NHL One-Year Wonders: Pacific Division
Many of the NHL’s greatest players were winners of the league’s awards honoring performance at a specific position (goaltender, defenseman, defensive forwards) or achievements such as most valuable player. Previous winners of these awards include well-known active players as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin as well as Hall of Famers like Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr.
Not every player who wins one of the league’s individual awards is a superstar. For some of them, capturing one of those honors proved to be the highlight of their career. Here’s a look at what several of those players are doing today.
Claude Lemieux. An agitating forward who played on Stanley Cup winners with the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche, Lemieux won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1995 as playoff MVP with the Devils. He is now an NHL player agent with 4Sports & Entertainment and lives in Huntington Beach, CA. He became a naturalized American citizen in 2009.
Bill Ranford. An NHL goaltender for 15 seasons with the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings, Ranford won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1990 backstopping the Oilers to their last Stanley Cup title. For the past 12 years he’s been the goaltending coach for the Los Angeles Kings.
Jose Theodore. Winner of the Hart and Vezina Trophies in 2002 for backstopping an underdog Montreal Canadiens squad into the playoffs, Theodore spent nearly 17 NHL seasons with the Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Minnesota Wild and Florida Panthers. He also won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 2010. Since retiring in 2013, the former goaltender has appeared as an analyst with TVA Sports and writes a regular column for Le Journal de Montreal.
Jim Carey. “The Net Detective” made a promising NHL debut with the Washington Capitals in 1994-95 and was named to the All-Rookie Team. In Carey’s sophomore season, he took home the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender. Soon afterward, injuries and a fading interest in the game would derail his career. After brief stints with the Bruins and St. Louis Blues, he was out of hockey by 1999. Carey is now CEO and president of a medical billing company with offices in Sarasota and Boston.
Jonathan Cheechoo. Tallying 56 goals in 2005-06 with the San Jose Sharks, Cheechoo won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goalscorer. That season proved to be his career peak as injuries subsequently took its toll on his performance. After six seasons with the Sharks, he played his last NHL campaign with the Ottawa Senators in 2009-10. Cheechoo spent nearly four seasons in the AHL followed by four campaigns in the KHL, announcing his retirement in March 2018. He has expressed interest in working with the Sharks organization.
Rick Meagher. An undrafted center out of Boston University, Meagher spent his first six NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Hartford Whalers and New Jersey Devils in the early 1980s. He went on to play six seasons with the St. Louis Blues, winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 1990 as the top defensive forward. The following season, however, injuries forced his retirement.A long-time scout with the Blues, Meagher resides in Belleville, Ontario.
Game recaps, injury updates and Jonathan Cheechoo retires in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: A five-point performance by Brad Marchand powered the Boston Bruins to 6-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Marchand tallied a hat trick, including the game winner in overtime. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug had four points, including two goals, as did Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha. Earlier in the day, the Bruins learned defenseman Charlie McAvoy will be sidelined at least four weeks with a sprained left knee.
Taylor Hall extended his points streak to 26 games with two assists as the New Jersey Devils downed the Montreal Canadiens 6-4. Travis Zajac scored twice for the Devils, while Jacob de la Rose had two goals for the Canadiens.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Steve Mason turned in a 31-save shutout in his first game since Jan. 9 as the Winnipeg Jets blanked the New York Rangers 3-0. Winger Patrik Laine had the natural hat trick, but center Mark Scheifele left the game in the second period with a possible collarbone injury.
The Vegas Golden Knights suffered their fourth defeat in five games, falling 4-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Golden Knights also lost winger Reilly Smith to a possible upper-body injury. Artemi Panarin scored a goal and set up two others for the Jackets (73 points), who hold a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Updates on Scheifele and Smith could come later today.
Brayden Point’s overtime goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers. Nick Bjugstad had a hat trick for the Panthers, while the Lightning’s Yanni Gourde tallied twice.
The Nashville Predators set a franchise record with their ninth consecutive victory as they blanked the Dallas Stars 2-0. Pekka Rinne made 26 saves for the shutout while Ryan Hartman and Nick Bonino scored the only goals.
Four goals within 3:28 in the second period gave the Minnesota Wild a 6-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. The flurry set a franchise record for the fastest four goals.
Jonathan Toews scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Colorado Avalanche 2-1. The Avalanche collected a point to remain tied with the Los Angeles Kings (77 points) in the Western Conference wild-card race. The Kings hold the edge with one additional victory. Earlier in the day, the Blackhawks announced the signing of defenseman Erik Gustafsson to a two-year, $2.4-million contract extension.
Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson had a 36-save shutout effort in a 4-0 win over the Washington Capitals. Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique each had a goal and an assist.
VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks rookie star Brock Boeser will miss the remainder of the regular season with a small fracture to his lower back. He’s expected to make a full recovery but it will take four-to-six weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thankfully the injury wasn’t more serious. Boeser is a shoo-in as a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. He has a bright future ahead of him.
THE ATHLETIC: Don’t expect the St. Louis Blues to buy out the final season of defenseman Jay Bouwmeester’s contract. The blueliner will soon undergo season-ending hip surgery, sidelining him for up to six months. The buyout period is June 15-30.
TORONTO STAR: NHL general managers are expected to discuss the league’s goaltender interference rule during their meetings later this month in Florida. Inconsistency over how the rule is interpreted and enforced has generated growing complaints among the players and coaches.
NBC SPORTS: Former San Jose Sharks winger Jonathan Cheechoo has announced his retirement as a professional player after 17 seasons in the NHL, AHL and KHL. Cheechoo’s best season came in 2005-06, becoming the first (and only) Sharks player to tally 50 goals (56) and winning the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer. In 501 NHL games (440 with the Sharks), he had 170 goals and 305 points, along with 16 goals and 35 points in 59 playoff contests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheechoo had four straight seasons with 23-or-more goals between 2003-04 and 2007-08, but he was never the same following double sports-hernia surgery. Best wishes to Cheechoo in his future endeavors.
Trade candidates, analysis of Sidney Crosby’s play, why Pekka Rinne should win the Vezina and much more in today’s collection of hockey-blogging goodness. (more…)