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Frank Nighbor

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09-29-2013, 10:35 PM
  #26
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
considering their offensive rankings come out about the same after Sturm's exercise, it would be safe to say clarke is the better offensive player because his finishes are more modern in a bigger talent pool.

BUT, there are two caveats to this. One, Clarke's rankings don't include all the best in the world at the time. It likely doesn't threaten his two 2nds, but it certainly would drop his other finishes down a peg or two if you imagine the whole world was in the NHL like it has been post-93. (which is what Sturm's exercise has already attempted to do for Nighbor). Second, Nighbor was more of a playmaker than a goalscorer - IIRC, the second-most prolific of his era, a good deal behind Taylor but also a good deal ahead of Mickey MacKay, which is where the pack begins. In a league where assists were credited 1.6-1.7 times per goal (like Clarke played in), Nighbor's points finishes would have been better too. Indeed, they have almost an identical range of top 2, 5, 10, 15, and 20 finishes. Nighbor's are 2-5-7-8-11 and Clarke's are 2-5-9-9-10. The real difference is in their goals finishes: Nighbor's are 1-4-6-7-8, Clarke's are 0-0-0-2-3.

So, before concluding Clarke is definitely better offensively I'd want to make an attempt at a couple more adjustments to make it fairer for Nighbor.
for the play maker caveat, Taylor had many more assists in the 2 seasons he and ?Frank played together, not sure of all of the details but what you say is generally true play makers weren't as recognized back then and goal scorers were considered more "important"

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09-29-2013, 10:51 PM
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. . . except he didn't. Same PPG in 79,
Big ned was still 5 years older and scored 38 goals to Calrke's 16 that year, both in 80 GP


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marginally better in 80 (0.03, in fact).
Big Ned was still 5 years older and scored 74 points to Clarke's 69 and for goals it was 35-12

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And by the start of the 1979 season, Clarke had (by my count) played in 805 high-level games. Nedomansky in 733, largely in the less physically demanding Czech league. Which one of these players was really, 'older' in 1979?
Obviously when we say older we should disregard the 5 year difference and instead use your subjective one?

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Your conclusions are a real stretch, even for this, 'integrated league' theory.
Big Ned is hardly the best non Canadian that could have been in a fully integrated league but he is an example at least in terms of offence.

Using your evaluation we can see why Clarke can get over rated at times here, what's next that he really was better than Orr in those 2 Hart years?

frank should be ranked close to Clarke but both can be ranked outside of the top 10 IMO.

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09-29-2013, 10:54 PM
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for the play maker caveat, Taylor had many more assists in the 2 seasons he and ?Frank played together, not sure of all of the details but what you say is generally true play makers weren't as recognized back then and goal scorers were considered more "important"
This also goes back to what Dennis Bonvie says, but I think that in a case like this, where the statistics aren't reliably recorded (in this case any stat other than goals wasn't reliably recorded), the best thing to do is to look at what people who saw these guys played thought. And every bit of evidence I've seen from people who saw them play places Nighbor above Lalonde. Cyclone Taylor is a tougher comparison because he spent his prime out west, but Lalonde and Nighbor played in the same league. Yet:

1) The MacLean's "all-time All-Star Team" put together by a list of hockey heavyweights in 1925 listed Nighbor as their 1st Team AS over Lalonde (the list was criticized as having a major Eastern bias, but that shouldn't affect Nighbor vs Lalonde)

2) In 1950, the Canadian Press picked the best hockey player of the past 50 years, and Howie Morenz won in a landslide. Maurice Richard (only 5 or 6 years into his career), Cyclone Taylor, and Frank Nighbor were the only other players to receive multiple votes.

3) Nighbor and Taylor were inducted into the HHOF in 1947 as the first living players of their generation to be enshrined. (The 1945 class was composed entirely of deceased players). Lalonde had to wait until 1950 to be enshrined.

4) I've seen multiple newspaper articles from the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s about the best player or best center of all-time, and Nighbor's name is much more prominent than Lalonde's - there seems to have been a minority opinion among the "experts" than Nighbor was even better than Morenz (though it seems the majority would still take Morenz).

What is the primary evidence in favor of Lalonde over Nighbor?

1) The THN Top 100 list from 1998 made by people who didn't see either of them play? I think that list is a fairly credible list of what the hockey establishment thought of players they saw,* but none of them saw hockey as far back as the 1920s. Even Milt Dunnell, the oldest member of the panel, only went back to the 1930s.

*at least the top 50 of the list; I find spots 51-100 dubious due to the methodology used.

