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Clancy, Lindsay among biggest short players in pre-expansion era

Fischler lists his top stars under 6 feet tall from early years of NHL

by Stan Fischler / Special to

Legendary hockey reporter and analyst Stan Fischler will write a weekly scrapbook for this season. Fischler, known as "The Hockey Maven," will share his knowledge, brand of humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.

Today, he lists his top four players under 6-feet tall from the NHL's pre-expansion era:


1. King Clancy (5-foot-7) -- There was never a more resilient defenseman, nor one who managed to blend humor and courage with his artistry so well. The fact that Clancy never won a scrap during his lengthy NHL career couldn't temper his pugnacity. Toronto Maple Leafs owner and general manager Conn Smythe was able to purchase Clancy from the Ottawa Senators after winning a bet on the longest of longshot horses. Clancy helped the Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup championship in 1932.

Video: Star defenseman King Clancy did everything in hockey


2. Roy Worters (5-3) -- Although the goaltending theory has always been "the more net filled the better," Worters amply demonstrated that a tiny man with catlike moves could play every bit as well, if not better, than the best of the big guys. "Shrimp" was the best of the little men during the 1920s and early 1930s; in the opinion of some, he was the best small goalie of all time. His best years came with the New York Americans from 1928-37; he won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player in 1928-29 and the Vezina Trophy in 1930-31.


3. Ted Lindsay (5-8) -- Notorious (and respected) for his ability to play any brand of hockey, Lindsay played left wing on the Detroit Red Wings' famed "Production Line" with right wing Gordie Howe and center Sid Abel (later with Alex Delvecchio). "Terrible Ted" helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1950 and again in 1952. 1954 and 1955. He was one of the NHL's most dangerous offensive players -- and perhaps its most ferocious, despite his lack of size. His attempt to organize the first NHL players' union led to his being traded by the Red Wings to the Chicago Blackhawks in the summer of 1957.

Video: 'Terrible Ted' Lindsay took on all comers for Detroit


4. Henri Richard (5-7) -- "The Pocket Rocket" was a French-Canadian version of Lindsay, and he was every bit as tough as big brother Maurice. When Henri arrived at training camp with the Montreal Canadiens in the fall of 1955, critics figured the 19-year-old would be too small to break into a lineup replete with future Hall of Famers. But he fooled the skeptics and became part of a Montreal team that won five straight Stanley Cup championships. By the time he retired in 1975, Richard had played on 11 Cup-winning teams -- three more than his older brother and more than anyone in NHL history.

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