Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bob Rouse

March 7th, 1989. One of the bigger trades in NHL history sees the Washington Capitals trade Mike Gartner and Larry Murphy to the Minnesota North Stars in exchange for Dino Ciccarelli and Bob Rouse.

What a trade! In essence it broke down as Gartner for Ciccarelli, the two goal scoring faces of each organization now swapping teams. Both were destined for the Hockey Hall of Fame, as was the defenseman Larry Murphy. But Bob Rouse? Who was he?

Well, make no mistake, Bob Rouse was not a Hall of Fame defender like Larry Murphy. In fact, he was not like Murphy in most respects. He had little offensive upside, with not much of a finesse game to speak of. He was a rock solid physical defender. He kept the front of his net neat and tidy, using his size and strength to his advantage. He lasted a long time in the NHL (well over 1,000 NHL games) as a very tough and honest defenseman.

Rouse, who was often paired with Craig Hartsburg in Minnesota, was perhaps best described as the prototypical stay at home defender in the modern game. He wasn't a great skate, but he excelled when playing within his limitations. He handled the puck nicely and had enough vision to calmly make a strong play to get the puck out of his zone. But he never made much of an offensive contribution.

Rouse would play 3 seasons in Washington before joining the Toronto Maple Leafs (with Peter Zezel) for another dynamic offensive defenseman in Al Iafrate. Rouse would play a nice role with a strong Leafs team, though he may be best remembered for a nasty stick fight with Detroit's Bob Probert.

Rouse joined the Red Wings in 1995 and was part of the Wings back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1997 and 1998. He later finished his career in San Jose.

All told, Bob Rouse played in 1061 NHL games, scoring 37 goals and 181 assists for 218 points. He added  1559 penalty minutes, and administered probably just as many bruises.

In the playoffs Rouse added 7 goals, 28 points, and 198 PIMs in 136 Stanley Cup contests.


Peter Sawatsky said...

Bob played street hockey with us in the late 60s, early 70s. A Surrey, BC icon!

Stewart Wilson said...

Bob lived with my family during his short stint with the Billings Bighorns of the WHL. He was an outstanding guy that taught me, personally, on how to be a tough hockey player, and how to grow up to be a young man!!! Would love to know how to contact him!!

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