Sunday, April 1, 2012
Yesterday we challenged you to name two unidentified players from days gone by.
Both men are still very active in the NHL, one as a Head Coach and the other as a General Manager.
Player #1 is current Anaheim Ducks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau.
He is pictured in the jersey of his first major professional club, the Minnesota Fighting Saints of the WHA, who drafted him #14 overall in the 1974 WHA Amateur Draft after he scored 113 points in 53 games while with the junior Toronto Marlboros, with whom he won a Memorial Cup in 1975.
In 1975-76 he divided his time between the Johnstown Jets (34 games) and the Fighting Saints (30 games). Unfortunately, this was the season the Fighting Saints folded after 59 games. For the following season Boudreau joined the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, who had picked him 42nd overall in the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft.
For the next seven seasons he would split time between Toronto and a series of minor league affiliates, which included stops in Dallas, New Brunswick, Cincinnati and St. Catharines, with whom he set career highs with 50 goals and 122 points in 1982-83.
From 1983-84, Boudreau would become a full-time AHLer, and a consistent goal scoring threat through 1988-89. During that six season stretch, he would score 30 goals or more five times, including seasons of 47 and 42 goals playing for teams such as St. Catharines, Baltimore, Nova Scotia, Springfield and Newmarket, winning the AHL scoring title in 1988 with Springfield. He would also play 29 games in the German Bundesliga, leading Iserlohn ECD in scoring as well as scoring his final NHL goal during seven games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1985-86.
From 1989-90, he would move to the IHL, scoring 41 goals for Phoenix followed by 40 goals and 120 points for Fort Wayne during the first of two seasons with the Komets. He would also play 4 playoff games with Adirondack of the AHL during what would be his final season as a player, as he had begun the transition into coaching as an assistant while with Fort Wayne in 1990-91 while still playing.
His head coaching career began in 1992-93 with Muskegon of the Colonial Hockey League before taking over at Fort Wayne of the IHL. He also had a stint as an assistant with the San Francisco Spiders of the IHL before returning to being a head coach with Mississippi of the ECHL, where he won a championship in 1999.
That earned him a job at the AHL level in 1999-00 with Lowell for two seasons, followed by Manchester for four prior to Hershey, with whom he won a Calder Cup title in 2006. During the 2007-08 season he was brought up to the NHL as head coach of the Washington Capitals, with whom he won a Jack Adams Award despite only coaching three quarters of the season. He remained with the Capitals until this season, when he was let go by the Capitals, only to be hired by the Ducks after being out of work for less than 70 hours.
While his top level career consisted of 141 NHL games and 30 in the WHA, Boudreau scored 548 goals in the AHL, IHL and other North American minor leagues as well as 1,368 points. He ranks 11th all-time in AHL points and 15th in goal scoring. His combined points rate him 8th all-time in the minors and in the top 25 in all of professional hockey. He had 100 point seasons for five different teams and was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2009.
As a head coach, he has won two championships and qualified for the playoffs in 16 of his 17 seasons, won a President's Trophy in the NHL while with Washington and became the fastest coach to reach 200 victories.
Player #2, who was also a Fighting Saints teammate of Boudreau in 1975-76, is current Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren.
Holmgren played for the University of Minnesota in 1974-75 before joining the Fighting Saints for the ill-fated 1975-76 season. Following the demise of the Fighting Saints, Holmgren joined the Flyers for one game. He was limited to just 6 games the following season with Richmond of the AHL before becoming a full-time Flyer in 1976-77, where he made an immediate impact with over 200 penalty minutes while enhancing his reputation as a fearsome opponent while using his fists.
He would play eight seasons with Philadelphia, including leading the club in penalty minutes in 1977, 1980 and 1981 when he set a career high with 306 minutes served.
He would close out his career with 27 games with the Minnesota North Stars divided between the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons. In all, he would play 527 NHL games, scoring 144 goals and 323 points while totaling 1,684 penalty minutes.
He became the Flyers head coach in 1988-89 for the first of four seasons before taking over the Hartford Whalers for parts of four seasons during which he became the Whalers General Manager in 1993-94.
Holmgren returned to the Philadelphia organization in 1995 as Director of Pro Scouting, later becoming Director of Player Personnel followed by Assistant General Manager prior to being promoted to General Manager during the 2006-07 season.