In Brief: Today he is best known as the goaltender on the first Stanley-Cup winning team, but for little else since he hung up his skates after winning it. However hockey did not actually begin in 1893, and his career stretched back eight seasons to 1885, during which time he teamed with point James Stewart and cover Allan Cameron to put up a nigh-impenetrable defence for the mighty Winged Wheelers. By far the best goaltender of his day, the Hall of Fame has overlooked him presumably due to how long ago he played. He has no champion, and predates even players like Mike Grant and Graham Drinkwater.
Years Active: 1885 to 1893, all with Montreal HC
Date of Birth: September 30, 1855. This makes him 30 years old when his career started, or rather when organized hockey tourneys started. His age is a rarity for his era - most players were retired by the time they were 30; he played until he was 37.
Biographical Notes: Of Scottish descent, he worked as a life insurance agent, married a woman 20 years his junior and had four children (as of 1901).
- Won First Stanley Cup in 1893
- Prior to Stanley Cup, won AHAC championship in 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891 and 1892
- Won 1885 Montreal winter carnival tournament (pre-AHAC), posting three shutouts in four games, including one in the final
- Was clearly the best goalkeeper pre-1900, head and shoulders above the rest; unmatched consistency in performance
- Lowest GAA in 1885, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891 and 1893 (six of nine career seasons)
Ultimate Hockey Says
- Deserved Vezina in 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891 and 1893 (they didn't cover pre-1887, but clearly he would deserve it in 1885 as well)
- Deserved Hart in 1889
- Noted as best goaler pre-1900
- Noted as having "best glove hand" of his era - This one is complete bollocks, because there was no such thing as a glove hand in Paton's era
Last edited by Iain Fyffe: 07-11-2011 at 01:35 AM.
Following is a cut and paste from the draft thread. Might add more later.
Eden Hall selects an explosive right winger (every source but Pelletier calls him a RW), who had a brilliant peak until he managed to cross his dictator, I mean coach, Victor Tikhonov, who then proceeded to bury him:
Nikolai Drozdetsky, RW
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Nikolai Drozdetsky was an explosive left winger with the old Soviet Red Army teams of the 1980s.
- Selected Soviet Player of the Year in 1984 (2nd place was Tretiak, then Fetisov, then Makarov)
- Awarded "the Merited Sports Master (Zasluzhenny Master Sporta or ZMS) which is the top award given to outstanding sports personalities in Russia. By analogy with the biggest honor in professional hockey in Canada, it is often called the 'Russian Hall of Fame.'" (chidlovski)
- Finished 3rd in Soviet League scoring twice in the early 80s - not an easy task. Makarov, Larionov, Krutov, and Balderis are the only other players with multiple top 3 scoring finishes in the Soviet League in the 1980s. Kapustin (2nd, 4th) and Bykov (4th, 4th) were close.
- In 1981, he was behind only Makarov and Kapustin in scoring. In 1984, he was behind only Makarov and Krutov.
- Dominated the 1984 Olympics with 10 goals in 7 games.
- Scored an outstanding 64 goals in 109 games for the National team (0.58 GPG), despite never playing on the top unit. For comparison, Makarov scored 189 in 315 (0.60), Krutov scored 150 in 255 (0.59), Kapustin scored 120 in 208 (0.57), and Balderis scored 74 in 147 (0.50).
Buried by Tikhonov after 1984:
His career took a turn for the worse after he got on Victor Tikhonov's bad side. Tikhonov left Drozdetsky off the 1984 Canada Cup Team, the same year he won the award for the best player in the Soviet Union, then proceeded to bury him:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
However his situation was far from rosy. Drozdetsky was not one of coach Victor Tikhonov's favorites, despite his scoring exploits. Life was never easy in the Soviet Union, but especially not easy if Tikhonov didn't like you.
Tikhonov deliberately left Drozdetsky off of the 1984 Canada Cup team that finish second to Canada. Drozdetsky was said to be at home nursing an undisclosed injury.
That appeared to be the last straw in the strained relationship. Drozdetsky fought to get his release from the Red Army team. By 1987 he joined SKA Leningrad. And by 1989 he was given permission to pursue a career in Sweden.
Drozdetsky joined a second division Swedish team named Boras. There Drozdetsky played with former NHLer Stefan Person. Drozdetsky was easily the most exciting player in the league, leading the league in scoring the first two years in the league. Drozdetsky spent a total of 6 years in Sweden, though he slowed as he aged over the years.
Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 07-11-2011 at 03:52 PM.
AN EXCEPTIONALLY GIFTED CENTER, PIERRE LAROUCHE IS ONE OF SIX CANADIENS PLAYERS TO HAVE SCORED 50 GOALS IN A SINGLE SEASON.
Very few people in the history of hockey were as proficient at finding the back of the net as Pierre Larouche. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound center dominated the junior hockey world in his final year with the QMJHL’s Sorel Blackhawks, racking up 94 goals and 157 assists. That success earned him a first-round selection by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1974 Amateur Draft.
Larouche broke into the NHL in 1974-75 without playing a single game in the minors and quickly proved he was going to be a force to be reckoned with. His 68-point rookie campaign was a record for a first-year Penguin and good enough for fifth overall in team scoring.
At training camp the next fall, Larouche stated he would score 50 goals that season and then went about making his prediction become reality. Fast on his skates and an excellent stickhandler, Larouche was able to hold the puck for as long as he wanted to, threading his way through traffic until he used his quick release to baffle goaltenders around the NHL. When the curtain closed on 1975-76, Larouche had scored 53 times en route to a team-best 111-point season to finish fifth in the NHL.
Two months into the 1977-78 schedule, Larouche was sent to Montreal as part of a four-player deal in which all involved were named “Pierre”. He wasted no time proving his offensive worth to his new team, picking up 49 points in the last 44 games of the season and playing an important role in the Stanley Cup victory that spring.
Suiting up for only 38 games the following season, Larouche still managed to dress for six post-season contests, picking up four points on the way to having his name engraved on the Stanley Cup for a second time. Despite his success, his best season with Montreal was yet to come.
Flanked by wingers Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt, Larouche began the 1979-80 season under Boom Boom Geoffrion’s charge and finished it under the guidance of Claude Ruel. Freed from having to put as much effort into his backchecking, the offensive center regained his scoring touch. Larouche ended the season tied with his right-winger for the team lead with 50 goals, becoming the only man in NHL history to reach the 50-marker plateau with two teams. He still holds the Canadiens record for the most goals in a season by a center.
After 236 regular season games in a Montreal sweater, Larouche was traded to the Hartford Whalers for a draft choice, used to select Petr Svoboda. Larouche picked up a point per game while with the Habs and added another 17 in 22 playoff games.
After two less-than-stellar seasons with the Whalers, Larouche was on the move again, this time to New York. He joined the Rangers to start 1983-84, had an explosive start and came within two goals of becoming the first player to score 50 with three different NHL teams. He scored at least 20 in each of the next three seasons before back injuries forced him to hang up his skates.
Having retired in his early 30s, Larouche still remains an active pro athlete. Trading in his skates for spikes, he has become one of the top-ranked golfers on the Celebrity Professional Tour.
- was the NHL's New York Americans' leading scorer for seven consecutive seasons
- played in first ever NHL all-star game, the benefit for Ace Bailey
- finished top-10 in NHL assists three times (1929-30, 31-32, 32-33) and top-10 in goals in 1929-30 with an impressive 28 markers
- also had two other top-20 goal seasons and another top-20 assist season.
