Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jack Lynch

When people remember the 1970s Washington Capitals, people unfailingly bring up the disastrous 1974-75 expansion season.

That season the Capitals posted a horrendous 8-67-5 record with just 21 points in the standings. The team only scored 181 goals while surrendering a record 446 goals against.

Amidst that disastrous season, defenseman Bill Mikkelson posted a record that no NHL player wants - the worst plus/minus in NHL history. Somehow, Mikkelson found himself ranked at -82 in just 59 games played.

Everyone likes to bring up the story of Mikkelson's frigid -82 rating, but it was not like he did not have some company with poor plus/minus ratings. Most members of that Capitals teams finished the season in the -30 to -40 range. A few others hit -50 and -60.

While Mikkelson's -82 is amazing, so too was Jack Lynch's performance that year.

Lynch played most of the year in Detroit, a team only Washington could consider strong. Lynch was brought into Washington in a late season trade in order to help shore up the weary Washington blue line.

Lynch arrived with 20 games left, and somehow post a -54! That is every bit as amazing Mikkelson's record of inferiority.

The difference between Lynch and Mikkelson was Lynch lasted long enough to see the turn around in Washington. While Mikkelson was gone the next year, Lynch stuck around for four more seasons. He even post a +2 rating in his final season, 1978-79.

Lynch, who was known to do the "Stork Shuffle" on those rare occasions he scored a goal, was from Oshawa, Ontario. His final two seasons in the NHL were severely truncated due to a horrible knee injury he suffered after a collision with Vancouver's Hilliard Graves. He would retire and turn to broadcasting.

1 comment:

NoTalentHack said...

As you suggested in your post about Bill Mikkelson, plus/minus ratings are subject to who you're pitted against, as well as how much ice time you get. As I recall, Jack Lynch was such an upgrade for the '74-'75 Caps that he quickly became the top defenseman on the club, often paired with Yvon Labre. As I recall, he got injured late in the year, prompting coach Milt Schmidt to say something to the effect of how he finally had gotten a defenseman who would block shots, only to see him get hurt doing it.

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