x1 Babe Pratt Trophy ('93) - Canucks Best Defenseman
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 1986, Murzyn finished his inaugural season in Hartford with 26 points. Following his rookie season, Murzyn spent two more years in Hartford before being traded by the Whalers to the Calgary Flames midway through the 1987-88 season.
In 1988-89, Murzyn was key component on Calgary's blue line as the Flames defeated the Montreal Canadiens in six games to capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Prior to the beginning of the 1989-90 season, Murzyn and the Flames held their training camp in the Soviet Union as part of the NHL-Soviet Friendship Tour. The Tour was a four game exhibition series between the Flames the Soviets. Just past the midway point of the 1990-91 season, Murzyn was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks where he spent eight seasons, returning to the Stanley Cup Finals for a second time in his career in 1994, loosing in seven games to the New York Rangers.
Originally Posted by Greatest Hockey Legends
However Murzyn would never develop in to that well rounded bruising rearguard with an offensive flare at the NHL level. His major downfall was his skating. Simply put, he lacked the agility and lateral movement of an average NHL defenseman. His skating flaws were definitely highlighted once he reached the pros.
However Murzyn was still able to transform himself into a valuable commodity for 14 NHL seasons. How did he do that? By playing a hard working, hard hitting, honest game. He did much of the dirty work that make or break teams and that many players wouldn't do themselves. "Hank," as he was affectionately known as, was a punishing hitter. And although he rarely won a fight, he always showed up.
Murzyn made a pretty good living by clearing creases and blocking NHL shots. And while the fans may not have noticed or appreciated Hank's efforts, the players certainly did. Wayne Gretzky, for one, is probably happy to see Murzyn go. The Great One admitted on more than one occasion that he doesn't particularly enjoy playing against Murzyn. Murzyn somehow knew how to get under the skin of Gretzky, and wasn't afraid to rough him up a bit either.
5'9, 175 lbs Shoots L
104 G, 113 A, 217 Pts in 391 GP
1943 Stanley Cup Champion
9th in Goals (45-46)
6th in Assists (46-47)
Legends of Hockey
Adam Brown was a reliable goal scorer who could stand his ground in front of the net and win battles for the puck along the boards. He played nearly 400 games for three different clubs in the 1940s and '50s and was a solid minor pro competitor. Brown was a solid defensive player for nearly five years in Chicago before playing 33 games for the Boston Bruins in 1951-52.
Greatest Hockey Legends
Born in Johnstone, Scotland but raised in Canada, Adam Brown was dubbed in hockey circles as "The Flying Scotsman." But hard hitting Hall of Fame defenseman Bill Gadsby always remembered Brown for the night he sent a Frenchman flying.
Here's the story, as told in Stan Fischler's Hockey Encyclopedia:"Brown hit Montreal's little Norm Dussault about one-third of the way in from the boards. 'Dussaults stick flew into the crowd,' Gadsby said. 'So did one of his gloves. And the other glove flew about 30 feet down the ice. The best thing about it was the way Brown stood over him with his chest out, looking like Tarzan, and Dussault lying flat on the ice.'"
Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide of Everyone Who has Ever Played in the NHL:
Adam Brown “made the Red Wings immediately due to his superb skating and unwillingness to back down from rough play”.
I was playing on a Detroit Red Wings' line with Billy Taylor and Adam Brown (You probably don't remember Adam Brown. He's dead now, but he was a good hockey player and a real hustler).
5'11, 180 lbs, Shoots Left
1970 1st Team Soviet All-Star
1969 3rd Team Soviet All-Star
1969, 1970, 1973 World Championship Gold Medal
One of the strongest young Soviet blueliners of the late 1960's - early 1970's, Yevgeny Poladiev represented Spartak Moscow in Team USSR. He was an extremely reliable and fearless defense player with a poweful long distance slapshot and effective body-checking and shot-blocking skills. Poladiev was one of the Spartak fans favorites during his relatively short career in the top level hockey. Like his teammate Zimin, he was drafted to the Soviet Army but never played a game for a mighty CSKA, an all-time rivalry of his home team Spartak.
"I thought I was prepared for the series, but that was a mistake. I had no idea professionals like Peter Mahovlich and Dennis Hull were so strong."
Gary Mason, Globe and Mail, Forgotten Ones
Their service to their country appeared to have meant nothing.
That’s certainly how Yevgeny Paladiev felt when I found him in a Moscow tenement where a pack of wild dogs served as a yelping, menacing, welcoming party to anyone who drove up.
Like Mr. Mishakov, Mr. Paladiev spent his days mostly indoors, drinking and watching a 10-inch black-and-white TV with rabbit ears. His fridge was full of vodka. He insisted I drink some with him, straight up in wine glasses filled to the rim. Once movie-star handsome, Mr. Paladiev’s skin was now red and blotchy. His knees wrecked, he could only hobble about with the aid of a cane.
“This is just the way it is,” Mr. Paladiev told me. “The guys who weren’t the stars were totally forgotten.”
1976, 1978, 1979 Avco Cup Champion
1976 WHA 1st Team All-Star
1977 WHA 2nd Team All-Star
Legends of Hockey
Despite playing 105 games in the NHL, Daley will be best remembered for the second stage of his career which began with the formation of the World Hockey Association in 1972. Daley was selected by his hometown club, the Winnipeg Jets and he would spend the next seven seasons; the duration of the WHA's existence, with them.
Daley served as the Jets back up in 1972-73, but he took the starting reigns the following year and enjoyed great success with them. In 1975-76 Daley won 41 games and backstopped the Jets to their first Avco Cup as league champions. By the time the WHA folded Daley was the winningest goaltender in league history and had three Avco Cup championships on his resume. When the league folded in 1979 and the Jets were absorbed into the NHL, Daley retired from hockey.
Legends of the Buffalo Sabres:
Goaltender Joe Daley was the first player ever added to the Buffalo Sabres roster. While most Sabres fans regard Hall of Fame center Gilbert Perreault as the "original Sabre", Daley was the first player selected by the organization in the 1970 Intra-League Draft on June 9, 1970, hours before the Expansion Draft would add several players to the fold, and a full day before Perreault would be taken first overall in the NHL Amatuer Draft.
Nicknamed "the Holy Goalie" during his 18 year career, Daley was one of the last professional goaltenders, and the only one in Buffalo Sabres history, to play without wearing a protective mask. It was only in the late 1970's, as a member of the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association, that Daley donned a mask for the first time.
Playing for the Sabres in that first season must have been trying for a goaltender. Buffalo's defense was notoriously pourous, often giving up more than 40 shots against in a game. On December 10, 1970, Daley set a team record which he still holds, facing 72 shots against in an 8-2 loss to the Boston Bruins. Not all of Daley's games for the Sabres were 70-plus shot shellings. He faced just 26 shots against on February 12, 1971 as he registered the second shutout in franchise history in a 3-0 win over the California Golden Seals at the Aud in Buffalo.
Daley finished the 1970-71 season with a record of 12 wins, 16 losses and 8 ties, with one shutout and a 3.70 GAA. His goals against was just slightly higher than Crozier's, and his win-loss record was slightly better.
WHA Hall of Fame
Joe Daley became the Winnipeg Jets' second announced signing during a press conference on the afternoon of 26 May 1972 at the International Inn.
Daley's finest seasons came in 1975-1976, when he backstopped the Jets to their first AVCO Cup championship, and in 1976-1977, when he was named the Jets' most valuable player as the Jets advanced to the finals for the second consecutive season.
