players that the Bruins rose to into Stanley Cup victories.
In 1976, Bucyk was aware that his age was showing. But it didn't seem to be affecting his game as he continued his streak of 10 straight seasons of more than 20 goals. "It's hard to believe. I just keep going. I guess it helps that I'm a positional player, "he explained. "I skate up and down my wing, doing the most I can with the least amount of effort. I get tired at times and stuff to go on at times, especially by the end of the season. By the start of the new season, after a summer of rest, I'm ready to go again. I can still go – I got a good legs. I'm old enough to be a father to some of these kids, but if they call me pop, I'll lay one on them! I take the cuts and bruises in stride by now. But I've been lucky. It takes longer to recover from injuries than it used to. But if you're going to get goals, you got to get in where the action is."
Originally Posted by Who's Who in Hockey
John Bucyk, one of the most unobtrusive players on a strong and flashy Bruins squad, spanned two decades of Boston hockey history, performing his tasks on left wing through some of the best and worst years that team ever witnessed… It was Horvath who coined Bucyk's nickname,, the chief, after his straight ebony hair, swarthy complexion, and stoic visage... In 1959, Bucyk was so good at digging the puck out of the corners for linemate Horvath that bronco came within two points opening the scoring title, behind Bobby HUll... Bucyk life then became more about setting records well his more spectacular teammates, or and Esposito, broke bigger ones or more of them, leaving the chief in the shadows, which he seemed to prefer.
Originally Posted by Fischler's Hockey Encyclopedia
"I always work the corners and get the puck out," Bucyk explained. "You can't score from the corners. If you pass off and the other guy scores, what's the difference? A goal is a goal."
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
despite a lousy supporting cast, he managed to average more than 20 goals a season. It was said he could "mine the puck out of the crowd." His needle threading passes on the power play are the stuff of Beantown legend. The big, stocky winger earned a reputation for hanging tough around the enemy net. "Lady Byng or not, I never knew anyone who could hit a guy harder than chief, especially with a hip check," said teammate Bobby Orr.
Originally Posted by The Trail Of The Stanley Cup, Vol. 3
6 feet tall and weighing 215 pounds, Bucyk have the build of the defensemen but he was a forward and probably the biggest left-wing in the game. He was remarkably agile and fast for such a big man and his rotund figure was somewhat reminiscent of Didier Pitre, a speedy star of an earlier era. After a couple of years with Edmonton of the WHO, Bucyk joined Detroit shortly after the start of the 1956 season and, 20 years later was still out skating younger players… Although very potent offensively, the Uke Line was not the best back checking combination. In 1961, coach met did some juggling and tried Bucyk centering Stasiuk and Toppazzini with Horvath on other lines. By the next year, Horvath and Stasiuk had been traded and, Bucyk played with McKenney and Mohns... When expansion came, Bucyk was the only one of the old guard left but he would more than hold his own when Boston became a powerhouse.
Originally Posted by Bobby Orr and Big, Bad Bruins
thanks to Horvath, Bucyk was given an identity immediately. Bronco linked Bucyk start complexion without of some Indians he once seen and promptly knighted him "chief". Horvath also ladled several hundred excellent passes to Bucyk, who for the first time in his NHL life enjoyed a 20 goal season. Horvath was repaid by Bucyk's diligent "infighting", which produced loose pucks from the sideboards were angels fear to tread… The hitting has brought destruction to opponents for years and has also dented Bucyk's armor; more than 200 stitches punctured his anatomy. His most debilitating injury, however, was a slipped disc in his back.… His phlegmatic exterior – he's often related how nervous he is before again – has often led bring fans to believe that Bucyk doesn't care whether his team wins or loses and doesn't try hard enough. It is a mistaken impression that he was have had other big players whose loping style is deceiving. "Besides," Bucyk has replied in legitimate self-defense, "how many players are fired up all the time? Hull isn't. Frank Mahovlich isn't." … While Esposito and Orr were capturing the ink and climbed to second place in 1969, Bucyk was unobtrusively going about getting the job done. Despite threats of a back operation he showed up at camp and skated in uke line form. "From what I've seen," enthused Sinden, "he couldn't be playing any better. He skating hard, he's checking, he digging the puck out of the corners. He's doing everything a coach could ask of a man sometimes a lot more."
Originally Posted by Hockey In My Blood - Intro By Bobby Orr
John Bucyk: One of the Reasons for My Success
You don't feel nervous around chief. He makes you feel like you're one of the guys right away and it doesn't matter who you are. Rich or poor, great or not great, he's like that with everybody.
