January 07, 2016

Shawn McEachern

Strong and fast with great straightaway speed, Shawn McEachern was an exciting player to watch blazer through the neutral zone.

He used his speed smartly, often shifting gears to throw off defenders. Because he played all three forward positions (though was best suited as a winger) he was comfortable breaking in on a goalie from all angles. He possessed a hard wrist shot with a quick release. And he loved to try beating a goalie with a big slapper.

McEachern did suffer from tunnel vision, often looking down at the puck while carrying it at top speed. This eliminated a lot of the advantage his speed created, as he did not always see passing options. He just predictably wired a shot on net.

That really limited his effectiveness as a center ice man, which was unfortunate in that he was solid defensively and very good on faceoffs.

In 13 NHL seasons the Waltham, Massachusetts, native tallied an impressive 256 goals and 323 assists for 579 points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins drafted McEachern 110th overall back in 1987. He would attend Boston University for three seasons

McEachern would leave school early to commit to the United States national team for the 1992 Olympics. Those Olympics did not yet feature NHL players, giving a chance for "unknowns" like McEachern to represent their country in Albertville. A back injury would prevent him from returning to the Olympics as a pro in 1998 in what he termed "the most disappointing moment of my career."

McEachern and Team USA did not win a medal at the 1992 Olympics, but he soon would win a Stanley Cup. McEachern turn pro immediately after the Olympics, joining Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis and company in time for their 1992 Stanley Cup victory. McEachern played a supporting role, but did chip in with 2 goals and 9 points in 19 games.

"Against the Rangers I played some center when Mario and Mullen got hurt and then when Mario came back I moved to the wing. I tried to use my speed as much as possible. Against the Rangers Scotty wanted me to chase down Leetch, that was lots of fun," he told OpeningFaceoff.net

That was the start of a long and solid NHL career, perhaps best remembered for his time in Ottawa. He would emerge as a good 20 goal scorer, even twice scoring over 30 while with the Senators at the end of the century. He was quick to credit playing alongside Daniel Alfredsson for his success in the Canadian capital city. He also formed a nice line with Alexei Yashin and Andreas Dackell.

Late in his career he would play two seasons with the expansion Atlanta Thrasers, serving as team captain.

"It was a tremendous honor to be a captain of an NHL team. We had a great group of guys in Atlanta. I think if we hadn’t had the accident involving Dany Heatley and Dan Snyder we would have been a playoff contender. But we lost a great teammate in Dan Snyder and that was tough to recover from."

Shawn McEachern retired in 2006 and got into coaching at both the high school and college levels.

"I really enjoy coaching," he told TheHockeyWriters.com. "I take what I learned from all the places I played that worked for me and pass it on to our players. I really enjoy working with the kids at UMass Lowell because they are so committed to the team and each other."

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