Leaf of the Day - Sept 25-28, 2008 - Chris Kotsopoulos

Sept. 25-28, 2008 - Chris Kotsopoulos

A few thoughts on last night's game:

McCabe may have left the Leafs in body, but his presence was still felt.  Two pucks in off our own defenders.

Antropov looks like he's trying to do Mats Sundin's old job on the PP rather than his own.  He was trying to make all the plays off the wing rather than getting in front of the goalie and causing havoc.  Nik - get in front of the net and let someone else pretend to be Mats.

Good on Grabovski for going where angels fear to tread, but an NHL d-man would have had him on his can before he makes that goal.  Pretty goal it was, though.

The Leafs have some speed that could do them a lot of good if they can harness it.  On the PK in particular, they were really getting on top of the Penguins and almost pulled a couple of breakaways out of it.

Kaberle picked up the puck at the Pittsburgh blue line, danced around one guy and then rather than turning the corner and driving the net, he headed straight for the corner.  Looked like Mikael Renberg on a breakaway ("Where's the corner?  Gotta cycle, gotta cycle....")  Turned what could have been a great scoring chance into nothing.

Pittsburgh didn't get a single goal that wasn't handed to them on a platter, and I can't fault the goalie on any of them.

And, last but not least, Stralman found his inner Chris Kotsopoulos.

In about 1987, in a play that made every single NHL highlight package and blooper reel, Chris Kotsopoulos was the last man back, carrying the puck out of his own end up the LW boards, when suddenly he just fell over on his backside, handing a clear-cut breakaway to whoever they were playing (Minnesota?  Nothing good ever happened against Minnesota).  Of course, the guy scored.  I've looked on youtube but can't find it.  It has to be out there somewhere. 

The only other real memory of Kotsy was his one and only playoff goal in Toronto, a slapper along the ice from just inside the blue line.

He also managed to break Wendel Clark's foot, costing him 14 games as a rookie and most likely the Calder to boot.

For all that, Chris has to hold the fort for a few days, as I am not in tomorrow.

(Note: the Leaf of the Day is not just an 80's revival thing and normally I'd have a bigger name heading into a weekend, but last night just screamed Kotsopoulos....)



1974-75      Wexford Raiders      OPJHL      30      0      5      5      128                              
1975-76     Windsor Spitfires     OMJHL     59     3     13     16     169                        
1976-77     Acadia University     AUAA                                            
1977-78     Acadia University     AUAA     17     0     7     7     72                        
1978-79     Toledo Goaldiggers     IHL     62     6     22     28     153         6     1     7     8     48
1979-80     New Haven Nighthawks     AHL     75     7     27     34     149         10     4     5     9     28
1980-81     New York Rangers     NHL     54     4     12     16     153     -10     14     0     3     3     63
1981-82     Hartford Whalers     NHL     68     13     20     33     147     -25                    
1982-83     Hartford Whalers     NHL     68     6     24     30     125     -21                    
1983-84     Hartford Whalers     NHL     72     5     13     18     118     -2                    
1984-85     Hartford Whalers     NHL     33     5     3     8     53     +2                    
1985-86     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     61     6     11     17     83     -5     10     1     0     1     14
1986-87     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     43     2     10     12     75     +8     7     0     0     0     14
1987-88     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     21     2     2     4     19     -3                    
1988-89     Toronto Maple Leafs     NHL     57     1     14     15     44     -4                    

1989-90     Detroit Red Wings     NHL     2     0     0     0     10     -1                    
1989-90     Adirondack Red Wings     AHL     24     2     4     6     4         4     0     0     0     2
Leaf Totals     182    11    37    48    221    -4    17    1    0    1    28
NHL Totals     479     44     109     153     827     -61    31     1     3     4     91

- Signed as a free agent by NY Rangers, July 10, 1980.
- Traded to Hartford by NY Rangers with Gerry McDonald and Doug Sulliman for Mike Rogers and Hartford's 10th round choice (Simo Saarinen) in 1982 Entry Draft, October 2, 1981.
- Traded to Toronto by Hartford for Stew Gavin, October 7, 1985.
- Signed as a free agent by Detroit, June 23, 1989.

the hhof take on Chris:

Rugged defenceman Chris Kotsopoulos played nearly 500 games in the NHL during the 1980s. When he was on top of his game, "Kotsy" was one of the top defensive blueliners in the NHL with a mean streak to boot.

The native of Scarborough played a year of junior with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHA in 1975-76. The next year he enrolled at Acadia University but didn't suit up for the varsity hockey team until the following season. After leaving school Kotsopoulos spent two years in the minors before he was signed as a free agent by the New York Rangers.

As a rookie in 1980-81, Kotsopoulos recorded 16 points and demonstrated a willingness to play physically in his own end. Before the start of the next season, he was traded to the Hartford Whalers as part of the package assembled to acquire speedy forward Mike Rogers. Kotsopoulos spent four years with the Whalers but, when the team became deep on the blueline in the mid 1980s, he was shipped to the Toronto Maple Leafs for checking forward Stu Gavin.

Kotsopoulos helped to stabilize the Leafs' erratic young defensive brigade and the team reached the second round of the playoffs in 1986 and 1987. When he no longer fit into Toronto's plans, Kotsopoulos signed with the Detroit Red Wings as defensive insurance. After playing only two NHL games in Motown and a handful of AHL contests, he retired in 1990.


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