Himes was described as a brilliant playmaking center, and an underrated scorer. While he was not necessarily the star of the Amerks, he was the backbone. He started out as a reserve center (kind of like a 3rd or 4th line player nowadays). He really impressed in his opportunities to play. He finally displaced husky Bill Burch when Burch suffered a bad knee.
Wearing his trademark black ball cap, Himes emerged as the Americans leading scorer for the next seven seasons. His best year came in 1929-30, scoring 28 goals in the 44 game NHL schedule and had 50 points
The Americans never had much team success, likely why Himes did not earn the notoriety he probably should have. As one commentator suggest, Himes "should be judged the MVP of the league if the Americans weren't so far down in the standings." In 1930 he finished 6th in Hart trophy balloting.
There was no All Star game back in those days, but Himes was one of the players chosen in the very first All Star game, which, in 1934, was actually a benefit game for fallen player Ace Bailey.
He was a crafty pivot blessed with intelligent burst of speed, very durable despite his size having played 360 consecutive games. He could be dazzling at times, but for the most part was an underrated star.
Carson Cooper was one of the greatest amateur right wings to ever play hockey. Three times the man with the "Shovel-Shot" led the OHA Senior league in goals, including an incredible 33 goals in 10 games in 1924, and scored another 5 in 2 playoff games that year. He played for the OHA Senior league's Hamilton Tigers, a team that featured the great Green brothers. In 55 career games in Hamilton (over 6 seasons) Cooper netted 108 tallies
Perhaps Cooper might have joined the NHL's Hamilton Tigers like the Green brothers, but in 1924-25 a new team had entered the NHL. The Boston Bruins needed players so Cooper accepted a generous contract and started his NHL career in Beantown.
A bad charley horse made sure his first season was not impressive, but his second season certainly was, scoring 28 goals (2nd most in the whole league) in 36 games, establishing him as one of the NHL's best right wings. He played alongside (undrafted player) The two were dynamically noted for the speed and perplexing passing plays, catching many defenses off guard.
He was sold to the Detroit Cougars just before the 1927-28 season and became a solid though not spectacular scoring threat. In 5 years with Detroit he never missed a game and regularly challenged the 20 goal mark.
Always overshadowed by stars like Howie Morenz, Nels Stewart, Aurel Joliat or Bill Cook, Cooper didn't always get the credit he deserved. When the NHL let up on passing restrictions, Cooper decided to instead of star, set up goals for others. He had 18 goals and 18 assists and because of his unselfish work, George Hay had 18 goals, a figure he might never have achieved without Cooper's help. Hay was in the twilight of his career and it took an unselfish forward like Cooper to give Hay or Herbie Lewis the scoring chances they needed. Lewis scored 20 goals that season.
Originally Posted by Detroit Red Wings History
Carson Cooper seldom missed the mark during his NHL days and Detroit was well rewarded by Cooper's astute accuracy.
Purchased from Boston in 1927, Cooper led the Cougars in goals in each of his first three seasons with the team. He was Detroit's leading scorer with 18 goals and 27 points in 1928-29 and again in 1929-30, when he registered 18-18-36 totals.
Cooper finished his hockey days as he had begun them, playing a starring role in the amateur ranks.
* Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (1962)
* Montreal Canadiens Captain (1913-1915)
* Stanley Cup Winner (1902, 1903, 1908, 1910)
Originally Posted by Third String Goalie
He first skated for the club during a game in the 1900-01 season and then played in all eight games of the 1901-02 season, helping the Montreal Hockey Club to a 6-2 record and a first place finish. Their first place finish earned them the right to challenge the Winnipeg Victorias for the Stanley Cup. The best-of-three series was held in Winnipeg with the Victorias taking Game 1 by a score of 1-0. Montreal came back strong in Game 2, evening the series with a dominant 5-0 win and won their challenge with a narrow 2-1 win in the decisive Game 3. The much larger Winnipeg team hit the players from Montreal again and again in the series, but refused to be run out of the building, earning them the nickname "The Little Men of Iron".
A challenge for the cup arrived from the Winnipeg Victorias in January of 1903, with the first game held in Montreal on January 29th. Montreal easily won the first game by a score of 8-1 with the second game ending in a 2-2 tie after it was suspended after 27 minutes of overtime due to a curfew. Winnipeg evened the series with a 4-2 win before Montreal successfully defended the cup with a 4-1 win to take the series 2 games to 1 with Gardner scoring a goal in the series.
For the 1903-04 season, Gardner moved to the brand new Montreal Wanderers of the Federal Amateur Hockey League, dominating the league with a 6-0 record. Gardner scored 5 goals in the six games. As winners of the league, the Wanderers earned the right to challenge the Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup. The first game in Montreal reached the end of regulation tied at 5-5 and the Wanderers refused to play the overtime with the same referee in charge! The trustees of the cup ordered the series restarted with both games scheduled for Ottawa, but Montreal refused and the series never resumed.
He returned to Montreal for the 1907-08 season, this time with the Shamrocks, who finished in last place. Gardner then rejoined the defending Stanley Cup holders, the Montreal Wanderers for the 1908-09 season, in which he scored 11 goals in 12 games.
Prior to the start of the 1909-10 season, the Wanderers would face a challenge for the Stanley Cup from the Edmonton Hockey Club, whom they would defeat 13-10 in a two-game total-goal series 7-3 and 7-6. With the 1909-10 season underway, Gardner contributed 10 goals in 12 games as the Wanderers dominated with an 11-1 record and took possession of the Stanley Cup. They then defended against a challenge from the Berlin Dutchmen of the Ontario Professional Hockey League by a score of 7-3 to earn Gardner his fourth Stanley Cup.
After another season with the Wanderers, Gardner moved out west to play for the New Westminster Royals of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, scoring 11 goals in 28 games over two seasons.
Once more, Gardner would return to Montreal, this time with the Canadiens, for whom he was named team captain. He played the 1913-14 season with 19 points in 15 games and then played two games in 1914-15 to close out his playing career.
Originally Posted by Montreal Canadiens: Our History
Jimmy Gardner honed his hockey skills alongside Hall of Fame legend Dickie Boon, playing together in the streets of Montreal.
Over the course of his career, Gardner won four Stanley Cups, the first two in 1902 and 1903 with the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association team, and again in 1909 and 1910 with the Montreal Wanderers.
Between 1904 and 1907, he played in the original IHL, earning one Second Team All-Star selection in that time.
A talented left-winger, Gardner played two seasons with the Canadiens as a player-coach. He scored 19 points in 17 games from 1913 to 1915, a few years before the team joined the NHL.
Gardner was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Jimmy Gardner learned his hockey with another great player of that time, future Hockey Hall of Fame member Dickie Boon on the sidewalks and in an area known as Boon's lane. A star left winger, Gardner played on a total of four Stanley Cup-winning teams in Montreal, two with the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association's club dubbed the "Little Men of Iron" in 1902 and 1903, and two with the Montreal Wanderers in 1909 and 1910. His personal accomplishments include being named to the IHL second team All-Star team in 1905.
