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04-07-2017, 06:14 PM
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Miikka Kiprusoff, G

- 6’1”, 185 lbs
- Stanley Cup Finalist (2004)
- Vezina Trophy (2006)
- Also top-8 in Vezina voting 4 more times (2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th)
- NHL 1st All-star team (2006)
- Also top-6 in All-star voting 5 more times (4th, 4th, 5th, 6th, 6th)
- Top-5 in Hart voting twice (3rd, 4th)
- Played in NHL All-star game (2007)
- Top-10 in minutes 7 times (1st, 1st, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th)
- Top-10 in save percentage 5 times (1st, 3d, 9th, 9th, 10th)
- Averaged 5 sv% points above league average over his career
- In Calgary (04-12), averaged .915 while all other goalies combined for .901
- 7-3-1, 1.95 GAA in 11 games in 2 best-on-best international tournaments

THN Annual Rankings

YearKiprusoffGoalie Rank
2011(no list)9

Originally Posted by legendsofhockey.net
In 1998-99, Kiprusoff dominated the Finnish Elite League, going 26-6-6 with a 1.85 GAA. Upon joining the Sharks AHL affiliate in Kentucky in 1999, Kiprusoff went 42-24-10 over the next two seasons, making his NHL debut with San Jose in 2000-01, registering a 2-1 record and a 1.95 GAA in five games.

After two strong seasons in 1999-00 and 2000-01 Kiprusoff spent his first full season in the NHL with San Jose in 2001-02, while playing only a handful of games with the team's AHL affiliate in Cleveland. In 20 games with the Sharks, the Finnish netminder had a 7-6-3 record with a 2.48 GAA, before struggling with the Sharks in 2002-03.

Kiprusoff went on to play four seasons in the San Jose organization before being acquired by the Calgary Flames in the early stages of the 2003-04 season. Upon his arrival in Calgary, Kiprusoff was instrumental in leading the Flames to their first playoff appearance since the 1996 post season and their first Stanley Cup final since 1989, while leading the NHL with a 1.69 GAA and tying with Minnesota's Dwayne Roloson with a .933 save percentage.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1999-2000
Another goaltending prospect for the Sharks, Kiprusoff is improving year in and year out. Played a mixed style beween standup and butterfly early in his career but now plays more standup. He’s a very smart goalie and seems to do his homework on opposing players. Seems to know where they are shooting. Not overly aggressive but gets the job done.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1999-2000
Nabokov now must contend with this fast rising Finnish star who led TPS to league title while capturing top goalie and playoff MVP honours… highly skilled with good mobility an size, he aggressively challenges shooters.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2000-01
Was voted starting goalie at the AHL all-star game thanks to an outstanding rookie season with Kentucky. Has great reflexes and shows tremendous poise between the pipes. Kiprusoff is versatile in the sense that he’s mainly a standup goaltender who uses the butterfly style when needed. Although he has no considerable NHL experience, the Sharks see great promise in him. Recently in Finland, the good-sized rookie was named best goalie and league MVP in the same season.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2000-01
adapted to North America much quicker than expected and even earned a starting berth at the AHL all-star game, however he tired down the stretch and was outplayed by Johan Hedberg in the playoffs… poised standup goalie with excellent mobility, he reads the game extremely well and likes to aggressively challenge shooters. Has the savvy to be an NHL backup.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2001-02
The incredibly athletic standup netminder has been the sharks’ best prospect in goal for the past two seasons… the promising young goalie looked sharp when filling in during San Jose’s first round series loss to the Blues. Kiprusoff sees the puck extremely well. However, he must work on adjusting his angles and reading the play.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2001-02
Despite being San Jose’s best goalie at camp last fall, he went to Kentucky for a 2nd season until Steve Shields was traded… a patient standup goalie with superb reflexes and agility, Kiprusoff likes to challenge shooters and has worked hard to improve his consistency and focus… another spectacular AHL season and a memorable NHL playoff debut have management convinced that the “Finnisher” is for real.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2002-03
The Sharks have uncovered several goaltending gems in recent years… after challenging starter Nabokov during the 2000-01 playoffs, Kiprusoff had a solid rookie season as the backup last year… has the right temperament for the rigors of the NHL and adjusted very well to sitting on the bench for long stretches… should continue to improve his game this season. If Nabokov slips up, Sharks know they can count on Kiprusoff to take over. Down the road, he’ll either challenge Nabokov for the #1 job or find a starting role elsewhere.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2002-03
Despite an eye-opening NHL playoff debut, former Turku star was relegated to a backup role last season for the first time in his career, but continued to raise his stock with some spectacular relief appearances including a three-game winning streak around midseason that earned him NHL player of the week honours… a solid, technically sound goalie with superb reflexes and agility, Kipper displays good patience, holding his position and remaining square to shooters, and has continued to work tirelessly on his focus and consistency.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2003-04
Kiprusoff is perfect for backup duties in the NHL… technically sound, able to cut down angles and gives opponents very little to shoot at. But he needs to show more consistency in his overall performance.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2003-04
Handed the starter’s role last fall during Nabokov’s holdout, faltered badly and was usurped in favour of Vesa Toskala… settled down in the second half but didn’t do enough to restore his stock here.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 13, 2004
..."well, they have the goaltending and that's a big part of it," said Anaheim GM Bryan Murray... there was nothing special about the season until Darryl Sutter pulled off what many consider to be the deal of the year, acquiring Miikka Kiprusoff from San Jose... much of the focus has been in the crease, where Kiprusoff has been spectacular... "any time you look at a team that has done well, it often has to do with the goaltending," Conroy sid.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 20, 2004

It is unusual to present a major award to a player who played in fewer than half of the regular season games. Then again, it is just as unusual to see the Calgary Flames in the playoffs. Enter Miikka Kiprusoff... "He made the difference for the Flames," said an NHL pro scout. "The Flames were desperate when they got him, and he got them to the playoffs."
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, June 22, 2004
...expectations for the Flames weren't exactly soaring... of course, that was before Kiprusoff arrived... the Flames acquired him in mid-November when Roman Turek went down, and it was the most significant acquisition any team made all season. Kiprusoff quickly became one of the best goalies in the NHL and gave his team a chance to win on a nightly basis...

Flames Playoff MVP candidates:
1. Jarome Iginla.
2. Miikka Kiprusoff. Technically sound stopper rarely loses two games in succession.
3. Martin Gelinas.
Originally Posted by THN Top-50 Players, 2004
#31. Miikka Kiprusoff. From #3 in San Jose, to a whisker hair away from the Stanley Cup.
Originally Posted by THN Top-50 Players, 2005
#27: Miikka Kiprusoff. Calm, cool and collected, Kiprusoff proved he is capable of carrying a team with goal scoring issues.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2005-06
Provided great stability to Timra last season, yet was never quite as invincible as during his Cinderella season of 03-04 n which he finished 2nd in Vezina voting and then backstopped the Flames to within a few saves of the Stanley Cup, nor while guiding Finland to a surprise 2nd place finish at the World Cup…unflappable, technically sound workhorse… patiently retains his shape, staying square to shooters and adeptly managing rebounds, though he clearly had more difficulty with his upper net coverage in Sweden.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 24, 2006
We asked 61 NHL goalies: Who is the best goalie in the NHL this season? Top vote getters:

Dominik Hasek: 27.9%
Miikka Kiprusoff: 26.2%
Marty Turco: 9.8%
Tomas Vokoun: 8.2%
Roberto Luongo: 6.6%
Henrik Lundqvist: 6.6%
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 11, 2006
You wouln't guess it by his never-changing expressions, but Miikka Kiprusoff really wants to be known as the best goaltender in the NHL. He just doesn't go around shouting it from the mountaintops. "I would like that, it would be a great honor, but still, it's a team sport. There are things that need to go right for one person to be judged the best, but yes, I would like that."... well, that day has finally arrived. not only is he our clear-cut choice as the Vezina trophy winner, with a little twist of the arm you might be able to convince us he deserves the Hart trophy too... he has been that good this season... often times the winners are obvious. Such is the case with Kiprusoff and the vezina. There are a number of other goalies who have enjoyed great seasons, but without Kiprusoff, the team would have no chance of making the playoffs. The Flames did not address their lack of scoring punch at the deadline and will now ride their goalie for as long as he can carry them... None of the league's other top goalies receive as little scoring help as Kiprusoff... what you basically need to know is this: If he doesn't play well, the Flames don't win... On a team that scores as often as Cliff Clavin on Cheers, Kiprusoff saves the day more often than Superman. "In terms of his impact on the team, I can't think of any other goalie who has had a bigger impact than Kiprusoff," said a pro scout. "He doesn't have the luxury of knowing his team will score enough goals to get him the win. there's a lot of pressure on him and he has succeeded."

...a workhorse, Kiprusoff plays the majority of Flames games and would have it no other way.... he has worked hard on his puckhandling skills this season and knows he will be relied on heavily for the remainder of the season. "For years I have been saying I want to play in the NHL and I want to play a lot, so now I have that opportunity and I'm happy." Though he is under a lot of pressure, you would never know it by watching him. "He has a very good base of emotional control," says Calgary goalie coach Dave Marcoux. "He has a lot of experience in that regard. We have worked on him refocusing after a goal. If you watch him, you may see that he looks the same whether it's a save or a goal. That's the way it has to be. You cannot let the opposition think that you are vulnerable and they're getting to you." Kiprusoff says what you see is what you get. "Some goalies want to get real pumped before the game, but I try to stay calm. That's what works for me."
Originally Posted by THN Top-50 Players, 2006
#1: Miikka Kiprusoff. Should have been a poker player. Nobody has a game face like the unflappable Finn…. The Flames didn’t buy into the new NHL and a lack of offense did them in. Still, Kiprusoff did his job. “In the last couple of years he has been great for us,” says Iginla. “It’s his whole game, the timely saves, his puck control. We have so much confidence in him. The odd time he has had an off game, it never worries us because he always comes back strong and goes on another streak.”
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2006-07
OK, so 2003-04 wasn’t a fluke. Kiprusoff laid all suggestions of a one-hit wonder to rest with a Vezina performance last season. A classic reflex goaltender who uses anticipation, positioning and quickness to cover the net, Kipper is never out of the play. He has proven his ability to comeup with the bug save at the right time and constantly bails out his defensively challenged teammates… a key part of the franchise core.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2007-08
recorded six shutouts in the first half and just kept getting sharper en route to a landslide Vezina win… masterful at spreading his sizeable frame across the lower half of the net… his relaxed demeanour has a settling influence on teammates… looked almost human in the playoffs.
Originally Posted by THN Top-50 Players, 2007
#13: Miika Kiprusoff. Last season, we anointed him the top player in the league. His response? His play slipped. That said, we believe he has the potential to challenge for the honor of best goalie.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2007-08
One of the best goaltenders in the NHL, Kiprusoff is arguably the most crucial element to the Flames’ success. A workhorse, he usually starts 70-75 games and doesn’t display signs of wearing down or fatigue. An unflappable dude, Kiprusoff is able to shake off bad goals and get over brilliant saves with very little difference. He’s a butterfly goalie with quick reflexes and great lateral movement. Kipper can also lift fans out of their seats.
Originally Posted by THN Top-50 Players, 2008
#44: Miikka Kiprusoff. 39 wins is nothing to shake a stick at, but he isn’t money in the bank anymore and needs to carry the Flames deep into the playoffs to restore his reputation.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2008-09
An off-year still resulted in 39 wins and .906 save percentage in 76 appearances. A reflex goaltender, he uses positioning to put himself in front of the shooter and athleticism to move laterally in order to take away the corners. An unflappable athlete, Kiprusoff rarely lets a bad goal or game affect his play the next time out. He’s an elite stopper with something to prove this season.
Originally Posted by THN Top-50 Players, 2009
#36: Miikka Kiprusoff. Get this guy some help. He’s played 74, 74, 76, and 76 games since the lockout. It’s clear the workload has taken its toll on Kiprusoff over the past couple of campaigns, as evidenced by the fact the Flames can’t get out of the first round. But he is still one of the league’s best goalies.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2009-10
rode hard by Mike Keenan and produced a league high 45 wins, however clearly wore down by playoff time… seemed to be overcompensating for an injury-decimated blueline and labored tracking the puck all series with an opponent usually parked uncontested in his lap… doesn’t get out far enough to challenge shooters at times and gets exposed high gloveside… lost his positional bearings in the playoffs, overplaying shots and getting pulled away from the middle of his net… numbers have been in steady decline since being a Hart trophy finalist… plan for a lighter schedule.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2009-10
Using some of the NHL’s very best lateral skills, Kiprusoff can cover a lot of the net in very little time. He’s taken on a tremendous workload the past few seasons, which may have worn him out. Recapturing his Vezina trophy level will be necessary to earn his hefty contract and get back to being one of the game’s best.
Originally Posted by THN Top-50 Players, 2010
#39: It took him a while to develop into one of the league’s true workhorse goaltenders, but no team relies on its stopper to play more than the Flames do. And while that has caused cases of burnout at important times, Kiprusoff remains at the top of his game. He has a nice mix of acrobatics and technical play and is always one dive away from a classic save.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2010-11
It was a bounce back season in 09-10 as he quieted his doubters as the Flames’ best player most nights. Kipper is as agile as any and has a never-give-up attitude… you can bank on another strong season.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2010-11
Produced a masterful regular season that may have earned a shot at the Vezina if the Flames had made the playoffs…. Backstopped Finland to a bronze mefal at the Olympics… beautiful butterfly form… always in control of his body… exceptionally fast laterally… did a much better job last season of controlling the middle of his net and not overplaying shots, a tendency that had crept into his game … shows no signs of slowing down despite his advancing years.
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2010-11
According to Niklas backstrom and others, Miikka Kiprusoff paved the way for Finnish goalies in the NHL… his .920 was a big bounceback to post-lockout levels after a couple of subpar seasons. As it stands, he was 6th in quality start percentage – the 2nd greatest improvement – and has the 10th best post-lockout save percentage in the league, giving the Flames a fair chance to win virtually every single night.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2011-12
Say what you want about Kiprusoff’s play being less than spectacular than it was five years ago, the man wins games… he’s also a workhorse…. He’s still a top-notch goalie.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2011-12
overcame a first half funk and spearheaded the second half playoff revival… great leg strength… certainly didn’t appear to be slowing down during some outstanding efforts late in the season.
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2011-12
fell back to earth with a thud this past year, managing a .906 sv% and a below replacement level GVT. Although he bears the reputation of an elite level goaltender, Kipper hasn’t trule been amongst the best puck stoppers in the league for several years. Only 2009-10 marked anything near a return to form… at 35, there’s a good chance Kiprusoff’s days of dominance are little more than a fond memory.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2012-13
For the 7th consecutive season, Kipper appeared in at least 70 games… he continues to be the backbone of the Flames squad and isn’t showing any signs of wear and tear. However, Calgary might scale back his appearances this season, to keep him fresh down the stretch,
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2012-13
Sensational in posting his best save percentage in 6 seasons and saving the Flames from a likely catastrophic plunge… a franchise goalie. Aging gracefully.
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2012-13
His career 54.5% quality start percentage since 2007-08 is 4th among those with at least 300 starts, behind only Lundqvist, Luongo and Miller. On the flip side, Kiprusoff’s 56 really bad starts are the most of any goalie…
Originally Posted by Hockey Prospectus 2013-14
The strangest thing about Miikka Kiprusoff’s season was not that he struggled, it was how he somehow managed to maintain value in the eyes of other teams. Toronto pushed hard to acquire him, but Kiprusoff reportedly threatened not to report. As for his performance which has been erratic from season to season, the less said the better, among goalies with at least 20 games, his .882 save percentage was far and away the worst… after months of retirement rumors, he finally decided to call it a career in early September.

Last edited by seventieslord: 04-10-2017 at 05:59 PM.
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04-12-2017, 11:36 AM
Student Of The Game
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Brian Bellows, LW/RW

- 5’11”, 210 (like 6’0”, 220 today)
- Stanley Cup champion (1993)
- Stanley Cup finalist (1991, 1998)
- Canada Cup Champion (1984)
- NHL 2nd All-star team (1990)
- Also 5th in All-star voting (1991)
- Top-25 in goals 5 times (3rd, 15th, 23rd, 23rd, 24th)
- Top-35 in points 6 times (14th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 33rd, 35th)
- Best VsX scores: 77, 66, 65, 65, 62, 59, 59 (total 453, avg 64.7)
- Best ES VsX scores: 80, 64, 64, 61, 60, 58, 57 (total 444, avg 63.4)
- Top-20 in playoff scoring 4 times (4th, 10th, 12th, 17th)
- Dallas Stars Captain (1983-1984)
- Played in NHL All-star game (1984, 1988, 1992)

Originally Posted by legendsofhockey.net
Bellows had a tough rookie year. Many fans compared him to Wayne Gretzky, but critics wondered what all the fuss was about a player who was just coming out of the junior ranks. Then, halfway through his first season, Bellows began to improve. In his second year, Bellows was named the North Stars' captain, becoming one of the youngest players in league history to assume leadership duties. After the 1987-88 season, after conferring with team owners George and Gordon Gund, Bellows signed a multi-year deal with Minnesota, even though the team had finished last in the Norris Division that year.
Bellows joined the Montreal Canadiens in 1992. He had scored 342 goals in 10 seasons with Minnesota before he was traded to Montreal for Russ Courtnall. His career high was 55 goals in one season, but he had other seasons of 40 goals or more.

When he joined the Canadiens, Bellows remarked, "I hope to score more than last year. I want to come in and prove I can still play to the levels expected. I was shocked [about the trade] but I'm excited about the new change. My idol was Ken Dryden. It's every kid's dream to play for the Canadiens." That dream lasted three years and included his first Stanley Cup in 1993. After his tenure in Montreal, Bellows was traded to Tampa Bay and then Anaheim. His final two years in the NHL saw him suit up with for the Washington Capitals and part of the 1997-98 season in Berlin.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Heading into the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, a young winger named Brian Bellows was the talk of the draft. The Kitchener Rangers forward was the complete package. He was a clutch scorer and a power play specialist. He was a hungry and courageous leader, setting the tone for his team by playing bigger than he actually was. yes, Brian Bellows did it all - heck, while injured he even filled in as head coach when coach Joe Crozier was suspended! And he became a junior hockey legend when he lead Kitchener to a Memorial Cup championship in 1982.

Teams lined up to acquire the right to draft Bellows back in the summer of 1982. But it was a bit of a surprise when Boston landed the top pick. Minnesota so badly wanted Bellows that they acquired the 2nd overall pick from Detroit and then they traded defenseman Brad Palmer to the Bruins to ensure that Bellows was not selected. The Bruins selected WHL defenseman Gord Kluzak. Bellows, who had controversially announced he did not want to play in Canada because of high taxes, went second overall to Minnesota.

He would become one of the top players in North Stars history, but never received much of the expected fan fare around the rest of the league. He was a solid, consistent two way player but he failed to put up superstar numbers like Mike Bossy or Jari Kurri or Brett Hull. Bellows was a consistent 35 goal threat who was instrumental in getting the North Stars into the Stanley Cup final in 1991, but somehow he was never revered like one would have expected him to be.

Part of that was due to the weak North Stars teams. When Bellows was drafted the North Stars were just a year removed from challenging the New York Islanders for the Stanley Cup. But the franchise fell on hard times over much of the rest of the decade. Without veteran leadership the young stars like Bellows, Neal Broten, and Dino Ciccarelli were doomed to falter. The team and many of its better players became almost irrelevant in that time period. Even the surprised Stanley Cup finals appearance in 1991 was not enough to salvage their various legacies.

…Bellows wound up with 485 career goals, including 9 30-goal seasons, 4 40-goal seasons and a 50goal season. Impressive numbers, unless you compare them to dynamic superstars of the 1980s. Given the hype when he entered the league, there was always a hint of unexplained love lost for Bellows. For some reason I can not quite pinpoint much of the league just never warmed to this very special hockey player. He will go down in history not as a superstar but an underrated hockey player.
Originally Posted by Ourhistory – Montreal Canadiens
Traded to the Montreal Canadiens just prior to the 1992-93 season, Bellows proved to be the key component the Habs had been looking for. He sparked the team’s offense using size and strength to overcome the clutch and grab tactics used in the NHL of the 1990s. Bellows adapted quickly to his new home, registered the fourth 40-goal campaign of his career in his first season in Montreal.

An exciting and gritty player, Bellows put his speed and puck-carrying ability to good use for the Canadiens, catching passes on the fly and bearing down on his target. He was, as he had been since childhood, always a force to be reckoned with in the offensive zone.

In 1992-93, he finished the regular schedule with 88 points, good enough for third place on the team, and he continued to produce offensively throughout the playoffs. Bellows notched 15 points in the postseason, third best on the team that year, and the Canadiens went all the way, winning Stanley Cup No. 24 that spring.
Originally Posted by Who’s Who In Hockey
The North Stars may have hoped they were getting a superstar when they drafted Brian Bellows in 1982; they had to settle for a star instead, a pure finisher who gave them ten years of yeoman service… he became something of a scoring machine… a strong, balanced skater with quick hands, dangerous around the net, who was willing to take a hit and drive to the net to score… Jacques Demers paired Bellows with Kirk Muller, who was willing to do the dirty work to get Brian the puck, allowing him to do what he did best, finish. Bellows displayed great heart and courage in the 1993 playoffs, contributing 15 points while playing through fractured ribs and only missed two games.
Originally Posted by Hockey All-stars
Bellows averaged more than 30 goals over his first 7 seasons, but he wasn’t content. When he complained about the quality of his linemates, coach Pierre Page united Bellows with playmaking center Neal Broten and sniper Mike Gartner in 89-90. “I know he wants to win, and if that remains his top priority, we’ll get along just fine. Last year, I wanted things done my way and he wanted things done his way. Now, it’s not my way or his way, it’s midway.”

“when I played with him, I couldn’t stand him, but as a coach, I love him,” said Ron Wilson. “He has lost a step or two over the years, but he’s still the original bull in the china shop. He’s all legs driving to the net.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, July 1982
…when Nanne and Sinden agreed to assure the Stars Bellows, Sonmor was ecstatic. “It might be the best move we’ve ever made. Our organization might never again have the chance to get a kid such as bellows. We need some character and leadership, and those are exactly the qualities he has. He may not make the electrifying dashes from one end of the rink to the other, but he’s going to be an outstanding player.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, September 1982
The North Stars got a cornerstone indeed, and one that appears to be smooth as marble and solid as granite, when they signed Brian Bellows… even If he isn’t an explosive scorer, he is the type of player who puts his team’s success first. He was captain of his junior team at 16, and seems destined for that type of respect… Eagleson said Bellows compared favorably to Barry Pederson in junior… “he’s got the capacity to be a great hockey player, as opposed to a good one. He’s always outperformed anyone and everyone he’s ever played with… I said to Louie that we built him up so high that if he got 30 goals and 30 assists it might sound like a bad year. But he’s strong and he’s defense-oriented.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 26, 1982
…two words best sum up the first impression of a boy who has received more advance publicity than any junior ever: singularly unimpressive… when an observer asked Lou Nanne if he had been a disappointment to date, he growled in a fashion that belies his personality. “Disappointed? Hell no. We’ve expected a great deal from him and that’s what we’ve gotten. He’s not here to carry the load.”…still Nanne’s eternal optimism has to be questioned. And it was, until Hartsburg, MacAdam, Sonmor and any other North Star gave the same answer… perhaps the observer is not as cagy as he thought he was.

