Brad Park

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Brad Park
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1988
Brad Park 1970s.jpg
Park in the 1970s
Born (1948-07-06) July 6, 1948 (age 65)
Toronto, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for New York Rangers
Boston Bruins
Detroit Red Wings
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 2nd overall, 1966
New York Rangers
Playing career 1968–1985

Douglas Bradford Park (born July 6, 1948) is a retired ice hockey defenceman who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Playing career[edit]

Park was drafted by the New York Rangers in the first round (second overall) in the 1966 NHL Amateur Draft and, after a brief stint with the minor-league Buffalo Bisons of the AHL, began playing for the Rangers in 1968.

New York Rangers[edit]

Park quickly became the Rangers' best defenceman and drew comparisons with the great Bobby Orr, as both were credited with revolutionizing the "offensive" defenceman. Park's offensive skill, stickhandling and pugnacity attracted much attention from fans. Park and Orr occasionally fought each other on ice, and fans and sportswriters fueled the rivalry by making frequent comparisons, not least as the Rangers and Boston Bruins were bitter opponents. Years afterward, Park remarked "I saw no reason to be upset because I was rated second to Bobby Orr. After all, Orr not only was the top defenseman in the game but he was considered the best player ever to put on a pair of skates. There was nothing insulting about being rated number two to such a super superstar."[1]

Park was made the alternate captain of the Rangers and briefly served as their captain. In 1972, despite the loss of leading team scorer Jean Ratelle with a broken ankle, Park led his team to defeat the defending champions Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. The Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup finals where they lost to Orr and the Boston Bruins, and Park finished runner-up for the Norris Trophy. When the upstart World Hockey Association tried to lure Park away, the Rangers re-signed him to a $200,000-a-year contract that made him, briefly, the highest-paid player in the NHL.[2]

In the 1972 Summit Series, with Orr unable to play due to injury, Park emerged as a key contributor to Team Canada's series over the Soviets, being named the MVP of the deciding Game Eight and named Best Defenceman of the series.

In 1975–76, the Rangers got off to their worst start in ten years and the team began getting rid of their high-priced veterans. On November 7, 1975, one of the biggest trades of the era was made. Park, star centre Jean Ratelle and defenceman Joe Zanussi were traded to Boston for superstar scoring champion Phil Esposito and defenceman Carol Vadnais. The New York press and public had felt that Park, 27 at the time, was overweight, overpaid, and over the hill, as he was facing comparisons to the New York Islanders' Denis Potvin.[3]

Boston Bruins[edit]

While Esposito and Vadnais remained effective players for the Rangers, that team remained mired at the bottom of the division after the trade, and Rangers general manager Emile Francis was eventually fired. Contrary to expectations that the Rangers had gotten the better end of the trade, the struggling Bruins were instantly rejuvenated and soon again became one of the NHL's best teams, despite the departures of Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr.[4]

Taking over the mantle of leadership from Orr, whose career was threatened by injury and who would soon leave the team, Park continued his great success under coach Don Cherry. Park had previously been an end-to-end rushing player attempting to imitate Orr, but with the Bruins he was told by Cherry to concentrate on defence.[3] Getting over his unpopularity in Boston when he was a member of the arch-rival Rangers, Park settled in well with the Bruins,[5] even hitch-hiking a ride from two teenagers at 1 am after his car ran out of gas, and Park later rewarded them with free tickets to the next Boston home game.[4]

From 1977-79, Cherry's "Lunch Pail A.C." captured three division titles for the Bruins. Park earned two First All-Star Team selections, while coming in second in the Norris Trophy race twice in a Bruins' uniform, with 1977-78 being considered one of his finest seasons.[1] In 1977 and 1978, Park was a key contributor to Boston's back-to-back appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens both times. His last highlight with Boston came in Game 7 of the Patrick Division finals against the Buffalo Sabres in the 1983 playoffs, when Park scored the game-winning goal in overtime and help Boston advance in to the conference finals.

Detroit Red Wings[edit]

The following season Park signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent and won the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance that same year, having set a record for assists by a Red Wings' defenceman. After the 1985 season, still an effective player but hobbled by repeated knee injuries, he announced his retirement. The next year he briefly served as Detroit's coach.

