60 mins TOI

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by keup257, Jun 8, 2011.

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  1. keup257

    keup257 Registered User

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    Some time ago I read about a player (can't remember who he was) being one of the last 60 minutes players.
    Does anyone have further information about it? When did players stop playing that long per game in professional hockey?

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    You might be thinking of Frank Nighbor. There are references to him playing 60 minutes some games late in his career, even though regular substitutes came into the game starting around 1910.

    An article about this subject can be found here.
     
  3. MadArcand

    MadArcand Whaletarded

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    Herb Gardiner supposedly played every minute in the whole 48 game season in 1926.
     
  4. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Presumably you mean 44 games season and 1926/27?

    That's exceedingly unlikely. Other than 12 games from Amby Moran (who would have played very little), Montreal used three defencemen:

    Herb Gardiner: 44 GP, 12 pts, 26 PIM (35 years old)
    Sylvio Mantha: 43 GP, 15 pts, 77 PIM (24 years old)
    Albert Leduc: 43 GP, 7 pts, 62 PIM (24 years old)

    If Gardiner (who did win the Hart trophy) played every minute, then the rest of the blueline minutes would have been split between Mantha (himself a Hall-of-Famer) and Leduc. Looking at their relative point and (especially) PIM totals, it seems extremely unlikely that Gardiner played every minute of every game.

    Then of course we have actual ice time numbers for the following season, 1927/28. As I recall Gardiner played a lot, something like 47 minutes a game, but he wasn't even tops in the league among defencemen. Eddie Shore and Lionel Hitchman both played something over 50 minutes per game, as did George Boucher. I can look up the exact numbers tonight.
     
  5. MadArcand

    MadArcand Whaletarded

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    44 regular season plus 4 playoff games. I also think it's an exaggeration, but according to March 26th 1927 Montreal Gazette, "he has travelled practically 60 minutes in all games", so I'd guess he likely would've done so on occasion at least. He's also referred to as "one of those 60-minute players seldom found in the sporting ranks today" in August 27th 1928 Calgary Daily Herald.

    Fuller quotes here in his ATD bio.
     
  6. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Or, that he played "practically" the full time every game. Now, what exactly the author meant by "practically" is open for debate.
     
  7. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Montreal Team Structure/Strategy and Reporting.

    A few points.

    The use of the word "travelled" is interesting. The French verb "travailler" means to work and misused derivatives did happen and were applied in both languages. "Practically" is also a word that has nuances in both languages. In English it has broader meaning ranging from partical to almost while in French it is somewhat more limited to the practical.

    The 1926-27 Canadiens played the season with four defensemen. Herb Gardiner(LHS), Sylvio Mantha(RHS), Albert Leduc(RHS) and Ambroise Moran(LHS) who was on the game roster for only 12 games. Consideration has to be given to the fact that Gardiner was the only LHS d-man on the roster for 32 of the regular season games and it was rare that teams would play a d-man(RHS) on the opposite side(LHS).

    One of the main reasons that the forward pass rules were liberalized after the 1928-29 season was the style of hockey played by the Canadiens.Overlooked is the fact that anti-defense rules were also introduced forcing the defensive forwards to clear the defensive zone into the neutral zone.Also icing the puck was acceptable and part of the strategy. The Canadiens - evidenced by Hainsworth's 1928-29 season but going back to 1926-27 would play all five skaters back in the defensive once they had a lead. Physically this was less demanding on the players especially older defensemen.

    When the various factors are considered, Herb Gardiner playing 60 minutes in a game where has a high level of plausibility.
     
  8. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    I have a vague recollection of hearing about how J.C. Tremblay supposedly once played the entire 60 minutes of a Nordiques game in the WHA; though I can't find any details or verification about it, so it may just be an exaggeration.
     
  9. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    This is demonstrably false. It was standard practice around this time to play three defencemen in a game - two starters, and a third as a substitute to give rest to the starters. This player would sub both of the starters, not just the one (if any) who happened to shoot the same way.

    Now look at the 1925/26 rosters. Ottawa, Maroons, Pittsburgh and Boston all have one thing in common: all of their defencemen shoot left. The Americans turned it around, having three RHS defencemen. It cannot be rare for a d-man to play the "opposite" side if 5 out of 7 teams did it all the time. There were only 6 quality RHS defencemen in the league in 1925/26, and 3 of them were on the same team.

    Only Montreal and Toronto had a split between RHS and LHS. The Habs enployed Billy Coutu, Leduc and Mantha. Also Rollie Paulhas, but with 33 games, 0 points and 0 PIM it's cleared he played next to nothing in terms of ice time. Now you have Billy Coutu as your sole LHS. And there's no way you'd leave Coutu on the ice for sixty minutes while rotating two superior defencemen in Leduc and Mantha on the other side.

    Gardiner playing 60 minutes in a game is plausible, even likely. Gardiner playing 60 minutes in every game in 1926/27 is not.
     
  10. flyershistory

    flyershistory Registered User

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    According to note on the official NHL scoresheets I know that defenseman Al Shields played all 60 minutes for the Philadelphia Quakers in a game at Toronto Jan 31, 1931. D'Arcy Coulson had the next most icetime at 53 minutes (2 of which was spent in the penalty box).
     
  11. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    1926-27 Season

    However we are discussing the 1926-27 season going forward, Herb Gardiner with the Canadiens. The 1925-26 season is interesting in that it underscores how the game was changed once east and west were blended into one league at the start of the 1926-27 season. Who stayed and who left and how the various hockey strategies blended.