“A lot of games you won’t even notice Brian,” said Hartsburg, who isn’t the party-line type. “All he’ll be doing is going up and down his wing and playing defense the way it’s meant to be played. A fan may not notice him, but who notices Gainey or Tonelli? Playing with him you notice him and playing against him you notice him, that’s the important thing. He’s a factor in the game.” In the past, the words most often used to describe Bellows included intelligent, poised, mature and complete. All the great clichés. The best way to describe his play in 3 games against Calgary was innocuous. Yet is this the man the scouts rated as the guy who’d make the world forget about Bobby Clarke? Thus far he hasn’t made the Stars fans forget about Brad Palmer.

“A lot of people have asked, is there something wrong with Bellows?” Sonmor said. “I tell them nothing is wrong with him… so much is expected of him. He’s going to be a good player for us this year and eventually a great player. He’s amazingly mature and intelligent. But he’s still a rookie, he’s just 18.” Said MacAdam, one of the game’s most intelligent commentators: “Every time he takes a shift, he does something to impress you. You don’t see many players come out of junior with the all-around abilities Brian has… he has all the qualities of a complete player.” Just 18, Bellows will have to prove himself each and every night he plays this season. In every building he enters, people will point and stare. They will wonder if he will be a star, or if he was just another product of eastern hype. Right now, the jury is out on Brian Bellows.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 18, 1983
His impact on the North Stars has been felt in ever-increasing doses since he joined the teams last fall. Bellows is not a breakaway skating threat or a deadly sniper, but that’s about what he is not. What he is, packs considerable wallop for the future of the North Stars. He is a person who commands respect, one of those rare cases combining class and character, which equates to natural leadership capabilities. Decent as he was in proving himself through the first three months of the season, Bellows has come on with a surge in the last 6 weeks or so. His goal scoring has improved, but his general play has taken a noticeable upswing. “I’m in a groove now. I can feel it. I just feel more comfortable for some reason. I used to rush everything, now I find that I can take more time. Things had been going well all season, but a few weeks ago it was just like everything seemed to fall into place.”

…he got some special treatment, such as instant placement on the powerplay, but he never faced the resentment of his teammates because of his built-in role as a young hotshot. The reason: From the first day, Brian Bellows has worked. He constantly tries hard, in practice and in games. He is not a prima donna who requires pampering. He is a rugged young man who is willing to pay his dues in the corners, in the slot or when backchecking is demanded. He is the kind of player and individual who could be the cornerstone of the franchise… “I’ve had no problem fitting in with this team. I’m not terribly flashy, but I work hard. Maybe the guys respect me more for that.”

…it must be noted that the Twin Cities is a soft media town for criticism. Nobody dared point out that the prized rookie struggled a bit as a skater, that he never seemed to pull away from defenders or that he wasn’t able to apprehend them when he was doing the chasing. He took short, choppy strides that failed to allow his speed to match his enthusiasm. But Bellows knew it and he is one who would rather develop his shortcomings than live on the laurels of his assets. He worked extra hard with skating instructor Dick Vraa and is continuing that practice. “It hasn’t been work, not with him,” says Vraa. “he does everything you tell him. All we did was work on his stride. He’s now up to a level where he’s an adequate skater by NHL standards and who knows how much better he’ll get.”

… while the Stars have gone through considerable turmoil with Sonmor leaving and Oliver taking over as coach and a change in style to a more disciplined defense and repeated juggling of lines, Bellows has been steady in his progress through his rookie season. He played with Payne and Smith for a number of games, then both wingers moved to a line centered by Neal Broten. “…I don’t care which one I play with. The juggling around doesn’t bother me as much as it does some guys. We’ve got a lot of good guys on this team, good personalities. I didn’t feel much pressure coming in as the #1 pick. I was lucky to come to a team with so many good players, because that didn’t put pressure on me and I was allowed to come in and find my own place.” …the team balance is a characteristic of Bellows as a player. “I don’t really see myself winning rookie of the year… I’ve proven I can play in this league and that’s more important. I worry most about being an asset to the team.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 29, 1983
It’s still too soon to tell for sure, but early indications are that Lou Nanne got the best of the deal that brought Brian Bellows to the Twin Cities… “it takes a while to get adjusted to the NHL,” says Bellows, who used the 2nd half of the season and the playoffs to show he’s finally found his stride. “The first part of the season was very tough for me. I knew it would eventually come. At least, I hoped it would eventually come and it did. There was no one game in particular. Things just started to fall into place midway through the season.” Before then, Bellows had some problems which may have sot him the Calder trophy. He looked rather ordinary… it didn’t take long for the critics to surface. Some, who had never seen him play in junior, wondered what all the fuss was about. Others questioned whether he was really playing well enough to hold down a spot in the North Star lineup… all those half-baked ideas have been laid to rest... as the season came to an end, he was probably playing as well as or better than any other NHL rookie. By the end of the season, Murray Oliver proclaimed that over the course of the final 30 games, Bellows was the Stars’ best player, a team leader. “He’s got so much composure. He never loses his cool and panics. I’ve got veterans who panic more than he does.” In the preliminary round playoff series against Toronto, it was a toss-up whether Bellows or Bobby Smith was the Stars’ best player. One thing is certain, without Bellows’ key goals and leadership, the Stars’ chances of beating the Leafs would have been next to NIL… “I like to think I can help lead this team in the dressing room as well as on the ice. But I’ve got to watch my step too. I don’t want to ruffle too many feathers. After all, I am just a rookie.”
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1983-84
”The amazing thing about Bellows,” says Murray Oliver, “is his maturity. He’s only 19, yet, in a great many ways, is the most grown-up player we’ve got. I would compare him to Gordie Howe, he’s not flashy. But he keeps making great plays. You don’t notice him until he scores a goal or makes a great check. He always pops up in the right place… the trouble was he looked so totally professional you had to keep reminding yourself he was a rookie – and an exceptionally young one at that. He actually could be the one to provide this club with the leadership it needs.”
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1983-84
lived up to billing with 65 goals in rookie season… complete player who excels in all zones and has outstanding leadership qualities
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, December 30, 1983
Team Terrific:

Right wing Brian Bellows. Not only does this extraordinary teenager make the team, he is the unanimous selection as captain of Team Terrific. Lou Nanne says Bellows is the most phenomenal teen he’s ever seen (other than Wayne Gretzky) and the reason is quite clear – leadership. Bellows, aside from being an immensely talented player who can score, check and set up plays with the best of them, knows how to win. He is a winner through and through and proved it with Kitchener… Now he will prove it with Minnesota, a team in need of a real leader. He is the type of player to build a franchise around and if he isn’t one of the most dominant players for not only 1984, but the rest of this decade, then Lou Nanne doesn’t like to talk.
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1984-85
The amazing feature of the NHL’s 83-84 all-star voting was the fact that Brian Bellows failed to get so much as a 3rd place vote at right wing. It’s obvious that, though just 19 and after only two years as a pro, this remarkable young man has become one of the dominant players in the game. Oldtimers say he reminds them of Gordie Howe. “I think the tipoff on Bellows would be the fact that he was given the captaincy at such a young age. That tells you the kind of guy he is and what we’re expecting of him,” says Lou Nanne. “The other indicator would be the playoffs, where he was our leading scorer.”
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1984-85
heart and soul of the team at 20 years of age… tough and aggressive… strong powerplay player.
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1985-86
The 1984 Canada Cup tournament typified, in a way, the hockey career of Brian Bellows. He was selected to audition for a Team Canada berth, which meant he was numbered among the top half dozen right wings in the NHL. Then he made the club. But in the tournament itself, he was a profound disappointment. That’s been the story ever since he was the biggest prize in the NHL draft in 1982. His numbers are excellent. He never plays badly and rises to occasional heights. Overall though, there’s a feeling he ought to do better. Consider his 1984-85 efforts as an illustration. He led the Minnesota offense with 62 points, but how impressive is that, really? “A lot of people overlook the fact he’s awfully young,” says the stars’ GM Lou Nanne. “His 21st birthday was just before the season. Maybe we’ve been expecting too much of him.”
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1985-86
most scouts say he was the best 17 year old player they have ever seen… was he worth it? Yes and no. After 3 seasons, he still hasn’t scored like expected, but he’s one of the better two-way wingers in the league and may yet become dominant… insiders say he has an arrogant attitude and could still use some growing up… miscast the next Wayne gretzky as a playmaker, but sometimes you can see a young Gordie Howe
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 28, 1986
9 goals and 13 assists in the last 18 games go a long way toward purchasing a ticket out of Henning’s dog house. “He’s been playing too well. This was the first time in a couple of months he’s done something like that. He’s had a great attitude and he’s been playing great two-way hockey.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 7, 1986
…with his recent play and scoring streak, Bellows’ relationship with Henning has improved. “He’s come a long way. He’s been playing great, his attitude has been great. He is the one who has done it. “ Bellows says; “It’s not a love story, but we’re getting along better. The key is that I have reformed a lot, but he’s also seeing some things my way. If I’m a little slow getting started in practice, he’ll give me 10-15 minutes to work into it. Before, he would be straight on my case. Now he’s giving me the chance to prove to him that I can do it before he starts getting on me.”
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1986-87
Bellows also has developed a good touch around the net and he's dangerous with the puck around the bottom of the faceoff circle...He shoots a lot and will chase the rebounds.

Bellows is pretty conscientious defensively and posted the second-best plus/minus on the club, highest among the forwards. He plays his position well and doesn't wander and comes back fairly deep in his own zone.

Bellows is a mucker and grinder. He's gaining strength as he gets older and he's using it better. He's become stronger along the boards and more able to take men off the puck and that complements his finesse game well, because Brian can certainly make plays after he has the puck. He will lean into opposition and hit, and Bellows will take the rough going for his plays.
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1986-87
experienced a personality conflict with coach Lorne Henning, who banished him to the press box for one game because of his attitude… all agreed that the captain’s C was a burden… has a wealth of size and talent, waiting to be used to its full extent
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, December 12, 1986
The image was carefully crafted over the first part of Brian Bellows’ NHL career – potential superstar on the ice, potential super brat off of it. Now, that image is undergoing a complete reversal… “I was a jerk until two years ago, but then I grew up. I figured out it’s not socially acceptable to be a screw-up all your life.”… but the statistics suggest that Bellows, 22, has lost his edge as a hockey player… he had just 7 points in his first 18 games. His +/-, -10, was 2nd worst on the team. “I just haven’t played well. Everybody goes through slumps.”… his career isn’t showing the same growth as his personal life. Bellows led the North Stars in scoring two years ago… but this year he’s near the bottom among forwards… he’s displayed none of the passion he shows when he is playing his best. Soon, he was demoted to the 3rd and 4th lines… Bellows started slowly last season, and played sparingly after a few arguments with coach Lorne Henning. But those differences were resolved, and the relationship is fine now. “The reason I haven’t been playing a lot this year is my own fault. I’ve tried everything to get out of it. I’ve tried varying my routine. I’ve tried watching tapes of the way I’ve played in the past.”

…Bellows’ on-ice troubles haven’t slowed his off-ice schedule. He reconstructed his personal image through involvement with the special Olympics, his chemical abuse education program, and a smattering of other charities. The North Stars estimate he has contributed more than 150 hours of service in the past year, but Bellows says he doesn’t watch the clock. He’s the guy who showed up early for a special Olympics track meet last summer, set up the booths and tents, stayed all day and cleaned up at day’s end. And he’s the guy who read to students at a suburban elementary school last winter, to promote “I love to read” month. But it was his chemical abuse program that caught the attention of Nancy Raegan and her staff… “I decided a couple of years ago that it was time to put something back into the community. Everyone has time to do it… but it sure would be nice to be doing better. It’s not much fun when you’re in a room of 700 kids and parents, and someone asks ‘how many goals do you have?’ And you have to say Two.”
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1987-88
Bellows is a lumbering skater, sturdy on his skates and gifted with balance but not overwhelmingly fast or agile. His strong stride gets him where he’s going. He has good hands and that means good control skills, but Bellows is not better than good with the puck and he can fall into a lesser level. He can make accurate passes through a maze of legs or lead a teammate into the clear, but he is not exceptional when carrying the puck and will never be confused for Denis Savard. Bellows is aided here by his anticipation and sense, which are good, and he sees the ice well. Bellows also has developed a good touch around the net and he's dangerous with the puck around the bottom of the faceoff circle. He also has the wrist and hand strength to power the puck past the goalie from slightly out. He shoots a lot and will chase the rebounds… Bellows can be conscientious defensively, playing his position well and not wandering, but his defense suffered last year because of the team’s circumstances.

Bellows is a mucker and grinder and will try to overpower the opposition rather than finesse his way to success. He uses his strength along the boards. He's gaining strength as he gets older and is more able to take men off the puck. His balance on his feet helps him here, by keeping him upright after bumping or hitting. He is less likely to play physically against the Curt Frasers or Al Secords than he is against less physical players. In other words, he picks his spots… He is not an exceptionally talented player but can overcome that handicap through effort. Unfortunately, he does not put out a consistent effort. Still, he has matured from the conflict situation management put him in when it tried to force him into the captain’s role before he was ready. It was that situation that precipitated the conflicts Bellows had with his teammates.
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1987-88
captain of the faction of players that Lorne Henning divorced himself from… what hurt him most – a wrist injury or Henning – is not clear… a grinding style of forward who has averaged almost a point a game… nobody is satisfied they have seen the best of him yet… interim team captain when Craig hartsburg went down with an injury…
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1988-89
Bellows’ strength and balance are what power his game – both finesse-wise and physically. His skating stride is very strong and his balance is exceptional, and that combination makes him almost unbeatable along the boards, his stride driving him through checks and his balance keeping him upright to continue making plays. He doesn’t have a lot of agility or rinlkength speed but his strong stride gets him where he’s going. His hand skills mirror his foot skills. He makes good plays out of the corner, skimming accurate passes through traffic (his excellent hockey sense and vision help him in his playmaking). Because of his straight-ahead style, and because of the agility he lacks, he isn’t an exceptional puck carrier. He puts his good hands to work around the net by scoring in a number of ways. He shoots quickly from the traffic areas in front of the net, and also has the strength to power the puck past the goaltender from a distance. He shoots a lot and chases the rebounds. He is usually a conscientious defensive player who maintains his position up and down the ice.

Bellows likes to play a corners and boards game, and he makes the most of the assets he has that allow him to succeed there. He’s a mucker and grinder and the main component of his physical success is leg strength, but he is also very strong in the upper body. That strength helps him outmuscle the opposition along the boards and is especially important in allowing him to get his shot through traffic, or to get his shot off while being checked… the broom that cleaned the Minnesota house could sweep two ways with Bellows. They could decide to move him (he did a lot of talking about moving prior to last season), or Bellows could dig in and contribute. In one way, circumstances mitigate against him, because the Stars accomplished what they did with his help over the tail end of the year. That doesn’t bode well for his importance to the club… he’s matured as a player, and this season will test his maturity to the utmost.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1989-90
Bellows combines tremendous scoring ability with excellent physical ability as one of the NHL's best-if unsung-power forwards... his balance keeping him upright to continue making plays... likes to initiate the hitting. He is, however, not a heavyweight and you won't find him in any battles with the Proberts and Neelys. And interestingly, unlike other power forwards his size-like Gerard Gallant or Rick Tocchet-fighting is not a part of Bellows' game… The media out of the midwest is one reason why people don't know how good a player Bellows is. He's tougher than Gallant and a better scorer than Tocchet, yet is virtually unmentioned when discussions rages about the League's best power forwards.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1990-91
Bellows' physical game powers his finesse game, and it is his ability to work the corners and boards that make him the player he is. His aforementioned skating ability is key, as is Bellows' desire-when he wants to be, he's pretty close to unstoppable; he can initiate a lot of intelligent and effective hitting. He is also very strong in the upper body, so he gets his shot off while being checked or out-wrestles a defenseman for a loose puck… Players like Bellows, the NHL's power forwards, are the League's most valued commodities.
Originally Posted by 1990-91 OPC
very tough to contain on boards.
Originally Posted by Sharks and Prey 1990-91
Bellows is an odd case in that he has followed a pattern over the past 6 seasons. He follows a poor year with a solid to exceptional one... Bellows found his old form on the premier line with Neal Broten killing penalties and sniping on the power play... Can he break the pattern? In 88-89, he lost 20 games to pulled stomach muscles and admitted that he and Pierre page didn't quite have a meeting of minds over team direction. Trade rumours abounded that year and the two exchanged verbal barbs frequently. Last season the synapses intertwined and the trade rumours died. Bellows is secure once again. The proble, is that Page is history and Bellows must adjust again. Bellows is too valuable to be lost to petty arguments...
Originally Posted by Score 100 Hottest Players 1990-91
One of the hardest shooting left wingers in the NHL… playing for a succession of coaches whose philosophies have ranged from the purely defensive style to a wide open European style, Bellows’ goal production has fluctuated.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1991-92
He can drive the net as well as any of the NHL's best power forwards. He is not very fast on open ice but he is nimble in traffic. Bellows doesn't have many lace-trimmed moves. He prefers traveling the shortest distance between himself and the net…Bellows has tremendous hand skills and can pick the puck out of a tangle of sticks and skates. He is a good passer but the real beauty of his game lies in his shot. He can shoot in tight or rifle a one-timer from the circle. Bellows is an excellent power play quarterback, and even when other teams try to key on him and shut him down, he can play through it.

Bellows is not a good checker although he plays responsibly and is better than he used to be… Bellows has incredible strength and he uses every ounce of it, he will grind along the boards and in the corners. He will use his body to bump defensemen off the puck and, when he doesn't get back defensively, will sacrifice himself… The knock on Bellows in past years has been his inconsistent efforts, but Bellows quieted those critics with an outstanding playoffs. Bellows took nothing for granted during the regular season as he proved himself to a new coach and GM. And when crunch time came in the playoffs, Bellows was there.
Originally Posted by Sharks and Prey 1992-93
A hardworking left winger… if he is often rumored to be available in trade, it is because of his reluctance to play defensively most of the time. Bellows’ -20 is indicative of the fact that he’s not often found in his own zone. Bellows also tends to avoid crowds and is not a crusher along the boards or in the corners. He’s at his best as the go-to man on the powerplay…overall, Bellows can be expected to be a reliable producer in the “slightly under a point per game” category.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1992-93
Bellows is an outstanding skater, textbook perfect in terms of balance and lower body strength. He powers his way through checks around the net, which is where he does his best owork offensively. Not very fast in open ice, once he establishes himself down low there are few better. He is not very tall, but he is sturdy and is a top-notch power forward. He has quick, strong hands, and will carry the puck to the net through a crowd. He is a finisher, not a playmaker. His assists will come from rebounds that his teammates pick up from following his shots (if he doesn’t beat them to the puck). He can shoot a puck in tight or rifle a one-timer off the wing. He does not shoot well carrying the puck in at high speed, preferring to carry the puck to the net. A sound player defensively, he occasionally loses a step and takes a bad hooking or holding penalty, but for the most part he maintains his positioning well. He is not a good man-to-man player, but needs support and will support his teammates.

Bellows plays bigger than his size, especially on offense. A strong skater, he is a powerful force along the boards. He crashes the net, taking the body and bumping and hitting. He is a clean player whose power and intensity make his finesse skills all the more valuable. He will initiate a lot of hitting… Due to his power play skills, he was one of the most sought after forwards in trade talks last season… Bellows still has very good trade value.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1993-94
while you won’t notice him much in open ice, Bellows is scary around the net. A powerplay specialist, he has great hands and instincts in deep. He is not as big as the prototypical power forward, but he plays that style in driving to the crease. He is nimble in traffic and can handle the puck in a scrum. He has good balance for scrapping in front. Bellows works down low on the 1st PP unit… He moves and shoots the puck quickly, he doesn’t like to fool around with the puck. He has a strong one-timer and powerful wrist shot. Once in a while he’ll score from a drive off the wing, but most of his goals come from in tight. His 5-on-5 play improved because he was teamed with just the right kind of center, Kirk Muller. Muller grinds and gets Bellows the puck, and is also defensively alert, which covers up for Bellows’ shortcomings. You couldn’t ask for a happier combo… he will bump and crash and work the boards in the offensive zone, but he is better as a finisher in front of the net, and when he has the right linemate he can concentrate on scoring. He has hockey courage, heart and hunger. He played with fractured ribs through the playoffs but kept plunging into the trenches… Demers not only opened up his offense, but he used veterans like Bellows well…. Has quite a few productive seasons left.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1993-94
A hard shooter, Bellows is a one-way offensive threat. He has a devastating wrist shot and isn’t bashful about uncorking it. He skates well, but is apt to stay on his wing, rather than to venture to center ice. His playmaking skills are secondary, as his instincts generally tell him to go to the net. Not a player to get in penalty trouble, he recognizes the need to absorb physical punishment to be effective and does so without retaliating… it only took one year under Bob Gainey for Bellows to go from North Star scoring ace to North Star in exile. It was his suspect work ethic that did him in. Gainey felt Bellows didn’t give a consistent effort every night, nor did he fulfill his defensive responsibilities… Bellows is a streaky scorer who will fill the net for a week, then disappear. Sturdy and strong, a neck injury forced him from the lineup, ending a streak of 267 straight games.

