Smokey Harris spent the majority of his lengthy career in the PCHA, as a star for the Vancouver Millionares and Portland Rosebuds. He would help both of them be PCHA champions, three times in Vancouver and once in Portland, and would prove to be a fine post-season scorer. He had a knack for playmaking, being a 2 time PCHA assist leader.
He would split the 1924-25 season between the Bruins and the WCHL Vancouver Maroons. He would then play in the California Pro League and the Prairie league for a number of years, before retiring in 1932.
The case for Smokey Harris as a second liner
There are almost certainly going to be those who go "Huh?" or otherwise question placing Smokey Harris on a second line in this- but he is certainly a guy who deserves it, and is certainly a top-64 offensive LW all-time.
To illustrate this, I will turn to seventies Consistency in Goalscoring and playmaking studies. The reason being is that these studies DO account for the split-league era Harris played in. If you place 4th in PCHA assists, for example, it will likely show up as a top-10 under the playmaking category in seventies studies, and not a top-5. It allows for a rather level playing field when comparing players like Harris to more modern players.
Now, Harris's numbers in these studies:
Top 2's-Top 5's-Top 10's- Top 15's- Top 20's
Now, compare this to a few of other top-6 players people likely wouldn't question (rightfully so)
Goal Scoring- 1-2-4-5-5
Shutt doesn't have enough playmaking to earn mention in seventies playmaking studies.
Goal Scoring- 0-1-4-4-5
Goal Scoring- 1-1-2-4-5
Goal Scoring- 0-0-4-5-6
Note: I am in no way trying to insult the players mentioned here- they are all great players. I am merely trying to compliment Harris, using them for comparison. The usage of players was fairly random, and I am not picking on any teams here.
These are merely a few of many examples of Harris comparing well or besting other top-6 forwards in these studies. Harris's era may help him in some of these comparisons, but with seventies adjustments there are a fair number of teams in total and I doubt some of these advantages are all due to era. Now, some of these forwards bring other dimensions to the table, or have various traits that make them valuable- as do many of the forwards Harris bests in these studies- but Harris certainly has the offensive ability to play a 2nd line role, and play it well, in a 32-team draft.
Last edited by Leafs Forever: 11-09-2009 at 12:44 AM.
Skinner played top-level hockey for over a decade, starting in 1914-15 in the NHA with Toronto and finishing with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NHL in 1925-26.
Skinner was a respectable goal scorer
1917-18: 10th in NHL goals
1918-19: 6th in NHL goals
1919-20: 3rd in PCHA goals
1920-21: 3rd in PCHA goals
1921-22: 8th in PCHA goals
1922-23: 10th in PCHA goals
Skinner was also among the finest defensive forwards of his day.
Toronto Star, February 16, 1916 (Skinner was 20):
Skinner, now the premier back-checker of the league, and one of the fastest skaters in the game, is developing into a good stickhandler and shot as well, and if he keeps up his good work will continue to beat out Corbett Denneny at right wing.
Toronto Star, February 25, 1916:
Benedict and Nighbor are the outstanding stars on the visitors’ team, but in Alf Skinner the local club has the fastest skater and the greatest back-checker in the N.H.A. to-day, in Keats the most sensational stick-handler and centre layer; in Cy Denneny the leader scorer, and in Randall one of the most brilliant defence men in the N.H.A.
Skinner's greatest moment as a hockey player came in the 1917-18 Stanley Cup finals against Vancouver. He scored 8 goals in 5 games, was consistently Toronto's best player, and continued to display excellent defensive play.
Toronto Star, March 21, 1918 (Game 1 of SCF):
When everything is figured out, the real star of the evening was Alfie Skinner. He may not have the reputation of a Taylor or a McKay, but the sturdy little forward was out there most of the night, and he put on one of his best performances. Tireless in his back-checking, he worried Taylor and McKay or whoever happened to be on the Vancouver attack into innocuousness. It was seldom that they got within shooting range without Skinner pestering their shooting arm or hooking the puck. Skinner mixed it, too, on occasions, but kept off the penalty sheet. He was always up for a pass, several times he circled the net and played the entire Vancouver team all alone, and he landed two goals. That looks like a pretty nifty performance. The crowd thought so.
Toronto Star, March 25, 1918 (Game 2 of SCF):
(Headline) McKay, Taylor, Skinner, and Cameron Star
Skinner, who was going great guns all night, jammed home Toronto’s fourth and final tally…
Alfie Skinner was again very much in the limelight for the Torontos. He toiled hard all night, back-checking every time he got a chance, and he laced home two goals.
Toronto Star, March 27, 1918 (Game 3 of SCF):
Alfie Skinner put in another grand night’s work and topped off the performance with two goals. He was in around the Lehmann citadel all evening – when he wasn’t back-checking some one – and a centre-ice rusher always found the sturdy little right-winger in his place waiting for a pass.
Globe and Mail, March 29, 1918 (Game 4 of SCF):
In the first period Skinner, Noble, Denneny, and Randall all checked back well, particularly Skinner, who threw himself into every play in the first twenty minutes and succeeded in bothering Taylor and McKay when they attempted their whirlwind rushes.
Toronto Star, April 1, 1918 (Game 5 of SCF):
For 41 minutes the rival teams had battled grimly, determinedly, cleanly, and scorelessly. Then the rotund Alfie Skinner, who had been chasing that lil’ old puck all over the ice heap and pestering the life out of every opponent who laid a stick on it, sailed down the right boards and heaved a 50-foot lob at Goalkeeper Lehmann. It looked as easy to handle as a couple of fresh eggs in a glass. In fact, it was too easy, Lehmann missed it, and Alfred did a hula-hula down the ice and tried to kiss the bad spot on Cyclone Taylor’s head, while the crowd yelled itself to a whisper.
After 41 minutes of scoreless hockey that one goal loomed up as large as an elephant at a tea party. It was as welcome as whiskey at an Irish wake.
Skinner’s backchecking and tireless energy, which featured every game of the series, again made him stand out on Toronto’s forward line…
Taking it all around the game might well have ended in a tie, for the goal Skinner got, beautifully placed and all as it was, must be regarded as somewhat lucky. Everything else from long range that came Lehmann’s way was handled with careless ease. How he managed to miss this one is the mystery of the game.
Although Skinner scored 8 goals in these finals, he wasn't really the one driving the offense - more of a complementary player and finisher who had a good series. Most of his goals came off rebounds or as the finish for a good passing play.
In summary, Skinner is a fast, hard-working player who will fill his lane and go hard to the net on the attack, and backchecks ferociously when the other team has the puck.
Edit: I've looked at the 1922 finals in the Toronto Star more recently, and there was more on Skinner here. It's not as positive, which isn't surprising, as the 1918 Cup finals were Skinner's high point.
Toronto Star, March 18, 1922
The fans were mightily interested in Alfie Skinner, the old Toronto boy. They wanted to see whether or not he had developed creeping paralysis or the foot and mouth disease since last he showed here. He loomed up fat enough to kill – at least he looked fat, but it is solid flesh – and he lumbered around for a period like a one-legged rocking-horse. Just about the time the fans were figuring Alfie due for the harpoon he limbered up and delivered himself of some stuff around the nets that made him look in the Adams-McKay class. Then the fans decided that he wasn’t due for the chloroform for a long time yet.
Skinner’s feud with “Ginger” Stuart was the battling tid-bit of the séance. They mauled each other every time they came together the last period. When Stuart gets mad he flares red like a turkey ****, and he clouts his man irrespective of time or place. He should have had a couple of penalties for some of his slashing, for it was right out in the open as plain as a giraffe on a hill-top. Skinner, on the contrary, was sly with his rough stuff. He inserted the mahogany handle into Stuart’s slats more than once, and got by, but he drew a penalty for chopping Randall across the fins.
Toronto Star, March 22, 1922
Just as soon as the game started the Pats showed Skinner, Adams and co. that they were going to make it as tough as a night in jail…Then Skinner ventured to check Cameron and the Pembroke veteran promptly combed his hair with his trusty war club and from then on it was slash, bang, and crash.
