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01-23-2013, 09:10 PM
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D Brad Park

9x NHL All Star Game Participant
5x Top 9 Hart Trophy Voting(5, 5, 5, 8, 9), also received one vote in 82, 83, 84
10x Top 9 Norris Trophy Voting(2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 8, 8, 9)
13x Top 15 AS Voting among Defensemen(2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 15
3x Top 10 NHL in Assists(7, 10, 10)
9th in NHL in Points, 73-74
9x Top 12 Goals among Defensemen(2, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 10, 12)
11x Top 7 Assists among Defensemen(2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7)
11x Top 10 Points among Defensemen(2, 2, 2, 3*, 6**, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8, 10)
2nd in Goals in Playoffs, 77-78
5x Top 9 Assists in Playoffs(2, 5, 7, 8, 9)
2x Top 7 Points in Playoffs(3, 7)
10x Top 12 Points among Playoff Defensemen(2, 2, 2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12)

*one less point of 2nd place in 24 less games, 2nd best offensive defenseman that year
**2nd in PPG, 1.05 to .92 of 2nd place Jean Potvin

Brad Park was a highly efficient defender, combining size and clean but dogged tenacity with an uncanny awareness of the game. A noted hip-checker, Park was brash and unintimidated. But with the puck he became a natural chessmaster on the ice. more-than-likely make a perfect pinpoint pass to clear the puck out of the zone and start the attack. With a short burst of speed he would often jump to join the rush as a fourth attacker, and was a true power play quarterback. Park, not unlike Ray Bourque years later, was a consistently steady defender with often brilliant offensive instincts.

In almost any other time period Brad Park would have been considered the best defenseman of his time. But Park played in the enormous shadows of Bobby Orr in Boston and Denis Potvin on Long Island.
The only thing that kept the spotlight on them as opposed to Park was their team success and a combined 6 Stanley Cup championships to Park's zero.

That's right, Brad Park never had the chance to sip champagne from the Stanley Cup, despite participating in the playoffs each of his 17 NHL seasons. Along with the likes of Marcel Dionne, Gilbert Perreault, and Mike Gartner, Park may be the best player ever not to have tasted Stanley Cup victory.

Park went from unbridled prodigy to popular sensation in New York, ranking him as perhaps the greatest defenseman in the long history of the Blueshirts.

"Park reminds me of Pierre Pilote," once said Chicago coach Bill Reay. "Both were relatively compact men who could accelerate better than most forwards."

Though it was popular with Manhattan fans, Park was brash off the ice as well. He penned the book Play The Man in 1971 where he was very forthcoming in his thoughts, notably badmouthing Boston fans, calling them animals and players, calling them thugs.

The Bruins fans hated Park and their natural rivals from New York, which made the feud all the more ironic when Park would be part of a blockbuster trade with the Boston Bruins. Perhaps the biggest the trade to that date, Park was the centerpiece of a Ranger/Bruin swap that saw the legendary Phil Esposito leave Beantown. Looking to find a fill-in for the often injured Orr, the Bruins also sent Carol Vadnais to New York and also received veteran Ranger Jean Ratelle.

The trade was uncomfortable for Park, who openly cried and considered not reporting. The two teams were bitter rivals. The only thing that could have been worse is if the Red Sox traded for a Yankee's starting pitcher.

But Park's cerebral play would quickly win over the fans. But the Bruins got a different, more mature Park than the one who so often dominated games against them. Park's play in Boston tamed down somewhat, mostly due to necessity. By the time he was 28 he had undergone five major knee surgeries and four arthroscopic surgeries. But his play remained sterling, in some ways better than ever under the Bruins tight checking system.

"My wheels aren't as good, but my brain is better," Park said at the time. "When I was younger and quicker I was capable of controlling a whole game over the whole rink. Now I've got to be content to control our zone. Basically I'm prepared to do less and do it well rather than try doing what I used to do and do it badly."