Daley holds numerous Jets and WHA records. He was named as a WHA First Team All-Star selection following the 1975-1976 season, a Second Team selection following the 1976-1977 season, and was selected as the outstanding goaltender at the 1976 Izvestia Tournament in Moscow.
70s Vs #2 Scores: 54, 44, 41, 33, 30, 29 = 231 over six best seasons
Originally Posted by Legends of the Buffalo Sabres
In the playoffs, Brown scored 7 goals, tying Dixon Ward and Stu Barnes for the team lead as the Sabres advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1975...At the end of the 1998-99 season, Brown was selected as the Sabres' nominee for the NHL's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverence and dedication to hockey.
In the 1999-2000 season, Brown set a new career-high for goals, scoring 22 times. He was selected as the NHL's mid-season Best Defensive Forward by both the Hockey News and Sports Illustrated. At season's end, Brown won the Punch Imlach Memorial Award, given for superior dedication and leadership.
Brown's 2000-01 season was marred by injuries which caused him to miss 12 games and hampered his play throughout the first half of the season...He spent much of the season getting comfortable with his role as the team's top defensive forward in the absence of Michael Peca, who missed the entire season due to a contract dispute. His defensive play remained solid despite his lack of offensive production. Brown finished the season with a +15 rating, the highest on the team...Curtis Brown is still the team's best defensive forward and one of it's best face-off men going in to the 2001-02 season.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 5/7/2001
As the Buffalo Sabres' checking center, Curtis Brown's job is to irk and irritate, to hook and hold, to pull back his share of faceoffs and perform a few face-washes. Anything to keep his opponent from scoring.
Ask him to describe his duty, and it will sound as if he is reading a union-shop manual. "The way I see it, you always have to work," Brown said. "You can never quit on a play, never let a guy go. You know that if you work hard out there to take away your opponent's time and space away, you can limit them. You might not shut them down, but you can limit them. It's all about work."
Brown backs that up on the ice, having established himself in his five full NHL seasons as of the league's peskiest defensive forwards. He employs every inch of his 6-foot, 196-pound frame, every step of his outstanding quickness and every iota of his energy in a relentless pursuit of the other team's top scorer.
In the first round, he was matched against Philadelphia Flyers center Keith Primeau. Despite giving up 5 inches and 24 pounds, Brown scored twice, including one in overtime of Game 4, while Primeau finished with no goals and four assists.
In this round, his task has been to hound Mario Lemieux, and he couldn't rate a higher grade for his effort. Lemieux has one goal and five assists in the series, his goal coming in Game 1 during a four-on-four with Brown on the bench and only one of those assists coming at even strength with Brown on the ice.
"No question, Brownie's been really good for us," Buffalo center Stu Barnes said. "He's had tough assignments. He's had Primeau, and now he's got Lemieux and Jagr. I mean, that's three of the top 10 players in the league...And not only has he played well defensively but he's also scored some huge, huge goals for us."
In Game 5, Brown and Jagr, Lemieux's linemate, received coincidental roughing minors in the second period. And late in the third, Jagr and Brown again collided, prompting Jagr to lose his cool, hogtie Brown and slam him to the ice for an ill-advised holding penalty.
International Awards and Achievements:
Olympic Silver Medalist (1984)
Olympic Bronze Medalist (1992)
World Championship Gold Medalist (1985)
World Championship Silver Medalist (1982, 1983)
World Championship Bronze Medalist (1987, 1992)
Domestic Awards and Achievements:
Slovak Hockey Hall of Fame (2005)
5 x Czechoslovak League Championship (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988)
Slovak League Champion (1999)
Golden Hockey Stick Winner (1984)
Golden Hockey Stick Runner-up (1988)
Czech League Best Forward (1988)
Czech League First Team All-Star (1988)
Slovak League First Team All-Star (1999)
Intermational Scoring Accomplishments:
20 Points in 19 Olympic Games
9 Points in 11 Canada Cup Games
36 Points 58 other International Games
World Championship Points – 7th(1983)
World Championship Assists – 3rd(1983), 10th(1985)
1984 Canada Cup – 10th in PPG
1984 Olympics – 8th in Goals
1988 Olympics – 7th in Points, 10th in Goals, 9th in Assists
Domestic Scoring Accomplishments:
25 Points in 37 NHL Regular Season Games
436 Points in 422 Czech League Games
383 Points in 301 other European League Games
30 Points in 25 Czech Play-off Games
33 Points in 34 other European Play-off Games
Czech League Points – 3rd(1982), 3rd(1986), 3rd(1988), 4th(1985), 14th(1983)
Czech League Goals – 1st(1982), 5th(1983), 6th(1986), 7th(1985)
Czech League Assists – 1st(1986), 2nd(1988), 4th(1985)
Slovak League Points – 11th(1997)
Slovak League Goals – 9th(1997)
Slovak Assists – 5th(1998)
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Left-winger Igor Liba played with the New York Rangers and LA Kings in 1988-89. He was best known as a top domestic and international player in Czechoslovakia and also played in several other European leagues later in his career.
Born in Kosice, Czechoslovakia, Liba played mostly with the local VSZ club but also skated briefly for Dukla Jihlava. He won two Czechoslovakian titles with each club, was named the Czechoslovakian player of the year in 1984 and placed on the country's first all-star team in 1988.
On the international stage, Liba helped Czechoslovakia win the silver medal at the 1979 World Junior Championships and participated in the tournament the next year when the team finished out of the medals. He also represented his country at five World Championships beginning in 1982, including the gold medal triumph in 1985. Liba participated at the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympics as well as the Canada Cup in 1984 and 1987.
The talented forward was originally drafted 94th overall by the Calgary Flames in 1983. His rights were traded to the Minnesota North Stars five years later but, a few months after that, he was sent to the New York Rangers in a deal that involved former first overall pick Brian Lawton. Liba registered seven points in ten games for the Blueshirts before he was traded to the Kings for defenceman Dean Kennedy. He notched 18 points for his new club and played two playoff games before deciding the NHL wasn't for him.
Following his NHL experiment, Liba returned to Kosice but later played in Switzerland, Italy, Finland, Austria and Slovakia before retiring in 1998. His last season came with EV Zeltweg of the Austrian second division.
Originally Posted by Czech Hockey Hall of Fame
Often considered najvšestrannejšieho Czech and Slovak hockey player 80th years - excellent skater, both physically and technically well-equipped and well-balanced offensive and defensive activities.
Awards and Achievements:
Stanley Cup Finalist (2003)
Selke voting - 7th(1999), 14th(2000)
489 Points in 735 NHL Regular Season Games
17 Points in 37 NHL Play-off Games
From 1994-95-2003-04, Anaheim was 237-272-93 (.471) with Rucchin, and 54-80-34 (.423) without him.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1995-96
late blooming… surprised everyone, including himself, by making rare leap directly from CIAU and becoming one of Ducks’ best two-way forwards. With NHL size and a great work ethic, he should enjoy a productive career.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1995-96
not only exceeded management’s expectations, but also his own. A center with good size and range, Rucchin gained the confidence to try a move on a defender and found his moves work. He is an older rookie, and his defensive game is advanced. Rucchin’s offensive skills were the unexpected bonus. A bit in awe of the league at first, Rucchin has good hockey sense that makes the most of his above-average skating, passing and shooting skills. His team-leading +/- was a true indication of his all-around play. He had a very good last month, once he started believing in his ability.