Cameron couldn’t keep the ex-Toronto boy out of the danger zone for a minute. After the hickory face massage Skinner towed the puck down and bounced it off Roach. Adams was Johnny on the job and poked by Vancouver’s only goal.
Adams and Skinner were good, too. They were the game ***** of the western crew. They fought back hard and refused to accept abuse without retaliation.
Toronto Star, March 24, 1922
Adams and Skinner and Oatman were the firebrands of the forward line, and they all played swell hockey, but the real piece of pure McCoy was Mike McKay.
Toronto Star, March 29, 1922
…but Skinner was away off. Several times he showed some high-class stick work, skating, and shooting, but sometimes he carried the puck about as well as he would a globule of quicksilver on a July day. He was game enough and his poor showing was probably due to over-anxiety.
I've also checked the game logs from the 1917-18 season. The first few games have a few quotes that, when added to the 1922 quotes, suggest why Skinner is not better remembered. All quotes are from the Toronto Star.
Dec 13, 1917 (during preparations for the season):
Alf Skinner made the railbirds sit up to-day and yesterday with a consistent knee-high shot. He got plenty of goals with it, too. Skinner is striving to break himself off the habit of trying to knock the goalkeeper down every time he shoots. Last season he lost too many chances by boosting the puck over the net to. He will not make that mistake this year. He is coming down in weight every day.
Dec 20, 1917 (the season has begun):
Skinner was away off in his backchecking, and Denneny was only fair.
Dec 24, 1917
Skinner is not yet in condition to do his best. He has the ability and courage, but he is not right yet. He always was hard to condition in amateur days.
Dec 27, 1917
Alfie Skinner seems to have found some of his old-time speed, and while he was on did good work – or, at least, much better work than he has done yet this season. At times his back checking was a treat to watch. Skinner is certainly coming back. He is a popular boy with the fans.
Jan 10, 1918
Alf Skinner put up his best local performance this season. He got on the score sheet twice, did a lot of useful back-checking, bored in on goal well, and provided plenty of thrills by mauling about with Joe Hall. Hall handed back as much as he got. Skinner has just about arrived at his true form.
Jan 29, 1918
Three minutes to go. Joe Hall of Canadiens and Alfie Skinner of Torontos, who had been snarling and growling and prodding at each other surreptitiously most of the evening, got within arms’ reach. Skinner jabbed Hall in the mouth with the butt end and got away with and Joe Hall went a-gunning for the Toronto lad. He saw Skinner coming down the west boards and crashed into him with a healthy body check. The slam jarred Alfie from skates to suspenders. As he hit the ice he came back with a wallop with the hickory which grazed Hall’s head and hit the ice with a smack. Hall lost his temper and bounced his stick off the prostrate Toronto man’s head. Skinner was carried off counting a lot of new stars and nursing a bump the size of a well-known breakfast food. Hall nursed a broken tooth and a cut forehead.
Result – Both given a match foul, fined $15, reported to the league, and arrested by the police for fighting. Skinner and Hall were both bailed out on cash bail and appeared in Police Court to-day, charged with fighting.
Incidentally it might be mentioned that Skinner, Denneny and Mummer were Toronto’s best.
Feb 5, 1918:
Alfie Skinner, whose fracas with “Bad Joe” Hall at the last pro game featured a lifeless contest last week, spent his entire time playing hockey and he turned in a useful night’s work. He was on everything. His back-checking was a treat and he not only landed a goal himself, but he figured in two more as the man who made the pass. He should have had a couple more counters on his night’s play and is now firmly established as a Toronto favorite.
Feb 11, 1918:
Alf Skinner performed neatly on the line, his goal being a spectacular bit of stick-handling.
Feb 12, 1918:
The third goal was clean cut – Alfie Skinner notched it on a nice lone rush and shot into the corner that had Benedict looking cross-eyed…On the forward line, Alfie Skinner, despite the grueling he took at Montreal, loosened up his bruises and played a particularly useful game. His back-checking was a treat, and he took a lot of stopping when he rushed. He was always in his lane, and took many’s the pass for a dead-on shot from the wing. Skinner was not spectacular, but he was effective.
Feb 19, 1918:
Weaknesses shown in the Toronto team last night were chiefly lack of judgment and failure of the forwards to check back in a pinch, Skinner being a glaring offender in this respect.
Feb 25, 1918:
On the forward line its hard to name the best man. Alfie Skinner, who was so “dead” Monday, sailed around as if he had dined on mustard plasters and tobasco sauce and finished off with a Jamaica ginger cocktail. He was always in his place for a pass, checked hard, and landed two goals, one of which was sensational in its climax.
March 4, 1918:
Skinner had a lazy streak.
From these quotes, we can see the trajectory of Skinner's 1917-18 season. Skinner starts off the year in poor shape, carrying some extra weight, and his play was poor. He plays his way into shape after a few games, and has some excellent games, but he's still inconsistent.
To his credit, he was terrific in the 1918 Cup Final. However, in 1922, he appears to have been struggling with his weight again. This inconsistency is probably the reason that Skinner is not remembered as a strong defensive player.
One of the greatest goal-scorers and players in hockey history. He was probably hockey's most feared sniper of all-time and is considered by many hockey historians to be the greatest player from the blue-line in. He drove to the net like no other player in history and simply played the game with an almost manaic like drive. He could roof the puck with one hand on his stick with opponents draped all over him. He was very strong and tough and he could just flat out beat the sh** out of you. He would give an opponent that ticked him off the famous "Stare" and he was very good fighter. He is considered by many to be the clutchest player in history & could elevate his game at just the right moments. He is second in career playoff overtime goals with 6. His playmaking abilities and defensive skills are very underated. He is without a doubt one of the greatest hockey players that ever lived. In my mind only one other player was a better goal-scorer in hockey history.
Originally posted by Wikipedia
Richard was an outstanding scorer. While he had a good fore-hand and back-hand shot, he was not considered to have the greatest shot or accuracy. Richard made up for it in desire and other skills to become the outstanding goal-scorer of his time. He had excellent stick-handling skills, was fast on his skates, and strong. He used those abilities to outmaneuver opponents. He was well-known for frightening opponents with his stare. And Richard's fighting ability (he had taken boxing in school) meant that most players did not want to get into fights with him. The most common strategy was to check him hard, play him chippy and insult him into drawing a penalty. Richard was known not to start fights, but would willingly fight back and finish them, including the fights of other team-mates, notably Elmer Lach. Richard, a left-handed shot, as a youngster, developed a play when he was coming in on the right wing. He was able to put on a burst of speed around the defenceman and then cut out front of the goaltender and be in a perfect position to shoot before the other defenceman hit him. It was a high-stakes style as he was also putting himself in the perfect position to get hit by the other defenceman. Richard was first converted to a right wing to take advantage of his move around the defenceman by Paul Haynes, who was coach of the senior Canadiens when Richard played there. Haynes noted that Richard also had a sizzling back-hand shot and could still get that shot off if the defenceman pushed him off the angle for a forehand shot. In the 1950s, Richard was frequently compared to emerging star Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings. Both were right wingers who wore the same sweater number (9). They were frequently contenders for the league scoring title, and could also play rough if needed. During their first encounter in the Montreal Forum, when Howe was a rookie, he knocked Richard down with a punch after being shoved. The Red Wings and Canadiens faced off in four Stanley Cup finals during the 1950s. When Richard retired in 1960, he paid tribute to Howe, saying "Gordie could do everything.
Originally posted by Joe Pelletier
The stare was Rocket Richard's trademark. When he came at a goalie with his eyes lit up, the opposition was terrified. Glenn Hall once was quoted sharing his memories of Rocket Richard - "What I remember most about the Rocket were his eyes. When he came flying toward you with the puck on his stick, his eyes were all lit up, flashing and gleaming like a pinball machine. It was terrifying."
Rocket Richard did everything by instinct and brute strength. He would run, not glide, down the ice and cut fearlessly to the slot. Some describe him as the greatest opportunist the game has ever known. He was probably the greatest goal scorer from the blue line in.
In a playoff game, the Bruins Leo Labine knocked Richard unconscious and doctors said he was done for the series. Richard refused to be hospitalized and returned to the game as the teams battled. Rocket Richard scored the game winning goal.
