Sunday, October 21, 2007

Brian Leetch — Brad Park

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Brian Leetch - Brad ParkOpening night was filled with many surprises and many standing ovations, however the biggest surprise and loudest ovation went to Brian Leetch showing up to drop the first puck. Everyone knew that he would enjoy a special night on January 24th when his number two will be retired. But there is another great #2 who also should have his numbers raised to the rafters and that is the equally great #2, Brad Park.

Leetch played 18 years, seventeen with the Rangers and then was traded to the Maple Leafs for a string of players, none of note. Brad Park played 17 years, eight with the Rangers and with Jean Ratelle was traded to the Boston Bruins for Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais. Leetch was Captain of the Rangers from 1997-200. Park was Captain of the Rangers from 1974-11/75. Brian Leetch was twice selected to the All-Star team, 1991-92, 1996-97. Park was picked three times starting in 1969-70, 1971-72 and 1973-74. In fact Brad Park was considered the second best defenseman in the NHL with the first being the immortal Bobby Orr.

Brian Leetch played 1139 games for the Rangers, with a 240-741-981 offensive total. That is an average of 57.71 points/year. Brad Park played 465 games for the Rangers with a 95-283-378 offensive total that averages out to 47.25 points/year. Considering that Leetch averaged nine games more a year that Park the averages are awfully close. Their best years were also remarkedly close. In 1991-92, Leetch played 80 games and was 22-80-102. In 1973-74 Park played in 78 games and was 25-57-82.

Leetch won the Stanley Cup with the Rangers, Park never did. Leetch was also the winner of the James Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL, in1991-92 and in 1996-97. Brad Park won the Bill Masterton Trophy with the Detroit Red Wings in 1984-85. This trophy is awarded for perserverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Only four Rangers have ever won this award the last one being Adam Graves in 2000-01.

Defensively I would give the edge to Brad Park. He was just as smooth on defense as he was on offense with an edge over Leetch. He took the body more often and more effectively. Leetch was a good skater who could burst into the offensive zone as good as anyone and was a great offensive threat. Park was a great skater who often seemed to be gliding.

So there you are. Offensively, the edge to Leetch with Park a step behind. On defense, the edge to Park, with Leetch a stride behind. My pick is Brad Park. But the point here is that while #2 Leetch is raised to the rafters so should #2 Brad Park. What do you think?
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20 comments:

  • Barbara said...
     

    Nice to run across a Rangers blog whereby the blogger remembers players who were on the ice before 1980. I saw my first game in 1969, but I attended my first game in 1956...prenatally!

  • mike said...
     

    barbara-Heck, I remember them before 1940.You must have seen another one of my favorite players, Orland Kurtenbach who was quite handy with his fists. Welcome aboard.

  • donny e. brook said...
     

    I'll see your "Orland Kurtenbach" and raise you one Bill "Goldie" Goldthorpe.

    Don't know he played in the Garden, but he was one of the most infamous hockey players of the 70's - early '80's.

  • Barbara said...
     

    Of course I remember Orland Kurtenbach, Mike! Number 25, I think. Somewhere in the archives (that is, my incredibly messy desk), there is probably a picture I took of him after practice at Skateland.
    Speaking of practice, Brad Park bought me the occasional hot chocolate at Skateland.

  • mike said...
     

    donney e. brook-If he played the Garden it must have been the Friday Night fights. But I'll see your Bill 'Goldie' Goldthorpe" and raise you one Nick Fotiu.

  • mike said...
     

    barbara-I've seen Brad at The Club bar at the Garden and he has upgraded.

  • Anonymous said...
     

    um...a litle confused, you say leetch made the all star team twice? It was actually 10 times.

  • Barbara said...
     

    Mike--Five or so years later, so did I! And Brad bought me the occasional beer,too, back in the Long Beach days.

  • mike said...
     

    anonymous-You are not confused what I meant to say was first team selections. Surprised I haven't been hit before on this. Nice job.

  • mike said...
     

    barbara-It must be me. I have met a lot of players but they never bought me a drink. I met Gump Worsley in a bar in Minneapolis and I bought and bought. Maybe its my mouthwash.

  • Barbara said...
     

    Mike, unless Mike stands for Michelle, we both know the reason!;-)

  • mike said...
     

    barbera-Now you tell me.

  • Barbara said...
     

    At least you know for sure that it's not the mouthwash!
    Might I add that this team is making me suicidal...again.

  • Donny E. Brook said...
     

    Good one Mike, Nicholas Evlampios Fotiu, from Staten Island is a winner, had to look him up.

  • Barbara said...
     

    You had to look him up, Donny? How old are you? (No offense meant;just like the Rangers at the moment!)

  • mike said...
     

    donny & Barbara-This looks like the begining of a beautiful friendship.

  • Barbara said...
     

    More than pleased to be here.

  • Donny E. Brook said...
     

    Barbara,

    Just out'a my diapers and wondering if I should put them back on when I watch a Rangers game now.

  • mike said...
     

    donny & Barbara-When are you two going to announce the engagement?

  • Barbara said...
     

    I'm no cradle robber!

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