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01-31-2011, 01:15 PM
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Leaf Lander
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Toe Blake, Coach
Quote:
Blakes favorite saying was if the day ever comes when I can swallow defeat I'll die.
Quote:
Blake coached the Canadiens for 13 years, winning eight Stanley Cups—the most for any coach in the team's history and second in the NHL. He is still the winningest coach in Canadiens' history. He was known for his tough, but fair coaching style; his players always knew he was on their side. He retired at the end of the 1967-68 season, ending 33 consecutive years at ice level with the Habs organization
wikipedia

Quote:
Stanley Cup champion — 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1968 (Head coach of Montreal Canadiens)

He had a remarkable coaching record in the playoffs of 82-37 and a 18-5 series record his team never missed the playoffs during his coaching tenure.HNIC Best of the Best
Quote:
Toe Blake was the greatest hockey coach ever. That’s not the same as being the most successful hockey coach. There are two other coaches who rank higher in success points than Blake but no other coach was more successful in getting his players to achieve—and maintain—optimum performance on the ice than Toe Blake.

I base this conclusion on the data I acquired while calculating my ratings. Using my system six points is the best any hockey coach can achieve during a single season. The closer a coach’s score comes to six each season means that the coach in question is doing an excellent job in getting (and maintaining) optimum performance from his players. In Toe Blake’s case he coached thirteen seasons and scored sixty-one points out of a possible seventy-eight. Do the math and Toe Blake’s optimum performance rating is a staggering .782%.

No other hockey coach in the history of major league professional hockey from 1917 to 2010 scored higher than Toe Blake in the optimum performance rating!

His record is stunning to behold: He had a winning season and made the playoffs every year he coached. Nine times his Canadiens were the best team in the NHL. He won eight Stanley Cups in nine appearances (an NHL record until Scotty Bowman broke it in 2002). In his first five seasons of NHL coaching he won five consecutive Stanley Cups—the greatest coaching debut and the greatest dynastic run in hockey history. His record of five consecutive Cup victories will never be matched let alone be broken.

How did he do it?

Toe Blake was no tactician. During the past five years when I interviewed many former Habs players who played for Toe Blake, when asked what Blake’s offensive tactics were, they all recited the same sentence: advance the puck, hit the open man, and converge on the net. Simply put: a mere continuation of the tactics honed by Blake’s predecessor, Dick Irvin Sr.

Blake’s magic came from his leadership style which over the course of time took on a mystical, spiritual patina that would culminate in his apotheosis in the hearts and minds of Montreal Canadiens fans.

Toe led his players with an intricately balanced mixture of strength, subtlety, intensity, silence, anger, passion, and occasional humor. In return his players give him their collective hearts, minds, souls, bodies, blood, toil, tears, and sweat.

Blake forged those primal ingredients into the greatest assemblage of hockey talent in NHL history.

No other hockey coach during Original Six era was as beloved by his players as Toe Blake was. That is not hyperbole. When interviewing his former players, I was struck by the reverence they accorded Toe Blake. Never did I hear a complaint or a harsh word about him. Other coaches were spoken about in terms of fear and respect. Toe Blake was spoken of in the same way a son describes his father.

In 2007 when I asked Habs immortal Henri Richard who was the unsung hero of the Montreal Canadiens dynasty from 1956 to 1960? He said laconically: it was Toe Blake and gave me a stern look to let me know he wasn’t kidding.

When I asked the late Tom Johnson in 2006 how Blake kept his players hungry during their dynastic run he told me that Blake would pose a simple question to his players in training camp: is this the year you’re going to let them take it away from you? No fire and brimstone speeches. No threats or ultimatums; just a quietly expressed question.

No player ever put Toe Blake to the test when it came to discipline. The closest was probably the late Jacques Plante, whose eccentricities exasperated many a coach and teammate alike during his illustrious goaltending career but Blake kept him for seven seasons until he traded him to New York in 1963; even a roguish imp like Bryan “Bugsy” Watson toed the line while playing for Blake. Watson told me in a 2006 interview that Blake influenced his own managerial style when it comes to running his businesses (Watson is a successful restaurateur in Alexandria, Virginia).

Toe Blake’s entire hockey life was dedicated to the Montreal Canadiens. He began his playing career for the Habs in 1937—the late Cecil Hart’s last great gift to hockey. He endured the bad years of the late 1930s and the early 1940s. When Dick Irvin Sr. took over as the Canadiens coach in 1940, he kept Blake and eventually paired him with two future Habs immortals: Elmer Lach and Maurice “Rocket” Richard. The Punch Line was born. Blake played the same role in the Punch Line as Sid Abel did with the Production Line in Detroit. Blake’s experience and intelligence complemented the superb playmaking skills of Lach and the ballistic scoring talent of Maurice Richard. The Habs won the Stanley Cup in 1944 and 1946.

When Toe Blake’s NHL playing career ended in the 1948, he took up coaching in the Canadiens farm system. His big break came in 1955 when the Habs asked Blake to succeed Dick Irvin Sr. as head coach.

The Habs were at a crossroads. Irvin had led the team to nine Stanley Cup finals appearances in fifteen seasons with three Cup wins and six defeats. The talent was definitely there and there was no questioning Dick Irvin Sr.’s coaching genius but there was a problem: the passion of Maurice “Rocket” Richard.

The Rocket had been sailing on winds of fire for thirteen glorious seasons but now the flames were threatening to consume his career and his team’s chances for victory. The Richard-Hal Laycoe stick-fight; the ensuing suspension of Richard for the remainder of the season and the playoffs; and the Richard Riot which followed cost the Canadiens the 1955 Stanley Cup. Dick Irvin Sr. spent thirteen years keying the Rocket up. Now the Habs needed someone to key the Rocket down.

Enter former teammate and line-mate Toe Blake.

Blake removed the burden from Richard that he had to carry the entire team in return he made the Rocket the team captain and paired him with his younger brother Henri. In 1960 the Rocket retired with five more Cup wins; his place in the Hockey-Hall-of-Fame already guaranteed; his apotheosis complete.

1960 to 1964 were lean years for Blake. The Habs still won but always failed to reach the Cup finals; the stalwarts from the dynasty years had either retired or were traded away; the team was in transition. Youngsters like Gilles Tremblay, Yvan Cournoyer, Bryan “Bugsy” Watson, Bobby Rousseau, and the late John Ferguson were slowly being integrated into the team.

Toe believed in bringing rookie players up slowly; using them as role players until they gained maturity and confidence. Bryan Watson told me that he and Red Berenson were used exclusively in penalty-killing situations during his rookie season. Cournoyer was used on the power-play before becoming an offensive mainstay. Still when emergency situations arose, Blake would not hesitate to start a rookie. His use of goalie Rogie Vachon during the 1966-67 Season is a case in point.

