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Pat Price - One of the greatest disappointments in hockey history?

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Old
03-13-2013, 09:49 AM
  #1
Habsfan18
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Pat Price - One of the greatest disappointments in hockey history?

Now, I understand that he played 700+ games in the NHL, so he doesn't necessarily have to be considered a complete bust. But he definitely didn't come close to living up to the ridiculous expectations that were set out for him. He was believed to be the next Bobby Orr/Denis Potvin. A can't miss superstar with unreal skills.

He was seen as a phenom early on as a teenager, and enjoyed a pretty successful junior career for Saskatoon of the WCHL. He skipped his final year of junior eligibility to sign a lucrative 1.3 million dollar contract ($300,000 per season) with the Vancouver Blazers of the WHA at just 18 years old. At the time, the deal had the potential to make Price the "highest paid player in hockey history" beating out Brad Park, who was believed to be the wealthiest skater in the NHL at the time. The offer from the Blazers included a brand new $20,000 Ferrari, a $100,000 signing bonus, a brand new car for his parents, and apparently "an unlimited supply of new clothes." Individual bonuses could have pushed the contract as high as $1.5 million. It was believed the Washington Capitals were planning on making Price the 1st overall selection in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft, but fell about $500,000 short of the Blazers offer. It was also believed that Price had no interest in playing for a team in the United States.

Anyways, Price was a complete failure in the WHA, lasting only 68 games. He apparently came to camp in pretty poor shape, and learned fairly fast that the moves he could pull of in Junior no longer worked at the Professional level. After the season, the Blazers and Price came to a mutual agreement to cut all ties. That summer (1975), Price was drafted 11th overall by the New York Islanders. He failed to make the team, and played with Fort Worth in the CHL. He ended up eventually settling in and had a decent NHL career of 700+ games, in which he put up 261 points for the Islanders, Oilers, Penguins, Nordiques, Rangers, and North Stars.

So, for those who remember watching him, what exactly do you think went wrong? Was he just simply not as skilled as originally believed to be? Was it not a matter of skill, but perhaps a matter of passion/drive? A confidence issue? How different do you see his career playing out had he not signed that massive WHA contract with all of the hype that came with it?

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03-13-2013, 05:51 PM
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LeBlondeDemon10
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Well, it certainly challenges the myth that you didn't have to be in shape to play in the 70's. I didn't realize he was compared to Orr and Potvin. That's a ton of pressure to shoulder. Was he the Alexandre Daigle of his generation? Not enough desire to reach his potential?

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03-13-2013, 07:10 PM
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I was just reading an article on him the other day while doing some research from some papers in the 80s.

He said that he just simply wasn't ready at 18 to handle that kind of money. He had a couple of off-ice injuries that rookie season that didn't help matters. But the biggest problem was that his defensive game was still undeveloped. He said he really didn't start to really learn how to play defence until he went to the Islanders and Al Arbour.

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03-13-2013, 08:13 PM
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Too much partying. I played a game of pool with him once at Mike's Place Pub in Nelson BC, where I think he still works as a used car salesman. Asked him where his hockey money went, he said it went up his nose and smiled.

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03-13-2013, 08:32 PM
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Being from Long Island I remember Newsday touting him as the missing piece to a potential Stanley Cup Contender.

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03-14-2013, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habsfan18 View Post
a brand new $20,000 Ferrari,
only 20 000 ?

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03-14-2013, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habsfan18 View Post
Now, I understand that he played 700+ games in the NHL, so he doesn't necessarily have to be considered a complete bust. But he definitely didn't come close to living up to the ridiculous expectations that were set out for him. He was believed to be the next Bobby Orr/Denis Potvin. A can't miss superstar with unreal skills.

