Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Beginning his junior career with his hometown Peterborough Petes in 1977-78, Steve Larmer then became a member of the Niagara Falls Flyers for the 1978-79 season. He more than doubled his 41 points from the previous season with 84. That total jumped to 114 in 1979-80 after which Larmer was drafted in the 6th round by the Chicago Black Hawks. He returned for one final season with Niagara Falls during which he scored 55 goals and 133 points.
At the conclusion of the Flyers season, Larmer made his NHL debut with the Black Hawks for four games at the end of the season, scoring his first NHL point with an assist. Chicago assigned him to the New Brunswick Hawks of the AHL where he averaged more than a point per game with 82 in 74 games, good for second on the club. New Brunswick would not only win their division, but defeat Adirondack, Nova Scotia and Binghamton on their way to the Calder Cup championship. Additionally, Chicago called him up for three NHL games during the season.
For the 1982-83 season, Larmer made the Black Hawks roster out of training camp and immediately established himself as an NHL regular, playing in all 80 of Chicago's games on a line with Denis Savard and Al Secord, which led to him scoring an impressive 43 goals and 90 points on his way to being named the recipient of that season's Calder Trophy.
The following season Larmer again played in all 80 games for Chicago, a feat he duplicated again and again and again over the course of five seasons as his consecutive games streak reached 400, all the while producing an amazingly consistent offensive output, as his point totals were always between 75 and 90 points each of those seasons.
His games played streak continued to march on unabated as well as his offensive production. Now named one of Chicago's assistant captains, he narrowly missed equalling his career best of 90 points with 89 in 1987-88, and after scoring 87 the next season reached 90 once more in 1989-90 thanks in part to a career best 59 assists as his consecutive games streak now reached 640. During the playoffs, his eight consecutive postseason in a row, Larmer tied for the team lead in scoring with 22 in 20 games as the Blackhawks reached the conference finals. (Of note, Chicago formally changed their name from "Black Hawks" to "Blackhawks" with the start of the 1986-87 season.)
Showing no signs of slowing down, Larmer set a career high with 101 points in 1990-91 to lead Chicago in scoring for the third consecutive season as he registered second highest goal total of his career with 44, just two back of the 46 he tallied in 1984-85, as well as 57 assists.
Following Chicago's early exit from the playoffs, Larmer skated for Team Canada at the 1991 World Championships, scoring 8 points in 19 games. Later that same year, he competed for Canada again at the 1991 Canada Cup tournament in August prior to the start of the NHL season where he led all players in goals scored with 6, including the game winner in the decisive final game, and finished second in points with 11 in eight games.
Over the course of the next two years, Larmer extended his games played streak by playing in all 80 of Chicago's games in 1991-92 despite losing 16 pounds due to an ulcer, and then 84 in 1992-93 thanks to a newly expanded schedule which included the short-lived experiment of teams playing a pair of regular season neutral site games. It was the highest scoring regular season in NHL history at the time, but the Blackhawks were one of only two teams to allow less than three goals per game, thanks in part to Larmer's noteworthy defensive contributions.
After 13 seasons with Chicago, including playing in every game for 11 consecutive seasons, 884 games in a row, Larmer sat out training camp in 1993, demanding a trade from Chicago, citing a need for a "change of scenery", and threatened to retire if a trade was not worked out.
Eventually, after missing the first month of the season and ending his streak 30 games behind second place Gary Unger and 80 behind record holder Doug Jarvis, Larmer was traded to the New York Rangers in early Novemer. At the time of his departure from Chicago, Larmer ranked #3 all time in goals, #5 in assists and #4 in points.
Playing in his first game the day after the trade, Larmer scored his first goal as a Ranger. In early January, Larmer missed the first games of his career due to injury, sitting out three games with a broken hand. In all, he competed in 68 games for the Rangers and contributed 60 points. During the playoffs, his 12th of 13 consecutive years in the playoffs, he was a solid contributor to the Rangers eventual Stanley Cup championship, the first of his career and the Rangers first in 54 years.
In the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, milestones arrived in the form of his 1,000th NHL point on March 8 and his 1,000th NHL game on this date in 1995. He would finish the season with 1,006 games played, 441 goals and 571 assists for 1,012 points prior to retiring due to chronic back pain.
Today's featured jersey is a 1991 Team Canada Steve Larmer jersey as worn during the 1991 Canada Cup, one of only two appearances for Larmer for Team Canada during his career, both of which came during a four month span in 1991, which resulted in a silver followed by a gold medal.
The half maple leaf design of the jersey mimics the shape of the Canada Cup trophy, which clearly was not a "cup" in the traditional sense like the NHL's Stanley Cup.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1981-82 New Brunswick Hawks Steve Larmer jersey from the only minor league season of Larmer's entire career during which his club captured the league championship.
The jersey follows the design of the Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys of the time period, down to the Maple Leaf logos on the shoulder, as the Hawks shared their affiliation with both the Maple Leafs, who inspired their look, and the Black Hawks, who provided the inspiration for their name in a unique combined identity.
The franchise existed from 1978 to 1987, which included two name changes.
Today's videos begin with the conclusion of the 1991 Canada Cup. Larmer scored the game winning goal and was MVP of the game.
Another highlight of Larmer's career was Larmer's Stanley Cup championship in 1994 with the Rangers.