On the 50th anniversary of Rocket Richard's 500th goal, Maki asks the question: Would Rocket Richard Be Successful Today?
Maki actually goes on to question Richard's skating, size, and his infamous temper.
Fortunately he poses these questions to Dick Irvin, Jr., one of hockey's true hockey experts. Irvin defends Richard vigorously, saying:
- “From a standing start, he had a great first stride. And he was strong on his feet, very strong.”
- “He weighed about 170, 180 pounds but he would literally carry guys on his back. They couldn’t knock him down.”
- Rocket scored six overtime goals and had 82 playoff goals back when you just had to win two series to win the Stanley Cup.”
Hockey has several distinct eras and has changed a lot over the years. And while everyone will agree that today's players are bigger, better coached and conditioned and superior than the average player from the past, the bottom line is the best players from any era could play today. The best players are set apart because of talent, intelligence and instinct.
And the same goes in reverse. Lots of Wayne Gretzky detractors suggest #99 would get killed in a rough and tumble days of the Original Six. I've got news for you - the 1980s were pretty rough times too. And Gretzky was physically targeted on every shift, but because of his superior intelligence and vision, he was able to escape most hits. Why would the most intelligent hockey player in history be any less successful in an older era?
Forgive the rant. The era debate is one of my biggest pet peeves.
Gretzky And Richard Together
Speaking of Richard and Gretzky crossing generational boundaries, have you seen the new advertising campaign for Invesco Trimark?
I guess Invesco and Trimark, allegedly legends in their own field, have merged to create what they call a dream matchup in history. To get the point across they have imaged Gretzky and Richard playing together for tv commercials and magazine spots.
I haven't been able to successful in finding any such images through Google or YouTube, but when I do I will post them.