In just about any other era, Brad Park would have been considered the best defenseman of his generation. He had size and played aggressively, taking care of business in his own zone. Offensively, he was a pinpoint passer and a deceptive stickhandler, abilities which made him a natural and potent power-play threat. He had the skating speed and the instincts to join the rush, providing his team with a fourth attacker. But Park played at the same time as Bobby Orr, the greatest blueliner of any era, and later in his career his stellar achievements were second to Denis Potvin's dominating play with the powerhouse New York Islanders. Park was the runner-up six times for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defender and earned a berth on the league's All-Star Team seven times. He was an easy choice for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

Park established himself as one of the top defensemen in the league in his second year. He earned the respect of his teammates and the fans in New York, and soon the whole league was talking about his savvy and poised play. Park was named to the NHL's First All-Star Team alongside Orr and placed second to the Bruins star in voting for the Norris Trophy. He was the youngest Ranger ever to earn a place on the league's first team.

Park's offensive numbers improved in each of his first four years with the Rangers. He was chosen to play for Canada in the Summit Series in 1972 and was impressive on the blue line for the embattled Canadians, finishing with five points in eight games. For the next several seasons, Park, whose Rangers had redeveloped into one of the league's better teams, was regularly compared to Orr, who was struggling with knee problems but still revolutionizing the position with his outstanding play.

Park was an expert at taking forwards out of the play and away from the middle of the rink. Opponents would feel as though they'd beaten the defender to open ice, only to find they no longer had a good view of the net. Though Park had knee problems of his own, many hockey people predicted his career would stretch further than Orr's.

In Boston, Park was a natural fit, his offensive skills meshing perfectly with the team's style of play. He enjoyed some his finest individual seasons with the Bruins and brought the club to the Stanley Cup finals in two consecutive seasons, 1977 and 1978, though the team failed to capture the title either time. Twice Park was second in the voting for the Norris Trophy while he played in Boston, beaten out both times by the emerging Denis Potvin of the Islanders.

He spent two seasons with the Wings, and though he had slowed a step, he proved he still had a unique sense of the game and the passing skills to take advantage of the openings he saw

Through seventeen NHL seasons, Brad Park exemplified blueline excellence. He was heralded as one of the best defensemen in the league virtually from the moment he first stepped onto the ice with the New York Rangers during the 1968-69 season.

Cherry rated Park the best defenseman in the NHL in 1978. "He doesn't rush the puck as much any more. He's hanging back a bit, playing an exceptional defensive game — the type of game a goaltender loves."

Often overshadowed by the great Bobby Orr, New York Ranger and Boston Bruins defenseman Brad Park (who later also played with Detroit) might have been the next best defensemen in the game during the 1970s.

Park often teamed with Gary Bergman to form an awesome defensive duo in the 8 game series with the Soviets. Park scored 1 goal and and had 4 assists in the series. He was especially strong in Moscow. In the historic final game he and Paul Henderson (of course) were named as Canada's players of the game. That is quite a feat considering that Canada's best player in the entire series, Phil Esposito, had 2 goals and 2 assists in the game and had a big role in the last minute heroics.

Unlike the dazzling Canadiens, the Bruins boast only two certified NHL stars, Park...

A few moments earlier, with Park dominating the play from his defense position the way Bobby Orr once did, the Bruins—hockey's Lunch Pail Athletic Club—had beaten the favored Montreal Canadiens 4-3 to tie the Stanley Cup finals at two games apiece.

It was a kind of Bobby Orr look-alike contest for defensemen. No centers, wings or goaltenders need apply. There was Boston's Brad Park playing keep-away with the puck, just like Orr did, and keeping Philadelphia Flyers away from Goaltender Gerry Cheevers.

