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May 22, 2016

Steve Konroyd

Steve Konroyd got to know a lot of NHL doctors over the course of his 13 year NHL career.

He missed a good part of the 1984 playoffs with a broken foot. He dislocated his elbow when he crashed through the open door at the player's bench just before New Year's 1985. He took a puck to the face in 1988 resulting in a broken orbital bone and fractured sinus. Throw in some knee surgery, a pulled chest muscle, bruised collarbone, a broken knuckle and the all-too-often recurring back spasms, and Konroyd was no stranger to the medical clinic.

Through it all Konroyd remained a reliable and terribly underrated defenseman.

Big and strong, Konroyd could remove players from the puck with his size and strength. He was an aggressive and physical defenseman but knew how to play without taking a lot of penalties.

The key to Konroyd's game was his excellent skating. He was very fluid, both forwards and backwards. He was also very agile and excellent on his pivots.

Aiding his skates was his excellent hockey sense. He could read the oncoming rush well and positioned himself expertly, allowing him to steer opponents to the outside and away from danger.

Konroyd was not a great offensive contributor. He moved the puck out his zone with a strong pass and handled the puck under pressure nicely, but he never rushed the puck into the offensive zone. He preferred to man the point with a slap shot. He was strong at holding the puck in when the opponents tried firing the puck out of the zone. As a result Konroyd would get occasional power play time.

Konroyd was a Scarborough, Ontario native who played his junior hockey in Oshawa. Not only did he excel on the ice with the Generals but he also did very well in the classroom. He was the inaugural winner of the OHL's Bobby Smith Trophy as the scholastic player of the year.

The Calgary Flames drafted Konroyd 39th overall in 1980. A year later he was regular on the Flames blue line. He was really establishing himself in the community as well, working with several charities and attending classes at the University of Calgary.

It came with a mixture of disappointment and excitement when he found himself traded to the New York Islanders late in his fifth NHL seasons. It was a blockbuster, too, as the Islanders unloaded John Tonelli to the Flames for Konroyd and Rich Kromm.

For the Islanders it was a dismantling of the one-time dynasty team in an effort to breath new life into the franchise and to keep the team on top.

With Konroyd's ailments and the Islanders slowly sliding from the top of the league, the team decided to try again in 1986-87, trading Konroyd and Bob Bassen to Chicago in exchange for Gary Nylund and Marc Bergevin.

For parts of four seasons Konroyd was a nice depth defenseman on an emerging strong Chicago team.

He later bounced around with Hartford, Detroit and Ottawa before returning to where it all began, playing one final NHL game with Calgary.

Even in retirement Konroyd bounced around as a hockey journeyman. He landed broadcasting jobs in Phoenix, San Jose, and Columbus before returning to Chicago to work their broadcasts.

1 comment:

Hackenbush said...

Steve's an OK announcer but he's certainly no Eddie Olczyk.

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