Thursday, June 2, 2011
After starring at Irondale High School, where he set records for most goals in a career with 80, as well as most points in a season, coincidentally also numbering 80, Scott Bjugstad, who was born on this date in 1961, attended the University of Minnesota for four years.
He began slowly, but my his junior season he scored his greatest number of goals as a collegian with 29 on his way to 43 points in 36 games. As a senior, he scored at a torrid pace with 56 points despite being limited to just 26 games, an average of more than 2 points per game for the season.
Bjugstad joined the United States National Team the following season in preparation for the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. He scored 31 goals and 51 points in 54 games in the United States pre-tournament schedule followed by three goals and four points in the United States six Olympic contests. Some of his teammates on the 1984 Olympic team included Ed Olczyk, Chris Chelios, Al Iafrate and Pat Lafontaine.
Following the games, he made his NHL debut with the Minnesota North Stars, a game in which his "welcome to the NHL moment" was a broken nose. He still managed to play five games with the North Stars and gained additional seasoning during 15 games with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles (a rare four word team name!), scoring 18 points in 15 regular season games prior to seven points in five playoff contests.
Bjugstad's first NHL season was a disappointment, as he scored just 15 points in 72 games and was a -21. He rebounded in 1985-86 with a vengeance in 1985-86 playing on a line with Neal Broten and Dino Ciccarelli which resulted in a phenomenal 43 goals and 76 points.
He was unable to repeat that performance and scored just 14 more goals for the North Stars over the next two seasons in 72 games, which included an 11 game stint in the minors with the Springfield Indians as well as a series of injuries that included a pulled abdominal muscle, a separated shoulder and a torn knee ligament, which eventually required surgery after being re-aggravated.
He missed the start of the 1988-89 season with strained knee ligaments and was assigned to the Kalamazoo Wings on his return to action, but after four games he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins in December. His Penguins career lasted just 24 games, during which he scored three goals and no assists. His season ended when he was suspended for refusing a minor league assignment in March and was later released.
For the 1989-90 season he signed with the Los Angeles Kings as a free agent. Looking to re-establish himself as an NHL player, he had a terrific season with the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL, scoring 45 goals and 66 points in 47 games. Recalled by Los Angeles, he played in 11 games, as well as two in the playoffs.
Injuries again caught up to him and he was limited to just 31 games with the Kings in 1990-91. He divided his time between Los Angeles and the IHL's Phoenix Roadrunners in 1991-92 but suffered a torn abdominal muscle which ended his season in March.
He returned briefly in 1992-93 with Phoenix but played in just seven games before retiring with 317 NHL games played, 76 goals, more than half of which came during his 43 goal season, 68 assists and 14 points.
Today's featured jersey is a 1983-84 United States National Team Scott Bjugstad jersey. This particular jersey was worn during the national team's pre-Olympic schedule of games. The white jerseys worn during the actual Olympic games had the red and blue colors on the arms reversed, with blue now being the predominant color. The cresting and numbers remained red outlined in blue, but the names on the back changed to two color, red outlined in blue, to match the numbers and cresting.
Today's video is Bjugstad trading punches with Dean Kennedy of the Pittsburgh Penguins.