Park, who as a New York Ranger never measured up to the "as good as Orr" label pinned on him by the club's management, was routinely brilliant for Orr's old Bruins as they swept away the stunned Flyers in four straight games

Park performed multiple chores for the Bruins, who, ironically, acquired him from the Rangers last season mainly as defense protection in the event that Orr should exercise his free-agent status and sign with some other club—which he did. Park played a minimum of 40 minutes a game in three of Boston's four wins, and in the other he was on the ice for more than 60 minutes as the teams battled into a second period of sudden death before Terry O'Reilly's goal won Game Two for the Bruins after 90:07 of hockey.

I need Park out there 40 minutes a game," says Boston Coach Don Cherry. "I sat down with him and asked him to change his style, to forget his end-to-end rushes, to forget individual recognition. Considering what we've asked him to do, and the help he's had, I don't think there's any question that Park's the best defenseman in the game."

But above all, the Bruins have benefited from the arrival of Park, who has helped the team alter its style largely by amending his own. With the Rangers, Park was a do-it-all defenseman who was frequently called upon to play tough guy and execute end-to-end rushes. When Park joined the Bruins, Cherry urged him to concentrate more on straight defense. Cherry is positively ecstatic when he says today, "Brad's not as flashy as he used to be, but he's a better player

On the ice Park is an intense, even fiery performer

Park did some nice poke checking in his own end and controlled the tempo of the Boston attack. He was on the bench during both Capital goals and on the ice for all of the Boston scores, including one of his own that put the Bruins ahead 2-1.

Park, who must rank just behind Orr in any poll of the NHL's best defensemen...

Poor Park. No matter how well he plays the NHL's second-best defenseman cannot escape Orr's giant shadow.

It was thanks mostly to Park, however, that the Great Boston Hex cracked quite abruptly in the third game, a contest played in Madison Square Garden amid a hail of transistor batteries, cigarette lighters, 50� pieces, beer cans (empty), shaving cans (filled), bags of cashew nuts ("very tasty," said Boston Goaltender Gerry Cheevers, who stopped one sack with the back of his neck) and rolls of pink toilet paper. The fans, relentless Boston haters, were aiming the missiles at the Bruins and cheering happily as Park revived the Rangers and led them to a 5-2 victory.

"As much as I hate to admit it," Phil Esposito said afterward, "Park was the difference." Park won it in the first 13 minutes of the first period. Three times he produced goals on the Ranger power play, scoring two himself and setting up Rod Gilbert for a third when his dead-on blast from 30 feet left Cheevers in no position to stop Gilbert on the rebound. Perhaps more important, though, Park also helped destroy the Boston power play three times—an assault that has been the most destructive force in hockey—when Orr, Esposito and friends had opportunities to take immediate command of the game and the series.

But mention that name on Ste. Catherine Street in Montreal or on Boylston Street in Boston. " Brad Park," goes the response, "is Bobby Orr disguised as a New York Ranger."

Baby-faced but brash, the 23-year-old defenseman has emerged as the Orr-style leader the Rangers have lacked in their lineup since, oh, before World War II—and Ching-a-ling Johnson isn't much help today. Like Orr, Park operates from the right defense position although he is a left-handed shot (a tricky switch, something like being a left-handed shortstop in baseball), and—again like Orr—he controls the tempo of a game. "Park does for us what Orr does for Boston," confirms Emile Francis, the tigerish little coach and general manager of the Rangers.

What Park has done for the Rangers so far this season is lead them recklessly past the struggling Bruins and the Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Canadiens to the top in the NHL's East Division. Last week he was routinely first-rate as the Rangers defeated Detroit and played tie games with Toronto and Pittsburgh, the latter a contest they would have won if their forwards had converted only one of the three clear breakaways they had on Goaltender Roy Edwards as the result of Park's perfect passes.

He was a total performer at the highest level, a fact firmly acknowledged by his induction into hockey's Hall of Fame.

Playing under coach Don Cherry, Park performed like the first team all star he had been in three seasons as a Ranger, if not better.

For a glorious, but all too brief period, Park teamed with Orr to give the Bruins the greatest power play quarterback tandem the league has ever seen.

