Bob Berry (ice hockey)

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Bob Berry
Born (1943-11-29) November 29, 1943 (age 70)
Montreal, QC, CAN
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Forward
Shot Left
Played for NHL
Montreal Canadiens
Los Angeles Kings
AHL
Cleveland Barons
Montreal Voyageurs
Springfield Indians
CHL
Fort Worth Texans
Playing career 1968–1978

Robert Victor "Crease" Berry (born November 29, 1943 in Montreal, Quebec) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey left winger who played eight seasons in the National Hockey League with the Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings. He has also served as a head coach in the NHL for the Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.

Playing career[edit]

Berry began his junior hockey career with the Peterborough Petes of the OHA before deciding to attend Sir George Williams College (now Concordia University) in Montreal where he would play three years of collegiate hockey in the OQAA (now CIS). In 1966 Berry joined Canada's National Hockey Team and was later signed by the Montreal Canadiens to his first professional contract in 1968 at age 25. With the Canadiens having a deep roster at left wing, Berry would only manage to suit up for two games with the Canadiens in 1968-69. He spent the following year playing in the AHL for the Montreal Voyageurs and the Canadiens eventually sold his rights to the Los Angeles Kings in 1970 giving him a better opportunity to earn a spot on an NHL roster. Berry joined the Los Angeles Kings the following year in 1970-71 and registered 63 points in 73 games in his rookie season, placing him only 9 points back of eventual Calder Trophy winner Gil Perreault of the Buffalo Sabres. In 1972-73 Berry scored a career high 36 goals with the Kings and was selected to play in his first NHL All-Star game on January 30, 1973 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Berry was selected to play in the All-Star game again the following year at the Chicago Stadium. He finished his NHL career with 350 points in 541 regular season games.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

Los Angeles Kings[edit]

After retiring as a player in 1978 with the AHL's Springfield Indians Berry returned to Los Angeles to become the eighth head coach in Kings history in 1978-79. He led the Kings to the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of his three seasons behind the bench. However, in each of those years from 1978-79 to 1980-81 they were defeated in the opening round of the playoffs. Berry eventually resigned as head coach at the end of the 1980-81 campaign after the Kings posted a 43W-24L-13T record and lost to the New York Rangers in the preliminary round. Despite his lack of success in the playoffs, Berry is credited with giving rise to the famed "Triple Crown Line" during his tenure as head coach, putting Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor on the same line for the very first time in a game at Joe Louis Arena in 1979 vs. the Detroit Red Wings.

Montreal Canadiens[edit]

Berry moved on to take the head coaching assignment in his hometown of Montreal replacing Claude Ruel behind the Canadiens bench to start the 1981-82 NHL season. Despite winning 46 and 42 games respectively in his first two years at the helm, Berry's Canadiens were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1981-82 (by the Quebec Nordiques) and in 1982-83 (by the Buffalo Sabres). This would mark the fifth straight season he would lose in the first round of the playoffs as a head coach. With the team playing below .500 in his third year behind the bench in 1983–84, he was eventually fired by the Canadiens and was replaced by Jacques Lemaire 63 games into the season.[2] To date, Berry is the last non-interim Canadiens coach who wasn't fully bilingual in English and French, though he spoke French well enough to have a simple conversation.[3]

Pittsburgh Penguins[edit]

Berry was named the 9th head coach in Pittsburgh Penguins history on June 4, 1984 a mere 5 days prior to the 1984 NHL Entry Draft that was held at the Montreal Forum in which Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Eddie Johnston selected Mario Lemieux 1st overall from the Laval Voisins of the QMJHL. Even though Berry's new team drafted their future franchise player, he inherited a Penguins team that had failed to reach the playoffs the previous two seasons. That streak would continue under Berry's guidance for the next three seasons as the Penguins would miss reaching the playoffs for the fifth straight year in 1986-87. He was eventually relieved of his head coaching position at the end of the 1986-87 NHL season on April 13, 1987.

St. Louis Blues[edit]

Berry returned to coaching for the 1988-89 NHL season after a two year hiatus, this time joining the St. Louis Blues coaching staff as an assistant with Joe Micheletti under head coach Brian Sutter. Berry would finally get a taste of playoff success behind the bench as the St. Louis Blues defeated the Minnesota North Stars in the opening round of the playoffs four games to one. The Blues then faced the Chicago Blackhawks in round 2 but lost that series in five games.

