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The Winston-Salem Polar Twins select

Rick Kehoe, RW

Kehoe scores in OT to give the Pens a series lead over the eventual Cup champion Islanders in the 1982 playoffs.

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 180 lbs

Lady Byng Trophy 1981
NHL All Star Game 1981, 1982
Pittsburgh Player's Player Award: 1980, 1981

- In 1981, Kehoe was 4th in goals (55), 5th in ES goals (35), 4th in PP goals (20), and 7th in shots (299).
- Only 5 players scored 27+ goals every single season from 1975-82: Lafleur, Dionne, Sittler, Shutt and Kehoe.
- Led the Penguins in goals 3 times, and was second to Jean Pronovost another 3 times.
- Led the Pens in points 3 out of 4 seasons, with one season in 2nd place, leading up to his career-ending neck injury.

Scoring Finishes
Goals: 5, 24, 24, 28, 32, 44, 44, 47, 47
Assists: 26, 28, 29
Points: 19, 27, 28, 34

Goals, 1973-82
1-8: Dionne, Lafleur, Sittler, Esposito, Barber, Shutt, Leach, Martin
9. Rick MacLeish - 336
10. Gilbert Perreault - 327
11. Lanny McDonald - 319
12. Rick Kehoe - 316
13. Mike Bossy - 305
14. Jean Pronovost - 304
15. Butch Goring - 283

Points Per Game, 1957-1961
1-13: Dionne, Lafleur, Sittler, Clarke, Perreault, Esposito, Barber, Trottier, Ratelle, MacLeish, Potvin, Shutt, Robert
14. Butch Goring - 669
15. Tom Lysiak - 668
16. Lanny McDonald - 667
17. Rick Kehoe - 639
18. Ivan Boldirev - 628
19. Rick Martin - 627
20. Pete Mahovlich - 609

Regular Season
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM
1969-70 London Knights OHA 23 3 2 5 6
1969-70 Hamilton Red Wings OHA 32 2 4 6 7
1970-71 Hamilton Red Wings OHA 58 39 41 80 43
1971-72 Tulsa Oilers CHL 32 18 21 39 20
1971-72 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 38 8 8 16 4
1972-73 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 77 33 42 75 20
1973-74 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 69 18 22 40 8
1974-75 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 76 32 31 63 22
1975-76 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 71 29 47 76 6
1976-77 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 80 30 27 57 10
1977-78 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 70 29 21 50 10
1978-79 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 57 27 18 45 2
1979-80 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 79 30 30 60 4
1980-81 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 80 55 33 88 6
1981-82 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 71 33 52 85 8
1982-83 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 75 29 36 65 12
1983-84 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 57 18 27 45 8
1984-85 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 6 0 2 2 0
NHL Totals 906 371 396 767 120 

NHL Playoffs
Season Team GP G A Pts PIM
1971-72 Toronto Maple Leafs2 0 0 0 2
1974-75 Pittsburgh Penguins9 0 2 2 0
1975-76 Pittsburgh Penguins3 0 0 0 0
1976-77 Pittsburgh Penguins3 0 2 2 0
1978-79 Pittsburgh Penguins7 0 2 2 0
1979-80 Pittsburgh Penguins5 2 5 7 0
1980-81 Pittsburgh Penguins5 0 3 3 0
1981-82 Pittsburgh Penguins5 2 3 5 2
Totals 39 4 17 21 4

Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
But there was a time when you could argue that Kehoe was the best Penguin of all time.
The Pens teams of that time were noted as a high scoring team, with players like Pierre Larouche, Jean Pronovost and Syl Apps. The speedster Kehoe fit right in as he was a consistent 30 goal threat, topping out at 55 in 1980-81, setting team record since bettered by none other than Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.
Kehoe was a shoot-first type of player, blessed with a laser of a shot. He was also an incredibly clean player, picking up only 120 career penalty minutes.
The team was weak defensively. Many of the players including Kehoe were not exactly known for their defensive expertise. It is too bad that poor team success can make the career of a good player like Kehoe almost completely forgotten.
Late in the previous season Kehoe suffered a pinched nerve in his neck that caused chronic numbness in his right side. He would never fully recover, ultimately retiring in November of 1984, after trying to keep playing in just 6 games.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Right-winger Rick Kehoe was equipped with excellent speed and a blazing shot.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
A notably clean player—he recorded 120 penalty minutes in a 14-season career—he won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1981, during which he scored a career best 55 goals.
Originally Posted by
At 20 years of age, Kehoe took his duties as a veteran.

