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01-24-2012, 11:14 PM
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With their second round pick (33) in the 2012 ATD, the Guelph Platers have selected: Paul Coffey, D

Coffey, the league's best rushing defenseman, is like a nuclear weapon. -- Jeff Gordon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Career Highlights:
Hockey Hall of Fame Member (2004)
4 Time Stanley Cup Champion - 1984, 1985, 1987, 1991
7 Time Stanley Cup Finalist - With 4 Different Teams
Canada Cup Winner & Canada Cup All Star
3 Time Norris Trophy Winner - 1985, 1986, 1995
8 Time NHL Post Season All Star

Born: June 1, 1961
Position: D
Height: 6-0
Weight: 200
Shoots: Left

Regular Season:

Coffey is quite simply one of the most talented defensemen to ever lace on skates.

During his prime, he was regularly compared to Bobby Orr due to his unsurpassed skating, puck handling, rushing abilities and fluid play.

Coffey was an outstanding powerplay quarterback, had a good hard shot and was quite possibly the greatest breakout/long passer the game has seen.

While certainly not as good as Orr (or even his top contemporaries) in his own zone, Coffey had great talents to move the puck out of his zone quickly and he won the Norris trophy as the NHL's best overall defenseman 3 times over a total span of a decade - twice with the Oilers (85, 86) and once with the Red Wings (1995). He was runner up twice more: To Rod Langway in '84 and Chris Chelios in '89. In total Coffey garnered Norris votes in 13 seasons (with a criteria of at least one first or two top-3 votes):

Paul Coffey Norris Record


(thanks to Stuminator and TDMM for the Norris tabulation)

The reason? He was far and away the best offensive defenseman in the NHL, and the more important the game the better he (and the Oilers in his heyday) played defensively and physically. More regarding this below in the playoffs and research.

Coffey's league scoring finishes would be solid for a star forward.

Top 10s among all players:

1 x Goals: 7
9 x Assists: 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 8, 10
6 x Points: 2, 3, 5, 6, 6, 9

Career Regular Season Stats:


The only two players to surpass Paul Coffey's record setting 1985 playoff performance are Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky.

Coffey is the single season record holder among defensemen with 12 playoff goals, 25 playoff assists and 37 playoff points. Coffey also scored the Stanley Cup winning goal that season while being a +26(!) in 18 games those playoffs.

Coffey is also the career leader among defensemen in playoff goals (59) and playoff points (196). He is second (137) to Raymond Bourque (139) in assists despite playing 20 less games. Coffey is also second in GWG by defensemen with 8 in his career.

Career Playoff Stats:

Quotations and Perspective:

Originally Posted by Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1990 – 91
skating is unquestionably the best of Coffey skills just as Coffey is unquestionably among the NHL's top skaters. He could be no worse than second or third in terms of pure skating. His offensive ability is based on his skating, and upon his ability to handle the puck while a top speed, which is a skill almost as impressive as his skating., Taking chances and challenging where no other player could succeed… Coffey is a leader for the pens because of his Stanley cups and international experience… He knows how to win in the playoffs, and ups his game appropriately.
Originally Posted by Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1991 – 92
whenever Scouts start describing the young offensive defenseman, the prospect is usually painted as some shade of the next Paul Coffey. That alone should indicate in what high regard coffey'soffensive skills are held throughout the hockey world.… He can tie opposing skaters into pretzels when they try to pursue him. He is just plain fast. His hand skills and his brain operate at the same high tempo as his skates. He can do an amazing variety of things at a quick pace. Coffey sees the ice very well and seldom are as outlet passes picked off. He has a featherlight touch with pass. Coffey can score from anywhere on the ice and with any kind of shot. He has the confidence and skills to penetrate deep and commands such respect that he has a lot of room to operate.

