Skip to main content

Paul Laus

On the surface Paul Laus was a goon. If you watched him play with the Florida Panthers in the 1990s, you quickly realized he was far more than that. He was a hockey player's hockey player.

Laus was a very physical player. He hit anyone and everyone, and he hit to hurt. It could not have been a pleasant experience going into the corners or standing in front of the net when Laus was on the ice. He was big, powerful and mean.

Of course, he was also noted for dropping the gloves. counted 177 career NHL fights for the native of Beamsville, Ontario, 39 in the 1996-97 season alone. Laus would stand up for his teammates, knew when the team needed an energy boost, and never forgot that fighting was the ticket that got him into the NHL in the first place.

Unlike a lot of goons, Laus was able to transform himself into a good player. The defenseman worked tirelessly at all aspects of his game, making him a popular leader and figure with the Panthers.

He became a very serviceable fifth or sixth defenseman who was also utilized as a fourth line right winger. His skating was always a question mark at the NHL level, as he had no speed or agility to speak of to cover the ice. But Laus smartly recognized his own limitations and learned how to play within them. He was usually pretty good about reading the oncoming attack and knew how to position himself so he would not be burned by speedier forwards. He would force them wide to the boards where his superior balance on his skates helped him battle for pucks and space. Of course, his reputation as a mean son-of-a-gun also bought him some time.

While he was a great teammate, a very good tough guy and a serviceable defenseman and utility player, he had no offensive game whatsoever. 530 NHL games he scored just 14 goals and 72 points.

The highlight for Laus was of course the Panthers unexpected Stanley Cup finals run in 1996. That is where Laus really earned high praise for the evolution of his game. He even scored 2 goals and 8 points in 21 post season contests.

A serious wrist injury hampered Laus after the turn of the century, and ultimately forced him to retire from hockey. He would return home to Ontario to raise his young family and get into coaching youth hockey.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M