Sorry guys still working on my bio's. More to come
“He was big and strong but rarely had to bully his way through defenders, sending them flying instead with deft fakes and dekes. In him, the attributes of the pure scorer and the playmaker were fused and his size, reach and balance made his end-to-end rushes seem effortless. In a few long strides, with a twist of those wide shoulders and quick change of direction, he found space on the ice where previously the way had been closed. Forced to choose between his accurate and heavy shot or his long arms reaching around them with a sweeping move, goalies were often left shaking their heads while they retrieved the puck from the net. Rarely has a sport's dominant player made the game look so easy and natural.” – Legends of Hockey
“He became an unstoppable offensive force that would win two Stanley Cups.” – Joe Pelletier
“You can’t check him. He’s too big. He’s too strong. He’s too smart for everybody else. That’s where he became the player he was. He was such a powerful man. He is the first big man to be that soft and that skilled.” – Michel Goulet
“He was so big, and so strong, and gifted, with so much talent. In my game, he was the very first man to combine that size, and of course, you know, I’d seen that size before, but never combined with that talent” – Denis Potvin
“He was a major threat; I mean he could do everything. He was so big. He’d come down on you on a break-away, and he’d have it nine feet to the left, and then he’d pull it, and it was almost like it was nine feet to the right. There’s just no way you could stop him on a break-away.” – Billy Smith
“He was pretty well unstoppable because of his reach. You could take his body, but they couldn’t take his body and his hands; it took more than one player. He had a lot of finesse.” – Scotty Bowman
“His reach was unbelievable, and for a big man he didn’t lose control of the puck. A lot of big guys have the long reach, but they lose control. He could beat a player three or four different times in one sequence and still end up making a great play.” – Pierre McGuire
“It was just so typical of him; he had such a flare for the dramatic. The fact that he scored his first goal on his first shift, on his first shot, in his first game in the National Hockey League, and then he scored a goal on his last shift of his last game, just tells you about this tremendous ability to just seize the moment, and deliver exactly what he wanted to deliver at the right time.” – Paul Steigerwald
“Just by being in the same atmosphere as such leaders and by watching and noting what these superstars did to prepare themselves and their team for victory, he learned what it would take to achieve his potential and be a winner.
He began to emulate the work ethic and commitment, and as the tournament went on, he was rewarded with greatness.” – Joe Pelletier
“You know there’s not many players I would say that you’d pay the price they’re asking for tickets now, but he was one. You could go to a game, and at least two or three times, if not a dozen times, he’d do something that nobody else could do” – Harry Neale
“Even at less than 100 percent health Lemieux proved he was still the best player in the world. And as team captain, Lemieux was determined to lead Canada back to Olympic gold medal glory for the first time in 50 years.” – Joe Pelletier
The Hamilton Bettmans are very pleased to be able to start our team with an offensive dynamo who’s talents are unmatched. Known as “The Magnificent One”.....
“I think we have to show some pride in the jersey that we are wearing, and can't quit.” - Mario Lemieux
“All I wanted to do was try to play hockey and be part of a team. Sometimes I had to do it with a lot of back pain, but that was better than sitting in the stands.” – Mario Lemieux
Awards and Acheivements:
2 x Stanley Cup Champion (1991, 1992)
2 x Conn Smythe Winner (1991, 1992)
4 x Lester B. Pearson Winner (1986, 1988, 1993, 1996)
3 x Hart Winner (1988, 1993, 1996)
6 x Art Ross Winner (1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997)
5 x First All-Star (1988, 1989, 1993, 1996, 1997)
4 x Second All-Star (1986, 1987, 1992, 2001)
“He greatly influenced goaltending as we know it. He was responsible for a significant rule change that allowed goalies to leave their feet to stop the puck.” – Joe Pelletier
“He reached his prime as the Senators joined the newly minted National Hockey League. Led by his goaltending, superstars Cy Denneny and Frank Nighbor, and the clutch playoff scoring of Jack Darragh, the Senators were the NHL's first dynasty, winning three Stanley Cups in the four seasons between 1920 and 1923.
Based on the rudimentary statistics of the era, he was undisputedly the NHL's top goalie. He led the NHL in wins in 6 of the 7 seasons with Senators, and lead or shared the lead in shutouts and GAA in each of those 7 seasons. In fact, in his most impressive season (in 1919-20) his 2.66 goals-against mark was 2.13 goals better than the league average.” – Joe Pelletier
“A tough competitor, he often played when injured and wasn't afraid to mix it up with the more aggressive forwards on the opposition.” – Legends of Hockey
“His most impressive season was arguably 1919-20, when his 2.66 goals-against mark was 2.13 goals better than the league average, a mark that was never equaled.” – Legends of Hockey
“In 1925 he was presented with the Mappin Trophy as top player on the team. He starred with four shutouts and a 1.00 goals-against average when Montreal won the Stanley Cup in 1926. This last triumph gave him the distinction of being the first netminder to backstop two different NHL teams to the Stanley Cup. He was virtually impenetrable in the four-game championship set against Victoria with a 0.75 goals-against mark.” – Legends of Hockey
“Any talk of the greatest goalie of the NHL's formative years will invariably come around to him and Georges Vezina. Stylistically, he was the antithesis of Vezina, the goalie hockey purists derided for spending more time on his knees in net than on his feet -- in effect, the original Dominik Hasek.” – Hockey-Notes.com
With our second selection, we are very happy to be able to select a goaltender who will give us consistently good goaltending as well as the ability to completely steam a game. Also known as “Praying Bennie”....
4 x Stanley Cup Champion (1920, 1921, 1923, 1926)
6 x Stanley Cup Finalist (1915, 1920, 1021, 1023, 1926, 1928)
11 x Goals Against Leader (1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1927)
10 x Shutout Leader (1913, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924)
8 x Wins Leader (1915, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924)
3rd in Hart voting (1925)
Named all-star goalie for the time period 1893–1926 by NHL historian Charles Coleman
Ultimate Hockey Awarded him:
Retro Hart Trophy (1923)
8 x Retro Vezina Trophy (1915, 1916, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923)
“Best Goaltender” of 1920-29
“Best Glove Hand” of 1920-29
“He was a captain and defensive cornerstone of the great Soviet National Teams of the 1970s.” – Legends of Hockey
“Considered by many to be the toughest and most physical defenseman in Russian hockey history, he was a punishing hitter who loved the physical play. He reminded people of Hall of Famer Tim Horton.” – A September to Remember
“He was also a very efficient and speedy skater, despite looking quite awkward. He had an unusual way of propelling himself down the ice. He did not lift his skates off the ice while rapidly accelerating. This allowed him incredible stability. He was almost impossible to knock him off his feet.” – Joe Pelletier
“He was a born leader and was a long-time captain of the national team.” – A September to Remember
“He established himself as a flashy blueliner that loved to play physical game with effective and seemingly effortless bodychecking and impressive scoring results.” -- Chidlovski
“He was a slick skater and passer, but also known for his physical play” – A September to Remember
“Long time Soviet observers talk about a young and over rambunctious man who enjoyed the physical game far too much for the Soviet theory of hockey. It was veteran defenseman Vitaly Davydov who took the short-tempered man under his wing and turned him into not just a refined tactician, but one of the greatest defensemen in the world.” – Joe Pelletier
“He played in the 1972 Summit Series as well as the 1979 Challenge Cup. He had a big part in neutralizing Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne and the other Canadian superstars in the 1981 Canada Cup final.” – A September to Remember
“He didn't have the offensive flair like Alexei Kasatonov or Vyacheslav Fetisov but was better defensively. Opponents hated to play against him because it could be painful. As a surprise to many opponents he was only 6'0" and 190 Ibs but played like a much bigger player. He put several opponents on the injury list during his career.” – A September to Remember
“Because of his physical style he loved to play against NHL opposition. He thrived in that environment, and because of that the Russian Strongman was one early Russian player who likely would have excelled in the NHL.” – Joe Pelletier
“He has never been replaced on the national team by someone who could match his physical play and toughness. It's an element that has been sorely missed on the Russian national team over the years.” – A September to Remember
“Yet he never experienced a Russian league championship. He was one of very few players on the Soviet national team who never played for the Red Army team CSKA. The Red Army team dominated the home league because it was essentially comprised of the national team. Only a few players like him were brought in to join those players for the national team.” – Joe Pelletier
“He is acknowledged as one of the major pillars of the Soviet National Team. Vasiliev is said to be one of the strongest players in hockey, which obviously helps him out in the close checking, but he’s also quite good at starting the attack with a quick pass, or even the occasional rush.” -- YouTube video
With our 3rd selection, we are happy to select the leader of our defensive unit. He is a physical beast with unbelievable skating ability....