2) Goal scoring stats from The Trail, which clearly show Lalonde was a better goal scorer. (No argument there - Lalonde was definitely a better goal scorer).

Is there more? I have never read The Trail, other than the excerpts that have been posted on hockey message boards (mostly this one).

It's taken me a long time to come around on Nighbor vs Lalonde, but at this point, IMO the evidence that I have seen at least, is too much to ignore.


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09-29-2013, 10:59 PM
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Somewhat so, probably. (To be clear, forward passing was allowed in the neutral zone for the majority of Nighbor's prime, but wasn't allowed in the offensive zone).

But still, the NHL was very inconsistent in recording assists through the 1930s and early 1940s, well after the forward pass was allowed in all three zones. If you look at box scores from the 1930s, sometimes 3 assists were credited per goal, occasionally a player appears to have gotten 2 assists for the same goal (?), but more often, there was only 1 (or zero) assists on a goal.

The modern ration of assists to goals didn't really come about until the late 1940s; before then playmakers are going to be underrated and goal scorers are going to be overrated by point totals.

That said, for someone like Nighbor who played before the forward pass, simply adjusting his assist numbers to the modern ratio would probably overrate him (you and I agree here), but they still should be adjusted upwards somewhat. I don't have a formula in mind; I just do a mental adjustment of pass-first players from the era upwards a little bit.
Speaking of assists and how they were awarded Joe Primeau seems to have benefited by the high totals the Leafs would get in assists, compared to the league average of assists to goals.

I'm not sure how that will affect him here but it doesn't seem to hurt him too much in the ATD.

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09-29-2013, 11:02 PM
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Speaking of assists and how they were awarded Joe Primeau seems to have benefited by the high totals the Leafs would get in assists, compared to the league average of assists to goals.

I'm not sure how that will affect him here but it doesn't seem to hurt him too much in the ATD.
If you have evidence the Leafs were handing out more assists than other teams, I think you should save it for when Primeau's name comes up during Round 2 of the centers project. I would certainly take it into account.

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09-29-2013, 11:05 PM
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If you have evidence the Leafs were handing out more assists than other teams, I think you should save it for when Primeau's name comes up during Round 2 of the centers project. I would certainly take it into account.
I most certainly will bring up a detailed account of the records.

The problem is that we know what happened but not the why part.

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09-30-2013, 07:00 AM
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Why Part

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I most certainly will bring up a detailed account of the records.

The problem is that we know what happened but not the why part.
Playing with top scoring wingers - Charlie Conacher and Busher Jackson generated the assists for Primeau. Just like playing with Primeau generated goals for Conacher and Jackson.

Also the Jackson/Primeau/Conacher line was the first true forward pass era line.

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09-30-2013, 08:30 AM
  #33
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Playing with top scoring wingers - Charlie Conacher and Busher Jackson generated the assists for Primeau. Just like playing with Primeau generated goals for Conacher and Jackson.

Also the Jackson/Primeau/Conacher line was the first true forward pass era line.
Even so it still doesn't fully account for the full and vast differences in how assists were given out from arena to arena during that time period.

I will have more when we get to Joe.

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09-30-2013, 09:09 AM
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Misc.

Milt Dunnell was born in 1905 so his appreciation of hockey easily goes back into the 1920s.

The arena argument does not work very well for assists. King Clancy had his highest assist total playing for Ottawa, not Toronto.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/play...clancki01.html

Rangers and Americans as well as the Canadiens and Maroons shared arenas. Yet assists accorded tend to reflect playing styles. Boucher was a playmaking center, Morenz, Stewart and Smith, tended to be finishers.

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09-30-2013, 10:50 AM
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Even so it still doesn't fully account for the full and vast differences in how assists were given out from arena to arena during that time period.

I will have more when we get to Joe.
Sounds like a case for Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein. You cant be intimating some Vast Conspiracy Theory without providing some beyond solid proof. Doing so impugns the integrity of the game and the accomplishments of players throughout the era in question when analysing them statistically. In 1954 Maurice Richard wrote an article suggesting the scorekeepers in Detroit were doing exactly as you suggest in creating "Paper Assists"... "It is not surprising that Howe, Lindsay and Abel are among the top point-scorers in the league, although I admit Howe & Lindsay are good players"..... And that right there is about the extent of things, suggestions by Richard that the ice was tilted. Selke wrote an apologetic letter to the League & I believe the Red Wings organization, Richard forced to apologize publicly, fined $1000 (donation to charity) and his days as an author over.