    Specifically the 1926-27 saw a shift in roster composition with the teams you listed making the following adjustments. The following teams had RHS/LHS splits during the 1926-27 season Boston(Shore/Hitchman), Maroons(Dutton/Munro), Toronto, Canadiens, NYA had from before and did not change, Detroit(Laughlin/Duncan),Pittsburgh(McKinnon/L.Conacher). That left Ottawa which was cash poor but compensated with strong RHS centers - Nighbour, H.Smith, added the serviceable Al Shields within two years,NYR - very strong offensively but not top 3 defensively, until Heller and Seibert arrived. Seibert traded for another RHS Coulter then solidified Chicago. Chicago 1926-27 did not but corrected and added Cy Wentworth for the 1927-28 season.
     
  12. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    So where does this leave your claim that a defenceman playing the opposite side was "rare"?

    We've got 3 teams in 10 with exclusively LHS defencemen. That by itself is enough to make it not rare. But there's more.

    We have the Bruins with Shore as RHS, then Sprague Cleghorn, Lionel Hitchman, Billy Stuart and Billy Coutu as LHS all in the lineup regularly. Coutu probably played some LW as he often did, but are you saying they rotated Cleghorn, Hitchman and Stuart in one position while Shore got no rest?

    You say Dutton/Munro for the Maroons. But what about Reg Noble and Babe Donnelly, both LHS? Were the Maroons rotating Noble, Munro and Donnelly in one position while Dutton played the entire game?

    You're off on the Pirates as well, since Conacher went to the Americans early in the season. Their two primary defencemen were Charlie Langlois and John McKinnon, both RHS. Tex White probably played some D for them as well, another RHS. Was Rodger Smith, their only LHS, on the ice the whole time for them?

    So that's 6 of 10 teams that almost assuredly played at least one man on the wrong side a great deal of the time. That's not rare. That's not even uncommon.

    You imply that the lack of a RHS among Rangers defencemen was a weakness, and that they were "not top 3" defensively. This is a very selective bit of information, since they were in fact #4 in the league defensively, which is exactly where they ranked on offence as well, which you claim was their strength. Being #4 in goals scored (8% better than league average) means you're very strong, but being #4 in goals against (18% better than league average) means you're weak? That seems incongruous to me.

    Chicago did add a RHS the next season, and they went from dead last in GA to...dead last in GA. They continued to compensate by adding another RHS the next season (McKinnon). They were last in GA again.

    There is no pattern here of teams trying to achieve balance between their blueliners.

    The Rangers were in the league for six years before they had R/L balance on their blueline. In their first five years they played .559 hockey and won a Stanley Cup. Five years after first achieving this balance, they were heavy on RHS defencemen instead.

    Moreover, they were coached by Lester Patrick. Are you telling me that Lester Patrick didn't realize the vital importance of having balance among defencemen? Lester Patrick? Or could it be instead that it was not in fact vitally important; it was a nice advantage if you can get it but a minor concern in the grand scheme of things; that having the best players you can get was far more important?
     
  13. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    RHS D-Men

    Conversely defensive positions were not assigned at random. Shore and Hitchman who played a significant majority of the minutes and they did not flip flop from side to side as the mood struck them

    LHS d-men have regularly out numbered RHS d-men.forcing teams to compensate one way or another. Realizing what is important and getting a competing team to contribute the missing part are two different things. No obligation to trade or sell a RHS d-man to the Rangers. When they went out and got their own Heller and Seibert, things changed. When they traded Seibert dealing from strength they received Coulter in return a RHS.

    If we look at the 10 season stretch starting with the 1929-30 season when major rule changes were introduced, every Stanley Cup winning team had strong RHS d-men. The two time champion Red Wings were the only team with one - Doug Young, the others had two with a few subs while the 1939 Bruins had Shore,Clapper and Crawford.

    Conversely if your thesis holds then a team with a strict LHS defense should have won a few cups in the stretch between 1930 and 1939.Did not happen.
     
  14. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Things changed? The Rangers were a very good team that won a Stanley Cup, and they became...a very good team that won another Stanley Cup. Remarkable.

    Should it have happened? Not necessarily. That's far too simplistic an approach; it depends on a too many factors for a blanket statement like that. If teams aren't paying attention to handedness then strict LHS teams should be fairly rare to begin with, since a RHS is likely to slip in there unnoticed. And obviously the overall quality of the team would be very important, far more important than how the defencemen shoot.

    But since you mentioned it: the 1937 Red Wings. Doug Young missed most of the regular season, and did not play in the playoffs. All of the Detroit defencemen in the playoffs were LHS.

    The 1936 Wings won with a single RHS defenceman (and four to five d-men was now the norm in a game), while the 1938 Black Hawks won with a single LHS.


    Now, moving the goalposts back to where we started, I did promise some numbers from 1927/28.

    Montreal in 1927/28 has the same three primary defencemen they did in 1926/27: Gardiner, Mantha and Leduc. Charlie Langlois also played 32 games as a fourth, but he was RHS like Mantha and Leduc, but presumably that wouldn't make a difference. Surely if Gardiner played every minute the year before he wouldn't suddenly stop because his team added a player of much lesser calibre, and a RHS no less?

    The minutes per games in 1927/28 are: Gardiner 48, Mantha 35, Leduc 23 and Langlois 18. There are hints in their stats that this was likely very similar to the season before; Gardiner recorded exactly the same PIM totals (26) in both years, and Mantha and Leduc's combined PIMs are nearly identical as well (134 vs. 139). Gardiner did record a few less points in 1927/28, and Leduc a few more, but when considered in conjunction with the penalties that's not nearly enough to support a change of 25% in playing time from one year to the next, which is what would be required to get Gardiner up to 60.

    Like many defencemen of his day, I'm sure Gardiner did play full games at times. But the evidence suggests he did not do it every game. No one did by this time. Shore played 54 minutes per game, as did George Boucher and Ching Johnson. Hitchman played 53. No one else played over 50.
     

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