THE VIC STASIUK FILE:
Born: May 23, 1929
Position: Left wing
NHL games played: 745 (330 with Red Wings)
1954-55 stats (Detroit): 59 GP; G: 8; A: 11; PIM: 67
CAREER: GP: 745; G: 183; A: 254; PIM: 669
When he first entered the NHL, Vic Stasiuk wasn’t really a goal scorer. Then, in the middle of his career, he was. Then, toward the end, he wasn’t again.
Stasiuk’s up-and-down playing career, goal-scoring-wise, is a little misleading, however, because he was actually known as one of the league’s best two-way players during his 14 years in the NHL.
Stasiuk, a left winger from Alberta, was originally a Chicago Black Hawk, but he found playing time hard to come by in the Windy City. For that reason, Stasiuk was no doubt excited when he was dealt to the Red Wings on December 2, 1950.
Stasiuk only scored three goals in 50 games with the Red Wings in 1950-51, but offense wasn’t his job. He was happy to be a checker and a grinder, and why not? He got plenty of ice time in Detroit fulfilling that role.
But while Stasiuk’s hard-nosed style of play was appreciated by the Red Wings, he again found ice time hard to come by because of all the depth those Red Wings teams of the early-to-mid 1950s possessed.
In 1952-53, for example, Stasiuk played just three games with the Red Wings, spending most of the season with the team’s Western League affiliate in Edmonton.
But it was in Edmonton in ’52-53 where Stasiuk found his goal scoring touch. He netted 37 pucks, by far the most goals he’d ever scored in organized hockey up to that point.
The 37 goals raised eyebrows in Detroit and it led to Stasiuk spending more time in the NHL and less in the minor leagues over the next several seasons.
But Stasiuk didn’t really become a goal scorer in the NHL until after his trade to Boston in 1955, the summer after he was on the roster of his third Stanley Cup-winning team in Detroit.
Stasiuk was part of the multi-player, blockbuster trade that also shipped legendary goalie Terry Sawchuk to the Bruins.
In Boston, Stasiuk flourished over the next five seasons, scoring 120 goals, including four straight campaigns with 20-plus markers.
Stasiuk landed back in Detroit thanks to a January, 1961 trade and he retired as a player after the 1962-63 season.
Then it was off to the world of coaching, and Stasiuk eventually landed back in the NHL after some years in the minors, coaching the Philadelphia Flyers, California Golden Seals and Vancouver Canucks between 1969 and 1973. Sadly, none of those three teams were very good at the time, so Stasiuk’s won/loss record in the NHL was a dismal 88-153-66.
Trivia: While in Boston, Stasiuk combined with Johnny Bucyk (another former Red Wing) and Bronco Horvath to form the “Uke Line”, thus named because all three players had Ukrainian roots. In 1957-58, the Uke Line became the first line in NHL history to have all three members score at least 20 goals.
NEXT WEEK: Johnny Wilson, the Lou Gehrig of the NHL for his “Iron Man” status.