Mostly though, it was Park's ability to step into a commanding role once Orr moved from Massachusetts to Illinois. And was Cherry's ability to realize that an alteration in Park's style would make Brad a better all around performer.

As a Ranger, Park was used in a do-it-all role, which means that he not only had to defend and score but also was called upon to play policeman and lug the puck from one end of the rink to the other.

The consumate contemporary defenseman, Park was the master of the hip check, as well as an exceptionally accurate shooter who could develop an attack and then retreat in time to intercept an enemy counterthrust.

His game was embellished by a fluid skating style that often underplayed his speed, as well as a storehouse of power that proved deceptive because of his relatively modest size.

He was the ice general and captain of a modestly successful Rangers teams...after his trade to the Bruins, he played for a team already in a decline, but the team remained competitive because of Park's combative play.

More than anything, Park was a refreshing player to watch and, in some ways, a throwback to an earlier, more robust era of defensive play.

The Rangers were playing the Red Wings and dangerous Gordie Howe wasa still playing for the Detroit team. Park was guarding Howe, notorious for his great strength, durability and viciousness. "Watch Howe!" Brad was warned. "He likes to club you with his elbows."

Park remained vigilant and when Howe confronted him, the young Ranger bodychecked the veteran cleanly, depositing him on the ice.

As Brad passed Howe, he turned to his assailant and rasped, "You sonofagun. It could have been my eye. From now on, when you're skating around me, keep your head up."

Unfortunately for him, a number of younger, flashier defensemen such as Denis Potvin of the New York Islanders and Randy Carlyle of the Pittsburgh Penguins were scoring more than Park, although not necessarily playing better defense.

But the purists remained appreciative of his skills, particularly his submarine body check, in which he'd thrust his hip into the path of onrushing attackers, catapulting them upside down to the ice. In 1977 and 1978, Park was one of the main reasons the Bruins reached the Stanley Cup Finals.

Like a Brad Park, we lost him twice in March and i mean, when we didn't have him, our power play wasn't the same. He was a key guy on our power play at the point.

They didn't like him and they didn't like him because he was good too.

Don Cherry used to call him truck driver strong. He didn't have the defined physique of a, you know, a weight body-builder but he was really a good player. The year that Potvin won the MVP (he won the Norris Trophy in 1976, 1978 and 1979 - Larry Robinson of Montreal won in 1977) really disappointed me. I mean, we played the Islanders, Brad Park would outplay Dennis Potvin every way to Sunday, you know?

I was very impressed with Brad Park because of all the different things he could do for your team. Espo was just a slot guy, score goals type of thing, you know? You couldn't move him he was so big. But Brad could do everything.

I think Brad Park, certainly after his first year, was a sort of leader. I don't know if he was vocal but he could make things happen.

Brad Park, chosen second overall by the Rangers in 1966, was, outside of Orr, the best of their generation.

Without Orr and Esposito, the Bruins high-fliers for nearly a decade, play that way no longer. Brad Park, traded from New York, has taken on a more economical and realistic style, and is once again one of the league's best defensemen.

Similar in many ways, Carlyle lacks Park's blazing slapshot

Brad Park played his best game of the year at a critical time for the Boston Bruins.

With first place in the Adams Division at stake, Park scored one goal, assisted on another, played strong defense and helped kill penalties to spark the visiting Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

And Brad Park, 21, New York Rangers' defenseman, is indeed a bright youngster. He labors, in the eclipse of Boston's Bobby Orr, but is a better defenceman than Orr except in offense.

[Brad Park] beat Rick Kehoe to the puck there and then faked him so effectively with a little move that Kehoe fell down and slid into the boards.

Brad Park orchestrated a 4-2, fight-marred victory over the Minnesota North Stars by scoring the first goal and assisting on the other three.

Park's absence is probably the most crucial of all the Bruins' injuries, as he quarterbacks the power play and is the leader on the ice.

Last edited by BillyShoe1721: 01-23-2013 at 11:33 PM.
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