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Strongest players in the history of the game, within the context of the game

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08-09-2013, 11:59 PM
  #1
Big Phil
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Strongest players in the history of the game, within the context of the game

I'm not talking about Rod BrindAmour or Jiri Slegr for example. Both players are names off the top of my head who could lift insane amounts of weight. Both were bodybuilders in a way. But on the ice there were many players stronger than BrindAmour who used it to their advantage. The criteria is the usual. Not just a big guy, but someone who could overpower you in the slot or the corners. A combination of all around strength (size, stay on their feet, in the corners, etc.)I'll name a couple to start the ball rolling:

Tim Horton - You get the feeling he could clear the front of the net regardless of who was standing there. Commonly thought to be the strongest player of his generation

Mark Messier - There were bigger guys, but how often did you ever see the Moose falling on the ice? It almost never happened it seemed. Strong on his feet, lethal in the corners, great upper body strength and impossible to check.

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08-10-2013, 12:27 AM
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VanIslander
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Gordie Howe was top-5 in NHL scoring for 20 consecutive seasons and was heralded as the strongest physically, not to mention his defensive abilities, discipline and dominance whenever on the ice in all game situations, including significant penalty kill time. Throughout his career he was the fiercest on the ice but the most gentlemanly off the ice. He was the model of a hockey god.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty Bowman
I pick Gordie as my #1 all-time player. He played the longest. He was the toughest player of his era. He was the best offensive player and defensively he was used in all situations. He could play center, right wing, and defense. He could shoot right and he could shoot left. If you could make a mold for a hockey player it would be him. I never thought there was another player close to him."
Quote:
“When I think about players, I consider three ingredients: the head, heart and the feet,” Bowman said. “Some players don’t have any of those, and some players have one or two. But Gordie had all three in high dimensions.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Kram, Sports Illustrated, 1967
Despite an even temperament and a real distaste for combat, there is a part of Howe that is calculatingly and primitively savage. He is a punishing artist with a hockey stick, slashing, spearing, tripping and high-sticking his way to a comparative degree of solitude on the ice."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
In 1957, XXXX knocked Howe down with vicious intent. Howe had to be helped to the bench. 10 seasons later in 1967, XXXX(the same player) was playing for Oakland and was defending Howe on a one-on-one rush. Howe took a shot and the follow through of the stick caught XXXX in the throat. XXXX was down on the ice bleeding. Howe mercilessly stood over him and said "Now we're even."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Ronberg, Sports Illustrated, 1968
The aura of health is obvious even to those in the stands, but what they go to see is Howe the goal scorer, flicking his huge wrists with a silken strength, a mongoose quickness. Chicago's XXXXX is famous for a slap shot that has been timed at 118.3 mph. Howe's wrist shot—he doesn't waste time winding up—sizzles in at 114.2 mph. It is the game's most accurate shot, and Howe, the only truly ambidextrous NHL player, can score with equal facility from either side of his body. He uses a 21-ounce stick of Canadian ash with only a slight bend in the blade and an extremely stiff handle. "Give Gordie a stick with an ordinary handle," says Trainer Lefty Wilson, "and he'll break it like a toothpick. He is so strong that when he shoots, that handle bends like a banana."

"Nobody could take better care of himself than Gordie does," says Oakland's XXXXXXX, once a Red Wing roommate of Howe's. "He doesn't smoke, and he won't drink anything stronger than beer. He knows exactly what his body needs and he makes sure it gets it. For Gordie it's always the same: go to bed, get up for the team meeting at noon, eat at 2 o'clock, take a walk, then back to bed until time for the bus to the game."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Lindsay
There are many good players in this league, some truly great ones. In thirteen years, I’ve managed to play against all of them at one time or another. Why then do I pick Gordie as the top?

Well, let me put it this way. In my opinion, Gordie Howe just does things so much better than any other player. On offense, there are few who can come close to him, let alone surpass him. That big guy can do more things with a stick and puck than any man I’ve ever seen. And that shot of his! I’ll tell you, he gets that thing away faster than most people can blink their eyes.

He’s as great a playmaker as he is a scorer, and he’s the second highest scorer in hockey history. Defensively, he’s top too. With that long skating stride of his and his long reach, Gord’s a pretty hard man to get around. He can check with the best of them and his covers don’t score many goals, when he’s on the ice.

Just name me one other team which, like the Red Wings, uses its number one star to kill penalties. Our coach, Jimmy Skinner, often uses Gord in this role, because of his great defensive ability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Howe didn't just survive, he was dominant - on the scoring lists, in battles in the corners, on game-winning goals and when the year-end awards were handed out. He was a big man, though by modern standards no behemoth, but what set him apart was his incredible strength.

