Finishing the Check

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Canadiens1958, Jun 15, 2011.

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  1. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Commonly used in hockey circles especially by the talking heads but the strategy of "Finishing the Check" is rather modern.

    When do you recall first hearing the expression and during what circumstances?
     
  2. mbhhofr

    mbhhofr Registered User

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    Not so modern. I started hearing it back in the 1970's. I officiated at every level of the game, getting my start in 1953.
     
  3. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    True

    The expression can be traced back to the Detroit Red Wings dynasty of the early 1950's and the dump and chase style they played. However the game was officiated differently at the time, boarding and charging interpretations regulated speed. Also "freezing" the puck against the boards was an acceptable part of the game.

    However the expression changed meaning in the 1970's and has continued to change to this day.
     
  4. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

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    The "finish your check " mentality is the largest contributing factor in the ever escalating injuries we see. Until it's addressed nothing will change there. Punish all you like with suspensions, it won't change anything.
     
  5. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    There's a lot of validity to this. Mason Raymond's injury was the result of finishing a check, though the check was finished relatively gently. The puck was no longer there, Boychuk no longer had any right to be in physical contact with Raymond. But he kept pushing him into the boards, to finish his check.
     
  6. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    True

    True but the main issue is the nature of the check. Bobby Orr and a few of the other players that are long retired have repeatedly made the point that the dangerous checks are the ones with the upward thrust - Chara on Pacioretty being the prime example. Watch the replay and you see Chara purposely getting low.
     
  7. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

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    Indeed. What I have a problem with is that the original intent of a body check was to separate the man from the puck and that's long been lost.
     
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  8. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

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    Yes as was the Rome hit, finished not so gently. That was the perfect example of finishing your check.
     
  9. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Indeed. The call on the Rome hit was interference, because the hit was late.
     
  10. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Going Further

    This has to be taken a few steps further. Not only separate the man from the puck but rub him out along the boards or bump him out of his lane and come away with the puck at the same time.

    This was very well explained during the Don Cherry CBC two part movie. There was a vignette where during a Springfield practice Cherry takes a player into the boards but the puck continues towards the corner available to the first player that gets it. If it is an opponent this has the potential of creating a mini 2 on 1 since any reasonably skilled forward would tie-up the d-man along the boards. Eddie Shore tries to explain to Don Cherry that by changing his angle a d-man can make the same hit and virtually in one motion get the puck, stride away and start the transition game.

    Very valuable technique since the player who is caught along the boards in this fashion gives up inside position on the ensuing rush.
    In the O6 era, the ability to execute this move was one of the differences between an NHL and minor league d-man. With expansion many of the minor league d-men made the NHL regardless and as is the case in general things get dumbed down, the weaker technique started to prevail.
     
  11. Stonefly

    Stonefly Registered User

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    Yes exactly. Body checking essentially changed from a hockey tactic to bullying/intimidation losing the whole point - to gain puck possession.
     
  12. Eisen

    Eisen Registered User

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    I agree with this. But introduce it to the fans or on the main board and people are saying you are "wussyfying" the game.
    A check should be dealt mainly to seperate the player from the puck. But these days it seems that it is OK to deliver bone crunshing hits even when the checker sees that he has no chance to alter the play anymore.
     
  13. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Funny...........

    Funny.............wussyfying the play. The opposite is demonstratably true. Potvin open ice hit on Guy Lafleur, Ted Harris open ice hit on Jean Ratelle, 1966 playoffs, Larry Robinson hit on Dornhoefer, 1976 finals all proper hockey hits within the framework of getting control of the puck.These are just some of the memorable hits. Lou Fontinato tragedy, unfortunate but usually the consequence of poor technique. Fontinato had a habit of ducking his head.

    Point is that players from minor hockey on up are often poorly coached. It is acceptable to play along the boards facing the crowd or to turn your back to a check because some inept coach prefers to get a PP instead of teaching the kids how to play properly facing the play/into the center of the ice, while protecting themselves.

    Back to the wussyfying concepts. Basically those that only eat hot dogs cannot appreciate steak..Approximate translation of an old Quebec saying which means that unless fans are exposed to proper, classic hitting they will be impressed by what they see.

    Years ago I showed some classic footage of hockey playoff games from the O6 era to Pee Wee kids I was coaching. They were awed by the backhand passing and shooting skills, with the result they started to incorporate the skills in their game.
     
  14. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Ditto on that observation. What we seem to have today is a milder version of what we called, back in the day, Running Riot. Hit everything & everyone early, late, lunch & tea time, anytime. Put the guy through the boards, open ice from a partial crouch with an upward thrust which as we've seen can have devastating consequences.

