When the Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup in 1974, guess who head coach Fred Shero declared was the Flyers most valuable player of the championship season? Bobby Clarke? Reggie Leach? Bernie Parent?
Try Ross Lonsberry, a long forgotten 5'11" 195lb left winger who scored 32 goals that season and another 4 in 17 playoff games.
"I knew Lonsberry would be good because I've seen him play for ten years," said Shero. "But he's been unbelievable this year. He has more stamina than Bobby Clarke, and he's been the key man in a lot of games. He's done everything for us."
"Roscoe" joined the Flyers late in the 1972 season, part of a big eight player trade with the Los Angeles Kings. He quickly endeared himself to coach Shero in a role as a top defensive forward, while still being able to score big goals.
Ever the team player, Lonsberry dismissed coach Shero's high praise of him.
"No way it's me. It has to be Clarkie. We have no stars. We're all equal. A lot of teams look to one or two guys, like Orr and Esposito of Boston, for the big goal when they fall behind. But with the Flyers, the winning goal might come from anyone.
Lonsberry often played on a line with Rick MacLeish and Gary Dornhoefer. His job was often to shut down the league's top right wingers like Yvan Cournoyer and Rod Gilbert. Lonsberry never considered himself to be a true defensive forward.
""Anybody can be a defensive forward. You can just skate beside your man and look at him all night. You're not using your brain. If he makes you adjust to his style, he's playing a good game. I want my man thinking that he has to guard me, too. The trick is to make the other team adjust to you."
Here's the full Ross Lonsberry bio. Lonsberry passed away today after a battle with cancer. He was 67.