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53700Re: Ron Grahame

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  • William Underwood
    Apr 1, 2011
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      It was just a better league Craig and like a lot of goalies who are GREAT as
      amateurs or even in the minors who just don't cut it at that level. You have
      that one year and as Morey points out you have weaknesses, NHL shooters
      figure them out feast on them and your confidence plummets. Remember Jim
      Carey, Steve Penny, and Blaine Lacher? And typically he played on a good
      team who slowed that process down by giving up fewer chances than a weak
      team would on him. Also note that the Bruins obviously saw flaws as they
      dealt him not Gilles Gilbert fully knowing that Cheevers was 38. Prior to
      that, he played on a great Houston team in the WHA which also fig leafed a
      lot of holes. Remember they also had NHL journeymen like Wayne Rutledge and
      Don MacLeod look great for them..He fit the profile of most WHA goalies" who
      had been good at this level or that, were good there but just could not cut
      it in the NHL at least as starters over time. I remember at the merger when
      a WHA GM quipped to the Hockey News, "they are letting me protect two
      goalies and I don't even have one that I want to protect." The WHA was a
      good league but it just did not have the depth of shooters that the NHL did.
      As more than one ex WHA guy who played in both leagues told me over the
      years "the WHA was a good league but don't let anyone ever try to tell you
      that it was the NHL." There was a difference and Grahame found that out fast
      like a lot of guys did, they had those one or two bad flaws that in the dub
      they could survive with and even flourish but in the NHL were fatal over
      time. Remember guys like Ron Ward and Danny Lawson who were marginal NHLers
      at best lit things up especially in the early years and they would not have
      been even CLOSE to the best shooters on an NHL team..you also had more goods
      big power forwards in the NHL who could poke in that fat rebound and be a
      pain in the butt, screening a guy all night, I can't think of the WHA's
      answer to Gary Dornhoefer who would always be there in the goalies lap., you
      really got crowded in the NHL. Remember "too small" was reason that lot of
      guys ended up in the WHA and a lot of the big guys just lacked mobility.
      This is not to say that there were not big league players there, there were
      and some GOOD ones but just not enough and those guys were the ones that
      were keyed on. Even a good team may have tow liens of guys that were decent
      enough but after that.it got WEAK. And on the lesser teams you might have
      two guys not two lines..so again you just were not challenged on the same
      percentage of shots. And keep in mind I do not mean they couldn't shoot
      hard. A lot of guys can but lack accuracy and others can shoot ok but are
      not smart enough to tune in and work the weaknesses, I see that in the
      minors all of the time I am sitting there and saying to myself "SHOOT HIGH"
      on the two foot tall goalie even after he has been fried a couple of times
      up top, but they just don't get it..or in other cases simply can't. You
      don't see that in the NHL, they bear down and find that weakness, home in,
      and attack it like a shark does a nice piece of meat. Look at the Rangers
      Cap series of couple of years back there was just one little hole that
      Lundqvust was giving up for some reason that series, maybe he was hurt or
      whatever but they homed in on it and FED on it. This is one of the many
      things that separate an NHL hockey player from a guy that can't quite cut I
      which if we want to be honest a good deal of the WHA was. I loved that
      league and it was not a minor league as NHL types often disparaged it as
      being but nor was it the NHL.

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