Brian Gionta

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Brian Gionta
Brian Gionta - Buffalo Sabres.jpg
Gionta with the Buffalo Sabres in April 2016
Born (1979-01-18) January 18, 1979 (age 39)
Rochester, New York, U.S.
Height 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight 178 lb (81 kg; 12 st 10 lb)
Position Right wing
Shot Right
Played for New Jersey Devils
Montreal Canadiens
Buffalo Sabres
Boston Bruins
National team  United States
NHL Draft 82nd overall, 1998
New Jersey Devils
Playing career 2001–2018

Brian Joseph Gionta (born January 18, 1979) is an American former professional ice hockey player who played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL). Gionta began his NHL career in 2001 with the New Jersey Devils and has served as captain of the Montreal Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres. He also was the captain for the United States in the 2018 Winter Olympics, for which he stepped away from the NHL for most of its 2017–18 season. After the Olympics, he briefly played for the Boston Bruins, and retired following their elimination from the playoffs.

Playing career[edit]

Boston College[edit]

Gionta was drafted 82nd overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. The diminutive but fiery forward attended high school at the Aquinas Institute in Rochester, New York, where in 1993–94 he was selected as their Rookie of the Year. He then skated for Boston College from 1997 to 2001, winning a national championship as Eagles captain in the 2000–01 season. He was mentored by former NHL forward Marty Reasoner, also a Rochester native, and enjoyed his best statistical season in his freshman year on a line with Reasoner, posting 30 goals and 62 points in 40 games as the Eagles fell to the University of Michigan in the national championship game in Boston.

Gionta followed up with a 60-point season his sophomore year as Boston College was eliminated by their Hockey East rival, the University of Maine, in the Frozen Four semi-finals. In his junior year, he posted a 33-goal, 56-point season as the Eagles fell to the University of North Dakota in that year's national championship game.

In his senior season as captain, Gionta's point total dipped again to 54 points. Nevertheless, a roster stocked with future NHL talent produced a national championship as Boston College defeated North Dakota 3–2 in overtime in Albany, New York. During his senior season, he led the nation in goal-scoring with 33 goals, including a performance against the University of Maine in which he scored on each of his first five shots.

New Jersey Devils[edit]

Gionta, who joined the New Jersey Devils during the 2001–02 season, was a member of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals-winning team that prevailed over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, he played for the Devils' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Albany River Rats. In 2006, he was a member of the 2006 United States' men's team that competed in Turin, Italy.

Gionta in 2014 as captain of the Montreal Canadiens

Largely serving on the right wing of the Devils' prolific "EGG" line – which included Patrik Eliáš and Scott Gomez – Gionta was one of the Devils' most effective offensive players during his tenure in New Jersey. On March 28, 2006, Gionta became the first Devils player to score 40 goals in a season since Eliáš and Alexander Mogilny each reached the mark in the 2000–01 season.

In the last game of the 2005–06 season, Gionta broke Pat Verbeek's franchise record for goals in a season, finishing with 48. In that season, he also finished with his highest point total to date, with 89 in all 82 games of the regular season. On October 27, 2007, Gionta scored the first Devils' goal in the history of the Prudential Center in the second period of a 4–1 loss to Ottawa. (Chris Neil scored the first ever).

Gionta played 473 regular season games in total for New Jersey, in addition to 67 Stanley Cup Playoff games. As of 2011, Gionta holds the franchise all-time power play goal-scoring record in one season, with 24.

Montreal Canadiens[edit]

On July 1, 2009, Gionta signed a five-year contract for $25 million with the Montreal Canadiens. It reunited him with former Devils teammate Scott Gomez.[1]

Just prior to his second season with the club, in 2010–11, on September 29, 2010, Gionta became only the second American-born player to serve as team captain of the Canadiens, after Chris Chelios.

