Thread: MLD 2011 Bios
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07-14-2011, 03:05 PM
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Mike O'Connell, D

Originally Posted by legendsofhockey
Defenceman Mike O'Connell was an excellent skater with a host of offensive gifts. He was key performer on the power play and helped his team's transition game without neglecting his defensive responsibilities.
-8th in Norris voting in 82-83
-selected to play in the 1984 All-Star game

-right handed shot for the powerplay

-11th in scoring among defensemen between 1980 and 1985 (which is more impressive when you consider it was probably the golden era of offensive defensemen).

-8 straight 30 point seasons
-Four 50 point seasons

Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune
DEFENSEMAN Mike O'Connell, one of a handful of Black Hawks who had been playing solid two-way hockey, Thursday night was traded to Boston....
-Dec 18, 1980 (before O'Connell had emerged as anything of a star player)

-Joe Pelletier compares him to Brian Rafalski:

Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
An undersized and under-rated defenseman, Chicago born, Massachusetts raised Mike O'Connell was a great skating standout at both ends of the ice
Blessed with great skating ability and a terrific understanding of transition offense, O'Connell immediately starred (in junior).
Although he played behind Ray Bourque and Brad Park, O'Connell, who often teammed with Mike Milbury, emerged as an offensive force. For the next five seasons he was a fixture on the power play, and grew into an all star performer. Not only did he play in the 1984 all star game, but he scored 18 goals and 60 points.

A good modern day comparable for O'Connell would be Brian Rafalski. Not only are they similar sized defensemen, but both were strong offensive contributors thanks to their skating, passing and offensive reads and pinches. O'Connell relied on his heavy shot perhaps more than Rafalski, but both were really crafty. Both were also solid defensive players, relying strong positioning and angling, rarely getting beat one on one. O'Connell was a noted shot blocker who was relied on to rush the puck out of the defensive zone.
After six solid seasons in Boston, the Bruins moved an aging O'Connell to Detroit at the trading deadline in 1986 in exchange for Reed Larson. O'Connell would play 4 more seasons with the Wings, though he would become primarily a defensive veteran than counted on for offensive.
Ice time among defensemen: 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 4th, 5th

In Boston, O'Connell's 2nd and 3rd place finishes in ice time were behind Ray Bourque and/or Brad Park.

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