Don Marshall

Don Marshall was a very good player who was cast into the utility player role on perhaps the greatest team ever.

Though he had the skills to be a front line player, Marshall never once complained about taking a checking role on the great Montreal Canadiens teams of the 1950s that won 5 consecutive Stanley Cups. A swift skater who would never allow himself to be outworked, Marshall was extremely consistent. He was also a very clean player, accumulating only 127 penalty minutes in just shy of 1200 games! His highest single season PIM total was just 14 minutes. Yet somehow he was never recognized as a Lady Byng trophy winner.

Marshall started his career in the Montreal organization as the captain of Montreal Junior Canadiens of the QJHL. Graduating from the junior ranks in 1952, it wasn't until 1955-56 that Marshall played his first full season in the NHL. It was great timing on Marshall's behalf too, as it marked the first of five consecutive years that the Habs would win the Stanley Cup. Marshall quietly worked on the third and fourth line as a defensive checker and penalty killer. His thankless work was a big part of the Habs success.

His hard work did not go unnoticed around the rest of the league. Throughout their championship reign Marshall's name came up often in trade talks. It wasn't until 1963 that the Habs traded Marshall in a blockbuster deal with the New York Rangers. Marshall, Phil Goyette and Jacques Plante were sent to the Big Apple in exchange for Dave Balon, Leon Rochefort, Len Ronson and Gump Worsley.

Marshall continued to be a top penalty killer in New York but also received more ice time and therefore a more offensive role. Four times in 5 seasons with the Blue-shirts Marshall scored more than 20 goals, including a career high 26 in 1965-66. In 1966-67 he scored 24 goals and 46 points and was named to the NHL Second All Star team.

Following an injury filled 1969-70 season the Rangers exposed Marshall in the expansion draft where the Buffalo Sabres eagerly snapped up the veteran. He scored 20 goals and 49 points for the Sabres. However Toronto claimed Marshall from Buffalo in 1971-72 and Marshall struggled in what proved to be his final NHL season. He scored just twice in 50 games.

Marshall played in 1176 games, scoring 265 goals and 324 assists for 589 points. He won 5 Stanley Cups and played in 7 NHL All Star games. A lot of adjectives describe Donny Marshall as a player - tireless, consistent, clean, hard-working - but one word describes him best - winner.

After retiring, Marshall returned to Montreal and worked full time for a local firm that dealt with mechanical power transmissions. Marshall had worked this same job during the summers as an active player. Marshall also became a regular commentator on Hockey Night In Canada.


Anonymous,  12:59 PM  

I was In Verdun High School during Marshall's days there. I even remember playing with him in the back alley when we were young. His first year I played some organized hockey he played goal for us because we couldn't get anyone else. In high school I played on a senior "B" team, he played for the junior team. We practiced against his team that year and he skated rings around us. Ray Girouard.

Kevin Roach,  3:28 AM  

My Grandfather was friends with Don up until my grandfather died. I'm told my granfather played as practice goalie for the canadiens but i'm unclear as to whether or not it was for the Jr. or Nhl club. My Grandfather was Valmore J. Chartier. Anyone know any details on this? years etc?

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