The 1964-65 Season marked the beginning of four straight Cup finals appearances and three Cup wins for Toe Blake and the Canadiens. The 1965 Cup win was a record setter for Blake—his sixth victory surpassed Hap Day’s mark of five. The only blot was the loss to Toronto in 1967. By that time Toe had become wearied and drained by the emotional burdens of maintaining Montreal’s dynastic reign. Even victory can become as burdensome and destructive as defeat. If the Habs had won the 1967 Stanley Cup then Toe Blake would have retired right then and there. But the loss to Toronto stung him and his players.

The greatest coach of them all could not bear to end his career in defeat.

Toe steeled himself once more and led the Canadiens to one more glorious season in 1967-1968. They were the best team in the NHL and were 12-1 in the playoffs, sweeping the upstart St. Louis Blues in four games.

Toe Blake went into a furtive retirement. In his final years he was plagued with Alzheimer’s disease. Yet before he died he was given one final gift by the Montreal fans. In 1985, Montreal fans selected the all-time Montreal Canadiens dream team and the man they chose to lead that team was not Scotty Bowman—as one might expect considering it was only six years after his dynastic run…

It was Toe Blake.

The latest in a weekly series of articles which will discuss the greatest coaches in professional hockey from 1917 to 2009 using my variation of a rating system devised by sports historians Bill James and Sean Lahman.

The rating system awards points based on six measures of success. Points are awarded as follows:

1) For coaching a team to a winning season

2) For coaching a team with a team point percentage of .600% or better

3) For all first place finishes

4) For making a playoff appearance

5) For leading a team to the Stanley Cup finals

6) For coaching a Stanley Cup champion.

I have included coaching stats for those who coached in the World Hockey Association. Three coaches on my list (Glen Sather, Jacques Demers, and Bill Dineen) had their coaching performances in the WHA included in their ratings. I have also used a minimum of twenty success points as an arbitrary cut-off point. Out of the 364 men who have coached in the NHL and WHA from 1917 to 2009 only thirty-nine have achieved twenty or more success points. What follows is an examination of each one of those coaches from the bottom of the list to the top. When you compare the number of great coaches on my list with the total number of those who served, one could paraphrase D.H. Lawrence in saying that a good coach is hard to find.
http://insidehockey.com/?p=6812

Seasons 13
Era Mid 50's late 60's
RS:914 500 255 159 .634 WINNING PERCENTAGE
PO:119 82 37 0 .689 WINNING PERCENTAGE
League championships: 1955-1956, 1957-1962, 1963-1964, 1965-1966, 1967-1968
Best Season 1961-62 70 42 14 14 .700%
HOF 1964
Stanley Cups 8

#9 Charlie Conacher RW
Quote:
One of the first true power forwards Charlie revolutionized the right wing position using his size, skill, physicality and his will to compete till he dominated the play like no one else ever did!.Conacher had a wicked hard shot that was considered the best back in hockey during his days in the NHL .He and his two other siblings are all members of the HOF.
Seasons 12
Era Late 20's Early 40's
RS 459 225 173 398 523
PO 49 17 18 35 49
Adjusted stats 459 393 399 792 323
Art Ross Trophy (1934, 1935)
First All-Star Team (1934, 1935, 1936)
Second All-Star Team (1932, 1933)
Stanley Cups 1
HOF 1961
Top 10 Goals
1930-31 (1)1931-32 (1)1933-34 (1)1934-35 (1)1935-36 (1)
Top 10 Points
1930-31 (3)1931-32 (4)1933-34 (1)1934-35 (1)1935-36 (4)
Top 100 Leafs of all Time book 6
Top 100 The hockey News (Late 1990's) 36th
Role Power Forward


#3 Sylvain Cote D

Quote:
Cote toiled in hockey obscurity for many years carving out a nice career mostly in hartford then in washington back in the day when neither had the horses up front ot make it past teh 1st rnd of the playoffs. He was a underrated player for his entire career. Reliable defender with excellent puck skills, can play in all game situations. Plays it safe defensively whenever possible.Very competitive with good hockey sense.He is a coaches dream player who can do it all at both ends of the rink. Knows how to score when he is on the point during a powerplay. Effortless skater who had the wheels to join the rush to help out on offense.
Seasons 18
Era Mid 80's -mid 2000's
RS 1171 122 313 435 545 +39
PO 102 11 22 33 62
Best Season 1993-94 84 16 35 51 66 +30
Stanley Cup Finals 1
Role Power play specialist 7th d-man


#10 Billy Coutu,D
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 190 lbs
Position: Defense
Shoots: Left
Date of Birth: March 01, 1892
Place of Birth: North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Date of Death: February 25, 1977 (Age: 84)
Stanley Cup Champion (1924)
Stanley Cup Finalist (1917, 1919*, 1925)
Team Captain (1925-1926)
Top-10 Penalty Minutes (3rd, 7th, 8th, 8th)
Top-10 Scoring Among defenseman (7th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 9th, 9th, 10th, 10th)
Top-10 Goalscoring among defenseman (6th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 10th)
Top-10 Assist among defenseman (5th, 6th, 8th, 8th, 10th, 10th)
Top-10 Penalty Minutes among defenseman (2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 5th, 8th, 8th, 9th, 9th)
Top-10 Playoff Goalscoring (8th)
Top-10 Playoff Assist (9th)
Top-10 Playoff Penalty Minutes (1st, 8th)
Top-10 Playoff Scoring Among defenseman (3rd, 6th)
Top-10 Playoff Goalscoring among defenseman (1st)
Top-10 Playoff Assist among defenseman (1st)
Top-10 Playoff Pim among defenseman (1st, 4th, 5th)[/B]


- In 1916, Coutu won the U.S.A. Senior championship with the Michigan Soo Indians
- On November 24th, 1916, Coutu signed as a free agent by Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey Association
- In 1919, Coutu alongside Joe Hall, Edouard Lalonde, Jack McDonald and manager George Kennedy contracted influenza and were hospitalized. Teammate Joe Hall died during Game 5 and the Stanley Cup finals was cancelled.
- On November 27th, 1920, Coutu was loaned to the Hamilton Tigers by the Montreal Canadiens as part of trade of Jack McDonald, Harry Mummery and Dave Ritchie for Jack Coughlin, Goldie Prodgers and Joe Matte
- On January 12nd 1924,Coutu missed seven games due to a broken wrist suffered in a game against the Toronto St. Patricks
- On January 19th 1926, he was suspended one game and fined 100$ by theNHL for tripping referee Jerry Laflamme against the Ottawa Senators
- At the end of Game 4 of the 1927 Stanley Cup, Coutu started a bench-clearing brawl, apparently at the request of coach Art Ross, by assaulting referee Jerry Laflamme and tackling referee Billy Bell. As a result, he was expelled from the NHL for life. On October 8th, 1929, the suspension was lifted so that Coutu could play in the minor leagues. He never played in the NHL again, although he was reinstated in 1932–33 at the insistence of Leo Dandurand
- During the 1933-34 season, Coutu played one game in goal for the Providence Reds in the Canadian American Hockey League, allowing 12 goals
- Coutu was a longtime Minor Pro Coach and referee after his playing days

-Several hockey history books, including The Hockey News "Habs Heroes" by Ken Campbell incorrectly attribute his name to a photograph of teammate Louis Berlinguette. He and his family pronounced their name "Koochee", which was sometimes confused with "Couture".

