Whose presence alone prevented them from needing to fight often?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Big Phil, Nov 16, 2013.

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  1. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    You can call it the intimidation factor. Or respect factor. But somewhere along the line these guys built an early reputation for themselves to the point where them just skating up to a player, or a pile, would automatically calm things down. Not that there is anything wrong with the guys who regularly dropped the mitts but many of the guys I am talking about were ones who were tough as nails but were still elite players in their own right. It is similar to a parent that doesn't need to spank their kids very often because the kid has already felt the wrath before and knows what to expect. So who are these players?

    Mark Messier - Rarely had to fight later in his career. Dropped the mitts early on a lot but that set the tone for his entire career. How do I know people feared Messier? Whenever he delivered a cheap shot people were scared to come after him.

    Clark Gillies - Kicked Dave Schultz's butt pretty good in 1975. Still fought after that, but his presence kept Mike Bossy safe.

    Larry Robinson - Didn't fight a lot in his career. Had a few early on and not many after. Robinson was feared, no doubt.

    Gordie Howe - Goes without saying. Often mentioned as being untouchable after pounding Lou Fontinato's face in 1959. Hockeyfights.com doesn't go before 1957, but after 1959 Howe played up until 1971 in the NHL and fought three times. That's it. Hard to believe but it's true. So the facts go in favour of the Fontinato story.

    Zdeno Chara - It took a while, but ever since that ragdoll on McCabe I've never personally thought of Chara the same. How can you just do that to a grown man, and not even a small one either? For whatever reason that isn't even on Chara or McCabe's fight card. Was it not a major penalty to either of them? Hard to imagine. But either way, ever since then (it was 2004 I believe) Chara has had more of a mystique about him and he has fought much less than he did earlier in his carer.
     
  2. LeBlondeDemon10

    LeBlondeDemon10 BlindLemon Haystacks

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    Its strange that Robinson seemed to have more fights in the 80's after Chris Nilan joined the team. It might be that there is just more available video of Robinson's fights in the 80's too.

    Recently, I think Dustin Byfuglien has earned that reputation. He has rarely, if ever, fought as a Jet. It seems that after he laid that hit on Pronger in the 2010 SCF nobody wants to touch him. Also, the way he owned the Canucks in those playoffs by parking himself in the crease was very intimidating.
     
  3. Francis Vernal

    Francis Vernal Registered User

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    Maybe not what you're looking for since he did fight a lot, but I was just reading this exact thing about Tony Twist. Apparently his teammates on the Blues would joke that he would always put the other team on their best behavior, even if they only had a cardboard cutout of him of the bench. He had a lot fewer fights per season toward the end of his career compared to the beginning.
     
  4. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    I dont think any player was ever capable of just wading into fights that were already taking place & stopping them with his presence or just a look. Though there are several that possessed that ability and if the gloves hadnt already come off and the guy skated into the fray whoever might well have left the gloves on and backed away. Some guys you just didnt want to anger like Tim Horton or in the 70's Robinson as mentioned above. Famous line being "dont wake up the sleeping Giant" with a hit or dirty play in reference to #19 with the Habs. Most players are completely fearless and when the bloodlust starts raging, really doesnt matter who you are or what size, 5'8" lightweights losing it on 6'4" 220 pounders & just going nuts or vice-versa, and so much for The Code.... like the time Theo Fleury so enraged Marty McSorley that Marty there just picked him up by the scruff of the neck about a foot off the ice with one hand, punching Fleury's head like it was a speedball with about 10 straight jabs & then throwing him a good 10' beyond dazed & confused in a bloody pulp of a mess like he was taking out the garbage, and at that having snapped beyond repair went looking for more trouble. All of these guys, Shore, Ted Green, Shack, Fleming etc, once they'd blown a gasket look out. Didnt matter if it was Howe or Hull, later the likes of a Semenko or whomever. WW3. Apocalypse Now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  5. jkrx

    jkrx Registered User

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    It's not strange, Habs/Nords rivalry started.

    I think after the Koci fight people really started to fear his fists.
     
  6. cynicism

    cynicism Registered User

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    Chris Pronger. Only 21 fights in his long career, went a few seasons without fighting once. He's for sure someone with a big intimidation factor to him.

    Another factor with Chara is his role. In Ottawa he was seen as the #2 defenceman behind Redden. In Boston he's the captain and #1 d-man, most likely he's been given instructions to fight less.
     
  7. Bob Cole

    Bob Cole Tom ******* Brady

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    Robinson

    Dryden talks about it in The Game
     
  8. jkrx

    jkrx Registered User

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    Pronger didn't fight much because he ALWAYS turned down someone who could actually fight him. He picked his spots like no one else, yes, worse than Clarke in that regard. He was extremely tough when guys like Sandström and Roman Vopat were on the ice but usually he stuck to elbows to the head and other sorts of "tough play".
     
