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03-15-2017, 01:03 PM
Hawkey Town 18
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Anze Kopitar

Position: C
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 224 lbs

AS Voting: 3, 6, 6, 8
Selke Voting: 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 9
Hart Voting: 8, 8

Stanley Cup: 2012, 2014
Lady Byng: 2016

Regular Season Career: 826 GP – 252 G – 472 A – 724 Pts +71
Playoffs Career: 75 GP – 20 G – 44 A – 64 Pts +24

Originally Posted by THN Scouting Report
Assets:Has terrific hands, creativity, shiftiness, skating ability and the potential for great two-way play every time he's on the ice. Owns the size all NHL teams crave from the center position. Is mature and responsible. Can play in all game situations with aplomb.
Flaws: Is not an overly physical player, despite his massive frame, so he could stand to become a little more assertive and aggressive. Also, he needs to continue to work on his offensive consistency, since he can go cold for long stretches from time to time.
Originally Posted by ESPN.com: Kopitar Getting Overdue Recognition – Jun 6, 2014
In the moments before Game 1 of these Stanley Cup finals, Wayne Gretzky told the CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" he thinks Kopitar is the third-best player in the world, behind Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.

Swinging for the fences is kind of a Kopitar thing, even if it's taken time for his reputation to catch up to his actual play. In 2006-07, his rookie season, he scored 20 goals, and his 61 points put him third among all first-year players. But other rookies, such as Jordan Staal, Evgeni Malkin, Paul Stastny and Dustin Penner, captured the hockey public's eye. It wasn't until this season that Kopitar's strong two-way play earned him a nomination for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the game's best two-way player; a recognition that Kopitar's teammates feel is long overdue.
"You try and describe guys [as] 'shut-down D' or 'goal scorer' or 'grinder.' I've said this before about Kopy, he's just a hockey player," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "If the best play's a pass, it's a pass, if the best play's a shot, it's a shot. He's just a complete hockey player. He doesn't get enough credit in my opinion partly probably because of the market we're in, his background. If he was a Canadian and played in New York, [there would] probably be more people talking about him."

"He's always had the scoring ability, both goal-scoring and obviously playmaking ability," Brown said. "I think there's a reason he doesn't score 90 to 100 points like he's probably capable of doing, and part of it is the way we play. If there's one thing he doesn't do, it's cheat on the offensive side of the puck, and that's why he's up for the Selke. I think you put him on another team or in a different system, he probably has a lot more points, but again that's what makes us successful is we have our best players buy into our system. As a result, he might not score as many but we're sitting here in June playing."

"I'm a very competitive guy. By nature. I don't like losing in hockey, I don't like losing in any other sports. I don't like losing playing cards. You name it. I just want to be the best I can be. I think that's pretty much all you need to be driven like that. More often than not, if you're driven like that, you're going to succeed."
If there is one person who embodies the ideals, the beliefs and the personality of this Kings team now three wins away from a second Stanley Cup in three years, it's Kopitar. Low-key, determined, never particularly flashy but, it seems, always in the right place to make the right play.
"I guess the biggest compliment I could give him is that I know that the eight defensemen we're carrying on the team right now, they're hoping if they're going out on the ice they're going out with Kopy because he's that responsible," said veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell. "On down low, you know where he's going to be, he's going to be an easy outlet for you. He's just going to always make the right play and then really he just makes everyone around him that much better.

"He's a quiet guy, he's a really quiet guy. He's just humble and just goes about his business. He has obviously an inner belief that he wants to be one of the best players in the game and he's developed into that, but he's not going to be flaunting that and being front and center with those things."
Although he is nominated for the Selke Trophy, Kopitar's not particularly interested in talking about anything that smacks of self-promotion.
"Well, my first goal was to get drafted, then try to make the team to play in the NHL on a consistent basis, to be consistent all the time," Kopitar explained. "Then the goals are always higher and you try to make the playoffs for the first time. You try to win the Cup for the first time, then you try to build on those things.
"To be up for an award right now, it's not the time to think about it, but when it's all said and done and I'm going to look back at it, whether it's going to happen or not, it's a nice achievement. I want to keep building on that."
Originally Posted by The Hockey News Top 50 Players in the NHL – Oct 7, 2014
None other than Wayne Gretzky himself said during the playoffs that Kopitar is the third-best player in the world. We don't completely agree, but he's certainly not far off. Kopitar epitomizes the big center ice man who has become synonymous with success in the Western Conference.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News: Kings’ Kopitar and Rangers’ Lundqvist Lead Top Conn Smythe Trophy Candidates – June 2, 2014
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings centre
Kopitar, a Selke Trophy finalist as the NHL's top defensive forward, went head-to-head with Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf and Joe Thornton and not only managed to contain them but lead the playoffs in points with 24. He'll have Derek Stepan to contend with in the Cup final, but Kopitar has already thrived against top-quality competition over the past few weeks.[/b]
Originally Posted by Sportsnet: Stats Say Kopitar Deserves Conn Smythe – June 13, 2014
Mr. Game Seven could very easily ride his "clutch" reputation to the Smythe award, but the most deserving King is Anze Kopitar. Not only does he meet the criteria of leading his team in scoring, but he has also managed to dominate traditional and #fancystat categories while facing elite competition.
Kopitar has outperformed his expected output while driving the Kings' play. His possession numbers are strong considering the match ups he's face during this Kings playoff run. Kopitar struggled early at 5 on 5 as the Sharks matched him up against Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Matt Nieto, but as the series wore on the Slovenian began to take over. When the Kings knocked the Sharks out, his assignment became Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Devante Smith-Pelly. His task against the Hawks? Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell. In the Finals it is more of the same.
Kopitar isn't just negating the top of the other teams' lineups, he is dominating those match ups. He has always been underrated playing on the West Coast, but I do find it interesting that, after defeating Jonathan Toews—the man that inherited Sidney Crosby's best player mantle in the Conference Finals—the imaginary belt went right past Kopitar to Drew Doughty. It is possible Doughty steals the Smythe, I can live with that, but Kopitar should win it because it is time he is recognized as a superstar.
Originally Posted by North Jersey.com: Kings’ Quick, Kopitar, Doughty likely candidates for Conn Smythe
Kopitar, 24, is leading all playoff scorers with eight goals and 10 assists with a plus-15 rating, while Doughty, 22, is ninth among playoff scorers – and leading the defensemen – with three goals, 10 assists and a plus-10 rating.

laying on the West Coast has made all three essentially well-kept secrets to East Coast NHL followers. Even teammate Mike Richards, who spent the previous six seasons with the Flyers, said he knew very little about his new teammates when he arrived in Los Angeles.
Now, Richards calls Kopitar one of the top "three to five" players in the NHL
and had similar praise for Quick and Doughty.

"He’s one of the best two-way centermen in the whole league," Doughty added. "We’re playing out West, you don’t get the recognition that the top centers in the East do. It’s not even close."
Originally Posted by Frozenroyalty.net: Los Angeles Kings Broadcasters: Anze Kopitar Is Now An Elite Player – Oct 9, 2012
Playoff Dominance Pushed Kopitar To Elite Level
Speaking of top players, Kopitar set the standard for forwards throughout the league during the post-season, according to Kings television play-by-play announcer Jim Fox, who has been Miller’s partner for 22 seasons.

“Kopitar was the best forward in the playoffs, the best skater in the playoffs {throughout the NHL].”
“When you look at Kopitar, he played in one post-season, and missed another post-season [in 2010-11 against San Jose, due to a broken ankle],” Evans explained. “I think, in the post-season he missed, he saw elite players, and I think he learned a little bit. I know [former head coach] Terry Murray preached it, and [current head coach] Darryl Sutter did a great job in instilling that type of confidence to make him dominant.”

“One of the things that allowed Kopitar to dominate was the acquisition of [center Mike] Richards, and [forward Jeff] Carter,” Evans elaborated. “That took a little of the attention away from him, and to his credit, Anze found a way to get the job done. [Even on] nights when he was shut down a bit offensively, he dominated defensively. I don’t think he’s going to fly under the radar too much longer.”
Kopitar certainly opened a lot of eyes across the league during the playoffs, and will garner a lot more attention going forward.

“We know, here in L.A., because we have the luxury of watching him every day, at practice and [at games], how good a two-way player he is,” Evans stressed. “He’s definitely in the elite group in the NHL, and I think, now, the rest of the league is going to be aware of that. He’s going to get a lot more recognition.”

“He’s got that ability to put his name in [for the James Selke Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s best defensive forward],” Evans added. “Kopitar, with the experience, will continue to keep gaining [on the league’s best defensive forwards], and because of the size factor, he’s going to make a strong argument.”

“He’s got that ability to make [other] guys better, a key to being a true superstar. Not only are you able to put your own points up, but when you can make your teammates better, and do what he had a big part in, with the Kings winning the Stanley Cup, Anze Kopitar has definitely [reached] that plateau.”

To many, Brown’s and Kopitar’s performances came out of nowhere, as neither has performed at that level prior to the 2012 playoffs.

Nickson indicated that one must look at their previous playoff experience in order to understand where those performances came from.

“They’ve never really had the opportunity [before the Kings’ 2012 playoff run],” Nickson stressed. “Kopitar’s first playoff series was two years ago, against Vancouver, and the Kings [lost] to a very good Vancouver team that year. Last year, he was hurt, so he didn’t play against San Jose. So, going into [last season’s playoffs], you don’t really know how good Kopitar can be, because he’s never really been there—[just] six career playoff games.”

“Brown’s in the same boat,” Nickson added. “He played [the last two] seasons in the playoffs, but again, nothing past the first round. When you compare Kopitar to Brown in the first two rounds, Brown is a little bit above everybody because of his physical play and his scoring. Kopitar was scoring, but Anze is not an overly physical player. But where Anze stands out is in all the finer parts of the game. We all know how he’s developed as a good, strong, two-way center who plays all 200 feet of the ice. He’s always down low, helping out the defensemen, with outlets, bail-out plays, stuff like that.”

Kopitar’s ability to dominate became clear to Nickson well before the Kings’ Stanley Cup run.
“Kopitar now has the smarts, and the experience, to shut down the other team’s best players,” said Nickson. “Going back the last couple of years, in games against Detroit, I remember talking to Terry Murray, and in Detroit, the Red Wings would put [star forwards Pavel] Datsyuk and [Henrik] Zetterberg, who were line mates for most of that year, [out] against Kopitar’s line. [But] in the two games in Detroit [in the 2010-11 season], where [Red Wings head coach Mike] Babcock has the last line change, Kopitar outplayed both of them, and outscored both of them. In the two games in L.A., Murray said, ‘I’m going to put Kopitar up against Datsyuk and Zetterberg, too,’ and he outscored them in L.A., in both games. In the four games in the [season] series, Kopitar had seven points (four goals and three assists), and the two Red Wings had two [points each].”

“That was kind of a turning point for me, and for a lot of us,” added Nickson. “Here’s a guy who has taken his game to another level.”

“Right now, there are only a handful of centers, and we know the West more than the East, that are as good, all around, as Kopitar. [Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan] Toews, maybe, Datsyuk, and Kopitar, I’d put in that group now.”

Originally Posted by The Orange County Register: Kings’ Kopitar is Playing Too Much, Because He Must – Oct 17, 2015
Playing a lot is nothing new to Kopitar, the Kings’ No. 1 center, but rarely do even the heartiest of forwards average more 20 minutes minutes per game for long stretches. Kopitar, who averaged 19:23 last season, has played at least 21:25 in every game this season.

Part of that is special teams. The Kings have had above-average numbers of power plays and penalty kills, but Kopitar is playing more than usual out of necessity. It gives the Kings their best chance to win.

''We need to get a few more minutes out of our (other) centermen,’’ Sutter said Saturday. ''(Kopitar) shouldn’t be a 24-minute guy in the long run. … Those (extra) four or five minutes should be going somewhere else. We need production out of those other four or five minutes.’’

Midway through the third period Friday, the Kings went on the penalty kill. Kopitar had an extremely long shift of 1:34 to help successfully kill the penalty. Just over two minutes later, Kopitar was back on the ice for a shift of 1:27. Then, Kopitar played 1:24 of the 2:19 overtime.

Sutter compared the situation to that of Drew Doughty last season. Because of injuries and ineffectiveness among Kings defensemen, Doughty averaged 28:59 of ice time, second-most among all NHL players.

Kopitar’s minutes aren’t sustainable, even for an elite center who is in strong physical condition. Sutter’s hope is that Kopitar’s fellow centers help ease the burden soon.
''Some guys aren’t matching up,’’ Sutter said. ''We’re at home, and I get to match up who we want (after faceoffs). What happens when we go on the road and we don’t?’’

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03-15-2017, 01:54 PM
Hawkey Town 18
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Vincent Damphousse

Position: LW/C
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 200 lbs

Stanley Cup: 1993
World Cup Silver: 1996
AS Voting LW: 3, 4, 4, 6, 8
Selke Voting: 4
Montreal Canadiens Captain: 1996-97 to 1998-99
San Jose Sharks Captain: 2003-04

Career Regular Season: 1378 GP – 432 G – 773 A – 1,205 Pts +9
Career Playoffs: 140 GP – 41 G – 63 A – 104 Pts -6

Notable Playoff Runs
1992 Edmonton: Lost in Conference Finals: 3rd in Scoring on Team (10 points behind 1st)
1993 Montreal: Won Stanley Cup: 1st in Scoring on Team (6 points more than 2nd)
1998 Montreal: Lost in Conference Semis: t-2nd in Scoring on Team (3 points behind 1st)
2000 San Jose: Lost in Conference Semis: 2nd in Scoring on Team (2 points behind 1st)
2002 San Jose: Lost Conference Semis: t-4th in Scoring on Team (3 points behind 1st)
2004 San Jose: Lost Conference Finals: 1st in Scoring on Team (2 points more than 2nd)

Regular Season Scoring Ranks on Own Team (Led Team 6x, Top-2 13x)
1986-87: 7th
1987-88: 7th
1988-89: 3rd
1989-90: 2nd (1 point behind 1st)
1990-91: 1st (34 points more than 2nd)
1991-92: 1st (6 points more than 2nd)
1992-93: 1st (3 points more than 2nd)
1993-94: 1st (20 points more than 2nd)
1994-95: 2nd (3 points behind 1st)
1995-96: 2nd (2 points behind 1st)
1996-97: 1st (1 point more than 2nd)
1997-98: 2nd (15 points behind 1st)
1998-99: 1st (2 points ahead of 2nd) *Traded mid-season, spent most of season with Montreal, this where he would’ve finished on Montreal giving him credit for the points he scored with San Jose
1999-00: 2nd (14 points behind 1st)
2000-01: 4th (6 points behind 1st)
2001-02: 2nd (8 points behind 1st)
2002-03: 2nd (3 points behind 1st)
2003-04: 6th (16 points behind 1st)

Joe Pelletier:

Vincent Damphousse was one of those players that the Toronto Maple Leafs should have never let get away.

Damphousse was an extremely valuable skater - being able to play both left wing and center with equal efficiency. He was an extremely clever player who somehow has always made those who played with him better. His puck control and passing were only matched by his superior hockey sense.

Damphousse broke in with the Leafs in 1986-87 after a spectacular junior career with the Laval Voisins. In his final year in Laval, Damphousse scored 45 goals and an amazing 110 assists for 155 points in 69 games. Add 36 points in just 14 playoff games, and Damphousse was one of the top prospects in the 1986 Entry Draft. He ended up joining the Leafs as the 6th overall selection. Hindsight is 20/20, but aside from Brian Leetch and perhaps Adam Graves, many would say Damphousse was ultimately the best player in that weak draft class.

Damphousse joined a weak Leafs team immediately, and showed promise. In his first year he scored 21 goals and 46 points in the 1986-87 season - a season which gave Leaf fans their first glimmer of hope in many years. The team seemed to be getting deeper in talent, and even made it to the second round of the playoffs.

The Leafs were never really able to take their game to the next level in Damphousse's tenure, however. Damphousse became a key member of an exciting foursome of scoring stars in Toronto - Ed Olczyk and Gary Leeman worked well together, often with rugged Mark Osborne on the left side. Damphousse was a key member of the second line along with Daniel Marois. Peter Ihnacak and Tom Fergus often served as that duos center.
Over Damphousse's 5 years in Toronto, the talented winger and the team suffered from similar problems. Damphousse was streaky in his younger years. For example, he started the 1988-89 season near the top of the league scoring race with 7 goals and 10 games, but followed that up with just 8 in his next 30. He ended with a respectable 26 goals and 68 points, but somehow Leaf fans always wanted a bit more out of Damphousse.

Vincent was able to put it altogether in the 1989-90 season when he scored 33 goals and had 94 points. He dazzled everyone at the NHL all star game when he was named as the game's Most Valuable Player thanks to a record tying performance. Damphousse notched 4 goals - equalling an all star game record shared previously by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux (and later equalled by Mike Gartner). Even better, the Leafs returned to the playoffs, although they were dropped swiftly.

Damphousse and the Leafs were unable to duplicate their fine year the following season. Damphousse fell to 73 points, although to be fair that did lead his team in scoring and he was one of the better players. Gary Leeman fell from 51 goals to just 17. Daniel Marois fell from 39 goals to 21, and really struggled when he and Damphousse were broken up due largely to an injury decimated lineup. Wendel Clark played as close to a full season as he could for the first time in several years, although he wasn't the same Wendel as he was before all the injuries. Al Iafrate and Ed Olczyk were both traded away, as was half the team. The Leafs failed miserably, despite Damphousse's good play.
As shown the previous season, the Leafs management were in a hurry to clean house, and Damphousse himself was traded away. In 1991-92 he joined Edmonton in a package deal which saw the Leafs acquire the legendary Glenn Anderson and Grant Fuhr. Damphousse led the Oilers in scoring that season but was then moved on to his hometown where he played with the Montreal Canadiens in 1992-93.

Coming home was a great chapter of Damphousse's career. He was born in Montreal and grew up not far from the Montreal Forum and idolized the charismatic Guy Lafleur. It turned out to be a great move for Damphousse as he spent 7 wonderful seasons in Montreal highlighted by a Stanley Cup victory in 1993 and later being named captain of the fabled team. He was also asked to represent Canada at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

In 1999 Damphousse, on the verge of unrestricted free agency, was traded to the team he would ultimately sign with - the San Jose Sharks. He'd spend the next 5 years in California, playing a big role in making the team a Cup contender prior to his retirement in 2004.
Montreal Canadiens History Website:

Considered one of the most complete centermen in Canadiens history, Vincent Damphousse was known not only for his huge offensive output, but also for his great two-way play and significant defensive contributions.

After posting 45 goals and 155 points during an outstanding junior season with the Laval Titan in 1985-86, Damphousse jumped directly to the NHL with Toronto the following year. The Maple Leafs selected him sixth overall in the 1986 entry draft.

Damphousse spent the first five seasons of his career developing his game with Toronto before he was dealt to Edmonton in 1991 as part of a blockbuster deal involving six players.

After only one season with the Oilers, he was acquired by Montreal in exchange for 3 undrafteds in one of the best trades ever executed by Canadiens General Manager Serge Savard.

It was as a member of the Habs that the Montreal native enjoyed the best years of his career. In his first season with the Canadiens in 1992-93, Damphousse had a career year, notching 97 points. He added 23 points in 20 playoff games to hoist his first and only Stanley Cup.

He continued in his role as the team’s leading scorer over the seasons that followed, including a 91-point season in 1993-94 and 94 points in 1995-96. His production slowed gradually over the next few years and the Canadiens traded him to the San Jose Sharks late in 1998-99.

After six seasons in California, Damphousse signed with Colorado in the summer of 2004 but never appeared in a game with the Avalanche because of the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season. He officially retired on September 7, 2005.

Damphousse appeared in three All-Star Games during his career, earning All-Star MVP honors in 1991.

During the 2004 lockout, he was the vice president of NHL Players’ Association’s executive committee.
Legends Of Hockey:

It was obvious from a young age that Vincent Damphousse had extraordinary hockey talent. He starred for the Montreal-Bourassa midgets of the Québec AAA Hockey Leauge. In 1983-84, he joined the QMJHL's Laval Voisin and scored 65 points as a rookie. In 1984-85, he improved to 35 goals and 103 points and in 1985-86, Damphousse scored 45 goals and 155 points and was named a QMJHL Second Team All-Star.

Vincent Damphousse was drafted sixth overall in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his rookie season, Damphousse played in all 80 games and tallied 21 goals and 25 assists for 46 points. The breakout year offensively for Damphousse came in 1989-90, when he scored 33 goals and finished second in team scoring with 94 points. In 1990-91, he paced the team with 26 goals and 73 points and was named the MVP of the NHL All-Star Game in Chicago thanks to a four-goal effort. He still regards that as the single greatest memory in his NHL career.

In one of the biggest trades in NHL history, Damphousse was traded with 3 undrafteds, and cash to the Edmonton Oilers for Grant Fuhr, Glenn Anderson and undrafted on September 19, 1991. The move to northern Alberta seemed to agree with him, as he led the Oilers with 38 goals, 51 assists and 89 points. In the playoffs, he scored 14 points in 16 games as the team reached the Campbell Conference finals before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks.

On August 27, 1992, Damphousse was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. Playing in his home town, Damphousse responded with 39 goals, 58 assists, and 97 points for the Habs. And the playoffs were even better. He had 23 points in 20 games as the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, defeating Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings four games to one.

In 1993-94, Damphousse led the Canadiens with 40 goals and 51 assists for 91 points. In the shortened 1994-95 campaign, he played all 48 games and scored 40 points. In 1995-96, he co-led the Canadiens with 38 goals and finished second in team scoring with 56 assists and 94 points. In 1996-97, he led the Canadiens with 54 assists and 81 points. In 1997-98, he finished second in team scoring with 59 points.

In 1998-99, Damphousse moved to his fourth NHL club when he was traded to the San Jose Sharks. On October 14, 2000, Damphousse recorded his 1,000th career NHL point and was one of the most consistent players on the Sharks for the better part of six seasons, before signing as a free-agent with the Colorado Avalanche in the summer of 2004.

Following a lock out year in 2004-05, Damphousse announced his retirement from the game of hockey during the summer of 2005

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03-15-2017, 02:13 PM
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Country: Canada
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Patrick Roy, G

- 6’2”, 185 lbs (like 6'3", 195 today)

- Inducted Into the HHOF (2006)
- Stanley Cup Champion (1986, 1993, 1996, 2001)
- Stanley Cup Finalist (1989)
- Conn Smythe Trophy (1986, 1993, 2001)
- Vezina Trophy (1989, 1990, 1992)
- Also placed 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 7th, 8th in Vezina voting (not including 1-2 vote seasons)
- Placed 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 6th, 7th, 7th in all-star voting
- Placed 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th in Hart voting (not including 1-2 vote seasons)
- Played in 11 NHL All-star games (1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003)

- Top-10 in minutes 11 times (1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 7th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 10th)
- Top-10 in sv% 15 times (1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 10th 10th)
- Averaged 15 sv% points over the league average, over 18 seasons and 1000 games
- Top-5 in playoff sv% (among goalies with 420+ minutes) 11 times (1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 5th)
- Averaged 13 sv% points over the league playoff average over 17 seasons and 247 games)
- In Montreal (86-96), averaged .904 while all other goalies combined for .897
- In Colorado (96-03), averaged .918 while all other goalies combined for .909


The Hockey News Annual Player Rankings:

YearGoalie RankPlayer Rank

(no lists were published before 1993, or in 1995 or 1997)

*in 1997, THN did a feature about the only five players in the league who qualified as franchise players. Roy was the only goalie listed.

Career Retrospective Quotes

Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Patrick Roy was the first wave of the new breed of goaltenders to emerge from Quebec, helping establish that province as the dominant training ground for that position. Confident and quirky, Patrick developed a style that saw him become the winningest goaltender in the history of the National Hockey League......In his rookie season of 1985-86, he played 47 games and took over the starter's role when the playoffs arrived. By that point in the season, Roy could not be beaten. Montreal won an improbable Stanley Cup in 1986 and Patrick Roy was named recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy for his outstanding playoff play. Roy's heroics in the 1986 playoffs were celebrated all over Montreal. He was dubbed 'Saint Patrick' for his play, but now was expected to consistently keep up the level of play to those high standards, even though the team around him was struggling. In ensuing years, Patrick won 30 games, but it was not until 1993 that he was able to win another Stanley Cup for Montreal. Again, Roy won the Conn Smythe for his remarkable play in 1993.......
Originally Posted by Without Fear: Hockey’s 50 Greatest Goaltenders
#1: Patrick Roy

As much as everyone in the hockey world understands that Patrick Roy is not omniscient, there is a sense that he knows all and sees all in this sport. He has long been able to predict the movements of forwards before they actually occur. He is blessed with a sixth sense for locating the puck in traffic when others can’t seem to find it. His focus is panoramic. While some goalkeepers struggle to maintain their concentration on the play, Roy seems to be able to take in every event in the building… nothing escapes Roy’s notice… no disrespect is intended towards Roy’s athleticism or his mastering of the butterfly style, but a case can be made that his mental game, more than his physical tools, have put him in a position to have 600 wins. This is why he is viewed as hockey’s all-time greatest netminder… It has become almost a game to those around him to test the outside limits of his awareness. His mind is almost like a video camera, able to record every moment of every game in every season.

This is a man who devours stats as if they are scripture. He worships the game’s traditions and pageantry. He adores the game’s psychology and lives for the game within the game. All the trappings that often seem to distract others only seem to heighten Roy’s awareness. The more immersed he can get into hockey’s culture, the better he seems to perform. “He’s one of those guys who when he’s not playing is in here reading The Hockey News, or looking at stats, or watching how other guys are playing,” says teammate Aaron Miller. “A lot of what he does. He does with his mind.”… there’s definitely an aura about Roy that everyone has felt since he won the Cup as a rookie… what he says and how he acts defines him as much as how he performs on the ice. It seems to fuel how he performs. Telling Jeremy Roenick he couldn’t hear his razzing because he had two Stanley Cup rings in his ears explains Roy’s success as much as the fact that when he is kneeling in the butterfly position, the bottom portion of the net seems to have been boarded up and nailed shut.

“I knew Patrick was a fearless competitor,” former teammate Ray Bourque says. “But after I got to Colorado, I saw what a competitor he really is. He’s just a winner and doesn’t accept anything else.” Roy was the one who called Bourque and told him he wouldn’t be sorry if he agreed to play for the Avalanche after 21 seasons in Boston. “If Patrick Roy was a forward or a defenseman, he would be a great captain,” coach Bob Hartley says… Roy has always held that unofficial rank. In the midst of battle, he seizes command and finds a way to rally the troops. “He knows when it’s time to shake things up,” Bourque says. “I’m impressed at how well he picks his spots.” “Especially in the playoffs, he changes his character,” says Miller. “I remember we were playing Detroit, we were up 5-1 going into the 3rd and ended up winning 5-2. We had a bad 3rd period and he just snapped. You could see how upset he was at how we playe din the 3rd period. That’s how competitive he is.”

Roy’s cockiness is a weapon every bit as dangerous as Barry Bonds’ swing or Michael Jordan’s jam. Roy doesn’t believe in pilot error. As long as he is at the controls, he believes nothing will go wrong. “First and foremost, when you look at him, you see a very confident person,” says Warren Rychel. “You see a winner.” Roy beats teams with his bravado. He has “be a warrior” inscribed on the underside of his blocker. He has an inner confidence second to none in the NHL, and maybe all of professional sports. He’s driven by the need to succeed.

On the ice, Roy’s biggest change through the years is how he handles the puck. He likes to move out of his net and play it like a defenseman, a style that fits well with his desire to be as involved as possible. “In Montreal they didn’t like me handling the puck very much. Here they accept my mistakes more. I might make 6-7 mistakes a year, and I try to cut down on them. But I also know that I might save a couple of injuries a year because defensemen don’t have to get hit playing the puck. And I might save a few goals a year coming out to play.” That’s how Roy approaches the game. Details are as important to him as the brand of pads and sticks he uses.

“It’s not an understatement to say that Patrick is still a student of the game,” says Hartley. “He is always looking for little details to get his game better, to get his technique better, to get his equipment better. That’s what makes Patrick Roy special. He wants to do more than just stop pucks. He strives to be the best.”… at age 36, he embraced a diet and changed his training regimen. “I’m a person who always looks ahead, never behind. It’s important that I keep my game at the highest level. Guys like Hasek and others have raised the goaltender bar. That’s a challenge for me.”

Through the years, Roy has been successful by working his way into the minds of his opponents. Call it the Roy Mystique. He is generally more proficient when he is challenged or when his team isn’t favored. “Patrick may be the best pressure goalie in the history of the league,” Max McNab says… Roy is anything but a robot. For all the composure he displays on the ice, he’s a cauldron of emotions away from it.”… Does Roy have any regrets? “The only one I have is the way it ended in Montreal. I deserved a better end in Montreal.”… … he hasn’t forgotten that the best aspect of hockey is feeling the ice beneath your feet. The impish, youthful side of Roy hasn’t been lost through almost two decades in the NHL…
Originally Posted by Kings Of the Ice
The more pressure there is, the more I like it,” he said of his performance… Roy’s on-ice habits were both unusual and amusing. “I talk to my goalposts. It’s a superstition. The forwards talk to eachother. The defense is always close, but a goaltender is alone.” Before each period, he would skate out to his blueline and look at the net, talk to the posts and get himself prepared for the game…
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide Of Everyone Who Has Ever Played in the NHL
Great goalies of the past have been associated with a number of epithets…. Crazy, fearless, idiosyncratic, loners. But before Patrick Roy, there wasn’t a top goalie you’d have called egomaniacal, a goalie who played with a confidence and acted off-ice with an arrogance heretofore not befitting the position. He brought another dimension to the game and, love him or hate him, he has succeeded with it on his own terms… his equipment got to be so large that the NHL recently imposed stricter limits on size, but Roy continued his winning ways regardless…
Originally Posted by Canadiens Legends
At his official retirement press conference in 2003, Patrick Roy was asked if there was any shooter he feared. The confident netminder said there was no one who came to mind. Some critics said this was proof that Roy was a cocky, arrogant player who never admitted to being wrong… as an old baseball sage once said, “It ain’t braggin’ if it’s the truth.” It was the truth with Roy… in a fitting end to the 1986 playoffs, Roy made an unbelievable save on Jamie Macoun to preserve a 4-3 Montreal lead in the game’s dying seconds… Soon Roy became known as the best clutch goaltender in the game. Ultra-competitive as well as a student of the game, he relished the pressure that came with recognition… A big help to his defensemen, he wasn’t shy about directing traffic or letting his teammates know they weren’t playing well… Roy perfected the technique of going down at just the right moment, but he wasn’t a flopper. He focused on being at the right spot just as the shooter unleashed a blast. Roy’s style revolutionized netminding and the game itself… The Avalanche needed a goalie to solidify their chances of winning the cup. Roy did just that, although he didn’t have to be as dominating with Colorado as he had been in Montreal… All things considered, Roy may well have left the game as the best goalie of all-time.
Originally Posted by The Historical Website of the Montreal Canadiens
Over the course of the following seasons, Roy continued his dominant play in front of the Canadiens' net while establishing himself as one of the league's top goalies.

Widely known for his competitiveness and determination, Roy raised his game to another level when his play was criticized after the Canadiens lost the first two games of their 1992-93 playoff series against Quebec. Montreal won the next four games to eliminate the Nordiques and set off on a tear that led to the team's 24th Stanley Cup. Roy, who claimed his second Conn Smythe Trophy, and the Canadiens set an incredible playoff record in the process by winning 10 straight overtime games.
Originally Posted by Honored Canadiens
As a rookie, Roy’s biggest trouble was consistency and positioning. The former could be worked out over time, and the latter was helped by Francois Allaire… perhaps no goalie made a greater impact in his first playoff since Ken Dryden in 1971. It was clear Roy was the cornerstone of a new generation of cup-winning teams in montreal. Unfortunately, despite his heroics, the team around him never grew and developed to produce a dynasty… 1993 may have eclipsed his rookie season. The Habs were again far down the list of contending teams for the Cup, but he alone seemed to will the team to one win after another… the Habs won three of four close games against Quebec, and two of the OT games, as Roy proved right away he would simply not allow that winning goal… (from 1980-1983) like no other team, the Canadiens provided proof of the symbiotic relationship between outstanding goaltending and championship seasons…
Originally Posted by A Breed Apart
If you can be the goaltender for the greatest team in the world, and win, you can take your place in an awesome pantheon of talent… many others have attempted this ascent. Some got a running start and quickly ran out of steam… at times during Roy’s first nine seasons in Montreal, opinions varied on whether or not he deserved to remain on, or even set foot on, this mountain. His initial success, it seemed, came too quickly for him. Some of his own teammates were initially inclined to shove him off. And many fans, after both cheering and enduring Roy for more than 8 seasons, were ready to start an avalanche in his direction. But Roy, finally, has been allowed to stop climbing… (at first) he was no shining savior. At a time when top goalies were becoming technically indistinguishable, Roy wasn’t a technician. For a tall goalie, he went down on the ice a lot, probably too much. The Canadiens found him subsisting on a diet dominated by potato chips augmented by French fries and had to get him to change his eating habits so he didn’t run out of energy… He gave up soft goals, and some of his teammates, a focused defensive unit, were so dismayed by him that they went to the new coach, Jean Perron, and asked that he be replaced… they stuck by him, which brought on the playoffs. He dazzled, despite his shortcomings. “His gaffes are so extraordinary, and so obvious, that he can’t even glare at the defensemen,” Rex McLeod observed that April in the Toronto Star… whatever mistakes he made, they didn’t matter much… the fact that he produced a 1.92 GAA with one shutout underlines his remarkable consistency as the Canadiens, a team without the offensive stars of the Dryden years, overcame the heavily favoured Flames to win the cup… In 1987-88 the critics began to warm to Roy as a major talent; he was no longer simply a goaltender with brilliant moments, or one who benefited from the traditional defensive parsimony of the Canadiens… (In the 1992 playoffs) Roy-bashing became a new sport. Hartford players belittled Roy by saying he flopped around like formless jelly. Bruins Manager Harry Sinden swiped at both his goalie, Andy Moog, and Roy by declaring that Moog was playing as badly as Roy had against Hartford.”… the low point for Roy came in a radio phone-in poll in Montreal over the 1992 Christmas holidays, in which over half the callers thought Roy should be traded… All of it was put behind him in the 1993 playoffs… he has staked a legitimate claim to being the pre-eminent modern goaltender. Despite criticisms that he drops to the ice too much, that his stickwork and glove hand are perfectly ordinary, Roy stops more shots than anyone else, and he wins. In Montreal, that’s the final measure of greatness. It has been more than enough to get him to the top of the biggest mountain in the game.
Originally Posted by In the Crease
In recent years most observers have referred to Roy as “the best”, a title he assumed from Grant Fuhr…

“(in junior with Granby) this one game we played 3 against 5 more of the time and they had 30 shots on me. I can’t remember how many goals they scored but near the end a guy had a breakaway and I made the save. I threw the puck back at him and said, ‘take another shot.’ And he did. I can’t remember the guy’s name, but he went back to the bench and said to Pat Burns, ‘that goalie’s crazy! He just threw the puck at me and told me to take another shot.’ Burnsie told me that story when he came to Montreal.”

Longtime superstar Jean Beliveau was at the game (game 3 vs. NYR in 1986) and called Roy’s OT performance “the best nine minutes of playoff goaltending I’ve ever seen.”

Between his rookie year cup win and the playoffs in 1993, Roy was among the dominant goaltenders in the NHL, but as brilliant as he was, most of the time there were critics who insisted he wasn’t so hot in the playoffs, in the big games…

“I didn’t know the cameras were on me when I did that wink. I was surprised the day after when I heard about it. I was just in the zone at that moment. I felt really solid and confident. I knew Sandstrom was a guy who could score goals for that team. When I made that save I saw him turn around and come back in front of me. I couldn’t resist showing him how confident I was. Maybe I was cocky but you get kind of cocky when you feel that confident. I wanted to show him it was gonna be tough for him to score on me.”
Originally Posted by Hockey’s Greatest Stars: Legends and Young Lions
Although the Avalanche included superstars Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg, Marc Crawford credited Roy’s presence as the critical element that pushed them to the top…rather than enflaming the opposition, Roy’s cocky gesture to Sandstrom just seemed to underline the obvious… Although many goalies are known for their eccentricities, Roy has more than most… he has been called “The Goose” for his habitual neck flexing, a technique he uses to stay loose…
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Some have argued that Patrick Roy did for Quebec goaltending what Mario Lemieux did for Quebec skaters, that he inspired a generation of imitators… Despite being in poor physical condition (“He probably couldn’t do one pushup”, joked a team official) he amazed in the playoffs. Unfazed by the razzing of opposition crowds, the skinny kid led the Canadiens to their 23rd Stanley Cup…

In a word…. MIRACLE
Originally Posted by THN Top-100 NHL Players of All-time (1997)
#35: Patrick Roy – True Believer In Own Powers

“You know,” he told his friend Pierre Turgeon, the day of his trade from the Canadiens to the Avalanche, “I’m going to win the Stanley Cup.” Six months later, Roy made himself a prophet… more than genetics separated Roy from the pack. From the outset he displayed an unflagging belief in himself… “When I’m in the net, I feel like I can stop all the shots,” Roy said, with characteristic candor in the 1986 posteason. “Some nights, I make some saves that I don’t even see. It’s great.” … with Roy, the Canadiens were able to consistently contend despite the erratic level of talent in front of him… (the Sandstrom wink) was a typical Roy gesture, cocksure and laced with bravado but also delivered for effect... Roy might seem flashy, but his is a game built not so much on reflex as a magnificent grasp of technique. Behind the snippets of trash talk and showmanship, a craftsman has always toiled… his style of play, dropping to the ice more than convention dictated, has influenced goalies everywhere… Roy brought his old presence to his new hockey home… he padded his reputation as the era’s pre-eminent money goaltender… the swagger has always been backed up by the stats and he continues to build a formidable case for inclusion in the all-time NHL netmindig elite.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
He imposed his style on the game, and legions of hockey fans and goalies everywhere were grateful. It is not just that his method was effective, that the revolutionary quick drop-n-slide of a pad could stone the wickedest snap shot. Roy's way was also fun, dramatic, cocky, marvelous, at times even beautiful. Far beyond the statistics, Patrick Roy entertained us and thrilled us while he emerged so dazzlingly as the best... Many of hockey's historical experts will tell you that Patrick Roy is the greatest goaltender of all time... Unlike many goalies, Patrick Roy's greatness was not about numbers. His greatness lies in moments, in memories. Most of those memories came in playoff competition... it was in the playoffs that St. Patrick worked his miracles... To say he was instrumental in each championship is an understatement... reputation as the greatest clutch goalie in hockey history. Although he smirkingly tries to avoid the topic, Roy was one of the few players who really changed the face of hockey... Roy perfected the butterfly style of goaltending... it was not until Roy's influence that it became the predominant if not only school of goalie thought even until this day.
Originally Posted by THN Top-100 Players of All-time by position
Sometimes Scotty Bowman still thinks about that December 1995 night when his Red Wings blew 9 goals past Patrick Roy. “I remember thinking the next day, they’re going to trade him. This could be bad for us. And it was bad.”

…he continued the legacy he’d built with the Canadiens as the greatest goaltender and one of the best leaders of his era… “Anyone who doesn’t put him up among the all-time greats is just fooling themselves”, said Adam Foote. “Not only for his numbers, but also for his great leadership. He didn’t just stop the puck, he was our emotional leader in the dressing room. He just wanted to win. That’s what Patrick’s all about.”

…Roy didn’t merely stop pucks, he stopped the traditional way of thinking about stopping the puck, making the butterfly style the chosen method for the elite netminder. “With his butterfly style, Roy created moves and changed the way goalies play the game,” said John Davidson.

…Roy was as elite goaltender the day he arrived in the NHL and was still considered one of the best the day he retired. “It was always important to play with consistency,” he said.
Originally Posted by Habs Heroes
#8: Patrick Roy: The Messiah of Montreal

More than two decades after the fact and with the benefit of hindsight, it would certainly make for an interesting barstool conversation. You have the 1st overall pick in 1984. Who do you take, Mario Lemieux or Patrick Roy? (at the time) it was nothing short of a slam dunk.. there could not have been a wider gap between them as NHL prospects… Roy would later say it was in Granby he learned to deal with the frustrations of losing. It was also the last time he ever had to really deal with them…. The Habs knew what they were getting (but) they couldn’t have possibly known Roy would go on to become the most dominant goalie of his generation and perhaps the greatest of all-time… “I’m not sure he was the most talented goaltender ever,” said Jacques Demers, “But I believe he had more desire and was the most competitive goalie who has ever played this game and that’s what put him over the top… All the Stanley cups, the MVPs, the wins are good, but I really think his legacy is winning 10 straight OT games in 1993. When we would go into overtime that year, nobody ever asked Patrick how he was doing. Nobody would ever, ever say a word to him. That’s how intense his focus was.” … but focusing too much on what Roy did in 1993 would be giving short shrift to his accomplishments in 1986… “That was one of the greatest goaltending displays I had ever seen,” said Bobby Smith. “I think then was when we knew we had something special with this player.”… but Roy was not all confidence and bravado. Behind the persona, he was one of the greatest technical goalies the game has ever seen. Very early in his career, he came to the realization fewer goals were scored high, so a goalie would have more success if he covered the lower part of the net. It was then he adopted the butterfly style that was copied by the hundreds of Quebec goalies his heroics spawned…

“Let’s face it, it takes an entire team to win a Stanley Cup,” Demers said. “But I have a Stanley Cup ring on my winger because of him.”
Originally Posted by Who’s Who in Hockey
One of the greatest goalies of all-time? Some critics believe Patrick Roy deserves that accolade. Others consider him vastly overrated. Certainly there is evidence that Roy was the best goalie of the decade 1986-1996….Roy perfected the butterfly style of goaltending and inspired a generation of French Canadian goaltenders to follow him into the NHL. His acknowledgement that his success was partly due to a goalie coach led to the goalie coach explosion of the 1990s… In 1986, he was a rookie leading a young, but solid, team to victory. In 1993, he was the key to victory for an average Canadiens team. His OT and clutch goaltending heroics in 1986 and 1993 were some of the most spectacular in history… Roy’s attitude toward the overtimes was comforting if you were a Habs fan: “I don’t mind going into overtime. I knew my teammates were going to score if I gave them some time.”… Roy had two advantages that allowed him to overcome the biggest issues with the butterfly. Because a butterfly goalie goes down on his knees, he should be vulnerable up high. However, Roy’s long torso and quick glove hand enable him to cover the top of the net. Also, when many goalies move across the ice on their knees, they open up the five hole. Roy’s legs and knees were so flexible that he could put his legs together at practically 90 degree angles. “Like two Ls back to back”, noted former goalie Chico Resch… So was Roy the best goalie of his generation? John Davidson may have answered it best in the mid-90s: “Name me one who has been any better in the past 20 years.”
Player, Coach & Pundit Quick Quotes:

Originally Posted by Jean Perron on Game 5 in 1986 Final
He was a skinny kid, and he was moving like crazy, Patrick did miracle saves on Al MacInnis, Joey Mullen, Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Suter, Joel Otto, Lanny McDonald and Hakan Loob. He was just unbelievable. I thought that was his best game.
Originally Posted by Jean Perron
There is timing in life. There was timing when Patrick replaced that No. 1 goalie in Sherbrooke, there was timing when Penney was hurt in the last game of pre-season and there was timing when Larry Robinson came to me. And you know, he was awesome for us in 1985-86, but I thought he was even better in 1993. This guy was a franchise player.
Originally Posted by Bob Hartley
He's one of the greatest goalies in the game's history. When the big games are there, Patrick brings his game to another level.
Originally Posted by Scotty Bowman
When he's on, he is about as good as it gets.
Originally Posted by Larry Robinson
Coach, you have the right to put that kid in nets, because he is so good that even in practice I can't score on the guy.
Originally Posted by Brian Skrudland
If Patrick Roy isn't the best goaltender in the world, he's right there - and he's been right there for more than a decade. Patrick is a proud man, and when Montreal traded him in December, he took it personally. I've never seen him so at ease and confident. And when Patrick Roy plays with that kind of confidence, he's almost unbeatable.
Originally Posted by Steve Shutt
Getting out of Montreal was the best thing in the world for him, he doesn't have to be God anymore. All he has to do is be the best goalie he can be, and that means the best in the game today.
Originally Posted by Joe Nieuwendyk
Patrick's among the best at waiting you out, then reacting. That patience, plus his size, makes for a pretty formidable challenge. A lot of goalies over-commit. Not him. He's so technical. If you've got a chance against Patrick, you'd better make up your mind and stay hard with whatever decision you come to. If you doubt, you play right into his hands and you are dead.
Originally Posted by Craig Billington
I think his mental skills make him a great goalie. He obviously has good physical skills, but I think it is what he has upstairs that makes him different.
Originally Posted by Jacques Demers
"There are certain athletes, like Patrick, who are pure-breds," says Demers, who was fired four games into this season and now scouts for the Canadiens. "They're intense. Winners. Guys I've coached like Steve Yzerman in Detroit and Mike Liut, Bernie Federko and Doug Gilmour in St. Louis. They're not always easy to deal with. I was around [Piston coach] Chuck Daly, and I saw him praise Isiah Thomas, and, well, maybe there's a little different attitude in the States about how you treat stars. Patrick was the best player in Montreal since Guy Lafleur, and your best athletes—not your fourth-liners—win Stanley Cups for you. Roy is a guy who won 10 straight overtime games to get us the Cup in 1993.
Originally Posted by Dave Hodge in 1986
I want to go back to something Dick Irvin said when the playoffs started. He said that the one big problem area with Montreal, the big weakness, was goaltending. We said that, he said that, and everybody who watched the Canadiens in the second half of the season said that, and I don't know if there has ever been a more dramatic reversal by one individual player in this sport than by Patrick Roy.
Originally Posted by Theo Fleury
Patrick Roy was an amazing goalie, maybe the best of all time.....he was a total competitor. He just hated to lose. He was the king of the Avs.
Originally Posted by Johnny Bower
Patrick Roy is one of the greatest competitors of all-time. He hates losing, and sometimes people misunderstand that intensity and consider him temperamental. But I believe he has that right attitude to win. He pushes himself to be the best and it shows because he seems to be getting better with age. That’s why he has been the backbone of both his NHL teams. Roy is a butterfly goaltender who has some of the quickest feet in the game. He’s a solid skater who is able to go post to post in an instant and make key saves. He can be beaten top shelf, but it’s a lot easier to say than do, especially with the speed of his glove hand.
Originally Posted by Jacques Demers
Patrick is just a winner. He wasn’t perfect. I knew if he made a mistake, he would work that much harder to make up for it. You are never going to get Patrick to lose his concentration, even if he makes a bad play… in 1993, we were down 2-0 against Quebec and Dan Bouchard said, “we found a weakness in Patrick Roy.” Boy, did that get him going. He wanted to prove Daniel wrong. One thing you don’t ever want to do if you are Patrick’s opponent is to challenge him. He always wants to prove you wrong. And he will.
Press clippings & Scouting Reports During His Career:

Originally Posted by The Washington Post, 5/4/1986
After a game in which his Maine team outshot Sherbrooke by 51-19 (23-5 in the first period) and lost, 7-3, Coach Tom McVie said: "They called Ken Dryden an octopus, but I've never seen a guy sweep up the puck like Roy."

"If we'd switched goalies, we would have won, 15-1."
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, May 23, 1986
First and foremost among the Smythe contenders is Patrick Roy… to be sure, his miserly average was largely due to suffocating defense work by his teammates but he has been extraordinary. It was Roy who won the pivotal 3rd game of the Montreal/NYR series all by himself. While his teammates struggled against the inspired Rangers, Roy pushed the game into overtime with 31 saves – many of them superb. The best was yet to come – Roy was spectacular in blocking 13 shots during the extra period. John Vanbiesbrouck faced just three.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, June 13, 1986
”The guys were great who played in front of me. They supported me a lot. I have to give credit to the defense because they played that kind of hockey.” And when there was the odd breakdown on defense, there was Roy (with a little help from a friendly post or two) to frustrate the opposition… Roy was quick to mention that there were several other players that could have been justifiable playoff MVPs… “I’m pretty lucky that I have never lost in a pro playoff.. but winning this year does not make a carer. I’m going to come back to training camp and be in good shape to improve myself.”

Roy finished the season with a 3.30 GAA, but there was some concern about his 2nd half performance. There were too many soft goals and there was mumbling in the dressing room about his work. Yet there was no doubt in Jean Perron’s mind that Roy would be his starter come playoff time. “He was simply our best goaltender and he proved it.” As Roy peeled off his sweat-and-champagne soaked equipment, he breathed a sigh of relief. The long, arduous task had been completed. He had silenced his critics. He was a winner in every way. Throughout the playoffs, opposing forwards said they wanted to test him more. When they did, he responded with key saves and they turned away from the net dejected. As the Rangers, who had 47 shots in game 3 of the Semifinal, including 13 in OT. Still, they were losers. The Bruins shelled Roy in the first 10 minutes of the first game of the Adams final. They came away empty handed and deflated. “I don’t think it was the kid with the goalposts (that won it all). I think it was the guys in front of me… they all played fantastic during the series.” And so did Patrick Roy, whether he wants to admit it or not.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1986
Roy, who lives for junk food and talks to goalposts, was named to the all-rookie team, but was not sharp down the stretch. Still, the coach had faith in Roy... he shrugged off late season problems as a result of technical changes in his play – he raised his glove hand and stayed on his feet more –… refreshingly offbeat, the laidback Quebec native credited his goalposts with playing a role in his success. “Every goalie has a superstition. This is mine. The posts are just like me. Sometimes they have good games and sometimes they don’t. They talk back sometimes. They say ping.” Roy was not rested for a minute and put on one of the greatest overtime goaltending displays ever in blocking 13 Rangers shots in game 3 of the Semifinals…
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1986
After a respectable but inconsistent regular season, he stunned the hockey world by winning the Conn Smythe trophy. He said he talked to his own goal posts and they talked back; he grinned and said the posts normally say “Ping”… He was an intriguing character… will Patrick Roy prove to be another Ken Dryden on ice, or is he another Steve Penney, the latest of a half-dozen goalies who, in the past few years, have shone in their first season or two but then faltered.

One thing is certain: Roy’s career has unalterably changed. He will play this season in a fishbowl, his every move scrutinized, his every statement interpreted in several ways, his every mood swing judged in terms of his spectacular performance last spring… Savard is confident Roy will perform well this season and is not a flash in the pan. Reason: Roy has a good glove hand. In Savard’s mind, many goalies who have faltered this decade after promising debuts were not particularly good with their glove, could not rely on their catching hand to compensate for errors of technique or positioning. “Shots are getting better every year. You’ve got to have a good glove these days. Roy works very hard in practice, something Penney did not do in Montreal… he offers a concentrated effort each time out, and in this training camp he has often stayed on the ice after practice to take extra shooting practice.”

His glove hand and desire to practice are two reasons why many observers in Montreal doubt Roy is another Penney. What’s more, Roy performed consistently well before arriving in Montreal. First, he was the best goalie in the Quebec league, often facing 55 shots a game on a weak team. Second, when he was promoted to Sherbrooke, he played so well he was voted playoff MVP. Third, of course, was last spring’s performance. Roy has shown in three leagues that he performs best when he is busy and/or under pressure to play at his best. Whether he is another Dryden is more difficult to ascertain.
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1986-87
On May 5, Madison Square Garden fans, mispronouncing his name to try to shake him up, instead gave him confidence… started the season as one of three Hab netminders, but won starting job late in the year… brilliant in each round, but teammates say he gave them confidence in first period of first game against Bruins… no stranger to playoff pressure, he backstopped Sherbrooke to AHL title in 1985… spectacular in junior hockey, regularly facing 50 shots for Granby…
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1986-87
technically, as one playoff opponent said last year, Roy is not sound. But he keeps the puck out of the net and that’s all that counts. Roy is basically a reflex goalie, but he does play his angles fairly strongly. He is very fast up and down and regains his stance easily and with great balance, so that he is always in position to make the 2nd save. He has very long legs, so when he butterflies to the ice, he covers almost the entire bottom of the net and the opposition can’t help but shoot the puck into him. He has fast hands and feet, but is a little stiff on his glove side with shots that are close to his body and don’t allow him to extend his arm. Roy does not seem to be afflicted with the weakness that haunts many tall goaltenders and that is the low shot. He is able to make saves on the low shots because of his fast feet. He does display a weakness on his short stick side, and that indicates a failure to properly cut down the angle. He does not roam from his net and is only average in his handling of the puck, preferring to leave it behind the net for a teammate.

Roy has excellent concentration, especially on scrambles around the net. He is mentally tough and can come right back from giving up a bad goal and he certainly doesn’t carry a bad game from one night to the next. He is confident in the net and can make the big save… Montreal had been talking about him for a year before he arrived, and he didn’t disappoint, leading them through the playoffs with the poise and confidence of a veteran. His push to the fore allows Montreal the flexibility of either rotating three goalies, or dealing one away to fill a hole at another position.
Originally Posted by Complete handbook of Pro Hockey 1987-88
heard boos in Forum last season… played in 25 consecutive playoff games before sitting for 2nd game of Adams final vs. Quebec.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1987-88
We said prior to last season that Roy was not technically sound, but since he was keeping the puck out, it didn’t matter. Then, during last season, he showed why technical skill does matter. Roy is basically a reflex goaltender and he goes down to the ice far too frequently. Though he is very fast up and down and regains his stance easily and with great balance (so that he is always in position to make the 2nd save, something he doesn’t have to do courtesy of Montreal’s smothering defense), Patrick simply takes himself out of the play by lying on the ice. The only way he can last in the NHL is to improve his angle work and stay on his feet… when he flops he is out of position and left scrambling for loose pucks around the net… within a particular game or opposition scoring attempt, Roy has excellent concentration… the only problem is, Roy has no consistency in his game from night to night, indicating he does not come to the rink prepared to play at all times.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1988-89
A reflex goaltender with good size… must improve his angle ability and learn to stand up more… sees the puck very well and tunnels in on it, and keeps his concentration intact within games… he has improved his consistency from night to night… we said last year that it is his defense that has made Roy look good, not the other way around. We’ll stand by that for now. While he has made certain improvements in his game regarding consistency, and some adjustments in his style, Roy has lots of improving yet to do if he wants to be a long term star in the NHL. He certainly hasn’t reapproached his stellar status of the 1986 playoffs…
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, May 26, 1989
poll: Who is the best goalie in the NHL this season? Patrick Roy in a walk. No individual received as much support as Roy. He took 61% of the vote, well ahead of Mike Vernon (12%), Grant Fuhr (4%), Kirk McLean (4%), and Ron Hextall (3%).
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1989-90
While he’s added a certain degree of standup play to his game, Roy lives and dies with his reflexes. He flops a lot (sometimes too early and too frequently), but that works for him because of his size; his fast feet cover the low corners and serve as his cersion of lateral ability.. His balance is good and Roy quickly springs from the ice to regain his stance… he does not generally roam from his net to handle the puck and that’s good, because he’s not a particularly gifted stickhandler and doesn’t show great puck movement judgment anyway. Because he doesn’t cut his angles or square himself to the puck as best as he can, Patrick is weak on his short stick side… the Flames consistently beat him over his glove during the finals. He does not handle rebounds off his chest protector well, leaving the puck to bounce loose in front of him… he can be tough mentally and return from bad goals or games, and his confidence helps him in that… while he showed well throughout the season and much of the playoffs, he was out-goaled by Vernon during the final. So, while he has made certain improvements in his game, we maintain – Vezina aside – that he hasn’t reapproached 1986 levels.
Originally Posted by 1990 poll of 123 NHL players from 1-21-1990 Pittsburgh Press
Who would you want as your goalie to stop an opponent's breakaway with 30 seconds left and the score tied in the 7th game of a Stanley Cup final?
G Fuhr (40), P Roy (17), D Puppa (14), M Vernon (11), M Liut (8), J Vanbiesbrouck (8)
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1990-91
A second Vezina would certainly seem to demonstrate his goaltending brilliance. But he is still an inconsistent player, one who is just as likely to be out of sync with his teammates’ performance on one night as he is to win a game by himself on the next night.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1991-92
There is a book on Roy, and every shooter knows it: Roy drops to his knees quickly, so beat him high. If he’s so vulnerable there, and if it’s no secret, how does he stay among the NHL’s elite goalies? Heaven knows it’s not the defense he plays behind, which last year was made up of kids too young to remember Ken Dryden. Roy takes away low, but bounces back up as quickly, and uses his lightning fast glove to rob the rest. If Roy has developed any susceptibility lately, it is the five hole, and that should disappear as soon as the stiffness from his knee and ankle injuries get worked out during the offseason. Roy is well balanced and quick on his feet. He will stop the puck behind the net but does not play it often, and he is not a good stickhandler. Roy has never played his angles well. He has gotten a little better technically but why tinker with success?

Mental toughness is where Roy has the edge over most NHL goalies. He knows he can turn a game around with one save, and since he toiled for years on a low scoring team, he knows his team knows it. Roy has very good concentration and is always checking his position by smacking his glove and stick against the posts. Roy talks to his defense, talks to his posts and gets the shooters talking to themselves. He intimidates them with his very presence. Rare is the goalie who gets a team to design its style of play around him, but Roy is one of those goalies. Since he came into his own, the Canadiens have designed their defense so that their blueliners stand up and let Roy take the first shot, then concentrate on clearing rebounds. He did not play as well in the playoffs last season as we were accustomed to because of lingering effects from his ankle injury,
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1992-93
Roy is a butterfly style goalie who isn’t as sound technically as one might think for a player of his stature and success. Roy plays somewhat of a standup style, but goes down much more quickly than students of the game would like to see. When a goalie has been as successful as Roy has been for so many years, however, nobody messes with technique. Roy is especially tough low, taking away a lot of the net with his long legs even when he flops down too quickly. He is a strong skater and jumps back to his skates right away to be poised for the next s hot. A lot of shooters think the best way to beat Roy is high, but he has a pretty good glove hand. His weakness is the five hole… his five assists last season came from quick counterattacks, not from Roy’s headman passing. He leaves a lot of rebounds, but the Montreal defense is geared to play off his style. Roy does not play his angles well, and is most effective close in, where his keep reflexes take command. He backed further and further into the net as the season wore on and he tired… because the Habs score so few goals, Roy goes into every game knowing he has no margin for error… other goalies could shrug off a bad goal here or there, but not Roy, because it is often the difference between winning and losing. That is tremendous pressure for a goalie to face year round… Roy is one of the top three goalies in the NHL, but it’s arguable whether he is the best anymore. HE let in some very soft goals during the Adams Final against Boston. He would benefit from a solid backup and another scorer up front. Good as he is, Roy looks like a candidate for a burnout.
Originally Posted by Toronto Star Coaches’ Poll, February 13, 1993
21 of 24 coaches took part. Coaches were instructed to consider the current season only, and could not vote for their own players.

Best Goalie: Ed Belfour (9), Kirk McLean (5), Tom Barrasso (2), Patrick Roy (2), Ron Hextall (1), Felix Potvin (1), Mike Vernon (1)
Originally Posted by E.M. Swift, Sports Illustrated, June 21, 1993
Certainly not in overtime of the Stanley Cup finals. "Always Sandstrom is in my crease, bothering me, hitting at me when I have the puck," Roy (pronounced WAH) said. "When I made the save on Robitaille, Sandstrom hit at me again. So I winked. I wanted to show him I'd be tough. That I was in control." In control?...How about invincible? Impenetrable?
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1993-94
Roy’s technique might not be textbook perfect, but he has perfected what he does. He is tall but not broad, yet he uses his body very well. He plays his angles, stays at the top of his crease and squares his body to the shooter. Roy is able to absorb the shot and deaden it, so there are few juicy rebounds on the doorstep. Roy is a butterfly goalie, but he goes down much sooner than he did earlier in his career. The book on Roy is to try to beat him high, but there isn’t much net there and it’s a small spot for a shooter to hit. He is most vulnerable five hole, and when in a slump that’s where he gives up the goals. Roy comes back to the rest of the pack in his puckhandling, where he is merely average, and his skating. He seldom moves out of his net. When he gets in trouble he will move back and forth on his knees rather than try to regain his feet. His glove isn’t great, either. It’s good, but he prefers to use his body.

Roy is aggressive but doesn’t always force the action. He’s a very patient goalie, holding his ground and making the shooter commit first. Among the best in the league at maintaining his concentration and focus in traffic, he always looks in control. His defense did an excellent job last season letting him see the puck. Roy can’t be intimidated by crease crashing. Roy was exasperated by Montreal’s more wide-open style, since he was the one paying the price. But after some midseason chats with Jacques Demers, he relaxed through the second half… perhaps he didn’t steal any games in the playoffs, but he didn’t lose any. He rebounded from his poor playoff performance of 1992 and has reestablished himself among the league’s best.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1993-94
Roy relies primarily on his lightning quick reflexes to get the job done. He has quick feet and good balance, but his lanky frame isn’t conducive to a lot of flopping. Consequently, he tends to stay upright. Early in his career he was a flopper, which was his chief problem. As he matures and gains experience, he continues to improve his angle play, shutting the door on shooters rather than reacting to their blasts… despite his reputation as one of the game’s very best goalies, if not the best, Roy is considered something of a flaky character. Before last season, he had been criticized for his substandard play in the postseason, where the Habs failed to get out of the division in 4 of 5 years… Roy has been on top of the goaltending game since his arrival in 1985. The standard by which his performance is measured is a good deal higher than that used for the average NHL goalie. That’s the price he pays for being so good. With a career GAA of 2.80 in this high scoring era, he has to be good. He is.

WILL – win, lots
CAN’t – shake “flake” tag
EXPECT – few goals against
DON’T EXPECT - consistency
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1993-94
Though goaltending will always be a position of ebbs and flows, everyone agrees that the Montreal Canadiens’ stopper is the most skilled at stopping the puck.
Originally Posted by Toronto Star Coaches’ Poll, January 22, 1994
20 of 26 coaches took part. Coaches were instructed to consider the current season only, and could not vote for their own players.

