Mike McPhee

Left-winger Mike McPhee was one of the most unsung Habs during the 1980s.

Need proof? Three times in a span of four seasons, Mike McPhee was awarded the team's Jacques Beauchamp Trophy as the Canadiens unsung hero. The award, selected by Montreal media since its inception in 1982, has also been handed out to the likes Doug Jarvis, Craig Ludwig and Mike Keane.

McPhee was a solid player all around. The two way workhorse complimented his extraordinary strength with exceptional balance on his skates. For over 700 games, mostly spent in Montreal, he was a dominating force in the corners and along the boards. He was a punishing and relentless hitter who understood his job.

The quintessential third liner, McPhee was a powerful though not particularly agile skater. Though he scored 20 or more goals on 4 occassions, McPhee lacked the puck handling skills to ever become a great player. His tenacity along the walls combined with a great ability to read a developing play often resulted in McPhee breaking up the play and gaining control of the puck. But his hard hands prevented him from doing a lot with the newly found puck, other than bang away at loose pucks close to the net.

Regardless of his puck skills, McPhee was one of the most sought after players in his day. His work ethic was second to none, his defensive positioning excellent and his imposing physical game was intimidating. A favorite of coaches Jean Perron and Pat Burns, the Habs were smart enough to hang on to McPhee as long as possible. With him they won a Stanley Cup in 1986, and made a finals appearance in 1989.

An aging McPhee was finally moved in 1992-93. The team he moved to was very familiar with him. The Minnesota/Dallas Stars, led by Bob Gainey, were looking to acquire as many of the old Habs as possible. Joined by the likes of Russ Courtnall, Craig Ludwig, Brent Gilchrist, and Mike Lalor, their stature helped develop the franchise into a Stanley Cup contender.

McPhee would not last long, however, as doctors suggested he give up hockey after suffering a troublesome knee injury

This proud Nova Scotian should also be recognized as a very intelligent player as well, both on and off the ice. He earned a bachelor of science and civil engineering at RPI before playing in the NHL, and a MBA from the University of Dallas after his retirement.


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