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02-04-2011, 10:46 PM
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D Rod Langway.

6'3", 218lbs.
2x Norris Trophy Winner
Washington Capitals Captain(82-93)
6x NHL All Star Game Participant
Hockey Hall of Fame Member
2x 1st-Team All NHL
1x 2nd-Team All NHL
1x Stanley Cup Champion
1x Canada Cup 1st-Team All Star
5x Top 11 Norris Trophy Voting (3, 5, 5, 9, 11)
3x Top 4 Hart Trophy Voting (2, 4, 4)
2x 5th in All Star Voting Among Defensemen ("3rd team")

Rod Langway was the prototypical defensive blueliner - a hard hitter who more often than not cleared the puck from danger. In other words he was a goaltender’s best friend, and the perfect team player.

Craig Laughlin described his former teammate in awe.

“Rod’s presence made a statement to all the other teams. Nobody wanted to play against him when he was in his prime. The statement that I heard most from opponents was that he was like playing against an octopus. He had the size, the reach and the strength.”

Few were better than Langway. He was so good that he won the James Norris Trophy twice, in 1983 and 1984 as the league’s top defenceman. This is an amazing accomplishment when you consider how rare it is for a defensive d-man to win the award since the arrival of Bobby Orr in the late 1960s. Since Orr revolutionized the role of a defenseman from defender to attacker, the trophy almost always went to the best offensive defenseman. For Langway to capture the Norris trophy twice based on his defensive excellence and not his offensive elements is the best tribute to how good he was. And to make it even more impressive, Langway beat out superstars Ray Bourque, Denis Potvin and Paul Coffey. Coffey in particular dared to come close to Orr's offensive exploits, yet the NHL recognized Langway's great play over that. Langway was also the first American player to win the award.

The Montreal Canadiens drafted Langway 37th overall in 1977 after his final year of college. Langway attended the University of New Hampshire where he was on a football scholarship. But hockey soon took over as his love and scouts were noticing him. Rod left school after his sophomore year as he felt he was ready for the professional ranks. The Habs actually urged him to stay in school and develop more as the Habs were in the midst of a dynasty and already boasted a blueline that included Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe.

Langway spent some time in the American Hockey League and with Birmingham of the World Hockey Association before joining Montreal for the 1978-79 season. In his first year in the NHL, he recorded seven points in 45 games and was a member of the Canadiens’ Stanley Cup championship squad.

In his first full season in the NHL with Montreal, 1979-80, Langway scored seven goals and 36 points in 77 games. The following year he set career-highs in goals (11), assists (34) and points (45) and in 1981-82 he notched 39 points.

After four years with the Habs, Langway was part of a blockbuster deal prior to the 1982-83 season that sent the veteran defenceman along with Craig Laughlin, Doug Jarvis and Brian Engblom to the Caps for Ryan Walter and Rick Green. The deal is often considered to be one of the worst trades in Montreal history, mainly because of the level of greatness Langway would achieve in a Washington uniform. Laughlin, Jarvis and Engblom all went to lengthy careers as well. Walter and Green proved to be valuable players and helped the Habs win the 1986 Stanley Cup, but couldn't match the career that Langway had.

Rod made a huge impact on hockey in the US Capital. He won the Norris trophy in each of his first two seasons there, and played with heart and desire that few others could ever match. When Langway arrived in Washington, the Capitals had never made the playoffs. In his 11 seasons with the organization, the club never missed them. Rod was a great leader and a greater teacher. He learned from some of the best while in Montreal - Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe - and he taught some of the best - Scott Stevens, xxx and xxx.

There was little doubt that Rod Langway was not only the leader of the Capitals, but many believed he was the most valuable player to his team. In 1984, Langway finished second to Wayne Gretzky in Hart trophy balloting. The Hart trophy goes to the league's MVP. Imagine that - in an era dominated by mindboggling offense and The Great One, a defensive d-man was considered by many to be the league's most valuable player.

For Rod it was his single greatest personal achievement.

"People don't remember the guy who came in second but to be considered one plateau below Gretzky that year was a great honor for me, more than the Norris Trophy."

But Langway wasn't worried about personal honors, rather he wanted team success. While Langway was part of a Stanley Cup team in his rookie season in Montreal, Langway never again got his name on the Cup. That would be is his only real regret in hockey.

"I was probably more disappointed every year I didn't win the Cup." he said. "I have my ring and myname on the Stanley Cup. To this day I feel we should have won a couple more in Montreal and truly believe we should have won a couple in Washington."

When Langway left the NHL in 1993, he had career totals of 51 goals, 278 assists and 329 points in 994 regular season games.

Later, the Caps retired Langways jersey to honor him.

"I'd like to be remembered as a player who came to play every night," said Langway. "I remember when the trade happened. I remember 8,000 people who made noise like 18,000."

The combination of natural ability and an obsessive work ethic epitomize the traits portrayed by Rod Corry Langway throughout a lengthy career. Along with a true passion for the game, he would complete a 15-year Hall of Fame NHL career earning the respect of all he encountered.

Now recognized as a potential hockey star, Langway was selected during the summer of 1977 in two different leagues. The Montreal Canadiens used their 3rd round choice, 36th overall in the NHL Draft to select the hard-nosed defenceman. Meanwhile over in the rival World Hockey Association, the Birmingham Bulls used their 1st round selection, 6th overall to choose Langway. Despite his selection to captain UNH the next season, Langway decided the money was too good to refuse and signed with the Bulls. He would split the first year between the Bulls and the Hampton Gulls of the AHL, posting an impressive combined total of 43 points in 82 games. However, when the rampant rumours of a merger between the NHL and the WHA failed to develop, he was quick to exercise a special clause in his contract allowing him to terminate the deal and begin his 15-year NHL odyssey.