-Ms. Aird Stuart, the sister of Coutu's wife, Gertrude Aird, was the mother of Mary Morenz and grandmother of Marlene Geoffrion, daughter of Howie Morenz and widow of Bernie Geoffrion.

-Howie Morenz played with Coutu on the Canadiens.-wikipedia



Quote:
Originally Posted by Habs Heroes Somewhere along the line, Billy Couture became Billy Coutu, but one thing that remained the same was the man's temper and penchant for taking it out on his opponents.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OurHistory.Canadiens
THE MERE PRESENCE OF BILLY COUTURE DETERRED OPPONENTS FROM TAKING LIBERTIES WITH THE TEAM’S STARS.

In his heyday, Billy Couture was one of the most feared men who laced up the skates in the rough and tumble world of professional hockey. Born in North Bay, Ontario in 1892, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound defenseman spent a decade defending his territory against his opponents using any means necessary.

The NHL set up shop the next fall. With Couture on defense and his well-developed mean streak often coming to the forefront.

With Joe Hall’s death, Couture became the Canadiens’ undisputed enforcer, a most effective deterrent to those who might choose to take liberties with the team’s marquee players. Loaned to the Hamilton Tigers for the 1920-21 season, Couture played against his former Montreal mates with the same ferocity he had shown while wearing their colors.

Returning to Montreal at the beginning of 1921-22, Couture once again began making life miserable for Habs’ opponents. Not allowing himself to be limited by the rules of play, no tactic was too underhanded or brutal as Couture made sure that his opponents worried about more than simply preventing the likes of Morenz, Joliat, and Boucher from scoring.
In the spring of 1924, the Canadiens made their way back into contention for the Stanley Cup. With Georges Vézina in nets and Couture creating mayhem on the blue line, Montreal was almost unimpeded in their efforts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail of the Stanley Cup, vol.1 One of the roughest defence men in hockey, particularly when paired with Sprague Cleghorn on the Canadiens.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
In Montreal, Cleghorn was paired with fellow archfiend Billy Coutu to form what was arguably the most frightening defensive duo ever seen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fanatique.ca
(Corbeau)
will have the distinction to have form the first version of the ''Big Three'' with the Montreal Canadiens with all-star defenseman Sprague Cleghorn and Billy Coutu. Moreover than all three had lightning-like shots, all three of them measured at least 5'10'' et weight more than 190 pounds each.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail; November 20th 1924 Patrick Offers to Trade Frank Boucher for Coutu
Vancouver, B.C Nov 19- Frank Patrick, owner of he Vancouver Maroons hockey team, has wired Leo Dandurand, offering to trade Frank Boucher for one year only for Billy Coutu, Canadiens defence man. Patrick, it is understood, make the offer owing to Boucher's desire to play hockey in the East.
If Dandurand does not approve, then Boucher will play here or remain out of hockey this season, it is stated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail; December 29th 1936 Coutu, a native of Sault Ste. Marie was a turbulant figure in hockey wars for years, and suspensions and fines made no visible impression on him. He was not a great defenseman, but he was better than average, and his reputation was such that attackers were always on the alert when he hove into sight. For several seasons he and Sprague Cleghorn were Canadiens' regular defensemen, and they certainly made the road to George Vezina's net the rockiest one to travel in all the history of hockey.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail; October 18th 1937 Coutu, for many years a shining in NHL is making his debut as a manager.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail; December 13th 1938Billy Coutu, one-time firebrand of major league hockey.- ''He might get overlooked because he played with Cleghorn in term of how dirty and nasty of a player he was.''
- Bob Duff, historian

-
Quote:
''He was a rough, rough dude and I think a lot of people steered clear of him. He was one of those guys people thought 'Gee, you'd better not bother him because there's no telling what's going to happen.' He was a pretty good player, but while the others were doing the rushing, he was staying back and doing the dirty work.''
- Ernie Fitzsimmons, historian


Sites:
http://www.legendsofhockey.net/Legen...p?player=12352
http://www.sihrhockey.org/member_pla..._id=796&mode=2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Coutu
http://theryancokeexperience.wordpre...p-100-habs-48/
http://www.habsinsideout.com/main/2068
http://ourhistory.canadiens.com/player/Billy-Couture
http://www.fanatique.ca/lnh/bert-cor...blie+3457.html



#8 Rusty Crawford, LW

Quote:
Crawford was one of the more dangerous scorers in the league and in one three-year period he tallied 51 times in 61 matches.
Quote:
He was a two-time Stanley Cup champion, winning the trophy with the Bulldogs in 1913 and the Areans in 1918. Crawford was one of the sport's early stars and appeared in 258 games in the three major leagues, scoring 110 goals. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.Crawford hung up his skates at the age of 45 in 1930.
Seasons 16
Era Early 1020's late 1920's
RS NHA 99 66 32 98 NHL 38 108 18
PO 2 2 1 3
Best Season
HHOF -1962
Stanley Cup 2
Role Two way warrior

#2 Red Dutton, D
Quote:
Lost several yrs due to a war injury. Mervyn Dutton, forever known as Red thanks to his flaming hair, was a mean, no nonsense defender in the days between the two World Wars. Though long forgotten, he still ranks among the all the best.

Dutton joined the Amerks in 1930, and quickly established himself as one of the most popular athletes in all of New York city. He would play until 1936. Then leaving the ice because he assumed ownership of the team.-Joe Pelletier
Seasons 10
Era Mid 20's -Mid 30's
RS:449 29 67 96 43
PO 18 1 0 1 33
World War I Vet


#4 Dave Ellett

Quote:
Dave Ellett was a very skilled finesse player. Skating was his prime asset. He was an excellent skater, blessed with very good speed and quickness, and fine agility. His mobility allowed him to dictate the play at either blue line. His transition game was great because he could effortlessly turn the play around at the defensive blue line.

