Denis Potvin

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Denis Potvin
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1991
Denis Potvin.jpg
Potvin skating with the New York Islanders
Born(1953-10-29) October 29, 1953 (age 60)
Hull, QC, CAN
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
PositionDefense
ShotLeft
Played forNew York Islanders (NHL)
National team Canada
NHL Draft1st overall, 1973
New York Islanders
Playing career1973–1988
 
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Denis Potvin
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1991
Denis Potvin.jpg
Potvin skating with the New York Islanders
Born(1953-10-29) October 29, 1953 (age 60)
Hull, QC, CAN
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
PositionDefense
ShotLeft
Played forNew York Islanders (NHL)
National team Canada
NHL Draft1st overall, 1973
New York Islanders
Playing career1973–1988

Denis Charles Potvin (born October 29, 1953) is a retired professional ice hockey defenseman and team captain for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League. He was a four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Islanders in the early 1980s and was also a three-time James Norris Memorial Trophy winner as the NHL's top defenseman. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991, and currently serves as a commentator for Ottawa Senators' television broadcasts on Sportsnet.

Biography[edit]

Playing career[edit]

After a stellar junior hockey career with the Ottawa 67s, Potvin was drafted first overall in the 1973 National Hockey League Amateur Draft by the struggling expansion Islanders, a team which had recorded the worst record in modern National Hockey League (NHL) history the previous season. Right after Bill Torrey drafted Potvin, Montreal Canadiens General Manager Sam Pollock approached Torrey, hoping to trade for Potvin. Pollock's strategy was to offer a "quick-fix" package of mature players to exchange for the top draft pick. Torrey ultimately turned down the offer since he felt that Potvin would be a long-term asset to his team

Upon joining the Islanders, Potvin wanted to wear number 7 on his uniform but was forced to take number 5, as forward Germain Gagnon was wearing number 7.[1] Potvin entered the NHL with high expectations; he was regarded by some as the savior of the Islanders' franchise, and by others as potentially the next Bobby Orr. While he did not dominate the game in the same way as Orr, Potvin became an immediate star, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1973–74 and the James Norris Memorial Trophy as league's top defenseman in 1975–76, 1977–78, and 1978–79. Upon Orr's decline and retirement in the late 1970s, Potvin became widely acknowledged, along with Larry Robinson, as the premier defenseman in the game.

Potvin was known for being intelligent, articulate, and outspoken off the ice. Throughout the 1970s, his Islander teammates often were turned off as these traits made Potvin come across as arrogant.[2] He offended many hockey fans by stating publicly that he had played better in the 1976 Canada Cup than Bobby Orr, and that the latter's selection as tournament MVP was for sentimental reasons.[3] However, as Potvin matured, he became a great leader as he learned to use these same qualities to positively affect his teammates.

His best season offensively was 1979, during which he became the second defenseman (Orr being the first) to score 30 goals and 100 points in a single season. Potvin was awarded his third Norris trophy for the regular season, which the Islanders finished first overall in the NHL. However, despite being heavily favored to win their semi-final series against the New York Rangers, the talented but young Islanders' team ultimately lost in six games.[4] Clark Gillies stepped down as captain during the off-season, and Potvin became the team's third captain, a position he held until relinquishing it in 1987. In 1979–80, Potvin's first year as captain, the Islanders won their first of four Stanley Cups. Potvin was a key part of the Islanders during the team's early 1980s glory years: in addition to the four consecutive Stanley Cup championships and five straight finals appearances, in the eight seasons he served as captain the Islanders never failed to reach the playoffs.

Potvin retired as the National Hockey League's leader in goals and points by a defenseman. His career totals were later surpassed by Paul Coffey and Raymond Bourque, although each did so playing significantly more games (1,409 and 1,612, respectively, to Potvin's 1,060).

Potvin was a more traditional defender than Orr and an extremely physical player. He averaged just under a point per game over his career (0.992), while Orr averaged 1.39 points per game. Late in his career, Potvin suffered a series of injuries that impeded his performance, leading to his retirement following the 1988 season. Potvin received an offer from Mike Keenan to come out of retirement and play for arch-rival New York Rangers in 1993.[5]

Broadcasting[edit]

Potvin was a color commentator for Florida Panthers television broadcasts on FS Florida from the team's inception in 1993 through the 2008–09 NHL season. At various times, he was paired with Jeff Rimer, Dave Strader and Steve Goldstein. On May 6, 2009, the Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the Panthers would not renew his contract in order to save money. He was replaced by former Panthers' player Bill Lindsay.

In September 2010, Potvin was hired as the Ottawa Senators’ television colour analyst, working with Dean Brown on Rogers Sportsnet.[6]

Other[edit]

Potvin's brother, Jean Potvin, was also an NHL defenseman and the brothers were teammates for a number of years with the Islanders. He is a cousin of former NHL player Marc Potvin.

Career statistics[edit]

  Regular season Playoffs
SeasonTeamLeagueGPGAPtsPIMGPGAPtsPIM
1968–69Ottawa 67'sOHA4612253783
1969–70Ottawa 67'sOHA421318319752139
1970–71Ottawa 67'sOHA5720587820011461026
1971–72Ottawa 67'sOHA48154560188
1972–73Ottawa 67'sOHA61358812323296101622
1973–74New York IslandersNHL77173754175
1974–75New York IslandersNHL7921557610517591430
1975–76New York IslandersNHL78316798100135141932
1976–77New York IslandersNHL8025558010312641020
1977–78New York IslandersNHL803064948172246
1978–79New York IslandersNHL733170101581047118
1979–80New York Islanders*NHL318334144216131924
1980–81New York Islanders*NHL74205676104188172516
1981–82New York Islanders*NHL6024376183195162130
1982–83New York Islanders*NHL6912546660208122022
1983–84New York IslandersNHL78226385872015628
1984–85New York IslandersNHL77175168961032510
1985–86New York IslandersNHL742138597830110
1986–87New York IslandersNHL58123042701022421
1987–88New York IslandersNHL7219325111251456
OHA totals254952343298002512172957
NHL totals10603107421052135618556108164253

* = Stanley Cup champion

Career achievements and facts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Ottawa/2012/02/20/19403056.html Melnyk won't break bank to make playoffs
  2. ^ Crowning Glory. Sportschannel. 1992. 
  3. ^ The Hockey News: Top 50 NHL Players of All-Time - The Definitive List. 1997. 
  4. ^ Fischler, Stan; Botta, Chris (1996). Pride and Passion: 25 Years of the New York Islanders. Walsworth Publishing Co. p. 77. ISBN 1-882608-13-5. 
  5. ^ "Ottawa Senators Game Broadcast". Sportsnet East. April 16, 2013. 
  6. ^ "CANOE - SLAM! Sports - Hockey NHL - Ottawa- Potvin joins Sens broadcast team". Slam.canoe.ca. 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Billy Harris
NHL first overall draft pick
1973
Succeeded by
Greg Joly
Preceded by
Billy Harris
New York Islanders first round draft pick
1973
Succeeded by
Clark Gillies
Preceded by
Clark Gillies
New York Islanders captain
197987
Succeeded by
Brent Sutter
Preceded by
Bobby Orr
Winner of the Norris Trophy
1976
Succeeded by
Larry Robinson
Preceded by
Larry Robinson
Winner of the Norris Trophy
1978, 1979
Succeeded by
Larry Robinson
Preceded by
Steve Vickers
Winner of the Calder Trophy
1974
Succeeded by
Eric Vail