Originally Posted by Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory
Gardner headed for the front door, but was restrained by Boon and XXXXXX, which was no easy task. Gardner was a feisty individual who had scrapped and badgered his way through seven seasons of senior hockey and had the scars to prove it.
Originally Posted by Ice Hockey A to Z
In 1902 the Montreal AAA, with small but tenacious players like Dickie Boon and Jimmy Gardner, were called "The Little Men of Iron" when they won the Stanley Cup from the Montreal Victorias.
Last edited by chaosrevolver: 07-20-2011 at 05:24 AM.
Originally Posted by New York Rangers Legends
Dave Maloney was a good puck moving defenseman with a physical dimension. His mobility and hockey sense made him a useful member of both specialty team units.
Maloney assumed a key role as quarterback of the Rangers power play. Often playing with xxxxxx, Maloney was quite aggressive himself, as his 1154 career penalty minutes attest. The solid rearguard played so well during his first two years that by 1978-79 he succeeded Phil Esposito as the Blueshirts' captain. Under his leadership, Maloney helped the team reach the Stanley Cup finals
Originally Posted by Hockey Legends
Maloney was a key quarterback on the Rangers' power play and a scrappy leader in the defensive zone
Last edited by BenchBrawl: 07-12-2011 at 05:06 PM.
With our second selection, Eden Hall is thrilled to select a highly skilled, fast skating center who can both score goals and set them up at a high level:
Billy McGimsie, C
-Skated for the Rat Portage (later Kenora) Thistles from 1899-1907 (senior hockey from 1902-1907).
-Inducted into the HHOF in 1962.
McGimsie has some surprisingly strong goal scoring credentials:
1902-03 regular season: 10 goals in 5 games (1st in the Manitoba loop)
1903 Challenge Match vs. the Ottawa Silver Seven: Scored 3 of his team's 4 goals over two games.
1903-04 regular season: 16 goals in 11 games (1st in his league)
1904-05 regular season: 28 goals in 8 games (2nd in his league, 1 goal behind Tommy Phillips, who had just returned from the East)
1905-06 regular season: 21 goals in 9 games (3rd in his league behind Billy Breen and Tommy Phillips)
(Credit to Iain Fyffe for correcting these stats)
Despite McGimsie's goal scoring exploits, he appears to have been better known for his speed, stickhandling, and playmaking
Originally Posted by Borden D. Mills
Billy was fairly small for a centerman, only 5'8" and 145 pounds, but what he lacked in size he more than made up for in speed and agility. McGimsie was one of the fastest forwards of the day, as well as one of the finest passers. Playing with future hall-of-famers Tommy Phillips, Tom Hooper, and Si Griffis, Billy had unlimited options. Many times he would simply take it to the net himself and pop it in. McGimsie would later claim that it was the Thistles' incredible front line that invented the modern tic-tac-toe passing game in an era where players would simply lift the puck down to the other end of the ice and then chase after it. Based on newspaper articles of the day desciribing the Thistles' play, he was not exaggerating with his bold assessment.
Originally Posted by habseyesontheprize
Billy McGimsie had been badly cut and bruised in the first series against the Silver Seven two years prior. He was known at the time for his skating and "dribbling", an early term for stickhandling.
A description of McGimsie's performance in the 1906 Cup Challenge when Kenora (pop 4000) became the smallest town to win the Cup
Originally Posted by Borden D. Mills
The Thistles were victorious in the two game, total goals series. McGimsie scored early in the second game to pace the Thistles to a 6-2 half time lead. He also made several nifty passes to teammates Phillips and Hooper, who neatly deposited the pucks into the Wanderers' nets. After a furious comeback by Montreal that made it 6 all, McGimsie made one final rush down the ice with teammate Roxy Beaudro that resulted in the game winning goal. Hooper tacked on an insurance tally and the Stanley Cup was finally in the Thistles' hands.
- NHL All-Star (1955, 1956, 1957)
- Eddie Shore Award (Outstanding Defenseman - AHL) (1966)
- AHL First All-Star Team (1966)
- AHL Second All-Star Team (1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972)
Jim played six full seasons and part of a seventh as a Leaf. He had come to the team in 1951-52 as they tried to restock the defense... He was considered a good offensive defenseman in what was generally a very defensive era. He paired with some of the best leaf defenders of that era in Flaman, Thomson and Horton and it was his misfortune to leave the Leafs just prior to their climb back to respectability.
Jim was an all-star for years in the AHL before getting another kick at the NHL in 1969 at the age of 38.
In his playing days, Jim Morrison was an offensive defenseman. He came to this style by being converted from centre to defense while playing junior hockey. The style paid off well in junior as he helped the Barrie Flyers captured the 1951 Memorial Cup.
His first professional season, 1951-52, was split among four teams, the highlight coming when the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired him from the Boston Bruins. Morrison went on to play six and a half seasons with the Blue and White. His partners on the blueline during that time included Fern Flaman, Jim Thomson, and Tim Horton
Toward the end of the 1950s, the Leafs traded him back to Boston for a season. A season with the Detroit Red Wings and 14 games playing for the New York Rangers brought him into the 1960s. For most of the decade, Morrison played in the American Hockey League in Quebec.
Morrison was a well-respected player in the AHL. In 1966, the loop honoured him with its award for best defenseman, and the players elected him president of the AHL Players' Association. In battling for improved playing conditions, Morrison was traded to Baltimore. That move gave him another shot at the NHL.
As his third decade in professional hockey rolled around, he was given a shot to play with the Pittsburgh Penguins in their third season. The veteran picked up where he had left off nearly ten years before. Morrison manned the point on power plays and chipped in three helpers during the playoffs.
Morrison lasted two seasons in Pittsburgh before returning to the AHL. Following his playing career, he coached for Baltimore and the Kingston Canadians of the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League. Kirk Muller is one player that Morrison guided during his eight years of coaching the club. Jim Morrison recently retired from the Boston Bruins scouting staff following eighteen years of service.
Rated as one of the league's best rushing defensemen, Morrison is noted for his accurate shots on goal and is considered a threat whenever he crosses an opponent's blue line. Morrison can miss an oncoming forward and still get back in front of the net to check him again. Is good on clearing loose pucks and can burst out of his own end like a jet.
Played all 70 games four out of his six seasons with the Leafs, displaying a fair level of durability.
Shepelev stole all the headlines in the final game showdown of the 1981 Canada Cup. The world was watching Canada's 21 year old superstar Wayne Gretzky on a line with Guy Lafleur and Marcel Dionne, and the newly formed Russian top line of Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov. But it was the anonymous Shepelev who was the game's hero, scoring three goals en route to Russia's humiliating 8-1 defeat of Team Canada.
It was Shepelev's second hat trick of the tournament. He also scored three times against Czechoslovakia, giving him a team best six tallies for the tourney. Only Canada's Mike Bossy had more.
The 26 year old Shepelev seemingly had come out of nowhere. As a younger player he was a winger with Avtomobilist Sverdlovsk who was criticized by the Russian hockey theorists who felt Shepelev was too aggressive and "too arrogant."
In 1980 he had joined Spartak Moscow where famed coach Boris Kulagin almost immediately turned him into a center. It was a seemingly odd move, given that Shepelev's lack of training as a center often troubled his defensive game and his passing, two must-have traits of centers in the Soviet system. Shepelev was a winger at heart, wanting to rush the puck and cheat offensively looking for quick breaks instead of playing high and springing the wingers.
