May 05, 2016

Bob Errey

Bob Errey was a tireless and unheralded worker whose contributions were greatly overshadowed by high scoring teammates like Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis and Jaromir Jagr.

While those guys were lighting it up to two consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992, it was Errey who was the behind the scenes leader and one of the team's few players with a defensive conscience.

Teaming up with Troy Loney and Phil Bourque during this time frame, the trio formed an effective albeit no-name third line for the Pens. The trio did lots of dirty work at both ends of the ice - going into corners, blocking shots, sacrificing their bodies - stuff that cannot be measured as a statistic. Errey, a small and fast player, would enthusiastically go into the corners with players much bigger than he, yet he'd dig out the puck for his teammates. What made Errey even more effective though was that Errey had the hands to do something with that well earned loose puck. An opportunistic scorer who pursued the puck as though he were a terrier, Errey was particularly good at getting under the skin of the opponents. On more than a few occasions Errey would even run a goalie.

Winning the Cup in Pittsburgh was a great reward for Errey, who suffered through some lean years in Pittsburgh. Errey was originally a 1st round pick, 15th overall, of the Pens in 1983 and broke in with the team the following year. That team finished 42 games below .500, so the climb to the championship years was particularly gratifying for him.

Errey was actually considered to be a draft bust for the first few years in the league. He struggled to find his niche in the league. In fact it wasn't until his 5th year in the league that he finally showed he was capable of making an impact at the NHL level. Drafted for his scoring in junior, Errey had to focus more on the defensive and intangible aspects of the game to make that impact. Once he did, success was soon to follow.

During the Pens better years, Errey chipped in with 20 goals in three consecutive seasons, followed by a 19 goal campaign. However his true impact was his heart, sacrifice and sweat as a result of maturation.

Following the second Cup, Errey got off to a slow start in Pittsburgh and was traded to Buffalo in exchange for veteran defensive blueliner Mike Ramsey. The Pens dealt Errey more because of his status as a free agent and the end of the year, and they apparently had no plans to sign him for the money he wanted. So they dumped him.

Errey finished the year in Buffalo but signed with the San Jose Sharks in the offseason. He immediately was named team captain. Under his captaincy he helped turn around one of the sorriest franchises in league history. The Sharks had no bite and struggled just to win 20 games in the past, but with Errey's help, the team finished the year strongly and actually made the playoffs. In those 1994 playoffs the Sharks upset the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings in the first round in one of the biggest surprises in NHL history

Errey's play made a big impression on the Wings obviously as they acquired the pesky left winger early the following season. He played in Detroit for the next 2 1/2 years before the Sharks reclaimed their former leader on waivers in 1997.

Errey signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars for the 1997-98 season but finished the year with the New York Rangers as a result of a trading deadline move.

Errey finished the year in New York but spent the following year in the minor leagues. In 1999 he tried to make an NHL comeback with his old team in Pittsburgh with his old coach from San Jose, Kevin Constantine, at the helm. Despite showing the same spirited play he showed throughout his career, he was released by the Pens.

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