Rod Buskas

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Rod Buskas
Born (1961-01-07) January 7, 1961 (age 54)
Wetaskiwin, AB, CAN
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 206 lb (93 kg; 14 st 10 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Right
Played for Pittsburgh Penguins
Vancouver Canucks
Los Angeles Kings
Chicago Blackhawks
NHL Draft 112th overall, 1981
Pittsburgh Penguins
Playing career 1981–1995

Rod Dale Buskas (born January 7, 1961 in Wetaskiwin, Alberta and raised in Medicine Hat, Alberta) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey defenceman who spent 11 seasons in the National Hockey League. A hard-nosed physical defender, Buskas is best known for his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he was the club's all-time leader in penalty minutes at the time of his departure in 1990.

Playing career[edit]

Buskas was selected in the 6th round (112th overall) of the 1981 NHL Entry Draft by the Penguins after a solid junior career with the Medicine Hat Tigers. After some seasoning in the minors, he made his NHL debut near the start of the 1982–83 season, and finished the year with 4 points and 102 penalty minutes in 41 games.

After another season split between Pittsburgh and the minors, Buskas established himself as a regular for the Penguins in 1984–85, and was a fixture on the club's blueline for the next five seasons. In 1986–87, he had his best offensive season, finishing the year with 3 goals and 15 assists for 18 points. In 1987–88, he led the Penguins with a career-high 206 penalty minutes, and mid-way through the 1988–89 season he broke Bryan Watson's club record of 872 penalty minutes. While the Penguins finished consistently near the bottom of the league for most of the 1980s, the maturing of superstar Mario Lemieux finally saw the team reach the playoffs in 1989, and Buskas appeared in the first 10 NHL playoff games of his career.

At the start of the 1989–90 campaign, Buskas was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks for a draft pick. However, he appeared in only 17 games for the Canucks before breaking his ankle, requiring surgery. While recovering, he was traded back to Pittsburgh, and he appeared in 6 more games for the Penguins late in the season. He would leave Pittsburgh for good at the start of the 1990–91 season, when he was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL Waiver Draft. At the time, he was Pittsburgh's all-time leader in penalty minutes with 959, although that record would later be broken by Troy Loney and is now held by Kevin Stevens.

Buskas spent a year in Los Angeles, recording 3 goals and 11 points along with 182 penalty minutes in 57 games, before being dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks early in the 1991–92 season. Now a sparingly-used depth defender, he finished the year with 4 assists in 47 games between Los Angeles and Chicago. That season's playoffs would prove to be one of the highlights of his career, as Chicago reached the Stanley Cup finals before losing to his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Buskas saw his NHL career come to a close in 1992–93, as he was assigned to the minors for the first time since 1984 and appeared in only 4 games for the Blackhawks. Released at the end of the season, he spent two more seasons in the IHL with the Las Vegas Thunder before retiring in 1995. Buskas finished his career with totals of 19 goals and 63 assists for 82 points in 556 career NHL games, along with 1294 penalty minutes.

Following his retirement Buskas, who has obtained a pilot's license during his playing career, remained in the Las Vegas area and ran a flight school in Henderson, Nevada. He would also later serve for a time as an assistant coach with the Las Vegas Thunder.

Buskas is currently a Captain with Hawaiian Airlines

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1978–79 Billings Bighorns WHL 1 0 0 0 0
1978–79 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 34 1 12 13 60
1979–80 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 72 7 40 47 284 16 1 6 7 31
1980–81 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 72 14 46 60 164 5 1 1 2 8
1981–82 Erie Blades AHL 69 1 18 19 78
1982–83 Baltimore Skipjacks AHL 31 2 8 10 45
1982–83 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 41 2 2 4 102
1982–83 Muskegon Mohawks IHL 1 0 0 0 9
1983–84 Baltimore Skipjacks AHL 33 2 12 14 100 10 1 3 4 22
1983–84 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 47 2 4 6 60
1984–85 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 69 2 7 9 191
1985–86 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 72 2 7 9 159
1986–87 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 68 3 15 18 123
1987–88 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 76 4 8 12 206
1988–89 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 52 1 5 6 105 10 0 0 0 23
1989–90 Vancouver Canucks NHL 17 0 3 3 36
1989–90 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 6 0 0 0 13
1990–91 Los Angeles Kings NHL 57 3 8 11 182 2 0 2 2 22
1991–92 Los Angeles Kings NHL 5 0 0 0 11
1991–92 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 42 0 4 4 80 6 0 1 1 0
1992–93 Indianapolis Ice IHL 15 0 3 3 40
1992–93 Salt Lake Golden Eagles IHL 31 0 2 2 52
1992–93 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 4 0 0 0 26
1993–94 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 69 2 9 11 131 5 0 2 2 2
1994–95 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 27 2 3 5 53 10 1 0 1 19
NHL Totals 556 19 63 82 1294 18 0 3 3 45

Transactions[edit]

External links[edit]