His puck ability was also top notch, and that shone through on the power play, which is where Ellett established himself as one of the NHL's top players. He could control the point with great comfort, holding the line and pinching in with great efficiency. He was a key player in establishing the offensive zone. He was an under-rated puck rusher and a good break out playmaker. He also had a very good shot, and the smarts to keep it low and hard to create opportunities for deflections and rebounds.
Joe Pelletier
Seasons:16
Era:Mid 1980's early 2000's
RS 1129 153 415 568 197
PO 116 11 46 57 19
Best Season 1987-88 - 68 13 45 58
All-Star Games 1989 1992
10 seasons 30+ Points
9 Seasons 40+ Points
3 Seasons 50+ Points
Ranked 73rd all time leaf
Role: Offensive defenceman



#8 Ron Ellis, RW

Quote:
With his team-first approach and consistent game in and game out effort and production, Imlach could only hope all his young players could be as good as the stocky right winger.

Ron was one of the fastest breakaway skaters in the league, Ellis had a fine accurate shot. He was also a very sound player positionally. Joe Pelletier
Quote:
He was prolific young scorer who when he joiend the leafs immediately became a vital two-way performer playing on a line with stalwarts Dave Keon and Bob Pulford.


Ellis played on his most cohesive forward unit with Paul Henderson and Norm Ullman. This trio was adept at forechecking and opportunistic scoring. Ellis's role was crucial since he usually stayed back to guard against the counter attack while his linemates pushed forward.
Seasons 16
Era mid 60's early 1980's
RS 1034 332 308 640 207
PO 70 18 8 26 20
Lost 2 seasons due to early retirement
Eleven 20+ Goal Seasons
Two 30 + Goal Seasons
Best Season 1974–75 79 32 29 61 25\
* 1966–67 - Stanley Cup Champion
* 1963–64 - NHL All-Star Game
* 1964–65 - NHL All-Star Game
* 1967–68 - NHL All-Star Game
* 1969–70 - NHL All-Star Game
* [(1972)] Team Canada
runner-up to Roger Crozier as the rookie-of-the-year.
Second All-Star Team (1964)
Role 2 way player /sniper

#4 Ron Greschner, D
Quote:
A member of the Rangers for all 16 of his NHL seasons, defenseman Ron Greschner was the heart and soul of the Blueshirts` blueline corps playing with a combination of skill and toughness that would enthrall a generation of ranger fans through that the late 1970s and the entire 1980s.

Opponents feared ron every time he was on the ice because he was intensively competitive utilizing his speed and his creative natural skill set dazzling all those in the hockey world.

At 6'2 200 pounds gresh could use his reach to a great advantage as well he was a great skater who excelled on the powerplay. He was also a great stickhandler who often played center on broadway.

Greschner came to the Rangers in 1974 as a highly-touted second-round draft pick, who was coming off a 103-point season for New Westminster of the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League. As if to signal how much of an impact he would make, he fittingly scored his first NHL goal against Hall of Famer Ken Dryden and went on to set a then Rangers rookie record of 37 assists in 1974-75.

Greschner was so skilled offensively that the Rangers would occasionally play him at forward as well as defense, and in 1977-78, he registered the first of four 20-goal seasons. His third 20-goal campaign in 1980-81 featured a career-high 27 goals and included time at left win on a line with Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg.

In 1982-83 broke Brad Park`s record for career points by a Rangers defenseman — a record he held until passed by Brian Leetch in the late 1990s.

He was named captain for the 1986-86 season after filling in for Barry Beck the previous year.

Greschner retired in 1990 at age 35. Although all of his major team records were later broken by Leetch, Greschner retired from the NHL as the Rangers` all-time leader in points, goals and assists by a defensemen.

Greschner deserves to has his number retired up their in the rafters next to Leetch and Messier- Tom Laidlaw.
http://rangers.nhl.com/club/atrplayer.htm?id=8447409
THE TOP 100 RANGERS OF ALL TIME BookRuss Cohen
RANGERS CAPTAIN
Oct. 9, 1986 to Dec. 3, 1987
MAJOR NHL AWARDS/ACHIEVEMENTS WITH RANGERS
NHL All-Star Game — 1980
RANGERS TEAM AWARDS
Players` Player Award — 1977-78 (co-winner)
Rangers Good Guy Award — 1985-86
"Crumb Bum" Award (Community Service) — 1984-85
INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS WHILE WITH RANGERS
1979 Challenge Cup — NHL All-Stars vs. USSR (reserve, did not play)
RANGERS TEAM LEADER
Most assists — 1977-78, 1980-81
Most playoff assists — 1980
Seasons 16
Era Mid-1970's -early 1990's
RS 982 179 431 610 80 1,226
PO 84 17 32 49
Best Season 1977-78 NYR 78 24 48 72
20 Goal Seasons -4
Stanley Cup Appearances 1
Role: Franchise Defenceman

Quote:
Ron's skill and all-round game make him a solid anchor for our third pairing. There isn't anything in particular that he excels at from an ATD perspective, but there aren't any holes in his game. He's very effective at advancing the puck, whether it be skating it up ice or passing to a teammate. He's a good quarterback for our second power play unit, and he has a hard, powerful shot. He's a smart defenceman who takes good care of his own zone. We can play him against an opponent's top line, and not have a liability out there. And he plays a good, tough, physical brand of hockey. We feel confident that we can lean on him for 18-20 minutes per game, while playing a secondary role in all situations.
-GBC

select

#1 Reggie M. Lemelin
Quote:
In the late 80's early 90's if one went to the game they would most likely walk into the gardens and here the fans chant “REGGIE---REGGIE---REGGIE”

Reggie was well known for his Aero pads and great glove saves and the helmet pump after a big win.Reggie was a card-carrying stand-up goaltender. He just really had a flare for the dramatic and clutch save. He made saves that you thought had no chance of being saved.He relished beating "the beast" also known as the Montreal Canadians

He had 19-game unbeaten streak for Calgary during 1983-84 season. It was the longest such streak by any goaltender that season and set a Calgary record for longest unbeaten streak. Was runner-up from Masterton and Vezina Trophies in 1983-84. Named NHL Player of the Month for November 1985.Set Boston postseason record (since broken) with 1,027 minutes in goal during 1988 Stanley Cup playoffs William M. Jennings Trophy: 1989-90 (co-winner) All-Star Game: 1989 (Boston)Stanley Cup Finals: 1986 (Calgary), 1988, 1990 (Boston)

Last I heard Reggie is was the goaltender coach for the Flyers

Quote:
Stand up style goaltender. In 84/85 he had plenty of games where I thought he stood on his head. IIRC he was a candidate for the Vezina that year. Unfortunately he couldn't beat Edmonton, and back in those days losing to Edmonton was the worst thing that could happen to the Flames.