During the 2012–13 season, Gionta played in all 48 games of the lockout-shortened season and registered 14 goals and 12 assists[2] while leading the Canadiens on a remarkable comeback from last in the Eastern Conference to their 23rd Northeast Division title.[3] On March 5, 2013, Gionta scored the 20,000th NHL goal in the history of the Canadiens in a game against the New York Rangers.[note 1] Entering the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs as the second seed against the Ottawa Senators, Gionta tore his bicep in Game 1 and was forced to undergo season-ending surgery to repair it. He will always be remembered by Habs fans[4]

Buffalo Sabres[edit]

On July 1, 2014, Gionta signed a three-year free-agent deal with hometown team, the Buffalo Sabres, for $4.25 million per year.[5] On October 7, 2014, Gionta was named captain of the Sabres.[6] Gionta played in his 1,000th NHL game on March 27, 2017 against the Florida Panthers in Buffalo.[7]

Boston Bruins[edit]

On February 25, 2018, Gionta signed a one-year, $700,000 contract for the remainder of the season with the Boston Bruins.[8]

Retirement[edit]

Gionta announced his retirement on September 24, 2018,[9] and revealed that he had joined the Sabres as a development coach.[9]

International play[edit]

The Sabres opted not to re-sign Gionta in the 2017 offseason after reacquiring Jason Pominville in a trade. The Sabres' owned-and-operated American Hockey League club, the Rochester Americans, signed Gionta to their practice squad on October 9, 2017. Since the practice-only contract is not with the NHL, Gionta was able to participate in the Winter Olympics, following the NHL's announcement not to accommodate an Olympic break due to financial disputes with the IOC.[10] Gionta was officially named to Team USA's pre-Olympic roster on October 18, 2017.[11] Gionta has since been named USA team captain. Gionta admitted turning down NHL offers to participate in the Olympics and intends to re-sign with the league after the Olympics end.[12]

On January 29, 2018, the Americans upgraded Gionta's practice-squad contract to a one-game professional tryout contract, allowing him to play the Americans February 2, 2018 game against the Toronto Marlies before leaving for the Olympics. Gionta scored a goal in the game but the Americans lost 4-2.

Personal life[edit]

Gionta is the middle child of Sam and Penny Gionta. He and his wife, Harvest, have three children.[13] Gionta has a brother, Stephen, who plays for the New York Islanders. He also has an older brother Joe, who also played for the Aquinas Institute Hockey Team and graduated in 1994. Brian Gionta has a home in the Rochester, New York area where his parents still reside.

Records[edit]

  • New Jersey Devils record for most goals in a season (48 in 2005–06)

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1997–98 Boston College Eagles HE 40 30 32 62 44
1998–99 Boston College Eagles HE 39 27 33 60 46
1999–00 Boston College Eagles HE 42 33 23 56 66
2000–01 Boston College Eagles HE 43 33 21 54 47
2001–02 Albany River Rats AHL 37 9 16 25 18
2001–02 New Jersey Devils NHL 33 4 7 11 8 6 2 2 4 0
2002–03 New Jersey Devils NHL 58 12 13 25 23 24 1 8 9 6
2003–04 New Jersey Devils NHL 75 21 8 29 36 5 2 3 5 0
2004–05 Albany River Rats AHL 15 5 7 12 10
2005–06 New Jersey Devils NHL 82 48 41 89 46 9 3 4 7 2
2006–07 New Jersey Devils NHL 62 25 20 45 36 11 8 1 9 4
2007–08 New Jersey Devils NHL 82 22 31 53 46 5 1 0 1 2
2008–09 New Jersey Devils NHL 81 20 40 60 32 7 2 3 5 4
2009–10 Montreal Canadiens NHL 61 28 18 46 26 19 9 6 15 14
2010–11 Montreal Canadiens NHL 82 29 17 46 24 7 3 2 5 0
2011–12 Montreal Canadiens NHL 31 8 7 15 16
2012–13 Montreal Canadiens NHL 48 14 12 26 8 2 0 1 1 0
2013–14 Montreal Canadiens NHL 81 18 22 40 22 17 1 6 7 2
2014–15 Buffalo Sabres NHL 69 13 22 35 18
2015–16 Buffalo Sabres NHL 79 12 21 33 12
2016–17 Buffalo Sabres NHL 82 15 20 35 22
2017–18 Rochester Americans AHL 1 1 0 1 0
2017–18 Boston Bruins NHL 20 2 5 7 2 1 0 0 0 0
NHL totals 1,026 291 304 595 377 113 32 36 68 34

