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Thread: Who's the greatest French player?

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    IHF Member usausa's Avatar
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    France Who's the greatest French player?

    Who do you think was the greatest French player internationally and domestically?
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    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    Internationally there's no question Cristobal Huet has been the most successful, insofar that he has excelled in the world's highest level professional league.

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    Philippe Bozon and Cristobal Huet stand out above the others... It's really hard to chose between them and we will wait until the end of Huet career

    Center Christian Pouget (which was at least as talented as Bozon but didn't have the same mental strength) comes next.

    Not forgetting Albert Hassler or Léon Quaglia who was the best player in Europe in 1924 :045:
    That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise

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    Denis Perez (rugged defenseman), Antoine Richer and Christophe Ville were also pretty good.

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    Hello you people!

    There is no doubt, that the best French player is some of those Marc and Alex have mentioned.

    But the most important Frech hockey person is, I think, Louis Magnus. He arranged a meeting, where the IIHF was founded!

    All the best
    Jukka

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    Actually it was called LIHG at the time. And it wouldn't have been created so early without him.

    Magnus was indeed a leading force, as he helped to uniformize rules and to form an early unity of "Canadian" hockey in Europe, which could quickly become dominant over bandy.
    That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise

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    Quote Originally Posted by jukka ruskeeahde View Post
    But the most important Frech hockey person is, I think, Louis Magnus.
    Just to do add a little something to what Marc said, i'd mention that you can see Magnus' importance just by looking at the name of the top French league: the Magnus league.

    I guess everyone already knew it, but just in case...

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    For me : It was Philippe Bozon and currently Cristobal Huet
    Hi I'm French. :c215:
    Sorry for my English. I can read but I write poorly

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    IHF Member Barbemaigre's Avatar
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    If you ask to someone who is the greatest french player, 90% of them say HUET! The rest hesitate between him and Bozon! I have make the test.

    Because we are crazy of ice hockey in this forum, we try to found an other guy than Huet 'cause we don't like certainty. But for basic people who are interested a little by hockey, I think that they said Huet.
    And he have play less in french national team since he play in NHL. So we can't reproach this low presence in team France

    Everybody understand me? 'Cause I have a low level in english (sorry!)

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    I don't know who i'd choose, but it'd be between Bozon and Huet. Hard to make a choice though, as they don't play at the same position. Bozon was the first French born to reach the NHL, spending 3 seasons with the Blues in the early 90's. Being the first to reach the NHL at that period, and coming from a non-hockey market, is already a great accomplishment. You can also consider all what he brought to the national team, including seriously helping in maintaining them in group A at the WC, and leading them to their best result at the Olympics with a 1/4 Finals in 1992. Sure, those Olympics were in France (Albertville), but it's the only time France reached the quarters.

    Then Huet... A way fewer impact on the international scene, but a way bigger one in the NHL, including a trophy (Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award - best SV% - 2 years ago). Then he is now considered as a key player in the NHL, while Bozon was mostly a depth guy on the third line for the Blues...

    So really hard to make a choice... But they are the 2 big guys from France for sure IMO.

  11. #11
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    Huet is a star in the NHL, the world's top pro league. Bozon was a depth player there.

    Huet wins hands down as a result, in my view.

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    IHF Member Cedric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post
    Huet is a star in the NHL, the world's top pro league. Bozon was a depth player there.

    Huet wins hands down as a result, in my view.
    That's right, but it's easier for a goalie to be a star in the NHL. In Switzerland we know that, the first swiss who never played in the NHL was Pauli Jaks (goalie), then the first swiss who became a "star" in the NHL was David Aebischer (goalie), then Martin Gerber (goalie) and at the end Mark Streit (defense).
    Philippe Bozon was the first french player who never played in the NHL, he played something like 200 games in the strongest hockey league (I don't wanna check now, no time for that), for me, he is the best french player all time! And in the 1990's, Philippe Bozon was more important for the french selection than Cristobal Huet today. That's my point de vue. So I would say: 1) Philippe Bozon, 2) Cristobal Huet, 3) ?

    By the way, Philippe Bozon and Cristobal Huet were together in Lugano (my favourite club) between 1999 and 2001 and you can believe me, Philippe Bozon was much better and very more important for the team than Cristobal Huet.

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    IHF Staff Trim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bykov-Khomutov View Post
    And in the 1990's, Philippe Bozon was more important for the french selection than Cristobal Huet today. That's my point de vue. So I would say: 1) Philippe Bozon, 2) Cristobal Huet, 3) ?
    That is a good point as far as national team success has gone. Huet has only twice represented France since he's transferred across the Atlantic. What about the Rozenthals?
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    IHF Member Cedric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KazakhEagles View Post
    That is a good point as far as national team success has gone. Huet has only twice represented France since he's transferred across the Atlantic. What about the Rozenthals?
    If we believe eurohockey.net (Cristo's career), he went to 6 world championships.
    About the Rozenthals, hard to say for me, but I'm more than sure they are not as good as Philippe Bozon!