Immediately, the Capitals named Langway their captain and the tide had begun to turn. After missing the playoffs in every season since their conception in 1974, the newly charged club marched to a winning record and its first playoff berth, led by their captain's Norris Trophy performance and 1st Team All-Star berth.

Over the next ten seasons, Langway was a pillar of strength on the Capitals blueline. A knock-off of old school defencemen from yesteryear, he became known for his fearless shot blocking and goal stopping expertise as confirmed by this Mike Gartner testimony in 1983, "They're the guys (along with xxx) you want out there in the last minute of a 3-2 game because you know they're going to get the puck out." Known in Washington D.C. circles as the "Franchise Saver", he was always willing to sacrifice his body for the club, never giving less than his best effort and expected nothing less from those around him. Teammate Al Jensen once stated, "You have to respect a guy who works as hard as Rod does." Langway would capture a second Norris Trophy in 1984, along with another 1st Team All-Star selection and a 2nd Team All-Star selection in 1985, while participating in five more All-Star contests, including the Rendez-vous '87 match-up versus the USSR National Team.

An extremely patriotic person, Langway rarely missed an opportunity to represent his country on the international stage. He was the captain and leader of Team USA on four separate occasions, the 1981, 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup's, along with the 1982 Pool 'A' World Championship. Despite never tasting team success during the high-calibre tournaments, Langway was always considered one of the best at his position, earning All-Star honours along with the USSR's Viacheslav Fetisov at the 1984 Canada Cup.

Few players have earned the title "majestic" and perhaps only one Hall of Famer, Jean Beliveau, comes immediately to mind when the word is mentioned. Even fewer players can legitimately be called "Franchise Savers" in the true sense of the word.

Nevertheless, any man who can save a franchise almost single-handedly merits mention, and no one deserves it more than Rod Langway.

"If I had to pick between Langway, Coffey, and Bourque, I'd rather have Langway because he had a better approach to the game. He was more of a team player with a lot more character. And that's the thing you want most of all on a hockey team".-Undrafted Player

When the towering defenseman...

He was not only the chief upper-shaper, the leader-with-words-and-deeds, but a commanding figure like few others in professional hockey.

On top of that, at one point, Langway was the best defenseman in the NHL. Despite the fact that he was known as a defensive defenseman, Langway was able to outdo Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey for the Norris Trophy in 83 and 84.

Langway had blossommed into a superstar for the Caps...

...a franchise maker...

He was a fearless leader, best known for his shot blocking skills.

Langway's leadership on the Capitals helped him earn the title "Secretary of Defense".

Barring injury, xxx will likely become the best Capital of all time, but may never have the impact that Langway did.

The helmetless tough guy...

In an era of offense, Langway won consecutive Norris Trophies for his outstanding defensive play...

As usual, the Capitals' Langway, the US captain, contributed more than just his physical presence on the ice.

Unlike the obscure entries elsewhere on this site, Rod Langway's heroics are known to even casual Caps fans.

He was a two-time Norris Trophy winner as best defenseman, longtime captain, a 2002 Hall of Fame inductee, and the Capitals averaged a robust 92 standings points during his 10 full seasons.

Yet none of these represent Langway's greatest achievement. After the 1981-82 season, financial woes caused owner Abe Pollin to consider moving or folding the team.

That triggered a "Save The Caps" ticket-selling campaign.

Then, newly-hired G.M. David Poile engineered a blockbuster offseason trade with Montreal for Langway,
Brian Engbloom, Doug Jarvis, and Craig Laughlin.

Dividends were immediate. In 1982-83, wins went up by 13. Not coincidentally, goals-against went down 55. In 1983-84, wins increased by another 9, while goals-against decreased a staggering 57. Langway's leadership and skill had provided the rising tide that lifted all his teammates.

"He recognizes what he does best," coach Bryan Murray told Sports Illustrated . "He doesn't gamble. He plays very safe.

"He'll go back and make the pass to the same winger time after time if the guy's open, and he's so strong that even when he's being leaned on he can get the puck to his man. He never gets in trouble in his own end."

Even in the '80's, Langway considered himself a throwback. "My style is physical and simple," he wrote in a chat. "I focused on clearing the puck and quick transitions from defense and offense.

"I consider myself a proud hockey player. I honor the game and the people who played before me. I like the physical hooking and holding. You made people work to score."

Rod had a similar no-nonsense reaction to stardom. "It was simply my time," he told

"If I had stayed in Montreal, I would have been the same player, but I wouldn't have received the accolades. Larry (Robinson) was there, and was put on the ice during certain situations that I was getting in Washington.

"Being the captain and being recognized as a key player with the Capitals, along with the way I played, helped me win the Norris Trophy."

As wins increased, so did sales. Attendance peaked in 1989-90 at 17,251 per game - just a few hundred under capacity. And hockey in D.C. was safe.

Laughlin later told, "Rod Langway just about single-handedly saved the Washington Capitals. He put hockey on the map here."

Hockey observers around the NHL agree. In his book, "Who's Who of Hockey", Stan Fischler calls Langway no less than a "Majestic franchise-saver."

Last edited by BillyShoe1721: 02-05-2011 at 10:47 AM.
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