Coffey takes a lot of heat for not being an involved player, but you don't get a Stanley Cup ring for each finger by being a perimeter player. Sure Coffey is a finesse player during the regular season and may take some nights off, but when the money is on the line, Coffey is throwing his body and blocking shots. He played through most of the playoffs with an eye injury and a broken jaw. His courage is unquestioned.
Originally Posted by Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1993 – 94
he doctors his skates so there is minimal hollow in the blades, and he just glides over the ice.… Few players are better at the long homerun pass.. world-class point man on the power play, taking slaps and sending passes low, feeding the puck over to his point partner for a one timer, or drilling a shot himself. He has enough speed and skill to split the defense or beat a defender one-on-one. He is almost impossible to hit because he is shifty and strong on his skates. He creates a lot of open ice for his teammates because he is intimidating as a skater.

Anyone who gets Coffey for his offense if gifts has to be willing to put up with his defensive shortcomings. Coffey will block shots when it counts, like in the playoffs, but most of his defenses based on his anticipation in picking off passes.… Coffey can make good players better and very good players great. But even though he's an ideal fit with the talented forwards in Detroit… Coffey is still afraid of losing and wants to be on a winner.
Decisive Game 7 vs. The New Jersey Devils en route to the Penguins first ever Stanley Cup:
Originally Posted by Penguins overcome adversity, Dave Molinari, The Pittsburgh Press - Apr 16, 1991
...Paul Coffey, who was expected to watch most of the playoffs - however much he could see of them - but returned in time to leave an indelible imprint on Game 7.

Coffey, sidelined since Devils defenseman Viacheslav Fetisov high-sticked him in the left eye in Game 4, was supposed to be out indefinitely. Penguins Coach Bob Johnson had penciled rooke Jim Paek into Coffey's spot for Game 7.

But after Coffey got medical clearance to play yesterday afternoon, sweater No. 77 was placed in his locker-room stall and paek was farmed out to the press box.

"As of two days ago, I couldn't play because if I got hit in the head, hemorrhaging might have started," Coffey said. "Today they said any injury that occurred would be a brand-new one. I wasn't going to miss this game unless there was a danger of losing my sight."


Coffey was about as good as any defenseman can be. He threw the first of several hard checks on his first shift, rushed the puck with his usual vigor and scored the fourth goal.

"I can honestly say that's one of the best games I've ever seen him play," left winger Troy Loney said. "He played great," Bourque said. "He was taking the body, playing great defensively. He was playing both ends of the ice, probably one of the best game's I've seen him play. And he's only got 1 1/2 eyes."

After trade to Pittsburgh:
Originally Posted by Paul Coffey, Best Rushing Defenseman, Jeff Gordon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan 10, 1988
Coffey, the league's best rushing defenseman, is like a nuclear weapon.

Upon winning his first Norris trophy:
Originally Posted by They Cometh To Praise the NHL's Best Icemen, Francis Rosa, Boston Globe, Jun 13, 1985
Glen Sather, coach, general manager and president of the champion Edmonton Oilers, saw the election of Coffey as best defenseman as "a precedent setter," because Coffey is hockey's ultimate offensive defenseman. "He could win this a lot of years in a row," said Sather. "He's the only player I know of who has been spoken of in the same breath as Bobby Orr."

After Coffey was traded to Pittsburgh:
Originally Posted by The Penguins are Percolating, E.M. Swift, SI, Dec 14, 1987
Former St. Louis, Montreal and Buffalo coach Scotty Bowman, now a TV color commentator for Hockey Night in Canada, thinks Johnston got the better of Edmonton general manager-coach Glen Sather, comparing Coffey-Lemieux to the Bobby Orr-Phil Esposito tandem that led the Boston Bruins to two Stanley Cups in the early '70s. Calgary general manager Cliff Fletcher, obviously delighted to see Coffey out of his division, says, "There are three impact players in this league, and now Pittsburgh has two of them." Washington G.M. David Poile, obviously not delighted to see Coffey in his division, watched the Penguins beat and tie his Caps in the week following the trade. "Every time they had a power play," Poile said, "the puck seemed to be with either Coffey or Lemieux. They're two of the most exciting players in the league. It'll solidify the franchise in Pittsburgh."