Despite the unlikeliness of success, Kulagin captured lightning in a bottle. For a couple of years in the early 1980s Shepelev's line with Sergei Kapustin and Viktor Shalimov was as good as any line in the world. In the 1981 Canada Cup that line with unmatchable speed out-performed the KLM Line, the Gretzky-Lafleur-Dionne line and the Trottier-Bossy-Gillies line.
He was an important member of the Soviets 1981, 1982, and 1983 gold medal teams at the world championships.
Shepelev's last year with the national team was 1984, without Kapustin and Shalimov. He participated with the 1984 gold medal winning team at the Sarajevo Olympics. His last appearance with the national team came back at the Canada Cup.
All told Sergei Shepelev played in 46 games with the Soviet national team at the Olympics, Worlds and Canada Cup. He scored 22 goals and 38 points.
Career Stats by Sergey Shepelev GP G
Team USSR international 103 42
USSR/Russian Elite League 453 189
-10th in Norris voting in 2006-07 (0-0-3-4-15)
-5th in Norris voting in 2008-09 (1-18-16-31-24)
-Stanley Cup in 2010 - Team high +11 in the playoffs and assist on the Cup winning goal.
In Campbell's 4 year peak (2005-06 to 2008-09), he was 7th in scoring by defensemen with 206 points (51.5 points per season), 94.5% of 2nd place Brian Rafalski's total.
Sometime in 2009-10, Campbell lost his spot Chicago's first PP unit in favor of Duncan Keith and Keith's regular partner, part of the reason his point totals decreased. Despite not getting first unit PP time for the large part of the last 2 seasons, Campbell's 271 points in the 6 years since the lockout place him 9th among defensemen, with 87.4% of 2nd place Visnovsky's total.
Campbell (9th) is the only one of the top 16 highest scoring defensemen since the lockout not to be taken in the main draft:
-As a bonus, once in a blue moon, Campbell physically destroys someone:
Also, Campbell is tougher than most give him credit for. Campbell was expected to be out a minimum of 8 weeks and possibly the season after being boarded by Alexander Ovechkin in March of 2010, but returned just five weeks later for their first round playoff series against Nashville.
For the last three seasons, defenseman Brian Campbell has certainly been one of the leaders in the Buffalo Sabres' dressing room. But he's taken on even more of that role this year with the departures of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere and the coaching staff has certainly noticed. Saturday morning, coach Lindy Ruff named Campbell the team's captain for December
(the Sabres used rotating captains after the departure of Drury and Briere, who were Co-Captains for 2 seasons.)
Sam Fels, NBC Chicago, 2011:
Also was seemingly the only veteran voice in the room who was completely clear on what the Hawks were wasting away as they tossed point after point during the season. If only more of his teammates had listened.
Dale Tallon, upon signing Campbell in Chicago:
"He can move the puck, skate up ice and get you out of trouble," Tallon said. "The power play, at the point, is what he does best."
Mike Santos, assistant GM of the Florida Panthers:
“We had the 29th ranked power play in the league last year and just picked up a premier power play quarterback."
Sam Fels, NBC Chicago, 2011:
Campbell was also the Hawks' best penalty killer for a long stretch this season.
Joe Thornton, 2008:
"With getting Brian Campbell, we added something that I think we all thought we needed — a puck-moving defenceman," said Thornton. "He can play a lot of minutes, plays good defensively [and] plays the power play."
Joel Quenneville, 2009 Conference Semis:
“He’s skating well. He’s a threat offensively off the rush, has patience on the offensive point and has been solid defensively. He’s been very effective.”
In 1934-35, 20-year-old Joe Cooper began his pro hockey career in New York playing in the EHL. In 21 games he had five goals and 19 points while racking up 70 minutes in penalties. At 6'1" and 200 pounds, Cooper was one of the biggest and strongest players of his day, and he used his physical superiority whenever possible.
In 1935-36, he joined the Philadelphia Ramblers of the CAHL where he was known as one of the toughest opponents to play against. Many opposing forwards dreaded having to rush the net, or, even worse, face Cooper along the back boards. He had a one-game tryout with the NHL's New York Rangers and impressed team officials.
The Rangers recognized this toughness and put him on their roster for the 1936-37 season. In 48 games, he picked up three assists and 42 minutes in penalties. The following season, he scored his first three NHL goals.
In 1938-39, Cooper joined the Chicago Blackhawks but played the majority of the year back in Philadelphia with the Ramblers in the IAHL. In 1939-40, Cooper started 44 games for the Blackhawks where he scored four goals and eleven points. He played another five years in a Blackhawks' uniform before returning to the New York Rangers in 1946-47.
Cooper played one final year of professional hockey in the AHL in 1947-48 with St. Louis-Hershey. In 414 NHL games, he netted 30 goals and 96 points.
regular season: 420 games played - 30 goals, 66 assists, 96 points, 422 penalty minutes
playoffs: 35 games played - 3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points, 58 points
8th in dman scoring in 1941-42
9th in dman scoring in 1944-45
top 10 in penalty minutes 6 times
-5'10", 170 lbs: Much larger than average in the 1920s.
In 2 years in the NHL (after his WHL prime):
Originally Posted by legendsofhockey
In Chicago Trapp played 44 games and managed 4 goals and 2 assists, good for second on the team in scoring from the defense. He also provided toughness in spades, delivering 92 penalty minutes, just one minute off the team lead. Trapps star dimmed in his second season when he was unable to score and managed just 2 assists and 37 penalty minutes.
In the WHL/WCHL:
-2 x First Team All-Star (1923, 1926)
-Second Team All-Star (1922)
-Points among defensemen – 6th(1922), 4th(1923), 7th(1924), 4th(1925), 1st(1926)
Goals AD – 8th(1922), 8th(1923), 5th(1924), 8th(1925), 6th(1926)
Assists AD – 3rd(1922), 4th(1923), 4th(1924), 2nd(1925), 1st(1926)
Notice that he was a 1st Team All Star in 1923, while only finishing 6th in points and a 2nd Team in 1922, while only finishing 7th. He certainly wasn't getting on the All-Star teams for just his offense. That, plus the quote about his physical play in his 2 seasons in the NHL indicate that he was likely a physical, defensive force in his own zone.
This trade shows how highly regarded he was in the WHL:
Traded to Portland (WHL) by Edmonton (WHL) with ********** for Eddie Shore and Art Gagne, October 7, 1925.
seventieslord's analysis of Trapp's competition in the WHL:
Originally Posted by seventieslord
2nd team (WCHL 1922)
Trapp was behind Red Dutton and Joe Simpson for first team honours. Both HHOFers. No info exists as to who was regarded higher between Trapp and 2nd team *******. In the NHL, Cameron, Cleghorn, Boucher, and Gerard were certainly better. A couple other are debatable. (Reise, Coutu, for example) Trapp was the 7th-10th-best defenseman in hockey.
1st team (WCHL 1923)
Trapp apparently made the 1st team along with Gardiner and Simpson - both HHOFers. No info exists as to who was regarded higher. In the NHL, Boucher, Cleghorn, Cameron, Gerard, and possibly Reise and Corbeau were better. Trapp was the 5th-9th-best defenseman in hockey.
