Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Old-Tyme Defencemen

Last time, which was quite a time ago (thanks, tax season!), I suggested some terms that could be used to describe the style of old-tyme goaltenders, so that we don't have to resort to modern, anachronistic language when discussing them. Now we can have a look at some names for the defenders.

Hardrock: A hardrock defenceman is a physical player, who uses his body to prevent opposing players from approaching the net. He hits them, and if they get up, he hits them again. Fighting has not always been a part of the game, but body-checking has, and these men do it best. Harvey Pulford is an example of a hardrock defenceman.

Lifting: A lifting defenceman is one who excels at clearing the puck out of his end of the rink by lifting it, hurling the puck high into the air so that it cannot be intercepted by the opposition. While common in the early days of the game, this is a tactic not much used today. The Winnipeg Vics' great defensive pair of Rod and Magnus Flett are both noted for their lifting ability.

Rushing: A rushing defencemen is one who relieves the pressure on his side by rushing the puck up the ice himself. He is generally, though not necessarily, a gifted offensive player. He can either carry the puck all the way to the goal, or pass it off to another player for a scoring chance. Mike Grant is a noted example of a rushing defenceman from the game's early days, and there were many others since this style of play attracted so much attention.

Blocking: A blocking defenceman focuses on preventing scoring chances rather than moving the puck up the ice, but unlike the hardrock defenceman he does not rely on physicality to do so. He uses positional play and stick-checking ability to either block the opponent's path to the goal, or to block his shot. James Stewart is a fine example of a blocking defenceman.

Shooting: A shooting defenceman is one who focuses more on the offensive game, but instead of rushing the puck in to the goal, he possesses a deadly shot that can be used from a distance as well as in close. There are many such defenders in the game today, but in hockey's early years such players were fairly rare. Harry Cameron is one example.

I'm always open to suggestions for additional "classes" of player, if you will. Next time: fowards.


  1. As a welcome-back present I will forego the Chris Chelios joke.


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