Rucchin can become a real force. He’s strong and balanced, willing to forecheck and fight for the puck along the boards and in the corners. When he wins the puck, he is able to create a smart play with it. He has long arms and a long reach for holding off defenders and working the puck one-handed, or reaching in defensively to knock the puck away from an attacker. He is an ideal #2 center for the Ducks. He started as a 3rd or 4th liner, but as he gained more confidence in his skills he became more of an offensive force.
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1995-96
Big and strong, Rucchin is a solid, unspectacular playmaker who uses his size to create scoring chances. He will hold onto the puck until openings materialize. He has a good shot, and he knows when to shoot and when to pass… very few NHLers come out of Canadian college hockey and amount to much. Rucchin will have to battle that perception. He is not a thrilling skater, but he isn’t a total sled, either… Rucchin was a surprise to a lot of NHL bosses who didn’t pay him much attention during his college career. Now the Ducks are having the last laugh. Not only has he earned a spot, but he’s played well enough to ensure he’ll be around for several years.
WILL – add scoring punch
CAN’T – steal too much thunder EXPECT – a solid two-way player
DON’T EXPECT – too many mental errors
Originally Posted by Hockey Almanac 1996-97
Rucchin has good size and strength. He is extremely versatile, working the corners well and handling the puck smoothly and calmly. Rucchin is as attentive to his defensive assignment as he is chasing the puck into the offensive zone. His coaching staff sees him as a player with the potential for about a point per game. And, he will double as a penalty killer and even help out the PP with his bulk in the slot… instinctively attuned to the game’s ebbs and flows, Rucchin is easy to coach because he already understands the game. He was one of the team’s top players in his first two NHL seasons, combining smart two-way play with poise. One of his greatest characteristics is his inner desire to be the best he can be at anything he tries. So he keeps pushing his game to a higher level.
WILL – provide offense
CAN’T – overshadow Kariya EXPECT – solid two-way play
DON’T EXPECT – an all-star
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1996-97
Rucchin is an intelligent, versatile player who came out of nowhere to win a job with the Ducks… shows consistent improvement in his offensive game while not losing anything from his defensive job… Rucchin works well on the second line. He grinds and digs the puck off the wall, and has the vision and the passing skills to find an open teammate.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1996-97
A versatile player with grat puck control and strong hockey instincts. Effective in traffic areas. Dependable and responsible defensively.
According to coach Wilson, “He’ll be an 80-point center who can kill penalties and could even reach 100-120 points.” Remember, that comes from the same man who said Kariya would break the 200-point plateau.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1996-97
continued his impressive transition from CIAU hockey inheriting top line duties (takes key faceoffs and also kills penalties) prior to being sidelined with a severe knee sprain. He has worked hard to add strength to his NHL-sized frame and given his defensive abilities, might otherwise fall into a checking role – but only if the Ducks can get better top line pivots.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1997-98
Playing with kariya and Selanne certainly accelerated his development last year. Let’s see if he can continue the pace if he’s on the first line. As long as he centers the dynamic duo, anything is possible. Has great size. Plays with poise and is a heady player. Still completes his defensive assignments despite the urge to keep up with Kariya and Selanne. Forechecks well and uses his long reach to bother opponents. Will work the corners. Despite his size, isn’t overly physical.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1997-98
Rucchin is more than just the safety valve for Kariya and Selanne, though he certainly serves a valuable service in that capacity. Rucchin is just starting to get the idea that he can do much more, and he continues to improve as he pushes the envelope of his talent. The role isn’t easy for Rucchin, but he makes it look simple. First he has to concentrate on being back defensively. Then he has to rush to get into the play to get the puck to his linemates or give them some room to work. Since Rucchin was strictly a defensive centre in college, this has taken some adjusting over the years.
Rucchin often matches up against other teams’ big centers, such as Mark Messier. He plays hurt, as he did in the playoffs (separated shoulder)… The Ducks are still working on him psychologically, so he will think of himself as more than a caddy for the big two… he can score 80-85 points and be a Selke contender.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1997-98
proved the ultimate foil for the dynamic duo… unfortunately, injuries curtailed his playoff influence as he missed the first three playoff games against Phoenix with back spasms, then played the final five against Detroit with a separated shoulder… the back problems flared up on more than one occasion last season. When healthy, his great size and strength create space for the superstar wingers and his defensive mindset allows them more offensive freedom. Rucchin can dominate a game but doesn’t come out every night with the fire and intensity that is required… has to believe he’s a legit #1 center and not just a stopgap until better players come along.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1998-99
He still doesn’t think like a #1 center, and frankly, he doesn’t have the talent, but Anaheim forces him to play like one… he is patient and protects the puck well…
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1998-99
strong finish helped salvage an otherwise disappointing season… plagued throughout the first half by back problems and a nagging groin injury… his skill, size and strength have earned him a spot on the coveted top line but he has taken heavy abuse while carring out the bulk of the trenchwork. Besides the health factor, his intensity sometimes wanes, which would account for his streaky scoring patterns.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1999-00
was two players last season. When in his usual role as ceter for Kariya and Selanne, he was the disher and the line’s defensive conscience. When moved to the second line, he helped spread the wealth by shooting more… playing on a 2nd line is more suited to Rucchin’s level, but he is such a stabilizing force with the gunners that coach Hartsburg went back to the combination for the playoffs… Rucchin thinks offense more in his second line role… more than just the water boy for Kariya and Selanne. He’s one of the important leaders on the team.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 1999-00
skilled all-around pivot excels defensively and has the hands and vision to complement the big two but still lacks the nasty physical edge to be a dominating force.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 1999-00
became a household name to the NHL in 1998-99. One of the better faceoff men in the league, Rucchin rounded out his game, becoming a lesser man’s version of Ron Francis. When used on the top line, he is a steadying complement to Kariya and Selanne… a smart positional player who’s improving his overall skill level… an invaluable penalty killer, Rucchin seems to bring out the best in the dynamic duo…
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2000-01
The arrival of German Titov is expected to lessen some of the offensive burden off Rucchin and allow him to play as a #2 center, which is what he should have been all along… on the second line, doesn’t have to focus on being the safety valve… sharp hockey sense… one of the best kept secrets in the NHL when it comes to faceoffs. Ranked 2nd only to Adam Oates last year according to somewhat questionable stats kept by the league, but he really is good at it. He can win a draw outright, or if he fails, he can tie up the opposing center…
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2000-01
a pivotal component in Anaheim, the underrated Rucchin is quietly enjoying a respectable career. A strong, two-way center, he is often called upon to lead the second unit in order to spread the offense around… when with Kariya and Selanna, Rucchin complements his superstar linemates very nicely, maintaining an efficient defensive presence…
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2000-01
it was no fluke that the club’s ill-timed January slide coincided with an ankle infection that sidlelined him for 11 games… big, strong, and highly underratd… started on the 2nd line but was soon reunited with the superstars as his solid mix of grit, sound defense and faceoff skills were missed.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2001-02
The Mighty Ducks found out the hard way just how valuable a player like Rucchin is. A broken nose and cheekbone turned into post concussion syndrome, which killed the Ducks’ playoff hopes. When healthy, Rucchin is strong on faceoffs, responsible defensively and one of the most cerebral players in the league. The big pivot is usually on the ice with the game on the line. Not a major goal-scoring threat, Rucchin thrives on playmaking and support.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2001-02
Injuries conspired against him… size, defense and faceoff abilities were sorely missed on the top line last season…
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2002-03
Misfortune continued to hound him… big, strong pivot is dependable, hardworking and consistently operates in the danger areas, using his good skating and puckhandling skills to create space for his linemates, however, he’s also sound defensively, wins faceoffs and is versatile enough to play a variety of roles… unlucky and underrated.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2002-03
Every team needs a Steve Rucchin on their roster. Unfortunately, the two-way center’s absence has been felt all too often throughout his career… when in the lineup, Rucchin provides stability, size, excellent hockey sense and a defensive conscience to the top line. He has enjoyed tremendous chemistry with Kariya and a keen ability to find open wingers… an essential part of the franchise.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 2003-04
healthy for the first time in three seasons, Rucchin was one of the key reasons why the Ducks made it into the playoffs at all, let alone the Stanley Cup Finals. Rucchin is a checking center whose finesse skills were so honed in the days when he was Anaheim’s #1 center that he doesn’t look out of place in a more offensive role. It all starts with his best asset, his size, along with above average skating and elite level smarts, which makes him Anaheim’s best all-around player… Rucchin is a bear on draws, and he is especially focused on a defensive zone faceoff… Rucchin is a defensive forward in a power forward’s body… he often matches up against other teams’ big centers, and more often than not shuts them down… Rucchin is physically and mentally tough. He not only overcame his own serious injuries, but coped with the death of his brother in the past year. He is a gamer, a leader, and one of the most intelligent and respected players in the NHL. Rucchin should be a selke trophy candidate.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2003-04
Rebounded in spectacular fashion, spearheading Anaheim’s turnaround and delivering 7 goals in the playoffs, including three in the final three games… Big, strong, and dependable, Rucchin does everything well, from winning faceoffs to logging all the difficult defensive minutes, yet, despite maintaining an aggressive edge, rarely hurts his team with bad penalties… as goes blue collar star, so go the Ducks.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2003-04
An invaluable member of the Ducks.. good size, excellent faceoff ability and supreme intelligence at both ends of the rink. He’s a coach’s dream. He makes his linemates better, either with his offensive prowess or by covering up defensively… as the heart and soul of the Anaheim franchise, he’s far more valuable than what his statistics indicate.