“The defenseman must be tough. The attacker must fear you, or be concerned about you, but the defenseman must keep cool. Toughness must not be confused with roughness.” -- Valery Vasiliev
International Awards and Acheivements:
Member of the IIHF Hall of Fame (1998)
National Team Captain
2 x Olympic Gold Medalist (1972, 1976)
Olympic Silver Medalist (1980)
Canada Cup Gold Medal (1981)
9 x World Championship Gold Medalist (1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982)
Olympic Silver Medalist (1980)
3 x IIHF Best Defenseman (1973, 1977, 1979)
5 x IIHF All-Star (1974, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981)
Represented Russia in the following events:
1972 Summit Series
1976 Canada Cup
1979 Challenge Cup
1981 Canada Cup
Soviet League Awards and Acheivements:
Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1978)
Merited Sports Master (1973)
8 x Soviet League All-Star (1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981)
Most Outstanding Player Voting - 5th(1973), 3rd(1974), 5th(1980)
“He was also considered a dogged checker and one of the most physically imposing combatants in the league.” – Legends of Hockey
“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.” – Legends of Hockey
“He was a wonderful hockey player in the 1920s and 1930s. 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.” – Joe Pelletier
“His job was to create room physically for his two great line mates, as well as play strong defensively.” – Joe Pelletier
“He was brash and belligerent and vexing to play against. After a game in the 1927 Stanley Cup finals, Sprague Cleghorn chased Smith out of a downtown Ottawa diner brandishing a ketchup bottle for some game-time sin.” – Ultimate Hockey
With our 4th selection, we are very happy to be able to select one of the ultimate two-way players. He’ll be the perfect yin to Lemieux’s yang. He was born Reginald, but you can call him......
Awards and Achevements:
2 x Stanley Cup Champion (1927, 1935)
Olympic Gold Medal (1924)
“He was a powerful skater and one of the faster men of his day.” – Hockey-Notes.com
“He was a perennial all-star in the western league” – Legends of Hockey
“His big, muscular frame and 99-inch reach left many observers awestruck.” – Hockey-Notes.com
“By the time a forward got around him on defense, the rest was easy for me. They were usually somewhere over by the boards.” – Jack Marshall (defensemen in those days played one in front of each other rather than side by side)
“Regularly playing with broken jaws, fractured arms, even separated shoulders, he was a gamer in the truest sense. “ – Hockey-Notes.com
“Oddly, he played his entire career without any fingers on his right hand! In 1900, he lost the fingers after receiving a 2,300 volt electrical jolt.” – Hockey-Notes.com
“Lalonde got into a fight with Ernie Johnson, requiring the police to break up the fight.” – Wikipedia on game 3 of the 1916 Stanley Cup finals
With our 5th selection we’re pleased to select an enormous and powerful defensive defenseman. He’s a strong skater with solid puck-moving ability, a huge wingspan, and an amazing knack for defensive hockey. He was nicknamed “Moose”, but his real name is....
Awards and Acheivements:
4 x Stanley Cup Champion (1906, 1907, 1908, 1910)
PCHA Champion (1916)
ECHA Second Team All-Star (1908)
8 x PCHA First Team All-Star (1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919)
PCHA Second Team All-Star (1921)
Ultimate Hockey awarded him:
2 x Retro Hart Trophies (1913, 1916)
5 x Retro Norris Trophies (1914, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1919)
2 x Retro Selke Trophy (1910, 1911)
“Best Defensive Defenseman” of 1910-19
“Best Poke-Checker” of 1900-09 and 1910-19
At the end of Trail of the Stanley Cup Vol. 1, Chalres Coleman selects his all-star team from 1893-1926. Ernie Johnson was one of the defenseman he selected.
Leading Scorer in 1908 Stanley Cup Challenges.
2nd Among Defensemen in 1916 Stanley Cup Final.
“He was without any doubt the most outstanding international defenseman in the late 60s and early 70s. He represented his country 160 times (five IIHF World Championships and the 1968 Olympics) and was the first in Europe to make shot blocking an art.
He will be also remembered for his spectacular offensive game that prompted many to call him the “Bobby Orr of Europe”. He scored 44 goals for the national team and was named Best Defenseman at the 1969 and 1971 IIHF World Championship. In domestic competition, he starred for Dukla Jihlava from 1963 – 1979 where he played in 562 games scoring 162 goals while winning seven championships” – IIHF Hall of Fame
“Never before had anyone in Europe seen a defenseman as complete as him. He could do it all. He was a great skater who could set the pace of a game in the same fashion as a Bobby Orr or Doug Harvey. He was virtually a fourth forward on the ice with his fine technique, vision and skating. He not only excelled offensively but did it defensively as well. He was also a master shotblocker who never hesitated to throw his body in front of a shot.” – A September to Remember
“He defined the position of the offensive defenseman in international hockey at the end of the 60s” – Rene Fasel
“In 1969 and 1971 he was selected as the best defenseman in the World Championships. Many thought that he should have been selected in 1970 as well, including the winner "Lill-Strimma" Svedberg.” – Joe Pelletier
“I've never seen a better defenseman in my life, and it only felt appropriate to tell him what I felt about it.” – Lennart Svedberg
With our 6th round selection, the Bettmans are proud to select one of the strongest offensive defensemen to play the game. While he was great offensively, he was also strong defensively, and was especially good at blocking shots. He was often called “The European Bobby Orr”....
7 x Czech League Champion (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)
2 x Golden Stick Award (1969, 1970)
Olympic Silver Medal (1968)
3 x World Championship Silver Medal (1965, 1966, 1971)
2 x Wolrd Championship Bronze Medal (1969, 1970)
4 x IIHF All-Star (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971)
2 x IIHF Best Defenseman (1969, 1971)
First European player to be placed on an NHL protected list – Boston Bruins claimed him as their prospect.
1963 to 1976 was a time of Soviet hockey dominance. The USSR ran a streak of 9 consecutive World Championship golds, and 3 consecutive Olympic golds. During this magnificent run, only one country was able to beat them: Czechoslovakia, at the 1968 Winter Olympics (Russia still went on to win the gold medal). In 1969, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia played two of "the most emotionally charged games in the history of international hockey" (as per IIHF Top 100 stories) and won them both! Jan Suchy was front and centre in both victories (as proven by his All Star and Best Defenseman awards), and he even scored the all-important first goal (and winning goal) in the 2-0 shutout.