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    Clearly, the Rozenthals aren't at the same level than Bozon or Huet. They've been of big importance for the national team, but not as much as Bozon. Great players (well, at least for French born guys), but not as great as Bozon and Huet.

    Oh and Bykov-Khomutov is right: it's way easier to become a NHL star if you're a goalie, especially for players coming from nations out of the Big-6. Just look at the NHL goalies nationalities... When they come from a Big-6 nation, there are stars at other positions in the league. When they don't come from a Big-6 nation, you'll rarely (if ever) find any star at another position, and sometimes you won't even find a single player at another position. So Huet > Bozon just because he is a NHL star while Bozon wasn't? I don't buy this. I'd put both at the same level. They didn't have the same kind of impact over their carreer, so it's hard to say for sure who's the best. Both have been (well, Huet still is for a while) tremendous French players, but there's no clean way to compare them, so i call a tie here.

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    IHF Member Cedric's Avatar
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    Well, there are some exceptions, for example Slovenia (with Anze Kopitar) and Austria (with Thomas Vanek).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bykov-Khomutov View Post
    By the way, Philippe Bozon and Cristobal Huet were together in Lugano (my favourite club) between 1999 and 2001 and you can believe me, Philippe Bozon was much better and very more important for the team than Cristobal Huet.
    Good point. Mannheim fans could also join the debate. Bozon was a star player there, while Huet was (only?) a great player.
    (Bozon played his best career years in Mannheim, not in St. Louis where he suffered many injuries)

    But I think we have to wait for Huet career to end to make a real comparison. I don't think we've seen everything from Huet yet.

    No one - even themselves - has ever mentioned the Rozenthals as the all-time best. Surely the national team coach didn't. (joke)

    I know some long-time journalists who still think Christian Pouget is the all-time best. (I think he is the all-time most talented, which is not the same)
    That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise

  18. #18
    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    "So Huet > Bozon just because he is a NHL star while Bozon wasn't?"

    Yes, absolutely. Huet has excelled in the world's top professional league. Bozon was a depth player there.

    Bozon's accomplishments with the French national team, and in Germany & Switzerland, are very impressive. However, they do not compare to having sustained success in the world's top pro league - a level which is considerably higher than the French national team, DEL and NLA.

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    Philippe Bozon was only a marginal player because he was never given the opportunity to be anything more than a third liner. His first full season in 92-93 was spent stuck on a fourth line becaue he had guys like Craig Janney, Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, and Nelson Emerson in front of him. In 93-94 he was given the opportunity to play on the third line and while he didn't produce any spectacular numbers, he outscored even some of the second line guys. The Janney, Hull, Shanahan triumvirate was that teams only source of scoring and any other players who had successful seasons, benefitted from playing with them. Bozon never got that chance. I'm not saying he is better than Huet but I am saying that if put in a situation with better linemates and given a genuine opportunity to be a scoring line player, I believe Bozon would have produced more points and had more success than he did.

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    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post
    Internationally there's no question Cristobal Huet has been the most successful, insofar that he has excelled in the world's highest level professional league.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post
    Huet is a star in the NHL, the world's top pro league. Bozon was a depth player there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post
    "

    Yes, absolutely. Huet has excelled in the world's top professional league. Bozon was a depth player there.

    Hey, that's spam. Cf. board rule #10, please. It also applies to crossposting the same message within threads.
    Last edited by Karsten; 06-08-2009 at 16:48.

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    IHF Staff Marc Brunengraber's Avatar
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    Now you're getting out of hand, Mr. Technicality.

    What's your opinion on the matter, by the way?

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    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Brunengraber View Post
    Now you're getting out of hand, Mr. Technicality.

    What's your opinion on the matter, by the way?
    Internationally: Philippe Bozon. We all tend to agree on this.

    Domestically? Good question. On both sides I think there are some pretty good arguments.

    I

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    I think in the long run, Cristobal Huet could prove to be a better player than Bozon was, but as of this point in time I think you have to go with Bozon. Interestingly I was in France for the Tour de France and I stopped in Grenoble to check things out. I asked a couple of people I encountered about french ice hockey and most spoke about either Philippe Bozon or Cristobal Huet. They are by far the two most recognizable french hockey stars, although they said that Sebastien Bordeleau has gotten a fair bit of attention recently. Interesting comments I thought

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    IHF Member Karsten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by otgoal21 View Post
    I think in the long run, Cristobal Huet could prove to be a better player than Bozon was, but as of this point in time I think you have to go with Bozon. Interestingly I was in France for the Tour de France and I stopped in Grenoble to check things out. I asked a couple of people I encountered about french ice hockey and most spoke about either Philippe Bozon or Cristobal Huet. They are by far the two most recognizable french hockey stars, although they said that Sebastien Bordeleau has gotten a fair bit of attention recently. Interesting comments I thought
    Thanks for your comments. Very interesting. I think you have come to the right place. Some of us are also passionate cycling fans :)

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    IHF Member Bobby Orr's Avatar
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    IIHF

    Unfortunately, voting for the “best player of all time” always ends up in one direction.
    People only pick players they have seen in the past. This is perfectly understandable, but not totally fair to the real oldtimers who helped pave the way for the “modern players”

    When selecting the ”best player of all time”, I believe one should have a few criterias to work from.