Originally Posted by McKeen’s Hockey Pool Yearbook 2005-06
first year captain led the Ducks in goals at the quarter pole of the season before being hampered by knee problems… consistent producer when healthy.
Originally Posted by Sports Forecaster 2007-08
A concussion took him out of the final quarter of the season… That’s the story of his career. A hard working, two-way center, he’s no longer 2nd line pivot material since he’s missed a significant amount of time in 8 of his 11 seasons due to injury.
Last edited by seventieslord: 12-12-2012 at 11:29 AM.
Boucher spent much of his early pro career developing in the minors and never played extensively in Buffalo. In February 1995 he was a key component in the trade that saw L.A. Kings goalie Grant Fuhr end up with the Sabres. Boucher began to work on his defensive play the next year and became a more important figure on the club's blueline. Boucher spent nine seasons in the L.A. organization splitting his time with the team's AHL and IHL affiliates.
Known for his offensive prowess and hard accurate shot, Boucher became a free agent in 2002-03 and the Dallas Stars jumped at the opportunity to sign the former first rounder. Boucher spent five seasons in Dallas which included his breakout year in which he tied the Stars' franchise record for most goals by a defenseman with 19. His injury plagued 2007-08 season turned out to be his last with the organization as the club dealt Boucher to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Darryl Sydor. A move that would prove fortuitous for both Boucher and the Penguins as the team would go on to win the Stanley Cup that June.
Originally Posted by SI.com - 7/2/2002
"He is a well-rounded defenseman who plays a strong physical game as well as a player who can move the puck on the power play," Dallas coach Dave Tippet said.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 11/17/2008
Still, adding an experienced, right-handed shot to their power play certainly can't hurt, and Boucher is responsible enough defensively that he shouldn't be a liability in his own zone, either.
"A guy like him who can move the puck and also shoot the puck well certainly can help us," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said.
Although Boucher is 6 feet 3, 221 pounds, he is not regarded as a punishing hitter. He can, however, use his size effectively. "He's not a soft guy," Shero said. "That may have been his reputation when he came into the league a long time ago, but he's a big body and will play somewhat physically. He's not a killer or anything like that. He's not going to take over [Orpik's] job, but he gets in the lanes, gets in the way."
Since entering the NHL in 1987-88, Jeff Norton has been a top-flight playmaking defenceman. His crisp passes and ability to play the point on the power play made him a useful component of a number of teams over the years.
In 1988-89, Norton scored 31 points as a rookie but the Islanders struggled. The young blueliner played for the sixth place U.S. team at the World Championships. Norton contributed to the Islanders' revitalization the next year and scored 53 points. New York's power play was vaunted that season with Norton and Doug Crossman working the points and Pat Lafontaine hovering around the net. After they were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, he joined the American squad at the World Championships.
Norton played three more years in New York with the 1992-93 season representing the peak. That year he scored a personal-best 12 goals and helped New York upset the Pittsburgh Penguins and reach the semi-finals. A few weeks later he was traded to the San Jose Sharks and was a key component of that club becoming competitive in its third season. Norton scored 40 points and helped the Sharks upset Detroit and take Toronto to seven games in the post-season. He was a key force on the club's power play unit with fellow defenceman Sandis Ozolinsh.
Norton joined the St. Louis Blues in 1994-95 and later suited up for the speedy Edmonton Oilers and the weak Tampa Bay Lightning. During this period he was not as dominant on the power play but was still useful to each team's transition game. He joined the Florida Panthers in 1997-98 but the team was in decline and opted to go with younger players on the blueline. Norton was re-acquired by the Sharks and was a fine addition with 22 points in 69 games in 1998-99. He was a solid mobile defender on the improved Sharks in 1999-2000 then started the next year in Pittsburgh. Norton joined San Jose for the third time in 2000-01 as the club became one of the most feared in the NHL.
Originally Posted by NY Times - 2/17/1989
Jeff Norton, the defenseman who drew an accolade from Coach Al Arbour for his uncommonly stalwart play on the blue line.
Norton, who set up two New York goals, was victimized on three Pittsburgh goals. One went off his skate, one was deflected off his stick into an empty net, and the game-winner came on a play in which the action came right down his lane.
''I'm young, I am going to make mistakes,'' Norton said. ''But you can't stop working. You don't know what might happen on the next shift.''
You can't blame some of the veterans of the Islanders defense if they are feeling a little defensive.
With 17 defensemen in training camp and one top draft choice possibly on the way, a trade of one or two established players for a power forward is a strong possibility.
Could it be Jeff Norton, a puck-rusher whose promise has been somewhat muted by injuries?
This is Norman Fowler. He was better known by his nickname Hec, sometimes spelled Heck. The origins of the nickname remain unknown to me. Perhaps it was because he gave his opponents heck. He was a a brawling puck stopper, an early day Ron Hextall.
He turned his youthful passion into a career that took him to some unusual places. In 1916 he moved to Spokane, Washington to play for the Canaries of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. He would later play with the PCHA's Seattle Metropolitans and Victoria Aristocrats/Cougars.
When the Boston Bruins joined the National Hockey League in 1924, they acquired Fowler from Victoria to be the Bruins first goaltender.
The excitement soon faded for the Bruins and especially for Fowler. After seven games he was dumped. He had won just one of those games and allowed 42 goals.
There is even some suggestion that Fowler burned some bridges by admitting he was allowing extra goals against in hopes that the Bruins would go out and get some better players. Manager Art Ross opted to do just that, but named Fowler as their scapegoat and let him go.
Ross apparently even suspended and fined Fowler as much as $1,000. Fowler returned home but found a new team in the Edmonton Eskimos. Somehow though, Ross bound Fowler to a contract for just $1. In order to secure his release the Eskimos paid Fowler's $1000 fine.
