Pat Quinn passes away

Pat Quinn was one of the toughest SOBs to ever play in the NHL. His crushing hit on Bobby Orr is legendary. Here’s another piece on Quinn.

Pat Quinn passes away after lengthy battle with illness

Former Vancouver Canucks' president and general manager Pat Quinn acknowledges the crowd after being inducted into the team's Ring of Honour before an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday April 13, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Former Vancouver Canucks’ president and general manager Pat Quinn acknowledges the crowd after being inducted into the team’s Ring of Honour before an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday April 13, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – Former Vancouver Canucks coach and co-owner of the Vancouver Giants, Pat Quinn, has passed away.

In an announcement on their Facebook page, the Vancouver Giants said Quinn passed away Sunday night at Vancouver General Hospital after a lengthy illness.

“Words cannot express the pain we all feel today for the Quinn family,” said Giants majority owner Ron Toigo in the post. “Pat was an inspiration to all of us. He always said that respect was something that should be earned, not given, and the respect that he garnered throughout the hockey world speaks for itself. He will be sorely missed.”

Those wishing to send messages of condolence are asked to either email patquinn@vancouvergiants.com or send mail to the Giants’ offices at the address listed below.

Pat Quinn

Vancouver Giants

100 North Renfrew Street

Vancouver, BC

V5K 3N7

1954-55 Red Wings: Glenn Hall

Glenn Hall

THE GLENN HALL FILE:

Born: October 3, 1931

Position: Goalie

NHL games played: 906 (148 with Red Wings)

1954-55 stats: 2 GP; 120 MIN; 2 GA; 1.00 GAA

CAREER: GAA: 2.49; SHO: 84; W-L-T: 407-326-163

Glenn Hall began his career as if he was going to be nothing more than the answer to a trivia question. He ended it by becoming a Hall of Famer.

Goalie Hall was a 23-year-old promising netminder for the Red Wings in the summer of 1955, but that was enough to make the team confident enough to trade fellow future Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk to the Boston Bruins.

So when Hall began the 1955-56 season, he was mostly known as “the goalie that caused the Red Wings to trade Terry Sawchuk.”

Hall responded by playing all 4200 minutes of the 1955-56 season, leading the NHL in shutouts (12). That performance earned him Rookie of the Year honors (Calder Trophy).

In fact, Glenn Hall stepped between the pipes in October 1955 and didn’t leave until some seven years later. He played in 502 consecutive games, all without a mask. That durability earned him the nickname “Mr. Goalie.”

Hall was widely credited with having developed the “butterfly” style of goaltending that became so popular. He is absolutely considered one of the best goalies in league history.

Hall was abruptly traded by the Red Wings in the summer of 1957. GM Jack Adams was eager to get rid of Ted Lindsay for his union views, so Adams included Hall in a package that sent both players to Chicago. Among the players the Red Wings received in return were Johnny Wilson (himself an Iron Man) and Forbes Kennedy.

Hall was famously known to throw up before every game due to nerves.

Hall’s career extended all the way to 1971 with the St. Louis Blues. He won a Stanley Cup in 1961 with the Black Hawks.

“Our first priority was staying alive,” Hall once said of the goalie fraternity. “Our second was stopping the puck.”

NEXT WEEK: Defenseman Jim Hay.

Alfie Done

Looks like Daniel Alfredsson is about to retire. No surprise here but had he been able to play, the Red Wings would have been a better team this season. Here’s more from Bleacher Report:

Dreger Report: Alfredsson’s comeback bid about to end

Three weeks shy of his 42nd birthday, Daniel Alfredsson’s comeback bid is about to end.

Sources tell The Dreger Report that Alfredsson has decided not to play this season and while the Red Wings have been informed he is likely done, they have not heard directly from Alfredsson.

Alfredsson has been plagued by an injured disc in his back over the past few years, a lingering problem that he is able to manage off ice, but is continually aggravated by the wear and tear of game action.

The veteran forward, regarded as one of the NHL’s most respected leaders, earned his place among the game’s top two-way forwards based on a relentless work ethic combined with a creativity that produced 444 goals and 713 assists for a total of 1,157 points in 1,246 NHL games.

