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Marcel Pronovost

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08-09-2011, 10:24 AM
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NewAgeOutlaw
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Marcel Pronovost

On Bobby Orr's legends of hockey, one person talks about how a man named Marcel Pronovost threw a hip check which caused Orr's first knee injury of many. After a little research, I found Pronovost played for the Wings and Leafs in the 50's and 60's and was a tough, solid defenseman. So, my questions are- What style did he play? How skilled was he?(Breakout passes-Shot power-Shot accuracy) and What modern (90's-2000's) player would you compare him to?

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08-09-2011, 11:20 AM
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RabbinsDuck
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Very solid overall defenseman converted from a center in the Detroit system.

Carried the puck well and good passer, but also good defensively though went out of his way to deliver massive hits and hip checks.

Took the physical role on Detroit's bluelin from "Black" Jack Stewart.

I would think Konstantinov is a good comparison.

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08-09-2011, 09:42 PM
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Killion
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As per Rabbins comments above, a high flying high scoring center in Junior converted to defence. He was literally "stolen" by Red Wings Scout Marcel Cote' from under the noses of the Hab's while playing minor hockey in Shawinigan. He was initially assigned to the minors by Detroit but called up during (I think) the 50 or 51 playoffs' to fill in for Red Kelly who was moved to forward to fill an injury, and helped the Wings to the Cup that year.

He was eventually traded to Toronto where I remember him well as part of the "Over the Hill Gang" of defenders (and forwards really) in the mid-60's, helping the Leafs win their last Cup in 67. The Pronovost of later years wasnt the same as the earlier version of course, playing a more economical, "safe" role, staying back. But apparently in his younger days in Detroit, a speedster opportunist who wasnt averse to head long rushes. Honestly I dont know who you'd compare him to today; maybe a Willie Mitchell type?.

Anyway, poor guy had more broken noses' than Tim Hunter & George Chuvalo combined.
Marcel is of course a member of the HHOF. Much respected. Went on to Coach Buffalo after playing when Imlach was GM of the Sabres. Scouted thereafter with the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau & later with the Devils.

One of my all-time favorites.

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08-09-2011, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
As per Rabbins comments above, a high flying high scoring center in Junior converted to defence. He was literally "stolen" by Red Wings Scout Marcel Cote' from under the noses of the Hab's while playing minor hockey in Shawinigan. He was initially assigned to the minors by Detroit but called up during (I think) the 50 or 51 playoffs' to fill in for Red Kelly who was moved to forward to fill an injury, and helped the Wings to the Cup that year.

He was eventually traded to Toronto where I remember him well as part of the "Over the Hill Gang" of defenders (and forwards really) in the mid-60's, helping the Leafs win their last Cup in 67. The Pronovost of later years wasnt the same as the earlier version of course, playing a more economical, "safe" role, staying back. But apparently in his younger days in Detroit, a speedster opportunist who wasnt averse to head long rushes. Honestly I dont know who you'd compare him to today; maybe a Willie Mitchell type?.

Anyway, poor guy had more broken noses' than Tim Hunter & George Chuvalo combined.
Marcel is of course a member of the HHOF. Much respected. Went on to Coach Buffalo after playing when Imlach was GM of the Sabres. Scouted thereafter with the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau & later with the Devils.

One of my all-time favorites.
Marcel Cote did some good work in Quebec for the Red Wings. Little support as the Wings had a brief flirtations with the Sherbrooke franchise as a farm club in QSHL.

Marcel Pronovost was called-up in the 1950 semi finals when Gordie Howe suffered a fractured skull and Kelly moved to forward.

For a former center he was not a strong passer for a dman. J.C. Tremblay, also a converted center was a much better passer. But Pronovost was much more solid defensively, drawing the top lines. He was an excellent hitter, mixed his angles very well. At times he would catch a forward with a forward's angle as opposed to a dman's angle. One of the few to catch Henri Richard - end of the 1961-62 season resulting in Richard breaking his arm and missing the playoffs.