Fowler took his $1 and framed it. He reportedly posted it on the walls of a printing shop he opened in Saskatoon after retiring from hockey.
Fowler would play two seasons in Edmonton before relocating to California to play for a team called Oakland Shieks! He was somewhat of a celebrity in the sunshine state, dubbed a "human blanket" for his puck stopping abilities.
I found one article from 1951 by Vern DeGeer of the Montreal Gazette which paints "Heck" Fowler as one of the most colorful hockey players ever...
"Insisting that a goaltender's cage was his castle, Fowler wouldn't permit an opponent within a stick's length. Oldtimers who campaigned against him will tell you Fowler was the original wood-chopper. He delighted in laying on the lumber. If you got too close for a good belt with the hickory, he'd throw a punch.
"He served time in every penalty box within skating distance during his eventful professional career. In his campaigning days when a goalie was penalized no substitute was permitted to serve his sentence as is done today. He engaged in a dozen fist fights in the Coast League, several in the NHL and despite the burden of equipment, didn't lose many decisions. In a duel with the sticks, which was the favorite skull denting approach until the moderns encouraged a milder form of physical encounter, he could swing his heavier war club vigorously enough to fell one of California's famous Redwood trees. But he preferred his fists. Claimed he was always breaking sticks and his tough knuckles took the punishment easier."
Originally Posted by The Spokesman-Review - 1/6/1917
Norman Fowler again proved that he is a goalkeeper without a superior in the league. The former Saskatoon star blocked scores of shots from every angle. No matter how they came, he pushed them into the safety zone. A week ago he shone like a diamond, but last night he outdid himself.
Originally Posted by The Montreal Gazette - 5/29/1950
Dink Carroll hints that Heck Fowler may have been playing goal for Saskatoon. A reminder that the former Pacific Coast and National Hockey League netminder, chased from the NHL by Art Ross of the Boston Bruins on a suspension ticket, once was a star goalie for the jolly old Thistles in the Hub City.
In his early professional hockey days, soccer authorities sought to bar Fowler form their ranks, but failed. He became one of the first athletes in Canada to toil as a professional in one sport, as an amateur in another.
(#3 in the center with 1955 AHL Champion Pittsburgh Hornets)
x5 AHL 1st AST (1952-1956)
x1 AHL 2nd AST (1958)
x4 Calder Cup winner (1952, 1955, 1958-1959)
Charter member of AHL Hall of Fame
Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder
Recipient of Lester Patrick Trophy (commitment to hockey in US)
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
On the ice Mathers became one of the AHL's all-time great defencemen, being voted to the all-star team on five consecutive occasions during the late 1950s. After he took on the dual role of player/coach the team won three Calder Cups. His greatest asset was remaining calm but still pushing players to reach their potential individually or as a team. He retired as a player in 1962 and turned his full attention to coaching. When he left the game, Mathers stood as the all-time assist and point-scoring leader among AHL defencemen.
Originally Posted by AHL Hall of Fame
Mathers soon turned his attention to hockey, and beginning in 1948, after three years in the Quebec senior circuit, he spent eight seasons patrolling the blue line for the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets, establishing himself as one of the best defensemen in the league. He was named a First Team AHL All-Star five straight years, the only player in AHL history ever to accomplish that feat, and he helped the Hornets to Calder Cup championships in 1952 and 1955. Mathers would also participate in all six of the AHL All-Star Games held in the 1950’s, five as a player.
When the Hornets folded after the 1955-56 season, Mathers nearly retired to pursue a career in dentistry. But legend has it that Hershey Bears president and general manager John Sollenberger persuaded Mathers in unique Hershey fashion to join his team as a player/coach: by taking him on a few roller-coaster rides at Hersheypark.
Mathers’ arrival immediately changed the fortunes of the Bears franchise. Coming off consecutive fifth-place finishes, Hershey qualified for the playoffs in 1957 and won back-to-back Calder Cup titles in 1958 and 1959. Mathers retired from playing during the 1961-62 season, but continued as the Bears’ head coach through 1973, capturing another Calder Cup in 1969 – the fifth of his career.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 12/4/1952
The Hornets ended the Syracuse jinx at The Gardens last night, but it was somewhat of an individual triumph for Frank Mathers, speedy defenceman, who handed them a 2-1 victory in a “sudden death” overtime period. Mathers...scored both goals...
Although a LHS, the quote above comes from a game report that listed the starting blueliners as LD and RD. Mathers was listed as RD, which demonstrates an ability to play on his off-side.
Finnish League and International Accomplishments
x6 Finnish Elite League All-Star Team ('68-'71, '74, '78-'79)
x2 Finnish Player of the Year ('74, '81)
member of Finnish HHOF
SM sarja Scoring: 168-116-284 points in 255 GP
Placements: 1st in '71, 4th in '68, 5th in '70, 7th in '73, 8th in '74, 9th in '67, 11th in '69, 18th in '72
SM-liiga Scoring: 95-155-250 points in 144 GP
Placements: 1st in '79, 2nd in '78, 4th in '80, 4th in '81
World Championship Scoring/Placements (Overall/Team): 22-14-36 points in 53 WC GP - (10,17,19,26) 10/1 in '74, 17/3 in '70, 19/2 in '71, 26/7 in '72
Olympic Scoring/Placements (Overall/Team): 4-6-10 points in 10 OG GP - 9/2 in '68, 22/3 in '72
0 points in 10 Canada Cup GP
WHA and NHL Accomplishments
x1 Avco Cup winner ('76)
WHA Scoring/Placements: 84-89-183 pts in 235 WHA GP - 35 in '77, 39 in '76
NHL Scoring: 9-5-14 points in 44 GP
Originally Posted by Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame
Veli-Pekka Ketola was the most famous forward in Finnish hockey in the 1970’s. He was also perhaps the first Finnish player to make an impact in North American hockey rinks.
Ketola made his big-time debut in the Finnish Lions at the Olympic Games of 1968 in Grenoble. After leading the Lions in scoring at the World Championship of 1974 in Helsinki he received an offer from the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association (WHA). Ketola and defender Heikki Riihiranta became the first Finnish trained players in North American major league hockey. In 1976 he won the WHA championship (Avco Trophy) with the Jets. In the same year Ketola was traded to the Calgary Cowboys, but when that team folded in next spring he decided to return to Finland to his home town club Ässät.
In 1981 Ketola returned to North America for one more season with the Colorado Rockies in the NHL. He retired from the rinks a year later. The award for the best scorer in points in the regular season of the Finnish SM-liiga is named after Veli-Pekka Ketola.
Veli Pekka Ketola was one of the pioneering players from Finland to cross the Atlantic. As a 20 year old, he was invited to the Detroit Red Wings' training camp together with legendary Swedish defenseman Lennart Svedberg.
Ten years later, the situation had changed dramatically. A Finn had played at the side of Wayne Gretzky in winning the Stanley Cup and Finns had participated in All-Star games. The scouts had begun to expand their recruitment drive to take in Europeans.
In the 1974 World Championship, Ketola showed that he was a leader on the international level and offers of a professional career started to come in. The only surprise came when he signed a contract not with the Detroit Red Wings, who held his NHL rights, but with the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA.