WILL – go to the net
CAN’T – backcheck
EXPECT – 35 to 40 grinding goals
DON’T EXPECT - finesse
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1993-94
counted points consistently all season... a versatile winger who can play either side... his preference is the right where he can see more of the net shooting left handed. Bellows had some problems in the playoffs. At one point he and Demers had words about his lack of production but things were patched up. We can remember Bellows uncharacteristically missing a number of excellent scoring chances in the final series. Bellows is a solid sniper and playmaker...
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1994-95
Bellows was a healthy scratch for game 4 of the Habs’ playoff series and ended up with just one goal… it is likely he will be in a new uniform this season. In the right situation, he can produce 30-35 goals at least one more season.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1994-95
Plodding sniper appeared to have lost a step in what was for him an unusually ineffective playoff showing. Good size and good hockey instincts with a lightning-quick release – must put forth a more sincere effort to win back confidence of coach Demers. Prime trade bait in team’s quest for size.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1994-95
we expected some decline, but it was more than expected, partially due to some broken ribs which cost him 7 games early...we're not worried about his durability. He typically sees lots of 1st unit PP time and, although his shot has lost a little zip, he can still find the net. What concerns us is Demers' attitude towards Bellows entering the season. Demers openly criticized his postseason play and actually scratched him in game 5. Bellows didn't respond well after his return... he has often followed a mediocre year with a good one.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1994-95
There’s only one reason a team trades a 50-goal scorer – the coach has no use for the player on a philosophical level. Bob Gainey was a defensive genius and couldn’t abide Bellows’ one-way play… Bellows is a tough, clean player interested in only in scoring goals. He will take amazing amounts of physical punishment without retaliating because he knows that time in the box is time he can’t fire the puck on net. Bellows has a laser beam for a wrist shot and a quick release from long range… It takes all of a coach’s encouragement to persuade Bellows that hockey is a two-way game, that this goals are next to meaningless if the other team is also scoring with him on the ice… only recently has he dedicated himself to checking… Bellows and Courtnall are both dynamic offensive skaters, though Bellows doesn’t have nearly Courtnall’s speed. The deal that landed Brian in Montreal was one that saw two teams looking to unload players who’d overstayed their welcome. Bellows will always be a natural goal scorer. If his linemate will cover for him in the neutral and defensive zones, he’ll always be a plus.

WILL – go to the net
CAN’T – be lazy
EXPECT –40 goals
DON’T EXPECT – a Selke trophy
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1995-96
Last season was a major disappointment for Bellows. A goal scorer all his hockey life, his couch and confidence deserted him and he was relegated to a checking role, which he did not embrace with great enthusiasm… after tailing off so badly last season, Bellows desperately needed a change of scenery. The Florida sun may help restore his scoring touch.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1995-96
lost a step during 94 playoffs and then misplaced his scoring touch last year. Physical (at times) winger with a quick release.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1995-96
The most charitable thing you could say about his play last season is that it was consistent... usually a durable player, he lost 5 games to a shoulder separation and two to a groin pull. Injuries aside, he played in a fog every game and looked like he'd rather be anywhere but Montreal. he was moved from the right to the left, placed with different linemates, all to no avail. Bellows couldn't find his groove, or didn't want to. He was rumoured to be another one who was disenchanted with coach Demers' style and looked as though he was playing for a trade...

Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1995-96
Carved out a niche for himself as a dangerous goalscorer, a tenacious skater, a willing sponge for abuse, and at times, a one-dimensional and self-centered player… Bellows is tough. He will take a beating if he can score a goal. He doesn’t retaliate and get his team into penalty trouble. He boasts a hard, heavy wrist shot that can hurt a goalie. He also has a strong, quick release from outside… once viewed as a one-way player with no regard for backchecking, Bellows improved during his stint under Demers and that helped him extend his career when Tampa Bay offered him a role. His ego took a momentary beating when he realized he was being asked to step aside for a youth movement, but he survived it… There is no question that Bellows’ market value has dropped considerably in recent seasons. Yet in Tampa he is one of the few players with Stanley Cup experience. If he puts his mind to it – and that translates to putting the team’s goals ahead of his own – he can continue to grow in his role as elder statesman. If he doesn’t accept that change, Bellows could be facing retirement.

WILL – find a lesser role
CAN’T – find old touch
EXPECT – good speed
DON’T EXPECT – a gamebreaker
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1996-97
Bellows had a nice comeback season and was a contributor to Tampa Bay’s successful run to the playoffs, although he wasn’t 100% and came up empty in the postseason. His days as a scoring leader are over, but he can chip in 45-50 points as a 2nd line forward and power play specialist.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1996-97
has now recorded the two lowest efforts of his career. Grinding type winger who adds leadership and the odd goal, he may have lost a step or two but his invaluable experience can only help the younger players.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1996-97
Bellows had all kinds of problems in Montreal during the lockout year, it was his worst season as a pro and an aberration. After coming to Tampa, he was given top-line billing and PP time. Bellows responded and rebounded, but not to the level of his glory days. He collected 55% of his points on the PP last season and needs that time now to count decent totals. He's aging, but seems rejuvenated in Tampa.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1996-97
A power play specialist… unnoticeable in open ice, dangerous around the net. Has a quick release. Will see lots of action on the power play… don’t count him out yet. He’s enthusiastic now. The Tampa-St Pete area has helped to rekindle his love for the game.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1996-97
Bellows is, and always has been a terrific scorer…in is first two years in Montreal he was a valuable contributor to a team that lacked offensive punch. As a bonus, he learned to backcheck under Demers. Last year, he struggled and was sent to Tampa Bay…Physically tough, although he plays a clean game and is nterested only in scoring goals. He willingly absorbs a tremendous amount of punishment… Bellows will always be ripped for his defensive game, even though it was improved under Demers’ tutelage… since joining the Canadiens he dedicated himself to checking… he successfully revived his career with the Habs. He will always be a natural goal scorer, and a somewhat one-dimensional player. If he doesn’t recapture his goalscoring, he’ll be finished. The lightning will give him every chance to light the lamp.

WILL – take the puck to the net
CAN’T – take nights off
EXPECT – 35 to 40 goals
DON’T EXPECT – a defensive effort
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1997-98
unfortunately for Bellows, the Ducks aren’t very deep at center… he would be more effective if they could shore up their weakest position…
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1997-98
veteran winger was a healthy scratch with the lightning when the Ducks acquired him last November. At 33, he’s slower than ever but became a fixture on Ducks’ 2nd unit. Just a role player at this stage of his career…
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1997-98
points have been steadily declining... was lifted from Tampa to add to the offense, but had the least productive season of his career... got off to a miserable start in Tampa and was dealt to Anaheim... lost some games to a lower back strain and benchings, hastened his departure by asking for a trade... he did produce well in the playoffs, but not nearly enough to make him a valuable commodity...
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1998-99
Has climbed the hill and fetched his pail of water, now he’s about to come tumbling down… a solid career is winding down. Still has the trademark hard shot. Is still dangerous on the power play. Will muck it up on the boards and take abuse in front of the net. Never known for his commitment to defense. Has been selfish during his career, and has been accused of putting his personal goals ahead of the team. Is starting to show his age.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1998-99
Written off by 25 NHL clubs, joined the Caps after the German league ended in March and immediately clicked alongside Adam oates… rejuvenated after his sabbatical and still capable of contributing.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1999-2000
veteran winger chipped in a respectable 17 goals… although he has lost a step over the years, he still has the smarts and scoring knack to contribute in the expansion era if he wants to.

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Al Arbour, D

- 6'0", 180 lbs (like 6’2”, 200 today)
- Stanley Cup Champion (1954, 1961, 1962, 1964)
- Stanley Cup Finalist (1956, 1968, 1969, 1970)
- 5th in All-Star voting twice (1969, 1970)
- Also 5th and 6th in Norris voting the same seasons
- St. Louis Blues captain (1968-1970)
- Played in NHL All-Star Game (1969)
- 1st, 4th, 2nd in St. Louis D-men icetime as a 35-37-year old
- At 35-38 post-expansion, averaged 22.73 minutes per game (19.22 at ES) for teams 12% better than average
- As a severely low event player, my estimates are that he played 24.84 per game (see case at end of bio)
- Pre-expansion, played 5.64 seasons worth of games for teams with -.03 goal differential per game
- His NHL teams were, by weighted average, 14% better defensively than the league average
- Killed 68% of penalties for teams 12% better than average post-expansion (this is a small sample of 231 games but an obscenely high number nonetheless)

Arbour's minor league accomplishments are extensive, too:

- WHL Champion (1953)
- AHL Calder Cup (1965, 1966)
- AHL Eddie Shore Award (best defenseman) (1965)
- AHL 1st All-Star Team (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966)
- AHL MVP Runner-up (1966)
- QHL 2nd All-Star Team (1955)
- WHL 2nd All-Star Team (1956)
- In his 7 full (40+ GP) seasons in the top minor leagues, his teams averaged 6% better than the league average defensively

Originally Posted by loh.net
In 1957-58, Arbour played his first full NHL season in the red and white of the Wings. Following that season, he was claimed by the Chicago Black Hawks, where he toiled for three years including 1961, the year of the franchise's Stanley Cup triumph. Arbour next played five seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and earned his second Stanley Cup ring in 1962. After spending the 1966-67 season in the AHL, he returned to contribute experience and stability to the defense corps of the expansion St. Louis Blues in 1967-68. Early in 1970-71, he retired as a player after 600 games over 14 years. Arbour was also one of the few players in league history to wear glasses while playing.

"I enjoyed the fun of it (playing); the feeling that you had after you won a hockey game," stated Arbour in Dick Irvin's book, 'Behind the Bench'. "There's no greater feeling than the one you get when you're a player and you go out and win a real tough game. I've had great feelings coaching and winning the Stanley Cup, but it never seemed to be the same feeling I got when I was a player."
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey one on one
Even as a player, Al Arbour distinguished himself from the rest of the National Hockey League. A defensive defenceman par excellence, the Sudbury, Ontario-born Arbour was at his best protecting his netminder by blocking shots, in spite of the fact he wore glasses while playing.

Signed by the Detroit Red Wings, Al joined the junior Windsor Spitfires just shy of his seventeenth birthday. The goaltender he protected there was Glenn Hall, while teammates included other future Red Wings Earl Reibel, Glen Skov and Eddie Stankiewicz. During his four seasons in Windsor, Al would also play with Cummy Burton, Don Cherry, Larry Hillman, John Muckler and Dennis Riggin.

After winning a WHL championship with the Edmonton Flyers in 1952-53, Arbour saw his first NHL action the next season, playing 36 games with the Red Wings in 1953-54. Although he saw no action during the playoffs that spring, Al got his name engraved on the Stanley Cup for the first time following the Wings' seven-game series with the Montreal Canadiens in the final.

During that dynastic era for Detroit, the Red Wings had a surplus of fine defenceman, with Warren Godfrey, Bob Goldham, Larry Hillman, Red Kelly and Marcel Pronovost all earning time on the blueline, and Arbour anxiously waited for his chance, biding his time predominantly with the Edmonton Flyers. In 1954-55, he was named to the WHL's Second All-Star Team, but it wasn't until the playoffs of 1955-56 that Al saw NHL action again.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
...But while Arbour is recognized as one of the greatest (and winningest) coaches of all time, he is also remembered as the journeyman defenseman who played for 19 years pro hockey while wearing glasses.

Arbour was a classic defensive blueliner. He had neither the speed or hands to do much with the puck but became a stalwart without it. His patented move was his incredible shot blocking. He'd often sacrifice his body to stop the puck from ever reaching the net.

...The Leafs were a very strong team during the 1960s. Arbour had trouble sticking with the Leafs and spent most of his time in the AHL as opposed to the NHL when the Leafs were winning Stanley Cups. But Arbour's defensive excellence didn't go unnoticed as he was named a 4 time all star and the 1965 Defenseman of the Year in the AHL while playing with the Rochester Americans.

Arbour got his chance to return to the NHL when expansion hit in 1967. The St. Louis Blues eagerly snatched up the veteran blueliner. It is in St. Louis that Arbour is perhaps best remembered as a player. He was the first captain in St. Louis history, and under his leadership he guided the St. Louis squad to the Stanley Cup finals in each of their first 3 seasons of existence (never winning the Cup, however).
Originally Posted by Fischler's Hockey Encyclopedia
Al Arbour generally performed his job in an unspectacular fashion. He did not make those rink-length dashes, nor did he bash oncoming forwards with bone-rattling checks. He simply frustrated the opposition with timely stick checks, by blocking shots, and by continually foiling good scoring opportunities. He totally epitomized what is called the "defensive defenseman".

...was the second defenseman chosen by the new St. Louis Blues. For three years the tall defenseman played brilliantly, qualifying for the West Division all-star team each year and playing an important role in the club's success.
Originally Posted by Punch Imlach: Hockey Is a Battle
We had a great defense in Toronto the next few years - so great that later even a first-rate NHL defenseman like Al Arbour couldn't break in and be a regular.
Originally Posted by Boom Boom: The Life and Times Of Bernard Geoffrion
Right after his Red Wings were knocked out by the Bruins, Adams went on record saying there were only five "untouchables" on his club - Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Red Kelly, Marcel Pronovost, and Al Arbour... a lanky, bespectacled defenseman who never seemed to make a mistake.
Originally Posted by Scotty Bowman: A Life In Hockey
As a Maple Leaf, Arbour was a spare wheel on a glimmering vehicle... his ice time in Toronto depended on injuries to star players... played enough in 1962 and 1964 to put his name on the Stanley Cup for the 3rd and 4th times, but most of his time was spent with the Americans, where he served as captain. Arbour was a solid, stay-at-home defenseman, an unflappable, level-headed old pro who was renowned for his shot-blocking skills - in spite of the fact that he wore glasses while on the ice. He was one of the best examples of a capable talent what had become trapped in the minors during the Original Six years.
Originally Posted by The Game We Knew: Hockey In the Sixties
Al Arbour was named the first captain of the St. Louis Blues. An experienced winner, Arbour was excellent defensively.
Originally Posted by The Leafs: The First 50 Years
As a player, Arbour was one of the best. "I don't think there's anyone I'd rather have playing in front of me than Arbour," said Glenn Hall during an interview when they were both with the St. Louis Blues. "He's the most underrated defenseman in the game."

Underrated he may have been, but he knew how to get the job done. So much so, that during his 19 seasons as player, he never missed the playoffs. He was known as a second goalie, among the first defensemen to fall in front of the puck before it reached the goal. "Al does it with such perfect timing that it's beautiful to watch," said Hall.

Always tough to beat, always serious, he would still have fun playing the game.
Originally Posted by Parkhurst 1953-54
possesses a strong shot and displays much poise and soundness of play.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, March 5, 1955
This tall character with the spectacles has, in a few weeks, become the talk of the rinks around the Quebec loop. Alger Arbour is his name, 6 feet and 180 pounds of sinew which he hurls about in bone-wrecking and teeth-jarring style, which is a delight to all beholders… with all due respect to Jack Adams, it’s the calculated observation of more than one critic in the QHL that Adams made considerable fuss about getting the wrong man (Jim Hay)… We’re inclined to take Arbour over Hay, and that’s not only one man’s opinion. For instance, when the Royals went to Shawinigan falls for their last date with the Cataractes yours truly had hardly walked into the rink when Mark Walsh, the local correspondent for the Canadian Press came along. “Have you seen Quebec’s new boy on defense?” “You mean this fellow Arbour?” “sure, who else, Isn’t he the berries? Why, the guy does everything just so right. He can block and parry when he’s back there. He can rush and carry the puck, and he can jolt a forward with bodychecks that’ll get their vertebrae clicking like dominoes”. While we were talking, Don Wilson of the Shawinigan Standard came along. He listened in, then said his piece. “he looks like the best young defenseman to come along in our league since Doug Harvey… wonder why he isn’t playing for detroit?” the consensus of three minds was that the only reason Arbor didn’t have a place on the Red Wing defense was that they already had too many: Kelly, Goldham, Pronovost, Woit, and Hay… if the Detroit braintrust didn’t feel he was ready a year ago, they’d better get their ivory-hunter Johnny Mitchell up this way in a hurry, because he looks ready now.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, December 22, 1956
”Know who’s the best player in the league?” says Poile. “Al Arbour is who. And we’ve got him.” … Arbour (don’t call him Alger without chuckling to show you’re joshing) is a defenseman with a pronounced aversion for doing anything wrong. He is a gangly 180 pounds with glasses and an instinctive knowledge for being in the right place first. He may not be the best but you will work hard to prove otherwise…
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 26, 1957
Al Arbour learned well in his classes
That defensemen who have to wear glasses
Still have NHL luck
If they can keep the puck
And never make any bad passes.

While the limerick may be bad, the message is clear and Al Arbour will be pleased to confirm the point… there is a strong belief that taped to the rims is a brief reminder which reads “never give the puck away.” Ability at that one particular playing technique has been the key to success for the lanky, rawboned, rearguard ever since his rather unexpected call-up by the Red Wings in December. So say such authorities as Red Kelly and Jack Adams. “I believe the best feature of Al’s play has been the way he works with the puck,” points out Kelly. “He’s good at getting the puck and he never gives it away.”… he has become somewhat of an Arbour fan for personal reasons since landing him as a regular partner on the Wings’ defense. Let Adams explain it: “There has been a world of difference in Kelly’s play since Arbour has teamed up with him. Red is such a sincere conscientious type – maybe too conscientious – that he was sacrificing his own scoring ability to help cover up his partner. We tried a couple of players there this season and Red insisted on staying back to help them. Then we decided to try Arbour. After just a couple of games, Kelly was rushing again just like old times. That was the way he gave a vote of confidence in Arbour and it’s good enough for me.”

Thus, the Detroit team got a bonus when Arbour was hauled out of a two-year exile in the minors for an experimental test. Besides landing a full-fledged defenseman, the Wings also brought Kelly back to his old form. There was no fooling about the test. Al’s first game was against Boston, with first place at stake. When Kelly skated out for his first shift, Arbour was alongside him. He’s been there ever since. To one man who hasn’t seen Arbour play an NHL game, this isn’t a bit surprising. Earlier this season, Bud Poile kept pouring out an earful about Arbour to anyone who would listen…much as he was delighted in possessing Arbour’s services, Poile carried his campaign to the summit. “Bud kept telling me in his letters and in our phone calls that Arbour was great”, Adams relates. “To be honest, I was kind of skeptical. Al had a bad season last year and I doubted if he’d ever come along enough to make the Detroit squad. But But kept insisting that I had the guy wrong, that he was greatly improved. Finally, he almost begged me to bring him up for a trial – telling me that it was impossible for Al to improve any more in that league… here I was looking for a good NHL defenseman, had one in my system and still had to be sold on him.”

Arbour can take the story from there. “…thrilled? Sure I was… but then I got to wondering if it meant I was going to sit on the bench. As it turned out, Arbour only did his bench sitting between regular turns on the ice. Yet, it was a fair question. Three seasons ago he had two different stays with Detroit totaling 36 games but spent most of them at the far end of the bench. The life of the 5th defenseman is far different from that of the first four. Adams’ system calls for two regular pairs with the extra man only for emergencies… “I agree that it’s tough on a player to sit out almost every game but if he’s smart he’ll put that time to good use,” says Jimmy Skinner. “There isn’t a man in this league who can’t learn something new by observing.” Arbour readily concedes the point, saying, “I know I learned plenty when I was up before but when you’re young and physically sound and love to play hockey, sitting on the bench is the hardest way to earn a salary. It must have done me good though. I know that when I came back this time, it seemed a lot easier. Another thing, I was no longer awed. I could play my regular game without any tension.”

Arbour adds that his glasses have not kept him out of any fights. His thumping bodychecks along with his penalty record testify that glasses are no handicap in rough and tumble hockey. Arbour explains this by saying that he’s from Sudbury “where they grow ‘em rugged and train ‘em rough.
Originally Posted by OPC 1957-58
Tall and scholarly looking, a hockey rarity in that he wears glasses on the ice. He can check hard and is a good rusher.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecast Magazine, January 1959
Arbour and Evans formed the best defensive tandem last season.
Originally Posted by OPC 1959-60
Once played as right winger, he now rates as a steady defenseman with standout ability as a rusher. He and Jack Evans form “silent Sam” backline.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 18, 1961
AL JUST ONE MORE CASE OF PUNCH BEING RIGHT – When Imlach Took Arbour the Experts Said Leaf Chief Made Bad Move

…critics sneered when the Maple Leafs claimed defenseman Al Arbour in the NHL player draft last summer. $20,000 down the drain, they said. Now the knockers are congratulating Imlach for a shrewd move. Injuries created an opening for Arbour and he’s done so well that Al Stanley and Larry Hillman are bound to have trouble squeezing back onto the roster. As a matter of fact, there’s a surplus that may lead to a trade or sale. When Stanley and Hillman recover, Leafs will own six NHL rearguards… Arbour marked his arrival in Toronto Nov. 1st when Leafs beat Montreal 3-2/ Arbour was a star of the match in which the Leafs proved decisively that they are capable of handling the mightiest club in hockey. Al blocked 10 shots, including several off the explosive stick of Boom Boom Geoffrion. His defensive work was flawless.

Why did the Leafs want Arbour, who was left unprotected by Chicago? Arbour had been only a stand-in with the Hawks, and Leafs seemed set defensively with Stanley, Horton, Brewer and Baun, with Hillman in reserve. However, folks had wondered the same thing when Imlach claimed Stanley and later Hillman, who were considered expendable by the Bruins. It turned out Punch knew what he was doing. Same deal with Arbour. As a guess, you might figure Imlach felt he needed more solid, stay-at-home blueliners woul would stick around and protect home plate while Brewer and Horton are away on their frequent forays into enemy territory. Eight goals in five NHL seasons suggest Arbour is no scoring threat…. “it was a thrill being with a Stanley Cup team, but I didn’t see as much action as I’d like. It’s great to be playing regularly again.”

…Arbour does a better job of blocking shots than any NHL defenseman since Bob Goldham was the 2nd goalie with the Detroit Red Wings. You might think he learned the art from Goldie. He didn’t, though. Says he’s been doing it since his junior days. “Timing’s the important thing,” says Al, who has never suffered a serious injury despite the danger inherent in his plunging style of play. “You have to watch player’s hands and eyes to tell if they’re faking or if they’re actually going to shoot. You can look pretty silly if you go for a fake and wind up on your knees while some guy is going around you and in on goal. Also you have to be careful not to screen your goalie when you drop. Eventually you get to know who are the fakers and who are the shooters. That helps, too.”
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 9, 1963
”If Reaume at the season’s halfway mark isn’t the leading candidate for the Eddie Shore award, I’d like to know who is,” said Frank Mathers. That quote appeared in THN January 26th, concerning Frank Mathers’ appraisal of his star defenseman, Marc Reaume. While the Rochester Americans don’t have much to boast about, they would like to fill the opening Mathers left in that statement. You want to know who the leading candidate is? Al Arbour of course. We’re not knocking Reaume, he’s great, almost as great as Arbour… there isn’t a blueliner in the circuit who can tie up an opponent with as much ease as Arbour. But his blocking of shots is his most notable accomplishment. There are games during which Al seems to stop nearly as many shots as the goaltender…Arbour has 3 goals and 12 assists – many of the points coming on plays where Al made end to end rushes which finished either him his knocking the puck in or else dropping a pass and screening the opposition’s goalie while a teammate pumped in the goal… Arbour means more than one hockey player to the Amerks, too. Rookie defenseman Barry Trapp is the first to admit how much playing alongside the talented Arbour has meant to him. Trapp, debuting in pro hockey, was a surprise with his fine play in the early going, then Al was recalled by Toronto and missed 9 Rochester games. Barry was nowhere near the same player and found himself on the bench for most of the action during the latter stages of Arbour’s absence. With Al’s return, Trapp suddenly returned to his top-flight form…
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 6, 1963
Participating in the postseason has become quite a habit for Rochester defenseman Al Arbour. In fact, the talented blueliner is finishing his 11th season in pro hockey by playing his 12th playoff. That’s right, 12 in 11 years. Arbour managed the odd feat by skating for both Edmonton and Detroit in 1956… Arbour and Gerry Ehman have been honored as co-winners of the Rochester Americans’ MVP award…
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 25, 1964
A is for All-star.
R is for Right defense.
B is for blocking shots.
O is for (No) One in the AHL.
U is for Uncanny.
R is for Rochester.

