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Al Iafrate appreciation

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Old
12-02-2013, 08:05 AM
  #1
BobRouse
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Al Iafrate appreciation

As Caps fans we all remember Big Al the Wild Thing being a good player for us. But just how good? I watched all those seasons and remember i was happy to hear we traded Zezel (may he RIP) for him (maybe someone else too?). He was coming off some injuries I believe and played several years for awful Toronto teams.

I think the first moment when I realized he was awesome was when he scored a late 3rd period goal in a playoff game for us vs the Pens to win the game. I believe this was the 2nd round of the playoffs after we got by the Rangers.

Now I remember him being good. Big, fast, mean with an evil shot...but in his 4 years with the Caps his average season would have been:

82 GP 19 G + 38A +/- +8 197 PIMs. Thats pretty awesome stat line there!

He also had 11G+5A in 23 playoff games for us.

A couple times we played hockey games at the US Air arena prior to a Caps game on the same night and both times I remember him watching us while smoking a cigarette behind the glass. After one of those games we played the Rangers and won the game something like 8-5. He scored one of the most vicious goals I seen and was flying down the ice and blasted a slap shot right as he crossed the blue line that would have went thru Richters pads had it hit him. I remember the crowd standing up expecting him to score on that right before he did. And then they played the whole "Wild Thing" song and the crowd went nuts.


The main boards had a "best player to wear #34" thread and it made me think of him.

The guy was a beast for us.

While I really did like the Juneau trade it was sad to see him go and then to see his career shut down early.

I remember I was there at his first game back after the trade and he notched a couple goals on us and the Bs won that game.

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12-02-2013, 08:30 AM
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IafrateOvie34
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My favorite all time NHL player. This was like a Christmas gift for me as a Caps fan when he was traded to the Caps. This took a small sting out of losing Stevens too. I was a college freshmen when he was traded for Juneau. I remember coming home from work and waiting to see the trade highlights on ESPN2 and being so mad. I kept thinking why couldn't they have traded Hatcher for Juneau. Good times!

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12-02-2013, 08:57 AM
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EYEuhFRAYtee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IafrateOvie34 View Post
My favorite all time NHL player. This was like a Christmas gift for me as a Caps fan when he was traded to the Caps. This took a small sting out of losing Stevens too. I was a college freshmen when he was traded for Juneau. I remember coming home from work and waiting to see the trade highlights on ESPN2 and being so mad. I kept thinking why couldn't they have traded Hatcher for Juneau. Good times!
Yeah Al was a straight up bad ass, it was a sad day for me when he was sent packing to Boston. I was also hoping it would be Hatcher.

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12-02-2013, 09:14 AM
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BobRouse
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A few things:

1) Hatcher was coming off a 34 goal 79pt season and locked into the first pairing with Calle Jo.

2) Iafrate most likely had more value to the Bs because he just was more of a Bruin-type player.

3) Caps were pretty desperate for a top centerman. Schoenfeld did not like Ridley one bit and wanted him out. Pivonka's offense was declining it seemed and he was more of a checker that year.

4) I can't remember but I do believe Iafrate had some sort of history with knee(?)issues. It didn't appear he missed many games b/c of it but I think if that was the case it had to be a concern.

Sucks his career got cut short. I was rooting for the Bs that year but I believe without Neely and Iafrate they had no chance.

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12-02-2013, 06:13 PM
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IafrateOvie34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobRouse View Post
A few things:

1) Hatcher was coming off a 34 goal 79pt season and locked into the first pairing with Calle Jo.

2) Iafrate most likely had more value to the Bs because he just was more of a Bruin-type player.

3) Caps were pretty desperate for a top centerman. Schoenfeld did not like Ridley one bit and wanted him out. Pivonka's offense was declining it seemed and he was more of a checker that year.

4) I can't remember but I do believe Iafrate had some sort of history with knee(?)issues. It didn't appear he missed many games b/c of it but I think if that was the case it had to be a concern.