Retirement and personal life[edit]

In 1988, Park was elected in his first year of eligibility to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his hometown of Toronto.

Park has resided on the North Shore of Massachusetts for almost 30 years, with his wife Gerry. He has five children and four grandchildren. His autobiography, Straight Shooter: The Brad Park Story, was published in August, 2012.

Honors and achievements[edit]

  • Named to the First All-Star Team in 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976 and 1978.
  • Named to the Second All-Star Team in 1971 and 1973.
  • Runner up in Norris Trophy voting in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976 and 1978
  • Received both the most First Team All-Star nominations (other than Earl Seibert, who retired before the trophy was awarded) and was runner-up for the Norris more times without winning the Norris than any other defenceman in NHL history.
  • Played in the NHL All-Star Game in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978.
  • The book 'Play the Man' (Dodd, Mead, & Co.) written by Brad Park and Stan Fischler was published in 1971.
  • Retired as the leading defence scorer in Rangers' history and the second leading defence scorer in Bruins' history to Bobby Orr.
  • At the time of his retirement, had played the most seasons in league history for a player never missing the playoffs.
  • Currently 13th all-time in NHL history in defence scoring.
  • Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, in his first year of eligibility.
  • Along with Butch Goring, one of the last two active players who had played in the 1960s.
  • In 1998, he was ranked number 49 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
  • Ranked No. 11 on the all-time list of New York Rangers in the book 100 Ranger Greats (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1965–66 Toronto Marlboros OHA 33 0 14 14 48
1966–67 Toronto Marlboros OHA 28 4 15 19 73
1967–68 Toronto Marlboros OHA 50 10 33 43 120
1968–69 Buffalo Bisons AHL 17 2 12 14 49
1968–69 New York Rangers NHL 54 3 23 26 70 4 0 2 2 7
1969–70 New York Rangers NHL 60 11 26 37 98 5 1 2 3 11
1970–71 New York Rangers NHL 68 7 37 44 114 13 0 4 4 42
1971–72 New York Rangers NHL 75 24 49 73 130 16 4 7 11 21
1972–73 New York Rangers NHL 52 10 43 53 51 10 2 5 7 8
1973–74 New York Rangers NHL 78 25 57 82 148 13 4 8 12 38
1974–75 New York Rangers NHL 65 13 44 57 104 3 1 4 5 2
1975–76 New York Rangers NHL 13 2 4 6 23
1975–76 Boston Bruins NHL 43 16 37 53 95 11 3 8 11 14
1976–77 Boston Bruins NHL 77 12 55 67 67 14 2 10 12 4
1977–78 Boston Bruins NHL 80 22 57 79 79 15 9 11 20 14
1978–79 Boston Bruins NHL 40 7 32 39 10 11 1 4 5 8
1979–80 Boston Bruins NHL 32 5 16 21 27 10 3 6 9 4
1980–81 Boston Bruins NHL 78 14 52 66 111 3 1 3 4 11
1981–82 Boston Bruins NHL 75 14 42 56 82 11 1 4 5 4
1982–83 Boston Bruins NHL 76 10 26 36 82 16 3 9 12 18
1983–84 Detroit Red Wings NHL 80 5 53 58 85 3 0 3 3 0
1984–85 Detroit Red Wings NHL 67 13 30 43 53 3 0 0 0 11
18 seasons NHL total 1113 213 683 896 1429 161 35 90 125 217

Coaching statistics[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T Pts Finish Result
Detroit Red Wings 1985-86 45 9 34 2 (40) 5th in Norris Missed playoffs

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ a b [3]
  4. ^ a b [4]
  5. ^ [5]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
André Veilleux
New York Rangers first round draft pick
1966
Succeeded by
Bob Dickson
Preceded by
Lanny McDonald
Bill Masterton Trophy winner
1984
Succeeded by
Anders Hedberg
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Vic Hadfield
New York Rangers captain
197475
Succeeded by
Phil Esposito
Preceded by
Harry Neale
Head coach of the Detroit Red Wings
1985–86
Succeeded by
Jacques Demers