1st team (WHL 1926)
Trapp made the 1st all-star team along with Eddie Shore. Shore was likely regarded higher. In the NHL, Day, Conacher, Clancy, Boucher, Hitchman, & Cleghorn were likely better. Leduc may have been. Trapp was the 8th-9th-best defenseman in hockey.
For these three seasons, Trapp was somewhere between the 5th and 10th-best defenseman in hockey.
From 2000 to 2010:
17th in Points, 81% of 2nd place Jarome Iginla
4th in Assists, 98% of 2nd place Nicklas Lidstrom
12th in Assists per Game, 77% of 3rd place Joe Thornton.
Before the Lockout:
5th in Assists, 93% of 1st place Joe Sakic
10th in Assists per Game, 85% of second place Jason Allison
After the Lockout:
12th in Assists, 73% of 2nd place Henrik Sedin
21st in Assists per Game, 76% of 3rd place Marc Savard
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Since making his NHL debut in 1999-00 centre Scott Gomez has added a creative element to the New Jersey Devils' offense. His quick hands and combative will made him one of the toughest Devils with which opposing defences had to battle.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News
Possesses terrific vision and passing skills. Also features outstanding speed, puck-handling ability and agitating qualities.
Originally Posted by Sportsnet
Possesses Gretzky-like vision and passing skills. Also features terrific speed, puck-handling ability and a feisty attitude.
Eden Hall is pleased to select a physical beast of a defenseman:
Jack Evans, D
-1 of only 5 MLD-eligible defenseman with a top 5 finish in Norris voting, and his 752 career games (when seasons were 70 games long) are the most of any of the five.
- 80 points and 989 PIMs in 752 career NHL games makes it obvious what type of player he was.
- Durability: In the final 8 seasons of his career (1955-56 to 1962-63), Evans only missed 5 total games.
- 12th in Norris voting in 1960-61
- 5th in Norris voting in 1961-62
- Stanley Cup winner in 1961
Originally Posted by Stan Fischler
There have been few players with more raw strength than Jack "Tex" Evans, who split his NHL career between the Rangers (1948 through 1958) and Blackhawks (1958 through 1963). Tex was also renowned for his "latern jaw" and his reluctance to speak.
-Who's Who in Hockey (with Shirley Fischler)
Originally Posted by pappyline
A member of the 61 Blackhawk cup team where he was on the second pairing with St. Laurent. Scored a key goal in the deciding game of the 61 final
Defenceman Mike O'Connell was an excellent skater with a host of offensive gifts. He was key performer on the power play and helped his team's transition game without neglecting his defensive responsibilities.
-8th in Norris voting in 82-83
-selected to play in the 1984 All-Star game
-right handed shot for the powerplay
-11th in scoring among defensemen between 1980 and 1985 (which is more impressive when you consider it was probably the golden era of offensive defensemen).
-8 straight 30 point seasons
-Four 50 point seasons
Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune
DEFENSEMAN Mike O'Connell, one of a handful of Black Hawks who had been playing solid two-way hockey, Thursday night was traded to Boston....
-Dec 18, 1980 (before O'Connell had emerged as anything of a star player)
-Joe Pelletier compares him to Brian Rafalski:
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
An undersized and under-rated defenseman, Chicago born, Massachusetts raised Mike O'Connell was a great skating standout at both ends of the ice
Blessed with great skating ability and a terrific understanding of transition offense, O'Connell immediately starred (in junior).
Although he played behind Ray Bourque and Brad Park, O'Connell, who often teammed with Mike Milbury, emerged as an offensive force. For the next five seasons he was a fixture on the power play, and grew into an all star performer. Not only did he play in the 1984 all star game, but he scored 18 goals and 60 points.
A good modern day comparable for O'Connell would be Brian Rafalski. Not only are they similar sized defensemen, but both were strong offensive contributors thanks to their skating, passing and offensive reads and pinches. O'Connell relied on his heavy shot perhaps more than Rafalski, but both were really crafty. Both were also solid defensive players, relying strong positioning and angling, rarely getting beat one on one. O'Connell was a noted shot blocker who was relied on to rush the puck out of the defensive zone.
After six solid seasons in Boston, the Bruins moved an aging O'Connell to Detroit at the trading deadline in 1986 in exchange for Reed Larson. O'Connell would play 4 more seasons with the Wings, though he would become primarily a defensive veteran than counted on for offensive.
Ice time among defensemen: 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 4th, 5th
In Boston, O'Connell's 2nd and 3rd place finishes in ice time were behind Ray Bourque and/or Brad Park.
- 1979 WHA Second-Team All-Star
- 1979 WHA Champion
- Played in 1980 NHL All-Star Game
- Played in 1981 NHL All-Star Game
- Career NHL high of 43 goals in 1982. Scored over 30 goals in 4 of 5 seasons.
Originally Posted by legendsofhockey
Little Morris Lukowich was an explosive player - both in terms of speed and scoring. He also added a bit of sandpaper to his game, playing with admirable grit.
In what proved to be the final season for the WHA, Lukowich moved to Winnipeg to join the high flying Jets, the class of the league. Morris had a terrific year with the offense-first Jets, finding the net 65 times! Add 34 assists and his 99 points was good enough to be named as the WHA's Second Team All Star on left wing. More importantly, Lukowich scored 8 goals and a team high 15 points en route to capturing the final WHA championship.
The early years for the NHL Jets were pretty tough, as the team lost way more games than they won. But Lukowich was one of the few bright spots on many nights. He scored 35 and 33 goals in his first two seasons respectively, before notching his best NHL numbers in 1981-82. Lukowich found the net 43 times and collected 92 points. For his efforts Morris was invited to the NHL All Star game for the second year in a row, playing on a line with Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier.
Despite missing the NHL playoffs so often in his career, the early end to his seasons allowed him to experience one of his favorite moments in hockey - the 1981 World Championships.
Morris served as Winnipeg's captain from 1981 to 1982 and is a definite candidate to wear a letter on his sweater in Pittsburgh.
Hockey Hall of Fame Member
3x Thunder Bay Senior Hockey League Scoring Champion
3x Allan Cup Champion
4x Allan Cup Finalist
18G, 12A in 50 career MHL Senior League Games
19G, 15A in 37 career MTBHL Games
72G, 35A in 142 career TBSHL Games
Regarded as one of the top amateur players of his time, Wilson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962.
Wilson moved to Iroquois Falls, Ontario for a season to play in the Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA) in 1921–22 before returning to Port Arthur a year later to play for the Port Arthur Bearcats. He was a top player in the NOHA, leading Port Arthur to an Allan Cup championship in 1925 as Canada's national senior champions. Wilson and the Bearcats repeated as champions the following year and won a third Allan Cup in 1929. Professional teams took note of his play; teams from Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto all offered him but he declined, preferring to remain in his hometown.
He was an outstanding offensive defenceman who won several scoring titles during his career. He retired as a player in 1932 at the age of 37 and took on the dual role of coach and manager of the Bearcats. In recognition of his career in Port Arthur, Wilson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962 and the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in its inaugural class of 1982.
A perennial image on the sports scene of Thunder Bay (Port Arthur) for over 40 years, Gordon 'Phat' Wilson enjoyed an exceptional amateur hockey career in the early days of this region’s illustrious hockey history.
Born in Port Arthur in 1895, Wilson got his first taste of hockey in the local church leagues. Not even knowing how to skate when he tried out for St. Andrew's in 1914, he mastered not only the blades, but the stick as well, moving on to the senior ranks in 1918.