In the 1986 playoffs where Vernon took the team to the Cup finals, Lemelin played in only 3 games. All were losses to Edmonton in the 1st round.

I think his best years were in Boston where he had a goalie to share the duties with him. In Calgary he didn't have another goalie to push him until Vernon came around and Vernon outright stole the job away from Reggie.

While Reggie didn't have the goods to push the Flames to the next level he was still a good netminder for them.
Quote:
Reggie was an above average goalie who was capable of great performances

Quote:
Lemelin was an old-school stand up goalie. That style is basically instinct today, but it was still accepted practice back then, and Lemelin excelled at playing his angles and directing pucks into the corners. In many ways he was blocking shots rather than saving them. By virtue of his playing style he often made stops seem easier than they probably were.
Quote:
Lemelin was asked to play for Team Canada at the 1984 Canada Cup following his 21-12-9 season
Quote:
History may not be overly kind to Reggie Lemelin as perhaps it should be. He was an above average goalie, and for a couple of seasons he may even have been elite. But success and therefore that magical defining moment was tough to find. Consider this - Lemelin was the back up goalie for 3 Stanley Cup finals. Perhaps that is his defining moment.
legends -Joe Pelletier
Seasons 16
Era Late 70'S Mid 90'S
RS 507 236 162 63 .884 3.46 12
PO 59 23 25 .881 3.58 2
Best Season 1984-85 56 30 12 10 .888 3.46 1
All-Star Games 1989
William M. Jennings Trophy 1989-90
Shutouts -5 top 10's
Goals Against Average 4 top 10's
Wins 4 top 10's
Save Percentage 3 top 10's
20 Win Seasons 5
30 Win Seasons 2
Role Back Up Goalie/ Team Glue



#7 Ted Lindsay,LW
Quote:
When Terrible ted retired he was 3rd all time point getter in the NHL with 851 points behind only Gordie Howe 1361 and Maurice Richard 965.

He was also the third highest goal scorer with 379 behind only The Rocket 544 and Mr Hockey 595.

Lindsay's is the only player to have led the league in goals, assists, points and penalty minutes.

Terrible ted was a leader,swift skater,a good checker, skilled with the puck, very feisty tenacious with a great all round game.


Ultra talented cheap shot artist or old school, hard hockey superstar.

More than just a cheap-shot artist, he was playing in the same league as everybody else in his day. If he was the only one who thought to play dirty, then congratulate him for being a genius in a league of idiots. But we're talking about a guy who won an Art Ross trophy by 10 clear points over his more-famous linemate and finished top 10 a bunch of times. Lindsay used intimidation to great effect, but he fought quite a bit too, and backed it all up with scoring.

Many of us modern hockey fans (who have never seen Lindsay play) will hear his name and imagine a star player who was tough as nails, and maybe threw a few questionable checks in his day, but generally just an old school, hard hockey legend.

The truth is he was a really, really dirty hockey player. He was directly responsible for the NHL's introduction of elbowing and kneeing penalties. Kneeing players. He was kneeing players so often and so maliciously that the league deemed it necessary to create a rule against it. He received over 400 stitches to his face during his career. He earned the nicknames Terrible Ted and Scarface.

He is an all-time great that stopped at nothing to win the game. Kind of like another version of the Rocket. It is no coincidence that the Wings never won another Cup without Terrible Ted. You can't replace his heart. Yes he delivered some cheap shots. I think he would still be loved in todays NHL.

Interesting enough back in 1954 Lindsay started a new tradition as he was the first player to hoist the cup over his head and do a victory lap around the ice.

He was an intelligent player on and off the ice.

Lindsay was definitely an old school, hardboiled hockey superstar. I think of him as a much more talented Bobby Clarke type but who did not need the rest of the roster to finish what he started. His leadership extended beyond the ice too.

Was there a more unlikely fellow to rally the other NHLers in an attempt to get a better deal for all? Ted Lindsay, one of the league's superstars and best-paid players and also a successful businessman in his off-hours, did not stand to gain personally in any way from the proposed association. Many of today's players could use a little of his Lindsay's integrity

Boldly Lindsay tried to start a players union to end the owners dictatorship over the players. To stop the injustice to keep the merely good players from being taken advantage off any longer. However the owners were able to squash the union Lindsay and the other trouble makers were banished to Chicago as punishment.
http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=755276

Seasons 17
Era 1Mid 1940's to mid 1960's
RS 1068 379 472 851 1808
PO 133 47 49 96 194
NHL 1st All-Star Team 9 Times
All Star Games 10
Top 10 Goals 1946-47 (6)1947-48 (1)1948-49 (2)49-50 (9) 1950-51(6) 1951-52 (3)1952-53 (2)1953-54 (5)55-56 (6) 56-57(6)
All Time Goal Leaders NHL Career (97) 379
Top 10 Points 1947-48 NHL (9)1948-49 (3) 1949-50 (1)1950-51 (7)
1951-52 (2)1952-53 (2)1953-54 (3)1956-57 (2)
Stanley Cup 4
HOF 1970
Top 100 The hockey News (Late 1990's)21
Role Leader /Stud Forward



#27 Scott Niedermayer, D

Quote:
He is the only player to have ever won at every level of hockey that he has played in. He is a great skater who moves effortlessly about on the ice. He has remarkable accuracy when making a pass. He has an above avg Hockey IQ and always makes the best offensive play when called upon. He has great offensive instincts within the team first concept. Scott was a great leader on and off the ice. He is a master at eluding the forecheck while launching a counter attack.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sabre View Post
Scott Niedermayer is the only player in hockey history to have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, World Championship, World Cup, Memorial Cup and World Junior title. He's the only player in hockey history to have won four Stanley Cups and two gold medals. He also has a Norris trophy and Conn Smythe trophy. He was a winner.

Niedermayer often looked like a defenseman with unparalleled skating ability, and he made it look effortless. That carried over to the power play, where Niedermayer's command on the point was glorious: That smooth skating and puck control near the blue line; the way he'd sail against the current while the other players prepared for either a pass or a shot. His influence can be seen in the way players like Mike Green(notes) help run the power play. He didn't reinvent the wheel; he just showed how smoothly it could ride.

He's an elite, legend-for-his-era defenseman; what would his stats have looked like in a different era? Could he have reached Coffey-like numbers in a more freewheeling era on a more freewheeling team like the Oilers? The Devils of the Dead Puck era was no place to rack up blueline numbers, not in Lou's house.

Untapped potential aside, Niedermayer was also an essential part of one of the best defensive teams of the last 20 years. And he's most fondly remembered for his goal as a 21-year-old in Game 2 of the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings, Niedermayer helped the team on its way to a sweep with a calling-card tally on a brilliant end-to-end rush.

