February 19, 2016
10 All Time Hockey Greats History Has Forgotten
I have compiled a list of ten of the greatest players of all time who, somehow, have been all but forgotten by the hockey world.
Frank Boucher - Boucher he most clever center pre-Wayne Gretzky, which says something since he retired like 40 years before The Great One arrived. His New York Rangers line with brothers Bill Cook and Bun Cook played with a beauty that was later remembered as close to Soviet hockey as the NHL had ever seen. And Boucher did all this while winning seven Lady Byng trophies. In fact, the NHL just gave him the original trophy to keep!
Max Bentley - This frail hypochondriac emerged as quite arguably the most exciting player in the entire National Hockey League in the 1940s, not to mention a three time Stanley Cup. "The Dipsy Doodle Dandy" because of the way he zigged and zagged his way through an opposing team "like a scared jackrabbit." Several NHL old timers were quick to compare Wayne Gretzky upon his NHL debut to the electrifying Bentley. Others favor the modern day comparison of Denis Savard or Gilbert Perreault.
Al Rollins - This star goaltender's best days came with one of the worst teams in NHL history. In 1953-54 the Chicago Black Hawks had 12-47-7 record. Rollins battled valiantly in net, playing in the all star game and had 5 shutouts. Most importantly, he won the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP! That tells you just how good Rollins was - a 12 win season in 66 games earned him the most prestigious individual prize in hockey, over names like Howe and Richard!
Frank Nighbor - This early hockey genius was one of hockey's greatest two way forwards, and he played back in an era when forwards didn't backcheck so much. He was very good offensively, but peerless as a defensive forward. As a result he won four Stanley Cups and the Hart Trophy,
Earl Seibert - If Seibert is remembered at all these days, it is as an intimidating and imposing rearguard roughian. But he was a heck of a defenseman, too. The fact that he was feared and unforgiving just made him all the more effective.
Norm Ullman - Norm Ullman was an incredibly underrated star for 22 years in pro hockey, maybe the most underrated superstar ever. A hard worker who took immense pride in his defensive play, Norm, much like Ron Francis, quietly amassed one of the greatest careers in National Hockey League history.
Helmut Balderis - A fantastic skater and dazzling puck handler, one of the most interesting great players ever to come out of the Soviet Union was a mustachioed showman named Helmut Balderis. He was a fun loving, entertaining player back when Soviet players' were very accurately portrayed by North Americans as "robots." The Latvian Guy Lafleur.
Alexander Maltsev - Alexander Maltsev became a legend on the International side of the game. He participated in three Olympic games, helping the Soviet Union win gold in 1972 and 1976, as well as a silver medal in 1980. Maltsev also played in 12 World Championships, winning gold in 9 of those tournaments. Three times he was named the World Championship's best forward and was a tournament all star 5 times. He does not get enough mention in debates concerning the greatest Soviet players of all time,
Neal Broten - Minnesota is known as "The State of Hockey." With notoriously frigid winters and countless frozen lakes, ponds and streams to play on, hockey was as natural to Minnesotans as it was for Canadians. In fact, in a state that has produced more hockey superstars than virtually every other state in the country, most consider Neal to be the best player the state has ever produced.
Bill Quackenbush - Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman was as good as they come defensively. And he did it all with an amazingly minuscule 95 penalty minutes in his 14 year career.