You cant possibly prove that score-keepers in New York, Chicago, Toronto or anywhere else were favoring local players in awarding Phantom Points. Repeating such over & over & over again without any proof does not push it over the threshold of being Prima Facie that we here would then have to "disprove". Thats not how it works. Good or bad, the stats are the stats are the stats. What they are. Without game film and modern angles, watching every minute of every game ever played in the Olympia, MSG, Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium, the Forum & Maple Leaf Gardens, never mind the old barns in Philly, St.Louis & Ottawa & so on & so forth pre WW2. I love a good Conspiracy Theory Hv. But there just aint one here. That Dog Dont Hunt.

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09-30-2013, 11:04 AM
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I think it is honestly ridiculous to seriously compare players of his era to contemporary players. Needless to say people still feed the need to, but i don't see the point.

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09-30-2013, 11:07 AM
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I think it is honestly ridiculous to seriously compare players of his era to contemporary players. Needless to say people still feed the need to, but i don't see the point.
Welcome to the History of Hockey board

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09-30-2013, 11:18 AM
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...The arena argument does not work very well for assists. King Clancy had his highest assist total playing for Ottawa, not Toronto.
It doesnt work period. Full stop. Now, were there "inconsistencies"? Absolutely. Mid-20th-Century technology (eyeball's, no instant replays etc) and standards of the day, criteria variable from building to building but on a % basis absolutely miniscule. Certainly not to the degree as suggested, that the creation of Paper Assists would decades later create Paper Tigers be it Joe Primeau, Bentley or whomever. Absolutely absurd, patently false. The system wasnt perfect no but to be making accusations of Homerism & Favoritism 55 or 75 years after the fact without a shred of evidence?. I mean c'mon here.... Not on my watch Mister.

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I think it is honestly ridiculous to seriously compare players of his era to contemporary players. Needless to say people still feed the need to, but i don't see the point.
Yes they do & get a lot of enjoyment out of doing so. Certainly on the surface it appears somewhat ludicrous however in applying some imagination whereby all things are equal, quite the enjoyable trip. Its getting your head around it, that first step thats the most difficult for many.

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09-30-2013, 11:24 AM
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I don't doubt it leads to many interesting conversations, a welcome break to the Gem saloon that is the rest of HFboards. I also don't claim to have much in the way of "historical" knowledge, nor that the majority of posters in this thread don't present well reasoned and structured ideas.

Still, for all the beautiful poetry, cross comparing players that are separated by 50+ years (especially with the dynamic changes) is an activity that avoids any sense of particular accuracy. It is like when people attempt to discuss GOAT racehorses ; an exercise in utter futility.

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09-30-2013, 11:38 AM
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Sounds like a case for Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein. You cant be intimating some Vast Conspiracy Theory without providing some beyond solid proof. Doing so impugns the integrity of the game and the accomplishments of players throughout the era in question when analysing them statistically. In 1954 Maurice Richard wrote an article suggesting the scorekeepers in Detroit were doing exactly as you suggest in creating "Paper Assists"... "It is not surprising that Howe, Lindsay and Abel are among the top point-scorers in the league, although I admit Howe & Lindsay are good players"..... And that right there is about the extent of things, suggestions by Richard that the ice was tilted. Selke wrote an apologetic letter to the League & I believe the Red Wings organization, Richard forced to apologize publicly, fined $1000 (donation to charity) and his days as an author over.

You cant possibly prove that score-keepers in New York, Chicago, Toronto or anywhere else were favoring local players in awarding Phantom Points. Repeating such over & over & over again without any proof does not push it over the threshold of being Prima Facie that we here would then have to "disprove". Thats not how it works. Good or bad, the stats are the stats are the stats. What they are. Without game film and modern angles, watching every minute of every game ever played in the Olympia, MSG, Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium, the Forum & Maple Leaf Gardens, never mind the old barns in Philly, St.Louis & Ottawa & so on & so forth pre WW2. I love a good Conspiracy Theory Hv. But there just aint one here. That Dog Dont Hunt.
Look everyone should read my post again, I was quite clear in that assists were recorded differently in different arenas and for different teams at that time, as to the why it's open for debate but the fact remains that it wasn't the universal system of keeping assists that would happen later on.

we see this now with hits and Give aways and takeaways, there doesn't seem to be a universal standard yet.

As for Joe , we should keep in mind that his "dominance" came under these conditions such as we would account for WW2 scoring and perhaps even later more competitive and diverse times in the NHL .

As for the leading hockey minds of of the time commenting on how good Frank was, why don't we take modern commentators word on a guy like Nieds?

Well because sometimes the prevailing thought has a way of snowballing in hockey, that's why it's always good to test the prevailing thought and challenge it....always.

If a player really is that great, like Frank was, then his greatness will stand out...dido for any player.