Best Goalie: John Vanbiesbrouck (6), Patrick Roy (5), Felix Potvin (3), Curtis Joseph (3), Mike Richter (3)
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 1994
Were it not for Roy and Guy Carbonneau the two players who understand how hard it is to return from a Stanley Cup win, the first leg of the season would have been a disaster… “Without Patrick, we would be a .500 team”, said Jacques Demers… Roy has been fabulous. “I think this has been my best year. Maybe not stats-wise, but I felt strong, like I was sharp all year.” “He’s our superstar,” Damphousse said. “He should get the Hart trophy.”
Originally Posted by 1994 St Louis Post-Dispatch Coaches Poll, in conjunction with Beckett Hockey Magazine.
Best Goalie Glove Hand
1. Curtis Joseph (17) 2. Patrick Roy (3) 3. Bill Ranford (2).
Originally Posted by The Sporting News 1994-95 Hockey Yearbook, p. 41
Dominik Hasek of the Sabres and John Vanbiesbrouck of the Panthers outplayed him in the regular season. Mike Richter of the Rangers was outstanding in the playoffs. But put all the general managers together and ask them to pick the best goalie in the conference, and they'll choose Roy.
Originally Posted by The Sporting News 1994-95 Hockey Yearbook, p. 52
The Canadiens were 35-17-11 with Roy in the nets last year and 6-12-3 without him. But what makes that statistic all the more remarkable is that the other four goalies used by the Habs played only against weak teams. Roy, facing much higher-caliber opponents, still won twice as many games than he lost and posted an impressive 2.50 goals-against average.
Originally Posted by The Sporting News 1994-95 Hockey Yearbook, p. 52
Roy is the Canadiens' only superstar, and his grit was seldom more evident than during the playoffs, when he played in six of the seven games against the Bruins despite having an appendix problem that required surgery after the Canadiens were eliminated. The appendix was removed, and now he's fine."
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1994-95
Simply put, he’s one of the best goalies in NHL history.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1994-95
…the Bruins consistently beat him high in their playoff series while Roy was battling appendicitis along with the puck… his defense last season did a good job of letting him see the puck… oddly, Roy engaged in a war of words with Harry Sinden prior to game 7 of the Boston series. Whether that took him off his game, or whether it was his illness, it was not wise of Roy to even bother… his spot as one of the game’s premier goalies is unquestioned. The key to beating Roy is to get to him early. The longer he goes in a game without allowing a goal, the bigger he gets in the nets.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1994-95
Few goalies have Roy’s tremendous focus and lightning quick reflexes. He has supreme confidence in himself and will battle for every rebound and loose puck in his crease. He’s a modest positional goalie, relying more on his speed and quickness than on a particularly strategic style. He has apparently overcome his early propensity for flopping in the crease, now staying on his feet better… It’s hard to criticize a goalie for going soft in the playoffs in the aftermath of a brilliant performance that earned his team a championship, but throughout his career Roy has been tagged as inconsistent and streaky. Come playoff time, his game has quite often taken a beating… viewed as one of the top 3-4 goalies in hockey, Roy is a perennial candidate for the Vezina.

WILL – carry the Habs
CAN’T – lose focus in playoffs
DON’T EXPECT – lots of consistency
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1995-96
Great focus and lightning quick reflexes… has a detached cool in the heat of action… confidence and quickness make up for modest positional play. He relies more on reactions and an ability to outguess shooters… more effective when he stays on his feet, but he’ll flop now and then and employ a hybrid style that defies convention… Roy was so good so early that he set up expectations that are difficult to meet year after year. He is criticized when the team doesn’t win, even though the problem has long been a lack of scoring punch… one of the top 5 goalies in the league.

WILL – be on top indefinitely
Can't – lose concentration
EXPECT – some great numbers
DON’T EXPECT – an orthodox stopper
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1995-96
…he has trouble with wide angle shots from the blueline to the top of the circle… Roy battled fatigue and at times the puck last season, often allowing goals in the closing minutes of a period. His defense slumped in front of him, which didn’t help… coming off a subpar season, Roy will be looking to bounce back big time this year, but he can’t do it alone.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 3, 1995
For years it has been said that the Montreal Canadiens are only as good as Patrick Roy. Which makes you wonder, if Roy hadn’t gotten off to such a miserable start, would Serge Savard, Jacques Demers, Andre Boudrias and Carol Vadnais still be GM, assistant GM, and pro scout? Not that Roy was solely responsible for the Hab four taking the fall, but there is no question his weak performances through the team’s first four games had as much do to with the organization’s misfortune as his spectacular showings had to do with the Canadiens winning Stanley Cups in 1986 and 1993.

Looking very much like a goalie who has lost it, Roy was yanked from the season opener in the 2nd period trailing 5-0. He lasted all of game 2, a 6-1 loss to Florida… In game 3, the Habs outshot Tampa, but lost 3-1. The Canadiens outshot the Devils 41-17 in their next game, but lost 4-1. True, scoring 4 goals in 4 games is not a goaltending thing. But with his personal numbers, a 5.37 GAA and 80.2 save percentage, Montreal needed to score an average of six goals a game to win.

Coming off a non-playoff year, their first in a quarter century, the Canadiens are under more pressure than usual. Fingers of blame are being pointed – many at the 3-time Vezina winner. Can he snap out of it? Yes. Roy relies on positioning more than reflexes. Reflex goalies tend to get figured out by NHL shooters. With proven position goalies, the puck usually starts hitting them again. Will he snap out of it? Ummm… “I would be very nervous if he were not practicing hard,” said Habs’ goaltending coach Francois Allaire. “Right now he is working hard. He is focused. It is just a matter of time. His attitude is good.”
Originally Posted by The Associated Press, 12/12/95
Few professional athletes have been as low as Patrick Roy was after he demanded to be dealt from the Montreal Canadiens. The man considered hockey's best goaltender for the last ten years wanted a clean break, and he got it.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, December 22, 1995
”It was tough for me and it was tough for him,” said Houle. “He has been a great player for the Canadiens for more than 10 years. But in Montreal, the team always has been placed before the individual.” …Roy met the media for the first time December 4th, two days following the Detroit game. He said he had been humiliated by Tremblay by remaining in net too long against the Red Wings. He he been removed following the 1st period, when it was 5-1, Roy said he would still be a Canadian. At the same time, Roy apologized to fans for his rude gesture during the game. Tremblay defended his decision to leave Roy in. “Was Patrick embarrassed? I’m sure he was. But I want to tell you that everyone was embarrassed with what happened in the game. I didn’t see too many happy faces in the dressing room. Maybe I could have told him to come to the bench after seven goals. I didn’t. I wanted for a couple more... I didn’t purposely leave him in the game to antagonize him. I’m not the kind of guy who would do that to an athlete. “

Roy refused to elaborate, but Sauve made it clear the goalie’s problems with Tremblay started before the Detroit game. Tremblay admitted the two had their share of differences. “I had some arguments with him a couple of times, but no more than I’ve had with other players.”… Roy clearly didn’t enjoy the same relationship with Tremblay as he did with Jacques Demers…. Demers quickly made Roy his favourite, protecting him from criticism, continually praising his play and even allowing him to set his own playing schedule. Under Demers, Roy assumed power that few players attain. Roy, in turn, became more and more outspoken over the years… During 1994-95, he got into a fistfight with Mathieu Schneider in the dressing room after criticizing Schneider’s play.
Originally Posted by ESPN Hockey 96, p. 91
Raise the stakes and nobody's better. Witness his three appearances on the Cup.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1996-97
He’s a regular goalie until springtime, when he dons his cape and mask to become Super Goalie. When money and honor are at stake, Roy will cash in.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1996-97
HE’S THE MAN – Brash Roy Always Backs Up What He Says

Patrick Roy’s many acts of defiance play much better when he does. Let in nine goals, effectively flip the bird at fans who bestowed upon him sainthood, walk by the coach like he’s not even there on the way to delivering an ultimatum to the president in mid-game on national TV in Canada and is’ liable to be interpreted as… what Petulant? Arrogant? Out of line? Over the top? All of the above? But win the Stanley Cup while trash talking Jeremy Roenick, diss the NHL’s most dominant team , or brazenly skate around the Miami arena for no other reason than to give 14,000 rat-throwing maniacs a target and its… well, it’s confidence, pride, honour. You know, walking the walk after talking the talk.

It’s funny, really. Doctors took out Roy’s appendix a few seasons back, but they never took from him one ounce of his ample gall. There have been occasions in his career when Roy’s stellar netminding skills have deserved him, but the same cannot be said of his overwhelming confidence and pride which manifests itself in an array of ways. There are precious few superstars – legitimate, larger-than-life superstars in the NHL, but there can be no doubt, Roy is one of those special players whose presence transcends the game he plays. It has been that way since he broke into the league and backstopped the Canadiens to the cup as a rookie. He has carried himself, off the ice as much as on it, with an aura of grandeur, too much so at times according to some ex-teammates… but when his talent gets in sync with his psyche, stand back because it’s a sight to behold… perhaps not as consistently brilliant in the 1996 playoffs as he was in Montreal’s shocking march to the cup three years earlier, but he as there every time his team really needed him on the ice and never, not once, failed when someone had to put into words the Avalanche challenge and mindset… though his game was, more or less, in the tank at the time of the trade, Roy quickly established his “I’m the man” mindset. “Of course, it’s a big part of my game. A goalie has to show he’s confident, to his teammates as well as himself. You are the last guy before that special red line. You make yourself confident. You make yourself hard to beat.” He was that, and has been for much of his career.

It was 20 minutes into game 2 of the Western Conference final at Joe Louis Arena and Canadiens’ assistant coach Steve Shutt was in the house. “The only puck that will beat him tonight is one that he doesn’t see. I’ve seen this act before. Patrick is in that zone.” The game ended 3-0. But even before the Avs got on a playoff roll, Roy was exercising his ego, steeling himself into that state of invincibility. And it may well be argued that the big goaltender rediscovered that certain je ne sais quoi of his game on February 5th. It was his only meeting against his former team, a 4-2 Colorado win over Montreal, a victory punctuated by Roy flipping the game puck at Montreal coach Mario Tremblay as the two crossed paths on their way off the ice. No class? The fans and media in Montreal thought so. Roy might concede it wasn’t the proper thing to do, but he couldn’t help himself. It felt so right. “It made me feel so good. I know in Montreal it didn’t make me look too good. What can I say? It was a mistake, but I don’t regret it… it’s the way I am. I’m an emotional person.” It was a hint of things to come…

The Avalanche had settled into the role of chronic underachievers and it looked as though a lack of killer instinct might be its downfall yet again in a tough opening round series against the Canucks. Colorado prevailed, and Roy could sense something special unfolding before him… it was against Chicago in the 2nd round that the Avs began to take on the look of a champion, at about the same time the powerhouse Red Wings were looking like anything but against the Blues. Chicago’s Ed Belfour was brilliant in a series that say 4 of 6 games go into overtime. But as good as Belfour was, Roy bettered him…. It clearly demonstrated Roy was loose and hapy, back on top of his game, physically, emotionally and mentally. “All he needed was to get out of Montreal,” Shutt said. “He just needed to get somewhere where all he had to worry about was stopping the puck. He needed that change of scenery.” With Chicago out of the way, it was time for the inevitable Western showdown with the Red Wings, the team that chased Roy out of the Canadiens net December 2nd. Were it not for Detroit, Roy would have finished the season in Montreal… he was a much different goalie in May than in December… you had to be there on the day between Games 5 and 6. It was vintage Roy, huffing and puffing up himself and his team while sniffing with indifference at the wings. “They won more games than any team in NHL history. I guess it’s OK to let them win one more game from us on their home ice.” Roy couldn’t have been more condescending or disrespectful. He laughed the wings off that day. He wouldn’t give them the benefit of the doubt for anything they did for their win in game 5. His implication was quite clear: they couldn’t do it to him again in Denver… “Maybe I should thank them,” he said immodestly in victory. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.” Roy was somewhat more respectful with the upstart Panthers in the final, but only just. When the Avs won the first two games in Denver, Roy all but said there was no way they would be denied their destiny – his destiny. But there was for Roy one final symbolic gesture of defiance that so typified his re-emergence in Colorado. When Ray Sheppard scored in the first period of game 3 at Miami, predictably, hundreds of rats rained down, sending the on-ice officials and players running for cover. All but Roy, that is. He skated around his own end, allowing the plastic rats to pelt down on him. Asked why he would not make like Tom Barrasso and wait out the rat delay safely in his net, Roy declared, “I will never do that. I will never hide in my net. That is not me, that is not my style.” Winning triple OT cup clinchers is, though.

“The performance he had in the playoffs puts him up there with the greatest goalies of all-time,” said John Vanbiesbrouck. “I’m not afraid to say that.”
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1996-97
Roy is so cruel. He tempts shooters with a gaping hole between his pads, then when he has the guy suckered, snaps the pads closed at the last second to deny the goal. There is no one better in the NHL at this technique… he will get into slumps, but those lapses are seldom prolonged… if he is under a strong forecheck, Roy isn’t shy about freezing a puck for a draw… If you have to win one game, this is the goalie you want in the net. As he proved in the 1996 playoffs, he still has the goods when a championship is on the line. Things worked out for Roy so well after the trade that, looking back, his outburst at Montreal President Ronald Corey looks orchestrated… Roy might be able to play effectively until he’s 40. Even though Joe Sakic was a worthy Smythe recipient, don’t believe for a minute the Avs would have won the cup with Thibault or Fiset in the net. Roy was the difference.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1996-97
Perhaps the most celebrated goalie in the NHL… while some thought he was on the decline since 1993, the proud Roy set out to prove that he truly belonged among the best in Canadiens franchise history. But with Montreal’s “walk straight or die” approach, Roy wasn’t given much slack and was shipped to Colorado after a single faux pas. The famous Sandstrom wink was suddenly forgotten and the wave to Montreal fans after a routine save on a rough night vs. Detroit was the new Roy event. The Canadiens PR department tried to put the blame on Roy, spreading the word that his family wanted out of the Mecca of Hockey. But let’s be honest. The blame must go to an inexperienced Houle/Tremblay tandem. Winning the cup was sweet revenge for Roy.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1996-97
Lacroix snapped up Roy after the gifted netminder ran afoul of Montreal's brass and had to be moved... he knew the worth of a playoff proven backstop. The cocky Roy not only stoned opponents in the playoffs as he had done so many times before, but he brought invaluable playoff experience to the Avalanche. His confidence was contagious... it was vintage Roy both on and off the ice in the postseason. After a couple of subpar performances against Vancouver, he asked his father for advice and promptly shut them out the next game. When a reporter asked him to repeat his father's advice on TV, Roy bent closer and asked him if he could keep a secret. Thinking he was onto Pulitzer material, the reporter quickly replied yes. "Well so can I", responded Roy. The Hawks' Jeremy Roenick whined that he should have had a penalty shot on Roy during game 5 of the series. Roy responded, "I don't care if he got a penalty shot because I would have stopped him anyway."
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1996-97
One of the greatest playoff goalies of all-time… relies more than anything on reflexes and knowledge of shooters… will drop to a hybrid butterfuly to block the bottom of the net on point shots… when his teams have been strong, Roy has garnered much of the credit for taking them to their highest level. When his teams have faltered, he has often been at the center of the storm of criticism… viewed by most as one of the top goalies of his generation, and one of the best ever.

WILL – give playoff boon
CAN’t – lose his focus
EXPECT – a money goalie
DON’T EXPECT – lax attitude
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 7, 1997

By the time all is said and done – by next spring’s playoffs and ultimately his career – the 31-year old is not likely to have any peer, statistical or otherwise… Roy is more than a premier puckstopper. He’s a prima personality. The man has presence, on and off the ice. “No one has more of it,” said Marc Crawford. “He’s right up there with the select few, guys like Gretzky and Messier. He’s motivated to be the best goalie of all-time. He has it all. He had a dramatic impact on our team from the first time he walked through the door.”

From the time he arrived in Denver, Roy flipped the puck (it might as well have been the bird) at his Montreal nemesis Tremblay, trash talked Jeremy Roenick in the playoffs, dissed the Red Wings, signed a new contract, zinged Sather and posted the five shutouts long before the midway point of the season. Quite a year, quite a guy. Roy is not, however, without a dark side. He is said to be hell on wheels when things aren’t going well. There are those who will tell you that Roy left Vladimir Malakhov like a quivering bowl of jelly. There have been exchanges, physical and otherwise, with teammates. It has also been said that when things aren’t going well, Roy will blame others before himself. He disputes one charge, but offers a mea culpa on the other. “I’m not afraid to look in the mirror when it’s not going well. In Montreal, I was hard on some guys, but not as hard as I am on myself. I can’t accept lack of effort, although I’m learning it’s part of the game. In Colorado I don’t have to worry about saying anything. We have a coach who is the same as me. In Montreal, Jacques was softer on that, so I would say things . That’s just the way I am.”

Roy acknowledges he is as calculating as he is emotional. “A lot of the stuff has been for a reason. To pump me up or pump up my team. That’s how I operate. I’ve made some mistakes, but hey, nobody’s perfect… For me, the will to win is what it’s all about. That’s it. There’s nothing else.”

Lacroix chuckled at the recollection at the essence of Roy. It was during the 1994 playoffs, when Roy checked into hospital for treatment of appendicitis that normally would have required surgery, then checked out to play the Boston Bruins. St. Patrick, the miracle man. “I went to visit him in the hospital and he was laying there all hooked up to tubes and wires. He was laying there, tears in his eyes, telling me how much he wanted to play… I stopped by a store and bought Patrick a computer golf game. Something to make him feel better. I went to the hospital and gave it to him… what he loves more than playing golf is to win at golf… we get to the 17th hold. I’m up by two strokes. It’s a par 3, 220 years. Patrick selects his 3 wood and makes a hole in one. Well he lets out a scream like you can’t believe… they must have thought we were fighting or he was dying. There are tears rolling down our faces, all this over computer golf. That’s the Patrick I know… on the 18th hole, Patrick makes par, I bogey. Patrick wins, he always wins.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News 1997-98 Yearbook, p. 99
Patrick Roy had the best statistical season of his career, but without the Cup, he couldn't care less. Entering his 13th full season, Roy hasn't lost much. His 38 wins led the league and he posted a goals-against average of 2.32 and 92.3 save percentage. As always, Roy played well in the playoffs, but was let down by his team's play in front of him. Roy, who will turn 32 Oct. 5, likes to play a lot, but the Avs may want to give him a few more games off this year to stay fresh.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1997-98
Roy is mentally tough, and believes he’s the best. He usually is… another 30 win season, but he should stay out of goalie fights (that’s how he got hurt).
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1997-98
Near the end of his prime… incredibly competitive, to the point of cockiness. Superb technical control of his butterfly style. Ideal size, quick glove hand. Doesn’t allow many long rebounds. Can carry a team. Not a bad fighter, just ask Mike Vernon… below average puckhandler and awful away from his net. Goes down soon, so the key is to aim high.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1997-98
If it wasn't for Roy, Detroit would have blown out the Avalanche in straight games with lopsided scores. Even the magnificent St. Patrick couldn't win the Detroit series singlehandedly, despite all but promising a win at one point, a promise he couldn't deliver. Roy may not be the best goaltender during the regular season, but there are few who are consistently better when it comes to money games... he was chastised for wearing illegal eqquipment. He dons so many add-ons to his upper body that he looks like the big marshmallow guy from Ghostbusters. Ironically, it as a velcro strap on his glove that blew apart while he tried to stop a puck in the Detroit series that cost his club a goal at an inopportune time. At odds with Glen Sather as well as for being overlooked at the World Cup, he took great pleasure in sending the Oilers to the golf greens... in a comical moment, Sather complained about the size of Roy's upper body armour to reporters hinting that this was why he was so good. One reporter interrupted Sather's ramblings and asked, "so he's just an industrial league goalie with big pads?" No, indeed Roy is not. He's outspoken, immodest and irritating at times, but that's what he needs to play superb goal... With him in net, the Avalanche can sheat defensively knowing that Roy will provide rock solid goaltending.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1997-98, Roy named one of five franchise players in the NHL
Detroit Red Wings’ VP Jim Devellano said he felt like crying when Colorado acquired Roy from the Canadiens in the 1995-96 season. He knew the ultra-confident Roy was the final piece the Avalanche needed to transform itself into a true contender. He knew the proud Roy would desperately want to show the Canadiens they had made a mistake in humiliating him. He knew Roy goes into every game believing he can’t be beaten. Roy is a cocky, arrogant athlete who somehow manages not to offend either his friends or his foes. He’s the Muhammad Ali of hockey. Roy is entertaining, glib, charming, and has enough talent to back up every word that escapes from his mouth. Fans like his cockiness. They want to see Roy play the way they want to see Randy Johnson pitch. It's difficult to compare players in different eras, but Roy is certainly a major contender to be called the top post-season goaltender of all time. Certainly, no player has a better postseason reputation. Maybe that’s because he likes to tell his teammates: “If you score two goals today, we will win because I’m only going to give up one.”
Originally Posted by The Sports Forecaster Hockey '97-'98, p. 203
The ultimate pressure goaltender can carry the whole team on his shoulders if key players take a night off.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1998-99
Roy is the butterfly goalie by whom all others are judged… has Roy lost his edge? He was ineffective down the stretch and might have been sudffering from post-Olympic fatigue. His funk continued into the playoffs, where he is historically at his best.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1999-2000
Roy's talent is matched only in size by his ego. He's simply one of the best goaltenders to ever have strapped on the pads. His intestinal fortitude and cavern-size confidence serve him well in pressure situations. He's still the standard by which all butterfly goalies are measured. Roy will continue on his path to the Hall of Fame. Whether he's the best goaltender ever is a moot point...because he thinks he is.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1999-2000
A year ago, it seemed as though he might be on the downside, but the 1999 playoffs reestablished his status as one of the game’s best pressure performers.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1999-2000
Roy is still considered one of the best money goalies in the game. He believes it too, which is the most important thing. Few goalies play with as much visible attitude as Roy, which can intimidate shooters.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2000-01
Still the model by which all butterfly goaltenders are measured, he was outplayed in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season… the team needs Roy to rediscover the fountain of youth. If not, the Avs may have traded the wrong guy.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 2000-01
KING OF THE CREASE – Love Him Or Hate Him, There is No Denying Patrick Roy is a Goalie For the Ages

“Even when he was a young goaltender he knew all the stats,” says Colorado GM Pierre Lacroix, who was Roy’s agent back then. “He has always been very interested in the history of the game. Actually I think he would have made a good sportswriter.” Instead of a scribe, Roy became a hall of fame goalie. Sawchuk’s career has been romanticized into his stature as the all-time greatest netminder; Roy is arguably the most accomplished netminder of this era… “It’s just so hard to compare eras,” Roy says. “They were playing with no masks or little masks. Today we have outstanding protection. It’s just too hard to compare. The last thing we want to do is diminish how a player performed in his own time.”

One major contrast between Roy and Sawchuk is their personality and reputation. Sawchuk was considered moody, rude. “He just hated crowds,” says Gordie Howe. “He didn’t like to be around people. He made people not want to approach him.” Roy, meanwhile, is a charming people person, often lionized by the media because of his outgoing, Technicolor personality and well-oiled wit. “He is the perfect example of total loyalty,” Lacroix said. “He’s loyal to his team, loyal to his teammates, loyal to his friends and family. This is the guy you have no worries about loyalty.”

…at 35 there is a sense that he has been re-energized by his strong performance last season. Teammates could certainly sense Roy had rediscovered his mojo. “No question when we made the Ray Bourque trade with Boston it was a big turnaround for me and the team. Playing with Ray gave me a new objective – winning for Ray. That’s why I’m very glad he’s coming back.” Like an actor getting into his role, Roy constantly looks inward for motivation. It could be as obvious as a head-to-head battle with newly developed arch-rival Ed Belfour or something subtle such as Father Time telling Roy the end is near. “He is the competitor,” Lacroix said. “He never competes with the backup goalie. He never takes anything for granted. He looks to prove himself every day.”

…nothing defines Roy’s career more than his quest for the cup. It is almost like an intoxicant to Roy. “As soon as you win a Stanley Cup, you want to win it again,” he says… his passion shows up when he plays the game, whether it’s a wink at his opponent, a bold declaration, a glib comment or his reverence for hockey’s history… Lacroix believes Roy would fancy a Michael Jordan-style exit from the game – going out on top. “He’s that type of guy. I sense he just wants to reach the ultimate again. I’m not sure that if he wins the cup again, he will play much longer. Not that he’s tired, but I do know if he ever feels like he’s not in a position to win again, he will walk away, I’m sure of that.”
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2000-01
When he is at the top of his game, Roy is still among the NHL’s elite.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, June 29, 2001

Wayne Gretzky said that playoff performances would go a long way toward deciding who would represent Canada in the 2002 Olympics. If he sticks to his words, then you’d have to suspect that Roy has a leg up on the competition. Sure he’ll be 37 when they begin, but how old did he look when he became the first player to ever wih three Conn Smythe trophies?... The thing about Roy, and other phenomenal athletes is, they don’t play by the same rules as others. Roy outplayed every young goaltender that stood between him and his 4th Stanley Cup. That’s why he’s THN’s Player of the Playoffs… Perhaps his most remarkable feat this season was the maturity and composure he displayed after making what might have been a critical error in game 4 of the final… Roy lost the puck in his skates and within a matter of seconds it wound up in the Avs net… a lot of lesser men may have crumbled after such a mistake, but Roy only got stronger. He played well in a 4-1 loss and then stole the show in games 6 and 7 as the Avalanche defied the odds and wion the cup.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, June 29, 2001
…before you could say “three time playoff MVP, the trophy was back down on the table and the Avalanche goalie resumed celebrating his team’s Stanley Cup championship. Roy’s teammates stood behind him when he messed up. He certainly wasn’t about to show them up by hogging the spotlight and insinuating his contribution to the Avs’ triumph was any more significant than theirs. It was the politically correct thing to do, even though he clearly was the main reason why Colorado won its second championship… he played bigger and better as the playoffs wore on and was the easy choice as the goalie for THN’s first all-star team. “We win as a team and we lose as a team”, said Roy in the Avs’ dressing room during post-game celebrations. That may be true, but each year one individual is held up as the MVP of the playoffs and the 36-year old became the first ever 3-time winner...

unofficially, Roy’s postseason brilliance ranks up there with that of Maurice Richard. Earlier this season, THN, in conjunction with noted hockey historians, selected Retro Conn Smythe winners and Richard was the only three-time winner.

Roy deflected the Smythe credit while also subtly addressing the criticism that followed a giveaway in game 4. “People make mistakes, but it’s a team game. We all make mistakes.” After the mistake, his teammates rallied to his defense, insisting that without his saving grace, they would not have even been in the game. That’s true, the Devils were clearly outplaying the Avalanche and appeared destined to win. They outshot Colorado 35-12. However, had Colorado gone on to lose the final, Roy’s faux pas might have gone down in history with such blunders as Steve Smith’s scoring in his own goal… as it turned out, Roy was at his butterfly best in games 6 and 7 as his team battled back from a 3-2 deficit to win the Cup…

After a remarkable western conference final against St. Louis, Roy carried his hot hand into the final against New Jersey… he out-dueled fellow Quebecois goalie and Canadian Olympic hopeful Martin Brodeur. Whether that figures into the equation remains to be seen, but Roy again proved he comes up big when it matters most. Through all his ups and downs this season, a new Patrick Roy emerged. Following game 4, he calmly faced the media and answered all questions without a hint of frustration. It was a far cry from the fiery Roy who pouted his way out of Montreal when things didn’t go his way. He insisted he wouldn’t let one bad goal drag him down and then went out nad proved it. “Patrick, game after game, kept coming, giving us a chance to win,” said Hartley. “He gave us a reason to believe we would with the Stanley Cup.”
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 2001
A LEGEND FOR ALL-TIME – Potent Doses of Intensity, Talent & Ego Make Patrick Roy #1 Contender For Title Of best Goaltender Ever

When Patrick Roy is hot, you can feel the burn. His coach Bob Hartley says, “You can see the sparks coming out of his eyes.” A previous coach, Jacques Demers, says he could tell just by looking at Roy’s expression whether the goalie was plugged into greatness. He insists Roy has a nuclear glare that foreshadows 60+ minutes of near invincibility. “I’ve seen the look and I know what it means.” Call it molten intensity or supreme focus or perfect concentration. Call it his aura, call it his mojo. Call it his force field, call it good vibrations. Call it what you will, but it’s there… Unsolicited, he offers that he thought he played well enough this season to have received Vezina consideration and yes, he was surprised he wasn’t even a finalist. “I thought this was one of my best seasons,” he says matter-of-factly… in a world where the difference between great and greatest often boils down to statistical minutia, a case could be made for Roy to be considered hockey’s all-time greatest goaltender on the strength of his attitude as much as his aptitude. Although Roy says he prefers to “let the media and everyone else” decide his place in history, it always has been obvious he cares deeply about his stature in the game. Despite what your mother told you, an enormous ego is a wonderful possession if you want to be the greatest goaltender in NHL history. Roy doesn’t have to say he wants to be recognized as #1, he exudes it. “He strives to be the best,” Hartley says. “…he’s a guy who, after a game, will be in the video room to see how he made a save or how a guy scored on him.”

“he’s #1, no doubt about it,” says Colorado GM Pierre Lacroix. While some may argue Lacroix has an inherent bias, there are many neutral observers who believe Roy’s status has risen through his recent accomplishments. “I don’t think there is any question that Patrick may be – in the opinion of many – the best goaltender who ever played,” says Harry Neale. “People who saw a lot more of the older guys may argue. But there are more people now who can shoot the puck harder and goal scoring is up and Roy’s statistics are comparable if not better.” Hall of Fame defenseman Bill Gadsby played with Sawchuk, even roomed with him. He’s torn on the comparison. “I think Roy is equal to Sawchuk. I would have to pick out of a hat.” Gadsby, a former NHL coach, has watched Roy closely through the years and says, “I’ve never seen anyone stay in that zone for so long… it’s their competitiveness and their consistency. I think they were both perfectionists.” Watching Roy make the puckhandling blunder in game 4 of the Finals that seemed to give New Jersey momentum, Gadsby said he turned to his wife and predicted Roy would be impossible to beat the rest of the series. “That’s just the way he is, that’s what makes him play even better.”

Gordie Howe says there isn’t much separating Sawchuk, Roy or Hall. Howe says that, to him, Roy is more like Hall because Hall used the butterfly and, like Roy, seemed to take up so much of the net. “People ask me who’s the best and I always say it depends on what city you are in, and right now I would say, and what year are you talking about?”

It’s a desire to keep getting better, a feeling that he must continually prove himself that motivates Roy. It has been that way since he entered the NHL as a rookie… Roy is as driven as ever. He makes it clear that one of his goals is to play 1000 games and he wants another championship ring… As a 35-year old last season, Roy proved he can still be an integral part of a team gunning for glory. He didn’t get much Vezina consideration from NHL GMs (5th in voting). Perhaps it’s part of the price he pays for the cocky reputation he has carved out… whatever the reason, he was stellar from start to finish. “I would say he didn’t get the recognition he deserved,” says Atlanta GM Don Waddell.

So should be be recognized as the greatest goalie of all-time? Truth is, the debate is like trying to decide whether Jack Lemmon or Tom Hanks is a better actor. All the Avs know is they’re fortunate to have the crease king on their side. Says Hartley: “The best thing I can say about him is he’s a thoroughbred. He always wants to lead the charge. He always wants to be first.”
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2001-02
The biggest of the big-game goaltenders, Roy rebounded from a mediocre start to the 2000-01 playoffs to stymie the New Jersey Devils in the cup finals and capture the Conn Smythe Trophy for the third time. He's the original butterfly goaltender, with a legion of young Quebec products now trying to duplicate his style. Roy has good size, covers a great deal of net and has confidence that shines through when it matters most. His most glaring weakness is a tendency to handle the puck too much - and poorly. With the most goaltending wins in NHL history and four Stanley Cups, Roy has already reached the pinnacle of his career.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2001-02
Roy wisely decided to re-sign with the Avalanche, knowing that playing behind a solid team and getting a chance at a fifth cup is worth whatever amount of money he might have earned on the open market. He proved he is still an elite playoff goalie.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2001-02
History’s ‘greatest goalie’ torch changed hands for the first time in over 30 years last season… passed Terry Sawchuk as the all-time wins leader, then sealed his ascension to the throne with a monumental performance in the playoffs… superior athleticism, focus and determination have all played a part in the making of the butterfly master, however, his greatest asset may be his ability to overcome adversity as he did in turning an apparent series-turning gaffe in game 4 of the Finals into victory… instant hall of famer doesn’t have many more NHL mountains to climb, however, he would certainly like to add an Olympic Gold to his trophy case and has moved ahead of Martin Brodeur as Canada’s first choice.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/25/2002
"The same thing we've seen for years," Colorado center Joe Sakic said. "That's just Patty being Patty. He was in a zone. When he gets like that, you know what's going to happen."
And you can pretty much assume that it won't be a goal. When Roy stays square to the shooter, has his glove hand moving, and gives up few rebounds, as was the case Tuesday, the goal judge behind his net could go home early and no one would notice......
"Patrick proved once again he's the greatest goalie to ever play this game," Avalanche coach Bob Hartley said.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2002-03
Roy tries risky passes that Martin Brodeur can do in his sleep, but it usually gives the Avs nightmares…still considered one of the best money goalies in the game, but his 2002 playoffs may have indicated the run is coming to an end. There were just enough Statue of Liberty plays – his flamboyant but failed glove saves – to make one wonder if the aura of invincibility has been pierced. Roy is also capable or losing his cool in a game and blowing up at a referee’s call… probably has two elite seasons left in him… skipped the Olympics, which didn’t make him a big favourite in Canada.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2002-03
Now in his late 30s, Roy continues to rack up huge goaltending numbers. The 2001-02 NHL First All-Star Team goaltender led the league in both goals-against average and shutouts, and finished second to Vezina winner Jose Theodore in save percentage. However, his season ended ugly, giving Detroit a gift goal in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals. That blunder led to a 7-0 whitewash in Game 7. Roy has plenty of motivation entering 2002-03. The memory of his last two postseason games, losing to Theodore in both Vezina and Hart voting and the retirement of Dominik Hasek of Detroit. Everything points to another huge year for Roy.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 2002-03
Hey Canada, take a pill. So he skipped the Olympics. Did you ever think he was right, that he should have been one of Canada’s original eight players?
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2002-03
Enjoyed his best season ever, leading the league with a career best 1.94 GAA and nine shutouts to earn a Hart Trophy nomination... has continually confounded shooters with his extraordinary net coverage and uncanny positional sense, although he started to show signs in the postseason that his game may be slipping and continues to create havoc whenever he ventures away from his crease.
Originally Posted by Globe and Mail GM Poll, December 23, 2002
2. If all goalies were available, which current NHLer would you start in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals?

Patrick Roy, Col 8
Martin Brodeur, NJ 2
Curtis Joseph, Det 2
Nikolai Khabibulin, TB 2
Olaf Kolzig, Wsh 1
Evgeni Nabokov, SJ 1
Originally Posted by John Mossman, The Associated Press, 2/21/2003
In what should have been a lopsided first period, Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy faced 16 shots while New Jersey's Martin Brodeur faced only three. But Roy's brilliance allowed Colorado to emerge from the first 20 minutes with a lead, and the Avalanche went on to beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 Tuesday night...Roy had several outstanding saves in the period, including a stop on Nieuwendyk on a breakaway.
Originally Posted by Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated, 5/28/2003
Here's an offseason project for the NHL: Create the Patrick Roy Award. Then give it each spring to the postseason's best goalie -- which is exactly what Roy has been throughout his career.
Originally Posted by Joe LaPointe, The New York Times, 5/29/2003
Roy was not the only dominant goalie of his era. Dominik Hasek, who retired last year, might have been as good and certainly played with more flamboyance. And Roy was not the first famous goalie from Quebec...But Roy may have been the most influential goalie of the modern era, redefining his position the way Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain changed the perception of the center's role in basketball.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 22, 2004
He might not win every night (his once great glove-hand flourish was awkwardly slow when the Detroit Red Wings peppered Roy's goal with shots, knocking his Colorado Avalanche from the 2002 Western Conference final), but he knew that most nights and especially on those nights when it mattered most, he had the goods to come out on top. And so did the shooters.

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Patrick Roy, Part II

Roy’s Own Words

I have the love to win. I hate to lose. Maybe it's more the hate to lose than the love to win.
Playoffs is not a matter of money. It's a matter of pride. I'm a person with a lot of pride. I love to do well. We play for money during the season but during the playoffs, we don't make a quarter of what me make during the season. Winning the Stanley Cup is something you never forget in your life. It is something you go to the Hall of Fame one day with your little boy and say 'Hey, look, this is what happened in my career.' It's more a matter of pride than being a money guy.
We won the first two games of the finals in Denver, and then we went on to Florida [where the fans took to throwing plastic rats onto the ice after the Panthers scored]. Before the third game, I said to myself, If they score, I won't hide in my net to protect myself. If I give up a goal, I'll face the rats. I was lucky; I only got a couple hundred rats on me. As a player, it gave you a challenge: Let's make sure there aren't any rats.
I can't hear what Jeremy (Roenick) says, because I've got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.
It was 4-4 after two periods and (Canadiens' coach) Jacques Lemaire came into the dressing room and said, 'Roy, get in the net for the third period.' I asked guy (Guy) Carbonneau if I had really heard correctly and he said, 'Yeah, you're going in for third.' I didn't get a chance to be nervous. I didn't get too many shots. I think the guys were nervous (playing in front of me) and I think I only had two shots. The defencemen blocked most of them. They gave me a lot of protection, I can tell you that!
When I started, I didn't know ten words (of English)," he laughs. "But I wanted to communicate; I wanted people to know what I was thinking. All during the year, I'd go to Carbo (Guy Carbonneau) and ask him, 'What does this mean?
There were a lot of good moments but having the chance to be part of the Hockey Hall of Fame is something that I never thought would be possible. It means a lot to me.
I feel very lucky to have played in the National Hockey League and on teams such as the Canadiens and the Avalanche. I remember the sacrifices, the discipline and the effort, but I also remember the friendships and the awesome feeling of being part of a team.
Every time I think about my career, I think about the four Stanley Cups. There's no doubt about it. As a kid, you play on the street, pretending you're playing for the Stanley Cup. You grab a piece of wood and lift it over your head like the Stanley Cup.
Originally Posted by Roy at jersey retirement
“I may have left without probably saying goodbye the way I would have like to, but I’ve always cherished my great memories from my time in Montreal,” admitted Roy. “I remember those nights when we made the walls of the Forum tremble as we lit up Montreal. Tonight, I’ve come home.”

"I was filled with an insatiable hunger to win for all of you, my fans...Thank you for understanding how each victory was a piece of history. Tonight, we’re retiring an important piece of my armor, but I will always remember the pride with which I wore the bleu-blanc-rouge.”
Statistical Fun:

We already know Roy consistently had a dominant sv% in both the regular season and the playoffs. Among basic stats, sv% is the most reliable single statistic to use to evaluate goaltenders, but it’s not perfect. And besides, why only use basic stats? And why only use one?

Career adjusted regular season save percentage (through 2009)

GoalieSave Percentage
Dominik Hasek 92.5%
Patrick Roy 92.0%
Roberto Luongo 91.7%
Martin Brodeur 91.3%
Tomas Vokoun 91.3%
John Vanbiesbrouck 91.3%
Guy Hebert 91.2%
Jean-Sebastien Giguere 91.2%
Ed Belfour 91.2%
Andy Moog 91.1%
Kelly Hrudey 91.1%
Daren Puppa 91.1%
Curtis Joseph 91.1%

Best 5-season peak in adjusted regular season save percentage:

GoalieSave percentage
Dominik Hasek 93.3%
Patrick Roy 93.1%
John Vanbiesbrouck 92.4%
Curtis Joseph 92.2%
Ed Belfour 92.2%
Tom Barrasso 92.1%
Martin Brodeur 92.1%
Roberto Luongo 92.1%
Kelly Hrudey 91.9%
Tomas Vokoun 91.8%
Andy Moog 91.8%
Sean Burke 91.8%
Ron Hextall 91.8%
Guy Hebert 91.7%
Jean-Sebastien Giguere 91.7%
Dwayne Roloson 91.5%
Nikolai Khabibulin 91.5%

Error rate vs. Expectations: The best 16 playoffs posted by a goaltender over four rounds since 1983 based on sv% relative to strength of opponents. Eleven goalies show up here once. One shows up here five times:

PlayerError Rate vs. Expectation
1993 - Patrick Roy 55.60%
1996 - John Vanbiesbrouck 58.79%
2003 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere 59.29%
2013 - Tuukka Rask 59.38%
2012 - Jonathan Quick 60.43%
1986 - Patrick Roy 61.17%
1999 - Dominik Hasek 62.43%
1985 - Pelle Lindbergh 62.45%
2001 - Patrick Roy 62.58%
1998 - Olaf Kolzig 62.64%
1995 - Martin Brodeur 64.65%
2002 - Arturs Irbe 64.93%
1994 - Kirk McLean 65.64%
1989 - Patrick Roy 65.84%
2011 - Tim Thomas 66.51%
1996 - Patrick Roy 66.87%

Hockey outsider’s career adjusted playoff save percentage: Note that sample size plays a huge part in the few goalies ahead of Roy here:

Tim Thomas 1526 1409 92.4%
Braden Holtby 1422 1313 92.3%
Olaf Kolzig 1446 1330 92%
Tuukka Rask 1459 1342 92%
Patrick Roy* 7218 6638 92%
John Vanbiesbrouck 2030 1865 91.9%
Ken Wregget 1767 1622 91.8%
Dominik Hasek 3422 3140 91.7%
Ed Belfour* 4641 4256 91.7%
Jean-Sebastien Giguere 1546 1416 91.6%
Kirk McLean 2099 1918 91.4%
Patrick Lalime 1105 1010 91.4%
Cam Ward 1137 1038 91.3%
Dwayne Roloson 1478 1348 91.2%
Felix Potvin 2186 1992 91.1%
Curtis Joseph 4044 3685 91.1%
Martin Brodeur 5439 4953 91.1%
Grant Fuhr* 3966 3610 91%
Jonathan Quick 2322 2113 91%
Mike Liut 1064 968 91%
Henrik Lundqvist 3358 3054 91%
Mike Richter 2182 1985 91%

Top-20 adjusted sv% playoffs by Hockey Outsider:

Martin Brodeur Yes 1995 NJD 20 16 4 1222 475 448 94.4%
Patrick Roy* Yes Yes 1993 MTL 20 16 4 1293 611 577 94.3%
Pelle Lindbergh 1985 PHI 18 12 6 1008 468 441 94.3%
Ed Belfour* 1995 CHI 16 9 7 1014 491 462 93.9%
Patrick Roy* Yes Yes 1986 MTL 20 15 5 1218 489 458 93.7%
Jean-Sebastien Giguere Yes 2003 MDA 21 15 6 1407 760 711 93.6%
Patrick Roy* 1989 MTL 19 13 6 1206 521 488 93.6%
Reggie Lemelin 1988 BOS 17 11 6 1027 442 414 93.5%
Olaf Kolzig 1998 WSH 21 12 9 1351 770 720 93.5%
John Vanbiesbrouck 1996 FLA 22 12 10 1332 720 672 93.4%
Tim Thomas Yes Yes 2011 BOS 25 16 9 1542 789 736 93.3%
Jonathan Quick Yes Yes 2012 LAK 20 16 4 1238 546 509 93.2%
Dominik Hasek 1999 BUF 19 13 6 1217 616 574 93.2%
Tom Barrasso Yes 1991 PIT 20 12 7 1175 600 559 93.2%
Bill Ranford Yes Yes 1990 EDM 22 16 6 1401 676 629 93.2%
Patrick Roy* Yes Yes 2001 COL 23 16 7 1451 693 645 93%
Mike Smith 2012 PHX 16 9 7 1027 611 568 93%
Dwayne Roloson 2006 EDM 18 12 5 1160 625 581 92.9%
Sean Burke 1988 NJD 17 9 8 1001 530 492 92.9%
Kirk McLean 1994 VAN 24 15 9 1544 813 755 92.8%
Martin Brodeur 1994 NJD 17 8 9 1171 526 488 92.7%

Support neutral playoff wins and losses, by Taco MacArthur and Hockey Outsider, minimum 68 decisions:

Patrick Roy* 245 143 102 58.2%
Martin Brodeur 204 109 95 53.5%
Ed Belfour* 156 89 67 57%
Grant Fuhr* 137 72 65 52.3%
Curtis Joseph 129 69 60 53.6%
Mike Vernon 133 65 68 49.1%
Dominik Hasek 114 65 49 57.2%
Chris Osgood 123 63 60 51.4%
Henrik Lundqvist 114 61 53 53.7%
Tom Barrasso 115 59 56 51.7%
Andy Moog 100 47 53 47.3%
Ron Hextall 90 46 44 50.8%
Marc-Andre Fleury 98 45 53 46.2%
Jonathan Quick 81 44 37 54.7%
Corey Crawford 81 42 39 51.4%
Kelly Hrudey 82 41 41 49.8%
Mike Richter 74 40 34 53.4%
Evgeni Nabokov 84 39 45 46.5%
Felix Potvin 72 38 34 53%
Kirk McLean 68 37 31 54.8%
Nikolai Khabibulin 70 36 34 51.2%
Roberto Luongo 69 36 33 51.7%

Career adjusted playoff save percentage when the regular season scoring level is used for adjustment (through 2012):

Patrick Roy* 7218 6646 92.1%
Olaf Kolzig 1446 1328 91.9%
Ken Wregget 1767 1624 91.9%
Tim Thomas 1524 1399 91.8%
Mike Liut 1064 977 91.8%
John Vanbiesbrouck 2039 1872 91.8%
Dominik Hasek 3422 3140 91.7%
Ed Belfour* 4641 4250 91.6%
Jean-Sebastien Giguere 1546 1416 91.6%
Patrick Lalime 1105 1011 91.5%
Kirk McLean 2099 1916 91.3%
Grant Fuhr* 3966 3618 91.2%
Curtis Joseph 4044 3689 91.2%
Felix Potvin 2186 1993 91.1%
Mike Richter 2182 1988 91.1%
Miikka Kiprusoff 1679 1529 91.1%
Martin Brodeur 5439 4950 91%
Cam Ward 1137 1034 91%

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Earl Seibert, D

- 6’2”, 198 lbs (like 6’5”, 228 today)
- Stanley Cup Champion (1933, 1938)
- Retro Conn Smythe Winner (1938)
- NHL First Team All-Star (1935, 1942, 1943, 1944)
- NHL Second Team All-Star (1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941)
- Placed 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 4th, 4th, 7th, 10th in All-Star Voting
- Placed 4th in Hart voting twice (1934, 1944)
- Top-5 in scoring among defensemen 9 times (2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 5th, 5th)
- Best defense VsX scores: 100, 100, 96, 95, 83, 75, 71, 67 (total 620, average 89.0)
- 3rd in Playoff Points (1938)

Originally Posted by The Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 2 – Biography
Earl Seibert was one of the finest defensemen of the era, playing for 15 years in the NHL, during which time he as chosen as an All-star for ten consecutive years, four times for the first team and six times for the second. He was on one championship team and two Cup winners.

Over six feet tall and almost 200 lbs, he was very fast and a superb checker both with stick and body. He was an excellent stickhandler and there were those who thought he would have done well as a forward.

He drew a lot of penalties but they were largely in the line of duty and he was not inclined to enter needless battles.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News: The Top 100 Players of All Time
An excellent rushing defenseman, Seibert scored 89 goals and recorded 276 points. He was also considered one of the best shot-blockers of his era, never afraid to use his body to prevent a goal…a gentle player, he was extraordinarily powerful and therefore respected.
Originally Posted by Kings of the Ice
Earl's demeanor was always serious. On the ice, this manifested itself in mature play and tremendous leadership.

…Seibert was generally regarded as second only to Eddie Shore in terms of skill and rugged play, and Shore once confessed that Seibert was the only man he was afraid to fight. Defensively, Seibert was one of the best shot-blockers in the game, and he could move the puck as quick as anyone.

A writer for the Springfield Daily News, Sam Pompei, once commented, "I've heard a lot of people say Earl was the best player of his era, but Eddie Shore stole the spotlight with his color."

Hall of famer Clint Smith elaborated: “The only thing about Earl was that he decided when he wanted to play and when he didn’t. His attitude was his worst enemy. He decided if they were only going to pay him $7500, that’s all they were going to get out of him. If he’d played like Eddie Shore, 100% every night, he could have been one of the greats.”

…Seibert never really got over the trauma (of the Morenz incident); whenever he was asked if he’d ever played against Morenz, he’d reply bitterly, “yeah, I killed him.”

…In 1938 he led the Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in five games. "The biggest reason we won," coach Bill Stewart asserted, "was that we had Earl Seibert on our defense. The big guy played about 55 minutes a game."
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
His fine blend of strength, size, and skill drew the attention of many scouts…

…Seibert was a strong, fast skater, an intimidating force with his stick and his body. He was also one of the better shot-blockers around… Earl also owned excellent puck-handling skills and he was almost impossible to knock off his skates.

In a word…. STRONG
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide Of Everyone Who Had Ever Played in the NHL
He was a big man who had tremendous speed, he was a great shotblocker but could move the puck as well as anyone… generally regarded as the 2nd best blueliner in the game after the great Eddie Shore. And it was this fact that stuck in Seibert’s craw. Shore was a great player but also a great promoter. He was a crowd favourite who played up to the fans and shone even more brightly in the spotlight. Seibert was more reserved; he let his play do the talking. As a result, he was, he felt, unappreciated…
Originally Posted by The Chicago Blackhawks
Earl Seibert was a great all-around player who helped Chicago to its second Stanley Cup. He was a fearless shot blocker, a powerful skater, and a good passer.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey - Biography
...During his second season, Seibert enlisted his father as his agent in some acrimonious negotiations with the Rangers, but any ill feelings were forgotten by the time New York won the Stanley Cup that spring, beating the Leafs 3-1 in a best-of-five final series. Eventually, though, the Rangers brass tired of Seibert's tenacious haggling and he was traded to Chicago for Art Coulter.

It was in the Windy City that Seibert established himself as one of the best defensemen of his era. He was named to the First or Second All-Star Team each year between 1935 and 1944, a feat surpassed only by Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull and Doug Harvey.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey – Spotlight
Compared to most in the National Hockey League, Seibert was a big man at 6-foot two inches in height and 220 pounds. He played the game tough but fair, but had a mean streak, and when partnered with Johnson, was one of the most formidable defence pairings in the league at that time. In addition, Seibert was an excellent puck-moving defenceman who was also a good shot-blocker. He quickly developed into a star.
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
Seibert was much more than just a rearguard ruffian. He was a great shot blocker, and he was a far better skater and puck handler than the departed Abel. Seibert rarely gets remembered as the excellent hockey player that he was. Between 1934-35 and 1943-44, he made the All Star team 10 seasons in a row, six times on the first squad and four times on the second squad. Some old timers insist only Eddie Shore was better.

Though he was intimidating and unforgiving, most of the time Seibert was very clean.
Originally Posted by Hockey All-Stars
Although he retired in 1946 with more all-stars than any player in NHL history, Earl Seibert was almost immediately forgotten… “He vanished from the face of the earth when he got out of the game,” recalled Art Coulter in 1990… by 1933, Seibert was a valuable member of the Rangers’ Cup-winning team. He brought his reputation as a hard hitter and excellent shot blocker to Chicago and didn’t disappoint…

In a game against Montreal in 1937, Seibert managed to knock over speedster Howie Morenz. Some claim the hit was a cross check from behind, but regardless, it was a move that had tragic consequences. With Seibert on top of him as they slid along the ice, Morenz tried to free himself and caught his skate in a rut, badly breaking his leg… the Canadiens legend died six weeks later… For years afterward, the Montreal fans booed the quiet and reserved Seibert. “My father never got over that to the day he died,” recalled Seibert’s son.

A consistent and feared force on the Chicago blueline for nine years, Seibert helped the Hawks to the 1938 Cup. “He hits just about as hard a bodycheck as any player in hockey but is seldom spilled,” boasted the Chicago Stadium Review in 1943. “He is cool, steady, fast and a fine stickhandler when carrying the puck.”
Originally Posted by Total Hockey
An outstanding defenseman over 15 years in the NHL… his speed, size, and strength attracted professional offers… an intimidating bodychecker during his career and an excellent shot blocker. He was also an adept stickhandler.
Originally Posted by Honored Members
Seibert was a strapping defenseman, rough in his own zone and skilled at moving the puck up ice.
Originally Posted by Lord Stanley’s Cup
Earl Seibert was one of the biggest players in the league and the only player the feared Eddie Shore was himself afraid to fight for sheer strength and mean streak.
Originally Posted by 100 Ranger Greats
considered a “goaltender’s best friend”… particularly adept at blocking shots… big by the standards of any era, and if you’re inclined to take the word of some of his teammates and opponents, he may have been the toughest player of his era… from a toughness standpoint, the Seibert/Johnson twosome was most imposing in the NHL, a fact that Johnson often credited to Seibert’s reputation as a bruiser. Usually though, Seibert’s size was enough of a deterrent to ward off most aggressors… Seibert loved his job and probably would have played for free on a frozen pond in Flin Flon, if he had to. But he was a pro and a proud capitalist who understood his worth to the Rangers and wanted to be paid accordingly… As much as Lester Patrick appreciated what Seibert could do on the ice, he tired of the defenseman’s annual holdouts… fading memories and the passage of time haven’t completely erased the mark he left on the game.
Originally Posted by Clem Loughlin
I don't think there is a better defense player in the league than Earl Seibert. He plays a hard game at the defence position, and is a more valuable player than Eddie Shore, Babe Siebert or Ebbie Goodfellow. Seibert is down to his playing weight of 210 pounds right now. Although he weighs more than the defence stars I have mentioned, he can break faster and skate faster than any of them.
Originally Posted by Ching Johnson
Let’s put it this way, no one wanted any part of ‘Si’ in a fight. Even Eddie Shore and Red Horner steered clear of him, and Shore and Horner were considered the toughest guys in the League at the time.
Originally Posted by Eddie Shore
It's lucky he was a calm boy, because if he ever got mad, he'd have killed us all.
Originally Posted by Frank McCool
You just hope somebody gets him before he blasts you, net and all, right out of the rink.
Originally Posted by Joe Pompei
He had acceleration with his second step no one could match and he was probably the best skater of the 1930s
Originally Posted by The New York Times – December 22nd, 1933
The New Yorkers made their strongest bid in the second when they rattled sixteen shots at the Northerns' cage. Earl Seibert, the big defense star, played a large part in the Rangers' offensive in this session, and several times sent blistering shots that looked too hot for the Senator goalie to handle.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – February 16th, 1934
Rangers' big shot was Earl Seibert, who sailed down the ice with the greatest of ease like the daring young man on the flying trapese and then sailed back again with equal effectiveness, in a great two-way display
Originally Posted by The Telegraph – January 29th, 1938
Seibert, whose sharp-shooting eye and natural speed
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – December 28th, 1938
Stewart had… outstanding two-way defenceman in Earl Seibert.

….Earl Seibert remains one of the best two-way rearguards in the league. He is a powerful bodychecker, good blocker and cyclonic rusher.
Originally Posted by The Edmonton Journal – October 25th, 1941
Thompson still has four experienced men for his defence positions. They are Earl Seibert, the speedy bruiser who can score consistently …
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – February 26th, 1942 – How to build a championship team
And finally one pillar-of-strength two-way defenseman as your spark and rallying-point (an Earl Seibert or a Dit Clapper).
Originally Posted by The Ottawa Citizen – December 4th, 1942
Earl Seibert, probably the best defence player in the league
Originally Posted by The Leader-Post – January 23rd, 1943
Earl Seibert of Chicago Black Hawks, for instance, would be accorded high rating defensively by any impartial tribunal. Offensively, the Chicago star ranks second only to Walter (Babe) Pratt of Toronto Maple Leafs. ...

….Without Seibert, the Chicago defense collapsed.
Originally Posted by The Lewiston Evening Journal – December 29th, 1944
Seibert, the bulwark of the Chicago club’s defense for years – he has played 55 of 60 minutes.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – April 4th, 1944
Hawks are pinning their hopes of victory on their great defensive trio of Art Wiebe, Mike Karakas and Earl Seibert, who were largely responsible for the downfall of Detroit. Karakas, former Chicago goalie recalled by the club late in the season, literally "goaled" his team into the final round, while Seibert has been both the defensive and offensive sparkplug of the squad all season.
Originally Posted by The New York Times - January 5th, 1945
Detroit had big Earl Seibert, recently obtained in a swap for three players from the Black Hawks, in its line-up. Seibert, of course, turned in his usually dependable game.
Originally Posted by The Leader-Post – January 11th, 1945
Boston's Arthur Ross is just one of the many well-versed hockey men who believes Detroit Red Wings traded themselves to a Stanley Cup when they obtained Earl Seibert...

Toronto's Conny Smythe backs up the Ross claim and looks upon Red Wings as the club to take it all...even Montreal isn't so sure but what they're right...they all agree Seibert will be a damaging fellow in the playoffs now that he isn't carrying a whole team around on his back, which was his chore at Chicago...even goalie Frank McCool of the Leafs gets in a plug for Seibert when he remarks that massive Earl is the most fearsome sight in the whole NHL when he comes charging over the blue line.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – January 12th, 1945
It is more than likely that the defensive strength added to the team by old Professor Adams when he secured Earl Seibert is the real cause of the improvement in the work of goalie Lumley.
Originally Posted by The Maple Leaf – February 10th, 1945
If and when a hockey "Hall of Fame" is established in Canada - one guy who would seem to richly deserve entry is Earl Seibert, currently starring on defense for Detroit Red Wings. The swashbuckling Seibert has a brilliant 14-year record in the National Hockey League behind him and experts claim he's every bit as good today as at any stage of his sparkling career. Earl is 33 years of age and, barring accidents, has many good years of hockey left in him. A deadly shot and noted as one of the most solid bodycheckers in the business, Seibert is among the few remaining defencemen who can carry the puck from end to end. He spurns modern methods of hurling the rubber into a corner and chasing it.

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Coach Bob Johnson

Bench Bosses:
- The winningst coach in Calgary Flames franchise history and the first Pittsburgh Penguins coach to win the Stanley Cup. Johnson's coaching career was brief but brilliant. He coached only six seasons, but he made each one of them count. During those six seasons he made the Calgary Flames into Stanley Cup contenders and the Pittsburgh Penguins into Stanley Cup champions.
He won games with offense and with his infectious positivism. During his years with Calgary, the Flames had the second-best offense in the NHL after Edmonton. His teams were slightly below average defensively and weaker on the penalty-killing.
Johnson's true strength came from his motivational skills. He was to hockey what Ernie Banks was to baseball: an incurable optimist. His catchphrase, "It's a great day for hockey!" was his last will and testament. He expected his players to share the same passion and traded anyone who didn't. He was not a whip-cracker though. When coaching the Penguins, Johnson told the press: "There are a lot of ways to coach. You can coach from fear, when it's do it this way or you're gone tomorrow, or you can develop pride in performance."
- Bob Johnson was an American, born and raised in Minnesota, and played collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota. He was a Korean War veteran and, after the war, finished his college education. He took up teaching and hockey coaching at high school and at the college level in 1963.
He began his NCAA coaching career at Colorado College before moving to the University of Wisconsin where he coached the Badger hockey team for 16 seasons from 1966 to 1982 (hence the nickname "Badger Bob"), making seven tournament appearances and winning three NCAA championships in 1972-1973, 1976-1977, and 1980-1981, and was edged out by North Dakota in the 1981-1982 final.
In 1976 he coached the U.S. Men's hockey team to a fourth-place finish at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
- Oilers coach Glen Sather would later tell Dick Irvin Jr. that "Because we played against Bob Johnson so much when he was in Calgary I always knew he was the kind of guy who, if we had won, would try and change his style to make it more difficult for you the next game. I had a lot of admiration for him because he was a guy that could change right in midstream. Not a lot of coaches do that.
In 1985-1986 Johnson's Flames ended the Oilers two-year Stanley Cup winning streak when they upset the Oilers in the second round of the playoffs. Johnson used a multi-pronged strategy to contain the vaunted Oilers offense. Johnson told his players to flood the left side of the ice, where the Oilers loved to go to the most when on offense, and to avoid any fighting situations with the Oilers goons; and he used his best defensive players to hamstring the Oilers in key situations. What followed was a seesaw battle thst went the full seven games and ended on a fluke play when Oilers defenseman Steve Smith accidentally shot the puck off the skate of teammate goalie Grant Fuhr into his own net-which gave Calgary the lead, the game, and the series.
NHL coaching Career:
In 1982, Johnson began his National Hockey League career when he became the head coach of the Calgary Flames, a position he held for five seasons. In the 1985–86 season, he coached the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost 4 games to 1 to the Montreal Canadiens. From 1987 until 1990, he served as the President of USA Hockey. Then in 1990, he was named the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. In his first season, he coached the team, which was led by superstar Mario Lemieux, to a 1991 Stanley Cup Finals championship victory over the Minnesota North Stars, four games to two, becoming the second American-born coach to win it and the first in 53 years. He was well-known amongst players and fans for his enthusiasm and unflappable optimism, immortalized through his famous catchphrase "It's a great day for hockey!" That would be his only season coaching the Penguins.
College and NHL Head Coaching Record
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Colorado College Tigers (WCHA) (1963-64–1965-66)
1963–64 Colorado College 11-14-1 4-11-1 6th
1964–65 Colorado College 7-17-1 2-14-0 7th
1965–66 Colorado College 9-18-2 4-12-2 7th WCHA First Round
Colorado College: 27-49-4 10-37-3

Wisconsin Badgers (Division I Independent) (1966-67–1968-69)
1966–67 Wisconsin 16-10-0
1967–68 Wisconsin 21-10-0
1968–69 Wisconsin 22-10-2
Wisconsin: 59-30-2

Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA) (1969-70–1974-75)
1969–70 Wisconsin 23-11-0 12-10-0 4th NCAA Consolation Game (Win)
1970–71 Wisconsin 20-13-1 13-9-0 3rd WCHA East Regional Semifinals
1971–72 Wisconsin 27-10-1 20-8-0 2nd NCAA Consolation Game (Win)
1972–73 Wisconsin 29-9-2 18-9-1 3rd NCAA National Champion
1973–74 Wisconsin 18-13-5 12-11-5 5th WCHA First Round
1974–75 Wisconsin 24-12-2 19-11-2 4th WCHA First Round
Wisconsin: 141-68-11 94-58-8

Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA) (1976-77–1981-82)
1976–77 Wisconsin 37-7-1 26-5-1 1st NCAA National Champion
1977–78 Wisconsin 28-12-3 21-9-2 2nd NCAA Consolation Game (Loss)
1978–79 Wisconsin 25-13-3 19-11-2 4th WCHA Second Round
1979–80 Wisconsin 15-20-1 12-18-0 9th
1980–81 Wisconsin 27-14-1 17-11-0 t-2nd NCAA National Champion
1981–82 Wisconsin 35-11-1 18-7-1 2nd NCAA Runner-Up
Wisconsin: 167-77-10 113-61-6
Total: 394-224-27

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
CGY 1982–83 80 30 32 14 78, 2nd in Smythe, Lost in Second round
CGY 1983–84 80 34 32 14 82, 2nd in Smythe, Lost in Second round
CGY 1984–85 80 41 27 12 94, 3rd in Smythe, Lost in First round
CGY 1985–86 80 40 31 9 89, 2nd in Smythe, Lost in Cup Finals
CGY 1986–87 80 46 31 3 95, 2nd in Smythe, Lost in First round
PIT 1990–91 80 41 33 6 88, 1st in Patrick, Won Stanley Cup
Total 480 234 188 58

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Serge Savard, D

- 6’3”, 210 lbs (like 6’5”, 230 today)
- Inducted into the HHOF (1986)

- Stanley Cup Champion (1968, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979)
- Conn Smythe Trophy (1969)
- Bill Masterton Trophy (1979)
- Summit Series Champion (1972, 1976)
- NHL 2nd All-Star Team (1979)
- Six times top-8 in Norris voting (4th, 5th, 5th, 5th, 6th, 8th)
- Six times top-8 in All-star voting (4th, 5th, 5th, 5th, 6th, 6th)
- 6th in Hart Voting (1979)
- Best Defense VsX scores: 80, 74, 70, 70, 66, 53, 53 (total 466, average 66.6)
- Top-4 on his team’s defense in TOI 15 times (2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4)
- Top-4 on his team’s defense in ESTOI 14 times (1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4)
- Played 24.57 minutes (20.67 ES) per game for 1038 post-expansion games (teams 45% better than average)
- In his 8-year prime, played 26.12 minutes (21.40 ES) for teams 65% better than average
- Killed 58% of penalties for teams 22% better than average
- Montreal Canadiens Captain (1979-1981, including 1979 Cup Victory)
- All-Star Game Participant (1970, 1973, 1977, 1978)

Originally Posted by NHL Coach’s Polls
Best defensive defenseman 2nd 1979
Best defensive defenseman 2nd 1981

Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Rangy defenseman Serge Savard played 17 seasons in the NHL, 15 (his first season consisted of two games) with his hometown team, the Montreal Canadiens, and two with the Winnipeg Jets, who lured him out of retirement after he'd left Montreal following the 1980-81 season.