“One of the greatest leaders the blue and white has known... A fierce competitor, a leader, a gentleman off the ice, he was everything a great player should be.” – Honoured Members
“There was no doubting that he was one of the game's finest players.” – Joe Pelletier
“An intense competitor, he led by example; working hard for every goal he scored... On and off the ice, he was the leader of the Maple Leafs.” – Legends of Hockey (Video)
“He became captain of the Maple Leafs in September of 1975. He fully understood the magnitude of the role. His ability to thrive under that type of pressure propelled him to hockey greatness. After being named captain, he cemented his legend in Toronto and around the hockey world with a trio of memories that define his Hall of Fame career. He scored the epic winning goal in overtime for Canada at the inaugural Canada Cup. He tied an NHL play-off record with 5 goals in a game against Philadelphia. But his most memorable evening occurred on February 7th, 1976. The Maple Leafs hosted the Bruins that evening, and Boston coach Don Cherry elected to start 27 year-old rookie Dave Reese in goal. It proved to be a night that neither Reese, nor anyone else in attendance at Maple Leaf Gardens would ever forget....The NHL record for points in a game was eight, but he obliterated that marquee in the third....As all of Canada watched in awe, he had produced one of the most magical performances in NHL history.” – Some YouTube video
“He played a determined game... he began to establish himself as an offensive star” – Legends of Hockey
“He tried to make himself a better player every day and season. He showed a willingness to battle (breaking teammate _______'s nose at camp) and worked extra hours with Dave Keon to improve his game... He showed a strong desire to lead his teammates. He was the undisputed leader of the team and ran the dressing room through consensus, though he was not afraid to tell a teammate to get his act together, and he did so with goalie _______ and defenseman _______ The Sum of his Parts was greater than any one part. He was not the fastest skater, yet he was seldom knocked off his feet. His shot was not overpowering, but still very accurate. And while he was not a league heavyweight, he could still throw punches with just about anybody and wasn't averse to stirring things up if the Leafs weren't playing well. His skill level did not match some of the other top players in the NHL, but nobody outworked the fiery Leaf... There was no better captain in the NHL at the time because he cared about his teammates and wanted to see people treated decently” – Maple Leaf Legends
“When he went to Team Canada’s training camp, Scotty Bowman told be after, he and Lanny McDonald, big offensive players, came and said, “ we really hope to make this team, Scotty, so if you want us to kill penalties or sweep the dressing room, we’ll do that”. And Scotty said, “of course you gotta keep guys like that around”, and in the end, they were two of the most valuable guys that Team Canada had in the tournament” – Frank Orr
“He is the classic example of the Canadian hero. A poor kid in small town Ontario who became one of the greatest hockey players of all time through hard work and perseverance.” – Joe Pelletier
“Once described as a "goaltender's nightmare," he found even more magic in the playoffs, particularly on the night of April 22, 1976. That night he tied Newsy Lalonde and Maurice Richard's playoff record with 5 goals in a single playoff contest. Reggie Leach and Mario Lemieux would later equal the mark, but no one bettered it.” – Joe Pelletier
“He wasn't the best stickhandler in the world and he didn't have the greatest shot. He wasn't the toughest guy in the league either, but was probably in the top quarter of every division. You put it all together and add a huge heart, you've got a guy you'd like to go to war with.” – Lanny McDonald
“In September, during the Canada Cup in Montreal, he would make headlines again with his scoring ways. This time it wasn't the quantity but the quality and the timeliness that made the impression. In overtime of the second game of the best-of-three finals versus Czechoslovakia, he held onto the puck on a partial breakaway until Czech goalie Vladimir Dzurilla committed himself and an opening presented itself. The goal secured the championship and made him an overnight hero in Canada.” – Legends of Hockey
“The tragedy was the fact that he played in the Harold Ballard era. I felt so sorry for a gifted hockey player, like him, and McDonald, and others, to be on a Leaf team that was a disaster; a skating disaster.” – Brian McFarlane
With our 7th round selection, the Bettmans are happy to select a strong offensive center to follow Lemieux. This man leads by example and is one of the most consistent offensive producers in NHL history. One of my all-time favourites....
Awards and Acheivements:
Canada Cup Champion (1976)
Second Team All-Star (1978)
Sittler his Leafs in the playoffs: From 1976-1979, Sittler had 53 playoff points, 14 more than the next-highest Leaf, 6th in the NHL and 2nd among non-Habs. He had 1.39 points per playoff game during this time, 2nd only to Lafleur's 1.50.
“He could skate, shoot, and stickhandle, and was considered the best backchecker in the game…was generally regarded as the best player in hockey.” – Total Hockey
“In many ways, he was, in the modern vernacular, a complete player. He had great speed and a terrific shot, and he was a backchecker without compare.” – The Ultimate A-Z guide of Everyone Who Has Ever played in the NHL
“The Greatest Hockey player I have ever seen.” – Art Ross
“He soon showed superior talent in puckhandling and on-ice decision making that made him an unpredictable force to be reckoned with. Tommy could play both Left Wing and Right Wing, and had an unusually powerful shot to go along with pinpoint accuracy. His backchecking skills were exceptional as well. As the obvious superior in natural talent, he became the leader of a special group of close knit players that would be destined for hockey greatness.” – www.geocities.com
“He showed himself to be a speed merchant on the blades and had no peer as a backchecker.” – Legends of Hockey
“My opinion is based on consistency of players over a period of years, and the fact that men selected possessed nearly all the fundamentals of an ideal player - physique, stamina, courage, speed, stick-handling, goal-getting ability, skill in passing, proper temperament and, above all, hockey brains” – Lester Patrick explaining why he chose him as the game’s best leftwinger.
“He finally made it on a cup winner when Kenora lifted the from Wanderers in a midseason series at Montreal in which he, playing on a line with ***** ******** and **** *******, was the star, At this time he was acclaimed as the greatest left winger in the game” – The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 1
“Who is the best hockey player in Canada? Nine out of ten people will tell you it is either Frank McGee or him. He is the speedier, but he has nothing on McGee in the matter of stickhandling and has not the same generalship. Where each shines is in pulling doubtful games out of the fires of uncertainty.” – The Montreal Herald, 1906
“Hockey Oldtimers who could recall the game as it was played in the early 1900s agreed that he was perhaps the greatest hockey player they had ever seen…He had everything a good player should have: whirlwind speed, a bullet-like shot, stickhandling wizardry, and was regarded as being without peer as a backchecker.” – Hockey Hall of Fame
“A great stickhandler and natural leader… (after leaving Thistles,) remained a feared goalscorer. He became a highly paid ringer, often brought in to help a team with the Stanley Cup” – Small Town Glory
“He showed great skating ability and had a backhand of unequalled speed and accuracy. Out west, he was often called the greatest player in the game” – Honoured Members
“Virtually overnight, he was the talk of the hockey world. Stories were told of a speed demon from out west, a hockeyist “game” to the core. This man had a vast repertoire of skills, each of them polished to a glimmer. He controlled the puck exceptionally well, possessed a deadly shot, and had a knack for defensive pursuits, most notably the backcheck… He had a devastating shot. His blasts were often referred to as “cross fires”. At a tme when hockey fans argued on behalf of the Russell Bowies, Frank McGees, and Hod Stuarts as hockey’s top player, “Nibs” was easily the all-around pick of the litter.” – Ultimate Hockey
With our 8th selection, the Bettmans are thrilled to be able to select one of the ultimate two-way players. One of the most versatile players, he is skilled enough to play first line, but good enough defensively to be an elite third liner. Please welcome “Nibs”.....
Awards and Accomplishments:
2 x Stanley Cup Champion (1903, 1907)
5 x Stanley Cup Finalist (1903, 1904, 1905, 1907, 1909)
MHL Pro First Team All-Star (1907)
ECAHA First Team All-Star (1908)
Selected to The Hockey News’ pre-NHL First All-Star Team.
Ultimate Hockey awarded him:
“Best All-Around Player” of 1900-1909
“Best Defensive Forward” of 1900-1909
Retro Hart Trophy
Retro Selke Trophy (1912)
5 x Top-3 in Points (1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908)
5 x Top-3 in Goals (1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908)
2 x Stanley Cup Challenge leading scorer (1905, 1907)
3 x Led his own team in Cup Scoring (1904, 1905, 1907)
International Awards and Accomplishments:
2 x Olympic Gold Medal (1984, 1988)
Canada Cup Gold Medal (1981)
5 x World Championship Gold Medals (1881, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989)
2 x World Junior Champion (1979, 1980)
Olympic Silver Medal (1980)
Canada Cup Silver Medal (1987)
World Championship Silver Medal (1987)
Canada Cup Bronze Medal (1984)
World Championship Bronze Medal (1985)
2 x World Championship Leading Scorer (1987, 1988)
World Championship Leading Goal Scorer (1987)
Izvesta Leading Scorer (1985)
2 x World Junior Leading Scorer (1979, 1980)
2 x World Junior Leading Goal Scorer (1979, 1980)
2 x World Championship Best Forward (1986, 1987)
3 x Izvesta Best Forward (1983, 1988, 1989)
2 x World Junior Best Forward (1979, 1980)
6 x IIHF All-Star (1979*, 1980*, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987)
Canada Cup All-Star (1987)
International Scoring Accomplishments:
123 International Game Played - 88 Goals, 74 Assists, and 162 Points
Soviet League Awards and Acheivements:
12 x Soviet League Champion (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989)
12 x European Cup Champion (1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989)
Soviet League Most Outstanding Player (1987)
Most Outstanding Player Voting – 1st(1987), 2nd(1980), 2nd(1983), 3rd(1986), 3rd(1988), 5th(1989)
7 x Soviet League All-Star (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)
3 x Soviet League Leading Goal Scorer (1984, 1986, 1987)
Soviet League Scoring Accomplishments:
439 Soviet League Games Played – 288 Goals, 215 Assists, and 503 Points
Vladimir Krutov, a cannonball forward, with a double chin at age 19, caromed in a shot by the former big boozer from Leningrad, Alexei Kasatonov.
