Skip to main content

Donald Dufresne

One of the nice stories out of the Montreal Canadiens 1993 Stanley Cup championship involved little used defenseman Donald Dufrense.

Quebec city native Donald Dufrense played four seasons of junior hockey with Trois Rivieres and was a two time QMJHL all star. The Montreal Canadiens drafted him 117th overall in the 1985 NHL draft.
Over the next five seasons the husky defenseman played 119 games with Les Canadiens, plus another 126 in the minor leagues.

Though he barely played in the spring of 1993, he earned a Stanley Cup ring with Montreal that year. In fact, despite playing in only one other game through the entire playoffs Montreal coach Jacques Demers made sure to get Dufresne into one game in the Stanley Cup finals to ensure he got his name on the Stanley Cup. Dufresne replayed defenseman Kevin Haller for one game. Demers did not have to do that, and he risked infuriating the Los Angeles Kings for assuming victory was safe. But that's what made Demers one of the all time great "player's coaches" in the history of the game.

"I went for dinner, I couldn't eat. I tried to take a nap, I couldn't sleep," recalled an excited Dufresne. "I thought about the name on the Cup all day. I told Jacques before the game, 'Thank you, I will give my life for you tonight.' And I did."

A stay-at-home defenseman, Dufresne proved to be handy depth defenseman. He had good size and played his man toughly but cleanly. He lacked agility on his skates but made up for that by understanding his positioning and playing a conservative style. Offensively he showed little creativity, but was never expected to. He proved to be an effective contributor in his limited role.

Dufresne went on to play a total of 268 NHL games with stints with Tampa, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Edmonton. He was never able to establish himself as more of a regular NHL player partly due to injuries. He always seemed to be battling an assortment of ailments that plagued him, such as bad back.

Dufrense went on to become a notable coach and assistant coach at the junior and minor pro levels. No doubt he employs some of what Jacques Demers taught him every time he steps behind the bench.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M