A member of the Canadiens "Big Three" defensive stars along with Guy Lapointe and Larry Robinson, Savard was known as "the Senator" by his teammates for his involvement in activities - mostly in politics - outside the game. In the mid-1980s, he served as general manager of the Habs.

By the 1968-69 season, only his second full one in the NHL, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Habs won the Cup in a four-game sweep over the Blues in the finals.

Although Savard was overshadowed by his better-known teammates, he did win another significant award during his years as a player. In 1979 the NHL presented him with the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

Savard almost didn't make it much further in NHL play, however. In a game during the 1970-71 season against the Rangers, he skated after New York's Rod Gilbert, trying to stop a breakaway. Savard dove for the puck and felt his left leg crumble underneath him. The result was five separate fractures and three operations that took him out of the game for three months.

After a complete recovery, Savard continued to have problems with the leg and further injuries. In the 1971-72 season, he suffered a new fracture to the same leg after being hit. In 1973 he injured his ankle severely as he tried to help firefighters break down a door during a fire at the Canadiens' hotel in St. Louis.

But the injuries failed to stop Savard. Upon his return to the game, he started to blend his patient, hard-working style with the hard-charging, rushing play of Lapointe and Robinson, the skillful scoring of Guy Lafleur and the outstanding play in the net of Ken Dryden. The result was another Cup for the Habs in 1976, when they swept the defending champion Philadelphia Flyers in four straight games, a victory that many relieved fans hailed as a triumph of skilled play over the fight-filled game of the Broad Street Bullies.

Internationally, Savard's attitude was rewarded by his being named to the Canadian team for the 1972 Summit Series. He appeared in five of the eight games, and - as Savard liked to remind people - Canada won four of those games and tied the other.
Originally Posted by Legends Of Hockey One on One
In his second NHL season, Savard was becoming the dominant team player we reflect back upon today. For a second straight season, Montreal not only finished first in the East, but proceeded to capture the Stanley Cup. Savard was outstanding, blocking shots, clearing the zone and collecting ten points in fourteen games. His four goals was one shy of an NHL record for playoff goals by a defenseman in one season and helped earn Serge the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable playoff performer as his Canadiens swept the St. Louis Blues in four games.

But injuries hampered Savard's continued progress. In a March 1970 game against the Rangers, Serge crashed into a goal post and broke his leg in five places. "There was a time when I was afraid I wouldn't play again. My leg was broken in three big places besides the chips and I got scared after the doctor took off the cast for the first time. The break was moving inside," Serge recalls. But to complicate matters, Savard returned to the Canadiens only to break the same leg again in February 1971. Caught by a Bob Baun hipcheck in a game against Toronto, the break put Serge out of action for close to a year. But the break did more than put Savard out of action; it changed his style of play. "When I was younger, I was more of a rusher but after the two bad leg injuries, I didn't have the same speed so I became more of a defensive defenseman," states Serge. Although never afraid to carry the puck, Savard was found to be invaluable in his own end. "Not many guys are hurt stopping shots," Serge explains, describing his skill as a shot blocker. "You could get killed if you get hit in the temple but the average is good. I turn sideways from twenty to twenty-five feet away and let the goalie take it. He can see it better. To me, there's no danger if you time it right. You have to be almost on top of the shooter before falling."

Despite missing substantial portions of two seasons, Serge Savard was chosen to be a member of Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviets. From that celebrated series, sixteen players went on to earn Hall of Fame honours. But it almost ended prematurely for Serge. Prior to the fourth game, a game played in Vancouver, a Red Berenson shot in practice caught Savard on the ankle and he sustained a hairline fracture. It was expected that Savard was done for the series, but because there was gap between Games Four and Five, owing to travel from Canada to Europe and an exhibition tour of Sweden, Savard was able to get ten full days of rest at home before returning to action. Ignoring the advice of Montreal management and his doctors, Savard travelled with Team Canada to Europe. He sat out the two exhibition games in Sweden as well as Game Five in Russia, but dressed and played in Games Six, Seven and Eight. "Lucky for me, it turned out to be just a slight crack and not another fracture," Savard sighs. Team Canada did not lose in any of the five games in which Savard played, winning four and tying one.

Serge Savard played fourteen seasons as a Montreal Canadien, and was part of eight Stanley Cup championships during that time, including four consecutive between 1976 and 1979. Serge was Montreal's captain from 1979 to 1981. But on August 12, 1981, Savard decided that he had had enough…That afternoon, Savard stated, "This is the most difficult decision of my life. As a player, you know this day is coming but you never want to believe it." Toe Blake, the former coach of the Canadiens, added, "It's been said that anyone can be replaced, but that's not the case here."

Winnipeg joined the NHL in 1979-80 and missed the playoffs in its first two seasons of existence. But with the leadership and influence of Savard patrolling the blueline, the Jets added 48 points to their regular season total of 1980-81 and finished in second place in the Norris Division in 1981-82.

Winnipeg's defense corps was very green - twenty-year olds Dave Babych and Moe Mantha, twenty-two year olds Don Spring and Tim Waters, twenty-six year old Bryan Maxwell and Barry Legge, who was the old man at 27, were joined by thirty-five year old Savard, who lent the team the knowledge of what it took to win. Serge Savard spent two seasons with the Jets, guiding the team to the division semifinals both seasons.

But individual awards eluded the wily veteran, even though his considerable presence contributed greatly to the eight Stanley Cup championships won during his prestigious career. "I never pay attention to individual awards and I think that sometimes, too many people place too much value on them."
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Serge Savard was a key component of the Montreal Canadiens dynasty in the 1970s. A consummate professional, Savard sacrificed personal awards and statistics for the success of his team and his teammates. Such selflessness allowed the Guy Lafleurs, Steve Shutts and Larry Robinsons achieve great acclaim, although Savard too received much recognition for his fine play.

Savard, nicknamed "The Senator" and the "Minister of Defense," played 16 seasons with the Habs, including being named captain for 2 of those years. With Savard in the line up, the Canadiens won 8 Stanley Cup championships, including 4 successive Cups from 1976 to 1979.

Savard is best known as a member of The Big Three. Along with Larry Robinson and Guy Lapointe, Savard helped to make what many consider to be the best blue line in NHL history. No other team, say many experts, has ever iced three defenseman of the same quality as The Big Three.

Savard was the elder statesman of The Big Three. A native Montrealer, Savard graduated from the Junior Canadiens to turn pro in 1966. By the 1967-68 season he was on his way to a standout career, winning his first Stanley Cup.

In just his second NHL season, Savard progressed nicely during the regular season, but dominated in the playoffs. He played incredibly through the entire post season, and picked up 4 goals and 10 points in 14 games to earn him the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player in the playoffs. Savard became the first defenseman in history to win the award.

Tragedy struck Savard on January 30, 1971. In a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who had already had a history of knee and leg injuries, broke bones in both of his legs. He would be able to participate in only 60 games over the 1970-71 and 1971-72 seasons.

Despite the major set back, Savard was cleared to play for the the 1971-72 season. Before the season got underway Serge was asked to represent Canada against the Soviets in the now-fabled 1972 Summit Series. It is well documented just how much trouble he Canadians had with their Soviet counterparts, but Savard had a calming influence on the team and made a significant difference when he played. Savard played in only 5 of the 8 games against the Russians, and Team Canada never lost a match, going 4-0-1. Coincidence? Maybe, but there can be no doubt that Savard was a big part of the games that he did play in.

Savard returned to the NHL and continued his steady and spectacular play. However he was never noted as much of an offensive threat until the 1974-75 season. Coming off of a 4 goal, 18 point season the previous year, Serge exploded with a 20 goal, 60 point season. That season proved to be a bit of a fluke, as Serge never returned to those numbers again, although he was a consistent 5-10 goal and 40+ point threat through the rest of the Canadiens dynasty in the late 1970s.

Savard stayed in Montreal until the conclusion of the 1980-81 season. The Habs were looking to bring in some youth and exposed Savard on the preseason waiver draft. The Winnipeg Jets, the worst team in hockey, eagerly claimed the wily veteran. The Jets, who had never made the playoffs and finished the previous season with an awful 32 points, convinced Savard to play for them as opposed to retiring. In Savard's first year with Winnipeg, the Jets made the playoffs and improved by 48 points!

Despite suffering two broken legs early in his career, Savard has an impressive collection of awards. Savard earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1969, and was also awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. He was also named in 1979 to the NHL Second All-Star Team. Serge likely would have been named to more All Star Teams but he was overshadowed by the offensive likes of Bobby Orr, Brad Park, Denis Potvin and teammates Robinson and Lapointe. Nonetheless, Serge is also an enshrined member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Originally Posted by chidlovski.com
One of the finest NHL defensemen of all time, Serge Savard had an outstanding career with the glorious Montreal Canadiens dynasty of the 1970’s. He was recognized as a very slick blueliner and an amazing team player who always put team interests above his personal ambitions and results. His slick technique in skating and puck handling, dedication to hockey and sportsmanship brought him numerous individual and team professional hockey awards.

Serge Savard played in five games of the 1972 Summit. Needless to say, that none of these five games was lost. By all means, Savard was one of the best Canadian defensemen in the tournament. He arguably earned a lot of respect and appreciation for a very fine performance by the Soviet fans.
Originally Posted by Legends Of Hockey: Pinnacle
When the Canadian team was being assembled to compete against the Soviet Union in the 1972 Summit Series, assistant coach John Ferguson convinced head coach Harry Sinden that Serge Savard had to be in the mix. Although Savard was recovering from the second of two consecutive broken legs, restricting his play to just 23 games in 1971-72 and 37 the year before, Ferguson had been a teammate of Savard's in Montreal and knew him to be a fierce competitor with considerable skills.
Originally Posted by Montreal Canadiens: Our History
The first of the “Big Three” to make the NHL roster, Savard saw spot duty during the 1968-69 season, getting more ice time as the season progressed. That spring, the Stanley Cup was paraded down Ste. Catherine Street for the third time in four years. Savard would be a member of seven other triumphant Habs squads in his 12 years patrolling the blue line.

He came into his own the following season, taking a regular shift from the opening game and himself as one of the NHL’s rising offensive defensemen. Fast, manoeuvrable and a skillful stickhandler, Savard’s dizzying spins to avoid checkers regularly made the highlight reels. Legendary broadcaster Danny Gallivan coined the phrase “Savardian Spin-o-rama” to try to describe the move.

The Habs made the playoffs and Savard picked up 10 points in the 14 games it took for the Canadiens to capture the 1969 Stanley Cup. This time, Savard had his own silverware to show off, adding a Conn Smythe Trophy to his collection to become the first defenseman to ever earn playoff MVP honors.

Over the course of his career in Montreal, Savard missed very few games in most seasons. When he did go down, however, it was for extended periods of time. He suffered two leg fractures a mere 11 months apart, costing Savard most of two complete seasons and robbing him of much of his speed.

When he came back to play the final games of the 1971-72 season, Savard adapted his game. No longer the speedy, offensive threat he had once been, Savard became one of the league’s best stay-at-home blue-liners, using smarts, size and an uncanny ability to block shots to compensate for his lost swiftness.

Selected to play for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series, Savard played in five games - the lone tie as well as all four Canadian victories – proving himself on the international stage.

The Canadiens piled up the Cups and Savard, learning from the veterans who preceded him, became a respected elder statesman on the team. In 1978-79, he won the Bill Masterton Trophy. The next fall, he succeeded Yvan Cournoyer as team captain, proudly wearing the “C” until his retirement following the 1980-81 season.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
The big, easy going defender had his first taste of stardom in 1969… a key member of the 1972 Team Canada that beat the Soviets… early in his career, his game was one of skating, puck control and defensive excellence. Like J.C. Tremblay before him, Savard knew how to set a game’s tempo… during the latter half of the 70s, the man whose silky smooth play inspired the term “Savardian Spin-o-rama”, was one third of what is still considered possibly the finest defensive trio ever assembled… Winnipeg had failed to make the playoffs in its first two NHL seasons. With Savard on the roster, they earned 80 points and made the postseason at last.

In a word… MELLOW
Originally Posted by The Hockey News Top-100 NHL Players of All-Time (1997)
#81: Serge Savard: the only player in the 1972 Summit series who did not play in a losing game… a gifted, resourceful defenseman… an outspoken critic of violence in hockey.
Originally Posted by Who’s Who In Hockey
A star Canadiens blue-liner during the 1970's...Canadiens farm system spawned a pair of promising young defensemen, Carol Vadnais and Serge Savard. The latter became a Montreal icon..
Originally Posted by Habs Heroes
#12: Serge Savard: the greatest defensive defenseman in franchise history… before his leg injuries, Savard was establishing himself as an offensive defenseman, but the days of headlong rushes up the ice ended shortly after his 25th birthday… “I don’t think I ever recovered 100%. I didn’t take as many chances and I really became a defensive defenseman. I think, too, it forced me to become a smarter player.”…Robinson’s forays up ice were always executed with knowledge that Savard was watching his back. In fact, there were years Robinson won the Norris trophy and acknowledged Savard should have been the winner…Savard had a signature move in which he would use his big body to protect the puck and spin around to avoid forecheckers… it seems amazing now Savard was a postseason all-star just once… as Savard got older and his game began to deteriorate, fans in Montreal turned on him. He was often booed mercilessly at home and made the decision to retire at 35 in the summer of 1981…
Originally Posted by Kings Of the Ice
Fans and coaches alike began to appreciate the defensive ability and all-around play that Savard brought to the team… “His versatility is one of his strong points,” said Floyd Curry. “Just look at the length of his arms and you’ll see the reason why he can poke out his stick and break up so many plays.”… Scotty Bowman was a little less philosophical regarding Savard’s contributions to the team. “There are few superior players in the league, and there are few who contribute more to this team. And there are few who have shown more courage.”
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide Of Everyone Who Has Ever Played in the NHL
He was not the puckhandler that Larry Robinson was but he was a big man who could check with the best of them...
Originally Posted by Canadiens Legends: Montreal's Hockey Heroes
Savard's game was built around his great ability to handle the puck and use his size effectively. Always a clean player, he rarely lost his temper. He was a good skater and didn't mind lugging the puck. Never one to panic in his game, he was very smooth defensively.
Originally Posted by Forever Rivals
A flashy skater until a badly broken leg slowed him down, Savard was a rock in his own zone and one of the best ever at moving players from in front of the net.
Originally Posted by The Greatest Game: The Montreal Canadiens, The Red Army, and the Night that Saved Hockey
With a little over two minutes remaining in the game, Guy Lapointe shoots the puck behind the net on to the stick of his defensive partner, Serge Savard, who carries the puck up the boards. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots a streaming Paul Henderson darting through center ice. Thanks to Savard's amazing precision and awareness, the puck and Henderson meet at the Soviet blue line. Confronted by two Soviet defenseman, Henderson manages to get around them, and while falling, pinches the puck between Tretiak's arm and body for the winning goal....backing them up is the twosome of Guy Lapointe and Serge Savard, who were one of the most valuable defensive pairings for Team Canada in the 1972 Summit Series....Alexander Gusev finds an opening to take a slapshot on the Canadiens' goal, only to have the puck deflected into the crowd by an alert Serge Savard.
Originally Posted by Honored Canadiens
Any teenager has attributes and faults, and Savard was no exception. On the plus side, he was big and strong, and a fluid skater who maintained his poise. On the downside, he was weak defensively and had a poor shot, but he was able to overcome the former through experience and coaching, and the latter through good old-fashioned practice and hard work… his role continued to grow and grow, and he even played the occasional shift at Lleft wing when injuries left Toe Blake’s team a little vulnerable on that side… his conn smythe trophy was given to him based on two factors. One, he was the best penalty killer in the playoffs, and two, he contributed key offensive points… (after his injury) his days of end-to-end rushes and wild play were over, and he devoted himself to strong positional play and more modest offensive contributions…

Originally Posted by Let's Talk Hockey: 50 Wonderful Debates
There's a reason I love Savard. He is the one of the most unsung players in NHL history. Take Savard away from those Canadiens teams and they don't win four cups in a row.
Originally Posted by Thunder and Lightning: A No B.S. Hockey Memoir
Jean Beliveau and Serge Savard were unbelievable....I thought it was a huge move, and he put in three gritty players, Serge Savard, Billy White, and Patty Stapleton..the game-winner was scored in overtime by Serge Savard. Serge was steady, not flashy. God, he was good. He twirled at the blue line. He came in and blasted one over J.D.'s left shoulder...
Originally Posted by Searching for Bobby Orr
The Soviets assistant coach Arkady Tchernishev agreed, singling out Orr and fellow defensemen Jim McKenny and Serge Savard for praise.
Originally Posted by Ken Dryden: The Game
...If you need a team to be cool and unflappable, you need at least one Savard, to reassure you, to let you know that the time and the team needed to do what you want are still there.
Originally Posted by Robinson for the Defense
Serge Savard was the ultimate defensive defenseman.
Originally Posted by Lord Stanley’s Cup
A true testament to Serge Savard’s early reputation came at the 1967 expansion draft when Pollock left Carol Vadnais available so he could protect the emerging, speedy hulk.
Originally Posted by Simply the Best: Insights and Strategies from Great Hockey Coaches
If I see them now, like a Dryden or Savard, even if I had an average rapport with them when they were playing, I often comment that I didn't realize how good they were. When I watch games now that Serge Savard played in I know I never realized how he made very few errors. He played something like Nicklas Lidstrom.
Originally Posted by Twenty Greatest Hockey Goals
Savard was inserted to shore up the play in Canada's end.
Originally Posted by Trusting the Tale
The other natural wit on the Canadiens is their elder statesman, Serge Savard, a man who is so good at what he does that you can't believe that he's doing what he's doing while he's doing it.
Originally Posted by Ken Dryden
They came at us in brigades, but our defensemen, particularly Serge Savard, repeatedly broke up their passing plays near the net.
Clippings, Cards, Scouting Reports From During His Career

Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 8, 1969
Savard has come along as one of the most promising young rearguards in the league. So much so that Montreal may have a real problem in the draft to protect other defensemen… retained in place of Carol Vadnais, Savard had always played mostly on the left side… then Terry Harper started having trouble with his knee and Savard got a real opportunity on the right side… “I hesitated to use him regularly on the right,” recalled Ruel. “But then he started playing well and I decided the right side was his best spot. Serge proved to me that he’s willing to work and when he decides to skate he’s hard to beat. This kid is loaded with talent. I said before the season that he has the making of one of the best defensemen in the league in a couple of years and now I’m sure if it.” … Savard, a likeable young man with a touch of class off the ice, started out a little nonchalant and was making silly mistakes for a while. However he picked up tremendously in the second halfof the season and has had a hot hand in putting Canadiens into contention… the youngster has speed, makes a good pass, fires a fairly accurate shot and rates as one of the finest stickhandlers among NHL defensemen. His man fault is a tendency to rush too often… besides his strong efforts on defense – he can bodycheck when necessary – Savard has emerged as a fine penalty killer. Recently he took Gilles Tremblay’s place as a partner to Claude Provost and held the opposition scoreless during six powerplays.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 26th 1969

There are times when his coach and teammates would like to strangle Savard. Meantime, they’ve named him “Superboy” as the early star of the playoffs. Some nights he has been bent on self destruction after costing the team a big goal – as he did in game 2 against Boston. Although killing a penalty, he made the mistake of trying to carry the puck deep in his own zone instead of clearing or passing. Johhy Bucyk checked him and John McKenzie wound up with a goal. But then Savard does a turnabout for some great plays that makes him want to live a little longer. Like a great burst of speed to break up a 2-on-0 rush, crowding the crease to get the tying goal with only 69 seconds to play and firing the point shot that pays off in overtime.

Savard has earned the “Superboy” tag in a joking way from teammates, somewhat critical of the way the 23-year old reardguard, penalty killer and at times left winger tries to do things all by himself. He enjoys lugging the puck, often at a deceptively slow pace without passing, or giving his mates heart failure by spinning in his own zone even as the last man back… “Serge is an example of the spirit you need in the playoffs,” says Ruel. “You can’t ask for more than he has given my club since the start of the season.”…most critical of Savard's daring play has been Gump Worsley who keeps warning the young rearguard to “stay back once in a while”. However, the Gumper had nothing but praise for Savard’s overall effort in the semifinal against New York… “I disn’t play so much during the first part of the season. I’d go on on the ice for a shift and not really know whether I’d be back again. Now, even if I make a mistake, I know I’ll be back and it makes everything a lot easier. I know where I am going.”
Originally Posted by Dick Beddoes, 1969 Playoffs
Serge Savard, in fact belongs in the present tense. He revealed in the Boston series that he is 1-2 with Robert Orr as the prodigal young defensemen in hockey, and not necessarily 2.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, June 1969
Claude Ruel is not complaining about the choice of Serge Savard as playoff MVP… “Serge was marvelous the way he made so much progress all season.”

“The writers kept telling me I was going to win the trophy but I didn’t really believe them.”… Savard had a big part in each series win for the Habs. Besides filling his defense post, Superboy also turned in strong efforts as a penalty killer and wound up as Montreal’s 4th leading point scorer
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1969-70
he was a green youngster in pretty classy company but his playoff work was truly sensational. He played well on defense all the way through, he moved up to the forward line when penalties left Canadiens understaffed, and he also contributed four important goals and six assists. “Boston can have Bobby Orr,” said coach Claude Ruel. “We’re happy with Savard.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 6, 1970
In the weekend double against Chicago and Detroit, Savard worked mostly as a penalty killer – a role he fills about the best in the league
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 27, 1970
Serge Savard, one of the most consistent performers all season on defense penalty killing and left wing, was sidelined for the season. He crashed into the goalpost early in the 3rd period of that March 11th game… Savard had made a great play by getting back in time to check Vic Hadfield but lost his balance and fell against the cage… loss of the versatile youngster was felt right down the line of Canadiens who realized his value to the club all season. He had been one of the stars of that win over New York… Claude Ruel tried to take it in stride… “we’re going to miss Serve but maybe the rest of the guys will think of the money he helped put in their pockets in the playoffs last year.”
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1970-71
everyone agrees what when it comes to outstanding young defensemen, Serge Savard is one of the best, right up there with Bobby Orr and Brad Park. Yet, his future was very much in doubt heading into the 1970-71 season… it is by no means certain he’ll make a complete recovery… it is no secret how important he is to the Canadiens’ overall well-being… Large and mobile, Savard does two jobs for the Canadiens: He is a reliable defenseman and, when Montreal is penalized, he moves to the forward line as one of hockey’s most adept penalty killers.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 12, 1971
What does the future hold for Serge Savard? The medics can’t tell as yet because it’s too early to determine what effects a second broken leg in less than a year will have on him… he will be in a cast for anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months… Canadiens are certain to feel the pinch. He was just starting to regain the form that once made him a Conn Smythe winner… Coach Al Macneil was crestfallen at the news… lately Savard and Laperriere had been playing like they never missed a shift…
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler: Hockey Stars of 1971
...as it turns out, the Canadiens won the game 5-3, and they were paced for most of the 60 minutes by a tall, husky french canadian named Serge Savard. "He's like two players," said Ranger GM/coach Emile Francis. "He plays a solid defense and he can kill penalties with the best of them." During one of his late tours of ice duty Savard made a desperate lunge to prevent a Ranger goal and in the process fell heavily on his leg, breaking it in two places... the talented Savard was through for the season... it was a loss the Canadiens could ill afford to sustain because Savard, in the eyes of many, was the most valuable player on the team... In describing the Habs not long ago, Peter Gzowski pinpointed their distinct quality: "on the ice, they swoop, skating like fury and burning with zeal; they are somehow romantic, like Scaramouche or Cyrano of Jean Gascon."... Savard is relatively new, but there is strong evidence he will someday be compared with such honoured montreal backliners as Bouchard, Reardon and Harvey... his long strides, his thudding bodychecks and his calm in the face of stormy games suggested he could be an all-star in a couple of years... in the 1969 playoffs all of a sudden Savard became a commanding figure, lugging the puck on long rink-length dashes, playing the stout defensive game and looking like a man who would never need a cold shower to awaken him... after 2 games in the finals, Savard could boast that he (a) set up all three Montreal goals in the opening match, (b) tied the game in the second contest, and (c) assisted on the sudden death winner in game 2. Suddenly critics began noticing the young man whom Ruel had been touting all along. "Serge is an example of the competitive spirit you need in the playoffs. It is impossible to demand more from him than he gave since the start of the season." The kudos weren't limited to Montreal observers, either... the Boston Globe singled out Savard as the top man in the series. "Savard has matured into one of the Habs' most accomplished players in the playoffs."... throughout the final speculation was rife over which Montreal player would skate off with the Conn Smythe trophy as the MVP. Beliveau, Duff, and Vachon were all candidates but the favourite remained Savard. "He did everything for the Canadiens," said Jim Proudfoot, "even including a spot of goaltending when the regular netminders got trapped out of position. He played defense, he was point man on the power plays and he moved up to a forward position during most Montreal penalties. He excelled in each role and even found time to contribute some vital scoring plays."
Originally Posted by Complete handbook Of Pro Hockey 1971-72
A superb defenseman whose career has been threatened by a broken leg two years ago… refractured the leg last season and now must try to come back again… developed so quickly that Canadiens were able to trade another youngster, Carol Vadnas, to Oakland… excellent penalty killer… only question is whether his leg will mend well enough.
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1971-72
there is grave doubt about Serge Savard’s future in hockey, and that is a tragedy because only two years ago this superbly gifted youngster led the Canadiens to a Stanley Cup victory and won the Conn Smythe trophy… “We’re hopeful (that he can recover) because we can really use him. He’s a fine defenseman and has the speed to move up on the forward line to kill penalties.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 5, 1971
The man who may prove to be the answer to a lot of the Habs’ checking problems will have to sit it out for a while longer. Doctors have advised Serge Savard that his injured leg will benefit from additional rest… he came to the Canadiens in 67-68 and impressed with his size, speed and mobility…
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 25, 1972
Savard, a star of the first magnitude before suffering two leg fractures over the past two seasons, returned to action earlier this month… early reports on his play were encouraging… “some guys said I’d be worried about going into the corners when I got back… they were wrong.” Savard’s size, speed and puck sense made him one of the most valuable defensemen on the team and the Habs have missed him plenty. He had also developed into a penalty killer almost without peer.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 24, 1972
His first game back was against Chicago, and he picked up two assists, while showing a willingness to mix it up along the boards and in corners… watching him in the games, you could see flashes of the old skill and ability. At his best, Savard is one of the most mobile rearguards in hockey and he still has the nifty moves. It’s the pace at which he makes them that’s changed. He is, not surprisingly, a lot slower than he used to be. “I haven’t really hit full stride. It will take time. And, timing. You lose that when you’re on the shelf.”
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot, Toronto Star, September 1972
It is no coincidence that the revival of Team Canada in this hockey showdown with the Soviet Union dates back to Serge Savard's return to the defence corps. Nor is it any accident that the Canadians have won three and tied one of the four games in which Savard has been available to add mobility and offensive thrust to an otherwise awkward rearguard.
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1972-73
Team Canada never lost a game to Russia while Savard was in the lineup… it meant that after three years of tragic misfortune, Savard was once again the versatile young defenseman who’d won the Conn Smythe trophy for dominating the 1969 playoffs… the Canadiens have missed his dynamic two-way play
Originally Posted by Complete handbook Of Pro Hockey 1973-74
was on his way to stardom when he fractured his leg again… one of the biggest defensemen in the NHL… can carry the puck from his own end or feed crisp passes to his forwards… hits hard and has become a polished stick checker.
Originally Posted by OPC 1973-74
Serge is another of the Canadiens’ fine puck-carrying defensemen. A series of leg injuries have hampered his progress, but he missed only four games last season. A strong skater with good puck sense, he won the Conn Smythe trophy in 1969 and is just now returning to the all-star form he displayed that season.
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler: Hockey Stars of 1974
Montreal hockey fans are appreciative of his contributions during the 1972-73 campaign and the Canadiens' march to the Stanley Cup last May. Serge's play was so impressive that onlookers were quick to remind eachother that he looked just like the Savard of 1969 when he paced the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup... but a series of crippling injuries not only intervened but threatened to end his career, and it was only after last season that Savard once again put together the kind of defensive portfolio that once made him Orr's closest rival.... he explains that maturity has made him "more of a defenseman now" than he had been in his youth...
Originally Posted by OPC 1974-75
Serge is an offensive type of defenseman who relies on superior skating ability to create scoring opportunities. Injuries have plagued him, but when he’s healthy, Serge is one of the most dependable defenseman around… a free-wheeling skater able to rush down ice and recover his position quickly.
Originally Posted by Complete handbook Of Pro Hockey 1974-75
Ranks among the league’s best rearguards… still superb puck carrier and hard hitter.
Originally Posted by Complete handbook Of Pro Hockey 1975-76
one of the league’s top two-way defenseman… kills penalties as a forward.
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1975-76
defended efficiently and often moved to the forward line against opposition power plays, working with Jimmy Roberts on that detail.
Originally Posted by Complete handbook Of Pro Hockey 1976-77
Another excellent season for this respected defender… moves to forward killing penalties.
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1976-77
Praise from the opposition is absolutely the best kind and Philadelphia defenseman Joe Watson said during last spring’s playoffs: “To me, Serge Savard is the best player in hockey today. Nobody controls the puck the way he does and, when all is said and done, what else do you want a defenseman to do?
Originally Posted by OPC 1976-77
A superb puck carrier and playmaker, Serge was the 2nd highest scoring montreal defenseman last season. He plays a fine positional game, and always keeps the puck moving.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 11, 1977

…save a small cheer for Serge Savard, who says he is not playing the best hockey of his career, but pretty close to it… as far as Montreal fans are concerned, Savard is an all-star in every sense of the word. Bowman doesn’t hesitate to use him, no matter what situation the Canadiens face on the ice…. He is used on his regular shift, kills penalties and sees some action on the power play… often when the Canadiens are forced to kill a penalty, Bowman will go with three defensemen, using Savard as a forward because of his checking ability and also his talents at ragging the puck… his play this year has been exceptional and is part of the reason why the Canadiens continue to enjoy a huge amount of success.
Originally Posted by Complete handbook Of Pro Hockey 1977-78
In the so-called Big Three, Savard is usually considered the key to the defense, the cool catalyst who controls the tempo of the game… took over as interim captain when Yvan Cournoyer underwent spinal surgery late in season… noted for two courageous comebacks from broken legs… same mobility as others on Montreal blueline allows him to move to forward at times to kill penalties…
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1977-78
When Yvan Cournoyer was hospitalized with back problems last season, Serge Savard was chosen to take over as temporary captain. It was an accurate measurement of the esteem with which he is regarded by both his bosses and his colleagues. He is a team leader and the Canadiens’ most versatile player… since receiving the Conn Smythe trophy he has never agan received any such nomination or significant all-star support. Yet many rate him the best rearguard in the business. “His main asset is his tremendous mobility”, says Scotty Bowman. “He’s great at getting the puck out of his own zone. And he skates so well that I move him up the forward line when we’re shorthanded. He’s an excellent penalty killer… perhaps it’s his versatility that’s deprived him of some of the recognition he should be getting. All I know is that when he’s on the ice, he totally controls the play.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, May 26, 1978

…Savard is one of the lesser recognized members of the star-studded Canadiens, but he is one of the better reasons why Montreal is making a strong run at a 3rd consecutive cup… most of the glory goes to the spectacular skater and scorer, Guy Lafleur, or the enormous rushing defenseman, Larry Robinson, or towering goalkeeper Ken Dryden, which is fair enough, but if you want to get into the guts of this tremendous team, you start to talk about the Serge Savards, Bob Gaineys and Jacques Lemaires, who shine in the shadows. “Ah, I just do a job,” shrugs the large, dark, scowling Savard… he has given everything to the game, surviving a series of severe injuries, and becoming one of the dominant defensive defensemen in the sport… he was a rushing defenseman when he turned pro… big, strong, swift and mobile, he hit hard and had a hard shot… in the playoffs, he scored four goals, assisted on six others, defended flawlessly and for his spirited and effective all-around play he was selected as the first defenseman to ever win the Smythe… “so much was expected of me I couldn’t have lived up to it. The injuries give me an excuse for not being what I might have been,” he grins. “…I’m not the rushing player I once was, but I’m a better player than I ever was. I’m not blind, I know you have to get goals to get all-star votes. But I only go for goals when we need them.”… the Norris trophy is supposed to go to the best defenseman, but when Larry Robinson won it last season he said Savard should have won it…
Originally Posted by Complete handbook Of Pro Hockey 1978-79
He’s the big, dependable defenseman on hockey’s stingiest team… nevertheless, he has always been overlooked when it came to handing out awards… but hockey people recognize him as an all-star
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1978-79
It is almost incredible that in 11 seasons, Serge Savard has never made an all-star team and has never won a prize for regular season achievements… even though he undeniably is one of the best defensemen in the game. “maybe his versatility hurts him,” coach Bowman suggests. “He plays on the forward line a lot when we’re killing penalties and he always does a lot of offensive work.” Says Philly veteran Joe Watson: “Savard is the best player in the league. He controls the puck all the time he’s on the ice, like Bobby Orr used to for Boston.”
Originally Posted by Complete handbook Of Pro Hockey 1979-80
classy, intelligent old pro of best defense in NHL, he usually stays back and allows Larry Robinson or Guy Lapointe to make rink-length rushes…
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1979-80
Hockey people had always considered it a terrible miscarriage of justice that Savard hadn’t won any individual awards since the 1969 Conn Smythe. For a whole decade he’d been one of the very best defensemen and one of the finest all-around performers in the business
Originally Posted by Complete handbook Of Pro Hockey 1980-81
crafty, wise defenseman who knows all the subtle little tricks of playing the position… among hockey’s most respected men.
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1980-81
When Cournoyer’s retirement became official, Savard was confirmed as the new captain. He’d occupied the post temporarily during 1978-79… unfortunately, Savard wasn’t able to provide the necessary leadership during his first year on the job. He spent most of the schedule with his right foot in a cast, and a lot of the remaining time trying to regain his conditioning… just when he seemed at his best again, the Canadiens were eliminated… losing the cup, of course, was a rare experience for Savard.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, September 1981
No one was shocked… some people were sad. Serge Savard announced his retirement from hockey last month… he admitted he knew his career was over last April. He was the last to leave the ice after the Canadiens were eliminated, and had intimated to his teammates that he had played his last game with them… throughout the 1980-81 season, he struggled and was often jeered by the critical paying customers at the Forum… “the last two years have been sad for me. I didn’t like the way things went the last two years.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, October 30, 1981
Plucked from the waiver wire, Savard said he would consider the invitation to play for the Jets. “He seems interested,” said John Ferguson… Meanwhile, the Canadiens scoffed at the mere suggestion Savard would even consider playing for another NHL team… The team is young and improving, but it needs Savard’s leadership, his experience and his stabilizing features. “Having Savard on the team would be a Christmas bonus,” said Tom Watt. “I know he would help me. Young players would benefit from having him around. He would see many things that would elude me. I think he would be ideal.” But can he still play? “You bet he can,” said Watt. “Two years ago he was one of the premier defensemen in the NHL. You can’t tell me he’s slipped that much.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, December 11, 1981
complications (in signing Savard) arose when it becamse known that he had received his entire salary from the Canadiens for the current season with the stipulation that he would neither work nor play for any other NHL team… left unprotected in the waiver draft, Savard was selected by the Jets… Savard is interested, but doesn’t want to return the money paid to him by the Canadiens, who blundered by not putting him on the voluntary retired list… Ferguson expected to have the matter cleared up by December. But he’s not inclined to give the Canadiens a thin dime for a player they were obviously prepared to give up… Savard is well aware of the Jets’ crying need for an experienced defenseman… “I’m convinced Serge could play at least 2 more years. The Canadiens thought so too.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 12, 1982

Today, it’s a different story and a man who is playing an instrumental role in the turnabout of the Jets is Savard… Undoubtedly he is their leader. Teammates worship him… “I’m very happy I made the decision I did,” said Savard… he has been an imposing figure on the Jets’ defense. Huge by Winnipeg’s standards, Savard can bump and grind with the biggest forwards, reach far in every direction and make the subtle moves that can shrug off a checker and allow him to send a forward on his way. He plays according to the score, slowing the pace down when the Jets are ahead in an almost hypnotic fashion and leading rushes when they are behind… “this team is starting to believe in itself. I think we realize we are as good as Chicago. Maybe better.” He doesn’t miss the strain associated with being a member of the Canadiens… Savard’s conditioning has improved remarkably. Some nights he appears to be in the ice for at least half the game. “I’m quite pleased with myself,” he said. “I feel I can play a game the way I always could. It’s a great feeling when you are out there, knowing you can be effective again.”… “You can’t help but improve playing on the same team as Serge,” said Dave Babych. “You can learn just by watching him.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 5, 1982
until now, Serge Savard has had nothing but good things to say about the Canadiens. But he was upset with the Habs on the eve of his return to the forum. It was all because the Canadiens had made the decision to give Jeff Brubaker his old sweater - #18. “For my whole career, I’ve spoken out against violence. But the thing that bothers me is that they have given my sweater to a guy who established an NHL record by fighting three times in his first 40 seconds on the ice against Philadelphia.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 2, 1982
On this night, both players were typically efficient. At their ages, neither will attempt many solo rushes. But offense isn’t what their teams want from them. What the Blues and Jets want is their intelligence, leadership, and the benefit of their vast experience. Since Savard was coaxed out of retirement, he has provided Winnipeg exactly what it wanted… when Lapointe and Savard were at their peaks in Montreal, it was a joy to watch… Robinson was the only one of the three to win the Norris, but if you had voted for Lapointe or Savard, no one would have escorted you out of town or checked your marbles. That’s how good they all were… with half a season in Winnipeg, we’ve seen what a contribution Savard has made. The Jets are the NHL’s most improved team thanks largely to Savard’s calming influence behind the blueline and off the ice.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 16, 1982

Serge Savard – rangy and rising 37 and old by the standards of the 1982 NHL – hasn’t allowed the seasons to steal his style. It was gratifying to see him on the Winnipeg defense this past winter… Savard was the hub of the Winnipeg rearguard… came to the Jets from another time to remind them how defense used to be played in the NHL. Here he was, making passes quick and accurate and soft enough to handle. Here he was, sating in stately fashion, moving as Rex MacLeod once described Allan Stanley, “snoeshowing in from the point.” From the distance of the stands, it seems that Savard is unscarred by the years. Yet he was hampered by broken bones in three of his first six seasons… To see him on a night not long ago in Toronto was to realize that at least one defenseman in the NHL knows more than how to merely spell d-e-f-e-s-n-e.

Toronto’s John Anderson would come riding down the left wing and there’d be Savard to ride him off, impeding him with a stick across the torso just long enough to throw him off stride and escape the ref’s attention. Or Bill Derlago would throw a pass to Rick Vaive on right wing that wasn’t completed because Savard got there first to knock it away with a long poke check. Savard was breaking up plays on the right and left sides, because, depending on who his Winnipeg partner was, he played right and left defense. A Toronto attacker would try to escape along the boards and, frequently, Savard scrubbed him along the fence, steering him out of the play. Chances are Savard isn’t as effective against the few respectable NHL teams as he was against the Leafs…

From the pressbox you can’t see the seams in Savard’s expression or the bend in his nose. You can’t count the pucks he’s intercepted or the flashy forwards he’s ridden off. You can remember the big sweeping manner he rushed the puck, or, in the act of shooting, the way he spun around on one leg for his spin-o-rama shot… he’s left much of himself in places such as the Forum and Luzhniki Arena in Moscow… a constant winner on teams going for the Stanley Cup or the championship of the planet. What he’s been has gone slowly, not as a hockey stick breaks, but as many nights gash the ice of hockey rinks. Savard is still prepared to squander himself in these playoffs, a stranger in the playpen. The Jets may not be good enough to beat Minnesota for the title, but they are something above the ordinary, as long as they have Serge.
Originally Posted by Complete handbook Of Pro Hockey 1982-83
The wise, crafty Savard, who’s slow in the feet but swift in the head, played sound defense and was invaluable in aiding the young backliners. He became the club’s unofficial leader who showed the Jet kids how a classy big leaguer handles himself, on the ice and off… becamse anchor of Jets’ backline… not flashy on the attack but excellent defensively.
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1982-83
Jets got their leader when John Ferguson finally persuaded Savard to give up retirement before the midway point of the season… “I knew he’d play tremendous hockey for us… I knew he’d teach our guys a lot. And off the ice, he’d show the kids what it means to be a big leaguer and winner.” And sure enough, it didn’t take Savard long to become just as efficient as his old teammate predicted he’d be. “It’s unbelievable, the difference Serge made,” says 20-year old Dave Babych. “I learn just by watching him. Like, I previously thought of playing the man first and then the puck. He showed me how you’ve got to do both things at once.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 1, 1983
Savard still going strong after 1000 NHL games

…there was a time when people thought he was injury prone… they feared his career would last fewer than 200 games, let alone 1000… “mayne he didn’t rush as much after two broken legs, but the great power he has in his arms and his mind, well, I knew he would be around for a long time,” says Ferguson… “personally, I haven’t changed. I’m still a defensive player. But the league has changed. There are more shootouts now. It’s become a wide open league.”

“I’ve been impressed by him”, says Ferguson. “He can still play. And I’m certainly interested in keeping him for as long as he wants to play.” Savard has made an impact on people. Fans find him entertaining, the media engaging, his coach enhancing and his teammates enchanting. “Serge does coach, but in his own way,” said Tom Watt. “He chirps at the right time when he is working with layers. Often we discuss defensive alignments together. But he has no titles. He is just a player. That’s how he wants it.” Watt appreciates the influence he has had on the Jets’ defensemen, most of whom have barely started their careers. “I can’t describe how much he’s helped me,” said Tim waters. “He’s settled me down, helped me relax. Since day one, I’ve admired the way he can control a game. He has great confidence in himself.” If one player has profited immensely by savard’s influence, Dave Babych has. He is no longer as flippant as he once was. He does not bog down as easily. Today, he is playing instinctively, intelligently and forcefully… Perhaps a fraction slower but infinitely wiser, Savard has lent size, maturity and moxy to a team that appears to be going places under his example and direction.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, September 12, 1986

Savard was an ideal combination of skill and smarts during his career. Serious leg injuries decreased his speed, but few backliners in history took a more cerebral approach to the sport... Savard was a member of perhaps the best defense ever owned by an NHL team… no other club has ever had three of the game’s best 6-7 defensemen on its roster at one time… a few Savard boosters were puzzled that he wasn’t named to more all-star teams or picked for other awards… At the Stanley cup luncheon in 1979, Savard was asked about the lack of trophies in his career. “Oh, you think I’ve never won any trophies? Well there’s a big silver cup over there on that head table that means everything in the game and if you look closely, you’ll see my name on it a few times.”
In his own words:

That game convinced me that God must be a Russian. If he's not, how do you explain a tie when we outplay them by so much?
The team is in the culture of the people around here. If you're from here (Montreal), you felt that way all through your youth. It's in people's blood. People identified with our club and it doesn't have anything to do with language.
When I was younger, I was more of a rusher but after the two bad leg injuries, I didn't have the same speed so I became more of a defensive defenseman.
My duties were clear. No one expected me to carry the club on my shoulders.
I had been on Stanley Cup teams but it was nothing quite like winning against the Soviets that year.
I was a member of eight Stanley Cup teams, but this was the greatest experience of my career! I don't think that was the best team I ever played on. That would have to be the '76 Canada Cup team with Bobby Orr. As far as Montreal teams go, the '76-77 team was the best. I thought it was a great team.
The Best Penalty Killing Defenseman of All-Time?

Savard is definitely in the conversation. Here is the list of all defensemen with at least 500 post-expansion games, 50+% PK usage, and with team results at least 5% better than the average:

NameGPPK usage%% above avg
ORR, BOBBY 596 63% 31%
LAPOINTE, GUY 884 52% 31%
HAJT, BILL 854 57% 30%
SCHOENFELD, JIM 719 56% 29%
GIRARDI, DAN 651 54% 26%
LIDSTROM, NICKLAS 1564 51% 24%
SAVARD, SERGE 1038 58% 22%
POTVIN, DENIS 1060 53% 21%
LANGWAY, ROD 994 53% 20%
CHELIOS, CHRIS 1651 57% 17%
HARPER, TERRY 795 53% 14%
STEVENS, SCOTT 1635 56% 14%
BOURQUE, RAY 1612 58% 14%
MITCHELL, WILLIE 861 55% 13%
WHITE, BILL 604 65% 13%
HATCHER, DERIAN 1045 55% 13%
HAMHUIS, DAN 814 54% 12%
KEITH, DUNCAN 766 50% 12%
CHARA, ZDENO 1195 55% 10%
PRONGER, CHRIS 1167 54% 9%
HATCHER, KEVIN 1157 51% 9%
SCUDERI, ROB 720 57% 9%
LUDWIG, CRAIG 1256 52% 7%

Savard’s usage is 3rd highest on this chart (after Orr and White), and his team results are 7th best. He’s 9th in GP on this list, with only Lidstrom, Potvin and Chelios near the top and over 1000 games. But Savard was used more than Lidstrom and Potvin, and his team results were a good deal better than Chelios’. All things considered, he may be the best PK defenseman of all-time.

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Doug Gilmour, C

- 5’11”, 177 lbs (like 6’0”, 187 today)
- Inducted into the HHOF (2011)
- Stanley Cup Champion (1989)
- Canada Cup Champion (1987)
- Top-25 in NHL scoring 8 times (4th, 5th, 7th, 17th, 17th 19th, 22nd, 24th)
- Best VsX scores: 97, 93, 86, 78, 75, 75, 71 (total 575, avg 82.1)
- Best ES VsX scores: 96, 88, 85, 85, 84, 81, 76 (total 594, avg 84.9)
- Top-5 in NHL playoff scoring 4 times (1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th)
- Led team in playoff scoring 5 other times
- Top 5 in All-star voting 3 times (3rd, 3rd, 5th)
- Top-9 in Hart voting 4 times (2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th)
- Won Frank J. Selke Trophy (1993)
- Top-15 in Selke voting 7 times (1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 6th, 9th, 13th)
- Killed 34% of penalties for teams exactly average during his career
- Toronto Maple Leafs Captain (1994-1997)
- Played in 2 All-Star games (1993, 1994)
- In 1991-92, Leafs and Flames were a combined 36-35-7 (.506) with Gilmour, and 25-45-12 (.378) without

Originally Posted by Legendsofhockey.net
Gilmour's size worried management in St. Louis and he almost began his professional career in Germany when he couldn't reach a deal with the Blues. St. Louis finally signed him and he joined the team two weeks before the 1983-84 season. Gilmour found himself near the bottom of the team's depth chart at centre, but a depleted roster allowed him to play on the fourth line as a defensive specialist and he returned to his checking ways. The Blues' captain at the time, Brian Sutter, nicknamed Gilmour 'Killer' for his intensity.

After three full seasons hovering around 50 points, Gilmour began to play a more open game and during the 1986 playoffs, he had 21 points in 19 games when the Blues came within a game of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final. The next season, 1986-87, he finished the regular schedule with a career-high 42 goals and 105 points and was selected to represent Team Canada at the 1987 Canada Cup. He scored two important goals in the series against the Soviet Union and was instrumental in Canada's victory at the tournament.

Gilmour played his best hockey with the Leafs. He was a pesky defensive forward who seemed fearless in his checking. Offensively, he was the focal point of an improving team, setting a franchise record with 127 points in his first full season with Toronto in 1992-93. He became only the second Leaf after Darryl Sittler to register over a hundred points in a season and also led the team to within a game of the Stanley Cup Final, placing second in playoff scoring and leading the league with 25 assists. Gilmour placed second to Mario Lemieux in the race for the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player but won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward, a remarkable achievement for a player with such offensive numbers.

Gilmour was named the team captain in 1994-95 before the lockout-shortened season and remained a popular player in Toronto even as the team began to struggle. When the Leafs went into rebuilding mode midway through the 1996-97 season, Gilmour was sent to the New Jersey Devils.

On January 31, 2009, Gilmour became the seventeenth player to be honoured by the Toronto Maple Leafs when his number 93 was raised to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre. In 2011, Doug Gilmour was selected for Induction to the
Hockey Hall of Fame.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
There is a modern generation of fans who probably think Doug Gilmour is the greatest player to ever wear the blue and white jersey of the Toronto Maple Leafs. While his tenure in comparison to other Leafs greats was short, those fans might just be right.

Gilmour was a spectacular player. He played with a contagious enthusiasm and passion that so few players can match. He is one of the most intelligent superstars in league history. Although never a top goal scorer he was as good a playmaker in his era other than Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Yet unlike those two the brilliance of Gilmour’s game was his status as a defensive player with few peers. He also was a great leader, always leading by example. Though he was tiny by NHL standards, he played with a level of fearlessness that instantly won over the hearts of NHL fans everywhere.

For years Doug Gilmour was one of the best kept secrets in the National Hockey League. He was drafted only 134th overall in 1982 and played in relative obscurity in St. Louis for 5 solid seasons. He was earning rave reviews for his defensive excellence right out of junior hockey and for his spunk, but it wasn’t until 1985-86 when he erupted with a spectacular playoffs. After post his typical 53 point season Doug Gilmour established himself as one of the game's best. The upstart St. Louis Blues made it all the way to the Campbell Conference Championship only to lose out to the Calgary Flames. The Blues went on to play in 19 post season matchups. Gilmour and teammate Bernie Federko ended up tied for the post season scoring crown, as Gilmour posted 9 goals and 12 assists for 21 points. Doug Gilmour had arrived.

Gilmour proved it was no fluke when in 1986-87 when he emerged with a 105 point season which included a career high 42 goals. Yet he maintained his gritty defensive game.

During the summer of 1987, Doug Gilmour was named, perhaps a surprise to some, to Team Canada in the 1987 rendition of the Canada Cup. His competitiveness and savvy were exactly what Team Canada was searching for, as the lineup boasted many top guns. They were looking for Gilmour's intangibles and passion to help them win. Gilmour didn't disappoint either. After seeing limited ice time in the round robin portion of the tournament, Gilmour rose to the occasion in the final 3 games against the Soviets. He was arguably the best Canadian player – particularly in game one of the finals.

The 1987-88 season reaffirmed Gilmour's excellence, scoring 36 times and adding 50 helpers. After leading the team with 17 points in just playoff ten games, the Blues felt they needed to make a change in order to solve the team's lack of playoff success. So in what turned out to be one of the greatest trades of all time, Gilmour was moved to Calgary in a 7 player deal. Gilmour then teamed with Joe Mullen to be one of the top offensive tandems in the league. Gilmour scored 26 goals and 85 points his first season in Calgary, plus added 22 points in 22 playoff games as Gilmour won his first Stanley Cup that spring.

The Calgary Flames were a scoring machine during the 1980's, so Gilmour became just one of many scorers on that team. His tenacious checking however is what assured him of plenty of ice time. While he became somewhat overshadowed in Calgary, there is no doubting just how important he was to that team.

A contract dispute eventually saw Gilmour moved to Toronto in what proved to be perhaps the biggest trade in hockey history, at least in terms of bodies exchanged. Gilmour was the centerpiece of the 10 player deal in January of 1992. Gilmour would finish the season with Toronto with 49 points in 40 games, but more importantly proved that he was ready to step out from the shadows of others and take the next step to establish himself as a superstar.

In 1994-95 he, like the team and especially his linemates, struggled through the NHL lockout-shortened schedule. Over the next two years he seemed to have slowed a bit – perhaps age and his lack of size were finally catching up with him.

The Leafs traded Gilmour to New Jersey in the 1996-97 season. It was hoped Gilmour could be the final piece of the Devil’s championship puzzle, but it was not meant to be. While he continued to play excellent defensively, he really struggled offensively – picking up just 4 assists in 10 playoff games.

In a way that playoff season summed up most of the remainder of Gilmour’s career. He toiled for parts of two seasons with each of the Devils, Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sabres, but never could live up to his reputation as the great player from his younger days – particularly his days in Toronto. His play was actually very good, even if his offensive contributions were not. Many people started calling for Gilmour’s retirement, but that competitive fire in his heart could not be extinguished.

Instead of retiring Gilmour signed on with the Montreal Canadiens in 2001-2002. After a slow start, Gilmour was instrumental in returning the injury and illness plagued Habs to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

One thing is for sure. Doug Gilmour is one of the game's all time best players. In fact, it is arguable that, despite only playing 392 of his 1500 (and counting) career games in a Leaf's jersey, he deserves consideration as the greatest Toronto Maple Leaf of all time. That is quite a compliment considering the rich and deep history of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs of the early 1990’s were his team, and few players in Leaf history reached the zenith of a hockey players career that Gilmour did.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Dougie plays like he owes us,” former Leafs’ coach Pat Burns once said. How very true. Gilmour gives it everything he has on the ice, and then some… when he arrived in Toronto, the Leafs were a weak club with deficiencies in almost every area of the game. He became the nucleus of a winning franchise with a new-found price… two years of carrying the Leafs had worn him down… Gilmour is a special player, a player who can rally his teammates. He’s not the smooth, speedy type of player, but he’s a relentless attacker, both offensively and defensively. If you need a goal, he sets one up. If you need an emotional lift, he delivers a big hit. Either way, you’re glad Killer is on your side.

In a word… HEART
Originally Posted by Maple Leaf Captains
by the force of will he has fashioned himself into one of the NHL’s most riveting performers… now with the captaincy of the Maple Leafs, his ability as a leader has been certified. When Wendel Clark was traded, Gilmour became the obvious – the only – choice to wear a letter that has graced the left shoulder of 12 players… clearly the C in Toronto stands for character, a single minded devotion to winning and craft, as much as it stands for captain. Gilmour would be captain even if he weren’t the Leafs’ best player…

…Gilmour is first and foremost a playmaker. He isn’t big enough to overpower a goalie or defenseman in close, or strong enough to blast a shot from the perimeter… he is slight, almost chicken-chested, but strong in the neck and shoulders. After years of masking his build, he remins modest, invariably layered in at least two towels in the dressing room. But no amount of subterfuge could convince onlookers Gilmour’s physique is even remotely similar to Pavel Bure or Steve Yzerman. Like Gretzky, Gilmour plays a game guilt on thoughtfulness and intelligence, and when he plays it well, his lack of physical strength is irrelevant… Gilmour’s all-around game is the foundation of his leadership. While his offense has made him a fan favourite, it is his defense, or more specifically the caliber of his defense considering his offensive numbers, that has made him one of the league’s best players. Gilmour is always in motion. His quickness and desire help him move back into action just moments after he seems trapped deep in the offensive zone. His defensive prowess is especially eye catching considering he often sets up shop behind the opposition’s goal rather than high in the slot… he goes into the corners fearlessly and, when he applies himself, is excellent on faceoffs. Like Detroit’s Sergei Fedorov, Gilmour is a dual threat. He shadows the opposition’s most gifted offensive player while exploiting the gaps in defense offensive players invariably allow

…Gilmour quickly saw that he would have to break into the league as a defensive center. Demers, a rookie coach, was looking for somebody who made an impression. Gilmour, through unceasing work in training camp, made his choice easy. “I went in there to make that team and it didn’t matter what it was doing to take… Overall, Jacques made me a better player by having me learn how to play against a Wayne Gretzky, a Marcel Dionne, a Denis Savard. They’re all different and unique in their own way and to go out and do this, to me, was just the challenge I needed.” … it was in the 1994 postseason in which Gilmour best emulated his mentor, Brian Sutter. Gilmour played the playoffs with a severely bruised ankle, enduring regular pain killers, but refused to come out of the lineup. “some guys should be embarrassed to be in the same dressing room,” Burns said after the playoffs.

…as part of his contributions, Gilmour scored two third period goals in game 6 of the finals, including the cup winner. Still, the Flames were not Gilmour’s team. Lanny McDonald was the most popular, Joel Nieuwendyk was the offensive powerhouse and Joel Otto was invariably Terry Crisp’s first choice to take a key faceoff. Gilmour was still clearly a leader. Following McDonald’s retirement, he was part of a rotating captaincy with Otto and Jamie Macoun. Gilmour was an absurd luxury in Calgary. One of the game’s best two-way players, he gave the Flames depth and versatility… in arbitration the Flames claimed that at 29, his skills were beginning to fade… while his point totals were somewhat lower, the players on Gilmour’s wings, with few defensive responsibilities thanks to Gilmour’s excellent defensive skills, prospered with his arrival. Theoren Fleury and Joe Mullen enjoyed excellent seasons playing with Gilmour. “I think the biggest thing is, Doug Risebrough is a good man. We didn’t see eye to eye. We’re very similar in the way we play the game. We were both maybe hotheaded at times, we both wanted to compete. Maybe that took our negotiations and got them out of hand.

…written off countless times as too small and twice traded, Doug Gilmour was now the premier player in the league’s showcase market and the captain of a proud, reinvigorated team. He had proven wrong scouts and armchair observers who said he couldn’t survive in the NHL because of his size. Gilmour, like Sutter before him, is an inspiring example in the dressing room… on the day Gilmour was made captain Burns told the press: “Gilmour is there every game, every practice, with a top effort. His leadership will be by example.” Fletcher adds: “it’s almost as if he’s been training for a role like this his entire career.
Originally Posted by Toronto Maple Leafs Top 100
Gilmour emerged as the central force in restoring pride to the organization. While he always credited the march of the Leafs to the final four in 1993 and 1994 as a total team achievement, there’s no question those developments would never have happened without Gilmour… he repeatedly sparked the Leafs and proved that, despite the NHL’s swing to behemoths, the game still had room for the relentless little guys. “Players are getting bigger out there and they’re also getting quicker,” Gilmour observed during the early phases of his tenure with the Leafs. “But I guess when you put on that equpment you’re out there to win. The biggest thing is you don’t want to be beaten, and that can be in a corner, anywhere on the ice. Throughout my life, if somebody said I was too small, that just meant I wanted to beat them that much more to prove somebody wrong… I’ve always looked at it that I never thought I was small. I know I am but you never think of it that way when you’re in the game. You go out and feel you’re the same size as somebody else…

“I think Doug Gilmour fits into the mould of traditional Maple Leaf captains,” Cliff Fletcher said the day he was bestowed the honour. “His competitiveness is second to none in this league. His ability is there because he’s one of the better players in the league. And his ability to deal with people in a market like Toronto is exceptional. The work he does in the community is exemplary. So not only is he the logical candidate, but Gilmour was born to be captain of the Maple Leafs.”… Just flashing his image on the scoreboard at Air Canada Centre still draws an overwhelming response.
Originally Posted by Excerpts from Andrew Podneiks’ “Return to Glory”, specifically about the Gilmour trade and its impact on the team
…In Gilmour the Leafs got a franchise player who literally changed the fortunes of the entire organization. He became the best two-way center in the game, playing superbly with and without the puck. He killed penalties and directed the powerplay and his passing equaled Gretzky or Lemieux’s. Most impostant of all, he brought the attitude and character of a Stanley Cup Champion to the dressing room. Losing a tough game was no longer acceptable to the leafs. Trying “really hard” and coming “really close” were no longer measure of success. Winning and getting two points were what counted. Gilmour’s skating style recalled Darryl sittler’s; short, choopy strids, skating from the hips, head up, both hands always on the stick, puck in front, looking to pass rather than deke and risk a two- or three-on-one the other way. The way he used his stick was magical. He had the ability to go into the corner and somehow strip a much bigger player of the puck. He intuitively knew where his wingers were or when a defenseman was slipping into the slot. He could read a game beautifully, and knew exactly when to be tough and when to “fall” to draw a penalty, knew when a penalty “should” be called. He was a master of self-preservation who could throw a check with the best of them or land on his back after the slightest contact. Gilmour hearkened back to the days of the good ol’ boys Like Dave Keon, he used a perfectly straight stick. The gap in the front of his mouth, courtesy of a little stickwork, rebuffed the image of the “pretty boy” NHLer of the 90s. His slapshot was innocuous, the showy shot not a part of his repertoire at all, his size was more 60s and 90s, as was his tenacity. It’s as though he represented the answer to the question so often asked about how a player like Keon would fare in today’s game. Just look at Dougie – he’d fare just fine, thank you.

During their St. Louis days together, Brian Sutter had thought Gilmour looked like Charles Manson and with that inimitable hockey humor nicknamed him Killer. The name stuck, but a far more appropriate reason can be found by looking at Gilmour just before he is set to take a faceoff. He looks to see where his teammates are setting up, checks the other team’s lineup, looks at the linesman’s hand, stares far away somewhere with the most determined concentration. He looks through the player, the boards, the stands. His eyes are like bullets, his look fierce and intense. The love of competition, the desire to prove he is better than the opposition each and every moment, is what makes him a Killer. And the teeth!

…most scouts felt his lack of size would work against him in the big NHL. He was thought to be one of those phenoms who can put up big numbers on the board in junior, but fade sadly when the strength and size of the NHL are at hand…. Gilmour became known as a defensive specialist who could do wonders stopping the other team’s best center and score the occasional goal himself when the chance arose… in Calgary, Gilmour blossomed into a bonafide star center. In his 266 games as a Flame, he recorded 295 points, all while maintaining his superb defensive responsibilities to a fault. Many of the great centers of the game today couldn’t describe what the inside of their own blueline looks like, but Gilmour was as likely to be found behind his own net checking the offensive center as he was behind the opposition goal looking to pass to a man out front. Never could he be seen floating at the blueline waiting for the breakaway pass. If he were on the ice in the last minute protecting a lead with the net empty, he knew he was there to preserve a win, not to try to pot a selfish empty netter to pad his own goal total. In the modern breakaway world of Gretzky, Gilmour still practiced the ancient art of backchecking. Nor did he shy away from skating along the boards to avoid being checked, or cower when the going got rough. From day one of his career he had to prove that heart and skill outweighed any size deficiency, and in fact it is because of his size that he has developed the intensity, the belligerence, and the indomitable perseverance that make him so great. His size didn’t work against him, it worked for him.

…Gilmour was not the player in Calgary that he became with the Leafs… it’s just one of those unexplainable blips in sports. He was obviously trying his best with the Flames, but somehow Toronto brought more out of him in the same way the intensity of a game 7 of a Stanley cup final is greater, more dramatic, than an average game. For Gilmour in Toronto, every game became a game 7.

