April 13, 2016

Mark Janssens

Mark Janssens was a big, strapping shut down center, sort of a poor man's Joel Otto.

Janssens was huge at six-foot-three and 215 pounds, and he certainly was not afraid to impose himself on others. Despite suffering a fractured skull and severe concussion while in the minor leagues early in his career, he was a very rugged player, always finishing his check.

He was always a great teammate, often courageously getting involved in those after-the-whistle debates hockey players used to find themselves in so often. He was not a great fighter but he always showed up.

While he excelled in physical battles in tight, his lack of foot speed made him vulnerable in open ice. Intelligence and hustle allowed him to compensate for his lumbering skating through excellent positioning.

His lack of foot speed did not always allow him to go up against the game's fastest stars, and therefore he did not become an elite shutdown center like Otto. But he was an excellent faceoff expert, a regular penalty killer and a tenacious forechecker.

Janssens did not provide much offense. In 711 career NHL games he scored just 40 goals and set up 73 others.

Regardless, he was a valuable role player who kept finding a NHL paycheck. Janssens was drafted by the New York Rangers, but he was probably best known for playing for the Hartford Whalers. In fact Janssens was the first player new general manager Brian Burke acquired when he took the helm.

Janssens also played with Chicago and Anaheim with brief appearances in Minnesota, Phoenix and the New York Islanders.

As his career began winding down Janssens began working towards a political science degree from New York University. He then parlayed that into a MBA in Finance at Columbia University's Business School.

Janssens has been working in the world of high finance in New York City ever since.

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