Originally Posted by Mario Lemieux, Joe Sexton, NYT, Dec 12 1987
''It takes a lot of pressure off me,'' Lemieux said of Coffey's presence. ''A player like him can do so much.''

Originally Posted by Canada into hockey finals, UPI, Lodi-News-Sentinel, Sept 14, 1984
Mike Bossy scored on a deflection at 12:29 of overtime Thursday night to lift Team Canada to a 3-2 triumph over the defending champion Soviet Union and vaulting the Canadians into the final of the Canada Cup tournament.

Defenseman Paul Coffey, who moments earlier broke up a Soviet 2-on-1 with a sterling defensive play, blasted a shot from the blueline which Bossy redirected...

Originally Posted by Coffey's presence has given Pens a month of momentum, Tom McMillan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Dec 23, 1987
"What he's been, most of all, is a confidence builder," says Johnston, whose team can vault into second place in the Patrick with a victory over New Jersey tonight at the Civic Arena. "Everybody's kind of picked up their game a notch. That's what a player like Paul does for you: He makes your other players better. You don't want all your defensemen rushing up the ice or anything, but he gives them ideas. Creative ideas."

Despite sitting out the first two months of the season in his pre-trade contract dispute, Coffey has scored one goal and 15 assists for 16 points in nine games - giving him the highest points per game average (1.8) among NHL defensemen. More significantly, he has spruced up the Penguins' sloppy powerplay. Before Coffey began patrolling the left point, they ranked 20th in the NHL with a 14.7 percent onversion rate on the powey play; in his nine games they have clicked on 18 of 51 chances (35.3).

"A guy like Coff opens up so much ice for the other guys; I found that out in the Canada Cup," Lemieux says, "What you try to do is find the open ice, get the pass from him, give it back to him - a lot of give and gos. It's pretty easy playing with a guy like that. And on the power play he makes a big difference. You don't have to go back, get the puck, bring it up and make the play. You can divide what you have to do."

Originally Posted by Coffey confidence builder as Red Wings enter Game 2, Ludington Daily News, Harry Atkins, Jun 3, 1995
He had no goals, no assists. In fact, he had only one shot on goal. Yet the steady influence of Paul Coffey was a key factor in Detroit's overtime victory over Chicago.


But Thursday night they found themselves locked in a tight-checking battle with a very good Chicago team, which won three overtime games in a four-game sweep of Vancouver in the second round. Early in the extra period, there was a faceoff in the Chicago zone. Coffey made sure Detroit center Keith Primeau and his linemates, Nicklas Lidstrom and Shawn Burr, were steady and ready.

"Paul told me to bear down, so I was really motiviated to win the face-off," Primeau said.

Primeau won the draw from Jeremy Roenick and fed the puck to Lidstrom. He fired a shot from just inside the blue line that Chicago goalie Ed Belfour apparently didn't see right away. Burr was parked in front of him. When he finally did see it, the puck was in the net. The game was over with just 1:01 gone in the overtime.

"I got back to Nick, and then I had a perfect angle to watch it go in," Primeau said. "Afterward, everyone was joking that it was about time that I won my first faceoff of the night."

Coffey, who was celebrating his 34th birthday, had been in situations like that before. He played on four Edmonton teams that won the stanley Cup championship before being traded to Pittsburgh, where he played on another title team.

"Usually, there is either a goal in the first couple minutes, or it settles down and goes to double overtime," Coffey said. "I told Keith to bear down and win the draw, because that's how those goals are scored. He did a great job to do that. Nick's got one of the best shots in the league, and Shawn did a great job of screening Belfour."

Notice that Coffey didn't leave anyone out. Handing out praise for everyone is also the mark of a veteran leader. It is another way of building confidence.

That's the way Coffey is, both on and off the ice.