“You just play, that’s all,” he said in February of 1972 after getting called back to the Leafs. “You’ve got to hustle. You’ve got to be defensive, too. There is more stress on backchecking and positional play. I’ve still got a lot to learn.”
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 9/17/1974
[Leafs coach John] McLellan displayed uncommon faith in the 21-year-old prospect, leaning heavily on Kehoe two years ago...
... Then there was Red Kelly, who succeeded McLellan as coach of the Maple Leafs and promptly deflated Kehoe's soaring ego, moving the young star around the lineup and not playing him at all sometimes.
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press 10/3/1975
Fans usually flock to goal scorers... but the Penguins had a legion of those last season and Kehoe got lost in the flamboyance of Pierre Larouche, the symmetry of Jean Pronovost and the grittiness of Bob Kelly.
One veteran Toronto columnist called Kehoe "one of the best right wings in hockey" at the callow age of 21, and his 32 goals last year were remarkable considering he played little on the power play (three power play goals) and lost lots of shifts because linemates Ron Schock and Vic Hadfield killed penalties.

"Rick is one of the best shooters in the league," Schock said, "and when he gets the puck into the other team's zone, he is ready to shoot it. He doesn't sulk when he doesn't get ice time. He keeps himself sharp so he's ready when he gets his chance."

Schock likens Kehoe to Lowell McDonald...
... "They are good positional hockey players. They are always right there on their wings and they don't go wandering all over the ice."
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press 2/10/1976
It's like Charlton Heston playing the devil or Raymond Burr playing a murderer. Or Freddie Prinze playing Ed Brown. For the Penguins' Chico, Rick Kehoe, has changed to a role that seems out of character...
... this season he plays Pierre Larouche's right wing, which means he tries to get the puck to Larouche as much as possible

"You've got to give the puck to Pierre because he can do so much with it," Kehoe said... "It really doesn't matter which one of us gets the goal."

... even [Kehoe] admits that when he's hot, he blazes, but when he's cold, he's frigid.
Originally Posted by Observer-Reporter (Washington, PA) 1/15/1981
"He's a natural goal scorer. He doesn't overwhelm you. But if you give him chances he's going to put them in," Blues coach Red Berenson said of the Penguins right wing.

"He always seems to be moving in for rebounds and he's always right around the puck. He's just a natural goal scorer."
Originally Posted by Beaver County Times 3/13/1981
The 29-year-old right wing also has a reputation for speaking softly. Even after a big game, Kehoe doesn't make much noise in the locker room. "You never hear a world out of him. He's quiet," said first-year coach Eddie Johnston.
"He's just a great natural goal scorer," said Johnston, who once played with Kehoe in Toronto.

"He's got that quick release. If you give him three chances in a game, he'll put the light on once or twice. He's an automatic 30-goal scorer and if he doesn't get hurt it's 40 or more. He doesn't flip it in either. He buries it on you."

Linemate Paul Gardner said, "He does things that you can't teach. He has great instincts."
Originally Posted by Beaver County Times 3/13/1981
He wasn't voted in [to the All Star Game] by the writers, but he was picked by Coach Scotty Bowman.
Originally Posted by Beaver County Times 1/20/1982
[Coach Eddie Johnston, quoted after a game in which Kehoe scored a hat trick]"If there was ever a time when we needed Kehoe to go on a streak, this is it. If he's hot, he can carry us."
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press 3/27/1982
If frustration causes most most of hockey's violence and causes fights, what's the matter with Kehoe? Doesn't he get frustrated?

"Sure I do," Kehoe said. "When I score a goal, all that frustration is let out. When I get frustrated, I feel I have to work a little harder."
Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press 10/4/1984
"Rick is obviously a proven goal-scorer," [coach Bob] Berry said. "He's a finisher. You can make all the nice plays and passes you want, but if you don't have someone to put the puck in the net, you're not going to be successful."

An equally integral part of the decision to place Kehoe on a line with Lemieux was Kehoe's grasp of the game's nuances...

"He's a very intelligent player," Berry said. "He knows the game very, very well. He can help Mario a lot in that respect."
Trades & Transactions
Traded to Pittsburgh by Toronto for Blaine Stoughton and Pittsburgh's 1st round choice (Trevor Johansen) in 1977 Entry Draft, September 13, 1974.

Missed part of 1973-74 season with fractured shoulder.
Missed part of 1975-76 season with cracked ankle bone.
Missed start of 1977-78 season with broken elbow. ... Missed part of 1978-79 season with fractured right ankle.
Missed part of 1981-82 season after having surgery to remove bone scrapings from right ankle and growth from left forearm. Also missed games with bruised ribs and injured shoulder.
Suffered pinched nerve in neck that caused chronic pain in his right side and ultimately led to his retirement. Injury cost him final 23 games of 1983-84 season and ended his career in November 1984.

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