Chief won the Lady Byng trophy after the 1971 season and I'm sure a lot of people, when you say Lady Byng, think it's a sissy trophy, which is wrong. It's a trophy that given to the player who shows sportsmanship play, without taking penalties, and combines it with great ability. He deserved it. In fact I thought chief should've won it long before he did. It doesn't mean that Johnny Bucyk is tough. I've seen a lot of guys get hit by chief who probably thought they'd been run over by a truck. I don't think I've ever seen anybody who can hit guys with his back or his Like chief does. For anybody who's ever watched him, you know what I mean. I've seen hit players and they just don't get up, or they crawl to the bench, and it's always a clean check.
He isn't a spectacular player but he still fantastic. We joke with him a lot of the dressing room about his style of play. We tell him right to his face: "chief, rather than give you a breakaway we'd rather see you on the one on two or one on three any time." Don't laugh. I've seen chief go through places that are just unbelievable!
The way Johnny Bucyk shoots the puck is something else. Chief will never hurt anybody with shot. But in their close to the net, chief is deadly. During the 1971 season he had the most accurate shot, percentage-wise of shots taken in goals scored, in the entire NHL. On the power play he's always in there waiting for the right moment around the net. You always know where chief is going to be so you don't have to look up before shooting or passing. He plays positional hockey and still he's up-and-down his wing getting the job done.
Originally Posted by Hockey In My Blood – Preface by Russ Conway
when the Bruins win, and even on that rare but well remembered time when they lose, number nine somehow always sticks out in your mind. Without being spectacular, without the controversial, Johnny Bucyk gets the job done, and that's what counts.
Johnny Bucyk's play on the ice is consistently superb. He's not a fancy skater like Bobby Orr. He's not dazzling stick. He's not a rough, tough fighter like Keith Magnuson, but when you see use all of his 215 pounds crunching an opponent with an awesome hip or body check, you know he's solid.
Bucyk is a very important part of what has become the greatest power play team in the history of the NHL. He's the option player at left wing. Once the puck is worked up into the opponents and, the Bruins try to arrange it so the chief is open. Then he's got the option. He can either pass the puck behind the net to Johnny McKenzie on the right wing, passout Esposito in the slot, or to the left point. Many times he'll slide it out to Orr on the right point, a dangerous move, but Bucyk maneuvers it perfectly. The final option is to take the shot himself and he often does it 50 others are covered.
Originally Posted by Hockey In My Blood
some players just don't get along with others, but I can say as long as I've been in the NHL there isn't one player who might dislike or don't get along with. I don't hold any grudges. I feel that a lot of players who play cheap, dirty, rough type of hockey have to be that way. This is how they get the respect on the ice and this is why they make the various clubs. Take John Ferguson now retired, of the Montréal Canadiens. He was a good hockey player and a rough one. I didn't hold any grudges against him because I think he was an honest player. By that I mean he did his best to help Montréal. He didn't go out looking for trouble but when it came his way he would back away. I know I hit him a lot of times I got clean and fair and he never retaliated. He's that type of player. If you hit him hard but clean he wouldn't come after you, but if you gave him a butt end or speared him you're going to be in the middle of a fight.
I don't play cheap hockey. I've never played a dirty hockeygame. I know if somebody gives me cheap shots they are going to get back and they know it. Once in a while I won't do it legally, most of the time I'll be able to get back at somebody who has nailed me by catching him with his head down or something like that. You can give it back to somebody just as well equally as you can illegally. It may take a little longer but it's worth it. This is the way I've always played and this is why I think I've stayed out of a lot of trouble. Nobody's ever scored from the penalty box.
Of course, one of the biggest thrills of my career has just been playing hockey for the Boston Bruins organization. Being a captain on the Bruins gives you little something extra to be proud of and it means a lot to me. It also gives you added responsibilities. Sometimes a player isn't quite up for a game or things aren't going quite right so usually go over and give him a little tap on the behind. I say something like "come on now, you got to pick up a little because you're not checking", and that usually gives little boost to get them thinking more about the game. The players respect me on the Bruins. They know I've seen a little bit of hockey throughout my career.
... The opening game of the season came, and we were playing for keeps. I was like a new man. One of my first shifts out I drew a 5 min. major penalty. I had been hitting everybody in sight. It was against the Chicago Blackhawks and I really caught Gus Mortson and drove him into the boards. I saw him coming around the neck, he was a defenseman, and I hit him so hard that he literally bounced off the boards like a basketball. He accidentally cut his head on the board so I ended up going off for 5 min. for drawing blood.
