Craig Muni

Quietly, Craig Muni developed into a rugged, defensive stalwart who earned his name on the Stanley Cup three times in his 12 years in the NHL.

Muni, best known as a hard hitting, stay at home defenseman, was used in all defensive situations. A strong one- on- one player, Muni was a regular penalty killer, especially on 5- on- 3 advantages. He also developed a reputation as a controversial hitter. He was one of only a handful of players who excelled at the old fashioned hip check. However the controversy was that Muni would use his open ice hip checks like missiles, blowing out more than a few knees along the way. In one playoff series between the Oilers in Kings, Muni put both Tomas Sandstrom and Bob Kudelski on the shelf with low and controversial hits.

As solid as he was defensively, he was a one trick pony. He had little finesse game to speak of. Saying he was an average skater would be a stretch, and he had no offensive output at all. A weak shooter and poor puckhandler, Muni made a living as a 5th, 6th or 7th d-man.

Born in Toronto, he was drafted by his hometown Maple Leafs 25th overall in 1980. However he never panned out in Toronto, largely because of his skating. In 6 years in the Leafs' organization, he appeared in 19 games and was written off as a bust.

However Glen Sather saw something in Muni and in the summer of 1986 signed Craig as a free agent. Muni immediately stepped into the mighty Edmonton Oiler's blue line corps and played regularly and well. In his first 4 seasons with the Oilers he was part of three Stanley Cup championships and was a +142!

Muni continued to play with the Oil until late in the 1992-93 season when he was dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks who were looking for some veteran leadership on their blue line. His stay in the Windy City was very short. He played in 9 games with the Hawks that season, and 9 games with them in the following season before he was traded to Buffalo where he joined former Oilers coach John Muckler.

Craig played 3 years in the blue collar New York town before finishing his career bouncing around the NHL with Winnipeg, Pittsburgh and Dallas.


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