Sunday, March 20, 2011

Danny Geoffrion

Hockey has always been a family game, with a number of great father/sons and brother combinations in National Hockey League history - Henri Richard, Brett Hull, Mark Howe and Doug Bentley are all examples of NHL superstars who had even bigger named family members play in the league.

But bloodlines do not mean you are going to be a good NHLer. In fact, often the name association can prove to put too many unrealistic expectations on a young player - like Keith or Brent Gretzky, Vic Howe, or Alain Lemieux. Another good example would be Danny Geoffrion, the 8th overall selection of the Montreal Canadiens in the 1978 Amateur draft.

If there was ever a player who should be great based solely on his bloodlines, it would have to be Danny. He was of course the son of the legendary Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion. And that made his grandfather the great Howie Morenz, as Boom Boom married the daughter of the first NHL superstar.

Needless to say the pressure of playing in Montreal is bad enough, but for a rookie with connection to two of the greatest players in franchise history, it proved to be too much. Though he was a goal scorer in junior, he failed to score a goal in 32 games in 1979-80. He picked up 6 assists as he battled confidence and pressure problems.

Prior to the 1980-81 season the Habs waived their rights for Geoffrion, who was then picked up by the Quebec Nordiques. Geoffrion previously spent 1 year with the Nordiques back in their WHA days, but was unnoticeable with 12 goals in 77 games. The Nords however traded him two days later to Winnipeg.

The Jets were an awful team in 1980-81, perhaps the worst of all time. But Geoffrion at least got a chance to play and redeem himself. He did okay, scoring 20 goals and 46 points in 78 games. But as the Jets acquired better players over the coming years, Geoffrion was soon dispatched to the minors, only playing 1 more NHL game after 1980-81.


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