    Allan Stanley & Tim Horton had an interesting & unique system. Horton was practically blind without glasses so Stanley would call out signals & usher incoming forwards to the boards on Hortons side with Horton simply smothering the attacker with his famous Bear Hug check, which is about as final (and clean) as "finishing your check" can get.

    When guys from that era & earlier, the 70's & 80's delivered a check open ice, they went for the legs, hips, chest. High hits were met with swift justice from the players fists. The introduction of the Instigator Rule took what had been an issue dealt with by the players out of their hands. "Finishing your check" does not mean "finish the guys career" as so many of the current generation apparently fail to realize or grasp, and then of course feel dreadful for what they've wrought on some poor guy who is left spending hours, days, possibly years in a "quiet room".

    Note;
    as an amusing aside what with the biting incident in this years SCF, Derek Sanderson once got into a fight with Tim Horton & wound up in a full on Bear Hug, biting Horton as he apparently heard "first one, then another rib snap, figured it was the only way I could get out of it"..... :)
     
  15. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Wussified hockey. You know, like the kind Gordie Howe played.
     
  16. ICM1970

    ICM1970 Registered User

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    Why Eddie Kea (RIP) was so seriously injured. Maybe wearing a helmet might have prevented some of the immediate severity of what happened to him, but the account I read was that George McPhee continued his run into him after Kea passed or shot the puck away and still had his head down for that millisecond or two, making him that vulnerable. I could see a lot of other players being that very seriously concussed even with a helmet and then being put back into action shortly afterward and being vulnerable to another concussion (like what happened to Steve Payne and other players).
     
  17. BadgerBruce

    BadgerBruce Registered User

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    Early 70s, Howie Meeker during the HNIC intermissions.

    That man was obsessed with “Finish Your Check,” regardless of circumstances. He even wanted penalty killing forwards to run the opponent’s defencemen almost through the boards while forechecking,
     
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  18. Crosbyfan

    Crosbyfan Registered User

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    I remember being coached to do so late sixties in minor hockey. You weren't coached to smoke the guy just temporarily remove him from the play, stop the give 'n go, or whatever. I got the impression it was a much older term that had been around as my Coaches were in their forties.
     
  19. Filthy Dangles

    Filthy Dangles Registered User

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    North American term, obviously.

    Nowadays you generally here it in context like "...a guy who finishes every check..." i.e a guy who doesn't pass up an opportunity to hit someone.
     
  20. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Played youth hockey in the fifties and and sixties.

    Basic idea behind checking was separating the puck from the opponent in a fashion that you gained puck control while creating a temporary man advantage. This applied to physical contact checks, stick checks - sweep, poke, etc or forecheck.

    Finishing the check initially meant not getting caught in between once committed to checking, thereby taking yourself out of the play and creating a temporary man disadvantage for your team especially from the standpoint of on ice spacing. Once committed, stay with the man you commited too and your teammaes will adjust accordingly.
     
  21. Iron Mike Sharpe

    Iron Mike Sharpe Registered User

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    Yeah, that's how I always understood the term finishing the check, maybe because my coaches used it when I was in youth hockey four decades ago, before I reached the level where you could hit. I always thought it meant to follow through with the opponent until you've taken the puck & have possession of it, no matter how you're checking the puck from the opponent. I distinctly recall my coach saying "he got the puck because you didn't finish your check!" and he didn't mean paste the guy into the boards when I was 8 years old.
     
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  22. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    When I was 8, playing community center hockey, internal rule at the house league level was that sticks had to be below shoulder level at all times.
     
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  23. Tarantula

    Tarantula Hanging around the web

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    First heard it in Bantam when we could first hit during the 70's. Nobody expected you to take a guy off his skates or anything like that. Follow through and commit to the play. We had a couple of lunkheads who tried plastering guys but they wound up both at some point missing completely and hurt themselves.

    Full cages were new then, and by the time I got to midget sticks were always up. Wish I had my old helmet, lots of that white cage paint got rubbed out with cross checks back then. Seemed that's when finishing the check became more about slamming someone then anything to do with the puck control.
     
  24. Crosbyfan

    Crosbyfan Registered User

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    In the context they (my minor league coaches) used it, it meant body checking. Generally it was with regard to still hitting the guy if he got rid of the puck, if you already had him lined up, or anywhere reasonably close to it.
    There seemed to be an unwritten rule that you could hit the guy fairly late if it was clean, not excessive, and the guy getting hit is aware it's coming, similar in some respects to current calls in the NHL, where you see hits regularly, 3 + seconds after the change of possession in some areas of the ice.
     
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  25. Johnny Engine

    Johnny Engine Moderator

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    Not to be pedantic, but 3 seconds is an eternity in a hockey game. Even some of the worst late hits take place in the span of a second (see Janssen on Kaberle).
     
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