    1. The longevity of a players career should be considered

    2. What did the player accomplish in his career on the ice ?

    3. How did the player compare to his peers at the time ?


    I think the third criteria holds a lot of weight

    So when voting for the “best player of all time”, one should divide this into at least a pre war era and post war era. Because if you don’t, you will always end up with players from the modern era.

    France is no exception to the rule. Everyone is talking about Cristobal Huet and Philippe Bozon just because they made the NHL.

    Huet certainly had a great 2007-08 season in the NHL and a couple of other decent ones. He’s won awards in lower leagues (read Swiss & France), as well as international awards (EJC-B & WJC-B)

    Bozon was the “poster boy” of French hockey in the 1990’s and did a lot of good for the National team for many years. Just making it to the NHL was a great accomplishment in the early 90’s. Playing junior hockey in Canada certainly helped, and just to play well in the Canadian junior leagues in the 80’s command respect.

    With that said I want to give the early French players a bit of ink.

    Léonhard “Léon” Quaglia (b.1896)

    Quaglia personifies longevity. He appeared in international club games way back during the 1912/13 season as a 16-year old and he didn’t hang ‘em up until 1949, almost 53 years old !
    He came to Chamonix as a little kid (not born there though) and developed into one of the fastest skaters in Europe for many years. He was a 16-time French speedskating champion, winning titles 35 years apart. He held many French and world speedskating records. (he was a multiple Olympian in both sports). I believe he won close to 50 titles in speedskating and hockey (Marc can correct me if I’m wrong). In 1924 he moved to Milan, Italy where he helped launch the Italian hockey program. Quaglia participated in 11 EC, WC and OG tournaments between 1920-35. He was always a very dangerous player that the opponents respected a great deal. In the 1920’s Quaglia formed a devastating line on the national team with Alfred ‘Didi’ de Rauch and Albert Hassler. The trio carried France to a silver medal in the 1923 EC and a gold in 1924. Quaglia finished in top 10 in scoring on four occasions and was the top goal scorer in 1923. He still represented France at the age of 45 !


    Alfred ‘Didi’ de Rauch (b.1887)

    The Polish born de Rauch grew up in Russia before coming to Paris as a young kid. He was a driving force of Club des Patineurs de Paris and their captain for nearly 20 years. A very intelligent player who was ahead of his time. A good tactician with soft hands.
    He emerged on the international stage in 1908 and played until the 1931/32 season.
    De Rauch was tutored by Edmond ‘Quigg’ Baxter from Montreal who played for CPP during the 1911/12 season. Baxter showed de Rauch a ton of tricks and was his mentor during his brief time in Paris. De Rauch was instrumental in leading France to a EC gold in 1924, leading all scorers. He later switched to defense. De Rauch was also a decent rugby player but it was hockey that he loved. He later became a referee.

    Albert Hassler (b.1903)

    Like Quaglia, Hassler played for HC Chamonix for most of his career, and like Quaglia he was also a very good speedskater. (also an Olympian in both sports). Hassler was not just a lightning fast skater, he was also known to be a very good two-way player who used his fine skating for tenacious backchecking. Hassler emerged on the international scene in 1921. In 1928 he moved to Berlin where he studied German. While there he also played for Berliner SC, one of the strongest clubs in Europe at the time. Hassler was a stalwart on the French national team between 1923-36. When he retired in 1937 he had captained the French national team for 11 years.

    These are three of the French players that should not be forgotten for what they did.
    At the time they played they were among the best players in Europe.

    Early French players also worth mentioning:

    Lyon’s star player and pioneer aviator, Albert ‘Kiki’ Kimmerling

    Maurice del Valle, the elegant goaltender who played with long white gloves

    Robert George, another goaltender who hailed from North America who caused controversy with his enormous goalie pads in 1924.

    Pierre Charpentier, the calm and tough defenseman who loved to hit his opponents

    Robert Lacroix, a good allround player for many years

    I thought I would balance out all the votes for the modern players with some of the oldtimers.
    They also deserve a few lines here…

    Marc's opinion on this topic is valuable as he is one of the few who like me have done research on French hockey from the very beginning.

  26. #26
    IHF Member Vicente's Avatar
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    By far the best is Christobal Huet of the Chicago Blackhawks, but Kevin Hecquefeuille of my hometown team Cologne Sharks also isn't that bad.

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    And Laurent Meunier ?? The U18 and U20 national team was one of the stable support team. It also shone on the club scene and not just in France but also in Switzerland, Germany and America. The senior national team is already 8 years captain. This year he managed to settle the record in assists French hockey history. In addition, he has made already 51 Canadian points accumulated in the French national jersey, which has got to split the fifth positions. Historically the most successful Philippe Bozon has only about 11 points more. So if Laurent will last at least one season of current trends could create a new record.

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