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
1998 United States WJC 5th 7 5 3 8 0
1999 United States WJC 8th 6 6 5 11 6
2000 United States WC 5th 7 2 1 3 2
2001 United States WC 4th 9 2 0 2 6
2005 United States WC 6th 7 2 1 3 6
2006 United States OG 8th 6 4 0 4 2
2018 United States OG 7th 5 0 0 0 4
Junior totals 13 11 8 19 6
Senior totals 34 10 2 12 20

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-Hockey East Rookie Team 1997–98
Hockey East Rookie of the Year 1997–98
All-Hockey East Second Team 1997–98
AHCA East Second-Team All-American 1997–98
All-Hockey East First Team 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01
AHCA East First-Team All-American 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01
World Junior Championships All-Star Team 1999 [14]
Hockey East Player of the Year 2000–01
Stanley Cup 2003

Notes[edit]

^ 1: Michael Cammalleri had previously scored the 20,000th goal in Canadiens' franchise history in 2009. Cammalleri's mark included the Canadiens time in the National Hockey Association.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Canadiens ink Gionta to five-year deal". The Sports Network. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
  2. ^ "Brian Gionta player profile". Montreal Canadiens. 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2013-06-01.
  3. ^ "2012-13 NHL Standings". National Hockey League. 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  4. ^ "Brian Gionta to undergo surgery". habseyesontheprize.com. 2013-05-08. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
  5. ^ "Gionta glad to be with hometown Buffalo Sabres". National Hockey League. 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  6. ^ GIONTA NAMED SABRES CAPTAIN
  7. ^ "Brian Gionta's 1,000-game milestone one for the underdog". Democrat and Chronicle. 2017-03-27. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  8. ^ "Bruins Sign Brian Gionta To One-Year Contract". NHL.com. February 25, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Brian Gionta announces retirement after 16 NHL seasons". Sportsnet.ca. September 24, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  10. ^ Filipowski, Nick (October 9, 2017). "Gionta to skate with Amerks, prepare for international competition". WIVB-TV. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  11. ^ Schlager, Brandon (October 18, 2017). "A peak at Pyeongchang: USA Hockey announces roster for pre-Olympic tournament". The Sporting News. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  12. ^ Hoppe, Bill (November 8, 2017). "Former Sabres captain Brian Gionta excited to represent Team USA". Olean Times Herald. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  13. ^ "Gionta becomes dad for third time" (in French). 25stanley.com. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
  14. ^ Collins gem Hockey Facts and Stats 2009–10, p.530, Andrew Podnieks, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, Toronto, Canada, ISBN 978-1-55468-621-6
  15. ^ "Isles send Habs to 1st regulation loss in month". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. 2013-03-06. Retrieved 2013-03-06.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Greg Koehler
Hockey East Rookie of the Year
1997–98
Succeeded by
Darren Haydar
Preceded by
Ty Conklin
Mike Mottau
Hockey East Player of the Year
2000–01
Succeeded by
Darren Haydar
Preceded by
Cory Larose
Hockey East Scoring Champion
2000–01
Succeeded by
Darren Haydar
Preceded by
Award created
Hockey East Three-Stars Award
2000–01
Succeeded by
Colin Hemingway
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Saku Koivu
Montreal Canadiens captain
20102014
Succeeded by
Max Pacioretty
Preceded by
Steve Ott
Buffalo Sabres captain
20142017
Succeeded by
Jack Eichel