In 1967 his opportunist skills produced a key goal, SH unassisted, in game 5 of the finals, nice finishing move.

He also coached in the Q - Hull and Windsor in the OHL. Modern day comparables - probably Konstantinov would be the closest or a more mobile, better offensive than Adam Foote.

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08-09-2011, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
He was an excellent hitter, mixed his angles very well. At times he would catch a forward with a forward's angle as opposed to a dman's angle.
Thats what I remember and liked about him. His economy of movement & play in using the angles; center ice to blue line on the boards or center ice red line on the boards to center blue line on the ice in spiraling trapezoids, forcing the forwards wide & smothering them into the boards or airborne ass-over-tea-kettle open ice with his patented hip-check. That and the opportunism. Very aggressive in squeezing the play, forcing the puck loose, mentally switching to full-on offence.

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08-09-2011, 10:43 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Converted Forwards

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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Thats what I remember and liked about him. His economy of movement & play in using the angles; center ice to blue line on the boards or center ice red line on the boards to center blue line on the ice in spiraling trapezoids, forcing the forwards wide & smothering them into the boards or airborne ass-over-tea-kettle open ice with his patented hip-check. That and the opportunism. Very aggressive in squeezing the play, forcing the puck loose, mentally switching to full-on offence.
Certain converted forwards were very good at varying angles. Larry Robinson who played forward into junior was probably the best. The hit on Gary Dornhoefer in the 1976 finals is a great example. Robinson gets Dornhoefer from a forward's angle not from a dman's angle.

This was one of Marcel Pronovost strengths as well. His skating and offense were not at Larry Robinson's level.

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08-09-2011, 11:29 PM
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Killion
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
This was one of Marcel Pronovost strengths as well. His skating and offense were not at Larry Robinson's level.
Ya, thats a good one alright. Montreal was actually lucky to get Robinson in the 71 Draft. They passed on him 3X's & grabbed him with their 4th pick in the 20th position. Just what the Canadiens' were doing with that many first round top tier picks in 1971 a year after Buffalo & Vancouver & just 4 years after the initial exp. is certainly a testament to the genius of Sam Pollock & his Scouts. I was actually unaware of the fact that Robinson had played forward in minor hockey, though I do recall reading either a book or lengthy article about him years ago and his early struggles with the Voyageurs; cracking the line-up. That explains a lot.

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08-10-2011, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Certain converted forwards were very good at varying angles. Larry Robinson who played forward into junior was probably the best. The hit on Gary Dornhoefer in the 1976 finals is a great example. Robinson gets Dornhoefer from a forward's angle not from a dman's angle.

This was one of Marcel Pronovost strengths as well. His skating and offense were not at Larry Robinson's level.
Not so sure about his skating not being there with Robinson's. Pronovost was surprisingly fast and fairly agile.
And could he hit! Never gets mentioned when people talk about great physical checkers though and he definitely deserves to be. He caught a lot of guys who didn't think he would.

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08-10-2011, 07:44 AM
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Perhaps

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Not so sure about his skating not being there with Robinson's. Pronovost was surprisingly fast and fairly agile.
And could he hit! Never gets mentioned when people talk about great physical checkers though and he definitely deserves to be. He caught a lot of guys who didn't think he would.
Perhaps. Pronovost and Gadsby were two dmen from the fifties who in retrospect, after Bobby Orr, seemed to have played held back, pacing themselves for longer shifts and 30-35 minute games. Surprisingly fast is very appropriate.

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08-13-2011, 07:58 AM
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Marcel Pronovost began to get the recognition he deserved only when teammate Red Kelly no longer was selected to the all-star team on defense. During Kelly's last two years with the Wings, Pronovost was selected on the second all-star team. And, after Kelly was traded to the Leafs, Pronovost was named to two successive first all-star teams.

