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01-30-2012, 10:15 PM
  #119
seventieslord
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Larry Jeffrey, LW



Jeffrey was a tough grinder who survived a pretty decent length of time in the exclusive O6 NHL. He finished with 368 games and 38 more in the playoffs, which was 247 and 31 as of expansion. Those totals are among the leaders for available players, but they are not mind blowing, either. The reason is injuries. Jeffrey was really balls to the wall, and this cost him games. In the 1962-1967 seasons, he played 247 NHL games and 120 in the minors, meaning he missed approximately 113 scheduled games with a variety of injuries. He retired in 1969, probably with a lot more to give, if not for his battered body (the 1969 car accident was the icing on the cake)

Jeffrey was a "good team" role player, not just some scrub sticking with a bad team. In the 6 seasons in which he played at least 40 games, his teams had a win% of .550, .507, .621, .536, .608 and .589. He went to three Stanley Cup finals, losing with Detroit in the first two, and winning with the Leafs in 1967.

Jeffrey had two decent 28-point seasons at the NHL level. But he was not usually an offensive factor. With 107 points in 137 career minor league games, Jeffrey did have some offensive upside but the league was in a state where a second-rate player like him would never get the chance to show his stuff.

It's worth noting that after expansion, Jeffrey was on the Rangers, a very strong team in the "old" division, much more impressive than hanging on with the North Stars or Seals.


Quote:
Larry Jeffrey was a solid two-way left winger who played nearly 400 NHL games despite chronic knee woes. His ability to soldier on was remarkable considering the relatively primitive sports injury treatments that were available forty years ago.
The native of Goderich, Ontario played three seasons with the OHA's Hamilton Red Wings. It was in junior that he suffered a severe charley horse that prevented him from bending his leg properly. He kept playing and ended up putting tremendous strain on his knee ligaments and joints in the ensuing years.

In 1961-62, he debuted with the Detroit Red Wings and looked fairly solid with eight points in 18 matches. He spent the bulk of the season with the WHL's Edmonton Flyers where he averaged nearly a point per game. He played 53 and 58 games for Detroit over the next two seasons. The highlight of his career in Motown was scoring seven points when the team reached the final in 1964.

Jeffrey was sent to Toronto in May 1965 in the same deal that involved Marcel Pronovost and Andy Bathgate. In 1966-67, he played 56 games for Toronto in the regular season then played six in the playoffs before getting hurt. The Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup that year and, fittingly, Jeffrey was on crutches for the team picture when they were presented their prize.

By the start of the 1967-68 season, Jeffrey was with the New York Rangers. Over the next two years he played his last 122 NHL games. He retired after suffering another injury at the training camp of the AHL's Cleveland Barons in 1970.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Larry Jeffrey was a hard-nosed, defense- first left winger throughout the 1960s with Detroit, Toronto and NY Rangers. However he rarely came close to playing a full NHL season due to a series of knee injuries that first started in junior hockey.

While playing junior hockey with the Red Wings affiliate in Hamilton, Jeffrey suffered a severe charley horse that prevented him from even bending the joint.

"It just kept causing me problems every year after that. Probably because in those days they didn't have the equipment to look after severe injuries," suggested Jeffrey. "They had a shower and a hose and that was your whirlpool-type thing. You held the hose to cause stimulation to the charley horse."

Later, adhesions developed on his leg. The Wings brought Jeffrey to Detroit to have them primitively broken.

"One doctor got my shoulder and held me, the other got on my leg and just literally grabbed it and bent it with his weight. They gave me a mild sedative. I remember everything about it. When he gave my knee the pressure, it was just like breaking bones. It was very painful. I heard the cracking. I thought they broke my leg rather than the adhesions. I thought it was a rather cruel way of doing it."

When Jeffrey turned professional, he was shocked that the NHL teams had very little in the way of top sports medicine facilities. Instead he was tested for several different braces for his leg.

"I really look back now and I was like a guinea pig, trying out all these different braces, sending me to hospitals, having the knee drained and cortisone put in to go out and play that night."

Over the years Jeffrey would go under the knife 9 times, and his knee continued to give him problems throughout his life. He has no bad feelings for the game or the NHL though.

"I'm disappointed they didn't look after my knee properly, but I have no hard feelings. I have a lot of good memories of playing in the National Hockey League," he said. Most notably several winning seasons in Detroit and being part of Toronto's 1967 Stanley Cup winning team.

Ironically, Jeffrey came closest to playing a full season in his last year in the NHL. He appeared in 75 games in 1968-69, but clearly his best days were behind him. He had just one goal and 6 assists.

Jeffrey was released by the Rangers but the Cleveland Barons gave him a chance in the 1969-70 training camp. However the hard luck Jeffrey suffered another blow to the knee, forcing him to retire.

Larry Jeffrey returned to his 127 acre farm near his hometown of Goderich, Ontario upon the completion of his hockey career. There he raised cattle and a few racing horses. At different times he owned and operated a concession stand and a successful ad specialties business. He also did some scouting for NHL Central Scouting.


Last edited by seventieslord: 02-03-2012 at 10:09 AM.
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