Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Martin Krantz on 08/19/11 at 03:02 PM ET
I’m currently on a visit to my mother-in-law over the weekend. I brought the regular necessities - clothes, hygien articles, garlic, stake. I was playing with my daughter as my Iphone’s rss-feed reached me with news that aged me slightly - Chris Drury has retired.
I hold Drury in high esteem as a consummate professional. He excelled at sports from a young age, showing talent in both baseball and hockey. Drafted by the Nordiques in the 3rd round he took the college route to the NHL, becoming the first player to win both the Hobey Baker Award and the Calder Trophy.
With the Avalanche, Chris Drury became a fan favourite, especially because of his ability to perform in the playoffs, earning him a reputation as a clutch performer. Well-earned, as he scored 11 game-winning goals in 4 straight playoff appearances with the Avs. Joe Sakic commented that if you were in overtime and wanted a goal, you’d want Drury on the ice.
One of GM Pierre Lacroix’ biggest mistakes came when he decided to trade Stephane Yelle and Chris Drury to Calgary in exchange for Derek Morris, Dean McAmmond and Jeff Shantz. It was a big step in the wrong direction for the Avs, and another big reason to not trade with your rivals, as all three players the Avs received failed to impress. To be fair, Morris put up a strong first season with the Avs before the team eventually lost confidence in him and moved him to Phoenix in another horrible trade.
Drury, meanwhile, was soon moved to the Buffalo Sabres, where he went on to become the team’s captain. His play earned him a spot with the Rangers to go along with one of the most lopsided contracts handed out after the lockout season.
However, though he was often ridiculed for not being able to live up to his contract, I feel the ridicule was more directed at the Rangers and GM Glen Sather. And rightly so. During his stints with Colorado, Calgary, Buffalo and New York, I don’t think I ever came across a fan who didn’t respect Drury for his ability to come through when it mattered the most (as lately as 2010, he helped the US team beat Canada in a 5-3 win). He will be remembered for his leadership, work ethic and integrity.
Basically, everything Matt Bradley would like to see more of from Alexander Semin. =
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