Truly, an all-time great.
Era Early 1990's - till early 2010's
Seasons:18
Stanley Cup 4
HOF not yet
22nd all time scoring d-man with 784 pts
All Star Games 1998,2001, 2004, 2008, 2009
All-Rookie Team (1st)1992-93
All-Star Team (2nd)1997-98
1ST All-Star Team 2003-04 2005-06 2006-07
James Norris Memorial Trophy 2003-04
Conn Smythe Trophy 2006-07
RS 1263 172 568 740 245 167 784
PO 202 25 73 98 20 155
Role: All round Franchise dman



#3 Dion Phaneuf, D
Quote:
Has a quite greatness about him that lets other player know that he is one of the elite d-man playing today.
Phaneuf hits everything that moves. Owns a big shot from the point and isn't shy about unleashing it. Displays all-around ability. Is the total physical package. Owns impressive lateral movement and power-play quarterbacking skills.Can be a little too exuberant player who is one of the best offensive, big-minute defenseman in the NHL. Dion is a leader who plays with a physical edge. Plays like a seasoned veteran. Clears the front of the net well and can fight when needed.
Seasons 6
Era-Mid 2000's -Present
RS 466 85 183 268 642 + 15
PO 25 5 7 12 2
Best Season 2007-08 82 17 43 60 182 12
Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs
NHL All-Rookie Team (2006)
NHL First All-Star Team (2008)
Played in NHL All-Star Game (2007, 2008)
Role Franchise defenceman



#10 Joe Primeau,C
Quote:
Joe Primeau Joe Primeau, a playmaking wizard who established the modern passing game.
Quote:
Placed between Charlie Conacher and Harvey "Busher" Jackson. The Kid Line was born. The three young players - all superstars, Stanley Cup winners and Hall of Famers in the making - complemented each other's style perfectly.
legends
Quote:
Primeau was the guy who knew how to get them the puck in the kinds of spots that his wingers needed go to score - joe was the guy who knew how to set up a sniper to do what they did best.

Joe was a fantastic passer who could hit you on the tape from pretty much anywhere. It was said that he could put the puck in your pocket if you wanted. With Conacher and Jackson on his wings, Joe led the league in assists three times and set an NHL record with 37 in 1931-32. He was also the defensive conscience of the Kid Line, since it wasn't really a job that appealed to either of those wingers.

The ony real complaint with Joe was that he couldn't play with two pucks simultaneously - something he always had to remind both Conacher and Jackson whenever he'd pass to the other.
pensionplanpuppets

Quote:
Not unlike Doug Gilmour years later, the slippery Primeau masterfully set up his two line mates time and time again, as well as acting as the line’s defensive conscience. He was as good a defensive center and penalty killer as there was in his day.

Primeau led the NHL in assists three times. He was never better than in the 1931-32 season. He not only led the league in assists, but he established a new season record with 37 helpers. That record would stand for 9 seasons.
Joe Pelletier

Quote:
His game was all about getting the puck to his wingers. He would use his speed to get past physicaly punishing defenseman of the time
Top 100 Leafs-Mike Leonetti

Quote:
An elite playmaking centre who provides a good two-way presence. Led the league in assists three times, with Frank Boucher and Morenz providing stiff competition. Two-time runner-up for the Art Ross Trophy. A very, very intelligent playmaking forward who sees and thinks the game at another level. A key part of Toronto's first championship victory in 1932, when he and the other Kid Line members spearheaded Toronto's offensive attack. Plays a good two-way game and another centre who can play against the opponent's best players.

Later on in life he began to coach and he remains the only man to coach teams to the Allan, Memorial and Stanley cups.
Seasons 9
Era mid 20's mid 30's
Best Season 1931-32 46 13 37 50
Adjusted stats 310 114 498 612
Top 10 Assist- 5 times
Top 10 Assists Per Game 7 times
Top 10 Points
1930-31 (6)1931-32 (2) 1933-34 (2)
Comparable player: Doug Gilmour
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1932)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1934)
RS 310 66 177 243 105
PO 38 5 18 23 12
Stanley Cups 1
HOF 1963
Top 100 Leafs of all Time book 19
Top 100 The hockey News (Late 1990's) 92nd
Note: lead the leaf in assist for 5 straight seasons a record that stood till mats sundin did the same thing for the buds for 7 campaigns straight.
Role: Magician 1st line playmaker[B]

http://www.hockey-reference.com/

#44 Stephane Richer,RW-

Quote:
While playing midget hockey, young Stephane Richer was a smallish kid who had serious doubts about his ability to progress much farther through the ranks of hockey. He was seriously considering calling it quits when he was offered encouraging words and an invitation from a local police officer and coach to join his club. The man's name was Pat Burns, the future bench boss of the Montreal Canadiens. Richer believed Burns' assessment of his potential and stuck to his path in hockey -Legends of hockey
He had all the offensive tools. He possessed excellent skating ability, Richer refused to be intimidated,utilizing all of his size and strength to find scoring lanes so he could unload his cannon-like shot with the lightning quick release were all harmonized under one helmet. -legends


Quote:
He was a beautiful player, blessed with lightning speed, good size and a bullet of a shot, Richer had no real weakness in his game. He was a very streaker player and scorer, but he was a conscientious defensive player and refused to be intimidated physically.- Joe Pelletier
Richer was a two time 50 goal scorer who had great size skating ability and a wicked shot. He became a complete player while in nj playing under the guidance of lemaire and robinson.

He had two 50 goal seaons, Five 30+ goal seasons and Twelve 20+ goal seaons

Was once considered the next great hope for les candiens . He was considered the heir to ascend to the throne where all great players in the habs history reigned on and off the ice in Montreal.Ce fut la créme de la culture of French Canadian players such as: Rocket Richard , Jen Belliveau, Boom Boom Geoffrion and Guy LaFleur.