Joining the lineup of the Iroquois Falls team in the N.O.H.A. League for the 1921-22 season, he competed in what would be the first of many Allan Cup play downs. Returning home to the Port Arthur Seniors the next season, he went on to become a major force in the success of his hometown in Allan Cup play. His hard work and dedication saw the Port Arthur Seniors capture the region’s first Allan Cup title in 1924-25, an accomplishment repeated in 1926 and again in 1929.
A brilliant defenseman remembered for his rink-long rushes, he won several scoring titles throughout his career, including the Thunder Bay Senior Hockey scoring title in his last three years as an active player. Not surprisingly, he was offered many professional contracts, however, he turned them all down, remaining instead in his hometown. Given the fact that he was 30 years of age when he captained the Seniors to their first Allan Cup title in 1926, his accomplishments on the ice were that much more impressive. Retiring from active competition in 1933 at the age of 37 years as a playing coach, he moved behind the bench to coach Port Arthur again in 1938 and 1940.
As well as being an outstanding hockey player, this exceptional athlete was also a stand-out baseball player and he contributed his talents to the building side of that sport. In 1952 when Little League baseball began in northwestern Ontario, he served as the first President of the Port Arthur National League going on to become the first Little League District Commissioner for the area.
Not surprisingly, Gordon 'Phat' Wilson's incredible athletic abilities did not go unnoticed on the national scene. In 1962, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, becoming one of very few amateur players ever to be so honoured.
There are few men who have done more for hockey in their native communities than has Gordon Allan "Phat" Wilson. A product of the Lakehead, Wilson joined the local church league hockey team at St. Andrew's in 1914 before he learned to skate. He spent his first year as a sub but came back the next year with much improved skating abilities and took his position on defence. Wilson spent the following two seasons playing in the local junior hockey circuit before joining the War Veterans Senior Hockey Club in 1918.
With two seasons of senior hockey under his belt, he tried his luck in the NOHA with Iroquois Falls in 1921-22. The team made it to the Allan Cup playdowns, eventually losing to the Toronto Granites. Wilson returned home and stayed with amateur hockey, eventually guiding Port Arthur to the Allan Cup in 1925, 1926, and 1929. His play did not go unnoticed by the pros and he was offered contracts with Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto but turned them all down.
He was noted as an all-time great amateur player whose long rushes down ice contributed to his winning the senior scoring title as a defenceman. Although he retired from active play in 1933 at the age of 37, he stayed very active in the hockey and sports scene in Port Arthur.
Two youngsters and a pair of veterans were the standouts as the Lakehead men erased the two goal lead set up by the Westerners and then set up a margin of their own. "Phat" Wilson, who has played in 3 Allan Cup teams, and xxx were the old timers who shone in the hard won victory.
By counting the goal that tied up the round in the opening period, Wilson displayed the game's prettiest individual tally. In the powerful lone rush style that has placed him - at 35 years of age - among the most feared defensemen in amateur hockey, he sifted through the Trail team and back-handed the puck over xxx's shoulder.
Less than a minute after the second session opened the Canadian champions were ahead on the round and again it was Wilson who engineered the play. Down into the corner sped "Phat" and he lashed the puck backward to xxx, going fast down the right wing. The little Finn caught the net corner with a fast snap shot.
xxx had turned aside ten dead on shots, two were from Wilson after sallies that carried him into the goalmouth.
xxx, veteran defenseman, who starred with "Phat" Wilson on the attack throughout the game...
Heavy framed Phat Wilson, veteran of 3 Dominion title teams, last night led a new crop of Portmen to a 2 to 1 victory over Winnipeg. To rangy Charlie Sands and xxx went the lakehead team's goals, but it was the confidence old "Phat" inspired in his young proteges that really won.
Led by the inimitable Gordon Wilson, the Port Arthur team are a smooth, fast skating machine... xxx in goal is sound, while xxx and Wilson form a stalwart rearguard. The former has developed alongside Wilson.
Just a few hours too late, the Canadian Olympic Committee heard today Gordon (Phat) Wilson, star defence player, would have been available to join the Winnipegs had he know they were being strengthened. Winnipegs are Canada's Olympic hockey team.
"Wilson would have been a strong addition to the team," said Mr. Hewitt. "and we would have given him serious consideration. The Manitoba Hockey Association, which had the choice, would probably have thought it over very seriously too, for Phat is a great player."
It is no secret that every member of the Port Arthur regular team has received fine offers to play elsewhere next season. Practically every team in the east is bidding for their services... xxx can take a Toronto St. Pat or a New York uniform any time he desires. And so can "Phat" Wilson. The pair of defensive stalwarts are sought singly and as a pair by most of the eastern pro teams.
All scored on team plays, the Lakemen's goals were a trio of mechanically exact achievements. Only the forwards figured in the 3 tallies, indicating the rear guard duo- Wilson and xxx- devoted the bulk of their time to protecting xxx in the nets.
Hopes for Port Arthur fans for a third Allan Cup team in five years have swelled with the improved showing of the lake men's defense in the series opener. xxx, hard checking defensive stalwart, showed a new found attacking ability and "Phat" Wilson, veteran captain, bodied with unusual effectiveness.
Jovial "Phat" Wilson, best known ice star out of pro ranks, is retiring from his defense post for Port Arthur Sailors after 15 title-dotted years in the senior game...Next season, broad shoulder "Phat"...
When the "Old Fox" passed out of the stickhandling bodychecking panorama in 1929, "Phat" persevered in his struggle to yet unattained heights...So, "Phat" retired. Though he could still trade bumps with the huskiest or hurdle a hardy way through the finest foes, he said: "I don't feel the way I used to."
A young forward of the Ports' last team-who has since made good in pro company-tells of the fighting spirit "Phat" insisted in instilling in his mates, especially since he became captain 3 years ago.
The Philadelphia Quakers are happy to select W Robert MacDougall
3rd in Goal Scoring in AHAC, 1895
1st in Goal Scoring in AHAC, 1896
3rd in Goal Scoring in AHAC, 1898
7th in Goal Scoring in CAHL, 1899(1st in goals/game, played only 2 games)
5x Stanley Cup Champion
Retro Hart Trophy Winner, 1897
Macdougall was the highest scoring forward before the 1900s in Stanley Cup play. Robert scored a confirmed total of 49 goals in 36 recorded games. Overshadowed today by the likes of fellow teammates and hall of famers Graham Drinkwater and Mike Grant, Robert was consistently one of the Montreal Victorias' highest scoring forwards.
This time he and winger Bob MacDougall rushed the puck to the other end "and made the Winnipeg people hold their breath."
xxx and MacDougall made matters tough for Winnipeg defensemen xxx and xxx.
Playing for the tie, xxx and MacDougall went on the attack, and after pouncing on the rebound of a MacDougall shot, xxx's second goal of the game soon evened matters at 4-4.
With xxx's goal having wiped out the Winnipeg lead, the Montrealers sensed their opportunity. xxx and fellow forwards MacDougall, Drinkwater, and xxx (teams in this era had a rover in addition to their centre and two wingers) pressed the play. xxx, Bain, and xxx did what they could do to fight back for Winnipeg, but goalie xxx xxx wasn't about to let the puck slide between his posts. MacDougall put Montreal ahead 5-4...