... I was never a big fighter but I'll always remember my first battle as a Bruin. It was one of those out and out fist flying Pier 7 brawls. It was a Saturday afternoon game in Boston, televised nationally. I had the fight, a real beauty, with Claude Laforge of the Detroit Red Wings. Don Simmons was playing for us as goalie and it all started over him. He went down and made a save near our net. He was holding the puck, waiting for whistle, and Laforge came in. He was trying to break the puck loosened belt Donnie hard on the back. I moved in and bent down to see if Don was all right and all of a sudden I was belted with a stick over the back of my shoulders. I quickly spun around and there was Laforge. The idea of hitting me with a stick when my back was turned really set me off. I grabbed him and really socked him. I was much heavier and stronger than he was so there wasn't much he could do. I just kept swinging.
Bronco Horvath gave me the nickname chief when we were playing together and Edmonton because I used to dig the puck out of the corner so well and feed it back to him at center. We used to call bronco "the Col." because he parked himself in front of the net and hollered at me to go in the corner and dig the puck. So one day somebody mentioned to the Bronco and he acted like a chief bossing the two Indians around on his line. Bronco told the fellow Johnny Bucyk was the chief because I was the guy who used to sneak into the corners and lead the attack to get the puck. Bronco said I use my stick like a Tomahawk to steal the puck. Of course I've got high cheekbones and I do resemble an Indian in that way I'm also dark complexioned. This worked into the nickname that stuck ever since.
A captain has a lot of off the ice responsibilities. If a relative of a player or friend of the team passed away or there is a special function connected with the team, the captain orders the flowers and make sure they get there. Another job with the Capt. is to help out the rookies. It takes quite a bit of time, especially at training camp. When a rookie comes up it is the captain's responsibility to help them find a house and get settled. It is the captain's job to make sure the rookies have transportation and this usually means setting up some deal. You've got to make sure rookie player, or a veteran was introduced into town, gets to know his way around. It's also the Capt.'s duty to make sure the new player develops a good attitude... By finishing in the top 10 or top 15 in getting the goals I got, I don't think I took as much abuse from the fans are some of the others did during the dark days. I always gave my best even though we didn't win that often.
... My type of hockey isn't the mister nice guy style either. I believe in the rough style of hockey but at the same time try everything that's possible to stay out of that penalty box. I'm out on the ice with the feeling that if I go to the penalty box it had better be for good reason. I remember one time during the 1971 season when one of my teammates, suddenly stopped chasing the puck and went after a player on the other team. He helped him and ended up fighting. The two went off for 5 min. apiece. My teammate ended up with a 10 min. misconduct and we ended up a man short for the hooking plus the fact that we didn't have his services for most of the period. After the game I asked him why he took the hooking penalty. "Because he drove me into the boards of the body check," he said. I asked him why he got into the fight. "Because he said something I didn't like." Why the misconduct? "I swore at the referee." I just shook my head. Three great answers which took as much brains to come up with of the five-year-old. His temper got away from him and it ended up with everybody on the team paying for it, skating in checking harder on the ice while he was in the penalty box.
There are number of times during the season when a player would give me a hard check, or hook me, or cross checked me but I don't turn around and belt him. I play a rugged game, too. I wait and wait and eventually I get my chance to get back at the player who uses a little dirty stuff. That one time comes up, maybe it's in the same game or maybe it's in another game a month or two later, when that same player will have his head down just for a split second. That's all it takes. I love catching opposing players with their heads down and those body checks that I throw are perfectly legal. In keeping my temper in doing it this way I stay on the ice, don't put the team shorthanded situation, and have the chance of helping out and even scoring the winning goal.
By taking that extra stride into a player who has fired you up, it makes all the difference in the world. He knows he's been hit, you get your revenge, and 99/100 times there's no whistle from the referee. When you're over 200 pounds like I am, you can get the job done without fighting. A body checker will help the team in the long run a lot more than a fist fighter. A body checker continuously takes more out of the opposition. He give the opposition a constant physical beating but does it in a rough style of legal hockey. I won the Lady Byng trophy for the 1971 season but I was no kitten on the ice. I body checked every time I had the opportunity.
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1974
Like Old Man River, he just keeps rolling along... "He's an amazing athlete," says Bobby Orr... Big left wing excels in corners.
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1976
Harry Sinden, managing director of the Bruins, calls him "The greatest left winger of the past 15 years, after Bobby Hull."
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1978
In spite of back problem last year which affected a leg, he scored no diminutive scoring touch with 20 goals in 49 gams... Has reputation as Canadien-killer because, during career, has enjoyed some of his best nights against Habs... well-liked and tremendously respected on and off the ice.
Interesting Newspaper Clippings:
Seems Bucyk had a different nickname before the chief
Originally Posted by Eugene register guard, March 18, 1957
John "The Beast" Bucyk…
It's unclear what made him unique, but Milt Schmidt seemed to think Bucyk could play either side just as well:
Originally Posted by the telegraph, March 22, 1958
Schmidt is toying with the idea of putting Bucyk on right wing… With an eye toward improving the lines scoring punch… "I I think Bucyk can play right wing because his style is a little different from that of the average wing."