He was the last Canadiens player in franchise history to score 50 goals in one season.
Seasons: 18
Era: mid 1980's early 2000's
RS:1054 421 398 819 339 76
PO:134 53 45 98 41 2
Best Season: 1989-90 75 51 40 91
All-Star Games 1990
Top 10 in Goals 1987-88 NHL 50 (6)-1989-90 NHL 51 (7)
Career Overall Goals NHL 421 (72 All Time)
Game-Winning Goals 1987-88 11 (1) 1989-90 8 (6) 1993-94 9 (4)
1994-95 5 (7)
Career Game-Winning Goals 72 (35 All Time)
Stanley Cups 2
Role: Sniper/ 2 way forward


-#12 Eric Staal,C
Quote:
The eldest of the hockey playing Staal brothers.He has a spectacular presence not because of his enormous size 6'4" 220.
He is an intelligent player who plays an aggressive game using his great hands explosive speed and size that he uses to get himself into and out of puck traffic.Eric is a leader in both ends of the ice who can eat a tonne of minutes in all game situations.
Seasons 9
Era Early 200's -present
RS 547 222 269 491 14 84
PO 43 19 24 43 -3 10
Top 10 Goals Goals2005-06 45 (8) 2008-09 40 (5
Best Season:2005-06 Carolina 82 45 55 100
All-Star Games-2007 2008 2009& 2011
NHL 2nd All-Star Team 2005-06
Stanley Cup's 1
Captain Carolina Present
Role -2 way power forward


#11 Jordan Staal,C
Quote:
A creative centerman utilizes his great size and strength to be one of the nhl's best players on the ice while on the penalty-kill.Has sleek skills terrific poise and game sense.is very agile for his size. The leagues best defensive forward when it comes to positioning.
Seasons 5
Era Mid 2000'S PRESENT
RS 369 95 103 198 42 13
PO 60 16 8 24 -14
2008-09 Stanley Cup
2006-07 NHL - All-Rookie Team
2006-07 Played in the NHL YoungStars Game
Top Defensive player overall for the last few seasons


#32 Steve Thomas RW
Quote:
Signed as a Free Agent by the leafs in 84 Thomas became a fan favorite because of his skill desire and everyman appeal. Stumpy was one the more consistent clutch scorers in the game during most of his 20 yr career.

Thomas was a high energy player, relying on explosive speed bursts to key a ferocious fore-check.

Thomas is one who immediately comes to mind when the discussion of the most underrated players comes up. He always worked hard and was a great team guy.

Thomas, who essentially was an opportunistic mucker and grinder. His physical game made him popular wherever he played.
-Joe Pelletier

Thomas had a very strong desire to succeed.Speedy Steve thrived with a play making forwards.A very quick shooting with great instincts. A tough nosed player who would go anywhere on the ice to get a chance to score. He had a high on ice IQ hockey sense wise. Had a pair of decent hands and he could slam a blast past any goalie from any angle on the ice. He was not afraid to tread into the rough stuff on the ice. Stumpy was competitive and a combative fore checker. Can ride shotgun on any top line because he was always willing to pay the price to get his team ahead.

He had a rep as one of the best big game players during his era.Shown his courage and toughness night in and night out especially when all was on the line.
RS: 1235 421 512 933
PO: 174 54 53 107
Era: Mid 80's Mid 2000's
Seasons 20
Best Season 1992–93 New York Islanders 79 37 50 87
Stanley Cup Finals 1
60 Points+ Seasons -8
20 Goal Seasons + 10
30 Goal Seasons+ 5
40 Goal Seasons 2
Game winning Goals 23rd all time with 78
Overtime Goals 12th all time with 10
Playoff Shots on Goal All Time 20th with 444
70 career game winning goals, ranking him among the all time best of ll time
All Time Points - 85th with 933
All Time Goals- 68th with 421
Highest All Time Scoring player from England
Toronto Maple Leafs Top 100 Book Ranked 64th
Role: Sniper/Clutch Player


#7 Gary Unger,C
Quote:
#7 Gary Unger was a 7 time all star who would play 16 ironman nhl seasons

Gary was a fast skilled player who could dart away with the puck and fulfill a scoring opportunity. He was also great in the faceoff circle in the offensive zone because in all in one motion he could win the faceoff and pin point the puck past the goalie.

During his subsequent eight years with the Blues, Unger would prove to be one of the more resilient players in the history of the National Hockey League. He played 662 games in a row for the Blues, and scored at least thirty goals per season during his time on their roster. Six of those seasons saw him leading his team in the number of goals scored. He remains to this day fourth on the list of Blues scorers. Still, the most memorable record that he set with the team came in the form of breaking Andy Hebenton’s 630-straight game record. By the time Unger’s streak of consecutive games ended, he had pushed that record to an incredible 914 games – it still remains second on the list of consecutive games played, having been surpassed only by the 964 game mark set by Doug Jarvis.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Garry-Unger-...of-an-Iron-Man
Played in NHL All-Star Game (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978)
Top 10 Goals 1969-70 NHL 42 (2) 1972-73 NHL 41 (6)
Career NHL 413 76 all time highest total
RS 1105 413 391 804 131 1075
PO 52 12 18 30 12
Seasons of 20 or more goals 11
30 goal seasons-7
40 goal seasons-2
Best Season -75-76 80 39 44 83
All time Points 137th -804 points
Alll time Goals -77th 413
Retired as the 31st all tiem points leader with 804 points
Game-Winning Goals -Career NHL 54 (85)
Role: 2 way center /Iron Man


#26 Thomas Vanek RW

Quote:
Uses his blazing speed to get him into scoring position,Thomas has a natural goal scoring ability using his high end hand -eye coordination to tip in any shots in his vicinity.He is dangerous in all areas of the opposing teams ice.He uses his 6'2 frame to battle through nhl d-men in front of the goalie.He is a sniper with great hands and always seems to be in perfect scoring position when the puck is near.In the last few seasons Vanek has developed a nice 2 way game becoming one of the more dangerous 2 way players in the game today
Seasons 6
Era Present
RS 465 200 180 379 286 +31
PO 29 10 5 15 18
Best Season 2006-07 82 43 41 84 40 47
Goals 2006-07 43 (5) 2008-09 40 (5)
2006-07 NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
NHL All Star 2009
Power Play Goals2007-08 19 (2) 2008-09 20 (1)
Game-Winning Goals2007-08 9 (3) 2009-10 6 (10)
NHL best +47, earning the NHL Plus/Minus Award 05-06
Role 2 way player /sniper /speedster


# 30 Cam Ward,G
Quote:
Ward was drafted 25th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Ward is a classic butterfly goalie who remains square to the shooter. He is a goalie that enjoys his job, too, and plays better the more fun he is having.Owns a lighting quick glove hand, has excellent rebound control a calm confident nature that allows his team mates to play to there utmost potential. Ward enjoys up-tempo hockey and thrives when he's busy. Prefers to play it safe with the puck.