…Arbour is what is commonly known as a living clinch not only to successfully defend his AHL 1st all-star team rating, but also to annex the Eddie Shore Plaque as the circuit’s most valuable defenseman… this may sound a bit prejudiced, but Arbour’s closest competition is going to come from a Rochster teammate, Larry Hillman. Before scoffing, pick out a better AHL blueline pair. You can’t.

Chapter 9,737 in “why Al Arbour is an American League All-star defenseman” was written here Saturday, Jan 12. Page 1 – Arbour has everybody in the arena, including himself, blinking in amazement as his booming drive sails into the goal and right out through the back of the net. That queer goal snapped a 1-1 tie and led the Amerks past Baltimore 5-1. Page 2 – Mel Pearson raps a hard shot off Gerry Cheevers’ right shoulder, the puck hopping on top of the net where it actually begins rolling across the crossbar. Cheevers is down, but here comes Arbour with a slide a la Maury Willis. Al crashes into the post and takes a successful swipe with his stick just as the puck starts falling into the net. Page 3 – An Amerk pass is intercepted deep in the Rochester zone and a clipper fires at point-blank range. Cheevers makes a big save, but is out of the play as the rebound goes to another Baltimore skater. He shoots and Arnie Brown and Arbour throw themselves on the puck as it is heading towards the open goal mouth. Page 4 – Cheevers is standing in his cage, unaware that a deflected puck is skidding ever-so-slowly right on the goal line to his left. Just as it is about to go over, Arbour rushes from nowhere to flick the puck out of danger. There are a couple of footnotes, too – mentioning the numerous shots Arbour blocked and the times he carried opposing puck carriers into the corner without then ever getting a shot or a pass away. That performance may have been a bit unusual even for “Old Four Eyes”, but Rochester fans have come to expect it.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 23, 1965
In mechanics, an Arbour is the principal spindle or axis which communicates motion to the rest of the machinery. In hockey, Arbour is the principal spindle or axis which communicates impetus to the rest of the Rochester Americans. He doesn’t score many goals or assists, even for a defenseman, but if anybody on the squad is the key, it is Arbour… as Arbour goes, so go the Americans… He finally appears in line to shed his bridesmaid’s role which has seen him finish a close 2nd to Marc Reaume and then Ted Harris in voting for the Eddie Shore Plaque the past two seasons… Arbour has more than his own job on the ice to think about this season… he was signed as an assistant coach. He’s had much to do with the fine morale of this veteran club, and has handled the club during a number of practice sessions… Rochester fans, who have had more than their share of crowd pleasing rambunctious skaters, also appreciate Arbour’s quiet but effective methods of frustrating opposing forwards. Gerry Cheevers actually appreciates Arbour too, as there are games in which it seems Arbour blocks as many shots as Cheevers. Arbour’s quick-breaking and change of direction when he has the puck deep in the Rochester end always draws cheers here as enemy checkers become thoroughly confused. Amerk followers appraise Arbour very objectively – they unanimously agree that he’s the best defenseman to ever play not only for Rochester but in the American League.
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette, 1965-06-12
Toronto's King Clancy was elated that veteran Al Arbour wasn't drafted. The 32-year old defenseman was a standout at Rochester last season and has plenty of NHL experience. "They think he's too old, but he can help any club."
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, February 2, 1957
The indefinite loss of Arbour could have a two-way effect against the wings. Not only does it cost Detroit a regular defenseman, but also Kelly may have to shed his dual offensive-defensive role. Since Arbour popped up from Edmonton, Kelly gradually had blossomed back into his old role of a 4th forward. Arbour had shown he could anchor the defense without special nursing from Kelly.
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen, 1965-12-10
Imlach said he was "surprised no other team drafted him in the years we left him open."
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 2, 1966
Al Arbour may not repeat as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman, but he’s the league’s most valuable player. And if you think that is confusing, add this: if Arbour does yield the award, it will be to a blueliner who Al himself elevated to the top of the heap. In the opinion of Joe Crozier, the coach/GM, Al Arbour is the AHL’s MVP, but Duane Rupp is the circuit’s #1 defenseman… “Rupp has been the backbone of my defense this season… yes, he’s played better for me than Arbour. And Duane has improved so immensely… how can I turn around and pick Arbour as the MVP? That’s easy. He’s the guy who has made Rupp the best defenseman. That’s not a bad recommendation in itself. And of course we all know how much Arbour’s still great play means to this club. His ability to impart the right spirit is invaluable. Here’s a man who can cost himself bonus money for league awards by going out of his way to help his #1 competitor beat him out. But that’s exactly what he has done and is continuing to do…” Crozier has already backed up his sentiments with action, voting for Rupp as top defenseman and Arbour for MVP in an annual poll of coaches.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, Dcember 24, 1966
…his goal against Buffalo Dec. 11 was another example of why he is the best defenseman outside of the NHL… Arbour was killing a penalty and moved out to break up a Bison rush at his own blueline. He separated the puck from Dave Richardson, gained possession and went all the way before flipping the puck past Roy Edwards for the goal that broke the game wide open…
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 11, 1967

…15 years of participation in the ice wars have left his face laced with medical needlework of more than 300 stitches. At the age of 26, Arbour represents a considerable share of the hopes of the St. Louis Blues’ inaugural season in the NHL… he will be expected to present the strongest case for the Blues’ defense. And if past performance is accepted as a criterion, Arbour will do just that. He is a classic example of the professional journeyman athlete who commands all the skills but possesses little color. Arbour is poised in the face of enemy attacks, brilliant in the rare defensive art of blocking shots, and a frustrating obstacle to opposing players seeking to escape his octopus-like manoeuvres in protecting his goaltender. With an impressive background of ice campaigns, Arbour has known the tests of face-to-face showdowns with howe, the Richards, Beliveau and Hull.

…he was one of three players the Blues had to persuade to return to the game… with the Acquisition of Arbour and Hall, there are some observers who have noted that the Blues in fact came up with a bonus in defensive strength since Arbour’s unique shot blocking ability virtually makes him a second goaltender on the ice… when the Blues went to the draft in Montreal, they had in mind an Arbour-brand defenseman – a defensive defenseman as opposed to the freewheeling kind. “I have always been that kind. It seems that from the beginning of my career I have been paired with players who are outstanding puck carriers. When you have a great defensive rusher you have a partner who stays back and protects the home front.”

“the new division has no superstars yet who can give you some real nightmares as a defenseman… there is not the same experience you bump up against when you play Chicago or Detroit or Montreal. “ Arbour’s remarkable ability to block shots before they ever reach the goaltender makes him an extremely valuable defenseman. His powerful forearms show the welts and contusions of having been in the way of countless blasts of hard rubber travelling at 100 miles per hour.
Originally Posted by Pittsubrgh Press, 1967-12-23
A reputation as one of the best defensemen ever to ride a driving wing off the puck...
Originally Posted by The Man They Call Mr. Goalie (referring to 1968 playoffs)
More hurtful to the Blues than the loss itself was the injury to their top defenseman, Al Arbour, that saw him sit out the next four games of the series.
Originally Posted by Doug: The Doug Harvey Story (referring to 1968 playoffs)
Arbour was fit to play, as it turned out, and Bowman put him and Harvey together. “I remember that game vividly because Doug was outstanding. He and Arbour ran the game. They played over 40 minutes each.
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1968-69
specialty is blocking shots… he’s a big help to Bowman, who says, “Al is one of those players I talk about so much, a winner with Toronto and Rochester. He knows what it takes to succeed.”
Originally Posted by Topps 1969-70
Al is possibly the most underrated defenseman in the NHL. A strong leader…
Originally Posted by Jim Proudfoot Hockey 1969-70
A few years back, some hockey people were standing around a hotel lobby, discussing the merits of defensemen. Each was asked to name his personal choice as the best rearguard in the game and the first said, “I’m a big embarrassed because the guy I’m going to mention isn’t even in the NHL.” Another said, “are you thinking of the same one I am?” “Al Arbour,” said the first. “That’s right,” the other replied. Hockey conoisseurs always had wondered why Arbour had been stuck in the minors for so long while inferiors were collecting NHL salaries. Arbour was wondering, too, and he had decided to quit hockey when Blues claimed him from Toronto as one of their originals… a master at the hazardous art of blocking shots, finally won recognition last spring at age 36 and in his 17th pro season. He received more all-star votes than any defenseman in the Western Division. In other words, he was the best.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, April 17, 1970 (Bill Libby)

…he would be an outstanding coach, except that he couldn’t teach a guy to shoot if his wife’s life depended on it. However, even at 37, he was not ready to turn from playing to coaching. “coaching’s tough. Of course, so is playing, but I’m used to that.” He’d be used to walking on hot coals if he’d done it for 16 years. Which is almost what he has done. If you had to name the single hockey player who has been most underestimated in the past 20 years, the name almost surely would be Al Arbour. Early in his career, he was passed around like a cold from Detroit to Chicago to Toronto, even though he played on Cup champions at each stop so he could not have hurt his clubs much… in the early 1960s, he was jerked up and down between Rochester and Toronto every season. In the mid-60s he was buried in Rochester, maybe the best player not in the majors. He had been told to move and change uniforms 22 times in 16 seasons when St. Louis drafted him. Why? “I’m not a very good scorer,” he suggests modestly. This is the understatement of the era… no one goes broke giving Arbour parties. He is the goalie’s best friend. In more ways than one. He doesn’t present problems to the opposition goalie, but he also saves his own goalie from problems. He plays defense.

In the Bobby Orr era, it has been lost sight of that a defenseman’s main job should be playing defense…Asked to name the best defensive defensemen in the NHL recently, some of hockey’s top men sagged in shock, knit their brows and deliberated for long periods before producing a handful of names. Most of these were older players, hanging on with expansion, who were brought up in another era. Arbour was one of these special performers. It is almost impossible to accept Al as one of the top players in the NHL when you consider his scoring stats, defense or no defense. Even a defensive minded defenseman should have more points than Arbour does. Still, Al plays such smooth defense that he overcomes this shortcoming. He probably is the most consistent defensive player in hockey today, even at his age, and he has been as big a reason as any why St. Louis has done so well. The wise men who guide the destinies of NHL teams were not very smart when they let him linger so long in the minors. Toronto has made few moves worse than not protecting and St. Louis none better than drafting him.

He is about as colorful as clear glass. He doesn’t attack. He has had about as many real fights as Eddie Shack and pretended a lot less… the mild-mannered, inoffensive, bespectacled gentleman is a gem, rare in an age of shooting stars… Al has found the fountain of youth and hit the comeback trail in more ways than one.
Originally Posted by Ellensburg Daily Record – May 8, 1970
While the Boston squad was in peak physical condition, the Blues were missing several key players headed by hard rock defenseman Al Arbour
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, August, 1970

Scotty Bowman was right when he said that Arbour’s main problem as coach of the Blues will be “replacing himself on the ice.” Bowman had relied greatly on the master defenseman in forging the Blues into the class of the NHL’s expansion teams. Arbour was the Blues’ first and only captain and had the respect of his teammates from the very first of those dark days… Bowman knew that the lanky body of his top defenseman was made of something akin to pure rawhide. Arbour played virtually every game over his three seasons and he showed a stamina and endurance that left younger players with surprised looks on their faces… Arbour demanded the maximum effort from himself as a player; in one playoff game in 1969 he slumped in a state of exhaustion at the final siren and was helped off the ice by two teammtes… Arbour played defense with no ifs, ands or buts. His understanding of the position was that it was created to prevent goals, without so much as even a thought of conceding a point now and then. This kind of thinking fit well with Bowman’s concept of defensive hockey… Arbour leaves behind a gaping hole in the ranks of the Blues…
Originally Posted by March 13th, 1971 NHL Coaches Poll - Toronto Star
Best Defensive Defenceman - Ted Harris, Al Arbour, Bobby Orr tie
Originally Posted by Topps 1974-75
Al bounced around as a player quite a bit, but he had a solid reputation as a most reliable defenseman. He was most adept at blocking shots.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette – May 12, 1984
While playing Arbour kept notes on opposing forwards – their moves, their moods.
Originally Posted by St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Feb. 9, 1988
Arbour and Barc were the perfect team, on the ice and as roommates on the road. “Al was a lefthanded defenseman who had a hard time playing left defense...”
Truly a low-event player

Has there ever been a player so universally regarded as a defensive player, yet so apparently inept offensively? Arbour was a master shot blocker who didn’t care for attacking at all. He was said to be the goalie’s best friend – both goalies. He is the definition of a “low event player”.

About Arbour’s TOI numbers – estimates using GF and GA have him at an average of 22.73 minutes a game post-expansion. Considering he was 35-38 and received no PP time, that’s very impressive, but it almost certainly understates his impact to the team. TOI estimates are based on the premise that players on the ice more, will log more GF and GA. This is true, but the formula assumes that at even strength, the total GF+GA per minute will be mostly uniform (because, what else can it assume without being subjective and arbitrary?) Well I’m going to be subjective and arbitrary.

What is the usual result for a team’s lowest event player? As an example I took the modern day St. Louis Blues, who have been very good defensively the last four seasons. Adding up the GF/60 and GA/60 for the 6 defensemen who have played the most for them, we find that there is a definite low event player among them at 3.99, with the others averaging 4.49 So their low event defenseman averages 11.2% fewer than the rest do, on average. I checked Minnesota for the same 4 years and their clear low-event player is 14.5% below the average of the rest. And Los Angeles has a low-event player who is 10.7% below the rest. Based on this simple look, it seems that it’s normal for a good defensive team to have a low-event player about 12.1% below the others on the team. On the 1967-1971 Blues, that was Al Arbour.

Let’s take a look at his team’s estimated defense ESTOI in his three full seasons:

1968 ARBOUR, AL 74 25.297 21.548 0.124 3.624 50 63 0.071
1968 PICARD, NOEL 66 23.735 20.684 0.966 2.086 43 50 0.068
1968 PLAGER, BOB 53 24.510 21.639 0.506 2.364 35 48 0.072
1968 PLAGER, BARCLAY 49 23.350 21.145 1.814 0.391 39 34 0.071
1968 HUCUL, FRED 43 23.644 19.460 2.864 1.320 30 32 0.075
1969 HARVEY, DOUG 70 26.275 20.155 2.842 3.277 57 45 0.072
1969 TALBOT, JEAN-GUY69 19.011 16.454 0.303 2.253 37 30 0.059
1969 PICARD, NOEL 67 24.660 21.519 1.557 1.584 59 39 0.068
1969 ARBOUR, AL 67 21.850 18.439 0.000 3.411 52 34 0.069
1969 PLAGER, BARCLAY 61 24.075 20.637 2.377 1.061 58 26 0.067
1969 PLAGER, BOB 32 20.968 19.297 0.000 1.670 27 18 0.073
1970 PLAGER, BARCLAY 75 23.478 19.342 0.975 3.161 55 54 0.076
1970 TALBOT, JEAN-GUY75 19.149 17.387 0.525 1.237 54 36 0.069
1970 ARBOUR, AL 68 22.790 18.905 0.082 3.803 50 46 0.074
1970 PLAGER, BOB 64 21.065 17.803 0.087 3.175 40 40 0.070
1970 FORTIN, RAY 57 15.428 14.865 0.386 0.176 35 32 0.078
1970 PICARD, NOEL 39 16.645 15.238 0.411 0.997 24 24 0.079

The team average ES events/min in each of the three seasons was 0.072, 0.068, and 0.074. If you set Arbour’s events per minute to be 90% of the team average (which would put him at about 88% of the non-Arbour average like we are aiming for), it would be 0.065, 0.061 and 0.067.

In 1968, you have to bump Arbour’s ESTOI by 2.0 minutes to achieve this result. In 1969. In 1969, it goes up by 2.6 minutes. In 1970, it goes up by 2.0 minutes. If you adjust everyone else’s ES minutes proportionally, you end up with the following:

1968: Arbour’s 27.3 TOI is #1 on the team by 3.3 minutes and his 23.5 ESTOI is #1 by 2.4 minutes.
1969: Arbour’s 24.5 TOI is #2 behind Harvey by 1.6 minutes and his 21.0 ESTOI is #1 by 0.1 minutes.
1970: Arbour’s 24.8 TOI is #1 by 1.7 minutes and his 2.9 ESTOI is #1 by 2.1 minutes.

In short, he was always the Blues' top guy at ES, on the PK and almost in total save for one season where Harvey's PP time put him ahead.

Apply a modest adjustment to Arbour’s 1971 season to avoid doing all the work over 22 games (ignoring the fact that his lower minutes are due to him being a playing coach), and a revised career TOI/GP estimate for him would be 24.84. At age 35-38, with no PP time. Extremely impressive.

I don't mean to downplay the TOI estimates, but Arbour is a uniquely low event player and I believe this estimate is closer to accurate than the TOI spreadsheet.

Last edited by seventieslord: 04-13-2017 at 05:30 PM.
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Mike Ridley, C

- 6’0”, 195 (like 6'1", 205 today)
- 16th in points (1989)
- Best VsX scores:: 65, 64, 62, 59, 58, 57, 55 (total 420, avg 60.0)
- Best ES VsX scores: 78, 72, 70, 65, 64, 64, 61 (total 476, avg 68.0)
- Led team in scoring three times (1986, 1989, 1994)
- 78 points in 104 playoff games
- Killed 32% of penalties for teams 15% better than average
- 15th in Selke voting (1992, 4 votes)
- Traded three times, three times the team trading him got badly hosed
- Played in All-Star Game (1989)

Originally Posted by legendsofhockey.net
While playing youth hockey in Winnipeg, Mike Ridley suffered a few setbacks that served to disguise the great hockey potential that simmered under his helmet. As a midget, his leg was broken as a result of a hit laid on by his future Ranger teammate, James Patrick. Later Ridley suffered a broken collarbone. The net result was that he lost two important years of development while his bones were at rest…By age nineteen, he played Tier II junior for one season. At such an age and in such a setting, he held no consideration of making it in pro hockey. As a result, he hooked up with the University of Manitoba Bisons where, all of a sudden, his talent started to rumble at the rink. By season's end, he was selected as the Canadian University Player of the Year. And in his second and final campaign on campus he was chosen as an All-Canadian all-star.

Because of his late development, he was never drafted by the NHL. Instead, he signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers on the strength of a recommendation from the Blueshirts' assistant coach Reg Higgs -- a former college coach who'd seen Ridley in action with the University of Manitoba. In Ridley, the Rangers happened onto one of the most effective, unknown free agents to ever walk into an NHL training camp. His offensive finesse, his tireless work and determination earned him a spot as the club's second-line centreman…In his first season, he potted 65 points and was a standout in the playoffs. But halfway through his second year, he was traded to the Washington Capitals where he really made a name for himself as a crafty, productive forward who was usually good for an average of a point a game over his seven-plus seasons with the club.

In 1994-95, Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher brought Ridley to Toronto with a plan to keep the prolific centreman on hand for years to come. But the Buds' coach, Pat Burns, didn't like what he considered to be Ridley's soft style of play. As such, Burns lobbied for more muscle which he got with Sergio Momesso who came over from Vancouver with Ridley going the other way…As a Canucks, however, Ridley was greatly slowed by a bulged disk in his back. He missed much of the 1995-96 season but bounced back the following year. He put in one final, solid campaign with the club and then rounded out his career after a brief stint with the Manitoba Moose of the IHL in 1997.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Mike Ridley was one of the few to attend a Canadian university and go on to enjoy a fine NHL career. Born on July 8th, 1963 in Winnipeg, Ridley attended his hometown University of Manitoba rather than leaving home for a US college or for a Canadian junior hockey team. The move paid off well for Ridley. He was named the Canadian University Player of the year, an First All Star and a All-Canadian in 1984 and repeated his All Star and All-Canadian performance in 1985. Despite his dominating play, Ridley was never drafted by a NHL team as scouts scoffed at the level of play in the CIAU. However the New York Rangers were smart enough to give this kid a look-see in their 1985 training camp. Ridley came into camp and impressed the Rangers so much that they not only signed him to a NHL contract, but he made the team and played a big role immediately. In fact in Ridley's rookie season he led the New York Rangers in scoring with his 65 points (including 22 goals).

Mike was on pace for another fine season with 36 points in 38 games in 1986-87 when the Rangers surprisingly traded him along with Bob Crawford and Kelly Miller to Washington for Bobby Carpenter and a draft pick. Ridley was a quiet, hard working All-Canadian kid but the Rangers play in New York. When the opportunity arose for the Rangers to acquire Carpenter - Sports Illustrated's poster boy and the first American to score 50 goals in a season - they jumped at the opportunity. Carpenter would struggle much of his career offensively before reinventing himself as a defensive specialist. Ridley, and for that matter Miller, went on to enjoy fine seasons with the Washington Capitals.

Ridley relied more on hard work than natural talent. Despite lacking offensive flare, Ridley manage to squeeze out 547 points in 588 games with the Caps. A fine two way player, his best personal season came in 1988-89 when he scored 41 goals and 89 points.

Ridley was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a big 1994 draft day swap that saw the two teams exchange first round picks. Ridley, who rarely missed a handful of games in his NHL career, was starting to develop a chronic back problem. He would play in all 48 games of the lock-out shortened 1994-95 season, but often in pain. His offensive contributions were affected by his pain - just 10 goals. The Leafs "dumped" the injured center in a July 1995 trade with Vancouver in exchange for Sergio Momesso. The Canucks had hoped his back would get better and had planned on taking advantage of Ridley's fine playmaking skills by putting him on their top line with Pavel Bure with another newcomer, Alexander Mogilny on the other wing.

The Canucks dream line never became a reality. Ridley's back limited him to 37 pain-filled games. He only registered 6 goals and 21 points. Ridley's back held up for much of the 1996-97 season. He played in 75 games. He was a standout in the first half of the season but then his ailing back failed him again. Though he missed only 7 games, his play was effected by season's end. The Canucks released Ridley after that. After more back treatment he returned to Winnipeg where he tried to skate with the Manitoba Moose of the IHL to test his back. He scored 4 points in 4 games but his back continued to bother him. Ridley finally admitted defeat in his battle with back pain.