Though other superstars could be deemed somewhat better scorers, tougher fighters or faster skaters, no player has approached Gordie Howe's sustained level of excellence. Incredibly, Gordie finished in the top 5 in NHL scoring for 20 straight seasons. To endure and excel, Howe needed a unique set of qualities, both physical and mental, and the foundations for his astonishing career were laid in him from an early age.
Here he is as a Bantam 14-year-old player:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
In his prime in the 1950s and 1960s he was routinely described by coaches as the smartest player, the finest passer, the best playmaker and the most unstoppable puck carrier in the game. XXXXX, an opponent of Howe back in the early days, understatedly remarked "Gordie plays a funny kind of game; he doesn't let anyone else touch the puck!"


Last edited by VanIslander: 08-10-2013 at 12:35 AM.
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Old
08-10-2013, 12:54 AM
  #3
billybudd
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Georges Laraque (not much of a player, but I don't think I ever saw him get outmuscled on a cycle), Douglas Murray, Evgeni Artyukin. Jagr, Lindros.

Mario Lemieux. Neely, Stevens (Scott and Kevin). Robinson was a monster on the wall.

Bertuzzi never really got moved from in front of the net back when he was a dominant forward, but whether that was because he was strong or because he had a reputation for loose screws in his head (which I remember hearing about back when he was an Islander), I can't say.

The Cairns/Chara pairing had two players who, at the time, couldn't skate, but I doubt I saw anyone trying to be a net front presence against them for long. Chris Therien was pretty strong against the wall.

Seem to remember a couple Whaler D who were pretty strong guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of long-time Whalers tend to just blend together into the same guy in my brain and I get them confused.

TC is right that Jiri Slegr was built like powerlifter, but for whatever reason, he didn't make that strength a part of his game, so that's a very good example of the type of guy he doesn't want listed.

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08-10-2013, 12:57 AM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Earl Seibert and Babe Siebert are probably at the top of the pre-WW2 guys

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08-10-2013, 01:14 AM
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Eisen
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Kasparaitis. Hardly any puck skill, but strong.

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08-10-2013, 02:25 AM
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Terry Yake
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datsyuk

not the biggest guy but he's easily one of the strongest players in the game today in terms of upper body strength. you'd think even with his magical dekes and dangles that he'd be easy to knock off the puck since he's on the smaller side whereas it's the complete opposite

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08-10-2013, 05:32 AM
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Canadiens1958
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Henri Richard

Henri Richard strength,endurance, balance and leverage. Could fend off 200+ defensemen, giving away upwards of six inches while controlling the puck. Very noticeable in playoff OT.

Tie Domi, very strong but minimal hockey skills.

Larry Robinson, Bobby Hull, Marcel Bonin farmboy strength.

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08-10-2013, 06:39 AM
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Jagr was the hardest to knock off the puck I've ever seen.

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08-10-2013, 06:46 AM
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i never seen a better board player offensively than jagr. defensively i'd say mr. bourque.

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08-10-2013, 07:00 AM
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Ola
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Suprised that nobody has mentioned Forsberg.

I guess guys like Dats and Jagr and co can be mentioned, but Forsberg was something else. Ask Derian Hatcher...

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08-10-2013, 08:08 AM
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Ragulin

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08-10-2013, 08:28 AM
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Shakey Rustie
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Bobby Hull was pretty jacked from working the farm every year:





Edit:
And I totally misread, oops!

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08-10-2013, 08:39 AM
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DisgruntledGoat
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Gordie Howe and Tim Horton own this category, no doubt.

I remember reading a magazine article around Lindros' draft, where Howe was introduced to Eric. They shook hands and, afterwards, Lindros looks at the reporter and goes, 'that guy just about broke my hand!'

And 88 wasn't bad himself. I can't find it on youtube, but I remember one time when he went wide on Adam Foote, and just one-armed Foote out of the way to get around him. Among the most impressive power-moves I've ever seen.

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08-10-2013, 09:08 AM
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When Gordie Howe made his NHL debut, a reporter caught up with his parents to ask their reaction. His mother said something like, "I know he'll do well, but I hope he doesn't get in any fights." The reporter asked, "Are you afraid for him in a fight?" And his dear mother said, "Oh, goodness no, I'm afraid for the other guy! Gordon has a blow that could kill a man!"

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08-10-2013, 10:07 AM
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DisgruntledGoat
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I'll throw out an unheralded guy who always impressed me in this category: Jason Smith.

He was slow-footed and didn't always read the play that well, but he had a patented one-hand-to-the-chest shove that he'd do in the corners or along the boards that set many a 220+ pounder on their butt.

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08-10-2013, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola View Post
Suprised that nobody has mentioned Forsberg.

I guess guys like Dats and Jagr and co can be mentioned, but Forsberg was something else. Ask Derian Hatcher...
That's who I was thinking. Man could that guy protect the puck! It was awesome to see him behind the opposite team's net circling with it.