Alfredsson, a sixth-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, spent 17 seasons in Ottawa, 14 as captain. He was a community leader, a tireless supporter of local charities and to many the identity of a Senators team that enjoyed many successful seasons, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007.

Following a lengthy contract dispute, Alfredsson left the nation’s capital in July of 2013 to join the Detroit Red Wings – an emotional decision that leaves some to question how his place in Ottawa Senators history will be recognized and when.

It seems fitting the Senators will play a key role in Alfredsson’s announcement, as well as his future in the game.

1954-55 red wings: bob goldham

bobgoldham

THE BOB GOLDHAM FILE:

Born: May 12, 1922; Died: September 6, 1991

Position: Defense

NHL games played: 650 (406 with Red Wings)

1954-55 stats: 69 GP; 1 G; 16 A; 14 PM

CAREER: Goals: 28; Assists: 143; PM: 400

To today’s Red Wings fan, Nicklas Lidstrom is the definition of what a National Hockey League defenseman should be.

Lidstrom, the fan will say, embodied all the principles of good defense, and without doing it in a physical manner that led to lots of penalty minutes.

That’s true.

But that same fan likely has never heard of Bob Goldham. And that’s a shame.

Goldham was the anchor of the Red Wings defense from 1950-56.

Goldham was the classic “stay at home” defenseman. Offense was not on Goldham’s radar, other than to stop the opposition’s.

The native of Georgetown, Ontario was one of the best shot blockers in NHL history. Goldham would constantly throw his body across the ice in an effort to prevent a shot from making it to the goalie. In fact, one of Goldham’s nicknames was “The Second Goalie.”

But what made Goldham, who was a six-time All-Star, so amazing was that he rarely sat in the penalty box, a la Lidstrom.

Goldham accumulated just 400 penalty minutes in 650 NHL games. Extrapolated, that’s about 50 minutes per today’s season.

In 1955, Goldham was assessed only 14 penalty minutes while playing in 69 of the Red Wings’ 70 games. In no season did Goldham have more than 57 minutes in penalties.

Goldham won the Stanley Cup five times—three with the Red Wings and twice with Toronto, including his first as a 19-year-old rookie in 1942.

The Red Wings acquired Goldham in the summer of 1950 from the Chicago Black Hawks in a blockbuster trade that involved nine players. He retired after the 1955-56 season at age 34.

Goldham probably should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, frankly.

Goldham didn’t get into coaching, like so many of his teammates did, after his playing days were done. Instead, old no. 2 for the Red Wings found a home on “Hockey Night in Canada” as an analyst, which he did for many years starting in the 1960s.

Goldham died in 1991 at age 69 from complications after suffering a stroke.

NEXT WEEK: Goalie Glenn Hall, who had an amazing career in and away from Detroit.

1954-55 Red Wings: Bill Dineen

Bill Dineen

THE BILL DINEEN FILE:

Born: September 18, 1932

Position: Right Wing

NHL games played: 323 (282 with Red Wings)

1954-55 stats: 69 GP; 10 G; 9 A; 36 PM

CAREER: Goals: 51; Assists: 44; PM: 122

The term “he’s a winner” is overused, but it fits Bill Dineen. And he did his winning in twos.

Dineen, a right winger, won two Stanley Cups as a player. He won two WHA championships as a coach, and won two AHL championships while coaching the Adirondack Red Wings.

That’s a winner.

The only time Dineen stumbled was when he coached the Philadelphia Flyers in the early-1990s. He was fired after two seasons.

The Dineen family is one of many in NHL history that is multi-generational. Bill’s three sons—Gordon, Peter and Kevin—all played in the NHL as well.

With the Red Wings in 1954-55, Bill Dineen played in all but one regular season game and chipped in 10 goals to the team’s cause. He played all 11 playoff games but only registered one assist.

Dineen was close to teammate Gordie Howe and that relationship helped inspire Howe to come out of retirement and join the WHA’s Houston Aeros in 1973, a team coached by Dineen. Together, Dineen and the Howe family (sons Mark and Marty had already signed with Houston when Gordie suggested a “third Howe”) won two Avco Cups in Houston.

Dineen rejoined the Red Wings organization in 1983, coaching the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings. While there, Dineen captured two more championships (1986 and 1989).