After posting 15 wins, 2 shutouts and suiting up for 23 of Carolina's 25 playoff games the rookie netminder led his team to its first Stanley Cup. Ward became the fourth rookie goaltender to be named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as most valuable player of the playoffs.(Dryden,Roy, Hextall)
RS 342 173 125 32 .909 2.75 15
PO 41 23 18 4 2.38 .917
Seasons 6
Era mid 2000's -Present
Best Season 2008–09 68 39 23 5 6 2.44 .916
Stanley Cups 1
2007 World Championships (gold medal)
2008 World Championships (silver medal)
All-Rookie Team (2005)
Conn Smythe Trophy (2006)
30 win seasons-4
Top 10 Wins 2007-08 37 (4) 08-09 39 (3) 10-11 35 (3)
2011 All Star Team
Role: Relief Starting Franchise Goalie


I'll have time to write bios on the 4 players left on saturday.
#8 Cooney Weiland, C
Quote:
Weiland lead the league in goal- scoring, he also won the points title with 73, shattering Howie Morenz's single-season record of 51 points.

One of the slickest players of his era, center Cooney Weiland tormented opposing defenses with his trickery. A magician with the puck, he helped the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 1929 as a member of the famous Dynamite Line with Dit Clapper and Dutch Gainor. And his offensive totals might have been even greater than they were had Weiland not also been such an adept penalty killer.
Seasons 10
Era lat 20's -late 1930's
RS 509 173 160 333 147
PO 45 12 10 22 12
Adjusted stats 509 288 393 681 264
1934-35 NHL NHL All-Star Team (2nd)
Best Seasons 1929–30 44 43 30 73 27
Top 10 points -2 times
Top 10 goals- 2 times
Art Ross Trophy (1930)
First All-Star Team Coach (1941)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1972)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1935)
Stanley Cups 2

#1 Gump Worsley, G
Quote:
Gump is the only all time great goalie who wasn't developed by the habs. He came via trade after playing for an awful ny rangers team.He won a calder trophy there and always performed exceptionally well despite not having much of a team in front of him in ny. Once he came to the habs he got recognized for his brilliance on the ice.

One could argue that he was the best goalie in the nhl when he played for the blueshirts. He lead the league in save percent-edge yr after yr when with the rangers - bob duff hockey historian

He was the only reason the blueshirts made it to the playoffs 4 times during his 10 yrs there.Year in and year out he was the teams best player.

Hes hared 2 Vezinas with Jacque Plante Charlie Hodge and Rogie Vachon

He lead the habs to 3 cups and won another with him as a back up!
Habs Heroes (45) and HNIC Best of the Best (9th)
Seasons:21
Era:Early 50's mid 1970's
RS:861 335 352 150 43 2.88
PO:70 40 26 5 2.78
Career Games 861 (10 All Time)
Career NHL Wins 335 (17th All Time )
All-Star-1961,1962,1965,1972
Calder Memorial Trophy-1952-53
Vezina Trophy-1965-66-1967-68
NHL All-Star Team (2nd)1965-66
NHL All-Star Team (1st)1967-68
Stanley Cups -4
HOF- 1980
Role:Franchise Goalie:



#25 Peter Zezel, C
Quote:
In Peter Zezel's first NHL season, he established a Flyers rookie record of 46 assists while helping the team to a berth in the Stanley Cup finals. He was quickly regarded as one of the league's premier faceoff men and used his tenacious style to earn himself duty on the penalty-killing unit.

Zezel played a vital role in the resurgence of the Maple Leafs in the early 1990's as a checking centre and faceoff specialist, but he also added his share of timely goals using the soft hands and hard shot developed in his junior days.

Zezel was a face off machine because he studied how an opponent would take their face off and try to exploit their weakness. He would also see the ref's puck dropping mechanics and try and use this to his advantage and if that didn't work he would tie up the opposition players stick and kick the puck with his feet.

The faceoff is perhaps the most under-appreciated element of the game but on closer inspection it plays a critical role. It’s one of those games-within-a-game that coaches and players zero in on.

“People in the stands don’t take much notice of it, but players do,” says Zezel. “We know how important they are. We know how a game can change on who wins a faceoff. I took a lot of pride in taking faceoffs. I never wanted to chase the puck. The idea was to gain possession and have them chase you.”

Part of Zezel’s pre-game preparation was to look at tapes of the opponent’s centermen and study their tendencies when taking a draw. Zezel also kept a mental book on each referee and linesman and he studied their mechanics when they dropped the puck.

Zezel had a routine of his own when he was taking a defensive draw. He would skate small circles before taking the faceoff, studying how the opposition had lined up for the draw. He was trying to get a sense of the play the opponent’s were trying to work off the faceoff.

“I would circle (the faceoff dot) to make sure the goalie was ready. When I saw how they were lining up, I’d tell the goalie what I thought they were trying to do. It was important to see how the other team was lining up. You take a faceoff against a left-handed shot you know he is going to try to backhand it to the defenseman for a shot from the point.” - By Alan Adams

Zezel's skills were not only limited to the ice. He saw action with the Toronto Blizzard of the North American Soccer League and the North York Rockets of the Canadian Soccer League.

Zezel was traded by Van to Anaheim in exchange for future considerations on March 23,99, but the trade was voided on Mar 24,99, because Zezel never reported to Anaheim.

Zezel opted to end his NHL career rather than go to Anaheim because his 3-year-old niece Jilliann, the daughter of his sister, was dying from neuroblastoma cancer back in Scarborough, Ontario, and he wanted to spend more time with his family. Zezel's agent Mike Gillis let the Canucks know that he was considering quitting hockey to be with his niece and would only accept a trade to Toronto or Buffalo. Jilliann died on May 16, 1999, but Zezel opted to remain out of the NHL, retiring for the first time that summer. He never came back to the nhl.

He passed away in 2009 from hemolytic anemia , a rare disorder in which red blood cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them. Zezel was diagnosed with the condition in the summer of 2001. A side effect of the medication is weight gain.

He has had two bouts of this blood disease one attacked his red blood cells the other attacked his white blood cells.

"I’m just taking it easy now. I can’t get too worked up because that seems to trigger it. I’m really taking it easy."
said Peter a yr before he passed away.

Zezel was anything but laid back during his 15-year NHL career that included two tours with the Blues, 1988-89 and 1989-90, and 1995-96 and 1996-97. In 873 career games, he scored 219 goals and 389 assists for 608 points. He also played for the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks
Zezel is also working with former NHLers Bill Berg and Mark Osborne on a scouting website for players (www.playerprospect.com). The site allows teams from across North America to discover players who fly under the radar screen and track their progress

Peter played 873 NHL games scored 219 goals and tallied 608 career points
Seasons
Era Mid 1980's late 1990's
RS 873 219 389 608 39 435
PO 131 25 39 64 4 83
Best Season 1989-90 73 25 47 72
Played in over 1000 NHL games
Holds flyers record for assists by a rookie
Went to the Cup finals with the flyers twice
Five time 20+ goal scorer
On Jan16, 1991 Peter realized a childhood dream and got traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He helped lead the leafs to the conference finals twice


Last edited by Leaf Lander: 05-06-2011 at 09:26 PM.
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