There was never any doubt who the star of the Uke Line was - although he was not as consistent as some other stars:
Originally Posted by Montréal Gazette, February 8, 1960
somebody ventured the opinion that the key to the line is Vic Stasiuk. He seems to be the guy who goes into the corners and digs the puck out for bronco Horvath. "You're wrong there," broke in Lynn Patrick. "The key man on the line is Bucyk. When he's playing well the line plays well. But he doesn't always play well."
"What's the matter with him? Is he the moody type?"
"No, I wouldn't call him moody," replied Lynn. "It's just that he appears to be distracted at times and doesn't always concentrate on hockey. Sometimes it looks as if he's thinking about some movie he saw that of the game he's playing in."
A clipping about Bucyk's new found goalscoring prowess, his chemistry with his 2nd (but least-famous) longtime line, and some constructive criticism from his coach:
Originally Posted by Windsor Star, February 1, 1963
unlike the guy in the cigarette commercial, big, mild-mannered Johnny Bucyk of the Boston Bruins is shooting more now and enjoying it more. Once the target of scornful calls of quote shoot, shoot," from Boston fans, the 27-year-old left winger suddenly has become the big man for the Bruins.… "I'm making a more concerted effort to shoot more this season," says Bucyk. "And it's paying off. I've got to give a lot of credit to Murray Oliver and Tom Williams on my line. We work well together and they're always hollering at me to shoot when I'm in a good position."
"John is greatly improved this year," says Bruins coach Milt Schmidt. "He's working a lot harder, he's on a line that fits in with each other like a jigsaw puzzle. He has a good knack of being in scoring position a lot, he strong and he has a good shot." If the likable, 203 pound Edmonton native has any weaknesses they are a tendency to be a bit below par on defensive play and failure to utilize his strength as much as he might, says Schmidt. "But offensively, I couldn't ask anymore from John," he said. "His biggest improvement has been, I think, overcoming a tendency towards laziness in practice. Before, he never went all out in a practice session now he puts out 100% and this is carrying over to his game performances."
Imlach was very interested in Bucyk in 1965 but couldn't get him. Then the next season he no longer wanted him. Too old.
Originally Posted by Windsor Star, November 16, 1965
Imlach Monday mentioned a three-year building program for the Maple leafs. "I'm not interested in a player over 27 years old," he said. "Maybe I would have won the cup last season if I could've got Johnny Bucyk from Boston. But I don't want Bucyk anymore. It's going to take three or four seasons for our kids to develop and by that time when we're ready to move, a fellow like Bucyk will be finished."
A quote about Bucyk's low profile:
Originally Posted by Edmonton Journal, February 28, 1968
the sporting public, generally speaking, doesn't recognize Bucyk because he is colorless. He is a fine hockey player; coldly efficient around the opponents nets, but he isn't a crowd-rouser.
A testament to his longevity. This is a full 5 years before Bucyk retired:
Originally Posted by Edmonton Journal, March 23, 1973
the years have stopped for John Bucyk. Now 38, the kid who grew up on the corner ranks of Edmonton, can still score goals. He is not on his last legs.
MOST TIMES TOP-15 IN ASSISTS:
Gordie Howe - 23
Wayne Gretzky - 19
Alex Delvecchio - 14 Johnny Bucyk - 13
Jean Beliveau - 13
Stan Mikita - 13
Adam Oates - 13
Ron Francis - 13
Last edited by JFA87-66-99: 02-14-2013 at 07:55 PM.
