December 02, 2015

Darren Turcotte

Although born in Boston, Massachusetts, Darren grew up in North Bay, Ontario. His mother Sue was in the nursing profession and his father Don and sister Alyson were teachers.

Darren never was a physical player. Instead he relied on his skills. He was a tremendously fast skater who also had a booming shot.

Darren had a solid junior career for the North Bay Centennials (OHL). In his four OHL seasons between 1984-88 he scored a respectable 278 points (128 goals and 150 assists) in 211 games. The New York Rangers drafted Darren in the sixth round in the 1986 Entry draft (114th overall).

Darren attended NY Rangers' training camp in 1987 but suffered a shoulder injury which kept him out of the first 34 games during the 1987-88 season. He split that season between North Bay and Colorado Rangers (IHL). Darren's NHL debut came on October 6, 1988 at the old Chicago Stadium. He played left wing between future Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne and at that time a newly inducted Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur. Darren admitted that he spent the entire game watching his linemates in total awe as well as the loud Chicago crowd.

After a couple of games he was assigned to Denver (IHL) on October 26. In Denver he racked up 49 points (21 goals and 28 points) in only 40 games, his totals were all fourth best on the club. NY Rangers recalled him on February 19 and the next night he scored his first career goal against Sean Burke (New Jersey). Less than two weeks later he had scored his first career NHL hat trick. In 20 games for NY Rangers he picked up 10 points (7 goals).

When the 1988-89 season started Darren was still considered an NHL rookie. He had a great season scoring 66 points (32 goals and 34 assists). But as it turned out he would never match his 32 goal performance, and the 66 point season was only topped by his sophomore season in 1989-90 when he scored 67 points (26 goals and 41 assists). Darren played in the 1991 NHL All-Star game that was held in Chicago. He still lists the 1991 All-Star game national anthem as one of his most memorable hockey moments It was an emotional event that was enhanced by the beginning of the Gulf War.

Darren's stint in New York was a successful one. When he managed to score 25 goals in 1992-93 he became only the third player in Rangers' history to score at least that many in each of his first four full seasons with the club. (Steve Vickers and Tomas Sandström were the other two). Darren scored 255 points (122 goals and 133 assists) in 325 games for NY Rangers before he was traded to Hartford Whalers on November 3, 1993.

Darren never rebounded from that trade and only scored 156 points in the next 310 games. He didn't last two full seasons with one team the rest of his career and never scored more than 43 points in one season. He played 66 games with Hartford, 59 games with Winnipeg, 74 games with San Jose, 62 games (+10 playoff) with St.Louis and finally 49 games with Nashville.

Darren was also bothered by various injuries. One of them that happened in 1996-97 forced him to miss 13 games. It was one of the weirdest in NHL history. Darren somehow managed to puncture his eardrum with a cotton swab. The injury affected his balance.

1 comment:

TVMA Doc said...

I was a huge Shark fan at the time and I remember Darren's ear drum rupture. I think that it was concurrent with Andre Nazarov being boarded face first from center ice, requiring surgery for multiple facial fractures.

I always wondered just how much crap Turcotte got for being on the bench for his TM rupture. "Andre broke his face, why are YOU sitting out?" It's entirely understandable because it can make you INCREDIBLY dizzy, and there's no way to play ice hockey that way, but knowing guys/athletes, he must have had quite a ration given to him.