Jean Ratelle: why is he so underrated?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by reckoning, Apr 16, 2006.

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  1. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    For some reason, it seems like he`s never mentioned when people talk about the great forwards of the 70s. Sure, he`s in the Hall of Fame, but his name is rarely mentioned anymore. Take the Hockey News Top 100 list: Ratelle is nowhere on it to be seen. Now people may claim it`s because he never won a Cup, then please explain how Sittler made the list or how Dionne and Perreault made the top 50? Ratelle came closer to a Cup than they ever did.

    Ratelle may not have had Dionne`s point totals, Perreault`s flashiness or Sittler`s single game records; but overall I`d rate him above those three guys. He was a consistent point-a-game scorer, sound defensively (never had a minus season), played well in the playoffs, and was well-liked by everyone. Can someone please explain why he`s forgotten while other centres from that era are remembered?

    My memories of him are mostly from his Bruin days, even then in his late-30s he was always a standout. Just a magnificent talent to watch, the definition of the hard-working finesse player.

    One other question: let`s say Montreal managed to snag his rights instead of the Rangers. He has the exact same career, but being on Montreal gets 8 Cup rings to go with it. How much higher would he be rated then?
     
  2. mcphee

    mcphee Registered User

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    Good question. Funny how perception goes. I remember him coming up with NY about the same time as Gilbert, and you always thought of him as a smooth playmaker, but never the guy who'd beat you. Just a good player on a good line. NY would beat Mtl. with their grinders like Tkacuk and co.

    When JR got to Boston, he seemed different, grittier, a harder worker. It could have been the makeup of the Cherry temas, who knows, but he seemed different in Boston.
     
  3. ClassicHockey

    ClassicHockey Registered User

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    Jean Ratelle & Rod Gilbert were outstanding Juniors with the Guelph Biltmores and some thought that Ratelle would be the better player. But Ratelle took much longer to get used to the NHL play and the Rangers were getting very impatient with him. They were about to trade Ratelle to Montreal and would have if Andy Bathgate hadn't talked to the Ranger management about keeping Ratelle and his vast potential.

    Ratelle was appreciated by his peers and won the Lester Pearson Trophy in 1972.

    Undoubtedly, Ratelle helped make Hadfield into a 50 goal scorer. I do agree though that when the great players are discussed, Ratelle is often forgotten.
















     
  4. Murphy

    Murphy Registered User

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    Ratelle played with Vic Hadfield and Rod Gilbert on the GAG (Goal a Game) line.

    I can't really answer why he's as underappreciated as he is. About all I can think is he was one of those types that was really good at everything but not neccessarily great. He did spend the first 4 years of his career between the Rangers and the minors before he stuck. Not sure if that would have anything to do with it either.
     
  5. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    I have Ratelle at #105 on my greatest players list. He was an excellent player.
     
  6. God Bless Canada

    God Bless Canada Registered User

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    reckoning,

    This thread wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that you just snagged him in the all-time draft (great pick, BTW, I was hoping to get him as my second line centre in the next round) after he went around No. 200 last time, would it?

    Obviously anyone who wins the Pearson had a heck of a season. Voted on by the players on who they think is the best player in the league. I can't think of a greater regular season honour than to have your peers tell you you're better than Bobby Orr or Phil Esposito.

    It's hard to believe a guy who played in New York would be underrated, but I think reckoning does have a point. When you think of the all-time greats, he's not a guy that pops into your mind. I don't think he's a top 100 guy, but I'd say he's outer fringes of the top 100. I'm sure he showed up on a few top 50 lists. If he played on the wing, he might get a little more respect, simply because there are more all-time great centres than wingers.

    Being the go-to-guy, best forward or best player on a Stanley Cup champion greatly impacts your legacy. Look at what it did for Henri Richard. He did it 11 times. Even if Ratelle won a couple of Cups in his prime, I think it would definitely improve his all-time standing.

    PS: Ogopogo, Ratelle at 105 is actually uncanny in its accuracy.
     
  7. BM67

    BM67 Registered User

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    Slow and steady wins the race, but steady and consistent doesn't get recognition, I guess. He didn't have the flash of some that are rated ahead of him, and didn't have that one big year or series to shine out in peoples memories.

    If he had stayed healthy in 72 and won the scoring title, it would have helped a lot, and of course a Ratelle at 100% might have pushed NY past Boston for the Cup, and that would have helped even more.

    I have to figure that he gets tarred with the same brush as his close but no cigar teams, as maybe not quite as good as they appeared.
     
  8. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    It`s something I`ve been wondering about for awhile. Perreault was one of my favourite players as a kid, but I don`t understand how he`s usually taken in the Top 50 in the drafts while Ratelle`s never hit the top 100. I just don`t see where the huge gap is justified. But I did specifically wait until after picking him to bring up his name. There`s another guy who`s historical rate is severely underrated IMO, but I`ll wait `til I draft him before I discuss him here.
     
  9. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    He was a great player IMO. I'd have him rated ahead of Gilbert though. Ratelle also had two assists in the 8th game of the Summit Series. Often forgotten.
     
  10. johnny cool

    johnny cool Registered User

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    don't worry about it
    i don't know but one time my friend who's a ranger fan pronounced his name "Gene Rat-elle"

    i wanted to strangle him
     

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