Status: NHL defenseman for the New Jersey Devils from 1983-2003. Won three Stanley Cups and had his No. 3 retired on March 24, 2006. Currently does TV commentary between periods of Devils game for MSG Plus.
Ht: 6-foot Wt: 195 pounds
DOB: April 17, 1964 In: Windsor, Ont.
Hockey Inspirations: “It was in my blood. As a kid, I said it 50 times a day – no exaggeration – that I’m going to play in the National Hockey League. My mom says I said it from the time I was seven to the time I was drafted. In fact, it’s kind of funny, one time a teacher called home and told my mom that some of the other kids were complaining because I was bothering them, always telling them I’m going to play in the NHL.”
First Hockey Memory: “It’s all I ever wanted to do since I was four years old.”
Favorite Movies: “Rocky, Hoosiers, I had both of them. Used to watch them to get pumped up for games. I like the funny ones, too; Anchorman. I like that kind of slapstick.”
Last Book Read: “Purpose Driven Life (by Rick Warren).”
Musical Tastes: “It’s changed dramatically over the years. I like from U2 to Lady Gaga to Train. Alicia Keys, too. I went to a Train concert recently in Red Bank.”
Favorite Meal: “Anything seafood; shrimp, crab legs. I love shrimp.”
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “I’ve been cutting back on my ice cream. Probably some kind of vanilla caramel swirl.”
Greatest Sports Moment: “The obvious is winning the first Stanley Cup. But also right up there is being drafted in 1982, which was the opportunity to fulfill the dream. When I got the call early in the morning – I was selected a lot earlier than I expected (18th overall). I thought I was going to be picked in the second or third round. I remember I didn’t know where New Jersey was at the time.”
Most Painful Moment: “Probably after we won the Cup in ’95, we didn’t make the playoffs the next year. We lost to Ottawa, which wasn’t a very strong team then, in the last game of the season. Game 7 against the Rangers was a great game. It was a great series, but one team had to lose. But it was more painful when we missed the playoffs the next year after winning the Stanley Cup.”
Favorite Uniforms: “The Chicago Blackhawks is a classic jersey, I loved it. I loved Bobby Hull as a kid.”
Favorite Arena: “Chicago Stadium.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “When I was young, Tim Hunter and Perry Anderson had a fight and they were going at it in the penalty box. And you could hear what they were saying back and forth – ‘Big nose.’ ‘Is that your head talking or is your neck blowing bubbles?’ – That’s when I learned about some of the smack talk in New Jersey.”
Closest Hockey Friends: “Mark Messier. I grew up with him. Even though he was four years older than me, when I was 12 I used to go over to his house. He was very influential on my career. Still, to this day, he’s a dear friend. (Martin) Brodeur. Scotty Gomez. Even though I’m much older, we have the same mentality. I can go way back – Dave Maley. It’s tough to pick a few when you play with so many guys. I don’t want to offend anyone, but those are the few that stick out first.”
Funniest Players Encountered: “A lot. Jim McKenzie is one. He has a very dry sense of humor. Grant Marshall is quite a character. He has a lot of one-liners.”
Toughest Competitors: “So many of them. Obviously, Mark Messier. When he came to New York, even though he was a friend, we couldn’t talk and joke around because of the rivalry; he was on the other side. Scott Stevens. There was no fiercer than him. I played with him and against him when he was in Washington. He wanted to win more than anybody.”
Strangest Game: “The game that didn’t start ‘til after 9 against the Calgary Flames. There was a huge snowstorm. A number of our players lived in Morris County – Joe Cirella, Kirk Muller, Johnny MacLean, Pat Verbeek and myself – and we all got in one pick-up truck and drove to the game. Huge blizzard. Only 387 fans were able to make it to the game. That was the most peculiar. Imagine playing an NHL game in front of 387 people. We won 7-5.”
Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “Baseball. By a mile. 1 and 1a. I love baseball. When I was 15 I went to Montana for a Cincinnati Reds camp. I was a pitcher, pretty good from where I was from. When I got there I learned it was going to be a long process. There were so many talented kids.”
Most Memorable Goal: I only have a few to select from (36 career regular-season and five playoff goals). The Stanley Cup final vs. Dallas in Game 1 – my only goal in the Stanley Cup final. And in 1988, I scored the first goal in Chicago Stadium. We had to win that game on the last night of the season to make the playoffs (for the first time in franchise history).”
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “I’m sure I put the puck in my net at least once. That’s a hard question. I’d have to think about that. Some of my teammates would know better, you’ll have to ask them (laughs).”
Favorite Players To Watch: “I look no further than two guys in New Jersey – (Ilya) Kovalchuk and (Zach) Parise, since I see them day in and day out. Both are worth the price of admission. Their skills, drive and determination are enjoyable to watch. Along with working for MSG, they make me want to come to watch. Around the league, of course, (Alex) Ovechkin and (Sidney) Crosby. (Pierre-Luc) Leblond, too. Because I love the fighting (laughs)!”
Personality Qualities Most Admired: “Humility. That’s my main one. Real people. Humble. Obviously, genuine. Integrity.”
Click HERE to read more “Getting To Know” features.
For more great analysis, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.