In this week’s Getting To Know, defenseman Rod Buskas recalls meeting Bobby Orr, scoring his first goal and one of the most memorable games he participated in, which came while he was in the AHL. Buskas also explains his current, high-flying duties.
Status: NHL defenseman from 1982-1993 for Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Chicago.
HT: 6-1 WT: 206 pounds
DOB: Jan 7, 1961 In: Wetaskiwin, Alberta
First Hockey Memory: “Skating on the farm in Alberta, my dad (Sieg) made us an outdoor rink. Skating and playing with my brother (Wayne) and friends.”
Hockey Inspirations: “I guess I was always just inspired to go to the next level. Took it a step at a time. The goal was to eventually get to the NHL. It was a process, a long process, playing junior, getting drafted, then finally playing in the NHL.”
Last Book Read: “Was Clint Malarchuk’s book. I played with him in Las Vegas. It was very interesting. Pretty impressive.”
Greatest Sports Moment: “Going to the Stanley Cup finals in ’92 with the Chicago Blackhawks. And the worst was losing the Stanley Cup finals (to Pittsburgh). Just getting to the finals was a great experience.”
Most Painful Moment: “Losing the Stanley Cup finals. You get so close, it’s right there…”
Favorite Uniforms: “I was fortunate, I played for some good teams. I’ve got a soft spot for Pittsburgh, Chicago, Los Angeles. All those uniforms are outstanding.”
Favorite Rink To Play: “Oh boy…I would say Montreal Forum, Maple Leaf Gardens was always exciting to go to. Chicago Stadium. The old Original Six were always exciting.”
Funniest Players Encountered: “There’s quite a cast of characters. Dave Hannan, he was a character. Paul Coffey had a sly way of carving guys [laughs]. I sat next to him so I heard a lot. Clint Malarchuk was quite a character.”
Closest Hockey Friends: “Guys I stay in touch with now – Murray Craven. Jeff Sharples – he lives in Las Vegas. I stay in touch with Dave Hannan. Paul Coffey and I touch base once in a while. You see guys after a year or two and it’s like nothing changes. Doug Houda. Warren Young is another guy I keep in touch with. Ken Holland and I go way back, we keep in touch. Good guy and one of the best GMs in the league.”
Fiercest Competitors Encountered: “Dave Brown of the Flyers stands out, as far as tough guys. Competitors – so many guys…Gerard Gallant, he was fierce. You could do anything to him and he’d keep coming back. He was a 40-goal scorer and he was also a grinder, tough as nails.”
Most Memorable Goal: “I didn’t score a lot. It would be my first one against Edmonton, at home (with Pittsburgh). Always remember the first one. I think it was against Andy Moog. From the blueline, just inside the post.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “Go back to my first year, Pat Price was a real character. A bunch of the young guys were over his house for Christmas dinner. He ran out of firewood and later in the evening he went upstairs and was chopping up his bed for wood. Definitely played with some characters [smiles].”
First Famous Hockey Player You Met Or Encountered: “I don’t know the first, the biggest most famous was Bobby Orr. He came to lunch with us, he was friends with EJ (Eddie Johnston, Penguins former GM). Got to sit with him for lunch.”
Strangest Game: “One of the wackiest was in my first year in the minors, with Erie in the American Hockey League. We were in our own building and our defenseman Bennett Wolfe went into the stands to after a fan. He was on the ice playing, climbed the glass and went after a fan who was heckling him. And it was at our home building.”
Nicknames: “Buck – in junior in Red Deer way back when. Bussy – a couple of guys called me Bussy.”
Residence and Current Occupation: “Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A-330 captain, 300 passengers seats Honolulu to worldwide. That’s what I do now. I live in Henderson, NV and have a place in Honolulu.”
Personality Qualities Most Admired: “Honest. Good morals. Hard workers. And people that put the team in front of ‘I.’ I’d like to be remembered as a team player. I guess that’s the kind of qualities that are important.”
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