The Blues would qualify for the playoffs in the following 3 seasons. However, they were unable to advance past the second round in either of those years. Berry was appointed assistant GM of the Blues under GM Ron Caron in the summer before the start of the 1992-93 season. The Blues then hired former St. Louis defenceman Bob Plager to take over the head coaching duties. After the Blues got off to a slow start Plager stepped down after a 6-4 victory over Berry's former team the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 30, 1992. Berry took over the head coaching duties after Plager's departure and from there he helped the Blues reach the playoffs once again in the spring of 1993. The Blues swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and Berry finally made it to the second round of the post-season as a head coach in the NHL. However, his post-season success, as well as the Blues,' was short lived as Berry's team was knocked out in the second round by the Toronto Maple Leafs in a hard fought 7 games series that went the distance. Berry remained on as head coach of the Blues the next season with Ted Sator joining the fold as an assistant. The Blues made the playoffs once again but were swept in the first round by the Dallas Stars. The St. Louis Blues then named Mike Keenan head coach to start the 1994-95 NHL season with Berry and Sator staying on staff as associate coaches. It remained status quo for the Blues with Keenan and Berry behind the bench as they failed to advance past the second round the following two seasons. 1995-96 would be Berry's final season behind the Blues bench.

San Jose Sharks[edit]

In San Jose, Berry was hired on as an assistant under head coach Darryl Sutter to replace the departed Roy Sommer, teaming up with former Calgary Flame tough guy Paul Baxter who was already in place as Sutter's other assistant. Berry would spend two seasons in San Jose as an assistant under Sutter before retiring as a coach in 1999-2000.

Front office[edit]

Berry currently serves as a pro scout for the Chicago Blackhawks. He has also served as a pro scout in the NHL for the Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators.

Awards and achievements[edit]

  • Scored first ever goal at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver Canucks inaugural NHL game, October 9, 1970.
  • Played in 26th annual NHL All-Star game, January 30, 1973. (Madison Square Garden) New York, NY.
  • Played in 27th annual NHL All-Star game, January 29, 1974. (Chicago Stadium) Chicago, IL.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1968-69 Montreal Canadiens NHL 2 0 0 0 0 - - - - -
1968-69 Cleveland Barons AHL 68 24 29 53 104 5 0 3 3 10
1969-70 Montreal Voyageurs AHL 71 18 41 59 104 8 1 0 1 11
1970-71 Los Angeles Kings NHL 77 25 38 63 52 - - - - -
1971-72 Los Angeles Kings NHL 78 17 22 39 44 - - - - -
1972-73 Los Angeles Kings NHL 78 36 28 64 75 - - - - -
1973-74 Los Angeles Kings NHL 77 23 33 56 56 5 0 0 0 0
1974-75 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 25 23 48 60 3 1 2 3 2
1975-76 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 20 22 42 37 9 1 1 2 0
1976-77 Los Angeles Kings NHL 69 13 25 38 20 9 0 3 3 4
1976-77 Fort Worth Texans CHL 7 4 4 8 0 - - - - -
1977-78 Springfield Indians AHL 74 26 27 53 56 4 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 541 159 191 350 344 26 2 6 8 6

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
LAK 1978-79 80 34 34 12 80 3rd in Norris Lost in preliminary round
LAK 1979-80 80 30 36 14 74 2nd in Norris Lost in preliminary round
LAK 1980-81 80 43 24 13 99 2nd in Norris Lost in preliminary round
MTL 1981-82 80 46 17 17 109 1st in Adams Lost in division semi-finals
MTL 1982-83 80 42 24 14 98 2nd in Adams Lost in division semi-finals
MTL 1983-84 63 28 30 5 (75) 4th in Adams (fired)
PIT 1984-85 80 24 51 5 53 6th in Patrick Missed playoffs
PIT 1985-86 80 34 38 8 76 5th in Patrick Missed playoffs
PIT 1986-87 80 30 38 12 72 5th in Patrick Missed playoffs
STL 1992-93 73 33 30 10 (85) 4th in Norris Lost in division finals
STL 1993-94 84 40 33 11 91 4th in Central Lost in quarter-finals
Total 860 384 355 121

Transactions[edit]

  • Sold by the Montreal Canadiens to the Los Angeles Kings, October 8, 1970.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bob Berry player profile". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  2. ^ Kay, Jason (ed.) (2009), "A Century of Montreal Canadiens", The Hockey News: 114, ISSN 0018-3016 
  3. ^ Habs owner Geoff Molson says speaking French 'very important'. CBC Sports, 2011-12-19.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ron Stewart
Head coach of the Los Angeles Kings
1978-81
Succeeded by
Parker MacDonald
Preceded by
Claude Ruel
Head coach of the Montreal Canadiens
1981-84
Succeeded by
Jacques Lemaire
Preceded by
Lou Angotti
Head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins
1984-87
Succeeded by
Pierre Creamer
Preceded by
Bob Plager
Head coach of the St. Louis Blues
1992-94
Succeeded by
Mike Keenan