Defencemen to Forwards

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Canadiens1958, Aug 21, 2011.

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  1. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    This is an attempt to look at players, mainly pre 1967 NHL expansion who extended their career as defencemen by also playing forward later in their career or those who played defence in junior or the minors but carved a niche for themselves in the NHL by playing both forward and defence or going back and forth.

    Some examples. Murray Balfour was a defenceman in junior but a regular RW with the Hawks in the NHL. Doug Mohns went back and forth between defence and LW eventually playing defence with the old Atlanta Flames. Brian Watson and Jim Roberts made the NHL as de[th defencemen but lasted because they learned how to play forward with varying degrees of success.

    Other contributions appreciated.
     
  2. plusandminus

    plusandminus Registered User

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    Here is a thread I started about players playing both defenceman and forward.
    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=955305

    In post #28, posted a table and asked for feedback:

    I got basically no feedback on it.
    Maybe someone find something of use.
     
  3. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Thank You

    Thank you but your thread was limited by the era. Going back to the start of the NHL opens the discussion to eras with much smaller game rosters, 8-10 players and building from there. Also other rule factors enter the picture which made the move more common.
     
  4. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Utility Men

    at least thats what we used to call them huh?. Youve' got your forwards who play the point on the PP who are technically playing defence; then youve' you got your defenceman who are used as forwards or vice-versa temporarily by Coaches' in certain situations, some examples being; Phil Housley, Sergei Fedorov & Ian White. In a full time conversion, from Junior to the NHL we have Wendel Clarke; while the best known NHL full-time conversion would obviously be Red Kelley, which brings us to Jack Adams, whose hockey & business philosophies were, "interesting"; of particular note the number of players he converted from defencemen to forwards or vice-versa during his 30+yr Reign of Terror in Detroit. :naughty:
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
  5. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Jack Adams

    Jack Adams, one of the more intriguing hockey personalities. His teams featured a number of the better dman to forward, forward to dman players. Ebbie Goodfellow, the classic with Red Kelly. 1950 semi-finals, Gordie Howe suffers a fractured skull in game 1 so Red Kelly is moved to forward while a converted center Marcel Pronovost is introduced to the NHL as a defenceman. Unorthodox but the Red Wings go on to win the Cup.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
  6. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Yes, and I believe Jack Adams saw the game of hockey frozen in time; to the time of his own playing days, considering the flexibility of player A, F or H in terms of inter-positional play right on through the 50's as being of paramount importance. Sure he was a nasty, Trumped up Martinette of a man on the business side of the equation, but on the hockey side a pretty bright bulb. He was still thinking Rover's, LH/RH shooters & a transitional game that was lost & then found again in a much purer' form decades after his death. Really, if you look at any number of the great Red Wings post War (along with several circa 32-43) any number of the forwards couldve' played defence; any number of defenceman with very little stretch playing Center first & foremost, a wing position secondarily. Really quite a fascinating study.....
     
  7. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Other Contributions.

    Jack Adams also contributed to the dump and chase which led to the goalie playing the puck - early Jacques Plante.Had a knack for finding young goalies - three consecutive HHOFers Lumley-vastly underated, Sawchuk, Hall. Plus used the gullibles in the NHL as a feeder system for years - would draft or acquire rejects like Garry Aldcorn, Parker MacDonald, etc play them in safe situations with the stars boosting their numbers then trade them for solid NHLers.
     
  8. DJ Man

    DJ Man Registered User

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    I seem to remember that the Punch Imlach Maple Leafs in the 1960s would occasionally begin a game with a center and four defensemen, in an effort to somehow control the opening faceoff through muscle rather than nfinesse.
     
  9. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Face-off Interference

    Before the face-off interference rule was introduced. The Leaf player taking the face-off would not bother with the puck, he would simply eliminate the opposing face-off man.
     
  10. Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust Master Debater

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    I know this is post expansion, but I believe Wendel Clark was actually a defenseman when he started out in juniors but was moved to LW shortly thereafter, http://www.hockeydraftcentral.com/1985/85001.html

    Marty McSorley was a defenseman who was moved to RW, then moved back to defense. Same for Ken Baumgartner. It seems as though many enforcers who were defenseman were shifted to forwards due to their propensity to commit fighting majors. Which explains why it is rare to find a defenseman nowadays who regularly drops the gloves.
     
  11. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Ya, I mentioned him earlier. Converted to LW when he got drafted by the Leafs. Interesting to contemplate what kind of a career he mightve had had he stuck with Defence.
     

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