Frank and Clarke for that matter have enough question marks to be outside of the top 10 IMO and I will throw in big Phil for good measure, although I haven't got my top 10 sorted out yet.

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09-30-2013, 11:42 AM
  #41
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It is like when people attempt to discuss GOAT racehorses ; an exercise in utter futility.
Good example as it illustrates precisely why people here find such so entertaining as like the rankings of race-horses it transcends eras' & specific disciplines, be it Flat Track or Steeplechase. Contemporaneous to hockey from the early 20th Century on the top ranked horses of All Time are as follows;

Desert Orchid
Red Rum
Arkle
Kauto Star
Seabiscuit
Secretariat
Frankel
Shergal
Miller Reef
Far Clap

Yet many believe Frankel or Secretariat would be in the #1 spot as do folks here favor Orr over Gretzky or vice-versa, with an descendant chain thereafter. Decades, era's irrelevant... yes, an excellent analogy J17. Would you like to sign up for the All Time Draft?

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09-30-2013, 11:56 AM
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Good example as it illustrates precisely why people here find such so entertaining as like the rankings of race-horses it transcends eras' & specific disciplines, be it Flat Track or Steeplechase. Contemporaneous to hockey from the early 20th Century on the top ranked horses of All Time are as follows;

Desert Orchid
Red Rum
Arkle
Kauto Star
Seabiscuit
Secretariat
Frankel
Shergal
Miller Reef
Far Clap

Yet many believe Frankel or Secretariat would be in the #1 spot as do folks here favor Orr over Gretzky or vice-versa, with an ascendant chain thereafter.... yes, an excellent analogy J17. Would you like to sign up now for the All Time Draft?
Mill Reef* Not even the best horse of his year either!

Red Rum shouldn't be in a Top 100 list for National Hunt.

I've had way too many discussions on why Frankel can't be considered beyond doubt (thus, any title) as the best European horse of all time (Cross comparing Europe and US is as frivolous exercise as ringing up the agent of Miss Johansson demanding a date). Far too many variables and imponderables. For one, even assuming the arbitary ratings assigned are accurate, we can never truely determine if horses were capable of more, since races aren't run to maximize a rating, speed figure or track record. They are run to win. Therein lies the most significant problem (of which there are many).

Human athlete rankings are somewhat easier to an extent. The timeframe just needs to be such that the comparison is fair and worthwhile. Separation is easier, a career lasts longer, motives and performance more visible (More "Human"!). A Horse just wants the god damn irish smurf off its back.

Still, impressed you are aware of Kauto Star. Funny, but not two years after his retirement, we already have a steeplechaser who some consider to be better. Rather, the media laudes and considers ; though it's not an entirely bat **** crazy notion.

I fear my all-time draft abilities would rank somewhere between Marlo Stanfield's ever-giving heart and the abstinence of Kesha.

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09-30-2013, 12:01 PM
  #43
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Assists

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Look everyone should read my post again, I was quite clear in that assists were recorded differently in different arenas and for different teams at that time, as to the why it's open for debate but the fact remains that it wasn't the universal system of keeping assists that would happen later on.
Reflects criteria for assists. Initially rebound assists of any kind were not awarded nor were deflection interrupted assists awarded, etc.

This is all known and considered. Does not reflect team or arena bias as you are suggesting.

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09-30-2013, 12:43 PM
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A future project that I've been hoping to see for awhile would be the number of assists per goal by team through the 1950s. I know that not all teams kept assists at the same rate, but as far as I know, nobody has done a comprehensive study on it. Am I wrong?

But let's keep this thread to Frank Nighbor, okay?

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09-30-2013, 12:53 PM
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Mill Reef* Red Rum shouldn't be in a Top 100 list for National Hunt...
.... Heresy. Your suggesting the British racing industry doesnt have a clue (Red Rum won the Grand National 3X's, a Record; turned on a whole new generation of fans; his comeback from 30 lengths in 73 voted the 24th Greatest Sports Event in the History of the UK; buried at Aintree 95 at the Winning Post).... Comparatively you could also suggest that 20th Century Hockey Genius Tommy Gorman (Irishman of course, 7X Stanley Cup Winner with 4 different franchises as GM) when he said "Nighbor was the greatest two way Center Ive ever seen play" in 1947 after he had seen them all over 50 years was also mistaken? I would submit that Frank Nighbor was the very model, the mold used to forge players like Henri Richard & Dave Keon so many years later, and deserves to be recognized as such, included on any list, and for a short period of time the best player in the league just as Red Rum deserves his place in the pantheon & near the top as Greatest All Timers.