Ridley was a tremendously underrated star for most of his NHL career. He scored 292 goals and 466 assists for 758 points in 866 NHL games. He added 28 goals and 78 points in 104 playoff appearances.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, October 11, 1985
…”I wanted Mike here for comparison purposes,” said Higgs, who coached against Ridley’s Manitoba squad. “He was a known watermark for me and id I saw 20 players who were better than Ridley, I knew we’d have a pretty good club. But it hasn’t been that way. I’m not at all surprised by Mike’s play here… Mike went to Manitoba out of Tier II… he was awkward, a late bloomer… Mike’s made a lot of progress the last few years… Ridley has impressed with his offensive prowess and defensive capabilities… “I don’t think I’m playing over my head. In fact, I think I could get better because I don’t do any one thing great.”

Mike’s made productive goal scorers out of anyone he has played with,” says Higgs. “He has good passing skills and boy, is he durable. He’s impossible to brutalize. It’s ineffective to brutalize Mike but if you didn’t, he’d hurt you worse. And he comes out of nearly every contact situation vertical.”

The play of those three away from the puck in recognizing their checks and the defensive challenges was as important as their offensive contributions,” says head coach Ted Sator.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, November 22, 1985
Mike Ridley’s consistent efforts continue to make assistant coach Reg Higgs look like a genius for bringing him to camp.
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1986-87
A walk-on in the purest sense of the term… clearly won a job… by end of season, was Rangers’ best all-around center…quiet, unassuming but extremely confident.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1986-87
Ridley is a good skater, not blessed with a lot of speed but with a good steady pace that will take him away from most defenders. He is very strong on his skates with a low center of gravity and as such is rarely knocked to the ice, coming out of most collisions vertical and ready to get back to work. Ridley also has excellent lateral movement, the ability to change direction within one stride on the ice.

Ridley is an excellent passer, using his teammates very well because he has tremendous anticipation skills. He knows where the net is at all times and sees where the play and the opening is in regard to his teammates. He gets the passes there because of good hands, making his passes soft and easy to handle and he carries the puck well because of his good hands too. Ridley has a good wrist shot, and if he is in scoring territory will make the goaltender work to stop his accurate and quick wrist shot. Despite his low +/-, Ridley was the Rangers’ best defensive player, coming back deep into his own zone and getting the puck out quickly and well.

Ridley is not strong along the boards but is aggressive in that he goes in and ties up his man and stays involved in the action all the time. He is not a back down type of player but is not a fighter either. Ridley will bump anyone he has to in order to make his plays and he’ll take those hits too. He is also impossible to brutalize, ignoring the abuse to concentrate on his assigned task

Ridley was a walk-on in Ranger training camp, invited as a barometer for the Rangers’ talent. Not only was he a fine player, but he accomplished all he did playing center instead of his customary LW. He is a very hard worker and eminently coachable, not at all in awe of the NHL and its stars. The rookie led the NHL in scoring and took a regular turn on the PP and PK units, an awful lot of responsibility for a rookie, but he didn’t disappoint. Mike Ridley was a damn good rookie for the Rangers.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News, January 23, 1987
Mike Ridley made an immediate impact on the Capitals with his hustle, courage, scoring ability, faceoff skills… and homesickness. Ridley took the trade hard. He did not eat for two days, contributing to a lack of energy in his first three appearances… in the 3rd period against Pittsburgh, he won 10 of 13 faceoffs to help keep the Penguins off balance…

…in his 5th game, a road contest against Philadelphia, he was blasted into the boards by Dave Poulin… the 2nd period hit opened a severe gash over the left eye that required 40 stitches to close. But he was back for the 3rd period and overtime… “Mike showed me a lot coming back after that,” said coach Bryan Murray. “The doctor said he stopped counting stitches after 30, and the trainers had to cut the padding around his helmet so it would cover the damage without making it worse.”

Apparently, Ridley is playing his heart out for a mere pittance of $80,000 a year. Just before he was dealt, he had renegotiated his undersized contract to a figure near $175,000, but the new pat was not finalized. “Esposito gave his word that in the event of injury or trade, it would be done. Now he’s balking about it.” Esposito indicated that he considered the matter closed by the trade. “If Mike was still with New York, I probably would have done something, but he’s not. He’s the property of the Capitals now. They didn’t have any new deal with me. On principle, maybe, but not on paper. The guy had two years left. Am I stupid, or what?”

When the trade was announced, Ingraham and Ridley discussed the possibility of refusing to report until terms of the new deal were implemented. However, Ridley vetoed the tactic. “I wanted to play, I didn’t want to sit out. I want to get going and help the team. It’s not David Poile’s fault or washington’s fault.” During his first three games, Ridley took short shifts because of an apparent lack of stamina. “Sometimes tiredness affects me more than most guys. But it’s not my legs. I was 2nd or 3rd in leg strength on the Rangers. A trade affects you mentally, and your legs just don’t have the usual jump. But I’m hitting my stride now. I’ll be ok.”
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1987-88
Was unhappy when the Rangers traded him and seems intent on proving Phil Esposito was wrong… he didn’t eat for two days and it affected his play… “a trade mentally affects you, and your legs don’t have the usual jump,” he said at the time.”We’re very pleased with Mike, but we expect him to get even better,” said GM David Poile.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1987-88
A traumatic season for Ridley after being traded… needed time to adjust, but came back to tally career highs in goals and points… endowed with excellent agility and lateral movement… low center of gravity means he can play a physical game and not suffer for it because he comes out of most collisions in a vertical stance and ready to go… a quality individual and hockey player. He has tons of heart and character, is a very hard worker… he will always turn in a solid performance, and he still has the potential to improve his game… will make Phil Esposito look very bad for trading him.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1988-89
Balance is the key to his skating ability… he won’t beat anyone to a loose puck with foot speed but will instead gain the puck through that balance, using it to extend himself beyond a normal range of motion. His balance also makes him a fine player in traffic, and it powers his physical game… complements his hands with good anticipation, hockey sense and peripheral vision… will either lead a teammate into an opening with a good pass or get to the opening himself… his passes are easy to handle because of his touch.. the low +/- is completely deceptive because Mike is a fine defensive player. He will often find himself opposing the other team’s top center… he amplifies his physical ability with his playmaking ability out of the corner… heart, character, dedication describe Ridley’s attitude toward the game… a very hard worker in practice and during games.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1989-90
Balance is the finesse quality that powers Mike’s game, seconded by hockey sense… allows him to work excellently in crowded areas and when being checked… he uses his finesse skills on both specialty team units, and defensively too. He excels at getting the puck from his own zone…
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1990-91
The heart of Ridley’s game lies in his skating, though not in the classical senses of speed and dynamic motion. Rather, he has almost extraordinary balance and it is that skill that powers his skating. Ridley is essentially a straight-line player – which is not to say he can’t turn or think creatively. Instead, Ridley’s strength on his skates lets him drive the opposition back and literally skate through them. He works exceptionally well in the traffic areas in the corners and the front of the net, despite his relative lack of quickness or speed. His balance does make him very agile, and helps him make plays or shoot while being checked.

His hockey sense, anticipation and vision are very strong and give him good reads of both his own position and those of his teammates all over the ice… his skills make him a special teams regular, and they make him a strong defensive player and solid two-way performer. Ridley is a quietly aggressive player, in that he consistently and successfully takes the body and wins one-on-one battles all over the ice – without bouncing anyone into next week.. he makes the most of his balance as he drives through checks along the boards and gains the puck… he not only initiates contact but willingly accepts it to make his plays, regardless of abuse. He also sacrifices his body by blocking shots… a very dedicated player and a hard worker, but needs to have more confidence in his abilities – he can fall into funks because he worries about his performances. Neverthelsss, he’s a character player and a quality person.
Originally Posted by Sharks and Prey 1990-91
failed to match his career high of 89 points. Despite his top line billing and lots of PP time, he garnered more checking attention from the opposition. The other centers were not impsing scoring threats so they did little to ease the pressure. Ridley will be afforded the same scrutiny this year since Pivonka seems unable to become a consistent scoring threat. Ridley has solid skating and puckhandling ability but the team's defensive orientation has been firmly ingrained
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1991-92
Ridley is one of those rare individuals who may be faster with the puck than without it. He seems to relish the challenge of doing something creative, making something out of nothing; the challenge gets his legs and hands and mind going faster than when someone else is carrying it. His one-on-one game runs off that internal electricity, which also energizes the extremely powerful lower body that provides his skating power and balance. Ridley has extremely fast hands and does not believe in wasting time. He gets the puck and releases it when a shot is available, surprising goaltenders with his quick release. He can score from the top of the circle but also likes to take the puck deep; he will carry into traffic and handle the puck in tight – making himself the eye of the storm he creates.

Ridley is very responsible defensively and is an extremely effective penalty killer who uses his speed and smarts to challenge and pressure the opposition power play. He forces puck carriers to make decisions, then is off on the counterattack if a turnover ensues. And he will look to score, not simply dump the puck down ice. Something about his carriage makes you think this is not a strong guy, except that perception is utterly and completely incorrect. Ridley plays a physical game, drives defensemen back off the blueline. He drives to the net and uses his body nicely to shield the backhand as he mushes onward. He will give a big hit if the opportunity arises and it will be the other guy who goes to the ice. Ridley puts tremendous pressure on himself to be the best player possible. He is intense, emotional, sensitive and demanding of himself – which might be surprising to the people who look at him and constantly see a poker face. They are wrong to underestimate his drive; the guy wasn’t even drafted, yet he made himself an all-star and made it look easy.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1992-93
extremely strong on his skates and has very good balance, which makes him a one-on-one threat against most defensemen in the league. He has a healthy amount of hockey smarts and uses tremendous lower body power for the drive that helps achieve his aims. Hand quickness is also a Ridley weapon; he can accept a pass and surprise a goaltender with his fast release that he absolutely must use more frequently. He makes accurate passes, even on the backhand. There are times, though, when he is a bit stubborn with the puck, holding it a bit too long at the attacking blue line instead of throwing it into a corner and going to work.

Ridley plays a 200 foot game and comes all way back on defense to break up a number of plays. That helps his offense, as he regains possession of the puck; ironically, it may also take away a bit of his offense, as lots of times Ridley starts a rush from deep in his defensive end. Still, he prevents at least as many goals as he scores and is a very solid two-way player. Ridley will throw the big hit and dislodge a player from the puck in any area of the ice. He will also do the subtly physical things, such as planting his trunk into an opponent’s path along the boards, shielding the puck with his body and freeing at least one of his hands to control it. He pays the price in front of the net and in the pits and always makes the effort to beat his check back into the play after contact.

Ridley spent another season drawing the top checkers night in and night out. He continued to limit himself, however, with a disturbingly low shot total that made him easier to defend against… nonetheless, he is a crucial situations player. If you’re protecting a one-goal lead in the final minute or battling a one-goal deficit, there is a good chance Ridley will get the job done for you.
Originally Posted by Sharks and Prey 1993-94
Typically plays a full season and scores 70 points… even when injuries cost him games, he seems to be able to compensate by elevating his play. A dependable center who knows both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game… thrives come playoff time.
Originally Posted by 1993-94 Score Card
Mr. consistency… One of the leagues top penalty killers
Originally Posted by OPC card 1993-94
one of the NHL's best defensive forwards
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1993-94
He’s been defying odds and playing outstanding – although often anonymous – hockey for nearly a decade… he’s been a model of consistency and reliability for the Caps. Ridley is known as much for his defensive play as for his excellent production. One of the best, most opportunistic penalty killers in hockey, he is regularly among the league leaders in SHG… his faceoff work is highly respected and he handles the puck as well in his own zone as in the enemy zone.

The only thing wrong with Ridley’s total package is that it lacks a singular highlight. He’s outstanding at a lot of things and is one of the Caps’ best players, but he isn’t a superstar because he doesn’t do anything extraordinarily well… about 26 NHL coaches would love to have such a non-superstar… still stands as the worst trade Phil Esposito ever made. May never get to the HOF, won’t win a lot of awards, may never win a Stanley Cup. Still, when all is said and done, he will be remembered as one of Washington’s best ever.

WILL – give 100%
CANT – get enough praise
EXPECT – good production
DON’T EXPECT – to notice him
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1993-94
he doesn't amass large point totals, but he consistently nets about 70 in an average season... the club's 2nd line center who sees the same sort of PP time. He also kills penalties well...performed well in the postseason. Typically plays a full year and is seldom injured... still has the juice for another season.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1993-94
The Caps may lead the league in complete players who aren’t quite all-star caliber. Ridley can certainly be counted among them. He is a solid two-way center, smart and strong, and has good offensive instincts to combine with his defensive awareness. He concentrates on defense first. If the opponent has a big center, then Ridley gets the assignment. He is a strong skater who can win one-on-one battles against all but the biggest defensemen. He grinds in the corners and in front of the net. A sneaky passer down low, he scores most of his goals from wrist shots in tight as well. He doesn’t shoot enough. He is very accurate, but often holds onto the puck too long, and opponents will always play the pass until he is more willing to fire away.

Ridley is a crunch time player. He will protect the puck with his body or work like crazy to get it free. He pays the toll in the traffic areas, and plays every inch of the ice. He is an excellent penalty killer and very disciplined player. For someone as involved as he is, he takes only a tiny number of bad penalties… nothing he has accomplished in his career has been done without hard work. That ethic hasn’t deserved him for a single shift. He is supposed to be a solid #2 center, but no one ever emerges as a #1 and Ridley keeps inheriting the role. He is a gamer.
Originally Posted by 1994-95 Topps Card
one of the most reliable two-way forwards in the league, Mike is strong and smart at both ends of the ice, but he is most proud of his checking.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1994-95
a straight-ahead player who much prefers a north-south game to an east-west game. He plays all 200 feet of the ice. He is just as likely to make an important play behind either net. Ridley is good on faceoffs, winning the draw and then swiveling his hip into the opposing center, buying time for his teammates to get the puck. .. draws penalties by outworking his opponents in the corners. Never gives up on a play, and is always willing to pay a price for the puck… one of the most dependable forwards in the NHL.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Guide 1994-95
underrated Cap veteran reached 70 points for 6th straight year – due in part to team’s inability to develop or acquire a premier pivot in the Messier mould. Good skater and faceoff man who is both durable and rugged.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1994-95
Ridley has been a durable player, missing only the odd game during a season... his role will change in Toronto, as it was in his last games with the Capitals. Ridley will be placed in charge of a checking unit on a 3rd line and it's a testament to him being a complete player. Ridley is excellent defensively yet has managed to count decent points throughout his career. However, he's likely to be teamed with Berg and Osborne, two players who would look around for someone to check first before scoring an empty net goal... Ridley will be expected to handle the opponent's top line and kill penalties. this all adds up to a reduction in points... Toronto just got awfully stable up the middle awfully quick,.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1994-95
Ridley accomplishes through hard work and dedication what more gifted players can accomplish through mere talent. He is a player who pushes the outer edges of his limitations ascribed to him by virtue of his unspectacular style. He doesn’t have a distinguishing feature to inspire fans, but he gets the job done and is always among the team’s best scorers. Other players with lesser work habits can get by on skill, but Ridley, who’s good at many things but great at none of them, can’t rest on his laurels… constantly cast in the role of overachiever, even though he has plenty of proven skill…

WILL – be an overachiever
CANT – get deserved respect
EXPECT – lots of points
DON’T EXPECT – a lazy player

Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1995-96
technically speaking, he cheats on faceoffs, but he’s good at it… one of the league’s best penalty killers and worked on Toronto’s first unit… always in great physical condition. He has missed few games in his career, but not because he doesn’t get hurt. He just plays hurt.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1995-96
Quinn made a solid move when he pried this durable center from the Leafs for Momesso. There was a hole to be filled at center and Ridley is more than capable... the competition for playing time in Vancouver isn't as stiff. Ridley is a solid two-way player who doesn't mind backchecking... last year he scored the equivalent of 65, most of them at even strength... Ridley's not flashy but he'll help with the penalty killing...
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Guide 1995-96
Highly underrated and consistent, plundered from Capitals… quick, elusive pivot with exceptional puck control, his two-way play made him Leafs’ best all-around performer last year.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1995-96
was a leader for the Caps for 7 ½ years… isn’t the most gifted player in the NHL, but accomplishes through hard work… squeezes out every bit of productivity possible… though ordinary in appearance because he lacks superstar qualities, he nevertheless is a gem… the fact that he once scored 41 goals is a curse and a blessing. He proved his ability to surpass all expectations, and yet he set new ones that he has never been able to match… he can’t be pushed around, but he hardly gives the impression of being aggressive… has been one of the game’s best kept secrets for a decade.

WILL – be a quiet leader
CANT – be ignored defensively

EXPECT – surprising puck ability
DON’T EXPECT – less than total effort
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Guide 1996-97
struggled early on with back spasms and was forced to undergo surgery… proficient at both ends of the rink and on faceoffs… getting on in age, but can still help this club.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1996-97
renowned for his solid contributions in both ends of the rink and his fervor for the game… courageous center started skating again in mid-February and came back March 14th… if back is in good shape, could surprise a lot of people.
Originally Posted by Hockey Pool Prophet 1996-97
It's lucky for Quinn that the guy he traded for Ridley, Sergio Momesso, bottomed out last season. Ridley came to the Leaf with back problems and chose last year to have his worst season. He'd never missed more than a handful of games before until a bulging disk cost him 45 games... for a guy who usually has 70 points, it was a frustrating experience. It was later discovered by Canucks brass that this wasn't a recent development. He'd considered retiring while playing with a bad back for both Washington and Toronto, but medical staff of those teams couldn't pinpoint the problem. The pain became unbearable last season and he ended up having spinal surery after Vancouver doctors diagnosed it correctly. The bulging disk put pressure on nerves serving his legs and sapped him of his lower body strength. Before the surgery, he tried exercises, different skates and a more upright style. Nothing helped and he literally limed through the season. At press time, he was saying he'd retire if the surgery wasn't successful. Vancouver is expecting him to return, largely because he hasn't told them anything different. both are in a wait-and-see mode... Back problems are the worst and there's no guarantee he'll be ready to play.

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Position: D
Shoots: Left
Height: 6' 5''
Weight: 235lb

Awards and Accomplishments

Norris Record: 3rd (02-03), 7th (98-99), 13th (00-01), 16th (99-00), 17th (96-97)

AST: 2nd (02-03)

- Stanley Cup winner in 1999 (averaging 29 minutes + a night)
- First non-Canadian Captain to win the Stanley Cup
- Captained a team that went to the Finals back to back (99 & 00)


Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
For a good portion of the 1990s he was a top 10 defenseman in the NHL.


Defense was Hatcher's specialty. He had a good head for the offensive game, just not the legs. His skating was laboured, so he learned early not get himself into spots where he could not hurry back. Instead he smartly positioned himself so that the play came to him.

He had good hands for such a big man. He had a good first pass and could handle the puck in traffic. He was a regular on the power play thanks to a smart wrist shot that he more often than not got on net. Occassionally he would move off the line and crash the net with his big body.

Originally Posted by J.R.: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless, and Hard-Hitting Man in Hockey
"But I didn't hate him for what he did to me.I respected Hatcher as an extremely competitive person and a winner.His intensity level was two levels higher than most players.In a weird, maybe perverse way, I respected Hatcher for doing what he did to me, for avenging Modano." - Jeremy Roenick

Originally Posted by The Augusta Chronicle, May 28, 1999
Derian Hatcher, a rugged defenseman with stubble that would demand a sharp razor, has drawn the arduous task of shadowing high-scoring, hard-hitting center Peter Forsberg.

The early results couldn't be better for the Dallas Stars, who have effectively contained Forsberg and Colorado's potent offense to take a 2-1 series lead over the Avalanche in the Western Conference finals.

"Whether I wanted the assignment or not, I got it," Hatcher said Thursday. "I would rather play against the other lines. ... He is one of the harder guys in the league to defend. He is so strong on his skates. You can't knock him down."

Hatcher's work in Dallas' 3-0 victory Wednesday night followed two games of grinding by teammate Guy Carbonneau, who actually asked to go head-to-head with Forsberg in the first two games.

Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, Apr. 13, 2000
The Oilers knew and got exactly what they expected from the Stars. Derian Hatcher was his usual tower of strength along with defensive partner Richard Matvichuk.

Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated 1996
The Dallas Stars' 24-year-old Derian Hatcher didn't have the Stanley Cup showcase, though he distinguished himself last month in the World Cup, scoring two goals for the U.S. in the first game of the best-of-three finals. Hatcher displayed a combination of toughness, surprising offensive instincts and decent speed. "He looks like he's lumbering out there at times,"
Flyers coach Terry Murray says of the 6'5", 225-pounder, "but he's tough and makes good decisions with the puck."

Originally Posted by Star-Spangled Hockey: Celebrating 75 Years of USA Hockey
Derian was a tough, heavy-hitting defensive-minded player whose offensive skill was better than most fans realized.

Former Dallas Stars general manager Doug Armstrong calls Derian the "American version of Scott Stevens".

"What always impressed me most about Derian Hatcher was that he walked softly and carried a big stick," Armstrong said."He never said anything controversial or ever drew a line in the sand; he just always let his actions speak for him."

Derian Hatcher was sometimes used as a 2nd unit PP net presence:
Originally Posted by SI, 5-18-1998
Penalty killing has grown so aggressive that teams are altering their power plays. Instead of a puckhandling second unit, Dallas sends out a smash-and-crash group featuring a solar eclipse of a defenseman, 6'5", 225-pound Derian Hatcher, who stands in front
of the net and tries to deflect in wrist shots from the point.

Originally Posted by Hockey News
In its April 24 issue, The Hockey News has named Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher the league’s top penalty-killer for the 2006-07 season.

"Derian Hatcher endured and persevered through a tough year in Philadelphia, and that’s partly why he’s receiving the Guy Carbonneau Penalty-Killer of the Year Award.

Originally Posted by Our Goal Is Gold: A Pictorial Profile of the 1998 USA Hockey Team
Hatcher covers lots of ground with his arms, more with his legs.He covers as much area with one big stride as other players cover with two.

And then comes his head, which may be the best feature of all, because Derian Hatcher has very good instincts.

Originally Posted by seventieslord
Little study I spent three hours on...

- Determine the top-5 teams defensively each season from 1968-1979, the top-6 each season from 1980-2000, and the top-7 each season from 2001-2012. these are defined as elite defensive teams.
- create a new column in the TOI spreadsheet (1967-2006)that sums up only the total of ES and PK ice time, eliminating PP from the equation. Use NHL.com for 2007-2012
- count the number of times a player is either the leader in non-PP TOI on an elite defensive team, or 2nd place and within one minute.

What I'm left with is a list representing which players since expansion have tended to be the bulwark of a very strong defensive team.

177 players showed up at least once. These are the 85 that showed up at least twice.

Bourque 15
Stevens 14.5
Chelios 11
Potvin 9
Robinson 8
Mitchell 8
Lidstrom 7
Hatcher 6
Physicality and Mean Streak

Originally Posted by Globe and Mail, Oct. 23, 2000
Hatcher may be the most feared player in the league because the Dallas captain takes numbers and eventually gets even.

Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
The post-NHL lockout world was not made for Derian Hatcher, and it showed. In fact, he was the poster boy of old warriors who could not play in the "new NHL." But in the years of the ultra-physical, tight checking NHL leading up to that time, Hatcher was one of the biggest, baddest and most feared men in hockey.

And one of the most effective. He was a tower of power with Dallas when he captained the Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup.


I liked Hatcher because he was a force. He was huge at 6'5" and 225lbs, and he hit like a Mack truck. He kept the slot clean of defenders back in the pre-lockout era when you could do so by any means necessary. Hatcher invented many of those means.

He was fearless in his intimidating physical game, demanding respect and room. He also had a real mean streak - just ask Jeremy Roenick. I could not imagine how scary it would be for a forward coming down Hatcher's wing, fully knowing he was going to jar every bone of your body and enjoy it. Hatcher intimidate me at home sitting on my couch.

Hatcher was intelligent about it though. He knew when to stay out of the penalty box, despite what his career 1581 penalty minutes might suggest. He picked his spots, knowing he was too valuable to his team. He was a real work horse, eating up big minutes in all key situations.


In a game which demands toughness, Derian Hatcher was the toughest.

Originally Posted by Tales from the Pittsburgh Penguins
On this night, the Flyers' 6-foot-5, 225-pound monster defenseman, Derian Hatcher, targeted the Penguins' 18-year-old star.At 14:01 of the second period, Hatcher hammered Crosby with a high stick and forearm that broke three of Crosby's teeth.Crosby briefly left the game only to be cracked with another Hatcher high stick- this one across the neck- upon his return.

Hatcher wasn't penalized on either play.

Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
A tough, physical defenseman, Hatcher racked up a career-high 211 penalty minutes during the 1993-94 season and was named the Stars top defenseman. From 1995-96 through 1997-98, Hatcher was playing 60-70 games a season for the Stars, logging plenty of ice time and missing games only due to recurring knee problems.

... Hatcher missed 24 games with a calf injury, however upon his return, he only missed a total a four games and continued to be a tower of strength on the Dallas blueline.

Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune, April 18, 1999
Dallas defenseman Derian Hatcher was suspended Saturday by the National Hockey League for seven games, including the Stars' first five playoff contests, for hitting Phoenix center Jeremy Roenick in the head.

Hatcher's suspension is the longest in playoff history since Montreal's Maurice Richard was suspended, after punching a linesmen in March 1955, for the final three games of the regular season and the entire playoffs.

"It's a very severe penalty," Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said Saturday. "Both teams suffer. We're missing our captain, our leader, one of our best players. Derian has to take responsibility for what he did . . . and we're going to have to work through it in the playoffs."

Hatcher broke Roenick's jaw during the first period of Wednesday night's game when he left his feet and hit Roenick with his arm and shoulder. Hatcher received a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct. Roenick received a jaw that was dislocated and broken in three places.

Originally Posted by J.R.: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless, and Hard-Hitting Man in Hockey
"No one during my NHL career inflicted more pain on me than Dallas Stars defenseman Derian Hatcher" - Jeremy Roenick

Originally Posted by Augusta Chronicle, 05-09-1999
"He's our leader and our captain, and he gives us a big, physical presence," Brett Hull said. "To have him back fills a big hole. He'll add some toughness to our lineup."

Originally Posted by Globe and Mail,Apr. 13, 2000
Hatcher then rocked Titov with a thunderous hit, knocking the helmet off the head of the Edmonton forward.

Originally Posted by Detroit Free Press, July 23
“He was a unique package,” Ken Holland said. “He was regarded as one of the meanest and toughest defenders in the game. Unfortunately he got injured and didn’t play many games for us.”

Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune, April 04, 1995
Even though he denied it, the Hawks insist that Hatcher deliberately stuck his knee in Roenick's path.

"This isn't the first time this guy's done it," Pulford said. "John Paddock told me he did the same thing to Numminen.

I expected something like this to happen before now. They said they've sent out a memo, but what good does that do? Tearing out guys' knees has got to stop.

"Did he mean to hurt him? I don't think anyone means that, but he meant to hit him. He looks at J.R., sees him coming and goes out of his way to hit him."

"I'm not even going to be critical of Derian Hatcher," said Hawks coach Darryl Sutter. "He's a heck of a player, and he doesn't have the mobility he'd like to have and that's how he plays."

Originally Posted by June 7, 1999, practice day, Q & A, SC Finals vs Buffalo
Q. Another question for Derian, your opponents refer to you your playing style sometimes they use the word scary, dangerous intimidating. Do you take these words as a compliment and should they be a little bit worried when you are on the ice?

DERIAN HATCHER: Well, I would have to take them as a compliment, but you know, I have played the same way for a long time and I am a physical player and I don't know if guys should be scared when they are out there, but if they are, I guess I am doing my job.


Derian Hatcher was the first non-Canadian captain to win the Stanley Cup in NHL history.

Originally Posted by Sports Illustrated 2000
Derian Hatcher was 22 when he became the Stars' captain, picked over other notable--and older--players like Mike Modano "The first two years Hatcher wasn't the guy I would have put in there," says Carbonneau, who retired in July after playing his final five seasons in Dallas. "He was a great team guy, always looking to organize things. But he didn't know what to do in the room. He got better. Now he's the type of leader they were looking for."

Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune, January 30, 2006
Derian Hatcher is the new acting captain for the struggling Flyers. He replaces captain Keith Primeau, who is out indefinitely with a concussion.

Hatcher previously served as captain of the Stars and wore the "C" during the their 1999 Stanley Cup championship.


"[Hitchcock] and some of the players felt that, with some of what's been going on, there needed to be a captain, a voice in the room that represents the team," Hatcher said.

Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
He was also a great leader. It was Hatcher that captained the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup in 1999. He was also a key contributer to USA's World Cup of Hockey victory in 1996.

Originally Posted by June 7, 1999, practice day, Q & A, SC Finals vs Buffalo
Q. Derian Hatcher, you are the captain of this team. With so many veterans and guys that won Cups before, talk about that as your role as a leader?

DERIAN HATCHER: Makes it easier tell you that much. I have never been to this point the Stanley Cup Finals and I think when we have the players that we have, it just takes a lot of pressure off me and I can concentrate on the day more. It has been like that throughout the course of the last couple of seasons. All those guys take a lot of pressure off me. If ever I have a problem or don't know what to do in certain situations, you know, I can go up to any of them and ask for advice and they are always willing to help.

Fighting Abilities

The site dropyourgloves has Derian Hatcher with a (W-L-D) record of 33-13-13 and a winning percentage of 55%.He took part in 71 fights in the NHL.The discrepancy between that number and his record is due to some fights being called "unfair" by the website, and they're left out of the record altogether.Hatcher was a heavyweight.Notables he fought include Eric Lindros, Brenden Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Rick Tocchet, Keith Tkachuk, Jarome Iginla and many others.


Knee Injury and Decline

After a strong 2002-2003 campaign in which he finished 3rd in Norris voting and on the 2nd AST, Derian Hatcher moved to Detroit.Many people remember that his play deteriorated, especially that he lost the little speed he had, and this can be attributed to a knee injury.Then the lock-out happened and he was never the same.

Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune, November 07, 2003
Red Wings defenseman Derian Hatcher had right knee ligament surgery Thursday and is expected to be sidelined four to six months.

Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune, October 18, 2003
Hatcher out 4-6 months

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Derian Hatcher will miss four to six months after tearing a ligament in his right knee during a game.

He was hurt when he got tangled up with Vancouver's Markus Naslund and Bryan Allen early in Detroit's 3-2 victory Thursday.

Hatcher is expected to have surgery in a couple of weeks. The Red Wings hope he will be able to return in time for the playoffs, which begin in April.

Hatcher was the runner-up in voting last season for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the top defenseman. He signed a five-year, $30 million contract with his hometown team in July.

Originally Posted by Detroit Free Press, July 23
“I signed a long-term deal, a five-year deal with hopes of ending my career there and it didn’t work out,” Derian said of his time in Detroit. “I got hurt, I think the second game in or the third game into the season and came back for the playoffs. The next year was the lockout year. It was tough. … I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I gave it a try. At the end of the day, yeah I’m a little sad maybe it didn’t work out. But, I hold no hard feelings.”

Recognition for defensive defensemen throughout Hatcher's prime

Defensive defensemen were generally poorly recognized in the late-90s and early-00s.I assume 96-97 to 02-03 to be Derian Hatcher's prime.I checked which defensemen finished Top 10 in Norris voting throughout that period without scoring 40 points or more (I understand 40 is an arbitrary number, but it's just to give a general idea).

2nd: Konstantinov (38 pts)
5th: Stevens (24 points)

3rd: Pronger (36 points)
4th: Stevens (26 points)

6th: Stevens (27 points)
7th: Hatcher (30 pts)

6th: Chelios (34 pts)
8th: MacInnis (39 pts)

3rd: Stevens (31 pts)
(Hatcher finished 13th with 23 pts, was the next in line under 40 pts after Stevens)

2nd: Chelios (39 pts)
8th: Aucoin (34 pts)

3rd: Hatcher (30 pts)
7th: Chara (39 pts)
10th: Foote (31 pts)

Stevens, Chelios and Hatcher are the only ones to appear twice on that list, and both Stevens and Chelios had put up strong offensive numbers in the early 90s and had a strong reputation behind them, whereas Hatcher had none.I suspect Hatcher's Norris record underrates him.

Penalty Kill Stats from overpass' spreadsheet (SH% and TmSH+)

1992 17% 0.99
1993 40% 0.95
1994 27% 0.89
1995 46% 0.91
1996 51% 1.17
1997 66% 0.98
1998 45% 0.71
1999 64% 0.86
2000 78% 0.57
2001 67% 0.83
2002 73% 1.20
2003 58% 0.83
2004 13% 0.60
2006 55% 1.08
2007 72% 0.78
2008 72% 0.87

Derian Hatcher was a great penalty killer.Noteworthy is how good his numbers are in Philadelphia (2006,2007,2008).He was injured in 2004 and only played 15 games (the Detroit year).

Last edited by BenchBrawl: 06-06-2017 at 07:51 AM.
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I used my time away to work on a stellar Crosby bio, since I noticed one hasn't been done in nearly 5 years, and quite a bit has been added to his resume. Not completely finished but the bulk of the work is done. Enjoy!

Sidney Crosby - C - Pittsburgh Penguins

Awards and Significant Accolades:

2x Hart Winner (2007, 2014)
-Finishes of 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 5, 6

3x Lindsay Winner (2007, 2013, 2014)

2x Art Ross (2007, 2014)
-Finishes of 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 6

2x Rocket Richard (2010, 2017)
-Finishes of 1, 1, 7, 7

4x 1st Team AS (2007, 2013, 2014, 2016)
3x 2nd Team AS (2010, 2015, 2017)

3x Stanley Cup Champion (2009, 2016, 2017)

2x Conn Smythe (2016, 2017)
-Only 3rd player in league history to win back to back CS (Parent and Lemieux)

97.8 VsX 10 year average (10th all time)
103.0 VsX 7 year average (13th all time)

Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post

1 Wayne Gretzky 144.7
2 Gordie Howe 118.1
3 Phil Esposito 117.6
4 Mario Lemieux 112
5 Jaromir Jagr 105.9
6 Stan Mikita 102.5
7 Bobby Hull 101.8
8 Jean Beliveau 100
9 Maurice Richard 97.9
10 Sidney Crosby 97.8
11 Marcel Dionne 97.5
12 Ted Lindsay 95.8
13 Andy Bathgate 95.6
14 Joe Sakic 94
15 Alex Ovechkin 93.5
16 Bobby Orr 92.1
17 Guy Lafleur 91
18 Joe Thornton 90.8
19 Mike Bossy 89.4
20 Howie Morenz 88.9
Originally Posted by Hockey Outsider View Post

1 Wayne Gretzky 155.6
2 Phil Esposito 130.4
3 Gordie Howe 125.5
4 Mario Lemieux 119.8
5 Bobby Orr 114.8
6 Jaromir Jagr 114.2
7 Bobby Hull 108.3
8 Stan Mikita 107.8
9 Jean Beliveau 105.7
10 Guy Lafleur 104.5
11 Ted Lindsay 104.4
12 Marcel Dionne 103.3
13 Sidney Crosby 103.0
14 Maurice Richard 102.4
15 Howie Morenz 102.2
16 Andy Bathgate 101.1
17 Alex Ovechkin 98.4
18 Joe Sakic 97.7
19 Bill Cowley 97
20 Charlie Conacher 96.2
1.313 regular season PPG (6th all time)

1.108 playoff PPG (12th all time)

56 Career Multi Point games in playoffs (4th all time) in 148 games.
-Consider, Jari Kurri, playing in the highest scoring era of all time, had 60 MPG's but needed 200 contests to reach that.
-Mark Messier, 2nd all time, had 77 in 236 games.

2 Olympic Gold (2010, 2014)

-Scored Golden goal in OT of gold medal game 2010
1 World Championship Gold (2015)
1 World Cup of Hockey Gold (2016)
-MVP and leading scorer
1 World Junior Gold (2005)

-Also named Best Forward at World Championship in 2006

-Youngest Player in history to win a World Championship scoring title (2006)

-Member of Quadruple Gold Club (Gold medeal at World Junior, WC', Olympics, and WCOH)

-Only player in hockey history to captain the quad/triple clubs.

-Orr, Gretzky and Crosby are the three players in history to win the Hart Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy, and MVP at the Canada Cup or World Cup of Hockey.

-He is the 6th player in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup three times with two Olympic gold medals. Crosby joins Igor Larionov, Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer, Duncan Keith, and Jonathan Toews as the players who make up that prestigious fraternity

-Youngest player to record 100 points in a season (18 years, 253 days)

-Youngest player to record 200 career points (19 years and 207 days)

-Youngest player to record 2 consecutive 100-point seasons (19 years, 215 days).

-Youngest player voted to the starting line-up in an All-Star Game

-Youngest Art Ross Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award winner

-Youngest player to be named to the First All-Star Team

-Youngest player to lead NHL playoffs in scoring (20 years, 9 months, and 28 days)

-Youngest NHL captain to win Stanley Cup (21 years, 10 months, and 5 days)

Work Ethic and Leadership:

Does Crosby ever pick his brain?

“Eh, not much,” said Toews, with a laugh.

“But he actually does. I think that’s a quality the best players in the world have. He’s always looking for ways to better himself, even if it’s from a guy like me.”

In Sochi, Ralph Krueger was part of the Team Canada brain trust as they won Olympic gold. He worked with Crosby, and marveled at, among many things, his curiosity about the game.

“He’s just the ultimate professional in his preparation,” said Krueger, who coached Team Europe at the World Cup. “I was impressed by his hunger to figure out what to do on the big ice, the conversations we had about it. I think he’s the best example of playing the complete game.”

Shea Weber calls it “imposing his will on the game” when Crosby makes a play like that.

“He’s one of those guys that’s got the ability to switch momentum
. He switched the momentum after they scored and went up 2-1, and got the momentum back at the end of the second so we could regroup and come back in with a little bit more confidence,” said Weber.

The concept of leadership is pretty specious in hockey, from the overstating of the captaincy to the nebulous concept of having “rings in the room,” i.e. veterans that have won championships before.

But leadership in hockey gains clarity when you see a play like that by Crosby, at that time for Team Canada, and in a tournament like this.

“You see plays like that, that’s where the leadership comes in,” said Marchand. “When you’re able to lead at this level, of a group of leaders, then you’re able to take control, that just shows how special of a player he is and he created that whole goal and ultimately, that did lead to turning the game around.”

Most people think leadership means being vocal in the dressing room, motivating the team, rallying the players together and making sure everyone feels involved. But it can also come in the form of one of the world's best players not being afraid to ask questions if he doesn't understand something, showing others they should do the same while also making sure everyone is pulling in the right direction.

"Sid doesn't say a lot, but what he says makes sense," Canada assistant coach Ken Hitchcock said. "And I think he's got similar personalities in support. Jonathan [Toews] is the same way. He's a quiet guy, very sincere. What these guys do is they bring a seriousness to the way we go about our business. So they're the ones asking all the questions at practice. They're asking all the questions post-practice. They want all the details in place before we play. That's what brings a seriousness to our business and makes it really professional."

"I think his leadership, for me, especially when we called a lot of young guys up," said assistant coach Rick Tocchet, citing one of Crosby's bigger contributions. "I think he really took that to heart. He really wanted to lead these guys. He had them over to the house for dinner.

"Any time it got a little hairy in games, he was talking to them. I guess the cherry on top, he was incredible tonight. He was such an animal on the ice.
I think that was the cherry for him, the process that he went through this year. I'm really proud of the way he played today, he wanted it tonight."

Well, how about when Crosby took the Stanley Cup and handed it to Trevor Daley, whose season ended because of a broken ankle in the Eastern Conference finals? And Crosby knew that Daley had visited his ailing mother before the finals. She told Daley she'd love to see him raise the Cup.

And Crosby made sure it happened.

Daley could not say enough about the gesture and the man who made it.

"I was thinking about that earlier," Daley said. "He's a great hockey player, but he's an even better person. What much more can you say about that guy? He's a special guy."

"He can adapt and change his game to different things," said Chris Kunitz, one of a small group of holdovers from that '09 championship.

"Early in his career, he went out and got points and did everything, but that didn't make him satisfied," Kunitz added. "He had to go out and lead through example, and became a better player. Offense, defense, he goes out with nine seconds left, takes a faceoff for our team. He's the all-encompassing guy, one of the greatest players to ever play the game because of how he can adapt to the game and how hard he works at everything."

Mark Recchi won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh as a young man in 1991 but didn't win another until 15 years later. He won a third in 2011 with the Boston Bruins.

In Crosby, Recchi sees someone who has evolved from being a great player to a great leader.

"I see a mature leader that played the right way every night, regardless of whether he got points or not, and he led the team that way," Recchi said. "And that's important when your leader leads like that. He didn't let things get to him. He just played the game every night as hard as he could and led the way with a great example."

In addition to appreciating the success everyone saw Crosby have on the ice, the Caps’ coach and Crosby also connected off of it.

“My son was in for a day,” Trotz said, referring to Nolan, one of his children who has Down syndrome. “Just sitting there playing an iPad and Sid went down and sat with him and played on the iPad for a minute with him and stuff like that. He didn’t have to do that. He just did. I’ve got a lot of respect for guys like that.”

"What I always go back to is his work ethic," Sullivan said. "He is a tireless worker. He's the hardest-working player I have ever been around, and I've been around a lot of players. He, without a doubt, has the highest work ethic that I've seen. He's not as good as he is by accident. He's a very talented player, but his work ethic is tremendous. It's relentless."

Crosby is on an amazing run. His body of work and practice habits make him this good. And defensively, there's no reason Crosby shouldn't be considered for the Selke Trophy. His defense, which tends to go unnoticed, is just as good as his offense.

"Most elite players tend to lean towards the one-dimensional side," Sullivan said. "If you go through the league of superstars, the challenge for coaching staffs is to get those guys to be a little bit more committed away from the puck. I don't have that conversation with Sid."

Carolina Hurricanes' Bill Peters coached Crosby in the 2015 World Championships. After a long morning of meetings before playing the Czech Republic, Peters asked the Team Canada defensemen to stay late and huddle around him in the hallway for one more meeting. He wanted to show five clips on his laptop very specific to Jake Muzzin, Brent Burns and the rest of the Canadian defensemen.

"I look over my shoulder, and there's Sid standing there," Peters said.

He showed the clips to his defensemen and then pulled Crosby aside afterward.

"I said, 'Sid, real quick, why did you come to the D meeting?'" Peters said. "He goes, 'If you thought it was important they should see it, I thought I should see it too, and it would help me.'"

He does that all the time. Crosby attended Penguins penalty-kill meetings for years before he ever played regularly on the PK. He relentlessly studies the game.

On the morning Canada played Russia for the gold medal at the Worlds, Crosby stayed after practice to work on one particular shot over and over. He had assistant coach Jay Woodcroft feed him passes in the high slot. He one-timed the puck repeatedly in the same spot of the net -- far side.

That night, he scored against the Russians on a similar shot.

"It's not a coincidence," Peters said. "That's Sid. He outworks you. His will is unbelievably strong. That's just what he does."

Babcock believes Crosby has matured, grown more comfortable with who he is.

“He’s under a microscope all the time, as you know, but he’s a joy to be around,” Babcock said. “You can be a fierce competitor in everything you do and still be a great human being.”

Runner-up Thomas Vanek said Crosby inspires him. Losing coach Ralph Krueger labeled No. 87 “the ultimate professional.” Shea Weber, embracing his captain during one final O Canada said Crosby wields the power to “impose his will or change the game at any time.”

At 7, Crosby was enrolled in a Halifax hockey school for the best young players in the Maritime Provinces where future NHL forward Brad Richards was an instructor. Noting Sidney was "head and shoulders above everyone else his age," Richards told Richer: "He never stopped learning, he just kept going. Kids usually peak. He never did."

Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice actually recognized Crosby’s ambassador tendencies when his turn to opine about No. 87 arrived on Thursday.

“You listen to him talk, and you can flip over and listen to Gretzky talk, and with the legends, they have that same presence, that same care of the game,” Maurice said.
Maurice also waded into the sometimes tricky waters of chatting about Crosby’s place in the league during his “down” seasons.

“(It was) not an easy story for him,” Maurice said. “You know the injuries. Then, to his credit, with character and will, he pushed himself back to being the elite player. And even when he was banged up, he still was elite in terms of top 10. But to get back to being the primary guy in the National Hockey League must’ve taken a lot of commitment and a lot of dedication to being great and loving the game.”

Ah yes, commitment and dedication to greatness and the game of hockey. Cue coach Mike Sullivan’s latest offering on Crosby.

“I think what I’ve grown to really respect and admire about Sid is just the character of the person and his commitment and his appetite to be the best,” said Sullivan, reiterating what he has said on several instances over the past month. “His work ethic is second to none.

“I’ve been associated with the NHL for 25, 26 years now, and I don’t know that I’ve been around a player that has a work ethic like Sid. He comes to the rink every day, and he’s working on some aspect of his game. And it’s tireless. He has an appetite to be the best, and he’s willing to make the commitment and put the time in both on the ice and off the ice, whether it be in the weight room or how he lives his life, his nutrition. He controls everything within his power to be the best.

“Even video meetings, we’ll run power play meetings, and you can see the wheels turning when we show him film. He’s always talking after the fact with his teammates about what they saw on the video and how they’re going to try to take advantage of certain situations. It’s that constant engagement that I’ve noticed since I’ve been here that I’ve really grown to respect.”

“When (Crosby) came into the league he was seen as a playmaker,” defenceman Kris Letang said. “After that, he worked on his shot and he was a 50-goal scorer. After that, he worked on his draws and now he’s over 50-something per cent on faceoffs. He works on every detail and that’s why we’re a successful team.”