The trade had major effects on both clubs. Calgary went on a mini winning streak, and then collapsed completely. They finished the year 31-37-12 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1975… meanwhile, the Leafs came to life… they began to win games they would not have won before… they were finally doing what any good team has to be able to do – pull victory from the deadly jaws of defeat… on March 23, the Leafs and North Stars were only 2 points apart… but the momentum subsided… the dreaded strike occurred… they were not able to rekindle the fire in the ensuing days.
Originally Posted by The Leafs: An Anecdotal History
Whatever way you describe Gilmour’s looks, they were omnipresent in Toronto in 1992-93. Everyone wanted a piece of the guy, a TV commercial, a personal appearance, an endorsement. To find a player more popular in Leaf history, you’d have to go back, past Wendel Clark and Rick Vaive, perhaps on a level with Darry Sittler, or maybe even farther back, rivalled only by Syl Apps and the heroes of the 30s. Did any of those guys hav to change his number 8 times in a season? Gilmour did in 1992-93. Part of Gilmour’s appeal lay in his size, just a little guy getting smaller as the season progressed. He started in October a pound or so over 170, but under the intensity of his play, his skin turned pallid by February, his cheeks and eyes sinking into dark holes by March, his weight dropping off to something closer to 155. This impersonation of the incredible shrinking man didn’t affect Gilmour’s game. It remained reckless, skilled and inspirational. He was the Leafs’ best offensive player and the entire league’s best defensive forward. The man seemed to do everything the hard way, and when he didn’t, bad breaks turned up to make things rough… his size worked against him coming out of junior… but he established himself as a ferocious checker, then as a scorer… in Calgary, on the bright side, he confirmed his standing as one of the NHL’s most rounded forwards, and helped them to their 1989 Stanley cup. On the gloomy side, Flames management, in arbitration hearings, said that maybe he wasn’t all that rounded, that maybe his skills were eroding…
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 18, 1983
…Gilmour did turn out to be a valuable addition to the Blues, but for reasons never imagined back in August. Gilmour, despite taking a regular shift, failed to score a point in his first nine games, yet he was considered one of the bright spots for the Blues… he may yet develop into a scorer, but Gilmour earned a berth on the team by becoming a defense-minded player who centered the Blues’ checking line. “I’m just breaking into the league, so I’m not worried about setting the league on fire this year. I’d just like to do the job here, win some games and get some experience for a few years down the line… I’ll still do all the checking I can, plus try to get a few points.”… Demers eased his mind by assuring him that he needn’t worry about scoring. “If he hadn’t said that I’d be thinking, I’ve got to get points, I’ve got to get points. He didn’t really say to play defensively, but play against your line and stay with your man and have a guy back all the time, maybe even two guys… The people back home probably don’t know that. They’re probably wondering why I’m not getting any points.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 6, 1984

When the NHL season was only two months old, Jacques Demers undertook what he knew might be a lost cause. The Blues’ coach began to compaign for center Doug Gilmour for the calder trophy. Almost 4 months later, he continues to push for his 20-year old candidate, even though he knows the race is lost… Gilmour can’t compare statistically to Barrasso, Turgeon or Yzerman… But he can match any other rookie in the category of intangibles. In making his case, Demers compares Gilmour to Yzerman, primarily because the Blues faced the Red Wings eight times. “I know Yzerman has a lot of points and he’s a great player. But look at what Gilmour has done for us. Look at who he’s had to check. Yzerman doesn’t play against the best centers in the NHL. That’s why, to me, Doug is the rookie of the year.”

Gilmour got off to a slow start offensively this season, partly because he concentrated almost entirely on defense. He generally has been sent out to check the opposition’s best center and he has shut down a fair number of them. Gilmour checked Denis Savard in all eight games against the Hawks and limited him to one even strength goal – and that goal came on a shot from outside the blueline as Savard was preparing to leave the ice on a line change. The attributes that have endeared Gilmour to everyone in the Blues’ organization are his grit, determination and hard work. “Doug Gilmour has a lot of Brian Sutter in him. He’s got the same kind of determination. He’s like a son to me. He’s so coachable. You just pull for a kid like that.”

…Claude Larose was the Blues scout who liked Gilmour and drew the Blues’ attention to him. “The only thing against him was size and stamina. But he proved otherwise. He’s very strong for his size and he has unbelievable stamina. I’m not surprised at all with how he’s played so far.”… Gilmour has stood up well to a season’s worth of punishment and he has dished some out himself, but he wants to go to training camp with a bit more muscle. He’d like to strengthen his wrists so his shot will be harder.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1984-85
Excellent rookie season… team’s top scorer in playoffs with 111 points… one of his goals was an OT winner… did a big job of penalty killing and working against opposition’s big shooters… defensive ability earned him an NHL job, then offense followed quickly.
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1984-85
You’d be delighted if a first round pick turned out that well,” said Ron Caron, “but in fact, he’d been the 4th St. Louis choice in 1982.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 3, 1985
…Doug Gilmour was centering the top checking line of Paslawski and Mark Reeds. Demers got an unexpected bonus from this wrecking crew against Edmonton. They “held” Wayne Gretzky to two assists while scoring four goals. Gretzky was on the ice for all four goals. “That shows how much they listen to the coach. I ask them to check and they score four goals.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 1, 1985
…until recently, Gilmour hadn’t given his coach much reason to rave about him… ”He certainly hasn’t played poorly,” said Gilmour’s linemate, Brian Sutter. “But sometimes the 2nd year is tough. It was that way for me and Bernie. The first year you know you’ve got to come ready every night, and the second year it’s hard to stay up to that emotional level.” Several reasons have been suggested…. Demers’ theory is that Gilmour was set back because of a concussion he suffered in a car accident just before training camp. “I believe in him too much to think that what he did last year was a fluke. That’s why I think it was a severe concussion rather than a mild one, and it took him a while to get organized. “ Gilmour accepts these theories to an extent… “I hit the windshield pretty hard. It didn’t affect me in training camp, but I felt it in the first few games of the season. I was sluggish for a while.” He also had a heel infection, and then the flu, but what really slowed him down was his style of play. “It’s not that I wasn’t trying, but I was doing the wrong things. I thought they wanted me to play more offensively, and I was waiting for the breaks to come to me instead of working for them. Now I’m skating more and going to get the puck.”
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1985-86
Gave the blues some badly needed offensive balance…
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1985-86
The statistics fail to show how effectively he played in his sophomore campaign.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, September 20, 1985
Now that the Blues have acquired Rick Meagher, coach Demers envisions a new role for Doug Gilmour. In his first two seasons, Gilmour posted respectable numbers while carrying out his primary duty of checking the best centers in the league, as well as putting in time killing penalties… “I want Gilmour to be involved more offensively,” Demers said.
Originally Posted by Complete handbook of Pro Hockey 1986-87
Co-winner of the 1986 playoff scoring title… exciting performer who makes things happen with a burst of speed and creative mind… branded a money player… overcomes his lack of size by buzzing his opponents
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1986-87
Gilmour is a good skater, not overly fast but equipped with a one-step quickness that lets him dart in and out of traffic and change direction quickly. Doug is one of the better skaters on the Blues and that ability makes him a good checker, and that is the role he has been assigned. Gilmour is a persistent checker. He has a lot of energy and good hockey sense, so he can anticipate the plays and read the ice well. He is very aware of his position on the ice in relation to the puck and the opposition. He pressures people very well. He also has good offensive skills kept bottled up by the Blues’ system. Gilmour can turn his anticipation skills toward the opposition net and find the openings. He is a good stickhandler and uses his teammates well because he has a good view of the ice and recognizes their better scoring position. Doug has a knack around the net and can do some damage from the slot or lower faceoff circle area, but he doesn’t have the strength to blow the puck past goaltenders.

Gilmour’s size is a problem for him, especially in his role as a checking forward. Doug gets worn down by the physical play and that shows in his own play. If he were playing a more offensive game, he could avoid a lot of the hitting that drains him as the season marches on. But as a checker, he checks and the constant bump and bruise of that role takes its toll. Gilmour is willing to do whatever is needed and he will bump and grind, but he won’t bounce anyone into next week with his hitting... led the team in game winners, and in scoring during the playoffs… indications that he can score important goals. He is versatile and can play whatever role coach Demers wants, checker or scorer, and the Blues have talked for several seasons about opening up Gilmour’s game.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 6, 1987
Gord Wood isn’t surprised that Doug Gilmour is holding together the injury-ravaged Blues. Wood, now scouting for the OHL’s Kingston Canadians, considers Gilmour one of the most fierce and ambitious players he’s ever seen. “He’s a killer. If you’d seen him when I first saw him, you’d never believe it.” Wood has followed Gilmour’s development closely. Gilmour was a subcompact defenseman who had to weave through a maze of frustrations to become a star center. “Everyong looked at me as too small. It just took me a little longer to mature.”… It was Wood who insisted Gilmour switch positions.

…now, in his 4th NHL season Gilmour has emerged as one of the top-10 scorers and one of its better two-way players. “He’s an unusual case. I tell many, many kids about his case. He is just never going to let somebody get ahead of him. He is just so determined it’s unbelievable. And he has terrific amounts of ability.” Wood’s favourite Gilmour story concerns a 1981 Memorial Cup game against Kitchener. The game was 2-2 but Cornwall was lifeless… except for Gilmour. “He went out there and scored a goal, made it 3-2, and we never looked back. There was no emotion out there but Gilmour’s. I always gave him a lot of credit for that. He has such desire to win. He was 5’3” when Wood first saw him play. He was 5’8” and 130 pounds as a Royal. Now, at 5’11” and 165 poinds, he’s known as Killer. Why? “He has a killer instinct,” says Blues’ coach Doug MacLean. “he goes to the net, no matter what.” “There is nowhere on the ice that Doug Gilmour can’t go if he wants to go there,” GM Ron Caron said. “He can take care of himself.”

Gilmour is the same tenacious player that Wood admired. Since he isn’t strong or fast and his shot won’t pierce the net, Gilmour is easy to overlook. Many have. But he is clever, creative, and above everything else, competitive… St. Louis could have fallen out of the Norris race by January. But Gilmour wouldn’t let them. “If it hadn’t been for Doug, we wouldn’t be anywhere near .500,” Federko said. “He’s carried the club. He’s playing unbelievably. No question, he’s playing as well as anybody in the league. He takes charge. He doesn’t wait for somebody else to do something… When he first came, he came into a checking role. They made him play against all the toughest centers. He did a great, great job. And the goals he scored, the plays he set up, you knew he was going to be an excellent player.”

“He’s been phenomenal,” then-coach Demers said during last postseason. “In my mind, there’s no doubt it will carry over to next year. He’s going to be the next star of this hockey club. He’s the next Bernie Federko of this team.”… When Jacques Martin replaced Demers, he made Gilmour’s scoring development a priority. “Jacques Martin hanged my role. I was just a defensive player. Jacques Demers would not let me carry the puck in. Now I can go in and try to make a play.” Wood believes Gilmour could be one of the league’s top guns. “He could probably be three times as good with an offensive team. Give him breathing room and he’ll play like hell. He’d make a lot more plays, set up a lot more goals.” Gilmour shrugs off projections of his future. “I just go out there and try to play every game. I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth and say I’m going to get 100 points every season. You should never say you’re going to go out and do it. You have to just go out and do it.”
Originally Posted by Gretzky to Lemieux: The Story of the 1987 Canada Cup
Today, of course, it hardly registers as a surprise that Gilmour would play a starring role in the Canadian comeback because during the course of his remarkable 20 year career, the diminutive center became one of the premier clutch performers of his generation. He played a leading role on the Flames' '89 Cup team. He almost singlehandedly carried Toronto to the Conference finals in 1993 and 1994, a two-year period when he might have been the best player in the NHL. He was that rarest of players w ho was more productive in the postseason than the regular season... but most of those heroics came later in his career. In 1987, Gilmour wasn't regarded as a money player and, outside of St. Louis, he was barely regarded at all. On team Canada, in fact, he was the original "just happy to be here" guy, thrilled to be rubbing shoulders with Gretzky, Messier and Bourque, thrilled to be playing the game at its highest level. Four seasons earlier, he'd graduated from the Blues as a 20-year old rookie on his checking ability and his outsized heart. But no one saw one of the game's great young starts in those early years in St. Louis. No one saw the kid who'd play a key role for Keenan in the '87 Canada Cup. What they saw was the quintessential long shot, a scrawny, pugnacious rink rat who was more likely to be killed than make it to the NHL.

"He was an unknown, that's for sure," says Mike Liut, the Blues' goalie during Gilmour's early days. "He wasn't a player who was on anyone's radar screen. They listed him at 175 but if he weighed 150 in those days I wouldn't have been surprised. But what was immediately noticeable was he was a tenacious player. He ran at big guys. He played in high traffic areas. He was literally fearless."

"He was this little guy but he'd charge into the pile and throw himself at people, then bounce off them like someone hit an eject button," says Bernie Federko. "We still laugh about him. He came to play on and off the ice." Few expected him to make the NHL team in 1983-84... Hawerchuk says his old rival always had that certain indefinable something that appears in great players. It just took the rest of the hockey world some time to realize what Hawerchuk and most everyone else who came into contact with Gilmour already knew. "Anyone who knew him knew he was going to be a player. Anyone who didn't know him just saw this kid who was never going to be big enough."

...the beer leagues were full of big junior scorers who couldn't make the jump at the next level. But there was also something different about Gilmour and that became evident in his first training camp with the Blues. Demers says, "the first time I saw him he looked so small and frail, I didn't think there was any way he'd last. Then we started scrimmaging and you could see he was special. I would say a week into that camp he made the team."... Gilmour spent the rookie season stacked up behind Federko and Blake Dunlop in a checking role, but still managed to accumulate 53 points. The blues, a largely veteran group, also fell in love with their new center and his irrepressible passion for the game... he spent two more seasons checking, killing penalties, and working his ass off before his breakthrough performance in the 1986 playoffs... 1987 was an astonishing campaign for someone who'd been typecast as a checker in his first three seasons and it earned Gilmour an invitation to the Team Canada camp that summer. But he was one of nine natural centers vying for a spot and three of the positions were already conceded to Gretzky, Messier and Lemieux. Gilmour took one look at the competition, reasoned he didn't have a hope in hell of making the team, then proceeded to do what he always did, which was play as if his mortal soul was on the line. It had worked before. It would work again.

"My god, the talent on that team and I was just a kid," Gilmour says. "Then they cut Stevie Y and Kirk Muller and all the guys I was hanging around with. I made it to the final cuts and it came down to me and Dave Poulin and I thought, there's no way." But Gilmour had some champions within the Canada dressing room. Gretzky, for one, lobbied Keenan on his behalf and as much as it pained the coach to cut Poulin, his captain with the Flyers, Gilmour had been the better player in the run up to the tournament. He was given a 4th line role with the team and was expected to spend most of the tournament watching from the bench. Against Finland in the round robin, he took an ill-timed penalty, got an earful from Tom Watt, and was made a healthy scratch the next game against the Americans. That was also the game Claude Lemieux went down with an ankle injury and Gilmour was reinstated for the next contest, where he started to work his way up the team's depth chart. "I'd gone full circle. I started out my career as a checker, had one season as a scorer and I was a checker again. But I would have done anything they asked me on that team."

By the time the final rolled around, Gilmour was one of nine healthy forwards Keenan could call on and his versatility made him an invaluable piece of the Team Canada puzzle. He played a lot on the wing with Leimeux in a feature role, centered his own line in a checking configuration, and with Sutter, was the team's top penalty killer. He was also reliable defensively, could handle the minutes and the pressure, and, other than Lemieux, he was the only team Canada forward to register more than one goal in the final. "He wanted to play in that series," says Federko. "You could sense the excitement when he talked about it. There was a great deal of pressure and he just loved to play in those kind of games." ..."maybe there were guys at the start of the tournament who didn't know what kind of teammate he would be but, by the final, there wasn't any question about what Dougie brought to the table," said Hawerchuk.

There wasn't any question about what Gilmour's goal did for game 1 either as the Forum, which had been uncomfortably quiet, came to life along with Team Canada. On his next shift, the unlikely tagteam of Gilmour and Gartner both ran at Fetisov, Hanson brother-style, and smashed him into the boards...
Originally Posted by Complete handbook of Pro Hockey 1987-88
Ended Bernie Federko’s nine year reign as the blues’ leader in points… a steal by the Blues
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1987-88
Anticipation and vision combine to form extraordinary hockey sense from Gilmour. Liberated from a defensive system that bottled up his offensive skills, Gilmour demonstrated last year how devastating an offensive player he can be… he is very nimble on his feet, even though he won’t outrace anyone, and is exceptionally dangerous within 10 feet of any place he happens to be… can handle the puck at all speeds. He uses his teammates very well, and shows excellent creativity on the ice. Doug uses his one-step quickness to get to the openings – he likes to work from the left wing side of the ice so he’ll attack from there and do damage with opportunistic goals… despite his lack of rink-length speed, Doug is one of the better skaters on the Blues and that ability helps him as a checker, the role he had been assigned for three seasons. Gilmour is a persistent checker. He has a lot of energy and he combines that skating strength with his hockey sense to understand the opposition’s plays and break them up… he has managed to avoid the hitting that was wearing him down as he opened up his offense, and that allows him to perform at or near the same level all season, rather than becoming fatigued or injured as the year goes on… began to assume the mantle of leader and offensive force held so long by Bernie Federko. His versatility in terms of style – and the success he can have with any style of play – shows just how talented and valuable Doug Gilmour is.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1988-89
There is almost nothing that Gilmour can’t do, so talented is he… uses extraordinary hockey sense at both ends of the ice… not only sees openings but uses his sense to create them – he is excellent without the puck – and that’s something only the best players can do… lest we forget, he spent the first three years of his NHL career bottled up as a checker… the skill that best allows Doug to take advantage of his smarts is his skating. Gilmour looks unspectacular but he’s a very good skater… exceptionally dangerous within 10 feet of any loose puck. Again, he can apply that skill both offensively and defensively… he uses his skating defensively to close passing lanes, cut off skating lanes and intercept passes. Part of the anything Gilmour can do is play aggressively. He is willing to do whatever is needed to make his plays – offensively or defensively – and he’ll go to the corner to hit or to the front of the net and get batted around when necessary. He should learn to avoid some of that traffic because his stature can’t handle it… as he gets older it will be more difficult for him to come back from those aches and pains. His eye/hand coordination and arm and wrist strength make him a good faceoff man… had a tough time with his confidence last year as he struggled to recreate the 100-point season he had before. His confidence flagged badly under the expectations placed on him. Gilmour recovered by season’s end (He played at a 94-point pace). For this year Gilmour just has to clear his mind and do what he does best – play hockey better than 90% of the other NHLers.
Originally Posted by Eternal Flames
…there was nothing superstitious about the Proficiency of Gilmour. In the eyes of Cherry and other noted hockey experts, the Flames’ center earned high praise. “Serge Savard said that he thought Gilmour was the difference in the Finals. Guys like Harry Neale, Scotty Bowman and I couldn’t believe how this guy never seemed to tire. Hit him, and he’d bounce back up like nothing happened. Bowman said Gilmour reminded him of Davey Keon… tireless skaters w ho gave their all and never got weary.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, June 1989
In the 1989 Playoffs, Gilmour gave the Flames everything they didn’t get in 1988: scoring, leadership, and a deep-seated will to win. It’s eactly what they were looking for when they made the trade with St. Louis last summer.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1989-90
An extraordinarily talented player… looks unspectacular but he’s a very good skater… he especially proved himself in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s a tremendous talent, one of the very best in the NHL, and he gets better as the games become more important. Since the Flames figure to be playing some important games the next few springs, we should be seeing just how good Gilmour is. He’s a leader with a burning desire to win.
Originally Posted by Score 1990-91
Doug, who is called “killer” by his teammates, is one of the NHL’s best clutch performers.
Originally Posted by Score 1990-91 100 Hottest Players
one of the craftiest playmaking centers in hockey, Gilmour had another terrific season in 1989-90.... unlike many gifted offensive players, Gilmour can also adopt a defensive posture when necessary...
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1990-91
Hockey sense is the key to Gilmour’s success as a finesse player, and that asset is certainly the best tangible quality he has. Gilmour sees, anticipates and reacts to the ice and his teammates as well as the best players in the game, and he does so at both ends of the ice. He uses this mental ability to compensate for his less than dynamic skating. Don’t get us wrong, Gilmour is far from being a poor skater. Rather, he uses his brain to make his excellent quickness and overall mobility (but not great speed) better. By knowing where the openings will be, Gilmour knows how to get to them for the Flames’ use or to prevent their use by the oppsosition. Or how to get his teammates to them – he is a very creative player with and without the puck. He backs up his smarts with his hands. Gilmour controls the puck very well when carrying it at all speeds (his balance allows him to work well with the puck in traffic), and he passes excellently. He can feather or fire a puck equally well to both his forehand and backhand sides… his skills make him a natural for all kinds of responsibilities, and he is a very strong defensive player.

Someone forgot to tell Gilmour he’s a little guy – for the way he plays, he must think he sees Joel Otto looking at him when he looks in the mirror. Gilmour is a very aggressive player in all areas and aspects of the game, and his willingness to apply himself physically opens up his finesse game… that style isn’t always good for him because he’ll get tired or fatigued, but it’s not in Gilmour’s nature to take a night off – and no one can complain about that. If you can outwork Gimour, you stand a chance of winning. Since your chances of outworking Gilmour are very slim, you’re not going to win many games against him. He is a fanatically motivated player, one of the NHL’s very best, and he just gets better as the games become more important.
Originally Posted by Score 1991-92
A gifted playmaker… an outstanding clutch player. He has the unique ability to lift his game a notch when the playoffs start.
Originally Posted by Pro Set Platinum 1991-92
An aggressive forechecker who will produce points or play in a strictly defensive role when asked.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1991-92
Gilmour is a danger from the red line in. He can do the damage himself, or use others with his excellent playmaking skills. He is a smart, selective shooter who is very adept at using a screen and picking his shot. As a passer, he uses either wing equally well and he senses the play well enough that he will lead a play in, put pressure on the defense, turn and feed a trailer for a good scoring chance. He has very good hands and the puck seldom bounces on him. He is not a speed demon on skates, but he does have enough speed to outrace people to the puck. His anticipation and positioning help him there. Gilmour is a good penalty killer since he is one of the best faceoff men in the NHL… offensively and defensively, he has nice hockey instincts.

Gilmour is a hard worker and a very durable player who’ll play a very aggressive, physical game – he plays bigger than he is. He takes a pretty good pounding since he lacks the speed to escape some of the more vulnerable positions, but he seems to bounce back after every hit. He’s not an agitator. He does his job quietly… a dedicated and consistent player and on-ice leader who has been a captain or alternate everywhere he has played.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1992-93
Gilmour is not a natural skater; he is good, but not great. He is, however, extremely smooth, agile and nimble…. He will not storm across the blueline and blast a shot at the goalie, unless he thinks the goalie will leave a rebound for a teammate. Rather, he goes to work in the scoring chance area between the hashmarks; he has magic hands in close, can score easily on a deke or by banging in a rebound. He also has a feather-light, computer-accurate passing touch… Gilmour is not big or hugely strong; he relies, instead, on quickness. It doesn’t hurt, either, that he is among the better faceoff men in the league. That asset comes especially in handy in special teams situations. Gilmour bumps, finishes his checks and has a feistiness that can catch fire at any time. An extremely aggressive player, he will dive in front of pucks. He will also absorb whatever punishment is necessary to improve his chances – or a teammate’s chances – of scoring… merely by arriving last season, he revived the slumbering Glenn Anderson, helped him turn into a productive player… the former Flame became invaluable, untouchable, a major component in Leafs leadership and a significant reason there is some optimisim heading into this season.
Originally Posted by Sharks and Prey 1992-93
That this nifty playmaker and on-ice leader ended up in Toronto stands as damning evidence of Doug Risebrough’s ineptitude as GM in Calgary. The simple story is Gilmour wanted more money than Risebrough was willing to pay, so the matter went to arbitration where it was deemed that Risebrough’s proposal was the acceptable one. Gilmour was so angry he left the team, feeling that for the arbitrator to be the guest of the GM in the Flames’ skybox during a game rendered the arbitrator somewhat less than impartial. A short walkout was followed by a move to Toronto and Gilmour emerged as a happy camper, leading the Leafs to the edge of respectability. This season, Gilmour will continue to lead the club in the points department. He’ll see all kinds of ice time in all situations.
Originally Posted by Feb 1993 Coaches poll
Best Defensive Forward: 1st
Hardest Worker: 1st
Best Penalty Killer: 2nd (behind Poulin)
Best Playmaker: 3rd (single vote, behind Oates and Lemieux)
Smartest Player: t-3rd (behind Lemieux and Bourque, tied with Gretzky and Oates)
Best Faceoff Man: t-4th (behind Otto, Stastny, and Francis, tied with Oates)
Most Underrated: t-5th (single vote)
Toughest Player: t-5th (single vote)
Best Shot: t-6th (single vote)
Most Infuriating: t-7th (single vote)
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 12, 1993
Doug Gilmour’s versatility knows no limits. He takes crucial faceoffs, plays the final minute of close games, kills penalties, runs the power play, and is one of the best even strength players in the NHL. “I think Dougie is going to win the MVP,” Wayne Gretzky says. “The only way he doesn’t win it is if Mario Lemieux comes back to win the scoring title.”… he is this year’s revelation. People knew he was good, but few knew he was great. No player in the league is as important to his team’s fortunes as Gilmour is to the Leafs… teammate Mike Foligno says Gilmour will win the Hart Ross – presumably a combination of league MVP and scoring honours. Gilmour is more likely to win the Hart than the Ross and even more likely to win the Selke… Ordinarily, Gilmour and Burns exchange few words; they have forged a largely unspoken alliance. Burns says, "it’s a silent partnership. I just look at him and he looks at me and we seem to get the message across.” They are kindred spirits – focused and accustomed to winning… it is criminal that widespread praise has eluded Gilmour for so long. Cliff Fletcher says that Gilmour has been the NHL’s best two-way forward for the past half-dozen seasons. But it wasn’t until Fletcher fleeced Doug Risebrough last season that Gilmour found a stage to demonstrate his considerable talents… “He has made such an impact because the team was so far down and he, almost by himself, has picked it up by the bootstraps and made it into a competitive team.”

Four people are integral to the turnaround – Fletcher, Burns, Potvin and Gilmour. None has caught the public’s imagination like Gilmour, whose fierce play and made-for-TV good looks have given Maple Leaf fans throughout the country a focal point for their affections… Gilmour is only 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, but he plays with aggressiveness and fears nothing… except mediocrity… one thing Gilmour does not do is turn the other cheek. He plays in the game’s combat zones where opponents try to wear him down with punishing hits and cheap shots. Every team assigns hitmen to stop Gilmour, who insists the tactic serves to inspire, not intimidate him. “Why should I go that much harder?” Gilmour asks. “Well I’m going to go that much harder because this guy is trying to kick the crap out of me and I’m going to show him I can beat him.” The NHL’s code of honor says teammates defend their best players, but Gilmour will have none of that. He tells linemates to look out for openings, not his best interests. Gilmour is among the keague’s playmaking elite, bringing what may be the highest level of imagination to the Leafs in club history… everybody benefits from his generosity, but Nikolai Borschevsky and Dave Andreychuk are the prime passing targets… Gilmour’s preference is to gather the puck in the leafs’ defensive one, wind through the neutral zone, gain the opposition blueline and then isolate seams in the defense. “My gams is a simple game. I’ve got to use the people around me”.

Gilmour uses speed and agility to baffle NHL defensemen. He carbo-loads the night before games with pasta dishes…. “when you’re coming to the latter part of your career, you want to get better and better. You don’t want to show you’re diminishing. When I went through my arbitration (with Calgary), that’s onw of the things I heard – that my skills were diminishing. I was not going to accept that. Fletcher says, “He’s the type of guy you win Stanley Cups with”.
Originally Posted by Excerpts from Andrew Podneiks’ “Return to Glory”, specifically about the 1993 playoffs
…Sergei Fedorov, a great two-way center, was given the job of shadowing Gilmour, the Leafs’ main threat. If he could hold Dougie in check, Toronto’s offense would falter badly… by game 5 Gilmour was starting to look like the romantic warrior/hockey player that the playoffs will sometimes produce. He had a sore leg, a sprained wrist, facial cuts from being slammed into the boards by Chiasson, and no front teeth. If you couldn’t get inspired by looking at him, let alone watching him play, you didn’t deserve to speak the words Stanley Cup, let alone play for it… after game 6, momentum had shifted. Fans’ hears sank back to reality. The Leafs had made a series of it, they had played their guts out, but now Detroit was going to hammer home the final nail in the coffin. Even diehard Leaf fans felt the team had squandered its one chance to steal the series. Detroit would come out flying in game 7 and the crowd would intimidate the Leafs into submission. It had been a great series, but the Leafs didn’t have a hope in hell on enemy ice in game 7. But players who are winners don’t give up. Ever. And Doug Gilmour was a winner… with less than 3 minutes to go, Clark wended his way down the left side along the boards and saw not one, but two leafs in the slot. Rouse was moving in from the point and Dougie from the right wing. No defense to be found. Wendel drilled the puck to the opening and Dougie skated in front of Rouse, took the pass and buried it. No chance for Cheveldae. The Detroit bench melted. The series wasn’t over yet… when the OT started, it was as though 15 seconds, not minutes had elapsed. The wings showed no signs of having recovered, and the Leafs went right back on the attack. Two minutes in, Dougie got the puck inside the Detroit line and passed it over to Rouse…

Dougie was in on all four goals and outplayed yzerman and Fedorov both. His pasta diet was becoming famous, as was his toothless celebration smile, and his gaunt, ghostlike body. He was playing vintage Conn Smythe hockey in the tradition that gave the playoff trophy its honour, and the playoffs were just beginning.

…In the first OT against St. Louis, the Leafs had 19 shots, but it took the heroics of Dougie three minutes into the fifth period to decide the game. Behind the St. Louis net, he faked one way, then the other, then back, then back back, then twisted around on his backhand. While most people were still dizzy from his moves, he jammed the puck in the now-open side to give the Leafs an exhausting 2-1 win… Gilmour played an incredible 42 minutes on the night, enough to dehydrate most fans watching…

… The way the Leafs and Kings played, the styles and personalities they brought to the rink, indicated this series would be decided by one matchup – Gilmour versus Gretzky. As those to went, so went their teams. They stood for the pride and honor of playing the game, for competing night after night, for winning. They just did it in two very different ways… the 2nd period of game 1 saw the Kings tie the score on a goal by Pat Conacher with 5 minutes left… Then Dougie blew the roof off the building. In the middle six minutes of the 3rd period he played a quality of hockey that could not be approached by mere mortals. From behind the net, he made a pithy pass to Anderson. Anderson, in the slot, deked Hrudey to make it 2-1. A minute later Gilmour scored another himself from in tight, and shortly after set up Bill Berg… in the 3rd period, the Leafs outshot L.A. 22-1… Gilmour was far and away the best player on the ice and late in the game was at the center of a melee…

…in game 2 Gilmour was looking as haggard as Gretzky was, yet he was relentless in his leadership. He opened the scoring at 2:25…

…(in game 6) the clock ticked down and L.A. desperately tried to hold on. With almost 2 full minutes to go, Burns called Potvin to the bench. The puck was in the kings’ zone. Dougie was in possession. He saw Wendel in the slot and another incredible wrist shot nailed the net with just 1:21 to go… the game lasted only another 101 seconds, but boy was there plenty to talk about afterwards. During the LA Power play, with the puck in the Leafs’ end, Gretzky accidentally high-sticked Gimour in the face. Dougie went down, his face bloodied. Fraser saw the whole incident, yet play continued. Gilmour went off to get eight stitches, the victim of Gretzky-rule hockey. Half a minute later, Gretzky himself scored to give the kings a 5-4 win and force one final game.

…(following game 7) in the Leaf dressing room, Dougie talked about the team: “We fought back. There is a lot of character on this team. Lots of guts and determination in here. At times on paper we’re not as good as the other team, but we have a lot of determination. We’ve got a good coach who demands a lot and we want to win for him. We gave it a good run.” He looked drained and vulnerable, a mere wisp of the ideal image of a hockey player, the knight in plastic armour. He looked like he needed a week in the hospital.
Originally Posted by Upper Deck 1993-94
The emotional heart and soul of the Maple Leafs… a tenacious forechecker who is one of the league’s finest two-way players
Originally Posted by Score 1993-94
the Leafs haven’t had a Hart winner since 54-55, but Doug certainly deserved consideration for the honour in 1992-93… “he reads and sees the ice as well as anyone who’s ever played center in Toronto,” says Maple Leafs assistant GM Bill Watters.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1993-94
Gilmour was the Leafs’ best offensive AND defensive player, it’s heart, its soul, its emblem. He anchored both special teams and was probably the MVP of the playoffs, even though Toronto did not reach the final. He is a complete package. Killer was this season’s revelation. The mark of a great player is that he takes his team upwards with him. Wayne Gretzky has done it, Mario Lemieux has done it, and now Gilmour has.

Gilmour is a creative playmaker. He is one of those rare NHL players who has eschewed the banana blade for a nearly straight blade, so he can handle the puck equally well on his forehand or backhand. He will bring people right up on top of him before he slides a little pass to a teammate, creating time and space. He is very intelligent and has great anticipation. He loves to set up from behind the net and intimidates because he plays with such supreme confidence. Gilmour is a setup man who needs finishers around him and doesn’t shoot much. When he does, he won’t use a big slap, but instead scores from close range either as the trailer or after losing a defender with his subtle dekes and moves. He’s not a smooth, gifted skater, but he is nimble and quick. He is one of the best faceoff men in the NHL, possibly top-3 with Francis and Oates. His intelligence and hockey sense make him the best two-way forward in the NHL.

Gilmour plays with passion and intelligence, challenging bigger opponents regardless of where or when he plays. He puts life into the Leafs with his relentless work ethic. Though he’s listed at 185 points, he plays at around 165 during the season and has lost up to seven pounds in a single playoff game. The only drawback to all of Gilmour’s intensity is that he can become so fierce and intense that he loses his focus. He does not turn the other cheek. He goes into the trenches because that’s where the pick is, and that’s what he hungers for. You have to wonder where Gilmour gets the energy… he has established himself as a major presence in the league, and if his body can take another season like that last one, the Leafs will be among the dominant teams of the upcoming season… Gilmour provides never-say-die leadership. He will come up with a big shift after his team has been scored upon, and will ignite the Leafs and the crowd with an inspirational bump or goal. He will do everything he has to do to win a game.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1993-94
Watching Gilmour today, it’s hard to think he was once limited to a checking role under Jacques Demers in St. Louis. The good thing about having that role (and Gilmour admits as much) is that he is now one of the game’s best two-way players. You can’t learn offensive talent – which he has in abundance. But you can learn defense, and he learned well… Gilmour is small by NHL standards, not just in height but in weight. He is, therefore, hard to catch, but he runs the risk of absorbing some serious damage if he isn’t careful. His chippiness, too, gets him into penalty trouble he could do without… Gilmour has made a huge impact on the Leafs in his short tenure… his infectious winning attitude has obviously been rubbing off on his teammates.

WILL – score often
CAN’T – brawl and live
EXPECT – 100 point seasons
DON’T EXPECT – a title, yet
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1993-94
The Prophet research staff took a vote at the end of last season to decide the league's MVP. It was unanimous and it wasn't Mario. Gilmour was our choice. Take him away from the Leafs and there is no team. People marvelled at his playing ability and tenacity during the playoffs. Diminutive Gilmour was abused by opponents every game, and lesser centers would have packed things in early for the peace of some fairway. Not Gilmour. He was up on his feet in a flash and the first to hit the puck carrier while backchecking. he seemed to be on the ice 40 minutes a game, killed penalties, played when the Leafs were a man up, and of course, was a scoring threat. Gilmour is talented, competitive and a leader. Burns wasn't just uttering platitudes when he said Gilmour is the sort of player a coach can count on to win crucial faceoffs, score important goals and motivate teammates...
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1993-94, top-25 players
#3, Doug Gilmour. Gilmour is both the beauty and the beast, a player who prefers a game to be naughty rather than nice... he is just as proud of six stitches as he is of six points.
Originally Posted by January 1994 coaches poll
Hardest Working Player: 1st
Smartest Player: 2nd (behind Gretzky)
Best Defensive Forward: t-2nd (behind Fedorov, tied with Skrudland)
Best Penalty Killer: t-2nd (behind Fedorov, tied with Carbonneau)
Best Playmaker: 3rd (behind Gretzky and Oates)
Toughest Player: t-3rd (behind Neely and Lindros, tied with Clark)
Best Player: t-3rd (single vote)
Best Faceoff Man: t-3rd (single vote)
Most Infuriating: t-5th (single vote
Originally Posted by May 1994 Coaches Poll
Best Defensive Forward: t-2nd (behind Fedorov, tied with Carbonneau, Otto, Skrudland)
Best Faceoff Man: t-3rd (behind Otto and Francis, tied with Lindros and Messier)
Best Penalty Killer: 5th (behind Carbonneau, Fedorov, Graves, and Otto)
Players You Hate to Play Against: t-6th (single vote)
Originally Posted by Excerpts from Andrew Podneiks’ “Return to Glory”, specifically about the 1994 playoffs
…perhaps the biggest difference of all was Dougie. In the 3rd period he fell awkwardly while battling Suter for a loose puck and was helped off the ice with an ankle injury. His status wavered between day-to-day and doubtful as game 6 approached, so as a safeguard the leafs called up 21 year old rookie Darby Hendrickson in the event the ankle was too badly damaged. Mere mortals would have scratched and rested in the press box. Dougie put on his blue and white, war ravaged tunic and played a full shift most of the night in Chicago… (going into the series against the Sharks), Gilmour’s bad ankle and the team’s weak offense were serious causes for concern… Gilmour was hobbling on a terrible ankle that had to be frozen before each game… another game 7. Experience favoured the Leafs, but Dougie was still on the limp… by this point in the season, Vancouver was that much the stronger team. They were a bigger team, and they knew that Gilmour was the key to the Leaf attack, whether on one leg or two. They hit him hard and often all series long and, with his ankle in no great shape, successfully limited his effectiveness. No other Leaf came to the fore… in game 4, the Leafs outplayed the canucks, should have scored but didn’t, and Gilmour was being checked into the ice by Linden, a man double his size… the season was over, but the only thing you could think about, really, was how sorry you felt for Dougie. Night after night he had done the impossible. What more was he supposed to do? On one leg he had done more than anyone else in the league on two. The leafs scored 50 goals; Gilmour was in on 28 of them. It was not until two weeks later, midway through the finals, that Brian Leetch got his 28th point to tie Gilmour in playoff scoring. If ever a player from the playoffs not in the finals were to win the Conn Smythe, Dougie would have been the player, 1994 the season (or perhaps ’93, even).
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1994-95
Probably the most reliable, dependable player in the NHL. A superior leader on the ice (he is rather quiet in the dressing room), Gilmour played through the playoffs on an anke that was so badly injured he would have been sidelined about six weeks if it were the regular season. All he did was outscore all but three players whose teams made it to the finals. Younger players look at him and are inspired to work harder. Gilmour is one of the rare individuals who feels he owes his team and teammates every dollar of his salary For a team to have its best player possess that attitude is invaluable… Gilmour needs to keep the weight off, his play is effortless at a lighter weight and he seldom misses a morning skate or optional practice… Gilmour is a medical miracle. How can such a big heart fit into such a small frame?
Originally Posted by The Leafs: An Anecdotal History, regarding the 1994 season and playoffs
Gilmour, more bravely intense than ever, played demon defense and consolidated his status as the NHL’s 2nd best assists man after Wayne Gretzky… the major factor in Toronto’s series victory over Chicago was – no surprise here – Doug Gilmour. He checked. He scored goals. He assisted on others. And he set the stage for playes leading to get other goals. These numbers meant he had a hand in ten of the fifteen goals the Leafs scored in the series. And then there was Gilmour’s incalculable inspirational value. Consider that in the 6th game he was playing hockey on a right ankle that ordinary people couldn’t walk on… for game 6, a doctor stuck needles into Gilmour’s leg to freeze the strained area, and a trainer wrapped the ankle in an envelope of tape. Gilmour played. Just past the 14 minute mark of the 1st, he faced off against the best of all Hawks, Jeremy Roenick. Gilmour won the draw, slipped the puck back to Mironov, who passed along to Dave Ellett, who fired a shot that bounced off Mike Gartner’s thigh and into the net. It was the only goal either team scored all night. It was enough. It was the work of Dougie Gilmour on one leg.
Originally Posted by “Return to Glory”
On August 18, 1994, former Leaf captains were in attendance to present Doug Gilmour with the new “C” to confirm the most obvious unofficial fact in the hockey world: Dougie was now the leader of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1994-95
One of the few NHL players to be the recipient of a Don Cherry kiss on national TV, Gilmour does it all for the Leafs. he played half of most games last season, centered the top two lines at times, killed penalties, ran the power play and even managed to show he wasn't someone to be taken lightly when he headbutted Roman Hamrlik... At 5'11" he gets knocked around a great deal and it cost the Leafs last season. He bruised his right arm badly last season and calcium deposits began floating around the joint. Did he run off to the clinic for surgery? No. he decided to play out the season and have them removed in the summer. Gimour ran into more injury problems in the playoffs and wasn't the tenacious player we saw in the 1993 postseason. he had his ankle frozen before each game which left him unable to feel his skate and make the dynamic cuts he usually makes... at the end of the playoffs it was clear to Burns and Fletcher that the team couldn't keep relying on Gilmour to the extent it did. He was tired and nearing burnout...
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1994-95
Gilmour loves a battle and doesn’t mind getting his nose dirty every once in a while. His skating is outstanding, although he isn’t blessed with world class speed. As a playmaker on the attack, he is as comfortable taking the puck into heavy traffic as he is making a pass that will send a winger in for a scoring chance. There isn’t an ounce of quit in him, and he never stops working… slightly built, and because of his aggressive approach to the game, takes more than a little physical abuse on the ice. He generally has protection from his teammates (though he never backs away from a dispute) but has to learn to be more self-preserving… won the selke, emblematic of his fine work in the Leafs’ zone picking up his checks… his arrival did more to revitalize the franchise than any move in two decades… the Leafs were among the top 2-3 teams in hockey all of last year and Gilmour was a main contributor to that success.

WILL – lead in all ways
CAN’T – be intimidated
EXPECT – intensity

DON’T EXPECT – a weak effort
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1994-95
It’s difficult to think of Gilmour as under-recognized or as a player who has something to prove… after all, he plays under the microscope in Toronto and receives those endorsements only afforded to a select few. yet somehow, the Toronto superstar has consistently been overshadowed by other NHL bright lights… his extraordinary 127-point season landed him on the NHL’s center stage and earned him a reputation as a gritty, skilled player. This was enhanced by a brilliant postseason effort… his play surprised some observers who thought Gilmour was best suited as a support player…. “I always thought it was funny that I had my career high in points and I won a defensive award,” Gilmour said… with little support at center on the Leafs’ depth chart, he actually produced a more captivating season long effort and again carried the under-talented Leafs into the upper echelon of the standings. “Last year, I said Dougie was the best all-around player in the NHL,” said coach Pat Burns. “I’ve changed my mind, he’s the best player. Period.”

“I think he had as good a year last year as he did before,” Fletcher said, “but I think the team didn’t capture the imagination of people the same way last year.”… The Hart voting was based on regular season play alone, but when the hard-charging Gilmour was still leading the Leafs late into May, all three finalists had been on the sidelines since the first round of the playoffs… if coming 4th in MVP voting wasn’t bad enough, Gilmour also lost the Selke to Fedorov and was left off the all-star teams. Wayne Gretzky ended up ahead of Gilmour in all-star voting despite the fact that Gretzky – a minus 25 player – had not garnered a single MVP vote. That’s where the under-recognized, underappreciated part comes in. It seems incomprehensible Gilmour’s play in his first two full seasons as a Leaf have earned him only a solitary award for defensive proficiency. Over the past two regular seasons, only Adam oates, with 254 points, has more than Gilmour’s 238. He has 63 additional playoff points the last two years, 23 more than the next closest player. Factor in a combined +57 over those two seasons and include Toronto’s two appearances in the final four and you have all-around player who is durable and elevates his play that that of his team in the postseason. In short, you have a player more deserving of accolades than Gilmour has received. It’s unclear why it has happened. Clearly, he doesn’t play in an NHL outpost where his talents remain a local secret. He is not, despite his other talents, a prolific goal scorer and the big gunners always capture attention more easily. Perhas it’s because Gilmour has remained consistent in his production in play, while fans and media are always looking to heap kudos on a player who produces either the unique or unexpected results.

…the loss of Clark means that Gilmour has inherited the leadership off the Leafs, becoming not only the team’s heart night in, night out, but also its soul…. He is the very incarnation of Conn Smyth’s image of a “beat-‘em-in-the-alley” Maple Leaf. His image as a little man with the heart of a lion makes him a compelling figure and playing seemingly every minute of the Leafs’ playoff drive despite a badly damaged ankle that required up to five needles of pre-game freeing cemented his reputation as a heroic performer… Gilmour has also come to understand the difference between playing in Toronto versus most other NHL cities… “Without a doubt, Doug has taken on a leadership role since he has been here,” Fletcher said. “When we didn’t have Wendel for considerable stretches, we always looked to Doug as our leader on the ice… when a new player like Sundin comes in, right away from the first shift it’s Doug who sets the tone.”… the suggestion that age may eventually do to Gilmour what opponents have not will likely fuel his competitive desires more than anything, just as it did three years ago when the Flames told an arbitrator Gilmour’s skills were on the wane in an arbitration hearing. Gilmour has a game plan and it doesn’t include doing a slow fade into a checking forward, a role he once embraced with passion.
Originally Posted by McKee’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1994-95
robbery of the century – ex-Flame/Blue now the best player in the NHL – using two-way proficiency as the criteria. His savage competitiveness is an infectious tonic to his teammates. With back to back 100 point seasons and a superb defensive record. Intelligence, skill, brawn and determination rolled up into one gritty package- Fletcher must act quickly in melding an adequate supporting cast – before the burning desire of his superstar dries up.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News Yearbook 1994-95, top-40 players
#2, Doug Gilmour: The 165 pound Gimour has become the 2000 pound gorilla of the NHL. He does what he wants, when he wants. Though Gilmour doesn't have the Smythe to prove it, he played just as well as Brian Leetch in the playoffs.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, Novermber 4, 1994
The 31-year old center is at the height of his powers. He is a gifted playmaker and latter-day Bobby Clarke.. Gilmour will be a strong candidate for MVP if the season ever gets under way… Fedorov is the more talented of the two, but Gilmour is the better package. Heroic playoff performances the past two seasons have set Gilmour apart from all others. “In terms of pure excitement,” said Florida GM Bryan Murray, “I don’t think there’s anybody better than Sergei. But Doug hooks onto everybody else and brings them along. As a result, he has that ingredient Sergei hasn’t been able to get across at this point. Who would you want in a playoff game? I guess Doug has proven he’s the guy who gets things done.

Gilmour said he’s 100% behind the union, but is concerned about the impact a lengthy stoppage will have on his career. “I’m worried about my skills. The older I get, the better I want to get, and obviously, sitting out a full season isn’t going to help.” How does he feel about being kept from the game at this stage of his career? “It pisses me off… it pisses me right off… I just want to play. Within a month from not, if they decide, ok, the season is over, forget it, don’t think I’m not going to go look for a job. I will go play hockey. I don’t know where it will be.”
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1995-96
Gilmour had two years of great success, but a serious ankle injury in the 1994 playoffs with subsequent bone spurs (requiring surgery on both feet) derailed his conditioning. The lockout made matters worse, and Gilmour never regained his excellence of the previous years. Last season he looked like a disaster. He just never had the same kind of jump that characterized his play previously… routinely beats bigger, stronger centers on draws. In his own end, he is very sound positionally… plays with passion and savvy… expect a big bounce back. He has a huge heart and should regain his status as one of the most reliable and skilled players in the game.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1995-96
it was a year he would like to forget, and he probably has, given the spectacular open ice hit he took from Luke Richardson. Gilmour's head was turned to pick up a pass near center when the lights went out... Gilmour wasn't the same after that hit, but he wasn't the same before it either... surgery to remove calcium deposits from his feet affected his play. After coming back from the concussion, he broke his nose. Then his back started to act up and he pinched a nerve in his neck. At the end of the playoffs he was diagnosed with two herniated disks and it was revealed that his back was so painful he couldn't bend over to tie his skates and had even missed several practices due to the pain. While Gilmour is opting for acupuncture and conditioning over surgery, he's been injured more often over the past two seasons. Give him credit for playing with pain, but realize he hasn't been a force in the postseason two years running because of his banged up body... Gilmour runs about 165 in full equipment, but plays like a guy over 200 pounds. His body isn't up to that kind of abuse anymore and all the heart in the world isn't going to help when the rest of him says no... Gilmour can't be dealt a season as bad as last year twice in a row, so expect a rebound.
Originally Posted by McKee’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1995-96
Herculean feats over the last two MVP-like seasons finally caught up to Leafs’ overloaded main engine. Skilled, gritty and imaginative with great instincts, his trademark killer streak weny mysteriously AWOL somewhere between Toronto and Rapperswil. A re-energized version will be out to erase forgettable 94-95 experience, as this proud leader seeks to regain his lost crown.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1995-96
He isn’t big or particularly muscular, but Gilmour is a scrapper. He’ll battle anyone in the game… a terrific skater, he is shifty and elusive. He’ll play until he drops… he doesn’t start trouble and then skate away from it. He plays the game of a much larger guy and never takes a night off, so he’s pretty depleted at season’s end…

WILL – carry the Leafs
CAN’t – be pushed around
EXPECT – gritty determination

DON’T EXPECT – less than a superstar
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1996-97
On the verge of losing that fine edge in skills and determination that placed him among the league’s elite. He sees a lot of ice time and battles through injuries, and is looking truly worn down… the reservoir is only so deep…. Unless his persistent back problems are healed, he will not be the 100 point performer of 2-3 seasons ago.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1996-97
The popular, pint-sized leader is past his prime... his troubles began with the lockout two seasons back. He played briefly in Europe before returning home. Once NHL play resumed, he said he lacked the burning desire he had felt in every other NHL season. Besides nagging injuries, that could be the key for Gilmour. built like Gretzky, Gilmour needs to be hungry to thrive. His game, while not without assets (such as great vision and shifty skating that drives opponents nuts), depends on simply outworking bigger opponents. Primarily a playmaker, he needs sniping wingers to get the disc to... Assuming his health is good, the real question is how much he still really wants to excel in the NHL. It's dangerous to count this scrapper out, but this is a pivotal season for him. The coaching change might help, or it might not. Already a relentless checker without the puck, Gilmour can remain in the NHL as a defensive specialist after his skills fade. Is he there yet? No. He doesn't have a 100 point season left in him, but he's not Bob Gainey yet either.
Originally Posted by McKee’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1996-97
Prior to the lockout, Leaf captain was widely regarded as the NHL’s premier two-way forward but his star has faded after back-to-back years of mediocrity. Intelligent, gritty leader with great instincts and superb playmaking skills, his persistent back problems and constantly changing linemates have both factored into his decline. When he reported to training camp last year weighing 194 pounds (up 20 from normal playing weight thanks to an upper body strength program over the summer) it was apparent that he’d lost some of his quickness, but he gradually trimmed down and by playoff time had regained his jump. Despite his fall, he still managed 32 goals. Killer is due for a slight rebound.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1996-97
Took the Leafs from pretenders to contenders… isn’t physically intimidating, but he’s one of those ultimate warriors who plays hurt, takes a beating and keeps coming back for more. He never lets anyone get the best of him. When his legs and feet are healthy, he’s a terrific skater. What he lacks in sheer speed, he makes up for with a shifty style… the arrival of Sundin was supposed to relieve pressure on him, but replace him altogether. And yet, the Leafs have in many ways ceased to be Gilmour’s team… Gilmour is a scrapper though, so perhaps a renaissance is in the cards… he was hurting, he wasn’t scoring, and he saw his position as team leader taken over by Sundin. But Gilmour didn’t feel sorry for himself, he just fought harder.

WILL – display leadership
CAN’T – outscore Sundin
EXPECT – a junkyard dog
DON’T EXPECT – him to carry team
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1996-67
got off to a terrible start… missed consecutive practices in late February, prompting speculation about the return of debilitating back woes from the lockout… has lacked old jump since 94 playoffs when he developed bone spurs in his feet that required surgery… still sets up or scores important goals…. Will never look out of place on the ice. If goals fail to come, he can compensate with strong defensive play.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1997-98
The Devils are asking him to continue being a #1 center, and while he showed great ability in the first 5 games after the deal, he came up empty late in the season… Gilmour is still capable of taking his team upwards with him… escaped a serious eye injury late in the season when he was hit in the face with the puck, which may have been partly to blame for his late season slump.
Originally Posted by McKee’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1997-98
Killer was supposedly the missing offensive piece when he was rescued from Toronto before the deadline. But in the playoffs, he was depoyed primarily as a checker against Gretzky and was pointless in the series. He did provide a great lift after arriving, but simply ran out of gas… a highly gifted centerman who reads the game better than most, he can however be pretty ineffective when he lacks the fire, and more importantly at 34, the energy. He showed another level to his game in his debut with the Devils but it’s clear that age will impact his ability to sustain it over a full schedule.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1997-98
Even if his production has declined sharply, his intense two-way play makes him a huge asset. Defensively aware, #1 center and character player. Team player. Inspirational leader. Never-quit attitude. Outstanding playmaking skills and hockey sense. Great on faceoffs and ideal for special teams… Weak back. Shot isn’t great. Refuses to pace his efforts and his once astonishing energy level is declining as time and age take their toll on his frail build. As a result, Gilmour goes through periods where the tank seems empty and his game suffers. #1 center who’s productive without sacrificing D – the ultimate fit for the Devils.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1997-98
it would be difficult to find a more loyal Leaf player... enter Mats Sundin... Gilmour's numbers dropped off and suddenly he was little more than a rapidly depreciating asset... he scored 60 points in 61 games for Toronto before joining the Devils, but along the way, had to endure lots of abuse that must have made him question his loyalty. After a few tough games, Murphy decided to skate his players extra hard for a couple of days before back-to-back games. One practice went beyond the point where Gilmour thought it was productive. He was probably wondering why the team was expending precious energy before a couple of key contests. Gilmour plays with intense emotion and it doesn't always present itself in appropriate situations... he smashed his stick over the boards shattering it into pieces and tossed the remainder towards assistant coach Mike Kitchen. Some of his teammates began to whisper to the press after the incident. One was quoted as saying Gilmour "doesn't like to work as hard as everyone thinks." That sent Leaf brass on a witch hunt for the mole. Then The Sun ran a poll asking readers if he should be traded, sweeping the rumour fires to new heights... after scoring 5 assists in a game, he was named first star, but refused to take the obligatory skate and nod to the fans and media which had chastized him so severely. Although Gilmour publicly stated he wanted to stay, it was just stage dressing to allow the small speedster with a big heart to escape the Leafs with his reputation, or what was left of it, intact. Jersey wanted his leadership, drive and offense. Gilmour is no slouch defensively and Lemaire felt he would e a welcome addition to his system... he was quiet in the postseason, especially when manhandled by the Rangers. His new mates offered no assistance when Messier decked him with a crosscheck. Dougie and the team faded into oblivion... he hwasn't much time left, but he will be motivated to prove to Toronto fans they made a mistake and the Devils want him around to assist the youngsters. The problem he will face is Lemaire's daunting defensive system. He won't be allowed to free wheel as usual, and the club's PP is terrible. On another team, he could count 80 points. With Jersey, expect 10-15 fewer.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1998-99
he plays so hard over the course of a full season. Last year’s Olympic break preserved some of his energy for the playoffs, where he was New Jersey’s best forward
Originally Posted by McKee’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1998-99
Wily veteran rose above Lemaire’s choking system during his first full season with the Devils, breathing life into a stagnant attack while resurrecting the PP from 22nd to 2nd overall. He sat out 18 games with a knee injury late in the season but returned just before the playoffs to contribute over 40% of New Jersey’s goal output. Highly creative with exceptional vison, he is a mix of skill and relentless determination that somehow failed to inspire his teammates against the Senators. All his one-man show did was increase his market value beyond New Jersey’s means…
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1999-2000
doesn’t shoot much… a defensively solid player. His awful +/- reflects just bad the hawks and Gilmour’s injury must have been… with a $6M salary, nothing he does will ever look like enough…
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1999-2000
The warrior is showing signs of deterioration… was a shadow of the player the Hawks thought they had acquired. Smart, defensively sound, gritty and tough beyond his 175-pound frame, Gilmour needs to be all of that once again to justify his contract signing. When healthy, he’s still a great playmaker… the pressure’s on to prove he has something left.
Originally Posted by McKee’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1999-2000
labored through much of the year with a bulging back disk problem which eventually required season ending surgery… when healthy, showed he still had the creativity, skills and killer work ethic to be a key factor… experimented at LW.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2000-01
The Sabres didn’t get to see the best of Gilmour due to a virus that caused him to lose 12 pounds by playoff time. He is heading into his last season.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2000-01
Killer’s time in the NHL is just about over and he obviously wants to finish his career in style. He will be counted upon to kick-start the sabres offense over the course of the regular schedule, since his playmaking skills are deeply needed on the defensive minded squad. Always a two-way performer… the biggest question is his health…
Originally Posted by McKee’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2000-01
Killer proved to be a vital deadline acquisition as he almost singlehandedly carried the Sabres into the playoffs only to be rendered completely ineffective by a nasty stomach virus which all but sealed the club’s postseason fate… crafty playmaker rebounded well from major back surgery and showed glimpses of the tremendous skill, determination and instincts… may retire after this season.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2001-02
will he or won’t he? When the Sabres got knocked out, Gilmour had apparently played his final NHL game. Although he was pronounced retired shortly thereafter, he had a change of heart. Now, he wants one more shot at a cup title.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2002-03
changed his mind about retirement and waited for someone to come calling. After the Canadiens lost Saku Koivu, they immediately brought in the veteran pivot. While his 100 point days are long gone, he can still set up his wingers beautifully, provide his team with an emotional lift and work tirelessly for 60 minutes… This will likely be Gilmour’s swan song. Look for him to go out in style with 40-45 points.
Originally Posted by McKee’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2002-03
Wily veteran postponed retirement and shrugged off a rusty start plus midseason back injury to play a major role in guiding the Habs into the playoffs, where he continued to prosper on a lethal line with Richard Zednik, contributing a team-high 10 points… a ferocious competitor with great vision and distribution skills, Killer brings invaluable leadership and experience to the dressing room, and was once again displaying the fire and intensity that opens up other parts of his game… hasn’t hit empty yet.
Originally Posted by McKee’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2003-04
An encouraging recovery from major knee surgery has Gilmour convinced he can squeeze one more season out of his 40-year old body. While his production has obviously declined over the years, his drive and intensity are still first rate.

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Evgeni Malkin, C

- 6’3”, 195 lbs


- Stanley Cup Champion (2009, 2016)
- Stanley Cup Finalist (2008)
- Conn Smythe Trophy Winner (2009)
- Art Ross Trophy Winner (2009, 2012)
- Hart Trophy Winner (2012)
- Hart Trophy runner-up (2008, 2009)
- NHL 1st Team All-Star (2008, 2009, 2012)
- Top-20 in scoring 7 times (1st, 1st, 2nd, 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th)
- Top-10 in points-per-game 8 times (1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th)
- Best VsX scores: 112, 103, 100, 83, 81, 81, 75 (total 635, average 90.7)
- Best ES VsX scores: 125, 112, 111, 80, 74, 72, 71 (total 645, average 91.2.1) – and has already earned a score of 74 late in the 2017 season
- Top-10 in playoff scoring 5 times (1st, 1st, 5th, 6th, 8th)


- 80 Points in 73 major international games
- Top-10 in scoring in 5 major tournaments (1st-2012 WC, 5th-2006 WC, 5th-2010 WC, 10th-2007 WC, 10th-2010 Olympics)
- World Championship All-star team (2007, 2010, 2012)
- World Championship best forward (2012)
- World Championship MVP (2012)
- 6 World Championship medals (B-2005, B-2007, S-2010, G-2012, G-2014, S-2015)

THN Annual Top-50 player list rankings:

2011(no list)

Originally Posted by Legendsoghockey.net
Evgeni Malkin was born July 31, 1986 in Magnitogorsk, Russia. Selected second overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Malkin remained in Russia for the 2005-06 season due to ongoing issues with the transfer agreement between the NHL and the IIHF.

After missing the start of the NHL season due to injury, Malkin made his NHL debut on October 18, 2006. He started the season by tallying a goal in each of his first six games, and instantly became one of the leagues most lethal young scorers. The 20-year-old continued to live up to the hype all season long and went on to lead all rookies in goals (33), power-play goals (16), assists (52) and points (85). His remarkable season was recognized by the NHL as the young Russian was named the 2007 Calder Memorial Trophy winner as the league's most outstanding rookie. He became the first Penguin to win the Calder since the legendary Mario Lemieux walked away with the honour in 1985.

Malkin followed up on an impressive rookie season by simply dominating offensively on a Penguins team that won the Atlantic Division. His outstanding sophomore season included being named a finalist for Hart Trophy as league MVP and Lester B Pearson Award as most outstanding player. The gifted centreman finished second in NHL scoring with 106 points behind fellow Russian native Alex Ovechkin. His torrent point producing streak continued into the 2008 NHL playoffs where he totaled 22 points in 20 games as his Penguins were defeated in the Stanley Cup Final by the Detroit Red Wings.

Internationally, Malkin has represented his homeland at the Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014), the World Championships (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014), and the World Junior Championships (2006) where he was named the tournament MVP.

In 2009, Malkin became the seventh consecutive first-time Art Ross Trophy winner. After finishing as runner-up to Alex Ovechkin the previous year, they would reverse positions with Malkin becoming the second Russian to win the scoring title, finishing with 113 points. Malkin would also join teammate and 2007 winner Sidney Crosby in continuing the Penguins' domination of the award, winning it for the 13th time in the last 21 seasons. The 1st Team All-Star also led all players with 78 assists and was dominant at even-strength, where he recorded 70 of his points.

After a tremendous season that saw him lead the NHL in scoring, Evgeni Malkin would take his game to another level during the postseason, helping lead the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup championship since winning back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992. Malkin would top the playoff scoring charts with both 22 assists and 36 points, which marked the highest playoff total since Wayne Gretzky recorded 40 points during the L.A. Kings 1993 playoff run. Dispelling the myth that a Russian can't play in the clutch, Malkin's dominating performance saw him become the first Russian-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP.

Following a pair of injury-filled seasons, Malkin reaffirmed his position as one of the game's elite players during the 2011-12 season. His 109 points were best in the NHL and two better than second place, earning him his second career Art Ross Trophy. In addition to the Art Ross, Malkin would add to his trophy case at the NHL awards in June, taking home the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player and the Ted Lindsay Award as the "most outstanding player" in the NHL as voted members of the National Hockey League Players' Association.