NHL Points – 13th(1927), 13th(1928)
NHL Goals – 12th(1928), 18th(1927)
NHL Assists – 8th(1927)
“He dazzled west coast audiences with his trademark blazing speed and unparalleled agility.” – Greatest Hockey Legends
“...Although he rivaled the great Cyclone Taylor as the best in the West, He has for some reason drifted into obscurity.” – Ultimate Hockey
“He was perhaps the greatest center we ever had on the coast; an equal favorite with Fred (Cyclone) Taylor in the mind of the masses. I always held to the theory that Taylor was the best all-rounder, but many differed.” – Undrafted Player
“An offensive genius, he was a clean and gentlemanly player and a fine defensive forward who was often asked to play rover so he could poke-check opposing rushers to frustration.” – Ultimate Hockey
“He was a great crowd pleaser. He was clean, splendidly courageous, a happy player with a stylish way of going. He was sensational in making quick breakaways. He was a sure shot alone with the goalie. He could handle his stick and was almost as good a hook-check as Frank Nighbor. He was one of those who helped make pro hockey a great game. He was outstanding in every way” – Undrafted Player
"...Superstar rover Mickey Mackay put in his usual fabulous effort, his hook-checks very much in evidence. Mackay was a marked man throughout the contest..." - Utimate Hockey
“He was a master at handling the wood and rubber. Some say he was the single biggest hockey influence on the great Frank Nighbor. He was also a very effective poke-checker.” – Ultimate Hockey
“A marvelous skater and goal scorer, he was blessed with instinct and timing on the ice that was matched by few contemporaries. A star rover and center in a number of leagues during his career, he was particularly successful in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, where his offensive heroics made him one of the Vancouver Millionaires' most popular stars.” – Legends of Hockey
"Seattle won the game 5-2, after Vancouver's top forward line combo -- minus MacKay, of course -- was "bungled miserably rush after rush."....The Mackay-less Vancouver squad was wiped out by the Metropolitans in a two-game, total-goals playoff series..." -- Ultimate Hockey
"A gifted scorer, MacKay led the PCHA in goals three times, assists twice, and was the league's all-time leading scorer upon its demise. Lester Patrick called him the greatest centre to ever play in the coast league; he was named to the PCHA or WCHL first team all-star on seven occasions, and to the second team three times. MacKay won the Stanley Cup twice during his career: first with the Millionaires in 1915 and later with the Bruins in 1929. He is honoured by the British Columbia Hockey Hall of Fame, and in 1952, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame." -- Wikipedia
Originally Posted by LOH A stellar two-way defenseman, Herb Gardiner didn't make a name for himself until relatively late in his career. He was proficient at the amateur level in western Canada before traveling east to play in the NHL. Gardiner was a rock on the defense corps of every team he played on, and he was also respected for his consistent play through each season. During the late 1920s, he formed one of hockey's most successful defensive duos with Sylvio Mantha.
He and Dutton provided stellar work in their own end against the likes of superstars George Hay, Dick Irvin and Barney Stanley. Gardiner scored a key goal in the first match at Regina, which ended in a 2-2 deadlock. The Tigers clinched the total-goals series with a 2-0 win on home ice.
Despite the Tigers' setback, Gardiner made a strong impression on the Montreal management. The most notable feature of the contest from a Calgary perspective was that defensemen Dutton and Gardiner gave no ground to Sprague Cleghorn and Billy Coutu on the winning side.
Recalling his excellent play two years earlier, the Canadiens invited Gardiner to training camp in 1926. The experienced defender represented a vital addition to the Montreal defensive brigade when he joined the team that year. His play was so impressive with the rebuilding Montreal franchise that he was awarded the Hart Trophy as league MVP - no small achievement, as he beat out New York Rangers superstar Bill Cook to cop the award. During this time, he formed one the NHL's most proficient duos on defense with Sylvio Mantha.
As both a defenseman and coach, [B]Gardiner always put his keen understanding of the game to excellent use. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette, 26 March 1927
Gardiner's selection as the winner of the Hart Trophy comes as no surprise. This veteran from the prairie, who came to Canadiens this season from Calgary, has been credited with much of the success that the team has attained. He not only has proved a star at left defence, but he has travelled practically 60 minutes in all games; has taken few penalties, but above all, has been the inspiration to the team from the first. He generals them on the ice and when they show signs of crumbling, he always cuts loose with speedy hockey which serves to rally his teammates. His generalship has been the big factor in Canadiens' triumphs and his example as a clean player has been a benefit to the club.
Originally Posted by Canadiens.com
A surveyor by trade, Herb Gardiner was also one of hockey’s greats of his time. Born in Winnipeg in 1891, he was a dominant amateur defenseman for many years before turning pro with the Calgary Tigers of the West Coast Hockey League at the age of 29.
The transition was a successful one and Gardiner continued his stellar play, recognized as one of the top rearguards in the circuit. The Tigers travelled east in 1924 to challenge for the Stanley Cup but lost to the Canadiens, who invited Gardiner to their training camp in the fall of 1926 when the PCHL ceased operations.
He accepted and spent the next three years in the NHL, closing out his career as a member of the Canadiens. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound blue-liner was one of the bigger men in the game and among the strongest. Playing in an era that featured a far more brutal form of play than is accepted today, Gardiner was in his element when the going got rough.
As he had done in the past, the 35-year-old Gardiner quickly established himself as one of the NHL’s most skilled and consistent blue-liners. His smooth play and sound work in his own end was complemented by defense partner Sylvio Mantha’s playmaking and utterly fearless approach to the game, making the duo one of the top defensive pairings in the game.