In Finland, Ketola's number 13 was already legendary, but in North America he wasn't allowed to use it. In Winnipeg, he became number 12. Playing for Winnipeg, he had the good fortune to be part of a winning franchise led by hockey's first $1 million man, Bobby Hull. At the time, Hull was being ably assisted by a pair of Swedes, center Ulf Nilsson and right wing Anders Hedberg. Nilsson's predominant role with the team left centerman Ketola without much ice time. Nevertheless, he managed to end his WHA career with a respectable 183 points in 235 games. The highlight of his years in the World Hockey Association was his second season, when the Jets won the Avco Cup. He'd signed a three-year pact with Winnipeg, but during his final year, 1976-77, he was traded to the Calgary Cowboys.
Ketola then returned to Finland to play, but in 1981 he returned for a second stint in North America, this time with the Colorado Rockies of the NHL. He lasted one season and 44 games. Ketola had the size necessary for an NHL player, but the powers that be felt that he didn't use his gifts to full advantage. Ketola, who was brought up in the European mold and taught that technique came before physique, didn't like that attitude.
On the international level, Finland didn't have much success during his era. Making matters worse was the doping scandal in 1974 involving the unfortunate goalie Stig Wetzell. Finland was on the brink of winning its first medal, only to have a key 5-0 victory over Czechoslovakia reversed when Wetzell tested positive. Wetzell has never admitted to any wrongdoing and there is even reason to believe that members of his own national team unfairly targeted him. The net result was that first Wetzell and then Ketola refused to play on the national team again.
The goalie never went back on his promise, but Ketola rescinded his boycott to participate in three more World Championship tournaments. Even though he lost some key years in his international career, he still makes the all-time top 10 list with the national team with 105 points in 186 games. The latter mark ranks sixth in team history, as do his 60 goals.
In Finland, Ketola helped his hometown of Pori win three national titles. The first one came in 1965 with the club nicknamed Karhut (the Bears). Two years later, the two hockey clubs in Pori joined forces and became known as Assat (the Aces). In the 1970s, Assat won two national championships, both times with Ketola as the team's top scorer.
Originally Posted by The Leader-Post - 9/2/1976
Veli-Peka Ketola is a centre who reminds Kromm of Phil Esposito. "He shoots well and can direct traffic in front of the net."
Originally Posted by The Calgary Herald - 4/24/1976
Ketola has been a Cowboy killer all season with eight goals but he had something extra saved up for this one. Ketola is a physical giant. Friday he played like one, refusing to be moved off the puck at any time when controlling play completely at both ends of the rink.
Rick Lapointe was a mobile defenceman with a good shot from the point who could also play an abrasive style in his own zone. He played nearly 700 games for five clubs in an NHL career that spanned eleven years.
Born in Victoria, B.C., Lapointe played in the BCJHL with the Nanaimo Clippers before excelling on the WHL's Victoria Cougars. In 1974-75 he scored 70 points in 67 games, represented Canada at the World Junior Championships, and was taken fifth overall by the Detroit Red Wings at the Amateur Draft. He was also named to the first all-star units in the WCJHL and the World Junior tourney. The scouts were impressed with the youngster's playmaking ability and willingness to play aggressively in his own zone.
Lapointe was solid during his first two years with the mediocre Wings. After a trade to the Philadelphia Flyers in February 1977, he settled into a more defensive role and put up excellent plus/minus numbers. Prior to the 1979-80 season, Lapointe was dealt to the St. Louis Blues for Blake Dunlop. He solidified the club's blueline but was traded to the Quebec Nordiques for veteran forward Pat Hickey in August 1982.
The veteran spent more of his time with the Nord's AHL farm team. In 1983-84, he was a standout on the Fredericton Express and named to the league's first all-star team. Lapointe was a veteran role player on the L.A. Kings for two seasons before retiring in 1986.
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook of Pro Hockey - 1982
In sixth NHL season, had best term as anchor of Blues' backline...not spectacular but a thorough defensive player...uses size to control corners and clear traffic from in front of the net...moves the puck well from his own zone but isn't regarded as a good rusher.
Originally Posted by The Complete Handbook of Pro Hockey - 1983
Anchor of Blues' backline...more efficient than spectacular...Strong defensively...moves the puck well...
527 Games Coached, 181-263-83 record (1940-1949, 1954)
27 Playoff Games Coached, 13-14 record, winner of 1939-40 Stanley Cup
Coach All-Star Team Voting: 1st (1942), 2nd (1940)
We shouldn't take Boucher's record at face-value. He coached the Rangers through World War 2 who were hit especially hard.
Boucher's 1st place Rangers in 1942 had 15 players play at least 30 games with only 5 playing through the war years. Grant Warwick and Ott Heller played all three years with the Rangers, Clint Smith joined the Hawks as a free agent in '43, Babe Pratt was traded to the Leafs three games into the '43 season, and Phil Watson played all but the '44 season with the Rangers as he was loaned for 4 players.
Lost the following players before the 1943 season to the war: Mac Colville, Neil Colville, Alex Shibicky, Art Coulter, Bill Juzda, Sugar Jim Henry, and Alan Kuntz
Lost before 1944 season: Lynn Patrick and Alf Pike
Lost before 1945 season: Bryan Hextall
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The Rangers asked the NHL for permission to fold until the end of the war because of their best players' service in the armed forces overseas...The Dutton-controlled NHL did not honor the Rangers' request, and so they finished well back of the other five teams that year, with career minor-league goaltender Ken McAuley giving up 310 goals in the team's 50 games, a league record for worst goals-against-average that has stood ever since. The closest any goalie since has come to equalling this record is Greg Millen, whose 4.70 GAA came from allowing 282 goals in 60 games for the Hartford Whalers forty seasons later.
The Rangers goaltender situation was particularly ugly after Henry joined the war and the season described above came in 1944. McAuley also played the majority of games in 1945. 1943 wasn't much better with Jimmy Franks and Bill Beveridge starting most of the games, while Steve Buzinski famously played 8 games.
Originally Posted by The New York Rangers: Broadway's Longest Running Hit
The 1939-40 Season
This Ranger group was a dynamite team, one of the best teams ever to skate on Broadway...From November 28 until January 14, the Blueshirts went undefeated, winning 14 games (10 of them in a row) and tying three. After the streak was snapped with a 2-1 loss in Chicago, the Rangers won their next five for a 19-1-3 string. Under rookie coach Frank Boucher, the team also became innovative. They pulled Kerr in the last minute of the Chicago loss, but GM Lester Patrick didn't know about it beforehand, and his yells alerted both the Blackhawks and the referee, who blew the play dead. Boucher was also the creator of the "box defense" while the team was short-handed. There were 13 players who appeared in at least 43 games and hit double figures in points.
Boucher was the first coach to pull his goaltender for an extra skater late in the game, and he developed the box defense for killing penalties. He also taught his teams to attack when short-handed; in 1939-40, when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup, they scored almost twice as many goals on opponents' power plays as the opposition did.
In 1942, Boucher proposed adding the red line to the hockey to speed up play. He later explained, "My thought was that hockey had become a see-saw affair. Defending teams were jammed in their own end for minutes because they couldn't pass their way out against the new five-man attack." At that time, teams weren't allowed to pass the puck out of the defensive zone; when the red line was added for the 1943-44 season, the rule was changed to allow passing from behind the blue line up to the red line.
Boucher made a brief comeback as a player in 1944, but gave it up after fifteen games. He was replaced as the Rangers' coach during the 1948-49 season, returned to the job in 1953, and retired for good before the season was over.
Brodeur has a decent enough NHL career to merit selection now:
- He had a playoff for the ages, as he took Vancouver to the 1982 Stanley Cup finals, posting a .917 save percentage when the other goalies in the league averaged .883
- He finished 6th in Vezina/Allstar voting in 1982, and 8th in 1983, both with significant votes
- He was a workhorse goalie who was top-10 in minutes 5 times (2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th)
- He displayed excellent longevity, playing until he was 35. In his final season, only Billy Smith and Gilles Meloche were older among goalies, and only Salming, Robinson and Dionne among skaters.