During the 1985 playoffs:
Originally Posted by Gretzky: Oilers get stronger every day, Barry Wilner, Anchorage Daily News, Apr 22, 1985

Strong already has characterized the Oilers' play. Especially that of defenseman Paul Coffey, who almost singlehandedly won Game 2 with two goals and three assists in Edmonton's 5-2 victory over the Jets. Coffey's five points tied a one-game playoff scoring record for defensemen.

"He's an awesome skater, the best defenseman in the National Hockey League," said Winnipeg's Paul Maclean. "He was the difference in the two games (at Edmonton)."

"I guess, offensively and defensively, it probably was the strongest game I've played," Coffey said.

"It was kind of nice to watch him," Winnipeg Coach Barry Long said facetiously. "He can tell you where he's going and then do it; and there's nothing you can do to stop him. The only guy like him was (Bobby) Orr."

During Coffey's contract holdout with Sather/Pocklington:
Originally Posted by Philadelphia Daily News, November 20, 1987
If the Flyers can put together the right package of players and draft choices to satisfy Edmonton general manager-coach Glen Sather, the money Paul Coffey wants will not be a problem. "You're ******* right we'd sign Paul Coffey," Flyers president Jay Snider told the Daily News. "Paul Coffey is in the top echelon of players in the league. We'd love to have him. "Money would be no object at all...
NHL players poll:
Originally Posted by Mike Ramsey best on defense, Gerry Dulac, The Pittsburgh Press, Jan 21, 1990

Bourque, who might be the best all-round defenseman, finished second to Coffey, the Penguins' All-Star defenseman, as the best offensive defenseman. The best defensive defenseman is Buffalo's Mike Ramsey.
His skating style is as fluid as Dorothy Hamill's, as electric as Brian Boitano's. Not since Bobby Orr has a hockey player exhitbited such speed, such fluidity. Paul Coffey might never win any awards for defense, but his skating and offensive abilities are unmatched in the NHL. All those players who have watched Coffey go flying by agree: He is the best skater in the league.

Coffey gathered 53 votes to easily beat Messier (25) and Savard (8) who might be the trickiest skater in the league.

And, for best offensive defenseman, only Bourque (21) could manage to get within shouting distance of Coffey, who had 68 votes. Even Buffalo's Phil Housley, who has also been used as a forward, managed just 9 votes.

Originally Posted by Hawk's Larmer star-struck, Mark Harding, Toronto STar
Dynamic duo: There are your formidable defensive pairings and then there is the starting tandem for the Wales Conference in tomorrow's game: Ray Bourque of the Bruins and Paul Coffey of the hometown Penguins.

"I think they made adjustments to their own situations," said Boston coach Mike Milbury. "Ray is a powerful, strong skater. He takes the body and finishes hard. I don't think that Paul plays anywhere near the defence that Ray does, but Coffey can probably open up the game better."
The Oilers trying to get back to the finals after the Calgary loss in '86:
Originally Posted by Oilers again proving they can play defensive hockey, CP, The Phoenix, May 13, 1987

"People say the Oilers can play the shootout type of games... but when it comes to tight checking, we'll be lost," defenseman Paul Coffey, one of the prime reasons for that thinking, said Tuesday. "But we proved when we won two Stanley Cups we can play that way and we've proved it this year in the playoffs as well."

The Oilers have certainly proved it through four difficult games against the Detroit Red Wings. Despite the tightest checking the've faced since their playoff loss last spring to Calgary, the Oilers have won three straight for a 3-1 lead over Detroit in the best-of-seven Campbell Conference final.

Another victory tonight would move the Oilers back into the Stanley Cup final, a spot they had reached three straight years before last spring.

Coffey, the leading offensive defenseman in the league, has played well defensively in the last two rounds of the playoffs and says he actually finds it easier.

"It's a lot harder to play the offensive style because you're always up and back, skating the whole game," he said in the empty Edmonton dressing room. "Playing defensively, you just wait... the hardest thing to do is to have patience."
Originally Posted by The gold-plated clone of Orr, Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald, Apr 4, 1986

Paul Coffey has been referred to as the Bobby Orr of this generation.