Originally Posted by The Vancouver Sun, 2 Feb 1937
He stressed science more than bruising brawn. In his heyday he was considered one of the cleverest and smoothest defencemen in the league.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald, 27 August 1928
As a good sport, a clever player and a clean athlete, Herb has no superior in the ice game, but it is very questionable if he would enjoy much success as a manager.
In the first place, Gardiner has always been a good fellow with his mates, and this is never a good feature when it comes to management.
Gardiner is one of those 60-minute players seldom found in the sporting ranks today, and and when a man keys himself up for this strenuous task he can ill afford to squander his energy in the consuming flame of worry.
And Gardiner is that sort of fellow who would show so much concern in the affairs of his team that he would wear down under the strain of worry. He is a top notch player, but in the role of manager, it is safe to predict that his efficiency would be materially reduced.
True, he has few equals as player, but he hasn't experimented as strategian.
Originally Posted by [B]The Morning Leader, 3 Jan 1923[B]
There is some talk of Dutton and Benson teaming up together on the defence, and Herb Gardiner, the playing manager, taking up the centre ice position.
It is figured that Gardiner, with his bullet shot, would greatly strengthen the Tigers' attack. Playing forward will be nothing new to Gardiner, as he only shifted back to the defence two or three years ago. He is aggressive, a fast skater, and a good shot, and would be able to rush through for a lot of rebounds.
Originally Posted by [B]Gettysburg Times, 12 Jan 1972[B]
Gardiner, a suburban Upper Darby resident, gained an "Iron Man" reputation after playing every minute of 48-game season with the Montreal Canadiens in 1926.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald, 5 Mar 1925
No finer sporting spirit could have been evinced than that of Herb Gardiner, playing manager of the club, who left a sick bed to battle the way through to the leadership with his mates. It was a great risk, but the stalwart defence man took it, and the example of his pluck was no doubt reflected on the rest of the club.
Originally Posted by Edmonton Journal, 7 Feb 1920
...Mickey O'Leary, taking a smart pass from Herb Gardiner...
Herb Gardiner and Arbour made history for themselves, plugging through with great strength on the rushes and battering the Eskimos down on heavy attacks.
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen, 21 Feb 1927
There is no question about the forward line of the Flying Frenchmen. Morenz, Joliat, Gagne and Lepine form a quartet of super-stars and on the other end the Canadiens are not lacking in high-class material. George Hainsworth in the nets is one of the best of net guardinas and if there is a better defenceman in hockey than Herb Gardiner, he is not visible to the naked eye.
Originally Posted by The Calgary Daily Herald, 15 Dec 1925
Herb Gardiner was his old foxy self and broke up countless rushes.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette, 28 Dec 1927
Gardiner pulled off the most sensational rush of the night, and Connell kicked out his vicious drive.
Stalwart Tiger defense man, who started his team on its way to victory by scoring the first goal.” – The Calgary Daily Herald – March 17, 1924
“… Along with Herb Gardiner, the speedy captain of the Calgary Wanderers….” – Edmonton Journal – January 21, 1920
“Gardiner raced end to end after MacKay went down, and was clean through, but _______ tripped him….
Herb Gardiner dashed down alone on a nice effort and showed some classy stickhandling, but his shot was blocked by _______.” – The Calgary Daily Herald – March 13, 1924
“__________ and Herb Gardiner are the two foxiest defenders in the game.” – The Vancouver Sun – January 14, 1924
“The Tiger boss is certain of Harb Gardiner, the stalwart defence star who is regarded as the finest man at his position in hockey today.” – The Calgary Daily Herald – February 2, 1924
Gardiner was the first of 12 Canadiens to win the award, though there's no record of his being given the key to the city of Montreal in tribute, as was Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin in Washington last week for his winning the 2008 Hart.
No defenceman had won the trophy before Gardiner; in its three-year history, it had gone to forwards Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators, Billy Burch of the Hamilton Tigers and the Montreal Maroons' Nels Stewart.
Born May 10, 1891, in Winnipeg, Gardiner turned pro in 1918 with the Calgary Wanderers. From 1921-26, he sparkled with the Calgary Tigers of the Western Canada Hockey League, paired on the blue line with future Hall of Famer, NHL president and Stanley Cup trustee Mervyn (Red) Dutton.
A legendsofhockey.net biography recalls Gardiner's impressive play and key goal in the 1924 WCHL championship final against Regina, a two-game, 4-2 total-goals victory over an opponent that featured George Hay, Dick Irvin and Barney Stanley.
The Tigers were little match for the Canadiens in their challenge for the 1924 Stanley Cup, outgunned in Montreal by the speedy Howie Morenz and Aurel Joliat. But not escaping the Canadiens' attention was the fact that their stars Sprague Cleghorn and Billy Coutu were bottled up by the Tigers' strong defence.