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08-10-2013, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Yake View Post
datsyuk

not the biggest guy but he's easily one of the strongest players in the game today in terms of upper body strength. you'd think even with his magical dekes and dangles that he'd be easy to knock off the puck since he's on the smaller side whereas it's the complete opposite
Come on dude we're talking about strongest players in hockey history. Pavel Datsyuk has absolutely no right to even be mentioned here. Not even close.

I'd think Messier is up there. He was a total monster. Bobby Hull i think deserves a mention, he was strong as an ox in his prime days. Guy was just shredded.

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08-10-2013, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola View Post
Suprised that nobody has mentioned Forsberg.

I guess guys like Dats and Jagr and co can be mentioned, but Forsberg was something else. Ask Derian Hatcher...
I remember in the 1996 playoffs against Detroit, in Game 1 Keith Primeau hacked Forsberg across the back of his ankle. Primeau's stick broke. And it wasn't some composite either; Primeau used either Bauer or Vic wood sticks at the time.

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08-10-2013, 11:56 AM
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Terry Yake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VoicexOfxReason View Post
Come on dude we're talking about strongest players in hockey history. Pavel Datsyuk has absolutely no right to even be mentioned here. Not even close.

I'd think Messier is up there. He was a total monster. Bobby Hull i think deserves a mention, he was strong as an ox in his prime days. Guy was just shredded.
have you actually paid any attention to datsyuk when he has the puck?

yeah guys like messier and hull were strong but who said you have to be shredded in order to be strong? datsyuk is stronger than alot of current nhl'ers and he's not ripped at all. i'm not saying he's the strongest player there ever was but i'd definitely put him on a list like that along with guys like messier, hall, and howe

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08-10-2013, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Yake View Post
have you actually paid any attention to datsyuk when he has the puck?

yeah guys like messier and hull were strong but who said you have to be shredded in order to be strong? datsyuk is stronger than alot of current nhl'ers and he's not ripped at all. i'm not saying he's the strongest player there ever was but i'd definitely put him on a list like that along with guys like messier, hall, and howe
Topic title is "Strongest players in the history of the game, within the context of the game," not "guys who are stronger than a lot of current NHL'ers who aren't ripped like bodybuilders."

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08-10-2013, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
Ragulin
Ragulin = immovable object.

In 1972 he matched up very well against a prime Esposito despite being a run-down shell of his former shelf.

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08-10-2013, 01:31 PM
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Doug Murray.

I agree with the Datsyuk call, if this was about pound for pound. Otherwise, he's just pretty strong, stronger than most think.

Malakhov.

Forsberg.

Ragulin got eaten up by Espo, on the scoresheet, anyways.

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08-10-2013, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tombombadil View Post
Doug Murray.

I agree with the Datsyuk call, if this was about pound for pound. Otherwise, he's just pretty strong, stronger than most think.

Malakhov.

Forsberg.

Ragulin got eaten up by Espo, on the scoresheet, anyways.
Considering his age, I'd say old man Ragulin held the NHL leading scorer in check relatively well.

Espo stats:
when Ragulin didn't play: 2gp, 6pts
when Ragulin played: 6gp, 7pts

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08-10-2013, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tombombadil View Post
I agree with the Datsyuk call, if this was about pound for pound. Otherwise, he's just pretty strong, stronger than most think.
Oh absolutely. The smaller guys are deceptively strong as generally their a lot faster and will use body angulation, leverage using the energy from another player or even inanimate objects like the boards or their sticks in over-powering much larger & stronger players. Henri Richard was a master at that. Leaning at extreme angles into a much bigger & one would think stronger opponent but within that sweet spot where that advantage is negated, speed creating its own force & strength playing a lot larger than he actually is in feet & inches. One arm holding the guy at bay, one arm & hand grasping his stick in telescope, feeding off the energy while gliding in, one handed one armed backhander top shelf. Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Gretzky, Dastyuk of course, Theo Fleury, lots of them big & small using such techniques. It also conserves ones energy ouput as your actually using your opponents strength against him. Anyone who's ever moved a piano, large piece of furniture, a VW sized boulder from a beach or whatever and been shorthanded would understand such physics. Pretty straightforward really. Common sense.

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08-10-2013, 03:49 PM
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ToddRundgren
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Yake View Post
have you actually paid any attention to datsyuk when he has the puck?

yeah guys like messier and hull were strong but who said you have to be shredded in order to be strong? datsyuk is stronger than alot of current nhl'ers and he's not ripped at all. i'm not saying he's the strongest player there ever was but i'd definitely put him on a list like that along with guys like messier, hall, and howe
Who pays attention to a guy when he actually has the puck?

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