Some fun trivia about Bill Dineen: 1) in his NHL career, he was traded three times for RW Bob Bailey; 2) and when he was named coach of the Flyers in 1991, he became the oldest rookie coach in NHL history.

NEXT WEEK: Bob Goldham, one of the best stay-at-home defensemen to ever wear the Winged Wheel.

Abdelkader: Hard to Say, Hard to Play (Against)

He played his college hockey at Michigan State, which is like saying an actor studied under Strasberg.

They manufacture NHL players in East Lansing; been doing so for years. The university may as well stamp each skater with a serial number.

It was the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals. Justin Abdelkader was 22 and had one of those funny last names that took the folks around Detroit a little bit to pronounce without tying their tongues in knots. Kind of like Yzerman, which was actually butchered more than you care to know when the 18-year-old joined the Red Wings in 1983.

All we knew of Abdelkader at the time was that he had played at MSU, which was all we really needed to know. It was like in the heyday of Michigan football—if you weren’t familiar with an offensive lineman but then found out he played on the O-line in Ann Arbor, automatically the guy reaped all benefits of doubt.

Abdelkader, a left wing wearing no. 8—the sweater of Igor Larionov from the Yzerman-Cup days—was suddenly in the Red Wings’ playoff lineup in 2009, despite playing just two regular season games with the team.

Justin WHO?

A little research turned up more on the player the guys in the dressing room called “Abby.”

He scored 24 goals with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins in 76 games. OK fine. But he also amassed 102 penalty minutes, which is what really got him to Detroit in time for the postseason in 2009.

The Red Wings, since they started winning Stanley Cups again in 1997, have been more about finesse than grit. They would bring in a goon now and again (think Brad May and Aaron Downey) but ultimately those types wouldn’t stick to the roster.

But it wasn’t fighting that was missing; it was the hard-nosed guy who would go into the corners and not come out unless he had the puck or a bloody nose. Both was even better.

Abby was that guy, though he was fresh from Grand Rapids and just a couple years removed from the CCHA.

It’s not atypical in hockey to barely play in the regular season then be thrust into the playoffs as a regular. Look no further than Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden, who appeared in just six games for the 1970-71 Canadiens before leading them to the Stanley Cup in the spring.

In fact, Dryden won the Cup before he won the Calder Trophy as the league’s Rookie of the Year in 1972.

So here came Abdelkader in 2009 and before his name could roll off our tongues cleanly, he had scored two goals in the Finals against Pittsburgh, in Games 1 and 2 in Detroit. If you believe in numerology, Abdelkader scored in the third period of each game—at the 2:46 mark in Game 1 and at 2:47 in Game 2.

Today, Abdelkader is 27 (he’ll be 28 in February) and he’s no longer a raw rookie—he’s one of the Red Wings’ young veterans who can do a little bit of everything. And he’s still not afraid to get his nose bloodied battling for a loose puck. He just likes to battle, period.

Abdelkader plays hockey every night like he woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. He’s not a goon or even an enforcer, but he’s always up for some extracurricular activities. He’s one of the few Red Wings who seems to like it when there’s pushing and shoving after the whistle. At 6’1″ and 219 pounds, Abby’s not a runt, but he plays like a small dog that won’t let go of your pant leg.

That’s all well and good but this season Abdelkader has added another dimension to his game—that of goal scorer.

In his first 14 games, Abdelkader has scored five goals to go along with five assists. It’s a small sample size, but that extrapolates to about 29 goals and 29 assists. To compare, Abdelkader’s career high for points in a season is 28, set last year. His career high in goals is 10, done twice (the past two seasons).

On the current Red Wings roster, Abdelkader is a rarity: he’s not ancient, or a kid. I know it seems like every Red Wing either still has the scent of Grand Rapids on him or Ben Gay. But Abdelkader is that tweener—the player who is still young enough to have his legs but not so old that his career clock is ticking.

Frankly, it’s a welcome change of pace.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Abdelkader wears an “A” for alternate captain on his sweater soon, maybe even this season if one of the regular As—Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall and sometimes Johan Franzen—goes down with injury.

But it’s going to happen, sooner or later.

And if Abdelkader keeps putting pucks in the net with the same frequency as he has so far this season, well…Henrik Zetterberg isn’t getting any younger, if you know what I mean.

