from Ansar Khan pf Mlive,
Skilled, mobile defensemen have been joining the rush and contributing offensively for decades in the NHL.
Not so much in the 1950s, when defensemen were mostly sequestered in their own zone.
Red Kelly changed that.
“Back then defensemen were really there just to defend,” Jimmy Devellano said. “That was their job and you would never venture beyond the opposition blue line the way defensemen rush up and do it today. But Kelly was probably the first one they let do it.”
Kelly was an eight-time All-Star for the Detroit Red Wings, the first winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 1954. His 20-year career was capped by induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969.
On Friday, when the Red Wings return from the All-Star break and their bye week to host the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kelly will have his No. 4 raised to the rafters at Little Caesars Arena.