Sucks his career got cut short. I was rooting for the Bs that year but I believe without Neely and Iafrate they had no chance.
Juneau was coming off that insane rookie year with the Bonanza line. Back then we needed offense, kind of like now how we need defense lol. Oh and the goaltending was awful even though I respected Beaupre, especially after giving the Mario the stick to the chest. I never understood why Schoenfeld disliked Ridley. As for Hatcher, he eventually got us Tinordi. One thing about Poile, he made trades and wasn't afraid to do them. I don't think we'll see another player like Al.

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12-02-2013, 06:32 PM
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Chokingdogs
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it was rouse and zezel for big al.

there was some shenanigans in toronto with him and gary leeman, one of the two were sleeping with the other's wife, or so it was told. IIRC, there was a story of where the two almost came to stephen peats in the lockerroom over it.

he forever endeared himself to me during that famous flyer game at the cap center, i want to say it was like his 3rd game as a cap, and during the huge melee he took on tony horacek. got clobbered pretty good, but the effort was worth it's weight in golden pucks.

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12-02-2013, 06:43 PM
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IafrateOvie34
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Originally Posted by Chokingdogs View Post
it was rouse and zezel for big al.

there was some shenanigans in toronto with him and gary leeman, one of the two were sleeping with the other's wife, or so it was told. IIRC, there was a story of where the two almost came to stephen peats in the lockerroom over it.

he forever endeared himself to me during that famous flyer game at the cap center, i want to say it was like his 3rd game as a cap, and during the huge melee he took on tony horacek. got clobbered pretty good, but the effort was worth it's weight in golden pucks.
If I remember right, Kordic was part of the deal too, RIP.

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12-02-2013, 07:04 PM
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Chokingdogs
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Originally Posted by IafrateOvie34 View Post
If I remember right, Kordic was part of the deal too, RIP.
big john was a separate deal, he and paul fenton to the caps. fenton was traded same day or a day later.

kordic's brief tenure with the caps was a wild one. i want to say they went 7-1 with him dressed.


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12-02-2013, 11:57 PM
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goph94
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Funny this thread went up; just the other day while I was back in DC visiting family for Thanksgiving, I tried looking for the old, cheesy giveaway signed photo I have of Iafrate sitting on a motorcycle mean-mugging the camera.

These days, he's working with another former NHLer Cliff Ronning at their stick company, BASE. Their sticks are all custom-made based on an individual's proper size, flex, lie, etc. and they are SICK. I think they're just as good if not better than some of the top-o-the-line Bauer/Eastons I've played with in the past. And no, I have no affiliation with BASE

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12-03-2013, 07:13 AM
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BobRouse
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A few things:

1) RE: Trade. Choke is 100% right. My old age has led me to forget that my namesake was involved in that deal. I do remember had just traded Courtnall for Zezel and Lalor the offseason prior to to Courtnall wanting out (sad day). Up to then I remember Iafrate from a skills competition and highlights on the George Michael sports Machine show where he would butcher his name (and every other hockey players name for that matter). RIP George. I owe George Michael for getting me into hockey in the days where hockey was a joke and no sports reporters would even mention it..outside of George Michael.

2) RE: Why Iafrate was traded. Yes I remember and looked it up for details. Leeman slept with his wife and they couldn't trade Leeman since he was their leading scorer. Funny thing was that when Iafrate came home and found them he called John Kordic who came over and proceeded to hand Leeman an epic beatdown that put him out of action for a spell.

3) RE: Leeman. Big failure. I can see why this doosh is the primary principle in the current lawsuit. Leafs pulled off the heist of the decade when they he was the primary element in the Gilmour trade. Toronto sucked when he was there and then Calgary's collapse from annual juggernaught to doormat started when they got Leeman. Big difference between what kind of teamate Kordic was compared to Leeman. The leading scorer of an NHL team in the hockey capital of the world couldn't get any action so he had to sleep with a teamates wife.

