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ATD 2013 Lineup Assassination Thread - Jim Robson Division

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Old
04-13-2013, 11:01 AM
  #101
Hawkey Town 18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sturminator View Post
It's not specifically about Johnson, but more the fact that this tactic was practiced leaguewide before 1934. From what I just posted on Gorman:

20.3.1929 - The Morning Leader:



Here we see that even Gorman's own teams were playing this way prior to his invention of forechecking. What this means is that defensemen in the pre-forechecking era would have had much easier passes to clear the zone than those who came after them, because they didn't have to worry about an opposing defenseman picking them off. There were also no icing rules when Johnson played, so again, clearing the zone would have been vastly easier for defensemen of his generation.
Just because these guys didn't have to deal with forechecking or defensemen pinching doesn't mean they couldn't do it at all. The way I see it, there's no way to tell how good guys from this generation would be under that kind of pressure. In cases like this I think it means that you cannot say those guys would be great puckmovers under pressure, because they have not proven it, but it doesn't mean they're a complete zero either. Doesn't this happen all the time when trying to put players of the past in today's game? We don't assume pre-1950's goalies can't stop slapshots because they never faced them, or that pre-forward pass guys can't pass forward at all, or that old-time players can't play a short shift game, and so on.

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Old
04-13-2013, 01:52 PM
  #102
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Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Just because these guys didn't have to deal with forechecking or defensemen pinching doesn't mean they couldn't do it at all.
I don't believe in punishing pre-modern players because of the era in which they competed, but I also don't believe in rewarding them for their obscurity by whitewashing their faults when they are obvious. Giving older players the benefit of the doubt does not mean just assigning them skills they clearly didn't have. Someone being unfair would say that Johnson sucked and would never have been an all-star in the modern game because he couldn't move the puck, so we should heavily discount his career. It's the kind of argument a guy like Bilros would make, and I find this line of thinking moronic.

I consider Johnson to be just as good as his career achievements suggest he was, but I also think that his skills were balanced in a way which was appropriate for a defensive defenseman of his era - that is, his defense was better and his offense worse than one would normally expect from a player of his stature. The problem with your 1st pairing is not that they suck. They are low-end in terms of skill, but that's not necessarily a big deal, and you knew that when you invested lower picks in these players. The problem here is that their skillsets aren't all that well matched. Both players on your top pairing are weak offensively in their roles, and I think it will hurt you against teams that can exploit that weakness.

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04-14-2013, 08:38 AM
  #103
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To add to the Gorman/Ottawa confusion.

23.1.1931 - Ottawa Citizen:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...n+ottawa&hl=en

Quote:
There is a prospective purchaser for the Ottawa Hockey Club ready to go into action. Tommy Gorman, former owner of the Senators, who piloted the team to two of the greatest championships in the history of professional hockey, when he invaded Pacific coast territory and landed titles in 1921 and again in 1923, had advised the Citizen that he will consider the purchase of the local club "at a reasonable figure."
So here is the Ottawa Citizen giving a different two (but not three) year combination of Sens Cup winners with which Gorman seems to have played a leading role. But what does it mean to "pilot" a team? Gorman is also called the "pilot" of the Hawks in 1934 here:

20.4.1934 - The Milwaukee Journal:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...n+ottawa&hl=en

Quote:
Gorman Quits as Hawk Pilot

Tom Gorman, who piloted the Blackhawks from last place in the American division of the National league to the world championship in two years, advised Maj. McLaughlin of his retirement by long distance telephone Friday from Ottawa
...but the problem is that Gorman was both coach and general manager of the Hawks, as he was during his time with the Amerks and Maroons, as well. In fact, during this period, there was rarely a division of labor between these two roles among hockey franchises. I found an article from some time later in which "pilot" is used unambiguously to refer to the coach:

1.9.1953 - Saskatoon Star Phoenix:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...n+ottawa&hl=en

Quote:
Broda Pilots Ottawa Club

Big Turk Broda, lining up his second season of hockey since retiring as netminder for Toronto Maple Leafs, inked a one-year contract as coach of Ottawa Senators of the Quebec Senior Hockey League Monday.