In 2016, Malkin and the Penguins were once again on top of the hockey world as the club defeated Rangers, Capitals, Lightning and Sharks en route to the fourth Stanley Cup title in franchise history.
Originally Posted by post-gazette.com, February 9, 2014
Evgeni didn't have to be encouraged. He had always been captivated by hockey. When he was a toddler, Natalia once visited his bed and saw him sleeping in a goalie mask. At 11, he broke his leg during the summer and was on crutches. Vladimir assumed that meant Evgeni would not play in the first hockey tournaments of the fall, and he was shocked when a friend asked him why he wasn't at the game that day to see Evgeni play. "The coach tried to stop Evgeni," Vladimir says, "but it was impossible."

Evgeni would just have to keep working. He had immediately shown how gifted he was with the puck on his stick, and he was placed on his brother's team with boys a year older. Evgeni was unafraid to stand in front of the net against bigger kids, taking hit after hit. He cared so much he would cry after losses. And before long, he'd be named captain of the older group. "I'm like, 'Wow,' it's a surprise to me," Evgeni recalls after a recent Penguins practice in Pittsburgh. "The coach said, 'No, you are the best player on the ice. You should be captain, because you work hard. These guys, they're bigger and they're older, but they want to follow you.' "

…Evgeni had joined Metallurg's B-team, where players could get stuck for years before making the jump to the pros or deciding to give up their pursuit. Evgeni was only there for a few months before he signed his first pro contract, at age 17, to play for Metallurg during the 2003-04 season. On the ice, the club worked him into their lineup gradually. They did not want to rush him. But in the small apartment on Karl Marx Street, Evgeni's mind remained active. He wanted to buy his family a new home, one in a nicer neighborhood, where they wouldn't have to share their walls with others any longer. His parents suggested they just expand the apartment. Evgeni would not hear it. They all went to look at homes together, and it was intoxicating, simply having so many options. "Maybe Evgeni had some 'star fever,' " Vladimir says. "Evgeni was on the rise. He felt that he could now help our family. It was very important to him."

…Evgeni Malkin did not feel like a star. Sure, the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL had drafted him second overall in the 2004 amateur draft, so people knew his name. But during his first three seasons with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, he had not even scored 100 total points. He was ready to make a move. He had never been patient. Now American agent J.P. Barry was in his ear, saying that the 2006-07 season was the time for him to seize his destiny across the Atlantic Ocean. "Malkin was hungry," says Andrei Zaitsev, a Magnitogorsk restaurateur and club owner who befriended Evgeni around that time. "He wanted to change everything. There are people who are 'fed' in the sports world, and they cease to play. Malkin was hungry."

Of course, when it came time to actually make his decision official, it was not that simple. The Malkins had been under the impression that Evgeni could get out of his contract after the 2005-06 season to join the Penguins. In June 2006, he sent a fax to Velichkin with notice that he was exercising his right under Russian labor law to terminate his contract with two weeks' notice. Velichkin said he had given the Malkins no such assurances, and he could sense that this precious gem of a hockey player, produced right there in Magnitogorsk with the help of Rashnikov's immense investment, was slipping away before they even had gotten to taste the fruits of their labor. Velichkin and Rashnikov, who had added team president to his role as chairman of the board of the factory, talked it over. They would offer Evgeni a one-year contract worth a reported $3.45 million, which would be the highest in the Russian Super League for that season and more than he would make for the Penguins, to unleash him as a star for Metallurg. And after that magical year in Magnitogorsk, they would celebrate his departure to the NHL with a ceremony for the team's fans.

This, they felt, was a fair deal -- the only way Evgeni's time with Metallurg could end. "We wished to show our fans that diamond that we have created," Velichkin says. "What is it to grow a player? It is easy to grow one tennis player. You need to provide one athlete nutrition and gear, have one coach and have a field to play. To grow one good player in hockey, you have to be training 25 people on the team. You need to go on trips and play games with other teams. You must give them the equipment, which is deteriorating rapidly, feed them and keep the coaching staff. Parents for hockey school almost do not pay. The basic costs are borne by the hockey club and help from the plant. It's a very, very, very hard and long job. There is a total of 500 people in one year in the same school. All of this in order to make several top-tier players."

For weeks, Evgeni met almost daily with Velichkin and Velichkin's assistant. Natalia was also in frequent contact with Velichkin, who was trying to woo the parents as much as the son. On Aug. 6, with Evgeni stubbornly withholding his signature, Metallurg brought in the heavy artillery. A meeting was set at Rashnikov's office, and, at first, one of the most powerful men in Russia could not sway him. But, as the conversations changed locations to the Malkins' home and continued into the next day, Evgeni became worn down by the pressure. To Velichkin, the young man seemed confused. Evgeni and his hometown had reached a tipping point. It was with their training that he became a master of this game, but now the globe was opening up to him. What was he supposed to want? To be the best for the city that made him? Or to simply be the best?

"It was big stress," Evgeni recalls. "I understand the general manager was doing his job. He wants me to stay in my hometown. But maybe he did too much. He came to my house, he talked to my parents. It was a little bit much." Evgeni couldn't have understood why he meant so much to Metallurg. Early in the morning of Aug. 7, he signed the contract, but there was no sense of relief, only the feeling that control of his future had been stripped from able hands. Weren't those days supposed be over? "On this night," Evgeni texted Velichkin's assistant, "you killed my dream." Days later, he flew to Helsinki, Finland, for the team's preseason camp, seemingly ready to give one final season to the people of Magnitogorsk. But Evgeni and Barry, his agent, had hatched a new plan, spawning a series of events befitting a Cold War fantasy. When Evgeni landed in Helsinki, Barry was there waiting for him at customs. They snuck away and hid out for a few days in an apartment, until Evgeni could go to the U.S. embassy and apply for a visa. When Evgeni and Barry made their escape to Los Angeles, Velichkin was enraged. "This is pure sports terrorism," he said then. The hurt was profound. This was what Magnitogorsk got for all of its time and energy, for its willingness to let its best player leave for foreign fame and riches the next season? Metallurg would sue the Penguins and the NHL, making the point that the Pittsburgh club had not invested anything in Evgeni yet somehow got the finished product free of charge. Velichkin wanted some compensation, anything to ease the pain. But there would be no monetary salve for this wound.

…Evgeni does not stop either. He wants more Stanley Cups, and an Olympic gold medal, which he'll heartily pursue on home soil during the next two weeks in the Sochi Winter Games. In Pittsburgh, where he is known affectionately as "Geno," he has made a life for himself. When Vladimir and Natalia visit, they are treated like celebrities and cheered when their smiling faces flash on the big screen, and two worlds can be merged with the help of Natalia's borscht.

Evgeni and Magnitogorsk made up quickly. It's hard to stay mad at someone you love. After his dominant first season in the NHL, Velichkin met him at the airport when he returned to Magnitogorsk. They hugged, attempting to put any bitterness behind them. And two years later, Evgeni would come home that summer with the ultimate gift. He decided to spend his one day with the Stanley Cup in Magnitogorsk. That night, Zaitsev, his friend, threw Evgeni a party at his nightclub that was attended by more than 700 people. "He joked, 'I'm surprised that I have so many friends in Magnitogorsk. When I left, there were less,' " Zaitsev says. Evgeni may have bought an apartment in Moscow, where he spends the bulk of his offseason, but when the threat of a NHL lockout loomed in 2012, he never considered playing anywhere in Russia other than Magnitogorsk.

For 37 games, he terrorized the KHL, scoring 23 goals with 42 assists, entertaining sellout crowds every night while showing the strength of Magnitogorsk manufacturing. Thanks to the NHL's labor foibles, Metallurg finally got back some royalties from its hit single. "It was a joy not only to Magnitogorsk," Velichkin says. "It was a joy for all of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Czech Republic. Because every game had a full stadium. After the game, there was always a huge amount of fans waiting for Malkin, wanting pictures, autographs. Sometimes, we even had to hide Malkin, look for another entrance to the stadium."
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 2006
How widespread is the praise Malkin's praise has inspired? Consider that NHL scouts have made him an unprecedented unanimous selection as Future Watch's best NHL prospect. It's the first time this has happened since THN began assessing the top 50 prospects in 1995... with a rare combination of size, skill and skeed, Malkin is sure to give Pittsburgh a second impact player when he arrives in North America. "I think he is the top forward in the superleague," said former NHL coach Dave King. "He can dominate a game. Besides his offensive talent, he is an excellent penalty killer with his reach and range on the ice being great assets."... in a league game earlier this year against Moscow Dynamo, Magnitogorsk trailed 2-1 with 30 seconds to play with Malkin tied the score, despite being surrounded by four Dynamo players. He was penalized after the play, but came back to score the winning goal in overtime....

he has soft hands and is a playmaking master. no-look passes are part of his bag of tricks. His most impressive move is one in which he leaves the puck for a teammate, but accelerates in a way that makes defenders believe it is still on his stick.... Malkin is quite able to defend himself... he has suffered two concussions, but both were diagnosed as minor. "I'm not afraid to make a mistake, I just don't think about it. I just play... I don't regret staying home at all. I feel that I'm growing, maturing, gaining experience. Now, when Dave King is our coach, we play more NHL-like hockey. It's faster." King agrees Malkin made a wise decision. "He is becoming a leader as well as a better player. He logs a great deal of ice time and our off-ice training is very demanding here in Russia so he is getting much stronger physically."

Penguins scout Mark Kelly has seen him play this season, but he says there isn't a lot of vigilance necessary. "He's one of those guys that we don't have to spend a lot of time watching. It's more important for us to find some players who can play with him... what I like is that he moves the puck when he should, and he shoots when he should. As talented as he is offensively, he comes back deep into his own zone to help his defense. He's not a one-way offensive player."
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2006-07
clearly established himself among the elite performers in the Russian Super League, finishing 2nd in goals and 3rd in points, and thrived on every international stage from the world juniors to the Olympics and finally the world championships… agile and elegant with an explosive first step and astounding top speed and elusiveness… able to process the game and execute effortlessly in any gear… also blossomed as a penalty killer last season as he backchecks ruthlessly using his size and quickness like an advancing freight train… now fully battle tested. Overcoming language and culture barrier could prove only obstacle.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2006-07
Malkin’s impact may come close to that of Ovechkin last season… would have been the #1 pick in most other years. A very competitive player, he has speed, hockey sense and size. Moreover, he has been compared favourably to the likes of Ron Francis, Vincent Lecavalier and Mats Sundin… a center who will make his wingers better. Pittsburgh could soon boast the NHL’s best center combo.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, September 19, 2006
...a few things seem obvious. He's clearly strong-minded and courageous, or he wouldn't have fled his russian club knowing it would cause massive resentment among team officials and fans. "Not much flusters him," said JP Barry, his agent. "he has this ability to deal with pressure. He has a sense of humour, but he's generally very serious."
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 14, 2006
...asked if Malkin's play reminded him of a certain former Penguin star who wore #66, Lemieux smiled and replied, "a few years back." If the Lemieux comparisons seem silly, you need to watch Malkin play. The size, the reach, the x-ray vision, the soft hands, the wild imagination, the rocket shot. It's all there... Penguins winger Mark Recchi was the first to publicly compare Malkin to Lemieux... Crosby could scarecely believe his **** in finding a linemate who thinks the game like he does. "He's creative and uses his imagination. You know you can try plays that will hopefully catch other teams off guard."
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, December 19, 2006
On the ice, Malkin and Crosby have been nothing short of spectacular, even though they rarely play together. Although they are a long way from being a Stanley Cup contender, the Crosby/Malkin combination gives them the kind of 1-2 punch down the middle that the championship penguins had with Mario Lemieux and Ron Francis, the Oilers with Gretzky and Messier, the Avalanche with Forsberg and Yzerman, and the Red Wings with Yzerman and Fedorov. "It's been great to play with someone who is that creative and has that much fun out there on the ice," says Crosby of Malkin. "I think myself, I'm improving just playing with him. He's still learning english, so it's hard to communicate, but we're doing our best."
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook Top 50 Players, 2007
#44: Evgeni Malkin. Hard to say exactly what his upside is, but he was full value , winning top rookie last season.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2007-08
delivered a splashy debut… cooled off down the stretch and seemed oddly overwhelmed by the heightened tempo in his first taste of NHL playoff action… a gutsy, multifaceted pivot with great ambition, fortitude and athleticism… slick puckhandler… elegant skater with astounding speed and elusiveness for a big man… propels his massive body in startling ways, bursting into openings and making extraordinary diagonal cuts at full speed that even fool defenders who properly play the body… mature and talented beyond his years, yet still has a youthful temper which can boil over into reckless stick fouls… upward progress hinges on getting stronger and beefing up… has been slow to speak English and win faceoffs… otherwise, there’s not much to dislike.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2007-08
heading into his rookie season, expectations were sky high… he didn’t disappoint… proved to be more than Crosby’s sidekick; Malkin looked dominant centering the 2nd line on several occasions. Be it on the wing or at center, he’s certain to make hay.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 4, 2008
For a guy who dramatically fled his homeland to join the NHL and promptly won the Calder trophy, Malkin somehow managed to avoid the spotlight for much of his first year and a half. That was largely attributable to the presence of Sidney Crosby, but Malkin didn't mind skating in his shadow. As Brooks Orpik put it, "I think he actually likes Sid getting more attention than him." the attention shifted dramatically January 18, when Crosby went down with a high ankle sprain... fans wondered how Malkin would react to the spotlight... "now is a good time to step up and show everybody what he can do," said Sergei Gonchar. "With Sid out, he will have more ice time and more pressure, but I believe he can do it."

Within a few weeks, Malkin had made believers of the whole league, thanks to a Mario Lemieux-like rampage. He rang up 22 points in 11 games and rocketed from 14th to 2nd in the scoring race. Suddenly, Malkin merited mention as an Art Ross contender and even a Hart candidate... Mario Lemieux acknowledged that watching the tall and talented Malkin was a bit like watching himself as a 20-something. Like Lemieux, the 6'3" Malkin swoops in on defenders. his passing touch is uncanny, laser beams and lobs are both in the repertoire, and his shot could shatter a bullet proof vest. He's that rare mix of playmaker and sniper. "He's one of the best in the world," Lemieux said. "He wants to be the go-to guy and he's showing it on the ice. It's quite amazing."
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, May 2008
...which brings us to an interesting question: If the Penguins were forced to choose, which superstar would be the better option? Malkin's play this season certainly doesn't make it the slam dunk it might have been six months ago. When Crosby was hurt this season, he carried the Penguins so impressively he earned a nomination for the Hart trophy... Maliin, unlike Crosby, can do much of his work further away from the fray and still be effective. In fact, Philadelphia Flyers veteran Kimmo Timonen recently compared Malkin to Crosby and Ovechkin in a Philadelphia newspaper, saying, "I think Malkin is the best player of those three right now."
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2008-09
When Crosby went down with a high ankle sprain, the Penguins were in trouble. Malkin decided to take matters into his own hands, producing a whopping 45 points in 21 games. That performance was enough to secure Hart consideration… has been tried at wing alongside Crosby to mixed reviews.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook Top 50 Players, 2008
#9: Evgeni Malkin. Picked up the slack for the Penguins when Crosby was injured and played so well that he was a Hart Trophy finalist. However, he hit the wall with a resounding thud in the cup final after being a factor in the first three rounds.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2009-10
Only the hart trophy eluded his grasp… showed no letdown in this year’s postseason with some spectacular individual efforts… led the league in takeaways… showed tremendous confidence in his ability to attempt creative, high risk maneuvers at key junctures in a game… surprisingly poor at faceoffs still however.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2009-10
scored several spectacular goals en route to a second straight appearance in the Finals, then showed his playoff mettle by winning the Smythe. When he’s on, Malkin is the most dangerous player in the NHL. At times, however, he is a defensive liability and takes bad penalties.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook Top 50 Players, 2009
#3: Evgeni Malkin. The NHL’s conn smythe winner and scoring champ has a package of physical skills that leaves many comparing him to Mario Lemieux. He can play any forward position and his underappreciated ability to hang onto the puck and make plays led to a league high 78 assists.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2010-11
fell off last season wearing the strains of two long postseason runs and struggling to find his dazzling form of the previous season… missed his usual feistiness at times last season, which was most apparent during 2nd round of the playoffs… his shortcoming on faceoffs may prompt his move to the wing.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2010-11
Malkin wasn’t able to sustain his success last year. He was still good, and missed 15 games due to injury. Still, they need more of the 2009 version than the more lackluster effort often seen last season.
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2010-11
Malkin’s production slipped substantially, and not just because of 15 games missed due to injury… disturbingly, his even strength goal scoring total dropped from an impressive 30 goals in 07-08 all the way to 13 this past season. This isn’t 40-year old Bill Guerin we’re talking about – when a supremely talented 23-year old can’t score more goals at even strength than on the PP, you’ve got to wonder whether the mental aspect of his game is where it should be. The fix? It’s entirely possible that Malkin and Staal end up on the 2nd line together. Not only might the change of pace wake Geno up, but let’s face it: Staal would give the Penguins a better restart option than the severely faceoff-challenged Malkin.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook Top 50 Players, 2010
#8: Evgeni Malkin. Injuries and a dearth of quality linemates conspired to drop Malkin five spots on the list, but he remains one of the top talents in the world. It will be interesting to see what he accomplishes without Sergei Gonchar, but his ability to control the puck and make plays is there regardless of who he plays with
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2011-12
underwent surgery to repair torn knee ligaments which put an abrupt end to an injury-marred campaign… initially banged up his knee in October and was sidelined three times prior to taking critical blow from Tyler Myers… worked diligently this summer in recovery and could contend for another scoring title… will need to rekindle the feistiness that propelled him to such great heights, a part of his repertoire only flashed intermittently the past two seasons.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2011-12
A serious knee injury limited him to just 43 games. Even when in the lineup, Geno didn’t play up to expectations.
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2011-12
over the past two seasons, Malkin’s taken big steps backwards both in games played, and in per-game production. Some of that can be chalked up to bad luck, like a career low 8.2% shooting percentage. Word was that Malkin had been working hard in hopes to get back into the mix for the later rounds had the Pens made it deeper. Even after that ship had sailed, Gino’s worked out in Russia over the summer with Sergei Gonchar. Hopefully, that extra effort will jumpstart a productive return from his knee injury.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 20, 2012
Ray Shero still has the text message on his phone. It came in the night of February 4th, less than a month after Crosby was shut down for God knows how long. It was from Evgeni Malkin, who had just left the game against he Sabres after fallike awkwardly. Things looked gruesome… everyone suspected the worst and it turns out they were right. The message contained only two words: I’m sorry. “I’m sorry?” said the Pens GM. “Sorry for what? For getting hurt?”.. the man who, until recently, never talked to the media, carries the weight of responsibility around with him all the time… behind the quiet façade is a man who cares intensely about his craft and his hockey team… as Malkin nudged his way into being a top contender for his first Hart trophy the hockey world began to see a different, more committed player. Just watch his work along the walls. He rarely won battles there in the past, but is now using his size, strength and reach to emerge from corners with the puck on his stick… there are those who watch Malkin who claim he is playing the best hockey of his career. And that’s saying something. Go back to tapes of the 2009 playoffs and see what we mean…

…without a center who could get him the puck, neal scored one goal in 20 games after coming over from Dallas. Now Neal has a player who can do all the heavy lifting in terms of lugging the puck up the ice and all he has to do is find the open lane. “I’ve never seen a guy be able to make so many moves at such high speed. He has that ability to drag guys to him and hit the open man.”

… (strength down the middle) has always been the Pens’ strength but is suddenly now a concern… Malkin has responded by being truly dominant… the pressure has never been on Malkin to carry the mantle of being the league’s best player. Now that he’s doing it, he looks more and more comfortable all the time… those who know Malkin well say he has an exuberant personality and might be the most intelligent player on the Penguins… much of Malkin’s renewed vigor has to do with the injury last season, which turned out to be a torn ACL… Malkin insisted that had the Penguins managed to get past the Lightning in the 1st round, he would have somehow willed himself back into the lineups for the rest of the playoff run, a mere three months after the injury. In fact, he wanted desperately to play in game 7, before being shut down by the organization… it showed them how much Malkin wants to win. “In every conversation about our team and his role, it ends with him thinking we can win a Stanley cup and thinking how good our team is and where we can go,” said coach Dan Bylsma.

…last summer he hired strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar to come to Russia for 2 weeks to supervise his dryland and on-ice training. Two workouts a day with everything from kettle bells to flippers, Malkin displayed a vigilance and level of motivation few had ever seen before from him. He even admitted that earlier in his career he was a little bit lazy when It came to offseason conditioning, but the injury made him realize he had to put in the work if he wanted to return to his sublime level of play.

despite the fact that Malkin now faces the other team’s top line, targeted as the player who must be shut down, he is excelling.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2012-13
rebounded in spectacular fashion from an injury ravaged 2010-11 campaign to capture his first Hart trophy as MVP… overcame an early knee injury and launched into orbit at mid-year… power pivot with great athleticism… much improved at faceoffs last season… and lethal in shootouts… surprisingly flat to begin the playoffs, though, and masterfully contained by Flyers rookie Sean Couturier…
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2012-13
was pretty much an all-world performer last season, including a monster showing for Russia at the world championships. His only blemish was a subpar postseason performance.
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2012-13
Had a monster season… even excelled in secondary phases of the game, posting a career best 47.5% faceoff rate – and going 8/11 in the shootout… His league leading 339 shots, superstar ES rate of 3.66 Pts/60, and elite PP rate of 5.83 Pts/60 were all worthy of the best player in the game. A repeat performance is possible, if the commitment is there again.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook Top 50 Players, 2012
#1: Evgeni Malkin. As preposterous as it is for a guy who already had a Cup, Calder and Smythe, this season was Malkin’s coming out party. Ask James Neal how good Malkin is. Nobody makes better moves at high speed and few elite players are as good along the boards.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2013-14
one of the most electrifying players in the game, Malkin was felled by injury in 2013, especially a shoulder issue that gave him much discomfort… the NHL’s best 2nd line center.
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2013-14
Had a fine season, but couldn’t compare to his Ross and Hart winning 2012 campaign… then again, it was a happy medium, considering his dismal 2011 season. What brought Malkin back down to earth from superhuman? In part, blame the percentages. His shooting percentage fell from 14.7%, a high for him, to 9.1%, a low for him. And as far as the team around him, his on-ice shooting percentage fell from 10.8% to 8.1%. In the analytics world, you can live with those numbers since they are likely to regress back to his career marks. What is worrisome, though, is that Malkin’s shots per game fell from 4.5 to 3.2… Pittsburgh better hope this is not the beginning of a downward trend.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook Top 50 Players, 2013
#7: Evgeni Malkin. A year removed from winning the Hart, Malkin struggled through injuries and a lack of productivity last season. There’s nothing to suggest the latter won’t get back to its usual levels if the former takes care of itself. We worry a little bit about a lack of discipline and bad penalties, but Malkin remains elite.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2014-15
another frustrating season interrupted by injury… key to the NHL’s best powerplay… lining up with James Neal led him to look to pass first… losing his most frequent linemates in Neal and Jokinen… a dominating talent, he has the physique of a power forward but nimble as an undersized playmaker… prone to the odd outburst of frustration, as evidence by his 31 minor penalties… posted only 14 secondary assists compared to 35 primary… returned in time for playoffs, leading team in points and goals, seeing Corsi leap to 60.7%... still in his prime, and dominating for stretches this season… the key to success thus year will be staying healthy and finding chemistry with new linemates.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2014-15
missed a total of 22 games last season, but still managed to produce 1.2 PPG (2nd in the NHL). In the offseason, he lost linemate James Neal, so he may try to snipe more goals himself.
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2014-15
Continued to show why he is one of the best players in the NHL – when healthy… one area he could stand to improve is in the volume of shots he takes. The past two seasons saw him shoot the puck 3.2 times per game, whereas in his 50 goal season, he notched 4.5 per game. If Malkin is going to return to his dominant goalscoring ways, he will have to get back to that fearless level in terms of letting it rip. Perhaps losing triggerman James Neal from his wing will be the catalyst.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook Top 50 Players, 2014
12: Evgeni Malkin. Over the past five seasons, Malkin has missed 100 games, which accounts for almost ¼ of each of those seasons… when he plays, he remains an elite talent.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2015-16
Injuries continue to dog Malkin… when healthy, he was typically productive, but Pittsburgh needs a healthy Malkin.
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2015-16
When Malkin is on his game, very few players in the world can match his brilliance. The problem is that he can only achieve this brilliance when he is on the ice. To that point, Malkin has only hit the 70-game mark in four of eight non-lockout seasons. When the “Russian Lemieux” was on the ice in 2014-15, he was an impact player: He led all Pittsburgh players with an awesome 2.51 ESP per 60 minutes. Surprisingly, one area where he can improve is on the power play… despite that anomaly, Geno Machino still has many good years left and will remain one of the best players on the planet for the foreseeable future.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook Top 50 Players, 2015
#27: Evgeni Malkin. He remains a point per game player, but the only problem has been staying healthy enough to contribute.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2016-17
The talented two-time cup champion has run into a string of bad luck on the injury front for several seasons now. He missed 25 games last season and finished the playoffs with a bad elbow. He still placed 5th in the regular season in points per game.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook Top 50 Players, 2016
#18: Evgeni Malkin.

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Tom Johnson, D

- 6’0”, 180 lbs (like 6’3”, 210 today)
- Inducted into the HHOF (1970)
- Stanley Cup champion (1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960)
- Stanley Cup finalist (1951, 1952, 1954, 1955)
- Norris Trophy Winner (1959)
- NHL 1st Team All-star (1959)
- NHL 2nd Team All-star (1956)
- Also placed 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 11th in Norris voting
- All-star voting record: 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 8th
- Played in two All-star games on merit (1952, 1963)
- Top-10 in defense scoring 5 times (2nd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th)
- Best defense VsX scores: 100, 88, 74, 69, 51, 46, 44 (total 472, avg 67.4)
- Played 14 seasons worth of games in the O6 era for teams that averaged +0.53/game goal differential
- In his 8 year prime (1955-1962), was a #2 defenseman for teams that averaged +0.96/game goal differential
- Named most underrated player by NHL coach’s poll in 1958
- Shot left, but played right

Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe
Excellent defensive defenseman - and capable of defending with either finesse or brutality
• Not as good a skater as Harvey, so he rarely joined the rush, but he was an excellent puck handler and passer and could get the puck up to the forwards with efficiency. "Part of Montreal's rapid transition game."
• His trademark move was to strip a forward of the puck without body contact and pass it up to his forwards before the opponents could get turned around.
• Anchored the Montreal penalty kill (and second defensive pairing) at a time when Doug Harvey played the full power play.
• Had a career year offensively when Harvey was injured and Johnson was finally given time on the power play.
• An extremely dirty player. Johnson was among the league leaders in PIMs in his rookie year, but for most of his career, he seems to have usually gotten away with it.
Originally Posted by legendsofhockey.net
An accomplished skater and puckhandler, defenseman Tom Johnson played a valuable role on the powerful Montreal Canadiens teams of the 1950s. He contributed to the Habs' rapid transitional game and would have scored more points had the team not already been blessed with Doug Harvey to quarterback the power-play. One of his key traits was an ability to recover almost immediately after making a rare mistake on the ice.
Johnson stepped into a starting role with the Habs in 1950-1951 and impressed them with his eagerness and durability in playing all 70 regular-season games. He was, however, vulnerable to common rookie mistakes such as hasty decision-making and taking unwise penalties. Johnson soon became a stalwart on the penalty-killing unit, where the team utilized his speed and his ability to win the majority of the battles in the corners. One of Johnson's patented moves was to steal the puck from an attacking forward without bodily contact. This allowed him to feed a pass to one of his teammates while the opposition was still heading toward the Montreal net. Although Johnson rarely saw power-play duty, coach Dick Irvin often switched him to center if the Habs needed a goal late in the game. Johnson won his first Stanley Cup ring in 1953 when the Habs defeated Boston. He later played a vital role on the Canadiens squad that won the Stanley Cup an unprecedented five consecutive times from 1956 to 1960.

By the time the team began dominating the NHL, Johnson was beginning to receive his due credit. In 1956 he was selected to the NHL Second All-Star Team. Three years later, he won the Norris Trophy and earned a spot on the First All-Star lineup. That year he was arguably the most valuable player on the team as he stepped into the void created when Doug Harvey was injured. Johnson didn't have Harvey's speed but he was a superb stickhandler and a consistent, accurate passer who rarely erred in his own end of the rink.
Originally Posted by nhl.com
From the Manitoba prairie town of Baldur, Johnson was an excellent skater and an intelligent defender. He was highly regarded as a playmaker and he was tenacious in corners and along the boards. He became a penalty-killing specialist primarily because fellow Habs defenseman Doug Harvey anchored the power play. Johnson was often used as a forward late in games with his team down a goal. He broke Harvey's skein of four straight Norris Trophies when he won the award in 1959. Harvey won again the next three years. Johnson had career highs of 10 goals, 29 assists and 39 points in 1959 and was named to the First All-Star Team.
Originally Posted by Joe pelletier
After apprenticing under the great Butch Bouchard, Johnson settled in with Jean Guy Talbot as long time defensive partners. A slow-footed defender, Johnson rarely received any power play time but was a key penalty killer for Les Habitants. The 6 time Stanley Cup champ was also known for his physical, sometimes dirty play.

Johnson was a hard working defensive blueliner who played much of his career along side Doug Harvery, perhaps the greatest d-man in NHL history. Playing in Harvey's shadow, Johnson's talents and contributions went largely unnoticed.

"I was classified as a defensive defenceman. I stayed back and minded the store. With the high powered scoring teams I was with, I just had to get them the puck and let them do the rest," said Johnson, who wore #10 long before Guy Lafleur made it immortal.

New York Rangers' GM Emile "The Cat" Francis was one of Johnson's fans. "Johnson's trouble was playing on the most colorful team in hockey history. With guys like Maurice Richard, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Jacques Plante and Jean Beliveau in the lineup, nobody ever noticed Johnson. But he was the real worker on the team."

''He was never, ever really appreciated in Montreal, even though he played on all those great teams,'' said veteran Montreal beat reporter Red Fisher. ''The reason for it was he, and others with him, played in the very long shadow of Doug Harvey. The only defenseman I ever considered better than Doug Harvey was No. 4 Bobby Orr.''
Johnson escaped Harvey's shadow for one season - 1958-59. With Harvey hurt for much of the season, Johnson posted a career high 10 goals and 29 assists while earning the Norris Trophy. The Norris Trophy win interrupted Harvey's 8 year ownership of the award.

"Johnson's on my black list," explained Stan Mikita, a long time Blackhawk. "He liked to hit you from behind. When he got into a fight he never dropped his stick. Instead of using his fists, he used his stick for protection.
Johnson was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1970. The election was one of the most controversial in Hall of Fame history. It was a bit of a surprise to some, including Tom. Eddie Shore in particular was so outraged by Johnson's inclusion that Shore threatened to buy back his own induction. Shore didn't appreciate Johnson's questionable stick work or alleged cheap shots.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Sometimes a team needs that steady, nondescript player, that guy who never seems to smile or frown. He is the ultimate leveler… Tom Johnson was just such a player. On a team filled with egos and the potential for those egos to break down team chemistry, Johnson acted as a kind of Polident. He helped hold all the teeth in one mouth…. Like many rookies, he was too aggressive, drawing too many boneheaded penalties… he soon settled down to become one of the main ingredients in the cement that held together the Canadiens defense. He was certainly a steady contributor on six cup-winning teams. Although an average skater and not the quickest afoot, Johnson was a sure stickhandler and passer, and rarely coughed up the puck in his own end. He liked the rough stuff from time to time, even in his later years, but it was also not unusual to see him flying off on a rush.

Many people who saw him play insist he was overrated, that he rode on the back of Doug Harvey. Game footage proves such statements to be true, but only to a limited degree. Yes, Johnson benefitted greatly from playing alongside a talent like Harvey, but he held his own and was one of the most consistent defenders of the decade.

In a word… SOLID
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 2
he had the advantage of playing with some of the finest defensemen including Harvey, Bouchard, Talbot, St. Laurent, Langlois, Tremblay and Laperriere. Holding a regular defense position with such elites is a measure of his ability… In his first year, like many rookies, he adopted an overly aggressive style and drew a lot of penalties. He soon steadied down and became one of the bulwarks of the Canadiens’ defense… he suffered some bad facial injuries that affected his play and in 1963 had his cheekbone fractured which put him out for the season. He was drafted by Boston, when left unprotected, and he did his best with a last place team. Late in his 2nd season with the Bruins, he had a leg muscle severed and his career was terminated…
Originally Posted by Hockey All-Stars
Tom Johnson played an inconspicuous but steady game. “It took everyone a long time to know that Johnson was as good as he was,” said his coach Toe Blake. Although he did occasional spot duty at center, Johnson left most of the offense to Doug Harvey and a fleet of high scoring forwards. Johnson’s hard-hitting game contributed to Montreal’s incredible success, but he managed to pick up a few enemies along the way… After a couple of call-ups in previous seasons, Johnson tallied 128 PIM as a rookie in 1951. But if he played dirty after that, he was subtle… Johnson played a big part in Montreal’s five consecutive cups…
Originally Posted by Habs Heroes
#38: Tom Johnson

He was more than content to be overshadowed on the ice by a dashing lineup of high flying scorers… he was often overlooked by those who focused on the sublime skills of Harvey. But Johnson was always appreciated by those for whom and with he played. In a piece in Sport Magazine in the 1950s, Toe Blake said of Johnson, “he’s one of the most courageous players I’ve ever coached. And one of the best.” …Canadiens GM Frank Selke was even more effusive in his praise: “(purchasing Johnson) was probably the best investment I ever made”… Selke nominated Johnson for induction into the Hall of Fame, and in his nomination letter, he described Johnson as the perfect defensive defenseman. “Harvey had everything. He could shoot, pass, score defend with consummate ease. While all this was going on, few paid attention to Johnson’s uncanny ability to steal the puck from an opposing player without bodily contact. This enabled him to wheel and lay a perfect pass onto the stick of a Canadien forward while the opposing team still approached the Habitant net. I consider Tom Johnson the best defensive rearguard I have ever managed. Another Hap Day of the Leafs, who played his best hockey in the shadow of the dynamic King Clancy.”

…offense was never Johnson’s forte. He was at his best when the Canadiens were shorthanded. He had speed and skill to go with an ability to play well in the corners. He was a deft passer and while he took his share of penalties, not many of them were of the foolish variety. And opponents, for the most part, reviled him. During his rookie season, Paul Chandler of the Detroit News had this to say about him: “Tom Johnson is a villain. He’s a new defenseman in the league this season whom such a calloused veteran as John Ross Roach describes as one of the cruder wood choppers to appear here in some time.” The next season, he got into a penalty box brawl with Ted Kennedy in which the police were called… but Johnson learned to tame his ways as his career progressed.
Originally Posted by Who’s Who In Hockey
Johnson was an unobtrusive, effective defenseman… throughout his career, he was overshadowed by the more capable Doug Harvey. Notorious as a dangerous man with his stick, Johnson was lowly regarded as a fighter and was once indicted, along with several players, by Andy Bathgate in an article in True Magazine as a “spearer”.
Originally Posted by Total Hockey
…went on to become one of the best defensemen in the NHL… because of Harvey, Johnson did not see a lot of time on the Canadiens’ powerplay, but was the team leader in shorthanded situations. He had speed and skill in the corners and was an excellent playmaker who was frequently used at center when his team needed a goal late in the game…
Originally Posted by Canadiens Legends
Johnson had shown the Canadiens that he had the right attitude by learning how to play defense in Buffalo. He worked on his skating (he was never fast) and making good outlet passes… as a rookie he racked up 128 PIM, showing that he could mix it up and stake a reputation as an NHL blueliner. He was initially teamed on defense with Butch Bouchard, and later with Jean-Guy Talbot. Having Doug Harvey on the team meant that Johnson wasn’t expected to lead the offense, but Johnson scored 10 goals in one season. Primarily though, he stayed back and let Harvey do most of the attacking from the blueline. In spite of his good size, Johnson wasn’t aggressive but would throw his weight around as required. He was especially good as a penalty killer and was deft at getting the puck out of the corners and out of danger in the canadiens’ zone. Johnson was good at breaking up opposition attacks with good positional play. Realizing that he was more valuable on the ice, he avoided foolish penalties…Johnson was a dependable player and an integral contributor to five straight Stanley Cups… at practice during 1962-63, Johnson was cut near the yet by the skate of Bobby Rousseau. By that time, Johnson’s immense skills were declining, and the Forum crowd was getting to him. The next season saw him picked up by the Bruins and he managed to play in all 70 games… in some books, he was the year’s comeback player. The Bruins had known that he would provide the team with leadership and show a losing team how to win.
Originally Posted by Honored Canadiens
It was late January 1951, halfway through Johnson’s rookie season, that the Canadiens knew they had a great defenseman. The 22 year old clashed with Toronto captain Ted Kennedy. They fought on the ice, they fought in the penalty box, and they fought again on the ice. Johnson was not going to give an inch to the Leafs’ great captain, and in the process he made it clear to his teammates and management he was willing to do anything and everything to win… Johnson distinguished himself as one of the fiercest newcomers to the NHL… as a teen, he was big and strong, but had one great weakness – he could barely skate. Selke put him in the minors, and by the time he made it to the team in October 1950, he was ready for the big league… for most of his playing days he was underrated. This was because he lived in the shadows of Doug Harvey, a more flamboyant player and defenseman with great offensive ability. But Johnson was a rock on the blueline and opponents knew they stood little chance in getting around him or making him look bad. Indeed, Johnson was renowned for two things. One, he could strip an onrushing forward of the puck without making contact, this enabling him to pass right away and create a counterattack… Two, Johnson had what almost amounted to a trick defensive play. He would allow players to move around him to the outside, along the boards, but then he would spin to the inside, skate directly to his own goal, and cut the player off on the second confrontation before the player could take a shot or make a good pass. On the one hand, it was a successful way to recover from being beaten; on the other, it was an effective way of keeping play to the outside, away from his goal. .. Johnson was the leader for the team’s penalty killing unit. He was a master of getting the puck from a scrum of players n the corner, and he was also known as a pinpoint passer… Harvey missed a good portion of 1958-59 with injury, and during that time Toe Blake promoted Johnson to the powerplay where he proved remarkably adept. His scoring increased dramatically, and people around the league took greater notice of his talents.

Johnson played in six all-star games because that’s how many cups he won with the Habs, but he also played in two others because he was among the league’s best defensemen….year after year, there he was, on the blueline, always appreciated by, if no one else, his coach and goalie.
Originally Posted by Lord Stanley’s Cup
A big, abrasive defenseman who got under the skin of his opponents.

…a master of recovery. He would poke his stick at the puck, forcing the skater to the outside, then turn inside and go to the net before the puck carrier got there. He was never outsmarted on a play.
Originally Posted by Author and former ATD GM Todd Denault
Johnson and Harvey were rarely if at all paired as a duo. Toe Blake pretty much rotated the other three (sometimes four) defenseman around Harvey and Johnson. If you watch some of the old games you'll see that there is rarely a moment where the Canadiens don't have either Harvey and Johnson on the ice, but rarely, if ever are they paired together… having watched all of the available footage (including some unavailable to the general public), in addition to having comprehensively interviewed Red Fisher, Dick Irvin, Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Dickie Moore, Phil Goyette etc ... all (in the research for my Jacques Plante biography) I think I have some grasp of the issue.

In the course of my research I was also fortunate to be able to discuss Doug Harvey at length with Jean-Guy Talbot and 'Junior' Langlois (two Habs defensemen of the time) and it is from these discussions (and then a later check of the available footage) that I became aware of Toe Blake's penchant for not having Harvey and Johnson on the ice at the same time, and of rotating his other defensemen through them… To repeat, according to the available footage, as well as the testimonials of Talbot and Langlois ... Harvey and Johnson were not a regular defense pairing.

At even strength both Harvey and Johnson would generally play the right side with the other defenceman rotating around the two of them…However, on penalty kills Toe Blake would often move Harvey over to the left side beside Johnson… From what I watched Johnson almost always played the right side, while Harvey tended to move between the two quite frequently.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 10, 1951
Coach Dirk Irvin of the Canadiens tilted his chair back, produced a half smile, thought for a moment, and then blurted, “Tom Johnson is the steadiest defenseman in the league today and he’s one of the main reasons why we’re still in the battle. And what’s more, he’s a future all-star.” That is quite a statement from a coach who has played with and coached some of the greatest names the game has ever known… but if Irvin says so,then you can be sure that at least part of his statement is true. Johnson is one of the main reasons why the Habs are still in the NHL playoff battle… just a few seasons ago he was on the edge of becoming a flop… his sudden rise to potential stardom in the NHL has surprised many fans and observers who, three seasons ago, remember him as a much publicized lad who came from Winnipeg bound in a bundle of press clipplings… when they took one look at him they laughed. “he can’t skate,” they said. That greatness is still coming but just a little faster than it was then.

“Johnson is a long way away from being an all,star, but he does have the ability, guts and spirit”, says Frank Selke… it goes without saying… it shows in the penalty records. As we write this story he has spent 108 minutes in the sin bin… “I’d better take it easy, after all, I don’t want to take that penalty record away from Ezinicki” is what Johnson says when you talk about his time in the cooler. In the short time Tom has been in the NHL he has caused quite a stir in two cities where only hometown players make the headlines. He dumped Toronto and Detroit fandom back on their heels when he twice put on an exhibition of real rough, tough old fashioned hockey. He was so impressive that one observer was compelled to write, “Johnson nicked, hooked, baited and belted the Red wings as Montreal defeated Detroit 4-1 and it seemed as if Referee Bill Knott was blind to everything. Their tormenter drew only one penalty. He was a heel, too, to 12,616 fans. They hooted Tom Johnson louder than any player has been given it here since Ted Kennedy took his jeers during last spring’s playoffs. Imagine the Red Wings’ distress when this awkward youth bounced a long shot off Sawchuk’s mitt into the net for a goal that broke up the game.”

In Toronto, after he and Kennedy had tangled and Tom was given a major and misconduct, he was called a 2nd string player who tried to put Kennedy out of the game. According to Detroit and Toronto papers, Johnson is not long for the big league. Yet the fans and perhaps the newspapermen in those cities would be surprised to learn that both the Wings and Leafs have made overtures to the Montreal front office with regards to securing Johnson… “Toronto tried to make a deal three years ago, and Detroit tried last year, but we have never thought about parting with him.”

It’s hard to gather an opinion on a kid like Johnson. His cockiness on the ice leaves him when he takes off his uniform, After his fight with Kennedy he made no alibis nor did he boast that he kicked the living daylights out of the Toronto star, he merely muttered, “Jeez, that Kennedy really caught me a good one. He’s sure a terrific player.” Johnson was fined $75 for his fracas in Toronto, but what angered him more was the pictures that crashed the sports pages the next day. “They must have some pretty good artists in Toronto, they really painted those pictures up. Had a little bit of blood dribbling down my nose in one paper and in another paper which had the exact same picture, some guy had painted blood all over my chin. All I had was a little bit under my nose.” Johnson is one of the greatest crowd pleasers to come along in a long time, for even in Toronto there are those who like him… in Montreal he is often mentioned as a number one candidate for the rookie award. Fans like him there, he gives them their money’s worth. Irvin, too, is high on him. “He’s the best puck carrying defenseman to come into the league in years. He’s got plenty of heart, and never stops trying… he reminds me of Kenny Reardon a lot. He has the same spirit.”

Johnson is a rugged individualist on the ice. He’s an awkward skater and looks like he’s going to fall flat on his face every time he makes a rush. He looks slow, as though he won’t be able to go many feet before an opponent will catch him. “He just looks slow,” says Ken Mosdell. “Just try catching him. I’ve tried in practice. He can really skate.” One reason for his success is his ability to get the puck out of his own zone rapidly. “That’s why he’s the best defenseman to come into this league in a long time,” says Irvin, “he can get that puck up to the forwards like a veteran.” Most opposing coaches feel the same way to a degree about Johnson. We sat beside Lynn Patrick and asked what he thought. “He looks awkward and slow, but he gets there. He’s a pretty good boy.” Johnson finds his biggest fault is playing the point. “Getting that shot away is a big thing in the game. A guy has to get it away fast, and it takes a lot of practice.” Other than that, Johnson finds playing in the major league is not much different than playing anywhere else. “There is only one way to play defense no matter what league you’re in… I take a player out in the NHL the same way I did in Buffalo. The only difference is they are much smarter here. A guy has to be on his toes all the time or they’ll make a monkey out of him.”

Toe Blake says: “to tell you the truth he never looked like a major leaguer to me. He couldn’t skate, but he sure had a lot of heart and guts and he was willing to learn. Those kinds of kids improve all the time. Wait and see, he’ll be terrific in the NHL in a couple of seasons.”

…when he finally got his release from the Monarchs he played for the Senior Royals, but not to any great degree. He wasn’t too good a skater and every time he was put on the ice the fans gave him a neat razzberry. They even took to throwing insults at Selke, for they knew he was his protégé. It got so bad that one night a fan had to run from Selke who was going after him with fists cocked. Irvin had to restrain him. The following season he was sent to Buffalo and it was there that he started showing he had what it takes… this young man knows that the difference between a good hockey player is the difference between talent and genius and the way he’s going he’s certainly going to be outstanding some day.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 24. 1953

Placed with Pronovost and Kelly as Top Puck Carrier

Almost Certain to Receive Votes for All-star Billing

The almost certain fact that Tom Johnson will receive a goodly share of the NHL all-star votes when the experts sit down to list their dream teams this coming May is a tribute to this shy young man who was among the “most unlikely to succeed” group not many years ago. Until the start of this season, Johnson gained most of his recognition by his love of bow-ties and cigars… however, he’s rapidly becoming famous for his brilliant play infront of Gerry Mcneil and Montreal fandom is fast beginning to realize that this lad, of whom, they know virtually nothing about, rates as one of the best rearguards in the business.

Underrated players are frequent in the NHL. There are five or six on each team. However, Dick Irvin rates Johnson at the top of the list. “I would say there are only two players in the league who carry a puck as well as he can. They are Kelly and Pronovost. Tom rates right up beside them. But he tops them in defensive play.” As for Johnson, he prefers to say little. You receive the same answers every time you ask him a question. “Just having a good year. Couldn’t have had a worse one than last season. Hope I can keep it up.”

“I must give him much credit for the good season I am having,” says big Butch Bouchard. “When I reported this season the coach asked me who I would like to play with. I told him I would like to go back with Tom. I’m used to playing with him now. You know, when you get to my age you don’t go as fast as when you first started. A fellow like Johnson does a lot of the work for you. He covers up well and rushes as much as any player in the league. He still has his faults, of course. For instance, he makes some plays too fast and doesn’t think before he throws the puck away. But he’ll learn and when he corrects his mistakes he’ll be an all-star.”

Irvin rates his men game by game in the star, good, fair and poor class. He lists each player on a sheet of paper before a game and bills each according to his play that night. “Look at Johnson’s record. In his first 35 times he’s played 11 star games, 18 good, 4 fair and just 2 poor ones. That’s a fine record… now take a look at his defensive record. In those same 35 games he was on for just 21 goals against. That’s a terrific showing. Of those 21 goals five came when we were playing a man short and two when we were two men short. You won’t find a better record anywhere in the league.”

…He is considered a bad man in the loop and always hits over the 50 minute mark in penalties… he will tangle with anybody in the league so long as there’s an opponent. And there is the odd time he’s even broken that rule. “Johnson gained most of his confidence when we put him alongside Butch in the all-star game. He had a bad season last year and when this one started everyone asked me. What are you going to do with Johnson? So I put him in the all-star game and he gave us the only thrill of the night. He picked a fight with Elmer Lach, his own teammate.”

Johnson’s climb from obscurity to his present position has been anything but spectacular. He doesn’t have the color of Pronovost or Kelly but he does have the same drive. A fan was talking about him recently. “I remember him in Winnipeg as a junior. He couldn’t turn to his left and he was a poor skater. I’m surprised he went as far as he had. But he always had guts.”

“There is only one quality he lacks. He doesn’t hit as hard as he should nor as often. He’s a clean defenseman in the real sense of the word. He doesn’t get too many foolish penalties, either,” says Irvin. Johnson certainly rates as the most improved player in the league. He’s improved his skating to a point where he is now one of the fastest rearguards in the game. “He can get that puck out of your end better than anyone else in the league. That’s because he’s played on the wing and has learned to carry the puck,” says Dick/
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, December 11, 1954
TOM JOHNSON – Canadiens’ Atom Bomb Defenseman

Behind a hockey blueline are approximately 5100 square feet of ice, a vast a vulnerable domain which must be protected at all times by two defensemen and the goalkeeper… without alert defenders, tossing their bodies around with reckless abandon and swiping pucks from the sticks of eager forwards, the goalie would find it impossible to stop the barrage of rubber. One of the league’s best and steadiest performers in that domain between the blueline and the back boards is Tom Johnson of the canadiens, who pairs with Butch Bouchard to make life miserable for opposing forwards looking to drive the puck into the 24 square feet of net. Because he’s coolly methodical rather than spectacular, Tom is another of those players who doesn’t bask in the spotlight, reserved, perhaps too much, for performers like Richard, Howe, and Kelly. After all, the chaps like Johnson, performing consistently and willingly, contribute their share in the winning of games, too.

Johnson is a mild-mannered fellow although he has the guts of a holdup man and is as tricky as a burglar with a thousand tools. He patrols more than his share of those 5100 square feet of ice, frequently covering up for Bouchard who, having played more than 700 games, isn’t as fast as he used to be. Railbirds at the Forum will hear Bouchard shout “Go get ‘em Tommy,” during a dangerous sortie into Canadien territory and Johnson will streak halfway across the ice to nail the puck carrier. Johnson is fast and versatile, too. A brilliant rusher with a flair for puck carrying, Dick Irvin has used him several times at right wing and center and if the club’s tactics permitted him to roam around more as Kelly does for the Red Wings, undoubtedly he would become a high scoring defenseman.

“Tom, the Atom Bomb”, as they used to call him when he was serving his AHL apprenticeship, likes speed… a durable performer. Now in his 5th season, he has missed only three games, He attributes his lack of crippling injury to good fortune as much as anything else. “There’s a lot of luck in it. Take the recent injury to Paul Meger, he fractured his skull when he tripped over Leo Labine’s skate and it caught him on the head as he went down. That could have happened to anyone. I guess I’ve just been lucky.”… Johnson has mellowed with maturity and in the last three seasons his penalty totals have been 76, 63 and 53 minutes, not excessive for a defenseman who plays regularly for a team noted for its large number of banishments… paired almost from the start with Bouchard, Johnson has come to be recognized as a rugged performer with plenty of heart, great drive and ample ability. “Tom is a good honest hockey player,” coach Dick Irvin said. “He has plenty of heart and he gives you the college try every minute he’s out there. He’s improving all the time.”
Originally Posted by 1955-56 Hockey Card
A rugged individualist who never takes a step backward, Tommy has been a potent force behind the Canadiens’ blueline. For five years… while he isn’t a headline grabber, he can be counted on to look after his defensive chores effectively at all times. Sometimes performs his chores none too gently, which accounts for his 74 minutes in penalties.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 17, 1956
It took repeated battering of a weakened knee to knock Tom Johnson out of the Canadiens’ lineup. When the hard-hitting defenseman was sidelined over a recent stretch, it marked the first time he had yielded to injuries since joining the team six years ago. “one bad knee in six seasons isn’t too bad. I’m not complaining but I miss the action. It’s no fun sitting on the sidelines.”…paired almost from the start with Butch Bouchard he was soon recognized as a defenseman with great heart and amazing durability. This year he has been playing with rookie Jean-Guy Talbot.
Originally Posted by Parkhurst 1956-57
Skating in the shadows of the inimitable Doug Harvey has slightly dimmed the spotlight for this multi-talented backliner who is just reaching his prime. Distilling toughness and smarts, Johnson has emerged as one of the best two-way defensemen in hockey. He is a master at crease clearing and was a prime element on two Stanley Cup winners. Durable and swift, Johnson has already played four full 70-game schedules and certainly is capable of more.
Originally Posted by 1957-58 Hockey Card
Tom Johnson could be considered something of a throwback blueliner. Tom’s forte is his defensive soundness, his behind the blueline generalship. There are some who feel Tom could be a top two-way rearguard if he possessed a harder, more accurate shot – but Johnson apparently realizes his chances for success lie in defending his own end of the rink and there’s where he can usually be found.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, December 14, 1957
…Selke, a recognized master in appreciating hockey talent, even when it is still dormant, decided that Johnson had major league in him, and in effect stole him from the Toronto organization for $2000… But Selke’s part in developing Johnson to major league status did not end with his acquisition. Johnson, don’t forget, WAS a big awkward, gangly unpolished hockey player… the first year east was not a good one, but Selke had uncompromising faith in him. He liked his earnestness, his 100% effort, and never for one moment doubted that he was major league timber despite Royals’ manager Frank Carlin and Montreal coach Dirk Irvin both being down on Johnson. Even the Royals fans were down on Johnson and on one occasion, Selke stormed up into the stands and nearly came to blows with some fans who were razzing his boy… Johnson was sent to Buffalo of the AHL where he made steady but unspectacular progress. Toronto became interested and proposed a deal where Montreal would give up Johnson and Harvey for Gaye Stewart. Selke’s reply was that he would not give up either one on an even trade for Stewart. Of course, at that time, Harvey was a very ordinary player and Johnson had more detractors than supporters. But time, the great changer, proved Selke right. Finally, when Johnson did crash the NHL, it was only through the insistence of Selke. Coah Irvin objected but Johnson was inserted in the lineup at Selke’s insistence. Once in the lineup, Johnson developed so quickly that only two weeks later, Irvin reported, “maybe I was wrong about Johnson.” From this time on Johnson developed quickly and has been a regular with the Habs for seven fruitful seasons. But the significant point is that for over two years, Selke was the ONLY Johnson booster.

What kind of player is Johnson? Dick Irvin used to compare him to Kenny Reardon. Irvin said he does the things required of a defenseman naturally. When he tries to be smart, he makes mistakes. But Johnson is one of the few players who can make mistakes and usually get away with it. He possesses that rare ability to recover quickly and cover up his mistakes. In addition he is strong, an accurate passer and a good puck carrier. But his greatest talent is his ability to recover quickly. He relates that what he enjoys doing most is killing penalties. He teams up with Harvey for this chore and together provide one of the most effective penalty killing combinations in hockey.
Originally Posted by 1958 Coaches' Poll, published in the March 22 edition of the Toronto Star
Most underrated - Tom Johnson, Montreal (Camille Henry, Johnny Bucyk, Andy Bathgate)
Originally Posted by 1958-59 Hockey card
Johnson’s play in the finals last year with an injured knee is typical of the Johnson spirit and determination, ingredients that have made him the Canadiens’ most dependable defensive stalwart through the last half dozen seasons. He lacks Doug Harvey’s flair and is less effective offensively, but behind his blueline there is no steadier performer game in and game out. To Canadien officials one of the wonders is that Johnson has only once gained all-star recognition in his eight seasons in the league.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 25, 1961

This past season hasn’t been what you’d call outstanding for ex-Norris winner Tom Johnson. The solidly-constructed Canadien defenseman has gone along, somewhat overshadowed, as usual, by the more spectacular players. Perhaps the low spot of the season for Tom came when he failed to garner a single point in the first half voting for the same Norris trophy he’d won in dashing manner three seasons ago. In the midseason balloting, he suffered the frustration of being nosed out for the last defense position on the 2nd team, by one half a point…

but in spite of an unhappy season, there’s one distinction he can claim for his own. He’s the iron man of the Canuck defense. Not only this season as Tom stayed on his skates through thick and thin, while the majority of his teammates nursed injuries on the sidelines. But for the past 10 seasons, no Hab defenseman, including the mighty Harvey, has been able to equal his attendance record… he’s been often called the league’s most underrated defenseman, and there’d seem to be truth in the statement… his entire NHL career has been spent playing in the long shadow of the superstarring Harvey, meaning he’s often been overlooked and more than once underrated. But there’s one man in hockey who’s never underrated him. That man is Doug Harvey. “Tom’s a very fine player in my opinion. Look at the way he came through the year he won the Norris. Up till then he’d never played the point position on our powerplays. Then I got hurt, and he had to take the spot over. He did great.”

…Johnson has qualified as a charter member of the “Old Guards” defenders still in the league. The Stately Six, whose ages range from 33 to 36, are Harvey, Stanley, Flaman, Gadsby, Evans and now Johnson… although he’s not getting any younger, Johnson himself may go on longer than most of them. A real belter when he first broke in, Tom has learned the wisdom of playing the puck instead of the man, and it’s a lot easier on the muscles… since those early days, however, the husky Manitoban has developed into a smooth performer, and he’s still one of the better ones at getting the puck out of his own end when his team is shorthanded. In spite of their increased competition this season, the Canadiens maintained a classy defensive record whenever penalties left them short a man. And a good part of that record was due to some mighty effective puck clearing by the hard working, if at times unspectacular Tom. He really goes digging for that puck in the corners, and when he gets it, it’s looped up to the other end in a flash… now as the chips are down again, the durable Tom can be counted on to direct plenty of traffic away from the Hab blueline, as he joins in the hunt for another Stanley Cup.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 13, 1962
…the Habs cleaned house alright, and they ripped their defense corps apart. But in parting with three blueliners, they insisted that Tom would remain a Canadien and the defense would be built around him. Traded or sold were Doug Harvey, Junior Langlois and Bob Turner. Few thought Johnson had the stuff to be the defense leader. Only in one season did he show any sign of real brilliance. In his others he played well, very well, but never outstanding. Until felled by an eye injury, he was by far the best defenseman in the league. Between him and Jacques Plante, the Habs had managed to stay in the league despite playing cousin to the injury bug.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 5, 1963
Selke said he would be happy to let Johnson go because of the abuse he has been taking from fans here at the Forum. “Tom was booed all night. On one goal by the Leafs, two other Montreal players were responsible for it, not Tom, but the fans put the blame on Tom. Certainly, he shouldn’t have to take that sort of thing. Here he has been playing with an injured wrist and that’s the sort of reception he gets. In appreciation for what he has done for us in the long time he has been with the Canadiens, I would be glad to make a trade. “ Johnson was rated by Selke as “the best defensive defenseman in the league.” Selke has often been peeved by the attitude of Forum fans against certain players. He noted that if Johnson goes, he wouldn’t be the first of the Canadiens to be chased out of the rink.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 9, 1963
Veteran defenseman Tom Johnson suffered a fractured cheekbone in a freak accident at the Forum and appears lost for the rest of the schedule and playoffs… “it was a bad break and it was lucky he didn’t lose his eye,” said a hospital official… Terry Harper was called up again from Hull-Ottawa… the fact that Harper is a right defenseman also had some bearing on their decision to bring him up in place of Johnson.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, July 1963
The Bruins, still looking for experienced performers to lead them out of the cellar, picked up Tom Johnson… he is still plagued by an eye injury he sustained last season, but the Bruins are gambling he’ll be alright by training camp. “If the eye doesn’t show marked improvement, I’ll quit. It would be foolish to play with it under present conditions,” he said.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 30, 1963

You never know the full story on a hockey player until he’s a member of your own team… after less than two months of close appraisal, hockey people here have revised their estimate of the 35-year old defenseman. And Johnson has provided the impetus for the revision of thought by playing in outstanding fashion. “that’s putting it mildly,” maintained Lynn Patrick. “He’s playing the best defense in the league. He’s an all-star right now”. No one has been more appreciative than Ed Johnston, the most direct beneficiary. “He’s just the greatest at clearing that puck away from the goal. No fooling around if the heat’s on – whack, he gets it away… and there’s the way he gets out of the way on long shots to give me a look at ‘em. That’s all any goalie wants, a look. If Tom can’t stop the shot altogether, he’s out of the way to give me a chance. Having a defenseman with his experience and ability in front of him is a real break for a goalie. I’m sure glad he’s on my side.”

No one has been more pleased than Milt Schmidt… he revealed that he has been contributing more than meets the eyes watching him on the ice. “He’s a great man to have in your locker room. He talks it up, talks nothing but wins and winning. He knows what it’s like to win championships and he thinks and talks positive. There’s nothing more depressing to a coach than to have to provide all the enthusiasm, all the pep, to have to do all the talking it up himself. So it helps, it really does, to have a fellow like Tom radiating confidence and playing so well. Some of it is always bound to rub off. “

…Patrick took Johnson’s word that his vision was improving. It has long since been 100%. That left a smaller question mark about the amount of elasticity left in his legs. Schmidt seems to be answering that with the help of Doug Mohns, the league’s fastest defenseman… “Just watch Tom,” said Leo Boivin. “He knows how to pace himself. He doesn’t waste a move. He plays position and he’s all business. Actually he’s been moving better lately than at the start of the year. We couldn’t be luckier than to have him in the lineup for the full season.”
Originally Posted by 1964-65 Parkhurst tall boy
#10 is best remembered as a star backliner for several Montreal clubs during their dynastic run through Stanley Cups from 1956 to 1960. Johnson was quickly chosen by Boston when he was put on waivers in June 1963 and has been one of the best bargains in memory. In his first year as a Bruin, Tom played a full 70-game schedule and showed no ill effects of an eye injury he had suffered with Montreal.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, October 31, 1964
Take a guy like Tom Johnson – and two years ago, nobody but the Bruins would…. If you watch Johnson in the dressing room before a game, you see he’s all business. No skylarking for him. There’s a job to be done and he’s preparing himself mentally for it. How is he with younger players? Firm but helpful… Study him on the bench. He’s a holler guy, a want-to-win guy. You don’t have to push him over the dasher. He’s anxious enough to get out there on his own, especially if it’s a tight situation. This denotes confidence… Johnson is not a player in the classic mold, he’s not a fancy skater, never was. Smoothness is not his forte either. Getting a job done, however, is. In Montreal, Johnson was the target for much abuse. He was overshadowed by Harvey and once Harvey departed, the fans got on Johnson mercilessly even though he often played with injuries that would have sidelined less resolute players.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 13, 1965
Tom Johnson is finished for the season and possibly for good with a severe leg injury sustained when he was cut by Chico Maki’s skate… the three inch cut, more than an inch deep, severed the peroneal nerve and cut the motor and sensory muscle, leaving his leg paralyzed. It will be some six weeks before the full results from the operation will be obtained… the Bruins gambled $20,000 to draft Johnson two years ago and he proved to be a steady, heady player for two seasons. They were counting on him to play at least one more season, perhaps several. In fact, Johnson recently found a new pair of skates waiting for him in the dressing room. This was the management’s quiet way of informing him he’d be counted on for next season. “I’ve had bad injuries and have come back. I don’t think I’m through, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 30, 1965
Johnson and Ted Green formed what was Boston’s most effective defensive tandem until Johnson practically had a leg cut out from under him late in the season… many thought and perhaps still do, that the injury will bring a halt to his career… after being acquired, Johnson was the leading scorer among the Bruins’ blueline brigade, and according to many observers, he was the most effective defenseman on the club. His was the cool head and experience Schmidt went to in shorthanded situations and when there was a lead to protect. “If we had three more like him, we’d be a hard club to beat”, another boston veteran observed. The years had taken some of the zip out of his legs. But he more than made up for that with the anticipation and practiced moves which only comes from experience. With the assuredness of an accomplished handball player who knows all the angles, Johnson applied his art of positioning. Not surprisingly, it was around that time that Ted Green began to emerge as a big league defenseman. It was a transformation from trigger-tempered enforcer to a sturdy, steadier rearguard. And Green is the first to admit that playing alongside the veteran Johnson has had to be the best thing that ever happened to him… “when Tom was skating with me I could play more boldly. I carried the puck more. I wasn’t afraid to rush, because I knew if I couldn’t get back, Tom would be there covering for me. I began to depend on it. When he wasn’t playing I skated more cautiously. I didn’t take the same chances. I know he’s helped me a heck of a lot, been a great influence on me. He’s such a great guy.”