4) RE: Kordic. Tragic. He seemed to have turned his life around. What an impact he had on the Caps in his brief stint. In those 7 or 8 games he had over 100 PIMs I believe. RIP big man!

5) RE: Iafrate and Cote were THE favorite pairing of all my buddies and I. While Hatcher/Johansson were the first pair these guys were epic. Both could skate like the wind, hit and score. They played with unmatched tenacity and the stats showed it in their primes for those 3 years they played together. Cote deserves his own thread. His first stint here was amazing.

6) RE: Cheesy poster. That "wild thing" poster with Iafrate in a leather jacket on a motorcycle was the same image they displayed from the 92-93 season on when he got the moniker. The slapshot, the insane hair or lack there of, the image...there will NEVER be another player like this.

7) RE: Ridley vs Schoenfeld. Schoenfeld was adamant and obsessed with players playing with intensity, anger and finishing their checks. Ridley was more reserved and quiet. But even then I'm not sure thats what it was...Schoenfeld butted heads with Jeremy Roenick in Phoenx.

8) RE: Jeremy Roenick. BUY HIS BOOK! Awesome read and hillarious. You will see several old NHL players in a far different light after reading it..coaches too.

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Old
12-03-2013, 09:21 AM
  #11
IafrateOvie34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobRouse View Post
A few things:

1) RE: Trade. Choke is 100% right. My old age has led me to forget that my namesake was involved in that deal. I do remember had just traded Courtnall for Zezel and Lalor the offseason prior to to Courtnall wanting out (sad day). Up to then I remember Iafrate from a skills competition and highlights on the George Michael sports Machine show where he would butcher his name (and every other hockey players name for that matter). RIP George. I owe George Michael for getting me into hockey in the days where hockey was a joke and no sports reporters would even mention it..outside of George Michael.

2) RE: Why Iafrate was traded. Yes I remember and looked it up for details. Leeman slept with his wife and they couldn't trade Leeman since he was their leading scorer. Funny thing was that when Iafrate came home and found them he called John Kordic who came over and proceeded to hand Leeman an epic beatdown that put him out of action for a spell.

3) RE: Leeman. Big failure. I can see why this doosh is the primary principle in the current lawsuit. Leafs pulled off the heist of the decade when they he was the primary element in the Gilmour trade. Toronto sucked when he was there and then Calgary's collapse from annual juggernaught to doormat started when they got Leeman. Big difference between what kind of teamate Kordic was compared to Leeman. The leading scorer of an NHL team in the hockey capital of the world couldn't get any action so he had to sleep with a teamates wife.

4) RE: Kordic. Tragic. He seemed to have turned his life around. What an impact he had on the Caps in his brief stint. In those 7 or 8 games he had over 100 PIMs I believe. RIP big man!

5) RE: Iafrate and Cote were THE favorite pairing of all my buddies and I. While Hatcher/Johansson were the first pair these guys were epic. Both could skate like the wind, hit and score. They played with unmatched tenacity and the stats showed it in their primes for those 3 years they played together. Cote deserves his own thread. His first stint here was amazing.

6) RE: Cheesy poster. That "wild thing" poster with Iafrate in a leather jacket on a motorcycle was the same image they displayed from the 92-93 season on when he got the moniker. The slapshot, the insane hair or lack there of, the image...there will NEVER be another player like this.

7) RE: Ridley vs Schoenfeld. Schoenfeld was adamant and obsessed with players playing with intensity, anger and finishing their checks. Ridley was more reserved and quiet. But even then I'm not sure thats what it was...Schoenfeld butted heads with Jeremy Roenick in Phoenx.

8) RE: Jeremy Roenick. BUY HIS BOOK! Awesome read and hillarious. You will see several old NHL players in a far different light after reading it..coaches too.
Toronto rushed young players back then. Guys like Al, Richardson etc were thrown to the wolves. As for Cote, he was a steal from Hartford.

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Old
12-03-2013, 09:22 AM
  #12
IafrateOvie34
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Don't forget his stance on EN goals .

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