While their power play would probably be better with him, the Boston Bruins haven’t really missed a beat with Marc Savard on the shelf. It’s quite possible that another concussion to another high-level center will have a much bigger effect on this Bruins team.
If you ask me, Patrice Bergeron‘s mild concussion could be a major problem. Bergeron doesn’t generate much attention since he isn’t the high scoring forward he was before his first set of concussions, but there are many who believe that he deserved a Selke Trophy nomination this season.
Even in a well-balanced attack like Boston’s, Bergeron was standing out during the first two rounds of the playoffs. He’s tied for second place in the 2011 playoffs for points scored with 12 (two goals and 10 assists) and boasts an astounding 64.2 faceoff winning percentage. His +7 rating shows that good things happen when his line is on the ice.
Bergeron’s slick passing skills and great two-way play fueled a great line with XXXXXXXXXX (five goals and six assists for 11 points) and Mark Recchi (two goals and five assists for seven points). As dominant as the (undrafted players) line was in Round 2, Bergeron powered the team’s most consistent line.
Originally Posted by Gregory Campbell, Boston Bruins
"Being here now, watching, game in and game out, you get a better appreciation for a player like Bergy," Campbell said of Bergeron. "Obviously he's got the offensive ability to do special things, but he's one of the best, if not the best shutdown forward on our team."
Regular season scoring:
337 Points (121G, 216A) in 456 Games
61 Points (21G, 40A) in 68 Games in the AHL during 2004-05 NHL lockout
#5 in rookie scoring in the 2003-04 season
40 Points (11G, 29A) in 54 games
12 Points (5G, 7A) in 16 AHL games during 2004-05 lockout
#2 in scoring (6G,14A in 23Games) on 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Bruins.
5th in 2009-10 Selke voting, 4th in 2010-11 Selke voting
Left-winger Nick Mickoski played over 700 NHL games for four different clubs during the Original Six era. He was a fine goal scorer and playmaker whose 6'1" frame was difficult to bump off the puck.
Beginning in the 1948-49 season, "Broadway Nick" spent parts of seven seasons with the Rangers. After scoring 20 points in 1949-50, he helped the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup finals for the last time in 22 years. During the overtime period of the seventh game, he hit the post then watched Pete Babando become a hero in Motown. In 1950-51, he hit the 20-goal mark while teamed with Ed Slowinski and Don Raleigh.
Mickoski joined the Chicago Black Hawks in 1954-55 and was a fine two- way worker with Ed Litzenberger and Red Sullivan. He was picked up by the Detroit Red Wings halfway through the 1957-58 season and made his first playoff appearance in eight years. After playing 66 games for the club in 1958-59, he was acquired by the Boston Bruins where he played his last half season.
Originally Posted by Players: The Ultimate A-Z Guide to Everyone Who Ever Played in the NHL
Skated like the wind...
Originally Posted by Chicago Tribune
Nicholas Mickoski, the 30 year old Winnipeg digger who for three seasons was the most diligent worker on the Chicago Black Hawks, labored long and hard again last night, but this time for the Detroit Red Wings.
-Feb 10, 1958, Page C1, 12 SEC. TO GO--EX-HAWK BEATS HAWKS!
1x WHA MVP(1976-77)
2x WHA 1st-Team All Star
2x WHA 2nd-Team All Star
4x Top 7 Points WHA(2, 4, 5, 7)
3x Top 8 Goals WHA(3, 7, 8)
3x Top 5 Assists WHA(1, 4, 5)
5th all-time PPG in WHA
3rd all-time APG in WHA
6th all-time GPG in WHA
US Hockey Hall of Fame Member
6th in Selke voting, 1981
Magical is a good word to describe the highly skilled Ftorek. With his hockey stick as his wand, Ftorek carved out a reputation as an electrifying skater, a wonderful puck carrier, and an absolute wizard of a playmaker. He could also almost score at will, although he loved to set up a teammate for a picture-perfect goal even more so.
Ftorek went on to play hockey at higher levels once he graduated from high school. He spent a year playing Canadian junior hockey in Halifax, he joining the US national team. With the Nats Ftorek competed in the World Championships where he was an All Star scoring 7 goals and 10 points in 6 games. More importantly, Ftorek also got a chance to play with the 1972 US Olympic team. He chipped in 2 assists in 6 games, helping the Americans win a silver medal in Sapporo, Japan.
After the Olympics, he signed with the Detroit organization and played for Virginia of the AHL. He played two strong seasons with the Va. Wings, averaging a point a game. He also got a couple of brief callups to the NHL. He played in 15 NHL games over those two seasons, and scored 2 goals and 5 assists.
He jumped to the Phoenix Roadrunners of the fledgling World Hockey Association in 1974. It was a great career move for Ftorek. He had no idea just how much success he'd achieve with the upstart league, but he got a big pay raise from his minor league salary and got to play with some much more talented players.
Robbie achieved some dizzying numbers in the WHA. In total he scored 216 goals and 307 assists for 523 points in just 373 games. He spent the first three years in the WHA with the Roadrunners, scoring 68, 113 and a career-high 117 points respectively. The Roadrunners folded in 1976 and Ftorek move on to Cincinnati where he continued to light up the scoreboard. In 1977-78 he scored a career high 59 goals along with 50 assists for 109 points. He followed that up with his best season in the WHA. He scored 116 points, just one shy of his personal best, but more importantly was named the league MVP.
In 1979, the NHL absorbed the WHA, and Ftorek became a Quebec Nordique. He played two years in Quebec City, serving as team captain. However he never was able to come close to his dominating self in the NHL. He had one good NHL season, his second with the Nords when he scored 24 goals and 73 points, but otherwise was shutdown. He had some injury problems and was getting on in age by the time he finally stuck in the NHL, but it just goes to show you the difference in quality between the two leagues.
Robbie finished his playing career as a part time player with the New York Rangers, occasionally seeing time in the minor leagues. He finished his career with 77 goals, 150 assists and 227 points in 334 NHL games.
A great student of the game, Ftorek was a popular television commentator in his post-playing days. However he was better known as a coach in the minors and the NHL. He was the coach in Los Angeles when Wayne Gretzky first arrived. He later went on to coach the New Jersey Devils and, his career coming full circle, the Boston Bruins.
Robbie Ftorek was a skilled forward who made his presence felt in the NHL, WHA, and internationally. Although he was only 155 lbs., the crafty forward was lightning quick and able to avoid many hits during his career. He entered the 2001-02 season as the new head coach of the Boston Bruins.
The native of Needham, Massachusetts, spent a year with the Halifax Junior Canadians of the Nova Scotia junior league before signing up with the U.S. national team. In 1972 he represented his country when they won a silver medal at the Sapporo Olympics. A few weeks later he competed at the World Championships "B" Pool and was selected to the tournament all-star team.
The talented forward was signed by the Detroit Red Wings and played a handful of games in 1972-73 and 1973-74. He spent most of his first two pro seasons with the AHL's Virginia Wings. Always a bit of a free spirit, Ftorek decided to pursue his pro dreams in the World Hockey Association. He was an offensive force for three years on the Phoenix Roadrunners then two seasons with the Cincinnati Stingers. Along the way Ftorek won the Gary Davidson trophy as the league's most valuable player in 1977 and was selected to the league's first and second all-star teams twice each. He also scored five points in five games for the USA at the inaugural Canada Cup in 1976.
