Wednesday

Charlie Huddy

Charlie Huddy quietly was a big part of the Edmonton Oilers dynasty of the 1980s. While he didn't get the attention of the Gretzkys, Messiers, Kurris or Coffeys on the team, Charlie was a versatile player who was able to fill any role that coach Glen Sather asked him to.

Easily distinguishable by his big black moustache, Huddy was one of those players who was solid at every aspect of the game, but not great at any of them. His hockey sense was his most outstanding skill. Defensively he was able to read the oncoming rush very well, often forcing the puck carrier to stay on the perimeter of the ice. His anticipation helped him offensively too. He was very smart about pinching in from the point, as well as joining rushes as a trailer.

Although he had good size, Charlie was not a physical player really. He held his own in the corners or in front of his own goalie, but often was paired with a more physical partner, such as Jeff Beukeboom. A willing shot block, Charlie relied on his strong skating game and brainy approach more than brawn.

Despite a 20 goal year in 1982-83, Charlie wasn't really considered to be a true offensive defenseman but put up respectable numbers during the glory days in Edmonton. Charlie was often used on the power play unit in Edmonton, teaming up with Paul Coffey to man the points. Charlie was a solid puck handler with a hard, accurate slap shot from the point, perfect for crease-crashing forwards to tip and deflect. However Huddy was more or less the defensive conscious of the Oilers explosive power play. Huddy would often sit back and let Coffey jump up into the slot. Huddy was by no means a great power play catalyst. Once Coffey left Edmonton Huddy was unable to be nearly as effective as he was with Coffey.

A popular player among the Edmonton faithful, Charlie spent parts of 11 seasons in the northern Alberta city. Never drafted by an NHL team, Charlie actually signed with the Oilers out of his hometown OHA Oshawa Generals in 1979. After 2 1/2 seasons in the minors, Charlie proved everyone wrong by enjoying a 16 year NHL career, including 1017 games played, 99 goals, 354 assists and 453 points. Twice he was named as the Oilers best defenseman, and twice as the team's unsung hero.

In addition to his 5 Stanley Cups he was also a solid contributor the 1984 Canada Cup championship for Team Canada.

In the summer of 1991, Huddy was reunited with Wayne Gretzky as he joined the LA Kings. He played 3 1/2 seasons as a King before short stints in Buffalo and St. Louis.

1 comments:

Sheilasu,  5:51 PM  

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Charlie!
S.

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