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Keith Tkachuk, LW

- 6’2”, 235 lbs
- NHL 2nd All-Star Team (1995, 1998)
- Also top-6 in All-star voting 7 other times (3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 5th, 6th)
- 10th in Hart voting (1997)
- Top-10 in goals 5 times (1st, 6th, 7th, 7th, 10th)
- Top-25 in points 8 times (11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 19th, 21st, 24th, 25th)
- Best VsX scores: 83, 82, 82, 82, 79, 73, 73 (total 554, avg 79.1)
- Best ES VsX scores: 97, 92, 81, 73,73, 73, 72 (total 561, average 80.1)
- 66 NHL Fights (record of 22-7-21 from dropyourgloves.com)
- World Cup Champion (1996)
- Top-10 in scoring in two major international tournaments (8th-1996 W-Cup, 3rd-2004 W-Cup)
- Winnipeg/Arizona captain (1993-1995, 1996-2001)
- Played in NHL All-Star Game 5 times (1997, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009)

THN Annual player rankings:


*No all-player rankings were produced in 1995 or 1997 but Tkachuk was 1st and 2nd among LWs these two seasons. Rankings are estimates.

Originally Posted by legendsofhockey.net
In 1995 Tkachuk was the captain of the Winnipeg Jets, the Coyotes' precursor before the team moved to Arizona. But he was also a free agent, and at what looked like the end of his contract negotiations, he signed an offer sheet with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jets, though, decided that they absolutely needed him. They matched Chicago's offer and signed Tkachuk to a multi year contract.

Tkachuk, one of many U.S. players in the NHL from the Boston area, is best known around league arenas as a power forward and it's no surprise that his hero as a kid was the Bruins' Cam Neely. He attended Boston University for just one year after becoming the first pick of the Jets in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft out of high school. He joined the U.S. Olympic team in 1991 and 1992 and his first full season with the Jets was 1992-93. By his third NHL season, Tkachuk was a 50-goal scorer and in 1996-97 became the first american-born player to lead the NHL in goals with 52. The left wing (and sometimes center) was also developing into one of the premier power-forwards in the game.

A four-time member of the U.S Olympic Team (1992, 1998, 2002, 2006) and member of the U.S. 1996 World Cup Team, Tkachuk spent parts of ten seasons with Winnipeg/Phoenix organization before being traded to the St. Louis Blues in the latter stages of the 2000-01 season. Upon the completion of the 2003-04 season, Tkachuk had managed to score at least 20 goals in his first 12 full seasons in the NHL.

In the 2006-07 season, Tkachuk tallied 20 goals and 23 assists for 43 points before the St. Louis Blues dealt Tkachuk to the Atlanta Thrashers. His stay in Atlanta was short lived however; after the Thrashers were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs they dealt Tkachuk back the St. Louis Blues.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Keith Tkachuk is a bit of a funny case for me. Despite his status as an elite power forward who, in his hey day, was scoring 50 goals and accumulating 200 penalty minutes in a season, not unlike a Cam Neely, I never really warmed to him. I'm not sure why. I was always left wanting more.

Tkachuk was arguably the best power left wing of his era, an era that also included John LeClair and Brendan Shanahan. He had soft hands for scoring goals with his strong wrist shot and quick release. He was a hulk of a fan made more physically dangerous thanks to his powerful and well-balance skating. He could drive right by most defensemen. The others he would simply try to plow right over.

Perhaps the reason I did not like him as much as I probably should was his penchant for taking bad penalties. He was mean and volatile, which is often great with such hockey beasts. But he had a reputation for keeping his stick high and for throwing retaliatory punches once the safety of the scrum had arrived. That, and he had little post-season success and was seemingly always in a contract squabble.

Is his resume enough to get him into the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Traditionally, the answer is yes. 500 goals, 1000 points, 1200 games are all strong numbers. He was an elite player in his era, as suggested by his all star status and Olympic inclusion.

But somehow I still don't think of him a Hall of Famer - not like Neely, or Shanahan or even Leclair. Neely was a controversial induction, Leclair still waits while Shanny is eligible for the first time in 2011. Is Tkachuk as good as him, or is a level south, on par with the likes of Adam Graves or Gary Roberts? Excellent players, but not Hall of Famers.

I rank Tkachuk somewhere in between based on regular season numbers. His playoff numbers are brutal though - just 28 goals in 89 post season games, and a career -15. Yeah, Tkachuk never played on a great team. But only once did his team make it to the third round of the playoffs. That year - 2001-02 - Tkachuk scored just 2 goals in 15 games.

Keith Tkachuk is a tough player to judge in history's eyes. It will be interesting to see what the consensus will be.
Originally Posted by 1992-93 Upper Deck
Keith is a big strong winger who likes to go into the corners after the puck… he has great hands and a strong work ethic. He won’t put up big numbers, but his physical play will benefit the Jets.
Originally Posted by Sharks and Prey 1993-94
Tkachuk has come very far, very fast. Developed into a tough, two-way forward. At 6’2” and 200 pounds, he offers size and a miseable disposition, something the Jets sorely need. It may be a while before Tkachuk puts up respectable scoring stats, but he will be entertaining to watch.
Originally Posted by 1993-94 OPC Premier
In his rookie season Keith held his own on a talented Winnipeg squad. His hustle and grit were especially useful on the power play.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1993-94
Tkachuk is at his best when he is banging and playing with the tenacity and grit that made him such a sensation when he joined the Jets right away after the 1992 Olympics. The problem for the youngster is that, just as physical play is contagious on a team, so is finesse play. Dazzled by the likes of Phil Housley and Teemu Selanne, Tkachuk tries to emulate them. But though he has some nice finesse skills, he can’t match them. Fancy dress doesn’t suit a construction worker. And he has to pick his times for using his power or a soft touch… Tkachuk is by build and talent a power forward. His skating is above average but still needs improvement. He is powerful and balanced, but he lacks one-step quickness and lateral movement. In front of the net, Tkachuk will bang and crash, but he also has very nice hands for picking upcks out of skates and flicking strong wrist shots. He can also kick at the puck with his skates without going down… a rugged scrapper who will pay the price. On nights when his game is on, Tkachuk can dictate the tempo of a game with his work in the corners and along the boards, a rare gift for so inexperienced a player. He has to play that way every night… tkachuk was by no means a disappointment. Only consistency eludes him, but that is hardly insurmountable for a 21-year old.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1993-94
Tkachuk is legitimately tough and enthusiastic about throwing his weight around. He’s at his best when he delivers a couple of good hits early in the game and gets his adrenaline flowing. For a big, tough kid, he also has very good hands around the net. He’s not a “stone hands” kind of winger. He’ll fire the puck from the high slot, and he’ll redirect a few point shots while camped in front of the crease… if Keith has to run around looking for a body to hit, he gets distracted the point of the game and is lost – if only temporarily. He needs the physical part of his game to flow naturally. He can fight as well as anyone, and has shown a vigorous attitude about establishing his territorial rights around the league. But the Jets don’t want Tkachuk to become an enforcer, they want a hard working winger who can score… he has the talent to carve out a very respectable career for himself. He’s the grinding power forward who can score and send a message that his teammates are not to be tampered with beyond the acceptable norm.

WILL – throw his weight around
CAN’T – avoid penalty trouble
EXPECT – 25 goals, 250 PIM
DON’T EXPECT – much finesse
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1993-94
Tkachuk is one of those players who has more NHL experience than his one season would indicate. He joined winnipeg for 17 games at the end of 1991-92, and made a big splash in the postseason with his physical play and disturbing antics... In his first year, he played it rough and tumble... he typically played with Steen last season, but often found himself shifted to other lines that needed toughness. At times he was with Selanne and Zhamnov, at even strength and on the powerplay. Tkachuk is an agitator who wakes up opponents and teammates. he can hit, take a check and doesn't mind garnerning abuse in the crease area or dropping the gloves. There's an upside and a downside to Tkachuk. His high PIM means fewer opportunities to score. However, if a top winger, or the team, should falter, Tkachuk is the tonic that is used to assist.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated 10/11/1993
Ask acquaintances of Winnipeg Jet left wing Keith Tkachuk's to describe him, and watch the pattern emerge.
"Definite mean streak," says Jet general manager Mike Smith.
"Hits to hurt people," says coach John Paddock.
"He's no cheap-shot artist," says defenseman and captain Dean Kennedy, "but he likes to hurt guys."

That inclination qualified the 6'2", 215-pound Tkachuk (pronounced kuh-CHUK) as a novelty when he arrived in Winnipeg two seasons ago. With a roster top-heavy with small, speedy players, the Jets were easily bullied. Smith wised up last year, trading for tough guys Kris King and Tie Domi.

But his team's most effective grinder was already on board. Winnipeg picked Tkachuk, now 21, in the first round of the 1990 draft, expecting him to blossom sometime after the '94 Olympics. He is ahead of schedule.

The Jets see Tkachuk as a power forward in the Rick Tocchet-Cam Neely mold. Says Paddock, "He'll score 35 to 40 goals a year, get 200 penalty minutes and bang everything in sight."

Last season Tkachuk had a spell where he was skating on a line with Teemu Selanne and Alexei Zhamnov, and he began to get too fancy. Smith took him aside in St. Louis and said, "Teemu and Alexei are ballet dancers. You're a construction worker. Don't forget it." Tkachuk hasn't.
Originally Posted by Toronto Star Coaches’ Poll, January 22, 1994
Best Bodychecker: Eric Lindros (9), Bryan Marchment (3), Scott Stevens (3), Wendel Clark (1), Keith Tkachuk (1), Darius Kasparaitis (1), Adam Graves (1), Mark Tinordi (1)

Most Infuriating Player: Ulf Samuelsson (5), Tony Granato (3), Marty McSorley (2), Theo Fleury (2), Dale Hunter (1), Keith Tkachuk (1), Doug Gilmour (1), Jamie Macoun (1), Warren Rychel (1), Shayne Corson (1), Keith Acton (1), Chris Chelios (1)

Most Underrated Player: Joey Mullen (4), Adam Graves (3), Brendan Shanahan (2), Keith Tkachuk (2),
Originally Posted by 1994 St Louis Post-Dispatch Coaches Poll, in conjunction with Beckett Hockey Magazine.
Most Underrated
1. Adam Graves (4) 2. (tie) Joe Mullen, Steve Thomas, Keith Tkachuk (2).
Originally Posted by 1994-95 Fleer
The power forward on the Zhamnov/Selanne line of the 90s, Tkachuk, at 21, became the captain of the Jets. A “construction worker on a line of ballet dancers,” Tkachuk came to the Jets camp with a body built of iron. Immovable down low with the sure touch of a finisher, Winnipeg’s on-ice leader is a physically dominant scoring forward in the Rick Tocchet-Wendel Clark mold.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1994-95
Tough and enthusiastic about playing a dominating physical game, Tkachuk loves to hit and throw his considerable weight around. If provoked, he’ll drop the gloves, but he rarely starts a fight. A prototype power forward, he skates well and barges up and down the ice with authority and confidence. He’ll crash the net and take on any defenseman who tries to move him out… Last season the jets lost Selanne to a severed Achilles tendon and the season went down the drain despite Tkachuk’s steady play. He hasn’t yet shown he can carry the team alone, nor can he abandon his physical play and be very successful trying to rely on finesse… one of the few Jets to play consistently well throughout the season…he’s a good leader who has earned the captain’s “C” on his sweater and is a popular choice among his teammates. He lost is cool once last year, spearing Bob Probert after being punched.

WILL – be Jets’ best player
CAN’T – be intimidated
EXPECT – 100% effort nightly

DON’T EXPECT – a fancy dan
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1994-95
His development was fast tracked last season... he showed up for camp in top shape with muscles sprouting all over his torso. He got off to a fast start, former captain Kennedy did not. Suddenly, at 21, he found himself the new captain of the Jets. Paddock made a wise choice. With Selanne and Zhamnov injured, Tkachuk took over the top line and began counting points beyond expectations... an all-around player. He's a power winger who has good hands around the net and solid playmaking ability. This led him to a center spot for a time. Tkachuk doesn't mnd the heavy traffic around the opposition nets, nor does he mind banging bodies with large defensemen in the corners. He's quite willing to accommodate any knucker intent on slugging it out...
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1994-95
In only his second NHL season, Tkachuk has joined the ranks of the league's top power left wings. Like Brendan Shanahan, Adam Graves and Kevin Stevens, Tkachuk is at his best when he uses his power and scoring touch in tight. The scary thing is that Tkachuk is better than they were at an earlier age… Tkachuk keeps growing, and there are times when he looks awkward, as if all the components were sprouting at different times.He has improved his one-step quickness and agility. He is powerful and balanced, and often drives through bigger defensemen. The Jets were terribly weak on face-offs until they started using Tkachuk on draws. When he doesn't win outright, he will tie up the opposing centre and fight for the puck… The Jets have added some toughness, which will keep Tkachuk from having to be the policeman every night. He is too valuable to lose in poor tradeoffs. Tkachuk isn't intimidated by the size or reputation of his foe. He gets under a lot of skins, and gets into battles on the ice and at the benches. He will yap and aggravate.

Tkachuk was named the youngest captain in the NHL for his grit, heart and maturity...Watching him play, it's remarkable to think he's only 22 years old, and won't be 23 until very late in the season.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1994-95
catapulted to elite power forward status after firmly establishing himself as the Jets clubhouse and on-ice leader. Excellent skater with both size and skill – his fierce determination and rugged approach is an intimidating factor that creates space for Selanne and Zhamnov.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook 1994-95
”You can’t see it in the stats, but guys like Tkachuk and Shanahan and Pat Verbeek here in Hartford are guys who play the same way every night, at home or on the road,” Maxwell said. “That’s why Tkachuk is captain.”

“I repsect him as a player,” Shanahan said. “He’s one of the youngest guys in the league who is able to combine the attributes of talent and toughness and you know he’s only going to get better. He did a lot last season without Selanne in the lineup. You can tell he’s an excellent leader.”

I have a short temper, but I know when to put a lid on it,” Tkachuk said. “If it’s late in a close game, I know I’m better to the team being on the ice than in the penalty box.”
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook, Top-40 players 1994
#24 – Keith Tkachuk. He’s a young man with old hockey values… a captain at 22, he’ll give you 40 goals and 40 lashes.
Originally Posted by Hockey Player Magazine, June 1995
Keith Tkachuk has that choir boy look. Nice, innocent—the kind of guy any girl would love to take home to mother. But throw some hockey equipment on the Winnipeg Jets captain and he instantly transforms into a terror on blades.

Tkachuk, who turned 23 in March, is already regarded as one of the top power forwards in the National Hockey League, a 6’2”, 210-pound left winger who can punish opponents in any number of ways. Last season he led the Jets in scoring, collecting 41 goals and 81 points. And what makes this accomplishment even more significant is that Tkachuk managed to achieve those totals while also chalking up a whopping 255 penalty minutes. In fact, enforcer Tie Domi was the only Jets player who spent more time in the sin bin (347 minutes) than did Tkachuk. “The scary thing about Keith is that he’s only going to get better,” says Domi. “He’s still got a lot to learn and (has to) mature more. But he’s going to be a great player for a long time.”

Tkachuk is in his third full season in the NHL. He joined the Jets in February of 1992, after helping the United States to a fourth-place finish at the Olympic Games in Albertville, France. Winnipeg had selected Tkachuk in the first round, 19th overall, of the 1990 Entry Draft. Tkachuk is not related to former New York Rangers forward Walt Tkaczuk (note the different spelling), who played 14 NHL seasons before retiring in 1981, but that hasn’t prevented his teammates from nicknaming him “Walt.” There’s another NHL player, however, whom Tkachuk prefers to emulate—Boston Bruins rugged right winger Cam Neely. “When I was in high school, I watched Cam Neely play,” says Tkachuk, a native of Melrose, MA. “Just by watching him I (knew I) wanted to be like him. I didn’t get to a lot of games, but I watched him on TV all the time.” Not surprisingly, Tkachuk was a Bruins fan. “I really liked the Bruins style of banging,” he says. “It was just fun watching the big black and gold bullies. And watching Cam play, he was everything I wanted to be.”

Well, sometimes you get what you want. When Tkachuk broke into the NHL, he too steamrolled his way to a reputation for toughness. “When you first get into the league you want to get some respect (from the opposition) and earn some respect from your teammates,” he reasons. “I had to go out and crash and bang and, when the opportunity was there, get into the odd scuffle.” Since Tkachuk is as valuable a scorer as he is a physical presence, the Jets would like to see him maintain his aggressiveness while cutting down on his penalty minutes. After all, you can neither score nor bang when you’re in the box. “He should probably show a little patience sometimes when he gets hit,” says Winnipeg center Thomas Steen. “He likes to retaliate.”
But don’t get Steen wrong for chiding the young winger; he’s a big Tkachuk booster. “He’s still a young guy,” says Steen. “But he’s growing into a Mark Messier-type of player. He’s very hard to stop in front of the net. He’ll be a great leader for this team for some time.” Steen, who is in his 14th NHL season, all with Winnipeg, says the Jets have never had a player like Tkachuk. “He’s a force all over the ice. Even in the defensive zone, he does the job. We’ve had big forwards who were good forecheckers before, but not the type of player Keith is. There aren’t too many guys like him in the league.” The few names that do come to mind are Neely, Kevin Stevens, Rick Tocchet and Brendan Shanahan. All of whom, like Tkachuk, can strike fear into an opponent’s heart. “They know when Keith Tkachuk is coming,” notes Steen. “They can hear him coming. He’s like a train.”

Earlier this season, Tkachuk was playing on a line which looked more like a runaway train. Alongside Russian center Alexei Zhamnov and Finnish right winger Teemu Selanne, this international trio—dubbed The Olympic Line, because each player represented his country at the 1992 Olympics—comprised what was then arguably the NHL’s top line. “They can all be the best player in the world at their position when they’re playing,” boasts Jets GM (and, until recently, coach) John Paddock. “There’s nothing they don’t have when they want to play. They’ve got a sniper (Selanne), a great playmaking and skilled goal-scoring centerman, and a player who will be one of the best power forwards in the game for the next 10-12 years. They have everything.” Obviously not a subscriber to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” theory, Paddock broke up the hot-scoring trio in mid-March. When Igor Korolev joined the Jets from St. Louis, he was teamed up with former Russian teammate Zhamnov and left winger Dallas Drake. Nelson Emerson was switched to center with Selanne and Tkachuk.

Paddock said the move wasn’t a message to anyone, just an attempt to spread the wealth. “We (were) just trying to get a little more balance, and trying to get some of our other forwards producing more.” And it’s hard to argue with the results: Zhamnov soon had a five-goal game against the Kings, while Emerson notched a goal and four assists in another tilt in which Tkachuk registered two shorthanded goals.

As one would expect of a team-oriented captain like Tkachuk, he took the line change in stride. “I think we need a little more balance, and John obviously (thought) that too. I don’t mind.” Besides, things changed before, and they may well change again. As for The Olympic Line’s brief moments of brilliance, Tkachuk credits his linemates. “First of all, Alex Zhamnov is just playing tremendous hockey. Anybody can play with him right now and he would make them better. Put any guys with him and they’re going to produce. And Teemu is Teemu. He’s flashy, he’s got that great speed, and he’s collecting goals. Alex is going to set him up every time, and Teemu is going to put them home.” Even after the big break-up, the trio still found themselves sharing some power play time. Paddock had Zhamnov playing the point while Tkachuk, Selanne and Korolev comprised the forward line.

Zhamnov, who played against Tkachuk in the Olympics, wasn’t going to dwell on the fact that the captain was taken off his line. “I’m not the coach,” said Zhamnov, who helped the Russians capture the Gold at Albertville. “I don’t think much about it. If the coach thinks we need to play together, we’ll play together. If not, we’ll play on two lines.” Tkachuk is one of only a few NHL players who were drafted out of the US high school ranks. After completing his secondary school studies he joined Boston University, but only for one season. After that, he opted to leave school and join the American national team program. The Jets are obviously delighted Tkachuk turned pro earlier than originally expected. “He’s got all the skills,” says Selanne. “He’s got power, he can skate and he can score goals. He’s a very important player. I’ve been with the team three years, and it’s been a pleasure playing with him.”

Though some eyebrows were raised when Tkachuk was named Jets captain at the tender age of 21, Selanne says he wasn’t surprised. “He can win games for the team sometimes just by himself when he’s playing his best hockey,” says Winnipeg’s flying Finn. “And he’s a big leader here. He wants to show all the players that he cares about this team.” Tkachuk is proud of wearing the C. “It’s quite an honor,” he says. “It shows a lot of confidence from the coaches in me, and that makes me play a lot better. Being one of the youngest guys (on the team) makes it tough, but I’m getting a lot of help from the (other) guys. The biggest positive I have about being captain is that I can hopefully go out and lead by example on the ice. Inside (the dressing room), it will take care of itself.”

Though Tkachuk is expected to remain the team’s captain for some time, it’s uncertain whether the Jets will still be in Winnipeg. A deadline of May 1 has been established to see if government officials are willing to financially assist the franchise in the construction of a new arena, which Gary Bettman has said is a necessity if Winnipeg is to keep its team. Speculation has the Jets moving south of the border—where Tkachuk will be an All American drawing card—possibly to Minnesota. “There are a lot of rumors going around, but we don’t know what’s going to happen,” says Tkachuk. “It’s out of our control. You just have to go out and do your best. It’s very important to our lives whether we’re going to stay in the city or not, but we just have to go out and try to win some hockey games.”

If he had a vote, Tkachuk would want the Jets to stay put. “I love Winnipeg,” he says. “It’s a great town. The fans are great. People are great. But we need a new building to generate some money for the team. That’s something they have to work out, and like I said, it’s out of our control.” What is in control of the team’s players is their performance on the ice. Despite Tkachuk’s individual success, Winnipeg has yet to win a playoff series in his time with the club. The Jets didn’t even earn a post-season berth last year, and are in danger of missing the playoffs again. “If you look around, we’ve got the talent,” says Tkachuk. “We just have to put it together. Whether we’re missing a player or two is not up to me to say. That’s the management’s job. We’re pretty happy with the guys we’ve got. We just have to put it together and work as a team.”

Like other Winnipeg players, defenseman Dave Manson also speaks highly of the club’s captain, ranking him high among the league’s power forwards. “If not first, he’s second or third,” says Manson. “He’s definitely in the top three. He’s young, he’s a leader and he’s already proven himself in the NHL. He doesn’t take (bull) from anyone, and that’s the bottom line.” Manson doesn’t agree with the suggestion that Tkachuk would be even more well known if he were playing elsewhere, even though Winnipeg is far from being a major media market. “If we won the Stanley Cup then he’d get more recognition,” says Manson. “But he’s got a lot of recognition now throughout the league. You ask any other team, and they’ll say they’ve got to stop him.” Which has so far been about as easy as stopping that runaway train.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1995-96
Fearless wrecking ball banged and crashed his way to dominating performance including a raft of highlight reel goals. Powerful skater, intimidating and an excellent finisher, his nasty and combative nature quite often sends him overboards. However, reminiscent of Kevin Stevens a few years back, his production would no doubt suffer if he adopted a more civil approach.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1995-96
Tkachuk is tough, and loves to play a physical game. He’ll drop the gloves and fight, and hold his own against anyone.. he skates well, smashing up and down the ice with authority. He’ll crash the net and take on any defenseman who tries to move him out. He also has pretty good hands… hasn’t demonstrated that, when necessary, he can carry the Jets alone… highly regarded among his teammages and bosses… with Selle and Zhamnov, Tkachuk doesn’t have to try to carry the Jets on his shoulders. He was able to do those things that make him such a good squad boss.

WILL - be Jets’ MVP
CAN’T – Be held back
EXPECT – a hard hitting scorer
DON’T EXPECT – less than total intensity.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1995-96
Already team captain and the heart and soul of the club, tkachuk is still improving and the best is yet to come. He can do it all. He can play the wing or center, he's a mainstay on the PP, he can skate and handle the puck and he has a strong shot. Add to this a mean streak a mile wide and you've got a player who would be welcomed on any team...
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1995-96
Tkachuk plays with Nelson Emerson, but often takes the draws… this hard nosed winger was one of the most attractive Group II free agents during the offseason, but the cash-strapped Jets have the right to match and can’t afford to lose him.
Originally Posted by Pinnacle 1995-96
In addition to being a gifted goal scorer, Keith is a hard-hitting aggressor who enjoys hurling his 210-pound frame at anyone wearing enemy colors.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1996-97
A power forward with quick, soft hands. A natural leader – intense, inspiring… has stints where he simply dominates… Had a tough start last season. Was stripped of his captaincy, and was booed by Winnipeg fans after signing an offer sheet with Chicago that forced the Jets to match. Then lost his setup man when Zhamnov was injured early, had to move to center for a while, fractured his left thumb and strained his groin muscle.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1996-97
Poor Keith, we say facetiously...Chicago brass figured they could do an end run around the debt-ridden Jets and signed him to a 5-year, $17M offer sheet, hoping Winnipeg wouldn't be able to pay. Paddock matched ad Tkachuk was blamed for his exorbitant salary every time taxpayers were reminded they'd be picking up the tab... Paddock wasn't pleased either. The young sniper was stripped of his captaincy and Tkachuk claims it's because he's had contract hassles two years running. He claims Paddock didn't negotiate and what was a boy to do when the Hawks offered to make him a millionaire overnight? Tkachuk wasn't happy playing in Winnipeg last season and we suspect he welcomes the move southward... A tough power forward who loves the physical play, he can also score in bunches... he was used at center to start the season.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1996-97
Fortunate benefactor of Blackhawks’ ludicrous free agent offer sheet, he responded with career numbers despite missing all of the preseason as a holdout. Arguably the league’s penultimate power winger, he is fire, grit, speed and talent all in one package and thanks to losing his captaincy, was better able to focus on being a scorer. The NHL’s tip-master is a safe 90 point pick.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1996-97
Tkachuk is the complete package – the ultimate power forward. He does everything: he skates fast and arrives with authority. He shoots well from outside and has great hands inside. He is touch and mean and will drop his gloves to fight if provoked. And he has great leadership qualities, chief among them his unfailing desire to win every game in which he plays… went through a lengthy contract hassle, missed lots of training camp, and was injured in his first game back. Still, tkachuk went a long way last year toward proving that he deserves to be among the league’s highest paid players.

WILL – be crowd fave
CAN’T – push him around
EXPECT – the total package

DON’T EXPECT – a shy performer
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook, Top-50 players 1996
#17 – Keith Tkachuk. Six million bucks doesn’t buy what it used to, or does it? Tkachuk was the only 50-goal scorer in the league last season with over 100 penalty minutes.
Originally Posted by ICS Hockey September 1996
At 6'2, 210 pounds, Tkachuk is the prototypical power forward. He plays a bruising, physical game and doesn't back down from any challengers. He was one of only two NHLers to lead his team in both scoring and penalty minutes, compiling a substantial 228 minutes in the box. Tkachuk can change the flow of a game with his aggressive play. He proved it at the World Cup when he beat the hell out of Claude Lemieuxin the opening minutes of a preliminary round matchup with Team Canada. The fight got him the gate, but he sent a message to the favored Canadians that the younger American squad wasn't about to be intimidated. Without that fight, and what it represented, it's hard to believe the US would have won the tournament. Only a great player would be capable of seizing the moment and performing such a heroic action. That fight is when Tkachuk became a great player.

But Tkachuk has plenty of flash to go with his bash. Just when defenses prepare to get run over or beaten to a pulp, Tkachuk switches gears and waltzes around them with his speed and stickhandling. He has the best hands of any of the league's big men and can put on the ritz while in full flight. His soft touch also shines through in front of the net, where he's the absolute best at picking shots out of the air. There's just nothing the guy can't do.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1996-97
He’s at his best when he uses his power and scoring touch in tight. The scariest thing is how good he has become so young… he is powerful and balanced, and often drives through bigger defensemen. The re-signing of top setup man Craig Janney is good news for Tkachuk, since the two connected well last season… Tkachuk is volatile and mean as a scorpion. He takes bad penalties, and since he has a reputation around the league for getting his stick up and retaliating for hits with a quick rabbit-punch to the head, referees keep a close eye on him. Tkachuk will have to avoid foolish penalties, he can be tough without buying a time share in the penalty box… Tkachuk scored 50 despite the pressure of a huge front loaded contract, injuries, a poor start, lack of a truly gifted playmaking center and being the captain of a lame duck team playing its last season in Winnipeg.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated 3/3/1997
He spent part of last summer's vacation establishing himself as the game's preeminent power forward, helping lead the U.S. to the gold medal in the World Cup of Hockey in September. In that tournament the 6'2", 210-pound left wing scored five goals in seven games and struck a blow, literally, for countless NHL players. In an early-round game against Canada, Tkachuk squared off with Colorado Avalanche winger Claude Lemieux, one of the league's most despised players. In the ensuing fracas, Tkachuk broke Lemieux's nose. Says Phoenix winger Jim McKenzie, "There were a lot of toothless smiles around the league."

Although Tkachuk doesn't drop his gloves as much as he used to—with his fierce reputation, his fistic talents are tested less often—he merrily performs hockey's most unpleasant chores, working the corners and positioning himself in front of the opponents' net, a bull's-eye painted on his back. For such an adept pugilist, he has surprisingly soft hands. He is exceptionally strong, and he's tough to knock off the puck, a trait center Bob Corkum attributes to Tkachuk's "low center of gravity."

Center Craig Janney elaborates: "He's got a big ass."
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated, 1997
he scored five goals in last year's World Cup, including two game-winners, and racked up 44 penalty minutes, 23 more than any other player...in the preliminary round game against Canada, Tkachuk, set the tempo for the matchup by squaring off against and breaking the nose of then-Canada team member (guy everyone hates)...he was ejected in Game 3 of the final series with the Maple Leaf after a brawl...head coach XXX and general manager Lou Lamoriello had counted on Tkachuk playing a key leadership role with his physical play, selecting him as an assistant captain for the World Cup team..."They've shown a lot of confidence in my leadership abilities and it's just great to put on a USA sweater," said Tkachuk. "It means a lot to play for your country. It was a great experience and I did enjoy the World Cup. I enjoyed my time with those guys -- it was excellent. It was great exposure for hockey and everyone involved"
Originally Posted by THN Top-100 Players of All-time (1997)
(future top-100 players)
The essence of Tkachuk is that he combines a boyish enthusiasm with a mannish mean streak… Tkachuk was influenced by Cam Neely. He is unique in that he can play it both ways – tough, as a power forward, and skilled, with the ability to beat a defenseman 1-on-1. Once upon a time, his Jets’ teammates dubbed him with the nickname “meat”, after the untamed, unsophisticated Tim Robbins character in Bull Durham. Like “Meat”, it didn’t take Tkachuk long to turn immense potential into the real deal.
Originally Posted by 1997-98 Donruss
Keith, who excels in all aspects of the game, scored half his goals at home and half on the road.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1997-98
Tkachuk was one Jet who was happy the team relocated. He took lots of abuse in his last two years. Through no fault of his own, he ended up with a large contract at a time when the franchise could ill afford it... as the franchise travelled the road to financial oblivion, he did little to deflect criticism despite posting 98 points... His off-ice antics drew the ire of local media. Late nights spent partyng, burning a $100 bill to prove who knows what, and reneging on a charity event left fans with a bitter taste. He was stripped of his captaincy that last year and was looking forward to a new start in a new city... Tkachuk was in great shape entering camp and was once again given the captain's "C"... he admitted that his new wife was largely responsible for taming his wild off-ice ways and the only hint of dirt was a holdover from Winnipeg involving gambling allegations. He alleges he was being blackmailed by an Edmonton chap and it will be settled in court. The NHL had already decided the allegations were groundless... Entering last season, he looked in the peak of condition, full of confidence, and the wildest nights he spent now were at home... he started the season slower than a pregnant slug with just 4 goals in 19 games... he wasn't driving to the net and playing abrasively. Hay put it down to World Cup hangover, a new city, and adjusting to new linemates. Tkachuk looked in the mirror and decided it was time to lead the team through his play. Suddenly he was back to pasting opponents on a regular basis, heading for the net at every opportunity and scoring. Tkachuk was dropping them in by the bucketful and by the all-star break, he was 4th in goals with 24. Then some roadbumps. Tkachuk wasn't initially invited to the all-star game and wasn't pleased. "I'm ****ing disappointed. Pissed off. I have no idea why I'm not going." He did make it as an injury substitute, though... Then the press started to drag up rumours about a rift between him and Roenick. It was the same sort of nonsense he faced when he played with Selanne in Winnipeg... Tkachuk matured as a player and a leader last season and was hindered by Hay's constant emphasis on offense. If Jim Schoenfeld turns him loose, he'll come close to 100 points.
Originally Posted by 1997-98 Donruss
Keith’s selection as Phoenix captain is testimony to the respect he receives in the Phoenix dressing room. He was also named an assistant captain on the U.S. team that won the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook, Top-40 players 1998
#10 – Keith Tkachuk. The NHL’s premier power winger lost out on a 3rd straight 50-goalseason largely because of injury, but what the brash American needs now is some playoff success.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1997-98
2nd straight 50 goal season and an inspired playoff performance confirmed his place among the NHL’s elite power forwards. His game 7 heroics, albeit in a losing cause, epitomized the skill, toughness and leadership that he provides the club. Intensely competitive, he controls the boards in the offensive zone with his exceptional speed and strength, and has a quick accurate shot… now that his off-ice problem seem to be clearing up, he can get on with bringing a cup to the desert. You can only marvel at Tkachuk’s drive. He is determined to be the best and it shows.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1997-98
One of the best power forwards in the game. Has good speed and skates with strength. A natural sniper, Tkachuk has quick hands and an accurate shot. Deadly in close. Will hit anything that moves. Great heart and leadership qualities. Needs to work on his defensive game. Will take foolish retaliatory penalties. Needs to play with a playmaking center to be effective. The unquestioned leader of the Coyotes.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1997-98
Tkachuk is among the NHL's elite power forwards, arguably the best power left wing in the game today. He's at his best when he uses his strength and scoring touch in tight.

In front of the net, Tkachuk will bang and crash but he also has soft hands for picking pucks out of skates and flicking strong wrist shots....He has a quick release. He looks at the net, not down at his stick, and finds the openings.
Tkachuk stepped up when it mattered most, in the playoffs. He is a tremendous on-ice leader who is only getting better.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1998-99
late season injuries prevented him from Joining John LeClair as first American born player with three straight 50-goal seasons… held out of training camp last fall and refused to report until GM Smith agreed to renegotiate his deal the next summer, despite having three years still to honour on his contract. After alienating management, the fans and media began to question his suitability as a cornerstone and whether he was mature and competent enough to lead phoenix out of the desert… an extraordinary skater who has the size, skill, and bruising physical game to dominate the offensive zone. He failed to make an impact in the playoffs yet is looking for $8-10M a year or roughly a 300% increase in pay.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1998-99
From the hash marks in, Tkachuk is one of the most dangerous forwards in the NHL. Making the crease smaller will increase his effectiveness and his production, because the trenches are where Tkachuk does his best work… because of his size and strength, he is frequently used to take draws, and it’s a rare faceoff where the opposing center doesn’t end up getting smacked by Tkachuk…he comes in hard with big-time hits on the forecheck. He plays through pain, wearing a flak jacket to protect fractured ribs through the playoffs… his reputation took a hit with his involvement with Team USA and the shenanigans at Nagano. He denies taking part in the room trashing, but even if he is innocent, tkachuk has some growing up to do. Why else would his name be the first that sprang into every mind when news of the incident leaked out?
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated 5/3/1999
Struck hard in the face with a stick blade, Tkachuk reflexively put a hand to his mouth, then casually checked his open palm, fully expecting to locate his teeth there. Then he simply skated on, unaffected, as if it were all a trick of animation, a fact borne out by the logo on his jersey.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1999-2000
A contract holdout and a series of injuries led to his mediocre season. The Coyotes captain did nothing to enhance his reputation as a “me first” guy, though he is still the team’s most important piece. A classic power forward with great hands and a good shot. His leadership’s vastly overrated, however, and he tends to take stupid penalties. Tkachuk will be under fire to prove that he can lead this team past round one. He’ll play left wing on the first line and take important faceoffs.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook, Top-50 players 1999
#12 – Keith Tkachuk. The feisty winger missed 14 games and still scored 36 goals. The Coyote needs playoff success to get full recognition, but he’s still a pure power forward.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1999-2000
he has a great feel for the puck… his numbers last season were really quite amazing when you count the number of games he missed due to injury… every time he was out, it took him a few games to regain his rhythm because of the power game he plays… he tried to be more disciplined last season, but still took penalties at the wrong times…he is the heart and soul of this franchise and needs to be more responsible. He is so close to being a complete player.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1999-2000
skipped most of training camp last fall until the club agreed to a $16.7M restructuring, and despite missing 14 regular season games still led the club in goals for a 4th straight year. Other than a 3rd quarter lull, he was displaying the complete package of speed, skill and aggression that have made him one of the game’s most feared power forwards… although he played well in the playoffs, one goal in seven games is hardly enough for a player of his caliber and it certainly wasn’t enough to make a difference against St. Louis. He will have to carve a much larger postseason legacy if he ever hopes to win back his wavering supporters.
Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated 1/17/2000
Despite those distractions [potential trade because of contract], as well as injuries to his left knee, neck and back, Tkachuk had 16 goals and 16 assists in 34 games. He can carry a team as few players can, and Roenick says Tkachuk's ability to disrupt a defense "makes me a better player."
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2000-01
has reached a crossroads in his career. Injury prone, booed by fans and questioned by teammates with regards to his leadership, Tkachuk has fallen on hard times. When healthy, however, he is one of the premier power forwards and left wingers in the world. Unfortunately, that’s no longer enough since Tkachuk’s mandate is to lead Phoenix to a Stanley Cup final… many observers feel that it’s highly unlikely Tkachuk will be wearing the C in Arizona by season’s end.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2000-01
It was a season to forget for Captain Coyote, who was besieged by season long injuries and by endless rumours that the club was desperately trying to unload his prohibitive salary which is set to nearly double this coming year… big, combative winger has great hands and outstanding speed but has rarely been the same dominating power forward he was during 1996-1998… has overstayed his welcome in Phoenix after failing to get the franchise past the first round during his 8-year stay.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook, Top-50 players 2000
#18 – Keith Tkachuk. He is coming to a crossroads, this power player who should be the NHL’s best left winger… needs to lead and produce and earn his $8.3M.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2000-01
He doesn’t just stand in the slot, he moves in and out… thanks to nagging injuries, he never found his rhythm, 1999-00 was pretty much a lost season…
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, October 2000
...the hope is that a new, winning attitude - one that can finally transport this franchise into the NHL's elite - will arrive as well. Nobody on the ice may be as important in making that happen as Tkachuk... If Phoenix is to truly shed its reputation for falling apart in the playoffs, many observers expect it will greatly depend on #7, who is healthy, wealthy and rarin' to go. "It's time. I don't care about anything else. It's just time we do it... I'm going to play the way I played before. I'm going to play gritty and be as nasty as I can be. That's when I play my best and a lot of people don't like that. But I don't really care. I'm not going to put myself in front of the team, but I'm going to play as nasty as I can in front of the net. That's my thing. That's where I get my goals. Slash that leg and I'm going to start lashing out and I'll tell ya right now, with the lumber I carry..." Tkachuk didn't finish the sentence. He didn't have to. You get the idea... Coach Bobby Francis doesn't have any doubts. He said he could tell from Tkachuk's decision to immediately undergo surgery after last season to remove scar tissue and floating bone chips in his left knee and right ankle. Tkachuk tried to play through the pain, but wound up missing 32 games. "Right after the surgeries, he started his rehab and a training program that he never experienced before And he was religious with it. He was conscious of knocking his weight down and building his muscle up and it showed in his test scores and his movement early in camp. He looks great. It starts with your head. keith is determined. he's focused. I don't think there are any distractions as fas as he's concerned. I expect and I know Keith expects to have a tremendous year."

...to rekindle that fire, Tkachuk has to be smoking in front of the net. "It's no secret where Keith gets his candy. It's right in the slot area. He's very difficult to box out because he's so strong below the waist and he's so intense. He has the eye of the tiger when it comes to scoring goals there. He's the perfect example of what you call a power forward. When he wants to get to the net, no one's going to stop him. When he wants to get the puck behind the defensemen, they're pretty petrified going back for it. His game is old school in that regard. It's north and south, not east and west." Dealing with the West's bruising blueliners such as Chris Pronger, Derian Hatcher and Rob Blake, Tkachuk took his fair share of beatings last year while trying to hold his position on two gimpy legs. He's ready for round II. "I came back earlier than ever this summer so I could be ready and get out of the gate with a bang. I did a lot of running and biking and I think I've added a lot more muscle." And thicker skin, too. Burke and Smith tried desperately to move their best player a year ago, something that still gnaws at his insides. They thought they had a deal with Carolina for Keith Primeau, Jeff Heerema and Dave Karpa, but Peter Karmanos nixed it. Likewise, he axed a three-way deal that would have sent Tkachuk to the Rangers and brought Primeau, Radek Dvorak and a draft pick to Phoenix. "people get traded and hockey's a business. I just think the way they went about it... it wasn't business. It was personal. There were a lot of things involved, stuff I don't even want to talk about me anymore."

"i want to me part of an organization known for winning, not for accepting losing in the first round every year. We've got to start a winning tradition, and I know when Gretzky takes over, that's going to happen. It might not happen overnight, but it's going to happen. There could easily be a dynasty here. I'm looking forward to a fresh start with new people and doing the best I possibly can. I've already heard some great compliments from Wayne and that makes me feel wanted and work harder. I'm hungry this year. I really am."
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2001-02
The prototypical power forward, Tkachuk has a new lease on life in St. Louis. He’s big, aggressive and strong on his skates. While fans and teammates alike have never been thrilled by his cocky attitude and frequent holdouts, his skill is not in question. Tkachuk likes to bang in the corners and is very good at using his body to gain position in front of the opposing goal. As long as he stays healthy, he’s among the elite wingers in the league when it comes to combining talent and toughness. The Blues are committed to becoming a Stanley cup champion and Tkachuk, despite little playoff success throughout his career, will be expected to lead the offensive charge.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2001-02
was supposed to be the final Stanley Cup ingredient, but bombed in the playoffs with no even strength goals… a combative, strong skating winger with excellent shooting skills, Tkachuk creates space for himself and linemates using his prodigious speed and power, however, he hurts his team at times with selfish penalties and has been criticizef for his lack of conditioning… should improve given his more stringent offseason conditioning program.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook, Top-50 players 2001
#26 – Keith Tkachuk. Couldn’t keep focused long enough to regain 50-goal form. His package of scoring and slamming figured to be just what St. Louis needed, but he didn’t bring it often enough. His stock is slipping.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2001-02
he was not a good fit in St. Louis. It wasn’t all his fault, since the team depleted its centers to get him and ended up having to move him to the middle, which is not his best position. Tkachuk will get a fresh start with a new pivotman in Doug Weight…
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2002-03
Tkachuk has been everything the Blues hoped he would be when they acquired him from Phoenix late in 2001. The ultra-aggressive winger was one of the few Blues who played up to expectations against the Red Wings last spring. In fact, he formed a devastating line with Pavol Demitra nad Scott Mellanby. Very intimidating, Tkachuk plays a nasty game, is lethal around the net and has a great set of hands. He has also for the most part answered questions about his leadership and attitude.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2002-03
making amends for a poor playoff debut, reported to camp in peak condition and was the offensive general all season, and played his best hockey of the year after returning in mid march from thigh injury… a gifted sharpshooter with excellent size, speed and hand-eye coordination, Tkachuk rekindled his combative, power game last season, holding onto the puck longer and creating more space, and he did an exemplary job protecting and establishing a rapport with linemate Demitra.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook, Top-50 players 2002
#16 – Keith Tkachuk. The blues underachieved, but Tkachuk re-established himself as one of the game’s top scoring power forwards.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2002-03
developed some good Chemistry with Pavol Demitra and finished up strong.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2003-04
Tkachuk’s season was marred by injuries and suspension, so he took some heat for the Blues’ early playoff exit. When healthy, he does everything expected of a power forward: he digs the puck out of the trenches, wreaks havoc in the slot, and scores goals with defensemen draped on his back. Unfortunately, his performance doesn’t always match his $11M contract. If Tkachuk can manage to avoid injuries and temper his short fuse, there’s nothing to stop him from returning to the 40 goal club. However, he still has a lot to prove in the postseason. It’s time for him to raise his game in the Show Me State.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook, Top-50 players 2003
#26 – Keith Tkachuk. Bruiser scored 31 goals in 55 games and continues to be one of the game’s most effective power forwards.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2003-04
overcame an early foot fracture to sizzle after midseason, but was crippled in the playoffs by a wrist sprain sustained in mid-march… a combative, strong skating winger with excellent finishing skills, Tkachuk uses his prodigious mix of size, speed and power to create space, although his robust approach usually exacts a physical toll (has reached the 70 game mark just once in the past 6 seasons)
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2003-04
His personal life was in turmoil last season because of a daughter born in fragile health.. injuries took a toll and prevented him from being a 75-point player.
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook, Top-50 players 2004
#33 – Keith Tkachuk. Always close to a point per game and led the Blues with 8 game winners.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2005-06
splendid on 03-04, leading Blues in goals each quarter, although he fizzled terribly in the playoffs for the second consecutive season… excellent size and hand-eye coordination… particularly dangerous on the power play… can lose his composure at inopportune times by overhandling the puck and taking undisciplined penalties… reliable point per gamer for the last decade, but how long can it last?
Originally Posted by THN Yearbook, Top-50 players 2005
#42 – Keith Tkachuk. Team USA’s best player at the World Cup wasn’t invited to play at the World Championships… what’s up with that?
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2006-07
Unquestionably the best player in the Blues’ lineup, Tkachuk’s production hovered around the point per game mark last season, as it does pretty much every year. Unfortunately, he only played 41 games due to a number of injuries. This time around, Tkachuk is healthy and, more importantly, in shape.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2007-08
Turned Atlanta’s fortunes around upon arriving in a February deal, sliding from his natural wing position to fill a gaping hole up the middle… powerful skater with soft hands and quick feet for a big man… still abrasive and able to drive around defenders using his prodigious strength, albeit his explosiveness is gradually dissipating… will take lazy, undisciplined stick fouls… showed his age in the playoffs despite giving a decent enough effort.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2007-08
For the first time since 1993, Tkachuk played over 70 games, but failed to reach the 70-point threshold. It is possible that, at 35, Tkachuk is finally on the decline. His points per game average has slipped each season since 2000-01. If he plans to get a couple more 75-point seasons under his belt, he needs to play on the wing with a solid setup man as his pivot. Still a quality power forward, Tkachuk was Atlanta’s best player in last season’s playoffs.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2008-09
longtime power forward scored 27 goals, the 12th time in his career he has posted at least that many… has already seen his most productive years, but there is still enough gas in the tank to be a top producer.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2009-10
This warrior still has some gas left in the tank after notching 25 goals for the 13th time… now in the Twilight of his career, Tkachuk – who embodies the term “Power forward” – is now more of a power play specialist, just 11 of his goals were at even strength.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2009-10
Aging veteran kept chugging along with his 15th 20-goal season and provided invaluable leadership and versatility to a young blues club… stood out with his physical play during the playoffs as he was shifted to a checking role… no longer powers through defenders as he did in his prime… still has some soft hands and a quick shot release… strong and abrasive and increasingly committed defensively as he is weaned out of a prime top-six role… his ability to adapt to different roles has extended his career
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2010-11
38-year old Keith Tkachuk announced his retirement this past April, leaving a highly decorated career behind, filled with achievement… his impact on four teams and three franchises will not be forgotten, though he never won the Stanley cup. One of the top-100 players of all-time at 201.9 career GVT, Tkachk’s one of several future hall of famers to have hung up his skates this offseason.
Underrated Production.

Tkachuk doesn’t get the same respect guys like Shanahan and Neely get, despite being at least their equal in physical presence, while being a better goal and point producer with less help from linemates. Here are those three, listed by their rank in goals, points, GPG and PPG during their most favourable 10-year periods. Collaboration score for the same period is also included. Higher number means points were scored with lower scoring players. Other combative wingers included for illustration. Also included John Leclair, who played the same position, peaked at the same time and was considered a power forward much more on the basis of size than snarl.


Tkachuk was extremely close to Iginla as as long-term producer, much closer to him than to LeClair or Shanahan. He also needed elite linemates less than anyone except Iginla on this list. Aside from never being on an elite team expected to win it all, what makes him any worse than Shanahan or LeClair? It's not his regular season offense, it's certainly not his physical games, and any defensive gap is negligible.

At least LeClair wasn't bad in the playoffs, right? Well... he did go further more often, but as his team's 2nd-3rd best forward, and his production is actually lower than Tkachuk's (over a larger sample, though). Sure, Shanahan played a lot more playoff games, scored more playoff points and won three cups. But that's what happens when Shanahan is your 3rd best forward. If Shanahan is your best forward, you probably go nowhere in the playoffs too, like Tkachuk did.

In any case, there's clearly a massive difference in playoff resumes between Shanahan and Tkachuk, but is it really so pronounced that one's comfortably a top-60 winger of all-time and one just missed the list?

Last edited by seventieslord; 04-21-2017 at 01:34 PM..
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Helmuts Balderis, RW

- 5”11, 190 lbs (like 6’0”, 200 today)
- Inducted into the IIHF HOF (1998)
- NHL appearance was unspectacular, but he was the 4th oldest player in the league

- USSR League Champion (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980)
- USSR 1st team all-star (1977)
- Top-11 in USSR League Points 11 times (1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th)
- Best 7 USSR VsX Equivalency scores: 98, 91, 89, 88, 82, 81, 76 (total 604, avg 86.3)
- Top-16 in USSR MVP voting 6 times among the seasons where info is available (1st-1977, 5th-1978, 7th-1976, 12th-1974, 13th-1975, 16th-1980)

- World Championship Gold medalist (1978, 1979, 1983)
- World Championship top forward (1977)
- Top-10 in International tournament scoring 4 times (7th-1977 WC, 7th-1979 WC, 8th-1978 WC, 9th-1983 WC)
- 68 points in 58 games in 7 international tournaments

A statistical breakdown of Balderis’ career: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...php?p=31309267

Originally Posted by Sturminator
Based on what I have found, I think Triffy's analysis was most likely right on. Balderis seems to have been a player who would hold the puck and try to carry a line when on weak Riga teams or when his line was built to feed him, but he also seems to have been capable of sharing the puck when placed on strong lines, and was at any rate not a selfish player.
Originally Posted by legendsofhockey.net
Helmut Balderis was an extraordinary stickhandler and a unique forward. He belonged neither to the Soviet school of hockey nor to his native Latvian, but rather was the result of a singular upbringing.
In Latvia, then a part of the USSR, ice hockey was the number one sport. Riga's Dynamo, under Viktor Tikhonov, rocketed into the big league and competed with Moscow teams as an equal.

The fun-loving Balderis, a natural and self-assured player, was allowed to play for three years with CSKA, then was let go. "Of course the individual games mattered. But when I was on the ice challenging the goalie face to face, nothing mattered except my desire to fake him out. Later I would watch the tape and relive the moment, considering all the nuances of the game."

Among his predecessors, he thought highly of Anatoli Firsov, but he wasn't particularly impressed by fame. "Before I started playing for CSKA, I noticed that Tretiak missed the puck more often when it was shot from a good distance, so instead of trying to fake him out, I shot from a long or middle distance."

Balderis was the only player of his generation to play in the NHL, with the Minnesota North Stars. Trained by the most demanding and toughest of coaches -- Tikhonov and Vladimir Yurzinov -- he managed to stay on their good side and yet remain true to himself. For Balderis, that was always the greatest satisfaction. He was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation's Hall of Fame in 1998.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
A fantastic skater and dazzling puck handler, one of the most interesting great players ever to come out of the Soviet Union was a mustachioed showman named Helmut Balderis. He was a fun loving, entertaining player back when Soviet players' were very accurately portrayed by North Americans as "robots."

A proud Latvian, Balderis was one of the few non-Russians on the national team. Not that he necessarily wanted to be there.

There was great political divide between the two societies under communist rule, with the Latvians none too happy with Russia. So when the Soviet hockey authorities transferred Balderis (and a coach named Viktor Tikhonov) from Dynamo Riga, where he quickly became a living legend, to CSKA Moscow "in the interests of the national team," there was no shortage of outrage.

Balderis had no choice in the matter, but he played for the national team in a curious fashion. He would put on amazing displays of individualistic skills and rushes, almost toying with opposition, but would rarely score.

As the great book Kings of the Ice suggests, "it was his way of saying to the authorities, 'You forced me to be here, so you get what you deserve. I can get away with it on CSKA. If I don't score, Mikhailov, Petrov or Kharlamov will," Balderis added.

The Balderis experiment with the Red Army team lasted only three years, from 1977 through 1980 before he was returned to Riga, and for all intents and purposes dropped from the national team.

Despite his short tenure in Moscow he earned quite the resume. He was part of three consecutive world championship teams, winning the best forward award in 1977. He won the Olympic silver medal in 1980, and was part of the Soviet team that hammered the NHL all stars at the 1979 Challenge Cup tournament.

After the Russians failed 1980 Olympics Balderis was returned to Riga where he starred until 1985. He saved his best for games against CSKA, of course. Balderis was one rare shooter who seemed to have solved the great Vladislav Tretiak, shooting from further out than most shooters, and with good success.

In 1985 Balderis moved to Japan to coach, but he would return to the ice as a player. Balderis, who didn't start playing hockey until he was 11 because he trained as a figure skater for the seven previous seasons, made his comeback to the ice as a 37 year old rookie in the NHL. The Iron Curtain had just fallen in 1989, and veteran Soviet hockey players were being allowed to leave for NHL jobs for the first time. Balderis joined the Minnesota North Stars, playing in just 26 games and scoring just 3 goals and 9 points, but wowing audiences with his skating skills.

Balderis returned to his beloved Latvia and served in several managerial roles, but also came out of retirement to play in parts of 4 seasons with Latvian teams between 1991 and 1996.
Originally Posted by The Red Machine
They called him Elektrichka - the electric train. Helmut Balderis, the Latvian, had a zoom, click-click way of sprinting the ice surface, which made the appellation appropriate. He came to prominence in Riga, the Latvian capital on the Baltic Sea, where the locals loathe their Russian landlords and where Balderis was handed one of the most cold-blooded Russian landlords of them all. Viktor Tikhonov came to prominence in Latvia too, as head coach of Balderis's team, Dynamo Riga.

To begin with, the relations between these two men were difficult. Time healed nothing and it became a matter, as it would with Tikhonov and many of his players, of Balderis and his Russian master surviving one another.

They had been feuding on a regular basis in 1974 and 1975 but the relationship moved beyond the hostility stage in the autumn of 1975, when Balderis, in response to Tikhonov's relentless hectoring at the bench, turned to the coach and shouted, "F--k You!" Tikhonov ordered Balderis out of the arena and, as the player was making his way, the coach glared at him: "You'll remember this," Tikhonov cried. "You'll live to remember this attack on me."

Balderis didn't have to live long. Through this autumn of mutual vituperation, Balderis was scoring in big lumps, enjoying a fine campaign, and his progress was detected in Moscow where Boris Kulagin was in the process of selecting a team for the Olympic Games in Innsbruck in February. Kulagin sent a telex to the Riga team requesting that Balderis report to the Olympic team's training camp.

Balderis never received the telex. As time passed he was led to conclude, with great disappointment, that he had not been selected to the team. He stayed in Riga, missing the camp, missing the Olympics, missing, as it turned out, a gold medal and all the thousands of rubles in bonus money that went with it.

He might have never known what happened, but he ran across Kulagin one day after the Games. Shortly into the conversation, Kulagin asked him, "Why have you been drinking so much?" Balderis wondered what he was talking about. "Why are you asking me this?" Kulagin then explained that Tikhonov had told the sports committee in Moscow that Balderis was drinking all the time and not fit to go to the Olympic Games.

A more than bitter Balderis continued playing under Tikhonov because he didn't want to move from his native Latvia, where only one third of the population of 2.6 million were Russian. He took the early lead in the league scoring race in the 1976-77 season, continued to play brilliantly but continued also to reap the wrath of the coach. At a practice Balderis was taking shots at the goaltender, Viktor Afonin. One of the blasts sailed high, over Afonin's head. Tikhonov, feeling the shot could have injured the goalie, charged at Balderis and punched him. An incredulous Balderis told Tikhonov, as he had before, to "f--k off," and left the ice. The coach, this time, gave chase. "He chased me all the way to the dressing room, threatening me with his stick."

Balderis, not about to get into a high-sticking joust with the coach, didn't fight back. "But I left the practice and went home to my family. My father told me I should take Tikhonov to court. But I thought, "How can I possibly take my head coach to court?" He returned to the arena that night. His Riga team was playing the Soviet Wings. "Tikhonov didn't say anything to me. The players who saw what had happened thought Tikhonov was crazy. But nobody said anything."

Not long after the Tikhonov punch, a punch that went unreported in the Soviet media, Soviet hockey witnessed two developments. Helmut Balderis became league scoring champion and most valuable player, both rare honours for a skater on a team from outside Moscow. More significant, however, was the honour handed to Tikhonov. He was given the reins of Soviet hockey. The two teams that meant everything in the Russian sport, the Soviet nationals and Central Army, were his. He was named head coach of both and accorded the powers of an army general over them.


Following Balderis's departure, Dynamo Riga dropped from fourth to sixth. Makarov left Chelyabinsk willingly. Balderis came reluctantly only after Tikhonov made a promise the Latvian was silly enough to believe. "He said for me to come and play in Moscow for three years and then play in the 1980 Olympics and, after that, to go home if I wanted to."

Balderis finally agreed to the deal. "So then, after the Lake Placid Olympics, I told him I wanted to go home. This time he said, if I went home, I would never play on the Soviet national team again. I said okay, and I went home."


(Challenge Cup 1979) Maltsev and Fetisov were out with injuries; Yakushev still hadn’t made it back to the team, and the skater the Western press buzzed on about this time was Balderis. It was his debut against NHL pros and he was excited, even though he was playing for Tikhonov. “I was still a young boy in 1972, watching the series at home in Riga with the dream of playing some day for the national team. It is the ambition of every young bot in the soviet union.”… Scotty Bowman appointed the famed defensive player Bob Gainey to shadow Balderis. He did more than that. He suffocated Elektrichka to the point that he was hardly seen. The game turned into a neat and tidy 4-2 victory for the NHLers, making them feel a little too good, too early… no one said anything to Balderis because they all knew that he was the type of player who took a poor performance deeply and didn’t have to be reminded.

The hockey dissidents made their statements through their actions rather than through the media. Balderis, at the risk of being slugged in the face again, had approached Tikhonov after the 1980 Olympics to inform him that, in keeping with their deal, he had deided to play in his native Riga. Tikhonov had then issued his threat about him never playing for the nationals again, should he do so. Rather than succumb to blackmail, Balderis went back to Riga nad made Tikhonov eat his words… In his first two years back (ed: in Riga), Balderis would receive invitations to the national-team training camp. Having lured him there, Tikhonov would then cut him from the roster, saying he was not in strong physical condition. Balderis was deprived of the honour and the bonus money that went with being world champion. In the 1982-83 season, however, a resolute Balderis played so well that he won the league scoring race, edging out Kozhevnikov, and won the MVP honours, duplicating the feat of the 1970s when Tikhonov was hounding him. Now, Tikhonov had no choice. To continue to freeze the player out would have provoked a scandal. So he put Balderis on the nationals in time for the 1983 world championships in West Germany. There, in a tournament owned by the Larionov line, Elektrichka scored four goals and five assists.
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide Of Everyone Who Has Ever Played in the NHL
blew the chance to play on the vaunted national team at the 1976 Olympics because of an ill-timed insult… he was later compared to Guy Lafleur for his magical skills… During a league game in 1975, Balderis responded to Tikhonov’s constant abuse by yelling the Latvian equivalent of “be fruitful and multiply”, and then left the bench. Tikhonov swore revenge, and when orders arrived a few months later for Balderis to appear at training camp for the 1976 Olympic team, the coach sent a telegram to the appropriate hockey authorities saying that Balderis had a drinking problem and was unfit to play for his country. Balderis only discovered Tikhonov’s treachery after his country’s victory in Innsbruck, one worth thousands of rubles in bonus money… by the time he was allowed to play in the NHL, his engine was running on empty. He had retired four years earlier, and his comeback with Minnesota at the age of 37, lasted just 26 games.
Originally Posted by Kings Of the Ice
…boys were accepted on junior hockey teams at age 11, but figure skating schools accepted them at age four. So from the age of four to 11, Balderis never even knew what a hockey stick was, but could do a perfect figure eight on the ice. The first time he held a stick in his hand, however, he knew he had found his calling… Riga’s arena was always packed to capacity and hadr bodychecking was Riga’s calling card. Balderis didn’t like to play rough, but he did have a rather un-Baltic fiery temperament… Vladislav Tretiak had to call for help from his defensemen whenever Balderis rushed his net. Balderis could score three or four goals in a game, an unheard-of number by any player, soviet or foreign, against Tretiak…

In 1977 Balderis and Tikhonov were transferred to CSKA "in the interests of the national team." The Latvian players were insulted and annoyed by the heavy-handed treatment, but Balderis was clever. He performed the role he was forced into in a way that Latvians found amusing. He would fool around on the ice with such finesse that even the tough taskmaster Tikhonov couldn't reprimand him. “Well, I can get away with it on CSKA. If I don’t score, Mikhailov, Petrov or Kharlamov will.” It was his way of saying to the authorities. “you forced me to be here, so you get what you deserve.” CSKA’s veteran players weren’t happy with the situation, always having to fight hard for their due while the prankster Balderis was Tikhonov’s favourite no matter what I did. “Tikhonov and I played a kind of cops-and-robbers game. He was the coach and I was the player. Either he would get me or I would get him. It was a great time.” No other player who played for the tyrannical Tikhonov would dare say such a thing – even today.
Originally Posted by Tretiak: The Legend
If Balderis worked well with his partners, and the defense of the opponents was weak, the very best goalkeeper would not have much of a chance. Balderis started skating at the age of four, and it was said that he was not a bad figure skater… hockey found in him a star of ice battles… he looked like anything but a tough hockey player. He looked more like a typical intellectual, with his glasses and a slightly absend-minded look on his gentle face. But first inpressions can be so wrong!

Balderis scored four goals on me, and the newspaper said that I was afraid of this native of Riga. This is not true, I was never scared of anybody. Of course, Balderis was a good forward, he was always very accurate, but those four goals were more a result of our weariness, mine and the defensemen’s.

