Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bob Bassen

Hockey fans always have a soft spot for role players. And Bob Bassen was among the best of the best role players.

Bassen was a second generation NHLer. His father Hank was a goalie in the Original Six era. He was orn in Calgary and trained with the Medicine Hat Tigers. Though he was never drafted, Bassen went on to his own 15 year, 765 NHL game career in a much different era. Yet he played every game as if he was a throwback to hockey's glory days.

Bassen was a sweat and guts competitor, always delivering an honest effort as a most valuable role player. In doing so he was the ultimate role model and team player.

Bassen was a much better player than the sum of his parts. He was an average skater, though he had a fair degree of agility. Due to his strong understanding of smart positioning he appeared quicker than he was. He did not possess a great shot. In fact all of his finesse skills would be determined to be average.

Yet his work ethic would over come that make him a valuable competitor. He would play far bigger than his 5'10" 180lb frame suggested. He was not scrappy, but he played with a dogged determination to get loose pucks and shut down offensive attackers. He had a low center of gravity which really enabled him to battle against bigger and better forwards.

Bassen was the type of player coaches love. A bottom six forward who could inspire the entire team in under 15 minutes of action a night. He was highly intelligent on the ice and understood team dynamics off of it. He also endeared himself to the fans.

Because Bassen, unlike say a Bob Gainey, never played on a great team, and he only scored goals in double digits 3 times in 15 seasons, history is destined to forget just how good Bob Bassen was, yet he could play on just about any hockey team any day of the week.

Apparently Bassen returned to St. Louis after his playing days and became a mortgage broker.


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