John Druce

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John Druce
John Druce.JPG
Born (1966-02-23) February 23, 1966 (age 48)
Peterborough, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg; 15 st 5 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Right
Played for Washington Capitals
Winnipeg Jets
Los Angeles Kings
Philadelphia Flyers
NHL Draft 40th overall, 1985
Washington Capitals
Playing career 1986–2000

John W. Druce (born February 23, 1966) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey right winger who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers

Playing career[edit]

In Druce's first year of Junior eligibility, he played for the Peterborough Petes B squad. He made the Petes the next season and scored 12 goals in 54 games. Druce was on a checking line with future Capital teammate Rob Murray.[1]

Drafted in 1985 by the Washington Capitals in the second round (40th overall), Druce had a couple of modest seasons before scoring 32 goals for the Binghamton Whalers of the AHL in 1987-88 season. He would not make the Capitals roster until the 1988–89 NHL season, where he was usually a fourth-line defensive specialist.[1]

During the 1989–90 NHL season, his regular season statistics would continue to be unspectacular (8 goals in 45 games), but during the playoffs he exploded for 14 goals and helped guide the Capitals to their first semifinals appearance.

In the division semifinals versus the New Jersey Devils, Druce scored three goals in the six game series won by Washington, including two game winners.[2] In the division finals versus the New York Rangers, Druce provided a shocking amount of offensive output. In game two of the series, Druce scored a hat trick, his first since midget hockey.[1] Game three saw Druce tally two more goals and two assists. The Capitals needed this offensive production since their top scorer Dino Ciccarelli was injured.[1]

Druce scored two goals in game four to lead the Capitals to a three games to one lead. In overtime of game five, Druce fended off a check by Ron Greschner and deflected Geoff Courtnall's shot over goalie John Vanbiesbrouck for a 2-1 series winning victory.[1]

Capitals general manager David Poile said, "John Druce was not on the top of my list—anybody's list—to come through the way he did. He came out of nowhere to be the hero." Poile added, "He was not a top player in junior, not a top player in the minors. This is not only a good story today, but a good story for years to come."[1]

At the time, Druce's total of nine goals in a playoff series put him in a five-way tie for third on the alltime list for goals scored in a playoff series, behind Jari Kurri (with 12, for the Edmonton Oilers in 1985) and Tim Kerr (with 10, for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1989).[1]

Druce was unable to recapture that playoff magic by the time he was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in 1992. He would also play for the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers, and he would appear in the 1997 Stanley Cup finals with the Flyers team that took on the Detroit Red Wings. He would play two seasons in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga before retiring from active play.

In 531 NHL games, Druce scored 113 goals and 126 assists.

Post-retirement[edit]

After playing, Druce became a junior hockey analyst on Rogers Sportsnet. In 2004, his daughter, Courtney, was diagnosed with leukemia. She relapsed with the disease twice but has been in remission since 2008. Druce was then inspired to join a cycling team to raise money for pediatric cancer research. In 2010, Druce was made and honorary constable of the Peterborough Lakefield Community Police Service, for his contributions to the Pedal For Hope in helping them surpass $1M. He currently works for Freedom 55 Financial in Peterborough.[3] Druce also raises money for charity through his rock band Mudfilter, along with local artist Tim Grosjean.[4]

Each year when the playoffs begin, Druce receives media inquiries due to his performance with the Capitals.[2] He says:

Originally I was very proud of what happened there, but I played 14 years of professional hockey, so I thought, 'Jeez, I did more than that.' I've come to realize that's kind of my calling card. I'm very proud of it, and this time of year comes around and it's nice.[2]

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1983–84 Peterborough Petes OHL 1 0 0 0 0
1984–85 Peterborough Petes OHL 54 12 14 26 90 17 6 2 8 21
1985–86 Peterborough Petes OHL 49 22 24 46 84 16 0 5 5 34
1986–87 Binghamton Whalers AHL 77 13 9 22 131 12 0 3 3 28
1987–88 Binghamton Whalers AHL 68 32 29 61 82 1 0 0 0 0
1988–89 Baltimore Skipjacks AHL 16 2 11 13 10
1988–89 Washington Capitals NHL 48 8 7 15 62 1 0 0 0 0
1989–90 Baltimore Skipjacks AHL 26 15 16 31 38
1989–90 Washington Capitals NHL 45 8 3 11 52 15 14 3 17 23
1990–91 Washington Capitals NHL 80 22 36 58 46 11 1 1 2 7
1991–92 Washington Capitals NHL 67 19 18 37 39 7 1 0 1 2
1992–93 Winnipeg Jets NHL 50 6 14 20 37 2 0 0 0 0
1993–94 Phoenix Roadrunners IHL 8 5 6 11 9
1993–94 Los Angeles Kings NHL 55 14 17 31 50
1994–95 Los Angeles Kings NHL 43 15 5 20 20
1995–96 Los Angeles Kings NHL 64 9 12 21 14
1995–96 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 13 4 4 8 13 2 0 2 2 2
1996–97 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 43 7 8 15 12 13 1 0 1 2
1997–98 Philadelphia Phantoms AHL 39 21 28 49 45
1997–98 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 23 1 2 3 2 2 0 0 0 2
1998–99 Hannover Scorpions DEL 36 15 7 22 34
1999–00 Augsburger Panther DEL 12 2 0 2 47 3 0 0 0 4
NHL totals 531 113 126 239 347 53 17 6 23 38

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Fichtenbaum, Paul (May 7, 1990). "Druce On The Loose". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  2. ^ a b c Steinberg, Dan (April 15, 2009). "When John Druce Was Loose". D.C. Sports Bog. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  3. ^ Glew, Kevin (May 2, 2009). "Backchecking: John Druce fights new battle after NHL caree". The Hockey News. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  4. ^ http://www.pedalforhope.com/event_schedule.htm

External links[edit]