My recollection is that it wasn't that Pronovost suddenly improved his play. Rather, he had played in the shadow of Kelly's often spectacular rushing game and very high goals and assists totals, and his value simply had not been given proper recognition

Pronovost was quite mobile for a defenseman of that era (although not as mobile as Kelly), and for that he had to be a fairly good skater. While he was not a stay-at-home defenseman during his mid-career all-star years, he was always an extremely capable defender and, unlike Kelly, played a physical game and could become rough and tough when required. He was an extremely good body-checker, as Canadiens1958 and Killion have said.

Canadiens fans of the time regarded him as one of the few Quebec natives who got away. We admired him immensely and wished he played for our team.

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08-13-2011, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
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Canadiens fans of the time regarded him as one of the few Quebec natives who got away. We admired him immensely and wished he played for our team.
Marcel Pronovost was actually a fairly high scoring Center with Shawinigan Tech High School. He was either over-looked completely by the Habs' or considered not up to scratch (likely because of his skating) along with a couple of other decent local players in brothers Larry & John Wilson, both who played for the cross-town rival Shawinigan HS Team. Marcel Cote', a scout for the Red Wings signed Larry Wilson, who recommended that he also take a look at Pronovost, who immediately signed him & sent him to the Windsor Spitfires where he was converted to a defenceman. Like you & many others, I too am surprised that the Habs' missed this one, as contemporaneously & certainly in retrospect he seemed born to play on the Montreal blue-line and very likely would have spent his entire career with the Canadiens'. There are several players I can think of that fell between the cracks like that pre-draft, though perhaps none so personifies the "if only" wistfulness that is Marcel Pronovost to several generations of fans.

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08-15-2011, 08:33 PM
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..Marcel:

..Another Rock solid Defenseman who owned a devastating check...Seemed to roll on year in, year out as a mainstay of a strong Red Wing Defense corps...Was later part of that magnificient, infamous Over The Hill Gang in Toronto that secured the Cup in 67..

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11-01-2013, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
As per Rabbins comments above, a high flying high scoring center in Junior converted to defence. He was literally "stolen" by Red Wings Scout Marcel Cote' from under the noses of the Hab's while playing minor hockey in Shawinigan. He was initially assigned to the minors by Detroit but called up during (I think) the 50 or 51 playoffs' to fill in for Red Kelly who was moved to forward to fill an injury, and helped the Wings to the Cup that year.

He was eventually traded to Toronto where I remember him well as part of the "Over the Hill Gang" of defenders (and forwards really) in the mid-60's, helping the Leafs win their last Cup in 67. The Pronovost of later years wasnt the same as the earlier version of course, playing a more economical, "safe" role, staying back. But apparently in his younger days in Detroit, a speedster opportunist who wasnt averse to head long rushes. Honestly I dont know who you'd compare him to today; maybe a Willie Mitchell type?.

Anyway, poor guy had more broken noses' than Tim Hunter & George Chuvalo combined.
Marcel is of course a member of the HHOF. Much respected. Went on to Coach Buffalo after playing when Imlach was GM of the Sabres. Scouted thereafter with the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau & later with the Devils.

One of my all-time favorites.
Goes to show Habs didn't have sole rights to all QMJHL players

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11-01-2013, 08:24 AM
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Often gets forgotten when mentioning HHOF players from that Red Wings dynasty for whatever reason. He played on all 4 Cup wins in the 1950s.

His hit on Orr in the 1966-'67 season is often credited with the first big hit that started Orr's knee injuries. However, Orr himself knows he played a reckless style where he carried the puck constantly and whether it was Pat Quinn or whoever else with a thunderous hit afterwards he always blamed himself.

Pronovost for whatever reason has become underrated. Rarely gets mentioned in the Wings dynasty, is forgotten about as a Leaf and eventual champ in 1967 on that team. Definitely had a quiet but legitimate HHOF career. I guess you can liken him to his old buddy Alex Delvecchio in terms of that, except Del was a forward. No one would forget about him who played against him, but he was always overshadowed.

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