- From 1981-1987 with Vancouver, Brodeur did not post gaudy personal numbers (though he was 6th in sv% in 1982 and well above average in 1981)but like Vancouver did to their goalies for the first 20 years of their existence, he was hung out to dry. He proved his capability by outperforming his backups by 9 sv% points (.872 to .863) over this 7-year period. This is actually identical to what another famous “good goalie on a bad team”, Gilles Meloche did for 7 years in California/Cleveland (.885-.876) and a little better than what he did in his next 7 years in Minnesota (.886-.881).
- Other starters for Vancouver over their pathetic first 20 years did this:
o 1971-73: +6 points over 3 seasons
o 1974-76: +9 points over 3 seasons
o 1977-78: +12 points over 2 seasons (this was our starter, Cesare Maniago, at age 38-39)
o 1979-80: +12 points over 2 seasons
o 1981-87: +9 points over 7 seasons (Brodeur)
o 1988-97: +5 points over 10 seasons (Kirk McLean)
That’s all respectable enough, but Brodeur was 28 when he became an NHL starter for the second half of his pro career. Prior to that he played 7 seasons in the WHA, 6 as a starter.
- He won the 1977 Avco Cup
- He was a 1975 Avco Cup finalist
- He was top-5 in minutes three times (1st, 5th, 5th)
- He led the league in sv% in 1978 and 1979
- He was a 2nd team all-star in 1979
- He was 2nd all-time in wins and playoff wins
- He was above the league sv% average every season except 1977, and outplayed his backups by 11 points from 1974-1979 (.890-.879)
In total he had a record of 296-289-72 in the regular season and 39-43 in the playoffs in 774 total NHL and WHA games from 1972-1988.
He was also the top goalie in the CHL when buried behind Smith and Resch in the Isles' Organization in 1980.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
...Canucks fans, and for that matter early Nordiques fans, can tell you that the stats are not truly indicative of "King" Richard Brodeur's stellar play.
Brodeur played most of his NHL career in the early to mid 1980s. Those years featured horrible Canuck teams in the same division as Wayne Gretzky's high scoring Oilers, Lanny McDonald's Calgary Flames, Marcel Dionne's LA Kings and Dale Hawerchuk's Winnipeg Jets. That's a whole lot of offensive firepower gunning at the poor Canucks, who relied on Brodeur to keep them in most games, and sometimes just to keep the score respectable.
Brodeur was, literally, the Canucks saving grace. He was an exciting goalie to watch, pretty acrobatic and had lots and lots of shots against. His career 3.85 GAA his grossly inflated by the high scoring Smythe division of the 1980s. His win/loss record is very respectable considering how bad the Canucks were in comparison to their divisional foes.
Brodeur's career highlight, like that of most Canucks and their fans of that generation, was the improbable 1982 Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup finals. Brodeur backstopped the Canucks with an 11-6 record and a 2.70 GAA. While the Canucks were lucky to have the LA Kings upset Gretzky's Oilers, The Canucks handled their opposition quite handily until they reached the Finals. Once there, the dynastic New York Islanders tore apart the Canucks, winning easily in 4 games. Dubbed "King Richard" for his fine play during the '82 playoffs, Brodeur's fine play couldn't stack up against the likes of Bryan Trottier, Denis Potvin, Clark Gillies and most noteably - Mike Bossy.
...it wasn't until the 1987-88 season that Brodeur was ousted out of that spot as the Canucks starting goalie. The arrival of a young Kirk McLean meant that Brodeur was now being asked to be a backup....
Brodeur's career actually started 8 years before he made the NHL. Drafted by the Islanders in 1972, Brodeur opted to skip out on the NHL and jump at the chance to stay in his home province by playing with the Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association. Brodeur ranks as one of the best goalies in the WHA history. His 165 wins ranks second all time, only 2 wins behind Joe Daley. Brodeur also set a record for wins in 1975-76 when he had 44. That same season the Nordiques won the Avco Cup championship, symbolic of WHA supremacy.
Originally Posted by Canucks Legends
During that playoff, Brodeur flipped and flopped his way into the heads of opponents and teammates alike. Opposing shooters began thinking they couldn't beat The King and his lightning-quick reflexes.... We got good goaltending and we started believing in ourselves in a really good way", adds ********. "We felt they couldn't beat us, the other teams."... The Canucks took on the Calgary Flames in round one of the playoffs, riding the red-hot netminding of Brodeur to a three-game sweep. Brodeur allowed just 5 goals on 108 shots... "In one of those games, we outshot them significantly, recalls Paul Reinhart, "I seem to remember, though, it was a case of it just didn't matter. Brodeur could have turned backwards and the puck would have hit him in the back of the leg somehow. He was that good at the time."... In the conference final against Chicago, Brodeur turned in a spectacular 46-save performance as the Canucks beat the Blackhawks and ace netminder Tony Esposito 2-1 in double OT... Brodeur stoned Hawks' superstar Denis Savard on a breakaway not long into (game 5 of the semifinals). The Canucks were outshot 38-28 but managed to pull away for a 6-2 win and a berth in the final... Brodeur played more than 50 games in six of his eight seasons and won the team MVP award three times.
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1975-76
Fierce little competitor with a colorful flare…
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1976-77
appeared in more games than any other goalie in the league last season… though he is small, he is very durable and extremely agile… always cheerful and eager to help out… has all-star potential.
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1977-78
one of the WHA’s most colorful goaltenders… wheh he leads the Nordiques onto the ice, he races to the net… and when the teams change ends he tears down the ice to his new goal, passing the other goaltender before he’s as far as the first blueline…
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1978-79
popular among Quebec fans who remember his starring role in the 1977 Avco cup… very colorful performer… likes pressure.
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1981-82
small but extremely quick and a good technician… was all-star goalie in Central League in 1979-80 with Islanders’ farm team… admits that he’s a trifle overweight but claims that his wife likes him that way.
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1982-83
the star of the Canucks’ 1982 playoff success… superb goaltending anchored team’s advance to the finals… one of the NHL’s best during the season… compensates for small stature with strong technique and extraordinary reflexes and catching hand… laid back approach means he’s not bothered by a bad goal or a bad game…
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1983-84
rescued off NHL scrap heap in 1980… has been one of the NHL’s best since then… was exceptional in Canucks’ advance to cup final in 1982…
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1984-85
one of the great bargains in NHL history… his career was dead-ending in NYI organization in 1980 when Canucks acquired him as net insurance for exchange of 5th rounders… since then, has been one of NHL’s best goalies…
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1985-86
Little Richard but often plays like King Richard… played well under adverse conditions for defensively weak team last season… seldom received much support from team with vulnerable defense and forwards who did not excel as backcheckers… master of making the seemingly impossible save… overcame serious injuries that could have ended his goaltending career… quickness is his strongest asset as a goalie…
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1986-87
King Richard in Lotusland… bounced back impressively to win rave notices… NHL’s busiest goaltender in 1985-86
Originally Posted by Complete Handbook Of Pro Hockey 1987-88
a veritable institution in Vancouver… No. 1 on the coast for the last 7 seasons… only two active NHLers are older than him… a workhorse who has averaged 50 starts and 3000 minutes per season…
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1987-88
Brodeur does everything well and he does nothing well. In other words, while he has no standout features to his goaltending, he is adept at all facets. He’s an excellent reflex goaltender who also does a fine job of playing the angles to cut down the shooter’s chances. Brodeur skates well, moving in and out of the net and around his crease with authority, but he does not usually roam from the net to handle the puck, preferring to leave it for his defensemen. He holds his posts well in action around the net. He is a little scrambly balance-wise, and that’s one reason he looks so acrobatic. That small lack of balance is why he is sometimes slow to regain his feet after going to the ice.