The Edmonton Oilers' defenceman has one record to prove it. He is now within striking distance of another record to further substantiate it.
"A record's a record," says Garnet (Ace) Bailey, a teammate of Orr's with the Boston Bruins in 1970-71 who is no on the Oilers' coaching staff. "It's phenomenal what Coffey has done. Even to be compared to Bobby Orr. In modern-day hockey, he's our Bobby Orr. I had no idea Orr's records would be broken. I figured they would be the last records to be broken. But you watch Paul Coffey play and you can believe it."

"The records Orr established were unique," says Flames' assistant coach Bob Murdoch, who played for the Montreal Canadiens in the season Orr set the points standard. "I thought no one would ever approach them."
While the Oilers have many potentially dangerous offensive weapons, Coffey is obviously one of the major ones Calgary has to control both tonight and, if both teams advance to that stage, the second round of the playoffs. "We're obviously trying to figure it out", says Murdoch. "In one of the games we played this year, we emphasized playing him tight. He had four goals against us that night. What it takes is good goaltending and a good team effort."

That's exactly how the Canadiens neutralized Orr in the 1971 playoffs when Montreal defeated Boston in a series mostly remembered for the superlative play of goaltender Ken Dryden. Montreal had no plan to stop Orr that year. Not many plans to stop him every worked.

"About the only plan that supposedly worked was one year Philadelphia decided to give Orr the puck as much as possible with the intent of wearing him out. The Flyers went on to win the Stanley Cup that year," says Murdoch. "I don't know if we could do that with Coffey. He likes to handle the puck. That's when he's dangerous."

There are many similarities between the two great defencemen.

Their skating and puck-handling skills quickly come to mind. The major differences are that Orr was a better defensive player and a more aggressive player. But the similarities are striking.

When Murdoch or Bailey discuss the abilities of the two superstars, the names are interchangeable. They could be talking about either one.

"I remember playing against Orr," says Murdoch. "He was the guy that impressed me the most. When he wanted to turn it on, he could beat anyone with raw speed. Coffey is very similar when he challenges."
Originally Posted by NHL players, coaches receive honors tonight, Kevin Allen, USA Today July 6, 1995
Norris Trophy (top defenseman) - Finalists: Ray Bourque, Boston; Chris Chelios, Chicago; Paul Coffey, Detroit. Expected winner: Coffey, and deservedly so. He controlled the game when he was on the ice and improved his defense.
Originally Posted by Defense helps Red Wings win, AP, Toledo Blade, Feb 22, 1993
But it was the play in the defensive end that keyed the victory.

"We've got the take care of both ends," Coffey said. "It isn't just (the defensemen) who play defense. Your defense is only as good as your forwards."

Getting a good performance from your goaltender helps.

Originally Posted by Reasons turn in Wings' favor, John Gugger, Toledo Blade, May 25 1995

Paul Coffey. The old goat was the team's leading scorer going into the San Jose series. That's the problem with Coffey. Never plays defense. So what if the Red Wings have scored 13 more goals or something like that than they've given up with him on the ice in the playoffs? Gotta play defense in the playoffs. Scotty Bowman told me that once.

"Coff is playing pretty well right now," Bowman said.

Every now and then Scotty gets carried away and thinks scoring goals is a big deal.
Originally Posted by He is back - Re-gretz to the flyers, Sun Sentinel, May 19, 1987
"You have to remember [Paul Coffey]'s coming off a major injury," coach-GM Glen Sather said. "In the last six weeks, he's been progressing. He's playing more like Paul Coffey. Paul's another guy you can't worry about. He's given up a lot of offense to play team defense."

From The Hockey Scouting Report, Berger

From Breakaway 86 by Stan Fischler

Last edited by BraveCanadian: 01-25-2012 at 12:26 PM.
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