It could be compared with a classic play by Helmut Balderis in our second game with the Czechs. Balderis took the puck in the neutral zone and went straight in on two Czech defensemen, who tried to sandwich him. By some miracle, our forward split the defense and wandered in to score. The line of Kapustin, Balderis and Zhluktov was the most effective in Prague. Until then they had been ineffective and even quarrelsome but now everyone was saying, “What a line! What a play!” Kapustin, Balderis and Zhluktov scored important goals in decisive games and, more importantly, they displayed determination and character.
Originally Posted by New York Times, January 11, 1977
The World Hockey Association's final record against the Soviet Union's national squad in a recent eight city tour was two victories and six losses, but the W.H.A. felt like a winner at the turnstiles...

Leading Soviet scorers in the series were Vladimir Petrov, with six goals and five assists in six games; Alexander Yakushev, seven goals, one assist in seven games, and Helmut Balderis, four goals, four assists in seven games.
Originally Posted by New York Times, May 13, 1978
The Soviet team had it much easier. After leading 2-0, in the first period, it broke the game open with fve goals in the second.

The first of these was by Helmut Balderis, who brought the puck up ice, passed to Kapustin, took a return pass just to the right of the goalie and put the puck away easily. The play had the economy and grace of poetry. The Swedes were so dazzled that their defense did little else but stand around and watch as Balderis scored two more goals in the romp.
Originally Posted by New York Times, February 5, 1979
Everyone who has seen the team is impressed by its latest star, Helmut Balderis, who is hardly in the mold of the typically conforming player the squad usually boasts. For one thing, Balderis sports a moustache, the first of the current crop to do so. Before a recent game, when all the players were lined up for the national anthem, he stood out boldly: his socks were colored differently from everyone else's. He is also a Latvian, and it is said that he is quick to make a distinction if someone refers to him as a Russian.

But it is his performance that fans at the Garden will note most.

"He's got a lot of moves," said Lorimer. "He makes believe he's losing the puck, the defensemen comes up on him and gets too close, and then he controls the puck and pushes it between your legs."

A one-man give and go.

"Can he ever motor!" Johnstone said in admiration. "Oh, gee is he fast!"

Balderis plays the "off wing", that is, he is a left-handed shot playing the right side. He is the goal scorer. His center is the rangy, playmaking Zhluktov, and his left wing is Kapustin, a digger in the corners. Together, they are a classic combination, and they form the top Soviet line.
Originally Posted by New York Times, February 6, 1979
The first player to appear in uniform was Helmut Balderis, the huge 26 year-old right wing with a moustache the Volga boatmen would have cherished. "He is something," said a Canadian familiar with the Soviet team. "Over there, he is known as Elekritchka - The Electric Train."

Helmut Balderis is from Riga, a Baltic sea port in Latvia, where he was discovered by the Soviet coach, Tikhonov, and brought back to play for the Moscow Dynamo team. Of the Soviet players, he is the one to watch, the one that the NHL all-stars must contain. Some hockey people consider him the equal of Guy Lafleur, the Montreal Canadiens' elegant right wing. Among the Soviet players he is unusual in that he is the only one listed as a technologist. Most are listed as students, a few as teachers, and one is listed as a crane operator.

"He's also listed at 5-10 and 189 pounds," an onlooker mentioned later. "He looks twice that big to me."

Like his teammates, Helmut Balderis was wearing a red helmet (manufactured by a Canadian firm), red pants and red stockings. But he also had on a red practice sweater, signifying that he was a member of the number one forward line along with Zhluktov, a lanky 26 year old center, and Kapustin, a 25 year old left wing. Other units wore green, blue or white sweaters. Helmut Balderis had the look of a star, leaning nonchalantly on the boards between rushes, the first to sit on the bench when his line was not scrimmaging. But when he was working, he displayed the burst of Earl Campbell turning the corner on a sweep."
Originally Posted by New York Times, February 12, 1979
"That Mikhailov," said Bobby Clarke later. "He just laughed all the time. Heh, heh, like that. I'd laugh too, with a six goal lead." Boris Mikhailov, the captain, was named the Soviet team's most valuable player for the series.

He opened the scoring in the second period, after a spectacular opening 20 minutes that was probably the most fun to watch of any period in the series. Mikhailov's goal - after the puck was stolen from Montreal's Bob Gainey - was his third of the series and continued a Soviet stretch in which it scored the final nine goals of the competition.

Within two minutes, the Russians scored again, this time on a power play as Viktor Zhluktov got his stick on a brilliant cross-ice pass from Helmut Balderis.
Originally Posted by New York Times, December 30, 1979
"Their passing and quickness are impressive," said Arbour, the Islanders' coach...

Then the Soviet team scored what proved to be the winning goal on breakaway rush by Sergei Makarov and Helmut Balderis, who traded passes until Makarov was able to put the puck behind a charging Smith...

Throughout the game, the Soviet team demonstrated an outstanding ability to move the puck and to anticipate the movements of their teammates.

"They practice 11 months a year," said Arbour, who admitted he was impressed by the deftness and agility of the Red Army passing game. "They move it - and right away it's gone again."

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Babe Pratt, D

- 6’3”, 212 lbs (like 6’6”, 242 today)
- Inducted into the HHOF (1966)
- Stanley Cup champion (1940, 1945)
- Stanley Cup finalist (1937)
- Hart Trophy winner (1944)
- NHL 1st All-Star team (1944)
- NHL 2nd All-star team (1945)
- Top-9 in All-star voting 6 times (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th)
- Top-10 in scoring among defensemen 10 times (1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 5th, 7th)
- Best Defense VsX scores: 122, 119, 100, 100, 100, 86, 83 (total 710, avg 101.4)
- Played 11 seasons’ worth of games as the #1-2 defenseman for teams that averaged +0.50 goal differential
- During 8-year prime, was the #1-2 defenseman for teams that averaged +0.70 goal differential
- Missed only 12 games due to injury in 12 NHL seasons
- PCHL MVP (1949, 1950)

Originally Posted by legendsofhockey.net
Walter "Babe" Pratt was a funny and outgoing man off the ice, keen on jokes and always good for a laugh, but he was considerably tougher with his hockey equipment on. Over a long career in leagues across North America, he proved consistently that the best defense is often a good offense. He was a defenseman who kept the puck deep in the other team's zone, sometimes deep in their net, and goalies on his squads could be sure their goals-against averages would drop when he was at his best. His leadership and ability are backed up by his remarkable winning record, from the National Hockey League to junior, as his teams won 15 championships over his 26 years in the game.

Pratt was born in Stony Mountain, Manitoba, in 1916. He played minor hockey in Winnipeg, much of it with the Atlantic Avenue Rink. He won the Winnipeg Playground Championship in the under-12 division with the club as a 10-year-old. Pratt's love after hockey was baseball and he was a promising young player. He was nicknamed "Babe," after Babe Ruth.

The next season he won the Manitoba juvenile title with Elmwood and led the league again in scoring. In 1933 he played for five teams in his area - high school, church league, juvenile, a senior league squad and the commercial league. Amazingly, every team won a championship. Later that year he made the move to the Kenora Thistles as a 17-year-old to play junior. Again he led the league in scoring, and the team easily won the Manitoba junior title. In his second year in junior he had 46 points in 20 games, tops in the league, and brought the Thistles to within a game of the final of the Memorial Cup, when they lost to the Winnipeg Monarchs.

He turned professional in 1935, having been signed by the New York Rangers. Ranger scout Al Ritchie called Pratt the best prospect he had ever seen. Pratt justified Ritchie's confidence with his play for the Rangers' farm team, the Philadelphia Ramblers, and midway through his first season with the Ramblers he was called up by the Rangers. In his rookie year, he had some veteran defenders to watch and play with, including Ching Johnson, Art Coulter and Ott Heller. In 1939-40, Pratt teamed with Heller to form the league's best defense pairing. In 48 games, they allowed only 17 goals and their play was instrumental in the Rangers' Stanley Cup win that season. Pratt had 28 points in 1941-42 as the Rangers won the regular-season championship.
Midway through the 1942-43 season, Pratt was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Hank Goldup and Red Garrett. Pratt had his best seasons with the Maple Leafs. In 1943-44, he led all defensemen with 57 points in 50 games - the best total ever by a defender and a mark that would stay in the books for 21 seasons. When Pierre Pilote broke the record with 59 points, he had played in 20 more games than Pratt. In 1944 Pratt was awarded the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player, an award rarely given to defensemen, and was placed on the league's First All-Star Team. He was a Second Team All-Star the next season, when the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup and he scored the winning goal.

Pratt continued to play hockey for six more years, many of them in the Pacific Coast Hockey League, after being traded to Boston in 1946-47 and then being demoted to the minors. Twice he was the league's most valuable player. He was a high-scoring defender with the two-time league champion New Westminster Royals, a team in his adopted province of British Columbia, and he later coached the club when he retired from play in 1952.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Walter Pratt was one of the best defensemen of his time and, for that matter, any era. He was an offensive blueliner before anyone had ever heard of Bobby Orr or Paul Coffey. He could rush the puck and score like defensemen of a more modern era.

At 6'3" and 215lbs, Pratt was a giant back in the 1940s. Likewise, he had a certain flair about him that made him larger than life - much like that of an athlete of a different sport in Babe Ruth. Thus, Pratt was eternally also known as the Babe.

Pratt's fun loving lifestyle helped get him traded from New York to Toronto in 1942.
Conn Smythe was a long time admirer of Pratt's hockey skills, but must have been frustrated that he couldn't tame this wild horse.

"If he'd looked after himself he could have played until he was fifty. He was that good. But he was as big a drinker and all-around playboy as he was a hockey player." said Smythe.
Things went downhill drastically in 1946. On January 30, 1946 Pratt was suspended by the NHL. Pratt was the centerpiece of an infamous gambling scandal. Pratt was suspended for betting on NHL games involving games that didn't involve his Leafs. Initially the banishment was forever, but Pratt later admitted his ways and promised not to do them again. After missing 9 games, Pratt was reinstated.

…Pratt almost single-handedly brought the Stanley Cup to Toronto in 1945. In game 7 of the thrilling finals, Pratt fired the puck past Red Wings goalie Harry Lumley late in the game, giving the Leafs a 2-1 win!
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
In the 1945 finals, he was brilliant, scoring the series-clinching goal for the Leafs in game 7… in 1946, Pratt found himself at the center of one of the biggest controversies in sports history when he was expelled from the NHL by Red Dutton for gambling. At the appeal, he admitted to gambling and promised not to do it again. Miraculously, he was reinstated after missing only 5 games... one of the more well-loved sports figures on Canada’s west coast.

In a word: Stud
Originally Posted by Top 100 Rangers
#47: Babe Pratt. At 6’3”, 215 pounds, Babe Pratt was a little too big to be called a teddy bear. “but that’s what he was, believe me,” insisted Lynn Patrick. “Even Phil Watson called him un ours blanc (a white bear). It was a term of affection, really.” A rollicking defenseman, both on the ice and off, and one of the most unique individuals ever to pull on a rangers sweater, Pratt was a winner from the first time he laced up his skates. His teams won 15 championships, from Junior, to the NHL, during his 26 years in the game… Pratt once remarked, “this team has balance. We’ve got some hungry rookies and two thirsty veterans: me and Muzz.” That remark surely never say well with boss man Patrick. Neither did his oft-stated description of Patrick’s legendary frugality: “I wouldn’t say Lester was cheap, but he certainly was adjacent to cheap.”

On the ice, Pratt’s style was boisterous and rough. The fans loved him, and he was the perfect successor to Ching Johnson, whose style was the same as Pratt’s.
Originally Posted by New York Rangers Greatest Moments and Players
Among the most likeable and competent skaters ever to don a Rangers uniform, Pratt was the first genuine offensive defenseman to become a star on Broadway. Like his namesake, Pratt was as flamboyant off the ice as he was on the rink, a fact that caused several run-ins with his boss, Lester Patrick. Nevertheless, Patrick valued Pratt’s ability to play sound defense while providing offensive power… The Babe replaced Ching Johnson during the 1937 playoffs against Toronto and made headlines by scoring the winning goal in the deciding game…. “I remember once,” said Smythe, when Pratt was with the rangers and we were tied late in the game. A good Rangers forward got hurt and Pratt was moved up to wing. I thought, Aha, here’s our chance to win! Who got the winning goal? Pratt, playing forward.

“it was a different kind of game then,” recalled Pratt. “Today, they stress board checking and checking from behind – both unheard of when we played. We’d hit a man standing right up, and now the players don’t seem to want to take that kind of check. The only check they want is on the first and 15th of the month… sure, we played a tough game, but we also had a million laughs.”… Babe stabilized the Toronto backline and personally delivered a Stanley Cup in 1945.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Despite the brevity of his career, the time passed since it ended, and a reputation for rough play, in 1998, he was ranked number 96 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
Originally Posted by Maple Leafs Top 100
Pratt was a Big Apple kind of character who enjoyed his celebrity status to its fullest… the Leafs knew they were getting a player who marched to the beat of his own drummer and felt they would have to keep Pratt in check if he was going to be effective. They went so far as to make coach Hap Day his roommate on the road. It paid dividends…Pratt was good throughout the 1945 season and superb in the playoffs, but he was never the same player afterwards. A contract dispute with the Leafs soured Pratt, who was asking for a $7000 raise and not $6500 instead. “Hockey is my business and if I’m as valuable as the club thinks I am, then I’m playing according to dollar signs,” he said.
Originally Posted by Manitoba Sports hall of Fame
In 1936, Pratt turned professional with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League. His experience on the blueline was instrumental in the Rangers’ Stanley Cup victory in 1939-40 and Pratt was known as one of the hardest-hitting and stingiest defencemen in the league.
Originally Posted by When the Rangers Were Young (Frank Boucher)
…Babe Pratt, a fellow who almost defies description, a laughing man of 6’4” who was a wonderful puck carrier and excellent passer. He didn’t hit hard but he had an unusual knack of sticking out his rear end, sort of sideways, and tipping the opposing player off his feet. Babe was a big drinker as well as a night owl, and he was endlessly in hot water with Lester. But he only grinned, made quips, and kept right on burning his candle in all directions.
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 2
…the veteran Ching was due to retire and Pratt was an admirable replacement… in 1937 he was the hero of the deciding game when he scored the winning goal in overtime. He was again the star a few days later when he scored the only goal in a game against Montreal on a rink-length dash… Conn Smythe was a great admirer of the big defenseman, whom he considered one of the best, and he outfoxed the Silver Fox when he made a deal to get Pratt… with the Maple Leafs, Pratt enjoyed his thee best years, teamed with Reg Hamilton…
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide Of Everyone Who Has Ever Played in the NHL
He was one of a kind, a man whose charisma outlasted his reputation to allow him to enter the HHOF…a great hockey player, a champion at every level he played… he was paired with Ott Heller and they proved to be a magnificent match… the Rangers won the cup in large part because when they were on the ice, the opposition almost never scored.

But Pratt was traded to Toronto early in the 42-43 season for reasons that had nothing to do with puck chasing. At 6’3” he was the tallest man in the NHL. He was also good looking, young, energetic, and most definitely a man about town. As they said, he knew the emergency exit to every hotel in New York. He had Hollywood looks and the braggadocio of Jack Johnson. He liked women and drinking, in that order, and sometimes not. By 1942, Rangers management had, quite simply, tired of looking for him. The Leafs felt if they could discipline the great star they would have the best defenseman in the game playing for them. For a good while, they were right.
Originally Posted by Images of glory
Conn Smythe considered Babe Pratt to be the Leafs’ “All-time All-star”… Smythe was more Pratt’s kind of man: he appreciated cards and ponies and was understanding of human mbitions and frailties. Pratt, with the reins loosened, blossomed into one of the most celebrated rushing defensemen of all-time
Originally Posted by The Glory Years
He was a free spirit on and off the ice who hated playing under Ranger coach Frank Boucher's restrictive system. Pratt had great skills and was an offensive defenseman, but Boucher refused to let him skate with the puck past center ice. When Pratt was traded to Toronto, he felt as if a yoke had been lifted from him, and indeed, Day, despite his own disciplined system, recognized Pratt's abilities and let him go with the puck... Day never attempted to stop Pratt from rushing the puck because "it would have been like trying to tell Apps to play defensive hockey."

Day and Pratt had different personalities and attitudes, but Day liked Pratt, immensely, as did other players. Pratt was good natured, easygoing and a team man although he ran a little wild on his own time. In the year he won the Hart, Day had Pratt room with him during a road trip to Montreal for a particularly important game. Later, Pratt said he owed the MVP award to Day for keeping him out of trouble. "When he was on the ice, he was 100% a team man," Day says. "But when he was off the ice, you always felt a little dubious about what might be going on. To try to control any off-ice escapades, I had him registered in my room. It worked out well." It has been said that Day kept Pratt with him during the 1945 playoffs, but Day says no. "I could only stand so much," he recalls with a laugh.
Originally Posted by Fischler’s Hockey Encyclopedia
Pratt had a lovable disposition when he wasn’t flattening the foe.

When Babe reported to training camp in September 1940 he was full of ginger, and he didn’t slow down as the Rangers embarked on their exhibiton tour. One night he checked into the team’s Pullman car at 3AM, only to discover Lester Patrick was wating. “Babe, I’m going to fine you $1000. But if you don’t take another drink the rest of the season, I’ll refund your money at the end.” Pratt went on the wagon and the Rangers went on long, long losing streak. Patrick was worried and, one day, suggested to Babe that maybe a drink wouldn’t hurt after all. “No, no,” said Pratt, “My word is my bond.” Word of the meeting leaked to the players. They figured that if Babe didn’t get off the wagon, the club would really be in trouble. They told Pratt they’d chip in and raise $1000 if he would have an occasional drink or two. But Pratt was adamant. The Rangers wound up in 4th place and were knocked out of the playoffs by Detroit. “There’s a moral to this story,” Pratt said years later, “but I’ve been trying for 30 years and still haven’t been able to figure it out!”
Originally Posted by Maple Leaf Legends
Conn Smythe admired the stylish and colorful Pratt and sought his services for the Leafs... Rangers wanted to move the somewhat unpredictable Pratt out and took the deal, but the Leafs certainly got the best player in the transaction… Pratt enjoyed his best years in hockey with the Leafs… he was successful with Toronto because Hap Day let him roam free on offense… the public outcry on behalf of the Popular Pratt forced the league to cut his gambling suspension from 16 games to nine; fans and writers saw gambling all around NHL arenas and wondered why Pratt was being dealt with so harshly…
Originally Posted by The New York Rangers
Although he was only a Ranger for less than 1/10 of the team’s long history, Pratt is a great part of the Rangers’ legend and lore. Actually, he was the most prominent player, an imposing defenseman, to link the first era with the second. On and off the ice, Babe was a character…
Originally Posted by Those Were the Days
When I reached the age of 15 I began to play for real winners. I was one of the Junior champions of Manitoba and even though I played defense I led the league in scoring. As a puck carrier I was pretty good; any time I had the puck I’d go down the ice with it, something like Bobby Orr does today. There wasn’t enough hockey around for me to play – that’s how much I loved it. Once I played four games in one day…

Ching was getting old and was on his way out of the NHL and I would be the one to take his place. Of course, you can never take the place of a great athlete who retires, you simply do the job in your own way...

Even though he called me “Peck’s Bad Boy”, Lester liked me and I loved playing in New York… after a while though I think Lester got a bit disturbed at some of my extracurricular activities. I was having fun but I got hurt; that was during WW2 when talent was scarce and he had an opportunity to get two players for me… as it turned out I went from one great character to another, Conn Smythe was the greatest exhorter hockey has ever known.what made things unusual was I was the only player in hockey to room with his coach. You know, a lot of people think this happened because then I’d be under the coach’s thumb, but I didn’t feel that way. I always thought Hap was a lonely man who needed my company.

…I guess my greatest thrill was beating Detroit for the cup in 1954. You have to remember that in 1942 Toronto had lost three straight games in the cup final to Detroit, only to bounce back and take the next four, the only time that ever happened. In 1945 the Leafs won the first three and lost the next three to Detroit… I’ll always remember game 7… Hap said to me “well Babe, I’ll tell you one thing, you were never short on building yourself up, so I’ll look forward to a good game from you.”… the score was tied in the 3rd period when Detroit had a man off with a penalty. I started toward the Red Wing net and took a pass from Nick Metz… when I got the puck I skated in from the point, made a double pass with Metz, and received it back on my stick. I slid a long one into the corner of the net – it turned out to be the winning goal.

…the Bruins’ problem was that they never practiced. With a team like Toronto I could keep my weight down because we worked out every day for 2 hours, in Boston I had no control over my weight and was never in the condition I used to be. This hurt me and I became susceptible to injuries. In my case, Art Ross sent me to the minors for a couple of weeks, thinking I’d come right back. But I arrived in Hershey and got injured again and when it came time to return I was in the hospital, so they took somebody else instead. On the other hand it was somewhat fortunate that I stayed there because the Bears won the AHL championship and we got $1,800 apiece as a playoff check while Boston got beaten in the first round and I think their players received only $600.
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe
On the ice, Pratt's style was boisterous and rough. The fans loved him and he was the perfect successor to the Rangers' first great defenseman, Ching Johnson, whose style was the same as Pratt's and who left the Rangers prior to the 1936-37 season.

Pratt's defensive partner was Ott Heller, while Muzz Patrick played with team captain, Art Coulter. The foursome is probably the best quartet of Rangers defensemen ever. Pratt was also an offensive force, posting 28 points in 1941-42 as the Rangers won their last regular season championship, the club's last hurrah, really, before World War II broke up that formidable group of All-Stars.
The article goes on to talk about Pratt's trade to Toronto and describe the Pratt we are familiar with who led defensemen in scoring while winning the Hart trophy, and then scoring the Cup winning goal the following season in Toronto.

But his style as a Ranger was something of a mystery before. The comparison to Ching Johnson stylistically is quite believable when combined with the contemporary articles I found describing Pratt's rough style.

Pratt appears to have played more offensively than Johnson (as evidenced by his point totals) and obviously wasn't as "tough to get around" (as shown by his relative lack of All Star consideration as a Ranger). But his "boisterous and rough" style in his own zone is quite reminiscent of Ching.

So Pratt could be considered "a more offensive minded but not as good overall version of Ching Johnson." Or, as I prefer, "a lesser version of Rob Blake."

Pratt's competition for the 1943-44 Hart (won during the war)

1. Walter Pratt, Tor D 87 (28 years old)
2. Bill Cowley, Bos C 84 (31 years old)
3. Doug Bentley, Chi LW 55 (27 years old, this would become Doug's one big playoff season)
4. Earl Seibert, Chi D 52 (32 years old)
5. Lorne Carr, Tor LW 45 (33 years old)
Originally Posted by The Leader-Post – January 23rd, 1943
Earl Seibert of Chicago Black Hawks, for instance, would be accorded high rating defensively by any impartial tribunal. Offensively, the Chicago star ranks second only to Walter (Babe) Pratt of Toronto Maple Leafs. ...
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - Mar 23, 1944 – Playing the Field with Dink Carroll
Bibeault got more help from his defense in the first game from Durnan, probably because he needed it. Pratt, Reg Hamilton and Elwyn Morris never made a mistake all night. Which reminds us that whoever said Babe Pratt couldn’t play defensive hockey knew nothing of the big Toronto rearguard’s potentialities. The big guy played the type of game reminiscent of Lionel Conacher in the days when Connie used to be called “the travelling netminder”. He blocked almost as many shots as Bibeault and was a real general out on the ice. He can play it both ways with the best of them.

But we don’t think any team can win a 7-game series on defensive tactics alone any more than an army can win a war that way. The Habs outshot the Leafs 42 to 18, which just about represents the difference in the offensive strength of the two clubs… if you play strictly defensive hockey, you must depend on the breaks… Canadiens play a forcing game and make their own breaks. Bibeault and the defense in front of him had to be great to keep them out, and Bibeault required the traditional luck of a hot goaltender on at least a half-dozen occasions to prevent the puck from entering the net.

The reason Babe Pratt acquired a reputation of being strictly an offensive rearguard lies in the fact that the Toronto attack is so weak it looked to him for leadership. That’s why Hap Day said he didn’t know what the Leafs would have done without the big fellow this season. It’s also the reason why Pratt has a good chance to snatch the hart trophy.
Originally Posted by Calgary Herald, 1944
“Walter (Babe) Pratt, the big ice-general who helped (undrafted coach) mold a bunch of youngsters into the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs today was announced the Hart Trophy winner…spent quite a bit of his time during the season roving among the forwards…He scored 17 goals and set up the play for 40 others for an unusually high point mark for defensemen. Those points were highly important to the Leafs, but probably the Babe did more good back of the blue line with his blocking and his ability to steady jittery rookies:”
Originally Posted by The Maple Leaf - Apr 3, 1945
Young Gus Bodnar engineered the goal that put Toronto in the Stanley Cup Finals, tipping a shot by Babe Pratt into the Canadiens’ net early in the 3rd period… a stubborn Leaf defense thereafter balked the most determined Montreal drives.
Originally Posted by The Telegraph, 1946
“A colorful, hard checking rearguard… He was an outstanding player for the club last season and was prime factor (sic) in their capturing of the Stanley Cup.
Originally Posted by Windsor Daily Star, 1946
One of the hardest hitting defensemen in the league…”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News,December 31, 1947
The much-travelled Babe Pratt, the towering ex-NHL defenseman has hit the road again after being traded for another defenseman, Hyman Buller… babe is one of the few “color men” of hockey… although he was unable to compile as many points in 1945 as 1944, his play was still up to par… Pratt remained only one season in the Bruin chain, when he was sold again, this time to Cleveland. Said Sutphin: “I have the greatest respect for both players and I think Pratt is the best defenseman that ever played in the league, but they don’t fit in with the club. Neither man is the type we can use on our team. They put their own affairs ahead of those of the club.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 17, 1948

It was a few years ago that a sports writer dubbed big Babe Pratt “the Bob Hope of hockey”. It’s an apt description, for there’s no one else in organized hockey with the quick wit, the agile mind and the clever guile of the bambino. But there’s another side to the rugged, 218 pound defenseman who has played such a vital part in the Bears’ success the past two seasons. Behind that toothpaste ad smile, back of those piercing eyes, there are qualities of sincerity and seriousness which belie the much-publicized waggish tongue and lack of of responsibility as far as training rules are concerned.

…he was sent to Chocolatetown to bolster the not-too-heavy defense…what he has done since he arrived in Hershey a season and a half ago is almost as remarkable (as 1944), although it can’t be measured in statistics. He’s given the club morale, a lift, a togetherness which was perhaps its original lack. The talent was there, but it wasn’t showing as it should until the Babbino, with that ready wit and helping hand provided the impetus…we commend him for the noticeable help he’s given to his fellow defenseman, particularly Handy Andy Branigan and Joe Schertzel… Hershey fans will guarantee that Babe has given them confidence… Branigan, for instance, last season was flashy and fast, but he’s now flashy and fast, and sure of himself. He puts the puck where he should, and himself where he’ll do the most good, thanks to Pratt’s guiding tips…

Entirely happy with his lot in Hershey, Babe spoke seriously about some of the wiseacres who talk about “come downs” to the minr league. “don’t let em kid you, you’ve got to fight just as hard and skate just as fast in the AHL and it won’t be too many seasons before the two loops with either be battling eachother or they’ll be competing on par.”

…“I think I’d like to coach someday. But when I think about the headaches I’ve given some coaches, I certainly wouldn’t want 15 guys like me around!”

Comparing the difference in the game today and 10 years ago, Pratt pointed out that in many cases it’s now a sport for smaller men. “I recall when Lester Patrick wouldn’t look at a man under 160 pounds. Today look at the Rangers with Boddy O’Connor and the rest.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, June 15, 1948
Babe Pratt, outstanding hockey star, has a Pittsburgh pal, a blind bot with whom he is in correspondence… recently Pratt sent the boy an autographed puck containing the signatures of the Hershey bears of 1947-48, a photo of the present team and the of the championship club that the boy remembers.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, October 13, 1948
Babe Pratt, for 11 years one of the top defensemen in the NHL, has signed a contract with the New Westminster Royals of the PCHL… Alex Shibicky, playing coach said that Pratt would “help the club considerably. He still has a lot of hockey left in him.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, September 15, 1949
Pratt was the unanimous choice for all-star defenseman in the Northern division last season as well as winning the MVP award… this is Babe’s first fling at coaching and it is expected that he will make good as he has proven to be a good leader on the ice and has been reputed to be one of the hardest hockey players to handle, therefore, he should have all the answers for his men. He has probably been in more hot water than any other player both on and off the ice. However, he settled down last year and played good hockey…
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, May 1952
When Babe Pratt announced that he was going to hang ‘em up recently, may newspaper men across the country no doubt say down and pondered for a moment. For them it meant that one of the most colorful guys that ever graced the NHL was stepping down. For not only was Pratt a great hockey player, he was also great copy for the many newspapermen along the neat… A Toronto reporter called Pratt after the announcement of his trade to Boston. Said Pratt, “you can say that Babe Pratt, when interviewed yesterday, reported that he’d make the Boston fans forget all about this bum Ted Williams.” And he hung up.

…the often told story of his clash with King Clancy when the latter was a referee has brought many a laugh.. during a playoff game between Toronto and Montreal, Clancy was giving the Leafs a tough time. Every time one of them looked at him sideways he blew his whistle and waved him off. Late in the game, during a Toronto power play, Pratt knocked Clancy flying with as neat a bocychecck as had been handed out all night. King, not too certain Babe didn’t mean it, picked himself up and bellowed, “You big hooligan, I only wish I was playing against you tonight!”

“You mean to say you’re not?” retorted Pratt.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 15, 1952

Babe Pratt isn’t trying to take anything away from the NHL in which he made his living for so many seasons. Nevertheless, he rates the Western league as very nearly on par with the NHL. “If the caliber of play in our league was just 10% better it would be on par with the NHL… do players sent down by the NHL clubs burn up this league? If they do, I don’t know anything about it”.

…Hershey, Cleveland, New Westminster, Tacoma, the Babe continued to give it everything he had in his own inimitable fashion. Now he’s satisfied to be a bench coach. “The legs and back are gone. A guy can’t go on forever”.

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Herbie Lewis, LW

- 5’9”, 163 lbs (like 6’0”, 193 today)
- Inducted into the HHOF (1989)
- Stanley Cup (1936, 1937)
- Stanley Cup Finalist (1934)
- Top-15 in NHL scoring 5 times (5th, 9th, 14th, 15th, 15th)
- Best VsX scores: 93, 91, 77, 72, 71, 70, 50 (total 524, avg 74.9)
- Placed 3rd & 4th in NHL LW All-star voting, and 3rd in Center All-star voting
- Top-10 in playoff scoring three times (2nd, 3rd, 7th)
- Detroit Red Wings Captain (1934)
- Played in NHL All-star game (1935)
- Top-5 in scoring in top minor leagues prior to joining NHL (1st, 2nd, 5th)

Originally Posted by legendsofhockey.net
Herbie Lewis was born in Calgary, Alberta, and was to become known for his relentless defence and blinding speed during an eleven-year career in the NHL. He was rough for a little guy, a good defensive winger and accurate playmaker, and considered the fastest skater in the NHL in his day with his trademark short, mincing steps.

Lewis journeyed to Duluth in 1924 and played with the Hornets in the USAHA where he was given the nickname "The Duke of Duluth." He led the CHL in points (28) and assists (11) in the 1925-26 season and was a CHL First Team All-Star that year.

He participated in the first NHL All-Star game in 1934 (the Ace Bailey Benefit Game) and went on to lead the team in playoff scoring with five goals. He played in the longest NHL game on March 24-25, 1936, when Detroit defeated the Montreal Maroons 1-0 after six overtime periods. The Wings went on to capture the 1936 Stanley Cup and won it again the next year as Lewis combined on a line with Marty Barry and XXX XXXXXX to dominate almost every game of the finals.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Herbie Lewis was a small but explosive skater from Calgary, Alberta. Following a prolific junior career, Herbie joined the Duluth Hornets of the AHA where he starred for four strong seasons. He was such a star that he was nicknamed "The Duke of Duluth" - a name that would stay with the sharp shooting left winger for the rest of his hockey career. Lewis was the big fish in the small pond known as the AHA. He was that league's brightest light, and was well paid for his services.

It wasn't until 1928-29 that Lewis was finally lured to the National Hockey League as the Detroit Cougars (later renamed Falcons and then finally Red Wings) acquired his rights in 1928. It marked the first year of an 11 year stay in the Motor City, and what a stay it was!

Lewis teamed with right winger Larry Aurie and a variety of fellow-Hall of Fame center men in his NHL tenure. First it was the great Ebbie Goodfellow, but soon XXXXXX XXXXXXX stepped in between the two sharp shooting wingers. Toronto Maple Leaf boss Conn Smythe once described the line of Lewis, XXXXXXX and Aurie as "the best line in hockey." Despite some great success with these guys, it wasn't until the arrival of Marty Barry in 1935 that the Wings emerged as Stanley Cup champs. The lethal combination of Lewis, Barry and Aurie led the Wings to back to back championships in 1936 and 1937 - the first two championships in Detroit's history.

Lewis was once described by coach XXX XXX as "a sportsman of the highest type. I defy baseball or football or boxing or any other sport to produce an individual who can eclipse Herbie Lewis as a perfect model of what an athlete should stand for."

Named as the Wing's captain in 1933, Herbie was elected as the starting left winger in the first-ever NHL All-Star Game, held for the benefit of Ace Bailey in 1934... One of the most electrifying players in the 1930s.
Originally Posted by Red Wings official site
(1933-34) was also this season that Lewis and right-winger Larry Aurie, his regular linemate, represented Detroit in the first NHL All-Star Game, a benefit match for Toronto forward Ace Bailey, whose career was cut short by a head injury suffered in a game against Boston.

When XXX picked up Marty Barry from Boston to center Aurie and Lewis, the trio immediately clicked, sparking Detroit to successive Cup wins. Toronto manager Conn Smythe described the unit as, "The best line in hockey, coming and going.

...Lewis was a star with the Hornets, leading the team in scoring in 1925-26, earning the nickname "The Duke of Duluth" in the process. He was the league's biggest drawing card and its highest-paid performer.

Detroit manager Jack Adams astutely scooped up this budding star through the 1928 inter-league draft and Lewis blossomed in the Motor City.
Originally Posted by Detroit Red Wings Greatest Moments and Players
Lewis was best known as a fast skater, a creative passer, and a regular candidate for the Lady Byng trophy.
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup Vol. 2
When Jack Adams began to weed out some of his veterans in 1929, he picked up a smart left wing in Herb Lewis as a replacemen. This fast and tricky stickhandler performed eleven years for the Red Wings… in his 2nd year he led the team in goal scoring, playing with Goodfellow and Aurie… He led in goals and points when Carl Voss and Goodfellow centered the line in 1933… Cooney Weiland joined them in 1934 and Herb was the biggest man of the Aurie-Weiland-Lewis combination, that averaged 153 lbs. Largely due to their great play, the Wings won their first championship… shortly before the end of the 1937 season Aurie broke his ankle and the spot with Lewis and Barry was filled by Hec Kilrea. This combination proved to be a good one and Lewis was a star in the subsequent playoffsdespite breaking his thumb and missing several games in 1938, Herb led the team in points but they finished last.
Originally Posted by NY Times, January 23, 1991
A left wing more noted for his defensive talents than his scoring, he was known as the fastest skater in the league during the 1930's.
Originally Posted by Hockeytown Heroes A-Z
considered the league’s fastest skater for most of his career… for most of his time in the AHA, it was an outlaw league which didn’t come under the umbrella of the NHL and none of its players could be claimed by an NHL team… Adams had his eye on Lewis for awhile but couldn’t bring the young speedster to Detroit while he was with the AHA. The AHA finally signed a working agreement with the NHL and Adams was able to draft Lewis in 1928… in the first round in 1934, Detroit defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3 games to 2, as Lewis, Aurie and Weiland clearly outplayed Toronto’s celebrated Kid Line of Joe Primeau, Busher Jackson and Charlie Conacher. The Wings lost the Cup Final to Chicago, but Lewis was outstanding in the playoffs… In 1938, Lewis was said to be the league’s highest paid player at $8000.
Originally Posted by Wings of Legend
Long before he made the leap to the NHL, Lewis was a wanted man. The Maroons signed him in 1926, but the deal was voided by NHL president Frank Calder, since Lewis was already under contract to the AHA’s Duluth Hornets… Lewis captained the Wings to their first Stanley Cup final appearance in 1934 and scored the first Stanley Cup final goal and first playoff overtime goal in club history… A small, quick left winger, Lewis possessed blazing speed on his skates and had a reputation as an accurate playmaker and a gentlemanly player…
Originally Posted by Detroit Red Wings History
A speedy skater and excellent two-way winger
Originally Posted by Top-50 Red Wings
The longest game in Stanley Cup history was about to enter its 6th overtime period... Detroit left winger Herbie Lewis was still full of vigor as the teams took the ice for the 9th period. "We aren't keeping you boys up, are we?", he playfully asked journalists as he whizzed past the ice-level press box...

...the speedy forward quickly made his mark in the NHL. In just his third game, Lewis burst through Eddie Shore and Lionel Hitchman and into the clear. Bruins goalie Tiny Thompson parried his first drive, but Lewis followed in to bury his rebound for the winner in a 2-0 victory over the team that would win the cup that spring... by 1929-30, Lewis, who many considered the fastest skater in the NHL, was a 20-goal scorer... he was named captain as he led the Wings to the first cup final appearance in franchise history... Detroit's forward unit of Weiland, Lewis and Aurie, was known around the league as the "Tricky Trio" but it was the deal that sent Weiland to Boston for Marty Barry, that turned the club into a championship-caliber squad. The Barry-Lewis-Aurie combination quickly became the NHL's most feared forward line and Detroit's powerplay was lethal. "When you have a set of men who can apply the pressure, the other team doesn't play quite so hard," explained Jack Adams. "They want to avoid penalties. They know that losing a man is almost like giving a team a goal. that's the way it was for us from 1935-37 when we had Barry, Aurie, Sorrell, Lewis and Goodfellow to throw in whenever the opposition was penalized. They scored 35 times on the powerplay in 35-36, an average of three goals every two games. Next season it worked almost as well."

Considered among the best thinkers of the game, Lewis was known as much for his skill without the puck as he was for his work with it. The key to Detroit's 1936 cup win was that the Lewis-Barry-Aurie line was able to control the Leafs' powerful kid line of Primeau, Conacher and Jackson, especially the work Lewis turned in controlling right winger Conacher. "Herbie did a grand job of checking Charlie," Adams told the Border Cities Star, a joy that was shared by Lewis. "What pleases me more than anything else is that we kept Jackson and Conacher, the two best players in the league, from dangerous shots," Lewis said. In 1935, he signed a new contract worth $8000 per season, making him the league's highest paid player. "

Lewis was also a player who stood up for his teammates. During a 1936 game with the Canadiens, Toe Blake elbowed Ebbie Goodfellow, who retaliated by crosschecking Blake. As both players were headed for the bin, Blake charged up from behind and swung his stick at Goodfellow's head. Lewis raised his stick to parry the blow, saving Goodfellow from serious injury and immediately tore into Blake. A brawl ensued and police were called to stop the fight, as virtually every Detroit player went after Blake...
Originally Posted by Christian Science Monitor - Mar 5, 1937
Herbie Lewis would have made the first team at left wing had not Jackson stood on his head.
Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune - Jan 19, 1937
The Red Wings will have added strength for the game, since Herbie Lewis, star left wing of the league's high point line, who has been out of the last four games will return tonight.
Originally Posted by The Sun - Oct 15, 1963
In the 1961-1962 season he over- hauled Herbie Lewis, star of the Wings' 1936 and 1937 Stanley Cup champion team

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Johnny Gottselig, LW

- 5’11”, 158 lbs (like 6’3”, 193 today)
- Stanley Cup Champion (1934, 1938)
- Stanley Cup Finalist (1931)
- NHL 2nd All-star team (1939)
- Also placed 3rd, 3rd, 6th in LW All-star voting. In 1934, had more voting points than 2nd team all-star Joliat; it’s unclear why Joliat got the nod
- Top-20 in points 7 times (8th, 12th, 13th, 13th, 17th, 17th, 18th, 20th)
- Best VsX scores: 89, 79, 74, 73, 73, 70, 67 (total 525, avg 75.0)
- Top-3 in playoff scoring 3 times (1st, 3rd, 3rd)
- Very likely earned most/all of his points at ES or on the PK, as he was not a PP regular
- Chicago Black Hawks captain (1935-1940)

Originally Posted by legendsofhockey.net
Left-winger Johnny Gottselig played nearly 600 NHL games for the Chicago Black Hawks between 1928-29 and 1945-46. He was a reliable scorer who could also check and provide leadership in the dressing room.
Born in Odessa, Russia, Gottselig came to Canada in his youth and was a junior star with the Regina Pats of the SJHL. He then moved on to the senior Regina Victorias, the Regina Capitals of the Prairie League and the AHA's Winnipeg Maroons. In 1928-29 he was a solid role player as an NHL rookie with the Hawks. The next year he was teamed with Tom Cook and Mush March and recorded his first of two straight 20-goal seasons.

During the 1930s Gottselig was a mainstay in the Chicago line up and was a big part of Stanley Cup wins in 1934 and 1938. During the 1938 post-season he led all scorers with eight points in ten games. The next year he scored 39 points and was named to the NHL second all-star team. After toiling briefly with the AHA's Kansas City Americans in the early 40s, the veteran forward rejoined the Hawks for parts of three seasons. He retired early in the 1944-45 season and replaced Paul Thompson as head coached. Gottselig guided the club to a 62-105-20 record and one playoff appearance before he was replaced by Charlie Conacher 28 games into the 1947-48 season.
Originally Posted by blackhawkup.com
Gottselig was a nifty skater and puck handler that people feared coming down the wing for his skills with the puck. Gottselig also was a solid penalty killer for the Hawks during his 18 year career.
Originally Posted by The Trail Of the Stanley Cup, Vol. 2
A tall and slim left wing… during his first five years, he led the team in scoring three times, playing with Tommy Cook, Lolo Couture, Mush March, Doc Romnes and others… he was on his first cup winner in 1934 when he starred in the playoffs playing with Cook and Don McFayden… He and Paul Thompson vied for scoring honors the next few years. Gottselig led the team in 1935 playing with Howie Morenz and Mush March. He repeated in 1939 with Cully Dahlstrom and Paul Thompson when he made the 2nd all-star team… Gottselig was a very flashy stickhandler and was quite prominent with his dexterous work when Chicago won the cup for the 2nd time in 1938.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Although Paul Thompson would become the club’s main offensive threat, Gottselig played a key role in Chicago’s first ever Stanley Cup win in 1934… a flashy stickhandler, always quite prominent in his dexterous work in close… led Chicago in goals while playing with an over the hill Howie Morenz and Mush March. The oil-slick Gottselig helped Chicago win another cup in 1938…

In a word… Nifty.
Originally Posted by Ultimate Hockey
Best stickhandlers of the 1930s – Johhy Gottselig and Busher Jackson
Originally Posted by overpass
Usually first or second (behind Paul Thompson) on his team in scoring. His teams were about league-average over his career, and were usually low-scoring, tight checking teams.

To put his scoring in context, Gottselig rarely played with talented linemates. Paul Thompson was ahead of him at LW for much of his career and played with the better linemates. Gottselig played with the depth players.

A little support for the idea that Gottselig scored less of his points on the power play.

Originally Posted by Nov 1, 1938 - Calgary Daily Herald
Stewart is certain the Hawks will show vast improvement in one type of play which repeatedly made them look bad in the past - power attacks.

Last season, when a member of the opposing team was in the penalty box, the Hawks consistently failed to show a scoring punch. Stewart promises it will be different this season. He plans to use two power-play combinations. One will be made up of Thompson, Romnes, March, and Gottselig. The other will be formed by Northcott, Blinco, Robinson, and Dahlstrom.
To recap: Gottselig's team, Chicago, played with two power play lines and was relatively unsuccessful... I think there's good reason to believe that Gottselig was the better offensive player at even strength.

Also consider that Gottselig had his best offensive season in 1938-39, when he got first line minutes as Paul Thompson's playing role was reduced.

Gottselig may not have played as regularly on the power play. For one, in the 1934 playoffs a game recap gave Chicago's power play forward line as Thompson, Romnes, and March (which was the regular first line).

All of which is to say that Gottselig was probably a better offensive player at even strength. He was a great stickhandler and had a reputation as a clever player - you see a lot of reference to the "clever" Gottselig or the "astute" Gottselig - so this isn't surprising.

Gottselig's scoring may also have been affected by Chicago's line usage. Chicago was the first NHL team to roll three lines in 1929-30. They didn't load up their best players on one line, so Gottselig never got to play with Paul Thompson at even strength. They used their best players to kill penalties (Thompson and Gottselig, among others). They played only three forwards on the power play at a time when Detroit, Toronto, Boston, and other teams were sending out their best five forwards or their best four forwards plus Shore or Clancy. It just wasn't a system that was conducive towards putting up high scoring totals.

While researching Johnny Gottselig, I read detailed accounts of the 1933-34 Stanley Cup Finals in the Border Cities Star. (See the April 4, April 6, April 9, and April 11, 1934 editions)

In several places they mentioned the lineups that were used after a penalty. Since we have little information on special teams usage from this era, I thought it was interesting.

Chicago's power play (1)
Thompson, Romnes, March, 2 defencemen (not named)

Chicago's penalty kill
(Thompson off) Abel, Coulter, Couture, Gottselig
(Coulter off) Conacher, Jenkins, March, Thompson
(Coulter and Gottselig off) Conacher, Jenkins, Thompson
(Conacher off) Abel, Coulter, Gottselig, Couture

While Gottselig finished with more career points, Thompson was the first line LW ahead of Gottselig when they played together in Chicago. They were generally the top two forwards on the team and both played on the PP and PK, but Thompson was the one who played on the first line (at a time when shifts were about 3 minutes long and first lines generally matched up against opposing first lines.)

Johnny Gottselig had a similar issue with playing behind Paul Thompson in his prime years. Clearly the 2nd best forward on the team but also the 2nd best LW.

When Thompson's play dropped off in 1938-39 (33 GP, 15 P), Gottselig led the league in scoring for much of the season and finished 8th in points.

One more note on Gottselig - he probably isn't an all-star in 1938-39 under modern voting rules. Votes were submitted 2 or 3 weeks before the end of the season. Gottselig had led the league in scoring for most of the season but closed with only one point in his last eight games...after the votes were in. Toe Blake was voted ahead of him anyway and with later voting Schriner might well have passed him too.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Gottselig the player was a nifty skater and puck handler, and a noted penalty killer who liked to rag the puck. He was respected around the league as a creative left winger "who could make a fool out of you if you didn't watch him closely."
Originally Posted by Hockey Chicago Style
Longtime off-ice official Jack Fitzsimmons remembers Gottselig as “an entertaining hockey player. He had a special talent of killing penalties and probably was most unique. You don’t see that anymore with killing penalties, the way he controlled that little black thing you push around.
Originally Posted by NY Times, April 6, 1931
The deciding goal was by Johnny Gottselig, the Black Hawks stellar stick-handler...
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette, Jan 2, 1932
The Americans...lost golden opportunities to score when the Hawks were two-men shy on the ice due mainly to the spetactular defense of Gottselig, Abel, and others.
Originally Posted by Border Cities Star, April 13, 1934: "Forechecking" Becomes Latest Hockey Style: Tommy Gorman Discusses Success of System
“In Montreal, in the first game of our series against Maroons, Johnny Gottselig scored the first goal for us in less than a minute when he dashed in and stole the puck off the goaltender’s pads. We carried the play right to them and scored in 40 seconds.
Originally Posted by 1937 Diamond Matchbook
Gottselig, one of the greatest stickhandlers in the puck chasing game is starting his 10th season with the Black Hawks... when his team is shorthanded because of a penalty, Gottselig is sent out on the ice to keep the puck from the opponents. At this style of defensive play, he has no equal.
Originally Posted by The Telegraph, April 6, 1938
Sharing honors with him was Gottselig, who tied the game on his first goal, put the game on ice with his second and stick-handled the powerful Leafs dizzy when his team was a man shy on a penalty.
Originally Posted by NY Times, November 29, 1938
Johnny Gottselig, the stickhandling magician of the Chicago Black Hawks, is still the top pointgetter of the National Hockey League at the end of three weeks of play, according to the league's official statistics issued tonight.
Originally Posted by The Gazzette, February 1939
Gottselig weaved in on the left side by virtue of his inimitable stickhandling and picked the far side with a shot that glanced off Cude’s glove.”
Originally Posted by Calgary Herald, March 10, 1939
Johnny Gottselig is the best stickhandler in hockey. A good scorer when he has any help and a fine checker and puck saver when he is out their (sic) single-o, trying to kill off penalties.
Originally Posted by Dink Caroll, The Montreal Gazette, Jan 12, 1943.

(Charlie Gardiner was sent off for a penalty at a time when goalies served their own penalties and teams didn't carry backups and had to use an active skater to cover the net for the two minutes. )

Dick (Irvin) can't recall the name of the player who replaced Gardiner while the latter was in the penalty box, but he well remembers what happened.

"Johnny Gottselig got the puck and put on the greatest display of stickhandling you ever saw," he says. "We were playing Boston that night, too, and it was another of their great teams. Shore nearly blew his top trying to take the puck away from Gottselig. But for the two minutes Gardiner was off, no Boston player was able to get the puck on his stick. Gottselig was one of the ace raggers of them all."
Originally Posted by Vancouver Sun, March 16, 1943
Gottselig, for many seasons one of the outstanding stickhandlers in the bruising game of pro hockey...
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, December 3, 1949
Considered to be the finest stickhandler to ever hit the NHL… after a highly successful career as a LW and center with Chicago, John was named coach of the team…
Originally Posted by The Hockey News,
certainly ranks today as hockey’s Mr versatility. His lengthy career has included 15 years as an NHL star, four years as a coach and six as an executive… a center with a knack for slick stickhandling and puck ragging… his first 13 years as a Hawk were probably among the best the team has ever experienced. He was a solid member of the 1934 and 1938 squads that gave Chicago its only two Cups… with the arrival of WW2, many younger skaters were called into services from the NHL. As a result, The Hawks didn’t hesitate to bring Gottselig back for another fling as a player. Although now 36, he still exhibited much of the suave ability that had made him famous.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News,
Gottselig’s stay with the Hawks dates back to his great puck ragging days as a star NHL winger.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazzette, November 17, 1962 (Frank Selke)
Now, Ace Bailey and Johnny Gottselig of Chicago were the best men in the League at the time to kill penalties by ragging the puck.
Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune, May 16, 1986
His tenure with the team included all three of the Hawks` Stanley Cup championships--in 1934, `38 and `61." When you talk hockey in Chicago, you`re talking Johnny Gottselig and Mush March," said Ted Damata, a retired Tribune sportswriter and assistant sports editor and close friend of Gottselig.

Damata said Gottselig is under consideration for hockey`s Hall of Fame," and I think we`re gonna get him in there yet." Probably Gottselig's greatest achievement in hockey was leading a 14-25-9 Black Hawk club to a 3-games-to-1 victory over the powerful Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1938 Stanley Cup finals. "It still is considered a 1,000-to-1 shot that they did it," said Damata. "It also is considered an insult to hockey and a stain on the Stanley Cup. They were a lousy team." In that series, Gottselig led all scorers with five goals and four assists.

Known for his wit, Gottselig said in 1959: "All I recall about the `38 playoffs was that, after Mike Karakas broke his toe, we were desperate for a goalie to use against Toronto. So we summoned Alfie Moore from a cocktail lounge. With Alfie tending the nets, I scored the final two goals that gave the Hawks the opener 3-1. That victory inspired us to the championship. But was I the hero? No. Because Karakas had a broken toe, Alfie Moore became the hero."

Gottselig, a Russian-born left winger who grew up in Canada, began his career with the Black Hawks in 1928 and played until 1945. For three years, beginning in 1940, he was player-coach of the club`s Kansas City minor league franchise before rejoining the Hawks in 1943. Gottselig led the club in goals scored five times and ranks 12th on the Hawks` all-time list with 176. He had 195 career assists and was perhaps best- known for his stick-handling wizardry.

"The best solution to a Hawk penalty was to send John onto the ice," Tribune sportswriter Charles Bartlett wrote in 1945. "He became the deftest puck-nursing virtuoso in the league, tantalizing full-strength teams with his nimble touch in mid-ice." Damata said Gottselig is still the only player he has ever seen--or heard of--who killed a penalty by controlling the puck for the full two minutes.

"He never forgot hockey," said his wife, Mae. "He would get so many calls for information about the Black Hawks. Anybody who wanted to know anything about the Black Hawks . . . why, they would phone John right away."

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Mike Babcock, Coach

- Stanley Cup champion(2008)
- Stanley Cup finalist (2003, 2009)
- Olympic Gold medalist (2010, 2014)
- World Cup champion (2016)
- Coached Teams to top-7 record in the NHL 6 times (1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th)
- Top-7 in Adams voting 9 times (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 6th, 6th, 7th, 7th)
- 591-350-164 record in the regular season (.609)
- 82-62 record in the playoffs (.569)
- Only coach to win 5 distinct national or international titles (he has six: NHL, WC, WJC, World Cup, CIS, Olympics)

Originally Posted by nhl.com
Mike Babcock was named the 30th head coach in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 20, 2015. Babcock joined the Leafs after serving as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings for the past 10 seasons.

Under his leadership in Detroit, Babcock posted a 458-223-105 regular season record as he became their franchise leader in games coached (786) and wins. In his time with the Red Wings, the club twice captured the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s regular-season champion (2005-06 and 2007-08) and made the playoffs in each of his 10 seasons. In 2007-08, Babcock led the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup championship in just his third season with the team, securing his first NHL title and the 11th in team history. Babcock was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2014.

Prior to joining the Red Wings, Babcock spent two seasons with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (2002-04), where in his first season as head coach he led the Ducks to their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. Throughout his tenure as an NHL head coach, Babcock has led his teams to the Stanley Cup Final three times and the Western Conference Finals four times.

Prior to stepping behind the bench in Anaheim, Babcock spent two seasons (2000-02) as head coach of the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League (AHL). He had moved to Cincinnati following a six-year run at the helm of the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League (1994-95 through 1999-2000).

In international play, Babcock has also represented Canada at several competitions. Most notably, he became the only coach in hockey history to lead his country to gold in consecutive Olympic appearances after guiding Canada in Vancouver (2010) and Sochi, Russia (2014). In 2004, he led Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Championships. In 1997, he took part in his first international coaching experience at the World Junior Championships as Canada also captured gold. Babcock is the only coach in the ‘Triple Gold Club,’ an exclusive group of individuals who have captured the three most prestigious championships in hockey (a World Championship, an Olympic Gold Medal and a Stanley Cup).
Originally Posted by nhl.com, May 20, 2015
A look at the career of Mike Babcock, who was named coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday:

1986 -- Graduated with a degree in physical education from McGill University, where he played defense and served as captain of the hockey team. He also did some post-graduate work in sports psychology at McGill.

1987-88 -- Served as player-coach of the Whitley Warriors of the British Premier League. He had 34 goals and 132 points in 36 games; the Warriors finished two points out of first place.

1988-91 -- Coached at Red Deer College. His team won the Alberta College championship in 1989, and he was named coach of the year.

1991-93 -- Coached the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. His teams went 60-78-6 in two seasons; they lost in the first round of the WHL playoffs in 1992 and didn't qualify in 1993.

1993-94 -- Spent one season coaching the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. He led the team to the CIS University Cup and was named CIS coach of the year.

1994-2000 -- Coached the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League. Babcock was named coach of the year in 1996 and 2000 after leading his team to first place in the Western Division and into the WHL Finals.

1997 -- Coached Canada internationally for the first time at the World Junior Championship in Switzerland. Canada won the gold medal, defeating the United States in the championship game.

2000-02 -- Moved to the pros when he was named coach of the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League. Cincinnati, the AHL affiliate of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Detroit Red Wings, had a 74-59-20-7 record under Babcock and qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs in each of his two seasons.

2002-04 -- Was named coach of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on May 22, 2002. Led Anaheim to the best season in franchise history in 2002-03 (40-27-9-6, 95 points); the Mighty Ducks advanced to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the New Jersey Devils. However, they did not qualify for the playoffs in 2003-04; this is the only time in his pro career that a Babcock-coached team failed to make the postseason.

2004 -- Coached Canada at the IIHF World Championship in Prague. Canada went 7-1-1 and defeated Sweden to win the gold medal. Babcock became the first coach to lead Canada to the title at the World Juniors and the World Championship.

2005 -- Named coach of the Detroit Red Wings on July 15, 2005.

2008 -- Led the Red Wings to the 11th Stanley Cup in franchise history and the fourth since 1997. They defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games in the Final.

2009 -- Coached the Red Wings to the Western Conference championship and a second straight berth in the Stanley Cup Final, where they were defeated by the Penguins in seven games.

2010 -- Led Canada to the gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics, capped by a 3-2 overtime victory against the United States in the championship game. Babcock became the only coach to join the Triple Gold Club; members have won a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a World Championship.

2014 -- Coached Canada to the gold medal at the Sochi Olympics. His team allowed three goals while going 6-0 and defeating Sweden in the championship game.

2015 -- Led the Red Wings to their 24th consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and their 10th in his 10 seasons with Detroit. The Red Wings lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference First Round.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Babcock's teams generally focus on skills and puck possession. Babcock is also one of the game's most respected coaches by way of line combinations, match-ups and overall game strategy. Babcock has continued his tradition of building a team with skills rather than enforcement in Detroit.[14] Since the 2005–06 season, Babcock's teams have consistently had the fewest penalty minutes of any NHL team.[15] From the 2005–06 to 2014–15 seasons, the Red Wings average 22% fewer penalty minutes than the League average, and 44% fewer penalty minutes than the highest League total
Originally Posted by omha.net
To be an assistant on Mike Babcock's staff you have to do one specific thing. "I want you to have a new idea every day, and I want you to fight for your idea," Babcock said. "I try to hire people that are going to bring change. I've got that right in their job description." It's all part of Babcock's R&D philosophy, something he's famous for among his assistants. "Rob and Do," said former Assistant to Babcock with the Red Wings, Todd McLellan, now Head Coach of the Edmonton Oilers. "That's his R&D. That's his research and development." It is often noted that good coaches are great ‘thiefs’- they ‘rob’ concepts, ideas and drills from other coaches. Great coaches however modify and adjust those drills to fit their players and programs – that’s the ‘do’ part of R&D – and its crucial to make it your own.
Originally Posted by LA Times, November 11, 2002
Not too many people knew much about Mike Babcock when he was hired as coach of the Mighty Ducks last spring, but General Manager Bryan Murray did and he's pleased with the job Babcock has done. "I knew that it would take some time for the players to understand the things that he wants done and he's done a great job of communicating with them," Murray said about Babcock, who has led the Ducks to a 6-6-3-0 record after Sunday's 1-0 victory over Minnesota. "Everyone knows about his enthusiasm, but his preparation and his ability to study for individual games has been really top-notch."... he's starting to trust the younger players more than he did. It was more of a situation of him adapting to new people more than a new league and he's learning that sometimes you have to let the players play."
Originally Posted by LA Times, March 8, 2003
Add this to the list of firsts for Mighty Duck Coach Mike Babcock this season. The first question about whether he will win the Adams Trophy, given to the NHL's coach of the year. Babcock seemed ready for it. "I just wanted to be the coach FOR the year," Babcock said after Friday's morning skate. Good point. The Ducks have had three coaches in the last two seasons and five in the last six. The Babcocks, though, can probably unpack the good china now. But Babcock probably will receive a significant chunk of coach of the year votes after the Ducks' tremendous leap this season from the lower regions of the Western Conference to seventh place. Such talk makes Babcock nervous, as he would prefer the focus be on the players. "When your players have success, you have a chance for success," Babcock said. "I'm not the one out there scoring power-play goals."

One thing Babcock has learned is when to express his displeasure with officiating. "Every time play stops I'm there on TV," Babcock joked. "My kids go to Catholic school and have to explain why their dad talks like that. I learned to say things while the play is going." Babcock has a long way to go to be the most animated coach in Duck history. "I've played for worse," team captain Paul Kariya said. "I think there are still some of Craig [Hartsburg's] heel prints on the boards along our bench."
Originally Posted by LA Times, March 9, 2003
But the Ducks can't get too comfortable, even with the favorable schedule. If they take a night off in any area, they can lose to any team in the league, and first-year Coach Mike Babcock knows this. "We have to get prepared for each game individually," Babcock said after the Ducks' 45-minute workout Saturday at Disney Ice in Anaheim. "What we do is work real hard and we play with good structure. When we deviate from structure, we're not a very good team." We have to make intelligent decisions [against the Red Wings] and we can't cheat [on plays]. We can't make plays hoping that they work. We have to take what is given."
Originally Posted by LA Times, March 22, 2003
And while Coach Mike Babcock continues his tonight's-the-most-important game mantra, he doesn't mind looking back. "The guys decided in training camp that they were going to work and believe in one another and persevere," Babcock said. "When things didn't go well, they continued to battle. We weren't a very good hockey team there for a long time, but they just kept battling and working. We've come a long way."
Originally Posted by LA Times April 14, 2003
Coach Mike Babcock, the suspected insomniac, is bouncing around the Mighty Ducks' dressing room like a pinball, with no fear of tilt. The Ducks had just stunned the Detroit Red Wings in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which took their Game 1 victory out of the fluke bin. Babcock darts left, then right, talking to reporters one minute, assistant coaches the next and mixing in a couple of impromptu player conferences in between. It would be easy to frame this as playoff giddiness. But this is Babcock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "I don't think he sleeps," team captain Paul Kariya said.

...Babcock insists he doesn't deserve the credit for this impossible season -- "I don't shoot the puck for them" -- but a large portion can be put on his plate. The Ducks face the Red Wings in Game 3 tonight at the Arrowhead Pond. They have bewildered a roster full of future Hall of Famers through two games, and Babcock's handprints are all over the effort.

He has successfully manipulated game situations, getting the desired matchups -- through two games Steve Rucchin has shadowed the Red Wings' Sergei Fedorov so closely they might as well carpool to games.

Babcock also has grounded his team. As soon as they reached the dressing room after a 3-2 victory Saturday, Babcock, always pushing, reminded them that the Red Wings had rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the first round last season. Pavlov's team spent the postgame reminding the media that the Red Wings lost the first two games last season. That is how it has been all season. Babcock rings the bell, the Ducks respond.

Babcock, who will turn 40 on April 29, may have made it to the NHL, but his mind is still firmly rooted in Saskatoon, Canada. Mike Babcock Sr., his father, was a mining engineer in Canada who put in the up-before-dawn, home-after-dark career. Babcock watched, listened and, one day, asked the question. "I said to my dad, 'How how do you get all the guys to work?' " Babcock said. "He said, 'You can never ask anyone else to work harder than you do.' "

A light bulb didn't merely click, it exploded. "I don't ever want to be the guy who didn't work hard enough," Babcock said.

