Bobby Smith - why so forgotten?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Breakfast of Champs, May 17, 2011.

  1. Breakfast of Champs

    Breakfast of Champs Registered User

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    This guy had an amazing career by the looks of things. I wasnt around when he was playing but his accomplishments are outstanding.

    1978 1st overall draft pick

    1978 set record for pts and assists in a season in ohl, both still stand today

    1979 nhl rookie of the year

    1986 stanley cup champion

    career over 1000 pts (1036 pts in 1077 gp)

    career high 114 pts in a season (81-82)

    Yet for some reason he is completely forgotten in any talks about great players of the 80s. I myself knew very little about him untill he became coach of my hometown team (Halifax Mooseheads) and then looked into his career. I was shocked to find out that he had accomplished all of these things and I had barely heard of him. Can anyone help me understand why he is so forgotten?
     
  2. Ghost of David Bruce

    Ghost of David Bruce Registered Geezer

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    I was going to say, "he's not forgotten in Halifax"... but well.

    The reason he doesn't get too much ink is the fact that, he was good but not great... solid, but not flashy. His best offensive years came during the high scoring '80's. Those were some fat times for centers, and there was always a number of guys who shone a bit (or a lot) brighter... Gretzky, Lemieux, Trottier, Savard, Dionne, Hawerchuk, Messier, Stastny... just to name some off the top of my head.

    It's too bad more people dont' remember him, he was a fine NHL'er, but the fact is, if he had been a stayed a North Star instead of becoming a Canadien, he'd be even less well known.
     
  3. Dissonance

    Dissonance Registered User

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    Also? Twentieth all-time in playoff points—tied with Mike Bossy and enough to make him the highest scoring non-HOFer in NHL history (at least, if you assume Gilmour, Sakic, Lidstrom, Jagr, Fedorov, and Forsberg are all getting in). Not bad!
     
  4. MS

    MS 1%er

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    I've made this point before, but it's eerie how similar the careers of Bobby Smith and Vincent Lecavalier are.

    Both were hyped for years as franchise players before being drafted, both are 6'4" centers who drew comparisons to Jean Beliveau, both went #1 overall.

    Both developed into very good - but slightly disappointing relative to expectations - #1 centers who had one huge offensive season where they did in fact live up to the hype.

    Both were #1 centers on a surprise Cup winner. Very similar style-wise.

    Both probably fall into the 'Hall of Very Good' grouping.
     
  5. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    I always liked Bobby Smith as a player but I think he gets over-shadowed because he played in an era where there were better centres (Gretzky, Statsny, Messier.etc)
     
  6. Ghost of David Bruce

    Ghost of David Bruce Registered Geezer

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    Interesting comparison. Personally, I'd take Lecavalier's O over Smith's and Smith's D over Lecavalier's... but, you're right, they are pretty similar.

    I was going to go with a Kirk Muller or Trevor Linden comparison.
     
  7. jumptheshark

    jumptheshark Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    Smith was very mild mannered
     
  8. Dennis Bonvie

    Dennis Bonvie Registered User

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    Excellent comparison.

    I think Bobby Smith was what you may call a smooth player. Like a giant left-shooting David Kejci, he liked to slow the game down and patiently pick his best option. Definitely more of a playmaker than goal scorer. In that respect closer to a Joe Thornton type.
     
  9. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Lecavalier could be different in the sense that Smith's career was typically short for that era, whereas Lecavalier could play for another decade. If he has team success and transforms himself into an Yzerman type two way leader, he'll easily surpass Smith and have a higher profile legacy.
     
  10. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Not in terms of calibre.
     
  11. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Top 30 points finishes:

    Bobby Smith: 8th, 15th, 18th, 22nd, 22nd, 27th, 30th
    Kirk Muller: 14th, 27th, 28th, 30th
    Trevor Linden: no top 30 finishes
     
  12. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    he was my dad's favourite player. dad used to say that he liked smith better than all the other bobbies (especially clarke, but also orr) because he didn't go in for the rough stuff. a truly gentlemanly guy, bobby smith-- and i think the reason my dad liked him might also be one reason smith's career has largely been lost to history while a guy with a similar career like rick tocchet might stand a better chance.



    EDIT: i said this in another thread recently-- in terms of trying to imagine bobby smith's profile when he played, i always thought of him as the guy doug wickenheiser was supposed to be. as in, yeah he doesn't score as much and wasn't as flashy as denis savard, but he's a big strong number one center who backchecks and leads, and he helped win you a stanley cup. exactly why montreal went with wickenheiser in 1980.
     
  13. Hardyvan123

    Hardyvan123 [email protected]

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    Vinny has had the better peak when you look at the context of the seasons, his 07, 08 seasons were quite a bit better and even his 02 season was better than Smith's best when you adjust for points.

    My guess is that Vinny will age better than Bobby who really fell off the cliff at 30, although he was still a very good playoff performer for his entire career.


    Exactly, only 1 finish in the top 10 in points in his career.

    Surprisingly only finished top 10 in assists 2 times (7th and 8th).

    He was 16th in overall points from 79-93 (his playing career).

    Surprisingly he was 6th in playoff scoring during the same time.

    http://www.hockey-reference.com/pla...val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=points

    My guess is that if he had a slightly longer career and added more to his playoff totals he might have been more hall worthy.
     
  14. Ghost of David Bruce

    Ghost of David Bruce Registered Geezer

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    Smith was a better offensive player, no doubt... but I always considered Muller's and Linden's numbers to be hampered somewhat by the quality of their teams, the styles those teams played and the roles they played on those teams.
     
  15. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Bobby Smith

    A few comments. Bobby Smith was far from mild-mannered as over 900 PIM in less than 1100 games during the regular season will attest.
    Also he never came back completely from a knee injury suffered during the 1989-90 season.

    Bobby Smith had the ability to integrate a team quickly and adapt to the varied roles that were required. He could play with various linemates and not lose effectiveness.

    Basically a player's player.
     
  16. Bexlyspeed

    Bexlyspeed Registered User

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    Maybe its because he has such a nondescript name? the only blander name i can think of is Johnny Smith.:laugh:

    I always thought he was an overlooked star. he raised the level of all his teams, especially the young Habs of '86 and the shooting stars of 1991
     
  17. Hab-a-maniac

    Hab-a-maniac Registered User

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    Mild-mannered? Not always. Ask Martin Gelinas!

     
  18. IafrateOvie34

    IafrateOvie34 Registered User

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    That knee injury really did change some things, but he did bring lots of leadership to his teams. I agree, he was very underrated for his era.
     
  19. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    bobby smith was not a gentleman on the ice? come on guys, you're changing my earliest memory of watching hockey with my dad.

    seriously though, dad was an immigrant to canada and not the most educated hockey watcher and i was eight, so yeah i'm probably wrong on this one.
     
  20. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I think another thing is that history doesn't always look kindly on a player who peaks early and then gets lost in the shuffle the rest of his career. It's too bad because the guy was present deep in a playoffs a lot. He was in the conciousness of the public in certain years just like Ryan Kesler - and not Crosby or Ovechkin - are in our conciousness now because he's on one of two teams left.

    Smith played in 4 finals and won just once. But it would surprise people just how prolific of a postseason performer he was. He never really had a bad postseason.

    But like I said, he peaked early. He was 8th in scoring in 1982 when he was 24 and then never even close after that.
     

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