At 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, he was paired with Sylvio Mantha on the blue line as the Canadiens beat the crosstown Maroons in the playoffs' first round before being eliminated by eventual Stanley Cup champion Ottawa.
It was a different hockey landscape than that where Gardiner had first played seriously in a senior Winnipeg circuit in 1908; a year later, his team won the city's prestigious banker's-league title.
But Gardiner didn't see a future in hockey and quit the game for four years.
In his 2003 book Players, historian Andrew Podnieks writes that Gardiner toiled as a surveyor for Canadian Pacific Railways before joining the Canadian army in 1915, medically discharged after three years of war service overseas. He returned home to settle in Calgary, a surveyor by summer and hockey player in the winter, finally challenging for the Stanley Cup with the Tigers.
Bill Cook of the New York Rangers seemed the obvious choice for the 1926-27 Hart Trophy, with a league-leading 33 goals in 44 games. But the award went instead to Gardiner, whose six goals and six assists were outweighed by his leadership and rock-solid defensive work.
Gardiner remained in Montreal for 1927-28, scoring four times and assisting on three through the full 44-game slate. The playoffs were another disappointment - the Canadiens knocked out Ottawa before being ousted by the Maroons, Gardiner and former Tigers teammate Red Dutton (who extracted a few of Morenz's teeth with a butt-end) jousting throughout the latter two-game series.
The Habs loaned Gardiner to Chicago as playing coach the following season, though his record behind the bench was less than distinguished - in 44 games, Chicago won only seven, scored only 33 goals and surrendered 85, all league highs, missing the playoffs by 25 points as arguably the worst offensive club in NHL history.
The Canadiens recalled him for the playoffs, but Boston swept Montreal in three games and Gardiner's playing days were done. Sold to the Bruins, he wound up in Philadelphia, coaching minor-pro teams with some success through 1946.
Gardiner was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958, 14 years before his death at age 80. He had played just 108 regular-season NHL games and nine in the playoffs, having brought with him the brilliant talent he had showcased out west. Perhaps it was Gardiner's Hart Trophy that swung the Hall vote. Maybe it was that he was a dominant blue-liner across the land; that he'd supported the league-leading 14 shutouts of Canadiens goaltender George Hainsworth in 1926-27.
But there is little debate about his worthiness, which put him atop an illustrious list of Canadiens who have won the Hart a total of 16 times.
He isn't the most famous Canadien celebrated on the historic trophy. But on a team steeped in history, Herb Gardiner achieved something none other can claim: he was the first among many Montreal legends voted the best in his league, so immortalized by the engraver's pen.
1926-27 NHL Hart Memorial Trophy
7th in defenseman scoring in 1926-27
Last edited by JFA87-66-99: 02-15-2013 at 07:48 AM.
Points on his team (in a 6-team era): 1st (1947), 1stT (1950), 3rd (1948), 5th (1946), 5th (1949)
Awarded a "Retroactive Selke" by Ultimate Hockey for 1948-49
As a defensive forward and pest
Legends of Hockey.net
Tony Leswick was a skilled forward who could play both wings during his twelve years in the league. He was a gritty competitor despite his 5'7" size and notched two 20-goal seasons. His skill and savvy helped the Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1952, 1954, and 1955.
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 3
Among the outstanding players who possessed great skill as skaters, stickhandlers and backcheckers but were not likely candidates for the Lady Byng trophy, Tony Leswick is an example. This little player was rated as one of the best defensive forwards in the league. He played either wing and was a great penalty killer. He was a fast skater and full of hustle and spirit. His other attributes were anathema to the opposition. He kept up a constant chatter of deprecatory remarks concerning the antecedents or ability of opposing wings, interspersed with elbow action or buttends to goad them into penalties. This cost him time in the penalty box but he was usually successful in having one of the opposition stars for company... Jack Adams had observed his fine checking and scrappy play, and made a deal to get him... Retired in 1958. Some of his opponents must have sighed with relief at his departure.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Anthony Leswick proved himself as one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL. Although a natural left-flanker, he could play both sides and was a bullish penalty killer - that is, if he wasn't in the box himself. He was a swift, strong skater who always hustled. He had a knack for getting his team going with a big hit on an opposing player... He was a decent stickhandler as well as a heads-up passer. Pound-for-pound, #8 was one of the best fighters in the league and was not one to shy away from a punching bee. "I did a little bit of fighting," he once confessed. "I could take care of myself. I wasn't afraid."
Originally Posted by What It Means To Be a Red Wing: Metro Prystai
Marty Pavelich and Tony Leswick killed a lot of penalties together. Those guys checked the hell out of Montreal in 1952.