One person who wasn’t surprised by Crosby’s performance was former Penguins teammate Sergei Gonchar, now with the Ottawa Senators.

“Sid is Sid,” Gonchar told Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen. “Those things are abnormal for everyone else, but for him, it’s normal. He’s coming back like he never missed a step.”

Gonchar added that it’s Crosby’s work ethic that sets him apart from other NHL stars.

“The most important thing is, probably, that ability to work,” Gonchar said. “I’ve never seen a superstar work as hard as he does. He’s probably the most prepared player that I’ve ever played with.

“I kind of expected that he would be in great shape and play the way he did, but I didn’t expect him to score that many points in one game. I thought, timing wise, it might take him a while longer.”

Maybe maintaining that chemistry was behind Crosby's motivation to include Toews in the conversation. Either way, Toews said it's a good example of Crosby's leadership.

"For Sidney to ask the other guys for their approval, I don't think he needed to do that," Toews said. "That just shows the kind of guy he is and obviously a great captain in Pittsburgh."

“[Toews] and Sid are pretty similar guys,” said Marian Hossa, who has played with both. “Great leaders. Super talents. Great in the dressing room. Great people.

“The way Sid has handled himself from such a young age, I think it’s tremendous; not many guys could handle that. The same thing with Johnny.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has observed both, Toews with the Blackhawks and the two of them together in the Olympics and World Cup of Hockey.

“Extremely competitive,” Quenneville offered as a description. “Expect a lot of themselves. Lead by example. Don’t say a whole lot. How they carry themselves, they know the time and what needs to be said. They say it the right way. Good spokesmen for their teams.

“They just have the right feel for that leadership role.”

Hitchcock, who once called Crosby a "diver" because of his perceived ability to embellish plays and draw penalties, now might be Crosby's biggest fan. To Hitchcock, Crosby is the ultimate class act, and not just because of his world-class ability or his long list of accomplishments.

Two weeks in Vancouver convinced Hitchcock of that.

As Hitchcock was reflecting Wednesday on Canada's golden moment on ice, he suggested that Crosby's leadership skill was the biggest factor. He didn't even mention Crosby's gold medal-clinching overtime goal that decided Canada's 3-2 rematch win over the United States ??? arguably one of the greatest hockey games ever played.

"It was 8 o'clock in the morning and we (the coaches) are going for breakfast and he's coming back with the whole crew," said Hitchcock. "The coaches really appreciated that. It made a huge difference."

In Vancouver, the NHL players had the option of staying in hotels rather than the more Spartan accommodations in the Olympic Village. But once Crosby eschewed an expensive room, the other players did, too.

"By just his presence and his disposition, he just brought everybody into the village," Hitchcock said. "It made a huge difference. Everybody was having fun together. You talk about building chemistry, the chemistry became instant. Everybody started hanging out on the (village dormitory's) 12th floor and having fun together."

For that moment on, Hitchcock said, a collection of highly skilled and highly paid NHL players of different backgrounds, organizations and ages became a true team, not just an all-star team.

"He's such a good player, such a good person," said Hitchcock, now the coach of the St. Louis Blues. "There's leaders, and then there's leaders of players. He gets along with the guys good. It's not surprising. Everything he does has got class to it. I just like the way he leads the guys."

"Some guys get it with their teammates. Some guys are leaders in the media and some guys are leaders with management or coaches or a combination," Hitchcock said. "He just digs in with the players, he has fun with the guys. He led the fun parade in the Olympics. He connected everybody with the other athletes in the village and made a huge difference for us moving forward."

Crosby won his second straight Conn Smythe Trophy after collecting 27 points (eight goals and 19 assists) during the Penguins’ playoff run. He now has led the Penguins to three Stanley Cup titles.

But his contributions went beyond those numbers, as it also was evident from the way he helped nurture Pittsburgh’s young talent.

“I can’t put that into words,” Sheary said
Sunday night after the Penguins clinched a second straight championship with a 2-0 Game 6 victory in Nashville. “Just to be alongside him for most of this year, how he’s helped me personally and get through these struggles. Just to watch him play and be alongside him, I’m pretty lucky to have that opportunity.”

This year, Guentzel was the rookie who burst onto the scene. The 22-year-old Nebraska-born forward raised in Minnesota had 13 goals and eight assists in the postseason to tie for the NHL record for playoff points by a rookie. Guentzel shares the record with Dino Ciccarelli and Ville Leino.

“From the day I walked in, Sidney Crosby took me under his wing,” Guentzel said. “He always talked to me. He went out of his way to make me feel welcome.”

According to GM Jim Rutherford, the reason the Penguins passed that chemistry test this season was Crosby.

“He’s really a great leader,” he said.
“Everybody judges Sid on his points and how many goals he gets and all of that. But he’s really an all-around player. He plays in all zones of the rink. He leads by example. But he does things quietly.”

DETROIT - Gordie Howe, who was such a great player in his day that he was christened Mr. Hockey, had some simple words of advice when he spoke with Sidney Crosby.

"I sat down and talked to him for a little while and I was impressed because he could stare a hole through you," said Howe, who is 80 now. "There's not a word goes by he doesn't connect with.

"When he was leaving, I said, 'Do me one favour and don't change anything. Just be the kid you are, the player you are.'

"I met him and I've seen him play. Unless you put two guys on him, he'll kill you in a game. Don't worry about him. He's going to be successful in the long run. Everywhere you look you see Crosby's picture, and it's earned."

PALM BEACH, Fla. - The more Steve Yzerman watches Sidney Crosby play, the more things he finds to like.

The Tampa Bay Lightning general manager believes Crosby has taken his game to another level this season for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"He's a great example for all young players that here we have one of the best players in our game, a young guy just driven to get better in all areas," Yzerman said Tuesday after the NHL's board of governors meeting. "It's so important because he can play in all situations and score the goal, set up the goal, he can win the faceoff, he'll block a shot.

"How valuable is that?"

Crosby has been on a tear for the last month, putting up 18 goals and 33 points during a 16-game point streak. He'll look to extend it when the Toronto Maple Leafs visit Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old entered Tuesday with an eight-point lead in the scoring race over Lightning forward Steven Stamkos.

"He's just getting better every year," Yzerman said of Crosby. "He really works at every part of his game. You've just watched him develop in all aspects of the game whether it be his faceoff percentage, his shot—he's scoring goals in different ways—he's always been a goal-scorer, but he's added a wrist shot coming down the wing, a one-timer on the power play."

"He's just continually adding to it."

"He's amazing," said former NHL goaltender Kevin Weekes, who analyzes the league for the NHL Network. "The thing with Sid is he wants to be great every night. For as skilled as he is, it's his willingness every night to compete, to battle. As much as those things are inherent for any player in the league, for him it's at a different level. It's like wanting to be Michael Jordan every time on the floor. The greats have that."

"You ask anybody in Pittsburgh - they never worry about that with Sid," Weekes said. "Whatever it is, whatever the one-on-one battle, you know you're getting a max effort and max attention to detail with Sidney Crosby. You can't put a price on that. Sometimes that supersedes your skill set. Sometimes it complements it."

But ask the Pittsburgh Penguins captain’s teammates about the most memorable, striking aspect of his play and the odds are they won’t cite anything he’s done in a game.

“We get to marvel at Sid during practice, watching him do different things … when people don’t get to watch him,” veteran winger Chris Kunitz said.

Youngster Bryan Rust, who has spent much of this season on Crosby’s line, remarked on the attention his centre pays to preparation, and his unrelenting competitiveness.

“Even in a shooting drill in practice, he’s battling out rebounds, he’s trying to get the puck in the net as much as he can. He has that drive, he does that hard work, and he stays on the ice after practice to do those little things like batting [pucks] out of the air, things you wouldn’t necessarily work on,” said Rust, a 24-year-old in third season.

"I don't think much about that company, I just think about serial winners, and that's what he is, he just wins," Team Canada coach Mike Babcock said of Crosby. "Sid's unbelievable. He's great to be around. I've been real lucky, I've been around him now three times and we win every time."

"[Crosby] does it right," Babcock said. "He works hard. He doesn't complain. If he gets 15 minutes (of ice time), he doesn't say a word. If he gets 20 minutes, he doesn't say a word. If he misses three shifts in a row, he doesn't say a word. If the penalty kill is out there and he's not playing -- whatever he's gotta do -- and then in the biggest moments he turns it up.

"When you look at guys like him and [Bergeron] and obviously [Jonathan Toews], in the biggest moments, they're better. They can't help themselves. They're addicted to winning and they just make it happen."

Adding his second Stanley Cup to gold medals won in 2010 and 2014 garnered the respect of the hockey community too.

"When you're able to combine both the Stanley Cup and the gold medal, I think it says a lot about the leadership you have, the player, the performance," said Brodeur, a three-time Cup champion. "Doing both one time is one thing, but when you start adding 'em up, I think it justifies a little more who you are. When you win the second one, it just validates that the first one wasn't a fluke."

"That is another part of his journey that, to me, is impressive," said Niedermayer, a four-time Cup champion. "I'm sure he's had times when there has been a lot of frustration and questioning, whether it be his own game, his teammates, the organization or whatever. You wonder when things aren't going well. The expectations were that they would have been back in more Finals than they've been and maybe won a couple more along the way. To have the determination to stick with it is something that he should be proud of and it should be regarded highly from other people."

"He score, I want to score, too. If he scores one more, I want to score one more, too. If he score hat trick, I stop," said Malkin, joking. "I want to be better every day. Because I watch Sid every practice, he is so much professional guy. Most professional I've ever seen. I want to be the same. I want to be professional and be better every day."

That steely focus is one of Crosby's many attributes Yzerman finds appealing.

"I've watched how he conducts himself, and I like the way he plays," said Yzerman, who retired in 2006 as the sixth-leading scorer in NHL history and a three-time Cup champion. "He's an extremely talented kid, but he competes hard.

"I've been very impressed watching from afar."

"You look at the guy, and it's, like, amazing - what he does," forward Max Talbot said. "He's been the center of attention since he was (14). Yes, the kid has got skill, but that's not what impresses me the most. At practice he is always 110 percent. He's got that fire in his eyes. He's all about the game, and he wants to win.

"He's one of the best players in the game. But it's not about the skill that he brings. It's about everything else. He's the best."

Ducks right wing Corey Perry, Crosby’s World Cup and Olympic teammate, has seen Crosby’s work ethic up close and marvels at it.

“He’s a heck of a hockey player and he puts in a lot of work, a lot of time, and he takes care of himself,” Perry said. “When you see a guy like that, the talent and all the accolades he’s accomplished over the years, to still do that and still want to be the best player in the world speaks volumes for the kind of guy he is.”

As for that search for the next Crosby, hold off. This one is still pretty good.

“And will be for some time, because of his preparation and his determination,” Rutherford said. “He’s taken such good care of himself. We know there’s players that get to a certain point in their careers and they start to drop a little bit, but that is a number of years away for Sid.

“He’s an incredible person,” Lemieux said of Crosby. “He does so much on the ice, but also off the ice with his foundation here. He’s a great kid and I love having him around.”

Which is good, since Crosby moved in with Lemieux’s family when he moved to Pittsburgh at 18 years old, after being drafted first overall in the 2005 NHL Draft.

“We thought we would add him to our house for a year or two, and he ended up staying eight years,” Lemieux said with a chuckle.

“But it was incredible to have him around the kids. The kids were young at the time – and they love Sidney and Sidney loves the kids.”

"There are a lot of veterans who have played in the National Hockey League who would say to those guys, 'Hey, get me the puck,'" Boucher said. "But he's very inclusive and very supportive, and he's a big reason those young players are having success. They feel comfortable playing with a star like Sidney Crosby, and that tells me he's a tremendous teammate."

"He can go down the entire Penguins lineup," Armstrong said, "and tell you five good things about every guy and how much he means to the team, even the guy who isn't playing. He has a large amount of respect for what everyone brings to the team. I hate to use a cliché term like down-to-earth, but when you have a guy like him being that inclusive, it bleeds through your whole locker room."

"The thing that stands out to me is this guy is so driven and so tenacious. I told my son this: 'If you're going to watch one guy play hockey and model your game after, it's Sidney Crosby. He doesn't give up on plays, he gets his nose in there and he works. He's driven.'"

And drive. Don't forget drive. That's what defenseman Kris Letang first noticed in the days after the Penguins won the Stanley Cup last year.

"Right after we won the Cup he said, 'I'm going right back skating and I want to win the World Cup, and I want to keep that momentum going into the season to win another Cup,'" Letang said.
"The way he came into training camp after the World Cup, we knew he wanted to accomplish something. I knew right away this could happen."

“He’s a guy that just knows how to win,” Mike Sullivan said, who is now 8-0 in playoff series as coach of the Penguins. “He’s done it in all different venues, whether it be the NHL and the Stanley Cup to the World Cup to the Olympics. He has a willingness to go the extra mile, to control what he can, to be the very best, and he cares so much for this team and this organization helping us win. I have to believe that it would be hard to not have him in that conversation of the all-time greats.”

He had chances. His line with Kunitz and Jake Guentzel was plenty productive. They simply weren’t going in. And Crosby was getting asked more and more about shooting for 1,000.

“He could have been done way earlier than that,” Kris Letang said. ?We didn’t care about it. Sid is a guy that doesn’t focus on that. The team winning is more important than anything for him.”

"I'm fortunate to play with one of the best players in the world," Hagelin said. "It's fun to see him in practice and that's something people may not think about. He's a real grinder, always out there trying to get better. He skates extremely hard in practice and for me to come to a team like this, he's welcomed me with open arms and has been great. He's been extremely kind to me and has definitely made this whole transition easy."

Veteran Matt Cullen said Crosby is not only this way with youngsters.

“He’s one of the best just all-around teammates I’ve ever had,” said Cullen, 40. “He doesn’t get enough credit for that. Obviously he’s one of the best players to ever play the game, and everybody agrees with that, but I was impressed off the ice how he really makes a point of going out of his way to make everybody feel a part of the team. I was a 38-year-old veteran coming to the team last year, but he went out of his way to offer to help me look for houses or help me with any transitions that I needed for the kids. He has a lot on his plate. I think there’s more asked of him than any player in the league, and he’s accommodating when it comes with the media, with everything. He’s as good as they get. And it’s all genuine.

“You see that with young guys like Guentzel or [Conor] Sheary last year. He goes out of his way to make people feel comfortable within the group. That goes a long way. Think it’s easy for a kid like Guentzel to come up and immediately be put on a line with Sid? No way, but when Sid makes you feel comfortable on the side, it goes a long way to making you feel comfortable playing next to him on the ice.”

Max Talbot, who scored the Penguins' two goals Friday night, has known Crosby for almost a decade. He know the pressure that Crosby has been under throughout that time, first in junior hockey and then with Team Canada at the World Juniors and finally with the Penguins, where Crosby was ordained as the "Next One," the inheritor of the mantle of greatness handed down from Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, the former star player and current owner of the Penguins.

"You know what, he is our team," Talbot said. "He is the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I think everybody knows that. If they don't, well, I'm telling you, he is our leader. What he brings every day to the rink is special. The pressure he had to go through to become that player is really special.

"He respects the game. He loves the game
. And you know what, today is so special to win that for him, with him.

"He can just take over a game," said teammate Mark Eaton. "In particular you could see it the last games of the Washington series, where he just kind of tried to put the team on his back. He's our leader, and you can tell from the get-go he wants to go out there and lead by example.

"When he's on the way he's been, he's tough to stop. He's inspiring all of us in the dressing room, to see him go out there every night and throw it all out there on the line, you can only try and do the same." Both Eaton and Rob Scuderi, however, point out that Crosby's focus in the cauldron of the playoffs really isn't anything different than they see every day once training camp starts.

"Pretty much from the first day I've played with him, he's been the same," Scuderi said. "He's grown as a player, but as far as the way he works and the way he practices, I don't think anything has changed. It's all about leadership. You want your leaders to go out there and play the same way, whether it's a practice or a game, you want them to try hard, you want them to do the right things and play the right way, and he's certainly done that since the first day he's been in the league."

Best Player Of Generation (As quoted by teammates, coaches, and opponents):

NHL Players think so!

Sidney Crosby has long been regarded as the perfect hockey player. Now he has a perfect grade – 100 per cent – to prove it.

Twenty of 20 voters named Crosby the No. 1 player in the annual TSN Top 50 Players poll – giving him unanimous support for the first time during a seven-year run of absolute dominance.

No other player has earned top honours since the survey was introduced in 2010.

Sidney Crosby has been surrounded by the best hockey players on the planet at the World Cup of Hockey, and still seems as if he is in a class by himself.

"He's probably the best player of our generation," Canada goaltender Carey Price said.

Jonathan Toews, considered by some to be the most complete forward in the world, marvels at Crosby.

“Sid’s that No. 1 guy that everyone looks at in the room, and tries to figure out what he’s doing to be so good. He’s a special player. He’s showed that early this season, coming off a Stanley Cup win last season. He’s been the best in the world for a long time now, and seems to be getting better somehow,” said the Chicago Blackhawks star.

What does he do that impresses Toews?

“He just seems to always have the puck. The more you have the puck, the energy you have, the stronger you are. And he never gives it away. Makes quick plays.”

“He has a mindset, that frame of mind that he’s been the best for so long,” said Toews of Crosby. “He has that high standard of himself, and he just knows how to create and produce consistently.”


“There is really not much more that can be said about the player that he is,” said Stamkos. “The guys in our room feel he is the best player in the world, and we’re glad he’s on our team.”

Saturday morning, Trotz was back at his day job.

Asked about his experience with the Canadian national team, Trotz said he “wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

“It was exceptional,” Trotz said. “I mean you get to work with guys that you try to stop night in and night out. There’s a reason that Sidney Crosby is considered the best player on the planet. He showed that in this tournament, that he was the best player.”

"He's the best player in the world, there's no question about that," said Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who was Crosby's linemate during the World Cup.

"He's one of those guys that wants to be better, wants to improve his game, wants to be the best at all times, and that speaks volumes," said Bruins forward and Team Canada linemate Patrice Bergeron. "Last year, a lot of people were talking about him struggling. Then after Christmas he goes on a tear and brings his team to win a Stanley Cup. It's amazing to see. He's definitely the face of the league, and this year he's even more lethal. It's always a huge challenge to play him, and I can't say enough about Sid."

"He's a brilliant hockey mind," Bergeron said.

When the World Cup began, Bruins coach Claude Julien, who served as an associate coach under Mike Babcock for Team Canada, learned firsthand what it's like to coach the best player in the world.

"It was pretty awesome," Julien said. "This time around, I saw him at his best. He's been one of the best players for a long, long time, but in my opinion, the fact that he's had some concussion issues has covered how good this guy is, because you didn't always see him at his best. And when he is healthy and at his best, you can see how dominant a player he is, and there's no doubt he's the best player in the world right now."

"He has everything you would want out of a player -- from the skill level, his shot, his vision, his skating, he's strong, creative and he's everything you would ever want in a player. I don't think he lacks anything right now," Julien said. "The thing that makes him great is his love for the game. He loves the game. He's not looking to cut corners. He loves coming to the rink. He loves being on the ice."

"He works both sides of his stick, probably the best of anyone in the game," New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall said

"We've had our battles over the years," Phaneuf told Chris Johnson of Sportsnet.ca in 2013. "I've played against Sid for a long time and I've got the utmost respect for him. He's the best player in the League for a reason."

"His bull-in-a-china-shop mentality is Peter Forsberg-like," McGuire said, referencing the former Colorado Avalanche center and Hockey Hall of Fame member. "His ability to dominate below the hash marks, where there is a lot of traffic, is amazingly strong. He's fearless down there. His peripheral vision is as good as anyone who has ever been in the League, and that includes Wayne Gretzky. His faceoff prowess is like Ronnie Francis."

"What Sid has is a little bit of an extra gear as far as his passing ability, his playmaking ability, the ability to make players around him on his team that much better," Gretzky told Sportsnet's Johnson during the 2016 Cup Final. "Guys like Bobby Orr did it, and Mario [Lemieux] did it, and obviously Crosby's doing it. He's just making his team better."

"He passes the puck better than anybody," then-Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges told Farber in 2010. "He makes plays: behind his back, drop passes. You sit in the stands, and you don't even see the possibilities. You wonder how he sees them."

Wayne Gretzky: "Sid is still the best player in hockey. That's a mantle you earn over time. It's one of those things where you earn that right to have that title, until somebody takes it away from you. Is Connor [McDavid] a great player? Absolutely. Does Connor have an opportunity to be the next [Sidney] Crosby? Absolutely. Right now, Sidney deserves to be known as the best player in the game. He's been the best player consistently in his career. He's won Stanley Cups and he's won gold medals. Until somebody takes that mantle away from him, he's still going to hold the crown."

Joe Thornton, C, San Jose Sharks: "Oh, Sidney Crosby. I'm a Sidney Crosby fan. He's ultracompetitive. Great speed, great shot, great passer. Just has a lot of the attributes you'd want to start a hockey team with."

Zach Parise, C, Minnesota Wild: "Sid is playing great, but man, Connor McDavid is good, oh my God. But I still think today. ... I've got to say I still think Sid. It's tough but I really do."

Ben Bishop, G, Tampa Bay Lightning: "I think you look at the way Sidney Crosby's playing right now, it's hard to argue that there's anybody playing much better than him. What is he turning, 30 this year? He's still pretty young. I know the league's changed, kind of to the teens and young 20s, but, no, I think he's still right in his prime. He looks better than he has in years past. He's got that fire, he's on a different level right now. It's fun to watch. Not so much fun to play against."

Shane Doan, C, Arizona Coyotes: "I think Sidney Crosby has established himself with what he's doing right now. It's amazing to see how he just does whatever he needs to do."

Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers: "It's got to be Sid, right? He's consistently amazing. There are obviously a lot of great players that do a lot of great things on different nights, guys like him, and [Patrick] Kane, and [Jonathan] Toews, they are consistently amazing -- not good -- amazing every single night they step on the ice."

Jarome Iginla, RW, Colorado Avalanche: "McDavid has been very impressive, and playing against him you see what he can do and how he can control a game, but it's hard to go against Sid. I think coming off a Stanley Cup, what he did at the World Cup, what he's doing already at the start of the season since he's been back [from a concussion], so I would still, personally right now, go with Sid. Ask me in another couple of years, maybe it changes, but right now I'd probably say Sid."

Nazem Kadri, C, Toronto Maple Leafs: "I'd have to go with Sid, with what he's doing this year and how he's putting that team on his shoulders, I'd have to go with him for sure. Because he's just so dangerous."

Eastern Conference scout: "Oh, man, that's tough. I think it comes down to McDavid or Crosby. McDavid is carrying that team. If you take him out of the lineup, they're nowhere close to where they are today. McDavid hasn't done it long enough and he's still very young, still learning. I would say Crosby is the best in the league. He can do everything and anything he wants to do if he sets his mind to it. That's what I love about Sid's game."