Tikhonov lost his sense of the game. The veterans wanted off. Petrov looked to the bench with an expression that asked for rest, but Tikhanov motioned with his hand for him and Mikhailov and Kharlamov to stay out there. Krutov, Baldaris – that speed, that power – sat wasted, so did tat of the sixth attacker.
To replace the formidable Mikhailov, there appeared Central Army’s calorie king, Vladimir Krutov. No Soviet player matched the crafty, hard, competitive edge of Mikhaiov, the Russian master of unsightly goals. But the Tank, as they called him, had strength to endure in the corners and in front of the net. He owned a piercing wrist shot and, in defiance of his chubbiness, was capable of astonishing power bursts, reminiscent of their virtuosity of a steroid-pumped sprinter surging from the blocks.
The series was dominated by four players – Gretzky, Lemieux, Makarov, and Krutov.
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
Krutov was a cannonball of a forward, nicknamed Tank because of his stout nature and robust play. With a double chin at the age of the 19, he didn't look like a typical Soviet athlete. His crafty play was matched by a hard competitive edge, resembling the great Boris Mikhailov. With his speed and strength he was one Soviet forward who was very effective along the walls and in the corners. I can't decide which was more impressive - Krutov's astonishing rocket bursts from a stand still or his piercing wrist shot.
Krutov also played well against NHL competition in various exhibition games. Take for example Rendez-Vous '87, the 2 game exhibition series between the Red Army and the NHL all stars. Krutov scored once for the Soviets, but was a standout in both games.
The Canada Cup tournaments were also opportunities for Krutov to prove he truly is one of the game's greats. The 1981 tournament marked the Red Army's only Canada Cup victory. Krutov led the squad in goals with 4, and finished third in points with 8 in 7 games. In 1984, Canada regained the Canada Cup, but Krutov established himself as perhaps the best Soviet forward. After going undefeated in the round robin, the Soviets were upset by the Sweden. Krutov led the team in scoring with 3 goals, 5 assists and 8 points in 6 games.
However it was the 1987 Canada Cup when the man they call "The Tank" achieved his prime. In a tournament often compared to that of the 1972 Summit Series, Krutov kept pace with the torrid scoring pace set by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Krutov scored 7 goals and 15 points in 9 games, compared to Gretzky's 21 points and Lemieux's 18. Krutov, along with Gretzky and Lemieux were named to the three forward positions on the tournament's all star team.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
During his career he played in one European Junior Championship, two World Junior Championships, seven World European Championships, three Canada Cups, and three Olympic Games. He led the USSR to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in 1979 and in both the 1979 and 1980 tournaments was the top scorer and the best forward. From 1981 to 1989, he played in the World European Championships and was named to the All-Star team in 1983, 1985, and 1987. He was also named best forward in 1986-1987.
In 1986, he was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks 11th choice (238th overall); however, he didn't sign with the team until September 1989. Playing for the Soviet team in the Canada Cup in 1987, he was named Soviet player of the game four times and named to the tournament All-Star team. Being pegged as the best forward in Soviet hockey during the 1980's…
Originally Posted by IIHF
Vladimir Krutov is without any doubt one of the best forwards ever to play the game. Anatoli Tarasov, the dean of Russian hockey coaches, once concluded that a forward had to keep an eye on every move his partners made while not losing sight of the beautiful women sitting in the 10th row of the stands. According to Tarasov, there were only two players who could accomplish as much – Valeri Kharlamov and Vladimir Krutov.
Together with centre Igor Larionov and winger Sergei Makarov, Krutov formed arguably the best and most elegant forward line ever to perform on the international scene. His resume says it all: Two-time Olympic champion (1984 and 1988), one Olympic silver medal (1980) and five IIHF World Championship gold medals where he was named Best Forward on two occasions. He was selected to the World Championship All-Star Team every year between 1983 and 1987.
He totaled an amazing 139 points in 114 major international competition.
Krutov amassed a truly unbelievable 503 points in 438 games with his club team CSKA Moscow, the national champion eleven times during Krutov’s career.
Originally Posted by Russianrocket
His nickname “The Tank” says a lot about his style of playing hockey. He was a hard worker in front of the goal and his ability to score was well known in the hockey world.
Originally Posted by Wayne Gretzky
I'm a little biased on Krutov - I've always felt he was their best player. I've always said that. When they play here, he dominates.
Originally Posted by Viktor Tikhonov
Vladimir Krutov is the master in front of the goal. He's the one who seeks challenges and battles and on most occasions comes out on top.
Originally Posted by Vladislav Tretiak
Volodya was such a dependable and steadfast man that I would have gone anywhere with him — to war, to espionage, into peril. There are fewer and fewer guys like him in every generation of hockey players.
Originally Posted by Paul Coffey
Krutov was an incredible player, especially internationally when the hockey was at its best, and his one year in the NHL shouldn’t have tarnished his image. That whole line with Larionov and Makarov was incredible and, with Fetisov and Kasatonov on the points, I mean, forget it. They played a puck-possession game that I loved to play and Krutov was a huge part of it. He was built low to the ground, he was speedy and tough to knock off the puck.
Originally Posted by Paul Reinhart
I think Kruts was the proverbial fish out of water. He just never really got adjusted or acclimatized to the North American world and, therefore, he was never able to produce. But he was as good a player all through the 1980s as anybody in the world. I think the shame for Kruts is that he was not suited to leave Russia. And that’s unfortunate.
I’d say I probably played against Kruts maybe 10 times, including the 1981 Canada Cup and a number of world championships. He was an absolute bull of a player. He was a plug in terms of how strong he was. With his combination of skill and strength on his feet, he was exceptional. When he was here with the Canucks, we never saw him at his best, or anywhere near it.
We tend to forget how hard it was for the Russians coming over. They were not only leaving their own system and culture, they were coming to a culture that wasn’t necessarily welcoming. What I mean by that is the fact Kruts and Larionov were among the first Russians, the pioneers, to come over here. There were some reservations by Canadians, Canadian hockey players and media in terms of ‘hey, what are these Russians doing here, stealing our jobs and taking our money?
I’m not suggesting that was a main factor in Kruts not adjusting, but it certainly was an underlying one. He left a very rigid environment that he was very controlled in. He just had a very tough time adjusting to the freedoms.
He was an unbelievable player, as good as those other two guys on that line.
Originally Posted by Tony Tanti
His hands were incredible. The problem was he just couldn’t get there on a consistent basis and he would get tired over the course of the game. But he did things only the great players could do.
When I played against him in ’86 and ’87, at the world championships, he was probably the best of the three.
Originally Posted by Pat Quinn
Larionov was a very urbane, worldly educated sort of guy and was excellent in English while Krutov not so much. He didn’t have any English and was a peasant in terms of his upbringing. He was certainly a good hockey player but, unlike Larionov who was able to make the transition quite easily and welcomed it, Krutov was homesick right away.
It was a terrible experience for him. He really wasn’t enjoying it all and he didn’t want to be here. You could see flashes of his hockey ability from time to time but not enough. He couldn’t sustain it. He wasn’t conditioned well. His passing is sad. We never got to know him really well.
