Dino Ciccarelli finishing up with Florida.
If the National Hockey League gave out an award for the most hardworking,team-oriented, most-feared, bad-ass on the ice, it would take the shape of and be named after one Dino Ciccarelli.
Dino, after 19 years in the NHL, has decided to hang up his skates beforethe start of the 1999-2000 season due to chronic back problems that have plagued the superstar for the last two years. As a member of the Florida Panthers, Dino only played 14 games last season and realized that the pain was too intense to continue on playing. Despite his relatively small frame for present-day hockey standards (5' 11", 185 lbs), he lit the lamp 608 times - good for eighth all-time.
His long career got started when this 19 year-old from Sarnia, Ontario Canada played in the Amateur Club in 1979 as a member of the London Knights. Although he was not selected by anyone in the subsequent NHL draft, Dino signedas afree-agent with the Minnesota North Stars. While playingright-wing, Dino was among the NHL's most feared snipers and was very durable,suiting up a league high 80 times in the 1986-87 and 1989-1990 seasons. Eventually, he became the leading goal scorer in the history of the Minnesota North Stars.
Scoring goals was never enough to him; he loved to scrap. Playing with a chip on his shoulder is something he learned on his own. It was a good way to create fear in and to psyche out his opponents. If he wasn’t going to beat you on the scoreboard, he would beat you with his fists - just ask Luke Richardson when he pounded him into a bloody mess in 1988 when the North Stars were in town playing the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, Richardson got the last laugh when he pressed charges on Dino and made him sit in a local jail overnight until bail was posted. He never felt as low as he did right then during his entire career.
On March 7th 1989, Dino's travels around the NHL began when he was traded to Washington in a 2 for 1 trade that sent Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy to Minnesota. Upon arrival, Dino continued on his scoring ways by pumping home 12 goals in 11 games. With Washington, he scored career goal 400 on February 5,1991 with a 5 - 3 win over Vancouver. From there, Dino made his way to Detroit where he almost tasted the sweet nectar of Lord Stanley in the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals but was denied by being swept by the New Jersey Devils. According to him, making the finals was clearly the highlight of hiscareer.
After Detroit came Florida where he gracefully ended it all.
In addition to owning the right side of the hockey ring when he was on the ice, the goalie crease was where Dino also made his home. Game after game,night after night, Dino stood in front of opposing goalies hoping to create ascreen for an incoming slapshot or to jam home a fat, juicy rebound. He did all the dirty work inside and did not seem to care as long as the team won. With this inside position comes the extra pounding that the body takes that eventually takes a definite toll over time.
Goalies around the league were getting fed up with Dino's antics in their crease and so, to show their appreciation, they began to slash, poke, and cross-check him repeatedly and viciously. Howeever,this did not bother Dino because he enjoyed this style of physical play and in some cases, goalies received penalties for their excessive hitting. Being a pest by getting under your skin is what Dino knew best.
Dino's style of play revolutionized hockey. He was a fast sniper who couldput a puck through a wall. He was very tenacious on both the defensive and offensive ends of the ice. This type of player was new to the hockey world back in the early and mid 80's. No one had ever seen this perfect mix of "sweet and nasty" that Dino possessed.
Dino Cicarelli was never one to care what his line looked like in the morning paper as long as the team won and made the playoffs. His two-way style of play has paved the way for others on how the game of hockey should be played. Dino will always be remembered as a furious competitor who you loved if he was on your team and deeply hated if he wasn't. Dino, we salute you.