He was seen as a phenom early on as a teenager, and enjoyed a pretty successful junior career for Saskatoon of the WCHL. He skipped his final year of junior eligibility to sign a lucrative 1.3 million dollar contract ($300,000 per season) with the Vancouver Blazers of the WHA at just 18 years old. At the time, the deal had the potential to make Price the "highest paid player in hockey history" beating out Brad Park, who was believed to be the wealthiest skater in the NHL at the time. The offer from the Blazers included a brand new $20,000 Ferrari, a $100,000 signing bonus, a brand new car for his parents, and apparently "an unlimited supply of new clothes." Individual bonuses could have pushed the contract as high as $1.5 million. It was believed the Washington Capitals were planning on making Price the 1st overall selection in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft, but fell about $500,000 short of the Blazers offer. It was also believed that Price had no interest in playing for a team in the United States.

Anyways, Price was a complete failure in the WHA, lasting only 68 games. He apparently came to camp in pretty poor shape, and learned fairly fast that the moves he could pull of in Junior no longer worked at the Professional level. After the season, the Blazers and Price came to a mutual agreement to cut all ties. That summer (1975), Price was drafted 11th overall by the New York Islanders. He failed to make the team, and played with Fort Worth in the CHL. He ended up eventually settling in and had a decent NHL career of 700+ games, in which he put up 261 points for the Islanders, Oilers, Penguins, Nordiques, Rangers, and North Stars.

So, for those who remember watching him, what exactly do you think went wrong? Was he just simply not as skilled as originally believed to be? Was it not a matter of skill, but perhaps a matter of passion/drive? A confidence issue? How different do you see his career playing out had he not signed that massive WHA contract with all of the hype that came with it?
I didn't know all that about him before. I remember a solid, hard-nosed defenseman for the Nordiques in mid-80s.

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03-14-2013, 10:03 AM
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He along with other junior stars such as Dennis Sobchuk and Ron Chipperfield were added to the Team Canada 74 lineup (none such action against the Soviets.) Sobchuk and Chipperfield looked pretty good at camp - Price did not.

From the Team Canada players I spoke to for my book "The Forgotten Summit" Pat Price was not liked nor respected by his Team Canada teamates. He showed up to camp out of shape, cocky, etc.

Craig Wallace

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03-14-2013, 02:44 PM
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Habsfan18
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He along with other junior stars such as Dennis Sobchuk and Ron Chipperfield were added to the Team Canada 74 lineup (none such action against the Soviets.) Sobchuk and Chipperfield looked pretty good at camp - Price did not.

From the Team Canada players I spoke to for my book "The Forgotten Summit" Pat Price was not liked nor respected by his Team Canada teamates. He showed up to camp out of shape, cocky, etc.

Craig Wallace
A lot of hype for prospects around that time, it seemed. Chipperfield was "the best WCHL prospect since Bobby Clarke" and Sobchuk was supposed to be a superstar as well.

WHA landing all 3 of Price, Sobchuk and Chipperfield was viewed as a huge coup.

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03-14-2013, 05:21 PM
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Sobchuk suffered an injury which pretty much ended his career, though, did he not?

Before that, he was decent and almost a point a game player in his WHA career.

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03-14-2013, 08:09 PM
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cam042686
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Sobchuk suffered an injury which pretty much ended his career, though, did he not?

Before that, he was decent and almost a point a game player in his WHA career.
Dennis Sobchuk was on his way to great career until he had his shoulder basically destroyed by a hit from Houston Aero Scott Campbell in 1977-78. He was never the same player.

Ron Chipperfield as a good player but never a great skater.

Craig Wallace

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03-15-2013, 01:47 PM
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Price clearly didn't live up to his offensive hype as a junior, and after a few seasons learning how to play defense with the Isles, he refined his game to be a solid, hard-nosed blueliner. He wasn't afraid of taking on other tough guys. I don't think I'd label him as a bust since he played for so long, and fairly effectively at that.

Chipperfield was pretty solid in the WHA, but quickly faded when the NHL expanded in '79. Of course, that happened to a lot of players who made the move over from the WHA.

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