Originally Posted by Patrick Houda
Vladimir Krutov a stocky and strong left wing was discovered by the great Valeri Kharlamov. Krutov was a home grown CSKA product which was pretty rare back then for the Army club.
Vladimir Krutov was the guy with the temperament. He was called "The Tank" partly for his 5'9", 195 lbs frame but also for his style of play. He was a very dangerous player in front of the net.
“He was halfway between a rhino and a junkyard dog. Young King Clancy told of how he was introduced to NHL body-belting after a run-in with the big bugger they called "Old Pig Iron."” – Hockey-Notes.com
“He was a big man in his day, noted for his physical presence and goal scoring ability from the blue line. I liken him to a bit of a cross between the modern day Hatcher brothers. He had big Kevin's penchant for offense, but was more of Derian's mentality - mean and aggressive.” – Joe Pelletier
“A 5-foot-11, 200-pounder from Penetanguishene, ON, he spent eight seasons patrolling the Montreal blue line, playing a significant role in the Canadiens’ early successes....he proved to be adept at leading a rush up the ice....He also showed he knew how to make effective use of his size, leading all Habs with 134 penalty minutes as opponents around the league found out for themselves just how tough he could be when challenged....A reputation for rugged play solidified after a 1916-17 season that saw him once again finish tops among Habs with 103 penalty minutes, and he was able to concentrate on more offensive aspects of the game. A capable playmaker in an era when assists were much rarer than the goals they accompanied, he lit the lamp nine times in the NHA’s final season.” – ourhistory.canadiens.com
“He grew into a powerfully built young man who put his strength and size to good use as a rugged defenceman in the NHL.” – Andrew Hind
With our 10th selection, the Hamilton Bettmans are happy to select a well-rounded early defenseman. Though he is a strong offensive player, this man is best known as a devastating physical player. Please welcome “Old Pig Irons” to our team....
Awards and Acheivements:
2 x Stanley Cup Champion (1916)
Stanley Cup Finalist (1917, 1918)
“He was a fine back-checker and an accomplished "marker" of opposing players.” – Ultimate Hockey
“He was considered the best player hockey had even seen at his position and that he was renowned for his speed and his gentlemanly play.” – Honourer Members
“He was an excellent two-way player throughout his career as an amateur with the Montreal Victorias, though he was often overshadowed by the great Russell Bowie. He played centre when Bowie was at his usual position of rover, but he shifted to right wing when Bowie moved up to forward. This pair made as potent a scoring threat as there was in hockey at that time, amateur or professional.” – Legends of Hockey
“Like many of the finest players of his time, he was a very clean player who was equally adept at scoring or checking.
In a vote conducted at the time by daily newspapers in Toronto and Montreal, he was named to an All-Star team along with such greats as Bowie, Harvey Pulford, Frank McGee, Alf Smith, and Billy Gilmour. Like him, all of these players are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.” – Legends of Hockey
With our 13th round selection, we are very pleased to select the final member of our checking line. This man was very strong on offense and defence, and he is one of the strongest two-way players of his era. He was called “The Human Torch”....
Awards and Acheivements:
2 x Retro Selke Trophy (1903, 1904)
“Best Shadow” of 1900-1909
”He was a strong-skating defenseman with all-around ability. Although his roughness was a perfect fit on the rugged Maroons, he was by no means a cheap-shot artist. He was a stay-at-home defender, although his 13 assists in 43 games in 1929-30 suggests he was capable of leading a rush.” – Hockey-Notes.com
”He, forever known as Red thanks to his flaming hair, was a mean, no nonsense defender in the days between the two World Wars. Though long forgotten, he still ranks among the all the best.” – Joe Pelletier
”Naturally, the Montreal Maroons were the cross-city arch rivals of the Montreal Canadiens, and he certainly was front and center in the rivalry over his time there, clashing with the infamous Sprague Cleghorn on a few occasions. One night famed reporter Trent Frayne said that in the battle between the two of them "blood flowed like wine”.” – Joe Pelletier
“In another contest the opening face off was delayed because the referee could not find a puck to play with. The truculent man clearly had other things than scoring goals on his mind, as he supposedly became frustrated and shouted "Never mind the damn puck! Let's start the game!”" – Joe Pelletier
”"Get that man!" and "Keep punching!" were two of his favorite expressions” – Hockey-Notes.com
"He bashed all comers with fine disregard for reputations. He loved nothing better than to leave an opponent lying on the ice gasping for breath." – Montreal Star
With our 13th round selection, the Bettmans are happy to select a rough and tough stay-at-home defenseman. While his best strengths are defensive ability and physical presence, he does bring some solid offensive contributions as well. Please welcome Mervyn.....
”I wasn't a good hockey player, but I was a good competitor” – Red Rutton
Awards and Acheivements:
2 x WCHL First Team All-Star (1922, 1924)
He got a second chance the following year and was in the Detroit goal for one of the most remarkable games ever played. After the Wings and Maroons finished on top of their respective divisions, they met in Montreal in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. On March 24, 1936, he and Lorne Chabot were in their respective nets when the teams faced off at the Montreal Forum before more than 9000 fans. Many of those fans would not be around for the finish of the match - they would be back home and fast asleep when the Wings**** scored the game's only goal at 2:25 - at 16:30 of the sixth overtime period! He had recorded a shutout in the longest game ever played! 176 minutes and 30 seconds. Years later the Guinness Book of World Records also listed his 92 saves as a world record.-Joe Pelletier
During the 1935-36 and 1936-37 seasons, no NHL goalie was better than he- Red Wings.com
The next year, thanks largely to him who won the Vezina Trophy, the Red Wings repeated as league champions.-Joe Pelletier
His career was short, but memorable. A Vezina Trophy, 2 Stanley Cups and over 9 periods of shutout hockey in the playoffs!-Joe Pelletier
That bird Normie Smith robbed me more than any goaltender I ever fired at," -Harvey (Busher) Jackson.
With our 22nd selection, the Cairo Desert Dogs proudly select...
Awards and Achievements
2x Stanley Cup Champion (1936, 1937)
1 x Vezina Trophy Winner (1937)-For best GAA
1 x First Team All-Star (1937)
1 x Retro Conn Smythe Trophy (1936)
2 x NHL Wins Leader (1936, 1937)
1 x NHL shutout leader (1937)
Normie Smith was having a good rookie season in 1931-32 for the Montreal Maroons, before Howie Morenz ran into him, and was injured badly and out for the rest of the season. He would spend his next two seasons in the minor, developing his game, and discovering that wearing a cap could cut down the glare from the overhead lights, allowing him to play more easily.
Normie Smith's time in the minors developing his game would prove to be beneficial. He would be signed by the Red Wings in 1934, and although the Red Wings would not be pleased with his play at frist, he would soon shine.
In the 1936 playoffs, Smith would play one of the most remarkable games ever, with a 92 save shutout. The Wings would go on to win the cup, largely due to Smith's brilliance.
Smith's great play would continue into the next season, as he was a big part in the Wings repeating as cup champions, taking home first team all-star honors.
The Wings would falter in the next season however, and Smith's career would end soon after, playing a few more games without doing much of note. His career would be shot, but memorable, and his peak was incredible.
Last edited by Leafs Forever: 11-11-2009 at 04:40 PM.
”He was a dangerous scorer who spent the bulk of his career in the 1920s with the Montreal Canadiens. At his peak he topped the 15-goal mark four straight years and played a gritty style when necessary.” – Legends of Hockey
” A strong skater with dangerous offensive skills.... He let his opponents know that despite standing 5-foot-7 and weighing only 155 pounds, he would not be intimidated by underhanded tactics.” – ourhistory.candiens.com
With our 16th round selection, the Bettmans are happy to add a scorer with a physical edge to the second line. This man was assigned to mentor and protect a rookie Howie Morenz, and he did both jobs well. Please welcome.....
Awards and Achievements:
Stanley Cup Champion (1924)
2 x Stanley Cup Finalist (1924, 1925)
“ On more than one occasion, though, he surprised some of the more rugged types in the league when they tried to slap him around. He was also the top face-off man of his era.” – Hockey-Notes.com
” He was eventually made team captain” – Hockey-Notes.com
With our 15th round selection, the Bettmans are happy to select a speedy sniper for our second line. With amazing speed and quickness, this little buzz-saw created his own scoring chances. Please welcome the “Bulldog”....