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide OF Everyone Who Has Ever Played In the NHL
He was a tough customer who had lengthy and frequent battles with, among others, Maurice Richard. Despite his size and style of play, he missed exactly 2 games in his 11 full seasons in the NHL. He hit hard and took penalties, but he was also expert as a penalty killer. He was a goal scorer, passer, and hero all rolled into one.
Originally Posted by Gordie: A Hockey Legend
A quick, mouthy, frenetic hustler who could check, score, and fight, and who fit in ideally on the close-checking second line...a money player who always outdid himself in the playoffs...
One of the highlights of game 5, was the fighting effort of little Tony Leswick. At one point, Leswick was dumped in the corner by rugged Butch Bouchard; as he was scrambling to his feet, Leswick had his legs pulled out from under him by Jean Beliveau; falling flat on his face, Leswick leaped to his feet yet again, literally hopping mad, and swung his stick at Beliveau, who swung his own right back, then punched Leswick hard in the face. Undeterred, Leswick took possession and roared back with a furious rush on goal; he was only foiled at the last moment by ******'s great save.
Originally Posted by Open Ice: The Tim Horton Story Tony Leswick used to know how to trip Tim without getting a penalty when he was winding up. He used to hit Tim right between the top of the skate and the bottom of the shinpad, and dump him. It would infuriate him, and one day Tim couldn't take it any longer. They got in a battle and Tim had both his knees on Tony's arms, pinning him to the ice."
Originally Posted by Who’s Who in Hockey
…a small bulldog-type forward…
Originally Posted by Frank Boucher
Tony was a combative little bugger. He played a lot bigger than his size.
Originally Posted by Vic Stasiuk
Tony was one of the toughest little guys who ever played.
Originally Posted by Bill Chadwick
Leswick could bring out the worst in a saint.
Against Maurice Richard
Greatest Hockey Legends.com
Perhaps his favorite target was Montreal's fiery Rocket Richard.
Leswick knew how to get under Richard's skin. Richard, who had a short fuse to start with, would often blow up at Leswick and assaulted him. Often Leswick would take Richard's shot and write it off as "taking one for the team." Richard would be banished to the penalty box while the Rangers would go on the powerplay. Other times Leswick was more than willing to answer Richard's battle cry, and the two would brawl it out. Both players were banished to the box, which of course would have to be a small victory for the Rangers.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Leswick's favourite target was Maurice Richard. Leswick would be all over the Rocket for an entire game, mixing a shower of insults with a flurry of butt-ends and slashes. Leswick was especially skilled at goading his targets into penalties. Referee Bill Chadwick was once quoted as saying that Leswick "could bring out the worst in a saint!"
Originally Posted by The Canadian Hockey Atlas
Once Bodychecked Maurice Richard so hard that the Montreal Canadiens forward brought down the protective shield above the boards.
Against Gordie Howe
Greatest Hockey Legends.com
The only player perhaps more dangerous to tick off was Gordie Howe - not only arguably the greatest player of all time, but perhaps the greatest fighter of all time too. Leswick fearlessly needled Mr. Hockey with great success. Like Richard, no one had as much success keeping Howe off of his game as Leswick did.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
It was in shadowing the league's best players, however, that Leswick earned his stripes... some say Adams traded for Leswick so his boy, Gordie Howe, would not have to put up with the little NY Ranger pest anymore.
Clutch playoff scorer
Originally Posted by Doug Vaughan
Regardless of how the New York Rangers finally make out in their current Stanley Cup playoff series with the Red Wings, at least two members of the club have shown enough to assure themselves of fat contracts next season. They are Chuck Rayner and Tony (The Dynamite Kid) Leswick.
These two, more than any of the rest of the surprising Ranger team, have been responsible for making things much tougher than expected for the heavily favored Detroit club.
(description of Rayner's play)
As for the hard-going Leswick, who stands only five feet five and one half inches tall and belongs to the category of hockey player known as rink rat... he is a tough, all-over-the-ice player who has hit a new peak against the Red Wings.
Probably the fastest skater on either club, Tough Tony never quits driving. He has probably spent more time digging out the puck back of the Detroit goal than any member of the New York team. No member of the rugged Detroit team has been too big or too strong for him to tackle. Every one of the 2g and 3a he is credited with to date have been earned the hard way.
Incidentally, when he first joined the Rangers the big criticism of his play was his lack of ability to finish a shot when within firing range of an enemy goal. The same cannot be said of him now. Give him the opportunity and he very definitely knows what to do with the puck. Although on the shady side of 30, he still appears to have several years of Big Time hockey left in his wiry and chunky frame.