Brodeur is quick with his hands and feet and is also very flexible, able to get at that difficult shot with the toe of his skate or the tip of his glove, even when seeming to move in the opposite direction. He has a good glove hand and is fairly strong on his left side, but he has a tendency to be weak below the waist on his stick side. Richard also indicates a susceptibility up high, as evidenced by the times he gets hit in the head. Usually though, he sees the puck very well, making him strong on screen shots, and his quickness will get him to pucks that are deflected or otherwise redirected. He communicates well with his defensemen, and that’s important because Vancouver’s defensemen need a lot of help.
Brodeur is very tough and, with Vancouver allowing so many chances per game, he has to be. Brodeur has the ability to make the big save and can maintain his concentration through most circumstances. He is very rarely rattled by bad goals or games, able to bear down immediately and worry about the next goal, rather than the last one. He has good anticipation skills and they readily complement his quickness, making him difficult to beat from in close. Still, every once in a while, he’ll get caught off guard in his concentration. But that is definitely the exception to the rule. Because of the amount of shots he’s absorbed over his career, Brodeur – though only 35 - has a body 10 years older than that. He’s recognized that, and does off-ice work to maintain his conditioning. That indicates dedication. His work habits and day in-day out desire make Brodeur a leader for Vancouver.
Originally Posted by Hockey Scouting Report 1988-89
Brodeur has faced a lot of shots in his life, but his sterling performance against the Caadiens in the Adams Division semifinals shows he’s ready, willing and able to face a lot more. He might find himself jockeying for a job this year, but if Hartford had another goalie ready for the NHL they wouldn’t have had to trade for Brodeur. Richard should do well playing for a team that – finally – plays defense in front of him.
McCaffrey had a very long and very storied career. From 1916-1923, he was a Senior hockey star in Toronto, scoring 80 points in 61 games and 25 more in 23 playoff and Allan Cup games. He won two Allan Cups in 1922 and 1923, and then went to the Olympics with the Granites in 1924, of course winning gold, outscoring everyone in the tournament except Harry Watson, most notably Hooley Smith. He was a two-time 1st team all-star in the SOHA and once a 2nd team all-star defenseman, so he was even multi-positional in those days. Clearly during this time, based on comparables done in the past, McCaffrey was capable of being a very good NHL player.
He then joined the NHL in 1924 with the Leafs as a RW (at 31, already among the league's oldest players), and was actually the league's 19th-leading scorer and 13th in Hart voting. (not the greatest achievement, as this was a pre-merger league, but decently notable). In 1925, he was 13th. He switched to D after the merger and was a decent 11th and 13th in points by a blueliner. Normally I wouldn't say this was decent, but he had 53 and 65% of the leading d-man scorer those years. In 1930 and 1931, he won the Stanley Cup with the Habs. He played until the end of the 1931 season, at which point he was 37 and only Art Duncan was older - but Duncan played just two games.
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide Of Everyone Who Has Ever Played in the NHL
Even if McCaffrey had never played a single NHL game, his place in Canadian hockey history would be secure because of his amateur career.
Originally Posted by loh.net
Winger/defenseman Bert "Mac" McCaffery played his seven NHL seasons during the 1920s and 1930s for the Toronto St. Pats, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Montreal Canadiens. Born in Chesley, Ontario, he entered the NHL in 1924-25 after four years with the Ontario Hockey Association's Toronto Granites. In his rookie campaign with the St. Pats he scored 9 goals and 7 assists. The next season was his best from an individual standpoint, 14 goals and 7 assists for 21 points in 36 games.
St. Pats management traded him to Pittsburgh during the early part of the 1927-28 season as part of a three-team deal that brought Ed Rodden to Toronto from Chicago, and sent Ty Arbour to the Windy City. McCaffery was traded again in 1929, this time to Montreal for Gord Fraser. After just over a year with the Canadiens, Mac went to the Providence Reds of the old Can-Am league, and then to the Philadelphia Arrows of the same league, where he rounded out his playing career in 1933.
Perhaps the greatest highlight of McCaffery's career came during his final year as an amateur with the OHA's Granites, when he competed in the 1924 Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix, France. In those days, Canada would send its top amateur club to wear the national colors, and with McCaffery at right wing, the Granites ? a team founded by ex-servicemen after World War I, were dominant, winning the Allan Cup in 1922 and 1923.
McCaffery, along with teammates Harry Watson on left wing and Hooley Smith at center, formed an effective scoring trio for coach Frank Rankin. The Granites opened the seven-game tournament with a 30-0 pasting of Czechoslovakia, followed by a 22-0 crushing of Sweden and a 33-0 drubbing of Switzerland. McCaffery hat-tricks in the first two games, then exploded for an incredible eight goals, including three in a row in the contest against Switzerland.
In the finals, Canada took on the United States on the outdoor ice of Chamonix for the gold medal. Watson, who had been hired by the Toronto Telegram to write a first-person, behind-the-scenes account of the team's trip to France, boasted that Canada would beat the Americans 10 or 12 to nothing ? a prediction that did not seem all that unlikely, considering some of the scores during qualifying. His forecast earned Watson a stick in the face from an unappreciative American during the early minutes of the game. But as things settled down, Canada took control and won the gold medal by a score of 6-1. McCaffery scored once in the final, and finished the tournament with 20 goals in 5 games, second to Watson's 36 (assists were not recorded).
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Press, December 14, 1927
The hockey trade just completed where the Duquesne Gardens outfit obtained the services of Bert McCaffrey, of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is a good one, from a Pittsburgh standpoint. McCaffrey is rated as one of the best skaters in the NHL and appears to be just the kind of a man the locals need.
he's the only player in the draft (correct me if I'm wrong) who was legitimately good as a forward and a defenseman, making him not just a passable fill-in, but a great one:
As a forward:
- put up 94 points in 77 games in the OHA and earned two first team all-star spots (Harry Watson had 131 in 72)
- scored buckets of points at the 1924 olympics with his linemates Smith and Watson
- placed 19th and 13th in the NHL in points (percentage scores 38 & 58)
- was 13th in hart voting in 1926
As a defenseman:- was an OHA 2nd team all-star in 1921
- played 5 NHL seasons from age 33-37
- earned defense percentage scores of 65 and 53% in his best two seasons
- in the 1928 and 1930 seasons, he was traded to and from Pittsburgh. they had a record of 31-49-15 (.405) with him, and 2-31-4 (.108) before acquiring him and after losing him.
- contributed to 2 Montreal stanley cups (1930, 1931)
- was the oldest full time player in the NHL when he retired
the "going rate" for a good pre-expansion defenseman right now seems to be in the 8-year range for NHL careers. In McCaffrey's case, he lasted 7 in the NHL, all in his 30s, though not all as a defenseman. But five years before joining the NHL he was an all-star defenseman in the OHA so it's quite likely he was an NHL caliber player, whether at forward or defense, or both, for a period that dates back to before there was even an NHL.
interesting stat: in his first 6 NHL seasons (1925-1930), he missed just 4 games, and led the NHL in games throughout this time. This demonstrates durability, but more importantly, that even as he aged, he was a contributing player who wasn't being shuffled in and out of the lineup.