“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Columbus Blue Jackets right winger Cam Atkinson. “He’s an all-star for a reason and the best player in the world for a reason.”

“He’s the best player in the world, there’s no question about it,” veteran Matt Cullen said. “The way he rises up to the challenge when the stakes are highest, it’s just fun to see. He just drives our engine here. It’s just been an honor playing with him the last two years.”

Similarly, coach Mike Sullivan said, “I would have to believe that with what Sid has been able to accomplish in his career to this point would put him in the company of the all-time greats. You know, he’s arguably the best player of his generation, and he’s a guy that just knows how to win. And so he’s done it in all different venues, whether it be the NHL and Stanley Cups to the World Cup to the Olympics. And he’s a player that — and I believe this, what separates him from others is his work ethic and his willingness to do what it takes to be the very best.

In the eyes of many, Crosby has reasserted himself as the best player in the world.

"When you're an elite player, Mark Messier and Mario Lemieux and Gordie Howe, you're given this sort of God-given talent, and Sidney was given this gift, but that's not what makes a great hockey player," Wayne Gretzky said. "What makes a great hockey player is his imagination, his creativity and his work ethic. If you watch Sidney Crosby play, like Mark Messier and like Bobby Orr, he's the hardest-working guy on the ice. When you're the best player and the most talented player, and you're the hardest-working guy on the ice, you're pretty tough to beat. Consequently, all the praises and accolades he's getting he deserves, because he works hard."

“Definitely a lot of respect for him,” Toews said of Crosby. “There’s so many good players in the league. Every team has players that has that caliber to be at the top of the scoring list every year. Sometimes, it’s really hard to sustain that.

“You look at some of the star players who have been on top the last few years, sometimes they have off years. It goes up and down. He just seems to be at the top every single year. I think that’s why everyone knows he’s the best".

Matthews specifically commented on Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who helped Pittsburgh repeat as champion by winning his second straight Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It's no secret he's the best player in the world for a reason," Matthews said. "Watching, not only him but [Evgeni] Malkin as well, when the Penguins needed a boost or a big play or a lift, it seemed to come from one of those two guys. That exemplifies their leadership and what they mean to that team."

Matthews completed his rookie season when Toronto was eliminated by the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference First Round. The 19-year-old is often mentioned as the future captain of the Maple Leafs.

"If you want to be the best, those are the kinds of qualities you need," Matthews said. "It's the mindset you want to have to be successful individually but to help the team win as well. [Sidney has] been a pretty good example of that, his leadership qualities, and what he can do on the ice and off the ice as well, and how he is in that locker room."

Not only does Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby have immense talent and a considerable work ethic, he has that intangible drive to make himself better, according to former St. Louis Blues coach Davis Payne.

The Penguins clinched back-to-back Stanley Cup championships with a 2-0 victory against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season. He has won the Stanley Cup three times.

"He's got a purpose in what he's trying to do," Payne said. "He has evolved his game. You don't see him getting frustrated like he used to. You don't see the body language if he doesn't get the puck on the power play anymore.

"You see a very mature superstar, and it's fun to watch athletes go through those stages and have success doing it. It's fun to watch greatness evolve."

And now, as Sunday night morphs into Monday morning at Bridgestone Arena, as so many disappointed souls stumble out of downtown honky-tonks, everything was coming true. After outlasting the feisty Predators 2–0 in Game 6 of the Cup finals, the Pens became the NHL’s first repeat champs of the 21st century. Their captain, Crosby, earned his second straight Conn Smythe Trophy, becoming just the third player to accomplish that feat. And with it he enters the conversation for hockey’s Mount Rushmore—provided there’s room on the batholith to chisel beside the heads of Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and Crosby’s boss, Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux.

“He was already heading there, and eventually he would’ve gotten into that conversation,” Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford says. “But we can start talking about it, as of June 11.”

“He’s done everything he could possibly do as a player,” Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman says.

“One of the best all-time,” Lemieux says. “Among the greats of our game.”

“You give him the puck in your zone and he does his thing. I just try to play my game and get open and give him some room and that’s it,” said Bergeron. “The challenge is to try to play to your best. He’s obviously the best player in the world. It’s about trying to find him when he’s open but also it’s getting open for yourself, not just trying to feed him.”

To these eyes, St. Louis has been the best Crosby winger here, but was scratched against Finland. Benn and Bergeron looked better with Tavares, against fourth lines. After Crosby scored the golden goal in Vancouver, Ryan Getzlaf said, “That’s Sid. There’s a reason he’s the best player in the world.”

After watching Crosby skate circles around the Czechs in Canada's first round-robin game at the World Cup Saturday, it's time to wonder if Crosby, already the best player of this generation, is getting better. His chemistry with linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand is excellent. He showed a sixth sense when he fed Joe Thornton all alone in the slot for Canada's fourth goal. He looked flawless out there.

"I think he's always been the best player in the world," said defenseman Brent Burns, Crosby's Stanley Cup final foe with the San Jose Sharks, now his teammate with Canada. "What makes him that is he works every day at it. He's always striving to get better, to be the best and stay up on that plateau, I think there are a lot of guys chasing him, and that pushes him to get better."

The time to mock or question Crosby is over and for all time. The time or two he may get away without a call doesn’t come close to measuring against the abuse he takes on a nightly basis. Crosby was punished regularly in the playoffs. He rose above it. He soldiered on to raise the Cup high above his head for the third time.

He is, without question, the greatest player of this generation and due every ounce of respect that comes his way. He has earned it. He is not only a great player and a tough player, but a great ambassador for the sport. Others — other marquee guys — routinely hide from the media. Not this one. Crosby is front and center, game days, off days, regular season, postseason, the World Cup of Hockey.

He is a role model, is Sidney Crosby, the captain of a Penguins team worthy of much more than a footnote in NHL history in the aftermath of the most notable achievement of the hard-cap era.


“It’s been an amazing year from the start, trying to repeat,” Lemieux said. “A lot of these guys played injured in the playoffs and showed a lot of character. Of course, Sid being the best player in the world again and winning the Conn Smythe. He was our leader and picked up the team when we needed it.”

"He's the best player in the world," Penguins left wing Patric Hornqvist said.

"I'd put Sidney Crosby right there at No. 5," former NHL goaltender and current NBC analyst Brian Boucher told ESPN.com before watching Crosby hoist the Stanley Cup for the third time in his 12-year career, following the Pittsburgh Penguins' 2-0 Game 6 victory over the Nashville Predators on Sunday night. "We're watching greatness. For people to hate on it, I get it, because maybe you're not a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins. But if you're a fan of watching true greatness, to me, that's it."

"That's the reason he is the best player, just the way he grinds," Hagelin added. "Every shift, every practice. He's got the hands and hockey sense not many players have. The reason he is where he is right now is because of how he grinds every day and probably all summer as well."

But Cherry thinks the 29-year-old Crosby is the best player in the world because on top of putting up monster point totals and winning MVP awards, his two-way game makes him a key contributor at both ends of the ice and his focus is unparalleled.

“Why I say Crosby is the greatest hockey player in the world, not only does he set up things, but watch him over on the pinch. He gets the goals and all this. He gets knocked down and everything. This is how I want him to act,” Cherry said while showing footage of Crosby being knocked to the ice and being trash talked, then carrying on with his business after. “Gets knocked down. Be like Guy Lafleur. Don’t pay attention to that stuff. Get hit. Don’t even look at him. That’s the way to do it. You’ll save yourself a lot of grief.”

Cherry also focused in on Crosby’s hockey IQ and how he supports the defencemen in the defensive zone, which allows the blueliners to be more aggressive than they would otherwise be, something that helps the Penguins keep the puck in the attacking zone.

“Watch him cover both sides,” Cherry said, showing Crosby move from high up in the offensive zone to support the puck carrier. “He’s covering here, see he’s on the left-hand side, goes over to the other side, the guy pinches in, look who’s back covering again.


Statistically speaking, Crosby is making a case as the best player in hockey.
"There's no doubt in my mind," Therrien said.
"There's a lot of good players in this league, but right now, the way that young man is playing on the ice and focusing and the way he concentrates, it's phenomenal. In my mind, he's the best player in the NHL right now."

"Obviously, Sid is doing to the game what Mario did," Recchi said. "A lot of focus is going to him, and deservingly so. But the dynamic of them playing-wise is really different. ... Sid's in a world of his own."

Skills/On Ice Ability:

start at 0:16 mark. Crosby blocks clearing attempt, crushes Ekholm which creates goal a few seconds later.

start at 0:25 seconds. Crosby uses great stick work, steals puck from Russian player, then dekes goalie and scores a sweet backhand.

There are the obvious similarities in what Crosby, 28, and Thornton, 36, can accomplish.

“They see plays formulate before they happen,” said Sharks defenseman Paul Martin, who played alongside Thornton this season after five with Crosby in Pittsburgh. “Sometimes it looks like they have eyes in the back of their head, making passes to places where other people think you can’t see.”

Rain or not, it’s never a bad day to dial up the greatest coach in NHL history, winner of nine Stanley Cup titles (14 including his work in front offices), because you get little gems like his opinion on the current version of Sidney Crosby.

“He’s always been a great offensive player, but, right now, you analyze his faceoffs, his defensive work, he makes so many plays,” Bowman said. “You don’t just judge him on points. I think Sidney is playing the best two-way game of anybody I’ve seen of late.”

Jonathan Quick Players Tribune:
Sidney Crosby:

The best backhand shot in the league. I think it might’ve been my first or second year as a pro, and he scored on me from like the hash mark on the wall. Not with a forehand. With a backhand … that beat me far corner. That’s pretty much unheard of. You should stop that 100 out of 100, but he got it off so quick and the puck came in so hot that I didn’t even know it was in the net until his hands were in the air. It was ridiculous.

Crosby just does everything so well. When you’re in the locker room before a game, you look at the two or three stars on the other team and you try to figure out how to make them play to their weaknesses. You point to a name on the whiteboard and say, “Alright, he’s not good at X, so let’s force him to do it as much as possible.” There’s not a single part of Crosby’s game that we can take advantage of. He’s simply an all-around unbelievable hockey player.

Like I said before, it’s all about multiple options. If Crosby is able to beat his man and get one-on-one with a goalie, it’s just unfair. His blade is almost completely flat, which combined with his ridiculous forearm strength gives him the ability to go forehand to your five hole instantly or turn it over to the backhand and roof it (a lot of guys can’t do this with a flat blade). Sometimes I’ll see him on TV coming down on a goalie and it’s like, Oh boy, here we go. Crosby will be stickhandling it front of him and then he’ll go five hole so fast that it’s like he barely touched the puck. The goalie won’t even react. It’s because he’s frozen. There’s no safe bet. If Crosby goes backhand, the goalie has to push off hard to slide across, so he has no choice but to be deep in his stance with the five hole open. Bad news.

Logan Couture Players Tribune:
Sidney Crosby

Fortunately we don’t have to play against Crosby very often, but I don’t want to see what will happen to my Twitter timeline if I leave him off this list. First off, his lower-body strength is probably unparalleled in the league. It’s not just about his speed, but how he can use his lower body to protect the puck in the corner. When he takes the puck through the neutral zone, he’s a nightmare to defend because he seems to explode and take it to another gear as soon as the puck touches his stick. Watch how he splits the two defensemen here.

Crazy right? It’s even more impressive if you watch his feet this time. He takes one stride to explode past the D.

So why not just force him wide? The thing with defending Crosby is that he can take it wide and use his backhand as well as most players use their forehand. If you’re defending a normal player, you’d purposely force him to his backhand side. With Sid, you can’t do that. It’s extremely hard for a goaltender to pick up a shot coming off a player’s backhand. If he roofs it, the goalie basically has no chance. This rush against the Devils from December is a prime example of why he has the best backhander in the world.

It’s easy to say you’re going to bring it every night, but with an 82 game schedule plus playoffs, it’s a lot harder back it up. Crosby’s talent is obvious, but what really makes him the best is that he competes on every single faceoff, every single corner battle, on every single shift.

It’s Vancouver redux, where Crosby played with six different combinations featuring six different players, ending with Jarome Iginla and Eric Staal. So why is playing with Canada’s greatest player so hard?

“I think he’s a tough guy to keep up with,” says Rick Nash, who was tried with three separate Crosby combinations in Vancouver. “He’s so fast. The way he thinks about the game seems like it’s far beyond everyone else’s process. It’s the same thing in the last Olympics, keep shuffling around until you found something that fit.”

The case for Crosby might benefit from the creation of a distinctive calling card.

“ ‘Best player in the world' is nice,” Penguins assistant general manager Bill Guerin said.

But Guerin, whose 18-season playing career included stretches as an opponent and teammate of Crosby, paused for several seconds as he pondered what part of the center's game will define his legacy and stand out in the debate about hockey's best in history.

“If you look at some of the goals he's scored, his skill level is incredible. I mean, how many goals did he score from his knees or his backhand shots or batting them out of the air?” Guerin said. “Things that are pretty unique from a hockey player, he does them on a regular basis. I don't know how you'd categorize that.”

Conor Sheary became one of many teammates to echo sentiments about Crosby's backhand.

“He's the best I've ever seen with his backhand,” Sheary, who specifically cited Crosby's shots to the top corners. “Aside from the shooting, the passing on his backhand is so accurate. It's almost like he's passing on his forehand. I think that's something you have to get used to when you're playing with him. You have to be prepared for it.”

Defenseman Ian Cole offered a trove of insight on the ways in which the Penguins captain rises above the rest of the league's active players. The trouble, Cole concluded, is signature styles or acts already abound.

“There have been great players that have done great things before, and I think he has built on all of them,” Cole said. “I just think he's such a complete power forward, two-way guy that it's tough to say he does this one thing really well. He's just really good at everything.

“The way he can skate through traffic, the way he can hang onto the puck in traffic, maybe that's Peter Forsberg-esque, I don't know.

“I’ve said for a long time that his play away from the puck gets underrated,” Sullivan said. “I think he’s as good a defensive centre as he is an offensive centre when we want to use him in that capacity. We don’t always use him in that capacity but sometimes we do, and the reason we do is because he’s so capable."

Just watch for a couple of shifts or a period the effort that Crosby expends in his zone. Coming back around his net. Getting in passing lanes. Winning battles. He’s not hanging out above the circles, waiting for someone else to do the work.

“He’s really committed to that side right now,” Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. “You can see it. He understands the 200-foot game. It’s made him even more dangerous.”

What is it that separates Crosby defensively? Let’s ask two other centers on the Penguins. Nick Bonino pointed to Crosby’s smarts.

“He’s a really good skater, and he has good anticipation; he knows where to go,” Bonino said. “Another of his best attributes is how quickly he can go from defense to offense. He knows when to jump, when not to jump. It helps him get out of his zone quicker.”

Matt Cullen pointed to how Crosby works in the corner. How he routinely comes out with pucks. And how strong he is on his stick.

“I think that’s often overlooked with his skill set is how good he is at winning battles,” Cullen said. “He just goes into the corners and takes the puck and comes out of it. There’s not a lot of guys who just do that.”

"When people are talking about him having the complete package, it's because he has everything -- skill, speed and he's skating the way not a lot of guys can," said injured Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar, himself a silky smooth skater.

Impact on Hockey In and Outside of Pittsburgh:

"It's unlikely any of this could have happened without Crosby, which is why Penguins CEO and president David Morehouse said, "His off-ice legacy is just as impactful as his on-ice legacy, if not more.

"He's had an impact on Pittsburgh in ways that you can't even measure."

Crosby's contributions to the Penguins on the ice alone probably would have been enough to spark at least a small surge in participation in youth hockey in the Pittsburgh area if he or the Penguins hadn't lifted a finger to help. That's essentially what happened during Lemieux's playing career and Jagr's time with the Penguins.

"When I got here, I remember looking at our books and seeing that we were making money off of youth hockey, but we weren't investing money into youth hockey," Morehouse said. "So we immediately reversed that, and with Sid's help."

Crosby approached the Penguins with the idea of starting a youth hockey program, and Sidney Crosby's Little Penguins were born in 2008. Crosby brought in Reebok Hockey (now CCM), and the Penguins got Dick's Sporting Goods involved. Together each year they arranged for 1,000 boys and girls ages 5-7 to receive a complete set of equipment for free and set them up in Learn to Play practice sessions at 25 locations throughout the region.

This season, they increased the number of participating players to 1,200 and hope to have it up to 2,000 players next season by splitting the program into two.

"I love the game and if there's an opportunity to help kids enjoy the game and get something out of it and kind of help them have that opportunity, then that's something I wanted to be a part of," Crosby said. "So I was lucky the team wanted to get involved and various sponsors and things like that to make it happen. It's grown a lot and it's nice to see."

With Crosby's help, youth hockey has taken off in the area. Rich Hixon, who oversees the Learn to Play program and runs the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, said that since Crosby was drafted there has been a 152 percent increase in participation in players age 8 and under, the number of female players has doubled and overall youth participation is up 60 percent.

In addition to launching the Little Penguins, the Penguins built 12 deck hockey rinks in the region and donated ball hockey equipment to 600 elementary schools in 10 surrounding counties.

"We gave them all free hockey equipment, plastic sticks and balls, for use in gym class along with a lesson plan that shows them the physical fitness benefits of playing hockey and this is how you teach people to play hockey," Morehouse said.

This is all part of what Morehouse calls the Penguins' "hockey pyramid," which is designed to establish a foundation to grow interest and participation in the sport. It appears to be working.

USA Hockey's annual reports show that participation in Western Pennsylvania dropped from 9,920 registered players in 2001-02, the season after Jagr was traded, to 8,697 in 2004-05, the season before Crosby's arrival.

The number grew to 13,689 by 2015-16, an increase of 57 percent.

Barnett said Crosby's presence also has had an impact at the high school level.

"Certainly Sidney Crosby coming to town kind of rejuvenated the whole area with the success the Penguins have had," he said. "From a high school perspective, I think we're really seeing that boom now. I look at our youth hockey leagues and I see the mites and squirts are busting at the seams in the Pittsburgh area because of that [2016] Cup. I would say that in terms of numbers, high school hockey will benefit from that in probably six, seven years down the road."

"You see the increase in youth hockey development and youth hockey participation because of the success of the Penguins and because of Sidney Crosby, because of Malkin, because of Fleury," Schooley said. "You see [Pittsburgh area] players growing up to want to be those guys. You see that happen and then sometimes around the rink you see some of youth hockey players wearing our players' jerseys."

Crosby, 29, has played a role, directly or indirectly, in all of it. That, as much as his Stanley Cup rings and individual on-ice accomplishments, will be part of his legacy in Pittsburgh.

Crosby said that is his hope with the Little Penguins.

"I think that when you're in positions to be able to help and give back, that's something that when you get to the NHL you have a great opportunity to be able to do that," he said. "I'm definitely happy that it's continued and it's continued to grow.

But the combined effect of Crosby and Co. providing free gear and instruction has brought a quick and dramatic change that landscape in this football-crazed city, to the point that there are now 120-per-cent more children aged 10 and under playing in Western Pennsylvania than even five years earlier.

A region with fewer than four million people, in other words, has accounted for 15 per cent of the growth in youth hockey in the United States, outpacing every other state.

“This is the new, Sidney Crosby, generation,” said Penguins president David Morehouse, a Pittsburgh native who made the transition from politics to pucks when club owner Ron Burkle hired him in 2004 to work on the franchise’s push for a new arena. “These are the kids that started playing when we came out of the last lockout, and some of those kids got the free equipment.

Crosby laughs when asked about his role in “sabotaging” Canada’s future in the tournament he won silver and gold in back in 2004 and 2005.

“You saw those four guys playing,” Crosby said in reference to locals John Gibson, J.T. Miller, Riley Barber and Vincent Trocheck. “So I was thinking that some of those little kids [in the Little Penguins program] might be on a future American team.”

“Coming back this year, there’s a bunch of big, big national hockey stores around,” Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik said, noting that Pittsburgh’s minor-hockey teams weren’t nearly as competitive when he was growing up in the Buffalo area as they are now. “If they’re coming to town, you know youth hockey is getting a lot bigger.

“It’s night and day [from 20 years ago]. What this organization is doing for youth hockey has a lot to do with that.”

Pascal Dupuis, another Penguins veteran, even goes so far as to compare the city’s burgeoning hockey scene to his hometown of Laval, Que.

He spent the lockout coaching a team with his six-year-old son on it and was blown away by the level of instruction available, in part because of all the former Penguins living in the area and now working at local rinks.

“I had a blast,” Dupuis said. “It feels like if I was back in Quebec, the way it’s run around here.”

Crosby’s dedication to the program, meanwhile, was tested during the lockout.

Despite the fact players weren’t supposed to have any contact with team staff, he still quietly found a way to keep contributing, ensuring that the 2012-13 edition of the Little Penguins would be able to play.

“Registration has been full the last three or four years,” Crosby said, putting it mildly given staff say the program now fills up within minutes. “It’s gradually gotten bigger, too.”

“This was one of the first things he asked us about,” Morehouse said. “He wanted to do something for kids that couldn’t afford to play. So it’s his program. Every kid gets a jersey, and it’s No.87 so we don’t have kids fighting over 87.

“He doesn’t like to talk about it a whole lot. He just likes to do it. He just quietly does what he can to help.”

Every year USA Hockey publishes membership statistics on a year-to-year basis. Each file shows the amount of registered hockey players in the United States and breaks the total number down by geographical location. In 2004-05, the total number of players registered by USA Hockey was 445,245 – a decrease of -1.0% from 2003-04. Hockey didn’t hold the same weight it once did and the NHL lockout didn’t bode well for the once prominent league. Many fair-weathered fans had lost interest in the game and 2005-06 saw another decrease in registered players with 442,077 – a -.7% decrease.

Almost with a flick of a switch, on the heels of what was to be another jaw-dropping season, Crosby blew away the competition with a 120-point season and hockey fans started coming out of the woodwork. More people were enrolling their kids in hockey and by the end of 2006-07 USA Hockey had enrolled 457,038 – a 3.4% increase from the year before. Year after year, enrollments for hockey were climbing and the sport was gaining new ground. It wasn’t until 2010-11 where USA Hockey had a truly momentous year. They were finally able to eclipse the 500,000 registered players mark, showing that hockey was here and here to stay. Since 2004-05 season, the number of hockey players has grown a total of 14.61%.

With such a drastic jump starting at the very beginning of his career, it’s quite clear the effect Crosby had on the game of hockey and how fans from around North America reacted to his style of play, achievements, and persona. But the largest change happened in the non-traditional hockey market of Pittsburgh itself.

Last edited by ImporterExporter: 08-03-2017 at 03:57 PM.
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08-14-2017, 07:16 AM
Misterio Blanco
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Are there any chance that we could get 2016 and 2017 bio's integrated into the master bio thread? I don't think any have been done since 2015. I'd do it myself, but obviously can't edit the original posts to add the links.


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