The maturation of Abdelkader into a team leader is a storyline that’s flown under the radar with the media types in town. The press is enamored with the Griffins-turned-Red Wings and with the continued magic of Pavel Datsyuk. They like to talk to coach Mike Babcock because of his candidness.

Yet the emergence of Abdelkader as a young veteran who the kids can emulate, and who just might be the team’s next captain, gets lost in the shuffle.

But that’s OK; they can’t ignore Abby forever.

Something tells me that he simply won’t allow it.

As usual, spring is when Howard will be judged, fair or not

It is the fate of any goaltender who plays in Detroit that true acceptance by the fans will never occur until a deep run into the playoffs is made. A Stanley Cup is not mandated, but pretty close.

Before the Red Wings made winning the Cup an expectation rather than a hope, back in 1997, the goalies who paraded through town were seen as part of the problem, not THE problem.

The Greg Stefans, Glen Hanlons and Tim Cheveldaes were never considered elite goalies, and they played in Detroit when the team was still in the growing pain stage—that period when the Red Wings were starting to lurch out from the horrors of 60-point (or worse) seasons and toward respectability.

But the expectations changed when first Mike Vernon, then Chris Osgood, guarded the nets for the Red Wings when they won consecutive Stanley Cups in 1997-98.

After those Cups, goaltending was thrust front and center. You could have all the stars and future Hall of Famers that you wanted, but it still came down to the man between the pipes.

That’s why the Red Wings coughed up big bucks for high profile goalies like Dominik Hasek and Curtis Joseph in an attempt to stay elite. Hasek was huge in the 2002 Cup run, but Joseph fizzled in 2003 and 2004.

Old pro Osgood rescued the Wings in 2008, entering the fray in the middle of a scary first round series with Nashville, and a struggling Hasek didn’t sniff the goal crease the rest of the way.

Fast forward to 2014-15.

Jimmy Howard is doing his level best to wipe away memories of a mediocre 2013-14 season. He was called out by numerous fans and know-it-all bloggers (including this one) as his numbers ballooned last winter. He sort of got it together come playoff time, but the overall body of work was still pedestrian at best.

In October and now extending into November, you can make the case that Howard has been earning the people’s trust back—though there will always be the anti-Jimmy haters.

Rarely, if at all, have you been reasonably able to point to a game the Red Wings lost this season as being squarely on the shoulders of the goalie.

Does Howard still let in a stinker or two? Of course. But so does every goalie, contrary to popular belief.

The bad news for Jimmy Howard is that with the exception of Joseph, who was in Detroit for only a couple of seasons, Howard is the only Red Wings goalie in over 20 years who has played an appreciable amount of time without leading his team past the second round of the playoffs.

Not all of that is his fault, of course. Howard isn’t exactly playing with a bunch of future Hall of Famers currently, and the Red Wings rosters in his time have not measured up to those of the Cup-winning teams (four between 1997 and 2008).

Sadly, that fact doesn’t really matter.

Fans here are conditioned to have a Cup-capable team, and the Red Wings’ resurgence with younger players is putting more coal into that fire of expectation.

We can talk all day about how good Hank Zetterberg looks this season. We can continue to rave about Pavel Datsyuk. We can gush over kids like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Brendan Smith. We can be impressed by how Justin Abdelkader is blossoming into a key, young veteran.

But Jimmy Howard is still the elephant in the room.

The feeling still prevails that the Red Wings will only go as far in the playoffs as their goalie will take them.Phoenix Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings - Game Four

The wariness is warranted. Howard has yet to be the best player in any playoff series he’s participated in. That seems harsh but it’s the fact of life in the NHL, especially in Detroit.

The Red Wings were on the brink of the Conference Finals in 2013, holding a 3-1 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks, but the Hawks’ depth won out, barely (overtime of Game 7). Other than that flirtation, the Red Wings’ playoff runs haven’t really come close to the Final Four since 2009.

It’s up to Howard to change that, fair or not.

The brisk start is encouraging; Howard hasn’t played this well in a couple years, at least.

It still won’t be good enough until the play of October and November is matched—and raised, frankly—in May and (gasp!) June.

As usual.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 808 other followers