Awards and Accomplishments:
2 x Stanley Cup Champion (1906, 1913)
5 x Stanley Cup Finalist (1906, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1917)
2 x Art Ross Trophy (1914, 1915)
2 x Rocket Richard Trophy (1914, 1915)
Retro Hart Trophy (1915)
“A solid all-around performer, Gordon "Red" Berenson enjoyed 17 productive years in the NHL. He was a fine sportsman who could check or score equally well depending on the situation. Along the way he registered seven 20 goal seasons and played on one Stanley Cup championship team in Montreal.... Berenson was a gift scorered.... His speed and skill with the puck impressed the officials of the Belleville McFarlands as they prepared to compete in the World Championships, and Canada captured the gold medal thanks in part to Berenson's nine goals.... a true workhorse.... plenty of time with both specialty teams” – Legends of Hockey
“....a defensive specialist with Montreal.... Sticking with the Canadiens for 1963-64, his only complete campaign with the Habs, the 6-foot, 185-pound pivot picked up 16 points while still thriving in his defensive role.” – ourhistory.canadiens.com
“He was also instrumental in helping the Blues reach the Stanley Cup Finals in their very first year in the league!” – Joe Pelletier
“His style of play and scoring success had put St. Louis on the hockey map and fans in the arena. Few St. Louis players were ever as popular as Red.” – Joe Pelletier
“”The Red Baron” of the Blues, as he came to be known, was in a class with Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, and Jean Beliveau.” – Who’s Who in Hockey
With our 17th round selection, the Bettmans are happy to select a great two-way player who can contribute in any role. His offensive skills are solid, his defensive abilities are strong, and hit character is even stronger. Please welcome the “The Red Baron”....
Awards and Acheivements:
Stanley Cup Champion (1965)
4 x Stanley Cup Finalist (1965, 1968, 1969, 1970)
3 x Lester B. Pearson Winner (1968, 1969, 1970)
Hart Voting – 4th(1969), 3rd(1970)
6 x All-Star Game (1965, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)
1972 Summit Series
WCHA MVP (1962)
2 x WCHA First Team All-Star (1961, 1962)
2 x NCAA West First All-American Team (1961, 1962)
NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team (1962)
1964 Olympic Gold Medalist
1965 World Championship Gold Medalist
1966 World Championship Gold Medalist
1966 World Championship Best Forward
Member of the IIHF Hall of Fame
Being a highly rated player, Loktev had a fascinating career with both the Red Army club and Team USSR. He was a part of one of the all time best Soviet lines ever. He played a RW forward with Alexander Almetov, C and Veniamin Alexandrov, LW. Loktev wasn't as elegant as Alexandrov or as cool as Almetov, but he was definitely the toughest player of the legendary "troika". Unfortunately, most of the 1960s games are not available for viewing and the only available way to see this magnificent line in action is through the rare archival footage.
International Hockey Legends
Konstantin Loktev joined the national team in 1954, but it wasn't until 1957 when he found regular linemates in Alexander Almetov and Venjamin Alexandrov. Together the three became one of the greatest troikas in Soviet hockey history.
Loktev, as coach Anatoli Tarasov puts it, was an original hockey player. He raced up his wing with puck well ahead of him. This must have caused the opposing defenseman to smack his lips in anticipation of a big body check or a turnover. However this was part of Loktev's arsenal. He lured in unsuspecting defenders this way, and then miraculously and almost without fail, he'd put on a beautiful deke to leave the bewildered defenseman up ice as he danced in on the lonely goal keeper.
Loktev, who trained by himself in spare time, was a rough player as well, despite his tiny fram of 5'7" and 165 pounds. He never shied away from the boards and would fight for the puck until the whistle had blown.
In his first world championships, held in Moscow in 1957, Loktev tallied up a staggering 11 goals and 18 points in 7 games. He would not win a World Championship gold medal until 1965 and again 1966 when he was voted as the top forward.
Loktev would also win Olympic gold in 1964, as well as 10 USSR championships. He scored 213 goals in 340 games in Russia, and 50 goals in 57 Olympic and World Championship games.
Not bad at all for a player who almost switched to bandy before his hockey career took off. It was the great Vsevolod Bobrov who talked him out of the change, starting a great friendship that would grow as the two men became influential coaches.
Although small in stature Normie Himes demonstrated an athletic ability in a wide variety of sports including some dominated by much larger men. He proved a gifted amateur on the baseball diamond and on the curling rink. He demonstrated a solid ability in basketball and rugby, was an able competitor in swimming and track and field. He excelled professionally as a hockey player and finally as a golfer. It was on the hockey rink, however, that Mr Himes was to make his most significant mark.
Mr Himes was described by his contempories as "unquestionably the backbone and sparkplug of the New York Americans", "the Galt terror", the "Little Giant", "the greatest playmaker in the league" and "one of Canada's natural athletes." It was perhaps his misfortune to play on what was, at best, a mediocre team. Had his supporting cast been stronger, he would undoubtedly received the recognition he deserved. One commentator suggested that Mr Himes "should be judged the MVP in the league if the Americans weren't so far down in the standings." In a total of 399 professional games between 1926 and 1935, an average of about 40 games a season, Mr Himes scored 106 goals and 113 assists for 219 points, an average of about 30 points a season. This may not appear to be much by today's standards but came at a time when 50 points could place a player in the top five in league scoring.
5th AHAC Scoring 1895
1895 Stanley Cup Champion
1st AHAC Scoring 1896
1896 Stanley Cup Champion (December)
1897 Stanley Cup Champion
3rd AHAC Scoring 1898
1898 Stanley Cup Champion
1899 Stanley Cup Champion (February)
Ultimate Hockey's Retroactive 1897 Hart Trophy Winner
Scored 49 goals in 36 games
Robert Macdougall was the highest scoring forward before the 1900s in Stanley Cup play. Robert scored a confirmed total of 49 goals in 36 recorded games. Overshadowed today by the likes of fellow teammates and hall of famers Graham Drinkwater and Mike Grant, Robert was consistantly one of the Montreal Victorias highest scoring forwards.
Near the end of Robert's career he would generally only play championship games due to his work scedule, In his last season Robert MacDougalls career would end in some controversey. In the 1895 Stanley Cup final with Montreal leading a total goal series with 4 goals to 2 against the Winnipeg Victorias with about 12 minutes left in the game, Montreal's Robert MacDougall slashed Winnipeg's Tony Gingras. As Gingras was carried off the ice, referee Bill Findlay only called MacDougall for a two minute minor. Angry that he should have been accessed a larger penalty, Winnipeg went into their dressing room in protest. Insulted, Findlay abruptly went home, but returned after officials followed him on a sleigh and persuaded him to return. Once back at the rink, the referee gave Winnipeg 15 minutes to return to the ice themselves. They refused and thus Findlay disqualified the team and declared Montreal the winners. 4,000 were attending the Winnipeg Auditorium rink to hear returns of the game by telegraph
1894 Retro Hart
Most Goals Between 1887-1899
March 1895 Stanley Cup Champion
December 1896 Stanley Cup Champion
March 1897 Stanley Cup Champion
December 1897 Stanley Cup Champion
March 1898 Stanley Cup Champion
February 1899 Stanley Cup Champion
Arthur "Dolly" Swift played for the Montreal Victorias as far back as 1884. He had a most unnatural style -- he carried the puck ahead of him, stickhandling with one hand, which was apparently quite distracting to play against. In any case, he was one of the more intelligent, innovative hockey players of hockey's pre-modern era. Swift was one half of the first bona fide player rivalry in hockey, the other half being Weldy Young. Swift and Young clashed whenever Quebec and Ottawa met, their most famous set-to coming during a February 23, 1895 match in l'Ancien Capital. On this night the two men put on a most barbaric display that resulted in the Quebec club's suspension for the rest of the season and playoffs.
Although Swift would often be used on defense, he was a natural rover. He hung up the skates after the 1899 season, seeing action in World War One as a Canadian Brigadier General.