  9. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I'd say Gordie Howe and Mark Messier come pretty darn close to the mentality of: "Oh, he's on the ice, let's behave". With the dirty play of Messier you would think that people would fight him more. There were times it was almost as if everyone on the ice was scared to confront him, even after a dirty play. Howe had two fights after 1959's big Fontinato fight. No one wanted to challenge them. As far as superstars go, I think these two rank the highest when it comes to things settling down upon their arrival.
     
  10. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Perhaps in some instances, but I think were really stretching it to say it was the norm. Any player worth his salt regardless of size wouldnt or at least shouldnt give a flyin fadoo who their out there against. You want players with no fear. Guys who think their the Boogeyman. The bigger they are the harder they fall type attitude.
     
  11. struckbyaparkedcar

    struckbyaparkedcar Registered User

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    I'd give equal credit to breaking a downed Ivanas' orbital bone in 2005.

     
  12. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    But it happened though Killion. Maybe it was just fear of those two. People knew if you messed with Howe or Messier they had long memories. Rarely did anyone want to take that chance at one of those "the ref isn't looking right now" types of plays. Can anyone but Messier spear someone in the groin and not have to answer the bell? (Martin Skrbak in 2004).

    I remember when Lindros arrived and he would go toe to toe with Messier and I remember being surprised that someone was actually out there challenging Messier in the physical department. As for Howe, I don't think we can underrate the mess that was Lou Fontinato's face. Who wanted to be THAT guy? So yeah, I think there was a mystique, or a respect or a fear with them.
     
  13. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    As far as legitimate straight up thugs go - I know Willi Plett, Dan Maloney and Chris Simon were challenged less later on in their careers because no one wanted to go with them, thanks to the reputation they earned.

    To add another star player to the list - Eric Lindros. Pretty sure he wrecked a few guys and had the size, strength and ability that meant only true heavyweights would ever want to challenge him, and he wouldn't waste his time on them, so he rarely fought. 42 fights in his first 6 seasons, and 18 more in the next 7.
     
  14. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Why?

    Why would anyone fight Lindros when a bodycheck was more effective?
     
  15. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    there's that too.
     
  16. Crosbyfan

    Crosbyfan Registered User

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    Why body check Lindros when a check to the head opportunity is bound to come up within the next couple shifts?
     
  17. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Im not saying guys didnt back away, clearly some did. What Im saying is if I was a Coach or GM, a team mate of such I'd be none too happy with that player. Does. Not. Matter.... you play hockey you play to win and if that means dropping them with Howe or a psych job you'd better be prepared to do exactly that. Its all out war. You cant always pick your opponents and if some Lugan who outweighs you by 50lbs & is a foot taller it doesnt matter. You go A.N.I.M.A.L Baby. Dont matter. Doesnt matter that Howe "takes my number". That I wind up with 60 stitches & a concussion. Lost the fight. What matters is that I showed up & tried. I fought. Will fight you again & dont care if I lose again I'll still hurt you on my way down. Absolutely. No fear. Used to be you didnt make it to The Show by showing the whites of your eyeballs, turn tail running, turtle. No Sir. You fought & you fought to win. Hard as nails. No mercy. Fontinato, Green, Howe... does... not... matter. Yer a Meatstick & yer goin down.
     
  18. kmad

    kmad riot survivor

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    I've read that Tim Horton was a pretty effective neutralizer.
     
  19. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    If by "neutralize" you mean a Bear Hug then yeah. Classic Horton.... back in the day there was a lot of yapping usually followed by scrums, clutching & grabbing, fights more wrestling matches than any actual fist swinging. Takes some serious science to deliver a punch with jar on skates. That wasnt exactly mastered until recently, as in from the mid to late 80's on. The so called Broad Street Bullies & Schultz, Big Bad Bruins, the pugilists landing knock out punches more lucky than actually skilled. Really it was just a lot of frothing at the mouth. Drama Queens. Easily dealt with. Any player cowed or frightened by it not anyone youd want out there.
     
  20. brianscot

    brianscot Registered User

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    Seventieslord mentioned Dan Maloney and that's the first name that popped to mind when considering this thread.

    Another name to be considered: Barry Beck. He was huge for the era and had the sufficient track record to stem off most challengers.
     
  21. begbeee

    begbeee Registered User

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    Scott Stevens after 1995 fought only in 1-2 fights per season.

    As for Chara, he had some iconic moments - especially McCabe and Koci, which has seen many people (players) and looked like from another era. That helped create a mystery about him.
     
  22. ted1971

    ted1971 History Of Hockey

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    Tim Kerr was a pretty tough customer. I remember a game at the old Cap Center, when Scott Stevens was still a Capital and there was a very angry Tim Kerr going after Stevens and Stevens actually skated to the other end of the ice.
     
  23. whatname

    whatname Registered User

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    Tony Twist. Probably the most intimidating fighter in the 90s.

    edit: never read the question fully.
     
  24. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Never mind, you are right about one thing, Twist was about as scary of a fighter as there has ever been - ever.

    I agree, I'd want the players that won't back down either. However, they would, and did with some players.
     
  25. Sentinel

    Sentinel Registered User

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    I think this thread screams "Dennis Potvin."
     

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