Monday, October 6, 2008

Doug Shedden

Doug Shedden will always be best remembered as Mario Lemieux's first right winger of note in the National Hockey League.

Shedden had played in three NHL seasons prior to Mario's arrival in 1984-85, scoring 10, 24 and 22 goals respectively. However with the teenage phenom Lemieux centering him, Shedden exploded to post 35 and 32 goals the following two seasons. He was particularly sharp on the power play, scoring 31 goals in the two seasons with Mario, including 19 in 1985-86.

Doug was an offensive minded player, with a good shot featuring a quick release. However Shedden was a very poor defensive player. Despite scoring 67 points including a career high 35 goals in 1984-85, the most telling statistic from that season was his horrific -51 rating. He was a -38 the previous season, and -20 the year before that. He was a career -110. Granted Shedden played with some pretty weak teams, but he didn't help out enough defensively.

His defensive liabilities was a big part of the reason why the Pens traded Shedden late in 1985-86. Shedden was traded to Detroit in exchange for playboy Ron Duguay.

Shedden's stay in Detroit was short - just 44 games over parts of 2 seasons. He scored just 8 times and was dumped to Quebec. He performed even worse as a Nord, going goalless in 16 games, and eventually being demoted to the minors.

Shedden signed on with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization in 1988, but with the exception of 24 games in the bigs, Doug played exclusively in the minor leagues until his retirement in 1993. A major reason for his lack of ice time with the Leafs was because he was slowed by a serious knee injury in his first game with the Leafs. Despite that, Doug points out that game as one of his career highlites.

"I guess I think first of all is growing up in Barrie, the first time I ever walked out as a Maple Leaf, walking out of that dressing room. It’s something I had watched my whole life. It was a big thrill to put on the Maple Leaf jersey for the first time," said Doug.

Doug also is quick to point out some of the players he played with - Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Peter Stastny - as well as his friends within the game, such as Mike Gartner and Wayne Gretzky.

Doug was once asked to describe himself as a player.

"I think people always said I was a goal scorer and I would agree to that a little bit. But I think I saw the ice fairly well, too. I thought I was a real good passer and playmaker and obviously as an offensive type player. So I guess if I look back as to what I did well, I had a pretty hard shot, I saw the ice well and was a good playmaker. I guess when I look back, I just want people to say, ‘You know what? He was a good guy, he was a good teammate and I had a lot of fun with him and he worked hard.’ I think that’s the biggest thing is if you’re well liked by your peers, especially within the game. That’s the biggest thing I would hope that people say is, ‘He’s a real good guy.’”

He retired with 139 goals, 186 assists and 325 points in 416 regular season NHL games.

An unusual note about Doug is that in a 12 year professional career he never once played in the Post season. He had an outstanding playoff in his last season junior hockey in 1981 with Sault Ste. Marie, but didn't see championship action again until 1992 when he was able to participate in second division playoff in the weak Swiss hockey league.

Shedden entered the coaching ranks after hanging up the skates, coach in the low minor leagues in such cities as Muskegon, Wichita, Louisiana, Flint and Memphis. It appears he will be bouncing around hockey as much as a coach as he did as a player.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

doug its carole from massachusetts. we met in ft. lauderdale and i was just saying hello. i was at work and we were talking hockey. hope u get my hello

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