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01-28-2013, 08:00 AM
Rob Scuderi
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D, Brian Leetch

2x Norris Trophy winner
2x First All-Star Team
3x Second All-Star Team
1x Conn Smythe Trophy winner

Norris Trophy Voting: 1 ('92), 1 ('97), 3 ('96), 4 ('91), 5 ('94), 5 ('01), 8 ('99), 9 ('02), 11 ('04)
All-Star Team Voting: 1 ('92), 1 ('97), 3 ('96), 4 ('91), 4 ('94), 5 ('01), 7 ('89), 7 ('02), 8 ('95) 8 ('99), 11 ('04)

NHL Stats
1028 points in 1205 NHL GP
97 points in 95 NHL playoff GP, x1 Stanley Cup winner

5x Top 10 Assists: 3, 6, 7, 8, 9
1x Top 10 Points: 9

Defensemen Scoring Placements: 1, 1, 1, 1, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 7, 8, 13
Defensemen VS #2 Scores: 119, 115, 111, 104, 96, 95, 95, 94, 94, 93, 89, 88, 62

Team Scoring Placements: 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6

International Stats
13 points in 16 Olympic GP
Placements - 1988: 33rd in overall scoring, 6th in team scoring, 6th in defensemen scoring (7 points behind Fetisov); 2002: 13th in overall scoring, 4th in team scoring, 2nd in defensemen scoring (1 point behind Lidstrom) 1998: only scored 2 points in 4 GP

4 points in 7 Canada Cup GP
Placements - 1991: 18th in overall scoring, 6th in team scoring, 3rd in defensemen scoring (3 points behind Coffey)

8 points in 12 World Cup GP
Placements - 1996: 3rd in overall scoring, 3rd in team scoring, 1st in defensemen scoring (tied with Coffey); 2004: only 1 point in 5 GP

16 points in 20 World Championship GP
Placements - 1987: 11th in scoring, 2nd in team scoring, 2nd in defensemen scoring (1 point behind Fetisov); 1989: 24th in scoring, 2nd in team scoring, 2nd in defensemen scoring (1 point behind Hannu Virta)

Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends
One of the keys to Leetch's early NHL success was coach Michel Bergeron. Bergeron was a fiery coach who insisted on passion, and was not known for tactics and Xs and Os. Leetch was free to play his game, which is so rare for any player nowadays. He was allowed to show what he could do.

That was great for the beginning of Leetch's career, but he truly became the NHL's top defender upon the arrival of coach Mike Keenan and former Oiler Mark Messier. Leetch would develop special bonds with both, especially Messier. Those bonds would teach him how to become one of the NHL's all time great players.

In 1991-92, Leetch became only the 4th defenseman in league history to record 100 points in a season. His 80 assists were a team record. His dominance earned him his first Norris Trophy as the league's best rearguard.

However it was the 1993-94 season that ranks highest on Leetch's incredible list of accomplishments. After another impressive regular season of 79points, Leetch led the New York Rangers in the playoffs, scoring 11 goals and a league high 23 assists and 34 points on route to the first Stanley Cup championship on Broadway in 54 years. Leetch was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff's most valuable performer, the first non-Canadian born player to do so.

The key to Leetch's game was always his mobility and vision. He was a terrific skater and stickhandler. Everyone marveled at how he could sidestep the league's best forecheckers and make a great breakout pass, often creating something out of nothing. He was a good rusher too, and manned a power play point as good as anyone. Defensively he overcame relatively small size with impeccable timing and positioning. He was never adverse to the physical game either. He truly was one of the all time great defensemen.

Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated - 1/30/1989
With his breathtaking offensive skills, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Leetch, a first-round pick who played a year at Boston College before competing in the Olympics, gives the Rangers an attacking defense-man from the Denis Potvin and Paul Coffey mold—in effect, a fourth forward, which seems to be a prerequisite for Stanley Cup teams of the '80s. And he even seems to be justifying the comparisons being made between him and Bobby Orr. "I saw Orr at the same age, and I put Brian in the same breath with Orr," says Esposito. "I've never done that with anyone."

Originally Posted by New York Times - 2/26/1996
Coach Colin Campbell of the Rangers does not use the word superstar frivolously. That is why he calls defenseman Brian Leetch a near superstar. But Campbell is clearly convinced that Leetch can supplant Boston's Ray Bourque as the National Hockey League's next great defenseman.

"I think Brian Leetch can grab the torch," the coach said. "In my opinion, he is the premier defenseman in the league. Among his great strengths is his recovery rate after shifts and his ability to play a lot of hockey and thrive on it."

...And he is among New York's most effective penalty killers.

There is only one thing left on Campbell's wish list when it comes to Leetch: consistency.

"He did things that we needed him to do," Campbell said. "The down low, the hard, the penalty kills, the battling. And it all came against a hard, tough team."

He paused a moment, then said, "When Brian does that, we have a great chance of winning."

The way fellow defenseman Bruce Driver sees it, Leetch with the puck at the offensive end is double trouble for the opposition because his scoring skill is matched by his ability to find the open man.

"If I get the chance, I like to shoot," he said. "But I always look to pass if there's an opportunity. I like to draw someone to me and set someone else up. You don't score many goals when the goaltender's looking at you."

Originally Posted by New York Times - 12/2/1993
For most of his career, Leetch's incredible playmaking talent has earned him carte blanche on the ice. That's not so with Keenan around. Keenan has dramatically altered Leetch's role in the Rangers' system. Leetch is still expected to be the offensive catalyst on the power play. And he is expected to initiate plays. But he is also expected to play defense. And in five-on-five situations, he is expected to be patient, and conservative, and, if necessary, play the dreaded dump and chase.

"Brian has played exceptionally well in the last 20 games at least," Keenan said. "The thing that probably stands out most of all is that he's been playing excellent defensive hockey, especially one on one. We look at him to create offense, of course, but his one-on-one play and his penalty killing have been exceptional."

Leetch acknowledges that Keenan's instructions have made him a better all-round player, even if he's not particularly fond of the change. There are times when he gets the puck and aches to rush up ice, but knows he's not allowed. There are other times, though, when he looks at the team's record, and the balanced scoring, and can only feel good about what has happened this fall.

Originally Posted by Slap Shot, New York Times - 1/24/2008
“When I first came on, Michel Bergeron used to yell at me, ‘We need a goal, we need a goal.’ And I’d say OK and go right up ice as fast as I could,” Leetch said. “It wasn’t as much system, the trap wasn’t there. It wasn’t until a few years later, more video came in, our team got better as a group and that responsibility would come. They used to tell me, ‘Carry the mail, carry the mail.’ They used to tell guys, ‘Back him up, stay back.’ So that was what they wanted me to do. Then it started to be, ‘You can’t be up ice all the time.’ And I said, ‘Alright, whatever you guys want me to do. Just tell me what to do.’”

He said he developed the defensive side of his game as the Rangers acquired more scorers and built the team that would become the 1994 Stanley Cup team.

Originally Posted by New York Daily News - 1/24/2008
Mike Richter: "I look at Brian and I liken him to all the greatest players from all sports. They're able to see their game in a unique way - maybe it's a little slower than all the rest of us see it. Maybe it's just in advance.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 3/1/1991
"He's a very strong player; you can see that any time he rushes the puck he's not easily knocked off it," Terry Murray said. "He sees the ice exceptionally well and has good anticipatory skills."

Last edited by Rob Scuderi: 03-06-2013 at 09:30 PM.
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