Ftorek signed with the Quebec Nordiques as they were about to join the NHL in 1979-80. He was a solid offensive performer for two seasons in La Belle Province then suited up for the U.S. at the 1981 Canada Cup. After a slow start in 1980-81, Ftorek was traded to the New York Rangers and scored 32 points in 30 games then helped the Rangers reach the second round of the playoffs. The tricky forward was a major asset when the Blueshirts extended the Stanley Cup champion Islanders to six games in the quarterfinals. Ftorek remained a solid role player in New York until the end of the 1984-85 season.
He may have only been 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, but Robbie Ftorek was one of the hardest working players in the game. And what he lacked in size he made up for with his feisty playing style and fierce competitive nature.
Discovered during an Olympic tryout, Ftorek began his career playing for Team USA at the 1972 Olympic Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan where he helped win the silver medal, the first medal of any kind a U.S. hockey team had won in 12 years.
Four years later, he joined Rick Chartraw and company on Team USA’s inaugural Canada Cup roster, where he led the team with five points.
From the days when he sneaked into the Boston Garden under his father's coat to the days when he filled that building as a 16-year-old high school player, from the Sapporo Olympics to the Detroit Red Wings and now, finally, to the Phoenix Roadrunners, he has always been known as Little Robbie Ftorek. They call him the " Bobby Clarke of the World Hockey Association," and he has scored more points (113) in a major league season than any other American-born player, but his biography starts with 5'9" and 160 pounds. Depending on what he ate last, Ftorek (pronounced Fatorek) claims he weighs somewhere between 148 and 152 pounds. Even at his heaviest, Ftorek still is the lightest player in big-league hockey.
"The first time I was on the ice as a pro, this 6'4", 225-pound guy named Rick Foley came charging at me from halfway across the rink, and I thought I was going to have a one-shift career," Ftorek says. "But I surprised myself. I got out of the way at the last second, and he ended up hurting himself. So here I am today." Here he is today, age 24, leader of the financially crippled Roadrunners, the MVP of Team USA in the recent Canada Cup series and a WHA All-Star. What seems to please Ftorek most, though, is the fact that he is one of only six players—Canadian, American, whatever—to amass 100 points and 100 penalty minutes in the same season.
So he went to Halifax, Nova Scotia and played junior hockey and later made the 1972 U.S. Olympic team. Detroit signed him after Sapporo, but with the exception of 15 games with the Red Wings, he spent the next two seasons playing for their Virginia farm club. Seeing Detroit as a dead end, Ftorek jumped to Phoenix and the WHA. "What no one ever measured in Ftorek," says the Phoenix coach, Al Rollins, "was what he does with quickness. And he probably has the most intense dedication of anybody in hockey today."
Ftorek has had 72 goals and 109 assists in his two Phoenix seasons, and now Rollins fully appreciates this kid who could qualify for a Boys' Life centerfold. "I'd better," says Rollins, "because he's my meal ticket." So, worried that Ftorek's 150 pounds will burn out by April, Rollins regularly bars him from off-day practices. "He's the first one on the ice every day—and the last to leave," says Rollins. "He thinks a practice should be approached like a playoff game."
Ftorek is an ascetic; he drinks nothing stronger than Coke—not even coffee—and he will not allow his wife to come to training camp. Last year John Gray, Ftorek's roommate, woke up at 3:30 a.m. and found Ftorek studiously working on a list of things he wanted to accomplish during that day's practice. Gray screamed that he had had enough, and when Ftorek returned from breakfast, his bags were in the hotel hallway.
Like Philadelphia's Clarke, Ftorek is a tireless forechecker at one end and back-checker at the other, one of those players who always appear to be chasing—or being chased by—the puck. A deft play-maker, he centers the "Lightning Line" for xxx and xxx, and last season they combined for 123 goals.
Ftorek is among the WHA's top 10 scorers this season, with 11 goals and five assists for 16 points, and he has the Roadrunners in second place in the Western Division. In a recent game against Bobby Hull's Winnipeg Jets, the defending WHA champion, he scored the winning goal in Phoenix' 4-3 victory as he beat Joe Daley with less than five minutes to play. Then Ftorek helped preserve the lead in the final minute with some superior penalty killing.
The little guy is the unquestioned leader of the Roadrunners. One time last season he was so upset by the home crowd's booing of a teammate that he invited himself onto the postgame radio show and defended his teammate. He also is the prosecuting attorney/judge of the club's kangaroo court. "See this?" Ftorek says, pulling out a little notebook. "All the fines. For anything—missing a bus, leaving stuff in the locker room for the trainer to pick up. We raise a lot of money." Instead of squandering the money for team parties, Ftorek sends flowers to fans' weddings or funerals. On one occasion he paid the team's laundry bill during a preseason tour of Finland. At Ftorek's prodding, the Phoenix players also have chipped in to buy season tickets that they donate to local charities. All this has helped keep the struggling Phoenix franchise financially afloat, but the club may soon wind up at Household Finance.
Ftorek quickly became the Roadrunners' biggest star and he made history in 1977 when he won the Gordie Howe Trophy as the league's most valuable player—the first American ice hockey player in major professional hockey to accomplish this feat. Ftorek confirmed his status as the most accomplished American player of the 1970s in the inaugural 1976 Canada Cup where he was elected MVP of Team USA and also was the US team's leading scorer
The Birmingham Bulls were playing the Cincinnati Stingers, who had a great player, an American named Robbie Ftorek. This guy went on to play in the NHL, and coached for the New York Rangers; he's a Hall of Famer.
He was skating around, this little guy with ragamuffin pants and hair sticking out of his helmet. He was a little bit of a loner. Very intense. A very, very intense kid. He was young at the time. Stubborn as hell, but he gave 100% all the time.
"I ended up playing with Robbie Ftorek," said xxx. "He was a marvelous hockey player."
Ftorek became one of the quiet leaders of the team through his pure joy in playing.
One of the things that separated Ftorek and his linemates-and made them valuable to an always-tinkering coach-was their ability to skate. The 3 forwards were interchangeable on the ice, crisscrossing, darting in and out while holding onto the puck-a distinctly different style of play than the "dump and chase" hockey they grew up playing. Ftorek and xxx especially thrived in this type of play during the pre-Olympic schedule.
As they got closer to the Olympic games, Coach Williamson asked Ftorek, xxx, and xxx to become the team's checking line, which meant they would play against the other team's top lines with the job of keeping them off the score sheet.
"He told us he wanted us to be a checking line and play against the best lines on the other teams. It was fun and a responsibility in which we took a lot of pride...Ftorek, xxx, and xxx went on to register 3 goals and 4 assists during the Olympic tournament while facing off against some of the greatest players of their time and in the tournament-including Russia's Kharlamov, Czechoslovakia's superstar Nedomansky, and Sweden's xxx.
Robbie Ftorek was probably the closest guy to a Russian that we've ever had because of his soccer ability with his feet. He was deceptively quick. He wasn't fast, but he really played with his head up all the time and had tremendous hand-eye coordination.
Just 1:38 later, Ruotsalainen sneaked behind the Los Angeles defense, took a perfect pass from Robbie Ftorek, and beat xxx on a breakaway. "I was just hoping on Robbie's pass. It was perfect and dropped right to me. I just had to put my stick on the ice.