...

Broda won't play for Ottawa, Gorman said. His contract, for an undisclosed sum, covers coaching duties only.
So it does appear that "piloting" a team refers to coaching it. But where does this get us? We know that Pete Green was also a coach of those 1920, 1921 and 1923 Sens teams. For the 1921 team, there are quotes provided in the Green bio about his role with the team in 1921, and I've found clear evidence from other sources about his role in 1920 and 1923. Here is 1920:

18.12.1920 - Ottawa Citizen:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...dq=green&hl=en

Quote:
Coach Green Driving Ottawas Hard for Opening Struggle Against Toronto Wednesday

With the opening of the championship season of the National Hockey League just a few days away - the first match being scheduled for Wednesday next when St. Patricks come to Ottawa, and Canadiens invade Hamilton - Coach Green is driving his Senators hard. Thursday's workout was a grueling one and arrangements have been made by the Ottawas to turn out again this evening at 7 o'clock.
So it sounds like Green was definitely the guy who ran the practices. Here's a bit from 1923:

8.3.1923 - Ottawa Citizen:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...rontpage&hl=en

Quote:
Ottawa's reserve supply was far superior to that of the Habitants and Coach Green handled the Red, White and Black team in faultless style.
So it sounds like Green was also the guy who was responsible for switching out the players (though there were no proper line changes at the time).

---------------------------------------------------

So where does this leave us? Green was definitely coaching those Sens teams in some large capacity, but there are multiple sources now which suggest that Gorman "piloted" the team and/or "sat behind the bench" in 1923 and 1920 and/or 1921. Still a bit of a jumble, and that's before we begin to grapple with Eddie Gerard's role in the team leadership structure.

I get the feeling that Pete Green was the team's official coach for basically the whole period excepting 1923-24 when he was clearly not with the team, and Gorman and Gerard split the duties. Gorman probably had an active leadership role behind the scenes for the duration of his time in Ottawa, and seems to have had some direct role in the coaching of the team beyond the one season, but it's still unclear just what that role really was. And then there's Gerard, who was the on-ice general, and is often credited with being important to the "organization of the plays" during the course of games.

I doubt things will get clearer than that.

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04-14-2013, 03:27 PM
  #104
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Pilot definitely seems to refer to coaching. I found it a few times looking up Hart and once with Barney Stanley who was often a player-coach.

Providence News - 2/16/1928
...Cecil Hart, the successful pilot of the Canadien team, generally conceded to be the greatest pilot of the classiest combination ever put together.

The Montreal Gazette - 8/24/1932
In piloting the Flying Frenchmen to Stanley Cup victories in 1930 and 1931, he employed the strategy of a five-forward attack and did much to popularize such spectacular tactics.

The Calgary Daily Herald - 2/15/1933
Out of hockey for a season after he resigned as pilot of the Canadiens

The Calgary Daily Herald - 1/3/1922
Barney Stanley, the sterling skipper of the Bengals, along with Brandow and Herb Gardiner, were the oustanding satellites for the invaders. The pilot is one of the smartest players in the league...

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Old
04-15-2013, 04:15 AM
  #105
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Originally Posted by Bring Back Scuderi View Post
Pilot definitely seems to refer to coaching. I found it a few times looking up Hart and once with Barney Stanley who was often a player-coach.

Providence News - 2/16/1928
...Cecil Hart, the successful pilot of the Canadien team, generally conceded to be the greatest pilot of the classiest combination ever put together.

The Montreal Gazette - 8/24/1932
In piloting the Flying Frenchmen to Stanley Cup victories in 1930 and 1931, he employed the strategy of a five-forward attack and did much to popularize such spectacular tactics.