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09-30-2013, 01:14 PM
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.... Heresy. Your suggesting the British racing industry doesnt have a clue (Red Rum won the Grand National 3X's, a Record; turned on a whole new generation of fans; his comeback from 30 lengths in 73 voted the 24th Greatest Sports Event in the History of the UK; buried at Aintree 95 at the Winning Post).... Comparatively you could also suggest that 20th Century Hockey Genius Tommy Gorman (Irishman of course, 7X Stanley Cup Winner with 4 different franchises as GM) when he said "Nighbor was the greatest two way Center Ive ever seen play" in 1947 after he had seen them all over 50 years was also mistaken? I would submit that Frank Nighbor was the very model, the mold used to forge players like Henri Richard & Dave Keon so many years later, and deserves to be recognized as such, included on any list, and for a short period of time the best player in the league just as Red Rum deserves his place in the pantheon & near the top as Greatest All Timers.
Brigadier Gerard beat him decivesly in the 2000 Guineas and though they never met again for a variety of reasons, connections of both believe that over 1 Mile to 1 1/4 BG was superior and MR was superior at 1 1/2.

It is difficult to think a human contemporary for Red Rum. His importance and place in history far outweighs his actual ability. Perhaps Red Rum is comparable to David Beckham. Talented, but revered more for their marketability, feel good story and circumstance rather than any special ability that sets them on a grander scale. Beckham wasn't the most talented footballer of his generation, nevermind belonging to a discussion of wider and deeper context than that. Red Rum likewise doesn't belong in all time great discussions. The Grand national is the most famous, unique race in the Jump racing calender ; it isn't where the best collection of horses compete.

So by what measurements do we judge players (or horses?). Red Rum likely saved the Grand National and captured the imagination of all who watched. Spectacular. He didn't transcend on the breed itself, nor is he remembered for being a truely exceptional talent, rather a romantic story of something spectacularly entertaining.

I don't think Nighbor and Red Rum are really comparable. Nighbor is apparently adjudged to have been numerou uno in the sport for a period of time (Red Rum wasn't). Whether he transcended the sport for later models is not a discussion i am equipped for.

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09-30-2013, 01:50 PM
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Nighbor is apparently adjudged to have been numerou uno in the sport for a period of time (Red Rum wasn't). Whether he transcended the sport for later models is not a discussion i am equipped for.
I think thats fair. I was stretching it. Allegorically speaking.... wonder where Tony Hand ranks. Though not as talented as many of his North American contemporaries his contributions to hockey in the UK are certainly up there. Ive always felt some weight should be given to players like that, including them in such lists. Like Red Rum not the greatest in terms of bloodstock but a creature who transcended the sport through heart, determination & courage.

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09-30-2013, 03:28 PM
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Good example as it illustrates precisely why people here find such so entertaining as like the rankings of race-horses it transcends eras' & specific disciplines, be it Flat Track or Steeplechase. Contemporaneous to hockey from the early 20th Century on the top ranked horses of All Time are as follows;

Desert Orchid
Red Rum
Arkle
Kauto Star
Seabiscuit
Secretariat
Frankel
Shergal
Miller Reef
Far Clap

Yet many believe Frankel or Secretariat would be in the #1 spot as do folks here favor Orr over Gretzky or vice-versa, with an descendant chain thereafter. Decades, era's irrelevant... yes, an excellent analogy J17. Would you like to sign up for the All Time Draft?
Where is the Gordie Howe of Horses, the great Kelso?

He was easily better than Red Rum or Nighbor.

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09-30-2013, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
I think thats fair. I was stretching it. Allegorically speaking.... wonder where Tony Hand ranks. Though not as talented as many of his North American contemporaries his contributions to hockey in the UK are certainly up there. Ive always felt some weight should be given to players like that, including them in such lists. Like Red Rum not the greatest in terms of bloodstock but a creature who transcended the sport through heart, determination & courage.
Any man, women, child, alien or piece of expensive furniture should be executed on the spot for using the word heart in regards to horses.

Hand is impossible to really evaluate, although his legacy wouldn't really compare with something like Red Rum.

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09-30-2013, 04:41 PM
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Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
Where is the Gordie Howe of Horses, the great Kelso?

He was easily better than Red Rum or Nighbor.
Gordie Howe = Man O' War aka Big Red

Quote:
Originally Posted by J17 Vs Proclamation View Post
Hand is impossible to really evaluate, although his legacy wouldn't really compare with something like Red Rum.
Tony Hand = Nevele Pride (Standard-bred Trotter)

Frank Nighbor = Nordlicht

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