This was the injection of adrenaline the Ducks needed. The choice by General Manager Bryan Murray raised a few eyebrows and one question -- were the Disney-owned Ducks going cheap again? Yet the results have been rich with rewards. Murray spent the summer wheeling and dealing, upgrading the Ducks' talent. With Babcock, he had a coach who brought an eye-on-the-prize focus. If there was any doubt that this season was going to be different, it was cleared up early in training camp. Babcock placed veterans German Titov, Jason York and Denny Lambert with the minor league team. All three were gone by the start of the season. Everyone got the message.

"He is going to tell you what he thinks, even if you don't want to hear it," goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. "I don't know if he sleeps ever. I don't know if he can sleep. At the rink, he is never relaxed. He wants us to be that way too. When you relax too much, that's when you start losing." Babcock is so intense, Giguere joked earlier this season, that he sweats through his sports coat during games. "I think that is just rumor," Giguere said, backpedaling with a smile. "He doesn't sweat through his coat. The ice rinks are too cold for that. Maybe when we play in Florida."

The Ducks had yet to work up any perspiration during another slow start, going 2-5-2 in their first nine games. Another season seemed off to a meandering start. Except, with Babcock holding the cattle prod, this wasn't going to be the same-old, same-old. "My wife says I'm going to have a heart attack," Babcock said. "I tell her, 'No I won't. I don't keep anything inside.' " Although no player would reveal the details, Babcock didn't keep anything inside after an embarrassing 5-2 loss to Toronto on Oct. 28. The Ducks went 4-1-1 in the next six games. "When you leave for the day, you have given your best or you will hear about it," Duck left wing Kevin Sawyer said.

That has been Babcock's way, from Red Deer College to Lethbridge College to eight seasons in the Western Hockey League to two seasons at minor league Cincinnati. Said Red Deer Athletic Director Allan Ferchuck: "We lost in the national championship game Mike's first season and he was asked about finishing second. He said, 'Second place [stinks].' That was the headline the next day. It didn't go over too big with some in the administration, but that's Mike."

..."If you don't have any NHL experience, you better be who you are," Babcock said.
Originally Posted by LA Times, May 1, 2003
First-year Coach Mike Babcock, who guided the Mighty Ducks' remarkable rise, was not among the NHL finalists for the Jack Adams Trophy, given to the league's coach of the year. Jacques Lemaire of the Minnesota Wild, Jacques Martin of the Ottawa Senators and John Tortorella of the Tampa Bay Lightning were the three finalists voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers' Assn. Under Babcock, the Ducks went from a 13th-place team with 69 points to a playoff team in one season.

"It's surprising," team captain Paul Kariya said, "considering the turnaround we've experienced this season. I was sure he would be on the list. I don't know if they count playoffs, but what he did in the first round lends credence to him being in that category."

Postseason performances are not considered when voting on league awards, as votes are due before the playoffs begin. But the Ducks' regular-season success seemed enough to put Babcock in the finalist category. Not that he cares, of course. "The test of coaching is in longevity," Babcock said. "There are a lot of guys who come in and do it for the short-term."
Originally Posted by LA Times, May 27, 2003
Mighty Duck Coach Mike Babcock is not bashful about soliciting advice. He has made calls to coaches and others who might offer scouting tips before each playoff series. He recently did so again to get the skinny on New Jersey, although he refused to name names. "The more people you can talk to, the more people you can get thoughts from, helps," Babcock said. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of his calls now get returned. "Some of these people probably wouldn't have returned my calls if we weren't in this situation, so this is a good chance to learn something," Babcock said.
Originally Posted by LA Times, November 20, 2003
Asked what he would like to see from Chistov, Babcock said, "Work. It's pretty simple. Potential is a dirty word, and God gives you that, if you choose not to do anything with it, then it's just a dirty word. But this is a tough league and a man's league and you want to work. Part of my job as a coach is to win games, but a big part of it is to make people better. If this guy is not a star at 25, then I'll take a lot of responsibility for that. He's got to wake up."
Originally Posted by LA Times, March 11, 2004
"We're going to make some changes, don't kid yourself," Babcock said. "We're trying to build a core of good people. Being a core player means you can't be a guy who comes and plays every third day or plays three good games and then doesn't show up because a coach doesn't know how to use that guy. You got to be an every-night guy to be a core guy."

That list, this season, is a short one, according to Babcock. "Sammy Pahlsson has played every night and Rob Niedermayer, when he has been healthy, has played every single night," Babcock said. "You need a core of eight guys that you know are playing with urgency and demand of their teammates every single night."
Originally Posted by LA Times, July 1, 2005
"I think Mike Babcock has done enough to deserve another chance to coach this team," said Burke, who was hired June 20. "Typically, a new GM brings in a new coach. Mike deserves a better fate."
Originally Posted by LA Times, July 7, 2005
Babcock, 42, is a popular coach within the Southern California hockey community, but his future with the Ducks was put in doubt when Burke was hired June 20. Burke said he wants the team to play a more offensive style. Babcock has preached a defense-first philosophy, partly out of necessity considering the team's talent level.
Originally Posted by LA Times, May 20, 2008
"Experience is overrated unless you have it."

--Mike Babcock before coaching the Ducks in the 2003 Stanley Cup finals

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Babcock gained a wealth of experience while guiding the Ducks through a tense seven-game loss to New Jersey in the Cup finals five years ago. "It's a grind. It goes forever. It just never seems to end," he said Thursday. "What's so interesting about the playoffs is people talk about the playoffs are long. It's not for lots of teams. It's like one week and done. But when you're real fortunate and you've got a good team like Pittsburgh does or we do, it gets to go for a long period of time."

...The Ducks won the Cup last spring and Babcock is two victories from lifting the chalice himself. When that happens -- and it will, despite the Penguins' spirited effort Wednesday in cutting Detroit's series lead to 2-1 -- it will be because Babcock is using the knowledge he gained in 2003 to make himself a better coach. That process hasn't been smooth. A first-round loss to Edmonton two years ago and a loss to the Ducks in the Western Conference finals last spring sparked speculation that he might lose his job if the Red Wings fell flat again. They've soared because Babcock has fine-tuned his sense of when to prod and when to relent. That has made him the right fit for a team that's mature and needs a firm hand more than an iron fist.

"I think he's real good at knowing when to be a little looser on the group, knowing when to push us a little bit more at times," defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "I think he's got a good feel of the group that he has."

Babcock thought it would do no good to put players through a tough practice on Thursday because that might signify he was unduly worried about their 3-2 loss in Game 3... The idea of a day off came from what he experienced in 2003. He learned the importance of "just staying fresh as a team and using today in a good manner and not wearing on your people. Understanding that you've got to get reenergized, and rest is a weapon and get prepared to play. And getting the lessons out of the game that you can. But there's no sense beating yourself up over it. We didn't win the game. It's a new day tomorrow. It's a new day today. It's sunny. Let's go."

That sounded a lot like the Babcock that Ducks forward Rob Niedermayer remembered from 2003. Niedermayer, among the few remaining players from the Cup finals team, said Babcock was calm, assertive and never dishonest. "He's a coach who always has his teams prepared going into a game. We always were aware of what the other team was doing and what we needed to do," Niedermayer said by phone. "I really enjoyed playing for Mike. He was a guy that you knew where you stood with him. He put that out there loud and clear. He's one of my favorite coaches that I played for."

Niedermayer said that although he knows people on both sides, "Mike's a guy you hope does well." Babcock has done well. Now, he's ready to do better. Two more wins, and he'll be there.
Originally Posted by canucksarmy, april 2, 2013
JG: Give me your thoughts on the comparisons between being a teacher and a coach and maybe how similarly they are related.

MB: I tell people all the time I’m a teacher. The reality is the exams are the games. What’s interesting to me is I feel coaching is a lot about teaching. For example, you give the kids an exam on Friday and everybody gets fifty. Well, to me as a teacher, you haven’t done your job. If everyone gets eighty, you probably taught them.

The same with coaching is, I’m probably a guy who shouldn’t be a guest on your show, but rather listening to your show- Hockey Coaching 101. The bottom line for a coach is maximizing the propensity of your athletes and getting them to play at the highest level. I’m a big believer that winning follows good coaches around. I guess what I would tell you is we’re in the teaching business. We call it the solution business as we try to come up with ideas each and every day to make our group better. We want to maximize the potential of our individuals and our group. Each and every day you choose your attitude, you dig in and you try to make the people you work with better and make yourself better. I have a lot of respect for teachers, it’s a tough job. Coaching is a tough job too, but it’s an exhilarating job, lots of fun, no different than teaching.

JG: How important is it for a coach, at any level, to have a balance of being strict, but also being compassionate to the player as a person?

MB: Well, I guess for me that’s huge. The other thing I’d say to you is Tom Renney is a good man, Bill Peters is a good man. We do a ton of laughing. People probably wouldn’t believe that right now, that we’re not crying. We do a ton of laughing. That doesn’t mean we’re not spending a lot of time laughing at ourselves, I can tell you that. We’re trying to get better each and every day.

We think our team now knows how to play. We just don’t play well all the time. So it’s not about showing them how to play, it’s about managing them and getting them to play. That’s dealing with people. Everybody has a different skill set. I think that’s the whole key. When you asked me who has had the greatest influence on me, I told you my Dad taught me how to work; my Mom told me how to talk to people. When you have an ability to talk to people, and lots of people talk and they get nothing, other people talk and they give out pearls.

I think Jacques Lemaire is the best guy I’ve ever been around, who had the shortest meeting with the best information. To me, that’s what teaching is about, that’s what coaching is about, to provide something that they can see, taste, and smell and turn it into something that helps them on the ice. That’s what you’re trying to do. It’s a battle each and everyday, that’s what makes it fun. I love what I do; I love the people I’m around. I try to surround myself with great people.

JG: Interesting that bench management was your biggest lesson. Give me your definition of bench management and how hard it is to manage a bench. What is the biggest challenge?

MB: I think the first thing is accountability. Number one is different people play well different nights. Find out who is playing well; make sure they’re out on the ice more than the rest of the guys. Secondly, understand who they are getting out on the ice and figure out who plays best against them and control that match up. That was my biggest thing when I went to major junior, is I had the wrong people out on the ice against the wrong people in the first half of my first year. I had no idea how it really worked and I didn’t do a good job of that. People think at a young level, it’s how you run your practice and all that. My players want you to run a good practice, but that is not what they care about the most. They want you to know what’s going on at the game. They want you to have the right people on the ice in the right situations, and they know before you do. Players get the information first, the coach gets it second. In order to be on top of it you gotta be, I think, really good. The better team you have, the more you’re called a genius. I always kind of laugh, Scotty Bowman is an unbelievable bench manager, he also had more players than anybody else. When you have more players than anybody else – the first few years in Detroit- it’s easy to have the right people on the ice all the time. When you have less than the other team, that’s when you have your hands full.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 21, 2014
Mike Babcock can be the most controlling, stubborn and pig-headed person you’ll ever meet. And because of that, Canada is playing in the gold medal game Sunday against Sweden. Throughout this Olympic tournament, Babcock has been receiving criticism from all corners, including this one, for everything from how he was deploying his players to the suffocating defensive style of play to having Chris Kunitz playing on the top line with Sidney Crosby. Through it all, Babcock remained defiant and confident and has never, ever wavered from his playbook. And that is making him look like a genius. Canada played as close as you’ll ever see to a perfect game in Friday’s 1-0 win over USA in the Olympic semifinal, a game that featured a frenetic pace, all kinds of personal sacrifice and outstanding goaltending. It’s a credit to USA, and particularly to goaltender Jonathan Quick, that the Canadian team played as well as it did, yet only won the game by one goal.
Originally Posted by The Globe and Mail, June 3, 2014
Strategic decisions will often be questioned by those who think they know better. Strong leaders, however, don’t allow themselves to be derailed by all that second-guessing. For Team Canada coach Mike Babcock, the road to men’s hockey gold at the Sochi Winter Games was paved with second-guessing from sports fans and commentators at nearly every step of the way. The criticism began with the player selection process, continued through the development camp, and lingered for the first few games of the tournament.

But for Mr. Babcock, who demonstrated supreme confidence in his decision making, the criticism was nothing more than background noise. “You’ve got to decide whether you want to lead or follow,” Mr. Babcock said. “When they hire me to make decisions, that’s what they hire me to do.” Mr. Babcock, who has been head coach of the National Hockey League’s Detroit Red Wings since 2005, said that throughout the tournament he had to make difficult decisions, many of which were met with criticism, but believes that strong leaders – in any endeavour – need to leave their emotions at the door if they’re going to be successful.

“If you address the hard issues, then you’re ready to move on, you’re ready to get better,” he said. “In any walk of life, you know who’s working, you know who’s not working, but you have to address it. We avoid addressing it because we don’t want to hurt any feelings, and then it just lingers. To me, that’s the biggest issue in sports and in business.” For Mr. Babcock, there was no time to spare the feelings of his high-calibre hockey club in Sochi. He said that the all-star talent, who are used to being the top players on their respective NHL teams, had to learn how to take a back seat at times during the tournament.

“If they didn’t play well, they didn’t get to play, and the guys who played the best, played the most,” he said. “Kind of like in business, you’ve got to reward your top performers if you want success.” Mr. Babcock adds that players are generally supportive of that policy unless it happens to be their own contributions that are coming under question. “When it’s happening to you, usually your attitude is different,” he said. “To me as a coach, just like a leader in business, you have to make hard decisions. How do you know you’re right? You know you’re right when you win or your business has success, and if you don’t, then you re-evaluate.”

Mr. Babcock, 51, is a firm believer in life-long learning, and said that the key to his success as a leader is arriving prepared, while constantly striving for improvement. He expects the same of the players who report to him. “What we tried to do [in Sochi] is take a step a day, get better each and every day, understanding that we weren’t a finished product and we would have to get better,” he said. “Our last three games were our best three games, but that’s what has to happen if you’re going to be successful at the Olympics.”

While leaders often contemplate best practices for motivating their team, Mr. Babcock believes that the top performers in any field are self-motivated. Even when it comes to high-pressure situations, which were a regular occurrence during the Sochi Games, motivation wasn’t much of a concern for the coaching staff. “The best of the best are beyond motivated. If you’re not motivated, you can only be good for a short period of time,” he said. “To be selected as an Olympian is an honour beyond belief. To have an opportunity to compete for a medal is another level, and then the opportunity to win gold for your country is a spectacular thing. I don’t think anyone needs more motivation.”

Mr. Babcock couldn’t say whether he’d consider coaching an NHL team in Canada. “I coach the Red Wings right now, and I’m really fortunate to have that opportunity. I enjoy it a lot, and am not thinking about much else.” Should that change in the future, however, Mr. Babcock is confident he can bring his winning formula just about anywhere. “I believe the puck follows around good players and I believe winning follows around good coaches,” he said. “I believe the guy running a successful business in one place can run a successful business anywhere. Am I right? I don’t know. That’s just what I believe.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 18, 2015
Despite losing their No. 1 goalie to injury, the Red Wings keep rolling along. Yet this year, Detroit coach Mike Babcock won't win the Jack Adams Award as the league's top bench boss. He's never won it, in fact – and that's an ongoing travesty. If there is a hockey god, one of these years, Mike Babcock is going to get recognized as the NHL's top coach. It didn't happen for him last year, when he dragged the league's second-most injured team to its 23rd consecutive playoff appearance; Colorado's Patrick Roy won it then, and there was a good case to be made as to why he should've. Babcock also didn't win it the season he led Detroit to a Stanley Cup championship; then-Caps coach Bruce Boudreau won it that year. Year-in and year-out, Babcock works with whatever lineup he's been given – more recently, an injury-riddled roster with star players in their twilight, as well as youngsters developing their game – and wrenches the most out of it. Despite leading the Wings to at least the second round of the playoffs in six of his nine seasons behind their bench, Babcock has never garnered enough votes among the NHL Broadcasters Association to win the Jack Adams. You understand why it's happened – voters often look at the "which coach has reversed his team's fortunes to the most shocking degree" formula (that's the one Roy won on in 2013-14) – but sooner or later, we need to recognize the value of Babcock's consistency as at least equal to the one-hit wonder coaches who may or may not have been the beneficiaries of extraordinary, unsustainable goaltending or another factor beyond their control. If you look at the last 10 Adams winners, three (John Tortorella, Dan Bylsma and Paul MacLean) are currently looking to get back into the league after the expiration of their contracts with the teams that fired them; another three (Lindy Ruff, Alain Vigneault and Bruce Boudreau) were fired by the teams with which they received the honor; and another two (Dave Tippett and Ken Hitchcock) could feel the heat at the end of the current campaign. This isn't to say any and all of them aren't deserving. There are great arguments for different coaches every season. It is to say it's wholly unfair to punish Babcock in the balloting because the Wings organization does an exemplary job of assimilating young talent into the NHL level.

This season is no different. Babcock is coaching a team without its No. 1 goaltender (Jimmy Howard, out two-to-four weeks with a groin injury), No. 2 goalie (Jonas Gustavsson, sidelined since November with a separated shoulder), and that didn't have superstar Pavel Datsyuk in the lineup for 11 games. They suck in shootouts (1-7). Their defense corps will never be mistaken for the 1970s Montreal Canadiens' blueline. They're not a menace on the road (11-7-3). In short, his Red Wings are no longer the league's deepest, most dangerous team, as they were in 2005 when he first took over. But what they are is on course for another playoff berth, and just three points out of first place in their division with two games in hand on the Atlantic-leading Tampa Bay Lightning. That is astonishing. Numerous management members have departed in Babcock's tenure, but he has been the on-ice constant. That shouldn't be overshadowed every season by some other coach's good fortune in being at the right place at the right time. Will Babcock win this year? Very probably not, for the reasons I've mentioned. Peter Laviolette in Nashville, Jack Capuano on Long Island, Willie Desjardins in Vancouver and Paul Maurice in Winnipeg will all get deserved support from their fan bases, and the winner will come out of that group. But if you take any of what I've written to be a slight on the work done by any of these four coaches, go back to the start of the piece and read harder this time. I'm not saying Babcock's work this season has been head-and-shoulders above any of his colleagues. I'm saying we've too easily shunted aside his work over the years because of the ooh-and-ahh fireworks of the moment. If we're really judging who the best coach is – the guy who knows the game inside and out; the guy who can strategize with anyone, and who hasn't lost his room in nearly a decade on duty – we can't keep ignoring the man even his own peers recognize as a force. Don't believe me? Wait until this summer, when the Red Wings, Maple Leafs or some other team makes Babcock the highest-paid coach in league history. They won't be giving him that money because he's charming with the press, or because he tells great stories of winning it all in 2008. He'll get it because he delivers, regardless of what is delivered to him. Babock probably doesn't care if he ever wins the Adams, but that doesn't mean he's not long overdue in winning the damn thing. And the longer the award is given to the flavor-of-the-moment, the greater an insult it is to a legend with a lot of years left.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 7, 2015
At some point in 2015, Mike Babcock will become the highest paid coach in the NHL. His salary will start with a four, perhaps even a five. Whether it’s with Detroit or somewhere else, Babcock will set a new salary standard for coaches. And if it’s true that a high tide raises all ships, other coaches around the league should be grateful. We asked a couple of them exactly why Babcock is worth at least $4 million a year and here’s what we were told
Babcock doesn’t win all the time, but he makes enough of a habit of it for everyone to notice. Even if he doesn’t win, Babcock does everything he can to pursue that goal. “He’s most like Scotty (Bowman) in that way, that he doesn’t care about what his players think of him because nothing gets in the way of the ultimate goal,” said a fellow coach.

3. HE KNOWS PLAYERS, HIS OWN AND THOSE ON OTHER TEAMS: One coach said Babcock knows fine details of all 10 skaters on the ice when watching a game. But more than that, he knows the breaking point of his own players and knows what buttons to push to get them going. “Some of us are demanding with practice, and we stay out too long and that creates negative energy,” a coach said. “Mike knows exactly when to get on the ice and off the ice.”

4. HE SEES THE BIG PICTURE: As much as Babcock is focused on winning, he also recognizes it is a process and never loses sight of that process. “Good coaches don’t worry about the debris around them and the debris they create, and they never get wrapped up in the moment,” one coach said. “They know the end result isn’t the next day or the next week. They’re always moving the process forward. Mike does that as well as anybody.” Babcock has also done what few coaches have been able to do, and that’s usher the same team from being a Cup contender, through a rough patch that comes with transition, back to being a contender. You don’t gain those kinds of survival skills without long-term vision.

5. HE HAS A SENSE OF COMPASSION: As much as his players may cross swords with him, they know Babcock has their backs. “If there was a player or coach in trouble and needed help, he’d make four phone calls and it would be settled,” a coach said. “I know of two players who needed help and he got it done before anybody could do anything about it.
Originally Posted by sportsnet.ca, 2015
But he already knows exactly what he wants to say: “I’d like to be the best coach in my generation.”

…Back in Babcock’s kitchen, the dichotomy of his character becomes apparent when he explains how he fell into coaching on a whim. It’s a different tone for a man who, just a few minutes earlier, was so adamant about establishing his coaching legacy. “I never thought about being a coach, because I was thinking about being a player,” he explains. “That was my dream.”

Ask him for his personal memories about any of his biggest wins—the Stanley Cup in 2008, the Olympics in 2010 or 2014—and he’ll tell you that if you sit still long enough he’ll go fetch the game card for whichever game you want to talk about. He archives them all in binders that he files in his office, between the bear skulls and the rest of his trophies. Though we’ve been talking about his first trip to the final, when he came within one victory of becoming the first NHL rookie coach to win the Cup since 1986, he has emerged from his office with all his notes from the gold medal game in Sochi. Handwritten on the card in the same red ink he used to circle the names of his starting lineup are the three words that made up the backbone of his message to the team going into that game: “Enjoy the moment.”

He can’t say whether it was while studying sports psychology or if it goes back to that old note his mom kept on the fridge, but Babcock has long been a “big believer in credos.” To help inspire the Canadian squad during the Vancouver Olympics, he wrote and hung a 19-line credo in the team’s dressing room. It included nuggets like: “Leave no doubt that this is our game. That this is our time. That our determination will define us. That we are built to win. That we are a team of destiny.” He speaks in credos, too. “Doubt,” he says, “is the biggest energy taker there is.”

“I’m 51 years old. I’m young. I’d like to be the best in my generation. I don’t think you could ever compare yourself to Scotty Bowman because the time he coached, it’s a different era. You could keep teams together and you could have these runs. That’s just not possible in the cap world with parity. But I think you can still be good in your time. I like the game, I like the players. I like grinding it out. I like learning new things. I like the challenge of being able to do it year after year. There are a whole bunch of people who come in here and have success for one year, and then they go. Being able to do it year after year after year, that drives me.” Babcock counts himself lucky to have inherited the Red Wings in the summer of 2005, replacing Dave Lewis after Detroit failed to advance beyond the second round of the playoffs the previous two seasons. Though he could have stayed in Anaheim, the offer from Detroit was too good to turn down. “The team was built,” he says. “They were the closest thing to a dynasty.” And he knows he has been fortunate to have coached so many great players in his 11-year tenure in the league. But it’s not just luck or fortune that earned him an impressive 415-198-91 record with the Wings. That, he says, is the result of “preparedness.”

It surprises no one who has ever known Babcock that he works at home on his day off. Jeff Fenton, a teammate back in his Kelowna days, recalls that as a player Babcock was always studying the game. “We’d be sitting on the bench and I’d be looking at the girls in the crowd and he’d be monitoring what the guys on the other team were doing on the ice. Figuring out who couldn’t turn to his right or left. Looking for anything he could pick on.” As Kevin Sawyer, who played for Babcock in Spokane, Cincinnati and Anaheim, explains: “He prepares for every detail of the game. That’s why he’s not smiling: He’s always thinking about the execution and implementation of his vision.” Babcock knows there are players and coaches out there who have worked with him who say he pushes people too hard. That he’s so focused on winning he sometimes forgets about the people whose careers he’s impacting. He himself estimates that at any given time one-third of his players are disgruntled with his leadership. “It’s a revolving third,” he says. Though he doesn’t seem to mind if his players like him, he does need them to respect him and, ideally, understand that when he bumps a player down in rank it’s because he believes it’s what’s required for the team. That’s the part of the job that Babcock hates: retiring superstars. Telling men like Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Steve Yzerman and Daniel Alfredsson that they’ve lost a step. “It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone has to be accountable for what they do on the ice,” Babcock says.

There’s a confidence to him that is sometimes mistaken for arrogance. Not everyone appreciates being told they’re no longer as valuable as they once were. But it’s clear that because he never again wants to be on the receiving end of that message, he demands so much of himself and others. Looking at the pen in my hand, he tries to put his outlook into a perspective he believes I’ll understand. “I don’t think there’s a secret to success,” he says. “It’s lifelong learning. What you did last year and how you wrote last year, if you’re writing the same next year someone else is going to have your job. You have to evolve because everyone else evolves.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 25, 2015
it’s the incredible coaching of Mike Babcock that has been the difference between the Red Wings and Lightning. Detroit and Tampa Bay will now head back to Hockeytown for Game 6. There weren’t many teams that had legitimate goaltending questions heading into the post-season. Of those that did, however, were the Red Wings, but before the first-round series between Detroit and Tampa Bay, Mike Babcock named Petr Mrazek his starter. Five games later, the choice couldn’t look much more genius...Because of Mrazek’s play, especially in games 3 and 5, Detroit now holds a 3-2 advantage in the series and stands a chance at an opening round upset that few saw coming or would have expected. The catalyst on ice may be Mrazek, but, as it seems to be season-in and season-out, Babcock has pulled all the right strings at all the right times to put Detroit over the edge... Entering the series, the Lightning’s stars outnumbered the Red Wings’. They had the decided edge in goal scoring, in depth and, many believed, in goal. But Babcock has managed to get the most out of his depth players like Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening and, over the course of the season and into these playoffs, especially Justin Abdelkader.... Detroit has come this far in the first round because of the players that have stepped up and because Babcock is pushing the right buttons when it matters. If they close out Tampa Bay in six games, it will be just as much an upset by the Detroit Red Wings as it is yet another example of impeccable coaching by Mike Babcock.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, May 20, 2015
So, let me get this straight: Mike Babcock, one of the most respected, productive hockey coaches alive today and the most sought-after free agent this summer – player or otherwise – signs with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and this is a negative? The Maple Leafs use some of the millions they've saved under the NHL's salary cap system and establish instant credibility in a dressing room that needed a full fumigation after the the toxic 2014-15 campaign, and team president Brendan Shanahan somehow screwed this hire up? Sorry, not buying it.

No, Babcock isn't a panacea for the flaws in the Leafs organization. He isn't a 21-year-old No. 1 center or defenseman, nor is he a junior phenom on par with Connor McDavid. And nobody is claiming that. But here's what he is: Excellent at his job. Secure in his approach. Beholden to nobody. All the things you want in a man who's tasked with establishing a vastly different landscape in an environment that had been littered with highly-paid tumbleweed and the bones of those who believed they could short-cut the process.
Babcock wasn't universally beloved by his players in Detroit, and that's another positive sign for the Leafs. The players don't need to subscribe to his fan club for this to work. They just have to respect him, understand and appreciate his skills as a tactician, and capitalize on his ability to prepare them as well as any NHL coach and put them in positions to win. And he's proven himself more than capable of getting those things accomplished on a year-in, year-out basis. Babcock also has demonstrated he can integrate new NHLers into a veteran mix – Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar being among the most recent examples – and that will be crucial as Toronto rebuilds over time. If Shanahan, the new GM and Toronto's revamped scouting staff can hold up their ends of the deal, there's no reason at all to believe their coach won't hold up his end.
In many ways, Babcock is the perfect man for the job. His pedigree is unimpeachable. He wants to work in hockey's zaniest fishbowl.
Originally Posted by mapleleafshotstove.com, May 26, 2015
The common sentiment around the Toronto Maple Leafs’ hiring of Mike Babcock is, “good coach, bad team”—and it is tough to argue against that. This is not the first time Mike Babcock has been in charge of a team in transition, though. We can look back to see what he did in Detroit in order to get a better understanding of how he might structure the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs. The veteran Detroit Red Wings team that Babcock initially inherited, and eventually became Cup champions, was incredible. In the first five years possession numbers were recorded on stats.hockeyanalysis.com, they were either first or second in the league in possession.

But as the team got older and lost key players year-after-year, Babcock had to transform, and he knew it. Here is Babcock discussing the change between his star studded team, to his still-pretty-good-but-not-great team: “We’ve got to be tight, tight, tight. I’ve always wanted it, but we could get away with it before. We don’t move the puck as well, so it’s real simple. When you’ve got Lidstrom, Rafalski, Stewie (Brad Stuart) and Kronner (Niklas Kronwall), they go back, they turn the corner and they fire it to someone who hasn’t had to work quite as hard to be quite as close, to be in the exact position. We can’t play like that anymore. We have to be closer and tighter and more available, and better defensively. Sometimes it’s not very pretty, but that’s just the way it is.”

Babcock has about as impressive a pedigree as you can find and has the massive contract and the credibility to be able to see that change through.
When they don’t have the puck, he’s going to primarily change the responsibilities of wingers in the defensive zone.
Last year, Justin Bourne spoke with Babcock about wingers’ roles: "I want them involved. When you think about it, when I played the neutral zone used to be bigger, and the end zones were smaller so you could just stand next to your guy. Today what you gotta do is find your D-man and cut off the top. And from a low sagged position, otherwise there’s too much room. So they made it way harder, wingers used to be able to sleep, they could pick up their guy coming out of the offensive zone and take the guy back, they didn’t have to do anything. Now, you gotta compress the zone, you gotta make it smaller, you gotta give the offense no time and yet, you gotta find a way to cut off the top, and if you don’t, you gotta find a way to get in the shooting lane, so the job of the winger is way harder than it was… When I say “cut off the top,” there can be no direct passes from the puck to the top man, you have to be in a lane to cut off the top. So I say, find the D, make the zone small, cut off the top.

On the forecheck, Babcock has active defensemen, and tries to have his forwards force the play into certain areas to create turnovers. Here is an example against the Chicago Blackhawks this year:...Once they have the puck in the offensive zone, the Red Wings are extremely creative. Babcock, as you can watch in this feature video from a few years ago, is a huge proponent of “passing off the goalie.” While a lot of teams cycle to the points for shots, the Wings crash the net in tight. Detroit had one defenseman in their team in the top 10 in shots on goal last season, and it was Nik Kronwall, who was ninth. You can, however, partly blame that on their defense group being so poor.

Babcock will try to convert the Leafs into winning the blue lines, creating turnovers and getting clean entries. When it comes to dump-ins, Babcock has a strong opinion: “We’d like not to dump the puck at all. The bottom line is the game’s real simple, the more time you spend in your zone, the less time you spend in their zone, the more time you dump the puck because you got no speed on the rush. If you’re efficient coming out and move the puck and you do it right once, you’re coming with speed, you don’t have to dump the puck, you probably get some sort of entry, or at least you give up possession and get it right back.” Note the emphasis on offense stemming from defense via breaking out properly in order to gain the zone properly. “Dumping the puck is awful when you’re just dumping it in and changing,” Babcock continued. “Just dump and change, dump and change, you spend the whole game in your own zone wearing yourself out. Our focus is try not to do that and yet there’s parts of the game every night you’re in a bit of a survival mode and you do that.”

It’s in isolating, protecting and nurturing the youth that Babcock will have to make his biggest impact on the organization. After a tough game last season, Babcock had this to say about how he was helping his young players: “A tough night for us, to say the least, very humbling, to say the least. Anytime you’re in your own building and things go like that for you, it’s not a very good feeling. Obviously, we’ve got a bunch of kids here right now. We need to provide better leadership and insulate them better than we did tonight.”

I previously mentioned how Babcock is used to pairing forwards up in twos and rotating the third player on each line. One thing that rarely gets noticed with Babcock and his line combinations is that he likes his muckers and grinders. Justin Abdelkader has been regularly deployed on the top line the last few years; before him it was Todd Bertuzzi, and before him it was Tomas Holmstrom.

Fans won’t mind losing again next season, but they expect the team to at least go down with a fight, unlike last year. All eyes will be on Babcock to begin turning around the atmosphere of gracious losing in Toronto.
Originally Posted by Bench Bosses
Quenneville’s third cup win elevated him in ways unimaginable. He became the 11th hear coach to coach three Stanley Cup winners, and, most significant of all, he surpassed Mike Babcock as the greatest NHL coach of the 21st century. Since 2007/08 Babcock had always stood atop all coaches according to my calculations but throughout the 2010s Quenneville advanced by leaps and bounds until he passed Babcock in terms of coaching value delivered this century.

…more amazingly, Babcock took on the Anaheim Ducks, who were highly favoured to win, and ground the Ducks into the ice, winning the series in 7 games, with 3 wins coming in overtime… Babcock refused to be swayed by the Ducks’ firepower. He rotated his players with abandon and bagged the Ducks with raw fundamentals. There was nothing pretty in Detroit’s approach. It was proletarian, hardhat hockey at its best. Greybeards and fuzzy-cheeked youngsters alike displayed Babcock’s indomitable work ethic to pull off the greatest upset of the 2013 playoffs… even more amazingly, they almost knocked off the Hawks in the 2nd round… the fact that Babcock and Detroit gave the Blackhawks their hardest test during the 2013 playoffs represents another piece of evidence of Babcock’s coaching genius… Although Detroit suffered a first round defeat at the hands of the Bruins, Babcock’s refusal to allow Detroit to fall short of reaching the playoffs earned the respect and admiration of the hockey press that season. Babcock was named one of three candidates for the 2014 Jack Adams Award… Babcock has the right to call himself a coaching genius, and that coaching genius will one day lead him to be inducted into the HHOF… now Babcock has left one of the most efficiently run teams in the NHL in order to become the coach of a team that has seethed with locker room tension and front office intrigue for decades. He is accepting the ultimate coaching challenge in the NHL today.
Originally Posted by thehockeywriters.com, April 13, 2015
Mike Babcock is the kind of coach who commands a room. He has a enormous amount of respect from players because of both his reputation and his demeanor. He brings a style that’s strict and disciplined, but not one that alienates his players. Guys want to play for him. There is a lot to like about what Babcock brings to the table. He has the experience and he knows how to coach in every situation. Everyone knows that wherever he goes, players are going to buy into his system, because hey, he’s Mike Babcock. But the attention that he’s getting, the way fans are drooling over the prospect of him coaching their team, you would think it was Scotty Bowman who was available.
Originally Posted by cbc.ca, May 21, 2015
"When I hired Mike Babcock [in 2005] he had passion, he had a work ethic and he became a Red Wing," Holland said. "I believe [leaving the Red Wings] was a difficult decision for him, not only to choose to go to Toronto but also to choose to leave Detroit."

...In August 2013, St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock described Babcock as "focused, task-oriented and all-business" in an interview with CBCSports.ca. "He expects a lot of himself and gets through things quickly," said Hitchcock, who served as an assistant on Babcock's Olympic staffs in 2010 and 2014. "He isn't afraid to make decisions and I love it because it's brief and to the point."
Originally Posted by The Sun, September 8, 2015
From the day he was hired, Babcock made it clear that it was out with the old. The latest block in what may be the Leafs’ most ambitious rebuild ever was laid down in impressive fashion on a brilliant Maritime morning. “The competition for jobs starts in exhibition, the work ethic stuff and where to go starts here... We’re going to try to build a foundation and get some structure going and we’re going to build our program each and every day. This is three days to get comfortable with where I want them to stand and how I want them to play.”

As he did in his successful years with the Red Wings, Babcock didn’t waste much time showing who is boss. Drills were crisp and efficient, with no time wasted droning on over a white board. There were two scrimmages, each of which was conducted at a high pace as players clearly were keen to make a strong first impression to the watchful eyes of Babcock

Babcock himself was impossible to miss during drills. Whether animatedly showing players what he wanted, to bellowing out instructions, there was no mistaking who was in charge. Rather than lengthy breaks to explain himself, the two-time Olympic gold medal-winning coach hustled players to centre ice, barked out his orders and got on with the next exercise.

Among the points of emphasis that was clear in the Friday practices was Babcock’s desire to move the puck quickly — both on entry drills to the offensive zone and getting it out of the defensive zone quickly and efficiently. “He wants us to play fast and so we need the puck to do that,” centre Peter Holland said. “The quicker we can get out of our own end, the more we can play on offence.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, June 22, 2015
even back then (in university), Babcock was meticulous, detail-oriented, prepared and hyper-competitive... he has a unique ability to be the strict disciplinarian and the life of the party... it's important for him to have that balance... Babcock's patience will be tested. So will his sense of optimism, his ability to maintain that balance and, ultimately, his reputation as a leader of men and maker of champions... we've provided eight reasons why he'll be a great fit for the blue and white:

1. The challenge. Much of the hockey world assumed Babcock would want to part of the present situation... but it was precisely the opportunity to turn the franchise around that made the job so appealing to Babcock... the fact that they are so bad made Babcock (who has a pretty elevated opinion of himself as a coach) and the team an excellent fit...

5. Babcock is uniquely qualified to deal with everything that comes with coaching in the center of the hockey universe. Babcock has job security. He has the backing of every level of management. He doesn't really care what people think, nor is he guided by the outside white noise. He has enough confidence in himself that he's doing the right thing, and he's sure enough of himself to make him accountable for his decisions...

6. Toronto instantly becomes a desired destination for free agents... players don't necessarily like him, but they want to play for him.

8. He's Shanahan's man and the best out there. Shanahan played just one season for Babcock but saw enough to know he's what the Leafs need. "Mike is a teacher - people underrate Mike's ability to teach. He's coached Olympic teams and stars, but I've also seen him coach 3rd and 4th liners and make them better. I've seen him coach guys who were in the ECHL and they're suddenly very good NHL players. He has the ability to reach all people.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, October 22, 2015
The Leafs stink and will continue to stink this season. The advanced stats, however, tell us coach Mike Babcock already has this team on the path to winning long-term. A believable narrative: Timmy is a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Timmy knows his Maple Leafs will struggle this season. Timmy is a Toronto Blue Jays fan, too. He's devoted all his energy toward following the ballclub's post-season exploits. He hasn't watched a minute of Leafs hockey yet this season. Timmy checks the NHL standings, though, and he shrugs his shoulders. Same old same old. The Leafs have a single win in their first six games. They're dead last in the Atlantic Division. Their lone victory came against the 0-7 Columbus Blue Jackets. They average 2.17 goals per game and allow 2.83. They rank 22nd in power play and penalty kill percentage. Start dreaming of Auston Matthews, Jesse Pulujarvi or Jakob Chychrun in blue and white.

The latter thought is legit. The Toronto Maple Leafs will be a lottery team in 2015-16. But to assume the current incarnation is the same sad sack of underachievers is inaccurate. Beneath the surface of this flaccid team, the Mike Babcock effect has already begun. It's hard to remember the last time, if there ever was one, when a coach signing brought about such fanfare. The Leafs almost literally parachuted Babcock into the city like he was James Bond on a rescue mission. They whisked him out of Detroit in a private jet the day he inked his eight-year, $50-million deal. But the idea of Babcock as a larger-than-life personality, more myth than man, was just a media construction, right? Coaches are coaches, and there's only so much they can do.
Not according to the Leaf players. "I wouldn't say 'coaches are coaches,'" said right winger Brad Boyes. “I’ve played with a lot of different coaches, and some are a lot better than others. Coming in, I wasn’t wide-eyed, thinking ‘this is Tom Cruise’ or anything, but his resume is very impressive. To this point I’ve been impressed with how he’s putting together our team, how he’s put together systems, how he’s stayed on top of guys. The attention to detail is the biggest thing. The best coaches have the most attention to detail.”

A look at the deeper numbers, underneath just wins and goals, suggests the Leafs are indeed showing better attention to detail under Babcock, doing the little things right. The 2014-15 Leafs registered 182 shots on goal in their first six games. They allowed 202 shots. The 2015-16 Leafs: 195 shots for and 179 against. That's a 23-shot difference in shots against over just six games, good for 3.8 per contest. The Babcock Leafs average 32.5 shots for and 29.8 against. Last season's 82-game averages: 29.2 for, 33.5 against. The sample size is obviously tiny, but it's highly encouraging to see the Leafs flipping their ratio already.We know the Leafs have graded out poorly in the advanced stats era to date. Their rankings over the past five seasons in score-adjusted 5-on-5 Corsi, per war-on-ice.com:

2010-11: 25th (47%)
2011-12: 20th (48.4%)
2012-13: 29th (44.8%)
2013-14: 29th (42.4%)
2014-15: 27th (45.3%)
2015-16, under Babcock: 10th (50.6%)

The natural reaction is to laugh off that revelation, but you shouldn't. Yes, six games isn't much. But look at the difference compared to the first six games last season. The Leafs were peppered right away in 2014-15. Even after just six games, they ranked 26th in the NHL with a 45.9 score adjusted Corsi percentage. Since Corsi tracks not just shots, but shot attempts, the sample size is much bigger than it seems in a six-game snapshot. It's remarkable how accurately the first six games of 2014-15 (45.9%) reflected the full-season total (45.3%). We thus are justified in taking Toronto's early-season sample this year seriously, too. This team is already tracking as top 10 in puck possession.... And it's all thanks to the coach. Toronto will stink on the surface, but work has begun within on the long-term shift to a winning culture. “It’s been great," said left winger Shawn Matthias. "He’s an intense person. He wants to win. He’s passionate about what he does. And those are great qualities you want in your coach. Everyone in this organization wants to feed off that. He’s the type of person where, if you work hard every day and give it your all in everything you do, on the ice, playing, in the weight room, how you treat people, he’ll respect that. He’s going to make everyone a better player and better person.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 16, 2016
Funny thing is, though, the Maple Leafs – true to Babcock’s promise – are beginning to play the game “the right way.” There is a noticeable difference in the team’s compete level, despite the losses, compared to the past few years when the team played a more run-and-gun style with little regard for defence…As the season progressed, Babcock has not always been overjoyed following a win and not always pissed off after a loss. Win or lose his message remains the same: Come prepared to work, come prepared to start on time, do your job the right way.
Originally Posted by tsn.ca, February 18, 2016
At this time last season, the Toronto Maple Leafs had more wins, but the atmosphere around the team was extremely negative. Randy Carlyle had been fired and the team was in a death spiral with interim coach Peter Horachek behind the bench. This season, the atmosphere in the dressing room, even coming off an ugly 7-2 loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago on Monday, seems somewhat upbeat. The team may not be in the playoff race, but there is a sense of purpose. Veteran defenceman and pending unrestricted free agent Roman Polak said the key change is in the work ethic of the team. “It's a big difference,” Polak said following Wednesday's workout at the MasterCard Centre. “We actually have guys who are trying to win and even when it's not going good, like the game against Chicago, we're always trying. Today, we did great work in practice. Trying to do the job.”

Head coach Mike Babcock deserves much of the credit, players say. Upon being hired last summer, Babcock vowed to make Toronto a safe environment for players, who had been beaten down by several late-season swoons... "It's interesting," Babcock said with a smile. "I got a text from a buddy, a buddy in Spokane, who follows us all the time and watches and he sends me a text one day and says, 'Don’t worry about the naysayers.' I texted him back, 'I didn't know there was any.'" The coach, who has grown accustomed to winning over the last decade in Detroit, believes the fans will support this team as long as the effort is honest. He believes the structure installed this season, if executed with maximum effort, will keep his team, no matter how injury ravaged or talent deficient, in most games.

But with sick bay overflowing and the trade deadline now days away, will the task of keeping the Leafs players “safe” become harder? "No, no, I don't think so," Babcock said shaking his head. "I think we've looked after them real good. We talked about that today. If you play real hard and you get prepared and stay determined and you play with structure and play real hard you can walk around town, go for breakfast, life's good, people like you, it's no problem. If you don't get prepared and you don't play with determination and you don't play with structure it's not as much fun being around town."

...But playing for Babcock, at home or on the road, has given the Leafs players a sense that they're shielded. Babcock has a larger-than-life personality and so much focus this season has been on the man who guided Team Canada to two gold medals and the Red Wings to two Stanley Cup appearances, including a title in 2008. Some players have noticed that Babcock will often shoulder the blame after a bad loss as was the case in Ottawa following a recent 6-1 thrashing. In the moments after the game, Babcock noted the coaching staff needed to do a better job preparing the players. "He's been great," said Gardiner, who often found himself in Carlyle's doghouse. "He kind of takes the pressure off of everyone and puts a lot of blame on himself, which is nice for us. It's a whole group effort here. It's everyone together. That's one of the great things about Babs. It's not just us, it's not just him, it's everyone."
Originally Posted by nhl.com, July 2, 2016
"I just think it's so important that you tell the family that you're going to look after their kid," Babcock said. "To me, that's a big deal. If I have my boy there, I want someone of good moral fiber drafting him and looking after him. When you put in all the time like they do, let's face it, the family gets drafted, not just the boy. It's an exciting day for those kids. It's a chance. That's all you can ask for in life -- a chance."

Babcock, 53, has seized every opportunity that's come his way. A 1986 graduate of Montreal's McGill University with a degree in physical education, he takes great pride in his role as an educator; his duties behind a hockey bench are just part of his work. His 2012 book "Leave No Doubt: A Credo For Chasing Your Dreams," speaks to making moments happen in life -- scrupulously planning for them and being ready when they're within reach.

The coach of Team Canada in September's World Cup of Hockey tournament is also an enormous fan of the history and traditions of hockey, and of respecting both. During the second day of the draft, Babcock spotted Team Canada general manager Doug Armstrong, general manager of the St. Louis Blues, not wearing a tie for the second consecutive day at his team's table. "I go to [Armstrong's] table, with all of his scouts there for the draft," Babcock said. "I plunk myself down right next to him and I say, just loud enough for everyone to hear, 'Army, uh, you didn't wear a tie yesterday. The fine is $250. You're not wearing one today, that'll be five (hundred).'" Babcock might even have been kidding.

Something as simple as wearing a tie, or the respect a player shows for himself, his team, his fans and the game, are all fundamentals of his teaching. "There are some things that are just part of the game. You don't change that stuff," Babcock said. "That's the part for me that is so important." In Toronto, as he did in Detroit, Babcock brings the game's legends into the midst of his team, welcoming them and enjoying the priceless impression they make on his young players. "That's why you need good men in your locker room," he said of the alumni. "You need good men to guide them so they have the respect for the game that we've all loved but one that also is feeding our families."
Originally Posted by macleans.ca, October 15, 2016
Q: You’re a guy who likes to win; a guy who’s used to winning. But for this team, that’s a long-term goal rather than a short-term expectation. How are you preparing yourself to lose?

A: I’m not. I don’t think like that at all. We’re going to do everything we can to build a program. We’re going to figure out the best players to play on this team, and we’re going to go ahead. When I come to the rink each day, in my heart and my mind, I’m going to expect to win, because that’s the way I think. It’s going to be way different than it has in the past for me, in some ways, coming here. But our focus is very clear. We’re going to regain the rightful place for this franchise. It might take us a little time; I don’t know how much time it’s going to take, but we’re going to do good things each and every day.

Q: You’ve talked about the need to make Toronto a “safe place” for players. What do you mean, and how do you do that?

A: I felt, last year, from the outside looking in, that the players took a lot of hits—deservedly so, in some ways. But to me, you have to look after those guys. You have to build a product that’s good enough that they can win enough, that they feel good about themselves. I don’t care what you do in your life; if you have no confidence, it’s hard to feel good about who you are. That could be in the workplace, or the home. Any time there’s no trust, it makes it hard. We’re going to make it safer that way. We’re going to look after them the best we can. And we’re going to build a structure here so that they can be safe on the ice, and play well on the ice.

Q: At the same time, you’ve stressed a need for more accountability—to teammates, management, the fans and media. How do those two concepts go together?

A: I call it “sharing the love.” You know when your wife’s having a good go at you? I always say to the guys, “Hey, she’s just sharing the love. If she didn’t love you, she wouldn’t talk to you like that.” To me, it’s kitchen-table accountability. When you sit around your kitchen table with people you love, if you say something stupid, they call you on it right away—because they’re honest with you and they’re making you better. That’s what we’re going to have here. We’re going to have an honest respect for one another, to make everyone maximize the potential they have. I expect the players to listen to me, and I’m going to listen to them. We’ve got to make each other better here, and it’s another way to create safety, because the players know you’ve got their backs. When you tell a player what you want, he will try to please you.

Q: Doesn’t all that “honest dialogue” create friction?

A: I think it’s 100 per cent the opposite. I think being honest with one another creates an environment that’s comfortable. You want to know where you stand, whether you’re doing a good job. The players know what’s going on before you do. They’re trying to see if you’re going to do something about it. And when it’s not like that, everybody is pissed off, because they know that people can get away with stuff and that nobody is keeping them in line. That’s not a team to me.

Q: But are some guys just unreachable? Uncoachable?

A: I don’t buy that. I just think there are 23 guys on your team and you have to coach them 23 different ways. Some guys don’t fit in to what you’re going to do, but they want to do well, they’re trying. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes you don’t have a role for them, or you can’t provide them with what they want and they get disgruntled. My kids are both NCAA Division 1 athletes who want to play, and what I always say to them is: “You’re not going to let anybody take your enthusiasm away, and you’re not going to let any coach be mentally tougher than you. Coaches aren’t out to get you. They want to help you. They want to maximize your potential.” Sometimes that message gets confused. If a coach is on you? He ain’t on anybody he doesn’t like or care about. What a waste of time that would be!

Q: Last year, the Leafs never seemed to be able to find a balance between offence and defence. How will you fix that?

A: I’m a big believer that you don’t want to play defence. Having the puck is way more fun, playing in the offensive zone is way more fun. So let’s build a structure and habits so that we can do that. If you don’t work, if you don’t execute quick in the [defensive] zone, if you don’t slow people down through the neutral zone, you can’t be on offence. I call our end the work zone, neutral ice, the speed zone, and their end the fun zone. Let’s figure out a way to get in it.

Q: You’re renowned for your attention to detail. But when you’re behind the bench, is there one thing you worry about the most?

A: Losing.
I mean, I’m process-orientated, for sure, and people say that about the details. But I love the players. My No. 1 job is to make them better men. My No. 2 job is to make them better at hockey, and I never confuse that. The best people I’ve ever been around in my life never let me get away with anything—ever. When I think of my dad, I think about how he made me do it right. With my mom, it’s about how she taught me how to talk to people. You can have all the details in the world, but if you can’t communicate with people and find a way to help them help themselves, you have no chance in this league. To me, that’s what the profession is about: getting guys to believe in themselves and each other.

Q: You mention all the stuff you didn’t know. In 2003, your first year as an NHL coach, you took the Anaheim Ducks to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. So were you good or lucky?

A: Good.
My first year as a coach was in 1988. You know those instant, overnight successes? Like the country musician who gets a hit after playing in Nashville bars for 15 years? That was me. I coached Division 2 college, Major Junior, Canadian Division 1 college, Major Junior again, the World Juniors, the American Hockey League. By the time I got to the National Hockey League, I was ready. But it took me way longer. Why? Because I wasn’t a player and no one knew who I was. You can’t blame them, but I think that long track I took helped me. It wasn’t hard.

Q: You’re a big believer in dressing-room credos. Have you got one for the Leafs?

A: No. I like mantras, messages that you can see and feel where you are going. Right now, ours is: Make every day matter. But I didn’t know the players. I didn’t have a feel for this, so I haven’t done much. Every place you go is a little different. When I first arrived in Detroit, I had a team.. I’m still trying to figure out this group.

Q: Lou Lamoriello, the new Leafs GM, demands that players are clean-cut and well-dressed. Do you have your own rules for the dressing room?

A: Not much. Do things right, and do it every day. Bring energy. Be in your spots. Know where to stand. Know how to play. I guess I’ve got tons of them, but I don’t know what they are. It’s just part of being a Leaf, and we’re going to figure out what that means.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, December 24, 2016
Which brings us back to Babcock’s eight-year contract. Considered by many to be the best coach in the NHL, Babcock took a hard look at the Toronto organization before he signed on and came to the realization that it was going to take a lot of work and a long time to turn the corner. Getting Matthews was certainly a bonus from an offensive standpoint, but to win in the NHL teams must play solid defence. Learning the defensive side of the game takes time. Babcock can push and prod and move players up and down and in and out of the lineup, but until the young players gain an appreciation for consistent and dependable defensive play, the Maple Leafs will continue to struggle to simply make the playoffs. That is their current reality. It’s going to take time and nobody knows that better than Babcock.
Originally Posted by The Sun, January 16, 2017
If Mike Babcock could have reached a fire extinguisher at the MasterCard Centre, he might have turned it on the media attending his Monday post-practice briefing. Though some of the questions were just a reflection of the public getting excited about the team’s record at the 41-game mark and a piece of the playoff puzzle, the coach sensed after a few exchanges that enthusiasm was getting ahead of results. When asked if events to date weren’t some small vindication of his own words to restore the Leafs to their "rightful place" in the NHL, Babcock replied: “It’s important that our team stays in its rightful place (mentally). Keep your foot on the gas, keep working and not worry about reading all that stuff. You want to have success, but steady on the rudder here, we’re at Game 41.” The coach did have a point that as quickly as the Leafs’ recent success came (10 straight road games with a point or more), unseen factors can change the course. “I’ve been in the league a long time. Lots of things can happen, lots of things can go bad. It’s important we keep focused on our five-game segments.”

For the most part, the Leafs have done a good job following their coach’s instructions to keep level heads, but a couple of older players are relieved to see the city start getting on the bandwagon. “It’s fun to be a Leaf player again,” centre Nazem Kadri said. “The dog days of Leaf Nation were definitely tough the past few years, the losses and just not knowing how to handle certain situations. There were a lot of distractions around here. This year, we’ve taken a different approach, we’ve just believed in ourselves as a group. We take things seriously, but we like to have fun as well. I think that chemistry has really taken us over the top. Leafs Nation has always showed us constant support, no arguments there. The fans deserve it and the players, too. We’ve all come through a collective tough patch. Right now, we’re up and coming.”
Originally Posted by The Star Phoenix, January 18, 2017
If you don’t dream big, you cap your potential,” Babcock once told the StarPhoenix. “I’ve always been a big dreamer. For a kid from Saskatoon to get to do what I get to do, I’m living proof that dreams do come true.” ... after transforming himself into hockey’s most sought-after bench boss, he signed an eight-year, $50 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the 2015-16 campaign.
“It’s not if. It’s when,” the ever-determined Babcock told the StarPhoenix in 2016 when asked about the prospect of turning the sad-sack franchise around.
Originally Posted by The Globe and Mail, February 13, 2017
Babcock delivered his message forcefully enough that the players were all singing from the same hymn book, even if it wasn’t Cole’s. “We know we have to play quick to get out of our zone. That way we start faster and get to their zone. Better to get up ahead and put the pressure on them first,” goaltender Frederik Andersen said. “We have to focus on our starts, make sure we’re giving ourselves a chance,” defenceman Morgan Rielly said. “You kind of pick a few topics you have to work on and we work on them, whether that’s breakouts, five-on-five neutral zone [play] or defensive play. You want to keep the legs moving, keep the brain turned on and work on what’s needed.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 20, 2017
If the Leafs do make it, head coach Mike Babcock should capture the Jack Adams Award and coach-of-the-year honours. That’s not to say that he will, only that he should. Babcock, despite his superb coaching record — more than 1,100 games coached, two Presidents’ trophies, three Stanley Cup final appearances with two different teams, one Cup ring — has never won the Jack Adams, which is a little odd when you think about it... When it comes to the Jack Adams, there are no particular guidelines for voters. It’s more of a gut feel thing, and given that many of the voters are actually employed by teams, you might well wonder what tips their gut one way or another. As a general rule, the 16 coaches who get their teams into the playoffs are usually seen to have done a very good job, given the parity in the league at the moment... So why Babcock ahead of all these guys? Well, because the Leafs were 30th a year ago, for starters... Babcock’s job was to turn the 30th place team into a winner, and with a pile of rookies in the lineup, not a bunch of useful veterans added by Lamoriello. Efforts to land a big-time scorer in Steven Stamkos, remember, failed. At times, the Leafs have had eight freshmen in the lineup, but for the most part have still been a resilient, consistent team that’s been in the top half of the standings most of the season.

Clearly, getting Auston Matthews changed everything. But Babcock has done well to protect the 19-year-old in any number of ways, while insisting he play a responsible defensive game. Going into the game against Boston Monday night, the Leafs had the No. 1 power play in the league and the ninth-best penalty killing brigade, massive improvements on being 29th at extra strength and 13th in penalty killing a year ago. Over two seasons, Babcock also has taken a weak possession team and made it into one of the league’s better clubs in that regard. You can respect the job any number of coaches have done across the league and still acknowledge that Babcock’s work this season has been nothing short of superb. If he gets this club into the playoffs, filling that last remaining opening on his mantle at home should be a slam dunk.
Originally Posted by cbc.ca, March 21, 2017
Depending on how you look at it, the 15 so-called "loser points" the Toronto Maple Leafs have collected this season for falling in overtime or the shootout — an NHL high — could sneak them into the Stanley Cup playoffs and get Mike Babcock his first coach of the year award.
Or, the 15 points the Maple Leafs have left on the table by failing to convert those opportunities into wins could cause them to miss the playoffs and keep Babcock from winning the Jack Adams Award. If the Maple Leafs make it to the post-season, even as a lower seed, Babcock should certainly be in the coach of the year conversation... It is absolutely preposterous that Babcock has never been named the NHL's coach of the year. Widely regarded as the best coach in the league, the 53-year-old native of Manitouwadge, Ont., was the runner up to Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche in 2014 when he coached the Detroit Red Wings. In 2007-08 when the Babcock-coached Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, the Adams went to Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals while Guy Carbonneau of the Montreal Canadiens was the runner-up.

Babcock knew exactly what he was getting into when he signed an unprecedented eight-year contract to coach the Maple Leafs. This is an organization that had been basically spinning its wheels, with the occasional good year tossed in, since its last Stanley Cup championship in 1967. So it was no shocker that, on the day he was unveiled as the Maple Leafs' new coach, Babcock famously predicted "there will be pain" when discussing the team's rebuilding plan.

Two years in, the Maple Leafs are ahead of schedule. While still building mainly through the draft, the Leafs find themselves with a legitimate opportunity to make it into the playoffs after three years on the sidelines. Unquestionably, the skill level has been ratcheted up with the arrival of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, among others, but Babcock must be credited with instilling discipline on and off the ice that previously did not exist...
Under Babcock, Nazem Kadri has developed into a solid two-way centre who can do a good job going head to head with the opposition's top centre while still managing to remain second on the team with 28 goals
. Few gave the Maple Leafs much of a chance to make the playoffs this season, but the addition of goaltender Frederik Andersen and Babcock's ability to convince his players to compete and play "the right way" has them right in the thick of things.... if Babcock gets the Maple Leafs into the playoffs in just his second year behind the bench, having employed seven rookies full-time and centre Frederik Gauthier for 21 games, he should get serious consideration for the award.

Last edited by seventieslord; 04-12-2017 at 11:58 AM..
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Joe Hall, D/RW

Here's a colored picture of the Quebec Bulldog team, Joe Hall is fifth from the left.

- 5’10, 175 lbs (like 6’3”, 215 lbs today)
- Inducted into the HHOF (1961)
- Stanley Cup (1912, 1913)
- Stanley Cup Finalist (1905, 1919)
- In 5 seasons in the west as a forward, placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th in points, averaging 58% the points of the leader
- In 12 seasons in the east, placed 2st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 4th, 5th in points by defensemen in the ECAHA, ECHA, NHA, NHL
- Best Defence VsX scores: 100, 100, 85, 83, 77, 75, 60 (total 580, avg 82.9)
- Reputation-wise, was the best defenseman on his team his entire career (never played with Cleghorn, Cameron, Patrick, Johnson, or Gerard)
- From 1908-1919, Hall’s teams averaged 97.5% of the league’s average GAA, and had a record of 111-96-3 (.536)

Newspapers (In Chronological Order)


(source to be verified)
One early instance was in a January 1904 game at the Winnipeg Auditorium as a member of the Brandon Rowing Club team. Some in the crowd were taunting him with calls of "Butcher" and "lobster" for his dirty play and Hall made "an alleged breach of etiquette towards the audience"

That 1904 team went on to challenge for the Stanley Cup final but lost to the Ottawa Silver Seven. Soon after, he was offered a pro contract with Portage Lake of the International Hockey League in Houghton, Michigan but turned it down to keep the Brandon lineup intact for another shot at glory.


(source to be verified)
In one of his first games on December 14, 1905, he was ejected for chopping a player with his stick. A couple of games later, against the same team, he went on a verbal tirade using profanities against a referee who then sent him off. When his outburst continued off the ice, the opposing team walked off in protest and forfeited the game. The management of the team said that he would be barred from ever entering their arena again


Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 6, 1906
Joe Hall, the big ruffian who plays rover on the international hockey league seven, got ample revenge last night on Hod Stuart, the clever coverpoint of the Pittsburgh team, for the attack which the smoke city man made upon him on tuesday night.


The players grew more furious as the game progressed, and it was noticed that Hall was making an effort to get at Stuart.Towards the end of the second, Stuart came down the ice with the puck, when Hall made a spurt, and, skating down along the Pittsburgher, clouted him a terrific blow with his stick.Stuart went down and doubled up with pain.When his teammates reached his side he was unconscious and had to be carried off the ice.Hall was ordered out of the game, but the supporters of the local team howled their disapproval of the disciplining of Hall, and cries of "Do it again, Joe!" and "Kill Him!" were heard on all sides.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Press - Jan. 10, 1906
The management of the latter team declared that it will not let Joe Hall enter it's rink

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Press - Feb. 25, 1906
Though Hall will make his first appearance in Pittsburgh Tuesday night he is already known by reputation to every follower of hockey.No player breaking into the league has become as notorious in so short a time.He is a good player, but his habit of getting rowdy is particularly responsible for his notoriety.

Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Press - Feb. 27, 1906
Joe Hall, who has been the talk of the league circuit, will come in for his share of criticism tonight.Hall is rather a good looking chap and does not bear any signs of being the "rowdy" reports made him.There is no question but that he is a heavy checker; this was apparent in the practices.His teammates say that Hall never starts trouble.Being a big fellow he takes many bumps without complaint, and if he is protected by the referee he never tries to "get back".


(source to be verified)
Originally Posted by Winnipeg Tribune sports editorial, Dec. 21, 1907
Hall's one drawback as a hockey player is his temper, which, on the ice, he appears to be unable to control.Joe possesses the qualities of a great hockey player and if he could only dampen this feature, his worth would be doubled

Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen, Dec. 24, 1907
Joe Hall, who has been expelled from the Manitoba Hockey League for rough work, has quite a record in that line of work in Ottawa.When the Winnipeg Rowing club came East aftert he Stanley Cup, Joe was on the team.Five minutes after the first game was started Joe and Alf Smith clashed, and both were cut up considerably.Five minutes later Hall skated (? illegible) (?) to put the Ottawa man out of business.(?)


Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette - Mar. 1, 1911
Joe Hall got out of a hospital cot(? illegible), where he was laid up with ulcerated teeth, and played an excellent game for Quebec.

Originally Posted by Ottawa citizen - Mar.7, 1911
...and Joe Hall, who is a "knight of the grip" with a Brandon firm, will again take the road...


Originally Posted by The Daily Telegraph - Dec. 10, 1912
Joe Hall showed dandy condition, and appears to be better than ever.He had lots of fun with one of the "Heavy Weights", who was out reducing weight.


Originally Posted by Winnipeg Tribune, Jan. 21, 1913