The Calgary Daily Herald - 2/15/1933
Out of hockey for a season after he resigned as pilot of the Canadiens

The Calgary Daily Herald - 1/3/1922
Barney Stanley, the sterling skipper of the Bengals, along with Brandow and Herb Gardiner, were the oustanding satellites for the invaders. The pilot is one of the smartest players in the league...
Thanks, BBS. Yes, I think at this point we have enough evidence to say that Gorman was in some capacity a coach of those dynasty Sens teams. I believe the Ottawa Citizen source is obviously more reliable than the Habs site in regards to Gorman's role with the team, and the years they give are also contiguous, which makes sense. The Citizen doesn't mention 1920 in the quote about Gorman piloting the team, so it appears that he became active coaching those Sens starting in 1921, was head coach for one season when Green was gone, and remained in some coaching capacity until he left the team in 1925 to coach the expansion New York Americans.

What portion of the credit for that Sens dynasty (or at least the 1921-25 period of it) should go to Gorman is obviously an open question. The "piloted" quote seems to suggest that Gorman was the leader of those 1921 and 1923 teams, but it is also possible, maybe even likely, that he learned defensive system hockey first from Green, who was already a very experienced coach before Gorman was ever affiliated with the Sens. We know more about those Sens teams than we did before, but we still shouldn't jump to conclusions about the specifics. In any case, Gorman's role with that Ottawa team adds meaningfully to his career achievements. At this point, I think there is a good argument that Tommy Gorman was Lester Patrick's equal among coaches of the pre-war era. He seems to be the OG of defensive system coaches.

Considering his work in Ottawa and New York, Gorman looks to have been at least partly responsible for the development and perfection of the heavily defensive tactics of the 20's/early 30's era, which is really interesting, because he was also responsible for their eventual destruction. It appears that the man had a huge influence on the early development of hockey.


Last edited by Sturminator: 04-15-2013 at 04:23 AM.
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Old
04-15-2013, 01:18 PM
  #106
TheDevilMadeMe
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That's a lot of great stuff on Gorman, but I think comparing him to Lester Patrick is a major oversell. Patrick had success for a variety of teams over the course of decades; even if you give Gorman partial credit for coaching Ottawa, his coaching longevity still isn't all that great. Gorman also spent a good part of his career in the 1930s, where the media voted for "all star coaches" - Lester Patrick absolutely owned the first team, and 2nd Team seemed to switch between Dick Irvin, Cecil Hart, and Tommy Gorman, with Irvin having it for several years in the early 30s. I realize the media often doesn't know crap about coaching, but in a much smaller league with more access to the teams, I'd trust the All-Star votes for coaching in the 1930s and early 40s a lot more than the modern Jack Adam voting.

Anyway, I think Tommy Gorman is in the conversation for the second best pre-World War 2 coach after Lester Patrick, which is definitely a big rise in his stock. Hap Day and Dick Irvin are also in that conversation though.

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Old
04-16-2013, 03:01 AM
  #107
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
That's a lot of great stuff on Gorman, but I think comparing him to Lester Patrick is a major oversell. Patrick had success for a variety of teams over the course of decades; even if you give Gorman partial credit for coaching Ottawa, his coaching longevity still isn't all that great. Gorman also spent a good part of his career in the 1930s, where the media voted for "all star coaches" - Lester Patrick absolutely owned the first team, and 2nd Team seemed to switch between Dick Irvin, Cecil Hart, and Tommy Gorman, with Irvin having it for several years in the early 30s. I realize the media often doesn't know crap about coaching, but in a much smaller league with more access to the teams, I'd trust the All-Star votes for coaching in the 1930s and early 40s a lot more than the modern Jack Adam voting.

Anyway, I think Tommy Gorman is in the conversation for the second best pre-World War 2 coach after Lester Patrick, which is definitely a big rise in his stock. Hap Day and Dick Irvin are also in that conversation though.
Gorman definitely doesn't have Patrick's versatility as a coach, so that makes him somewhat less valuable from an ATD perspective. In terms of the quality of his coaching, his innovation and his ability to work with his players, I think they are actually very close. The all-star coach voting most likely didn't take playoffs into account, where Gorman's teams excelled.

At any rate, if you think Gorman belongs in the category of guys like Hap Day, Fred Shero, Dick Irvin, etc., I don't have a problem with that.

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